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Recent Publications from New English Review Press
Easy Meat
by Peter McLoughlin
The Tongue is Also a Fire
by James Como
Out Into The Beautiful World
by Theodore Dalrymple
Unreading Shakespeare
by David P. Gontar
Islam Through the Looking Glass: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J. B. Kelly, Vol. 3
edited by S. B. Kelly
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum

Thursday, 5 May 2016
News Flash: Lindsay Lohan Is “Exploring” Islam
Fox News reported last week that Lindsay Lohan the perennially bad girl of Hollywood is infatuated with Islam. Lindsay, who is famous for being famous, now wants to flirt with converting to Islam. Lindsay, I don’t how to say this to you tactfully, but this is a really, really, really dumb idea, even for you.

Ms. Lohan has appeared before the Judge about 20 times over the last eight years mainly on alcohol and drug offenses. She has almost single handedly kept the posh Hollywood treatment centers in business. She has been dried out more times than a bathroom wash cloth.

Have you, Lindsay, in your vast reading of the Koran ever noticed the penalty for drinking alcohol ?

I think it is a 100 leashes across your bare back for the first offense. You will need a burkha just to cover the scars and welts across your beautiful back and shoulders. But Islam does have a permanent cure for alcoholism if you back slide a second time. The second time you are caught drinking alcohol becomes a capital offense. You will be killed. My guess is either through stoning or decapitation. Neither are pleasurable alternatives.

Let’s assume you do convert to Islam and then discover the error of your ways. There is literally no exit from Islam. Have you “explored” the penalty for leaving Islam? All the schools of Islamic jurisprudence demand the death penalty for the apostate. I am sure with your high profile Jihadis would be lined up around the block to kill the famous Lindsay Lohan. We killed bin Laden, but ISIS would kill you. What terror act could top the spectacular Sharia mandated killing of Lindsay Lohan ?

Lindsay, quit shilling for Islam ! All of you vapid Hollywood types are creating a fantasy Islam, one that has never existed and will never exist in the future. Stop being a useful idiot for Islam.

Hint: While you are exercising your formidable mental powers study the life of Mohammed.

I sincerely fear for your continued existence upon the planet if you do become a Muslim. That decision is irrevocable. Wise up, sweetie, before it is too late.

Posted on 05/05/2016 5:30 AM by John Constantine
Thursday, 5 May 2016
Will the Next American President be Friends with Saudi Arabia?

Just friends, but not like before, just about sums up the present relationship between the Obama administration and Saudi Arabia. It is not a divorce, but rather an estrangement or separation in a less than happy marriage. In happier days the two countries have been involved economically, politically, and militarily. Now, the former Saudi intelligence chief has called for a “recalibration” of relationships. The next U.S. President must attend to the issue.

In 1938 Standard Oil of California (Chevron) found oil in eastern Saudi Arabia. In 1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 14, 1945 met aboard a cruiser in the Suez Canal with Saudi King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud who brought eight sheep on board to cook for dinner. Military ties were enhanced in the common resistance against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979-1989, in the Gulf crisis in 1991, and in the war against Saddam Hussein in 2003.

There were and still remain mutual interests but changes have occurred. For the US the oil of Saudi Arabia was once vital, but the U.S. is now less dependent on oil imports. For the Saudis, the purchase of US weaponry, now said to be at least $95 billion, has been and remains crucial, but the Saudis are less dependent on the US for military security. 

Cooperation continues. The Saudis have been involved in the U.S. led air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria, thus symbolizing that the response to ISIS is international, not simply Western. The U.S. has supplied intelligence and logistical support to the Saudi campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The two countries cooperate in intelligence sharing against terrorist activity in the Middle East.

At the same time, differences have become more pronounced, leading President Barack Obama to refer to the Saudis as “our so called allies.” Part of the reason is that Saudi Arabia, under the new King Salman has recognized that that the Obama administration is reluctant to become involved in a Middle East conflict, as was shown in the refusal to take military action regarding the crossing of the “red line” in Syria in August 2013, unless the security of the US is threatened. 

There are a considerable number of differences between the Saudis and the US: Saudi financing of terrorists and Islamist extremism; human rights abuses;  the Obama acceptance  of the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt; Saudi actions in the war in Yemen; the Assad regime in Syria;  Iran; the Saudi help to 9/11 terrorists and to al Qaeda; Saudi funding of madrassas with their religious teaching of Wahhabism.

Above all, the Saudis are fearful of what they see as the Obama tilt to Iran, and especially are critical of the Iran nuclear deal.  

The Saudis are therefore playing a more assertive policy, one that includes the use of military force. It is able and willing to play such a role. It has an estimated 268 billion barrels of oil in reserves, 16 per cent of world reserves and $630 billion in financial reserves, though it is using about $60 billion a year.

However, the regime now faces a number of issues: the decline in oil prices from $115 a barrel in 2014 to $35 in 2015; the growth of world competition in oil production and the increase in “fracking” by other countries; the emphasis on reduction of fossil fuels; the disenchanted young; the strength of ISIS; young people, under 30, make up two thirds of the population and a considerable number have no jobs. The unemployment rate is more than 11 per cent.

The key to political and economic changes and plans by the Saudis is the role of the most influential and energetic member of the ruling family, the 30 year old Prince Mohammed bin Salman, son of the 80 year old King Salman, who became king in January 2015, The Prince is deputy crown prince, defense minister, controller of the economy, and chairman of the Supreme Council of Saudi Aramco , the world’s largest oil producing company  with oil reserves estimated at 261 billion barrels.

In foreign policy Saudi Arabia has taken steps, independently of U.S. policy. It had already broken diplomatic relations with Iran, and now seeks militarily to counter Iranian intervention in Yemen and Syria. It has also trying to create a 34 nation Islamic coalition against terrorism. Prominent Saudis have met with Russian President Putin and China’s leader Xi Jinping.

The Saudis are interested in building a military-industrial complex, and a government owned military holding company.  They propose that at least 50 per cent of military purchases would go to local industry. In 2015, defense spending was $87 billon, the third largest amount in the world by a country.

Proposed economic changes from the dependence on oil that accounts for 40 per cent of GDP and 80 per cent of government revenue, may be more important.  The stated ambition of the Prince is to change the economy from an oil funded government dominated system to a more private business role, emphasizing privatization, and private investment. Stability depends on the outcome, since Saudi Aramco has played a dominant role in the domestic economy, in the workforce, in power and water utilities, in 139 government schools, in healthcare, and in approving loans and venture capital investments.

This will mean changes in Saudi social affairs since oil accounts for more than three quarters of state income, about $162 billion. They would include privatization in areas such as health care and education, and investing in manufacturing, and higher taxes on goods. It would also entail accountability in public administration, and the creation of better universities.

The next American President must decide whether Saudi Arabia can be considered an ally of the West or as the home and fountain of Wahhabism, the most extreme form of Islam? The enigma for the West is whether the new assertion of power by the political leaders can limit, if not end, the impact of Wahhabism with its control over education, judiciary, and role of women, and support of terrorist groups.

Any decision for the U.S. must balance the contribution of the Saudis to the fight against terrorism with the reality of the continuance of an oppressive and authoritarian Saudi regime that defines criminal intent as anything that undermines public order or questions Wahhabism and is responsible for an increase in beheadings in 2015, as well as the execution of 47 men on terrorism charges.  

Posted on 05/05/2016 5:16 AM by Michael Curtis
Thursday, 5 May 2016
The Man Behind The Hilarious Conservative Pundit Parody Account Speaks Out

Scott Greer intervews the anonymous man behind "Conservative Pundit" at the Daily Caller.

The Donald Trump campaign has exposed deep divisions within the American political right and driven many conservative commentators to histrionics over the real estate mogul’s antics.

Thus, the birth of the #NeverTrump social media “movement.”

Fortunately, throughout the 2016 campaign, there has been one Twitter parody account that has perfectly skewered the conservative movement’s Trump outrage from the Right at every twist and turn.

