The Democrats Missed Their Moment – What Now?

Democratic leaders have been cynical and slow in addressing Jew-hatred within their party, perhaps because they believe most Jews will remain Democrats regardless of how the party treats them or regards Israel.


Despite indignant denials, the Democratic Party has enabled anti-Semitism as progressives have embraced ancient stereotypes and asserted them against Israel.  Haters who push claims of undue Jewish influence, divided loyalties, and even blood libel are accepted under the mantle of inclusiveness, and partisan apologists sanitize bigotry by calling it political speech, mendaciously distinguishing contempt for Israel from hatred of Jews, and tolerating slanders against the Jewish State.

When challenged for permitting such conduct, they invoke free speech to defend those who make ridiculous accusations – e.g., that Israel engages in ethnic cleansing, controls international finance, or practices apartheid. But after the election of a few high-profile extremists last November, some Democrats finally began to admit they had a problem, although they failed to seize the moment, acknowledge responsibility, and pledge genuine change.

Not all Democrats can agree on whether a problem even exists; and those who do are divided over whether to punish the offenders or issue denunciations that specifically mention anti-Semitism.  The glaring hypocrisy is that Democrats would not tolerate such moral ambiguity from across the aisle. If Congressional Republicans were to repeatedly malign African Americans, gay people, or women, Democrats would demand that the offenders be publicly chastised as racists, homophobes, and sexists; and they would be outraged at any attempt to dilute the message to appease party extremists.

When it comes to anti-Semitism, however, too many Democrats seem to be ethically challenged and morally blind.

Their inability to condemn anti-Semitism without qualification should not be surprising, given their failure to confront the tide of Jew-hatred that surged during the Obama administration.  Or their tendency to deflect by blaming Republicans for intolerance that today comes predominantly from the left. The inconvenient truth is that the skyrocketing rate of bias incidents against Jews is not primarily the fault of conservatives or the political right, but increasingly of progressives and their constituencies.

The conduct of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D. Minn.) highlights the ethical ambivalence of her party.  Representative Omar has repeatedly insulted Israel and her supporters using traditional anti-Semitic tropes and stereotypes.  For example, she accused the Jewish lobbying organization AIPAC of using money to influence American Mideast policy, thus evoking the classical myth of disproportionate Jewish wealth and influence.  And during the 2012 Gaza War instigated by Hamas, she tweeted that Israel had “hypnotized” the world, implicitly raising the timeworn slander of Jewish mind control (which was often associated with the blood libel).  Despite issuing an empty apology at the insistence of others, she has continued to assert ugly stereotypes against the Jewish State with the apparent encouragement of party progressives.

The Democratic response to Omar’s outrageous words was a proposed resolution to condemn anti-Semitism.  Though there should be no dissension within a party that claims to stand against all forms of prejudice, the resolution could not be approved until its focus on anti-Semitism was watered down, allusions to Omar and her remarks were deleted, and references to racism, white supremacism, and Islamophobia were added to render any condemnation of Jew-hatred contextual.  Clearly, the party could not make anti-Semitism the focal point without enraging progressive members who have antipathy for Jews and Israel. As insulting as this moral cowardice was, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it worse by denying that Omar’s comments were biased, stating: “I don’t think our colleague is anti-Semitic. I think she has a different experience in the use of words, doesn’t understand that some of them are fraught with meaning, that she didn’t realize.”

Would Speaker Pelosi have been so charitable if a white supremacist had used traditional racial slurs to refer to any African nation?  Would she have absolved an unrepentant sexist for using his legislative platform to slander the character, talents, and abilities of women?  Would she have excused a right-to-life advocate for disagreeing with liberal abortion policy? The answer is certainly “no” on all counts.

Although a number of Republicans voted against the Democrats’ final resolution, they did so primarily because it eliminated the singular focus on anti-Semitism and failed to mention Omar by name.  They refused to endorse a resolution that was rewritten to avoid offending those who deny Israel’s right to exist or defend anti-Jewish stereotypes as political speech. In addition, Republicans were incensed that Rep. Omar was allowed to retain her seat on the influential Foreign Affairs Committee – unlike Rep. Steven King (R. Iowa), who was stripped of his Committee assignments for comments deemed racist by fellow Republicans.

Progressives often engage in historical revisionism to suit their political needs and seem to believe it is better to be morally correct (assuming one agrees with their morals) than factually accurate.  However, past history should bear on current events; and the conservative record of acknowledging anti-Semitism and seeking corrective change should inform the Democrats’ present situation.

Twenty-six years ago, the late William F. Buckley purged the “National Review” of contributors whose criticisms of Israel he came to believe were motivated by anti-Semitism.  He then wrote a magazine-length piece (republished in book form) entitled, “In Search of Anti-Semitism,” which represented a significant moment in political self-analysis and accountability.  Buckley did not deny the history of anti-Semitic bigotry, nor did he blame Jews for their troubles or offer revisionist justifications.  Rather, he recognized the existence and political impact of anti-Jewish prejudice and the role of partisan ideologues and intellectuals in shaping public thought and opinion.

Through this literary endeavor, Buckley provided a forum for discussion and analysis that made anti-Semitism a relevant and important subject for non-Jews.

Thereafter, conservatives became more sensitized to an issue that many had never before cared about, and the legacy is a Republican Party today whose support for Israel puts Democrats to shame and which is generally more vigilant against anti-Semitism and supportive of Jewish historical rights and values.  It is noteworthy that Republicans do not condition their Israel policy on Jewish support for their party, inasmuch as most Jewish voters have remained registered Democrats. In contrast, Democratic leaders have been cynical and slow in addressing Jew-hatred within their party, perhaps because they believe most Jews will remain Democrats regardless of how the party treats them or regards Israel.

Whatever the reason, liberals and Democrats have yet to engage in the kind of soul searching that conservatives did in the 1990s.  Rather, they continue to excuse progressive anti-Semitism as political speech and protect its purveyors – especially those legitimized beyond reproach through identity politics.  Whereas apologists try to attribute Democratic anti-Semitism to the “hard left,” it has clearly infected the party’s mainstream. This is illustrated by rank-and-file Democratic support for the BDS movement, rejection of Jewish historical rights, embrace of anti-Zionism, and refusal to ostracize compatriots whose venom clearly sounds in traditional anti-Semitism.

Though most Democrats believe liberalism is inherently more tolerant of Jews and Judaism than conservatism, such presumptions are nonsense.  Liberal tradition is fraught with anti-Semitic excess – starting with Voltaire himself, running through the European progressive, socialist and communist movements, and festering in a modern left-wing that rationalizes Islamism, justifies terrorism, and opposes the existence of a Jewish State.  It was no coincidence that Theodor Herzl’s quest for Jewish national revival began in response to the anti-Semitism that permeated liberal France at the time of the Dreyfus affair. The very hatred that Herzl encountered in nineteenth century Europe is currently playing out in twenty-first century America.

The Democrats had their moment to acknowledge and renounce anti-Semitism in their midst but failed to rise to the occasion.  They instead bowed to extremist pressure and let the opportunity slip by. But if there are truly any moderates left in the Democratic party – and if they wish to reclaim the classical values of free speech and equal treatment for all – they would do well to emulate the vision displayed years ago by conservatives who recognized anti-Semitism as a political and moral dilemma and dealt with it through honest discourse and intellectual analysis.  So far, they haven’t come close.

EDITORS NOTE: This Israel National News column is republished with permission.

Planned Parenthood’s Political Juggernaut Is Meeting Its Match

By Peter B. Gemma

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider and a powerful multi-million-dollar political machine. Hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding go for its non-profit “family planning services.” In truth, however, that facilitates Planned Parenthood’s political activities, underwritten by private donations, in support of politicians who keep the federal funding flowing.

Fortunately for the pro-life side, the Susan B. Anthony List has reached parity in political fundraising and organizational operations on the ground. Of course, it gets no tax dollars. And the Trump administration has been a great restrictor of the abortion giant with executive guidelines.

Recently, the Trump administration enacted a rule that would require family planning clinics to be housed in separate buildings from abortion clinics, a move that would cut off Planned Parenthood from some federal funding. The new guidelines apply to a $286 million-a-year grant, known as Title X, that pays for birth control and testing of sexually transmitted diseases for four million of its low-income clients. It requires the “physical and financial” separation of family planning services and abortion referrals. Planned Parenthood clinics will be able to talk to mothers about abortion, but not where they can go to get one. The organization receives between $50 million and $60 million from Title X.

