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Why the Democratic Rust Belt in Northeastern Pennsylvania voted for Trump

The Weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), November 12-13, 2016 presented the latest in a series of articles on The Great Unraveling.   Formerly Democratic rust belt counties, devastated by economic and social decline that swung the electoral victory for President-elect Donald Trump, “The Places that Made Trump President.”  The WSJ characterized these areas as:

Rust Belt counties facing declines in manufacturing, shrinking populations, rising immigration and fraying social fabric moved heavily toward the Republican candidate and his message of national restoration

This latest in the WSJ series dealt with counties in the devastated hard coal and industrial areas of Northeastern Pennsylvania from Scranton south from the New York Line on I-81 across the Delaware River along the spine of the Poconos.   We knew the area well from stops on our journey south to Florida in Wilkes Barre, Hazelton and Saylorville, where former all of Islamist Turkish President Erdogan, Sheikh Fetulleh Gulen is ‘holed up’ in his compound.

We asked two cousins, former residents of the area, American ex-pat in Paris, France, noted European commentator and author Nidra Poller and lawyer activist, Debra Glazer in Irvine, California for their recollections of growing up in these Northeastern Pennsylvania rustbelt communities.

Nidra Poller

I had the privilege of experiencing the Great Depression! Though I was born in 1935, the Depression had never ended in Jessup, PA. They distributed very small apples to the schoolchildren (and I always prefer very small apples) and caned grapefruit. Those who came from affluent families brought their own sugar to sweeten the grapefruit.

We had so few material possessions… young people today couldn’t even imagine how we lived. And we had a store! I suppose we belonged to the middle class.

Our mother z”l (if blessed memory) made my clothes…turning my father’s worn out suits into itchy tweed and his shirts into blouses.

We’ll see what the dispossessed voters of 2016 think in 2019. Can a president, Trump or otherwise, undo the consequences of the entire postwar economic and social development of the US?

Debra Glazer

All through the 1970s and even into the 1980s, I would do much of my clothing; shoe and purse shopping at the various outlets in town (remember Leslie Fay, London Fog, Suburban Casuals, Old Mill, David Crystal Izod, and Rex Shoes?). My mother and I (and my cousins) spent hours going from place to place, stretching from Dickson City, Scranton, and down to Wilkes-Barre. These were real no-frills outlets, often times situated within the factory walls, with merchandise that had mostly tiny imperfections or that were a season old. All those sewing and piece goods jobs disappeared to China and elsewhere.

Then Scranton launched into the telemarketing craze. Many of those annoying dinner-time calls originated from workers sitting in the old, converted Globe, Scranton Dry Goods, or Samters downtown department stores, until the FCC intervened (thankfully) with the do-not-call lists.

When I was a young girl, Scranton had over 100,000 populations, with a strong and large Jewish community, a spanking JCC and many thriving synagogues.  Today, it’s mostly the Orthodox Jewish community that is holding its own, while the other Jewish denominations in town suffer from an aging membership. Almost all of my Jewish high school friends are no longer in Scranton, as there was little for those of us without family businesses to come back to after college.  The overall population dwindled, the poorly educated or blue-collar workers stayed behind, city services crumbled, bankruptcy loomed from time to time, and corruption reigned in NE PA.  Although Scranton boasts several decent universities (the Jesuit University of Scranton and the Catholic Marywood College), those institutions expanded their campuses while causing the erosion of the property tax base. It was really sad for me to go back home when I would visit my aging parents. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Avoca Airport is a gorgeous building, built with loads of federal funds, but almost no airlines service there and if they do, flights are often canceled at the last minute. If one really needs to get somewhere, one is usually forced to drive to Newark, Philadelphia, NY, or even Allentown airports.

So yes, I can see that those folks I grew up with were the backbone of the Trump victory, maybe less so in Scranton because of the Hillary and Biden connections, but still much more than expected in this Democratic stronghold.

Here are selections from the latest WSJ article on what motivated the residents of the rust belt counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania to vote for President-elect Donald Trump in 2016:

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Tamika Shupp twice voted for Barack Obama as the candidate best equipped to shake up Washington. This year she chose Donald Trump for the same reason.

“Obama tried to do well, and it didn’t turn out how we thought,” said Ms. Shupp as she prepared Polish dumplings at Mom & Pop’s Pierogis in this Rust Belt city. Mr. Trump should do better, she figures, by cracking down on illegal immigration and upholding American values like hard work.

Mr. Trump “is going to be another Obama,” said the 43-year-old Ms. Shupp. She considers both men to be agents of change. As for the crude remarks Mr. Trump made during the campaign, especially concerning women, Ms. Shupp said she dismissed them as bragging and “shoptalk,” and she didn’t believe the women who accused him of sexual assault.

[…]

Foreign competition largely wiped out the area’s dress and shoe industries. Many in the county bitterly remember pencil maker Eberhard Faber moving a plant to Mexico in the mid-1980s and other manufacturers closing factories. A plan in the mid-2000s to capitalize on computer-network technology and turn the county into “Wall Street West” proved a bust after few financial firms moved back-office processing to the area. The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce is hatching a new plan to attract businesses by involving the local colleges in recruitment efforts, but the program is too new to have much effect so far.

The unemployment rate in Luzerne County, now 6.2%, has generally exceeded the national average since 2000, and manufacturing employment in the county is down by around one-third since 2000. Many of the jobs that remain are low-wage service ones in local hospitals, colleges, chain restaurants and stores. Median income, after accounting for inflation, has been flat in Luzerne County since 2000.

Young people are leaving the region in search of jobs elsewhere, leaving an older, more conservative group of voters. In Luzerne, the population has remained steady since 2000, at about 320,000, but the number of people age 25 to 44 fell by about 10,000, according to Moody’sAnalytics.

The weak economy has, over the decades, contributed to a tattering of the county’s social fabric. Church attendance is down since 2000, opioid addiction is up, and civic organizations like the Rotary Club and the Masons have trouble recruiting young members, say local residents. Of the four Evangelical Lutheran churches in Wilkes-Barre in 2000, says Rev. Peter Kuritz of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, one closed and two other don’t have full-time pastors.

Meanwhile, the county’s Hispanic population has climbed nearly 10-fold since 2000, to 31,000, adding a layer of ethnic tension to a place where 84% of the population is non-Hispanic white.

“There’s a sense that the new residents don’t look like us or sound like us,” says Rev. Kuritz. “People feel it’s not like it used to be.”

The region had been drifting from its New Deal Democratic roots for years, and Mr. Trump took full advantage with its working-class voters. They had long been sympathetic to conservative arguments on issues such as gun control and abortion, while skeptical of the GOP’s perceived catering to the wealthy. Mr. Trump’s brand of populism bridged that divide.

County GOP leaders say they looked to boost turnout by shifting two paid workers to Hazleton, a city that gained national prominence by passing an ordinance penalizing landlords for renting to illegal immigrants, which was later blocked by the courts. “Immigration is a big issue there,” says Luzerne County Chairman Ron Ferrance. “There are so many passionate people” who were ready to make phone calls and canvass for Mr. Trump, who takes a hard line on immigration, he says.

Bill O’Boyle, a veteran reporter and columnist for Wilkes-Barre’s Times Leader, says he figured Mr. Trump was a lock to win Luzerne County when he compared the turnout at political rallies. The area has long been a stopover for presidential campaigns.

“You had Hillary Clinton, 500 people. Teddy Cruz, 300 people. Bernie Sanders, 1,500 people. And then Donald Trump, 11,000. How could those crowds not mean something?”

