Why Zionists Should Be Happy

A while back I was asked to give a presentation on matters Israel at a Zionist Federation gathering of young activists. Nothing specific, just whatever I wanted to say. I figure that if I could only get one message out to folks today on any side of the debate, it would be this: Zionists should be very happy. I say this because the Zionist project has been successful and happens to be stronger than ever.

Let me explain, briefly.

Far too often, I have suffered in gatherings of Jews and others in the pro-Israel community where the mood has been like it probably was at the Alamo or the Winter Palace just before the Lenin stormed in. Many feel we are being slaughtered on the ideological battlefield by the pro-Palestinian camp. There is a perception that Israel’s very survival is tenuous. Plagued by economic worries, demographic challenges, and a supposedly increasing diplomatic isolation, they openly wonder whether Zionism’s time has passed. The enemy makes every effort to play on these fears.

Some pine for a time they believe to have been more heroic and optimistic for the Jews and the Zionist movement. I recently had one lady list all the usual woes to me before saying how she wished she could instead be fighting with the Irgun in 1948. I could not believe somebody would wish to trade the problems of today with the problems of 1948, when the Jewish state’s chances of surviving the year were put at 50:50 by members of Ben Gurion’s own Cabinet.

I recommend taking a step back to assess the economic, demographic, and diplomatic fears. I am confident that seeing the big picture here will ingrain some much-needed optimism. A few words on the general prospects for Zionism are also in order.

The Economy

One of the best tests of Zionism’s success is simply to ask whether Israel is a good place to live. By all conventional measures, it is, and there is no need to re-hash all the factors that make it so. The 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration is close upon us, though, and this provides us with a good opportunity for reflection. The land of Israel was in a noticeably unpromising state at this time. In 1913, on the eve of the First World War, there was not a single motor car in the country. This was while Detroit was producing thousands a day. By the time the Balfour Declaration came about, there was not a single Jewish lawyer to be seen (imagine a country without Jewish lawyers!). Today, Israel ‘boasts’ the highest per capita number of lawyers in the world. Neither was the situation good for a long time after independence. Israel’s status as an economic basket case was so well known that Milton Friedman said it destroyed the reputation of Jews as bad soldiers but good economic managers. A popular joke went that the best way to end up with a million dollars in Israel was to go there with two million. Adherence to a kind of paternalist socialism, all the rage throughout the world at the time, kept the country like this for decades. In the 1990’s things began to change utterly under the direction of Benjamin Netanyahu, who fancied himself as Israel’s Ronald Reagan or Thatcher. And thanks to that agenda, Israel is in the OECD and boasts a per capita GDP of $32,567. That looks average by the standards of western Europe, but a damn sight better than Israel’s neighbours. There are no signs of this heading south, and every sign of it heading up.

Demographics

This is a major existential issue but one many refuse to even talk about. Every Israeli knows and is haunted by the words of Arafat on the subject, when he said the womb of the Arab woman was his best weapon. But the big story here should really be that there is no story. The war of the wombs is going in Israel’s favour. The Jewish and Arab fertility gap, once considerable, has closed to 0.7 births per woman. The proportion of Jewish births in Israel today is significantly higher than it was in 1995: 69% vs. 75%. Most interestingly, the non-Haredi Jewish woman in Israel has a fertility rate of 2.6 – the highest in the western world – whereas a generation ago it stood at 2.1. The Arab birthrate has been falling slightly, with the Jewish one rising. By 2085, there will be more Israelis than Poles. But Poland’s median age will be 57, while Israel’s will be a far more healthy 32. Israel will have more young people than Italy or Spain, and will have more males of military age than Germany by the end of the century. There could be no greater win for the Zionist project. Indeed, Israel might be the only western country around without a death wish. Hebrew, a language formerly confined to the prayerbook and religious study, currently has more speakers than Danish, though Denmark has had quite a headstart on the modern state of Israel. There are in fact more speakers of Hebrew today than there were of English in the time of Shakespeare.

