At least 35 people have been killed in a gun attack at a famous nightclub in Istanbul during New Year's Eve celebrations. A gunman was reportedly dressed in a Santa costume when he opened fire in the Reina club in the Ortakoy area of the city, witnesses told CNN Turk.
The Istanbul governor said 35 people were killed and 40 wounded in the "terror attack". The attacker shot a police officer and a civilian as he entered the club in the Ortakoy district of Istanbul before opening fire inside the building, Sahin said, in what he described as a terrorist attack
One attacker may be still inside the club and police special forces and explosives experts were searching the club, an NTV correspondent at the scene said. The whereabouts of the attacker was unclear.
Estimates suggest about 500 to 600 people were celebrating the New Year at the venue. Many people jumped into the Bosphorus river in panic.
Security measures had been heightened in major Turkish cities, with police barring traffic leading up to key squares in Istanbul and the capital Ankara.
In Istanbul, 17,000 police officers were put on duty, some camouflaged as Santa Clause and others as street vendors, Anadolu reported.
London will be guarded by record numbers of police and fortified with concrete barriers ahead of New Year’s Eve to repel Islamist attacks. In total, 3,800 police officers will be on duty in central London, with thousands more in the rest of the capital.
The barriers are being deployed to stop cars and trucks entering the centre of the city, where they could be used to ram and run over pedestrians in scenes similar to those seen in Berlin and Nice this year.
Millbank, outside MI5HQ
British Transport Police also made that unusual announcement that armed officers will be patrolling trains and the underground tube network.
Outside Westminster tube station
The Metropolitan Police confirmed security plans for the capital’s New Year’s Eve celebrations had been “adjusted” in the last few days in light of recent Islamist terror attacks.
Phares: "UN attention needs to focus on global Mideast crises not just one"
Photo archive: Dr Walid Phares attending as an observer a session at the UN Security Council consecrated to the fate of minorities in the Middle East after ISIS's ethnic cleansing.
In an interview with BBC Arabic and on the Randy Tobler radio show, Dr Walid Phares said "the UNSCR resolution on Israel and the West Bank demographics and the debates that followed, have shifted attention away from the larger pressing issues and conflicts in the region, without even proposing a comprehensive solution to the Israel-Palestinian problem. We have four ongoing wars, mass refugees movements, ISIS terror and a dozen crises around the greater Middle East. Half a million dead in Syria and human rights abuses around the region in addition to Iranian military interventions in several countries. By suddenly re-triggering one crisis in the West Bank, which needs careful steps and a growing consensus, the architects of the last move have pushed back the discussion on solving crises in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Who will profit? The radicals." Phares added that "the next Administration will reset the process of debates at the UN so that practical and fair solutions can be advanced at the Security Council for all parties, not just for one crisis but for all conflicts in the region." Phares served as a foreign policy advisor to Donald Trump during the campaign
Democrats Have a Religion Problem, Or, Great Moments in Editing
He once drafted a faith-outreach fact sheet describing Obama’s views on poverty, titling it “Economic Fairness and the Least of These,” a reference to a famous teaching from Jesus in the Bible. Another staffer repeatedly deleted “the least of these,” commenting, “Is this a typo? It doesn’t make any sense to me. Who/what are ‘these’?”
As we come to the end of our eleventh year, I will be taking some time away from the arduous task of editing and laying out the monthly magazine. As many of you know, back in March of this year I began working with Dr. Walid Phares, who was appointed as foreign policy advisor to then Candidate Trump. At that time, I suspended my work in book publishing and then, to our great surprise and immense relief, Donald Trump won the election. It is expected that Dr. Phares will have a place within the new administration and he has asked me to continue in my service to him there and this I am very pleased and proud to accept.
Even while looking forward to serving our new administration, where there will be a chance for fresh thinking and new policies, I cannot help but feel a bit wistful looking back over these past eleven years in which so much of my world was wrapped up in New English Review. It has been one of the greatest experiences of my life to work with so many of the leading writers of our time, men and women who have trusted me with their work. New English Review has always been a team effort and has always been more than the sum of its parts. In our small corner of the internet, complex philosophical pieces have stood beside timely political analysis, literary and cultural criticism, book reviews, fiction, poetry and humor. We didn’t simply curse the decline of culture, we created culture. We didn’t simply curse the political direction of our nation, we helped to change it. And now it is time for me to do my small part in cementing that new direction by serving our new President.
We are working to bring in a new managing editor and I will remain as publisher and advisor. Our blog, The Iconoclast, will continue as usual and will not be affected. We will post updates on any new developments here.
Thank you to all our many contributors and readers who have made New English Review the well-respected publishing enterprise it has become.
‘Depraved Indifference’ in the UN Security Council Resolution
The latest betrayal of Israel is potentially lethal in making Jews trespassers and criminals on their own land
by Richard L. Cravatts
The shameful and morally-incoherent December 23rd Resolution 2334 by the UN Security Council demanding that “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem,” also includes careless language that proclaims that Israeli settlements, which are “dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution,” have “no legal validity.”
The United States, contrary to its customary role, abstained from the vote, which passed by a count of 14 in favor out of 15 countries, and this departure marks in a new low in the U.S.’s relations with Israel, even though the State Department under President Obama has, during the last eight years, promiscuously referred to the Israeli settlements as “unhelpful,” “obstructions to peace,” and “illegitimate.”
In fact, the UNSC resolution is not only factually spurious and legally flawed; it is not only diplomatically defective; it is, in a manner that jeopardizes Israel’s safety, the lives of its citizens, and its ability to even justify itself in the community of nations, a potentially lethal resolution that was hobbled together by a pack of moral degenerates attempting to use lawfare as a club against Israel in pursuit of some hallucinatory dream of “two states living side by side in peace.” The U.S. abstention was, as Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan put it in 1980 after a similar UN betrayal, essentially an act of acquiescence.
In the law, the Court has found that a defendant can be charged with “depraved indifference,” in which the “defendant’s act was imminently dangerous and presented a very high risk of death to others and that it was committed under circumstances which evidenced a wanton indifference to human life or a depravity of mind . . . .” In these cases, and in the case of this UN resolution, the defendant’s “crime differs from intentional murder in that it results not from a specific, conscious intent to cause death, but from an indifference to or disregard of the risks attending defendant’s conduct.”
The high-minded, but perilously misguided, mandarins of the Security Council have voted for a resolution that has absolutely neither the intent nor ability to effect peace; in fact, its language all but insures that the exact opposite result is very likely: namely, that Israeli citizens in the Jewish Quarter, at the Western Wall, on the Temple Mount, in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and anywhere in Judea and Samaria (where Jews have lived since biblical times) can, and most definitely will, now be considered criminal trespassers, violators of international law, illegal settlers, squatters on land now deemed to be Palestinian property off limits only to Jews—judenrein.
As a result of this latest UN resolution, even those Jewish Jerusalem neighborhoods which everyone has agreed would be folded into Israel upon the creation of a Palestinian state can now be deemed “illegal” and their inhabitants criminal trespassers.
It is, of course, completely fallacious to overlook the fact that not only all of the land that is current-day Israel, but also Gaza and the West Bank, is part of the land granted to the Jews as part of the League of Nations Palestine Mandate, which recognized the right of the Jewish people to “close settlement” in a portion of those territories gained after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. According to Eugene V. Rostow, the late legal scholar and one of the authors of UN Security Council Resolution 242 written after the 1967 war to outline peace negotiations, “the Jewish right of settlement in Palestine west of the Jordan River, that is, in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was made unassailable. That right has never been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors,” something which Israel’s intransigent Arab neighbors have never seemed prepared to do.
Moreover, Rostow contended, “The Jewish right of settlement in the West Bank is conferred by the same provisions of the Mandate under which Jews settled in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem before the State of Israel was created,” and “the Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing Palestinian population to live there.”
When did the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem become Palestinian land, as Resolution 2334 affirms? The answer is: never. In fact, when Israel acquired the West Bank and Gaza and other territory in the defensive war 1967 after being attacked by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, the Jewish state gained legally-recognized title to those areas. In Israel’s 1948 war of independence, Egypt, it will be recalled, illegally annexed Gaza at the same time Jordan illegally annexed the West Bank—actions that were not recognized by most of the international community as legitimate in establishing their respective sovereignties.
Israel’s recapture of those territories in 1967, noted Professor Stephen Schwebel, State Department legal advisor and later the President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, made the Jewish state what is referred to as the High Contracting Party of those territories, both because they were acquired in a defensive, not aggressive, war, and because they were part of the original Mandate and not previously under the sovereignty of any other High Contracting Party. “Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully,” Schwebel wrote, referring to Jordan and Egypt, “the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title.”
While those seeking Palestinian statehood conveniently overlook the legal rights Jews still enjoy to occupy all areas of historic Palestine, they have also used another oft-cited, but defective, argument in accusing Israel of violating international law by maintaining settlements in the West Bank, that since the Six Day War, Israel has conducted a “belligerent occupation.” But as Professor Julius Stone discussed in his book, Israel and Palestine, the fact that the West Bank and Gaza were acquired by Israel in a “sovereignty vacuum,” that is, that there was an absence of High Contracting Party with legal claim to the areas, means that, in this instance, the definition of a belligerent occupant in invalid. “
The matter of Israel violating Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention is one that has been used regularly, and disingenuously, as part of the cognitive war by those wishing to criminalize the settlement of Jews in the West Bank and demonize Israel for behavior in violation of international law, and, in fact, was the core of the UNSC resolution. It asserts that in allowing its citizens to move into occupied territories Israel is violating Article 49, which stipulates that “The occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territory it occupies.” The use of this particular Geneva Convention seems particularly grotesque in the case of Israel, since it was crafted after World War II specifically to prevent a repetition of the actions of the Nazis in cleansing Germany of its own Jewish citizens and deporting them to Nazi-occupied countries for slave labor or extermination. Clearly, the intent of the Convention was to prevent belligerents from forcibly moving their citizens to other territories, for malignant purposes— something completely different than the Israel government allowing its citizens to willingly relocate and settle in territories without any current sovereignty, to which Jews have longstanding legal claim, and, whether or not the area may become a future Palestinian state, should certainly be a place where a person could live, even if he or she is a Jew.
