Saturday, 10 October 2009

Love of the Land: Another Tack: Ban Israel's bomb

Another Tack: Ban Israel's bomb

Sarah Honig
08 October 09

How sweet the vision: our world nuke-free and menace-free, enveloped in harmony and goodwill. Lofty sentiments without a doubt - assuming they are sincerely subscribed to and remotely attainable.

That's a whopping assumption, though.

Ban-the-Bomb appeared a praiseworthy cause at its cold-war 1950s inception. No doubt lots of fine folks genuinely trusted they were doing their best for mankind and life on earth. Not many suspected right off that they were played for suckers, that no authentic grassroots anti-nuke outcry was possible behind the Iron Curtain, that the endgame was to weaken western deterrent - and guess who wanted that to happen?

In time, anti-bomb fervor subsided, but not deep within the anti-establishment subculture inhabited, among others, by Barack Obama and assorted diehard radical cronies. In the name of that ideal of old, US President Obama pretentiously chaired the UN Security Council session which re-ignited the vision of nuclear disarmament. Yet again, intentions may have been noble.

Nevertheless the niggling question is whom are sponsors of the renewed Security Council morality-drive out to weaken? Some argue that high-minded pontification is but a thinly veiled campaign against the burgeoning, very potent Iranian nuclear threat.

But since this was obliquely left for the vast and varied UN membership to interpret according to entrenched self-serving predispositions, then anything goes. And it will. You can bet your bottom shekel that the resultant anti-nuclear ardor will be nothing like what it may seem or like what certain manipulators would like to make others believe that it seems.

PARDON THE jaded perception. Less starry-eyed, admittedly more world-weary observers saw it all before. Déjà vu. Most aspirations ceremoniously ballyhooed in august international forums sound commendable and honorable. Yet inescapably these virtuous standards will be applied to one country exclusively - little Israel.

The Human Rights Council, until recently infamous as the Human Rights Commission, concentrates all its energies on painting Israel as the planet's great repressive ogre. It was the HRC which commissioned the recent farcical Goldstone Report at the benign behest of such liberal paradigms as Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, Malaysia and Bangladesh.

The UN after all once equated Zionism with racism. That was when it was headed by former Nazi Kurt Waldheim. It routinely singled Israel out for an exemplary set of unique restrictions. Israel alone is prohibited from responding to overt terrorist aggression. Decades before operations Defensive Shield and Cast Lead, all retaliatory raids of the Fifties and Sixties were identically condemned.

Unlike any country, Israel is obliged to fight - if at all - according to incongruent asymmetrical pacifist rules. Israel may not resort to weaponry allowed or overlooked in the case of other states. All hell breaks loose if "collateral damage" is incurred in any Israeli action, although Israel faces enemies given to hiding behind their women's skirts and tots' t-shirts. Schools, hospitals and the like are used as rocket launching pads against Israeli civilians. But Israeli civilians are expected to take it on the chin and not disturb the world's peace with interminable Jewish whines.

Israel's security fence, erected to hamper suicide-bombers, is raucously vilified in the name of freedom of movement. Yet this laudable principle isn't requisite for other UN members. Numerous governments fortify their borders via barriers of all sorts to obstruct the influx of economic migrants and foreign gatecrashers. It's quite acceptable for the US, to say nothing of Spain whose need to bar entry into Spanish Sahara goes unchallenged. Nobody minds that European Spain still has territory in Africa, which it still refuses to cede.

Spain, mind you, is hardly alone. Plenty of UN members, from the US, UK, Russia, Turkey and China - to name just one handful - occupy the territory of others without incurring extraordinary wrath or even a negligible demerit. Plenty establish settlements on usurped lands - the above handful comes to mind again, but not only it. Worldwide, untold millions of noncombatants were evicted, indeed entire ethnic populations. None of the dispossessors are expected to accept dislodged enemies or even innocuous refugees back. No way will Poles, Czechs and other Europeans take back expelled Germans (and rightly so). What's done is done.

Except in Israel's case. Israel is unique. Israel must abet its own extinction via inundation by millions of hostile Arabs, whose own belligerent forebears caused their displacement to begin with. Israel is the one testing ground for all disingenuous ethical experiments bombastically launched by the international community.

China may occupy Tibet with no ill-consequence. China has no justification for subjugating Tibet. It's land-lust and nothing but. Israel of course is weighed on different scales. Merely nine miles wide - enclosed by temporary armistice lines rather than recognized borders - Israel was forced into war in 1967 in order to avoid annihilation. It regained territory which was partly Jewish-owned and Jewish-inhabited just 19 years earlier and all of which constitutes its homeland.

