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Emet m'Tsiyon

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.
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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?

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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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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Friday, August 11, 2017

The Pollyanna "Liberals" Were Wrong about Iran & Khomeini; Now Wrong about PLO/PA and the Muslim Brotherhood

A lot of the so-called "liberals" & "progressives" in the United States have long championed the causes of tyrants abroad, whether Stalin or Castro or --more recently-- the Muslim Brotherhood and so on and so forth. This has often been done by presenting the tyrants or would be tyrants as representing the democratic will of the people or as being liberal, progressive and tolerant themselves. A classic case of how this was done appeared not long after Khomeini's regime took power in Iran. The new regime was extolled for its civil libertarian commitment.

We now know that Khomeini and his successors were and are anything but devoted to liberal values, to civil liberties, democracy, etc. However, Kai Bird, a very prominent "leftist" and "progressive" in the 1960s and 1970s fought valiantly to present this false image of Khomeini & Co. to the American public. When you read Mr Bird, think of the academic and media advocates of the Iran regime or the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas or Fatah/PLO, and so on, today.

Bird wrote the following in an article that was featured on the front page of the "Liberal" weekly The Nation magazine [31 March 1979]:

. . .  there is every reason to believe that the still unpublished Constitution [of the brand new Iranian Islamic Republic] will include all the elements of a liberal democratic system. Minister of Information Nasser Menachi,  a close confidant of Bazargan and a man with impeccable civil libertarian credentials, told The Nation that "the new Constitution --which has been drafted by five foreign-trained jurists-- contains the strongest possible civil libertarian guarantees. . . . and Khomeini himself  has approved the document with but the most minor changes, a fact which should be read as an extremely good sign." The Ayatollah will reportedly have no formal office in the proposed Islamic Republic. Elections are scheduled to be held within several months after the adoption of the Constitution.
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Isn't this all just too noble, too precious, too lofty to be believable? It hardly corresponds to how the Ayatollah Khomeini and his successors have actually ruled Iran.

Does everyone see the pattern in this excerpt here? Consider the style here against the background of the tens of thousands --or hundreds of thousands or millions-- of victims of the Iranian regime over the years? Look at the grand phrases in this not very long paragraph: liberal democratic system & impeccable civil libertarian credentials & the strongest possible civil libertarian guarantees. 

How many readers of Emet m'Tsiyon would want to depend upon the civil libertarian guarantees of the Iranian regime? Now just how is it that Kai Bird and his editors at The Nation could not foresee what the Khomeini regime would produce, a regime that tramples civil liberties and pays lip service to them at best? A regime that is a caricature of democracy where the leading ayatollah, called the Supreme Guide, has the final say on everything, whatever the parliament may think?

Why couldn't Bird and his The Nation friends understand that the books that Khomeini had written, books in which he expressed a desire for a political regime based on Islam, Shiite Islam, explained what he would do if and when he took power? That that was the kind of regime he would erect and that civil liberties would bow before the needs of the regime of ayatollahs implementing Islam as they saw it and interpreted it? Did they ask what would happen to ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, such as Jews, Bahais, or Sunni Muslims, for that matter? Did Bird & Co. ask how women would fare under the ayatollahs who would apply strict Shiite Muslim rules to them? Did they ask whether Khomeini's ostensible loyalty to or tolerance for democracy and civil liberties, and the comforting, liberal-sounding slogans that he and his associates threw out from time to time might not have been mere dissembling for the purpose of gaining and consolidating power?

Were Bird and his friends naive, ignorant, simpleminded or simply deceitful? We may ask the same question today about Washington policy specialists and American academics who promote the cause of the Muslim Brotherhood or Hizbullah or Hamas or Fatah or the so-called "palestine liberation organization."
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Now that we know what "liberal" establishment journalism and its predictions are worth in the United States -- and elsewhere, let's talk a little about Kai Bird. He was known as being hostile to Israel back in the 1960s, when that was less fashionable than today. He had been in Israel during his rather privileged childhood when his father, an American diplomat, and his family lived in the Jordanian-occupied sector of Jerusalem from which all Jews were driven out, starting in December 1947. Young Master Bird crossed the Armistice Line, the Green Line, every day that he went to school. This was the Anglican school on Street of the Prophets [רחוב הנביאים] in "west Jerusalem" under Israeli control. The school is still there although in the past 20 or 25 years it has raised its stone outer wall by three or four feet. Little Master Bird crossed on every school day the Mandelbaum Gate, actually a border crossing built partly over the home of a family named Mandelboym [the proper Yiddish pronunciation]. The house had been destroyed in the fighting in 1948. The colony of Westerners living in Jordanian-occupied Jerusalem was notorious in those days for being fanatically anti-Israel and anti-Jewish. Bird and his family lived in the Sheikh Jarrah quarter near the Orient House, the American Colony Hotel, and the old Jewish neighborhoods of Shimon haTsadiq, Nahalat Shimon, and Siebenbergen Houses from which the Jewish residents had been driven out in December 1947 and January 1948.

