1967 AND THE CONCOCTION OF THE MYTH OF PALESTINIAN VICTIMIZATION

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BY GERALD M. STEINBERG

Jerusalem Post May 16, 2017

The days of David vs. Goliath and the image of Israel as a country threatened with imminent destruction are long gone

In the weeks of tension before the Six Day War, Israel’s struggle for survival was seen around the world as a contest between good and evil. The threats to “push the Jews into the sea,” were widely reported, as were the military preparations and sudden departure of UN peacekeepers.

Israel was still the plucky David of 1948, ominously threatened by the Arab Goliath. Although the PLO – the Palestine Liberation Organization – was created in 1964, the Palestinians received little attention. In this environment, Israel’s success was widely applauded, particularly in the West.

But gradually, the images began to change as the Arabs used their oil power and threats of terrorism to gain allies and market anti-Israel campaigns in Europe. In France, the elite’s support for Israel waned before 1967, based on a cold calculation of economic interests, and in Britain, a mix of Arabist romanticism and antisemitism gained influence.

In North America, avant garde intellectuals switched support to the newly minted Palestinian cause.

Under Yasser Arafat, PLO airplane hijackings and mass terrorism such as the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre put the “plight of the Palestinians” high on the priority list, and the Arab oil embargo that accompanied the 1973 Yom Kippur War reinforced this process.

Support for Israel became a liability, but rather than admitting that this was due to weakness and fear, political officials and diplomats blamed the post-1967 “occupation.”Israel suddenly became the dominant power, and was automatically pronounced guilty (without much of a trial) for the failure to end the conflict.

In 1980, Europe officially promoted Palestinian independence as a magic solution to the conflict, and condemned “Israeli settlements” as the “primary obstacle to the peace process,” while terrorism and incitement were hidden under the diplomatic, journalistic and academic carpets. This language and the policies behind it have not changed in 37 years.

But for Palestinian leaders, settlements and the absence of a Palestinian State next to Israel were not the main issues; Arafat told anyone who would listen that “the goal of our struggle is the end of Israel, and there can be no compromise or mediations. We don’t want peace, we want victory. Peace for us means Israel’s destruction and nothing else.” (Cited in The Washington Post, March 29, 1970.)

In the United Nations, which was still taken seriously at that time, the Arabs were joined by the Soviet Union, which combined Cold War competition with crude antisemitism.

Bodies such as the UN Commission on Human Rights (now a council) were turned into platforms for Israel-bashing – in part for its own sake, and also to turn attention away from the dictatorships. As one official noted, it was much easier to “support a condemnation of Israel for reprisals against Arab sabotage” than to deal with real abuses.

UNRWA | United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine …created in 1948 ostensibly to help war refugees, remains a permanent source of propaganda and hate, and in 1975, the UN General Assembly adopted the infamous “Zionism is racism” resolution.

The Division for Palestinian Rights was created and funded to orchestrate a traveling road show known as the Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to promote the mythology in Jakarta, Beijing, Brussels and elsewhere.

Into this propaganda mix powerful human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, began promoting the myths of Palestinian victimization and Israeli “violations of international law.” Mass producing condemnations of Israeli “occupation” while erasing the images of Palestinian terrorism and its victims, they rewrote the history of the conflict as well as the reality on the ground.

A generation of journalists, political officials, and other “elite opinion makers” were indoctrinated into accepting this narrative without question. In this environment, the transition to boycott campaigns and other forms of demonization was simple.

Among Israelis, the gap between our understanding of history and the way it was portrayed elsewhere was largely ignored, allowing the damage to fester and grow. When politicians finally recognized the implications of the “narrative war,” many of the responses, including the recent legislation to ban leading foreign boycott activists, were heavy-handed and counterproductive.

As the 50-year anniversary of the 1967 war approaches, the myths of Palestinian victimization and Israeli guilt will resonate widely in the UN, college campuses and media platforms.

The challenge is to expose these slogans, and restore at least some connection to reality. But whether this will actually happen depends on how we package our messaging.

The days of David vs. Goliath and the image of Israel as a country threatened with imminent destruction are long gone.

The author is a professor of political science at Bar Ilan University and president of NGO Monitor.

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Hate to tell you but … The “Free Health Care” of Industrialized Socialist Oriented Countries ain’t “Free.”

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Hate to tell you but … The “Free Health Care” of Industrialized Socialist Oriented Countries ain’t “Free.”
Read More About: States with highest social spending have highest tax rates: France avg. real tax rate 57.5% Belgium 56.9% Germany 52.3% Sweden 47% vs. US 20.3%

Are we ready to pay for ‘free’ health care?

By Nolan Finley, Editorial Page Editor
The Detroit News

May 13, 2017

Here’s a question that puzzles many Americans whenever the debate over health insurance reform erupts: All other major industrialized nations provide universal health care to their citizens, why can’t the United States?

The answer is, of course, we can. But like everything else, it ain’t free, despite what the socialists among us would have us believe.

The real question isn’t whether we can have national health care, it’s whether Americans really want to pay for it.
National health care countries pay for the benefits through tax rates that would be considered unbearable by most Americans.
In the U.S., 90 percent of earners pay a real tax rate—income and payroll taxes combined —of below 20.3 percent, according to the Peterson Foundation. The average real tax rate in the European Union is 45 percent.

In the states with the highest social spending, tax rates are highest. France, for example, has an average real tax rate of 57.5 percent; Belgium 56.9 percent; Germany 52.3 percent; and Sweden 47 percent.
While the U.S. has pursued a policy of relieving the tax burden on lower-income workers —nearly half of wage earners pay no federal income tax — Europe’s middle class gets no such break.

In Belgium, for example, Pew Research estimates a married couple, one working at the average wage and one at two-thirds of it, with two kids bears a total tax burden of 38.3 percent.

For a similar American family, the real rate is about half that, at 19.4 percent.

So the government pays for more of your living expenses, but leaves less of your money in your pockets. Making the switch to that model would require a radical shift in our expectations.

The American dream has traditionally been defined by home ownership. We strive for our own home, on our own land.

Home ownership rates are high in Europe, but the housing stock is vastly different. Only one-third of Europeans live in a detached single family home. Forty percent of the housing in the European Union is two-family flats.

Per-capita living space in the EU is a lot less generous than in the United States, where the average person now has nearly 1,000 square feet to roam around in. In Europe, the average housing space occupied by each person is just over 400 square feet. Are we willing to get that cozy to never have another doctor’s bill arrive in the mail?

Similarly, if you’ve been to Europe or Asia, you’ve noticed the roads are filled with cute little matchbox cars. We like our big trucks and roomy SUVs here. And we can afford to drive them. That’s largely because the average fuel tax in the U.S. is 53 cents a gallon, compared to an average $2.62 cents in the other large, industrial nations.

This is America. We can have anything we want, including government-paid health care. But we can’t get it with a magic wand.

To have it, we must be willing to pay higher taxes, and perhaps live a little smaller. And forget about pretending we can stick the wealthy with the tab.

Europe has extraordinarily high tax rates on its wealthy residents, and yet still must hit the middle class with taxes that consume nearly half their earnings to pay for all those nice things us tax averse Americans envy.