THIS IS no faraway conquest motivated by greed and coercive realpolitik. If Israel cedes lowly hills overlooking its densest population center, one airport and exposed highways, it's a goner. Yet this is precisely what the international community, including professed friends, stridently clamors for.

China crowded out native Tibetans with Chinese settlers immeasurably outnumbering Israel's entire population, but their removal isn't a precondition for much of anything. Chinese settlement construction isn't even called that, as wasn't the Russian counterpart in the Baltics. We won't even get into the thorny subjects of the US or Britain (still in the Falklands, just a hop and a skip from Whitehall). Different strokes for different settlers.

Love of the Land: Another Tack: Ban Israel's bomb

Love of the Land: Some facts appear to be more sacred than others at the Guardian

Some facts appear to be more sacred than others at the Guardian

Melanie Phillips
The Spectator
09 October 09

Here is a little quiz. The Guardian has posted up a list here of everyone who has won the Nobel Peace Prize since its inception.

Q: Which three names are omitted from the Guardian list ( even though they do appear on list which the Guardian has purportedly reproduced)?***

A: Menachem Begin, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin.

And what is the common link between these three names? Precisely.

It appears someone at the Guardian actually went to the effort of removing the names of the three Israeli statesmen who won the prize. Facts are sacred?

Here’s a further curiosity. If you look at the years 1978 and 1994, although the Guardian has air-brushed out the names of Begin,Peres and Rabin it has apparently added in the name of their country, Israel, which is given in a neighbouring column – thus managing to suggest that Sadat and Arafat represented Israel along with Egypt and ‘Palestine’ in winning the prize in those years. So what happend? Did the hand typing in the name of the country accidentally hit the keys three times so that the names that went with it were coincidentally all deleted?

Tsk – standards of censorship on Planet Bigotry are clearly slipping.

***Update, 1650: Lo and behold, the three Israeli names have now been added to the Guardian list.

Love of the Land: Some facts appear to be more sacred than others at the Guardian

Israel Matzav: Breaking through the media iron curtain

Breaking through the media iron curtain

Arutz Sheva reports that an anti-Shalit deal demonstration this past Thursday marked the first time that a protest against trading hundreds of 'Palestinian' terrorists for kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit has been covered in the media here.

Hundreds of demonstrators took part in a demonstration outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem on Thursday, demanding that the government hold fast and not give in to exorbitant terrorist demands in return for the freedom of IDF soldier-hostage Gilad Shalit.

The demonstrators included members of bereaved families, IDF reserve officers and concerned citizens.

Protesters against the proposed deal to free up to 1,000 Hamas terrorists in return for Sgt. Shalit succeeded in receiving media coverage of their protests Thursday, after years in which the media virtually boycotted them. Most of the popular television channels and internet news sites gave their protest front-page coverage, releasing an apparent torrent of public support.

Releasing terrorists invites the next kidnapping and could - God forbid - result in hundreds of dead and wounded Israelis in future terror attacks. Enough is enough.

Israel Matzav: Breaking through the media iron curtain

Israel Matzav: Turkey opts out of military maneuvers with Israel

Turkey opts out of military maneuvers with Israel

Turkey decided on Friday to opt out of joint military maneuvers with Israel according to a report from the Kuwait News Agency.

Turkey decided on Friday to opt out of air force maneuvers in which military aircraft from Israel, the US, Italy, and NATO will be taking part, local media reported.

This decision to quit "Anatolian Eagle" coincides with Israeli attacks and violations against the Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Turkey did not officially state the reason behind the decision to cancel participation in the drills planned for October 12-24. However, the announcement was received most favorably by the public after several demands that the government ban Israeli planes which bombard Palestinian territories from flying in Anatolian airspace.

The maneuvers were scheduled to take place at Konya air base, in the heart of Turkey.
Israel participated in the joint military training 15 times with 10 aircraft at a time, virtue of a treaty ratified between Turkey and Israel in 1996.

This continues the trend of Turkey's increasingly cold relations with Israel since Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stormed off a podium he was sharing with Israeli President Shimon Peres last winter. Turkey is clearly on its way to becoming an Islamist state.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Turkey opts out of military maneuvers with Israel

Israel Matzav: The best Nobel headline I've seen yet

Israel Matzav: The best Nobel headline I've seen yet

Israel Matzav: Heartbreak: Netanyahu on Obama's Nobel

Heartbreak: Netanyahu on Obama's Nobel

Shavua tov v'shana tova - a good week and a good year to everyone. For those wondering how I could be online on a Jewish holiday, please keep in mind that I am at home in Israel where we only have one day on which work is forbidden at the end of the holiday. It's all over for us.

