Monday, 31 July 2017
Who is sovereign on the Temple Mount this Tisha b'Av?
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Monday evening, July 31, 2017 marks the eve of the Fast of the Ninth of Av  (Tish b’Av) commemorating the Babylonian Destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE, the Second Temple in 70 CE and a series of catastrophes that befallen the Jewish people over two millennia at or close to  this date culminating in the Nazi final solution the murder of Six Million European Jewish men, women and children.

The foundation of the modern State of Israel and the 50th commemoration of the recapture of the Old Ciity of Jerusalem to the cries, "the Temple Mount is in our Hands" should have assured the sovereignty of an eternal undivided capital of the Jewish nation of Israel.

The past 17 days since the Temple Mount crisis began with the killing of two Israeli Druze police officers by three Israeli Arab extremists of the Northern Branch of the Islamic movement. The placement of metal detectors at the Lions gate and Arab protests and incitement led to the deaths of three members of the Salomon family (Baruch Dayan ha'Emet  BDE (Hebrew: Blessed Is the True Judge)  in Halamish.

The protests from across the Muslim ummah, Kingdom of Jordan that appoints the Waqf that administers the Mosques atop the Temple Mount, the Palestinian Authority, its President and appointed Grand Mufti of Jerusalem have challenged the sovereignty of the State of Israel. That led to the withdrawal of the metal detectors and surveillance cameras.

Once, again this episode deminstrates why dissidence and disunity among Jews contributed to both the destruction of the first and second Temples and the recent events of the past two weeks.

Laitman's kabbalist drash or commentary is timely this Ninth of Av as he emphasizes based on commentaries and histories the core message of unity, the core meaning of Yehudi or Jews.

 

Who is the sovereign on Temple Mount?

Jerusalem Post, July 26, 2017

By Michael Laitman

It is no secret that the Arab smear campaign in the media and the organized “popular” protests against the placement of metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount have nothing to do with security measures. From the perspective of the Wakf (the Islamic organization controlling and managing the Temple Mount), and the rest of the Arab world, the resistance to the detectors represents the resistance to Israel’s sovereignty on Temple Mount in particular, in the city of Jerusalem, and in all of Israel. The longer this campaign lasts, the more the Arabs will gain the favor of the world, and Israel will increasingly be seen as the bully in the neighborhood.

By now, hardly anyone remembers that the detectors were placed at the entrances because three terrorists opened fire on Israeli police, killing two officers and wounding a third. All that everyone sees now is that Israel is not letting Muslims pray in their holy site, when in fact, the only people keeping worshippers outside the Temple Mount are the Wakf, who are telling worshippers not to enter in protest of the placement of detectors.

The Temple—the Unity of Israel

Not only the Wakf objects to Israel’s authority on Temple Mount. The resolutions of UNESCO denying the Jewish history on Temple Mount, Jerusalem, and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron represent the view of the entire world that we do not belong here. If the UN were to vote today on the establishment of a Jewish state, who would vote “Yes”? Probably not even America.

To be a sovereign in the land of Israel, and particularly on Temple Mount, you must understand what the Temple represents and lead your life accordingly. The book Netzah Israel (Chapter 4) writes, “The House was ruined due to unfounded hatred, for their hearts divided and they parted and were unworthy of a Temple, which is the unity of Israel.”

If we honestly reflect on our society, on what we project to the world, it is clear that we are deeply divided and project disunity and discord everywhere. The Maharal of Prague writes in Hidushey Avot (Gittin 55b): “The Temple should be the wholeness of the entire world, not of Israel alone. …Since the Temple is the wholeness of the entire world, the nations included, it was not ruined by the nations, but only by unfounded hatred and division, when Israel divided.”

In other words, the Temple does not belong to any one nation or faith; it represents the unification of the world. Therefore, only those who advocate and execute unity merit being there. The Hebrew word Yehudi (Jew) comes from the word yihudi, meaning united (Yaarot Devash, Part 2, Drush no. 2). When we, Jews, united “as one man with one heart,” it was the first and only time in history when people of different, often rival clans from all over Babylon and the Near East united and forged a nation. Our unity, therefore, was a model for the entire world to follow. As a result, immediately following the establishment of our peoplehood, we were commanded to be “a light unto nations,” to take our method of unity to the rest of humanity.

The book Sefat Emet (Shemot, Yitro) describes what it means to be “a light unto nations”: “The children of Israel are guarantors in that they received the Torah [the light of unity] in order to correct the entire world.” But if we are not united, and therefore do not project unity to the rest of the world, can we truly regard ourselves as the “children of Israel”? And if we are not truly the children of Israel, united like the children of Israel are meant to be, can we claim sovereignty over the land?

The Sedition Conquered the City, and the Romans Conquered the Sedition

Jewish-Roman historian Josephus Flavius lived at the time of the ruin and witnessed many of the events first hand. He wrote very clearly about the causes of the ruin of the Temple and the exile (The Wars of the Jews, Book IV, Chapter 6): “The sedition [among the Jews] conquered the city, and the Romans conquered the sedition.” In the days of the Temple, Flavius details, “The attribute the [Jews] lacked most was mercy. …They transferred their rage from the living to the slain, and from the slain to the living [of their own people]. The terror was so great that the survivors called the dead ‘happy,’ as they were already at rest. … These men trampled upon all the laws of men [love of others], and ridiculed the words of the prophets. Yet, these prophets foretell … that the city should be taken and the sanctuary burnt by war when a sedition invades the Jews, and their own hand should pollute the Temple. Now these zealots … made themselves the instruments of the fulfillment [of the prophecies].”


When you think of the current hatred between the two sides of the political map in Israel, or between the two sides of the political map among US Jews, the similarities to the enmity among our ancestors are too striking to ignore. “At the end of the period of the Second Temple,” writes the book A Letter from Elijah (Part 3), “strife and hatred intensified in Israel, and pride was the root of the desire for absolute dominance. This brought them into hatred of their fellow person until they could not stand the very existence of the other. From that root of pride also emerged the audacity to sin shamelessly, for they did not perceive the contradiction between their actions and their views, and their conscience did not cause them to conceal their actions. And if they do not care about the conflict between their views and their actions, then they are regarded as ‘all sin.’ These are the things that caused the ruin of the House.”

A Land without a Sovereign

Today, we have a state, and we seemingly have sovereignty. But the name, “The State of Israel,” is still devoid of content. Our intolerance toward each other, our disdain toward our own people is skyrocketing. If we do not realize that we are repeating the same crime of unfounded hatred we committed two millennia ago, we will be banished from this land again until we are ready to unite above our differences as did our forefathers in the desert.

 

This Monday evening, we will mark the ninth of Av, the date when the Temple was destroyed. But it was destroyed in our hearts long before the bricks were set ablaze. With these compelling words, The Hida describes this inner ruin (Devarim Achadim, Tractate no. 6): “What can we say when we regret all day the ruin of the House and the [absence of] redemption? …It was all ruined because of unfounded hatred, and if we are disunited now and there is unfounded hatred, how can the House be built, since the cause of our ruin has not ceased from us? How can we say that we await Your salvation all the day while there is still unfounded hatred in our midst? Woe, how can man do good deeds as long as his impurity of baseless hatred is still in him?”

To be the landlords in the land of Israel, we must become once more the people of Israel, yehudim [Jews] from the word, yihudi [united]. Unless we reconstruct our unity and reassume our commitment to be a beacon of unity unto nations, the world will not support our being here and we will be expelled once more.

Sovereignty in the land of Israel is unlike the sovereignty in any other land—acquired by military might. This land has no sovereign; its dwellers are people who are willing to connect, to unite above their hatred, just like our forefathers. If we can learn the lesson from the horrors of our ancestors and transcend our selfish egos, we will merit staying here, and the entire world will be behind us. But if we opt once more for enmity, then we will suffer the hostility of the entire world, but not before we scuffle with each other once again.

For more information on antisemitism and the role of the people of Israel, please visit Why Do People Hate Jews.

Michael Laitman has a PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah and an MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. He was the prime disciple of Kabbalist Rav Baruch Shalom Ashlag (the RABASH). Laitman has written over 40 books, which have been translated into dozens of languages. Click Here to visit his author page.

 

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Posted on 07/31/2017 5:31 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Monday, 31 July 2017
Could $7.3B Federal Appellate decision against Sudan for 1998 African Embassies Blasts upset Sanctions Relief?
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by Lt. Gen Abakar M. Abdallah, Jerry Gordon and Deborah Martin

US Embassy Nairobi, Kenya bombing August 8, 1998

On Friday, July 28, 2017 the US Federal Appellate Court in Washington in a ruling affirmed a District of Columbia Appellate Court ruling granting an award of $7.3 billion against Sudan. That was compensation for  US and potentially non-US African victims in the 1998 Al Qaeda bombings that destroyed two US Embassies in the east African nations of Kenya and Tanzania. The Federal Appellate court ruling comes near the 19th anniversary on August 8, 1998 of the “simultaneous bombing at US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 224 people. More than 5,000 were wounded. Twelve of those killed in Kenya  were US citizens.” Sudan and Iran had been implicated in providing sanctuary, funding and training bases for Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda terrorists,12 of who were indicted. Sudan continued funding Al Qaeda, after the alleged departure of Bin Laden in 1996.

These attacks were allegedly retribution by al Qaeda for US coalition forces “despoiling the holy lands” of Saudi Arabia during the First Gulf War in Kuwait against the regime of the late Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein. The African Embassies bombings followed a similar revenge truck bombing at Khobar Towers on June 25, 1996 that were grounds for Bin Laden allegedly departing the Sudan.   The Khobar, Saudi Arabia bombing was perpetrated by Iran and proxy Hezbollah‘s terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyah.  19 US service personnel and one Saudi national were killed, and 498 others were wounded.

The Federal Appellate Court decision in Washington last Friday comes amidst the Trump Administration review of the Obama Administration Executive Order No. 13761 signed on January 13, 2017 temporarily lifting the 20 year sanctions against the regime of ICC-indicted Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. President Trump signed an executive order on July 11, 2017 deferring a decision on permanently lifting the Sudan sanctions until October 31, 2017.  How this Federal Court ruling will materially impact on the ultimate Trump Administration decision is a matter of speculation.  Further, it might complicate possible recent permission granted the Khartoum regime by the US Treasury that allegedly may enable Sudan to use the international financial transaction system.

The Hill reported  on the background and outstanding implementation questions that now face the DC Appellate court regarding compensation of American and non-US victims, “Court upholds $7.3B judgment against Sudan over embassy bombings.”

A federal appeals court on Friday ordered Sudan to pay more than $7 billion in damages to American families of victims of the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that Sudan was liability for the bombings at U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

However, it threw out the $4.3 billion in punitive damages and is seeking to clarify whether the non-American victims’ families [also] qualify for a chunk of the more than $7.3 billion in damages.

The ruling, written by Judge Douglas Ginsburg, a Reagan appointee, affirmed much of the lower courts’ ruling and rejected arguments from Sudan’s government that the court had considered “inadmissible evidence” to make their final determination.

"We’re obviously very pleased that the D.C. Circuit has affirmed [a lower court] decision after what has been a long struggle in court  [for]  the families,” said Stuart Newberger, a lawyer for the U.S. families at the law firm Crowell & Moring.  “We are hopeful that with this ruling, the Americans who were killed in [the attacks] get closer to reaching a final resolution to the tragic saga in their lives and finally get some closure.”

Lawyers for the Sudanese government argued that the entire case should have been thrown out for several reasons, foremost by challenging the court’s interpretation of the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA), which was revised in the middle of the 15-year legal proceeding. 

Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan until the government kicked him out in 1996. The court took the side of expert witnesses that said the country continued to fund the terrorist group al Qaeda, which carried out the attacks that killed 200 people — including 12 Americans. 

Sudan has denied its responsibility, saying that it tried to offer bin Laden to the U.S.

The federal appeals court is now asking the D.C. Court of Appeals, the top local court in the District of Columbia, if the families of non-American victims are eligible for compensation, because those provisions fall under state and not federal laws.

The ruling comes against the background of increased lobbying by both the American family members and the Sudanese government, which is working to lift U.S. sanctions.

The victims this week hired a lobbying firm, Kamins Consulting, to help obtain compensation for U.S. government workers injured or killed in the attacks in Kenya and Tanzania.

Scott Kamins has worked at both the Republican National Committee (RNC), where he served as its liaison to Capitol Hill, and at the State Department in the George W. Bush administration.

They also have Monument Policy Group, Morris J. Amitay — who worked as a Foreign Service Officer at the State Department from 1962 to 1969 — and McGuireWoods Consulting.

