Category Archives: Terrorism

“Zionazi” Meme is Vile Propaganda

The “Zionazi” trope and the accusation that Israel is committing genocide akin to the Holocaust are outright lies perpetrated by terrorists and their defenders, which should be rejected and confronted by any responsible media outlet. The falsehoods are plain from even a cursory comparison.

The contrasts between Israel’s actions in Gaza and the Holocaust are too many and too obvious to list exhaustively. Two core distinctions suffice – the scale of the casualties and the intention of the parties.

First, the Holocaust was horror at an incomprehensible scale. The Nazis killed 6,000,000 Jews alone and 11,000,000 people overall in the Holocaust. These Holocaust figures refer only to targeted non-combatants, and the aforementioned figures do not include the tens of millions of military and civilian war casualties from World War II. Depending when you consider the beginning of the Holocaust, roughly 4,000 Holocaust victims died per day.

In the almost 70 years since Arab irregulars invaded pre-state Israel, in 1947, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians in aggregate have suffered about 85,000 killed in conflicts with Israel, and Israel has suffered just under 30,000 killed. These figures include both civilian and military casualties, and include all forms of the Israeli/Arab conflict — the War of Independence, the 1956 Sinai war, the Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War, the 1980s Lebanon war, two intifadas, the 1990s terror war, the Second Lebanon War and two large-scale Gaza battles since Israel withdrew in 2005, as well as terror attacks and counter-operations.

As of this writing, around 190 Palestinians have been killed in the current, eight-day Hamas-Israel war. That’s about twenty-seven people per day – including combatants – compared to 4,000 innocents killed per day in the Holocaust. Every civilian death is terrible, but the Nazi analogy is void and inapplicable.

Second, the distinguishing and lasting horror of the Holocaust was the conscious, concerted effort to rout out and annihilate a population totally unrelated to the war. Certainly many Holocaust victims were killed ad hoc at the front. However, millions of Jews and other “undesirables” were herded into ghettos where they were left to die en masse of disease and hunger. Those who survived the ghettos or were found elsewhere were shipped by railroad cattle cars to concentration camps where they were gassed to death, worked to death, or again died of hunger, disease and exposure. Whether murdered as targets of opportunity collateral to actual battle, or in bulk far in the rear, Holocaust victims were not unintended victims of otherwise legitimate military operations.

In short, the Nazis’ intentional, systematic extermination of undesirables had no military rationale, but the extermination itself was the goal.

The differences are absolute. Hamas and Israel are at war – Hamas has fired around 1,000 rockets from Gaza at Israeli population centers in the last week and Israel has bombed military targets in Gaza. All of the casualties in Gaza have been either military personnel or unintended victims of attacks on military targets. Israel pursuing valid military aims and causing civilian casualties in the process bears no comparison to the Holocaust.

Further, there is zero evidence that Israel intends to harm civilians. Far from targeting civilians, Israel makes every possible effort to prevent civilian casualties. Israeli pilots are authorized to call of strikes in progress if civilians are present, and have done so. Even the U.N. has acknowledged that Israel warns civilians of forthcoming strikes on nearby military targets so that civilians can evacuate the danger zone. Col. Richard Kemp testified to the Israel’s historically unprecedented efforts to avoid civilian casualties in 2012.

In addition, Hamas itself contributes to Palestinian civilian casualties. Hamas maximizes the overlap between military and civilian areas by placing military bases, munitions and rocket launchers in population centers. A recent Hamas video asked Gaza residents not to post photographs of Hamas fighters firing rockets “from the middle of town.” When Israel warns of the civilian population of imminent attacks on military targets, Hamas has civilians mass and form human shields at the targeted infrastructure. Using human shields in this manner is, of course, a war crime, but Hamas hopes to either ward of Israeli strikes or inflate civilian casualties for propaganda purposes.

For Hamas and its supporters and defenders, propaganda is the key. Comparing Israel to the Nazis, and the Israeli war effort to the Holocaust evokes a powerful sense not only of good versus evil, but of the evil being even greater, even viler and crueler, as the former victim becomes the perpetrator.

But it’s a lie. Without even delving into Hamas’s terrorist nature (it is a designated terrorist organization in the U.S., Canada, the European Union, Japan, Jordan and Egypt), the origins of the current conflagration or the history of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, it is obvious from objective facts that accusations of genocide are pure falsehood.

IAEA Report Shows JPA Did Not Reduce Iran’s Breakout Time

The Joint Plan of Action (JPA) between Iran and the P5+1 in late 2013 has done nothing to delay Iran’s nuclear breakout. As discussed previously, the JPA reflects the Obama administration’s misconception that signing a deal, even a bad one, is an achievement, and Iran’s strategy of deception and delay is ongoing. The International Atomic Energy Agency has now confirmed that the JPA has not delayed Iran’s nuclear breakout at all.

