Thursday, July 30, 2020

From Ian:

For Israel, Not Winning is Losing
It used to be said that Israel required a strategic edge to survive in the Middle East, and that is why it invested in the greatest armory and technology. Nevertheless, none of this is the slightest bit relevant if there is never any will to use it.

To change the current paradigm, Israel must regain a semblance of deterrence.

To do this, it must start remembering how to win again. Of course, some will say, defeating terrorist organizations is not the same as defeating regular armies or other nations.

However, Hamas and Hezbollah are both essentially if not actually in charge of the territories they reside in. They have pressure points like all rulers and those who govern territory.

Moreover, the idea that terrorist organizations cannot be defeated is also outdated. Just ask the Islamic State in Iraq and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, both of whom were defeated and destroyed.

Israel cannot afford constant small-scale attacks from Lebanon like those we have witnessed with alarming regularity from Gaza all of these years. If the situation deteriorates, and more citizens have to live under the daily threat of attacks, with everything that means economically, socially and nationally, it could become the dreaded death of a thousand cuts.

Israel needs to change its mindset, or better still, return to its former approach, which saw it defeat its enemies so they could not raise their head again against it. We must be allowed to use our obvious military, economic and diplomatic strengths to secure a victory against those whose raison d'être is to destroy the State of Israel.

This of course might seem far-fetched to the average Israeli citizen, but the fact that it remains the goal of our enemies means that they are not being dissuaded or deterred from this dream, making them perpetually dangerous.

The situation will exponentially deteriorate the longer their dream lives on and Israel continues to display weakness. The only way to stop it is by returning to a victory mentality, because as Senator McCain said, if we are not winning, we are in fact, losing.
Twitter defends blocking Trump tweets but not Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei
A Twitter spokeswoman has defended the company’s decision to block and restrict tweets from President Trump but not those of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei which call for genocide of the Israeli people.

The reason? Because the Iranian dictator’s tweets pass as “commentary on political issues of the day” while Trump’s could “inspire harm,” Twitter claims.

During a hearing on antisemitism in front of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament in Jerusalem, lawmakers grilled a Twitter representative over why the platform was policing missives from Trump, but not other world leaders such as Khamenei calling Israel “a cancerous growth.”

“You have recently started flagging the tweets of President Trump,” noted Arsen Ostrovsky, a human rights lawyer and executive director of the Israeli-Jewish Congress.

“Why have you not flagged the tweets of Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has literally called for the genocide of Israel and the Jewish people?” he asked.

In an astonishing response, the Twitter spokeswoman claimed that tweets from the Iranian leader — where he has publicly called for the “elimination” of Israel — amounted to little more than “foreign policy saber-rattling.”

“We have an approach to world leaders that presently say that direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on military and economic issues are generally not in violation of our Twitter rules,” the spokeswoman responded.

Stunned lawmaker Michal Cotler-Wunsh interrupted: “So calling for genocide is OK?”

“Calling for genocide on Twitter is OK, but commenting on political situations in certain countries is not OK?” she continued.

A clip of the exchange was shared on Twitter on Wednesday by former acting director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell who wrote: “This should be something the US media reports. Wow.”

Iran’s leader has repeatedly shared tweets calling Israel a “deadly, cancerous growth” to be “uprooted and destroyed” — all going unchecked by Twitter.

“The long-lasting virus of Zionism will be uprooted thanks to the determination and faith of the youth,” Khamenei wrote as recently as May.







Seth Rogen’s Zionist Blind Spot Deserves a Clear Zionist Answer
If you’ve never been taught the story of the Jewish people — the yearning for 19 centuries to return home to Zion; the never-ending persecution Jews suffered as they wandered through the Diaspora; the need for a homeland where Jews would hold their destiny in their own hands — it’s not a great leap to conclude: Who needs Israel?

On the podcast, Rogen lamented that “as a Jewish person I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel my entire life.” If indeed he believes Israel “makes no sense,” then Rogen is right — he’s been fed plenty of lies.

