Barbara Diamond

Col. Richard Kemp: The courage to tell the truth

As much as I abhor the damage that social media has contributed to the implosion of the Middle East, It has delivered Col. Richard Kemp, his knowledge, wit, and courage, to my doorstep, and for this I feel compelled to share his insights.

After becoming thoroughly bored with Facebook,  I could not avoid noticing that both Donald Trump and Bibi Netanyahu use Twitter to communicate with their constituencies throughout the day.  Curiosity took hold. I now share my articles on Twitter and began “following” a few interesting political voices. One was that of Col. Richard Kemp, the former Commander of British troops in Afghanistan and a 30 year military leader who has a clarion voice on his views about Israel.

When I received notice that Stand With Us Jerusalem would be hosting him as a speaker,  I asked them if it might be possible for my husband and I to host him for dinner before the event. To my delight, he accepted. Little did I know that I would also be hearing him speak at the JCPA “Balfour Declaration- 100 years” conference the day prior.  In a 36 hour period, I had three opportunities to hear his message to the world.

It should not be unusual to find men of courage who speak with clarity and honesty. But it is.  The truths he unveiled were edifying.

His analysis of why Europe has been so anti- Israel boiled down to four clear points. One: The European countries believe that their national self -interests lay with appeasement of the Arab world.  It has much to do with oil, but also with the sheer size and power of their numbers and political clout.  Second: The European political leaders have found that Israel-bashing  buys them votes from their local constituencies.  Hence, being vocally anti-Israel is an asset to their re-election campaigns. If one hates the Jewish State, he/she can win the votes of the Muslim citizens, and enhance their own rise to power. Third:  European nations continue to live with the illusion, that if they do not support the Jewish State, it will result in Jihadists rewarding  their goodwill. The terrorists, they hope, will go to a different country and leave theirs alone.  The repeated attacks in every European land have not taught them that this is an absurd premise.

Professing to like Muslims and to hate Jews makes no difference to Islamic Fundamentalists intent on destroying the Infidels.  This dis-connect in the minds of European leaders on this issue, is entrenched in ignorance and yet they purse the same path not having learned from the suicide bombers and mass murderers in their midst.  Fourth:  European leaders know that in spite of their verbal assaults on Israel, their vicious votes in the United Nations, and their insults in the press, that Israel will not desert them.  Israeli intelligence on ISIS and private government communications with each of the European nations regarding issues of critical importance to their own survival is unflinching in spite of repeated unkind and disrespectful public posturing.  Israel does not desert its friends and presumes that these distressing moments in history will pass.  Israel treats Western assaults on its essence and right to exist, with incredible dignity.

Col. Kemp speaks clearly about his assessment of the Israeli Armed Forces. He unequivocally proclaims them to be the most moral fighting forces in the world. He should know.  He has given expert testimony at the United Nations contradicting the Goldstone Report which he found abhorrent and is now critiquing Israel’s current “State Controller’s report on the Gaza conflict.”  He is utterly shocked to find that the commissions which are selected to probe and review Israel’s conflicts with her enemies,  are comprised of individuals  who have never been on the battlefield and have no first-hand knowledge of the stresses and realities of war.  He has defended Israel’s need to act and its decisions in war repeatedly, based on his own battlefield expertise. He is a lone voice in the wilderness of those who wish to find Israel guilty of crimes against Arab civillians during wartime, and hence accuse her of  “crimes against humanity”.  He clearly proclaims that every Arab death in Gaza was the fault of Hamas and its decisions to force civilians to serve as human shields. Their only purpose in doing so was to raise the civilian death toll in order to bring Israel to the International criminal court in The Hague. He is adamant that Hamas sacrificed the lives of their own people for political gain.

It is not easy being Col. Richard Kemp.  While he is a favorite of the BBC on all matters of military interest, and has received multiple honors from the Queen and English establishment, when it comes to matters concerning the State of Israel, they avoid interviewing him in order to silence the truths he speaks without reservation.

When I asked him about the very disturbing vote at the United Nations in which the UK voted against Israel in the Security Council, which was preceded and followed by very pro-Israel statements by their new Prime Minister Theresa May, he concurred with my assumption that the British vote was cast without her authorization.  Her current statements are in fact an apology for that vote, and she now is making it clear to all of Europe where she stands on support of the only Democracy in the Middle East.  Keep an eye on the British Ambassador to the United Nations Matthew Rycroft OBE .His days in office are likely to be numbered.

Col. Kemp is fundamentally involved in an organization of great importance, yet unknown to most of us. It is called “The Friends of Israel Initiative.”  It is a collection of retired world leaders who are committed to assisting the State of Israel in the onslaught against it. Its President is Jose Maria Aznar, the former Prime Minister of Spain.  Among its esteemed members are former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton,  the former President of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera, the former President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel,  former First Minister of Northern Ireland and Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble,  Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Former Prime Minister of Australia John Howard and many more respected world leaders.  Their Military wing to which Col. Richard Kemp is a full participant is being sent to Israel on a pre-emptive fact finding mission to study the disturbing, massive build-up of missiles in Lebanon which will undoubtedly lead to a conflict In the future.  The mission’s purpose is to prepare a report ahead of the conflict to explain in advance,  why,  once the conflict is forced upon Israel, they will have no choice but to use massive force to retaliate. The world will be aghast and these committed retired military experts will be prepared to explain to the accusers, why such a reaction was in fact, unavoidable.  In these wars, everyone loses. The loss of life on both sides will be painful, and if Hamas was at all interested in peace and dialogue,  they would not be building up their arsenals with thousands of rockets and assault weapons.

When asked about his views on a “two-state solution” between the Palestinians and the Israelis, Col. Kemp clearly responds that it is an impossibility.  His reason: “Because the Palestinians do not want it”.  He explains that they clearly want Israel to become their own , and anything which falls short of that goal is completely unacceptable to them. This is the opinion of a military expert who has had his troops die in battle for multiple causes which were also impossible to achieve in other areas of the world.  When asked what he sees as the future for the Palestinian-Israeli impasse, his response was “The status quo.”

Addressing the dramatic rise in Anti-Semitism around the world, Col. Kemp links it to those who want to destroy the Jewish State. He expresses that this phenomenon is the “greatest smear campaign in history,”

When the Colonel speaks in public venues around the world, he receives aggressive reactions to his defense of the State of Israel and its Defense Forces.  The audience has a hard time believing that a Catholic Englishman could have gotten everything “so wrong”. He bares insults and threats and comes out stronger with each assault.  A warrior on the battlefield has taken his commitment to Truth and to the State of Israel to the public around the world, and for this, we are eternally in his debt.

About the Author
Born in the Washington DC area, Barbara has been a pro Israel activist for over four decades, having had a radio show in Jerusalem called "Barbara Diamond One on One" , doing in depth interviews which aired in Israel and in the UK. She participated in missions to the USSR to meet with Refuseniks, to Ethiopia with a medical team to help the Jewish villages and to China to open up relations prior to China recognizing the State of Israel, She has been pro-active lobbying congress and helping to start a Pro Israel PAC in Los Angeles. She stays involved through the Jerusalem Press Club attending up to the moment briefings which she would like to share with the readers. Ms. Diamond is the author of the new website - and is the 2018 recipient of the "StandWithUs"-Israel leadership award.