On Monday 30 January 2017, one of the most important political show trials of the century is taking place at Southwark Crown Court in London. One of our Liberty GB Executive Council members, Tim Burton, is being prosecuted for the heinous crime of sending a handful of humorous and satirical emails, employing mockery and ridicule, to Tell Mama UK, an organisation run by a prominent Muslim, Fiyaz Mughal OBE.
Fiyaz Mughal has declared himself to be harassed, alarmed, threatened, distressed and allegedly generally discombobulated, not to mention offended and insulted, by the veritable flood of the said humorous and satirical emails emanating from the email account of the “far-right, bigoted, racist and Islamophobic” Tim Burton, as a result of Tell Mama advertising a job vacancy for a caseworker on its website in April 2016.
At one point in these emails, Tim Burton referred to Mr Mughal as “the Mendacious, Grievance-Mongering Taqiyya-Artist-In-Chief of Tell Mama UK.” (Taqiyya is part of the Islamic doctrine of deceit – divinely sanctioned in Islam’s “holy book”, the Quran – a doctrine that tells Muslims that they may deceive non-Muslims if the goal is to advance the cause of Islam or to prevent the denigration of Islam in the eyes of non-Muslims.)
At the last count, there were no less than four of these emails – five if you count the email where Tim Burton is enquiring after the status of his job application – and this has evidently been enough to inspire Mr Mughal to complain bitterly to the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, who complied with alacrity to his request to have Tim Burton charged and prosecuted for Religiously Aggravated Harassment – a charge which upon conviction can result in a substantial fine, not to mention a long prison sentence.
Unremarkable enough, one might think, were it not for the fact that Fiyaz Mughal sits on a panel that advises the Crown Prosecution Service on how to prosecute cases of so-called “Islamophobia” and whose organisation Tell Mama UK works closely with the Metropolitan Police to ensure than no stone is left unturned to deal robustly with the wave of “Islamophobia” that is sweeping the country and terrorising the Muslim community.
One does not want to invoke any suggestion of conflict of interest, but it might be worth considering how a non-Muslim might be treated were he to go into a police station or a courtroom and complain that a Muslim had been mean to him via email, or had had a Muslim cast aspersions on the honesty and integrity of his organisation. We venture to suggest that a non-Muslim in such circumstances would have been laughed out of the police station or the courtroom, or at the very least told to go away and stop wasting police time.
It might be worth recalling at this point how Fiyaz Mughal was called out by Andrew Gilligan of the Daily Telegraph in June 2013 for (allegedly) fraudulently manipulating the so-called “hate crime” figures of Tell Mama UK in the wake of the Lee Rigby murder in order to maintain his enormous six-figure taxpayer grant. (Following this exposure in the press, Tell Mama UK was investigated and temporarily had its funding withdrawn. Strangely, no charges of fraud were ever brought about by the Metropolitan Police or the CPS.)
Since then, Tell Mama UK has had its funding quietly reinstated and is carrying on its activities much as before, with Fiyaz Mughal frequently hitting the headlines with stories concerning the mythical “Islamophobic” backlash against the Muslim community (which never actually materialises) in the wake of the numerous terrorist atrocities such as the truck attack in France which killed 84 people and injured 120 more in July, or the truck attack on the German Christmas market which killed 12 people and injured 56 more in December.
In the opinion of all of us here at Liberty GB, this prosecution embodies everything that is wrong with the criminal justice system when it comes to the double standard with which Muslims and non-Muslims are treated. We think it is time for a review into the preferential status that Islam currently enjoys under UK law.
The Insubmissive Infidel, Or, Just A Jot About Jerusalem
by Hugh Fitzgerald
“Palestinian” leader Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on religion, one Mahmoud Al-Habbash, has declared that a move of the American embassy to Jerusalem by the Trump administration would constitute “a declaration of war on all Muslims,” and then threatened: “This will not pass in silence.” He was not alone. A half-dozen other “Palestinian” leaders chimed in with similar threats, claiming that if “America recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews,” then America will have declared “a new war against the Palestinians and also against the Arabs and the Muslims.”
Many American officials, including several former ambassadors to Israel, are also against the move. They claim it will cause “instability” (as if the Muslim Middle East were not already the most unstable region in the world today), and “harm” Israel’s budding relations behind-the-scenes with some in the Arab world (as if Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia would deprive themselves of the covert help Israel gives them against common enemies, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran). More interesting is that “Palestinians” in East Jerusalem, some reports suggest, appear to be “apathetic” about the possible U.S. Embassy move. Of course, the “Palestinian” leaders need to show they are doing something, earning their corrupt keep, and one way is to whip up sentiment against the move, even if locally it hardly matters to many “Palestinians,” who have other, more basic concerns, to worry about.
At this point, for Trump to back down from what he repeatedly said he would do, both during the campaign and after his election, would be taken by many Arabs and Muslims as a sign that their threats work, even with someone like Trump, who prides himself on his toughness. And such a victory would embolden the Arabs and Muslims to attempt more such victories through threat, and not only on matters involving Israel, but within Western Europe, too. Imagine, for example, that flush with victory on the Jerusalem issue (and one can almost hear the cries and ululations of triumph if Trump yields, and announces that he’s “putting off” indefinitely the Embassy move), Muslims decided to threaten Dutch voters that “if you elect Geert Wilders we will boycott Dutch goods” (just like the boycott of Danish products in 2006, to punish Denmark for publication of the Muhammad cartoons), or to make a similar threat to French voters about electing Marine Le Pen: “we’ll boycott French goods, we won’t visit Paris.” Or Muslim threats against any European country that passes measures deemed “anti-Islam” — everything from banning the niqab to serving pork in school lunches, to requiring Muslim girls to attend swimming classes with boys. Could, would European politicians and voters allow themselves to be bullied in such a manner? Of course they could; pusillanimity is a universal problem.
But if Trump stands firm, that should help stiffen the backbone of those Europeans who are rightly alarmed about Islam but – with so much surrender in the air — need encouragement. Trump’s refusal to kowtow will give them something to emulate. But if he gives in on the Jerusalem embassy move, it makes more likely both that other threats will be made by Muslims, their appetites whetted, against the West, and that the demoralization of the Western world – already evident in such craven leaders as Theresa May and Angela Merkel — will increase. The Embassy move may seem to be a matter only about Jerusalem, but it has become much more: a test of wills between the West (as represented by the United States) and a hostile Muslim world which, maddeningly, threatens even as it relies on the West for its economic and, in some cases, political survival. Furthermore, if Trump were to declare that he needed a “waiver on national security grounds” to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, just like his three predecessors, that would no doubt mean more than just a reversal of his policy; it would make it unlikely that any of his successors would try to move the Embassy. Following such a humiliating retreat by Trump, what future president would expend political capital trying to reverse course yet again? The American Embassy would remain in Tel Aviv, with any hope of its being moved to Jerusalem permanently extinguished.
A lot, then, is at stake.
In the first, and obvious, place, such a retreat would do violence to history and the truth. The connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, as their “eternal capital,” is not to be undone by votes in that most corrupt and corrupting of institutions, the U.N., where a powerful Muslim bloc holds sway. The Muslim connection to Jerusalem is a matter of faith, not history: Jerusalem is “holy” to Muslims because Muhammad supposedly ascended into Heaven on his winged steed Al-Buraq, from the “farthest mosque” (Al-Masjid al-Aqsa) located on the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount). You have to be a Muslim to believe the story about Muhammad’s Night Journey. You do not have to be Jewish, however, to know that Jerusalem was the capital of the Jews for thousands of years, that King David and King Solomon really did exist, that the Western Wall and Temple Mount and the cemetery on the Mount of Olives all testify to the ancient Jewish presence, that there is considerable archeological evidence for both the First and Second Temples, and that Jerusalem is mentioned 349 times in the Jewish Bible (but not mentioned once in the Qur’an). The Jewish connection to Jerusalem is a matter, then, of history, not of faith. Nor should the threats of Arabs and Muslims be allowed to sever that connection simply because they have become past masters at rewriting history, as recently demonstrated at UNESCO, in a resolution where the Muslim connection to Jerusalem was emphasized and the Jewish link to the Temple Mount was not even mentioned.
When Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all invoked considerations of national security to claim a waiver from implementing the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, they were demonstrating their fear of what they assumed might happen, without closely examining what the Arabs could actually do; none was willing to call what can reasonably be seen as the Muslim Arab bluff. And those who now counsel Trump not to fulfill his campaign pledge on the Embassy move — he should be cautious, he should be prudent, he should rock no boats, he should worry more about the Arab and Muslim reaction — are guilty of the same.
For what exactly could Muslims do to the United States, as a response to the Embassy being moved, that they are not already doing, or are trying to do? There have been more than 30,000 separate terrorist attacks by Muslims since 2001, all over the world. The only reason that total is not even higher is that Western security services have grown in their effectiveness, not because Muslims have decided they need to wait for a specific “reason” to attack. No particular act by Infidels is necessary to provoke such attacks; it is enough that Infidels remain Infidels.
If Trump were to do what he promised to do, it would give the world of cautious diplomacy a salutary shock. It would show up the cowardice of previous presidents. It would be a declaration of independence from, and well-deserved expression of contempt for, the U.N. Of course, such a move would be met with plenty of outrage, both real and feigned, but also with support from such anti-Islamic leaders in Europe as Geert Wilders and even, possibly, Marine Le Pen, by way of demonstrating that they, too, will not be subject to Muslim blackmail. Should Wilders win, in particular, and if Trump has moved the Embassy to Jerusalem by then, it would not be surprising if the Dutch leader were to follow suit. Then one hopes — “first a little, thence to more” – others will find out it isn’t so dangerous a move after all. And having one’s embassy in Jerusalem will take on symbolic significance, a way of demonstrating not just a respect for history, but that the West will no longer allow itself to be cowed by Muslims – either in foreign or domestic policy.
What dire threats can the “Palestinians” follow through on? Will they refuse to accept the hundreds of millions of dollars they receive each year in American aid? Let them. Can they punish our European allies, by refusing the billions they receive from them? That should be fine with us and the Europeans. The “Palestinians” can huff and they can puff, but the only house they will blow down is their own. They are at this point no longer the center of Arab interest; many Arab leaders have had their fill of the “whining Palestinians,” and having become weary of their “cause,” are more concerned with all the serious threats – such as the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and, especially, Iran – to their own security.
What about the other Arabs? That means, above all, Saudi Arabia. Will the Saudis cease to pay for the tens of thousands of students they have enrolled in American colleges? Those student numbers have already been steadily reduced over the last few years due to a huge budget deficit, and if the Saudi government reduces those numbers still further, that will reflect budget belt-tightening, not an attempt to punish the United States, which for Saudi Arabia remains the one indispensable country. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, American airmen promptly arrived in Saudi Arabia to reassure the Saudis. The Americans are still there, the ultimate guarantor of Saudi security. There have been many reports, too, about a covert alliance with Israel, that supplies Saudi Arabia with intelligence on Iran. The Saudis now fear most an aggressive Iran threatening them through proxy wars, as it helps the Shi’as in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon. Iran might even, the Saudis fear, sow open revolt among the Shi’a in the oil-bearing Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. While the “Palestinians” like to think that they will forever remain the focus of Arab foreign policy (as it undoubtedly once was), the permanent cynosure of all Muslim eyes, and assume their cause will always come first, there is reason to believe they have an exaggerated sense of their importance, for the Arabs are now preoccupied with many other conflicts and threats to their well-being. How important is this Embassy move for Saudi Arabia (with Israel now an ally in the war against Iran), compared to the Iranian presence that appears to encircle it? Or the threats from the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood, not just to the Saudis but to many of their neighbors in the cauldron of the Middle East?
And what about the threat that the Saudis might sell off $750 billion in American assets if the Embassy is moved, a threat that has been made before to halt other initiatives, but never carried out? The Saudis said, for example, they would sell those assets if Congress passed a bill giving the families of 9/11 victims the ability to sue Saudi Arabia. Congress not only passed the bill, but when Obama vetoed it, passed it a second time by overriding the veto.
And what did Saudi Arabia do? It did nothing at all; it kept its American investments; its bluff was called. And if it were to make the same threat over the Embassy move, and even if it made good on the threat, many economists now believe, even if it did sell off those American assets, such a move would now have scarcely any effect on the U.S. economy, with its 18 trillion-dollar GDP, with $500 billion traded daily in the bond market alone, but might well devastate the Saudis. As one economist summed up the Saudi quandary:
They can sell the liquid assets fairly quickly – however moving large volumes will imply they will get a haircut, and someone else will make a nice profit. There would be a blip or two in the various indices but no real impact. The more real concern for the Saudis would be where to put that money – euros? rubles? rupees? gold?
For the not so liquid assets – they would need to have a massive firesale. A lot of people will make a killing. And there will be a supply glut in that market. But it would be fairly localized. And they probably won’t be able to liquidate completely.
So net result – they might be able to pull out some portion. Some portion will be frozen. And another portion will end up as someone else’s profit.
None of the economists appear to believe that any economic damage would be inflicted on the American economy. The consensus is that Saudi Arabia would be inflicting economic damage only on itself. That the Saudis refused to go through with their threatened sale of assets when Congress passed – twice – a bill allowing 9/11 families to sue the Saudis shows that they understand this, but hope that those they threaten do not.
The final worry is, of course, about oil. Could the Saudis start cutting off oil supplies, as in 1973? No, they could not. In the first place, in 1973 the oil market was the tightest it had ever been, so tight that OPEC managed to make the quadrupling of oil prices stick. Now market conditions are completely different. There is plenty of oil worldwide, including shale oil, for which effective new methods of extraction have been found. And there are plenty of non-oil sources of energy, which is even more worrisome for oil producers. We hear constantly of new advances in the efficiency of electric cars, and of solar collectors, and other technical achievements that put the oil market under constant downward pressure. The Saudis cannot be cavalier with customers; they must hold on to any part of the American oil market they can. And since oil is fungible, were hotter heads to prevail, and the Saudis decided to strike back at the U.S. for its embassy move by ceasing to sell to the Americans, they would then have to sell that oil elsewhere. To win a customer away from its current supplier would require the Saudis to offer a lower oil price. Should they succeed, that other supplier whom they have replaced will now be eager to sell its oil in the market that has just lost its Saudi supplier – that is, the United States. Lower revenues for the Saudis, no change for the Americans.
A production cut, on the other hand, would cause the price of oil to rise. More American shale oil would become economic to extract, the price of alternative sources of energy – wind and solar and nuclear – would become steadily more competitive following the oil price rise. The Saudis would bear the total brunt if they were the only ones to cut production. And Saudi Arabia is not quite as fabulously rich as it was in the past. Saudi Arabia has been burning through its cash, at a rate close to $100 billion in each of the last two years, because of the oil glut (the Saudis derive 92% of their income from oil); it needs all the revenue it can get. It’s not likely to cut production, given its current needs, in order to make a doubtful political point. Iran is much more on its mind, and the Saudis need both money for armaments, and American security guarantees against Iran that cannot any longer be counted on as a given.
Donald Trump’s words about Saudi Arabia during the campaign must have given Riyadh pause. He said that if elected, he might halt purchases of oil from Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies unless they commit ground troops to the fight against the Islamic State or “substantially reimburse” the United States for combating the militant group, which threatens their stability. And he showed his keen awareness of just who needs whom in the relationship: “If Saudi Arabia was without the cloak of American protection, I don’t think it would be around.”
That must have disturbed the Saudis, who have been able to push their weight around Washington ever since OPEC’s rise in 1973, by acting as if it is the United States that is in desperate need of Saudi Arabia. And now, following Congressional passage of the bill to allow 9/11 families to sue the Saudis that the Kingdom (and the Obama administration) had tried hard to stop, comes Donald Trump, with words that rattled Riyadh. This is no time for the Saudis to annoy the Americans. The Saudis are not fools, and they will not sacrifice themselves, economically or in security matters, to make a point for the tiresome “Palestinians.”
Other Muslim states might wish to punish the American government for recognizing a historical truth in moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But would they really do something beyond verbal menacing? What else can they do? Sever relations? Not accept our surplus wheat? Refuse the weapons we supply to so many of them? Would Jordan want to forgo the $1.6 billion this year in American aid, without which the country would stagger, if not collapse? Or Egypt its $1.5 billion, or Afghanistan its $1.1 billion, or Pakistan its nearly $1 billion? What threats could they carry out, without fearing American retaliation? For Trump, as we all know, is no fan either of foreign aid, or of Islam, and would be delighted to see a half dozen Muslim countries “punish” us by breaking off relations, thereby giving him all the excuse he needs to end that aid. The leaders of those countries know perfectly well how much they need American aid, and how eager Trump is to cut it off. They won’t be taking any chances on their own well-being, just to please the likes of Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat.
Trump should call the bluff of the assorted “Palestinians” threatening all manner of mayhem. The fearful and the faint have had their moment in the sun. Now it’s time to try the truth: Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. The rewriters of history must not prevail. The American Embassy belongs in Jerusalem. Just make the move, announcing it laconically and after the fact, without fanfare and without deigning to take notice either of the threats from all those mahmoud-dabbashes or of the feelgood fantasies of Pope Francis. After the expected period of Muslim agitation and even, from Gaza and Ramallah, fabricated hysteria, once the Embassy is moved things will quiet down, and with none of those dire Muslim threats having come to pass, the world will go on pretty much as before, except that those who in Europe want a stronger campaign against the Muslim invasion of their countries – and their numbers are growing — will be heartened by, and no doubt wish to emulate, the no-nonsense approach taken in Washington. The mixture as before just hasn’t been working. It is time to try something new, time to kiss the lips of unacquainted change.
A twin bomb blasts have reportedly killed many at the mosque of the University of Maiduguri, Borno state.The tragic incident occurred this Monday, January 16 morning at the mosque during fajr prayers (dawn prayers). Many are feared killed and according to unconfirmed reports, Prof Mani, professor of veterinary medicine was among those killed.
Sources say the second bomb exploded at the Gate 5 of the institution, killing only the suicide bomber. The Commissioner of Police(CP), Damian Chukwu, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Maiduguri. Chukwu said that 15 persons, who sustained various degrees of injuries were rushed to the hospital.
“At about 5:45 a.m. a mobile police officer who is on duty sighted a suicide bomber who was trying to scale the fence at gate five of the university. Suspicious of his movement, the mobile police officer instantly gunned him down and his bomb exploded and killed him instantly.