Unfortunately, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu seems to have lost his nerve when it come to dealing with Barack Obama. I'd rather he just have kept quiet than issued this comment, which came through on Twitter a short time ago:

Obamas determination has given new hope to humanity and permission to dream and act.Giving a sense that there is a God and believe on earth.

Excuse me while I lose my dinner.

Israel Matzav: Heartbreak: Netanyahu on Obama's Nobel

Love of the Land: The Latest Round of War

The Latest Round of War
10 October 09

An atmosphere of fantasy pervaded US President Barack Obama's Middle East peace processor George Mitchell's meetings with Israeli leaders on Thursday. In separate photo opportunities, Mitchell stood next to President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and pledged to surmount all obstacles to achieve peace not only between Israel and the Palestinians but between Israel and Syria and Lebanon and with the whole Arab world.

Mitchell's remarks were even more stunning than similar statements from him during previous visits, because this week the Palestinians launched their newest terror campaign against Israel. Like previous rounds of Palestinian terror against Jews beginning in 1929, the latest round has been precipitated by wholly fabricated claims by Muslim leaders that Israel is asserting Jewish rights to the Temple Mount - Judaism's most sacred site - and so endangering the Muslim claim to the sole right to worship at the site that was never even mentioned in the Koran.

Beginning last week, convicted felon Raed Salah - who served a prison sentence for his Israeli Islamic Movement's northern branch's financial and other ties to Hamas - began inciting Israeli and Palestinian Muslim worshipers to make war against Israel. As he does every few months, Salah claimed falsely that Jews were committing the unforgivable "crime" of seeking to worship on the Temple Mount during Succot. Succot, which we observed this past week, is of course one of the three harvest festivals in which Jews are commanded to go up to the Temple Mount. This time, Salah's lies were accompanied by similar ones from Hamas leaders and Fatah leaders alike.

As is their standard practice, Palestinian leaders used known euphemisms in their declarations of war. Rather than openly call for Jews to be slaughtered, they called on Muslims to defend the Temple Mount from fictional Jewish assault. Wheelbarrows of rocks were found stockpiled on the Temple Mount on Monday. The rocks made clear the intention of Muslim leaders to reenact the 1990 stoning of Jewish Succot worshipers at the Western Wall. That Muslim assault precipitated a steep increase in Palestinian terror during the months that followed.

This week's riots similarly recall the 1996 Palestinian onslaught. That aggression was justified by the false Palestinian allegation that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to open the Western Wall archeological tunnel was part of a secret plot to dislodge the Aksa Mosque. Yasser Arafat used his manufactured libel as an excuse to order his US-trained and Israeli-armed Palestinian security forces to open fire at IDF soldiers. In the violence that followed some 15 soldiers were killed.

The most violent exploitation of fabricated claims of Jewish aggression against Judaism's most sacred site to date, of course, came in September 2000. Then Arafat and his deputies in Fatah supported by Hamas and the Israeli Islamic Movement claimed that then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon's September 28, 2000, visit to the Temple Mount - a visit that had been coordinated in advance with the PA - was an act of war against the Palestinians and against Islam as a whole. More than 1,500 Israelis were killed in the seven years of terror war that followed.

Perhaps the most overt call for a renewal of jihad against Israel this week came from Fatah leader and titular PA President Mahmoud Abbas. In an interview on Yemenite television, Abbas said, "The second intifada erupted because of Sharon's visit to [the Temple Mount] and... it lasted seven years. This time, therefore the matter of Jerusalem requires a much greater effort [by the Palestinians], something more practical. It's not enough to talk about Jerusalem in books, or to give sermons in mosques. There is a need to work for it."

THE NEWEST round of violence has been building up for the past month. According to data released by the IDF, over the past month, the volume of terror attacks nearly doubled, from 53 attacks in August to 95 in September. This week's spike in violence caused IDF commanders to warn of the possibility that the violence will spread throughout Judea and Samaria. With the near seamless integration of Arab Israeli leaders in the incitement of violence, there is good reason for concern that Arab Israelis will play a prominent role in the newest round of jihad against Israel.

Abbas and his prime minister Salaam Fayad have augmented their violent attacks against Israel with a renewed diplomatic assault against the Jewish state. Fayad and Abbas have both called for the US and European governments to condemn Israel's imaginary provocations and moves to "Judaize" the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Rather than condemn these Fatah leaders for their key roles in inciting violence, the Europeans have been embracing them. Led by Sweden, which holds the rotating EU presidency, European governments have demanded that Israel end its provocative behavior.

