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Emet m'Tsiyon

Friday, September 14, 2018

The New York Times Lies by Commission & by Omission -- even about seemingly trivial things

Everybody knows that the NY Times often lies. But some may think that the NYT does this only by commission, by crude and blatant untruths. But it is easier to get away with a lie by omission  and it too can have a desired effect on public opinion, whereas much of the press/media usually aims to influence public opinion rather than to have intelligent, factual debates and discussions.

We all know that the Times hates Israel which was expressed a few years ago when the NYT falsely quoted Pope Francis calling Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazen] "an  angel of peace." Maybe they thought that they could get away with it but that did not occur. But here's a case of lying by omission and the Times was caught by Greer Faye Cashman, who writes a sort of society and diplomatic formality column for the Jerusalem Post [August 29, 2018]. The NYT published an article, a feel-good piece, about Spanish opera singer, Placido Domingo. He is now 77 and still performing [up to 120 years!!!]. The article outlined Domingo's life and career. Timesman Joshua Barone tells the reader that Domingo's parents took him from Spain to Mexico and it was there that he made his debut in Verdi's Rigoletto in 1959. But it skips from there to his performing with the New York Metropolitan Opera ten years later. The NY Times skips over the three years that he spent in Israel --1962-1965-- with the Israel National Opera in Tel Aviv in the decade before rising to the very prestigious New York Met Opera. Domingo must have liked working in Israel because he at first signed a six-month contract in 1962 but then extended his stay in Tel Aviv for two more years. None of that gets even a passing mention in the Times article, as Greer Faye Cashman complains.

She points out in her short item in the Jerusalem Post that Domingo himself has often mentioned his stay in Israel. ".. .  possibly not in Barone's hearing," she adds. Another link of Domingo to Israel was his being awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize here in 2012, the first vocal artist to be awarded that prize. Good for Ms Cashman for pointing out this subtle omission.

What seems to have gone on at the NYT was a deliberate attempt to avoid reporting something favorable about Israel in a feel-good story. Mustn't be nice to Israel, children!

The New York Times indeed furnishes a plentiful supply of fake news.


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Sunday, September 09, 2018

Was Ben Rhodes the Anonymous Author of the Notorious NY Times Op Ed, supposedly written by a high administration official?

Expanded on 9-12-2018

The anonymous, hostile to Pres. Trump, op ed in the NYTimes the other day is shallow, superficial, full of platitudes, generalities and cliches, lacks specifics, and contains stock phrases and stupid hyperbole. It also lacks policy discussion, except on the shallowest, most simplistic level. Instead, it appeals to the emotions. For instance, the title of the piece starts out: "I am part of the Resistance . . ."
In both English and French this word resistance evokes  the romantic mystique of liberation. For educated Americans of the older generations, it evokes the real-life hero, Jean Moulin, of the French WW2 Resistance, or the fictional hero Rick [played by Humphrey Bogart] and the French police captain [played by Claude Rains] in the romantic WW2 film Casablanca. The use of the term resistance is thus an appeal to the emotions. [To be sure, Jean Moulin was executed cruelly by the Nazi German forces. No such fate awaits the author of the NY Times anonymous op ed.]

All these features of the piece lead me to think that the author was likely NOT a Trump administration official. Maybe, it was suggested to me, the anonymous author was one Ben Rhodes, a speechwriter for ex-president Obama. It contains certain stock phrases that Obama used to use in his speeches [written by Rhodes]. These phrases include "Don't get me wrong" and "To be clear." It also has "Take . . . " used to introduce an example.

Furthermore, it sounds as if it were written to be a speech. To be sure, the sentences are well-constructed --as if for a speech. Of course, speeches were and are Ben Rhodes' stock in trade.

What does the NY Times say? "The writer is a senior official in the Trump administration." Yes, so they say. But is the NYT above lying? The Times lies by commission and omission. The NYT falsified a quote from even the Pope. The Times had the Pope saying to suit-wearing terrorist, Mahmoud Abbas, "You are an angel of peace." Of course the Pope has made many mistakes, but to call Abbas "an angel of peace"? Instead the Pope said, "You could be an angel of peace if " you reached an agreement with Israel. But the Times preferred its own inaccurate translation. When this was pointed out to the NYT editors, they quietly changed the on-line text without acknowledging the mistake. So yes, the NYT has lied and does lie and no doubt will lie.

- - - - - - - Find below the anonymous letter, maybe crafted by wordsmith, Ben Rhodes- - - - -

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration

I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

President Trump at an event in August at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.Tom Brenner for The New York Times
The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.
It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.
The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.
I would know. I am one of them.
To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.
But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.
That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.
The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.
Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.
In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.
Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.
But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.
From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.
Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.
“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.
The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.
It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.
The result is a two-track presidency.
Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.
Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.
On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.
This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.
Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.
The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.
Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.
We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.
There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.
The writer is a senior official in the Trump administration

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Thursday, August 09, 2018

The "palestinian people" was invented -- Never existed in all history, says Arab historian

The notion of a "Palestinian people," that never existed in all history, has been floating around in public discourse throughout the world since 1964. It was on 1 January of that year that the "palestine liberation organization" [PLO] was founded in Cairo. So you might say that the establishment of the PLO was what established the previously unknown "palestinian people." 

A second founding ceremony and conclave for the PLO took place later that year in eastern Jerusalem, then under Jordanian occupation. The Ambassador Hotel, where this second founding meeting took place, was very near the location of the former, pre-1948, Jewish Quarters of Shimon haTsadiq, Nahalat Shimon and Siebenbergen Houses from which the Jewish inhabitants were driven out by Arab irregular forces in December 1947 and January 1948. These Arab irregular forces were under the command of Abd al-Qader Husayni, nephew of the notorious Haj Amin al-Husayni [Husseini]. Thus the first refugees in the Israeli war of independence [1947-1949] were in fact Jews driven out by Arabs. Likewise, the first refugees in the war who could not go home after it were Jews from the quarters mentioned above.

In and around the year 1948, Arabs nationalists generally and Palestinian Arabs in particular, took a pan-Arab stance, declaring themselves to be proud Arabs. There was little talk if any in those years of a supposedly distinct "palestinian people," somehow fuzzily connected to the Arabs but somehow separate and different at the same time. That at any rate was the usual narrative in the Western media, although the PLO itself, in its charter, explicitly stated in its first article:


Article 1: Palestine is the homeland [watan or fatherland] of the Palestinian Arab people and an integral part of the great Arab homeland, and the people of Palestine is a part of the Arab nation [qawm or ummah].

The foregoing quote from the PLO charter is enough to tell us that there really is no "palestinian people" distinct from the Arabs but that the Palestinian Arabs are a territorial section or subdivision of the Arab nation, as the PLO itself says here in Article One of its charter.

