UN Gaza Report Part II: Israel’s Counterinsuurgency Apologist: Colonel Richard Kemp

6 Jul

 

Retired British colonel, Richard Kemp, has been an ardent supporter of Israel’s three major military operations in Gaza conducted over the last six

years. He has collaborated on several occasions with the two notoriously pro-Israeli NGOs, UN Watch and NGO Monitor, serving on the Advisory Board of the latter and appearing as star witness under such auspices at the UN, most recently at a two-day side event at UN Headquarters in Geneva devoted to condemning the UN Commission of Inquiry Report on the Gaza War of 2014.

 

There is no doubt that Col. Kemp has the credentials to speak as a counterinsurgency specialist, having served as commander of British forces

in Afghanistan and elsewhere, where he acknowledges close cooperation with Mossad and the influence of Israeli tactics. In fairness, Kemp writes from such a militarist view with little effort to assess the relevance of international humanitarian law, treating ‘military effectiveness’ as determined by military commanders as the defining criterion of legality for a challenged battlefield practice. In his own words, “[i]t’s the dispassionate military perspective that I bring.” Of course, such an outlook ignores the relevance of international criminal law, which is to superimpose accountability as a constraining framework on this ‘military perspective.’ Actually, Kemp doesn’t so much ignore international criminal law as to (mis)interpret its rules so as to vindicate the tactics of the counterinsurgent side while condemning those of the insurgent.

 

On June 25, 2015 the New York Times published an opinion piece by Kemp assessing the UN Report. What I find scandalous and perverse on the part of this self-claiming authoritative media source, is to publish such a harsh and partisan dismissal of a prudent and overly balanced report without any kind of offsetting piece. I can only imagine the furor that would have been provoked if the NYT had published a piece by an expert in international criminal law, say William Schabas or John Dugard, calling for the indictment and prosecution of Israel’s political and military leaders on the basis of the Report. At least, if such a piece had been published alongside the Kemp article, NYT readers could have been exposed to the realities of controversy flowing from these UN allegations that Israel (and to a far lesser extent, Hamas) was guilty of war crimes.

 

Kemp begins his article with the claim that “..it pains me greatly to see words and actions from the UN that can only provoke further violence and loss of life.” As is ‘law’ imposed on the powerful and not their weaponry is responsible for violence and the loss of life in Gaza. We are not told exactly why reaches this perverse conclusion, but presumably Kemp believes that the condemnation of Israel’s use of indiscriminate and disproportionate force would embolden Hamas, and Palestinians generally, to continue to claim a right of resistance. What Kemp (and Israel) obviously seek is a circumstance in which whatever the dominant military forces do is validated by its effectiveness and what a population under domination does in opposition is condemned with the implication that resistance to Israel’s prolonged occupation is inherently unlawful.

 

Kemp’s puff piece is filled with bland endorsements of Israel’s most blatant propaganda. For instance, Kemp asserts, in complete disregard of the evidence, that Israel imposed the blockade on Gaza “only in response to attacks by Hamas.” While it is common knowledge, even in Israel, that the blockade has been maintained since 2007 as a ‘collective punishment’ imposed on the civilian population of Gaza, having little to do with security, which was mainly sustained by way of rigorous monitoring of all crossings to and from Gaza, and with Egypt’s cooperation at Rafah during the Mubarak era and since Sisi’s ascent. Kemp has nothing to say about Israel’s frequent lethal incursions into Gaza that have accompanied the occupation since it started in 1967, and he uncritically supports Israel’s distorted one-sided timeline that claims Israel only attacks in retaliation for missiles and mortar fire from Hamas, and never initiates violent interactions by on its own. Kemp also never refers to the ceasefires broken by Israel, as in the leadup to Operation Cast Lead at the end of 2008. Instead, as Kemp has written elsewhere of this earlier brutal attack on a vulnerable, cage population, “I can only say this: during Operation Cast Lead, the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in the combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”

 

Most disturbingly, Kemp writes in a condescending manner as follows: “The report is characterized by a lack of understanding of warfare,” as revealed by its failure to compare what Israel is doing with what the U.S. and Britain have done in Afghanistan, Iraq. In Kemp’s words, Israeli tactics are no different than those used extensively by American and British forces in similar circumstances.” What is most dangerous about this counterinsurgency worldview is its implicit reasoning that allows such conclusions to be set forth in good faith by professional soldiers. To begin with, Kemp is essentially correct that the counterinsurgency wars waged by the U.S. and Britain have relied on similar tactics, but does that make Israel’s pattern consistent with international law and morality? Most international law assessments of these uses of modern weaponry against densely populated civilian areas consider such tactics to be severe war crimes, not models to be invoked as validation.

