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The Anti-Defamation League ‘Has Become A Fraud’ as Leftist Biases Overwhelm Its Core Mission

“The ADL has become a fraud,” wrote Jewish-American political activist Charles Jacobs, president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), in 2019 about the Anti-Defamation League. As he and others have documented, the ADL, the “biggest Jewish defense agency” against antisemitism, has in recent decades become the “biggest failure” as leftist biases among American Jews have perverted this core ADL mission.

Jacobs recently reviewed the ADL’s downfall and the need for new Jewish leadership in an APT webinar with his fellow conservative Jews William A. Jacobson and Jonathan S. Tobin. Jacobson, a Cornell University Law School professor, heads the Legal Insurrection Foundation. The political commentator Tobin edits the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS).

The “ADL advocates for the Democratic Party’s agenda items,” Jacobs wrote in 2014, and has made an “awful detour into universalism and partisan politics.” This reflects the historically left-leaning political sentiments of most American Jews. As the conservative Jewish political writer Seth Mandel noted in 2018, the “ADL has long supported abortion rights, which is not a ‘Jewish issue’ in any way.”

These biases have often rubbed conservative Jews the wrong way, such as Herut North America’s United States National Director, Moshe Phillips. In 2013, he rebutted a 2010 smear by then ADL National Director Abraham Foxman of the late conservative talk radio pioneer, Rush Limbaugh, as an anti-Semite. “The ADL does not speak in our name. Abraham Foxman does not speak in our name,” Phillips wrote.

While Foxman had extensively analyzed Islamic antisemitism and its threats to Israel, vitally important for Jews, in his 2003 bookNever Again: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism, such views remained exceptional among ADL leaders. As Jacobs observed:

Like failed generals fighting the last war, they focused on Nazis and the political right — and ignored the changed battlefield for as long as they could. They deliberately, out of political consideration, minimized the assaults coming from “progressives” and Islamists.

That modern anti-Israel “animus comes mostly from the ideological left, with which a majority of Jews identify for many reasons, is painful and confusing to many,” Jacobs observed in 2010. He elaborated in 2017:

ADL kept sending those (fundraising) postcards with swastikas found in bathroom stalls in Iowa, and campaigned against Pat Robertson…even though many people now believe that Robertson and Christian evangelicals are Israel’s, and the Jews’, best allies.

An APT study of 1995-2011 ADL press releases offered a “good if not perfect indicator of ADL priorities,” an APT pamphlet noted. In this 15-year period APT “found that only 3 percent of ADL’s press releases focus on Islamic extremism and Arab anti-Semitism,” while merely another five percent of press releases concerned terrorism. “Fighting for causes unrelated to Jewish defense accounts for 31 percent of ADL’s press release output,” APT concluded.

Meanwhile the ADL’s own 2014-1017 extensive studies of antisemitism worldwide revealed that Muslims are by far the most anti-Semitic group globally in comparison to other religions and atheists. In a “cover-up mode” the ADL downplayed its own data, Jacobs observed. The findings were “politically incorrect” for an ADL “anchored in the Left.”

Empirically proven Islamic antisemitism calls into question the open border policies of Jewish groups including the ADL towards Muslim migrants and/or refugees. Jewish leaders “refuse to acknowledge the political and social consequences of the mass influx of Muslim immigrants,” Jacobs has noted. These leaders “fail to understand how promoting tolerance of the intolerant may be lethal,” as when the ADL has ignored Islamic threats to homosexuals in the United States.

By contrast, the ADL has a “pattern of allying with Muslim anti-Semites to fight ‘Islamophobia’ and then defaming legitimately concerned citizens,” Jacobs noted in 2012. Thus ADL branches have actually coordinated with local affiliates of the Hamas-derived Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), something that made him call for Foxman’s resignation. American anti-sharia activist Pamela Geller noted that same year that he had equated her with anti-Semites such as Louis Farrakhan and Patrick Buchannan.

Precisely the opposite, Jewish leaders must demand of Muslims a reevaluation of Islamic anti-Semitic doctrines, Jacobs demanded in a 2010 interview. This would parallel past critical Jewish engagement with Christian antisemitism. As Jacobs noted, the “enormous, life-saving reversals in Christian theological teachings about Jews could not have been achieved without years of intensive Jewish critique of Christian Biblical texts and traditions.”

The dismal state of the ADL and other Jewish organizations prompted APT and its Jewish allies in 2020 to call for new Jewish leadership in America. Yet Jacobs noted in 2010 the reticence of many Jews to risk conflict with powerful Jewish personalities and groups. “In the case of the ADL, I know several prominent Jewish leaders who agree with my criticism 110%, but could not speak out publicly without great risk,” he had said.

Jews desperately need effective defenses against contemporary anti-Semitic dangers. Yet since Jonathan Greenblatt succeeded Foxman as ADL National Director in 2015, Jacob’s concerns have only worsened. Greenblatt, a veteran Democratic political operative has abandoned whatever political impartiality Foxman once showed and turned the ADL into a rigidly leftwing organization, as a concluding article in this series will examine.

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Iraqi government blocked Jews from attending pope’s interfaith service, Vatican silently went along

Associated Press reported Saturday: “The Vatican said Iraqi Jews were invited to the event but did not attend, without providing further details.”

Now we know the rest of the story. And so it is clear yet again: interfaith outreach and dialogue all go one way, and result in the Christian side becoming mute about Muslim persecution of Christians, and ultimately becoming less Christian altogether, and more accepting of Islamic mores it should know better than to accept, such as deeply-rooted Islamic antisemitism. The pope didn’t dare say anything about this, because speaking out might have jeopardized his meeting with Sistani and whole visit to Iraq. So what did that visit accomplish? Nothing and less than nothing.

“Iraq Bars Jews From Pope’s Interfaith Event,”

by Jules Gomes, Church Militant, March 8, 2021 (thanks to Tom):

NASSIRIYA, Iraq (ChurchMilitant.com) – Jewish leaders are slamming Pope Francis’ silence on Iraq’s anti-Semitic policies after it emerged that the Iraqi government blocked Jews from attending the pontiff’s interfaith service at the birthplace of Abraham.

A delegation of Jews was unable to attend the “Abrahamic” event even though the Vatican had invited the representatives to be present because “the Iraqi government stymied efforts for any Jews to travel to Iraq,” the Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

Multiple Jewish sources confirmed to Church Militant the veracity of the Jerusalem Post’s report explaining that Iraq may have barred the Jewish delegation because Iraq does not officially recognize Israel and there are no relations between the two states.

Vatican Questioned for Its Silence

Freddie Dalah, an Iraqi Jew who fled Iraq for Britain years ago, asked Church Militant why “the pope, using this great opportunity, did not take the Iraqi government to task regarding the conspicuous absence of any prominent Jews as a delegation for their community?”

“The absence of Jews from the event confirms the Vatican’s historic silence when it comes to the ethnic cleansing of the Jews not only from Europe but from the Middle East as well,” Dalah observed. “Sincerely, a bit more shrewdness in managing the diplomatic situation regarding the absence of the Jewish community would not have gone amiss.”

Speaking to Church Militant, Iraqi-born Edwin Shuker, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said he “genuinely believed that the Vatican was misled by the Iraqi government into thinking that there will be a Jewish presence in Ur.”

“The Iraqi government, who intended to do so, recently changed their mind in case the Jewish delegation has links with Israel,” Shuker said, “but they could not find local Jewish representatives and ended up with a wasted opportunity.”

Shuker and his family fled to the United Kingdom in 1971 amid rising tensions, with dozens of Iraqi Jews executed on spurious charges, but regularly travels back to Iraq, working to preserve Jewish shrines and sites to maintain links between Iraq and its displaced Jewish community.

The Vatican “made it a point of telling journalists” that it had invited representatives of Iraq’s Jewish community to attend “despite the fact that Muslims violently purged the Jews from the country decades ago,” wrote Yakir Benzion.

“The Vatican didn’t bother telling the reporters why none showed up,” remarked Benzion, from United with Israel — the world’s largest pro-Israel online community.

“I am sad that the Iraqi government prevented Jews, Abraham’s children, from participating in what was meant to be a prayer for peace,” lamented well-known Rabbi Elchanan Poupko of the Rabbinical Council of America.

