Thursday, September 19, 2019

  • Thursday, September 19, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Naharnet:
Lebanon's Central Bank announced Thursday it had agreed to the self-liquidation request it received from a bank hit by US sanctions last month over ties with Hizbullah.

"Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh announced today he approved the request made by Jammal Trust Bank SAL," the Lebanese state-run National News Agency reported.

On August 29, Washington slapped heavy financial sanctions on JTB, which was accused of acting as a key financial institution for Hizbullah.

The US Treasury said the bank was used for enabling several of the Shiite militant group's financial activities, "including sending payments to families of suicide bombers."

Iran-backed Hizbullah has been a US-designated terrorist group since 1997 and fights alongside the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the neighbouring country's civil war.

One of a handful of Shiite-owned Lebanese banks, JTB had specialised in micro-credit in remote areas of the country's Shiite-majority south, which is also Hizbullah's heartland.
In only a few weeks, the US has managed to definitely hurt Hezbollah's ability to do terror. This is the way things should be done with terror groups.

Looking forward to the next bank in Lebanon to be similarly sanctioned. You can be sure that those banks are now looking very carefully at whether they want to keep all of their customers.




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Our weekly column (delayed) from the humor site PreOccupied Territory


Check out their Facebook page.



Shas PartyGehinnom, September 19 - A criminal who died this morning after casting his ballot on Tuesday for a party representing Jews of Mizrahi heritage found himself among the damned, even though the party leadership assured the public that supporting them in the election would guarantee a place in the Garden of Eden.

Shimon Levy, 54, perished Thursday in a car accident, just two days after voting for Shas in Israel's parliamentary elections. Shas leaders had repeated a campaign tactic from previous contests, telling their voters that voting for Shas guarantees the voter will enter the Coming World. 

Nevertheless, Mr. Levy, who had served six years and paid numerous fines for various corruption and racketeering offenses, ended up in Hell.

"I don't understand," gasped the small-time organized crime associate as his flesh was raked from his body, only to regenerate so it could be raked off once again, over and over. "They said if I voted for Shas I'd go to Gan Eden! I did exactly what the Rabbi said! This isn't fair!"

Shas campaign tactics featured posters and images of the late Rabbi Ovadya Yosef, the party's leader and inspiration until his passing at age 93 in 2013. The campaign invoked the Rabbi's words and messages again and again, including statements that anyone who votes for Shas cements a place in paradise - though such statements run afoul of laws that bar inducements on the part of candidates to get voters to cast ballots in their favor. The party aims to appeal to ethnic solidarity on the part of Mizrahim who feel both proud of their heritage and marginalized by the dominant Ashkenazi cultural elite. That strategy results in the use of tropes that often fuse culture and religion, in a manner that stirs loyalty even from many Mizrahim whose lifestyle departs from religious strictures in significant ways.

Representatives of Shas declined to comment on the discrepancy between the campaign promise and Mr. Levy's posthumous fate, as well as on such promises violating electoral laws. Experts point to various Talmudic passages as possible sources of resolution, noting in particular a section toward the end of Tractate Yoma discussing the circumstances and combinations of repentance, Yom Kippur, and various forms of suffering that can atone for different types of sins.

"All the sources seem to agree that interpersonal sins require that the victim consent to forgive," observed Rabbi Mendel Luphol. "That may be what made the difference in this case, considering all those directly and indirectly affected by Mr. Levy's crimes over the years. I have to wonder, then, about the afterlife prospects of someone who promises people Heaven without disclosing the fine print governing the terms and conditions."



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From Ian:

MEMRI: No Principles, No Dignity, No Power, No Deterrence
The 9/14 attacks, correctly referred to by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo as "an act of war", is a harsh humiliating blow dealt to the U.S., signaling an American multilevel failure:

First, there was a failure of deterrence. The Iranians took a calculated risk and were proven correct. They view themselves the military regional equals of the US and via their proxies even beyond the region.

American military officials openly betray their fear of Iranian power and retaliatory capability on CENTCOM targets and they thus make Trump's boast that the US is the world's strongest military power, empty posturing In fact it is Iran that is actually deterring the U.S. from any retaliation. Iran relies on its proven ability to act in the local theater while its results have a global ripple effect.

Secondly, it was a failure of U.S. intelligence (military, NSA, CIA and others). Apparently, there was no early warning about an operation that must have had dozens of parties engaged in the decision process, the secret planning and the preparations. Since May 2019, MEMRI has issued several strategic warnings about the Iranian threats to carry out such attacks, based on open Iranian sources.

Thirdly, the successful Iranian attack represented an American technological failure, as not a single cruise missile or drone was intercepted. Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif ridiculed the U.S., tweeting "Perhaps [the US is] embarrassed that $100s of blns of its arms didn't intercept Yemeni fire".

Fourthly, and most disturbingly, it is a case of political failure - no one in the U.S. administration expected such a bold direct Iranian attack. True, Iran has resorted to proxies to afford it deniability, but now the Iranian leadership has realistically gauged American hesitancy and conflict aversion and believed that Iran could risk making a direct attack, discounting the possibility of strong American retaliation. Considering the global effect of this bold attack, so far, the calculated risk has proven to be a sound bet.
Noah Rothman: No, We Shouldn’t Let Saudi Arabia ‘Fight Its Own Wars’
The principle of reciprocity would logically limit Saudi strikes to the targets responsible for the attack on the Aramco plant in Abqaiq. A tailored response that would be seen as proportionate and, therefore, not worth risking a broader conflict over would be limited to the bases and infrastructure north of the Arabian Peninsula from which the cruise missiles and drones that struck the Saudi refinery over the weekend originated. But Riyadh’s options are not—and, perhaps, should not—be so limited.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and Quds Force soldiers and brass are spread out across the Middle East, and their locations are reportedly known to American officials. Regular Iranian military outposts are in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and Syria, too. Hitting these locations outside Iranian borders would rob Tehran of the claim that its territorial sovereignty was violated, but such an operation would also validate the claim that the Saudis are executing a region-wide strike on the sources of Shiite political authority. That claim could fast become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

These pitfalls are not unknown to American military planners, and the risk these scenarios present arguably outweigh the rewards. In the end, a mission designed to reestablish deterrence and restore balance to the relationship between the Middle East’s two competing regional hegemons could have the precise opposite effect. If such an option is being seriously considered by the president, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that there will be no U.S.-led military response, much less a U.S.-supported military response from one or more of its allies. And that could be disastrous.

