On Thursday night, after 10 days of aerial warfare between Hamas terrorists and Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved a ground incursion into Gaza. It was a move that much of the public, many members of the political echelon and the thousands of reservists who had been called up eight days earlier, felt was long overdue.

This sense of urgency was not merely due to the incessant mortar, rocket, missile and drone strikes that have been sending Israelis across the country into bomb shelters and safe rooms for the last week and a half, often several times a day. More importantly, it was the result of well more than a decade of rocket fire on southern Israel, and two “operations” in Gaza — Cast Lead in 2008-2009 and Pillar of Defense in 2012 — that ended with international condemnation of Israel for the “disproportionate use of force” and a reinvigorated Hamas, left alone with multi-millions of euros and dollars, as well as Iranian backing, to rebuild its arsenal and infrastructure.

The sequence of events that culminated in the current war foretold its inevitability; so much so, in fact, that even the media was going easy on Netanyahu. Ironically, this had a demoralizing effect on those of us who deemed a ground invasion necessary. We skeptics assumed that, once again, the government was going to agree to a brokered, one-sided cease-fire without destroying Hamas’ military capabilities.

After all, we knew for certain that the Israel Defense Forces would never be commanded to carpet bomb Gaza from the air. We pride ourselves on the morality of our army, which takes every precaution to prevent the death of civilians, going so far as to warn them to evacuate areas we are targeting, and aborting airstrikes when civilians are spotted in those areas.

Because of this, when rumors that the infantry was given the order to enter Gaza were confirmed, I was among many Israelis who heaved a huge sigh of relief. I even apologized to Netanyahu under my breath and on Facebook for having doubted the skillful manner in which he was handling Operation Protective Edge.

I simultaneously began to panic.


Have you heard the saying “working twice as hard to be half as good?”

This is precisely the dilemma Israel finds itself in all too often. Currently Israel is again embroiled in an unwanted battle of self-defense against Hamas, an enemy obsessed with its destruction.

It seems a distant memory that in an effort to appease the demands being made upon it by world leaders, Israel made a gut-wrenching decision in 2005 to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip, after a 38-year presence.

Communities were left intact, which included useful structures such as greenhouses. Yet as if to drill their hatred into the hearts of Israelis, the Palestinian’s destroyed virtually every structure once Israel vacated Gaza.

Thus Israel’s olive branch for peace backfired. Bad went to worse in 2006 when the Palestinians democratically voted the terrorist group Hamas into power. Subsequent to this, Hamas consolidated their control by violently purging Fatah from representation in the government.

Since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal, Hamas has been actively expressing its appreciation by launching no less than 9-10,000 rockets [not including the current conflict] intended to kill civilians at Israeli cities and towns. This is an average of 1,100 each year.

Should any country have to put up with this?

In 2008 Israel decided it had tolerated enough of its civilians being under attack. In late December it launched Operation Cast Lead and went after the terrorists.

Prior to the offensive, thousands of phone calls were made to various agencies and individuals inside Gaza informing them of the impending operation. Helicopters dropped millions of leaflets, and announcements were made on TV inside Gaza. All of this was done specifically to reduce civilian casualties. What military in human history has made such an effort to reduce civilian casualties?

However, as if to ensure there would be civilian casualties, Hamas placed their rocket launching infrastructure in schools, hospitals, mosques and apartment buildings. Their strategy worked. Despite unprecedented efforts to avoid civilian deaths, Israel took resounding criticism from the media and world leaders. They were accused of using “disproportionate force” in Gaza.

Where were the voices speaking out when Israeli civilians were under relentless rocket attacks? Israel’s right to defend itself against blatant terrorism was largely ignored by the international community.


“Politics is not about the pursuit of power as an end in itself. Those who seek power for the sake of power will always fail. Politics is about seeking power though democratic means in order to take power away from the elites, whether bureaucratic or corporate, and return power to the people.”

