Montana special Congressional election on May 25th, 2017 heats up

Hi Folks. Lloyd here, checking in from Montana with Conservative Campaign Committee working to defeat extreme liberal Rob Quist for congress.

Mary has fallen in love with the Prairie dogs running around everywhere with their cute babies following them. I told her to forget about it. We are not taking Prairie dogs home on the plane to add to our 8 birds, two cats and greyhound.

Democrats have spent millions flooding the airways with ads lying about the Republican candidate Greg Gianforte. These people are despicable. Meanwhile, their candidate, Quist is nothing more than another Pelosi hand puppet to help fake news media’s impeach Trump scheme.

Mary and I stuffed envelopes for two hours yesterday. CCC is sending bumper sticks and letters to Montana Republicans urging them to get to the polls on Thursday, May 25th.

Mary ordered the 3 ft by 8 ft “GIANFORTE FOR CONGRESS” banner she and I hold on street corners during our CCC team’s numerous sign waving sessions. Response from Montana motorists honking their horns have been overwhelmingly in favor of Gianforte.

Conservative Campaign Committee is running get-out-the-vote radio ads on several stations. Miss Lulu is managing our phone-from-home initiative.

Folks, I am talkin’ old school, grassroots, do everything you can think of to push your candidate over the finish line campaigning. While it is grueling, Mary and I enjoy working with our CCC team, making a difference for our country.

The Bible says faith without works is dead. In other words, while we should pray for God’s blessing, it is crucial that we work toward what we want; putting legs to our faith.

The theme of our Montana get-out-the-vote effort is “All that is needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.”

Republicans outnumber Democrats in Montana. But if they don’t vote, we are toast! Please call your Uncle Joe or whomever you know in Montana and tell them to get to the polls THIS THURSDAY

I always try to taste the most popular local dish. Chicken fried steak is high on the list; flour battered and deep fried; placed on a bed of mashed potatoes and smothered in gravy. Sounds awesome. For health reasons, I ate a bit of cooked medium/plus rib eye. Delicious!

Five Scandals That SHOULD Have a Special Counsel

The Special Counsel law is a bad one. It essentially creates a temporary fourth branch of government that is unaccountable to anyone.

But if it is going to be used — and the Democrat/Media establishment have been howling for it for months — then there are some real, known, evidential scandals and crimes for which it should be used. Of course, those happened in the Obama Administration, and Obama could act with virtual impunity with the media curled up, purring in his lap.

First, the Trump “collusion” charge does not require a special counsel because collusion is not actually illegal. It’s unethical, but there is no law against it. So what would actually be prosecuted? It is meant to undermine, distract and provide ammo for impeachment.

Second, and more importantly, there is no evidence of collusion. At all. There is billowing dust spun up from the media doing donuts in the dirt that looks like smoke — and where there is smoke there is fire! Right?

Yes. But not where there is dust. And right now, there is zero evidence of collusion. Just media spinning up dust that everyone is choking on.

Even famed Pulitzer Prize winning Watergate reporter Bob Woodward, one of the few careful journalists left in Washington, said on Fox News Sunday: “There are, you know, a thousand questions and they should be answered, but there’s no evidence President Trump at this point was somehow involved in collusion here. That’s important,” Woodward said. “This is not yet Watergate — not a clear crime.”

But there have been many recent scandals where we know crimes were committed — and continue to be committed — and there was not only no special prosecutor, there was no serious investigation.

Here is the short list of those.

IRS targeting conservative groups

In 2013, the IRS inadvertently revealed that they had been targeting conservative groups trying to get non-profit designations ahead of the 2012 elections. Groups with Tea Party and Conservative in the title were among those targeted. While most groups get their designation within a few months, these took years and effectively blocked them from being a part of the election process. Truly election tampering.

Further, there were overt violations of federal law, including leaking confidential taxpayer information to partisan liberal groups.

But to no one’s surprise, the Obama Justice Department investigated the Obama Internal Revenue Service and concluded no charges should be filed. This came after a series of shifting stories from the White House first denying, then blaming a rogue office in Cincinnati and eventually finding no criminal wrongdoing.

The Obama Justice Department said former IRS official Lois Lerner and others were merely guilty of “mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia.” Of course, she and others were obviously supporters of Obama and their actions materially helped his re-election campaign. It would be untoward to charge such loyalists.

Naturally, the media had no real stomach for the chase in this scandal — a recurring theme. It was their man in the White House and it was Tea Party conservatives being targeted. Just perfunctory coverage.

A classic case of an administration investigating itself. Congress found much more, but Democrats uniformly opposed anything. This really could have used a special prosecutor.

“More flexibility” and Obama’s gifts to Russia

In 2012, President Obama infamously — well, for those not purring on his lap — told Russian President Medvedev that after the November election, he would have more flexibility to negotiate with (cave to) the Russians on missile defense.

After asking generally if his mic was hot, Obama apparently thought it was not and spoke truthfully:

Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”

Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”

Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you.”

Turns out it was not about negotiations with the Russians. It was unilateral disarmament on Obama’s part — something Americans would never have gone for. He reduced and continued to reduce spending on research and implementation of missile defenses, thereby making us militarily weaker vis-a-vis Russia.

This was overt collusion with Russia, caught on mic, and then followed with actions.

But not only was there no special prosecutor, the whole episode and following created barely a ripple of interest among the press corps. Yes, we are all shocked. Recurring theme.

In fact it was so little covered that a recent interview by MSNBC anchor Katy Tur revealed in February Tur didn’t even know what a Congressman was referring to when he mentioned the “more flexibility” affair. Tellingly, her ignorance has since been pulled down from the Youtube channel where it was being shared.

Stuxnet leak endangers national security

In a scandal that also received almost no media coverage, the Obama administration leaked information about a computer virus called Stuxnet that had been developed to destroy Iranian nuclear centrifuges. And it was successful, setting back Iran’s nuclear ambitions for years.

This was a hugely damaging leak because it meant that not only could the U.S. never use it again, it may have risked the lives of operatives within Iran. The huge question is what did the U.S., or the Obama administration, have to gain from the leak?

Further however, the Obama administration later negotiated (which means giving the Iranians everything they wanted) the nuclear deal with Iran that set them on the path to creating a fully functioning nuclear weapons program. It also lifted sanctions on Iran and flushed their terrorism coffers with at least $400 million — cash.

This was a horrific scandal when taken altogether. But the Stuxnet leak alone was a felony and an overt threat to national security.

True to form, the White House rejected calls for a special counsel or special prosecutor. Retired Marine Corps General James E. Cartwright was eventually found guilty, but a pardon came from President Obama during his lame-duck period.

There is every reason to think that this set a dangerous example for those who want to leak national secrets for political gain — as we are seeing right now.

In the Stuxnet scandal, where the Obama administration again was making decisions on investigating itself, no special counsel was appointed.

Fast and furious gun smuggling

Early in the Obama administration, Attorney General Eric Holder (the same one who later did nothing on the IRS) ran a program to smuggle weapons across the Mexican border. The idea was to trace their path through drug cartels.

That is a thin pretext, it is still illegal even if the true motive. The Obama administration was not particularly interested in the Mexican drug cartels. Many people see the program as a pretext for pushing gun control laws as the weapons would inevitably make it into the U.S. in the hands of criminals — which some did.

If that was not enough, Obama used executive privilege to cover up related documents. Holder was held in contempt of Congress in relation to an illegal operation that killed a U.S. border agent  But it was Holder’s assistant at Justice that announced there would be no charges against his boss.

Obama covered up all details, presumably damning details, with executive privilege and the media quickly moved on in search of a real scandal — hopefully one involving a Republican.

Unmasking Political Opponents

Most recently, we discovered that Obama loyalist, partisan, serial liar and National Security Advisor Susan Rice was busy in 2016 requesting the unmasking of Americans, apparently fishing for Trump associates in hopes of finding enough to damage Trump’s transition — which has successfully occurred.

Unmasking is when an American is at the other end of a phone call or email from someone national intelligence is surveilling — from Russia, China, Iran, ISIS or wherever. The Americans are typically caught up in the surveillance incidentally and their names are masked because they are not a target and Americans cannot be surveilled without court warrants. Unmasking them reveals their names and often times much more personal information and is expected to be done rarely.

This is exactly the abuse of power Americans feared with domestic surveillance; that powerful politicians would use it for their advantage.

According to a chart in the National Intelligence Agency’s “Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities” released in April, there was a 200 percent increase in unmasking of Americans last year.

The identities of 1,934 Americans were unmasked upon requests made by the Obama administration in 2016. That was nearly triple the 654 that were unmasked in 2015. Of course, 2016 was an election year.

Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom said “the unmasking could be one of the biggest scandals ever in the United States.”

You’d never guess that from the utter media disinterest. No special counsel was appointed and precious little media coverage after the first round of obligatory stories.

And still more scandals…

There are still more scandals that could rise to the level of a special counsel to investigate:

  • Holder (again) was under oath before Congress when he lied about whether he had discussed or even thought about prosecuting journalists, after he had signed the order to wiretap Fox News reporter James Rosen.
  • Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also lied to Congress about data collection on U.S. citizens, claiming under oath it was not being done. Edward Snowden’s leaks revealed it was being done on a mammoth scale.
  • The Obama administration targeted media members using the state surveillance apparatus, named Fox News reporter James Rosen a “criminal co-conspirator” under the Espionage Act of 1917 to gain access to his personal emails and phone records, and subpoenaed phone records from the Associated Press.
  • Benghazi…

Obama’s Department of Justice declined to appoint a special counsel to investigate either of these.

Total lack of Washington interest

The fact that none of these were deemed important enough to warrant special prosecutors just demonstrates how justice in Washington is an actual sham, of how the law is not equally enforced — generally when it comes to Democrats and specifically when it came to Obama.

This is driven and enabled by a dishonest media. They are not dishonest for being biased. They are dishonest by claiming they are not biased. It is not hard to imagine the media coverage had Trump done any one of these — let alone all of them. But most people barely remember any of these other than perhaps Benghazi.

Democrats will always be Democrats. They are the opposition party and in a real sense are supposed to act in opposition. Understood. But not the media.

Let’s go to Woodward, the dean of the D.C. press corps, one more time. He told MSNBC that too many members of the press are “binge drinking the anti-Trump Kool-Aid,” and that they need to “dial it back.”

But instead, they are engorging themselves on Kool-Aid and now we have a special counsel investigating something which according to a mountain of evidence did not happen, and is not a crime if it did.

A swamp, indeed.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

Harvard Study: Media coverage of Trump’s first 100 days ‘set a new standard for negativity’

“The press is your enemy. Enemies. Understand that? . . . Because they’re trying to stick the knife right in our groin.” – President Donald J. Trump.

A new report from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy analyzed news coverage of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office. The report is based on an analysis of news reports in the print editions of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, the main newscasts of CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC, and three European news outlets (The UK’s Financial Times and BBC, and Germany’s ARD).

Thomas E. Patterson, Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press,  in the Introduction and Methodology section of the report writes:

Trump’s dislike of the press was slow in coming. When he announced his presidential candidacy, journalists embraced him, and he returned the favor.  Trump received far more coverage, and far more positive coverage, than did his Republican rivals. Only after he had secured the Republican nomination did the press sharpen its scrutiny and, as his news coverage turned negative, Trump turned on the press.

[ … ]

The media have been fascinated by Trump since the first days of his presidential candidacy. Our studies of 2016 presidential election coverage found that Trump received more news coverage than rival candidates during virtually every week of the campaign. The reason is clear enough. Trump is a journalist’s dream. Reporters are tuned to what’s new and different, better yet if it’s laced with controversy. Trump delivers that type of material by the shovel full. Trump is also good for business. News ratings were slumping until Trump entered the arena.  Said one network executive, “[Trump] may not be good for America, but [he’s] damn good for [us].”

