“This is CNN”

Hysterical, obsessive, self-important and biased.

Redacted from a informative detailed article by Charles C.W.  Cooke 

National Review, December 31, 2019

As a child, I was aware of CNN in part because its introductory bumper featured the sinister voice of Darth Vader, and in part because it was both the prototype and the stereotype of the 24-hour news channel. CNN showed up in movies, either as itself or in parodies that imitated its role. It was on in the airports and the hospitals and the hotel lobbies, and in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. When something bad or exciting was happening, you would tell your friends, “Turn on CNN.” 

CNN was careful and self-consciously nonpartisan—or, at least, it was keen for viewers to believe that it was. 

Its slogans were “This is CNN”—well, yes—and “The most trusted name in news,” and it cultivated its position within the firmament in much the same way as does Wikipedia today. It could be sensationalist and intrusive at times, but it was sensationalist and intrusive in the way that the paparazzo is rather than in the way that protesters who bang drums in your face and insist that you give up gasoline. 

It is difficult to convey in words just what the candidacy and then presidency of Donald Trump have done to CNN, but one can organization that has largely maintained its sanity: the New York Times. 

In short, it was what it said it was: a news network. It is no longer that. These days, CNN is a peculiar and unlovely hybrid of progressive propaganda outlet, oleaginous media  apologist, sexless cultural scold, and frenzied Donald Trump  stalker blog. When news breaks, it is no longer useful or appropriate to tell someone, “Turn on CNN,” because if he did, he  would be as likely. to be presented with a wall of advocacy and obsession as with the headlines of the hour.

The first column of CNN’s homepage, by contrast, featured—in order: “77 lies and falsehoods Mueller called out”; “What’s in the try to defend the indefensible”; “Barr gave his version of the report. Then we read it”; “Democrats ramp up Trump financial probe, make new hire”; “Prosecutors seek to block Stone from seeing un-redacted portions of Mueller’s report”

To find some actual news—that there had been an uprising in Venezuela—one had to go all the way over to the third column. April 30 was twelve days after the release of the Mueller report. This has been typical of the network’s monomania. 

On August 14, the New York Times ran with the news that protesters had taken over Hong Kong’s airport; that Nicolas Maduro was torturing his foes in the Venezuelan military___sometimes to death; and that the White House was delaying its proposed tariffs on China. 

With the possible exception of the hallucinatory MSNBC, no other institution in American life spent more time and effort indulging the false idea that President Trump was quite obviously guilty of treason, collusion, and bribery, and insisting that the impending Mueller report would not only reveal this guilt, but would prompt Trump’s removal from office and, possibly, his arrest. 

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The Secrets of Jewish Genius

Political News Opinion and Analysis

The New York Times 

Dec. 27, 2019

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By Bret Stephens

Opinion Columnist

(First:  The New York Times Apology over having published Brett Stephens politically incorrect but unvarnished truth praising the amazing history of intellectual achievement by the Jewish people.  

Below is the  New York Times explanation of the part they left out, evidently for fear of alienating the Jew-haters and the scared shtetl Jew apologists of the world who prefer to hide in the woodwork for fear of increasing the century’s-old Jew-hatred, based on envy, that permeates their every environment.)

Jerome S. Kaufman    Jan. 13, 2020

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New York Times Editors:

An earlier version of this Bret Stephens column quoted statistics from a 2005 paper that advanced a genetic hypothesis for the basis of intelligence among Ashkenazi Jews.

After publication Mr. Stephens and his editors learned that one of the paper’s authors, who died in 2016, promoted racist views. Mr. Stephens was not endorsing the study or its authors’ views, but it was a mistake to cite it uncritically.

The effect was to leave an impression with many readers that Mr. Stephens was arguing that Jews are genetically superior. That was not his intent. He went on instead to argue that culture and history are crucial factors in Jewish achievements and that, as he put it, “At its best, the West can honor the principle of racial, religious and ethnic pluralism not as a grudging accommodation to strangers but as an affirmation of its own diverse identity. In that sense, what makes Jews special is that they aren’t. They are representational.” We have removed reference to the study from the column. 

(The New York Times thus used the usual cop-out to eliminate anything they did not want to hear or read. They called it “racist views” because it did not conform to bizarre globalist concepts which have never met the requirements of hard evidence and is, in itself, counter to our own best interests.) jsk

(Back to the courageous, politically incorrect Brett Stephens article)

Brett Stephens:

An eminent Lithuanian rabbi is annoyed that his yeshiva students devote their lunch breaks to playing soccer instead of discussing Torah. The students, intent on convincing their rav (rabbi) of the game’s beauty, invite him to watch a professional match. At halftime, they ask what he thinks.

“I have solved your problem,” the rabbi says. “How?” 

“Give one ball to each side, and they will have nothing to fight over.”

I have this (apocryphal) anecdote from Norman Lebrecht’s new book, “Genius & Anxiety,” an erudite and delightful study of the intellectual achievements and nerve-wracked lives of Jewish thinkers, artists, and entrepreneurs between 1847 and 1947.  Sarah Bernhardt and Franz Kafka; Albert Einstein and Rosalind Franklin; Benjamin Disraeli and (sigh) Karl Marx, etc, etc, etc

How is it that a people who never amounted even to one-third of 1 percent of the world’s population contributed so seminally to so many of its most pathbreaking ideas and innovations?

The common answer is that Jews are, or tend to be smart. But the “Jews are smart” explanation obscures more than it illuminates. Aside from perennial nature-or-nurture questions, there is the more difficult question of why that intelligence was so often matched by such bracing originality and high-minded purpose. 

One can apply a prodigious intellect in the service of prosaic things — formulating a war plan, for instance, or constructing a ship. One can also apply brilliance in the service of a mistake or a crime, like managing a planned economy or robbing a bank.

But as the story of the Lithuanian rabbi suggests, Jewish genius operates differently. It is prone to question the premise and rethink the concept; to ask why (or why not?) as often as how; to see the absurd in the mundane and the sublime in the absurd. Where Jews’ advantage more often lies is in thinking different.

Where do these habits of mind come from?

There is a religious tradition that, unlike some others, asks the believer not only to observe and obey but also to discuss and disagree. There is the never-quite-comfortable status of Jews in places where they are the minority — intimately familiar with the customs of the country while maintaining a critical distance from them. 

There is a moral belief, “incarnate in the Jewish people” according to Einstein, that “the life of the individual only has value [insofar] as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful.”

And there is the understanding, born of repeated exile, that everything that seems solid and valuable is ultimately perishable, while everything that is intangible — knowledge most of all — is potentially everlasting.

“We had been well off, but that (having been) was all we got out,” the late financier Felix Rohatyn recalled of his narrow escape, with a few hidden gold coins, from the Nazis as a child in World War II. “Ever since, I’ve had the feeling that the only permanent wealth is what you carry around in your head.” If the greatest Jewish minds seem to have no walls, it may be because, for Jews, the walls have so often come tumbling down.

These explanations for Jewish brilliance aren’t necessarily definitive. Nor are they exclusive to the Jews.

At its best, the American university can still be a place of relentless intellectual challenge rather than ideological conformity and social groupthink

At its best, the United States can still be the country that respects, and sometimes rewards, all manner of heresies that outrage polite society and contradict established belief. 