Diplomacy

There is a commonly-peddled myth that Israel is growing more diplomatically isolated. All one can say to this is: really? Are things worse for Israel today on the diplomatic front than it was during the era of the Soviet Union, Third World Socialism, and pan-Arabism? Remember the communist/Islamic bloc vote in the UN to declare Zionism as racism in the 1970s? The anti-Zionists of the world will never enjoy a coup like that again.

The big picture is that Israel has done very well on the diplomatic front in recent years. Relations with China and India, once atrocious (inspired by Marxist ideology on their side) are now quite warm, and there has been extensive cooperation on the military and intelligence fronts. Last year there was a very hush-hush meeting of Israeli and Chinese general at Oxford. The Chinese were said to be very understanding of Israeli concerns. The story of relations with the Vatican, once truly awful, is one of increasing improvement. When Pope Paul VI became the first Pope to visit Israel in 1964, he refused to utter the country’s name and did not visit any sites of Jewish significance. Compare that to the prayer of Pope John Paul II at the Western Wall. All this has happened while ties with the US have remained strong.  But in an increasingly multi-polar world, Israel is making the right moves.

A word should be added here on the defence front. I do not believe Israel faces any insurmountable problems in this area or in relation to maintaining defensible borders. Many argue that Israel would not be left with strategic depth of she withdraws from the disputed territories along the 1967 lines. Even if Israel does, it is quite possible that adequate strategic depth can be created at sea. This was a pet idea of the late General Israel Tal’s and has been implemented over the past decade. Just look at all those German submarines Israel has been acquiring.

Prospects for Zionism 

The strength of Zionism is that it is not an ‘ism’ like all other ‘isms’. It was the fascinating Yeshayahu Leibowitz who said that Zionism is not an ideology, but a complex of activities undertaken to restore facilitate Jewish settlement and Jewish independence in its own land. There are only anti-Zionist ideologies for denying that the Jewish nation is a nation. The young men and women developing software applications in Tel Aviv today are as much an part of Zionism’s success story as the pioneer farmers redeeming the land were in the 1930s. The ideologies that arose contemporaneously in the 19th and 20th centuries looked for abstract principles to address specific problems. Zionism placed its hope in weapons and tractors and has outlived them.

In its non-ideological character there is great strength. Zionism can encompass religious and secular, territorial maximalist and minimalist, left and right. Its important that it be kept that way. While it is good to have a ‘big tent’, it is most important to be a kind of starfish, in that if one arm gets cut off, another should be able to take its place. The waning of Labour Zionism in the 1970s did not lead to a withering of Zionism despite the fact it had largely built the state.

I was spurred to put this up in response to a piece by The American Conservative’s Noah Millman warning against Israeli ‘Catastrophism’. I think his words make for an appropriate closing:

“Israel is not, in any meaningful sense, a provisional experiment. It is downright bizarre that both so many Israeli Jews (and their friends abroad) and so many of Israel’s detractors continue to talk as if it were. Bizarre – and destructive. That conviction within Israel feeds policies that, in turn, feeds the extremism of its opponents – and vice versa.”

The Majority of Palestinian Casualties are not Civilians. Here’s How You Can Tell.

This is where the blogosphere really comes into its own. Since the beginning of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, NGOs have been calling it a “war on children” (the words of Osama Dayo, of Save the Children). The UN has claimed up to three-quarters of the casualties have been civilians. Nobody in the mainstream media questions these numbers. That’s because you can’t question the motives of a self-described human rights organisation, an established charity, or a UN agency.

My take on these claims is more sceptical. Firstly, experience tells me that ethnic and ideological hostilities often hide behind the more acceptable language of ‘human rights’ activism. Secondly, do you know the kind of people who work for the UN and NGOs?

But there is one method anybody can use to get a fairly accurate picture of the make-up of combat casualties. Some people have used it to assess the Second Intifada and more recent hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians. It devastates the claims of Hamas, the UN, Amnesty International, and other unsavoury types. And so far, none have been able to refute it.

Statistics

Basically, if Israel was largely killing civilians in Gaza through indiscriminate bombing, one would expect the casualties to be a fair reflection of the Gazan population. Around 50% would be male, and 50% female. Around 40% would have to be under the age of 14. But this is not the case, in the current war or the last.

