Monday, November 16, 2015

We're All Israelis Now

It's impossible not to write about the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday. 
On a somewhat personal note, I have seen the band, Eagles of Death Metal (not a death metal band fyi) at least twice. From what I understand their merch manager was killed with scores of others simply enjoying a rock show. If they had been performing in Chicago, I might have been there.
We're all Israelis now.
What I mean by that is that we in the West are increasingly targeted by Islamic terrorists. This is something we all should have soberly realized after 9/11. This wasn't even the first terrorist attack in France this year. I'm sure everyone remembers the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January. Less people seem to remember the terrorist attack and hostage situation on the kosher supermarket (which Obama stupidly called "random").
Some speculation: France is a primary target for ISIS and Islamic terrorists in general. France is the starting point of enlightened thought, egalitarianism, democracy. Terrorists thrive on symbolism in their attacks. What could be more enticing to them than striking at the heart of liberal, godless, western civilization?
I cannot stress enough that I do not mean to write about the French terror attacks to further my own agenda. It is my sincere opinion that if France had counter terrorism procedures in place similar to those in Israel, this may not have happened. Israel faces the threat of this sort of attack on a daily basis. I also must make it clear that ISIS is not Hamas, Hezbollah, or Al Quaeda. These terrorist factions are all different, and those differences are important, in fact, one of the best ways I think to fight them, is to somehow capitalize on the differences between them so that they fight a war of attrition against each other. Something to exacerbate the kinds of attacks like the one ISIS made against Hezbollah in Lebanon recently. I think exploiting the Sunni/Shia divide is the best avenue, however I admit I don't know how to do that specifically.
One thing that they all have in common is they all would prefer to see the destruction of the Jewish state.
The EU recently approved a law requiring the labeling of all goods imported from Israel. It is infinitely ironic that the country most adept at addressing how to handle ISIS is so demonized by so many in Europe. Just today, some moron in the Swedish government blamed the Paris attacks on the suffering of palestinians.I've been saying for a long time that Israel provides a micro example of how to deal with a macro problem. This is part of why I have no sympathy for so many whiners complaining about your metadata being collected by phone companies. If your metadata helps catch a potential suicide bomber, fuck you, I hope they read your emails and see your dick pics. The capability of saving one life is worth more than your desire to keep your call destinations, and call duration, that the phone company records anyway, private. (Also, I'm still hoping little Eddie Snowden gets some polonium 210 delivered to him somehow).
Israelis live with the threat of physical terrorist violence daily. Yet they have created a free and open society. If you're looking for proof that Israel isn't an apartheid state, just google MK Haneen Zoabi. She is a member of the Knesset who basically hates Israel. The irony of serving in the government of a country you despise is mind boggling, but it's also an excellent example against the idea of a monolithic, repressive regime governing Israel.
Israel has struck a delicate, and by no means perfect, balance of security with civil rights. We are all Israelis because this is the sort of reality we must come to accept. Yes, even here in the US. Oceans never did protect us from our enemies (remember when Bush said that they used to? I was screaming, "what about in the War of 1812 when the British BURNED THE WHITEHOUSE?!") and they won't now.
I have seen a movement of state governors in the US urging the closing of state borders to Syrian immigrants. I don't think this is the right way to go. According to 150,000 Syrians have declared asylum in the EU. It is presently thought that 8-10 people were involved in the 11/13 Paris terrorist attacks. I'm willing to bet that a lot of people fleeing the war in Syria do not like ISIS very much, and are excellent potential intelligence sources. Finding potential terrorists in the mass of Syrian refugees is like finding a needle in a haystack. In order to find that needle though, first you need a haystack.
I have two ideas as to how to respond to ISIS. One of which France has already started doing. First: destroy their defacto capital of Raqqa, Syria. Destroy it. Leave nothing left standing. This can be done with airstrikes and cruise missiles. Second: Kill self appointed caliph ruler Al-Baghdadi. This will of course be much harder and dependent entirely on good intelligence. Cut the head off the snake and destroy where it lives and it cannot thrive.
ISIS are fundamentalists. Fundamentalists are not necessarily stupid, but their strict adherence to ideology should make them somewhat predictable. We know what they want and how they intend to do it. I believe we (western governments) have the ability to stop it, but we must not lose the will.
I am not a war monger (as I've recently been accused of). I would prefer peace. But we see before us an enemy that is implacable. Similar to Hamas (who in their founding charter calls for the destruction of Israel), ISIS is not an organization that can be negotiated with. They think luring the US and other western countries into another Iraq/Afghanistan quagmire will help them. We have the presence of mind to learn from the horrifically managed wars of the recent past, and learn how to fight a smarter war. This is within our capabilities, especially against an enemy who aims to see the entire world return to the manner of rule of an 8th century Arab dictator.
PS: Wouldn't it be absolutely wonderful if a Jewish woman somehow killed Baghdadi? Just as a Jewish woman poisoned Mohammed? 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I Don't Feel Bad For You