Here’s a suggestion, then, for Mr. Rogen: Learn your people’s story. A good place to start would be Letters to my Palestinian Neighbor by Yossi Klein Halevi.

“Israel exists because it never stopped existing, even if only in prayer,” Halevi writes. “Israel was restored by the cumulative power of Jewish longing. But attachment to the land wasn’t confined to longing. Throughout the centuries, Jews from east and west came to live and be buried in the land.”

Not surprisingly, the need to escape antisemitic horrors was a huge factor in the eternal Jewish longing to return home.

As Halevi writes: “The impetus for creating a political expression of the longing for return — restoring the Jewish relationship to Zion from time back into space — was dire need. In 19th-century Russia, millions of Jews were threatened by regime-instigated pogroms. Many Russian Jews were fleeing their homes and heading west. The newly created Zionist movement was seeking a solution not just for Jews but for ‘the Jews’ — a permanent solution to homelessness.”

But since Rogen expressed such an interest in the “preservation” of his people, he ought to note that safety from persecution was far from the only impetus to Zionism.

“However desperate the situation,” Halevi writes, “antisemitism and the need for refuge didn’t define the essence of Zionism. Need gave Zionism its urgency, but longing gave Zionism its spiritual substance. Zionism was the meeting point between need and longing.”

Which lies were Rogen fed all these years that made him miss the very soul of the Zionist idea?

I heard through the grapevine that Rogen has been sending private Twitter messages to some of his critics to “explain himself.” If he truly cares about the preservation of his people, I hope that he will also educate himself — and then return on that same podcast to share with millions what he learned.
Why Seth Rogen’s Anti-Israel Rant Matters
Actor Seth Rogen, who has, at best, a facile understanding of basic history, faith, or politics, claimed this week he was "fed a huge amount of lies about Israel" growing up, and he now questions the legitimacy of the Jewish state's existence. "They never tell you that - oh by the way, there were people there [in Israel]."

Anyone with basic cognitive abilities understood that "other people" lived in Israel. It was "other people" who launched pogroms against Jews in the 1920s and 1930s. It was "other people" who allied with Hitler during World War II, continuing to stoke violence against Jews.

It was "other people" who rejected the UN partition plan and launched an all-out war against Jews only three years after the concentration camps were liberated. It was "other people" who initiated wave after wave of terrorism against Jewish civilians. It was "other people" who rejected dozens of peace offerings from 1948 onward. And yet, some of those "other people" still reside in Israel and enjoy more liberal rights than Arabs do in any Arab nation.

In fact, as the historian Efraim Karsh has noted, large numbers of those "other people" initially came to sparsely populated areas of Israel because of the influx of Jews, who, starting in the late 19th century, brought economic growth and opportunities with them.
Seth Rogen – crossing the line between comedy and tragedy
Predictably, the reaction to these thoughtless remarks in Israel and around the world has been an angry one. The Jerusalem Post’s Lahav Harkov echoed the views of many, stating they were: “made from a position of really, really great privilege – and ignorance - if he can’t understand why Israel makes sense to millions of Jews around the world”. Here are a few things that Rogen, who may have been paying attention to something else during his time at his Vancouver Talmud Torah, might want to think about when it comes to why Israel is central to most Jews:
· There has been a continuous Jewish presence in what is now Israel since before the destruction of the Second Temple.
· The strict immigration quotas instituted by British mandatory authorities in Palestine, kept millions of Jews from leaving Europe and facing murder in Hitler’s death camps.
· Those quotas also forced survivors of the Holocaust into displaced persons camps in Europe, some in the same places as the death camps they survived.
· The highest number of Jews who survived the death camps were the religious, Communists, and Zionists.
· In a survey taken of those forced to live in the displaced persons camps, when asked where they would choose to go if they could not go to Eretz Israel, a majority answered: “the crematoria.”

