Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hate Spaces - Richard L. Cravatts




by Richard L. Cravatts


A new film reveals a toxic bigotry on American campuses.




On a November night in 2004, almost four hundred students at Columbia University sat crowded into the theater of the University’s Lerner Hall to watch a troubling 25-minute film that was finally being released to the public, “Columbia Unbecoming,” produced by Dr. Charles Jacobs and Avi Goldwasser. The film, which exposed instances of student intimidation at the hands of some professors in Columbia’s department of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Culture (MEALAC), was shocking, and revealed what many had already suspected about Columbia’s program—and other Middle East studies programs elsewhere: that under the veneer of purported scholarship and high-minded academic goals, there had developed a hothouse of intellectual rot, an entire area of academic study guided by what Middle East scholar Martin Kramer has called “tenured incompetents.”

 In the twelve years since the release of the Columbia-focused film, of course, the situation on campuses across the country has worsened significantly concerning the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and not only as a result of distorted and pseudo-academic scholarship by anti-Israel, anti-Western faculty. Now, as part of the toxic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, student activism is driving the cognitive war against Israel, with the major portion of that activity orchestrated and imposed on campuses by the virulent student group, Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP).

Witnessing the increasing ferocity and incidence of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic radicalism on U.S. campuses, Jacobs and Goldwasser, from Americans For Peace and Tolerance, have now produced another film, “Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance on Campus,” in which they reveal not only the motives and dark mission of SJP, but also provide a shocking view of the tactical assaults on pro-Israel students and faculty, and an unrelenting enmity by campus radicals against Zionism, Israel, the so-called “Israel Lobby,” Jewish control of the media, and American complicity in the occupation and oppression of the perennially-victimized Palestinians.

As “Hate Spaces” chronicles, SJP has a long history, since its founding in 1993, of bringing vitriolic anti-Israel speakers to their respective campuses (now numbering over 200 with chapters), and for sponsoring the pernicious Israeli Apartheid Weeks, building “apartheid walls,” and sending mock eviction notices to Jewish students in their dorms to help them demonize Israel and empathize with the Palestinian cause. And SJP members apparently wish to live in a world where only their predetermined virtues and worldview prevail, and feel quite strongly that, in the case of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, at least, the answers are black and white, there is a moral side and an immoral side, and that anyone who does not, or cannot, see things as clearly and unambiguously as these enlightened students do is a racist, an oppressor, or a supporter of an illegal, apartheid regime trampling the human rights of the blameless, hapless Palestinians.

Of course, this vituperative activism has not gone unnoticed by pro-Israel groups and individuals on campus, even resulting in SJP chapters being suspended for their errant behavior, as happened in 2014 at Northeastern University, as one example, after “a series of violations, which included vandalizing university property, disrupting another group’s event, failure to write a civility statement, and distributing flyers without permission.”

In general, however, SJP has been unimpeded in spreading its calumnies against Israel, fending off any criticism of their invective as attacks on the rights of free expression and academic freedom. The problem for SJP, unfortunately, is that while they are perfectly content to propel a mendacious campaign of anti-Israel libels, and base their analysis of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict on falsehoods, distortions, and a false reading of history and fact, so certain are they of their moral authority that they will never countenance any views—even facts as opposed to opinions—which contradict their hateful political agenda.

Students for Justice in Palestine use the victim mantle to shield their actions from self-examination, feeling that, as representatives of the dispossessed and perennially-oppressed Palestinians, they can adopt any tactic to campaign against Israel, Zionism, occupation, and purported Israeli apartheid. That has meant that at several campuses in the CUNY system, for example, SJP used the November, 2015 Million Student March, a nationwide student demonstration for free public college tuition, to also slander Israel and Jews. The protest, advertised on Facebook by “NYC Students for Justice in Palestine” and other affiliate groups, ascribed, using the tropes of classic anti-Semitism, the financial situation at CUNY to its “Zionist administration [that] invests in Israeli companies, companies that support the Israeli occupation, hosts birthright programs and study abroad programs in occupied Palestine, and reproduces settler-colonial ideology … through Zionist content of education… [aiming] to produce the next generation of professional Zionists.” At Hunter College and Baruch College, screams from SJP protestors included such slurs as “Zionists out of CUNY,” “Pigs,” charges of racism, allegations that CUNY supports the IDF, and a call for another Intifada.

