Spain is now Europe’s most despicable nation

Article published in The Sunday Telegraph, 8 June 2024. © Richard Kemp

Spain’s hard-Left pile-on against Israel is a foretaste of dangerous things to come under a Labour government in Britain. Madrid is the latest capital to join South Africa’s obscene accusation of genocide at the International Court of Justice. This twisted charge comes straight out of the Soviet playbook which denounced the Jewish state for the same alleged crime in the 1970s. It is intended to taunt and vilify a country that was built to a large extent by survivors of an actual genocide, and is today fighting against a terrorist army whose very charter calls for the genocide of the Jews and the destruction of Israel.

Indeed, Hamas demands ‘the full and complete liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea’, meaning the replacement of the State of Israel by an Islamic state. These words, often heard from the mouth of Yahya Sinwar, the terrorist leader who planned and led Hamas’s slaughter on October 7, were precisely echoed the other day by Spain’s deputy prime minister Yolanda Díaz when she herself said ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’.

It is a sign of the depths to which Pedro Sanchez’s government has descended that one of his ministers should be repeating such slogans.

Here in Britain we can expect similar levels of depravity if Labour wins the election in July. The party manifesto is set to include recognising a Palestinian state, in the wake of Spain’s decision to do so along with other European governments. This has been hailed as vindication of its ‘resistance’. But what has Palestinian ‘resistance’ entailed so far? The murder, torture, rape and abduction of Israelis. Just yesterday, Israeli hostages were freed in a reminder of Hamas’ brutality and vindication of Israel’s continued operations in Gaza.

Labour recognition of a Palestinian state will achieve nothing whatsoever beyond mollifying anti-Israel voters and rewarding terrorism. It certainly won’t bring any progress towards the two-state solution Starmer says he wants, something that can only be brought about by agreement between Israel and Hamas.

But it will have immense costs. Contrary to any hope Starmer might have that appeasing Hamas in this way might lead to peace, it will in Continue reading

It’s time for Joe Biden to put his money where his mouth is and stand up to Vladimir Putin

Article published in The Daily Express, 6 June 2024. © Richard Kemp

Vladimir Putin was not invited to the 80th anniversary commemoration of D-Day. But he was an honoured guest at the 70th in 2014, even though just months earlier his forces had invaded Ukraine the first time. His presence at Normandy then symbolised the West’s preference for appeasement over confrontation. In the face of Putin’s aggression, we imposed sanctions that Russia shrugged off, went through the motions of ineffective deal-making and returned as quickly as possible to business as usual — opening the door to a follow-up invasion in February 2022.

And the door was wide open when Putin marched in. European nations had shown him their abject weakness, failing to make any attempt to re-arm following the 2014 invasion or any of Putin’s other aggressions. And Biden opened it wider still with his abandonment of an ally of 20 years by catastrophically pulling out of Afghanistan in 2021, signalling to Putin he had nothing to fear from the White House.

In his speech at Normandy on Thursday, Biden told us: ‘Hitler and those with him thought democracies were weak and the future belonged to dictators.’ He went on to speak about the need now to stand up against present-day despots like Putin. Biden and his allies might talk the talk but they are certainly not walking the walk. After more than two years of war, Ukraine is still in dire straits, with NATO nations failing to provide anything like sufficient combat power to enable it to push the Russians back.

Nor are Biden and his European allies making any serious effort to present a united front against that other anti-Western despot and Putin collaborator, Ayatollah Khamanei in Iran, whose proxies including Hamas and Hizballah are violently attacking our Israeli allies. Instead they have been doing all they can to restrain Jerusalem from achieving victory over its attackers. On top of that, desperate to appease Khamanei, they have failed to take any serious action to prevent Iranian export of attack drones to Russia and done their best to turn a blind eye to Tehran’s accelerating nuclear weapons programme. Continue reading

Russia just suffered its deadliest day – and it will only get worse now thanks to the UK

Article published in The Daily Express, 5 June 2024. © Richard Kemp

On Tuesday bidding was opened by the British government to provide drones to Ukraine that might have a major influence on the course of the war.

The UK and Latvia are leading nine other states in a programme to supply large numbers of ‘first person view’ (FPV) drones to Ukraine, leveraging Western industrial capacity. These are small quadcopter drones controlled directly by an operator using the system’s camera to hit the target with explosives.

FPV drones have had a major impact on the battlefield in this conflict and have been used to target armoured vehicles, defensive bunkers, infantry soldiers and ships. The Ukrainian Army now has a dedicated drone force, and most frontline units have specialist operators assigned to carry out surveillance of enemy forces and strike them with explosives.