There is a reason why Jews in synagogue during the High Holidays pray about “next year in Jerusalem.” It is a dream that has kept the Jewish people alive for millennia, much longer, most would assume, than the staying power of “American Pickle” or any episode of the WTF podcast. Word is that Rogen has already privately apologized via DM’s on Twitter to several people for what he said. He’s claiming that his comments were taken out of context. Maybe. But the damage is already done. Just like the damage from his gay jokes and his blackface incident. Edmund Kean was the celebrated Shakespearean actor of the late 18th and early 19th century. He will be remembered long after Seth Rogen and Marc Maron are forgotten. One of his best known remarks is one of the reasons why he continues to be celebrated: “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” The two funny boys might want to take this axiom to heart next time they start riffing on things they clearly do not understand.
A letter to Seth Rogen
Dear Seth,

Not sure where you went to school – but, by the way, there were people in your home town of Vancouver too. The entire North America was populated before Canada and the United States were settled. The previous residents were killed by both settlers and disease.

In the plains - the Blackfoot; In Káínawa - the Sarcee and Peigan. In the north - the Cree and Chipewyan. Around the Great Lakes - the Anishinaabe; Algonquin; Iroquois and Huron. The Atlantic coast? The Beothuk, Maliseet, Innu, Abenaki and Mi'kmaq. Oh, and as much as I would hate to put you in an American pickle, it was the entire USA too.

The two major differences are that in Israel – the Jews were there first. There was never a time when Jews did not reside in Israel. Not a month goes by where some remarkable link to our past is dug up or discovered. This month, evidence of the monarchy of Chizkiyah (Hezekiah) was unearthed. And four years ago, an entire city.

The second difference is that, except for in rare instances, the Jews didn’t kill the residents that were there. Rather, time after time, they were the ones who were murdered.

Seth, it is true that in your circles it may be chic and fashionable to trash your heritage and your true homeland – but I do want to introduce you to one of the blessings of a Jewish wedding – the blessing of "Sos Tasis" It is blessing #5 of the seven blessings of a Jewish wedding. The blessing is, “May the barren one rejoice and be glad as her children are joyfully gathered to her. Blessed are You, Hashem who gladdens Tzion with her children.”

Tzion, you may know, is Zion. And from this blessing, we see two remarkable things.

The first thing we see is that the relationship between Zion and the Jewish people is more than just an un-severable bond. It is that of a mother and her children.

The Holy Land of Israel, of course, is not just something that is deeply important to us – to your parents, and to your grandparents. She is our mother. We will never sell her out, sell her off, or trade away our mother. It just will not happen.
Dear American Jewish boys: Please find another outlet for your Oedipal rage. Signed, Israeli Jews
Dear American Jewish boys,

Please, please, take your Oedipal rage and find another outlet for it. It’s not Israel’s fault you hate your parents. Leave us out of this.

I understand, I get it. You were 12, you were at summer camp, and someone gave you a heroic version of Israel’s history, and now that you’re suddenly surrounded at university by theologians of the grand church of intersectionality, you feel the need to renounce,

Fine. Renounce your summer camp. Renounce your parents. But leave us out.

You’re not happy with the heroic version you heard at age 12? I feel for you. Can I ask you something though? Was the version of American history you got at age 12 particularly critical? Did you learn a lot about the Trail of Tears, the Indian Removal Act or the Chinese Exclusion Act, or even the three-fifths rule?

When you were in high school and you learned about D-Day, did you also learn about the firebombing of Hamburg? Did you learn about the moral compromises involved in an alliance with Stalin? Did you learn about the 12 million displaced Germans at the end of the war?

Yes, Germans. A lot of them. Became refugees as a result of defeat in a destructive war they started. Not just them, either. Italians, Bulgarians, Hungarians — many nations that made the mistake of allying themselves with the Nazis in the war found themselves at the end with significant territorial losses and having to resettle hundreds of thousands of displaced people.


Gaza disengagement was 'absolute mistake,' says withdrawal commander
The Gaza Disengagement was “an absolute mistake” that allowed Hamas to increase its rocket arsenal, the man who commanded the operation told The Jerusalem Post.

