Sunday, February 18, 2018

America: the Jewish diaspora story

The essayist Vic Rosenthal (creator of the blog, abuyehuda)has published an essay about a small Jewish community in California (“What happened to my home town”, abuyehuda, February 15, 2018). His story isn’t just about one small Jewish point within the vast American landscape. This story is, he says, a tale about Jewish diaspora. If he’s correct, it’s not a happy story.

He writes about Fresno California. Fresno has a population of perhaps 525,000. It doesn’t have many Jews—perhaps 1,000 Jewish families.  

 Fresno has one Reform Temple with about 300 families, a now-tiny Conservative synagogue and a Chabad house (ibid). The Jewish Federation of Central California is based there. 

Rosenthal spent the better part of his life in Fresno. During the time he was there, he became active in Jewish and Zionist affairs (ibid). He says he lived in Fresno 26 years before making aliyah (for the second time) in 2014.

He describes a growing anti-Israel attitude taking hold in Fresno.  During and after the Second Lebanon War of 2006 and the mini-wars in Gaza, he notes, there were anti-Israel demonstrations organized at first by “peace” groups. Then, led by activists associated with an ‘Islamic Cultural Center’, the anti-Israel protests attracted more and more Muslims (ibid).

Over time, the larger Jewish community in Fresno seemed to become apathetic about supporting Israel. He believes today that, as time went by, more and more of Fresno’s Jews seemed to become actively anti-Israel, especially after the election of Barak Obama.

In particular, the Reform temple in Fresno became less and less hospitable to pro-Israel presentations (ibid). A new rabbi took over in 2011.  On several occasions he wouldn't welcome speakers or films that presented a Zionist point of view because, he would say, they were “divisive” (ibid). 

Instead of supporting Israel, this Reform Rabbi emphasized interfaith activities. But he was selective about what he meant by ‘interfaith’.  He seemed not to include Fresno’s Evangelical community, which was, by the way, extremely pro-Israel. He appears to have associated instead with Fresno’s Islamic Center and with liberal denominations. He seemed quite proud of his “friendship” with the Imam of the Islamic Center. He even helped the Imam denounce alleged “Islamophobia”. 

Every year, the Fresno Jewish Federation, along with the community’s synagogues, organizes an Israel Independence Day event. This was typically held at the Reform Temple, the largest facility available.

This annual Israel Independence Day ‘celebration’ is Rosenthal's focal point in this essay. He wasn’t present during planning discussions (he lives in Israel) for the upcoming 2018 celebration. But he says he’s in contact with friends still in Fresno--and what they told him about what will happen at this year’s Israel Independence Day celebration shocked him.

It seems that the theme suggested by the planning chairperson (from the Federation) was, “A Free People in Our Land”. These words come from Israel’s anthem, “Hatikva”, which expresses the Jewish desire to be free once again, as Jews, in our own Holy land.

But such a theme was unacceptable to the Reform rabbi. He reportedly said that many in Israel were not free, most importantly himself. He said that in Israel he was a “second class” Jew who is “not free” to practice his religion (ibid).

This is absurd, Rosenthal says, because this rabbi can walk into any one of numerous Reform synagogues in Israel and practice his religion.

Worse, the rabbi objected to such a theme because celebrating “A Free People in Our Land” would upset his interfaith group (ibid). It might lead to a “huge outcry” in Fresno and possible protests at the gate of the temple!

The theme was changed to “People in Our Land.” Suddenly, a proud Zionist statement (A free people in our land) was converted into a celebration of multi-culturalism.

Rosenthal adds, the idea of observing Israel’s Independence Day without mentioning freedom or suggesting that the land belongs to the Jewish people is certainly original. This particular rabbi was always on the liberal end of the spectrum, Rosenthal says, but he couldn’t ever imagine this rabbi saying something like this even a few years ago.