Iran’s aggressive behavior follows a clear pattern of escalation. It has executed sophisticated covert operations targeting the global oil supply by disabling and hijacking ships in the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz. It has destroyed a $120 million American aerial surveillance drone operating above international waters. And now, it has executed an elaborate assault on a Saudi refinery. Iran is behaving rationally by testing the limits of provocation as a tool of statecraft. Its strategic objective is to stoke anxieties among America’s Middle Eastern and European allies and, ultimately, erode global will to maintain the present suffocating sanctions regime. Eventually, Iran is likely to miscalculate, executing a bloody attack that demands a disproportionate response from the United States. This is an outcome that American policymakers are right to avoid, but not at any cost.

It would be a shame to see Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran derailed by a limited retaliatory strike on Iranian targets, but the alternatives are intolerable. Unfortunately, the Trump administration doesn’t seem to see it that way.
A U.S.-Israeli Defense Pact: How to Ensure That Its Advantages Outweigh Its Disadvantages
The idea of a defense pact between Israel and the U.S. has already been considered several times and rejected. Both sides are cautious about making commitments that would limit their freedom of action and require them to act militarily in contexts that are not viewed as vital by their respective populations.

Israel has reserved the right of nonintervention in conflicts that do not directly affect Israel, preserving its independent decision-making when it comes to using its power, and, above all, upholding the principle that Israel should be able to defend itself by itself.

To date, Israel's expectations of the U.S. in the security domain have gone unfulfilled in a number of cases. According to unwritten understandings, Israel is to deal with threats within its own immediate environment while relying on U.S. assistance in intelligence, equipment, and resources, and the U.S. is supposed to prevent, with Israeli help, the emergence of strategic threats to Israel and to the U.S. from the second and the third tier.

At several critical junctures the U.S. has decided to prefer other interests over Israel's security needs, allowed the threats to its security to intensify, and forced it to stretch its capabilities to the limit, with Israel devoting huge budgets to its defense.

Nevertheless, a U.S.-Israeli defense pact could help promote the common goal of deterring Iran and curbing its activity by making it clear that aggression against Israel is tantamount to aggression against the U.S. and would prompt harsh American countermeasures.

Such a pact must preserve both sides' independence of decision-making in case of disagreement about a joint action; reinforce the principle that Israel must continue to be capable of defending itself by itself, to the extent possible; and it must not put new limits on Israel's ability to develop ties with other important states such as China and Russia.

  • Thursday, September 19, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Zaid Al-Fadeel, writing in Akhbar Ten, decries the failures of the Arab world to destroy Israel thus far. He lists missed opportunities, and failures of Arabs to cooperate with each other.

His biggest regret, which he hopes it is not too late to fix, is that the Arabs in the 1920s and 30s did not try to get the Mizrahi Jews of Mandate Palestine to work with them to create a single Arab state that would exclude Ashkenazim, who he considers Zionist.
Our management of the conflict with the Zionist enemy failed during the previous stage, and we were led to that failure unconsciously. Our rhetoric of hatred and contempt was based on a naive nationalist content, followed by a similar religious rhetoric in a manner and method  which cut all forms of emotional communication with the community of Arab Jews, who found before them no choice but to case their lots with the Zionist trend.
He concludes:
We need to weave practical lines of communication with the various Jewish Arab communities in occupied Palestine, who have been associated with us for centuries.

I can imagine that when we can achieve this, we will emerge from the deadly negative nature of the conflict to its positive and constructive form, and we will be able to create a common civil state, in which the loser is the Zionist mind in its abhorrent capitalist spirit.
While there were some very small and ultimately forgotten initiatives by some Mizrahi Jews to create a binational state during the British Mandate - now being magnified in importance by the academic Left as if these were more than a couple of individuals - the Jews from Muslim lands knew quite well how they were treated when they were under Islamic rule. Better than in Europe, for sure, but never treated as equals, and knowing they never could be treated as such. The pogroms and laws that immediately preceded and followed the declaration of the State of Israel proved that they were never considered full citizens to begin with, despite all the Arab rhetoric about how they were respected and equal.

This pie in the sky article shows that many Arabs never have, and never will, accept a Jewish state in the Middle East, and will always try to find ways to destroy it, irrespective of any peace deal.



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  • Thursday, September 19, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Arab media never gets sick of showing Jews walking around peacefully on the Temple Mount and writing the most inflammatory text to accompany the pictures.

This is from Masralarabia:



Hours after the call of the "Temple Groups", Jews desecrate Al Aqsa

Hours after the so-called " Temple Groups " called to take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, dozens of extremist settlers and Israeli intelligence agents stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mugrabi Gate with heavy security.

The Israeli police provided full protection for these extremists, from entering through the Moroccan gate and wandering in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa to the exit of the Chain Gate.

According to the Islamic Endowments Department in occupied Jerusalem, 64 settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and wandered in the courtyards amid attempts to perform Talmudic rituals, in addition to 33 elements of the occupation intelligence storming the site.
Funny how no Western media ever calls this every day language in Arab media incitement against Jews. But how can anyone read it otherwise?






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  • Thursday, September 19, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon


The most recent poll from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows that Palestinians consider their government corrupt, they do not trust Mahmoud Abbas as their president but they are fearful to say the truth out loud.

61% of Palestinians - including 55% in the West Bank - want Abbas to resign.

When asked if they believe that Abbas really will end all agreements with Israel, the vast majority thought it was laughable. 76% said that the idea was a media stunt. When asked about specific parts of the Oslo-era agreements that Abbas might revoke, 71% do not believe he will dissolve the PA, 69% do not believe he will end civil cooperation with Israel, 69% don't believe he will officially annul the PLO recognition of Israel, and 65% do not believe that he and his top officials will return their VIP cards given out by Israel to make travel easier.

A whopping 80% believe that the Palestinian Authority institutions are corrupt, and 65% believe the same about Hamas institutions.

60% of Palestinians, a majority in both Gaza and the West Bank, believe that they will not receive a fair trial if the end up in a Palestinian court. 72% of those in the West Bank say that the Palestinian judiciary is corrupt, lacks independence, or rules according to other whims and interests.

One reason we don't hear about any of this is because there is no free speech at all: Only 36% of the West Bankers say that people can criticize the PA where they live without fear while 59% say that they cannot. That is even worse than in Gaza, where 43% say they can criticize Hamas freely and 53% say they cannot.