Nineteen-year-old Jasmine Castillo, who makes tacos at the family’s food truck in Wilkes-Barre’s downtown, says her family’s life has become worse as Mr. Trump’s popularity soared. People now tell her to speak English when she speaks Spanish, and to go back across the border, though she is an American citizen. Someone left feces outside her father’s kitchen-cabinet business, she says.

“People feel empowered now” to make insults and threats against Hispanics, she says. “It’s terrifying.”

Martha Wallace, whose family owns a small manufacturer of crucifixes and other Catholic jewelry, says, “Trump drummed up the enthusiasm, just like Obama drummed up the enthusiasm last time.” Her 7-year-old son has declared himself “a Trump man.” Her 16-year-old daughter also supports Trump. “I’ve encouraged her to dream big,” Ms. Wallace says.

Ms. Wallace says she is worried about the future of the U.S. economy and the threat of terrorism, and is counting on a Trump presidency to ease her fears about both. “We hope some of Trump’s economic policy will make it easier for us compete and still stay true to always being a ‘Made in the USA’ company,” she says.

For Mr. Trump’s supporters, expectations are so high it reminds them of what they once felt for President Obama.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Tamika Shupp twice voted for Barack Obama as the candidate best equipped to shake up Washington. This year she chose Donald Trump for the same reason.

“Obama tried to do well, and it didn’t turn out how we thought,” said Ms. Shupp as she prepared Polish dumplings at Mom & Pop’s Pierogis in this Rust Belt city. Mr. Trump should do better, she figures, by cracking down on illegal immigration and upholding American values like hard work.

Mr. Trump “is going to be another Obama,” said the 43-year-old Ms. Shupp. She considers both men to be agents of change. As for the crude remarks Mr. Trump made during the campaign, especially concerning women, Ms. Shupp said she dismissed them as bragging and “shoptalk,” and she didn’t believe the women who accused him of sexual assault.

[…]

Foreign competition largely wiped out the area’s dress and shoe industries. Many in the county bitterly remember pencil maker Eberhard Faber moving a plant to Mexico in the mid-1980s and other manufacturers closing factories. A plan in the mid-2000s to capitalize on computer-network technology and turn the county into “Wall Street West” proved a bust after few financial firms moved back-office processing to the area. The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce is hatching a new plan to attract businesses by involving the local colleges in recruitment efforts, but the program is too new to have much effect so far.

The unemployment rate in Luzerne County, now 6.2%, has generally exceeded the national average since 2000, and manufacturing employment in the county is down by around one-third since 2000. Many of the jobs that remain are low-wage service ones in local hospitals, colleges, chain restaurants and stores. Median income, after accounting for inflation, has been flat in Luzerne County since 2000.

Young people are leaving the region in search of jobs elsewhere, leaving an older, more conservative group of voters. In Luzerne, the population has remained steady since 2000, at about 320,000, but the number of people age 25 to 44 fell by about 10,000, according to Moody’sAnalytics.

The weak economy has, over the decades, contributed to a tattering of the county’s social fabric. Church attendance is down since 2000, opioid addiction is up, and civic organizations like the Rotary Club and the Masons have trouble recruiting young members, say local residents. Of the four Evangelical Lutheran churches in Wilkes-Barre in 2000, says Rev. Peter Kuritz of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, one closed and two other don’t have full-time pastors.

Meanwhile, the county’s Hispanic population has climbed nearly 10-fold since 2000, to 31,000, adding a layer of ethnic tension to a place where 84% of the population is non-Hispanic white.

“There’s a sense that the new residents don’t look like us or sound like us,” says Rev. Kuritz. “People feel it’s not like it used to be.”

The region had been drifting from its New Deal Democratic roots for years, and Mr. Trump took full advantage with its working-class voters. They had long been sympathetic to conservative arguments on issues such as gun control and abortion, while skeptical of the GOP’s perceived catering to the wealthy. Mr. Trump’s brand of populism bridged that divide.

County GOP leaders say they looked to boost turnout by shifting two paid workers to Hazleton, a city that gained national prominence by passing an ordinance penalizing landlords for renting to illegal immigrants, which was later blocked by the courts. “Immigration is a big issue there,” says Luzerne County Chairman Ron Ferrance. “There are so many passionate people” who were ready to make phone calls and canvass for Mr. Trump, who takes a hard line on immigration, he says.

Bill O’Boyle, a veteran reporter and columnist for Wilkes-Barre’s Times Leader, says he figured Mr. Trump was a lock to win Luzerne County when he compared the turnout at political rallies. The area has long been a stopover for presidential campaigns.

“You had Hillary Clinton, 500 people. Teddy Cruz, 300 people. Bernie Sanders, 1,500 people. And then Donald Trump, 11,000. How could those crowds not mean something?”

Nineteen-year-old Jasmine Castillo, who makes tacos at the family’s food truck in Wilkes-Barre’s downtown, says her family’s life has become worse as Mr. Trump’s popularity soared. People now tell her to speak English when she speaks Spanish, and to go back across the border, though she is an American citizen. Someone left feces outside her father’s kitchen-cabinet business, she says.

“People feel empowered now” to make insults and threats against Hispanics, she says. “It’s terrifying.”

Martha Wallace, whose family owns a small manufacturer of crucifixes and other Catholic jewelry, says, “Trump drummed up the enthusiasm, just like Obama drummed up the enthusiasm last time.” Her 7-year-old son has declared himself “a Trump man.” Her 16-year-old daughter also supports Trump. “I’ve encouraged her to dream big,” Ms. Wallace says.

Ms. Wallace says she is worried about the future of the U.S. economy and the threat of terrorism, and is counting on a Trump presidency to ease her fears about both. “We hope some of Trump’s economic policy will make it easier for us compete and still stay true to always being a ‘Made in the USA’ company,” she says.

For Mr. Trump’s supporters, expectations are so high it reminds them of what they once felt for President Obama.

Mr. Ferrance, the Republican county chairman, says he realizes voters expect Mr. Trump to deliver. “If it’s the status quo, people will be upset,” he says. “People want him to govern in the spirit of what he said” during the campaign.

He figures there is some wiggle room in some of Mr. Trump’s more controversial stances, such as his repeated claim that the U.S. would build a wall across the U.S.-Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it. Maybe, he says, Mr. Trump could argue that job growth caused by tougher trade policy would be a way of having Mexico “pay.”

It is ironic that in the eight years of the Obama Administration that Vice President Biden, who grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania,  hadn’t recognized the economic and social devastation in Northeastern  Pennsylvania and developed programs to alleviate  and revitalize the communities.  But then Democrat Presidential candidate characterized those in Wilkes Barre who showed up at rallies as ‘deplorables.”

Now the residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania and other rust belt communities in the U.S. are banking on the Trump Administration to deliver on the promises he made at those rallies that gave them, once again, “hope.”

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

PODCAST: Spreading the Muslim Holy War in the name of ‘Humanity’

Listen to an extraordinarily informative Lisa Benson Show for National Security that aired Sunday November 22, 2015 on KKNT960The Patriot in the aftermath of the ISIS jihad in ParisLisa Benson and New English Review Senior Editor Jerry Gordon and special guest Richard Cutting co-hosted  this show.

Our guests were:

Morten Storm – Storm is a former Muslim convert and apostate who became a double agent for Danish Security and Intelligence Service and CIA who penetrated Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula  targeting the late Anwar al Awlaki. He is the author of Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA  and been frequently, interviewed on Fox News and CNN.  Storm picked up on a private discussion this past week with more than 100 callers including members of the National Security Task Force of America launching a “know your Imam” campaign. He did that  this past weekend. In the private NSTFA call he stressed not to be complacent about additional ISIS attacks in Belgian, France and major EU countries now inundated with hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants, especially young men in detention camps.