Read the full report of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office

The report found:

  1. Although journalists are accused of having a liberal bias, their real bias is a preference for the negative.
  2. Once upon a time, the “honeymoon” period for a newly inaugurated president included favorable press coverage. That era is now decades in the past. Today’s presidents can expect rough treatment at the hands of the press, and Donald Trump is no exception (see Figure 4 below). Of the past four presidents, only Barack Obama received favorable coverage during his first 100 days, after which the press reverted to form.
  3. Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days set a new standard for negativity. Of news reports with a clear tone, negative reports outpaced positive ones by 80 percent to 20 percent.
  4. Trump’s coverage was unsparing. In no week did the coverage drop below 70 percent negative and it reached 90 percent negative at its peak (see Figure 5 below).
  5. Trump’s attacks on the press have been aimed at what he calls the “mainstream media.” Six of the seven U.S. outlets in our study—CBS, CNN, NBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post—are among those he’s attacked by name. All six portrayed Trump’s first 100 days in highly unfavorable terms (see Figure 6 below).
  6. CNN and NBC’s coverage was the most unrelenting—negative stories about Trump outpaced positive ones by 13-to-1 on the two networks. Trump’s coverage on CBS also exceeded the 90 percent mark.
  7. Trump’s coverage exceeded the 80 percent level in The New York Times (87 percent negative) and The Washington Post (83 percent negative). The Wall Street Journal came in below that level (70 percent negative), a difference largely attributable to the Journal’s more frequent and more favorable economic coverage.
  8. Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days was not merely negative in overall terms. It was unfavorable on every dimension. There was not a single major topic where Trump’s coverage was more positive than negative (see Figure 7 below).
  9. Immigration was, at once, both the most heavily covered topic in U.S. news outlets and the topic that drew the most negative coverage. The proportion of negative news reports to positive ones exceeded 30-to-1.
  10. Health care reform and Russia’s election involvement were also subject to starkly negative coverage—in each case, the breakdown was 87 percent negative to 13 percent positive.

Figure 4. Tone of President’s News Coverage during First 100 Days. Sources: Stephen J. Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter, The Mediated President (2006), p. 37 for Clinton and Bush; Center for Media & Public Affairs for Obama; Media Tenor for Trump. Percentages exclude news reports that were neutral in tone, which accounted for about a third of the reports.

Figure 5. Weekly Tone of Trump’s Coverage. Source: Media Tenor. Sunday through Saturday was the coding period for each week. Percentages exclude news reports that were neutral in tone, which accounted for about a third of the reports.

Figure 6. Tone of Trump’s Coverage by News Outlet. Source: Media Tenor, January 20-April 29, 2017. Percentages exclude news reports that were neutral in tone, which accounted for about a third of the reports.

Figure 7. Tone of Trump’s U.S. Coverage by Topic. Source: Media Tenor, January 20-April 29, 2017. Percentages exclude news reports that were neutral in tone, which accounted for about a third of the reports.

Alt-Left calls for violence against conservatives

“It is a hard to read a newspaper these days without encountering extreme rhetoric from liberals that can reasonably be construed by their followers as a call for violent action against conservatives.”

Indeed. They can’t refute us, so that assassinate our character. If that doesn’t silence us utterly, then they will move to do so physically. Here is a good summary piece from PowerLine on my adventure in Iceland last week.

“Robert Spencer Poisoned In Iceland,” by John Hinderaker, PowerLine, May 17, 2017:

I had been scheduled to attend an event tomorrow night with Robert Spencer, a prominent anti-jihadist, who was to be in Iceland until shortly before his visit to Minnesota. I got word that the event was canceled because Spencer had fallen ill, and then learned that he had, in fact, been poisoned.

Spencer describes what happened at PJ Media

Spencer was able to deliver his speech to an audience of around 500 in Reykjavik, pretty impressive for a country whose population is only around 300,000. The press didn’t cover the speech, but rather focused on a handful of protesters. But Spencer was nevertheless pleased, and went out for dinner after his appearance.

I was quickly recognized: a young Icelander called me by name, shook my hand, and said he was a big fan. Shortly after that, another citizen of that famously courteous land likewise called me by my name, shook my hand, and said “f*** you.”…

Spencer believes that the young man who claimed to be a “big fan” poisoned his drink. At the link, he reproduces a copy of the police report (which, however, is in Icelandic). Spencer thinks he has been able to identify the poisoner through video from the restaurant, Facebook, etc. He comments on the climate of violence that the Left is fomenting throughout the West:

I learned my lesson. And the lesson I learned was that media demonization of those who dissent from the Leftist line is direct incitement to violence. By portraying me and others who raise legitimate questions about jihad terror and Sharia oppression as racist, bigoted “Islamophobes” without allowing us a fair hearing, they paint a huge target on the backs of those who dare to dissent.

Those who paint the targets, and those who shoot at them, think they’re doing something great. Not only does the Left fill those whom it brainwashes with hate, but it does so while portraying its enemies as the hatemongers, such that violent Leftists such as the young man who drugged me feel righteous as they victimize and brutalize for the crime of disagreement.

He is right. It is a hard to read a newspaper these days without encountering extreme rhetoric from liberals that can reasonably be construed by their followers as a call for violent action against conservatives. Where will it all end? I don’t know. But at some point, conservatives will have no choice but to fight back.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Left in action: Icelander says “Be kind, always, to everyone,” then says to Robert Spencer “Go f**k yourself”

Bloomberg’s Everytown Creates ‘Authors Council’ to Push Anti-Gun Propaganda

As if the country’s media weren’t already sufficiently co-opted by anti-gun advocates, this week, Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety announced an effort to pervert an additional facet of American entertainment. The billionaire bank-rolled interest group has developed the Everytown Authors Council. According to Bloomberg’s astroturf campaign, “The Council is designed to harness the power of the literary community to amplify the gun safety movement.”

Such efforts to influence an already biased entertainment sector are nothing new for Everytown. An April 2016 Variety article detailed how the gun control group worked hand-in-hand with writers for Netflix’s “House of Cards” to push their anti-gun agenda.

That same month, NRA-ILA’s Grassroots Alert informed readers of the extent of Everytown’s involvement in trying to distort television programming. It explained that an Everytown employee has the position of “Director of Cultural Engagement,” who, “oversees Everytown’s storytelling efforts, partnerships with the creative community and develops cultural assets that mobilize Americans to support common sense reforms…”

Much like with their efforts to pervert television, Everytown’s Authors Council will reportedly “use its collective reach and cultural influence to support common-sense solutions…” In providing comment for an Everytown press release, author Jodi Picoult seemed to express a willingness to create agitprop for the anti-gun group, stating, “It is because of this that authors are singularly suited to speak out on the need for common-sense gun laws, and to tell the stories of those who have been devastated by gun violence in this country.”

One would hope that shameless shilling on behalf of a statist billionaire would be derided in any artistic community. Unfortunately, many in America’s “creative” class appear all too willing use their “art” in service of Bloomberg’s vanity project. As such, the gun-owning public should do their best to apprise the general public of the gun control movement’s propaganda techniques, and consider their own consumption of media accordingly.

RELATED ARTICLE: From My Cold Wet Hands: Humorless Scold Targets Squirt Guns

The Temple Mount is in our Hands: The Legacy of the 1967 Six Day War

The 28th of Iyar in the Hebrew Calendar falls on May 23, 2017. It marks the 50th anniversary of the June Six Days War in 1967 that resulted in the incredibly swift victory by Israeli forces against the massed armies and air forces of the United Arab Republic led by charismatic Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Nasser had led the creation of the secular Pan-Arab movement encompassing Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. He was playing off Moscow versus Washington. He sought to ‘erase Israel from the Map of the World’ in revenge for the defeats in both the Israeli War for Independence in 1948-49 and the abortive Suez Operation in 1956 with the UK and France.

Nasser was seeking a secular socialist Arab empire. That is in sharp contrast to Israel’s current nemesis, Iran, that adopted the same slogan. It is seeking a Pan Islamic conquest of the Middle East and beyond with the aid of nuclear weapons, missiles and proxy fighters, Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi in Yemen.

Nasser ratcheted up his game plan in May 1967, demanding that UNEF troops withdraw from the Sinai so that his mobilized Army could replace them. He created a causus belli with the closing the Straits of Tiran, at the mouth of the Red Sea., to Israeli navigation. That prompted US President Johnson and British Prime Minister Harold Wilson to consider forming an international  flotilla to break the impasse.  Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and IDF Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin had other plans.  The country mobilized its reservists, deployed its forward forces, girded for possible action.

On the morning of June 5th, Israel launched virtually its entire air force of French made Dassault Mirage fighter bombers, Fouga close air support aircraft and US A-6 fighters in a brilliant attack from the Mediterranean Sea. It caught and destroying the Egyptian air force unawares at breakfast time. Later Syrian and Jordanian air forces would be similarly decimated. That enabled a breakthrough in Gaza and the Sinai passes that facilitated armored units reaching the Suez bypassing struggling Egyptian forces. Israeli forces in the north fought their way up and took the strategic Golan Heights from Syria aided by intelligence from Israeli spy Eli Cohen who had penetrated their military. His identity discovered he was executed in 1965, after providing Israel with key information on Syria’s forces.

What to do about Jerusalem was initially left undecided. The immediate question was what to do about the Jordanians who had occupied east Jerusalem illegally for 19 years following the 1949 Armistice. Initially concerned about the opposition it would meet from the Jordanians and in response to shelling of West Jerusalem, the decision was made on June 5th to send the 55th Parachute and Jerusalem Brigades to enter the fray. That culminated in liberating Israel’s ancient capital on the morning of June 7, 1967 with a radio message from paratroop commander Col. Mordechai “Motti” Gur, “the Temple Mount is in our Hands.” The Six Days of War ended on June 10, 1967. Israel had increased its territory by more than three times. Much of that would be returned in subsequent disengagement agreements and peace accords with both Egypt and Jordan in 1979 and 1994.

50 years later there is a legacy of unresolved issues: the question of Israel’s sovereignty over its eternal capital, the fixing of ‘secure and just’ borders under UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, Israel’s legal rights to “close settlements on the land” under International law, and the impasse over a possible peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel. Also outstanding is the matter of a possible move of the existing US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem enabled under a 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law passed by the US Congress. However, it has been but waived every six months by four US Presidents because of ‘national security issues’, meaning resolution of the Palestinian- Israeli conflict.

On the cusp of the 50th anniversary of the June Six Days of War, President Trump is making his first major overseas trip to the Middle East and Europe starting on Friday, May 19th. His first stop will be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he will be addressing a summit convened by King Salman with 50 Muslim Countries, members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Separately, he will be discussing possible military aid to the Saudis and the Emirati members of the Gulf Coordination Council concerned over the threat from Iran across the Persian Gulf. He may come away from that encounter with possible proposals for reigniting the moribund peace process between the Palestinians and Israel.

His 26 hours in Jerusalem will include the first American Presidential visit to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. He will lay a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and hold a private dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Present at that dinner will be the new US Ambassador to Israel, the Hon. David Friedman, who in contrast to the President’s 2016 election campaign promises, has taken up his seat in the existing Tel Aviv Embassy and the official residence in Herziliya.

Against this background, we convened another in the periodic 1330am WEBY Middle East round table discussions hosted by Mike Bates of “Your Turn” with  Shoshana Bryen, senior director of the Washington, DC-based Jewish Policy Center and Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review.  The Center’s Spring 2017 Quarterly edition of inFocus, “Six Days and Fifty Years“, was devoted to a review of historical documents and analysis of the legacy of that significant conflict

Mike Bates overlooking Kotel and Dome of the Rock Mosque on Temple Mount 3-2014

Mike Bates

Mike Bates:  Good afternoon and welcome to Your Turn. This is Mike Bates. This hour is one of our periodic Middle East round table discussions and I have with me in the studio Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog, “the Iconoclast”. Jerry welcome.