This Fresno story, Rosenthal adds, illustrates the danger of “interfaith engagement”. This Reform rabbi seems to have abdicated his own identity as a Jew to appease a group that is implacably hostile to the Jewish state. 

The rabbi has let them dictate what Jews are allowed to say about the Jewish state.

How does this well-meaning “Jewish leader” serve his People? He doesn’t. He serves rather as a tool for those who hate Jews, Judaism and Israel. He facilitates the control of Fresno’s Jewish population by hostile others.

Rosenthal says this rabbi is a well-known figure in Diaspora history. At times, such individuals were merely targets for contempt. But at other times – such as during the Holocaust – they played more sinister roles.

Rosenthal concludes that this Fresno story is a classic Diaspora story. It serves as a lesson in Zionism. It teaches that the Jewish people need a sovereign state because they need to live somewhere they can actually be a free people, where they don’t have to worry about what an “Interfaith Alliance” might think about the theme of their Independence Day event.

In 2018, if things stand as they are now, Fresno’s Israel Independence Day celebration won’t be about Jews finally having their own, Jewish state. It will be a celebration of “People”.

You don’t need to wonder if this Fresno story will become your Diaspora story. Make aliyah. Then, you'll be free to celebrate Israel's Jewish Independence Day as it should be celebrated. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Israel's demographic time bomb didn't go away

(Note: the text size here has randomly shrunk (see below). I can't control it. Please forgive the erratic sizing here)

Can you describe a 'demographic time bomb'?  

One way to define a 'demographic time bomb' is to say that it refers to political consequences that appear ('explode') after one segment of a population has increased far faster than other segments.  

The 'demographic time bomb' idea postulates that a country's political reality will change forever whenever the size of one group grows large enough to have the most important say in running that country. The demographic 'time bomb' is said to explode when that country's rapidly-expanded group suddenly begins to flex its new-found 'muscle'. 

For years, Israel's Left has used this 'time bomb' idea to try to convince Israelis to sign up for a 'two-state' solution with an enemy whose only desire is to destroy us. The Left's argument was, the birth-rate among Israeli Arabs was so much higher than Jews that Jews are destined to become a minority in their own country (Jonathan Spyer, "Israel's  demographic timebomb", guardian, January 14, 2004). 

This argument became a Leftist tradition for Israel. It's intriguing for two reasons. 

First, by calling Arab growth a 'threat' to Israel, the Left undercuts its ideological commitment to do everything it can to help Arabs, not Jews. 

The Left claims it owns exclusive rights to being the one 'not-racist' group in Israel. But anyone who tries to scare Israelis with this Arab demographic time-bomb argument uses an argument that is both xenophobic and racist. If anything, it suggests that Israel's Left is racist and xenophobic.

The second reason this argument is intriguing is that, for Israel, it's false. Over the years, Israeli Arabs have increasingly experienced better living standards in Israel, as measured against Arabs living in Arab-ruled countries. Israeli-Arabs have responded to their increased wealth the same way everyone else in the world responds to increased wealth: their birth-rates dropped. 

As Arab birth rates have fallen, Israel's Jewish birth rate has increased. Today, Israelis and Arabs in Israel have app the same birth rates, and the Arab-Jew population split has remained pretty much at a 75% Jewish/25% Arab proportion for the last several years. 

There is no longer an Arab demographic time-bomb threatening Israel. However, this Arab -Muslim demographic time bomb issue hasn't gone away. 

It's moved. It's gone to Europe.

It's very difficult, if not impossible, to validate how many Muslims live in Europe. For one thing, the recent flood of Muslim immigrants entering Europe has never been counted. No one knows how many have actually crossed into Europe. Second, no one knows how many of these Muslim migrants have actually remained in Europe (Leo Hohmann, "Germany loses track of half its Muslim  migrants", wnd, January 21, 2016).

