Sunday, February 25, 2018

Three cartoons to explain where anti-Netanyahu accusations will lead

If you like political cartoons, today could be your lucky day. You won't just see one cartoon here. You'll see three.  

These cartoons won't simply give you a political opinion. They might also give you an informed idea about where Israel could be headed after more than two years of headlines charging Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with corruption and bribe-taking. 

These cartoons all come from one cartoonist--Shlomo Cohen. They come from one source--israelhayom

You'll see the cartoons as they appeared between February 15, 2018-February 22, 2018, inclusive. They represent every cartoon Cohen posted on israelhayom during this eight-day period.

Here are the cartoons:

1. Dated February  15, 2018:


The image above shows Israel's bearded Attorney General (AG), Avichai Mandelblit, sticking his head out of his office to look at a 'heap' of police 'recommendations' against PM Netanyahu. As depicted in this cartoon, Israel's top cop, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, actually needs a min-bobcat to deliver his recommendations--there are that many to deliver.

In Israel, it is the police who investigate accusations of criminal activity by elected officials. It is they (the police) who decide if accusations have merit. 

If the police conclude that accusations have no merit, the case opened against the accused politician is dropped. But if the police believe their investigations have revealed credible evidence of a crime (bribery, graft, corruption, breach of trust, theft, etc), they publish a 'recommendation to indict' against the accused politician.

This recommendation goes to Israel's Attorney General. That (the delivery) is what you see in the cartoon above. Once the AG accepts the recommendation(s), he and his staff must then complete their own inquiry into the case, independent of what the police have done. Ultimately, it is the AG's responsibility to determine whether or not evidence collected by the police is prosecutable.

If the AG deems the evidence is strong enough to take to court, the accused politician will be scheduled to go on trial. If the AG determines the evidence in his possession to be unconvincing, the accused politician is free to get on with life.

The first cartoon (above) shows police 'recommendations-to-indict' being delivered to the AG. The cartoon also shows the Israeli public. It sits at home watching all this unfold on the evening news. The public wonders if these 'recommendations' (to indict the Prime Minster) are actually true--in which case they are serious (the 'mountain ')--or, if they are just more anti-Netanyahu political attacks, in which case they are just noise--a 'molehill'.

Right now, the cartoon suggests, no one knows. But everyone is watching.

2. Dated February 21, 2018: 

Background: As each of the multiple investigations against Netanyahu and his family have unfolded, supposed "details" of what the police have discovered about Netanyahu's alleged corruption have been leaked to the press. Not to be too unkind, it's probably accurate to describe these leaks as 'like a sieve'.

It works like this: Police start an investigation. Headlines proclaim Netanyahu is being investigated for corruption. 

Then the wickedness begins: first, we hear that nothing will be revealed because the investigation is confidential--then, we hear, Look! dramatic evidence revealed!--Netanyahu is going down!--oh, look: the dramatic 'evidence' turns out to be nothing--no, wait!--Look at this!--Netanyahu is corrupt--more explosive evidence!--he's going down! etc, etc.

Netanyahu hasn't been sitting quietly as all of this drama trashing him gets played out on the evening news. He's been fighting back. He and his supposedly shrinking number of friends are calling these  attacks a 'witch hunt'--an attempted coup--a media hijack--a 'Putsch' attempt--trying to do in the media what the Left has failed to do at the ballot box--etc, etc.

One final note about this second cartoon: some of the cases against Netanyahu have been classified by number, not by a name. This second cartoon refers to four of the cases by their number: case 1000, case 2000, case 3000, case 4000.

The cartoonist here suggests that the Police Commissioner (shown in the cartoon) may not be objective. He is shown here busily manufacturing "cases" against Netanyahu.

Here's the cartoon. It appeared February 21, 2018:

This cartoon has a definite political slant. The police, the cartoon suggests, are out to get the Prime Minister.

At this point, no one knows if that's true. 