JBG headshot 1-26-14 SMALL

Jerry Gordon

Jerry Gordon:  Glad to be back.

Bates:  And joining us by telephone Shoshana Bryen. She is Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center in Washington. Shoshana welcome.

Shoshana Bryen 2017 headshot

Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen: Thank you Mike.

Bates: So a lot is happening in the Middle East always but this week particularly it seems like it’s even more active than usual. President Donald Trump will be visiting Israel on the eve of Jerusalem Day commemorating the liberation of Israel’s capital during the Six-Day War.  As we approach the 50th anniversary, Monday the 22nd, the President will be in Israel. Shoshana, what’s your overall take?

Bryen: Mike it’s not actually his first foreign visit because his first visit is to Saudi Arabia and I think that’s great. I’m really pleased that the President is going to go to Saudi Arabia. He is going to meet with the leaders of other Arab countries and bring that information to Israel and I think that’s terrific. The largest problem in the region is Iran. We get fixated on Palestinians but the problem is Iran. This will help them bridge some of the gaps between the Gulf State positions and the Israeli positions and could lead to very interesting things in the future.

Bates: Do you expect any activity, anything significant on the big elephant in the room and that is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?

Bryen: No. I think the Presidents take a position saying let’s start working on this. Let’s think about this. Let’s talk about this. I don’t think you will see anything major pop up regarding the Palestinians.

Gordon: Shoshana, what is this spat that has popped up in the press between Netanyahu and Trump? How manufactured is that and really what is the background for it?

Bryen: How about a hundred percent manufactured.  The first question was, is Jerusalem in Israel? Does Israel have control over Jerusalem and somebody said no; Jerusalem is not in Israel. The White House very quickly put out a statement that saying this was “not authorized communication and comments about the Western Wall do not represent the position of the United States and certainly not of the President.” That was probably the fastest White House statement I have ever seen, so I think you have people who are trying to look for trouble and if they can’t find any they will make some. There was also another comment that didn’t quite make the same level of press. Secretary of State Tillerson said something about “Israel and Palestine.”  So the Palestinians said, “Oh wow, this is great!” Immediately Tillerson said, “No that wasn’t meant to do that.” That was a mistake. So, I don’t think the problem is with the President and I don’t think the problem is with Secretary Tillerson. I think the problem is looking for ways to embarrass the President or ways to embarrass Israel.

Bates: Many of these communication mistakes are coming from within the administration. Do you see the White House as being undisciplined?

Bryen: No, I don’t think it’s undisciplined. I think they still have an awful lot of holdover personnel particularly in the case of Israel are not going to be friends of either the President or Israel.  If it was up to me I would ask for the resignations of every single person that worked there in the prior administration.

Bates: What is the symbolism of the visit, specifically to the Western Wall? Do you anticipate and that it probably will occur, do you anticipate that Donald Trump will visit the Western Wall? If so I understand that he would be the first sitting President to do so and if he does, do you expect him to be accompanied by Prime Minister Netanyahu?

Bryen: On the first one, yes, I do think he will go to the Western Wall. I think he will set that precedent and be the first sitting President to do so. Whether he is accompanied by the Prime Minister is very hard for me to tell. By previous common understanding, American officials are accompanied by the Chief Rabbi of Israel. This is a decision that will be made by the President and the Prime Minister and you can second guess it but I won’t.

Bates: Can you give us some insight on what the pros and cons of a dual versus simultaneous visit would be? Why do it, and why not do it?

Bryen: There are people who say that if he goes with the Prime Minister of Israel who is a political figure, it’s like asserting Israeli sovereignty at that space. It’s as if the President accepts Israeli sovereignty there. There are people who don’t want that. There are people who do. There are people who will say, no, President Trump hasn’t agreed that Israel is the sovereign authority in Jerusalem. However, you can’t ignore the fact that this is the holiest place in the Jewish world and so the President has visited a holy Jewish place with a Jewish Prime Minister so you can play it either way.

Gordon: Shoshana there was a very interesting op-ed in  The Wall Street Journal by Northwestern University Law School Professor Eugene Kontorovich. He is the architect of a very successful anti-BDS law that has been passed by several states.  He drew attention to Russia’s recognition of Israel’s capital in West Jerusalem.  What were his arguments to support U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital.

Bryen: Essentially Kontorovich said if a major power in the world can do that then the United States can do it as well and he is correct. However, the Russian statement is not as definitive or as positive I think as Kontorovich paints it in The Wall Street Journal. The Russian statement says, “We reaffirm the U.N. approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement which include the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

The problem here is that if you see East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state in those kinds of blunt terms you are essentially making a case to re-divide the city. If you re-divide the city all the Jewish patrimony stays on the wrong side. I think the Russians were making a statement of principle. West Jerusalem for the Jews, East Jerusalem for the Palestinians, that’s probably not the best way to deal with Jerusalem. At the end of the day the Jewish people need to have access and control of Jewish holy places, so I’m not thrilled with that statement.

Bates: Do you anticipate that the United States Embassy will move to Jerusalem?

Bryen: No.

Bates: Ever? Well, maybe ever is too long a time, I mean in the next five years

Bryen: Yes, right, never. You know I don’t know about five years. I do believe the President will use the waiver this time. I would point out that President Trump used the waiver process in the case of Iran a few weeks ago to buy himself some time on the specifics of what he wanted to do with Iran.  Several people in Washington went crazy and they said,” Oh, he’s not going to get rid of the nuclear deal and he is caving on Iran.” No he wasn’t. He used it as an opportunity to have the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense begin pointing out other bad things Iran does. It’s not just the nuclear deal. So the waiver is a mechanism for deciding how you want to handle a sticky situation. In the case of Iran, it was well used to begin a process of pointing out that Iran is just basically a bad country.

In the case of Israel which is a friendly country and an ally, it still gives you an opportunity to push off the decision and do other things. What I want to know is, what are the other things? My greatest hope is he will use the time to talk to the Palestinians honestly about their behavior and make them understand that their behavior is incompatible with peace. If he uses it that way  – give one take one,/take one give one – he’s probably on the road to something useful.

Gordon: Shoshana, Trump met with the infamous PA President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office. Among other things he criticized him for doing was paying stipends to Israeli jailed Palestinian terrorists like Marwan Barghouti and their families estimated at over four hundred million dollars annually. Are any of these funds coming from U.S. taxpayers and what evidence do we have of the Administration and Congress trying to stop such abuses?

Bryen: I must say the money that goes to terrorists does not come from U.S. distributions.  We are very clear about it because one hundred percent of our money is tied up in  projects. We have projects for economic development, improving water access, healthcare and education. We also pay Palestinian creditors certain of them directly. The United States pays the Israeli Electric Authority because the Palestinians don’t pay their bills. So U.S. money is not going to terrorists. That’s point one. Point two is that in the meantime there are bills in the House and Senate to cut off U.S. funds to the Palestinians. There is one by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, there is one by Lindsay Graham, there is corresponding legislation in the House. The issue that I see here is that if we cut off our money and we stop those programs in infrastructure, water access, and health, the Palestinian Authority is unlikely to fund them so they will wither on the vine. They will die. Maybe that’s good maybe it’s not good, those programs will go away. The Palestinian Authority will continue to use its other money – UNWRA money, EU money, Saudi, Qatari, PLO, direct tax money, any other way that they get money.  That money will continue to  go to terrorist salaries so we may be cutting off our noses here despite our faces.

Gordon: Shoshana there was news in The Wall Street Journal about a Gulf Cooperation Council plan based on the 2002 Saudi plan for recognition of Israel. Why is that a nonstarter?

Bryen: It’s a nonstarter because it’s backwards. It inverts the process. UN Resolution 242, which is the cornerstone of Israel’s security emanating from the ’67 war, requires that the Arab states go first because they were the ones who waged three wars in 1948, 1956 and 1967. They are required, according to the UN, to terminate their states of belligerency and respect the legitimacy, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all the states in the region. The only one that matters in that context is Israel. After that there are supposed to be boundaries drawn. The Saudi plan says that if Israel withdraws from all the territory it acquired in ’67 – which by the way would include the Golan Heights today.  Can you imagine what would happen if the Syrians were on the top of the Golan Heights today? If Israel would withdraw from all the territory acquired in ’67 including Jerusalem and the holy sites, the Arab peace plan says, after that, the Arabs will consider their 242 obligations. It’s backwards. It won’t do.

Bates: Are you seeing any forward progress in the peace process at all?

Bryen: What’s the peace process?

Bates: Now that’s a good question.

Bryen: Look if you are talking about Palestinians and Israelis, no there is no peace process because the Palestinians will be the last people to make concessions to Israel. They need the backup of the Arab states who pay their salaries so they will never go first. Now, if you are talking about the broader region, where Israel fits in, how the Saudis, the Emirates and Jordan feel, there  may be some movement. There is movement because the Gulf states see their primary enemy as Iran, and on that subject Israel is a potential source of assistance on intelligence,  weapons, tactics and training. There is a place for Israel in the region if you leave the Palestinians out of it for the moment.  That was the suggestion we got when President Trump stood with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Washington and it was a very good vibe. They were going to lift their eyes, they were going to look at the region, they were going to see where the spaces were for movement and I think they will still do that.

Bates: Specifically with the Palestinian issue there was a recent revision to the Hamas Charter that allegedly recognized the Israel.  People have touted it as a complete reversal of the position of the Palestinians.  Specifically, Hamas,  who previously had called for the destruction of Israel.  Their revised Charter isn’t calling for that anymore.  The Palestinians want peace.  So, if peace doesn’t happen,  it’s now the Jews’ fault.  After those headlines Hamas came back and told their people, “We said that but we didn’t really mean it.”  How do you interpret this revised Hamas Charter?

Bryen: You know what Mike? I don’t require interpretation at all. Go straight to the text of the new document.  Forget about statements afterwards. In the new document it says:

Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity and without rejecting any Palestinian rights. Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem along the lines of the June 4th, 1967 Armistice line with the return of the refugees displaced from their homes in 1949 to be the formula of national consensus.

In other words, no Israel. If the Palestinian Authority wants to talk to the Jews and if they accept a fully independent Palestinian state as a temporary measure that’s okay.  They are agreeing to accept Palestine wherever it gets liberated but “river to the sea” means all of it.  Anyone who is looking for anything else it’s not in there. It’s pretense, it’s all made it up. Hamas was making a single pitch to the Palestinian Authority saying, “If you want to negotiate with the Zionists you can, but it won’t be the end of the war.”

Bates: What is so striking about that is the new Charter is overt deception. It wouldn’t be deception at all to those who are paying attention, so why was this celebrated?

Bryen: Because people see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear and nobody who read it said any of those things. All they heard was you could have a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Jerusalem and it’s not the end of life. It’s not, it’s a stage in the destruction of Israel and I think the Israelis take that extremely seriously. You know you can’t account for people who read into these things what they want to. You really should go to the text and the text is clear.

Gordon: Shoshana, the Jewish Policy Center, where you are Senior Director published a rather interesting monograph. I commend it for our listeners to obtain a copy. It’s all about the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the June Six-Day War, 1967. One of the more important documents included was written by the late Professor Eugene Rostov of Yale Law School who formerly was a Senior State Department Official during the Johnson Administration. He had a hand in drafting the provisions of UN Security Resolution 242. What were his basic arguments about Israel’s international legal rights for “secure and just borders” and “close settlement on the land”?