At its best, the West can honor the principle of racial, religious and ethnic pluralism not as a grudging accommodation to strangers but as an affirmation of its own diverse identity. In that sense, what makes Jews special is that they aren’t. They are representational.

The West, however, is not at its best. It’s no surprise that Jew hatred has made a comeback, albeit under new guises. Anti-Zionism has taken the place of anti-Semitism as a political program directed against Jews. 

Globalists have taken the place of rootless cosmopolitans as the shadowy agents of economic iniquity. Jews have been murdered by white nationalists and black “Hebrews.” Hate crimes against Orthodox Jews have become an almost daily fact of life in New York City.

Jews of the late 19th century would have been familiar with the hatreds. Jews of the early 21st century should recognize where they could lead. What’s not secret about Jewish genius is that it’s a terribly fragile flower.

Bret L. Stephens has been an Opinion columnist with The Times since April 2017. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at The Wall Street Journal in 2013 and was previously editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post.

Composed by Jerome S. Kaufman

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Hostilities With Iran Began in ’79

Image result for Iran war image jpg free

Political News Opinion and Analysis

By establishing a credible deterrent, the killing of Soleimani should restrain Tehran’s aggression.

By Eric S. Edelman and Franklin C. Miller

Wall Street Journal, Jan. 9, 2020

The American media and political class worry that the U.S. is on the verge of war with Iran. It isn’t. The war has been under way for 40 years. 

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Largely using surrogates or proxy forces, Iran has killed hundreds of Americans by shooting down civilian planes, bombing U.S. embassies and military barracks, and supplying munitions for attacks on American soldiers in Iraq and elsewhere. 

With the exception of a brief naval engagement in April 1988, the U.S. responded to Iranian aggression by attacking surrogates rather than dealing with the source of the problem.

Now, with the killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Washington has sent Tehran an unambiguous message that it can no longer attack Americans with impunity. For the first time since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the U.S. has taken important initial steps to establish a credible deterrent.

Deterrence is effective when an enemy is convinced that the cost of an action will outweigh the gains.

Until now the Iranian leadership has suffered no losses to its own valued assets as a result of killing Americans. Soleimani’s habit of taunting U.S. officials during his travels around the region was testimony to his belief that he could act against the U.S. without consequences. The ayatollahs had evidently concluded they had a free hand to harass American troops.

Soleimani’s death is the first time the regime has lost something it valued in its conflict with the U.S. The Trump administration was right to make clear that America will impose significant costs on the regime until its state-sponsored hostage-taking, murder and other forms of terrorism cease. 

There’s no need to threaten a ground war, or to respond rashly to Iran’s Tuesday attacks on U.S. military facilities in Iraq, which did minimal damage. The U.S. has the military capacity to inflict severe damage on Iran without an invasion.

Some say that attacks like the Soleimani strike will encourage Iran to hit soft targets in the American homeland. But that risk already exists. And if Tehran still believed Washington would respond to a deadly terrorist attack on American soil only with strikes against peripheral targets, then the risk of such an attack would probably increase.

The sole previous direct American response against Iranian state assets—the 1988 naval rout, in which the U.S. sank two Iranian ships and destroyed a Persian Gulf oil platform being used to harass Western shipping—caused Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to agree to a cessation of hostilities. 

Deterrence works, but only if the threats are credible.

Soleimani was a state actor, carrying out a national policy of terrorism to murder Americans. U.S. recognition that it has been and remains engaged in a war with Iran and its proxies is long overdue.

The Trump administration’s goal should be to make sure the regime and its surrogates understand that nothing good can come from attacking Americans, American facilities or our allies.

Mr. Edelman was undersecretary of defense for policy, 2005-09, and is counselor at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. 

Mr. Miller served as special assistant to the president and senior director for defense policy and arms control on the National Security Council staff, 2001-05, and is a principal of the Scowcroft Group.

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Jews in Poland?

As guest speaker at our synagogue last Shabbat, we had the rabbi of Krakow as representative of the chief rabbi of Poland. He is involved primarily in re-invigorating the Jewish presence there.  Below is a picture of one of the final homes of near 3 million Holocaust Polish Jews.

By Jerome S. Kaufman

Here is a redacted version of his inaugural speech Sep 26, 2013 upon assuming the position:

“My first reaction when hearing about the position was a typical Jewish North American one – “Why would anyone want to go back to that graveyard?”

I had been unaware of the strides taken both by the Jewish community of survivors and by the Polish government over the past several decades. I learned of the remarkable resurgence of Judaism in Poland in general and Krakow in particular. 

In Krakow the The Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland has maintained synagogues, services and Jewish connection to the past, while at the same time the new Jewish community center has re-invigorated Polish Jewish life, paving the way for a stronger Jewish future. Old and new are gathering daily and are re-introducing themselves to Judaism.

To be sure, the numbers are paltry compared to Polish Jewry’s glorious past – but considering the history of Poland’s Jews, any resurgence at all seems to me miraculous. 

As guest speaker at our synagogue last Shabbat, we had the rabbi of Krakow. He was the representative of the chief rabbi of Poland involved primarily in re-invigorating the Jewish presence there.

This change is taking place despite the fact that while the Nazis (with enthusiastic Polish support) eliminated 90 percent of the Polish Jewish population of 3 million Jews that had been there for 800 years. The remaining Jews were then subjected to Communism that lasted for 40 years beyond the Holocaust and strove to erase whatever Jewish consciousness remained.

Some Jews survived by assimilating, hiding their Jewish identities and never speaking of their Jewish roots.

In the past 20 years, thousands of Poles have been confronted with new information about their roots. Rabbi Michael Schudrich, who has been serving the Jewish community in Poland since 1992 and has been its chief rabbi since 2004, described just a few of the stories of revelation in a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) address. Jews came forward who had been given away to non-Jews and others came forward who had, for various reasons, not been aware of their Jewish identity.

A speech by then-president Aleksander Kwasniewski at Yad Vashem underscored the official position Poland has taken in recognizing its difficult past and attempting to build avenues for reconciliation and Jewish-Polish rapprochement: 

“Efforts are currently being made in Poland to preserve the material heritage of the vibrant world of Polish Jews for future generations, and to commemorate their history for the benefit of all visitors to our country. 

A Museum of the History of Polish Jews testifying to over 800 years of Jewish presence in Poland is being built with the support of public and private funding on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto. We can rest assured that it will be a unique, world-class institution, a remarkable site of remembrance and meditation, like the memorial opened a year ago on the site of the former Nazi death camp at Belzec.”

Dialogue, better understanding and closer ties between Poles and Jews are bearing the desired fruit. Thanks to the multitude of projects involving Polish-Jewish history (such as the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow or the activities of the Shalom Foundation), we in Poland are now happy to witness a growing interest in Jewish culture, especially among the younger generation.

The rabbi then presented the re-assurances of previous and current Polish presidents and other Polish representatives that great efforts were being made to eradicate anti-semitism and encourage new Jewish institutions. Some have even gone to Israel, visited Auschwitz-Birkenau and develop a meaningful relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu. 

Commentary: Jerome S. Kaufman

How grand! How very impressive and noble —even a museum built over the site of the infamous hell hole of the Warsaw Ghetto where Jews were penned up like pigs waiting their turn to be slaughtered.

