Monday, September 20, 2021

From Ian:

David Hirsh & Hilary Miller: The UN Durban Antiracist Process: Projecting Racism Onto Israel
Israel had always been ready to make peace, but in the January before Durban, the peace process had collapsed. Israel was ready to negotiate over land, but never considered negotiating itself out of existence. Israel was not a racist elite clinging to privilege but an instrument of Jewish renewal and a survivor of three attempts by the Arab League states to eradicate it.

Today, academics and student activists across the world are signing declarations affirming the idea that Israel is an apartheid state that must be boycotted and destroyed to be foundational both to their scholarship and to their morality. These statements function as loyalty tests for Jews, which makes their membership in the community conditional. Demonstrating one’s legitimacy by contrasting oneself to evil Jews is an antisemitic practice that has been re-animated by self-defined “antiracists” in the 21st century.

Zionism is portrayed as an obstacle to progress and a spreader of racism and Islamophobia. Zionism is treated as a universal evil and as a keystone of a global system of oppression. The term “Zionist” has been substituted for “Jew” in accusations of child-murder, control over the media, police violence, betrayal of “the people” and the instigation of imperialist wars. This antisemitic thinking portrays that which is most feared in society as having a Jewish face. The antisemitic notion of “the Jews” has evolved through the changing ecosystems of human history into a nest of emotions, ideas and images perfectly adapted to symbolize the nightmares of the collective subconscious.

What is more profoundly dreaded in America than racism? Is America founded on human equality or is it corrupt in its heart because of its original sin of slavery? In Britain, the partly addressed nightmare is “colonialism.” Britain was the colonial power and the Israelis overthrew the mandate; but now Brits project their own past onto Israel’s present. Today’s Europe is founded on the certainty that antisemitism and racism have been transcended. Europe was often tempted to project its own unacknowledged horrors onto the Jews in its midst and onto other “races” outside. Now Europeans can project their own disavowed racism onto Jews who are no longer European. It is Europeans who accuse Israelis of failing to learn the lessons of Auschwitz and then of re-importing racism back into the now clean again Europe, in the form of Islamophobia. In South Africa, the global and nation-founding triumph over apartheid can feel like a token victory as misery, violence, inequality and poverty persist under a state that appears dysfunctional and quite unable to make life better. The temptation to re-focus anger and despair onto an emotionally satisfying symbolic target is irresistible to some.

Recently we have seen the appearance of the slogan “Globalize the Intifada.” It cements a fantasy of Israel as being symbolic of all evil and it raises a fantasy of the Palestinian struggle as a universal symbol of the innocence and courage of all those who suffer. “Globalize the Intifada” reconstitutes the passion plays of old Europe, by which good people could identify with the divine, and with the ultimate justice that would be theirs. The meek shall inherit the earth. And they shall do so by defeating Zionism.

Controversial U.N. conference on reparations, racism slammed by Pompeo as being ‘laced with anti-Semitism’
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others, including Israel's U.N. ambassador and a South African politician, spoke Sunday at a counter-conference organized by Touro College, Human Rights Voices, and CAMERA under the banner: 'Fight Racism, Not Jews: The UN and the Durban Deceit.'

'It's an outrage that in the year 2021 the United Nations has gathered world leaders together to celebrate an orgy of anti-Semitism and the intended destruction of a U.N. member state – the Jewish state,' counter-conference organizer Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, told Fox News.

'All countries that are genuinely committed to combating racism should refuse to attend Durban IV and the 20th anniversary carnival,' said Bayfesky, who is also president of Human Rights Voices. 'The Durban deceit, the double-talk, the double standards – and, in particular, the discrimination – need to be exposed and rejected, period.'

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for United Nations secretary-general, told Fox News that Antonio Guterres would attend next week’s event.

'For the secretary-general it is clear that racism and racial discrimination still permeate institutions, social structures and everyday life in every society. It must be condemned without hesitation or reservation wherever and whenever it occurs.'