Bryen: His single most important point was the British mandate. A mandate is a mission to do something. In this case, the mandate was for the establishment in Palestine, in their historic home. The British got the mandate to do that and the Mandate called for “closed settlement on the land” by Jews.  It was an invitation to Jews to settle in Palestine. A lot of places became states in the 20th century became states because they consolidated territory by war or by political means.  There are lots of reasons the places became states, but only one place in the world is a state because the countries of the United Nations wanted to make it one. Because of the mandate; the UN invited Jews to come and live in Palestine as their national home.  The Jews relied on that promise that the UN wanted them to come to Palestine and create the national homeland for the Jewish people.

Rostov feared that if the UN and the West  betray those commitments, “it would take a long step toward dissolving the world’s community as organized by the United Nations.”

The UN didn’t give the Jews their interest in Palestine. Palestine is the return of indigenous people to their homeland.  The UN wanted it and they helped to create it and they invited the Jews and made promises to the Jews.

The third point which is a little different than the other two,  is the League of Nations and then the United Nations did not see the territories as “Arab.” They are not “Arab territories” so anyone who says the Jews “came to the Arab territories” or the UN “took Arab territories for the Jews”, this is not correct. The territories in that region have been occupied by the non-Arab Ottomans for five hundred years and in those five hundred years all kinds of people lived there. Kurds, Jews, Turkmen, Baluchi, Yazidi – all kinds of people lived there.  Israel was not created out of  “Arab land”  in the eyes of the UN.  It was created out of the remnants of an empire that was dissolved, and that strengthens the Jewish claim to the piece of land that they have or to other lands that they wish to have.

Bates: Jerry, we are rapidly approaching the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, June 5th through June 10th, 1967. As a result, Israel expanded their country significantly having captured the Gaza, the Golan Heights, the Sinai and the West Bank.  We understand there is a documentary that will be playing in theaters across the country on Tuesday night, May 23rd. What do you know about that documentary?

Gordon: It is a docudrama produced by CBN and it focuses on the struggle and breakthrough into Jerusalem of the 55th Parachute Brigade of the IDF headed by then Colonel Mordechai “Motti” Gur.  I want to read an excerpt out of a book about Jerusalem and the breakthrough that will give you a sense of the drama that occurred. Simon Sebeg- Montefiore’s book, Jerusalem: The Biography captures the climactic moment of liberation during the June Six days of War in June 1967.  Note this excerpt published by the National Post, “The Temple Mount is in our Hands”:

First the Israelis bombarded the Augusta Victoria ridge using napalm, the Jordanians fled. Then Israeli paratroopers took the Mount of Olives and moved down towards the Garden of Gethsemane. We occupy the heights overlooking the old city. Paratroop Commander Colonel Motti Gur told his men in a little while we will enter it the ancient city of Jerusalem where for generations we have dreamed of and striven for we will be the first to enter. The Jewish nation is awaiting our victory. Be proud and good luck.

At 9:45 a.m. the Israeli Sherman tanks fired at the Lions Gate smashing the bus that blocked it and blew open the doors. Under raking Jordanian fire the Israelis charged the gate. The paratroopers broke into the Via Dolorosa and Colonel Gur lead a group onto the Temple Mount. ‘There you are in a half track after two days of fighting with shots still filling the air and suddenly you enter this wide-open space that everyone has seen before in pictures,’ wrote Israeli Intelligence Officer Arik Ackmon, ‘and though I’m not religious I don’t think there was a man who wasn’t overwhelmed with emotion. Something special had happened.’ There was a skirmish with Jordanian troops before Gur announced over Israel radio the Temple Mount is in our hands”, hence the name of this docudrama. The docudrama portrays what occurred in the battle for Jerusalem through recreations and interviews with many of the surviving paratroopers who made that assault and liberated Jerusalem.

Bates: This docudrama that Jerry is talking about In Our Hands-The Battle for Jerusalem will be playing in Northwest Florida at the AMC Bayou 15 theatres which is on Bayou Boulevard between 9th Avenue and Davis Highway at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23rd and it’s one night only.

Bates: Shoshana, speaking about the Six-Day War and specifically the capture of the Old City,  I have three questions which I will ask all at once so that you can answer them however they need to be answered. 1) Why were the Israeli forces originally forbidden from entering the Old City, 2) why did they then decide they would go into the Old City,  and  3),after capturing the Temple Mount why did they give it back?

Bryen: There are three questions that are really one question.  The answer to the big question is remember that Israel didn’t think it was going to win that war and they didn’t think the Jordanians were going to enter the war. The Israelis were telling the Jordanians from the beginning don’t do this, don’t get involved, stay home.  The Jordanians for their own reasons began shelling Western Jerusalem from Eastern Jerusalem.  But before that, if you  remember  May of 1967 the Israelis believed they were going to lose. Twenty-five years after the Holocaust they believed this could be it for the remaining Jews. Rabbis were talking about mass graves.  So the reason they didn’t want to go into the Old City was they hadn’t planned on it.  Plus,  they were afraid that it was booby-trapped and that there would be greater destruction of holy places. And number three they just didn’t think about it.

Now, by the time they got to it was clear, they had destroyed the Egyptian Air Force, they were rolling in the Sinai, they were rolling on the Golan, they were going to roll in Jerusalem so they did it. They found it was not booby-trapped. The Arabs surrendered the city with not very much destruction.

To your third question. They didn’t give it back.  What they said was,  “The mosque on the top must be ruled by Arabs, by Muslims; it is not our space. Unlike the Muslims who in ’48 and ‘49 took all the Jewish spaces and they destroyed them. Forty-seven synagogues they destroyed, not to mention the Mount of Olive Cemetery. When it was the Jewish turn they said,  “No not us. We are not going to destroy it and we are not going to rule it.”  They went to the Waqf, the Muslim o, religious authority in the city of Jerusalem, which was under the control of King Hussein of Jordan, who is the guardian of the mosques of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. They made a deal that religious people would take care of religious space. It’s an amazing thought that having returned to the space of the Western Wall they looked on top and they saw someone else’s religious patrimony there and they respected it.

Bates: What they got for that respect was continued violence and even the Temple Mount you say that they didn’t give it back and I suppose arguably you are right. On the other hand, it’s being managed by this Waqf and Israeli police control the entry points to the Temple Mount. Muslims, with rare exceptions when violence is feared, can enter any time they want and can pray. Non-Muslims are limited to very specific entry times from very specific entry points and are prohibited from overtly praying on the Temple Mount.

Bryen: Well that’s a quirk. Because Israel’s Rabbinate did not want people praying on the Temple Mount and the Israeli Government took that as their signal – which was the answer the government wanted; a rare case of the Rabbinate making the government’s life easier rather than harder.  The Rabbis were concerned that people could find themselves praying in the space that was originally the Holy of Holies and you can’t and that’s a religious issue. The Israeli government said the Rabbis don’t want it, the Arabs do want it so we don’t want it. I don’t know what would have happened if the Rabbis had said the opposite. I don’t know where it would have gone.

Gordon: Shoshana one of the allied problems has been that the Waqf has been the perpetrator of excavating what is the archeological Jewish provenance under the Dome of the Rock and much of that has been scattered in the debris in the City of David scree pile. That doesn’t indicate that in respect of what the Israelis did to grant control over the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque that it respects Jewish heritage there.

Bryen: The Waqf does not respect Jewish heritage and I would suggest that the Israeli government made a mistake in allowing them to do excavation. It wasn’t necessary. You must remember there is a difference between what happened in the days shortly after the Six-Day War when first there was certain euphoria because they had not expected to survive.  In those first days after the Six-Day War the Arabs of Jerusalem were not threatening people. They surrendered the city rather than have it be blown up. They worked with the Israelis. They understood that they were occupied.  Things that happened immediately thereafter were in the context of decent relations. Over time those relations didn’t stand up for exactly the reason you said. The Waqf and the Arabs do not fundamentally respect the Israeli position vis-a-vis Jerusalem at all and the Temple Mount specifically. They’re not quite as nice as they used to be.  They continue to permit the Arabs to have a great deal of leeway on the Temple Mount and perhaps they shouldn’t.

Bates: I agree with that. I was in Israel in 2014 and I had a fair amount of difficulty getting to the Temple Mount. Ultimately we did get in and had a private tour from one of the Imams which is somewhat interesting itself.  I was shocked by how exclusive it is against non-Muslims. Non-Muslims don’t have decent access to the Temple Mount.  I just find that to be incredibly unjust. If there is any point of validity to the charge of apartheid it is the Temple Mount where the Muslims have it and the infidels don’t.

Bryen: Absolutely, but the Muslims will tell you don’t need to go to the Temple Mount because you are not a Muslim.  So what difference should it make to you if you don’t have free access?

Gordon: That means that infidels or Kufr as people call them in Islam.

Bryen: Yes.

Gordon: Or Dhimmi, subjugated people under Sharia law.

Bryen: And not entitled to the same rights and privileges as Muslims.

Gordon: That’s correct.

Bryen: Which is to say Muslims can go there when they want but you don’t need to and so you can’t.

Bates: If  I may editorialize for just a moment Shoshana and Jerry, Jerusalem isn’t really a holy place for Muslims anyway. They just want it so the Jews can’t have it and their claim is that Jerusalem is the third holiest site in Islam behind Mecca and Medina. This is based on the false story that the prophet Mohammed rode the winged horse from Mecca to Jerusalem on his night journey.  They claimed that he ascended into heaven from the location of what is now the Al-Aqsa Mosque accompanied by the angel Gabriel.  The problem with that nonsensical story is obvious to those who study history and just don’t take at face value what they are told. The night journey to Jerusalem referred to in the Hadith as the farthest mosque supposedly took place in 621. However, there was no mosque in Jerusalem in 621. It was Umar bin al-Khattab who built the first mosque in Jerusalem during the Rashidun Caliphate which didn’t begin until 632  following  the death of Mohammed.  Jerusalem wasn’t conquered by Muslims until 637! The likely date for construction of the first mosque in Jerusalem was 637.  That is sixteen years after Mohammed’s night journey..  If I may be so bold as to say it, Islam’s claim to Jerusalem is a myth and not based on fact!

Bryen: There you go making sense because you are not supposed to be reading the dates of conquest and things like that. You are supposed to take it on face that this is what they say it is. It is a problem, I mean I’m laughing a little bit but I’m not laughing. They will tell you that the calendar doesn’t matter. What matters is faith and we believe this and if we believe it then you must treat it as if it’s true. Here you get to something that you will see in the political sphere as well.

It is not just religion; what they call their “narrative.” That means the history that they make up. Saeb Erekat once said that he was a Canaanite and someone said if you are a Canaanite you can’t be an Arab, because Arabs and Canaanites were different people.  He said, “ Don’t tell me what my narrative is.” In other words, don’t tell me what my truth is. My truth is whatever I make it and so you are exactly right. If the dates of construction don’t match the reality of history and we care about that you’re supposed to say, “Oh well too bad, it doesn’t. It’s the narrative.”

You find a lot in the political sphere.  This is what the Palestinian text books do. They tell you things that are not true.  They say, “That is our narrative, that is what we teach our children because that is what we want them to understand.”

Bates: My motto is “truth above all” and whichever side that truth falls on that’s where I want to be.  That’s why it bothers me so much when people tell and subsequently believe lies.

Gordon: Shoshana, Charismatic, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser triggered the crisis that lead to his and the so-called United Arab Republics defeat in the 1967 War. What were his objectives, how did he treat the Palestinians and why does that resonate today given the Iranian threats to Israel’s existence?

Bryen: Nasser was not interested in Palestine or Palestinians. Nasser was an Arab nationalist and he had only two goals. First was to be the leader of the Pan Arab Nationalist movement and second to play Russia and the United States against one another. Yes, he wanted to destroy Israel because he thought it was important for his nationalist Pan Arab goals.  Occasionally, it was important to mention Palestinians, but the goals were always something else. The goals were always Pan Arab. How does it relate to Iran today? Iran is not Pan Arab obviously, however it is Pan Islamic and Pan Islam is a bigger and more expansive problem than Pan Arabism, but it has the same goal. It is the control of large stretches of territory and people.