For its part, rather than dismissing these obviously false allegations out of hand, the Obama administration demanded that Israel give an accounting of its actions to prove that it is not provoking Palestinian violence.

Love of the Land: The Latest Round of War

Love of the Land: Guardian uses Obama Nobel prize award to advance anti-Israel narrative

Guardian uses Obama Nobel prize award to advance anti-Israel narrative

Robin Sheherd
Think Tank Blog
10 October 09

Even the Guardian had to admit that the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama was “ludicrously premature”. I prefer the version I offered to Forbes Magazine yesterday who quoted me as describing the move as “infantilism” and “soft-bellied adoration of an untested president”.

But after the weasel words of pseudo-criticism the Guardian, in an editorial today, was back to enforcing the kind of narrative which informs the thinking and prejudices of most of the world’s international institutions these days, the Nobel committee included.

Indeed in a we’ve-given-you-this-prize-now-we-own-you kind of way, the paper sought to remind the 44th president that he would still have to prove his worth as a figurehead for bien pensant pieties in a number of areas. First in the line of fire was, of course, Israel.

“Take the Middle East,” the Guardian noted in tones of fake admonishment, “where Mr Obama’s Cairo speech in June was stirring in explaining how Palestinians had “suffered in pursuit of a homeland”, but the desperate conditions in Israeli-blockaded Gaza have not since improved one jot. Indeed the president has failed to secure even a temporary pause in Israeli building in the occupied West Bank.”

So, in advancing the Guardian World View (GWV) we have a falsehood followed by a non-sequitur rounded off with a half-truth (putting it kindly) about the real obstacles to peace.

The falsehood, of course, is that Palestinians had “suffered in pursuit of a homeland”. They have not suffered in pursuit of a homeland. They have consistently rejected a homeland since 1947 and have suffered because they have given priority to destroying someone else’s.

The non-sequitur comes with the move from the falsehood to the notion that conditions in Gaza have not improved, to which the inference that this is Israel’s fault is attached. But conditions in Gaza could improve immediately if Hamas, the group that rules Gaza, were to renounce violence, anti-Semitism and Islamic extremism. Anyone serious about advancing peace would understand that. The Guardian, by contrast, is solely concerned with advancing the superficial and distorted world view that its readers and writers adhere to.

Finally, the half-truth is the BBC-approved narrative which argues that settlement building is the prime obstacle to peace. It is not, as anyone who is aware of the history and current realities of the conflict must know. But the truths about Palestinian rejectionism need to be air-brushed out of the picture if the GWV is to be sustained.

Obviously, this is all par for the course and would not be worth commenting on outside the extraordinary context of the award to Obama.

When we put the two together we just have one more illustration of how the world’s most prominent institutions have been infected with a very particular political-philosophical agenda. The people who despise Israel overlap with the people who adore Obama because the former hope that the latter shares their broader prejudices not just on Israel but on a whole panoply of issues domestic and international.

Let’s hope he disappoints them in style.

To read the Guardian editorial, click here:

UPDATE: I would also recommend reading Cif Watch on this. They have a piece which puts this in some useful perspective and, as Jonathan Hoffman notes below, points out the extraordinary fact that the paper initially referred to “Israeli-occupied Gaza” and then changed it without acknowledging the error, presumably to avoid making themselves look ridiculous. Click here to read the Cif Watch account:

Love of the Land: Guardian uses Obama Nobel prize award to advance anti-Israel narrative

Love of the Land: An Open Question to Osama Bin Laden - or Any Other Islamist

An Open Question to Osama Bin Laden - or Any Other Islamist

Raymond Ibrahim
Middle East Forum
07 October 09

Ever since 9/11, when Osama bin Laden was thrust into the spotlight, he has made it a point to occasionally submit questions to Americans — questions which he apparently thinks are unanswerable.

In his last message "commemorating" 9/11, for instance, after rehashing the storyline that the jihad on America wholly revolves around U.S. support for Israel — former grievances cited throughout the years include America's "exploitation" of women and failure to sign the environmental Kyoto Protocol — bin Laden concluded with the following musing: "You should ask yourselves whether your security, your blood, your sons, your money, your jobs, your homes, your economy, and your reputation are more dear to you than the security and economy of the Israelis."

In fact, bin Laden et al. have made it perfectly clear that should U.S. support for Israel cease, so too would Islamic terrorism cease. Hence, in this last communiqué: "Let me say that we have declared many times, over more than two and a half decades, that the reason for our conflict with you is your support for your Israeli allies, who are occupying our land of Palestine [emphasis added]."