Asking why a rabbi was not present at the birthplace of Abraham as part of the papal event, Middle East analyst, writer and peace activist Yoni Michanie said Francis should have spoken up and also remembered the “tens of thousands of Iraqi Jews who were ethnically cleansed in the late 1940s.”

On Saturday, Church Militant reported the conspicuous absence of Jews from the Ur event, quoting Jewish anthropologist Karen Harradine, who said she found it “insulting to us Jews that we were not included by those who used the birthplace of our first patriarch, Abraham, to virtue signal and mumble meaningless platitudes about healing.”…

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Obama’s New Muslim Podcast: Allah’s ‘Throwing Shade at Jews and Christians’

Obama’s gotta do something with his time besides serving as the façade for a bunch of white socialists looking to wreck America. Besides that job only pays in the low six figures, so he’s got contracts with Netflix and Spotify through his own production company.

The Obama podcasting game includes talking about how racist the country is to fellow working-class millionaire hero Bruce Springsteen, and this Muslim podcast.

Barack and Michelle Obama have their Ramadan plans ready.

The couple, who have spent the years since Barack’s US presidency came to an end focusing on developing multi-platform media projects, announced a new season of their Higher Ground podcast called Tell Them, I Am, which will feature a collection of narratives from Muslim voices.

No, Obama’s not actually in it.

Produced by the Obamas, the pod will be hosted by Misha Euceph, a first-gen Pakistan-American and exclusively available on the platform, launching on the first day of Ramadan.

Euceph also appears to have hosted a Koran book club on Instagram. Here’s the description of one episode.

God is still throwing shade at the Jews and Christians this episode of #quranbookclub

Meanwhile, social media is purging conservatives. But this sort of thing can help you get a podcast produced by Barry.

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

CALIFORNIA: Muslim Lawyer Praises Hitler, Calls for New Genocide of the Jews

Will he be disbarred? Of course not. That would be “Islamophobic.” “The California bar investigated him and unbelievably found no actionable conduct.”

There is so much corruption these days, you need wings to stay above it.

The Jews in the Qur’an are called the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); they fabricate things and falsely ascribe them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); they claim that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); they love to listen to lies (5:41); they disobey Allah and never observe his commands (5:13). They are disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more. They are under Allah’s curse (9:30), and Muslims should wage war against them and subjugate them under Islamic hegemony (9:29).

“California Lawyer Farhad Khorasani Calls for Genocide of Jews,” Israellycool, January 19, 2021 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

Farhad Khorasani is an Iranian-American international lawyer who has his own law firm Khorasani Law.

He is also is the founder and chair of the Iranian American Sport Association (IASA),  a Los-Angeles based 501c3 nonprofit organization, “to help save his family sport, Olympic wrestling, and to bridge the sports gap between the two nations and support USA-Iran Sports Diplomacy.” As such, he appears on Persian TV to comment on Iran-US sports relations.

[CLICK HERE AND HERE TO SEE HIS SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS]

He’s also acted.

Sounds like quite the guy.

Except he’s not. He is a vile Jew hater.

After these posts were exposed – including by a former classmate of his who had no idea he was like this – the California bar investigated him and unbelievably found no actionable conduct….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Wonder Woman 1984: ‘I didn’t pick up on the blatant Islamophobia during my initial viewing’

Trailer WW84:


Maybe Farid-ul-Haq initially missed the “Islamophobia” in “Wonder Woman 1984” because one has to strain so hard to see it at all. What exactly constitutes “Islamophobia” is never defined in this article; it is taken for granted that everyone knows what it is, and it appears that Farid-ul-Haq thinks of it as an irrational prejudice against Muslims. He bases his case that “Wonder Woman 1984” (which I haven’t seen and have no intention of seeing) is “Islamophobic” on its “featuring a Muslim character as one of the bad guys” while not having “a single Muslim character playing the role of a good guy.”

Farid-ul-Haq thus takes for granted that Hollywood must never portray Muslims as “bad guys,” despite the existence of Islamic jihad terrorists all over the world, or at least must not do so without a balancing Muslim “good guy.” Why must Hollywood act as a PR service for Islam? Farid-ul-Haq would likely say that it is because Muslims are particular targets of “hate and discrimination in the real world,” but this is actually not true. The FBI listed 995 anti-Jewish “offenses” in 2019, and 219 anti-Muslim “offenses.” Even one is too many, but 219 offenses against Muslims in a year in a country of 330 million actually shows that such offenses are quite rare, as they should be. Would Farid-ul-Haq agree that Hollywood should show four and a half times more Jewish “good guys” than Muslim “good guys,” so as to combat “hate and discrimination” against Jews? Must Hollywood always balance portrayals of “bad guys” who really exist in the world with “good guys” from the same group? Would Farid-ul-Haq want every movie that features a neo-Nazi to feature also a good German for balance?

Farid-ul-Haq is also enraged at “Wonder Woman 1984” because a character was depicted as “swatting away a pendant, inside a taxi, with the name Allah and Muhammad (P.B.U.H) written on it.” However, a commenter on his article states: “Thanks to this article, I’ve re-watched this scene over and over, and it looks to me that Steve is swatting the rear-view mirror to get it out of the way so he can climb out of the taxi after crashing it into the armored vehicle. Watching it frame-by-frame, it’s obvious he’s aiming for the mirror and not the pendant. The other issues brought up I can see, but I don’t see the pendant one.” Even if the character were swatting away the pendant, must Hollywood also abide by Sharia provisions mandating absolute reverence for Islamic religious objects? Has Hollywood ever shown similar deference toward Christianity, the cross, the Bible, the name of Jesus, etc.? Here again, why should Muslims and Islam be singled out for special consideration?

“Addressing the Islamophobia in ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’” by Farid-ul-Haq, The Geekiary, December 27, 2020:

Turns out, along with being problematic when it comes to consent, Wonder Woman 1984 also features Islamophobia. Sigh! At this point, if you’re out there supporting Wonder Woman 1984 while ignoring or excusing certain narrative issues, I don’t know what to say to you.

This piece contains minor spoilers for Wonder Woman 1984. Consider yourself warned. 

Full disclaimer, while I rolled my eyes at Wonder Woman 1984 featuring a Muslim character as one of the bad guys, I didn’t pick up on the blatant Islamophobia during my initial viewing. I got to know about the implications of the scene in question after I decided to head on over to the Muslim side of Twitter.

An action sequence during Wonder Woman 2 occurs in Cairo. Maxwell Lord goes to meet Emir Said Bin Abydos and take over his oil empire. The Muslim character’s wish is to construct a wall and regain control of his ancestral land.

During the final moments, the movie also had a character in mujahideen-looking garb wishing for nuclear weapons.

Yes, it felt weird this movie didn’t have a single Muslim character playing the role of a good guy, especially after the first Wonder Woman had a Muslim character be one of Diana’s friends. But it is what it is. I would like Hollywood to do better, of course.

Now, coming to the most problematic and Islamophobic scene that involved Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). I was surprised when I saw tweets about said scene and how blatantly Islamophobic it was to show Steve swatting away a pendant, inside a taxi, with the name Allah and Muhammad (P.B.U.H) written on it.

Turns out, my mind didn’t even register such a moment. Instead of realizing what had transpired onscreen, apparently, my brain did something and I thought Steve had quickly placed the pendant on the dashboard before crawling out of the taxi to help Diana.

I rewatched the scene and was quite disappointed to see the scene for it was. In my opinion, there was no reason for such a scene to exist. It served no narrative purpose other than Steve being shown throwing away the names of two beings held in high regard in the Muslim community.

Such artistic content uses fictional Muslim characters to challenge the “interpretations” of Islam that continue to be used to encourage hate and discrimination in the real world….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

ADL smears foes of jihad violence against Israel as ‘Islamophobes,’ gets canceled as ‘anti-Muslim’ anyway

Jonathan Greenblatt is discovering that any dissent, no matter how small and qualified, from the far-Left agenda — which is increasingly open in its hostility to Israel — will get you defamed as an “Islamophobe,” no matter how much you pander, no matter how much you desperately try to stay in the good graces of those who set the tune to which the rest of us must dance. The sinister Salam al-Marayati of MPAC has smeared ADL as “anti-Muslim” for supporting Israel, and Greenblatt is dismayed, saying that “the allegation that ADL falls along the same side of Islamophobes is patently false.”