The unilateral evacuation of 8,500 Israeli civilians and soldiers and the demolition of 21 Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip in August 2005 was ordered by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon and carried out by Maj.-Gen. Gershon HaCohen, then commander of the 36th Division.

“I was absolutely aware that the whole idea would lead to catastrophe,” HaCohen told the Post ahead of the move’s 15th anniversary.

Israel occupied the coastal enclave in 1967 following the Six Day War. In the years until it evacuated, countless civilians and troops were killed in Palestinian terror attacks.

Some thought it would bring peace. Others thought giving land would only further encourage violence and terror. Though HaCohen personally opposed the move, he still carried out his assigned duties as commanding officer.

“I had two choices: to disobey and retire or to follow and do it as per my own belief and vision,” he said.

In some ways, the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is reminiscent of the IDF’s withdrawal from South Lebanon five years earlier with one main difference: In 2000, only soldiers pulled back from the occupation of Lebanese land; in 2005, civilians were removed from their homes.
‘Leaving Gaza was right but no more evacuations’
Israel should never again carry out forced evacuations of Jews from their homes, retired Brig.-Gen. Agay Yehezkel, an officer who commanded over some of the forces that participated in the Disengagement from the Gaza Strip, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, 15 years after the unilateral withdrawal.

Yehezkel served in 2005 as commander of the 188th Armored Brigade. The IDF operation to withdraw from Gaza, he said, purposely began the day after Tisha Be’av, the fast day that marks a list of tragedies that befell the Jewish people. Nevertheless, it has been added to the list by those who opposed the Disengagement.

In retrospect, Yehezkel does not regret the withdrawal itself. He does not believe the communities totaling 8,000 Jews scattered throughout the Gaza Strip had staying power, nor does he believe they justified the resources needed to maintain and protect them.

“I still think it was the right thing to do,” Yehezkel said. “The step we took was correct. I don’t think withdrawing from Gaza was a mistake. Leaving Gaza was the right decision.”

The thousands of rockets fired at Israel from the areas evacuated have persuaded many who backed the withdrawal that it was mistaken in retrospect. But Yehezkel says there is no way of knowing whether those rocket attacks would not have happened had Jews still been living in the Gaza Strip and absorbing those blows themselves.
Collapse of PA Could Bring New Generation of Palestinian Leaders
Amid questions about the continued viability of the Palestinian Authority, Dr. Harold Rhode, who served for 28 years as an advisor on the Islamic world in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, said the collapse of the PA "may present an opportunity for the Palestinians for a brighter future with less oppressive and younger leadership."

The leadership of the Palestinians should be clan- and family-based since this is the way things are decided on the ground, said Rhode.

"The PA-appointed leaders are outsiders. As the locals say, most of the foreign funds are skimmed off the top by the thugs that rule over them, and the people actually get next to nothing of all this aid."
Where do Biden’s top VP candidates stand on Israel?
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, said on Tuesday that he would pick his running mate “in the first week in August.”
According to recent media reports, the four leading candidates are Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth, and former national security advisor Susan Rice, with other congresswomen and mayors in consideration, as well.

The former vice president for Barack Obama, Biden, will be 78 in November. He has said on multiple occasions that his running mate needs to be someone who would be ready to “become president on day one.”

“The role that a vice president plays on foreign policy very much depends on the relationship the VP has with the president,” Ambassador Dennis Ross told The Jerusalem Post. “The closer the relationship, the more likely the president is to take the VP’s views and advice very seriously.”

“As VP, Biden had a role to play across the board on foreign policy, but was given a special mission in Iraq,” he continued. “[Biden] reserved his advice for the president mostly in their private one-on-one meetings. Presumably, should he become president, Biden would likely apply a similar model for his VP.”

