Friday, December 7, 2018


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?

Thursday, December 6, 2018

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

A US-sponsored resolution A/73/L.42  condemning Hamas garnered a 87-57 majority in the UN General Assembly, but fell nine votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to be adopted.Thirty-three states abstained, and another 16 did not vote. 

Old Hamas Charter, 1988, Article 13: “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad”. 

New Hamas Charter, 2017, Article 21:  "Hamas confirms that no peace in Palestine should be agreed on, based on injustice to the Palestinians or their land. Any arrangements based on that will not lead to peace, and the resistance and Jihad will remain as a legal right, a project and an honor for all our nations' people."
Did we really expect the UN to condemn Hamas for waging jihad?

Muslim majority countries which voted for:
Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina   

Non-Muslim countries which voted against:  
Belarus, Bolivia, Botswana, China, Congo, Cuba, Laos, Namibia, Russian Federation, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe   


Seventy-third session
Agenda item 38
The situation in the Middle East
United States of America: draft resolution

Activities of Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza

The General Assembly,

Reaffirming support for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians, in accordance with international law, and bearing in mind relevant United Nations resolutions,

Recognizing that all acts of violence against civilians, particularly acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction only serve to erode trust and hinder efforts to bring about a peaceful solution,

1. Condemns Hamas for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk;

2. Demands that Hamas and other militant actors, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, cease all provocative actions and violent activity, including by using airborne incendiary devices;

 3. Condemns the use of resources by Hamas in Gaza to construct military infrastructure, including tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to launch rockets into civilian areas, when such resources could be used to address the critical needs of the civilian population;

4. Calls for full respect by all parties for international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including in regard to the protection of the civilian population;

 5. Also calls for the cessation of all forms of violence and intimidation directed against medical and humanitarian personnel, and reiterates the importance of respecting the inviolability and neutrality of United Nations premises;

 6. Encourages tangible steps towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation, including in support of the mediation efforts of Egypt, and concrete steps to reunite the Gaza Strip and the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority and ensure its effective functioning in the Gaza Strip;

7. Welcomes and urges further engagement by the Secretary-General


And here is how Russia's Foreign Ministry explained  the vote against:

 Российская Федерация высказалась против. Убеждены, что одобрение предложенного несбалансированного текста могло бы серьезно осложнить усилия, в том числе российские, по содействию межпалестинскому примирению и формированию единых властных структур в секторе Газа и на Западном берегу реки Иордан, взорвать ситуацию в Газе и, в конечном итоге, было бы чревато дополнительными рисками для безопасности самого Израиля. Документ, не содержащий отсылки к необходимости урегулирования на основе принципа двух государств, подвергал бы сомнению всю международно признанную базу палестино-израильского урегулирования. Исходим из того, что главная причина конфликта - не в действиях ХАМАС, а в целом в невыполнении решений ООН и ее Совета Безопасности по арабо-израильскому урегулированию.

При этом в очередной раз хотели бы акцентировать, что Россия безусловно и самым решительным образом осуждает все агрессивные вылазки и насилие в отношении мирного населения, включая ракетные обстрелы территории Израиля.

The Russian Federation was against it. We are convinced that the approval of the proposed unbalanced text could seriously complicate efforts, including Russian, to promote inter-Palestinian reconciliation and the formation of unified power structures in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, blow up the situation in Gaza and, ultimately, would be fraught with additional risks to the security of Israel itself.  The  document that does not refer to the need for a settlement on the basis of the two-state solution, would cast doubt on the entire internationally recognized base of Palestinian-Israeli settlement. We proceed from the point  that the main cause of the conflict is not in the actions of Hamas, but  non-compliance in general with the decisions of the UN and its Security Council on an Arab-Israeli settlement.

At the same time, once again, we would like to emphasize that Russia unconditionally and in the most decisive manner condemns all aggressive attacks and violence against the civilian population, including rocket attacks on Israeli territory.


My comment on the Russian explanation:  

I must admit this reminds me of  Orwell's  War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength  

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The UN delusion

Letters to the Editor , Jerusalem Post , December 5, 2018

In your editorial, you write: “That [resolution] and another, which was approved 156-8, spoke of al-Haram al-Sharif without mentioning that Jews and Christians call it the Temple Mount and that it is Judaism’s holiest site.” When it comes to the UN, its declarations are in inverse proportion to the truth – i.e. y = 1/x. 