As “Hate Spaces” reveals, the purported intent of SJP is to achieve social justice for the victimized Palestinians and help them achieve statehood; but a look at a strategy memo from the Muslim Brotherhood reveals a far more sinister and pernicious tactical purpose for the creation of SJP, as well as the Muslim Student Association (MSA), another campus group with similar aims and tactics. During the 2007 trial by the Justice Department against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), which was accused of being a front used to channel funds to Hamas and other terrorist organizations, an interesting 1991 document by Brotherhood tactician Mohamed Akram, for the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood, was offered as evidence. In it, the true intent of the Brotherhood was exposed as being a subtle, gradual process of subversion, and members were advised of an overarching strategic objective to their movement: they “must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

SJP communications are now frequently defined by the baleful whining of these ideological bullies intent on having only their views aired while suppressing the contradictory views of others.  In fact, a leaked memorandum from the Binghamton University SJP chapter revealed that members would be required to never even engage in dialogue with pro-Israel groups on their campus, and they would be prohibited from “engaging in any form of official collaboration, cooperation, or event co-sponsorship with [pro-Israel] student organizations and groups, due to their unyielding support for the Apartheid State of Israel.”

And because they cannot win an honest, open ideological debate about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict because they deal solely in untruths, false history, and misrepresentations (Israeli apartheid, as the central example), SJP has characteristically tried to insure that no pro-Israel voices are heard, either by disrupting or shutting down pro-Israel events and speakers or urging administrators to disinvite speakers they deem to be Islamophobic, too pro-Israel, or critical of their own tactics and activism.

Accomplishing that, the memo continued, should include “Political theater to protest the event, engaging in non-violent disruption of the event, or any other tactic deemed appropriate by the attending members not including violence.”

The film includes observations from a number of experts who follow the cognitive war against Israel and Jews, and who are on the front lines in writing and speaking about the toxic BDS campaign. These include the Brandeis Center’s Kenneth Marcus; journalists Melanie Phillips, Bret Stephens, and Caroline Glick; BU’s Richard Landes; Cornell’s William Jacobson; Harvard’s emeritus law professor Alan Dershowitz; ZOA’s Susan Tuchman, and others, all of whom make it very clear that while universities have always claimed to be dedicated to encouraging vigorous debate and dialogue by letting SJP to mount annual hate-fests to demonize and vilify Israel and Jews, SJP has effectively hijacked most discussion of the Middle East on campus. In fact, however, these so-called pro-Palestinians seem to care very little about the actual self-determination and state building of the hapless Palestinians. As is frequently the case when speaking about the Israeli/Arab conflict, the discussion often glosses over the real problems of Palestinian culture, politics, and society (including its cult of death, Jew-hatred, and yearning for martyrdom through the murder of Jews), and targets all criticism on the perceived defects of Israel, principal among them Zionism, imperialism, occupation, and settler colonialism.

Concern for the long-suffering Palestinians may be a commendable effort, but SJP’s caustic activism and demonization of pro-Israel supporters as a tool for seeking social justice for that one group “represents a profound betrayal of the cardinal principle of intellectual endeavor,” observed commentator Melanie Phillips, “which is freedom of speech and debate,” something universities should never stop diligently defending.


Richard L. Cravatts, PhD, immediate Past-President of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of the forthcoming book, Dispatches From the Campus War Against Israel and Jews (A David Horowitz Freedom Center book).

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/265084/hate-spaces-richard-l-cravatts

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The Coming Sanctuary Cities Crackdown - Matthew Vadum




by Matthew Vadum


Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel begs President-elect Trump for leniency.




Chicago is one of the best places to live in America if you’re one of the millions of illegal aliens present in the country -- and free-spending, lawbreaking Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying his best to keep it that way.

Emanuel (D), who used to be a congressman and then President Obama’s chief of staff, dropped by Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday to urge President-elect Donald Trump to abandon his campaign promise to crack down on sanctuary cities.

“I also spoke out strongly about what it means to be a sanctuary city who will support and secure the people who are here, like my grandfather who came to the city of Chicago as a 13-year old 100 years ago,” said Emanuel who actually has no real bargaining power in the equation because he’s on the wrong side of the law.

“Chicago was a sanctuary city for my grandfather. His grandson today is the mayor of this city, which is a testament to the strength of the values and ideals of America.”

Emanuel, of course, is leaving out the values that make Americans inclined to support the rule of law and therefore oppose illegal entry and visa-overstaying by foreigners.

Emanuel is a strident, in-your-face supporter of the sanctuary city movement that gave illegal aliens permission to rob, rape, and murder Americans. Cheered on by the Left, sanctuary cities hinder immigration enforcement and shield illegal aliens from federal officials as a matter of policy. They ignore immigration detainer forms which ask them to retain illegals in their custody after they would otherwise release them so Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can take custody of them.

These sanctuary cities really ought to be called traitor cities because they are in open rebellion against the United States. Cities are creatures of the states in which they reside and under the Guarantee Clause of the Constitution the U.S. government is required to make sure that states maintain a “Republican Form of Government.” (The same clause also requires the U.S. to “protect each of them [i.e. the states] against Invasion[.]” Perhaps Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions could have his staff look into invoking the “Invasion” portion of the clause.)

These sanctuary cities may as well be flying the Confederate battle flag at city hall in their modern-day campaign of massive resistance against federal immigration law.

Bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Confederates who resisted federal authority and declared war on the United States 155 years ago, or the neo-Confederates in Southern states who resisted federal authority during the civil rights era, Democratic lawmakers and left-wing activists have been working together for decades to create large pockets of immigration anarchy in the United States where the law cannot easily be enforced.

The three criteria for a republican form of government as described in the Guarantee Clause are popular rule, absence of a monarch, and the rule of law. Immigration is a federal responsibility and sanctuary city policies undermine legitimate federal authority and are contrary to the rule of law.

Moreover, actively interfering with immigration enforcement could constitute obstruction of justice and could violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act which contains provisions making it unlawful to "harbor" an illegal alien.

The federal government needs to start arresting local officials like Emanuel for blocking the enforcement of federal immigration law. Those who enable the lawlessness of sanctuary cities deserve to be behind bars.

There are hundreds of sanctuary jurisdictions – including a few states – across the country that hinder the federal government’s immigration law enforcement efforts. Some left-wingers use the dreadful euphemism "civil liberties safe zones" to describe them. The phrase blurs the distinction between citizens and non-citizens by implying illegal aliens somehow possess a civil right to be present in the U.S.

The nation got to this point after decades of concerted collusion by radical George Soros-funded groups like the ACLU to get localities to pledge to frustrate or violate laws that protect U.S. national security. Leftist agitation has so intimidated Americans that many refuse to say the phrase illegal alien, preferring to go with undocumented immigrant or other politically correct terms less likely to generate offense.

Of course left-wingers like Emanuel and New York mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Los Angeles mayors Eric Garcetti (D), both of whom have also recently met with the president-elect, only support the “values and ideals” that advance their side’s perverted vision of what America should be.

Since the Nov. 8 election, many mayors across the country have thrown their lot in with street gangs, criminals, and those who burden the public purse by saying they will fight Trump’s crackdown on sanctuary cities.

Chicago’s Emanuel was one of the first big city mayors to promise resistance to Trump in the days following the election. Among other mayors vowing defiance are: Bill de Blasio of New York; Marty Walsh (D) of Boston; Jim Kenney (D) of Philadelphia; Muriel Bowser (D) of Washington, D.C.; Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) of Baltimore; Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles; Ed Lee (D) of San Francisco; Libby Schaaf (D) of Oakland, Calif.; Tom Butt (D) of Richmond, Calif.; Ed Murray (D) of Seattle; Michael Hancock (D) of Denver; and Betsy Hodges (D) of Minneapolis.

Emanuel’s Chicago happens to be one of the five best places to live in America if you’re an illegal alien, according to Bob Dane, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The other four places on Dane’s list are: New Haven, Conn.; Montgomery County, Md.; all of California; and all of Washington State.

Because Chicago is a sanctuary city, “You won’t be asked any questions if you keep out of trouble but should you get jailed, no one will check your immigration status even when you’re in custody,” he writes. Mayor Emanuel will “do what he can locally to continue the president’s agenda of dismantling of immigration enforcement.”

Dane adds, “Of course you’ll be expected to vote for all these folks once they figure out a way to make you legal but you'll get used to it, quid-pro-quo voting is a Chicago-style tradition.”

Chicago, well, actually the State of Illinois, showers taxpayer-funded benefits on its illegal alien residents. Immigration status is not checked when someone applies for supplement food assistance under the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program, the All Kids medical care for children program, public K-12 education including free school lunch and breakfast programs, and under Head Start (preschool services).

An old 2007 study by FAIR found that illegals living in the Land of Lincoln cost state taxpayers “more than $3.5 billion per year for education, medical care and incarceration,” which represents about $695 for every Illinois household headed by a U.S.-born resident.

Immigration status is not considered in the provision of emergency healthcare services, including end-stage kidney disease services, and for pregnancy care.

Among the top 25 counties in the U.S. with the highest illegal alien populations, just five don’t offer public healthcare programs for illegals.

Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago, is one of the 20 counties on the list that does offer care. It has an estimated illegal alien population of 323,000, and 20,000 of them a year are treated under a county healthcare program. Additionally, states are allowed to extend Medicaid eligibility to illegal aliens, and 16 have created programs covering illegals.

Emanuel is so determined to fork over tax dollars to illegals that he’s moving forward with creating a municipal identification card to open government coffers to those who have no legal right to be in this country.

"Chicago is and has been a city that welcomes everyone, and an individual’s background should never be a barrier to participating in the economic, social or cultural life of Chicago," Emanuel said in October. "With this program, we ensure that all Chicago residents have the identification they need to access vital services."

Alderman Ameya Pawar (D) hailed the planned ID card because it will “provide our undocumented and homeless neighbors with the needed identification to access critical city services and cultural resources."