From the Mandelboym Gate crossing Bird and his schoolmates from the Jordanian sector traveled down Tribes of Israel Street [Shivtey Yisra'el שבטי ישראל], formerly St George Street under the British, which name Jordan kept for the street on its side of the armistice line. The pupils traveled for about one-half kilometer down to Street of the Prophets, turning right into and traveling on it for about a kilometer or more. They were escorted, to my knowledge, by armed Israeli troops. But they were also protected by the power and prestige of the empires and governments that they and their families represented.

As to Kai Bird's honesty, I have read several reviews of his autobiography for this blog post, and I don't find any reference to his  activity with the American "New Left" in the 1960s, 1970s and afterwards. I have to conclude that he left that information out of his book. He apparently decided that references to his "New Left" activism would not be useful or beneficial to him or his political purposes.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Edward Said Falsifies History -- But You're Not Surprised, are you?

Lying seems to have come naturally and comfortably to the late Professor Edward Said, a prof of comparative lit at Columbia University, who was somehow able, with the help of the organized American communications media, to change how Americans, especially would-be intellectuals saw Islam and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Here is one of his gems:

p56 ". . . . both [Zionism & Judaism] speak of Palestine as the land of Israel. . . . Zionism sees itself as redeeming the land whose natives [Said means the Arabs] have called it 'Palestine' for over a millenium." [emphasis added, seeEdward Said, Peace and Its Discontents (New York: Vintage Books 1995), p 56]

Said was a professor so he could get away with a Big Lie as long as he delivered it in a very Authoritative manner, allowing no contradiction or nuance. In fact, Jews have traditionally called the Land the Land of Israel. This usage appears in the Christian New Testament [Book of Matthew, chap. 2, vv. 20-22]. So Christians have been aware of the name Land of Israel since the New Testament circulated among them in the first centuries of the Common Era. Indeed, Said was right about what Jews called the Land, and this usage was maintained by Zionists. However, Jews were not the only ones to be aware of it. Christians who read the New Testament were too. The New Testament also calls the country Judea, which was the usual Greek and Roman/Latin name for the whole country up to the Bar Kokhba Revolt [approx 131-135 BCE]. So Said is not lying as to the name that Jews and Zionists used for the country -- Land of Israel. Watch out for the usage in the New Testament. In some places in the NT Judea refers to the whole country. This is the broad Greco-Latin usage. However, in some passages in the NT, the term "Judea and Samaria" is used. In these passages, Judea refers only to the south of the country, including Jerusalem. That is, the former kingdom of Judah. This is the narrow Jewish usage of the term Judea [and Judah], whereas  Greek and Latin writers used the broader meaning of the name.

His lie has to do with what the Arabs and Muslims in the country and beyond generally called it.  After the Crusades, the Mamluk and Ottoman Empires saw the country as an undefined, indistinct part of bilad ash-Sham [variously translated as Levant, Syria, Greater Syria]. The Muslim Arab majority did not call the land Palestine.

Few except for the rare scholars among them [and illiteracy was very high] even knew that once, before the Crusades, the Arab and Muslim rulers had used the term Filastin for the southern part --roughly speaking-- of the country, of the Land of Israel. Filastin did not mean the whole country but only what today we call southern Samaria, Judah [not Judea but Judah, the territory of the southern Israelite kingdom], and the southern and middle coastal plain and coast. The Arabs took the term Filastin from the Roman district of Palaestina Prima which had roughly speaking the same borders. Palaestina Secunda, northern Samaria, the Galilee and Golan as well as territory east of the Jordan River was called Urdunn by the early Arab conquerors.

Judea was in fact in Roman usage the name for --roughly speaking-- what the Jews called the Land of Israel. See an authentic Roman document, a metal military discharge certificate [called a diploma] which attests to a veteran of the Roman legions having served in Judea [IVDAEA in Latin]

Another of Said's lies was calling the Arabs in the country the "natives." The Jews were the indigenous population of the Land, inhabiting it long before the Arab invasion of the 7th century. The Jews were reduced by the Crusader massacres to a small fraction of the population but Jews have always lived in the country since ancient times, for more than 3000 years. So out of three assertions that Said makes in this short excerpt, two are false.

