“Imagine if there was a country you had no personal connection to, that people accused of being an apartheid state. This state was constantly condemned all over the world, and in the UN, for war crimes and human rights violations. Imagine if this country was claimed to be founded on colonialist principles, and was accused of systematic racism.
”In its defense, this state simply emphasized the fact that it is a leader in hi-tech and innovation, and that it invented things such as the cherry tomato, ICQ and the flash drive.
”Whose side would you be on? This is Israel’s image as seen in today’s world. (Emphasis added here and throughout this article)
”When thinking about the Jewish state’s public diplomacy, one must think about what the unengaged, ordinary person sees, not what the educated activist sees. Today, Israel is violently attacked by its haters through vicious delegitimization campaigns; these are of course based on lies, but the ordinary, unengaged person does not necessarily know that. Israel’s response to this campaign is simply unconvincing.
”Israel needs to refocus its message and debunk the lies thrown at it, such as these accusations of war crimes, apartheid and racism. It must cultivate a parallel ethical discourse, one that is no less passionate than the one promoted by the supporters of the Palestinians [Arabs], based on the principles of freedom, historical justice and legal justice. This discourse is the only way to compete with the lies thrown at Israel because, although they are lies, they base themselves on the deepest levels of human conscience and cannot be rejected without proposing an alternative ethical foundation.
”The moral case for Israel is a strong one; however, no one seems to be making it. As such, a moral person who doesn’t actively educate himself on the conflict is fed a narrative which leads him to oppose Israel virulently.”
These words were written by Dan Illouz, for his column in the Jerusalem Post.
In his piece, he cites Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely, who recently said:
“Many times it seems that in our international relations, more than emphasizing the rightness of our cause, we are asked to use arguments that play well diplomatically.
But at a time when the very existence of Israel is being called into question, it is important to be right. The international community deals with considerations of justice and morality. We need to return to the basic truth of our right to this land. This country is ours, all of it.”
“After years of going around in circles and trying to find diplomatic ways to get the world to love Israel without actually claiming the rights which are…ours, Hotovely asked that we start talking about these rights again.
”The only way the world is going to accept Israel is if it believes Israel has a right to exist. As long as Israel is afraid to talk about its legal, historical and moral rights to its land, the world will keep on questioning its existence and will move closer to the Palestinians, who are not afraid to speak about their claim to the land.
”At the end of the day, the question of Israel’s legitimacy comes down to the legal issue: Does Israel have a legal basis for its presence in Judea and Samaria? Israel can try to justify its stance with security concerns, but this will only bring the world to the conclusion that Israel had good reasons to temporarily break the law. The world will still see Israel as a state that is breaking the law, and in the long term it will not be able to accept this. After a few years, the world will say: ‘If you keep breaking the law, then despite whatever reason you might claim to have, you are still a criminal.’
”The truth is that Israel has an outstanding legal case to make about its right to the entire Land of Israel, including Judea and Samaria...”
Now, the above is an excellent article, which I would have cited and encouraged you to share in any event. You’ve heard some of this before from me, as I’ve praised Hotovely for her forthrightness, and expressed despair about our prime minister’s tendency to resort to “security” as the rationale for retaining land in Judea and Samaria. This well articulated piece carries the message clarity.
And…as it happens, its author – a savvy lawyer who “gets it” – is working with our Legal Grounds Campaign, doing Knesset education. We are determined to make good things happen. And I wanted to give my readers a sense of who we have working with us.
Before moving on then, I want to urge you to log on to our website – http://israelrights.com . Start by joining the campaign (no cost – we need names for maximum impact), if you have not yet done so, and encouraging others to do the same. Then access information on the site about Israel’s legal rights (there’s great information) so that you can do your part to defend Israel from an informed position.
The campaign for the delegitimization of Israel, the BDS campaign, etc. is in full swing. We seem to be confronting more attacks every day.
By way of example, there was the recent outrage associated with Orange, the French telecommunications (cell phone) firm. Orange CEO Stephane Richard declared that if it were possible, he would cut relations with Israel “tomorrow”: there was talk about severing ties with Partner, the Israeli subsidiary of Orange, licensed to carry the corporation’s name.
Ultimately Richard backed down and has how been invited to visit Israel. But his pullback on his original position would not have come about without a very public and strong response from the Israeli government – including a call to the French government to condemn the boycott.
This is key: the days of shrugging off the BDS movement as a minor annoyance are over, and the Israeli government is taking a different stance.
Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor at Northwestern University, an expert on international law – and, incidentally, a member of Legal Ground Campaign’s Legal Advisory Board – has just written an enlightening article that touches upon the Orange issue.
Kontorovich has, for some time now, taken the brilliant tack of examining how the world relates to situations similar to what Israel is coping with, in other places. This is a perspective that is quite valuable.