'The Durban process is critical in fighting this scourge. However, whoever uses this process – or any other platform – for anti-Semitic diatribes, anti-Muslim discourse, hateful speech and baseless assertions, only denigrates our essential fight against racism,' Dujarric said.

Pompeo, a Fox News contributor, questioned the stated goal of the document and the conference that celebrates it, which he said was supposedly about fighting racism and injustice but said that couldn’t be further from the truth. 'The Durban declaration is laced with anti-Semitism and the goal of those who celebrate it is not racial equality but the undermining and eventual destruction of the state of Israel.'

UN to mark 20 years since Durban anti-racism summit

Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Arabs No Longer Trust the Muslim Brotherhood
The people of Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Sudan, who gave the Muslim Brotherhood a chance to rule, discovered that the organization is as corrupt and incompetent as the secular Arab regimes and heads of state.

As with the Islamists in Tunisia, many Arabs are now also celebrating the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated party in Morocco.

[O]ne of the main reasons for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood is related to the ideological component of the organization's groups, including lack of separation between religion and politics, their alleged monopoly over the absolute truth, and their claim to represent the true Islam. — Amr Al-Shobaki, a researcher at the Egyptian Al-Ahram Center for Studies, Al-Hurra TV, September 12, 2021.

Al-Shoqiran continued: "After a decade of the rule of the Islamists in Tunisia and Morocco, the Muslim Brotherhood only contributed to the spread of corruption, disregard for the state and its institutions, and the theft of people's lives and money." — Ashraq Al-Awsat, September 16, 2021.

"[T]he Muslim Brotherhood parties.... rule without providing those they govern with any services other than illusory victories and corruption." — Hafez Barghouti, Palestinian columnist and editor, Al-Khaleej, September 17, 2021

Tunisia got rid of the Islamists because they destroyed the economy and "stole the people's money." In Morocco...the Muslim Brotherhood was in power for many years, plunging the country into an economic and social crisis. — Hafez Barghouti, September 17, 2021

"The great fall of the Muslim Brotherhood, politically and intellectually, began in Egypt, then Sudan followed Tunisia and finally Morocco. Due to their spectacular failure in those countries, they are expected to fall also in Libya during the upcoming legislative and presidential elections." — Mounir Adib, Egyptian expert on Islamic movements and international terrorism, Elbalad, September 10, 2021.

The question, therefore, remains: Will Western apologists for Islamists also wake up to this fact and cease dealing with them as though they are good guys who seek to improve the living conditions of Arabs and Muslims?
The Bizarre Positive Biden Spin on Afghanistan
The United States has not just lost America’s longest war in a spectacularly embarrassing fashion. It has lost the narrative. The facts speak for themselves. The Taliban are not partners. They are not friends. And they are not moderate. Al-Qaeda has helped to make that abundantly clear in recent weeks. As Joscelyn noted in the Long War Journal, al-Qaeda’s senior leadership has gloated about the Taliban’s return to power, praising it as a “historic victory” and calling upon Muslims worldwide to support the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of the entire al-Qaeda network, has further sworn an oath of allegiance to the Taliban’s emir, Hibatullah Akhundzada. This should come as no surprise, of course. Al-Qaeda’s leader has maintained an oath of loyalty to the Taliban’s emir for more than two decades. But this history only underscores the absurdity of the Biden administration’s claims.

In 2014, al-Qaeda announced a new franchise: al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. It was deliberately created to support the Taliban. In the meantime, other al-Qaeda affiliates, such as Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, have long operated in areas of Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban, suggesting a modus vivendi, at minimum. My colleague Bill Roggio continues to track the presence of al-Qaeda throughout Afghanistan. It was significant before the pullout (Roggio predicted for that reason, among others, that the U.S. withdrawal would be a disaster). The al-Qaeda presence in Afghanistan, now that America is gone, is only likely to grow.

