B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin penned an op-ed that ran in JTA on Nov. 18 that discusses the global outcry against terrorism in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks and asks why the frequent terrorist attacks in Israel are not also universally condemned?
You can read the op-ed on JTA's website by clicking here.
(JTA) — The international outrage over the barbaric terrorist attacks in Paris is absolutely on target. But the absence of an outcry over the weeks of attacks against Jews in Israel — stabbings, shootings and car rammings are among the most common tactics — is equally outrageous.
More than a dozen Israelis have been killed during the past month. Yet these terror attacks against Jews have largely drawn silence from the civilized world, or worse, questions about whether Israel deployed “excessive force” to defend itself. If people were being stabbed indiscriminately on First Avenue outside U.N. headquarters in New York, does anyone think the diplomats inside would complain about the New York Police Department using “excessive force” to stop the perpetrators?
We stand with France. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
Whether the weapons of choice are bombs and guns, as in Paris, or knives, as in Raanana and Jerusalem, the taking of innocent lives needs to be seen through the same prism.
President Francois Hollande of France has called what happened in Paris “an act of war” and promised the French response would be “merciless.” World leaders have condemned the horrific Paris terror attacks in no uncertain terms.
The knifings, shootings and car rammings of Jewish-Israelis deserve to be met with the same global outcry — but they haven’t been.
To defeat terror, the world must agree on a “common denominator” around which to develop a strategy. The killing of innocents is that common denominator. Yet in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, levelheadedness in identifying who the terrorists are has fallen victim to a pernicious moral equivalence.
Whatever the grievance, resorting to verbal gymnastics to explain wanton killing is unacceptable.
The U.N. Human Rights Council, in an adopted resolution on the Gaza War last year, did not mention Hamas once in the document, notwithstanding the fact that Hamas initiated the conflict by firing rockets indiscriminately into Israeli population centers. That’s terror, too. Only the United States voted against the resolution; all 10 European countries abstained.
Inconsistency in calling terrorism what it is sends the wrong message every time. Remember the European Union agonizing over whether to put Hezbollah on its terrorism list, with it winding up in 2013 creating a “military wing” and a “political wing” to describe the terrorist group? Since then, Iran has provided thousands of rockets to its Lebanese client. Clearly, neither Hezbollah nor Tehran took the EU seriously.
So if one must be “merciless” in defeating the terrorists, as Hollande pledges France will be, why can’t Israel act this way?
The way the world looks at terror demonstrates a double standard. Caught up in the politically correct morass of “evenhandedness,” Palestinian terror is getting a very large pass from the world.
It’s time to bury, once and for all, the “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” mentality that has given the Palestinians an excuse and even sympathy in too many international eyes to carry on a terror campaign against Israel.
For all of us — Americans, French, Israeli, British — to defeat the evil that has brought us this new reign of terror, we all need to be on the same page. Terror is terror.
by Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International
The European Union seems to be going out of its way to shed any pretext of neutrality on the Israel-Palestinian peace process.
The latest affront is new guidelines from the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU. The measure would restrict funding, grants and overall cooperation by the EU with any Israeli institutions that operate in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that are beyond the lines established in the Six-Day War in 1967.
This ban impacts territories that should be discussed at negotiations between the two sides and is an attempt by the EU to pressure Israel to keep the Jewish state within its pre-1967 borders.
Why now? Why would the EU go to such lengths to undermine recent movement in the peace talks?
US Secretary of State John Kerry has been back and forth to the region six times in the last few months trying to restart the stalled process. On July 19, the two sides agreed to meet to talk about the parameters for resuming actual peace talks. Though incremental, the attention greeting this step demonstrates the fundamental element in the entire peace process — two sides sitting down together.
If Kerry’s efforts are to succeed, then prejudging the outcome by the EU can only stiffen the backs of the Palestinians or lead them to believe they can talk to Kerry but always go to what has effectively become an “EU court of appeals” to make their case and change the outcome.
Even if Kerry is able to bring the Palestinians to the actual negotiating table, is the EU capable of an objective role, given its track record?
This EU effort undercuts his work, and leaves Israel out of the conversation entirely. The EU’s guidelines punish Israel and reward the Palestinians. We’ve seen a similar approach at the United Nations, where the international community continually holds Israel up to opprobrium and is not really interested in giving it a say in its future security, borders or other points that should be the subject of negotiation and compromise.
When the Palestinians know others will do the heavy lifting for them, they are much less likely to talk seriously with Israel. The EU and United Nations’ efforts provide a way for the Palestinians to continue to avoid confronting the notion of compromise with Israel. If they feel they can get what they want, without having to negotiate over it, it lessens their commitment to cooperate with Israel.
Seemingly, the EU and the United Nations have become spokesmen for the Palestinians—often representing their cause at the expense of pressing them to negotiate and compromise. This EU involvement raises Palestinian expectations to unreasonable and impossible levels—leaving them to believe that their demands will simply be endorsed in the court of global public opinion.
If the narrative is being laid out by the EU and the Palestinians, where does that leave Israel?
