DAVID SOLWAY: NO ALTERNATIVE FOR ISRAEL

There has been considerable controversy among observers and commentators sympathetic to Israel in its latest round of hostilities with the terrorist belligerents of Hamas, the Gazan wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. One school of thought, whose tenets I share, advocates the total destruction of the terrorist infrastructure, thus eliminating the depressing spectre of sporadic and then continuing outbursts of rocket attacks, followed with metronomic regularity by the inevitable armed conflict and faux hudna every couple of years.

It is clear that Hamas will not relent in its purpose of terrorizing Israel’s civilian population and ultimately, as per its charter, of annihilating the Jewish State root and branch. The perpetuation of this status quo is not only tedious and wearily predictable, but finally unsustainable, for no responsible nation can permit its citizens to spend a portion of their lives hunkering down in bomb shelters.

An alternative thesis — or interpretation of Israel’s best interests — has been gaining momentum of late, and indeed appears to have superseded and eclipsed the more “hawkish” perspective. It seems to have become the prevalent meme governing current thinking on the Israeli dilemma, namely, that in destroying a known entity like Hamas, one creates a vacuum into which far more lethal and barbarous groups can step in and pick up where their predecessor left off—only to greater noxious effect. According to this line of thought, having to deal with even more pathological cadres like Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Al-Quds Brigade, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ansar Al Sunnah, and possibly ISIS as well, would result in a collective feeling of nostalgia for the good old days when Hamas would be allowed to declare victory after being pummeled into semi-oblivion.

Thus, as National Post columnist Michael Higgins writes [1], “One of the biggest dangers Israel faces as it cracks down [on Hamas] is that it could be too successful.” Similarly, former chief of staff at Israel’s Ministry of Defense Michael Herzog argues [2] that Hamas at least “provides an address — you don’t have that with the Jihadi factions.” The belief that Israel should pull its punches, deliver a resounding though tolerable spanking to a mischievous and impertinent Hamas, and then let it live to kill, mutilate, and terrorize another day — business as usual — may to some seem realistic in the boiling cauldron that is the Middle East. The trouble is that political realism often founders on the reefs of actual reality. Such adiabatic thinking would be merely quaint or pixilated were it not potentially calamitous.

When one reflects that Hamas has not only fired missiles at Israeli population centers but has deliberately targeted the Dimona nuclear site in the Negev, we are experiencing what is called a “game changer,” rendering all presumably rational temporizing null and void. Hamas is not trying to prevent or preempt an Israeli nuclear strike, which it knows is not going to happen; it is, rather, hoping to create mass civilian casualties via the diffusion of nuclear waste materials. A red line has been crossed — and it is not an Obama red line the world has learned to safely disregard. In the words of Michael Snyder, editor of The Economic Collapse Blog (ECB), “The fact that Hamas is attempting to create a nuclear holocaust is

DENNIS PRAGER: ISRAEL IN A MORALLY SICK WORLD

The absence of basic freedoms among Israel’s enemies means nothing to the Europeans.

Let’s drop the names “Hamas” and “Israel” and make a list of the characteristics of two imaginary warring entities. We’ll call them Entity A and Entity B.

Entity A
Declares that its raison d’être is to annihilate Entity B.

Sends missiles to explode in the most populated parts of Entity B in order to kill as many civilians there as possible.

Uses families and individual civilians as human shields to protect its own leaders from attack.

Tortures and kills domestic political opponents.

Has no political or religious freedom and has no freedom of speech, press, or assembly, and no independent judiciary.

Is a theocracy.

Violently oppresses gays.

Saturates its education and airwaves with a demonic hatred of Entity B.

Rated a 6 by Freedom House in its 2014 report on freedom in the world. Seven is the worst possible rating. Entity A ranks 6 in freedom, 6 in civil liberties, and 6 in political rights.

BARRY GOLDWATER IN 1964- SEE NOTE PLEASE

Barry Goldwater paved the way for a conservative renewal that culminate in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980…..rsk
A Party for Free Men Barry Goldwater’s message for the Republican party in 1964 rings true today.
By Senator Barry Goldwater

Editor’s Note: This is the text of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Republican National Convention acceptance speech. The 50th anniversary of the convention was yesterday.

To my good friend and great Republican, Dick Nixon, and your charming wife, Pat; my running mate and that wonderful Republican who has served us well for so long, Bill Miller, and his wife, Stephanie; to Thurston Morton, who has done such a commendable job in chairmaning this convention; to Mr. Herbert Hoover, who I hope is watching; and to that great American and his wife, General and Mrs. Eisenhower; to my own wife, my family, and to all of my fellow Republicans here assembled, and Americans across this great Nation.