The good news is that despite all the flim flammery in the media over the last 54 years to convince the world public that there is a "palestinian people," a number of historians, political scientists and other scholars have debunked the fake notion of this people that never was. These scholars have not only been Jews and other non-Arabs but include Arabs as well. In fact, Rashid Khalidi, a friend of former US president Barack Obama has written this, at least in his academic publications, whereas he is usually careful to lie in his political pronouncements to the media. For his confirmation that there never was a "palestinian people," an article by him in the International Journal of Middle East Studies (1988). Another Arab historian, Abd al-Ghani, made the same point on official PA [palestinian authority] TV of all places:

“Before the Balfour Promise, when the Ottoman rule [1517-1917] ended, Palestine’s political borders as we know them today did not exist, and there was nothing called a Palestinian people with a political identity as we know today”, historian Abd Al-Ghani admitted on official PA TV on November 1 [2017].
[Abd al-Ghani is also saying that the country sometimes called "palestine" in the West along with Holy Land and other names did not exist as any kind of territorial or administrative entity under Ottoman rule, nor for that matter, under the previous Mamluk Empire ]
. . . .
In 1917, says this Arab historian on official PA TV, there was no such thing as a Palestinian people. This statement amounts to saying that the whole narrative of an ‘indigenous Palestinian people’ was made up at a later point in time.

See the article by Judith Bergman on the MIDA site. Link here:

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

The European Dream Is Exhausted -- Regis Debray

Once upon a time in the 1960s, when many 20th century fairy tales were told or concocted, Regis Debray was a true believer in violent revolution in the style of Fidel Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara. He believed that Castro-Guevara style guerrilla warfare could and would liberate the world and install a socialist paradise on earth.

Since then he has mellowed and become disillusioned with those ideas of his innocent youth, full of half-baked theories from France's elite academic institutions.

Now he tells us that after the mystique of revolution has disappointed him, The European Dream, that is,  the dream of a European Union that would bring the ever warring Europeans into a future of peace and harmony and prosperity, has died. He says there has been an "exhaustion of the European dream" which has led many in Europe back towards nationalism and he sees that as a danger. But an EU internally unified might be more of a danger to the rest of the world than a disunified EU where people in many countries resent the domination of the EU by Germany to the detriment of other countries. And where many resent the loss of democracy in the various member states because power in the EU has been concentrated in Brussels and Frankfurt (for the Eurozone currency area). It may be a healthy sign, encouraging for the rest of the world that the Eurodream has lost its angelic sheen, what with the Eurozone's torture of Greece and further impoverishment of the already poor and the loss of democratic control over decisions that affect the lives of many millions. Nevertheless, even the UK vote to leave and the disillusionment in the member states do not mean that the EU will fall apart or disappear any time soon.

See here the excerpt from Debray's interview in LeFigaro. Debray, we can say, has grown wiser with age. But not entirely.
LeFigaro: À côté de l'Europe post-démocratique et post-historique, on assiste au retour de l'histoire et des nations. . .
Régis Debray: Oui. Et pas toujours pour le meilleur. C'est l'inconvénient avec le retour du refoulé. Ça peut tourner à l'aigre et au méchant. Que le retour du national et la revanche du politique sur le management, inéluctable après l'épuisement du rêve européen, tournent à un indigénisme identitaire et bas de plafond, c'est bien le danger.
[emphasis added. LeFigaro, 2 Mai 2018]

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

France Foreign Ministry Falsifies International Law, Accusing the US of Violating It

In a fit of desperation at seeing their beloved "Palestinians" losing ground politically/diplomatically, the French Foreign Ministry, led by foreign minister Jean-Yves LeDrian accused the United States of violating international law by deciding to move its embassy to Jerusalem. It is very seldom that France or its NATO allies accuse the USA of violating international law. So this statement is remarkable for that reason, besides being a lie. See below the French statement:

France disapproves of the American decision to transfer the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as President Macron has reaffirmed on several occasions. This decision contravenes international law and in particular the UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. [here]
La France désapprouve la décision américaine de transférer l’ambassade des Etats-Unis en Israël de Tel Aviv à Jérusalem, comme l’a rappelé à plusieurs reprises le président de la République. Cette décision contrevient au droit international et en particulier aux résolutions du Conseil de sécurité et de l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies. [ici]

Why is the French statement a lie? 
The San Remo Conference and the League of Nations assigned the Land of Israel, what the Europeans --although not the Arabs-- called "Palestine." as the Jewish National Home in 1920 and 1922 respectively. The Preamble to the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (1922) specifically referred to the historical connection of the Jews with the Land:
Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine  and to the grounds for the reconstituting their national home in that country . . . .
Even after the exile from Jerusalem forced by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who changed the city's name to Aelia Capitolina, Jews returned to Jerusalem in late Roman times and after other periods when they had been expelled from the city and forbidden to live there. Jews have lived in Jerusalem continuously after the Crusades since the Mongol withdrawal from the city in 1260. In more recent times, Jews became the absolute majority of inhabitants of the Holy City in the middle of the nineteenth century, by 1853, if not before. In 1853, the Old City was the whole city. Hence the Jews were the majority then in the Old City and up to at least 1900.

Now the Quai d'Orsay [French foreign ministry] makes a legal argument supposedly based on international law. But Article 80 of the UN Charter, 1945, confirmed Jewish rights to the Land under the Jewish National Home principle previously adopted by San Remo and the League. Hence, in November 1947 when the UN General Assembly recommended accepting the partition plan for the country of the UNSCOP [UN Special Committee on Palestine], the existing legal status of the Land of Israel ["Palestine"] was that of the Jewish National Home. Since the UNSCOP Partition Plan was a recommendation, it was not law. In fact, the General Assembly can only make recommendations on political matters, according to the UN Charter. Therefore, subsequent General Assembly resolutions on the Land of Israel are no more law and no more binding than the UNSCOP plan. Therefore, the General Assembly resolutions that the Quai d'Orsay statement mention are not law and not at all binding. They are only recommendations.

Security Council resolutions are considered binding. However, the SC cannot legally revoke rights of peoples and states that it does not like or no longer approves. Especially when the people or state in question is already exercizing that right. The anti-Israel resolutions of the GA and SC of the past and future can rightly be seen as Judeophobia, anti-Jewish expressions. The France of today is the heir of Vichy France and has no right to lecture Israel on its rights no more than the Palestinian Arabs whose top leaders collaborated with Nazi Germany and in the Holocaust.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Are Blonde Arabs Still Semites? Do They Have a Right to Live in the Holy Land?