The glue that binds it all together is the Haqqani network, a terrorist group that is both one of al-Qaeda’s closest allies and also an integral component of the Taliban’s network. The Taliban’s new interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, embodies this relationship. He has served as the Taliban’s deputy emir since 2015, while a recent UN report identified him as a member of the “wider al-Qaeda leadership.”

The Taliban’s strong ties to al-Qaeda only reinforce the fact that the group has not grown more moderate or pragmatic in recent years. But one need not look to al-Qaeda for evidence of this. The group recently released propaganda venerating its “suicide squads.” In the same video, the Taliban blamed American “policy” for the attacks of 9/11—attacks they have never attributed to al-Qaeda.

In perhaps the clearest sign of what is to come, the Taliban have now formed a new government, and there’s nothing moderate about it. Many of the cabinet ministers have been sanctioned by the U.S. and the UN for terrorism. Several were Guantanamo Bay detainees. Two of them appear on the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program, whereby the U.S. government offers millions of dollars for information that could lead to their kill or capture.
Eli Lake: Giving Up on the Good-Enough War
America’s longest war, we are being told, should be remembered for its pain and its folly: the suicides of veterans, the sham of Afghanistan’s military, the greed of the contractors, the immolated wedding parties, the pederast warlords. The valor to be celebrated is now reserved for the airlift that commenced after the fall of a Potemkin regime, not the 20-year mission that allowed that government to survive until it didn’t. As the New York Times news alert to mark the exit of the last soldier put it: “The U.S. Occupation Ends.”

This is President Joe Biden’s narrative, a narrative in which America is no different from the past empires whose headstones dot the landscape of Afghanistan. The narrative claims they too tried to tame an untamable country, and we followed foolishly in their footsteps. As Biden quipped to a reporter on July 8, “it’s up to the people of Afghanistan to decide the government they want, not us to impose the government on them.”

It is an appealing pose for Democrats looking for a reason to support their president’s betrayal. It also suits the purposes of the America-Firsters who dance to the beat of Donald Trump’s drum. Why are we building schools for girls half a world away when our own schools are failing? they ask. Besides, the Afghans never wanted democracy. If they did, their army would have fought for it, and their government wouldn’t have collapsed.

How does this theory account for Afghans such as Hamed Kohistani? He is a doctor at a Kabul hospital who, in 2018, waited for five hours to vote in his country’s parliamentary elections. He told the New York Times, “The problem is not waiting, the problem is security. The longer you wait in line, the more the risk is.” That risk was the Taliban. Throughout the seven national Afghan elections since 2004, the Taliban waged a vicious war on voting itself. They warned Afghans on social media and official communiqués not to show up on Election Day. They targeted poll workers and police chiefs. They sent volunteers and conscripts with suicide vests and car bombs to polling stations. And in the territories the Taliban controlled or contested, they outlawed voting entirely.
Lapid Restarts First Israeli Diplomatic Contact With Sweden at Ministerial Level in Seven Years
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid restarted formal diplomatic contacts at the ministerial level with Sweden on Monday, ending seven years of estrangement.

Israel’s Walla news reported that Lapid held a phone call with his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde just before Yom Kippur, and then again on Monday, before formally announcing the renewal of ties at the ministerial level.

This was the first such conversation between foreign ministers from the two countries since 2014, when they fell out over Sweden’s decision to recognize a Palestinian state.

Since then, Israel-Sweden relations have been essentially frozen, with previous Swedish foreign ministers being persona non grata in Israel, to the point that they were denied entry to the country.

During Monday’s meeting, Lapid said he appreciated statements of support for Israel’s security from Linde. He also said that Israel intends to participate in the upcoming International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance in the Swedish city of Malmo.

'We took action to keep the escaped terrorists from carrying out an attack'
The capture of the last two terrorist fugitives of the group of six who broke out of Gilboa Prison on the eve of Rosh Hashanah was successful thanks to "excellent intelligence, professional operations, determination, and the unit fighters' desire to get their hands on them," head of the Israel Police's Counter-Terrorism Unit, Cmdr. H., tells Israel Hayom.