After the CEO of Orange made his statement, the French Ambassador to the US Gerard Araud put out on twitter: “4th Geneva convention : settlement policy in occupied territories is illegal. It is illegal to contribute to it in any way.”
To this, Kontorovich responded (emphasis added):
“Perhaps the most instructive aspect of this was the reaction of Amb. Araud, when I pointed out to him that his legal claim is baseless, and squarely contradicted by France’s own courts in recent decisions involving Israel, which held the Geneva Conventions flatly inapplicable to private companies. [That is, even if, which is not the case, Israel were operating in defiance of the Geneva Conventions in Judea and Samaria, it would not be illegal for private companies to do business there.] It is also contradicted by the opinions the U.N. Security Council Legal Advisor, the EU Parliament’s legal advisor, and the U.K. Supreme Court, and more.
“The Orange incident, and the Ambassador’s legal claim, are also bad news for a number of French companies, like the oil giant Total, which is active in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara against the vociferous protests of the indigenous Sawahari people. (There are many other examples, like Michelin in Turkish-occupied Cyprus.) The French government has never criticized any of these controversial activities in any way. But if the Ambassador’s legal claim is right, he has provided the basis for war crimes prosecutions of France’s leading executives….
“Amb. Araud responded to my question by revealing that he had no idea one of his country’s largest companies was engaged in an major project that, by his account, is a war crime.
“The Ambassador, after blocking me, revealed that his international law claims are not really about international law:
“’I speak of one occupied territory. I am answered on other territories. I conclude that everybody agrees on what I say on the former.’
[Translation: Don’t tell me about Morocco occupying the Western Sahara, where French companies do business. I am speaking only about Judea and Samaria, and everyone agrees that it’s not right to do business there.]
“In other words, [not fair] to cite precedents and practice. But of course, if you are talking about international law, ‘other territories’ are entirely relevant. First, for something to be law, it has to be a rule that applies to similar situations. And for it to be international, well, those situations will involve different countries.
“What the French apparently want is, to paraphrase Stalin, international law for one country. Ok. But don’t call it international. And don’t call it law.
Right on, Eugene! My friends, book mark this article for future reference.
On Saturday night, at least one rocket was launched from Gaza into southern Israel, in the area of Ashkelon. No injuries, no damage resulted. On Sunday, Israel retaliated by hitting some four terrorist sites in Gaza – no one was injured in those attacks either. Minister of Defense Ya’alon also gave the order to shut down the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings into Gaza, except for humanitarian aid.
Just days before, Ya’alon had said, quite clearly, that “we will not tolerate a drizzle.”
Well… what is currently going on is just that: a drizzle of rockets. One here, one there. What is more, a statement from the IDF indicated: “The Hamas terrorist organization is the address and the one on whom the responsibility falls.” This has been Israeli policy – holding Hamas, which is in control of Gaza, responsible no matter which group – most often it has been Islamic Jihad – launches the rockets.
And so something of a hue and cry went up from the opposition, demanding to know when the government was going to act with firmness against Hamas. Certainly hitting empty launching fields was not going to do it. And it was the opinion of at least one analyst not long ago, that Hamas leaders were just as happy to have IJ launch a rocket now and then – they could claim “innocence” while keeping Israel off balance.
But now information has surfaced that possibly changes the equation:
It’s not Islamic Jihad that has been responsible for the latest “drizzle of rockets,” but a radical jihadi-Salafi group that calls itself the Omar Hadid Brigades. I had alluded recently to radical groups that might end up making Hamas look a bit like “peace now.” Not quite, but close. The Brigades, with ISIS affiliation, would like to take over from Hamas in Gaza, and, it is thought, are utilizing the rocket attacks to encourage an Israeli attack on Hamas. They want Israel to do their work for them.
Groups such as this one are eager for Gaza to be used to open another front in the jihad caliphate movement – they don’t like Hamas’s identification with Palestinian Arab nationalism.
Hamas, for its part, is too beaten down, according to this information, to have any desire to take on Israel. And Hamas is actually arresting members of the Brigades in an attempt to control the situation.
It does seem to be the case that Hamas is not ready to take on Israel now. But I hasten to correct any misimpression with regard to Hamas becoming “moderate” and peaceful. They are simply biding time, and preparing for the next confrontation. Very recently, for example, Hamas paved a road adjacent to the Gaza border with Israel. According to Fathi Hammad, a former Hamas interior minister, the road was intended “to create for ourselves convenient opportunities to attack the Zionist enemy.”
At the same time, Hamas regularly tests their rockets, shooting into the Mediterranean, in order to determine their accuracy.
What Israel seeks is a weakened Hamas – too weak to attack, but strong enough to control the jidhadi groups.
Conclusion: a vastly complex situation requiring sharp intelligence, thoughtful planning, an ever-ready army, and a crystal ball.
