Lauri: Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)’s weekly webinar. We appreciate your continued support. I want to remind everyone about our annual Rays of Light in the Darkness dinner and awards ceremony, on December 5th in Washington, DC. It is going to be a really special evening with important and influential honorees. I think that meeting in person these days in particularly important given the historic times we are living through. We would love to share the evening with you.
Israelis are rightfully angry and disappointed with their government and its intelligence failures in the lead up to the October 7th massacre of Israeli Jews. The same intelligence failures existed in the Biden administration. Days before the Hamas attack, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan embarrassingly stated, “The Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades”. I believe U.S. policy under both the Obama and Biden administrations played a significant role in the October 7th Hamas attacks. This afternoon, we are honored to have the always brilliant and insightful Carolyn Glick with is to discuss the U.S. policies that helped lead to Hamas’s brazen invasion of Israel. She will also discuss Biden administration policies in the aftermath of the Hamas attacks since these policies may be hindering Israel’s ability to achieve its goal of destroying Hamas. In the interest of time, because we have a lot to talk about, I am going to forego reading Carolyn’s impressive bio as I am sure that you all are familiar with her important work. Her reputation precedes her. I urge you all to follow her regular columns and her podcast, the Carolyn Glick show at the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS). Welcome, Carolyn, and thank you for joining us.
Carolyn: Thanks so much for having me back.
Lauri: It’s always great, Carolyn. Thank you. The Biden administration spent the first three weeks of this war bending over backwards to deny Iran’s role in the Hamas attack. They asserted there is no direct evidence the Supreme leader gave the order for Hamas to attack Israel. Anyone who follows foreign affairs understands Hamas is an Iranian terrorist proxy organization, funded, trained and weaponized by the Islamic Republic. It’s therefore impossible to discuss the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th without reviewing the policies of the Obama and Biden administrations that helped empower Iran and its terrorist proxies in the first place. In fact, immediately after news of the attack broke, Liel Leibowitz wrote an article entitled America’s betrayal of Israel. In this article Liel asserted the stage for this attack was not set in, or by, Israel but rather was set by the United States.
Can you spend a few minutes discussing what we know about Iran’s role in the attack? Can you describe how our feckless and ideologically driven policy of empowering Iran, and thus Hamas, helped cause these events? Please share your thoughts on the Obama-Biden policies, including the nuclear deals, the ransom payments, the maritime deal and anything else that you think that may have contributed. I urge everyone to read your recent JNS column, Biden’s Hamas Conundrum.
Carolyn: The information can also be found on my own website, https://carolineglick.com/. This is where I have archived my work since 2002. To answer your question, I think that there is a lot of blame to go around. Israel has been led, particularly on the military level and the general staff, by people who are really politicians in uniforms. They have used their office to advance their political agenda. This agenda involves appeasing the Palestinians and fits in very well with dependence on the United States and on not carrying out a preemptive attack against either Hezbollah or Iran.
As far as the Biden administration is concerned, you are absolutely right. Yesterday Yemen declared war on Israel. Yemen is led by the Houthi regime, an Iranian proxy. In January 2021, one of the first orders of business the Biden administration took care of when coming into office, was to remove the Houthis from the list of foreign terrorist organizations.
Since Biden came into office, the United States has made a concerted effort to empower Iran and its proxies. With respect to Lebanon, the Biden administration assumes there is some distinction between Hezbollah and the government of Lebanon, the Lebanese armed forces and the Lebanese intelligence forces. This is a continuation of the insane policy enacted under the Bush and Obama administrations and which was preserved by the Trump administration.
There was an interview of a senior Lebanese officials posted by MEMRI. He explained the Lebanese prefer to have a regional war rather than to confront Hezbollah. He explained why that makes sense. He clarified a regional war means that the UN will support Lebanon. In a regional war, the rest of the international community will be against Israel and Lebanon will be part of a big group of Arab Islamic countries that are opposed to Israel and supported by the entire world. He explained that it is very dangerous for Lebanon to contemplate ousting Hezbollah and the prospect of actually ousting Hezbollah from its dominant position in Lebanon is too frightful for them to contemplate.