Of course, the new federal rule is being challenged in court. Several state officials, including Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and presidential candidate/Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, have announced an intent to sue over the new policy.

Legal battles may not be good news because right to life advocates have not fared well in the courts lately.

In June 2017, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Medicaid Act “authorizes a private right of action,” allowing Medicaid recipients to challenge the disqualification of a health care provider. Louisiana and Kansas, which had stripped Planned Parenthood of state Medicaid funds after evidence that the abortion provider was harvesting and selling fetal body parts, proceeded to appeal the ruling to the U. S. Supreme Court. On Dec. 10 2018, by a vote of six to three, the High Court declined to hear the appeal, letting the lower court ruling stand. Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch dissented. Instead of supplying the fourth vote needed just to allow for a hearing, Chief Justice Roberts and, in a surprise to many (not all) pro-lifers, Justice Kavanaugh, sided with the four liberals on the Court.

Meanwhile for Planned Parenthood, it’s business-as-usual and business is good as it is cashing in on the Trump era. In 2018, taxpayers were charged for a $20 million increase in federal funding according to the organization’s annual report – a total of $564.8 million in government subsidies. Planned Parenthood also received $100 million more from private contributions and bequests in 2018 than it did in 2017, with Warren Buffett, the investment guru, leading the way. He has donated $63.5 million to Planned Parenthood since 2014 through his family’s foundation. Planned Parenthood’s total net assets have increased from $1.6 billion last year to nearly $1.9 billion in 2018.

And Planned Parenthood has now ramped-up its abortion services. They are providing travel expenses and financial assistance for clients in states where abortion is restricted and regulated, to states where controls are loose to non-existent.

Curiously, despite receiving regular increases via taxpayer dollars and boosts in their private fund-raising efforts, Planned Parenthood’s services have declined. The organization’s 2015-2016 report revealed that Planned Parenthood served 100,000 fewer women in 2015-2016 as compared to 2014-2015. But their abortion machine is in high gear: 323,999 abortions performed two years ago, 328,348 last year, and 332,757 in 2018. Planned Parenthood has cornered 35 percent of the abortion market.

In 2015-2016, Planned Parenthood performed 83 abortions for every one adoption referral. The abortion giant referred about 3,000 women to adoption services during 2018, one thousand less than the year before.

Planned Parenthood’s new president, Dr. Leana Wen, has acknowledged that abortion isn’t just a service the organization provides, but the bottom line of their business: “First, our core mission is providing, protecting, and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care. We will never back down from that fight.”

What is the secret of Planned Parenthood’s success? The organization’s previous CEO, Cecile Richards, put it simply: “We have the potential to swing the vote and that’s a lot of power. The question is, what are we going to do with it? We’re going to be the largest kickass advocacy organization in the country!

Planned Parenthood and its political arms are separate on paper (because taxpayers are forced to give the abortion chain over $500 million a year for health services). However, private and corporate donors direct their money into Planned Parenthood’s political agenda – and abortion business – rather than to fund the other services the organization provides. In 2018, donors invested $532.7 million dollars in Planned Parenthood, including $21 million from left-wing billionaire George Soros.

Planned Parenthood has some 40 corporate backers, including:

  • American Express
  • Levi Strauss
  • AT & T
  • Macy’s
  • Avon
  • Microsoft
  • Bank of America
  • Nike
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Pepsi-Co
  • Clorox
  • Starbucks
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Verizon

Federal law prohibits government funding “to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion” (except in cases of rape, incest, or an amorphous ‘danger to the life of the mother’). That’s where Planned Parenthood’s private donors step in. Last year they bankrolled the organization’s $160 million expenditure on “public policy” (lobbying) and “movement building to engage communities” (grassroots organizing; there are more than 50,000 student members on 350 campuses.)

In addition, Planned Parenthood poured over $20 million directly into the 2018 midterm election. And there’s more. Because of its partnership with the Win Justice Coalition (which includes the Service Employees International Union, the Center for Community Change Action, and the Color of Change PAC), Planned Parenthood’s 2018 war chest actually topped $28 million.

In 2016, according to the Federal Election Commission, Planned Parenthood invested $12.6 million into independent expenditures – nearly all of it to support Democrats or oppose Republicans. That figure includes $2.8 million to attack Donald Trump and $2.4 million to back Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

George Soros and his family are major donors to Planned Parenthood Votes, giving a combined $4.75 million in two election cycles. Last year, Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former mayor of New York City, contributed $1 million to one of Planned Parenthood’s political operations.

On the positive side, the largest pro-life political action committee that is a muscular match for Planned Parenthood, the Susan B. Anthony List, has matched the abortion giant’s financial clout politically along with its organizational skills. The group raised and spent some $28 million in 2018, which matches Planned Parenthood and its partnership organizations combined. The Susan B. Anthony List also marshaled enough troops to knock on the doors of some 2.7 million pro-life households as part of its grassroots efforts to get out the vote.

The Susan B. Anthony List has become a force to be reckoned with and one that, while largely ignored by a medial that is slavish in producing pro-abortion puff pieces, is making its presence known in political elections.

Of course, the newest and biggest asset of the right to life movement is the Trump administration.

Scores of federal judges who, by-in-large, have pro-life records have been nominated and appointed and the impact is now being felt. This month, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Ohio’s right to defund Planned Parenthood, asserting that there is no “Fourteenth Amendment right to perform abortions.” It reversed a lower court’s decision by an 11–6 vote, with all four Trump appointees ruling against Planned Parenthood.

Many federal government agencies and departments are creating pro-life policies.

For example, President Trump has expanded policies to ensure American tax dollars are not used to fund the abortion industry in all global health programs. The new Trump policy protects over $8.8 billion overseas aid from funding abortion. Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services  established the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within the Office for Civil Rights that will work to protect health care professionals who do not want to participate in abortion.

And the Trump administration has hired pro-life personnel.

Bethany Kozma, senior adviser for the Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at the U.S. Agency for International Development, told the annual U.N. Commission on the Status of Women meeting that the “U.S. is a pro-life nation.” An overstatement for certain, especially considering the strengthening political clout of Planned Parenthood, but it rings truer than it has in a long, long time.

ABOUT PETER B. GEMMA

Peter B. Gemma is a freelance writer whose articles and commentaries have appeared in USA Today, AmericanThinker.com, and the DailyCaller.com.

EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission.

The Sinister Side of the Gender War

“But it’s just a phase!” How many parents have made that same desperate plea to a teacher, a counselor, or doctor? Deep down, they know their children weren’t born in the wrong body. They know the confusion about their teenager’s identity is coming from somewhere else — a struggle that doesn’t have to be permanent. But in a culture that’s determined to indulge these fantasy, at any cost, who will believe them?

The stories from parents are real-life nightmares. On a panel about gender ideology at the Heritage Foundation, attorneys shared one heart-wrenching testimony after another. Jennifer Chavez, a liberal with liberal clients, explained that she may disagree with conservatives on abortion or taxes, but the transgender movement is a place where every Americans can come together. Why? Because this ideology is no respecter of persons. It will haunt families — and rob futures — on both sides.

Chavez told the story of a 13-year-old girl, who came home and told her parents she was “transgender” after watching a presentation about it at school. “Without evaluation or therapy, the mother was told by a ‘gender therapist’ to buy her child a breast binder and put her on puberty-blocking drugs. If she didn’t comply, she was told, her child would face a high risk of suicide. She only realized later how inaccurate and baseless this clinical advice had been.” Furious, the liberal mom wrote, “Why are physicians medicalizing children in the name of an unproven, malleable gender identity? Why are lawmakers enshrining gender identity into state and federal laws?”

National Review’s Madeleine Kearns horrified people with the testimony of a family, whose 14-year-old girl accused her parents of “child abuse” because they wouldn’t use her male name. “Without my knowledge, a pediatric endocrinologist taught my daughter, a minor, to inject herself with testosterone. She then ran away to Oregon where state law at the age of 17 allowed her… to undergo a double mastectomy and radical hysterectomy… The level of outrage and rage I’m experiencing as a mother is indescribable. Why does Oregon law allow children to make life-altering medical decisions? …Why are doctors who took an oath to first do no harm allowed to sterilize and surgically mutilate mentally ill, delusional children?”

