Who shares responsibility for the Suicide Bombing at the Manchester Arena?

The emerging profile of 22 year  Salman Abedi, the home grown  suicide bomber or shahid (martyr) who perpetrated the Manchester Arena massacre, whose family were Libyan refugees, raises questions about the political future of UK Prime Minister Theresa  May in the looming June 10, snap elections called over the Brexit impasse.  Abedi was claimed by ISIS as one of their own, “a solider of the Caliphate.”  With arrests of four suspects, following the Manchester Arena massacre, police are now saying “we may be dealing with a network.”  The Manchester Arena attack triggered UK PM May ordering the deployment of thousands of soldiers to prevent an imminent attack after raising the threat level to the highest level, “critical.”

In the wake of the dastardly Manchester Arena bombing that killed 22 people, especially young girls, injuring 59, many with life threatening wounds, questions abound about the policies May implemented as former UK Home Minister. May had been the long term Home Minister in the former Cameron Conservative governments. Her track record on lax immigration controls and surveillance of radical Muslim communities ironically may have contributed to the massive  terror explosion at 10:30 PM at the close of U.S. pop star Ariane Grande’s concert that shredded the lives of those killed and injured with  a bomb loaded with deadly shrapnel of nuts and bolts.

Here’s what we know about Abedi, the perpetrator of this heinous attack on the 20,000 attendees at Ms. Grande’s Manchester Arena concert. Police obtained a photo ID card from his remains identifying him as the suspected bomber. They stormed his residence in South Manchester seeking information about both him and possible jihadist network connections. He was born in the UK to Libyan refugee parents who lived in a tight émigré community.  He prayed at a Mosque with known Al Qaeda connections to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. A number of worshipers who left to join ISIS as foreign fighters.

Abedi had made numerous trips to Libya following the fall of the Gadaffi regime and may have received training in bomb making with powerful ingredients. His travels to and from Libya must have put him on the Mi-5 watch list. Abedi had enrolled at a local university studying business management. He appears to have enrolled for the 2016 academic year but not attended classes. More concerning was he had outward vestiges of becoming radical such as wearing a long Islamic Islamic gabilla gown, Kufi skull cap and growing a beard.

Note what this UK Telegraph article revealed, “Everything we know about Salman Abedi, named as the Manchester suicide bomber:”

Salman Abedi, 22, who was reportedly known to the security services, is thought to have returned from Libya as recently as this week.

A school friend told The Times: “He went to Libya three weeks ago and came back recently, like days ago.”

He had become radicalized recently – it is not entirely clear when – and had worshipped at a local mosque that has, in the past, been accused of fundraising for jihadists.

Abedi’s older brother Ismail had been a tutor at Didsbury mosque’s Koran school. The imam last night said that Salman Abedi, who wore Islamic dress, had shown him “the face of hate” when he gave a talk warning on the dangers of so-called Islamic State.

His mother, Samia Tabbal, 50, and father, Ramadan Abedi, a security officer, were both born in Tripoli but appear to have emigrated to London before moving to the Whalley Range area of south Manchester where they have lived for at least a decade.

Abedi went to school locally and then on to Salford University in 2014 where he studied business management before dropping out. His trips to Libya, where it is thought his parents returned in 2011 following Gaddafi’s overthrow, are now subject to scrutiny including links to jihadists.

A group of Gaddafi dissidents, who were members of the outlawed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), lived within close proximity to Abedi in Whalley Range.

[…]

Among them was Abd al-Baset Azzouz, a father-of-four from Manchester, who left Britain to run a terrorist network in Libya overseen by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as leader of al-Qaeda.

Azzouz, 48, an expert bomb-maker, was accused of running an al-Qaeda network in eastern Libya. The Telegraph reported in 2014 that Azzouz had 200 to 300 militants under his control and was an expert in bomb-making.

Another member of the Libyan community in Manchester, Salah Aboaoba told Channel 4 news in 2011 that he had been fund raising for LIFG while in the city. Aboaoba had claimed he had raised funds at Didsbury mosque, the same mosque attended by Abedi. The mosque at the time vehemently denied the claim. “This is the first time I’ve heard of the LIFG. I do not know Salah,” a mosque spokesman said at the time.

At the Abedi family home in Elsmore Road, a non-descript red-brick terrace, neighbors told how Abedi had become increasingly devout and withdrawn.

Lina Ahmed, 21, said: “They are a Libyan family and they have been acting strangely. A couple of months ago he [Salman] was chanting the first kalma [Islamic prayer] really loudly in the street. He was chanting in Arabic.

“He was saying ‘There is only one God and the prophet Mohammed is his messenger’.’

A family friend, who described the Abedis as “very religious”, said most of the family had returned to Libya, leaving only Salman and his older brother Ismail behind.

UK PM Theresa May. Source: The Independent

As to why UK PM Theresa May is partly to blame for the lax surveillance of radicals like suicide bomber Abedi, we turn to a UK Spectator article in July 2016 by Jonathan Foreman about May’s track record as Home Secretary under former Conservative PM David Cameron, “Theresa May’s record as Home Secretary is alarming, not reassuring.”

Foreman wrote:

Despite her carefully fostered reputation for toughness, Mrs. May’s record on extremism is perhaps the least impressive aspect of her checkered tenure at the Home Office. Any public official who seriously addresses radicalization, ghettoization and extremism risks being labeled an Islamophobe or worse. It takes a brave politician, one more committed to doing the right thing than to securing a glorious political future, to take on this hornets’ nest; Mrs. May was not such a politician. This began to be clear during the Trojan Horse affair, when official reluctance to confront radicalization in Birmingham schools prompted a concerned Education Secretary to venture onto the Home Secretary’s turf. (Her characteristic fury at this trespass was damaging to both departments at the time, and may well wreak havoc into the new government. Certainly her firing of Michael Gove’s as Justice Minister, despite the fact that his incomplete prison reforms have been universally lauded, looks like a destructive act of petty vengeance and personal spite.)

