Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 3 November 2021. © Richard Kemp
‘Free, free Palestine — from the river to the sea.’ I was met, as so often elsewhere, by this ubiquitous chant from the standard issue protesters when I arrived at the University of Essex in the UK to give a talk last week. What river? What sea? I doubt many of them knew. Most of these students are fed such slogans when they are coaxed to come out and demonstrate by the campus rabble-rousers — a little bit of animation to distract from the monotony of student life on an autumn evening.
Their distraction comes at a cost. Not to me: I’ve seen and heard it all many times, often belted out with a bit more gusto and venom. The cost is to the Jewish students on campus who, even if they are not Israeli, are the real targets of Israel Apartheid Weeks and constant agitation against the Jewish state and anyone who supports it. The Jewish students have heard it all before too, but they have to live their lives alongside fellow students and sometimes professors who are demanding an end to the Jewish national homeland.
That is of course the meaning of ‘from the river to the sea’ — tearing down the State of Israel and replacing it with an Islamic state. For those who artfully deny that reality, Hamas, owners of the slogan, again helpfully explained what they intend in chillingly banal detail at a recent conference in Gaza.
The conference of officials, held in September, was entitled ‘Promise of the Hereafter — Post-Liberation Palestine’. In his opening remarks, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said: ‘The full liberation of Palestine from the sea to the river’ is ‘the heart of Hamas’s strategic vision.’ He meant from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea, in other words, the entire territory of the State of Israel.
The conspirators plotting the downfall of a democratic UN member state came up with recommendations on laws to be applied in the conquered land, currency, borders with neighbouring states, international relations, confiscation of property and the use of existing resources and infrastructure. Continue reading
Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 27 October 2021. © Richard Kemp
Only a few months ago, US President Joe Biden betrayed a US ally by withdrawing forces from Afghanistan, bringing down the government in Kabul and consigning the country to the bitter depredations of Taliban terrorists. Now he is winding up to betray another, much closer ally — Israel.
Biden plans to open a consulate in Jerusalem. This may seem like just another diplomatic facility to issue visas, promote trade and take care of US citizens, with no greater consequence than the US consulate in Edinburgh, UK. But it is far more than a mere office for paper-shuffling diplomats. It amounts to a de facto US embassy to the Palestinians on Israeli territory. Its true purpose is to undermine Israeli sovereignty in its own capital city and will jeopardise future prospects for peace between Israel and Palestinian Arabs.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, understands the implications only too well. In a recent interview, he triumphantly predicted that the new consulate would re-divide Jerusalem.
After the US moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital in 2018, it subsumed the existing consulate in the city to form a single diplomatic mission. This was achieved under the administration of President Donald J. Trump and that, together with a profound misunderstanding of the dynamics of peace, explains Biden’s determination to re-open the consulate. He has devoted much of his presidency so far to undoing everything he could of Trump’s work, with the exception of the Afghanistan debacle, over which he uniquely claims to have been bound by Trump’s previous plans.
The new consulate, exclusively to manage diplomatic relations with Palestinians, is designed to give hope that one day Jerusalem will be the capital of a putative Palestinian state. Israel can and rightly Continue reading
Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 22 October 2021. © Richard Kemp
Twenty five year-old Ali Harbi Ali has been arrested on suspicion of the murder last week of British Member of Parliament Sir David Amess in a church in Essex. Ali is a member of a well-to-do Somali family who were given refuge in Britain from the war-torn East African country in the 1990s. British authorities had previously been alerted to his radicalisation and he was referred to the UK’s ‘Prevent’ anti-terrorist scheme.
The precise reason for his alleged attack on this particular MP, which he has reportedly admitted, has not yet been established but it is thought he may have been influenced by Al Shabaab, an Al Qaida group that operates in Somalia and Kenya.
Last month, the head of Britain’s security service MI5, Ken McCallum, warned there was no doubt the Taliban victory in Afghanistan this summer has ‘heartened and emboldened’ jihadists everywhere.