A fellow by the name of Don Radlauer ingeniously laid out all Palestinian casualties from the Second Intifada on the basis of age and gender as part of a wider study. He found that 95% of the Palestinian casualties were male, while the gender ratio for Israelis killed was around 60:40. Not only that, but 80% of those male Palestinians were in their late teens and early twenties. We can assume that proportionately fewer civilians were killed on their side as opposed to Israel’s. It’s all here. Here are just two interesting graphs:
pal fatalities by gender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pal fatalities by age

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More recently, for Operation Protective Edge, an amateur pro-Israel blogger took the Palestinian casualties from a list provided by Al Jazeera. He broke them down by age and gender. Now we can see once again that there are far too many young males for the deaths to be majority civilian.  80% of the Gazans killed so far have been male, with almost half of these males being in the 18-28 age group.  20% of these males are between 29 and 48.

cas by gender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If anybody of the anti-Israel persuasion can make a case against these figures and my conclusions, I’d like to hear it. I have sent the Protective Edge statistics to several colleagues of the extreme left and to a few angry Muslims on online forums. I have been doing the same with the Radlauer study for years. Nobody has come up with anything convincing yet.

Human Rights Organizations and that Joe Loughnane Incident

Two recent reports from Amnesty International on the ordeals of Palestinian communities in the Middle East could not be more different.

Trigger-happy‘ is supposed to demonstrate excessive forced used by the IDF in response to Palestinian demonstrations and rioting in the West Bank. Amnesty claims 22 civilians have been killed over a period of 12 months. The casualties are mostly young men, in or around areas of hostility at the time. The report is 87 pages long and contains 14 individual photographs and 18 in-depth biographies of the victims, some up to three pages long and with interviews of family members. There is also an accompanying video of four minutes length.

Squeezing the life out of Yarmouk‘, on the other hand, is Amnesty’s attempt at covering the siege of a settlement mostly populated by the descendants of Palestinian refugees in Syria. The death toll here has been close to 200 civilians in 8 months. They are a mixture of men and women, young and old, pointing to killings of an indiscriminate nature. The deaths have been primarily by starvation, sniper-fire, and bombings.  Yet this report is a mere 39 pages long. It contains no photographs of the victims. Nor is there any real information on individual casualties. It is as dry as a Wikipedia summary, reading like something Amnesty only had to do because they were obliged. ‘Trigger-happy’, on the other hand, is an emotive call to action, somebody at Amnesty’s personal crusade. ‘Trigger-happy’ was displayed prominently on the front page of their website for two weeks. The other was there for a day.

The information in the reports may or may not be true. I am more interested in the discrepancy of focus and language [H/T to Yisrael Medad for pointing this out to me]. One would have a very distorted picture of the global human rights situation from reading Amnesty reports. The reasons for the discrepancy are worth a discussion.

I identify three phenomena at the root.

Firstly, many of us sceptical about  the actions of NGO’s are familiar with Moynihan’s Law, which says that the greater the number of complaints being aired against a country, the better protected are human rights in that country. As a more open society, journalists, academics and other unsavoury types are free to roam and report in Israel. They are not in Syria. The philosopher Roger Scruton strongly hinted in his book on Lebanon, A Land Held Hostage, that Robert Fisk’s disturbingly soft treatment of Hafez Al-Assad during the civil war there helped ensure his access to the region, even though Fisk, the old fraud, was often out of the country for many of the events he claimed to witness.

Secondly, it may be that the relative tranquillity of Israel and Palestine does more to attract aid workers and journalists. One of my favourite quotes of all time was given by a young lady called Emily Williams, an American manager of a medical NGO in the Palestinian territories:

“Palestine is the best-kept secret in the aid industry… People need field experience and Palestine sounds cool and dangerous because it can be described as a war zone, but in reality it’s quite safe and has all the comforts that internationals want. Quality of life here is so much higher than somewhere like Afghanistan, but we don’t tell anyone so that we are not replaced or reassigned.”