[…]

It became more apparent when Mrs. May, having delivered some appropriate sound-bites, avoided potential career-inhibiting controversy by ensuring that the Home Office’s efforts to deal with tricky issues like female genital mutilation, honor killings and forced marriage remained as low key – and low impact – as possible. But it is even more obvious in the investigation Mrs. May eventually set up into whether Britain’s Sharia courts, some legal, some not, might possibly discriminate against women in matters of divorce, domestic violence and child custody, as a result of a ‘misuse’ of Sharia teaching. (In the past the Home Secretary has implicitly claimed a surprising intimacy with Islamic law and political thought, asserting in 2014 that the actions of Isis ‘have absolutely no basis in anything written in the Koran.’)

[…]

Then there was the cynical political correctness. Mrs. May talked about coming down hard on hate crimes and lambasted the police about a lack of diversity. But she abjectly failed to identify the child rape rings of Rotherham, Rochdale, Sheffield, Bradford and Oxford as the racially and ethnically motivated hate crimes that they were.  [SEE:  Peter McLoughlin, Easy Meat:  inside Britain’s Grooming Gang Scandal,   New English Review Press, 2016.]

[…]

May has also done little to reverse various policing trends that have alienated the public from the police, including the abandonment of neighborhood policing, the substitution of decoy-like PCSOs and CCTV for beat patrols, and the massaging of crime statistics, At the same time Mrs. May has given the nod to massive, transformative budget cuts that may genuinely make Britain’s police forces unfit for purpose.

[…]

As the then shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper pointed out, three years after May took over the ministry, the number of people refused entry had dropped by 50 per cent, the backlog of finding failed asylum seekers had gone up, the number of foreign prisoners removed had gone down, and the number of illegal immigrants deported had also gone down. Tens of thousands of international students kicked out of the country by the Home Office – in a panicked response to a TV documentary about a test cheating scam – then turned out to have been wrongly deported.

UK PM Theresa May’s track record as Home Secretary may now been thrust into the public limelight as a result of the Manchester Arena massacre by  UK born  Jihadist, the late Salman Abedi.  The prior neglect by Mi-5 and UK security services monitoring jihadists in the country’s midst may impact on the looming snap election originally called to empower her to resolve the Brexit impasse. With her raising  the terror threat to its highest level in the UK following the Manchester Arena attack, perhaps Conservative backbenchers might question her policies and performance.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The New English Review.

Google is a mainstream supporter of Sex Traffickers

Yesterday a coalition of consumer and anti-trafficking advocates released a report documenting that Google has financially backed the efforts of digital rights groups to defend Backpage.com—a website notorious for facilitating prostitution and sex trafficking—from numerous legal challenges. The report cited evidence that Google and the groups it financially supports have filed a series of amicus briefs on Backpage.com’s behalf, distorting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to defend the company’s actions. The report further documents that Google has deployed a band of lobbyists to stymie efforts to amend the CDA. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) applauds this report for revealing mainstream supporters of sex trafficking.

“There can be no doubt that Backpage’s entire business model is built on sexual exploitation, and that as such, Backpage’s CEO and founders represent America’s top pimps,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “What will come as a shock to many is that Google—a company with the motto ‘Don’t be evil’—has aggressively buttressed the legal defense of Backpage.com in an effort to protect its own corporate interests, according to the report.

“In a series of court cases favoring Backpage.com, the courts have interpreted Section 230 of the CDA to give third-party hosting sites carte blanche immunity for everything and anything that occurs online. To help ensure Backpage’s legal defense was successful,” Hawkins added,

“Google has financed powerful digital rights groups to bolster Backpage’s legal arguments, according to the report. The report also indicates that Google has taken its campaign to Capitol Hill where it has unleashed a cadre of lobbyists to oppose efforts to amend the CDA.”

“While the law is important in protecting Internet companies from frivolous lawsuits for content posted by users of those websites, we believe that the Backpage.com case is fundamentally different as evidence suggests that the company proactively coaches sex traffickers about how to post ads for underage victims in order to avoid detection by legal authorities.”

“We believe that reasonable reforms to Section 230 are essential to ensure that companies like Backpage.com can no longer hide behind the safe harbor provisions of the law when they knowingly and with reckless disregard allow sex-trafficking ads to be posted on their site. We call on Google and all Internet companies to recognize that people are not objects to be sold online and to support reasonable reform of Section 230 of the CDA.”

Backpage.com is a member of the 2017 Dirty Dozen List due to its history of facilitating, and profiting from, sexual exploitation. Google’s Youtube is also a member of the 2017 Dirty Dozen list for its failure to address the volumes of sexually explicit videos available on its site.

RESULTS: 97 out of 103 companies stop advertising on Aljazeera.com

Florida Family Association started sending emails to the CEOs and Marketing VPs of companies that advertise at Aljazeera.com in February 2017.  The emails educate corporate officials regarding Al Jazeera’s ties with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and their Islamist history.  Some alarming history regarding Al Jazeera is posted below.

The Florida Family Association office has communicated with one hundred three (103) companies since February 2017 regarding their advertising on Aljazeera.com as of May 22, 2017.