Does anybody remember that about ten years ago or more, an Arab or Iranian prof at Columbia University in New York [Prof Hamid Dabbash?] told a Jewish young woman student that she wasn't a Semite because she had green eyes? We could dismiss this claim on the grounds that the prof's argument was racist. It was racist. It also defined Semite rather narrowly in a racial, genetic sense. But the argument has to be answered on the empirical level about the relevance of green eyes because simply pointing out that the argument is racist does not make an impression on people who really don't care if it is racist or not. But who often search for something, anything, apparently factual to hold against the Jews. So in my efforts to vitiate this noxious claim by Prof Dabbash [as I recall his name] I will point out that in my own personal experience I have met more than one Arab who had green eyes. And some who had blue and gray eyes. But as you probably understand, we are dealing here with an unthinking cult or mystique --not interested in empirical facts-- that wants to see Jews as alien to the Middle East, not only to the Land of Israel. So Jews have to be put into a box of being European in appearance which some are. On the other hand . . . OK, let's try a lighter, more sarcastic approach while supplying some photographs for the sake of empirical evidence. In that light, please read what follows:

In my unwearying efforts to be politically correct, I have landed upon a hard to solve problem. We all know that according to PC, pale white, blond-haired, blue-eyed people are BAD while black folk are GOOD, and that people with skin color of shades in between are rated accordingly. But what do we do if a blond, white Arab girl slaps an olive-skinned or darker Israeli soldier? Which one is right and which one wrong? A conundrum even harder to solve is when an Arab terrorist murderer is blond and blue-eyed, like young lion Mr Ahmed Nasr Jarrar in the photo below, and the Israeli victim of murder is a swarthy Jew like Rabbi Raziel Shevahh [may his memory be a blessing], murdered by Jarrar and his accomplices in a drive by shooting . According to the standard PC rules of skin-color-based morality, the Jew would be right and the blond Arab wrong. Likewise in the case of Ahed Tamimi. 
However, it does not seem to be working out that way. It seems that L'il Ahed, aka Shirley Temper, is being justified by the legions that are devoted to PC. This will no doubt happen in the Jarrar case too. Is there any Court of PC or PC Court of Appeals where we can go to complain about the violation of the standard PC rules, of the standard PC skin color rating? Please notify us when you obtain an answer. CC to the hasbara office at the foreign ministry.
[On the other hand, is it a sinister Zionist coincidence that two stalwart blond, Nordic Arabs are in trouble with the Zionist occupation forces in a one-month period?]



Le star di Pallywood

Ahed Tamimi of the notorious Tamimi clan whose members have been involved in many terrorist murders, including the Sbarro restaurant bombing massacre in Jerusalem in 2001.  Here  is a video of the  recent incident where she slaps a soldier. [Also here & here & here]. Note how each of the four news sources presents the video differently, in shorter or longer versions, in versions favorable or unfavorable to the claims of Ms Tamimi and her family. Here is a report of connections between Amnesty International and the Tamimis [here]. The Daily Mail considers whether there has been media bias on the Australian Broadcasting Company in favor of the Tamimi narrative [here]. Rikki Hollander of CAMERA analyzes media coverage of the Ahed Tamimi case here.




Ahmed Nasr Jarrar murderer of Rav Raziel Shevahh, זכרונו לברכה

Here is how Palestinian Media Watch labels this photo [here]:
Posted text and text on top of image: "This young lion is of that lion"

Texts below faces: "Martyr Nasr Jarrar ... Martyr Ahmed Nasr Jarrar"
[Official Fatah Facebook page, Feb. 6, 2018]
The image shows terrorist Ahmed Nasr Jarrar (left) and his father, terrorist Nasr Jarrar, who is holding an assault rifle. The father was a Hamas terrorist who planned two attacks in central Israel - a double suicide bombing in the Sheba Hospital and a truck bombing in a multi-story building - attacks that were thwarted when he was killed and other members of his terror cell were caught by Israeli soldiers in 2002. [source is PMW here]

Here below is a photo of Rabbi Raziel Shevahh זכרונו לברכה with part of his family. Note that Rav Shevahh has dark eyes and black hair, unlike his murderer, Jarrar [source here] :
Rabbi Raziel Shevach with his family, in an undated photo (Courtesy of the family)


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Monday, February 26, 2018

The Romans Saw Jerusalem as Part of Judea, that is as Jewish

Pliny the Elder was one of the greatest scholars of ancient Rome. His most famous work is the Natural History [Historia Naturalis. He wrote about Jerusalem in that book. Here is one many mentions of Jerusalem in it:

Jerusalem, by far the most famous city of the East, not merely of Judea.

Hierosolyma longe clarissima urbium Orientis, non Ivdaeae modo.
[Historia Naturalis, V:xv:70]

Here is another quote which refers to Machaerus [מכור], a Jewish mountain fortress east of the Dead Sea. Yes, Machaerus is east of the Dead Sea:

Machaerus, at one time next to Jerusalem the most important fortress in Judea.

Machaerus, secunda quondam arx Ivdaeae ab Hierosolymis.
[Historia Naturalis, V:xv:72]

Note the respect that Pliny the Elder, Gaius Plinius Secundus [23-79 CE], showed for Jerusalem and for Judea, and thus for the Jews. European attitudes toward the Jews have changed for the worse since then. Also note that in Pliny's time, the Romans called the country where Jerusalem was located Judea. It was not until the Roman defeat of the Jewish Bar Kokhba Revolt, about  56 years after the death of Pliny the Elder, that Emperor Hadrian changed the name of the Provincia Ivdaea to Provincia Syria Palaestina. a name that evolved over the centuries into simply Palaestina. Bear in mind that Hadrian imposed the new name on the country as a punishment for its people, the Jews, who had bravely rebelled against the Roman Empire. Use of the name today is a kind of taking sides after the fact with the Roman imperialists. Hadrian likewise changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, bringing together his own clan or gens name, Aelius, with the name of the famous hill in Rome where the Senate was located [now the Campidoglio].
Another point, Judea was the Roman name for the land that the Jews called the Land of Israel.  A Jew was called Ivdaeus and Jews were Ivdaei.

It is also significant that in its original form, Syria Palaestina meant Palestinian Syria, with the word Palaestina being an adjective, whereas Judea was seen as part of Syria which was an old geographical conception of Greeks and Romans. As indicated, this changed over the centuries, with Palaestina --coming to be seen as a noun rather than as an adjective-- as the Roman name for the Land of Israel, which the Romans had earlier had called Judea [Ivdaea], the country's name in the heyday of the Empire. Judea stretched along both sides of the Jordan River --as we see from Machaerus [מכור] being east of the Dead Sea, a southern extension of the Jordan. Judea to be sure stretched much further west of the Jordan than east of the River. And today Israel only has its ancient lands that were to the west of the River.