Worse, as Muslim migrants begin to have an increasingly negative impact on Europe's crime statistics, economy and welfare systems, there appears to be growing evidence that European governments might be doctoring migration numbers to show less Muslims in their countries, not more (Baron Bodissey, "Ten million Muslims in Germany?", gatesofvienna, December 12, 2016).

To understand the Muslim migrant impact on Europe--and how that impact relates to a 'demographic time bomb'--we need to establish first what 'Europe' we're talking about. You see, there appears to be at least five different 'Europes'.

-Western Europe
-The European Union
-A Europe that includes Turkey and Russia
-A Europe that includes Russia but not Turkey

The 'Europe' I'm going to talk about here is a fifth 'Europe'. This fifth 'Europe' is the one you've been reading about. This 'Europe' is made up of the wealthiest nations of Western Europe: Germany, the UK and France. These are the nations where ordinary citizens most commonly report feeling they're being 'overrun' by Muslim migrants.

My numbers below have been extrapolated from a number of sources. They tend to be higher than what you've read. But I believe they're more accurate than mainstream sources, because those sources have developed a reputation for under-counting Muslim migrants. I suspect my sources are more up-to-date and accurate.

For space purposes, I've had to shorten the spelling of 'Germany' and 'population'

Name -total popu-Muslim popu-%Muslim-GDP rank in EU

Grmny--82 million--  6.2 million---   7.5 percent -------  1st                    

UK      65 million     3.5 million       5.4 percent           2nd                   

France 66 million   5.8 million       8.8 percent            3rd                              

Totals --213 million--15.5 million--7.3 percent

Now, the number 7.3 percent isn't a big number. Even if the Muslim population percent number is closer to 8 percent, that, too, isn't a big number. Certainly, if a reader argues that my numbers are too high, and an average of 5.0 percent is closer to the truth, then we are really looking at Muslims representing a pretty small percent of total populations in these three countries. Such percentages--especially 5 percent--shouldn't be worrying, right? 

Are the Western populations of these countries simply being hysterical about Muslims when they report feeling 'overrun'? Are these populations simply racist?

The short answer is, there is a very serious reason for Western citizens in these countries to be worried about such small percentage numbers. In truth--if you can believe this--these percentage number are not small. They are, in fact, enormous. 

Here's why:

Until recently, conventional wisdom said that 10 percent of a population was needed to provoke a revolutionary change in a community. In a more academic way of putting it, "Once 10% of a population is committed to an idea, it’s inevitable that it will eventually become the prevailing opinion of the entire group" (Matthew Phillips, "Minority rules: why 10 percent is all you need", freakonomics, July 11, 2011). But that may be wrong. 

In fact, it has been proposed that the population number necessary to effect a revolutionary change may be as low as 3.5 percent. What's key is not the size of the group. The key to a group's success in provoking revolutionary change in a country is not raw population size, but persistence, commitment and sustainability of effort (Erica Chenoweth, "My Tedtalk at TEDxBoulder: civil resistance  and the 2.5 % rule", rationalinsurgent, November 4, 2013). More important still, at least according to Chenoweth (ibid), a group that's currently just 3.5%-of-total-population has the power to create revolutionary change without having to resort to violence (ibid). 

Chenwoeth claims she's got the research to back up her conclusions (ibid). 

If she's right, the news stories we read about Europeans worrying unnecessarily about their Muslim population are wrong. These stories all say the same thing: local populations in France, Britain, etc are consistently mistaken when they estimate how many Muslims are among them (Ben Kentish, "British people hugely overestimate the number of Muslims in the UK, says new survey", theindependent, December 15, 2016; Charlotte Mason, "France 'worst in the world' at guessing Muslim population",, December 14, 2016); "Germans greatly overestimate number of Muslims living in their country", dw, December 14, 2016).

The suggestion of these articles is that local populations in Europe are over-reacting to Muslims--and are causing themselves undue fear. But if Chenoweth (above) is correct, and less than 5 percent of a population is all that's needed to overturn a community regime, we might suggest that these over-estimations aren't over-reactions to a non-problem. They are, rather, intuitive or instinctive reactions to revolutionary changes building to a break-out point within their communities.