As Daniel Pipes mentioned in his “The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem” article, “‘Jerusalem’ appears in the Jewish Bible 669 times and ‘Zion’ (which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel) 154 times, or 823 times in all. The Christian Bible mentions Jerusalem 154 times and Zion seven times. 

In contrast, notes columnist Moshe Kohn, ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Zion’ appear as frequently in the Koran “as they do in the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita, the Taoist Tao-Te Ching, the Buddhist Dhamapada and the Zoroastrian Zend Avesta.” Which is to say, not even once.

I would not be surprised if 156 UN members voted for a resolution that 2+2=5 if it could in some way delegitimize Israel. 


Monday, December 3, 2018


An insidious religious war is being waged in Egypt and getting more virulent by the day. It has nothing to do with the deep-seated hostility of significant segments of the population toward the large Coptic minority and the too frequent episodes of violence against its members. Battle has been joined between the Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al Sisi and Sheikh Al Azhar Ahmed el Tayeb over the need for a new interpretation of the Islamic narrative, that is, in plain words, adapting Islam to present times. 

During the celebration of the birthday of the Prophet in the Ministry of Endowment – Awkaf – the ministry in charge of religious affairs – on November 18, there was a very public clash. Several Islamic organizations then called for protests to be held in support of el Tayeb and indirectly against the president, who had said that ills plaguing Muslims today are caused by the misinterpretation of the texts that are the source of Islam. Therefore, he went on, Islamic sages must do their utmost to find in the Sharia the way to enlightenment and the enacting of laws adapted to the present time and to modernization, in order to help the nation and the world of Islam to progress.

There was nothing new in that speech;  Sisi had said the same things on the same occasion three years ago, a scant few months after his election. Then he had stunned Egypt and the Muslim world by calling for a “revolution” in Islam and reviewing traditional Koranic interpretations that have taken root for centuries and given birth to organizations such as al-Qaida and Islamic State, which have transformed Islam into a vector of mayhem and destruction and turned the rest of the world against it.

Al Azhar, highest institution of higher learning of the Sunni world, did not respond to that call. On the contrary, its scholars stressed that there was nothing to change or amend in the Sharia, which is good and fitting for all situations and all times. But the president did not let up. He notably asked el Tayeb not only to publicly declare a) Islamic State; b) Ansar Beit El Makdess in the Sinai Peninsula, which had sworn allegiance to ISIS; and c) the Muslim Brotherhood apostate organizations, and to publish a fatwa condemning as apostate any Muslim or organization perpetrating terrorism. El Tayeb refused on the grounds that one cannot call apostate a man who recites the Shahada – the Muslim profession of faith – and therefore proclaims his belief in Allah and the prophets. He added that el Tayeb opposed in principle any move to “punish” a Muslim by declaring him apostate so long as he has not rejected the principles of Islam.

From then, relations between the president and the sheikh deteriorated quickly, although the general public was privy to only a part of it. Al Sisi tried to have the law of Al Azhar amended in order to be able to fire El Tayeb. The conflict became public last year when the Sheikh rejected the president’s initiative to formalize divorce by having the parties sign a binding document, thus doing away with oral divorce. Then the Ministry of Endowment decided that it would henceforth prepare Friday sermons for all mosques so that young people not be exposed to extremism and incitement to terrorism. It was a blow to the independence of Al Azhar, which had traditionally been in charge of sending sermons to the thousands of mosques under its tutelage. Furthermore, the ministry published new religious books without submitting them to Al Azhar, as was the norm. The venerable institution retaliated by publishing new books of its own that will be presented at the Cairo book fair next February.

Tension was high on the eve of the November 18 celebration. Undeterred, the president reasserted his position. He was backed by Endowment Minister Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa, who stated forcefully that it was the duty of Al Azhar scholars to keep on working to eliminate extremist narratives and reinterpret the Sharia to adapt to modern times through respecting the fixed principles of Islam. Among his recommendations was a new reading of the Sunnah, a body of texts and prescriptions based on the oral transmission of the teaching of the Prophet. 