Bates: And the re-establishment of an Islamic Caliphate.

Bryen: Nasser was not exactly Caliphate oriented because he was a secular nationalist. Now, the Iranians are looking for the Caliphate. ISIS is looking for the Caliphate. Al Qaeda is looking for the Caliphate.

Gordon: Erdogan is looking to create another Caliphate.

Bryen: Erdogan wants the Ottoman Empire back.

Gordon: Right.

Bates: Shoshana, you recently had the opportunity to interview Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and the author of an outstanding book titled, Six Days of War – June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. What are your major takeaways from your interview with Michael Oren?

Bryen: Oren spent a fair amount of time talking about the difference between Pan Arabism and Pan Islamism.  But the biggest point he made was without the Six Day War Israel would not be the country that it is today and he means that in positive ways. The Six Day War made the borders of Israel much more defensible.  It made Jerusalem again the heart and soul not only of the State of Israel but of the Jewish people. The Six Day War brought religious freedom to Jerusalem. It gave the Jews a sense twenty-five years after the Holocaust, that they could compete in this modern world. They could live in this modern world.

What came out of that is the strategic alliance with the United States.  Plus, Israel is in the top tier of countries in terms of scientific and educational development. Other kinds of development include computers, music, agriculture and water technology.  All of that comes from the confidence to be who you are and to know that you can survive in the world. That is my favorite part of the interview which was also his biggest point.

That confidence has made Israel the only country in the modern world that has a birth rate that is above replacement. Israeli women have between three and five babies each and that is secular women. The Arab birth rate in Israel has gone down as Arab-Israeli women have more opportunities for education and professional opportunities, their birth rate has declined.  The birth rate for Orthodox Jewish women has declined for the same reason. More education, more opportunities in the secular world. The birth rate for secular Israeli women is going up and it is over three babies per woman which is more than replacement. It is the highest number in the developed world.  That is from optimism.

According to Ambassador Oren the Six Day War was itself a terrible trial of fire for the Jewish state, but what came out of it is a very positive optimistic and confident Israel which in his view and in mine can figure out how to solve their remaining problems.

Gordon: Shoshana on the back of your InFocus Spring 2017 Quarterly issue is a document you call your final thoughts entitled, “Back to the Future”. What are they?

Bryen: You cannot solve the current problems without going back to the fact that the Arab states have never ever recognized the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East. To solve the problem, they have to do what they failed to do since ’48. If they do that everything else is possible.

Bates: Any closing thoughts, Jerry?

Gordon: For our listeners in Pensacola you ought to come and watch this terrific docudrama called, In Our Hands-The Battle for Jerusalem. It will be shown the AMC Bayou 15 on May 23rd, the eve of Jerusalem Day in Israel at 7 p.m.  It’s the only showing and you ought to take someone with you and go see it.

Bates: Jerry and I will both be there and we hope to see you there as well. So, thank you Jerry Gordon from the New English Review and Shoshana Bryen with the Jewish Policy Center in Washington for joining us as well. Always enjoy these Middle East round table discussions. We thank you for listening today to Your Turn on 1330 WEBY.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. Listen to the 1330am WEBY interview. Download the Jewish Policy Center, inFocus Spring 2017 Quarterly, Six Days and Fifty Years .

ISIS video features American, Canadian, British, Russian, Belgian Muslim Fighters

Today’s moderate Muslim is tomorrow’s jihadi. The Islamic State is calling the ummah (worldwide Muslim community) to jihad according the Islamic texts and teachings.

A vast proportion of ISIS recruits are “far from being uneducated or illiterate,” a World Bank has found in a study of why people join terrorist groups. The report says some of the recruits tend to be even better educated than their average countrymen. It is not surprising. The Caliph himself has a PhD in Islamic theology.

Herein lies further proof that the lie that Islamic apologists and Muslim supremacists advance is propaganda. Here again, reality flies in the face of the bogus narrative of Islamic supremacists and the leftist lapdogs on their payroll, that jihad is caused by illiteracy and poverty. We are clubbed to death with the lie (literally). But it is often just the opposite. Well-educated and affluent, the jihadis shows that the catalyst for jihad is a move towards the faith of Islam. Religiosity is the catalyst.

There’s more, much more, but you get the picture.

It has been shown time and time again — whether it was the Muslim doctors who tried to blow up the Glasgow airport; or the wealthy, educated diplomat’s son who attempted to bomb a plane right out of the sky over Detroit on Christmas day; or the group of 45 Muslim doctors who plotted Islamic terror raids in the US; or the rich, well-educated Osama bin Laden; or the 19 9/11 hijackers. Jihad has nothing to do with wealth or education. It is a religion, a totalitarian and supremacist belief system.

One Muslima who joined the jihad, Aqsa Mahmood, grew up in an affluent neighborhood and attended a prestigious private school. The Time Square bomber was the son of an affluent banker and diplomat.

The jihadist who led the mass beheading of Christians on a beach in Libya was an American Muslim. Thousands of Muslims from Europe, North America, Australia, etc. are flocking to the Middle East to wage jihad. They grew up in the West. They went to good schools and came from affluent homes. Some stay in their own countries and aid and abet the jihad — like the business executive in India who also happened to run the most influential Twitter account followed by the Islamic State. Foreign jihadis, beheaders, rapists and slaughterers in the cause of Islam.

At the risk of repeating myself for the past ten years, this war is ideological. It’s religious and political, because Islam is political. Nationality, race, sex, ethnicity, borders, hair color, shoe size, and shirt color are irrelevant. The common thread is Islam — authentic Islam.

ISIS Video Features American, Canadian, British, Russian, Belgian Fighters Urging Muslims To Carry Out Attacks In West, Shows Landmarks In NYC, DC, Baltimore, Las Vegas

By MEMRI, May 18, 2017:

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

On May 17, 2017, the media office of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Ninawa province, Iraq released a video titled “We Will Surely Guide Them To Our Ways.” The video featured fighters from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Russia, and Belgium repeatedly calling on Muslims living in the West to carry out attacks there. The video features footage and still images of U.S. cities, landmarks and institutions, including Times Square, Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore), Washington D.C., and Las Vegas, as well as financial institutions like Bank of America and PNC Bank. Also in the video, the fighters commended the perpetrators of attacks carried out in the West, including Omar Mateen and Anis Amri, of the Orlando night club shooting and the Berlin Christmas market attacks, respectively.

In addition, the video, which was posted on multiple ISIS-affiliated Telegram channels and Twitter accounts as well as on the ISIS-affiliated online jihadi forum Shumoukh Al-Islam, highlighted ISIS’s weapons manufacturing capabilities, and revealed several technological developments in that regard, including an explosive-laden drone and a high-yield RPG.

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Two of the fighters featured in the video, Abu Maliha Al-Kanadi (“the Canadian”) and Abu Zakaria Al-Britani, carried out martyrdom operations against Iraqi military vehicles.

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Abu Maliha Al-Kanadi

Before carrying out his martyrdom operation, Al-Kanadi addressed “the brothers who believe in Allah,” saying: “I am too much excited. I don’t know what to say but I am going to meet my master who ordered me to do what I am supposed to do. We all must wake up to fight for the cause of Allah. Without jihad, without jihad, without jihad, there is no Islam.”

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Abu Zakaria Al-Britani sitting in his suicide vehicle en route to target

Another fighter, an American named Abu Hamza Al-Amriki, lashed out at the U.S., accusing it of “carrying the banner of the cross in waging war against Muslims,” of supporting Iran in spreading its religion (the Shi’a) in Muslim countries, and of destroying cities and killing Muslim women and children. Addressing “the monotheists” living in the U.S., Al-Amriki urges them to attack non-Muslims there, saying: “Are you incapable of stabbing a Kafir [infidel] with a knife, throwing him off a building, or running him over with a car? Liberate yourself from hellfire by killing a kafir [infidel]… So show resolve and place your trust in Allah and He will pave the way for you.”

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Abu Hamza Al-Amriki

Al-Amriki also highlights ISIS’s weapons manufacturing capabilities, introducing an anti-tank rocket launcher that ISIS manufactured from scratch, and mocks the Iraqi soldiers for their inability to distinguish ISIS-made from U.S.-made rocket launchers when encountering them in the field. Pointing to an ISIS-made rocket launcher, Al-Amriki says: “What we have here the rafidah say is projectile launchers are weapons which America provided to the Islamic State. This demonstrates their stupidity, foolishness of the Rafidah. This weapon is a pride of the Islamic State. To Allah belongs all praise.  And this weapon, here, is ghamina [booty], which was taken from the rafidah’s personnel, to whom America gave support and weapons… for the soldiers of the Islamic State [were able] to produce weapons with which they can fight the enemies of Allah, including this anti-tank rocket launcher. It was made and completed from scratch, and to Allah belongs all praise. And this is due to the need for weapons in battle that can destroy the armor of the rafidah and the Americans.” He added that ISIS produces anti-tank rocket launchers and thermobaric launchers, as well as “other types,” whose effect, he said, will be left “for the enemy of Allah to discover for themselves.”

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ISIS RPG manufacturing facility

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Abu Jihad Al-Rusi

Another fighter featured in the video, a Russian named Abu Jihad, also emphasized ISIS’s weapons manufacturing capabilities, saying that the group produces SPG-9 anti-Russian armored tanks and RPG-7 for U.S Humvees. He addresses Muslims living among the “polytheists” and urges them to “turn their security into terror.”

A fighter from Belgium named Abu Dujanah Al-Bajiki stresses that ISIS has managed to develop an anti-aircraft weapon that can be controlled remotely in order to target American and French aircraft, as well as IEDs delivered to their targets via remote-controlled robots.

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Abu Dujanah Al-Baljiki highlighting ISIS’s remote-control anti-aircraft weapon

Abu Dujanah also praises the perpetrators of attacks in Paris and Brussels, and calls upon Muslims to carry out more attacks. Below are excerpts from Abu Dujanah’s message:

“The Iraqi forces, with their American Abrams tanks and their Russian tanks, are attempting to advance, under cover of Crusader air support, on the areas controlled by the mujahideen. One of the coalition members is France, which violently supports them with artillery. Yet Allah has provided the mujahideen with the means to counter this. By the grace of Allah, the mujahideen have acquired many Strela anti-aircraft missiles. They have also developed a remote-controlled anti-aircraft system, in order to target American and French aircraft with precision. They have also developed a remote-controlled bomb carrier, which advances toward its targets, in order to blow them up along with their crews, who are trying to advance on Muslim territory.

“Allah be praised, these weapons were manufactured despite the violence of the battle, and the throttling siege laid by these Crusaders and their minions, who will enter the ground battle, which will be fierce. Just as Allah has provided the mujahideen with these weapons, He has provided the operations that have made these states of disbelief tremble – like the Paris operation on November 13, the operation carried out by our brother Coulibaly, the operation of our brother in Brussels, Abballa Larossi, and the others, may Allah accept them. They have exported the war into the heart of France and Belgium, and have avenged the blood spilled by France and Belgium in Iraq and Syria.”

The video features several other calls for attacks in the West by non-Western suicide bombers. One of them, Abu Youssof Al-Masalawi, addresses Muslims living in the West, saying: “Oh brothers, if you couldn’t manage to come to the land of the Caliphate, the heads of unbelief are in front of you in your countries. I call on you by the name of Allah to have your swords dripping [with the] blood of the infidel before night time. Rest assured that any drop of blood spilled there would ease the pressure on us here.” Another suicide bomber, Abu Omar, addresses “the brothers” who couldn’t make it to the Caliphate and urges them to kill the infidel everywhere, saying that jihad is a religious obligation.