The aptly named Conservative Pundit — found at the handle @DemsRRealRacist — has garnered over 14,000 followers and prominent fans such as Ann Coulter. Additionally, for a few brief hours on March 12, the @realDonaldTrump account followed the parody.

Put in the voice of a hypothetical National Review writer who believes Democrats are the real racists, Mr. Pundit tweets out his thoughts on a wide variety of issues...

Continue reading here.

Conservative Pundit's twitter account is here.

Posted on 05/05/2016 4:46 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 5 May 2016
Blackburn Muslim Association - Women should not travel more than 48 miles without a male escort

From the Telegraph

Instructions from the Blackburn Muslim Association’s “Department of Theology” insist that it is “not permissible” for a woman to go more than 48 miles – deemed to be the equivalent of three days walk - without her husband or a close male relative.

It also stipulates that men must grow beards and advises women to cover their faces.

The rulings are contained in a question and answer section of the group’s site which offers offer “solutions and answers” to social, religious and financial matters from Sharia teaching, accompanied by the catchphrase: “Allah knows best.”

The group is listed as an affiliate of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and claims on its website to have received funding from its local council in the past.

....came following a question from David Davies, the Tory MP for Monmouth, during development questions in the Commons. He asked if efforts to improve sexual equality “would be made easier if organisations like the Blackburn Muslim Association were not putting out information to people that women should not be allowed to travel more than 48 miles without a chaperone?”

Lord Green, the founder of the think-tank Migration Watch UK, said: “There is no place in our society for restrictions of this kind on the freedom of women. Muslim leaders would do well to encourage their followers to integrate with our society rather than cut themselves off.”

Blackburn has the third highest percentage of Muslims, after Tower Hamlets and Newham in east London.

Posted on 05/05/2016 4:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 5 May 2016
West Ham Megamosque latest

The trustees of the Masjid e Ilyas, aka the London Markaz, aka The Riverine Centre, aka the Abbeymills Mosque, best known as the mega-mosque of West Ham took their latest application to the High Court in London yesterday. This was in the form of an application to the Queens Bench Division claiming that the decision last year by the government to refuse the building of a Tablighi Jamaat Mosque and to return the land to the London Borough of Newham for a mixed use community project was a breach of their Human Rights.

I was unable to attend the hearing but those I know who were present tell me that all eight points of their application were rejected by the Judge and the Mosque may get costs, in excess of £30,000 awarded against them. 

Posted on 05/05/2016 2:35 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Renowned Russian Political Analyst Sergey Karaganov On The New Russia-West Ideological Struggle

MEMRI is now translating Russian newspaper and magazine articles. This one is particularly interesting.

On April 21, 2016, the pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia published an article by Russian political analyst Sergey Karaganov;[1] in it, Karaganov states that the disintegration of the Soviet Union created the illusion that the era of "ideologies and ideological struggle was over." However, he adds, the end of the Cold War marked a further deterioration of relations between Russia and the West.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Karaganov writes, Russians were attracted by Western ideals: "Most of the Soviet elite and people, weary of the scarcity and lack of freedom of the era of real socialism, yearned to be in Europe." He adds that Russians were eager to join Europe, its thinkers, Christianity, and traditional values, from which they had been separated for 70 years under the Soviet regime. However, the post-Cold War Europe gradually lost its attraction for the Russian political class, as it started to support NATO's expansion eastwards and European Union policies that did not involve Moscow as an equal partner; additionally, the EU never seriously considered Russia's project to create a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok.[2]

On Europe's part, there was a definite fear that Russia was too big an entity to be truly integrated – a fear supported by the belief that integrating Russia into Europe would lead to the disintegration of Europe. However, according to Karaganov, the idea that eventually prevailed was that "the West was using Russia's weakness to eradicate its centuries-old gains and make it even weaker."

Karaganov explains that at this stage, Russia wants to "reclaim its own self" and adds that it could offer the world more attractive values than the West can. He notes that in the Lisbon Treaty, on reform in European integration and cooperation, which came into force on December 1, 2009, the EU included "only" the values of pragmatism, consumerism, democracy, human rights, and law, and added: "Essentially, these values are quite attractive, but may provoke a degradation of both humans and their values if detached from a person's customary devotion to some higher purpose." In contrast, Russia, he says, emphasizes as main values "national dignity" and "courage" – which, he adds, are no longer part of Europe's ideals because they are "perceived as part of [Europe's] dangerous past – from the wars [it] unleashed and lost." Thus, he says, fear of its own past has attracted Europe to concepts such as "nonviolence" and "pacifism," which he considers completely inadequate for facing the challenges of the modern world. Pursing ideals such as pacifism will lead Europe into trouble, he says, as one result of it, mass migration, can deeply damage the West. Therefore, Karaganov suggests, Europe must, in order to survive, begin to pursue "a harsher and more right-wing policy" and "give up some of its democratic freedoms for the sake of order and security."

Russia is different from Europe and proud of it, Karaganov explains. He notes, for example, that Russia is ready to use force to protect its sovereignty and values, while Europe is not. Russia supports Christianity and is ready to defend Christians around the world, while the EU has lost its faith and failed to even mention its Christian roots in the Lisbon Treaty. This is ironic, because the Soviet Union was criticized by the West for its "godless and amoral communism," he says, and asks, "Can one trust those [i.e. the West] who espouse godless 'democratism' and liberalism?" Russia does not need to "export" its ideology, he notes, since this is already "happening de facto" as the Russian approach to the world is becoming more attractive to public opinion. The West, he says, has tried to export "democratism" in an "aggressive manner," so there is now a need for the "non-Western" Russian policy, in order to stop the West's geopolitical expansion.

This view of Europe and the West is shared by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, during his annual live Q&A session on the Direct Line program on April 14, 2016, criticized European liberalism and freedom of movement in the 26-nation border-free European Schengen Area.[3] He said: "Europe is facing serious challenges, and you probably feel safer in Siberia than, say, in Paris or Brussels. I say this without any irony, on the contrary, I am totally serious, giving due credit to our colleagues, who are making attempts to effectively tackle terrorism amidst the complicated conditions of European liberalism. The freedom of movement, the Schengen Area, and many other things related to today's freedoms are used effectively by terrorists, and it is quite difficult to combat this under [European] present laws."[4]

The following are excerpts from an English translation of Karaganov's article published on the website of the Russian foreign affairs journal Russia in Global Affairs:[5]

Read the whole thing here;

Posted on 05/04/2016 1:13 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Kenyan police detain 'Anthrax plotters with links to Isil'

Kenyan police say they have uncovered a plot to launch a “large-scale attack” using anthrax by what is thought to be the country’s first home-grown terrorist cell with links to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

A medical intern at a hospital in the east of the country has been detained and his wife, a fellow medic, was arrested in Uganda, along with another woman. Two other men, also medical interns in Kenyan hospitals, have gone into hiding, said police, who have offered a $20,000 reward for their capture.

Joseph Boinnet, Kenya’s police chief, alleged that the man in custody, Mohammed Abdi Ali, had recruited Isil fighters and plotted to stage attacks in Kenya. The suspects were planning large scale attacks akin to the Westgate Mall attack [in which 67 people died in September 2013] with the intention of killing innocent Kenyans," said Mr Boinnet.  He said Mr Ali's network " also included medical experts with whom they planned to unleash a biological attack in Kenya using anthrax” and were engaged in " the active radicalisation" of students as well as helping to recruit Kenyans "to join terror groups in Libya and Syria".

Western security sources say the latest arrests are indicative of a growing influence by and presence of ISIL-linked militants in East Africa who are separate to al-Shabaab. 

A human rights group said however that Kenyan security forces – who have been criticised for their heavy-handed approach – could be involved in the disappearance of the two wanted medics and came up with the terror plot as a cover story. Al- Amin Kimathi, a human rights activist, said he believed his enquiry about their safety had prompted the police statement.

