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GOP Media Takedown: A Recipe for Victory

It’s long been known that a leader can gain power by rallying the people against a boogeyman.

And it helps when that boogeyman is real.

When CNBC’s GOP debate moderators couldn’t help but be sanctimonious, supercilious, and self-important Wednesday night, they did more than provoke a response from their intellectual superiors. They did more than further reveal the Establishment Media as a left-wing monolith, further discredit themselves, and further cement in minds that they’re comic-book versions of journalists.

They quite literally revealed a strategy for GOP electoral gains.

I said many years ago that if I were seeking the presidency (fanciful thought), one of the entities I’d run against is the media. Why? Along with lawyers and politicians, the media is a group for which Americans have a fairly intense dislike. This is largely because as with the first two groups, a big part of the modern media’s business is lying, and no one likes being lied to. Moreover, outsiders Donald Trump and Ben Carson are leading contenders for the GOP nomination because people have lost faith in our institutions and are fed up with the establishment. And the Establishment Media, by definition, are part of the establishment. Thus, they’re ripe to be demonized.

To reiterate, no Machiavellian maneuvering is necessary here because the media are demonic in their deception. Along with entertainment and academia, they constitute a tripartite axis of cultural evil. They are Americans’ conduit of information, and how can citizens choose the right policies and politicians if they’re being fed misinformation? It’s as with a computer: if the input is wrong, the output will be wrong — and our nation’s actions won’t compute.

And taking on this enemy of America — as is the case when tackling any enemy — makes you a hero. Think about it: every candidate that joined Senator Ted Cruz in the phalanx against the media Wednesday seemed like an anti-establishment outsider bravely fighting the powers-that-be. This was true even of Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Chris Christie, despite the only true visible outsiders in the race being Trump, Carson, and Cruz.

Another factor is that the media are going to propagandize against Republican candidates regardless; it’s a given. But it won’t work nearly as well once you make clear you’re a mortal enemy of the media, which will be attended by the (correct) assumption that they’re an enemy of yours. Then when they run negative information on you, people will be more likely to dismiss it with “Well, of course they’d say that. They hate his guts!” In other words, there’s long been an undeclared media war on conservatives, but up until now rightists having generally taken the abuse quietly. And if you have to take the flak anyway, why not make sure the war is declared, an open and visible fight?

In contrast, when you play along with the media’s ridiculous questions, which range from juvenile to malicious, you not only cast yourself as someone who plays the game (paging John “Can’t do” Kasich) but lend those questions credibility; this is significant because people are influenced by what’s “accepted,” and a large segment of the electorate won’t truly recognize, independently, the questions’ inanity. But standing up and passionately pointing it out will be a light-bulb moment, making some of them say, “Hey, yeah! That was a dumb and unfair question!” You’re announcing that the media have no clothes.

So while some lament the media’s descent into overt left-wing advocacy, there is a silver lining in that cloud. In the days of Peter Jennings and Dan Rather, the media already constituted a leftist propaganda mill but were decidedly better at feigning impartiality. Today the media are even more artless, impatient, and infantile and far more often wear their banners openly. This not only means they tend to let their mask slip, but gives a smart candidate the opportunity to rip it off completely and expose the distorted visage beneath.

Running against the hated media also has an obvious byproduct: discrediting via guilt by association all whom the establishment media support, such as establishment candidate Hillary Clinton. To intensify this process, it should be treated as a given — not only because it’s true but also because what’s assumed is learned best — that the media and Democrat Party are joined at the hip. I’ve often used the line that the media are the Democrats’ “public-relations team,” and Rubio related this idea well Wednesday when he called the media the liberals’ “ultimate super PAC.”