In fact, Professor Stone observed that those enemies of Israel who point to the Fourth Geneva Convention as evidence of Israel’s abuse of international law and wish to use it to end the settlements are not only legally incorrect, but morally incoherent and racist. Stone suggested that in order to recognize the validity of using the Fourth Convention against Israel, one “would have to say that the effect of Article . . . is to impose an obligation on the state of Israel to ensure (by force if necessary) that these areas, despite their millennial association with Jewish life, shall be forever judenrein.”
Professor Rostow himself saw through the disingenuous talk about legal rights and resolutions when it came to the issue of the settlements. The discussion was not, in his mind, “about legal rights but about the political will to override legal rights.” In fact, the settlement debate is part of the decades-old narrative created by the Palestinians and their Western enablers to write a false historical account that legitimizes Palestinian claims while air brushing away Jewish history. “Throughout Israel’s occupation,” Rostow observed, “the Arab countries, helped by the United States, have pushed to keep Jews out of the territories, so that at a convenient moment, or in a peace negotiation, the claim that the West Bank is ‘Arab’ territory could be made more plausible.”
In the cognitive war against Israel, that “convenient moment,” at least for the “pack of jackals” in the UN about which Senator Moynihan lamented, has apparently arrived.
Richard L. Cravatts, PhD, President Emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of Dispatches From the Campus War Against Israel and Jews.
Spanish authorities said Wednesday they had arrested two suspected jihadists in Madrid and found bullets and weapon magazines while conducting raids linked to the detentions. According to the Europa Press news agency, the magazines were of the type used for assault rifles such as the AK-47, but a police spokeswoman was unable to confirm this when contacted by AFP.
The interior ministry said the two men were Spanish and had been detained for "glorifying terrorism," without giving any further details.
The arrests come as Spain strengthens security during the holiday season. Authorities in Madrid are taking unprecedented measures for New Year's Eve . . . Bollards will be used on nearby roads alongside police vans to guard against truck attacks like those that hit Nice in France in July, and Berlin on December 19th. Barcelona has taken similar measures.
Spain has been mentioned on extremist websites as a possible attack target for historical reasons, given much of its territory was under Muslim rule from 711 to 1492.
But unlike France or Belgium, the country is less exposed to the risk of return of radicalised nationals who went to fight abroad and plan to commit extremist acts on home soil. Only around 200 Spaniards are estimated to have gone abroad to fight, compared to thousands from nearby France and Belgium.
Still, the interior ministry announced Wednesday that the Spanish wives of two Islamic State group fighters "responsible for dozens of murders" had been arrested in Turkey with their young children, attempting to return to Europe.
It's hard to find much logic behind lame-duck secretary of state John Kerry's speech Wednesday other than pouring more fuel on the fire between the out-going Obama administration and Israel after the US abstained in the UN Security Council resolution against Israel. Kerry spent the bulk of his time condemning Israeli settlements as being a threat to the two-state solution.
What has always been a threat to the two-state solution, an obstacle really, has been the refusal of the Palestinians to accept the existence of Israel. How can you have two states living side by side when one state (Palestine) believes that the entire area ("from the river to the sea") belongs to them including Jerusalem and all its holy sites? How can you have a two state solution when Palestinians are taught since they are children that Jews are the "sons of apes and pigs" and not worthy of life? How can you have a two-state solution when Palestinian children are taught that their highest goal in life is to kill Israeli Jews? How can you have a two-state solution when Palestine would be free to control its own borders, join with terrorist entities like Iran, and use their state as a launching pad for attacks against Israel? And that's just the West Bank. We have not even gotten to Gaza yet, which is controlled by Hamas. Even the so-called "moderate" government of Mahmoud Abbas declares that an independent Palestine would not contain one Jew.
As for the Israeli claim that they have indisputable evidence that the Obama administration was involved in the development of the resolution, I agree that eventually, they will need to lay it on the table - while protecting their confidential sources. That is perhaps why they say they will share it with the new administration under Donald Trump. One thing they have learned the hard way is that this administration cannot be trusted to protect sensitive sources. (Right, Hillary?)
Even if the Israeli claims are unfounded, the act of abstaining in this disgraceful vote and permitting it to pass is beyond shameful. We have thrown our ally, Israel, a state trying merely to survive, under the bus in favor of a corrupt body (the UN) and a people who danced in the streets on 9-11. We owe the Palestinians nothing, and we still have yet to learn that an eventual peace must be between the two parties. It cannot be imposed from outside.
John Kerry, like his predecessor (Hillary Clinton) and like his boss (Obama), is a failed secretary of state who has appeased our adversaries and enemies while giving the shaft to our own interests and those of our friends. Given this abstention, Kerry's speech, and the infamous Iran deal, their claims that no administration has done more in defense of Israel is a sick joke.
Congress is already setting the stage to cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations in the wake of a contested vote last week in which the Obama administration permitted an anti-Israel resolution to win overwhelming approval, according to congressional leaders, who told the Washington Free Beacon that the current administration is already plotting to take further action against the Jewish state before vacating office.
Other punitive actions by Congress could include expelling Palestinian diplomats from U.S. soil and scaling back ties with foreign nations that voted in favor of the controversial measure, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation both on and off the record.
The Obama administration is still under bipartisan attack for its decision to help craft and facilitate the passage of a U.N. resolution condemning the construction of Jewish homes in Jerusalem, a move that reversed years of U.S. policy on the matter.
The Free Beacon was the first to disclose on Monday that senior Obama administration officials played a key role in ensuring the measure was passed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council. This included a phone call by Vice President Joe Biden to Ukraine’s president to ensure that country voted in favor of the measure.
While Biden’s office continues to dispute the claim, reporters in Israel and Europe confirmed in the intervening days that the call between Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko did in fact take place.
With anger over the issue still roiling, leading members of Congress told the Free Beacon on Wednesday that they will not delay in seeking retribution against the U.N. for the vote. This could include cutting off U.S. funding for the U.N. and stripping the Palestinian mission’s diplomatic privileges.
Lawmakers also will work to rebuff further attempts by the Obama administration to chastise Israel on the international stage. This would include freezing funds that could be spent by the administration on further U.N. action.
“The disgraceful anti-Israel resolution passed by the UNSC was apparently only the opening salvo in the Obama administration’s final assault on Israel,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) told the Free Beacon. “President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Ambassador Power, and their colleagues should remember that the United States Congress reconvenes on January 3rd, and under the Constitution we control the taxpayer funds they would use for their anti-Israel initiatives.”
“The 115th Congress must stop the current administration’s vicious attack on our great ally Israel, and address the major priorities of the incoming administration,” Cruz said, expressing his desire to work with the incoming Trump administration to reset the U.S. relationship with Israel.< Senior congressional sources currently working on the issue further disclosed to the Free Beacon that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are in an uproar over the Obama administration, which they accuse of plotting behind closed doors to smear Israel.
“Not content with spending the last eight years using the United Nations to undermine American sovereignty, the Obama administration has finally trained their sights on Israel and is trying to exploit this unelected and unaccountable international body to impose their resolution of the Palestinian issue on Israel,” one senior congressional aide told the Free Beacon. “Enough is enough.”
While the Trump administration will not take office until the end of January, Congress will be working overtime before then to stop the Obama administration from further damaging the U.S.-Israel relationship, according to the source, who hinted that a full cut-off of U.S. funding to the U.N. currently is on the table.
“A new administration will arrive on January 20th, but in the intervening weeks Congress has an important role mitigating the damage President Obama can do in his final hours,” the source said. “Why on earth would we throw good taxpayer dollars after bad in support of the UN, which has proven itself again and again utterly unable to encourage any positive progress? Just take Syria — if they were doing anything over the last five years, it should have been working out a fair and equitable adjudication of the Syrian war.”
“Instead, they’ve proven themselves utterly useless–in fact they’ve probably made a gut-wrenching catastrophe worse,” the source explained. “There’s no reason to think this action will turn out any more favorably.”
A second senior congressional aide working on a package of repercussions expressed fear that the U.N. vote was just the first salvo targeting Israel.
“The question now is whether this was the finale or the prologue of what this administration has planned against Israel,” the source said, adding that “everything is on the table right now — including funding cuts and scaling back diplomatic relations with countries that brought forward this resolution.”
A similar list of punitive actions was confirmed by multiple congressional sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the matter. The sources were granted anonymity so they could speak freely.
“Obama went to the U.N. because a U.N. resolution is functionally irreversible by normal means,” added a veteran foreign policy insider who is currently working with the incoming Trump administration. “Obama’s goal was to eliminate any limited options that could be used to repair the damage to Israel, and he gambled that Trump and Congress would be too intimidated to use the remaining big stick options. He’s going to lose that gamble.”
“American leaders will now use exactly those options,” the source explained. “Everything is on the table, from systematically going after the U.N., to moving the U.S. embassy into parts of Jerusalem the U.N. says aren’t Israeli, to kicking the Palestinians out of Washington.”
“Members on both sides of the aisle are furious, so our response will be swift and forceful,” the second congressional source said. “With a Trump administration in place, any nation that seeks to delegitimize the Jewish state will need to answer to the United States.”
UNSC Resolution 2334 stinks to high heaven but don't count on me to belabor the obvious: the stab-in-the- back American abstention is confirmation of Obama's real intentions, and the dastardly resolution won't help the peace process. Pouah! Old news worn to the bone. 2334 is tailored more like an international suicide belt than a whip to beat the Jews.
