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Friday, January 18, 2019

Bertrand Russell on meeting Lenin





I wish we had heard Bertrand Russell’s impressions of Lenin in my high school history lessons.  

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Moshe Ya'alon announces new party but should clarify his position on the Iranian threat












Regarding “Gantz, Ya’alon may combine parties” (December 27), there are only three Israeli politicians who I am certain understand the magnitude of the Iranian threat. They are Benjamin Netanyahu, Michael Oren and Moshe Ya’alon. Why only them? Because Netanyahu and Oren quoted Bernard Lewis’s warning, “For people with this mindset, Mutually Assured Destruction is not a constraint; it is an inducement.”


Ya’alon, in a 2012 interview, said: “The regime of the ayatollahs is apocalyptic-messianic in character... It will be impossible to accommodate a nuclear Iran and it will be impossible to attain stability. The consequences of a nuclear Iran will be catastrophic.” 

While other Israeli politicians may share the above concern, I find no record of them declaring that the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine would not work with the ayatollahs of Iran.

I had every respect for Moshe Ya’alon. He stood up to US secretary of state John Kerry and president Obama’s absurd policies toward Israel and his paper “A New Strategy for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” is excellent. However, in 2016, after leaving the cabinet, he said: “At this point, and in the foreseeable future, there is no existential threat facing Israel.”

While Ya’alon may consider that an estimated three-month breakout time after the Iran Deal with the expiration due to the sunset clause in the Deal as sufficient reason to change his mind, I do not think that the Iranian existential threat has diminished. This change of opinion by Ya’alon looks more like an issue picked by him to differ from Netanyahu than as a result of him responding to a changed reality.

A politician has to be consistent, especially on such an important topic as Iran, or he loses credibility. I urge Ya’alon to clarify his position on the Iranian threat.

MLADEN ANDRIJASEVIC 
Beersheba

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn denies calling Theresa May 'stupid woman' in PMQs clash





"I did not use the words 'stupid woman' about the prime minister or anyone else and am completely opposed to the use of sexist or misogynist language in absolutely any form at all."

Jeremy Corbyn ‘clearly ‘ used phrase ‘stupid woman’ – team of lip readers tell Sky News

MI5 or the Mossad can easily filter out the noise from the Commons recording and establish without any doubt what Corbyn said.  Is it not obvious that this is exactly what should be done?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Egyptian President Al-Sisi: People in Our Countries Should Not Expect the West to Welcome Them; They Should Solve Their Own Countries' Problems Instead





November 4, 2018
Clip No. 
6887

Egyptian President Al-Sisi: People in Our Countries Should Not Expect the West to Welcome Them; They Should Solve Their Own Countries' Problems Instead

During a session of the World Youth Forum that was convened in Sharm Al-Sheikh, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was asked about Western countries preventing the entrance of people from undeveloped countries. He answered: "Instead of asking me why the West closes its gates to us, you should ask yourself why the people of Afghanistan don't take better care of their country... [The same is true] in Pakistan, in Egypt, in Syria, in Libya, in Iraq, in Yemen, and in Somalia." He said that people in those countries have been fighting amongst themselves for decades, so it is unreasonable for them to expect to be welcomed by Western countries while keeping their own culture and work ethic. President Al-Sisi's comments aired on Ten TV (Egypt) on November 4, 2018.
Following are excerpts:

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi: "Every country has the right to protect its people and their interests. It must generally respect human rights in a framework that preserves its national interests.

[…]

"Instead of asking me why countries [in the West] close their gates to us, you should ask yourself why the people of Afghanistan don't take better care of their own country. Why have they been killing one another for 40 years? This happens in other countries as well – in Pakistan, in Egypt, in Syria, in Libya, in Iraq, in Yemen, and in Somalia.

