Defense/Security 10:23 AM 4/16/2014
Defense/Security 8:47 AM 4/16/2014
Jewish World 9:12 AM 4/16/2014
The Jay Shapiro Hour
Tuvia Brodie has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh under the name Philip Brodie. He has worked for the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham College and American Express. He and his wife made aliyah in 2010. All of his children have followed. He believes in Israel's right to exist. He believes that the words of Tanach (the Jewish Bible) are meant for us. His blog address is http://tuviainil.blogspot.com He publishes 4-6 times a week on his blog. Please check the blog regularly for new posts.
On Saturday, February 1, 2014, US Secretary of State John Kerry upped the ante in the game called, ‘peace talks with Israel’. He warned Israel not to let the talks fail.
He’s not a good negotiator. He has a faulty memory. He forgets that Israel isn’t the only participant in these talks. He forgets to warn the Arabs not to let the talks fail.
When only Israel gets warned, you know it isn’t a good day for justice. When John Kerry threatens the Jewish State, you don’t see an honest mediator working fairly with both parties in a conflict. You see an 800-pound gorilla threatening the Jew.
By threatening only Jews, Kerry reveals that he tilts judgment to favour one side over the other. That’s not honesty. It’s what our Torah calls the perversion of justice.
Do you do business with someone who perverts justice?
Kerry suggested that if Israel failed to reach an agreement with Abbas, it will suffer. He warned, “People are [already] talking about boycott. That [talk of boycott] will intensify in the case of failure”(“Kerry: Mideast peace hopes not ‘quixotic”, Times of Israel, February 1, 2014).
As if to buttress his warning, news reports circulate that two European Banks have ended all ties with Israeli banks doing business in the ‘West Bank’. Another report said that one European bank has now demanded that two Israeli banks reveal immediately details of their operations in the West Bank.
This juxtaposition of Kerry’s reference to a boycott with the announcement of these banks boycotting Israel may not be coincidence. Remember, Kerry’s not a good negotiator. He has a faulty memory.
He forgets that we know how he works to ‘help’ Israel. He helps by cheating.
Do you do business with a cheat?
In July, 2013, he orchestrated a European Union (EU) boycott threat against Israel ("Report: Kerry is Behind European Boycotts", Israel National News, January 7, 2014). He then went into these negotiations as the ‘mediator’ with that anti-Israel boycott in his pocket.
That’s like playing poker with an Ace hidden up your sleeve. Kerry used that hidden Ace in September, 2013 just after the talks began: he threatened Israel ("Kerry warns of third intifada, Israel's isolation, if peace talks break down", Jerusalem Post, September 7, 2013). Now he warns Israel again as he prepares to return to the Middle East.
Israel’s Left, including Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, falls for Kerry’s gimmick every time. They’re suckers for the old ‘hidden Ace’ cheat. They want so much to be loved, they’ll fall for any trick the US uses to frighten them.
Israel’s Left yearns to be loved by others. They are terrified by a boycott threat. The very mention of a boycott gives them a panic attack. Say,’boycott’, and they’ll demand that Israel must give Kerry exactly what he wants—immediately, if not sooner.
For example, the terrified Lapid went so far as to warn that the EU is so ready to harm Israel it is prepared to cancel important agreements with Israel. Cancelling those agreements, he claimed, will cost Israel more than a billion NIS (“Lapid: EU considering striking central treaty with Israel if peace talks fail”, Jerusalem Post, January 29, 2014).
But the EU denied they were even thinking such a thing. It looked as if the moment Lapid had cried ‘wolf’, the ‘wolf’ wasn’t around.
It was quite a show: Israel faces a threat and Yair Lapid pushes the panic button--in public.
That’s not leadership. That's raw fear.
That kind of fear has another name: cowardice.
While Lapid shows the world how terrified he is, Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon had a different response to Kerry's threats. He said, "we respect Secretary of State Kerry but will not hold talks with a gun to our head. Friends don't” use ultimatums with friends (“John Kerry Threatens Israel With Boycotts if Talks Fail”, Arutz Sheva, February 1, 2014).
We need people like Danon if we are to survive. Cowardice won’t help us.
Lapid and the Left are so frightened they render themselves useless. Do not follow their fear. Forget them. They are terrified. They spend so much of their time worrying about ‘the other guy’ they can’t figure out how to defend us.
