Friday, 18 August 2017

“There was violence on both sides.”

“There was violence on both sides.”

Researching the recent clashes at Charlottesville in which counter-protesters traveled to the Virginia town to take on the neo-Nazis, I discovered some disturbing facts which reveal a sordid past and the threatening emergence of a troubling phenomenon in the United States, that of the protection of hate speech.

In order to make my point, allow me to make one remarkable admittance. In 1962, in Great Britain, a man named Oswald Mosley came to Manchester to lead a crowd of followers in a revival rally. He wasn’t a neo-Nazi. Mosley was a real Nazi. He was the leader of the British Union of Fascists in the 30's and was an ardent admirer of Adolph Hitler. Had Germany defeated British in World War Two, Mosley would almost certainly have been appointed by Hitler as the Reich-Fuehrer governing Britain. For this reason, he was interned during the war. Some say he should have been hanged for treason.

Prior to the war, a huge riot took place in the East End of London when Mosley’s Fascists, who were riding a wave of anti-Semitism, were stopped in their tracks by London Jews and anti-fascists in a violent confrontation which became known as “The Battle of Cable Street.”

Mosley tried to revive his Nazi agenda after the war. He tried to hold revival rallies in London, the Midlands, and Manchester. He never reached the stage in Manchester. Angry Jews, me among them, joined other anti-Fascists, many of whom had fought to defeat fascism in Europe less than two decades earlier, to prevent this Hitler-wannabee from speaking. The huge crowd chanted, ”Down with Mosley,” and down he went, three times before the police dragged him away without him opening his mouth.

That was confronting real fascism, not the motley crew that assembled in Charlottesville with their stupidly offensive anti-Jewish banners. And I feel for those who find the KKK deeply offensive and for whom the KKK symbols are hurtful. I feel the same, if not more, about the swastika. But the Charlottesville hoodlums were a nasty shadow of the real Nazis or the once-powerful KKK who marched through the streets of New York in the 20's to attend the Democratic National Convention where many were delegates.

Once can appreciate the depth of feelings of a generation who had suffered the Holocaust and confronted fascism taking a violent approach to the notion that “free speech must be protected, even hate speech.”

If any organization marched through the streets of Jerusalem chanting “Death to the Jews” expect a violent confrontation, and don’t condemn the violent protesters with the slogan of “the right to free speech, even hate speech.”  I would protest as much against anyone chanting “Death to Arabs.” Such incitement must be criminalized.

Free speech must have its limits, and if the law does not appreciate this then the law is an ass.

So, don’t be surprised if violence occurs against the cries of “Khyber! Khyber! Al Yahud!” or “Jews to the gas!” on the streets of Miami, New York, and other American and British cities. Such free speech must not be protected.  This is threatening incitement to behead and murder Jews. It must either be stopped by law, or stopped by protest.

And, when this happens, don’t allow any politician to say, “There was violence on both sides.”

Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS, and Anti-Semitism.’

Monday, 14 August 2017

North Korea and Iran. The Nuclear Results of Strategic Patience.

While American politics in melt down mode over the Democrats almost yearlong obsession in trying to find a scintilla of evidence with which they can hang Trump on charges of colluding with the Russians, both North Korea and Iran have been busy getting on with developing their nuclear missile programs.
Having been distracted, America now faces a nuclear crisis, not with Russia but with North Korea, and potentially with Iran further down the road. 

North Korean President Kim Jong-un has blatantly carried out a series of missile tests that show their capability of launching a nuclear missile strike that will put the west coast of the United States within range.

When President Trump warned North Korea of the “fire and fury, never seen before” should they test America’s patience, some Democrats and Obama hang-overs, such as Ben Rhodes, the White House Deputy National Security Secretary under President Obama, accused Trump on MSNBC of “extreme and false statements about all manner of things. It’s more concerning,” he said, “when they are about nuclear weapons.”

So who gets it? Ben Rhodes, or President Trump?  Rhodes introduced a security policy of “strategic patience.” Rhodes, it should be remembered, was an ardent promoter of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran which rewarded the Islamic Republic to the tune of $150 Billion while allowing them to continue their intercontinental ballistic missile development program.

Compare Rhodes criticism to Trump’s statement to Donald Trump’s comments about making nuclear deals with regimes like North Korea on an NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ TV interview in October 1999. That was a decade and a half before Donald Trump entered politics. Here is what he said about the Administration’s refusal, or inability, to adequately close down North Korea’s nuclear program, “Do you want to do it in five years when they have warheads all over the place, each one of them pointing at New York and Washington, is that when you want to do it, or do you want to do it now?”

In that interview, Trump talking about the US negotiators, and using his familiar verbal style, added that the North Korean leaders “are laughing at us. They think we’re a bunch of dummies.”
Who can say, faced with today’s crisis, that Trump was wrong?

The most recent North Korean testing has seen them use their missile launch capability for carrying miniaturized nuclear weapons which they announced would be placed on their warships to aim at Guam. This is not new technology or intelligence. Revelations show that the US Military Intelligence reported this technology to the Obama Administration back on April 2013, but, operating on Ben Rhodes’s “strategic patience” paradigm, President Obama decided to deny the contents of this intelligence assessment, and do nothing about it. In other words, they covered up the intelligence as being politically inconvenient. Strategic patience bathed in denial has resulted in North Korea arriving at this dangerous moment for the United States and the Trump Administration.

It is worth reminding ourselves that Wendy Sherman was one of the architects of both the North Korean and the Iranian nuclear deals. The North Korean deal was used as the US template for the negotiations with Tehran over their advanced nuclear program. Both were based on the fallacy of a strategic patience policy of “let’s go easy on them and see what happens in ten years’ time.”

How did the US Intelligence and the Obama Administration allow this dramatic national security failure to occur? This should be required study for leading Strategic and National Security think tanks.

The strategic patience policy is a frightening failure. It is nothing more than politically kicking the can down the road to be picked up by a future Administration when it is about to explode in a mushroom cloud.

America is in crisis mode right now. They are scrambling to come up with a solution to the North Korean nuclear threat, but there appears to be no good solution in sight, particularly when you are dealing with unpredictable rogue regimes. Conflict seems inevitable.

This is the consequence of kicking that can down the road.  Tomorrow, they will wake up to the same crisis when Iran takes the wraps off their project and are ready for a nuclear breakout.

Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.