Let's look at how the UNSC vote was reported on France's all-news channel BFM TV. A typical newscast begins with replays of the smashed Berlin Christmas market alternating with scenes in the backward Tunisian town of Oueslatia from which the truck jihadi Anis Amri set out to conquer Europe. Then comes a festive sequence featuring luscious Christmas delicacies displayed in our French markets and footage of shoppers rushing to grab up the last gifts...followed by frightening/reassuring shots of hefty policemen and soldiers guarding our churches. Our churches are targeted, frère, not our synagogues. The newscast closes with the evacuation of miserable refugees and rebels from the snowswept ruins of Aleppo. Underneath all this pertinent news, the scroll mentions in passing a UNSC Resolution "calling on Israel to halt its colonization."
Stunning juxtaposition: Jihad truck attack, jittery Christmas markets, security details on the threshold of midnight mass, the festering boil of Syria...and the UN sets its sights on...Israel! In the good old days a slap in the face from international opinion would have stimulated an endless stream of insults and accusations against Israel. The Palestinian plight has lost its drawing power: from 23 December to Christmas Day, the perfidious resolution never made it from the scroll to the screen. The Berlin massacre remained front and center.
Apparently it took German police 24 hours to find Amri's ID stashed in the mastodon killer vehicle. Naïve commentators wondered why these absent-minded guys-e.g. the Kouachi brothers that gunned down the Charlie Hebdo staff two years ago-leave their ID at the scene of the crime. They are still too far from understanding the allahu akhbar resonance of these prideful signatures. Meanwhile Amri was chilling out in Berlin's "Daesh" mosque across the street from a police station. In the same meanwhile, New Zealand was chumming up with Malaysia, Venezuela, and Senegal, to stick the finger to the whole wide western world in a thinly disguised resolution that delivers you up, chumps, to all the Amris stalking your streets and public squares. You're in the firing line, boys, and you don't know what to do about it.
François Hollande's UN diplomat was supporting the rotten Christmas pudding resolution when the aforementioned Amri slipped out of Germany-so riddled with shoah guilt they couldn't even close their borders after the Berlin attack-and into France. He passed through Lyon and Chamberry on his way to Torino, Milano, and wherever his heart desired if it hadn't been for two alert caribinieri who aimed straight from the heart of our endangered liberty.
Where are the smarties that mocked Nicolas Sarkozy for "rubber stamping" George W. Bush, and snapped at the heels of "Bush's poodle" Tony Blair? They're ok with pudgy François Hollande yessirring BHO, the same BHO that chickened out on him when Syria's Assad stepped across the disappearing red line. If you asked the phenomenally unpopular Hollande why France voted for UNSC 2334, he'd probably tell you it's in the interest of peace. Hmph! Here at home our towns and regions are under constant threat of "two-state" solutions and Paris is in greater danger of division than Jerusalem. France is too busy whoring around at the UN to see the irony. Whatever you say, boys, we won't make waves. Just put peace in the pudding and we'll swallow it.
It took Tunisian authorities precious months to admit Anis Amri was a citizen, and accept his deportation. Too late. He had already killed and maimed victims that are hardly mentioned in the media, as if their concrete existence would upstage the mass of refugees whose needs must not be ignored. The outgoing French president never found a way to use existing legislation to deport thousands of dual-citizen jihadis that do not deserve our hospitality. Tunisians don't want us to send back their rejects. Ordinary citizens are in the streets clamoring "No Jihadis Here."
LCI TV filled empty time on the run up to Christmas Eve with reruns of Yves Calvi's "24 heures en question." I caught the one on Christians in the Middle East or, more exactly, their hastening absence. Thanks to my friend Bat Ye'or I know the ins and outs of this story from the first chapter to the last minute. Even so, the statistics shock me. Christian populations reduced from millions to hundreds of thousands, with no hope of sustaining those remnants. Yet no one on Calvi's panel of experts seems to have heard of orthodox Islamic hatred of Christians. They fumbled around, looking for explanations of this puzzling hostility fulminating in the very birthplace of Christianity. Backlash from the Crusades, posits one; reaction to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, assures another. A third genius is concerned that the looming absence of diversity in the Middle East could jeopardize the harmonious diversity here in Europe. Meanwhile, Europeans were sharpening their knives for the killer UNSC vote.
And they (still) think that if they stab the Jews in the back, the jihadis will spare their butts. Juxtaposition proves the contrary. Twelve people mowed down in the Christmas market in Berlin, hundreds slaughtered in France, flames raging in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, licking at the hem of the Maghreb and breathing down the necks of Europe, hundreds of thousands slaughtered in Syria while the US leads from behind, and the foot soldiers of humanitarian jihad pour through our open doors by the millions. Russia, allied with Iran and Hizbullah, makes the decisions, wields the vetoes, bombs kindergartens and hospitals, traces new frontiers.
So that's why western diplomats convened in the halls of the United Nations voted in favor of shari'a law.
Yes, shari'a. That's the "international" law they endorsed on December 23rd. What kind of peace interlined that resolution? The peace of submission. A billion-strong Christian population can't protect its own against the jihad onslaught in the Middle East or here on their own ground. So why should Israel stand strong? Just because its citizens are brave, resourceful, inventive and wise? Just because the outstretched hand does not falter or fail? The Arab-Muslim armies tried their best, the misnamed Palestinians employed every form of explosive, knife-sharp, bludgeoning, ramming hatred, but Israel flourishes and prospers. Israel stands strong.
In desperation, the United Nations, willing handmaiden to the OIC, offered rotten Christmas pudding on a gold platter. Luring the West into this dead end, making them think they are slapping down the pesky little Jew-state, flattering them with oily promises, and fooling them into voting their own demise.
You think it's about the "West Bank," baby? It's about the West! UNSC 2234 applies to you. It validates the world view of Anis Amri, motivates his exploitation of your suicidal asylum system, justifies his final gesture. He requisitioned a truck, savagely murdered the driver, and used it as a weapon to kill and maim defenseless civilians. Because, in the logic of jihad, shoppers at the Berlin Christmas market are colonial usurpers illegally occupying a territory that belongs to allah. Residents of dar al Harb strolling around nonchalantly on the vast battlefield are fair game. And the UNSC acquiesces.
But Israel does not. And the Rotten Christmas Pudding will soon be tossed on the garbage dump.
Caroline Glick makes the same point about Reagan as I did in her essential article and draws on another author to put this in context of the deliberate campaign waged by the PLO and their supporters at the UN for decades:
In “How the PLO was legitimized,” published in Commentary, Kirkpatrick said that Yassir Arafat and the PLO worked “to come to power through international diplomacy – reinforced by murder.”
Kirkpatrick explained, “The long march through the UN has produced many benefits for the PLO. It has created a people where there was none; a claim where there was none. Now the PLO is seeking to create a state where there already is one. That will take more than resolutions and more than an ‘international peace conference.’ But having succeeded so well over the years in its campaign to delegitimize Israel, the PLO might yet also succeed in bringing the campaign to a triumphant conclusion, with consequences for the Jewish state that would be nothing short of catastrophic.”
As I’ve said consistently here the whole goal is the theft of Jewish indigenous identity in Israel (all of biblical Israel) and the replacement of Jews with invading Muslim Arabs whose ideology conquered and occupied Israel since 640CE. This is a central part of Islamic Jihadi doctrine and always has been. Inflicting the conditions of dhimmitude on subjugated people is the slow method by which indigenous cultures are eradicated leaving only Islam triumphant.
Jews and Judaism in Israel are the only indigenous people and culture to have both survived and regained their lands back from Jihadi conquest in the middle east in modern times!
Almost immediately upon election Obama singled is ultra-left, globalist agenda when he elevated UN Ambassador to a cabinet position. Caroline Glick again:
It is not surprising that Obama is carrying out the final act of his presidency at the UN. Obama has made no attempt to hide his desire to eliminate America’s independence of action. By elevating the post of UN ambassador to a cabinet level position at the outset of his presidency, Obama signaled his conviction that this corrupt institution is the equal of the US government.
This early signal was transformed into an open policy when Obama used the Security Council as a means to bypass the US Senate in implementing his nuclear deal with Iran.
Absolutely all of this was foreseeable as early as 2007 when Obama sought the Democratic nomination and eventually beat Hillary Clinton. And still leading commentators who profess to support the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish state supported Obama’s second term.
To watch those commentators and Obama supporters cry now that Obama has done something unpredictable or, worse, blame Netanyahu for Obama’s actions doesn’t give me any pleasure. It just cements in my mind how impossibly blind these people have been and how much damage they’ve done by enabling Obama’s abuse of my beloved home with his radical, ultra-left agenda for all these years.
Caroline is devastatingly correct at the end. This is a double whammy. Obama has dramatically harmed both Israel and America. I gave up, long ago, thinking Obama was incompetent. It is clear to me he had a plan all along and has executed it perfectly.
We can only hope Israel and the West can recover from his nuclear deal with Iran and his direct perfidy against Israel. Right now I’m hoping that we have reached something akin to what Churchill termed “the darkest hour” and the only way to go from here is for America to recover from this terrible affliction.
The Government has announced that voters should have to produce identification in order to vote to reduce the risk of "endemic corruption" and protect the democratic process.
The voter ID scheme will be trialed in 18 areas which have been identified by police and the Electoral Commission as being "vulnerable" to voting fraud, including Bradford and Birmingham.
The Government will also introduce legislation to ban political campaigners from handing in large numbers completed postal ballots on election day. It comes after concerns that activists are "harvesting" votes to boost support.
Pilots will also take place in Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford, Bristol, Burnley, Calderdale, Coventry, Derby, Hyndburn, Kirklees, Luton, Oldham, Pendle, Peterborough, Slough, Tower Hamlets, Walsall, and Woking.