The firms are working to keep and expand a program that provides money to any American victims of terror attacks who also “have a federal judgment of liability and a separate judgment for a damage award,” said Frank Donatelli of McGuireWoods, who works on the account.

Previous attempts to set up a fund for the victims proved unsuccessful, but lobbyists eventually were able to tuck a provision into an update [of] a law that pays for healthcare for 9/11 first responders.

It put billions of dollars into an account with money obtained from fines paid by a French bank that violated sanctions levied against Sudan, Cuba and Iran. It also set aside $1 billion for the victims of the U.S. embassy bombings. Earlier this year, those families collected a total of $230 million.

“If they’re going to have access to our financial system, part of the removal of the sanctions should involve compensating American victims of terror that they’ve been found liable for harming,” Donatelli said.

Donatelli said that paying the reparations would likely improve diplomatic relations with the U.S. and pave the way for lifting sanctions on Sudan.

The lobbying firms on retainer, which hadn’t yet been paid by the families, received contingency fees for the successful effort. The three firms made about $600,000 each for two years of work.

Meanwhile, Sudan recently hired Squire Patton Boggs to advocate on its behalf with executive branch officials and Congress on improving relations with the U.S. — including lifting sanctions and paving the way for an increase in foreign investment. 

It also [hired] boutique law firm Cooke Robotham on retainer.

 

 

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Posted on 07/31/2017 4:40 PM by Lt. Gen Abakar M Abdallah, Jerry Gordon Deborah Martin
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Monday, 31 July 2017
Charlie Gard, hope, hate and us: Exploring what made so many people so angry at the Great Ormond Street Hospital
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by Theodore Dalrymple

Is it better to live in false hope than in no hope at all? It depends, of course, and varies from case to case; but it is possible that the false hope of a miracle cure given to the parents of Charlie Gard, the English baby with a rare genetic disease, will embitter them for the rest of their days.

They will continue to believe that, but for the malignity of the staff of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, who opposed Charlie being sent to New York for experimental and unproved therapy, their baby would have survived and lived happily ever after. This thought will gnaw at them to no good purpose.

They fought in the courts and lost. This raised the question of who “owns” a baby in a conflict such as that between Charlie’s parents and the hospital. Who has the right to decide?

Normally, we don’t like the idea of the state telling parents what to do and how to bring up their child. On the other hand, the world is full of cranks. My initiation into just how far people would go to impose their strange ideas on their own children occurred more than 40 years ago, when as a student I examined a baby who was bright orange.

The baby’s parents, who believed in everything alterative and that carrot juice was the perfect food, gave the child nothing else but carrot juice. In these circumstances, could one just leave the parents to get on with it, and in effect kill their baby?

Future historians (if there are any) will look back on the case of Charlie Gard with amazement, and perhaps amusement. Why should the case have captured the attention of the world, such that both the President of the United States and the Pope (whose judgment on many things is reliably bad) found the time to comment on it? Is it not strange that in world of several billions, and in which war, famine and disease have not been eliminated, the fate of a single baby, whose fate was certain to be terrible whatever was done, should have captured so much attention?

Perhaps the case will be taken as bearing out Stalin’s brutal and cynical epigram, that one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

A single case appeals to the imagination as a million cases do not, and probably never can. That is why thousands of people contributed money towards Charlie’s hypothetical therapy, though from the point of view of saving human life those funds could have been much better employed elsewhere.

But people are sentimentalists, not statisticians; their hearts rule their heads, and probably it can never be any other way. We will never be just calculating machines.

But there is another side to sentimentality, as there is always another side to a coin, and that is senseless rage and even brutality. It is curious that, while thousands were contributing funds supposedly to save Charlie, thousands were sending messages of hate and even threats to the staff of Great Ormond Street Hospital, irrespective of whether or not they were personally involved in the case — as, of course, most of them were not. Great Ormond Street Hospital, after all, treats many thousands of patients a year.

This behavior is very curious and rather frightening. Part of the problem is that it is so quick and easy to send a message nowadays: Hardly any time intervenes between thought (or emotion) and message. Not so very long ago, the type of person outraged by the hospital’s conduct in the case would have had to put pen to paper, and gone to the trouble of finding the hospital’s address, posting the letter, etc. There is nothing like having to make an effort for reducing enthusiasm for expressing of your rage. Thirty years ago, Great Ormond Street Hospital would not have received the same number of letters as it received electronic insults, threats and menaces.

The question, then, is whether, 30 years ago, all the rage expressed by these insults, threats and menaces existed but simply went unexpressed, or whether the ability to express it actually called it into existence. Does our ability now to communicate the first thing that comes into our head alter the nature of the first thing that comes into our head? After all, anger is a habit like any other and, as everyone knows (if he is honest with himself), there is a certain pleasure in being angry.

In addition, if you express anger on behalf of someone else — Charlie Gard, for example — you have the additional pleasure of thinking that you must be a good, generous soul concerned for the welfare of others.

The next time you are angry, therefore, lay down your smartphone, send no message, and wait for at least twenty-four hours, if not forever. The chances are that you when you are angry you are enjoying yourself, and that there is something bogus in your rage. That is the most valuable lesson of the Charlie Gard case.

First published in the NY Daily News.

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Posted on 07/31/2017 7:07 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Monday, 31 July 2017
Theodore Dalrymple, The Proper Procedure and Other Stories
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New English Review Press is pleased to announce the publication of our twenty-third book, The Proper Procedure and Other Stories by Theodore Dalrymple.

Theodore Dalrymple, almost singlehandedly, revived the languishing Essay and in so doing became Britain s answer to Montaigne. In this, his first foray into the Short Story form, he proves himself a rival of Anton Chekhov.
His many devoted fans will be delighted.

 

Once encountered, Theodore Dalrymple has become for many of us a shared treasure the cultured, often mordantly funny social commentator who was for many years a psychiatrist at a British prison. No one else writes so engagingly and so candidly about the world as it is, not as the politically correct would have it be. 
Charles Murray, author of The Bell Curve and Coming Apart

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Posted on 07/31/2017 5:18 AM by NER
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Sunday, 30 July 2017
Universities UK headquarters hosted Islamic extremist group, despite national student union ban
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A radical Islamist group which the Government has threatened to ban was invited to give a talk at the headquarters of Universities UK, The Telegraph has learned.

Hizb ut-Tahrir, a Salafi movement which is proscribed in parts of Europe and much of the Middle East, has called for the establishment of a caliphate and the introduction of Shari’ah law throughout the Islamic world.

It has been “no platformed” by the National Union of Students and a number of universities have cancelled events after learning that  Hizb ut-Tahrir speakers were due to attend.

Universities UK is the 'Voice of Universities' in the UK. Its London office is in Tavistock Square. At an event for university vice-Chancellors, Jamal Harwood of Hizb ut-Tahrir was billed as a headline speaker. He is Canadian born, a convert, who considers himself British. His field is Islamic economics, and the superiority of the Kaliphate. He was allowed to speak at the University of Westminster in 2012. 

Earlier this year he also spoke at another Universities UK venue, the Woburn House Conference Centre on the subject “Is the Caliphate a viable alternative for the Middle East?” 

All speaker events at universities are supposed to follow government Prevent Policy guidance and Hannah Stuart, co-head of the security and extremism unit at Policy Exchange, said it is “astonishing” that Universities UK hosted an event featuring Hizb ut-Tahrir on its own premises.?

However UUK say that Woburn house was hired by an outside organisation, for what they described as a 'Great Debate'. had they known that a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir was to speak they would not have permittted it; they were misled by the organisers and they wil not be doing business with them (whoever they are) again. 

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Posted on 07/30/2017 1:07 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 30 July 2017
Netanyahu: Insisting That He’d Ne’er Relent — Relented
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

After two Israeli guards were shot to death on the Temple Mount on July 14, Israel promptly did what it should have done long ago: it installed metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount, in order to make it harder for weapons to be smuggled onto it. There was nothing particularly unusual about such metal detectors. They are all over the world, most noticeably at every airport. Entrances to both the House and the Senate require visitors to pass through metal detectors. Metal detectors are now at the Houses of Parliament and the Palace of Westminster in London. They are at the provincial legislatures in Canada and at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. After the attacks on Bataclan in Paris and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, more and more nightclubs have installed metal detectors. Government office buildings all over America have them. Courts have them. You can’t look at the riches in the Louvre until you pass through metal detectors. Metal detectors, too, guard the Musee D’Orsay. Even to approach the Eiffel Tower, you have to pass through metal detectors. In Washington, the Air and Space Museum, the Museum of American History, and the Natural History museums all use metal detectors. Fabled Fenway Park has metal detectors. The Taj Mahal has metal detectors. So does the Indian Parliament. At St. Peter’s Basilica, there are metal detectors. There are now even metal detectors at checkpoints leading into St. Peter’s Square. This year, for the first time, there were metal detectors at the Cannes Film Festival.

And in the Middle East, no important mosque or shrine is without its metal detectors. In fact, a lot of lesser-known mosques all over the world now have their metal detectors. No one seems to mind; everyone understands they are there to save lives. The Saudis have metal detectors at every entrance to the Great Mosque of Mecca. The Sayyeda Zainab Mosque (Shiite) in Damascus has metal detectors. So does the Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini in Teheran. As for the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad, it, too, has metal detectors. There are metal detectors at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. And by now you can probably guess, not to be outdone are the Egyptians, with metal detectors at the Mosque of ibn Tulun in Cairo. And you would not be surprised to learn, I’m sure, that the Al-Abbas Holy Shrine in Karbala, Iraq has — you guessed it!– metal detectors. In Tehran, at the university, for Friday Prayers, everyone must pass through — a metal detector!

But there is one place where metal detectors are apparently an unforgivable offense. In Jerusalem, there are metal detectors for those wishing to visit the Western Wall, but that’s okay, because it’s Jews who are being checked on. But it’s the other metal detectors, the ones put in place less than two weeks ago, that have become a source of rage among the “Palestinians.” And while Prime Minister Netanyahu gave the impression he would not allow Israel to be swayed, he rather quickly changed his mind, and “insisting he would ne’er relent, relented.” The Israelis removed the metal detectors and instead installed security cameras. Again,the “Palestinians” appeared on the streets, ready to rage. Again they prostrated themselves in prayer on the street outside the Lion’s Gate entry to the Temple Mount. Again they demanded the removal of security equipment, meaning now the security cameras. Again the Israelis gave the impression that in no uncertain terms, they would not back down. And then, still in no uncertain terms, Israel backed down again, and removed the security cameras, giving the “Palestinians” the victory they so richly undeserved.

If there is any conceivable reason to justify these soft retreatments, it may have to do with the unofficial understanding Israel now has with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who are friends of convenience, for all three countries share an abiding fear of Iran. It may be that the Israelis were given to understand that those alliances would be endangered if the Arab “street’” were to be whipped up by the manufactured hysteria of the “Palestinians,” and that it was more important to maintain a common front against Iran than to insist on enhanced security at the Temple Mount. In any case, there may be other ways that the Israelis can enhance security without publicizing their methods. Who knows what the extremely clever Israelis may manage to come up with? Eyes in the sky, with ever-improving technology for eagle-eyed drones that neither slumber nor sleep.

The Israelis should now announce that should there ever be another attack on Israeli soldiers on the Temple Mount, soldiers who are there only to assure order, and to prevent projectiles being hurled on Jewish worshippers below, then the metal detectors will be reinstalled. And Prime Minister Netanyahu should make sure to add that those metal detectors will remain to provide security for everyone, Muslim, Christian and Jew, just as similar metal detectors now provide security all over the world, at the American Congress and the British Parliament and at Muslim sites, too, including the Great Mosque in Mecca, the Mosque of ibn Tulun in Cairo, the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashad, etc. etc., and, of course, the munificent mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini — gone but not forgotten — in Tehran.

I don’t think the “Palestinians” will, even now, simmer down. They’re exhibiting what Churchill famously attributed to Muslims in general, that is “a fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog.” So let the dogs bark, while the caravan moves on.

First published in Jihad Watch.

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Posted on 07/30/2017 6:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 30 July 2017
Muslim gang ‘urge paedophile footballer Adam Johnson to convert to Islam because they are the only inmates who will protect him in prison'
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Convicted sex offender Adam Johnson has been urged to convert to Islam by Muslim criminals, it has been claimed.

The former Sunderland player was offered protection by Islamic inmates after several other convicts threatened to slash his throat.   Subsequently, the convicts said the 30-year-old must convert to Islam as part of the protection deal. Johnson has been spotted praying but has yet to join the religion.

Johnson, who is serving a six year sentence after engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old fan, is said to have asked to be moved from Moorland Prison, in South Yorkshire, but his request has been rejected.