Of course it is. The ADL has repeatedly done to foes of jihad violence against Israel and other states, and foes of Sharia oppression of women and others, exactly what Salam al-Marayati is doing to him now. Greenblatt could have used this as an occasion to wake up and realize how he is being played, and how the entire “Islamophobia” enterprise is a scam designed to intimidate people into fearing to oppose jihad terror, for fear of falling prey to what al-Marayati is doing to him now. But instead of having an original thought for the first time in his life, Greenblatt is doubling down, pleading with al-Marayati to accept him. Will it work? Almost certainly not, but it will likely lead the ADL to become even more anti-Israel than it is now.

“ADL: We’re proud of our record defending Jews — and Muslims,” by Jonathan A. Greenblatt, Forward, December 16, 2020:

As one of the oldest civil-rights organizations in the Jewish community, we’re not unaccustomed to criticism, even in the pages of one of America’s oldest Jewish news outlets. But the OpEd by Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which the Forward published on Tuesday morning, was illuminating about how certain quarters in our society desperately try to employ cancel culture to silence others. In this case, the author is trying to marginalize ADL and make support for the State of Israel disqualifying in pursuing civil rights for all Americans, including the Muslim-American community.

Al-Marayati argues that ADL is a source of “anti-Muslim” rhetoric and cannot be fully trusted as an ally in the fight for civil rights because of our support of the Jewish state. It is an argument taken from the playbook of a fringe smear campaign being run against ADL that, to its credit, MPAC has not signed his name to, but which he still chose to directly quote in his piece. Still, their campaign is wrong and without merit on a number of levels. It is also dangerous, creating a space where we as a Jewish organization are judged more for what we do or do not say about Israel than for all of the advocacy work we do here in the U.S. and abroad fighting for marginalized communities.

This is a common tactic in a smear campaign – narrow down a broader argument (in this case, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) into a singular, unfounded allegation (in this case, that ADL is Islamophobic because of our support for the Jewish State). But the allegation that ADL falls along the same side of Islamophobes is patently false….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Heads Up, Liberal Jews––Don’t Be Jews with Trembling Knees

“Don’t threaten us with cutting off your aid. It will not work. I am not a Jew with trembling knees. I am a proud Jew with 3,700 years of civilized history. Nobody came to our aid when we were dying in the gas chambers and ovens. Nobody came to our aid when we were striving to create our country. We paid for it. We fought for it. We died for it. We will stand by our principles. We will defend them. And, when necessary, we will die for them again, with or without your aid.”

Those words were spoken by Menachem Begin in June of 1982, directly to the Democrat senator from Delaware, Joe Biden, who had confronted the Israeli Prime Minister during his Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony by threatening to cut off aid to Israel.

That’s right, only 32 years after the establishment of the tiny Jewish state, which was surrounded by 22 war-mongering, Israel-loathing Arab states, and only 35 years after the Holocaust savagely murdered––tortured and gassed-to-death––six-million Jewish men, women, children and infants, Senator Biden was once again terrorizing the Jews of the world with his menacing ultimatum.

Not a fluke, not a misstatement, not an error in judgement, but vintage Joe Biden, whose longtime antagonism and belligerence toward Israel has been exhaustively documented, most recently by Shmuel Klatzkin (Biden’s Hostility to Israel––read the whole article) and Janet Levy in AmericanThinker.com (Is a Vote for Joe Biden in the Interest of American Jews?).

EXAMPLES ABOUND

Levy reports a number of the Obama-Biden regime’s consistent anti-Israel policies:

  • Interfered with the 2015 Israeli elections with the goal of defeating the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
  • Their State Department granted $350,000 to OneVoice, a radical anti-Israel organization that supports the terrorist group Hamas,
  • They fully supported the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to destroy Israel economically. 
  • In 2016, Biden pressured Ukraine, an abstainer, to vote for U.N. Security Council measure 2334, which claimed that ancient and historic Jewish sites were “illegally occupied.”
  • They approved the same U.N. measure, which condemned Israelis building settlements, which emboldened the Palestinian Authority to call for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea, Samaria, and the Jewish Quarter, reversing decades of U.S. vetoes against such moves.

Today, candidate Biden pledges to reopen the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) mission in Washington, D.C. And he vows, incomprehensibly, to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, in which the arch-terrorist state in the entire world has vowed to exterminate the State of Israel.

In addition, Levy points out that while Biden has given lip service to repudiating anti-Semitism, he has been thunderously silent when his fellow Democrats–– Reps. Ihlan Omar (MN), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Ayanna Pressley (MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and simpatico Jew-hating activists Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, et al––spew their undisguised anti-Semitic bile for all the world to hear.

Biden said he could never be silent on anti-Semitism,” Levy writes, “but raised no objections, as vice-president, to more than 60 White House visits by Al Sharpton, who incited anti-Jewish riots in New York City in the 1990s.” That’s the same Al Sharpton, I might add, who writer John Perazzo documents as being responsible for the horrific Tawana Brawley racial hoax, called the first black mayor of NY City a “Ni—er Whore,” delivered a speech at Kean College saying: We built pyramids before Donald Trump ever knew what architecture was … we taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.”

You get the picture of one of Joe Biden’s favorite pals.

LESSONS OF HISTORY

I was a very little girl––younger than six––when I first asked my parents why they were running frantically to meeting after meeting every evening, opening their checkbooks, delivering impassioned speeches, wringing their hands and shedding copious tears.

They told me what few American-Jewish parents ever told their children, so numb were they from disbelief and so eager to protect them from the ghastly truth, which was that adults and children just like them, just like us––six million of them––had been savagely murdered by Adolph Hitler and his “willing executioners” in Germany, Poland, all over Eastern Europe and even in “civilized” countries like France, simply because they were Jewish.

Jews who managed to flee Europe and come to America before the Holocaust––like my own and my husband Steve’s grandparents––and those who survived the killing camps and landed on our shores by sheer good fortune, thought they died and went to heaven on earth. For the first time in their lives––in fact, in Jewish history––they were free to breathe, to create, to pursue their dreams, to worship and to raise their children without fear.

Yes, there were quotas in colleges and graduate schools, Holocaust denial, and today an upsurge in Jew hatred, but nothing stopped Jews from succeeding and excelling and contributing disproportionately to American society and to the world, just as the Jews in Israel––only 72 years old––do today.

THE LEGACY OF PERSECUTION

But over 3,500 years of persecution exacts a heavy price. To understand, just think about the long-lasting toll the following events take:

  • A one-minute gunshot,
  • A two-hour bout of chemotherapy,
  • A three-week recovery from open-heart surgery,
  • A four-month lay-off,
  • An eight-month (so far) pandemic lockdown
  • A five-year recession.

All of the above are life-changing, diminishing, often devastating, sometimes annihilating.

Yet Jews continued on, their survival instinct stronger than the most crushing circumstances of their long and besieged history of being haunted, hunted and often destroyed in, among other cataclysmic events:

  • The Crusades.
  • The Inquisition.
  • The expulsion from Spain.
  • The Holocaust.
  • And always, the diaspora.

After the Holocaust, American Jews who followed politics––most did and do today––were forced to ask themselves, and taught their children to ask: Is it good for the Jews? Meaning, will this or that statement or policy or law lead to another Holocaust?

After all, the Jews of Europe in the 1930s and ‘40s enjoyed tremendous success––in business, academia, the arts and sciences, society in general. Unlike the United States today, every college and university did not feature violent anti-Jewish protests or professors who taught anti-Jewish propaganda. Until the rise of Hitler, there were no elected officials––as there are in the U.S. today––spewing Jew hatred, not only with no disapproval from the powers-that-be but with total impunity.

TO ASK THAT QUESTION TODAY

Is Biden’s candidacy good for the Jews? I can say unequivocally and without hesitation that scandal-plagued Joe Biden, his inexperienced and effortlessly alienating VP pick Kalamity Harris, the truly regressive Obama-clone platform he’s running on––including high taxes, a weakened military, the support of terrorist groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa, an anti-fracking return-to-energy-dependence, open borders, confiscation of your guns, and a viciously contentious relationship with Israel––would be terrible for America and disastrous for the Jewish state.

If you’re a liberal American Jew determined to pull the lever or mail a write-in ballot for Biden––don’t!

Don’t be a Jew with trembling knees. Your very survival and that of your family is at stake!