Alderman Danny Solis (D) said the ID will help many Chicago residents. “All residents of Chicago, regardless of their immigration status, will feel safe and secure and [the card will] give residents access to services they need to contribute to our great city."

In September, Emanuel and some aldermen proposed expanding the protections that Chicago provides illegal aliens. According to Ted Cox at DNAinfo, the “Welcoming City” ordinance “would outlaw verbal abuse aimed at undocumented immigrants based on their race or citizenship, as well as banning threats made against them to reveal their undocumented status to federal immigration authorities.”

Seemi Choudry, director of the Mayor's Office of New Americans in Chicago, said the expanded protections are intended to "make the city safer and more attractive for immigrant communities" and protect their "respect and dignity."

The other four cities on Dane’s list bend over backwards to accommodate illegal aliens.

In 2007 New Haven, Conn., beat Chicago to the punch, becoming the first place in America to offer ID cards to its residents “regardless of age or immigration status." The ID “has embedded holograms so that no one can ever steal your identity,” Dane notes.

In Montgomery County, Md., Casa De Maryland case workers help illegals to find jobs and “an IRS-issued taxpayer identification number because, of course, you’re here illegally and not eligible for a real Social Security number.”

California rolls out the red carpet for illegal aliens which helps explain why close to a quarters of all illegals in the U.S. live there. The state spends $21.5 billion a year on illegal alien health care, education, welfare, other state benefits, and criminal justice. This works out to $2,438 for every California native-born household. And illegals get in-state tuition rates in what Dane calls “the Dream State for Illegal Aliens.”

Washington, he explains, “accepts Mexican MatrĂ­cula Consular ID cards as proof of identification,” unconcerned with FBI and Department of Justice warnings that the cards can be utilized by criminal and terrorists.

It’s hard to say exactly how much sanctuary jurisdictions like Chicago spend on illegals because they tend not to make such figures easily available.

But because of a landmark 2013 study by the Heritage Foundation, we know that across the country:
In 2010, the average unlawful immigrant household received around $24,721 in government benefits and services while paying some $10,334 in taxes. This generated an average annual fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of around $14,387 per household. This cost had to be borne by U.S. taxpayers.
Those figures were based on the calculation that “all unlawful immigrant households together have an aggregate annual deficit of around $54.5 billion.” The aggregate annual deficit for all unlawful immigrant households “equals the total benefits and services received by all unlawful immigrant households minus the total taxes paid by those households.”

The Heritage report, which was vigorously attacked by the Left and by open-borders groups on the Right, explained that unlike lawful immigrants, illegal aliens do not have access to means-tested welfare, Social Security, or Medicare but they do take in government benefits and services. For example, children in illegal alien households receive heavily subsidized public education. Many illegals have U.S.-born children and they are eligible for the full range of government welfare and medical benefits. And illegals use the roads, parks, sewage systems, police and fire protection in the communities where they live.

Although open-borders propaganda typically claims that illegal aliens are hardworking and industrious, among illegal alien households with children, 87 percent accept benefits from one or more welfare programs, compared to just 52 percent of native households. Many illegals are unemployable because they don't have the skills needed for the jobs available.

But these sobering statistics are mere details to Rahm Emanuel and Bill de Blasio and all other big-city Democrats.

They need illegal aliens in order to stay electorally competitive (and mow their lawns and clean their swimming pools) so they’re desperately hoping President-elect Trump will throw them a lifeline by betraying his own supporters.

If Trump wants a second term in the Oval Office, he’ll tell Emanuel where to go.


Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/265085/coming-sanctuary-cities-crackdown-matthew-vadum

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Israel’s first project with Trump - Caroline Glick




by Caroline Glick


An Iranian proxy war is brewing.




Originally published by the Jerusalem Post


Israeli officials are thrilled with the national security team that US President-elect Donald Trump is assembling. And they are right to be.


The question now is how Israel should respond to the opportunity it presents us with.


The one issue that brings together all of the top officials Trump has named so far to his national security team is Iran.


Gen. (ret.) John Kelly, whom Trump appointed Wednesday to serve as his secretary of homeland security, warned about Iran’s infiltration of the US from Mexico and about Iran’s growing presence in Central and South America when he served as commander of the US’s Southern Command.


Gen. (ret.) James Mattis, Trump’s pick to serve as defense secretary, and Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn, whom he has tapped to serve as his national security adviser, were both fired by outgoing President Barack Obama for their opposition to his nuclear diplomacy with Iran.


During his video address before the Saban Forum last weekend, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that he looks forward to discussing Obama’s nuclear Iran nuclear deal with Trump after his inauguration next month. Given that Netanyahu views the Iranian regime’s nuclear program – which the nuclear deal guaranteed would be operational in 14 years at most – as the most serious strategic threat facing Israel, it makes sense that he wishes to discuss the issue first.