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Historical sketch of the land  and its name [here]

Jewish exile from Jerusalem [here]

The usage of the name Judea or PROVINCIA IVDAEA by Rome [here]

My assertion that the Arabs generally did not call what is today Israel by the name "Palestine"  or "Filastin" is acknowledged by one of Said's professorial Arab friends, none other than Rashid al-Khalidi, who just so happens to be a good buddy of one Barack Hussein Obama, the previous president of the United States. Khalidi acknowledged this, for instance, in an article in the journal International Journal of Middle East Studies in the year 1988 or about then. I do not now have the exact citation but you can check the journal for the years 1988, 1987, and 1989.

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Sunday, August 06, 2017

Erdogan's Turkey Goes for Teaching "Good Jihad"

If you are one of those who dislike President Trump, however much you may dislike him, remember all of Obama's kind gestures, his love of peaceful Islam, his friendship with Erdogan, his thwarted efforts to put the Muslim Brotherhood in power in Egypt and to keep it there, and so on. And you may mellow on Trump.

Obama was notoriously close to Erdogan in the first few years of his regime, so much so that he and Erdung were called BFFs [best female friends]. Obama was apparently in cahoots with Erdung over the Mavi Marmara siege-breaking affair [2010], among other things. Now the would-be sultan of a restored Ottoman Empire is introducing "good jihad" into Turkish schools. Excerpt translated below with original:

Starting with the return to school in September, the concept of "jihad" will be taught in most schools in the country, according to the new curriculum conceived by the Islamo-conservative government and made public on July 18. It is not a matter of learning holy war but rather "the good jihad," the jihad that exalts "love of the fatherland", Ismet Yilmaz, minister of national education, hastened to clarify. "Jihad exists in our religion and it is one of the duties of the ministry of education to see to it that this concept is taught in a correct and appropriate manner," he insisted.

À partir de la rentrée scolaire, en septembre, le concept de « djihad » sera enseigné dans la plupart des écoles du pays, selon le nouveau programme conçu par le gouvernement islamo-conservateur et rendu public mardi 18 juillet. Il n’est pas question d’apprendre la guerre sainte mais plutôt « le bon djihad », celui qui exalte « l’amour de la patrie », s’est empressé de préciser Ismet Yilmaz, le ministre de l’éducation nationale. « Le djihad existe dans notre religion et il est du devoir du ministère de l’éducation de veiller à ce que ce concept soit enseigné de façon juste et appropriée », a-t-il insisté.
Marie Jego, Istanbul, for Le Monde 7-28-2017
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More on Erdogan: here & here & here & here

The role of Qatar and Washington insiders in the Mavi Marmara affair here

Quality Turkish Education? Whither? [here]

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Monday, May 29, 2017

The New York Times Gets into Serious Falsification Again -- Altering Quotes about Israel

We at Emet m'Tsiyon have already covered several cases where the overrated New York Times distorted facts. We showed how once the NYT changed the meaning of what Pope Francis said to Mahmoud Abbas [= Abu Mazen]. That was a serious falsification because it had the Pope declaring that Abbas was "an angel of peace." What the Pope actually said was that Abu Mazen "could be an angel of peace" [Lei possa essere un angelo della pace].That is, he could be one if he made peace with Israel.

The present case of falsifying a quote does not involve false translation but rather deliberately leaving out several words from a statement by President Trump. Here I thank CAMERA, the media monitor, for bringing this notable NYT falsehood to light.

Trump made a statement on 2 February of this year about Israeli settlements in Judea-Samaria:
While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal. (Emphasis added.)
Now a video on the NYT website produced by its Jerusalem-based journalists Ian Fisher and Camilla Schick, narrated by Fisher, left out the words in boldface which means that they were significantly altering the meaning of Trump's statement. Instead of what Trump said Fisher and Schick give us this truncated and therefore distorted and misleading version:
The White House had this to say back in February. "While we do not believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements [the missing words belong here] may not be helpful in achieving that goal." Trump publicly asked Mr. Netanyahu to exercise restraint on settlement building. . .
Tamar Sternthal of CAMERA explains the problems of distortion, done for what I see as clearly political partisan reasons [here]. That is, the Jerusalem-based journalists and the NY Times itself on the whole are partisans in favor of the PLO.