Other technological advancements shown in the video include a remote-controlled airplane packed with explosives, and a newly developed high-yield explosive that ISIS is seen using in one suicide mission.

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An Explosive-laden remote-controlled drone used by ISIS

The video ends with scenes pf Western cities and institutions, including New York, Las Vegas, Baltimore, and Washington D.C., and Bank of America and PNC bank, coupled with segments from a previously released speech by ISIS spokesman Abu Al-Hassan Al-Muhajir in which he urged “truthful” Muslims in the U.S., Russia, and Europe to carry out attacks against Western interests using large double-wheeled load-bearing trucks to target festivals, parades, outdoor markets, and rallies.

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The Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas

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Times Square

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Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore

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Bank of America building in Washington, DC

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PNC Bank on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 

RELATED ARTICLE: Suspect tells police he killed Tampa Palms roommates for disrespecting his Muslim faith | Tampa Bay Times

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Geller Report.

Eritreans top list of Muslim ‘refugees’ entering the U.S.

But, are they really persecuted refugees or are they economic migrants from yet another African country whose government is a mess?

Somali and Eritrean migrants on the run as they try to escape from a police station in Pordenone, Italy while being round up for identification.

And thus the fundamental question for us, as always, is: So why are they our problem?

I did my usual end-of-the-week look at Wrapsnet just now. If you are following my updates in the right hand side bar here at RRW, note that as of today we have admitted 44,888 refugees this fiscal year (the FY ends on September 30th).

Checking the numbers this week I was interested to see that only a little over a quarter of the 813 admitted since last Friday are Muslims.  The Syrian numbers are way down (18 of the 22 admitted this week are Muslims).  We did admit another 57 Somalis, but of the 49 Iraqis admitted, the vast majority (38) are Yezidis. There were zero Iraqi Christians admitted this past week.

I was also interested to see that our Burmese Muslim numbers are growing with 35 admitted this past week (from 5/12-5/19), but of most interest to me was the large number of Muslims admitted during the week from Eritrea (68!).

I have to admit, I’ve never really paid any attention to the flow of Eritreans to the US.  We know they are one of the larger groups flooding in to Europe mostly passing through Hillary’s failed state of Libya, but apparently our US State Department is scooping up a fair number of them as well.

They have an African “authoritarian government,” but why is that our problem? 

Eritrea and Ethiopia have been on-again, off-again at war forever.  Why is that our problem?

One of the ‘human rights’ complaints about Eritrea is its mandatory conscription to military service, so,again, why is that our problem?

Felix Horne

Indeed, many question whether the Eritreans are legitimate “refugees” or are they “economic migrants.”

“In refugee law, it can be tricky to draw the line between an economic migrant and someone who is fleeing persecution,” says Felix Horne, a researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Eritrea is the best example of that…”

Admissions of Eritreans are on the rise in the US

I explored Wrapsnet a bit to see what we have  been doing for about the last ten or so fiscal years with Eritreans and sure enough, the numbers we admit are on the rise.

In FY2008 we admitted only 251.  That number jumped to 1,571 in Obama’s first year. In 2016 it was 1,949 and, in the first seven and a half months of this fiscal year, the number stands at 1,307.

In the past week, ending this morning, we admitted 90 Eritreans and 68 of those are Muslims. That was the highest ethnic group of Muslims in the week. Are they getting “extreme vetting?”

If we continue to admit 90 a week*** for the remaining  weeks of the fiscal year, the Trump Administration could reach 3,000 by September 30th (well above any year during the Obama Administration).

Since FY2007 we admitted 16,897 Eritreans to the US.

There is a lot of useful information in the article I linked above and here from the Council on Foreign Relations if you want to learn more about the Eritrean tide spreading to Europe and America.  One of the points that jumped out at me is one we discussed, here, recently.

Note that US dollars sent out of the US economy prop up Eritrea’s economy:

Eritreans in the diaspora also contribute to Eritrea’s economic survival by sending their families remittances, which provide the country with foreign reserves and keep families afloat.

So, as Syrian and Somali refugee numbers decline slightly, we are seeing an increase in Burmese Rohingya Muslims to the US as well as the Eritreans we have featured in this post.

*** Here is the breakdown of the Eritrean refugee admissions for the week of May 12-May 19, 2017 from Wrapsnet:

Russia Special Counsel Mueller Worked with Radical Islamic Groups

Now that Robert Mueller has been appointed special counsel to investigate if Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election it’s worth reiterating his misguided handiwork and collaboration with radical Islamic organizations as FBI director. Judicial Watch exclusively obtained droves of records back in 2013 documenting how, under Mueller’s leadership, the FBI purged all anti-terrorism training material deemed “offensive” to Muslims after secret meetings between Islamic organizations and the FBI chief. Judicial Watch had to sue to get the records and published an in-depth report on the scandal in 2013 and a lengthier, updated follow-up in 2015.

As FBI director, Mueller bent over backwards to please radical Islamic groups and caved into their demands. The agency eliminated the valuable anti-terrorism training material and curricula after Mueller met with various Islamic organizations, including those with documented ties too terrorism. Among them were two organizations— Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)—named by the U.S. government as unindicted co-conspirators in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing case. CAIR is a terrorist front group with extensive links to foreign and domestic Islamists. It was founded in 1994 by three Middle Eastern extremists (Omar Ahmad, Nihad Awad and Rafeeq Jaber) who ran the American propaganda wing of Hamas, known then as the Islamic Association for Palestine.

The records obtained as part of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit show that Mueller, who served 12 years as FBI chief, met with the Islamic organizations on February 8, 2012 to hear their demands. Shortly later the director assured the Muslim groups that he had ordered the removal of presentations and curricula on Islam from FBI offices nationwide. The purge was part of a broader Islamist operation designed to influence the opinions and actions of persons, institutions, governments and the public at-large. The records obtained by Judicial Watch also show similar incidents of Islamic influence operations at the Departments of Justice and State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Obama White House.

Here are some of the reasons provided by Mueller’s FBI for getting rid of “offensive” training documents: “Article is highly inflammatory and inaccurately argues the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization.” It’s crucial to note that Mueller himself had previously described the Muslim Brotherhood as a group that supports terrorism in the U.S. and overseas when his agency provided this ludicrous explanation. Here’s more training material that offended the terrorist groups, according to the FBI files provided to Judicial Watch: An article claiming Al Qaeda is “clearly linked” to the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing; The Qur’an is not the teachings of the Prophet, but the revealed word of God; Sweeping generality of ‘Those who fit the terrorist profile best (for the present at least) are young male immigrants of Middle Eastern appearance;’ conflating Islamic Militancy with terrorism. The list goes on and on.

Mueller’s actions have had a widespread effect because many local law enforcement agencies followed the FBI’s lead in allowing Islamic groups like CAIR to dictate what anti-terrorism material could be used to train officers. Among them are police departments in three Illinois cities— Lombard, Elmhurst and Highland Park—as well as the New York Police Department (NYPD). In the case of the Lombard Police Department, CAIR asserted that the instructor of a training course called “Islamic Awareness as a Counter-Terrorist Strategy” was anti-Muslim though there was no evidence to support it. Like the FBI, Lombard officials got rid of the “offensive” course. The NYPD purged a highly-acclaimed report that’s proven to be a critical tool in terrorism investigations after three New York Muslims, two mosques and an Islamic nonprofit filed a lawsuit.

Considering Mueller’s role in much of this, it makes him a bizarre choice to lead the heated Russia investigation. The goal, apparently, is to determine of Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and if President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials. In the Justice Department announcement, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein describes Mueller as person who qualifies to lead the probe because he exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command. “Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result,” according to Rosenstein.

Mark Steyn on the poisoning of Robert Spencer

“The social-justice crowd are moving toward the same point as the Charlie Hebdo killers, and for the same reason: They’re too stupid to argue.”

Yes.

Here is an excellent take on what happened to me in Iceland and its larger implications.

Mark Steyn

“The Poisoning of Robert Spencer,” by Mark Steyn, May 18, 2017:

For years now I’ve said that anti-free-speech leftists and the men who slaughtered the staff of Charlie Hebdo, shot up Lars Vilks’ event in Copenhagen, etc, are merely different points on the same continuum: They’re both in the shut-up business: both groups find it quicker and easier and more satisfying to silence you than to debate you.

There were those who found the comparison offensive – to whom I would on good-humored days grant that the two points on the same continuum were nevertheless some distance apart.

Well, they got considerably closer in Reykjavik last week.

Robert Spencer, the author of several bestselling books on Islam, a brave crusader against the dopier multiculti illusions and the proprietor of the indispensable Jihad Watch, gave a speech at the Grand Hotel, went to unwind at dinner afterwards, and was poisoned by a social-justice warrior. Here’s Robert’s account of what happened

That’s quite a sophisticated operation – a two-man team, the first a fake fan, the second a post-kiss-of-death gloater.

Before the banking crash of ’08, Iceland was flush, and celebs like Elton John were flown in for gala bashes. But it’s all quietened down a bit since then, so the Spencer event was a big deal. He drew an audience of 500 – which in a town of 125,000 and a nation of 300,000 is pretty impressive. There was lots of coverage of his visit – none of which actually quoted him or excerpted his speech or interviewed those who were interested in hearing what he had to say. Instead the media preferred to cover the few dozen protestors of his trip. In all the column inches devoted to Robert Spencer, no journalist thought to seek a comment from Robert Spencer. There are two sides to every story – except this guy’s story: he doesn’t deserve a side.

This kind of dehumanization sends a message – and the man who poisoned Robert got it loud and clear:

Those who paint the targets, and those who shoot at them, think they’re doing something great. Not only does the Left fill those whom it brainwashes with hate, but it does so while portraying its enemies as the hatemongers, such that violent Leftists such as the young man who drugged me feel righteous as they victimize and brutalize for the crime of disagreement.

I have no doubt whatsoever that whoever poisoned me in Iceland went away feeling happy over what he had done. If he told anyone what he did, I’m sure he was hailed as a hero. I’m also aware that many who read this will crow and exult in knowing that someone who hates my opposition to jihad terror and Sharia oppression made me seriously ill. This is how degenerate and evil the Left has become.

I don’t know how I’d stand up to a cocktail of Ritalin and Ecstasy. I do know there’s at least one person in my modest entourage it would kill. And I have no doubt that had the fellow in the restaurant switched on the radio the following morning and heard that Robert Spencer had died in hospital overnight he would have celebrated.

Like the guns at Singapore, the social-justice mob’s fingers are pointing in the wrong direction: They accuse their opponents endlessly of “otherization”; yet they are the ones who so deny the humanity of “the other” that it seems cool and heroic to attempt to kill a chap who gave a speech you object to – even though you never heard the speech, and, even if you had, are incapable of articulating what exactly in it you take issue with.

Douglas Murray and I noted after the tenth anniversary of the Mohammed cartoons how strangely controversial the post-event dinner has become. In Copenhagen, the restaurant panicked at the sight of the PET – the Danish security-service agents – and canceled our booking. As Douglas wrote:

Ten years ago, you could publish depictions of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper. Ten years later, it is hard for anyone who has been connected with such an act to find a restaurant in Copenhagen that will serve them dinner.

For those in Robert Spencer’s line of work, these events are undeniably stressful. There are security precautions, of course, but you never know, from the Vilks event in Copenhagen to Robert’s in Garland, Texas, whether some jihadist will succeed in breaking through. There’s a sense of relief when you exit the stage and it’s all gone off without incident. You’re looking forward to a drink and a bite to eat in convivial company. And you’re on your post-performance high, so you’re generally bonhomous when people approach professing to be fans and seeking a selfie or an autograph. And there’s three or four and they’re all around you, and you put your drink down on the table – as Douglas and I did again and again in the bar we wound up in late that night. And the fans move on, and you pick up your glass without a thought…

Robert Spencer will never do that again.