It has warned that there is a particular concern at the "vulnerability of some South Asian communities, specifically those with roots in parts of Pakistan or Bangladesh, to electoral fraud".
Ministers are also preparing to introduce greater powers to enable police to stop people from "causing a nuisance" or "intimidating" people at polling station.
Geert Wilders’ message to Israel –“ Ignore UN, continue building”
Leave it to good friend of Israel, Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party to send an important message to embattled Israel following the betrayal by President Obama and the UN Security adverse vote approving resolution 2334. Israel National News republished this statement on his Facebook page today offering an important advice: “Ignore the UN and continue building:”
Leading Dutch politician Geert Wilders has criticized US president Barack Obama for not vetoing the Security Council resolution against Israel on Friday and advised Israel to ignore the UN resolution.
Wilders, the founder and leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, who has dominated Dutch polls during the year of 2016, wrote on his Facebook page:"Obama betrayed Israel. Thank God for Trump. My advice to my Israeli friends: ignore the UN and keep building more and more settlements."
Wilders was voted politician of the year 2016 when 40,000 people participated in the annual public election held by Dutch TV-show ‘EenVandaag’. He is known for his sharp criticism of Islam and his outspoken support for Israel.
America's return to greatness will force Canada to up its game
by Conrad Black
After participating a number of times on Canadian network television this year and waving the Maple Leaf flag around fairly exuberantly in these columns, the imminent change of regime in the United States prompts me to a little introspection. As I wrote in my recent history of Canada (Rise to Greatness), it has been a great accomplishment to keep pace with the astounding progress of the U.S., even after the United States accepted Canada as an autonomous country, thanks largely to John A. Macdonald's outstanding performance at the Washington Conference of 1871. The magnetic pull of that country and its attractions to talented and ambitious Canadians, once the dreadful struggle of the Civil War was over and the shame of slavery ended, continued to threaten to capsize the Canadian experiment.
As an officially bicultural country, Canada was even less a cultural nation-state like most of the nations of Europe whose boundaries were co-extensive with a distinct language, than was the U.S. The great majority of Germans, French, Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarians and Dutch, lived in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and the Netherlands. Moving elsewhere implied a stark cultural adaptation. Canada was, arguably, the world's third English-language culture (though India could have contested that), and the second French (though the Belgians and even Vietnamese would have argued it for a time). We could not claim, as the Americans did, with the genius for exaggerated showmanship that has been a hallmark of that nationality since Revolutionary times, to be the repository and torch-bearer of human liberty. (The Americans had no more individual freedom than they had had as British subjects.) And we could not claim any of the exaltation of soul and spirit as revolutionaries: the Rebellions of 1837 were a Gilbert and Sullivan affair and if we had dispensed with the British, or even seriously irritated them, the Americans would have swallowed us whole, at least up to about the start of the First World War.
Macdonald's National Policy of a trans-continental railroad and protective tariffs to promote Canadian industry roughly replicated American economic growth rates of eight per cent annually in the 1880s, but the country still fell behind in comparative population, which had fallen to 1/13th of that of the U.S. in 1897, when Wilfrid Laurier and Clifford Sifton came into office, 5.4 million to 75 million. Sifton launched his promotion of immigration throughout Europe, from Ireland to Russia, and immigration to Canada increased from 17,000 in 1896 to 401,000 in 1913, and despite immense numbers of immigrants to the United States, Laurier and Sifton closed the population window between the countries to about 12 to one. At each stage, Canada has done the necessary to preserve the golden thread of a bicultural democracy in the northern half of this rich continent that would refine and enhance all the elements of the British, French, American, aboriginal, and other heritages that influenced it. (Only the Christmas season induces me to inflict such saccharine platitudes on the persevering reader, but they do possess some current relevance.)
It is also the case that in the past 20 years, Canada has risen well beyond any previous comparative position it has enjoyed. The United States has had four consecutive terms of stark incompetence at self-government, a field where it has so often inspired the world with the feats of epochally great statesmen. The housing bubble, world financial crisis, insane, open-ended wars in the Middle East creating advances for enemies of the West such as Iran and extremist Islam and a massive humanitarian crisis, vertiginous increases in national debt, the tacit admission of 12 million undocumented, unskilled immigrants, the disappearance of 10 per cent of the work force into poverty, the black or grey market, or aggravated dependency, and an incoherent foreign policy that has now descended to China, Russia, Iran and Turkey taking turns slapping America in the face, while the Obama administration yelps with delight like a masochist enjoying flagellation, and America's allies, most of them led by ill-assured regimes, wonder what to do next. In these circumstances, Canada has stepped out of the American shadow and achieved some recognition as a well-functioning, peaceable, equable, democracy, a graceful right-sized alternative to the battered giant neighbour: not an unjust posture, nor one that Canada has assumed with any abandonment of its traditional modesty.
In Washington, there is an other-worldly state of suspension between the inexorable exit of the unbelieving American political class of decades: all factions of both parties, all the Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas (OBushtons), the fetid corrupt world of lobbyists, commentators, pollsters, journalists, seething and fomenting like a malignant yeast in and around the mighty and mocking monuments of the defiled institutions of American government and the effigies of great historic figures, which remind the living of what man has been; and the arriving forces of regeneration.
Not even I, who, as persevering readers can attest, has not wavered in my view these 18 months that Donald Trump heralded, in an atavistic, inchoate, almost inexpressible way, a revival of American greatness, can claim that what is occurring is a majestic process. It has been a crude and nasty political campaign, with little eloquence, low ethics, and an orgy of imbecilic poor sportsmanship by the Clinton campaign, vainly challenging the results in certain states, railing like Lear against their unsuspected fate, retreating inelegantly, metre by metre, as if prodded by flame-throwers.
The OBushton era has been the first time of absolute and relative decline in American history and the worst period of presidential misgovernment in American history. Obama is thrashing about prohibiting offshore drilling from Virginia to Maine, and calling for the boycott of Israel, like Nero fiddling in burning Rome or Hitler in his bunker ordering counter-attacks by long-decimated armies. But the forces of American renewal, unstylish, even rough, but relentlessly purposeful, are preparing a national and policy metamorphosis unprecedented in its scope and pace in non-revolutionary political history.
Donald Trump is right to claim a landslide, because although he lost the popular vote, he won the election running against everyone at or near the head of both parties, from the Sanders left to the Cruz right and including all the OBushtons, all the media, and all the pollsters. Unlike Roosevelt in 1933 who promised experimentation, or Lyndon Johnson in 1964 who laid out a bold extension of the existing state, Trump was not particularly explicit in his campaign, but has been very precise since the election as he has named his proposed department heads. The new secretary of Education, Betsy De Vos, will lead an assault on the teachers' unions and deliver the nation's schools from those who have undermined their quality while multiplying their cost. The new Environmental Protection director, Scott Pruitt, will fight for conservation and against pollution, but dismantle the insane campaign for renewable resources and will promote the production of oil and natural gas and the reduction of the current account deficit. The national security team will reverse the reduction of American military strength and prepare to project it without waffling or drawing disappearing red lines. The Treasury and budget and economic team will shrink the federal government, cut taxes on small income earners and businesses, and tax elective spending and the financial impresarios of the increasing velocity of money. The country's economic strength will no longer be measured by straight deal-flow. The new labour secretary, Andrew Puzder, will drive a nail through the fainting heart of the crooked labour confederations while defending the working man. The Congress's greatest authority on health care, Tom Price, has a mandate to replace Obamacare, a fraud and a boondoggle, with two-payer universal health care with assistance for those who need it. Campaign finance reform, which has been bobbled around like a grenade with the pin pulled will be addressed by the only candidate in history who effectively paid for his own campaign.
The appearance of disorganization in the Trump campaign was a ruse, just as the great Clinton ground game was a fraud. This is a radical program and it will be enacted by the Republican majorities in the Congress by July 4, and it will work. Instead of the flat-lined economy Hillary Clinton's high-tax welfare-vote-buying program would have produced, U.S. economic growth will move toward four per cent, putting considerable pressure on the Canadian dollar. American economic confidence levels are reaching historically high levels and Trump's approval rating has risen approximately 20 points in the in the seven weeks since the election.
Canadians still feel a reassuring public relations gap in their favour opposite the U.S., but within a few months, there is likely to be a strengthening of the American economy, a resolution of decades of gridlock in Washington, a clarity in public policy and a clear and sustainable definition of the U.S. national security interest in the world, that will require a much more sophisticated response from Justin Trudeau and Bill Morneau than what we have seen as they swanned through their honeymoon year. Posturing over renewable energy, the systematic denuding of the country's defence capability, and non-competitive aspects to the tax system will have to be addressed. Theresa May is made of sterner stuff than the long-gone David Cameron, Francois Fillon will be the strongest French leader since de Gaulle, and Angela Merkel will be strengthened by a new coalition or replaced altogether by her own party. Putin will no longer look strong opposite weak Western leaders — as Hitler did when dealing with Chamberlain and Daladier (it became more complicated with Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin).
Justin and his entourage have not had a bad year, but the present fading echoes of the shrieks of disbelief over the U.S. election will soon yield to the clear, confident success of American leadership the world was familiar with over most of the half century spanning Roosevelt and Reagan.
Selfies, solidarity with the Castros, and re-enactments of any aspects of the McGuinty misgovernment miracle in Ontario won't cut it; it will soon be time for Justin Trudeau and his principal ministers to show their mettle.
Merry Christmas and a happy and successful 2017 to all.
It is sad to learn the truth about bigotry and intolerance concerning antisemitism being exhibited at British universities these days. This prejudice of course was always present among some British intellectuals, if expressed in discreet and prudent form. Isaiah Berlin referred to J.M. Keynes’ critical view of Jews as a kind of club antisemitism, but it was not deep, as it was in the case of Hilaire Belloc or G.K. Chesterton. Now however antisemitic utterances and behavior have become not only trendy but poisonously noxious.