This matter of ancient names of the country and the country in which Jerusalem was located is of course of great importance nowadays when Mahmoud Abbas, potentate of the Palestinian Authority, utilizes a false history of this country in order to deny Jewish rights in Jerusalem, in any part of Jerusalem. Yes, he denies Jewish rights in any part of the Holy City. Otherwise why would he object to President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, which it has been since 1948, and whereas Trump is transferring the embassy for the time being to the present main consular building of the  USA consulate general in the city which is located in a place that Israel has held since 1948 and was not acquired by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War?
- - - - - - - - - -
For those who know the New Testament, the country is called Land of Israel in Matthew I:20-22. Elsewhere in the NT the country is called Judea, following the Roman usage. In some places, in the NT, Judea is used together with Samaria, following the narrower Jewish usage of the place name Judea which saw Judea as the continuation of the name Judah for the southern kingdom of the Israelites/Jews.

See a Roman document, an truly ancient document fairly well preserved for its age, that shows that ancient Rome called this country Judea or IVDAEA [here].

About the name Aelia Capitolina:
Aelia was still in use when the Arabs conquered the country. The Arabs retained pre-Arab place names in the conquered territories. Hence, they called Jerusalem at first Iliya, their pronunciation of Aelia (as proven by their coins, inter alia). Only a few hundred years after the conquest did they begin to use al-Quds and Bayt al-Maqdis which were copied from Jewish terms, haQodesh and Beyt haMiqdash, which originally referred to holiness and the Temple, and later were applied by Jews to the city of Jerusalem.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

What Did Russia Get in Return for Alleged Support for Trump?

For the past year, the first year of the Trump administration, Washington has been roiled by the quarrel between anti-Trump and pro-Trump factions, roughly speaking Democrats against Republicans although some Republicans also have worked against the president. The anti-Trumpers have tried to delegitimize Trump and his presidency. Allegations have been made by the anti-Trump side --including most of the press & media-- of Trump complicity or collusion with Russia in order to win the election. These charges led Trump to appoint a special investigator to conduct an inquiry. The special investigator was Robert Mueller, former head of the FBI.

The investigation has turned up little so far to support those allegations, as far as the public knows, even according to anti-Trump sources. Be that as it may, one essential question has not been asked, to my knowledge. That is: What did the Russians get for their alleged collusion with Trump? After all, if they colluded with Trump's representatives to support him, if they wanted to put him in the White House, and colluded with Trump or his campaign for that purpose, would they have done it expecting nothing in return?

In fact, if we look at Trump's foreign policy over the past year since the inauguration, we see that he in fact worked against Russian policy in three areas, Syria, the Ukraine, and North Korea. In Syria, Trump had American aircraft attack a Syrian air force base from which planes flew to make a chemical warfare attack on civilians in rebel-held areas. The Syrian regime of Bashar Assad is being protected and aided by Russia. In Ukraine, the Trump administration sold weapons to the Ukrainian government which is engaged in a war, now in a cease fire phase, with Russian-backed, ethnic Russian rebel militias in eastern Ukraine. Perhaps Russian troops too are directly involved in combat on the side of the rebels.

As to North Korea, Trump has several times attacked and threatened the regime and its dictator, Kim Jung Un [Little Rocket Man]. This policy on Trump's part has led to clashes with Russia at the UN Security Council. Further, Trump succeeded in getting Security Council resolutions passed critical of North Korea. Hence, we do not see what Russia got in return for any help to Trump and his campaign.

Next, we have to ask whether Russia or its government did anything that gave or might have given the election to Trump. This question is important because it was being alleged by Democrats that Russia did indeed help Trump against Hillary Clinton. Did the Russkis do anything to swing the election in Trump's favor? And if so, the thinking ran, then Trump's election was illegitimate. This is obviously a partisan claim on behalf of the Democrats and Hillary. But is there any truth to it? Anti-Trumpers have pointed to a massive dump of information by Wikileaks of emails exchanged among active employes of the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic figures, emails which put the Democratic Party and Clinton's campaign in a very bad light. Indeed, these emails were embarassing to Clinton, her party and her campaign organization. One item that emerged was that high officials of the DNC [democratic national committee] had worked against Hillary's rival in the primary elections, one Bernie Sanders --who espoused a political line allegedly to the "Left"  of  Clinton-- whereas the DNC was supposed be impartial.

The Democrats and Hillary did not deny that these embarassing emails were real and truthful. Rather they counter-attacked, after release of the emails, by claiming that Russia had leaked them to Wikileaks, as if only a state or only Russia could have hacked into the computers of the DNC and then supplied the emails to Wikileaks. However, Julian Assange, the head of Wikileaks, specifically denied on TV [I watched the TV program] that his organization had gotten the emails from Russia. You don't have to believe Assange of course. However, did the emails uploaded to the Internet by Wikileaks have to have come from a hacking operation? Besides, there are other hackers and other interested parties. Another possible explanation is that someone in the DNC organization had leaked them to Wikileaks. And here we have the unexplained murder of Seth Rich, an employe of the DNC whose body was found in Washington with valuable personal effects like his watch and wallet still with him. Did Rich have anything to do with supplying the emails to Wikileaks? We can only  speculate.

If anything or any person swung votes from Hillary to Trump, it was FBI director, James Comey's last minute revelation before the election that the investigation into Hillary had to be renewed because additional emails. from and to Hillary had been found on the computer of Anthony Weiner, estranged husband of Hillary's gal Friday, Huma Abedin [before, after and during Hillary's presence at the State Department]. That's why Hillary was so angry at Comey. She wanted him fired from the FBI. She in fact called for him to be fired from the FBI about a week before Trump did in fact fire him in early 2017. At that time, nobody was saying that Hillary was undermining public respect for law and order.

Before concluding, we must say that many countries want to influence elections in other countries. Least of all is the United States ashamed of doing that. During the 2015 election campaign for the Knesset, it was notorious in Israel that the Obama administration, of which a Hillary presidency would have been a continuation, was interfering with money and personnel in Israel's election in favor of the Labor Party, or to be more precise, in favor of the Zionist Union party which brought together Labor with a few members of Tsipi Livni's HaTenu`ah party.

So it would come as no surprise to learn that Russia wanted to influence the 2016 US presidential election. But Russia would hardly be unique in doing that or trying to do that.

Before concluding, one might argue that Obama's administration, of which Hillary was a shameful part, both aided Russia and hurt Russia. Obama helped Russia in Syria among other ways by allowing Assad's regime to get away with using poison gas against his own population through not enforcing Obama's own "red line" against such use and making an agreement that Russia would take Syria's stock of poison gas and chemical weapons away from Syria, as a substitute for US military action against Syria's stock of such weapons. In fact, Syria still has such weapons and they were reportedly used just the other day against the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Ghouta. Moreover, while Hillary was secretary of state, it is credibly alleged, she intervened to facilitate the purchase by a Russian company of part of US uranium production [used in building nuclear weapons]. This facilitating of the Russian purchase took place after the Russian company had made a sizable "charitable" contribution to the Clinton family foundation, widely considered a tax free depository for moneys paid to the Clintons.