Dr. S. Jill Bellamy –  was  interviewed by both  Cutting and Gordon in a segment on possible ISIS Chemical and Biological agent threats to  Europe and the US.  Bellamy is a recognized international expert on biological warfare and is a member of the United Nations Counter Terrorism Task Force. She has previously developed and run NATO sponsored policy programs on biological terrorism and has published extensively in related fields. Her papers have appeared in the National Review, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Le Monde, Le Temps, New English Review and the Jerusalem Post. Over the past twenty five years she has worked in non-proliferation and counter terrorism.  She has developed and run nuclear and biological war games and scenarios supported by European Ministries of Defense.  Currently she advises governments on national strategic stockpiling and force protection. She is the founding Director of Warfare Technology Analytics.  Bellamy suggested that French Premier Valls expressions of concerns over possible use of  CBW by ISIS in terror attacks  in  the West were reflective of recent uses of chemical weapons by the Islamic State in Syria .  She suggested that was reflected in  confirmed reports on mustard gas against both Syrian Kurdish YPG and Iraqi Peshmerga forces, as well as Sarin gas that may have been used to kill hundreds of civilians in a suburb near Damascus in 2013. Those reports led to the Hague based Organization for the Prohibition   of Chemical Weapons that removed only a fraction of the Assad Regimes stockpile. She pointed out that ISIS ,and other Islamic terror groups like al Nusrah and Hezbollah, wouldn’t refrain from using CBW, as they simply consider  them another weapon in their inventory. She said they would have no compunction against the use of such silent killers given the burning alive of a downed Jordanian pilot.  That would extend to using the hoards of teeming refugees in UN  camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon as the equivalent of human weaponized vectors to spread disease and pathogens causing a pandemic.  She also responded to queries about major silent killers Anthrax, Smallpox and botulinum toxin developed by the Syria Scientific Research Center that might fall into the hands of ISIS and other terror groups like Hezbollah.  It  has been reported that ISIS may  have established laboratories and acquired research scientific personnel which  could pose a threat to the EU and  the US.  Bellamy covered the extent of protection against these silent killers  under US and international vaccine stockpile programs.

Nidra Poller  provided an eye witness report of what was unfolding in France. Poller is a Lisa Benson Show  Advisory Board Member, American  writer and translator, resident of Paris, France, since 1972,  contributor to The Wall Street Journal, National Review, FrontPage Magazine, The New York Sun and New English Review, author of the forthcoming, The Black Flag of Jihad stalks la RepubliquePoller spoke of her experiences in Paris following the November  13th massacres and the  November 18th St. Denis banlieuse  battle that resulted in the deaths of the alleged Belgian born ‘mastermind’ Abdelhamid Abaaoud, his French born cousin Hasna Ait Boulahcen and third, as yet to be identified suicide bomber. In a New English Review/ Iconoclast post, “Bonjour Tristesse”, she considered them as “punk’ jihadis akin to those who burned vehicles banlieuse nightly in Paris and other French cities for weeks in 2005. She spoke of the muted aftermath following the recent terror events in Paris and the myopia of the international media following these stories forgetting about rallies in July 2014 at which the ISIS banners were prominent in rallies condemning Israel during Operation Defensive Edge fighting Hamas at the statue of Marianne, the symbol of France, at la place de la Republique. She also returned to the theme of, Humanitarian Jihad,  a chapter in her latest book,  to describe how the conflict in Syria  with ISIS and other terror groups had sent hundreds of thousands refugees and illegal migrants bursting the open borders of Europe’s Schengen system . She said that was an unwarranted intrusion of national sovereignty and western values with reports of destructive behavior by migrant Muslim young men in reception centers in EU countries. She said that was triggered by the EU and international response to the imagery a drowning victim, Aylan Kurdi, a three year old  Syrian Kurdish child  from an overloaded a life raft  provided by Turkey headed for the Greek Island of Leros.

RELATED ARTICLE: In Texas, Leftist community organizers target governor over Syrian refugee stance

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

There are no ‘safe havens’ from the Islamic State’s Holy War against the Free World

French President Hollande issued a statement this morning that ISIS terrorists in six separate attacks had murdered 123 injuring 183. UPDATE:  The toll is now 129 dead and over 353 wounded, 99 critically. Perhaps it was best said by Geert Wilders in a Tweet last night, “Paris is under attack this is War. Nothing Less”.

In the unfolding bloody ISIS coordinated attack in Paris we had a special family concern. We were anxious to learn of the whereabouts of a granddaughter who was spending a fall semester at the famed SciPo in Paris under a joint program with Northwestern where she is in her junior year.  Given text message exchanges with my son who was at a meeting in his law office in Manhattan, we learned that by happenstance she was spending the weekend in Amsterdam. Our eldest granddaughter is safely marooned in Amsterdam this weekend. She has made it a habit to visit European capitals on weekends during her fall semester of her junior year. at SciPo with her Northwestern U program. We reached out to cousin Nidra Poller to find that she and Jiro were okay. On a Skype call with her last night, she spoke of the ironic coincidence completing her latest book,  The Black Flag of Jihad Stalks la Republique.

What follows is an exchange with Debra Glazer, a friend and cousin of Nidra Poller who lives in California.  Glazer is a lawyer and graduate of Yale Law School. Her  husband  is an Economics professor at a major University of California campus. . Her email letter to me was prompted by concerns about our granddaughter and her own family members in Paris.  My son, wife and younger daughter, together with his in-laws, were headed to visit his older daughter, our granddaughter, during Thanksgiving week in Paris. That trip may be in abeyance pending decisions by Northwestern University as to whether students on the special SciPo exchange program may be requested to return home in the wake of last night’s ISIS Jihadist assault on Paris and Western civilization.

Dear Jerry,

I seem to recall that one of your grand-daughters was studying in Paris.  I hope she and all her friends are safe and secure.  I did hear back from Nidra this afternoon and she and Jiro and the family are all safe.  I had been hoping that Jiro wasn’t on duty photographing the game at the soccer stadium.

The enemies are becoming more brazen.  Will this wake up America and good people everywhere?

As we have always said, what starts with the Jews doesn’t end with the Jews.  But the world doesn’t remember or acknowledge that.  And in the meantime, the best and the brightest at Yale are hyperventilating over Halloween costumes.  I would hope that universities everywhere would volunteer to donate their therapy dogs, coloring books, crayons and jars of bubbles to the people of Paris, who really need a “safe space.”

Best,

Debbie

Dear Deb:

Our eldest granddaughter is safely marooned in Amsterdam this weekend. She has made it a habit to visit European capitals on weekends during her fall semester of her junior year. at SciPo with her Northwestern U program. We reached out to cousin Nidra Poller to find that she and Jiro were okay. On a Skype call with her last night, she spoke of the ironic coincidence completing her latest book with a title about “The Black Flag of ISIS in Europe.”

My colleague Lisa Benson and I were in the throes of finalizing the lineup of guests for Sunday’s program when the news broke about the coordinated jihadi attacks in Paris. As the toll mounted in reports from Fox News affiliate Sky News and independent France 24 it became more grisly. We had eyewitness reports from survivors of the hostage massacre at the Bataclan theater rock concert by the American band the American Eagle Death group. The callous indifference of the attack was evident in three jihadis shooting cowering victims from a rostrum on the second floor punctuated by explosions from grenades tossed in the hapless crowd below. It was eerily similar to episodes during Nazi Einsatzgruppen campaign murdering milions of Jews in Russia. But then the Qur’anic imperative of Salafist supremacist the Islamic State has always dictated killing  converting or extorting Jizya hush money from Infidels whether Saturday people or Sunday people. Among the dozens killed in Paris may be American victims in the several attacks at the Soccer stadium, restaurant shootings and the Bataclan theater. Ironically the American Death Eagles band survived. So did the 40 plus escapees who made their way to the roof of the Bataclan to find a man waving at them to enter his attic window in an adjacent building thereby making their escape from the bloody charnel scene unfolding inside the theater.

