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 explains Free Health Care.

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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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Sec.Pompeo Busts Settlements Judea Samaria ‘Occupation’ Myth

Political News Opinion and Analysis

Sec. of State Pompeo Busts  Judea Samaria ‘Occupation’ Myth

https://www.wsj.com/articles/pompeo-busts-the-occupation-myth-11574207220

The Claim that Israeli settlements are illegal was flimsy in 1978 and ridiculous in 2019.

Map below of Biblical Israel showing the homeland of the Jews on both sides of  Jordan River extending all the way to Euphrates River in present day Iraq!  

There was never a country of Jordan until the League of Nations arbitrarily created it after WWI!

By Eugene Kontorovich

The Wall Street Journal  Nov. 19, 2019

Israeli settlements  West Bank do not violate international law. That is now America’s official view, announced Monday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The historic decision repudiates conclusions of  1978 State Department memorandum.

For decades, Israel’s detractors have appealed to consensus, asserting that settlements are illegal because the entire international community agrees they are illegal. As with Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, the Trump administration has refused to be cowed by a hollow consensus. By dissenting, the U.S. has destroyed both the consensus and the frail arguments that relied on it.

The four-page 1978 memo, written by legal adviser Herbert Hansell, was hardly a thorough study. It painted with broad strokes across several issues and cited no precedent for its key conclusions. Most important, its legal analysis of occupation and settlements has never been applied, by the U.S. or anyone else, to any other comparable situation.

Hansell’s memo took two analytic steps. First, it concluded that Israel was an “occupying power” in the West Bank. Next, it invoked an obscure provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which says the “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies.” Hansell concluded that Jews who have moved past the Green Line into disputed territory have somehow been “deported or transferred” there by the state of Israel.

Under international law, occupation occurs when a country takes over the sovereign territory of another country. But the West Bank was never part of Jordan, which seized it in 1949 and ethnically cleansed its entire Jewish population. Nor was it ever the site of an Arab Palestinian state.

Moreover, a country cannot occupy territory to which it has sovereign title, and Israel has the strongest claim to the land. International law holds that a new country inherits the borders of the prior geopolitical unit in that territory. Israel was preceded by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, whose borders included the West Bank. Hansell’s memo fails to discuss this principle for determining borders, which has been applied everywhere from Syria and Lebanon to post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine.

Even on its own terms, the memo’s conclusions no longer apply. Because occupation is part of the law of war, Hansell wrote, the state of occupation would end if Israel entered into a peace treaty with Jordan. In 1994 Jerusalem and Amman signed a full and unconditional peace treaty, but the State Department neglected to update the memo.

Even if there were an occupation, the notion that it creates an impermeable demographic bubble around the territory—no Jew can move in—has no basis in the history or application of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Almost every prolonged occupation since 1949—from the Allies’ 40-year administration of West Berlin to Turkey’s 2016 occupation of northern Syria—has seen population movement into the occupied territory. In none of these cases has the U.S., or the United Nations, ever claimed a violation of this Geneva Convention provision.

Mr. Pompeo’s action shows the U.S. understands that we can’t have one international law for one country and another for the rest of the world.

Mr. Kontorovich is professor at George Mason University Scalia Law School.

Also view:   Eugene Rostow:

Jun 14, 2019 – For those under gross misconception Israelis are “on Arab land“. “Nothing could be further from the truth. …
and primary producer UN Resolution 242 lsraeli Settlements Judea, Samaria, Gaza www.israelcommentary.org.

 

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Democrat Candidates  Blackmail our Best Ally in Middle East – Israel

US Political News Opinion, Analysis

US Military Aid to Israel, Democrat Presidential Candidates

Meeting 10/31/’19 following slaying of Islamic State (ISIS) leader Baghdadi

Democrats Debate Military Aid to Israel as Leverage in Disputes?

Trump Administration and Republicans describe Israel as our best ally in Middle East

Redacted from an article by Sabrina Siddiqui

Wall Street Journal Oct. 31, 2019

WASHINGTON—U. S. military aid to Israel has emerged as the latest flashpoint in the Democratic presidential primary, evidence of a split in the party being driven by its resurgent progressive wing.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said this week that if he were elected president, Israel would have to “fundamentally change” its relationship to the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian enclave controlled by the militant group Hamas, to continue receiving aid.

“We cannot give it carte blanche to the Israeli government,” he told a raucous crowd in Washington at an annual convention hosted by J Street, a progressive Jewish advocacy group. “What is going on in Gaza right now is absolutely inhumane, it is unacceptable, it is unsustainable.”  (and it has very lttle to do with Israel – rather the complete greed of Hamas that runs it area for their own purposes. Aid not filtering down to the Gaza citizens.) jsk

Democratic presidential candidates Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have expressed openness to using U.S. aid as leverage to persuade the Israeli government to rein in the expansion of settlements in Palestinian territory.

Others in the running were more skeptical or rejected the idea of placing conditions on military assistance.

Democrats are under pressure from progressives to tack to the left on a range of issues, from health care and taxes to the environment and guns. Many in the party are also willing to re-examine the decades-old U.S.-Israel relationship, long regarded as sacrosanct.

Many Democrats had already distanced themselves from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his discord with President Obama. Mr. Netanyahu has a close relationship with President Trump.

Most 2020 Democratic contenders have expressed support for re-entering the Iran nuclear deal, a signature Obama policy that drew intense opposition from Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Trump withdrew from the accord in 2018. The Democrats seeking the White House also have been unanimous in advocating for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict..

The push has drawn opposition from pro-Israel factions in Washington.

“Given the growing and immediate threats to Israel from Iran and its proxies, we should certainly not attach conditions to protecting our ally’s security,” AIPAC  spokesman Marshall Wittmann said.

Mr. Sanders, who is vying to be the first Jewish (in name only. Sanders is the epitome of the Apostate Jew – doing all things against Jews and Israel he can to prove to the non-Jews, he is not Jewish. Sorry, Kapo Sanders, Hitler proved that tactic will not work.) jsk

Speaking at the J Street convention on Monday, Mr. Buttigieg said the U.S. should ensure that funding for Israel “does not get turned into U.S. taxpayer support for a move like annexation” of occupied territories on the West Bank. Ms. Warren, who addressed the conference in a video, echoed Mr. Buttigieg’s view, saying the U.S. must “create consequences for problematic behavior.”