Ukrainian drones have played a significant role in slowing the current Russian offensive in the Kharkov area, which now appears to be bogged down. I observed them in action at Bakhmut last year and saw first hand their remarkable accuracy and killing power against Russian troops, as well as their ability to coordinate with other combat forces to help direct artillery and armour against the enemy.

Drones are of course used by the Russians as well, and are notoriously hard to defend against. We have seen the devastating effects of Hizballah drones in northern Israel only this week, against a country that probably has the best air defences in the world.

Stopping them before they go into action is therefore extremely important, including in manufacturing, transportation and storage facilities.

The Pentagon recently lifted restrictions against using US supplied weapons against Russian territory, but only in specific areas. Continue reading

Australia needs to do better

Article published in The Sydney Jewish Report, 4 June 2024. © Richard Kemp

Australians can take immense pride from the critical role their country played in the re-creation of the State of Israel. Without the fighting prowess and blood sacrifice of the ANZACs, who defeated the Ottoman Empire alongside the British and other armies in the First World War, the Jewish state could not have emerged 30 years later. In the face of British opposition, Australia was also the first country to vote in favour of the UN Partition Plan which led directly to Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

In the intervening years Australia has been one of Israel’s staunchest friends anywhere. But visiting Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra in the last few weeks I have seen a somewhat different story, with Hamas supporting mobs in the streets and on university campuses. Like many others around the world, the Australian government has rounded on Israel as it is fighting a war on seven fronts that so far has lasted only about a month less than the 1948 Independence War. I spoke to a rabbi in Sydney who recounted how the Prime Minister told him that Israel is fighting the war all wrong. Mr Albanese did not, apparently, offer a view on how it should be done differently. That’s not surprising: I’ve met many politicians, military experts and academics who make the same complaint but not one has any solution to offer beyond platitudes about ‘negotiated solutions’ and ‘world peace’.

In any case it’s not about how the war is fought; all this anti-Israel noise is about the country’s very legitimacy. Decades of political warfare against Israel, the most successful slur campaign in history, has created an almost unshakeable narrative that the Jews stole Arab land, illegally occupy Palestinian territory, practice apartheid and are trying to perpetrate a genocide. This is of course all lies, every single part of it. But it is widely believed, even among some politicians who should know better. Under this narrative, whatever happens to Israel, even 7 October, it has it coming.  Whatever Israel does in self-defence is wrong.

Therefore the IDF is repeatedly accused in the media, on campuses, by the UN and so-called human rights bodies, of indiscriminately killing civilians and depriving them of humanitarian aid. Both are lies. Continue reading

Angela Rayner has confirmed that Labour is the idiot party

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 4 June 2024. © Richard Kemp

You might think in the run up to the general election Labour would be able to get its act together on one of the areas where many voters have traditionally trusted the party the least. But as Keir Starmer tries hard to burnish his credentials on defence and to distance himself from Corbyn, his deputy, Angela Rayner, comes out with an opposing view.

To much fanfare, Starmer announced his ‘triple lock’ commitment on nuclear defence, which in reality seems no different to current Tory policy of maintaining the nuclear deterrent, building four new subs and making upgrades when necessary. But shortly after he claimed his commitment to the nuclear deterrent was ‘absolute”, Rayner announced she wants to rid the world of it. She said she seeks multilateral disarmament but has never supported unilateral disarmament. History tells a different story. In 2016 she, and many other members of her party, voted not to renew Britain’s nuclear deterrent, which very much amounts to unilateral disarmament.

In the face of this Labour record, Starmer was forced to flex his muscles, insisting that as prime minister he would be calling the shots on the nuclear deterrent. That might not be so easy, with a dozen other members of his current front bench team among those who voted the same way as Rayner over renewing the deterrent, including his shadow foreign secretary. David Lammy claims to have changed his mind after seeing how Ukraine got invaded by Russia. That’s a somewhat curious justification for his u-turn given that Putin first invaded Ukraine in 2014, two years before Lammy was voting in parliament for unilateral disarmament of our own country.

With the eye-watering sums needed to maintain the deterrent into the future, can we really believe that a government with so many ministers seemingly ready to change tack on such a fundamental issue as nuclear defence will stick by it at the expense of other spending demands to which they are much more ideologically attached? Rayner herself tweeted about the vote to renew the Trident nuclear capability in 2016: ‘Amazed we can find money for this but we steal £30 a week off disabled people.’ Continue reading

Protesters are pawns in anti-Western agenda

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 28 May 2024. © Richard Kemp

It seems the students of Sydney University’s Gaza encampment have gone full Hamas — at least in terms of their social norms. Certainly the toxic patriarchy is alive and well. I was having a conversation with two young women sitting in a gazebo at the camp entrance when the male heavies turned up and stood right in front of them, ordering their silence. The women meekly complied with their masters.