Basically, what Trump's actual statement said that it would be all right for Israel to expand the existing settlements, in terms of numbers of housing units, if that expansion did not go beyond the current boundaries of these settlements. Serious politically motivated distortion.
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Also see the links below for more on NYTimes hatred of Jews and Israel:
1-- defense of Nazi sympathizer, Linda Sarsour [here]
2-- five NYT anti-Israel op eds -- hatred of Israel intensifies at the NYT [here]

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Friday, May 26, 2017

What Does "Left" Mean Today? Is the Right-Left Spectrum Notion Anymore than a Fraud Nowadays?

Who said professors don't have  a sense of humor? Two professors wrote an article as a spoof on the pretentiousness and earnest absurdity of the rather new and novel field of Gender Studies. Their article, The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct,”  claimed to prove that the penis, the male reproductive organ, was not only a leading cause of the medical condition called pregnancy, but of, among other things, climate change. Anyhow, soon after publication in the journal Cogent Social Sciences, they revealed their real names and that the article was a hoax. I personally think that they should have waited a while longer before revealing the reality in order to see how many fish --or dupes-- they could catch who might take the article seriously and quote from it in all seriousness with admiration for and in agreement with its novel thesis. Here is a quote from the original hoax essay:
 "Nowhere are the consequences of hypermasculine machismo braggadocio isomorphic identification with the conceptual penis more problematic than concerning the issue of climate change,”
Be that as it may, the online magazine for academics, Inside Higher Ed [Ed = education] ran an article describing the hoax and quoting from it liberally while discussing several related issues. This article in turn drew a good number of comments. One line of discussion was how the toilers in the field of Gender Studies, although identifying themselves as Left, neglected the traditional concerns of the Left:
Don't you all miss the days when the "academic left" was preoccupied with issues such as social formations and the class structure of contemporary capitalism, the relationship between the dominant economic order and the state, the analysis of ideological hegemony, the application of Marxist theory to contemporary social conflict, the anarchist critique of Marxian strategies for social change, labor history . . .  
This raises the question of just what meaning the label or term Left has today. Especially since its concerns have changed so much and some charge that it is too often preoccupied with what the critics call "Identity Politics." Some used a phrase of the poet William Blake who lived in the late 18th century when the factory, the steam-powered mill was just making its appearance. Blake hated early industrialization which he characterized with the phrase: dark, satanic mills. Here is my contribution to the discussion between the two broken lines:
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It really is hard to know nowadays just what "Left" is and how it may be different from "Right." Furthermore, the gender studies and queer theorists seem to have no time to study the Dark, Satanic Mills that actually exist today in the inevitably progressive 21st century. How about the building sites in Qatar for the 2022 world soccer championhip as today's counterpart --or worse-- to Blake's dark, satanic mills? So are the gender and queer theorists really Left, in the traditional (patriarchal?) sense of the term, as they neglect the oppressed proletarians of Qatar? Indeed, an earnest lady of the philosophical persuasion prestidigitating in the gender studies field informed us a few years ago that Hamas and Hizbullah were parts of the "Global Left". Yet precisely Hamas was at the time (and probably still is) a recipient of $$ billions from Qatar. Now Qatar, besides overworking --sometimes to death-- the toiling gastarbeiter from Nepal and India, etc, enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, at least for its own citizens which the laborers are not. 
Although Lenin defined imperialism as not only the highest stage of capitalism but as any very large concentration of capital --a definition that surely fits Qatar & some of its neighbors on the Persian Gulf-- our philosophical theorist of what is Left today failed to see the contradiction in her own labeling of Hamas as Left. Since it is an Islamist organization funded in large part by Qatar, an imperialist state by Lenin's definition anyway, Hamas would seem to be an imperialist cats paw.
On the other hand, the old style Marxist-Leninists too might quite possibly have failed to apply Lenin's definition of imperialism consistently and might also have been reluctant to define Qatar as imperialist. And I certainly reject Marx and Lenin's notion of historical inevitability. Which leaves us with prejudice, preference, and selectivity marching forward hand in hand with new-fangled theories.
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Here is a comment that partly expresses some of my thinking about the meaning and purpose of today's "Left":
. . .  the American "Left's" preoccupation with identity politics has been a major distraction from the economic and critical methodologies noted above by Goodsensecynic [= another commenter-Eliyahu]. Maybe we're talking "post-Marxism" but, if we are in that period, then Capital can continue to have its way with most workers and citizens, no matter what their race, color, creed, or gender. The "hoax" article is, of course, about gender.
Capital has always offered "bread and circuses" to the masses (although not always the bread); chariot races have been replaced by NASCAR.
The implications of all this are obvious in the current state of academia . . .          [Frank Tomasulo]