From this moment, united and determined, we will go forward together, dedicated to the ultimate and undeniable greatness of the whole man. Together we will win.

I accept your nomination with a deep sense of humility. I accept, too, the responsibility that goes with it, and I seek your continued help and your continued guidance. My fellow Republicans, our cause is too great for any man to feel worthy of it. Our task would be too great for any man, did he not have with him the heart and the hands of this great Republican party, and I promise you tonight that every fiber of my being is consecrated to our cause; that nothing shall be lacking from the struggle that can be brought to it by enthusiasm, by devotion, and plain hard work. In this world no person, no party, can guarantee anything, but what we can do and what we shall do is to deserve victory, and victory will be ours.

The good Lord raised this mighty Republic to be a home for the brave and to flourish as the land of the free — not to stagnate in the swampland of collectivism, not to cringe before the bully of Communism.

Now, my fellow Americans, the tide has been running against freedom. Our people have followed false prophets. We must, and we shall, return to proven ways — not because they are old, but because they are true. We must, and we shall, set the tide running again in the cause of freedom. And this party, with its every action, every word, every breath, and every heartbeat, has but a single resolve, and that is freedom — freedom made orderly for this nation by our constitutional government; freedom under a government limited by laws of nature and of nature’s God; freedom balanced so that liberty lacking order will not become the slavery of the prison cell; balanced so that liberty lacking order will not become the license of the mob and of the jungle.

France’s ‘Days of Anger’ : By Ian Tuttle

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is not a problem only of the Middle East. Its hatreds migrate.

Without a doubt, Holocaust denial constitutes a special type of insanity. What, then, about Holocaust endorsement? As Jewish leaders in France tell of the rise of a “new anti-Semitism,” French Jews find themselves caught between perpetrators of both extremes: those who say the Holocaust never happened and those who are calling for another.

France boasts the largest Jewish population in Europe (about half a million), though that may not be true for long. The Jewish Agency for Israel, which coordinates migration to the Jewish state, reports that four times as many Jews left France in the first quarter of 2014 than in the same period last year. The total number of Jews who left for Israel in 2013 — 3,288 — was a 72 percent increase from 2012.

Look for those numbers to continue rising. The Washington Post noted last month that reported acts of anti-Semitic violence — 140 in the first quarter of the year — represented a 40 percent increase from the same period in 2013.

On June 23, nearly two dozen assailants beat Jewish students at a library in Paris. Two students were stabbed.

On June 19, protesters lobbed a Molotov cocktail into a demonstration in support of three Israeli teenagers kidnapped by members of Hamas, the terrorist organization that governs the Gaza Strip. The teenagers’ bodies were found later that month.

On June 10, six assailants shot a Jewish teenager with a stun gun.

On June 4, two Jewish teenagers in Paris reported being chased by four men, one of whom was wielding an axe.

In all these cases the victims were wearing yarmulkes.

Union Drama at the Metropolitan Opera By Rich Lowry

New York’s storied opera house could become the latest victim of union grubbiness.

The fat lady will sing — but only in strict keeping with the work rules set out by the American Guild of Musical Artists.

The Metropolitan Opera has a labor problem. Personnel expenses account for $200 million of the financially struggling Met’s $327 million budget.

In the interest of survival in an era more attuned to Keeping Up with the Kardashians than Le Nozze di Figaro, the Met wants to reduce its labor costs by 16 percent by getting the unions to accept commonsensical work rules and less generous pension and health benefits. The unions say no and accuse the Met of waging war on their families.

The storied but precarious institution could see its next season disrupted in the labor discord. The Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, warns that without union flexibility, the very existence of the world-famous, 130-year-old opera is at risk.

Well, if worst came to worst, at least the Met’s singers and musicians could make a go of it at the New York City Opera. No, wait, it shut its doors for the last time last year.

It doesn’t take an opera aficionado to realize that the 21st century isn’t the 19th, and opera is an embattled art form. Unfortunately, the Met is locking horns with a force, the unions, that has proven adept at helping to drive struggling industries into the ground.

A New York Times editorial recently noted that orchestra members, who on average make $200,000 a year, get 16 weeks off with pay. The American Federation of Musicians Local 802 shot back that it is really only ten weeks of guaranteed time off with pay. Touché.

Under the current rules, the base pay for chorus members, who also make on average $200,000 a year, covers four performances a week. The members get paid extra for rehearsals — even if they haven’t sung in four performances that week.

They also earn overtime for singing in any opera over four hours, which makes Richard Wagner the best thing that ever happened to a Met singer’s paycheck. His Parsifal clocks in at five hours and wasn’t performed last season, in part because of the extra labor costs.