•    A total of ninety seven (97) companies stopped advertising.  Ninety four percent (94%) of the companies did not advertise again after receiving emails from the Florida Family Association office or after receiving emails from thousands of people in response to Florida Family Association’s online campaigns.
•   Six companies continued to advertise.

To see the lists of companies that stopped advertising and companies that continue to advertise please click here.

The following chart shows the progress of this campaign.

Number of Percentage of
Companies companies that companies that Number of companies
Contacted stopped advertising stopped advertising that kept advertising
February 58 37 64% 21
March 61 50 82% 11
April 93 87 94% 6
May 97 103 94% 6

Al Jazeera, whose leaders espouse hate for Israel, who showed disdain for Paris murder victims, is a news company that is owned by the non-democratic, monarch styled emirate of Qatar.  Qatar allows wealthy citizens to financially support ISIS, supports the Muslim Brotherhood, backs the head of Hamas, espouses Islamic Sharia law and does not afford citizens freedom of the press.  Eighty one percent of respondents to an Al Jazeera survey said they support ISIS.

Why is it important to urge companies not to advertise at Aljazeera.com?  Sharia law poses its greatest threat of acceptance through the market place.  American companies that advertise with Aljazeera.com are giving United States consumer dollars to an Islamist Sharia minded regime.  Florida Family Association’s communications with advertisers informs Corporate America about Qatar’s history and Islamist public policy and educates corporate officials about Sharia law.  Our online campaigns to companies that are reluctant to stop advertising shows Corporate America that there are many Americans who are very concerned about the Islamist political threat to American freedoms and way of life.

The cable channel, Al Jazeera America, was disbanded in April 2016 after Florida Family Association influenced 260 out 275 companies to stop advertising during a two year period on the Islamist owned network.  We are not likely to shut down Aljazeera.com because of its financial support from advertisers in Arabic and European countries.  However, our goal is to create a firewall between Corporate America and Islamist establishments governed by Sharia law who would like to see America follow their doctrine.

Some history regarding Al Jazeera.

The Washington Times reported on May 28, 2015 “Eighty one percent of respondents to an Al Jazeera survey said they support ISIS.”

Adweek.com reported on April 28, 2015: Two Al Jazeera America executives voluntarily resigned after Matthew Luke filed a  lawsuit against Al Jazeera America and Osman Mahmud, vice president at the network.   Luke claimed Mahmud created a hostile work environment and was prone to “making discriminatory, anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks such as ‘whoever supports Israel should die a fiery death in hell.‘”

The Washington Times reported on December 10, 2014 Qatar allows money to flow to Islamic State, other terrorists.  “Qatar-based terror finance challenges have metastasized into a pressing, world-class crisis,” states the report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, warning the flow of money from private individuals in the Persian Gulf nation is likely only to continue without a “serious change in U.S. policy.”

Fox News reported on January 10, 2015 Leaked Al Jazeera emails reveal disdain for Paris murder victims.  “Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile,” wrote Khadr, quoting Time magazine, as he urged Al Jazeera staffers to consider that “I am Charlie” is an “alienating slogan – with us or against us type of statement – one can be anti-CH’s racism and ALSO against murdering people.”

Qatar is ruled by an emir who has been very adept at using Islamists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, to promote his country’s interests and bolster his own domestic legitimacy.  AL Jazeera journalists were imprisoned in Egypt for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in 2014.  The Qatari-owned media company Al-Jazeera saw 22 members of its staff in Egypt resign over what they allege was “biased coverage” of the events that unfolded in Cairo during the week of July 2, 2013.  The Washington Times.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi hosts the most popular show called al-Sharia wa al-ayah (“Shariah and Life”) on Al Jazeera.   Qaradawi prayed in a January 9, 2009 sermon during the Gaza War, shown on Al-Jazeera, “Oh Allah, take your enemies, the enemies of Islam. Oh Allah, take the Jews, the treacherous aggressors. Oh Allah, take this profligate, cunning, arrogant band of people. Oh Allah, they have spread much tyranny and corruption in the land. Pour Your wrath upon them, oh our God. Lie in wait for them. Oh Allah, You annihilated the people of Thamoud (Sodom)at the hand of a tyrant, and You annihilated the people of ‘Aad with a fierce, icy gale, and You destroyed the Pharaoh and his soldiers – oh Allah, take this oppressive, tyrannical band of people. Oh Allah, take this oppressive, Jewish Zionist band of people. Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one.”  Many provisions of Sharia law are antithetical to the rights afforded under the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  See Wikipedia.

Aljazeera.com reported that Qatar supported the April 1, 2013 re-election of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.  Khaled Mashaal said that the “Zionists are enemies of Allah and the prophets, and called for preparing to liberate Jerusalem and restore the homeland once more through jihad, the rifle, and self-sacrifice” during a speech in Cairo on October 3, 2012.   Khaled Meshaal lives in Qatar.

Florida: Convert to Islam slaughters roommates for disrespecting his faith

“I had to do it. This wouldn’t have had to happen if your country didn’t bomb my country.”

His country? He is an American. But like so many converts to Islam, he believes that his religion commands him to commit treason (as well as murder), and to give his allegiance only to the global umma, not to the nation of his birth and citizenship.

Muslim convert Devon Arthurs

“Tampa PD: Angry Muslim convert killed roommates over disrespect to his faith,” WFLA, May 22, 2017:

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa police say a double homicide suspect told them he killed two roommates because they disrespected his Muslim faith.

During an interview, 18-year-old Devon Arthurs admitted to the shooting deaths of Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk, and said they all used to be friends and shared neo-Nazi beliefs. Arthurs says he later converted to Muslim, and became angry with the world’s anti-Muslim sentiment. He told police he wanted to bring attention to his cause.

