Friday, February 09, 2024

  • Friday, February 09, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Guardian really wanted to write a story about IDF abuses resulting in gratuitous civilian deaths. They interviewed many IDF soldiers who spoke under the condition of anonymity because they aren't supposed to speak to the press. 

While the British newspaper tries to spin their statements as proving Israel's wartime practices are awful, when you read what they actually say, they prove yet again that the IDF is the most moral army in history - and it is The Guardian' reporting that is immoral.

For example, the  newspaper  says:
Some had not seen Palestinian civilians at all, passing weeks in Gaza without encountering anyone other than small bands of Hamas militants. Others said they had been in close combat almost every day and considered those civilians who ignored Israeli instructions to flee as complicit with Hamas and thus legitimate targets. Those interviewed also expressed sympathy for civilians and said they had tried to help them.   
When you read the details, you see that the "legitimate targets" part was made up by the Guardian:
Some of the soldiers said that they considered any civilian who remained in the combat zone after being warned to leave as complicit, and several described fighting Hamas militants in the upper stories of apartment blocks while families sheltered on the ground floor, or even in the same house.

“What am I going to think? That they’re not supporters of Hamas? What are they doing there then? We should ship them all to Yemen, if [the Houthis] like them so much,” a special forces soldier said.
The soldier didn't say that anyone attacked the civilians. He didn't say that they were legitimate targets. He only said they were complicit - and they almost certainly were. Providing cover for terrorists and seemingly acting as voluntary human shields sure indicates that.  But no one they quoted supports the assertion that the IDF considered them legitimate targets. The special forces soldier was frustrated because they were obstacles to achieving a military objective, not as a military objective themselves. 

If they were legitimate targets, they would have called in an airstrike or artillery round to blow up the whole house rather than engage in a dangerous firefight. These soldiers endangered themselves to avoid killing the civilians.

It is a Guardian lie.

In other sections, the Guardian bends over backwards to validate Hamas lies about casualties. The newspaper tries to understand why none of the many soldiers they interviewed saw any dead civilians:
Several veterans said they had not personally seen women or children killed or wounded, despite both groups comprising the majority of Gaza’s victims, which is possibly a consequence of most of these casualties being inflicted by long-range artillery or airstrikes some distance from most ground troops.

 “You do see a lot of dead Hamas fighters, or men anyway. I didn’t see dead children or women and that helped a lot,” the NCO said.

This indicates that Hamas is lying about the majority of the victims being women and children, a claim that has not been corroborated by a single non-Hamas source - yet that claim is reported as fact by anti-Israel media like The Guardian.

Similarly, the newspaper makes the unfounded "suggestion" that the IDF uses massive firepower unnecessarily, and this kills many civilians. 
The interviews suggest that the soaring civilian death toll is at least in part due to Israel’s use of massive fire power to limit its own losses.

Yet the soldiers they quote on that topic prove the opposite. 

One soldier from the special forces Duvdevan unit said his unit had only encountered Hamas militants on three occasions during six weeks in north Gaza, from where the majority of civilians were ordered to evacuate early in the war.

When asked what tactics the unit employed in such situations, the soldier laughed.

“There are no tactics. We take some fire and identify a target. For an hour we unload everything we’ve got, our own weapons, tanks, anything we can get. Then we advance and find dead terrorists,” he said.
[Another] described how a relatively light injury to a fellow soldier triggered a “massive response”.

“We just took down the whole area where we thought the shooter was,” he said.

Not one civilian was identified as being killed in these two testimonies - but the Guardian says that the huge response to Hamas attacks is responsible for civilian deaths. Without a single shred of proof.

Moreover, the paper implies that a "relatively light injury" does not merit a serious response. What should the IDF do, wait until a soldier is killed before shooting back? A terrorist has revealed where he is; any army would ensure that he is neutralized - and in an area where the civilians have evacuated, the proper response to minimize risk to soldiers is to destroy the building the shooting came from. That is proportional under international law

Nothing in the laws of armed conflict proscribe these actions. Every army would do the same thing.

The most outrageous part was when one soldier says that IDF troops died for no reason to make Joe Biden and Anthony Blinken happy:

Another special forces soldier said that advances were “done properly” during the early stages of the war.

“We had everything we needed and all in the right order. First airstrikes and artillery, then the tanks, and only then the foot soldiers. By the time we got somewhere, there wasn’t much left,” he said.

The soldier said that more recently, following US pressure to minimise civilian casualties, tactics had changed. “Now the infantry are going in alongside the tanks and that’s why they are getting killed,” he said.

IDF soldiers are putting themselves in danger, and being killed, to please the US. That is sickening and damning. 

Even though these soldiers were interviewed anonymously, not one of them gave any indication of the IDF not performing its duties properly, fully in accordance with the laws of armed conflict. (If one did, we know the Guardian would have featured that testimony in paragraph 1.) Clearly the newspaper was hoping to find soldiers among dozens interviewed who would angrily claim that his commanders or comrades were wantonly shooting women and children, as Hamas and Hamas supporters claim happens daily.

They couldn't find one. 

On the contrary, every single soldier verified what the IDF has been saying throughout the war. In a place of chaos, where there are thousands of underground hiding places for terrorists, where civilians and civilian objects are cynically used by Hamas to protect terrorist lives, the IDF soldiers from all levels of the army all agree that they are performing professionally and superbly.

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Thursday, February 08, 2024

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Israel’s American frenemy
Some Bidenites clearly subscribe to the liberal fantasy that all conflict can be ended by negotiated compromise based on a universal drive for self-interest. Other members of the administration are viscerally hostile to Israel. Far worse, some of these have had links to Iran.

Last September, the news platform Semafor and the London-based émigré opposition outlet Iran International reported from thousands of leaked emails that Iran had infiltrated the Obama administration.

Three people in an Iranian network were aides to U.S. envoy Robert Malley, who was the point man on Iran under both the Obama and Biden administrations until he was removed last June following a still unexplained “mishandling of classified material.”

The leak also revealed that more than ten Iranian analysts in Western think tanks, including Ali Vaez and Dina Esfandiary—two employees of the powerful International Crisis Group—were part of an influence network called the Iran Experts Initiative formed and guided by Tehran.

Last week, Iran International and Semafor further reported that, during the Obama administration, the Crisis Group formed a secret alliance with Iran which used it to lobby the U.S. government throughout the negotiations leading up to the 2015 nuclear deal.

In 2002, Malley founded and directed the Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Program. After being appointed in February 2014 to the National Security Council’s staff under the Obama administration, he left the group but continued to use Vaez to send messages to Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Zarif, and sent Vaez to Vienna to meet Iranian officials. In January 2018, Malley became the Crisis Group’s president and CEO.

The leaked materials showed that within a month of his return to government in 2021, Malley helped infiltrate Ariane Tabatabai, who was associated with the Iranian network as an agent of influence, into the U.S. State Department to assist him in his negotiations with Iran.

Tabatabai then moved to the Pentagon, where even today she still serves as chief of staff to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations Christopher Maier—what’s more, in an office that oversees hostage recovery.

Anti-Israel protests against Biden have given the impression that his administration is on Israel’s side. America’s Jewish leaders need to start telling the American people that “Genocide Joe” is putting the United States and the West at ever greater risk and is actually helping those who intend the genocide of the Jews.
The Fraudulent Case Against ‘Violent Settlers’
U.S. officials are using pro-Palestinian NGO sources to back a controversial effort aimed at punishing the Jewish state. In November, a month after Hamas terrorists murdered 1,200 Israelis and kidnapped hundreds more, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog attended a meeting on Capitol Hill. Instead of focusing on Hamas or Hizbullah, the lawmakers, including senior-ranking senators from both parties, wanted to focus on the risks posed by roving bands of allegedly violent settlers in the West Bank.