I wrote the other day about the possibility that Syrian Druze near the Golan may yet flee into Israel. Now we have this from Ayoob Kara (Likud), himself a Druze, and Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation:
“The State of Israel is acting on behalf of the Syrian Druze. These matters are being carried out quietly, and without publicity.”
Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or daily living. This week’s question: What Will Be The End Result Of The Iran Nuclear Deal?
The Independent Sentinel: Iran will continue to work on nuclear weaponry and intercontinental ballistic missiles during the term of the faux deal. They will threaten and menace their neighbors, the U.S. and anyone who travels through the Straits of Hormuz throughout the ten year period.
When the waiting period ends, they will be a nuclear state and we will all be afraid. A nuclear arms race will begin in the Middle East if the deal goes through. ISIS will continue to grow and they want nuclear weapons also.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has already said Iran is anxious to start selling nuclear material and they have allied with some seriously bad players – Syria, Russia and North Korea, to name three.
Obama is a traitor for promoting this deal. We won’t have any sanctions to fall back on.
This is a serious mess for the next president.
Don Surber: IntraMuslim Nuclear War.
The Noisy Room: Iran will get nukes… Obama will ensure it. After the deal is done, a full-blown nuclear arms race will erupt in the Middle East. Iran will profit financially and militarily. They will use their military strength with nukes as a form of extortion to get what they want across the globe.
They will further ally with Russia, China and North Korea militarily. Eventually, they will use nukes against their enemies in the Middle East, Israel and the United States. They will use the Axis of Evil (Iran, Russia and China) as cover and World War III will kick into high gear. Iran will close off the Straits of Hormuz and oil prices will skyrocket as war spreads. Iran will also seize geographic territory as they spread their military might further. War, death and apocalyptic scenarios will ensue to usher in the 12th Imam.
JoshuaPundit: In the end, I don’t think it matters.
The Iranians have consistently accused the Obama team of misrepresenting what was agreed to since November of 2013, so there are still huge gaps between what Iran and the P5+1 see as the so called interim agreement. Virtually nothing we were told by John Kerry back in 2013 has proven to be true, and whenever the Iranians have challenged Obama’s team on it, the result has been to either back down to the Ayatollah’s demands or extend the deadline for more talks, with a handsome cash bonus to the Iranian regime for the privilege of their presence.Actually it’s been revealed that Iran’s nuclear stockpile has actually grown during the talks by 20%! Aside from that,all that’s been achieved is that Iran got billions in badly needed economic relief and a year and a half of time to continue working on its missiles and its nuclear weapons program.Even the verification we were promised to sell this is a farce. The Iranians have made it clear that they won’t allow snap IAEA inspections or any inspections at all of military sites like Parchin or Fordow.
Any deal that gets made will be toothless. whether it goes through congress or this president pushes it through the UN. And even if there is no deal, the sanctions regime is over anyway. Countries and businesses are lining up to do business with Iran.
An American military response is out as well. President Obama needs the Iranians to do the dirty work on the ground in Iraq to clean up the problem he caused by creating ISIS. And his Iranian-born consigliere Valerie Jarrett wouldn’t allow it, nor would I trust a feral incompetent like our president to carry it out properly as C in C.
So that leaves several options for the future. The Israelis, to whom this is an existential matter may decide to take matters into their own hands, with or without help from the Saudis and the Emirates, whom have been beefing up their military after realizing what sort of man is in the White House. There are reports out there that Israeli PM Netanyahu wanted to do this in 2010, but that former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, whom are associated with Israel’s Labor Party, both refused to cooperate and that no less than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaked intel on a coming attack to the Iranians. But Israel now has a different government and very different people in those positions instead of Dagan and Ashkenazi.
Of course, a strike by Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilitates will give Barack Obama what he’s wanted from Day One, an excuse to end the American/Israeli relationship to the degree he’s able to, at least while he’s president. The Israeli may very well decide that it’s worth it at this point.
A second scenario involves ISIS. Take away our air support for the Shi’ites and ISIS is a legitimate check to Iran’s ambitions. Add an ittifaaqiyya (alliance) between ISIS,the Emirates and the Saudis (not at all implausible) and then throw the KSA’s attack helicopters and F-22s into the mix, the playing field gets even more even. The Saudis even have their own missiles. That carnage could stalemate like the Iraq/Iran War in the1980’s and go on for years.
If Iran does actually strike the U.S., they will almost certainly use one of their terrorist proxies to try to mask their own involvement. If that occurs, and I certainly hope it doesn’t, the people of the United States whom voted Barack Hussein Obama into office have no one to blame but themselves.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: As the June 30th deadline approaches the U.S. has lost any economic leverage by lifting sanctions, making Iran stronger and more emboldened. The U. S. continues to give concessions throughout these negotiations while Iran gives nothing. Nothing is going to change Iran’s core ideology. They remain state sponsors of terrorism and intent on the destruction of Israel. Iran is playing a long game while President Obama is desperate for a nuclear treaty before the end of his term. I don’t believe any treaty coming out of the Obama administration will be strong enough in limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions to be ratified by the Senate.