[…]

"We fight amongst ourselves in our own countries, and then we expect countries that work day and night to achieve progress, to protect their people and to maintain a certain standard of living for them… We demand that they l let us in so that we can have part of their [success], after we have been fighting amongst ourselves in our own countries. Of course [they say] no. I'm not for them or against them, but I am trying to be fair in the way I look at this issue. We should be criticizing ourselves. Are we protecting our countries – yes or no?

[…]

"Are you upset with the leaders of Germany, England, Italy, or any other European country for closing their borders in order to protect the achievements of many long years? Do you expect them to open their doors so that we can go there, demanding to keep our own culture? We demand to keep our culture, which could be very different from the work ethic in those countries.

[…]

"You demand to go there with your culture, which you consider to be non-negotiable. You say: 'This is how we are and you must accept us [because of] human rights.' No. By the way, if you go to another country as a guest, you must completely abide by its laws, customs, traditions, and culture. You must abide by them completely! If you are not willing to do this, don't go. Don't expect them to open the door for you, so you can go into their country and cause trouble. No.

[…]

"You've been fighting amongst yourselves for 40 years, yet you expect [the West] to open their doors for you? No. If you want to solve the problem, you should solve it in your own countries. That's why I'm telling Egyptians that they should take better care of their country."

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Tehran Counts on a Divided West




By  Reuel Marc Gerecht


President Trump has revived most of the U.S. sanctions on Iran that were dropped during Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic. More sanctions are coming. But to halt Iran’s march toward enriched uranium and functional ballistic missiles for good, the White House must convince more Americans and U.S. allies to join in raising pressure on the regime. The fruits of Tehran’s imperialism won’t wither until the world chokes its roots.

Looming in the background of the Trump administration’s efforts is the 2020 election, after which a Democratic president could reverse Mr. Trump’s progress. Democrats’ views on Iran are still shaped by Mr. Obama’s approach to the nuclear deal. They continue to play down Tehran’s regional aggression and especially its role in the slaughter in Syria and Yemen, and they have recast President Hassan Rouhani as a reformer despite his role as an enforcer of the mullahs’ police state. “Engaging” Tehran, restoring the nuclear deal, and reducing America’s presence in the Middle East are a gospel for progressive Democrats, who loathe Mr. Trump and aren’t enamored of Israel, Sunni Arabs or the region’s machtpolitik.

In contrast, President Trump’s sanctions-centered policy deprives Tehran of billions in hard currency each year and impedes its strategic ambitions. Yet it’s unlikely that the Trump administration’s ultimate goal, be it a new nuclear agreement or the theocracy’s collapse, can be achieved in the next two years. The Iranian regime is tenacious. The supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, is probably the most accomplished modern Middle Eastern dictator. Many of the mullahs and Revolutionary Guardsmen who rule it lived through the horrific Iran-Iraq War. They are far more brutal than the shah and his generals before the revolution.

Protests by the poor and middle class have unsettled the regime since last December, but Mr. Khamenei knows how to manage dissent. As long as the protests don’t boil over into massive disorder, they might actually help the regime by allowing public outrage to vent and revealing to the security services potential leaders of a larger insurrection.

Without a more aggressive play by the U.S., this regime is unlikely to fold on its ambitions. The mullahs have thrown billions of dollars at the development of nuclear weapons in good times and bad. Even if sanctions reduce the regime’s oil sales to fewer than a million barrels a day, the earnings will be enough to keep the regime’s security services loyal absent a massive popular revolt.

Even the fear of a possible military attack hasn’t moved Iran to halt its nuclear program. According to nuclear-weapons experts David Albright and Olli Heinonen, who have reviewed Iranian archives captured in 2016 by Israeli intelligence, Tehran didn’t freeze its nuclear program after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, as American intelligence asserted with “high confidence” in 2007 and Obama officials continuously regurgitated. Today’s sanctions can’t possibly match the fear that George W. Bush provoked in Tehran when American tanks raced toward Baghdad. And the development of advanced centrifuges is cheaper than it used to be. Mr. Heinonen believes Iran likely has significant undeclared stockpiles of the required materiel.