If Chenoweth is correct, Muslim population numbers in these, the wealthiest of EU countries, mean that the life-standards--and cultural norms--these nations have enjoyed for centuries may be about to change. This  Muslim demographic time-bomb may not explode when the percent of Muslims reaches 10 or 20 percent of total population. The percent number needed for a Sharia revolution in Europe may have already been surpassed ("Sharia police: Islamic law hanging over Europe", sputniknews, January 12, 2018). 

The fear of a Muslim demographic time-bomb, once used to try to stampede Israel into a bad peace agreement, has left Israel. But it hasn't disappeared.

It's moved to Europe ("The migrant crisis is a time bomb and will destroy Europe's high living standards", voiceofeurope",  December 20, 2017). Some now say that time bomb is about to explode. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Is democracy the first casualty in war on PM (update)

(Last updated: February 14, 2018)

Finally, after more than eighteen months of rumor, innuendo, media and political attacks against Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for alleged crimes and ethics violations, police tonight have made an announcement. They will recommend the PM be indicted for bribery and something called 'breach of trust'.

Of course, most of us understand that a recommendation to indict isn't the same thing as an indictment--and an indictment isn't the same thing as guilt. A recommendation to indict means that, supposedly, police investigators believe they have collected sufficient evidence to ask for an indictment. 

That's how a democracy works. Police investigate. Police recommend. The legal system decides what to do next. 

Like other democracies, this is exactly how Israel's law works. 

Unfortunately, not all Israeli politicians understand this most basic of civics concepts. Already, one politician from the far-Left Meretz Party has spoken out against Netanyahu--and reveals an appalling ignorance of how the law works--and how a democracy is supposed to work. 

The politician, MK Tamar Zandberg, has called on Netanyahu to resign because of the police announcement. She confuses 'recommendation' with 'go to jail'--and is quoted as saying, "A prime  minister goes to jail, this is a sad day for democracy" (Tamar Pileggi, "Opposition MK demands PA resign as police recommend indictment for bribery", timesofisrael, February 13, 2018). Therefore, she is quoted as saying, he should resign tonight (that is, immediately) (ibid). 

Netanyahu has not been indicted--as least, not yet. He's not gone to trial--at least, not yet. He's not been found 'guilty as charged'--at least, not yet.

In a democracy, a person is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. If Israel's Leftists--who love to cry how devoted they are to 'democracy'--really are devoted to 'democracy', they should be the first to demand that Netanyahu be given the same right as everyone else in Israel: he should be considered innocent until the courts prove otherwise. 

A 'sad day for democracy' (to quote the lady's words) occurs not when police recommend a PM be indicted (such a recommendation--and an indictment--could be political), but when a devotee of 'democracy' doesn't understand even the basics of 'democracy'. 

That's a very sad day for the survival of any democracy. To see a devoted, 'democracy'-loving Leftist use 'recommend to indict' as 'sent to jail' suggests that Israel's Left may actually have no clue whatsoever how a democracy works. 

This ignorance--and this Leftist attack on Netanyahu--suggests a question: could Israel's 'democracy' become one of the first casualties in what some call a war on Benjamin Netanyahu?

Stay tuned. This movie has just begun.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Is this war with Iran--or a dangerous chess game?

Two days ago, Iran sent a sophisticated drone into northern Israel. Israel shot down the drone. What happened next isn't exactly clear. But the bottom line that day was, Israel sent jets (and maybe missiles) deep into Syria to attack military sites Israel said were both Syrian and Iranian. Syrian (or Iran-manned) anti-aircraft sites shot down one Israeli fighter jet. The crew bailed out, landing inside Israel. Both survived. 

