Tuesday, March 31, 2015
In shocking breach, U.S. declassifies document revealing some of Israel's nuclear capabilities.
by Tom Gross, 26-3- 2015
For the full article go to: http://tinyurl.com/py9uaxb
On February 12, the Pentagon quietly declassified a top-secret 386-page Department of Defense document from 1987 detailing Israel's nuclear program – the first time Israel’s alleged nuclear program has ever been officially and publically referenced by the U.S. authorities.
In the declassified document, the Pentagon reveals supposed details about Israel’s deterrence capabilities, but it kept sections on France, Germany, and Italy classified. Those sections are blacked out in the document.
The two main exceptions in the international media that wrote about the declassification at the time were the state-funded Iranian regime station Press TV and the state-funded Russian station RT.
Both these media were rumored to have been tipped off about this obscure report at the time by persons in Washington. (Both the RT and PressTV stories falsely claim that the U.S. gave Israel help in building a hydrogen bomb. This is incorrect.)
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons. To do so might spark a regional nuclear arms race, and eventual nuclear confrontation.
The declassification is a serious breach of decades’ old understandings concerning this issue between Israel and its north American and certain European allies.
The Pentagon’s February declassification coincided with intense pressure on the Netanyahu government by the Obama administration, trying to force the Israeli prime minister to cancel a planned speech to Congress questioning the wisdom of a highly risky nuclear deal with the Iranian regime.
However, in the past 24 hours several media in the U.S. and elsewhere have now chosen to report on the February declassification by the Pentagon. This coincides with stepped up efforts this week by the Obama administration to weaken Israel’s deterrent capabilities, including leaking to the Wall Street Journal incorrect allegations that Israel directly spies on the U.S.
An informed person connected to the government in Jerusalem, tells me:
“Over the years there have been backhanded references and comments made by individuals with some familiarity with this issue. But there has never before been any official description of the quality and capacity of installations. This kind of declassified document constitutes a whole different level of acknowledgement. It is part of a pattern of carefully controlled leaking of information which is very hard to attribute to a specific government agency or individual. Nevertheless it is clear what is happening.
“The failure to maintain the degree of mature and cooperative discretion that officials from several governments have exercised up to now, marks a serious change in the code of conduct. It is not wise to draw attention to this issue because it would tend to destabilize the international order and encourage others to pursue nuclear capabilities.”
The Pentagon declassification is not the first time the Obama administration has seemingly tried to curtail or control Israeli efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear program.
In May 2011, the State Department revealed that the Israeli business tycoon brothers Sami and Yuli Ofer, were sending their cargo ships to Iran, as reported, for example, here in the Financial Times.
The Sunday Times of London, again on the basis of tip-offs, reported on June 5, 2011 that cargo ships owned by a subsidiary of the Ofer Brothers Group were being used to shuttle Israeli agents and reconnaissance equipment into Iran.
According to the report, at least eight ships belonging to companies owned by the Ofer group docked in Iranian ports to load and offload cargo in the years prior to 2011, as Israel made substantive efforts (aided by some European countries) to slow down and hamper Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Sami Ofer died on June 2, 2011, three days before that report was published.
The full story of the Obama administration’s effort to undermine, and effectively attempt to take control of, Israel’s deterrent capabilities in various spheres is yet to be written. There have been several other aspects to these efforts.
Many might say that the Israeli government has had little choice but to turn for assistance to Congress and to persons in the U.S. defense and intelligence communities, who share Jerusalem’s intense concerns about the nature of the anticipated deal with the Iranian regime Obama seems determined to sign.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
By Amir Taheri March 20, 2015
For the full article go to: http://tinyurl.com/pyk7n37
For months, the Obama administration conducted a campaign of denigration against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, depicting him as “an obstacle to peace” in the Middle East.
The campaign found greater intensity after Netanyahu, seeking a new term in office, committed himself not to allow the creation of a Palestinian state, before walking his comments back after the election.
Although the idea of a two-state solution did not originate with him, President Obama’s advisers regarded the results of the Israeli election as a setback for him.