Polite applause is the convention in Canberra when a newly minted parliamentarian rises to speak for the first time. Truth be told, good manners are essential at those moments because most maiden speeches are nothing special. Queensland Senator James McGrath (left), who delivered his maiden speech on July 16, is the exception. Below, the text of that address — republished in full because, while some of his allegedly conservative colleagues shrink from repealing Section 18C or live in fear that a wind-power lobbyist might speak ill of them, it is good to know that at least one member of the political class remains wedded to the belief that principle must always trump politics:

Freedom and liberty, 100 years ago this month, were under threat as the gods of war awoke. Armies of empires stretching back before the Middle Ages were slowly moving to Armageddon—a world war with deaths of millions, the end of four royal houses and the beginning of wicked new orders of communist and fascist cruelty. This war ended realms of geography but brought in dominions of political terror imprisoning generations under dictatorship, ending hope, freedom and liberty for many until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Indeed, the war that began in 1914 with the invasion of Belgium was the second ‘Hundred Years War’, the war against tyranny, continuing from the Armistice, pausing in 1989, and resuming in 2001 in New York.

The ‘Hundred Years War against Tyranny’ continues today on three fronts: first of all Islamist fundamentalism intent on caliphates destroying Western civilisation, especially religious freedom; secondly, democratic governments restricting freedom of speech and association, betraying hundreds of years of liberty; and, finally, leftists delegitimising all views other than their own, especially in media and education.

Freedom and liberty are not abstract concepts. You either have freedom or you are not free. Whether I serve here for 16 days or 16 years, I shall always judge myself on how I have battled against tyranny and fought for the axis of enlightenment—that is, liberty of the individual, a free market, small government and low taxes. I will let others badge and brand and box me, as, in my great broad church that is the Liberal Party, my pew is a moveable feast. I have campaigned against dictator-loving Islamist fundamentalists in the Maldives; Sinn Fein- and PLO-supporting Labour candidates in London; and godless rebranded communists in Mongolia—not to mention the Queensland branch of the Australian Labor Party!

My life has not been about the pursuit or gain of power but to confiscate power back from government to free people. My story is not special or unique. I come from the great blancmange that is the Australian middle class. Families are modest and shy. They are joiners and doers, workers and strivers, not shirkers. Our homes are not big and flash, and cars often second-hand. The biggest investment is never super, bricks or shares, but education. My mob are farmers, saddlers, soldiers, gardeners, small business owners, nurses, teachers, doctors and, shamefully, the odd lawyer. One side is stridently Labor and unionist, the other cheerfully Liberal National and Tory.

The first McGrath was a convict, rightly punished by a sensible judge and sent down to Australia. Family folklore has it was for stealing a sheep. On my mother’s side are the Schneiders and Doughertys. The first to arrive was German, illegitimate, with barely a word of English. He moved to western Queensland in the 1870s. His son, my great-grandfather, patented the Schneider saddle, and his store stood on George Street in Brisbane until the 1970s. Schneiders would become guests of the emperor, caught in the fall of Singapore, on the way to fight the Nazis.

Like many, my journey started young. I worked on my first Liberal campaign in the 1989 Queensland state election. I started the Capitalist Club at Toowoomba State High School a year later. When 17, continuing my quest to become the most popular kid at school, I led the campaign to save the school principal when the new Queensland Labor government engaged in some restructuring. Our school community was the only one to actively campaign for their principal’s retention. Our school community was the only one whose principal was eventually made redundant. I learned early on that you can be right in life but still lose in politics.


What happens if global temperatures actually decline — a possibility that must be considered, given the lack of solar activity and the mercury’s refusal to rise as the warmists’ atrociously inaccurate predictions insisted? The short answer: big trouble for Beijing and everyone else

After World War Two, Japanese living in other parts of Asia were repatriated to their homeland and the country’s population jumped from 72 million to 78 million, straining resources during the post-war reconstruction. Japan enthusiastically adopted family planning as a result and a population crisis was averted. The country’s population kept growing though, to a peak of 128 million in 2011. Later this century it might shrink to 70 million which is the level the country can support from its own agriculture. In the meantime, the Japanese Government tries to keep the jobless rate low with make-work schemes that mostly involve concreting the countryside, with 6% of GDP currently devoted to that task.