One source said: 'At first he was unwilling to take up the offer because he thought he was going to get a transfer out of Moorland, but that’s a non-starter. . . Johnson looks like a dead man walking. The only group willing to look after him are a group of Muslim hardcases. They are very devout and pray five times a day. No-one gives them any trouble. They always offer to help vulnerable inmates, but the price is that anyone they help must convert to Islam. When Johnson discovered he was being targeted they immediately offered him protection. . . "

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Posted on 07/30/2017 5:23 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 29 July 2017
Australia: Counter-Terrorism Raids Intended to Foil Attacks
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Got Muslims? Got Jihad.  All over the lands of the infidels, whether first-world or third-world, wherever colonies of mohammedans have become established, our police and associated law enforcement agents are being run off their feet trying to keep ahead of a/ the criminal activity so often engaged in by mohammedans nd b/ seditious and usually mass-murderous jihad terror plots hatched by mohammedans.  There have been plenty of similar raids and arrests in the past, carried out in order to nip jihad plots in the bud; and until and unless Australia stops importing mohammedans and starts figuring out how to evict those already established, there will be many more.  

Breaking news, as reported by our ABC this morning (there is, of course, no mention of the M-word, the J-word, or of That Which Must Not Be Named, no reference to You-Know-Who and You-Know-What, but the location of certain of the raided premises - heavily-Islamised Lakemba, and similarly-Islamised Punchbowl - still gives it away)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-29/terrorism-raids-in-sydney-sees-streets-closed-one-arrested/8756802

'Sydney Counter-Terrorism Police Carry Out Raids Aimed at Foiling Attacks, Prime Minister Says".

'Police have carried out raids at several properties across Sydney to disrupt plans for terrorist attacks in Australia", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says.

He would never be brave enough to utter the words, "to disrupt Muslim plans for terror jihad attacks on Australian infidels".  But that is what he should have said.  - CM

'Four homes across Sydney were raided by heavily-armed police on Saturday evening as part of a terrorism investigation.

Note that the police went in 'heavily-armed'.  Sydney police have learned from bitter experience that when dealing with the Mohammedan mob one must be prepared both to display and use overwhelming force. - CM

'Australian Federal Police (AFP), ASIO, and New South Wales Police conducted operations in the inner-city suburb of Surry Hills, and the south-west suburbs of Lakemba, Wiley Park, and Punchbowl.

Surry Hills is a bit unexpected - but Lakemba and Punchbowl are among the most heavily-Islamised parts of Sydney and indeed, Australia.  Wiley Park is also inhabited by Muslim families already known to have produced jihadis. - CM

'The AFP said four men had been taken into custody.

'A source has told the ABC the plot was believed to relate to an attack on an aeroplane, but it was understood police are trying to work out whether the threat was credible.

'A woman has told the ABC her son and husband were arrested after her Surry Hills house was raided denied they had any links to terrorism.

That's because in the Muslim mind - assuming she is Muslim, which is a safe bet - 'terrorism' is what happens when Infidels refuse to Submit to Islam.  In Saudi Arabia you are a 'terrorist' if you are an atheist.  Muslim aggression of all kinds against Infidels, undertaken in order to force the Infidels to Submit to Muslim dominance, whether as converts or as near-slave Dhimmis, is not 'terrorism'; it is seen as perfectly justified and justifiable. - CM

"I love Australia", she said, as she was accompanied to a waiting car by police.

Oh sure she loves 'Australia' - meaning by 'Australia' the large chunk of turf, packed full of potential booty for mohammedan robbers and rapists.  It's Infidel Australians she doesn't love at all - that, indeed, she views with murderous contempt and hatred - if she is a Mohammedan. - CM

'The Prime Minister's Office released a statement saying the operations were "designed to disrupt and prevent plans to undertake terrorist attacks in Australia".

"I have been kept closely briefed on the progress of the operations by the heads of our relevant security agencies", Mr Turnbull said.

"However, as the operations are ongoing, it is inappropriate to provide further detail at this stage."

Watch this space.  More, no doubt, to come.

And there will be more, and more, and yet more, jihad plots - and sooner or later, one or more or many that will evade surveillance until it is too late, bringing about the deaths of one or many or hundreds or even thousands of despised Aussie Infidels, attacked by Muslims to punish them for their outrageous refusal to Submit totally to Muslim despotism and Muslim laws and customs - unless and until the authorities in Australia put a complete stop to all further Muslim immigration, evict all non-citizen Muslims already within the country, and then intern the rest as a potential public danger, pending changes in the law to make possible strippings of citizenship and mass deportations to the dar al Islam. - CM

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Posted on 07/29/2017 9:56 PM by Christina McIntosh
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Saturday, 29 July 2017
Why is the Trump Administration denying Justice in the Z Street v IRS case?
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by Jerry Gordon

The Wall Street Journal published an opinion article on July 27, 2017  by Philadelphia lawyer Jerome Marcus, “Obama IRS Abuse Should Unite Trump and Sessions.” Note the tag line, “Career Justice Department lawyers are still defending the old administration’s indefensible positions.”  See Marcus’ WSJ opinion article, republished in Real Clear Politics and FoxNews below.

Jerome Marcus, Esq., is the husband of long term friend and founder of embattled Z Street, Lori Lowenthal Marcus, and he has represented the organization in its long legal struggle against the viewpoint bias of the Obama administration's IRS against Israel. For full disclosure I am a member of the founding board of Z Street.

We have posted in the New English Review  and its blog The Iconoclast the chronicle of litigation since 2010 against the IRS in the Federal Courts, first in the Philadelphia District court then, following referral,  to the DC district and appeals courts.

This important pro bono case was brought because of the blatantly discriminatory treatment of Z Street's tax exemption application by Obama's IRS, because of the organization's differing viewpoint from Obama Administration policy regarding Israel. One defense by the IRS for its special treatment of Z Street was that Israel was where terrorism occurred (!). This case is vitally important because of viewpoint bias by the government in violation of the First Amendment. Counsel Jerome Marcus has won decisions in the matter at both the DC District and Appellate Court levels, most recently in a 3 to 0 decision in 2015.

Yet, even under the present Administration, Justice Department lawyers for the IRS  continue to engage in legal tactics delaying justice reflective of the Obama Administration attempt to deprive Z Street of not only its not for profit designation – which was withheld for more than six years- but more importantly its exercise of free speech on behalf of the Jewish nation of Israel.

The Wall Street Journal  (WSJ) has written more than a half dozen  opinion pieces  critical of the IRS and the Obama Department of Justice  regarding Z Street’s plight.  Now, WSJ editorial  page editor James Taranto, has provided an assist by running  Jerome Marcus’ op ed. Taranto has been an important ally in this legal battle for justice for free speech under our First Amendment.

The Z street case, and the others like it, affords a mechanism by which the administration can advance its own policy agenda while simultaneously striking a blow for civil rights and revealing Obama administration corruption.  The District court opinion in the Z Street case — upholding the legal merit of its claims, and rejecting the Obama administration defenses  — was written by an African American woman who had been appointed to the bench by President Obama.  The panel of the DC Circuit that affirmed her (and that excoriated the Justice Department at oral argument) was presided over by Judge Merrick Garland.  Thus the President could obtain an important victory on civil rights (against viewpoint discrimination), exposing the anti-Israeli policies of the former President and helping non-profits whose views were deemed wrong by the Obama administration.

What follows in Jerome Marcus, Esq.’s  Wall Street Journal op ed.

Obama IRS Abuse Should Unite Trump and Sessions

Career Justice Department lawyers are still defending the old administration’s indefensible positions.

 

By Jerome Marcus

July 26, 2017 6:03 p.m. ET

198 COMMENTS

President Trump has been feuding this week with Attorney General Jeff Sessions over matters related to last year’s campaign. But here’s an issue on which Messrs. Trump and Sessions should be able to find common ground: The Justice Department should stop defending Obama administration corruption.

I’m referring to the cases, still on file today, challenging or seeking to expose Internal Revenue Service policies that delayed applications for tax-exempt status from conservative groups. That’s viewpoint discrimination, a clear First Amendment violation.

The Obama Justice Department fought these cases intensely. It tried to get them thrown out of court before the plaintiffs had the chance to gather evidence. When that failed, Justice lawyers resisted discovery, to prevent disclosure of documents showing what the Obama administration was really doing.

That’s normal behavior for a defendant in a lawsuit. But since Jan. 20, the Justice Department has reported to Mr. Trump, who denounced each of the corrupt policies at issue in these cases.

So why is the department handling the cases as if it were still run by Eric Holder or Loretta Lynch ? Because many of the career lawyers who were put on these cases by Obama Justice Department officials continue working on them, with no supervision from this administration. Those lawyers are still doing now what they have always done: fighting as hard as they can to prevent disclosure of what the Obama IRS, and the rest of the Obama administration, was doing to the country.

In one of these cases I represent the plaintiff. Z Street is a pro-Israel nonprofit that educates on Zionism and how to oppose terror. It applied in 2009 for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. For months, Z Street’s lawyers fielded duplicative IRS requests for information about its board of directors, but after long delays the IRS hadn’t made a decision on the application. In July 2010 Z Street asked why, and an IRS agent revealed that the applications of many organizations connected to Israel “are being sent to a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the [Obama] administration’s public policies.”

We sued to stop and expose this clear violation of Z Street’s First Amendment rights.

Justice Department lawyers representing the IRS argued that the case should be thrown out even if Z Street was right about its constitutional claim, because a statute allowed the organization to sue in court for tax-exempt status nine months after its application date. In 2015 the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected that position by a 3-0 vote. During oral argument Chief Judge Merrick Garland observed that the department’s position would mean “the government is free to constitutionally discriminate against its citizens for 270 days.”

Since then we’ve been in discovery, and Justice has been fighting to prevent Z Street from learning how the IRS policy was formed, by whom, and at whose direction. The IRS finally granted Z Street its tax-exempt status last year, after the D.C. Circuit made clear that was a necessary condition for throwing out the case.

Other important cases are in the same posture. A class action is pending in Ohio brought by many other nonprofits victimized by policies similar to the one that delayed Z Street’s application by over six years. Judicial Watch is suing to force the IRS to release information on its Obama-era policies of viewpoint discrimination. And the problem isn’t limited to the IRS. Judicial Watch has also sued the State Department seeking release of Hillary Clinton’s emails and document-retention policies.

The government lawyers in all these cases are working hard to prevent anyone from finding out what the Obama administration was doing. Cleta Mitchell, who has represented tea-party organizations in the IRS viewpoint-targeting scandal, says Justice Department lawyers “have been stalling, obfuscating and doing all they can in these cases to avoid holding the IRS accountable.”

That’s true even though all these lawyers now work for President Trump. And it’s true even though Mr. Trump knows full well that the Obama IRS violated the Constitution by discriminating against opposing viewpoints, and that the Obama State Department wrongfully shielded Mrs. Clinton’s emails from public view.

Messrs. Trump and Sessions, as well as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, should all be able to agree on this. The executive branch, through the Justice Department, can on its own agree to release the desired information and end these cases, without any permission from Congress or CNN. That would lighten the workload at Justice and shine sunlight on clearly improper Obama policies.

A famous Justice Department lawyer said long ago that “the government wins when justice is done.” Now’s the time for the Department of Justice to do justice.

Mr. Marcus is a Philadelphia lawyer.

Appeared in the July 27, 2017, print edition.

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Posted on 07/29/2017 3:03 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Saturday, 29 July 2017
Grey Parrot Disappointed To Discover Rest Of Aviary A Bunch Of Idiots
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The Onion: PITTSBURGH—Saying he didn’t know how long he could put up with his enclosure companions, an African grey parrot was reportedly disappointed Monday to discover that the other birds in his new aviary are a bunch of idiots. “They seemed cool when I got here last week, but the more I talk to them, the more I realize they’re all morons,” said the 33-year-old bird, adding that he found it impossible to relate to the cockatoos and parakeets who “sit there squawking at their own stupid reflections in the mirror all goddamn day.” “Every bird here is dumber than the last. I was using a twig to retrieve food from a hole, and the entire time this dipshit toucan was just staring at me with seeds all over his dumb beak. And half of them just march up and down the same fucking branch literally nonstop, but they’re so fucking idiotic they never get bored of it.” At press time, the exasperated African grey realized he either had to escape or wait for the other stupid birds to break their necks flying into the walls of the cage.

You said it brother.