But back to the point. While letting Russia's protege, Assad in Syria, get away with murder literally, the Obama administration also worked against Russia in its next door neighbor, the Ukraine. Victoria Nuland of the State Department and other US officials were encouraging neo-fascist parties in the Ukraine --Right Sektor & Svoboda-- to work to overthrow the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovich, who was considered pro-Russian. This overthrow was in fact accomplished. Ms Nuland, by the way, met with leaders of the anti-Yanukovich movement in Kiev, such as Mr Klichko, whom she affectionately called Klich. So the Russians had reason to hate Obama as well as reasons to appreciate his help for them, as in Syria. Furthermore, it is hardly clear that any help or support Russia may have given to Trump's candidacy won or swung the election for him.

Nevertheless, the most important argument against Russian complicity or collusion with Trump to help him win the election is the lack of any sign that Trump has delivered any return or quid pro quo to Russia or Putin personally. Rather, Trump record has been more anti-Russian.

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Thursday, February 01, 2018

Obama's IRS Discriminated against Pro-Jewish, Pro-Israel & Conservative Non-Profit Organizations

Additional info
see below:

The United States is supposed to be the land of a free marketplace of ideas. The freedoms of speech and press are very broad in the United States compared to the major European countries, for instance. And the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] is supposed to give tax exemption to non-profit groups or bodies advocating for any sort of ideological or political or social position.

However, the Obama Administration clearly did not believe in the free marketplace of ideas. It discriminated, surreptitiously to be sure, against a variety of pro-Israel and conservative bodies. One such group was Z Street which found out that its application for tax exemption was being deliberately held up by the IRS under instructions from Washington. We present below an exposition by Z Street founder, Lori Lowenthal Marcus, of the development of her group's case until finally overcoming IRS obstruction:

It took seven years for Z Street to learn the truth about why our tax-exempt status was delayed.

The first IRS viewpoint discrimination case to be filed, Z Street v. IRS, has been settled, with disturbing revelations about how the Internal Revenue Service treated pro-Israel organizations applying for tax-exempt status.
I founded Z Street in 2009 to educate Americans about the Middle East and Israel’s defense against terror. We applied for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code in December 2009—a process that usually takes three to six months.
Instead, the application languished. In late July 2010, an IRS agent truthfully responded to our lawyer’s query about why processing was taking so long: Z Street’s application was getting special scrutiny, the agent said, because it was related to Israel. Some applications for tax-exempt status were being sent to a special office in Washington for review of whether the applicants’ policy positions conflicted with those of the Obama administration.
So in August 2010 we sued the IRS for violating Z Street’s constitutional rights, including the First Amendment right to be free from viewpont discrimination—government treatment that differs depending on one’s political position. [article in WSJ continues here] [also see here on Z Street website]
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Additional info
2-7-2018 See Jonathan Tobin here.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Mahmoud Abbas Tells European Union that He Wants All of Israel, including west of the Green Line

“We are keen on continuing the way of negotiations,” Abbas said. “We are determined to reunite our people and our land.” [here & here emph. added]

The above is what Mahmoud Abbas told Federica Mogherini, High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs of the European Union and the foreign ministers of the EU states on Monday this week [1-22-2018 & here] in Brussels.

This phrase "to reunite our people and our land" seems to be a euphemism for the Arabs' taking all of the State of Israel including the land that Israel held between 1948 and 1967. In other words, it is a masked refusal to accept Israel in any borders. Now, Abbas and the PLO as a whole and Hamas and the other Palestinian Arab terrorist and political groups believe that all of the Land of Israel belongs to them as well as to Islam. To confirm that consider the word "reunite." If something has to be reunited, that means it was once united but is no longer. They know that they already control part of "palestine" [= the Land of Israel roughly speaking]. And what they don't control must be reunited with what they already control, Abbas implies.
And reuniting "our people" means bringing the dispersed Palestinian Arabs living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere with the status of refugees, back together in one state comprising the whole land of Israel, probably to be ruled by the Fatah and other factions that run the zones of Judea-Samaria now under PA/PLO rule.

The PLO Charter by the way speaks of the whole land that they call "palestine" needing to be "liberated"  from Israel. Likewise the PLO's Declaration of a State of Palestine of November 1988. These were obviously  rejections of peace. But maybe Mogherini and her staff are too ignorant or too stupid or too insensitive to the subtle Arab use of rhetoric to understand Abbas' real meaning. If they did understand Abbas' meaning would they have encouraged him and said they support him on the Jerusalem issue? She said:
“I want to reassure President Abbas of the firm commitment of the European Union to the two-state solution with Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two states,” Mogherini said during the meeting. [here & here]                                        
Let's leave aside the stupidity and impracticality of the notion of one city as the shared capital of two states. Did Mogherini understand that Abbas had just told her that he does NOT support the two-state solution, that he and those he represents are claiming the whole country?

Speaking of refugees, it is curious that the so-called "international community" --no doubt Mogherini is part of it-- seems to forget what happened in other situations where there were refugees on an ethnic basis. How is it that precisely the Europeans forgot that many Greeks were driven out of Anatolia, Turkey of today, and almost nobody in Europe but the Greeks themselves care about Greek rights and claims to the Smyrna [now Izmir] region from which most or nearly all Greeks were driven out? The total number of Greeks driven out is estimated at more than 1,100,000 while another 600,000 to one million were slaughtered in the period of 1914 to 1922 [some researchers put the numbers higher or lower]. Greece accepted more than one million refugees in the 1922-23 period and the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen negotiated an agreement between both Greece and Turkey to accept the principle of population exchange rather than go to war. As part of this agreement, Turkey agreed to let Greece expel some 400,000 Muslims living in northeastern Greece, Thrace, and take them in on Turkish territory. This was in exchange for the 1,200,000 or 1,500,000 Greeks that Ataturk and his army had already driven out of Anatolia, what is now Turkey.

For his services in the cause of mutual ethnic cleansing, Nansen received the Nobel Peace Prize. But that was not the end of Turkish-perpetrated ethnic cleansing. In 1955, while both Turkey and Greece were members of NATO, the Turkish government incited a pogrom in Istanbul, previously Constantinople (a Greek-speaking city before the Turkish conquest of 1453), that ended with the expulsion by the mob of tens of thousands of ethnically Greek Turkish citizens. The Turks got away with it. Somehow NATO let them get away with it.