Joe Biden also issued a video message to the J Street gathering, in which he said Israel “needs to stop” its settlement activity but made no mention of U.S. aid. His campaign didn’t return a request for comment.

“That wouldn’t be my first move, [though] I would not take that off the table,” said former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar avoided the question, stating: “It’s not a good idea to negotiate these things right now.” Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet rejected the idea.

pastedGraphic.pngIsrael for decades has been the leading recipient of American aid. During the Cold War, the U.S. viewed Israel, the only democracy in the region, as a bulwark against creeping Soviet influence; since then, mutual security interests and pro-Israeli public sentiment in the U.S. have strengthened the alliance.

But in recent years, U.S. attitudes toward the Israeli government have shifted generationally and along partisan lines. A Pew Research Center poll conducted in April found that just 27% of Americans under the age of 30 held a favorable view toward the Israeli government. The same survey found a partisan divide, with 61% of Republicans holding a favorable view of the Israeli government compared with 26% of Democrats. A majority of the American public continues to sympathize with Israel over the Palestinians, according to numerous polls.

Mr. Trump’s support for Mr. Netanyahu has also sharpened the partisan lens. A majority of American Jewish voters identify as Democrats, with 69% favoring Mr. Obama in 2012 and 71% backing Mrs. Clinton in 2016. But Mr. Trump’s overtures to Israel have resonated with the Republican base—and evangelical voters in particular. Mr. Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and he has called Democrats’ criticism of Israel anti-Semitic.

In 2015, Mr. Netanyahu coordinated with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill to address a Joint Session of Congress without notifying the Obama White House first. Mr. Netanyahu blasted the Iran deal in his remarks, which were boycotted by roughly 60 congressional Democrats

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Pres. Trump’s “Error” with Kurds, Lindsay Graham

US Political News Opinion and Analysis
Pres. Trump’s “Error” with Kurds and Syria,  Lindsay Graham
The Washington Times – Tuesday, October 22, 2019

“Having been in combat, I have a serious problem with those Trump-bashing armchair warriors who wanted our troops to stay in Syria. These people  include my senator, Lindsay Graham,  who knows exactly nothing about being in combat.

President Trump’s “Error”  with Kurds and Syria? Many people were saying that if our military were in Syria, it would deter Turkey from invading. What makes anyone think that Turkey would send thousands of troops to invade Syria — and then suddenly stop because we were there?

Mr. Graham and those supporting him are dead wrong for wanting us to stay in Syria with the Russians to support the Kurds. 

I am a former Marine squad leader in 60 mortars in Vietnam (now on a 100 percent disability from that war). We captured Russian surface-to-air-missiles and killed Russian advisers supporting North Vietnam. 

Trusting them would have been like asking a bank robber to guard a bank.

Further, according to news reports Turkey houses 50 of our nukes, and thanks to President Obama’s   cowardice there are Syrian factions, Russians, Iranians, the Islamic State, the Kurds and now the Turks —all in one arena!

One of our supposed allies in NATO is Turkey. And the other power brokers in the area are Russia, Iran and Syria. So I ask: With whom were we supposed to side in order to protect the Kurds?

What nobody else saw (or didn’t want to see) except Mr. Trump, was an untenable situation that would have stuck us in the middle of chaos. 

From my perspective, staying in a battle zone with so many factions and untrustworthy countries would have been a  disaster. Mr. Trump made his adjustment to take our military out of harm’s way. If Mr. Graham and the others  can’t understand that, they should put on flak jackets and helmets and put boots on the ground in a combat zone. Then tell us all about war.”

By Marine Squad Leader Gregory T. Topliff

Warrenville, South Carolina

II  President Trump Decision Proves Correct 

Wall Street Journal Nov. 5, 2019

Turkey and Syria head for fight over town. Turkey’s weekslong efforts to seize Kurdish-held territories, including the town of Tal Tamar, have raised tensions despite a recent agreement between Moscow and Ankara to prevent hostilities.

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/01/21/world/22dc-military/merlin_148479789_9a380689-d53d-4a31-9e7a-565406b65a83-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto

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Hillary’s Favorite – Tulsi Gabbard?

Hillary/Gabbard Battle

Redacted from an in-depth article by Christopher W. Holton

 Hillary Clinton’s deranged allegations that she is a “Russian asset .”Tulsi Gabbard, one of the minor candidates from the 20-strong field of Democrat presidential hopefuls, has been getting a considerable amount of attention due to

While it is true that Kremlin-backed web sites have published numerous articles about Gabbard, no sober person really believes she is a “Russian asset.” In my opinion the Russians like her because of her positions on U.S. national security, which, if they ever became policy, would essentially open great opportunities for Vladimir Putin to assert Russian influence in the world at America’s expense.

www.israel-commentary.org

What warrants much more scrutiny are Gabbard’s bizarre, dangerous views on Iran. Her public statements on Iran almost amount to shilling for the Ayatollahs. She clearly admires Iran and she takes a “blame America first” position on relations between Iran and the U.S.

Her expressed knowledge of Iran-U.S. history is superficial at best.

Gabbard: The Ayatollahs’ Favorite Candidate

Her pro-Iran stance, combined with her anti-Semitic support for anti-BDS legislation directed at Israel put her far outside the mainstream of U.S. politics.

Gabbard makes her views on Iran a feature of her stance on the issues. On her campaign web site she dedicates a page to Iran.

It’s too bad that so much of what she says there just isn’t true

Another claim that Gabbard makes is that war with Iran would strengthen Al Qaeda. There is just as much evidence that going to war with Iran would weaken Al Qaeda as there is evidence that it would strengthen Iran.

After all, Iran has provided Al Qaeda with safe haven and, according to a verdict in U.S. federal court, Iran provided Al Qaeda with support for the September 11 attacks. Beyond that, Iran has a decades-long history of relations with Al Qaeda.

Gabbard supported the flawed, fraudulent Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA). The JCPOA actually granted Iran a clear path to nuclear weapons, was largely unverifiable and failed to address Iran’s ballistic missile program, and sponsorship of terrorism.

To this day, Gabbard calls for the U.S. to re-enter that deal which Iran has violated and which overtly clears the way for Iran to have nuclear weapons in the future.

Gabbard makes an outrageously oversimplified statement about Iran on her web site that shows, at best, a superficial understanding of our history with Iran.