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Posted on 07/29/2017 1:51 PM by Tolstoy, the Parrot
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Saturday, 29 July 2017
The Odour of Sanctity
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by Theodore Dalrymple

Simone Veil, the French politician most responsible for the passage of the law to legalise medical termination of pregnancy in France, died recently at the age of 87 in what I would be tempted to call, if France were not so militantly secular a country, the odour of sanctity. She was incontestably a redoubtable woman, a survivor of the German camps to which she was deported at the age of 16; but the effects of the law that she so assiduously promoted soon escaped her control and went far beyond its original intentions, as so many reformist laws are inclined to do. Very few reformers, however, ever take this tendency into account, perhaps because, for many of them, reform is the whole purpose and meaning of their lives.

The French law was intended to relieve the suffering consequent upon the prohibition of deliberate abortion; but, just as it had in Britain several years before, it rapidly became something else entirely, in effect the guarantee of a human right now deemed to be as fundamental as, say, protection against arbitrary arrest. If the French had looked across the Channel in 1975 (the year the law was passed), they would have seen how quickly abortion under certain prescribed conditions had become, in effect, abortion on demand; but despite (or perhaps because of) the proximity of the two countries, neither ever condescends to learn from the experience of the other.

Before long, there were cases of abortion in Britain granted to women who did not want to be pregnant during their holidays. Like the French law, the British was ostensibly intended to avoid the suffering caused by the prohibition of abortion: but if you offer an incentive for people to be miserable, then misery (or at least claims to misery) is what you will get. It is true that doctors were excused on grounds of conscience from signing the requisite forms recommending termination, but they were obliged to point women in the direction of doctors who would sign the forms, so that the requirement was a dead-letter; and in any case, it was soon argued that, statistically-speaking, termination was safer than any pregnancy carried to term, and therefore that termination was always justified under the terms of the law.

Whether the original framers of the law intended this outcome or not (I suspect that some of them did), abortion on demand was its outcome.

However, the issue of abortion never became quite as heated or divisive in Britain or France as it became, and as I suspect it remains, in the United States. But if my understanding of the controversy in the United States is correct, the debate is carried out in rather crude terms. On the one side there are those who say that the fertilised ovum is a full human being and therefore to kill it is as much murder as to shoot dead a passer-by in the street; on the other are those who claim that a woman’s body is her own and she has an inviolable right to do with it what she chooses. East is east and west is west, and never the twain shall meet.

It seems to me that both sides in this dialogue of the deaf are mistaken and grossly oversimplify reality. It seems to me intuitively absurd to claim that killing a conceptus is no different from killing a child or a grown man, even if that conceptus is growing in a twelve year-old child who has been raped. Likewise, supposing (per impossibile) that one were faced with the choice of saving either the mother or a conceptus by causing the death of the other, it would be absurd to claim that the choice was a morally neutral one. And if someone were to mourn (as against regret) a spontaneous miscarriage in the same way and to the same extent as the death of a child or parent, one would think him or her not merely very odd, but morally unbalanced.

The other side is no better, however. In the first place, to say that one owns oneself and can therefore dispose of oneself as one chooses is wrong. To say of one’s body that one owns it is a peculiar way of describing the relationship between one’s self and one’s body: I don’t own my face like I own my computer, for example.

Moreover, ownership does not imply, or necessarily imply, an infinite right, either legal or moral, to disposal of what is owned. I own my house, but I have no right to burn it down if I see fit to do so. And if I own a Vermeer, I may have a legal, but surely not a moral, right to destroy it. Morally speaking, I do not own the Vermeer; I am its temporary custodian. It is otherwise with the lead pencil on my desk, which I likewise own. It seems to me that our bodies are more like Vermeers than they are like lead pencils.

Furthermore, a conceptus is not just part of a woman’s body, and the fact that she carries it, and will eventually give birth to it in pain and sorrow, does not give her infinite rights over it. Her interest in it may be greater than anyone else’s, no doubt, but it is not unique or exclusive. For one thing, the conceptus is partly the father’s, at least until such time as humans replace themselves purely by parthenogenesis. One would hope that children were most often the product of a loving mutual decision of the mother and the father; and a world in which mothers militantly put their supposed rights above such decisions in importance would be a truly horrible one, deeply savage and uncivilised.

In general, though, women do not consider abortion an operation just like any other (though some do); it is not for them the same as the removal of a blemish of the skin, say, or even the removal of a gall bladder. They apprehend, perhaps not fully or coherently, that abortion is not simply another operation, but has a much profounder significance; and they apprehend it even if they have no religious belief.

So how do you frame a law that avoids the indisputable cruelties and hardships occasioned by total prohibition, while not acceding to the uncouth and ill-founded demands of the other side, and avoiding the bogus jurisprudence of Roe v. Wade? Arguments that rely solely on competing rights can result only in shouting matches; they have the psychological effect of limiting the moral imagination. On the other hand, the law must lay down with reasonable predictability and consistency what is permissible and what is not.

There is a limit to what the law can achieve if it is not to become, in effect, the absolute arbiter or dictator of our lives. Therefore, it is up to the population to exercise virtue, because:

Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.

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Posted on 07/29/2017 7:30 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Saturday, 29 July 2017
What Good Is the Republican Party?
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by Gary Fouse

This week, the Republicans in the Senate put the screws to any hopes of replacing and repealing Obama Care. First, seven Republicans joined every Democrat in voting No on a repeal of Obama Care. Then on Friday, three Republicans, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, joined every Democrat in voting No on  a so-called skinny repeal, a lesser version. At the end of the day, Obama Care stands and the promise that the Republican party has made to its voters for seven years has been broken.

Remember the time when Republicans told us voters that we needed to give them back the House so they could oppose Obama's policies and work to repeal Obama Care? We gave them the House. Then they told us we needed to give them the Senate. We did that too. Then they proceeded to let Obama do whatever he wanted. They told us we needed to elect a Republican president. In 2016, that happened. Republicans now hold the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the White House.They still can't get anything done. Chuck Schumer basically runs the Senate.

In addition, the Republicans had seven years to design a quality plan to replace Obama Care. They couldn't do it. All they did was rush out a hastily drawn up plan that still left the government controlling too much of health care.

I ask you: What good is this Republican party?

Full disclosure: I am not a Republican. I don't belong to any political party, but I vote Republican because the Democrats are so far to the left and so corrupt it turns my stomach. But the events of this week are the reason I have never joined the Republican party.

Conservative commentator Michael Medved often points out that voting for third party candidates is an exercise in electing the one you oppose. The examples of Ross Perot and Ralph Nader are a testament to that. Without Perot, Bill Clinton would probably not have been president, and we would have been spared the tawdry career of Hillary Clinton. Without Ralph Nader, Al Gore would likely have been president. There is also the added governmental confusion that would result if we had more than two viable parties with coalition governments being cobbled together as they are in Europe.

But at some point, the two party system,which has served us so well for so long, loses it appeal if one party is so ineffective and feckless as are the Republicans. When the Democrats hold all three parts of the government, they get (bad) things done. The Republicans are getting nothing done once you get past Trump's executive orders. It is Trump who is having his federal law enforcement agencies round up MS-13, the vicious Salvadoran street gang. It is Trump who nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. It is Trump who has reversed so many of Obama's executive orders.

At some point, conservatives need to bite the bullet and consider a truly conservative and committed third party. Call it the Conservative Party. Call it the Tea Party. Call it what you will, but it should leave no doubt that people like Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and others like them are not welcome.

And while we're at it, we also need to bring in term limits, but that is a topic for a separate discussion.

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Posted on 07/29/2017 5:41 AM by Gary Fouse
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Saturday, 29 July 2017
The Decline and Fall of The Economist
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Its Trump-bashing is a disgrace.

by Conrad Black 

For decades, The Economist steadily built up its sales in the United States as it found a market that was constantly growing in wealth and numbers and that could not be reached by the banalities of Time and Newsweek. Henry Luce’s American Century at Time tapered off into trite American vanity expressed in sophomoric attempts at sly writing. Newsweek was just the leavings shaken out of the Washington Post and finally ended up offering no news at all, only a series of tired opinion columns, as if any sane person would pay to have such material printed on glossy paper and stapled. The Economist’s world reach, authoritative departments, robust Oxbridge English, clever photos and covers, and even smart Fleet Street photo captions, plus its enlightened conservatism, were a winning formula in the U.S. (At the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, it ran a black-and-white cover of a riot scene with charging mounted police and clouds of tear gas over the title “In This United Kingdom.”)

For a long time The Economist had too much faith in big and bossy government, and more concentration on apparent competence at execution and at the parliamentary despatch box or Washington press conference than on sound public policy. But The Economist, for a time, understood America. It was engulfed in the Watergate inundation and joined the righteous tide, unlike much of the continental European media that saw it all (accurately) as a pious exercise in Anglo-Saxon hypocrisy covering the crucifixion of a capable and successful president (and there remains no convincing evidence that Richard Nixon committed any illegalities). But The Economist also saw, unlike almost all of Europe, that Ronald Reagan was the man in 1980; that Jimmy Carter was too insipid and indecisive to lead; that the Soviet Union was effectively out of control in Afghanistan, Central America, and Angola; and that the United States was starting to resemble “the pitiful helpless giant” that Mr. Nixon had warned it could become.

After the end of the Cold War, The Economist took its stance inflexibly for an integrated federal Europe, world free trade and almost open borders regardless of the resulting disruptions of immense flows of desperate people and dumped goods, the disgorgement of hundreds of billions of dollars to fight chimerical climate change, and a depressingly misguided or passive America. The Economist had reservations about George W. Bush’s harebrained pursuit of democracy, as it produced democratically elected anti-democratic governments. It has been magnificent in its exposé of the failure of the American War on Drugs and absurd over-sentencing and incarceration levels, and is generally fairly strong in non-political areas.

But The Economist did not understand at all the intolerable failures for America of one-sided trade deals, open borders, a bungled retreat from Alliance leadership, over-taxation, and opening the welfare floodgates and flat-lining economic growth while enthroning political correctness and embracing a foreign policy that consisted chiefly of inviting America’s enemies and allies to change roles and places. Like the corrupt, morally bankrupt media apologists for the Obama-Clinton failures and peculations, and the fatigued snobs of highbrow conservatism who have deserted the Trump Republicans, they rose out of the water like salmon in anger at Donald Trump’s rough but effective campaigning methods, but completely failed to notice that he was the only candidate speaking for the country and the national interest, (though Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz rounded up those on the far left and right).

The U.K. magazine has lost no opportunity to denigrate Trump.

There is plenty of room to criticize Trump’s career and his official performance, but it is unprecedentedly unprofessional for The Economist to sandbag an incoming U.S. president, giving him no benefit of the doubt and admitting no possibility of success. In their edition dated July 1, summarizing his first five months, their special report is a disjointed travelogue and the lead editorial is just an onslaught on the president. It prejudges his tax-reform bill, yet to appear, as a giveaway to the rich, and falsely claims that he has “undermined the courts, the intelligence services, the State Department, and the [EPA].” It blames Trump, not the obstructionist Senate Democrats who are actually responsible, for the slow confirmations of administration officials,. It spuriously implies improprieties in current relations between the government and Trump’s business interests, and, fantastically, it blames the confection of the Frankenstein Monster of canards about election collusion with Russia on Trump, and not on the bloodless assassins of the Democratic party and their parrots in the national media. The Economist defends the boobs in the Congressional Budget Office (who have never predicted anything correctly in living memory) and blames lack of bipartisanship exclusively on Trump.

To The Economist, Trump already is and will remain “a bad president” who is responsible for America’s failed state education system and uneven health care (after five months in office). Trade deals that import unemployment into the U.S. are desirable and the fatuous Paris Accord was a “forum where countries [would] work together to solve problems.” I had to check that this was The Economist I was reading and not a handout from the Democratic National Committee or CNN (interchangeable). Most of Trump’s official and media enemies are venal hypocrites and incompetents who created this crisis of American decline these last 20 years, and if Trump fails, they will complete the disaster they began. It is distressing to see The Economist in such company. Walter Bagehot (founder of the publication), and some of his recent successors, would be appalled. I still believe Trump will succeed, because he must, and that The Economist will return to its editorial senses.

First published in National Review Online.

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Posted on 07/29/2017 5:06 AM by Conrad Black
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Friday, 28 July 2017
Hamburg attack was by 'failed asylum seeker' who shouted 'Allahu Akbar'
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Update from The Telegraph

A man shouting "Allahu Akbar" stabbed to death one person and wounded six others in a supermarket in the German city of Hamburg on Friday.

The attacker, who was born in the United Arab Emirates, was overpowered by passers-by and arrested.

Olaf Scholz, the mayor of Hamburg, said the attack had been motivated by "hate" and added that the suspected attacker was a failed asylum seeker whose deportation had been blocked because he lacked identity papers.