From the Lebanese perspective, both the government and the people would prefer to go to war against Israel. In case of war against Israel, the Israelis will level much of the country in order to defeat Hezbollah’s massive missile capability. Israel will come in and bomb Lebanon and take out a lot of its infrastructure. Israel has at least 150,000 missiles pointed at her by Hezbollah and would want to act preemptively to minimize Hezbollah’s ability to shoot thousands of missiles toward her every day for months on end. From Lebanon’s perspective, they know that if they go to war against Israel, the UN and the United States will just pay for them to rebuild.
That brings us to the Biden administration. In a series of articles in Tablet’s online magazine, Tony Badran documented how the United States pays the salaries of Lebanese soldiers in cash. This is insane and also illegal under U.S. terror financing laws. They are also paying the salaries of the Lebanese intelligence service. The Lebanese intelligence service arguably played a key role in blinding Israel to the Iran directed preparations in the months leading up to the October 7th invasion. U.S. funded Lebanese intelligence services have claimed to have exposed, revealed and broken up around 17 different Israeli spy networks over the last two years. Assuming their claims are even partially accurate, U.S. taxpayers are directly funding an espionage organization working on behalf of Hezbollah, Iran’s foreign legion in Lebanon. The U.S. funds both their regular budget and in pays actual cash salaries to Lebanon’s intelligence officers. That money goes directly to spying against Israel on behalf of Hezbollah and Iran. That is an extraordinary state of affairs, and that is the Biden administration’s policy on Lebanon.
That is one aspect of it. Just a year ago, we saw the Biden administration coerce Israel’s interim government to accept a maritime border agreement with Lebanon. Just before Israel was to go into the November elections, they forced Yair Lapid into an agreement that everybody in Israel opposed. This agreement surrendered a natural gas deposit in the Eastern Mediterranean to Iran, through Hezbollah. This same deal also surrendered Israel’s territorial and economic waters to Lebanon, even though it was very clear that they had no claim to them. This agreement, signed by an Israel’s interim prime minister on the eve of the elections, transformed Iran’s Hezbollah into an actor in the East Mediterranean gas industry. It lowered Israel’s importance from a strategic perspective in the eyes of countries like France since it meant they would be able to get natural gas from Hezbollah. A French energy concern was responsible for developing the field. Luckily, a week before the October 7th invasion, French geologists conducting the survey said that they found no gas in the platform. That was miraculous and a bit of good news amidst a lot of terrible news. Even though we now believe Hezbollah did not end up obtaining natural gas resources from this deal, the American understanding at the time was that there was natural gas in that platform. The American intent was for them to obtain those resources Hopefully the geologists’ assessments are correct and there will be no gas in Lebanon.
Ahead of this war, the Biden administration also began trying to coerce Israel into accepting the demarcation of the land border between Israel and Hezbollah in line with Hezbollah’s demands. This included Israeli territorial concessions around Nahariya and going through and extending into the Golan Heights. To this end, the United States agreed to a draft resolution in the UN Security Council that reinstated the mandate, the operational mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). UNIFIL is the UN force that’s supposed to prevent Hezbollah from militarizing the border with Israel. UNIFIL failed from the outset and will never succeed. The resolution, that passed in the Security Council in late August or September, included wording referring to Israeli-occupied Sheba farms.
Sheba farms is the Lebanese name for Mount Dove. It is a vast and strategically important area in the Golan Heights and basically provides control over the tri-border area between Israel, Syria and Lebanon. Although the United States recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in 2019, the Biden administration agreed to the wording, occupied Sheba farms, in the resolution on the extension of the UNEFIL mandate. This means, the United States effectively renounced its recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights without doing it formally. They did it in effect, by agreeing to a Security Council resolution that referred to this area of the Golan Heights as occupied.
They were also pushing Israel. Before the Hamas invasion, Amos Hochstein started shuttle diplomacy to coerce the Netanyahu government to accept Hezbollah’s territorial demands over the Golan Heights including an extension to the waterline in Nahariya. Again, this is simply a hostile pro-Iran policy, pro-Hezbollah policy.
With respect to the Palestinians, Mr. Hady Amr, an open Hamas supporter, is the US Special Representative for Palestinian Affairs. I wrote about him in 2021, when he was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and the Palestinian Affairs, and again more recently. As an aside, they insisted on adding Palestine to his title to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Israel in their pursuit of a two-state solution.