“The second suicide bomber, a seven-year-old detonated the second explosive at the senior staff quarters mosque in the university where a professor and four persons were killed and 15 persons sustained various degrees of injuries and were rushed to the hospital,” victim said Chukwu.
Security forces are said to have been mobilized to the scene of the attack.
"An Open Letter to the Paris "Peace" Summit Delegates".
Mrs Stern proposes a graduated series of intelligent and pointed questions that the infidel participants in that conference might ask - if they dared - of the so-called 'Palestinians', who might be more accurately referred to as "mostly-Muslim Arabs from assorted locations in and around Israel".
Most important of all, she advises those infidel participants that they should ask the "Palestinians" this: "Are you offering a permanent peace agreement or are you offering a hudna?"
And then, for the further instruction of those Infidel participants, she explains: "A hudna is a temporary ceasefire - like the one Mohammed signed as the Treaty of Al-Hudaybiyya. In that treaty, a ten-year peace/ ceasefire was negotiated... and then broken."
Embedded in her article is a link that offers some further instruction on the subject.
However, since wikipedia is not necessarily the most helpful source (though this particular entry, as it stands, contains - at time of viewing, this evening of 15th January 2017 - the crucial information that "Muhammad broke this treaty with a surprise attack against Mecca 2 years after the signing, conquering the city" and even states that "the treaty of al-hudaibiyah is used by Islamic scholars as a learning tool on how to lie and deceive in the service of Islam"), I will offer a link to a brief article by "Hugh Fitzgerald" on the same topic.
Hugh refers people to Majid Khadduri's "War and Peace in the Law of Islam", where the topic of Al-Hudaybiyya is thoroughly discussed.
These days no Infidel diplomat, politician, businessperson, journalist or general - indeed, any Infidel who is unlucky enough to have to have anything at all to do with members of the Ummah, or Mohammedan mob, should ever presume to engage in that contact without having first spent some time thoroughly studying and reflecting upon the meaning and implications of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya, in conjunction with the meaning of taqiyya (and the full gamut of carefully-worked-out methods of misdirection, deception, and confusion, encompassed by terms such as tawriyya, taysir, mudarat and muruna), and the Jihad doctrine of Islam. It would save us all a great deal of time and money, as well as lives, and grief.
"P is For 'Palestine'": Blogger "Israellycool" Satirises the Ummah's Latest Little Propaganda Piece
Just follow the link supplied; and then be sure to click on the embedded links which will direct you to the items that our intrepid Israeli friend has selected (out of a field simply packed with possible candidates) in order to create what might be described as a little alphabet of horrors.
Israellycool's illustrated "Alphabet" makes a worthy companion piece, I think, to Philippe Assouline's masterly "A Palestinese Lexicon", which Lexicon cries out to be put into colloquial French (if that has not already been done) and circulated in the Francophone portion of cyberspace, preferably as soon as possible, before the upcoming farcical "peace" conference in Paris takes place.
And since I have mentioned Mr Assouline, and new readers here might not have encountered his work (it was first published five years ago) here is the link that will take you to its appearance on this blog under the heading "An A-Z of Victimhood"
Assouline's sarcastic entry on 'Peace" is particularly pertinent at the moment.
"Peace: The process by which Israel voluntarily ethnically cleanses every last Jewish person from territory with deep Jewish significance that it won in a defensive war in exchange for increased terrorism, demonization, European and Turkish meddling, and summits at the White House."
Archaeologists are interested in the rubbish left by past civilizations: by their detritus shall ye know them. What people throw away reveals as much about them as what they buy in the first place.
But we don’t need to await the passage of three millennia before the study of what people discard becomes instructive. My country, Britain, is now the litter bin of Europe, a kind of vast rubbish dump, and I have been interested in British litter, and littering, for a number of years. The thoroughness with which the country has been befouled, from the grandest city thoroughfares to the most remote country lanes, is astonishing. It is as if it had been host to evangelists of litter who wanted to spread it everywhere, as missionaries once traveled to the farthest islands in the Pacific to spread the Gospel.
I began paying attention to the phenomenon of rubbish on my daily walk between the general hospital where I worked in the morning and the nearby prison where I worked in the afternoon, a matter of a few hundred yards. What should have been clear to me already from the observable behavior of my fellow citizens then became obvious: an Englishman’s street is now his dining room.
The vast majority of the litter was the discarded packaging of food eaten on the hoof, or of the containers—cans and plastic or glass bottles—of drinks, both soft and alcoholic. By contrast, used condoms were few and far between.
Apart from its sheer quantity, what most struck me about the rubbish was that even when it was strewn into people’s front gardens, no one bothered to remove it. It was as if the residents of those houses were blind to it as they went in and out of their front doors, and didn’t mind crunching it underfoot. Most of the homes were publicly owned, and most of the tenants doubtless largely dependent on welfare; but the houses themselves and the little gardens in front of them, while not pretty, were by no means inherently hideous, either.
I examined the packaging and the cans and bottles en route to the prison: they offered an insight, and not a reassuring one, into the local diet, which seemingly had no use for fresh ingredients. I recalled an experiment carried out at a detention center for young delinquents, whose rates of bad and aggressive behavior went down significantly soon after they arrived, when multivitamins were added to their diets. In other words, though not undernourished, they were malnourished.
From my work as a doctor in the area, I knew the insides of the houses that I passed. Though often fitted with TV screens as big as a cinema’s, they contained no piece of furniture around which people could sit to eat a meal together and no kitchen equipment—at least none used—beyond the microwave. Meals involved a dialectic between the fridge and the microwave; they were taken in solitary fashion, as and when the mood took, which was often. In the prison within the shadows of which these houses crouched, I met prisoners who told me that they had never eaten a meal at a table with other people.
It is unsurprising, then, if children soon graduated from domestic foraging to eating in the street. For them, there was a time and a place for everything: the time was now, and the place was here. They dropped the packaging of what they ate as a cow defecates in a field: without awareness of an alternative. Not only the pattern of their eating but also the content of their diet helps to explain the epidemic obesity that has made the British the fattest people in Europe. Their food is fatty and their drink sugary, designed to produce instant, crude gratification. Knowing nothing else, they rarely extend their choices to foods that gratify in a subtler manner.
Theoretically, it should be possible to eat in the street without littering, merely by holding on to the packaging until one can dispose of it in less unsightly a manner. But in Britain, at least, many people do not bother to do this, the effort either beyond them or its worth not apparent to them. I have often observed people littering within easy reach of a trash bin.
The problem (I assume that it is a problem) is not confined to the underclass. After all, the underclass generally does not travel far from where it lives, so its diet and eating habits cannot explain why practically every prospect in the country, no matter how beautiful or historic, is bespattered with the evidence of visitors’ incontinent consumption.
Man’s—or, at least, Britain’s—need for refreshments seems to have grown almost continual in recent years. People seem hardly able to cross the road without gulping something. Even medical students now attend their exams with bottled water in hand, as if global warming had somehow transformed medical-school classrooms into the Sahara desert. How the students dispose of the plastic bottles afterward is a question of importance, and to judge by the areas of towns and cities in which students (mostly the scions of the middle class) congregate, they are none too scrupulous about it.
Litter has spread even to remote places in the country mainly visited by those with adequate disposable income. See a beautiful landscape and throw a vividly colored can or bottle of some chemically concocted drink at it: such seems to be the motto of British domestic tourists. Either they think that someone will or ought to clean up after them, or they do not care. In all, they have littered many thousands of miles of lanes, roads, and hedgerows with a thoroughness worthy of a better object.
From time to time, my wife and I exhibit some civic duty: we take a large garbage bag and try to remove trash from a short stretch of the beautiful lanes near our house, in the countryside of A. E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad. Recently, for example, we cleared about 400 yards of roadside litter. It took us an hour, by the end of which we had filled two bags almost to bursting with what had been tossed from car windows.
Most of the trash was the packaging of refreshments. But we also picked up a mobile phone, its battery and SIM card removed. And we came across the smashed remnants of a motorcycle involved in a fatal accident two weeks before, along with some memorial messages to the deceased that had become detached from the cellophane-wrapped flowers now rotting at the actual site of the crash. These messages offered evidence of a vague and shallow nonreligious belief in the afterlife held by young people in Britain. “You were my best mate, Baz, miss you forever. Good night.” Death is now conceived of, it seems, as a slightly longer, deeper sleep than usual.
It is alarming to see how much alcohol is drunk en route, though whether by drivers or only by passengers it is impossible to say just from defenestrated cans and bottles. One sees in them signs not of poverty but of abundance, or at least of economic insouciance: we found bottles of spirits a third full and cans of beer almost entirely undrunk. Particularly revolting, from the litter-collector’s point of view, were the congealed, half-eaten fast-food meals slung out of cars on to the verges, still in their styrene containers. As for the cigarette packs with the legend SMOKING KILLS in large black lettering, the litter-collector cannot help but think: “Yes, but not quickly enough.”
Collecting trash, one begins to hate certain brands—in my case, a fizzy, sugary drink called Lucozade, which comes in bright-orange plastic bottles and was once sold to convalescents as an energy restorative; and also a drink that its young consumers suppose to be an antidote to hangovers, containing carbonated water, sucrose, glucose, citric acid, sodium citrate, magnesium carbonate, taurine, caffeine, xanthan gum, natural and artificial flavors and colors, and a few B vitamins. The success of this drink, as illustrated by the frequency with which its cans are thrown from car windows, represents the triumph of marketing over taste and good sense. It is when you see close up what people are prepared to consume that you begin to wonder if the marketplace is like democracy, working best where powers of discrimination are in place.
An hour to clean 400 yards, after which we stopped: I cannot claim any heroic status for our labors. On a fine day, the work itself is not disagreeable (we have instruments to pick up the trash); and, unlike much human labor, it is immediately rewarding. One can see the results at once, however slight they might be in the context of the overall litter problem.
The work is mildly instructive, too. Clearing a length of lane between hedgerows, for instance, one experiences a practical refutation of the ancient philosophical doctrine that no man does wrong knowingly: for some people push cans or bottles or wrappers of which they want to disembarrass themselves deeply into the hedge, making them hard to extract. Why should they do this unless they were aware that disposing of trash in this way were wrong?
Another way of disposing of litter that has become lamentably more frequent, and that I have seen employed nowhere else in Europe, is to gather all one’s unwanted remains in a plastic bag, knot the bag’s handles, and then tie the bag to a hedge, so that it looks like some fat, repellent fruit hanging down, waiting to fall and rot on the ground. Those who do this have clearly gone to some trouble, again suggesting an awareness that litter should not be strewn—their conscience, however, not being strong enough to overcome what they consider their convenience. Freeing the inside of their cars from trash is more important to them than keeping the countryside free from it; and they probably think that, in confining all their garbage in a bag and tying it to a hedge, they have reached a reasonable compromise and done their bit for rural conservation.
Why is the trash not collected? It is, after all, one of the tasks of local governments. But far from fulfilling this duty, they often seem themselves to add to the mess. When contractors repair roads, for example, they put up temporary metal notices on folding frames, weighed down with sandbags to keep them upright, to warn oncoming traffic. When the roadwork is completed, the contractors do not always remove the iron frames but sometimes push them flat on the ground, leaving them where they are; they don’t invariably remove the sandbags, either, with the result that British roadsides are strewn at not-infrequent intervals with rusting iron frames and sodden sandbags. This, too, I have seen in no other country in Europe, whatever the state of its economy.
This slovenliness—both of the private contractors and the local councils—preceded any difficulties with funding. It is highly unlikely, in any case, that purely economic considerations would lead anyone to leave metal frames and sandbags from a worksite behind; if anything, the economics would point in the other direction. There is an obvious lack of pride in the contractors and lack of diligence in the councils. Nobody cares—nobody, that is, whose job is to care.
As far as litter in the strict sense is concerned, there would be no problem in the first place if hundreds of thousands—or, more likely, millions—of people did not behave so badly. And the problem is now so far gone that it would take a new Hercules to clear out this Augean stable. Even if the local councils were to become models of conscientiousness, rather than giant organizations dedicated to the preservation of their salaries and pensions, the task would probably be beyond them. And in times of financial stringency—the seven lean years following the seven fat ones, as they always do—the councils can claim that more pressing priorities weigh on their reduced resources.
You rarely see anyone littering, despite the countless pieces of trash on the ground. The surreptitiousness of its deposition is another indication that many litterers do wrong knowingly. And if you do see someone committing the act, you have to play at being Cesare Lombroso (the Italian criminologist of the late nineteenth century, who believed that certain facial features bespoke criminality) in estimating whether it would be safe to reprimand him. One must always remember the case of Evren Anil, a 23-year-old man who was sitting in his car with his sister when one of two youths threw a half-eaten chocolate bar at the car’s window. Anil protested, and a fight ensued with the youths in which he was punched to the ground, hitting his head on the curb and dying eight days later. The youths received a sentence of four years’ imprisonment, of which they served just 18 months (one was so guilt-ridden that he appealed, unsuccessfully, against his short sentence).
I have long wondered whether litterers see the effect they have on the landscape or townscape. Are they so enclosed in their own personal bubble that nothing beyond its confines registers with them? Is it that the virtual world of their smartphones, computers, and tablets is now more real to them than the physical world around them? But one has no reason to think that the British live more, or much more, in a virtual world than people in other nations in Europe. And since some take the trouble to go to the remote places that they litter, they must have some interest in the real world. The capacity of the human mind to screen out what it does not want to see is formidable.
The trash epidemic, which has arisen over the last two decades, raises the question of the legitimacy of public authority. I believe that the epidemic indicates a profound social malaise, and even political crisis, of far deeper significance than the more publicized agonizing over Britain’s membership in the European Union. Each piece of trash represents either an act of indifference to, or defiance of, civic or public order. Margaret Thatcher famously (or infamously) said that “there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then also to look after our neighbour.” Whatever she may really have meant by this, the litterers act as if it were really true.
No one, I imagine, behaves in any fashion simply because a political leader says something—in Thatcher’s case, in an interview with Women’s Own magazine. But the litterers act as if it were indeed their duty to look after themselves first, even in minute particulars, such as ridding themselves of rubbish. Their neighbor can pick up after them or not, as he wishes; but it is no concern to them because they do not belong to society, which is nonexistent in any case. They belong to no district, town, city, or country. They belong only to themselves, as sovereign as particles in Brownian motion. That is why no public authority has the right—or the moral authority—to tell them how to dispose of their garbage.
The entire population is not like this, of course; but enough people are to set the trend, the tone, the atmosphere. Such activities as removing garbage from 400 yards of road become more futile, like Canute commanding the tide to withdraw. As the litter mounts, those with a civic conscience are likely to withdraw more and more into their own private worlds.
The archaeologists are right: the study of what people abandon (and how they abandon it) tells us a lot about them. The study of litter in Britain shows us how people live and eat, why they grow fat and become diabetic in unprecedented numbers, and how a country falls apart for lack of an authority seen by the population (or a large proportion thereof) as having legitimacy. You could hardly ask more of mere rubbish.
Canada is doing well … but we could do so much better
by Conrad Black
The recent Finance Canada report projecting Canadian federal budgetary deficits into the 2050s must stand as one of the most inane Canadian public documents of recent memory. The deficit could be eliminated any year on a few months’ notice, so the document is just an alarmist warning from somewhere in the bowels of the finance ministry of what will happen if nothing is done to change course and economic circumstances don’t vary. Never in the 150 year history of Canada as an autonomous country have 30 years passed without any flexibility of circumstances. This is in the category of policy options where past finance ministers were offered the following sort of range of choice by their deputy ministers: 1. The impending bankruptcy of the country and the beginning of discussions on the consequences of default on public debt and auctions of government assets; 2. The cessation of all non-contractual expenses, disbandment of the armed forces and all Crown corporations while taxes are raised in all categories, and special arrangements are made to accommodate the immense surplus that would accrue amidst the grinding stagnation of the economy; and 3. The alternative preferred by the author of the memo.
The last federal election was in part a head-butting contest between two sacred cows — the bipartisan commitment (in which the NDP also joined) of no federal deficit; and the Harper commitment not to raise HST, which it had reduced. These are both commendable impulses but they assumed an ironclad quality that became an inconvenience to fiscal planning. Canada was scandalously plagued by deficits through most of the Trudeau and Mulroney years, and at one point in the mid-Eighties the Canadian dollar sank to 65 U.S. cents. Brian Mulroney provided the answer to the problem with the Goods and Services Tax (GST). It avoided the irritating misnomer of VAT, the Europeans’ preferred Value Added Tax, which is routinely assessed on services where not even a delusionist could imagine there is any value added, such as a legal bill. Legal bills are incurred and must be paid, and are taxed in the hands of the recipients as income, but what excuse is there to tax also the person who pays the bill, on the spurious inference that he has a hidden gain in additional value due to having paid his lawyer?
So far, as with many Euro-absurdities, such nonsense has been repelled at the water’s edge with the continental spirit of President Roosevelt’s assurance at Kingston in 1938 that he would not “stand idly by” if Canada were attacked from another continent. (The phrase caught on, as even Mackenzie King shortly announced that Canada would not “stand idly by” If Hitler attacked Czechoslovakia. Dozens of countries would decline to “stand idly by” as years passed, especially after Mao Tse-tung appended the elaboration that China would “not stand idly by with folded arms” as various bad things occurred. In most cases, of course, there was a lot of idle standing, with a wide range of accompanying manual activity.)
The Finance department’s internal document is an exhortation to the next two generations of federal Canadian leaders not to be inactive while deficits endlessly accumulate. It raises a host of related issues about spending priorities, cost and revenue sharing between the federal and provincial governments, and what direction we want Canada to take. Canadians are justly proud of having a relatively peaceable and livable society. But most foreigners would conclude that given that we are not severely harassed by our one adjacent neighbor and have a vast country with immense resources in almost all forms of base and precious metals, forest products, energy and agriculture except tropical fruit, a relatively comfortable and serene country is not such an astounding triumph as it would be in less well-favoured places.