Among the commentary I watched was that of Morten Storm, the Danish double agent who worked with CIA inside Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In his interview with Megan Kelly of FoxNews.  He repeated prescient warnings that he gave on the Lisa Benson Show last summer that this bloody terror spectacle by ISIS was inevitable. Especially in France with hundreds of returning ISIS fighters and horrific precedents of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and Hyper Cacher kosher market attack of last January.  Cousin Nidra Poller, French Jewish commentators Michel Gurfinkiel and Phillipe Karsenty have written of the drip by drip killings of French Jews, riots against Jewish synagogues and businesses in communities near those Muslim banlieuses, administrative suburbs, in Paris and other French cities.

French Jews, especially those who migrated from North Africa during the 1960’s, now five decades later, are leaving for aliyah to Israel or emigration to Canada and the US. In Israel they are confronted by daily Islamikaze knifings, car rammings and shootings. We have had grisly episodes here of ISIS ‘inspired events” in the US and Canada.  Geert Wilders in the midst of the murderous ISIS razzia in Paris in a blast email said, “This is war.”

Last night’s bloody spectacle perpetrated by ISIS made the comments of President Obama earlier in the day delusional suggesting that the seizure of Sinjar suburbs in northern Iraq by Kurdish Peshmerga and Yazidis units with US special ops and air support was demonstration that ISIS was being “tamed”. The US crowing about tracking and killing of ISIS executioner Jihad John by a US drone evaporated with ISIS’ jihad assault of Paris. Shades of Mumbai in 2008, the seventh anniversary looms of that Islam terrorist attack by deobandi Kashmiri and Pakistani fanatics who tortured and killed their Jews at the Nariman Chabad house.

It should not be lost the Paris jihad is the culmination of a string of catastrophic events by ISIS: the ISIS downing of Metrojet Flight 9268 with 224 passengers and crew aboard and the bombing of the Hezbollah bastion in South Beirut with dozens killed and hundreds injured. Those jihad assaults immediately preceded last night’s bloodbath in what some now call France’s 9/11. The turning off the lights in the Eiffel tower sent a clear message.  That despite the brave front of President Hollande, himself a spectator to the suicide bombings at the French soccer stadium during a friendly French German national team matches ISIS succeeding in intimidating France and the West. I am reminded of the fateful comment of British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey on the eve of WWI: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time

President Obama can’t bring himself to face the reality of his failure to “degrade or defeat ISIS.” He and his minions in the White House are moral cowards and appeasers of Islamofascism. Moreover he, Secretary John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter have sold out to both Shia and Sunni supremacists. They persist in not recognizing the dual Shia and Sunni extremist threats to Israel and alleged Middle East Sunni allies. Moreover they have lied about supporting Kurdish Peshmerga and Syrian Kurdish forces with desperately needed arms, equipment, vehicles and unit training the only effective boots on the ground combating the Islamic State. They dither over recognizing genocide of Syrian and Iraqi Christians, Yazidis and other non Muslim minorities. Instead they have offered asylum to potential tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees to be settled in more than 180 US cities. Those Syrian Muslim refugees are virtually incapable of being vetted given the absence of documentation from the failed state. Meanwhile our State Department denies sanctuary to Christians and other minorities facing extinction.

That was the judgment of former New York office FBI supervisory agent Jim Kallstrom during a Fox News interview last night. Kallstrom assumed the post that John O’ Neil held in New York. O’Neil warned about Al Qaeda intentions following in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, only to be among the 2,700 killed on 9/11.  O’Neil was just beginning his stint as security director at the ill fated WTC complex in lower Manhattan. Kallstrom had conducted the investigations into the explosion of TWA Flight 800.

At issue is whether this country, lacking moral leadership, can resolve to recognize, gather resources and build alliances to destroy the Islamic State. It is a doubtful prospect given capitulation to Shia extremist Iran in its quest threatening Israel’s and America’s extinction equipped with nuclear missiles. Sic transit ignominia Obama mundi.

Jerry Gordon

UPDATE: Fox News reports, “Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, a student at California State University Long Beach, was identified as the first US citizen killed in Friday night’s terror attack in Paris that claimed the lives of 129. Belgium authorities have also said they arrested three in raids in Brussels after tracing a car’s license plate that was seen near the concert hall that was attacked. ”

RELATED ARTICLE: At least one man linked to Paris attacks registered as refugee in Greece: police

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

Jihad attacks in Denmark: Dateline Paris

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was on official business in Morocco when informed of the jihad attack against a free speech meeting in Copenhagen. He immediately flew to Denmark where he joined his personal friend François Zimeray, French ambassador to Denmark. Zimeray, who attended the “Art, Blasphemy, Freedom of Speech” event at the Krudttønden Café organized in reaction to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, put it succinctly: “I went to the meeting by bicycle and left in an armored car.”

All- news channels BFM TV and I Télé went into Special Edition, reporting on the attack non-stop from Saturday afternoon to Sunday night, and then some. Frequent zaps to other available stations—CNN, SkyNews, BBC, France24—yielded low to negligible interest in the story…aside from the BBC recording of Inna Shevchenko’s speech. The Ukrainian Femen, commenting on the current state of press freedom in the West, asked “Why do we say we have freedom of speech, but…?” As she repeated for emphasis the “freedom but” her words were brutally punctuated by the sharp crackle of gunfire.

French-Danish solidarity goes back to Charlie Hebdo’s publication of the original Jyllands Posten Mohammed cartoons in 2005. Few imagined, even one month ago, that this solidarity would turn into a ping pong of posters, bouquets, and memorial candles. We suspect the ceremonies will eventually wear thin from repetition. But, unless you followed the story on French media, you wouldn’t know the extent of this fraternity: vigils and presidential visits at the Danish embassy in Paris, the Paris mayor in Copenhagen, the Chief Rabbi of France, the president of the CRIF, leaders of political parties, special correspondents here and there, countless media debates …

When the story broke Saturday afternoon (Valentine’s Day no less!) the gunman was already on the run, one man– misreported as a passerby—was dead and two policemen were wounded. Tight-lipped Danish authorities gave the media little to chew on. The hunger for images had to be satisfied with the café’s plate glass window pocked with bullet holes.

We, the gawkers, knew that the assailant had not been able to get inside. The suspense came later in a sort of playback when participants told how it felt in real time. They thought they were going to die. The gunman and the potential victims—there were 30 to 40 people in the room– were following the same Charlie Hebdo scenario. “Copycat,” surmised a few French commentators, proudly sporting the trendy English term. No, mes amis, it’s something worse than copycat.

And the something, this time, was immediately identified as jihad. Yes, the linguistic tricks are still fluttering like coquettish fans — Islamism, radical Islam, hijacked Islam—but there is no taboo against “jihadi” or “jihadist.” And there was no beating around the bush on BFM TV and I Télé last weekend. Journalists and invited commentators recognized another three-pronged attack against liberty, law enforcement, and Jews…by a jihadi.

Suddenly, there he was, the killer, described by police as looking “North African,” wearing dark clothes and a stylish bordeau ski mask, captured by CCTV in all his punknificence. A bit of a surprise for us here in France, where authorities are notoriously skittish about letting the public know who is out there armed to kill. This led to tragic consequences in the case of Ilan Halimi (see the Alexandre Arcady film 24 Days, available in DVD). The police withheld the identikit image of one of the young women who had been trolling for Jews to kidnap. Ilan was already dead when they finally released it, immediately leading to the arrest of Fofana and his accomplices.