My understanding is that most correspondents would rather pen dramatic write-ups on clashes  between the IDF and its enemies from the comfort of the American Colony Hotel in eastern Jerusalem than endure the miserable, macchiato -free conditions of Yemen.

Finally, some time ago in National Review, John O’ Sullivan identified another law: any organization that is not explicitly right-wing will over time become left-wing. What is true of the Episcopalian Church is equally true for Amnesty, or Oxfam, or Human Rights Watch. It’s just the type of people organisations that shun profit-making attract.

And on that point I want to talk about Joe Loughnane and the jackasses at NUI Galway.

Here is Joe, in all his eloquence:

Notice Joe says he’s been on the Galway campus for ten years. That’s the product of an extensive education in human rights law, apparently. According to this piece, he’s worked for several months at an unnamed human rights organisation in London. His antics, which include very direct threats against students and guests at his university, are well known and should preclude him from employment in any respectable establishment. Yet I am not so confident that he’ll be shunned by any organisation dedicated to human rights today. It was this blog two years ago that pointed out that Amnesty Ireland’s Communications Co-ordinator  at Amnesty International in Ireland, Justin Moran, is a Sinn Fein activist. I’ve made similar allegations of extremist penetration into religious groups like Trocaire and EAPPI.

The hi-jacking of the language of “human rights” and many hitherto respectable organisations dedicated to that cause by people like Joe Loughnane and his Palestine Solidarity Campaign bullies is one of the most significant developments of our time. After all, how could a man proudly displaying the banner below actually believe in any honest notion of human rights? And how can a human rights organisation in good conscience hire him?

loughnane

Paul Murphy MEP: What happens when angry kids are in charge

Irish+News+10-1

Fascism was born with the realisation that the revolutionary left don’t play by the rules and only use the institutions of liberal democracy to subvert them.

If Lenin and Trotsky didn’t exist, there would have been no Hitler and Goebbels.

Neither of these parties has any claim on or affections. However, looking at the likes of Paul Murphy MEP, one begins to understand the appeal of donning a black shirt and knocking him on the head.

With peace talks just about to get underway between Israel and the Palestinians, Murphy decided to offer his own alternative: telling Russia Today that Palestinians should begin a new violent Intifada and bring down – get this – “the capitalist establishment in Israel”.

What kind of idiot would do this?

A man stuck in an angsty teenage phase who has never had a real job in his life, perhaps.

Murphy graduated from University College Dublin in 2004. Until he landed the role of an MEP, he had never held down a real job, being described instead as a full-time activist for the Socialist Party. He did not even have to fight an election campaign: he stepped into a seat vacated by the ever sullen and gloomy Joe Higgins. Apparently, he’s also written a PhD thesis titled “Does socialist law exist?”

Does Paul Murphy’s sense of responsibility exist?

Murphy highlights the dangers of putting childish activists into positions of power and influence. Sure, the mainstream parties stuffed full of elderly people might not be up to much. They may even be gobsites. But we should not forget that there are always worse gobshites out there:

The Inaugural Young Professional Lobby for Israel

On Wednesday I joined over 70 young professional types for a lobby of Parliament organised by Israel Connect (the youth wing of the Zionist Federation). This was held in partnership with Christian Friends of Israel. It was also the first of its kind, in being exclusively for the under-30’s.

Israel’s Deputy Israeli Ambassador, Alon-Roth Snir, opened with a briefing on the Middle East situation, focusing on the political turmoil in the Arab states and the problems Israel faces when nobody is quite sure who will be in charge next door in a year’s time, or even six months. While its hard to point to a time where the situation in the Middle East has been rosy and ordered, this level of uncertainty is unprecedented.

The Deputy Ambassador grabbed attention in February this year when he was disrupted by a gang of 40 thugs at the University of Essex who caused a lecture to be cancelled. Essex, I am told, has been traditionally dubbed ‘Red Essex’, but such displays of fanaticism are not uncommon. The sheer level of vitriol on campus can be intimidating for people with pro-Israel leanings, to the extent that many I know admit its not worth the trouble of speaking out.

