Media: Israel Must Be Denigrated for Its World-Beating Vaccination Programme

Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 12 January 2021. © Richard Kemp

Prejudice against the Jewish state is so intense in the Western media that praiseworthy actions guaranteed to hit the headlines if attributable to any other country are frequently ignored, diminished or denigrated when it comes to Israel. When there is a disaster anywhere in the world, for example, Israel is often the first, or among the first, to offer assistance and send in relief workers. Most recently, last month the Israel Defence Forces dispatched a team to Honduras following the devastation of category 4 hurricanes Eta and Iota which left thousands homeless.

In the last 15 years IDF relief missions have deployed in Albania, Brazil, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, Ghana, Bulgaria, Turkey, Japan, Columbia, Haiti, Kenya, the US, Sri Lanka and Egypt — and many other countries in the years before.

Under Operation Good Neighbour, between 2016 and 2018, the IDF set up field hospitals on the Syrian border to treat civilians wounded by violence in their country and sent vital supplies directly into Syria, a nation which is at war with Israel, to help suffering people there.

Few outside Israel, Jewish communities around the world and the places that have benefited from IDF assistance have any idea of any of this because the media is not interested. In some cases, news items about countries contributing teams to disaster relief have omitted Israel despite knowing the IDF was playing an important role.

The same negative policy extends to other major benefits that Israel has brought to the world, including scientific innovation, medical technology and life-saving intelligence. It goes against editorial Continue reading

The Nature of Courage

Letter to the editor of The Times, published 5 January 2020. © Richard Kemp

Sir, Max Hastings claims that moral courage is ‘far more valuable’ than physical courage. Both are indispensable virtues in any society. The potential hazards of moral courage can be serious: humiliation, rejection or perhaps loss of friendships or opportunity. But they cannot be compared to the extreme risks of physical courage in battle. Courage under enemy fire is by definition life-threatening. There can be no greater act of courage than to deliberately jeopardise your own life, knowing you could be giving up your very existence, everything you ever had and could ever have or hope for.

Max is also wrong to assert that we do not need a new generation of Spitfire pilots. Today, young soldiers from my own regiment, the Royal Anglians, are on patrol in Mali, risking life and limb as members of the most dangerous peacekeeping mission the UN has ever undertaken. Most of them enlisted with the same spirit of adventure and appetite for danger that Max dismisses in his family’s wartime generation. Thank goodness that these ‘macho men’, as he calls them, still exist. We shall have as great a need for them as ever in the dangerous years ahead.

 

We Need a Global Alliance to Defend Democracies

Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 31 December 2020. © Richard Kemp

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to use the G7 summit that Britain is hosting in 2021 to launch the ‘D10’, intended as an alliance of democracies to counter China.

His proposal is for the G7 group of leading industrialised nations to be joined by Australia, South Korea and India. The focus would be on developing 5G telecommunications technology to reduce dependence on Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party as well as reliance on essential medical supplies from China.

President-elect Joe Biden put forward a somewhat similar initiative in 2019 and it is widely believed that he plans to convene a ‘Summit for Democracies’ in 2021. It appears his intention is broader than Mr Johnson’s both in scope and participation, and that it includes promoting liberal democratic values across the world.

This raises the spectre of abortive efforts at democracy-building in the Middle East and South Asia in the years after 9/11. It would be ill-judged and it fails to recognise a changed world in which allegiance to the US has been devalued as economic incentives from China to many countries, including democracies, have significantly grown. Confidence in US leadership has also been substantially undermined by interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which today are widely regarded as failures. Under a Biden administration, many will be mindful of the Obama-era sell-out of America’s Middle East allies while accommodating the hostile Iranian ayatollahs.

In other words, while the spread and development of Western-style democracy should of course be encouraged, something of more concrete utility to national self-interest than a liberal-left world view needs to be on offer. Instead of attempting an ideological programme to duplicate American democracy around the world, the US should work with the UK on a version of Mr Johnson’s action-oriented D10 proposal, but significantly expanded in scope.