Of course, all this would have to be effected boldly but artfully; if overdone, it could start to seem like whining. It’s also possible the media could be cowed somewhat by humiliation and retreat into Peter Jennings mode. After all, leftists have big egos and can’t tolerate what their own Saul Alinsky prescribed: mockery. Should this return to relative subtlety occur, it would make the media’s propaganda more effective. There is some question as to whether today’s new media guard — more emotion-driven than ever and conditioned to expect immediate gratification — could exercise such discipline. Yet I wouldn’t be surprised to see them regroup, at least for a time, in an effort to not be the bull in the china shop of leftist shilling.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus has been excoriated for setting up the CNBC debate, but he perhaps stumbled into gold. No, taking down incompetent propagandists is no substitute for having a fair media in the first place. But, as G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “War is not the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you.” The media have long been launching the salvos and settling matters. It’s time to fight back in the spirit of settling their hash.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

Obama faces Veto Dilemmas at the United Nations and 114th Congress

As 2014 was closing a vote on a draft resolution introduced by the Jordanian UN Ambassador at the Security Council hit what may be a temporary speed bump for PA President Abbas. He is striving g to impose a draconian solution to the long simmering dispute on the Jewish nation of Israel. The draft resolution failed to achieve the requisite 9 votes, losing by one vote.  The US and Australia voted no.  Five others abstained including the UK, Lithuania, South Korea and Nigeria. France, Luxembourg, Russia, China, Jordan, Chile, Argentina, and Chad voted in favor of the draft resolution. The draft resolution sought to fix a one year deadline for negotiations on declaration of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem based on the infamous War 1949 Armistice line. What fabled Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban deemed the “Auschwitz line”.  The draft resolution would require the end of the alleged ‘occupation’ of the West Bank by Israel losing its control over the Jordan Valley approaches and protection of over 350,000 Israelis in both Samaria and Judea.

Virtually on the announcement of the vote, PA President Abbas, now serving in the tenth year of an elected four year term, signed 20 UN covenants including the Rome Treaty making it eligible for observer status at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. That would enable it to bring a charge of war crimes against Israel. This will confront the ICC with a choice between recognition of anti-Israel issues versus international law matters. Further, the unilateral move by Abbas will likely cause the incoming GOP led Congress to consider retaliatory legislation further consternating Administration diplomacy in the region.  Israeli PM Netanyahu countered saying:

The one who should fear the International Criminal Court at The Hague is the Palestinian Authority, which is in a unity government with Hamas, a declared terrorist organization like ISIS that commits war crimes.

We will take steps in response and we will defend the soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world. We will repel this latest effort to force diktats on us, just as we have repelled the Palestinian turn to the UN Security Council.

 US UN Ambassador Power blasted the PA vote because it precluded consideration of security guarantees outlined in UNSC Res. 242 for Israel to have defensible borders.  She noted in her remarks, “The deadlines in the resolution take no account of Israel’s legitimate security concerns.” The State Department director of its press office, Jeff Rathke, criticized  the PA saying:

 We are deeply troubled by today’s Palestinian action regarding the ICC. Today’s action is entirely counterproductive and does nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state.

Palestinian Resolution reprise Veto

Besides the ICC ploy, the PA was anything but supine. The change in the non-permanent membership of the UNSC might afford them another opportunity to re-submit the draft resolution, possibly obtaining the requisite 9 votes.   As former US UN Ambassador John Bolton in a Wall Street Journal op Ed published today, “The U.N. Vote on Palestine Was a Rehearsal,”   wrote, “An influx of new Security Council members means a likely ‘yes’ vote – and a veto dilemma for Obama.” Obama, as we have noted previously in Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic interview gave a broad hint that the US might abstain.

Bolton notes in his WSJ op ed the elements of this dilemma that may shortly face the Administration:

A firmer U.S. strategy might have prevented the dilemma from arising. The White House’s opening diplomatic error was in sending strong signals to the media and U.S. allies that Mr. Obama, wary of offending Arab countries, was reluctant to veto any resolution favoring a Palestinian state. Secretary of State John Kerry took pains not to offer a view of the resolution before it was taken up. Such equivocation was a mistake because even this administration asserts that a permanent resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict requires direct negotiations and agreements among the parties themselves.

No draft resolution contrary to these precepts should be acceptable to the U.S., or worth wasting time on in the diplomatic pursuit of a more moderate version. This American view, advocated for years and backed by resolute threats to veto anything that contradicted it, has previously dissuaded the Palestinians from blue-smoke-and-mirror projects in the Security Council.

Bolton addresses how the reprise could shortly occur:

Several factors support a swift Palestinian reprise. First, they obtained a majority of the Security Council’s votes, even if not the required supermajority of nine. In today’s U.N., the eight affirmative votes constitute a moral victory that virtually demand vindication, and sooner rather than later.

Second, the text of Jordan’s resolution was wildly unbalanced even by U.N. standards—for example, it demands a solution that “brings an end to the Israeli occupation since 1967,” and calls for “security arrangements, including through a third-party presence, that guarantee and respect the sovereignty of a State of Palestine.” A few meaningless tweaks here and there and several countries that abstained could switch to “yes.” Third, on Jan. 1 five of the Security Council’s 10 nonpermanent members stepped down (their two-year terms ended), replaced by five new members more likely to support the Palestinian effort.

Consider how Wednesday’s vote broke down, and what the future may hold. Three of the Security Council’s five permanent members (France, China and Russia) supported Jordan’s draft. France’s stance is particularly irksome, since it provides cover for other Europeans to vote “yes.” The U.K. timidly abstained, proving that David Cameron is no Margaret Thatcher; the abstention signals that a more “moderately” worded resolution might be enough to flip London to a “yes.”

Washington cast the only permanent member’s “no” vote, which is characterized as a veto only when nine or more Security Council members vote in a draft resolution’s favor. Will President Obama now have the stomach to cast a real veto against a U.N. Charter majority backing the Palestinians? Is this the point where the “liberated” Mr. Obama allows a harsh anti-Israel resolution to pass?

Happy New Year, Jerusalem.

He notes the lineup of new rotating non-permanent members in the UNSC that could tip the vote over the required 9 votes:

Three “yes” votes came from Jordan, Chad and Chile, which all remain Security Council members in 2015. Two additional supporters, Argentina and Luxembourg, have been replaced, respectively, by Venezuela (no suspense there) and Spain. Spain narrowly won election in October, defeating Turkey after three ballots. Madrid might be expected to support Washington, but not necessarily, given recent EU hostility to Israel and the appeasers’ argument to soothe wounded Muslim feelings about Turkey’s loss by backing the Palestinians.

Only Australia joined the U.S. in voting “no.” Its successor, New Zealand, would either have abstained or voted affirmatively, according to Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

South Korea abstained, but its replacement, Malaysia, is a certain affirmative vote. Angola, taking Rwanda’s seat, is an abstention at best. While abstainers Lithuania and Nigeria remain, Nigeria’s Boko Haram problem could easily move it to “yes” as an olive branch to the Muslim world. And Lithuania, as a new member of the euro currency union, could well succumb to arguments for EU solidarity, especially if Britain also surrenders.

Bolton notes in conclusion:

The Obama administration can only prevent what it dreads by openly embracing a veto strategy, hoping thereby to dissuade pro-Palestinian states from directly confronting the U.S.

And if that fails, the veto should be cast firmly and resolutely, as we normally advocate our principles, not apologetically. As so often before on Middle Eastern issues, a veto would neither surprise nor offend most Arab governments. If the Administration had courage enough to make clear that a veto was inevitable, it would minimize whatever collateral damage might ensue in Arab lands. But don’t hold your breath.

Iran Sanctions Veto

However, this is not the only veto dilemma facing the Administration in 2015.   On Tuesday, December 30, 2014, Reuters reported  that Undersecretary of The Treasury for Finance and Terrorism, David Cohen issued new financial sanctions “against nine targets who Washington says have helped Tehran avoid existing sanctions or commit human rights abuses.”    The IRNA news agency noted these comments by an Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham saying: “At a time negotiations are underway with P5+1, such a move raises doubts about America’s intentions and violates the good will principles” “This action is for mere publicity and will have no bearing whatsoever on our commercial policies,”

Just prior to the onset of Republican control of the 114th Session of Congress on January 6, 2015, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk gave an interview on December 28, 2014  on Fox News Sunday following statements by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham that new sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program may be brought up for an early vote.

That followed an NPR interview with President Obama that he might be prepared to use his veto authority on specific legislation passed by the new Congress.  Kirk in the Sunday Fox interview indicated that 17 Democrats, including New Jersey’s Bob Menendez and New York’s Charles Schumer may have the requisite votes to pass new stronger sanctions legislation against Iran’s nuclear program in view of the Islamic regime fobbing off failed P5+1 negotiations . Those 17 Democratic Senate votes would make such a measure veto proof. This puts President Obama in a difficult situation regarding his engagement of the Islamic Regime in Tehran. A regime that has successfully outmaneuvered the P5+1 and Administration and likely has already achieved nuclear breakout. Omri Ceren chronicled this in a Commentary article,“Enabling Iran’s Nukes” saying, “The lies began at the very beginning with American assurances had secured a ‘halt’ in Iranian nuclear program.”   This is a matter of great concern to Israel’s PM Netanyahu who would support such Congressional action on tougher Iran sanctions.  Watch the Fox News interview with Sen. Kirk.

Iran is feeling the ravaging of its economy due to the loss of revenue from oil and gas production.  Given the precipitous fall in world energy prices, due in part to the drop in demand and the vaulting of US energy production to first rank in 2015.  That has forced Iran to suggest that fellow OPEC member Saudi Arabia cooperates to cut production. This is an unlikely prospect since the Saudis are unwilling to relent given their $750 billion dollar hard currency reserve cushion.

We shall shortly see whether President Obama will issue vetoes at the UNSC against a reprise of the Palestinian draft resolution and another against tougher sanctions legislation passed on a bi-partisan basis in the new Republican controlled Congress against the Iranian nuclear program.

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

Media Manipulation of the Jerusalem Synagogue Murders

In the wake of the horrific news of the slaughter at the Kehillat Yaakov synagogue in Jerusalem, we convened an on-air discussion on 1330WEBY in Pensacola. During the broadcast word came of the fifth death, an Israeli Druze Border Policeman. A sixth victim of their barbarous attack is reported to have fallen into a coma. This was as a result of the Islamikaze attack by two cousins from the Jabel Mukaber section of east Jerusalem, Odei Abed Abu Jamal, 22 and Ghassam Mohammed Abu Jamal, 32, equipped with guns, knives, and meat cleavers. They were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine allegedly motivated by Jewish threats to the Haram al Sharaf/ Temple Mount. They were shot dead by the two Israeli police at the blood spattered horrific scene inside the synagogue in Har Nof that took the lives of four rabbis, three dual citizen Americans and a Briton. In the aftermath of this heinous attack, sweets and cookies were distributed in Gaza City while Palestinians there celebrated the grisly murders of the rabbis at Kehillat Yaakov synagogue in Jerusalem.

The ‘we” included  WEBY Your Turn host and general manager Mike Bates, this writer  and Rabbi Eric Tokajer of Brit Ahm Synagogue in Pensacola, host of WEBY program, “In the  Beginning.” This summer we did several programs to update the Gulf Coast listener audience of the threats to Israel during the 50 day IDF Operation Defensive Edge.  The rocket and terror tunnel war was launched by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the wake of the murders of three Jewish Yeshiva students by Hamas operatives masquerading as observant Jews.  They were killed while hitchhiking home near Hebron. That series of radio discussions culminated in the launch of a local Federation sponsored Stand for Israel rally in historic Seville square with hundreds of attendees.

Prior to the segment, Bates and I looked at two disquieting videos of President Obama’s remarks regarding the slaughter at Kehillat Yaakov synagogue.  One was produced by CNBC, while the other was the raw AP news video. Conspicuous by its absence in the former was President Obama’s morally equivalent lines in his statement, “Too many Israelis and too many Palestinians have died”.  Breitbart drew attention to Obama’s remarks in the raw AP video, Obama Responds to Jerusalem Synagogue Attack: ‘Too Many Palestinians Have Died’. However, as Rabbi  Tokajer observed during the opening moments of our discussion, CNN had an earlier breaking headline of the grisly synagogue attack, “Two Palestinians shot Dead by Israeli Police “. This while sweets and cookies were being handed out and Palestinians celebrated in Gaza.  I drew attention to the deep links between the Obama White House and major media illustrated by Deputy National Security Advisor and spokesperson, Ben Rhodes, whose brother David heads CBS News. As one aspect of that, I referred to the  editing of reportage by former CBS correspondent Sheryl Atkisson over the Benghazi episode that she chronicled in her  new book, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.

Early on in the radio discussion, I drew attention to one of the victims of the synagogue slaughter, Rabbi Moshe Twersky, son of revered Chassidic Rabbi Isadore.  As a native of the Boston area I spoke of the esteem the Twersky rabbinic dynasty was held in, reflected in the naming of the new Harvard Judaic Studies Center after Rabbi Isadore, its founding director. Rabbi Jonathan Hausman of Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, Massachusetts commented in a Skype IM exchange, that “Moshe’s father was the Talner Rebbe. A giant.”  The Twerskys were an important Rabbinic dynasty that The Forward pointed out in an article melded both Chassidic and Modern Orthodox Judaism.  Rabbi Moshe Twersky’s grandfather on his mother’s side was Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, a renowned Jewish scholar who founded the Maimonides School from which Rabbi Twersky graduated.

During the segment we discussed the incitement and duplicity in the condemnation by PA President Abbas that was quickly seized upon by the President Obama and the mainstream media.  Abbas, as Bates pointed out was serving in the tenth year of an initial four year term as PA President, had stoked the violence in Jerusalem in the wake of an American born Palestinian youth murdered by three Israeli youths. Bates said that the Jewish perpetrators had been arraigned and doubtless will be prosecuted for their crime.

 Rabbi Tokajer commented that perhaps behind this current wave of violence lay a reality when he pointed out that “according to a recent survey by Near Eastern Consulting 75% of Palestinians do not accept Israel’s right to exist and reject a two state solution.” He noted that Administration had repeatedly accused PM Netanyahu of stoking the Palestinian violence through announcements of new housing construction in Jerusalem. To which Bates replied this criticism was unwarranted as there was a project that set aside nearly half the units for Arabs.

That was exemplified by the contretemps during the October 2014 Netanyahu visit with Obama in the Oval Office. over the announcement of 2,610 units in Givat HaMatos.  White House press spokesman Josh Earnest expressed deep concern with construction of “settlements” in “sensitive” areas of east Jerusalem. Further Earnest said , “This development will only draw condemnation from the international community, (and) distance Israel from even its closest allies”, a clear reference to the Administration. Israel PM Netanyahu at a New York press conference later the same day disputed the comment saying, “Arabs in Jerusalem purchase homes freely in the west of the city and nobody says that’s forbidden. I don’t intend to tell Jews that they can’t buy homes in East Jerusalem.” It was left to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat angered by the White House attack who issued this statement:

I say this firmly and clearly: building in Jerusalem is not poisonous and harmful – rather, it is essential, important and will continue with full force. I will not freeze construction for anyone in Israel’s capital. Discrimination based on religion, race or gender is illegal in the United States and in any other civilized country.