(You might want to think about it before you sermonize on the subject)

Nolan Finley’s book, “Little Red Hen: A Collection of Columns from Detroit’s Conservative Voice,” is available from Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble Nook.

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For Arab Gulf States, Israel Is Emerging as an Ally

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Sunni monarchies, led by Saudi Arabia, increasingly see the Jewish State as a partner in a common struggle against Shiite Iran

By Yaroslav Trofimov
The Wall Street Journal

Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who was deposed in a 2013 coup, had gone on TV three years earlier to brand Jews as “descendants of apes and pigs.” In 1988, the Palestinian militant group Hamas adopted a covenant that cited the notorious anti-Semitic forgery known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as proof of a global Jewish conspiracy.

But attitudes are beginning to change in some parts of the Arab world. Mohammad bin Abdul Karim al-Issa, the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, a Saudi-based global organization that has been accused of spreading extremism, recently pointed to a lesson in coexistence from Islam’s past. “The neighbor of the Prophet [Muhammad] was a Jew, and when that Jew was ill, the Prophet visited him and gave him kind words,” said Mr. al-Issa, who is also a former Saudi minister of justice. “The hard-liners don’t wish to know that.”

This new tone toward Jews—and, to a lesser degree, Israel—is becoming particularly prominent in the Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia. For these wealthy Sunni monarchies, it is Shiite and Persian Iran that poses the most pressing current threat to their interests. They view the Jewish State—a foe of the regime in Tehran and its regional proxies, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia—as their de facto ally.

This unlikely partnership has gathered steam with the rise of Saudi Arabia’s new deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the architect of the Yemen war, who wants a more vigorous response to Iran. And it has received new momentum since the election of Donald Trump, the preferred candidate of Israel and the Gulf states. The White House said Thursday that Mr. Trump’s first foreign trip as president will feature stops in both Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“We have the same enemy, the same threat,” Saudi Maj. Gen. Ahmed Asiri, now the kingdom’s deputy intelligence chief, said in February. “And we are both close allies of the Americans.”

Pressure from the Gulf—particularly from Hamas’s longtime backer Qatar—played a key role in the Palestinian group’s decision Monday to remove slurs against Jews from its revised charter. Israel scoffed at the changes, noting that Hamas retained its goal of “liberating” all of historic Palestine—which would mean eradicating the Jewish State.

Still, some Israeli officials have praised the Gulf monarchies’ shift on Hamas. “Most of [Hamas’s] support came from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf in the past,” said Ayoob Kara, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and the only Arab minister in Israel’s cabinet. “Now the Saudi Arabian coalition understands more and more that Hamas is an extremist organization and that extremism and terror are also against them, not just against Israel.”

The Gulf states also shape opinion across the Arab world: Most of the influential TV news channels and pan-Arab newspapers are owned by Saudis, Qatari or Emiratis. “On TV, we no longer hear the usual words ‘Israeli aggression.’ Now, it’s mostly about the ‘Persian aggression,’ ” said Ahmad al-Ibrahim, a Saudi businessman and political analyst.

Sympathy for the Palestinian cause and rejection of Israel still run deep in the region, particularly in countries far from Iran that don’t view it as much of a threat. Such feelings are widespread among the people of the Gulf states too, so most of the recent cooperation with Israel—focusing on intelligence and security matters—has occurred in secret.

But some small steps have been public. An unofficial Saudi delegation, led by a retired general, visited Jerusalem last year and met with Israeli officials. The United Arab Emirates has permitted a small Israeli mission to the UN’s renewable-energy agency, based in Abu Dhabi, and Emirati officials are weighing whether to allow low-key Israeli participation in the 2020 Dubai World Expo.

Such an erosion of Arab hostility to Israel rattles many Palestinians. “I am in favor of normalizing between Israel and all Arab countries—one minute after an independent Palestinian State is established,” said Ayman Odeh, the head of the Arab bloc in Israel’s parliament. “Agreements between Israel and Arab countries before the Palestinian issue is solved will weaken the Palestinian cause.”

Many in the Gulf shrug at such complaints. “Saudi Arabia has always wanted to support the Palestinian cause. It negotiated on their behalf, it spent a lot of money on their behalf,” said Mr. Ibrahim. “But unfortunately, the Palestinian leaders do not want to get along and are not working for their own people. You cannot just say no to everything.”

Write to Yaroslav Trofimov at yaroslav.trofimov@wsj.com

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A Warning Too Late — The End of Europe

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The End of Europe

By James Kirchick

Redacted from a review by Stephen Daisley

COMMENTARY

MAY 2017

The United Kingdom 2017:

Britain has begun the process of seceding from the European Union, a bureaucratic and bossy outfit but one that has helped keep the peace on the continent. This follows a ferocious plebiscite in which, among other things, Britons were warned of a Brussels plot to flood their communities with millions of Turks.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party is led by a man several decades to the left of Bernie Sanders. Jeremy Corbyn hymns his “friends” in Hamas and Hezbollah, admits giving money to a group run by a Holocaust denier, and has invited anti-Semites to the House of Commons.

His partisans, pensioned Trotskyists and campus ideologues, have launched concerted attacks on Jewish lawmakers. One-third of Brits say that anti-Semitism has cost Labour their vote; polling forecasts the party’s worst defeat since 1935 in the next election, whenever that will be.

In Scotland, the Scottish National Party, part left and part Trump, dominates every level of government. It threatens constitutional chaos if Scotland’s voters are not granted a second referendum on independence (the first failed by 55 percent to 45 percent in 2014) and warns it will eject Britain’s nuclear submarines, based near Glasgow, if it wins.

Meanwhile, after a century of partition and two decades after the end of the Troubles, talk in Northern Ireland has returned to reunification with the Irish Republic.

All of this has happened in two years’ time and is vital to understanding James Kirchick’s precise and powerful new book. For when Kirchick, a foreign correspondent and essayist, writes of “The End of Europe,” he is doing so rhetorically but not outlandishly.

Britain’s transformation from the land of the stiff upper lip to a nation in nervous breakdown is but one facet of the great European unraveling Kirchick describes. Across Europe, populism and nationalism are deluging the political mainstream, Russian aggression goes unchecked, and the sense of a world order that is coming undone hangs in the air above Parisian terraces and Viennese cafes.

As Kirchick notes: “A continent widely regarded as a ‘security exporter,’ blessed with an enviable Pax Europa, is itself becoming a zone of volatility where episodes of terrorist violence and political disorder are fast becoming regular occurrences.”

The forward march of anti-liberalism, Kirchick underscores, is not simply the latest phase in Western politics. It is an effort to eliminate the recent past, revive a golden era supposedly corrupted by liberalism, and displace left–right ideological divisions with flags and ersatz history.

Chesterton argued: “The business of progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the conservatives is to prevent the mistakes being corrected.” We might add that the business of nationalists is to deny there are any mistakes, save the ones from which they emerge as noble victims.

Thus stands Europe, birthplace of the Enlightenment, on the cusp of a new dark age. There is a tendency among European intellectuals—more instinctual than calculated—to focus the blame for the new nationalism on Donald Trump. This snotty revisionism lacks credibility. Europe caved first; America held out longer, just.

But chronology is the least of the matter. It was the European Union’s failure to compromise with the British that gave rise to Brexit and, in turn, conferred some sense of historical momentum upon Trump.