Maybe the Rabbi is not aware of what the Polish government has done in real time outside the glorious rhetoric and apparent achievements of both the Jewish community and the Polish government? What has followed since the rabbi’s initial optimism of just 6 years ago and the work he and his fellow rabbis have done trying to increase the Jewish presence and observance.

On February 2, 2018 Poland’s Senate approved a bill that makes it illegal to accuse the nation of complicity in crimes committed by Nazi Germany, including the Holocaust.

The bill was signed by Polish President Andrzej Duda, who had previously expressed his support. Violations were to be punished by a fine or a jail sentence of up to three years.

Five months later due to much opposition, the right-wing prime minister changed the law from a criminal offense to a civil offense.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the bill “baseless,” saying: “One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied.”

At least three million Polish Jews and 1.9 million non-Jewish citizens were killed during the Holocaust, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Apologists said, “The government is trying to present itself as a defender of Polish dignity,”  “It’s part of the government’s agenda to appeal to people, to present itself as a defender of the Polish nation.”

jsk Terrific! So where does that leave Polish Jews who are living examples refuting the veracity of the new declaration and insulting “Polish dignity? It leaves them once more as a despised minority and a source of Polish embarrassment. 

Also, maybe the rabbi did not see the Nov. 22, 2019 statistics?

In Poland, anti-Semitic attitudes were present in 48% of the population, up from 37% in 2015, when the last survey was conducted. 

IN EUROPE The Mindless Scourge of Anti-Semitism (Jew-Hatred) Continues Unabated 

Wall Street Journal (Nov. 22, 2019)

24.6% of  Europeans holds strongly anti-Semitic views, according to a poll by  a Jewish anti-hate organization. 

Among European Muslims in Western Europe, the incidence of such views was, on average, higher than the general population, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s study. 

jsk: Then why encourage further Jewish existence in Europe at all?  Should we not be extending our every effort to encourage Jews to prefer Israel? Should it be that hard?

Most authorities would say that Jews prefer to live in Poland and Germany rather than Israel because of economics. They are also aware of the daily terrorist incidences against Jews in Israel itself and the now frequent missile attacks that are becoming more and more accurate.

If we want to have any chance of changing this situation, it is up to Israel.  They must clean up their act. They must use the muscle that Hashem has given to them and punish their enemies severely so as to eliminate the terror and the missiles. 

Israel must also clear up all its domestic political problems. They must make housing affordable with more units and open the territories to Jewish development. They must make it possible to make a decent wage. 

When all this is addressed and corrected, European Jews will flock to Israel rather than remain in countries where mindless hatred increases exponentially despite the Jews’ usual effort to be compliant patriotic citizens. 

So, What else is new? How’s the family?

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The Hypocrisy of Senator Bernie Sanders

Political News and Analysis    

The Hypocrisy of Senator Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Condemns Anti-Semitism in Iowa Menorah Ceremony

December 30, 2019

The presiding Rabbi Yossi Jacobson at the ceremony asked Sanders why he rarely discussed his Judaism while on the campaign trail and reluctantly participated in the Chanukah Menorah lighting ceremony. Sanders dodged the question and for good reason.

One can only smell a rat in the hypocrisy in Sander’s condemnation of rising Anti-semitism. His own actions belie any genuine concern. Sanders in his role in the Senate has most often taken anti-Israel positions and anti-American positions that contradict  his usual populous meaningless platitudes of supposed Israel support.

What are Bernie Sander’s stands on issues that matter to Jewish voters

At the recent Democratic debate on December 19, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “racist” and called for a US policy toward Israel that makes space for both Israeli security and a “pro-Palestinian” perspective.

Sanders said, “Israel has — and I say this as somebody who lived in Israel as a kid, proudly Jewish – Israel has the right to exist, not only to exist but to exist in peace and security. But what US foreign policy must be about is not just being pro-Israel. We must be pro-Palestinian as well.” 

“We must understand that right now in Israel we have leadership under Netanyahu, who has recently, as you know, been indicted for bribery, who, in my view, is a racist. 

What we need is a level playing field in terms of the Middle East, which addresses the terrible crisis in Gaza, where 60 percent or 70% of the young people are unemployed,” he added.

Additional Commentary by Jerome S. Kaufman

One must fact check check Sander’s blanket statements along with their crowd pleasing meaningless platitudes. There is absolutely no evidence that Netanyahu is “racist”  He is simply defending a very small portion of the land that was given to the Jewish people by G-d in the first place and, in a far less significant temporal way, the League of Nations and the British Mandate.  

As to Gaza, the mess in Gaza is entirely the problem of Hamas who wrested all the territory away from the Palestinian Authority after Israel PM  Ariel Sharon unilaterally relinquished Israel’s jurisdiction over Gaza in a misguided gesture of “peace” in August 2005. 

Sharon had the Israel Defense  Forces forcibly remove 8600 well established Israeli residents of a thriving community of productive green houses, which the Arabs promptly destroyed when given the land and against their own financial self interests.

It is often said that one can be judged by the company one keeps. In Sander’s case, that concept is an absolute road map.

He enthusiastically  teamed up with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the millennial “it girl” of modern progressivism who is he hopes propping up the septuagenarian socialist senator  “This is not just about running for president,” she said in a video announcing her support. “This is about creating a mass movement.” Whatever that means.

Ocasio-Cortez was joined in her endorsement by Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. “Proud to endorse @SenSanders for President, glad that @AOC and @RashidaTlaib are on board too,” she tweeted. “It’s time.”

You may remember In February, Omar responded to a tweet from journalist Glenn Greenwald, who posted about House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatening to punish Omar and another congresswoman for being critical of Israel.

Omar wrote back, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” a line about $100 bills from a Puff Daddy song. Critics jumped on the tweet and said Omar was calling up a negative and harmful stereotype of Jewish Americans.

In another tweet soon after, Omar named the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, saying it was funding Republican support for Israel, which is another complete lie. This tweet received bipartisan backlash, and Omar was widely accused of anti-Semitic speech.

Rashida Tlaib (MI Rep) also dived into the hate speech. There was this headline back in January from a New York Post editorial: “Rashida Tlaib casually dives into anti-Semitism”

The focus of the editorial was Tlaib’s remark in support of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and her criticism of colleagues who supported Israel. Tlaib said: “They forgot what country they represent.” 

This drew an immediate rebuke from the Jewish Democratic Council of America and the Anti-Defamation League. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said this: “This ‘dual loyalty’ canard is a typical anti-Semitic line. BDS isn’t about freedom & equality, it’s about destroying Israel.”

You may also remember the charade Rashida Tlaib pulled pretending to want to visit her aged, sick grandmother in Israel. Her real mission was of course to thickly spread anti-Israel hatred in the country. PM Netanyahu opposed the visit for awhile but then under US administrative pressure okayed it with the proviso that Tlaib could not travel around the country spewing her poison. At that point Tlaib suddenly lost interest in visiting her sick grandmother.

Then there was Sanders confusing equivocal position on BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel)

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and James Risch, R-Idaho introduced the first bill to be considered in the Republican-led Senate, consolidating four bills that languished in the last Congress: One codifies into law $38 billion in defense assistance for Israel over 10 years; another protects states that pass laws against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel, including states that ban contracts with Israel boycotters.