Across the East China Sea, China’s population kept rising fast through the 1950s, up to Great Leap Forward, which killed 30 million to 45 million. To head off the population increase, the one-child policy was first suggested by Professor Ma Yinchu, President of Peking University, in 1957. Mao didn’t like the idea because he thought that history belonged to “the big battalions”. Professor Ma was dismissed from public office and not rehabilitated until 1979. Despite the one-child policy then enacted, China’s population grew from 975 million in 1979 to the current 1,364 billion. Sheer demographic momentum is expected to take it to a peak 100 million higher around 2030.

China is one of the few countries taking food security seriously. Official policy is that the grain necessary to keep China’s population fed should be grown within its borders. Beijing maintains a grain reserve of 200 million to 300 million tonnes, although its exact size is a state secret. Though meat is considered to be an indulgence, a strategic reserve of frozen pork and live animals is maintained. China’s economic expansion of the last 15 years has allowed a big expansion in pork production, based on imported soybeans. As this graph shows, the Middle Kingdom has turned into a giant vacuum cleaner for the world’s soybeans:


China now imports a third of world soybean production. Processed through pigs, these imports provide 20% of the nation’s minimum protein requirement. China has taken other steps to improve its food security, including leasing 5% of the Ukraine. Efforts at securing food production in Africa and South America have been less successful due to culture clashes with the locals.

What Would Cause President Obama to Cancel a Fundraiser? By Myra Adams

What “tragedy” would be horrific enough for President Obama to cancel his usual schedule of speeches, lunches and fundraisers?

A commercial airliner shot down over Ukraine with Americans aboard? No.

How about a terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11, killing our ambassador and three others? No.

Perhaps news that Israel has begun a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip? No way.

Obviously our president believes that any change to his schedule is a sign of weakness (and God forbid our commander in chief appear weak).

So today, despite the breaking news of possible Russian involvement with the missile attack against a Malaysian Airlines airliner carrying 295 passengers, crew and over 20 Americans, President Obama forged ahead with his previously planned infrastructure speech in Delaware. (But first he paused for a few seconds to say, “looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.” ) Then he proceeded as normal, including some lighthearted remarks.

Afterwards, he grabbed a burger and fries (“I’m starving” he was quoted as saying), and tonight he will attend a few fundraisers in New York. Just a typical day in the life of our 44th president. Obama is aiding world tranquility after all!

Therefore, my question is what kinds of national or international “tragedies” would cause President Obama to cancel his fundraisers, partisan speeches and visits to burger joints?

Here is my list of the top five:

1. News that Beyonce and Jay Z are divorcing.

2. His favorite golf course was attacked by al-Qaeda.

3. Lebron James unexpectedly retired.

4. Air Force One was hijacked by the Tea Party.

5. A tsunami destroyed his August vacation compound on Martha’s Vineyard.

Now it’s your turn to add a few of your own…..


The collapse of a ceasefire plan for Israel and Hamas would be a moment to test the Jewish state’s super-weapon — Caroline Glick. Or, more precisely, her idea of a one-state plan for peace in the Middle East.

Glick laid out the plan in a book called “The Israeli Solution.” Her idea, which I wrote about in March, is to absorb into a single state — Israel — all of the West Bank and the Arab and Jewish populations who live there.

It’s as controversial as an idea can get. She leaves aside Gaza, where there is no Israeli presence and which is ruled by Hamas. Yet her plan for the West Bank fairly begs to be put on the table after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s press conference Friday.

Jeffrey Goldberg, one of the Mideast beat’s savviest columnists, characterized Netanyahu as abandoning his own support for a two-state solution.

It’s not, Goldberg reports, that Netanyahu “renounced his rhetorical support for a two-state solution. He simply described such a [Palestinian] state as an impossibility.”

In this sense, the premier is catching up to Glick. She counted more than a dozen two-state schemes over the past century (including nine that America got behind). All have been foiled by Palestinian Arab rejectionists.