This would recognise that, despite the optimistic indulgences by foreign policy experts and politicians over decades, China will not reform to allow normal coexistence within the world order but must instead be contained. As British Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter said in a speech this month:

‘What’s needed is a catalyst somewhat like George Kennan’s “long telegram” in which he observed that peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union in 1946 was unlikely to work. This led to the Truman Doctrine of containment which provided the basis of US and Western strategy throughout the Cold War.’ Continue reading

Jihad at Christmas: ‘Coldly Kill Them with Hate and Rage’

Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 24 December 2020. © Richard Kemp

This month, Islamic State terrorists released a ‘religious’ song for Christmas, ‘Coldly Kill Them With Hate and Rage’. Taking the form of Islamic religious chant, the song, according to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute, exhorts jihadists everywhere to murder non-Muslims, ‘pagans, atheists and polytheists’, from ‘West Africa all the way to east Asia … through air, land and sea. Published on Telegram, the post includes the hashtag #MerryChristmas and a photograph of a Christmas tree with dynamite attached.

Christmas is an attractive time for jihadists for three unattractive reasons. First and foremost, they are fighting a religious war and by far their numerically greatest enemies are Christians whose most prominent festival is Christmas. Second, large crowds joining festive events and filling shopping centres present a target-rich environment. Third, publicity: mass murder at this time of year guarantees additional outrage among Western countries and Christian communities everywhere. The Islamic State song enjoins its followers to ‘make their media cry and broadcast’. The propaganda value is particularly powerful for jihadists intent on recruiting and motivating fighters and funders for their cause and creating division between communities aimed at inciting vengeance attacks against their fellow Muslims.

It would be a mistake, however, to dismiss such overt jihadist threats merely as an effort to instil terror among their targets around the world, especially in the West. They mean what they say and their past actions conclusively prove it. This week, mourners gathered to pay their respects to the 12 people killed and 56 wounded when an Islamic State terrorist drove a truck into crowds at a Christmas market in Berlin on December 19, 2016. This followed a series of jihadist terror attacks in Europe that year, including a nail-bomb planted by a 12-year-old Iraqi boy at a Christmas market in Ludwigshafen, Germany, that failed to detonate. On the first Continue reading

Terrorism: A Warning from Iran to Europe

Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 8 December 2020. © Richard Kemp

Last month the trial began in Belgium of Assadolah Assadi and three other Iranians accused of planning a bomb attack in Paris in 2018. Since 2015 Assadi had been the most senior officer of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security in Europe, at the time operating under diplomatic cover at the Iranian embassy in Vienna. He is the first Iranian government official to be tried by an EU country for terrorist offences, despite numerous attack attempts on EU soil ordered by Tehran.

State supported terrorism is not just an act in itself but also an instrument of national power and coercion. Together, these plots were a malevolent message and clear threat to Europe that unfortunately have been received and acted upon as intended in London, Berlin, Paris and Brussels.

Assadi’s failed plot was reportedly ordered by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and approved by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. His target was a rally for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, with 80,000 supporters present and attended by former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and several British and European members of parliament. The explosives, allegedly brought into Europe from Iran by Assadi on a commercial flight, were TATP, the same type as was used to kill 22 and wound 800 in a jihadist attack at the Manchester Arena, UK, in 2017 and the London 7/7 bombings that killed 52 and wounded 700 in 2005. The message was clear. In March Assadi, who has refused to attend his own trial claiming diplomatic immunity, threatened retaliation if he is convicted. The Iranian government has also warned of a ‘proportionate response’ against countries involved in the trial.

Assadi’s bombing was prevented by European security authorities using intelligence provided by Israel. Mossad previously passed Continue reading

The Killing of a Nuclear Scientist May Save Countless Lives

Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 30 November 2020. © Richard Kemp

With unfailing predictability, EU external affairs spokesman Peter Sano as well as other European Iran-appeasers rushed to condemn the targeted killing on 27 November of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. In doing so they exhibited shocking disregard for the death, destruction and suffering likely to be inflicted by the totalitarian Iranian regime utilising the pernicious expertise of Mr Fakhrizadeh.