In 2018, he was a fellow at the Brookings Institute in Doha in Qatar. Doha, along with Iran, is a state sponsor of Hamas. The Brookings Institute, even in Washington, is financed by Qatar to the tune of millions of dollars. While in Qatar, Mr. Amr was the lead author of a 2018 report. In this report, he called for the United States to adopt a new policy regarding the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The policy involved setting up a Hezbollah dominated unity government over PLO controlled Judea and Samaria and Hamas controlled Gaza. Since Hamas had the support of the majority of Palestinians, Hamas would join the PLO and become the most powerful faction inside of the PLO. They would then form a coalition with Fatah that would run these areas together with Hamas essentially carrying the day.
Before joining the government, Hady Amr also called for changing American terror financing law. The changes he proposed would have allowed the United States to use USAID to fund NGOs operating directly with Hamas in Gaza. Amr was in favor of funding Hamas essentially through USAID contractors. As part of a policy paper, he also laid out how the United States should coerce Israel into ending its maritime blockade over Gaza. He proposed European sanctions law be used as a means to coerce Israel into making further concessions to Hamas and Hamas-controlled Gaza. Amr’s pro-Hamas policy paper was not surprising. This is because, since 2002, Hady Amr has a track record of supporting suicide bombings and of supporting Hamas as a legitimate force in Palestinian affairs.
Amr served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and the Palestinians and his role was then upgraded to Special Representative for Palestinian Affairs. As such, he is in charge of all US-Palestinian relations. He was supposed become a Consul General in Jerusalem, but both the Bennet-Lapid and Netanyahu governments refused to agree to the US request to open a consulate for the Palestinians in Israel’s capital. However, that US demand remains a steady and strong and even, at times, a hysterical one.
Both as Special Representative and in his previous position, Amr was able to get the administration to reinstate US funding to the Palestinian Authority. He was successful in securing this funding even though an internal State Department reporter warned this was in contravention of the Taylor Force Act. This is because the Palestinian Authority uses the funds to incentivize terrorism and spends upwards of 100 million shekels a year paying salaries to terrorists jailed in Israeli prisons. Additionally, the Comptroller noted said that that money could indirectly fund Hamas and there was no way of preventing that from happening. This means the State Department’s in-house counsel said that reinstating US funding to the Palestinian Authority was illegal. They disregarded his report and reinstated US funding to the Palestinian Authority. The United States has since been giving about a half billion dollars to the Palestinian Authority annually and has also been pressuring Israel in other areas as well.
Just a month and a half ago, they tried to coerce the government into allowing US heavy weapons to be brought into Palestinian controlled areas. This coercion, and attempted blackmail of the Netanyahu government, occurred while Israel was in the middle a Biden supported domestic insurrection from the left. I think the only reason delivery of these heavy weapons was blocked is because I Itamar Ben-Gvir, the National Security Minister and Bezalel Smotrich leaked this plan to the media. Once the news got out, there was a public outcry against it and the government had to say no to the Americans. It was only because it was leaked before it could be done that it could be blocked.
That is the policy with respect to the Palestinians. The US Palestinian effort is led by a Hamas supporter. The US-Iran policy was led by Robert Malley until he was ousted from government under suspicion of national security crimes. Robert Malley has taken an adamantly anti-Israel stance ever since he was in the Clinton administration as a junior staffer at the National Security Council at Camp David. Malley also supports Hamas. His meetings with Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists are the reason that he was unable to join the Obama administration during Obama’s first term in office. During Obama’s second term in office, however, he was, brought in as a senior negotiator with the Iranians as part of the National Security Council. Recent reports, published in Semafor and Iran International, exposed close ties between Iran and Malley’s closest advisors and assistants, including Ali Vaez and Ariane Tabatabai.
Lauri: We held a webinar on the topic with Tony.
Carolyn: My suspicion about those exposés is that somebody in the FBI, or within the government, was the source of the information. I think they were trying to get the information about his allies out, because it was a signal that Robert Malley himself is also an Iranian regime agent. Given the extremism of the radical left, whether Malley is an Iranian regime agent or simply a hardened pro-Iran ideologue, almost doesn’t matter at this point. I do not think that AOC works for Iran and yet she effectively does work for Iran because her brain has been programmed to support everything that Iran wants. It almost does not matter. The point is that this administration is staffed with people hostile to Israel and sympathetically inclined towards Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. The thing that is most disturbing is that nobody has been removed from office since October 7th. They are all still there.
