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The Unkindest Cut

Perhaps there are no longer many who know the name Martin Niemoeller, a Protestant pastor, most famous for his poem, as follows:

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out.

Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out.

          Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.

         And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Neimoeller, an anti-communist, supported the Nazis until the churches were placed under Nazi control. He then founded the Pastors’ Emergency League, on September 11, 1933, to unite German evangelical theologians, pastors and church office-holders against Aryanism. He was tried and imprisoned for seven months, followed by seven years in concentration camps. Freed after the war, he became president of the Protestant church in Hesse and Nassau (1947- 1964), and president of the World Council of Churches in the 1960s, against which he would speak out now, given the opportunity.

The World Council of Churches, founded in 1948 and headquartered in Geneva, and its 350 mostly Protestant and Orthodox churches and some evangelical membership, overtly expressed concern for the safety of the Jewish people, but clandestinely began promoting a lethal anti-Israel agenda aimed at delegitimizing Israel in the Middle East conflict. Instead of worrying about Israelis’ being blown up by homicidal bombers during the Second Intifada (2000-2005), the group justified the Palestinian violence and vilified Israel’s self-defense. They established the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) and the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) to end Israel’s “occupation,” aware that this action would eventually deprive the Jewish people of their own homeland.

With their hostility clearly focused on Israel, the Council sends activists to the West Bank to confront Israeli soldiers and settlers, while also repudiating the Arab aggression toward Israel and the Jews. So, they denounce anti-Semitism for public consumption, but individual members nevertheless continue their demonizing rhetoric against Israel.  And there is more (there always is): They avoid denouncing Muslim anti-Semitism and Muslim assassinations of Christians.

Interestingly, when the Provisional Committee prepared to create the WCC in Amsterdam, in 1948, they guaranteed full Church rights to Christians of Jewish descent, and expressed remorse to the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust along with gratitude to the Christians who had sheltered them. In fact, they even acknowledged that the Church had contributed to anti-Semitism – but they would consider Israel’s sovereignty. Not only did the WCC not support the creation of a Jewish state, but they attempted to delegitimize the entire concept.  They determined it best to not offend the Muslims who sought a second Holocaust. Recognizing the rights of Jewish converts to Christianity was an easy decision, but the rights of Jews to live in their own country remained problematical.

The PLO’s terror attacks in the early 1970s, as well as the Lod Airport massacre that left 26 dead and scores injured, and other Palestinian kidnappings and murders of Israelis, were also met with the Council’s benign condemnation, as though the Palestinians were striving for “human rights,” and not the annihilation of the entire state of Israel. Hijackings, once called “reckless acts of anarchy that disregard human rights” were now excused as “something not so bad because nobody got killed.”

The massacre of the Israeli Olympic team by the PLO in September 1972 was termed “senseless terrorism.” Rather than condemn the Palestinians’ heinous acts and demand the criminals be prosecuted, the WCC general secretary expressed consternation at the “senseless (!)” deaths of the Israelis, their abductors and the German officials – as though the “sacrificed lives” were not only equal but could have made sense given different circumstances. The suggestion is grotesque. He condemned Israel not to respond with reprisals, which thereafter became their modus operandi.

Contrary to its title, the UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, became a dedication to hate against Israel. Although the WCC claimed to disapprove of some of the statements, it nevertheless supported the document.

In 2004, they eulogized Arafat upon his death as a leader who recognized true justice, peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis. The WCC disregarded his massacres of Jews and Christians, the terrorism despite the Oslo Accords, and the billions of dollars in aid that was never used to improve Palestinian lives.

In February 2005, the WCC joined the American Protestant churches in the Presbyterian Church’s (USA) divestment campaign against Israel, blaming Israel’s occupation for the violence, not Palestinian aggression or the companies that profit from that aggression. The group also directed their blame against Israel for boarding the Mavi Marmara flotilla that was carrying jihadists and armaments to Gaza in June 2016, despite videos that showed the passengers to be the violent aggressors.

The WCC was quick to condemn Israel’s invasion into Lebanon in 1984, but protected the identity of the earlier massacres by the PLO and Christian Phalangists in the 1970s and 1980s, and the PLO’s massacres in Lebanon (1982). They also maintained their silence about the Palestinians’ horrific atrocities and executions of the Maronites (Roman Catholics) in January 1976.

The World Council of Churches no longer stands for democracy and Christianity – if it ever did without Niemoeller. In a world that has grown more dangerous, with fanatical terrorists and unstoppable migrants overcoming countries from which the indigenous populations are fleeing,  the WCC has declared its affinity for the enemy, those who threaten to establish a caliphate at Buckingham Palace, at the White House, and throughout Europe and Asia.  Statements issued by the Central Community of the WCC in response to brutal attacks against Christians refrain from naming the Islamic attackers.  Rather, they criticize Israel and silence those who dare defame Islam.

It is no surprise for Israel to be vilified by the followers of Islam, because Islam, like Nazism, is the antithesis of Judaism and they could never co-exist.  But when the Council of churches joins the accusers, it is the unkindest cut of all. Such action is foolhardy and self-defeating as the integrity of the Church’s theology requires the existence of Israel and the Jews, but the reverse is not true.  If it were possible to remove Judaism, Christianity would suffer the same fate thereafter.  Islam’s declared purpose is global conquest.  Pastor Niemoeller’s words ring as true today.

Like the tail-devouring Ouroboros, the WCC has turned on itself, and should no longer be able to rely on our citizens’ taxes and generosity to support the Palestinian Authority and the armed jihadists who seek Jewish and Christian destruction.  Isaiah 5:20: Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.

(With appreciation to Dexter Van Zile, “Broadcasting a Lethal Narrative: The World Council of Churches and Israel,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Palestinians Paid Terrorists and their families $1 Billion in past 4 Years

The PLO (Palestinian leadership) pay Palestinians and their families  who murder Jews and Christians in Israel money as a reward for  murder. They also name monuments and streets after these murderers. Leaders as well as people and countries who continue to pay the PLO money used to incite murder are ‘Accessories to Murder’ .

Congress should immediately cut off funds paid to the PLO unless this incitement to murder is stopped.

Palestinians Paid Terrorists $1 Billion in Past 4 Years

The Palestinian Authority has paid out some NIS 4 billion — or $1.12 billion — over the past four years to terrorists and their families, a former director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and ex-head of the army’s intelligence and research division told a top Knesset panel on Monday.

Setting out the figures, Brig.-Gen (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the longer the period for which a Palestinian security prisoner is jailed, “the higher the salary… Anyone who has sat in prison for more than 30 years gets NIS 12,000 ($3,360) per month,” said Kuperwasser, according to the (Hebrew) NRG website. “When they’re released, they get a grant and are promised a job at the Palestinian Authority. They get a military rank that’s determined according to the number of years they’ve served in jail.”

Kuperwasser also told the committee that PA claims that the payments to terrorists’ families are social welfare benefits to the needy are false. The Palestinians’ own budgetary documents, he said, “clearly state that these are salaries and not welfare payments.”

