Promoting lies about Israel’s “villainy” has become almost routine in many agencies and many parts of the world. Sometimes it reaches proportions that are so ludicrous, so without possible basis in fact, that it becomes a sort of self-satire. There was recently, for example, the action of the World Health Organization, a body of the UN, in singling out Israel among all the nations of the world for criticism. Israel’s “crime”? Violating the health rights of Druze and Arabs in the Golan, who are in need of “health related technical assistance,” whatever that means.
This is so absurd in light of the death of 200,000 Syrians within their own country, and the readiness of Israel to treat hundreds of wounded Syrians, providing them with the best of care, that no further comment is necessary.
But sometimes extensive “comment” is indeed necessary in order to refute the slander and provide the facts. This is the case with the war with Hamas in Gaza – Operation Protective Edge – that Israel fought last summer.
I have written many times about the painful difficulty of doing battle from a moral stance when confronting an enemy totally devoid of morality or concern for civilian life. There is no army on earth more moral in its fighting stance than the IDF. And a conflict such as Operation Protective Edge puts us in a horrific bind – for the enemy makes extensive use of human shields. IDF fighters are faced with a choice between killing Arab civilians in order to eliminate munitions that are to be used against Israeli civilians or refraining from an action in order to avoid hitting Arab civilians and thereby exposing Israeli civilians to lethal attack.
For Hamas, it’s a win-win situation. Either the IDF cancels an attack so as to not hit Arab civilians, thereby allowing rockets, etc. to remain available for use against Israel, or the IDF decides it must attack and Hamas then utilizes the death of Arab civilians in its PR war against Israel.
The UN Human Rights Council (an agency that is blatantly and notoriously anti-Israel) mandated a “Commission of Inquiry” to investigate the Israeli role in Operation Protective Edge. It was understood here in Israel from the get-go what the “findings” of this commission were likely to be.
We understood from the history of the Goldstone Report, and from the bias of persons involved with the commission. William Schabas resigned in February from his role as head of the inquiry, after he was charged with bias because he had previously done work for the PLO.
We knew from the virulently anti-Israel stance of NGOs – such as B’Tselem – that gave alleged testimony to the commission.
In an effort to preempt the anticipated international effect of the UNHRC inquiry, NGO-Monitor and UN Watch last week released a major report entitled “Filling in the Blanks.” It can be read in its entirety here: http://www.ngo-monitor.org/2014_Gaza_Conflict.pdf . (All emphasis in sections I cite below is added.)
I particularly would like to call your attention to two sections.
One, beginning on page 71, is “The Credibility of Reports and Allegations from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Regarding the 2014 Conflict,” which provides important context to a seriously misunderstood set of circumstances:
A ‘soft power’ political war, says this report, is “led by NGOs that claim the mantle of universal human rights and humanitarian goals…
“NGOs…adopt the rhetoric of human rights and international law in their publications and campaigns. By couching political attacks in legal terms, NGOs seek to create a veneer of credibility and expertise for their claims…
“NGOs like HRW, Amnesty International, Oxfam, Save the Children, B’Tselem, and others issue splashy, full-color publications, accompanied by videos and interactive multimedia. Under a façade of universality and morality, they push their narratives using highly sophisticated and expensive efforts led by media,
advertising, and fundraising professionals…Their campaigns achieve visibility globally in the biggest news outlets, including The New York Times, the BBC, and Le Monde.
“NGOs escape critical evaluation by the media and other actors due to a ‘halo effect,’ by which groups perceived to promote ‘good’ principles are insulated from scrutiny by a cloak of morality. This ‘halo effect’ compensates not only for the lack of accountability but also for the lack of expertise in the military and diplomatic spheres with which many NGOs concern themselves.”
The report considers the fact-finding methodology of NGOs, which is often lacking in thoroughness and impartiality. In a study cited in the American Journal of International Law, for example, it was found that, “There is often difficulty in distinguishing ‘between objective facts and slanted information provided for
Another analyst cited found that NGOs “focus to near exclusion on what the attackers do, especially in asymmetrical conflicts where the attackers are Western armies,” and the reports tend “to present to the public and press what are essentially lawyers’ briefs that shape the facts and law toward conclusions
that [they] favor… without really presenting the full range of factual and legal objections to [their] position.”
The second section, beginning on page 127, is Appendix 1, “Submission to the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict by Colonel Richard Kemp CBE [Commander British Empire].
Colonel Kemp, pictured below, commanded the British Forces in Afghanistan in 2003. He also worked in the UK Cabinet Office on intelligence relating to international and domestic terrorism. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were among the extremist groups that he monitored and assessed.