He then revealed that his ministry was drawing plans to establish a new religious academy to prepare male and female preachers. Sheikh el Tayeb rejected all attempts to reinterpret the Sunnah or amend it. Since it would lead Muslims to dispute some aspects of the Koran and its prescriptions, provoking a rift within Islam. He canceled the private meeting that was to be held with the president and refused to shake the hand of the minister. Echoes of the clash got out and on the same day, in a show of support two distinct organizations, the union of Southern tribes and that of Al Azhar graduates led special prayers in a mosque in the hometown of the sheikh in Upper Egypt. Both organizations wanted to hold a protest outside the mosque, but were convinced not to do so by a younger brother of the hheikh, himself a respected religious figure. They pledged to keep up the fight to stop “attacks on Al Azhar and on the holy Sunnah.”

Can there be a compromise between the sheikh, who is not ready to accept any compromise, and the president, who feels that Egypt has to free itself of the chains of a way of life set down at the time of the Prophet to build a strong economy and modern and progressive society?

Meanwhile Sisi maintains a direct dialogue with the youth of the country through meetings where he tries to convince them of their role in creating a new society. He initiated a National Youth committee, which meets every year at Sharm El Sheikh and the projected religious academy is yet another attempt to bypass Al Azhar and the Islamic establishment.

Though Islamic movements are up in arms, Egyptians who are now aware of the situation have yet to take stands. There is no tradition of democracy and free speech and the population as a whole is deeply religious. In the first elections following the ouster of Mubarak, Muslim Brothers and Salafists garnered 73% of the vote. The president will have to tread carefully. 

According to persistent rumors, he is considering a media campaign against el Tayeb, A double-edged policy. How would Al Azhar react? As things stand today, the president will have to promote new and modern legislation without the support of the Islamic establishment, something that the Tunisian president achieved in spite of that establishment, when he enacted laws giving women equal rights in the matter of inheritance.

Sisi has the support of the army and of the security forces, which will have to maintain order and stability should protests turn violent. But Al Arabiya reports that a new extremist group, Murabitoun, has infiltrated the army and created dozens of secret cells with officers at their heads.

In today’s Middle East, the hopes of the Arab Spring have been dashed and powerful forces are still resisting progress and democracy and promoting radical Islam. Fratricide wars are destroying Arab states and Shia Iran is deepening its involvement. Egypt is still facing a Jihadi insurgency in the Sinai and radical groups are still sowing terrorism in Cairo. The president will have his hands full implementing his economic reforms while dealing with traditional Islam striving to restore the so-called Golden Age of the Righteous Caliphs and resisting all attempts at changes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Transcript of Czech President Miloš Zeman’s speech at the Knesset, Nov 26, 2018

I tried to find a transcript of Czech President Zeman’s speech at the Knesset and there wasn’t one, so I transcribed it myself.

Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minster, Mr. Speaker of the Parliament, Madam Chief of the Opposition, Shalom.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the Czech Republic is the best friend of Israel in Europe. I wonder why only in Europe.

Anyway, please believe me, I am the best friend of Israel in my own country.

My speech is a message towards the solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people.


Let me give you only three historical examples.  In 1938 there was a conference in Évian about the exile of Jews from Nazi Germany. All countries rejected to accept the Jews, except the Dominican Republic.

The second example: In 1973 in the Yom Kippur war there was the total boycott of Israel from the European side, except from Portugal.  

And the third example, the last one: Quite recently in the European Parliament they hosted a terrorist from Palestine the woman which [who] co-organized an attack on a civilian plane.         

I think it is a shame for the European Parliament, and it is a shame for all Europeans.

So, sometimes it is necessary to be impolite and to avoid political correctness. That is why I don’t speak about large terrorism, I speak about Islamic terrorism.

Anyway, my impoliteness will lead to a very simple question. We Europeans, and now I do not speak about America, I speak about the EU in fact, are sometimes hesitating. More, we sometimes are cowards. It is very impolite, isn’t it? But I am afraid it is frank. And that’s why it is necessary to express all the time [to stand in] solidarity with Israel. Because [if we] betray Israel, we betray ourselves,

Not only saying, as Zippi Livni said, ani Yehudi. Yes, but a few months ago we started the Czech Honorary Consulate. Where? In Jerusalem.  Tomorrow I will open the Czech House. Where? In Jerusalem. And it connects CzechInvest, CzechTrade, CzechTourism, Czech Center and so on.   