Here is where lobbying events like this can help. What was most remarkable at the Israel Connect lobby was the amount of sincere cross-party support for Israel on display in Westminster. Young friends of Israel, who often have to deal with so much hostility, particularly  on campus, should be heartened to see the level of backing we actually have.

While I am sure one doesn’t have to be a particularly discerning reader to realize that my own views are far from left-wing, when it comes to Israel, opinions should no be split on a left/right basis. I am quite convinced that this is what the enemy has been attempting to do; namely, trying to bring the entire left into their camp with the aim of automatically precluding anybody of  a ‘progressive’ bent from supporting Israel. This is an effort all friends of Israel have to fight ferociously. It is perhaps our single biggest challenge.  The middle 80% of the population should be entirely open to us.

So while I am a Conservative, I most enjoyed hearing from people like Labour’s Fabian Hamilton MP, who spoke about his positive experiences in bringing Muslim colleagues to Israel to witness the reality there.

Louise Ellman MP also highlighted the importance of  putting across Israel’s case to our MPs, especially those who may not have strong opinions on Israel, so that they are not solely hearing misleading information from the anti-Israel side.

All well and good, but I would add that this is an effort that should not be confined to MPs.

Fabian Hamilton 2- IMG_4055

Fabian Hamilton MP speaking.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Must Be Proscribed By The UK and EU

Last month, you may remember, a drone flying in Israeli airspace was shot down by an F-16. The same thing happened in October last year. These drones, launched from Lebanon, have been pinned to Hezbollah. Yet placing the blame on Hezbollah alone would only be partly accurate.

Bibi Netanyahu once claimed on Bill Maher’s show that there is no war between Israel and Hezbollah; the fight is really between Israel and Iran. As a force, Hezbollah could easily be described as a forward unit of the Iranian army. It receives between $100-200 million dollars a year from Iran, it uses Iranian weapons, it receives training from Iranians, and in many respects is subject to Iranian control. Any drones used by Hezbollah are certainly Iranian in origin and may very well be launched by Iranians operating on Lebanese soil.

The so-called Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, or the Revolutionary Guards, are at the heart of this effort.  The Guards are notorious not only for their role in Iran’s military. They are an elite class and a powerful commercial conglomerate that may very well control one-third of the Iranian economy. According to Emanuele Ottolenghi, part of their mandate is to export the Islamist revolution of 1979 abroad. For this, they have a 12,000 strong ‘Quds Force’. These fighters have operated not only in the Middle East against Israel and America. They assisted Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs during the Balkans conflict in the 1990’s. The notorious 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85, has been attributed to Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyeh, taking orders from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and Ghassem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force. Delhi has accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guards of involvement in an attack on an Israeli diplomat in that city last year. I could go on.

Islamist groups like Hamas have been proscribed by the EU and the UK for the same reasons the Revolutionary Guards should. The fact that they are not classed as such now seems like a glaring oversight. The Quds Force, specifically, was declared a terrorist organization by Canada last year, and by the United States before that. This is a positive, but to really cripple this army of international terrorism, the funding and accounts of all Revolutionary Guard members and businesses inside the EU ought to be frozen. Weakening the Revolutionary Guards would benefit the safety of people all over the world. However, standing up to Iran in this way would also mean that the country will find it much harder to ignore international efforts to stop their nuclear program.

And wouldn’t you know it, there is a petition calling on the EU and the UK government to proscribe the Iranian Revolutionary Guards right here. This is an initiative of the Zionist Federation, who have produced a handy six page brief on the matter, highlighting the group’s terrorist activities and extreme ideology.  

Useful Links:

Petition: Proscribe Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards: Brief

Facebook:  List The Iranian Revolutionary Guards As A Terrorist Group

Anti-Semitism in the Kerry School: Yes, it was Trócaire

News of the appearance of anti-Semitism among the schoolchildren of Cahirciveen has spread like a prairie fire. Coláiste na Sceilge have now released an official response, which denies the journalist Sarah Honig’s allegations:  

As Principal of this school I was shocked when I read the contents of the blog by Ms Honig. The students and teacher vehemently deny the remarks attributed to them.