The combined forces of 5 armies from Arab nations lost to Israel in 1948. The Arabs lost in humiliating fashion in 1967. They initially caught Israel off guard in the Yom Kippur war but were again defeated. It must have been some time after the Yom Kippur War, but before the First Intifada that the Arab leadership (I will interchangeably refer to Arabs and palestinians throughout, I am aware not all Arabs are palestinians) finally began to realize that war with Israel was not going to bring about Israel's destruction. So, their leadership changed their tactics. Instead of warfare, it would make more continued use of terrorism (to be sure, the PLO had engaged in terrorist acts for years prior to the First Intifada) as a tactic. This was clearly more practical for the PLO. They could offer supportive nations plausible deniability for what happened to the aid and materials these nations provided the PLO. Terrorism requires less training for conscripts and is more dramatic; it is much easier to find an illiterate teenager willing to blow himself up than feed, train and equip a soldier.
What is most important however, is that the PLO and what became the PA, found that their greatest weapon against Israel was not terrorism. No, their greatest weapon against Israel (and make no mistake, they aim to destroy Israel), is your sympathy. They know they cannot win a war. They know that most of us in the Western World wouldn't approve of the fundamentalist Hamas theocracy running a country. The Arabs know that the corruption that is rampant throughout the PA over decades is forgotten each time a headline shows a dead palestinian.
Here is what I say to them: I don't feel bad for you.
I didn't feel bad for you when you were offered a state in 1948, 1993 and 2001 and you rejected it every time and responded with suicide bombings.
I didn't feel bad for you in the summer of 2014, when the barrage of Hamas rockets resulted in Operation Protective Edge, killing hundreds of Gazans.
I didn't feel bad because if those rockets had never been fired, there never would have been an Israeli response.
And I Don't feel bad now when palestinian teenagers are being shot to death for stabbing Israelis in Jerusalem.
This might sound harsh, and it is. I know it. But I will not let your side exploit my sympathies to help you reach your goal. The words of Golda Meier are still true today. The question is not, when will Israel stop killing palestinian children. The question is, when will the Arabs stop encouraging their children to do things that cause their death? When will the Arabs love their children more than they hate Israel? It's been over 40 years since Prime Minister Meier spoke on this, the when has not yet happened.
Again to the other side, I say, I don't feel bad for you. Maybe if enough of us in the US and throughout the Western World stopped feeling bad for you, you would realize that even exploiting the deaths of your children is useless.
But even before that, consider this: how has this strategy worked for your side? It hasn't. The Israelis left Gaza entirely in 2005 just as Hamas had always said it wanted. What happened? It became a Hamas terror breeding ground; digging tunnels into Israel and firing rockets. (If I remember correctly, over 700 a day were fired in July 2014 at the height of the war). What does Hamas or the PA have to show for their dead? Are they only closer to establishing a state? No. Are they any closer to destroying Israel? No, not with kitchen knives.
I don't feel bad for you. I don't want your side to keep stabbing Israelis, I want peace. But I won't feel bad if one of your children dies trying to murder an Israeli.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Heavy Metal Zionist

This is not a contradiction of terms. Zionism, or the belief that Jews should be allowed to return to their ancestral homeland, transcends race, gender, and culture transcends many of the labels that separate us on earth.
Why am I here? I'm here to discuss present day Zionism, the state of Israel, and those who seek to destroy her without timidity, without passivity. Advocates of Israel and Zionism should be aggressive. G-d knows our opposition is.  Appeasement only makes the aggressor more aggressive. I will not appease.
They are coming for us with knives in Jerusalem now. They blame us for provocation on the Temple Mount, they blame us for settlements. They use this blame as rationalization of the terrorism being directed at Israeli citizens. "You pushed us to this and it is justified" they will say. This is of course, a lie. One needs to only look back 10 years to the disengagement from Gaza. In 2005 all Israeli settlers were removed (in some cases forcibly) from their homes and businesses in the Gaza Strip.  I supported the move by Sharon at the time. Many of my Orthodox friends were furious, and watching the footage of IDF soldiers removing Israelis from Gaza I could understand their anger. However, whether it was intentional or not, Ariel Sharon's disengagement was brilliant in the long term. Israelis left behind several businesses, which were handed over to Gazans, most notably a flower business. Instead of building off of what the Israelis had left, the Gazans burned the greenhouses down. Nothing has replaced them. Sharon gave the world evidence that the settlements are not the issue at work. With or without settlements, it doesn't matter, they will attack Israel. The cycles of rocket fire from Gaza to this day still underscore this fact. And it continues in Jerusalem now. The Muslim clerics in Al Aqsa are unabashedly calling on their followers to stab Jews, and they are. Again they are trotting out that old lie: "The Jews are defiling Al Aqsa! How dare they!" No. Even if that were the case, it is merely a pretense for killing Jews. Something the Arabs in the area have been doing since even before Zionism began.
Why do they hate us? I can't say, you would have to ask them. But I can tell you that settlements, or defiling of the Temple Mount are not those reasons.