But Netanyahu may be better advised to first address the conventional threat Iran poses to Israel, the US and the rest of the region in the aftermath of the nuclear deal.


There are two reasons to start with Iran’s conventional threat, rather than its nuclear program.


First, Trump’s generals are reportedly more concerned about the strategic threat posed by Iran’s regional rise than by its nuclear program – at least in the immediate term.


Israel has a critical interest in aligning its priorities with those of the incoming Trump administration.


The new administration presents Israel with the first chance it has had in 50 years to reshape its alliance with the US on firmer footing than it has stood on to date. The more Israel is able to develop joint strategies with the US for dealing with common threats, the firmer its alliance with the US and the stronger its regional posture will become.


The second reason it makes sense for Israel to begin its strategic discussions with the Trump administration by addressing Iran’s growing regional posture is because Iran’s hegemonic rise is a strategic threat to Israel. And at present, Israel lacks a strategy for dealing with it.


Our leaders today still describe Hezbollah with the same terms they used to describe it a decade ago during the Second Lebanon War. They discuss Hezbollah’s massive missile and rocket arsenal.


With 150,000 projectiles pointed at Israel, in a way it makes sense that Israel does this.


Just this week Israel reinforced the sense that Hezbollah is more or less the same organization it was 10 years ago when – according to Syrian and Hezbollah reports – on Tuesday Israel bombed Syrian military installations outside Damascus.


Following the alleged bombing, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told EU ambassadors that Israel is committed to preventing Hezbollah from transferring advanced weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, from Syria to Lebanon.


The underlying message is that having those weapons in Syria is not viewed as a direct threat to Israel.


Statements like Liberman’s also send the message that other than the prospect of weapons of mass destruction or precision missiles being stockpiled in Lebanon, Israel isn’t particularly concerned about what is happening in Lebanon.


These statements are unhelpful because they obfuscate the fact that Hezbollah is not the guerrilla organization it was a decade ago.


Hezbollah has changed in four basic ways since the last war.


First, Hezbollah is no longer coy about the fact that it is an Iranian, rather than Lebanese, organization.


Since Iran’s Revolutionary Guards founded Hezbollah in Lebanon in 1983, the Iranians and Hezbollah terrorists alike have insisted that Hezbollah is an independent organization that simply enjoys warm relations with Iran.


But today, with Hezbollah forming the backbone of Iran’s operations in Syria, and increasingly prominent in Afghanistan and Iraq, neither side cares if the true nature of their relationship is recognized.


For instance, recently Hezbollah commander Hassan Nasrallah bragged, “We’re open about the fact that Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets are from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”


What our enemies’ new openness tells us is that Israel must cease discussing Hezbollah and Iran as separate entities. Israel’s next war in Lebanon will not be with Hezbollah, or even with Lebanon. It will be with Iran.


This is not a semantic distinction. It is a strategic one. Making it will have a positive impact on how both Israel and the rest of the world understand the regional strategic reality facing Israel, the US and the rest of the nations of the Middle East.


The second way that Hezbollah is different today is that it is no longer a guerrilla force. It is a regular army with a guerrilla arm and a regional presence. Its arsenal is as deep as Iran’s arsenal.


And at present at least, it operates under the protection of the Russian Air Force and air defense systems.


Hezbollah has deployed at least a thousand fighters to Iraq where they are fighting alongside Iranian forces and Shi’ite militia, which Hezbollah trains. Recent photographs of a Hezbollah column around Mosul showed that in addition to its advanced missiles, Hezbollah also fields an armored corps. Its armored platforms include M1A1 Abrams tanks and M-113 armored personnel carriers.


The footage from Iraq, along with footage from the military parade Hezbollah held last month in Syria, where its forces also showed off their M-113s, makes clear that Hezbollah’s US platform- based maneuver force is not an aberration.


The significance of Hezbollah’s vastly expanded capabilities is clear. Nasrallah’s claims in recent years that in the next war his forces will stage a ground invasion of the Galilee and seek to seize Israeli border towns was not idle talk. Even worse, the open collaboration between Russia and Iran-Hezbollah in Syria, and their recent victories in Aleppo, mean that there is no reason for Israel to assume that Hezbollah will only attack from Lebanon. There is a growing likelihood that Hezbollah will make its move from Syrian territory.


The third major change from 2006 is that like Iran, Hezbollah today is much richer than it was before Obama concluded the nuclear deal with the ayatollahs last year. The deal, which canceled economic and trade sanctions on Iran, has given the mullahs a massive infusion of cash.


Shortly after the sanctions were canceled, the Iranians announced that they were increasing their military budget by 90%. Since Hezbollah officially received $200 million per year before sanctions were canceled, the budget increase means that Hezbollah is now receiving some $400m. per year from Iran.


The final insight that Israel needs to base its strategic planning on is that a month and a half ago, Hezbollah-Iran swallowed Lebanon.