Much of the information they were citing came from a single, ostensibly impartial source: Lt.-Gen. Michael R. Fenzel, who currently serves as the U.S. security coordinator to Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC). The USSC is well-known for its regular briefings and reports about "extremist settlers," which it provides to members of Congress. According to sources in and out of the U.S. government familiar with Fenzel's reports, nearly every claim presented as fact seems to have been lifted directly, sometimes verbatim, from the websites of highly partisan pro-Palestinian organizations.

In the past 12 months, 13 Israelis were murdered by Palestinians in Jerusalem and 17 in the West Bank - not counting those slaughtered on Oct. 7, 2023 - while doing nothing more provocative than driving home or stopping for gas. The number of Palestinian civilians who have been killed by Israelis under such conditions over the same time period is zero. But the story the administration has been telling anyone who will listen is very different.

By scrubbing any mention of the daily violence directed by Palestinian terror operatives against Jewish civilians living in the West Bank from his reports, Fenzel has eliminated the clear retaliatory motive for the vast majority of attacks by Israelis against West Bank Palestinians. Thinly laundered reports from expressly anti-Israel organizations, designed to support an illusion of innocent Palestinians being violently attacked by bloodthirsty Israelis, paint a picture of an Israeli equivalent to the Palestinian atrocities of Oct. 7, lending itself an easy "both-sides" posture.

The Biden administration wants to isolate so-called "extremist settlers" as a major threat to regional stability. Biden's new executive order says they constitute "a serious threat to the peace, security, and stability of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, and the broader Middle East region...[and are] threatening United States personnel and interests." Palestinian terrorism regularly attacking Israelis in Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem, and elsewhere went unmentioned.
A Proportionate Response
In the summer of 1982, Israel was strategically bombarding a besieged Beirut to uproot the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which had long terrorized the Jewish state from its northern border. During the siege, Shlomo Goren, Israel's chief rabbi and a supporter of the war, declared that Jewish law required Israel to allow combatants and noncombatants to flee Beirut.

The great medieval scholar Maimonides had codified a Talmudic opinion that the "fourth side" of a besieged city must remain open as an evacuation corridor. Doing so gives combatants an incentive to flee; otherwise, they might fight to the finish, at great cost to both sides. The Israeli army agreed and left open two major escape routes from Beirut. The IDF had no interest in the PLO terrorists fighting to the last man. Goren would deem this gesture a prime example of how Judaism can teach the world how to fight wars ethically.

Since Hamas' brutal Oct. 7 attack, Israelis are united in believing that the country must remove the threat of Hamas from its border. Yet they have not opposed their government's attempts to forewarn Gazan civilians of impending attacks, or to create evacuation corridors from neighborhoods in which Hamas embeds its fighters. Israelis want to minimize noncombatant casualties. The Jewish state's enemies target its citizens, but Israel will not respond in kind.
  • Thursday, February 08, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
One of the most effective propaganda techniques used against Israel is "thinking past the sale." 

Instead of arguing the technical points accusing Israel of "genocide," which is absurd, they make people think the question of genocide has already been decided and to think "how can we punish Israel for this crime that everyone knows it is guilty of?"

So demanding, for example, that FIFA ban Israeli football is an effective form of propaganda. The coverage does not include any discussion about whether the genocide libel is true so casual observers assume the matter is settled - and we are only discussing the penalties to be meted out on the guilty party.

There is very little room to counter the lie because the lie is implicit in the discussion. The entire question creates its own framework ("Should Israel's genocidal actions result in its expulsion, or not?") where the assumptions are assumed to be true, and engaging in the discussion means one is already accepting the premise.

People need to learn how to know they are being manipulated, because there is no easy way for pro-Israel voices to counter this insidious propaganda method.

By the way, the West Asian Football Association demanding FIFA ban Israel includes the UAE and Bahrain. Jordan is leading the effort.

(h/t Yoel)

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Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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Rafah, February 8 - The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees announced today a raft of measures to meet the challenges inherent in the organization losing much of its budget by the end of this month because of ties to terrorism, measures that will include an event or series of events in which Gazans will prepare cakes, pastries, and other confections, and market them to passers-by, with the proceeds helping to cover some of the hundreds of millions in shortfall. The supplies for the event will come from the organization's own Hamas-run warehouses, where the goods are kept safe from the Gaza residents who might otherwise obtain them for free, as intended.

The United States, the European Commission, Austria, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Australia, and Lithuania, among others, declared a suspension of funding UNRWA unless and until the body undergoes an overhaul of its policies, culture, and procedures, in the wake of damning evidence that not only did some UNRWA staff participate in the atrocities of October 7 last year, numerous employees have direct Hamas associations, with half the workers connected to the terrorist group through family. Video and documentary evidence also shows that thousands of UNRWA teachers, for example, celebrate terrorism, and that nothing the organization does in the Gaza Strip can happen without approval and direction from Hamas itself, which appropriates aid goods and funds for its own purposes.

Analysts see the bake sale announcement as an extension of existing Hamas-UNRWA practices. "The UNRWA-provided foodstuffs are meant to be distributed to Gaza residents," explained Matan Shetten of the RAND Corporation. "But no one gets it free except the well-connected among Hamas itself. Everyone else has to buy it. It's even sold at retail in supermarkets. So what we have here with the bake sale is more of the same: Hamas-UNRWA extracting every last shekel from ordinary Palestinians, and letting only the barest amount of aid of any kind trickle down to the people."

"Who's going to buy the cakes - Egypt?" he continued. "No, the only people in Gaza are Gazans; Israeli soldiers, who wouldn't be interested; and Israeli hostages of Hamas, who have no access to the bake sale or money with which to buy anything. That just means more money siphoned away from the people who need it most."

A spokeswoman for UNRWA continued to insist today that every bag of flour is strictly audited and controlled.

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From Ian:

Amb. Alan Baker: The Two-State Solution: Nothing More than Wishful Thinking
The hopeless, corrupt, failed, and incompetent Palestinian Authority is no more capable of administering Gaza than it has been capable of administering the West Bank areas.

One wonders how and why serious international leaders continue to spout the absurd "two states" cliche as if it were a sort of magical panacea that, if repeated often enough, will somehow magically move out of the sphere of wishful thinking. It is inconceivable to imagine that a viable, peace-loving Palestinian political entity could materialize out of the present Middle East realities.

The idyllic vision of "two states living side by side peacefully" has never in fact been agreed to by the involved parties themselves - the Palestinians and Israelis. On the contrary, as agreed in the still valid Oslo Accords, the permanent status of the territories remains an open negotiating issue.

The accords make absolutely no mention of any Palestinian state entity. As such, repetition of the call for a "two-state solution" both prejudges the potential, future outcome of a permanent status negotiating process and seriously underestimates regional realities.

Clearly, a two-state solution could not be imposed on unwilling parties. It could only emanate from a negotiated settlement between Israel and a unified, fully representative, responsible, and capable Palestinian leadership, and not a conglomeration of terror groups.