Bernie Sanders quickly reacted and blasted the introduction of anti-BDS bill as ‘absurd’

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 – “While I do not support the BDS movement, we must defend every American’s constitutional right to engage in political activity. It is clear to me that this bill would violate Americans’ First Amendment rights.  

Although Sanders has grandstanded his opposition to BDS, especially before Jewish audience, when push came to shove, he voted against the Marco Rubio/James Risch legislation which put teeth into the States ability to act against BDS. Just another example of  Sander’s hypocrisy and sham support of Israel and Jewish causes.  

In summary, those who say you are known by the bedfellows you keep are dead right. A golf buddy savant of mine said it a little differently. He always reminded his daughters that “When you lie down with dogs, you get fleas.”  I guess Sander’s father forgot to remind him of that. Maybe it is time the voters of this beautiful country did?

Jerome S. Kaufman, Publisher/Editor 

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Thank you for much of the source material in this article to:  Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Jennifer Jacobs, Ron Kampeas and many others.

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How Obama Impacted the Military

American Thinker   

Political News and Analysis 

December 29, 2019

How Obama Impacted the Military

By Janet Levy

Radical changes imposed on our military by progressives, begun in earnest during the Obama administration, are negatively impacting our combat readiness and jeopardizing the lives of our men and women in uniform and, ultimately, our national security. 

 In Stand Down:  How Social Justice Warriors Are Sabotaging America’s Military, author James Hasson elucidates how Barack Obama fundamentally changed military culture to make our nation less secure. 

Hasson, a former Army captain, Army Ranger School graduate, and Afghanistan veteran, argues that military readiness was sacrificed for identity politics and progressive rhetoric. He lists examples such as policies that established “safe spaces,” prohibited “micro-aggressions,” denigrated “hyper-masculine” traits, implemented unwise “green” standards and injected “social justice” guidelines in military operations.

In his revealing book, Captain Hasson describes how Obama’s military appointees, mainly progressive ideologues lacking military experience and hailing from academic, political, and the private sectors, were placed in charge of seasoned combat generals with decades of combat experience.  The priorities, experience, and philosophies of the officers and appointees couldn’t have been more disparate. 

Many senior military staff members suffered in silence at Obama’s attempt to use the military as a “laboratory for progressive social engineering,” according to Hasson.  Exemplifying this shift was the naming of Navy ships after Leftist political heroes. Socialist labor-activist Cesar Chavez and slain gay-rights advocate Harvey Milk — who left the Navy for being gay — were among those who Ray Mabus, Obama’s secretary of the Navy, announced would have ships named after them.  This practice flew in the face of the hallowed Navy tradition of naming ships after presidents and war heroes.  

Obama, who, Hasson says, took pride in his lack of military knowledge and experience, made widespread changes to personnel policy, budgetary expenditures and resource allocations that harmed readiness, training and troop safety.  

Obama’s transgender policy of “mixed genitalia in the bathrooms,” took precedence over established military culture.  Soldiers were judged by the gender they wished to be rather than their biological sex.  Obama essentially used the military to lead social change in American society rather than preserving time-honored traditions that emphasized troop cohesiveness and readiness. 

The author explains that the cornerstone of every military policy is its impact on combat.  The military is most concerned with physical outcomes, the determinant of ultimate success.  That focus was weakened by the transgender policy instituted by the Obama administration allowing soldiers to serve under the sex that conformed to their gender identity even without sex reassignment surgery or other physical changes.  

This practice had a profound effect on fitness, performance, and deployability.  Hasson recognizes that transgender soldiers have served in the military in the past but according to the physical fitness, grooming, and housing regulations that conformed to their biological sex. 

Other issues included the quandary that arose when a recruit identified as non-binary.  Military leadership was stymied by the dilemma of applying appropriate standards for such individuals.  The military must find those most qualified to serve and reject those suffering from mental conditions such as anxiety and depression.  Transgender people suffer from markedly higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide than the general population.

Obama’s new policies also negatively impacted the education of cadets, Hasson asserts.  Military academy courses on American history were overhauled to focus on race and the pervasive narrative that America is a racist country.  The international history class focused on gender and a semester of military history was completely deleted from the curriculum.  

How can military students become successful warriors if they eschew military history, are educated to disdain their country, and view history through the lens of race and gender? 

Today’s military academies have a higher percentage of civilian, liberal professors who have promoted a permissive atmosphere that has contributed to a deterioration in the level of discipline, Hasson adds.  The current environment with its “safe spaces” and emphasis on race, gender, sexual orientation and social justice, as well as rights, are antithetical to the military’s hierarchical structure and its emphasis on duty, merit, discipline, and competence.

As part of the Obama administration’s social engineering agenda that attempted to erase the differences between men and women, the Army was coerced to lower its standards for Ranger school to admit women who didn’t qualify for the special-forces unit.  Military brass was pressured to provide ample pre-training instruction and multiple do-overs exclusively for female candidates.  Further, despite extensive studies that found lowered standards for women to meet progressive goals, they were forced to deny the study results.

When Marine infantry units integrated women, the male-female units had higher injury rates, slower casualty-evacuation times, poorer marksmanship skills, poorer preparation of fortified fighting positions and overall lower battle-essential skill sets than all-male units.  Although all-male units outperformed coed units in 70% of combat tasks and mixed units were not recommended, Obama still issued a directive to integrate the Marine Corps infantry companies.  Hasson characterizes this policy as “fulfilling the dreams of progressive ideologues at the expense of a service member’s life.”

When the Army was ordered to promote “social justice,” combat veterans in 2012 were required to don fake breasts and bellies to understand how pregnant soldiers fared during training.  In two separate, college ROTC events in Philadelphia and metropolitan Phoenix in 2015, cadets were required to walk in high heels to raise awareness about sexual violence against women. 

In 2013, a Pentagon training manual for Equal Opportunity Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) presented white, heterosexual, Christian males as recipients of unearned social privilege and cited the disadvantages of blacks, women and homosexuals.  

The manual listed the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a left-wing organization that maligns conservative groups alongside neo-Nazis and the KKK, as a resource that officers could use to obtain more information about hate groups and extremism.  After pushback from legislators and religious groups that railed against the false labeling and listing of mainstream Christian groups as “hate” groups because they don’t subscribe to far-left ideology, the Obama Department of Defense removed the list, but retained all other SPLC materials and data. 

All these diversions took a toll on military training and readiness, wasting valuable time and resources that could have been dedicated to drilling and essential tasks. 

Hasson acknowledges (thankfully) that the Trump administration has pushed back on many misguided “reforms” instituted by Obama and has reprioritized the military’s war-fighting culture, rejecting political correctness, social engineering, identity politics and other policies that serve no real military purpose and undermine combat readiness and performance.  

The author ends his excellent book with a prescription for returning the military to its critical mission.  He recommends the military refocus on appropriate academy education, readiness, deployability and eligibility based on physical fitness, merit and discipline and move away from social justice, political correctness, carbon emissions and other pet progressive projects.  Such a move will return the military to full combat readiness, protect the lives of our soldiers, and, ultimately, safeguard our national security.