It was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mishandling of the migrant crisis that provided viral videos of heaving border crossings. It was Europe’s free-riding on U.S. defense spending that fed the grievances of America Firstism—a military subvention that has provided French commodities traders with universal health care essentially paid for by uninsured, two-job Americans.

Kirchick, a liberal conservative drawn more to the adjective than the noun of late, advocates “a renewal of the muscular liberal center.” There is cause for such a reassertion. Political alignments have been upended, and not just on the extremes.

The European center now encompasses liberals, pragmatic social democrats, and neoconservatives, unlikely allies in the trenches against corporatism, isolationism, and the depredations of liberal democracy.

Whether these interests can coalesce around a single platform, and whether that platform can win votes or change minds, is more a matter for speculation than optimism. Still, it is worth recording that an ultranationalist surge failed to materialize in the Dutch elections; polls in Germany show the center holding: and the scrubbed-up skinheads of France’s National Front will likely not see their Madame Le Pen enthroned in the Elysée Palace.

It should be obvious by this point that The End of Europe is not one of those books, the pulpy Regnery mass prints that did good business post-9/11 warning American conservatives that the continent was gripped by population decline and creeping Islamization.

The End of Europe is a serious and important piece of journalism, cool-headed and even-handed, though never in doubt of which side it is on. The reviewer is tempted by cliché to recommend that Kirchick’s volume be read in Europe’s capitals and be handed out on the steps of Capitol Hill. But few in power will want to hear what it says. James Kirchick has written a warning letter that may have arrived too late.

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A Long Overdue Solution to the Perennial Israeli-Arab Conflict

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INTO THE FRAY: The Israel Victory Caucus : Kudos and Caveats

Redacted from an article by MARTIN SHERMAN

The launch of Israel Victory Caucus is an initiative that has the potential to be a positive paradigmatic game-changer in the discourse on  the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 
Palestinians will have to pass through the bitter crucible of defeat, with all its deprivation, destruction, and despair as they repudiate the filthy legacy of Amin al-Husseini and acknowledge their century-long error…there is no shortcut.—

At just about the time that this column was submitted for publication (Thursday, April 27, 2017), an event of potentially great long-term significance was taking place in Washington. This was the launch of the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVC) by Congressmen Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH).

The launch was the culmination of an initiative of the Middle East Forum (MEF), headed by its president, prominent scholar, Daniel Pipes, aided by Middle East Forum, (MEF) Director, Gregg Roman.

According to a MEF press release : “The caucus calls for a new U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ending the emphasis on Israel making ‘painful concessions’ and instead putting the onus on Palestinians – they must give up the goal of destroying Israel and recognize Israel as the Jewish State.”

A similar sentiment was conveyed in a remark by Rep. DeSantis : “Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East, as we share common national interests and posse. American policy must ensure that Israel emerges victorious against those who deny or threaten her existence.”

This launch of a congressional caucus promoting the notion of Israeli victory, rather than Israeli appeasement, is a decidedly welcome and timely—indeed, a long overdue—development.

This is particularly true since in the political and strategic discourse in Israel itself, the idea of “Victory” seems to have been entirely expunged from the lexicon of the nation’s decision-makers—both as an attainable (alas, even a desirable) operational goal and as a valid cognitive notion.

Disturbingly, this appears to be the case even among the senior echelons of the IDF officer class and other branches of the security establishment.

The conceptual foundations of CIVC are eminently sound and derive from the indisputable failure of conventional wisdom regarding conflict resolution, in general and the Israel-Palestinian conflict, in particular.

“Today’s conventional wisdom holds that conflicts are best resolved through negotiation and compromise.

But let’s look at the facts. After 40 years of negotiations to reunite Cyprus, the island remains divided, and 60 years of standoff over the Korean peninsula have achieved little.

In Syria, the killing continues unabated despite five years of talks to reconcile Sunnis and Alawites.

And at the same time, years of diplomatic efforts to roll back Iran’s nuclear program ended with the West’s capitulation to Tehran’s demands.”

He adds pointedly: “The negotiations fallacy is especially evident in the Arab-Israeli conflict”.

Roman goes on to stipulate the elements of a bold new strategy for attaining peace. Citing several historical examples to corroborate from the time of the Roman Empire, through the American Civil War to World War II—he asserts “For most of human history, military victory ended wars”.
Applying this to the Arab Israeli context, he concludes: “In order for there to be peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, Israel must win and the Palestinians must lose.”

The elements of Roman’s blueprint closely mirror the principles laid out by Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes, in several earlier pieces, including a recent piece in Commentary, A New Strategy for Israeli Victory .

He provides a compelling case against Israel’s two decades long policy of concessions intended to generate Palestinian goodwill and argues, as I have done repeatedly in the past,  that these have not only proven to be futile but detrimental, Indeed, they have tended to whet the Palestinians appetite, rather than satiate it.

Accordingly, he proposes striking out in a new (or more precisely, a renewed) direction: “This brings us to the key concept of my approach, which is victory, or imposing one’s will on the enemy, compelling him through loss to give up his war ambitions…”

In applying these general principles to the specifics of the Israeli-Palestinian context, Pipes presents (see opening excerpt) a stark and stern prescription for ending the conflict: “Palestinians will have to pass through the bitter crucible of defeat, with all its deprivation, destruction, and despair…”

… Given the hold that concessionary political correctness has on the mindset of many Israeli decision-makers this will be no easy task even if the potential advantages of obtaining such a victory are not disputed. This would require initiating and fostering/promoting vigorous and ongoing public debate to apply pressure on decision makers to adopt a concept now largely discredited as unobtainable.

The CIVC initiative is an enterprise that has the potential to be a positive paradigmatic game-changer with regard to the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  As such, it merits more than one column in this INTO THE FRAY series.

Martin Sherman is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

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The New York Time’s Blatant Attempt to Defrock Saint Nikki Haley.

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U.N. Fair and U.N. Balanced    (In process?)

Redacted from an original article by Matthew Continetti that should be absorbed in its entirety. It describes, in spades, the duplicity, in fact, the un-Americanism of  The New York Times!

COMMENTARY
MAY, 2017

Somini Sengupta, who covers the United Nations for the New York Times, recently tweeted about the new U.S. ambassador there. “I find Nikki Haley unusual among diplomats here,” she wrote, “in that she speaks often without notes, she’s confident about what she needs to say.” Imagine: a prepared, competent, and spirited representative of U.S. interests at the world body. How novel.

Sengupta appears puzzled by her subject. For not only is Ambassador Haley self-assured and capable of extemporaneous speech, she is unlike her immediate predecessors in that she is a conservative willing to defend her country’s ideals and interests before others.

Moreover, Haley does not reflexively criticize the government and people of our ally Israel. So trapped within the liberal bubble is the Times that such behavior comes across to the paper as aberrant, freakish, worthy of incredulity. The coverage that results is almost funny when it is not outright embarrassing.

… The article is thin as profiles go. What the reader comes away with is a feeling of wonderment that the piece was written at all. A more apt but less eye-catching headline might have been, “Haley Hires Aide Who Shares Her Views.” The gist is that conservatives exist. This is news to the New York Times.

