Thursday, 22 March 2018

Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism. A Change of Tone in Germany.

Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism. A Change of Tone in Germany.

Israel-German relations has suffered over recent years by the utterances of the former Foreign Minister of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel.  This Socialist politician constantly bated the Jewish State with references to apartheid.

As an example, while attending a meeting of Muslim migrants in December 2017, supposedly to counter the growing scourge of antisemitism in Germany which included the burning of Israeli flags by Muslims following the United States decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, Gabriel told them of his visit to Hebron several years before which, he said, reminded him of “what was seen during apartheid.”

He did not say that in Hebron today it is the Jews are a heavily guarded minority and, in that town, those suffering from apartheid are the Jews who desire to live there because of their devotion to the profound Jewish heritage sites such as the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the burial place of the biblical Abraham.

When the forefather of the Jewish people bought a plot of land on which to bury his wife, Sarah, it was the first mention of Jewish legal possession of the land, a fact that is ignored by UNESCO, much of the Muslim world, and by the former German minister.

The Tomb itself was built by Herod, a Jewish king, in homage to the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs. He built it centuries before Mohammad established the conquering faith of Islam.  Also buried there are Isaac, Rebecca, and Leah as inscribed in the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, written centuries before the Koran.

Gabriel, obsessed with the apartheid motif with which people like him attempt to cast a shadow of shame against Israel, called the Jewish state an “apartheid regime” back in 2012 and, with German arrogance, he did it during a visit to the Jewish state. He was not short of supporters for making such a statement on Israeli soil. Hamas praised him on its Twitter feed.

But, with the new elections in Germany, the tone is changing with the promotion of Heiko Maas to the position of German Foreign Minister. Although from the same party as the offensive Gabriel, he recently departed from his predecessor’s anti-Israel rhetoric, by saying that he rejects labelling Israel as an “apartheid regime.” The German Foreign Ministry confirmed that “Foreign Minister Maas has never made such a statement and will also never do so in the future.” This is warmly welcomed by any clear thinking person. Past statements from important politicians such as Gabriel contributed nothing to the dialogue, or to peace. On the contrary, they added venom to the current poisonous atmosphere. This is a vital lesson that should be learned by other European foreign ministers.

As a timely and poignant reminder to these European politicians, Maas said that “I did not go into politics out of respect for Willy Brandt, the late Social democrat chancellor, or the peace movement. I went into politics because of Auschwitz.”

Experts on antisemitism view the comparison of Israel with the former apartheid regime in South Africa as a contemporary form of antisemitism.

At the recent 6th Forum on Global Antisemitism, I was fortunate in sharing a lunch table with Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center who said of Sigmar Gabriel, “by falsely claiming that Israel is an ‘apartheid state,’ he denies its democratic basis, which is a central tenant of Israeli statehood since its establishment, and he legitimizes unjust attacks on the Jewish state for sins committed on a regular basis by all its neighbors but not by Israel.”

The case of Hebron, where Arabs massacred Jews in the late 20s, and continue to kill them today, is an example of the hypocrisy of the apartheid falsehood.

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

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Revealed: Israel’s Attack Against the Syrian Nuclear Reactor. 2007.

Israel revealed details of the attack that destroyed the Syrian nuclear reactor that has been kept under wraps since the raid in 2007. It is a dramatic story of military intelligence, espionage, the tensions over the political decision to launch an attack, and the execution of the plan.
This is the first time that Israel admitted responsibility for the raid and it was revealed with newly declassified material.

Israel came across this covert site after Omar Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator, confessed to have been building a nuclear reactor in his country back in 2003. This put Israeli military intelligence in a spin. If Gaddafi had begun to build a dangerous nuclear facility perhap other rogue regimes were also in the process of going nuclear. 
They began to research if other Middle East regimes were also developing a nuclear capability. They began to shadow Abdul Kadir Khan, the father of the Pakistani nuclear program, who had been hawking his wares around the world. The Israeli Mossad had strong evidence that he helped Iran launch its nuclear program. 
They tracked Khan’s movements to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but alarms went off when they discovered he was in contact with the Syrians.

Israel began to suspect that an agricultural research station located in the Syrian desert, some 400 kilometers from the capital in Damascus, was a North Korean built nuclear facility, but they didn’t know for sure if the project was to enrich uranium or to produce plutonium for military purposes. They needed to be 100% certain that it was for military purposes. 

Mossad agents on the ground in Syria reported suspicious truck movements into the desert area of the so-called agricultural research station. 
Israel asked the CIA if they had any information. The reply was negative. 
The Mossad began to monitor Syrian communications and followed Ibrahim Othman, the Syrian delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency, to IATA board meetings in Vienna. They broke into his apartment and found a treasure trove of vital information which was sent to the Israeli laboratories for analysis.
Among the portfolio were photographs of Othman with North Korean scientists inside the facility which clearly showed it to be a reactor producing plutonium.

The startling information was rushed to Prime Minister Olmert who immediately asked President George Bush if he intended to take action against this now dangerous covert nuclear facility. The answer was negative. 
Olmert instructed Gadi Ashkenazi, the IDF Chief of Staff to prepare a plan to destroy the facility.