Author: Janet Levy, MSW, MBA, is a writer, public speaker and activist.  Ms. Levy currently works to stem the incursion of Islamic Shariah law into the American justice system.

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President Trump Is Impeached. Or Is He? By Professor Alan Dershowitz

Political News Opinion and Analysis

President Trump Is Impeached. Or Is He?

A party-line House vote leaves no principled argument against a party-line acquittal.

By Alan M. Dershowitz

Wall Street Journal Dec. 23, 2019

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Suddenly, impeachment can wait. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she’ll delay transmitting the two House-approved articles to the Senate, in an obvious ploy for partisan advantage. 

For anti-Trump legal scholars Noah Feldman and Laurence Tribe, that has created a Schrödinger’s Cat scenario. They disagree on whether President Trump has been impeached at all.

Mr. Feldman says no: “If the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president.” Mr. Tribe says an affirmative vote on an article of impeachment is sufficient to impeach—but he also claims it’s proper to leave it at that. 

By declining to transmit the articles of impeachment, he argued in an op-ed that Mrs. Pelosi evidently found persuasive, the Democrats would get a win-win. Mr. Trump would carry the stigma of impeachment and be denied the opportunity to erase it via acquittal.

Messrs. Feldman and Tribe are both wrong. Mr. Tribe errs in asserting that the House can deny an impeached official a trial. Mr. Feldman errs in denying that the approval of articles of impeachment is sufficient to constitute an impeachment. 

The Senate need not wait for the articles to be “transmitted.” The Constitution grants the House the “sole power of impeachment,” and the Senate the “sole power to try all impeachments.” Now that the House’s job is done, it is up to the Senate to schedule a trial and make the rules for it.

My viewwhich I suspect much of the public sharesis that Mr. Trump was impeached by a partisan vote and deserves to be acquitted by a partisan vote. The representatives who impeached him along party lines after devising partisan rules of inquiry have no principled argument against a party-line acquittal.

Mr. Dershowitz is a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of “Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo.”

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The Jews, the Hebrew Bible and President Donald Trump

Political News and Analysis

The Jews, the Hebrew Bible and President Donald Trump

By  Jerome S. Kaufman

Last Shabbat we had the privilege of listening to renown Rabbi Shlomo Riskin discuss the Hebrew Bible and perhaps, as  a surreptitious aside, the Jews, the current State of Israel and Donald Trump.

He began by telling us the classic story of Jacob and his entire entourage finally escaping from 20 year old  captivity in the hands of his cousin Laban whose daughters, Leah and Rachel, Jacob had married.

The biblical story describes how Jacob’s sons Shimon and Levi, with cunning and deception, murdered the male members of the Chevites  in revenge for their Prince Shechem kidnapping and violating the brothers’ sister Dinah who Shechem still kept  in captivity.

The Prince’s father, Chamor,  came to Jacob to tell him that his son Prince Shechem was genuinely in love with Dinah and wanted to marry her and make peace with the Jews.

At this point, Jacob’s sons Shimon and Levi devised a scheme whereby if all the male Chevites  circumcised themselves, they could become Jews and then make peace with the Hebrews.

Jacob and Chamor  agreed to the plan. On the third day after the self-imposed circumscision the males, all in great pain presented, as planned by the brothers,  easy targets for their slaughter with the swords of Shimon and Levi.

Jacob took great exception to this dastardly deed admonishing his sons for “Making my mind troubled creating hostility between me and the inhabitants of this land and have them gather against me and my household and destroy us.” Jacob carried that criticism all the way to his death bed when he again chastised his sons for their action.

(That part of the story ends at this point.  I did notice later in Jacob’s journey, a sentence, that to my knowledge, has been neglected.

“Then the journey (of the Hebrews) continued and “The fear of G-d was upon the cities that were around them and they did not pursue the children of Yaacov (Jacob).” So, Jacob’s worries at the point, came to naught and the slaughter evidently was an effective political move.) jsk

Rabbi Riskin the took a different tact – one, by the way, that I have been preaching for over 60 years.

He went on to describe previous acts of deliberate Hebrew military action.

Much earlier in the bible,  Lot, Abraham’s nephew, settles in the evil city of Sodom and became captive to four armies in the Sodom Valley. Abraham, hearing this, quickly set out with a small band of his followers to rescue his nephew and miraculously, with Hashem’s great help, defeats all four armies.

Also, Rabbi Riskin pointed out that despite Jacob being a learned religious man favored by his mother Rebecca, Yitzhak, his father, in many ways preferred his outdoor hunter son Esau who provided him with game and perhaps protection. Yitzhak, on his death bed, expressed his desire to bless Esau and advised him he would live by the sword.

In an earlier chapter Abraham, Yitzhak’s father, exhibited great love for Ishmael his son through Sara’s maidservant Hagar. This was despite the fact that Ishmael was not a spiritual man, was the son of his second wife and lived on the land through cunning and thievery.

Rabbi Riskin then brought the threads of these facts together to show that the Hebrews in the past had used power and violence to protect their very existence. And … it was an accepted policy for the founding fathers to do so.

II  Commentary:  Jerome S. Kaufman

Now to the present: Up until the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948,  the Diaspora Jews that survived following the destruction of their biblical nation and their Holy Second Temple by the Romans in 70 AD and 135 AD lived as vagabonds – second class, despised citizens in the cities of the Arabs and the Europeans. They lived without military strength or power under the complete domination of their host countries.

What is worse, to my mind,  is that this state of being became very comfortable. The Jews need not become military and provide for their own protection. They became content and even smug in being the People of the Book, the apparent beacons of moral authority and an example to which the nations of the world were to aspire.

But what has been the direct result of this supposed superior moral unprotected stance? Disaster!  The nations of the world have ignored or despised the Jews and their moral assumptions.

The Jews have been deliberately buffeted from European nation to nation  by the monarchs of the day in order to steal their money and the property the Jews had accumulated. The monarchs then used these assets  to pay for their own  extravagance and awful performance. Blame and use the Jews has been historically a great ploy and to this very moment.

The Jews were slaughtered in the centuries-old  pogroms of the Poles, the Russians, the Slavs, the Italians, the Balkans, the Arabs and everyone else – many times encouraged and indoctrinated by the Catholic, Protestant and Islamic churches.

This on-going slaughter culminated in the deliberate killing of 6 million Jews by the Germans and the rest of their very willing executioners in virtually all the nations of Europe.  Anti-Semitism was in full bloom.

Unfortunately, it is once again in full bloom in these same areas – easily again instigated,  for their own purposes, by Islam. What is worse is that Europeans have chosen not to recognize the obvious Islamic plan and that they are themselves next on the victim list of useful idiots.

Back to Rabbi Riskin: His message was thus that simply being a nice guy, a nice nation, a moral nation is not enough.  Simply currying favor with those dominant over you does not work. It leads to victimhood. Rabbi Riskin carefully pointed out that the Hebrew Bible made power and force an essential part of the Jew’s very existence.

Many believe that Hashem has provided this essential power in the re-establishment of the State of Israel. Unfortunately, once again most Jews remain oblivious to importance of this essential gift and do not protect it with every bone in their bodies. And, Hashem forbid, may in the immediate future, suffer the consequences.

