The prime assassination suspect, Syria, will respond to the UN move by stepping up support for Palestinian Islamists battling the Lebanese army and for Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which (a) aims to control Lebanon, and (b) is preparing for war with Israel. With Syrian help, Iran has rearmed its Shiite proxy; and the stage is set for a new round of rocket assaults against the Jewish state.
Hezbollah has tens of thousands rockets ready to go, while, in the south, Syrian-Iranian Palestinian ally, Hamas, has also achieved unprecedented levels of armament and is actively preparing for full-blown war.
Contrary to Israeli and American expectations, Syria will not sit out the conflict; rather, it will seize the opportunity to divert attention from its role in the Hariri killing–which was personally approved by Syria’s dictator, Bashar Assad–by making every effort possible to defeat Israel and erase the stain of perceived humiliation dating 40 years to the Six-Day War of June 1967, which resulted in Syria’s loss of the strategic Golan Heights to Israel.
Assad’s father, Hafez, tried and failed to liberate Golan in the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, although he did succeed in regaining some lost territory in susbequent, American-sponsored peace talks. His son, who has been in power since 2000, feels conditions are ripe for victory. Threatened by a rising Islamist movement (which his father managed to crush), the present despot of Damascus has decided to roll the dice with Tehran’s turbaned tyrants. The Baathist buzz in the Syrian capital is that the once-ridiculed Bashar could ironically emerge as the Arab world’s next hero in its decades-old struggle against the “Zionist entity.”
Ahead of all-out war, Assad will escalate tensions by stirring the terrorist pot in Lebanon–and on Israel’s borders.
Hariri’s assassination was the latest in a long line of Syrian-sponsored political killings in Lebanon. The billionaire politician and 22 others were killed in a massive car bomb in the capital, Beirut, on 14 February 2005.
An interim UN investigation found Hariri’s killing was “probably” politically motivated and has implicated Syria, which has naturally denied any involvement in his death.
The killing recalled Syria’s Soviet-supported assassination of Lebanese president-elect Bachir Gemayel in September 1982. The charismatic, beloved Maronite Christian leader–who was the son of the Phalangist party founder and leader Pierre Gemayel–was murdered nine days before he was due to take office, along with 25 others, in an explosion at party headquarters in the Maronite stronghold of Achrafieh.
Five years ealrier, in March of 1977, Lebanon’s Druze leader, Kamal Jumblat, was assassinated by the pro-Syrian faction of the Lebanese Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party. Syrian intelligence officers collaborated in the killing. Jumblat was shot and killed in his car by four gunmen a few meters from a Syrian check point.
Jumblat’s son, Walid, who has succeeded his father as Druze leader, has also been threatened by Syria. An unsuccessful attempt on the life of a political ally was widely regarded as a Syrian signal.
An anti-Israeli rally in Iran – increasing numbers of the British left are joining them in their hat
Thursday May 31,2007
ANTI-RACISM is supposed to be one of the guiding principles of our society, preventing discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin or nationality.
Yet it is a bizarre paradox of modern Britain that there is now a climate of increasing hostility towards Jews, particularly in those Left-wing intellectual circles which otherwise make a fetish of their concern for racial sensitivities.
Dressed up as criticism of the state of Israel, anti-Semitism is becoming not just tolerated but even fashionable in some of our civic institutions, including the universities and parts of the media.
Thanks to the Left’s neurotic hatred of Israel, we now have the extraordinary sight of self-styled liberal campaigners launching McCarthyite witch-hunts against anyone deemed to have Israeli connections, as in this week’s debate at the University and College Union’s annual conference at Bournemouth calling for a boycott of all Israeli academic institutions.
It has led to a rise in anti-Semitism in Britain.
Respect for democracy, individual rights and freedom of speech are being crushed beneath the juggernaut of shrill indignation.
What is particularly disturbing is the way opposition to the Jewish state descends into vicious antagonism against Jews themselves, as shown by this sickening recent outburst from writer Pamela Hardyment, a member of the National Union of Journalists, which in April voted to boycott Israeli goods.
Explaining her support for the NUJ’s stance, Ms Hardyment described Israel as “a wonderful Nazi-like killing machine backed by the world’s richest Jews”.
Then, like some lunatic from the far-Right, she referred to the “so-called Holocaust” before concluding: “Shame on all Jews, may your lives be cursed.”
Such words could have come straight from Hitler or the most fervent supporter of Osama Bin Laden.
But Ms Hardyment is hardly unique.
This sort of seething resentment can be found throughout the Left, whether in demands that Israel be treated as a pariah state or in connivance at anti-Semitic propaganda. Typical of this approach was the opinion of Ulster poet and darling of the BBC Tom Paulin, who once argued that “Jewish settlers in Israel should be shot dead. They are Nazis, racists. I feel nothing but hatred for them.”