Actually, if you listen to them, you’ll realize that they do not defend us. They surrender.
That’s not leadership. That’s panic.
The Left reminds one of the fictional attorney, Perry Mason (see “The Perry Mason school of life”, Sarah Honig, Jerusalem Post, January 27, 2012). In this 2012 essay, Honig gives us a piece of Perry Mason advice: the best fighters don’t worry about what the other man may do.
That’s good advice. It’s something the Left doesn’t understand. All they do is worry about the other man.
Here’s some advice for you: don’t follow the Left. Don’t believe anyone who is terrified by the other guy.
If you do that, you’ll lose.
The essay was first posted on Tuvia Brodie blog on February 1, 2014
Two weeks ago, Israel Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon set off a twenty-four hour fire-storm with a single remark. He called US Secretary of State John Kerry ‘obsessive’--and ‘messianic’ (“Yaalon criticized for reportedly calling Kerry ‘obsessive, messianic’”, Jerusalem Post, January 14, 2014).
The remark was supposedly a reference to how Kerry has managed current Arab-Israel peace negotiations. The remark was part of a private conversation. It was not meant for publication. It was certainly far less offensive than the ‘Netanyahu’s a liar’ comment from another private conversation, this one between the then-President of France Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama, in November, 2011.
Do you remember that incident?
That 2011 conversation between two heads-of-state was not made public by an overly-aggressive newspaper or by someone who violated an understanding of what was ‘private’ (as might have been the case with the Yaalon comment). That 2011 comment became public because a microphone between the two men (or close to them) had not been turned off. Sarkozy told Obama, "I cannot bear Netanyahu. He's a liar”.
Obama didn’t just listen. He joined the insult. Not realizing that the microphone was still ‘live’, he responded to Sarkozy, “You're fed up with him. But I have to deal with him even more often than you" (“Sarkozy tells Obama Netanyahu is a "liar", Reuters News Service, November 8, 2011).
The White House refused even to discuss the matter. Obama did later acknowledge the incident. But he refused to comment on the disparaging remarks he and Sarkozy had exchanged (“Obama acknowledges gaffe over Netanyahu insult but refuses to elaborate”, Haaretz, November 14, 2011).
Israeli officials did not express ‘outrage’. They did not condemn the remarks.
Israel did not demand an apology. Obama did not volunteer to apologize.
When American officials reacted to Yaalon’s remark, they clearly did not remember that whispered insult—or Obama’s refusal to apologize to the Israeli head-of-state. Perhaps they did remember—but didn’t care.
Instead, American officials expressed anger at Yaalon’s comment. They were shocked. They were outraged. They condemned it as ‘offensive’. They demanded an apology.
Next day, Yaalon apologized.
How curious. The US President participated in an insult to the Israel Prime Minister; he didn’t apologize. But when an Israeli Defense Minister (not the head-of-state) describes the US Secretary of State (not the head-of-state) in a private remark, his comment so offends the Americans he must apologize. Why?
What’s offensive about ‘obsessive’? Why do American officials condemn ‘messianic’? More important, why should an Israeli official’s truly private remark stir such anger when the US President’s own—more serious--insult was ignored?
Is this how a double standard works? The Jewish Tanach teaches that double standards are immoral (the same justice must be applied to all, evenly). Do the Americans act immorally by demanding an apology for an offense they themselves refuse to apologize for?
The American response seemed unnatural. Do Americans know something about the Jewish Redemption story they prefer to ignore? Was that their problem?
Yaalon used a word associated with, ‘Messiah’. The knee-jerk American reaction was to pull a ‘double standard’ on Israel, something which certainly looks immoral.
Do you know the Jewish Redemption story? It’s a story of powerful nations counselling together to attack Jerusalem. It’s a story of the powerful seeking to strip Judaism’s Holy City from the Jews. It’s a story of Jew-haters conspiring to destroy what is Jewish.
It’s a story we hear today. It’s a story of an immoral—perhaps anti-moral—world attacking Israel. It’s the story of an Arab-Israel conflict managed by the EU and the US for the Arab’s benefit.
The Jewish Redemption story is today’s modern history. It’s the history of Arabs demanding Jerusalem—and the EU and the US assisting them. The ancient Jewish Redemption story is the tale of powerful enemies joining together to divide Jerusalem (at the very least) and to carve up the Holy Land for others.