Posted on 05/04/2016 12:36 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Danish school bars Muslim students from wearing niqab

From the Danish edition of The Local and the Copenhagen Post

An adult education centre in the northern Copenhagen suburb of Lyngby has told six female students that they can no longer attend classes unless they remove their niqabs,

The school in question, VUC Lyngby, said that it changed its rules in the autumn to no longer allow students to cover their faces during class but the case only hit the media this week when a post on the school’s Facebook page led to a debate over its policies. 

“Teaching takes place by means of communication, and as a teacher you can better understand your impact if you can see that what you’re saying is being received by the student. And this cannot be done if they’re wearing a niqab,”  deputy headteacher Inge Voller explained to Metroxpress.

The school said that "everyone is welcome" at the institution and that while no one had been thrown out of class for wearing a niqab, the new policy will applies to all future students at the school. The six women who were told that they would not be able to attend future classes while wearing a niqab have been offered the opportunity to follow along via e-learning.

While the school’s policy had its critics, the majority appeared to agree with the decision. Opinion polls on both Metroxpress and Ekstra Bladet showed that an overwhelming majority of readers backed the school.  

Posted on 05/04/2016 10:30 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Will Cameron Apologize to Trump?


David Cameron will be cringing today at Donald Trump’s emergence as the likely Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 election.

Last December the prime minister called the billionaire businessman “divisive, stupid and wrong” for suggesting that Muslims should be banned from entering America.

When he made these undiplomatic remarks, Cameron had been swept up by the excitement surrounding a UK petition signed by more than 500,000 people calling on the government to ban Trump from entering Britain – an idea Cameron vetoed.

He would have assumed that Trump had no chance of becoming the Republican nominee.

Even so, no other European leader was so outspoken.

Now Cameron is paying for his error of judgment.

One of Trump’s advisers has said Cameron should apologise.

George Papadopoulos, Trump’s London-based foreign policy adviser on Europe and the Middle East, said Trump is considering a tour of both regions but has not yet been invited to Britain by the government.

In a comment to the Times of London Mr Papadopoulos said: “First we need an invitation. Of course, if the United Kingdom extended an invitation it would be a tremendous show of unity and a wonderful spectacle. That invitation has not been extended…If prime minister Cameron is serious about reaching out…an apology or some sort of retraction should happen.”

Diplomats are said to be keen to restore relations as soon as possible, meaning Cameron may find himself in the humiliating position of having to welcome Trump to Downing Street once the tycoon has formally secured the nomination in July.

Cameron’s one possible escape route is that he may lose the EU Referendum on June 23. In which case, he is expected to resign immediately, meaning his successor could shake hands with Trump instead.

Posted on 05/04/2016 10:15 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Fasten Your Seatbelts, It's Going to be a Bumpy Election

Posted on 05/04/2016 8:59 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Blueprint for a President Trump Foreign Policy

Donald Trump’s long-awaited foreign-policy speech last week initially generated entirely predictable reactions. His supporters were gratified by a clear and coherent enunciation of his views, which had generally been presented up to then in a scatter-shot fashion, and often seemed more like belligerent attitudes than purposeful policy. But to his critics on both the right and the left, it was very inadequate, though naturally for different reasons. On the left, he was a dangerous, uncompromising jingo-nationalist who would destroy alliances with unilateralism and blunder into wars without thinking them through (a bizarre charge given the accident-prone behavior of recent administrations). It was unfocused belligerency. On the right, his policy was deemed a mere isolationism. The slogan “America First,” which was uttered once in the address, was superciliously resurrected from the Lend-Lease debate in 1941, and the loose organization of that name headed by Colonel Charles Lindbergh was deemed to be flying again, unable to make a serious moral distinction between Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler.

Lindbergh and his fellow isolationists, most of them patriotic Americans who did not want to become enmeshed in the quarrels of Europe, were pilloried by Franklin D. Roosevelt as Nazi sympathizers, and as Communists acting in solidarity with them in obedience to the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939. They had no monopoly on the phrase “America First,” and it did not necessarily acquire any permanent meaning. Trump made it clear that his only application of it was to define the American national interest, not ungenerously or without allies or in indifference to the rest of the world, and to provide the military and diplomatic consistency to maintain and protect that interest in consultation with allies. He was critical of the impetuosity of the Bushes, without naming them, in plunging into areas without proper justification or planning, at immense cost in lives and money, and with little beneficial consequence for America. He particularly assailed what “all began with a dangerous idea that we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western democracy. We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed: civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans killed, lives wasted.”

He was more explicit in attacking President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton for “a reckless, rudderless, and aimless foreign policy that has blazed a path of destruction in its wake. I challenge anyone to explain the strategic foreign-policy vision of Obama and Clinton. It has been a complete and total disaster.” More broadly, he said:

America no longer has a clear understanding of our foreign-policy goals. Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, we’ve lacked a coherent foreign policy. One day we’re bombing Libya and getting rid of a dictator to foster democracy for civilians. The next day we’re watching the same civilians suffer while their country absolutely falls apart. We’re a humanitarian nation, but the legacy of the Obama-Clinton interventions will be weakness, confusion, and disarray, a mess. We’ve made the Middle East more unstable and chaotic than ever before. We left Christians subject to intense persecution and even genocide. We have done nothing to help the Christians, nothing, and we should always be ashamed for that. Our actions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria have helped unleash ISIS, and we’re in a war with radical Islam, but President Obama won’t even name the enemy, and unless you name the enemy, you will never solve the problem.

While Trump had the respect for Republican sensibilities not to name the Bushes, it was clear that he considered George W. Bush, especially, part of the problem. He cannot have been thinking of anyone but the 43rd president when he said: “Instead of trying to spread universal values that not everyone shares or wants, we should understand that strengthening and promoting Western civilization and its accomplishments will do more to inspire positive reforms around the world than military interventions.” He was naturally less genteel in dealing with Hillary Clinton: She “blames it all on a video, an excuse that was a total lie, proved to be absolutely a total lie. Our ambassador [to Libya] was murdered and our secretary of state misled the nation. She was not awake to take that call at three o’clock in the morning.”

Trump paid suitable homage to the statesmen who led the Western Alliance to victory in World War II and in the Cold War, though Ronald Reagan was the only one he mentioned by name. “History will not forget what he did. . . . Unfortunately, after the Cold War our foreign policy veered badly off course. We failed to develop a new vision for a new time. . . . Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which led to one foreign-policy disaster after another.” He blamed the Clinton administration for underreacting to the bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and to the attack on the USS Cole, and enumerated five weaknesses in current American foreign policy. “First, our resources are totally over-extended. . . . Secondly, our allies are not paying their fair share. . . . They look at the United States as weak and forgiving and feel no obligation to honor their agreements with us. In NATO, only four of 28 other member countries besides America are spending the minimum required 2 percent of GDP on defense."…"The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense, and if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice.”

The third weakness he identified was that the U.S. was not seen by its allies as dependable. “We’ve had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies."…"He negotiated a disastrous deal with Iran, and then we watched them ignore its terms even before the ink was dry. Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.” This last line presumably means that if Iran derogates from the treaty and accelerates nuclear military deployment, President Trump will stop it militarily. If Iran adheres to the treaty’s terms, whoever is president of the United States in 2025 will have to tell the Iranians, if the Trump policy is followed in the meantime, that a version of the treaty will have to be renewed or preventive military means will be taken to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear military power. This is at least more sensible than the promises of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to “tear up” the treaty, which is contrary to international law and would excuse Iran from its tepid restraints after all the impounded and immobilized billions of Iranian funds have been released to it.

His fourth imputation of weakness that “our rivals no longer respect us. . . . They don’t take us seriously anymore.” In illustration of this, he mentioned the fact that Obama went all the way to Copenhagen to lobby for Chicago as the next Olympic Games site, and yet it came fourth; and that when Obama visited Cuba and Saudi Arabia, no one met him at the airport.