A politically and economically unstable and non-viable Palestinian entity would represent an open invitation to more Iranian meddling and intrusion in much the same way as is occurring in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. This would constitute a constant and even greater threat both to Israel's security, as well as to regional and international stability.
Daniel Greenfield: Rewarding the Oct 7 Massacres With a ‘Palestinian’ State
What do you get when you massacre over a thousand people, rape, behead, torture and kidnap everyone Jewish, Christian or non-Arab in sight? International diplomatic recognition.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken has reportedly begun conducting a review of options for recognizing a ‘Palestinian’ state after the war. The State Department has claimed that there are no policy changes, but that may be yet more diplomatic doubletalk.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, brought in after PM Rishi Sunak ousted Minister Suella Braverman for speaking out against the pro-Hamas rallies, published an op-ed calling for a “pause” in the fighting, exchanging Israeli hostages for captured Hamas terrorists, and providing “safe passage” to “key Hamas leaders” and “the people responsible for October 7” to leave Gaza. After that he announced that his government might recognize an Islamic terror state.

“We – with allies – will look at the issue of recognising a Palestinian state, including at the United Nations,” he claimed. “That could be one of the things that helps to make this process irreversible.”

Why the urgent need for the “irreversible” recognition of a terror state?

According to Cameron, “we must give the people of the West Bank and Gaza the political perspective of a credible route to a Palestinian state and a new future.”

The “people” in question have already been polled on what they want from the future.

A poll found that 74% of ‘Palestinians’ supported the Hamas atrocities of Oct 7 and a majority “extremely” supported them. Only 12% were against. 83% of those in the West Bank, under the Palestinian Authority and the immediate beneficiaries of statehood, supported the crimes.

98% in Gaza and the West Bank said that they felt ‘pride’ as ‘Palestinians’ over the war. 74% expected the fighting to end with the defeat of Israeli forces in Gaza. Only 17% supported a two-state solution while 77.7% wanted to destroy Israel and replace it with a ‘Palestinian’ state.

This is what supporting the “Palestinian people” with a “Palestinian state” really means.
Seth Mandel: Can Biden and Blinken Stay Out of Their Own Way?
After his prepared remarks, Blinken was asked by an Al-Jazeera reporter: “Is it in any way acceptable to the U.S. for Hamas to be playing a role in governing Gaza in a day-after scenario?”

Blinken gave a one-word answer: “No.”

He also repeated throughout his remarks that it was his job to help construct a path toward a better Middle East but not to tell Israel what to do.

The upshot of all this is that Blinken clearly used his meetings and his public remarks today to try to reset the vibe after getting on the Saudis’ nerves yesterday and earning a public rebuke. He did not frustrate his hosts today.

Indeed, Netanyahu sounded a triumphant note in his own presser. Hamas’s latest counteroffer in the hostage talks was dismissed by Blinken several times today as a “nonstarter,” so Netanyahu was unburdened from the perception that he’s the intransigent party.

“The victory is within reach,” Netanyahu said, referring to Israeli forces’ continued gains in the Hamas stronghold city of Khan Younis. Throughout his comments, Netanyahu returned time and again to an important point: The only message that matters right now is “Hamas must go,” because any wavering on this—especially, though he did not say so explicitly, by the U.S.—makes postwar planning impossible.

This is key. If regional actors—the Saudis, Egypt, Jordan (which has a large Palestinian population)—think America is wavering on the total defeat of Hamas and the expulsion of its leaders, they simply won’t commit to facilitating the transition in Gaza. Nobody’s going out on that limb if they think there’s a chance Biden will cut it down. Nor would they want to commit manpower to any civil administrative role if they think they’ll “get a bullet in the head” from remnants of Hamas left behind, as Netanyahu put it today.

The same is true for any Saudi normalization deal with Israel, since Hamas has shown it can torpedo any progress at will. “There will be no agreement if Hamas is not defeated,” Netanyahu said.

The postwar goals that are so dear to the Biden administration are only possible if a united front leads to complete victory. Every day that is spent by Biden or Blinken sowing doubts about Israel’s mission or showing impatience is a day spent undermining normalization and obstructing any path to Palestinian self-determination. Israel is currently in the process of removing the roadblock to the Biden administration’s wish list.

The schizophrenic policy whereby the White House impedes the fulfillment of its own demands is wearing out its welcome. Today Blinken’s message was clear, and it was in line with the intent of our Mideast allies. But those allies need to believe the same will be true tomorrow, and the day after that.
  • Thursday, February 08, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
Dr. Ahmad Shahrouri, a sharia professor at Al-Zaytoonah University of Jordan, writes in the Albosafa news site that Jordan is in a war with the Jews.

Since Jordan and Palestine were oppressed under what they called the British “mandate,” our region has never been well, and the evil shown in the Balfour Declaration was perpetuated. The British Foreign Minister gave Palestine a gift to the Jews to establish their religious state on it, so that one of the lungs of the Jordan River could breathe carcinogenic oxygen, and the other would get cancer due to the neighboring environment. 

To know, O Jordanian, that you are threatened by the prophecies of the Torah and the Talmud, and that the Jews have an open appetite to swallow up your land at their appropriate time, is half the recipe for your true independence, and the other half is to live through the calamity and appreciate it as it deserves, and to spend the hours of your life anticipating an affliction that you should not surrender to if you are sane.

 A nation whose enemy displays a map of his state, which includes the east and west of the Jordan River, and who for decades has been declaring while heading to visit our land that he is heading from the liberated Land of Israel to its occupied land, what more proof of the disastrous truth needs than to condemn its enemy from his own mouth? Is it not pedantic to then accuse us of being conspiracy theory lovers?

...Gentlemen, we are in a real battle, in which the Jews are not our primary enemies. We are in a battle with our selfishness, with the lusts of publicity within us, with the absence of awareness from our intellectuals.
Our battle with the Jews will not be victorious until we defeat their agents who stand as a stumbling block in the way of the entire nation’s liberation from slavery to them and their whims. Jordan will remain threatened until rational people know that its arena and the arena of Palestine are one, one in danger, one in fate, one in victory, or defeat, God forbid.
It's funny that he accuses Israel of printing maps including Jordan as part of Israel. Because in 1964, Jordan published this map of Jordan on a stamp:

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  • Thursday, February 08, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon

The reporting on Hamas' absurd ceasefire demands can only be described whitewashing a terror group.

As I reported yesterday, Arabic media described the offer in detail. It included bringing things back not only to how they were on October 6, but to improve the ability for Hamas to plan and stage further and deadlier attacks than October 7 even before the hostages are all released.

Their demands included:

- Hamas stays in full control of Gaza (so it can stage attacks in the future)
- No restrictions on imports to Gaza (including weapons) even during the first phase of the swap
- No restrictions on travel to and from Gaza (including terrorists) during the first phase of the swap
- Immediately banning Jews from visiting Judaism's most sacred spot
- 500 of the prisoners to be released would be those with life sentences or other very long terms - meaning, the worst murderers and terrorists must be allowed to go free. 

All of these demands (except the release of the worst terrorist prisoners) were to be implemented immediately or during the first phase of the swap while most of the Israeli hostages would not be released until the second phase. 

The news media reviewed the same document I did. Yet they ignored nearly everything Hamas demanded outside hostage-for-prisoner swap framework.

Many reports quoted Anthony Blinken as saying that some of Hamas' demands were clearly  "non-starters" but no Western media I could find reported on what those non-starters were.

The New York Times characterized Israel's rejection of these terms as "Netanyahu Spurns Hamas Offer for Gaza Cease-Fire." It completely ignored the details I wrote above. And the only "experts" it quoted were a Hamas leader abroad and an Israeli expert who said this is the best Israel will get so it should take the offer.

Reuters wrote a specific article with what it said were the details of the plan - and didn't mention anything listed above. 

BBC relied on Reuters to report on the demands, not bothering to use its many Arabic speaking employees to report on the plan directly.