Why? Because America is being hijacked by an aggressive, take-no-prisoners LGBT agenda that doesn’t care about your rights as parents — or your children’s wellbeing. If they did, they’d know that “98 percent of gender-confused boys and 88 percent of gender-confused girls accept their biological sex after puberty.” Suggesting that these kids are anything other than their biological gender, the American College of Pediatricians argues, is “child abuse” that will scar them for life.

Fortunately, a brave group of young adults is coming forward to make that case themselves. As teenagers, they identified as transgender. Now, they want the world to know what a mistake that was. The founders of the Pique Resilience Project talk about their journeys in an interview with NRO, each drawing the same conclusion: transgenderism is a false and dangerous ideology.

“Helena had a history of not fitting in and feeling uncomfortable with her body. She had been badly bullied and was feeling very low when she turned to transgenderism. She took high doses of testosterone, which has altered her voice. At the age of 18, she wasn’t thinking about her long-term future. She wasn’t thinking about the serious risks and possible infertility. Now, she has some advice for other young people who think they might be transgender:

‘Step back from the activism, the ideology, the community — think about the reasons why you might feel this way about your body. Because there’s just a lot of people with just glaringly obvious reasons why they don’t like their body…'”

Read Helena’s story and powerful testimonies at National Review. Then, make sure you download FRC’s “A Parent’s Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


RELATED ARTICLES:

Speech Righter: Trump Tackles College Censorship

A Day to Celebrate Life

Female HS student files civil rights complaint: ‘I felt very violated’ changing in locker room when transgender student was ‘looking at me’

RELATED VIDEO: The Inequality of the Equality Act: Concerns from the Left – Heritage Foundation.

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission.

Speech Righter: Trump Tackles College Censorship

Going to college is tough for any teenager. But for conservatives, it can be downright dangerous. These days, parents are sending their kids off to six-figure war zones, where even moderate speakers need armies of protection — if they’re allowed to speak at all. Christians brave enough to talk about their views are stigmatized if they’re lucky, and physically attacked if they’re not. We’ve wiped campuses clean of so many words, ideas, and values that an entire generation is leaving college completely unprepared for the cruel world from which higher education is “sparing” them.

Like a lot of parents, Donald Trump is fed up. College campuses are so toxically liberal today that conservatives have gotten everything from death threats to docked grades. We’ve watched Christians like Isabella Chow lose her student government sponsorship. Even a simple act like recruiting for a college club is an excuse to throw punches. That’s not education — it’s state-sponsored hazing. And this administration has decided to do something about it.

Today, the president had a warning for liberal incubators like Berkeley: shut down free speech and the government will shut down your federal funding. Under a new executive order, the penalties for schools censoring students will be, in Trump’s words “very costly.” “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” the president tweeted. So far, no one has had the nerve to hit higher education where it hurts. But then, not everyone is President Trump.

Charlie Kirk, who heads the group Hayden Williams was attacked for promoting, thinks it’s about time someone stepped in and stopped the First Amendment’s death spiral on college campuses. But how, he wonders, will the liberal media take it? After all, they’re “an ideologically homogeneous group, need to thread the needle of wanting to appear to be in favor of free speech while arguing that the president requiring free speech is somehow dangerous. That isn’t easy…” After all, he points out:

“Burn an American flag on campus or stand on a bench and decry the Constitution as racist and you will be allowed to speak. Wear an American flag on your shirt or hand out copies of the Constitution and you will be accused of triggering and sent off to the campus equivalent of the broom closet, called ‘Free Speech Zones,’ in order to continue to express your thoughts.”

And that intolerance has never cut both ways. Liberals used to care about the free exchange of ideas — until theirs became impossible to defend. Now, they’ve decided they don’t want to try to win the debate. They want to stop the debate from taking place. After years of policing speech and punishing speakers, the Left’s brainwashing is paying off. Thirty-percent of college students think shouting down people like Ben Shapiro is acceptable. Another 10 percent said it was okay to use violence to stop students like Hayden. And where did these extremists-in-training learn how to bully conservatives? From their adult counterparts, of course. They’re just mirroring what they’ve seen from the leaders of “get-up-in-their-face,” “tell-them-they’re-not-welcome,” “we-kick-them” liberalism.

This new army of young radicals thinks they’re on the “morally righteous side” in this culture war, Hayden says, “and in order to win, they must silence any form of dissent.” Now, thanks to President Trump, that silence will hurt any college who encourages it. “For an industry that loves to preach against capitalism, they sure do love their money,” Kirk points out. “This will hopefully start to get their attention. Unlike their students, if they don’t like it, they are certainly free to speak out.”


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


RELATED ARTICLES:

Trump’s Executive Order to Colleges: Protect Free Speech or Risk Billions in Federal Grants

The Sinister Side of the Gender War

A Day to Celebrate Life

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission.

Israel’s High Court–When Legality Loses its Legitimacy

In overturning a previous decision of the Knesset’s Central Elections Committee, the High Court took another giant step towards further undermining the already dwindling public confidence in the Israeli judiciary.


In Israel, the negative impact of the judicialization of politics on the Supreme Court’s legitimacy is already beginning to show its mark. Over the past decade, the public image of the Supreme Court as an autonomous and impartial arbiter has been increasingly eroded… [T]he court and its judges are increasingly viewed by a considerable portion of the Israeli public as pushing forward their own political agenda… – Prof. Ran Hirschl, Towards Juristocracy, Harvard University Press, 2004.

The public is further losing its faith in…the legal system, with only 36 percent of the Jewish public expressing confidence in the courts…– “Public’s faith in Israel’s justice system continues to plummet,” Haaretz, August 15, 2013.

A candidates’ list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset, and a person shall not be a candidate for election to the Knesset, if the objects or actions of the list or the actions of the person, expressly or by implication, include one of the following: 

  1. negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;
  2. incitement to racism;
  3. support of armed struggle, by a hostile state or a terrorist organization, against the State of Israel. – Basic Law Knesset– Article 7A

This week, the High Court took another giant step towards further undermining the already dwindling public confidence in the Israeli judiciary.

Eroding confidence in judiciary

On Sunday (March 17) it overturned a previous decision by the Knesset’s Central Elections Committee, and ruled to prohibit the participation in the upcoming elections of the hardline Right-wing candidate, Dr Michael Ben Ari, while permitting that of the undisguisedly anti-Zionist list “Balad” and the self-professed anti-Zionist candidate, Ofer Cassif. In doing so, High Court once again underscored the growing divergence between the average man-in-the-street’s perception of common-sense and sense of justice, on the one hand, and many judicial rulings, on the other. But more on that a little later

Over the last two decades, there has been a dramatic erosion of the public’s faith in the Israeli judiciary, in general, and in the High Court, in particular. Thus, according to an ongoing study at Haifa University, the confidence of the Jewish population in court system plunged from 61% in 2003 to a mere 36% in 2013.

A later study found that, overall, public confidence in the High Court plummeted from 80% in 2000, to 61% in 2014, to just 49% in 2017. Commenting on these findings, Einav Schiff, of the mass circulation daily Yedioth Aharonot, wrote “This isn’t a slip or a drop, it’s a collapse.”

He warned: “Needless to say, the High Court’s image among the public cannot remain as it is now. Eventually, there will be a political constellation that could enable another constitutional revolution.”

“…crass and misguided interference in Israeli democracy”

Schiff’s diagnosis proved a prescient prognosis of Justice Minister Ayalet Shaked’s outraged reaction to the High Court’s decision, which she labelleda crass and misguided interference in the heart of Israeli democracy”, and pledged to revolutionize the method by which High Court judges are appointed. At the top of her list of planned measures was the elimination of the judicial appointments committee for the High Court, in which sitting justices have, in effect, veto power over new appointments to the High Court.

Instead, according to her proposed reform, justices would be appointed at the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, who would bring a candidate for approval by the cabinet and the Knesset, with a public hearing being conducted for High Court justices.

Clearly, if implemented, this measure could go some way towards addressing the kind of perceived disconnect, described by Prof. Hirschl in the introductory excerpt (see above), between the world views of the judiciary and the democratically elected bodies of government.

Elsewhere in his book, Hirschl articulates precisely the process of judicial override of decisions made by elected bodies, as reflected in the verdict to overrule the Knesset’s Central Elections Committee. He writes: “…political representatives of minority groups [such as the anti-Zionist Arab factions and their members – MS] have come to realize that political arrangements and public policies agreed upon in majoritarian decision-making arenas [such as the Knesset’s Central Election’s Committee—MS] are likely to be reviewed by an often hostile Supreme Court.