On the one hand you have Biden talking about how much he supports Israel and Golda Meir. He keeps telling the same story about Golda over and over again and hugged the desperate families of the hostages. His policies on the ground, however, have been absolutely hostile towards Israel in almost every regard.
Lauri: The Biden administration also forced Israel to issue 20,000 work permits to Gazans who crossed back and forth from Gaza to Israel and back and collected intelligence for Hamas. I think that was a huge failure that also contributed to October 7th.
Let’s turn to the attack of October 7th. I watched your last show with Victor Davis Hansen and I was struck at his simple honesty when he stated that “Biden is woefully unsupportive of Israel.” He added, “We have the least effective government for what is going on now in our lifetimes.” I could not agree more. Many people, including Israelis, are praising the administration’s stance on the war. However, Biden and his team have actually been constraining Israel rather than supporting her.
I want to start with the delay on the ground invasion. There were numerous reasons given for the delay. Biden was flying into Israel. Then Biden, or the administration, said Israel was not ready militarily and strategically. Then we heard the US was not ready and had to move in its own defensive assets to protect American soldiers. I think, by the way, is horrible to state that as a that American lives are being put at risk due to Israel. There were other reasons given for the delay as well. John Bolton, however, said that Biden has his hand around Bibi’s belt. He said, “In the face of this barbarity Iran is seeing weakness and timidity.”
Please discuss your thoughts on American interference in the timing of the ground assault. Does it portray weakness and timidity on behalf of the US and Israel respectively?
Carolyn: I think that it is true of the United States. I am not convinced it true of Israel. All the reasons given for the delay of the ground invasion had to do with American interference and Israel’s operational decision making. There were very good operational reasons to delay the ground invasion. First and foremost, Gaza is a fortified camp which is booby trapped. Most Hamas terrorists are burrowed in tunnels hundreds of meters underground. We needed ordinance, including bunker buster bombs, to reach the tunnels and degrade their capacities. We needed to force as many Hamas fighters above ground as possible before committing our forces. I do not know what happened with the Givati Brigade yesterday, but I do know that terrorists are popping out from tunnels and Gaza is a very chaotic combat environment. Terrorists are hiding in a densely populated and urban environment. They know where they are and they know where we are, so their operational awareness is much higher than ours. As such, Israel had very good reasons to want to prolong the aerial operations before committing ground troops. I think the United States may have some reservations about beginning the ground attack, but I do not think that is true on Israel’s part. Having said that, the United States has been interfering from the very outset in Israel’s operational calculations. In a way, I think that degrades the readiness and the tempo of our operations as well as our path to victory.
Lauri: We are going to turn to Hezbollah. I know there were Israeli officials who wanted to strike Hezbollah preemptively to knock out as much of their weaponry as possible. They wanted to ameliorate some of the damage if a second front were to activate in the north. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin was in Israel and told her not to attack Hezbollah. He promised the US would have Israel’s back if a second front broke out. Israel has sought to avoid escalation in the north for years and the US has been doing everything it can to not provoke Iran for fear of a greater war. Do you believe the US will protect Israel when, and if, the northern front opens up? I read that, on his flight back from Israel, Biden denied that he ever said that he would have Israel’s back in that capacity. US assets are being attacked in Syria and Iraq and the US response has been unbelievably weak. What are the chances the US will actually have Israel’s back if Hezbollah opens up the second front?
Carolyn: My assessment is based on what Biden said on Air Force One and also on his overall behavior. I am also taking into consideration the fact that he has been working more steadily and taking more concerted action to deter Israel from striking than he has to deter Iran from striking. For instance, he didn’t cancel the transfer of $6 billion to Iran. As you mentioned, he has been hiding and covering for Iran even though Iran clearly planned and trained Hamas forces for October 7 and funds 93% of the Hamas budget. He has been acting as Iran’s number one apologist. In the face of mountains of evidence, he and his advisors have refused to acknowledge Iran was behind the October 7th attack. It is startling. These are not actions of a superpower interested in deterring Iran. On the other hand, he linked the provision of critical weapons to Israel, with Israeli concessions on Hamas and with their agreement not to fight Hezbollah. He conditioned provision of bunker buster bombs with allowing so-called humanitarian aid through Ra’afah. Israel needs the bunker bombs to break up the tunnels from the air and making delivery of these conditional is an extraordinary thing.