So what — apart from endless war — might be possible? What Glick proposes goes back to the original aspiration of Zionism’s founder, Theodor Herzl, for Arab and Jewish amity in a Jewish state with a Jewish majority.

Glick’s critics see her plan as a recipe for a bi-national state, that is, an end to Zionism.

Netanyahu, in an interview with Goldberg earlier this year, called opposition to a bi-national state “the first point of consensus in Israel.”

The fear is that Arabs would soon outnumber Jews in the new, larger state — inevitably ending Israel as a Jewish state.

The One-State Solution By Stephen Green

Israel annexing the West Bank in its entirety — it’s the kind of thing you’re not supposed to say out loud in polite company. And yet today we have two columnists saying that’s exactly what might happen. Let’s start with Seth Lipsky in today’s New York Post:

The collapse of a ceasefire plan for Israel and Hamas would be a moment to test the Jewish state’s super-weapon — Caroline Glick. Or, more precisely, her idea of a one-state plan for peace in the Middle East.

Glick laid out the plan in a book called “The Israeli Solution.” Her idea, which I wrote about in March, is to absorb into a single state — Israel — all of the West Bank and the Arab and Jewish populations who live there.

It’s as controversial as an idea can get. She leaves aside Gaza, where there is no Israeli presence and which is ruled by Hamas. Yet her plan for the West Bank fairly begs to be put on the table after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s press conference Friday.

And then at Tablet, we have fellow PJM columnist David “Spengler” Goldman:

A one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is upon us. It won’t arrive by Naftali Bennett’s proposal to annex the West Bank’s Area C, or through the efforts of BDS campaigners and Jewish Voice for Peace to alter the Jewish state. But it will happen, sooner rather than later, as the states on Israel’s borders disintegrate and other regional players annex whatever they can. As that happens, Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria is becoming inevitable.

The central premise of Western diplomacy in the region has been pulled inside-out, namely that a resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue was the key to long-term stability in the Middle East. Now the whole of the surrounding region has become one big refugee crisis. Yet the seemingly spontaneous emergence of irregular armies like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now rampaging through northern Mesopotamia should be no surprise. The misnamed Arab Spring of 2011 began with an incipient food crisis in Egypt and a water crisis in Syria. Subsidies from the Gulf States keep Egypt on life support. In Syria and Iraq, though, displaced populations become foraging armies that loot available resources, particularly oil, and divert the proceeds into armaments that allow the irregulars to keep foraging. ISIS is selling $800 million a year of Syrian oil to Turkey, according to one estimate, as well as selling electricity from captured power plants back to the Assad government. On June 11 it seized the Bajii power plant oil refinery in northern Iraq, the country’s largest.


In the many press briefings that have rolled out of the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, one of the most bizarre formulations involves hopes of a deal providing assurance that — as senior officials like to put it — “the Iranian nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.”

You might suppose that this is a trademark phrase of Iranian senior officials, dangling oxymorons like bait in front of desperate western diplomats. But no. That quote is from the U.S. secretary of State, John Kerry, at a press availability in Vienna, on Tuesday. Kerry had just finished attending a special even-higher than high-level round of Iran nuclear talks in the Austrian capital — where the nuclear haggling has been a full-time industry in the run-up to the Sunday, July 20 deadline for a deal (a “deadline” that may be extended into next year). In his brief remarks to the press [1], Kerry managed to work in four variations on this vision of an “exclusively peaceful” Iranian nuclear program, excerpted here (boldface, mine):

President Obama has made it a top priority to pursue a diplomatic effort to see if we can reach an agreement that assures that the Iranian nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

Over the past few days, I have had lengthy conversations with Foreign Minister Zarif about what Iran is willing to do and what it needs to do to not only assure the community of nations, but to adhere to what the foreign minister himself has said repeatedly are Iran’s own limited objectives: not just to declare that they will not obtain a nuclear weapon, but to demonstrate in the actions they take beyond any reasonable doubt that any Iranian nuclear program, now and going forward, is exclusively for peaceful purposes.