©Joan Swirsky. All rights reserved.

The Trump Administration’s Geopolitical Hat Trick

Sudan has become the third Arab country to agree to normalize relations with Israel. The Palestinians are most unhappy: “Palestinians condemn ‘shameful’ Israel-Sudan accord,” by Khaled Abu Toameh and Celia Jean, Jerusalem Post, October 24, 2020:

The Palestinian Authority said on Friday that it “condemns and rejects” the normalization of relations between Arab countries and Israel.

A statement by the PA presidency in Ramallah said that normalization with Israel is in violation of the Arab summit resolutions and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative….

Friday’s statement by the PA, however, did not accuse Sudan of betraying the Palestinians or stabbing the Palestinian people in the back, as was the case with the UAE and Bahrain.

Mahmoud Abbas has apparently figured out that the curses and insults that he and his cronies flung at the UAE and Bahrain when they normalized relations with Israel, did the Palestinians no good, but merely inflamed passions against them. With the Sudan, they’re trying a different, more-in-sorrow approach: How can you do this to us? Don’t you feel our pain?

“No one has the right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue,” the statement added. “The path to a just and comprehensive peace should be based on international law and legitimacy so as to end the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine and achieve independence for the Palestinian people in their state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 borders. The Palestinian leadership will take the necessary decisions to protect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

But Sudan did not arrogate to itself the “right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue.” It said nothing at all about the “Palestinians” in its agreement to normalize relations with Israel. It was only addressing, and promoting in two ways, its own national interest. First, to obtain this agreement, the U.S. has removed the Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. That will give it access to foreign investors, and to loans from the World Bank, the IMF, and other institutions. Second, Israel will be eager to prove to the Sudan that it made the right choice, by helping it where it most could use Israeli help: in agriculture. Israel is a world leader in drip irrigation, in wastewater management, and in solar energy, all of which could be of great help to Sudanese farmers.

While not in the official PA statement, Wasel Abu Youssef from the Palestinian Liberation Front, a small faction in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, said that Sudan joining “others who normalized ties with the state of the Israeli occupation represents a new stab in the back of the Palestinian people and a betrayal of the just Palestinian cause.”

“A new stab in the back”? Oh dear. It sounds as if Wasel Abu Youssef of the PLF did not get the memo from Mahmoud Abbas calling for a kinder, gentler approach to Sudan. This kind of charge only infuriated the UAE and Bahrain when it was made about them by the PA; the Sudanese are just as unlikely to be pleased to be described as back-stabbers. The Palestinians really ought to do a better job of coordinating their responses; this mixed-messaging will never do.

Abbas Zaki, a senior official of the ruling Fatah faction, said that Sudan would not gain anything from the normalization accord with Israel….

“Sudan would not gain anything from the normalization accord”? But Sudan has already gained something. It has been removed from the American list of state sponsors of terrorism; that removal will greatly improve Sudan’s ability to attract foreign investment, and will now enable Sudan to receive loans from the IMF, the World Bank, and other financial institutions that were previously impossible to obtain. And then there is the extensive Israeli aid that will be given to Sudanese farmers, just as soon as the agreement goes into effect. Abbas Zaki is whistling in the dark.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the agreement was “not compatible with Sudan’s record of supporting the Palestinians.”

But that “record of supporting the Palestinians” took place under the long and terrible rule of Omar al-Bashir, the dictator of Sudan from 1989 to 2019. Bashir was an ardent supporter of Hamas, allowing it to operate freely in the country. Bashir also gave refuge to Osama bin Laden, who lived securely in the Sudan for four years. The new regime in Sudan wants to end any hint of the country’s previous connection to terrorists; it wants to reconnect with the West, attract investors, and build its economy, especially agriculture. It has gotten nothing from its “record of supporting the Palestinians” except being placed on the list of state sponsors of terror. Now, by normalizing relations with Israel, it has already been taken off that list, allowing it to attract investors, be again eligible for foreign aid, and be able to obtain loans from major financial institutions such as the IMF. Israel is ready to share with Sudanese farmers the benefits of its expertise and advances in at least three key areas – solar energy, drip irrigation, and wastewater management – where it is a world leader.

PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] spokesman Daoud Shehab accused Sudan of presenting Israel with a “free gift” in order to appease the US.

“This is a black day in the history of Sudan,” Shehab added. “The agreement jeopardizes Sudan’s future and identity and is a betrayal of the Arabs and Muslims.”

The PIJ official expressed confidence that the Sudanese people would not accept this “betrayal.”…

It is Israel that will be giving gifts to the Sudan, in the form of aid to its agricultural sector. As for Shehab’s claim that the normalization agreement “jeopardizes Sudan’s future and identity,” since when did the Palestinians become the judges as to the “Arab” identity of others? Because the Sudanese are black, is there possibly an attempt here to hint at doubt as to their “Arab” identity unless they fall back into line with what the Palestinians demand? And what exactly was the “betrayal” by the Sudan? Did it owe the Palestinians anything? Have the Palestinians ever done anything for the Sudan, other than land the country on the list of state sponsors of terrorism?

There is certainly domestic opposition in the Sudan to this new agreement. But the opponents of normalization surely know that the Sudanese quid for that significant American quo was Sudan’s agreeing to normalize relations with Israel. And if they are willing to “give peace a chance,” they will find the new connection with Israel will pay ample dividends, for the Israelis want to make sure that the “early adopters” of normalization realize economic benefits quickly. In the case of Sudan, as bears repeating, that means Israeli help to Sudanese farmers, mainly by sharing Israeli advances in drip irrigation, in waste water management, and in solar energy.

Commending the agreement from the Arab world was Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who tweeted that he welcomed the joint efforts of all three states involved in the agreement.

He added that he also values “all efforts aimed at achieving regional stability and peace.”…

El-Sisi has for a long time been cooperating with Israel on security matters, especially against Jihadis in the Sinai and, naturally, against the Muslim Brotherhood that is the sworn enemy of his regime. He previously praised both the UAE and Bahrain for their normalization agreements with Israel. It is not surprising, but is still heartening, that the most populous Arab state, and Sudan’s immediate northern neighbor, has come out foursquare for the agreement.

The Palestinian Arabs continue to believe that they should have a veto power over the policy toward Israel of all the other Arabs. They seek to deny the Arab states the possibility of making their own arrangements with Israel, arrangements that further their own national interests. The UAE and Bahrain dismissed the Palestinian objections, and went ahead in normalizing relations with the Jewish state. They have had only curses and insults heaped on them by the Palestinians, which only makes them more determined to promote both economic and people-to-people ties with the Israelis – “a warm peace.” Meanwhile, the entire nation of Israel seems ready to make sure their new Arab interlocutors benefit from such normalization; Israeli businessmen, entrepreneurs, scientists, academics, and tourists have gone to the UAE and Bahrain, while Emiratis and Bahrainis are doing the same in the Jewish state. And now, to complete the Trump Administration’s geopolitical hat trick, Sudan has just become the third Arab state to announce its intention to normalize relations with Israel. Abbas rages in Ramallah, for he can do no other, and the caravan moves on.

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Trump: ‘Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal’

VIDEO: President Donald J. Trump announces Bahrain, Israel will normalize relations.


“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal – the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!”

This is extraordinary. Trump is achieving it by refusing to heed the conventional wisdom that has guided U.S. foreign policy into disaster after disaster for decades. I rated him very high in Rating America’s Presidents, and he keeps on vindicating me. But his defiance of the mainstream analysts and demonstration of their failures is one reason why they hate him with such passionate intensity.

“Bahrain agrees to normalize relations with Israel, Trump announces,” Jerusalem Post, September 11, 2020:

Bahrain has joined the United Arab Emirates in striking an agreement to normalize relations with Israel, President Donald Trump said on Friday, a dramatic move aimed at easing tensions in the Middle East.

Trump tweeted out the news after he spoke by phone to both Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said.

Trump also tweeted: “Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal – the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!”

“This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East,” the United States, Bahrain and Israel said in a joint statement.

“Opening direct dialog and ties between these two dynamic societies and advanced economies will continue the positive transformation of the Middle East and increase stability, security, and prosperity in the region,” it said.