Politically and tactically, there was a heated dispute in Israel between the Prime Minister who wanted to take immediate action and Ehud Barak, the Defense Minister, who wanted to hold up an attack. There were impending elections and the feeling was that Barak wanted to delay the attack until he had been elected prime minister so that he could take the credit for a successful outcome of a military strike.

Time was pressing. Intelligence showed that the reactor would become “hot” within a matter of months. This would make a raid untenable due to the radioactive fallout that would result from the devastating destruction of the nuclear plant. 
Orders were given to send sufficient planes with ordinance that would totally destroy the facility making it impossible for the Syrians to reconstruct it.
The code name of the operation was “Arizona’ as eight warplanes took off from the Hazerim and Ramon air bases in Israel an hour before midnight on September 5 2007. Flying low and with radio silence they flew over enemy territory avoiding radar detection until they reached their target in the dead of night and dropped they payloads with accuracy destroying the reactor within three minutes.

There were no ceremonies or fanfares on the pilot’s return.  All involved knew of the major and historical significance of the operation but it had to remain covert for diplomatic reasons.

Assad complained that Israel had attacked Syria in the night to which Olmert publicly asked Assad to explain what Israel was supposed to have attacked. Assad knew his bluff had been called. Israel, until now, never publicly admitted its involvement in the destruction of this Syrian nuclear reactor. It did, however, inform its western allies, the United States, UK, France, Germany, and Egypt and Jordan. Olmert also called Putin to inform him of Israel’s action. 
All remained diplomatically silent.

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

Monday, 19 March 2018

Racists and Anti-Semites hijack an Anti-Racist Rally.

On March 17 a rally took place in Glasgow organized by the ‘Stand up to Racism’ group supposedly protest all forms of racism including Anti-Semitism, but the hate of the streets of Glasgow on a cold Scottish Saturday was palpable.

The shocking thing was that vicious racists insults, provocations, and minor violence took place during an anti-racism, anti-Semitism, rally, and the main targets and victims of this hate were Scottish Christians and Jews, and an Israeli Christian, Mohammad Kabiya, an Israeli Muslim, and Lorena Khattib, an attractive Israel Druze girl representing Israeli minorities who happened to be in Scotland as delegates of an Israeli organization, Reservists on Duty, who were in Scotland as guests of COFIS, the Coalition of Friends of Israel Scotland.

The provocations were led by the infamous Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the far-left Red Front Republic fringe group who marched under the Communist Hammer and Sickle banner. Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free,’ a dog whistle for a world without the Jewish State, and an affront to the raison d’etre of the rally, they forced the Israeli participants to be isolated from the parade and to suffer indignities from these provocateurs.

Nigel Goodrich, the COFIS convener, said, “the racists of the BDS campaign basically controlled the streets during this rally.”  The police, in their effort to ensure disruptions and violence were minimized, were complaint in allowing the Israeli delegation to be detached from the main body of the rally.

Clashes occurred and, as Jonathan Elkhouri, an ex-Lebanese Christian whose family had to escape death threats from Hezbollah and are now living as Israelis in Haifa, told me, “we were called ‘child murderers,’ ‘racists,’ ‘fascists,’ and accused of ‘killing children.’ When we tried to reason with the haters and tell them who we are and what we represent, they shoved us and tried take down our banners and flags.”

Another chant heard at this anti-racism rally was “From Glasgow to Gaza. Intifada!”  Intifada to Israelis is a pseudonym for terrorism. This, at an anti-hate rally on the streets of Scotland in March 2017.

Micheline Brannan, the chairperson of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, complained to The Herald newspaper that the anti-racism message was hijacked and perverted by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Antifa haters who forced a provocative confrontation with local Christians and Jews and also members of Israel’s minority population in an effort to stop them participating in the rally.

The political drive of Arab nations, having failed to eliminate the Jewish state by wars, attempted to isolate Israel diplomatically by branding it, in 1975, with the horrible aspersion of being a racist and, by implication, a pariah state that must be outlawed and isolated. It took seventeen years to remove that stain from the annals of the UN. At that time, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the great American diplomat, announced from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly that “Whatever else Zionism may be, it is not, nor can it be a form of racism."

Israel has assembled a commonwealth of brown, black, white Jews from around the world. It gives equal rights and protection to Christians, Muslims, Druze, Bedouin, Circassian, Aramean citizens and the Bahai faith. These minorities have reached the highest ranks within Israeli civil society.

Just like anti-Semitism never dies, the anti-Jewish state hate was seen in 2001 at Durban, South Africa, at a UN World Conference on Racism, where over a thousand hateful NGOs picked on Israel to resurrect the ‘Zionism in Racism’ lie.

Today we see on campuses and on the streets of cities such as Glasgow the same abhorrent claims against the Jewish state being fed to the uninitiated by radical left-wing rabble rousers and intellectual haters. In Glasgow, the radical intolerant haters chose a setting that was supposed to highlight real racism and anti-Semitism to hijack the event and, in an alarming and blatantly anti-Semitic display, exclusively targeted the only Jewish state in the world, and a handful of its supporters, for malevolent abuse.

It is to be hoped that the authorities in Scotland have identified the provocateurs in advance of future events that attempt to promote the message of tolerance and truth and that, next time, it will be the haters and the confrontational radicals that are isolated and cordoned off, and not those who come with a positive message of hope.

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

From left to right; Lorena Khattib, Jonathan Elkouri, Mohammad Kabiya.