Playing pool in Colorado rather than visiting the Texas border is not very presidential.
With less than four months to go until Election Day, Democrats increasingly have no confidence in the Obama White House’s political instincts. As a result, more and more Democratic candidates are avoiding the president when he comes to their neighborhood. Senator Mark Udall famously avoided showing up with Obama at a fundraiser in the senator’s honor in Colorado last week. John Foust, the Democratic congressional candidate in a suburban Virginia district just outside Washington, D.C., snubbed the president this week by failing to show up for a presidential event in his area.

Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas was flabbergasted by Obama’s petulant refusal to visit the Texas border last week, calling him “aloof” and “detached” and his decision “bizarre.”

The Virginia Progress PAC, a Democratic committee supporting Senator Mark Warner, issued a list of talking points for potential donors that laid out the challenge the Obama albatross represents for Democrats this fall: “The 2014 midterm elections are shaping up to be similar to the wave elections of 1994 and 2010, particularly with an unpopular President and an unpopular piece of major legislation that will serve as a referendum on the sitting President. . . . A difficult political climate coupled with the rising unpopularity of President Obama could affect the Democratic brand as a whole and hurt Senator Warner.”

Bob Beckel, a former Democratic campaign consultant, said on Fox News this week that he spoke with a Democrat “intimately involved in [Obama’s] campaigns, both of them.” The message was sobering: “He said you have to know what it’s like to get through [presidential counselor] Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama, and I think that’s a tough deal for anybody on a staff to do. . . . [Obama] lives in a zone that nobody else goes to.”

Indeed, Democrats are becoming increasingly vocal about their concern that their president is isolated and not connecting with the political reality around him. “The Democratic party is like a wedding party with the common goal of getting to the ceremony on time,” a former Democratic congressman told me. “There is a caravan of cars, but the lead car is driven by a guy who is weaving in and out of traffic and is dangerous to the other cars behind him. Do you follow the guy you agreed to follow, or do you make your own way to the wedding? More and more people are leaving the caravan.”

All of Washington is talking about our detached president — one who would go to two fundraisers in New York last night after a plane carrying 23 Americans was shot down over Ukraine. In 2012, Obama famously flew off to fundraisers in Las Vegas the day after the Benghazi attack killed our ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.


The news:
“Israeli tanks followed by soldiers rolled into the Gaza Strip after 10 days of aerial bombardment as Israel began an open-ended operation in Palestinian territory vowing to establish a new “reality” with militant group Hamas. The operation began at about 10 p.m. local time Thursday and by Friday morning one Israeli soldier and 14 Palestinian militants were dead, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Gaza officials said that the death toll for the conflict rose to 260 dead, with nearly 2,000 injured, figures they say includes high numbers of civilians.”

These sentences are excerpts from Menachem Begin’s address on Israel’s Independence Day in 1948:

“Citizens of the Hebrew State, soldiers of Israel, we are in the midst of battles. Much blood will be spilled. Fortify yourselves. Strengthen your morale. There is no other way. We cannot buy peace from our enemies with appeasement. There is only one kind of ‘peace’ that can be bought — the peace of the graveyard, the peace of Treblinka.

Be brave of spirit and ready for more trials. We shall withstand them. And you, brothers of the fighting family, do you remember how we started? You were alone and persecuted, rejected, despised and numbered with transgressors. But you fought on with deep faith and did not retreat. You were driven to the gallows but went forth with a song. But for the time-being, let us think of the battle, for only the outcome of the battle will decide our fate and future.

We shall be accompanied by the spirit of those who revived our nation, Zeev Benjamin Herzl, Max Nordau, Joseph Trumpeldor and the father of resurrected Hebrew heroism, Zeev Jabotinsky. We shall be accompanied by the spirit of David Raziel, greatest of the Hebrew commanders of our day; and by Dov Gruner, one of the greatest of Hebrew soldiers. And in this battle, we shall break the enemy and bring salvation to our people, tried in the furnace of persecution, thirsting only for freedom, for righteousness and for justice.

God, Lord of Israel, protect your soldiers… Grant blessing to their sword…..On to battle. Forward to victory. “