Overnight between Saturday and Sunday, counter-terror forces were scrambled – along with special forces from the Shin Bet security agency and the IDF – to Jenin, where the last two fugitives were hiding in a local home.

"From the moment of the prison break, we were working with the Border Police, the Shin Bet, and the IDF to hunt down the escaped terrorists," explains Chief Supt. S., who commands the company that executed the arrests.

"We were operating in a few different areas at the same time, both in Israel and in Judea and Samaria. We always knew that Jenin was the 'hottest' spot, and we were prepared for that, along with the Shin Bet's operational unit, especially as there was a clear indication that one of them had crossed the security barrier," S. adds.

At 1:39 a.m. Sunday, after the Shin Bet supplied precise intelligence, the forces crossed the border and entered the outskirts of Jenin.

"We received the intelligence from the Shin Bet around midnight, quickly prepared for combat, and arrived at the home, which was the terrorists' safe house. We showed up at a residential building in east Jenin, which is home to families that are uninvolved [in the prison break].

"The first thing we did was to close and surround the building, covertly, especially since we had realized that innocent families were inside. We used small arms to fire shots at the walls, to make it clear to the terrorists that the army had them surrounded," S. explains.

PMW: Is the PA going to deceive the US into opening the PLO offices in DC?
Since its creation in 1995, the Palestinian Authority has created the most comprehensive system for funding, incentivizing, and rewarding terror and terrorism. As part of the policy that has been dubbed the PA’s “Pay-for-Slay” policy, the PA has paid billions of shekels/dollars/euros to terrorists and their families. According to Atef Abd Al-Gawad, an Egyptian journalist based in Washington, it is the PA’s terror reward program that is impeding the reopening of the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington.

The PA policy is divided, in broad terms, into two parts: PA payments to imprisoned and released terrorists, on the one hand; and PA payments to wounded terrorists and the families of dead terrorists (so-called “Martyrs”), on the other. The 2017 US Taylor Force Act provides that “The Palestinian Authority’s practice of paying salaries to terrorists serving in Israeli prisons, as well as to the families of deceased terrorists, is an incentive to commit acts of terror.”

Ignoring the fundamental demand that the PA must entirely desist from its terror reward payments, according to Al-Gawad “the entire issue is semantics” and all the PA needs to do to deceive the US, is re-name the payments as social security payments:
“The legal problem is that the American Congress is conditioning the reopening of the PLO office in Washington on the PA ending the [payments of] salaries to the young Palestinians who are carrying out suicide attacks – in Palestine they are called Martyrdom-seeking [operations]. These are the kinds of legal obstacles that are preventing [US President] Biden from reopening the office... The responsibility is laid on the Palestinians. The responsibility that these salaries won't be paid as “salaries” for Martyrs, but rather as compensation from the [PA] Social Insurance to the mothers and families of these fallen who are the young Palestinians. The entire issue is semantics.”

[Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, Aug. 21, 2021]

While some PA officials have previously attempted to explain the terror payments as “social welfare,” the unequivocal fact is that the payments have nothing whatsoever to do with social welfare.

First and foremost, the payments have no needs based criteria. The family of a dead terrorist receives a monthly payment that currently stands at 1,400 shekels ($432) per month, irrespective of the needs of the family.

Joe Truzman: The Surge in Militant Activity in the West Bank
The deaths of the militants mentioned above, including more than 40 Palestinians killed in a period of six months in clashes with Israeli security forces, have spurred armed groups to march openly in the streets calling for revenge.

Lastly, the escape of six militants from a high-security prison in northern Israel on Sept. 6 exacerbated the already unstable security situation in the West Bank. Factions held rallies in Gaza and the West Bank threatening a response if the escapees were harmed.