How is it that the Europeans, including the wonderful folk at EU headquarters in Brussels, Mogherini and her staff, have forgotten that once upon  a time, a man got a Nobel Peace Prize for promoting the principle of population exchange?
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For more info on the expulsions of 1922-23, see:
Ernest Hemingway, "On the Quai at Smyrna" and the epigraph to Chapter II, both in the collection In Our Time
George Horton, The Blight of Asia
Marjorie Housepian, The Smyrna Affair

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What does Fatah, Abbas' faction, mean by "our land"?
It seems that they mean the whole country from the river to the sea, from the Jordan to the Med.
See here.
More EU hypocrisy related to covering up for Abbas [here], for his claims on the reasons for the Shoah.
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Other relevant articles:
Fiamma Nirenstein on Abbas' speech in Ramallah on 1-14-2018 [Italiano qui -English  here]

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Abu Mazen's Mendacious Historical Monologue -- Did Cromwell Found Zionism?

Link added 3-21-2018

One of Mahmoud Abbas' elaborate and ludicrous lies was that Oliver Cromwell, the leader of Puritan, Protestant forces in the English civil war against the king and his established church, the Anglican church, had founded Zionism. I often find Abbas' speeches to be entertaining, though offensive at the same time. He also claimed that Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism, another one of Abbas' large fibs that I will take up later.

But back to Cromwell. Abbas claims that after staging a coup against the king and founding a republic, Cromwell:
came up with the idea of transferring the Jews from Europe to the Middle East, to this region, because they [who are they? Was Cromwell a plural person?] wanted this region to become an advanced post to protect the interests and the convoys coming from Europe to the East. He asked Holland, which owned the largest fleet in the world, to transfer the Jews. . . [here]
First, let's get rid of the last lie in the paragraph, that about Holland. England and Holland were bitter enemies in that period and indeed fought several wars with the main motive probably being trade competition. They were hardly about to cooperate.

Now did Cromwell found Zionism? Is there a tiny smidgen of truth buried among Abbas' lies? Did Cromwell have any contact or connection with Zionism? Actually: Yes. But as usual with Abbas, if he has anything to do with the truth, he reverses it.
Now, living in Amsterdam while Cromwell was the ruler of England was a rabbi named Menasseh ben Israel [מנשה בן ישראל]. Rabbi Menasseh was interested in the redemption of the Jewish people from their exile. And he had a theory: If the Jews were totally scattered throughout the world, if the Jewish Diaspora covered every country, then that would be the trigger to begin the messianic redemption of the Jews that would return them to their own land, the Land of Israel. Now to accomplish this total dispersion, Jews had to be everywhere. But just across the North Sea from Amsterdam was the island of Great Britain where England was located. Jews had been expelled from there in 1290. And still in the 1650s Jews were not allowed to live there, at least not openly as Jews. "The complete redemption would come after the complete Exile. This motivated him to seek permission for Jews to return to and settle in England. For this purpose he wrote a book, The Hope of Israel, which opens with a dedication to the parliament and state council" of England. "The book aroused the interest of Oliver Cromwell, the ruler of the state. . . In 1655 Menasseh ben Israel was given permission to come to England" [Jaacov Avishai, אלף אישים (Tel Aviv: Amihai nd), p 518] to plead his case. Many leading Englishmen supported Rabbi Menasseh's plea for readmission. But many others opposed it. So Cromwell decided to allow Jews to come and settle in England quietly without making a public pronouncement on the issue.

The historian Solomon Grayzel reports that the book was originally written in Spanish (maybe called La Esperanza de Israel, published 1650). The rabbi later translated it into Latin and it was this edition that had a dedication to the English parliament.

Grayzel believes that two reasons prompted Cromwell and others to promote the return of Jews to England. 1) The belief that Jews had helped Holland, their rival, become more prosperous and therefore that Jews could help England likewise; & 2) The messianic beliefs and the interest in the Hebrew Bible of many English Protestants at the time which opened them to Menasseh ben Israel's theory. (Solomon Grayzel, A History of the Jews [Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society  1959], pp 495-499). Just by the way, Rabbi Menasseh was friendly with the great painter Rembrandt who painted his portrait.

Now back to Mahmoud Abbas and his lies. We see that a Jew, Rabbi Menasseh, initiated or encouraged a certain interest in the Zionist idea in England. We also see that Cromwell reacted favorably to the rabbi's call to let Jews come back and settle in England. Cromwell did not initiate it. His main reason was likely to foster English trade and prosperity. But he did not collaborate with the Dutch on any scheme to transport Jews to the Land of Israel. And he did not establish any English colonies in the Land of Israel or Syria or Egypt of today. And he no doubt worried more about Dutch competition and rivalry and war with the Dutch rather than with conquering any Arab-inhabited or Arab-ruled land. The main consequence of Cromwell's support for Menasseh ben Israel was that Jews could come to England and openly live as Jews.

Zionism meaning the return of Jews to their Land existed long before Cromwell. It is prophesied in the Bible, such as in the book of Zechariah, and is found in the Jewish daily prayers. It is even prophesied in the Quran. At best, Abbas reverses the truth if he comes anywhere near it. So Abbas has all the credibility of a used car dealer who wears a greasy necktie.
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2-12-2018 BESA Center on Abbas' lying speech [here]

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Moderate Faisal Husseini Says Land of Israel Belongs to Islam, thus Lasting Peace Is Impossible

It is notorious by now that shortly after signing the ceremony for the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn, yasser arafat traveled to South Africa where he told a Muslim audience that these accords should be seen like the Hudaybiyyah truce accord that Muhammad, the Muslim prophet, made with the Meccans. It was meant to last ten years. But a couple of years later, after Muhammad felt that the Muslims were now sufficiently strong to defeat the Meccans, he and his men broke the truce and defeated the Meccans and captured Mecca.

What I did not know about is what Faisal Husseini told an Israeli reporter, Daniel Haik, two years after Oslo in 1995:

This celebrated [Arab] notable, nephew of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseni, but more "moderate" in appearance, received me in his luxurious villa in one of the neighborhoods in the eastern part of Jerusalem. I especially remember one question that I asked him during the interview . . .: "Will the Palestinians agree to recognize the presence forever of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel that you call Palestine?" His answer was direct: "That will be impossible because we can never recognize a Jewish presence on land belonging to Islam." [HaGuesher, 1-17-2018 in French ici ]

There you have it. The motive for the Arab refusal of Israel has to do with Islam, with Islam's supposed ownership of the Land of Israel which the Muslims consider to belong to the Islamic nation or Umma in perpetuity by the principle of waqf. But the West and the so-called Leftists invented for themselves all sorts of other reasons and excuses for Arab intransigence. What is interesting here is that the "Leftists" always used to disqualify movements for being religious. It was on that ground that the Communists rejected Zionism. And here we have a frank declaration by a Palestinian Arab leader that the motive for denying Israel's right to exist in perpetuity is -- Islam, a religion. Yet that religious motive does not seem to bother the Left, not the social democrats, not the Marxist-Leninists so-called, nor any other species of Leftist that I am aware of.