“Finally,” he said, “America no longer has a clear understanding of our foreign-policy goals. Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, we’ve lacked a coherent foreign policy.” He promised that “we are getting out of the nation-building business and instead focusing on creating stability in the world.” Trump declared that it would be his goal to “establish a foreign policy that will endure for several generations,” and said that he would recruit a new team, not composed of “those who have perfect résumés but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.”

I have cited so extensively from the speech because, apart from those outlets that published the entire text, very little of it was accurately summarized. Those who disliked it described it in pejorative adjectives, and supporters also gave only adjectival approval. In fact, it was sensible and plausible, a middle course between George W. Bush’s impetuosity and exaltation of inapplicable idealism over practicalities on the ground, and Obama’s feckless irresolution that has often had the character of telling America’s allies and adversaries to change roles and places, as in an after-dinner game of charades. The yelpings of some of America’s allies, such as German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, can be discounted as the apprehension of freeloaders seeing the approach of the bill collector, rather than the pompous condescensions of European diplomats, who have tended to regard Atlantic relations for generations as a tutorial on worldliness from them to the Americans fortunate to have the privilege of defending them. The speech wasn’t isolationist in tone and it isn’t clear that a Trump administration would cut loose very much from the traditional range of American overseas and hemispheric interests, except some countries that declined to pull their weight.

Nor do I see anything to justify the normally very insightful Peggy Noonan’s view in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal that Trump’s foreign policy is to the left of the “hawkish” Hillary Clinton. Whatever Mrs. Clinton’s private demurrals and implications about the president whom she served, she is stuck with her record, including her attempt to pretend that the agreement between Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush over Gaza and settlements didn’t happen, her role in the abbreviation of anti-missile coverage for the Czechs and Poles and the rest of the nonsense about the “reset” with Russia, and the gradual foundering of any serious resistance to the Iranian nuclear military program.

Following his win in Indiana, it is almost impossible to see any scenario in which Donald Trump will fail to be the GOP’s presidential nominee. He and Mrs. Clinton are already exchanging fire and it will become very intense; neither of these two hardballers is going to pay any attention to a political Marquess of Queensberry. Trump has already called her a liar and an unindicted felon, as well as an incompetent secretary of state and a “facilitator” of the infidelities of her husband, whom Trump has called the greatest sexist in American history. Mrs. Clinton has returned the compliments, and these are just the revels of the May; six months of mud-slinging impend. As I have written here before, the people are more angry than Washington insiders imagined, at 20 years of misgovernment, and Donald Trump is not complicit in any of what angers them. He has his infelicities, as have been amply publicized, but his Archie Bunker followers consider them a badge of honor, and the foreign-policy speech last week and his general demeanor in the last month or so are an effort to bring Republican moderates and traditionalists down from the tree. The arguments that he is unelectable, which have become steadily more tattered and moth-eaten, are pretty lame now and the polls between the two likely nominees are close.

Since 1952, the only time a party has won three straight terms in the White House was in 1988, when the very popular Ronald Reagan helped get what amounted to a third term, for his vice president, George H. W. Bush. Donald Trump is calling for a change from 20 or more years of inadequate leadership from both parties. Once the call that it is time for a change takes hold, it is difficult to reverse it. The only method is to change the rationale for supporting the government, as in FDR’s artful transition from, as he put it, “Dr. End-the-Depression” to “Dr. Win-the-War.” Hillary Clinton will not be able to pull that trick this year. Donald Trump has the advantages of very high (and long-lasting) name recognition without the baggage of incumbency. Hillary Clinton seems to be running for president for the fourth time, without ever having had the pleasure of holding that office. Nothing should be taken for granted, and it should be, as it has been for many months, good entertainment.

First published in National Review.

Posted on 05/04/2016 7:36 AM by Conrad Black
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
EU Poised to Endorse Visa-Free Travel for Turks

One more reason Britain needs to vote for Brexit.

UNITED NATIONS (Talk Media News) – E.U. officials are expected to endorse a plan that would grant Turkish citizens visa-free travel throughout the 28-member bloc on Wednesday, marking the culmination of years of efforts by Turkey to deepen European integration.

The announcement comes on the heels of a decree issued Monday by the Turkish government granting all E.U. citizens visa-free travel to Turkey. That decree was one of 72 requirements listed in a 2013 E.U. roadmap that spelled out exactly which policy changes and laws Turkey needed to implement to enter into Europe’s “visa free regime.”

“With this decree Turkey has fulfilled one more of the important benchmarks of its visa liberalization roadmap, and for the overall picture I would ask you to stay tuned as more, as you know, will come tomorrow,” European Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said Tuesday.

Turkey’s General Assembly has been hard at work in recent days to introduce and vote on several of the remaining laws, but a handful of remaining benchmarks – including some key provisions relating to E.U. security – will require more than legislative votes to fully address.

Posted on 05/04/2016 7:16 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
John Shattuck and America’s “Duty” to Solve Europe’s Refugee Crisis

The other day on NPR I heard John Shattuck, a former ambassador to Czechoslovakia and now the President and Rector of the Central European University in Budapest, declare the need for the United States to help more with the “refugee crisis” in Europe which, he said, threatened to break Europe apart.

His solution was for America to give more money to support even more refugees in Europe and to admit more of them ourselves from the Middle East. He spoke admiringly — to my mind alarmingly — of the 500,000 refugees Angela Merkel had let into Germany in 2015, and suggested America might do well to emulate Germany. We Americans have a “duty,” he insisted, to help in the resettlement of more of these Middle Eastern refugees in the West. He never explained why Saudi Arabia or Kuwait or Qatar could not accept some refugees (they’ve accepted none), or at least contribute, given their vast wealth, to their upkeep (they’ve given almost nothing); nor did he explain why the four million Syrian refugees now in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon could not remain in those countries. Wouldn’t it make sense for Muslim refugees to live among fellow Muslims, close to their country of origin and to which, one supposes, they could sooner or later return? Shattuck never mentioned these possibilities. Nor did he explain – perhaps it is so obvious to him that he thought it required no explanation — why America or indeed any country has a “duty” to allow in immigrants, bad or good, from anywhere. He never mentioned that there might be good reasons to discriminate among immigrants, to allow some in and keep others out, according to perfectly sensible criteria. What criteria? Well, what about this: Muslim would-be “immigrants” or “refugees” are the adherents of an ideology, Islam, that teaches them to regard non-Muslims as enemies to be conquered through Jihad, the “struggle” for which there are many instruments aside from qitaal or combat, and among them, most notable in Europe is the Jihad through demography. And once conquered, those non-Muslims are to be converted, or killed, or subject to a host of humiliating disabilities, beginning with payment of the Jizyah. Is that reason enough to keep out, as a class, all those who, by self-identifying as Muslims, may be held to believe what the texts of Islam teach? Does such a quarantine seem like a sensible and prudent course to you, if not to John Shattuck?

Shattuck’s main concern in his NPR appearance was that, absent much greater American involvement in the “refugee crisis,” a united Europe would disunite, give way to “nationalism” (apparently always a Bad Thing) and to what he called “far-right” groups. We’re all used to this adjective and its variants by now. We know that “far right” and “extreme far-right” and “xenophobic far-right” are Homeric epithets systematically affixed in terrorem to those who are opposed to still more Muslim immigration to the West, no matter what their other views. The absurdity of such name-calling can be seen in the treatment of such celebrated anti-Islam campaigners as the Dutch politician Geert Wilders. In his economic views, his desire, for example, to increase social security payments, and to increase other benefits especially for the aged, Wilders would in any other context be considered on the left. So what makes him “far-right”? Only one thing: his concern about Muslim migrants in the Netherlands (who, he correctly points out, gobble up resources that would otherwise go to elderly Dutch). And the late Oriana Fallaci, the eloquent writer who reported so often from the Muslim Middle East, and for her entire life was known as Italy’s most famous left-wing journalist: the only thing that transformed her into a “right-wing” journalist was her ferocious opposition to Islam and Muslims.

