The John Batchelor Show

Monday 16 April 2018

Air Date: 
April 16, 2018

Photo: Cracow, Poland: Auschwitz
Co-hosts:  Monica Crowley, London Center for Policy Research, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Council of Presidents, Major American Jewsih Organizations
Hour One
Monday   16 April 2018 / Hour 1, Block A:  John Batchelor, Monica Crowley, Malcolm Hoenlein, in Jerusalem, in re:  Monica’s new column in The Hill ties together our trip to Cracow and to Jerusalem.  Unexpected news hook in the form of Pres Trump’s air strike against Syrian poison gas use.  Can debate the strategic utility but not the moral basis: either we mean it when we say “Never again,” or we don't; either the US acts as a great power, or it doesn't. When it doesn't, our adversaries smile. 
Stalin told us exactly what he was gong to do; Hitler, also. If we don't learn the lessons of the past, it will recur.  . . . After the tribulations of the Twentieth Century, Israel has grown and thriven.  It's now energy-independent, is a world leader in water reclamation, treats wounded Syrians in Israeli hospitals. This is not only a secure country, it's a rich country.  Still has half a milli0n Israelis who go to bed hungry at night – people poured in from around the world, and Israel is bringing in  people who need to move swiftly from their old country’s ways into the Twenty-first Century.
Monday   16 April 2018 / Hour 1, Block B:  Berry Mullennix, Council for a Secure & pres, Panther Energy ; & Domestic Oil and Gas Producers organization; in re: Council for a Secure America: Founded in 1980s to educate about oil & gas in the US – energy in general, and environmental concerns.  This year, US will be an exporter of energy; now Israel is poised to be, also.
Despite the stalling of the previous Adm, we’ve greatly increased production. Under the previous Administration, permits were down 25%; now much increased.
We’re rolling back methane emission rules that use questionable science.  This is my first trip to Israel; people are very positive and have a great outlook for the future. We’ve visited the entire southern half of the country. Surprised at how bad things are at the Gaza border, and how poor the Gazan economy is – they've done it to themselves. US now has 30% higher oil export than predicted; same for gas.
Delegation here from Kansas, Dakotas, California, Texas, all over the US.
Monday   16 April 2018 / Hour 1, Block C:  Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Israeli intelligence and security expert. Formerly, head of research division in the Israel Defence Force Military Intelligence division and Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs.  Currently, Senior Project Manager, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; in re: At Gaza, fences at risk and poor security situation.  The present provocation: Palestinians sending msg that they do not accept the nation-state of the Jewish people at this place. Wish to annihilate the State of Israel, which they call The Return.  Gazans have been living in bad conditions for seventy years—this is intentional, in order to keep the population upset. Wd have been easy to create a booming economic state, but the leadership refuses to.  Msg to the intl community: since we’re victims, you have to give us what we want. Use smoke from burning tires, may other tricks, to show that they can cause damage. At the same time, preparing for major terrorist attacks. Deprive people from cement for reconstruction of houses; instead use it for tunnels for attacks
Diminishing widespread interest in Gaza as other issues come to the fore; but on 15 May, expect many attacks. 
Syria and poison gas:  airstrikes; clear from the beginning that his has no effect on the top leadership, but well made he point that the West will not tolerate poison gas against anyone, civilian or otherwise.  Message was extremely humiliating to both Assad and Putin.
All the changing dynamics across the Middle East; realignments are sweeping the region Where are these al headed?  1. May 12, decisive event on the Iran deal – chance that the US will abrogate the deal and resume sanctions.   2. Not-slow rapprochement between Israel and the pragmatic Arab states: Israel is a force that they need to have on their side, with which they need good relations.
Monday   16 April 2018 / Hour 1, Block D:  Rony Timsit, general manager, Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem; in re: The seventieth anniversary of the State of Israel.  Hotel has undertaken major renovations in order to welcome celebrants. This is an older neighborhood, being a more luxurious one, and very quiet, with the most beautiful villas of the city.  Inside the building, modernized and refreshed.  In 2017 we had a wonderful year for tourism; 2018 is expected to break all records.  Old City is packed with events, including throughout the summer.
French community came to Israel mostly after the war of 1967; but now, with events in Europe many French Jews have moved here. 
MC: Israel is one of the safest places on Earth.  The IDF is [fabulously competent.] 
Hour Two
Monday   16 April 2018 / Hour 2, Block A:  John Batchelor, Monica Crowley, Malcolm Hoenlein, in Jerusalem, in re:  left Cracow, flew around the air space that had recently seen air strikes against Syrian poison gas factories, landed in Tel Aviv.  Visited Judea and Samaria today, walked around Shiloh, the site of the first capital [or was that Hebron?]. MC: The Shiloh excavation is only three years old, but at warp speed have unearthed a great deal, incl where the tabernacle sat for over 300 years, I was overcome with emotion.
Samuel the prophet warned that trouble was coming; was ignored; lost the tabernacle to the Philistines.  Orientation of the tabernacle from East to West.
New attack tunnel out of southern Gaza just discovered: 30 meters (100 feet) deep, reinforced concrete, electricity; massive. Hamas is still dedicated to crossing the border to kill Israelis.  Tunnels anywhere t here’s no fence yet built. Hope that if you bld enough, you can get through and kill civilians. This tunnel cost many millions of dollars to build. New missile fired into the sea, advanced; also IEDs are more advanced.  Keeping the attacks just under generating a war with Israel.