3. Dated February 22, 2018:

The final of the three cartoons sums up what the consequences of these attacks and the subsequent 'recommendations' against Netanyahu might be. The consequence you'll see in the cartoon below has just last week received an  extraordinary twist, one that could favor Netanyahu: last week, new revelations appeared of yet another bribery attempt by a Netanyahu confidant. 

But this last accusation has more than one story-line. It suggests a potential that crimes have been committed by those who may not exactly support Netanyahu. 

The accusation of this new story appears so riveting that even the most news-weary will sit up. As one writer put it, the accusation this time was difficult to classify. Was it about corruption--or stupidity? (Chen Ma'anit, "Nir Hefetz could be the final nail in Netanyahu's coffin", globes, February 20, 2018). That's how weird this latest accusation seems.

In this incident, we are expected to believe that one Nir Hefetz, a Netanyahu confidant, went to a judge known for her honesty with an offer that sounds like "it came from the mafia" (ibid). The bribe offer was allegedly this: if that judge dropped a criminal probe for mismanagement of funds against the PM's wife (one of criminal cases against the Netanyahu family), she (the judge) would become Israel's next Attorney General. 

Did that really happen? 

The potentially complicating factor here is that, at the time the offer was made (two years ago), the intended recipient--the honest judge--did nothing about the bribe (if it was, as alleged, made). It's also possible that not telling the police about a bribe offer like this could itself be a crime.

Well, this depiction is not entirely true (Here comes the story's 'twist'). This judge actually did do something about the supposed offer. She told a friend about it.

But that friend wasn't just any friend. That friend was a sitting judge on Israel's High Court (that is, Israel's Supreme Court). 

If you are a lawyer, you may already be sitting up. Such behavior by a judge (not reporting a bribe offer to the police) is not exactly 'appropriate'.

The honest judge (the target of the supposed bribe offer) told her Supreme Court friend about the offer. That Supreme Court friend then...did nothing.

According to Caroline Glick, that's a crime ( Caroline Glick, "Column One: Defending the rule of law", jerusalempost, February 22, 2018). Interestingly, no one working overtime to drum Netanyahu out of office for corrupting the 'rule of law' has seen fit to comment about these two breaches of judicial ethics by two important judges. Apparently, such a story doesn't fit the narrative that 'Netanyahu-is-corrupt-and-must-therofore-go'. 

The Israeli public doesn't know what the truth is. No one seems to know if a bribe offer this stupid was made. No one knows if that Supreme Court judge--now the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court--committed any crime by refusing to go to the police until now, when half of Israel plays a game of 'political pile-on' against Netanyahu. 

Therefore, this third-and-last cartoon suggests, the real consequence of all of this noise might turn out to be pretty simple. This cartoon came out February 22, 2018:

This cartoon shows four doors, each marked with a  criminal case number. Each criminal case, the cartoonist suggests, leads to the next,  higher-number case. The ultimate end could be a new national election for Israel, where the voters will have to determine Netanyahu's fate, not a potentially corrupt Court.     

This is an interesting suggestion because, as more and more accusations have appeared against Netanyahu, the more positive have become poll results for his Likud Party. 

These polls appear to suggest that if elections were held today, Netanyahu could be re-elected. He could even end up  with a stronger ruling (that is, pro-Netanyahu) coalition than he currently has. 

This is an important point. It suggests that the Israeli public is beginning to smell a very nasty rat: Leftists who would rather take over Israel through lies and personal attacks in a compliant-and-Leftist-press than take their chances at the ballot box (Glick, ibid). 

I've already speculated (almost seven months ago) that these accusations against the PM, if untrue or exaggerated, might make Netanyahu more powerful than ever, not less powerful ("Will Netanyahu go to jail?", tuviabrodieblog, August 4, 2018). If that happens, Netanyahu's enemies could find themselves not just defeated but--potentially-disgraced and driven from politics for having dragged us through the gutter for so many months with so many untrue, horrific stories about our nation's leader. 