Make no mistake, the 1979 Islamic Revolution was carried out to establish an Islamic state ruled by sharia. Period. From the start the Ayatollahs were hostile to the U.S. and violated international law in invading our embassy in Tehran and taking diplomatic personnel hostage.

Iran went on to become the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism. Successive Democrat and Republican administrations have agreed on this. Not only do the Iranians sponsor Hezbollah, an organization responsible for killing hundred of Americans, they sponsor HAMAS, a Sunni jihadist organization bent on replacing Israel with an Islamic state ruled by sharia. As mentioned previously, Iran has also helped Al Qaeda.

 Rather than intervening in Iran as Gabbard claims in “Blame America First” fashion, the U.S. has in fact shown incredible restraint in dealing with Iran. Consider some of the atrocities committed by Iran over the years.

Here is a partial list of what the Ayatollahs have done over the past 40 years:

So, while Tulsi Gabbard portrays the Ayatollahs as victims, the fact is they are perpetrators.

Preventing the Ayatollahs from obtaining nuclear weapons is the most urgent national security imperative today. Should the ayatollahs become armed with nuclear weapons, future generations will ask of us: “How did they ever let it happen?”

On November 4, 1979, Iranian “students” stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held 52 hostages for 444 days until January 1981.

It is worth noting at this point that Hezbollah is essentially a branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It could be regarded as an Iranian Foreign Legion.

In April 1983, Iranian-backed Hezbollah carried out an Islamikaze bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 17 Americans.

On October 23, 1983, Iranian-backed Hezbollah carried out an Islamikaze bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks at the Beirut airport. 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers were killed in that attack.

On April 14, 1988, the USS Samuel B. Roberts struck a mine illegally laid by Iran in the Persian Gulf, wounding 69 U.S. sailors.

In 1996, Iran, and its Jihadist terrorist client, Hezbollah, took part in the bombing of the U.S. Khobar Towers barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. service men and women and wounding 372 more.

In June 2004, two Iranian security guards at Iran’s U.N. mission in New York were expelled after they were caught conducting reconnaissance of sensitive sites in New York.

Back in 2010, it was revealed that two Jihadis convicted in Manhattan for terrorist conspiracy had ties to Iran. The two had plotted to bomb JFK airport.

For those who recognize the threat from Sunni jihadists, but not Iran, they best take a closer look. Iran has a long history of supporting Sunni jihad, notably HAMAS. But even beyond HAMAS, the Wikileaks documents disclosed in 2010 direct ties between Iranian leaders and Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders,

Hezbollah and Al Qaeda cooperation has been documented elsewhere for some time, as detailed by the non-partisan Council on Foreign Relations.

In November 2017, the CIA released files taken from the Osama Bin Laden raid showing evidence of ties between Iran and Al Qaeda.

Also in 2010, US Army General Ray Odierno called out Iran for the violence in Iraq.

In 2011, U.S. law enforcement disrupted a plot involving the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. by bombing a restaurant in Washington DC. An Iranian-American was sentenced to 25 years for his role in the plot.

In 2012, various intelligence services uncovered terrorist plots involving the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah in countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of the targets included American facilities.

In March 2012, the head of the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division, revealed to a Congressional panel that Iranian personnel had been caught conducting reconnaissance of New York targets at least a half dozen times since 9/11.

In January 2016, Iran seized and held 10 U.S. Navy sailors in the Persian Gulf.

In June 2017, two Hezbollah jihadists were arrested in Dearborn, Michigan for conducting surveillance of law enforcement and military facilities in New York and the Panama Canal. The investigation revealed a previously unknown level of Hezbollah operational activity in North America.

In April 2018, a U.S. federal judge ordered Iran to pay $6 billion to the families of 9/11 victims for Iran’s “material support” for Al Qaeda.

In August 2018, two Iranian agents were arrested for conducting surveillance of Jewish targets in Chicago.

In September 2018, the U.S. closed diplomatic facilities in Iraq after repeated rocket attacks and threats from Iranian-backed militias there.

In April of this year, the Pentagon declassified a report indicating that Iran was responsible for the death of 608 U.S. GIs in Iraq during the insurgency there.

Recently, the former head of the security police in Venezuela, who defected from the Maduro regime there, disclosed that Iran’s terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, was active in Venezuela.

In June, German intelligence reported that Iran had actively sought weapons proliferation technology for its nuclear program during 2018—during a period in which Iran was supposed to be adhering to the infamous nuclear deal.

“Incidentally, Gabbard voted for Bernie Sanders for president in 2016”

And … Gabbard just got an endorsement for Democratic from former KKK leader David Duke. I doubt it was solicited but we all know politics makes strange bedfellows or not so strange?  (jsk)

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President Trump eliminates another Obama sell-out to China

US Israel news and articles

President Trump Rids Major U.S. Container Port of Chinese Communist Control

JUDICIAL WATCH,  OCTOBER 08, 2019

Under a long-term deal sealed by the Obama administration, a Chinese Communist company was set to control the second-busiest container port in the United States. 

In an unreported Trump administration victory, the Communists are out after a drawn-out national security review forced a unit of China-based COSCO Shipping Holdings Co. (Orient Overseas Container Line—OOCL) to sell the cherished container terminal business, which handles among the largest freight of imports into the U.S.

It all started with a 40-year container terminal lease between the Port of Long Beach in southern California and Hong Kong. The Obama administration proudly signed the agreement in 2012 giving China control of America’s second-largest container port behind the nearby Port of Los Angeles. 

One of the Trump administration’s first big moves was to get the Communists out of the Port of Long Beach. After a national security review and federal intervention, the Long Beach terminal business, which handles millions of containers annually, is finally being sold to an Australian company called Macquarie Infrastructure Partners. That essentially kills China’s decades-long contract with the Obama administration.

 The deal never should have been signed in the first place considering the facility’s size, significance and the national security issues associated with a hostile foreign government controlling it. The southern California port is the premier U.S. gateway for trans-Pacific trade, according to its website, and handles trade valued at more than $194 billion annually. 

It is one of the few ports that can accommodate the world’s largest vessels and serves 140 shipping lines with connections to 217 seaports around the world. The facility encompasses 3,200 acres with 31 miles of waterfront, 10 piers, 62 berths and 68 post-Panamax gantry cranes. In 2018, the Long Beach port handled more than 8 million container units, achieving the busiest year in its history.