The Jewish Redemption story is an ancient prediction of the machinations of Edom (the US and the EU, according to many) and Yishmael (the Arab) causing trouble for Israel. To see these machinations, read Zohar Va'era 32a, as quoted by breslev.co.il, March 4, 2013.
US Secretary of State John Kerry might not be ‘messianic’. He might not even be Jewish (he isn’t). But he might well be one of the major players on the international stage who helps to ‘throw the switch’ that starts the final act of the Jewish Redemption.
In his own way, Kerry might be a lot closer to the Jewish Moshiach than we think. Yaalon’s comment might be prescient. It might suggest why the Americans (descendants of immoral Edom) reacted as they did. It might even suggest what the Arab-Israel conflict is all about.
Catherine Ashton is considered by many to be one of the most important players on today’s world stage. She is Minister of Foreign Affairs for the European Union (EU). She is not the President of the EU. But she stands nonetheless in the main spotlight—at center-stage.
The EU does not have the power or the military capability of Obama’s America or Putin’s Russia. The EU is big—on paper. Catherine Ashton is bigger than that paper. On some says, she seems bigger than the EU.
Around the world, she has name recognition. Many outside Europe consider her to be a major voice in Arab-Israel ‘peace’ efforts. People know who she is.
By contrast, how many outside Europe know the name of the President of the European Council? The President of the European Council is often referred to as the ‘President of the EU’. Do you know his name?
You may never have heard of Herman Van Rompuy. He will be President of the European Council until November 30, 2014.
Van Rompuy’s name may draw a blank. But people recognize Ashton’s name. They have seen her picture often enough to recognize her face. That recognition gives her visibility. That visibility gives her power.
She uses that power to support the Palestinian demand for a new state. She uses her power to accuse Israel of refusing to ‘talk peace’ with those who want to destroy Israel. She uses that power to declare with her silence that she doesn’t care if Palestinian leadership demands that a war crime (ethnic cleansing) be committed in order to create their new state. She uses her power of silence to declare that she doesn’t care if Palestinian leadership threatens Israel.
Why should she care if Palestinian leadership threatens Israel? She threatens Israel herself.
She wants the Palestinians to get what they want. She threatens Israel to make sure they get it.
The Palestinians want a Jew-free state. Put another way, they want a racist, Apartheid state.
Ashton openly supports that goal. She is aggressive about her support. She has declared that if current Arab-Israel peace talks fail, she will be angry—at Israel. If those talks fail, the EU will boycott Israel.
Ashton does not discuss what ‘punishment’ the Palestinian Authority (PA) will receive for failure. She indemnifies the PA against criticism.
Now she reveals something new. She supports a form of Holocaust denial.
According to a news report (“Ashton Omits Mention of Jews During Holocaust Day Speech,” January 28, 2014, Arutz Sheva), Ashton did not refer to Jews in a speech commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Instead of referring to Jewish victims (at this Jewish event), she referred to ‘victims of the Holocaust’.
She deleted the Jews from the Holocaust. By that deletion, she denied the essence of the Holocaust, its Jew-hate.
Her statement said, ’we honour all those brutally killed during this darkest period of European history. We also especially would like to honour those acted with courage and self-sacrifice to protect their fellow citizens from persecution.’
These words may sound nice. But the truth is, this Jewish event is not about Europe. It’s not about ‘fellow citizens’. Holocaust Remembrance is about Jews. It’s about Jew-hate. It’s about what happens when the early stages of official Jew-hate (such as we see in Palestinian leadership) is ignored. It’s about remembering how many Jews were murdered by pure hate—and thinking if only for a moment about making sure that such hate never again gains such power.
Ashton cleansed such thoughts from her speech. But to delete ‘Jews’ from a Holocaust Memorial speech is like deleting milk from a milkshake or the chicken from your chicken salad. It removes the meaning from the content. It denies the reality of the Holocaust. It denies the reality that ‘Holocaust’ got its name because of the horror done to Jews, not ‘fellow citizens.’
Her omission cleanses the Holocaust of its Jews.
The Palestinians want to cleanse Jews, too. Does her omission tell us she is the Palestinian’s European kindred spirit?