Clear contravention of the letter of the law

Clearly, the recent ruling of the High Court was the outcome of “minority political groups” inducing review—indeed, reversal—of “majoritarian decisions” by a contrary judicial body. But in several important aspects it was a particularly striking case of court intervention in the democratic process.

For while the rationale for barring the anti-Zionists candidates, Balad and Cassif, was, in effect, almost self-evident—and indeed un-denied by them, the rationale for barring the Right-wing candidate, Ben Ari,  was largely a matter of inferred interpretation, which was disputed by him.

Thus, the Balad platform openly rejects Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, explicitly declaring its aspirations to convert into it into a “state of all its citizens”—which, one might have thought—given stipulation of Article 7A (1) of the Basic Law: Knesset (see introductory excerpt above)—should, on its own, be enough to disqualify it from participation in the Knesset elections. Yet for some reason the Justices of the High Court chose to disregard the unequivocal letter of the law.

Moreover, with regard to Ofir Cassif, the candidate for the “non-Zionist” Hadash list, it is not only his blatant self-professed anti-Zionism that should have prevented his candidacy, but his support for armed conflict against Israel. Indeed, even the judges—or at least some of them—seem to acknowledge this.

Thus, when Justices Noam Sohlberg, David Mintz and Neal Hendel pressed Cassif’s attorney on Cassif’s statements approving attacks on IDF soldiers, he tried to rebut them by claiming his client was discussing the matter on an academic philosophical level and not on an operational one. In response, Justice Hendel retorted that it was unrealistic to expect average readers to understand Cassif’s articles as if he does not support armed conflict.

Arab enmity not Arab ethnicity

Yet despite these incontrovertible violations of Article 7A of Basic Law: Knesset, the High Court—almost inconceivably—overturned the Knesset Central Elections Committee decision, ruling that Cassif could participate in the upcoming elections.

However, when it came to the far Right candidate, Ben Ari, things were very different. Accused of racism because of his harsh denunciation of the Arab sector in Israel and his blanket allegation of pervasive lack of Arab loyalty to Israel as the nation-state of the Jews, Ben Ari explained that that his attitude was not determined by the Arabs’ ethnic origins but by the Arab’s political enmity to Israel. Indeed, this point was made by Ben-Ari’s representative who declared that his client had “no problem” with Arab Israelis who are loyal to the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.

Without going in the debate of whether Ben-Ari—himself of Afghan-Iranian origins—were inappropriate or in poor taste, it does seem a bit of a stretch to brand them as racism—particularly as Ben-Ari has served in the Knesset previously (2009-13) without any charges of racist conduct being brought against him. Indeed, if charges of racism, a crime punishable by up to ten years imprisonment by Israeli law, could be substantiated, one can only wonder why Ben-Ari has not been prosecuted for them!

Yet, despite his denial of any racist intent in his recriminations against the Arab population, the High Court ruled to interpret Ben-Ari’s declarations as racism and to prohibit his participation in the elections, overturning the decision of the Knesset Central Elections Committee to permit it.

Saving the judiciary from itself

The High Court decision produced outrage among Right-wing Knesset members who vowed to take action to curtail judicial intervention in the decision-making process of elected bodies.

For example former Defense Minister of Yisrael Beitenu  fumed: “it is absurd that the court would intervene in decisions of the Central Election Committee, to allow Ben-Ari to run, and to ban those who hate Israel…I will propose a law in the next Knesset to ban the court from intervening in committee decisions. We will do everything we can to prevent the Arab fifth column from getting into the Knesset altogether.”

Echoing similar sentiments was the newly appointed head of the Jewish Home party, Rafi Peretz, who issued a statement saying: “In the State of Israel, there is democracy in appearance only. The judiciary has taken the  Right to choose for Israeli citizens in an unprecedented manner. Kassif and Tibi [who served for years as advisor to arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat] are in, but Ben Ari, a Zionist Jew whose sons serve in the IDF, is out.

The judicial system will disregard these rumblings at its peril. For when judicial rulings are overwhelmingly at odds with public perception of common sense and justice, it cannot but lose the very credibility imperative for it to function

Indeed, two talkbacks, on a well-trafficked news-site, reflect this danger:

Ahmed Tibi is a champion of Yasser Arafat, the worst mass murderer of Jews since Adolf Hitler. Disqualifying Ben-Ari and not Tibi exposes a very alarming anti-Jewish bias in the High Court.”—Jacob

…by approving [C]assif but banning Ben Ari, our esteemed judges just ensured more votes for the Right. Are they on the payroll of Bennett/Shaked campaign?–Alexander

High Court justices would be well advised to heed the caveat that when legality loses its legitimacy, the entire edifice of the rule of law is imperiled.

Virginia Raises Smoking Age to 21—as Congressional Members Seek to Lower Voting Age to 16

It’s a laughable notion that an 18- to 21-year-old can be locked up with career criminals but can’t legally buy a cigarette at a corner store.


Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently signed legislation to raise the legal age for purchasing cigarettes and other nicotine products to 21. The move isn’t just a misguided nanny-state intervention into the decisions of adults, but it also spells disaster for public health.

By the age of 18, Americans can sign contracts, vote, and even (theoretically) get drafted into the army. They are also tried as adults and, at times, face life prison sentences for crimes. There is even talk now about lowering the voting age to 16, with 14 states and Washington DC already allowing teenagers to pre-register to vote.

“I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently said. “I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school, when they’re interested in all of this, when they’re learning about government, to be able to vote.”

Earlier this month, freshman Massachusetts congresswoman Ayanna Pressley filed legislation that would require states to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in federal elections.

Voting matters aside, it’s a laughable notion that an 18- to 21-year-old can be locked up with career criminals and exposed to an American prison’s brutality—but can’t legally buy a cigarette at a corner store.

There are effective deterrents in tobacco control policy, like cigarette tax hikes. But the same can’t be said for new age restrictions. Longstanding bans on cigarette sales to those under 18 have done nothing to prevent over 8.1 percent of American high schoolers and 1.8 percent of middle schoolers from taking up smoking. It’s not hard to see why: It’s fairly easy for youngsters to borrow cigarettes off adults or to ask adults to purchase cigarettes for them. There’s no reason to think things will play out differently if the legal age is raised to 21.

Proponents of the law might argue that raising the age requirement does have precedent. After all, the legal drinking age is 21. But that’s not even a good example. Indeed, many developed, western nations maintain a legal drinking age that is far lower than 21—sometimes as low as 16—and have lower rates of alcohol-fueled violence and binge drinking.

Indeed, more than 120 college presidents have signed on to the Amethyst Initiative, which notes the negative consequences of America’s late legal drinking age, like higher rates of binge drinking, the proliferation of fake IDs, and the impracticality of enforcement.

The age requirement also moves drinkers from open, social environments that are easier to regulate—like bars—to locked dorm rooms, apartments, or other discrete locations where irresponsible behavior is easier to hide and more likely to occur.Raising the legal age for purchasing cigarettes and nicotine products will also play into the hands of the tobacco black market—already a multi-billion dollar global industry known to fund other illicit enterprises like human trafficking and terrorism. Aside from impinging on individual liberty, this also means less tax revenue for the government since the black market will grow to accommodate new demand.

But the worst consequence of Northam’s law will be making it harder for current smokers to access life-saving vaping technology. Receiving nicotine from a vape rather than a cigarette allows smokers to satiate their cravings without exposure to the tar, toxins, and carcinogens produced by burning tobacco. Denying legal access to vaping will either remove incentives for young smokers to quit or push smokers and vapers onto potentially dangerous, unregulated products sold online.

Vaping isn’t completely safe, but compared to smoking, it’s a much better option. The UK Royal College of Physicians conservatively estimates that it is at least 95 percent less harmful than smoking—and likely to be even less harmful.

Medical authoritiesaround the world recognize vaping’s value as a quit-smoking strategy that adds decades to the lives of smokers who transition.It makes no sense, then, to restrict the sale of nicotine vapes or juices to adult smokers trying to make responsible decisions about their own health when other nicotine-infused, less effective quitting aids like patches and gums are available to adults.

Dire implications aside, raising the legal smoking age amounts to little more than a condescending excuse to intrude into the decisions of adults that primarily affect just themselves. But that won’t stop politicians like Northam from finding any excuse to pat themselves on the back for appearing to be tough on smoking.