The side that he deterred was Israel, not Iran. The Biden administration keeps referring to Iranian proxies but do not name Iran. Biden has said, “If there are any country or non-state actors thinking about taking action, I have one word for you, don’t.” That is what he says. That is what Blinken and Lloyd Austin are saying. However, they never said what the or else is. As you said, Lauri, they do not have an or else. The last number I read was that the United States had been attacked 23 times. Since I saw that number, they have been attacked multiple additional times. As you said, they have had almost no response to Iran. Their answer has been to coerce Israel into limiting its offensive operations against Hamas and into responding in a tit for tat fashion with Hezbollah.
We are losing soldiers. We have been losing soldiers in the north. My neighbor, my friend’s son was killed in the North in a tank accident on Sunday night. You could say, well, he was in an accident. However, we have had four or five soldiers killed by Hezbollah fire since October 7th. We are the ones who are being deterred by the Americans. I mean, this is just ridiculous. He is not deterring Iran. The Houthis in Yemen just declared war on Israel. There is no deterrence here, it is a joke.
Lauri: There was actually a young man from Maryland who was also killed up north.
Carolyn: That’s right, Omer Balva. I went to his shiva as well. They are a great family.
Lauri: Horrible. Let me ask you something. Jonathan Schanzer and some of the folks at Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) have made the suggestion that Iran may very well decide not to green light Hezbollah. This is because it serves as an important deterrent to an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. What are your thoughts on that? I would like to believe that it is true.
Carolyn: Well, we would all like to believe that that is true. We also wanted to believe that Hamas was deterred on October 7th, but that was not true. We would also like to believe that Biden has Israel’s back, but that does not seem to be true. From our perspective and our thinking, what makes sense for Iran to do does not mean that that is how Iran sees it. We certainly cannot bet on it. You cannot build a strategy for fighting a war based on an assessment by some guy in Washington who may or may not be right. Maybe he is right. It makes sense to me, but I am not Ali Khamenei.
Lauri: My next concern is the push for a ceasefire. We know one of Iran’s goals was to undermine normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Carolyn: Its goal was also to kill Jews and to destroy Israel. We saw their strike plans in documents and also learned of them from statements by terrorists captured after the October 7th attacks. First, you have to understand that Hamas screwed up. This is a theory that Moti Kedar and others have put forward and it seems substantiated by events. The theory is Hamas was not supposed to attack on October 7th. In the months preceding the attacks, Qaani, the head of the Al-Quds force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps and Soleimani’s replacement, held multiple meetings in Beirut with Hamas and Hezbollah leaders. The goal was to have a coordinated Hamas and Hezbollah assault on Israel. They were both supposed to operate in the same way. They would invade Israel, slaughter Israelis and move on. They were supposed to seize territory, and to effectively cut off central Israel from the rest of the country. Thousands of terrorists were supposed to take over southern and northern Israel, to block access to air force bases and mobilization points and to take hostages. With thousands of hostages in Lebanon and in Gaza, and thousands of terrorists from Hezbollah and Hamas in northern and southern Israel, we would not have been able to reach our air bases. We would not have been able to mobilize our forces who that would be cut off from one another because of terrorists swarming our territory and Israel would collapse.