Shattuck also exploited that handy charge of “racism” — those opposed to Muslim immigrants in Europe, he said, are “racist.” As has been pointed out ad nauseam at this site, Muslims are not a “race.” No one on the program took Shattuck to task, or asked him to justify his use of these off-the-rack epithets “far-right” and “racist.” Nor was he asked to explain why he thought we should ignore warnings about the nature of Islam and the consequent dangers from Muslim immigration, that come so steadily and soberly from such well-informed ex-Muslims as Magdi Allam, Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I’m assuming that Shattuck has heard of them and – perhaps I give him too much credit? — that he’s actually read them. Did that reading have no effect on how he thinks about Islam?

Shattuck never discussed, nor did the program’s host, nor any of those who called in think to mention even a single verse from the Qur’an or a single story from the Hadith. It would have been salutary had even one caller read aloud, say, Qur’an 9:5 or 9:29, or any of a hundred similar verses, and asked Shattuck what he made of them. It might have served as a basis for a real discussion. Instead, Shattuck was just a spokesman of the Party of the Good declaring its goodness. As far as Shattuck was concerned, there was no need to actually look at the contents of Islam; it was “racist” and “far-right” to suggest that Muslims had some special connection to terrorism. They were, most of them, just like everyone else. And the handful that were not could be detected without much trouble, and kept out. How did John Shattuck know? Oh, he just did. Unless they were dressed in black balaclavas and waving the black flag of Islam as they stepped onto European soil, those Muslim immigrants represented no threat at all. John Shattuck knows, because for the Party of Good, People Are The Same The Whole World Over.

Europeans may beg to differ. Unlike Shattuck, they are not prepared to overlook the major terrorist attacks by Muslims in London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Madrid, Moscow, or the many dozens of smaller attacks in many cities in Europe, or the more than 28,000 terrorist attacks by Muslims around the world since 9/11. Nor are Europeans quite so willing any longer to accept less sensational aspects of Muslim behavior that demonstrate a rejection of assimilation and an attempt to impose their own ways on European societies. These include attempts to separate men and women (at public pools, school gym classes, even grocery stores), to censor any unfavorable depictions of Muhammad (from cartoons in Danish and French newspapers, to Italian frescoes and Dante’s Divine Comedy), to create Sharia-compliant mortgages, credit cards, bank accounts, to remove pork from school and prison menus and require what meat is served to be halal, to threaten with death those who forcefully criticize Islam, such as the French high school teacher Robert Redeker who, having published one article in Le Figaro, for his pains will have to remain in hiding for the rest of his life; to drive out of public gatherings those deemed hostile to Islam, such as the distinguished writer and member of the French Academy Alain Finkielkraut, and to kill those deemed guilty of blaspheming Muhammad, such as Lars Vilks (who survived) or those twelve employees of Charlie Hebdo (who didn’t). And – does it need to be stated? – Muslims have been unique in their demands; no other group of immigrants has tried to impose itself on its European hosts.

None of this seems to bother John Shattuck. What does bother him is the possibility that the American government might actually heed the desires of many of its citizens and not increase the number of immigrants “from the Middle East” it is willing to take in. (The governors of more than 30 states have said they will refuse to accept refugees from “war-torn” areas.) And that, says Shattuck, can only fuel Muslim outrage that they are being discriminated against, and that outrage will naturally lead to more Muslim hatred, and even help the Islamic State with its recruiting efforts. In other words, Shattuck warns: we must take in more of those Muslim migrants, or else. There is a name for this: it is called extortion. And it has no end. Keep taking in those Muslims, or else…. Our putative “duty to Europe” turns out to be a “duty to Europe’s Muslims” – to share in their resettlement and upkeep, rather than to come up with ways to keep them out of Europe in the first place.

Finally, John Shattuck mentions — he’s leaving no polemical stone unturned – a visit he made to Auschwitz, and how that supreme example of “intolerance” naturally put him in mind of other acts of intolerance today, such as a willingness to distinguish Muslim from non-Muslim immigrants, based on a reading of Islamic texts and the observable behavior of Muslims over time and across space. Yes, how true. Doesn’t the refusal of some Europeans to allow into their countries as many Muslims as want to come in make you think of Auschwitz? It’s our friend the slippery slope – dare to suggest that the ideology of Muslims is dangerous for non-Muslims, quote chapter and verse from Qur’an and Hadith, adduce the evidence offered by ex-Muslims and dozens of Western experts on Islam – and you’ll only be sliding right up to the barbed wire and “Arbeit Macht Frei.”

David Cameron, Angela Merkel, the Pope, all making big plans for Europe, and bringing up their rear, clichés of compassion at the ready, assorted john-shattucks making big plans for the United States – truly, never have so many been undone by so few.

First published in Jihad Watch.

Posted on 05/04/2016 6:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Germany Puts 90 Suspicious Mosques Under Surveillance

From the Daily Caller:

Germany’s internal intelligence agency, BfV, is currently observing 90 suspicious mosque communities that may have ties to terrorist organizations.

BfV President Hans-Georg Maassen revealed the agency is increasing surveillance in “predominately Arabic-speaking” Muslim communities. This includes so-called “backyard mosques” where unauthorized, self-proclaimed imams teach extremist values.

“What we need here in Germany is a coalition against extremism,” Maassen said Monday on German public broadcaster ARD. “And for that, we need the Muslims in Germany, the moderates, who want to fight with us against extremism on the basis of our constitutional order.”

The agency’s work has previously been more focused on known extremists and terrorists, and hasn’t spent any time on possible Islamic State sleeper cells. The problem has become more evident, with several arrests in early 2016. While the sleeper cells vary in style, they almost always link back to ISIS or al-Qaida.

“Islamic extremism, and jihadism in Germany is not possible without al-Qaida and IS,” Maassen said.

Michael Opperskalski, German investigator and editor of the Geheim magazine, said some of the sleeper cells manage to get funding from the government by fronting as legitimate organizations.

“A minority of sleeper cells belong to ISIS. Others belong to other so-called Islamist groups,” Opperskalski told Russia Today,  “and some of them are supported by the German government.”

The “backyard mosques” have targeted migrants as possible recruits by offering food and shelter to lure them in.

Posted on 05/03/2016 12:49 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Celebrating the End of the Mike Duffy Farce

My absence in England last week prevented me from celebrating the acquittal of Mike Duffy in this column, but there are a few points still to be made about it. There was never anything wrong with Mike Duffy padding around promoting the Conservative party while a paid-up senator. MPs do that and there is nothing wrong with senators doing it. There was nothing wrong with Nigel Wright paying Duffy's alleged excesses on his travel expenses. A friend can do that — nothing wrong with it and typical of Nigel to come to a friend's assistance.

Of course the idea of Duffy being a Prince Edward Island resident was bunk, but the problems there are sloppy Senate rules and the fiction that senators represent any geographic area at all. Senators do not go to Ottawa to militate for the people who live in their nominal senatorial districts. (Duffy is now arguably the principal Atlantic provinces representative of the Conservative party in Parliament). Of course, Duffy had no business expensing his physical trainer, but from appearances, the trainer has not been notably successful anyway. Mike is no fitness magazine centrefold, but he has special medical problems and presumably the trainer helped him fulfill his designated role as a senator.

Asking the chairman of the management committee of the Toronto Club, Canada's ultimate source of misdirected sanctimony, Senator Irving Gerstein, to question the Senate's auditor, or even to try to alter its audit, was shabby and unwise. Gerstein, given the onerous moral standard he must uphold as chair of the most pompous committee in the country except the Supreme Court, should have declined the mission; he would not have risked anything by doing so as he is as inseparable from his senatorial emoluments as Duffy. But no illegality was intended or even contemplated.