COLUMN BY

IMMIGRATION: The Big Lies

How the establishment media’s distortion of the truth undermines America.


The Third Reich’s principle of the “Big Lie” involved the frequent repetition of lies until they became perceived as the truth by the masses.

George Orwell noted, “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ”

In this era of “Fake News” those tactics are purposely wielded by “journalists” to mislead Americans.

On March 15, 2019, News Leader, a subsidiary of USA Today, published an infuriating opinion piece, “School owes apology for ICE agent talk at Kate Collins Middle: Our View.”

While the article noted that the ICE agent was invited to the school and limited his activities to simply addressing the students of that school to explain the mission of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the mere presence of that federal agent at a public school was enough to set off the editors who wrote their hit piece.

The editors of the publication then spewed utter lies and false “facts” from beginning to end to justify their vitriolic attack on the agency that is charged with enforcing federal immigration laws.

Here is the opening salvo they fired against ICE:

If you were born in 1968 or before, you’ve spent most of your adult life in American without any awareness of ICE. Because it didn’t exist. There was no entity called U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It was only created in 2003.

Before that time, we had immigrations officials who dealt with cases of people overstaying their visa or being in the country illegally. We had the FBI to investigate criminal issues related to terrorism as it relates to trade, travel and immigration.

ICE is a modern creation, an experiment. It’s one we should regret.

To begin with, ICE is not an “experiment” but was created as an element of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was itself created in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Prior to the creation of the DHS, the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws was the domain of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which was ultimately split into multiple components after 9/11. I have argued in my articles and in testimony I provided at several congressional hearings that breaking the former INS into multiple agencies actually impeded the effective enforcement of our immigration laws.

Nevertheless, arrests of illegal aliens were commonplace for INS agents long before DHS was created through the passage and enactment of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

In fact, I began my career with the former INS in October 1971 as an Immigration Inspector and I became an INS agent in 1975. We frequently and routinely arrested illegal aliens for both administrative as well as for criminal law violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Administrative law violations were addressed through the immigration hearings which could result in an alien being stripped of any lawful status they may have acquired and then deported from the United States.

Criminal law violations of the INA would lead to those defendants being charged with crimes the same way that drug traffickers, tax evaders, counterfeiters and bank robbers would be charged in federal court. While most of the defendants in the immigration prosecutions were aliens, United States citizens who violated those laws by smuggling aliens, engaging in fraud conspiracies or otherwise violated criminal provisions of the INA could and were also charged criminally.

The notion that prior to the creation of ICE that there was no immigration law enforcement is a huge, flaming lie. The article complains about how ICE agents raid factories. I cannot remember how many such factory raids I participated in back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The article then went on to detail several arrests by ICE agents of illegal aliens who were found with family members or in other such circumstances creating a false image to discredit and vilify the agents and turning criminal aliens into victims.

Those aliens were, in fact, wanted for involvement in felonies in the U.S. and Mexico.

Consider the case of Perla Morales-Luna, whose arrest by the Border Patrol was included in the editorial. The Washington Examiner posted an article about that arrest, “The ‘scandal’ of Perla Morales-Luna’s arrest is fake news” and included this tweet by the Border Patrol:

Perla Morales-Luna was identified as an organizer for a transnational criminal smuggling organization operating in East County, San Diego.  She was arrested as a result of a targeted operation on March 3, 2018, in National City for being in the country illegally.

The editorial also included a breathless account of the arrest of Joel Arrona-Lara by ICE agents. At the time of his arrest he was purportedly driving his pregnant wife to the hospital.

What the editorial failed to disclose is that Arrona-Lara is wanted in Mexico for his involvement in a homicide. Information about his situation was reported upon in a Los Angeles Times report, “Warrant confirms man detained while on way to hospital with pregnant wife is wanted for murder in Mexico.”

The editorial also referred to an outrageous ACLU piece, “Citizenship service conspired with ICE to ‘trap’ immigrants at visa interviews, ACLU says.”

This is yet another example of the application of “The Big Lie.” USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is the division of the DHS charged with adjudicating more than 6 million applications for various immigration benefits. Prior to the creation of the DHS it was a component of the former INS.

Aliens who have criminal convictions or who enter the United States illegally after deportation are not eligible for immigration benefits but may be subject to criminal prosecution for concealing material facts in their applications and/or for other crimes such as unlawful reentry which carries a maximum of 20 years in prison. These aliens are also subject to deportation from the United States.

The best and safest place to take criminals into custody is at a federal building where they are not likely to be carrying firearms or other weapons.

In 1973 I was given a one-year temporary assignment to the unit that adjudicated applications for residency based on marriage to U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants. I worked closely with INS agents to develop fraud cases and, in fact, one of those cases led to the arrest and conviction of an immigration lawyer for arranging sham marriages between citizens of China who had jumped ship and married American women who, for the most part, were of Puerto Rican ancestry and engaged in prostitution.

A wide variety of government agencies on all levels seek the arrest and prosecution of those who file false applications.

It is important to note that  the official report 9/11 and Terrorist Travel warned, “Once terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud.”

The title of my recent article will serve as the summation for my commentary today: “The Truth About Immigration Can Unite All Americans.”

RELATED VIDEO: Over $100 Billion Sent To Other Countries In Remittances Not Taxed, Tucker Carlson Commentary.

EDITORS NOTE: This FrontPage Magazine column is republished with permission.

Democratic Party 2020 Strategy: Promise Everything, Deliver Nothing?

“If you wish to be a success in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing.” – Napoleon Bonaparte


I have been watching the candidates for President of the United States of America. We know where President Trump stands on issues. We are learning more and more about the Democratic Party candidates policy positions as each day passes.

It appears that each candidate is outdoing the other by making promises.

Question: Can, or will, Democrats deliver on those promises?

Here is a list of promises made by candidates that could directly impact Americans, and non-Americans, to date:

  • Medicare For All. Democratic Socialist Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated, “I reject the idea that single payer is impossible.” At least five of the announced Democratic Party candidates are making the same promise. Medicare for All is also part of the Green New Deal (GND).
  • Green New Deal H.R. 109. A number of Democrats, including Kamala Harris, have endorsed H.R. 109 the Green New Deal. The proposal requires America stop using fossil fuels and those means of transportation that use fossil fuels. The GND plan requires, “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” via a “10-year national mobilization.”
  • Ending “Systematic Injustices”. The GND states, “Whereas climate change, pollution, and environmental destruction have exacerbated systemic racial, regional, social, environmental, and economic injustices (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘systemic injustices’’) by disproportionately affecting indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘frontline and vulnerable communities’’)”
  • Unionize American Workers. The Green New Deal requires, “strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment.” All workers means every worker.
  • Livable Wage for All Citizens and Non-Citizens. The GND states, ” guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.” All people of the United states includes illegal aliens.
  • Guaranteeing a National $15 Minimum Wage. Corey Booker has pledged to enact a national $15 minimum wage in 15 test areas. The current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The minimum wage was first introduced under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA). Passed under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, this act called for the first national minimum wage of 25 cents an hour (the equivalent of $4.00 today).
  • Wealth Tax. Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed a, “‘wealth tax’ of 2% on net worth over $50 million and 3% over $1 billion designed to raise $2.75 trillion over a decade.”
  • Free Public College Tuition. Socialist Bernie Sanders has proposed a College For All Act. The act would, “Eliminate Undergraduate Tuition at 4-year Public Colleges and Universities. This legislation would provide $47 billion per year to states to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities.”
  • Pay Reparations for Slavery. Several Democratic candidates have suggested paying reparations. Of note is the proposal by Marianne Williamson to annually pay $10 billion in slavery reparations for a period of 10 years to the African American communities. Cost $100 billion.
  • Cancel All Student Loan Debt. There are approximately 44 million students who have $1.5 trillion of student load debt. Democratic Presidential candidate Wayne Messam has proposed student loan forgiveness.
  • Give Every Child Born in America a U.S. Treasury Bond (Baby Bond). Corey Booker in 2018 introduced a bill that would provide an account with $1,000 to every baby born in the U.S. The accounts, dubbed baby bonds, would be eligible for an up to $2,000 deposit each year depending on family income. This Baby Bond would include anchor babies of illegal aliens.
  • Social Security For All. The Daily Caller reported, “Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a 2020 hopeful, said social security and a pathway to citizenship should be rights for immigrants “in the country now” Tuesday at a campaign event in Iowa. “I have a lot of ideas,” Gillibrand said. “First, we need comprehensive immigration reform. If you are in this country now, you must have the right to pay into social security, to pay your taxes, to pay into the local school system, and to have a pathway to citizenship.”