Fair enough. Yet before responding to Osama, it must be noted that, in and of themselves, his communiqués beg a simple, logical question — one that, as shall be seen, responds to all his observations and questions by making them moot.

Before articulating this question, let us first establish much-needed context: As clearly demonstrated by Islam's doctrines and history — the former regularly manifesting themselves in the course of the latter — it is a historic fact that Islamic hostility for and aggression against non-Muslims transcends any and all temporal "grievances." In short, Islam, according to the classical — not "radical" — schools of jurisprudence, is obligated to subjugate the world.

From a traditional Muslim point of view, this troubling assertion is as open to debate or interpretation as is the notion that Muslims are obligated to pray. This is also why prudent non-Muslims have for centuries been finding the question of achieving permanent peace with the Islamic world a vexatious problem. Professor of law James Lorimer (1818-90) succinctly stated the problem over a century ago:

So long as Islam endures, the reconciliation of its adherents, even with Jews and Christians, and still more with the rest of mankind, must continue to be an insoluble problem. … For an indefinite future, however reluctantly, we must confine our political recognition to the professors of those religions which … preach the doctrine of "live and let live" (The Institutes of the Law of Nations, p. 124).

In other words, political recognition — with all the attendant negotiations and diplomacy that come with it — should be granted to all major religions/civilizations except Islam, which does not recognize the notion of "live and let live," as evinced by, among other stipulations, the Koran's commands to its adherents to "enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong," (e.g., Koran 3:110), that is, enforce Sharia law upon the earth.

Now while most Muslims may not go around evoking Islamic law's dichotomized worldview that pits Islam against the rest of the world — many may not even be aware of it — bin Laden, the "man of grievances," has. (This, of course, has long been an al-Qaeda tactic: convince the West, which is generally ignorant of Islam's bellicose doctrines, that jihad is a byproduct of foreign policy, while inciting Muslims to the jihad by stressing its obligatory nature.)

As for bin Laden and his communiqués: For all his talk of Israel being the heart of the problem, he exposed his true position in the following excerpt, which he directed to fellow Arabic-speaking Muslims not long after the 9/11 strikes:

Our talks with the infidel West and our conflict with them ultimately revolve around one issue — one that demands our total support, with power and determination, with one voice — and it is: Does Islam, or does it not, force people by the power of the sword to submit to its authority corporeally if not spiritually?

So much for bin Laden's insistence that Israel is the "reason for our conflict with you." Now we see that the conflictultimately revolves around whether Islam is obligated to dominate the world by force. Well, is it? Bin Laden continues:

Yes. There are only three choices in Islam: [1] either willing submission [conversion]; [2] or payment of the jizya, through physical, though not spiritual, submission to the authority of Islam; [3] or the sword — for it is not right to let him [an infidel] live. The matter is summed up for every person alive: Either submit, or live under the suzerainty of Islam, or die. (The Al Qaeda Reader, p. 42)

This threefold choice, then — conversion, subjugation, or the sword — is the ultimate source of problems. All Islamist talk of jihad being a product of U.S. foreign policy is, therefore, false. When bin Laden asserted in this last message that it is the "neocons" who "impose the wars upon you — not the mujahideen [i.e., jihadis]," he lied. Islamic law, as he himself delineated, "imposed" war between Muslims and non-Muslims well over a millennium before the "neocons" — let alone the state of Israel — came into being.

Thus to all of bin Laden's grievances and questions, there is but one counter-question — one that, in bin Laden's own words, "demands our total support, with power and determination, with one voice" — and it is: Even if all your grievances against Israel and America's support for it were true, why come to us — your natural-born enemies, according to your own worldview — looking for any concessions?

To better appreciate this position, consider the following analogy: Say your weaker neighbor has a border dispute with you. At the same time, however, you know for a fact that he sees you as his "eternal" enemy for nothing less than your beliefs/lifestyle, and nothing short of your total acquiescence to his beliefs/lifestyle will change that. Finally, you know that the day he grows sufficiently strong, he will undoubtedly attack you in order to make you live according to his beliefs/lifestyle.

Surely in this context, whether his border dispute with you is legitimate or not, making concessions to him while knowing his hostility for you will never subside — but rather become more emboldened and augmented with contempt — is sheer suicide. Yet this is precisely what happens whenever the U.S. makes any concessions to Islamists.