That was the master plan but it was diverted because of the Nova Music Festival. The workers from Gaza brought back the advertisements for the Nova Music Festival. The slobbering, bloodthirsty monsters in Gaza knew there were going to be thousands of sexy, drunk, drugged out, young Israeli women and men dancing in plain sight across the border from them. This was raw meat to a lion. They jumped the gun and invaded Israel early. They assumed that Hezbollah would join them. Then they got so excited by the murders that they forgot the rest of the program. They got stuck slaughtering Jews and raping women at the music festival and in the kibbutzim and they did not advance. In those three hours, all they were doing was slaughtering and first responders in the local guards began killing them on their front lawns. People like Elhanan Klemenson from Otniel and his brother and brother-in-law came down to the South to fight Hamas. Israeli reservists from counter terror units came together and operated without instruction from higher-ups in the IDF. They put themselves in the line of fire, killed terrorists and saved people. They said that the Klemenson brothers saved the upwards of 40 percent of the survivors of the massacre at Be’eri. These three men came from their houses on Simchat Torah because they heard what was happening. They just came and they did it. Fathers of girls who were stuck at the music festival came down to save their daughters and at the same time saved dozens and dozens more young people from the slaughter. You had these acts of incredible courage by Israeli civilians, reservists and counter-terror commandos. They stopped the invasion. They killed over a thousand terrorists and gave the IDF time to come to its senses. The helicopters up in the air first were conducting unauthorized flights because the Air Force headquarters was not giving them permission to take off. They took off on their own against the orders that they received from Air Force headquarters which was in a state of shock. It was because of the courage of these people that Israel survived. They blocked the invasion. If was already afternoon by the time the army was able to get together and start bringing in the forces. If Hamas had been able to advance to take over the Southern Command or bases in central Israel, we would have been in a completely different situation because then Hezbollah probably would have come in.
Hezbollah in the north, however, saw Hamas was not advancing. They saw the IDF was coming to its senses. Probably this is what informed the decision by Hassan Nasrallah not to join the invasion on October 7th. We had a miracle happen because they saw the raw meat at the Nova Festival. This sounds crazy, but that appears to be the most reasonable theory of why Hezbollah did not join the attack and why we can actually be on the offensive now instead of being in a state of national collapse.
Lauri: I was not aware of that and it is really interesting. Now we are on the offensive and we know what that means from the international opinion standpoint. We are already hearing condemnations and screams and yells. I’m not talking about the idiots on the street, the students and the pro-Hamas people on the streets. I am talking about the UN and about some Western nations. I’m even talking about the Biden administration that called for a pause yesterday, a euphemism for a form of ceasefire.
Back in 2014, during Operation Protective Edge, Obama and Kerry did the same thing. Thomas Sowell wrote at the time, “If this was the first outbreak of violence between the Palestinians and the Israelis, such hopes might make sense. But where have the US, Kerry and Obama been during all these decades of endlessly repeated Middle East carnage?” He also noted that when Hamas and other terrorist groups launch an attack on Israel, they know in advance, that whatever Israel does in response will be limited by cause for a ceasefire. What do you say to people who call for Israel’s response to be proportional for Israel to follow international law? I don’t even know what that means in the face of these animals who certainly committed war crimes. Can you address this? How does Israel finish the job with this pressure?
Carolyn: It really depends on how the Republicans behave right now. Republicans finally got their act together and elected a Speaker of the House. That was a big relief for me, because now at least they’re capable of acting. I think they really need to. I think that the Americans to a degree have us by the throat, because they are the source of all of the ordinance for the Air Force. They are the source for a very large portion of our artillery shells. Obviously, they are the source of the Iron Dome missiles and other things that we agreed not to manufacture as part of our 2016 military assistance agreement.
Lauri: I did not know that. What the Biden administration has been doing is conditioning the transfer of these ordinances. We will receive the weaponry we need if we make concessions to Hamas and agree not to preemptively strike Hezbollah. I do not know what they are requiring with respect to Yemen now that we are being attacked by cruise missiles from there. I imagine the Iranians and Houthis have the advantage with respect to the number of cruise missiles they have versus the number we have. It seems to me that reliance on missile defense for this sort of thing is insane. I do not know what their policies are related to the Houthis. I imagine their policy with respect to preemptive strikes against Iran remains as hostile as it has been since the Obama years.
Given the current scenario, what can the Republicans do? I know the Republicans are looking at this as a way to leverage the popularity of support for Israel, just as Biden is. The Republicans may also see it as a way to help enforce border security and defund or limit funding of the IRS. Biden tried the cynical ploy of using the support the American people have for Israel as a means to force Congress to give an additional 60 billion dollars to the Ukrainians. I think that the most important thing that Republicans can do is to pass legislation funding Israel without conditions. They should not allow the President to place conditions on the transfer of the munitions. The $14 billion in ordinance and other things that we need to fight successfully, should be transferred to Israel without conditions. Congress should work to limit the administration’s ability to interfere with Israel’s operations.
As an aside, Biden has also promised to veto the current proposed legislation since it reduced IRS funding in order in favor of Israel. He said if the IRS funding is tied to Israeli funding, he will veto that bill. I would like to see him do that.