STYMIED IN WASHINGTON OBAMA HITS THE ROAD: COLLEEN McCAIN NELSON

With his legislative agenda stalled and his approval ratings at new lows, President Barack Obama has been spending more time in recent weeks away from the White House, traveling the country and cultivating the image of a pool-shooting, beer-drinking regular guy.

Midway through his second term, a six-year itch has set in as Mr. Obama increasingly has been talking about gridlock on Capitol Hill and the confines of the White House. His advisers say the president has “cabin fever,” and that he simply wants to be able to go for a walk.

The antidote has been a series of choreographed outings—among them eating a burrito bowl at Chipotle and picking up barbecue in Austin, Texas—aimed at connecting Mr. Obama with average Americans.

The outreach comes as Mr. Obama’s hope of passing any of his major legislative initiatives has faded. Against that backdrop, field trips could serve a dual purpose: boosting Mr. Obama’s spirits and potentially his popularity.

The strategy has the potential to backfire, though. Republicans have argued that he should be focused on a set of escalating foreign challenges and on immigration issues—not on fun excursions. GOP lawmakers and even some Democrats criticized the president for traveling to Texas last week but not going to the border.

BRET STEPHENS; THE PALESTINIAN BLESSING

Israel’s enemies deliver an unwitting favor.

From time to time Israel and her supporters should give thanks for having as enemies the Palestinians and their supporters.

As of midday Monday, Hamas had fired more than 1,000 missiles at Israel, aimed more or less indiscriminately, without inflicting a single Israeli fatality. It isn’t every enemy whose ideological fanaticism, however great, is exceeded by its military and technological incompetence.

It’s true that much of the incoming fire has been shot down mid-flight by Israel’s Iron Dome, but Hamas must have seen that coming since the defense system was first deployed during the last round of fighting in 2012. It’s as if the French had concluded from the Battle of Agincourt that the English long bow wasn’t as effective as advertised and would surely fail against a more determined cavalry charge.

Alongside Hamas in Gaza there is the rump regime of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. Mr. Abbas is supposed to be a bystander in this conflict. But he made his sympathies known when, within a day or two of the fighting and with fewer than 50 Palestinian fatalities, he accused Israel of “genocide” and “war against the Palestinian people as a whole.”

“Shall we recall Auschwitz?” he added.

I sometimes wonder whether supporters of the Palestinian cause—at least those capable of intellectual, if not moral, embarrassment—cringe a little at the rhetorical flourish. Bashar Assad, in whose court Palestinian leaders bowed and scraped for a decade before the current uprising, used chemical weapons against the Palestinian refugee town of Yarmouk a year ago and then starved out the remaining residents. More than a quarter-million Palestinians living in Syria for decades have also been made refugees by Mr. Assad’s assaults.

JED BABBIN: IRRELEVANT IN WAR- KERRY AND OBAMA CAN ONLY SIT AND WATCH

Much of the reporting on the fighting between Israeli forces and those of the Hamas terrorist network describes various parts and parties as “increasingly irrelevant.” It’s a term that is generally applied well, but not widely enough. It deserves greater breadth and judgment in its application. There are those who are highly relevant, increasingly irrelevant, and entirely irrelevant. Let’s begin with the last category.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas was increasingly irrelevant to the possibilities of renewed war, but with the formation of his “reconciliation” government with Hamas terrorists, Abbas has been demoted to utter irrelevance. He has no power to speak for the Palestinians, no ability to enter into a cease-fire agreement with the Israelis. His powers are a nullity: he can make noises in the international press, which should ignore him. It would, but for the fact that the media would have to admit Abbas’s irrelevance in reaching out to interview the Hamas leaders. It is, for now, more consistent with the media narrative that Palestinians are victims and Israelis evildoers, to keep up the pretense that Abbas is still a leader of his people.

On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is entirely relevant to the conflict. Netanyahu has chosen — correctly, on moral, factual, and strategic grounds — to do as much damage to Hamas in the Gaza Strip as can be done by the highly-capable Israeli military. Netanyahu knows, as Tony Blair admonished Israel this week, that he cannot entirely stamp out Hamas because it exists as a political and ideological entity, not only a terrorist force. But he can destroy vast parts of its networks, its command structure, and its rocket arsenal.

The fact that the Israelis have used the “knock on the roof” tactic (a smoke bomb dropped on a roof to warn of imminent air attack on the building) — and have been dropping leaflets and making phone calls to individual Gazans warning of impending attacks — proves that Israel is doing everything it can to avoid civilian casualties. Hamas is reportedly forcing people back into buildings they attempt to flee, but hasn’t been able to stem the tide of people warned by leaflet drops who are crowding the roads out of the northern area of the Gaza Strip.