Kemp’s state of play is revealed here: converting past crimes into authoritative precedents to justify present crimes, or to transform crimes into legitimate counterinsurgency tactics.

 

Beyond this, Israel’s tactics are worse in some instances than those of its predecessors. Whereas in Vietnam, the United States used its far less precise air power to inflict heavy casualties on the Vietnamese civilian population it refrained from attacking urban population centers as Israel did in the Gaza attack of 2014, as well as the earlier ones. Even in Falluja, the worst instance of American firepower directed at a city believed to be a center of insurgent opposition in Iraq to American occupation, the population was given ample time to vacate the city after warnings of impending attack. In contrast, except for the 800 Palestinians that held foreign passports who were allowed to leave Gaza, the remainder of the civilian population in Gaza was locked into the combat zone, losing even the desperate option of fleeing to safety by becoming a refugee. Col. Kemp, invoking his counterinsurgency experience and knowledge, never sees fit to mention such a damning ‘detail.’

Nor does he bother to point out that the whole of Gaza was a combat zone, and that civilians, including women and children, had no place of sanctuary and safety, other than to seek refuge in UN facilities and mosques, which then were turned into targets because of Israeli claims that weapons were stored in these places.

 

Parroting the worst elements of Israeli hasbara, Kemp sets forth this grotesque characterization of Hamas tactics: “Unable to inflict existential harm on Israel by military means, Hamas sought to cause large numbers of casualties among its own people in order to bring condemnation and unbearable diplomatic pressure against Israel.” To make such an extreme allegation without bothering to cite evidence is to portray Hamas as seeking the genocidal annihilation of its own people. This is an odd accusation in view of the evidence that Hamas became gained more popular support from the Gazan population after this Israeli attack than before, presumably because of its steadfastness under the most severe of pressures. Also, Kemp withholds comments on the repeated and strenuous efforts of Hamas to seek the renewal of the ceasefire prior to the initiation of the Israel onslaught in early July of 2014.

 

In effect, Kemp is appraising Israel’s behavior on the basis of the ‘new normal’ prevailing among counterinsurgency hawks that have led the West into war after war in its futile effort to defer the death of European colonialism, and its American sequel. What is done by the West is justified by military effectiveness (although without noticing that these wars have all been eventually lost), what is done by the forces of national resistance is criminalized if not demonized as ‘barbarism.’

 

 

It is not surprising that UN Watch and NGO Monitor organized an elaborate side event at the Palais des Nations in Geneva last week that featured Richard Kemp as its lead speakers, but included an array of other counterinsurgency specialists, with no attempt whatsoever to bring to bear the perspectives of international humanitarian law except in the spirit of Israeli apologetics. For description of this event held on June 29-30 see the home pages of either UN Watch or NGO Monitor. It is notable that unlike the response to the Goldstone Report in 2009 that featured denunciations of bias and personal attacks, the orchestrated reaction to COI report is more sophisticated, relying on a variety of substantive reports that set forth Israel’s claims of justification, a media blitz, along with major advocacy efforts by Israel’s well-trained NGO poodles.

 

A welcome contrasting vision, closer to law, morality, and reality is offered by Max Blumenthal in his new book, The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza (2015). David Swanson, the noted anti-war activist, titles his review of Blumenthal’s book, “the 51-day Genocide” <http//davidswanson.org/node/4815> As Swanson puts it in his review of the book, “I can think of a few other words that characterized the 2014 assault on Gaza in addition to ‘war,’ among them, occupation, murder-spree, and genocide. Each serves a valuable purpose. Each is correct.”

 

17 Responses to “UN Gaza Report Part II: Israel’s Counterinsuurgency Apologist: Colonel Richard Kemp”

  1. Gene Schulman July 6, 2015 at 2:57 am #

    No special comment. Just registering to receive others’. I guess this post answers Barouk’s comment to the last post. Need say anymore?

    • Richard Falk July 6, 2015 at 8:17 am #

      I am not sure that answers are being sought as the questions are rhetorical. Greetings.

      • baroukh July 7, 2015 at 12:30 am #

        This answers only the first question and as expected in a biased way but not the other ones which are not rethorical at all.