We already know the persisting dismal sort of antisemitism in the British Labour party and the lack of action of the leader of the party, Jeremy Corbyn in dealing with it. After a weak and useless appraisal, indeed a whitewash, of the problem in the Labour party by Shami Chakrabarti, a cross party parliamentary committee inquiry in October 2016 reported that the Labour party was demonstrably incompetent in dealing with incidents of anti-Jewish abuse by its members. The leader lacked backbone to confront the issue. No real punishment had been given even to the most egregious offender. Certainly, the party leadership had refused to denounce its former leader Ken Livingstone for his absurd remark that Hitler was supporting Zionism before he went mad, and ended up killing 6 million Jews.
It is therefore welcome that Lady (Ruth) Deech, alumna of Oxford University, Crossbench member of the House of Lords since 2005, law professor, and the first person appointed as Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, indicated the problem. She spoke of some of the main universities in the UK are “no go zones” for Jewish students. She mentioned in particular Manchester, Southampton, Exeter, and SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) in London.
Her main point was that universities, like the British Labour party, turned a blind eye to the issue of hostility towards Jews on campus. She realized that it was trendy on the British political left to be antisemitic. Antisemitism merged with anti-Israel rhetoric and activity. Deech and others have raised the crucial problem. What is it about Israel that provokes such passion and animosity of a kind not exhibited towards other countries and non-Jews?
Deech also was concerned that there had been no official investigation of specific complaints and allegations of antisemitism at Oxford, though officials had been given a dossier with a catalogue of incidents of harassment of Jewish students. The disillusioned and disgusted co-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) resigned in 2016 as a result of these incidents. OULC members, he said, had "problems with Jews." Those problems included their use of the word “zios” to refer to Jews, and their statements that Auschwitz was a “cash cow,” for Jews. Some dismissed concerns about antisemitism as “just Zionists crying wolf.” Members of the OULC expressed support for the Palestinian led Israel Apartheid Week, and expressed solidarity with Hamas.
Why had British universities failed to curb the hatred of Jews expressed and illustrated within their halls? One significant reason given was that heads of British colleges were afraid of offending potential investors, including those, such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, countries, who gave very large donations. In 2005 the late Saudi Crown Prince, Sultan bin Abdulaziz al-Saud gave 2 million pounds to the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. Exeter University received more than 8 million pounds from Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad al-Qasimi, the ruler of Sharjah, one of the UAE emirates.
The British story is disquieting. The Community Security Trust recorded 27 antisemitic incidents on British campuses in first six months of 2016. It is worth indicating a few of the incidents at the universities, in addition to the problem at Oxford.
At King’s College, London on January 19, 2016 protestors, mainly the KCL Action Palestine, prevented a talk by Ami Ayalon, former head of Israel’s Shin Bet and head of the Navy, and now a peace activist. The meeting was stopped when the protestors threw chairs, smashed windows, and set off fire alarms.
At University College, London on October 27, 2016 a violent protest, barricading Jewish students, prevented a talk by Hen Mazzig, former Israeli IDF Commander. Ironically, he was due to speak about his humanitarian work in the West Bank concerning medical facilities, schools, roads, and water infrastructure.
At SOAS on November 2016, the Palestine Society hosted a speaker who spoke of Israel as racist and fascist state and linked the “cult” of Zionism to Nazis. At Manchester, student motions endorsed BDS. At Exeter students wore T shirts on which were AS slogans.
The most troubling manifestation was a conference titled Legitimacy, Responsibility, Exceptionalism, to held in 2015 at Southampton University, that was intended to question the legal and moral right of the state of Israel to exist. The organizers were all well-known critics, even haters, of Israel, and advocates of boycott of Israel, as were almost all the expected participants.
The main organizers were Oren Ben-Dor (Southampton University law school) a constant anti-Israeli critic, and George Bisharat (U of California, Hastings School of Law) who favors a one state solution and compares Israel presence to a rapist. Ben Dor, former Israeli, has criticized the Israeli actions in Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza in winter 2009. He has supported boycotts of Israel, written about alleged “apartheid” of Israel, and the bias in the Israeli educational system. In a barely comprehensible article in 2012, Ben-Dor referred to ‘pathologies pertaining to Jewish thinking and being.”
Though 929 academics supported a petition for the conference to be held at Southampton, as the result of strong protests the University cancelled it on the grounds that it gave legitimacy to antisemitism. However, the conference with the same cast of characters is now to be held in March and April 2017 at University College, Cork, Ireland, part of the National University of Ireland.
The list of speakers, including die-hard critics of Israel speaks for itself. The presence as speakers of individuals such as Richard Falk, Ilan Pappe, Azmi Bishara, and Hatem Bazian suggests the objective of the conference. It is not to discuss the problems of the Middle East in any objective fashion. It is to emphasize the illegitimacy of the state of Israel. It is to link the alleged suffering of Palestinians to the foundation and nature of Israel, and in essence to argue for the nullification of Israel’ existence.
It is ironic that Southampton University where the biased conference was to be held houses the Parkes Institute for Jewish/non Jewish relations based on the work of Rev. Dr. James Parkes. Parkes was an Oxford scholar, Anglican clergyman and historian, who understood the evil of antisemitism, and the pain and victimization that Jews suffered from antisemitism, and devoted his life to end persecution of Jews. All British universities as well as the Labour party should learn from Parkes’ courageous life story and end the travesty of the misuse of both the campus and the political arena.
Two people have appeared in court charged with a string of terror offences including possessing instructions on how to build a mobile phone bomb, police said.
Munir Hassan Mohammed, of Leopold Street, Derby, an Eritrean national who is seeking asylum in the UK, appeared accused of preparing for an act of terror between the anniversary of 7/7 this year until his arrest in December. The 35-year-old is also charged with being a member of Islamic State (IS) and possessing instructions on how to build an explosive device inside a mobile phone. It is also alleged he disseminated terrorist material, the North East Counter-Terrorism Unit said.
Rowaida El Hassan, 32, of Willesden Lane, North London, appeared alongside him at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Saturday,
Neither Mr Mohammed nor Ms El-Hassan, who were flanked by five police officers in the dock, indicated a plea.
The pair were remanded in custody and will next appear at the Old Bailey on 12 January.
The year ends amid the most astonishing display of sour grapes, mass embarrassment, and unspontaneous amnesia in living memory of U.S. presidential elections. The national media, sleepwalking toward the inauguration they did everything possible to prevent, having denied at every stage, including very late on election night, could occur, have clangorously announced each new desperate plan to overturn the election result. The recount, begun in Wisconsin by the Green candidate, Jill Stein, but financed by the Clinton Democrats, spent $5 million to increase Trump's plurality in the state by 131 votes. In Pennsylvania, a federal judge declined to act on the opposition claim that the state's election, in which 6 million votes were cast, had been influenced by computer hacking. And in Michigan, the only irregularities that were turned up were in African-American districts of Detroit, where the vote exceeded the number of registered voters – more likely a manifestation of the vaunted Hillary Clinton "ground game" than of any skulduggery by the Trump Republicans.
As that illusion faded, the cry arose that the chosen members of the Electoral College, though morally pledged to cast their votes for the candidates whom they were elected to support, could be induced to shift their votes because of the alleged unsuitability of Mr. Trump. The Democrats put out some television advertisements urging conscientious citizenship on the 306 Trump-pledged electors who were chosen on Election Day. It was another exercise of large amounts of money chasing very few potential votes, and the result on Monday flaked four Clinton electors off and only two Trump electors (who cast their votes for Republican governor John Kasich of Ohio). A few op-ed writers were pushed forward by the scruff of the neck and the small of the back to write that the founders of the country had intended the Electoral College to be eminent and independent-minded personalities for whom the popular vote was merely indicative, if not a simply impartial exercise. Never in history has there been such a foolish commotion about so improbable an effort to change an election result. It was all nonsense, and of a piece with the other symptoms of common or garden denial that have afflicted the country and its media these last six weeks.
The winners of the election are not only ignoring the antics of their late opponents, but preparing ever more vigorously to jettison practically everything that the outgoing administration has been noisily proclaiming to be its legacy – all the official deferences to global warming (despite the lack any evidence that it is actually occurring), affirmative action, unionized schools, disadvantageous trade agreements, unregulated immigration, the shambles of Obamacare, the appeasement of Iran, centralized government, and executive fiat unsupported by congressional approval. There was a wistful but noisy agitation for direct election of the president by the plurality of voters, an anti-federalist idea that has no chance of adoption on any timetable, as most of the three-quarters of the states that would have to approve it would never be visited by a presidential campaign again, and their congressional representatives would have no chance of getting a fair share of funding from a federal government entirely dominated by the 15 largest states.
The next four weeks will produce a concertina of time and perspective unique in American history as the Trump-incredulity movement is ungraciously driven from its high seats in the temple of American public life, media, entertainment, and even finance. The unchallenged lords and dominatrixes of the American political, celebrity, and socio-economic elites, will be bundled out onto the proverbial sidewalks of New York, to trip the light fantastic, indeed, by comparison with the unchallenged tranquility that has reigned in their lives since time immemorial, like delinquent tenants in Trump middle-class housing projects in Queens. And they will make way for the unrepentant barbaric hordes of those who were conditioned throughout their conscient lives to believe that their time would never come. Since Donald Trump ran against everyone in high political office since Ronald Reagan, long in the saddle, rode into the golden sunset of Santa Barbara 28 years ago, everyone who has held the limelight – Bush and Kennedy, Clinton and Gore, Kerry and Obama, Romney and McCain, the Sanderses and Cruzes, Jacksons and Sharptons, Cuomos, all the endless walk-on auditions (Bachmann, Santorum, Herman Cain, Fiorina, Kasich, the Pauls), the cavalcade of the false leaders and the also-rans – all will complete their trip on the treadmill to oblivion on Inauguration Day.