Where do each of the candidates Biden is considering stand on Israel?
MEMRI: Articles In Qatari Press: The Reconversion Of Hagia Sophia Into A Mosque Is A Historic Step; We Hope To See Prayers Renewed At The Great Mosque Of Cordoba As Well
The July 10, 2020 decision of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with the backing of the Turkish court, to convert the Hagia Sophia from a museum back into a mosque, sparked joyful responses in the Qatari press. Many articles published in Qatari dailies and on the website of the Qatar-backed International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) welcomed the move and praised Erdogan for it.

Qatari journalists also expressed their approval of the move on social media, and rejected the criticism voiced against it in the West and in Arab countries.[1] Qatari writer Ibtisam Aal Sa'd tweeted on July 19, 2020: "This Muslim president [Erdogan] deserves to be proud of the conversion of a Christian church [Hagia Sophia] back into a Muslim mosque whose history is linked to the great Islamic conquests, despite the barking of the Europeans and the shrieks of the pro-Zionist Arabs.”[2]

The first prayer held at the reopened mosque, on Friday, July 24, 2020, led by Erdogan himself, was also covered very positively in the Qatari press, which celebrated the occasion as "a historic day" that sparked "joy throughout the Muslim world."


July 25, 2020 issue of Qatari daily Al-Raya celebrates first Friday prayer at Hagia Sophia. Top headline reads: "Historic Friday [Sees] Crowd of Worshipers at Hagia Sophia"; bottom headline reads: “Joy Throughout the Islamic World.”

The government daily Al-Watan even stressed that the reopening of the mosque sparked hope that Al-Aqsa would likewise "return to [the] full possession" of the Muslims.​


IDF steps up efforts to curb spread of coronavirus in east Jerusalem
On the eve of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha, the IDF has stepped up its efforts to help residents of east Jerusalem as they face a sharp increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

The IDF’s efforts are being led by Col. Itay Levi, Commanding Officer of the Jerusalem and Central District of the Home Front Command, and Brig. Gen. (res.) Ben Tzvi Eliasi, Commanding Officer of the Control Center in east Jerusalem.

The two IDF commanders told The Jerusalem Post that their efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus and provide various services to the Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem are being highly appreciated by the residents there.

The Home Front Command, they said, has been operating in the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March. The IDF soldiers are working in full coordination with the Jerusalem Municipality’s community centers in the Arab neighborhoods, they added.

“Our mission is to help all residents during this difficult time, Arabs and Jews alike,” Col. Levi said. “We don’t distinguish between one citizen and another. As far as we are concerned, there’s no difference between Isawiya and Gilo.”
Arrested Hamas member was ordered to shoot down Israeli chopper, Shin Bet says
The Shin Bet announced on Thursday that a Hamas operative who fled the Gaza Strip to Israel revealed to the security agency that he had kept an anti-aircraft missile in his home and that the terror group had instructed him to fire it at an Israeli helicopter if one were to approach.

Izz al-Din Hussein, 24, sought to swim to the Jewish state from Gaza on June 28 amid family problems and concerns of “persecution and defamation by senior Hamas figures,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

Upon crossing into Israeli waters, Hussein was promptly arrested by naval forces, who transferred him to the Shin Bet for questioning.

During his interrogation, investigators learned that Hussein had enlisted in Hamas’s military wing in 2013 and began working in aerial defense in 2018, during which he headed the shoulder-fired missile unit, the Shin Bet said.

“He kept an anti-aircraft missile in his home and had been instructed to launch it at an Israeli helicopter if one were to fly nearby in order to kill or abduct Israeli soldiers,” the statement said.
Man Who Fled Gaza Reveals Hamas Attack Plans






Third Israeli Water Generator Donated to Gaza
Israeli company Watergen and the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies recently donated a much-needed water generator to Nasser Medical Center in Khan Younis, Gaza's second largest hospital.

It can produce up to 5,000 liters of drinking water a day from the humidity in the air.

The first machine was installed at the municipal building in Abasan al-Kabira, while the second was installed at the Rantisi Medical Center in Gaza City two months ago.