This simple fact is ignored in reporting by the media and NGOs who have no idea that the people they interview will generally lie rather than admit their dissatisfaction with their government.

31% of all Palestinians, including 41% in Gaza, would like to emigrate.

Where is the coverage? This is a far more accurate representation of how Palestinians think than you will ever find in Reuters, CNN or the New York Times.

On another note, slightly more Palestinians, 48% believe that humans can be possessed by jinn (demons) than the number who thought that they were mere superstition (44%.).






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When Ilhan Omar told Face the Nation’s Margaret Brennan that Benjamin Netanyahu’s existence is contradictory to peace, it was a death threat, a call to murder the Israeli prime minister, an invitation to murder a Jew.
Let’s take a look at the transcript:
MARGARET BRENNAN: You were specifically banned by the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu from visiting that country. He faces a very tough election in the next few days. If he doesn’t win, are you going to try to go back and do you stand by your call for a boycott of Israel?
REP. OMAR: I certainly hope that the people of Israel make a different decision. And my hope is that they recognize that his existence, his policies, his rhetoric really is contradictory to the peace that we are all hoping that that region receives and receives soon.
Omar did not say that Netanyahu’s reelection is contradictory to peace. She said his very existence prevents peace. That as long as Netanyahu is alive, peace is impossible.
Ergo, someone needs to kill him: Netanyahu must die.
The way Omar inserts this into the narrative may be sly and understated. But it is there, a question asked and answered: How can we bring peace? By eliminating Netanyahu.
Referring to Netanyahu's existence as something that goes against peace serves as the perfect bait to court any extremists who might be listening. Omar is saying, “Netanyahu needs to die. Who will kill him?”
It is a call to action, a call to arms.
It is not the first time we have seen a brazen call to kill one Jew or many, words nestled in a cunning manner like a coiled snake that makes itself small in the grass, words interwoven with enough other words to offer cover. The words are our warning. Typed words, spoken words, words recorded for posterity. Code words. Phrases. Manifestos, online or in books. Words to be interpreted, explicated.

Words then the weapons, and finally the murders, whether one or many, at Auschwitz, AMIA, or Tree of Life.
Words like “Jews don’t require peace” which really mean: “Jews need to die.”

It is obvious, out there in the open, yet hidden in plain sight like the snake in the grass you don’t see when you close your eyes because you’d rather not see it: rather not be a party to what could happen, what will happen, what always happens: Amalek rising up for the kill, poised to strike.
And after the fact, you can always say it wasn’t clear to you at all. You never suspected, never saw the snake in the grass, the threat that lurked behind the words, never read the meaning nor saw the signs. Never knew that when Omar said “Netanyahu’s existence is contradictory to peace,” she was calling for his death, because the opposite of his existence is his death.
Why say these things now? Because the brouhaha over the application of Israel's No Entry Law came and went. We had the outraged talking heads spouting off for a week or so. "Undemocratic" they called Israel. "Apartheid state," they said. And then the outrage ran dry. Because news cycles are nothing if not short.
This is the reason Omar needed this Face the Nation interview, now at this time. It was a chance to get airtime and talk about BDS: the acronym that gets everyone fuming, the perfect fuel to rekindle that age-old lust for the destruction of Israel.

In hindsight, we know the truth, that barring Ilhan Omar from entering the Jewish State was an act of supreme wisdom. Who cares about the word fallout, the slurs against our nation? Here is a person who wished harm to our prime minister in a televised interview.
At the very least we must stipulate that there are at least two ways to interpret Omar's words: that the prime minister should not be in office, or that he should be gone from this earth. Is it so far fetched to think she means the latter? Because all the really bad things in Jewish history began with words just like these. Words you look at, after the fact, and think, "How could I ever have thought 'Final Solution' didn't really mean 'final'?" 
The world is predictable. It will ignore Omar’s sly, understated words and their meaning. And the Jews will continue to be reviled, even by their own, as they play limbo, slipping beneath the word arrows as they are slung, the calls to murder the head Jew, the prime minister of the Jewish State, inserted with care into the narrative during a public interview that everyone hears, even as fingers plug ears, and cognition fails. 
It's an ancient story, an ancient call, a call we don't often hear in time.

We need to be paying attention.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

  • Wednesday, September 18, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon


From JPost, looking at the latest numbers from the elections:

Based on these results, without Yisrael Beytenu's eight mandates, the Center-Left bloc would have counted on 56 seats and the Center-Right bloc 56.
I don't know the inside baseball of Israeli politics, but I do know arithmetic. There is no "Center-Left" bloc. Blue and White is not going to enter into a coalition with the (Arab) Joint List. Without those 12 seats, suddenly it is 56-44.

The only way I can see Gantz put together a razor thin coalition would be if he can convince the religious parties to join him and the Left, that would be 61.  This would be difficult, since those parties campaigned as supporting Bibi. (And the religious parties won't be in a coalition with Liberman, so he is not part of the equation.)

So, yes, this election is not a victory for Netanyahu, but it is less of a victory for Gantz. For some reason - probably because they hate Netanyahu - no one in the media seems to be pointing this out.





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From Ian:

Iran suspended from world judo federation over Israel boycott policy
Iran has been suspended from international judo competitions because of its policy of boycotting bouts with Israeli athletes.

Less than a month after Iranian athlete Saeid Mollaei walked off his national team in protest of the boycott policy, the International Judo Federation (IJF) said Wednesday that Iran was suspended ahead of a full hearing.

The Iranian judo star said he was afraid to return home after exposing and criticizing his government’s pressure on him to deliberately lose his semifinal bout in last month’s World Championships in Tokyo so as not to risk facing Israel’s Sagi Muki, the eventual winner, in the Tokyo final.

“Following what happened during the last World Judo Championships Tokyo 2019, the International Judo Federation pronounces against the Iran Judo Federation a protective suspension from all competitions, administrative and social activities organized or authorized by International Judo Federation and its Unions,” the IJF said in a statement on its website.

“The Commission has a strong reason to believe that the Iran Judo Federation will continue or repeatedly engage in misconduct or commit any other offence against the legitimate interests, principles or objectives of the IJF,” the statement said.

Iran’s judo federation is accused of discriminating against Israeli athletes and breaking rules over manipulating competition results.

The suspension went into force immediately, and is subject to an appeal that can be filed by the Iranian federation within 21 days.