This new ruling defining how the Europeans are favoring the Palestinians will surely lessen Israeli confidence at a time when Israel’s neighborhood is torn by chaos, disarray and uncertainty. This is precisely the wrong impression to leave with Israel, which now faces increasing instability on its borders and is being asked to take ever-greater risks as a result of it.
If the EU is serious about its responsibilities as a member of the Quartet - together with the United States, Russia and the United Nations - it would be encouraging the Palestinians to move to the negotiating table, compromise and reach an agreement, rather than exacerbating the effort to get there.
On July 21, the EU designated the “military wing” of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, but determined that Hezbollah has a separate “political” section. This revelation underscored the unevenness of the EU’s efforts and approach when dealing with the Middle East situation.
Though acknowledging Hezbollah’s terrorist activities is a significant step, any talk of a distinction between Hezbollah’s “military” and “political” sides is contrived. With this dual—and misguided—designation, Hezbollah will continue its terror business as usual. The EU should be willing to do more.
The Venice Declaration of 1980 was an early expression of European preferences in this contentious dispute. Nine European nations concluded they needed to elevate the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—known for its terrorist activity—as a legitimate entity, while suggesting limits be placed on Israel’s security needs. This declaration took place at the height of the PLO’s central role in the control of a terrorist state-within-a-state in Lebanon.
The new EU guidelines continue in that tradition.
Brussels tips its hand to its true agenda by singling out for boycott specific non-governmental organizations, and also describing Gaza on a list of “territories occupied by Israel since June 1967,” despite the fact that Israel withdrew all presence from Gaza in 2005. These aspects of the document add evidence to the folly that the guidelines are balanced. The EU bias is clear.
A two-state solution can only be achieved when Israel and the Palestinians sit together to negotiate it, without preconditions. This move by the EU effectively eliminates that step and, in the process, annuls Israel’s right to have a say in its own future.
The EU should step back and re-evaluate its approach. It needs to decide whether it wants to be a mouthpiece for one side or a body which supports a peace process that has any chance of succeeding...more.
by Michael Wilner
At a UN Security Council discussion on the protection of civilians in armed conflict on Tuesday, Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor renewed his call for Hezbollah to be designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union, as it has been categorized by the United States.
“Make no mistake: Hezbollah’s sole purpose is to commit terrorist acts both inside and outside the Middle East,” Prosor said. “Calling Hezbollah a charity is like calling al- Qaida an urban-planning organization because of its desire to level tall buildings.”
The charge came just days after Bulgarian authorities identified Hezbollah as the perpetrator of a terrorist attack in Burgas last July, which killed seven people, including the suicide bomber, and wounded 32.
“Too often members of the EU conveniently ignore the violence of Hezbollah and insist it is merely a political organization,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said. “Hopefully this report will strip Hezbollah of any claim of legitimacy and finally allow people to see it for what it is – a violent and dangerous terrorist organization.” ...more.
by Benjamin Weinthal
Bulgaria’s investigatory report placed the blame squarely on Hezbollah for the murders of five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver last July.
Since the disclosure on Tuesday by the Bulgarian interior minister, the country’s media has been saturated with coverage of the findings.
In a series of interviews with The Jerusalem Post over the past few days with media experts, journalists and a top Jewish leader, a diverse picture of reactions has emerged.
Solomon Bali, president of the B’nai B’rith Carmel lodge in Sofia, said, “I was not surprised by Hezbollah” being identified as the agent behind the terrorist attack, but about the timing of the announcement.
Bali had expected the Bulgarian authorities to attribute the blame to Hezbollah at a later stage. “The truth has to be spoken,” he said.
When asked about the effects on the local Jewish community, Bali said, “Yes, that brings some tensions against the Jews.
It is not nice for us to see some of the comments [on the Internet], but we will survive.”
“I am amazed by the reaction in the social media against the decision of the government,” he added. Some of the Internet comments said the Bulgarians blamed Hezbollah “because of the Jews and Americans,” and this “brings terrorism into the country,” Bali said...more.
The Algemeiner: Reports: EU Unlikely to Recognize Hezbollah as Terror Organization Despite Burgas Findings
Due to the opposition of countries such as France and Italy, the 27-member European Union is unlikely to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization despite the Bulgarian investigation that implicated the group in last summer’s bombing of a tour bus carrying Israelis, AFP reported.
Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, wrote in a column for EUobserver that the EU in its refusal to blacklist Hezbollah “has refused to declare the obvious, often defending its intransigence by claiming Hezbollah has two distinct faces: a ‘political’ wing and a ‘military’ faction.”
“But using Hezbollah’s seats in Lebanon’s government is a false excuse to grant these terrorists any semblance of legitimacy,” Mariaschin wrote. “Does anybody believe that the ‘military’ and ‘political’ branches of Hezbollah are located on different planets?”
“Sadly, it seems even the attack in Bulgaria may not be enough for the EU to do the right thing,” he added...more.
by Marcus Dysch
David Cameron has asked the Jewish community to help him persuade the European Union to proscribe Hizbollah.
At his meeting last month with the Jewish Leadership Council, the Prime Minister urged its members to “make a noise” and lead a grassroots campaign calling for the EU to take action against the Iranian-backed terror group.