      • Fairlinda (@Fairlinda3) August 4, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

        I don’t accept your criticisms, Mr Falk. It feels to me as if you have made your mind up about Kemp beforehand and therefore whatever he says you will take issue with.

        It amazes me how ‘you people’ [a phrase online posters refer to ME, a Jew, whenever they don’t want to seem overtly racist] will dismiss ANYTHING positive, or even neutral, that is claimed about Israel to be ‘mere hasbara’ [even when it is proven to be true.] I could say the same about your whitewashing of Hamas, couldn’t I, in particular that irrefutable footage filmed by an Indian TV crew last summer showing missiles being fired from apartments where families in Gaza live.

        Finally, you cite that bastion of balanced reporting: Max Blumenthal Reading his previous book, “Goliath”, I am struck by the absence of facts; most of this ‘work’ is a diatribe against Israelis and Jews with a peculiar dislike of one particular religion and race [why, for example, does Blumenthal continually refer to the colour of Israelis’ eyes and hair?] Blumenthal offers not a shred of evidence to some of his most serious allegations. It is not good enough to cite anonymous sources when the claims that he makes are very serious ones such as ‘war crimes’, ‘apartheid’ and ‘killing babies with impunity.’

        Kemp has HIS views, you have your own, but that does not negate your or his opinion about the Israel-Palestine conflict, does it? ‘People like you’ want to neatly frame and reduce Israel into the binary of Israelis = evil and Palestinians = innocent.

        I put it to you, Sir, that it is far more complex than that.

  2. peteybee July 6, 2015 at 6:45 am #

    Reblogged this on Spread An Idea.

  3. rehmat1 July 6, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    UK’s Jewish Chronicle claimed on July 6 that it was Netanyahu who told David Cameron, Angela Markel and Hollande to vote in favor of the “water-downed” UNHRC Report on Gaza. It seems, America was the only ZOG which disobeyed Netanyahu and voted against the Report.

    Another case of Mossad created Hamas!

    • baroukh July 7, 2015 at 1:22 am #

      Do you have a link for that rehmat1?

  4. QCPal July 6, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

    Reblogged this on QCpal.

  5. Kata Fisher July 8, 2015 at 9:46 pm #

    Professor Falk, I have to tell you something. Do not be afraid to bring their households in order.

    • rehmat1 July 9, 2015 at 7:05 am #

      Tell that to your German friends who gave $93 billion to Israel for the crime they committed with the help of Frankist Jews.

      http://rehmat1.com/2012/03/24/rabbi-frankist-jews-committed-holocaust/

      • Kata Fisher July 9, 2015 at 10:42 am #

        Rehmat1:

        The condition of humanity in satanic seal/s and blasphemy of God’s Spirit (generational and personal condition in sin– sin individual and corporate) is a reality.

        Evil exists, it is allowed and still Church of Jesus Christ of Nazareth – the only one that is authentic and not lawless is not in any bondage to Lawless one, Satan.

        You can look at another way – goyim (for whatever that term is in their own head).

        In Church Age we only have people that are in Spirit of God/ in Everlasting Election (elected into everlasting salvation before even they were born) – and those who are not or ever will or can be.

        Evil is not a great mystery- it is a frozen state of rebellion.

        Church can watch on and still be happily ever after. Just feel like kids that I grew up with in their saying: “You cannot help those who are screwed up in their head.”

        I really never understood this; yet only after I observed churches/world in satanic seals and blasphemy of God’s Spirit – that what they were saying made real sense.

        However, as you know, that are always few that ware not / are not in Satan. There were always few that never bow down to Ball, and as always only remnant is set apart.

        Also to that, without the tribe of Juda – we all would be decently screwed up.

        93 billion is quite a bit to pay for for evil-church-charismatic /pagan-charismatic disorder of US ans English origin. They (as Church) can pay for their abuses and damages to the German state, in reality.

        This will not happen – but the debt will remain in some blood lines for many generations! They may continue in their bloody patterns – we all can observe recently all bunch a generational by them made crap.

        The reality is that humans are evil, they repent not, they blaspheme, are never redeemed, and they end up in hell.

        They have and follow many other Messias/ Christ’s

        – while only One Anointed Jesus Christ of Nazareth was Given, He was, and He is — there will never be another Messiah to Throne of King David.

        However, there will be household of David, Charismatic and Baptised in God’s Spirit (Body of Messiah Christ Jesus of Nazareth) – through the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and for redemption of all humanity.