Well, friends, I am no dictator, unfortunately, but I promise I will do my best in order to realize the third step after the Honorary Consulate and after the Czech House and you may guess what this would be, the third step.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the Spanish Civil War there was one wise and sad sentence: It is better to die standing than to live on the knees.  Dear friends, I wish you to live standing!
Thank you.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Netanyahu Screwed Up with the Ceasefire with Hamas

Former ambassador to the US Michael Oren supported Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

"Regarding the Gaza issue, the prime minister made a very difficult but very responsible decision. Despite the massive fire on the south and the terrible suffering of the residents of the Gaza border communities, the prime minister acted out of a deep strategic vision," Oren said. 

 I usually support Netanyahu and would vote for Michael Oren for PM if it were possible under the Israeli voting system, but this time I disagree with them both. 

I am quite aware of the strategic danger Israel is under. The existential threat from Iran which could start a nuclear war where Iran  would not be deterred by MAD, the horrific threat from Hezbollah  with their 150000 rockets ready to attack any point in Israel, the threat from Hamas with tunnels and Grads, and on top of that we have the Russians who in their blindness are repeating the mistakes of the Ribbentrop- Molotov agreement and siding with Iran whose ideology and true danger to the world and themselves they underestimate.

So Netanyahu is fully aware of the Iranian and Hezbollah threat.  Fully aware that a ceasefire with Hamas will be broken by Hamas the minute they find it convenient since they would be following Muhammad’s Hudaybiyya precedent, and fully aware of the Russian duplicity with Putin’s supply of the S-300 to Syria after the IL-20 downing and Putin’s recent rhetoric on MAD .

Constrained by so many factors from all sides what is it that Netanyahu has done wrong? It is a very tough position to be in.

Bibi should not have continued this balancing act at the expense of Israeli citizens in the south because near Gaza it has really become almost impossible to live and people there do not see Iran in every analysis, but see that the rockets keep falling and the government doing nothing for months. Furthermore, despite Netanyahu’s denial that Hanegbi’s comments   “Hamas’s response was minor – there is a difference between Tel Aviv and other communities “  are government policy, it is clear to all that had Tel Aviv been attacked Israeli reaction would have been different. After all, even Hamas has an escalation scale: 1. Sderot and settlements around Gaza, 2.  Ashdod and Beer Sheva, 3. Tel Aviv.  Had Israeli policy been to react the same whether Hamas attacked Sderot , Be’er  Sheva or Tel Aviv, we would have not gotten into this situation in the first place, and Israeli citizens in the south would not be feeling as second class citizens and marching to Tel Aviv in protest.

What the government had definitely failed to do is expose both the jihadi ideology of Hamas and the Iranian Twelver eschatology, which would have help deflect some of the world opprobrium against the action Israel should have taken against Hamas. No one is going to convince me that killing three Hamas terrorist after 470 rockets on Israeli population centers is a deterrent.  Tougher action from the air should have been taken, and less concern about what the world would say. Imagine that Brighton were Gaza.   

Netanyahu has been a great fan of Winston Churchill.  He has read biographies of Churchill and in a way has been put in a similar position. See  Standing Alone - Churchill 1940 - Netanyahu 2013

Yet Netanyahu, for all his public relations skills, has failed to do what Churchill managed to do best - tell the truth about the enemy and tell the truth to British people what they are up against.

Netanyahu quoted Bernard Lewis in his speech to the UN General Assembly in 2012:

There’s a great scholar of the Middle East, Prof. Bernard Lewis, who put it best. He said that for the Ayatollahs of Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it’s an inducement.
Michael Oren quoted Bernard Lewis in his article in the L.A. Times:        

As famed Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis once observed, “Mutually assured destruction” for the Iranian regime “is not a deterrent — it's an inducement.”

Michael Oren on France 24 quotes the head of Hamas: “the goal of the demonstration was to enable the people of Gaza to eat the livers of Israelis”
The terrible suffering of the residents of the Gaza border communities could have been relieved if the government had hit Hamas hard from the air. To make that possible they should have had a public relations campaign during the months the Gazan’s were sending incendiary balloons and kites with swastikas into Israel. This was not done.    