The Colonel was in Israel for much of the summer 2014 Gaza conflict, and was briefed by Israeli political leaders, senior officials and IDF soldiers from top rank to private.
“In my opinion the actions taken by the IDF were necessary to defend the people of Israel from the ongoing, intensive and lethal attacks by Hamas and other groups in Gaza. It is the inalienable duty of every government to use its armed forces to protect its citizens and its terrain from external attack…
“I know of no other realistic and effective means of suppressing an aggressor’s missile fire than the methods used by the IDF, namely precision air and artillery strikes against the command and control structures, the fighters and the munitions of Hamas and the other groups in Gaza. Nor have I heard any other military expert from any country propose a viable alternative means of defense against such aggression.
“Much of the Hamas military infrastructure was located amongst the civilian population in Gaza. In these circumstances, neutralizing the threat from Hamas made civilian casualties unavoidable. Under the Laws of Armed Conflict this fact does not render such operations illegal assuming they were necessary. However the IDF had a duty to distinguish between legitimate military targets and civilians and to ensure that operations were conducted in accordance with the principle of proportionality as well as necessity.
“It is worth emphasizing that proportionality is not, as often believed by critics of Israel, a relationship between the numbers of casualties on either side in a conflict, but a calculation that considers whether the incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated in an attack.
“From my own research as well as briefings from and discussions with Israeli legal, military and political leaders, I understand and know well the ethos and operating principles of the IDF and I know that their commanders place great emphasis on adherence to the laws of armed conflict. This includes the principle of proportionality…
“…the IDF codify the relevant laws into rules of engagement that determine when Israeli military personnel may or may not use lethal and less than lethal force…IDF rules of engagement keep the IDF soldier within the laws of armed conflict by a significant margin. All Israeli soldiers are trained on these rules and regulations and the IDF emphasizes continuous updating of this training for their troops.
“I have found that communication of these directions is effective. In my experience the most junior soldiers in the IDF understand them and the imperative of adhering to them in conflict.
“Israel’s emphasis on preventing civilian casualties during this conflict started at the top. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff of the IDF made clear their directions that civilian casualties were to be minimized. I was told that the first item on the agenda of every meeting of the Israeli security cabinet during the conflict was Palestinian civilian casualties…
“I was briefed on the following procedures that were routinely implemented prior to launching an attack in Gaza. Before a target could be attacked at least two separate and independent intelligence sources had to verify that it was a legitimate military target…
“Each separate aerial attack mission had to be personally authorized by the Commander of the Israeli Air Force or one of his deputies, at least one of whom had to be present in the operations center throughout the conflict. Authorization was also subject to legal advice. To confirm whether or not civilians were in the target area surveillance had to be conducted by both manned combat aircraft and unmanned air vehicle (drone).
“If surveillance or other intelligence sources confirmed the presence of civilians, or the presence of civilians was suspected, one or more of a series of measures was taken to warn the civilians before the attack could go ahead. These measures were:
Broadcast radio message.
Warning via UN.
An additional measure was the use of a specially designed harmless airdropped munition known as ‘knock on the roof’ which was dropped on buildings to make a loud percussion…”
You can see a leaflet drop in Gaza here (from AP, not this report):
And here you see a screen shot from a TV broadcast, with civilians on the roof of the home of a terrorist. Israel Matzav shared this. The building was not destroyed by Israel because of those human shields.
Continues Colonel Kemp:
“Further surveillance was then conducted to confirm the civilians had left the target area. If they had not the attack would not be carried out until they had. Once a pilot was authorized to attack he had authority – and it was his duty – to abort the attack if he had reason to believe civilians were present when he made his attack run.
“Pilots utilizing laser-guided munitions were required to identify a safe open area in advance so that if civilians were identified in the target zone even after the missile was launched, it could be diverted in flight to the safe area…
“A further consideration for ground operations was the safety of the IDF’s own forces…As any military commander must minimize the risk of civilian casualties in a combat zone so he must also minimize the risk of casualties to his own forces for moral reasons, because of his duty of care and for reasons of fighting morale and combat effectiveness against the enemy. This is often overlooked when investigating human rights issues in a conflict.
Colonel Kemp also discusses a variety of other related issues, including the IDF system for fact-finding and legal action against those soldiers who have conducted themselves improperly. This system is not exclusively an internal military process; the Supreme Court of Israel oversees it. It is a system that enjoys wide respect among international legal authorities.