Carolyn: I agree with you. I think it would be very difficult for him to veto aid to Israel. I would insist, that there are no conditions on the transfer of the arms to Israel. While other aspects of the legislation may be negotiable, that change stays in. I think the most essential thing Israel’s supporters in the United States can do is to block Biden’s efforts to undermine Israel’s operational freedom. The Biden administration must not succeed in holding the aid hostage to American operational dictates that undermine Israel’s war effort. That would be my very urgent ask from the Republicans.
Lauri: We are working on the Hill and we will definitely make sure that that is part of what we discuss with the congressional offices. You had brought up humanitarian aid before and I want to just touch on that topic. Biden has not only pledged a hundred million dollars of US taxpayer for Gaza, but is also calling for pauses in order for humanitarian aid to come into the strip. You wrote a column called Biden’s Impossible Demand and you stated, “Israel’s only chance of achieving its imperative of destroying Hamas as a military organization and a regime is to reject Biden’s demand and block all resupply to Hamas.” Can you elaborate on how Israel is supposed to deal with this pressure for humanitarian aid, which we’re just hearing from all directions?
Carolyn: I think we have to make Gaza much smaller. I think that we need to extend our sovereignty to an area that includes the international border with Egypt. It has to include a buffer zone of a few kilometers, both north to south and also east to west, to keep Hamas away from Ashkelon and from the border community. I think that a truncated Gaza, hopefully with a new rebuild in Gush Katif and the communities of Northern Gaza, would be the way to ensure that everybody sees the invasion of Israel brought catastrophe on the Palestinian people. Of course, the United States is doing everything in its power not only to block that from happening, but also to empower Hamas’s partner, the PA in Judea and Samaria. They are working to limit and undermine Israel’s military operations in Judea and Samaria against the same terrorists who attacked us in Gaza. To this end, Biden has a campaign of demonizing Jewish Israeli citizens like myself who live in Judea and Samaria. He and Blinken continually refer to us as extremist settlers. They coerce and push the government to take action against us. They are playing with fire here because it is very clear the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria are poised, inspired, empowered and emboldened to replay what they did to the border communities along the border with Gaza. By demonizing the Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria, Biden is signaling very clearly to the Palestinian Authority and to the Palestinians here, all of whom openly support Hamas, that the United States is with them. That is a very dangerous state of affairs and it is important to point it out.
The humanitarian aid thing again this is just resupplying Hamas. When outlets like CNN ask senior US national security officials how to ensure Hamas will not take control of the aid, they have no answer. Bear in mind, CNN is not known for its sympathy toward Israel. They do not have answers because it is all a lie and there is no aid coming in for humanitarian purposes. It is all going to Hamas who doles it out anywhere they want. The whole idea that the UN is an independent actor is a myth. Not only are UN installations routinely used by Hamas as missile launching sites and as places to hide their terrorists, 90% of UNRWA employees are Hamas members. UNRWA and Hamas are one. The United States, and elements of the Israeli left as well, have seen it as very convenient to pretend this reality away. This pretense does not make it any less true. It is absolutely true and very dangerous.
Lauri: I want to try and address a couple of audience questions before we have to go. One person seems to be upset that we did not focus on Bibi’s allowing Qatar money to come in and on his other failures. I just want to point out that the topic of this webinar was US policy leading up to, and after, October 7th. That is why US policy has been the focus of our discussion. We recognize that there were intelligence failures and other failures on Israel’s end as well.
Someone asked Carolyn why Israel is so anxious to avoid using this opportunity to destroy Hezbollah and the Iran nuclear program. If Israel does not have the military capacity to fight both enemies at once, they asked, what was point of threatening to end Iran’s nuclear program with kinetic actions in the first place.