The double homicide happened Friday night on Amberly Drive in New Tampa.

Tampa police were called to the Green Planet Smoke Shop and say Arthurs was holding three people at gunpoint. According to the police report, Arthurs told them he killed someone and was upset over America bombing his Muslim countries.

When police showed up, they convinced Arthurs to let the hostages go and eventually handcuffed him.

The police report says Arthurs then made references to, “Allah Mohammed!” and told police, “I had to do it. This wouldn’t have had to happen if your country didn’t bomb my country.”

While he was being arrested, Arthurs told an officer people in an apartment were dead….

Police found two men, later identified as Himmelman and Oneschuk, dead inside the apartment from gunshot wounds.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Robert Spencer in PJ Media: Trump Moves U.S. Towards a Realistic Approach to Jihad Threat

Egypt: Muslim who committed jihad massacre in church left note: “I will meet you in Paradise”

Is Canadian PM Justin Trudeau a Western World Dictator?!

According to a new report published by the World Jewish Congress (WJC), 2% of global online anti-Semitism originates in Canada where over 382,000 anti-Semitic posts were posted on social media in 2016, reaching over 29 million internet users in over 50 countries.

In April 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that ISIS supporters have the right to defend their freedom, and was reported to have referred to Evangelical Christians as the “worst part of Canadian society.” These remarks came despite some Canada’s imams regularly calling for the annihilation of Jews.

The prime minister did comment about these attacks on Jews, but Mr. Trudeau only made a statement on Facebook and not on his official Prime Minister website. The statement seems to be missing from mainstream news outlets and published only on a couple of Jewish media sites. Where is the outrage Mr Trudeau normally has for anything remotely shown for acts of hate against Islam? Mr. Trudeau has failed to mention anything about the attacks on Jews stemming from some Canadian Imams.

On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, following is the statement Mr. Trudeau made on his Facebook page:

“This week, Jewish communities across the country have again been targeted by hateful threats and acts designed to make us all afraid. I want to say again–we will stand by you every day in the face of intolerance, prejudice and outright criminal acts. We understand the fear and anxiety each one of these threats creates in the Jewish community, especially when the locations targeted are places where Jewish families and children gather. The cowards who target Jewish schools, community centers and synagogues won’t shake our resolve, and we’ll work with law enforcement to bring them to justice.”

“In Canada, we stand together because we know that diversity is our strength. It built this country. Jews in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and across the country should know they have the full support of the Government of Canada as we guard against a resurgence of anti-Semitism. We’re with you, and will do everything we can to keep you safe.”

It was only because of alternative reporting from CIJ News that the imams listed were exposed, put under police investigation, and one Imam fired from teaching at a university. Mr. Trudeau has never criticized those Imams who call for the annihilation of Jews while repeatedly saying, “Canadians have understood that our differences are a source of strength, not a source of weakness.”

In March, Trudeau slammed a video posted to YouTube that offered a $1,000 reward for recordings of Muslim students at schools in a district of Ontario that were “spewing hate speech” during Friday prayer. With this action he appears more interested in guarding specific faith group even if some of its members promote hatred towards Jews, and infidels which is an ironic contradiction to Mr. Trudeau’s Facebook comment concerning anti-Semitism. Is he creating confusion, and public denial that some of our differences could be our greatest weakness?

Meanwhile, Canada is also encountering many issues with our current Liberal Government. For instance, a parliamentary committee is working on motion M-103, Anti “Islamophobia” Motion which has recently passed by Canada’s House of Commons to condemn all forms of Islamophobia and any links of radical Islam to terrorism. The committee is studying this phenomenon now and it may be made into a bill in the future, which will result in shutting down free speech and suppressing public concern and discussion about unsafe Islamic beliefs. These are the OIC compliant blasphemy laws embedded in M-103.

Considering the threats Jewish and other Canadian citizens are now facing due to the increase in refugee and immigration under Trudeau, a bill that looks like M-103 only further injures the already existing wounds those citizens and their communities have incurred. Yet, Trudeau Liberals continue to pursue this course at full speed ahead.

Even more disturbing is a technical loophole in the Canada Elections Act. The law allows foreign entities to make contributions to Canadian candidates. This means that players such as Iran or Saudi Arabia will be able to further their agendas through a particular politician, as long as they pump him with funds for six months and a day prior to his official bid for office. With the entrance into the country of thousands of illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers with criminal records– thanks to the increasingly dictatorial policies of Mr. Trudeau and his Liberal Party strongmen–this legal loophole leaves Canada wide open to extreme political change, and not for the better.

In another foreboding sign, Canadian journalist Josh Sigurdson was recently all over the media for calling Justin Trudeau a scumbag. However, the mainstream media was wrongly critical of him.

According to Sigurdson, the reason he called the Canadian Prime Minister a scumbag is because Josh had to wait for several hours to ask a question about the carbon tax and for the children to leave the room. Yet, no one called on him, for he came from the alternative, rather than, mainstream media.

Given that and other actions by the PM, Josh considered his own actions justified: “The state-run media got to ask him pre-screened questions, at that. How is it that a journalist must ask “pre-selected” questions of a politician? Restricting opposition, restricting free speech, pretending to support women while sending money to dictatorships that stone women to death for driving cars, and kill gays… this is the definition of a scumbag.”