Franklin D. Roosevelt called it "a day of national consecration" 84 years ago, when there was only fear to be afraid of; now America can forget the personalities of the recent past but not its lessons. The country will increase energy production and assault the obscene balance-of-payments deficit. It will cut taxes on small income-earners and businesses and raise taxes on elective transactions and stop treating the velocity-of-money spinners and asset-strippers as if they were titans of greater employment and a broader industrial base, and shrink the budget deficit. The environment will be protected but the American public will not be hounded into putting whirring fans on their hats and solar panels on their foreheads to mitigate by 1 percent China's use of carbon, or pass its threadbare national cap to produce money for the gangsters of the underdeveloped world as a consolation prize for their economic failures, as Obama proposed at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009. The hour of the deunionized teacher and federal civil servant has struck, secure in their jobs, meritocratically promoted, but no longer holding the nation to ransom while degrading the whole concept of education and turning the nation's children into a nightmarish army of illiterate, innumerate, juvenile turbots.
It may seem far-fetched to present Donald Trump's induction into the presidency in the terms of a great historic assumption like those of Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and he is not cut from the same cloth as those men. It need hardly be said that Donald Trump is not the father of the country, the founder of modern guerrilla warfare, the man who kept a rag-tag army going for seven years, crossed the Delaware on Christmas night, shared the rations of his men through a cold winter and declined absolute power when asked to assume it, and sponsored a Constitution of an indissoluble union that would defend itself and maintain a strong currency. Nor need it be said that he did not co-found a party, lead the greatest national debate in American history to electoral victory, wage a successful war to save the Union and then emancipate the slaves and leave America unbound before a limitless horizon. No more will he take over, next month, the headship of a financially and psychologically depressed country where the financial system has collapsed, one-third of a nation is without means or help, and then lead it back to prosperity and security and through history's greatest war to the threshold of the triumph of democracy and the free market in most of the world.
But American history, like that of other great nations, is not a songbook where verses are sung over again, by players who keep returning. Donald Trump would be more at home in Roosevelt's Springwood in Hyde Park than Mr. Lincoln would be in the Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago, or than General Washington would have been in Mr. Lincoln's modest house in Springfield, Illinois. But Washington, co-convener of the Constitutional Convention with Benjamin Franklin, and Lincoln, the co-founder of the Republicans who cracked the Democratic hypocrisy of pandering to the slaveholders while telling the North they would keep the South in the Union, and the patrician Roosevelt who salvaged 95 percent of the capitalist America he knew by creating a happy and hopeful working and agrarian class, would all understand a leader who set aside a life of great wealth to seek the leadership of a party and then of the country in a crusade of those who were tired of corrupt and incompetent elites who drove the nation toward bankruptcy, throttled and despised the common man, and turned America into a laughingstock whose international face was slapped in turn, and to rhythm, by the Russians, the Turks, the Iranians, and the Chinese.
Washington and Franklin worked over constitutional delegates in small groups, and Washington was elevated without opposition to lead the country. Lincoln won just 39 percent of the vote in a four-party race at the head of a party he was narrowly chosen to lead (but if all the votes of his opponents had been combined, he would have won the election, as Trump has, with a minority of voters). Roosevelt gave no real hint of what he proposed to do to defeat the Depression and moved tentatively toward a foreign policy of peace through strength, rather shabbily confecting a draft to a third term promising to stay out of a war he knew America must join to ensure the triumph of democracy in the world. There is much debate about whether Donald Trump expected to win when he began his campaign for president, and only gradually did the entire political class overcome its unsuppressed hilarity at his tactics and recognize that he intended to dispose of all of them. It would be an absurd statement of the obvious to dwell on the incoming president's absence of the austere dignity of Washington or the soaring eloquence of Lincoln and Roosevelt, but he is older and wealthier than they, a plantation-owning colonial soldier, a prairie lawyer, and an Ivy League and Wall Street aristocrat.
He has made his own way in a much-changed America. More important, he has earned the opportunity to remake the official fabric and radically change the official composition of the leadership of the American state. It is a time that, if he succeeds, as his predecessors succeeded, by methods bearing almost no resemblance to those of their forebears either, will give him a great place in the American pantheon. I believe his chances of success are excellent, as I have thought his chances of getting this far, these 18 months, were excellent. All who wish America well, when they recover from their personal embarrassment and often dislocation, will wish him well. Merry Christmas and Happy 2017 to all readers.
Al-Beavis and Al-Butthead, Or, A Plane Is Not a Comedy Club
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Adam Saleh, a Muslim who calls himself a comedian and “YouTube prankster,” was recently removed from a Delta flight in London. He claimed that a phone call he made to his mother in Arabic had alarmed passengers, who were entirely too jittery on hearing that language. But according to two passengers who sat nearby and heard everything Saleh and his travelling companion “Slim” Albaher said — they were speaking in English to each other – that supposed phone call never happened. It was not the use of Arabic that triggered discomfort. Another passenger on the plane was overheard speaking Arabic, but in a normal voice, and no one said a word to her. It was, rather, the repeated shouting across the cabin, and in Arabic, by “Slim” Albaher, that alarmed some.
One of those nearby passengers, “Anthony,” reported that “I literally watched him [Saleh] egging his friend on to shout out across the aeroplane, even after they were asked politely to stop they carried on and told people to shut their mouths.” Saleh told his friend “to shout something in Arabic which he did a total of 4 times.” And after “Slim shouted, a couple of other passengers told the Muslim men that they were making them and their children uncomfortable and [one mother] asked ‘could they shut up.’” And then they [Saleh and Albaher] “told her to shut up and then he [Albaher] shouted it again.” Anthony also said that “Saleh was filming passengers’ reactions to their outburst but were made to delete it by a Delta flight attendant.”
This incident was merely the latest in which Adam Saleh, who finds himself endlessly amusing, tried to elicit fear or anger, examples of the supposed overreactions of Islamophobic Americans to encounters — especially on airplanes – with him and his friends, who are always presented as the most innocuous of Arabs/Middle Easterners/Muslims. When Saleh egged Albaher on to yell out across the cabin in Arabic (as he, Adam Saleh, captured on film the reaction of passengers), it was clear that Saleh was determined to create a disturbance. He wanted to cause alarm among passengers, to film that alarm, and to post it at YouTube, all the while maintaining a disingenuous attitude of bewildered innocence. Could it really be that Americans are now so readily panicked that even a call home to his mother could set them off? Is the use of Arabic enough to cause a frenzy of fear?
But there was no innocent call, no call at all, to his mother. Nor was there a frenzy, either, from passengers and crew, but merely the intelligent alarm that anyone might display when, on a plane, someone starts shouting and won’t stop despite being implored to do so, and if that shouting is in Arabic, any alarm is even more understandable, given the history of Muslim terrorists and planes. It was not Arabic, but the repeated yelling in Arabic at the top of Albaher’s lungs, and his refusal to stop, when asked to do so, while his companion egged him on, that was cause for concern.
This was no accidental encounter, but a staged provocation, and Adam Saleh has a whole series of these, uploaded to YouTube, where you may see him, proud of his sophomoric “humor,” following essentially the same script, eliciting the desired reaction and then treating that reaction as absurd when, in fact, experience teaches us it makes sense. If you were on a plane, and suddenly someone started screaming in Arabic, and would not shut up, even when asked repeatedly and politely to do so, would any thoughts of conceivable danger pass through your mind? Would you think the shouter might be having an uncontrollable outburst of rage? Would you worry about what might come next? Might you think that such a person, and those with whom he was in cahoots, should be removed from the flight, because deliberately scaring passengers is enough to warrant such removal? Of course you would. It is Muslims themselves whose behavior has forged the link between Islam and terrorism in the public imagination.
Or does this Merry Prankster of the Skies have a point? Is it true that a passenger or crew member who suddenly hears someone screaming in Arabic on a plane and becomes alarmed is overreacting? Let’s consider the relevant history. Given that scarcely a day goes by without news, somewhere in the world, of an attack by allahu-akbaring Muslim terrorists, and that nearly 30,000 such attacks have taken place since September 11, 2001, isn’t great unease at someone screaming in Arabic, and on a planeabout to take off, perfectly justified? Given, too, that the takeover of planes by Muslim Arab terrorists is what allowed the 9/11 attacks (two planes smashing into the Twin Towers, a third into the Pentagon, a fourth brought down over rural Pennsylvania before it could do the damage intended), aren’t we right to worry about Muslims suddenly behaving strangely on planes, even on one that has not yet taken off? For all we know, the shouter may be ready to detonate himself, or to take the airplane hostage on the ground by threatening to do so. Is it ludicrous, or humanly understandable, to be anxious about Muslims or Arabic speakers who, on a plane, a place where anxieties are already high, are yelling uncontrollably, and refusing to quiet down, when planes have so often been involved in acts of Islamic terrorism?
And it’s not just those terrorist acts that succeed that we remember. Even those foiled in time make a deep impression. Think of those other, well-publicized attempts by Muslims that did not succeed in bringing down planes in flight. Richard Reid, a British convert to Islam, was trying to detonate explosives in his shoes, but couldn’t quite manage; thanks to his example, however, every airport in the world now requires that passengers take off their shoes in going through security. And though those three Muslim terrorists who were planning to use liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks, in order to blow up seven transatlantic flights, were caught in time, whenever you are asked to remove all containers of liquids of more than 3 ounces from your carry-on, you naturally think of them. Each time you go through airport security, and take your shoes off, or remove that 4 oz. bottle of shampoo you had overlooked, you are reminded of Muslims, planes, and terrorism. Whom would Adam Saleh have us blame for making that connection? He may find our reactions a source of thigh-slapping amusement, but few will share his indecent sense of humor; worries about terrorism are not comical. And don’t forget still other attempts by Muslims to blow up planes. Think of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian Muslim who concealed plastic explosives in his underwear but failed to detonate them properly, on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. We still don’t know how – was it a member of the cleaning crew, or a passenger? – a bomb was smuggled onto the Russian Metrojet plane over the Sinai, killing all 224 aboard. And there have been other attempts by Muslim terrorists involving planes that, because they were foiled much earlier in the planning stage, have not received much notice.