While it is apparently a terrible source of comparison, prisoners at Auschwitz referred to the storage area for the food and comforts of the guards as “Canada” as indicative of something comfortable, peaceful, clean and abundant, and as such almost beyond the imagination of the desperate inmates. Canada is one of the 10 most prosperous countries that have integrated economies (i.e. excluding small tax havens like Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Monaco, and petro-states like Kuwait and Qatar). But what excuse is there for us not having as high a standard of living as Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, or Australia? The excuses, such as they are, include uncompetitive confusion of government structure and unimaginative public policy. Netherlands and Denmark are not rich countries and the Netherlands has challenges assimilating a large number of Muslim immigrants, a climate not greatly gentler than ours, and few resources, but they have a commercial and exploratory tradition of 500 years. Germany is, of course, Europe’s most powerful country and has suffered terribly, and caused its neighbours to suffer, from its terminal attacks of political immaturity and occasional disposition to satanic collective wickedness. But it had to rebuild entirely after 1945, has admitted several million awkward “guests,” mainly from Turkey, and recently a million improvident Middle Eastern refugees, and is still trying to assimilate the backwardness of tyrannized Communist East Germany, just 25 years reunified with the West. Australia has a smaller population than Canada, a more challenging geography, immense distances from the main countries with shared traditions, though perhaps, on balance, a kinder climate than Canada, but it consistently has a somewhat higher standard of living than Canada.
The point is that we are doing well, but not as well as we should. Some of this is due to the challenge of Quebec independence, which caused large transfers of resources to be made in annual commitments to make clear the benefits of federalism to French Canadians, who do possess the critical mass of population, cultural distinctiveness, territory and resources to set up a country if they chose. I never criticized that investment in concept, but we have won that battle and it is time to enlist Quebec and all Canadians in the uplifting project of making this country as prosperous, exceptional and progressive (which is not here used as a euphemism as it usually is, for socialistic) as it can be.
Brian Mulroney’s GST gave Canada the means to eliminate its deficit, when coupled with the Martin-Chrétien policy of laying off spending in shared areas of federal-provincial responsibility, on provinces without corresponding concessions of tax-collecting ability; and the provinces passing on most of the additional burden to municipalities, whose revenue sources are very narrowly limited. And of course, only the federal government can seriously influence the money supply (which in a simpler time was called “printing money” — if provinces or municipalities do that, they are mere counterfeiters). Stephen Harper had a Friedrich Hayek-like distaste for public-sector spending and believed that if the HST (as GST became) could be reduced, it would create a permanent restraint on government spending as a share of GDP. Both prime ministers were inspired by commendable motives.
When the Great Recession came, for reasons of which Canada was guiltless (the housing bubble and imprudent debt-binge of the financial systems of almost all Western countries), the bounce-back required some deficit spending and this prompted the incoming Justin Trudeau government to promise a brief exploration of traditional pump-priming, which Finance officials now warn will keep us in a spending strait-jacket and a deficitory poorhouse for 35 years. Of course we must do better than this, which is presumably why the authors of the Finance department’s gloomy piece took such a lugubrious view.
I suggest (once again) a flexible HST — raise it on elective spending (luxury goods, complex financial transactions and the mere velocity of money in financial markets) to eliminate the deficit, and reduce taxes on small personal and corporate incomes to ease the conditions of the most vulnerable and provide affordable stimulus. We are not going to rake in any bonanza piling on energy costs, as the climate change-alarm well has run dry, so rely on marijuana sales as the next formerly immoral source of necessary funds, following in the well-trodden tracks of casinos and alcoholic beverages. Reduce corporate tax to compete with Trump’s America in attracting investment and secondary sector jobs, and shift stimulus from the sterility of traditional welfare, other than where there is no practical alternative because of the acute needs of the seriously disadvantaged, to meet our two per cent commitment of GDP for national defence. Let us finally, for the first time in peace, give Canada a military commensurate with our status as a G7 country that will back up a sensible voice in world affairs. All the personnel expenses in defence outlays go to adult education and training-up citizens, and all the hard spending is in high-tech and key industrial areas such as aerospace and ship-building. With imaginative tax policies, we could move the annual growth rate to three to four per cent (as the United States is likely to do), from an elective HST, and the minister can use this absurd departmental report as fuel for his stove at his ski lodge.
The insane prison-building program of the Harper government should be repurposed to assisted housing or convalescent homes and all non-violent criminals should pay community service penalties in spartan but not confined circumstances. We have to stop rationing medical care, as we are, by over-restricting access to many forms of treatment. We have to permit and encourage private medicine, and focus the entire public-sector contribution on those who cannot afford their own health care. Those who can afford to pay their medical bills and insurance can get a tax credit for necessary health expenses. This sacred cow should be quietly allowed to metamorphose into better health care for those who can afford it and for those who cannot, by allowing wealthier groups to use their wealth to assume more of the health-care cost voluntarily and unclog the public health system for everyone. For decades, we have been pushing the Sysyphean burden of obsolete truisms about universality while the federal government has been imposing its shrinking contribution to public health costs to force all provinces into a one size-fits all model of declining efficiency.
By all means let us have public broadcasting, but put the money into creative people and not just the incompetent management feathering their nests while the personalities the public wants to see or hear are persecuted. Bring back the acquitted Jian Ghomeshi and the unoffending Evan Solomon and Amanda Lang and get rid of the idiots who persecuted them. Moving Chrystia Freeland to Foreign Affairs may finally enable us to help reform all the crumbling international institutions, including the UN, NATO, Commonwealth and the IMF, which have been allowed to decay for decades. She and Boris Johnson could be the first wave of some originality in what were once called the chancelleries of the world. A little creative thinking would achieve miracles. Canada could be an exciting country in public policy terms; only our own inertia is stopping us.
I recall the first George W. Bush inauguration in 2001 after he won the presidency and protesters threw eggs at his motorcade as he and Laura proceeded to the White House. It was pretty ugly - if you have any respect for the peaceful transfer of power in this country. Compared to what is coming in just a few days, that was just a stroll in the park.
Already some are calling for the inauguration to be disrupted, most prominently (I guess) Rosie O'Donnell, who had to find some way to get back in the public spotlight. The safest bet you could make is that a large portion of the coming protesters will be from the ranks of our colleges and universities. And if you think I am talking just about immature students, think again. Some universities are actually helping to get the Little Rascals on their way. The College Fix blog has an article that identifies some of the schools busy organizing their students (and misfit teachers) for the big day on January 20.)
Lost in the shuffle, unfortunately is tiny Talladega College, a historically black college in Alabama. Their marching band, the Tornadoes, has been invited to perform at the inauguration, and they have accepted. That has stirred outrage on the part of some who think that Donald Trump is a "racist" and that Talladega should not perform at this particular inauguration. Rather than just express a respectful dissent, many have bombarded Talladega's courageous president, Billy C. Hawkins, with threats and ugly accusations of being an "Uncle Tom." It's the typical manner in which African-Americans who go against the grain of liberalism are treated in this country. Nonetheless, Talladega is going ahead and sending their marching band to Washington. What greater opportunity for these young people to see the nation's capital and participate in democracy first hand? That, of course, is lost on the left.
Nobody wants to see violence on January 20 or for anyone to be injured or worse. But if things do get out of hand, it is the left-and the Democrat party that will suffer. Once again, the public will see first-hand how radical the party and their supporters on the left have become. The worse it is, the more the public will recoil in disgust.
The world will be watching on January 20. Here's hoping we can put our best foot forward. And go Tornadoes!
A CHILD bride was raped by her husband after being forced into marriage by a prominent Melbourne imam, police allege. The girl, aged under 16, was allegedly married in a traditional Islamic ceremony by prominent cleric Ibrahim Omerdic.
Is is alleged that in the days after the wedding last year the girl was raped by her husband.
The man, who cannot be named, is currently behind bars on remand after being charged with sexual penetration of a child under 16 and forcing the girl into marriage. He appeared via videolink at the Melbourne Magistrates Court today where he broke down in tears several times.
Sheik Omerdic, who is on bail, also appeared in court facing a single charge over the alleged marriage. Court documents allege he engaged in conduct that “caused another person ... to enter into a forced marriage.” Sheik Omerdic is the imam of the Bosnian mosque in Noble Park where it is understood the marriage took place.
On the matter of Israel, French Jews, and the “Palestinians,” Fillon has made various remarks, some of which have disturbed, and some of which have pleased, France’s Jews. He did say at one point that Muslims in France were being held “hostage” by fundamentalists, who wanted Muslims to ignore French laws whenever they conflicted with the laws of Islam, and that in the past, Catholics, and Jews too, had obeyed their own laws and not those of the Republic, but then, Fillon noted, they had come round, and he hoped that Muslims could, too. He was quickly answered by the Representative Council of French Jews (CRIF), that explained that his assertion was not true, that Jews in France had always obeyed the laws of France: “The law of the land is the law: this Talmudic adage has been imposed on Jews since ancient history and requires them to respect the laws of the country in which they live,” the organization declared. Fillon claimed he had been misunderstood. “I never meant to call into question the Jewish community’s attachment to our common values and its respect of the rules of the Republic. This attachment is old and sincere. I therefore regret that some people dared to twist what I said.”
There have been other remarks, worrisome at the time. Last July, Fillon said in support of letting Muslim students postpone their baccalaureate exams, to avoid a religious conflict, that “the main beneficiaries of this [allowing such a postponement] have never been Muslims, but French Jews, who are very ‘intransigeant’ on this issue. The truth is that very few Muslims ever took advantage of this amendment.” Why mention the Jewish attitude as “intransigeance” at all? This comes close to the old charge of being “stiff-necked.”
Another remark by Fillon that worried French Jews was his soft-pedaling of Hizballah’s ties to terror, so eager has he been to support Hizballah in Syria in its fight against the Islamic State. In November 2015, following the Paris terror attacks, Fillon declared that he was in favor of a “global coalition” to fight against the Islamic State (IS), which would include the Russian, Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian governments, Kurdish movements and the Shiite terrorist organization Hizballah, whose senior officials he had met in July 2013. And similarly, he has been perfectly willing to work with the country that is at present the greatest threat to Israel: “We must support Iran, which is committed to combating IS,” he said on France Inter Radio. (It is also, and mainly, committed to destroying Israel.) “I know many will comment on this point of view, especially in Israel. But for a question of survival, Israel has always known how to ally with people who do not respect international morals. And no one can blame them.” This is surely a bizarre remark, and one wonders which allies of Israel he is thinking of – the U.S.? — that “do not respect international morals.” But at least he ends on what appears to be a pro-Israel note: “no one can blame them” for the allies they sometimes need. Still, one is left distinctly uneasy.
It should be said that Fillon has spoken out forcefully against the viciously anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) movement, and he has also denounced the anti-Israel votes over Jerusalem in UNESCO. He has insisted that the two parties – Israel and the “Palestinians” – negotiate directly, and that no attempt be made to force Israel into negotiations. That also put him at odds with the official French position, and in agreement with the Israelis. But more recently, he has sounded as if he does want pressure put on Israel to negotiate; it’s hard to know exactly where he stands.
Fillon is willing to ally with Hizballah, but “only” for its war against ISIS; it’s a limited forbearance. When journalist Patrick Cohen reminded him that “Hezbollah’s vocation is to annihilate Israel,” Fillon replied that “letting Hezbollah threaten the State of Israel is out of the question.” Apparently he thinks that Hizballah can be supported, but “only” in Syria as part of a Shi’a coalition against ISIS, and without at the same time strengthening it for its endless war against Israel. How exactly this strict compartmentalization of support might be achieved is entirely unclear. If Hizballah is supplied with weaponry for use in Syria, there is no way to prevent that weaponry from also being used against Israel.
In January 2014, Fillon paid a three-day visit to Israel. His remarks were heartening, and heartfelt:
“I feel very honored to be your guest and to talk to the Israeli youth who are the soul of your amazing nation,” he said. “Israel’s fate and the region’s stakes have always fascinated me. This is where the earliest and the most intense pages of humanity were written. I trembled for Israel during the Yom Kippur War.All nations have had to overcome issues to exist and to unite, but Israel is not a nation like any other.”
After referring to the Holocaust, he explained that “the French Republic is and will always be uncompromising with anti-Semitism, as was recently the case with that antisemitic ‘humorist’ [Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala] who has made offensive remarks. In France, anti-Semitism is not an opinion, it is an offense. Things are very clear for me: opponents of French unity and rapists of memory cannot exploit freedom of speech.”
“Because Israel has strong historical and moral ties with France and Europe, what affects you, affects us, and what torments you, torments us,” he continued. “The existence of Israel is not debatable and its security is therefore not negotiable. Israel is our friend and ally and whoever threatened its existence would expose itself to our toughest response. To have peace, you need to know that France will always be on your side regarding your safety. Israel is the gateway to our own history. It is old Europe’s friend and confidant,” he concluded.
This sounds very good, and yet, in November 2014, Fillon took quite a different tone on BFM TV. He explained that Israel was “threatening world peace [!] because it was delaying the creation of a Palestinian state” — a state that Fillon had expressed his desire to create since 2011.
“I am telling the Israelis that if they do not accept and if they do not understand that the creation of the Palestinian state is a sine qua non condition for peace in Middle East, they are not only taking risks for their long-term future, but they are also creating instability for the whole world. I think the situation in the Middle East is a threat to our own country’s internal security,” he said. In other words, Fillon wants France to always be on the side of Israel when it comes to “security,” but at the same time Fillon believes that a “Palestinian” state will make Israel more secure and sate, not whet, Arab Muslim appetites. He does not understand that such a state would promote the very instability he claims to deplore, and the risks Israel now runs in preventing such a state are far less than those it would be taking if it allowed its creation, even with Arab promises – easy to break – of “demilitarization.”
And is Fillon suggesting that in not yielding on this matter, Israel is endangering French security (“the situation in the Middle East is a threat to our own security”), presumably because the Arabs and Muslims in France will be deeply dissatisfied if a “Palestine” is not created and will express that dissatisfaction through unrest on French streets, or even by acts of terrorism in France? This is surely a terrible accusation to make against Israel. And haven’t the Muslims in France shown they need no act by Israel to attack French Infidels, at Charlie Hebdo, Hyper Cacher, Bataclan, Toulouse, the promenade in Nice? Isn’t it dangerous to presume to dictate to Israel what it must do, on the preposterous grounds that if it doesn’t, it will endanger “world peace”? While Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya, all burn, and a dozen other Muslim countries simmer, and Muslim terrorism affects non-Muslims from Myanmar to India to Nigeria, is it really Israel that “threatens world peace? Isn’t the best keeper of the peace in the whole Middle East the IDF?
At the same time, however, as Fillon made these disturbing statements, he announced that he would oppose a referendum proposed by ecologists and socialist leaders who wanted the French government to recognize the state of Palestine. He considered that this “would have no effect, except perhaps to complicate the situation in the Middle East.” He wants Israelis, of their own free will, to recognize that a “Palestinian state” is in Israel’s best interests. But many in and out of Israel do not agree. What if the Israelis decide differently from what Fillon thinks is best for them?
So which is the real Francois Fillon? He seems to understand that Israel is a special case, with special needs. He recognizes the historic links of Israel to France, of Israel to the Western world. He is against BDS, against the blatantly biased UNESCO votes on Jerusalem. His sympathy seems genuine for Israel’s difficulties; he doesn’t want France to simply recognize a “state of Palestine” which he thinks would be a useless gesture. He wants to convince the Israelis that they will be better off with a “Palestinian state” whose borders he refrains from delineating, so we can assume he understands that those borders will have to be different from the pre-1967 armistice lines. But he cannot conceive of Israel’s safety being best achieved by preventing, rather than allowing, a “Palestinian” state. He is so used to the received idea that of course a “solution” exists, which will require that Israel give up most of the territory it won in 1967 that he does not allow himself to consider that a better outcome – instead of a will-o’-the-wisp “solution” – would be to support the current situation between Israel and the Arabs, that is an absence of major war or threat of war, and terrorism brought to a low level (lower than in Western Europe), a situation which can be maintained only if the IDF remains strong and continues to exercise military control of the “West Bank.”
In October 2015, on a television program, Fillon renewed his call for Israel to make peace with Palestinians, as if Israel hadn’t been trying to do that for decades. Israel “is not going to be safe from the chaos that is taking hold of the Middle East,” he said. “The idea that Israel could remain a peaceful and prosperous islet in the midst of this chaos is a crazy and false idea.” Really? Actually, at this very moment Israel is precisely that, an island of comparative peace and high-tech prosperity in the midst of Arab Muslim chaos all around it. “We have to put pressure on Israel to resume the negotiation process and to let Israel liberate occupied territories. There will never be peace in Palestine if they are not willing to do this. Some settlements were established in total contradiction with commitments which were stated in previous agreements.” Which settlements, and which commitments, is Fillon thinking of? Any commitments made by Israel depended on reciprocal commitments by the Arabs and “Palestinians,” commitments that the Arabs never met. And what about the still-relevant Mandate for Palestine? Having for so many years maintained that Israel should not be forced to negotiate, but should come to the table of its own free will, Fillon now says precisely the opposite, that “we have to put pressure on Israel to resume the negotiation process,” and he even talks about Israel “liberating” (!) “occupied territories.”
What shall we make of this? Fillon’s statements are contradictory; it is hard to figure out exactly where he stands. Quite possibly he does not know himself. But at least Fillon needs to be made aware that Israel has a perfect legal right to build settlements on “waste and state” lands in all the land from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, according to the Mandate for Palestine, and that it has a perfect right, too, to territorial adjustments in the “West Bank” that would give it “secure and defensible borders” as required by U.N. Resolution 242. If Israel decides not to fully exercise those “rights” in the light of other considerations, that is for Israel, and no other party, to decide. Fillon might also be asked, too, if he is aware that the “Palestinian people” for whom he has such solicitousness were invented, for obvious reasons, after the Six-Day War, to present the Arab and Muslim war against Israel as a struggle “between two tiny peoples, each wanting its own homeland.” Finally, he ought to be asked if he really thinks, if Israel were to disappear tomorrow, that the observable behavior of Muslims in the West, including acts of terrorism, would change for the better.
In November 2015 on Radio Monte-Carlo, Fillon again declared that “I am not against Israel but I am committed to the creation of a Palestinian state. I want peace. There is a tendency to be tougher with Israel because it is a strong, organized and powerful country.” (But this is dangerous praise — is Israel stronger than a coalition of several dozen Arab and Muslim states? Aren’t we expecting too many miracles of Israel?) And in the very same interview, he also declared he was now opposed to the labeling of Israeli products, which is one of the main weapons of the BDS movement.