Some of the more knowledgeable anchors were absent when the Copenhagen story broke at the start of a two-week winter break. Was Agence France Presse slow in processing information from Danish sources? For this and other newscast reasons, journalists weren’t reading heat & serve press releases. There was a lot of improvisation and, consequently, less double talk and more wide-eyed ignorance. It reminded me of earnest five year-olds discussing serious issues with a mixture of childish honesty and an immature world view.

But the story was big, bigger in France than anywhere else but Denmark itself. As the hours went by, commentators streamed in and out of TV studios. The usual Islam-apologists were not among them. Are their words no longer comforting or convincing? No imams to tell us this brutal act has nothing to do with Islam. A simple consensus emerged: the jihadis are at war with us, they want to destroy our society, deprive us of our liberty, make our lives desperately miserable… And we aren’t going to let them get away with it. We won’t go overboard like the Americans—the Patriot Act is poison to French ears—but we have to change our strategy and face this challenge squarely. We are at war, this war is global, and our response has to be global–increased security cooperation with our European neighbors, the United States and, for example, Turkey. Granted, no one had the courage to mention Israel as a light unto the nations when it comes to fighting enemies within, without, and all about. But secretly they know it’s true.

I went off screen Saturday night wondering why the policemen assigned to guard that obviously sensitive meeting were wounded, while the gunman was able to shoot up the façade, jump into his car, and ride off to an unknown destination. Why didn’t they shoot him? For wont of that notorious American police “brutality” a dangerous killer was on the loose. Isn’t this a big part of the European problem? The late Charb had bodyguards, Lars Vilks, prime target at the Copenhagen event, has one or several bodyguards, but they seem to be guarding against bows and arrows, not assault weapons, not jihadis.

First thing Sunday morning I switched on the TV to see if they had found him. Yes. He was already dead. But not before he had killed a Jew. Mission accomplie. 37 year-old Don Uzan was on duty, protecting a bat mitzvah party in the annex to the synagogue. Two policemen were slightly wounded, the Jewish man was killed, and the gunman was on the loose again until dawn when, in a now familiar confrontation with SWAT-type forces, he was shot dead.

Was it foolhardy to go ahead with a bat mitzvah party when a jihad killer was on the loose? Then again, isn’t that what we do? Live our lives. Go to our places. Show our faces. Charlie Hebdo brought out an issue two weeks after most of the staff had been brutally gunned down. The Hyper Cacher at Porte de Vincennes is closed and deathly silent but Jews go to kosher delis, kosher restaurants, kosher synagogues. Policemen and policewomen direct traffic, answer domestic violence calls, arrest drug dealers. Dozens of jihadis have been detained this month in France.

A few days later the parents of the bat mitzvah girl, interviewed by the Algemeiner, say they felt safe under the protection of the late Dan Uzan. The rabbi wonders how the killer got through when the whole city was under police control. An unverifiable report claims the killer, now officially identified as Omar Hamid el-Hussein, got through the first line of police protection by pretending to be a drunken guest at the party, and reached the inner courtyard where he shot Uzan in the head.

If you remember, one of the Kouachi brothers left his ID card in the getaway car they abandoned shortly after killing 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo offices. Well, our Danish specimen abandoned his (stolen) getaway car and called a taxi! I repeat, he had just killed one man, wounded two policemen, shot up a café in an attempt to massacre a free speech meeting, and he calls a taxi and has the taxi drop him off at the door of a safe house…or maybe it was his home address. Add this to the profile of the soft-cheeked jihad killer of the Western world and you’ve earned your degree in criminology.

The taxi driver recognized Omar from the CCTV photo and notified the police but he was gone by the time they got there. Where did he spend the next five or six hours before executing a Jew? At the movies?

Documentary film maker Finn Noergaard–the man killed at the free speech event—had posted on Facebook last month the photo of a victim carried out on a stretcher from the Charlie Hebdo offices, with a comment on the horror of being killed for expressing oneself. Why was Noergaard in the line of fire when everyone else was behind closed doors? Had he arrived late for the meeting…stepped out of the room for a minute? What sealed his fate?

Special Editions on the second day focused on anti-Semitism without forgetting blasphemy. No journalist, no commentator, no invited guest, no public official underplayed or cast doubt on the Jew hatred that motivated the second attack. CRIF president Roger Cukierman took a slap at President Obama for tossing off the victims of the Hyper Cacher massacre as random targets.

It took fifteen years, but the lesson has been learned: anti-Semitism doesn’t only endanger Jews, it destroys a nation. Now there is a desperate last ditch effort to convince French Jews to stay. Sometimes it takes the form of perverse disdain for the Israeli prime minister’s outstretched hand. Repeating the welcome extended after last month’s jihad attacks in Paris, Netanyahu told European Jews that Israel is our home. And the invitation is still making waves and provoking pretzel dialogues. Jews in France and now in Copenhagen are asked if it was right for the PM to tell them to leave. Should European Jews move to Israel, will they really be better off, isn’t it more dangerous there, can they adapt to a “foreign” country …? Most often the sample Jew dragged into one of these baroque interrogations replies that one should make Aliyah for positive reasons… Jews shouldn’t flee in fear.

If you ask me, this is no time to judge whether Jews should stay and tough it out, leave on a spiritual cloud, or run for their lives! And what about European non-Jews? Where will they go if this relentless attack on our lives and liberty continues unabated?

One thing is sure. For all the talk about backlash against Muslims we haven’t seen them fleeing Europe to enjoy a better life in a country that beckons them to come home.

Round about midnight that Sunday, BFM editorialist Christophe Hondelatte is getting down with Frédéric Encel. The political scientist explains that the Mohamed caricatures are a pretext. Hondelatte: So… even if we stopped doing them, it wouldn’t change anything? FE: Right. Encel sketches out the nature and scope of this murderous hatred aimed at us no matter what we do. Hondelatte follows the logic: an army could rise against us in the banlieue? FE: Right … so… Suddenly the light dims. The moment of truth falls into the sociological trap, something about how we better start doing what’s necessary to make them feel wanted, give them the chance to succeed…

Like they do in Denmark, my friends? Reporters visiting the tidy housing project where Omar el-Hussein reportedly lived off and on with his Jordanian Palestinian father, encounter like-minded buddies who say he was a great guy. His stint in prison for savagely stabbing a young man on an urban train obviously doesn’t faze them. Fellow students in adult education classes noted his passionate defense of the Palestinian cause. And, of course, it is generally admitted that he was “radicalized” in prison. Did he have to go that far to find fuel to stoke his rage?

The inimitable, invaluable MEMRI brings us a video of a sermon delivered in a Copenhagen mosque on the eve of Omar Hamid el-Hussein’s jihad performance. The message is implacable: shun the Christians, kill the Jews, keep to yourselves and your Muslim ways– the whole world must submit to the will of Allah.

How ironical it is to even think of accepting the myth of exquisite religious sensitivity that moves Muslims to kill when their prophet is not respected and should consequently move us to at least partially accommodate them on the grounds of “respect for religion.” These exquisitely sensitive Muslims, after they kill free speechers and shoot at police, kill Jews.

Monday morning, Prime Minister Valls named the enemy as Islamofascism.

The debate ebbs and flows. At its worst it paddles in the shallow waters of socio-economic determinism. Underprivileged youths suffering from unemployment and racism stumble into crime and then, misguidedly seeking elevation, grab at undigested Islamism to give meaning to their lives. What do they know about the noble religion of Islam that has nothing to do with their sleazy lives and abject crimes?

