Monday 24 June 2013

A tale of Palestinian nonsense.

A tale of Palestinian nonsense.
Original Thinking by Barry Shaw.

Mohamoud Zahar, the ugly Hamas spokesman with a wart on the end of his nose, set everyone laughing at the beginning of 2012 with a nonsense statement that Palestinians in Gaza were prevented from demonstrating peacefully  because there are no Jews in Gaza to protest against. That is why, he explained, they have no choice but to resort to violence. No, don’t laugh! He was being serious. You couldn’t make this up. Not surprisingly, to those who follow and support the Palestinian narrative, this insanity is perceived as a logical and reasonable argument. It appeals to the Israel haters who accuse Israel of human rights abuses for “occupying” Gaza from the outside rather than the inside. Don’t even try to figure this out. You’ll only tie yourself up in a Gordian knot of maddening Palestinian illogicality.
This endless nonsense is promoted by pro-Palestinian public relations groupies with an inexhaustible amount of funding from wealthy individuals, or from mindless European Governments for whom the mantra “Solve Human Rights Abuses and you Save the World” is pre-eminent. Funding also comes from malevolent sources, such as  Arab and Islamic regimes, who have transposed the “Arab-Israel War” into the more appealing “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” This new definition allows bleeding heart liberals to side with the underdog and lose sight of reality.
Let’s be honest. The world has bought into the Palestinian narrative of victimhood to the extent that, for decades, it has thrown billions of dollars into a lie. Anyone with any legal sense will conclude that if you repeatedly extract money from someone based on a falsehood you eventually risk being dragged into court for fraud. And, if you add violence to your extortion, you will, more than likely, be found guilty of both fraud and assault and be thrown into the slammer.  Not so with the Palestinians. They can be as corrupt as they like, they literally get away with murder. They are feted, patted, sympathized with, by an international community that is so blind it cannot see past its tears to see the truth. The Palestinians have been flavor of the month for decades while the rest of the world’s genuine basketcases are ignored. The universal publicity machine endlessly pumps out money for the Palestinian schnorrers. The rest go begging for scraps.
The world has bought into this nonsense so deeply and so intensely that they cannot admit the truth any more. When the Hamas spokesman (yes, the one with the wart) announced that Gaza was no longer “occupied”, the United Nations persisted in declaring the Gaza Strip as still being under Israeli occupation. They continue to perpetrate a lie that even Hamas denies.
In truth, the Palestinians control every aspect of their society. Hamas, in Gaza, runs the courts, the police, the jails, the schools, mosques, the media, and the social services. It has its own economy and banking. It regulated its business activities. It levies taxes. It even imposes Shariah law on its citizens. As Abraham Bell and Dov Shefi, two international legal experts, wrote in a 2010 research paper, Hamas runs “a functioning and fully independent local civil government, buttressed by armed forces.”  The Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank is middle class and successful compared to many Arab regimes. Yet, the world still accepts the victimhood fraud.
This tale of victimhood helps sell newspapers. It is the stuff of poor and biased journalism. It keeps career diplomats in clover. Western societies continue to pump money they don’t have, or can ill afford, into the fiction mill. The Palestinians are building an industry on it.  Many are getting wealthy on the false tale of victimhood. They fly from one conference to another. They see the success of this narrative. It serves them well. So well, in fact, that they don’t want to change, don’t want to reach a solution. It’s rather like the guy who drives his big car from his suburban home to the town center, parks his vehicle, takes out a pair of crutches, limps into town, and starts begging and crying. The naïve and sympathetic throw notes and coins into his lap until it’s time for him to drive home and put his feet up at the end of a good days work.
Why should they change, these Palestinians? They’ve got it down to a fine art, and it works for them. They are occupied, they are oppressed and abused by a heartless, brutal, racist, Nazi, regime. Why spoil it by being forced into a negotiating room in which they could end up with an independent state and have to be truly accountable to their people?
Their fiction appeals to the heart, not to the head, and the heart is not easily dissuaded, especially if you can knock up some emotive pictures to strengthen your argument. Public opinion is easily swayed by a good sob story.
Just as people, who abuse the social services of a welfare state, lose the desire to find work and become productive citizens, so the Palestinians are enjoying the status they have achieved as the world’s most appreciated victim. They exploit their inferiority to the extent that they cannot, or will not, escape their inferiority. It works for them; therefore they are trapped in it. Nobody has demanded they become a more pragmatic, open, liberal society, especially not the Western pragmatic, open, and liberal societies. They are the ones who persevere with the nonsense of this false narrative. They simply continue to throw their money at them as you do to a beggar on the street. Nobody has conditioned their funding on the Palestinians discarding their lies and get real, to make biting concessions and put an end to their tale of discontent.
But how can they do that? To do so would put an end to the lies they have spun to their own people. Lies like the holy duty to destroy Israel, lies like how they will eventually possess all the land. To accept a rump state alongside the Jewish state of Israel would be exposed as an ignoble failure of leadership. It would force them to buckle down to real nation-building, instead of looking with greed and envy at Israel’s flourishing land.
The Palestinians and their supporters have taken the nonsense of victimhood and have deliberately prevented progress. They have wrapped the Islamic cloak around their victimhood. This enables them to play both sides of the deck. They are both victim and hero. They glorify their most heinous acts of terror. Their jihad allows them to turn the most inhumane acts of murder into glorious tales of valor. Their narrative turns mass murder into praiseworthy heroism to be rewarded in this life or the next. It produces a culture twisted into a brutal and resentful society. They are trapped in their negative stew of victimhood and brutality. It finds expression in the nonsensical statements of people like Zahar, and those who accuse Israel of being an “Apartheid” and “Nazi” state. Their nonsense, to them, makes sense. Sad tales have their impact. The emotional tale of victimhood is their only power. They can twist every expression they can find to make a point that drips with emotion and useful sound bites, but they fail the test of truth every time.
Basically, the Palestinian narrative is a tale of nonsense.