In short, Fillon wants “security” for Israel, but also wants a “Palestinian” state. This is the position of a great many people who insist that there must be a “solution” to the Arab Muslim war against Israel. They cannot allow themselves to believe that there is no solution, and that the best one can hope for is to manage the conflict, by maintaining Israel’s military superiority sufficiently to deter an Arab attack. Starting with the U.S. Joint Chiefs in 1967, military men have largely agreed that from Israel’s point of view, “security” requires continued control of the West Bank, whether or not Israel decides to formally incorporate part or most of that territory into the Jewish state, or to continue with the current arrangement. Fillon needs to see the military challenge on the ground, needs to stand at Qalqilya, in the pre-67 lines, and perhaps even walk the eight miles that separate that Arab village from the Mediterranean, and to scale the heights of the Judean and Samarian hills, in order to have brought home to him how command of those heights is necessary to block, as a military matter, the invasion route from the east. Fillon needs to understand that the soothing words of Mahmoud Abbas to Western visitors, and what he says to his own people, are quite different. A “peace treaty” is not the same thing as “peace,” and may indeed get in the way of, even make more difficult, a long-term peace. The surest guarantor of peace between Arabs and Israelis is the IDF, able to ensure that the Arabs will not engage in another attack, like that of October, 1973. For deterrence to work it is not enough for Israel to be strong; it must also be perceived by the Arabs as strong enough to defeat any conceivable coalition of enemies.
Francois Fillon needs to realize that Arab leaders, even when they do not want war, can not always withstand pressure put on them to join a conflict. One example of this was hapless King Hussein of Jordan, forced into the Six-Day War by the Egyptians who assured him, in a famous phone call from Marshal Amer that the Israelis recorded, that Israel was being defeated, that Egyptian planes ruled the skies and Egyptian troops were marching into Israel (in reality, the Egyptian Air Force had been wiped out while still on the ground). King Hussein had no excuse not to join in if Israel was really on the ropes; the only valid excuse for not going to war would have been the certainty of an Arab loss. The principle of “Darura,” or Necessity, could then be invoked to justify not joining in. If Israel were to give up control of the West Bank to a “Palestinian state,” it would then be appear to be much more obviously vulnerable, and Arab leaders would have no excuse to invoke “Darura”; war would be more, not less, likely.
If Francois Fillon wants, as he claims, real “security” for Israel, he must come to understand that a “Palestinian state” would lessen that security, and serve as a launching pad for future Arab attacks on a much-reduced Israel. Fillon needs to return to Israel, walk its valleys and hills, feel keenly how small it is, and what, as a military matter, that little country must continue to control. And he might re-read both about Israel’s rights under the Palestine Mandate (1922), and U.N. Resolution 242, which the U.N. seems to be forgetting, and also study the Palestinian National Charter (1964) and the Hamas Covenant (1988) as well, which clearly show a determination never to accept the Jewish State. That might lead Fillon to change his mind about the wisdom – not to mention the morality – of a “Palestinian state.”
In the meantime, Jews in France, and in Israel, will just have to hope that when the real Francois Fillon, having cleared his head, finally stands up, that he stands up for the only state in the whole Middle East that helped to create, that continues to contribute to, and that stands in the first line of defense for, the now-threatened civilization of France, and of the West – that is, Israel.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. —Matthew 7:14
In Russia in 1839, Custine wrote that Tsar Nicholas I was both eagle and insect: eagle because he soared over society surveying it with a sharp raptor’s eye from above, and insect because he bored himself into every tiny crack and crevice of society from below. Nothing was either too large or too small for his attention; and sometimes one feels that political correctness is rather like that. For the politically correct, nothing is too large or too small to escape their puritanical attention. As a consequence, we suspect that we are living an authoritarian prelude to a totalitarian future.
Whether medical journals be large or small depends, of course, on the importance that you attach to them. As a doctor I am inclined to accord them more importance than the average citizen might; but what is indisputable is that they are not immune from political correctness, quite the reverse. Reading them, one has the impression of being buttonholed by a terrific bore at a cocktail party, who won’t let you go unless you agree with his assessment of the situation in Somalia.
At first sight, medicine might appear an unpromising subject for political correctness. You are ill, you go to the doctor, he tries to cure you, whoever you might be: what could be more straightforward than that? But in fact medicine is a field ripe for political correctness’s harvester. The arrangement by which health care is delivered is eminently a subject of politics; moreover we live in the golden age of epidemiology, in which the distribution of health and disease is studied more closely even than the distribution of income. Inequalities are usually presented as inequities (they have to be selected carefully, however: I have never seen the superior life expectancy of women, sometimes considerable and present almost everywhere, described as an inequity, even though the right to life is supposedly the most basic of all in the modern catechism of human rights). The decent man abominates unfairness or injustice: therefore the man who abominates unfairness or injustice is decent.
Political correctness—linguistic and semantic reform as the first step to world domination—came comparatively late to medical journals. This is because, where intellectual fashions are concerned, doctors are usually in the rear, rather than the vanguard. Their patients plant their feet on the ground for them, whether they want them planted there or not; for there is nothing quite like contact with a cross-section of humanity for destroying utopian illusions. Of course, there have been politically radical doctors—many of the informants of the Blue Books praised by Marx for the honesty of their exposure of truly appalling conditions were doctors—but their radicalism has been generally of the practical variety in response to the very real and present miseries that they encountered in their work. Their reformism was neither utopian nor a manifestation of the search for transcendent purpose in a post-religious world.
Medical journals have thus gone over to political correctness—admittedly with the zeal of the late convert—comparatively recently. Such correctness, however, is now deeply entrenched. With The New England Journal of Medicine for July 16, 2016 in hand, I compared it with the first edition I came across in a pile of old editions in my slightly disordered study: that for September 13, 2007, as it happened, which is not a historical epoch ago. What started as mild has become strident and absurd.
The first article in the earlier NEJM concerned the insufficient use of typhoid vaccination in those parts of the world in which the disease is still prevalent. It was titled “Putting Typhoid Vaccination on the Global Health Agenda.” “The Global Health Agenda”: the very phrase is a masterpiece of suggestio falsi and suppressio veri, which one suspects immediately (and correctly) of having a vast hinterland of saccharine, politically correct, and potentially dictatorial sentiment. In an article titled “Global Health Agenda for the Twenty-First Century,” we find:
Health in its own right is of fundamental importance and, like education, is among the basic capabilities that give value to human life (Sen & Sen 1999). It is an intrinsic right as well as a central input to poverty reduction and socioeconomic development. Health-related human rights are core values within the United Nations and WHO, and are endorsed in numerous international and regional human rights instruments. They are intimately related to and dependent on the provision and realization of other social and economic human rights such as those of food, housing, work and education.
Apart from being execrably written, this is, where it can actually be understood, the most patent nonsense. My rights are not infringed because I fall ill; I have, for example, no right to an unenlarged prostate though I would much prefer to have one; and there can be no right to immortality as there is to freedom from arbitrary arrest.
Just because something is nonsense, of course, does not mean that people fail to believe it, and the notion that health care is a human right is now all but unassailable, and unassailed, in our medical journals (which see every sectional interest but their own). I used to ask medical students whether they could find any good reason for providing medical attention to people other than that they had a right to it: and on the whole they could not, so thoroughly had the notion of rights entered their mind and destroyed their moral imaginations.
But at least the article in the NEJM in 2007 had some medical substance. According to various estimates, between 200,000 and 600,000 people died annually of typhoid at that time, often children of school-age, and the disease is largely preventable by means of immunization which is very cheap. I think we can all agree that it would be desirable to eliminate it, or at least reduce it very considerably.
But to do so, is it really true that “the international health community will need to increase the priority and sense of urgency accorded to the control of this disease”? Is a kind of world government essential to the task?
According to the data provided, in the article, the vast majority of the problem resides in South and South East Asia, in countries such as India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, some of them no longer deeply impoverished. In the body of the text we read:
Vaccination can provide a near-term solution, as demonstrated in Thailand, where mass vaccination of schoolchildren with injectable, inactivated, whole-cell vaccines in the 1970s and 1980s led to sharp decreases in the incidence of typhoid fever and is credited with largely controlling the disease. However, because of their high rates of side effects, these older-generation vaccines have generally been abandoned as public health tools.
But as the article itself draws attention to the existence of new vaccines that are cheap and without serious side-effects, the question might well be asked why, if Thailand could conduct a successful immunization campaign against typhoid in the 1970s and 1980s, it cannot do so in 2016, when it is considerably richer? Why does it need a, let alone the, global health agenda to do so? And what applies to Thailand applies to the other countries as well, give or take civil war whose health effects no global health agenda is likely to overcome.
In other words, what is being promoted in the article is not so much the eradication of typhoid as a kind of imperialism of good intentions, with its associated international bureaucracy (usually remunerated in Swiss francs, incidentally), for who can be found to speak up, in the name of biodiversity, for Salmonella typhi as an endangered species?
The article, though by no means watertight in its logic, is nevertheless not egregious. But a constant stream of such articles has now been published for years in all the major general medical journals, usually unopposed by any alternative view, and numbs the mind into a kind of acquiescence or surrender, with a loss of will critically to appraise what is written. For what would now be the point of doing so? It would be like trying to use a feather to keep oneself dry in a monsoon. I assume that something similar happened to readers of Pravda and Izvestia, though of course I do not mean to imply that anything worse than loss of face would result if a doctor dared to show himself against the prevailing orthodoxy of medical journals.
The object of political correctness not being to spread truth but to exercise power, the more it violates common feeling or opinion while at the same time exercising a moral terror against dissenters, the more effective it is. It is not surprising, then, that it should grow ever more extreme, and attach itself to ever more arcane subject matter. Thus the first article in the edition of the New England Journal of Medicine for July 14, 2016—Bastille Day, appropriately enough, considering that there were only seven prisoners when the Bastille was stormed—was titled “Beyond Bathrooms—Meeting the Health Needs of Transgender People.”
If Marx were alive today, he would write not that history repeats itself, appearing first as tragedy and then as farce, but that it repeats itself, appearing first as tragedy and then as bathos. The article in the NEJM begins:
One might have to go back to the era of racial desegregation of U.S. bathrooms to find a time when toilets received so much attention.
But even the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association puts the prevalence of what it calls Gender Dysphoria Disorder at about 0.005 percent: and the DSM V is not generally conservative in its estimates of prevalence, for example putting that of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) at 1.5 percent (that is to say, 3,000 times more common than Gender Dysphoria Disorder), though this condition and its diagnosis have more recently gone out of fashion, having enjoyed a phase of great popularity which gender dysphorics can only envy and aspire to emulate. Incidentally, did replaced mpd (Multiple Personality Disorder): nothing, after all, can stop the march of progress, especially in science. Most of us, unfortunately, are still stuck at the Three Faces of Eve stage.
To mention the psychological peculiarities of one person in twenty thousand in the same breath as the travails of a tenth of the American population before the Civil Rights movement might seem insensitive, not to say insulting, but the politically correct can see offense given only by others, never by themselves. They generally do not have much a sense of humor either, for only they could read the following without a smile at the very least:
bathrooms matter for health. Transgender people who are barred from using bathrooms where they feel safe might feel they have no choice but to suppress basic bodily needs. Delayed bathroom use can cause health problems including urinary tract or kidney infections, stool impaction, and hemorrhoids.
But this is mad. Any decent transvestite—let alone transsexual—could use a women’s lavatory without undergoing the slightest interrogation as to his chromosomal sex.
More importantly, the article demands of the reader that he performs feats of doublethink, according to which he should keep in mind that transsexualism both is and is not an illness:
In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) revised its guidelines to indicate that being transgender is not a mental disorder and that gender-affirming treatments are a valid focus of care for people who desire them; the APA has included gender dysphoria in its guidelines partly to cover people who have substantial distress or impairment and to ensure access to and coverage of desired medical interventions and treatments . . .
In other words, wishing to change your outward sexual appearance is not pathological, but when you are sufficiently unhappy at not being able to do so at your own expense, you become ill and should be able to do so at someone else’s expense.
This is perilously close to soliciting fraud, for of course anyone can manufacture “substantial distress and impairment” at not getting what he wants. But even this is not all.
The article has a box with the heading Definitions of Selected Identity Terms. We realize at once that we are in the presence of a kind of Turkish Language Reform of the soul, in which what is aimed at is not accuracy but control of your thoughts. There is a warning asterisk after the word Terms:
Some concepts are evolving, so usage may vary.
The better, one might add, to keep you in a state of fear of uttering a word or phrase subsequently declared to be offensive, and thereby to exercise continued power over you.
Only a man with a mind of marshmallow could read these definitions and not simultaneously want to kill himself and fall about laughing. Here, for example, is the definition of a cisgender man (sex nowadays is like the Jordan of old, that is to say it comes in Cis- and Trans- varieties):
A person assigned male sex at birth who identifies as a man.
How, one wonders, is a person assigned male sex at birth? By drawing lots, perhaps, or by some random number sex-assigning machine? Incidentally, the article in the NEJM is only reflecting developments in the wider culture, much as a canary used to detect carbon monoxide down the shaft of a coal-mine. The other day, for example, I came across a heart-warming story in the Washington Post—heart-warming, that is, for the kind of person whose heart is warmed by reading the Washington Post—of a ten-year-old boy who was taken to a little girls’ clothes shop by his mother and who came out wearing a pair of little girls’ shoes. “I don’t want to be a boy or girl,” he said. “I just want to be a person.” Compared with this, Little Nell was Zsa Zsa Gabor.
But the most interesting definition was that of genderqueer. None of my circle of acquaintances whom I asked to define the term had even heard of it, but I am glad to say that all those compulsory Microsoftupdates that so irritate and frustrate me when I turn on my computer have included the adoption of the word as a normal term, for it is not underlined in red as being in error when I type it. Genderqueer is:
A person with a nonbinary gender identity, identifying as both a man and a woman or as neither.
In other words, being genderqueer is a bit like being a European according to the projectors of the European project: that is to say one identifies not as German or French or Portuguese, but as European.
If genderqueerism spreads, one can only hope for the future of the human race that the biotechnologists find a way of turning Man into a kind of hydra, the simple coelenterate that reproduces not sexually, but by budding. The hydra is genuinely genderqueer.
In none of the above do I mean to imply that The New England Journal of Medicine is uniquely tedious in its unctuous cleaving to the latest moral enthusiasm of the congenitally virtuous: far from it, if anything The Lancetis even worse. It still publishes much valuable scientific research, of course; but as soon as any item touches on the social or political, it adopts a sententious langue de boisthat glazes over the mind of the reader. Here are a couple of examples from a single edition, taken at random from a pile of copies of old editions in my study:
In his farewell speech . . . the outgoing UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan emphasised five lessons from his ten-year tenure: the interconnectedness of the security of all people; the global community’s responsibility for everyone’s welfare; the respect for human rights and the rule of law as the indispensable foundations for our common humanity and shared belief in human dignity; the accountability of governments for their actions in the international context; and finally, the importance of a strong multilateral system—a reformed U.N.—to achieve results . . . . Only with equitable, sustainable development and health at its core will the global community have a better future.
For a global culture of peace to be built, the next generation must be imbued with new systems of thinking and feeling. Such approaches are the domain of cognitive science, translated through practice into perceptual and behavioural change. (December 23–30, 2006, Vol. 368)
All of this is obviously instinct with totalitarian implication and no doubt impulse. The impression one has when reading the medical journals of entering a totalitarian microclimate is strengthened by the fact that no criticism of this anesthetizing (and therefore dangerous) bilge is ever published in the journals in which it appears. I do not know whether this is the result of deliberate exclusion of criticism, or the fact that one of the effects of langue de boisis a sapping of the will to reply: who, after all, wants to spend his time arguing with someone who believes in the existence of a global community or the future existence of a global culture of peace? Sisyphus’s task was a pleasant one by comparison.
It is instructive to contrast the language of the Lancettoday with that of its language in the 1820s, when it was edited by its founder, Thomas Wakley. Wakley was precisely the kind of man that Orwell describes Dickens as having been:
a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry—in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.
Wakley campaigned against specific abuses and was sued for libel at least nine times, defending himself in court and winning, morally if not quite always legally; in the end, his arguments for reform were usually triumphant. Here, again taken at random, is a passage from Wakley’s Address to the Readers of the Lancet for the volume of 1829:
With regard to hospital reports [of operations conducted in them], these, let it be remembered, were equally denounced by our enemies, when we first set the example of publishing them. The times, however, are changed, and hospital reports are now recognised by all, except by those functionaries who, by reason of their imbecility, have cause to dread them, as an integral portion of the stock of public information. But there is this material difference between the hospital reports published in this Journal, and those which have recently been put forth by our imitators, that the latter have been supplied by the functionaries themselves, who have a manifest interest in suppressing whatever facts may be unfavourable to their reputation; whereas, our interest as clearly lies in giving a faithful and impartial detail of facts, whether favourable or unfavourable to the hospital surgeons.
These are the words of a free man, unafraid and generously angry. Those in his position today at medical journals are the promoters of smelly little orthodoxies, always afraid and glancing over their shoulder lest anyone should think them less than immaculate in their political correctitude. In the process, they spread the atmosphere of fear in which we all now live.
Conference is Not A Priority on Israel and the Palestinians
by Michael Curtis
It's deja vu all over again. Another peace conference is being held in Paris on January 15, 2017 to stress and reaffirm international support for a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will be attended by foreign ministers of 70 countries but not by an Israeli or Palestinian representative.
French President Francois Hollande had already on June 3, 2016 hosted a preliminary conference of 30 countries and international organizations in Paris with similar intent. It’s now June in January. The difference between June and January was that France now intends first to hold the conference, followed by a separate meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to present them with the recommendations of the conference in a more private setting.
Apparently some form of benefits package worked out at the June meeting was to be presented to the two sides in the hope it would entice them to reopen talks. The international community working through flexible groups would deal with three areas: civil society; institution and state capacity building; and economic assistance. The last of the three would primarily benefit Palestinians.
However, the project, if well meaning, is both naïve and not as ambitious as it appears on first sight since most of the proposals are similar to projects already in existence or to ideas already discussed. In any case the Palestinians are more likely to benefit from the arrangements than are the Israelis.
It is an intriguing coincidence not only that Holland like President Barack Obama is reaching the end of his term of office but also that at this stage both are anxious to play a decisive role in the Israeli-Palestinian issue. However, both are arguing for the wrong reason. Both leaders, eager to secure a foreign policy legacy, feel it is urgent to act because they believe their objective, the creation of a Palestinian state, with which they are most concerned, is less likely to occur because the situation in the area, with continuing acts of violence and increasing Israeli settlement activity, is worsening and harmful for that objective.
With hopeless timing, the Paris conference follows the infamous UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of December 23, 2016 that condemned the Israeli presence, now 400,000, in the West Bank and 200,000 in east Jerusalem, and called for a halt to Israeli settlement building in what is considered to be Palestinian territory. To its disgrace the US by abstaining allowed the resolution to pass by a vote of 14-0. Interestingly, before the vote President-elect Donald Trump called for the US to veto the resolution saying, “we cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect.”