UK MPs urge Johnson gov’t to enforce Hezbollah ban
A cross-party group of UK parliamentarians expressed concern that Boris Johnson’s government was not effectively enforcing last year’s ban Hezbollah.

The letter sent to UK Security Minister James Brokenshire on Wednesday came after he said, in a Parliamentary Answer, that the government did not collect data on the number of people in the UK investigated or charged with supporting Hezbollah.

“The display of flags and other symbols of illegal organizations in public spaces by fellow British citizens, such as on political marches or on social media, is evident and offensive to ordinary people,” they added. “The public has a right to know to what extent the government’s bans on certain organizations are effective in preventing the public display of aggressive and divisive symbols.”

They called on intelligence agencies and the Home Office to collect and regularly review statistics on people who have displayed the Hezbollah flag or other symbols of support, and update the House of Commons on those numbers.

“Without an update from the government and the provision of appropriate statistics and other information, neither the House nor the public can properly assess whether the Government’s March 2019 ban on the entirety of Hezbollah was effective, is being implemented to a sufficient degree and if any policy changes are needed,” the MPs wrote.

The letter’s signatories were Labour Friends of Israel chairman MP Stephen McCabe, Conservative MPs Andrew Rosindell, Theresa Villiers, Sir Graham Brady and Matthew Offord, DUP’s Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and crossbench Lord John Kilclooney.


Libya reveals how Turkey blackmailed country into energy, mercenary deals
Revelations by Libyan officials to the Associated Press have lifted the lid on more than six months of questions about how Turkey was able to push Tripoli to accept thousands of extremist Syrian mercenaries in exchange for Ankara getting energy rights - leaving Libya with little gains except being saddled with extremists.

Last November, Libya’s embattled Government of the National Accord was under siege in Tripoli by the Egyptian-backed Khalifa Haftar. Haftar, with a rival government based in Benghazi, appeared to be on the verge of ousting the dysfunctional GNA.

Suddenly Ankara, which along with Qatar had backed the GNA with limited weapons and financing, swept in to offer a deal.
Turkey would get energy rights off the coast which would let it threaten Greece and potentially harm Israel’s interests in an East Mediterranean pipeline, and Ankara would aid Tripoli with some drones and Syrian rebels.

At the time it seemed farcical. Why would Turkey, which backs the Syrian opposition, send Syrians to fight and die in Libya?

Wasn’t sending mercenaries and weapons to Libya an illegal involvement against UN sanctions there?

But Turkey’s ruling party has a long track record of ignoring international laws and invading its neighbors, bombing civilians in northern Iraq and ethnically cleansing Afrin in Syria in 2018 – so recruiting vulnerable Syrians to fight in Libya was just one more violation of international norms.
Iran military drill shows off missiles to threaten US and Israel
Iran’s “Great Prophet” military drill is a serious affair in some ways, yet comical in others.

For instance, Iran had its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fast boats do circles around a model of a US aircraft carrier, which looked more like people doing antics on spring break in Lake Havasu than a serious military exercise.

However, on Wednesday, Iran upped the rhetoric with images of masses of missiles, which it claims are the first of their type being shot from underground areas.

Iran is using the naval drill to put US forces on alert and test them, similar to what Hezbollah is doing to Israel at the same time.

“Watch the first images of missiles from the depths of the earth,” says Iran’s Fars News.
Iran Faked the Satellite Images They Released
The Islamic Republic of Iran has just added satellite images to its latest portfolio of fake news.

In a message to the United States, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) released the first images of the NOOR-1 satellite launched into space last April.

Tehran claimed the photos were pictures of an American base in Qatar. As with most good lies, they had a grain of truth.

Two of the images were faked: one was from the US Maxar satellite company and another was from Google Earth. Both were from 2018, according to Israeli UAV and space expert Tal Inbar.

So they were satellite images of the US airbase in Qatar, just not an Iranian satellite’s images, as the regime claimed, nor were they recent images either.

In the stolen Maxar image, the recently built hanger bases are missing. In the appropriated Google Earth images, the aircraft are in the exact same place they were two years ago.








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