The Glittering Eye: I think the Iranians are going to do whatever it is that they’re going to do regardless of agreements. I think the idea that the regime can be expected to honor an agreement or that they won’t have undeclared nuclear development is laughable.
Ask Marion: Just a day after Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for lighter economic sanctions, the difference in the moods on the streets of Tehran and Jerusalem couldn’t have been starker. The temporary deal with the P5 +1 countries will give Iran access to billions in revenues as the United States, Great Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany suspend their sanctions on various items, including gold and petrochemical exports. Good idea? Probably not, if the end game is to stop enrichment! Netanyahu adamantly distrusts Iran, and rightly so, and decried the agreement as a “historic mistake” after it was announced.
We are dealing with people who are completely untrustworthy. This is a regime that murders their own people, creates mayhem and chaos throughout the middle east, throughout the whole world, and is the largest sponsor of terrorism.
This just opens the door wider for the possibility of nuclear war in the middle east, if not WWIII.
David Gerstman: If a deal is made it will be a disaster. President Obama has shown no inclination to hold Iran to any obligation. When Iran, for example, used a forbidden advanced centrifuge during the course of the Joint Plan of Action, the Obama administration didn’t call it a violation. It called it a mistake. To add insult to injury Obama and his administration then insisted that Iran obeyed the terms of the Joint Plan of Action and this proved the deal’s critics wrong. (There were other violations. This was the clearest.)
There is so much else wrong with this deal. Not the least of which is the freeing up of billions that will allow Iran to increase the financing its terrorist proxies.
However there is one person who may yet save Obama from making this deal, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. There is nothing I’ve seen that suggests that he’s interested in a deal. The deal announced in Lausanne wasn’t a deal (and it was two days past the deadline) it was an agreement to keep negotiating. Khamenei loves the “limited, targeted” billions in sanctions relief that he’s receiving. But he still hates America. I believe that he views a deal with the Great Satan is against his religion. I think that there won’t be a deal on June 30 or on January 20, 2017. Obama’s too invested to admit failure. So we’ll continue to have a muddled series of negotiations over the next two years. There will be announcements of progress, but they will always be less than a full agreement.Because Khamenei doesn’t want one.
Wolf Howling: Iran’s theocracy sees their primary purpose as being the export of their bastardized version of Khomeinist T’welver Islam around the world. To that end, they are supporting terrorism and chaos world-wide, from South America to Africa to the Middle East. Soon, Iran will likely control Syria, Iraq and Yemen to the same extent that they control Lebanon and to the same degree that they influence Hamas in Gaza. Iran’s theocracy have shown over the past thirty five years that they are implacable enemies of the West, in particular the U.S. and Israel, and that they are quite willing to wade through rivers of blood to achieve their goals.
Pretending that giving Iran a nuclear arsenal will moderate their theocracy is sheer suicidal fantasy. War with this regime, as they reach the brink of a nuclear arsenal, is inevitable. The only question is whether we engage in it sooner, when we can be assured of victory at a relatively nominal cost, or whether that war, after Obama’s suicidal proposed nuclear deal, comes fifteen to thirty years down the road, when Iran has had the opportunity to greatly increase it’s military capability and has a significant nuclear arsenal. I see little difference between the triumphalism, expansionism and amorality of Iran’s theocracy today and the triumphalism, expansionism and amorality of Hitler’s Third Reich circa 1937 but for one critical difference. Iran’s theocracy does not operate according to the Western standards of rationality — something that Obama and virtually the entire left seem unable to grasp. The concept of Mutually Assured Destruction is not a defense against Iran’s use of nuclear weapons, it is an inducement. Theirs is a regime more dangerous than Hitler’s.
By waiting until Germany had rearmed, war against Hitler cost tens of millions of lives and ruined the economy of Western Europe for decades afterwards. And of course, Germany only had conventional weapons at its disposal. A nuclear armed Iran poses an existential threat to every country, including America, within range of its ballistic missiles. And that does not even begin to consider the threat to the U.S. and the entire world from nuclear proliferation throughout the deeply unstable Middle East. All it would take would be one EMP to devastate half the United States. All it would take would be three or four dirty bombs to shut down our major ports and gut our economy.
We can only hope that Congress stops this insanity before Obama inks a deal, and then that the next President has the stones to begin dealing with Iran’s theocracy. The window for doing that at minimal cost in blood and gold is closing fast, even if Obama’s suicidal deal is not inked.
Well, there you have it!
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the week’s nominees for Weasel of the Week!
And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.