UK Labour Party denounced over anti-Semitism conference scheduled for Shabbat
The British Labour Party’s latest attempt to shake long-standing allegations of anti-Jewish bias drew harsh criticism this week after it emerged that a planned meeting to discuss the issue was scheduled to be held on a Saturday, the Jewish day of rest.

On Tuesday, the Jewish Labour Movement issued a harsh statement condemning the party for effectively sidelining Jews from the debate, which will focus on streamlining the process of expelling members found guilty of anti-Semitism.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the JLM called the choice of date for the meeting an “institutional failing” and decried the party leadership’s “complete failure in both judgement and commitment to tackle anti-Semitism.”

“We have learnt tonight from press reports that the Party wishes to make sweeping changes to the disciplinary rules on anti-Semitism, without consulting us, its only Jewish affiliate, or any communal organization. To add insult to injury, they will debate these changes at conference on the Jewish Sabbath, when religiously observant Jewish Labor delegates will be silenced, unable to participate in the debate.”

The Jewish community “has zero confidence” that the measures being debated will solve the anti-Semitism crisis, the statement continued, accusing party leaders of “engaging in anti-Semitism or turning a blind eye to it.”

“It will simply streamline the process of letting anti-Semites off the hook.”
Gil Troy: American Jews should learn from Australia’s Zionist ‘Kanga-Jews’
Last month, I had a delightfully anachronistic experience. I met representatives of seven youth movements, from Right to Left. These smart, idealistic, passionately committed twentysomethings proudly call themselves “Zionist.”

That Friday night I sang and danced-in the Shabbat with dozens of students from one Jewish high school. Most are “nonreligious” – many drove there. Nevertheless, they welcomed the Sabbath Queen with a hassidic-level nuclear-powered intensity. They do this weekly, voluntarily, joyously!

Welcome to Australia, where I recently completed a 29-speech, 11-day, three-city tour with the Zionist Federation of Australia. It’s truly “down under,” charmingly upside down.

Unlike their American cousins, most Australian Jews attend Jewish day school, join youth movements, visit Israel – repeatedly – and cherish their Jewish traditions.

Ninety-two percent have visited Israel. In America it’s barely 50%, having doubled thanks to Birthright. In Australia, 33% intermarry, twice as many as did 20 years ago, but half the American rate. And, unlike many Americans, most Australian Jews still consider intermarriage a threat to the communal future, not an “opportunity.”

Many Australian students are “out” as Zionists. Considering themselves Jews “first,” they are proudly nationalist. Similarly, most communal leaders are passionate Zionists. They’re often to the community’s “Right,” religiously, politically. They’re modern Maccabees, not Social Justice Warriors in rabbinic robes. In America, many non-Orthodox rabbis and community leaders lead the charge against Israel, wasting precious Torah-teaching time sermonizing against Netanyahu, politicizing the relationship, then wondering why so many Jews seem fed up with Israel – and Judaism.


 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column


I just finished Bari Weiss’ book, How to Fight Anti-SemitismI suggest that you read it.

Not because I agree with everything in it, especially her answers to the question implied by its title. Be proud of being Jewish, she says, stay liberal, don’t hide your Jewishness, don’t let the Linda Sarsours push you around, live your life according to Jewish principles (by which she seems to mean the ones you learn about in a Reform synagogue, not the traditional mitzvot) and more. Even “support Israel.” All good things, but – with the exception of an injunction to take measures to protect the security of Jewish institutions – not much that you can use when they are banging at your door in the middle of the night.

I also think that she goes a bit far when she asserts that Donald Trump “trashed – gleefully and shamelessly – the unwritten rules of our society that have kept American Jews and, therefore, America safe.” His legacy is “a culture demolished, smashed, twisted beyond recognition,” according to Weiss.

No. A great deal has gone wrong in America in the last few decades, but there are plenty of villains to go around, including Trump’s recent predecessors and the over-the-top insanity of the Left’s reaction to Trump. If the culture is smashed, Trump is one of the fragments, not the one who smashed it.

And although Weiss’ historical chapters, including her analysis of the three directions from which Jews are being bombarded today – the Right, the Left, and “Radical Islam” (I think her editor stuck in the word “radical”)  – are well written and very informative, they are also not why I am recommending the book.

I want people to read this book because there is no way you can do so and still maintain that there is no runaway antisemitism problem in North America. There is no way you can maintain that Jews in the last remaining safe diaspora stronghold will continue to be safe, and not just from a few heavily armed neo-Nazi wackos. If she does one thing exceptionally well in this book, it is to accurately convey the extent of the phenomenon. The neo-Nazis, the intersectional leftists smugly categorizing Jews as exploiters with no rights, the Farrakhanists on New York subways, the imams preaching about killing Jews – there are more of them every day.

Weiss talks a lot about Europe, where everyday life for Jews is rapidly becoming more difficult and dangerous, mostly because of the influx of Muslim migrants from places where, as she points out, Jew-hatred is normative. In other words, it’s part of almost everybody’s repertoire of common knowledge. Is the Pope Catholic? Does the bear defecate in the woods? Are the Jews a subhuman race descended from apes and pigs? Ask anyone in Iraq. In Somalia, when you stub your toe you curse the Jews. Muslim migrants from places like that do not leave their antisemitism at the airport along with any prohibited invasive plants.

Should French Jews proudly wear their kipot? She doesn’t know if, in their place, she would. But Europe provides a clue as to why her solutions won’t work in the US. France has the third largest population of Jews in the world (about half a million), after Israel and the US. But they comprise only about 0.7% of the French population. If the non-Jewish population and the government can’t protect them, then it doesn’t matter how proud they are of their Jewishness, how liberal they are, or how “out” they are about being Jewish. And many French Jews have already decided to either move to “safe” neighborhoods in large cities – you could call them ghettos – or to abandon careers or sell businesses and leave the country.

In the UK, there are fewer than 300,000 Jews, about 0.44% of the population. Weiss notes that a recent poll had some 40% of British Jews saying they would “seriously consider emigrating” if the antisemitic – there’s no arguing this point – Jeremy Corbyn were to become Prime Minister. They, too, are making the same calculation.

The US and Canada have larger percentages of Jews – 1.8% and 1.1% respectively. But that is still minuscule in comparison to the non-Jewish majority. If they lose the support of that majority, then their position becomes untenable. And as Corbyn has shown, shockingly, it is even possible for a major political party in a democratic country to take a turn toward antisemitism.