"I am outraged by the vicious attack that killed at least one Hamburger today," he said. "It makes me especially angry that the perpetrator appears to be a person who claimed protection in Germany and then turned his hate against us."

Citing security sources, Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported that the 26-year-old perpetrator was known to police as an Islamist. News agency DPA reported that security authorities were investigating evidence the man had Salafist ties.

"Suddenly I saw a man smeared with blood running along the other side of the road with a knife," an eyewitness identified as Ralf W. told Bild. "He shouted out 'Allahu Akbar' as he was running."

A female witness standing in line at the supermarket till also told NTV rolling news channel that "as he was running out... he held up his arms and shouted 'Allahu Akbar'."

But "people were running after him with improvised weapons, chairs and sticks... they ran after him into a side street," Ralf W. told Bild.

"People chased after the killer with chairs, they were throwing them at him," bakery worker Shaylin Roettmer told DPA.

Anti-terror officers armed with automatic weapons patrolled the scene and onlookers gathered behind strips of red-and-white police tape.

While the attacker's motives remain unknown, Germany has been on high alert about the threat of a jihadist attack,

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Posted on 07/28/2017 8:05 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 28 July 2017
One dead, four injured in Hamburg supermarket knife attack
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From the German edition of The Local

Police in Hamburg have confirmed the arrest of a man on suspicion of killing at least one person and injuring four others in a supermarket in the city on Friday.

Die Welt reports that the man entered the shop in the Barmbek district shortly after 3pm and attacked people at random with a knife, killing one and injuring four others. He then fled the scene but was arrested shortly afterwards.

German daily Bild published a picture of the attacker in the back of a police car with a white, blood-soaked bag over his head, and reported that he cried "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) in the supermarket. The suspect has not yet been identified.

One man, captured in the video on the Local website, told German media that he saw the man holding a knife and heard him shout "Allahu Akbar"

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Posted on 07/28/2017 10:32 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 28 July 2017
John McCain, President Trump's Nemesis?
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by Rebecca Bynum

The phoney FusionGPS dossier (which started the hysteria about Russian influence during the election) tracked down in Britain and given to FBI director Comey by...John McCain.

Grand strategic move to separate Russia from Iran and bring Russia more firmly into the West to oppose expansionist Islam foiled by....John McCain

Obamacare repeal foiled by....John McCain.

What will the Republicans do now? Will anyone upbraid John McCain they way they have consistently upbraided the President? Or will he continue to be able to stifle the President's agenda and for how long?

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Posted on 07/28/2017 7:02 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Friday, 28 July 2017
Great Again
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by Conrad Black

Everyone who follows American affairs should understand that the country is now in what amounts to a second, but non-violent civil war. There are still serious commentators who sagely counsel a return to bipartisanship, “reaching across the aisle,” as if anything of the kind were remotely possible. The Democrats and some of the Republicans smell blood and wish to see the Trump presidency destroyed and believe that to be possible. Some have been spooked by the malicious media carpet-bombing of the president; some actually think that there has been some impeachable offense committed, despite the absence of any evidence of one. But most have never seen such an immediate and no holds-barred battle between the Washington power structure and a new administration, because there has never been one, and want to see which way it moves before getting aboard one battle wagon or the other.

Because Donald Trump took control of the Republican Party by running against all factions of both parties, and the Washington media and lobbyists, Hollywood, Wall Street and the campaign financing system (and financed his own campaign for the nomination), and pitched his appeal to those dissatisfied with the system, he won an astonishing series of victories even unto the White House, and banished the Bush-Clinton-Obama triumvirate that had ruled post-Reagan America. But all the other elements of the political class he assaulted remain in place and are swarming Washington like assassins in the most unstable days of the Roman Republic and Empire. Every day, nonviolently, is the Ides of March.

Certainly, the opportunities for Trump’s opponents have been enhanced by some of the president’s inconsistencies and indiscretions, but almost all of these would have been overlooked or thought amiable in a normal presidential honeymoon, in which everyone settles in comfortably, a halcyon fairness is accorded by the media, and public curiosity about the new residents of the White House is benignly informed. None of it happened here, and even if the nature of the changeover: a righteous, raucous storming of Babylon by someone representing nearly half the people of a very dissatisfied and anxious country, assures the continuation of the war through Inauguration Day, the antics of Trump’s enemies have exceeded all modern American standards of systematic dishonesty. Jeff Sessions was the only Republican senator who supported him in the campaign. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would not appear in public with Trump, and then party chairman Reince Priebus ran for the tall grass several times. Neither of them expected him to win.

A Stumble and a Recovery
Trump has made a respectable effort to conciliate Republicans and place himself fairly gently at the head of that party. But it has been a delicate and incomplete act of union, and the congressional timetable has overtaken it.

The president failed to get right on top of the complicated health care issue, and was late to grasp how far Obama had succeeded in addicting many states and their congressional representatives to expanded aid for the low-income groups, Medicaid. Former president Obama incited a widespread desire for universal state-run health care, but which exposed the inherent corruption of many of the cross-arrangements of the large drug companies and private medical providers and hospital companies with influential members of the Congress. Paul Ryan’s biggest donor is Anthem, for example.

The president saved Ryan in getting the bill out of the House to the Senate, where senators who had shrieked for seven years they would repeal Obamacare and voted many times to do so, waffled and crumbled in a cowardly, shameful manner. They let the president down badly. It remains to be seen if anything of healthcare reform can be salvaged anytime soon, and Trump is not helping by oscillating between “letting Obamacare fail” and trying to pass something through a Senate with 48 disciplined Democrats, about 46 fairly purposeful Republicans, and five or six Republican hypocrites hiding under their desks and sheltering behind the anti-Trump media. The president’s efforts to shame and muscle his ostensible partisans into some consistency has some virtue, whatever happens.

The Republicans perhaps will make a better and successful effort at tax reform, already being denounced by the Democrats in Congress and the media, sight unseen, as the usual giveaway to the rich (who generally support the Democrats anyway with their odious fund-raising exactions in their splendid homes). Tax reform is also complicated and makes for better politics than health care; a bill is presumably being designed that would be difficult for the tin soldiers of Democratic Senate obstructionism to become too demonstrative about. This time, the president should be on top of the subject and lead from the front.

Crisis Leadership
The arrival of Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director is a sharp upward ratchet in the Trump game, and demonstrates a couple of his more impressive traits. The president does seek high-quality collaborators, as he did when his business was in crisis, and in forming his cabinet. He is highly determined and almost impossible to discourage. It has been a fierce battle these six months and both sides are escalating, which makes talk of bipartisanship especially absurd.

I was one of those who thought that in engaging Robert Mueller as special counsel to take over an investigation in progress and run it within the designated parameters of subjects “relevant” to Russian intervention in the 2016 election, the administration would benefit from a man of integrity who would run a fair inquiry limited to its defined scope. The stupidity of Mueller in packing his staff with notorious Democrats, the scandalous leaks out of his operation, his charge into subjects far removed from his ostensible field, and his insolent tweet last week contradicting the president, do permit the inference that he is trying to run an assassination squad reminiscent of the worst days of Archibald Cox, Lawrence Walsh, and Kenneth Starr.   

The problem is compounded by Attorney General Jeff Sessions probably having to recuse over his meetings with the Russians, innocuous though they were, and Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein showing no disposition to give Mueller reasonable and impartial guidance. The solution here is not to fire anyone. There is still no evidence of anything. (It would be instantly leaked and deafeningly hyped if there was.) Scaramucci presumably will run a comprehensive debriefing operation and the president’s legal team would consider legal challenges to an open-ended search and destroy mission through the entire lives of the president and his family if that is what Mueller is trying to conduct.

There will never be any evidence of Trump-Kremlin collusion, and the whole concept is just self-serving Clintonian myth-making, that has flourished in the hothouse of Democrats unable to accept the election result, echoed by a partisan press that is a prop of the failed ancien regime Trump assaulted. This episode should disabuse the entire political class of the temptation to criminalize policy differences, a cancerous constitutional deformation ignited by Watergate, and nurtured by Iran-Contra and the nonsense of President Clinton’s peccadilloes.

If Trump Fails. . . 
Apart from the fact that this is war, what seems to escape notice is that if Trump fails, and however he fails, it will not bring a return to something good. It would be the return of those who gave America the initial under-reaction to terrorism, the housing bubble and world financial crisis, the elevation of Iran to preeminent influence in Iraq and much of the Middle East, then the North Korean crisis, the migrant humanitarian disaster, a flat-lined American economy hobbled with a back-breaking and under-funded welfare system, and the enthronement of political correctness to the point of official inability to utter the words “Islamist extremism.”

Not only should Trump win, he must win, to prevent the profound decline of America, and the rise to world leadership, as if on the other end of a teeter-totter, of China. That is what is at stake, not the president’s hairstyle, syntax, or tweeting habits.

First published Journal of American Greatness.

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Posted on 07/28/2017 4:51 AM by Conrad Black
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Friday, 28 July 2017
Kurdistan referendum is legitimate
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by Dr. Walid Phares 

Since the Kurdish Regional Government of Northern Iraq, backed by its local legislative assembly, decided to organize a referendum on self-determination, both positive and negative reactions were fielded in Iraq, the Middle East and internationally. Baghdad and the two main neighbors of Iraq — Iran and Turkey — expressed opposition to the Kurdish popular consultation, each one for different political reasons. Beyond the region, Western European governments expressed concerns yet not irreversible opposition. Europe’s major powers have at the same time opposed separatism within their own borders (as in Northern Ireland, Basque and Corsica) yet have supported it in the former Yugoslavia twice.

In the United States, many members of Congress support the Kurdish referendum and a few openly support the rise of a separate Kurdish state in northern Iraq for historic reasons. As during the presidential campaign, the Trump administration continues to commit to solidarity with the Kurds fighting ISIS, but has not yet developed a direct policy regarding the referendum or separation.

The most recent polls do show that a majority of Kurdish political parties in northern Iraq support the move while non-Kurdish communities are divided on the issue. These are the present geopolitical realities engulfing the projected vote in September. Such complex positioning is not unique. In every similar past ethnic territorial crises, all parties involved reacted to self-determination requests based on their own interests, the geopolitical context and negotiating abilities. And each case dealt with its own particular conditions within the country and region.

 

The right for self-determination has been consecrated in the founding charter of the United Nations, and since its founding in 1945, via several General Assembly resolutions recognizing that right for nations to decide their future. However, international law during the Cold War narrowed self-determination to decolonization for realpolitik reasons. Separatism, especially violent separatism, was not encouraged. Hence, long or catastrophic civil wars, such as seen in South Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea or Kashmir — or even in the case of the Kurdish uprising in Iraq — never ended happily with an emergence of a new state.

With the end of the Cold War, however, international relations allowed for wider acceptance of the principle of separatism, as long as they were peaceful or presented as a solution to human tragedies. Czechoslovakia split smoothly into two republics, both welcomed by the U.N., and later into NATO and the European Union. The disbanding of Yugoslavia into several independent countries was endorsed by the West, though criticized by Russia. South Sudan got its own state in 2011, and around the globe a number of national and ethnic communities have been striving to achieve statehood. Sovereign statehood is not illegal. Many countries we know, including ours in America, somehow separated from another power in order to exist. But in other cases, instead of separation, nations like Germany reconstituted their national identity by reuniting in 1989. Most countries want to maintain intact borders, and very understandably. Reconstructing frontiers is dangerous and could trigger chaos if not well organized and accepted by all parties concerned.

Separatism has traditionally been seen as a last resort, and thus the world has always demanded justification. The party seeking separation has always been asked to demonstrate that it is indeed different and seeking an identity of its own and that it is suppressed or has experienced tragic and cataclysmic events. But what has become a relatively new accepted procedure, a sine qua non condition, is the necessity of holding a referendum. Regardless of the outcome, a referendum is a license to claim statehood. The international community must see the will of the people before recognizing any outcome. Hence we’ve seen many referendums taking place and not always leading to new borders: Quebec in Canada, Scotland in the United Kingdom, East Timor, Southern Sudan — and requests for such exercises in other countries such as Belgium. In short, referendums are a form of a democratic expression. They are legal, legitimate, and a peaceful tool to help a people move forward or affirm the status quo.

Iraqi Kurdistan has long presented many conditions justifying its right to hold a referendum, even if the results may not automatically lead to a state. The painful history of oppression under Saddam, and the most recent bloody campaign by ISIS against the Kurds and other minorities in northern Iraq since 2014, constitute the tragic elements of the equation. The Kurds of Iraq have already obtained, from their own co-citizens, Arab Sunnis and Shia, a right to form a federative entity in the north, demonstrating the country’s recognition of local self-determination for the Kurds. Iraqis have agreed that they are diverse in their constitution, and referendum is not an alien concept to them. In short, the Kurds have a perfect right to organize a referendum to consult their own population regarding their future. But that right is not theirs alone. The new norm of acceptance is to then engage in negotiations with Baghdad after the vote. Scotland and Quebec, for example, were ready for that international norm and prepared to negotiate with their central governments.