The point of the latest “prank” (a word which is far too forgiving, as if it’s all been in good fun) by Adam Saleh was to deliberately upset people, and then have them react in ways that the “prankster” could point to as reflecting a climate of quite unnecessary fear. But after those 30,000 terrorist attacks by Muslims, after those planes flown by Muslims into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, a Pennsylvania field, after the Shoe Bomber and the Liquid Explosives Bombers and the Underwear Bomber, after the plane that blew up over the Sinai, it would be crazy not to be made anxious by someone repeatedly yelling out something in Arabic, the language that by now we quite rightly associate with Muslim terrorism.
A plane is not a comedy club, a place for the adam-salehs of this world to stage and record their unfunny little skits that always involve scaring people. Taking him off the flight was right and proper, but only the first step. He and his friends now have the gall to call for a boycott of Delta. This gets everything backwards. It is Delta, or rather, it is Delta and all the other airlines, that ought to be banning these propaganda jihadists from flying. For flying is not a right but a privilege. For the sake of their passengers’ peace of mind, and for the safety of the flight, airlines should collectively agree that anyone deliberately sowing, and then recording, fear among airline passengers, in order to make a point about “Islamophobia,” will be permanently banned from flying on any flight to or from or within the United States. This is not just a matter of preventing passenger discomfort. It is also a question of safety. If cabin crew members have to focus their attention on those who are deliberately creating such anxiety among the passengers, they may be less able to quickly respond to the other dangers that arise in flight. The same is true of the pilots, who no doubt are made aware whenever there is trouble in the cabin, and if it is deliberately caused by smirking al-salehs, this can only hinder the pilots’ ability to give their full attention, as they needs must, to their flying.
Or it might be more effective, instead of putting the burden on the airlines to impose such a policy (and likely receive Muslim threats for their pains), for Congress to act. It could pass legislation requiring that all airlines prohibit from flying anyone who has “deliberately and repeatedly created anxiety on airline flights for the purposes of propaganda or self-aggrandizement.” Such a measure would undoubtedly pass overwhelmingly. Who, after all, could be against such a commonsensical ban, other than the fellow travelers of CAIR? And that would put an end to all the fun Adam Saleh has been having, at our Infidel expense, on planes, in flight or on the ground, and force him to take his beavis-and-butthead hilarity elsewhere, possibly to those audiences famous for their sense of humor, in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran.
Fussilet 33 is a mosque and community centre complex in the downmarket district of Moabit in western Berlin. It is opposite a police station, just a few hundred metres from where Anis Amri hijacked the lorry used for the Christmas market attack. It is also near the Nordhafen canal port where he filmed himself proclaiming support for Isis. Amaq, the Isis news agency, released the self-filmed video yesterday in which Amri swears allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader, and declares that he wants to become a martyr.
The mosque, raided on Thursday and again yesterday, was among locations searched because Amri is believed to have spent time there. It is known as a hotbed of Isis sympathisers. A 2015 regional intelligence service report describes Fussilet 33 as a meeting place for Salafists where Turks and Muslims from the Caucasus are radicalised for jihad in Syria.
The Mosque was raided by Berlin police last year as members were feared to be collecting funds for terror attacks. The authorities had difficulty closing this mosque and another which concerned them, the al-Nur as they only had one official working on the matter.
Berlin’s intelligence authority is responsible for watching about 150 of the 549 people listed by German authorities as being potential terrorists. But the cash-strapped city does not have the resources to do so. RBB, a local broadcaster, reported that it only had enough specialists for round-the-clock surveillance of two to three people.
Prince Charles' Christmas message: Muhammad sought freedom of religion
by The Law
See this VIDEO (29 seconds):
"Normally at Christmas we think of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. I wonder though with this year we might remember how the story of the nativity unfolds with the fleeing of the Holy Family to escape violent persecution.
And we might also remember that when the prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina, he did so because he too was seeking the freedom for himself and his followers to worship.”
[Transcript - The Law]
Muhammad was ostensibly indeed seeking freedom of religion but the problem is that freedom of religion for Muhammad and his distinctly unmerry men meant freedom of religion to make all others ("non-Muslims”) unfree.
This is the “freedom” that the votaries of Islam claim to this day.
4. Prince Charles of England turns Christmas into all about Islam and nothing about Christianity.
(An entire essay could be written on how what he said is pure nonsense. But in a paragraph suffice it to say that Islam’s founder, the rapist and mass murderer Mohammad, took an army to Yathrib from Mecca to conquer it and murdered countless people, and raped and looted pretty much all the rest. This is the foundation stone for the Islamic calendar, and a patently insane comparison for any spiritual journey that may have been done by Jesus Christ. Whether in historical secularism, or in biblical mythology.)
It happened on Christmas Eve, 48 years ago. Three men took turns reading from the first 10 verses of the Book of Genesis. They were nearly 250,000 miles away from Bethlehem, but since it was the night before Christmas, and there was no chimney from which to hang their stockings, the three astronauts inside the Apollo 8 capsule orbiting the moon thought it would be appropriate. So as Jim Lovell,Frank Borman and Bill Anders looked at the faraway Earth through the small window of the spacecraft, they read the verses: “In the beginning, God made the heavens and the Earth.”
Their distant-sounding voices from far beyond our atmosphere were broadcast live to the whole planet that night over radio and television. It was one of those moments that brought the world together, that helped us to see our common humanity as children of God whom he loves equally, and whom he placed on the beautiful planet that he made.
Seven months after this extraordinary event, in July 1969, another NASA spacecraft, Apollo 11, carried two astronauts to the surface of the moon itself. One of them, Commander Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, thought he might do something similar to mark what was certainly an epochal moment in the history of our race. But what could one do to mark the first time human beings landed on another heavenly body? He asked Dean Woodruff, the pastor of his church in Webster, Texas, who had an idea.
What if he were to take communion? What is more basic to humanity than bread and wine? He could do it as his own way of thanking God—for the Earth and for everyone on it, and for our amazing ability to do things like build spacecraft that could fly to the moon. So the pastor gave him a small amount of consecrated bread and wine and a tiny chalice, and Mr. Aldrin took them with him to the moon. After the Eagle had landed and he and Neil Armstrong sat in the Lunar Module, Mr. Aldrin said this over the radio:
“This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.”
He then ended radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, read a Bible verse, and took communion. For reasons he explains in his own account, none of this was made public until Mr. Aldrin wrote about it in Guideposts magazine the following year:
“In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup.”
Then Mr. Aldrin read Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.” He explained that he had wanted to read this over the radio back to Earth, but at the last minute NASA asked him not to because the agency was in a legal battle with the outspoken atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair. As it happened, she was suing over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis on Christmas Eve. And that of course is why so few people have heard of this amazing story.
I sometimes wonder what’s more amazing, this story—or the fact that so few people know about it. When I first heard it I almost couldn’t believe it was true, but about 10 years ago I had the honor and privilege of meeting Buzz Aldrin in person and asking him about it.
Mr. Aldrin said that he agreed not to read the words over the radio, but only “reluctantly.” I find his own words of the event very moving: “I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”
And of course right now, as Christians around the world are celebrating the birth of Jesus, it’s fascinating to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were his words, the powerless newborn in the dirty manger who came to Earth from heaven, and who made the Earth and the moon and all of us, in His own image. And who, in the immortal words of Dante, is himself the “Love that moves the Sun and other stars.”
President Obama's act of folly and betrayal of Israel
The UN Security Council meets on December 23, 2016 (UN Screenshot)
President Obama yours was the unkindest abstention in the history of the US actions as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Yesterday, in a deliberate act of retribution and in consort with four council members, two imperialist Islamic member states of the Organization of Islamic States, Malaysia and Senegal, New Zealand and Venezuela, an ally of Iran, you abandoned the Jewish nation of Israel; this country's only democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel.
This act of infamy was given a standing ovation by all 14 members of the Security Council. The Palestinian representative declared it a "day of victory."
Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon demurred, calling it a "victory for terrorism."
History will mark your action as an ignominious faithless act of betrayal of your oath of office and long-standing friendship of America towards the Jewish nation of Israel. A nation that shares the foundational values of our country.
Your abstention and the vote of UN Security Council approving Resolution 2334 dismembers Israel's eternal capital of Jerusalem violating its existing right to negotiate just and secure borders.
Your act and that of the Security Council will not bring peace.
Instead it will inflame Islamic terrorism against our ally Israel.
You have brought shame and dishonor on your office and reputation of this country and its people you were elected to faithfully serve.Your legacy following the end of your final term in office is forever tarnished by this act of folly.
The irony of your misguided conduct comes on the eve of the Jewish Festival of Hanukkah, meaning 'consecration', celebrating the victory two millenia ago by the Maccabees, the few against the many, blessed by Ha Shem. These warrior priests rose up with the cry of the High Priest Mattisyahu, "whoever is for for God, follow me." Their mortal combat achieved a victory over the foreign tyrannyof Syrian-Greek despot, Antiochus, occupying ancient Judea. It was a victory in furtherance of the inalienable right of freedom to worship emblazoned in the First Amendment of our Constitution. An ancient victory that also affirmed the State of Israel's right to the land of its Jewish fore-bearers and descendants.
Your action Friday , December 23, 2016 suborned that ancient legacy that this country was founded on to uphold 234 years ago with fight for Independence from another occupying tyranny.
It will now be left to a new Congress and your successor as President to redress your betrayal of our country and ally Israel.