The push to secure a Europe-wide ban was stepped up this week after Bulgarian authorities blamed Hizbollah for the bombing which killed five Israeli tourists in the Black Sea resort of Burgas last July.
The British campaign is part of a worldwide response from Jewish groups including the World Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith International and the European Jewish Congress...more.
by Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International
What further evidence does the European Union need to declare Hezbollah an international terrorist group?
The latest proof comes from Bulgaria.
After a six month investigation, Bulgaria has concluded in a new report that Hezbollah was behind the July 2012 bus attack in Burgas that killed five Israeli tourists, their Bulgarian bus driver and wounded more than 30 other Israelis.
The report finds the bomber, who died in the attack, was part of a Hezbollah cell that included two members using Australian and Canadian passports.
Interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters: "There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects."
Security experts in America and Israel also agree Hezbollah was behind the attack.
The attack occurred on the 18th anniversary of the Hezbollah bombing of the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association building (the Jewish center in Buenos Aires) that killed 85 people and wounded 300, sending a chilling reminder that the terror group’s reach is far and wide. That was the second Hezbollah attack in Buenos Aires, following the 1992 attack on the Israeli embassy that left 29 dead and 242 injured.
The United States has first hand experience of Hezbollah’s terror. The group is responsible for the 1983 suicide bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 241 American service members. At about the same time, another Hezbollah suicide bomber also attacked a French military base in Beirut killing more than 50.
In the decade after its founding, Hezbollah kidnapped and killed some 30 Westerners, including the president of American University in Beirut in 1982, as well as the 1985 kidnapping and murder of a CIA station chief in Beirut.
Hezbollah attacks in Israel, Great Britain and Spain have also left scores dead.
The United States, Canada, Israel and the Netherlands already list Hezbollah as the terrorist organization that it is.
But so far, the European Union has refused to declare the obvious, often defending its intransigence by claiming Hezbollah has two distinct faces: a "political" wing and a "military" faction.
But using Hezbollah's seats in Lebanon's government is a false excuse to grant these terrorists any semblance of legitimacy. Does anybody believe that the "military" and "political" branches of Hezbollah are located on different planets?
There can be no doubt about the fungibility of funding within terrorist organizations. Hezbollah has effectively hijacked a sovereign government in Lebanon. In fact, isolating Hezbollah would contribute to freeing Lebanon from the grip of intimidation.
Striking at Europe's doorstep
Now that Hezbollah has struck right at Europe’s doorstep with the Burgas attack, will this be the final bit of evidence to propel the EU to act? It should be.
Sadly, it seems even the attack in Bulgaria may not be enough for the EU to do the right thing.
Gilles de Kerchove, the top terrorism expert for the EU, told the EUobserver in recent weeks that: “First, we need to reach conclusions with strong evidence that it was the military wing of Hezbollah [which bombed Burgas]. That's the prerequisite, even in legal terms, but then, as always in the listing process, you need to ask yourself: 'Is this the right thing to do?'."
He also told the publication: "There is no automatic listing just because you have been behind a terrorist attack. It's not only the legal requirement that you have to take into consideration, it's also a political assessment of the context and the timing."
Why is the EU dithering on this?
European Union members who have indicated reluctance to label Hezbollah as a terrorist group are allowing it to hide behind its "political" face - the one with the seats in the parliament of Lebanon. When in reality, it is one organization responsible for a global reign of terror going back 30 years.
Hezbollah has become especially adept at hitting soft targets, as in its Burgas murders.
It has also become skilled in siding with those who carry out state-sponsored murder, such as lending assistance to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as he continues his ruthless campaign to silence his own people’s opposition to his rule.
The Bulgarian investigation’s conclusion that Hezbollah was behind the Burgas attack is courageous. It is not the first time Bulgarians stood up to do what is right.
Next month marks the 70th anniversary of a bold move by Bulgarians from every element of society - everyday citizens united to prevent some 48,000 Bulgarian Jews from being deported to Nazi death camps.
The inspiring story of the rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews is a study in bravery and determination. Today in the face of the Hezbollah attack inside its borders, Bulgaria is standing up and speaking out again.
Will Europe heed its call?
A terror designation from the European Union could help cut off vital funding that Hezbollah receives from extremists and other supporters around the world. The terror label could limit the ability of Hezbollah operatives to move freely in Europe.
But perhaps most important, it would send a message, finally, that the global community will not tolerate terrorism.
Daniel S. Mariaschin is the executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International, a Washington-based international group for the fight against anti-Semitism founded in 1843
by Cnaan Liphshiz
In his many years of service for France’s spy agency, Claude Moniquet has seen much evidence linking Hezbollah to terrorist-related activities in Europe and beyond.
The attacks, says Moniquet, a 20-year veteran of the DGSE intelligence service, go back as far as 1983, to the bombing of military barracks in Beirut that killed nearly 300 people, including 58 French soldiers.
“It implicates the much bigger financial structure that facilitated the attack,” said Nuno Wahnon Martins, director of European Affairs at B'nai B'rith. “[It] means Hezbollah’s entire drug-smuggling and money-laundering operations are serving the organization’s terrorist activities.” ...more.
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