Weiss’ point of view is that of a liberal Jew living in the US, and why she wants to “fight anti-Semitism” is to try to bring back the golden age of American Jewry, which she sees as slipping away. She would like to reverse some of the trends, but – revealingly – she wants to do it by changing the Jews. As Kenneth Levin has pointed out in his book The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege, that can’t work. It isn’t up to the Jews. Antisemitism is irrational and the antisemites will hate them regardless of how they behave. And when you are less than 2% of the population (and getting smaller), you don’t have the leverage to move the country, despite what antisemites may believe about Jewish power.

I would like to look at the problem from a broader perspective: what do we need to do to preserve the Jewish people in the face of its enemies?

The first thing I notice is that much of the diaspora is already lost. There are almost no Jews left anywhere in the Muslim world, and Hitler and Stalin put an end to the Jews of the former Russian Empire and Central Europe. There is no future for Jews in France. The UK is on the cusp of a similar fate, dependent on the political whim of the 99.56% of the population that is not Jewish. Even if Corbyn is not elected, conditions for Jews in the UK are almost certain to be worse in the future than they are now.

That leaves the US and Canada. Perhaps, as Weiss suggests, if the Jews could be more unified they could resist antisemitic trends and personalities better. Perhaps; although it seems to me that the Jewish communities are just as polarized as the society as a whole. If – just for example – the left wing of the Democratic party in the US were to “Corbynize” the party, there would be little that the tiny minority of Jews could do.

Weiss wants to fight antisemitism by being honest, liberal, proud, and enlightened. All those qualities are useless against enemies that are precisely the opposite in all respects, and that is the case with antisemites. There is only one way to deter your enemies, and that is to be more powerful than them – and to demonstrate this whenever the occasion arises.

This can’t happen within a country where Jews are a tiny minority, but it may be possible on the world stage. Israel, as Weiss notes, has a powerful army and nuclear weapons. It also has less visible assets, like a very high level of technical competence. Israel is the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and the way to preserve the people and its culture, is for Israel to survive and thrive. Insofar as it does, it can be a place of refuge for the inhabitants of those diaspora communities that may not.

I don’t think that Weiss has the answers for North American Jews. But maybe her description of exactly how bad the situation is, and how it is likely to get worse, will impel some of them to think seriously about aliyah.




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From Ian:

An Israeli Groundhog Day - analysis
It’s clear that a unity government is the only option to avoid another dreadful third round, but that would necessitate some major changes. Either Blue and White’s Benny Gantz reneges on his promise to voters to not sit in a coalition with Benjamin Netanyahu, or the Likud puts in process a motion to replace Netanyahu as leader. Neither of those is likely, even though President Reuven Rivlin could appeal to Gantz’s national pride and attempt to convince him to join a national-unity government out of obligation to the country.

Also improbable is the option of Liberman going back on his word to his constituents to not sit in a government with non-Zionist ultra-Orthodox parties, in order to join a right-wing coalition with the Likud, Yamina and the religious parties. That would be an even bigger jump than Gantz would have to make.

Both the Right and Left predictably spun the results for their own means, with the Likud touting the Right’s bigger bloc and the Left proclaiming “the end of the Netanyahu era.”

However, a declaration like that when dealing with Netanyahu is always premature. Given his legal woes and the groundswell of opinion that a change is needed for Israel’s leadership, the fact that Blue and White was unable to strike a clear-cut victory could also be seen as a considerable failure of its lackluster campaign.

The day after the election, all sides seemed to be digging into their well-worn trenches of “I’ll only join X if Y happens.” Even though, during the campaign, every candidate insisted that there was no way there would be a third round of voting, all indications point to another stalemate in the weeks ahead, as Rivlin attempts to convince the sides to compromise.

If he fails, it looks like we’ll be waking up to Groundhog Day again real soon.
JPost Editorial: After the vote
Whether Benjamin Netanyahu or Benny Gantz ends up forming the next coalition is immaterial. What is important is to realize that it’s time for the country to come together, and for our politicians to understand their place in history. They are not here just for the power and influence that comes with their roles, but to work on behalf of us, the people. They are supposed to work to improve our quality of life, to ensure that we are safe, and that the gap between those who have and those who do not closes and doesn’t widen.

A 61-member coalition should never be the goal. A razor-thin majority is never good for a country. Instead, the ideal should be 70 or 80, where fewer parties have the ability to pull out and bring down the government. This is not hard to achieve. Everyone has to compromise a little bit, and everyone can. Just think how many times it has been done over the 34 governments of Israel’s history. Can Israel’s politicians find a way to work together?

Putting aside the results, Israelis have to move forward today and pick up the pieces. First, our political leaders must ensure that there is not another stalemate, and that the country does not again go to an unnecessary third election. The country must come first, even it means that some parties will be forced to go back on some of their campaign promises of “I won’t sit with him” or “I won’t countenance them.”

It’s time for the parties to put the betterment of the country ahead of their own narrow interests.

And it’s time for the nation to heal. After two dirty elections during which entire sectors of society – the ultra-Orthodox and Arabs to name two – were delegitimized by candidates and political parties, we need to try to find a way to come back together, to stand on common ground and build a future that ensures no Israeli feels disenfranchised. That is the work that the next government must set out for itself. Failure is unacceptable.
With 90% of vote officially counted, Blue and White edging out Likud 32-31
With 89.8 percent of votes having been counted by the Central Elections Committee, Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party on Wednesday was projected to secure 32 seats in the Knesset, edging ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, which stood at 31 seats.

In the official count, the Gantz-led center-left-Arab bloc has a slight advantage over the Netanyahu-led right-religious bloc with 56 seats versus 55. In the middle are the nine seats of Yisrael Beytenu, whose leader, MK Avigdor Liberman, has vowed to force Likud and Blue and White into a unity government.

The Joint List, an alliance of mostly Arab parties, stands at third with 13 seats, followed by the ultra-Orthodox Shas and Yisrael Beytenu, both with nine seats.

Bringing up the rear are the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism (8), the nationalist alliance Yamina (7), center-left Labor-Gesher (6) and the leftist Democratic Camp (5).

The tally was announced at noon and was not final, with votes from Arab population centers expected to be finished shortly, followed by counts of the votes cast by soldiers, diplomats and patients in Israeli hospitals, among others.