Although many might not have used that exact word to describe Trudeau, one might sympathize with the sentiment behind it. As a Canadian citizen who was born in Iran and watched my country come under Islamist Sharia run State of the Ayatollah Khomeini, it is not hard to spot a tyrant. It is not hard for Trudeau, either, apparently. Three years ago, as head of the opposition, Mr Trudeau told a group of women in Toronto: “There is a level of admiration that I actually have for China, because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime and to say we have to go the greenest the fastest. We need to start investing in solar. There is a flexibility that Stephen Harper must dream about—having a dictatorship where he could do everything he wanted.”

When Mr. Trudeau issued a statement about the death of Fidel Castro, he called the former Cuban dictator “remarkable” and a “larger than life leader who served his people.”

Recently, there have been attempts to shut down the Canadian House of Commons on Fridays in order to limit the appearance of the Prime Minister at the Parliament to only one day per week and to limit the debates held in the Parliament before the passages of bills. Interim leader Rona Ambrose charged that apparently he has been trying to limit the ability of the opposition to debate him in Parliament prior to the passage of proposed bills.This is shameful and totally unacceptable! It will not be tolerated by anyone who is truly dedicated to the Canadian democracy, to the importance of debate in the Parliament, and to holding the Prime Minister accountable for his actions.

In my opinion, this  kind of behavior makes Mr. Trudeau into a new version of Fidel Castro.  One has to consider with all seriousness, in light of these facts, the philosophy behind him. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

As George Orwell  wrote: “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power.”

RELATED ARTICLE: New report alleges outside influence in Canada’s 2015 federal election

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Times of Israel.

TAKE ACTION: Ask President Trump and AG Sessions to protect religious liberty [Video]

NOM has just released an important new video calling on all marriage supporters to sign our new petition to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to issue comprehensive rules to protect the religious liberty of people who support marriage, life and the truth of gender and ensure we are not targeted by the federal government because of our views. Please watch the video.

This powerful new video is part of our ongoing commitment to pressure the Trump administration to once and for all fulfill President Trump’s repeated promises to people of faith that his administration would “do everything in its power to defend and protect religious liberty.”

There are a number of things that we have applauded President Trump on since his election, especially the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court and the rescission of President Obama’s illegal transgender bathroom mandate in the public schools. But we are obligated to call President Trump out when he has not done what he has promised to do – and protecting the religious liberty of people of faith to continue to live out their beliefs about marriage, gender, life and human sexuality is at the top of the “unfulfilled promises” list.

There is still time for President Trump to get this right. That’s why we encourage you to watch our new video, share it with your friends and family, and then make sure that you and everyone you can reach has signed the petition to Attorney General Sessions.

NOM is a top group in the country continuing to pressure the Trump administration to fulfill the president’s promises to provide comprehensive religious liberty protections. We need to raise additional funds to expand the launch of this video and invite more people to sign the petition.

Please make a generous financial contribution to NOM today, which will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous donor. If you can contribute $25, NOM will receive $50. Whatever amount you can manage — $25, $50, $100, $250 or even $500 or more – will immediately be matched and NOM will receive twice the amount that you contributed.

Thank you for all your support, and for helping us continue to fight for religious liberty for everyone who believes in the truth of marriage.

Faithfully,

Brian S Brown

Brian S. Brown
President, National Organization for Marriage

Trump’s triumph in Riyadh proves America is back on top of the world

Democrats who believe Hillary Clinton won the election and who remain dedicated to besmirching President’s Trump’s actions irrespective of facts need not read this column, since there is nothing this president can do that would win their approval.

For those still in touch with reality, please read on.

I was about to go the air on Sky News Arabia on Friday when Defense Secretary James Mattis began a live press conference, where he touted recent U.S. military success against ISIS.

You wouldn’t know about the on-the-record briefing, which also featured the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James Dunford, and Obama-appointee roving ambassador Brett McGurk, from the U.S. news media.

In fact, even if you searched Google for it, you would find just a single mention of the press conference, which was just a preview from the Washington Examiner with the misleading headline, “Today’s Mattis briefing: Progress report, but no ISIS strategy.”

Think of that for just a moment: even Google, the world’s principal gatekeeper to information on the world wide web, is engaging in anti-Trump censorship.

Alternative web search engine Bing is slightly better. There, you would find seven relevant stories, led by a New York Times piece with the ominous headline, “Mattis says escalation against ISIS doesn’t imperil more civilians,” a reference to a charge from unnamed human rights organizations that an alleged change in U.S. rules of engagement has “jeopardized the safety of civilians” in countries of increased U.S. action.

Melania Trump shakes hands with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud

Only in the ninth paragraph would you learn the news that U.S. military action, which vastly accelerated once President Trump took office, has pushed ISIS out of 55,000 square kilometers of territory it once occupied in Iraq and Syria, the core areas it is claiming as its caliphate.

Reporters at the press conference were so stunned — as I was — to hear such a statistic that they immediately tried to walk it back, and General Mattis obliged. “[We] were talking about the campaign since 2014,” Mattis said, when ISIS had the initiative and was “shattering every force in their path. “Since then it’s been reversed. We’ve accelerated…I was not saying it all started with us,” Mattis said.

Even more important than the numbers, however, is the momentum on the battlefield. ISIS is no longer winning. We are finally killing more of them than they are recruiting. And this was not happening under Obama.

Shortly after taking office, President Trump ordered a review of the war against ISIS. Two changes came from that review, as Mattis revealed, “Delegation of authority to lower command levels, and the president directed a tactical shift from shoving ISIS out of safe locations in an attrition fight to surrounding the enemy in their strongholds, so we can annihilate ISIS.”

Both changes were directed by the president with the goal of crushing ISIS. “The intent is to prevent the return home of escaped foreign fighters,” Mattis said.