What does the foot soldier know about military strategy? Did he graduate from St. Cyr?

Denmark is–or was?– something of a model in the business of de-radicalization. According to the Daily Mail the approach includes, “dialogue with a mosque regarded as a hotbed of extremism, after authorities found 22 of the young radicals who went to Syria had worshipped there. But those who return are not expected to renounce their support for radical Islamic goals.”

Hundreds of bouquets in front of the Krudttønden café, hundreds at the synagogue, and more than enough at the spot where el-Hussein died.  Le Figaro reports, citing Agence France Presse, that one bouquet was offered by an elderly Danish woman who said the boy didn’t realize what he was doing. But the accompanying video shows immigrant youths paying floral tribute to the Copenhagen shahid. Another layer of meaning is added after nightfall. A dozen guardians of the faith toss the bouquets in the garbage because it’s against Islam to lay flowers where someone died. One of the brothers declares, “He wasn’t a terrorist. The terrorists are Denmark, the United States, Israel.” And they march off with a defiant allahu akhbar.

Radicalized? Moderate? Or simple garden variety Danish youths?

RELATED ARTICLE: Just Who Has to Adjust in the Name of Tolerance? by Phyllis Chesler

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

Kristallnacht 76th Commemoration Marred by Antisemitism in Europe

Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass” that erupted across Nazi Germany and Austria on November 9, 1938 was commemorated across the West and in Israel. There with ecumenical prayer gatherings, concerts of liturgical Jewish music, testimonials by Holocaust survivors, and candles lit in memoriam.  In a commemoration on the 72nd anniversary of Kristallnacht we chronicled the horrors that befell Jews that night:

Kristallnacht -“the night of broken glass” that occurred throughout Germany and Austria. Kristallnacht was Nazi retribution for the assassination an anti-Nazi German diplomat Ernest Vom Rath in the Paris by a young Polish Jew, Herschel Grynzspan on November 7th, 1938. That event was seized upon by Herr Hitler and his Nazi SA and SS thugs to unleash a torrent of ‘spontaneous’ violence. That violence was graphically set against the lurid flames of more than 1,000 synagogues torched, several hundred of them destroyed, thousands of Jewish businesses and homes broken into, destroyed and vandalized.  91 Jewish men were killed, thousands beaten and more than 30,000 dragged off to concentration camps. Many of the later would never to return to their frightened families, many of whom were to disappear in the Holocaust. Kristallnacht was the prelude to the Final Solution that murdered six million European Jewish men, women and children.

Kristallnacht NYT 11-10-38

New York Times November 10, 1938.

This year Kristallnacht coincided with the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a triumph of freedom over totalitarianism. Tens of thousands gathered  before Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.  Eight thousand balloons were released. German Chancellor Andrea Merkel speaking to the multitude at the celebration noted the ‘twinning” of these historic event:

That was the opening note for the murder of millions; I feel not just joy, but the responsibility that German history burdens us with.

Over at the Alexanderplatz, German Police were separating violent rival protests by left wing groups opposing the commemoration of the fall of  the Berlin Wall, while  so-called nationalist groups who  were commemorating the Nazi attacks on Jews during Kristallnacht. On the West Bank, Palestinians celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall by symbolically breaking through Israel’s security barrier. In Norway, “Nye SOS Rasisme” , a so-called anti-racist group, demanded  that a Bergen community event bar Jews from attending a Kristallnacht commemoration.  The group held their own procession featuring banners that said “Zionism is Racism”.

The successor to the Communist party in Germany’s Bundestag, Die Linke, was caught in a moral quandary.  That  was the inclusion of the self-hating anti-Israel American Jew, Max Blumenthal, son of Hillary Clinton adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, in a Middle East panel at an avant garde theater in the former East Berlin. The Algemeiner noted:

In a letter to Frank Castorf and Thomas Walter – the directors of the famed Volksbühne Theater, the leading German center for avant-garde and experimental performances – Volker Beck of the Green Party and Petra Pau of Die Linke (“The Left”) pointed to Blumenthal’s frequent “anti-Semitic” comparisons between Nazi Germany and Israel.

The letter, also signed by Reinhold Robbe, a prominent pro-Israel advocate in Germany, explicitly linked the commemoration of the Holocaust with contemporary anti-Semitism, observing that the date of the meeting scheduled for this Sunday, November 9, will mark the 76th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom in Nazi Germany. The letter asserted that the meeting would allow Blumenthal and his cohort David Sheen, an anti-Zionist activist, “to promote anti-Semitic prejudice by comparing the terror of the Nazis with Israeli policies.” They would do so on the anniversary of an episode “that is recognized as the beginning of the persecution, the deportation, and the killing of over six million European Jews.” The letter introduced itself with a quotation from famed Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw: “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”

Gregor Gysi, the leader of Die Linke canceled a discussion with Blumenthal at the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, scheduled for Monday. Gysi reached his decision after Benjamin Weinthal, a Berlin-based journalist and political analyst, presented him with evidence of Blumenthal’s anti-Semitic activities and writings.

Blumenthal visited with some of those Norwegian ‘anti-racists’ in September 2014. Perhaps they were among those who sought to bar Jews attending the Bergen Kristallnacht commemoration. He and his anti-Semite hate colleagues equate Israel with ISIS.

 Our colleague, Nidra Poller chronicled  in a graphic series  of  “Gaza –Israel Dateline Paris Dispatches” posted on the Iconoclast this summer  the ‘lethal narratives’ of “death to the Jews” .   Protests reached the center of Paris  erupting in  fire-bombing attacks  on synagogues, and attacks on  Jews and Jewish owned businesses  in Parisian  suburbs.  All perpetrated  by  rampaging Palestinian supporters, French  Muslim citizens  and  allied leftist groups. They were   demonstrating against ‘genocide’ committed against civilians in Gaza under the draconian control of Muslim Brotherhood affiliate in Palestine, the terrorist group Hamas.

There were the  killings at the Brussels Municipal Jewish Museum of an Israeli couple, and non Jewish workers by a returning French citizen and veteran of ISIS jihad in Syria.   Retired  Professor Raphael Israeil of Hebrew University would call the perpetrator, Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old French national of Algerian origin an Islamikaze, because he was motivated by Salafist doctrine to kill Jews.

Manfred Gerstenfeld, former Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,  in our interview with him  spotlighted what is driving European  Antisemitism, “Anti-Israelism is Anti-Semitism.”  We noted:

Gerstenfled  developed an estimate based on several studies and polls that approximately “150 million Europeans have extreme negative views about Jews and the State of Israel.” In an email exchange, Bat Ye’or suggests that Palestianism is the root of “humanitarian racism.” Note how Bat Ye’or defined Palestinism in our interview with her:

Palestinism is a world policy initiated and imposed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and its Western allies that aims to transfer to Palestinian Muslims the history, the cultural and religious heritage of the Jewish people. . . . Palestinism encompasses all Western-Muslim relationships.

What occurred in Europe today, the triumph of the fall of the Berlin Wall was marred by extremist riots reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930’s. There were bizarre attempts in Norway to exclude Jews from participating in commemorations because they were “racists”.  The conceit of these anti-Semites, whether nativist or Islamic is moral inversion. Call it anti-Israelism or Palestinism, it depicts  IDF soldiers defending the sovereignty the Jewish nation  as the equivalent of  Nazi storm troopers.

The Nazis  murdered  of Six Million European Jewish , Men , Women and Children in  the Shoah, Hitler’s Final Solution. A final solution whose prelude was Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany 76 years ago today.