In my view, circuses today are more the demonstrations of the Occupy Movement than of NASCAR.
The Left in the 21st century -- is it any more than pane et circenses, the Roman practice of giving the plebeians Bread and Circuses? Does the left-right notion do any more than confuse and mislead the public and the student of politics in our first fifth of the 21st century?
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--More on Qatar as well as on how certain capitalist institutions finance "leftist" organizations, especially if they are anti-Israel/anti-Jewish [here]
--Qatar's beneficiary, the Hamas Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip [here]
-- The Qatar paradox, anti-American & pro-American at the same time [here]
-- How Qatar's royal broadcasting enterprise, Al-Jazeera, broadcasts anti-Israel "leftists" [here]

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Abbas Lied in Washington when He Claimed that His "palestinian authority" Was Promoting Peace Education for Arab Children

This post consists mainly in quotes from Palestinian Media Watch showing the mendacity and hypocrisy of Mahmoud Abbas and his distaste for peace with Israel:

The PA leadership publicly proclaims that it is promoting peace education. Mahmoud Abbas recently announced during a press conference with US Pres. Donald Trump: "I affirm to you that we are raising our children and our grandchildren on a culture of peace." [White House Press Conference, May 3, 2017]
But Abbas' embracing a "culture of peace" in Washington is meaningless when his schools in Ramallah embrace a culture of terror. Indeed, Palestinian youth themselves make a mockery of Abbas' claim, as children in the schools named for terrorists declare that those terrorists are their role models.
[the Palestinian Authority habitually names schools and other public places and institutions after Arab terrorists & Arab Nazi collaborators. The paragraphs from PMW below list schools named after prominent palestinian Arab Nazi collaborators]

The following is a list of schools the PA has named after Nazi collaborators:
The PA has named one school after Nazi collaborator and war criminal Amin Al-Husseini.
1.The Amin Al-Husseini Elementary School - El-Bireh
Amin Al-Husseiniwas the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem at the time of the British Mandate. During World War II he moved to Berlin, where he was a Nazi collaborator and an associate of Hitler. Al-Husseini was on Yugoslovia's list of wanted war criminals, and was responsible for a Muslim SS division that murdered thousands of Serbs and Croats. When the Nazis offered to free some Jewish children, Al-Husseini fought against their release, and as result, 5000 children were sent to the gas chambers.
Amin Al-Husseini meeting with Adolf Hitler (December 1941)
The PA has named two schools after Nazi collaborator Hassan Salameh.
2.The Hassan Salameh Junior High School for Girls - Gaza
3. Hassan Salameh Elementary School - Gaza
Hassan Salameh was a leader of Arab gangs in the Lod and Jaffa region in the 1930s and 1940s. He was a loyal follower of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin Al-Husseini, who spent World War II in Berlin supporting the Nazi war effort. In 1941, Salameh was recruited to be a Nazi agent, and in 1944, he was sent on a mission by the Nazis in the British Mandate of Palestine, with the goal of starting an Arab revolt against the British and poisoning Tel Aviv's water sources. The plot was discovered and thwarted by the British. In 1947, Salameh was appointed by the Mufti as Deputy Commander of the "Holy Jihad" Army that fought Israel in the 1948 War of Independence. In June 1948, he was killed in battle.
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This story of Arab Nazi Collaboration should be more widely known but it is not. There are those who want to make the world  forget thi ugly chapter in Arab history.
See more on Arab Nazi collaborators on our blog:
The anniversary of Amin el-Husseini's first visit with Hitler [here]

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Surprise! A Reasonable Article about the Alleged Trump Leak

James Freeman explains why it is not wise to get too worked up over the alleged leak by President Trump to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Note that those who were present at the meeting between Trump and Putin deny the claims made by the Washington Post's article. The alleged sources for the article, on the other hand, are all anonymous.

I would add another point. If there were any information improperly given to Putin --if any-- we don't know exactly what it was. But it is very likely that more damage was caused by all the reports, truthful or not, that claim to divulge parts of the content and/or the source of the alleged info. For instance, ABC news was reported to have broadcast that the info in question came from Israel and that its source was an Israeli operative planted inside Da`ash. If there is such an Israeli agent, then such a broadcast was more likely to have endangered the agent than whatever Trump said.

Bear in mind that once in the Bush2 administration and at least once in the obama admin Washington intelligence personalities gave out info that was said to have harmed Israel. Those instances are forgotten.