Removing Chinese Communists from this essential port is a tremendous feat and a huge victory for U.S. national security. You’d never know it because the media, consumed with the impeachment debacle, has ignored this important achievement. The only coverage of the finalized transfer is found in Long Beach’s local newspaper, which published a brief article omitting important background information on the Trump administration’s work to take back the terminal from the Communists. 

The story makes it seem like a regular business transaction in which “a Chinese state-owned company, reached a deal to sell the terminal, one of the busiest in the port, for $1.78 billion.” The piece also quotes the Port of Long Beach’s deputy executive director saying that the transaction process was intricate and involved one of “our most valuable port assets.”

Buried at the bottom of the article is a sentence mentioning that the U.S. government, which regulates mergers for antitrust and security reasons, stepped in and required COSCO to sell its rights to the container terminal.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2018/01/13/associate-hillary-clinton-uranium-one-russian-bribery-case-indicted

II  Judicial Watch Believes The State Dept. Spied On Conservative Journalists And Trump Allies

Beth Baumann

Oct 14, 2019 10:45 PM

Government watchdog group Judicial Watch last week filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the State Department. The group believes prominent conservative journalists, public figures and those with ties to President Donald Trump were being monitored by the State Department in Ukraine under the direction of ousted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who was appointed to her post by President Barack Obama. 

Specifically, Judicial Watch believes the following people were being monitored:

Jack Posobiec, One America News Network Host

Donald Trump Jr., son of President Donald Trump

Laura Ingraham, Fox News Host

Sean Hannity, Fox News Host

Michael McFaul, President Obama’s Ambassador to Russia

Dan Bongino, Fox News Contributor

Ryan Saavedra, Reporter at the Daily Wire

Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s Personal Attorney

Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Former Strategist for President Trump and host of Salem’s “America First” Radio Program

John Solomon, Executive Vice President at The Hill

Lou Dobbs, Fox Business Host

Pamela Geller, Political Commentator

Sara Carter, Investigative Reporter and Fox News Contributor

One America News Network’s Jack Posobiec served in the intelligence community and knows very well that, if true, this surveillance is a direct violation of people’s Constitutional rights – First and Fourth Amendments”

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President Trump did not betray the Kurds

Caroline Glick is an award-winning columnist and author of “The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.”

Trump did not betray the Kurds

The US has neither major influence in Syria nor an interest in confronting Turkey to protect the Kurds. Trump avoided war with Turkey this week and began extracting America from an open-ended commitment to the Kurds it never made.

The near-consensus view of US President Donald Trump’s decision to remove American special forces from the Syrian border with Turkey is that Trump is enabling a Turkish invasion and double-crossing the Syrian Kurds who have fought with the Americans for five years against the Islamic State group. Trump’s move, the thinking goes, harms US credibility and undermines US power in the region and throughout the world.

There are several problems with this narrative. The first is that it assumes that until this week, the US had power and influence in Syria when in fact, by design, the US went to great lengths to limit its ability to influence events there.

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The war in Syria broke out in 2011 as a popular insurrection by Syrian Sunnis against the Iranian-sponsored regime of President Bashar Assad. The Obama administration responded by declaring US support for Assad’s overthrow. But the declaration was empty. The administration sat on its thumbs as the regime’s atrocities mounted. It supported a feckless Turkish effort to raise a resistance army dominated by jihadist elements aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.

President Barack Obama infamously issued his “red line” regarding the use of chemical weapons against civilians by Assad, which he repudiated the moment it was crossed.

As ISIS forces gathered in Iraq and Syria, Obama shrugged them off as a “JV squad.” When the JVs in ISIS took over a third of Iraqi and Syrian territory, Obama did nothing.

As Lee Smith recalled in January in The New York Post, Obama only decided to do something about ISIS in late 2014 after the group beheaded a number of American journalists and posted their decapitations on social media.

The timing was problematic for Obama.

In 2014 Obama was negotiating his nuclear deal with Iran. The deal, falsely presented as a nonproliferation pact, actually enabled Iran – the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism – to develop both nuclear weapons and the missile systems required to deliver them. The true purpose of the deal was not to block Iran’s nuclear aspirations but to realign US Middle East policy away from the Sunnis and Israel and toward Iran.

Given its goal of embracing Iran, the Obama administration had no interest in harming Assad, Iran’s Syrian factotum. It had no interest in blocking Iran’s ally Russia from using the war in Syria as a means to reassert Moscow’s power in the Middle East.

Obama deployed around a thousand forces to Syria. Their limited numbers and radically constrained mandate made it impossible for the Americans to have a major effect on events in the country. They weren’t allowed to act against Assad or Iran. They were tasked solely with fighting ISIS. Obama instituted draconian rules of engagement that made achieving even that limited goal all but impossible.

During his tenure as Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton hoped to revise the US mandate to enable US forces to be used against Iran in Syria. Bolton’s plan was strategically sound. Trump rejected it largely because it was a recipe for widening US involvement in Syria far beyond what the American public – and Trump himself – were willing to countenance.

In other words, the claim that the US has major influence in Syria is wrong. It does not have such influence and is unwilling to pay the price of developing such influence.

This brings us to the second flaw in the narrative about Trump’s removal of US forces from the Syrian border with Turkey.

The underlying assumption of the criticism is that America has an interest in confronting Turkey to protect the Kurds.

This misconception, like the misconception regarding US power and influence in Syria, is borne of a misunderstanding of Obama’s Middle East policies. Aside from ISIS’s direct victims, the major casualty of Obama’s deliberately feckless anti-ISIS campaign was the US alliance with Turkey. Whereas the US chose to work with the Kurds because they were supportive of Assad and Iran, the Turks view the Syrian Kurdish YPG as a sister militia to the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Marxist PKK has been fighting a guerilla war against Turkey for decades. The State Department designates the PKK as a terrorist organization responsible for the death of thousands of Turkish nationals. Not surprisingly then, the Turks viewed the US-Kurdish collaboration against ISIS as an anti-Turkish campaign.

Throughout the years of US-Kurdish cooperation, many have made the case that the Kurds are a better ally to the US than Turkey. The case is compelling not merely because the Kurds have fought well.

Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has stood against the US and its interests far more often than it has stood with it. Across a spectrum of issues, from Israel to human rights, Hamas and ISIS to Turkish aggression against Cyprus, Greece, and Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean, to upholding US economic sanctions against Iran and beyond, for nearly 20 years, Erdoğan’s Turkey has distinguished itself as a strategic threat to America’s core interests and policies and those of its closest allies in the Middle East.

Despite the compelling, ever-growing body of evidence that the time has come to reassess US-Turkish ties, the Pentagon refuses to engage the issue. The Pentagon has rejected the suggestion that the US remove its nuclear weapons from Incirlik airbase in Turkey or diminish Incirlik’s centrality to US air operations in Central Asia and the Middle East. The same is true of US dependence on Turkish naval bases.

Given the Pentagon’s position, there is no chance that the US would consider entering an armed conflict with Turkey on behalf of the Kurds.

The Kurds are a tragic people. The Kurds, who live as persecuted minorities in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, have been denied the right of self-determination for the past hundred years. But then, the Kurds have squandered every opportunity they have had to assert independence. The closest they came to achieving self-determination was in Iraq in 2017. In Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurds have governed themselves effectively since 1992.

In 2017, they overwhelmingly passed a referendum calling for Iraqi Kurdistan to secede from Iraq and form an independent state. Instead of joining forces to achieve their long-held dream, the Kurdish leaders in Iraq worked against one another. One faction, in alliance with Iran, blocked implementation of the referendum and then did nothing as Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk was overrun by Iraqi government forces.

The Kurds in Iraq are far more capable of defending themselves than the Kurds of Syria. Taking on the defense of Syria’s Kurds would commit the US to an open-ended presence in Syria and justify Turkish antagonism. America’s interests would not be advanced. They would be harmed, particularly in light of the YPG’s selling trait for Obama – its warm ties to Assad and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

But Trump also made clear that the US did not support the Turkish move. In subsequent statements, Trump repeatedly pledged to destroy the Turkish economy if Turkey commits atrocities against the Kurds.

Here it is critical to note that Trump did not remove US forces from Syria. They are still deployed along the border crossing between Jordan, Iraq, and Syria to block Iran from moving forces and materiel to Syria and Lebanon. They are still blocking Russian and Syrian forces from taking over the oil fields along the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

Aside from defeating ISIS, these missions are the principle strategic achievements of the US forces in Syria. For now, they are being maintained. Will Turkey’s invasion enable ISIS to reassert itself in Syria and beyond?

Perhaps. But here too, as Trump made clear this week, it is not America’s job to serve as the permanent jailor of ISIS. European forces are just as capable of serving as guards as Americans are. America’s role is not to stay in Syria forever. It is to beat down threats to US and world security as they emerge and then let others – Turks, Kurds, Europeans, Russians, UN peacekeepers – maintain the new, safer status quo.

The final assumption of the narrative regarding Trump’s moves in Syria is that by moving its forces away from the border ahead of the Turkish invasion, Trump harmed regional stability and America’s reputation as a trustworthy ally.

On the latter issue, Trump has spent the better part of his term in office rebuilding America’s credibility as an ally after Obama effectively abandoned the Sunnis and Israel in favor of Iran. To the extent that Trump has harmed US credibility, he didn’t do it in Syria this week by rejecting war with Turkey. He did it last month by failing to retaliate militarily against Iran’s brazen military attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations. Whereas the US has no commitment to protect the Kurds, the US’s central commitment in the Middle East for the past 70 years has been the protection of Saudi oil installations and maintaining the safety of maritime routes in and around the Persian Gulf.

The best move Trump can make now in light of the fake narrative of his treachery toward the Kurds is to finally retaliate against Iran. A well-conceived and limited US strike against Iranian missile and drone installations would restore America’s posture as the dominant power in the Persian Gulf and prevent the further destabilization of the Saudi regime and the backsliding of the UAE toward Iran.

As for Syria, it is impossible to know what the future holds for the Kurds, the Turks, the Iranians, Assad, or anyone else. But what is clear enough is that Trump avoided war with Turkey this week. And he began extracting America from an open-ended commitment to the Kurds it never made and never intended to fulfill.

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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution

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From: Imprimus, a publication of Hillsdale College,  Hillsdale,Michigan

September 2019 • Volume 48, Number 9

By Myron Magnet

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on September 17, 2019, by Myron Magnet at Hillsdale College’s Constitution Day Celebration in Washington, D.C.  The speech presents passages from Mr. Magnet’s outstanding book on Justice Clarence Thomas

From the speech:

Clarence Thomas is our era’s most consequential jurist, as radical as he is brave. During his almost three decades on the bench, he has been laying out a blueprint for remaking Supreme Court jurisprudence.

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His template is the Constitution as the Framers wrote it during that hot summer in Philadelphia 232 years ago, when they aimed to design “good government from reflection and choice,” as Alexander Hamilton put it in the first Federalist, rather than settle for a regime formed, as are most in history, by “accident and force.”

What the Framers envisioned was a self-governing republic. Citizens would no longer be ruled. Under laws made by their elected representatives, they would be free to work out their own happiness in their own way, in their families and local communities.

But since those elected representatives are born with the same selfish impulses as everyone else—the same all-too-human nature that makes government necessary in the first place—the Framers took care to limit their powers and to hedge them with checks and balances, to prevent the servants of the sovereign people from becoming their masters.

The Framers strove to avoid at all costs what they called an “elective despotism,” understanding that elections alone don’t ensure liberty.

Did they achieve their goal perfectly, even with the first ten amendments that form the Bill of Rights? No—and they recognized that. It took the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments—following a fearsome war—to end the evil of slavery that marred the Framers’ creation, but that they couldn’t abolish summarily if they wanted to get the document adopted.

Thereafter, it took the Nineteenth Amendment to give women the vote, a measure that followed inexorably from the principles of the American Revolution.

During the ratification debates, one gloomy critic prophesied that if citizens ratified the Constitution, “the forms of republican government” would soon exist “in appearance only” in America, as had occurred in ancient Rome.

American republicanism would indeed eventually decline, but the decline took a century to begin and unfolded with much less malice than it did at the end of the Roman Republic. Nor was it due to some defect in the Constitution, but rather to repeated undermining by the Supreme Court, the president, and the Congress.

The result today is a crisis of legitimacy, fueling the anger with which Americans now glare at one another. Half of us believe we live under the old Constitution, with its guarantee of liberty and its expectation of self-reliance.