They should have known better anyway. Just like inside Gaza, free speech is not allowed on the encampment. Perhaps the campus rabble rousers are afraid their minions will say too much about their real agenda or reveal their lack of knowledge about what they are actually ‘protesting’ about. What river? What sea? Often they have no idea. And what does ‘Palestine will be free’ actually mean? The reality, perhaps better not stated publicly on an Australian university campus, is the annihilation of Israel. And as for freedom among the Arab population in any future ‘State of Palestine’ there will be none. Certainly ordinary Arabs have no freedom under Hamas in Gaza or Palestinian Authority rule in the West Bank. No elections, no human rights; any dissent or protest viciously crushed. In fact the greatest freedom, rights and prosperity for ordinary Arabs anywhere in the Middle East is among those who live inside Israel, which explains why virtually none of them have any desire to live anywhere else in the region, least of all in Gaza or the West Bank.

But of course the encampment protesters know nothing of this as they parrot their slogans about apartheid and genocide. When I was at the University of Sydney a few years ago to give a talk about application of the laws of war, I was welcomed with chants about Israeli genocide. Talking to the protesters then, none had a clue what it meant. And this time when I asked some of the students the meaning of the word, I was told it was defined as ‘the IDF killing people’.

Of course the obscenity of South Africa’s accusation against Israel of genocide at the International Court of Justice just fuels the anti-Israel protests at places like Sydney Univeristy. That will be reinforced by the court’s latest orders to Israel not to commit genocide in Gaza, which it has not been doing and will not do. As with the ICJ’s original order in this conflict, it has already been seized on and deliberately misinterpreted by the anti-Israel mobs as implying the IDF is in fact committing genocide. This unnecessary and ambiguously worded order is highly dangerous. It invigorates Jew hate on the campuses and in the streets, and even worse, it strengthens Hamas, which welcomed the ruling, reducing the prospects of hostage release by negotiation and encouraging the terrorists to fight on, prolonging the war and increasing violence.

There is certainly genocidal intent in Gaza but it is by Hamas, whose charter spells out in black and white the need to cleanse the land of Jews and kill Jews everywhere. Its actions on 7 October prove these are not mere words.

The opposite is true for Israel. I have been inside Gaza several times since this war began and have witnessed the extraordinary measures the IDF takes to minimise the deaths of innocent civilians, Continue reading

Biden’s cynical Rafah obsession only strengthens Hamas

Article published by,  14 May 2024. © Richard Kemp

Biden’s cynical obsession with preventing Israel from finishing off Hamas in a major offensive in Rafah will have the opposite effect from the one he intends. His analysis of US electoral projections has convinced him that he must be seen to stand against Israel as the voting intentions of some of his supporters, especially young people, will be damaging to his prospects for a second term unless there is a course correction.

Thus we have seen direct public attacks on Netanyahu and his cabinet by Biden and his supporters such as Chuck Schumer, outrageously calling for replacement of the democratically-elected government of an allied country. There was the failure in March to veto UN Security Council Resolution 2728 demanding a cease-fire without linkage to hostage release.

Then there have been repeated false accusations of Israel blocking aid into Gaza and creating famine. We have seen Biden’s unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations of the IDF going ‘over the top’ in attacks against Hamas in Gaza.

The Biden administration has threatened to sanction an IDF unit on the basis of information supplied by a hostile American NGO with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood of which Hamas is an offshoot. There are even suspicions that Biden encouraged an International Criminal Court plan to issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu, his defense minister and military chief of staff.

In the last couple of days, the State Department reported to Congress its suspicions that Israel has breached the laws of war in Gaza, while stopping short of making any conclusive accusation. Such a public attempt to vitiate a close American ally at war must be almost unprecedented.

Most damningly of all is Biden’s withholding supplies of some armaments to Israel, including precision-guided munitions. This from a man who said in 2019 that any such action would be ‘absolutely preposterous’ and ‘beyond comprehension’. Continue reading

Hamas will be destroyed in Rafah, against the wishes of the West

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 7 May 2024. © Richard Kemp

Hamas’s agreement on Monday to a ceasefire deal that was never on the table was yet another ruse to buy time and build international pressure to halt a major IDF operation in Rafah. It was a sign of the terrorists’ desperation to prevent the destruction of their final stronghold. An IDF move into Rafah has been delayed far too long. It is the result of months of fruitless negotiations over release of hostages that never showed any sign of materialising. Yet Israel had little option than to play along while even the smallest glimmer of hope existed.