Part of our mission statement states that ‘we are committed to developing people who are fair, caring assertive…’ and we are .

Colaiste na Sceilige has worked with the Trocaire Pamoja –together for human rights – Project for the last number of years.

Last year our students looked at Uganda and raised money for Trocaire for two mobile HIV clinics by singing Christmas carols.The year before it was Honduras and they raised money for Trocaire to build a house for a family.This year it was Palestine and they raised money for Trocaire to buy olive trees for displaced Palestinian families.

The lesson content provided by Trocaire states clearly that ‘Trocaire is neither pro Palestinian nor pro Israeli’ and having spoken to the teacher and students it is clear that the material was delivered in an unbiased manner. Anything else would be entirely unacceptable.

Students read newspapers ,watch the news and are in touch with the world around them. Ms Honig has referred to the plethora of anti Israeli feeling in the media.

We try to teach our students to be critical thinkers to examine both sides of an issue. We may not always be satisfied with the conclusions students draw and can only try to set them right when they go wrong.

By making such allegations, and indeed publishing photographs of children on a website without parental consent, the writer has been irresponsible and has done our school and the people of Kerry a great disservice.

John O’Connor

School Principal

It is not certain from the Principal’s statement whether the school received the controversial Trócaire education pack, which Justin Kilcullen told Richard Humphreys, who raised a stink about them, had not been sent to schools. It could be earlier Trócaire propaganda. It wouldn’t surprise me if Kilcullen lied about not sending out the material. Kilcullen is Ireland’s pious fraud, a proven liar who is noticeably overpaid in comparison with other Irish charity chiefs. I certainly don’t believe Trócaire uses the money it raises to plant olive trees in Palestine. Its far more likely that it uses the money, or at least the majority of it,  to fund far-left NGOs that bash Israel. That, however, is not the way Trócaire is marketed.

Articles from The Kerryman newspaper on the matter here and here.

NOTE: It has been put to me that Trócaire’s involvement is really a minor matter in all this. The central point is that schoolchildren and a teacher have been accused by a journalist of anti-Semitism and are contesting that allegation.

I do not quite agree that Trócaire is a tangential issue. It is very likely that Trócaire whipped up the climate of hate in the first place by providing the schoolchildren with a biased, misleading, simplistic, good vs. evil account of the Israel-Arab conflict.

Anti-Semitism in Irish Schools: Is Trócaire Responsible?

Some of you have already heard of the Israeli columnist Sarah Honig’s ill-fated trip to the little town of Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry. In the course of her visit, she was solicited by children from a local secondary school raising funds to ‘Free Palestine’. When she questioned who they were freeing Palestine from, the children replied with “the Jews” and then explained to her that “Jews are evil” and “crucified our Lord”. Honig recounted what she heard to a nearby teacher organizing the affair, who nodded in agreement with the words of the children.

Having gone to a school in Ireland where one teacher (of Christian Doctrine, God help us) referred to Arial Sharon as a “monster” and others expressed fierce support for Palestinian national aspirations, the attitude on display in Kerry is not surprising.

Yet I must say it upsets me to no end that Honig had this experience in the South of Kerry, in a town not far from Sneem. In Sneem the founding Patron of the Ireland-Israel Friendship League is interred; the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and later 5th President of Ireland, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh. His grave was visited in 1978 by his good friend, the 6th President of Israel, Chaim Herzog, who was born in Belfast to the Chief Rabbi of Ireland. Herzog also unveiled a monument to Ó Dálaigh in Sneem Culture Park in 1985.

The pernicious influence of Trócaire may be at work here. Officially the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church, Trócaire has direct access to Ireland’s Catholic schools, and it has in recent years gotten heavily behind causes like anti-Zionism, gender equality, and climate change. I have previously written about the absurdity of a former National Coordinator of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign being the Israel/Palestine Officer at Trócaire. Last October, Trócaire earned the scorn of the very sound Catholic philosopher, Mark Dooley, for their trendy left-wing ideological battles. A week ago the Dublin Labour Councillor Richard Humphreys criticized Trócaire’s highly biased education packs on the Middle East that they planned for distribution in schools.