The social-justice crowd are moving toward the same point as the Charlie Hebdo killers, and for the same reason: They’re too stupid to argue. For the Islamic imperialists, debate is a largely alien concept. For the left, it’s simply too much effort. As I said here many years ago, the great appeal of multiculturalism is that it absolves you from having to know anything about other cultures: If they’re all equally valid, what’s the point? Slap on the CO-EXIST bumper sticker and off you tootle. No need to worry whether the “C” might have a bit of a problem with some of the other letters, and that indeed, if not for the “C”, you wouldn’t need a bumper-sticker admonition to CO-EXIST in the first place. But, after two generations of social engineering, of the substitution of attitudes for education, it would require too much effort to equip yourself to argue against the difficult questions a man such as Robert Spencer raises. It’s literally easier to kill him.

Not yet in the blood-lusting exultant scimitar-raising style of the decapitators of French priests. But just through whatever you’ve got in your stash that might ensure he’ll be flying out of Reykjavik by the handles. So for the moment there is still a continuum. But it’s narrowing, and will narrow still.

Get well soon, Robert.

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Iran’s Election Farce: President Trump must close Iran’s illegal election sites

Iranian voters go to the polls on Friday to select a new president from a list of the regime faithful chosen for them by the Supreme Leader and his aptly-named Guardians Council.

Many opposition groups, both inside Iran and in exile, have called for a boycott on these sham elections, which are a masquerade of democracy.

Regime supporters whined when the leftist government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shut down polling stations set up by the Islamic State of Iran’s embassy in Toronto, arguing that Western governments should want more voting by Iranians, not less.

But these elections are as free as those held by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, or by Saddam Hussein in Iraq in the 1980s. Stalin’s famous dictum – it’s not the people who vote who count, it’s the people who count the votes – is nowhere more true today than in Islamic Iran.

And while incumbent president Hassan Rouhani is trying to position himself as an election-eve convert to moderate policies, his supporters cannot name a single political prisoner who owes his or her freedom to Rouhani’s intervention, or to a single political execution Rouhani helped to block.

But the elections are important to Ayatollah Khamenei. The so-called “Supreme Leader” of the Islamist Iran has repeatedly called on citizens to vote on Friday, reasoning that a high turnout will “send a message” to regime foes in Israel and the United States.

It’s an outrage that U.S. taxpayers are paying to spread the Ayatollah’s anti-U.S. propaganda, but it’s true. That and many similar “news” stories touting the virtues of Iran’s [s]elections have been broadcast by the Persian service of VOA and Radio Farda, run by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Put simply, a vote on Friday is not a vote for moderation or freedom, or even the better of bad choices: it is a vote of support for the Islamic terror regime in Tehran.

As the pro-bono president of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, I have joined forces with the Islamic State of Iran Crime Research Center and hundreds of others in petitioning the White House to shut down the 56 illegal polling places the Iranian regime authorities say they want to set up across the United States on Friday.

Among them are unknown locations in Buffalo, New York, Detroit, Michican, and Seattle, Washington, where the Islamic regime’s embassy plans to bus in would-be voters from across the border in Canada. (I can hear the questions from our Customs and Border Control agents: and you want to come to the United States to do what?)

We expect the regime to update its dedicated website on the elections with actual addresses at the last minute, as has been their practice in previous years. Their goal in this hide and seek is to avoid federal prosecution, and to prevent protest by regime opponents.

There are other reasons why freedom-loving Iranians and ordinary Americans should join us in calling on the Trump administration to shut down these election sites: they violate a whole gamut of U.S. laws.

As part of the 1981 Algiers Accord that ended the 444-day ordeal of U.S. diplomats held hostage by Tehran, the Iranian regime is allowed to maintain two diplomatic facilities in the United States: a Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, and an Interests section in Washington, DC, currently under the protection of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

But the accord also forbids those diplomats from traveling beyond a 25 mile radius from New York or Washington, DC, without a specific permit from the Department of State.

Iranian regime election law, however, requires that regime officials actually man the polling stations and certify the balloting.  If any Iranian diplomats are caught traveling beyond the 25-mile limit without a permit, they should be immediately jailed and ultimately declared Persona Non-Grata.

Beyond that, U.S. sanctions under the International Economic Emergency Powers Act and other authorities prohibit U.S. citizens from conducting business or performing services for the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Treasury Department can freeze the assets of violators under a simple order that is not subject to judicial review.

That means that any U.S. university, hotel, business, or private person entering into a contractual relationship to provide facilities to be used as polling places for the Iranian “election” on Friday does so at their peril. They have far more to lose than just the thirty pieces of silver they took as rent from the regime.

Pro-Tehran lobbyists continue to populate the swamps in Washington, DC.

One such group, calling itself the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian-Americans (PAAIA), has been trying to organize opposition to the Trump Executive Orders on immigration, and filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC, seeking to stay their implementation.

PAAIA leaders are coming to Washington, DC, this coming Monday for meetings with Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Others, such as the National Iranian American Council, wildly successful under the Obama administration, have seen their influence shrivel to the size of one peanut under Trump.

Like millions of ordinary Americans who finally woke up and voted last November because they saw the real possibility that the country they grew up in would be destroyed, pro-freedom Iranian-Americans generally abhor politics. They rarely act in a well-organized fashion. Even protests against Ahmadinejad’s visits to the United Nations in New York rarely attracted more than a few thousand demonstrators, and most of those were paid and bused in by the Islamist Marxist Mujahedin-e Khalq, as I revealed in these pages over a decade ago.

That is why the grass roots support from Iranian-Americans to shut down these sham elections is so important.

Ayatollah Khomeini famously said during the 1979-1981 hostage crisis, “America can do nothing.”

By that he meant, we can spit in their face, we can stomp on their flag and defy them on their own territory, and they won’t dare to oppose us.

The Islamic state of Iran’s current leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, loves to repeat Khomeini’s slogan. This is a terrific opportunity not just to prove the ayatollahs wrong, but to show them that America remains a beacon of freedom that ultimately will shine brighter than their dark regime inside Iran itself.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.

French Legislative Elections: Part 1

The sun is shining, the air is sweet and breezy, the birds are chirping and the jacandas are ablaze in purple blossoms. I’m like a restless pupil in summertime, looking out the window and aching to run out of the classroom and dive into glorious nature.

Far away in Paris, François Hollande is handing over to Emmanuel Macron the nuclear scepter and other secret codes and coded secrets of the Elysée Palace. There will be all sorts of media winks and hints with flashbacks to the last such exercise when the newly elected Hollande nastily skipped the courtesy of escorting outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni to the car that would carry them to their new civilian life.

I can’t cheat on time, place & perspective. Instead of following the inauguration as if I were there, I want to see it from this perspective, from Israel…where the question of Aliyah hovers over French Jews, those that have already made the choice, and the others.

My dear friend and colleague Moti Kedar asks me if France is doomed. His parents made Aliyah from Poland in the early 30s, he was born in Israel where he has fruitfully multiplied. Demographically, he says, France doesn’t add up. It subtracts. How did he put it? A nation that doesn’t make children is heading straight for the museum. I am always at a loss to answer this existential question. Of course I respond at great length and exhaustively, but without any statistics or hardware to justify my long term predictions. Or is it simply hope? Not idle hope, not “where’s the problem?” Simply hope instead of dejection, hope as a form of light, my default mode.

Election night

Since my last report at 8 PM on election night, the figures have been refined. The final count is:

  percentage votes
Emmanuel Macron 66.1 % 20,753,797
Marine Le Pen         33.9% 10,644,118
Abstentions    12,101,416
Blanks    3,019,735

Exit polls were posted on non-French media several hours before the official announcement of the results. The candidates and their supporters knew, of course. Stiff silence at the Front National venue at the Chalet du Lac in the Bois de Boulogne where Marine obviously would not be celebrating a victory. At the Louvre, Macron fans were rushing into the courtyard, grabbing pastel t-shirts and French flags from the ellpeurs [helpers] like marathon runners reaching for water bottles without losing a step. Everyone remembers the proliferation of huge foreign flags, mostly from Muslim countries, at the Bastille where François Hollande celebrated 5 years ago. Nothing was left to chance this time. The roving mike did catch some uninhibited folklore from an ecstatic African supporter: “I was on my way to the toilets to pee,” she said, “when I heard them announce that Macron is the winner!!! Wow!!!

The acceptance speech, broadcast from En Marche headquarters, was brief, sober, and disconcerting: Emmanuel Macron with his facial lights turned off. A solemn acknowledgment of the enormous responsibility that now weighs on his shoulders. Promises to protect and unite the people of France, “heirs of a great nation that carries a message.” Defense of Europe and our way of life. A fraternal greeting to the nations of the world (all eyes on us). Hope, renewal, determination, and respect for one and all. A better world. Fears pacified, optimism renewed… the challenge of high tech and climate change… fight with all my might against terrorism.

Motorcade to the Louvre where crowd-warming musicians had been holding the stage as the fans poured in and royal blue darkness crowned the scene. Emmanuel Macron the Young, made a very long very solo very dramatic entrance. “Bonaparte,” said the media in hushed tones to underscore his youth. And his pretentions?

The speech to his roaring supporters was more buoyant but also brief. First Lady Brigitte Macron made a swift and modest appearance, joined hands at arm’s length with the president, placed a whisper of a kiss on his hand. Nothing like the “kiss me on the lips” muttered for all the world to see by Valerie Trierweiler – remember First Girlfriend? – to an awkward François Hollande surrounded by row upon row of supporters on the stage at the Bastille. It wasn’t long before Trierweiller became First Jilted Girlfriend, replaced by First Paramour Julie Gayet who, it is assumed, has been trysting with the president ever since.

The election night staging was truly elegant. The contemporary pyramid dazzled like a diamond set in a frame of palatial architecture, magnificent images from every angle, the essence of France in all its glory, the virile femininity of Paris, and the height of ambition of the dashing new president. Press photographers were kept at an uncomfortable distance, while handpicked En Marche image-makers occupied forward positions. Another example of a certain En Marche arrogance. Speaking of the Louvre, whatever happened to the well-healed Egyptian jihadi that flew in from Abu Dhabi in February to commit a massacre at the Louvre? He got no further than a vicious machete swipe at the soldiers that happened to be patrolling at the Pyramid entrance when he barged in, expecting to hit a soft target. Severely wounded, he was reportedly interrogated once, before relapsing. And we have never heard another word since. Was he exfiltrated? What about his connections with a fellow Egyptian in Poland? And all the usual jihad friendly information that started to emerge? Vanished. Where is he?

Back to Paris briefly

As I write, the modest French equivalent of an inauguration is underway. Hollande out, Macron in, and a merciless downpour drenching the party. President Macron will soon go down the Champs Elysées under thick black clouds and slapping wind.

Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly postponed the promised announcement of his choice for Prime Minister. What is going on behind the scenes? The decision is crucial. Though pollsters are already predicting the president will get the majority he sorely needs, it certainly doesn’t look that way now. François Bayrou is grumbling. The April rupture I had predicted didn’t happen. I suppose that’s because Bayrou was sure he had negotiated choice spots in more than 100 districts for his Modem party candidates. Now En Marche bigwigs say they don’t make backroom deals, that’s old fashioned politics. Then Bayrou claims his demands have been met. But the president’s men say there’s no deal. The presidential party is now called La République en Marche or LRM. A bit tricky, no? President Macron has been desperately puling for support from Les Républicains, or LR. Would he go so far as to introduce confusion in the ballot box?

Wasn’t he banking on a gold rush from the Républicains? Orphaned by the elimination of François Fillon they should flock to the winner and fulfill his ambition to smash both the Right and the Left, leaving nothing but his majesty and a lame opposition composed of the variously defeated: the Mélenchon Bolivarians more in the street than in Parliament, the Socialists at death’s door, anemic Greens, faded Communists, and shreds of the Front National.