In late October, after a two-and-a-half-year fight, Saad Hariri and his Future Movement caved to Iran and Hezbollah and agreed to support their puppet Michel Aoun in his bid for the Lebanese presidency.


True, Hariri was also elected to serve as prime minister. But his position is now devoid of power.


Hariri cannot raise a finger without Nasrallah’s permission.


Aoun’s election doesn’t merely signal that Hariri caved. It signals that Saudi Arabia – which used the fight over Lebanon’s presidency as a way to block Iran’s completion of its takeover of the country – has lost the influence game to Iran.


Taken together with Saudi ally Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s announcement last week that he supports Syrian President Bashar Assad’s remaining in power, Aoun’s presidency shows that the Sunnis have accepted that Iran is now the dominant power in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.


This brings us back to Hezbollah’s tank corps and the reconstruction of the US-Israel alliance.


After the photos of the US-made armored vehicles in Hezbollah’s military columns were posted online, both Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces insisted that the weapons didn’t come from the LAF.


But there is no reason to believe them.


In 2006, the LAF provided Hezbollah with targeting information for its missiles and intelligence support. Today it must be assumed that in the next war, the LAF, and its entire arsenal will be placed at Hezbollah-Iran’s disposal. In 2016 alone, the US provided the LAF with $216m. in military assistance.


From Israel’s perspective, the most strategically significant aspect of Hezbollah-Iran’s uncontested dominance over all aspects of the Lebanese state is that while they control the country, they are not responsible for it.


Israeli commanders and politicians often insist that the IDF has deterred Hezbollah from attacking Israel. Israel’s deterrence, they claim, is based on the credibility of our pledge to bomb the civilian buildings now housing Hezbollah rockets and missiles in the opening moments of the next conflict.


These claims are untrue, though. Since Hezbollah- Iran are not responsible for Lebanon despite the fact that they control it through their puppet government, Iranian and Hezbollah leaders won’t be held accountable if Israel razes south Lebanon in the next war. They will open the next war not to secure Lebanon, but to harm Israel. If Lebanon burns to the ground, it will be no sweat off their back.


The reason a war hasn’t begun has nothing to do with the credibility of Israel’s threats. It has to do with Iran’s assessment of its interests. So long as the fighting goes on in Syria, it is hard to see Iran ordering Hezbollah to attack Israel. But as soon as it feels comfortable committing Hezbollah forces to a war with Israel, Iran will order it to open fire.


This then brings us back to the incoming Trump administration, and its assessment of the Iranian threat.


Trump’s national security appointments tell us that the 45th president intends to deal with the threat that Iran poses to the US and its interests.


Israel must take advantage of this strategic opening to deal with the most dangerous conventional threat we face.


In our leaders’ conversations with Trump’s team they must make clear that the Iranian conventional threat stretches from Afghanistan to Israel and on to Latin America and Michigan. Whereas Israel will not fight Iran in Iraq and Afghanistan, or in the Americas, it doesn’t expect the US to fight Iran in Lebanon. But at the same time, as both allies begin to roll back the Iranian threat, they should be operating from a joint strategic vision that secures the world from Iran’s conventional threat.


And once that it accomplished, the US and Israel can work together to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.


Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/265089/israels-first-project-trump-caroline-glick

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The Myth of Israel's Demographic Doomsday - Gregg Roman




by Gregg Roman

Yoram Ettinger, a former Israeli consul, found that PA numbers are inflated by, among other things, counting roughly 400,000 Palestinians who have lived abroad for a year or more

Originally published on November 22, 2016.


Critics of Israel love to exploit Jewish fears and anxieties. The most extreme resort to Holocaust inversion, boycotts, blacklists, and other singling-out methods reminiscent of Europe's anti-Semitic past. Secretary of State John Kerry likes to wave around the threat of Israel's demographic extinction.

Acute Israeli sensitivity on this matter came to the fore in the late 1960s, when Israeli rule over the newly won Gaza Strip and West Bank was thought by many to be untenable owing to much-higher Palestinian birth rates. If Israel chose to annex the territories, it would be obliged either to disenfranchise their Palestinian inhabitants, making Israel undemocratic, or extend the vote and watch Israel's Jewish majority turn into a minority. For Israel to remain both a democratic and a Jewish state, according to the conventional wisdom, it would have to give the territories up. "The womb of the Arab woman," the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat famously said, was his "best weapon."

Critics say Israel can't remain 'both Jewish and democratic' if there is no peace.

Fast-forward five decades. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the number of (non-Jewish) Arabs living in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem (4.62 million) and in Israel (1.68 million) for the first time matches the number of Jews (6.3 million). Taking into account still-higher Palestinian birthrates, as neatly graphed out in a September 2016 full-page New York Times advertisement by a pro-Palestinian group, the Jewish population in the expanse of territory "from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River" is projected to decline to 44 percent in 2030.