The figures indicated that the deadlock from the previous elections on April 9 would continue. Netanyahu’s difficult situation was compounded by the fact that the right-wing bloc bled votes to Liberman.
Apparent Kingmaker Lieberman Says ‘Emergency Situation’ Requires Unity Government With Likud, Blue and White
Leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party Avigdor Lieberman, who according to exit polls will play the kingmaker in the coalition negotiations following Israel’s Tuesday elections, said that he would accept only one outcome — a national unity government.

The exit polls show that Lieberman’s secular-nationalist party has won 8-10 seats in the next Knesset, with the right-wing Likud and centrist Blue and White parties essentially tied at around 30 seats and the right-religious and center-left blocs hovering around 55 seats, giving neither side a working majority without him.

Lieberman addressed his supporters Tuesday night and appeared to flex his muscles, saying, “There is only one option: a broad liberal government made up of the Likud, Blue and White and Yisrael Beiteinu.”

“We have always said that a unity government is possible only in an emergency situation, and I say to every citizen that is watching us now on television — the situation, security-wise and economically, is an emergency situation,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman called on President Reuven Rivlin not to wait for the final results to name someone to undertake coalition negotiations, saying the president should “invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz to an informal conversation as early as Friday.”

“The state needs a broad government,” Lieberman asserted, “even a unity government without us is preferable to dealing with endless negotiations.”

Israel, he said, did not need “a government fighting for its survival from week to week.”

  • Wednesday, September 18, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon


Al Quds al Arabi, a UK-based pan-Arab newspaper,  attacks Yad Vashem - and denies any connection between Israel and Judaism as it does so.
All museums of the world, with various kinds and themes, aim to protect the cultural identity of the country or city to which it belongs, with works of art, whether in the form of pictures such as the National Film Archives, films depicted about the country or city, or through paintings or artifacts. ...The exception is the Holocaust Museum in occupied Jerusalem, or "Yad Vashem". It chronicles the birth of a European racism that we have nothing to do with it as Orientals. In the minds of visitors to their alleged museum, the Holocaust took place in Palestine and not in Europe.
In other words, Israel has no right to build a Holocaust museum because the bulk of the event happened in Europe, and has nothing to do with the Jewish state.

That's not all:

The exploitation of the idea of ​​the Holocaust by Zionism is to obtain financial compensation from Europe and America, in addition to facilitating immigration to Israel before declaring a Jewish state at the time to compensate the Holocaust. ...
Readers of Al Quds learn that there was nothing special about the Holocaust - the number of Jews killed might not be accurate, and Nazis killed Poles and gays and the handicapped and Russians.

The article then goes on to quote a Nazi in a war crimes trial as saying that racism is a staple of Western thought, and Nazi persecution of Jews is therefore no big deal. Al Quds goes on to then say that the idea of Jews as a chosen people is an outgrowth of this Western racism, and is used to justify massacres of Palestinians.

In fact, the article says that the museum doesn't mention the "holocaust" of Israel against the indigenous Canaanites of the land.

Of course, everything is ultimately about Palestinians.

(h/t YK on correction on newspaper)



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  • Wednesday, September 18, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Here is the banner picture on PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat's Twitter account:


It shows a church and the iconic Dome of the Rock - but nothing Jewish.

It turns out that to take a shot like this, avoiding any Jewish historical sites, is not easy.

The church is the Church of Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives, of course, is a graveyard for tens of thousands of Jews, and Erekat would not want the world to see that.

The two domes are half a kilometer away from each other. It is difficult to frame a photo where they are comparable in size - it must have been taken from a great distance behind the church. Here's how big the Dome is from a Google Streetview shot from next to the church.


To be sure, some professional photographers have managed to get similar shots, because it is dramatic to juxtapose the two domes. But Erakat didn't choose his photo for its aesthetic qualities - he has specifically looked for and chosen a shot that makes Jerusalem look Arab Christian and Arab Muslim, with the deliberate aim of erasing Jerusalem's Jewish character altogether.





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  • Wednesday, September 18, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Last week I tweeted:



Peace Now responded:



I find it interesting that Peace Now does not choose to use "peace" as its primary reason for a two state solution, but an appeal to democracy - "first and foremost." Maybe it should change its name to Democracy Now - oh, wait, that's already taken.

Of course, Israeli leftists said that Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and from Areas A and B would not hurt security either because Israel could use deterrence - but new Gaza wars every few years indicates that deterrence is not all it is cracked up to be.

Assuming "if Israel does X, then then Arabs will do Y" is a fallacy.

The other major difference between Palestinians and Egypt/Jordan is that those two countries do not have (serious) territorial claims on all of Israel but the Palestinians do. As I recently pointed out, most Palestinians want the conflict to keep going even after a "peace" agreement that still allows Israel to exist.

I responded to Peace Now, "So your vision of democracy is worth the potential deaths of thousands of people?"

It turns out that Dennis Prager described the Peace Now/J-Street mentality perfectly in his column last week:

The problem with communists and with leftists who don’t consider themselves communists is not that none of them mean well. It’s that they lack wisdom. There are wise and foolish liberals, wise and foolish conservatives; but all leftists are fools. Every one of the Democrats running for president is a fool. This is not, however, a description of their totality as a human being. Fools may be personally kind and generous, may be loyal friends and devoted spouses, and of course, they may be well-intentioned. But in terms of making the world worse, there is little difference between a well-meaning fool and an evil human being. Tens of millions of well-intentioned Westerners supported Stalin. The Westerners who supplied Stalin the secrets to the atom bomb were not motivated by evil. They were simply fools. But few evil people did as much to hurt the world as they did.

They are fools partly because they believe good intentions are all that matter. Therefore, they never ask perhaps the most important moral question one can ask: What will happen if my policy is enacted? Leftist supporters of communism never asked.
...
On every issue in which the left differs from conservatives (and often from liberals), they are fools. They push for a Palestinian state although even Israelis on the left know this would mean a Hamas-Hezbollah state on the Israeli border. But they know they mean well.
They want peace! How can that be bad? But it can be, because they do not think through the potential downsides of what they call "peace." They pretend that their desired outcome is the only possible outcome, and if they are wrong, oh well - there are no consequences to them personally.

This is why they are fools.




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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

  • Tuesday, September 17, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon


Many Chassidim have the custom of the "mitzvah tantz"  at a wedding:

The mitzvah tantz (mitzvah-dance) is the Hasidic custom of the men dancing with the bride on her wedding night, after the wedding feast. The bride stands perfectly still, holding one end of a long sash while rabbis, the groom’s father, her own father or her grandfather holds the other end and dances with her.
A video of a mitzvah tantz has been popping up in Arab social media, and the person who tweeted it said that the groom was tying the bride up, which is not in the least what was happening.