Ashton’s omission suggests that she cannot bring herself to say the word, ‘Jew’ even in front of Jews. It suggests that her imbalanced support for the PA is more than an oversight. It suggests that her threat to punish only Jews if peace talks fail is no accident.
Her omission suggests she is an anti-Semite. Her refusal to use the word, ‘Jews’, for this occasion reminds one that, if something looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it’s a duck.
What are you, Catherine Ashton?
Israel has been threatened. Israel’s Left is terrified. Should we follow their lead?
The European Union (EU) has told Israel that if current peace talks fail, Israel will be blamed. The EU will implement a boycott against Israel. Israel’s Left is terrified that this boycott will motivate others to gather against Israel.
Therefore, the Left argues, we must make ‘peace’ immediately. Otherwise, boycotts will destroy us.
Israel’s Left believes three things about this threat. First, it is real. The EU has been threatening Israel for some time. The boycott has teeth. If talks fail, the boycott begins.
The second thing Israel’s Left believes about this threat is that Israel cannot survive it. Israel’s economy depends on the EU. The EU does so much business with Israel (more than 29 billion dollars annually) that a boycott will destroy Israel’s economy.
The third thing Israel’s Left believes about this boycott is that the only way Israel can avoid it is to surrender to Abbas. Give Abbas what he wants, it says, and Israel will survive; otherwise, we’re doomed.
For these reasons, Israel’s Left demands peace. It is terrified by the boycott threat. Citing a Times of Israel article, William Jacobson has written how desperately Tzipi Livni fears this threat (legalinsurrectionblog, “Tzipi Livni’s Boycott panic is a dead-end because it presumes the alternative is peace”, January 26, 2014). Like all who are controlled by their fears, Livni sees one frightening thing and imagines a million more: Jacobson (above) quotes Livni as saying that peace is the only wall that separates Israel from a wave of International boycotts.
But Livni’s fear—and the hysteria of her Leftist peers—is baseless. It’s baseless for three reasons.
First, the threat is not as real as it seems. While many at EU headquarters may want a boycott, their boycott is no boycott (“The E.U.’s New Guidelines on Israel Are Not a Boycott”, The New York Times, July 19, 2014). It does not affect trade. It applies only to official EU-sanctioned activities. It does not apply to the 28 member-states of the EU—or to corporations within those states.
According to the New York Times (above), this boycott will have only minor impact on Israel-EU trade. Some projects and contracts will be cancelled. But the boycott is more symbolic than real.
The wave of boycotts that the Left fears is not a guaranteed event. But even if it happens, it will not be a tsunami.
In Europe, many companies do business with Israel knowing full well the political pressures Israel faces on the international stage. Many do not entirely accept the ‘Palestinian’ narrative of victimhood (see, “The EU's "covert" boycott of Israel starts to kick in”, the Commentator, 11 January, 2014). They do business with Israel because of technology and quality-of-product. Many will not alter those values.
European countries maintain science and technology ties with Israel. They have a desire to continue those ties. There is too much competition in the world to do otherwise. Israel is too important a source for world-class science and technology for European countries to boycott.
That so-called terrifying wave of international boycotts will come mainly from non-European countries, some of whom do little or no trade with Israel. The impact on Israel could be unimpressive.
Meanwhile, China has expressed no interest in a boycott (see the Commentator, above). China—along with India and Russia--could be delighted to buy the goods and technologies others boycott.
The boycott threat is more symbol than real. The Left, so terrified because a boycott means rejection, can’t see this distinction because its nightmare of rejection transforms every threat into disaster.
If the feared wave of boycotts is modelled after the EU approach, the boycotts would be ‘boycott’ in name only. Livni’s fears will have been baseless.
Third, surrender to Abbas is not the only way to survive. Because PA officials promote their hate so aggressively, Prime Minister Netanyahu can make a strong case that peace talks fail because of that hate.
For example, just this morning (January 27, 2014), PA Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat reiterated that there will be no Jews in the new ‘Palestine’ (“Erekat: There Will be No 'Settlers' in 'Palestine', Arutz Sheva, January 27, 2014).Netanyahu’s reaction was immediate—and suggestive: he called the PA’s ‘Juden-rein’ proposition, ethnic cleansing (“Israeli Official: Palestine Should Allow Settlers”, The New York Times, January 26, 2014).
Netanyahu must be aggressive: the PA case for statehood demands that the UN sanctions a war crime called, ethnic cleansing.