It is important to recall the extreme nature of 2334. That resolution reaffirmed that “the reestablishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law.” This means that the Western Wall in Jerusalem and the nearby Jewish presence are not only illegal but are considered a major obstacle to the achievement of the two state solution.
The French initiative for a conference was made tempting with promise of incentive packages for both Israel and the Palestinians if agreement could be reached on a peace arrangement. It is laudatory that each people understand the basic needs of the other party. But there is a basic asymmetry in the situation. There are legitimate disagreements on Israeli settlements, but the state of Israel threatens no other nation or people. On the contrary it seeks satisfaction of its security needs and defense against unending terrorist attacks, most recently in the truck attack in Jerusalem. Israel is not reinforcing the worst stereotypes of Palestinians or Arabs or Muslims when it accuses them and responds to terrorist attacks.
It is time for the international community to consider the real nature of the problem. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict exists and has always existed because of the refusal of Palestinians to acknowledge the right of Israel, a Jewish state, to exist. The US administrations, particularly Secretary of State John Kerry, have forgotten the statement of Madeleine Albright in March 1994 when she was US Secretary of State, “We simply do not support the description of the territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 war as ‘occupied Palestinian territory.’”
The solution can only come through negotiations between the two parties, bilateral talks, and not by statements or intervention by the US, the UN, or any other nation or international body. It should be unmistakable that peace would ultimately only come through bilateral arrangements. This has been reiterated innumerable times by Israeli leaders, and by well-meaning foreign leaders. One is British Prime Minister Theresa May, sharply critical of Kerry’s speech of December 28, 2016, remarked that “negotiations will only succeed when they are conducted between the two parties, supported by the international community.”
A second is President Hollande, while explaining the objective of the conferences he hosted said, “we cannot substitute for the parties.” French initiatives aimed at providing guarantees that peace between the two peoples “will be solid, sustainable, and under international supervision.” One may ask if peace will only come about by Israel and Palestinians and nobody else and only bilateral negotiations can succeed, what is the point of the conference?
The first requirement is to end the non-magnificent obsession or hallucinations with Israeli settlements. Once again Secretary Kerry in his speech of December 28, 2016 defending the US abstention at the UN, made as his essential argument that settlement building makes the possibility of a 2 state solution less likely. With considerable exaggeration, he held that Israel’s actions were putting the 2 state solution in “serious jeopardy.” For Kerry the Israeli settler agenda is defining the future of Israel, and ongoing settlements create tensions and prevent the move to a two state solution. The answer to Kerry again came from Prime Minister May: “it is clear that the settlements are far from the only problem in the conflict. In particular the people of Israel deserve to live free from the threat of terrorism.
The root of the conflict is the refusal of the Arab world, in the past, and Palestinians to recognize the validity and legitimacy of Jews to have a state in their historic homeland. It is also undeniable that Palestinians play on frustration using the Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood to promote an agenda of hate.
The way forward can only come with Palestinian willingness to negotiate after the reconciliation among the feuding Palestinian groups, and with the unity of West Bank and Gaza Strip. Noticeably, in March 2014 a framework agreement proposed by Kerry on 4 core issues, borders, Jerusalem, security, and refugees, was rejected by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
In the Middle East there are important issues for international conferences which should have high priority. It is mistaken to argue that the Israeli–Palestinian issue, if not dealt with, will continue to fuel frustration, and increase radicalization, violence, and terrorism. Secretary Kerry had argued the necessity and urgency to implement the 2 state solution. But the highest priority is to deal with Islamic terrorism and continue the war against Radical Islam.
To his credit John Kerry has spent countless hours engaged with the issue and exploring and advancing the prospects for peace. He had approved the fact that more than one half of the us foreign military financing goes to Israel, to help sustain Israel’s qualitative military edge. There is no doubt he was captivated by the country.
Therefore, it is a pity he is mistaken in his sense of priority for three reasons. One is that though one can understand the problems, violence, terrorism, incitement, they are not related to any Israeli activity,
Secondly, Israeli settlements are not contrary to the prospects for peace. The settlers’ opinion is not relevant to the question of a Palestinian state. Thirdly, he is mistaken, as is most of the international political left, in the belief that Israel cannot be both Jewish and democratic.
Kerry’s successor as Secretary of State should adopt the right priority and make crystal clear that the best and only road for peace between Israel and Palestinians is not international conferences but direct negotiations between the two parties and the recognition by Palestinians of Israel as a legitimate state.
Does the Paris Communique Impose the “Auschwitz Border” on Israel? - Part 2: An interview with Shoshana Bryen of the Jewish Policy Center
Israeli Jewish Youths at Damascus Gate, Jerusalem Day, May 17, 2015
Jerry Gordon: Shoshana, given the attack on Sunday in Jerusalem, what is the status of Arabs living in East Jerusalem, and what can be done to provide security against attacks on Jews in Israel's capital?
Shoshana Bryen: Arabs who came to live in Israel after 1967 with the reunification of Jerusalem, came under an Israel census in 1967. They were given permanent resident status, all of them. Now, permanent resident status means you can live here, you can vote in municipal elections, your kids can go to school, you can get healthcare. All those things are permitted to you as a permanent resident.
If you wish to become an Israeli citizen, you can apply for Israeli citizenship and that can happen for you too. Primarily they do not. Only about 5%, maybe a little more, have actually applied for Israeli citizenship. Their fear is that if they are returned to Palestinian Authority control or part of an independent Palestinian state, they will pay a price for having become Israeli citizens. On the other hand, if you ask them, about 60% of East Jerusalem Arabs say they would rather live under an Israeli government as Israeli citizens than become citizens of a Palestinian state.
Host Mike Bates: When I was in the West Bank about three years ago, I had numerous conversations with people. I'm not your typical tourist. I engage in political discussions with everyone I meet. Not just the taxi driver, but even the guy making the shwarma. I am just constantly talking politics with people. I had a conversation with a shopkeeper in the West Bank, it was in Bethlehem. I asked him about whether or not he wanted a Palestinian state. To my surprise, because he was an Arab Muslim Palestinian, and his answer was, "Hell no." He saod, "The Israelis know how to run a country. The PA is clueless. They can't even pick up the trash properly." I asked him, "You have to be the only guy in the West Bank that believes that," and his answer was, "Actually no, I'm not. You'd be amazed how many don't want a Palestinian state." I asked "Well how come we don't hear that in the West?" He said, "Because we don't say it because our business will get blown up.”
Shoshana Bryen: I had a similar conversation years ago with a shopkeeper in Bethlehem that I had visited year after year with groups that I was taking to Israel. Nice guy, who the last year I visited him, which was the year before the Palestinians took over, moved to San Francisco where he had a cousin, for the same reason. He didn't feel that he was able to run his business and be successful if the Israelis left and the Palestinian Authority came in. He was probably right.
Jerry Gordon: Shoshana, why is Israel stripping the residency status of the relatives of the attacker in Jerusalem?
Shoshana Bryen: Because Israel's laws permit that. If you are associated closely with a terrorist, you will pay a price . If you listen to the attacker's sister who thought this was a great thing because Allah had chosen her brother to be a martyr, and wouldn't it be great if Allah chose everyone to be a martyr, and maybe we should all be martyrs. The Israelis believe that if someone comes out of a family and they are terroristically inclined, they need to go. By the way, it doesn't happen every single time. In cases where the Israelis believe that there is enough of an association to make the family part of the problem not part of the solution, then they go. By the way, this is the first time residency has been removed from a family.
Host Mike Bates: I realize your answer was a good one. Israel has different laws, but to Americans who understand that you can't have an attainder where you're punishing a group of people without trial for the crime of one of them. As an American, someone may look at that and say, "Well how can you punish the innocent family members for something that one of their relatives did?" Philosophically ... Legally, I get it, it's a different law. Philosophically, how is that justified?
Shoshana Bryen: Philosophically, it's justified by the number of times that you see it happen and the number of times that you don't. It's not automatic, as I said, that the family loses their residency status. It's not automatic, as I said, that the family is punished – and home demolition is the normal price (we don’t have a law about that either in the U.S., but Israel does). The Israelis look at who these people are and they look at whether they are a problem and they look at whether they were harboring the guy or helping him or arming him or providing information to him. It depends on who they are. Yes, it is always possible that mom and dad lose control of their offspring. When there were stabbings last year by very young people, 14, 15, 16 year old kids were taking knives and stabbing people in Jerusalem. Their families did not did not have their homes blown up because it was understood that these were not people who were helping their kids do it. These were people who had lost control of teenagers. However, the law in Israel allows for the family to be punished. US law doesn't allow for it here.
Host Mike Bates: What can be done in Israel in order to protect the citizens from attack? I understand they have the security wall, and that is a tremendous benefit. Although it is a terrible tool being used for propaganda against Israel.
Shoshana Bryen: Well, wait, wait, wait. Stop. Because I have to say to you it is not a wall except in 5% of the mileage. It's a fence, and it has had a salutary effect on two things: first terrorism, and secondly, car thievery. You can't steal a car now west of the wall and move it to east of the wall. It's very difficult. But it's a fence. It does its job. It keeps people out and it makes it harder for them to get in.
In Jerusalem itself, the best you can do is really good intelligence and then create punishments that deter people. That is it. There were 320,000 Arab residents of Jerusalem in 2015. That is up, by the way, from 66,000 in 1967. Huge increase. You can't turn to them and say, "Look, you can't go out on the street between 8:00 and 5:00," or, "You have to stay in your home every single night or we're going to lock you down." You can't treat people that way. Israel would never treat people that way. You're worried about families that lose their residency permit? Israel has 320,000 Arab residents of Jerusalem and tries very hard not to separate them just because they're Arab.
Host Mike Bates: Israel also does allow Palestinians passage through that wall or fence where there is an opening. I've driven through it. It looks like it's about 30 feet tall and it's in the urban areas. I have no problem with the existence of the wall. It has served its purpose well. People are able to traverse back and forth, and I'm talking about Muslims, Palestinian Muslims.
Shoshana Bryen: Every day.
Host Mike Bates: That's right.
Shoshana Bryen: Tens of thousands of Palestinians who live east of the fence come west of the fence to work.
Host Mike Bates: Right.
Shoshana Bryen: Tens of thousands From Israel's point of view. There is always a possibility that some Arab will do a bad thing, a terrible thing. The best you can do is make people aware of their surroundings, make intelligence good enough to stop people. They have been very good about stopping people, and among the things they do is create incentives for Palestinian families to work with the security services. If they see a son or a brother or a husband or a neighbor moving in that direction, many people, though they'll never admit they do, will tell the Israeli security forces. They don't want to be living with terrorists; they don't want to be at risk of retaliation.
Jerry Gordon: Shoshana, Israel opinion is divided over the recent IDF trial and conviction of Sergeant Elor Azaria, who shot and killed a wounded Palestinian terrorist in Hebron. What is the ethics of the IDF in handling this case?
Shoshana Bryen: The Israelis have an ethical code, the most recent incarnation of which was written by a military ethicist named Asa Kasher. Israel's code for the IDF is really tough when it comes to how they are to behave. It has two main principles. First of all, the international right to self defense and the domestic duty to protect your citizens. However, second, they have a duty in the code for respecting human dignity. You can't treat people as objects,; you can't restrict their liberty when there is not a compelling justification. This extends not only to citizens or Israeli Arabs or people who work in Israel. However, this is designed to cover Arabs in the West Bank and even Palestinians in Gaza who are not terrorists. It applies specifically, so there is a duty for respecting human dignity.
It also applies to wounded terrorists. However, and there is a caveat, that Israel has no obligation to risk its citizens for the safety of enemy civilians and certainly not for enemy combatants. The overriding obligation goes to defending Israeli citizens. If you take the two principles together, one is that you have to defend your people and the other is that you have to worry about the dignity of other people. The first one tells you the reason you have an IDF is to defend the people, and the second is the means. The means have to be congruent with what we would call universal principles of human rights, or what the Israelis say is an effort to "alleviate the calamities of war."
You put them together and you have a pretty damn moral army, which is why I said the International Criminal Court looks at Israel and its ethical code for the IDF and the way it's enforced, and says, inside the International Criminal Court, "We can't prosecute these people. They have laws. They have rules. They have jurisdiction." Soldiers come under the jurisdiction of the courts, and that os what happened to Azaria.
Host Mike Bates: Had Sergeant Azaria shot and killed that terrorist 60 seconds earlier, it probably would've been legal, right?
Shoshana Bryen: That is right. When the terrorist still posed a threat to Israelis around him. People often say about Israel and terrorists, "Well, why didn't they just wound him? Why didn't they just arrest him? Why did they have to kill him, particularly when it turns out that some of them are very young?" The answer to the question is if that person poses a threat to Israeli citizens, the first obligation is to protect the Israeli citizen. If that costs the terrorist his life, so be it, but the minute the terrorist becomes non-threatening or controllable threat, you can't kill him.
Host Mike Bates: I don't know the specific circumstances of this individual case, but it wouldn't have been the first time that a wounded terrorist has the dead man's switch with the explosive vest. You think he's wounded, you go to tend him, and he blows himself up and takes several IDF soldiers with him.
Shoshana Bryen: That is correct and there are people who said that. However, there was no evidence that anybody there, including his superior officers, saw or thought they saw or believed they understood that the guy had a vest on. That was part of the issue.
Host Mike Bates: The other thing that bothers me, Shoshana, is the double standard. Israel, as you just eloquently stated, goes out of their way to protect human life even if it is the lives of the terrorists, and they punish criminally Israelis who violate those humanitarian goals. However, on the other side, when a terrorist kills individual innocent civilians, they get a park or a school named after them and they are celebrated as martyrs for the cause.
Shoshana Bryen: True.
Host Mike Bates: So is there any hope?
Shoshana Bryen: In Berlin this week, they put the Israeli flag across the Brandenburg Gate as they did in Belgium after the last large-scale terrorist incident in Brussels. The French lit the Eiffel Tower with the Israeli flag as they did in memory of other people who were killed in terrorist incidents. Their goal, their idea was to say to Israel, "Terrorism against you is not acceptable to us, so we fly your flag on the Brandenburg Gate, we fly your colors on the Eiffel Tower," which is fine. The problem here is that only works when the Jews are dead. When it's a question of how does Israel defend itself? How does Israel protect its people? Then you have the Europeans and all these other countries with their double standard. But if the Jews die, okay, fine. Now we can light the Brandenburg Gate with the Israeli flag. I have to tell you, I was not impressed.
Host Mike Bates: Is there any hope that Sergeant Azaria will be pardoned?
Shoshana Bryen: I don't think so and I don't expect so. I'm not sure he should be. He went through the judicial system which I believe, we in the West believe is a fair and equitable judicial system. If it renders justice, then it rendered justice. If you want to say that the Israeli court system should have acquitted him, I can't say that. I have to go with the fact that it was their court system.
It doesn't make me happy. I feel terrible for the guy, but Lieutenant Calley was convicted of murder for you know what? For murder. He actually did it. He committed murder, and he was convicted.
Host Mike Bates: You are more objective than I am, Shoshana.
Shoshana Bryen: I don't want to be, Mike. I want to think that the Israelis always live up to 100% of the standard that Kasher wrote for them, but in fact people make mistakes, and if that mistake is deadly and you killed the wrong person or you killed someone you shouldn't have killed, the court system has to take over.
Jerry Gordon: Shoshana, January there will be a meeting in Paris that was convened by the lame duck president of France, Monsieur Hollande. Do we know anything at all about any draft proposals that may be launched?
Shoshana Bryen: The first thing we know is that these people could save a lot of money and greenhouse gases and global warming because they've already produced the ending communique, or at least what appears to be ending communique. That says the participants who will meet in Paris on the 15th of January have on the 10th of January, this is clearly a proposal for the future.
It's not very long. It basically says two state solution, everybody needs peace, everyone needs security, we're so happy to offer ourselves through this. We have to hope the Palestinians learn to govern, which is interesting after 20 odd years of the Oslo Accords. What is of greatest concern is it reaffirms that they will "not recognize any changes to the June 4th, 1967 lines. Including with regard to Jerusalem other than those agreed by the parties." In other words, they will not accept that the entirety of Jerusalem can be in Israeli hands unless the Palestinians agree. That is of concern.
Now, it says that the findings of this group should be conveyed to the United Nations. It doesn't say that there should be a UN resolution. It doesn't ask the Security Council to do anything additional. I suspect because certain Security Council members said they wouldn't do it. It's no more harmful than the previous Security Council resolution. On the other hand, it's no better than it either.
Host Mike Bates: It is just affirming a desire for a two state solution, which I understand is the stated policy of Israel and the United States anyway.
Shoshana Bryen: It does that, but it claims to be based on UN Security Council Resolution 242 and 338, which it certainly is not. Because it draws the lines already that says the two state solution will not accept any Israeli redrawing of the map that the Palestinians don't agree to. That precludes the possibility of a negotiation over territory.
Forget Jerusalem for a moment. US policy, including under John Kerry, is that major settlement blocks will be in Israel and there will be compensatory territory for the Palestinians. According to this draft, there will be no changes unless the Palestinians agree. If you are the Palestinians, all you have to say is, "No. No, those settlement blocks do not go to Israel. Forget it." Then it's over. Much as they claim to be favoring a two state solution, much as they claim that negotiations are important, much as they claim Israel should be legitimate and secure they pull the rug out from under a serious negotiation in which the Palestinians feel that they have to give something to get something. The starting point now is the '67 line.
Jerry Gordon: Shoshana, a revered Israeli foreign minister, a Cambridge don as I recall, Abba Eban, essentially said that the "pre-'67 border," which was the 1949 armistice line, is the equivalent of what he called “the Auschwitz line.”
Shoshana Bryen: Yes he did.
Jerry Gordon: Why did he say that?
Shoshana Bryen: Because they are. Because they are indefensible. Because you have an eight mile waist between what will be Palestinian artillery in the hills and the Israelis living underneath them. Ronald Reagan explicitly rejected the '67 borders.
Host Mike Bates: All right. Lots more questions, no more time. Shoshana Bryen and Jerry Gordon, thank you for joining us. Shoshana Bryen is senior director of the Jewish Policy Center in Washington. You can find her online at www.jewishpolicycenter.org,.