        Humanity in frozen state of rebellion………

        (Humanity): Only if they will repent and be Baptised in God’s Spirit trough Free Fall of God’s Spirit – just as Spirit feel on the elder of Israel and evoked maize of jealousy in Joshua.

        God, then Himself has sent His only Begotten Son trough the same power of God’s Spirit that has split the Sea to see the tribes of Israel wander out from Egypt and forces of Egypt consumed in wrath.

        However, as for me — my cup of coffee is empty this morning, and that means – time to move on just as I did overcome.

        Roman-Chatolcism has choked me with love, and Euherastical Miracles freak me out, too. Even to accept the truth of Miracles. I do not care about Miracles – they are irrelevant for me personally.

        For I can only accept objective revelation — Word of God:

        The Word Became Flesh

        “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

        6There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.”

        http://biblehub.com/niv/john/1.htm
        http://biblehub.com/text/john/1-1.htm

        Did they not cut off John’s head on request of a filthy female? It is written that they did. When comes to the requests of filthy females – nothing has changed.

        TTL

      • Kata Fisher July 10, 2015 at 9:42 am #

        Rehmat1:

        I have to tell you something in addition to what I said before. I watched this video and I started to have brain-storming.

        He reminds me on my two brothers.

        I watched this message, and I really do hope that the US starts in their repenting toward Muslim people n the Middle East.

        Saudi Arabia is spiritually excommunicated.

        The US in its conditional democracy / based on “three-fifths of a man doctrine” (even now in their practice) democracy in practice that is actually invalid to the actual democracy – has nothing to offer to the Arab Territories and Muslim People who are preserving them selfs under most evil spiritual attacks ans satanic testing.

        The US along with their lawless churches are an international bully.

        US public people lack the education that is actual – they are not educated, and they are not qualified to do any Law indenture with an Eccalistical State such as Iran. They should be closely watched in their dealings with Israel and also Islamic Eccalistical States that they are consistently attacking and prospecting to attack.

        Also to that – US Churches just drool on blood – they wish to see Iran torn up so they can move in their satanic gospels.

        I do not belive in Nuclear Energy, and I do not belive in Nuclear Weaponry – that is all satanic-man made (in its actual origin).

        However, Iran needs to have their scientist baptized in God’s Spirit and ordained by the celibate priesthood (in authentic Church-Charismatic Order in Rome) to achieve some cutting-edge technology while they are at the development of their nuclear program. I believe this. I believe that Iran can produce the best technology that can deal with Nuclear waste and other bad things in the world.

        Also, we need Holy Quran read and interpreted under full anointing of Church-Charismatic that Church can transfer to Muslim Theologians (only few for specific purpose). We need those secret codes of Holy Quran to be opened by Iran’s prophets. This those secret codes have to be under full prophetic anointing study and watch in times.

        Islamic Theologian need new Islamic Hermanceutic that are actually not learned, at all – but are in ones head.

        I have brainstorming and believe that Holy Quran can be closed Book of Daniel that is sealed. It can not be opened without specific Islamic Hermeneutic — this is what I am understanding.

        In this point in time, we do need prophetic gifts under full and active anointing.

        If Westerns try to mess with t specific Islamic Hermeneutic and try to do this on their own – they will be given over to Satan.

        Further,

        The US and Westen pagan-charismatic-church mess has to be cleaned up, as well.

        The only sin Muslims committed against the Islam Faith in the past and is generational is that they dragged slaves from western Europe and have defiled Arabic Blood lines with satanic seals and blasphemy of God’s Spirit in blood lines of the slaves.

        Now they have heretics such as ISIS, and other radical groups that are bewitching because they are not grafted into the actual Faith of Islam.

        I believe that Irans Supreme Leader has to do something about Islamic heretics. In other hand, why should His Holiness not allow for all wicked to be given over to Satan. He can allow for that as well.

        People either will repent toward each other – or will see themselves given over to Satan along with all their undertakings.

        I believe that God will bless Iran’s Nuclear projects.

        If the US does anything evil-willed toward Iran-US will be given over to Satan by the Church Charismatic. I know this in fact.

        Eccalistical State such as Iran is nothing to be in ill-will disorder toward – the US as a state has not learned that.

        This is what I was brainstorming on and was thinking that I have to tell you about.