It may be that the murder in Essex was the first successful terrorist attack in Britain inspired by the consequences of US President Joe Biden’s catastrophic decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan. Amess’s savage knifing follows jihadist attacks in Norway that killed five and wounded three last week and another in New Zealand in September that wounded five.
Jihadists around the world celebrated the vanquishment of the West following the Taliban seizure of power in Kabul. Not only has this re-energised terrorist cells but it will also lead to an increase in recruiting and a funding boost from jihadist supporters. Prior to Biden’s withdrawal, Al Qaida had been at a low point in their fortunes, following decimation by US drone strikes in the Pakistan tribal areas, catastrophic setbacks in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, the killing of Osama Bin Laden and the rise of the Islamic State. Their international Continue reading
Article published in The Daily Express, 22 August 2021. © Richard Kemp
The 2018 Novichok attack in Salisbury was conducted using standard Russian GRU military intelligence procedures.
Two operatives carried out the attack,Alexander Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga. Their actions were coordinated by a more senior officer, Denis Sergeev.
He enabled the two on the ground to operate in isolation, without external communications, to minimise risk of detection.
Arrest warrants against all three have been issued by the police. Russia will obviously not extradite agents executing a mission authorised by General Sergey Shoygu, the Russian defence minister, with the approval of President Vladimir Putin.
The same is true of the murder in Britain in 2006 of Alexander Litvinenko, which the European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday was also the work of Russia. The perpetrators of both these attacks can and should be arrested by Britain or its allies if they set foot outside Russia.
It is important that option is kept live as it is possible they will do so, maybe as a deliberate sign of contempt for the West by Putin.
But the greater likelihood is all involved will all get away with murder. That cannot be allowed.
Britain hopes that exposing the culprits will build pressure against Putin by encouraging other countries to do the same. This will not be enough. Continue reading
Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 12 September 2021. © Richard Kemp
Here in Britain there has been great concern about ruptures to the UK-US special relationship following the catastrophic unilateral US withdrawal from Afghanistan and US President Joe Biden’s intransigence over the emergency evacuation from Kabul.
Another long-term special relationship enjoyed by Britain — with the United Arab Emirates — was also affected by events in Afghanistan, but in a positive direction. A few days ago, Britain’s ambassador in Abu Dhabi said the evacuation of UK citizens from Kabul was made possible by the assistance of the UAE who provided a staging airport as well as support from across government ministries.
In Dubai recently, I again witnessed the ever-growing miracle of engineering, finance and enterprise that has bloomed in the Arabian Desert, aided not least by Britain’s unique connections with the territory and its people since the early 1800s — a century and a half before the formation of the Emirates as we know them today. Around 200,000 Britons live in the UAE and more than a million visit each year, for business or tourism. The UAE is Britain’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, and the UK is the UAE’s third biggest partner in non-oil commodities trade. Britain is one of the largest investors in the UAE, which also has many major investments here.
Beyond mutual economic benefits, Britain and the UAE have shared geopolitical interests that echo back 80 years to the decades when Britain helped defend the land against those who wanted to seize it for themselves. UAE forces — which had their origins in the British-led Trucial Oman Scouts — fought with the US coalition in the 1990-91 Gulf War and with NATO in Kosovo. The UAE was the only Arab nation that deployed troops into Afghanistan during the 20-year campaign, conducting combat operations alongside other coalition Continue reading
Article published in The Colchester Gazette, 18 August 2021. © Richard Kemp
In the last few days we have witnessed scenes of chaos in Kabul and its airport as Afghans and foreign citizens desperately try to escape the Taliban. Colchester-based soldiers, mainly from the Parachute Regiment, are on the streets of Kabul, working with the Royal Air Force to get our people out amidst a dangerous and volatile situation.