The school in question would appear to be Coláiste na Sceilge secondary school, Cahirciveen.

Email them here: info@colaistenasceilge.ie

Here are the email addresses for all local TDs:

brendan.griffin@oir.ie.
michael.healy-rae@oireachtas.ie
tom.fleming@oireachtas.ie

together-we-will-get-rights-for-palestine

Some of the children in question, Cahirciveen

Women in Combat

800px-Flickr_-_Israel_Defense_Forces_-_Female_Infantry_Instructors_Prepare_for_a_Combat_Exercise,_Nov_2010

The Amazons, the mythical race of female warriors who lived on the fringes of civilization,  were said to cut off their right breasts to enable them to effectively throw javelins and use a bow. In some accounts, they could not have sex, or restricted intercourse to one encounter per year. It is telling that to be warriors, the Amazons had to give up all marks of femininity and even the organs identifying them as women.

There is truth in the myth of the Amazons. Captain Katie Petronio of the Marine Corps recently told CNN that the missions she endured over seven months in Iraq caused her to stop producing estrogen, rendering her infertile. She also admitted to only doing a fraction of what her male colleagues did.

One should be very afraid of the prospect of gender ‘equality’ in combat. What do feminists mean by it? Forty percent of female soldiers in the British army got pregnant within months of arriving in Iraq. This earned them an immediate trip home. Female British Military Police unable to get pregnant simply refused to go on foot-patrol because it was “too dangerous”. Male MPs had to do double-patrols. The Daily Star got these figures from the Ministry of Defense after a Freedom of Information request. I cannot recall the BBC ever reporting them. I have never seen a debate in Parliament on the subject. The Official Line is that Girls Can Do Anything. The madness goes beyond Britain. According to Steve Sailer (writing in 1997), for every year a coed warship is at sea “the Navy has to airlift out 16% of the female sailors as their pregnancies become advanced”.

The Israeli Example, The Nature of War, and Why The Israeli Example Does Not Apply

Somebody will inevitably bring up all those pretty girls in the Israel Defense Forces. I contend that Israel is not necessarily a success in this regard, and certainly not an example for America or any other country to emulate. I also believe that women who meet the criteria for the armed forces should still be excluded from the military as much as possible, even if the criteria haven’t been lowered to facilitate greater gender integration.

For a start, one expects that forcibly integrating combat units would have the same effect as forcibly integrating sports, given the sometimes astounding physical requisites of both endeavors. Most world-class female athletes cannot compete against world-class male athletes. In fact, the top women in most fields of sport would not even be able to compete against the top male high school equivalents. So, sensibly, we don’t do mixed basketball games.

Disparities in physical abilities are a clear indication that opening up combat units to women will not double the talent pool, as some have absurdly argued. Most women are unable to carry the standard gear a US soldier is required to schlep around at all times. Factors like this mean that the only way gender integration would work is if female combat units were to only take on other female combat units, as we do in sport. This arrangement may be negotiated, but one cannot expect armies to adhere to this.  The massing of the troops on weak points is standard practice. In the words of Field Mar­shal Paul von Hindenburg, “an operation without Schw­er­punkt is like a man without character”. Some civilized nations may indeed be persuaded to sign up to this, but the likes of the Taliban certainly wont.

But lets go beyond physical differences and presume that a military can easily have women in combat.

Martin Van Creveld, in my opinion the greatest military historian and theorist of our time, largely dismisses the argument that women are physically incapable of fighting alongside men. This I do not quite agree with, but I’ll leave my objections aside for the moment. In his Transformation of War, he provides the example of the highly effective Palmach, the elite all-volunteer strike force of the Haganah, the pre-state Jewish militia that later formed the core of the IDF. The Palmach had a higher rate of female participation and sexual integration than any military force before or since. Women were particularly valued for intelligence gathering, arms smuggling, and transmitting messages. There were plenty of women throughout the Haganah, too. Famous ‘sexpert’ Dr. Ruth Westheimer was a sniper (where her diminutive height of 4 ft 7 in proved advantageous). However, as the British left and the Arabs armies massed, the IDF was officially established and a near complete winnowing out of women began. After the war, Israeli women were confined to being secretaries, telephone operators, and the like, though they were still subject to the draft.