Bear in mind that although Jews lived in Arabia in the days of Muhammad, and he fought battles against those Jews and massacred the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe, Jews have been forbidden to live in Arabia [except for Yemen which was under different rulers] for more than 1000 years. Saudi Arabia maintained that law for many years although after the Six Day War of 1967 when Jews came there as representatives of important foreign powers [like Kissinger representing the USA], the law had to be waived.

As to the Land of Israel, Husseini was simply enunciating the old Islamic principle of waqf. Land that has been conquered by Muslims belongs to the Muslim community in perpetuity and cannot, must not, be alienated. Waqf land is sacred, inalienable property of the Muslim Umma, the Islamic nation. Of course, we know that vast areas in Europe and Asia and Africa were once conquered by Muslims.  Most of Spain and large parts of southern Italy, France, Greece, the Balkans, the Ukraine of today, and even Hungary were under Islamic domain for longer and shorter periods. Muslims no longer make a vocal call for that land to come back to Islam. This means that they recognize superior strength as do most people. However, jihadi extremists like the clerics who have guided Hamas, have said that Spain, etc, must come back to Islam. So the claim of waqf ownership of Spain, southern France, etc, is in abeyance but has not been cancelled in principle by the true, strict Islamists. This may seem odd to those aware that the Quran itself recognizes Jewish/Israelite ownership of the Land of Israel, sometimes called Holy Land or blessed land in the Quran. However, other Quranic verses seem to abrogate this recognition of Jewish ownership of the Land of Israel. And the waqf principle is above all. Hence, Islamists challenge not only the legitimacy of Israel but of many other countries.
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Quote in French original of Faisal Husseini's crucial response:
Ce sera impossible, car nous ne pourrons jamais reconnaître une présence juive sur cette terre appartenant à l'Islam [Daniel Haik in HaGuesher, 1-17-2018; p6]
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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

President Rivlin Cites the Quran's Recognition of the Holy Land as Jewish to Refute Abbas' Lies about Jewish History

Mahmoud Abbas puts on a good show when he wants to. His speech on Sunday, 14 January, was entertaining, just chock full of ludicrous lies and inventions. It was what you would expect from a leader of the PLO/PA and disciple of yasser arafat, founder of the PLO and the "palestinian authority" [PA]  as well as being one of the founders of late twentieth century terrorism.

One of Abbas' lies was projecting the so-called "palestinian people," unknown to the world before the 20th century, into the prehistoric past. "Before our Patriarch Abraham," he said. He did not acknowledge any Jewish or Israelite history in the Land of Israel. Maybe he forgot that the Quran itself, that is, the Quran, the holy book of the Muslims among whom Abbas counts himself. The Quran specifically says that Allah assigned the Holy Land to the Jews, the people of Moses [Quran, Sura 5:12, 20-22 in the usual numbering -see more here].

However, Reuben Rivlin, President of the State of Israel acted in a helpful and responsible manner and reminded Abbas of what he had forgotten or pretended to forget. That is, that the Quran itself has its Zionist verses which not only report the assignment of the Land to the Jews but foresee the return of the Jews to their Land.

Rivlin said,
"In his [Abbas'] words, he denies our return to our homeland, even though Abu Mazen also knows very well that the Koran itself mentions the recognition of the Land of Israel as our land. Without this basic recognition, we cannot build trust and advance" [emphasis added].

In case you're wondering how Rivlin knows what is in the Quran, his father was a professor of Arabic at the Hebrew University and in fact translated the Quran into Hebrew. So it is likely that Rivlin himself understands or even speaks a good deal of Arabic and that his father pointed out significant verses  and passages in the Quran to him.

Abbas' speech also asserts and refers to a certain alleged Campbell-Bannerman Document which is said to lay out a rationale for the British to plant Jews in "palestine" in order to prevent Arab unity. Other than being anachronistic in its concepts and terminology (since it talks at length about British concern over pan-Arabism which was hardly a concern of theirs in 1907), and "just too good to be true" from the pan-Arab, Arab nationalist standpoint, no such document has been found in British archives and what is presented as such seems to be a creation of Nasser's intelligence services.

One of the offensive things that Abbas did in the speech was to curse President Trump several times with the common Arabic curse Yahhrab beytuk. It means: May your house be destroyed. According to a report on Israel radio --probably by Eran Zinger-- he cursed Trump this way several times during the speech.

The phrase and curse Yahhrab beytuk is comparable to the Hebrew     ייחרב ביתך   
It's not the strongest Arabic curse, as I understand, but fairly strong.
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Here is an Arab scholar who recognizes Jewish rights in Jerusalem & the Land of Israel -- His name is Abdul-Hamid Hakim (or Abdulhameed Hakeem) [ici in French]
Here is another article about him [ici in French]
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Here are other reports on Abbas' speech and Rivlin's response:

New York Times here
.
Times of Israel here.

Jerusalem Post here.

MEMRI has the relevant parts of the original speech in Arabic --which went on for 2 1/2 hours-- in video film with subtitles in English -- here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Some of the Bad Features of the European Union -- A German Dictatorship?

Just what is wrong with the EU? Why is it reasonable to doubt its continued existence after the 2020s? We know that the EU is governed by a central bureaucracy, located in Brussels, which makes decisions, according to its authority deriving from the treaties that set up the EU. These decisions are subject to little democratic control, although representative bodies of the various member states meet from time to time and can theoretically oppose policies coming out of the Brussels HQ of the EU. However, what happens usually is that the representatives of the member state govts. are presented with faits accomplis, backed up, usually by Germany and the influential states of northwestern Europe.

Matteo Renzi, former prime minister of Italy, gives a glimpse into EU policy making or rather policy ratifying. He also indicates German hegemony over the EU which is reflected in the votes of the EU executive and representative bodies, the EU Commission and the EU Council (Council of Europe) respectively [the EU parliament has so little power that it's not worth dwelling on]. In a recent book Renzi writes that German prime minister, Madame Merkel, is considered by many in the Italian political world to be the "chief strategist of an anti-Italian vision." Renzi states that he respects "her and certainly does not agree in the least with those who point to her as the one responsible for Italian problems." Be that as it may, Renzi clearly shows that she so dominates EU politics that the EU Council members, governmental leaders in their own countries, fear to criticize or gainsay her:
". . . I realize that in the Council, she is so respected and involved in all the issues that few have the courage to contradict her publicly. Which is what I do on more than one occasion. The idea that nobody can allow himself to raise the least bewilderment over the German contradictions makes me angry. The exchanges with Merkel are difficult on many issues, from the flexibility of budgets [of member states] to the relationship with Russia . . . . [And] up to the regional German banks to whose questionable system of governance and control I am the only one to point explicitly and transparently --- and to the contradictions of Berlin's economic policy. . . .  Merkel does not appreciate the style with which I open --often deliberately-- debates in the Council but begins to  scrutinize me in order to understand me better. Over time, a collaborative relationship develops between us." [Corriere della Sera, 9 Luglio 2017]
Thus Merkel so dominates the Council that other leaders of government fear to contradict her. Meanwhile, problems in Germany are overlooked. Hardly a healthy situation for the EU.