If "news" outlets like ABC were so concerned with intelligence security, why then did they report on what they claim Israel's intel services have been doing? Or was Israel's name dragged in in order to create animosity and suspicion between the pro-Israel community and the president?

Another point is the credibility of the original "news" outlet for the story. It was first reported by the Washington Post. But the WAPO has been very hostile to Trump for many months and has devoted a great many pages and barrels of ink to besmirching him. For instance, I get an email from the WAPO just about every day. It contains links to stories in the newspaper that supposedly might be interesting to me --  or more precisely, to the average reader. For months now, I have seen a dozen or a score of articles every day knocking or besmirching Trump on all sorts of grounds. You can understand why I don't pay much attention to those "reports" which may or may not be true, but are often trivial in substance. In any event, they certainly become boring soon enough. 

Michael Ledeen points out another problem. Trump is facing hordes of Obama holdovers who are still in high positions. And ready to sabotage his administration and his policies at every turn [here].
Here is another issue: Powerful  press organs such as the Washington Post and the New York Time besmirch his image every day helped by partisan media "news" outlets like CNN. The Times called for impeachment of Trump, one complaint being that he lies. Well, Obama lied early and often. Yet the NYT & WAPO seldom if ever saw fit to disqualify Obama on those grounds. Could we be witnessing an attempted coup d'etat?

Freeman's article appeared in the Wall Street Journal:

McMaster and Commander

Trump’s national security adviser takes on the Washington Post’s anonymous sources.

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster answers questions during a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday.
 National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster answers questions during a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
James Freeman
Former government officials have been demanding anonymity from the Washington Post in order to discuss a meeting they did not attend at the White House. President Trump’s National Security Adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, who did attend the meeting, has been going on the record this week along with other attendees to knock down the resulting story. Yet much of the press still seems to credit the Post’s unnamed non-attendees.
Here’s the lede from the Post:
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
On Monday evening Gen. McMaster said in response:
The story that came out tonight as reported is false. The President and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time, were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of State, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources. And I was in the room. It didn’t happen.
On Tuesday the national security adviser elaborated on his remarks and took questions from reporters. At his Tuesday appearance in the White House briefing room, Gen. McMaster called Mr. Trump’s discussion “wholly appropriate” and consistent with the normal sharing of information on terror threats that occurs in high-level meetings with representatives of foreign nations. He said he was not concerned by Mr. Trump’s disclosures and had not contacted any foreign governments about them.
The anonymous sources quoted by the Post, on the other hand, appear to have very deep concerns, and the Post says that some of them even know what was said at the meeting. But many of the story’s harshest critiques of the President come from people who were not only not at the meeting, but are no longer in government:
“It is all kind of shocking,” said a former senior U.S. official who is close to current administration officials. “Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it’s all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.”
Here’s another excerpt from the Post story specifically focused on the President’s discussion of a particular plot hatched by Islamic State:
“Everyone knows this stream is very sensitive, and the idea of sharing it at this level of granularity with the Russians is troubling,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who also worked closely with members of the Trump national security team. He and others spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.
Now why are such subjects sensitive enough to require anonymity but not sensitive enough to avoid discussing with a Washington Post reporter? We normally think of current government employees needing to remain anonymous while leaking data to the press in order to keep their jobs, but it’s not immediately clear why all the former officials also deserve anonymity in this case.
It’s possible that the sources in this story understand that people not named Clinton may be punished if they are caught mishandling sensitive information they obtained while they were in government. But one would think that a former official could publicly opine that the President is recklessly sharing information without disclosing any particular details of intelligence or the way it is collected. This raises the possibility that the sensitivity problem relates to a source’s current and future employment rather than previous government service.
Not every organization enjoys having its employees publicly accuse the President of endangering national security. And even people without an institutional affiliation understand they run the risk of offending clients when they publicly stand behind a controversial idea. But of course the grant of immunity by a reporter denies readers the opportunity to evaluate sources for themselves and consider their possible agendas.
Readers can’t tell whether the former officials quoted by the Post are retired or work for defense contractors or think tanks or political operations—or perhaps at firms that have nothing to do with government.
But readers are able to evaluate H.R. McMaster. He has spent a highly distinguished career defending the United States. And he was at the meeting. And he’s on the record.
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Related topics:
Seth Rich: He revealed DNC emails to Wikileaks through an American Wikileaks associate in London. Rich was murdered in the summer of 2016:

Democratic Party hypocrisy in regard to leaking information to other powers, hostile powers