This was welcome news to Saudi King Salman and the more than 50 Arab leaders he assembled in Riyadh over the weekend, who breathed a collective sigh of relief when President Trump arrived. And it wasn’t just because he and his cabinet took part in a traditional sword dance.

It was both Trump’s attitude and his reputation as a man of action — a reputation they could already changing the battlefields of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

The president’s signature accomplishment was the speech on Sunday, where he outlined America’s new approach to defeating radical Islamic terrorism. “We are not here to lecture,” Trump said, a clear allusion to President Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo, which is credited with having helped to spark the Arab spring revolts that brought down the governments in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt and led to the rise of ISIS.

Instead, President Trump laid out a vision where the United States and its allies, including Israel, cooperate with Muslim countries to vanquish radicalism before it takes root in the heart. “This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” he said. “This is a battle between Good and Evil.”

Instead of blaming Muslim leaders for the rise of radicalism, he called on them as partners to “drive them out”:

“Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out  of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land, and Drive them out of this earth.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called Trump a “unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible.” With characteristic modesty, Trump replied, “I agree.” And everyone laughed — good-naturedly, not as the Washington insiders do, to conceal a snicker.

The Arab leaders gathered in Riyadh understood what they were witnessing: the strong horse has returned.

I say to the president’s critics, watch this president on the world stage and feel proud for your country. America is back.

RELATED VIDEO: President Trump’s Trip Abroad: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Hill.

Deportations of Africans up in 2016

You’ve been hearing the news here and at other news outlets about the stepped-up deportations of Somalis back to their homeland. Many failed asylum seekers are in the mix.

Asylum, for new readers, is, in a way, the other side of the same refugee coin.  Either ‘refugees’ are chosen abroad (usually by the UN these days) and are flown to your towns after supposedly proving that they are persecuted people, or one gets in to the US either illegally or through some temporary legal way and then applies for asylum.

It is difficult (impossible I think) to find photos of Somalis being deported from the US, but there are an unending supply of the Saudi deportations in 2014. Saudi Arabia deported as many as 12,000 Somalis that year. I wonder did Trump ask the Saudis why they don’t take any refugees, including their fellow Muslims?

When the wannabe ‘refugee’ cannot prove his or her case—that they will be persecuted if sent home—then they are supposed to go home!

Conversely, if granted asylum, the migrant is then given all the rights of a ‘refugee’ who was chosen abroad and flown here and will be put on track for US citizenship.

Now, under the Trump Administration, more of those who failed in their asylum bid are being found, detained and sent home.

By the way, this up-tick in deportations is news that should be sent far and wide so as to discourage even more illegal entry and flimsy asylum claims that clog up the courts.

DHS should actually promote an ad campaign around the world trumpeting the news of stepped-up deportations!

Here is Voice of America on the news about Africans, but more importantly I learned about a new and very cool data base.

The United States has expelled about 326 Somali nationals since January.

That number is greater than the total for all Somalis expelled from the country in 2016.

This is the third consecutive year in which the number of Somalis deported by the U.S. government has risen. The rising numbers have increased immigrants’ fears of raids, detentions and deportations.

The deportations of Somali citizens appear to be part of a larger movement, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse*** at Syracuse University. It found that in the first three months of 2017, the U.S. government ordered the deportation of more than 1,200 Africans. Citizens of Ghana, Nigeria, Somalia and Kenya have received the most removal orders.

Recent deportation orders are undoing a ten-year-long trend.
From 2006 to 2016, the number of Africans deported every year fell from 2,100 to about 1,000. If the trend continues, four times more Africans will be deported by the end of this year than during 2016.

Continue reading here.

***Now check out the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse!

Here is one page that I screenshot to show you what interesting stuff is archived there.

On this page we see that there were 19 deportations for reasons of national security in fiscal year 2017 (that fiscal year began on October 1, 2016). You can learn in what states and what courts those cases came from and the nationality of the person to be deported. From this screenshot page, we note that there was one, an Iraqi, ordered by the court in Detroit to be removed.

This post is filed in our Where to find information’ category.

You can watch that 2014 video about Saudi deportations here:

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VIDEO: A First Class First Lady

Melania Trump has become America’s champion of free women and a classy representative of the decent women of the USA.

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You Can’t Deny that Venezuela Is a Socialist Calamity by Steven Horwitz

As Venezuela descends into a nightmare of starvation and violence, the long-standing debate over the feasibility of socialism takes on new relevance. Years of explicitly socialist policies from the Chavez and Maduro regimes have taken their toll, as nationalization and a variety of other attempts to abolish or subvert market processes have destroyed what was once one of South America’s richest countries.

Even with the wealth of their oil reserves, redistribution and price controls have brought production, and therefore consumption, to a halt. Once they exported grain to the rest of the world, now they can’t even feed their own people.

Who Is at Fault?

This humanitarian disaster has raised the question of who or what to blame. That question puts self-proclaimed socialists and their progressive sympathizers in a difficult spot. After all, one can easily find lots of examples (from Michael Moore to Bernie Sanders) of people on the left praising or endorsing Chavez’s economic policies. So what can people who took that position say in the face of this disaster? And what can the defenders of free enterprise say as well?

Many on the left will start by denying that socialism is at fault. Sometimes they’ll deny that the Chavez-Maduro policies were “real” socialism. In other cases, they’ll argue that while their intentions might have been good, corruption and poor implementation doomed good policies to failure.

Both of these arguments have real problems.

If those policies were not “real” socialism, then why did so many sympathetic to socialism express so much support for them and argue that they would be transformative in ways socialists value? Chavez himself made such claims.