And because they think that whatever Obama says should never be challenged, they fomented a mood of doom and gloom about the Middle East, a region which has enough of both for reasons beyond the perennial Israel-Palestine issue.
However, as an Arab proverb has it: “There is always something good in whatever happens.”
To start with, as some of us predicted at the outset, the two-state formula, which has been the flavor of the day since 2009, has not worked.
We are as far from any peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors as ever.
Even the so-called “peace process” has been exposed as a sham. Obama’s peace envoy, the honorable George Mitchell, pulled out as fast as he could. And last week it was the turn of Tony Blair, the Peace Quartet envoy, to throw in the towel.
There is no evidence that a majority of Israelis want a two-state formula.
In fact, if we add up votes won by all parties implicitly or explicitly opposed to the two-state formula, we will have a whopping 75 per cent of Israelis.
Thus what Netanyahu mastered enough courage to say aloud is what most Israelis think in silence.
The picture is hardly different on the Palestinian side. To start with, the Palestinians are divided in at least three camps.
In one camp we have Fatah and its allies who have never formally committed to a two-state formula but have dropped hints that they might accept such a solution as a first step toward liberating the rest of historic Palestine, that is to say, what is now Israel, later.
The second camp is dominated by Hamas, which is committed to the destruction of Israel in no uncertain terms.
However, Hamas does not want a Palestinian state either. As the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas is a pan-Islamist group dedicated to fighting for the creation of a global caliphate.
In the third camp, there are more radical Palestinian groups, including the Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine, now the favored protégé of the Islamic Republic in Tehran.
The IJLP leadership has repeatedly declared its support for a one-state formula sponsored by Iranian “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei. Under Khamenei’s formula, Jews who “came to Palestine from other places” will return to their original homelands. The remaining Jews will join the Palestinians in today’s Israel as well as Gaza and the West Bank to set up one state.
Those familiar with Palestinian public mood in the West Bank and Gaza know that, although a majority resent Israeli domination and the hardships incidental to occupation, there is great concern about the possibility, not to say certainty, that any Palestinian state manufactured through diplomatic games may become as corrupt and despotic as almost all Arab states are today.
Gaza, which is already a Palestinian state in all but name, is a bad poster for a future state created by the terrible trio depicted above.
Proportionally, Gaza has more political prisoners than any Arab country. Hamas imposes a regime of censorship and intimidation little better than those of Saddam Hussein in Iraq or Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Palestinian friends tell me they were happy Netanyahu decided to “puncture” the two-state illusion, something that neither Israelis nor Palestinians really want.
So, what is to be done?
First, let’s take stock of the status quo, which, as is often the case, has a certain justification compared to a range of worse options.
Let us also accept that living with a problem, by managing it better, may be wiser than rushing into a mirage of a solution that could produce even bigger problems.
Having created an opportunity for debate, Netanyahu must now work to put it to good use by asking Israelis to think and talk about how they see the future of relations with Palestinians and what they are prepared to give in exchange for what they hope to receive.
For their part, Palestinians, too, should for the first time engage in a genuine debate over their vision of future relations with Israel — coexistence, and if so, in what form.
Friday, March 20, 2015
Video of the week: MAPPING ISRAEL'S BORDERS:
Earlier this month we once again saw what hotbeds of extremism and hatred some of our university campuses have become.
Douglas Murray, Mar 13, 2015
For the full article go to: http://tinyurl.com/ko5zzkd
Taxpayers are funding this repulsive outpouring of anti-Semitism
The fact that Mohammed Emwazi (aka “Jihadi John”) had been a student at Westminster university could have surprised no one.
Nor could the discovery that on the very night Emwazi was unmasked his university was due to host a radical preacher who preaches the most hardline versions of sharia.
In the same week as a new video revealed commonplace anti-Jewish hatred on Britain’s streets, the Cambridge University Union Society once again chose to debate the motion “Israel is a rogue state”.
The Cambridge Union – the oldest in the country – enjoys debating that motion more than any other. It is a fixture in its termly schedules.