Netanyahu says the agreement marks a “new era of peace.”…

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Harvard Hires PLO Executive to Mentor Students

Clarion discovers over $2.6 million in donations from the Palestinians to Harvard


Harvard University named Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat — who serves as secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) — as a fellow at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Erekat, a man who called random stabbing attacks on Israeli citizens by Palestinian terrorists “self-defense,” will be charged with mentoring students and giving seminars in the school’s “The Future of Diplomacy Project.”

PLO member Erekat is one of four new fellows appointed by the school to the project. Commenting on the appointments, faculty chair Nicholas Burns said that the new fellows “will strengthen our capacity to learn the lessons of effective diplomacy and statecraft.”

In the course of research to our new documentary film Covert Cash (see below), Clarion Project discovered that the Palestinian Authority (PA), which essentially serves as the governmental arm of the PLO, made six donations to Harvard between the years of 2017 and 2019. The donations totaled $2,625,000.

The film asks, among other questions, what type of return on their investments are these foreign governments getting from their donations to American universities?

Since its inception, the PA has pleaded poverty and solicited donations from the world community. As of December 2018, the U.S. government had given the Palestinian Authority $5 billion in taxpayer dollars since 1994 (post the Oslo Accords). The European Union is one of their largest funders of the PA as well. Besides being used to line the pockets of top PA executives, Israel maintains that a good portion of this donated money has been used for terror.

The Palestine Liberation Organization was founded in 1964 with the purpose of “liberating Palestine” through armed struggle. Most of the enormous amount of violence perpetrated by the group over the years has been aimed at Israeli civilians.

The PLO was considered by the United States to be a terrorist organization until the Madrid Conference in 1991.

In 1993, the PLO ostensibly recognized the right of Israel to exist, yet continued to perpetrate terror attacks against Israel. It coordinated those attacks during the 2000–2005 Second Intifada and afterwards with the Palestinian Authority, its governmental arm.

Erekat has been involved in every Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiation since 2000 – all failed endeavors (most likely due to the fact that he explicitly stated in a 2014 interview with Al Jazeera, “I will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state”).

Nevertheless, Erekat will now bring his “expertise” – both as a diplomatic and as the author of 14 books on foreign policy, oil, conflict resolution and negotiations – to Harvard, where students at one of the most prestigious foreign policy schools in the country will be educated by him.

More facts about Erekat:

  • In 2015, Erekat compared Israel to ISIS saying, “There is no difference between the terrorism practiced by the group led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Israel’s terrorism”
  • He called Israel’s expansion of settlements “terrorism” at a time when settlements had seen nearly zero physical expansion for 25 years. In negotiations with then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Erekat admitted that the settlements took up only 1.1 percent of the areas Palestinians wanted for a state
  • Erekat denies archaeological evidence of the Jewish history in Jerusalem
  • Erekat claimed his family had lived in Israel for 9,000 years, yet evidence shows that the family comes from the Huwait region of Arabia

EDITORS NOTE: This Clarion Project column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Decline of Christianity Since the Reformation

David Carlin: The decline of Christianity is found not just in those who claim no Christian faith, but also in those who claim to be liberal Christians.


Modern history (by which I mean the history of the western world since about the year 1500) tells many stories.  I suspect that these many stories are subplots in one big story, and for years I’ve been trying to guess what this one big story may be.  My guess (but it’s only a guess) is that the one big story is the story of how the western world has been trying to get rid of Christianity.

The story begins with the Protestant Reformation.  None of the reformers intended to do away with Christianity.  Just the opposite.  Regardless of anybody’s intentions, however, a divided Christianity would be easier to destroy than a united Christianity.

This divided Christianity led in the 16th and 17th centuries to the rise of skepticism, especially in France.  But skepticism, while it continues even to the present day to erode Christianity, is too purely negative a thing to replace the old faith.  And a replacement is needed.  You can’t just get rid of Christianity and leave the world with nothing to believe in.

Skepticism was succeeded by a more positive thing in the 18th century, Deism, which professed to hold on to the good elements of Christianity (afterlife, morality, etc.) while getting rid of its bad elements.  But Deism was too “thin” a thing to replace Christianity.  Besides, it stopped well short of the ultimate aim of anti-Christianity, namely the complete eradication of the old religion.

Deism helped bring about the French Revolution, which showed for the first time that a powerful state could be used as a tremendous anti-Christianity machine.

In the second half of the 19th century, there was a great intellectual movement on behalf of agnosticism.  But agnosticism was simply another name for the old skepticism, still too negative a thing to get the anti-Christianity job done.

In the 20th century, two gigantic anti-Christianity movements took the stage, and each of them came to control an enormously powerful state: Nazism and Communism.  The former intended to get rid of Christianity while thinly disguising its intention; it deceived many Christians who wanted to be deceived.  The latter didn’t stoop to disguise; it was quite frank about its intention.  Both of them did great damage to Christianity, and when they failed (Nazism in 1945, Russian Communism in 1991) they left behind them a Christianity that had been greatly weakened.

In the postwar period (1945-present) the western liberal democracies (U.S.A., U.K., France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain [after Franco], Portugal [after Salazar]) have been subject to a non-statist kind of anti-Christianity.  These countries all experienced, some of them sooner, some of them later, the growth of an anti-Christianity public sentiment.

These countries all experienced the gradual asphyxiation of Christianity by the gradual growth of anti-Christian feelings.  For decades the state played little or no part in this smothering process – though this has changed recently.

This liberal-democratic, anti-Christianity got a tremendous boost beginning in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the coming of the sexual revolution.  This “revolution” was about sex – but it was about much more than sex.  Sexual restraint and even downright chastity had been an essential element of Christianity from its beginning in the first century AD.  Get rid of Christian sex morality, and you’re well on your way to getting rid of Christianity altogether.

Once the average person decides that Christianity has been wrong about fornication, adultery, homosexuality, abortion, etc. for almost 2,000 years, it will be relatively easy for that person to believe that Christianity has also been wrong about many other things – including all the articles of the Nicene Creed.

Many would-be Christians – I have in mind “liberal” Catholics and Protestants – believe it is possible to have a “new and improved” Christianity that embraces and endorses the values of the sexual revolution.  They are mistaken – as certain a priori considerations should have persuaded them decades ago, and as experience has abundantly demonstrated over the last fifty years.

Throughout the western world (the world that used to be called Christendom), including the United States, Christianity is in steep decline today.  Evidence of this decline is found not just in those who claim no Christian faith (the “Nones”).  It is also found in those who claim to be liberal Christians – which means that they have dropped most of Christianity’s orthodox “baggage.”  And it is also found in those who, while claiming to be orthodox, really don’t take their orthodoxy seriously.

Two questions:

  1. Does one have to be an atheist to be anti-Christianity? Strictly speaking, no. For instance, the Deists of the 18th century were anti-Christianity without being atheists.  But if you want to get rid of Christianity, it helps to be an atheist.  A lot, because atheism is the most thoroughgoing kind of anti-Christianity.  If you want to get rid of the old religion, why not go all the way?  Why not destroy the very foundation of Christianity?
  2. Does one have to be a supporter of abortion to be counted among the haters of Christianity? Yes. For the right to abortion – and not just the legal right but the moral right as well – is essential to the sexual revolution.  If we don’t have abortion as a back-up when mistakes are made or accidents happen, how can we have a moral regime of sexual freedom?

Practically speaking, we can’t.  Think about it.  If abortion were to be banned throughout America, the next thing you know we’d have people recommending chastity.  And once people recommend chastity, guess what? – they’ll start recommending Christianity.

Well, we can’t have that, can we?  And therefore we must make sure that abortion is legal and is considered to be morally unobjectionable.  Indeed we must make it a praiseworthy thing – the kind of thing which, like public education and police and fire protection, everybody who needs it should have free of charge.

For what it’s worth, that’s my reading of the last 500 years.

David Carlin

David Carlin is a retired professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.

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EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

We’re All on the Frontlines Now

Robert Royal: The BLM-Antifa “uprising” is following the Marxist playbook. To end it, we need to stop its infiltration into schools and media.


A shrewd woman (to whom I happen to be married) recently read me some passages from an old news story about the re-naming of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, given to writers of children’s books: “’This decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness,’” the Association for Library Service to Children said in a statement after the unanimous vote.”

The town librarian used to be the enforcer of “community standards” by preventing unsuitable material from falling into adolescent – or anyone’s – hands. And even in demanding good behavior, as per “The Music Man”:

For the civilized world accepts as unforgivable sin
Any talking out loud with any librarian
Such as Marian . . . Madam Librarian.