Approved by 14-0, with US abstaining, text seeks action ‘to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperiling the two-state solution’
Text of Egyptian-drafted resolution 2334 on settlements, approved by the UN Security Council, on December 23, 2016.
The Security Council,
Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008),
Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice,
Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,
Expressing grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines,
Recalling the obligation under the Quartet Roadmap, endorsed by its resolution 1515 (2003), for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001,
Recalling also the obligation under the Quartet roadmap for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces to maintain effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities, including the confiscation of illegal weapons,
Condemning all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction,
Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders,
Stressing that the status quo is not sustainable and that significant steps, consistent with the transition contemplated by prior agreements, are urgently needed in order to (i) stabilize the situation and to reverse negative trends on the ground, which are steadily eroding the two-State solution and entrenching a one-State reality, and (ii) to create the conditions for successful final status negotiations and for advancing the two-State solution through those negotiations and on the ground,
Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon addresses the Security Council on October 19, 2016. (UN Photo)
WATCH Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon rip into the UN Security Council Resolution2334
1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;
3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;
4. Stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution;
5. Calls upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;
6. Calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard, and calls for compliance with obligations under international law for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism;
7. Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law, including international humanitarian law, and their previous agreements and obligations, to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de-escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two-State solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace;
8. Calls upon all parties to continue, in the interest of the promotion of peace and security, to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process and within the time frame specified by the Quartet in its statement of 21 September 2010;
9. Urges in this regard the intensification and acceleration of international and regional diplomatic efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967; and underscores in this regard the importance of the ongoing efforts to advance the Arab Peace Initiative, the initiative of France for the convening of an international peace conference, the recent efforts of the Quartet, as well as the efforts of Egypt and the Russian Federation;
10. Confirms its determination to support the parties throughout the negotiations and in the implementation of an agreement;
11. Reaffirms its determination to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions;
12. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution;
A terrorist sympathiser used aid convoys to Syria to send thousands of pounds to his extremist nephew fighting alongside Al Qaeda in a bid to set up a team of 'night snipers' in Syria. Former probation officer Syed Hoque, 37, sent £4,500 in 2013 to his relative who was fighting with Islamic extremists against the regime in the war-torn country.
One of the targeted aid missions included Alan Henning, the Greater Manchester taxi driver who was later kidnapped and murdered by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
Syed Hoque was found guilty of two charges of funding terrorism while his "fixer" Mashoud Miah was convicted on one count by a majority following a trial at the Old Bailey.
The court had heard how former probation officer Hoque sent £4,500 to his nephew who was fighting with an al Qaida-linked group in Syria. In incriminating WhatsApp exchanges, Hoque's nephew, Mohammed Choudhury, 26, begged for money to buy a Dragunov sniper rifle.
Hoque, 37, of Stoke-on-Trent, Miah, 28, of east London, Mr Hussain, 30, of east London, and Mr Rafiq, 46, of Birkby, Huddersfield, denied the charges against them. Giving evidence, Hoque admitted sending money to his nephew via Miah because he was fighting 'in defence of those who cannot defend themselves'. But he denied knowing his nephew was with an al Qaida-linked group. Hoque had claimed he believed his nephew was in Syria for humanitarian reasons.
The court heard Hoque was aware his nephew was fighting with the terrorist group and had attended training missions in relation to improvised explosive devices, the firing of arms and that he had handled military grade weaponry. Prosecutor Annabel Darlow QC said there was no suggestion the aid convoys did not have a legitimate charitable role, but could have provided a useful conduit.
Hoque and Miah are due to be sentenced after Christmas.
Politics is a game, in some ways akin to football. A win depends on how many points are on the official scoreboard, not on how many yards have been covered.
For a stable society to exist or a game to be successful certain rules must be followed. They may be simple or complex, few or many, handed down orally or through a complex code, but they underlie the existence of a structured order.
Adherence to that structure is essential even in politics which is an ongoing process with no eternal answers. It is natural in politics that conclusions and procedures once generally accepted are inevitably subject to change. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in his letter of September 6, 1789 to James Madison, “No society can make a perpetual constitution or even a perpetual law.”
The presidential election just held raises the issue of the usefulness of the Electoral College (EC) in the U.S. today. Many Democrats including the largely Democratic media ardent Clinton supporters disappointed in her defeat have called for a change in the U.S. Constitution, specifically the EC, since Donald Trump’s election to the Presidency of the U.S.
The 2016 election took on highly unusually emotional overtones in support of the different candidates. Questioning the authority of the EC seems to be a continuation of that emotion rather than a rational proposal. As such, it borders on breaking the official rules of the existing system.
The issue of the case for and the validity of political or social disobedience has always been present in life and in literature. Questions arise about whether it is morally or politically right to disobey and refuse to accept the existing rules.
The classic argument about disobedience is presented in Sophocles’ play Antigone, the story of the princess, the niece of the ruler Creon, who defies the ruler by insisting on burying her brother against the rule of the state that forbid celebratory burial of offenders. What ensues is a clash of opposites and principles: the individual confronts the ruler and the state; the woman confronts the male ruler; blood relationships confront impersonal law; and divine law confronts man made law.
Antigone argues it was not Zeus who made the laws, nor are the government’s orders more basic than the unwritten and unfailing laws if the state is acting against humanity. The ruler Creon holds that obedience to his least command is essential.
Without accepting the extreme position of Creon, objective observers must be surprised by the continuing discussion on the part of the Democrats and the Democratic media as to whether Trump’s election by the EC is valid or having been properly elected. Unlike the case of Antigone, there is no question of disobedience based on serious discussion of constitutional principle, or moral outlook, but simply questions of political expediency.
One can make the case that not all existing constitutional rules are appropriate today. They need to be changed as is the case in every generation. It is understood by all that the Declaration of Independence says prudence dictates that the government, and constitutional rules, not be changed for light and transient causes, but yet it is right and a duty to change what is improper and undemocratic.
In the present situation, the Democrats criticize the fact that the EC formally casts the votes for president and vice-president. They argue the EC must be changed or abolished.
The EC was created as a compromise between election of the president by vote of Congress or by the popular vote of citizens. The EC was, as James Madison argued in Federalist39, a mix of state-based and popular based government. It votes without tumult and disorder, avoiding both passion and interests.
Of course, the EC means violation of political equality but it does result in representation of a geographically broader and more diverse base than does a simple popular vote. However, three issues arise. The EC does not consist of educated and informed electors as was intended. The EC today is a formality and only ratifies the result. And it is arguable that the EC choice avoids someone with a talent for “low intrigue and the arts of popularity.”
The essential practical issue is definition of the “will of the people” in a democratic system that is meant to prevent arbitrary power. The Democrats argument rests on the reality that Clinton received 2.8 million more votes in the country as a whole than Trump. Therefore, they maintain the EC should honor the popular national vote since it has a right to act independently of the decision of the voters in the individual states in exceptional circumstances.
There are two problems with this argument. One is that to have the election result based on the popular vote in the whole country would bring great practical and logistical difficulties if the vote was close and disputed in a number of the states. At the least the EC produces a definite winner, as in the present case with Trump getting 57% of EC votes.
The second problem is that it concentrates on and gives too much weight to two states. In 2016, Clinton had a majority in California of 4.2 million and in New York 1.6 million. A country wide vote minimizes the smaller states and rural areas largely inhabited by whites. In California the score was Clinton 61.7% to Trump 31.62%. In New York City it was 78.59 % to 18.6%, and Clinton had Manhattan by 86.3% to 9.8%, the Bronx by almost the same margin, though not Staten Island too.
Without those two states Trump had a popular majority of three million votes. Clinton won a popular majority in only 13 states and D.C., while Trump had a majority in 23 states.
It is a fair argument that the role of the Electoral College which at its origin did not receive any severe censure and indeed received general approbation, should be reexamined. It is no longer true that a small number of persons, selected now by party leaders in their states, have the information and discernment necessary to make the best choice of the president. But an objective and desirable analysis of this constitutional problem is not to be confused with using the EC as a weapon to deny the validity of Trump’s election.
It is worth looking at a number of issues connected with the case against the legitimacy of the EC. It is arguably valid for the Democrats to claim that President-elect Trump does not have suitable qualifications, capacity, or temperament to occupy the presidency. The accuracy of this argument remains to be seen. Again, Creon said in Antigone, “you cannot understand a man until he shows his practice of the government and law. (Your disapproval) alone does not justify causing disaster to creep on the town and destroy hope of safety.” Indeed, it remains to be seen how Trump will “drain the swamp,” and enhance the U.S.
A presently unresolved issue is the assertion that two outside individuals, FBI Director James B. Comey and Russian President Vladimir Putin, played a role or were responsible for Clinton losing the election, affecting the election by actions favoring the candidate of choice.
Putin was accused not only of being responsible for hacking and publishing Clinton campaign emails, but also of having a “personal beef” against Clinton. Everyone will agree that Russian meddling in a US election would be unacceptable, but the actual role of Russia needs to be ascertained dispassionately by an independent agency without either undue admiration or concern about the technological brilliance of Russia in its use of cyberspace.
The once highly regarded Comey, acting either deliberately or inadvertently, is denounced as having been partly responsible for Clinton’s loss by announcing the continuing probe into the use of her private email server only a week before the election. Though the FBI investigated the possibility of the mishandling of classified information, Democratic critics held this was legally unauthorized and factually unnecessary.
Another factor was the manipulation of fake news about the election. Unfortunately, this has reinforced the lack of confidence of many, perhaps a majority, of American voters in the ability of the media to report accurately on political matters. In spite of the assertions of the fake news, largely liberal in nature, there is no evidence that the election was “rigged” in favor of either candidate.
Evaluating the effectiveness of the Electoral College is legitimate but the current Democratic critique sounds more liked political football than a serious intellectual effort. Political criticisms must be expressed but don’t alter the scoreboard or move the goalposts while the game is being played.