Emergency Meeting on the Ongoing Israel Crisis
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Emergency Meeting on the Ongoing Israel Crisis
18 October @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
On October 7th, a horrific event shook the world as Hamas, a designated terrorist organization, launched a ruthless assault on Israeli civilians. The attack claimed the lives of more 1,300 souls, with some 200 being abducted. This single day witnessed a devastating loss of life not seen by the Jewish people since the Holocaust. In response, the Israeli government declared a state of war and vowed to use all available means to eradicate the threat posed by Hamas. This determination was met with an unprecedented surge of Israeli reservists answering the call of duty, setting the stage for an imminent ground, air, and sea offensive in Gaza.
The questions that weigh heavily on our minds are how we reached this dire point and whether the Israeli security apparatus faltered in its responsibilities. The world now watches with bated breath, anticipating a ground invasion of Gaza and pondering the potential ramifications. Will the international community continue to rally behind Israel, or can we anticipate shifts in narratives should the conflict drag on? Moreover, the wider implications for the region, particularly considering Iran’s involvement in these recent developments, add another layer of complexity to this pressing issue.
These are just a few of the critical questions that we intend to address during our emergency panel discussion. The Henry Jackson Society is honoured to assemble a panel of distinguished experts to delve into this urgent matter.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind is a British politician who served in various roles as a Cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including Secretary of State for Scotland (1986–1990), Defence Secretary (1992–1995), and Foreign Secretary (1995–1997).
Rifkind was the MP for Edinburgh Pentlands from 1974 to 1997. In 1997, his party lost power and he lost his seat to the Labour Party. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to be re-elected in Pentlands in 2001; the constituency was abolished before the 2005 general election and he was adopted, and subsequently elected, as the Conservative candidate for Kensington and Chelsea. He announced his intention to seek the leadership of the party before the 2005 Conservative Party leadership election, but withdrew before polling commenced.
Rifkind stood for the Kensington seat and was elected at the 2010 general election with a majority of 8,616 votes. He was appointed Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, on 6 July 2010. In January 2015 he was appointed by the OSCE as a member of their Eminent Persons Panel on European Security. In December 2015, Rifkind was appointed a Visiting Professor by King’s College, London in their Department of War Studies. He was also invited to become a Distinguished Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). In July 2016, his memoirs, Power and Pragmatism, were published. In 2017, Rifkind was invited by the UK Government to become the British Co-Chairman of the Belvedere Polish–British Forum.
Danielle Pletka is a distinguished senior fellow in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where she focuses on US foreign policy generally and the Middle East specifically. Until January 2020, Ms. Pletka was the senior vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at AEI. Concurrently, she also teaches US Middle East policy at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Before joining AEI, Ms. Pletka was a senior professional staff member for the Middle East and South Asia for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Major General (ret.) Amos Yadlin is the president and founder of MIND Israel, an action-oriented strategic consulting team advising Israeli leadership and entities involved in Israel’s security.
General Yadlin is the former Executive Director of Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). Prior to that, he served for more than 40 years in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), including 10 as a member of its General Staff. He served as a fighter pilot for 33 years, ultimately becoming Deputy Commander of the Israeli Air Force. He then earned the rank of Major General, served as a commander of the IDF Military Colleges and the National Defense College, Defense Attaché to the United States, and Chief of the Military Intelligence Directorate. In his last military position, General Yadlin was the Head of Israel’s Defense Intelligence.
As a fighter pilot, General Yadlin conducted more than 250 combat missions behind enemy lines, accumulating more than 5,000 flight hours on a variety of combat jets. Among his many missions, General Yadlin fought in the Yom Kippur War (1973), Operation Peace for Galilee (1982) and filled a crucial role in Operation Tamuz: the destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor “Osirak” (1981).
General Yadlin holds a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a B.A. in economics and business administration from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Dr Helena Ivanov is an associate research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. She recently completed a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on the relationship between propaganda and violence against civilians. In her thesis, Helena examined the role propaganda played during the Yugoslav Wars and produced a model for studying propaganda which details the key phases, functions, discourses, and techniques of propaganda (the model itself is applicable to other contexts). Additionally, Helena also served as a Manager at the Centre for International Studies at the LSE.
Prior to her PhD, Helena completed an MPhil in Political Theory at the University of Oxford, and holds a BA in Politics from the University of Belgrade.
The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to have a discussion on the ongoing Israel crisis with subject experts, including Sir Malcom Rifkind, Danielle Pletka and Major General (ret). Amos Yadlin and chaired by Dr. Helena Ivanov. General Yadlin pointed to a trilateral failure – intelligence, operational and leadership, that led to the crisis Israel now finds itself in. He declared no mercy to Hamas, and stressed that it should be treated like other terrorist organisations like ISIS, given the extent of human rights violations and violence they propagate and remained doubtful of an escalation with Iran. Danielle Pletka reiterated that the USA stands by Israel, not just rhetorically but in ways that matter, reflected in President Biden’s visit to Ukraine and the deployment of arms. She emphasised that the USA would not directly enter unless there were direct threats to the nation or major escalations with respect to Iran, considering the gradual move away from the Middle East by previous administrations and the political climate in the States. Sir Malcolm stressed on the importance of civilian protection and saw hope in the Egyptian government opening up it’s border one way, to facilitate the passage of aid and medical supplies to Palestinian civilians who have moved to the South on Israel’s advice. The PA would probably be the ideal actor to fill the vacuum after the eradication of Hamas in Gaza but Gaza would have reduced military capability and political freedom. They also stressed that the far-right political climate of Israel has affected global relations, stemming from the deep divisions in Israel itself. There was a call for long-term durable solutions that end the cycle of violence and conflict, but a stern commitment from General Yadlin that Hamas will be toppled and that the target remains the militia and not civilians.
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