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Gaza reality check

In “Toppling Hamas is not the solution” (November 5), Jeff Barak writes, “According to a Lebanese newspaper report over the weekend, there is a 10-step incremental accord on the table, including a prisoner swap toward the end of the process, to ensure long-term quiet.”

Long-term quiet? Barak should read what Prof. Raphael Israeli writes about the Islamic understanding of the term hundna (cease-fire) and or tahdiah (calm). A hudna cannot last more than 10 years, a tahdiah up to 1 year.

As Israeli 
explains : “Since a peace plan is out of the question, Hamas resorts instead to the Hudaybiyya precedent set by the Prophet himself, when, constrained by his weakness at the gates of Mecca, Muhammad consented to a 10-year hudna. Unlike Western cease-fires, which hinge on consent from both parties, hudna is unilateral and the party implementing it can reverse it anytime they like."

So much for the dream of long-term quiet with Hamas. Hamas will break the hudna whenever it likes.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Does Putin’s concept of the MAD doctrine differ from the classic Soviet one?

Putin was speaking to an audience of international experts in Sochi, the Black Sea 

He said:

We have no concept of a preemptive strike.   

Our concept is the retaliatory strike. This means that we will use nuclear weapons only when we have been convinced that a potential aggressor is attacking Russia, attacking our territory.  Of course it is a world-wide catastrophe. But I repeat, we would not be the initiators of such a catastrophe because we do not have a preemptive strike .

Well, in that situation we are in a way waiting that someone uses nuclear weapons against us and we ourselves do nothing.

Yes, of course. The aggressor will have to understand that retaliation is inevitable, that he will be destroyed and that we, as victims of aggression, as martyrs, will go to heaven. They will simply croak because they won't even have time to repent. 

В российской военной доктрине нет концепции превентивного ядерного удара; такой удар может быть только ответно-встречным

Когда убеждаемся, что атака идет на территорию России, только после этого мы наносим ответно-встречный удар. Конечно, это катастрофа всемирная. Но я повторяю: мы не можем быть инициаторами этой катастрофы, потому что у нас нет превентивного удара. Да, в этой ситуации мы как бы ждем, что в отношении нас применят оружие. Сами ничего не делаем. Но агрессор все равно должен знать, что возмездие неизбежно, что он будет уничтожен. А мы жертва агрессии. Мы, как мученики, попадем в рай, а они просто сдохнут. Они даже раскаяться не успеют. 

My comment:

The key sentence is in red. Apparently, Putin does not sufficiently mind that he and everyone around him would die.  Which would mean that the MAD doctrine that worked during the Cold War might start faltering even with the Russians, not only the Iranians.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Il-20 downing. Whom are we to believe? Russia or Israel?

So after all the evidence the Israeli Air Force delegation presented to the Russians, they are still accusing Israel! Is this surprising? Hardly. A leopard never changes its spots.
Whom are we to believe?  The mentality that produced the reaction to the Kronstadt rebellion, the collectivization, the Ukrainian famine, the Kirov murder, the great Purge of the thirties, the Show Trials,  the Gulags, the Katyn massacre,  the Doctors’ Plot or just recently the bizarre RT Skripal poisoning suspects' interview? 
Or should we believe Israel? For those who know history the answer is obvious.


Update, September 26, 2018.  Published as a letter to the editor in today’s Jerusalem Post

Saturday, September 22, 2018

How manipulated are we? By Putin and by The Times of Israel?

It is a pitiful world we live in. Just when I wanted to demonstrate how manipulated we are by Putin’s handling of the Skripal poisoning suspect’s RT interview , I find out how The Times of Israel is using similar tactics. What a shame!

My post to the article  Russian spy poisoner suspect said to have been in Tel Aviv in 2016as I see it  

And this is what everyone else can see

Monday, September 17, 2018

What did Putin want to achieve with the RT Skripal poisoning suspects' interview?

That journalists managed to find all these inconsistencies with the suspects’ passports and cover stories just shows that the Russians intended them to find them.  An experienced spy agency could not have been so sloppy.