Do all of them not understand what socialism is? The variety of attempts Chavez made to prevent markets and prices from working and to substitute some form of economic planning in the name of the people have been broadly consistent with socialism since Marx. If that’s not socialism, what exactly is meant by that word anymore?

Real Socialism

For many on the left, the answer to the last question is “the Scandinavian countries.” The problem, however, is that the Scandinavian countries have, by some measures, freer markets than the US, which the left sees as the archetype of capitalism. At the very least, they are not significantly different from the US in their degree of economic freedom.

Historically, socialism has broadly been defined as the elimination of the private ownership of the means of production and the substitution of common or public ownership and economic planning for what Marx called the “anarchy of production” of the market.

Doing away with private ownership, exchange, prices, and profits would, in Marx’s view, end the alienation, exploitation, and crises that characterized capitalism. In addition, rationalizing production through planning, rather than leaving matters to the trial and error method of the market, would eliminate waste and bring on a burst of productivity that would enrich us all.

Abolishing markets does not describe the Scandinavian countries, though it does capture a lot of what was going on in Venezuela. Socialism, at least historically, did not simply mean “a large welfare state” as we see in Scandinavia. In fact, the only way countries can afford larger welfare states is to have economies productive enough to produce the wealth that can be taxed away to support such programs. This is why the Scandinavian countries deregulated (and lowered tax rates) so much in the last decade or two: only through freer markets could they afford their transfer programs.

If you love the Scandinavian model, you don’t love socialism. You love market capitalism, because that’s what makes that model possible. (Whether large welfare states are necessary or desirable is a matter for another column.)

What of the argument that well-intentioned policies were frustrated by corruption and poor implementation? The problem here is that this seems to happen every time socialism has been tried. The Bolsheviks began to implement Marxian socialism within a year of taking power and a decade later they had Stalinism. Cuba quickly turned to a dictatorship. China. North Korea. The list goes on. At what point are these not all coincidences?

Every. Single. Time.

Economists have long understood the dynamic at work here. Marx and other socialists thought that those in charge of the planning process, and for Marx that was the whole community, could rationally determine what to produce and how best to produce it in the absence of markets, exchange, and prices. Since Mises’s famous essay in 1920, however, we have known that doing so is not possible.

Genuine market prices are necessary for people be able to make determinations of value in anything larger than a household. Without prices, there is no way to know, not just what people value but (more importantly) how to make what they value using the least valuable resources possible.

In other words, rational production decisions are impossible without market prices, and market prices can’t exist without exchange and therefore there has to be private ownership, especially of the means of production.

Markets are like weeds in that they will grow in the cracks left by the failures of planning.

But what happens when those given the power to make such decisions realize they cannot achieve their perhaps well-intentioned goals? The power does not go away. More often than not, the first reaction is precisely what we’ve seen in Venezuela: crack down harder on producers for not living up to impossible demands and ration goods to punish consumers for “hoarding.” And when that doesn’t work, go to more draconian authoritarianism, and do whatever it takes to hold on to power.

After a while, these exercises of brute power have consequences. They attract those with a comparative advantage in exercising such power (and perhaps those who have a high consumption value for doing so) into positions of power. Marxism is not Stalinism, but the inability of Marxian socialism to live up to its promises creates the conditions that make Stalinism possible and likely. In other words, Stalinism is an unintended consequence of Marxian socialism.

In addition, as state control becomes more clearly ineffective, people start to work around it by establishing distorted forms of market exchange. Bribery of politicians and bureaucrats, threats to producers, cronyism, and nepotism all become the ways of getting things done. Scarce resources have to be allocated somehow, and markets are like weeds in that they will grow in the cracks left by the failures of planning.

Intellectual Negligence

To the outside world, corruption and poor implementation caused socialism to fail. But that gets matters completely backward: corruption and ineffective political actors are not the cause of socialism’s failure, but a result of that failure. When you make real markets illegal and when your attempts at planning inevitably fail, what you get is the bribery and corruption of black markets. Once again, these are not what Marxism intends, but they are an inevitable unintended consequence.

So what does this say about those who supported the policies of Chavez and Maduro? It’s easy to say that they are evil for wishing starvation and destruction on the Venezuelan people, but I think that’s too easy. I do believe that many who supported those policies genuinely believed they would have good results. In that sense, they did not act immorally.

However, they are guilty of a severe intellectual error that has real moral consequences. Though they may not have intended the humanitarian disaster that we now see, they do bear responsibility for not being aware of the long-standing criticisms of socialism that have given us reasons to expect such a disaster.

Our friends on the left who supported Chavez’s policies are by and large not guilty of the intentional evil we broadly call “vice.” What they are guilty of is something more like intellectual “negligence.” They didn’t mean “that” in the case of Venezuela, but there’s no doubt that they should have known better.

Those of us who understand the power of markets to improve the lives of all of us won’t be very effective in persuading others of that truth if we write off those sympathetic to socialism as evil-doers. It’s better to engage them gently and intellectually, and offer them an alternative narrative, than to write them off as irredeemable.

Moral condemnation ends productive dialogue – offering an alternative narrative can start it. The human cost of socialism is too high to not engage those sympathetic to it in the most effective ways possible.

Steven Horwitz

Steven Horwitz is the Schnatter Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise in the Department of Economics at Ball State University, where he also is a Fellow at the John H. Schnatter Institute for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise. He is the author of Hayek’s Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions and is a Distinguished Fellow at FEE and a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

Church and State

The true relationship between church and state might surprise a few people.

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Blaine Adamson

Blaine Adamson is the owner of a T-shirt shop in Frankfort, Kentucky, Hands On Originals. He is also a sincerely devoted follower of Jesus Christ. So naturally when he was approached in 2012 by a local homosexual activist group to print a shirt promoting The Lexington “Pride” Festival, he politely declined, and courteously referred them to a nearby shop who would be happy to provide the service.