Carolyn: You got me. I mean, I think that now is the time to strike Iran as well. I just do not know what our capabilities are. We were all flabbergasted by what we saw from the IDF on October 7th. It is terrifying. It was like the state of Israel and the IDF disappeared for many hours when they were most critically needed. Nobody understands how this was possible. Even now, nobody understands how it was possible, except that we are led by politicians in uniforms and they were playing key roles in the left’s insurrection. The commander of the Air Force never spoke out against the pilots calling for the effective dismantlement of the IDF as a fighting force as long as Netanyahu was prime minister. This was an attempted military coup and it was supported from the inside by the commander of the Air Force, Tomer Bar. It was supported by Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel Military Intelligence as well. Even today, after the biggest most colossal failure in Israeli intelligence history, this man has not resigned, and today gave a speech attacking Netanyahu. He contradicted Netanyahu’s proclamation that Israel is fighting an existential war. Haliva asserted that Israel’s existence is not in danger. Rather, Israelis are fighting a war for their lifestyles and for their ability to go out into the fields. The 1,500 Israelis who were slaughtered on October 7th or the 240 Israelis who are hostages inside of Gaza would not agree that this is not a war for Israel’s existence.
Haliva is still acting as an opposition politician inside of the IDF general staff in the middle of a war which resulted from his personal failure as intelligence chief. But now, what are we doing? What are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to fire the chief of staff of the IDF in the middle of the war? We cannot. I think we should fire him. I think we should fire the commander of the Air Force, but who’s going to replace him? We have a very huge problem with our senior military leadership.
Now, there have been reports now that they received warning at four o’clock in the morning that an invasion was coming. They did not inform the prime minister or the defense minister. Worse, they didn’t inform the Gaza division so that they could wake up the soldiers. We had hundreds of soldiers killed while they were asleep because they were not woken up. I mean, these are things that are impossible to get your head around. Everybody keeps saying, we will talk about it after the war. We have to win the war. It is true, but we are seeing active engagement by US officials, Marine leaders and the deputy commandant of the Marine Corps in the area. Why? All of these things are unprecedented. The American footprint here is enormous. If you look at the nature of this administration and its hostility towards the very concept of a strategically independent, empowered Israel, it becomes a source of alarm. I agree, it would be good if we could actually have this discussion about what happened inside of Israel that fomented this colossal failure.
Netanyahu’s role in this also has to be examined. Personally, I blame him only in the sense that if he was unable to get rid of these treacherous generals and general staff, then he should not have run for re-election. If he was not going to be able to reign them in, then why did he tell us he was? If he was not competent to lead the country, why did he run again? We were sure he was going to be able to handle it and he did not. That is the main source of my anger at Netanyahu. I do not understand why he thought he could deal with the general staff after he had not managed to do so in all these years. I do not understand why he thought something would change after he had been demonized and railroaded into fake criminal charges. Anyway, it is obviously a very emotional time in Israel and there is a lot of frustration and an enormous amount of fear.
We know we have to win this war. We know Netanyahu is right and Aharon Haliva is not. This is an existential battle and if we do not win this, our days are numbered. Look at what is happening to the Jews all over the world. It is obvious that the very survival of the Jewish people here and in the diaspora, is entirely wrapped up with us winning this war. If we do not, the kids at Harvard Yard and in the Quad in Columbia and in Dagestan and in France and in London, have no future. Neither do any of our kids. It is a terrifying time. Yeah, there is a lot of emotion. There is also a lot of resolve here among the Israeli people. The vast, overwhelming majority of Israelis get it and understand that we have to win. At the same time, we have all of these actors coming in from America, from the left, from all of these places and trying to undermine the resolution and to try to undermine our capacity to actually win.
To be clear, we need to make maximum use of our friends on the Hill. What’s the point of being pro-Israel if you can’t help when we need it? Let us win this war. We have to win it. Help us, give us the means to do it. Block the administration from doing what they’re doing to undermine our capacity to win. Everything is on the line.
I cannot underline it strongly enough.
Lauri: Yeah, one of the things I love about talking to you, Carolyn, is your passion. This was a wakeup call for American Jews as well. How long they stay on-board and what they do when they go to vote in 2024, is something I have less confidence in. I have a great deal of confidence in the Israeli people. You are on the front lines. You are the canary in the coal mine. Your survival is dependent on yourselves. We are all dependent on you. It is not just the Jews but it is the West as well. Western civilization is dependent on Israel winning this war. God bless you for everything you’re doing and our thoughts and prayers are with you and everyone in Israel. I cannot thank you enough.
Thank you so much, Carolyn, as always. Thoughts and prayers.
Carolyn: Thank you.
Lauri: Thank you all for joining. Have a good afternoon.
Is Israel’s Northern Border Heating Up? Transcript
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