The U.S. and the international community know all too well that the Kurds have suffered and that they wish to move forward with their destiny. But four conditions should be met in order for the referendum to be accepted by the outside world:

(1)It must be peaceful and transparent.

(2)Non-Kurdish communities, such as Assyrians, Yazidis, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Turkomen, Shabak and Mandeans, should be granted full minorities rights within Iraqi Kurdistan.

(3)Should the outcome lead to full separation, the new entity should vow not to serve as a springboard for destabilizing neighboring countries by supporting guerillas in these countries, including (primarily) Turkey.

(4)Representatives of the northern

Iraqi entity should be prepared to engage in full-scale negotiations with the Iraqi government regarding what comes next. Any negotiated and agreed upon settlement between the two parties will be the real guarantee for future stability.

The results of this referendum could simply maintain the status quo, set up a modified and more advanced federal system in Iraq, develop a confederal system of two states within one Iraqi country, or may lead to a Czechoslovak-like peaceful model. What is important for the populations of Iraq and for the Kurds and other minorities is that any move be peaceful, democratic and civilized. After ISIS, Iraq needs calm and stability, secured against a new ISIS, and freed from Iranian domination. The referendum in northern Iraq will be one benchmark in Iraq’s evolution. It will demonstrate a political maturity in which ethnic communities can exercise their fundamental right to express themselves without endangering their partners in the state, the minorities among them, or their neighbors in the region. The Kurds of Iraq will exercise that right and the world will watch them move forward into a more tolerant 21st century.

First published in the Washington Times.

See the Washington Times' special section on Kurdistan here.

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Posted on 07/28/2017 4:40 AM by Walid Phares
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Thursday, 27 July 2017
Religion and Violence at the Mosque in Jerusalem
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by Michael Curtis

After the conclusion of the Six Day War, on September 1,1967 the Khartoum Declaration was issued by eight Arab states with its "framework of the main principles by which the Arab states abide." It listed the combative three NOs: no peace with Israel, no recognition of it, no negotiations with it. Fifty years later, on July 25, 2017, the Palestinian Fatah movement, protesting against Israeli efforts to ensure security of its citizens by metal detectors and security cameras, issued a new three NOs: no to the occupation, no to the metal detectors, no to the cameras.

Once again, Palestinian leaders and organizations, and Muslim leaders in other countries have misused the religion of Islam as a political weapon to explain the unsatisfactory social and economic condition of their people, as well as their refusal to accept the legitimacy of the State of Israel  Religious texts promote an extreme political agenda.

Prominent among these leaders is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, though preoccupied with arresting journalists in his country, animosity against the Kurds and plans to annex Northern Cyprus, nevertheless found time to comment on July 25, 2017 on the Jerusalem issue. He urged Muslim worshippers to "protect the holy sites in east Jeruslem, because Israel, using terrorism as an excuse, is trying to steal the al-Aqsa mosque from Muslims."

The Israeli stealing was not apparent in the events starting on July 14, 2017 when three Arab Palestinian terrorists smuggled handguns into the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and killed two Israeli Druze policemen at this site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Mosque. As a result Israel closed the site to Muslim men under the age of 50 during Friday prayers, an action which in turn caused a weekend of blooodshed. Israel then set up metal detectors and more cameras at the site, after which thousands of Palestinians protested on the excuse it was undermining the holiness of the shrine.

Two things are pertinent to the events. One is the call by Palestinian leaders to continue the violence. President Mahmoud Abbas, now approaching the 12th year of  his four year term and seemingly converted into a democrat, called for Palestinians to "intensify the popular struggle" over the Temple Mount. He has encouraged religious authorities to "defend your land and your honor." The other matter is the curious silence and no "popular struggle" over the metal detectors providing security in the Vatican, in Mecca for the Hajj, in Egypt, in Bihar, India, and Lahore, Pakistan. Wherefore are they different from those in Jerusalem?

Administration over the disputed site is in the hands of the Waqf, the Jordanian controlled Islamic religious authority,  which called on Muslims not to visit it until the cameras were removed. In any case, for many years only Muslims have been allowed to pray at the site. The meaningless response of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the metal devices was not to discuss a solution to the surveillance but to call for cutting  all ties with Israel until the issue is resolved. The boycott of the shrine would continue. 

Israel on July 25, 2017 did remove the metal devices from the entrance to the mosque, and attempted to put in less offensive surveillance methods such as cameras. For Muslim officials this was insufficient. Some appear to have undergone instant conversion to democracy. One spokesperson, Sheikh Raed Dana of the Waqf was equivocal on whether worshippers should end the protest and return to the shrine; " this movement is a movement of the street...we as the Waqf listen to the street ."

In this view the Wafd would act as the "people" decided. Inadvertently, he was agreeing to a conclusion that the whole supposed religious crisis was a political event, having little connection with religious principles. Moreover, the Muslim call is extreme. Jews should be banned not only on the Temple Mount, but also at the Western Wall, part of the Old City, which Palestinian leaders claim belongs to Muslims.

There is no secrecy about the misuse of Islam. President Abbas on July 23, 2017 praised Palestinian terrorists, asserting that each drop of their blood that was spilled in Jerusalem is "pure blood" as long as it is for the sake of Allah. The essential problem is that Palestinian authorities have made the Temple Mount a base for operations not simply for supposedly protecting the site but also as the place for the struggle against Israel and Jewish history in the area. It is distressing that Jewish archeological treasure have been destroyed. The Palestinian leadership inflamed its people by saying that the mosque is in danger. The diatribe by Abbas on September 20, 2015 is familiar: "al-Aqsa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre."

For those interested in policy in the area two matters are relevant. One is to emphasize the political misuse of the Islamic religion, and to base policy proposals on factors on the ground. The other matter, accompanying the first, is to become familiar with the analysis on this contentious Middle East area coming from impeccable sources.

Since 2002 a series of reports of Arab Human Development (AHDR) written by independent Arab scholars have provided an objective and accurate picture of the political, social, and economic trends that influence the Arab region. Among other things they comment on the role of Islam in hindering development. At that time in 2002 the GDP of the whole Arab League was less than that of Spain.

The first AHDR report indicated three areas of shortcoming: the Arab states  lacked full respect for human rights and freedoms; they suffered from lack of empowerment of women; they lacked knowledge. Subsequent AHDR reports emphasised existing deficiencies - "the need for freedom of opinion, speech and assembly; high quality education; affirmative action for women; popular representation, lack of democracy; lack of scientific research and informational technology; high level of illiteracy, about 65 million, two thirds of whom are women.

The sixth, most recent, report in 2016 considers the situation of youth, a subject important for the whole Arab Middle East and directly pertinent to the riots and demonstrations of Palesinians. For a considerable time average population growth rates in the area have been among the highest in the world, and thus exert great pressure on existing institutions, though the growth has slowed somewhat in recent years.

The Arab population in 1970 was 124 million, in 2010, 350 million, and on current projections it will be 604 milion in 2050. To help understand the July 2017 events in Jerusalem, the crucial fact is that over 60% of the Arab population is under 30: young people between 15 and 29 account for one-third of the population, while those under 15 account for another one-third.

The lack of development stems not from Israeli alleged activity in the Temple Mount, but from poor education, lack of employment, poor health, lack of empowerment in economic, political, and social life, inadequate representation in public life, and conflicts. In 2002 five Arab countries were affected by conflicts; in 2016 11 Arab countries were involved and 250 million live in areas vulnerable to conflict.

For youth, there is a lack of suitable job opportunities, partly because of nepotism. Youth unemployment in the Arab area is twice the global average; it is 24% for young men, and 47% for young women. The area does not embrace the concept of equality, especially for women.

Yet, in spite of the reality and magnitude of all these problems, the cause of the Palestinians remains the largest and mose serious existential threat in the region according to the 2015 report of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. About 75% of respondents believe the Palestinian cause is not only a Palestinian issue but also an Arab one. Some 85% oppose diplomatic recognition of Israel by their countries.

Logically this is inexplicable in an area that accounts for 25% of global conflicts since 2010. The consequences of those wars are dire: in Syria, more than 250,000 deaths and one million injured, 4.8 million refugees and 7.6 million internally displaced; in Libya, fighting has led to over one million dead and wounded; in Iraq, more than five million are refugees, internal and external. The area is home to 47% of the world's internally displaced people and 58% of all world refugees.

A sane point of view would suggest that Arab countries would benefit by enhancing the capacities of their young people and pursuing development. It is a disgrace that the official communique of Fatah on July 21, 2017 is that everything that is happening is a toll for the blessed al Aqsa mosque. That is not the road for development.

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Posted on 07/27/2017 9:26 AM by Michael Curtis
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Wednesday, 26 July 2017
Passchendael Mud
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My husband and I went to see this in Trafalgar Square this morning.

It's a statue of a WWI soldier, resting, sleeping on his kit, made to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passchendael, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres. It is only there for four days. Two young Dutch artists, sisters Damian Van Der Velden and Kilian Van Der Velden made him from mud, clay and sand taken from the site of the battlefield. Exposure to the elements (and some artificial rain if we had any uncharacteristic sunshine in London in July - it did happen two weeks ago) means that the statue has already started to melt away since it was erected yesterday. 

Damian Van Der Velden told CBS Canada "I was trying to get the emotional or exhausting feeling that the solider has to have at that moment . . . All his energy is gone". The Passchendaele mud, she said, is "the heart and the soul" of the statue, and collecting it was harrowing experience."If you walk on it, you know you are walking on a death field," she said. "It's strange. You cannot imagine."

From one side he looks like a young boy dozing peacefully. From the other side he looks older and in discomfort. I don't know if that is deliberate, or merely the effect of a night's rain.

I did start to speak to Damian Van Der Velden, asking her how she decided on the appearance of the subject, but as she was telling me about her source sketches she was interupted and I decided not to interfere with her subsequent conversation - the lady concerned was visibly moved. 

The statue is being filmed and a time lapse video is intended. I wish he could be cast in bronze and erected permanently on the fourth plinth. Some of the modern art featured there has been good; some thought-provoking if not to my taste; too much has been rubbish.  

Photographs E Weatherwax London July 2017

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Posted on 07/26/2017 9:31 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 26 July 2017
Is Trump's Mideast policy a paradigm shift?
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The president has worked on repairing America’s relationship with Israel and articulating the radical Islamist threat. These gains may be rendered moot, however, if he endorses the ill-informed State Department report.

by Matthew M. Hausman

Ambassador Nikki Haley has been a breath of fresh air since taking up diplomatic residency at the United Nations. Unlike her immediate predecessors, Haley has been unapologetic in asserting the role of the United States as a global leader. Since beginning her tenure at the UN, she has helped lay to rest the Obama policy of “leading from behind” which for eight years served to compromise relationships with US allies and create a power vacuum that facilitated Russian and Chinese aggression, empowered Islamic radicalism, enabled the proliferation of terrorism, and assured the nuclearization of Iran. In addition, she has supported Israel without qualification and condemned the UN’s pervasive culture of anti-Semitism.  

But is this restatement of priorities to be taken at face value, or does it signal a paradigm shift with respect to Mideast foreign policy?

Many hoped after the Six-Day War in 1967 that Israel could trade land for peace and achieve comity with her Arab neighbors. However, any overtures were preempted a few months later at the Arab League Summit at Khartoum, which resolved that there would be no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition of Israel. This consensus was fractured somewhat by the Camp David Treaty between Egypt and Israel, but most Arab-Muslim nations adhered to the “three no’s” until well into the 1990s. Egyptians, too, have never acknowledged Israel as the ancient Jewish homeland.

The paradigm shifted in 1993 with the Oslo Accords, which effectively validated Palestinian Arab national identity. Israel thereafter was expected to acknowledge the authenticity of a Palestinian narrative that denied Jewish history and promoted anti-Semitism. The advent of Oslo gave rise to the slogan “two states for two peoples,” though only one of those peoples had a documented existence and connection to the land since antiquity. Whereas Jewish nationhood goes back 3,500 years and is corroborated by the historical, archeological and scriptural records, the Palestinian narrative is only about fifty years old and has no similar foundation. It is a post-modern political designation predicated on revisionism and a repudiation of Jewish history. Nonetheless, proponents of Oslo sanctified the myth with the expectation that Israel would do the same. 