One of the most troubling aspects of Mr. Obama’s agreement was the lack of access to Iran’s nuclear personnel, files and suspicious sites. This blind spot persists today without an agreement. The clerical regime could still be developing nuclear technology and the Central Intelligence Agency likely wouldn’t know.

The picture isn’t much prettier across the region. Iran controls vast territory through its proxies in Iraq and Syria. The war in Yemen also is an exceptionally good deal for the regime, with minimal expenditures and high returns in the form of pressure on rival Saudi Arabia. Iran’s battle-tested Shiite foreign legions do entail costs. But after 40 years of cash and materiel shortages, the regime has learned how to wage imperialism on the cheap.

The Trump administration has weakened its leverage by appearing unwilling to counter Iran’s advances with military pressure. Washington largely has left Israel with the responsibility for containing the Revolutionary Guard. Fear of Sunni jihadists and Iranian reprisals—as well as the lack of congressional authorization for lethal covert action—has frustrated ambitions for a U.S. campaign to bleed the Shiite empire through low-cost guerrillas. The U.S. won’t do to Iran what Iran did to American troops in Iraq. Unfortunately, the Israelis, Saudis and Emiratis simply can’t handle such a task without American help.

The administration needs to play a longer game. The U.S. should increase and sustain pressure long enough for Iran’s massive internal contradictions to crack the theocracy. A renewed bipartisan consensus about the clerical regime’s wickedness is an essential condition, ensuring the effort is sustained into the next presidency. The administration must also persist in its effort to unite the developed world against Iran’s aggression.

To debunk the Obama narrative of Iran, the Trump administration should highlight more vividly the regime’s savagery abroad and brutality at home. The Democratic Party and Western European countries are likely to resist as long as Mr. Trump is president, but there’s no harm in trying. It will be hard for progressives to trash a foreign policy built explicitly on advancing human rights and democracy once the crimes of Mr. Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are fully exposed. The regime’s proclivity to assassinate expatriate dissidents—which crescendoed in the 1990s when President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his fixer, Mr. Rouhani, were in power—is growing again.

The nuclear deal’s restrictions on sales to Iran of conventional weapons and ballistic-missile technology will sunset in 2020 and 2023, respectively. Democrats and Europeans should recognize the potential dangers and inject more muscle and conscience into their foreign policies.

Mr. Trump and many Republicans have been reluctant to promote democracy and civil society overseas. They would be wise to overcome this hesitation and play every card they have against the regime to build the broader base of support, at home and abroad. The clock is ticking.

Mr. Gerecht, a former Iranian-targets officer in the CIA, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Friday, December 7, 2018

NIKKI HALEY'S SPEECH ON WHY THE U.N. SHOULD CONDEMN HAMAS






By Nikki Haley

Good afternoon. Today could be a historic day at the United Nations. Or it could be just another ordinary day.

Today could be a day in which the UN General Assembly unconditionally speaks out with moral clarity against one of the most obvious and grotesque cases of terrorism in the world. Or it could be a day in which it refuses to do that.

Ladies and gentlemen, last Friday the General Assembly approved six resolutions condemning Israel in a single day. Six. In an average year, the UN votes against Israel 20 times. Over the years, the UN has voted to condemn Israel over 500 times.

That’s what an ordinary day at the UN looks like.

Much as the United States finds that record appalling, no one can question whether the UN is on record in its hostility toward the State of Israel.

But for good measure, there will be another vote this afternoon that gives everyone another chance to put themselves on record in a way that goes against Israel.

The question before us now is something very different. The question before us now is whether the UN thinks terrorism is acceptable if, and only if, it is directed at Israel. That is something we should all think deeply about.

The resolution we have before us does not comment about the specifics of any peace agreement. As I have said, the UN has commented hundreds of times on what it would like to see in a peace agreement, and it will do it again later today. What this resolution does is stand for a foundational element of peace. That foundation is the rejection of terrorism, because we all know there can be no peace without a mutual agreement that terrorism is unacceptable.