The delay was also brought about by unbearable pressure from the US and other Israeli allies, with Biden repeatedly forbidding an attack on Rafah without what he called a ‘credible and executable plan’ to protect or evacuate the civilian population there. Similar demands were recently parroted by Lord Cameron during a visit to Jerusalem. No plan the IDF drew up ever met Biden’s stipulations, but then no plan could have done so if his real intention was to block the final destruction of Hamas amid growing concerns about adverse effects on his own electoral prospects. Of course one credible plan would have been to allow civilians to take temporary refuge through the Egyptian border into Sinai. Biden could have brought that about by pushing Cairo to agree but neither he nor any other international leader ever even raised a finger to do so. That unforgivable failure, which played right into Hamas’s hands, has contributed to many of the civilian deaths during this war and will likely lead to many more.

Now the IDF has been making preliminary moves against Rafah on the ground and from the air. Quite rightly, Jerusalem has not signalled its immediate intentions. Those may be to shape the battlefield for future large-scale operations, including spurring the civilian population to evacuate Rafah to designated humanitarian zones and adding pressure on Hamas to free the hostages. Nor is it impossible that an apparently inevitable push into Rafah might impel elements of the Hamas leadership to make good their escape from Gaza while Continue reading

Democratic nations must challenge ICC’s legal distortions for Israel’s and their own sake

Article published by,  29 April 2024. © Richard Kemp and Rafael Bardaji

Is the International Criminal Court about to issue arrest warrants for top-level Israeli political and military leaders? That is certainly the view of some legal professionals in the court’s Hague ecosystem — and perhaps as early as this week. Any indictment for international crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction cannot possibly be made with a solid legal basis in wartime.

The court has not been able to carry out any investigations on the ground in Gaza and will not be able to do so for perhaps many months. That means any such move would be politically motivated, intended to undermine Israel’s ability to defend its citizens from terrorist violence.

Given the high stakes in the region, and the direct involvement of the US in the conflict, it is inconceivable that ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan would issue indictments without the approval and maybe even the active encouragement of the White House.

With the presidential election approaching and a desire to gain votes from both supporters and opponents of Israel, Biden has been trying for months to restrain Jerusalem’s legitimate self-defense while at the same time backing its war effort. That amounts to disgraceful duplicity at a time when America’s closest ally in the Middle East needs full-throated support.

Members of Biden’s administration and his political allies have also shown extraordinary hostility to the democratically-elected prime minister of one of America’s closest allies, going back well before this war began. What better way now of heaping pressure on Israel and trying to drag down its prime minister than having the ICC-level charges at Netanyahu directly as well as his defense minister and military chief of staff?

Just the threat of such a highly dangerous move also opens up other duplicitous opportunities for Biden to coerce Israel. He can perhaps Continue reading

Donald Trump has saved Nato – and the West

Article published in The Sunday Telegraph, 27 April 2024. © Richard Kemp

It may sound counter-intuitive, but Donald Trump has probably done more to strengthen Nato than any other political leader in recent years. While he was president, he berated European members of the alliance for failing to pay what he called their ‘dues’, accusing them of freeloading on the US.

Earlier this year, he seemed to go even further by suggesting at an election rally, not only that he would not bring America to the defence of ‘delinquent’ Nato members, but would encourage Russia to attack them. Cue a predictable international outcry, led by Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, who accused him of undermining ‘all of our security’. Joe Biden, of course, waded in, saying Trump’s remarks were ‘appalling and dangerous’ and would give Putin ‘a green light for more war and violence’.

Both of them were wrong. Anyone who has the slightest understanding of Trump’s negotiating techniques knows that he is unlikely to have meant what he said literally; it was a rhetorical device to emphasise his entirely valid point about recalcitrant Nato members. As for a green light, it was Biden who flashed that at Putin with his disastrous retreat from Kabul in 2021, which can only have contributed to Moscow’s calculations on invading Ukraine the following year.

Trump’s presidency was in fact a red light against Putin’s aggression, largely because of his unpredictable nature. And that same unpredictability has now rattled many Nato leaders into recognising that they need to step up their defence efforts for fear that he might abandon Nato in a second term.

Poland, now with the largest defence spending by percentage of GDP in the whole of the alliance, has bolstered its military out of fear of Russian invasion. But do we really think that the likes of Germany would finally have started to get their act together without genuine concern over a second Trump presidency? It doesn’t seem to have been Putin’s invasion that spurred them into action. We’ve had two years of heel-dragging and inadequate military support to Kyiv on the part of France and Germany. Britain, meanwhile, has been inexplicably continuing to reduce the size of its Armed Forces. Continue reading