The detached style of the copy fails to conceal the spirit of adversarial condescension in which it is written. This article is not labeled opinion or analysis or fact check. It purports to be a dispassionate retelling of Haley’s speech. It therefore misleads the reader by juxtaposing Haley’s statements with Sengupta’s barely disguised commentary. In the following excerpts the emphasis is my own:

1 “Ms. Haley said the United States would never close its doors to foreigners who flee persecution, even as she defended the Trump administration’s travel ban, which closed the door to refugees from six war-torn, mainly Muslim nations.”

2 “She insisted that American taxpayers should get value for the money they contribute to the United Nations. She said nothing about whether the United States would help head off a potential humanitarian disaster from famine that the United Nations has warned is looming over 20 million people abroad.”

3 “She cited what she called a ‘ridiculously biased report attacking Israel,’ and criticized the Security Council for holding monthly meetings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (The council also discusses Yemen every month and Syria three times a month.)”

The measure of Sengupta’s disingenuousness and bad faith can be taken by examining the above sentences.

… Moral equivalence between Israel and its adversaries might as well be part of the New York Times style guide, I suppose. What’s remarkable about Sengupta’s piece is that even as she clumsily attempts to provide left-wing “context” to Haley’s appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations, she can’t bring herself to mention that the charge of corruption against the UN Human Rights Council is a long-standing bipartisan element of U.S. foreign policy.

Haley’s charge is obviously true. The council exists only because its ancestor, the UN Human Rights Commission, had become so monopolized by autocrats, dictators, anti-Semites, anti-Americans, and chronic human-rights violators that it was dissolved upon American withdrawal in 2006.

Its replacement is little better, since any human-rights body whose members do not recognize rights within their own borders is not worthy of the name. Nikki Haley has the clarity of vision and political gumption to call corruption by its name. No wonder the Times finds her so unusual.

 

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The growing, ignored persecution of Christians

The Washington Times
April 10, 2017

The world has a disturbing way of moving past its most glaring and persistent crises, but Hussam cannot move on, because he and his family are stuck in a refugee camp.

Once a young professional with a promising career in one of Iraq’s largest cities, Hussam was forced to flee his home with his family. ISIS had heard he was a Christian and put a target on his back. Hussam’s family fled in the middle of the night, braving minefields to avoid detection, and reached the refugee camp just as darkness broke into morning.

Hussam and his family now occupy the corner of an overcrowded tent in a refugee camp in northern Iraq. Basic supplies they once considered ordinary are a scarcity now — every day is a fight for another sip of water, another bite of food. The weather — whether snow, rain or sun — offers no respite, either.

Most days, Hussam looks at his family — studies the faces of his young children — and wonders why the world has forgotten them. He questions why everyone has given up on Christians.

Religious persecution is the world’s greatest and most enduring crisis. It’s followed us through millennia, from civilization to civilization, and has worsened through time.

The ISIS suicide bombings of two Egyptian churches on Sunday that killed 47 worshippers is just the most recent example of the deadly assault on people of faith. In fact, a report released this past January says 2016 was the “worst year yet” for Christians in the past quarter-century.

According to the report, persecution of Christians has risen worldwide for three years in a row. In Nigeria the killing of Christians increased by a shocking 62 percent, while in India, a country where Hindu nationalists have spread an anti-Christian sentiment, an average of 40 incidents of extreme violence are now reported each month.

In total, 215 million Christians live in countries where they are subject to hostilities ranging from social discrimination and harassment to physical violence, imprisonment and even death. Christians are now killed in more countries than ever before and are persecuted in more countries than any other religious group.

For those of us who have been following the story of Christian persecution, this news does not come as a surprise. Instead, it serves as sad confirmation of what we have been witnessing over the past few years: a world that’s not only growing more intolerant toward Christians, but also indifferent toward their plight.

I have seen this firsthand.

I have made more than a dozen trips to Iraq where ISIS killed countless Christians and destroyed their homes, churches and crosses. I have seen the devastation — churches riddled with bullet holes, crosses torn down and smashed, Bibles burned to ashes — and I have heard the heartbreaking stories of decapitations, mass executions and torture.

These are not stories from another century or another era — they’re from 2016. I heard them from the lips of eyewitnesses. They’re the accounts of real people like Hussam, whose life has been turned upside down by people who hate his Christian faith. Yet, the world forgets their suffering and keeps moving on.

We must ask ourselves: How long will we allow Christians to be the most persecuted people in the world? Until there are none left in Iraq or Syria? Until Boko Haram wipes them out of Nigeria and Hindu nationalists completely ban them from Indian society?

It’s long past time for feeling shocked or even sorry for Christians. It’s time to act. Christians — and non-Christians alike — in the West and across the world must come to the aid of those who are suffering persecution because of their religious beliefs.

That’s what we’re trying to do at World Help, and I hope you’ll do the same. We might not be able to end a war or put a full stop to persecution, but we all certainly can do more.

• Vernon Brewer is the founder and president of World Help.

 

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Scientists Take a Stand Against Academic Boycotts of Israel

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By Professor Ruth R. Wisse

The Wall Street Journal

April 20, 2017

How can scholars reconcile opposition to the Trump travel ban with blacklists aimed at the Jewish state?

More than 100 Boston-area researchers in health care and life sciences released a statement April 13 in defense of “the liberal ideals which have shaped our democracy” and in support of “the free flow of ideas and information” that is central to their work.

Why affirm something so obvious? To stop academic blacklisting by the Boycott,
Sanctions and Divestment movement, which targets Israeli universities and scholars.

Attempts to isolate Israel and its educational institutions aren’t new. In 1945 the Arab League declared that all Arab institutions and individuals must “refuse to deal in, distribute, or consume Zionist products of manufactured goods.”

The original boycott soon extended to entities that traded with Israel. This did great economic and political damage until the U.S. Congress in 1977 prohibited American companies from cooperating with it, as some were doing. Only U.S. prohibition of the prohibition had the force to guarantee free international trade.

In 2002, a group of professors from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were among the first academics to advocate divesting from Israel.

Two years later the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was founded with the explicit purpose of isolating Israeli academics and institutions. Its goal was to deny Israeli scholars access to scholarly conferences, journals and employment opportunities. The boycott also includes keeping unwelcome speakers and information from campus to maintain Israel as the permanent object of blame.

The campaign’s efforts paid off in the U.S., where the American Studies Association and the National Women’s Studies Association approved boycotts in 2013 and 2015, respectively.

Academic associations that have so far voted such resolutions down—the American Anthropological Association, Modern Language Association and American Historical Association—introduce new ones every year.

Only through a concerted effort by school administration can universities remain free spaces. Jewish students should not be expected to bear the full brunt of attack by those who import the Arab-Muslim war against Israel into the American campus.

Researchers in science and medicine have a special interest in opposing a boycott that tries to destroy the benefits of shared ideas and knowledge. Although people in the sciences do not normally issue collective political statements, signatories of the recent letter cite the collaboration of Israeli scientists in lifesaving treatments as reason enough to protest the blacklist. Their statement condemns boycotts that contravene core democratic values and threaten “the free flow of information and ideas,” which functions as “the lifeblood of the academic world.”