From across the Atlantic they were joined by, among others, former CIA Director John O. Brennan, who described the killing as ‘state-sponsored terrorism’ and ‘a flagrant violation of international law’. Yet Mr Brennan was in the White House Situation Room in 2011 when the US launched an operation to kill Osama bin Laden on Pakistani sovereign territory. Presumably he was not whispering into President Barack Obama’s ear that SEAL Team Six were violating international law.

As Obama’s counter-terrorism adviser and then Director of the CIA, Mr Brennan also presided over and publicly justified an extensive programme of CIA targeted killing by drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere. Some years earlier, I was in meetings with Mr Brennan when he extolled the utility and legitimacy of targeted killings against terrorists.

In an apparent attempt to reconcile his stance now with his roles and moral position while in government, Mr Brennan described Mr Fakhrizadeh’s elimination as ‘far different than strikes against terrorist leaders & operatives of groups like Al Qaida and Islamic State’.

Although pronouncing this targeted killing illegal, Mr Brennan’s objections seem to focus more on fear of the ‘lethal retaliation and a new round of regional conflict’ that he considers likely. There is also the apparent subtext, shared by many others on the left, of concern Continue reading

Liberal elites love overseas aid, but it’s guns and hard power that guarantee Britain’s global role

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 20 November 2020. © Richard Kemp

This week’s increase to the defence budget of £16.5 billion over four years will give the British armed forces a much-needed shot in the arm after decades of deep cuts by successive governments. This cash must come from somewhere as we confront the economic devastation wrought by coronavirus. One source is the overseas aid budget where the Government has signalled a likely reduction.

That is like a red rag to a bull, including to those who argue that military capability will be bought at the expense of strategic influence overseas assistance provides. We should of course do what we can to support under-developed countries. But the soft power-hard power argument doesn’t stand up and as we don’t have unlimited resources for both, military power must win out. The concept of soft power is vague, unquantified and necessarily unfocused. The aid that supposedly buys it is too often squandered in a morass of corruption. While it has political benefit, as a tool of either strategy or policy, soft power lacks significant utility unless national interests converge.

Soft power is far more attractive to liberal policy establishments than the hard power of coercive force. But it doesn’t cut any ice with those who would do us harm. How effective was soft power in preventing Russian aggression in Eastern Europe or poisoners in Salisbury? How much influence does it buy with China and its imperialist expansion in the South China Sea or industrial-scale theft of intellectual property? Did French aid to Turkey, which has been one of its top ten beneficiaries, give pause to President Erdogan when he insulted President Macron and appeared to incite attacks against France? A direct example is the Taliban campaign in Afghanistan. Instead of being persuaded by soft power to support our efforts against jihadists, the government of Pakistan pocketed our aid payments while spending profusely on funding, supporting and harbouring terrorists who were trying to kill our soldiers.

Intelligence, coercive diplomacy and military power, on the other hand, have direct utility in the defence of our national interests, in deterring conflict, and in global influence from which flows economic benefit. This also remains true for our relations in Europe, especially post Brexit. And Britain retains its special relationship with the world’s greatest superpower. Those that deny it often do so to denigrate our global standing. Marching shoulder to shoulder with the US in every conflict since Vietnam has not only given us influence in Washington DC, but in countries around the world who recognise Britain’s value as a conduit to America. Continue reading

DON’T LET COVID KILL REMEMBRANCE DAY

A version of this article was published in The Daily Express on 2 November 2020. © Richard Kemp

The first Remembrance event was in 1919, as the worst pandemic suffered by Britain in modern times, killing 228,000 Britons, subsided. Nothing would deter our forbears, who had also just endured the most devastating conflict this country has ever known, with nearly a million dead, from commemorating those who gave their all.

How did Hitler’s war, with its vicious aerial bombing in London and across much of the country, affect those who wished to commemorate the fallen? They didn’t think of cancelling Remembrance, even as thousands were killed and wounded and whole streets of houses were laid waste by Nazi bombs. Instead they held their heads high and conceded only to move it to Sunday to minimise impact on war production.

Their message to us is clear: don’t let Covid kill Remembrance Sunday.