The Colonel concludes:
“…in my opinion the IDF took exceptional measures to adhere to the Laws of Armed Conflict and to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza. During the conflict many politicians, UN leaders, human rights groups and NGOs called on the Israelis to take greater action to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza. Yet none of them suggested any additional ways of doing this. I conclude that this was because Israel was taking all feasible steps. I believe Israel to be world leaders in actions to minimize civilian casualties; and this is borne out by the efforts made by the US Army, the most sophisticated and powerful in the world, to learn from the IDF on this issue.
“In my opinion Israel is also making strenuous efforts to investigate incidents where civilians were apparently unlawfully killed, wounded or ill-treated, and where civilian property was unlawfully damaged or stolen. I am not aware of any nation that has conducted more comprehensive or resolute investigations into its own military activities than Israel during and following the 2014 Gaza conflict.”
You might also want to see this news item:
“A multinational military group comprised of former chiefs of staff, generals and politicians submitted a report to the United Nations on Friday indicating that Israel went to great lengths to adhere to the laws of war and to protect Palestinian civilians during last summer’s 50-day war with Hamas in and around the Gaza Strip…
“The High-Level International Military Group on the Gaza Conflict in 2014 held a fact-finding mission to Israel between May 18-22. It was sponsored by a pro-Israel group, was reportedly given unprecedented access to senior officials, and investigated allegations of war crimes and disproportionality.
“The group found that ‘during Operation Protective Edge last summer… Israel not only met a reasonable international standard of observance of the laws of armed conflict, but in many cases significantly exceeded that standard.’
“They wrote that ‘in some cases Israel’s scrupulous adherence to the laws of war cost Israeli soldiers’ and civilians’ lives.’
“…The war that Israel was eventually compelled to fight against Hamas and other Gaza extremists was a legitimate war, necessary to defend its citizens and its territory against sustained attack from beyond its borders,” the group wrote, adding that even in that time of war, Israel took extraordinary measures to protect the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians.
“’Each of our own armies is of course committed to protecting civilian life during combat. But none of us is aware of any army that takes such extensive measures as did the IDF last summer to protect the lives of the civilian population in such circumstances,’ the report read.”
“…The mission, sponsored by the Friends of Israel Initiative, was headed by the former chief of staff of the Bundeswehr and chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Klaus Naumann, and included 10 other generals, chiefs of staff, politicians and officials from Holland, Spain, Italy, Australia, Colombia, the US and the UK.”
I speak about our holding our heads high. And indeed we can with regard to how we conduct ourselves during war.
(In all candidness, I would wish that not one single one of our boys in uniform, never mind a single one of our civilians, had to die because we were taking measures to protect enemy civilians that “significantly exceed” international standards on conduct in war. But in light of how we do conduct ourselves, the fact that we are criticized is beyond outrageous.)
When the UNHRC releases its inquiry into the war, we are likely to be hounded by libelous charges that echo internationally.
It falls to each of you reading this then, to familiarize yourselves with the facts, and utilize them in Israel’s defense at every opportunity – by writing letters to the editor, writing talk-backs on the Internet, posting information on websites and Facebook pages, sharing with discussion groups.
We are in the midst of a horrendous BDS battle, and each of you – by refuting charges with truth – can undermine those who seek to delegitimize Israel.
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
As the world waits for the pope’s climate change encyclical, new attention has been focused on how the Obama administration’s green energy policies are undermining U.S. military readiness and diverting resources from caring for America’s veterans.
We reported recently that the Obama administration didn’t have time to develop a strategy to fight against global Islamic terrorism because it was too busy putting homosexuals into the Armed Forces and celebrating gay pride. In fact, there was something else on the agenda that Obama had ordered the military to handle that had assumed more importance than global terrorism—climate change.
On May 20, in his remarks to the United States Coast Guard Academy commencement, Obama actually told the Coast Guard grads that “It is a dereliction of duty” for them to ignore this alleged problem.
The speech got enormous favorable attention from our media. “Obama Recasts Climate Change as a Peril With Far-Reaching Effects,” was The New York Times headline over a story covering the speech. CNN reported, “In Coast Guard commencement address, Obama buoys climate change.”
Obama even went so far as to imply that climate change was behind terrorism. He said, “…climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world. Yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram.”
The other side of the story was provided by two excellent speakers at the recent 10th International Conference on Climate Change in Washington, D.C. Jay Lehr, Ph.D., who is the science director at The Heartland Institute, said the U.S. Navy is being transformed into a “Green Navy” that will cost $1.9 billion in alternative fuels alone. The same money, he said, could buy a new aircraft carrier.