Sir Laurie Bristow, British Ambassador to Kabul, who was a pupil at Colchester Royal Grammar School, has remained in situ, personally issuing visas and working to help British citizens, locally-employed staff and Afghans who helped our forces to operate during the last two decades and are now under intense danger of Taliban reprisal.
The current situation was totally avoidable. It is the direct result of President Biden’s disastrous decision in May to pull American forces out of the country. Our Defence Secretary apparently tried to cobble together a NATO coalition to remain in Afghanistan without the Americans. This was no more than a pipe-dream. Decades of savage cuts to British forces meant we could not continue to operate there without American backing and anyway no other NATO country was willing to play ball.
Not only was the decision to withdraw wrong, it was implemented in the worst possible way. It was so rapid that the Kabul government and forces did not have time to plan and prepare for a totally different situation. To make matters worse the pull-out was executed during the Taliban fighting season. Had it been delayed to late autumn or winter the security forces would have had more opportunity to consolidate in their new situation.
We went into Afghanistan to remove the Taliban and Al Qaida following 9/11 — the worst ever terrorist attack anywhere in the world, which killed more British citizens than have died in any other Continue reading
Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 15 August 2021. © Richard Kemp
More than any other media organization, the BBC is responsible for inciting hatred against Israel — not just in Britain but globally. Its agenda helps to ensure continued aggression against the Jewish State; fuels violence by Hamas and other terrorist groups; feeds the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement; encourages distorted condemnation of Israel by human rights groups and international bodies; and provides material to be exploited by activist university professors and students.
All of this not only seriously harms the reputation of the State of Israel and stimulates antisemitism around the world, it also worsens the suffering of Palestinians by uncritical coverage of the leadership that is responsible for their plight.
Plenty of other media organizations and propagandists contribute to this malevolent narrative, but the BBC is more influential than any of them because of its widely perceived objectivity, respectability and reliability, combined with unrivalled reach. It operates under a contract with the British government and is bound by a Royal charter, together requiring accurate and impartial news and analysis of current events and ideas. In its own words: ‘BBC News is respected both in the UK and around the world for the strength of its journalism and impartiality.’
It is the largest broadcaster on the planet, with over 35,000 staff. Last year it boasted that on average 438 million people around the world came to the BBC each week.
Following accusations of slanted reporting of the second Palestinian intifada, which began in 2000, and the rise in Jew-hatred caused by it, in 2004 the BBC was pressured to open an inquiry into its coverage, by Malcolm Balen, a former BBC News editor. For 17 years Balen’s Continue reading
Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 13 August 2021. © Richard Kemp
Only one month ago President Biden denied the Taliban would be able to take over Afghanistan after US withdrawal. With breathtaking naivety, he claimed their combat power was not even close to that of the Afghan military and the Kabul government was capable of holding the country. Since then the Taliban have seized huge swathes of territory and swept into 16 provincial capitals, with the Afghan security forces collapsing before them.
Taken by surprise, thousands of US troops have re-entered the country to enable American citizens to escape. On Thursday a humiliated US government was pleading for the Taliban to spare their embassy, evoking scenes from Saigon in 1975 when US forces helicoptered staff from the roof of the besieged embassy there. Revising only days-old estimates that Kabul might fall within three months, US intelligence officials are now — perhaps optimistically — giving it just 30 days.
This debacle is set to become an indelible stain on Biden’s presidency. Not only is America’s standing in the world profoundly diminished, Biden’s unconditional withdrawal has also undermined the entire credibility of NATO, including British forces, which had no choice but to follow the US out. Not least among the consequences will be the strengthening of jihadists everywhere, exactly what the 2001 intervention aimed to prevent.
Biden said in July that the future of Afghanistan would be in the hands of other countries in the region. That makes matters far worse. Pakistan created the Taliban and armed and funded the 20-year campaign against Western and Afghan forces that has taken it to the gates of Kabul. Reportedly Pakistan has been sending militias to fight Continue reading