Our discussion then focused on Abbas and Jordan’s upset at Jewish claims that they are entitled to pray on the temple mount, which is also shared by Muslims as the fourth most revered Mosque in Islam. Turning to the religious conflict over the Temple Mount, Bates, who had his first visit to Israel in March 2014, referred to the sign that Jews were not permitted to pray on the Temple Mount, the Noble Sanctuary/Haram Al Sharaf as Muslims refer to it. He mused that the spot is revered by Jews as well as Christians as the Dome of the Rock is the mythic location of Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of Isaac, the Akeda in Hebrew, but had been aborted by Angels carrying instructions from Ha Shem.

We pointed out the contemporary conflict over Jewish rights to pray on the Temple Mount in the shooting of another American –born Israeli   victim of Palestinian violence, Rabbi Yehuda Glick, head of the Temple Mount Faithful that seeks civil rights for Jews to pray there. Glick was assaulted at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in late October 2014 and shot three times by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative, Mutaz Hijazi, who after fleeing the scene on a motorcycle was tracked down and killed by Israeli Border police.

The continuing denial of Jewish and Christian rights to pray on the Temple Mount under Israeli law can be traced to the key role that the legendary Moshe Dayan played in urging the Knesset to pass legislation ceding control over the Temple Mount to the Waqf or trust appointed by the King of Jordan, hence the role played by King Abdullah in the current contretemps. Meanwhile the Muslim appointees have done everything possible to destroy the heritage of Jewish presence by excavating under the Haram al Sharaf/Temple Mount.

Rabbi Tokajer brought up the issue that the myopic delusion of a peace settlement between Israel and the PA based on the 1949 Armistice Line.  He said that there is no reason for a division of unified Jerusalem given that a Palestinian State already exists, Jordan.

We brought up the matter of the UAE’s designation of a host of terrorist groups that included, Al Qaeda, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood and two of its US affiliates, the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS). The question was brought up about both the UAE and Saudi Arabia having major financiers underwriting these terrorist groups.  Rabbi Tokajer pointed out that Arab society is based on loyalty to family, clan and tribe; hence, you could have subjects of Arab states  who would view their contributions to  these designated terrorist groups as  simply  Zakat  or Charity  in support of following the way of Allah, jihad. Bates asked how Saudi Arabia and the UAE could control that. I responded by saying  perhaps the US Treasury Undersecretary  for Finance and Terrorism might advise them, as  we apparently know  who are these financiers are.

When the question of what Israel might do, we referred to American –Israeli Vic Rosenthal suggestions in his blog, Abu Yehuda.  Rosenthal’s suggestions included the Knesset passing a Basic Law declaring Israel a Jewish State, Annexing Area C that includes Judea and Samaria, leaving Areas B and D on the West Bank as an autonomous entity with 98 % of the Palestinians in the West Bank. However that still left the matter of dealing with the ironic situation of disloyal Arab Muslim Members in Israel’s Knesset engaging in seditious acts seeking to foster the destruction of the Jewish State. Then there is the ISIS wannabe Israel Arab Muslim Sheik Real Salah of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement inciting violence against Jewish, Christian and Druze citizens seeking to declare a Caliphate to supplant Israel. The Knesset might adopt legal proceedings to be conducted to deprive citizenship and eject such individuals. That is, if the Israeli High Court doesn’t overturn it.

On the matter of what the new GOP controlled US Congress might do when the 114th session begins on January 3, 2015, we offered some suggestions. Congress might seriously   consider defunding the Palestinian Authority.  It might deny US funding for reconstruction of war torn Gaza. That might raise the question of depopulating Gaza, allowing voluntary transfer elsewhere in the region. Something that Egypt and other Members of the Arab League had heretofore barred.  Now Egypt has effectively created a buffer zone in the Rafah gap destroying housing and smuggling tunnels, isolating the residents of Gaza. Perhaps, if this fantasy occurred Gaza might serve as a safe haven for persecuted Middle East Christians.

Listen to the 1330 WEBY “Your Turn” discussion, Segment 1Segment 2, Segment 3 and Segment 4.

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