Kuperwasser was briefing MKs days after US President Donald Trump visited Israel and held talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem. In an apparent public upbraiding of Abbas over the payments, Trump told him at their joint press conference: “Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded or rewarded.”

Read more…

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Major policy shift: Trump administration declares Jerusalem part of Israel

Major, and most welcome. Jerusalem belongs to Israel by the record of history, international law, and the right of conquest that is recognized for every other state in the world, but not for Israel. This is an extremely encouraging development; we can only hope there will be more to come.

“Trump Admin Declares Jerusalem Part of Israel in Major Policy Shift,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, May 22, 2017:

The Trump administration declared the president is in “Jerusalem, Israel,” on Monday for a series of meetings with Israeli officials, a proclamation that breaks with years of American policy refraining from stating that the city of Jerusalem is part of Israel.

Senior Trump administration officials had ignited a wave of controversy over the past several weeks when discussing Jerusalem, with some top officials refusing to say that the ancient city is part of Israel.

Decades of U.S. policy has refrained from formally labeling Jerusalem as part of Israel due to concerns this could negatively impact the Middle East peace process, in which Palestinian leaders have staked a claim to the city as their future capital.

Ahead of a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House, on its official website, provided a live stream of the event. Prior to its start, the White House included a frame stating, “President Trump gives remarks with Prime Minister Netanyahu.” The location provided was “Jerusalem, Israel.”

The statement appears to be part of an effort to normalize this language, which is widely backed by U.S. lawmakers and senior officials in the administration, sources said.

The State Department, which is disposed to address the issue with more caution, declined to comment on the latest declaration, instead referring a reporter to the White House. The White House did not provide comment on the matter by press time. Pro-Israel observers on Twitter and other social media immediately praised the declaration.

The Obama administration also faced its own controversies when dealing with the city. The former administration was caught altering official photographs to remove “Israel” as the location for several meetings. The effort roiled the pro-Israel community, but was in line with standing U.S. policy.

The Trump administration has faced its own struggles on the issue.

Candidate Trump vowed in multiple speeches on the campaign trail that he would move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the country’s capital.

While U.S. law states that the embassy should be moved, consecutive presidents have waived the requirement, claiming that it interferes with efforts to advance Middle East peace.

Trump’s administration has taken heat from the pro-Israel community for failing thus far to take concrete action on moving the embassy. While White House officials maintain that the plan is still being examined, the slow roll of the move has angered Trump’s biggest pro-Israel supporters.

Trump administration officials also have issued a range of answers when pressed to explain whether they believe Jerusalem is part of Israel.

White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster last week would not tell reporters whether Israel’s holiest site, the Western Wall, is located in Israel proper.

The latest declaration on the issue by the Trump administration appears to show that the president is committed to affirming Israel’s sovereignty over the city and turning the page from years of chilly relations between the Israeli government and the United States under former President Barack Obama.

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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 .

Benjamin Netanyahu: Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem Wouldn’t Harm Peace

Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, said the United States could move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem without worrying about any dings to the peace process.

U.S. Embassy to Israel

His remarks came after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hinted that Bibi might not want the embassy moved there, because it could prove an impediment to peace talks.

But Netanyahu doubled down and said his position on the embassy hasn’t changed.

From CNS News:

“‘Israel’s position has been stated many times to the American administration and to the world,’ Netanyahu said in a statement, which his office said was in response to Tillerson’s remarks.

“‘Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem would not harm the peace process,’ the prime minister said. ‘On the contrary, it would advance it by correcting an historical injustice and by shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.’

“For months Israeli and regional media outlets have speculated that while Israel has long sought embassies to move from Tel Aviv and surrounding areas to its declared capital, the government worries that should President Trump make good on his campaign promise to move the U.S. mission the benefits could be outweighed by negative consequences.

“The implication has been that Netanyahu – while unable to say so publicly for fear of alienating his support base – hopes that Trump will not keep his pledge.

“Moving the embassy would be deeply controversial since Palestinians contest Israel’s right to the city and want to establish the capital of a future independent state there – a demand Palestinian Authority (P.A.) chairman Mahmoud Abbas reiterated at his March 3 Oval Office meeting with Trump.”

Islamic leaders have warned that recognizing Israel’s claim to the land in so openly a manner would put a stop to peace talks, and trigger anger in the Muslim world.

But Trump made a campaign vow to move the embassy.

Again, from CNS News:

“Moving the embassy to Jerusalem would not only keep an unequivocal campaign promise but would also be in line with U.S. law, which three successive administrations have chosen not to observe over the past 18 years, by passing six-monthly national security waivers.

“President Obama invoked the last such waiver on December 1 last year, so Trump will either have to follow suit on or before June 1, or set in motion steps towards moving the embassy from its current Tel Aviv beachfront location.

“The now-confirmed new ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is due to take up his duties from Monday. An orthodox Jew and ardent Zionist, Friedman made clear when nominated and since, that he hopes to be working from Jerusalem as soon as possible.”

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

VIDEO: Bibi Netanyahu to Mahmoud Abbas ‘Google Yourself’

Netanyahu is right to call this savage out on his lies. It is a shame that Trump seemed to believe him. We can only hope that someone around him set him straight.

“Netanyahu Recommends Abbas ‘Google Yourself,’” by Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, May 6, 2017:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recommended in a tweet to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas on Friday that he try “Googling [himself] sometime.”

The tweet – and the video that came along with it – followed the incredulous lies spoken by Abbas at the podium of the White House during his joint press briefing with U.S. President Donald Trump this past week.

Abbas said during the briefing with media that his government “educates for peace,” and affirmed the Palestinian Authority is “raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.”

The Palestinian Authority has named sports events, children’s summer camps, schools and public buildings, streets and squares after some of the most bloodthirsty terrorists in the world.

The PA government also funds and sponsors television programming — clips of which are translated by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) organization — encouraging small children to hate Israel and Jews, and teaches them it is their sacred duty to murder. They are also taught by these programs that the entire Land of Israel is actually “Palestine”, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and that someday it will all belong to the Arab nation “once more” – when they have eradicated the “Zionist enemy.”

These concepts are reinforced to children and teens in the classroom during the day in their textbooks and in the curricula formulated by the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Education.

Adult citizens of the Palestinian Authority are reminded of the “truth” of these vicious lies via the daily media they are exposed to in government-backed newspapers, radio stations and television programs, whose incitement-filled hate is also often translated and then publicized by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) so the world can at least be aware of what is being said.

All of these lies are funded via the PA Ministry of Communications, which receives support from the European Union and the United States, among other foreign nations….

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

Will Syria’s Kurds join with Israel and the U.S.?

kurdnasLogoHiSherkoh Abbas , President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KURDNAS), raised in  a recent Jns.com article the tantalizing prospect of a Kurdish- Israel- US Alliance to complete the work of destroying the Islamic State, “Are Syrian Kurds the missing ingredient in the West’s recipe to defeat Islamic State?” The thoughts expressed in this article reflect a recent conversation the author held with Sherkoh Abbas and Dr. Mordechai Nisan, author of  Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression.

