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

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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

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 Subscribe:  www.israel-commentary.orgFacebook: 1) Israel Commentary 2) Jerome S. KaufmanTwitter: 1) @israelcomment    2) @schmice (Jerry Kaufman)

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

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.

(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


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

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


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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)


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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