Is this where we're headed? Or, will Netanyahu be the one disgraced, defeated and driven from office?

Stay tuned. These cartoons show us that this political thriller has just begun.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Peace with Israel--'Palestinian' style

Once again, the Palestinian Authority has had its 'peace' mask ripped off (Bassam Tawil, "Palestinians: Abbas's lies and falling mask", gatestoneinstitute, February 14, 2018). The reason for no peace in this region isn't Israel. The reason for no peace here is Palestinian hate, incitement and indoctrination against Israel (Gregg Roman, "UNRWA: the greatest obstacle to peace", israelhayom, February 7, 2018). 

The Palestinian lie about 'peace' won 't go away. Abbas still today says he wants to pursue peace talks with Israel ("Defying US, Abbas seeks greater role for Russia in peace talks", dailysabah, February 8, 2018). But that's a lie, as you'll see in a moment. 

Unmasking the Abbas peace lie doesn't require a PhD in some arcane subject. All you have to do is look at a map. 

You may have seen the map below before. You might want to look again. Why? 

So long as Mahmoud Abbas continues to go to the United Nations to declare that he wants "to live in peace and security side by side with Israel" (Full text: Palestinian President Mahamoud Abbas' address to UN General Assembly", haaretz, September 20,  2017), you need to see the maps below to understand that he lies. 

The video I have for you today is very short. It's less than two minutes. It asks a simple question: if Palestinians want to live side-by-side in peace beside Israel (as they claim to the UN), why do they always erase Israel from all their maps?

Good question, right?

To one who understands what a map of modern Israel looks like, this question about erasing Israel isn't just about erasure. It's about something else, too. It's also about replacing Israel with the Palestinian's 'Palestine'.  

This dream of erasure/replacement is illustrated clearly by Palestinian maps. All the maps of Palestine show Israel being replaced.

That's not a dream of peace. It's the embodiment of conquest.

To see how this erasure/replacement works, start first with a map of modern Israel:

  Image result for the map of modern Israel
courtesy of stockmapagency  

The map of Israel is the purple and light-green portions of this map. Notice the following items:

-there is a  'thumb' portion of Israel that sticks up, in the upper right-side of the map, where you'll see Israel's northern border. That border isn't a straight line. It's only partially straight--until it gets to the part that sticks up. See it? Remember that 'thumb'. You'll see it often on the maps of the Palestinians' Palestine. 

-Notice the light green portion in the middle of the map, labelled 'West Bank'. That portion of the map hollows out the center portion of Israel. The far right side of that light green portion is an almost straight up-down (north-south) red line. See that? Visualize this map with no light green portion, but with that straight up-down line (border) from the very top of the map to the very bottom. Visualize this eastern border as a simple straight line top-to-bottom. 

-Notice the left-side (Western) border. That border is shaped by Israel's coastline with the Mediterranean Sea. Look at the small 'notch' (or, indentation) just below the top line. See it?Remember how it reaches all the way north. Remember it because you'll see it often on the maps of the Palestinians' Palestine. 

Notice how, where the southern (bottom) border begins its travel up the coastline--the border makes an almost sharply angled turn to head north. You'll see that, too, on Palestinians' maps of Palestine.

-Notice the southern-most (bottom) portion of the map. The bottom of Israel looks like a 'V'. Remember that, too.

Now look at a map of the 'Palestine' the Arabs say they want as their own state. Compare this map below with the map of Israel above:

Image result for palestine map 2016
courtesy of palestinianmediawatch

This map of Palestine is not an exact image of Israel. It's somewhat stylized, which means that it isn't designed to conform precisely to an actual map. 