The Kurds have earned political and military capital in both Iraq and Syria as the most effective boots on the ground combating the extremist Salafism of the Islamic State. This largest non Arab ethnic group in the Middle East has long been denied the promised statehood at the Versailles conference of 1919 that ended the First World War and the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 that established the modern Republic of Turkey.

Nevertheless, the Kurds have been resilient despite numerous tragic setbacks in their history over the past century. The establishment of a no fly zone in northern Iraq under US auspices led to the creation the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and its much praised fighting force, the Peshmerga.

Further, it demonstrated the capabilities of the Kurds to govern themselves, overcoming internal differences and external geo- political threats from a hegemonic Iran and the Ba’athist regime of the late Saddam Hussein. Having vast energy resources helped to fuel the KRG’s development. KRG’s Peshmerga exemplary role in the current battle to retake Mosul from the Islamic State, in coordination with Iraqi national security and US forces, demonstrated its proficiency. Its humanity was demonstrated providing safe havens for Yazidis, Chaldean Christians and other ethnic non Muslim minorities that brought the KRG global recognition and respect.

On the surface the situation in Syrian Kurdistan, while complicated, has the potential for fostering the development of an autonomous Kurdish region extending across northern Syria from the KRG frontier to the Mediterranean, despite the objections of Erdogan’s Turkey.

We only have to look at recent actions by both Russia and the US. Russia and the YPG concluded an arrangement potentially protecting the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Northwest Syria. Further, Russian meetings with Syrian Kurdish representatives in Moscow have evinced Kremlin interest in a federalized Syria in any agreement to end the seven year civil war with the Assad regime. After WWII, the Russians established a short-lived Kurdish Republic in Mahabad, Iran.  US Army Brig. General (ret.) Ernie Audino in our December 2015 New English Review interview, “No War Against ISIS Without the Kurds”, noted that history:

The well-educated and well-respected Qazi Muhammad was elected to serve as president of the Mahabad Republic, history’s first and only sovereign, Kurdish state. Knowing he needed a capable army to protect the state he requested help from the great Kurdish nationalist, Mustafa Barzani, who showed up with 5,000 of his peshmerga. During this period, a son was born to Barzani who named him, Masud. That son is now Masud Barzani, the current President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq.

The U.S. has acted as an umpire between Turkish forces of President Erdogan and Islamist Sunni opposition militia from entering Manbij, liberated by the YPG on the west bank of the Euphrates River.

Moreover, the US sent a message to Ankara that it was backing the YPG led Syrian Democratic Force in the battle to retake the Islamic State administrative capital of Raqqa. The Pentagon has dispatched a US Marine artillery unit. It also alerted a reinforced brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division for possible deployment in Syria.

On the political side of the Syrian Kurdish conundrum there is the daunting task of unifying the tribes, political parties, and the Kurdish National Council.

As Sherkoh Abbas of KURDNAS has pointed out that will require the delinking of the YPG/PYD leadership from outreach and involvement with the PKK, the Assad regime, Iran’s Qods Force, and its proxy, the Iraqi Hashd Shiite Popular Mobilization Force militia. There are indications that the YPG/PYD might consider doing this if there were US, Russian and potentially, Israeli auspices.

Israeli PM Netanyahu, a year and a half ago, issued a statement supporting the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in the region; welcomed by the Kurdish communities.

The benefits would include having a reliable ally in a post Assad Syria with both political and military capacities and a secure source of oil to meet the Jewish nation’s growing domestic and regional demand.

Israel has to take an important step to achieve these desirable results. It has to reach out to both the Syrian Kurds and the Trump Administration to recognize the significant Kurdish role in the final destruction of the Islamic State threatening the security of Israel’s northern Golan frontier.

If that succeeds then both the US and Israel would have an important stable alliance with the largest non Arab ethnic polity in the troubled Middle East.  With the defeat of the Islamic State, that would turn attention to reining in the threat posed by a hegemonic Iran. With the possibility of a triple entente composed of both Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistans, Israel and the US, it raises the future prospect of fostering regime change in Tehran giving rise to the aspirations for autonomy of minorities in Iran- the Kurds, Azeri, Ahwaz and Baluch.

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

VIDEO DOCUMENTARY: Move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem!

We detail an investigative documentary that The United West film team will be producing in Israel on their national security mission, May 20-30, 2017.

RELATED VIDEO: Israelis react to possible U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem by CBS News. Moving embassy to Jerusalem is “the moral thing to do.”

EDITORS NOTE: If you are interesting in coming to Israel with Tom, check out all details on the web site http://tt.heritagestudyprograms.com/. If you are interested in helping fund this important film project, please contact Mary@TheUnitedWest.org.

VIDEO: The Muhammad Code

Prolific author, Howard Bloom has written a masterful, scholarly, yet readable book about the leader of all Muslims, the one they call, Prophet Muhammad. In his book, “The Muhammad Code,”
Bloom unlocks the key to why Muslims hate Jews and Christians and other non-Muslims and why Islam is in a perpetual state of war to establish a global leader, the Caliph, to bring in world domination by Islam. Bloom, a writer trained in the sciences, pulls no punches as he simply explains Islamic doctrine as taught by Muhammad and subsequent Muslim leaders.

This book is a must-read for anyone who wants a clear, dispassionate analysis of the leader of a movement that has become the greatest threat to global peace and security.

Stay tuned for more episodes with Howard Bloom and a deeper look at some of his shocking findings.

TheMuhammadCode-cover-15NOV2016-768x1152ABOUT THE MUHAMMAD CODE

The Muhammad Code is based entirely on Islamic sources: the Quran, the Hadith, Ibn Ishaq, al Tabari, and lives of Muhammad written for Moslem eyes only by Islamic religious leaders, Islamic scholars, and Islamic journalists. The Muhammad Code tells one of the most important and riveting stories in history. The hidden story behind the headlines from shock-spots in Asia, Africa, Europe, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. And the inner secrets of the mosque down the street.

If you are a Moslem and you want to be righteous, just, and pure, you are required to follow in the footsteps of Muhammad. What kind of footsteps did Muhammad leave you? His example as the commander of 65 military campaigns. His example as a participant in 27 of those battles. His example as the architect of ethnic expulsions and genocides.

Explains Osama bin Laden, Muhammad was “a Prophet of Conquest.” And Pakistan’s Universal Sunnah Foundation agrees. It says proudly that under Muhammad’s generalship, “Islam spread on an average of 822 square kilometres per day.” Behind that conquest is an astonishing story. The story of Muhammad’s life as a militant. The story of Muhammad’s two favorite tools of war, “deceit” (deception) and “terror.” The story that led to the assembly of the biggest empire in human history…an empire eleven times the size of the conquests of Alexander the Great, five times the size of the Roman Empire, and seven times the size of the United States.

The Muhammad Code is the story of how Muhammad laid out a simple goal–seizing the entire world. A goal so dependent on violence that one of Muhammad’s leading modern interpreters, Islamic Revolutionary Iran’s founding father, the Ayatollah Khomeini, says proudly that “Islam has obliterated many tribes.” The Muhammad Code tells a story unknown in the West, the story that led the Ayatollah to declare that, “Moslems have no alternative… to an armed holy war Inflatable Tropical Island Bouncer wholesale. …Holy war means the conquest of all non Moslem territories. …It will …be the duty of every able-bodied adult male to volunteer for this war of conquest, the final aim of which is to put Koranic law in power from one end of the earth to the other.”