Now, we talk of war with Iran (Yaakov Katz, "The open war with Iran has begun", jerusalempost, February 11, 2018). Is this what's in our near future--war? Or, are we looking at a complex cat-mouse game; or, is what comes now a nuanced,  multilayered chess game playing out on a vast real-time game-board topography?

Take a look at the essay below. It's quite a read. It's by essayist Vic Rosenthal, called, "Our conflict as multiplayer 3-D chess". I found it at  the website abuyehuda on February 9, 2018. As you read it, think about what's been going on for the last year between Israel and Iran, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Syria and Hezbollah. My comments follow: 

"The conflict between Israel and her enemies is both like and unlike the game of chess.

In ordinary chess there are only two players, and their objectives are identical: to checkmate the opposing king. In the Jewish/Muslim conflict in the Middle East there are a multitude of players, each with its own objective. For example, Israel’s goal is to establish herself as a stable, peaceful country. The Palestinian goal is to replace Israel with an Arab state and remove the Jews from the land between the river and the sea. The Iranian goal is to eliminate an obstacle to expanding Iran’s area of influence throughout the region, and to become a hero to the Muslim world by defeating the Jews. And there are also Russians, Americans, Turks, and others playing.

Nevertheless, chess is a game of strategy based on war – simpler than reality although complicated enough –  so there are analogies that can be drawn.

For example, in the opening part of a game of chess, both sides jockey for position. Conflict is muted – a pawn here or there is traded, but the object is to arrange one’s pieces so that after the “middlegame” when the more powerful ones clash, the other side will be at a disadvantage, perhaps with holes blasted in the defenses surrounding its king, with parts of its army destroyed, and forced to constantly defend itself with no respite to develop a counterattack.

Israel and Iran are currently in the positional phase, “developing their pieces” in chess terminology, but make no mistake, what happens today is preparatory to a more violent confrontation. Iran (which did not invent chess but has been playing it since at least 600 CE) is acting systematically to prepare for the more violent middlegame. The Iranian regime is a better than average player.

Israel and the Palestinians are mediocre players, making many “rookie mistakes,” although the Palestinians play somewhat more competently than Israel. Both sides often act without sufficient consideration of the obvious moves that the other side will make in response. For example, in December of 1992 Israel expelled 400 Palestinians , mostly associated with Hamas, to Lebanon. Unfortunately, Lebanon refused to take them, and within a year all of the deported Palestinians had been permitted to return.

But that was a small mistake. The biggest and most damaging error made by Israel was the massive sacrifice offered in the Oslo Accords. It is sometimes advantageous to make an unbalanced exchange in chess, to give up an important piece in return for a great positional advantage or to make possible a “combination” in which the opponent can be forced to choose between unacceptable alternatives. Israel gave up an important piece when she allowed the dying, irrelevant PLO to come back to life, and to insert its cancerous cells into her body.

The sacrifice was supposed to bring about a change in the PLO’s objectives and to make peace possible. But it was based on a complete misunderstanding of the nature and motivations of Arafat and the PLO. The Palestinians accepted the sacrifice and ramped up terrorism and diplomatic warfare against Israel. At the same time, the PLO began its educational project which has borne fruit in today’s young “lone wolf” terrorists.

The biggest Palestinian mistake has been to never accept Israeli offers of a state, even with restrictions on militarization and lack of a “right of return” for the descendants of 1948 Arab refugees. A Palestinian state, no matter how limited, would have greatly improved their strategic and diplomatic positions, and given them time and space to prepare to strike at the heart of the Jewish state. Their ideological dogmatism prevents them from playing an innovative game.

In chess, both sides start almost even (White has a slight advantage from moving first). By 1993, Israel had developed a great advantage over most of its opponents. But much has been lost from a series of blunders, particularly Oslo and the withdrawals from South Lebanon and Gaza. And as Israel has played more and more poorly, the Palestinians have improved. They have taken advantage of the UN and the historic anti-Jewish attitudes in Europe to make significant diplomatic gains. They have not been so successful with the terrorism gambit, as Israel’s security forces have become better at counteracting it.