  6. Beau Oolayforos July 11, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    Colonel Kemp ‘ s type is memorably portrayed by George C. Scott in Dr Strangelove, and characterized by Thoreau “…the mass of men serve the state …as machines…they are the standing army, the militia,…in most cases, there is no free exercise whatever of the …moral sense…” Such people are not leaders, but followers – they take pride in ‘doing their job’ – we just have to see that they don’t have to make too many ethical decisions, for which they are not competent.

  7. Kata Fisher July 12, 2015 at 8:59 pm #

    A note to Mr. Beau Oolayforos post:

    I think that Doodley’s concept (1945) / Traning within the industry may be more relevant Colonel Kemp ‘ s approach but not necessarily (personality) type.

    I did not meet him personally – so I would not know. I did not watch his address, either.

    Dooley. C.R. (1945). The training within industry report, 1910-1945. Washington DC: War Manpower Commission Bureau of Training, Training within Industry Service.

    There is definitely leadership and ethics factor to the operational process (from the military point).

    Laws may or may not be ethically and legaly valid by which military operational process is guided.

    Ethics is another thing – each discipline has its own ethics and validity to the laws.

    A very bad environment whatever it may be based on – either culture of discipline or culture- ethics based on laws-illegal / and/or practice.

    Now days military uses psychological warfare. That is another mess in addition to that what psychology as discipline is. Church order can not be misused and misapplied.

    I did read/study psychology, and I understood, without the doubt – these things are delusions and insanity (in practice). There is very little valid to it – for what I could see that did not violate Scripture and concepts of the Church order (in practice). I did see it in practice, as well. Just as Church issues and disorder I had opportunity to observe it.

    An (only) eccalistical person can ethically (and legally) apply psychology. There are some serious issues to that discipline.Yes, really.

    At its best psychology is a very good covered up witchcraft, all together (in my preception) – a misuse and misapplication of the Church order (in practice). That is all to watch is valid. Lay-people never know what they do and what they are actually doing, in essence.

    Further,

    UN culture and UN ethic do no good in application and misapplication of I-Laws/Charters – Laws that yet to be proofread for errors and ratified and updated to serve the purpose (region to region). Maybe just region to region in the ethical application? Who knows?

    (OD) folks know better then that which is taking place right now – it is not beneficial, however, for certain nations to correct anything, at all (cost-cost-benifit to them will apply).

    It’s best to mix-up culture and ethics just as always in colonial-rule and style for cost-benifit. So it is in appearance and practice.

    Faith Ethics can/ should be part of UN ethics and culture – or / and we will see secular ethics secular-religion-ethics can be running over Faith issues and also running over civil order – allowing for misguidance / misdirection: colonial – rule and style / secular religion that has no ethics in any Law (eccalistical or civil). Coercing against Faith and not allowing for Faith issues development becomes clear-cut (the problem) of religion / secular-religion and or secular discipline/practice.

    Let Westerns mind their territory and ethics (secular religion, secularism, Faith issues and the civil order). Do they want civil order?

    Let Jews in Israel/Hebrew-Israel and outside of Israel tell us what they want with their Books and with Holy Land – on their territory. Do they want civil order?

    Let Arabs tell us what they want with their Books on their territory. Do they want civil order?

    Oter Religions / Natural Religions are fully able to moral rule and also to self-guidence.

    I believe that would be the sane approach – just to start out.

    I am not a lawyer that is civil or eccalistical – but I am sure that there is a civil-eccalistical lawyer/s (and/or a nuncio that is valid) that can give UN a good insight some legal balance to secular religion and Faith issues – and in the end maybe even some civil order and / or secular balance?

    It is best to throw out illegal laws, in addition to all.

    If anyone wishes to find the civil order to be relevant to the world (contemporary).

    One has to understand their environment in appearance (contemporary world – plan for its OD practices – whatever may be the best in practice/ethics).

    One only has to seek for some equilibrium within a chaos.

    I am not sure that equilibrium is relevant to the contemporary world.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. TRANSCEND MEDIA SERVICE » UN Gaza Report Part II: Israel’s Counterinsuurgency Apologist, Colonel Richard Kemp - July 6, 2015

    […] Go to Original – richardfalk.wordpress.com […]

  2. UN Gaza Report Part II: Israel’s Counterinsuurgency Apologist: Colonel Richard Kemp by Richard Falk | Israel Genocide? - July 9, 2015

    […] Continue reading at https://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/un-gaza-report-part-ii-israels-counterinsuurgency-apolo… […]

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