If you want to know the story of Muhammad’s ten years as a militant, read The Muhammad Code. It is more than just amazing. It is a story whose aftershocks are quaking your life.

EDITORS NOTE: Readers who wish to learn more about Howard Bloom may visit his web site: http://howardbloom.net/

The Crimes of Qassem: The U.S. should shut down Iran’s top terrorist

He might not be a household name in America — at least, not yet. But throughout the Middle East, Qassem Suleymani makes the righteous and the innocent tremble.

To the righteous — meaning, from his perspective, the Shiite zealots who believe the Islamic state of Iran should establish the caliphate and dominate the world — he is an awe-inspiring figure.

He is powerful. He is brash. He brazenly shows up on the battlefield to encourage his troops. In Iraq, he has become the maker of prime ministers and governments, and commands a militia of 100,000 men.

To his innocent victims, he is the face of Terror, Inc. As head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Quds Force (IRGC-QF), Qassem Suleymani is Iran’s top terrorist.

The Quds Force is euphemistically in charge of “extraterritorial” operations for the IRGC. I call it their expeditionary overseas terrorist wing.

In the early days, they were the ones who sent terror trainers to Lebanon to teach Hezbollah how to build better car bombs. Later, they knocked off a Lebanese prime minister and launched an all-out war on Israel in the summer of 2006, firing thousands of rockets at Israeli schools, hospitals and towns.

When Iran’s leaders decided in the early 1990s to forge an alliance in terror with a Saudi dissident named Osama bin Laden, they turned the file over to the Quds Force for action.

The Quds Force has been implicated in terror plots all around the world, including a failed 2011 attempt to blow up the Saudi ambassador at a Washington, D.C. restaurant. Suleymani and his operatives were also implicated in the September 11 plot, helping 10 to 12 of the Saudi “muscle” hijackers travel clandestinely through Iran to Afghanistan and providing logistical and other support.

In February 2007, Pentagon officials briefed reporters in Baghdad on Quds Force assistance to insurgents in Iraq.

The briefing included information and documents seized from Quds Force operatives detained by U.S. forces in Iraq, and photographic evidence of Iranian-made roadside bombs, known as Explosively Formed Projectiles, or EFPs.

The introduction of EFPs onto the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan by Suleymani and his men changed the scope and scale of U.S. casualties, ultimately accounting for as many as 1,500 U.S. battlefield dead.

I spoke recently to medically retired U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Bartlett about his encounter with an Iranian EFP. The force of the projectile “cut me in half from the left corner of my temple down to my jaw, and took my gunner’s legs off. Because of this Iranian bomb, I died three times in five days.

“Only my faith kept me alive,” he said.

The U.S. Army told Samantha Balsely that her 23-year old husband Michael had been killed in Iraq by an Improvised Explosive Device. Later, it became apparent that he, too, had been killed by an Iranian EFP.

“When I found out the government had given Iran billions of dollars, it was the biggest slap in the face,” Samantha told me. “How can you say you respect what our men and women do when you order them over there and then you pay their killers. It’s not right.”

Samantha Balsley is right. It’s just not right for the U.S. government to continue rewarding the Iranian regime, when they continue to kill Americans.

We know who these killers are. They have names. And they work for an organization: the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its “expeditionary” Quds Force.

As an immediate step, the Trump administration should follow through on hints that it is contemplating designating the IRGC and the Quds Force as international terrorist organizations.

The United States should take additional steps against Suleymani personally, blocking his assets, punishing businesses that transact with him or his Quds Force killers, and seeking an international travel ban.

Beyond that, the U.S. intelligence community should investigate reports from officials and media in Iraqi Kurdistan that Suleymani and the Quds Force facilitated the ISIS takeover of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain in June 2014, acts that could qualify as war crimes.

The crimes of Qassem Suleymani are many. After Osama bin Laden, he has more American blood on his hand than any terrorist. It’s time we shut him down for good.

Views on Radical Islam: An interview with Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President

The Trump Administration spearhead of the ideological war against Radical Islamic Jihadism is Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to President Trump and member of the White House Strategic Initiatives Group. He has recently surfaced as spokesperson for the Administration on this and related issues and been the subject of a number of media reports. We had prior knowledge of his views on Radical Islamic jihadism from our New English Review book review and interviews prior to his involvement in the Trump transition team.  Subsequently, following the President’s election he was selected to serve in the Executive Office of the President.  We were afforded an opportunity to interview him on a wide range of current issues on Northwest Florida’s Talk Radio 1330 AMWEBY.  The program aired February 28, 2017.

Among the following national security and foreign policy issues addressed in the 1330amWEBY interview with Dr. Gorka were:

  1. Why the Trump Administration is concerned about the threat from radical Islamic Jihadism?
  2. Who are the ‘self-styled’ counterterrorism experts criticizing the Administration for exposing the ideology behind Radical Islamic Jihadism?
  3. The dangerous threat of Iran’s nuclear and missile development, state support for global terrorism and hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East.
  4. Importance of Israel, Jordan, Egypt as allies in support of US national security interests in the Middle East.
  5. Possible formation of a NATO-type regional military alliance composed of Sunni Arab Monarchies, Emirates and states with possible links to Israel.
  6. Administration views on Turkey and the Kurds in the war to defeat ISIS.
  7. Global spread of Radical Islamic Jihad especially in Sudan, Nigeria, Niger and Mali in Africa.

What follows is the interview with Dr. Gorka:

Mike Bates: Good afternoon welcome back to Your Turn. This is Mike Bates. With me in the studio Jerry Gordon is the Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog The Iconoclast and joining us by telephone Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President in the strategic initiatives group. Dr. Gorka, welcome.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Thank you for having me.

Bates: Dr. Gorka, you have been criticized significantly by so-called counter-terrorism experts for concentrating on addressing the ideology behind radical Islamic terrorism. Is there any merit to that criticism at all?

Gorka: It’s quite ironic that the individuals that have written these recent critiques are in many cases the people who are responsible for the last eight years of Obama administration policies. That completely ignored the ideological component of groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda and simply resulted in the atrocious situation we have today with ISIS declaring a caliphate of remarkable affiliates across the globe and with attack after attack occurring not only in America but especially in Europe. So the fact is denying the reality of what your enemy believes makes it very difficult to stop them recruiting new terrorists in the future. That’s my bottom line.

Bates: So how are you advising the Trump administration concerning the threat from radical Islamic terrorism?

Gorka: The President, even before he became the Commander in Chief, was very clear on these issues so we are just continuing the work of the presidential campaign. If your listeners look at a very important speech that wasn’t paid adequate attention to it, the Presidents’ Youngstown speech which was very clear on the ideological components of this war. Then we have the inauguration which was very specific, his fifteen minute speech that talked about the radical Islamic terrorist threat the phrase of your former President denied and refused to use.  Then we had  last Friday his address to CPAC which was just as strenuous and talked about obliterating the threat and wiping them from the face of the earth.  Our belief is that this is a war against individual organizations like ISIS. However, in the long term it is really a counter-ideological fight that has to resolve finally in the delegtimization of the religious ideology that drives groups like ISIS.