We are sure that some, if not all, of these proposals will be debated during the Democratic Presidential primary. The question is how many of these, and perhaps other policy proposals, will be added to the Democratic Party platform?

As American politician John Fleming wrote, “I think always, when you have a candidate promising free stuff, and another promising less stuff or nothing, the one who promises more is always going to have the advantage.”

Joseph Goebbels wrote,

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Free stuff is the “big lie” because eventually the political, economic and military consequences will appear as they have in Venezuela.

The Democratic Party candidates are rushing to promise free everything to voters, but can they deliver anything?

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Meet all the Democratic candidates in the crowded 2020 race

Public University Suspends Prof. for Advising Foreign Student to Learn English

In a bothersome case of political correctness gone amok, a professor at a highly ranked public university in the United States has been suspended for suggesting a foreign student “learn English.”

The egregious incident occurred this month at the University of Kansas (UK), a taxpayer-funded institution with an enrollment of 28,500 that ranks among the nation’s top public universities. Situated in the northeast Kansas town of Lawrence, the school is the state’s flagship university and a premier research institution.

The “offending” professor, Gary Minden, teaches electrical engineering and computer science in the highly regarded school of engineering. Minden, an acclaimed academic, is a UK alum who received undergraduate and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering at the school.

In the 1990s he served as information technology program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a Pentagon agency with a $3 billion budget dedicated to developing technologies for the military. “DARPA goes to great lengths to identify, recruit and support excellent program managers—extraordinary individuals who are at the top of their fields and are hungry for the opportunity to push the limits of their disciplines,” according to the agency’s website. “These leaders, who are at the very heart of DARPA’s history of success, come from academia, industry and government agencies for limited stints, generally three to five years.”

During a recent class, Minden told a foreign student who was using an online translation system on a cell phone that the student should “learn English,” according to a local newspaper report. The unidentified student evidently was not bothered over the suggestion, but others in the class were offended and an “hourlong discussion” ensued in the engineering class which focuses on embedded systems.

During the discussion things apparently got heated and many students in the class became very upset. The professor told the local newspaper that he’s “frustrated” over the incident but refused to comment further for obvious reasons. In the article a university spokeswoman said “a number of students have raised concerns about events that occurred in their engineering class. In response to these concerns, the university has assigned a different instructor to teach the course while the matter is reviewed.”

This is hardly an isolated case of political correctness at taxpayer-funded schools in the United States. Public elementary, middle and high schools as well as colleges have taken an extreme leftist turn on several issues over the years and Judicial Watch has reported or taken legal action in several of the cases.

This includes exposing a Mexican separatist school that pushes Marxism and Anti-Americanism in Los Angeles, pervasive corruption in Chicago public schools and an after school Satan club in Washington State that received speedy tax-exempt approval from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Judicial Watch is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the Berkeley Unified School District in California to obtain the records of a middle school teacher who is a national organizer for a radical leftist group.

The teacher, Yvette Felarca, works at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and is a prominent figure in By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), an organized militant group founded by the Marxist Revolutionary Workers League that uses raucous militant tactics to protest conservative speaking engagements. Felarca has been charged with several crimes, including felony assault, for inciting a riot in Sacramento.

A few years ago, Judicial Watch wrote about professors at a 54,000-student public university in south Florida that demanded the school protect illegal aliens by creating a “sanctuary campus.” The professors compared immigration enforcement to “fugitive slave laws.”

At the time students at colleges around the nation requested their undocumented classmates be protected, but the Florida professors blazed the trail as the first faculty members of an American taxpayer-funded establishment to officially call for campus-wide sanctuary in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s presidential election.

EDITORS NOTE: This Judicial Watch column is republished with permission.

Muslims Are Safer In The United States Than In Muslim Countries

The brutal, hate-filled slaughter of 50 Muslims in mosques in New Zealand garnered worldwide news coverage for days as the outrage was real and visceral. But the reaction belies a broader issue that is generally buried for ill-fitting the narrative: Muslims are not only extraordinarily safe in the United States, they are thriving.

First, it’s worth noting what some conservative sites have pointed out: While the world was rightly indignant over the New Zealand killings, the world and media seemed largely indifferent to the slaughter of three times that many Christians in one Africa country in a three-week period, or the 23 Christians killed by the Fulani, or the ongoing killing of Christians for being Christians around the globe — particularly by extremist Muslims. Here is an extensive example of that from The New American.

That is all true. Christianity is the most persecuted religion worldwide. Pretty much all agencies agree on that. There just isn’t much outrage as it is largely Islamist extremists doing the killing. Islamists kill even more fellow Muslims.

But there is another element to the difference in the coverage in New Zealand and in Africa, and some ears will not want to hear this: Killing people, particularly over religion or ideology, is wildly unacceptable in Christian and post-Christian countries in the West. It is far more accepted as just part of life in many other cultures, particularly Islamic countries. A lot of violent death can and does create a hardened acceptance.

Dutiful disclaimer: Islamists slaughtering the “wrong” kind of Muslims, along with any Christians and non-Muslims readily available to be killed, are not the majority of Muslims. In the West and particularly in the United States, violent Muslim extremists are a very, very small minority — perhaps the lowest in the world. But in some countries, from the Palestinian territories stretching through Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and back to Egypt and Libya, extremists and Islamists are very sizable minorities by their own self-professed opinions.

So in those countries where attacks against civilians are accepted by between 8 percent and 20 percent of the population (and between 90 percent and 100 percent of the population is Muslim) the violence is more common and more accepted, if not actually desired.

That is not the case in the United States or New Zealand or other western Christian or post-Christian countries. And it is far more rare. Despite all the blather about the rise of Islamophobia in the United States, more mass attacks are carried out by Islamists in the name of Islam than against Muslims. Far more.

Further, the United States is one of the safest countries, perhaps the absolute safest country, in the world to be Muslim and practice Islam.

In a report that came out last September by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change tracking the roots, spread and effects of violent Islamist extremism, researchers found that 121 terrorist groups sharing portions of an ideological form of Islam are now operating around the globe. Their deadly actions in 2017 alone resulted in the deaths of 84,000 people — about 22,000 of them civilians — in 66 countries.

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in September that Islamist extremism is “global and growing,” adding that it “didn’t begin with al Qaeda; nor will it end with the defeat of ISIS.”

The “Global Extremist Monitor,” which was produced by Blair’s non-profit, used hundreds of news sources that reported on incidents of violent extremism in 2017. According to a CBS News report from the time:

“There were a total of 7,841 attacks – an average of 21 per day –in 48 countries, it said, with war-torn Syria topping the list of countries most affected by violent extremism. Overall, Muslims were the most frequent victims of deadly attacks. Twenty-nine violent Islamist groups were actively engaged in conflict in Syria in 2017, the report said, with ISIS responsible for 44 percent of all attacks. Half of all civilian fatalities recorded globally were documented in Syria.”

In a National Geographic article by a Muslim who is an NPR correspondent covering race and diversity (politics are more than obvious) we see that despite the best attempts to paint America as bigoted, Muslims that are not activists largely don’t think it is a big problem. The article, “How Muslims, Often Misunderstood, Are Thriving in America,” talked to a lot of Muslims around the country. Here is a tidbit:

“That’s what Musa loves about being Muslim in America: The rights of expression and worship are protected. Here, he says, he can choose to be the kind of person, the kind of American, the kind of Muslim he wants to be. He points to his shelves at his rustic home on a sheep farm. They’re filled with books written by Shiite and Sunni scholars, reflecting the many schools of thought under those two main Islamic sects. “This is the place to be a Muslim, scholarship without intervention,” he says. “In Malaysia I could go to jail because I have Shiite literature in my house, and in Malaysia that’s the equivalent of being a commie in America.””

So despite the hand-wringing by the media, Democrats and some Muslim activists, such as CAIR, the U.S. is not only one of the safest countries in the world to be a Muslim, but Muslims may also thrive here more than any other place when including overall freedoms and economic opportunities — all of which probably explains why the percentage of Islamists among American Muslims is so low.

EDITORS NOTE: This Revolutionary Act column is republished with permission.