Admittedly, in this mitzvah tantz the father or rabbi is a bit too enthusiastic and not realizing that she has to spin around to avoid being indeed tied up. Circling the bride that many times in a mitzvah tantz seems unusual.

The tweeter said that if a Muslim would do that to his bride at his wedding, the world would be howling.

Well, yeah, if a groom tied up his wife it would look pretty bad!

Naturally, Arabic media picked up on the false story.


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From Ian:

Siraj Hashmi: The Women’s March Finally Dumped Linda Sarsour - And Replaced Her With Someone Worse
On Monday, the Women’s March made a shocking announcement: it had cut ties with three of its four founders––Linda Sarsour, Bob Bland, and Tamika Mallory. Sarsour and Mallory had become controversial figures due to allegations of anti-Semitism, including a cozy relationship with rabid anti-Semite and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Monday’s announcement should have been a turning point for a movement that has been tainted by the recurring strain of anti-Semitism. Instead, in a move both remarkable and disheartening, the Women’s March has managed to find yet another anti-Semitic Muslim woman to serve on its board.

Consider Zahra Billoo, an attorney and the executive director of the San Francisco chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations. Billoo’s hateful and anti-Semitic tweets, particularly in relation to Israel, were brought back into focus when she was “promoted” to board member within the Women’s March.

In a June 2012 tweet, Billoo wrote, “Apartheid Israel kills children as a hobby.”

In February 2015, Billoo responded to the Obama administration program to counter radical Islamic terrorism in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack by writing, “DHS and FBI should launch CVE [Countering Violent Extremism] programs targeting Israel supporters because Zionism is a very real threat to our national security.”

Billoo also made direct comparisons between the Jewish State of Israel and the terrorist Islamic State, posting on Twitter, “Who has killed, tortured, and imprisoned more people: Apartheid Israel or ISIS?”

She disparaged Zionists and even accused the FBI of recruiting for the Islamic State, writing, “I’m more afraid of racist Zionists who support Apartheid Israel than the mentally ill young people the #FBI recruits to join ISIS. #CVE.”

Unfortunately, Billoo’s racist tweets do not stand alone. They seem to reflect the views of most prominent Muslims in America on the Left.

BDS Co-Founder Omar Barghouti to Speak at Labour Party Conference Festival
Palestinian activist and co-founder of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti will speak on a panel at an event taking place alongside the British Labour Party Conference.

Barghouti plans to discuss “British state and non-state actors” using “a variety of methods to suppress the democratic mobilizing of those working for progressive causes” on Sept. 24 at “The World Transformed,” an annual four-day political festival running beside the Labour Party Conference.

The Labour Party Conference is not officially associated with the festival, though Labour Party members, including leader Jeremy Corbyn, have made appearances there in recent years.

A spokesman for the festival defended Barghouti’s involvement on the panel, saying, “Omar Barghouti is one of a number of internationally recognized human-rights defenders we have at this year’s festival, which features a range of distinguished speakers representing struggles from across the Global South. Mr. Barghouti has spoken extensively at universities, festivals and events around the world to defend the rights of the Palestinian people as recognized by international laws.”

Barghouti co-founded the BDS movement in 2005, and two years later, the Palestinian BDS National Committee, which has links to the US-designated terror group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Florida Dem Accuses Israel of Bulldozing Palestinians in Their Homes
A Democratic Florida congressional candidate has accused Israel of systematically eradicating Palestinian homes with civilians still inside them, an out-of-context claim that is routinely used by Israel’s detractors to inaccurately paint the Jewish state as committing acts of ethnic cleansing.

Christine Olivo, a self-described "humanitarian" who is running for Congress in Florida’s 24th district, made the claim Monday on Twitter while expressing frustration that anti-Israel activism is perceived by many in the mainstream of politics as anti-Semitic in nature.

"Everyone thinks that if you side with the Palestinians then you’re anti-Semitic. WTF [What the Fuck]!" Olivo wrote in response to an article about the upcoming Israeli elections that was tweeted by a cofounder of the virulently anti-Israel organization IfNotNow, which has accused sitting members of Congress of "dual-loyalty" to Israel.

"We can't turn a blind eye to the suffering that they're enduring at the hands of people that have endured great suffering themselves," Olivo wrote. "THEIR HOUSES ARE BEING BULLDOZED WITH THEM IN IT!"

Olivo's claim, which was offered without evidence, is often deployed by Israel's critics to falsely accuse the Jewish state of carrying out the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in disputed territories.

  • Tuesday, September 17, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
The AMCHA Initiative just released their report on antisemitic and anti-Zionist activity on college campuses, and things are getting worse.

Excerpts:

o Classical antisemitic harassment decreased by 42% from 205 in 2017 to 118 in 2018.
o Israel-related harassment increased by 70% from 71 in 2017 to 121 in 2018.
o Antisemitic acts involving the singling out of Jewish and pro-Israel students and groups for personal vilification more than doubled, with a tripling of expression falsely implying these students or groups are linked to “white supremacy.”
o Antisemitic acts involving the unfair treatment of Jewish and pro-Israel students or attempts to exclude them from campus activities more than doubled, with expression calling for the total boycott or exclusion of Zionist students or expression from campus life nearly tripling.
The number of incidents of academic BDS promotion or attempted implementation involving individual faculty or academic departments nearly quadrupled.
o The number of events sponsored by academic departments that contained the demonization or delegitimization of Israel increased by 85%.
o The number of departmentally-sponsored events at which one or more speakers advocated for or condoned violence against Israel or Israel’s elimination nearly tripled.



Expression of BDS supporters acknowledging that the goal of BDS is to bring about or facilitate the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state increased dramatically, with one incident reported in 2017 and 32 incidents in 2018. 
Being a Zionist Jew on campus in 2019 is like going into battle. It shouldn't be that way.



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  • Tuesday, September 17, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
US Representative  Betty McCollum tweets:




First of all, McCollum's bill is a lie. Israel doesn't torture kids, despite the anti-Israel NGOs who claim otherwise.

US military aid to Israel is for weapons systems and missile defense, not on prisons.

