In the August 1 Blogger’s Conference Call organized by One Jerusalem, UN Ambassador Dore Gold gave a masterful 25-minute presentation on the situation in Lebanon, and then took another 25 minutes of questions from the bloggers.
The bloggers who participated were Atlas Shrugs, Boker tov, Boulder!, Gateway Pundit, Jewish Current Issues, and Right Wing News, and One Jerusalem has now posted the audio of the call, which is worth listening to in its entirety.
Ambassador Gold’s presentation was an updated and greatly-expanded version of his July 17 Jerusalem Issue Brief on
He believes the war between Hizballah and Israel is part of a wider regional war -- one in which Iran hopes to dominate Iraq (through the southern Shia areas), dominate the Arab oil-producing areas by agitating the Shia populations of Kuwait, Bahrain, and the eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia (which are 50% Shiite), and encircle Israel to hold it hostage if the West tries to take measures against Iran’s nuclear program.
In his view, defeating
He told the bloggers that the irony of the current situation is that, because the UN failed to enforce Resolution 1559 (calling for the “disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias”), it has fallen to Israel to fulfill that Resolution, which is what Israel has been forced to do in the absence of any effective action by the international community.
Israel’s intelligence community has gained access to phone numbers for residents of southern . Not only do they know specifically which phone number is for which house, but Arabic-speaking Israeli intelligence officers are actually calling Lebanese residents who are housing Hezbollah's katyusha rocket launchers. They are telling them that Lebanon knows they have a rocket launcher at or in their home, and are personally advising each one that if they do not remove said launcher, their property will be targeted for destruction by the IDF. Israel
This is in addition to
Israeldropping leaflets (written in Arabic) all over southern , warning civilians to leave the area and move north to safety. Lebanon
Ambassador Gold believes that any negotiations with
JEWISH CURRENT ISSUES: Ambassador Gold, this is Rick Richman, Jewish Current Issues. This is in the nature of a devil’s advocate question. Everybody I think has been wondering whatever happened to the [UN's] Hariri investigation, which seemed to be heading to a climax and an inevitable conclusion last year and has then has sort of been in abeyance.
Is it possible that it is being held over Syria’s head to induce cooperation to split from Iran and oppose Hezbollah, or at least support a solution, and until that plays out that investigation is on hold -- and if so, would that be wise?
AMBASSADOR GOLD: Well I think that is an excellent question. It points to one of the mysteries of what’s been going on lately with the Hariri investigation. It seems to have come to an abrupt end. There is still much more to finish. I think on the basis of what already exists, it’s pretty clear the Syrians were involved in killing the Prime Minister of
If anyone is thinking of a quid pro quo, of basically stopping the investigation in exchange for Syrian help in
, as I said before I think they are making a huge mistake. Lebanon Syriais fully invested and committed to its strategic alliance with . Iran
And therefore restoring or building up the power of Bashir al Assad is simply restoring and building up the power of an Iranian satellite, as Iran pursues its policy of encirclement around the Sunni Arab countries in the Middle East and its quest for dominance over the oil producing area.
In her first question, Anne Lieberman asked a basic question about the role of anti-Semitism in the international media discussion about
BOKER TOV, BOULDER!: Mr. Ambassador, this is Anne Lieberman at Boker tov,
!. Thank you so much for joining us. I’d like to take it to an even broader context, if I could. Boulder
I became a Jew by choice. And in the most amazing -- one of the most amazing parts of that conversion was that I went from being an anonymous human being to being someone that was the target of hatred, and possibly murder, from people I didn’t know.
And my question is, I see over and over again on the news, the news media asks Jewish and Israeli commentators “why is the world against you, when you are so obviously, clearly just, clearly justified,” and yet world opinion and the media are anti-Israel. And none of these experts ever say “it’s anti-Semitic.” You know they come up with whatever excuse, but no one says “well, the world hates Jews.”
So I wonder what you think, what’s the place of anti-Semitism in this discussion? Is it wise to discuss it in those terms?
In his response, Ambassador Gold said he believes the motives for anti-Israeli opinions are often mixed, and sometimes reflect the internal politics of the countries involved:
. . . And it could be the conflict in the Middle East, particularly
’s conflict, are kind of test cases which bring out a lot of these weaknesses in internal politics of the countries that are having this kind of expression. Spanish people were astounded at the actions of the Spanish Prime Minister, who put a kafiah around his neck and identified with Hamas and Hezbollah. And I saw Spanish politicians, in fact I saw the head of the Conservative opposition in Israel get on TV and say “What are we -- a third world country? I thought we were a European country.” Spain
So you do have these very problematic political and intellectual trends occurring in
Europe. And they surface. Some of those feed on old European anti-Semitism that has not died. Some of them feed on the hatred that Shiiite extremism and Wahabbism have brought to Muslim communities in Europe. And some of them are expressions of a political decay that has been underway in parts of the Western World, which President George Bush and Tony Blair are trying to roll back.
On the issue of political decay, Gold also referred in his answer to Anne to “a brilliant article by Charles Moore, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph, on the issue of British position on this conflict.” The article is here. It is must-reading, together with today’s extraordinary column by Victor Davis Hanson, on the same subject: “The Brink of Madness.”