In sum, we, the "infidels" — Americans and Israelis alike — are de facto enemies. It is in this context that the question of U.S. support for Israel should be examined. Being hated and deemed the enemy for temporal grievances of a political nature must be viewed as peripheral to being hated for fundamental differences of an existential nature.

When the latter, much more important issue is redressed, then — and only then — should the veracity of the former be open to debate or even consideration. In the meantime, all "political" complaints must be seen as absolutely moot. It's a simple matter of priorities.

Originally published at:

Raymond Ibrahim is the associate director of the Middle East Forum and the author of The Al Qaeda Reader, translations of religious texts and propaganda .

Love of the Land: An Open Question to Osama Bin Laden - or Any Other Islamist

Love of the Land: Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

Daniel Pipes
National Review
09 October 09

“He won what?” is the first universal reaction.

And second, at least on the Right: “Why did they do that?”

Even the
Nobel committee’s citation does not pretend Barack Obama has actually achieved anything. Rather, it was given to him “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” That’s efforts, not achievements.

Reading carefully through the entire citation suggests that Obama is being celebrated for two reasons. Its chatter about “a new climate,” the United Nations, a “vision of a world free from nuclear arms,” andgreat climatic challenges” points to his being the anti-George W. Bush.

Second, the prize committee hopes to constrain Obama’s hands vis-à-vis Iran. It lauds him for not using force: “Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts.” This is obviously gibberish: Whereas Bush did not use force against North Korea, Obama does not rely on dialogue in Afghanistan. But the statement does pressure Obama not to use force in the theater that counts the most, namely the Iranian nuclear build-up.

So, from the Leftist Norwegian point of view, it’s a twofer — bash Bush and handcuff Obama.

My prediction: The absurdity of the prize decision will harm Obama politically in the United States, contrasting his role as international celebrity with his record devoid of accomplishments. Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, notes that Obama “won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.” Expert to hear much more along those lines.

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Love of the Land: Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

Love of the Land: If the World Won't Stop Iran's Genocide, Israel Must

If the World Won't Stop Iran's Genocide, Israel Must

Aggressors' intent has been made clear. So must Netanyahu's resolve and own nuclear means

Louis René Beres
U.S. News and World Report
08 October 09

Louis René Beres is a professor of political science at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international law, strategic theory, Israeli nuclear policy, and regional nuclear war. In Israel, he served as chair of Project Daniel.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is not especially worried about Iran's newly discovered uranium enrichment operation, and plans to inspect this once secret facility near Qom on October 25. No matter what this inspection reveals, however, sanctions will never be able to protect Israel from a nuclearizing Iran. The Iranian president's frequent and unhidden threats express a clear declaration of intent to commit genocide. Such intent is actually criminalized by binding international law.

Though supported by law, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu understands that the pre-emptive destruction of Iran's growing nuclear infrastructures would involve substantial difficulties. True, Israel has now deployed a system of ballistic missile defense, but even this superb system could not adequately protect Israel's civilians from a nuclear attack.

Even a single nuclear missile that manages to penetrate Israeli defenses could kill very large numbers. In addition, Iran could decide to share its nuclear assets with certain terror groups in the region, with enemies of Israel that could use automobiles and ships rather than missiles as launchers. These groups might also seek "soft" targets in selected American or European cities, such as schools, universities, hospitals, hotels, sports stadiums, etc.

While the IAEA fiddles, Iran continues to augment its incendiary intent toward Israel with a corresponding military capacity. Left to violate Non-Proliferation Treaty rules with effective impunity, Iran's president and his clerical masters might even be undeterred by any threats of retaliation. Such a possible failure of nuclear deterrence could be the result of a presumed lack of threat credibility, or perhaps of a genuine Iranian disregard for all expected harms. In the worst-case scenario, Iran, animated by specifically Shiite visions of "apocalypse," could become the individual suicide bomber writ large.

If Iran does become fully nuclear, Israel may then have to reassess its stance on nuclear ambiguity, and related policies of nuclear targeting. These urgent issues were openly discussed in the Project Daniel final report, first delivered by hand to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Jan. 16, 2003. Originally confidential, the report, titled Israel's Strategic Future , was the carefully informed product of a small group of senior American and Israeli figures drawn from the academic, military, and intelligence communities. Our major recommendation was that under no circumstances should Iran be allowed to "go nuclear."

In the end, Israel's security from Iranian attacks of mass destruction will depend considerably upon its selected targets, and on the precise extent to which these targets have been previously identified. It is not enough that Israel simply has "The Bomb." Rather, the adequacy of Israel's nuclear deterrence and pre-emption policies will depend largely upon the presumed destructiveness of these nuclear weapons, and on where these weapons are thought to be directed.