Does the Paris Communique Impose the “Auschwitz Border” on Israel? - Part 1 of An interview with Shoshana Bryen of the Jewish Policy Center
Israeli Jewish Youths at Damascus Gate, Jerusalem Day, May 17, 2015
Host Mike Bates: Good afternoon and welcome to Your Turn. This is Mike Bates. We're going to have one of our periodic Middle East round table discussions this afternoon, and I have with me in the studio Jerry Gordon, who is senior editor at the New English Review and its blog The Iconoclast. Jerry, welcome.
Jerry Gordon: Glad to be back, Mike.
Host Mike Bates: Jerry is also a contributor to Israel News Talk Radio out of Jerusalem. Joining us by telephone from Washington DC is Shoshana Bryen, senior director of the Jewish Policy Center. Shoshana, welcome.
Shoshana Bryen: Thank you, Mike. Nice to be here.
Host Mike Bates: I appreciate you joining us. Let's begin the program, Shoshana, with a question for you regarding UN Security Council resolution 2334 that recently passed with the United States abstaining. We could have vetoed it, we chose not to. What is 2334 and its effect?
Shoshana Bryen: 2334 is a Security Council resolution drafted by the United States and France essentially to state the parameters of the Israel-Palestine problem as they understand, they meaning the United States and France. It has a lot of clauses in it about occupied Palestinian territory, and everybody should judge the difference between Israel and its pre-'67 and post-'67 borders. However it has no legal authority. Legally, it means nothing. Morally however, it becomes a force to be reckoned with. It gives aid and comfort to those who would like to boycott, disinvest from, or sanction Israel, the BDS movement, because it says there is a difference between the disputed territories and Israel in the pre-'67 borders.
The bigger problem is the International Criminal Court. Israel is not a member of the court. The Palestinians however have petitioned the court to bring Israeli military officials up on war crimes charges. It's not easy to do that. Because the court can only work where a country involved, which is Israel. Palestine is not a country and does not have a judiciary that prosecutes its own for failures in international law. Israel is well-known to prosecute Israelis on war crimes charges. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, but Israelis knows and the International Criminal Court knows Israel has a working and honest judicial system. That's not really a problem.
In this case however, the Criminal Court can say to Israel, "Yeah, you have a great judicial system, except your laws about settlements, your own system on settlements is out of sync with the rules of international justice." Then they can decide to try Israel, not just soldiers, but the Prime Minister of Israel, the parliament of Israel that makes the laws, as a violator of international law in Palestinian territory.
Host Mike Bates: Now specifically with the denunciation of settlement activity, there is no possibility that a marshal from the United Nations is going to show up with an eviction warrant and kick out the settlers, right?
Shoshana Bryen: That's true. The UN has no judiciary power. It has no ability to go into another country uninvited and do something. Now, occasionally it does that under the guise of peacekeeping or under the guise of a place without borders. All of UN refugee work in Syria, for example, is done without the Syrian government. But in the case of actual borders in an actual country, no. It can't go in and change things.
Host Mike Bates: Why did the US abstain? Why not veto it?
Shoshana Bryen: Well, you have two choices. It was either just a kick in the pants on the way out the door by President Obama to Israel, or it was really anti-Semitism. Take your pick.
Jerry Gordon: What if it was both?
Shoshana Bryen: Could've been.
Host Mike Bates: I think that's probably the most logical explanation.
Shoshana Bryen: There is no other explanation because if you listened, and I'm sorry if you listened, to the 70 minute long defense of himself that John Kerry gave in the guise of a speech on the Middle East, even John Kerry said, "And of course we know that certain settlements will remain in Israeli hands even after a peace treaty." He was telling you that some settlements will remain in Israel. Makes a mockery out of the idea that you can't have any.
Host Mike Bates: Speaking of these settlements, I think it's important that people understand what these settlements are. The media, especially in the United States, does a horrible job reporting the truth, specifically as it pertains to Israel. A lot of people as a result have this misimpression that these settlements are pioneers going in their covered wagons, throwing a stake in the ground, and telling the Indians, "It's ours, get out.” However, in reality a lot of these settlement activities are simply organic growth of existing neighborhoods that look like any other suburban neighborhood in America, right?
Shoshana Bryen: Well, first of all, yes, that's true. They are towns and villages, in fact small cities. However, when Kerry says and when President Bush said and President Obama had said that certain settlements, they call them settlement blocks, are going to remain in Israel, what you need to understand is those are places that Jews lived in, that Jews owned, for which Jews had deeds, until either 1929 or 1948 when most of them were killed and pushed out. The Jews returned to those places from which they had come after '67.
The settlements surrounding Jerusalem, Efrat and Ma'ale Adumim and places like that are places that Jews had historically lived, and so they went back to their historic places. Those are now small cities and those are the ones that prior American presidents and even Secretary Kerry agree belong to Israel. The rest of them, some of them are really small villages, some of them are outposts, some of them are illegal by Israeli standards, and those tend to get ripped up by the Israeli government. They are not even legal according to Israel, and those have not experienced very much growth in the last eight years. 90% of the growth when we talk about growth in settlements is inside those blocks of communities that need more housing.
Jerry Gordon: Shoshana, having cousins in Ma'ale Adumim, they were the subject of some news in the Knesset this past week d that was consideration of a possible bill to annex it. Are we going to see that realized or not?
Shoshana Bryen: I don't think so, not right now. Look, I don't really do Israeli politics so I don't want to say what the Knesset could or should do. However, periodically, it comes up that people say, “Look, the way to preempt what people think of as a two state solution, which really isn't much of a solution at all, is just to annex it and make it a fact on the ground.” I do not think at this moment with a new American administration coming in that anybody wants that kind of trouble with the new administration.
Host Mike Bates: Well, one of the problems that I see with annexing Judea and Samaria is simply the population numbers. The last time I studied this less than a year ago the population of the occupied territories, and that's including Gaza in this, is approximately 4.7 million with 2.8 million in the West Bank and 1.9 million in the Gaza Strip. The population of Israel is about 7.8 million of which 75% is Jewish. If Israel were to annex the West Bank and Gaza with those populations intact, the population of a combined Israel would be 12.5 million, however it would only be 47% Jewish. With that, Israel as a Jewish state, would disappear and with it universal suffrage. It wouldn't take very long before the Israeli government would be comprised of a non-Jewish majority.
Shoshana Bryen: Right, although the Palestinian figures are very, very suspect, Mike, it turns out that nobody ever dies in the West Bank. No one ever dies there and no one ever dies in Gaza. The reason for that is that if you admit that someone dies, you have to turn in their UN benefits card and no one wants to do that. The population growth in Gaza is either the world's most amazing and extraordinary growth in all of human history, or it's not true. Mostly it's not true. Mostly if you look at the birth statistics, you see it's not true. They're not having that many babies. That is the number one problem.
The number two problem is that the issue of Palestinian people, not the state of Palestine, which is a made up entity. The people who live on the land, was meant to be agreed to between Israel and Jordan. If you go back to 1980, to Eugene Rostow, who was a genius at this stuff, he explained what the US government had in mind in terms of Israel-Jordan negotiation that would change Israel's border to make it secure, that would put the Palestinian population essentially back in Jordan where it belongs. All of those things were meant to be negotiated between Israel and Jordan. The problem was the King of Jordan refused and continued to refuse until 1988 at which he said, "Hey, you know what? Don't bother me anymore. It's not my problem."
Host Mike Bates: And ceded any control of the West Bank to the PLO?
Shoshana Bryen: No. He didn't really cede it to anybody, he just walked away. By the way, he pulled the passports of about a million Palestinians, who until the night before had been Jordanian citizens and suddenly became stateless people. Nobody seemed to care very much, but he created an entirely new category of stateless people in 1988.
Host Mike Bates: And it's a refugee population that has grown immensely over the years?
Shoshana Bryen: Yes. Now people want to satisfy the issue, even when they talk about a secure border for Israel. So you draw some line in the border that's better than the line of '67, that's good. Then they think that the rest of this has to be solved by creating a third state between the Iraqi border and the Mediterranean. Rostow said, "No, that's not true. You don't want a state there. You want the Jordanians and the Israelis, who are the people responsible for the bodies who live in that space, to govern those bodies." He was right.
Host Mike Bates: But Jordan has no interest in that solution?
Shoshana Bryen: Jordan has to be brought in no matter what because what the Jordanians do is rely on Israel to support their security interests. Jordan's security interests to keep the Israeli army on the banks of the Jordan River because that protects them from the Palestinians, it protects them from Hamas, it protects them from ISIS. They just want Israel to do that because Israel should do that. They do not want to deal with the issues involved. I would say a wise move by the American government would be to say, "Here are the lines that got screwed up, and to unscrew them, we need the Jordanians too."
Host Mike Bates: A very interesting angle. Let's see if it materializes
Jerry Gordon: Shoshana, what was the motivation behind the attacker from East Jerusalem who drove a truck on Sunday into a crowd of young IDF officers, killing four and injuring 17?
Shoshana Bryen: He was incited very specifically by the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority last week told the imams on the West Bank to lean heavily in their sermons on the idea that the move of the American embassy to Jerusalem was a war on all Muslims. It was a declaration of war by the United States. It was a declaration of war by Israel. It was not possible to compromise over the issue of Jerusalem and the Muslims had to rise up and defend Jerusalem.
The terrorist, whose name was Fadi Al-Qunbar, was well-known in his own community. He was a Salafist, a very conservative religious man. He was not known to be political, he belonged to no organizations, but he adhered a very strict form of Salafi Islam. He came out of the mosque, according to his cousin, extremely upset. His cousin said he was very angry and that transferring the embassy would lead to war. He went off and did his own thing in this war. I lay this one directly at the feet of Mahmoud Abbas and his people and the Imams of the West Bank who told people, "Here's the war. Go fight the war. Go kill somebody."
Host Mike Bates: Do you think, Shoshana, that the Trump administration will move our embassy from Tel Aviv into Jerusalem?
Shoshana Bryen: My understanding just today is that he's actually splitting the difference, and not in a bad way. The US embassy in Tel Aviv is huge and it includes our security people and our military liaison and the Israeli Ministry of Defense is right next door. It seems the bulk of the embassy staff will remain in Tel Aviv. The ambassador however will set up his office in the US consulate in Jerusalem, which kills two birds with one stone.
First of all, the US consulate in Jerusalem is one of a kind because it is the only American consulate that does not report back to the State Department through an embassy. It reports directly to the State Department. It is therefore much more independent than most consulates and therefore functions, or has functioned essentially as an embassy to the state of Palestine. Since the state of Palestine does not exist, putting the ambassador there and saying, "This consulate will work like every other consulate and it will be attached to the US embassy in Tel Aviv or it will be the US embassy in Jerusalem." it stops this thing from being a free radical, it ends the idea that we have diplomatic representation to the state of Palestine, which is illegal because there is no state of Palestine. It places the United States ambassador to Israel in the capital of Israel in Jerusalem. I think it's a good deal.
Host Mike Bates: Which building is called the embassy?
Shoshana Bryen: That's a good question. They may turn Tel Aviv into a consulate. I don't know. I don't think anyone asked that yet.
Host Mike Bates: Because I think it is more than just semantics.
Shoshana Bryen: Yes, it is more than semantics. You want to place your embassy in the capital of your ally Israel. Second best would be that it would be a consulate under an embassy and the embassy would be the embassy to the state of Israel. It would have diplomatic representation in Jerusalem, which we currently don't have. Did you know that if a US ambassador goes to Jerusalem, he cannot fly the flag of the United States on his car in Jerusalem?
Host Mike Bates: I did not know that. Is that a security reason?
Shoshana Bryen: No. Because it might be construed as diplomatic recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It is definitely not for security because if the ambassador goes to Ramallah, which he normally does not do, I'm not suggesting he runs off to Ramallah, he can take the car with the flags.
Host Mike Bates: Amazing.
Jerry Gordon: Shoshana, the consulate in Jerusalem has been a place where many Jewish Jerusalemites don't prefer to go to obtain visas to come to the United States. In fact, they go all the way to Tel Aviv. Given what you've just talked about, does that mean that the composition of the local interest section in this consulate cum embassy in Jerusalem is going to change significantly?
Shoshana Bryen: I have no idea, but the reason that Israelis do not go to the consulate in Jerusalem is because the consulate in Jerusalem doesn't deal with Israelis, it deals with Palestinians. If you're an Israeli and you want to come to the United States, you have to go to Tel Aviv. You have to go to the embassy.
Jerry Gordon: Wow.
Shoshana Bryen: Again, unlike anywhere else in the world. Here in Washington we have the Brazilian embassy, okay? We also have a Brazilian consulate in Washington, DC, separate from the embassy. If you want to get a visa to go to Brazil, you can go to the consulate. You don't have to go to the embassy, which has more security. In Israel, if you are a Jewish Israeli, you do not go to the consulate in Jerusalem, you go to Tel Aviv.
Host Mike Bates: Specifically with the possibility of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, whether it occurs as you just described, splitting in two parts, or whether we just move it entirely, it is important that people understand that under present US law, our policy is that our embassy will be in Jerusalem. It is just that every president since that law went into effect has waived it. These people that are upset about it, why are they upset with Donald Trump when in fact the law's been in effect for years ?
Host Mike Bates: Since '95, right?
Shoshana Bryen: No, since '90. There was a second act in '95. The first act that should have moved the embassy was in 1990. The second one was the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, reiterating that the US should recognize Jerusalem as the undivided eternal capital of Israel and require that the US embassy then be established there. However, you are right. Every president since has exercised the waiver. There are two reasons that people are concerned that Trump will not. Actually, maybe there are three.
First of all, there are people who believe ... They're afraid. They really are afraid that there will be such an outcry from the Arab world and it really might start a war and it really might lead to very bad things. I would suggest that they look around the Middle East. The war has already started. Israel may be the only place that isn't having one.
Secondly, there are people who don't want to do it because they don't want to acknowledge that the issue of Jerusalem is essentially closed. It was the capital of the Jewish people, it remains the capital of the Jewish people, and it will remain that. They don't want that.
Third, there are people who simply want to give Donald Trump a hard time, and that's true in all kinds of policy. The reason the US was so adamant about getting this thing to the UN and lobbying members so that they had a 14 votes in favor plus the US abstention, was they wanted those 14 votes. Nine votes, 10 votes were not enough. They lobbied every single country. Why would you do that for a resolution that has no legal impact? You do it because you want to create a problem for Donald Trump.
Host Mike Bates: There is a lot of that going on, no question about it.
Does the Paris Communique Impose the “Auschwitz Border” on Israel? - Overview : An interview with Shoshana Bryen of the Jewish Policy Center
Israeli Jewish Youths at Damascus Gate, Jerusalem Day, May 17, 2015
On the cusp of the transition from the Obama to the Trump Administration, Israel has been in the crosshairs of actions at the UN and a Paris meeting convened on January 15, 2017 by outgoing French President Hollande. Neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority will be attending the gathering of 72 nations. The Quartet, as well as the 28 Foreign ministers of the EU will also be meeting on it and deciding what script is to be presented at the UNSC meeting on January 17th in New York. One ominous possibility might be a state of Palestine declaration.
Yet, a communique drafted by the US and France and ‘leaked ‘widely proposes ‘coercively’ establishing borders that might imperil Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem and its national security. That is the pre- 1967 June Six Day War border what revered Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban called “the Auschwitz border” dividing Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital. Shoshana Bryen, senior director of the Washington, DC-based Jewish Policy Center in an interview with the co-authors called the proposed borders, “Indefensible. Because you have an eight mile waist between what will be Palestinian artillery in the hills and the Israelis living underneath them. Ronald Reagan explicitly rejected the pre- '67 borders.”
UN Security Council Resolution 2334
The Paris meeting was triggered by the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 on December 23, 2016 and a subsequent controversial speech by outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department on December 28th supporting resolution 2334. Kerry in his State Department speech called Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the head of “the most rightwing regime in Israeli history, with “an agenda driven by the most extreme elements” for “unfettered settlement construction and flagrant violation of international law” forcing the end of the peace settlement talks with the Palestinian Authority. Kerry’s comments were objected to by Netanyahu as “obsessive, unbalanced, “saying that "most of his speech blamed Israel for the lack of peace." UK PM Theresa May criticized Kerry’s remarks saying, “We do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally.” Kerry was also criticized by a number of Republican and Democratic Senators and Congressional Representatives.
On December 23, 2016, a crucial vote at the United Nation’s Security Council passed an anti-Israel Resolution 2334 by a vote of 14 to 0, with the US abstaining. UNSC Resolution 2334 virtually abrogated Resolutions 242 and 381 passed in the wake of the June 1967 Six Days of War that reunified Israel’s capitol that had guaranteed Israel’s right to negotiate secure borders. Resolution 2334 stated that “Israel?s settlement activity constitutes a "flagrant violation" of international law and has "no legal validity". It demanded that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.” While UN Resolution 2334 had no ‘coercive’ effect under international law; nevertheless, it represented the first action the Security Council passed since 2009 on this issue. Moreover, it was the first abstention by a US government since the Carter Administration in 1980.
On January 10, 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told a visiting US AIPAC delegation in Jerusalem, that, “we have unequivocal evidence the Obama Administration Led UN Resolution  that marked a major break with US policy.”
Background of Israel’s Legal rights to the Land
Under UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338 Israel lawfully built what the Jewish nation’s opponents called ‘settlements’. These were Jewish villages and towns built on lands in Judea and Samaria with deeds conveyed in the Ottoman era. Nearly 90 percent of population in these Jewish villages and towns in the disputed territories were built on lands originally inhabited by Jews prior to the 1948 -1949 War of Independence for Israel.
In 1979-1980 there was a flurry of UN Security Council resolutions seeking to declare these disputed territories part of a future Palestinian State and Jewish ‘settlements’ illegal. However, Eugene Rostow, former President Johnson era State Department official and co-author of Resolution 242 with British Foreign Minister Lord Carrington, affirmed Israel’s legal right to the lands under the original British Palestine Mandate in 1922 that also declared the Kingdom of Jordan. Professor Rostow noted this in an article published in The Yale Journal of International Law, “Palestinian Self-Determination: Possible Futures for the Unallocated Parts of the British Mandate.” Rostow’s arguments presage what is now occurring at the UN Security and at the Paris meeting, as if this was “deja vu all over again,” as baseball legend Yoga Berra might say in one of his famous malapropisms.
Rostow cited the precedent of the Palestine Mandate:
The Palestine Mandate was established under the authority of paragraph 8 of Article 22 of the Covenant, which authorized the League Council explicitly to define the terms of a Mandate when the broad general statement of paragraph 1 was insufficient.