The other half believe in a “living constitution”—a regime that empowers the Supreme Court to sit as a permanent constitutional convention, issuing decrees that keep our government evolving with modernity’s changing conditions.

The living constitution also permits countless supposedly expert administrative agencies, like the SEC and the EPA, to make rules like a legislature, administer them like an executive, and adjudicate and punish infractions of them like a judiciary.

To the Old Constitutionalists, this government of decrees issued by bureaucrats and judges is not democratic self-government but something more like tyranny—hard or soft, depending on whether or not you are caught in the unelected rulers’ clutches.

To the Living Constitutionalists, on the other hand, government by agency experts and Ivy League-trained judges—making rules for a progressive society (to use their language) and guided by enlightened principles of social justice that favor the “disadvantaged” and other victim groups—constitutes real democracy.

So today we have the Freedom Party versus the Fairness Party, with unelected bureaucrats and judges saying what fairness is.

This is the constitutional deformation that Justice Thomas, an Old Constitutionalist in capital letters, has striven to repair. If the Framers had wanted a constitution that evolved by judicial ruling, Thomas says, they could have stuck with the unwritten British constitution that governed the American colonists in just that way for 150 years before the Revolution.

But Americans chose a written constitution, whose meaning, as the Framers and the state ratifying conventions understood it, does not change—and whose purpose remains, as the Preamble states, to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Similarly, if later developments fell away from that ideal, it is still perfectible, and Thomas takes it as his job—his calling, he says—to perfect it. And that can mean that where earlier Supreme Court decisions have deviated from what the document and its amendments say, it is the duty of today’s justices to overrule them.

To contemporary lawyers and law professors, this idea of annulling so-called settled law is shockingly radical. It explains why most of Thomas’s opinions are either dissents from the Court’s ruling or concurrences in the Court’s ruling but not its reasoning, often because Thomas rejects the precedent on which the majority relies.

Myron Magnet is editor-at-large of City Journal, where he served as editor from 1994 to 2007. He earned an M.A. from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, where he also taught for several years. A 2008 recipient of the National Humanities Medal, he has written for numerous publications, including Commentary, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He is the author of several books, including The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735-1817 and, most recently, Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution.

https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/clarence-thomas-lost-constitution/

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Pakistan Gives Pass to China’s Oppression of Muslims

US Israel news and articles

Prime Minister Imran Khan denounces Western ‘Islamophobia’ but shrugs at the Uighur plight within China

Redacted from an in-depth article by Sadanand Dhume

Wall Street Journal. Oct. 3, 2019

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s foreign-policy agenda carries a contradiction at its heart. Mr. Khan seeks to project himself as a global defender of Islam, but he won’t utter a peep about one of the most egregious persecutions of Muslims: China’s repression of Xinjiang’s Uighur and its project to Sinicize Islam.

In New York last week, Mr. Khan laid out his vision in a rambling 50-minute address to the United Nations General Assembly. He defended the right of Muslim women in the West to don the hijab. “A woman can take off her clothes in [some] countries, but she can’t put on more clothes,” he said. He declared that “there is no such thing as radical Islam,” only “one Islam and that is the Islam we follow of Prophet Muhammad.”

The prime minister blamed the rise of “Islamophobia” on some “people in the West who deliberately provoked this,” in part by writing novels such as Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses.” He warned that “marginalizing Muslim communities” in Europe “leads to radicalization.” He asked the West to treat the prophet “with sensitivity” akin to how it approaches the Holocaust.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Khan devoted much of his address to attacking India for its decision in August to revoke autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim-majority state. He accused Indian troops of locking in Kashmiris like “animals” and warned of an impending bloodbath that could spiral into a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan.

The prime minister will back his fervor with action. After a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Mr. Khan tweeted that the three Muslim-majority countries would set up a “BBC type English-language” television channel to highlight “Muslim issues” and “fight Islamophobia.” Through this channel, the “issue of blasphemy would be properly contextualized” and “Muslims would be given a dedicated media presence.”

Not everything that Mr. Khan says is unreasonable. You can question his florid rhetoric on Kashmir while acknowledging that India’s heavy-handed actions there have caused needless suffering. And if Pakistan and its friends wish to stand up the world’s most boring TV channel, who are we to complain?

Nevertheless, Mr. Khan’s lecture to the West on how to treat its Muslim minorities is, to put it mildly, deeply hypocritical. He appears to expect Western nations to accommodate orthodox Muslim concerns by curtailing free speech and women’s rights. But China’s wholesale assault on Islam itself elicits only silence.

In Xinjiang province, China has diluted the Muslim majority by shipping in millions of Han Chinese migrants. Authorities have banned names they deem overly religious, including Muhammad, as well as “abnormal” beards and veils in public for women. Uighur Muslims face punishment for fasting during Ramadan. According to detainee reports, the friendly methods employed at Chinese re-education camps for Uighur include forcing religious believers to consume pork and alcohol.

At the Council on Foreign Relations in New York last month,  Imran Khan said his nation’s “special relationship” with China stops him from speaking about the Uighur in public!

What explains this silence? First the obvious answer: Pakistan depends on China for diplomatic, military and economic support. In addition, “there’s a kind of protest reflex in some parts of the Muslim world that focuses on the West,” says Afshin Molavi, an expert on Middle East-Asia ties at Johns Hopkins University. “This reflex doesn’t exist with China.”

Unfortunately for Pakistan—and luckily for the rest of us—pan-Islamism appears to be fading. Hardly any Muslim country wants to risk angering China’s touchy rulers by criticizing their policies. On Kashmir, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, whose support Pakistan could once count on, now place economic ties with New Delhi above solidarity with Islamabad.

This doesn’t mean that Mr. Khan should stop speaking up on behalf of his coreligionists. But if he wants to be taken seriously, he ought to focus more on China’s war on Islam and less on imaginary problems facing Muslims in the West. 

