From the third and final day of the Jerusalem Conference I bring you a wealth of significant information. I will begin with the last session I attended because it is so shatteringly significant.
The topic: “The UN and the International Assault on Israel”
From the panel I will cite three special women: Anne Bayefsky, who runs Eye on the UN; Caroline Glick, columnist (with whom many of you are familiar); and Melanie Phillips, a gusty and articulate British journalist. And I will do this by subject, although all are intertwined:
Bayefsky says we must understand that the UN is the single biggest purveyor of anti-Semitism in the world today. Consider some facts. There have been ten emergency sessions of the GA; five of them have been to discuss Israel. The Human Rights Council of the UN has passed more resolutions about alleged violations by Israel than about all other nations in the world combined.
The intent of Durban II, coming in April, is to turn Israel into the new S. Africa.
The UN has no definition of terrorism. Its counter-terrorism unit has never mentioned a terrorist by name.
Ahmadinejad spoke words of unabashed anti-Semitism at the UN and (except for the US and Israel, who weren’t present) received a round of applause.
Glick says the agenda of the UN is the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.
The UN is the sum of its parts; with 57 Islamic states plus EU states, there is no way for Israel to win in forums there. Some diplomats speak differently to Israelis in private. (They say, as she put it: “Oh, we didn’t really mean it when we voted against you on every resolution, we think you’re great.”) But Israel can never take advantage of this to turn things around in UN forums, because the whole is more powerful than the intentions of these individual people who speak nicely in private.
The UN charter says every nation has a right to self-defense, but this is irrelevant to the decisions made within the UN.
Part and parcel of what is happening is UNRWA and its connection to Hamas. Commission-General Karen AbuZayd just said she doesn’t know anything about human shields in Gaza. “Hamas leaves us alone. It respects us.”
What to do? Glick says we must engage in political warfare, exposing the UN to its member nations. As the UN seeks to delegitimize Israel, so must we work to delegitimize the UN, holding up a mirror to its actions.
We must subvert the UN by going to separate governments and appealing to common interests to form coalitions outside of the UN.
The International Community:
Melanie Phillips, who is British, spoke from the perspective of her country. She says the war in Gaza unleashed in Britain intense hatred of Israel because they bought the Hamas propaganda, especially via BBC. The Jihad has come. In demonstrations Muslims were seen prostrated, praying on the streets, and crying, “Allah Akhbar.” Britain took the lead in calling for a UN ceasefire.
All of this happened, says Phillips, because of enormous ignorance, infantile leftism, and moral equivalence.
There is a belief in “soft power”: the nation-state is the problem, trans-nationalism is better. This thinking leads to the conviction that the UN is the repository of wisdom, truth and goodness. The British know nothing of the Hamas-UNRWA connection. And these ideas have taken root in the Anglican church.
What we’re dealing with here is a battle of the mind. We must continue to tell the truth: If Israel goes down, the West goes down. This is not about a two-state solution, but rather the destruction of Israel.
The US and Obama:
Bayefsky says we’re not prepared for what’s going to happen. Obama is going to run US foreign policy through the UN because he is seeking international approval. He will inflate the importance of the UN and adopt the UN narrative on Israel: That the root cause of the conflict is settlements and that Israel will be expected to do certain things that will lead to a better situation for the West.
Glick says there is a sad diminution of self-image in America. We can no longer assume the US will veto anti-Israel resolutions.
Phillips says Britain is ecstatic about Obama because it understands that he represents a negation of US power.
This is what American Jews don’t understand.
He has surrounded Hillary with enemies of Israel who deal in moral relativism. (Note from me: Do NOT assume that because someone is a Jew he or she is pro-Israel. Some of our worst enemies are Jews.)
Phillips emphasized, again, that we must keep telling the truth.
Glick says Israel has no desire for direct confrontation with America, because the people are with us. Bayefsky says we must say “no” to Obama, talking over his head to the American people and Congress.
Bayefsky raised some questions regarding how much American Jews are with us. Israel is not high on their list of priorities and is not likely to be the determining factor in how they vote or what they support.
The bottom line here, from Glick: The Israeli people are the bravest and strongest on earth. (I second this!). Our government needs to listen to the people and not the outside world.
The next topic: “New Challenges of the IDF on the Battlefront and in International Law.”
I would like to focus first on an excellent presentation by one special man (and very proud Israel): Danny Seaman, who heads the Government Press Office. He spoke, of course, about media issues in a war.
We’ve learned some important lessons since the Lebanon War 2-1/2 years ago, he says. We are no longer trying to appease the media, but rather doing what’s right for Israel.
The challenges are not challenges to the IDF, they’re challenges to Israel. The IDF should address military issues only and the government must present our case and be in the forefront with the media.