But the real hypocrisy is that McCollum is pretending to care about children and our tax dollars. In fact, the only children that she seems to actually care about are those whom she can use as political pawns against Donald Trump or Israel.

Israel currently holds some 210 children, 27 between 14-16 and only 1 under 14, according to B'Tselem.

Let's compare that to the number of children locked up in the US in both youth detention facilities and adult prisons:


That's over 53,000 children locked up in the US, today.

4,600 kids are in in adult prisons, where they are far more likely to be sexually abused than adults are.

There are 500 kids 12 or under who are locked up!

These children are incarcerated with US tax dollars, whether on the state or federal level. (Yes, there are children in federal prisons as well.)

Yet somehow, McCollum's interest in children and tax dollars evaporates when the children are in her own back yard.

Cloaking her hate of Israel is the mantle of morality, Betty McCollum shows what a hypocrite she is. There is no love of children in her bill - only hate for the Jewish state.



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From Ian:

Area C: ‘Occupation’ or annexation
Ironically, withdrawal of Israeli control would condemn Arab Palestinians to Hamas control and promote violent power struggles between warring Muslim factions. This chaotic situation would enable other countries and Islamic militants in the region to join the conflict and would likely destabilize the entire region. In addition, it would further Syrian aspirations to recover the Golan Heights, and encourage Islamic militants – such as ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah – to continue attacking Israel.

This scenario is the danger of the “two-state-solution” (TSS). The TSS would not resolve any Arab and Palestinian objections to Israel’s existence as declared in the PLO Covenant and Hamas Charter; it would neither change their fundamental narrative of the Nakba, and the “Right-of-Return” for Arab “refugees,” nor their demand that Israel return to the UN-proposed plan of 1947. The TSS means, therefore, ending Israel’s existence.

On the other hand, declaring Israeli sovereignty over Area C – annexation – would confirm and protect the right of Jews to live in their homeland and it would promote a constructive, productive future for all residents of the area. It would eliminate the “military occupation” by the IDF/COGAT. It would allow Israel’s security forces to apprehend terrorists in PA towns and cities. It would strengthen Israel’s security and would enable Arabs in the area to live in peace and enjoy economic and social benefits.

Opposing annexation, however, does not and will not prevent Israel’s enemies from denouncing “the occupation” and engaging in anti-Israel activities. And, the issue of “settlements” continues to fracture Israeli society and diminish our national cohesion. It’s a “lose-lose” strategy.

Although Israeli leftists oppose annexation, they offer no reasonable or practical alternative. Moreover, they are oblivious to the consequences of not annexing Area C. Opposing the implementation of civilian Israeli authority (annexation) and continuing the “military occupation” of Area C, therefore, serves no one; it makes no sense.

Israeli leftists have a responsibility and obligation to explain how their plan would work. Refusing to do so means that they are not serious and don’t care about the damage they cause. Do they stand with Israel and Zionism, or not? Are they with us, or against us (meaning the vast majority of Jews in Israel)? Jewish communities in Area C are facts of life. Abandoning them is not an option. The choice, therefore, is simple: Annexation or “Occupation” – sovereignty or self-defeat.
Noah Rothman: What It Will Take to Prevent Iran from Starting a War
So, if the response to Iranian aggression is not unconditional diplomatic re-engagement, what should it be? The Trump administration remains committed to an admirable and arguably successful effort to use financial and diplomatic tools to destabilize the Iranian regime from within. But that commitment forecloses on retaliatory strikes on Iranian targets. Such a course would provide the regime with the opportunity to rally the public against the United States, shifting the nation’s focus away from the regime’s failures and toward an exogenous threat.

The White House’s reluctance to undermine that strategy and the president’s desire to avoid “disproportionate” loss of life or collateral destruction is commendable but flawed. The Iranian regime is not interested in proportionality. Its interests lie in fomenting conflict in the region, breaking the resolve of America’s European allies to maintain a united front, and ultimately relieving the economic pressure on the regime.

The timing of this latest attack affords the Trump administration an opportunity to turn the tables against the Iranian regime. As the world’s leaders gather in New York City ahead of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Trump administration should use that platform to make the case against the Iranian regime. It should reveal the intelligence its officials claim to have proving why Iran was behind this act of war. It should expand upon its theory of the case: That Iran’s provocations are part of a deliberate effort to destabilize the region, sow tension within the Western alliance, and divide and conquer. It should compel the civilized nations of the world to deploy naval assets to the region to deter further acts of Iranian piracy, which have not abated even in the wake of the strikes in Abqaiq. And finally, the Trump administration should reserve the right to use incommensurate retaliatory force against Iranian regime targets with or without the support of its allies.

The Trump administration should do all these things, but it won’t. Iran will continue to test its freedom of action until it miscalculates and ignites an international incident that necessitates an immediate military response to reestablish what the Trump administration confessed broke down long ago: deterrence. We can only hope that the damage that will be done and the lives that will be lost in that event will be minimal. But there can be no question that, on the present course, it is coming. (h/t IsaacStorm)

US to Attempt ‘George Costanza Doctrine’ in the Middle East (satire)
Noting that every action the US has taken in the Middle East for roughly seven decades has been wrong, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has adopted the ‘George Costanza Doctrine’ of doing the opposite of policymakers’ instincts.

“Every decision we have made – who to bomb, where to invade, who to ally with – has gone disastrously wrong,” Pompeo explained. “We counted on the Shah of Iran to stay in power, we threw our weight behind the Oslo Peace Process, we invaded Iraq, we bombed Libya, we stayed out of Syria – and nothing has worked out since oil was discovered in the Arabian Peninsula.”

Pompeo continued, “If our instincts are always wrong, then the best way to achieve our desired outcomes may be to do the opposite of what we think is correct.”

So far, the new approach has led to some policy successes. When Israel revealed plans for a new round of settlement construction, the US announced its support and added that it would soon be building settlements for American Zionist Christians in the Jerusalem suburbs. President Trump then announced that he would respond to the humanitarian crisis in Syria by opening the door for an influx of Syrian refugees and by banning non-Muslims from immigrating into the US.

And when a caravan of Middle Eastern men in Humvees were spotted near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the military decided against taking them out with a Predator drone. This move also paid off – though the men turned out to be terrorists, they soon blew themselves up when an explosive device planned to be used in a suicide bombing exploded prematurely.

“Crooked Hillary and Obama the Communist Kenyan never thought of this opposite stuff!” Trump considered tweeting, before thinking better of it and logging off Twitter.

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