Renzi goes on about Merkel. "The theme on which we are farthest apart is the economy. I believe that the policy of austerity adopted by the European Union is a tragic error." In this vein, Renzi also criticizes the EU response to the earthquake disaster in Italy in 2016:
"The earthquake shocks of the end of October 2016 did not cause any deaths only by a miracle. . . . . And what did the usually punctilious technicians of the European structure [the bureaucrats] do? While the houses are collapsing, they send you [= himself] a verbal extortion note in the form of a whisper to Italian journalists in Brussels --saying that the budget law of 2017 is good only if the deficit is subsequently reduced by 0.2%. . . . But how is it that they don't understand that, while we are all concentrating on support for the evacuees [from the earthquake], Europe should be in the basilica of the patron saint San Benedetto with its own heart, instead of choosing that moment to make a (marginal) request for settlement of the debt? This is what happens when politics abdicates to the technocrats. . . .  I want to shout to the European bureaucrats that in the face of pain, first of all  there is compassion, respect, empathy. And then, only afterwards, the technical stratagems. . . . Respecting the European rules, moreover, cannot be an ideological mantra" [Corriere della Sera, 9 Luglio 2017]
Maybe Renzi gave reasons why Guy Milliere was right when he agreed with my suggestion after a lecture here in Jerusalem that the European Union was a death pact, un pacte de mort.

Obviously, neither the European Union nor its member states can be a model for our Israel nor can we trust the EU to be wise or compassionate in its diplomacy in the Middle East and first of all we cannot trust the suggestions and proposals that the EU makes to us in order to --supposedly-- bring about peace for Israel. The EU is notoriously hypocritical and often enough self-destructive yet arrogant. We don't want to be members and the EU does not want us. And if a case in point is needed, take Greece which suffered from EU/Eurozone efforts to supposedly help them, as Luciano Fontana [chief editor of Corriere] indicated, the EU/Eurozone failed in dealing with the Greek Debt Crisis which began in 2010 and is still going on. Greece can never pay its current debt, most of which was incurred by Greece after it reported in 2010 an inability to pay interest on its debt at that time. The debt is now much greater than then after "bail-outs" by the Eurozone. And it cannot be paid off. And the Eurozone led by Madame Merkel whom Renzi describes above, does not want to forgive or even restructure the Greek debt. Maybe, it is hinted, we will do that after you have reformed as we wish, etc. More of that extortion that Renzi mentioned?

The hypocrisy is even worse when we recall that Madame Merkel's Germany did not have to pay WW2 reparations according to a postwar treaty, nor did it ever pay back more than a small part of the US Marshall Plan loans [some $15 billion in 1947 dollars], and even that small amount stayed in Germany; nor did Germany pay its full war reparations debt to France for WW One. And the EU finances a host of so-called "civil society" NGOs that work to undermine Israel's standing in the world and Israel's society.  Hence Israel must be very wary in its dealings with the European Union. It is not a friend.
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Reference on EU government -- edulcorated to be sure
Pascal Fontaine, 12 Lecons sur l'Europe (Bruxelles: Commission europeenne 2007), pp 16-21.
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Renzi's reference to San Benedetto is to the Christian Saint Benedict, the patron saint of Europe in
Christian tradition and belief.

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Fantasy & Reality about the European Union

Many people make a rather good living off the European Union. Besides, gourmet food is often served in the Brussels headquartes of the EU. There are the bureaucrats in Brussels and elsewhere plus the elected members of the European parliament. The pay is better than average and often better than for comparable jobs in the home country of the bureaucrat or parliamentary deputy.

Hence, many have little reason or inclination to rock the boat with sustained and substantial criticism of the EU. What some do is to let out a little mild criticism of a particular policy or person or making a general criticism in a vague fashion while at the same time extolling the EU's lofty purposes [supposedly lofty]. That's what Antonio Tajani --president of the EU's parliament-- did when speaking to a group of influential people back home in Italy:

"The European Union is in the midst of fording the river. There are many things that don't work but more Europe is needed, not less. Leaving it means suicide, as many in the United Kingdom are realizing and even Marine Le Pen understands that the war on the euro [currency] is a mistake."
[Corriere della Sera, 9 Luglio 2017; emph. added]

The reader will make up his own mind as to how sensible that reasoning is. But before we analyze it, here's some reality from the chief editor [direttore] of Corriere della Sera, Luciano Fontana:

"Europe --the chief editor of Corriere observed-- has become a major actor [protagonista] in our lives. and even in our election campaigns. A Europe that often makes mistakes, [a Europe] whose management of the Greek crisis and the migrants cries out for revenge."
[Corriere, 9 Luglio 2017]

There are many things wrong with the EU which was likely the main reason that British folks voted against the EU and for Brexit more than a year ago. Despite its lofty rhetoric, the EU is very undemocratic in that decisions are made in Brussels by EU appointed officials rather than by national parliaments whereas according to the EU treaty, the Brussels officials can overrule laws passed by national parliaments, although this power can be challenged. But the Brussels bureaucracy is much less responsive to local needs, desires and conditions than national parliaments are. And then these Brussels officials like to impose a one-size-fits-all policy on all of the EU countries which of course have their own local traditions, histories, conditions, political environment. And obviously this causes resentment throughout the EU.

Then we come to the Euro currency, the single currency which is legal tender in most EU countries which gave up their national currencies to join the single currency zone. That was a bad idea whose time had come. Imagine. A single currency was imposed on some fifteen countries without a common tax policy/tax laws/, without a common pension system, a common state budget, common labor laws, so on and so forth. As no doubt was predicted the currency has great problems and one major victim --Greece, although other countries have suffered as well. To be sure, tourists who travel from one Eurozone country to another find traveling simpler [because they don't need to change currency with every new country that they come to]. Otherwise, few benefit. Un disastro, an Italian friend told me. We could go on about the EU's faults. But rather than be tedious, let's go on to Signor Tajani's logic and common sense.

"many things . . . don't work but more Europe is needed, not less". "More Europe" in the words of the Brussels crowd means closer political integration within the EU and more central control of the lives of EU citizens. But Tajani has already told us that many things don't work in the EU. So why would he think that "more Europe" would be better rather than worse? Does the centralized bureacuratic system of the EU where decisions are made far from the governed and often against their will and/or their better judgment, seem to be capable of doing a good job when and if it has more political power than now? We can go and on and maybe we will.

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