In his drive to wrest Israeli concessions he believes will break the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic logjam, Secretary Kerry has repeatedly warned of a demographic doomsday for Israel. "How does Israel possibly maintain its character as a Jewish and democratic state when from the river to the sea, there would not even be a Jewish majority?" he warned last December. Time is "running out" for Israel, Kerry maintains, insinuating that Arabs will be even less likely to accept a Jewish state as part of the former Palestine mandate once they become an overall majority, instead returning to their demand for a "one-state" solution. Israel then winds up "either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens — or ... a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state."

The combined ratio of Jews to non-Jews in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza doesn't matter.

But time is not running out, at least not for Israel. There are three big problems with the demographic doomsday argument.

For starters, the central underlying premise of this argument — that the combined ratio of Jews to non-Jews in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza matters — is laughably obsolete. There's no more reason to include Gaza in the equation than to include Lebanon or Jordan. The Israeli occupation there ended a decade ago, and its 1.6 million residents are pretty much free to determine their own future but for the brutal rule of their own homegrown Islamist regime. Indeed, most Palestinians in the West Bank also live in self-rule areas that Israel has effectively vacated and does not wish to govern.

The real question, then, isn't what happens if Israel were to suddenly annex all territories where Palestinians live en masse, but what happens if it holds on only to territories that most Israelis want and can be easily defended? Jews currently make up roughly 80 percent of Israeli citizens, and there's no reason to believe this figure will be appreciably affected by implementation of a final status agreement.

The PA deliberately inflates Palestinian population estimates and projections.

The second problem with Kerry's alarmism is that the oft-cited official PCBS estimates and projections of Arab population growth have been deliberately inflated to boost the PA's negotiating stance and qualify for more foreign aid. Yoram Ettinger, a former Israeli consul, found that PA numbers are inflated by, among other things, counting roughly 400,000 Palestinians who have lived abroad for a year or more — a large portion of whom won't be coming back if they can help it — including some 100,000 babies born abroad (ditto).

Third, Kerry seems blithely unaware that the birth rate of Israeli Jews, which reached a low of 2.6 in the 1990s, has been rising steadily in recent years, to 3.1 in 2015 — the same as that of Israeli Arabs — even as Palestinian birth rates have steadily declined, to 3.7. With the highest birth rate in the developed world and substantial Jewish immigration adding to their ranks every year, Israeli Jews are not at risk of becoming a minority in the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately for Secretary Kerry, most Israelis are well aware that time is not running out on Israel's future as a democratic Jewish state. A democratic Jewish state is very much in existence and running strong. For all of the loud condemnations of Israel on Western college campuses, Israel's diplomatic relations are stronger than ever before, even in the Arab world, and its international trade is massively expanding. It's kind of hard to rain on that parade. Most Israelis couldn't care less if Gazans or West Bankers choose to have slightly bigger families than the inhabitants of Tel Aviv.

When John Kerry declares again and again that Israel is "out of time," what he's really doing is communicating to Palestinians that the much dreaded Jewish state next door will cease to exist if they simply continue their refusal to compromise.

If the next secretary of state wants to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, he should try appealing to their hopes, not their fears.
 
Gregg Roman is director of the Middle East Forum.
Source: http://www.meforum.org/6421/the-myth-of-israel-demographic-doomsday

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Russia's Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin - Janet Levy




by Janet Levy

Satter asserts that the so-called “rebirth” of post-Soviet Russia, interpreted as the death of Communism, was a sham with a phony window-dressing of perestroika and a fake overhaul of the Soviet economic and political system

According to a recently published Heritage Foundation report, the 2017 Index of U.S. Military Strength, Russia poses a “formidable” and “aggressive” threat to the vital interests of the United States. The report states, “Russia seeks to maximize its strategic position in the world at the expense of the United States. It also seeks to undermine U.S. influence and moral standing, harasses U.S. and NATO forces, and is working to sabotage U.S. and Western policy in Syria.”

The international machinations of the current Russian government are not all that different from domestic strategies pursued within Russia, according to David Satter, former Moscow correspondent for the London Financial Times and longtime observer of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Author of three previous books on Russia and the Soviet Union and an advisor to Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, Satter has written a new, eye-opening account of recent internal, Russian intrigues in his book, The Less You Know, The Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship Under Yeltsin and Putin (Yale University Press, 2016, pp. 240, $20.07)

He begins with the disturbing revelation that Yeltsin, a man who came to power through peaceful means and popular support, murdered hundreds of his own people to hold onto power. Satter asserts that the so-called “rebirth” of post-Soviet Russia, interpreted as the death of Communism, was a sham with a phony window-dressing of perestroika and a fake overhaul of the Soviet economic and political system. 