RELATED ARTICLE:

France: Muslims firebomb kosher restaurant after calling diners “dirty Jews”

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

Arizona AG Horne refuses to recognize Stealth Jihad of the Gulen Movement

arizona ag horne

Arizona Attorney General Thomas Horne

Yesterday, the usual restrained, moderate informative format of the Lisa Benson show ended in an uproar.  The kerfuffle was over the refusal of incumbent Arizona Attorney General Thomas Horne to recognize the stealth jihad agenda of the Gulen Movement here in the US.  Horne, a former Democrat is in the final days of a fractious Republican primary that ends Tuesday amidst accusations of alleged abuse of office encompassing campaign funding and resignation of former aides objecting to questionable practices. This has resulted in investigations by the FBI and his own department’s Solicitor General.

The New York Times  article, “Legal Woes Pose Hurdles for Attorney General Tom Horne of Arizona in Campaign” chronicled Horne’s problems in a mid- July 2014 article indicating that he had been abandoned by luminaries in the State Republican Party  over accusations of questionable practices.   His opponent in the primary battle, Mark Brnovich is making much of these accusations.  Horne’s presence came as a result of a call from his campaign office requesting time to defend his support of the Gulen science and math academies.  We had Nidra Poller back on the program to address the blood libel of the Al Dura affair. That concerned the 55 second video on France 2 TV news of the faked death of a 12 year Palestinian youth, Mohammed al Dura, on September 30, 2000 in Gaza.  That fostered a slogan used by  Osama bin Laden to justify the Al Qaeda  9/11 attack  that still appears in pro-Hamas protests across Europe and here in the US during the current Gaza war: ‘ Israel murders Palestinian children’.  Poller is the author of Al-Dura: the long range ballistic myth.

When the matter of Turkey came up in the discussion with Attorney General Horne, this writer discussed the background of how Sufi Sheikh Mohammed Fethulleh Gulen came to be a resident alien in a fortified compound in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. This followed his flight from prosecution by the then secular Turkish government in 1998. We also noted his 2008 US Department of Homeland Security immigration hearing and support from a number of leading figures in the Islamic and US political firmament.  Those endorsements came from the likes of former President Clinton and Professor John Esposito of Georgetown University Center for Muslim Christian Understanding endowed by Saudi billionaire Prince Talal. We also discussed the contretemps between Turkey’s newly elected President, former Premier Recep Erdogan and Sheikh Gulen over massive charges of corruption by the former. These two had been allies ousting the long term secular rule of Turkey’s military and political parties in the tradition of Kemal Ataturk, first President of the Turkish Republic.  Sheikh Gulen is said to control a fortune estimated at over $25 billion, including media outlets, such as Turkey’s leading news daily, Today’s Zaman.  Erdogan has been a supporter of Hamas, ISIS and al Qaeda Affiliates and engaged in gold for gas schemes with Iran stifling US and EU attempts  at sanctioning the Islamic republic ‘s nuclear development program.  He is often referred to as the rising Sultan of the new Turkish Caliphate. Not to be upstaged, Gulen has been characterized as the most dangerous Islamist in the world because of the GM’s Hizmat (service)  control  of nearly 80 percent of  enrollment in Turkey’s preparatory schools, as well as the global network of GM controlled academies.

Both Erdogan and Gulen are united in opposition to Israel, once an ally to Turkish secularists and now accused of “enslaving Palestinians in Gaza”.  Both were particularly incensed over the May 2010 assault on the Turkish vessel the Mavi Marmara during which Israeli naval commandos killed 8 Turks and one Turkish American that tried to pierce the Gaza blockade.  The Mavi Mamara is owned by a global radical Muslim charity based in Turkey, IHH that has supplied funds and weapons to both al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria.

Nidra and I drew attention to Turkey as a questionable member of NATO, whose request for entry to the EU had been rebuffed for years over charges of human rights abuses and denial of due process under the 11 year term of Erdogan and his party’s super majority in the Turkish Parliament.

But the main issue was the world wide network of 1,100 GM Schools in over 100 countries. In the US there are more than 135 GM charter schools with an enrollment exceeding 50,000 in more than 26 states; 12 of which are in Arizona. All funded by taxpayers in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually. We noted the private investigations that had been conducted in 12 states and the FBI raids on GM schools in Louisiana and Illinois over abuses of students and other allegations.   We discussed legislation passed in Tennessee and under consideration in Louisiana and Mississippi. See our June 2011 presentation, Unveiling Gulen Schools in Tennessee.  Those legislative proposals contain restrictions on the proportion of foreign workers brought in under the HB 1 visa program as administrators and faculty at charter schools specifically targeting the abuses by the GM operated science and mathematics academies.  We told how state legislators were often entreated by free trips to Turkey to sample the cuisine, culture and vibrant economy of the country.  GM US academy sponsoring groups have also made contributions to the political campaigns of state legislators in those jurisdictions that have granted charter licenses.

A caller drew attention to a report on a GM Sonoran academy in Tucson that Attorney General Horne had visited in his capacity as the former Superintendent of Public Instruction for Arizona, an elected post.  Lisa Benson cited pamphlets that she found extolling the virtues of the GM movement, Turkish nationalism and the Sheikh’s version of Islam. However, she also evidence of rejection of genocide. At that Attorney General Horne interjected saying that was concerning Armenian genocide and not the holocaust. Horne who is Jewish said that he came from a family of Shoah survivors and had relatives in Israel.   Horne is a graduate of both Harvard University and its Law School. Doubtless, he should have known that Hitler who fomented the murder of six million European Jewish men, women and children,  predicated the final solution of the Holocaust based on the West’s indifferent reactions to the plight of millions of Armenians lost in the Ottoman jihad death marches  during WWI.

 He justified his defense of the GM academies in Arizona by the academic performance of Gulen charter school students. Moreover, given the history of Jews during the holocaust, he indicated that it was unseemly to criticize another religion, in this case, Islam.  Notwithstanding, the presentation of information we provided on the GM academies in the US and the stealth jihad agenda of the GM doctrine propounded by Sheikh Gulen,  he saw nothing that would cause him to investigate their operations in Arizona.  This is notwithstanding the evidence of both state and FBI investigations in other jurisdictions.  Lisa Benson noted that he endorsed the Gulen even after she presented him with open source information that they supporter him when he was Superintendent of Public Instruction in Arizona.  Horne suggested to Benson that he wanted to focus on the charter schools run by La Raza rather than on Gulen. La Raza is an extremist Latino group were fostering rejectionist views of America replete with posters of Argentine Cuban icon, Che Guevara were the problem du jour for Horne.

Horne told Benson that, “I am not soft on Islam issues, but I don’t see anything wrong with Gulen.” Yet he would not admit that Islam could be so overt and obvious. My co-host Lisa Benson reacted angrily to Horne’s comments.  Horne came with an agenda to yesterday’s program. It was to put both he and his GM supporters in Arizona in the best possible light.  As I said in an after program dialogue with both Benson and Attorney General Horne, he came with a closed mind not to engage in meaningful dialogue. Problem is that he evinced no curiosity about the evidence presented. That was not his purpose; it was trolling for votes in a hotly contested Republican primary for the top law officer position in Arizona.

Listen to the podcast of the Lisa Benson Show of August 24, 2014 with Nidra Poller and Arizona Attorney General Thomas Horne.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Sufi Sheikh Mohammed Fethulleh Gulen and is courtesy of HizmetNew.com.