Jerry Gorda: Dr. Gorka, speaking about obliterating ISIS what changes might we expect in administration policies towards the Kurds in the war to defeat ISIS and the resolution to the conflict in Syria?

Gorka: Unlike previous administrations we don’t give our playbook away in advance. We don’t talk about the specifics of our war plan. However, the President has been clear that whether it’s the Kurds or whether it’s others in the region America is not interested in invading other peoples’ countries; that’s un-American. Our nation was born in a rejection of imperialism not the colonization or occupation of other countries.  Whether it is the Kurds or local Sunnis or the forces of Iraq, we are interested in helping our partners in the region win their wars for themselves. It’s not about American troops being deployed in large numbers, it’s about helping those Muslim nations and forces in the Middle East who want to be our friends help them win their battles for themselves.

Bates: Well speaking about them winning the battles for themselves there have been some news reports about some administration discussions about the possible formation of a NATO type regional military alliance in the Middle East. Is there anything developing there?

Gorka: Again we are going to keep our powder dry and we are not going to give away our game plans in advance. The bottom line is not the labels or not what we wish to package things into. The issue is the local actors stepping up to the plate with our assistance to fight their backyard war.  I mean it’s not, Christians who have been decimated, Yazidis have been decimated but by far the largest number of victims of the jihadist groups are their fellow Muslims. They are not just the Shia who they deem to be heretics but in many parts of Iraq and Syria and elsewhere the ISIS forces, the related groups are killing other Sunnis that they disagree with.  Whatever the coalition it will be very different from the smoke and mirrors coalition that was created under the Obama years which really wasn’t a serious force.

Gordon: Dr. Gorka, how dangerous is the threat of Iran’s nuclear and missile development, state support for global terrorism and hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East?

 Gorka: That’s a question that could have a PhD dissertation level response. Let’s just talk about the facts. We know Iran according to the U.S. Government is a state-sponsored terrorism, the largest state-sponsor of terrorism. It is not doing this recently it has been doing this since 1979 whether it is from the Iranian hostage siege crisis all the way down.  This is a nation that I like to depict as an anti-status quo actor. This is a nation that doesn’t share basic interests with the normal values of the international community. They are not interested. If you are a theocratic regime that wishes to forcibly and subversively export  your theocratic vision around the world what is the common interest you could have with America or with any of our allies? That’s the false premise upon which U.S. Iran relations were based in the last eight years and the idea that a nation that has that destabilizing ideology wishes to acquire weapons of mass destruction including nuclear capability means that they do represent a threat to all nations that believe in a global stability.

Gordon: Dr. Gorka, how important is Israel as an ally in support of U.S. National Security interests in the Middle East versus resolution of the impasse with the Palestinians?

Gorka: There is no greater partner of the United States in the Middle East. We are very close and we help the Jordanians, Egypt, UAE  redressing and improving the very  negative relationship that was established between the White House under the Obama administration and Egyptian President Sisi’s government. Israel, as a beacon of democracy and stability in the Middle East, is our closest friend in the region and the President has been explicit in that again and again So it would be difficult  to overestimate just how important Israel is not only to America’s interest in the region but also to the broader stability of the Middle East.

Bates: And what kind of role do you foresee for Turkey?

Gorka: I think that is in many ways up to Ankara. Historically, after it’s accession to NATO, Turkey became one of the most important nations in the alliance. It had the largest army in Europe. As a result of its location it was highly important during the Cold War geo-strategically. Recent events with an emphasis to rising fundamentalist attitudes have questioned the future trajectory of Turkey. The administration and the President is clear that it wishes to be a friend to those who wish to be our friends.  I think you know any good relationship depends upon both parties willingness to work together. We would like to continue a fruitful relationship with Turkey but that depends upon the government in Ankara itself.

Gordon: Dr. Gorka, the Obama administration lifted sanctions against the Islamic Republic of the Sudan on the cusp of leaving office. This despite evidence that the regime of President Bashir is raising a terrorist army literally to foment jihad in the Sahel region of Africa. What remedies might the administration consider to combat this?

Gorka: Again you are trying to tease out very concrete policy prescriptions from us and I’m really not prepared to do that at this point. Remember we are in week six of the administration.  However, we do recognize and we are very serious about the fact that of what I call the global jihadi movement isn’t just an issue in the Middle East. We like to focus on the so-called five meter target. It was Al Qaeda for a decade then it morphed into the Islamic state or ISIS.  There are large swaths of territory in Africa that are unstable, are not sovereign in the sense that the local government exercises full control over them. The mere fact alone if you look at Nigeria, the Boko Haram, the black African jihadi group has sworn allegiance to ISIS and Ab? Bakr al-Baghdadi and has been incorporated into the Islamic state, changed its name to the West African Province of the Islamic state. That shows you just how serious the situation is.  Jihadism truly spreads from whether it’s Aleppo, whether it’s Raqqa, whether it’s Africa, Mali, Nigeria or to the streets of Brussels or San Bernardino. We fully appreciate just how global the threat is and that includes Africa as well.

Bates: Dr. Gorka, it obviously includes the United States as well.  One of President Trump’s very first executive orders had to do with the restriction of entry into the United States from people from seven countries. The administration was criticized by the Democrats and the media, my apologies for being redundant there.  However, if you look at the numbers of those seven affected countries, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen,  have a combined population of  220 million people and there is a global Muslim population of 1.6 billion.  That means that 86 percent of Muslims in the world are not prevented from entering the United States and yet it was portrayed as a Muslim ban. How does the administration intend to come out with a revised plan that can avoid that criticism or do you think the criticism will come no matter what?

Gorka: The criticism will come no matter what because there is a fundamental disjuncture between the mainstream media, a perception of the world and the actual reality of how serious the threat is. These are the countries that either are state sponsors of terrorism or are the hotbeds of jihadist activity today be it Islamic State or Al Qaeda. This is a threat analysis we inherited from the Obama administration.  The idea that it is controversial is asinine and secondly you’re absolutely right. If this had been an Islamaphobically generated executive order then how is it the most populous Muslim nation in the world, Indonesia, was left off of the list? How is it the most populous Arab Muslim nation in the world  Egypt was left off the list? The challenge that was politically brought was that there was some ulterior motive behind the listing of these seven countries.  The fact is it is an unemotional cold analysis of the threat to America that was the reason for the drawing up of that moratorium of that list of seven nations.  But if you have a political agenda then of course you will spin things politically.

Bates: Another nation that’s not on that list is Saudi Arabia. Can you address the cooperation we are getting from the House of Saud regarding the overall global war on Islamic terrorism?