We owe our freedom and our very way of life to those who gave everything they ever had or would ever have, whether in Helmand, Basra, Belfast, at Imjin, Kohima, Normandy, Alamein, Dunkirk, in the Atlantic and the Pacific, on the Somme, at Ypres or any of the hundreds of battlefields across the world where British forces fought and died for us.

This week in 1917, the horrific Battle of Passchendaele was raging. My great uncle, 2nd Lieutenant Philip Duncan, was killed there, having twisted the rules to get into the fight for his country’s life. On Remembrance Sunday I shall remember him and the thousands of other British troops that died in the mud alongside him.

This Remembrance Sunday we must hold parades and ceremonies at our war memorials across the country as we have done for over a Continue reading

We can’t let Erdogan get away with his incendiary behaviour

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 30 October 2020. © Richard Kemp

Yesterday, three days after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan savagely condemned President Emmanuel Macron’s brave stand against radical Islamism in the wake of the jihadist beheading of schoolteacher Samuel Paty in Paris, there were violent attacks in France and at the French consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In Nice, a woman was beheaded and two others killed. In Jeddah a knifeman stabbed a guard outside the French consulate.

Erdogan, purportedly incensed by Macron’s intention to bring in legislation restraining the spread of radical Islamism in the wake of the schoolteacher’s murder, said the French president needed ‘mental treatment’ and called for the boycott of French consumer products. He likened France’s treatment of Muslims to the brutal repression of Jews in Germany before the Second World War.

Erdogan is a hard-line Islamist and he must have known the effect these words would have when uttered on the world stage. He may not have ordered the attacks in France but his incendiary bombast surely made them far more likely.

Erdogan’s AKP party is a reformatted version of the now banned National Salvation Party, which advanced a violent Islamist ideology. The AKP has a thin pro-Western and pro-democracy veneer, designed to camouflage an anti-democratic and de-secularising agenda.

This they have been fulfilling, locking up political opponents, undermining secular education, clamping down on public protests, seeking to harness the judiciary, controlling social media, marginalising the Western-influenced armed forces and throwing journalists into jail. In one of Erdogan’s most provocative acts, in Continue reading

The End of Appeasement in Britain?

Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 14 October 2020. © Richard Kemp

‘This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’ Winston Churchill’s words following the British victory over Germany in the Battle of Egypt in November 1942 might also describe recent political developments in Britain’s modern-day culture wars. For many decades, British society has been subjected to an almost continuous assault on our history, our way of life and our national institutions by the hard left.

The centre and right became so demoralised by this highly successful campaign that for years their response was appeasement, the very policy Churchill warned against so frequently when the fascist mirror image of this ideology threatened us in the 1930s. Now there are the glimmering signs of a fightback against the progressive liberal consensus that resulted, engulfing many mainstream politicians, the judiciary, civil service, much of the media, big business and education.

The inspiration for this fightback came when the voice of the no-longer-silent majority, exasperated by the progressive erosion of national sovereignty and the very fabric of democracy by the European Union, finally made itself heard in the Brexit referendum of 2016. The victory was narrow, but it should be remembered that the referendum was dominated by a campaign of fear and disinformation by every mainstream political party, virtually all national and international institutions and much of the media. Even the President of the United States, Barack Obama, came to London threatening to send us to ‘the back of the queue’ on trade if we dared cast off the EU. As planned, this onslaught intimidated huge numbers into voting remain. In reality, therefore, far more than the 51.9% who had the courage to vote leave were in favour of rejecting the plot to turn our country into a mere province of the putative European superstate.

Implementation of the referendum result faltered under Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, which seemed intent on ignoring the democratic will through BRINO — ‘Brexit in name only’. But last year, the peoples’ voice again thundered in her successor Boris Johnson’s landslide general election victory. It saw the collapse of the ‘red wall’ in northern England, with numerous long-held Labour constituencies defecting to the Conservative vote.

Despite the immense damage being inflicted by the Coronavirus pandemic, these developments seem to have begun to restore confidence among the centre and right. In recent days, the government announced plans to appoint conservative figures to two roles: the chairman of the BBC and the head of the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. Why do these seemingly trivial Continue reading

Security – Defence – Intelligence – Counter Terrorism