What other amazing gift has Hashem laid upon the Jews and Israel and again, unfortunately  ignored and disparaged?

The amazing gift is President Donald Trump. Through his genuine emotional involvement and his complete understanding of the importance of establishing protection and power in our friends, he has greatly empowered our crucial ally – Israel.

He has moved Israel’s capitol to Jerusalem; recognized Israel’s domain over the Golan and recognized Israel’s right to develop communities in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s biblical homeland.

Furthermore, he has amazingly nurtured  a re-approachment between Israel and the Arab powers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman. He has thus, put on notice to the world that the US genuinely has Israel’s back.

He has in addition, in his usual outspoken manner, opined that American Jews do not love or appreciate Israel enough and its importance to their very existence.

And …. He is, of course, right.

Jerome S. Kaufman

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Return to Ignorance. Students, Community Groups Sue Univ. of Calif. to Drop SAT, ACT Results

https://images.app.goo.gl/7VJ7nycrGknH9TgL7 

The Return to Ignorance in the State of California 

Students, Community Groups Sue University of California to Drop SAT, ACT

Redacted from an article by Melissa Korn

Wall Street Journal, Dec. 11, 2019

The law suit alleges the university discriminates against low-income students and others by relying on standardized-test scores in admissions.

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(What exactly are the SAT and ACT?

The SAT is defined as the Scholastic Assessment Test, now called the SAT Reasoning Test, which is a test that measures the reading, writing and math levels of high school juniors and seniors. An example of the SAT is the test many students take to get into college. The SAT was designed to be an exam for which students could not study. 

While the SAT attempted to test a student’s aptitude—that is, the students ability to learn—the ACT was much more pragmatic. The exam tested students on the information they actually learned in school. The ACT, on the other hand, was a test that rewarded good study habits. 

Today, with the release of a redesigned SAT in March of 2016, the tests are strikingly similar in that both test information that students learn in school. The separate tests are now given equal consideration.)

Students, Community Groups Sue University of California to Drop SAT, ACT

By Melissa Korn, Wall Street Journal 12/11/2019

A group of students and community organizations filed a much-anticipated lawsuit against the University of California, alleging that the university system discriminates against low-income students, racial minorities and others by requiring SAT or ACT admissions tests.

The suit was filed Tuesday in California state court on behalf of a high-school sophomore, two seniors, and a first-year student at Pasadena City College, all of whom it says would be strong candidates for more selective UC campuses except for their test scores. 

Several California college-prep and social-justice nonprofits are also plaintiffs in the suit. The Compton Unified School District is preparing to file a related suit.

They seek to bar the UC system from requiring applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, and from using scores in admission decisions unless it can demonstrate a way of assessing the scores “in a rigorous and meaningful, transparent, nondiscriminatory, and non-stigmatizing manner,” according to the suit.

(But, that is exactly what these tests are supposed to do – Find those students of merit most likely to contribute to this society, this nation, this world. Or, should we instead legislate for ignorance and a return to the Dark Ages?) jsk

The plaintiffs are wading into a nationwide debate about meritocracy and fairness in college admissions. Concerns that certain groups get special advantages, because of wealth, race or other factors have come to a head with last year’s trial regarding admissions practices at Harvard University, as well as the more recent admissions cheating scandal that accuses families of having their teens lie about their academic credentials and cheat on the SAT and ACT.

More than 1,000 colleges and universities including the University of Chicago and Colorado College now make test scores optional. They have questioned whether standardized tests offer any more value than high-school performance in predicting college success. 

Defenders of the tests say students with high scores tend to fare well in college and beyond. The standardized tests have been considered by many as an equalizer, allowing colleges to identify talent from high schools with which they are not familiar.

A UC task force is currently assessing the value of the SAT and ACT in admissions, with recommendations expected before the end of the school year, and the university will make a decision after that, said a spokeswoman from the UC president’s office. Its determination is expected to have wide-ranging implications due to its size and clout, as UC campuses received more than 176,000 freshman applications last year.

UC campuses can consider academic performance, standardized test scores, class rank, extracurricular activities and other factors, but unlike many other selective institutions are barred from taking into account race or ethnicity in admissions.

“We are disappointed that plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit when the University of California has already devoted substantial resources to studying this complex issue,” the university spokeswoman said Tuesday.

According to College Board data from this year, 45% of white students who took the SAT in California scored at least a 1200 out of a possible 1600, and 55% of Asian students did, compared with only 9% of African-American students and 12% of Hispanic students.  (excuse me but whose fault is that) jsk

“The notion that the SAT is discriminatory is false,” said a spokesman for the College Board. “Any objective measure of student achievement will shine a light on inequalities in our education system. Our focus, with our members and partners, is combating these longstanding inequalities.”

(So, what is the direct result of all this previous social engineering “affirmative” ( a debatable adjective) action” by our educational savants, beginning way back to bussing children in elementary school?) jsk

U.S. students’ academic achievement still lags that of their peers in many other countries

BY DREW DESILVER

Pew Research Center

Feb. 15, 2017

How do U.S. students compare with their peers around the world? Recently released data from international math and science assessments indicate that U.S. students continue to rank around the middle of the pack, and behind many other advanced industrial nations.

One of the biggest cross-national tests is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which every three years measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. 

The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science. (Ugh)

Compiled by Jerome S. Kaufman

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President Donald Trump Signs Executive Order Combating Nation-wide Anti-Semitism

Political News Opinion and Analysis

Commemorates signing and Chanukah at the White House

https://youtu.be/kqeicv7UPUs

By Jerome S. Kaufman

December 13, 2019

President Trump promised to withhold federal funds from colleges and other institutions that do not enforce this executive order.

He also decried the BDS – Boycott, Divest and Sanctions against Israel. It has been promoted on the nations most important college campuses accompanied by the indoctrination of hatred and intimidation of Jewish college students.

Emeritus Harvard University Professor Alan Dershowitz spoke to the group  describing this declaration and signing by Pres. Trump as the most important action ever taken against the scourge of anti-Semitism.

Also addressing the group was Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, who thanked President Trump and spoke of the actions to monitor college campuses as a bilateral, non-partisan effort so important to the objective education of our college students.

Also present, among many others, at the informal White House Chanukah celebration were: 

Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen, Senators Tim Scott of South Carolina, Sen James Lankford of Oklahoma, Trump advisors Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka, US Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnushkin, Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis,  Rep Douglas Collins of GA, Ron Dermer, American-born Israeli Ambassador to the US, US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman who President Trump praised for managing the US Embassy re-location to Israel’s biblical homeland capitol, Jerusalem, 

President Trump proudly spoke of his other major works in support of Israel in addition to the embassy move – the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the confirmation of Israel’s right to build settlements within the the biblical areas of Judea and Shomron.

He then asked Bob Kraft, as an ardent supporter of Israel, which of these was his most important action?  Mr. Kraft responded none of these despite their great importance. He believed Pres. Trump’s most important action for Israel, the United States and the world at large was the abrogation of the lethal Obama-developed Nuclear Deal with Iran. President Trump was in agreement.

President Trump then thanked Army veteran Sargent Oscar Stewart, who chased the gunman out of the  Ponway Chabad, California synagogue and Jonathan Morales, an off-duty Border Patrol agent, who shot four bullets into the get-away car, saving tens of lives. They were both present at the Chanukah ceremony.