And once again last week the students of Cambridge decided to hold Israel guilty among the nations. Needless to say there is no record of Cambridge students debating whether Pakistan (created in the same year as Israel) is a rogue state. Despite there being far more reasons to do so.
Nor does the Cambridge Union annually denigrate any of Israel’s neighbours in the Middle East. During last week’s Cambridge debate the notorious anti-Israeli activist and discredited academic Norman Finkelstein explained to the students that Israel is worse than North Korea.
The students agreed with him. Next month the University of Southampton will become the latest university to fix its position on this bandwagon of hate.
As reported in the Daily Express earlier this week, on 17-19 April Southampton University will host a three day conference titled “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism.”
University of Southampton will become the latest university to fix its position on this bandwagon of hate.
The organisers claim that the conference is “the first of its kind and constitutes a ground-breaking historical event on the road towards justice and enduring peace in historic Palestine”. Of course this is purest academic claptrap.
The idea that one of the world’s most intractable political problems could be solved by a group of a gaggle of academics sitting in Southampton is laughable. Or it would be if the whole set up weren’t such a hate-fest from start to finish.
The University of Southampton’s Vice Chancellor, the beautifully named Professor Nutbeam, claims that this is a matter of free speech. It isn’t. Free speech is a precious British tradition which most of us would do everything to defend. But true free speech includes hearing different viewpoints.
And that is not what Southampton is organising. They are organising a one-sided anti-Israel rally. Anyone in any doubt about that simply needs to look at their speaker line up.
Every single panel is stuffed full of low-grade academics and self described activists drawn from near and far but from a single political direction.
They are people like Dr Ghada Karmi who tours this country’s universities whipping up hatred of Israel. She was at Cambridge last week arguing that Israel is a “rogue state”. She describes herself as an “activist” and well she might. There is little recognisably “academic” in her routine.
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She routinely and repeatedly calls not for peace in the Middle East but for the end of the world’s only Jewish state. Other speakers in Southampton will include one Dr Jeff Handmaker who claims that companies like Ikea which have business dealings with Israel are complicit in human rights abuses.
I shall think of Dr Handmaker next time I buy a flat pack lamp and meatballs. But it is the same thing on panel after panel. Speaker after speaker has a track record of calling for the same things: boycotts of Israel, demonization of Israel and indeed the end of Israel.
It is a conference dedicated to annihilation. So how appropriate that as the delegates finish their tax-payer subsidised lunch on the first day their “after lunch speaker” will be the disgraced academic Richard Falk who claims that Israel behaves like the Nazis.
This is one of the common themes among many of the participants, and is worth reflecting on. The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is a very complex matter. But none of Israe actions bear any resemblance whatsoever to the genocidal inferno of Nazism.
So why do figures like those heading to Southampton next month so commonly compare Israeli security policies to those of the Nazis? The answer is simple.
They compare the security policies of the State of Israel to the crimes of Nazism because they wish to taunt the first victims of Nazism. They wish to hurt Jews. This is what passes for academic debate in Southampton in 2015: vile and routine Jew baiting.
You do have to put some effort into putting together such a one-sided hate-fest. The number of people in Britain so utterly and weirdly obsessed by Israel is really quite small. Most ordinary, fair-minded people looking at the Middle East can see that Israel is the only liberal and free society like ours in the region.
People are not being beheaded and brutalised, hanged from cranes and thrown off buildings. These anti-Israel obsessives are fringe weirdos in wider society.
One of the only places where they are not is university campuses. It is high time that non-Jews stood with Jews against this rising hatred.
Let’s start by demanding that the Government stops giving our money to universities like Southampton if they cannot stop themselves transforming from centres of learning into epicentres of hate.
Monday, March 9, 2015
Video of the week: Arab-Jewish coexistence
The weekend Australian, by DAVID PRYCE-JONES 7-3-2015
For the full article go to: http://tinyurl.com/nlgyy7h
RIGHT across Europe, museums and memorials and special days of prayer commemorate the Holocaust.