In fact, a quick look at the Frankfort area Yellow Pages lists no less than 21 different businesses which cater to the T-shirt printing crowd, so there was simply no need for Adamson to be forced under the threat of fines and worse to do a job which would have caused him to violate his conscience. Plus, the gay activists wound up getting their shirts for free from another vendor.

But for politely exercising his First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion, Adamson was promptly sued. His case finally made it to the Court of Appeals in Kentucky.  (The Court of Appeals is one step below the state supreme court). In a surprising move, given the almost total obeisance of judges to the bullies and bigots of the homosexual lobby, the court actually ruled in favor of religious liberty and freedom of speech.

The opinion, written by Chief Judge Joy Kramer, pointed out that Adamson had not been guilty of discrimination at all. There is no evidence, she wrote, that Hands On Originals had “refused any individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations it offered to everyone else because the individual in question had a specific sexual orientation or gender identity” (emphasis in original). In fact, Adamson has routinely done business with members of the LGBT community and even employs them.

The issue, in other words, was not about sexual orientation at all but about speech. It was about whether an American can be compelled by government force to communicate a message which violates his conscience and deeply held religious belief.

Section 5 of the Kentucky constitution is quite clear, unambiguous, and emphatic on the issue (emphasis mine):

“[T]he civil rights, privileges or capacities of no person shall be taken away, or in anywise diminished or enlarged, on account of his belief or disbelief of any religious tenet, dogma or teaching. No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.”

As further proof that the issue for Adamson is one of conscience and religious scruple, and not an expression of some kind of hate-filled homophobia, he has also declined to print T-Shirts that use the word “b**ches” or that featured Jesus dressed as a pirate.

What should not be missed here is that there are two larger issues involved, as lesbian writer Tammy Bruce pointed out some time ago. For the government to force someone to do work that violates his conscience is nothing less than tyranny. And for a man to be compelled under threat of punishment to perform work against his will is slavery.

The reality is that the LGBT lobby is the reincarnation of some of the worst elements of the mindless prejudice of the Old South in its irrational venom toward people (Christians) who are not like them. The rainbow flag is the new Confederate flag. It is as much a symbol of bigotry as that flag ever was in the minds of the left.

Bottom line: in Frankfort, Kentucky, homosexual activists tried to reintroduce slavery to the Deep South. They failed in the attempt. And the Constitution’s protections for religious liberty and freedom of speech were upheld. Let’s pray that this court will be just the first of many to protect our first freedom against the tyranny of the left.

Alt-left: ‘Rioting … or physically attacking a conservative speaker are not enough’

Now the Left is trying to kill us. And more is to come. A good piece from my friend Thomas Craughwell in the American Spectator on my being poisoned last week in Iceland:

“Ecstasy on Ice — But Not the Good Kind,” by Thomas J. Craughwell, American Spectator, May 19, 2017:

Somebody just tried to poison one of my friends.

You may know him. He’s Robert Spencer, the director of the news-and-commentary blog JihadWatch and author of two New York Times bestsellers, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammed. He appears pretty regularly on cable news as an expert on Islamist terrorism, and he’s led seminars on jihad for the FBI, the United States Central Command, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, among others. Robert also gets a lot of speaking engagements. His most recent event was in Reykjavik, Iceland, and that’s where someone laced his drink with something nasty….

Art Moore, writing for World Net Daily, reports that doctors at the Reykjavik hospital found Robert tested “positive for amphetamine and MDMA.” MDMA is a synthetic drug commonly known as Ecstasy or Molly. A high dose of MDMA can cause liver, kidney, or heart failure and may even be fatal. The drug is commonly available in tablet or capsule form, but it is also available as crystals, a powder, or a liquid. Those last three options would be the easiest to slip into someone’s drink….

Among our friends on the left, Robert Spencer is not a popular guy. For years, he has been exposing Islamist extremists who have launched terror attack after terror attack across the globe. And he has made the case that in the eyes of the terrorists, they are doing Allah’s work because there are verses in the Koran and other sacred Islamic texts that approve of attacking infidels. Christians and Jews and every other non-Islamic religion fall into the infidel category. But as we continue to see in Iraq and Syria, ISIS also targets Muslims who, from the terrorists’ point of view, are the wrong kind of Muslims.Nonetheless, Robert has been denounced as a hate monger by the Southern Poverty Law Center, his books are banned in Muslim-majority nations, and in 2013 the British Home Office barred Robert from traveling to the U.K. for any speaking event. When he appealed the ban in court, the British Court of Appeals dismissed his case, arguing that “this was a public order case where the police had advised that significant public disorder and serious violence might ensue from the proposed visit.”

It’s only May, but already we’ve seen some ugliness directed at conservatives who were invited to speak at various colleges. At Middlebury College in Vermont, protesters mobbed conservative social scientist Charles Murray, injuring a professor who was trying to escort him to safety. At NYU, provocateur and actor Gavin McInnes was rushed by protesters who physically tried to stop him from holding a seminar for College Republicans (police arrested about a dozen demonstrators). And at Berkeley, chaos erupted, even before conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos got to the university. Berkeley’s administrators blamed the riot, which caused $100,000 worth of damage, on “150 masked agitators,” who egged on about 1,500 anti-Milo demonstrators.

It appears that rioting, or howling down, or physically attacking a conservative speaker are not enough. Now we have to worry that some “progressive” might slip an overdose into a conservative’s drink.

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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.

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 .