 Gorka: Again, it’s getting a little too specific.  However,  I will talk about some good things that have occurred. We know that there were issues with certain elements of Saudi society propagating or supporting the propagation of radical ideologies around the world. That attitude changed quite drastically in about ’05, ’06 when Al Qaeda started targeting Saudi officials on Saudi soil.  A nation that may have been problematic for several years has recently been reassessing its attitude to these international actors.  We expect to see even more positive things coming out of Saudi Arabia as we in the White House, especially the President and Secretary Tillerson start to rebuild the relationships with all our allies in the region that were so detrimentally affected by the treatment they received at the hands of the Obama White House.

Bates: Well if I may editorialize for just a moment, it is a relief to see an administration that is taking the threats seriously and is dealing with the world as it is and not as it wishes the world were. Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President in the strategic initiatives group, thank you so much for joining us this afternoon on Your Turn on 1330 AM WEBY.

LISTEN to the 1330 AM WEBY interview with Dr. Gorka.

RELATED ARTICLE: Swede Democrat leaders pen WSJ op-ed imploring Americans to avoid the mistakes Sweden made 

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

Israelis file multiple lawsuits against Facebook for providing radical Islamists a platform

While Facebook is being sued for providing a platform for jihadists “involved in the ‘stabbing intifada’” against innocent Israelis, the social media giant has apparently been all too busy playing thought police by cranking down on harmless conservatives. According to “former Facebook workers,” they “routinely suppressed conservative news,” including stories that were trending on major news sites. The “news curators” were ordered to “artificially inject selected stories into the trending news mode,” even if they were unpopular.

Media and social media collusion has become the norm, to the detriment of the people, whose thoughts are being manipulated via lies by omission.

Facebook even reportedly banned a Trump supporter last May for complaining that the social media site was censoring “right wing activists,” thereby proving his point.

“Terrorism Cases Against Facebook Reach climax”, by Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, March 2, 2017:

American-Israeli Richard Lakin, [sic] told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that he is “outraged” at Facebook for pretending that it has zero tolerance for terrorism.

He spoke minutes after a climactic hearing in a terrorism lawsuit against the social media giant.

Lakin was one of the original plaintiffs in a 2015 lawsuit filed by a group of 20,000 Israelis against Facebook for providing a platform for terrorists involved in the “stabbing intifada,” and demanding an injunction ordering the firm to act more forcefully against terrorist incitement on its pages.

Wednesday’s hearing was the final one in a US federal court in Brooklyn before the judge decides whether Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center, representing the plaintiffs, has found the first-ever legal silver bullet for breaking what has been an impenetrable barrier protecting Facebook from terrorism lawsuits.

Lakin was wounded and later died from his wounds in an attack by two Palestinians armed with a knife and a gun on a Jerusalem bus in fall 2015.

The 20,000 plaintiffs’ case is combined with a $1 billion damages case on behalf of the families of five victims, including US Army veteran Taylor Force, of the terrorist group Hamas.

Facebook had filed a motion to dismiss both cases arguing that, like all prior similar terrorism cases against it, the US Communications Decency Act (1996) bars all legal claims against it for posts by third parties using its platform – a defense that has proved unbeatable to date.

Shurat Hadin has argued that Facebook was not the intended target of the Communications Decency Act, which was focused on publishing, and that the social media platform has powerful algorithms it could use to catch and take down incitement and terrorist communications.

One relatively novel issue is the NGO’s attempt to use the US Anti-Terrorism Act against Facebook and to define the company as providing material support for terrorism by letting terrorists use its platform, instead of merely accusing Facebook of failing to control incitement, a less serious charge.

Shurat Hadin has admitted that the only court decision to date on this issue, earlier in 2016, went in favor of Facebook, but has claimed that case was “plainly wrongly decided and an outlier,” since a terrorism claim, unlike an incitement claim, relates not to publishing content, but to providing services.

The argument is that even if Facebook is not actively publishing third parties’ content, it is actively providing them the service of its platform.

Avni also told the Post that he “continued to be outraged by Facebook’s behavior… While this is a lawsuit about a specific issue of law, that they shouldn’t provide services to terror organizations, there is a basic ethical question that they shouldn’t help terrorists and allow them to operate freely on their platform.”

He added, “Facebook’s lawyer started his speech saying it has zero tolerance for terror. But the big dirty secret is that they make a ton of money from it. Facebook is getting lots of traffic and selling ads – the quantity of jihadists’ traffic is big and they get a lot of money out of it.”

Shurat Hadin’s New York counsel Robert Tolchin said, “Our case transcends” the Communications Decency Act, since “we are not talking about who published a post – we are talking about who provided services to a terror organization. Most of the judge’s questions [at the hearing] focused on that tension.”

Tolchin said he thought the judge came away with a view that the issue was more complicated than being able to just simply dismiss it because of the standard Communications Decency Act argument.

Shurat Hadin Director Nitsana Darshan- Leitner said, “The terrorist stabbing attacks throughout Israel and the murder of these innocent American and Israeli victims would never have occurred without the massive wave of incitement over social media.

“Facebook believes it is entitled to make billions of dollars annually while having no obligations to police its web pages and filter out calls to murder innocent Jews worldwide,” she added….

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Students for Justice in Palestine caught in a lie

sjp logoArlington, TX – Leadership of Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Arlington, Texas (SJP UTA), which has been embroiled in an anti-Semitism scandal, are claiming that they don’t know former friend and colleague Nancy Salem. They are also denying that any of their members have made anti-Semitics comments.

Canary Mission’s evidence concludes that both of these claims are flagrant lies.

Following the release of a report by campus watchdog Canary Mission, SJP UTA have sought to distance themselves from Salem. The former pre-school teacher who called to “kill some Jews” on Twitter, was fired yesterday from her job at Children’s Courtyard amidst calls for the school to shut down.

In response, SJP UTA yesterday posted a statement on their primary Facebook page making two absurd denials. The first is that Salem has “never been associated with SJP” and second that “Sjp has never had any members make any anti-semitic [sic] statements.”

SJP UTA latest hires.png

Canary Mission’s investigation of the activists Twitter interactions revealed that at least half a dozen SJP UTA members implicated in Canary Mission’s expose, including their Vice President, are closely acquainted with her.

Here is Salem wishing their Vice President a happy birthday last year:

Though never a student at UTA, a point made clear in Canary Mission’s profile on her, Salem was clearly affiliated with the SJP UTA chapter. SJP UTA have a second Facebook account, which can still be viewed now, even though since our expose the names of those individuals implicated in their anti-Semitism scandal have since been removed and there is virtually no content. Nancy Salem was one of those individuals whose name was removed.

Nancy_Salem_FB.jpg

Below are examples of interactions between Salem and the above mentioned SJP UTA activists clearly showing that they know her:

Lastly, here are just two examples conclusively showing just three SJP UTA members together with their anti-Semitic statements. The rest can be found on the Canary Mission UTA page.

Sweet and Sour Paris Peace Conference

Given a choice, monsieur the diplomat, between two International Peace Conferences-Kazakhstan for Syria or Paris for the Middle East- which would you prefer? Would you like to plough your brain trying to sort out the Islamist rebels from the plain Islamists, finding someone less brutal to replace Assad and a few factions to support him, resisting pressure from the Russians, Iranians, Turks, Hezbollah and the like? Wouldn’t you rather sit around a table in Paris, rubbing shoulders with distinguished ladies and gentlemen, and repeating that it is urgent to settle the “oldest conflict” by finally implementing the oldest solution: two states side by side in security?