AP didn't report on the details as far as I can tell, and characterized Netanyahu's rejection as a "snub" in its headline.

CNN read Hamas' absurd terms and didn't report on anything I mentioned.

Financial Times and others again ignored the details that shows Hamas' plan is absurd.

Al Jazeera gave a few more details, including the demand for the 500 of the worst terrorists to be released and the ban on Jews on the Temple Mount (" Israeli settlers stop attacking Al-Aqsa Mosque.") 

There is clearly a mindset among the mainstream media to soften and whitewash Hamas' image. They are eager to report Netanyahu's demand that Hamas be utterly destroyed as evidence that he is the one who is delusional, but they actively hide Hamas' actual delusional demands.

Hamas' ides of a ceasefire is to make every day October 6, where it can choose to attack at any time for any reason. There is not one word in the Hamas proposal that contradicts Hamas' Ghazi Hamad's statement that Hamas intends to mount October 7-style attacks "again and again" in the future.  Good luck finding any Western media outlet that mentions that.

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  • Thursday, February 08, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon

Ronen Tal in Haaretz writes that Eurovision will become an anti-Israel circus if Israel sends a contestant, and it is better not to feedthe months of hate that will inevitably come:

Between now and May 7, when the first semifinal is held, the protests against us will continue to mount and spread much further, while now they are still mostly limited to the Nordic countries. Representatives from various countries will pull out in protest over the scenes of destruction in Gaza (some of them will be replaced other singers who are willing to risk being subjected to cancellation.) The pressure on the European Broadcasting Union, which has so far supported Israel, will become a raging tsunami of threats and counter-threats. If we take part, the entire competition will become a huge anti-Israel display that will do no one any good, certainly not Israel.

Israel should pull out of Eurovision ...even if it's perceived as an act of surrender to the Roger Waterses and John Cusacks of this world. A decision to withdraw would nullify the scandal before it really got started and completely took over the competition.

The immediate audience of Eurovision fans – loony progressives with an abiding nostalgia for sequins – is incapable, and not the least bit interested, in giving us a genuine opportunity to prove the rightness of our position. This battle needs to be waged in the UN and the Hague, not at a singing competition without an orchestra. Aside from national pride, and a childish fear of looking childish and defeated, there is really no reason to drown in the humiliation waiting for us in Sweden.

There is an appeal in this argument. Why consciously put Israel through months of hate?

Tal's right that Eurovision will become a platform for lots of loony anti-Israel performative pretense of morality. But he's wrong that Israel should withdraw.

One reason is that the world is filled with anti-Israel rhetoric anyway. Staying away will not reduce it.

A second reason is because when people and organizations cave to anti-Israel pressure, it never decreases the hate. On the contrary, it is blood in the water for the piranhas.  Success at forcing Israel out will result in a redoubling of effort to force Israel out of every sporting competition, every chess competition, every math Olympiad, every international event.  

The third reason is actually one of Tal's arguments itself: let the haters leave the competition, not Israel. Let them refuse the honor of representing their countries. If entire countries withdraw, then they look like idiots to their citizens who are fans of the show. And if the news stories go towards unhappy fans missing out on cheering their country - and Israel haters trying to bully singers and countries to boycott it - that would be a good outcome. The boycotters would look stupid on the world stage. 

I don't care about Eurovision for a minute. But the downside for Israel not participating is far greater than any downside from taking part. 


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Wednesday, February 07, 2024

From Ian:

Stop pursuing a Palestinian state and start pursuing peace
A quote often attributed to Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If this is true, then the American government, the British government, and the European Union are insane.

Last month, it was reported that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken ordered an examination of the possibility of America recognizing a Palestinian state following the current war between Israel and Hamas. Separately, British Foreign Secretary and former Prime Minister David Cameron stated that the UK could recognize a Palestinian state even in the absence of a negotiated agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. And Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell has been emphatic in his support for the creation of a Palestinian state ever since the Hamas massacre of October 7.

Are these supposedly intelligent people living on another planet?

The US and the entire Western world has relentlessly pursued the creation of a Palestinian state for over three decades now, without taking into account Britain’s offer to create an Arab state in most of the land of Israel in 1937 and the UN’s attempt to partition the land into a Jewish and Arab state in 1947. And all they have to show for their efforts is death and mayhem.

Any hope of a Two State Solution died when Yasser Arafat, instead of putting in the minimum effort to create the institutions necessary for a functioning state or to prepare the Arabs living under his rule for statehood or to live in peace, created a corrupt kleptocracy, stole billions in foreign aid from his own people, created an entire culture of incitement to murder, and chose terrorism and the mass murder of innocents as his modus operandi. Had he accepted the generous offers of statehood presented to him by Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton in 2000 and 2001, it is unlikely he would have been capable of effectively governing such a state.

The final nail in the coffin of the Two State Solution occurred when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2006, shortly after Israel withdrew not only its entire military forces, but all of its civilians, from the coastal enclave. Rather than make anything productive of Gaza or work for the well-being of the people living there, every action Hamas has taken for the last two decades has been in service of its genocidal intentions for the Jewish people.

Bret Stephens: Settler Colonialism: A Guide for the Sincere
Settler colonialism is often denounced in anti-Israel polemics and protests. But if settler colonialism needs to be eliminated, why not get rid of all settler colonialism? That would start with the U.S., which began as a settler-colonialist enterprise under British, Dutch and Spanish rulers, and continued as one under American rule. This also includes Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

To say that Israel alone must be eliminated on grounds of settler colonialism while giving a pass to other cases of settler colonialism is a double standard that is hard to describe as anything but antisemitic.

It's odd that the ethnic group that is today most vociferously accused of settler colonialism is the one that can unmistakably trace its language, culture and religion to the same places which it now inhabits and governs. Virtually every Israeli can read Hebrew inscriptions on Jewish coins found in archaeological sites throughout Israel dating back more than 2,000 years.

Jewish nationalism - Zionism - is the oldest continuous anticolonial movement in history, starting well before the Romans sought to de-Judaize the area by calling their colony Palestina. Hanukkah, the festival of lights, celebrates the recovery of Jerusalem from colonizing Greeks in the second century BCE.

In the final analysis, Israel is justified by being a sovereign state that commands the loyalty of its citizens. Ditto for the U.S. and every other state, whatever the nature of its origins.
Fetterman balks at two-state solution push if Hamas isn’t ‘effectively eliminated’
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) on Wednesday dismissed the notion of advocating a two-state solution that involves Hamas remaining in control of Gaza.

Fetterman made the comments at a press conference at the Capitol while standing alongside members of the Israeli Knesset and families of hostages being held in Gaza. The Pennsylvania senator has been unapologetically vocal about his support for Israel since Hamas carried out its Oct. 7 attack, as well as his opposition to a ceasefire backed by progressives.

“I support a two-state solution as well,” Fetterman said at the press conference organized by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “But that is meaningless until Hamas is effectively eliminated because Hamas disavows and rejects a two-state solution.”

The comments come two weeks after Fetterman and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) were the sole Democrats not to co-sponsor Sen. Brian Schatz’s (D-HI) resolution reiterating that U.S. policy favors a two-state solution for Israel and Gaza.

Disclaimer: the views expressed here are solely those of the author, weekly Judean Rose columnist Varda Meyers Epstein.

Robert Werdine was my friend. He was also a Rhodes Scholar, historian, ardent defender of Israel, serious music lover, and a devout Muslim. Robert died too soon from complications of diabetes and was buried as a Catholic, his father’s faith, but he was undeniably Muslim. Through our three years’ worth of correspondence, Robert left me with a wealth of material on Islamic thought as it relates to Jews, Judaism, and Israel. These were subjects he cared about and wrote about, but never published.

More than once, Robert alluded to being in bad odor with certain family members over his stance on Israel. He detailed an incident in which his uncle, a member of Hamas, roughed him up when he found out that Robert was writing blogs at the Times of Israel, an Israeli publication. Which is actually how I met Robert. We were both blogging there in 2012, the year that TOI was launched.

Robert also mentioned that his mother was afraid for him to say in his blogs that he was a Muslim. She didn’t know what, if any repercussions there would be for him, and for the family as a whole. After some back and forth, Robert’s mom came to see it his way, and agreed that he should no longer hide his Muslim identity or his strong affection for Israel.

Since Robert died in 2017, I haven’t known what to do with the prodigious material he sent me—brilliant material, meticulously researched. These papers should be published. And I believe that is why he sent them to me. He knew he wasn’t going to live much longer. I think he hoped I would do something with his work after he died. Yet, all this time I haven’t been sure I should.

I’m still not certain it’s the right thing to do—publish Robert’s work without his permission. But I think he felt he could not publish them while he was alive, and trusted that I would make a decision about what to do with his work, and that it would be the right decision. All of this came to mind last week during an exchange yet another confrontational antisemite on Quora.

The exchange began, as usual, with a “question” I was asked to answer, that as per usual, was some gross, not-so-thinly-veiled anti-Israel propaganda: “Why does Israel have the right to occupy land where the Palestinian have lived?”

This was my answer:

“Israel builds in very few areas where Arabs once might have lived. In those areas, the Arabs either left of their own volition, at the behest of Arab leaders preparing to extinguish the fledgling Jewish State, or the land was retaken during the course of a defensive war, in which case, it is perfectly legal.

“The Jews expelled from Arab countries were absorbed by tiny Israel, while the 22 Arab states in the region, which cover an enormous breadth of territory, refuse to absorb the Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 (and their descendants).

“It is normal for a population exchange to occur as a result of war. The shameful aspect of what happened here is the Arab refusal to absorb and resettle their brethren.”

Naturally, there were confrontational comments. One particular commenter, Esmailjee Mohamed Ali, wrote: "How can there be Judhas or Jews in Palestine when they lived in Europe for 2000 years from the time they were created by the Romans in 69BC.

It was from EUROPE after the Second World War, 5MILLION Judhas or Jews migrated to America and another 6Million was brought landed and in PALESTINE by the British Empire and the League of Nations on creating the State of Israel in 1948CE."

“It was the British Empire that was upto [sic] all the mischief. Allah wiped out the British Empire because of all their cruel acts. Today, unfortunately the PALESTINIAN PEOPLE are suffering at the hands of the Poor downtrodden criminals who came from EUROPE because of the British Empire.”

Well, I couldn’t leave that alone, now could I? So I said, “Funny, because that’s not what the Quran says,” said I thinking of all the Quranic references to the Bani Isra'il.

To which Mr. Ali took umbrage, responding, “Do not misinterpret the QURAN.”

As I am so often wont to do in these situations, I went to my Robert Werdine gmail folder to see what my dear late friend had to say on the subject. I was looking for what he had said about Muslims living under non-Muslim rule. Because really—why did the Arabs have to kick up a fuss over the establishment of the Jewish State or be in denial about Jewish history, detailed in their own holy book? The Arabs didn’t have to leave, nor did they have to “suffer” at the hands of the Jews. They could have—and would have—been perfectly happy and prosperous under Jewish rule. Instead they were turned—by their own people—into perpetual refugees, filled with hate and blood lust. And their own people didn’t—and don’t—want them.

None of this had anything to do with the British Empire. Nor did it relate to “downtrodden criminals from Europe” supposedly brought to the region by the Brits.

It had to do with Muslims who are ignorant of what their own holy books and commentators have to say on the subject. They should have stayed. They would have been free to practice their religion under the Jews, and they would have led happy, content lives. And of course, the October 7th Massacre would never have happened. What happened on that Black Sabbath was in fact, proscribed by Islam. 

I found what I needed in my “Robert Werdine” email treasure chest, and it was so perfect I quoted it word for word. I knew Robert would forgive me. And I never heard a peep back from Mr. Ali:

The Shafi’i jurist, Imam Abu Zakariyya Muhyi ’l-Din al-Nawawi (1233–1277) [stated]: 

If a Muslim is able to declare his Islam openly and living therein (in a land dominated by non-Muslims), it is better for him to do so […] because by this it becomes Dar al-Islam […] (Al-Nawawi, rawda al-talibin, (Beirut: Dar ibn Hazm, 2002), p. 1819)

Al Nawawi also stated: 

Where a Muslim is able to protect and isolate himself, even if he is not able to proselytize and engage in combat, in such case it would be incumbent upon him to remain in this place and not emigrate. For such a place, by the fact that he is able to isolate himself, has become a dar Islam

The opinions of al-Ramli, al-Mawardi, and al-Nawawi are all consistent with prophetic practice in the authentic Sunnah. Two Hadiths, one from Sahih Bukhari and one from Sahih Muslim attest that the prophet would refuse to attack any non-Muslim entity that allowed for the practice of the Muslim religion by Muslims living there. Here is the Sahih Bukhari (Vol. 4, Book 52, #193):  

Narrated Anas: Whenever Allah's Apostle attacked some people, he would never attack them till it was dawn. If he heard the Adhan (i.e. call for prayer) he would delay the fight, and if he did not hear the Adhan, he would attack them immediately after dawn.

Nawawi interprets the Hadiths as follows: 

In this narration is evidence that verily the call to prayer forbids invading (yamna‘) a people of that area, and this is an evidence of their Islam.

This is only one tiny fragment of the material I have from Robert. Some of what he wrote was conversational. I’d ask him questions, and he’d answer. Once, for example, I asked him how he felt about the word “Palestinian.” What did he, Robert, call the Arabs who call themselves “Palestinians?”

He wrote (May 20 2015), I'm not sure what to call the you-know-who. I call them the Nowhere People; they came out of nowhere and they're going nowhere, fast. I generally call them Palestinian, but I don't remember my grandfather using that term. He just called them Arabs and refugees. Probably "Arabs" is the best word to use, or Palestinian Arabs, either word refers to the customarily delusional, intransigent, and recklessly self-destructive people whose leaders will continue the long, hard slog of hatred, violence, and deligitimization of a people who have shown them more humanity and compassion than their own Arab brethren ever will.”

Robert knew more than Islam. He ate, drank, and slept history and was always happy to share with me what he learned—especially if there were a reference to Jews. On May 27, 2015, he wrote: “I’m reading Robert Markus’ biography of Pope Gregory the Great. What a phenomenal figure. He was almost an exact contemporary of Muhammad. Gregory was a great reformer. He also wrote a six-volume commentary on the Book of Job. He was a font of wisdom, integrity and able statesmanship. The chants that bear his name are the earliest music that is written on record, and still haunts the monasteries of Italy, France, and Germany. 

“He was also a great protector of the Jews. He forbade compulsory conversions that so many popes of the past had winked at, and he gave them full rights of equal citizenship—a true rarity in that day and age.  When he learned that the bishops in Palermo had appropriated the local synagogues, he ordered that they make full restitution. Here is what he wrote to the Bishop of Naples: 

“‘Do not allow the Jews to be molested in the performance of their services. Let them have full liberty to observe and keep all of their festivals and holydays, as both they and their fathers have done for so long.’’’ 

Sometimes I wonder what Robert would have said about October 7. I know that he was sickened by Arab terror against the Jews of Israel. On September 23, 2015, he wrote, “My mother and I were talking the other day about what it would be like for us to know that there were people living in the next county who would be only too happy to murder us and all our love ones, and celebrate the deed afterward. How could we help from hating such people filled to the brim with such murderous hatred for us, and who demonstrate such hatred in deeds of unmentionable horror day after day? It's a sobering thought to ponder.”

By ironic coincidence, on October 7 (!), 2015, he wrote to me in regard to the murder of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin in front of their four young children, one of them a four-month-old infant, only one week earlier:

“Your feelings after that savage murder of the Henkin couple are completely natural and understandable. How would any person of conscience react to an act of such naked savagery?  In their evil they could not be more evil. The hysterical glee that they show whenever Jewish blood is shed is like something out of a nightmare. The one, true accomplishment of the Palestinians is their societal normalizing of savagery as a virtue to be emulated: murders celebrated like weddings, streets and village squares named after suicide bombers. These people are sick. I mean: SICK.” 

People don’t believe me when I tell them about Robert. They think he was pulling the wool over my eyes. That he was deceiving me the Sunni Muslim way with taqiyya. But I know that he was good. And that the scholarly works he sent me should be read by more than one person (me). Robert did not agree with the idea of “Islamic reform.” He believed that the violent, Jew-hating form of Islam all too unfortunately practiced by too many Muslims the world over, was due to ignorance of what Islam actually preached.

Believe me, I am no apologist for Islam. But I also know that it doesn’t need to be practiced in the violent way it is currently practiced by way too many ignorant, blood-crazed cretins. I would like others to at least see and wrestle with Robert Werdine’s writings.

So now I would like to ask a question of regular readers of this column: would you like to read these works sitting and doing nothing in a Gmail folder? Shall I post them here in weeks to come? Or should I keep them hidden, buried away where no one will ever see them?

I honestly seek your opinions. And I’m guessing that Robert, were he able to weigh in, would hope that you’d view the idea with favor. He wished with all his heart that more people were open to the Islam that he saw and believed—an Islam that respects the rights of people of all faiths to follow their beliefs in peace.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!



  • Wednesday, February 07, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
From The Guardian:
A sociology professor sacked by the University of Bristol after being accused of antisemitic comments has won a “landmark” decision that he was discriminated against because of his anti-Zionist beliefs.

An employment tribunal ruled that Prof David Miller was unfairly dismissed, and that his “anti-Zionist beliefs qualified as a philosophical belief and as a protected characteristic pursuant to section 10 Equality Act 2010”.
Melanie Philips demolished this ruling. pointing out that Miller wasn't fired for his beliefs but for his actions. I just want to amplify one point.

The Equality Act says that religion and philosophical belief are protected characteristics. It explains:

The criteria for determining what is a “philosophical belief” are that it must be genuinely held; be a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available; be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour; attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance; and be worthy of respect in a democratic society, compatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.

The very irrationality of anti-Zionism was given as proof of it being protected, as the tribunal stated:
The claimant is and was a committed anti-Zionist and his views on this topic have played a significant a significant role in his life for many years. His views were deeply held and not amenable to change…

 That doesn't sound like something that is serious - it sounds like a religion.

And make no mistake: Miller is a crazed antisemite, not a thoughtful critic of Zionism. He has claimed that Jeremy Corbyn did the bidding of Zionists. He's said that Chabad-Lubavitch is "a supremacist organisation at the extreme end of the settler movement" that has created "settlements" in Palestine since the 18th century. He's said that "Jews," as a monolithic set of people, are " in a position to discriminate against actually marginalised groups." He conflated Jewish groups and Zionist groups in his feverish conspiracy diagrams showing "links" between Jewish organizations and the Israeli government, in ways that the Goyim Defense League would blush to publish.

The result of this ruling is that as long as someone could couch their rabid hate of Jews as a "philosophical belief," not only should they be tolerated but protected as if they were people of color or disabled.

One can be a committed atheist and not infringe on the rights of the religious. One can be a committed believer in climate change and not do anything that would damage the people who disagree. But by definition, anti-Zionism as a belief system conflicts with the fundamental rights of Zionists, and it actively seeks to destroy the rights of Jews to self-determination on their historic lands. 

David Miller should not be protected by the Equality Act. Jews should be protected under that act from the likes of David Miller.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!



From Ian:

Israel is winning
So, to review: just as the Israelis think they’re on the cusp of victory, the Americans are scrambling to reach a deal that would preserve Hamas, end Iran’s attacks on U.S. assets, and wrap up the war in time for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party to forget that Joe Biden sponsored an alleged “genocide.” The rest of today’s Big Story, on the U.S. play and how Israel is thwarting it, is lifted from an email from The Scroll’s geopolitical analyst, who asks to remain anonymous to preserve zir mystique:

“I think the assumption by U.S. planners was that Gaza would turn out to be a tar baby for Netanyahu. The strategic assumptions were therefore that after a few months Bibi would punch himself out, the Israeli offensive would grind to a halt. The United States would then take advantage of the resulting stalemate—which would also hopefully result in the collapse of Bibi’s coalition government and its replacement by a more pliant government led by the likes of Benny Gantz, Gadi Eisenkot, and possibly Yair Lapid—to pivot to establishing a Palestinian state, using the prospect of a hostage deal plus recognition by the Saudis as the carrots, and the threat of cutting off necessary U.S. munitions and U.S. diplomatic support as the sticks. The result would be a weaker, more pliant Israel surrounded by local Iranian clients, with Iran elevated to the status of America’s primary regional partner.

“All of these initial assumptions struck me as sound enough. Furthermore, the United States was no doubt encouraged by its interlocutors within the Israeli security and political elite and by its previous successes working with those interlocutors to bring the coalition’s judicial reform bill to a crashing halt. Just to make sure, the United States quickly imposed its own constraints on Israel’s war effort in exchange for diplomatic and military support—like mandating the resupply of food, medicine, and other necessities to Hamas, publicly engaging with Qatar to free hostages, making Israel responsible for civilian casualties while refusing to relocate Gazans outside of the Strip, and other measures whose effect was to limit Israel’s advantages and strengthen Hamas’ resolve. By tilting the playing field against Israel, the United States was essentially working to produce a stalemate, which it could then exploit for its own preferred ends.

“Initially, I saw plenty of evidence that the U.S. strategy was succeeding, from Yoav Gallant’s public statements about Israel’s need for U.S. resupply and the slow pace of Israel’s initial advances, to Israel’s seeming deference to U.S. wishes to not mention Iran or attack Hezbollah, to the relatively low Hamas casualty numbers relative to the size of their fighting force. By shaping the boundaries and nature of the fight, the United States was clearly gaining control over the likely nature of the result.

“Lately, however, the evidence I am seeing points in the opposite direction. I am seeing increasing Israeli success in killing more Hamas fighters and grinding down their ability to maneuver and launch rockets with diminishing Israeli losses. Even worse, from the U.S. perspective, is that it seems that Israel appears to have successfully innovated its way around U.S.-imposed constraints to arrive at more potent war-fighting strategies. The paradoxical result of U.S. constraints, which were meant to pen Israel into a cul-de-sac, is that they have led to the reduction of Israel’s dependency on the United States and therefore of U.S. leverage over Israel’s choices.

“That Gantz and Eisenkot are now attacking Bibi from the right, for letting too many supplies into Gaza, and that voices in Washington that were previously exulting in “Bibi’s failures” have fallen silent seem like clear indicators of which way the wind is blowing. Another indicator here is the publicly purported willingness of the Saudis to accept increasingly vague promises of a future Palestinian state in exchange for recognition of Israel in the present. The price is going down—not up.
Seth Mandel: Israel Is Nobody’s Proxy Army
The Iranian strategy appears to be based on Tehran’s previous ability to run U.S. troops out of the region, most infamously after the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut, which killed 241 Americans. But the differences between the two situations are more important than their similarities, and one hopes the Biden administration is aware of them.

President Reagan deployed U.S. troops to Lebanon in 1982 as part of a multinational peacekeeping force in the wake of the Israeli military campaign to push the PLO out of Lebanon. In September of that year, Lebanon’s newly elected pro-Israel President Bachir Gemayel was assassinated by Syria. Reagan informed Congress he was contributing 1,200 U.S. troops, at Lebanon’s request, and joining French and Italian peacekeepers, “to assure the safety of persons in the area and bring to an end the violence which has tragically recurred.” Chaos persisted, as did the U.S. troop presence, until the barracks bombing. Crucially, the administration removed the troops without hitting back at the Iranians’ chosen vessel for the slaughter, Hezbollah. “It is beneath our dignity to retaliate against the terrorists who blew up the Marine barracks,” claimed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Vessey, one of the most absurdly foolish statements ever given by a high-ranking U.S. security official.

But that strategic timidity was gone by the end of the Reagan presidency, which refashioned its approach to terrorism in a much more serious way once the president’s inner circle was fully rounded out with people who understood the importance of the state sponsorship that was fueling global terrorism.

Biden’s responses so far to the attack in Jordan may be insufficient, but the doctrine of nonresponse itself is fully discredited. The president is under pressure from members of his own party to restore deterrence. Further, while the Iranians may be encouraged by Biden’s catastrophic pullout from Afghanistan (as would be any enemy of the West), they appear to be guilty of projection: Israel is not America’s proxy militia, and it will not end this war simply because the secretary of state wants the war to end.

Nor will Israel shy away from war with Hezbollah if that is what is required to allow its citizens to live safely in the north. “War would not be good for Hezbollah—they know they will pay a heavy price,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told Jewish Insider. “But we mean to return our civilians to their homes either with a treaty or with force.”

The Iranians have learned the wrong lesson from 1983, and their best hope is that the Biden administration has done the same. But either way, Israel has agency here, and it intends to use it.
John R. Bolton: Is the U.S. Misreading the Middle East?
The idea of raising the Palestinian Authority from its ashes on the West Bank to govern Gaza leaves Israelis across the political spectrum speechless. The Washington Post's Ishaan Tharoor recently described the Palestinian Authority as "weak and increasingly unpopular" and a "sclerotic institution, riven with corruption" and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, as presiding "over his rump of a fiefdom like other Arab autocrats in the region, stifling civil society and repeatedly dodging calls for fresh elections." It defies common sense that such an entity should be entrusted with responsibility on the West Bank, let alone post-conflict Gaza.

With regard to the objective of full diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, before Oct. 7, Riyadh and Jerusalem were progressing toward mutual recognition, motivated by their shared view of Iran's threat, amplified by the palpable economic and political benefits likely after recognition. The current Gaza conflict has not altered those realities. Rather, Iran's "ring of fire" strategy against Israel has emphasized, not reduced, the congruence of Israel's and Saudi Arabia's national security priorities. The issue of Palestinian statehood will not be a dealbreaker for Riyadh.

Recognizing a Palestinian state before peace is agreed on with Israel only compounds the error. Such suggestions mirror Yasser Arafat's campaign in UN agencies to make "Palestine" a state just by saying so. They contradict years of U.S. policy, as well as the Oslo Accords, and will cause Israel to stiffen its resistance. This is no way to treat an ally gravely threatened by Tehran.

As for concerns about a "wider war," the U.S. and Israel have been in a wider war since Oct. 7. The real cause is unmistakably Iran. Until Iran stops interfering beyond its borders - stops arming, equipping, training and financing terrorist groups and stops seeking nuclear weapons - there will be no lasting Middle East peace and security. Iran does not and will not fear U.S. power until it pays heavily for what its barbaric surrogate Hamas unleashed four months ago, now joined in violence by Hizbullah, the Houthis and Shiite militias.
By Forest Rain

Iran 101: Into the mind of the enemy

Eliyahu Yossian is a man on a mission – waking up Israelis to the misconceptions that are endangering the survival of the Jewish State.

The path to a secure future necessitates changing the mindset that led to the disaster of October 7th. The same mindset that for the past 30 years has led Israel to “manage the conflict” rather than attain clear and decisive victory over our would-be murderers – although the State is much stronger and better equipped than in her early years.

“It all begins”, he explains, “with the way you perceive the world.” 

Eliyahu Yossian is a Jewish, Israeli expert on Iran. Unlike self-styled experts trained in Western think tanks, Yossian was born and raised in Iran, escaping the country to Israel as an adult. His expertise is a product of cultural immersion and continued training with Israel’s elite intelligence community – with one major difference between him and other experts: Yossian thinks like an Iranian.

Since October 7th, I've been following Eliyahu Yossian, attending one of his lectures and listening to others online. Initially featured on TV news panels at the war's start, he's no longer invited by mainstream (left-wing) stations. Yossian explains this shift, stating: “I dismantle their mindset and that makes them uncomfortable. Particularly the analysts and generals who have been presenting the same ideas to the public for 30 years. What are they supposed to do? Admit they were wrong? Regular people are a different story. They want to understand. They are willing to think differently.”

Yossian's focus is on Israel, yet his teachings, address the global threat of Iran and hold relevance for people worldwide.

The notion that "Everyone is the same. Deep down, and we all want the same things" is a fundamental misconception.

Yossian starts his lecture by highlighting the ignorance embedded in the first part of this idea. We are not all the same. Israeli society which is mostly liberal, and secular (Western/global) is very different from that of Iran. The simplicity of the examples he uses highlights how deeply embedded these differences are.

Body language:
He began by asking volunteers to demonstrate how they count to five on their fingers. Every person in the audience began with a fist and extended their fingers as they counted, ending up with an open hand. Then he showed us how he counts – beginning with an open hand and folding each finger to end up with a closed hand.
Who among us has ever taken the time to think about the implications this or any other culturally acquired gesture has on our mindset?

Speech patterns:
Next, he spoke about the difference in language patterns. In Hebrew, like in English, the action appears at the beginning of the sentence and the rest is detail: “I want to go to the store and get…” In Persian, the elaboration comes first. One needs to focus and read through all the details to get to the action. This small difference in syntax has huge significance when, for example, preparing and agreeing on the details of a contract. 

Conception of time and power:

“What is your favorite game?” Yossian asked the audience. All the answers were sports, measured by predefined limits in either time or points: soccer, tennis, basketball etc. He contrasted this with Iran's choice of chess and checkers, games without time constraints, emphasizing the goal of one side killing the other. In chess, the purpose of all the pieces is to protect their king and you win by killing the opponent's king. The king is the piece that moves the least. Yossian asks: “We’ve all seen world leaders fly to different countries for summits. Have you ever seen Iran’s rulers fly? They don’t. Everyone comes to them.”
While Westerners jump to action and want immediate results, the Iranian mindset is focused on strategic planning and moving others to create the desired outcomes.

In other words, “Everyone is the same” is a misconception based on a lack of knowledge about other cultures.

Next Yossian began to unravel the deeply ingrained Western assumption that all people have the same basic aspiration to live in comfort, take care of their family, and go about their business in peace. This assumption is an idea, not a fact, veiled arrogance that erases the possibilities of different value systems.

Yossian asks: “If I give 100 shekels to a capitalist and 100 shekels to a socialist will they use it the same way? The amount of money is identical. What is the difference between the two? The worldview of the person choosing how to use the money.

In other words: If we try to understand the enemy through our mindset, using our value system we will fail. The only way to be able to understand and correctly predict their actions is to respect them enough to learn their culture, mindset, and value system and see the world through their eyes.

1.       You can’t buy what the other party isn’t selling

Yossian asked how many people in the audience read the Hamas Charter. Or the Fatah Charter. Or the Hezbollah Charter. These terrorist organizations play major roles in our lives (or lack thereof) and yet few people have read their Charters, their Mission Statement. If you will, their user manuals.

Although there are differences in style between the Hamas and Fatah charters, they spell out the same goal. According to Yossian the Hezbollah charter is much more sophisticated in its presentation of ideas but it too spells out the same goal - extermination of the Jewish State.

Yossian asks: “Do they say what they want? Did they write it down? Do they act accordingly?”

I’m sure the same sick feeling of realization rose in the pit of every audience member that did in mine.

“So why,” he asks, “do we keep suggesting they want things other than what they say?”

Their mission statement doesn’t say that they want jobs, a better economy, or comfortable living. They certainly don’t say they want to live side by side with Jews. Why do “experts” keep assuming that offering jobs or economic incentives will change the way the believers in these charters behave? We keep trying to buy peace (or at least quiet, temporary pauses in conflict) but they aren’t selling peace or even quiet.

You can’t buy something that the other party isn’t selling.

Yossian explains: “The liberal secularist believes in individualism, seeks individual comfort, and believes that everyone else wants the same. No amount of money will buy away someone’s ideology. The Middle East is fueled by ideology based on theology. Here actions are dictated by God.”

In other words, when your actions are fueled by the belief that God demands that you kill Jews or at least support the killing of Jews, no amount of individual comfort or easy living will change the motivation to kill Jews.

Aryans, not Arabs

Iran, explains Yossian, literally means “the place where Aryans live”. Although Islamized, Iranians see themselves as Aryans, not Arabs, originating from the same tribe that split off centuries ago and eventually became the inspiration of the Nazis. This was not the first time I’d heard that there is a connection between Iran and Aryans but I had not heard it explained the way Yossian did. It seems that the historic connection is debatable but there is no doubt that the Aryan concept is deeply embedded in Iranian culture. Yossian presented numerous examples of this: poetry that describes Iranians as fair-skinned, with blue eyes and blond hair, and popular songs from before and after the Islamic revolution that praise and elaborate the importance of keeping their blood pure.

Listening to an American-sounding rap song, it would be easy to assume the music to be a sign of modernization and aspiring to be part of the Western world. The lyrics were a slap in the face. The song was an Aryan-supremacist declaration of hate against Afghan migrants in Iran, that they must be dominated, pushed out and most of all that Aryan blood must not be mingled with their inferior dirty blood.


The examples Yossian brought were the songs Iranian university students listen to in their nightclubs. Nightclubs seem very Western. Going to university seems very modern and familiar. The content is utterly foreign.

Yossian explains that the Aryan worldview dictates Iranian foreign policy. Other analysts explain Iranian relations with their proxies in complex geopolitical terms. Yossian cuts to the core principle that dictates decisions and actions: “For Iranians, Arabs are like a disposable cup. You drink from it and when you are done, you throw it away. You will never see an Iranian blow himself up on a bus. They have Arabs for that kind of dirty work.”

Allies and proxies

The Abraham Accords created an alliance of, what Yossian calls, “Semites against the Aryans”. Arab countries that don’t border Israel and don’t hold mission statements declaring they must exterminate the Jewish State could choose to ally themselves with Israel – not for love of Zion but for the fear of Iran.

Over many years, Iran has spread proxy tentacles across the Middle East, basically taking over a country every seven years. These are not allies because they are not seen as equal but rather tools to be used for Iranian interests. Yossian explains that Iran leverages ideology and historic feelings of being underprivileged and dishonored to motivate its proxies. Iran also invests enormous amounts in their education and training, playing the long game to grow local believers in their cause.

Various analysts have put forward different explanations for the October 7th massacre. Obviously, the potential normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia would ruin Iran’s long-term plan to dominate the Middle East. But why did Hamas attack alone when there could have been a much more devastating scenario of a coordinated simultaneous attack on all fronts – from Hezbollah in the north, the Houthis from Yemen, Arabs from the PA-controlled territories, and Israeli Arabs? These analysts say that Hamas chose that specific Saturday because the Nova festival was an easy, tempting target. Supposedly it was Hamas’s recklessness and desire for glory that led them to attack Israel alone. Hezbollah adamantly declared that Hamas didn’t warn them they were about to attack. Iran was supposedly very angry that Hamas ruined their plan.

To me, something about their anger seemed contrived. But who am I to say?

Hezbollah has been attacking Israel with missile and drone attacks, creating enormous destruction but nothing near what will happen when they fully join the war – something I have worried about since October 7th. When I asked Yossian why Hezbollah hadn’t joined the war more fully he said: “Shia doesn’t fight for Sunna.” Hezbollah has loyalty to Shia Iran, not to Sunni Hamas thus they can allow Hamas to do the fighting while symbolically showing their participation in the mutual goal of killing Jews. When I asked Yossian what will make Hezbollah go to all-out war he said: “When Israel attacks them.”      

Peace is not for sale in the Middle East. What do we do?

Common sense isn’t very common these days but Yossian’s logic is straightforward:

1.       We must understand that we are in the Middle East and learn to “speak the language”, i.e. deal with our enemies in terms that are meaningful to them (which might differ greatly from what is meaningful to us).

2.       Then we must stop looking for easy and fast solutions. There are none.

3.       Then we must strive for victory

We of the liberal-secular West idealize peace. The nationalist believers of the Middle East idealize victory. But even that is a term that has become ambiguous to Westerners. What does victory look like?

It’s not about shaking hands and making up. There is no pluralism in victory. Victory is when your enemy is so thoroughly crushed that they beg you for peace. Thoroughly crushed means you have taken away everything that the enemy cares about and are unquestionably the master of their future.

The only way the enemy will ever give us peace is if we are victors.

This concept is problematic for the liberal secular post-modern Westerner. It sounds extremist. Violent. Non-inclusive. Nationalist. And, in a way, that is correct. If my enemy believes that God told him to kill me and multiculturalism forces me to embrace his beliefs there is no way for me to defend my life, family, or nation. I prefer survival over multiculturalism. I choose my culture. My nation. My family.

A strong identity and belief in the righteousness of a cause carries nations through generations. Striving for personal comfort does not. The Jewish People survived for centuries not looking for comfort but by having a strong identity and believing in the righteousness of our cause: “Next year we will be in Jerusalem, rebuilt.” Jerusalem is irreplaceable. If we were looking for comfort, we could be next year in Berlin or California. The goal of rebuilding what is ours is transferred from one generation to the next – identity and connection to our ancestral homeland. This simple but powerful mantra holds the Middle Eastern map to victory – patience. If we don’t succeed this year, we will do it the next. Or in the next generation. Every opportunity we must do what we can.

This, says Yossian, is the answer. Teaching a strong identity, righteousness in our cause, and whenever possible, building. Where there is Jewish life, the enemy must retreat. Where there is Jewish life, we win. 

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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