Now, war has throughout history been the most important male preserve. The association between war and manliness is so strong that in some languages the word for “man” and “warrior” is the same. One can go farther and say that in most societies, things are considered important to the extent that they are the preserve of men, though this is perhaps changing in certain places. Teaching and secretarial work, when dominated by men, enjoyed a far higher status than they do today. Female penetration of a field beyond a critical point will cause men to desert. This applies to war.

So what made the Palmach work?

It was all in the context. The Palmach were a small band of semi-underground insurgents facing the mighty British Empire as well as the Arab foe. With such a disparity in power, numbers, and equipment, women can be allowed to participate without undermining the significance of what the men are doing. Female participation can be rife in other insurgencies, including that of the Palestinians. In Ireland, examples can be found in women like Countess Markievicz.

Women largely vanished from important roles in the IDF for decades, training with weapons discarded by the men or those that were extremely plentiful. The reason why women continued to be drafted and receive weapons training at all is closely related to why they were welcomed by the pre-state Zionist militias. Israel was outnumbered, outgunned, and surrounded by foes. The Soviet Union was around to support its enemies. Israel’s wars have been seen as wars for survival, close to home, and certainly not optional adventures or crusades thousands of miles away. Even today, with peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, Israel fears failure in a way that the surrounding Arab nations don’t. Few countries face threats of an existential nature like Israel, and certainly not the United States. However, even though its women get trained in the use of arms, very few females serve in Israel’s combat units.

In Israel, a post-1973 expansion of the army strained available manpower and created a demand for skilled operators. Women were found to make good technicians, communicators  and weapons instructors. As a result, the presence of women was increased noticeably at all ranks. On the whole the job they have done has been excellent, though women still tend to get assigned the worst positions. However, there has also been an enormous social cost to this. Jobs got considered undesirable by men precisely because they began to be done by women. Thus, these roles are not seen as a display or test of manliness, a fundamental part of the traditional culture of war, in what is a very macho culture in the first place. More women at all ranks has in fact made it tougher to attract first-class manpower.

As a side-note, it must be said that Israeli women, from the Palmach and beyond, have always performed admirably in certain crucial capacities like Intelligence. Since the time of Rahab, and Judith’s beheading of Holofernes, women do have some innate advantages in this field that men will find difficult or impossible to acquire.

Its a Symptom

That the US military is now prepared to take women into combat infantry positions indicates that its role as an actual fighting force is coming to an end. It is a symptom of the demise of the style of war that arose after the state asserted its monopoly over conflict at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, military theorists have pointed out the fact that we are living through the greatest transformation of the nature of war since 1648.

State-run armies are being made obsolete by nuclear weapons keeping the peace on the one hand, and low-intensity conflicts featuring non-state actors on the other. Against non-state opponents, the US military has lost in Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. The wars that matter are now fought by gangs, tribes, and militias. They fight for pride, for God, for women, for money. Essentially, the old pre-state causes.

What can a state do with a useless army? Turning it into an equal opportunities jobs program is one option.

Does Irish Aid fund IPSC lectures?

Irish Aid is Ireland’s official overseas development programme, part of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Since  December 6th last year the Irish Aid center (a government office) has been hosting various anti-Israel lectures, set to continue until February. Most of these lectures are given by members of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Trócaire. This includes Garry Walsh, Israel/Palestine Officer at Trócaire, who is also the former National Coordinator of the IPSC. Not one speaker could be described as friendly to Israel. Indeed, some of the lectures would seem to promote its destruction.

The Irish Aid webpage links directly to this Facebook page promoting the events. What is the extent of Irish Aid’s cooperation here? Are they just letting them use the venue? Irish Aid has given €116 million to the highly compromised charity Trócaire between 2007 and 2011. What else are they doing?