The purpose of the Palestine Mandate was "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” The Mandatory government was required to facilitate Jewish immigration and "close settlement" in Palestine, subject to the proviso that the Mandatory government could "postpone or withhold” the application of these (and related) articles of the Mandate in the area of Palestine east of the Jordan River. This was done when Britain established Transjordan as an autonomous province of the Mandate in 1922. But Jewish rights of immigration and close settlement in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, established by the Mandate, have never been qualified."
Trump Obligations to Israel
During the US Senate confirmation hearing of Trump nominee for Secretary of State, Lax Tillerson, retiring Chief Executive Officer of Exxon Mobil, responded on questions regarding his views of US support for Israel. He said;
Israel is, has always been and remains our most important ally in the region. The UN resolution that was passed, in my view, is not helpful. It actually undermines a good set of conditions for talks to continue. As an attempt to ‘coerce’ Israel to change course that will not lead to a solution. The president-elect has already made it clear that we're going to meet our obligations to Israel as the most important ally in the region.
One of the expressed obligations of President – elect Trump is the movement of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While there have been US laws passed in 1990 and 1995 to implement this, waiver provisions were passed by the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administration every six months. There appears to be momentum to finally achieve the move. Sites have already been picked out. There is even a compromise solution to make the existing US consulate in Jerusalem as the seat for the US Ambassador effectively making two US consulates one in Jerusalem and the current Embassy in Tel Aviv. Objections to the prospective move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem were reflected in incitement preached at mosques in the Palestinian Territories and East Jerusalem. That may have motivated a Salafist terrorist to mount a truck ramming in Jerusalem’s Amona killing 4 young IDF officers, injuring 17 alighting from a bus. The perpetrator was killed by an armed guide with the group.
Against this background, Northwest Florida’s Talk Radio Station, 1330amWEBY host, Mike Bates and co-host Jerry Gordon, Senior editor of the New English Review, convened another Middle East Roundtable discussion with Shoshana Bryen, senior director of the Washington, DC-based Jewish Policy Center.
LISTEN to the Podcast of the January 10, 2017 broadcast. Read the Transcript in two separate posts: Part 1 and 2.
“Your throat will be slit." Glaring at me across the TV monitor, the red-bearded Mullah smirked as he delivered a death threat on India’s most-watched national news network, Zee News.
The remark stunned the host and the panel who were discussing a ‘fatwa’ against Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the very same Islamic cleric when out of nowhere Maulana Barkati made me the target of his anger.
As a vocal critic of Islamism and the Muslim Brotherhood as well as its sister organizations cultivating radical Islam across the world, I am quite accustomed to death threats, but never this direct and so public.
The same Islamic cleric had earlier issued a fatwa on my friend Taslima Nasreen, offering 50,000 Indian Rupees to anyone who would behead her. He is also known for organizing a funeral prayer for Osama Bin Laden in Kolkata, West Bengal.
And if you believe such death threats happen only in faraway India or in the Middle East, then you are missing out on the risks ordinary Muslims take in fighting Islamists right in our backyard, across Canada.
An apostasy death fatwa is one of the most effective weapons that Islamists deploy to silence fellow Muslims who stand up against, and expose the Islamofascist and supremacist doctrine of radical Islamists.
This threat becomes all the more alarming when ordinary Muslims fear that Islamists have their tentacles inside the state machinery as well as within security agencies and police forces.
Suffice to say, nothing came of the 2007 death threat and police were more interested in the veracity of the complaint than the threat.
This was not the last. The death threats keep on coming.
In 2011 I woke from a surgery to remove a cancerous tumour on my spine and checked my Twitter feed. I was confronted with another death threat, this time from a teen of Somali Muslim background.
She wrote, “This is an open threat to Xaar [email protected] Fatah,” (Xaar boy being a vulgar Somali slur). “I know where you live & and where your office is.”
Later she tweeted, “He was also the 1 to propose banning the Niqab in Quebec… (and he) supports homosexuality,” she wrote, reiterating again: “This is an open threat. I know where you live/work @TarekFatah.”
The hospital immediately moved me to another room and contacted the police. Within hours, two police intelligence officers interrogated me for two hours. One of them I recognized by reputation – a Muslim officer who had shut down a previous investigation into a death threat against me in 2008 and another one against broadcaster Tahir Gora.
Again, nothing came about and even though police identified the teenager who had threatened me, they decided she was not serious and didn’t lay any charges.
So if the Kolkata Police don’t charge Mullah Barkati, don’t feel it’s Third World lawlessness. We Canadians too have our apologists who see Islamophobia as the real threat, not Islam-inspired terrorism or death threats to writers.
KABUL — The Taliban released a video Wednesday showing an American and an Australian who were kidnapped in August, the first time they have been seen since their abduction.
The two men, an American identified as Kevin King and an Australian identified as Timothy Weekes, were abducted outside the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, where they worked as teachers.
U.S. officials said in September that American forces had launched a rescue mission, but the captives weren’t at the raided location.
In the video, sent to media by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, the pair appears pale and unshaven. They say they are speaking on Jan. 1. In the video, apparently delivering a message on behalf of the kidnappers, they ask U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to offer a prisoner exchange to secure their freedom.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said U.S. authorities were studying the video and could not confirm its authenticity. He declined to comment on the case, citing privacy considerations, but he added: “Taking and holding civilian hostages is reprehensible and we condemn such actions in the strongest terms.”
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued a statement saying the “Australian government has been working closely with other governments to secure the release of an Australian man kidnapped in Afghanistan in August 2016.” Citing a request for privacy from the man’s family, and “in the interests of his own safety and well-being,” Australian officials would not comment further, it said.
In Fillon’s book “Conquering Islamic Terrorism,” there is nothing about limiting the Muslim presence in France, which has created a situation, for the indigenous French and for non-Muslim immigrants, too, that is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than it would be without that large-scale presence. His view of Islam is clearly still a work in progress, but he is asymptotically approaching the views of Marine Le Pen. Perhaps we can offer him a few suggestions as to how to keep Muslim numbers down in France, and outside France, too.
First, Fillon might discuss internecine wars within the Camp of Islam, sectarian and ethnic, and how these help the West by using up Muslim energies and assets (men, money, materiel). Right now, in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, Sunnis and Shi’a are engaged in hot wars. Ideally, these wars will simmer for a long time. Nor should the West, in a mistaken attempt to spread “democracy” in Muslim countries where despotism is the default regime, try to hold in check those Muslim rulers who, like Al-Sisi in Egypt, use ruthless methods in order to fight the Muslim Brotherhood and other fanatics. Ataturk, after all, was ruthless in dealing with Muslim clerics as he attempted to, and did, secularize post-Ottoman Turkey; one wonders if a new Ataturk, using the same methods as Kemal Pasha, were to arise today, would the West support him, or deplore his means as unjustified, no matter how laudable the ends?
Finally, since 80% of the world’s Muslims are not Arabs, the West could help non-Arab Muslims recognize Islam as a vehicle for Arab supremacism. This is possibly the most important way to weaken the hold of Islam on non-Arabs, to begin to make them resent, and then to doubt, Islam. One simple way would be to subsidize the mass dissemination of translations into the major languages of Muslim Believers — Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Bahasa, Tamazight, Turkish, Malay, Kurdish – of such works as, for example, “Islam: The Arab National Movement,” by the late Anwar Shaikh. Shaikh’s study shows all the ways in which Islam favors and promotes the Arabs at the expense of non-Arab Muslims. Because Allah chose to deliver his message in Arabic to a seventh-century Arab, because Muslims should read, recite, memorize the Qur’an in Arabic, because Muslims must turn toward Mecca in prayer at least five times a day, because Muhammad the Perfect Man and Model of Conduct was Arab, because the Qur’an was written in the Arabs’ language, and it is only in that language that it ought, ideally, to be read, and Arabs are its only trustworthy transmitters, because the earliest Muslims, whose customs and manners, written down in the Hadith, constitute the Sunnah, were all Arabs, because the Arabs were the first to conquer vast territories for Islam — all this naturally produced a feeling of superiority in the Arabs. And wherever they conquered, along with Islamization, Arabization followed. That word describes two different things: first, the physical movement of Arabs into what were non-Arab lands, as in northern Iraq, where Saddam Hussein moved Arabs onto lands taken from the Kurds, in an attempt to change the demographics of the area, to “Arabize” it. But the Arabization that takes place even in Muslim lands without Arabs is different, and describes the change in the non-Arab population that follows Islamization: they forget their original identity, and instead take Arab names, assume Arab identities, and Arab lineages, and try to become, culturally, “Arabs.”
Among the outward and visible signs of this, think of how many Muslim non-Arabs have eagerly given themselves not just Arab names and false Arab pedigrees, but copied Arab dress and customs of the seventh century. (Imagine, under British imperialism, someone in sub-Saharan Africa wearing a suit, carrying an umbrella and wearing a homburg, and calling himself Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper.) They wanted the prestige of being thought “Arab.” In Pakistan, to take an extreme case, millions now claim to be “Sayids” – that is, descendants of the Quraysh, the Prophet’s tribe.
These facts, impossible to deny, and now made difficult to overlook, can be spread far and wide in the West, and though many non-Arab Muslims will try to ignore them, many others will hear, take in, and recognize, despite themselves, the truth of these observations. Some of those non-Arab Muslims, as they inwardly acknowledge the accuracy of the charge that “Islam is a vehicle for Arab imperialism,” may find their faith affected. It’s a lapidary description that ought to be repeated on every possible occasion, and especially in debate with Defenders of the Faith. It will cause them to sputter in rage, but they have no effective rebuttal, because it is so undeniably true.
Those non-Arab Muslims most recently mistreated by Arab Muslims, such as the Kurds (182,000 killed by Saddam Hussein’s Arabs) and the Berbers (subjected to the Arab cultural imperialism in North Africa that for a time made it illegal even to use Tamazight, the Berber language) may be among the first to recognize that Arab supremacism is not tangential, but central to Islam, and Islam’s hold over them might weaken. Ibn Warraq reports that the Berbers now “speak their own language, and have in recent years tried to reclaim their pre-Islamic Berber culture and identity, and resent being called ‘Arab.’” Some may jettison Islam altogether, as has already happened with tens of thousands of Berbers both in North Africa and in France. The French state could help support the efforts of those Berbers who want to “reclaim their pre-Islamic Berber identity” by spreading information about the forced “arabization” that followed upon islamization.
But Fillon makes none of those suggestions in his book about “conquering” Islamic totalitarianism. He doesn’t want to take Islam itself head-on, to try to reduce its appeal and the number of its adherents, by undermining the hold of Islam itself on so many millions of minds. His proposals are directed at more effectively fighting not Islam, but terrorism. Fillon is a Conservative Catholic. He sees Bashar al-Assad, for all his faults, as the protector of Christians in Syria, and certainly far preferable to the Islamic State. He has spoken of the need to collaborate with Russia because of its willingness to fight not just the Islamic State but also, through its support of Assad, other Sunni takfiris. Russia may be an enemy to the West in all sorts of ways, but Fillon is not the only Western leader who sees Russia as an ally against the most fanatical Muslims and, in Syria, willing to fight to protect the Alawites, who in turn protect the Christians.
When it comes to Islamic terrorism and immigration, Fillon rejects the modish prattle about multiculturalism, the assertions that “Islam in no way contradicts the values of the Republic,” and instead promotes “assimilation” to the French identity: “France has a history, a language, a culture. Of course this culture and language have been enriched by the contributions of foreign populations, but they remain the foundation of our identity.” When asked if France is already a multicultural nation, Fillon has been unequivocal. “No. In any case, that is not a choice we made. We did not choose communitarianism (social division) and multiculturalism.”
On Islam, he is certainly on the right track, but needs to be bolder in his suggestions, going beyond better methods of investigation, and swifter means of punishment. He should unembarrassedly discuss how to reduce Muslim numbers. both in France, and in Muslim lands, by identifying and exploiting pre-existing fissures, especially that — I intend to repeat on every conceivable occasion — between Arab and non-Arab Muslims. At this point, there is nothing to be gained by staying away from such topics; solicitousness for Muslim sensibilities has gained us nothing. The propaganda war is on, and one-sided; the West still has not gone on the offensive to weaken and diminish the Camp of Islam. In the war with the forces of Islam, for the West it’s time to enroll the truth.
We Survived Arab Terror Attack Day of UN Security Council Resolution 2334
Rafi Lisker writes:
Dear President-Elect Trump,
First, please allow me to state unequivocally and without any reservations whatsoever, that our family proudly cast our FOUR absentee ballots for you at the time of both, the Republican primaries as well as the General Elections. My wife, Shoshana, our eldest daughter Avital, our eldest son Yonatan (a Lieutenant in the elite Israeli Defense Forces Paratrooper Unit) and I, of course, feel truly blessed to have you as our next President!
That said, I feel compelled to share with you our own Hanukkah Holiday "Miracle" as follows:
On the night of Friday, December 23 2016 - just a few hours before the United Nations was to pass their latest anti-Israel Resolution - namely, UN Security Council Resolution 2334 - my wife Shoshana and I were attacked by a knife-wielding Palestinian terrorist on the very street where we reside in the Town of Efrat, Israel.
FYI - Efrat has a very high concentration of American citizens such as Shoshana and I, and the attack occurred a mere five-minute walk from our home(!)
While my wife was, thankfully, able to flee for safety to the home of a neighbor, I however, sustained no less than FOUR knife wounds inflicted to my neck and upper back prior to my being able to thwart off my attacker, face him head on, and thus deter him from any further blows to my body:
While I was unable to completely neutralize the Palestinian terrorist (and who happens to remain at large BTW) having been completely unarmed at the time of the attack, my act of self-defense has in fact been credited with the prevention of a possible bloody massacre. It has been surmised by local security forces that had I not scared the Palestinian terrorist off, he may have very well slaughtered countless teenagers and young adults - including several, if not many, residents who hold American citizenship(!) - and who have a habit of congregating at the very location of the attack shortly after their family Sabbath meal.
President-Elect Trump, I am certain beyond any room for doubt that my wife and I were the victims of a Palestinian terrorist attack as the direct consequence of that day's infamous UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (note: while admittedly the actual resolution was passed hours later that Friday, December 23, public incitement on the part of Islamic extremists had already made its rounds via social media in anticipation of the scheduled UN Security Council vote).
As an American citizen born and raised in the great State of New York(notwithstanding the fact that I moved back to Israel over 16 years ago) and who - by God's loving grace - survived a terrorist attack on Israeli soil, I urge you to do everything within your Presidential power to combat the latest anti-Israel UN Security Council Resolution.
After all, the Islamic extremist who attacked my wife and I did not intend to slaughter us due to any sort of "personal" vendetta or related reason. Rather the Islamic terrorist deliberately targeted Jewish citizens - and possibly, English-speaking, no less - just 24-36 hours prior to when Jews and Christians across the globe were to gather for their respective Holiday season with family, friends and loved ones.
Indeed, Mr. President-Elect, it could easily be argued that the December 23 attack on my wife and I was no less than an attack on Judeo-Christian values in general, and an attack on American-Israeli citizens in particular.
Please feel free to circulate any part of this communication to any-and-all relevant media, as well as to the esteemed Members of the House and Senate with our expressed hope that in doing so we will -together - continue to combat the deadly threat of Islamic extremism that plagues Israel, the United States and all of Western democracy.
Thank you, and may God bless America and the State of Israel,
Live: Members of Chelmsford Iranian sex gang sentenced
Trio will serve a total of 43 years. In total, Rostami, Zare and Kaveh will serve 43 years behind bars
Kaveh jailed for total of 10 years across two separate drugs cases
Kaveh, who was found guilty of supplying a controlled class B drug, but was found not guilty of one count of assault by penetration and three counts of rape and one count of causing or inciting prostitution for gain, has been jailed for 2.5 years for the new offences, but will serve 10 years in total after he was also sentenced for an earlier drugs conspiracy case
Zare jailed for 12 years
Medhi Zare, of Lupin Drive, Chelmsford, has been jailed for 12 years over one count of sexual activity with a child, in the loft space above CM Pizza on Duke Street, Chelmsford, one count of arranging or facilitating sexual exploitation of a child, and three counts of supplying a controlled drug.
Rostami jailed for 15 years
Rostami, who faced charges of causing or inciting sexual exploitation of a child, three counts of supplying a controlled drug and two counts of sexual activity with a child, has been jailed for a total of 15 years for these offences.
Rostami given additional six years for previous drugs offences
Rostami will face a total of 21 years behind bars after Judge Lynch handed him an additional six years for previous offences of conspiracy to supply drugs
We're underway in Chelmsford Crown Court. The case has just been called into court, so over the next few hours, we will learn the fates of the three men convicted.
Prosecution have finished their case
The prosection have concluded their section of the sentencing case, with mitigation for Rostami and Zare also complete. Amin Kaveh's defence lawyer is currently addressing the judge ahead of her final decision.
Courtroom is packed
Our reporter in the hearing has said that the public gallery is full as we wait to find out how long the trio will be sentenced for.
Zare may face the death penalty in Iran
Court has broken, and in approximately 10 minutes' time, Judge Lynch will return to pass sentence.
Defence lawyer for Zare, Gareth Hughes, says that his client's life is now "somewhat precarious".
If, as expected, he is deported back to Iran, he may face the death penalty as his crime is considered a capital offence in his homeland. My heart bleeds.....
Gunman screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’ opens fire in Spanish supermarket while wearing ‘suicide vest’ filled with gasoline and gunpowder
He has mental health problems of course, and it was only a botched robbery. Thankfully no one was physically hurt. From the Daily Mail and the Daily Star
A gunman has opened fire in a Spanish supermarket shouting 'Allahu Akbar'.
The attack was a botched robbery at the Mercadona supermarket in the neighborhood of As Lagoas, in Ourense. An armed man entered the shop and fired several shots into the air while shouting 'Allahu Akbar' around 2.20pm local time.Police said he carried gasoline and gunpowder in his pockets.
According to police sources, the young man has psychological problems and is lives next-door to the shop.
The incident, which happened at around 2pm, did not result in any injuries but left many extremely shaken.
One employee confirmed that he had shouted the Arabic phrase for 'God is great' before he began shooting.
Policeman Carlos Perez said: "He fired on me." But the guy stopped shooting when he saw the officer's weapon. "I had the impression that he ran out of ammunition," the officer added.
French police authorities said a total of 17 police officers were radicalized between 2012 and 2015 in the Paris region, noting that the phenomenon had sped up from 2014.
French media outlets reported on Wednesday that the officers in question are mostly young people, who joined the police in the mid 2000's.