Let’s talk about some of the activities of Hamas, an entity designated by the United States, the European Union, and others as a terrorist organization. Hamas’ charter openly calls for the destruction of Israel. Its statements continually repeat that goal.

Over the years, Hamas has used several barbaric terrorist attacks. Initially, they used suicide bombers. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Hamas members armed with bombs boarded Israeli buses and entered Israeli restaurants and detonated themselves, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and injuring thousands more.

Since then, they moved toward firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel from Gaza. They have launched thousands of them in the last five years, including more than 400 in a two-day period just last month. Neighborhoods were targeted. A bus was hit by an anti-tank missile.

More recently, Hamas tactics have changed again, as it has adopted still more methods of killing Israeli civilians and damaging Israeli civilian property. They have launched flaming kites and balloons by the thousands, often with Nazi symbols on them, into Israeli civilian areas. This is the classic case of terrorism.

And yet, throughout all of this, the United Nations has never once passed a resolution condemning Hamas. Never. Over 700* resolutions condemning Israel and not one single resolution condemning Hamas. That, more than anything else, is a condemnation of the United Nations itself.
Today – in this moment – the United Nations can change that awful record.

The world is coming to recognize the dangerous and troubling rise in antisemitism around the globe. The UN Secretary-General has forcefully spoken out against it, as have many heads of state and parliaments around the world.

And yet, what the UN chooses to do today will speak volumes about each country’s seriousness when it comes to condemning antisemitism. Because there is nothing more anti-Semitic than saying terrorism is not terrorism when it’s used against the Jewish people and the Jewish State. There is nothing more anti-Semitic than saying we cannot condemn terrorism against Israel, while we would not hesitate for one minute to condemn the same acts if they were taken against any other country. I’ve watched countries that would never take such positions on their own come together here at the UN and abandon all sense of honesty, all sense of accuracy, and all sense of truth.

Today, we have an opportunity to change that. We can come together as a unified, moral, and powerful force for peace that this institution’s founders intended.

But if that’s not enough to motivate you, then set aside for a moment the death and destruction Hamas has inflicted on Israel. Consider the suffering it has inflicted on the Palestinian people themselves. Hamas has been the de facto government of Gaza since 2007. And yet, after 11 years of Hamas rule, Gaza has electricity for only a few hours a day. Only 10 percent of its population has access to safe drinking water. Unemployment is approaching 50 percent and climbing – one of the highest unemployment rates in the entire world. Hamas uses torture and arbitrary arrests to punish its political opponents. It has made Gaza a police state. All while Hamas spends its resources – including UN resources – on rockets and terror tunnels.

The people who have suffered by far the most because of Hamas are the Palestinian people. For their sake, the world should speak out against the destruction of Hamas and what it continues to cause.

The resolution before us now would right a historic wrong. More importantly, it would put the General Assembly on the side of truth and balance in the effort to achieve peace in the Middle East. The resolution condemns Hamas rocket attacks on innocent civilians. It demands that Hamas and other militant groups end all violent attacks, including the use of flaming kites. And it also reaffirms the UN’s support for a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace.

Before the General Assembly can credibly advocate compromise and reconciliation between the Palestinians and Israel, it must be on record unambiguously and unconditionally condemning Hamas terrorism. Regardless of what any country in this chamber today thinks a future peace settlement should look like, support for this resolution is an essential step to achieving it.

Peace must be built on truth.

I want to take a personal moment and ask my Arab brothers and sisters: is the hatred that strong? Is the hatred toward Israel so strong that you’ll defend a terrorist organization, one that is directly causing harm to the Palestinian people? Isn’t it time to let that go? For true peace and security in the entire region, isn’t it time for both sides to let this go?

For the sake of peace, and for the sake of this institution, I respectfully urge my colleagues to support the United States’ resolution.

Thank you.



Did we really expect the UN to condemn Hamas for waging jihad?