(Unfortunately, the Muslim attack on the West is not “imaginary” but very real and one that the West must immediately address as an existential threat) jsk   

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When the Slave Traders were themselves African

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Those whose ancestors sold slaves to Europeans (via Arab ships)now struggle to come to terms with a painful legacy

Redacted from an in-depth article By Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

The Wall Street Journal Sept. 20, 2019 

This August marked 400 years since the first documented enslaved Africans arrived in the U.S. In 1619, a ship reached the Jamestown settlement in the colony of Virginia, carrying “some 20 and odd Negroes” who were kidnapped from their villages in present-day Angola.

www.israel-commentary.org   (Israel Commentary)

The anniversary coincides with a controversial debate in the U.S. about whether the country owes reparations to the descendants of slaves as compensation for centuries of injustice and inequality. It is a moment for posing questions of historic guilt and responsibility.

But the American side of the story is not the only one. Africans are now also reckoning with their own complicated legacy in the slave trade, and the infamous “Middle Passage” often looks different from across the Atlantic.

Records from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, directed by historian David Eltis at Emory University, show that the majority of captives brought to the U.S. came from Senegal, Gambia, Congo and eastern Nigeria. Europeans oversaw this brutal traffic in human cargo, but they had many local collaborators.

“The organization of the slave trade was structured to have the Europeans stay along the coast lines, relying on African middlemen and merchants to bring the slaves to them,” said Toyin Falola, a Nigerian professor of African studies at the University of Texas at Austin. “The Europeans couldn’t have gone into the interior to get the slaves themselves.”

The anguished debate over slavery in the U.S. is often silent on the role that Africans played. That silence is echoed in many African countries, where there is hardly any national discussion or acknowledgment of the issue. 

Some families have chosen to hide similar histories. “We speak of it in whispers,” said Yunus Mohammed Rafiq, a 44-year-old professor of anthropology from Tanzania who now teaches at New York University’s center in Shanghai. In the 19th century, Mr. Rafiq’s great-great-great-grandfather, Mwarukere, from the Segeju ethnic group, raided villages in Tanzania’s hinterland, sold the majority of his captives to the Arab merchants who supplied Europeans and kept the rest as laborers on his own coconut plantations.

Some families feel no qualms about publicizing their own history. “I’m not ashamed of it because I personally wasn’t directly involved,” said 58-year-old Donald Duke, a lawyer who ran for president in Nigeria’s 2019 elections. He is from the port town of Calabar, home to the Efik ethnic group of Nigeria’s Cross River state.

In the 18th century, some 1.2 million slaves were sold through Calabar, according to the Tulane University historian Randy J. Sparks. The Efik were mostly stevedores and middlemen. They negotiated prices between the white traders and their African partners from the hinterlands, then collected royalties. “Families like mine benefited from that process,” Mr. Duke told me.

The Zambian pastor Saidi Francis Chishimba also feels the need to go public with his family’s history. “In Zambia, in a sense, it is a forgotten history,” said the 45-year-old. “But it is a reality to which history still holds us accountable.” Mr. Chishimba’s grandfather, Ali Saidi Muluwe Wansimba, was from a tribe of slave traders of the Bemba kingdom, who moved from Zanzibar to establish slave markets in Zambia. He grew up hearing this history narrated with great pride by his relatives.

Mr. Chishimba decided that this gruesome history should be openly acknowledged and has since become popular in Zambia for his sermons, radio talks and articles on the impact of the slave trade. He uses them as an opportunity to “demonstrate the grace of God” even in so wicked a practice. He believes, for example, that mixing the races was always in God’s plan and the slave trade was an effective device for dispersing black people from Africa to other parts of the world. “What the devil meant for evil, God used it for good,” he said.

Still, my father does not believe that the descendants of those who took part in the slave trade should now pay for those wrongs. As he points out, buying and selling human beings had been part of many African cultures, as a form of serfdom, long before the first white people landed on our shores. 

“If anyone asks me for reparations,” he said sarcastically, “I will tell them to follow me to my backyard so that I can pluck some money from the tree there and give it to them.”

As for Mr. Rafiq, he agrees that Africans owe something to the descendants of slaves in America—a forthright acknowledgment of their own complicity in the trans-Atlantic trade. “Educated Africans need to rewrite their history, especially postcolonial history, which was a kind of restorative history that tended to marginalize issues like slavery,” he said. “Part of the compensation is telling the story of our part in what is happening to African-Americans today.”

Ms. Nwaubani is a Nigerian writer and journalist. Her debut novel, “I Do Not Come to You by Chance,” won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book.

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Justice Department Inspector Gen. Michael Horowitz details gross FBI misconduct

US Israel news and articles

Former FBI Director James Comey and former acting Director Andrew McCaben finally under intense Justice Dept. investigation

By Kimberley A. Strassel  

Wall Street Journal

Sept. 19, 2019

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz details gross misconduct by officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who first spun the long debunked “collusion” and “obstruction” narrative that liberal and media partisans refuse to quit.

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler held another spectacle hearing Tuesday as part of his impeachment dramaturgy. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski testified to a thronged hearing room and was grilled on Russia interactions and Oval Office discussions. The day produced no new information, yet cable stations broadcast it live and newspapers ran breathless coverage.

A House Oversight subcommittee held its own hearing Wednesday. The room was almost empty; all but a few Democratic members didn’t even bother showing up. Apart from Fox News and a few conservative publications, news organizations ignored it. The featured—and substantive—witness: Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

This is today’s Washington: theater upstaging truth. The headlines go to a long debunked “collusion” and “obstruction” narrative that liberal and media partisans refuse to quit. A press blackout is meanwhile imposed on those investigators—including Mr. Horowitz—who have rooted out gross misconduct by the officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who first spun that narrative.

In contrast to the Lewandowski moment, Mr. Horowitz’s testimony was informative and significant. And in contrast to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s vague testimony, the inspector general demonstrated a whip-sharp command of facts. He was officially there to talk about a standards-and-training panel, the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, of which he is chairman. 

The real merit of the hearing was to bring home the magnitude of the leaking and lying offenses by former FBI Director James Comey (as detailed in an August 2019 inspector-general report) and former acting Director Andrew McCabe (as detailed in a February 2018 inspector-general report). It was momentous to hear Mr. Horowitz acknowledge that his office found enough wrongdoing to require criminal referrals to the Justice Department for two successive heads of the FBI.

“Our concern,” Mr. Horowitz said, “was empowering the FBI director, or frankly any FBI employee or other law-enforcement official, with the authority to decide that they’re not going to follow established norms and procedures because in their view they’ve made a judgment that the individuals they are dealing with can’t be trusted.”