US colleagues in oil & gas.
Monday   16 April 2018 / Hour 2, Block B:  Ze’ev Orenstein  director of intl relations, for the City of David, in re:  City of David: we walked where pilgrims did for festivals 2,000 years ago.  Saw amazing places and artifacts.  The original city of Jerusalem is just outside he walls of today’s Old City.  This pilgrimage road for Jews and Christians – on Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles - the main thoroughfare of Jerusalem at the beginning f the Common Era. Also represents the end of that period, when Romans sacked the city in 70 AD. Drainage channel where the last Jews hid and met their end.
There was one water source around which the original City of David was built, much lower than the current Old City.  Three thousand years ago, in choosing a place to live, the first question was, Where is the water?  In 1867, archaeologist understood that the Gihon Spring* was [lower]. As we got closer to the Common Era, [behold:] the invention of the aqueduct, and thus Jerusalem expanded outside of its eleven-acre ridge. After all these years, we’ve excavated only one-third of the site; still uncovering discoveries the blow the mind.   Astounding discoveries. Clay seals in that period were attached to a letter: these bear the names of people straight out of the Bible, and exactly where you’d expect from Bible texts — King Hezekiah, and the Ministers who plotted to kill the prophet Jeremiah.  Two seals found next to each other from two Bible verses back to back. Inscriptions match exactly to Biblical texts. Irony where UNESCO and other UN groups aver that this is an Islamic site — simply ignoring Christian and Jewish ties in Jerusalem. They condemn the archaeology because  it verifies the ancient texts. . . . This is not a matter of faith; this is inarguably history, where the science , the archaeology, corroborate the text. 
* The Gihon Spring (Hebrew: מעיין הגיחון ) or Fountain of the Virgin in the Kidron Valley was the main source of water for the Pool of Siloam in the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem.
Monday   16 April 2018 / Hour 2, Block C:  Lewis “Scooter” Libby, senior VP at Hudson Institute, and works on natl security issues (”and say that I’m a Batchelor fan”); in re:  Pardoned by Pres Trump for, according to the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, an error he did not commit, an event earlier in this century where there was a miscarriage of justice: “He pardoned an innocent man.”  This has been a long fifteen years. 
Scooter has been reinstated by the DC bar; recantation by a major prosecution witness. To Pres Trump’s credit, he saw a genuine injustice, studied it for months, and would not let it persist.  Presidential press secy statement.  Three-justice panel of the DC Disciplinary Ethics Council investigated the case for over a year, read all the transcripts; saw that the key witness – Judith Miller – announced that she had been misinformed and therefore had testified falsely – evidence had been withheld by the prosecution and she’d therefore misinterpreted her notes. Several other aspects to the case that rendered the whole thing nonsensical.
Was a politically-motivated hit job – attacking Scooter in order to attack the sitting VP of the US, Dick Cheney. There was no underlying crime.  Prosecution knew that it was [bogus], and barred one expert.  Prosecution knew all the time that there was no case! One name stands out: James Comey, then Deputy Atty General. The swamp attacked Scooter unjustly, now the same swamp is attacking the president of the United States.
The president graciously called me, and also my attorney. He reached me late in the afternoon of the Syria attack. He very kindly referred to my past public service.  In this private conversation, he was not the person one sees on TV; he was strong, quiet, sympathetic, extraordinarily gracious.   I thanked him for his deed; he insisted that it was not about him at all but about restoring my well-deserved good reputation. 
Monday   16 April 2018 / Hour 2, Block D:  Tony Badran, FDD, in re: Israelis hit the  Tifor (T4) air base just before the US strike in Syria. Killed seven Iranian personnel there. . . .  Gen Mattis said, “We don’t want to do anything in Syria that wd jeopardize US forces fighting ISIS.”  This works to Iranian advantage and is a discouraging note to many, esp in saying that Israel is on its own.  Golan:  US intention not to engage w Iran in Syria, leaves Israel to decide if it should do nothing or take action by itself. If we see and intensified series of Israeli attacks against Iranian forces, Iran might react and take us into a larger conflagration. Russia: signaled that it might revisit selling the S300 system to Syria – Israeli immediate response: were Russia to sell it, that would cross a red line of ours and we can destroy it the minute you bring it in. 
Hour Three
Monday 16 April 2018/ Hour 3, Block AAnonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947, by Bruce Hoffman
Monday 16 April 2018/ Hour 3, Block B: Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947, by Bruce Hoffman
Monday 16 April 2018/ Hour 3, Block C: Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947, by Bruce Hoffman
Monday 16 April 2018/ Hour 3, Block D: Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947, by Bruce Hoffman
Hour Four
Monday 16 April 2018/ Hour 4, Block A: The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, by Eugene Rogan
Monday 16 April 2018/ Hour 4, Block B: The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, by Eugene Rogan
Monday 16 April 2018/ Hour 4, Block C: The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, by Eugene Rogan
Monday 16 April 2018/ Hour 4, Block D:  The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, by Eugene Rogan