A nuclear war in the Middle East is not out of the question. Israel will need to choose wisely between "assured destruction" strategies and "nuclear war-fighting" strategies. Assured destruction strategies are sometimes called "countervalue" strategies or "mutual assured destruction." These are strategies of deterrence in which a country primarily targets its strategic weapons on the other side's civilian populations, and/or on its civilian infrastructures.

Nuclear war-fighting strategies are called "counterforce" strategies. These are systems of deterrence wherein a country primarily targets its strategic nuclear weapons on the other side's major weapon systems, and on that state's supporting military assets.

There are serious survival consequences for choosing one strategy over the other. Israel could also opt for some sort of "mixed" strategy. But, for Israel, any policy that might encourage nuclear war fighting should be rejected.

Israel, reasoned Project Daniel, should opt for nuclear deterrence based upon assured destruction. A counterforce targeting doctrine would be less persuasive as a nuclear deterrent, especially to states whose leaders could willingly sacrifice entire armies as "martyrs." If Israel were to opt for nuclear deterrence based upon counterforce capabilities, its enemies might also feel especially threatened. This condition could then actually enlarge the prospect of a nuclear aggression against Israel, and of a follow-on nuclear exchange.

Israel's decisions on countervalue versus counterforce doctrines will depend, in part, on prior investigations of enemy country inclinations to strike first, and on enemy country inclinations to strike all-at-once. Should Israeli strategic planners assume that an enemy state in process of "going nuclear" is apt to strike first and to strike with all of its nuclear weapons right away, Israeli counterforce-targeted warheads, used in retaliation, would hit only empty launchers. In such circumstances, Israel's only application of counterforce doctrine would be to strike first itself, an option that Israel completely rejects. From the standpoint of intra-war deterrence, a countervalue strategy would prove more appropriate to a prompt peace.

Should Israeli planners assume that an enemy country "going nuclear" is apt to strike first, and to hold some measure of nuclear firepower in reserve, Israeli counterforce-targeted warheads could elicit damage-limiting benefits. Here, counterforce operations could appear to serve both an Israeli non-nuclear pre-emption, or, should Israel decide not to pre-empt, an Israeli retaliatory strike. Still, the benefits to Israel of maintaining any counterforce targeting options are outweighed by the expected costs.

Regarding Iran, Israel's best course may still be to seize the conventional pre-emption option. Israel should reject any counterforce targeting doctrine. But if Iran is allowed to continue with its illegal nuclear weapons development, Netanyahu's immediate response should be to end Israel's controversial policy of nuclear ambiguity.

Notwithstanding IAEA assurances, the world has turned a blind eye to Iran's expressly genocidal intent toward Israel, and to Iran's nuclearization. There is no good reason to believe that Tehran would ever stop its plan for nuclear weapons solely because of assorted economic punishments. To Iran, both the U.N. and the U.S. should now finally understand, sanctions represent only a fly on the elephant's back.

No country can be required to become complicit in its own annihilation. Without a prompt change in the "civilized world's" appeasing attitude toward Iran, a law-enforcing expression of anticipatory self-defense may still offer Israel its only remaining survival option.

Love of the Land: If the World Won't Stop Iran's Genocide, Israel Must

Sgt. Rock (Our Army at War) Covers (2)

Sgt. Rock (Our Army at War) Covers

RubinReports: A Tale for Our Time: The Emperor's New Clothes, Adapted for The Barack Obama Era

A Tale for Our Time: The Emperor's New Clothes, Adapted for The Barack Obama Era

The Emperor's New Clothes

Adapted by Barry Rubin from Jean Hersholt's translation of Hans Christian Andersen's story, "Keiserens nye Klæder"

Many years ago there was a man who wanted to be Emperor, for according to the peculiar customs of that country of which I speak, the Emperor was elected. Fortunately for him, and unfortunately for many others, the man met a couple of political consultants who saw him as the ideal client. Together they would ride to the heights of power.

To become Emperor, they explained, required a good image, a fine manner of speaking, and a handsome appearance. But in those days before television, radio, the Internet, etc., a man’s image depended mainly on his clothes.

It was a lucky coincidence that the man was exceedingly fond of clothes. He cared nothing about the disposition of his soldiers, the prestige of his country, or the welfare of his citizens except to show off his own magnificence.

The two political consultants came up with a brilliant strategy. They let it be known that they were weavers, and said they could weave the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but also clothes made of this cloth had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was dumb, unfashionable, or possessed of some type of bigotry.