So why is Putin doing this? They could have all just said nothing instead of having this preposterous Marx Brothers sketch interview on RT (transcript in English here) which the Washington Post thinks backfired. But did it backfire, or was not believing it the original intent?

I remember years ago, as a foreign student in the USSR, I often wondered how was it possible that the USSR had such primitive propaganda and was it not clear that so many Soviets would not believe it?

But then I was told that I was missing the point. Of course many Soviets did not believe Soviet propaganda and the authorities knew that they did not believe it. But what the authorities meant was this: we know that you do not believe what we are saying and you know that we know that - but there is nothing you can do about that!   In other words, the authorities were demonstrating their sheer power over the populace, - and that was the actual goal of the propaganda.  

So is Putin doing the same today?  Giving the finger to the West?  Demonstrating the powerlessness of the West?

Friday, August 3, 2018

R v Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson)

1 August 2018

R v Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson)

On appeal from the Crown Court sitting at Canterbury and Leeds

Judges: The Lord Chief Justice, the Rt Hon The Lord Burnett of Maldon; The Hon Mr Justice Turner; The Hon Mrs Justice McGowan DBE.

This summary in not part of the judgment


The appellant attended Canterbury Crown Court on 8 May 2017 during the trial of four defendants for rape. The jury had been sent out for deliberation. The appellant carried out filming with a commentary on the steps of and inside the court building, although he did not film in the courtroom itself. He had intended to film the defendants but the trial judge had been made aware of his activities and had diverted the defendants through another exit. Notices throughout the court building made it clear that filming or taking photographs at court was an offence and might amount to contempt of court. The appellant had also been told to stop filming by security staff and warned that if he continued he might be committing an offence or be in contempt of court. He was arrested on 10 May 2017 and brought before Canterbury Crown Court. Proceedings were adjourned until 22 May 2017 when the judge explained that his filming could have the effect of substantially derailing the trial. The appellant was represented by leading and junior counsel and apologised to the court. The judge considered that the seriousness of the contempt called for committal and committed the appellant to three months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months.

The appellant attended Leeds Crown Court on 25 May 2018. He recorded a video of himself standing outside the court building which he livestreamed via Facebook. The duration of the video was approximately 1.5 hours and concerned a trial which was the subject of a postponement order under s.4(2) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and its broader circumstances as part of a series of trials. That order prohibited the publication of any report of the proceedings until after the conclusion of that trial and a related trial which was yet to take place. The jury had retired for deliberation. The video was recorded near the entrance used by defendants and jurors. In the video the appellant referred to the trial, the identity of the defendants, the charges against them and to charges which had not been proceeded with against some of the defendants, and he confronted some of the defendants as they arrived at court. The judge was alerted to the appellant’s conduct and he was brought into court where the judge viewed part of the video in the presence of the appellant. The appellant offered to delete the video from Facebook, which the judge required as he was concerned that, if jurors saw it, it might derail the trial and affect the trial yet to start. The judge initiated proceedings for contempt of court against the appellant. Representation was found for the appellant during a 33 minute adjournment. Counsel indicated to the judge that they anticipated submissions of mitigation rather than a defence to the contempt. The particulars of the contempt were not put to the appellant and the appellant was not given the opportunity to admit or deny the contempt. Some mitigation was advanced on behalf of the appellant and the judge proceeded on the basis that the appellant had admitted contempt. The judge committed the appellant to ten months’ imprisonment (reduced from fifteen months for the admission) and activated the suspended committal imposed at Canterbury Crown Court.


The judgment of the Court is to dismiss the appeal in respect of the committal for contempt at Canterbury Crown Court and to allow the appeal in respect of the committal for contempt at Leeds Crown Court. The appellant is granted bail and the matter of contempt at Leeds Crown Court is remitted to be heard again.

The records are updated to address errors of form at the courts below.



The application was brought over a year out of time [5]. The appellant had not previously disputed the finding or sentence imposed at Canterbury Crown Court. The appellant’s complaints were that: (i) he was not served with a written statement containing the particulars required by Crim PR 48.7 [51]; (ii) that the judge failed to make plain whether she was exercising powers under s.41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1925 or her inherent jurisdiction in respect of criminal contempt [56]; and (iii) the judge had, in passing the suspended committal order, used terminology of criminal sentencing rather than committal for contempt [57].