 

CONTINUE READING AT http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/20795

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Posted on 07/26/2017 9:06 AM by Matthew Hausman
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Tuesday, 25 July 2017
Letter to US House Africa Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) on Including Sudan Sanctions Review in Omnibus Bill
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July 25, 2017

Mr. Jeff Beck

c/o Rep. Chris Smith (R) - 4th CD-NJ

House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health & Global Human Rights

Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2373

Washington, DC 20515

Re:  Amending Omnibus Legislation before House to include Sudan Sanctions Review

Dear Mr. Beck:

On behalf of my colleagues and co-authors, Lt. Gen M. Abakar of Sudan United Movement (SUM), Ms. Deborah Martin, I want to thank  Rep. Chris Smith for his leadership at the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Globe Health and Global Terrorism in holding the April 26, 2017 Hearing on Sudan Sanctions. You may recall we submitted testimonies for the record from several Sudan resistance commanders and humanitarian officials from Darfur and the Nuba Mountains:

1.  Lt. Gen. (ret.) Abakar M. Abdullah, Chairman of the Sudan United Movement (SUM);

2.  Gen. General Abdalaziz Adam AlhiluSPLA/N General commander/Chief of staff of SPLA/N and Deputy Chairman of the SPLM-N;

3.  Mr. Sodi Ibrahim Executive Director of the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (SRRA-N); and,

4.    Mr.  Yunan Musa Kunda, SSRA-N External Relationship Coordinator.

We also appreciated the June 30, 2017 bi-partisan letter sent to President Trump suggesting deferral of permanently lifting those 20-year sanctions in view of continual violations by the Bashir regime in Khartoum on the several tracks of Executive Order No. 13761 issued by former President Obama on January 13, 2017. The letter significantly contributed to the executive order issued by President Trump on July 11, 2017 deferring a decision on Sudan sanctions until October 31, 2017.

We are enclosing an advance copy of a report on current conditions in both Darfur, neighboring Chad and Libya that are indicative of the continuing violations of the Executive Order and sanctionsby the Sudan regime of President Bashir with the support of the emirate of Qatar and the Islamic Republic of Iran that will appear in the August 2017 edition of the New English Review, “Sudan regime rampages against Darfur while involved in overthrow of Chad and Libyan Governments.”In the wake of the Trump Administration Executive Order on July 11, deferring a decision to permanently lift the 20-year sanctions against the regime of ICC indicted war criminal, Sudan President Bashir, there was evidence of violations of two of the five tracks included in the original Obama Executive Order No. Executive Order No. 13761 of January 13, 2017.

First was the brutal ejection by the Rapid Support Forces/Janjaweed militia (RSF/Janjaweed) of Darfur university students on a protest march. Second, were actions by the RSF/Janjaweed against several communities across Darfur. Third, was further evidence of Sudan providing a base for the overthrow of the regimes of President Idriss Deby of Chad and the Libyan National Army (LNA) regime of Field Marshall Khalifa Hafter in Tripoli. The objective of the Bashir regime is to destabilize Northern and Central Africa creating a caliphate ruled under Islamic Shari’a law from Khartoum.

In view of today’s House deliberation on the pending Omnibus Russia, North Korea and Iran sanctions bill, we are seeking the Representive’s considerationof an opportunity to enter a floor amendment to add a provision with respect to Congressional review of any changes in Sudan sanctions proposed by the President. If that is feasible under House rules, we believe that might be consistent with the objectives expressed in the June 30, 2017 letter signed by 53 members, including Representative Smith.

We highly regard the exemplary efforts of Representative Smith and members of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Global Human Rights on concerns for the civil and human rights and freedom from oppression of the indigenous African people of Sudan.

Sincerely,

Jerome B. Gordon

Senior Editor

New English Review

cc. Lt. Gen. Abakar M. Abdallah, SUM

     Deborah Martin

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Posted on 07/25/2017 8:42 AM by Jerry Gordon
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Sunday, 23 July 2017
Miss World’s Very Own Islam
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

If you google “Islam” and “news” this week, you will pull up from the Internet the inspiring story of Esma Voloder, who has just been declared Miss World Australia 2017.

Here is her message to the world:

My heart is full  Gratitude and joy overtook me last night as I was crowned @missworldaustralia 2017 at @grandhyattmelbourne  Last night re-affirmed that dreams really can become realities. We have all heard this and some of us have been fortunate to not only think it, but truly know it… though it has never prevented the doubt that creeps up on us… it is faith in the best outcome provides us with the strength and motivation to do our best and continue striving. So many people I would like to give a whole hearted thank you to- My family for your love and support. Miss World Australia team and @pageantqueenaus (Miss World Australia director) for your kindness, understanding, faith and trust in me. The judges who represented diverse and relevant elements and industries in Australia that I admire- from an organisation dedicated to helping those in need and giving women opportunity, comedy to keep us light hearted, fashion that keeps us feeling who we are, health and fitness which equips us with the energy to chase our dreams and send positive messages, and reality which showcases bravery to be who we are in front of a large audience. To @phuketpearls for the stunning crown inspired by the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge-it is so appreciated and considerate of you to have incorporated iconic Australian culture into your carefully handcrafted masterpiece, it is so beautiful and I love it dearly <3 The @hugthailand for your partnership and hospitality- I am so very excited to travel to the land of smiles once I have an extra big one to bring to your country  @ozwearaustralia , @novoshoes and all our other sponsors for their generously donated gifts (products, thoughts, hospitality and love) . Each time I received something I felt so spoilt and meeting some of you has been a pleasure you are all so infectious and it really does translate in your products. Thank you for having myself as your ambassador. It has been a blessing to raise funds under #beautywithaprpose and for @varietyaustralia . Thank you Australia- for giving me a home and opportunity to do good  #missworldaustralia2017

So far, so breathtakingly banal.

This crazed, cliche-filled stream of naively covetous consciousness, by this pretty and mindless girl, who is grateful to, and is full of love for, practically everyone, begins with her heartfelt thanks — in the manner of someone accepting an Oscar at too great a length — to her family, for their “love and support,” to the Miss World Australia team for their “kindness, understanding, faith, and trust in me,” to the judges “who represented diverse and relevant [?] elements [?] and industries in Australia that I admire,” “from an organisation dedicated to helping those in need” and “giving women opportunity, comedy to keep us light hearted” and “health and fitness which equips us…” — possible spokeswoman  for gym equipment? — “with the energy to chase our dreams” and “send positive messages” [?] and “reality [?] which showcases our bravery [?] to be who we are.”

But there’s not just this blend of nonstop nonsense and banality. There’s also the shout-out to, product placement for, the sponsors, for all the gifts they’ve lavished upon her, from “ozwear” to phuketpearls for providing her with a $58,000 necklace, and to an entire country, Thailand, for its “partnership and hospitality,” which she hopes to visit (and of course she will, it’s all part of her deal) — would-be tourists, please take note of her endorsement — just as soon as she can learn to give a smile big enough for that “land of smiles.” And then a last little incoherent thrust: “you are all so infectious [!] and it really does translate [!] in your products [!]. Thank you for having myself [English is not her strong suit] as your ambassador.”

But that’s not the main reason to deplore Ms. Voloder’s newfound fame. She doesn’t just want to be a brand ambassador for pearls and ozwear and tourism in Thailand. She wants to be a brand ambassador for Islam, the faith she was born into and which, she assures us, has been getting a bad rap. Included in her acceptance speech was this:

“The Islam that I know, that is in the Qur’an, I don’t associate that with any acts that are occurring around the world. People tend to blame religion for the atrocities that are happening, but if we do that we take responsibility away from the individuals.”

“A lot of things have been misconstrued about Islam. I feel that a category has been created that is not really what the Qur’an actually promotes. I believe Islam is about peace, unity, prosperity and inclusion.”

The Islam that she knows may be in the Qur’an, but only in the most misleadingly abridged of versions. Shall we yet again, as we always must on such occasions, remind her of 9:5 and 9:29 and 8:12 and 3:151 and 47:4 and 98:6? Is it possible that her eyes glazed over when she came to those verses, or did she somehow manage to ignore them and more than a hundred others like them, that command Muslims to fulfill the duty of violent Jihad against the Infidels, until such time as they are everywhere subdued, and Muslims rule, everywhere?

She may not “associate” the Qur’an “with any acts that are occurring around the world” (by this she is demurely alluding to terrorist acts by Muslims, of which there have been more than 30,000 since 9/11/2001), but apparently many of those who commit these acts do not agree. Some of them chant Qur’anic verses on uploaded YouTube videos showing the decapitation of Infidels, or the blowing up of enemy vehicles. Others show the warriors of the Islamic State, marching through Mosul or Raqqa under the black flag of Islam, with the Shehada written on it, apparently associated by these warriors not with peace but war. And the two killers of Drummer Rigby, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, converts to Islam who after their attack proudly held up their copies of the Qur’an, even quoting passages about violence — is it they who have misunderstood Islam, or is it Esma Voloder? What was it that that vastly learned Shi’a theologian, Ayatollah Khomeini, did not understand about Islam when he issued  his many calls for making war on the West and, especially, on the archenemies  Zionists and Americans? Was his successor Ayatollah Khamenei calling for “peace” or “unity” or “inclusion” when, a few weeks ago, he called for a Jihad against the hated Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir? Was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, self-appointed caliph of the Islamic State, showing an ignorance of the “real” Islam when he so often called for “jihad,” or for ‘more jihad” or for “tornadoes of jihad to erupt,” with not the slightest doubt that he meant endless war against the Infidels? Like the Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei, al-Baghdadi has had extensive theological training. He obtained a BA, MA, and PhD in Islamic studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad. Is it possible that all three were misinformed by their teachers about the true peaceful Islam, the only kind of Islam that Esma Voloder recognizes?

Esma Voloder, of course, has plenty of distinguished company in her certitudes. Tony Blair, who claimed to never be without his copy of the Qur’an, once praised that book as “practical and way ahead of its time. The most remarkable thing about reading the Koran – in so far as it can be truly translated from the original Arabic – is to understand how progressive it is.” His successor David Cameron knew Islam, the real Islam, could do no wrong, so that after the killing of Drummer Rigby, he quickly denounced the attack, describing it as a “betrayal of Islam.” Theresa May has repeatedly called Islam “peaceful” after every terror attack — not just at home, but to an American audience in Philadelphia — and described the Muslim attack on Westminster Bridge as a “perversion of Islam.” Barack Obama has said, repeatedly, that “Islam is a religion that preaches peace.” His predecessor George Bush produced his own variations on the theme in a series of treacly Iftar messages: “Islam is a vibrant faith. Millions of our fellow citizens are Muslim. We respect the faith. We honor its traditions. Our enemy does not. Our enemy doesn’t follow the great traditions of Islam. They’ve hijacked a great religion.” And “Islam is a faith that brings comfort to people. It inspires them to lead lives based on honesty, and justice, and compassion.” And “all Americans must recognize that the face of terror is not the true faith — face of Islam. Islam is a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. It’s a faith that has made brothers and sisters of every race. It’s a faith based upon love, not hate.”

For Pope Francis, who has somehow managed to overlook 1400 years of war against Christians by Muslims, “all religions want peace” (this was uttered shortly after an 85-year-old priest had his throat slit) and “Islam is peaceful” and the “Qur’an is peaceful” and “Muslim terrorism does not exist.” How many times must he say it, in how many variations on the nonsensical theme, to make you believe it? Credo quia absurdum — this should be the motto repurposed for this Pope — “I  believe because it is absurd.”

Just repeat the Pope’s prescription for World Peace and Interfaith Outreach ad libitum, and surely something good will eventually come of it. Or will it? Lots of people in the Western world have wagered not just their own reputations, but the survival of their own peoples, on some version of the ever-more doubtful notion that Islam is about “peace, unity, prosperity, and inclusion.”

Esma Voloder has her precious crown, her ozwear, her phuket jewels, her endorsement deals and brand ambassadorships locked in, with many more no doubt to come. But she wants to do something for the good of everyone. She wants to promote Islam. Pro bono, apparently. She claims, and she may even believe, that Islam is all about “peace, unity, prosperity, and inclusion.” Though Muslims have been purveyors of taqiyya since 680 A.D., I don’t think that’s necessarily the case here. She sounds like a political naif who is simply repeating a line she has been fed. But perhaps I am being too kind. Whether she is misinformed, or deliberately deceptive, given her new position as Miss World she will undoubtedly have many occasions to tell interviewers her understanding of Islam. As always, such an interview will make even a minimum of sense only if the interviewer has properly prepared to question her by reading the Qur’an, and some of the hadith and sira. It won’t be time wasted; as a central subject of the age, Islam is here to stay, and anyone who has actually learned something about it will find many occasions on which such knowledge will come in not just handy, but indispensable.