Iran, busy with her war against Iraq, was mostly out of the game against Israel until the 1990s. But she has recently started to demonstrate her skill. She leveraged the US to end sanctions, prevent financial collapse and provide funding for her military plans, while keeping her nuclear program and even legitimizing it. She exploited the chaos in Iraq and Syria to expand her influence in the region, and to prepare new fronts for the coming war with Israel. She even got the US and Russia to do some of the fighting for her.

Israel is hampered by the lack of a consistent strategy against any of her opponents, possibly because of her internal divisions and democratic tradition. Even when there is a strategy, there is often poor execution. Israel’s pieces, to continue the analogy, sometimes don’t move where they are supposed to! This is less of a problem for the Palestinian, Iranian and Russian players, where there is more or less dictatorial control.

The game continues, in its three (or more) dimensional, multiplayer form. Israel’s most dangerous enemy, Iran, is biding her time until she feels that she is strong enough to come out of the slashing violence of the middlegame with a winning advantage. But this phase will not continue forever.

The middlegame is preparation for the endgame, the systematic pursuit of the enemy that will result in the players realizing or not realizing their often inconsistent goals. That’s in the future. We can’t get there except through the violent middlegame. Let’s hope we have a good strategy and competent leaders to execute it.

But life isn’t chess. Life is more complicated and beset by unexpected events. And if you lose, you don’t get another chance.

My comment: this essay is excellent. It suggests that, in asymmetrical war, a low-tech enemy can still attack a high-tech enemy with effectiveness. It also suggests that Iran is a serious 'player' with serious capabilties. 

One major mistake by Israel, coupled with one or two major  breaks for the Arab enemy, could mean the Islamic conquest of the Jewish state. In other words, Israel, this essay suggests, faces great risk against an implacable enemy--or, more accurately, five implacable enemies: Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. 

What would happen if these five enemies decided to attack Israel in a coordinated modern-day blitzkrieg?

What this essay neglects--because this point is outside the purview of the essay--is that Israel is no normal country. It doesn't exist or survive by the might of its army or the keenness of its political leadership. Israel survives because of something most people neglect and many refuse to believe: we are strong only because the Hand of HaShem--the G-d of Israel--protects us. 

Many laugh at such a thought. Let them laugh. 

Many scoff. Let them scoff.

When you live in Israel and see the dangers and difficulties we face, you realize this land is indeed a land of miracle. These miracles are everywhere. All you need do is open your eyes.

These miracles don't come from IBM, Apple or Procter and Gamble.They don't come from the IDF. They certainly don't come from Israel's political leadership.  

They come from G-d.

Right now, Iran is pushing forward with its kill-Israel agenda. Its Arab allies are eager to join in. 

The military chess game is on. 

The moves will be complex. There will be fear. There will be confusion. There will be clashes where one mistake could create horrific unintended consequences.

There will be only one winner. 

How will Israel win? G-d knows.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Why Israel attacked Syria when a drone entered Israel

On Shabbat morning, February 10, 2018, a non-Israeli drone flew into sovereign Israeli territory (in northern Israel). It was shot down within 1.5 minutes of crossing into Israel. 

The IDF has declared that this drone was Iranian-made. It was navigated by Iranians from a base in Syria (Anna Ahronheim, "Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria, IAF pilots eject F-16", jerusalempost, February 10, 2016). 

If true, Israel now knows--if it ever had any doubts--that Iran has established a substantial military presence in Syria. Syria is no longer a country. Its 7-year civil war has turned it into a 'cemetery' (Barbara Opall-Rome, "Israeli intel chief has 'slim' hopes for Syrian peace deal", defensenews, June 15, 2016). Iran now converts that 'cemetery' into a forward operational military base it is prepared to use to attack Israel.