If that’s the plan, so far, not so good. Les Républicains are sticking together, determined to win a majority in the legislature which, in the 5th République, means running the government. Marine’s ambition to crush the Républicains like so many cockroaches and become The Opposition is belly up. Her party is unraveling, her niece, the up and coming young Marion Maréchal Le Pen, wants out. For the time being. At the age of 27 she can afford to back out and let them tear each other apart. Some factions are burying Frexit, no longer an issue, no longer a drawing card. Others, on the contrary, are threatening to leave the FN if liberation from the Eurozone is no longer a hallmark issue. And what has become of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan who was polishing his shoes on the way to the prime ministry just ten days ago? All dressed up and nowhere to go. He and Marine couldn’t even make a deal to share out the districts. They’ll be competing for seats in the legislature.

At least he deserves his fate. The insult to Manuel Valls is, I think, ominous. It’s like a biblical story of the wicked son and the noble son. Emmanuel Macron was a high ranking presidential advisor and then minister of the economy in the Hollande administration. Manuel Valls was interior minister and then prime minister with strong bipartisan approval. One son sneaked out at night to build a tree house and raise himself to the throne. The other son served his master with unfailing loyalty. By the time the faithful son publicly called his slippery brother to order, it was too late. Emmanuel Macron flew the coop, turned his movement into a party, and zoomed himself into the presidential palace.

Valls climbed out of the wreckage of the Socialist party, swallowed his pride, and announced he would run for the legislature on the LRM ticket. Did they say come along, brother, good to have you with us? Not at all. The great LRM ordinator crisply replied: no special privileges for a former PM. You apply and wait your turn. Choking on what was left of his pride, Manuel applied. And got blackballed. They say he doesn’t pass muster for an LRM candidate. Tough luck, hombre.

Then, noblesse oblige, the Marcheurs refrain from running a candidate against Valls in his duchy. They showed more consideration for a shady candidate in hijab or the ambiguous Mohamed Saou than they grudged to an upstanding politician like Valls.

Doesn’t anybody want to debate with me?

I would have dropped the question if it didn’t boomerang again: Eileen Toplansky uses Bruce Bawer’s third “why not Marine?” article: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/05/ayn_rand_altruism_and_jihad.html as a stick to beat us with.  You can say anything you want about or against the French but will you please stop feeding us Marine pablum instead of congratulating us on knowing better than to vote for her? I base my evaluation on verifiable facts. If I developed them all each episode of this election coverage would be 10,000 rather than 3,000 words. If it’s too long for you to read, my friends, I’m not offended. I just wonder why you are literally hounding us without bothering to hear our side of the story.

The rejection of Marine is not a sign of approval of lethal Islamization! It is not a sign of ignorance, it’s an intelligent choice by people who don’t fall for a shabby scheme. We don’t want her in our face, we don’t want her hogging the issue that you and you and you seem to think only belongs to her. She has done more harm than good to the cause.

I’m not denying the facts of Islamic incursion, degradation, murderous hostility, jihad ambition, brutal resentment or determination not to integrate. I am not denying the fact that Emmanuel Macron has given no evidence of defining the problem and no promises of defending our civilization.

It was a tragic choice.

Climbing Mount Moriah

So here’s my answer, this time around, Moti. I think we’re roped together, climbing the civilization mountain-Israel, Europe, the United States, China, India, east west south and north, developing states, fragile and failed states and, at the bottom, dragging us down, are the rogue states and the non-state rogues, the totalitarian ball and chain.

That’s why I can’t say France is finished, Europe is finished. If I let go, we’ll all come tumbling down.

Why my opponents won’t debate me

Last week I was interviewed by Steven Crowder on his show “Louder Than Crowder.” It was a fun discussion that covered a lot of interesting topics, including why it is that fossil fuel opponents refuse to debate me–or back out after agreeing to debate me.

Watch/listen here.


hearts and minds alex epstein

Dilbert Exposes Climate “Science”

A recent Dilbert comic hilariously captured a point I regularly make when debating fossil fuel opponents: that claims of catastrophic climate change are not based on demonstrated science but speculative climate models–models that are overwhelmingly biased to show catastrophic warming.

I have a lot of respect for Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, who has shown both clear thinking and immense courage in taking on this issue. Earlier this year he wrote a must-read blog post on this issue, “How to Convince Skeptics that Climate Change Is a Problem.”

The post is filled with sharp observations. Here’s one that that I haven’t heard anyone make before:

“If skeptics make you retreat to Pascal’s Wager as your main argument for aggressively responding to climate change, please understand that you lost the debate. The world is full of risks that might happen. We don’t treat all of them as real. And we can’t rank any of these risks to know how to allocate our capital to the best path. Should we put a trillion dollars into climate remediation or use that money for a missile defense system to better protect us from North Korea?”

Be sure to read the entire post.

We constantly get messages from readers and viewers commenting on how our pro-human, full-context approach to thinking about issues has changed their way of thinking–and communicating.

Here’s a recent one, from a company that used our brand new Lunch-and-Learn program–a free training course that will help motivate and educate employees about the value of fossil fuels–and teach them to communicate that value to others.

“We [held our Lunch-and-Learn] just yesterday and the team thoroughly enjoyed the experience! Besides the opportunity to learn more about the topic and process; the concept of ‘lunch and learn’ was very well received. If you are considering using this format on a more regular basis, we believe it would add great value. For now we are a small 4 person team here in South Africa, and to have content and clarity such as this truly streamlines the learning process.

“Thank you for making great material available to the industry in this way.” – Gary

You can gain immediate access to this empowering tool here.

We’ve also received some great comments on Twitter, including a lot of people encouraging fossil fuel critics to debate me. Here are a few recent mentions.

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ALSO: Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help your organization turn non-supporters into supporters and turn supporters into champions.

1. Fill out the free Constructive Conversation Scorecard to assess where you are and where you want to be in your one-on-one communications.

Email it back to me and I’ll send you my step-by-step Constructive Conversation System that will enable you to talk to anyone about energy.

2. Hold a free Lunch-and-Learn (inside or outside the industry).

This program contains one of my favorite debates along with some “cheat sheets” to help you make the moral case for fossil fuels in your professional and personal life more easily than you thought possible. You can have access to the entire program right now. By the end of the session you and your team will:

  • gain a deeper sense of meaning from their work
  • be able to turn fossil fuel skeptics into fossil fuel supporters
  • learn the secrets to having constructive conversations about energy instead of frustrating fights

Click here to sign up for the free program.

3. Hire me to speak at your next event.

If you have an upcoming board meeting, employee town hall, or association meeting, I have some new and updated speeches about the moral case for fossil fuels, winning hearts and minds, and communications strategy in the new political climate. If you’d like to consider me for your event, just reply to this message and put “Event” in the subject line.

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The backdoor law used to bring illegals to America

Illegal aliens under the age of 21-years old are migrating to America legally. They are coming under the provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act – Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) program.  SIJS has been used to flood border states, like California, with illegal migrants from the “violence-prone Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.”

In a column titled A ‘Generous’ Pathway to Citizenship, Foster Care Bret Schafer reports:

For the past fifteen years, Casa Libre has served as a refuge for unaccompanied minors who arrive in Southern California from the violence-prone Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Many of those children have been granted lawful permanent residence in the United States through a form of relief known as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), which provides green cards to unauthorized refugee children who cannot be returned to one or both parents due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. The program has been widely used by child welfare agencies and advocates as a way to support the needs of unaccompanied minors living in the U.S. 

Enacted in 1990, SIJS was originally created by Congress to protect vulnerable, non-citizen homeless and foster children from deportation and exploitation. But in 2008, President Bush signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which expanded the definition of SIJS to include minors under the age of 21 who have been declared a dependent of a juvenile court, who cannot be reunified with one or both parents due to abuse, neglect or a similar basis, and for whom a return to their country of origin is determined to be against their best interests.

“It’s the most generous form of relief I know of in the world,” said Lenni Benson, a professor of law at the New York Law School and the director of the Safe Passage Project, a non-profit that provides pro-bono legal representation to unaccompanied immigrant children. [Emphasis added]

Read more…

There is growing concern that ISIS is using fake passports to gain entry into the United States or crossing the southern border illegally. We also know that ISIS has recruited, trained and deployed an estimated half million children to fight the infidels.

According to Schafer, “USCIS received 19,475 petitions, more than double the annual quota. At the end of 2016, there were more SIJS applications awaiting decisions (8,533) than there were total applications submitted (6,840) between 2010-2012.”

Are some of these “children” coming to America under the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status program terrorists and/or drug cartel gang members?

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RELATED VIDEO: Grooming Children for Jihad — The Islamic State

Utopia is Dystopian in Real Life

This is a little different from what I am known for. Actually its very different but its still recognizable as all Rod Eccles.

Last night, I watched the latest two episodes of the Hulu original series, Handmaid’s Tale. The series is based on a book written and released back in 1985. It is classified as a Utopian and Dystopian work of fiction.

First you must understand by whom the work of fiction was written. Funny enough, it’s a work of fiction about the United States of America written by a Canadian woman by the name of Margaret Atwood. The setting of the novel? Well the setting in right smack in the middle of the cradle of American freedom. The recognized birthplace of the USA. It is set in New England. Boston to be exact. Yes, Boston.

How can it be both Utopian and Dystopian at the same time? Yea I asked myself that question. But then I remembered a line by one of the main characters. Doesn’t even matter who it was. The point was made loud and clear.

The line was made after the main character, the Handmaid, asked a question in response to being told “we are making it better”. She asked better for everyone?

The answer actually stunned me to my core. “Better for everyone always means worse for some.”

Now in a Utopian society, would I be wrong in believing that it should be better for EVERYONE? I don’t think I would be wrong in thinking that. However, there is a problem with Utopia. It doesn’t exist. It never has and it never will, at least not by human standards and by human hands.

You see, Utopia comes at a terrible price. It comes at the price of freedom. It comes at the price of individual choice. It comes at a price of many human lives. It comes at an unbelievably terrible and heavy price.

This is why the book is also classified as Dystopian. You see, Utopia doesn’t exist and cannot exist so therefore it has to be Dystopian.

Why is this important to know? Because we have a political and social class that believes we can reach Utopia. They believe we can have a Utopian society. If only we let them run everything. If only we put them all in charge. If only we would fully and totally trust them.

They believe Ronald Reagan was wrong when he said “the nine most terrible words in the English language is I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” No truer words have ever been uttered by a human being on this planet.

This was more than a warning issued by President Reagan. It was a true vision of the future. The future which is now the present.

We are now living in a day when we have a growing number of people, Americans, that actually believe the lie that the government is here to help. In fact too many Americans now believe that ONLY the government can help.

The reality is that government probably caused the problems that every day Americans face on a daily basis. The reality is that government broke many of our institutions and traditions simply because they believed they knew better. The reality is that our government today actually thinks that it has the answers to just about every single problem we have, if only we would let government take over and control our everyday life so they can fix those problems.

The reality also is that if we do that, we will be enslaved by our government. We will lose our freedom. We will lose our ability to choose save one. We will have the choice to live or to die. To live, you must bow down before the government elite and pledge your undying loyalty and obedience. If you don’t do so, then you choose to die.

There will be no other choice available. Except one.

Fight.

Fight for freedom.

Fight for your right to choose what kind of life you want.

Fight for your God given right to exist on your terms.

Fight. Capitulate. Die.

In a Utopian society, those are the only choices you have.

In a Handmaid’s Tale, those are the only choices available to them.

Funny how art imitates life. Or is it life imitating art?

You choose.

My state, the great state of New Hampshire, we have a very simple four word motto.

Live Free or Die.

Notice the word capitulate is not there.

Now you know what I choose.

How about you?