Dead Jews then, get respect, but a majority of living Jews prefer survival.
To that end, they have Israel, a nation-state with a very strong identity, a citizens’ army and the will to defend its interests.
I happened to be a reporter in the Six-Day War of 1967. The general expectation was that the encircling Arab armies were about to wipe out Israel in a second Holocaust. This was nothing less than a challenge to civilisation, and I saw grown men shed tears over it.
The cunning of history, in Hegel’s immortal phrase, set to work immediately. Israel won that war and subsequent wars as well, but each time it is seen as the wrong kind of victory.
Half the Israeli population consists of refugees born and bred in the Muslim world, but Israel is unmistakably a Western country with a First World economy. Having just rid themselves of the British and the French, Arabs were not going to accept any Western successor in their midst.
Anti-Semitism always rests on attributing to Jews whatever is considered bad character in the culture prevailing wherever they might be living. To Arabs and Muslims, Israel is an unwanted coloniser, racist and imperialist, viciously victimising virtuous and innocent inhabitants of the Third World.
Partly this is a Western outlook derived by intellectuals at second hand from Marxism, and partly it is a traditional act of faith in the minds of Muslims themselves.
Three instances in the Koran tell of Allah turning Jews into apes and pigs. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, is only one eminent preacher who treats this trope as literal truth rather than metaphorical.
Reaching for a wider audience, a song running on the television channel of the Palestinian Authority responsible for the West Bank has a couplet, “O Sons of Zion, O most evil among creations / O barbaric apes, O wretched pigs.”
Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi is an elderly and much respected Egyptian Sunni cleric who implores, “Oh Allah, take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people. Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one.”
Preaching in al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in November, Sheik Omar Abu Sara declared, “I say to the Jews loud and clear: The time for your slaughter has come. The time to fight you has come. The time to kill you has come.” He is only one of innumerable imams urging on another Holocaust
Last northern summer, war between Hamas and Israel offered a copybook example of misrepresentation. In command of the Gaza Strip, Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a militarised jihadi group that very openly, even honestly, declares its aim is genocide, the complete eradication of Israel.
Over a limited period, Hamas had fired into Israel something in the order of 8,000 missiles. Finally provoked beyond endurance, Israel put a stop to it with a military campaign that killed just over 2000 people, fairly equally divided between Islamist terrorists and civilians.
Hamas, the original aggressor, portrayed Israeli self-defence as a war crime. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as paymaster and armourer of Hamas, accused Israel of the genocide he had hoped his proxies would accomplish.
This stratagem frees Arabs to fire more missiles or to murder Jews as and when it suits them, and still more dramatically obliges Jews to take a position about Israelis. Some conclude that Israelis must take whatever steps are required for survival, others feel guilty at the violence involved, and a few, mostly intellectuals again, dissociate themselves altogether from Israel.
There are Jews so frightened and insecure about their identity that in a psychological defence mechanism they detach anti-Semitism from its historical context, blaming it instead on the contemporary determination of Israelis to keep their fate in their own hands rather than surrender it to Arab or Muslim opponents such as Hamas in Gaza.
European intellectuals are continually adding to this Jewish dilemma by misrepresenting either Jews or Israel, or both. Jostein Gaarder is a bestselling Norwegian novelist who comes up with an old, old smear, “to act as God’s chosen people is not only stupid and arrogant, but a crime against humanity”.
The Portuguese novelist and Nobel laureate Jose Saramago seriously thought that the Israeli presence on the West Bank was worse than Auschwitz.
Another Nobel prize winner, Gunter Grass, kept his service in the SS a lifelong secret but declared that Israel was a threat to world peace.
Tom Paulin, a poet and university lecturer, writes about a Palestinian “gunned down by the Zionist SS”. A member of the European parliament, Gianni Vattimo, supposedly a philosopher in Italy, says: “I’d like to shoot those bastard Zionists.”
In Britain’s House of Lords, Jenny Tonge suggested the Israeli medical team helping victims of the earthquake in Haiti had come to harvest human organs.