He/she still is an enforcer, but now – despite talk of “inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness” – pushes Heather Has Two Mommies, proudly defends “drag-queen” story-hours that would make any normal child run screaming, and polices the literature of past, present, and future (certain books never get published for fear of running afoul of her/him).

People talk a lot about “cultural Marxism” now. I don’t know exactly what to make of the expression because during the Cold War some of us actually studied Marxism and its rigid tenets, which serious Marxists regarded as “scientific.” Marx himself would have looked askance at much of what falls under that rubric today. He had, for example, a rather low view of the non-white races – on the basis of the settled science of his time. Curiously, though there are statues of Marx all over Europe, none have been torn down recently.

For Marx, “scientific” history also predicted that Communism would emerge in the advanced nations, not in relatively backward places like Russia and China, which did not yet have the proper “objective” conditions. The revolution would occur in advanced capitalist nations that would so impoverish the masses that they would rise up in huge numbers and easily displace the exploiters.

Recent protesters are not a fulfillment of this fantasy. The vast majority of the people protesting (and even rioting) are not destitute or exploited. They live well compared to most human beings throughout history, at least materially. There’s a reason why Europe and America have to restrict the vast numbers of people – usually “people of color” from Africa and Latin America – who would like to enter despite alleged racism and prejudice. And everyone with a modicum of sense knows it.

So I get the anti-capitalism of the Marxists who founded the Black Lives Matter Movement; I don’t much get the “cultural Marxism” of BLM, which attacks “systemic” racism and promotes LGBTQ as if it were a natural part of Marxist thought.

I know something, however, about what serious Marxists have thought about “culture.” The most prominent of those figures, Antonio Gramsci, if he were alive today, might run with the pack against orthodox Marxism. But he’s enlightening nonetheless.

Gramsci knew the crucial importance of what he called una cultura capillare – “a capillary culture” that, like the capillaries in the body, would carry the revolution into every nook and cranny of society. He gauged – correctly – that you couldn’t defeat democratic liberty directly. It was just too powerful and entrenched.

Gramsci argued – shrewdly – that what was needed was something like what the Jesuits of the Catholic Counter-Reformation were able to achieve by developing and deploying an educational system that formed people in all the crucial cultural institutions. If Marian the Librarian (and all the main institutions to which she is attached) is Catholic, there’s no need for a frontal assault. The revolution imposes itself as a natural consequence.

Just think of the mental revolutions it took for a library association devoted to promoting children’s books to use words affirming its “core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness.” In normal times, those words point to goods to be celebrated and pursued. These are not normal times.

“Inclusiveness” does not mean adding voices that might want to raise legitimate questions about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s perspectives on minorities. It means using the old Marxist tactic of portraying others as “class enemies” and airbrushing them out of the picture. Including requires excluding.

“Respect,” in similar Marxist fashion, means judging who is worthy of respect on puritanical ideological grounds. So “respect” is to be shown to Native Americans and Blacks, who – to be clear – deserve it merely as our fellow human beings, whatever their individual foibles or the shortcoming of their “cultures.” Laura Ingalls Wilder, however, and the culture of her day, don’t get – don’t warrant – the same “respect,” whatever their shortcomings.

Once this process gets going in the library, school (and school board), university, media, HR department, even some churches, we are well on the way to what Gramsci knew would produce a revolution almost impossible to reverse.

Almost, because there’s nothing that stops us from carrying out a counter-revolution like what the Jesuits of another age were able to carry out.

Politics is important in this counterrevolution, to be sure. We are in an election year and TCT will be discussing some of the crucial questions for Catholics – and others – in coming months. (As a non-profit, we can neither support nor oppose candidates as such.) One thing we will constantly maintain, however, is that any candidate who is to be taken seriously must affirm the rule of law and denounce violence, whoever the perpetrator.

Barack Obama, the most prominent black leader in America at present, could have done all Americans a service in recent days by speaking out against riot and looting – even if he may have wished to support protests. It’s on such fundamental public distinctions that our future depends.

But the politics will fail if that’s all we do – if we neglect the day-to-day “capillary” efforts that we each have to make, in whatever place we find ourselves.

We’re all on the frontlines now.

Robert Royal

Dr. Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2020 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Nancy Pelosi Claims Israeli ‘Annexation’ Will Harm American Security Interests

The story of her astonishing claim is at the Jerusalem Post here:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that she is “concerned” about a possible Israeli move to annex parts of the West Bank.

“Unilateral annexation puts the future at risk and undermines US national security interests,” she said in a webinar hosted by the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA). “It undermines our national security interests and decades of bipartisan policy. We always want it to be bipartisan,” she continued.

The extension of Israel’s sovereignty to the “West Bank” – the name Jordan gave in 1950 to those parts of Judea and Samaria it had managed to hold onto during the 1948-49 war – is based on the Palestine Mandate itself. That Mandate assigned to the future Jewish state all of the land from Mt. Hermon in the north, to the Red Sea in the south, and from the Jordan River in the west, to the Mediterranean in the east. At the end of Arab-Israeli hostilities in 1949, the Jordanian army remained in possession of part of Judea and Samaria; Jordan renamed that territory the “West Bank” in order to efface the Jewish connection to the land, much as the Romans nearly 2000 years before had replaced the name “Judea” with “Palestine.” When Israel took possession of the “West Bank” after the Six-Day War, this did not create its legal, historic, and moral claim to land where Jews had lived for 3,500 years, but allowed the Jewish state to finally enforce its preexisting claim.

A second, and independent source for the Jewish claim to extend its sovereignty to a considerable part of the “West Bank” is U.N. Resolution 242.

The chief drafter of Resolution 242 was Lord Caradon (Hugh M. Foot), the permanent representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations from 1964-1970. At the time of the Resolution’s discussion and subsequent unanimous passage, and on many occasions since, Lord Caradon always insisted that the phrase “from the territories” quite deliberately did not mean “all the territories,” but merely some of the territories:

Much play has been made of the fact that we didn’t say “the” territories or “all the” territories. But that was deliberate. I myself knew very well the 1967 boundaries and if we had put in the “the” or “all the” that could only have meant that we wished to see the 1967 boundaries perpetuated in the form of a permanent frontier. This I was certainly not prepared to recommend.

On another occasion, to an interviewer from the Journal of Palestine Studies (Spring-Summer 1976), he again insisted on the deliberateness of the wording. He was asked:

The basis for any settlement will be United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, of which you were the architect. Would you say there is a contradiction between the part of the resolution that stresses the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and that which calls for Israeli withdrawal from “occupied territories,” but not from “the occupied territories”?

Nota bene: “from territories occupied” is not the same thing as “from occupied territories” – the first is neutral, the second a loaded description. Lord Caradon answered:

“I defend the resolution as it stands. What it states, as you know, is first the general principle of inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. That means that you can’t justify holding onto territory merely because you conquered it. We could have said: well, you go back to the 1967 line. But I know the 1967 line, and it’s a rotten line. You couldn’t have a worse line for a permanent international boundary. It’s where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948. It’s got no relation to the needs of the situation.

“Had we said that you must go back to the 1967 line, which would have resulted if we had specified a retreat from all the occupied territories, we would have been wrong.”

Note how Lord Caradon says that “you can’t justify holding onto territory merely because you conquered it,” with that “merely” applying to Jordan, but not to Israel, because of the Mandate’s explicit provisions allocating the territory known now as the “West Bank” to the Jewish state. Note, too, the firmness of his dismissal of the 1967 lines as nothing more than “where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948,” that is, nothing more than armistice lines and not internationally recognized borders.

Does Speaker Pelosi understand the legal, historic, and moral claims of Israel to Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the “West Bank)”? Does she understand the intent of the Mandate for Palestine, in recognizing those claims, and does she have a firm understanding of the territory that was included by the League of Nations in that Mandate? Does she comprehend, as well, the meaning of U.N. Resolution 242, which allows Israel to make territorial adjustments to ensure its own security? Is she aware that an American military mission, sent to Israel by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the orders of President Johnson, to study what territories, at a minimum, Israel would have to retain after the Six-Day War, reported back that Israel would need to keep the Jordan Valley and parts of the West Bank in order to slow down, or prevent, a possible invasion force from the east that could cut Israel in two at its narrowest point; within the 1949 armistice lines, Israel was only nine miles wide from Qalqilya to the sea.