However, despite weeks of threatening rhetoric from militant groups, including a reported resurrection of the ‘Joint Operations Room’ of Palestinian factions in the West Bank, the last two remaining militants on the run were captured early Sunday by Israeli forces in the militant stronghold of Jenin, unharmed and undefended by Palestinian factions.

The surge in militant activity in the West Bank over the last six months has likely reached its peak with the capture of the last two remaining militants. A few rockets may be fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza out of frustration over the arrests in the coming days, but the success of Israeli security forces in capturing all of the militants alive and unharmed will likely have a stabilizing effect over the coming weeks in the West Bank.

Experts weigh in on the Biden administration restricting aid to Egypt
The Biden administration will withhold $130 million worth of military aid to Egypt until Cairo takes specific steps related to human rights, a State Department spokesperson has announced.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s move is a break with his predecessors’ policy of overriding a congressional check on military aid to Egypt. In the past, an exception was granted to free up Foreign Military Financing for Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government, worth $300m. this fiscal year, on the basis that it was in the interest of US national security.

The State Department spokesperson said in an emailed statement, “We are continuing to discuss our serious concerns about human rights in Egypt.”

The US has provided around $1.3 billion in foreign assistance to Egypt annually since the 2017 fiscal year, according to a congressional research report.

Sisi, who ousted the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, has overseen a crackdown on dissent that has tightened in recent years. Rights groups say tens of thousands have been detained, including Brotherhood leaders and secular activists.

Dan Kurtzer, who has served as US ambassador to Egypt and Israel, told The Jerusalem Post that aid to Egypt continues to serve US national security interests.

“It is particularly important today to reassure our allies and friends of the constancy of our relationships,” he said. “Continuing that assistance can accompany a robust dialogue with the Egyptians on human rights and basic freedoms.”
America Is Sending the Wrong Signals to Iran
A raft of foreign policy decisions since the Biden administration took office — some ill advised, some badly timed, and in some cases both — prompt a question I thought would never have to be asked: Do US foreign policy advisers know who their friends in this region actually are?

US allies and partners alike are puzzled. More dangerously, America’s enemies, who threaten regional stability, are empowered and emboldened.

Take the recent withdrawal by the US of its most advanced missile defense system and Patriot batteries from Saudi Arabia, a strategic partner. I am not sure if anyone in Washington has thought of it this way, but since Houthi terrorists in Yemen regularly and deliberately target civilian areas in the Kingdom, this is the equivalent of America denying Israel its Iron Dome technology while it was under attack from Hamas.

Even that comparison falls short of describing how inexplicable the US position is. The Houthis, whose official slogan is “Death to America” and who targeted the US Navy during the Obama era, have actually had their terrorist designation removed by the Biden administration (The claim is the removal helps facilitate the flow of aid into Yemen, strangely, aid still goes into Gaza despite Hamas remaining on the US terror list).

Of course, Saudi Arabia is fully capable of defending itself, as is its right. It has been remarkably successful in protecting innocent lives from most Houthi missiles and drones, all of them made or supplied by Iran. With those weapons, the Houthis do not hesitate to attack oil facilities, civilian airports, and Saudi cities.
New York Times: Slain Iranian Nuclear Program Mastermind Loved Poetry, Seashore
The New York Times on Saturday described the assassinated mastermind of Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program as having "wanted to live a normal life," someone who enjoyed poetry and spending time with family. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed last November in an operation attributed to Israel's Mossad spy agency.

Then-Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously shared intelligence about Fakhrizadeh's leading role in Tehran's development of an atomic weapon. A former brigadier general in the US-designated IRGC terror organization, he had been personally sanctioned by both the United States and United Nations.

Nevertheless, the "newspaper of record" highlighted Fakhrizadeh's love of driving through the countryside, prompting ridicule from many. Many pointed out that Iran has repeatedly threatened to fully annihilate Israel, and that Fakhrizadeh headed the initiative that could give the mullahs the means to actualize their genocidal ambitions.

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