Western negotiators have long focused on preventing Iran from developing a stockpile of enriched uranium. Enriching uranium means increasing its percentage of the fissile U235 isotope relative to the non-fissile U238 isotope. Naturally occurring uranium is less than 1% enriched. A nuclear weapon requires a supply of uranium enriched to around 90% (the exact enrichment required varies widely depending on weapon design). Preventing Iran from obtaining enriched uranium necessarily means preventing Iran from getting the bomb.

In theory there are other ways of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear threat. Even if Iran obtains an adequate supply of highly enriched uranium, it would also need to design and build a weapon capable of igniting a nuclear chain reaction, and a means of delivering the weapon to its target.

These two steps are far more difficult to prevent than enrichment. Iran likely either already has a viable weapon design or is close to developing one. Recent reports indicate that Iran has been working on weapon design more or less continuously since the 1980s, and nuclear weapons design is relatively available to rogue actors due to A.Q. Khan’s decades of proliferation. Iran already has a means of delivery via its and Hezbollah’s global terrorist network, so it can forego the challenging miniaturization process that has stymied North Korea since its first nuclear test in 2006. Alternatively, Iran could place a device aboard ship in the Persian Gulf and cast it off to any coastline in the world.

In addition, enrichment is by far the most public and most geographically expansive predicate for a bomb. Iran is enriching uranium with around 19,000 centrifuges arrayed in vast cascades. These enrichment facilities and their support buildings have significant, identifiable footprints. They can be seen, watched and, if need be, bombed. In contrast, weaponization and miniaturization research can be done in complete secret, as Iran has been doing for thirty years.

As a result, Iran’s available stockpile of enriched uranium has become a proxy measure for its proximity to nuclear breakout, and the tacit assumption is that once Iran reaches 90% enrichment, it can build a weapon on demand.

Yet Iran has made up whatever delays the JPA may have imposed with new technical advancements. The JPA required Iran to shut down some centrifuges, which it reportedly has done. The JPA also required Iran to refine some of its low-enriched uranium stockpile into a (relatively) unusable form, and Iran recently finished building the refinery and may begin converting its stockpile.

However, Iran was not required to stop researching or installing new centrifuges. To the contrary, the JPA explicitly allows Iran to research and install centrifuges, which it has done with impressive results. In the six months since signing the JPA, Iran has made existing centrifuges more efficient, and designed and installed next-generation centrifuges that are faster still.

Together, the improvements Iran made to its enrichment capacity — improvements allowed under the terms of the JPA — counterbalance the entire delay caused by its putative concessions.

This is yet further evidence that the JPA is an abject failure. It achieved nothing, but to convince Iran that the United States will dither until it is too late.

Iran’s Nuclear Weaponization Never Stopped

The Wall Street Journal reports that Iran has studied weaponization of nuclear material under the aegis of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) since the 1980s. Two weeks ago in this space I argued that the Joint Plan of Action, like every other Iranian concession in the last decade-plus, was a transparent stall tactic. I based that assessment in part on the motivation reflected in the effort and resources Iran has already invested in its nuclear program. The new information about Iran’s 30 years of weaponization research strengthens the point.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is the common thread among Iran’s scheme of hiding weaponization research by re-naming and re-locating facilities. Fakhrizadeh has a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering and is a senior member of the IRGC. The IRGC is the Ayatollah’s shadow security apparatus, with its own army, air force and navy, and responsibility for Iran’s missile program and international terrorist network. Fakhrizadeh’s IRGC role not only gives him access to the resources to persevere in his work despite the high monetary and political costs imposed by Western sanctions, but reflects the Iranian leadership’s direct role in Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons.

The picture is clear enough. Iran’s Supreme Leaders, the Ayatollahs, have directed a 30 year effort to develop nuclear weapons, despite concerted Western opposition, and, formerly, crippling sanctions and the threat of military intervention. In the face of this, the Ayatollahs have repeatedly made minor, temporary concessions that in retrospect have done little or nothing to slow Iran’s nuclear development.

There is no objective argument that can account for all of the facts and still conclude that Iran will peacefully relinquish its nuclear program.

Note: The new information reflected in the WSJ report came from the same anti-Ayatollah group, the Mujahideen-e-khalq, that previously uncovered Iran’s Natanz enrichment plant and Arak heavy water reactor. Click here for more on MEK and its past contributions to the West’s knowledge of Iran’s illicit nuclear program.