The Boston group’s aim is similar to those of recent academic protests against President Trump’s temporary travel ban. A friend-of-the-court brief filed by 17 universities affirms that students from the six suspect countries could have much to contribute by “making scientific discoveries, starting businesses, and creating works of literature and art that redound to the benefit of others” far beyond university campuses.
If universities are willing to fight the government’s travel ban against students from Muslim-majority countries, why are members of their faculties fighting to prevent exchange with academic counterparts in the Jewish homeland?

American academics ought to entertain pluralistic and multicultural perspectives and refrain from cutting themselves off from those with whom they disagree. Universities cannot pretend to be protecting the free flow of information while their faculty members try to prevent interaction with the most dynamic academic center in the Middle East.

The restrictions the Trump administration placed on potentially hostile immigrants were intended to prevent attacks on America’s liberal democratic way of life.

Meantime, the goal of the BDS campaign is to attack the freest democracy in the Middle East. Not coincidentally, Iran and Syria, two countries singled out by the travel ban, are also dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

The repressive tactics of BDS proponents resemble the strategy and destructive aims of those who threaten the U.S.

Perhaps the academics who signed the statement in defense of liberal ideals can help stop the aggression against Israel in academia, a place that, in their words, promotes “the dialogue and cooperation essential to advancing knowledge, solving problems, and promoting understanding.”

The rest of the academic community and all who benefit from its labors would be grateful.

Ms. Wisse, a former professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard, is the author of “Jews and Power” (Schocken, 2007).
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A Somewhat Different View of the Current Earth Day Celebration

http://israel-commentary.org/a-somewhat-diffe…-day-celebration/

Earth Day Dopes

By John Stossel

April 20, 2017

Expect more craziness this weekend. Earth Day is Saturday. This year’s theme: Government must “do more” about climate change because “consequences of inaction are too high to risk.”

They make it sound so simple:

1) Man causes global warming.
2) Warming is obviously harmful.
3) Government can stop it.

Each claim is dubious or wrong.

This weekend at a movie, I was surprised to be assaulted again by former Vice President Al Gore. In a preview, a puffy-looking Gore suddenly appeared, attacking Donald Trump and mocking critics of his previous movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” the deceitful documentary that spreads fear in classrooms today. Yes, teachers play it in class.

Now Gore claims “the most criticized” part of the film was his assertion that the 9/11 memorial site would flood. Then, during Hurricane Sandy, it did!
But Gore creatively misremembers his own movie.

He had claimed the World Trade Center would flood because of a permanent 20-foot sea-level rise. Actual scientists called that nonsense. It would take hundreds of years for such a thing to possibly happen. But since the area flooded, briefly, Gore spins that as confirmation of his exaggerations.

This preview was the first I learned that theaters will soon show a sequel to Gore’s film. Google tells us that “An Inconvenient Sequel” got a standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival. Trendy Hollywood is so dumb.
At least critics who’ve watched it gave it poor reviews.

Let’s go back to points 1, 2 and 3:

1) Man’s greenhouse gases contribute to warming, but scientists don’t agree on how much. Of 117 climate models from the 1990s, 114 over-predicted warming.

2) Warming is harmful. Maybe.

But so far it’s been good: Over the last century, climates warmed, but climate-related deaths dropped. Since 1933, they fell by 98 percent. Life expectancy doubled.

Much of that is thanks to prosperity created by free markets. But some is due to warming. Cold kills more people than heat.

Carbon dioxide is also good for crop growth. Even The New York Times admits, “Plants have been growing at a rate far faster than at any other time in the last 54,000 years.”

But what if Al Gore is right? Maybe our greenhouse gases will eventually cause Greenland’s icecaps to melt and flood our cities. Shouldn’t government act now? No, they should not.

3) Nothing we do today will stop global warming. The Obama regulations that Trump recently repealed, horrifying the Earth Day crowd, had a goal that amounted to a mere 1 percent reduction in global CO2. And that was just the goal.

Of course, some think any cut is better than nothing. But cuts are costly. They kill jobs, opportunity. All to accomplish… nothing the earth will notice.
If warming does become a problem, we’re better off if our economy is very strong when the science tells us clearly that action will make a difference.
We should be especially wary of expensive government projects given how often alarmists were wrong in the past.

As Cato’s Pat Michaels says, “I’ve lived through eight environmental apocalypses … overpopulation … resource depletion … Silent spring … global cooling … acid rain … the ozone hole … global warming … the next one is going to be ocean acidification.”

In the ’70s, environmentalist Paul Ehrlich won fame with his book “The Population Bomb.” Ehrlich predicted: “I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” Oops.

Ehrlich now admits: “When you predict the future, you get things wrong.” But he says there’s a grain of truth in his prediction, because: “If you look closely at England, what can I tell you? They’re having all kinds of problems.”

Give me a break.

Saturday’s Earth Day nonsense will include a “March for Science.” The media will hype it, claiming Trump’s proposed budget will poison the earth. It won’t.

The alarmists claim they’re marching for “science,” but they’re really marching for a left-wing religion.

Instead of celebrating Earth Day Saturday, I’ll celebrate Human Achievement Hour. The think tank behind it, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says Human Achievement Hour pays tribute to “our basic human right to use energy to improve everyone’s quality of life.”

Some ways to celebrate:

—Use your phone or computer
—Drive a car
—Take a hot shower

Good idea! Let’s celebrate progress instead of attacking it.

John Stossel is an American consumer television personality, author, and libertarian pundit, known for his career on both ABC News and Fox Business Channel.

Copyright 2017 Creators.com

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The Christian Passover

By Professor of Theology, R.R. Reno

Redacted from an erudite, emotional  article that should be read in its entirety.

The Wall Street Journal April 15-16, 2017

Easter stalks Passover. They arrive together every spring, like the daffodils and magnolia blossoms. This year, Easter Sunday falls as the eight-day Jewish festival nears its end. Over the years, I have come to see that Christianity’s most important day recapitulates Passover. Both holidays face head-on the daunting power of death—and both announce God’s greater power of life.

In March, my wife, who is Jewish, was on the phone, herding her parents, uncles, brothers and cousins. “No, it’s not Tuesday. The first night of Passover is on Monday this year.” She made arrangements for the Seder, the festive meal with a traditional liturgy that retells the familiar story of the Exodus.

Emails and texts were exchanged to sort out who would bring what, and this past Monday night we sang and recited the age-old prayers and set out a cup for Elijah, the harbinger of the messianic era. We ended, as always, with the declaration: “Next year in Jerusalem!”

Now, just a few days later, the holiest days of the year for Christians are under way. As the solitary Catholic in my Jewish household, I’m planning to head to church on Saturday night for the Easter Vigil—where I’ll be celebrating Passover once again…… Put in Christian terms: The Passover Seder recalls and celebrates the resurrection of the people of Israel.

Today we tend to think of slavery strictly as an injustice, which of course it is, and some modern Seders treat the Passover as the triumph of justice over oppression. But this is not the traditional view. In the ancient world, slavery was not just a hardship for individuals but a kind of communal death. An enslaved nation can survive for a time, perhaps, but they have no future. A people in bondage is slowly crushed and extinguished.

The notion of slavery as a form of death is accentuated in the story told in the Passover Seder. The small clan descended from Abraham settles in Egypt. They are fruitful and multiply, becoming numerous and mighty.

