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April 13, 2016 12:17 pm

Col. Richard Kemp: Israel an ‘Outpost of Strength,’ Europe on ‘Spiral Downward to Obliteration’

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Col. Richard Kemp, addressing the Gatestone Institute. Photo: Raymond Hamlin.

Col. Richard Kemp, addressing the Gatestone Institute. Photo: Raymond Hamlin.

Discussing the challenges democracies face in confronting unconventional warfare, a retired British Army officer on Tuesday touted the Jewish state as exemplary.

Asked about the case of the IDF soldier currently under investigation for killing a subdued Palestinian terrorist who had just committed a stabbing attack against a comrade-in-arms, Colonel Richard Kemp – once the commander of UK forces in Afghanistan — said, “All people make mistakes, and soldiers are no exception, particularly since they are under immense pressure, may suffer from a lack of sleep, physical discomfort and often great fear.” The only relevant question, he added, is how an army and a country respond to violations, when they are determined as such.

Addressing the Gatestone Institute — a New York-based think tank specializing in strategy and defense issues — Kemp told The Algemeiner that the immediate public condemnation of the soldier in question by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of General Staff Gadi Eizenkot before all the facts of the case had even been established, was a function of their awareness of the “continual and unjust international pressure on Israel, no matter what it does.”

If the Israeli establishment had not reacted that way, said Kemp, author of the best-selling book Attack State Red, “It would have come under political assault.”

This attitude towards Israel, said Kemp, “is damaging to the West as a whole, because it constrains every army of every democracy; others do whatever they want. The perfect example of this is the war on ISIS. Though killing innocent civilians is obviously something we must avoid doing as much as we possibly can, our enemies hide among the civilian population, and sometimes we must risk the lives of civilians in order to destroy the enemy. Fear of doing this means that we will always lose.”

Kemp recounted his experience of the previous day, when he spoke at a pro-Israel event at New York University, held to counter “Israeli Apartheid Week” taking place there at the same time.

“I asked the students how many believed it was illegal to kill innocent civilians in times of war,” he said. “And I was surprised to discover their level of ignorance on that score, because all of them answered in the affirmative. In fact, it is not illegal to kill innocent civilians in times of war. It may not be nice; it may not be desirable; but it is not illegal.”

Kemp reiterated his long-standing position, based on in-depth research and numerous visits to Israel, that the IDF possesses a “unique morality” unparalleled in other militaries, where preventing civilian casualties is concerned. In addition, he said, unlike the case of other armies, “When Israel fights, it stands in isolation.”

A member of the High Level Military Group (HLMG) – comprised of top-level defense experts from Germany, Colombia, India, Spain, Australia, the US, France, the UK and Italy, which was established in early 2015 with a mandate by the Friends of Israel Initiative to examine the Gaza war – Kemp said the report it published in October will serve as a document to defend Israel in the “lawfare battle” being waged against it in the international arena. He said HLMG’s next project is to focus on “what Israel has to do to combat crazed Islamist extremists stabbing people in the streets and ramming into them with their cars.”

However, he stressed, “I don’t believe there can be a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel wants to live in peace, but what the Arabs want is its annihilation.” Kemp, a Catholic, nevertheless expressed optimism about the Jewish state’s remaining “an outpost of strength,” adding that Israel “should initiate an offensive strike on Iran, whose nuclear program it has the capability of delaying.”

This was in sharp contrast to his assessment of Europe, which is said is “on a spiral downward to being obliterated.”

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  • Frank Adam

    To put the Hebron shooting into some sort of comparative context: remember that in WWI Britain charged 30 000 soldiers with offences which carry the death sentence option, sentenced 3000 to death, and actually shot 300. Also in WWI France shot about 700 of its own troops; the Germans maybe 50. Significantly the French had two peaks – at the start in 1914 and quickly realised it did not work and about 74 in May 1917 after the mutinies as the Nivelle Offensive failed. In WW II the Russians shot a lot and from 1945 punished with gulag terms the prisoners taken especially in 1941 who had survived and returned. This was particularly nasty as the Germans let starve most of the 3 or was it 5 million PoW’s taken in 1941. In WWII the Germans shot 15 000 mostly in 1945 as the war collapsed about them. Evidently death “hockey sticks” downwards in its deterrent effects.

  • H. Givon

    Col. Richard Kemp has made a perfect assessment of both Israel and Europe. His grasp of reality should be taken seriously by those who do not understand that the two are connected: the terrorism that has plagued Jews in Palestine for the last one hundred years –even prior to the internationally endorsed restoration of the historical Jewish homeland on its ancient site and its re-creation in 1948 – has spread to other parts of the globe by the descendants of those whose earlier assaults on Jewish existence were not condemned. On the contrary, Israel’s firm resistance to those who would destroy her often elicited condemnation by the very ones who have today become the victims of the same ideological forces. While Israel copes with the conflict with extraordinary humanity Europe seems to be floundering in disbelief and negation, not knowing how to deal with the radical elements that have become a strong force in the fabric of its life. Faced with threats of escalating terrorism and the lack of a concerted effort to fight this the future of the continent is, indeed, in danger.

  • Mickey Oberman

    Col. Richard Kemp, a retired British army officer said
    “….. that Israel “should initiate an offensive strike on Iran, whose nuclear program it has the capability of delaying.”

  • geoffrey ben-nathan

    Col Richard Kemp continues in the tradition of Gen Orde Wingate – odd and unique British soldiers of distinction who run against the grain of the British Establishment and provide vital assistance to the cause of the Jewish state and the Jewish people.

    They are a blessing.

  • Aaron Shwartz

    Col Richard Kemp simply states the very essence of the problem that Israel faces namely, “Israel wants to live in peace, but what the Arabs want is its annihilation”. The world has not come to terms with the enormity of that proposition which has plagued Israel from the very first day of its existence and which will ultimately plague Western society for generations.

  • Max Cohen

    Something in Israel may be awry when officialdom, standing outside the heat of events, can contemplate disgracing a soldier who shot a murderous enemy. Officialdom only abets these stabbings with its quibbles and fails to mollify any of the anti-Israeli blood-lust now rampant. Better to avenge a stabbed Israeli than to shed tears for terrorists (as does Obama in Guantanamo).

  • nat cheiman

    Kemp is not kidding!!

  • Israel is the only positive force for good in the Middle East. Soldiers like Col. Kemp truly understand the gravity of the Islamic onslaught on Western Civilization. And Israel is the one nation uniquely qualified to defend freedom without apology.

  • stevenl

    Europeans behave more and more like the Palestinians. Their hate of Israel and resentment towards the Jews lead them to self-destruction!!!

  • sara rifka

    Nice for Kemp to offer his own take on Israel’s business and the business of Jews

    Presently as the situation is the way it is….no gentile has the right to add his own philosophy or concept to who we are and what Israel should do

    i don’t care whether or not you or others believe this_





  • A man in USA did shoot his daughter when entering his house, his daughter wanted to have fun with her daddy, she hided in a closet jumps out screaming beeeeh, her father dint’s recognize his daughter when shooting her.

    • Araf

      Is this supposed to be relevant to the topic? If so, how?