Those who were unusually stupid—people from small towns, for example, who were exceedingly fond of guns and praying, as well as supporters of the previous king—would not be able to see the clothes either.

They set up two looms and pretended to weave, though there was nothing on the looms. All the finest silk and the purest old thread were delivered to them but then given away to groups that supported them, while they worked the empty looms far into the night.

"I'd like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth," the journalists thought, but they felt slightly uncomfortable when they remembered that those who were fools, incompetents, or, worse yet, unfashionable would be unable to see the fabric. Nevertheless, they all eagerly accepted the invitation to see the new clothes during the election campaign.

So they rushed into the room where the candidate stood wearing the clothes, that is to say wearing nothing since there were no such clothes.

"Heaven help me," the reporters thought, "I can't see anything at all". But they did not say so.

The political consultants begged them to come near to approve the excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the candidate and the reporters stared as hard as they dared. They couldn't see anything, because there was nothing to see. "Heaven have mercy," they thought. "Can it be that I'm a fool? I'd have never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be a member of the elite? It would never do to let on that I can't see the cloth."

"Don't hesitate to tell us what you think of it," said one of the consultants.

"Oh, it's beautiful! It's enchanting!" The journalists raved, breaking into applause. Some felt chills running up their legs. "Such a pattern, what colors! I'll be sure to tell the readers and viewers how delighted I am with it."

"We're pleased to hear that," the consultants said. They proceeded to name all the colors and to explain the intricate pattern. The consultants described how these were the colors of Change and this was the cloth of Hope. The journalists took extensive notes so that they could be sure to inform the public of what a great man the candidate was and how he was doing them a favor offering to be their emperor. And so they did.

To make matters even more exciting, the candidate spoke, reading the words that the consultants had written for him from a cunning little mechanism they had made which allowed him to look at a mirror and see the words that had been written down. The journalists were awed by his great powers of speech, by his slogans, and by his ideas though later they could not quite succeed in remembering what he said or explaining precisely what specific practical ideas were uttered.

Soon all the kingdom was talking about the candidate, his splendid suit of clothes, his brilliant manner of speaking, and how he would solve all their problems.

The candidate then attended a huge rally of his frantic supporters. "Magnificent," said the crowd. After all, each one said: "Am I so stupid? Shall I let my colleagues and neighbors know that I cannot see the beauty of the design, the magnificence of the speech, the greatness of the ideas?" And they applauded wildly.

As the candidate paraded through the streets, the words, "Magnificent! Excellent! Unsurpassed!" were bandied from mouth to mouth, and everyone did his best to seem well pleased.

The consultants pointed to each item in turn during background briefings they gave with donators of large sums of money, too. They raised their arms as if they were holding something. They said, "These are the trousers, here's the coat, and this is the hat," naming each garment. "They are as light as a spider web. One would almost think he had nothing on, but that's what makes them so fine."

"Exactly," all the great men of the kingdom agreed, though they could see nothing, for there was nothing to see.

And so the Emperor was elected and everyone was pleased. The clothes and the special machine they had made served him well. He didn't actually do anything but so marvellous did everyone think his suit of splendor that no one demanded more.

Then he toured other countries and they too cheered him and admired the clothes. For he agreed with all that they said and told them that they had been right and all the previous emperors, about whom he apologized, had been wrong.

True, there was one parade where all did not go quite well. At first, everything was as usual. The king put on his special clothes. He turned for one last look in the mirror. "It is a remarkable fit, isn't it?"

The noblemen agreed. They didn't dare admit they saw nothing to praise.

So off went the Emperor in procession. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, "Oh, how fine are the Emperor's new clothes! Don't they fit him to perfection!" Nobody would confess that he couldn't see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position if he was an official; unfashionable if he was a member of the elite; or a fool if he was one of the common folk. No costume the Emperor had worn before, and no Emperor, was ever such a complete success.

"But he hasn't got anything on," a little child said.

"Did you ever hear such silliness?" said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, "He hasn't anything on. A child says he hasn't anything on."

"But he hasn't got anything on!" said the child!

"That child is nothing more than a clothingist!" muttered one angry man. "Let's lynch him!" said another.

The Emperor shivered, for he knew they were right. But he also was certain that the nobles and officials and journalists and others would support him. The people cheered--albeit a few less than before--and the Emperor walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the long cape that wasn't there at all.

Finally, the great day came. The Noble's Committee met and presented him with their highest honor, The Nobel Prize for High Fashion. True, they admitted privately, he didn’t have any clothes on. But he might some day.

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