The Israelis will almost certainly send a large ground force into the leaflet-drop area in the next day. They will attack Hamas assets, especially rocket stockpiles and launchers, and leave when the job is done.

EDWARD CLINE: THE CUJO MEME

Gazan “journalists,” news media, and random individuals handy with cell phones are so proficient at taking pictures of the victims of Israeli “aggression” that they ought to be hired by Hollywood. At the drop of a drone, they’re there to pass off heartstring-pulling photos of dead Gazan children, who were not yet old enough to throw rocks at Israeli civilian cars, or don suicide vests, or kidnap Israeli soldiers or teenagers, or sneak into Israeli settlements to slaughter whole families with razors and butchers knives, or riot in the West Bank.
Many of the photos they send West and which are gobbled up by the news media also show weeping fathers cradling dead sons in their arms, either in the street or in a doctor’s office, or a bunch of guys carrying a flag-draped casket purportedly holding the body of a dead child, surrounded by an angry and fist-shaking weeping mob.
These on-the-spot recorders of Israeli “atrocities” are the Muslim paparazzi of pity, Islam’s ambulance-chasing ghouls. The pictures they take are either staged, filched or recycled from other theaters of Mideast conflicts, or too outrageously phony to be believed – except by Western “journalists” and news editors, such as the one of a boy leaping over the body bags of children supposedly and recently killed in the Syrian Houla massacre by bombs or rubber bands, except that the bags contain the bones of people found in a desert near Bagdad. Broadcast by the BBC in 2012, the photo dates to 2003.
The Telegraph story of May 27th, 2012, “Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows,” quoted the photographer, Marco di Lauro for Getty Images, who took the picture in 2003:
“One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front page illustration claiming that those were the bodies of yesterday’s massacre in Syria and that the picture was sent by an activist. Instead the picture was taken by me and it’s on my web site, on the feature section regarding a story I did In Iraq during the war called Iraq, the aftermath of Saddam.
“What I am really astonished by is that a news organization like the BBC doesn’t check the sources and it’s willing to publish any picture sent it by anyone: activist, citizen journalist or whatever. That’s all. ”
Well, he shouldn’t be so astonished. The BBC, which has maintained an anti-Israel grudge for a long time, wouldn’t really be concerned about the strength of any attribution. When it comes to pushing propaganda, it has never been too fastidious in checking sources. Fantasy and bias overrule facts. We want this to be evidence of Israeli brutality. The BBC isn’t the only news outlet that’s in a hurry to condemn or indict Israel or dictators its editors don’t at the moment happen to like. There is our own CPB or PBS – and MSNBC, and CNN, and ABC and CBS, and NBC itself. Anything that will help convey the idea that Muslims are always the victims of someone’s policies or Israeli cruelty.

Are We Ready For The Fundamental Transformation? By Nancy Salvato

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. – Preamble, U.S. Constitution

9/11 was a clarion call to many Americans who were shocked to find themselves brutally attacked on their own soil that beautiful September morning. Seemingly out of nowhere this offensive made no sense to the average thirty something man or woman, who might best be described as a soccer mom or weekend warrior concerned with working hard to raise a family and live out the American dream. This was a tear in the veil through which we viewed our world. Where was this coming from? All eyes focused on our president who slowly began to explain what had happened and how we would deal with this seemingly new threat to our comfortable existence.

Over the next decade and a half, many in our society awakened out of their lethargy and began to pay greater attention to world and domestic affairs. This meant that our elected leaders would face greater scrutiny in what was to become known as “New Media”. Dissatisfaction with status quo wheeling and dealing led to the “tea party” movement. This is a response to the “progressive movement” which exerts powerful influence on the republican and democratic parties, our education system, our fundamental institutions and our culture.

Today, within American society, an ideological war is being fought on three fronts: 1) between those who believe in big government (government knows best) and those who believe in limited government (less government means more freedom), 2) those who want the United States to become more isolationist vs. those who want our country to remain involved in world affairs, and 3) those who believe national sovereignty backed with capable power will protect our interests and those who believe in a world government and redistribution of wealth, power, and influence.

We are at a pivotal moment in time, not unlike the decade immediately following our independence from England. In the next decade, we could irreversibly change our political system (which many take for granted) to one in which we yield our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence) to the ascendance of a political oligarchy made up of entrenched politicians and unelected bureaucrats who are above the law. The better alternative would be to ensure that our citizenry understands the rationale behind our rule of law and the overarching importance of maintaining the integrity of the U.S. Constitution in order to preserve our position as a world power and continue to facilitate a domestic environment conducive to economic and social mobility. Only with this awareness can each generation ordain it as stated in the preamble.