After shooting down the drone, Israel attacked multiple targets in Syria. At least one report said the targets were both Syrian and Iranian ("Israel launches large scale air raids against Iranian targets in Syria", afp, February 10, 2018).  The targets appeared to be anti-aircraft installations, missile sites (these might the same as 'anti-aircraft installations'), and radar and communication sites (Lazer Brody, "Emunah news: hostilities erupt on Northern border", lazerbrody, February 11, 2018). Some of these targets were reported to have been as far as 200-300+ miles from the Syrian border with Israel--far closer to Iran than Israel.

We don't know if the targets were hit by missiles fired from Israel or from Israeli warplanes--or from both. We don't know the extent to which Israel's warplanes penetrated into Syria.

Hours after the attack, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put the attack into its proper perspective: he said this mission was "the most intensive IAF bombing of Syrian positions  since the first Lebanon war in 1982" (Herb Keinon, "Benjamin  Netanyahu: Israel will hit Iranian and Syrian targets as needed", jerusalempost, February 10, 2018).

What's going here? Why would Israel hit Syria so hard because of a drone? Why such a large-scale attack because of a drone incursion?

I don't know what you know about Israel's security situation. You might think Israel's in a strong position to defend itself. You might think Israel is okay, but 'under pressure'. You might think that, while there could be trouble ahead, Israel right now is in a 'quiet period'.

All of these assessments are wrong. Just a week ago, one observer of Israel's current security situation got it right when he wrote, Israel is not in any 'quiet' period. Israel is engaged in a war that could quickly get out of hand (Yochanan Visser, "Analysis: Israel is fighting a five-front war", arutzsheva, February 4, 2018). This war could require Israel to fight Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Judea-Samaria--at the same time. It would leave Israel little room to maneuver--and little time to react. 

This drone incident demonstrates at least four things to Israel: 

-Syria has installed increasingly sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft installations. This surface-to-air (SAM) system appears to be a medium range technology. It's designed for protecting both troops and logistic installations. The attack reveals how effective the system is in real-time combat.

-Iran is comfortable taking over Syrian military installations for its own needs. This suggests Iran inches closer to war with Israel.

-The SAM grid set up by Syria and Iran to defend against incoming Israeli aircraft is not amateurishly designed.

-Results of the bombing attacks will confirm how advanced is Iran's and Russia's assistance to Syria--and how well it can operate against Israeli aircraft (the SAM network shot down one Israeli F-16).

This incident is no random, one-off event. It's part of a test to how quickly Israel responds to provocation. The goal for these attacks is to probe Israel's military preparedness, probe Israel's response-time and learn tactical lessons about about how Israel deploys its military arsenal. 

Israel lives in a very, very tough neighborhood. In this place, the appearance of strength means survival and the appearance of weakness spells danger. 

My guess is, Iran sent that drone to see if Israel is strong or weak. I'd guess that if this attack was the biggest for Israel since 1982, Iran got its answer.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Churchill and Netanyahu: a brief comparison

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in trouble. Allegations of fraud and bribery have been made against him.

No proof has been offered. No investigative journalist has found credible evidence against him. No one has found a 'smoking gun'.

Nevertheless, the press is eager to attack. Over the last year, the press has called Netanyahu selfish, greedy, self-aggrandizing and interested only in himself. 

If these press reports are to be believed, Netanyahu is hearing many of the same accusations Winston Churchill heard in the 1930's: he's selfish, self-centered, self-aggrandizing, interested only in himself. By the end of the 1930's, the words 'corruption' and 'Churchill' were appearing together (Norman Rose, Churchill: the unruly giant,1994, pp 244-5). Churchill was called (pardon the language), a 'tyrant', a 'sh*t' and touched by megalomania' (ibid). 

These two men may share more than you think. They certainly share similar press notices.

Attacks against both men have been ad hominen--against the man, not his ideas. At the worst of times, both look like they face the end of their political careers. For both, their future at such moments looks bleak.