The judge in the case, Charles Vaillancourt, waxed righteously against the Prime Minister's Office, but entourages of political leaders do try to avoid public relations disasters. They failed dismally in this case, but if everyone who made an asinine blunder where money was involved were keel-hauled judicially, the whole adult population, as well as a large number of juveniles of conscient age, would be in the prosecution service, on or around the bench, or in the dock. What was reprehensible about the PMO was not that Duffy was appointed to use his position as senator for the political benefit of the government that appointed him, nor that the PMO had the impulse to try to make the problem go away. It was that an honest man like Wright tried to sell a scheme that was so absurdly amateurish because it was based on concealment of his identity; that when it collapsed in non-criminal embarrassment, the prime minister abandoned Duffy and Wright; that the RCMP's spelling-challenged Cpl. Greg Horton recommended indictment of Wright and Duffy for giving and taking a bribe; that the crown attorney took half the bait and prosecuted this klunker of non-crimes; and that Stephen Harper debased the government by having a very long election campaign so Parliament would not be sitting while Duffy testified.

A Mickey Mouse sequence of legally innocent mistakes was aggregated into a crisis. It is, in some ways, the perfect Canadian fable: the ludicrous magnification of ho-hum miscues into the apprehension of a scandal, and the press fanning it both credulously and often maliciously. The only issue on which the press believed Duffy was when he promised revelation of a monstrous crime by the government. They wanted one because they hated Harper, distasteful though they found Duffy. The media look almost as stupid as the prosecutors and the former prime minister and his office, but are not as accountable. The complete flame-out of the prosecution, and even the publication of Horton's mad affidavit, where there was no bribe and Duffy didn't seek the money and certainly didn't do anything to earn it as a bribe, should lead to reforms in the prosecution service. This is a far more urgent societal need, and one that touches the lives of a great many more people, than Senate reform. The only hero in the whole piece is Justice Vaillancourt.

Let us face it, Canadians, and learn to live with it, even if it requires therapy or a trainer for some to accept the truth: at scandals, except occasionally for our French-Canadian compatriots, we are flops. There are many worse failings in a nationality. In Canada, either they don't happen at all, or are so puny in scale that it is difficult to believe anything wrong, as opposed to silly, occurred. John A. Macdonald lost his only election as post-Confederation Conservative leader over the Canadian Pacific scandal. He and George-Étienne Cartier took substantial sums from shipping owner Sir Hugh Allan, but not a cent for themselves, just to finance an election campaign. The Baie des Chaleurs scandal that drove Honoré Mercier from office as premier of Quebec was a paid holiday in France, and Mercier was acquitted. The Customs scandal of the 1920s was a little more serious, but the entire country ignored Prohibition and profited in some measure from peddling liquor and even beer to the Americans. The Beauharnois scandal arose in 1931 during King's one full term in opposition and embarrassed him a little (an almost impossible occurrence), but nothing serious was ever proven beyond the fact that a senator who was involved with the Beauharnois Power Co. picked up King's hotel bill for $400 in Bermuda without King knowing about it. (The priggish old bachelor admired the young ladies in their "abbreviated" bathing attire — pretty risqué for WLMK.)

Gerda Munsinger never received any embarrassing secrets about official business, and the Liberals that John Diefenbaker hounded from office (Guy Favreau, Maurice Lamontagne, and René Tremblay) did nothing wrong at all. Duplessis' great Union Nationale machine distributed contracts without calling for bids and took contributions from those who were awarded the contracts, as has every Quebec government and most others elsewhere in the country, but there was never any evidence that it cost the taxpayers anything, and Duplessis himself, though he had all the power in Quebec for nearly 20 years, never touched a cent personally and left an estate of negative value (-$46,000), which his party paid. It must be admitted that the numbers in the Adscam case were quite impressive, but Jean Chrétien kept it bottled up endlessly with the stumblebums of the RCMP so no one had to give evidence under oath, and he just kept punting it forward until his party pushed him out because they were (understandably) tired of him, not because of moral turpitude.

Of course, it is time to make something out of the Senate, and here Harper's performance was contemptible. He used it as a dust-bin for mediocre journeymen, with a few exceptions, and made a feeble gesture by asking the Supreme Court if the House of Commons could, in effect, abolish the Senate. Of course, this was unimaginably fatuous, as it could no more do so than the Senate could abolish the House of Commons. When the Supreme Court pitched this back, Harper dug in his heels like a churlish child and refused to consider constitutional reform. He had already ceased to name any senators, so almost a quarter of seats were vacancies when he got the order of the boot from the voters.

What should happen is that we should scrap this pious claptrap about "a sober second thought" and certainly any notion that the senators are representing any local area, and name, if necessary virtually draft, better senators. We should recruit outstanding people from all serious occupations and all parts of the country and ask them, out of duty, to do their best to be reasonably present for a five-year term, as many distinguished lieutenant-governors, such as John Aird, Hal Jackman, and Hilary Weston have done in Ontario. What we need is a little distinction and a little class (style, not snobbery). Distinction and style weren't Mike Duffy's strong suits, but they weren't the principal characteristics of Stephen Harper either, and these things start at the top, or not at all.

First published in the National Post.

Posted on 05/03/2016 4:47 AM by Conrad Black
Tuesday, 3 May 2016
We Have a Winner

Keith Simmonds won our crossword competition for April. He's our crossword champion hands down.

Keep playing everyone!

Posted on 05/03/2016 4:45 AM by NER
Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Florida man charged with plotting to blow up a Miami-area synagogue

From the Chicago Tribune

A Florida man was arrested last week for intending to use "a weapon of mass destruction" at a synagogue near Miami, according to federal authorities.

The FBI says the man never possessed an actual explosive weapon, but instead got an inert device from a bureau employee working undercover after a weeks-long probe.

Officials said that they began investigating James Gonzalo Medina in March after learning that he discussed wanting to attack a South Florida synagogue. Medina, 40, of Hollywood, Florida, was arrested Friday while carrying the device toward the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, a facility that is also home to a Holocaust memorial and an education facility for children.

Rabbi Jonathan Berkun and the center's executive director, Elliot B. Karp, said they were assured by security officials that "the synagogue and school were never at risk at any time" and were told no other credible threats had been found.

In an FBI affidavit, authorities said that Medina had initially told a confidential federal source that he wanted to attack the center using AK-47 assault rifles. . .Medina then shifted his focus to leaving a bomb behind, the affidavit said.

Medina is described by the FBI as having converted to Islam about four years earlier and wanting to attack a synagogue "because Jewish people are the ones causing the world's wars and conflicts." In a transcript of a recorded conversation with the FBI's unnamed source, Medina states that he wanted to "strike back" against Jewish people, adding: "It's a war, man, and it's like it's time to strike back here in America."

When an FBI employee posing as someone who could deliver explosives to the plot asked Medina why he wanted to bomb the synagogue, Medina responded by saying it was his "call of duty" and something he had to do "for the glory of Allah."

The FBI also allege that Medina wanted to make it look like the attack was sponsored in some way by the Islamic State, because he felt that "would go nationwide and inspire other Muslims to attack as well." Medina is also quoted as saying: "Next thing you know it will be in California, Washington, and the brothers are saying you know, it's our time now."

Posted on 05/03/2016 3:07 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 2 May 2016
The Love Affair Between the British Labour Party and Adolf Hitler

Did you know that the Jewish victims of the Holocaust were partners of Adolf Hitler who was a Zionist? A number of members of the British Labour Party have told us that this was the case. This is the most recent manifestation of the antisemitism that has reared its ugly head in Britain. It evokes the thought that this disease may have entered the ideological bloodstream of the British left.

There is a vital need for a strengthening of the political immune system before the infection worsens. It is a particular cause for concern, though the fact is avoided, that the virus has recently appeared in Labour Party officials most of whom are Muslims who are highly critical of the State of Israel.

There is presently an intensive battle in Britain today, the skirmish for votes in the forthcoming referendum on June 23, 2016 between those who want the country to remain a member of the European Union and those who want Brexit, Britain to leave it. At the moment there is a close division of opinion over the merits of the case and counter claims and on whether the British economy would be better off inside or outside the EU.