Such an interviewer ought first to allow Esma Voloder to have her pollyannish say, all about “peace, unity, prosperity, and inclusion.” She should then be asked what verses in the Qur’an she thinks support her view of  peace, or unity, or inclusion? Could she recite a single such verse? If she offers 5:32, make sure to insist on reciting 5:33, and explain how it modifies 5:32. And if there are some verses (early, Meccan) she manages to recall, remind her of the doctrine of abrogation, which she undoubtedly will never have heard of. Then suggest that there are quite a few verses in the Qur’an that help explain the dozens of military campaigns Muhammad took part in, just in the last ten years of his life. What does Esma Voloder make of this verse (read out 9:5)? Or this (read out 9:29)? Or this (read out 47:4)? Read them slowly. Explain that there are more than a hundred such verses in the Qur’an, and that you’ve posted them at your website, to which you then provide a link. Piqued by Ms. Voloder’s display of confusion, which will be obvious as soon as she tries to explain away just those three verses quoted by the interviewer, others will want to check out these and other Qur’anic verses for themselves. And with that link,you’ve made it easy for them.

Ms.Voloder will have a hard time explaining away these verses, but make her task harder still. Even before she can offer the “these-verses-have-to-be-put-in-context” excuse, the interviewer should proleptically note that “the usual way” these verses are dealt with by Muslim apologists is not to forthrightly acknowledge them, but instead to “contextualize” them, to pretend they apply only to specific enemies from 1400 years ago. “But,” the interviewer can add, “both the glosses provided by the most eminent Qur’anic commentators, such as Ibn Kathir, and the behavior of Muslims themselves over the past 1400 years, show that these verses were meant to be prescriptive, applicable for all time, and not merely descriptive, applicable to a particular time and place and enemy.” And if that interviewer is in a take-no-prisoners mood, even with one so winsome and mentally helpless as Esma Voloder, then let Esma be asked yet again, by way of summary so far, to explain why Muhammad’s life is so full of war, assassinations, mass decapitations, and the Qur’an so full of commands about conducting violent Jihad against, striking terror in the hearts of, the [Infidel] enemies, if Islam is all about “peace, unity, cohesion”?

And then it may be time to demonstrate, in the most telling way possible, how little Esma Voloder knows about Islam. Leave the Qur’an — the point about its sinister contents has been made — and raise the issue of the Hadith. Ask Ms. Voloder if she has ever read them, if she knows why the Hadith are so important to Muslims. If she answers that she  has “never’’ read because she didn’t think they were that important, or still worse, had never heard of them, that will make her look not just ignorant, but idiotic. If she answers “yes” or “well, some of them,” take this as the moment to recite the usual horrifying list of events in Muhammad’s life that Muslims would prefer you never find out about: Muhammad’s marriage to little Aisha, the murders of Asma bint Marwan, Abu Afak, and Ka’b bin al-Ashraf, the rape (as it must be called) of the Jewish girl, Saafiya, by Muhammad on the same day he had her father, husband, and brother killed, the torture and murder of Kinana of Khaybar, the killing of the 600-900 prisoners of the Banu Qurayza.  Don’t spare Ms. Voloder; ask sweetly, but ask, if she is familiar with any or all of these events in the life of Muhammad, just as you had asked her earlier about those Jihad verses in the Qur’an. Either she will have to admit to knowing about them, and then have to explain them away (just how do you explain away Aisha? Asma bin Marwan? Saafiya? Kinana?) as best she can, which makes her look both sinister and foolish, or she will claim she was not aware of those particular hadith, which leaves her looking merely foolish. And then ask if she is aware that Muslims consider Muhammad, the man responsible for that list of atrocities that have just been recited, as “al-insan al-kamil,” the Perfect Man, and “uswa hasana,” the Model of Conduct. Given what you have just told her about Muhammad, would she describe him as the Perfect Man? What can she say?

And then, just one last question for beauty queen Ms. Voloder.  Ask her to imagine herself walking down a street in Saudi Arabia or Iran or Afghanistan or Pakistan, her hair loosely flowing, as she wears it in Australia, her makeup and dress just the same as she had for her Miss World competition, with her shoulders bare, or dressed as she does for her work as a criminal profiler. Then ask her what she thinks would happen to her, wearing  that sort of getup, in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan. We all know she would at the very least be yelled at, perhaps beaten by the mutawwa (religious police), even possibly taken into custody to be charged by the state, or might well have to endure both curses and beatings administered by outraged Muslim vigilantes. And don’t even ask what would happen to her in those countries if she dressed as she would have had to for the swimsuit component of the Miss World competition). She cannot deny the likelihood of such mistreatment. Doesn’t that at least give Ms. Voloder a moment’s pause as Defender of the Faith? And shouldn’t that be enough, along with those 30,000 acts of Muslim terrorism since 9/11 for which she can find no convincing explanation in Islam, to create, among the handful still wanting to believe her, more than a little doubt?

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Posted on 07/23/2017 5:22 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 22 July 2017
Justice for the Holocaust Victims
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by Michael Curtis

The quality of justice is sometimes strained and sometimes delayed. On July 21, 2017 some form of justice occured when the heirs of a prominent German Jewish banking family, the Bleichroder family, recovered a 16th century painting that had  been stolen 80 years earlier by the Nazi regime and bought by Hermann Goering who added it to his collection of more than 1,000 paintings. The painting was part of a considerable collection stolen from the family by Nazis and sold at auction in 1938.

"I belong to the race of those" wrote the Jewish literary critic  Bernard Lazarre, the early advocate of the innocence of the falsely accused Alfred Dreyfus, "who were the first to introduce the idea of justice in the world." That idea has only partially been rendered to those people and their descendants whose property was illegally seized by the Nazi regime in countries that perpetrated or collaborated in the Holocaust, and who since the end of World War II have expressed little willingness to resolve injustice.

It was heartening to hear the remarks of Prince William after his visit to Poland with his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, on July 18, 2017 to the concentration camp of Stutthof with its gas chamber about 20 miles from Gdansk, formerly Danzig, and to the local museum with its forbidding pile of hundreds of shoes of victims. William, like his father Prince Charles before him, made the point that the lessons of the Holocaust are in danger of being forgotten. He repeated the message that all of us have an overwhelming responsiility to make sure that we learn the lessons of the Holocaust and that the horror of what happened is never forgtten and never repeated.

These remarks, made in Poland, are particularly telling because that country has failed to fulfill its responsibility to the Holocaust victims by not enacting legislation providing for restitution and setting up procedures to resolve claims by people whose property was stolen. According to an official report of January 2017, Poland is the only member of the EU not to have passed comprehensive private property restitution legislation in the post-Communist era.

The brutal truth is that there can never be full restoration of the losses suffered during the Holocaust or Shoah. At best, for psychological as much as for financial reasons, integral to the lessons to be learned, countries should  be promoting the issue of restitution or compensation for the assets taken in the Shoah era. In reality, justice has been painfully slow. However, in recent years, there is a growing understanding that justice requires some form of restitution for the mainly Jewish victims. Restitution of property and possessions is a question of human rights, not simply a Jewish issue. Policy in modern democracies may not be based on international law but it is appropriate to consider it a moral responsibilty to rectify injustice.  

It is shameful that only a small fraction of the vast amount of private and communal property belonging to individual Jews and Jewish organizations illegally seized by the German Nazi regime and collaborators has been returned to their rightful owners. The value of the stolen goods is incalculable. Stuart Eizenstat, Special Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State for Holocaust Issues, has estimated that the value of Jewish assets in Europe in 1939 was about $15 billion which today would probably be ten times larger.

Perhaps things are really changing. In 1998 the International Commission on Holocaust era insurance claims (ICHEIC) was set up. At the same time in June 1998 39 countries discussed the return of stolen art to their rightful owners, and the U.S. State Department hosted conferences on the subject. Most recently, in June 2017, 71 members of the European Parliament from more than 20 EU states issued a joint statement pledged to increase support for the return of stolen and looted property. This statement is a significant step in meeting the obligation of the Terezin Declaration, affirmed at the site of a former Nazi concentration camp.

This Declaration, although non binding, is crucial to the resolution of the restitution issue. It stemmed from the conference on Holocaust era assets held in Prague on June 26-30, 2009 attended by representatives from 47 countries. It recommended greater effort for the restitution of communal and individual property belonging to the victims of the Holocaust and other victims. The program includes wrongful property seizures, confiscations and sales under duress; a just and fair solution regarding restoration of cultural property, Jewish communal and religious property; or compensation. It recommended that the 47 states consider implementing national programs to address the issue of property confiscated by Nazis and Fascists.

The Declaration dealt with other issues in addition to property, especially acknowledging  the importance of education and remembrance about the Shoah and other Nazi crimes. It pointed out that eye witnesses of the Shoah were dying out, and that commemoration ceremonies, research and remembrance, and discussion of Shoah in the curriculum of schools should be encoraged.

Already, following the Terezin Declaration, the European Shoah Legacy Institute based in Prague was established in January 2010 to monitor progress on and oversee the return of Jewish art and property, Judaica and Jewish cultural assets, taken by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. It is supposed to be a vehicle or catalyst for those groups already concerned with Holocaust issues. Ambitiously, it seeks international solutions to the restitution problem.

However, the practical response has been minimal. The Claims Conference on Jewish Material Claims announced on September 11, 2014 that the majority of the countries had done "little or nothing" to implement the agreements. Most states have failed to comply with the Terezin Declaration. The U.S. has played an important role in getting contributions from companies and countries paying the victims and their families. However, at least 12 states, especially Poland and Baltic states where most of the six million Jews were murdered, and logically have the largest proportion of heirless property, have not enacted suggested legislation. Even some Western European nations have only partly complied with the Terezin Declation.

Much of the discussion of restitution has focused on stolen art and the confiscation of hundreds of thousands of art objects owned by Jews. Logically, they can and should be traced because of the requirement of provenance and official deeds regarding them. Much of it is in private hands. But some of that stolen art is present in countless respectable places, including  the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. 

The restitution of stolen art presents a splendid opportunity for cooperation between President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin as well as on the restitution of other stolen property. Together, they might concentrate on social justice for the victims of the Shoah and share Elective Affinites, a more worthy endeavor than sinking in the swamp of alleged election manipulation.

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Posted on 07/22/2017 12:15 PM by Michael Curtis
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Saturday, 22 July 2017
Upset by Metal Detectors, "Palestinian" Breaks into Israeli Home and Stabs Three People to Death
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I'm upset by the Mueller investigation, but my first thought is not to murder some random family having dinner, yet listen to how the killer's father calmly justifies this heinous act. The mind on Islam is a terrible thing.

AP:

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Israel sent more troops to the West Bank on Saturday, a day after a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family in their home and widespread Israeli-Palestinian clashes erupted over escalating tensions at the Holy Land's most contested shrine.

The father of the 20-year-old Palestinian assailant said he believes his son was upset over the loss of Palestinian lives and wanted to protect the "honor" of the Jerusalem holy site.

A senior Israeli government official blamed the latest round of violence on what he said was Palestinian incitement against Israel and called on Palestinian leaders to help restore calm.

Disputes over the shrine, revered by Muslims and Jews, have set off major rounds of Israeli-Palestinian confrontations in the past. They were also at the root of the current violence which began last week when Arab gunmen fired from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen.

In response, Israel installed metal detectors at the gates of the 37-acre (15-hectare) walled compound, portraying the devices as a needed security measure to prevent more attacks.

Muslims alleged Israel was trying to expand its control at the Muslim-administered site under the guise of security — a claim Israel denies — and launched mass prayer protests.

On Friday, anger boiled over and several thousand Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and in Jerusalem after noon prayers, the highlight of the Muslim religious week. Three Palestinians were killed and several dozen wounded by live rounds and bullets in some of the worst street clashes in two years.

On Friday evening, a Palestinian identified as Omar al-Abed jumped over the fence of the Israeli settlement of Halamish in the West Bank and entered a home, surprising a family during their Sabbath dinner.

The Israeli military said the assailant killed a man and two of his adult children, while a woman was wounded. A neighbor heard the screams, rushed to the home and opened fire, wounding al-Abed who was taken to an Israeli hospital, said the head of Israel's rescue service.

A photo released by the military showed a kitchen floor covered with blood.

Itai Orayon, a medic, said he found "blood everywhere" in the house. He told Israel Army Radio that three people were on the floor, unconscious "with deep stab wounds all over their bodies," and that the medical team was unable to save them.

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Posted on 07/22/2017 7:39 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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