As to (i), the appellant had been served with four witness statements, two of which were made by security staff and two by members of the public, relating to the appellant’s activities on the day of the alleged complaint [51]. No complaint was made at the adjourned hearing as to lack of clarity about the nature of the allegations which the appellant faced; late disclosure after the appeal hearing revealed that counsel had taken a tactical decision not to ask the judge spell out in full the specific actions constituting contempt [52-54]. Accordingly, there had been no real prejudice to the appellant in the failure to particularise the contempt [55]. Whilst the judge had made reference to s.41 CJA 1925 in her remarks, the matter did not proceed in the Crown Court as a summary prosecution for a breach of s.41. Instead, the judge had expressly stated that she found clear evidence of contempt. The fact that she supplemented her finding of criminal contempt with observations that the facts could also give rise to an offence under s.41 CJA 1925 does not invalidate her conclusions on criminal contempt [56]. Lastly, the judge had indeed used terminology of criminal sentencing and wrongly purported to pass a “sentence”. However, it was conceded that a court has power to suspend a committal to prison for contempt. This is undoubtedly what the court was seeking to achieve and it was what was understood by those representing the appellant at the time. It was also plain from the content of the broadcast outside Leeds Crown Court that the appellant understood that a second finding of contempt of court within 18 months of the Canterbury offence would risk implementing the suspended period of imprisonment [57]. There was no merit in the underlying proposed appeal. Time would not be extended. The court directs that the record be updated to use the language of committal and not criminal sentencing [59].


The application was brought 20 days out of time [5]. The appellant’s complaints were that: (i) the judge should not have proceeded as quickly as he did, initiating and completing proceedings that day [60]; (ii) no particulars of contempt were put to the appellant [64]; and (iii) insufficient mitigation was put forward as a result of the haste [68]. 

The court agrees that the judge should not have commenced the hearing of contempt proceedings that day. Once the appellant had removed the video from Facebook, there was no longer sufficient urgency to justify immediate proceedings [62]. In those circumstances it would have been preferable to adjourn, as had happened in the Canterbury proceedings. No particulars of the contempt were formulated or put to the appellant. There was a muddle over the nature of the contempt being considered. In both the short explanation given by the judge of the general nature of the alleged contempt and the sentencing remarks, there was reference to matters that could not been a breach of the section 4(2) order. [64]. The failure to follow Part 48 Crim PR was more than technical [66]. There was no clarity about what the appellant was admitting or on what basis he was being sentenced. Finally, further difficulties arose from the limited opportunity that counsel had to investigate mitigation [68]. There was little else which counsel could have done within the constraints under which he was working. The level of detail which could be provided to the court was very limited and there was no opportunity to obtain character references [69]. A sense of proportion must be retained. Where a custodial term of considerable length is being imposed, it should not usually occur so quickly after the conduct which is complained of [69]; a sentence of committal to immediate custody had been pronounced within five hours of the conduct taking place [8].

The order at Leeds Crown Court was also erroneously drawn up to suggest the appellant had been convicted of a criminal offence rather than having been committed for contempt of court [70]. Errors like this have serious consequences upon the classification of prisoners, resulting in the deprivation of privileges [74] and release on licence [75]. In this case, it also resulted in the erroneous imposition of a victim surcharge [76].

 The finding of contempt in Leeds is quashed [77]. All consequential orders fall away. The court remits the matter of alleged contempt at Leeds Crown Court to be heard again before a different judge [78]. The appellant is granted conditional bail pending the rehearing [86].
General guidance is given on contempt of court procedure [79-82].

References in square brackets are to paragraphs in the judgment.

Excerpt from the full judgement:


60.  A central criticism advanced on behalf of the appellant of the proceedings in Leeds is that the judge was wrong to proceed to deal with the contempt as quickly as he did. We consider that there is merit in this point. In contrast to the procedure followed in Canterbury, where the appellant had over a week to secure representation and to prepare his response to the allegations against him, the appellant at Leeds was commencing a term of imprisonment of thirteen months within five hours of the conduct complained of. Such haste gave rise to a real risk that procedural safeguards would be overlooked, the nature of the contempt alleged would remain inadequately scrutinised and that points of significant mitigation would be missed. Those risks materialised.