The effect on the British economy of the decision has become a hot disputed, but rationally argued, battleground. However, more vicious and unpleasant is the continuing civil war within the Labour Party over the outbursts of antisemitism by some of its officials and the denials of the significance or even the very existence of the disease of antisemitism by prominent members of the Party.

It comes as no surprise to read that the extreme left wing Diane Abbott, the opposition International Development Secretary in the House of Commons, and unrelenting fierce critic of the State of Israel, has dismissed any problem of antisemitism within the Labour Party as “smears,” and asserted that the party was not “riddled” with it . Neither was it surprising that Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite, the largest Trade Union and Labour’s biggest donor, said that Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the party, was the victim of a cynical attempt to manipulate antisemitism for political aims, presumably to depose Corbyn as leader.  

Amazingly, the comments of Abbott and McCluskey came just two days after Corbyn, who had denied that the party is facing a crisis of antisemitism, was in essence forced by the more moderate members of his party, to launch an independent inquiry into the issue of antisemitism, and to act against its perpetrators. No one is suggesting that the whole Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic, and Corbyn has declared there is no place for antisemitisn or any form of racism in the Labour Party or anywhere in society. Yet, it is troubling that in the last four weeks seven members of the party have been suspended for allegations of antisemitism.

The most recent disgraceful happening were incendiary remarks by Ken Livingstone, a prominent left wing member of the Party, former Mayor of London, and chair of a foreign policy commission for the Party. As a result of those remarks 39 Labour MPS condemned him. John Mann MP for Bassetlaw called him to his face a disgusting racist, rewriting history, and a Nazi apologist in front of TV cameras.  

Even more disgraceful are three consequences: Mann received specific threats of physical violence from left wingers in his own party; the supporters of Corbyn want to disciple Mann for bringing the party “into disrepute;” and Mann was summoned to the Chief Whip of the Party to explain his own actions in confronting Livingstone.

The more sensible members of the Party called on Corbyn to expel Livingstone but he refused. Only reluctantly did Corbyn agree to suspend Livingston. The tragedy is that some senior members of the party think their leader had a “point” in not expelling Livingstone.

Livingstone is no shrinking violet in his personal behavior nor is he inhibited from making outrageous and insulting remarks. One need take just a few of his contributions to intellectual discussion. In 2004 he invited the controversial Muslim cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi., prominent within the intellectual leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, to London. In February 2005 he accused a Jewish reporter, Oliver Feingold, of behaving like a concentration camp guard for asking him a question. In 2006, while Mayor of London, he told two wealthy Jewish businessmen that they should “go back to Iran and try their luck with the ayatollahs.” For a few years in the 1980s, Livingstone was in charge of the extreme left wing paper Labour Herald that published cartoons of Menachem Begin, wearing a Nazi uniform.

In the first place Livingstone appears politically stone deaf and historically ludicrous. In his 47 years in the Party he said he never heard anybody make anti-Semitic remarks. His historical analysis is bizarre in claiming that the policy of Adolf Hitler in 1932 was in favor of moving German Jews to Israel (sic), 16 years before it was created. Hitler, he said was supporting Zionism before he went mad.

Hitler now seems the favorite reference of the left wingers in the Party. In April 2016 there were three instances. One was Vicki Kirby, former parliamentary candidate for Woking, who said that Britain invented Israel when saving the Jews from Hitler, who now seems to be the teacher of Jews.

The second person was a Party Councilor in the town of Luton, Aysegul Gurbuz, who was suspended from the Party for referring to Hitler as the greatest man in history. A third is a local councilor Khadim Hussain, former Lord Mayor of Bradford, who informed us that the school system only tells you about Anne Frank and the six million Zionists (sic) that were killed by Hitler.

Perverse history, pertinent to Hitler, was related by another Labour MP, a Muslim woman Naseem (Naz) Shah representing Bradford West who, before she became an MP, had posted the solution to the Middle East  conflict on Facebook . It had been posted in August 2014 but only made public in April 2016.  It called for Jews in Israel to be sent to the United States.  She compared Israel’s policies with those of Nazi Germany. Curiously though Shah later apologized, Livingstone still supported her. He declared that Shah was a victim of a well-orchestrated campaign by the Israeli lobby to smear anybody who criticizes Israeli policy as an anti-Semite.

Lunacy continues. Most recently on May 2, 2016 two members were suspended from the Party. One was Salim Mulla, former mayor of Blackburn who suggested that Israel was funding ISIS regarding the attacks in Paris in November 2015. The other was Ilyas Aziz , local councilor in Nottingham, whose fantasy involved an Israeli conspiracy for the Sandy Hook school shooting and a call, like that of  Naz Shah, for Israel to be relocated to the US.

Once again Jews have been made the center of a political battlefield. The Labour leader was slow to suspend those guilty of outrageous behavior. For the sake of the Party, as well as for human decency, Corbyn should do more. Offenders should be expelled from the Party. Cleansing is good for the soul.

Posted on 05/02/2016 4:09 PM by Michael Curtis
Monday, 2 May 2016
May Bank Holiday Monday in Rochester

If circumstances over the May Day weekend permit my family like to attend at least one day of the Sweeps festival in Rochester Kent. Morris dancing, Castle, Folk music, beer, Cathedral, hog roast... what's not to enjoy? 
A few photographs below.

Two young women of the Gong Scourers side dance rapper.

Musicians of Hands Around from Basildon Essex

Cotswolds Morris danced in the traditional way. 

The three days of music and dancing ends with a parade through Rochester to the castle green. The parade is led by Jack-in-the-green.

Musicians of Wolf's Head and Vixen

When I was a child the last 'float' of Bethnal Green carnival was always the council dustcart. Today the parade ended with these witches
"Witch's besom Witch's broom
Sweep up darkness, sweep up gloom".

Photographs E Weatherwax May 2016

Posted on 05/02/2016 1:10 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 2 May 2016
Has the world learned anything since Brussels?

It has become alarmingly clear since the Brussels terror attack that the West either doesn’t understand the nature of Islamist terrorism or doesn’t want to.  President Obama denies that the Islamic State poses an existential threat, belittles those who disagree, and seems more vested in undermining allies and political opponents than fighting terror.  Whether acting out of ideology or naiveté, he refuses to admit the role of religious doctrine and instead blames terrorism on generic criminality, violent extremism, gun violence, or global warming.  He fails to address the jihad and genocide being waged against non-Muslims in the Mideast and beyond, does not speak honestly about the Islamist threat, and portrays those who do as hatemongers. 

Under his administration, the U.S. has abdicated its global leadership role and left a void in which Russia seeks to reconstitute its empire, China threatens American strategic and economic interests, and Iran continues to export terror while violating a feckless nuclear deal under which it derives great benefit but makes no concessions.  The president has eschewed sound military and intelligence advice in favor of policies that have destabilized the Mideast, empowered terrorists, and caused a refugee crisis that is tearing Europe apart.     

Whether the administration’s foreign policy stems from ideology or incompetence, it seems to regard Islamic radicalism as a natural response to western oppression, though European entrée into the Mideast was preceded by centuries of jihad waged in Europe by Arab-Muslim invaders.  Its knack for promoting revisionism is facilitated by the public’s lack of historical perspective, as reflected by the inability to recognize that ISIS is not historically aberrant, but rather embodies the same doctrine that mandated forceful spread of the faith starting in the eighth century. 

Political correctness inhibits discussion of radical Islam and, thus, stifles the ability to combat the terrorism it spawns...


Posted on 05/02/2016 9:39 AM by Matthew Hausman
Monday, 2 May 2016
Donald Trump Says "No Thanks" to Most of the Republican Foreign Policy Establishment

by Rebecca Bynum (May 2016)

In an article published Saturday, The Hill claims that a number of Republican foreign policy experts are rebuffing the Trump team’s efforts to reach out to them. The establishment cabal is plainly in a fix: if they join team Trump and Trump loses the general election, they will be ostracized by the loyalists who are waiting in the wings to seize back control of the party. If they remain with establishment and Trump wins, they will be shut out of all the top positions in his administration. Of course it is already too late for the policy experts who signed an open letter vowing to work “energetically” to prevent Trump’s election.