President Trump also gave his condolences to the families of the victims of the Jersey City anti-Semitism hate crime deadly attack at a kosher supermarket that left six people dead  including the two gunmen.

The memorable, very emotional, event was concluded by lighting the first day candle of the Chanukah Menorah and a heart-felt thanks given to our great President Donald Trump for his brave, singular, incomparable and historical support.

Jerome S. Kaufman, Publisher/Editor

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Top U.K. Rabbi Accuses Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn of Failing to Stem Anti-Semitism.

Political News and Analysis
Religious leader’s opinion piece marks unusual intervention ahead of Dec. 12 UK Brexit election; Conservative party’s chief says anti-Jewish behavior won’t be tolerated
Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis wrote in an opinion piece for the Times of London newspaper that what he called anti-Jewish racism was a new poison that had taken root in the Labour Party. 

LONDON—Britain’s chief rabbi accused Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn of failing to root out anti-Semitism in his party’s ranks, an unusual intervention from a religious leader weeks before a general election.

Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, wrote in an opinion piece for the Times of London newspaper that what he called anti-Jewish racism was a new poison that had taken root in the country’s main opposition party.

He wrote that he had “watched with incredulity” as Labour leadership “hounded” lawmakers, members and staff out of the party for challenging anti-Semitism.

“It is not my place to tell any person how they should vote,” he wrote. “I regret being in this situation at all. I simply pose the question: What will the result of this election say about the moral compass of our country?”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn launched the opposition party’s Race and Faith Manifesto in north London on Tuesday. 

Speaking at a campaign event on Tuesday to launch what the party called its Race and Faith manifesto, Mr. Corbyn said anti-Semitism “will not be tolerated in any form whatsoever” and said the party system to deal with these complaints was “constantly under review,” without elaborating.

The party has traditionally held deep ties with the Jewish community: Mr. Mirvis noted that Labour had been the political home for many Jews for more than a century.

But relations have frayed since Mr. Corbyn became the party’s leader in 2015. He is endorsed by the party’s extreme left, which supports Palestinian rights and opposes Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.

(Sound familiar to Left wing US Democrat Party?)  jsk

In 2013, Corbyn criticized a decision to paint over a mural depicting hook-nosed bankers that was deemed anti-Semitic, later apologizing. He also once referred to Hezbollah as friends during a meeting in Parliament, a comment he later apologized for as well.

Mr. Corbyn was filmed at a 2013 event saying British “Zionists” don’t understand “English irony,” following a pro-Palestinian speech by Manuel Hassassian, then the Palestinian envoy to Britain. Several Labour lawmakers have quit the party, with some joining the Liberal Democrats, over concerns that anti-Semitism is being allowed to flourish. A poll by the Jewish Chronicle newspaper in October found that 87% of Jews think Mr. Corbyn is anti-Semitic, something he and other party officials have repeatedly denied.

That newspaper published a front-page article this month urging voters to cast their ballot against him on Dec. 12. “His hatred of Israel runs so deep,” said Damon Lenszner, a pro-Israel activist, as he campaigned outside the Labour Party event on Tuesday.

There are around 300,000 Jews in the U.K., accounting for roughly 0.5% of the population. Still, the criticism poses a problem for Mr. Corbyn, who is trying to sell his party as the kinder alternative to the ruling Conservative Party, which itself has been criticized for failing to tackle anti-Muslim racism in its ranks. Labour currently trails the Conservatives in the polls by around 10 points.

The chief rabbi’s intervention sparked a response from other British religious leaders. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the Anglican Church, said “that the Chief Rabbi should be compelled to make such an unprecedented statement at this time ought to alert us to the deep sense of insecurity and fear felt by many British Jews.”

This summer, Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission launched an investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism in the party, but hasn’t yet released its conclusions. Alf Dubs, a Labour member of the House of Lords, on Tuesday said Mr. Mirvis’s comments were “unjustified and unfair.”

Mr. Corbyn on Tuesday said “Labour is a party of equality and human rights,” and accused the Conservative Party of failing to tackle racism.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who once compared Muslim women in burqas to letter boxes, committed during his selection to become party leader to an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in his party. The review was expected to be published by the end of the year.

No such review has yet been published and the review has been expanded to include racism as a whole. The Muslim Council of Britain wrote on Tuesday that “it is abundantly clear to many Muslims that the Conservative Party [tolerates] Islamophobia and [allows] it to fester.”

Write to Max Colchester at max.colchester@wsj.co

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Democrats and Israel: Nothing but Daylight (between them)

 

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Political News and Analysis

Democrats and Israel: Nothing but Daylight (between them)

COMMENTARY MAGAZINE   December 2019

Redacted from article by    Matthew Continetti

Someday we’ll be telling stories round the campfire about what life was like when support for Israel was bipartisan. Republican and Democratic congressmen reliably voted for aid to the Jewish state. The majority of Republican and Democratic officials defended Israel in the public square. Republican and Democratic candidates reassured voters that they had Israel’s back. “Israel’s security is sacrosanct,” Barack Obama told the 2008 AIPAC policy conference. “Israel’s security is nonnegotiable,” Hillary Clinton told the same audience eight years later.

Pleasant memories. When American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)  gathered in Washington in March, none of the major Democratic candidates then running for president bothered to attend. Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg appeared instead at the October meeting of J Street, the left-wing alternative to AIPAC founded in 2007. The message Biden delivered over video was commonplace. The others were not.

“What is going on in Gaza right now is absolutely inhumane, it is unacceptable, it is unsustainable,” Sanders growled. In a Sanders administration, he went on, aid to Israel would depend on the status of the Hamas-controlled territory. When he ran for president four years ago, Sanders was fringe. Now he’s the pacesetter.

“We must find ways to make tangible progress on the ground toward a two-state solution,” Warren said. How? Well, a week earlier, Warren had said, “All options are on the table.”

Israel is one issue on which Warren and Buttigieg agree (negatively)  “We have a responsibility as the key ally to Israel to make sure that we guide things in the right direction,” Mayor Pete said. For Buttigieg and Warren, the way to “guide things” is to cut aid that flows to settlements or to an Israeli government that annexes territory in the West Bank.

Three of the four highest-polling Democratic presidential candidates are talking about Israel in language other politicians reserve for rogue states. It’s the latest and most worrisome sign that a growing number of Democrats place a higher value on pandering to progressives than on Israeli sovereignty and security. The aggressive rhetoric is another reminder of the energy on the political left. Bernie Sanders’s political revolution may be in trouble, but his foreign-policy revolution in how the Democratic Party sees Israel is going swimmingly.

For the left, the state created in the aftermath of the Holocaust and invaded by Arab armies has become a conquering power. The nation of communes has become the nation of start-ups. The governments of David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Rabin have become the governments of Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Americans who belong to the millennial generation or to Generation Z have no memory of the Middle East “peace process.” Nor can they recall the second intifada or the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Many American Jews express their identity not through religious practice and Zionism but through social-justice activism and tikkun olam. To them, Israel is an oppressive state with un-egalitarian religious and political systems. In a 2007 study, fewer than half of American Jews age 35 or younger said, “Israel’s destruction would be a personal tragedy.”