For low ranking journalists that didn’t have the chance to come anywhere near the delegations, “covering” the Conference meant  receiving the elevated  address of Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who would present the conclusions reached by the diplomats united in a spirit of sincere friendship for the parties to the conflict. (The day after the Conference, that hasn’t generated much interest worldwide, documents in several languages and videos of some speeches were posted on the Ministry website.)

I easily found a seat in the second row. Most of the people around me were speaking Arabic. I don’t usually cover events in the ministries. My stamping ground is more in the neighborhood of the UPJF, the BNVCA, and defamation hearings at the Palais de Justice. I greeted Gideon Kuntz, didn’t see any familiar faces… until a woman took a seat on my left, turned to me, and said: “I know you.” Right. We met about ten days ago at a party thrown by a journalist friend.  Hustle and bustle near the door. The minister will enter any minute. My fellow American gives me some inside information: “A little while ago I was sitting next to a Palestinian. He told me that the father of one of the female soldiers killed in Jerusalem wrote on his Facebook page, ‘What can you expect when we keep them cooped up like that?'” Brushing aside a dozen reactions that tumbled around in my mind, I answered like a good journalist: “Could be. We’d have to verify it.” She shrugs: “It’s Facebook.” And I say to myself: “It’s a Palestinian.” The minister walks in, accompanied by about 15 people that line up along the wall.

Busy taking notes in my red moleskin notebook with my real fountain pen, I don’t even have the fun of observing the audience. Except for the bald head of Harlem Désir, foreign relations secretary of the Socialist party, seated right in front of me. I wished I could remind him of his gallantry that day in 1990 when a momentous wind storm caught us on the top floor of the Arche de la Défense, during an encounter with delegates from Central Europe. Maybe they represented the new democracies? The wind forced open the sliding glass doors and came barreling into the hall. You could see the wind, it was light green and terrifying. After a long wait someone finally came to take us to an elevator that brought us down to an exit at the top of a long flight of stairs. The wind was too strong, it almost blew me away, I grabbed onto Harlem Désir who escorted me all the way to the metro entrance. Those were different times.

Today, too, the times have changed. The arrogant disdain for Israel that marked the first yeas of the century has morphed here into moderate, measured benevolence, all soft and gentle. Everything about the Conference, from the motivation, hopes, and concerns, to the final recommendations is dipped in the honey of sincere egalitarian friendship. Everything is unanimous, they are all united in the same spirit, they all condemned the horrible terror attack in Jerusalem and all forms of violence and incitement to violence. But. But resolution 2334 of the UN Security Council denounced the colonization; this decision is “stamped with international legality, it’s serious.” To show just how serious that condemnation is, the minister used a strange expression: “it is the voice of the world that spoke.”

And that was the sense of his whole brief speech. The united assembly of more than 70 countries and organizations had acted like a supreme being that observes, weighs, judges, and speaks in a unanimous voice to say the two-state solution, the only viable solution, is in danger. What can be done to reinforce the engagement of the international community and persuade the conflicting parties to resume negotiations? Because direct negotiations are the only way to solve the conflict. The parameters are known: ’67frontières, major UN resolutions, and the 2002 Arab initiative.  Why not “Auschwitz borders?” Jean-Marc Ayrault could have said it straight out in that honeyed voice, the voice of the world, the voice of sincere friendship for Israelis, for Palestinians… He could have said it that way, without a change of tone, without reservations, in his role as honorable spokesman of the international community that says the Law.

The minister repeats that it is urgent to promote the two-state solution, to convince Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct negotiations that, he says again, are the only way to resolve this conflict that has been going on for 50 years, and “produced” 3 wars since 2006. We cannot have stability in the Middle East without peace between Israel and Palestine, peace that is desired by the entire international community. And so on and so forth. Only good things. Peace and friendship and economic development. We are ready to help, says the minister. Help who? The Palestinians that for decades have been swallowing up exorbitant contributions in the belly of corruption? Europe will be able to help the flourishing super high tech Israeli economy that just wants to keep growing without shackles? What encouragement can be expected from France that voted-in sincere friendship and for the good of Israel-for labeling products from the “colonies”?

The minister concludes modestly: we are realists. It’s step by step, little step by little step that we will reach our goal. And sums up: “This Conference is an outstretched hand.”

Three little questions are taken. Q: Will the communiqué be presented tomorrow at the EU foreign affairs Council and on the 17th at the Security Council?  A: Yes for the EU no for the UN.

Q: You said the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem would be a provocation. What will be done if the transfer is in fact made? A: I’ll discuss it with Rex Tillerson.

Q: A few months ago France was prepared to recognize the Palestinian state. Is that still on the table? A: We never said it like that. It was meant to be unilateral. We do not want any misunderstanding on that score. Everything will be done in the spirit of this Conference: subdued, restrained, moderate.

End of story. Gidéon, who had tried in vain to ask a question, drops his arm, exasperated.

I leave the building, brave the icy rain, cross Paris in a packed bus, chilled to the bone, starved (no ministerial petit-four for us), and prepared to face up to one more lost cause before midnight: the second debate of the presidential primaries of the left. But first I dash over to i24 news, the only channel that mentions the peace conference. Big news! The Brits opted out of the voice of the world. They didn’t sign the declaration [and subsequently blocked its adoption by the EU Council]. Did my American neighbor know? How about the Irish correspondent she introduced to me just before we went our separate ways? One thing is certain: Jean-Marc Ayrault knew, all the time he was telling us about the unanimous unanimity. Ça alors

Having struggled for two weeks to find practical information about the venue and accreditation procedures, I had come to think that the dreaded Conference was virtual. Nothing to compare with the urban effervescence last spring, before the weekly demonstrations against the el Khomri labor reform. There were no signs of prestigious delegations in our city or our media.

So it seems that instead of accelerating the tempo of the latest Palestinian diplomatic offensive that began with the UNESCO resolutions forged to slice the bonds between the Jewish people, the land, and the sacred places, the ghost Paris Peace Conference sabotaged it. Hopes of carrying the conclusions to the Security Council where they would be transformed into a binding resolution are apparently dashed.

The closing address like the Conference itself was a sort of non-sequitur: Divorced from reality, as vague as it was pretentious, devoid of concrete details on the chain of words and deeds that have led the peace process to its current impasse. If the conflict persists, it’s not for lack of benevolent attention from the international community. The territorial Israel-Palestinian conflict that could have been solved by the creation of a Palestinian state is imaginary. What is happening and has been going on for more than 50 years, for more than  1400 years, that produces countless wars and atrocities is the old Islamic vindictive hatred* of Judaism. What is playing out in the Middle East is 21st century jihad conquest held in check by a sovereign Jewish state that rejects the suicidal advice poured on it by an ancien régime that calls itself the “international community.”