Of course, we're not talking here of a one-to-one comparison. Their political situations are indeed different. The times are different.  

But the threat each leader's nation faced is the same. The personal animosity each experienced feels similar. Each certainly heard his enemies call for his nation to 'move on' without him. 

In hindsight, Churchill's greatest political sin might have been his dislike of Hitler. Powerful Leftists in England took great offense that Churchill didn't believe Germany could be 'peaceful' towards England. Churchill spoke too much of Hitler's war mentality. 

Today in Israel, powerful Leftists take great offense that Netanyahu won't believe that Mahmoud Abbas wants 'peace. They say it's Netanyahu who doesn't want peace. 

The rise of Nazism in Germany threatened Western civilization (Paul Addison, "The 'Churchill question' is a complex one: a study in failure as well as success", historytoday, vol 30, issue 8, August 1980). In the 1930's, Nazis in Germany were creating a barbarous regime "by exalting into a religion of state the most destructive and irrational instincts of mankind" (ibid). Churchill opposed such a regime.

In the Middle East today, jihadists seek to create an Islamic Caliphate that promotes an anti-Western barbarity by exalting a religious belief that appears at once destructive, irrational, racist and filled with hate. Netanyahu opposes such a regime.

In 1930's England, Churchill was attacked for his anti-German views. In 2017, Benjamin Netanyahu is attacked for his anti-Abbas views. 

Both men stood against appeasing his enemy. Both were attacked for that position. Both suffered politically from those attacks.

Nazis in Germany promoted a racial conflict against the Jews, the likes of which had never been seen before. Jihadists in the Middle East today promote the religious murder of Jews which has rarely, if ever, been seen at this scale.  

Churchill was right. His Leftists enemies were wrong. In the end, with survival at stake, England chose Churchill to lead their fight for survival--not his Leftist enemies.

Israel, too, faces an existential threat. Will Israel choose  to stay with Netanyahu for its own fight for survival?

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

What SJP really stands for

SJP is a student organization that runs 189 branches on American college campuses. The letters, 'SJP' stand for, 'Students for Justice for Palestine'.  Supposedly, this organization fights for "freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people" (Homepage-about us, nationalsjp, no date, retrieved February 6, 2018).  SJP states on its Homepage that it is "against homophobia, mysogyny, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, classicism, colonialism, ableism and bigotry and discrimination of any kind" (ibid). 

But these aren't what SJP really wants to fight against. Its members understand what the SJP wants--and they haven't been shy about what they seek as SJP members.

As you'll see in the first of two videos below, the students of the SJP have a passion that is not new. It's very old.

Can you imagine what that passion is?

The first video is brief (2:21). It comes from a site called, canarymission. Like SJP, canarymission is a student campus organization. The goal of canarymission is to document people and groups on college campuses which promote the hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews (canarymission, Homepage). This video is from their website.

Beware: some of the images in this video are very disturbing.

The video is called, "Shocking video: SJP and the Holocaust", canarymission, January 22, 2018: 

Yes, the SJP says it wants justice for Palestine. But it's member and followers understand full well what the organization's real passion is. They reveal their secret in the twitter comments you've just seen.

Caroline Glick understands why the SJP members you've just seen appear to have this blood lust to see Jews die. She explains what she means in a video, "Why the Jews? Caroline Glick explains the roots of genocidal Jew hatred", youtube, January 19, 2014. It's not a short video (14:51) , so If you don't want to watch all of it, focus only on the section between 1:33-3:32.

You might want to remember these two videos. They  remind us all that what the SJP wants is neither unique, surprising  or a shock. What the SJP wants has been with us for millenia. 

Like many before them, these supporters of SJP carry a blood lust that has impassioned every generation for more than  2,500 years. It is, as Ms Glick suggests, a passion that focuses on Jews.  

Russian Cossacks had this passion. Polish peasants had this passion. The Nazis had this passion. 

Now, it's the SJP that has this passion.