“The money that we are spending in this manner is going to reduce our weaponry and reduce our ability to protect our fighting men and women, and it is entirely disgraceful,” Lehr said.
James M. Taylor, vice president for external relations and senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, discussed his group’s publication of the report, “Climate Change, Energy Policy, and National Power.” It was written by three retired military officials who argue that the Obama administration’s so-called National Security Strategy pays lip service to a balanced energy strategy, while in reality it is actually “defaulting on its responsibility to develop and execute a credible national energy policy.”
In his own talk, Taylor discussed in detail how the costly energy schemes being imposed on the U.S. military impede military readiness and waste resources, even at the expense of veterans in need of health care.
Dominance in the world, he said, requires the projection of military power, which rests on a strong and growing economy. But Obama’s plan for less reliance on fossil fuels and the increased usage of so-called renewable sources such as solar and wind power can only weaken the U.S. economy, he said. He noted that Russia is already moving into the Arctic area, with no credible U.S. military response.
What’s more, Taylor noted, Obama has ordered the Defense Department to rely increasingly—as much as 25 percent of its energy—on “grossly expensive” solar and wind power that detracts from military preparedness. “This is coming out of the defense budget,” he said. “It’s a budgetary boondoggle that takes away from money that could be spent on men, machinery and weaponry, and instead is being spent on more expensive power.”
He cited a machine made for the military that is supposed to be dragged around on a battlefield and transforms trash into electricity, rather than being buried or burned. The contraption was highlighted by the Mother Nature Network news service as one of the “6 green things the U.S. military is doing.”
Citing another boondoggle, he said the Navy is paying an incredibly high price of $67.50 per gallon for a “camelina-based fuel” made from a plant in the mustard family.
Even more shocking, he cited a case of money from the Department of Veterans Affairs intended for military care that is instead being used to purchase solar panels. “That’s coming at the expense of folks who are not getting the care they should be getting,” he said.
Indeed, the VA announced in 2011 that it had awarded $56.7 million in contracts to build solar panels.
However, it was reported in Arkansas in April of this year by local television station KATV that a section of solar panels at the Little Rock Veteran’s Affairs Hospital was being torn down after being built only two years ago and never turned on. The panels had cost $8 million.
The VA Secretary at the time, Eric Shinseki, said that “in order to continue providing Veterans with the best health care and benefit services, VA must adapt to climate change.”
Shinseki’s green campaign included installing a wind turbine at the Massachusetts National Cemetery. The turbine cost $533,000 and was funded under Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The VA issued a news release about this development, saying, “Under the leadership of Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, who flipped the switch at today’s wind turbine dedication, VA is transitioning into a 21st century organization that better serves America’s Veterans.”
The VA scandal over poor or non-existent care for veterans forced Shinseki’s resignation more than a year ago.
But he has bounced back, recently joining the board of First Hawaiian Bank. Bob Harrison, First Hawaiian Bank chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, “He is a man of great integrity and character who has dedicated his entire career to serving our nation.”
It’s time once again for the Watcher’s Council’s ‘Weasel Of The Week’ nominations, where we pick our choices to compete for the award of the famed Golden Weasel to a public figure who particularly deserves to be slimed and mocked for his or her dastardly deeds during the week. Every Tuesday morning, tune in for the Weasel of the Week nominations!
Here are this weeks’ nominees… gonna be a close race this week…
El RINO Supremo, Rep. Paul Ryan!!
Don Surber: Paul Ryan said of the trade bill he supports: “It’s declassified and made public once it’s agreed to.”
Who knew that Paul Ryan is a Mustela Pelosi?
Another Democrat masquerading as a Republican.
Ask Marion: My nominee for Weasel of the Week is Rep. Paul Ryan and his Congressional GOP Establishment compatriots, Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Senator Mitch McConnell, who did everything short of holding a gun to the heads of GOP conservatives to get them to vote in favor of Obama’s global governance ObamaTrade bill promoted under the guise of ‘free trade’.
Amazingly Nancy Pelosi and other Progressives in the House came together with Conservatives thwarting Barack Obama’s New World Order agenda. Jeff Sessions was on point but the ‘Republican Establishment Leadership’… Speaker John Boehner, Rep Paul Ryan, Rep Kevin McCarthy, and Senator Mitch McConnell’s betrayal still almost cost Americans jobs and freedom. Time for a new Speaker and for Republicans to wake-up!!