The glow of life in the people of Israel arouses Egyptian resentment. Set upon and subjugated, they are ground down by hard labor and harsh oppression. But the descendants of Abraham call out to God—and he raises them up out of slavery, parts the Red Sea, and delivers them from Pharaoh’s murderous anger.

Judaism is realistic. Passover does not promote a dreamy optimism or cheery confidence that God will keep everything neat and nice. Even the chosen people are vulnerable to oppression and murderous hatred. There’s room in Passover for Auschwitz.

In the story of Exodus, the Israelites make it through the split waters of the Red Sea to dry land. But they are not simply safe. God releases the waters, and Pharaoh’s army is destroyed.

So it is at the Easter Vigil. A chant known as the Exultet announces that the darkness shall not triumph. “Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her.” With a haunting refrain, the ancient song links Passover to Easter: “This is the night,” we are told, “when once you led our forbearers, Israel’s children, from slavery in Egypt and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.” And “this is the night when Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld.”

…Passover does not teach Jews that their oppression is not real and their suffering not bitter. But, the lesson is more powerful. God favors the people of Israel with his Torah and its sweetness outweighs every setback, evil and disaster.

Nor is Easter a simple springtime celebration of life. The resurrection of Jesus reveals something more urgent and shocking. God favors the sons of Adam with a triumphant love in the person of Jesus, the Christ. And that love does not fend off or parry death, but destroys it, just as light overcomes darkness.

The Almighty delivers his people. He unlocks the prison of darkness and shatters the power of death, This is the meaning of Easter, the Christian Passover.

(And, all of the above plus more is why our Founding Fathers used, as the basis of this great nation, the Judeo-Christian ethic.)

Mr. Reno is the editor of the religious journal First Things. He was formerly a professor of theology and ethics at Creighton University.

 
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Abdul El-Sayed — The Democratic Party’s next Barack Obama.

Amazing and no coincidence:  No sooner does Israel Commentary publish a terrifying, sobering warning from the Bravest Woman in the World – Ayaan Hirsi Ali,  then exactly what she described —Dawa – the deliberate, calculated insidious destruction of Western culture and government by Islamic fundamentalism —shows its ugly face in the state of Michigan!

Meet the ‘next Obama’ groomed to make political history (and again make fools out of Americans. I guess that is not a difficult task and shame on us)

He’s running for Governor of Michigan right now!

Redacted from an article from World Net Daily by Leo Hohmann

April 2, 2017

The Democratic Party may have found its next Barack Obama.

His name is Dr. Abdul el-Sayed. He’s a 32-year-old medical doctor and he recently launched his campaign for Governor of Michigan, the election which is in November 2018. If he wins he would be America’s first Muslim governor.

He speaks articulately, without an accent, inserts humor into his speeches at seemingly just the right moments, and he has the full backing of America’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood-linked network of Islamic organizations.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Sayed said Michigan voters are having “buyer’s remorse,” and that President Trump’s decisions “are at odds with deeply held American values, and distractions from real issues.” 

Sayed served as the executive director of the Detroit Health Department and Health Officer for the City of Detroit, appointed by Mayor Mike Duggan. At 30 years old, he was at the time of his appointment in 2015 the youngest health director in a major U.S. city.

According to El-Sayed, his decision to run was influenced by concerns over state leadership following the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, as well as policies being implemented in Washington, D.C., under President Trump.

Dick Manasseri, spokesman for Secure Michigan, a group that educates Michiganders about the threat of Shariah law, predicts that Sayed will at least win the Democratic nomination for governor.

“It is the exact same thing as Barack Obama in Chicago in the early 2000s,” said Manasseri. “He’s young, attractive, he does not give out a lot of information, he speaks in platitudes about celebrating inclusiveness and diversity.” (The exact Dada format)

Sayed is known as a warrior for environmental justice. He talks about “standing up to corporate polluters,” and how, in his family, he was taught that having “love and compassion” for the vulnerable are “more important than where you’re from.”

“How could any good progressive Democrat vote against that in good conscience?” asks Manasseri?

Sayed is highly educated, a Rhodes scholar who attended Oxford University in 2009 and became a practicing epidemiologist.

“He’s very well packaged,” Manasseri said. “He’s far more accomplished than Barack Obama. Obama was not this accomplished, they connected him to certain foundations and his candidacy took off.”

Sayed is the recipient of several research awards, including being named one of the Carnegie Council’s Policy Innovators. He created and taught the Mailman School’s first-ever course on systems science and population health. He co-edited a textbook on the topic with Sandro Galea published in 2017 by Oxford University Press entitled “Systems Science and Population Health.”

In his new video ad, Sayed says that as health director one of the first big things he did was come up with a government program to purchase eyeglasses for every kid that needed a pair. “Why? Because every child deserves the right to see what’s on the blackboard,” he said in his campaign launch speech.

He pointed to his hand as the map of Michigan to locate Gratiot County, “in the heartland of Michigan,” the place where he was born to Egyptian-immigrant parents and raised by his dad, Muhammad, and his stepmother, a native Michigander.

 

In his campaign launch on Feb. 25 at Detroit’s Eastern Market, Sayed talked about his dad growing up one of six kids in a one-bedroom apartment in Egypt and coming to America and bringing his diversity of culture to Michigan. It’s all about celebrating multiculturalism, he said, standing at a podium in the market amid supporters holding signs that read “Abdul for Michigan.”

“He would come to this market to buy the foods to make the dishes that would make him feel at home. You see this market for him brought him home, from Alexandria right here in Detroit.”

“Some of my most wholesome memories took place right here,” Sayed said. “And I remember buying those foods… but not only that I remember the diversity of faces that I would experience here, black and white, Asian, Latino. People who are coming together to celebrate something, together: Farmers and truckers and factory workers. Families from up north doing business with families from right here in Detroit. Each of them buying and selling the same exact ingredients that they would take home to turn into the dishes that celebrated their families’ history.”

Sayed promotes what he calls his “rather unusual American story.” He said his proud Egyptian parents, Fattah and Muhammad, emigrated to the U.S. “in search of a better life.”

“When they came here they took a bet on an America that was big enough for them, too. They believed in a country that would give them dignified well-paying jobs, that would educate their children. Where they could pray however they wanted to pray.”

Sayed said his “diverse if highly unlikely family” taught him that, “what you believe and stand for is more important than where you come from, to have compassion and care and respect for those more vulnerable.” He said he was taught that, “Real leaders are those that can stand firm against the powerful, stand strong with the weak, and stand humbly before God.”

At the Thanksgiving dinner table, “Which is a very diverse dinner table,” hosted by he and his wife Sarah, he said his family includes a Presbyterian deacon from Flint, an imam from Egypt and an atheist-Polish uncle who is a professor at Michigan.

“And they share hard conversations about life in American and they don’t always agree, but they respect and love each other…they share a common future that brings them together. And as Michiganders, so do we.”

Manaserri says the Muslim Brotherhood would never support a candidate that didn’t have tons of money behind him and that they did not believe has a real chance of winning.believe

“Any Republican would be afraid to confront him on his Muslim Brotherhood connections or his views on Shariah,” Manasseri said. “He is a devout Shariah-compliant guy, and I would predict that he will be endorsed by the Catholic Church, which is very powerful in Michigan.”