It’s good that the media is not around in battle, because they sometimes report troop movements that put our troops at risk of enemy fire. The media doesn’t like it when it is limited in its access, but they have no choice but to adhere to our rules when we declare a closed military area.
On a daily basis, Hamas threatens the media. And so, those who are in Gaza are those who do what Hamas wants.
TV dictates the agenda for the rest of the media. If there are pictures on a TV screen then print media follow with a story. It is expected (editors insist on it).
Unfortunately, the hunger for a “good” picture causes slants in what is presented on TV, and thus later in newspapers. Seaman asked TV crews at one point why they weren’t showing the suffering of the people in Sderot and related areas, who suffered trauma, disrupted lives, etc. The answer was that the rocket attacks didn’t make good TV pictures. So this story was neglected.
Additionally, Palestinians are experts at manipulating pictures. Either through computer doctoring or on the scene. (Seaman alluded to the possibility, as example, of dead bodies dragged out of a building that the IDF presumably killed, when in fact it’s not clear where these dead came from or even — this is not an exaggeration — if they were returning bodies via the back door and bringing them out the front door a second time.)
Seaman says that fraud should be addressed vigorously by Israel via existing criminal laws. Editors should know that if they knowingly let through a picture that has been manufactured, there will be consequences. This will motivate them to be more careful and check their sources.
Journalists on the scene in Gaza didn’t know what they were looking at. Had no background. Some asked where the terrorists were, because all they saw were “civilians.” Had no perception of civilians who were also Hamas. When a briefing was held for journalists during the war, to provide some background, out of 1,200 foreign journalists in Israel, 35 came.
Legal issues that are being raised have come to attention first because of the media reports — legal experts weren’t on the scene. And the vast majority of journalists don’t check with us to get our side.
Also on this panel there was a powerful presentation by Maj.-General (res) Yossi Peled, former head of the Northern Command of the IDF and now a candidate on the Likud list (#15).
Peled spoke of his great pride in the morality of the Jewish state.
“The Jewish state,” he said, “is a one-time gift and we have no moral right to risk it.”
Israel should never be taken for granted. As a child Holocaust survivor he knows this well. Other nations, he says, can lose wars and keep going. But not Israel. One defeat would destroy us. Only us.
This, my friends, is where Never Again! comes in. We will not be defeated.
Peled says the order of obligations of the IDF is to defend the citizens of the state, protect, the lives of the soldiers, and avoid injury to enemy civilians. He is deeply pained for the death of children in Gaza, but he knows we were not responsible and that we behaved properly.
Legal issues were addressed by Colonel (res) Danny Reisner, former Director of the International Dept. of the IDF Prosecution Office. Once, he said there were two elements to a war: political and military. But now there are legal and media aspects as well and issues of “war crimes” are raised.
There is, he explained, no requirement of “proportionality” in number of dead on our side and theirs. The only thing to be examined is how many were killed in a specific attack and for what goal.
International law allows firing on a mosque or school if there are weapons stored inside or if our soldiers were being fired upon from these buildings.
The Palestinians would like to take us to the Hague with regard to “war crimes,” but the international court there has no jurisdiction. The only door to the Hague would be via the UN.
What might happen, however, is that certain countries would allow Palestinians to charge us in their courts even though they had no involvement in the war. Preparations are being made for this possibility.
(Point of interest: international law allows Nazis anywhere to be tried in an Israeli court. Similarly, anyone attacking a Jew anywhere can be tried in an Israeli court.)
I asked the Colonel about whether international law applies to terrorists groups who are not signatory to international conventions, and he says this is Israel’s position, but the terrorist groups’ defense is that it does not.
Tomorrow I will talk a bit about what Binyamin Netanyahu said in his talk regarding a commitment to keep Jerusalem united.
And I will examine some very exciting thoughts from some very serious people regarding the “clash of civilizations” and what we’re now seeing.
I wasn’t going to write about any current news in this posting, but this seems so relevant to what is discussed above that I will include it:
Yesterday Mahmoud Abbas, the maybe president of the PA, in anticipation of Mitchell’s arrival today, declared himself ready to back international efforts to prosecute Israel for war crimes: “We will do all we can to prove Israel committed crimes that would make your skin crawl We want the world to give us justice for once.
“Israel does not want peace, otherwise it would not have done this. We need to understand this and tell it to those coming from Europe and America.”
My first response (and forgive my lack of professionalism here) is that he is scum. But this is not new. He is playing both ends against the middle, now working the Hamas side so that they’ll feel he’s with them, although he would gladly return to being our “peace partner (perish the thought) if he imagined this would serve him better.
He’s also playing the “victim” card. He wants the world to “give us justice for once,” indicating that $1.3 BILLION given to him by the world last year was insufficient.
And he’s playing — mark this well! — to what he imagines will be a more sympathetic ear from Mitchell.