Où Sont Passés Nos Espions? (Where Have Our Spies Gone?), by Eric Pelletier and Christophe Dubois, also claimed that about a dozen former French soldiers had joined jihadist movements in Iraq and Syria. French journalists Eric Pelletier and Christophe Dubois cite the example of a young officer who, allegedly, changed after a trip to the French island of Réunion. His colleagues reportedly heard him listening to religious songs and buying a burqa for his wife during a break.
Female officers are reportedly involved in one third of total cases. One female officer, for instance, refused to respect a minute’s silence for the 17 victims of the terrorist attacks on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris in January 2015. Asked to explain herself, she said in an email: “It’s Islam which is going to dominate the world.” The officer was dismissed in June that year.
Another female officer was given a ten-month suspended prison sentence last year for posting on her Facebook page: “I am ashamed to wear the blue (uniform). If I were the terrorists, I would have blown up the Élysée and all the bastards who work there a long time ago.”
One women officer, for instance, arrived for a health check-up with a police doctor in a hijab and was told to remove it. She responded by posting on Facebook the antisemitic message: “It’s time for Muslims to fight. We have had enough of these Zionists who trouble our lives. They are rats.”
A disciplinary procedure was started but the officer went on sick leave in February 2015 and is still absent. Pelletier said that officers suspected of radical Islamism often took sick leave in the knowledge that French labour laws provide extensive protection from dismissal.
Journalists Dubois and Pelletier argue that there are over 100 cases of radicalized state officials in total across the ministries of defense, interior affairs, and justice.
General Jean-François Hogard sought to downplay concerns over evidence that about a dozen former soldiers had joined Isis when questioned by MPs. “The few former soldiers who have left for the jihadist networks have often spent only a few weeks in the institution and been dismissed for instability or a failure to adapt to a military life,” he said.
I am honored to have the backing of Senator Cornyn and Senator Cruz from my home state of Texas. I also want to thank Senator Nunn for his commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, and Secretary Gates for his service to eight presidents and his own leadership as President of the Boy Scouts of America.
Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, and Members of the Committee, it is an honor to appear before you today as President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State and to seek the approval of this Committee and the full Senate for my confirmation.
I would like to first introduce members of my family who are here today. These are the most important people in my life, and I want to express my gratitude to them for all their love and support over the years. First, my wife of over thirty years, Renda, who has always kept the home fires burning during my many trips abroad. My sisters Jo Lynn Peters and Rae Ann Hamilton and my brother-in-law Lee Hamilton. I am grateful and proud they are with me today.
I come before you at a pivotal time in both the history of our nation and our world.
Nearly everywhere we look, people and nations are deeply unsettled. Old ideas and international norms which were well-understood and governed behaviors in the past may no longer be effective in our time.
We face considerable threats in this evolving new environment. China has emerged as an economic power in global trade, and our interactions have been both friendly and adversarial. While Russia seeks respect and relevance on the global stage, its recent activities have disregarded American interests. Radical Islam is not a new ideology, but it is hateful, deadly, and an illegitimate expression of the Islamic faith. Adversaries like Iran and North Korea pose grave threats to the world because of their refusal to conform to international norms.
As we confront these realities, how should America respond?
My answer is simple. To achieve the stability that is foundational to peace and security in the 21st century, American leadership must not only be renewed, it must be asserted.
We have many advantages on which to build. Our alliances are durable and our allies are looking for a return of our leadership. Our men and women in uniform are the world’s finest fighting force, and we possess the world’s largest economy. America is still the destination of choice for people the world over because of our track record of benevolence and hope for our fellow man. America has been indispensable in providing the stability to prevent another world war, increase global prosperity, and encourage the expansion of liberty.
Our role in the world has also historically entailed a place of moral leadership. In the scope of international affairs, America’s level of goodwill toward the world is unique, and we must continue to display a commitment to personal liberty, human dignity, and principled action in our foreign policy.
Quite simply, we are the only global superpower with the means and the moral compass capable of shaping the world for good.
If we do not lead, we risk plunging the world deeper into confusion and danger.
But we’ve stumbled.
In recent decades, we have cast American leadership into doubt. In some instances, we have withdrawn from the world. In others, we have intervened with good intentions but did not achieve the stability and global security we sought. Instead, we triggered a host of unintended consequences and created a void of uncertainty. Today, our friends still want to help us, but they don’t know how. Meanwhile, our adversaries have been emboldened to take advantage of this absence of American leadership.
In this campaign, President-elect Trump proposed a bold new commitment to advancing American interests in our foreign policy. I hope to explain what this approach means and how I would implement that policy if confirmed as Secretary of State.
Americans welcome this rededication to American security, liberty, and prosperity. But new leadership is incomplete without accountability. If accountability does not start with ourselves, we cannot credibly extend it to our friends or our adversaries.
We must hold ourselves accountable to upholding the promises we make to others. An America that can be trusted in good faith is essential to supporting our partners, achieving our goals, and assuring our security.
We must hold our allies accountable to commitments they make. We cannot look the other way at allies who do not meet their obligations; this is an injustice not only to us, but to longstanding friends who honor their promises and bolster our own national security.
And we must hold those who are not our friends accountable to the agreements they make. Our failure to do this over recent decades has diminished our standing and encouraged bad actors around the world to break their word. We cannot afford to ignore violations of international accords, as we have done with Iran. We cannot continue to accept empty promises like the ones China has made to pressure North Korea to reform, only to shy away from enforcement. Looking the other way when trust is broken only encourages more bad behavior. And it must end.
We cannot be accountable if we are not truthful and honest in our dealings. Some of you are aware of my longstanding involvement with the Boy Scouts of America. One of our bedrock ideals is honesty. Indeed, the phrase “on my honor” begins the Boy Scout Oath, and it must undergird our foreign policy.
In particular, we need to be honest about radical Islam. It is with good reason that our fellow citizens have a growing concern about radical Islam and murderous acts committed in its name against Americans and our friends.
Radical Islam poses a grave risk to the stability of nations and the wellbeing of their citizens. Powerful digital media platforms now allow ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terror groups to spread a poisonous ideology that runs completely counter to the values of the American people and all people around the world who value human life. These groups are often enabled and emboldened by nations, organizations, and individuals sympathetic to their cause. These actors must face consequences for aiding and abetting what can only be called evil.
The most urgent step in thwarting radical Islam is defeating ISIS. The Middle East and its surrounding regions pose many challenges which require our attention, including Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. There are competing priorities in this region which must be and will be addressed, but they must not distract from our utmost mission of defeating ISIS. Because when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Defeating ISIS must be our foremost priority in the Middle East.
Eliminating ISIS would be the first step in disrupting the capabilities of other groups and individuals committed to striking our Homeland and our allies. The demise of ISIS would also allow us to increase our attention on other agents of radical Islam like al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and certain elements within Iran. But defeat will not occur on the battlefield alone; we must win the war of ideas. If confirmed, I will ensure the State Department does its part in supporting Muslims around the world who reject radical Islam in all its forms.
We should also acknowledge the realities about China. China’s islandbuilding in the South China Sea is an illegal taking of disputed areas without regard for international norms. China’s economic and trade practices have not always followed its commitments to global agreements. It steals our intellectual property, and is aggressive and expansionist in the digital realm. It has not been a reliable partner in using its full influence to curb North Korea. China has proven a willingness to act with abandon in pursuit of its own goals, which at times has put it in conflict with America’s interests. We have to deal with what we see, not with what we hope.
But we need to see the positive dimensions in our relationship with China as well. The economic well-being of our two nations is deeply intertwined. China has been a valuable ally in curtailing elements of radical Islam. We should not let disagreements over other issues exclude areas for productive partnership.
We must also be clear-eyed about our relationship with Russia. Russia today poses a danger, but it is not unpredictable in advancing its own interests. It has invaded Ukraine, including the taking of Crimea, and supported Syrian forces that brutally violate the laws of war. Our NATO allies are right to be alarmed at a resurgent Russia.
But it was in the absence of American leadership that this door was left open and unintended signals were sent. We backtracked on commitments we made to allies. We sent weak or mixed signals with “red lines” that turned into green lights. We did not recognize that Russia does not think like we do.
Words alone do not sweep away an uneven and at times contentious history between our two nations. But we need an open and frank dialogue with Russia regarding its ambitions, so that we know how to chart our own course.
Where cooperation with Russia based on common interests is possible, such as reducing the global threat of terrorism, we ought to explore these options. Where important differences remain, we should be steadfast in defending the interests of America and her allies. Russia must know that we will be accountable to our commitments and those of our allies, and that Russia must be held to account for its actions.
Our approach to human rights begins by acknowledging that American leadership requires moral clarity. We do not face an “either or” choice on defending global human rights. Our values are our interests when it comes to human rights and humanitarian assistance.
It is unreasonable to expect that every foreign policy endeavor will be driven by human rights considerations alone, especially when the security of the American people is at stake.
But our leadership demands action specifically focused on improving the conditions of people the world over, utilizing both aid and economic sanctions as instruments of foreign policy when appropriate.
And we must adhere to standards of accountability. Our recent engagement with the government of Cuba was not accompanied by any significant concessions on human rights. We have not held them accountable for their conduct. Their leaders received much, while their people received little. That serves neither the interest of Cubans or Americans.
Abraham Lincoln declared that America is “the last best hope of Earth.” Our moral light must not go out if we are to remain an agent of freedom for mankind. Supporting human rights in our foreign policy is a key component of clarifying to a watching world what America stands for.
In closing, let us also be proud about the ideals that define us and the liberties we have secured at great cost. The ingenuity, ideas, and culture of Americans who came before us made the United States the greatest nation in history. So have their sacrifices. We should never forget that we stand on the shoulders of those who have sacrificed much, and in some cases, everything. They include our fallen heroes in uniform, our Foreign Service Officers, and other government agents in the field who likewise gave all for their country.
If confirmed, in my work for the President and the American people I will seek to engender trust with foreign leaders and governments, and put in place agreements that will serve the purposes and interests of American foreign policy. The Secretary of State works for the President and seeks to implement his foreign policy objectives. To do that I must work closely with my Cabinet colleagues and all relevant departments and agencies of the administration to build consensus. Let me also stress that keeping the President’s trust means keeping the public trust. And keeping the public’s trust means keeping faith with their elected representatives. I want all the members of this committee to know that, should I be confirmed, I will seek to be responsive to your concerns.
I am an engineer by training. I seek to understand the facts, follow where they lead, and apply logic to our international affairs. We must see the world for what it is, have clear priorities, and understand that our power is considerable, but it is not infinite. We must, where possible, build pathways to new partnerships, and strengthen old bonds which have frayed.
If confirmed, I intend to conduct a foreign policy consistent with these ideals. We will never apologize for who we are or what we hold dear. We will see the world for what it is, be honest with ourselves and the American people, follow facts where they lead us, and hold ourselves and others accountable.
I thank you for your time and look forward to your questions.
An old conspiracy theory rears its ugly head, again.
by Conrad Black
Like Japanese veterans of World War II stumbling, emaciated, out of the jungles of Guam and the Philippines many years after the end of the war, near-terminal victims of Watergate fever still wander dazedly into the media with some new angle on the moldering, feculent myth that something useful was actually achieved in the bloodless assassination of Richard Nixon in the Watergate inanity. Nixon salvaged the Vietnam War the Democrats had pushed their own leader, Lyndon Johnson, into; the Democrats gave up on LBJ and pushed him out of the Forum, and he waited to die peacefully on his farm. They instantly made it Nixon’s war, and went to unimaginable lengths to depose him, to sever aid to South Vietnam, deliver Indochina to Hanoi and the Khmer Rouge, and to bring back the aging best and brightest with that most unlikely paladin, Jimmy Carter, fiddling with the thermostat in his cardigan and grumbling of the “malaise.”
Nixon saw what Johnson, too shell-shocked by the desertion of his entourage and by his inept commander’s call for 200,000 more draftees, did not: that the Americans and Vietnamese non-Communists won the Tet offensive of January 1968; it was a great victory. Nixon also saw that Ho Chi Minh, by denying Johnson’s offer in 1966 of withdrawal of all non-indigenous forces from South Vietnam, had shown that he would not be satisfied with the conquest of South Vietnam, but rather foresaw the defeat of the United States and the decisive role for himself in the ultimate triumph of Communism over the West. (Otherwise, he would merely have withdrawn and returned in overwhelming force in six months, and the U.S. would not have come back again.)
Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger saw that South Vietnam could defeat the Viet Cong if it were powerfully enough assisted by American air power against the North Vietnamese. In April 1972, between Nixon’s historic visits to China and to the Soviet Union, the North Vietnamese made their supreme play and launched an all-out invasion of South Vietnam. There were only 28,000 U.S. ground forces in-country, and they were used entirely to defend air bases. But Nixon finally put an end to Johnson’s insane bombing halt of March 1968 and launched 1,000 air strikes a day on North Vietnam, moving up to 1,200 a day during his visit to the Soviet Union, so there could be no doubt about his seriousness. The North Vietnamese failed, decisively defeated by the South Vietnamese, assisted by heavy American air support — which it was always Nixon’s intention to reapply when the North Vietnamese violated the Vietnam peace agreement of 1973, which the Soviets and Chinese twisted their arms to sign, so cunningly had Nixon and Kissinger triangulated that relationship. This was why Nixon submitted the peace agreement as a treaty to the Senate: to secure Senate approval of its enforceability.
Of course, when the Watergate opportunity arose, the Democrats went cock-a-hoop for the chance to destroy the administration and deliver South Vietnam back to the brave Communist freedom fighters in the “Vietnamese civil war.” Nixon was torn down, his administration was torn to pieces, and all aid was cut off to South Vietnam. There has never been any evidence that Nixon knew anything about the Watergate break-in, and although there was a criminal conspiracy within part of the White House staff and the Republican National Committee to frustrate the investigation, there was never any serious evidence that Nixon had anything to do with it. All constitutional guaranties against wrongful self-incrimination were thrown to the partisan gale-force winds by compelling the testimony of Nixon’s White House counsel, John Dean, at congressional hearings, with a sweetheart promise from the prosecutor and an immunity to a charge of perjury, and the compelled production of the president’s own telephone calls and conversations from and in his office. Almost all of the tapes were completely innocuous, including the so-called smoking gun. Gradually, the feebleness of the case against Nixon has emerged, as cant and emotionalism have subsided, inculpatory evidence has failed to arise, and the squalor of Deep Throat has come to light (including the effort to ignore Nixon’s attempt to help him from prosecution by Carter, although he suspected his identity). The echoes of Watergate anniversaries are squeaked out, ever more implausibly, like James Joyce’s famous description of the young writer’s confession: “sluggish and filthy.”
Just when my hopes were rising, like the green shoots of early spring, that the Nixon-demonizers had no more vitriol to propel with sinew-lean arms and quavering voice, that the much-punctured Woodstein inner tube had no more lies within, that decades of self-directed champagne toasts from firehoses had worn them down, the Woodstein Monster twitched: “It’s alive!” Barely. Peter Baker of the New York Times wandered blearily into the harsh winter light to give the 1968 Paris Peace Talks myth one more groaning turn of the wheel: to assert that Nixon told the South Vietnamese government to sandbag Johnson’s campaign-end launch of the peace conference.
The venerable survivors of the full Bataan march of Watergate myth-making will recall this one: Nixon sent a message to the South Vietnamese government, through Anna Chennault (widow of the colorful leader of the World War II Flying Tigers in China, General Claire Chennault), who was the go-between with Bui Diem, the South Vietnamese ambassador in Washington, and with South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu. She was also the co-chair of the 1968 Nixon campaign women’s committee, with Mamie Eisenhower, and was in a romantic relationship with FDR’s old fixer, Thomas G. Corcoran. Corcoran was himself a friend of LBJ and a law partner of James Rowe, who was co-chair of Hubert Humphrey’s Democratic presidential campaign.
Corcoran warned Anna Chennault early in 1968 about violating the Logan Act (which prohibits private citizens from unauthorized conduct of U.S. foreign policy). Ms. Chennault went to Saigon, and Thieu left her in no doubt that he thought the Republicans would be better disposed to fight the Vietnam War to a satisfactory conclusion than the Democrats would, after Johnson had removed himself from the race on March 31. That left Kennedy and Humphrey fighting with Eugene McCarthy for the Democratic nomination, and Nixon, Reagan, and Rockefeller on the Republican side. Nixon and Reagan still thought the war could be won, Rockefeller and Humphrey were for trying to negotiate something, and Kennedy and McCarthy were now effectively troops-out cut-and-run advocates who, when asked how the U.S could get out of Vietnam, responded basically: “By plane and by ship.”
Johnson had proposed his Paris peace talks in March, and seven months were wasted debating the shape of the negotiating table. Johnson was tapping everyone’s phones, including the treaty-protected phone of the country’s gallant ally, the South Vietnamese ambassador, and the phone of his own vice president. The Republican campaign manager, John Mitchell, had to change phones every two days, but in fact, no one was speaking with Thieu except his own ambassador, who needed no help figuring out where their best interest lay, and the entire skullduggery was worked up by Johnson. He proclaimed at the eleventh hour that there had been a peace breakthrough, and misleadingly declared that the Viet Cong and the South Vietnamese “would be free to participate” in the talks, which were about to get past the discussion of the shape of the table but not to any other point of agreement. Thieu announced that he would attend no such talks, and Nixon’s campaign co-manager, California lieutenant governor Robert Finch, said that he thought it was just a publicity stunt by Johnson to salvage the election for Humphrey. Nixon unctuously told the press that he would make no such charge against the president, but that Finch was entitled to his opinions, and he said the same to Johnson when he called Nixon, screaming down the phone, “Who is Fink anyway?”
Richard Nixon had been effectively cheated of the presidency in 1960 by Mayor Daley’s stealing of ballot boxes in Chicago and Johnson’s bringing in dead votes in thousands in Texas. “Thank God for a few honest crooks,” John F. Kennedy famously said. Nixon was not going to allow it to be done to him again, and the skullduggery was entirely Johnson’s phony peace initiative, the fraudulence of which was demonstrated when the needle didn’t move in Paris for four years, until the 1972 North Vietnamese invasion was defeated and Nixon recruited Moscow and Beijing to assist him in getting a peace while he pummeled North Vietnam from the air from end to end.
This issue is a fraud, a dead canard, and had nothing to do with Watergate. It is time for truth and vengeance to be turned on the perpetrators of that sequence of catastrophic self-inflicted national wounds that destroyed one of the country’s most successful administrations, delivered Indochina to Communist mass murderers, and savaged the credibility of the much self-celebrating American national press.