Donald Trump won’t miss them one little bit.  more>>>

Posted on 05/02/2016 8:48 AM by NER
Monday, 2 May 2016
Sadiq Khan does the sums over Muslim votes

Charles Moore in The Telegraph

He’s an artful one, Sadiq Khan. Labour’s London mayoral candidate told the Observer: “I accept that the comments that Ken Livingstone has made make it more difficult for Londoners of Jewish faith to feel that the Labour Party is a place for them, and I will carry on doing what I have always been doing, which is to speak for everyone.”

It’s worth paying exact attention to these words. First, Mr Khan blames everything on Mr Livingstone, not on any wider problem of Labour anti-Semitism. 

Second, he paints himself as the moderate. Third, he assumes that only voters “of Jewish faith” will be put off, and says nothing to welcome Jewish voters. He speaks as if the row were a rather obscure subject which need not trouble other voters. If he can narrow it down to practising Jews with votes in London, he is talking about not much more than 100,000 people, most of whose votes he probably had not got anyway. 

The Muslim population of London, however, is more than a million people. By emphasising that Jews might be upset, and then emphasising the importance of turnout, he is blowing a dog-whistle for Muslim voters. 

Few Muslim leaders in London stand out against anti-Semitism, and many ignore it or even express it themselves. If they can make Muslim voters feel that the Jews, by protesting, are preventing a Muslim becoming Mayor of London, then Mr Khan will get more Muslim votes.  

Note that Mr Khan does not address the content of the problem of anti-Semitism, only its potentially damaging electoral effects. As I say, artful – and, as I should add, not nice. 

Posted on 05/02/2016 2:37 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 1 May 2016
Islamic State threatens to expose British military secrets after publishing US Air Force 'hit list'

From the Sunday Telegraph

Islamic State terrorists have threatened to publish details of British military personnel after exposing a “hit-list” of American drone pilots and urging fanatics to “kill them wherever they are”

The claims, which could not be verified, encouraged Islamist terrorists to find and “behead” the Americans, in imitation of the tactic used on the streets of London in 2013 by the murderers of Drummer Lee Rigby.

The group, which calls itself the "Islamic State Hacking Division", said in its online posting: "In our next leak we may even disclose secret intelligence the Islamic State has just received from a source the brothers in the UK have spent some time acquiring from the Ministry of Defence in London as we slowly and secretly infiltrate England and the USA online and off.”

Publishing photographs and purported home addresses of the American military personnel it said: "Kill them wherever they are, knock on their doors and behead them, stab them, shoot them in the face or bomb them."

Inquiries made by The Sunday Times yesterday suggested that the names on the American hitlist are genuine.

However, the information published by Isis does not appear to be the result of a leak or genuine hack. Instead, the group seems to have pains­takingly gleaned the names of Reaper and Predator drone operators from news articles and military newsletters, before matching them to addresses, photos and other personal details from publicly available sources on the internet.

Posted on 05/01/2016 8:06 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 1 May 2016
Sunday 5-1-16 Listen to Lisa Benson Show Commemorating Yom Ha Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, with Special Guests, on Resistance Fighters, Survivors and Liberators 4pm EDT

The Lisa Benson Radio Show will air  a special program in commemoration of Yom Ha Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day , Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 4PM EDT, 3PM EDT, 2PM MDT, 1PMPDT and 11PM in IsraelListen live to The Lisa Benson Radio Show on KKNT 960The Patriot or use SMARTPHONE iHEART App: 960 the Patriot.   Lisa Benson will host this show with Member of the Advisory Board Richard Cutting.

Benjamin and Vladka Meed Z”l, 1998

Our special guests are:

Dr. Anna Scherzer, Forensic Psychiatrist, daughter of revered Warsaw Ghetto resistance fighters, Vladka and Benjamin Meed.  Dr. Scherzer will be joined by Inge Auerbaucher, a German Jewish  survivor of the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

Benson will discuss her father’s experience as a member of US Fourth Army Division, of General Patton’s Third Army that Liberated the Ohrdruf Concentration camp- a sub camp of Buchenwald in 1945.  Watch this you Tube video of the Ohrdruf camp liberation, April 4, 1945.

Benjamin Meed,  born Benyomin Miedzyrzecki (February 19, 1918 – October 24, 2006) a Polish Jew, fought in the Warsaw ghetto underground, served on the Advisory Board of the President's Commission on the Holocaust,[5] planned the 1981 World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors  in Jerusalem and the 1983 American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors held in Washington, D.C. and other reunions that followed, and was President of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.  Mr. Meed served on the Advisory Board of the President's Commission on the Holocaust, which recommended the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's establishment. He also served on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the Museum's governing body, from 1980 to 2004, where he chaired several crucial committees: the Days of Remembrance Committee and the Museum Content Committee, which oversaw the creation of the Museum's Permanent Exhibition. He was responsible for institutionalizing Holocaust commemorations in the nation's capital, at state houses and cities across the country, and at military installations worldwide.

In November 2003, in honor of the Museum's 10th anniversary, Mr. Meed conceived "A Tribute to Holocaust Survivors: A Reunion of a Special Family," which honored survivors, liberators and rescuers as well as their families. More than 7,000 people, four generations strong, traveled to Washington from 38 states and around the world to take part in the largest Museum event since its opening.

Mr. Meed served as president of the American Gathering from its inception until his death.”


Vladka Meed, born Feigele Peltel (December 29, 1921 – November 21, 2012) was a member of Jewish resistance in  the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto  uprising who famously smuggled dynamite into the Warsaw Ghetto, and also helped children escape out of the Ghetto.  He recruited her husband Benjamin Meed assumed Polish identities and worked from the Aryan Side.  At 14, she joined Jewish Labor Bund and in 1942 the Jewish Combat Organization. Vladka's mother, brother, and sister died in Treblinka extermination camp. Vladka and her future husband Benjamin Meed pretended to be Aryans and helped organize the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. They married in 1945 and survived both the Holocaust and World War II. In 1981, the Meds founded the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. “

Vladka Meed's book On Both Sides of the Wall was originally published in Yiddish in 1948 with a first hand account of her wartime experiences. The book was translated into English in 1972 (with a foreword by Elie Wiesel), and later into German, Polish and Japanese. She also published in The Forward newspaper.

For nearly 20 years she organized a number of summer trips for teachers, educating them on the Holocaust, and the Jewish history of Warsaw. According to The New York Times obituary, she was a central source of the 2001 television film Uprising.

Meed received a 1973 award of the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization, the 1989 Morim Award of the Jewish Teachers’ Association, the 1993 Hadassah Henrietta Szold Award, and the 1995 Elie Wiesel Remembrance Award. She received an honorary degree from Hebrew Union College and Bar Ilan University.


Posted on 05/01/2016 8:11 AM by Jerry Gordon
Sunday, 1 May 2016
PM Haider Al-Abadi Orders Arrest of Parliament Protesters


Iraq's Prime Minister has ordered the arrest of Shia Muslim activists who stormed parliament in Baghdad on Saturday.

Haider al-Abadi said those who caused damage and attacked police should be brought to justice.

Supporters of cleric Moqtada Sadr broke through barricades of the fortified Green Zone in protest against delays in approving a new cabinet.

A state of emergency was declared in Baghdad after the protests.

Supporters of Mr Sadr want MPs to push through plans to replace ministers with political affiliations with non-partisan technocrats.

Humm... non-partisan technocrats loyal to al Sadr, perhaps?

Powerful parties in parliament have refused to approve the change for several weeks.

The BBC's Ahmed Maher in Baghdad says this is one of the country's worst political crises since the US-led invasion and downfall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Systemic political patronage has aided corruption in Iraq, depleting the government's resources as it struggles to cope with declining oil revenue and the cost of the war against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

Look for Iran to step in in order to "calm tensions" and "restore order."

Posted on 05/01/2016 5:29 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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