VIDEO: Panel on “Why Anti-Zionism is a Form of Anti-Semitism and a Threat to National Security”

The Center for Security Policy hosted a panel at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) titled “Why Anti-Zionism is a Form of Anti-Semitism and a Threat to National Security.”

Speakers included Center President Fred Fleitz, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), Rabbi Yechezkel Moskowitz of the National Council of Young Israel, Dan Pollak of the Zionist Organization of America and investigative journalist and author James Simpson.

During his opening remarks Fleitz noted that, “There is an effort right now to dress up supposed criticisms of the Israeli government and Prime Minister Netanyahu as just criticisms of their policies, that there’s nothing against the state of Israel. This is not right. This is repackaged anti-Semitism. It is repackaged Israel hatred to delegitimize the state of Israel and the state of Israel’s very right to exist.”

He said that, “The point that I want this panel to make is that anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel is soaring on the left and this is a real danger for this country.”

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) noted that the U.S. reaps tangible benefits from its relationship with Israel. Citing an example from his own experience, he said that when he served as an Apache helicopter pilot he utilized Israeli-developed technology.

The Pennsylvania Congressman said that “there’s one democratic nation in the Middle East that believes in Western values, and it’s Israel.” He described the Jewish State as a “little oasis of freedom” in the region.

During his remarks, Rabbi Yechezkel Moskowitz stated:

From my perspective the greatest existential threat to the Jewish people in this country is the liberal progressive Jewish community. I think that what they’ve done is that they’ve replaced Judaism with liberal progressivism. It’s become practically speaking a religion for them,” he explained, saying that “in order to push forward their liberal progressive agenda, they are willing to throw Israel under the bus.

Watch a recording of the event below:

VIDEO: West Virginia AG Sues Disgraced Bishop, Diocese Over Sex Abuse Cover-up

Suit alleges Bp. Michael Bransfield knowingly employed ‘credibly accused pedophiles’


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (ChurchMilitant.com) – In an unprecedented legal move, the state of West Virginia has filed suit against Catholic authorities over sex abuse cover-up.

On Tuesday, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced a civil action against the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and its disgraced former bishop, Michael J. Bransfield, for allegedly “deceiving consumers and claiming their schools were safe when they were employing credibly accused pedophiles.”

Diocesan officials are accused of violating West Virginia consumer protection laws by marketing Catholic schools as safe for children even as they “chose to cover up and conceal arguably criminal behavior of child sexual abuse.”

The announcement follows six months of investigation into whether “Catholic priests who were active or had been employed in West Virginia had been accused of sexually abusing children.”

Morrisey launched the inquiry in September after the Pennsylvania grand jury report revealed that 301 priests — including one who had worked in Wheeling-Charleston — were responsible for abusing more than 1,000 children across the Keystone State.

The suit notes that “although the state has not fully completed its investigation” — which it blamed in part on “the lack of cooperation from the Diocese” — justice officials have learned that Wheeling-Charleston “has engaged in unfair or deceptive acts or practices by failing to disclose to consumers of its educational and recreational services that it employed priests and laity who have sexually abused children, including an admitted abuser who the Diocese nevertheless allowed to work in a Catholic elementary school.”

According to the lawsuit, Wheeling-Charleston officials “knew of sexual abuse complaints against priests of the Diocese, but, did not disclose the conduct to criminal law authorities or to parents paying for educational or recreational services.”

The complaint alleges, for example, that after confessing to homosexually abusing a student at St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary High School in Vienna, Fr. Patrick Condron was sent away for “evaluation and treatment” at two different facilities. After these stints away, without notifying parents, the diocese reassigned Fr. Condron to Wheeling Catholic Elementary School, where he worked from 1998 to 2001.

“Parents who pay and entrust the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese and its schools to educate and care for their children deserve full transparency,” Morrisey said Tuesday. “Our investigation reveals a serious need for the diocese to enact policy changes that will better protect children, just as this lawsuit demonstrates our resolve to pursue every avenue to effectuate change as no one is above the law.”

Observers are suggesting West Virginia’s action could set a new precedent for combating clerical sex abuse.

“This is the most that we’ve seen so far in terms of prosecution, in terms of someone in the higher levels of the hierarchy,” said Marci Hamilton of CHILD USA. “This is the first time we’ve seen a comprehensive claim against a whole diocese and a bishop.”

Tuesday’s announcement is the latest in a barrage of bad news for Bp. Bransfield, who in September resigned in disgrace amid credible allegations he sexually harassed adult males.

After investigating the accusations, last week, Baltimore Abp. William Lori, apostolic administrator of Wheeling-Charleston, declared that Bransfield can no longer exercise his priestly function.

Bransfield is also being scrutinized over his close association with serial sexual predator Theodore McCarrick. The former West Virginia bishop was consecrated by McCarrick in 2005 and later served as president of the board of trustees for the Papal Foundation, a multi-million-dollar enterprise co-founded by McCarrick and wracked by scandal over its questionable grant making practices.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Church Militant column with video is republished with permission.

Questions on Two Abuse Cases – and a Good Development

Fr. Gerald E. Murray: With more work needed, accountability and transparency about sexual offenses by bishops seem to be the new order of the day.


The Archdiocese of Baltimore recently announced the finding of credible accusations of sexual abuse of adults committed by two bishops: Michael Bransfield, former bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, WV; and Gordon D. Bennett, retired bishop of Mandeville, Jamaica (and earlier, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore).

Bransfield was investigated regarding “multiple allegations of sexual harassment of adults and financial improprieties.” The final determination of guilt or innocence lies with the Holy See. Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, who was appointed the Apostolic Administrator of Wheeling-Charleston by Pope Francis when Bransfield retired last September, stipulated: “Bishop Bransfield is not authorized to exercise any priestly or episcopal ministry either within the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston or within the Archdiocese of Baltimore.” (Pope Francis had asked Lori to investigate when he accepted Bransfield’s request for retirement at age 75.)

What first strikes me here is Lori’s provision that Bransfield may not exercise episcopal or priestly ministry in the Baltimore or Wheeling-Charleston. I can only guess that this provision was imposed or consented to, in some way, by the Holy See.

Lori does not have authority in canon law to prohibit a fellow bishop, who is not subject to a canonical penalty or to restrictive disciplinary provisions publicly imposed by the Holy See, from exercising his priestly and episcopal ministry.

The Holy See and the Baltimore Archdiocese should clarify this. I am not opposed to restrictions being placed on Bransfield. But Archbishop Lori’s authority does not extend that far. Only the pope can place such restrictions on a bishop.

Lori could have prohibited Catholic institutions in his two dioceses from inviting Bransfield to exercise any public functions. But he does not have the authority, for instance, to prohibit, in a universal way, Bransfield from hearing confessions or anointing the sick in Wheeling if such priestly ministrations are requested.

The announcement also revealed that “[a]s part of recently announced protocols governing the conduct of bishops in the Archdiocese, Archbishop Lori determined that similar restrictions were warranted in the case of former Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore, Gordon Bennett, S.J. . . .In May 2006, the Archdiocese learned of an allegation of sexual harassment of a young adult by Bishop Bennett. . . .the Archdiocese immediately reported it to the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C. . . .As a result of these restrictions, which the Holy See recently gave permission to the Archbishop to announce, Bishop Bennett is prohibited from exercising any priestly or episcopal ministry in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.”

In this case, the Holy See has imposed these restrictions on the bishop and allowed Lori to announce it publicly. But questions remain about what happened back in 2006, and why we are only learning about this now.

An AP story posted at the America magazine website comments: “Bennett was cleared of the sexual harassment allegation in 2009 and reinstated to limited episcopal ministry subject to oversight, the Jesuits’ USA West province said in a statement Monday. But amid ongoing questions about how misconduct allegations were handled in the past, Bennett’s case was re-examined last year and the Congregation for Bishops in Rome recently determined he shouldn’t exercise episcopal ministry, the province said. The future of his priestly ministry is up to his Jesuit superiors.”

So Bennett was cleared in 2009, but nevertheless was at the same time put under some form of restriction and supervision. Why was he subject to this provision if he was found not to be guilty? And then last year his case was re-examined and he was found to be unsuitable for the exercise of episcopal ministry, presumably because he was now found guilty of the serious canonical offense of sexual harassment of a young adult.

Yet, his further exercise of priestly ministry, as opposed to strictly episcopal ministry, is an open question to be decided upon by “his Jesuit superiors”? This is puzzling for two reasons.