Henryk Broder, a brilliant polemicist, was addressing his fellow Germans when he said, “You’re still your parents’ children. Your Jew today is the state of Israel”, but he was putting his finger on a much wider instinctive reaction.
In Paris during the Gaza crisis, pro-Palestinian rioters armed with axes and knives were prevented at the last moment from storming a synagogue with a large congregation inside. Nothing like this had occurred in that city since the German occupation when the SS blew up seven synagogues.
At that same moment in Berlin — of all places — demonstrators charged towards a Jewish couple shouting, “Jew! We’ll get you!”
In Wuppertal, a judge ruled that the town’s synagogue had been torched for no reason except to draw attention to conflict. A man whose name is given as Mahmudul Choudury put a photograph of Hitler on Facebook and has him saying, “You were right. I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some of them to let you know why I was killing them.”
Demonstrators carry placards, “Jews to the gas” and “Hitler was right”. French comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala said of a colleague, “When I hear him talking, I say to myself, Patrick Cohen, hmm … the gas chamber.”
In the atmosphere of rising moral chaos, Jewish institutions make sure to have as much human and physical protection as possible. Jewish children enter schools that are little fortresses, and they are taught how to defend themselves as street-fighters.
Going about their daily lives, Jews cannot help thinking about those who have been murdered just because they were Jews: among them, Ilan Halimi, kidnapped and tortured to death by Muslims in Paris; a teacher and three children in Toulouse; four visitors in a Jewish museum in Brussels; shoppers in the kosher supermarket at the Porte de Vincennes; a security guard in Copenhagen; and Alberto Nisman, the public prosecutor investigating the bombing in Buenos Aires of a Jewish community centre that left more than 80 dead, himself murdered hours before he was due to reveal some findings.
Howard Jacobson, the novelist who specialises in weighing Jewish hopes and fears, finds that the mood music of the moment is “ugly”. Danny Cohen, ostensibly secure as the BBC’s director of television, confesses, “I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months. And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually?” Emma Barnett, a lively journalist on Britain’s The Telegraph, recently wrote that for the first time in her life as a British Jew she feels scared, anxious and bewildered.
Pressure groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement demonise Jews. Various unions, professional associations and 700 individuals in the world of pop culture are busy boycotting Israel, apparently oblivious that Hitler launched his persecution with a boycott campaign. Roland Dumas, a former French foreign minister, takes it for granted that Prime Minister Manuel Valls is “under Jewish influence”.
On Swedish public broadcasting, Helena Groll revealed a mindset when she asked the Israeli ambassador to Sweden, “Do the Jews themselves have any responsibility for the growing anti-Semitism that we see now?”
Commenting to the daughter of Holocaust survivors in the aftermath of the massacre of Charlie Hebdo journalists and Jewish shoppers in Paris, Tim Willcox of the BBC said, “Many critics, though, of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer tragedy at Jewish hands as well”, managing the double feat of treating anti-Semitism as evidence of Jewish wrongdoing and patronising Palestinians for their passive suffering of it. This was “poorly phrased”, he had to concede later.
The Community Security Trust is a voluntary body set up to safeguard Jewish lives and property in Britain. It reports that in 2013 there were 535 anti-Semitic incidents, and 1168 in 2014, the highest level ever recorded.
Since the year 2000, 7650 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported in France. The number of French Jews estimated to be leaving this year for Israel is 15,000, twice as many as last year. Michel Gurfinkiel, one of the most thoughtful intellectuals in France, foresees a time when there will be none left in the country. Menachem Margolin, a rabbi who speaks for Jewish organisations in Europe, on the contrary, calls on governments to make it easier for Jews to arm themselves.
The German Chancellor, the British Prime Minister, the French President and his Prime Minister have all made high-flown declarations that their countries are home to their Jews and there is no need to seek refuge in Israel. There are no meaningful measures to be taken to back up such assurances.
Europe is set on a future without nation-states and no discernible identity, but a Muslim population estimated at anywhere between 20 and 50 million.
That doesn’t look like doing any Jews a favour.