Ohio’s Rep. Jim Jordan asked: So this “wasn’t just information going one way; they were trying to get information from the president as well—is that right?” Mr. Horowitz: “That’s what we’ve reported.

You might think an inspector-general report that excoriates the former head of a powerful agency might be worthy of bipartisan attention. Think again. Democrats avoided Comey questions Wednesday, and Mr. Horowitz told Mr. Jordan that neither the Oversight nor the Judiciary committee has asked him to testify on the August report. Mr. Horowitz was also unaware of any request for testimony on his upcoming report on FBI surveillance.

Democrats talk a lot about their dedication to “oversight” and “truth.” And the media keep promising not to let democracy die in darkness. This week’s tale of two hearings proves otherwise.

Write to kim@wsj.com.

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Kelly Kraft – New US Ambassador to the UN – Addresses US/Israel relationship

US Israel news and articles  

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President Trump wants the members of Congress to be treated just like the rest of American citizens that they exploit daily.

So, many members of Congress are retiring in hopes of “locking-in” their future retirement payments. Currently, their monthly retirement checks are equal to their monthly salaries. They hope to freeze their retirement as it stands. I’m with Trump on this one. Trump is asking everyone to forward this Email to a minimum of 20 people and to ask each one of them to do likewise.

This makes too much sense not to be passed on. In 3 days, most people in the United States will have the message.
This is why the idea should be passed around, regardless of Political Party.

The Trump Rule’s Congressional Reform Act Of 2018: 

1– No Tenure / No Pension.  A Congressman / Woman, collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.  No more perks go with them.

2– Congressman / Woman (past, present & future) participate in Social Security.  All funds in the Congressional Retirement Fund move to the Social Security System immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security System, and Congress participates with the American People.  It may not be used for any other purposes.

3– Congress must purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4– Congress will no longer vote themselves pay increases. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%

5– Congress’s current Healthcare System is terminated, and they participate in the same Healthcare System as the American people.

6– Congress must abide by all the laws they impose on the American people.

7– All contracts with past and present Congressman / Woman are void. The American people did not make these contracts with Congressmen / Women.

The Congress made all these contracts for themselves.  Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.  The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators serving their terms, then going home and back to work, and not get all kinds of freebies!

No wonder THEY’RE FIGHTING THIS TOOTH AND NAIL!

If each person contacts a minimum of 20 people,  It will only take 3 days for most people in the United States to receive this message. It’s time for us to take action now!

 

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Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon welcomed his new American counterpart, Kelly Craft.

By JewishNewsService (JNS)

At a regularly scheduled monthly debate in the United Nations Security Council, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon extended warm greetings to Kelly Craft, the new U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

In his remarks before the body, Danon said, “We welcome your presence here and look forward to your voice being heard on behalf of the American people.”

In her remarks, Craft, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July and sworn in this month, used the opportunity to express her support for Israel: “The United States has always supported Israel in the past. The United States supports Israel today. The United States will always support Israel moving forward. Israel will have no better friend than Kelly Craft.”

 

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Iran’s Return “Handshake” to President Trump

An attack on Saudi oil production shows John Bolton was right.

By The Editorial Board  Wall Street Journal

Sept. 15, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated on Twitter that Iran ‘launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply’ after attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities on September 14, 2019. I

Since President Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic has tested U.S. resolve with military escalation across the Middle East. Likely Iranian involvement in attacks on Saudi oil production over the weekend marks a new phase in this destabilizing campaign, and it’s no coincidence this happened as Mr. Trump is considering a softer approach to Tehran.

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This is more than a local dispute between two regional powers. The attacks have caused a roughly 5% reduction in global daily oil production. The Saudis have promised to dip into reserves to offset the losses, but oil prices could rise and harm an already fragile global economy if the Kingdom isn’t able to restore production fast enough.

American shale oil production can take up some of the slack but that would take time. Long-term damage to oil supplies would increase the pressure on the U.S. to ease sanctions on Iranian oil exports, which Mr. Trump has been considering.

The attack continues what is already a hot proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, an important U.S. ally. The extent of the damage raises doubts about how well the Saudis can defend against future drone assaults. Saudi intelligence and air defenses don’t seem up to the job. Saudi revenues would be hurt by a reduction in oil output, and uncertainty will complicate an initial public offering of the country’s national oil company, Aramco.

Even if the Houthis didn’t carry out this attack, Iran is backing their war against an Arab coalition in Yemen. The Houthis have become increasingly aggressive in attacking sites in Saudi Arabia and oil tankers in the Red Sea. If the Saudis cede Yemen to the Houthis, Iran will have won another proxy war, this one on the Arabian peninsula. 

The Saudis are far from ideal allies, but U.S. Senators who want to end U.S. support for Riyadh should consider the alternative of Iranian regional dominance. The White House says Mr. Trump spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and pledged U.S. support. But the White House should be contemplating more than words.

The Iranians are probing Mr. Trump as much as the Saudis. They are testing his resolve to carry out his “maximum pressure” campaign, and they sense weakness. Iran shot down an American drone this summer, and Mr. Trump rejected advice for a military response. Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s overseas Quds Force, has historically interpreted such restraint as a signal that he’s winning and can safely escalate.

Mr. Trump is also eager for direct talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Mr. Pompeo floated a handshake meeting between the two at the coming United Nations General Assembly. Mr. Trump has even contemplated support for French President Emmanuel Macron ’s idea of paying the mullahs a $15 billion bribe for better behavior. The weekend attack is Iran’s return handshake.

U.S. sanctions have hurt Iran’s crude oil exports, but Tehran still earns hundreds of millions of dollars a month from other petroleum products. Senator Lindsey Graham says direct attacks on Iranian oil production should be considered, and the Islamic Republic needs to know that is not off the table.

pastedGraphic.pngThe Saudi coalition also needs more help interdicting Iranian arms shipments to the Houthis. Americans are understandably wary of deeper involvement in Yemen, but a victory for Iran and the rise of a Hezbollah-like regime in Sana’a will harm U.S. security interests. Think another Syria and Lebanon.

Mr. Trump might also apologize to John Bolton, who warned repeatedly that Iran would take advantage of perceived weakness in the White House. Mr. Bolton resigned last week over policy differences, notably on Iran. The weekend’s events proved the former adviser right. The Trump Administration’s pressure campaign has been working, and abandoning it now would encourage Tehran to take more military risks.