The following year, Barack Obama won two-thirds of the millennial vote and 78 percent of the Jewish vote. While he was sure to pay obeisance to the imperatives of Israeli security, Obama’s actions as president created the space for anti-Israel and anti-Zionist activism within the Democratic Party. “When there is no daylight [between Israel and the United States], Israel just sits on the sidelines, and that erodes our credibility with the Arabs,” he said in 2009.

Aided by J Street, Obama opened the shutters and blinds and flooded the U.S.-Israel relationship with daylight. His demand that Israel freeze settlement construction gave the Palestinians the opportunity to refuse talks. His decision not to punish Bashar Assad for gassing Syrians damaged American credibility and regional stability.

His nuclear agreement with Iran not only endangered Israel but also divided and demoralized the pro-Israel community. In his final month in office, Obama broke 35 years of precedent and declined to veto a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements.

Ironically—and predictably—these actions failed to build up credibility with Arab governments terrified by Obama’s attempted rapprochement with Iran. What Obama did do was prepare the ground for politicians and activists hostile to the Jewish state and Jews. 

When party leaders reinstated mentions of God and of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the 2012 Democratic Party platform, some of the convention-goers booed. When Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015 criticized the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran before a joint session of Congress, 56 Democratic legislators didn’t show up. Earlier this year, when the Senate took up a pro-Israel bill that included anti–Boycott Divest Sanction language, 22 Democrats voted against it.

Obama’s second term in office saw an explosion in far-left activity that manifested itself on campus and in Black Lives Matter, intersectional theory, and the Sanders movement. The same young people drive the anti-Semitic BDS Movement and join groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine and If Not Now. They campaign for Sanders and for his friends Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. 

They find insignificant, if they acknowledge at all, the threats to Israel and to Israelis from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian terrorism. A few quietly hope for the success of Israel’s enemies. In their view of the world, Palestinians and other members of victimized classes have no agency and therefore no responsibility.

J Street and If Not Now represent neither the whole Democratic Party nor the entire American Jewish community. But numbers matter less than influence. 

Progressives are becoming more anti-Israel as the Democratic Party experiences generational and cultural change. It is revealing that Sanders denounced Israel at the J Street conference while two former members of Obama’s administration looked on approvingly. Among the few remaining legacies of Barack Obama is his transformation of the Democrats from a pro-Israel party into an anti-Israel one.

Matthew Continetti is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

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Newt Gingrich on the ABC’s of Free Health Care

Newt Gingrich explains Free Health Care.

Political News Opinion and Analysis

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Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump by Alan Dershowitz

Political News and Analysis

Trump and Netanyahu: Both Being Investigated for Made-Up Crimes

by Alan M. Dershowitz

 

November 27, 2019 at 5:00 am

Image result for Netanyahu Trump pictures

Trump and Netanyahu at a joint press conference in Washington, D.C. on February 15, 2017. (Image source: The White House)

 

There are striking similarities, as well as important differences, between the investigations being conducted against American President Donald J. Trump by the US Congress, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was just indicted.

 

 

The most striking similarity is that both are being investigated for actions that their legislatures have not explicitly made criminal. Moreover, no legislature in any country governed by the rule of law would ever enact a general statute criminalizing such conduct.

 

 

The investigations of these two controversial leaders are based on using general laws that have never previously been deemed to apply to the conduct at issue and stretching them to target specific political figures.

 

 

Netanyahu has been indicted for bribery on the ground that he allegedly agreed to help a media company in exchange for more positive coverage and/or less negative coverage. There are disputes about the facts, but even if they are viewed in the light least favorable to Netanyahu, they do not constitute the crime of bribery.

 

 

Nor would the Knesset ever enact a statute making it a crime for a member of Knesset to cast a vote in order to get good media coverage. If such a law was ever passed, the entire Knesset would be in prison.

 

 

Politicians always seek good coverage and many vote with that in mind. Some even negotiate good coverage in advance of voting. That is why they have press secretaries and media consultants.

 

 

Nor could a reasonable statute be drafted that covered Netanyahu’s alleged conduct, but not that of other Knesset members who bartered their votes for good coverage. That is why no legislature in a country governed by the rule of law has ever made positive media coverage the “quid” or “quo” necessary for a bribery conviction, and that is why the bribery indictment of Netanyahu should not be upheld by the courts.

 

 

Upholding a conviction based on positive media coverage would endanger both the freedom of the press and democratic processes of governance.

 

 

Prosecutors should stay out of the interactions between politicians and the media unless specifically defined crimes, as distinguished from arguable political sins, are committed, and no one should ever be prosecuted for actions that were never made criminal, and would never be made criminal, by the legislature.

 

 

President Trump is also being investigated for alleged bribery. Originally the Democrats thought they could impeach him for non-criminal conduct, such as alleged maladministration, abuse of office or immoral conduct.

 

 

I think they have now been convinced by me and others that no impeachment would be constitutional unless the President were found guilty of the crimes specified in the Constitution, namely, “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

 

 

So the Democratic leadership has now settled on bribery as an offence for which they can impeach President Trump. The problem with that approach — similar to the problem with the Israeli approach against Netanyahu — is that it is simply not a crime for a President to use his power over foreign policy for political, partisan or even personal advantage.

 

 

Imagine Congress trying to pass a law defining what would constitute a criminal abuse of the foreign policy power, as distinguished from a political or moral abuse.

 

 

Presidents have even engaged in military actions for political gain. They have given aid to foreign countries to help themselves get elected. They have appointed ambassadors based not on competence but on past and anticipated future political contributions.

 

 

None of these has ever been deemed criminal, and Congress would never dream of enacting a criminal statute that sought to cover such actions.

 

Could it carve out a specific crime based on seeking personal political advantage rather than partisan political advantage? I doubt it. But even if it could parse such a statute, it has not done so. And if it has not done so, neither Congress nor prosecutors can seek to criminalize the exercise of a President’s foreign policy power on the ground that they do not like the way he used it or even if he abused it.

 

 

The central aspect of the rule of law is that no one may be investigated, prosecuted or impeached unless his conduct violates pre-existing and unambiguous prohibitions. Neither Congress nor prosecutors can make it up as they go along, because they, too, are not above the law.

 

 

Now to the differences. Israel is a parliamentary democracy in which the Prime Minister can be removed by a simple vote of no confidence. There is no requirement of, or need for, an impeachment mechanism.

 

 

The United States, on the other hand, is a Republic with separation of powers and checks and balances. The Framers, led by James Madison, saw the impeachment power as central to preserving our Republic and not turning it into a parliamentary democracy.

 

 

That is why they rejected a proposal that would have permitted impeachment on the ground of “maladministration.” Such an open-ended criteria, according to Madison, would have resulted in a situation in which the President served at the will of Congress.

 

 

That is why Madison insisted on the specific criteria for impeachment that the Framers ultimately accepted.

 

 

Although the differences between Israel and the United States are significant, they share in common the rule of law. Under the rule of law, properly applied, neither Netanyahu nor Trump should be deemed guilty of bribery.

 

 

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of The Case Against the Democratic House Impeaching Trump, Skyhorse Publishing, 2019, and Guilt by Accusation, Skyhorse publishing, 2019

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