Would comprehending the Mandate for Palestine (especially the Preamble, and Articles 4 and 6), and U.N. Resolution 242, make a difference to Nancy Pelosi? Would she be less quick to lecture Israel on not annexing territory in the West Bank, if she knew Israel had a perfect right to that territory – the Jordan Valley and the settlements – according to both the Mandate, and U.N. Resolution 242?

Pelosi’s bizarre claim is that any Israel “annexation” of territory would “harm America’s national security interests.” She has it exactly backwards. Any annexation by Israel of territory to which it is entitled, and which will increase the Jewish state’s ability to protect itself, will contribute to American national security. Deprived of control of the Jordan Valley, forced to surrender some of its settlements, Israel would be much more vulnerable to attack. And though Israel has never asked for a single American soldier to help defend it, unlike several Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, if it is squeezed back into something like the 1949 armistice lines – i.e., the pre-1967 lines which Abba Eban famously described as “the lines of Auschwitz” — that could make more likely the need, in some future war, for Israel to request American help. That’s not something either Israel, or America, wants. And if Israel were to be squeezed back into something like the 1949 armistice lines, and as a consequence was in danger, in case of war, of being cut in two by an invader from the East, does anyone doubt that if the Israelis ever felt their national survival was at stake, they would use some of their nuclear weapons as a last resort. Does Pelosi want to make such a possibility more likely?

Nancy Pelosi claims that Israel’s annexation of land in the West Bank will harm America’s national security interests; she has things backwards. The better able Israel is to defend itself, the less likely that it will ever have to ask for American aid. And what about the Arab states? Would they be angry with the United States if Israel held onto most or even all of the West Bank? We know that while the member states of the Arab League, for public consumption, have deplored Israeli “annexation,” behind the scenes several of these same states have expressed their support, more muted in some cases than in others, for the Trump Deal of the Century which allows for that Israeli annexation. The ambassadors of three Arab states — Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE – in a sign of support even attended the White House ceremony in which the Trump Plan was rolled out. Though Jordan has denounced any “annexation,” privately Jordanian officials have said they do not want the Palestinians to control the West Bank, for they fear a possible alliance of Palestinians on both sides of the Jordan against the Hashemite monarchy. Two other important Arab states, Egypt and, especially, Saudi Arabia, have lost interest in the “Palestinians” – Crown Prince Muhammad angrily told Mahmoud Abbas to “take whatever deal” he can that the Americans offer – and are more interested in Israeli help, including the sharing of its intelligence with them, in combating Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. When the Israelis were about to annex the Golan Heights, it was predicted that all hell would break loose in the Arab countries. Nothing happened. When Trump decided to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, we were again warned that Arabs and Muslims would be inflamed. Again nothing of the sort occurred.

Now we are being assured that if Israel annexes the Jordan Valley and the settlements, the Arabs will this time really rise up. Why should we believe it? Even in the West Bank, where Mahmoud Abbas insists he has now torn up all agreements with Israel, on the ground there is still security cooperation between the P.A. and Israel. On May 20 it was reported that an unnamed senior Palestinian official sent messages to the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service saying that some coordination would continue and that the Palestinian security organizations will continue to do their best to foil terror attacks against Israel. Even if cooperation really is ended, the official vowed that terror groups will not be permitted to act freely in areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority. So there is a lot less to Abbas’s threats to “end all cooperation with Israel” than meets the eye. Abbas knows how valuable is the intelligence the P.A. receives from Israel on its deadly rivals Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and their operatives in the West Bank. Will he really want to do without Israeli assistance that on several occasions has even helped to foil plots to murder him and his cronies?

What should Nancy Pelosi in decency do? She should study the Palestine Mandate and its maps. She should remember that even though the League of Nations dissolved in 1946, its successor organization, the United Nations, included in its Charter Article 80 (called the “Jewish people’s article”), which recognized the continuing validity of the Mandate for Palestine. And finally, she should study the text of U.N. Resolution 242, and the authoritative explanation of that text by its main drafter, Lord Caradon. Only when she has thoroughly digested the meaning of both the U.N. Resolution 242 and of the Mandate for Palestine, will she have earned the right to comment on what Israel “should” or “must” do.

She might then say, for example, that “I am well aware that Israel has a right to keep the entire West Bank if it so wishes. I do not challenge that right. But I challenge its wisdom. Wouldn’t it be better to keep the territories Israel currently controls, without a formal annexation that will merely serve to roil the Arab world?” I still think she’d be wrong, but at least she would no longer be outrageously, offensively, intolerably wrong.

The Speaker told participants that Democrats are taking “a great pride” in former president Barack Obama’s memorandum of understanding, which provides Israel with $38 billion worth of security assistance over a decade. “That’s our commitment. And we continue to have that,” she said. “It was signed in 2016 to help Israel defend itself in a variety of ways. And we stand committed to that, but we’re very concerned about what we see happening in terms of annexation.”

“I’m not a big fan of the Palestinian leadership in terms of their capability to be good negotiating partners,” she added. “I wish they could be better. But I think that everybody can be doing better in terms of that.” She also sent a barb to the Trump administration’s peace plan, saying that it has “nothing in common with the word peace or plan.”

Pelosi is “not a big fan of the Palestinian negotiating partners in terms of their capability to be good negotiating partners”? That’s a historic understatement. Mahmoud Abbas for the last twelve years refused outright to engage in any negotiations with Israel. He’s not been a “negotiating partner” at all. And in 2008, when he negotiated for the first and last time with the Israelis, he refused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s offer of 94% of the West Bank, together with Israeli territory equivalent to 5.8% of the West Bank, and on top of that, Olmert also offered to relinquish Israeli control of the Old City to an international body. Abbas refused, and walked out. Pelosi should have told the truth: the Palestinians have shown themselves completely unwilling to seriously engage in negotiations with the Israelis.

Pelosi’s brusque dismissal of Trump’s peace plan — it has, she said, “nothing in common with the word peace or plan” – is intolerable. It is the first American effort that, had it been accepted, would have led to the creation of a Palestinian state, one which would include 97% of all the Palestinians living in the West Bank. For the first time in their history, the Palestinians would have a state. What’s more, according to the Trump Plan, the Palestinians would be given two large swathes of territory in Israel’s Negev, along the border with Egypt, to compensate for territory taken by Israel – as is its right under the Mandate – in the West Bank. Further, Gaza would be directly linked to the West Bank part of “Palestine” by traffic corridors. An enormous effort went into the Administration’s constructing a viable Arab state, consisting of contiguous territories in the West Bank where 97% of the Palestinians now live, and from which they would not have to move. Speaker Pelosi should look at all the work that went into carving out this state before so airily dismissing it.

Finally, in what is surely the most generous offer of aid in history, the Trump Administration promised that international donors would provide the state of Palestine with $50 billion dollars in aid; by comparison, the Marshall Plan allotted a total of $60 billion (in 2020 dollars) not for just one but for sixteen countries. Why does Nancy Pelosi say this carefully worked-out effort was not a “plan”? Has she looked at the maps, and seen with what care the Trump Administration managed to ensure that 97% of the Palestinians now in the West Bank would be included, in contiguous territories forming the state of Palestine, while 97% of the Israelis in the West Bank would be included, without having to move, in the state of Israel. It was a real feat of boundary-drawing. And why does Pelosi say the Trump Plan has nothing to do with “peace” when that is its main goal, to keep the peace between Palestinians and Israelis, by means of both the statehood and the prosperity– that $50 billion in aid — promised to the Palestinians, and through the demilitarization that would be required of the future state of “Palestine”?

American national security interests will not be harmed but enhanced if Israel and the Palestinians make peace, based on the Trump Plan, and if the Palestinians achieve a level of prosperity in their own state that they would not wish to endanger through war, while Israel’s deterrent power is increased by its permanent control, through annexation, of West Bank territories, and especially of the Jordan Valley, that can help prevent or slow down an invasion from the East. There may be a brief display of displeasure from the Arab street, if the Trump Plan is accepted, but in the corridors of power in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, and Oman, there will be quiet satisfaction that the Trump Plan has put paid to Palestinian irredentism, given the Palestinians a state of their own, and imposed demilitarization on that state. Israel, more secure than ever, can continue to help them deal with their real worries – the Muslim Brotherhood, the assorted terror groups including Hezbollah (Iran’s proxy), and Hamas (which is merely a branch of the Brotherhood), and above all, Iran.

It is difficult for many Democrats to admit that something good might actually come out of the White House, where they long ago consigned its occupant to the outer darkness. And who has the time to read all that stuff – the Mandate for Palestine, U.N. Resolution 242, Article 80 of the U.N. Charter – or learn about the history of the non-existent negotiations between Mahmoud Abbas and several different Israeli leaders? Who has the time to find out what the Arab leaders really want, which is not always what they say they want? It’s a lot to ask. But try, Speaker Pelosi. Just try.

COLUMN BY

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

Illinois: Muslim who slashed tires at churches and said ‘I don’t like Christians’ now tries to burn occupied church

“In November 2019, prosecutors said that El Hannouny slashed the tires of 19 cars in the parking lots of the First Baptist and Sts. Helen and Constantine churches. Upon his arrest, he told authorities that he damaged the cars because, “I don’t like Christians,” according to police. Hate crime charges were added in January, and he was released on a $10,000 I-bond with electronic monitoring.”

We see how well that worked. Officials did not and would never dare to address the root causes of El-Hannouny’s hatred, and so he was free to act upon it again. When arrested this time, he didn’t show any sign of remorse: “While El Hannouny was being processed, police said he started spitting at officers, reports said. El Hannouny also wrote a religious slur on the wall of his cell.” Yet he will soon be free again, and will almost certainly target yet another church.

“Man Accused of Trying To Burn Down Occupied Church,” by Lorraine Swanson, Patch, April 16, 2020 (thanks to the Geller Report):

PALOS HILLS, IL — A Palos Hills man already facing hate crime and criminal damage charges is now accused of trying to set fire to an occupied church, reports said. Osama E. El Hannouny, 25, appeared Wednesday before a Cook County judge on charges of arson, hate crimes, criminal damage to property, battery to a police officer and violation of bail bond.

In November 2019, prosecutors said that El Hannouny slashed the tires of 19 cars in the parking lots of the First Baptist and Sts. Helen and Constantine churches. Upon his arrest, he told authorities that he damaged the cars because, “I don’t like Christians,” according to police. Hate crime charges were added in January, and he was released on a $10,000 I-bond with electronic monitoring.

On April 14, police said El Hannouny used leaves to set fire to Sacred Heart Church, 8245 W. 111th St. According to the police report, El Hannouny was caught on video looking through the doors of the church building and noticing that it was occupied. Police said he made numerous trips to pile leaves near the gas main and air conditioning unit. El Hannouny allegedly set the leaves on fire, but firefighters quickly extinguished the flames.

While El Hannouny was being processed, police said he started spitting at officers, reports said. El Hannouny also wrote a religious slur on the wall of his cell, according to the report. El Hannouny allegedly scratched, bit and spit at police when they tried to stop him….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Notre Dame prof hails Islamic law, asks international law judges to consider “referring to parts of Sharia”

“Notre Dame’s Emilia Justyna Powell, an associate professor of political science and concurrent associate professor of law, an expert in both international law and the Islamic legal tradition, traveled to many Muslim-majority nations to research how the two systems work together in practice.”

Now Powell is on a mission to teach Westerners that Sharia is similar to international law and in some ways superior. For this dubious endeavor she is lavishly featured in the Notre Dame University newspaper. Powell’s canvassing for Sharia has led her to ask “some international court judges” if they “would ever consider referring to parts of the Sharia.”

Powell’s interest in researching Islamic law further is driven, in part, by the bias she sees toward Western law to the point of absolute exclusion of any facets of Islamic law in international law. In fact, some international court judges she interviewed were irritated when she asked if they would ever consider referring to parts of Sharia. “Out of all the religions of the world, we’ve contributed to a large-scale misunderstanding of their legal tradition,” Powell said. “Islamic law and international law share many more similarities than they are given credit for.”

Powell’s skewed view of the Sharia is deceptive, propagandistic and dangerous. There is no comparison between international law (which is democracy-based) and Sharia (which is authoritarian and discriminatory). The violence, human rights abuses and murders committed throughout history in the name of Islam are not an aberration. They are reflections of normative Islam, fully backed by Islamic jurisprudence, which teaches the murder of apostates and gays, the conquest and subjugation of infidels, and the inferiority of women, including the head coverings (Quran 24:31, Quran 33:59) about which Powell fallaciously rambles.  The arrogance displayed by Powell is also an affront to Muslim dissidents who face (and experience) imprisonment (and worse) for opposing the human rights abuses sanctioned by Islamic law. Powell’s potential influence on the young minds who must listen to her propaganda in the classroom is concerning. And she is not unique; in fact, in many colleges and universities today, she is the norm.

“Islamic law and international law share many similarities, Notre Dame Professor says,” by Colleen Sharkey, Notre Dame News, April 8, 2020:

The very term Sharia conjures negative images in the minds of many Westerners, in part due to its association with extremist groups. However, an in-depth look at Islamic law, as practiced in the vast majority of Muslim-majority countries, reveals that it is interpreted in different ways depending on the country, its culture and the very people conducting the interpretation.

Notre Dame’s Emilia Justyna Powell, an associate professor of political science and concurrent associate professor of law, an expert in both international law and the Islamic legal tradition, traveled to many Muslim-majority nations to research how the two systems work together in practice. Her findings were published earlier this year in the volume Islamic Law and International Law: Peaceful Resolution of Disputes.

Powell uses the differences in how women dress in various Muslim-majority countries as an analogy for the various interpretations of Sharia.

“A perfect visualization is women’s head coverings. The Taliban encourages women to cover top to bottom, not even showing the eyes. In Saudi Arabia, sometimes eyes are visible but not much else,” she said. “I was recently in Bahrain where I witnessed a new trend: Women are unzipping their abayas and you can see Western-influenced clothing underneath like jeans, ruffles and lace. Many women don’t wear the hijab scarf there and some only wear it halfway on. But who’s to say which is correct? Bahrain is no less Islamic than Saudi Arabia, for example, just different. People in all Muslim-majority countries interpret and, thus, practice the Muslim faith differently.”

International law itself is based on a broad set of norms agreed upon by people from many different nations and cultures. It is also heavily based on Western law which, itself, has deep roots in Christianity — a religion that originated at a time when Roman law was already well established. “Islam, on the other hand, had no a priori legal system to work with other than unwritten tribal customs,” Powell writes. And, while international law has moved to a more secular model, Islamic law remains based in the writings of the Quran and the sunna as well as ijma (judicial consensus) and qiyas (analogical reasoning).

“However, disconcerting the dissonance between the Islamic legal tradition and international law may appear, there are more similarities between these two legal systems than the policy world and the scholarship take into account,” she writes.

By its broad nature, international law allows for interpretation based on norms in individual countries. And many Muslim-majority states have their own declaration of human rights, she notes.

“Sometimes international law promotes the peaceful resolution of disputes, but does not give specific rules or cite specific laws for how to do so. Countries can mediate, peacefully, via negotiation in compliance with international law. Sometimes Muslim-majority countries will also sign international treaties but place restrictions on them — what are technically called ‘reservations.’”

For example, some Muslim-majority countries use reservations to remove “freedom of religion” clauses, because their religion is inextricably part of their culture, with the assumption (often part of the country’s own understanding of human rights) that many of their citizens are all Muslim. In this way, Powell says, they are complying with some international norms but allowing for their identity to remain intact.

Powell also examines how Muslim-majority nations in different geographical areas use Sharia and work within the international law framework. In general, Powell finds that if an ILS (Islamic Law State) country has a secular court system and their constitution mentions peaceful resolutions of disputes, they possess a more favorable attitude toward international courts.

“The Islamic milieu is not a monolith. In each of the ILS, secular law and Islamic law coalesce to create a unique legal framework. Every one of the ILS is different in how it negotiates the relationship between these two legal forces — the religious and the secular — along with their respective differences in socio-demographic and political characteristics. Historically, every one of the ILS has worked out its own unique answers to the question of the balance of Islamic law and secular law,” she writes.

The examples Powell gathered through interviews shed light on the cultural and religious lenses through which many Muslims view courts….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.