Netanyahu must also argue that ethnic cleansing is racist because ‘Jew-free’ makes a racist state. Racist states are Apartheid. The PA demands a racist, Apartheid State.
That ‘wave’ of international boycotts is not inevitable. Boycotts with teeth are not inevitable.
Israel’s Left is wrong. They base their case on fear, not peace.
Never follow those who are terrified.
Israel’s opposition leader and Labour Party head Yitzchak Herzog continues his battle to get Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sign a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority (PA) (“Labor chief doubts Netanyahu’s ‘guts’ in peace talks”, 01/21/14, Times of Israel). Apparently, Herzog has given up arguing a rational case. For this Times of Israel article, Herzog adopts a new approach: he gets personal. He wonders aloud if Netanyahu ‘has the guts’ to make peace with the ‘Palestinians.’
Herzog is wrong. He doesn’t understand courage.
It does not take ‘guts’ to cave in to pressure from an 800-pound gorilla (the US). It does not take ‘guts’ to yield before threats of a massive boycott (from the European Union). ‘Courage’ is not what motivates you when you want ‘peace’ because you fear you will be ‘isolated on steroids’ (at the United Nations). In fact, caving into pressure and yielding to threats have never been called, ‘having guts’.
Such behaviours have another name: cowardice.
Why does Herzog twist the definition of cowardice into ‘guts’?
Put another way, why is Herzog trying to put lipstick (guts) onto a pig (cowardice)?
You can call caving in and yielding to threats ‘guts’ all day long. But most of us learned long ago that when you put lipstick on a pig, you still end up with a pig.
As every Jew knows, pigs aren’t kosher. What’s Herzog doing?
Herzog’s using a personal attack (to question Netanyahu’s ‘guts’) is interesting. The use of an ad hominum argument (dropping the subject of discussion to begin a personal attack on your opponent) often suggests failure—of the attacker. In formal debate, the goal is to present the best factual case—to make the most compelling argument. The personal-attack tactic often comes into play when a debater knows he is losing. A personal attack is designed to panic an opponent into forgetting the debate topic in order to defend himself.
A skilled debater can start a personal attack, then revert to the subject. He will score points for returning to topic. But if his attack is successful, his opponent, now flustered, will lose points because he cannot remain focused.
It’s a ‘dirty trick.’ But it’s legal (I think). If you want a crude example of how this tactic works, try an experiment the next time you’re arguing with someone over politics, sports or religion: in the most heated moment, shout, ‘you’re an idiot!’
Watch how your ‘opponent’ reacts. He will probably not stay on topic.
(Be careful how you use this tactic. You don’t want to lose a friend).
When you read the article above, you notice that Herzog doesn’t argue that peace will be good for Israel. He doesn’t support his case for peace with examples of positive peace dividends (a non-boycott is not a positive peace dividend; it’s a sword held to your neck to sign-or-else which will remain nearby after you sign). Instead, Herzog gets personal: he questions Netanyahu’s ‘guts’.
Calling cowardice ‘guts’ is not a rational proposition. It makes no sense. Does becoming non-sensicle suggest that Herzog’s entire ‘peace’ argument is nonsense?
You tell me.
There is a second concern with this interview. This Times of Israel article is not the result of a Herzog speech. It is not the result of an interview with Israeli journalists. It was the result of a Herzog interview with foreign journalists.
In addition, this article was not written by a staff member of the Times of Israel. It is a story from the Associated Press (AP) that happens to have been printed by the Times of Israel for its audience; news vendors often do this to show what others say about topics of interest.
It’s a fair and accepted practice, especially, we note, when the Times of Israel clearly identified the story as coming from the AP.
The concern is, the world press does not typically support Israel. The AP does not typically print stories that present Israel in a positive light. Many in the world already see Israel as a brutal occupier—illegal, inhumane, criminal. Now, the AP gets to showcase to its world clients (the outlets to which it sells its stories) the voice of a prominent Israeli politician suggesting that this brutal, inhumane nation may indeed be led by someone who doesn’t have the guts to sign for peace.
Herzog’s words hurt Israel. Worse, his words help Israel’s enemies. Through this interview, Herzog gives Israel-haters a new word to use in their attacks: coward.
That’s not working for ‘peace’. That’s empowering Israel’s enemies.
Whose side is Herzog on?