But this mildly stylized picture is close enough to an accurate map of Israel for you to see how the major geographic features of Israel (in the first map above) match almost exactly the major features here: the 'thumb' that sticks up on the northern border; an almost straight line down on the right side (eastern border); the coastline on the left, with the 'notch' near the top; the deep 'V' at the bottom of the map; and the sharp angle on the left side of the green portion of the map as the border begins its run north along what is (in real life) the coastline.

The map of 'Palestine' is actually the map of Israel. This map of Palestine sometimes gets highly stylized. This means that, sometimes, an artistic rendering of the map of Palestine omits some feature or other of the map of Israel. But all Palestinian map contain at least three of those features. 

'Palestine' is not featured as side-by-side with Israel. It is featured as a replacement of Israel.  

To see this stylization of the Israeli map as 'Palestine', take a look at the video below. It's short, as mentioned above. This video is less than 2 minutes. It's from the  website, elderofzyion. It's called, "Peace--Palestinian style". It's dated September 4, 2011. 

The maps you are about to see are part of logo designs for Palestinian clubs and organizations. These logos appear  throughout the Palestinian Authority. 

In each logo, the map of Palestine is rendered in strong colors. For example,  the first map you're about to see is all red, and right in the middle of the logo. The second map is black, the third map is green, etc. 

Some of the maps, like the first (red) one you'll see, appear fairly accurate. The second map is squared off, but still shows something of the general shape, etc.

Take a look:

These maps of the new Arab-Muslim state of Palestine simultaneously erase Israel and replace Israel. This representation of the conquest of Israel is the source of the question: if the Palestinians really want to live side-by-side with Israel in peace, why do Palestinian maps always erase and replace Israel?

Can you explain that? 

The explanation is simple: the Palestinian goal has nothing to do with peace. That goal is about conquest. 

Abbas lies. These maps unmask him. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to avoid Israeli brutality

You've probably heard about Israeli 'brutality'. This is a favored claim promoted by officials of the Palestinian Authority (PA) against Israel. You often see such accusations after a PA-inspired confrontation between Arabs--usually involving teens--and IDF soldiers has ended with Arab casualties.

In such instances, the headlines are clear: "Palestinian teen killed by IDF". 

Ah, yes, you are expected to say to yourself: another Arab victim of Israeli brutality.

What has typically happened in these incidents is that an Arab teenager who has set out to attack IDF soldiers--either alone or as part of a group--gets himself seriously injured or killed by the IDF. Of course, this is what usually happens when you use a knife to attack someone with a gun. But when this accusation of 'brutality' is made, few ask, what was that teenager doing participating in that confrontation in the first place?

No one needs to ask this question because the teen's parents are usually quoted as saying, their teenager wasn't part of the confrontation. He wasn't involved. The teen was simply on his way to the market for some milk when an IDF soldier shot him. 

From the PA's point of view, all Arab teens are innocent. All IDF soldiers are brutal animals. 

Arab teens wouldn't hurt anyone. Israelis, however, are different. They shoot Arab children walking to the market.

This Israeli brutality is horrible. Can it be prevented? The Israeli studio, Rogatka Productions, says, yes. That brutality can indeed be stopped.

This studio has made a video to explain it for you. The video is short--48 seconds.  

I found this video on the website, frontpagemag. The title is, "How to avoid Israeli brutality", February 21, 2018.

Take a look:


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Violence and tragedy: where the answer is more important than the question

A reader has sent to me the following.  All she knows about this is, she received it from a friend. She sent it to me. 

That's all I know. 

She has  sent a question and an answer. The question might have been prompted by a recent attack in a school in America. It was a terrible, horrible attack.

This question is a good one. It's one that can be asked any time regarding any school anywhere in the world. 

It's a question that's been asked many times. It makes people think about G-d. It makes many people angry at G-d. 

But that anger is wrong. That anger is misplaced--very misplaced.  

What's important about this question isn't the anger it generates. It's the answer that's important. 

It's a simple answer. It applies to all of us. It applies to all of our schools anywhere around the world.

Please page down:

Simple enough, yes?

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.