But perhaps one of the most telling events of the week was Paul Ryan’s Gaffe and morphing into Paul Pelosi. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) the 2012 GOP VP Candidate, a chief proponent of ObamaTrade, finally showed his true colors and admitted that the process he was promoting was highly secretive. It was a true Pelosi moment, “You will have to pass the trade Promotion Authority bill ‘before seeing the documents and trade agreements coming in the next 60 days’, so ‘we’ in Congress, can determine the outcome of these trade agreements… not what’s happening out there right now.” That statement was also followed by an attack by Ryan on Breitbart News and Drudge.
Ryan went on to say that Trade Promotion Authority was a process. “It’s not a trade agreement. It’s a procedure for how you consider trade agreements. The Transpacific Partnership – it doesn’t exist yet. The reason we can’t see it yet is because it hasn’t been negotiated yet – it doesn’t exist yet. It’s been negotiated for years. Bush started these negotiations.”
Wow, did we not already learn our lesson of how this kind of thing works out with ObamaCare?
Councilwoman Janet ‘Boss’ Dixon of Wellston, Missouri!!
The Noisy Room: My nomination this week is Councilwoman Janet Dixon of Wellston, Missouri for getting an entire police department fired because they arrested her and her son.
What’s a corrupt city Councilwoman to do? Her son gets caught dealing drugs and confesses… then there’s the domestic violence and the fact that the Councilwoman herself was in possession of a defaced firearm. She got the arresting officers fired twice and then cuddled with the Mayor and got the whole police department disbanded. That’s 23 officers… just for following the law and doing their jobs. Imagine that. Since when can a City Council and the Mayor just ‘decide’ to disband the police department? That screams of a level of corruption that is jaw dropping. Naturally this would be a suburb of St. Louis – you know, the Ferguson stomping grounds. I’m sure this had nothing to do with cop hatred at all or racism. Right.
It would seem that not all of the council members are corrupt – at least one strongly opposed what was done. No one is buying the Mayor’s weak excuse of budget cuts and sharing resources. It’s pretty obvious to everyone what this is. A Councilwoman on a power trip feels she and her family are above the law. And if the police won’t give them a pass, get rid of them. This is how far morally and ethically our cities have sunk as of late. Former Police Chief G.T. Walker decided to not come back as well because the other officers were let go – it would serve Wellston right if the city just devolved into a Mad Max scenario and chaos took over.
Evidently they want the police to be there for only ‘certain’ crimes and to be selective on who they arrest. It feels a lot like communist Russia in Missouri these days and it is spreading across the nation. Dixon is a thuggish weasel who combines politics and criminality seamlessly.
Muslim Public Affairs Council Leader Who Tastes Jews In His Sandwiches Asghar Bukhari!
The Independent Sentinel: How do you choose? There’s the English teacher who won’t teach Shakespeare – he’s just the long-dead British guy, then there’s the fake black person Rachel Dolezal, we mustn’t forget Frederika Whitfield who said the shooter of the Dallas police headquarters was ‘courageous and brave’, and so many others.
I settled on Asghar Bukhari, the founding member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPAUK), who said zionists broke into his house and stole one of his shoes. His evidence is that only one shoe was missing and he always puts them in the same place. What other explanation could there be, he asked in all seriousness. After he became the subject of much mockery on Twitter he made a video with an even lengthier explanation, just as bizarre.
Faux Black Person And Racial Grievance Monger Rachel Dolezal!!
The Razor: Should we just skip the submissions and go with Rachel Dolezal?
Especially after Smoking Gun is claiming she sued Howard U for discriminating against her for being white.
This puts her in whole new class of super-weasel in my book.
Tennessee Senator Bob ‘What, Me Worry?’ Corker!!
Nice Deb: I’ll nominate Senator Bob Corker just to give Rachel some competition – but she’s obviously this week’s weasel to beat… Corker’s the guy who brokered the Fail Theater known as “Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015” in the Senate, and is now pretending to be shocked and dismayed that Obama’s nuclear agreement is terrible (something we’ve all known for months).
Instead of insisting that the final agreement be regarded as a treaty, requiring the support of two-thirds of the chamber for ratification, Corker proposed letting naysayers try to block the treaty with a resolution of disapproval instead. The resolution could be filibustered by Democrats before it’s enacted, or it could be enacted and then vetoed by Obama.
Corker made it possible for Obama to concede as much as he likes without fear of legislative consequences. And now he’s pretend-surprised to find O in concession mode with Iran.
Well, there it is. What a despicable group of Weasels… ANY OF THEM COULD WIN! Check back Thursday to see which Weasel walks off with the statuette of shame!
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum.
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.