Gaza-Israel Dateline Paris: Despatch No. 1

Lethal Narratives

Many of you are drowning in floods of information, can’t keep up with your email correspondence, don’t have time to read the best compilations let alone the middling ones, not even time for the “must reads” sent by trusted sources… But I encourage you to buy and read my book, Al Dura: Long Range Ballistic Myth. It sheds original light on events that are turning our world upside down, with the Middle East as the pivot. While Israeli civilians run for the bunkers to escape the murderous intentions of Hamas rockets and Israeli soldiers confront Hamas mujahidin on their own territory in the confines of the Gaza Strip, “international opinion” has mobilized for another round of lethal narrative warfare. On the third day of an all-out Hamas offensive against Israeli civilians, the lethal narrative kicked in. Today it has reached the height of frenzy. And Western media have gone berserk, in step with the raging crowd.

Metula News Agency [Cessez-le-feu humanitaire (info # 022007/14) ] reports today that several journalists that wanted to leave Gaza were blocked at the Erez Crossing by Hamas operatives. Why? Might they fear that once outside Gaza, journalists would report the truth about what is happening there? Western media fervently defends the fighting forces of a jihad movement that would just as easily behead them as enslave them, but would never allow them to report freely as they are doing today. Even though they abuse that freedom, they enjoy it.

The question is not “why do they act against their own interests”? It’s like asking a gun why it shoots bullets at this or that target. A gun is a weapon in the hands of a gunman. The media, academia, international organizations, charities…the list is endless of entities and institutions that have become weapons of 21stcentury jihad conquest. Israel, a democratic nation, is the target of an all-out genocidal assault from the Hamas branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and one week after it mobilizes in self-defense, Kill-the-Jews stampedes are on the march worldwide, and the facts have disappeared from mass media. We are assailed by something that is not reportage. It is not biased, one-sided, twisted; it is non-existent, and it fills the eyes and ears for hours on end. It’s not news, not journalism, it’s lethal narrative. A weapon. And it works.

Kill-the-Jews stampede in Paris on July 13, 2014

My brief article published in Tablet http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/179169/anti-israel-protestors-attack-paris-synagogues was based on information available at the time. When the July 14th holiday weekend ended I started to receive eyewitness accounts from Web sites, Jewish radio, and my own sources. It became apparent that the original Agence France Presse release, used by outlets worldwide, was concocted in lethal narrative format. Now we have videos of the “demonstration” from start to middle to semi-finish at Place de la Bastille that reveal its true nature. It was not a peaceful gathering slightly tarnished by a few rowdies at the last minute. [annotated links to videos below] Distinguished members of the Jewish community who were in the synagogue, including the Chief Rabbi of France, testified to the violence of the attempted intrusion. A [bad] translation of a text by a member of the congregation is posted on Tablet.

Interviewed on radio Communauté Juive, a peace & love novelist, Valerie Zeccati, eloquently described the mobs that fanned out from the Bastille into the nearby Marais: they were filled with murderous rage, they wanted to kill, they were thrilled by their own blood lust, the masses of demonstrators applauded them as they ran screaming, “We’re going to smash the Jews!” The “imam” on the sound truck declared “No provocation, and segued to a resounding allahou akhbar followed by other blood lust cries.

A widely circulated video shows the young men who were in fact protecting the synagogue from the mob that was trying to break in. I haven’t been able to find out who shot the film, but it is emblematic of the vision of the Hamas attack on Israel: the attackers have been edited out, making the Jews look like the aggressors. And that’s the purpose of the film.

One of the organizers of that stampede (they called it a demonstration) ingenuously explains that the contingent that went up rue de la Roquette [in fact they ran, screaming their heads off] were just on their way to a métro station. A member of a Jewish pro-Palestinian [and now pro-Hamas] organization claims the roughnecks from the Jewish Defense League started the fight. Four of them sitting on a bench somewhere along the route insulted the demonstrators and threw things at them. She doesn’t explain how they lured the mob of hundreds all the way up rue de la Roquette to the synagogue, 400 meters from the Place de la Bastille. Or why, once they got there, the mob decided to attack the synagogue instead of taking the métro.

These apologists have a lot of explaining to do. Why did the mob first try to break into the synagogues on Rue des Tournelles and Place des Vosges. They couldn’t get in because there were enough riot police there to stop them. How about the horde that chased a young couple walking their four month-old son in his stroller. They had to run for their lives. The harrowing tale is posted on the Metula News Agency Facebook page. Did the over-enthusiastic “pro-Palestinians” mistake them for Jewish Defense League adversaries?

The bobo weekly Nouvel Observateur ratcheted up and hammered out the revisionist version that, when you think of it, undermines the Agence France Pressewhitewash. Yes, there was violence, but it was all the fault of the Jews. Subsequently in a France 24 debate a German freelancer with a steely smile took a ride with the revisionist version: not only are the Israelis merciless in Gaza, the Jews are persecuting pro-Palestinians in Paris.

Subsequent developments here in France should put that story out of commission. First, the government is not fooled by media tricks this time around. Particularly Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who until recently was Minister of the Interior. He knows what kind of volcano is boiling up in France, and what kind of people are behind these so-called pro-Palestinian demonstrations. His successor, Bernard Cazeneuve announced that local préfets [police commissioners]will deny permits to demonstrations that are likely to disturb the peace.

The demonstration scheduled for Saturday July 19th was banned. Unless I am mistaken, France is the only country that took this step. The organizers appealed, their appeal was rejected. So what did they do? Stay home and write op-eds? Send pizzas to the harassed citizens of Gaza? No, they proudly and publicly declared that they would demonstrate anyway. Loudly proclaiming their democratic right to march, they trampled on the duty incumbent on law-abiding citizens.

This time the stampede didn’t get far past its starting point in Barbès. Riot police hemmed them in [they are complaining about police brutality]. They weren’t rounded up and sent to jail for breaking the law. So they showed their appreciation by going wild, tearing up the asphalt and throwing chunks at the police; injuring 15. They set fire to cars, garbage cans, wooden pallets, and Israeli flags, smashed whatever was in reach, wreaked havoc for hours on end. And there were no Jewish Defense League boys to blame it on. An informative article in Le Point describes the assault on the Lariboisoière Hospital. The security guards were outnumbered [disproportionate force?], ran for cover. An elderly man shouted at the mob, “Are you crazy, that’s a hospital.” “It’s a Zionist hospital,” they shouted. But didn’t burn it down…this time around.

Today, they did a repeat performance in Sarcelles, known as little Jerusalem because a large contingent of the Sephardic Jews chased from the Maghreb settled there in public housing. For which they were grateful. From which many moved on to successful careers. And those who still live in neat and clean Sarcelles are constantly harassed by their Muslim neighbors in Gonesse. Many Jewish men have been attacked at the train station that serves the side by side communities.

Again, riot police were locked in battle for five hours while residents hunkered down in their homes.

How is the government going to deal with this flagrant and ever more violent disrespect? What will be the consequences for the  New Anti-Capitalist Party, the NPA, the extreme radical far left anti-capitalist party that got about 1% of the vote in the last municipal elections, and suddenly appears as an organizer of these stampedes? In 2005 the insurrection was almost exclusively confined to the banlieues, on the other side of the péripherique [ring road]. This time it penetrates to the center of Paris and it is fired with murderous hatred of Jews. Many who fled the Maghreb say it reminds them of those times. Some observers are saying this looks like the early stages of “pogroms” but I think the appropriate term would be “farhud.” [“ violent dispossession” in Arabic, a reference  to the 1941 Nazi–inspired jihad pogrom in Baghdad].

RELATED ARTICLES:

Jewish men defend the synagogue on rue de la Roquette
la Bastille, pro-Hamas marchers harass riot police
Le Nouvel Obs spins a blame the Jews tale for the battle at Don Isaac Abravanel synagogue
Huffington Post (France) report on the July 13th demonstration
Report on the battle at Barbès

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review. The featured image of a pro –Hamas Protest in Paris is dated July 19, 2014 is courtesy of NER. Source: Francois Guillot/AFP.