Barry Shaw is the author of “Israel Reclaiming the Narrative”
He is also the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College

Wednesday 19 June 2013

"Peacemakers" against peace.

Original Thinking by Barry Shaw.

“Peacemakers” against peace.

In a Jerusalem Post article (“Blessed are the peacemakers” June 7, 2013) Gideon D.Sylvester, the British United Synagogue rabbi in Israel, told the anecdote of two member of the Bereaved Parents Forum, an association of Israeli and Palestinian parents whose children have been killed in the conflict, who travelled to a meeting held at the British House of Lords. Their host took them aside and explained, “On this side of the room sit the Lords who back the Palestinians, and on the other side will be the friends of Israel. Now you each know your supporters and opponents,” as if they were entering into a prize fight contest. The bereaved parents were shocked. “We have set aside our grievances and have come to share ideas about uniting for peace, and you who live in the tranquility of England wish to make divisions! If you cannot help, at least don’t make matters worse.”
This is the deep feeling I get every time I hear of the confrontational actions and words of groups such as Peace Now and many others who receive handsome funding from European governments, church groups, and charitable organizations, and use them to foster hate and division.
When Israel is ready and able to supply Palestinians with the abundance of natural gas it has recently discovered, natural gas that will reduce the household and industrial burden in Palestinian society and improve their environment with its green energy, who will stand in its way? The BDS Movement, the phony peace activists that never give up in preventing cooperation between Israel and Palestinians, or the political leaders of the Palestinian Arabs?  Their policies and their protests are absurd!
Emphasis must be given to groups that genuinely assist in the process of mutual respect and assistance rather than perpetuating the demonization and hatred.  It is to the groups that use their humanity to open dialogue and lend a helping hand that funding and recognition must be placed, not to those who seek to become a wedge between the two parties.
I have been involved in challenging the vicious confrontation with Israel by groups claiming to represent the best interest of the Palestinians. They have, by their words and deeds, set back the peace process for decades. Their message is one of fraud, lies, and hypocrisy when they could have been promoting ways to nurture mutual respect between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs. The boycotters, set against the huge economic and technological strides taken by Israel have been a pinprick, a minor irritant, to the Israeli economy. Instead they could have used whatever biased influence they have to improve the daily lives and fortune of the average Palestinian. Instead, into this breach step companies such as Soda-Stream who have given numerous jobs, promotion, respect, and a brighter future to young Palestinian Arab men and women. For their pains they have been targeted and pilloried by organizations that waste their time, energy, and resources on negative actions.
There are Palestinians, and all too many of their supporters, who criticize (and worse) what they call “economic normalization” between Israelis and the Palestinians. If that means Israelis helping to put food on the table of a Palestinian family in Ramallah, food earned by gainful employment, so be it. Guilty as charged. Economic normalization must be part of the “bottom up” part of the peace process that involves having both sides get to know and respect each other.
There were sections of the Palestinian leadership that protested the participation of Israeli and Palestinian businessmen in a session of the World Economic Forum in May, 2013.  After the “Breaking the Impasse” meetings were held by the Dead Sea between Israeli and Palestinian businessmen, at precisely the same time as the US Administration was trying to kick start the peace process, Murad Sudani, of the Palestinian Writers Union, threatened to publish a “blacklist” of the Palestinian individuals and companies who are doing business with their Israeli counterparts.  Don’t they want the Palestinian economy to grow? Apparently, not.
Munib al-Masri, whose family is traditionally the backbone and respected pillars of the Palestinian society and perhaps the wealthiest Palestinian in the world, doesn’t agree with them. He condemned those who threaten Palestinian businessmen and those who act against normalization with Israel.
Sixty five farmers, water experts, and land reclamation professionals from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip attended the international agricultural exhibition in Tel Aviv in June, 2013, together with a further two hundred West Bank farmers. “We want to export agricultural goods to Israel and improve neighborhood ties,” they declared bravely.  “All the time, we and Israel are in contact,” admitted Mahmoud Ikhlain, the chairman of the Beit Lahiya Cooperative in Gaza. Tons of Gazan-grown agricultural products flow across the Kerem Shalom border crossing into Israel for domestic consumption, or for Palestinian export. It is this mutual cooperation that mainly benefits the Palestinian economy that many who claim to be “peacemakers” aim to destroy. The last thing they want is dialogue.
Tawfiq Tirawi of the Fatah Central Committee condemns the direct contact between Palestinians and Israelis. He claims that only a political peace can save Palestinian dignity, he is wrong. There are thousands of Palestinian families who, each one personally, have claimed their own dignity and self-respect by working alongside Israelis. The political solution has stalled through people like Tirawi who put up barricades rather enter into a meaningful dialogue with Israel. People like Tirawi are part of the problem, not the solution. They belong to the Palestinian political rejectionism that has been the major factor of the lack of political progress. They must be prevented from blocking the increasingly successful “bottom up” economic process.
Israelis can, and do, lend a useful helping hand that improves the lives of Palestinian Arab families. They must be encouraged to increase this benevolence. As Sylvester reminded us in his interesting article, every major Jewish prayer ends with the desire for peace. As Jews utter this prayer they physically take three steps backwards and bow. This signifies that we are forced to change our position and respect the Lord if we are genuine in our desire for peace. If you were to take a survey among Israelis about the need to compromise for peace with the Palestinians, the overwhelming majority are prepared to take those three steps back for peace and bow to the inevitability. Can we honestly say the same about the Palestinian leadership, Palestinian society generally, the assorted anti-Israeli organizations who all claim to represent the best interests of the Palestinians, and the so-called “peacemakers.”
If push comes to shove, are they prepared to pray and act for a genuine and fair peace while taking those all-important three steps back from their hatred of Israel that really is the genuine obstacle to peace.

Barry Shaw is the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.   He is also the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’

Weapon proliferation into Syria.


Weapon Proliferation into Syria.

Delivering weapons to rebels and terrorists for a good cause is not a good idea.

President Obama has approved the supply of weapons to rebels in Syria. This is a dangerous high stakes gamble that even has media outlets like Fox News scratching their heads in bewilderment. But this may not be something new for the Obama Administration.

Speculation has been rife that American has covertly continued the weapons supply that took place in Libya to help overthrow Gaddafi by transferring quantities into Syria via Turkey.

What was US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, doing in Benghazi without adequate security that led to his murder? What was so important that caused him travel from Tripoli to insecure Benghazi on 9/11?  There was rumor that he was there to arrange the transportation of weapons from post-Gaddafi, crisis-stricken, and unruly, Libya to war-torn Syria. The altruistic reasoning behind the transfer of weapons was to make Libya more stable by denuding it of its weapon stockpile while helping the Syrian rebels overturn the Assad regime.

Catherine Herridge of Fox News, researching shipping records, confirmed that a Libyan ship, the ‘Al Entisar,’ sailed from Libya and entered the Turkish port of Iskenderun, thirty five miles from the Syrian border, on September 6. This was just five days before Stevens was killed.
On 9/11, Stevens’ last official duty was a meeting with Ali Sait Akin, the Turkish Consul-General, at the US Consulate. At the end of his meeting, he escorted his Turkish guest to the gates of the compound. This was one hour before the start of the terror attack on the Consulate that left him and three other Americans dead.

Retired Admiral and former head of the Pacific Fleet, James Lyons, claimed that “one of Stevens’ main missions in Libya was to facilitate the transfer of much of Gaddafi’s military equipment, including the deadly SA7 portable SAMS (hand-held anti-aircraft missiles) to Islamists and other Al-Qaeda affiliated groups fighting the Assad regime in Syria.”
Former CIA Director, Porter Goss, told Fox News that there was no question that some of the weapons that flooded Libya during the uprising are making their way to Syria and that the CIA knows about it.
A former CIA officer and now Senior fellow at the center of Security Policy, Clare Lopez, claims that two large warehouse-type buildings linked to the US Consulate in Benghazi were raided during the 9/11 terror attack and they may have contained weapons.
All this was confirmed by the New York Times who reported on October 14 that “most of the arms shipped to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Basher Assad are going to hardline Islamist jihadists and not to the more secular opposition groups that the West want to bolster.”

People who are likely to be America’s and Israel’s future enemies are being strengthened with a huge arsenal that may be used against us in the future.
With this is mind, is it not time to question and investigate a dangerous covert policy that puts us in jeopardy?

Although the State Department denies that Stevens was involved in weapon transfers, we are reminded that Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, announced in November 2011, in Tripoli, that the US was committing $40 million “to help Libya secure and recover its weapons stockpiles.”
Surely it is time to ask for a progress report and the official records of this mission to date? What weapons have been recovered, and where are they now? Are they securely in American hands? Or have they been shipped to dangerous extremists in Syria?

Relating to the September 5 ‘Al Entisar’ shipment, the Times of London reported that the ship carried 400 tons of cargo that included the largest consignment of weapons to Syrian rebels. The inventory included surface to air anti-aircraft missiles.
Apparently there was an angry exchange between the Free Syrian Army and the Muslim Brotherhood over who got the weapons. It is evident that anti-Assad fighters now possess anti-aircraft missiles. A Syrian helicopter was shown on TV worldwide being shot down by such a missile on October 17, 2012.

The supply of weapons from Libya to Syria via Turkey links neatly into the new geo-political map. The close relationship between America and Turkey, forged in the last four years has done no favors for Israel.
An Israeli warship was prevented from participating in a NATO joint naval exercise due to Turkey’s insistence. Israel was disinvited to a NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012. Erdogan objected to Israel participating in an international counter-terror conference. As ‘The Algemeiner’ reported on July 15, 2012, “The US was so concerned about offending Turkey that Under-Secretary of State, Maria Otero, did not invite Israel to be among the countries that have been victims to terror attacks.”.

It is unlikely that America did not know about the weapon shipment on the ‘Al Entisar’. Was Stevens killed while coordinating yet another shipment with his Turkish counterpart in Benghazi? And was he killed by Libyan terrorists because he was depriving them of their weapon supplies?

A covert understanding between America and Turkey to facilitate the transport of sophisticated military hardware to Syrian rebels, that include jihadi terrorists, opens a Pandora’s box of dangers and implications for Israel and for America. How does Israel cope with lethal weapons and terrorist insurgents over our eastern border, armed with increasingly sophisticated military hardware? What power and freedom of action will these dangerous characters enjoy if Assad is overthrown, and yet another Islamic regime takes over Syria?  The idea of our planes and helicopters coming into the sights of a jihadi terrorist with an SA7, and now S-300s supplied by Russia, is frightening.
Even worse, what if one or more of these deadly weapons shoots down a British Airways flight over Israel’s international airport today? Which airline would fly into Israel tomorrow?

The most lethal and effective anti-Assad fighting force in Syria is the Nusra Front, which is a direct offshoot of Al-Qaida in Iraq.  Al-Qaeda, its affiliates, Islamic terror groups, and jihadists are proven enemies of Israel and America. Deadly weapons, that may be used to kill Israelis and Americans, is surely a dangerous ploy. However much the international community wants to see the end of the brutal Assad regime in Syria, it would be foolhardy to allow anti-West Islamic terrorists to be the recipients of sophisticated weapons. The cause may be just, but the execution could be fatal later.
We see Libya disintegrated into lawlessness with no central government and with heavily armed gangs controlling large parts of that country. The Syrian war will surely fracture any cohesiveness in that country as power goes to those with the heaviest military capability.
If the outcome of the laughingly named “Arab Spring” has proven anything it is that a secular Syria will be replaced with a radical Islamic faction, and this will add to the instability of the region leaving Israel prone to attack from the east.

The American disposition for arming dubious groups is nothing new. President Reagan supplied arms to Iran. The altruistic reasoning behind that wrong move was an attempt to obtain the release of fifty two Americans held hostage in Tehran in November 1979. This was a covert operation. Reagan denied his arms dealing with the Ayatollahs, but was forced to admit it when the evidence became overwhelming.
A plane crash in Nicaragua revealed America’s covert arming and training of the Contras in that country. This brutal group conducted grotesque terror and massacre against civilians.
These two covert activities cut Reagan’s image to shreds. After Oliver North became the fall guy, Reagan was forced to apologize for what became known as the Irangate Affair.

Rumors swirled about the CIA covert links to Osama Bin Laden in order to push Russia out of Afghanistan. A simple search on Wikipedia reveals US involvement with Al-Qaeda and the Afghan Mujahedeen.

Seymour Hersh exposed in the New York Times of January 26, 1992, that The Reagan Administration secretly decided to provide highly classified intelligence to Iraq in the spring of 1982 -- more than two years earlier than previously disclosed -- while also permitting the sale of American-made arms to Baghdad in a successful effort to help President Saddam Hussein avert imminent defeat in the war with Iran, former intelligence and State Department officials say.”

More recent exposure was given by Daily Mail journalist, William Lowther, who in his November 6, 2012 article headlined “Rumsfeld ‘helped Iraq get chemical weapons.’” In his article he tells how US Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, as envoy for President Reagan, made it possible for Saddam Hussein to buy supplies, including anthrax and bubonic plague, from American firms. The extraordinary details have come to light because thousands of State Department documents dealing with the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war have just been declassified and released under the Freedom of Information Act.  It has long been suspected that the reason Jonathan Pollard is languishing in isolation in an American jail is because he provided Israel with sensitive information relating to the covert WMD deal with Iraq.

It remains to be seen who supplied weapons to the terrorists that killed the four Americans in Benghazi. One thing is for sure. Throwing weapons at unlawful people in the chaotic background of civil war, or regime change, is a risky form of altruism. It is naïve give your enemy weapons because you want to remove a tyrant. In the hostile Middle East the motto is “the enemy of my enemy is my enemy” and not the mistaken version so prevalent elsewhere. When you have a brawl between the Boston Strangler and Jack the Ripper it’s best not to take sides. The weapon you provide to one of the violent actors may be used against you one day.

Lessons, it seems, have not been learned. Those involved in the weapons trade between Libya and Syria needs to give full disclosure. Its control must be strictly enforced. The risks are simply too great to let the chips fall where they may. They may have fallen on America in Benghazi. They may yet fall on Israel.

Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’

He is also the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at the Netanya Academic College.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

The real victory behind Israel's defeat of England.

The real victory behind Israel’s defeat of England in the UEFA European Under 21 Football Championships was not the 1-0 scoreline.

Precisely at a time when Israel is being falsely denigrated as a racist and apartheid state its Under 21 football team pulled off a win against mighty England in Jerusalem.

A significance of this game was that the English players had been targeted by anti-Israel activists to boycott the tournament. The extremists failed to appreciate that they were demanding English players to refuse the honor of playing for their country, and to do so for a false cause. To their credit, none of the players bowed to their demand.

What was so special about this victory, in light of that demand not to participate because of the racist and apartheid nature of Israel, was the make-up of the Israeli team. Let me profile some of the Israeli players for the benefit of the many talent scouts and football agents that came to watch the football in Israel, and also for the anti-Israel activists.

Ahed Azam is an Israeli Arab midfield player who plays for Hapoel Haifa. He has represented Israel since 2008. Eli Das, a defender, plays for Beitar Jerusalem. He was born in Israel of Ethiopian parents. In my opinion, he was the man of the match for Israel. Taleb Tawatha plays left back for Maccabi Haifa. This Israeli Arab player has represented Israel since 2007. Another Israeli Arab player in the Israeli national squad is Marwan Kabha. He plays midfield for Maccabi Petach Tikva. Sintayehu Sallallich was born in Kwana, Ethiopia. He is a winger now playing for Ironi Kiriat Shmona and has made nine appearances for Israel. Mohammed Kalibat is a talented Israeli Arab player whose position is as a left wing forward. He plays for Beni Sakhnin and has played for Israel since 2010. Moanes Dabour is a striker with great promise for the future. This Israeli Arab player was born in Nazareth, plays for Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv, and has played for Israel since 2010.

These players were selected on their merits. What was striking about Israel’s win was their interplay and teamwork both in attack and, particularly, in defense. It is hoped that more Israeli players of all backgrounds, color, and religions, will be seen playing in , and other European countries, as a result of the UEFA European Under 21 showcase.

‘Kick racism out of football’ has been a global campaign in sport for many years. It is now obvious that this does not apply to Israel where the total lack of racism was clear for everyone to see in the Israeli national squad. Where racism really exists is with the extremists who try to stigmatize Israel by falsely branding it, and only Israel, as racist. This is the malevolent lie behind the anti-Israel boycott campaign. It is where true racism exists. It is time to kick these racists out of sports. 
The true face of Israel was on display during the EUFA European Under 21 Championships held successfully in Israel. That was the real victory behind Israel’s defeat of England.

Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’ He is also the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center of Netanya Academic College.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Good Hezbollah, bad Hezbollah.

The Jerusalem Post revealed that Ireland heads the European opposition in sanctioning Hezbollah (“Israel officials: Ireland leads EU opposition to blacklisting Hezbollah” 6 June). Finland and Sweden, according to the report, support the Irish position.
Not only does Ireland refrain from calling Hezbollah a terrorist organization, in parallel it is a leading hub of the Israel boycott, demonization, and delegitimization campaign. Troubling!

What a strange perverted world we live in. At a time when Bahrain calls Hezbollah a terrorist organization, and a Jordanian leader calls for jihad against them, it is cultured Europe that refuses to define Hezbollah as synonymous with terror. Even after Hezbollah has been caught red-handed conducting terror crimes within Europe, some European politicians come out in sympathy and support for the Lebanese Shiite terrorists. Laurent Louis, a member of the Belgian parliament, held a Hezbollah flag and stood on an Israeli flag to demonstrate to the media his position on the matter. Again, troubling!
From an Israeli perspective, this dual political attitude is deeply troubling. Ireland, like other European countries, hits on Israel while giving Hezbollah a free pass, even as Hezbollah mount terror attacks on European soil and is currently murdering Syrians in their civil war.

So, in our topsy-turvy world, the Arabs recognize Hezbollah as murdering terrorists while Europe’s attitude is somewhere between benign and wholesome support.
Some European diplomats tend to soften their approach by splitting terror groups into two sections. The naivety that divides Islamists into two camps, the political Islamists and the extremist violent Islamists, is wholly nonsensical. This is political schizophrenia.

Europe take note! There is no such thing as a good Hezbollah and a bad Hezbollah. They are both bad. Same goes for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Taliban, etc.
The absurdity of the notion was plain for all to see in Afghanistan. The plan for Afghanistan was to divide the Taliban into moderates willing to engage in a democratic political process, and the extremists who would be defeated and isolated. America has lost over 3000 of its soldiers trying to divide the Taliban and destroy the ‘terrorist’ part of the Taliban body. Now that it is withdrawing from Afghanistan does anyone, any of the diplomatic experts, really believe that the Taliban will not, again, morph into one body sharing a united political/religious/military (read ‘terror’) agenda.

An essential ingredient of any terror regime is to win the hearts and minds of its people without which it cannot function in its militant form. It needs their moral and physical support. It needs them for logistics including weapons storage, intelligence, nourishment, and shelter. Many of the local population in which they operate are family and close friends. They often share a tribal, ethnic, and religious base. The local population supports their terror brethren. They share the same political and religious goals.
We were witness to this with the bloody awful murder of two Israelis, Yossi Avahami and Vadim Nurzhitz, in the most gruesome mass lynching in Ramallah on 12 October, 2000. It was not a terror organization that killed these two trapped victims. It was the people, the mob, the ones nurtured by “the political and charity wings” of Palestinian society, incited by the PLO terror regime of Yasser Arafat, courted, fed, and funded by altruistic Western governments, especially those in Europe sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, that butchered these two Israelis.

Funding, therefore, that naively goes to improve the lives of the population via the ‘non-military’ wing of a terror organization plays into the hands of a leadership united in a violent cause that is practiced both politically, religiously, and militarily, by its people.
This is not ‘the Arab Spring’ where a people rise up against their non-democratic and brutal dictator. This is a people and a cause using every means to achieve their goal, and that includes the use of terror, through a leadership that nourishes them, educates them, and inspires them, paid for by misguided Western governments.

The doctrine, used by America in Afghanistan with the Taliban and by the EU with Hezbollah in Lebanon, that appeases one part of a violent, non-democratic, body in the vain hope that it will result in a Scandinavian-type peaceful democratic society, has patently proven to be a false dawn.
There are those who have advocated contacts with the non-military (read ‘non-terror’) wing of Hamas. There is no such division. All members of Hamas share the belief enshrined in their Charter which states that Muslims should kill Jews until they hide between the trees and the rocks who will cry out “Oh Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him!” 

This is the call of all Hamas members, whether military, political, or social, to kill or maim, provide the indoctrination, store the rockets, or provide shelter and sustenance to the terrorists. They do not differentiate. Why should the European Union?
Hezbollah is no different. Their chief may not carry a weapon. He may pose as a religious leader, but he has said that it’s good for all the Jews to gather in Israel because he doesn’t then have to go hunting for them throughout the world – in Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Argentina, for example.  Yet the European Union continues to debate and ponder if there are two parts to Hezbollah, one benign, the other lethal, even as that terror organization plots and spills blood on its soil. Were there two parts of Hezbollah when they assassinated the Lebanese prime minister, Rafiq Hariri, with an enormous car bomb in Beirut that brought them to power?  Yet European governments allow Hezbollah to fundraise in their countries.

When you have organizations and regimes whose soul is “Allah is our objective, the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader, Jihad is our way, and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations,” you cannot divide up the body in the expectation that you will end up with a splinter group to talk to. This type of entity has to be defeated in its entirety.
Could anyone have made the case of finding the political wing of Hitler’s Nazi Party acceptable and condemning only the Nazi “military wing”? Didn’t this explode in the face of Neville Chamberlain? This is proven absurdity. So why should this logic apply to a terrorist organization?

The West has to wake up and smell the Middle East coffee. It is not the mild, fruity, taste of a Starbucks mix.  It has a far more pungent aroma.
With a rampant Islamist shift across the region, it is plain that the extremist and violent political/religious firebrands will carry the people with them. It doesn’t matter whether it is out of fear or out of fondness, they are all part of the whirlwind that endangers those who do not share their agenda. When they strike on your soil, or on your street, the position you take will decide your future fate. Subjugate yourself to them, and you will be killed by them, or taken prisoner to their cause. There is no moderation in the seriousness of their mission.

Europe! There is no such thing as a benign sect of Hezbollah, or Hamas, or Islamic Jihad, or the Salafists, or Al Qaida.  Their mission and their aim are plain for all to see. It’s just a question of who really wants to face the truth, and who has cynical motives, or a naïve misreading of the Middle East terrorist map.
Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’

He is also the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.

Wednesday 5 June 2013


Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, recently said that Israel is “the most threatened nation on the planet.” He was referring to the threatening ring of missiles aimed at the Jewish state from regimes such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran.  Hamas actually fired 2300 rockets at Israel in 2012 alone.

It was fitting that the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), headed by top national security adviser, Amos Yadlin, addressed the issue in their conference on “Aerial Threats in the Modern Era” which focused on the growing dangers faced by Israel and how it is coping with the threat.

Israel’s enemies have learned that, to cause Israel significant damage, it requires longer range rockets with more powerful warheads.  For Israel not to properly defend itself against this threat means death on a massive scale, and wholesale destruction.

Two problems that Israel continues to face is an enemy that fires into civilian areas with impunity and who launches its missiles from within their own civilian population.  Both are war crimes, but the international community has been cynically negligent in doing nothing against these dual human rights crimes. If they fail to do anything in Syria why should they be expected to raise their voices and take responsibility when the target is Israel and the perpetrators are Hamas and Hezbollah. The European Union fails to listen to America, Canada, and Israel and declare Hezbollah as a terror organization.

How can Israel thwart the missile threat against it? Should Israel’s tactics only be defensive? Is it sufficient to build a protective shield over its civilian centers? Or should Israel take offensive measures to degrade the enemy of its improved capabilities before they are launched against it?

The successful interception of rockets has led to the perception by Israel’s enemies that stronger and longer range missiles are the way of the future for them.

Further, the old challenge for Israel’s defense industry of developing an interceptor that would akin to hitting a bullet with a bullet, namely an accurate intercept that could strike an incoming rocket, is already outdated. Today’s challenge concerns developing the many-on-many scenario in which Israel is forced to intercept multiple rockets salvos.  There have been successes in real battle conditions where the Iron Dome system intercepted numerous short-range rockets fired collectively against Israel from Gaza.

1734 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza in November 2012, according to the Israel National Security Agency monthly summary.  85% of them were intercepted. Rockets predicted to land outside defended positions were not intercepted and allowed to fall.

Long range missiles behave differently and an 85% success rate cannot be taken for granted. With ballistic missiles acting much faster in the critical interception stage, the higher incoming velocity imposes greater stress and constraints on the interceptor. On the other hand, the increased size and weight of the ballistic missile offers a better hit rate. Battle space is expanded and increases the intercept window. Longer range missiles also offer a more predictable trajectory forecast that favors the interceptor. The added time enables the launch of anti-missile salvos in the case of attack by multiple rockets.

Multi-tier and multi-system-type defensive layers may be employed against such multiple ballistic missile attacks. Such is the face of the modern battle field for Israel.

The balance of cost and effect comes in to Israel’s benefit with ballistic missiles and Israel’s defense as compared to the multiple rocket fire from Gaza or Lebanon based on simple rockets. Ballistic, longer-range warfare as against the ‘home grown’ kassams swings the cost and effect balance in Israel’s favor. 

Such cost effectiveness will prove even more beneficial to Israel with the future introduction of laser defense systems into the IDF. The debate is over the use of either the solid stage laser or the chemical-based laser such as the Nautilus. The perfection of laser science and technology may not see the light of day for more than a decade but the efficiency of the laser anti-missile both in terms of effectiveness and cost-saving will prove decisive. It is estimated that the Iron Dome cost Israel $900 million per day per thousand rockets intercepts. Each launch requires the use, and obvious loss, of very expensive equipment that comes with the explosive response of the interceptor. Once it’s gone it’s gone, and along with it a huge amount of money.  The charm of the laser system is that it can be used again and again without the huge expense of throwing away sophisticated weaponry with each launch. Missile defense costs can be radically reduced to a daily cost of two million dollars as against the current nine hundred million dollars, a huge saving.

Laser system tests boast a one hundred percent success rate. Missing the target, it seems, does not exist, with lasers.  Faced with the balance of costs it will be cheaper to defend against missiles than to launch costly ballistic missiles. This will cause our enemy to reconsider the effectiveness of developing and launching hugely expensive missiles that will not cause us damage but will leave them with the financial headache of using such ineffective weapons on the battle field of the future.

Up to now Israel has had to face rockets whose targets are land-based. The introduction into the arena of the Russian S-300 supplied to Syria is a significant game-changer. The S-300 targets planes. It can be launched at any plane taking off, landing, or flying over Israel air space from a neighboring country. No plane is safe, not military and not commercial.

The variety of missiles aimed at Israel is frightening. Some of the models include Scud, Grad, SS21, Fajr 3, Fajr 5, SP600,Talul, Shihab 3, Ashura, to name but a few. Each requires the suitable Israeli response based on the characteristics of each attack missile. Today, Israel has the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Magic Wand, Arrow 2 and 3 as part of its defensive shield. It is essential, despite the military budget cuts, for Israel to enhance its multi-tier anti-missile architecture.


5 June. 
Good luck Israel as the UEFA European Under 21s Championships get underway today in Israel with two matches.

Israel faces Norway in the opening match at the new Netanya stadium.
Norway are no pushover. They beat France 5-4 in the play-off round.
The Israeli team is based at the Ramada Hotel in Netanya's South Beach, well known to many who own vacation homes there.
Later England, who are based in Caesarea and trained Tuesday in Netanya, kick off against Italy in Jaffa's Bloomfield Satadium.
Both games are live on Israeli TV.
The finalists play in two groups;
Group A:  Israel, England, Italy, Norway.
Group B:  Germany, Russia, Spain, Netherlands.

Keep watching this space for regular updates of the competition.

Sunday 2 June 2013

The frightening stupidity of the Israeli government in our fight for our legitimacy.

Is the Israeli Government with us? Or are we alone?

When it comes to representing Israel against the libels and boycott campaigns, the Israeli Government is not on the battlefield. Their record is a disgrace. Every action taken against us from the Goldstone Report, the Gaza Flotilla, the Muhammed al-Dura case, the Israel apartheid libel, and many others, have been complete failures when it comes to the official Israeli responses.

There may be a case to be made that the Israeli Government is not supposed to be active in public diplomacy but to represent Israel, officially, in real diplomacy, government to government. This only partially explains why groups and NGOs find visits to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Knesset forums so frustratingly vacuous. The Israeli government is not taking the assaults on Israel’s legitimacy seriously.

In South Africa, the anti-Israel Open Shahada Street NGO has three times more paid employees than the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria. This is one reason why we are getting hammered in the South African media, in their national politics, on the campus there. We are simply unable to get any meaningful support from our government.

The Israeli Government was roundly criticized by a distinguished panel of activists at a recent public meeting of Truth Be Told (see ‘Countering the Global Media Assault on Israel’ Jerusalem Post, 17 May 2013) for their ‘declining budgets and mindless mindsets.’

NGO-Monitor relays to us the massive funding of anti-Israel NGOs from European governments under the guise of ‘human rights’ and social programs amounting to millions of Euros. Yet it is impossible for effective pro-Israel NGOs and groups to receive any hand-out from government sources to mount any successful action in defense of Israel’s damaged reputation.

For those of us fighting the good fight it seems to us as if our anti-Israel enemy has a bottomless well of funding, and he never sleeps. On the other hand, some Israeli embassies have commercial and military attaches. None have public diplomacy attaches. The Israeli government, it seems, does not officially deal in public diplomacy. It dabbles (badly) from time to time, but it does not professionally have a strategy or game plan.

The Israeli government is aware of the dangerous threat of demonization and delegitimization,  yet it has no answer and no action plan. Neither is it willing to listen to the advice of those fighting the good fight as to how they can help the cause and win the battle.

With the inauguration of the new government the first victim was the Ministry of Public Diplomacy. With the elevation of Yuli Edelstein to the Speaker of the Knesset his ministry was dismantled. I have three questions. Did anyone notice its passing? Can anyone tell me what it did during the brief period of its existence, save for flying Edelstein to pompous events as the government’s figurehead and receiving VIPs visiting Israel? Can anyone point to one effective and successful piece of action from this ministry that countered the wall of lies and hypocrisy against our country? It has gone, and nobody has noticed its passing. This is more than a shame, it is a tragic example of government incompetence to those of us who carry the scars of the battle for Israel.

It was true that, under Danny Ayalon’s period as Deputy Foreign Minister, he understood the importance and strength of the social media and produced a number of excellent short videos that are still useful tools in our armory. However, his intervention was a rare example of coordination between a government ministry and those battling to place Israel’s narrative before a wider public. Rather, it is left to independent bodies to win the hearts and minds of the undecided.

One prime example is Herzlia’s I.D.C., who sponsored the Situation Room to counter the fraudulent message of the 2011 Gaza Flotilla. Let’s recall the hasbara disaster of the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident when the government produced the evidence too little and too late. It has taken us years and we still haven’t lived down the official bungling. In 2011, the I.D.C. donated an office and a bank of computers as we called for a team of foreign language volunteers to battle the Flotilla liars with truth which we presented on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and self-produced websites. The daily messages reached hundreds of thousands of people in Europe and throughout the world and helped enormously in having them question to motives of the Gaza Flotilla extremists. We destroyed their message of being on a ‘humanitarian mission.’ As an adjunct to this exercise, it was Jonathan Lux, a London-based lawyer and a member of the UK Lawyers for Israel who initiated a phone call to an Athens-based colleague that led to the Flotilla boats being held in lock-down in Piraeus harbor. Such is the power of the individual and volunteer when officialdom fails in its duty.

This year, IDC Herzlia, under the guidance of Jonathan Davies, their Vice President for External Relations, sent five beautiful Israelis of Ethiopian background to Cape Town, South Africa, to counter the hateful ‘Israel Apartheid Week.’ Their presence there was a shock to the anti-Israel organizers as it projected the true face of Israel as a Rainbow Nation. It blew the slanderous message of Israel being a racist state out of the water. Davies and IDC intend to send similar teams to Britain and other campuses throughout Europe. This is one perfect example of what can be achieved by non-governmental means. This counter offensive could be so much more effective and widespread if only the Israeli Government would support such initiatives.

Not only are government officials and well-connected Israelis not fighting on our side, they can often be found in the camp of our enemy. A perfect example of this has been the lone battle of Philippe Karsenty who, for decades, has been fighting the Muhammed al-Dura blood libel. When the news broke on 30 September 2000 that a Palestinian boy had been killed by Israeli gunfire at Netzerim Junction the IDF, in a knee-jerk reaction, admitted responsibility and offered an apology for the incident. It was later proven that the IDF had no part in an incident that Karsenty spent a decade proving it to be a hoax perpetrated by France 2 TV in collaboration with Palestinian media people. Karsenty pleaded for the support of the Israeli Government in the law suits brought against him by France 2 and Canal 22. None was forthcoming. Karsenty claimed that prominent Israelis such as Kadima’s Yizhak Hasson, who had served in the Shin Bet, endorsed France 2’s Charles Enderlin who claimed in his book ‘A Child is Killed’ that he had the support of the IDF and the Shin Bet. An Israeli doctor who also supported Enderlin was Rafi Walden, who is the son-in-law of President Shimon Peres, according to Karsenty.  Even after Karsenty won his cases, and the message was out there that the al-Dura case was a media fraud, he continued to find antagonism from Yigal Palmor of the Foreign Ministry, and even from Tzipi Livni. When Karsenty offered to gift his hard-earned success to the Israeli Government for them to officially expose the bias and, in the case of France 2 and the Palestinians, the deliberate al-Dura fraud against Israel,  Livni responded “We don’t care about that,” according to his account to a Los Angeles audience.

Now we read that a government panel has just come to the conclusion that the IDF did not kill al-Dura. Good morning, Israeli Government! Where have you been for the last thirteen years? Karsenty has spent eight years and his private resources after coming to that conclusion in the year 2000 – that the IDF did not kill Muhammed al-Dura, and that the whole incident was a hoax. Such is the disastrous state of Israeli public diplomacy.

There are worthy advocates out there who are willing to put themselves on the line for Israel. They are ready to take up Israel’s case on the campus with StandWithUs and IDC, against the media with Honest Reporting, in the courts with examples such as Karsenty and UK Lawyers for Israel and Shurat HaDin, and to win the hearts and minds of public opinion with groups such as Truth Be Told and many others. However, they need to know that the Israeli Government stands with them in an active and affirmative manner.

The question is who is there in the lethargic, bumbling, world of Israeli politics and official bureaucracy who is able to reach out in any type of Knesset or Foreign Ministry forum and listen to what can be done? Is there anybody in there listening to this message?  Or are we alone, the individual NGOs and grassroots groups, to fight the wall of hate and lies and attempt to reclaim the narrative for Israel?


Barry Shaw is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’

Barry Shaw is also the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.