Yet Paulin would no doubt be outraged if some English extremist uttered the same sentiments about radical Muslims settling in Britain.
One of the most nauseating rhetorical devices used by hysterical campaigners such as Paulin and Hardyment is to draw an analogy between the Nazi regime and the modern government of Israel.
Such a link is not only historically absurd, since Israel is by far the most democratic and liberal country in the Middle East, but it is also offensive because it demonises the Jews and devalues the horror of the Holocaust.
The pretence that Israel’s actions in its own defence against Islamic terrorists are somehow the equivalent of Nazi Germany’s gas chambers is a lie worthy of Dr Goebbels himself. And the tragedy is that this continual assault on Israel has led to a rise in anti-Semitism in Britain, much of it fuelled by Islamic radicals.
In 2006 there were 594 anti-Semitic race-hate incidents in this country, a 31 per cent rise on 2005 and the highest total since records began in 1984.
I should perhaps stress that I do not come from a Jewish family. Like Tom Paulin, I hail from the Belfast middle-class. But I have been repelled by the anti-Semitism – disguised as support for the Palestinians – of parts of the British Left.
I first became aware of this nasty phenomenon when, in 1985, I attended the annual conference of the National Union
of Students at Blackpool. There I was appalled to hear delegates calling for a ban on student Jewish societies, on the grounds that because such groups supported the state of Israel they were essentially fascistic in nature.
Yet, more than 20 years later, this sort of intolerance is no longer confined to the student debating floor. It now exists in large swathes of education, the press and the arts.
The boycott of Israel by academics was started by Professor Stephen Rose of the Open University, like Paulin another BBC favourite, who told his colleagues that “you have no right to treat Israel as if it were a normal state”.
The boycott is now so widespread that, in one grotesque incident, an Israeli PhD student had his application for Oxford initially rejected purely because he had served in his country’s army.
The professor dealing with the case, Andrew Wilkie, said he had “a huge problem with Israelis taking the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust and then inflicting gross human rights abuses on Palestinians”.
Professor Wilkie would not have dreamt of turning down a Zimbabwean because of Mugabe’s tyranny, or a Chinese applicant because of his own opposition to the occupation of Tibet.
This is what is so contemptible about the intellectuals’ fixation with Israel.
They are guilty of the most bizarre double standards.
While they scream about the Jewish state, they remain silent about human rights abuses carried out by brutal regimes across the world.
And it is ironic that, on the day the lecturers debated a boycott of Israel, they also voted to refuse to co-operate with any attempt to crack down on radical Islam on campuses, claiming such a move would be an infringement of free speech.
Given some of the lecturers’ enthusiasm for silencing Israeli opinion such a position is laughable in its hypocrisy.
United by anti-Semitism, the bigots of the academic Left and Muslim fundamentalism are destroying freedom of thought in this country.
In his second decade of leadership, Khamenei is living in fear of just such a velvet revolution. Whereas his cultural invasion fears envisioned liberal, democratic values potentially subverting the cultural foundations of the Islamic Revolution, his current worries center on the notion that the revolution’s enemies could recruit people through nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated to humanitarian, child welfare, trade union, environmental, and antidrug issues. Accordingly, any social or cultural activity outside the regime’s supervision is subject to suspicion, especially in the wake of the “color” revolutions that led to the replacement of leaders in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan — countries close to Iran’s borders.
Several foreign scholars, including at least one affiliated with George Soros, have been recently arrested in Iran.
The Iranian regime arose from a mass revolution and has always claimed that it represents the Iranian people. But its actions show how afraid it is of the people. In the regime’s view, most Iranians could potentially act against it, whether by going unveiled, watching foreign satellite television stations, or following Western dress fashions. Consequently, control over every aspect of personal life — the hallmark of totalitarianism — becomes necessary to preserve the legitimacy and authority of the Shiite jurists. According to Iranian police officials, more than 150,000 women were arrested in Tehran just last month for “bad veils.” Many photos and films showing police beating women have been published on websites. Young men are also being targeted; last month, the regime sent instructions to barbershops regarding banned hairstyles.
The international community has limited leverage with which to respond to the Islamic Republic’s violation of human rights accords that Iran has signed in the past. More can be done, however, to broaden and extend international condemnation of Iran’s human rights record. It was discouraging that, in March, the UN Human Rights Council decided to drop its examination of violations in Iran.
Instead of relying on the corrupt United Nations, the US must work with the newly-elected French leadership and Frau Merkel of Germany, and incoming PM Browne in the UK to enforce tough economic sanctions against Iran, while broadcasting to the Iranian people that they can quickly rejoin the community of nations by bringing down the mullahs.
Iran’s ally Hugo Chavez is tottering, with mass demonstrations increasing day by day. History shows that revolutions can be contagious.
Hat tip: Richard Baehr