Manasseri points out that a bill supporting American Law for American Courts, widely regarded as an anti-Shariah law, was defeated in the Michigan Legislature when two powerful lobbies — the Michigan Catholic Conference and the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR – teamed up to kill it.

He expects the same coalition to form behind a candidate who would make history as America’s first Muslim governor. “So if this guy rises in the polls, I would predict the Catholic Church will support his candidacy,” he said. “Just like with Obama, because we gotta make history.”

“It’s Obama II,” Manasseri said. “Elizabeth Warren will be coming to campaign for him, the Democrats in other states will be raising money for him. The DNC number-two man [Keith Ellison] will be raising money for him. Of course this guy is going to be on the Sunday morning talk shows. He’ll be everywhere. A candidate for governor who is Muslim Brotherhood …if that doesn’t tell you there’s a Shariah swamp in Michigan I don’t know what does.”

 

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The Bravest Woman in the Whole Wide World

 
 

 

 

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U.S. Funds Palestinian Terrorism

From: FLAME

Tens of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are spent annually to pay salaries to Palestinian terrorists who murder innocent civilians in Israel.

To prop up the virtually bankrupt Palestinian Authority (P.A.), the U.S. sends Palestinians more than $400 million a year in aid. The P.A., however, spends some $140 million annually to reward jihadists and their families for murderous acts that kill innocent Americans and Israelis.

What are the facts?

“You can’t be a partner in peace when you are paying people to commit terrorist acts.” Senator Lindsey Graham

In June 2016, 13-year-old Hallal Yaffa Ariel was stabbed to death in her bed by a Palestinian terrorist who broke into her family’s home.
In March of this year, 28-year-old Taylor Force, a West Point graduate and two-tour U.S. army veteran from Texas, was killed as he strolled with his wife in Jaffa by a knife-wielding Palestinian.

Hailed as heroic jihadist martyrs by the Palestinian Authority, both terrorists and their families now receive monthly stipends from the P.A.

For more than 20 years, the Palestinian government has openly used aid donations from the U.S. and other countries to motivate and reward terrorists.

Depending on the number of people murdered in a terrorist attack, salaries range from $364 to $3,100 per month. Terrorists with families and who die in the act or are captured and sentenced to 30 years or more receive the highest allowances.

These expenditures—a hefty $140 million per year—make up an estimated 10% of the Palestinian Authority’s total budget.

In addition to financial incentives for terror, jihadists also receive abundant moral support from the Palestinian government. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has said, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood . . . With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.”

U.S. Payments to the Palestinian Authority. According to a Congressional Research Service report, the U.S. since the mid-1990s has contributed more than $5 billion in security assistance and bilateral economic aid to the P.A., and American taxpayers’ current annual commitment is now some $400 million. In fact, Palestinians are the world’s largest per-capita recipients of international aid.

While a 2014 State Department report praised the Palestinian Authority for making “terrorism financing a criminal offense,” the P.A. still has laws on its books mandating payments to terrorists and their families.

In the face of mounting criticism of such hypocrisy from Western nations, however, the P.A. concocted a deceitful shell game, seeking to hide its support of terror by changing what used to be termed “salaries” to “assistance” and shifting distribution duties from the P.A. to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which does not directly receive foreign funding.

So far, this sham seems to have satisfied some of the gullible nations that support the Palestinian Authority.

Time to End U.S. Funding of Terror. At last, members of Congress are introducing legislation to prevent U.S. aid from supporting this culture of jihadist terror. Senators Dan Coats, Roy Blunt and Lindsey Graham, for example, have introduced legislation to end financial aid to the Palestinian Authority until it stops incentivizing terrorism.

Senator Graham has noted that “You can’t be a partner in peace when you are paying people to commit terrorist acts.”

However, both the U.S. and Israel fear that cutting funding to the Palestinian Authority could destabilize the Palestinian government, preferring a duplicitous P.A. to Hamas or Islamic State. Lamentably, those familiar with the corrupt P.A. know that expectations of reforming it anytime soon are fantasy.

But surely funding a Palestinian terror program that kills Americans and Israelis cannot serve the long-term interests of the United States or Israel.

Cutting off aid to the P.A. is a move in the right direction, but it is inadequate, since it doesn’t address the Palestinian culture of Jew hatred and denial of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, both of which beliefs make any notion of peace impossible.

Unfortunately, the Palestinian government perpetuates in its media, mosques and schools the myths that Jews have no rights to sovereignty in the Holy Land and that all non-Muslims, even innocent civilians, are laudable targets for terrorist attacks.

In order to achieve a secure and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, convicted terrorists or who those die while committing terrorism must not compensated by the Palestinian government for these crimes.

It is a travesty that American taxpayer dollars subsidize this hateful practice, and Congress should move urgently to stop it.

FLAME – Facts and Logic About the Middle East

www.factsandlogic.org

PO Box 3460, Berkeley, CA 94703

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Jean-Marie Le Pen, Holocaust Denier, proud Nazi supporter and dedicated anti-Semite — Father of French Presidential Candidate Marine Le Pen

Jean-Marie Le Pen sees vindication

Convicted Holocaust denier watches his National Front party ride a populist wave

By James McAuley
The Washington Post

Sun Sentinel March 26, 2017

ST. CLOUD, France — He is a convicted Holocaust denier but also the patriarch of the party that could soon triumph in France’s presidential election.

These days, Jean-Marie Le Pen, now 88, struggles to walk. But his ideology is on the move: In a once unimaginable scenario, the National Front — the party he co-founded in 1972 and passed on to his daughter, Marine, in 2011 — could win nearly 40 percent of the vote in the French election this spring, possibly even more.

As populist fervor soars in Europe and the United States, politicians and analysts have struggled to explain what has been labeled a dramatic new challenge to the established order. But the National Front is anything but new, and the populist proposals that draw headlines today — returning to the nation-state, expelling immigrants and limiting globalization — are things Le Pen has preached for decades. Now, people are listening. “After all, they can say, ‘Le Pen was right’ he said recently at Montretout, the 11-room mansion he owns in the Paris suburbs.

But conforming to the truth has never quite been the mission of Jean-Marie Le Pen, and this, analysts say, is precisely the power of the revolution he started in the 1970s. He may be a godfather of Europe’s radical and populist right, but for many, his principal contribution to political life has been the establishment of an alternate reality where facts are always fluid.

“He is a precursor of post-truth, of ‘alternative facts’ of  ‘fake’ news,” said Michel Wieviorka, an expert on the history of Le Pen’s party and the author of “The National Front: Between Extremism, Populism and Democracy.” “That is his project.”

Most notoriously, he has been accused of what experts call “soft-core denial” of the Holocaust, the darkest chapter in the history of modern Europe. French authorities willingly collaborated in the Nazi genocide and assisted in deporting some 76,000 Jews to their deaths in concentration camps.

In 1987, Le Pen, speaking in an interview, referred to the gas chambers as a “detail in the history of World War II.” In 1996, he told a news conference in Germany: “If you take a 1,000-page book on World War II, the concentration camps take up only two pages and the gas chambers 10 to 15 lines.”

Since then, he has been convicted of Holocaust denial in French courts and fined tens of thousands of euros — penalties that have failed to discourage him from repeating the idea that the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews and others was somehow a trivial affair.