We owe ourselves a brief moment of satisfaction at the fiasco of the Paris Conference before we face up to the coming episodes of the saga. If it’s true that they cried victory in Ramallah, we should forget the outright refusal of the “Kerry parameters” hammered out by PLO executive committee’s Mustafa Barghouti:

 “First, you cannot make the issue of Palestinian refugees only an issue of compensation; you cannot deny people their right to return to their home,” Limiting the rights of Palestinian refugees to compensation? Unacceptable! “Second, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state would deny the right of the Palestinian people who are citizens of Israel and that is totally unacceptable.” Israel cannot be a Jewish and a democratic state at the same time,” concludes Barghouti, he too speaks the voice of the world.

* Daniel Sibony, Islam, Phobie, Culpabilité

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EDITORS NOTE: The original French version of this column was published by Infoequitable.org. 

Is President Obama Imposing the ‘Auschwitz Border’ on Israel?

Introduction

On the cusp of the transition from the Obama to the Trump Administration, Israel has been in the crosshairs of actions at the UN and a Paris meeting convened on January 15, 2017 by outgoing French President Hollande.  Neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority will be attending the gathering of 72 nations. The Quartet, as well as the 28 Foreign ministers of the EU will also be meeting on it and deciding what script is to be presented at the UNSC meeting on January 17th in New York. One ominous possibility might be a state of Palestine declaration.

Yet, a communique drafted by the U.S. and France and ‘leaked ‘widely proposes ‘coercively’ establishing borders that might imperil Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem and its national security.   That is the pre-1967 June Six Day War border what revered Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban called “the Auschwitz border” dividing Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital.  Shoshana Bryen, senior director of the Washington, DC-based Jewish Policy Center in an interview with the co-authors called the proposed borders, “Indefensible. Because you have an eight mile waist between what will be Palestinian artillery in the hills and the Israelis living underneath them. Ronald Reagan explicitly rejected the pre- ’67 borders.”

UN Security Council Resolution 2334

The Paris meeting  was  triggered by the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334  on December 23, 2016  and a subsequent controversial  speech by outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department on  December 28th supporting  resolution 2334. Kerry in his State Department speech called Israel Prime Minister  Benjamin Netanyahu  the head of “the most rightwing  regime in Israeli history, with “an agenda driven by the most extreme elements” for “unfettered settlement construction and  flagrant violation of international law” forcing the end of the peace settlement talks with the Palestinian Authority.  Kerry’s comments were objected to by Netanyahu as “obsessive, unbalanced, “saying that “most of his speech blamed Israel for the lack of peace.”  UK PM Theresa May criticized Kerry’s remarks saying, “We do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally.”  Kerry was also criticized by a number of Republican and Democratic Senators and Congressional Representatives.

On  December 23, 2016, a crucial vote at the United Nation’s Security Council  passed an anti-Israel  Resolution 2334 by a vote of 14 to 0, with the US abstaining.  UNSC Resolution 2334 virtually abrogated Resolutions 242 and 381 passed in the wake of the June 1967 Six Days of War that reunified Israel’s capitol that had guaranteed Israel’s right to negotiate secure borders. Resolution 2334 stated that “Israel‘s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”. It demanded that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.”  While UN Resolution 2334 had no ‘coercive’ effect under international law; nevertheless, it represented the first action the Security Council passed since 2009 on this issue.  Moreover, it was the first abstention by a U.S. government since the Carter Administration in 1980.

On January 10, 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told a visiting U.S. AIPAC delegation in Jerusalem, that, we have unequivocal evidence the Obama Administration Led UN Resolution [2334] that marked a major break with US policy.”

Background of Israel’s Legal rights to the Land

Under UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338 Israel lawfully built what the Jewish nation’s opponents called ‘settlements’.  These were Jewish villages and towns built on lands in Judea and Samaria with deeds conveyed in the Ottoman era.  Nearly 90 percent of population in these Jewish villages and towns in the disputed territories were built on lands originally inhabited by Jews prior to the 1948 -1949 War of Independence for Israel.

In 1979-1980 there was a flurry of  UN Security Council resolutions  seeking to  declare  these disputed territories  part of a future Palestinian State and Jewish  ‘settlements’ illegal.  However,  Eugene Rostow, former  President Johnson era State Department official and  co-author of Resolution 242 with British Foreign Minister Lord Carrington, affirmed Israel’s legal right to the lands under the original British Palestine Mandate in 1922 that also declared the Kingdom of Jordan.   Professor Rostow noted this in an article published in The Yale Journal of International Law, “Palestinian Self-Determination: Possible Futures for the Unallocated Parts of the British Mandate.”  Rostow’s arguments presage what is now occurring at the UN Security and at the Paris meeting, as if this was “deja vu all over again,” as baseball legend Yoga Berra might  say in one of his famous malapropisms.

Rostow cited the precedent of the Palestine Mandate:

The Palestine Mandate was established under the authority of paragraph 8 of Article 22 of the Covenant, which authorized the League Council explicitly to define the terms of a Mandate when the broad general statement of paragraph 1 was insufficient.

The purpose of the Palestine Mandate was “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” The Mandatory government was required to facilitate Jewish immigration and “close settlement” in Palestine, subject to the proviso that the Mandatory government could “postpone or withhold” the application of these (and related) articles of the Mandate in the area of Palestine east of the Jordan River. This was done when Britain established Transjordan as an autonomous province of the Mandate in 1922. But Jewish rights of immigration and close settlement in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, established by the Mandate, have never been qualified.”

Trump Obligations to Israel

During the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing of Trump nominee for Secretary of State, Lax Tillerson, retiring Chief Executive Officer of Exxon Mobil, responded on questions regarding his views of US support for Israel. He said;

Israel is, has always been and remains our most important ally in the region. The UN resolution that was passed, in my view, is not helpful. It actually undermines a good set of conditions for talks to continue. As an attempt to ‘coerce’ Israel to change course that will not lead to a solution. The president-elect has already made it clear that we’re going to meet our obligations to Israel as the most important ally in the region.

One of the expressed obligations of President – elect Trump is the movement of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  While there have been US laws passed in 1990 and 1995 to implement this, waiver provisions were passed by the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administration every six months.  There appears to be momentum to finally achieve the move.  Sites have already been picked out. There is even a compromise solution to make the existing US consulate in Jerusalem as the seat for the US Ambassador effectively making two US consulates one in Jerusalem and the current Embassy in Tel Aviv. Objections to the prospective move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem were reflected in incitement preached at mosques in the Palestinian Territories and East Jerusalem.  That may have motivated a Salafist terrorist to mount a truck ramming in Jerusalem’s Amona killing 4 young IDF officers, injuring 17 alighting from a bus. The perpetrator was killed by an armed guide with the group.

Against this background, Northwest Florida’s Talk Radio Station, 1330amWEBY host, Mike Bates and co-host Jerry Gordon, Senior editor of the New English Review, convened another Middle East Roundtable discussion with Shoshana Bryen, senior director of the Washington, DC-based Jewish Policy Center.

LISTEN to the Podcast of the January 10, 2017 broadcast.  Read the Transcript in two separate posts: Part 1 and 2.

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