First, Gordon Bennett is a bishop, thus he is not under the authority of the Jesuit superiors of the province to which he formerly belonged. He is under the authority of the Holy See alone. If he has, in fact, been deprived of the exercise of his episcopate, then the Holy See should state that and indicate that he has been placed under the authority of the Jesuits.

Second, why would he even be considered eligible for the further exercise of priestly ministry if his past actions have led the Holy See to prohibit him from exercising his role as bishop? Why would the Holy See make this split decision? A clarification is very much needed.

This double announcement marks an important step in the ongoing abuse crisis, even given the canonical questions that remain. A bishop (Bransfield) was subject to a thorough investigation by lay experts assisting the archbishop (Lori) who had been asked by the Holy See to look into serious allegations of sexual harassment of adults.

The Holy See is clearly responding to the widespread dissatisfaction with the way similar charges were dealt with in the past, as was the case of a bishop (Bennett) who was allowed to resign quietly in 2006 after the papal nuncio was informed of an allegation of sexual harassment of an adult.

The bishop was allowed in 2009 to continue his episcopal ministry in a new location under some form of private, unpublicized restriction and oversight, even though the Holy See, according to the Jesuit provincial, had “cleared” him of the charge of sexual harassment. That decision has now been set aside by the Holy See, presumably because it could not be defended – if it came to light publicly.

The bottom line here is: accountability and transparency regarding episcopal sexual canonical offenses with adults are the new order of the day. The grave injustice of the protection of sexual predator bishops by the Holy See when the victims were above the age of 18 years has been acknowledged. This is a very positive development. Let’s hope we see many more.

COLUMN BY

Fr. Gerald E. Murray

The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D. is a canon lawyer and the pastor of Holy Family Church in New York City.

EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2019 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.orgThe Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Media Ignores Slaughter of Nigerian Christians

At least 120 killed in recent attacks as deadly violence continues for over a year.


ABUJA, Nigeria (ChurchMilitant.com) – International news is nearly silent as Muslim militants continue killing Christians in Nigeria.

At least 120 Nigerian Christians have been killed since early February in a string of violent attacks that are being attributed to Fulani militants.

On March 11 alone, a string of attacks left 53 dead and 143 homes destroyed in the villages of Inkirimi and Dogonnoma in the Kajuru Local Government Area in Kaduna State, Nigeria.

Just a day before that, an attack on the village of Ungwan Barde killed 17 people and destroyed dozens of homes. One month prior, about 16 people had been killed in Ungwan Barde village in a series of attacks on Feb. 9 and 10.

The governor of Kaduna State imposed a curfew last week on the local government area owing to the deadly outbreak of violence.

On Feb. 26, some 32 Nigerian Christians were killed in the Maro district of the Kaduna State. The attackers burned down an evangelical church and shot people fleeing. This violence was also suspected to be the work of Fulani militants.

Local lawmakers say the recent attacks have displaced at least 3,000 locals, with many people’s homes destroyed and many others fleeing for safety.

In Benue State, Fulani attacks on several villages on March 4 left 23 dead.

Violence by Fulani militants in Nigeria exploded over a year ago. The Fulani are a majority-Muslim ethnic group, and many Fulani live as semi-nomadic herdsmen.

Christian communities in rural parts of Nigeria are commonly the victims of violence by Fulani militants.

In addition to the ethnic and religious differences, some trace the violence to changes in Nigerian law that made it harder for Fulani herdsmen to find land for their herds.

In November 2017, the Nigerian government banned herdsmen from having their livestock graze on other people’s property. The law was aimed at avoiding clashes between the Muslim herdsmen and Christian villagers — but the explosion of violence seems to prove that the policy change only escalated tensions.

Fulani gunmen in Benue State shot up a Catholic church during an early morning Mass in April 2018, killing two priests and about 15 laity. The priests’ deaths sparked protests in the weeks that followed, with Catholic clergy calling on the Nigerian government to better protect its citizens.

In May 2018, suspected Fulani militants attacked a Catholic seminary. Gunmen assailed two priests and a handful of seminarians at Sacred Heart Minor Seminary in Jalingo, the capital city of Taraba State in Nigeria. The attackers beat the priests with rods, shooting one of them in the leg, and did damage to an automobile and other property.

In June 2018, some Christians farmers allegedly attacked Fulani herdsmen. In the series of retaliatory attacks that followed, Fulani gunmen killed about 120 people in Plateau State in central Nigeria. There were apparently disputes regarding the exact body count; it could be as low as 86 people or as high as 200.

The outbreak of violent clashes with Fulani militants came just as Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram was on the decline in Nigeria. Government forces beat back the terror organization with significant help from overseas powers — including the United States.

Amid the Fulani violence, some Nigerians have laid blame on President Muhammadu Buhari, who is of Fulani descent.

Bishop William Amove Avenya of the diocese of Gboko in Benue State warned last year that Fulani violence could quickly become a full-fledged genocide against Christians in central Nigeria.

“Please don’t make the same mistake as was made with the genocide in Rwanda,” Bp. Avenya told Aid to the Church in Need in June last year. “It happened under our noses, but no one stopped it. And we know well how that ended.”

EDITORS NOTE: This Church Militant column is republished with permission.

Democrat Party meeting about anti-Semitism features anti-Semitic jokes, Omar won’t affirm Israel’s right to exist

This meeting makes it clear that the Democrats are not going to be able to remove anti-Semitism from the party. Hatred of Jews and Israel, and uncritical acceptance of “Palestinian” jihad propaganda, is shared among too much of their base. And whenever they’re challenged, Omar and Tlaib claim victim status and cry “Islamophobia.” It has worked well for them so far, so expect much more of it.

“Dem Lawmakers Admit During Private Meeting They Don’t Know What Anti-Semitism Looks Like,” by Mikhael Smits, Washington Free Beacon, March 18, 2019:

A meeting of Democratic lawmakers about anti-Semitism in the party included anti-Semitic jokes and unapologetic members of Congress, the Washington Post reports.

In the wake of anti-Semitic comments from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and several closed-door conferences by Democrats to discuss related issues within the party, Rep. Andy Levin (D., Mich.), a former synagogue president, organized a meeting as “a more formal event that would focus on anti-Semitism.” The March 5 meeting of Muslim and Jewish lawmakers was a “moment meant to be about listening and learning” about the “raw experiences” of the elected officials, according to the Post….

During the meeting, some Democratic members “admitted they didn’t know what anti-Semitism looks like,” according to the Post.

To help manage the conversation, which was previously unreported, Levin invited Bend the Arc, a left-wing organization deeply critical of Israel and Republicans. In a recent tweet, the group called for Americans to “reject the Islamophobic policies our government is built on.”

When a Bend the Arc organizer in the room made a joke “about Jews and money,” Rep. Jahana Hayes (D., Conn.) questioned why the facilitator could talk like that when someone like Hayes could not. She later told the Post no one should be making comments of the sort.

“It’s not okay,” Hayes said when asked about the specific exchange. “These [sorts of jokes] are off-limits. It’s confusing for someone like me who is trying to learn.”

It took nearly two hours before a Democrat brought up the repeated anti-Semitism of Omar, the impetus for the entire conversation. The congresswoman, a member of the Progressive Caucus, has drawn scrutiny and condemnation since taking office in January for a series of anti-Semitic remarks.

Rep. Dean Phillips (D., Minn.), a Jew who represents a district neighboring Omar’s, told the room he considered her comments to be “tips of the arrow” of Jew hatred in America. According to “several participants” who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity, Phillips asked Omar to apologize and “publicly affirm Israel’s right to exist and protect itself.”

Phillips’s request that Omar support the right of Jews to exist in the Jewish state and in the United States “stunned the three Muslim Democrats in the room.”

Omar did not reply to the Jewish member’s request. Instead, one of her allies responded by changing the subject to the Palestinians. Tlaib “grew emotional and started to cry as she spoke of her grandmother’s suffering in the West Bank at the hands of Israelis,” according to the Post….

Tlaib defended Omar then, too. She claimed calls for Omar to leave the House Foreign Affairs Committee were a form of “Islamophobia,” not a proper response to anti-Semitism. Likewise, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.) defended Omar, claiming the outrage, much of it voiced by American Jews, was really a scheme “designed to prevent us from taking on the question of our foreign policy toward Israel.”…

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission.