Tag: democrats

NEW U.S. DEMOCRATIC PARTY MEMBERS FOCUSED ON DEMONIZING ISRAEL AND DESTROYING TRUMP

The Left Would be Wise to Worry About its Anti-Semitic Wing: John Podhoretz, New York Post, Jan. 30, 2019— Jewish conservatives get asked this question more than any other: “Why are Jews liberals?”                                                                 

American Jewish leaders: Where are you?: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 31, 2019— Israel is once again facing major new international military and political challenges.

America’s Resurgence is Reshaping the World: Conrad Black, National Post, Jan. 11, 2019— Almost indiscernible in the endless tumult about President Donald Trump is the objective return of American might, right on our doorstep.

Revisiting Walter Eytan’s “The First Ten Years”: Col (Res.) Dr. Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen, BESA, Jan. 25, 2019— A forgotten book by one of the most prominent of all Israeli diplomats deserves a renewed look, notwithstanding the passage of time.

On Topic Links

Trump’s Mideast ‘Deal of the Century’ May Be a Raw One for Israel: Daniel Pipes, Breaking Israel News, Jan. 28, 2019

Get Over It — Trump’s Probably Not Going Anywhere: Rich Lowry, National Review, Jan. 18, 2019

Democrats are Battling to See Who is the Most Radically Left: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Jan. 12, 2019

Rocked by Historic Chaos, the U.S. Swoons in Search of Stability: David Shribman, Globe and Mail, Dec. 21, 2018

 

THE LEFT WOULD BE WISE TO WORRY ABOUT ITS ANTI-SEMITIC WING                                                          John Podhoretz                                                                                                     New York Post, Jan. 30, 2019

Jewish conservatives get asked this question more than any other: “Why are Jews liberals?” The question eventually got so tiresome that my father, himself a prominent Jewish conservative, wrote an ­entire book about tracing the history back to Biblical times. You can still buy it on Amazon. So I’m not going to answer it here.

What we know is this basic fact: In national elections, Jews vote for Democratic candidates by a margin of 3 to 1. That number has been fairly consistent through four elections now. It suggests Democrats should have no concerns about keeping Jews in their coalition for another generation. And yet they do have such concerns. And they should.

This week, prominent Democrats announced a new group called Democratic Majority for Israel, led by the pollster Mark Mellman. He told The New York Times: “Most Democrats are strongly pro-Israel, and we want to keep it that way. There are a few discordant voices, but we want to make sure that what’s a very small problem doesn’t metastasize into a bigger problem.”

The “very small problem” Mellman has in mind is a trio of newly elected Democrats: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar. They seem to have very few foreign policy views aside from a caricature of Israel as an occupying colonial force that sits up at night thinking of new ways to torment Palestinians.

Such ideas haven’t arisen from nowhere. They are the full flowering of decades of leftist propaganda and fashionable campus blatherskite. From such repellent acorns mighty trees grow, as we have seen in Europe. Britain’s Labour party did little to head off the virulent Israel hatred in its ranks, and it is now headed by an out-and-out anti-Semite. In Britain, once-overwhelming Jewish support for Labour has cratered. A poll before the 2017 election found that only 13 percent of Jews supported Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour because of its horrid record on ­anti-Semitism.

That is why Mellman and his fellow Democrats are smart to be doing this now, before the conflict actually begins to bite. The problem is “very small” at this moment, but the party’s trend line to the left suggests it will grow in force absent some major intervention or ideological change of heart. Nor are the views of the new, leftist members of Congress completely alien to the kinds of Democrats who take official roles in the party. At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, delegates removed language supporting Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

When the Obama White House, fearful of losing campaign dollars, intervened to have the language restored, there was a vocal fight on the convention floor. It sounded very much like those who didn’t want the pro-Jerusalem language restored won a voice vote — and when the chair announced otherwise, the hall erupted in boos.

Bernie Sanders came very close to espousing anti-Zionist opinions openly in 2016, and he won 22 states. His path was softened by the hostile posture of President Barack Obama’s administration. Obama claimed to be a friend of Israel, but there was no country or government he criticized more over his eight years — and he concluded his term allowing a UN resolution hostile to the Jewish state to pass without an American veto.

The activist base’s growing antipathy to Israel is less worrisome to friends of the Jewish state than it would have been at any other time in the country’s history, because Israel finds itself in a surprisingly strong position internationally and at home. It has held the line against Palestinian terrorism, and it is working in concord with Arab and Muslim nations in a manner that would have seemed science-fictional at the turn of the century.

What should be concerning is the subject that goes unaddressed in Mellman’s fight: the potential mainstreaming of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party as represented by the renewed public importance of Louis Farrakhan and the refusal of vanguard figures on the left, like the leaders of the Women’s March, to repudiate his noxious filth.

Here, too, Democrats need not worry today about this electorally or when it comes to votes and donations. Instinctively liberal, Jews are bound to be more alarmed by some of the white-nationalist encroachments into President Trump’s GOP. But the Corbyn example looms large and is arguably far more dangerous to the American Jewish future than anti-Israel sentiment in the Democratic Party is to Israel’s future.

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AMERICAN JEWISH LEADERS: WHERE ARE YOU?

Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 31, 2019

Israel is once again facing major new international military and political challenges. Yet despite our dysfunctional political system and the chaos associated with the impending elections, we have never been as militarily secure as we are today. We share a broad consensus across the nation and, allowing for minor nuances, any government elected will almost certainly maintain the broad outlines of the current security policy. These can be summed up as a desire to separate from our neighbors but an inability to do so until we have a partner for peace and can ensure our security. Alas, as of now that is not even on the horizon.

However, we need to brace ourselves, because our international position is becoming increasingly fragile. The Europeans are intensifying their biased policies against us and Britain may soon elect an outright antisemitic leader. The continued support of the US government at this time is thus immensely important. But there are perturbing developments.

US President Donald Trump has thus far been a very good friend to Israel, but displays erratic tendencies and at times ignores his own advisers – as exemplified recently when he announced the withdrawal of American forces from Syria. There are also unsubstantiated but disturbing hints that the American peace plan may have some unpleasant surprises that Israel may find unacceptable. At the same time, the Democratic Party’s radical and anti-Israel wing is growing and is already threatening the favorable congressional bipartisan consensus toward Israel that has prevailed for many

Israel’s principal supporters in the United States today are the evangelical Christians, whereas the Jewish community is utterly disunited and betraying its loyalty and obligations to the Jewish state. This did not happen overnight. Its origins go back to the Obama administration. Prior to that, Jewish leaders never hesitated to speak out against government policies considered inimical to the interests of Israel or the Jewish people.

When Barack Obama was elected president, this mood changed. He began to treat Israel as a rogue state, grovel to the Iranians, describe Israeli defenders and Arab terrorists as moral equivalents, and finally declined to veto the most biased and despicable resolution ever passed against Israel by the UN Security Council. The response by the majority of the American Jewish establishment, who were previously never reticent about raising their voices, was a deafening silence. Apart from the Zionist Organization of America and a number of smaller groups, the vast array of religious, political and social Jewish groups failed to react. Some tried to justify their inaction by arguing that criticizing Obama would only increase his hostility. Veteran Jewish leaders who did understand the situation were fearful that criticism of Obama would jeopardize their funding.

Another major factor contributing to the silence was the emergence of increasing numbers of “non-Jewish Jews,” so ignorant of their heritage that they regarded social justice and their Democratic political affiliation as the foremost factors in their Jewish identity. Prior to Trump’s election, Jewish organizations were meticulous in seeking to maintain a bipartisan stance. But once he was elected, hysteria swept through the Jewish community. Many progressive rabbis and lay leaders regarded him as Satan incarnate and decided it was their duty as Jews to oppose him, even on issues that had no direct bearing on Jewish interests. Speaking as Jews, some went so far as to accuse Trump of being a racist, an antisemite and even a Nazi sympathizer.

This, despite the fact that to date, Trump has unquestionably been the most positive president toward Israel and has a converted Jewish daughter who is religiously observant. He introduced significant beneficial policies, such as ceasing financial aid to Palestinian terrorists, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and promoting the case for Israel at the UN and international forums…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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AMERICA’S RESURGENCE IS RESHAPING THE WORLD                                                             Conrad Black  

National Post, Jan. 11, 2019

Almost indiscernible in the endless tumult about President Donald Trump is the objective return of American might, right on our doorstep. A casual sampler of the Canadian, and even the American, media, might think that the United States was so far along in its decline that the entire process of government and normal public discourse had broken down in that country, and that the much-discussed process of national decline was accelerating in a climate of virtual chaos.

In fact, the economy of the United States is astoundingly strong: full employment, an expanding work force, negligible inflation and about three per cent economic growth. And it is a broad economic recovery, not based on service industries as in the United Kingdom (where London handles most of Europe’s financial industry, while most of British industry has fled), and not based largely on the fluctuating resources markets as has often been Canada’s experience. In the eight years of president Obama, the United States lost 219,000 manufacturing jobs; in the two years of Trump, the country has added 477,000 manufacturing jobs. This was not supposed to be possible, and this time, unlike in the great Reagan boom, it cannot be dismissed by the left (and it was false in the eighties) as a profusion of “hamburger flippers, dry cleaners and people delivering pizza,” (all necessary occupations).

It is clear that China is feeling the heat of American tariffs. Their magnificent hypocrisy of gamboling in a $360-billion trade surplus with the United States while extorting technology from American companies and reducing American high-tech giants like Apple and Google to snivelling on China’s behalf when their sales in that country are reduced, and all the while leading G-77 in cupped-hands requests for relief from the economically most advanced countries for their pollution of the world environment (although China is the world’s greatest polluter), all of it is ending. The United States will not be the world’s premier chump anymore. The most enthusiastic support the United States is receiving in its trade stance with China is from China’s neighbours, from India to Japan. Of course China is the world’s second-greatest power and must be treated with respect, but that does not mean the shameless grovelling of Trump’s predecessors, paying court to Beijing like lackeys kowtowing to the emperors of the Middle Kingdom.

Every U.S. president starting with Dwight Eisenhower has bewailed American dependence on foreign oil. Foreigners then supplied 10 per cent of America’s oil, a figure that rose to 60 per cent under president Obama, and no one has done anything about it, until the past two years, when oil production has been sharply increased and reliance on oil imports has been sharply cut, on its inexorable way to zero. For decades, whenever the U.S. made purposeful noises about doing the necessary to reduce oil imports, the Saudis engineered a cut in the international price and American will collapsed backwards into the contemptible torpor of declining powers. All that has changed. What were for centuries the Great Powers, and for nearly 50 years after the Second World War, the principal Western Allies and the Soviet Union, have been reconfigured. The Soviet Union has been sliced down to Russia with about 40 per cent of the former Soviet population, offering a pallid replication of Gaullist efforts to make France great again by being an annoying gadfly irritating the Americans around the world. Charles de Gaulle was a great statesman, who personified the historic cultural and political attainments of France in its most difficult and dishonoured times; Vladimir Putin is just another chief thug residing in the Kremlin.

China has replaced the U.S.S.R. as principal rival to the U.S., but now has no ideological distinction, as well as, in replication of the Soviets, no institutions that function except the army. It is trying to beat the United States at its own game of capitalism, but the Chinese version is a hodge-podge of state capitalism and a command economy, and the recoil of the Chinese from the pressure that has been applied by this U.S. administration demonstrates more clearly what the real balance of power is between the two economies. China is the greatest economic development story in the history of the world, but as a challenge to the paramount status the United States has occupied for over a century among the world’s nations, it won’t fly. Washington has seen it all, and seen it off, before.

And there is Europe. Canadians were rightly offended, as Australians and New Zealanders were, when British prime minister Edward Heath tried to plunge headlong into Europe in 1972, having failed to make it as the Common Market negotiator for Harold MacMillan in 1963. We were put over the side for Britain to take a total immersion bath in Europe. Nine years later, Margaret Thatcher did a 240-degree turn, brushed Europe back and plunged into a splendid renewal of the Special Relationship with the United States. She and Ronald Reagan did a credible job of filling the shoes of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and they did as efficient a job of leading the West to victory in the Cold War as their revered antecedents did in leading the West to victory in the Second World War. But before long, the special relationship gave way under British leaders more attracted by Europe and American leaders who had little interest in Britain. Then came a half-hearted British effort to go back head-first into Europe. It faltered and the Albion is faltering and befuddled…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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REVISITING WALTER EYTAN’S “THE FIRST TEN YEARS”

Col (Res.) Dr. Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen

BESA, Jan. 25, 2019

A forgotten book by one of the most prominent of all Israeli diplomats deserves a renewed look, notwithstanding the passage of time. The First Ten Years: A Diplomatic History of Israel is the personal testimony of Dr. Walter Eytan, the first director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry (from 1948 to 1959). Eytan, who headed the ministry during the tough days of the War of Independence, is considered the founding father of the Israeli diplomatic service. The book was published in 1958 by Simon and Schuster in New York, and was never translated into Hebrew. It is a historical treasure in that it gives the reader a unique, behind-the-scenes look at diplomatic decision-making from the inside.

Walter Eytan’s reputation derives primarily from his pivotal role as head of the Israeli delegation to Rhodes in January 1949, where he helped pave the way for armistice agreements with the Arab states. This was followed by the Lausanne Conference (April 1949), sponsored by the UN PCC (Palestine Conciliation Commission), which aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict. His professional authority was manifested on several occasions during those negotiations, as well as during interactions with Israeli PM David Ben-Gurion and FM Moshe Sharett.

Eytan’s assertions remain valid today, bearing in mind the never-ending conflict with the Palestinian Arabs. He clearly identified the refugee issue as the core obstacle to any Israeli-Arab breakthrough, emphasizing that “the Arabs insisted throughout that no general peace negotiations could be undertaken until the refugee question was settled. Israel was willing to discuss the refugee question but felt it could be solved only within the framework of a general settlement.” On this matter he was unequivocal: The Arab states not only had no interest in the repatriation or resettlement of the refugees; their interest required that the refugees should not be repatriated or resettled at all, or at any rate not for a long time, certainly not until they had ceased to be of political use. They pressed for the refugees’ repatriation to Israel only because they knew this was not feasible in any case, at least not on any considerable scale.

Israel carried into effect a “reunion of families” scheme, undertook to pay compensation for abandoned Arab lands, agreed to the return of 100,000 refugees, released “frozen” Arab bank accounts, resettled some 35,000 refugees inside Israeli territory, and offered Jordan a free zone in Haifa Port. Not a single conciliatory move came from the Arab side. Eytan observed that the Arab states enjoyed a remarkable political achievement by managing to quickly harness the world’s sympathy for the refugees to their own political ends. The Arab national cause as a whole became the beneficiary of sympathy that had been intended for the refugees alone. The Arab states succeeded at this by making the world believe it was Israel that was responsible for the refugees’ status as such, and for their remaining refugees ever since. Eytan called the refugees “a gift to Arab propaganda,” which turned them into Israel’s gravest political liability during the first decade of its existence…

Regrettably, for all its efforts, Israel has never been able to free itself from the reproach leveled at it by the Arab propaganda machine. It remains tarnished by the charge that it drove the refugees out and has since cruelly denied them the elementary human right of “returning home,” and in doing so “defied” the UN.

Eytan was deeply critical of the world’s standpoint vis-à-vis the Arabs’ hostility towards Israel. In his words: The Arab campaign against Israel has been conducted on every front for the past ten years with a vigor and fixity of purpose that might have been devoted to a better cause. The very intransigence of Arab policy has daunted the world. Little effort has been made to curb it. …Their [the Arabs’] whole attitude is based on the thesis that Israel has no right to exist and that to negotiate with her is out of the question because it would mean conceding her this right.

He brilliantly observed the Arab world’s manipulative policy, both externally and internally, while maintaining a state of near-war and tension versus Israel. In his assessment,

[The Arab world] provided itself with a grievance it could nurse to its heart’s content and in politics there are few assets more valuable than a grievance. It focused international attention on itself by becoming a power for mischief; and it reckoned that, like any group which made enough of a nuisance of itself, it might hope for the prizes of appeasement. … [T]his hope would not be disappointed, and it felt encouraged to persist. Domestically, hostility to Israel promised rich rewards. There was nothing like a bitter harangue against Israel to rouse the masses and divert their minds from less appealing topics. The Arab League, as such, has been held together to this day largely by the boycott and other common actions against Israel. With the growing clash of interests between the Arab states themselves, the Arab League clings to Israel as its main raison d’être. It is not cynicism to say that if Israel did not exist, the Arabs would have to invent her…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

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On Topic Links

Trump’s Mideast ‘Deal of the Century’ May Be a Raw One for Israel: Daniel Pipes, Breaking Israel News, Jan. 28, 2019—President Trump has spoken repeatedly about his desire to find the “deal of the century” to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the president’s specific plan remains a tightly held secret, he and several aides occasionally drop hints about it. From what one can tell, it doesn’t sound good.

Get Over It — Trump’s Probably Not Going Anywhere: Rich Lowry, National Review, Jan. 18, 2019—The walls supposedly are always closing in on Donald Trump. The end is always beginning. He’s going to quit. He’s going to be impeached and removed. He’s going to decide not to run again. Somehow or other, he’s going to relieve everyone of the responsibility of ever thinking of him again, and especially of the responsibility of defeating him in an election.

Democrats are Battling to See Who is the Most Radically Left: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Jan. 12, 2019—Another week, another feverish contest among Democrats to see who can drag the party faster and farther to the left. The new year is beginning with a blistering pace, with wild and crazy ideas popping up across the country.

Rocked by Historic Chaos, the U.S. Swoons in Search of Stability: David Shribman, Globe and Mail, Dec. 21, 2018—In a 10-day period in the Watergate-stained year of 1973, the vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned amid corruption charges and the President, Richard Nixon, dismissed special prosecutor Archibald Cox in an episode immortalized as the Saturday Night Massacre.

ANTI-ISRAEL MUSLIMS ELECTED TO U.S. CONGRESS; IN CANADA, TAXPAYERS INDIRECTLY FUNDING HAMAS

First Muslim Women in US Congress Misled Voters About Views on Israel: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 16, 2018— Ilhan Abdullahi Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Harbi Tlaib of Michigan will be the first two Muslim women ever to serve in the US Congress.

Is Canada Knowingly Funding Extremism and Terrorism?: Tom Quiggin, IPT News, Oct. 18, 2018— Canadian taxpayer money may be finding its way to Hamas, a listed terrorist group.

Laïcité Can Help Block Advance of Political Islam: Lise Ravary, Montreal Gazette, Oct. 22, 2018 — “We must get involved in all domains where we can have more Islam …”

Congress Has the Chance to Combat Terrorist Use of Human Shields: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, The Hill, Oct. 10, 2018 — Innocent civilian casualties are an inevitable legacy of any war.

On Topic Links

Don’t Expect Democrats to Obstruct Trump’s Pro-Israel Policies – or Punish Netanyahu: Jonathan S. Tobin, Ha’aretz, Nov. 8, 2018

Canada’s Welcome Mat for Jihadis Poses Threat to US: Clarion Project, Nov. 18, 2018

Jihad Jane’s Recruiter Sentenced to 15 Years: Abha Shankar, IPT News, Oct 31, 2018

Islamic State’s Future in Afghanistan – Part II: Daud Khattak, BESA, Nov. 19, 2018

                             

FIRST MUSLIM WOMEN IN US CONGRESS

MISLED VOTERS ABOUT VIEWS ON ISRAEL                                                                          Soeren Kern                                     

Gatestone Institute, Nov. 16, 2018

 

Ilhan Abdullahi Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Harbi Tlaib of Michigan will be the first two Muslim women ever to serve in the US Congress. Most of the media coverage since their election on November 6 has been effusive in praise of their Muslim identity and personal history. Less known is that both women deceived voters about their positions on Israel. Both women, at some point during their rise in electoral politics, led voters — especially Jewish voters — to believe that they held moderate views on Israel. After being elected, both women reversed their positions and now say they are committed to sanctioning the Jewish state.

America’s first two Muslim congresswomen are now both on record as appearing to oppose Israel’s right to exist. They both support the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Both are also explicitly or implicitly opposed to continuing military aid to Israel, as well as to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — an outcome that would establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Instead, they favor a one-state solution — an outcome that many analysts believe would, due to demographics over time, replace the Jewish state with a unitary Palestinian state.

Ilhan Omar, who will replace outgoing Rep. Keith Ellison (the first Muslim elected to Congress) in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, came to the United States as a 12-year-old refugee from Somalia and settled in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, in the late 1990s. In her acceptance speech, delivered without an American flag, Congresswoman-elect Omar opened her speech in Arabic with the greeting, “As-Salam Alaikum, (peace be upon you), alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah.” She continued: “I stand here before you tonight as your congresswoman-elect with many firsts behind my name. The first woman of color to represent our state in Congress. The first woman to wear a hijab. The first refugee ever elected to Congress. And one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.”

Omar faced some controversy during the campaign, including a disturbing report that she had married her own brother in 2009 for fraudulent purposes, as well as a tweet from May 2018 in which she refers to Israel as an “apartheid regime,” and another tweet from November 2012, in which she stated: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

After the tweets came to light, Omar met with members of her congressional district’s large Jewish population to address concerns over her position on Israel, as reported by Minneapolis’s Star Tribune. During a Democratic Party candidates’ forum at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park on August 6 — one week before Omar defeated four other candidates in the party’s primary — Omar publicly criticized the anti-Israel BDS movement. In front of an audience of more than a thousand people, Omar said she supported a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and that the BDS movement aimed at pressuring Israel was not helpful in trying to achieve that goal.

Pressed by moderator Mary Lahammer to specify “exactly where you stand on that,” Omar replied that the BDS movement was “counteractive” because it stopped both sides from coming together for “a conversation about how that’s going to be possible.”

Less than a week after being elected, however, Omar admitted that she supports the BDS movement. On November 11, Omar’s office told the website MuslimGirl.com that she favors BDS against Israel: “Ilhan believes in and supports the BDS movement, and has fought to make sure people’s right to support it isn’t criminalized. She does however, have reservations on the effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution.” On November 12, Omar told TC Jewfolk, a website catering to the Jewish community in the Twin Cities, that her position on the BDS movement “has always been the same” and pointed to her vote as a state lawmaker against House bill HF 400, which prohibits the state from doing business with companies or organizations that boycott Israel.

In a recent interview with the Star Tribune, Omar characterized the controversy over her tweets about Israel as an effort to “stigmatize and shame me into saying something other than what I believed.” In a July 8, 2018 interview with ABC News, for a segment entitled, “Progressive Democrats Increasingly Criticize Israel, and Could Reap Political Rewards,” Omar defended her tweets. She said the accusations of anti-Semitism “are without merit” and “rooted in bigotry toward a belief about what Muslims are stereotyped to believe.”

On September 22, Omar was the keynote speaker in Minneapolis at a fundraiser focused on providing monetary support for Palestinians in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. The US Department of State has officially designated Hamas a terrorist group. After the event, Omar tweeted: “It was such an honor to attend the ‘Dear Gaza’ fundraiser … I know Palestinians are resilient people, hateful protesters nor unjust occupation will dim their spirit.”

Writing in the New York Post, political commentator David Harsanyi noted that Omar’s rhetoric had anti-Semitic undertones: “Now, it isn’t inherently anti-Semitic to be critical of Israeli political leadership or policies. The Democratic Party antagonism toward the Jewish state has been well-established over the past decade. But Omar used a well-worn anti-Semitic trope about the preternatural ability of a nefarious Jewish cabal to deceive the world….

In Michigan, meanwhile, Rashida Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, won a largely uncontested race for the open seat in state’s heavily Democratic 13th congressional district. In Tlaib’s acceptance speech, delivered with a Palestinian flag, she credited her victory to the Palestinian cause. “A lot of my strength comes from being Palestinian,” she said.

Like Omar, Tlaib has changed her positions on key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During her race for the Democratic nomination in the state primary, Tlaib actively “sought out the support and received the endorsement of J Street.” J Street is a left-leaning organization that is highly critical of the Israel government, and through “JStreetPAC,” it also allocates financial support to those who back J Street’s policies. J Street endorsed Tlaib “based on her support for two states” with the JStreetPAC website claiming that she “believes that the U.S. should be directly involved with negotiations to reach a two-state solution. Additionally, she supports all current aid to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

After her primary win on August 7, however, Tlaib radically shifted her positions on Israel, so much so that Haaretz suggested that she pulled a “bait-and-switch.” In an August 14 interview with In These Times magazine, Tlaib was asked whether she supported a one-state or two-state solution. She replied: “One state. It has to be one state. Separate but equal does not work…. This whole idea of a two-state solution, it doesn’t work.” Tlaib also declared her opposition to US aid for Israel, as well as her support for the BDS movement…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                    

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IS CANADA KNOWINGLY FUNDING EXTREMISM AND TERRORISM?

Tom Quiggin

IPT News, Oct. 18, 2018

Canadian taxpayer money may be finding its way to Hamas, a listed terrorist group. The Criminal Code of Canada forbids funding terrorism, as well as forbidding the facilitation of those funding terrorism. But last Friday, Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau announced that Canada would send $50 million in the next two years to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). This is in addition to the $110 million that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to UNRWA since 2016. UNRWA has been repeatedly accused of supporting extremism, promoting violence and not checking beneficiaries against a list of known terrorists provided by the police. The announcement made no reference to UNRWA’s alleged connections, and said the money is meant to help provide education and health services to Palestinians.

Funding UNWRA is not illegal in Canada, although given the agency’s reputation, it is a questionable use of taxpayer money. For instance, in August President Donald Trump withdrew $300 million in UNRWA funding. The U.S. government would no longer “shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs,” a U.S. State Department press release said, calling it an “irredeemably flawed operation.” In addition to funding UNRWA, the Trudeau government gave millions of taxpayers’ dollars to Islamic Relief Canada. Some of this money is forwarded to Islamic Relief Worldwide (UK), which has been repeatedly linked to Hamas…

The Canadian aid is funneled through government programs, including International Humanitarian Aid Program (2017), M103 Islamophobia Funding (2018), Canada Summer Jobs Program (2017 and 2018), Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund/Islamic Relief (May 2018), Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund CHAF, Canada’s Humanitarian and Development Assistance to Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, and Prime Minister Trudeau’s volunteer work and promotional video for Islamic Relief Canada.

In June, MP Iqra Khalid of Mississauga announced that $23 million Canadian dollars would help fund her M103 Parliamentary Motion on “Islamophobia.” The money, she said, would go to Islamic Relief Canada and a local boys and girls club. Other members of Parliament who appear to have played a role in directing money to Islamic Relief Canada include Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Immigration and Refugees Minister Ahmed Hussen, Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, International Development Minister Bibeau and Parliamentary Secretary Omar Alghabra.

A variety of independent and credible sources have identified Islamic Relief Worldwide as funding extremist and terrorist activities. This includes American think tank studies and international actors. The following is a partial list of statements concerning the activities of Islamic Relief International. 1. In 2014 the United Arab Emirates produced a list of organizations they deemed to be terrorist entities. Among those was Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief UK. 2. In 2017, Bangladesh banned three organizations, including Islamic Relief, from working with Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar out of concern about potential radicalization in refugee camps. 3. In 2014, Israel banned Islamic Relief from operating in the occupied West Bank, accusing Islamic Relief Worldwide of being a source of funding for the Palestinian Hamas Islamist movement. That led the UK Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) to remove Islamic Relief from its online donations page. The Financial Post of Canada similarly removed Islamic Relief from a charity page “since its international arm has been banned elsewhere (though not in Canada) for allegedly funneling funds to the terrorist organization Hamas.” 4. In 2015, the HSBC Bank of the United Kingdom closed Islamic Relief accounts citing fears that money could wind up with terrorist groups. 5. In 2012, the UBS cut ties with Islamic Relief due to concerns about counter-terrorist regulations.

The use of federally registered charities to fund terrorism is not a new practice. In the United States, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was considered the country’s largest Muslim charity until it was shut down in 2001 for funneling millions of dollars to Hamas. Canada revoked the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN)’s charitable status in 2014 for similar Hamas support. The Islamic Society of North America in Canada has suffered four different charity revocations – two of which were for funding the Jamaat e Islami terrorist group.

What is different in this case, however, is how the money is getting directed down the path to terrorism. In the recent past, it was private citizens exploiting weaknesses in government oversight of registered charities. Now, however, it appears that Canadian MPs are using their positions to direct millions of dollars to Islamic Relief Canada. Some of this money is passed to Islamic Relief Worldwide, which is in turn passing money to extremist and terrorist groups. Given that it is generally known about Islamic Relief Worldwide’s terrorism financing connections, Canadian officials appear willfully blind. Even if they don’t know better, this practice violates Canadian law and Canadian values. An investigation could determine if the money could wind up in the hands of a terrorist organization.

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LAÏCITÉ CAN HELP BLOCK ADVANCE OF POLITICAL ISLAM                                                   Lise Ravary

Montreal Gazette, Oct. 22, 2018

“We must get involved in all domains where we can have more Islam …” “The more we are present, the more women are seen wearing hijab, discussing it, explaining their approach, explaining who they are, the more we will create habits and things will change.” “We must control school programs and stop them from propagating values that do not conform to our principles.” “We must move into public schools, using empty spaces to dispense complementary religious learning.”

These words by Swiss-born global superstar Muslim preacher Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, explain why so many francophones see hijabs and niqabs as symbols of political Islam, or Islamism: using the tools of the state in order to further a religious agenda. Before being jailed in France to await trial on rape charges, Ramadan was a frequent visitor to Quebec, where he gave interviews to mainstream media and spoke to large crowds at the Palais des congrès.

Francophones read newspapers, books and magazines from France, where relationships between immigrants from North Africa and Français de vieille souche are bad for reasons that mostly don’t exist here. France failed at integrating les Maghrébins who moved there after her North African possessions became independent. Algeria, in particular, was not just a colony, it was a full-fledged French territory, its inhabitants French citizens. The terrible war of independence created a lot of hatred, bitterness and resentment before de Gaulle said “enough” in 1962.

Islamists continue to make inroads in France. Newspapers often report comments by radical imams on women, non-Muslims or Jews that make people’s hair stand on end. Salafist imams are regularly expelled and hundreds of mosques have been closed in recent years. More than 500 French Muslims joined ISIS. Who can forget Charlie Hebdo, le Bataclan and the people killed in Nice on Bastille Day?

Many francophones worry that Quebec will turn into France, where crowds pray in the streets, because Canada’s multiculturalism, they feel, promotes apartness instead of togetherness. As Ramadan said to L’Express: “We are in favour of integration as long as we control the content.” Although his speeches in Arabic have always been more strident and extreme than in French, he cultivated the image of bridge builder, a man of peace. People bought into his mystique. The sexual assault accusations have not stopped many Muslims from admiring Ramadan. Being the grandson of Hassan al-Banna confers a lot of prestige although he denies being a member of the Brotherhood.

Laïcité, which has never been explained to Quebecers, cannot and should not silence people like Ramadan, unless they promote hatred or incite violence. In itself, political Islam is not a crime. But many Quebecers feel that laïcité could at least prevent attempts to change things toward “more Islam.” However, this strategy did not work so well in France, where laïcité has been the law of the land since 1905. Yet, with laïcité, public schools could not set aside rooms for prayer, separate boys and girls — even non-Muslim — for gym, pull students from music lessons or sex education, or agree to some parents’ requests for segregated school yards.

Last spring, a public school in Montreal was set to rent out its premises for the annual “cérémonie du voile,” a Shiite ritual during which 9-year-old girls agree to wear the hijab forever. Many Muslims feel the girls are too young to take on such a commitment. Religions should be kept out of all state institutions, not only to stop people like Tariq Ramadan and other insidious promoters of Islamism from scoring political points, but also to allow the faithful to worship without having fingers pointed at them. Let’s not forget that many Muslims who emigrated here did so to escape Islamism.

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CONGRESS HAS THE CHANCE TO COMBAT

TERRORIST USE OF HUMAN SHIELDS                                                               

Rabbi Abraham Cooper

The Hill, Oct. 10, 2018

Innocent civilian casualties are an inevitable legacy of any war. But the idea that armies would use civilians as human shields to protect armed combatants from the enemy’s bullets is considered by most civilized nations and adherents to International Law (1949 Geneva Conventions, the 1977 Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, and the 1998 Rome Statute) to be a War Crime.

During World War II, across Europe and in Asia, the Axis partners were accused of deploying human shields to secure military objectives, root out insurgents and in the Battle of Okinawa, use civilians in a ferocious battle the Japanese knew they would lose. Over 100,000 Okinawans perished.

Saddam Hussein took the deployment of human shields to a whole new level. In the lead up to the Gulf War of 1990-1991. Hussein detained hundreds of citizens of Western countries as human shields in an attempt to deter nations from launching military strikes. A number of these hostages were filmed meeting Hussein, and kept with him to deter any targeted attacks, whilst others were held in or near military, nuclear and industrial targets.

More recently, in 2016, Islamic State fighters began using human shields — hostages — in Fallujah. Fox News reported that the shields consisted of “several hundred” families — in other words, an entire neighborhood. USA Today reported that Islamic State thugs were “locking some families down inside the hospital building.” The Iraqi government and the UN also estimated at least 50,000 innocent people were trapped in Fallujah.

Which brings us to the new Capitol Hill initiative. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) have introduced an increasingly rare bipartisan bill to counter the use of human shields by Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Nigeria’s Boko Haram and other terrorist groups. Why the need for the bill now? What can it achieve? Most of the examples of cited above about the use of human shields in the past took place in the heat of battle or as a desperation move on the eve of a military confrontation.

In our time, we are confronted with Iranian-backed terrorist groups who brazenly have established the deployment of human shields as a core tactic and strategy for present and future battles with the enemy. For months now, Hamas has been using children as part of orchestrated riots at the Gaza-Israeli border. When Israel soldiers rush to the area and see children, their first reaction is to hesitate targeting children. These traps have already cost the lives of an Israeli soldier.

Rather than condemn Hamas, as outgoing US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tried unsuccessfully at the Security Council and General Assembly tried to do, UN members always vote to condemn Israel for defending herself. This only encourages Hamas to put more children at risk. Every dead child is a social media bonanza. In early wars with Israel, Hamas used civilian infrastructures, including UNRWA schools to store missiles and launch them against the Jewish State. While using children as cannon fodder, the Hamas brain-trust found safe haven beneath a civilian hospital. Palestinian children have died building terror tunnels burrowing into Israeli communities…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

Contents

 

On Topic Links

Don’t Expect Democrats to Obstruct Trump’s Pro-Israel Policies – or Punish Netanyahu: Jonathan S. Tobin, Ha’aretz, Nov. 8, 2018—The 2018 U.S. midterm elections were a mixed bag for U.S. partisans.

Canada’s Welcome Mat for Jihadis Poses Threat to US: Clarion Project, Nov. 18, 2018—Canada’s welcome mat for jihadis — including returning ISIS terrorists as well as numerous Islamists immigrants — is well known.  This not only threatens our northern neighbors but is an increasing threat to the U.S. as well.

Jihad Jane’s Recruiter Sentenced to 15 Years: Abha Shankar, IPT News, Oct 31, 2018—An Algerian man was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for conspiring with Americans and others to recruit men and women in Europe and the United States to a terrorist cell to wage violent jihad in the West.

Islamic State’s Future in Afghanistan – Part II: Daud Khattak, BESA, Nov. 19, 2018—Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K) emerged in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, on the border of Pakistan’s volatile tribal region.

IN U.S. MID-TERM ELECTION, “KITCHEN-TABLE ISSUES” WILL LIKELY OUTWEIGH HEADLINE-GRABBING EVENTS

Neither of this Week’s Attacks Will Affect the Midterms: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Oct. 27, 2018—Whom can we blame? How will it play in November?

Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre Sadly Exposes Linda Sarsour’s Opportunism: Steven Emerson, Algemeiner, Oct. 30, 2018 — Expressions of grief, shock, and solidarity came from all corners as a horrified nation learned about a Jew-hating gunman’s attack on a historic Pittsburgh synagogue.

Midterm Optics Are Bad for Progressives: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Oct. 25, 2018— For progressives, the looming midterm elections apparently should not hinge on a booming economy, a near-record-low unemployment rate, a strong stock market, and unprecedented energy production.

Democrats Are Blowing It, Again: Bret Stephens, New York Times, Oct. 12, 2018— Michael Kelly, the legendary journalist who died covering the invasion of Iraq in 2003, once wrote that the “animating impulse” of modern liberalism was to “marginalize itself and then enjoy its own company.

On Topic Links

Democrats No Match for ‘Nationalist’ Trump: Konrad Yakabuski, Globe & Mail, Oct. 26, 2018

‘Most Important Election Ever’ — Not: David Harsanyi, New York Post, Oct. 26, 2018

Domestic Issues, Not Israel, Key to Pivotal Jewish Voters in Midterm Elections: Cathryn J. Prince, Times of Israel, Nov. 1, 2018

The Democrats are at a Low Point. Can They Regain Power?: Lawrence Martin, Globe & Mail, Oct. 12, 2018

 

          NEITHER OF THIS WEEK’S ATTACKS WILL AFFECT THE MIDTERMS                                                 Michael Goodwin

New York Post, Oct. 27, 2018

Whom can we blame? How will it play in November? For the second time in a week, those were the crass calculations running through the minds of the political class. First it was the pipe bombs and now it is the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. In both cases, the instant assumption was that the allegiance of the perpetrator would determine which side would be punished in the midterms and which side would reap the benefits of sympathy.

If this sounds heartless and ghoulish, welcome to America. The politicization of everything is exacting a terrible price on our country, with no crime or tragedy too heinous to exploit. As the number of pipe bombs grew and it became clear that all the targets were Democrats or fierce critics of President Trump, most fingers pointed in the obvious direction. Much of the media rushed to blame the president, and Dem congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi piled on, even denouncing Trump’s call for national unity.

“Time and time again, the president has condoned physical violence and divided Americans with his words and his actions,” they said in a statement that was remarkably harsh and partisan given that the suspect was still at large and fear was growing by the day. Meanwhile, the pattern of targets was too obvious for some in the president’s corner, and they smelled a “false flag” operation. They suspected the bombs were a plant by the left to put the blame on Trump and swing the coming election to the Dems.

But now that we know that suspect Cesar Sayoc, 56, is indeed a Trump supporter, we are back to the original assumptions. Phrases such as “MAGA Bomber” and “Native American Trump Supporter” who drove a “Trump Mobile” convey the tone of most of the media, with some coverage veering into a “we told you so” smugness. For the 1 millionth time, they were sure this would be the final straw in his popularity. Happy days would soon be here again.

And then came Saturday’s slaughter, which scrambles the political playbook because it defies easy assumptions about the fallout. Suspect Robert Bowers is a sick anti-Semite, the carrier of a disease nearly as old as mankind. Because of that, he is no fan of Trump, as he has said on ­social-media posts. For Bowers, Jews are the everything, the sole measuring rod of all things, which makes Trump part of the problem. The president, after all, is a strong supporter of Israel and his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kushner. The fact that Trump also dared to criticize white nationalists after the Charlottesville, Va., incident is proof he cannot be trusted, according to Bowers’ Nazi-like rants.

Still, that distinction may be buried in the rush to gain an edge, and the anti-Trumpers may be correct that the horrors will persuade enough voters in key districts and states that the president is to blame for the rise of political violence. In that case, Dems could sweep both houses and turn Trump into a piñata for the next two years, assuming he isn’t impeached and convicted before his term expires. So a bandwagon of belief is rolling in that direction, but nobody need save me a seat. I’m not convinced the bomb suspect’s support for Trump will swing the election or that the synagogue attack helps Democrats.

Here are three main reasons for my doubts. First, neither suspect was a solid citizen who suddenly turned to violence because of politics. Sayoc is a career criminal whose arrest record goes back three decades, including at least one charge for making terroristic threats. A recent former employer described him as “crazed” but not about politics. He was, as The Post put it in a headline, a “stripper with a steroid problem.” Bowers, based on what we know of him so far, is a freak of the fringe who would not be welcomed in any mainstream political party. His vileness isn’t partisan.

Although the public in general is distressed with gutter-level politics, and most feel Trump makes too many inflammatory comments, it doesn’t automatically follow that these two alleged criminals can be successfully pinned on the president. Just as most Americans did not blame Bernie Sanders when one of his supporters shot Republican Congressman Steve Scalise in a planned assassination attempt last year, most are more likely to believe Sayoc and Bowers are responsible for their own actions.

Second, the speed of events these days means no one storyline dominates for long, even in the anti-Trump-obsessed media. The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation battle looked as if it would determine the election — until the caravan of Central American immigrants making their way toward the southern border vowed to get into the country, one way or another. Both events galvanized GOP voters and quashed most predictions of a blue wave. While it’s clear the media and Democrats will try to reverse the trend by hanging Sayoc and Bowers around Trump’s neck, that approach probably will work only with those already opposed to Trump.

Besides, the president’s supporters can — and already are — pointing to left-wing violence by antifa and comments by Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Maxine Waters and other Dems urging an uncivil campaign of harassment against Republicans. And The New York Times didn’t help the left’s cause with its outrageous publication of an article that fantasizes about an assassination of the president. Shamefully, the Gray Lady’s demand for civility doesn’t extend to its own conduct.

The economy is the third reason for my doubts that last week will dramatically reshape the election. Most Americans in the workforce today have never seen anything like the jobs boom and the rising incomes that go with historic low unemployment. To most voters, kitchen-table issues almost always outweigh headline-grabbing incidents, even horrible ones, a fact often lost on elite bubble dwellers. The media especially continue to fall hard for the illusion that the public trusts them to decide what matters most.

In short, I’m having that déjà vu feeling all over again. Much as they were in 2016, too many know-it-alls are 100 percent certain about which way the wind will blow on Nov. 6. The skeptic in me suspects they still are confusing facts with their own bias. My only certainty now is the same one I had two years ago: Voters have a mind of their own. Thank God for that.

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                              PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE MASSACRE SADLY

EXPOSES LINDA SARSOUR’S OPPORTUNISM                                                             

Steven Emerson

Algemeiner, Oct. 30, 2018

Expressions of grief, shock, and solidarity came from all corners as a horrified nation learned about a Jew-hating gunman’s attack on a historic Pittsburgh synagogue. Eleven Jews were killed because they were Jews, gathered for Shabbat services at the Tree of Life synagogue. Four Pittsburgh law enforcement officers were wounded as they raced toward the gunfire and prevented the tragedy from becoming even greater. But one person’s statements of grief and solidarity stand out, largely because it contrasts a long record of sowing enmity and antisemitism. During a vigil on Sunday outside the White House, Linda Sarsour, microphone in hand, spoke of love and solidarity with American Jews. “I hope that you commit and you join me and my sisters and brothers who are here today, to resist hate and choose unrelenting love every single time,” she said.

Her organization, MPower Change, issued a similar statement in Sarsour’s name, expressing “solidarity with our Jewish family, especially the community in Pittsburgh, after today’s horrific shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. In the face of overwhelming hate, we choose unrelenting love and unity. We recommit ourselves to dismantling antisemitism and all forms of racism.” How nice. If she is sincere, however, Sarsour would do well to revisit the years of hatred she has expressed against Israel, the Jewish state, which is a vital safeguard for Jews threatened by antisemitism around the globe. And she won’t have to look back very far.

Just last month, Sarsour spoke at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)’s national convention. She called herself an “unapologetic, pro-BDS, one-state solution supporting resistance supporter.” By definition then, Sarsour’s ultimate ambition is a world with no Jewish state. BDS has been blasted as antisemitic, including by the Berlin State Office for the Protection of the Constitution, because it seeks to isolate Israel and many BDS leaders advocate Israel’s elimination. And a one-state solution would flood Israel demographically, stripping it of its Jewish majority.

At the same convention, Sarsour blamed the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — the most prominent Jewish advocacy group in America — for the deaths of unarmed black people at the hands of police. Why? Because the ADL runs a program that takes high-ranking police officials to Israel, where they learn about fighting terrorism and other threats. To Sarsour, that means American police officers must “come back here and do what? Stop and frisk, killing unarmed black people across the country.”…

Sarsour also argued at the ISNA convention that Muslims should not defend or “actually try to humanize the oppressor,” which was a reference to Israel. Sarsour knows that she is seen as an antisemite. She made a video last year that seemed cynically devised to shut down those concerns. But in trying to condemn Jew-hatred, Sarsour couldn’t help but minimize its severity, saying, “It’s different than anti-Black racism or Islamophobia because it’s not systemic.” During a discussion at New York’s New School a year ago, she blamed “Jewish media” for giving her a bad reputation. Sarsour famously tweeted, “Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” and rejected offers of solidarity from pro-Israel Jews that are similar to what she claims to offer after the Pittsburgh massacre. Those aren’t views limited to criticism of specific Israeli policies, but a wholesale rejection of a Jewish homeland.

There are about 14.5 million Jews in the world, nearly half — 6.5 million — of whom live in Israel. Another estimated 5.7 million live here in the United States, France, Canada, and the United Kingdom. For the sake of argument, say only half of those Jews living outside Israel consider themselves Zionists (though the available data indicates the figure is much higher). But that means that nearly 10 million of the world’s 14.5 million Jews are Zionists. Sarsour, by her own words, is hostile toward about 70 percent of world Jewry. But she’s no antisemite? She and her Women’s March colleagues have refused to condemn Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, even after he said that “powerful Jews are my enemy,” and recently called Jews “termites.”

Was the slaughter at the Tree of Life synagogue a turning point for Sarsour? It’s a valid question, considering her embrace of Rasmieh Odeh, a woman who was convicted in the 1969 bombing of a Jerusalem grocery store that killed two Israeli students. Odeh’s friend acknowledged her central role in the bombing plot — on camera — and Israeli investigators found similar explosives in Odeh’s bedroom. Still, Sarsour said that she was “honored and privileged” to be in Odeh’s presence last year — just before Odeh was deported for naturalization fraud.

And all of this doesn’t even address Sarsour’s inability to condemn Hamas or acknowledge that its obsession with destroying Israel makes life for Palestinians in Gaza worse every day. Sarsour spoke with emotion on Sunday. Her voice cracked at times, and if you didn’t know her, you’d think she was offering a sincere, heartfelt expression of grief, love, and support. The problem is that we do know Sarsour. And we know that our skepticism is more than justified.

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MIDTERM OPTICS ARE BAD FOR PROGRESSIVES                                                   

Victor Davis Hanson

                                                National Review, Oct. 25, 2018

For progressives, the looming midterm elections apparently should not hinge on a booming economy, a near-record-low unemployment rate, a strong stock market, and unprecedented energy production. Instead, progressives hope that race and gender questions overshadow pocketbook issues. The media are fixated on another caravan of foreign nationals flowing toward the United States from Central America. More than 5,000 mostly Honduran migrants say they will cross through Mexico. Then they plan to crash the American border, enter the U.S. illegally, claim refugee status, and demand asylum. Once inside the United States, the newcomers will count on a variety of ways to avoid deportation.

This gambit appears mysteriously timed to arrive right before the U.S. midterms — apparently to create empathy and sway voters toward progressive candidates supporting a more relaxed immigration policy. Open-borders advocates and progressives assume that if border-security officials are forced to detain the intruders and separate parents who broke the law from their children, it will make President Trump and Republican candidates appear cold-hearted and callous. Earlier this year, a similar border melodrama became sensationalized in the media and almost certainly dropped Trump’s approval ratings. But this time around, the optics may be different.

The new caravan appears strangely well organized. The marchers, many of them young men, do not appear destitute. They do not seem to fit the profile of desperate refugees whose lives were in immediate danger in their homeland. For many Americans, the would-be refugees may seem presumptuous in assuming that they have the right to barge into someone else’s country. Most Americans realize that if an organized caravan of foreigners can simply announce in advance plans to crash into the U.S. illegally, then the concepts of a border, citizenship, sovereignty, and even a country itself no longer exist.

A number of other events on the eve of the midterm elections also may have the opposite of the intended effect on voters. The Supreme Court nomination hearings for Brett Kavanaugh ended up as scripted melodrama. Protesters disrupted the Senate on cue. They screamed from the gallery. Democratic senators staged a walkout. They filibustered and interrupted the proceedings. Their collective aim was to show America that male Republican senators were insensitive to the feelings and charges of Christine Blasey Ford, and therefore callous and sexist.

Ford had alleged that Kavanaugh 36 years earlier had sexually assaulted her at a party when they were both teenagers. But she produced no corroborating testimony, physical evidence, or witnesses. Many of her assertions were contested by other people. Many Americans finally concluded that there was no reason to deny Kavanaugh’s nomination to the court. To find Kavanaugh guilty of Ford’s charges, Americans were asked to suspend the very ideas of due process and Western jurisprudence. The furious demonstrations that followed Kavanaugh’s confirmation only made the optics worse. Republican senators were confronted at their offices and on elevators. Protesters broke through police cordons and beat and scratched at the Supreme Court doors, apparently in vain efforts to break in and disrupt the swearing-in ceremonies. Liberal icons such as Hillary Clinton, former attorney general Eric Holder, and Senator Cory Booker seemed to encourage the incivility and disruptions.

Did the ongoing chaos work to change public opinion in their direction? Perhaps not. Most Americans do not want frenzied shriekers scratching at doors on Capitol Hill. They are turned off by shouters popping up in Senate galleries. Few are comfortable with efforts to bully or intimidate senators rather than to persuade them. In yet another misreading of the public, Senator Elizabeth Warren produced the results of a DNA test to prove she had properly claimed advantageous minority status on the basis of her alleged Native American family history. But the test only confirmed that Warren might be 1 percent (or less) Native American and is probably not from a tribe in the continental U.S…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link]

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DEMOCRATS ARE BLOWING IT, AGAIN

Bret Stephens

New York Times, Oct. 12, 2018

Michael Kelly, the legendary journalist who died covering the invasion of Iraq in 2003, once wrote that the “animating impulse” of modern liberalism was to “marginalize itself and then enjoy its own company. And to make itself as unattractive to as many as possible.” “If it were a person,” he added, “it would pierce its tongue.”

I thought of that line while reading a tweet from Nate Cohn, The Times’s polling guru: “Take everything together, and, on balance, it’s been a good 10 days of state/cd polling for the GOP in a lot of important battlegrounds.” The “cd” refers to congressional districts, where Republicans now have at least a fighting chance of holding on to a majority despite the widely anticipated blue wave. Even better are Republican chances of holding the Senate. On Sept. 30, RealClearPolitics gave the G.O.P. a lock on 47 seats, with 9 tossups. Now it’s 50 and 6, with races in Tennessee, Texas, and North Dakota increasingly leaning right. Donald Trump’s approval rating is also up from a month ago.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not during a midterm when the opposition party almost always gains seats. Not after 21 months of Trumpian chaos. Not after a year of #MeToo. Not after Christine Blasey Ford’s emotional testimony and Brett Kavanaugh’s angry retort. And yet it is. Predictably. Once again, American liberalism has pierced its own tongue. It pierced its tongue on CNN this week, when Hillary Clinton told Christiane Amanpour that “you cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.” And when former Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday, “When they go low, we kick ’em.”

It pierced its tongue last week when New York’s Representative Jerrold Nadler pledged to use a Democratic House majority to open an investigation into Kavanaugh’s alleged perjury and the “whitewash” investigation by the F.B.I. A party that can’t change its mind and won’t change the subject meets the classic definition of a fanatic. It pierced its tongue last month when Cory Booker and Kamala Harris turned Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing into audition tapes for their presidential bids, complete with “I am Spartacus” histrionics and bald misrepresentations about Kavanaugh’s views on racial profiling and contraception.

It pierced its tongue when Minority Leader Chuck Schumer chose to make Kavanaugh’s confirmation the year’s decisive political test, rather than run a broad referendum on Trump’s inglorious tenure. As I wrote in July, the political strategy was guaranteed to hurt red-state Democrats, as they were put “to the choice of looking like political sellouts if they vote for Kavanaugh, or moral cowards if they don’t.” It pierced its tongue when The New Yorker violated normal journalistic standards by reporting Deborah Ramirez’s uncorroborated allegation against Kavanaugh, and much of the rest of the media gave credence to Julie Swetnick’s lurid one. The pile-on wound up doing more to stiffen Republican spines against an apparent witch hunt than it did to weaken their resolve in the face of Blasey’s powerful accusation…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link]

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Democrats No Match for ‘Nationalist’ Trump: Konrad Yakabuski, Globe & Mail, Oct. 26, 2018—A funny thing happened on the way to the U.S. midterm elections.

‘Most Important Election Ever’ — Not: David Harsanyi, New York Post, Oct. 26, 2018—If you believe that a midterm election in a time of relative peace and economic prosperity is the most important in history or even the most important in your fortunate lifetime, you either are oblivious to history or don’t have a single nonpartisan synapse firing in your skull.

Domestic Issues, Not Israel, Key to Pivotal Jewish Voters in Midterm Elections: Cathryn J. Prince, Times of Israel, Nov. 1, 2018—When Republican candidate for Florida governor Rick DeSantis was asked at an October 21 debate whether President Donald Trump is a role model for kids, he pivoted — to Israel.

The Democrats are at a Low Point. Can They Regain Power?: Lawrence Martin, Globe & Mail, Oct. 12, 2018—Whatever happened, it is often asked, to the Republican Party?

 

TRUMP, ONE YEAR AFTER ELECTION, HAS SEVERAL ACHIEVEMENTS. YOU WOULDN’T KNOW IT FROM THE MEDIA

Trump is Already the Most Successful U.S. President Since Ronald Reagan: Conrad Black, National Post, Nov. 17, 2017— It is distressing to read and listen to the nonsense in the Canadian media about Donald Trump.

Trump's Unsung Success in the Middle East: David P. Goldman, PJ Media, Nov. 14, 2017— President Trump's Middle East policy is simple: Back our friends and scare the hell out of our enemies, and negotiate where possible with our competitors like Russia and China.

Trump, One Year After the Election: Achievements and Failures: Prof. Eytan Gilboa, BESA, Nov. 20, 2017— Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential elections held a year ago surprised veteran politicians, renowned election experts, prominent journalists, seasoned commentators, and senior academicians.

The GOP Better Wake Up to the Lessons of this Election: Salena Zito, New York Post, Nov. 11, 2017— A Republican friend of mine is a suburban businessman who dutifully votes in every election, always straight party.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Outlines of Trump’s Asia Strategy: Daniel Blumenthal, American Interest, Nov. 17, 2017

Trump: No More Nation-Building Abroad: Dr. Jiri and Leni Valenta, BESA, Oct. 17, 2017

Border Walls Are All the Rage Worldwide Because They Work: Michel Gurfinkiel, PJ Media, Nov. 7, 2017

Hillary Had to Know all About the Dossier: Douglas E. Schoen and Andrew Stein, New York Post, Oct. 27, 2017

                                                           

 

 

TRUMP IS ALREADY THE MOST SUCCESSFUL

U.S. PRESIDENT SINCE RONALD REAGAN                 

Conrad Black

National Post, Nov. 17, 2017

 

It is distressing to read and listen to the nonsense in the Canadian media about Donald Trump. It is too early to predict whether he will be a successful president or not. But no one relying on the Canadian media would be aware that he has more than doubled the economic growth rate, reduced illegal immigration by about 80 per cent, withdrawn from the insane Paris Climate accord, helped add trillions to U.S. stock market values, created nearly two million new jobs, led the rout of ISIL, and gained full Chinese adherence to the unacceptability of North Korean nuclear military capability. He will probably pass the greatest tax cuts and reforms since Reagan, if not Lyndon Johnson, by Christmas, and may throw out the most unpopular feature of Obamacare, the coercive mandate, with it.

 

He can be a tiresome and implausible public figure at times, and the reservations widely held about him, in the United States and elsewhere, are understandable and not unfounded. He is, however, the most effective U.S. president since Reagan. In the 20 pre-Trump years, over $5 trillion and scores of thousands of American casualties were squandered in Middle East wars (while most Iraqis were handed over to Iranian influence), an immense humanitarian refugee tragedy was provoked, along with the greatest world economic crisis since the 1930s, American GDP per capita growth and capital investment shrunk by 75 per cent, the work force lost over 15 million people, millions of unskilled, illegal migrants were admitted, and the national debt of 233 years of American independence more than doubled in the last seven years of Obama. Those 20 years were the only time of absolute decline in American history, as well as a period of prolonged economic stagnation. Americans, unlike the older great nations of Europe and the Far East, have never experienced such setbacks and stagnation, and don’t like or accept them. It was in these circumstances that this unusual president was elected.

 

In addition to these American problems, there is the international phenomenon of ever-widening disparity of wealth and income, with no obvious solution — taking money from people who have earned it and giving it to those who haven’t will just drive out the high economic achievers who provide most of the personal income tax revenue already. And there is the problem that, for the first time, higher technology produces unemployment rather than employment, and increased productivity, unlike in the Reagan years, has not, until Trump was elected, led to job creation.

 

In many advanced democratic countries, the political systems have begun to fragment. The German Social Democrats have half-disintegrated, the British Labour Party has been taken over by outright Marxists, France has practically obliterated its traditional parties except for the residue of the Gaullists, and in elections where only 30 per cent of eligible voters voted, the French handed the legislature to a party that was only invented, out of whole cloth, 15 months ago. The Austrian and Czech electorates have divided their support among a variety of parties and elevated, as France has, men in their thirties, who could be young nephews of Justin Trudeau. It was in these circumstances that Hillary Clinton narrowly kept her Democratic Party out of the hands of Senator Bernie Sanders and his socialist option, and Donald Trump, as he smashed the Bush-McCain-Romney tweedle-dee near-Democrats, also defeated the Ted Cruz far-right Republicans.

 

The Canadian media has almost uniformly bought into the line of the Trump-hating national U.S. media, that he is already a failed and probably illegitimate president. I was on CTV with my friend Evan Solomon about 10 days ago, and the preceding commentators claimed that “the noose is tightening around (Trump’s) neck,” and another said that it all “reminded (him) of Nixon,” as if Trump were about be convicted of “high crimes and misdemeanours.” The stupidest of these inescapable divinations of impeachable skullduggery I have seen is Scott Gilmore’s Maclean’s piece of Nov. 11, titled “Donald Trump; Putin’s Manchurian Idiot,” though he in fact excuses Trump from the charge of being a Manchurian candidate. Gilmore baldly states that there was heavy collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, though Trump, in his simplicity may not have known of it. The only person in American history elected president who has made billions of dollars and had never sought or held a public office, elected or otherwise, or a high military position, is dismissed as an imbecile who has no concept of what forces, treasonous as they obviously were, propelled him to his great office.

 

One of Canada’s most eminent emeritus journalistic personalities approvingly just sent me a really insane piece from the droolingly Americophobic (U.K.) Guardian, fortunately on the verge of bankruptcy and reduced to a pitiful variation of crowd-funding, which asserts that Putin has manipulated the entire American political system for many years. This astounding surge of Russia to the status of a bogeyman greater than it ever enjoyed in the febrile ravings of Joseph R. McCarthy is piquant. Russia is an economic basketcase with a GDP smaller than Canada’s though it has more than four times our population. It is a geographically important country and a distinguished culture but has no durable political institutions, has never had a day of good government by Western standards, and could be bankrupted and swept out of the seas and skies of the world by the United States in a couple of weeks. The only danger it presents to America is that, if the Americans rebuff Russia too robustly, it will drive them into the arms of the Iranians and Chinese in a way that would be counter-productive to the U.S. national interest.

 

Canadians of all people should recognize that what is really going on in the United States is the tawdriest political charade in the country’s history. The Clinton campaign commissioned, through intermediaries, a dossier of salacious gossip and outright fabrications about Trump, from unidentified, unverifiable Kremlin sources, desperately shopped it to the U.S. media (remember the “Golden Shower” of Trump-synchronized urinating prostitutes in a Moscow hotel?), and managed to hand off the dossier to the FBI, politicizing that organization. Trump fired the FBI director, James Comey, who, in revenge, removed a government document, a much contested memo to himself about a conversation with the president, to force the appointment of a special counsel, who turned out to be none other than Comey’s chum and mentor and preceding FBI director, Robert Mueller…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                       

 

Contents

TRUMP'S UNSUNG SUCCESS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

David P. Goldman

PJ Media, Nov. 14, 2017

 

President Trump's Middle East policy is simple: Back our friends and scare the hell out of our enemies, and negotiate where possible with our competitors like Russia and China. By and large it's working, unlike the catastrophically failed polices of the previous two administrations. Trump did what he said he would do and succeeded. You wouldn't know that from the #fakenews media.

 

Start with Israel: The Muslim strategy to destroy Israel hasn't envisioned war–not at least since 1973–because Israel in all cases would win. Instead, the objective is to ring Israel with missiles and force Israel to retaliate against missile attacks in such a way that the "international community" would respond by imposing a "settlement" on Israel that would leave Israel vulnerable to further missiles attacks, and so forth. This is stated explicitly by Palestinian strategists cited by Haviv Rettig Gur in The Times of Israel.

 

George W. Bush and Obama gave aid and comfort to the encircle-and-strangle strategy by tying Israel's hands. Then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wouldn't let Olmert attack Hezbollah with full force in 2006. Rice thinks the Palestinian movement is a branch of the U.S. civil rights movement (if you don't believe that characterization, read her book "Democracy," which I will review for Claremont Review of Books). Obama sandbagged Israel during the 2014 Gaza rocket attacks, suspending delivery of Hellfire missiles to the Jewish State. Israel is the only country in the world that embeds human rights lawyers in every infantry company to make sure that its soldiers keep collateral damage to a minimum.

 

Hezbollah, Iran's Lebanese militia, has 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel, and many of them can hit any target in the country. In the case of a major rocket attack from Hezbollah against Israel, military logic dictates the preemptive neutralization of rocket launchers embedded in civilian populations–what an Israeli strategist close to the PM described to me as "Dresden." There would be tens of thousands of civilian casualties. Trump will not tie Israel's hands in the case of attack, and will not interfere with Israel's ability to defend herself. That makes Israel's deterrent against Iran credible.

 

Hillary Clinton insisted that the "technology of war," in particular the rockets ringing Israel, would force Israel to accept a phony peace agreement whose main effect would be to bring the rocket launchers closer to Israel. The photograph below shows the runways and main terminal building of Israel's international airport from an Arab village in Judea: Hand this over to the Palestinians and primitive short-range missiles can shut down the Israel economy. There's an easy way to stop the rockets, which is to kill the people who shoot them. That might mean killing the human shields whom the cowardly terrorists put in front of the rockets, but under international law, a country acting in self-defense has every right to kill civilians. For that reason alone, anyone who claims to be a friend of Israel must support Trump against the alternative. One can criticize Trump all day with justification, but the existential issue of Israel's survival requires Jews to support him. Jewish never-Trumpers are infected with what our rabbis of antiquity called "baseless hatred."

 

The second big issue is Saudi Arabia, which competed with Iran for decades as the biggest funder of terrorists and religious extremists. After Trump's March 2017 trip to Saudi Arabia, where he read the riot act to assembled Arab leaders, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince has centralized control of the government and seized hundreds of billions of dollars of royal family assets. The $800 billion of royal family wealth targeted is larger than the national reserves of the kingdom. As I wrote in Asia Times last week, Saudi Arabia has gotten its first real government, as opposed to the family regime that allowed every crazy cousin to write checks to terrorists. Of course, the kingdom well might get its second, third and fourth real government in short order if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman fails. But the de facto coup is a huge blow to Sunni jihadism and a victory for American policy.

 

Prince Mohammed and his father King Salman had visited Moscow in late September, and the Russian and Chinese press express guarded optimism about the regime change (see the cited Asia Times article). Russia and China have a great deal to fear from Sunni jihadists (virtually all their Muslim citizens are Sunni) and a Saudi ruler willing to close the tap is good for them. As I wrote, its win-win-win-win for the U.S., Russia, China and Israel. That ought to scare the Persians plenty. The Saudis get very bad press for chopping up the Houthi-led tribes in Yemen, Iran's allies. They are making a horrible example of the Houthi for the edification of Iran. That is disgusting, to be sure, but that's the way things are done in that part of the world. The Assad government in Syria did much worse, deliberately bombing civilians to drive out the Sunni majority in order to replace it with Shi'ite colonists.

 

The Saudis don't have much of an army, and their air force depends on Pakistani mercenaries, but they do have nearly 300 fourth-generation aircraft (F-15's, Eurofighters, and Tornadoes) as well as a huge stock of Chinese-made medium range missiles. They can hire Pakistanis or Egyptians to fly them if necessary. Iran has tough soldiers but no air force to speak of. If it comes to war (which it shouldn't) between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Iran will suffer badly. A dozen power plants provide more than half the country's electricity, for example, and could not be defended in case of war. There isn't much to do about Iran now that its economic ties point eastwards to China, except to terrify the Tehran mullahs. That's old-fashioned balance of terror–not my favorite way of doing things, but a policy that worked reasonably well during the Cold War. It's easy to talk about tearing up the Iran nuclear agreement–but now there are two rail lines linking Iran to China, and the West's influence in the region has vastly diminished. Unfortunately, grand gestures may not bring grand results, and the U.S. has to play tought and sometimes dirty…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    

 

Contents

TRUMP, ONE YEAR AFTER THE ELECTION:

ACHIEVEMENTS AND FAILURES

Prof. Eytan Gilboa

BESA, Nov. 20, 2017

 

Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential elections held a year ago surprised veteran politicians, renowned election experts, prominent journalists, seasoned commentators, and senior academicians. Few believed that a real estate tycoon lacking political or public experience and exhibiting an unruly and excitable style could be elected to one of the world’s most important positions. Experts failed to grasp the degree of alienation and revulsion felt by voters in the face of the failing conduct of Washington politicians.

 

After Trump entered the White House, many believed or at least hoped that the sheer weight of the position and the responsibility would render his conduct more presidential, but this did not happen. Personality changes are not easily made, especially at an advanced age. Trump is one of the strangest presidents in American history. He is blunt and sometimes rude; he likes to confront and humiliate both individuals and whole sectors; he is temperamental, at times to an extreme; and he takes almost everything personally. Many share the sense that he sees himself and his job as nothing more than as host of a reality show – a sequel of sorts to “The Apprentice,” a program he hosted successfully in the past.

 

At times, it seems Trump is driven solely by the desire to systematically undo the legacy of his predecessor, Barack Obama – its good parts as well as its bad. Whether or not that was his original intent, he frequently changes his mind and sometimes contradicts himself. Trump was unable to create a functioning system in the White House, and broke records in terms of bizarre appointments and quick layoffs. For almost the entire first year of his term, complete chaos ruled in the White House. Within a few months, he had fired or forced the resignation of senior officials and confidants. They included his political adviser, widely considered the architect of his victory, Steve Bannon; White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer; his replacement, Anthony Scaramucci; White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

 

Trump broke many conventions. He was the Republican Party’s nominee, but some of its leaders viewed him as a foreign element, criticized his style, and objected to his positions on important domestic and foreign issues. Those within the party who have been opposed to Trump included John McCain (the Republican presidential candidate against Obama in the 2008 elections), Senators Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and former President George W. Bush. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who was Trump’s confidant and candidate for secretary of state, described the president as unstable. He said Trump has turned the White House into “an adult day care center,” and suggests that he is a dangerous man on the path to bringing about World War III.

 

From the onset of his term, Trump has struggled with the authorities and the media. He condemned judges who canceled his immigration restrictions, dismissed FBI Director James Comey on the grounds that he had been negligent in the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation, and nearly fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not rising enough to his defense on the “Russiagate” investigation. He also confronted Congress for rejecting his efforts to cancel Obamacare and to pass laws he advocated. Trump also conducted an unprecedented campaign against the media, both print and electronic, which he accused of disseminating “fake news” about his conduct and policies. Indeed, the media, especially east coast liberal outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, and CNN did attack him with a fair amount of bias, but his retorts went far beyond focused, substantive responses. He used his Twitter account to lash out against his rivals both domestically and abroad. Never has there been an American president who acted in such a way, with all attempts to reduce or moderate his tweets coming to nothing.

 

In one area – a very important area to him and to the public – he has succeeded greatly. The US economy is flourishing, showing mostly positive data: growth reached 2.4%, and industrial productivity went up about 3%. Wall Street investments are up almost a third. At the same time, unemployment fell to 4.3% and inflation to 1.6%. Trump also blocked the transfer of whole factories from the US to Mexico. These results were not, of course, achieved in a week or a month, and some are the product of Obama’s economic policies. Still, it seems that the aura of Trump as a successful businessman has contributed to the flourishing of the economy…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                

 

Contents

THE GOP BETTER WAKE UP TO THE LESSONS OF THIS ELECTION

Salena Zito

New York Post, Nov. 11, 2017

 

A Republican friend of mine is a suburban businessman who dutifully votes in every election, always straight party. His best friend is a rabbi, a respected member of the community and a progressive liberal. On Tuesday the rabbi stood in line to vote for a new governor at 6:50 a.m. in the pouring rain. The Republican? He made his way to the polls eventually, five minutes before they closed.

 

While both Virginians cast votes (and didn’t want their names used in this article), the rabbi’s enthusiasm represents the problem Republicans are facing right now. Many Democrats are energized to vote against Donald Trump — and on the first Election Day since the president was inaugurated, they voted in droves. Despite all the polls that showed the two candidates for Virginia governor were neck and neck, Ralph Northam clobbered his Republican opponent Ed Gillespie by 300,000 votes. Northam also won 600,000 more votes than his party’s gubernatorial candidate in 2009. “The Democrats finally woke up. Last year we were complacent, and we didn’t have a great motivator. Now we do,” said Dane Strother, a Democratic strategist and Virginian. Strother said this is no different from when highly motivated Republicans showed up to vote against President Barack Obama in the 2010 and 2014 midterms, bringing independents and moderate Republicans with them. Even though Gillespie played down his endorsement from Trump, he lost because of his association with the president. “I’d argue that the Trump coalition didn’t fall apart, it’s still intact,” Strother said.

 

But now there is a large number of “motivated people who didn’t vote for Trump” ready “to make their mark.” Freed from the burden of the uninspiring and controversial candidacy of Hillary Clinton, Democrats were finally able to vote for a person who is low-drama and likeable. Northam is a nice, pragmatic moderate (he voted for George W. Bush not once but twice) who talks with a twang. The newly elected governor is the first model for a successful Democratic candidate in the Trump age, and if others like him run for office, Republican majorities in congress and state legislative bodies across the country could be in jeopardy in the 2018 midterms.

 

All 435 congressional House seats are up for reelection next year and Democrats need just 24 seats to win back the majority. “Fear is a much greater motivator than love,” said Strother, adding that Trump stokes fear among Democrats. The effect was seen across the country as Democrats performed well in Washington state, Westchester and Nassau counties, and in New Jersey where Democrat Phil Murphy defeated a Republican to take the governor’s seat. In Virginia, the Democrats won for a few reasons, but none of them were to do with the national party apparatus. Not only did Northam beat Republican Gillespie, he triumphed over former Virginia congressman Tom Perriello, a strident progressive who enjoyed the support of both Obama and liberal icon Bernie Sanders, in the primaries. Perriello was set to be a progressive standard bearer for the Democrats in the first big post-Trump statewide election, but his radical platform flatlined. Northam handily beat Perriello by over 10 percentage points…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

On Topic Links

 

The Outlines of Trump’s Asia Strategy: Daniel Blumenthal, American Interest, Nov. 17, 2017—During its long and eventful trip, the Trump Administration laid down important markers as it fashions its strategic approach to Asia.

Trump: No More Nation-Building Abroad: Dr. Jiri and Leni Valenta, BESA, Oct. 17, 2017—On September 27, 2017, during a visit to Kabul, US Defense Secretary James Mattis – having escaped being targeted by insurgents during the visit – was unambiguous about the challenges the US faces in Afghanistan. Those challenges are serious: the Taliban now controls 40% of Afghanistan and a third of its population.

Border Walls Are All the Rage Worldwide Because They Work: Michel Gurfinkiel, PJ Media, Nov. 7, 2017—One may support or oppose the Trump administration's grand design in terms of home security: the building, or the "updating," of a 3200-kilometer barrier between the United States and Mexico. One cannot deny, however, that such structures – hermetic and heavily monitored separations, instead of merely classic borders – are quite common today.

Hillary Had to Know all About the Dossier: Douglas E. Schoen and Andrew Stein, New York Post, Oct. 27, 2017—This week, the news broke that Marc Elias, general counsel to Hillary for America and a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie, hired the research firm Fusion GPS to commission the infamous Steele Dossier on President Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEFTISTS—NOT LIBERALS—EMBRACE DIVISIVE IDENTITY POLITICS, “INTERSECTIONALITY”, AND “RESISTANCE”

Two Resistances: Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Sept. 6, 2017 — The quiet resistance — the one without black masks and clubs — is the more revolutionary force, and it transcends race, class, and gender.

Leftism Is Not Liberalism. Here Are the Differences: Dennis Prager, Daily Signal, Sept. 12, 2017— What is the difference between a leftist and a liberal?

Liberals' Addiction to Identity Politics Bad for Parties, Political Life: Robert Fulford, National Post, Aug. 25, 2017— Since the ignominious failure of the 2016 election, the Democrats have been searching their souls.

Israeli “Occupation”: The BIG LIE: Sally F. Zerker, CIJR, Sept. 15, 2017— The time has come to tell the world’s “liars”, boldly and forthrightly, that Israeli “occupation” is the BIG LIE of our age.

 

On Topic Links

 

9/11 Sixteen Years Later: Lessons Put Into Practice?: John Bolton, Algemeiner, Sept. 11, 2017

Cultural Approbation: Weekly Standard, Sept. 04, 2017

The New Manichaeans: Michael Knox Beran, National Review, Aug. 28, 2017

The Coming Terror: Mark Steyn, Jewish World Review, Sept. 5, 2017

 

 

TWO RESISTANCES

Victor Davis Hanson

National Review, Sept. 6, 2017

 

The quiet resistance — the one without black masks and clubs — is the more revolutionary force, and it transcends race, class, and gender. After the election of Donald Trump, there arose a self-described “Resistance.” It apparently posed as a decentralized network of progressive activist groups dedicated to derailing the newly elected Trump administration.

 

Democrats and progressives borrowed their brand name from World War II French partisans. In rather psychodramatic fashion, they envisioned their heroic role over the next four years as that of virtual French insurgents — coming down from the Maquis hills, perhaps to waylay Trump’s White House, as if the president were an SS Obergruppenführer und General der Police running occupied Paris. Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone wrote admiringly about the furious Resistance’s pushback against Trump, with extravagant claims that his agenda was already derailed thanks to a zillion grass-roots and modern-day insurgents. Hillary Clinton belatedly announced that she too had joined up with the Resistance (“I’m now back to being an activist citizen and part of the Resistance”), apparently in approbation of both its methods and agendas.

 

Appropriating the name of heroic World War II fighters to characterize a loosely formed alliance of Trump resisters has since proven a mockery of history — and creepy as well. Powered by Resisters of various sorts have made use of repugnant assassination pornography: a Shakespearean troupe ritually stabbing Trump-Caesar every night, a widely viewed Trump decapitation video, loud boasts by Hollywood’s stars such as Robert De Niro and Johnny Depp of their desires either to beat Trump to a bloody pulp or to do a John Wilkes Booth hit on him, street demonstrations where the likes of multimillionaire exhibitionist Madonna dream out loud off blowing up the White House, while various state legislators, professors, and activists talk of presidential assassination. Is there a new division at the Secret Service whose sole task is solemnly informing the media that it is “investigating” the latest celebrity’s threat?

 

In more mainstream fashion, Democrats in Congress have often stalled Trump’s appointees, blocked Obamacare reform, and talked of removing Trump through impeachment or the 25th Amendment or the Emoluments Clause. The Resistance has gone from melodramatic charges of Trump’s collusion with the Russians, to amateur diagnoses of his mental incapacity, to fear-mongering about his supposed wild desire for a Strangelovian nuclear war with North Korea, to castigating him for his apparently callous and uncaring reactions to Hurricane Harvey victims.

 

The Democratic National Committee leaders in their speeches resort to scatology to reflect their furor at Trump’s victory. The media, led by CNN in its visceral hatred of Trump, has given up past pretenses of disinterested reporting. Indeed, a number of journalists have sought to ratify their prejudices by claiming that Trump is so toxic that old-style protocols of fairness can no longer apply. Street brownshirts such as those of Antifa (too rarely and belatedly disowned by a few mainstream Resistance leaders) justify their anti-democratic and anti-constitutional violence on the grounds that Trump is found guilty of being a Nazi — and therefore those alleged to be Nazis have to be resisted by any anti-Nazi means necessary.

 

In the olden days, demonstrators decked out in black, with masks and clubs, would have been deemed sinister by liberals. Now are they the necessary shock troops whose staged violence brings political dividends? Antifa’s dilemma is that its so-called good people wearing black masks can find almost no bad people in white masks to club, so they smash reporters, the disabled, and onlookers alike for sport — revealing that, at base, they perversely enjoy violence for violence’s sake. As the cowardly Klan taught us in the 1920s and 1960s: Put on a mask with a hundred like others, and even the most craven wimp believes he’s now a psychopathic thug.

 

For the most part, the Resistance leadership is not the modern version of a group of grass-roots idealistic outsiders living hand-to-mouth between missions in the scrub. Their announced leaders, such as Hillary Clinton, are often the embodiment of the status quo rich, influential, and elite America. The Resistance sees nothing incompatible in attacking Trump while working out of a townhouse in Georgetown, living in a Malibu compound, flying in a private jet, making a quarter-million a year as a university-endowed professor or a Southern Poverty Law Center grandee, or being a life-time Washington fixture or corporate CEO.

 

Indeed, anti-Trump activism and privilege may be symbiotic. If one were to look at a county map of the United States calibrated by average income, the Resistance leaders could be identified by their homes clustering in the nation’s most affluent enclaves on the two coasts. They are most certainly not resisting the market capitalism, Washington-establishment politics, and old-boy networking that so empowered them.

 

Nor is it very brave to loudly announce one’s membership in the Resistance, given that the powerful organs of popular culture and the American status quo — both the Republican and Democratic intellectual establishments, the foundations, universities, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Wall Street — are, in orthodox fashion, anti-Trump. Which of the following is a smarter career move at Google, at an Aspen Institute colloquium, on the set of Disney, in a CNN newsroom, at a Citibank retreat, in the Yale faculty lounge, on the beach at Martha’s Vineyard, while sunning on David Geffen’s yacht, or talking on a panel at the National Press Club: to admit to voting for Donald Trump, or to proudly proclaim you are a member of the Resistance?… [To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                      

 

 

Contents

LEFTISM IS NOT LIBERALISM. HERE ARE THE DIFFERENCES

Dennis Prager

Daily Signal, Sept. 12, 2017

 

What is the difference between a leftist and a liberal? Answering this question is vital to understanding the crisis facing America and the West today. Yet few seem able to do it. I offer the following as a guide. Here’s the first thing to know: The two have almost nothing in common. On the contrary, liberalism has far more in common with conservatism than it does with leftism. The left has appropriated the word “liberal” so effectively that almost everyone—liberals, leftists, and conservatives—thinks they are synonymous. But they aren’t. Let’s look at some important examples.

 

Race: This is perhaps the most obvious of the many moral differences between liberalism and leftism. The essence of the liberal position on race was that the color of one’s skin is insignificant. To liberals of a generation ago, only racists believed that race is intrinsically significant. However, to the left, the notion that race is insignificant is itself racist. Thus, the University of California officially regards the statement, “There is only one race, the human race,” as racist. For that reason, liberals were passionately committed to racial integration. Liberals should be sickened by the existence of black dormitories and separate black graduations on university campuses.

 

Capitalism: Liberals have always been pro-capitalism, recognizing it for what it is: the only economic means of lifting great numbers out of poverty. Liberals did often view government as able to play a bigger role in lifting people out of poverty than conservatives, but they were never opposed to capitalism, and they were never for socialism. Opposition to capitalism and advocacy of socialism are leftist values.

 

Nationalism: Liberals deeply believed in the nation-state, whether their nation was the United States, Great Britain, or France. The left has always opposed nationalism because leftism is rooted in class solidarity, not national solidarity. The left has contempt for nationalism, seeing in it intellectual and moral primitivism at best, and the road to fascism at worst. Liberals always wanted to protect American sovereignty and borders. The notion of open borders would have struck a liberal as just as objectionable as it does a conservative.

 

It is emblematic of our time that the left-wing writers of Superman comics had Superman announce a few years ago, “I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my American citizenship.” When the writers of Superman were liberal, Superman was not only an American but one who fought for “truth, justice, and the American way.” But in his announcement, he explained that motto is “not enough anymore.”

 

View of America: Liberals venerated America. Watch American films from the 1930s through the 1950s and you will be watching overtly patriotic, America-celebrating films—virtually all produced, directed, and acted in by liberals. Liberals well understand that America is imperfect, but they agree with a liberal icon named Abraham Lincoln that America is “the last best hope of earth.”

 

To the left, America is essentially a racist, sexist, violent, homophobic, xenophobic, and Islamophobic country. The left around the world loathe America, and it is hard to imagine why the American left would differ in this one way from fellow leftists around the world. Leftists often take offense at having their love of America doubted. But those left-wing descriptions of  America are not the only reason to assume that the left has more contempt than love for America. The left’s view of America was encapsulated in then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s statement in 2008. “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” he said. Now, if you were to meet a man who said that he wanted to fundamentally transform his wife, or a woman who said that about her husband, would you assume that either loved their spouse? Of course not.

 

Free speech: The difference between the left and liberals regarding free speech is as dramatic as the difference regarding race. No one was more committed than American liberals to the famous statement, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Liberals still are. But the left is leading the first nationwide suppression of free speech in American history—from the universities to Google to almost every other institution and place of work. It claims to only oppose hate speech. But protecting the right of person A to say what person B deems objectionable is the entire point of free speech.

 

Western civilization: Liberals have a deep love of Western civilization. They taught it at virtually every university and celebrated its unique moral, ethical, philosophical, artistic, musical, and literary achievements. No liberal would have joined the leftist Rev. Jesse Jackson in chanting at Stanford University: “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Western civ has got to go.” The most revered liberal in American history is probably former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who frequently cited the need to protect not just Western civilization but Christian civilization. Yet leftists unanimously denounced President Donald Trump for his speech in Warsaw, Poland, in which he spoke of protecting Western civilization. They argued not only that Western civilization is not superior to any other civilization but also that it is no more than a euphemism for white supremacy.

 

Judaism and Christianity: Liberals knew and appreciated the Judeo-Christian roots of American civilization. They themselves went to church or synagogue, or at the very least appreciated that most of their fellow Americans did. The contempt that the left has—and has always had—for religion (except for Islam today) is not something with which a liberal would ever have identified. If the left is not defeated, American and Western civilization will not survive. But the left will not be defeated until good liberals understand this and join the fight. Dear liberals: Conservatives are not your enemy. The left is.  

 

 

Contents

LIBERALS' ADDICTION TO IDENTITY POLITICS

BAD FOR PARTIES, POLITICAL LIFE                                                                   

Robert Fulford

National Post, Aug. 25, 2017

 

Since the ignominious failure of the 2016 election, the Democrats have been searching their souls. How could a once-great party have fallen so low? Was it the lacklustre campaign of their presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton? Was it the failure of the Democrats to grasp Donald Trump’s vote-getting power? Was it a complete breakdown of the party’s national machine? Mark Lilla, a widely praised social critic and Columbia professor, believes he has the answer. He delivers it in The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics (Harper/Collins), a sharply intelligent and highly persuasive book.

 

He deals with American politics, but his perceptions also apply to Canada. A large part of our public life is conducted through identity politics. Canadians anxious to better the lives of Indigenous people, for example, increasingly tend to express themselves in issue-specific organizations rather than through political parties. A long-time leftist, Lilla claims that the Democrats have become addicted to pressure groups that slice the public into ethnic, national and sexual elements. These slices have together overwhelmed the Democratic Party itself and rendered it irrelevant. The left has now balkanized the electorate and invested its energies in social movements rather than party politics.

 

Lilla yearns for the big-tent appeal of the old Democrats. He looks back in history to Roosevelt’s New Deal as a golden age of liberalism. He wants public life to emphasize “what we all share and owe one another as citizens, not what differentiates us.” He calls for an end to movement politics. “We need no more marchers. We need more mayors. And governors, and state legislators, and members of Congress.” He imagines a healthier form of politics that transcends identity attachments. Organizations claiming to speak for repressed Americans are usually given the benefit of the doubt by the public. Lilla isn’t so generous. A few days after the 2016 election he wrote in a New York Times article that “Liberals should bear in mind that the first identity movement in American politics was the Ku Klux Klan. Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.”

 

Born in 1956, Lilla grounds his account of identity politics in what he knows of the 1960s and its effects. From 1965 or so, war and the rise of feminism together left many of the young dissatisfied with conventional politics. To side with the Democrats was to embrace Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam policy. That was okay for parents, but the furious young needed something different.

 

In the early stages of revived, second-generation feminism, women with leftish inclinations wanted a more specific approach. In 1970 a slogan arose, “the personal is political.” It raced through women’s discussions and found a permanent place in the rhetoric of feminism. It was a time when women met in groups for “consciousness-raising,” which meant sharing various forms of dissatisfaction with their condition as women. Encouraged to confess or complain, women turned their meetings into variations of therapy groups or prayer meetings. They expressed themselves (as the literature on the subject demonstrates) in purely personal terms. In trying to research the subject, they turned inward, examining their own feelings. A sense of identity took hold, setting the pattern for scores of later movements, fundamentally altering the structure of liberal politics.

 

As Lilla says, a young woman of today “may come from a comfortable, middle-class background” but “her identity confers on her the status of one of history’s victims.” Now she has claims to make—not claims for the whole of society but claims for her particular slice. Her politics will be based on this self-definition. If she’s in college she may join a women’s organization. Soon her views on women’s issues become non-negotiable. Her teachers, always ready to identify and endorse popular new ideas, become willing mentors….

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    

 

Contents

ISRAELI “OCCUPATION”: THE BIG LIE      

Sally F. Zerker                                         

CIJR, Sept. 15, 2017

 

The time has come to tell the world’s “liars”, boldly and forthrightly, that Israeli “occupation” is the BIG LIE of our age. We’ve all seen the propaganda effectiveness of “the big lie” many times before, and this one too is working its indecorous distortion of the truth.

 

The truth is that Jews cannot be occupiers of the Biblical lands, which include present-day Israel, Judea, Samaria, and some of the country of Jordan. The term occupation is meant to signify larceny, theft of others’ property, abuse of the Other, cheating, immorality, and dreadful deeds. Obviously, this is a very offensive concept. But Jews are not, and cannot be guilty of these crimes, for two reasons. One, Jews are the extant aboriginal people of this land, and two, Jews have international legal rights to this territory. These two concepts, historical and legal, require elucidation.

 

What defines Jewish indigenousness is the consistency of modern Jews with their ancestors of thousands of years ago. They live in a country with the same name, Israel, as that which existed in 1312 B.C.E. Today’s Israelis speak the same language that was spoken by Jews in that land more than 3000 years ago. We do not need a Rosetta stone to understand ancient Hebrew scripts because the language and letters are the same as current Hebrew. Israelis chant from the same biblical texts that their ancestors did millennia past. Their Jewish law presently is derived from that found in their Talmud which was originally oral and later written down about twenty-five hundred years ago. Their Temple, which was destroyed by invaders twice, can be archaeologically located in their original site in Jerusalem. And Jerusalem which was founded by their biblical King David, still stands as the centre of Jewish sovereignty, as it did when King David ruled the Jews.

 

In reality, the Jewish people established a distinct civilization in their ancient homeland approximately 3500 years ago, and the roots of that civilization are still much of the source of Jewish life in Israel right now. And, despite a series of conquests and expulsions over the centuries, (Roman, Muslim, Crusaders), Jews retained and rebuilt communities in Jerusalem, Tiberius, Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa, Caesarea, Safed and elsewhere. Years before the Zionist migrations began in the 1870s, Jews lived continuously over time throughout the land of Israel.

 

Anthropologist Jose Martinez-Cobo, a Special Rapporteur for the UN who studied the place and condition of indigenous peoples and nations, defined such communities as those that have continuity, with the land, with shared culture in general, such as religion, lifestyle etc., with intrinsic language, with common ancestry, and other relevant factors. By that respected definition of indigenousness, it is irrefutable that Jews are indeed the indigenous people of the land of Israel.

 

On the other hand, there were no Muslims in existence until almost 2000 years after Jews had already settled in Israel, because Islam was the religion that Mohammed founded. Arabs, who are the ethnic peoples out of the Arabian Peninsula, had not come to the region through their conquests until after Mohammed’s death in 632 ACE. It is important to understand that no independent Arab or Palestinian state has ever existed in this region, which came to be called Palaestina, after the Romans so renamed it in the second century. The Romans purpose for this alteration was to break the link of the Jews with their past, after they had crushed the Jewish revolt in ACE 135. Thus, when the Arabs did conquer and occupy parts of the land, they did so as occupiers of previously settled territories by Jews.

 

As for more recent Arab settlers, if one looks at the period when Jews began to immigrate to the region in large numbers in 1882, there were fewer than 250,000 Arabs living in the region, and the majority of these had arrived in recent decades. According to many observers and authorities, the vast majority of the Arab population in the early decades of the twentieth century were comparative newcomers, either late immigrants or descendants of persons who had immigrated into the territory in the previous seventy years. BDS supporters, who accept the premise that the Palestinians are indigenous and oppressed by white colonialists have it backward according Barbara Kay, columnist for the National Post (Canada). “It is the (non-white) Mizrachi Jews in continuous habitation in Israel from time immemorial who were oppressed under a series of imperial regimes, up to and including the British Mandate.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Dr. Sally F. Zerker is Professor Emerita, York University,

and Academic Co-Chair of CIJR’s Toronto Chapter.

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

9/11 Sixteen Years Later: Lessons Put Into Practice?: John Bolton, Algemeiner, Sept. 11, 2017—Today marks the 16th anniversary of Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks. We learned much on that tragic day, at enormous human and material cost. Perilously, however, America has already forgotten many of September 11’s lessons.

Cultural Approbation: Weekly Standard, Sept. 04, 2017—The Delta Sigma Phi fraternity chapter at the University of Michigan had what it thought was a delightful theme—antiquity on the Nile—for a party kicking off the school year. They invited guests to come as a “mummy, Cleopatra, or King Tut, it doesn’t matter to us. Get your best ancient Egyptian robe and headdress and be ready to party in the desert.”

The New Manichaeans: Michael Knox Beran, National Review, Aug. 28, 2017—In November 2016, Mark Lilla, the humanities scholar, published an essay, “The End of Identity Liberalism,” in the New York Times. “In recent years,” he wrote, “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.”

The Coming Terror: Mark Steyn, Jewish World Review, Sept. 5, 2017—Most of the news bulletins I'm exposed to are on the radio, as I'm tootling around hither and yon. So it took me a while to discover that what the media call "peace activists", "anti-racists" and "anti-Nazis" are, in fact, men and women garbed in black from head to toe, including face masks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ERDOGAN ROUNDS-UP OPPONENTS AFTER FAILED COUP; FRANCE CAN LEARN FROM ISRAEL IN WAKE OF TERROR ATTACK; GOP & DEM’S “FAR FROM LOCKSTEP” RE: ISRAEL

The Revenge of Turkey’s Erdogan: Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2016— If it did nothing else, Friday’s failed coup in Turkey proved the adage that even paranoids can have real enemies.

The Coup Failed in Turkey Because Mutineers Didn’t Capture the King: Matthew Fisher, National Post, July 17, 2016 — The astonishing events that gripped Turkey and fascinated the world Friday night had not been expected.

Best Way of Coping with Trauma of Terrorism is to Imitate the Israelis: Christie Blatchford, National Post, July 15, 2016— It’s going to be a hard sell in a time where trauma is expected…

How the Republican and Democratic Platforms Differ on Israel: Armin Rosen, Tablet, July 14, 2016—The Republican platform’s language relating to Israel was adopted by the party’s platform committee on July 12.

 

On Topic Links

 

RNC Supports Israel (Video): Youtube, July 13, 2016

Erdogan ‘Evaded Death by Minutes: Josie Ensor, Telegraph, July 18, 2016

Erdogan Blames Former Military Attaché to Israel and Muslim Peace Advocate for Coup Attempt: Jewish Press, July 16, 2015

GOP Convention Promises Delegate Drama, Israel Dissonance, and Guns: Eric Cortellessa, Times of Israel, July 18, 2016

 

 

 

 

THE REVENGE OF TURKEY’S ERDOGAN          

                    Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2016              

 

If it did nothing else, Friday’s failed coup in Turkey proved the adage that even paranoids can have real enemies. In the 15 years that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics, he has pursued vendettas against military officers, journalists, police, social activists, Kurdish opposition figures and fellow-travelling Islamists, among others. Now it turns out there was a fifth column against him, and the irony is that its failure may accelerate his march to Putin-like authoritarian power.

All of Turkey’s opposition parties joined Mr. Erdogan in denouncing the Keystone coup, and rightly so. Mr. Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been consistent winners at the ballot box, most recently in November’s elections. Most Turks don’t want to return to the days when the military ran a self-dealing “deep state” that routinely overthrew elected governments.

 

The coup threatened Turkish stability at a dangerous moment. Turkey is already suffering from a slowing economy and accelerating attacks by Islamic State. The Turkish army is battling Kurdish guerrillas in the country’s southeast, and the air force has been in a face-off with Russia over the latter’s violations of Turkish airspace. Some 2.5 million refugees from Syria have flooded the country, thousands of whom go begging in the streets. Had the plotters succeeded, they would have had to use violence to suppress the millions of Turks who would have rallied against them. Unlike in Egypt, where then-defense minister  Abdel Fattah Al Sisi took power from elected President  Mohammed Morsi in 2013, in Turkey the crowd was not with the coup.

 

Nor were the chief of staff and other senior Turkish commanders who could have resisted with garrisons loyal to Mr. Erdogan. Even the President’s most vehement critics couldn’t have relished a civil war. A broken Turkey would have extended the chaos of Syria even closer to Europe and given Islamic State and other jihadists the opportunity to exploit it.

 

The U.S. conducts many of its operations against Islamic State from the Turkish air base at Incirlik, where some 1,500 U.S. service members are stationed. At this writing Turkey has closed airspace over the base and shut off external power because some of the coup plotters seem to have been stationed there. When those operations might resume is uncertain, but at least the U.S. won’t have to evacuate Incirlik in emergency conditions.

 

But if Turkey has avoided the worst, it still faces what could be a bitter reckoning. Mr. Erdogan wasted no time blaming the coup on followers of his erstwhile ally, exiled imam Fethullah Gulen, and demanding his extradition from the U.S. Mr. Gulen, who teaches a mystical form of Islam, broke with Mr. Erdogan over his increasingly autocratic ways. The Obama Administration has indicated it will consider the extradition request, and Mr. Erdogan will doubtless play Incirlik and cooperation against Islamic State as cards to get him back.

 

But Mr. Gulen and his followers adamantly deny participation in the coup. Without solid evidence of his direct involvement, it would be dishonorable and shortsighted for the U.S. to offer what would amount to a blood sacrifice to Mr. Erdogan’s rage. If Turkey threatens to evict the U.S. from Incirlik, the Administration should indicate a willingness to relocate the base in the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Erbil.

 

As worrying is Mr. Erdogan’s round-up of thousands of opponents in what looks like it could become a wholesale political purge. So far some 2,800 officers and soldiers have been arrested, including nearly 40 generals. That may be necessary for restoring democratic rule, but it’s hard to make that case about the immediate dismissal of 2,745 judges, including two members of the Constitutional Court. It’s worth wondering if their names were already on a list before the coup gave Mr. Erdogan a pretext to dismiss them.

 

U.S. policy toward Turkey should be to support the principle of democratic rule in a stable and cohesive state. The failure of the coup staved off one threat to Turkish stability. What remains to be seen is whether Mr. Erdogan’s revenge does even graver damage to Turkey’s hopes for decent self-government and further destabilizes the world’s most dangerous region.                                                       

 

 

Contents                                                                                   

                                           

THE COUP FAILED IN TURKEY BECAUSE                                                          

MUTINEERS DIDN’T CAPTURE THE KING                                                                                      

Matthew Fisher                                                                                          

National Post, July 17, 2016

 

The astonishing events that gripped Turkey and fascinated the world Friday night had not been expected. Turkey had been in turmoil and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was at the centre of every drama. But the main international focus lately has been on how the country was reeling from a string of terrorist bombings by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an increasingly bloody civil war against Kurds in the southeast, how to manage the economic and social consequences of playing reluctant host to more than 3 million refugees from Syria and the political whirlwind created by the arrival in Europe of so many refugees and migrants who were using Turkey as their bridge to the West.

 

The economy had collapsed when Erdogan became prime minister at the beginning of 2003. His top priority at the time was to join the European Union. The International Monetary Fund gave $30 billion on fairly generous terms.  As Turkey quickly became the darling of western investors, Erdogan undertook massive infrastructure programs. Compulsory schooling was raised from Grade 5 to Grade 12 and more university places were created. Relations with the large, restive Kurdish minority were greatly improved. GDP soared.

 

So, how did it come to this? Coups and botched coups do not happen in a vacuum. One of Erdogan’s early disappointments was the EU’s frosty reaction to his overtures to let Turkey join their club. Over time his government became beset by crony capitalism and corruption allegations. More recently, the Arab Spring and ISIL caused tumult along the country’s southern border and frayed relations with NATO and with Russia.

 

Since Erdogan was first elected as mayor of Istanbul in 1994, he has always had an authoritarian streak and a strong Islamist bent. That has never pleased the military, which regards defending secularism as a sacred national duty. Unable to get close to realizing his dream of Turkish membership in the EU, and with an increasingly difficult domestic situation complicated by the tragedies in Iraq and Syria, the president has lashed out at his critics, jailing some and dismissing others. In an about-face that the masses and the generals supported, he abruptly stopped the peace process with the Kurds after a terrorist attack. He unleashed the military on the Kurds, triggering a new round of violence that has killed 600 security forces and even more civilians.

 

At the same time, newspapers and television station that opposed Erdogan were closed or new managers were brought in. Nearly 1,000 journalists and editors lost their jobs. Users of social media who criticized the president or the government landed in court. Isolated from the country’s intellectual, business and military establishments, Erdogan came to depend even more heavily on religiously conservative Turks for support… Protests against Erdogan’s rule grew. But except for one hiccup early last year, he kept winning elections. Although the West has strongly opposed his crackdown and has been uneasy about his Islamist power base, it had no choice but to oppose the coup that was launched against him.

 

The putsch failed for many reasons. First among them was that the mutineers did not capture the king or seize control of media outlets. Crucially, they were also unable to convince many of the senior army leadership to go along. What their role really was behind closed doors is not yet clear but by Sunday the Turkish Adadolu Agency was reporting that 70 of Turkey’s approximately 350 generals and admirals have been arrested. This suggests the plot was wider than originally suspected and that there are deep divisions within the armed forces.

 

The most obvious reason that those leading the revolt failed was because Erdogan was free and able to use a cell phone app to call his followers into the street where they dared the troops to kill them. When many of the soldiers hesitated, the coup was finished. Within hours, the repercussions began. As happened during Egypt’s drama in Tahir Square and other offshoots of the short-lived Arab Spring, the shortcoming of most westerners trying to understand the deep fissures in Turkish society is that they have been drawn to the urban elites who want more social and cultural freedom. Not less.

 

In so doing foreigners have ignored the opinions of those who inhabit Istanbul’s poorer quarters and the tens of millions of poor Turks who live far from the big cities and the tourist resorts that welcome huge numbers of tourists who make locals unhappy by drinking, partying and wearing bikinis on the beaches. Erdogan’s backers do not regard such freedoms as being central to their well-being. They remember that their economic circumstances improved under Erdogan. They regard him as their only champion. As they see it, he still is.                                                           

 

Contents                                                                                   

                                                    

BEST WAY OF COPING WITH TRAUMA OF TERRORISM                                                   

IS TO IMITATE THE ISRAELIS                                                                                        

Christie Blatchford                                                                                                         

National Post, July 15, 2016

 

It’s going to be a hard sell in a time where trauma is expected, victims revered and when the first thing out of the mouth of every statesman, television talking head and person on Twitter is a version of, “My heart goes out to…,” but a little of the old “accommodation effect” would go a long way right now. It’s an adaptive behaviour, or in the modern parlance, a way of coping. It means that as traumatic events such as the latest terror attack in Nice, France, occur more often, people get used to them such that the amount of stress actually decreases – if, that is, the targeted people and society are reasonably resilient.

 

Accommodation was first noticed in the British during the German blitz of London, again in Israel during the first Gulf War of 1991 and again in Israel during the bloody second Palestinian Intifada, from September of 2000 to the beginning of 2005. In a 2011 scholarly paper entitled Living with terror, not Living in Terror, political science professor Dov Waxman of Northeastern University in Boston examined the effects of repeated terrorist attacks on Israelis.

 

During the second Intifada, more than 1,000 Israelis were killed, most of them civilians who died in suicide attacks, many going about their ordinary business in places like cafés, outdoor markets and on public buses. In fact, 19 months into the second Intifada, an astonishing 44.4 per cent of the population had either been a victim of a suicide attack, had friends or relatives who were victims, or knew someone who had survived an attack. By comparison, France has had three major terrorist attacks in about 18 months; in 2002 alone, there were 53 suicide attacks in Israel.

 

As Waxman said, “Suicide terrorism can be particularly effective in terrifying people because it projects an aura of fanaticism, which makes the threat of future attacks seem more likely.” Add to that the fact that Israelis have long feared terrorism with good reason. “No country has endured more acts of terrorism over a prolonged period than Israel,” Waxman said. “From before the state was established in 1948 and ever since then, Israelis have been the targets of terrorist attacks, both within Israel and around the world.” (Indeed, modern terrorism is inextricably linked to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, as Arab militant groups pioneered new tactics and carried out some of the most notorious attacks.)

 

Waxman found that more than a third of Israelis who participated in a major psychological study reported at least one traumatic stress-related symptom. It’s similar to the number reported by Americans after the 9/11 terror attacks, though far fewer of them were directly exposed. Interestingly, that study found that those who are actually injured in such an attack are “no more likely to suffer from psychological disorders than a person whose only connection to the attack was seeing it on television. “The extensive media coverage of terrorist attacks can therefore seriously harm people’s psychological well-being.”

 

But, as another study in 2010 showed, the Palestinian terror attacks of the second Intifada had a very limited – negligible — effect on the overall happiness of Israelis. That suggests, Waxman said, “that the psychological effects of terrorism should not be overstated. While they can be severe, they are generally short-lived.” Most Israelis recovered well, he found. Take the worst month of the Intifada, March of 2002. “In one week alone,” Waxman said, “Palestinian suicide bombers struck at a restaurant in Haifa, a Jerusalem supermarket, a café in Tel Aviv, and a hotel in Neyanya, the latter during a meal for the Jewish holiday of Passover.” The last attack alone killed 30 and wounded more than 140 others.

 

Yet, “Instead of panic and public hysteria, there was stoicism and fortitude.” Though they were afraid and under stress, Israelis kept going to cafés (though now they sat far from the entrances where suiciders might blow themselves up) and those who used buses kept on doing it. “When one considers the huge toll in Israeli lives that Palestinian terrorism during the second Infada took” (in more than 13,000 attacks, 1,030 were killed and 5,788 injured or about 0.1 per cent of the population), “the ability of Israeli society to cope … is quite remarkable.” Waxman identified three key factors: acclimatization to terrorism; declining media attention as attacks became chronic; and growing social resilience…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                           

 

 

Contents                                                                                                                       

                                          

HOW THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PLATFORMS

DIFFER ON ISRAEL

Armin Rosen                

                                                 Tablet, July 14, 2016

 

The Republican platform’s language relating to Israel was adopted by the party’s platform committee on July 12. In past elections, the official Republican and Democratic positions on Israel and the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were largely identical, signaling the remarkable success of pro-Israel organizations and brass from both parties in ensuring that one of the most emotional topics in international affairs wouldn’t become a partisan issue in the U.S. But that bipartisan consensus is fraying, at least as far as the parties’ official positions go.

 

The Republican platform language—touted by presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and others as the most pro-Israel “of all time”—clearly diverges from its Democratic counterpart. The Democratic platform registered the party’s opposition the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement; the Republican platform decries it as one of several “alternative forms of warfare” being waged against the Jewish state. The Republican platform “reject[s] the false notion that Israel is an occupier;” no similar statement appears in the Democratic platform, and the party considered naming Israel as an occupying power in their own platform. The Republicans will seek to “thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories,” a dig at efforts to sanction or limit trade related to Israeli enterprises in the West Bank or Golan Heights, like the EU’s special labeling of settlement products earlier this year. The Democratic platform opposes BDS, but makes no mention of efforts only targeting lands outside of Israel’s internationally recognized territory.

 

Unlike the Democratic platform, the Republican platform actively opposes “measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms,” and “call[s] for the immediate termination of all U.S. funding of any entity that attempts to do so”—a provision likely referring to the possibility of the UN Security Council passing a resolution outlining a final status outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that the Obama administration has reportedly considered backing over the years. The Democratic platform includes no such language. Most notably, the Republican platform contains no reference to the establishment of a Palestinian state, although it affirms that the U.S. “seeks to assist in the establishment of comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, to be negotiated among those living in the region.” The Democrats, meanwhile, urge that “Palestinians should be free to govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity.”

 

For Republicans, the differences between the platforms honestly and accurately reflects what the two parties believe about Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians. This belief that there exists a tangible difference of opinion between the parties comes into clearer focus when looking at the architects of the Republican platform language. During a speech to the Republican platform committee on July 12, committee member Alan Clemmons, a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, exhorted his colleagues to “send a message to the tens of millions of pro-Israel voters who must see that our party stands on faith and principle.” He added that Republicans’ “support for Israel’s well-being is of paramount concern and will not be sold out or dumbed down for the sake of petty interest, ever again.”

 

Jeff Ballabon, an activist and chairman of the Iron Dome Alliance who was involved in advocating for the platform’s current Israel-related language, told Tablet: “One party is debating whether or not it’s politically expedient to call out Israel for its oppression and occupation. The other is saying what are you talking about, there is no occupation? The difference couldn’t be more stark.”

 

As Ballabon interprets it, the Republican platform backs Israeli territorial rights in the West Bank, and even “goes beyond stating the obvious that Judea and Samaria are properly Jewish territories” since it rejects the notion of an Israeli occupation, while also making no distinction between the BDS that targets the entirety of Israeli-controlled territory, and BDS that only targets the areas outside Israel’s internationally-recognized borders. This interpretation is consistent with Clemmons’ speech, which was greeted with a standing ovation. “The false notion that the Jewish state is an occupier is an anti-Semitic attack on israel’s legitimacy,” Clemmons said. “It is impossible for the Jew to be an occupier in his own ancestral homeland, a region that his been known as Judea since time immemorial.”

 

The Republican platform arguably goes beyond Israel’s own policies, too: Israel has not annexed the West Bank and does not consider it to be part of its national territory. It also applies military law in the West Bank in a way consistent with the legal responsibilities of an occupying power, rather than a fully recognized sovereign authority. For Ballabon, Israel’s equivocal official position on the status of the West Bank is all the more reason for the Republicans to back Israeli sovereignty over the territory: “Many positions are taken by the Israeli government diplomatically or legally that are in response to pressures from the outside,” he said. “The point here is to remove that kind of pressure on israel that distorts Israeli decision making and Israeli independence and sovereignty through coercion.”

 

It’s unclear whether the Trump campaign has the same view of the platform’s meaning as Ballabon and Clemmons do. A statement published on Medium by Jason Greenblatt, the Trump Organization’s general counsel and one of the Trump campaign’s two advisers on Israel-related matters, lauded the platform language, writing that the campaign was “pleased that the committee has recognized that BDS is a modern manifestation of anti-Semitism.” But the Medium statement made no mention of the language rejecting claims that Israel is an occupier. Even so, both Greenblatt and David M. Friedman, a bankruptcy attorney and Trump’s other top Israel adviser, were involved in drafting and vetting the platform language. “Jason Greenblatt and I worked with the committee and others to finalize and support the language in the platform,” Friedman told Tablet by email.

 

Tacking to the right of the Democrats on Israel could turn out to be smart politics for the Republicans: Some 70 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Israel, and the relative lack of debate over Israel during the drafting of the Republican platform is in contrast to the Democratic side, where the party’s approach to Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the subject of hours’ worth of passionate discussion. Yet the contrast in the two platforms highlights how the parties are drifting apart on Israel—and how they might be driving a political divide over something that used to be one of the few consensus issues in American politics. “There’s an illusion that the parties are in lockstep,” Ballabon said, “and they’re very far from being in lockstep.”

 

Contents           

                                                                                                                                                            

On Topic Links

 

RNC Supports Israel (Video): Youtube, July 13, 2016 —The Republican National Platform Committee unanimously adopted the pro-Israel Amendment presented by South Carolina delegate Alan Clemmons.

Erdogan ‘Evaded Death by Minutes: Josie Ensor, Telegraph, July 18, 2016—It had been planned for weeks, but in the end, even the coup plotters were taken by surprise.

Erdogan Blames Former Military Attaché to Israel and Muslim Peace Advocate for Coup Attempt: Jewish Press, July 16, 2015 —One of the senior military officials mentioned in the flurry of accusations in Turkey over who exactly was responsible for the failed coup attempt Friday night was former air force commander Akin Ozturk, who was the Turkish Military attaché to Israel between 1996 and 1998.

GOP Convention Promises Delegate Drama, Israel Dissonance, and Guns: Eric Cortellessa, Times of Israel, July 18, 2016—A little more than a year ago, when Donald Trump descended an escalator at Trump Tower to announce his presidential bid, hardly anyone believed it was the start of a successful quest to become the Republican Party’s nominee. But this week, that’s exactly what it will officially turn out to be.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. ON EDGE OF POTENTIALLY DECISIVE MID-TERM ELECTIONS— IF GOP WINS SENATE, OBAMA IS BLOCKED

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

Remember, Remember the 5th of November: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Oct. 31, 2014— Next week, on the fifth of November, the day after U.S. midterm congressional elections, U.S. President Barack Obama will begin the final two years of his presidency.

Democrats Crash-Land the Planet: Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 29, 2014 — Want to know how to really scare a Democratic candidate for Congress on Halloween? Forget the Sarah Palin mask.

A Referendum on Competence : Charles Krauthammer, National Review, Oct. 30, 2014 — Is this election really about nothing? Democrats might like to think so, but it’s not.

How Obama Lost America: Ross Douthat, New York Times, Nov. 1, 2014 — The 2014 midterms have featured many variables and one constant.

On Topic Links

 

The Stakes on Tuesday: George Will, National Review, Nov. 1, 2014

Why the GOP Needs a Stampede in the Midterms: John Podhoretz, New York Post, Nov. 2, 2014

Obama Always Pointing the Finger of Blame at Someone Else: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Nov. 2, 2014

Islamist Campaign Donors Overwhelmingly Back Democrats: David J. Rusin, PJ Media, Oct. 31, 2014

                             

                            

REMEMBER, REMEMBER THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER                                       

David M. Weinberg                                                                                             

Israel Hayom, Oct. 31, 2014

 

Next week, on the fifth of November, the day after U.S. midterm congressional elections, U.S. President Barack Obama will begin the final two years of his presidency. He will be free to pursue his true ideological convictions in the fields of foreign and security policy; free to cement a complete reorientation of U.S. policy in the Middle East and beyond. Israel is likely to be a prime victim of Obama's last-stand aggressive foreign policies. While this may come as no surprise to anybody who has been paying attention, the ferocity of Obama's upcoming punch is still going to knock the wind out of leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.

The perfect storm in U.S.-Israel relations has been brewing for six years. From day one of his presidency, Obama has sought to put distance between Washington and Jerusalem (what the president called "useful daylight") along with a concomitant American rapprochement with Tehran. Give the man credit: Obama has been clear from the beginning as to his strategic perspective and how that perspective is radicallydifferent from previous administrations. Obama's rapid embrace earlier this year of the Hamas-Fatah unity government, and his failure this summer to fully support Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge, were turning points in U.S.-Israel relations, and they portend much worse things to come.

Israel is going to face a series of Palestinian resolutions at the U.N. and in international courts this winter, seeking to condemn and penalize the Jewish state. Internationalizing the conflict and criminalizing Israel was always the central Palestinian strategy. Alas, Obama feels that he will be "unable to manage" or mount a defense of Israel. Obama clarified that this was his direction in a candid interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic in March. Blindsiding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he was flying to Washington, Obama warned that Israel can "expect" to face international isolation and possible sanctions from countries and companies across the world if it fails to endorse a framework agreement with the Palestinians and continues settlement building.

 

"If Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited," Obama said. "There comes a point where you can't manage this anymore, and then you start having to make very difficult choices. The condemnation of the international community can translate into a lack of cooperation when it comes to key security interests," he warned. Little anguish could be detected in Obama's words, because truthfully, he wasn't too upset about Israel's "impending" isolation or the fact that America will "have reduced influence in issues that are of interest to Israel." Just the opposite; Obama was merely feigning dismay at the possible isolation of Israel, while in practice paving the way towards a global distancing from Israel. The give-away was Obama's total failure, in that interview and in his subsequent acceptance of the Hamas-Fatah government, to place any onus of responsibility on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for advancement or retardation of the peace process. There was not and is not a smidgen of answerability that he attaches to Abbas or to Hamas. Only to Netanyahu. Washington never insisted that the Palestinian unity government meet the Quartet principles involving, among other things, recognition of Israel and acceptance of past agreements.

 

Then this week, an unnamed Obama administration official (possibly Obama himself) confirmed to the always-available-for-Netanyahu-bashing Goldberg that after the midterm congressional elections, the Obama administration will no longer shield Israel in international institutions. On the contrary, Goldberg was led to understand that Washington itself is likely to sandbag Israel with a Security Council resolution condemning Israel over settlements and building in Jerusalem. To my mind, we are not far from the day when the Obama administration will support a Palestinian Authority resolution demanding a timetable for Israeli withdrawals to specific borders and endorsing punitive measures unless Israel complies. I don't think this far-fetched at all. So you see, Abbas can brutally mock American peace proposals, accuse Israel of "genocide," glorify terrorism against Israel, cuddle with Hamas and cozy up to Iranian officials in preparation for battle against Israel. Yet Obama remains mum about Abbas, while his "officials" call Netanyahu "chickenshit." Abbas says he will "never" recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish People, "never" forgo the so-called right of return to Israel of Palestinian refugees, "never" accept Israeli security control of Jordan Valley and other key air and ground security assets, "never" allow Jews to live in Judea, "never" accept Israeli sovereignty in any part of Old Jerusalem, and calls for riots to prevent Jews from "desecrating" the Temple Mount by visiting there. Yet Obama issues no warnings of PA diplomatic isolation or economic collapse if Abbas doesn't compromise and advance the peace process. He pins nothing on the defiant Palestinian Authority and its radical Islamic allies. He is mum on all this, while his "officials" call Netanyahu a "coward."

 

But of course, Obama truly "wishes" he had the "influence" to arrest the isolation of Israel. Yeah, sure. Obama is purposefully engineering the denouement of the special relationship between America and Israel; just as he is purposefully overseeing the decline of America on the world stage. The thick layer of invective aimed at Netanyahu is just cover for this agenda. It is snide camouflage for six years of administration failures in regional and global diplomacy. Over the past year, Obama has granted Russian President Vladimir Putin gargantuan international victories, given Syrian President Bashar Assad a new lease on life, relegitimized Iran and re-energized the morally bankrupt U.N. — while playing Hamlet about his own authority to strike Syria or defend Israel. He has made only a ridiculously miniscule effort at confronting the Islamic State group. He leaves America's reputation in the world "unbelievably small." Don't assume that this emasculation bothers Obama, or that he thinks that it is the result of any failing. It is exactly where Obama is leading America, brilliantly so from his perspective — on principle and on plan. He very clearly believes that the humbling of America will bring healing to the world; that he will be leaving the world a better place by cutting America down to size, and allowing other "legitimate" actors, such as Iran, to assert their rights. And thus a soft U.S.-Iranian nuclear deal is coming soon too, which apparently will allow the Iranians to maintain a full nuclear fuel cycle. This is a violation of every American commitment to Israel and every U.N. resolution that demanded the dismantling of the Iranian nuclear effort. But Obama doesn't care. He is going to do an end-run around the Republican-dominated Congress, and cut a deal that will delay the problem beyond his term as president, while essentially guaranteeing Tehran the additional time it needs to complete all components of a nuclear weapons arsenal. Obama administration officials are already downplaying Iran's destabilizing role in the Middle East and saying that U.S.-Iranian relations have moved into "an effective state of detente."…                                                                                                                        

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]          

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DEMOCRATS CRASH-LAND THE PLANET                                                          

Daniel Henninger                                                                                                       

Wall Street Journal, Oct. 29, 2014

 

Want to know how to really scare a Democratic candidate for Congress on Halloween? Forget the Sarah Palin mask. Don’t say “Boo!” Just slip up behind them and whisper, “national security.” They’ll jump from here into next week’s election. In New Hampshire, North Carolina, Arkansas, Iowa and Colorado, Republican challengers are spooking Democratic Senate campaigns by yelling, “Islamic State” and “Ebola.”

 

A Scott Brown ad in New Hampshire says Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen “supports Obama ’s failed foreign policy.” Tom Cotton ’s ad in Arkansas says President Obama “underestimated” the threat in the Middle East. In their Colorado debate, Republican Cory Gardner asked Sen. Mark Udall “where were you” while Islamic State became a “growing threat?” Most horrifying of all, Thom Tillis accused North Carolina Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan of skipping an Armed Services Committee hearing to . . . raise money.

 

Democratic campaigns built around the war on women or the future of outdoor temperatures are looking limp. If I were a Democrat getting beaten up by Republican appeals to national security, it would madden me that earlier this year most GOP politicians were content to minimize the world’s troubles, citing—well, hiding behind—opinion polls purporting that most Americans were “fatigued” with the U.S. role in the world.

 

“Fatigue” became the default argument for ending discussion in conservative and GOP circles about offering an alternative to Barack Obama’s hook-and-slice foreign policy toward Syria, Iran, Iraq, Vladimir Putin ’s spreading empire, China intimidations of its neighbors or any other metastasizing global threat.

All of a sudden, Republicans everywhere are using a dented globe to pummel Democrats. Politics can be so unfair. Privately, Democrats complain that their candidates are getting tagged for Barack Obama’s incompetence. Mark Udall didn’t have access to intelligence reports about Islamic State’s spread through the Middle East. Why blame Kay Hagan for letting the Ukrainians twist in the wind? What’s Arkansas got to do with any of this? These Democrats are whistling past the graveyard if they think they can deny shared responsibility for the world on Barack Obama’s watch. The Obama worldview is their worldview—not because he happens to be president but because his is the foreign policy espoused by the Democratic Party’s leaders for a generation. One is vice president. Another is secretary of state.

 

After the Vietnam War, Democrats came to be known as the antiwar party. The real meaning of that phrase is misunderstood. Democrats moved away from the muscular foreign-policy tradition of Roosevelt and Trumanonly partly for reasons of aversion to overseas military deployments. What they really wanted to redeploy, permanently, was the federal budget’s spending accounts: Siphon money out of the defense budget and reflow it into domestic spending. Forever. Liberals loathed Ronald Reagan above all else because he took defense spending up to 6% of GDP. That it was 9% under John F. Kennedy has been swept under the rug of Party history. By notable contrast, Bill Clinton is revered by post-Kennedy Democrats because he reduced defense outlays eight straight years, ending at 3% of GDP. Under the Bush 9/11 presidency, defense rose above 4%. President Obama’s defense-spending plans would reduce it to 2.3% of GDP by 2024. The bucolic view of this is that Democrats merely want to help people by spending money on unmet domestic needs. The cynical view would be that once an inexorably northern liberal Democratic Party lost the South, defense spending did nothing for them politically. Domestic spending underwrites their bases of power and incumbencies in the North.

 

That cynical spending calculation holds for some Republicans in Congress. The difference is that only Democrats stay away from the world as a matter of ideology, for fear any commitment legitimizes dollars for defense. But bargain-basement foreign policy is high risk, especially if you’re standing for election in front of the famous fan. As now. If the Republican Party wins Senate control next Tuesday, it will be the dog that caught the bus. Then what? My guess is that much of the campaign’s national-security bravado will recede. Most Republicans will re-convince themselves that opinion-poll “fatigue” is real. Like the Obama foreign policy, that thought is delusional. Ebola is the wake-up call. Ebola was a problem over there, and addressing it could wait. Now it’s here. Ebola shrank the world. That is a reality from which it’s impossible to hide anymore. You can’t watch individuals infected with Ebola show up in Texas and New York from West Africa and demand that the U.S. do something, and then watch Islamic State rampage across the Middle East and say, not our problem. Internet jihadist recruitment and paint-by-numbers terrorism manuals by Islamic State and al Qaeda have shrunk the world, too. Foreign-policy planners and national leaders in Moscow, Tehran and Beijing get up every day and do one thing: think about how they can diminish or destabilize the U.S. Our leadership got up every day for six years and thought about . . . wind farms. When the world’s political winds shifted, Senate Democrats, as is their habit, chose not to see.

 

                                                                       

Contents                        

                                                                                                                   

A REFERENDUM ON COMPETENCE                                                                    

Charles Krauthammer                                                                                                  

National Review, Oct. 30, 2014  

 

Is this election really about nothing? Democrats might like to think so, but it’s not. First, like all U.S. elections, it’s about the economy. The effect of the weakest recovery in two generations is reflected in President Obama’s 13-point underwater ratings for his handling of the economy. Moreover, here is a president who proclaims the reduction of inequality to be the great cause of his administration. Yet it has radically worsened in his six years. The 1 percent are doing splendidly in the Fed-fueled stock market, even as median income has fallen.

 

Second is the question of competence. The list of disasters is long, highlighted by the Obamacare rollout, the Veterans Affairs scandal, and the pratfalls of the once-lionized Secret Service. Beyond mere incompetence is government intrusiveness and corruption, as in the overreach of national-security surveillance and IRS targeting of politically disfavored advocacy groups. Ebola has crystallized the collapse of trust in state authorities. The overstated assurances, the ever-changing protocols, the startling contradictions — the Army quarantines soldiers returning from West Africa while the White House denounces governors who did precisely the same with returning health-care workers — have undermined government in general, this government in particular. Obama’s clumsy attempt to restore confidence by appointing an Ebola czar has turned farcical. When the next crisis broke — a doctor home from West Africa develops Ebola after having traversed significant parts of New York City between his return and his infection — the czar essentially disappeared. Perhaps he is practicing self-quarantine.

 

But there’s a third factor contributing to the nation’s deepening anxiety — a sense of helplessness and confusion abroad as, in the delicate phrase of our secretary of defense, “the world is exploding all over.” Most voters don’t care about the details of Ukraine, the factions in Libya, or the precise battle lines of the Islamic State. But they do have a palpable sense of American weakness. This was brought home most profoundly by the videotaped beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff. It wasn’t just the savagery that affected so many Americans but the contempt shown by these savages for America — its power, its resolve. Here is a jayvee team (Obama’s erstwhile phrase) defying the world’s great superpower, daring it to engage, confident that America will fail or flee. Obama got a ratings bump when he finally bestirred himself to order airstrikes and vowed to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State. Yet almost two months later, there is a realization that the disorganized, halfhearted, ad hoc U.S. reaction has made little difference. The vaunted 60-country coalition is nowhere to be seen. The barbarians are even closer to the gate. Moreover, U.S. flailing is not just demoralizing at home. It is energizing the very worst people abroad. Being perceived as what Osama bin Laden called the “strong horse” is, for a messianic movement on the march, the ultimate recruiting tool. Will this affect the election? While there is widespread dissatisfaction with the administration’s handling of the Islamic State, in most races it has not risen to the level of major campaign issue. Its principal effect is to reinforce an underlying, pre-existing sense of drift and disarray.

 

The anemic economy, the revulsion with governmental incompetence, and the sense of national decline are, taken together, exacting a heavy toll on Democratic candidates. After all, they represent not just the party now in government but the party of government. This portends a bad night for Democrats on Tuesday. State-by-state polls show continued Democratic control of the Senate to be highly tenuous. With one caveat. Democrats could make it up with the so-called ground game (i.e., getting out the vote on Election Day) that polls do not measure. Just a fraction of the unprecedented success the Democrats enjoyed in 2012 in identifying and turning out their voters (especially young, female, and minority) could shift the results by one or two points. That, in turn, could tilt several of the knife-edge, margin-of-error Senate races in their favor and transform what would otherwise be a Republican sweep into something of a stalemate. This could happen. More likely, however, is that the ground-game differential is minor, in which case the current disenchantment — with disorder and diminishment — simply overwhelms the governing Democrats.

The stage is set for a major Republican victory. If they cannot pull it off under conditions so politically favorable, perhaps they might consider looking for another line of work.

                                                                                   

Contents      

                                                                                                                                     

HOW OBAMA LOST AMERICA                                                                                

Ross Douthat                                                                                                                  

New York Times, Nov. 1, 2014

 

The 2014 midterms have featured many variables and one constant. Whether they’re running as incumbents or challengers, campaigning in blue or red or purple states, Democratic candidates have all been dragging an anchor: a president from their party whose approval ratings haven’t been north of 45 percent since last October. The interesting question is why. You may recall that Mitt Romney built his entire 2012 campaign strategy around the assumption that a terrible economy would suffice to deny Barack Obama a second term. Yet throughout 2012, with the unemployment rate still up around 8 percent, Obama’s approval numbers stayed high enough (the mid-to-upper 40s) to ultimately win. Whereas today the unemployment rate has fallen to 6 percent, a number Team Obama would have traded David Axelrod’s right kidney for two years ago, but the White House hasn’t benefited: The public’s confidence is gone, and it doesn’t seem to be coming back.

 

So when and how was it lost? When President Bush’s second-term job approval numbers tanked, despite decent-at-the-time economic numbers, the explanation was easy: It was Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. But nothing quite so pat presents itself in Obama’s case, so here are four partial theories instead. He gets blamed for Republican intransigence. This is the explanation that many Obama partisans favor, because it lets him mostly off the hook. The theory is that with the country as polarized as it is, and with the public inclined to blame the president for gridlock, the natural state for presidential approval ratings is a kind of regression toward the low 40s. This regression can be interrupted only by either some major unforeseen event or the emergence of a challenger — Romney for Obama, John Kerry for George W. Bush — who reminds voters that they dislike the other party more. But once the challenger is beaten, the process resumes: Just as Bush’s post-9/11 ratings declined steadily except when Kerry was on the scene, so too Obama’s numbers were doomed to decay once he won a second term.

 

It’s the economy — yes, still: This explanation raises an eyebrow at the last one and says, come on: If the economy were enjoying a 1990s-style boom, surely Obama would have a decent chance at Clinton-level approval ratings, gridlock or no gridlock! But even with the improving employment picture this recovery is still basically a disappointment, especially for the middle class. So the contrast between Obama’s position in 2012 and his weaker one today isn’t necessarily a case study in the economy not mattering. It’s an example of voter patience persisting for a while, and finally running out. It’s Obamacare — yes, still. This is the closest equivalent to Bush and the Iraq War: The health care law is Obama’s signature issue, it remains largely unpopular (even if support for full repeal is weak), and its initial stumbling coincided with the sharpest second-term drop in the president’s approval. Fixing the website may have stabilized the system, but by design Obamacare still creates many losers as well as winners, and a persistent dissatisfaction with shifts in coverage and costs could be the crucial drag keeping Americans dissatisfied with their president as well.

 

It’s foreign policy — and competence. One of the interesting features of the 2012 campaign was that as much as the economy made Obama’s sales pitch challenging, he had an edge that Democratic politicians often lack: The public trusted him on foreign policy. But that trust began to erode with the Edward Snowden affair, it eroded further during our non-attack on Bashar al-Assad last fall, and recent events in Ukraine and Iraq have essentially made Obama’s position irrecoverable: His approval rating on foreign policy is around 35 percent in most recent polling. But this harsh judgment probably isn’t explicitly ideological: The public isn’t necessarily turning neoconservative or pining for the days of Bush. Instead, it mostly reflects a results-based verdict on what seems like poor execution, in which the White House’s slow response to ISIS is of a piece with the Obamacare rollout and the V.A. scandal and various other second-term asleep-at-the-tiller moments. It’s a problem of leadership that reflects badly on liberalism but doesn’t necessarily vindicate conservatism.

 

And it’s because it isn’t explicitly ideological that the Democrats still have a chance in many states on Tuesday. From North Carolina to New Hampshire to Georgia, their candidates are being tugged downward by the Obama anchor, but they’re still bobbing, still only half-submerged, waiting for undecided to break (or just stay home). In many ways, Republicans have enjoyed in 2014 the kind of landscape they expected in 2012: a landscape in which nobody save Democratic partisans particularly supports President Obama anymore. What we’re about to find out is whether, amid that disillusionment, just being the not-Obama party is enough.

           

Contents                                               

 

On Topic

 

The Stakes on Tuesday: George Will, National Review, Nov. 1, 2014—Mix a pitcher of martinis Tuesday evening to fortify yourself against the torrent of election returns painting a pointillist portrait of the nation’s mind.

Why the GOP Needs a Stampede in the Midterms: John Podhoretz, New York Post, Nov. 2, 2014—For a year, the big question in political circles has been whether Tuesday’s midterm elections will be a Republican “wave.”

Obama Always Pointing the Finger of Blame at Someone Else: Michael Goodwin, New York Post, Nov. 2, 2014 —In the New York Times the other day, anonymous aides to President Obama trashed Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Islamist Campaign Donors Overwhelmingly Back Democrats: David J. Rusin, PJ Media, Oct. 31, 2014—An analysis of federal campaign contributions finds that key figures at six of America’s most prominent Islamist organizations have favored Democrats over Republicans by a ratio of 12 to 1 since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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National Jewish Democratic Council Disappointed in Republican Ron Paul Tribute

A Blog by Lawrence Solomon,
Fellow, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research

_______________________________________________________

 

The National Jewish Democratic Council is disappointed that the Republicans will be giving Ron Paul a tribute at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this week. I’m disappointed that the Republicans aren’t honouring Paul to an even greater extent, and that American Jewish Democrats are so blindly partisan that they fail to understand who Israel’s true friends are.

 

Jews are right to have concerns over anti-Semitic comments attributed to Paul that appeared in his investment newsletter in the 1990s. But Paul claims he didn't write those comments and disavows them. In a spirit of generosity, I believe we should take Paul at his word. Even if he was once an anti-Semite, and has now changed, why hold that against him?

The main criticism of Paul by Jews today is his attitude toward Israel. But is his attitude truly hostile, as Paul critics contend?

 

“I do not believe we should be Israel’s master but, rather, her friend,” Paul told Haaretz last December. “We should not be dictating her policies and announcing her negotiating positions before talks with her neighbors have even begun.”

 

Had Eisenhower, Johnson and Nixon taken this Ron Paul approach, Israel wouldn’t have had to return territory won in the 1956 Suez War without obtaining concessions from Egypt, wouldn’t have had to accept an early ceasefire in 1967, wouldn’t have had to spare Egypt’s army in 1973. In these and other wars, in fact, Israel has had to fight the clock as much as its aggressors, knowing that U.S. presidents had little patience for Israeli success on the battlefield.

 

If U.S. presidents had their way, neither Saddam Hussein’s or Bashar Assad’s nuclear reactor would have been destroyed. As for Iran, a Ron Paul approach would have let Israel attack Iran early, before a decision to do so became highly risky. Paul believes an Israeli attack on Iran is Israel’s business, not America’s. George Bush didn’t give Israel that much leeway, let alone Barack Obama.

 

Jewish Democrats attack Paul for wanting to stop foreign aid to Israel. What’s wrong with that? Paul wants the U.S. to stop foreign aid to all countries, Arab states included. This isn’t an anti-Israel position, it’s an entirely reasonable foreign policy and fiscal position perspective that, if it ever happened, might benefit Israel on balance, since it might disadvantage Israel less than its enemies. U.S. aid to Israel is no longer vitally necessary for Israel’s survival – it represents about 1% of Israel’s GDP and is worth less than 1% because the aid comes with strings attached. Even if losing the aid caused Israelis some hardship – say it required Israelis to pay higher taxes to fund the Israeli military – where is the logic or the honour in American Jews asking Americans citizens to be taxed more to fund Israel’s military?

 

Paul holds various views that, to my mind, are so off-base as to be wacky. He sees Iran as relatively benign, for example, and wouldn’t want the U.S. to intervene to prevent Iran from having the bomb. But why should that disqualify him for being honoured for his profound defence of liberty and the American constitution over the decades? The Republicans in no way endorse his views of Iran – Romney and every other serious candidate made that crystal clear. Ironically, Paul’s view on Iran and on war in general would have far more adherents among Democratic Jews who castigate him than among rank and file Republicans who admire him.

More generally, do Jews really want a litmus test for candidates to high office?

 

Must all candidates slavishly conform to some Jewish Democratic notion of what’s good for Israel or risk opprobrium? The insults levied against Paul by the Jewish Democrats can only promote animosity toward Jews among millions of Ron Paul supporters, both because the insults are off the mark and because they display an intolerance of those who hold reasonable but contrary views.

 

From my perspective, Paul has shown uncommon respect for Israel and for Jews. Maybe Jews should reciprocate with a little respect of their own.

 

SYRIA A TRAP: REBELS OVER-REACHING, GANGS NOT “DEMOCRATS”, KURDS SEPARATING AND M. BROS. NO SWEETHEARTS

Contents:

 

Articles:

More than They can Chew

In Syria, Role of Kurds Divides Opposition

Gangs of Aleppo

The Arab Trojan Horse

Stay out of Syria Intervention is a trap

On Topic Links

An action plan for Syria

Syrian Rebels Working in Collaboration with Turkey

A Phantom Wrapped in an Enigma Wrapped in a Riddle

On the Edge

Syria's Explosive Crumbs

Guess Who's Helping Assad Get Away With Murder?

 

_______________________________________________________________________

 

MORE THAN THEY CAN CHEW
Antakya And Idleb,
The Economist, August 27, 2012
 
A MONTH after rebel forces launched a blazing attempt to capture Aleppo, Syria’s second city, they are starting to wilt. The regime claims to have routed them from their main stronghold in the Salaheddin district. Clashes continue in the southwest of the city and around the airport, but the best that rebel commanders can now hope to achieve is to draw the regime into a quagmire.…
 
Many Syrians—as well as outside observers—conclude that the rebels overreached by taking the fight to Aleppo. “Rebel commanders had a sensible strategy of fighting a war of attrition that matched their capabilities. They were going after roads, military outposts and consolidating control of the rural areas where the regime has retreated,” says Emile Hokayem, an analyst at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. “Then suddenly they diverted to a plan to ‘liberate’ a city which they knew they couldn’t do.”
 
Part of the problem is that the rebels are failing to win hearts and minds among the urban middle class in Aleppo. The same was true of the failed attempt to take the capital, Damascus, in July. Most Aleppans cannot stomach the regime, whose brutality has left some 20,000 dead. But they find the rebels’ tactics off-putting too, including summary executions such as that of Zaino Berri, head of a pro-regime militia. Some rebel groups have sent captives in booby-trapped cars to blow up checkpoints.…
 
Foreign powers are trying to strengthen civilian institutions inside the country. Late last year they cheered local co-ordination committees coalescing into more sophisticated councils overseeing cities and provinces. “But many of those have now been taken over by the rebels as the militarisation grows,” says one dejected activist. Fuel and bread go to fighters first.
 
Some help from Western governments, including intelligence, is still reaching the rebels. In the country’s east and north-west, fighters hope to push the army out of smaller cities by making it too dangerous for them to use the roads to resupply bases. But without a no-fly zone or plenty of surface-to-air missiles to bring down regime jets many rebels think they will struggle.…
 
The Idleb Military Council is one of nine or so provincial military councils that were set up late last year by defectors to oversee the fighting groups that are staffed mainly by volunteers. But this is far from a unified force. “There was a lot of hope these councils would create a nationwide military, but we haven’t seen that,” says Asher Berman at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.
 
Competition for resources and personal feuds have already led some groups to fall out. The two main rebel forces in the Homs area, the Khaled Ibn Walid Brigade and Farouq, both work out of the rebellious town of Rastan, but their leaders are at loggerheads. …One of Idleb’s largest groups, Saquor al-Sham, churns out mini-documentaries…These films are used to attract funding, which comes mainly from wealthy Syrians abroad and Gulf traders. Because the West will not arm and defend the opposition, weapons must often be bought with cash. So far at least there is no sign of its running out. (top)
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IN SYRIA, ROLE OF KURDS DIVIDES OPPOSITION
Babak Dehghanpisheh,
Washington Post, August 18, 2012
 
Opponents of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad are showing signs of splintering along a deep regional fault line, with Arabs and Turks uneasy about a military offensive last month by Syrian Kurds, who overran four towns in the country’s north.
 
The attacks marked the first time since the 17-month-old uprising began that Kurdish fighters had joined in military action against Assad’s forces. But the Kurdish muscle-flexing has rattled groups such as the Arab-led Free Syrian Army, which until now has played the leading role in the upheaval, and it has unsettled neighboring Turkey, whose animosity toward Assad is surpassed only by apprehension about the Kurds’ broader ambitions in the region.
 
“Turkey is in a predicament,” said Joost Hiltermann, the deputy Middle East director for the International Crisis Group. “Turkey is very much pushing for the Syrian regime to fall. The predictable consequence and almost the inevitable consequence is the empowerment of Syrian Kurds.”
 
As one of the largest stateless groups in the world, the Kurds have long sought autonomy, a cause that unnerves governments across a broad belt sprawling from Syria into parts of Turkey, Iraq and Iran, which have all fought long and bloody battles with Kurdish separatists. In Syria, the Kurdish region is home to 2 million people (the actual number is more like 4 million and everyone keeps repeating the lower number without knowing the truth) , and many Turkish officials fear that the Kurds will begin using the area as a base from which to launch attacks on the Turkish military, as they have done for years from neighboring Iraq.
 
Until the recent attacks, Syrian Kurds had stayed on the sidelines, mostly, it appeared, out of concern that a victory by Arab-led opposition groups over Assad’s forces might do little to alter a power balance that has left Kurds relatively weak in Syria. There has been little cooperation between the armed Kurdish groups in the north and the Free Syrian Army, and their relationship seems to be one of mutual distrust.
 
But in response to the Kurdish moves, Syrian opposition groups such as the Free Syrian Army were quick to reiterate a vow that they will not permit Syria to be divided along ethnic or sectarian lines. The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said he stood ready to send troops into Syria to confront Kurdish forces there if it becomes a base for incursions into Turkey by Kurdish guerrillas.
 
The U.S. government has also expressed alarm, warning Kurdish groups in Syria that they should not seek to work with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, whose insurgency against the Turkish government has killed at least 40,000 people.
 
Many Kurds still dream of a greater Kurdistan, stretching across the borders of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria, but few Kurdish leaders dare discuss it….“Every Kurd believes in this dream of a united homeland,” said Alan Semo, the London-based foreign affairs representative for the PYD. “But in the regional and international circumstances today, we can’t demand separation for a united Kurdistan.”
 
It’s not clear how appealing this pan-Kurdish sentiment — or the idea of regional autonomy — is to the Kurdish community in Syria. But it could lead to bitter fighting between Kurds and Arabs there if Assad falls. In the view of many Kurds, the Arab-led Syrian opposition, including the Free Syrian Army, embraces the same kind of Arab nationalism that has been used to quash rights in the past.
 
The main Kurdish attacks took place July 19, when fighters loyal to the PYD spread out in the town of Kobani and pushed forward for three days, taking over Efrin, Derik and Amuda. There was no fighting and no casualties were incurred.…The situation has become even more complicated because of the role being played by Kurds from neighboring Iraq, where the division of power after the fall of Saddam Hussein has left Kurds with a strong base. Massoud Barzani, a prominent Iraqi Kurdish leader, said last month that he was helping to arm and train fighters from the Kurdish National Council, which is jockeying for power in Syria as a rival to the PYD.
 
Barzani organized a meeting this month in the Iraqi Kurdish town of Irbil that brought Kurdish and Arab Syrian opposition leaders together with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu but excluded the PYD, the Syrian Kurdish group regarded by the Turks as the most problematic.
 
“What Turkey needs to do is divide and rule, and that’s exactly what they’re going to do,” said Hiltermann, of the International Crisis Group. “They’re going to woo some Kurds, and they’re going to fight a lot of Kurds. And they’re going to use one Kurd against another Kurd.” (top)
__________________________________________________________________________
 
GANGS OF ALEPPO
William S. Lind
American Conservative, August 28, 2012
 
In the view of our Laputan foreign-policy establishment, what is happening in Syria and elsewhere is a conflict between “democracy” and dictatorship. Valiant youths who fight for “freedom” are destined to triumph, bringing happiness and prosperity to their formerly oppressed lands. This is the Whig version of history—the progressive narrative. It bears little resemblance to reality.
 
A Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi came closer to truth. He was quoted in the New York Times as saying that Syria faces “gang warfare.” Gangs are one of the most basic, and most potent, building blocks of stateless Fourth Generation war. [from state to non-state warfare,  conflict common in pre-modern times – Ed..] We commonly think of gangs in connection with crime. But through most of history, the line between crime and war was blurred, often to the point of vanishing. (See Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century.)
 
It was the state that drew the line clearly, but today in much of the Middle East and elsewhere states and the state system are collapsing. What is succeeding the state looks much like the 14th century Europe Tuchman describes: people and regions are at the mercy of roving bands of armed men who hire themselves out as soldiers when they can and otherwise take what they want from anyone too weak to resist them. Their only loyalty is to each other—to their gang.
 
One of the characteristics shared by most disintegrating states is a vast surplus of young men who have no access to jobs, money, or women. Gangs are a magnet for them. We see this in American contexts as well: in public schools, in ethnic neighborhoods, and in our prisons.…Young men are also drawn to fighting, which, conveniently, is something gangs do. 
 
Much of what we see in states struggling for their lives such as Syria is supply-side war. Fighting spreads not because of some “cause” like democracy but because idle young men see a fight and join in. Why not? They have nothing to do, nothing to lose, and thanks to their new gang and AK-47, lots to take: money, women, and fame. The New York Times reported from Aleppo:
 
Residents said there were not just clashes between the government and insurgents, but also rival militias from the countryside fighting for control of individual streets. … In a central old quarter, one man said a friend had warned him not to visit because young gunmen had established a checkpoint to rob car passengers.
 
Gangs fight not only the government but also each other, and their internecine wars further weaken the state.…The state arose to bring order, and widening gang wars reveal the state’s impotence. In the struggle for legitimacy that lies at the core of Fourth Generation war, a state that cannot control gangs becomes an object of contempt for friend and foe alike.…
 
The voices in Washington who call for us to suppress gangs in places halfway around the world underestimate the opponent.…If you want to envision places such as Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali—the list keeps growing—you could do worse than to think of spreading rumbles in the ’hood. That is a far more accurate picture than the two-sided “democracy vs. dictatorship” image purveyed by politically correct Polyannas. The bulletins of the Syrian Foreign Ministry, it seems, mislead less than those of the U.S. State Department. (top)
_____________________________________________________
 
THE ARAB TROJAN HORSE
Eiad Wannous
Syria Today, August 2012
 
The Arab Spring has changed the political scene in the Middle East. Most striking is the re-touching of the image of a radical organization such as the Muslim Brotherhood to that of a potential “civil” form for future governance in the region. One might argue: “As other ideologies have not achieved well-being for Arabs, why don’t we try Islamism?” When it comes to Syria, the Egyptian presidential election and the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise within the “Egyptian Spring” have re-enforced such arguments, especially given the general public’s disappointment with the Ba’ath party’s socialist policies.
 
However, before any judgment can be made, a few points related to both the general history of the Brotherhood and its history within Syria must be reviewed. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna, a fundamentalist Egyptian schoolteacher who advocated violent jihad and the replacement of secular governments with a worldwide totalitarian caliphate governed under strict Islamic sharia law. By the 1940s, branches of the Brotherhood had been established across the Arab world; during this period, the Syrian branch was considered second only to Egypt’s in size.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood is known for its supposed hostility to US policies and Israel. What is not well-known is that the spread of the movement in Arab countries was facilitated by the CIA during the Cold War era as part of the famous “strategy of containment”, the anti-Soviet, anti-communist initiative adopted by Eisenhower’s administration which lasted until the late eighties. Over these decades, the Muslim Brotherhood turned into a “Trojan horse” within countries allied with the Soviet Union.
 
This is not a “conspiracy theory”. Rather, recall the July 1953 photo of Eisenhower with the Princeton Islam Seminar delegation at the White House: Said Ramadan, Banna’s son-in-law and then the most distinguished figure within the Brotherhood’s hierarchy, is standing second from the right.
 
Now, however, although the Brotherhood’s success in Egypt may have revived its dream of becoming a 'regional governance system', differences among its branches make that a long shot in practice.…
 
The organisation entered Syria in 1936 thanks to Mustafa al-Siba’i, a pupil of Banna, who returned from Cairo after studying at Al-Azhar Mosque. The major shift took place in 1973, when the Vanguard Fighters, the Brotherhood’s armed wing, was established to change the Ba’athist secular government by force of arms and establish an Islamic state in Syria. A violent rebellion conducted in Syria during the late 1970s and into the 1980s left bloody memories of doctors, academics, and army officers assassinated by Muslim Brothers, along with the massacres they carried out against civilians in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Hama.
 
Such memories make this organisation much less appealing for Syrians, especially since fundamentalists represent only 1 percent of Syrian Muslims….Currently, the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to benefit from the Egyptian Spring, although it is too early to say it has succeeded in taking over the country’s political system. But in Syria, the situation does not seem promising for the Brotherhood or its allies.  [Eiad Wannous is a Syrian political analyst and journalist.] (top)
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STAY OUT OF SYRIA INTERVENTION IS A TRAP
Daniel Pipes
Washington Times, August 20, 2012
 
Bashar Assad’s wretched presence in the presidential palace of Damascus may, contrary to Western assumptions, do more good than harm. His murderous, terroristic and pro-Tehran regime is non-ideological and relatively secular; it staves off anarchy, Islamist rule, genocide and rogue control of Syria’s chemical weapons.
 
As Syria’s civil war intensifies, Western states increasingly are helping the rebels overthrow Mr. Assad and his henchmen. In doing so, the West hopes to save lives and facilitate a democratic transition. Many Western voices call for more than the nonlethal aid now being offered, wanting to arm the rebels, set up safe zones and even join their war against the government.
 
Helping the rebels, however, neglects a fundamental question: Does intervention in Syria against Mr. Assad promote our own interests? This obvious question is missed because many Westerners feel so confident about their own well-being that they forget their security and instead focus on the concerns of those they perceive as weak and exploited.… Westerners have developed sophisticated mechanisms to act on these concerns (e.g., responsibility to protect, animal rights activism).
 
For those of us not so confident, however, fending off threats to our security and our civilization remains a top priority. In this light, helping the rebels entails multiple drawbacks for the West.
 
First, the rebels are Islamist and intend to build an ideological government even more hostile to the West than Mr. Assad‘s. If the rebels prevail, their break in relations with Tehran will be offset by their assistance for the barbarism of Islamism’s Sunni forces.
 
Second, the argument that Western intervention would reduce the Islamist thrust of the rebellion by replacing materiel pouring in from Sunni countries is risible. Syria’s rebels do not need Western help to bring down the regime (and wouldn’t be grateful for it if they did receive it, if Iraq is any guide). The Syrian conflict at its core pits the country’s disenfranchised Sunni Arab 70 percent majority against Mr. Assad’s privileged Alawi 12 percent minority. Add the assistance of foreign Islamist volunteers as well as several Sunni states (Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar) and the Assad regime is doomed.…
 
Third, hastening the Assad regime’s collapse will not save lives. It will mark not the end of the conflict but merely the close of its opening chapter with yet worse violence likely to follow. As Sunnis finally avenge their nearly 40 years of subjugation by Alawis, a victory by the rebels portends potential genocide. The Syrian conflict likely will get so extreme and violent that Westerners will be glad to have kept a distance from both sides.
 
Fourth, the continuing Syrian conflict offers benefits to the West. Several Sunni governments have noted the Obama administration’s reticence to act and have taken responsibility to wrest Syria from the Iranian orbit. This comes as a welcome development after their decades of accommodating the Shiite Islamic Republic. Also, as Sunni Islamists fight Shiite Islamists, both sides are weakened, and their lethal rivalry lessens their capabilities to trouble the outside world. By inspiring restive minorities (Sunnis in Iran, Kurds and Shiites in Turkey) continued fighting in Syria also could weaken Islamist governments.
 
When the regime falls, the Alawi leadership, with or without Mr. Assad, might retreat to ancestral redoubts in the Latakia province in Syria. The Iranians could well supply it by sea with money and arms, permitting it to hold out for years, exacerbating the confrontation between Sunni and Shiite Islamists and further distracting them from assaulting others.
 
The one exception to the policy of nonintervention would be to secure Syria’s vast chemical-weapon arsenal to prevent terrorist groups from seizing it and Mr. Assad from deploying it in a Gotterdammerung scenario as he goes down, although this difficult mission could require as many as 60,000 foreign ground troops deployed to Syria.
 
Nothing in the constitutions of Western states requires them to get involved in every foreign conflict. Sitting this one out will prove to be a smart move and staying away permits the West eventually to help its only true friends in Syria, the country’s liberals. (top)
________________________________________________________________________
 
 
∙       The Ottawa Citizen, August 23, 2012

Irwin Cotler

∙       BIA News Center, 28 August 28, 2012
Ayça Söylemez

∙       Gatestone Institute, August 11, 2012
Claire Berlinski

∙       Syria Today, August 2012
Alma Hassoun

∙       Gatestone Institute, July 8, 2012
Claire Berlinski

∙       Real Clear Politics, August 8, 2012
Austin Bay

 

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