Such an insistence reflects more than simple ignorance of history, experts say. “He knows the full significance of what happened,” said Deborah Lipstadt, a historian at Emory University and an expert on Holocaust denial. “It’s a way of saying, Those Jews are always complaining. It’s a way of spreading hostility, animosity and prejudice.”

Unlike most of Europe’s current far-right leaders, Le Pen experienced World War II as a teenager. For decades after the war, French leaders played down or denied the extent of their country’s complicity with the Nazis. Eventually they apologized — but Le Pen never did.

Before founding the National Front, he ran a record label that produced albums heralding Nazi war marches and celebrating the poetry of French intellectuals who had collaborated with the Germans.

These days, Le Pen makes no secret of his admiration of President Donald Trump, although he says he has no contact with his administration.

“If I were Marine Le Pen,” he said, “I would run exactly the same campaign as Trump, showing the rejection of the establishment, which I believe is majoritarian in France” In the interview in his study at Montretout, Le Pen said he has never regretted calling the gas chambers a “detail.” He then proceeded to mock the outrage he has elicited over the years.

“When someone criticizes, I say, ‘How would you say it otherwise? What can we say? Is there a truth? This line of defense, for Lipstadt, symbolizes the threat posed by deniers. “This is what Holocaust deniers are trying to do: They take a lie and dress it up as an opinion to be debated,” she said. “But there are objective facts. Not everything is open to debate.”

When National Front voters go to the polls, they will vote for Marine Le Pen, not for Jean-Marie Le Pen. And the younger Le Pen, 48, has run a campaign that has largely sought to erase her father from the party’s public image.

According to the narrative circulated by Marine Le Pen and her aides, she severed ties with her father after April 2015, when he gave an interview in Rivarol, an extreme right-wing journal, once again calling the gas chambers “a minor detail in the history of World War II” and defending Philippe Petain, the leader of France’s Vichy government, which collaborated with the Nazis between 1940 and 1942. Jean-Marie Le Pen suddenly found himself expelled from his own party.

Marine Le Pen could not be reached for comment.

But a National Front official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, insisted that Marine Le Pen’s party is not at all the party her father created and nurtured on the political fringe for decades. “The National Front of Marine Le Pen is not a movement that rejects the Shoah or recycles Mr. Le Pen’s ambiguity on the question,” the official said, using an alternate term for the Holocaust.

In recent days, however, Benoit Loeuillet, a regional National Front official, was exposed on camera, in a documentary on the party, denying the Holocaust. Loeuillet was summarily dismissed from the party, but critics pointed out that he was fired only when his words were made public.

Jewish groups have also accused Marine Le Pen’s campaign of a subtle anti-Semitism. In recent years, Marine Le Pen has stopped at nothing to repudiate her father and his world.

But despite the current candidate’s talk of an “estrangement” from her father, the political lending firm he controls, Cotelec, akin to a super PAC, lent her 6 million euros this year when a Russian bank withdrew on its pledge.

 

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Why desperate red-state Democrats are trying to float a ‘deal’ to let Supreme Court judge nominee Neil Gorsuch through.

By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL

Wall Street Journal
March 23, 2017

New York’s Sen. Chuck Schumer made history this week, in formally declaring his intention to break the U.S. Senate. Add this to the list of Democratic wreckage Republicans may now be obliged to fix.

That’s the best way to process the minority leader’s announcement Thursday that he will vote to filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and urge his fellow Democrats to join him. Not even Mr. Schumer denies Judge Gorsuch possesses a singularly gifted legal mind and is eminently qualified for the court. His objection, instead, is that the nominee is “conservative.” This is apparently now a disqualifying attribute for any Supreme Court justice.

Not that Mr. Schumer’s announcement should count as news. In early January, before Donald Trump had even taken office, Mr. Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that it was hard for him to “imagine” any “nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we could support.” He promised to do his best to keep the seat open the entirety of the Trump presidency. Democrats were always going to oppose anyone Mr. Trump picked. The president could have named Mr. Schumer himself to the high court, and Mr. Schumer would have filibustered—on principle.

The slow-rolling nature of the process has nonetheless masked the extraordinary new standard Mr. Schumer is setting, and the damage to the Constitution. He’s saying that every Supreme Court nominee will now require 60 votes to be confirmed. This is a massive shift—a break with the Founders’ vision of advice and consent, and an affront to two centuries of Senate history. It’s a declaration that Democrats will permanently wield the judicial filibuster as a political weapon, robbing the president and the Senate majority of the ability to appoint, and stripping the Supreme Court of a full complement of justices.

What makes the standard suddenly real is that Mr. Schumer can likely enforce it against his members. Never in U.S. history have we had a successful partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee. In 1968 a bipartisan group of senators filibustered the proposed elevation of Justice Abe Fortas to chief justice, because he was a crook. The left edged nearer the precipice in 2006 with the attempted filibuster of Samuel Alito, but only 25 Democrats joined.

Since then, progressives have lost any fear of the electoral consequences of playing abject politics with the high court. The American Bar Association unanimously awarded Judge Gorsuch its highest possible rating. He floated through this week’s confirmation hearings. Liberal and conservative colleagues alike have praised him to the stars. Yet not a single Democrat—not even vulnerable moderates such as West Virginia’s Joe Manchin or North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp—has publicly supported him. Before this week’s drama had even ended, Democratic senators were queuing to oppose him.

Opposing a nominee is not the same as denying him a floor vote.  And progressive groups are promising that any Senate Democrat who fails to support a filibuster will face a primary challenge. Senate sources tell me there is good reason to believe Mr. Schumer can muster the votes to block the nomination.

Not that red-state Democrats are happy, as evidenced by news that some are floating a “deal” under which Democrats would allow Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to come to a vote in return for Republican agreement to keep the filibuster in place for future Trump nominees. The proposal is proof that some Senate Democrats are worried about being blamed back home for a partisan filibuster of an impeccable candidate.

It’s also ludicrous, because Republicans have no need to make a deal. They already have the power to invoke the “nuclear option”—as Harry Reid’s Democrats did in 2013 for all nominations except to the high court—and get Judge Gorsuch on the court, and they’d be irresponsible to commit to Mr. Schumer’s new filibuster standard going forward. The “deal” is a non-starter.
As to that nuclear option, bear the Schumer standard in mind as Democrats and the media gin up stories suggesting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is about to do something outrageous. “I would not want to be the person . . . that basically changed the Senate from what the Founding Fathers” intended, Mr. Manchin told reporters this week. (The West Virginia senator was one of only three Democrats to dissent when Mr. Reid went nuclear in 2013.)

These comments aim at pressuring “institutionalist” Republican senators with an attachment to the chamber’s traditions. But it won’t be Mr. McConnell—an institutionalist among institutionalists—changing anything. It’s Mr. Schumer who is destroying the Founders’ principle of advice and consent. It will be Republicans, in exercising the nuclear option, who would return the Senate and Supreme Court to functioning order. It will be Republicans preserving the institution and its rightful powers.

If Mr. Manchin and fellow Democrats want to retain the filibuster for future, justified use, that’s simple. All they need do is refrain from abusing that power against a highly intelligent, perfectly qualified nominee. This is Mr. Schumer’s mess. Either his party can clean it up, or Republicans will do it.

Write to kim@wsj.com.

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