With the advent of perestroika, Russia ostensibly changed its interactions with the West from confrontation to “cooperation.” Yet, the so-called transformation was actually a massive disinformation campaign that included government manufactured and deployed “controlled political opposition,” Satter says. The country appeared transformed, but retained its former Communist Party, centralized government policies, as well as the clandestine role of the KGB remade as the FSB (federal security service).

The trappings of a modern democracy and free enterprise system were seemingly in place for the world to see. However, beneath the surface, the nomenklatura took advantage of financial investments and the transfer of economic skills and technology from the West, while the Communist Party retained control of state financial resources, as well as billions of dollars in property and investments. The much-touted policy to restructure the Soviet economic and political system and permit private ownership of businesses and property failed to meet the stated objective of placing state assets into private hands, Satter writes. Instead of ushering in the end of central planning with a free market system, Russia, under Yeltsin, continued as an essentially Communist regime.

During his time in power, Yeltsin adroitly maneuvered to dissolve the Supreme Soviet and created a super-presidency, nullifying the move to a government based on real separation and balance of powers. He did not establish the rule of law and respect for individual rights necessary for the existence of a free society. Instead, under his rule, property was transferred unlawfully and the economy dominated by a criminal oligarchy and authoritarian political system, Satter says. 

When economic conditions in Russia became desperate following the removal of government price controls and the absence of a true market economy in its place, hyperinflation and massive poverty resulted. The currency collapsed, the GDP plummeted and many Russians became homeless. Additionally, amidst the chaos and uncertainty, unsuspecting Russians were lured by bogus get-rich-quick pyramid schemes and suffered significant financial losses. The country’s economic situation went from bad to worse. 

Satter’s book then examines the horrifying moves Russia’s rulers made to deflect attention from an economy in tatters. Near the close of 1999, as Russians became increasingly angry about massive government corruption and lawlessness and the popularity of Yeltsin and his heir apparent, Putin, dropped into single digits, four apartment buildings were bombed. The violence was orchestrated by the FSB to turn the attention of the populace away from domestic concerns and redirect it toward Chechen terrorism. Satter, who has the distinction of expulsion from Russia in 2014 as an “undesirable,” explains how the Russian government rigged explosions of civilian housing. More than 300 Russian citizens died and the bombings were conveniently blamed on Chechen separatists.

With the perceived Chechen threat and the fear kindled within the Russian population, Putin had an excuse to start the second Chechen war. This action instantly transformed him into a popular hero, easily able to assume control of the country. With the terrorist threat upfront, the miserable conditions in Russia and Yeltsin’s criminal government took a back seat, Satter says. Russians unified behind Putin and shifted their concerns to homeland security. Once elected, Putin, perceived now as a tough leader avenging Chechen aggression, exonerated Yeltsin, who had resigned as president, amid outrage over his government corruption.

Despite the success in shifting public attention elsewhere, suspicions arose about the bombings, Satter writes. Mysteriously, innocent civilians were targeted rather than the Russian military and government buildings. Military detonators were used to trigger the explosives, which were caused by hexogen, a government-controlled compound. Government cleanup squads were rapidly deployed to the bombed-out sites to remove debris, thereby compromising criminal investigations.

Adding to mistrust of the authorities was an implausible explanation given for a failed bomb attack on an apartment building in Ryazan. In that instance, a local resident noticed two suspicious men carrying sacks into the basement and alerted the police. Upon law enforcement investigation, a bomb was found and the detonator disconnected by the local bomb squad, which identified the explosive substance as hexogen. Roadblocks were set up and residents evacuated from the vicinity.

The next day, Putin praised the vigilance of Ryazan citizens in thwarting a terrorist attack and promptly called for the bombing of the Chechen capital, Grozny, in response. However, an alert telephone company employee managed to overhear a conversation traced to FSB offices by alleged perpetrators trying to exit the area. When arrested by local police, the detainees produced FSB identification cards and were ordered released by Moscow.

At that point, the FSB director announced to the public that the government had actually staged the attack to test public reaction and provide security training to the FSB. This was odd because the customary preparation of emergency supplies and services was not in evidence. Also, the fact that the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, rejected two motions to investigate the incident aroused the public suspicion. Any skeptical reporting about government involvement in the apartment bombings was subsequently suppressed with false charges brought against investigators and the banishment of media outlets that made critical reports. Over time, witnesses, investigators and journalists, many friends and colleagues of Satter, were either intimidated or eliminated, as Satter outlines in his book.

When Putin took over as prime minister in 1999 around the time of the apartment bombings, he filled government posts with those with whom he had worked previously in the KGB and the government in St. Petersburg. With his loyalists in tow, he took control of the media, commerce, parliament, and the judicial system. By appointing the court chairman who controls the judges by deciding housing assignment and vacations schedules and monitoring judicial conduct, Putin communicated the government’s interests in specific cases and directed judicial outcomes. Freedom of expression became nonexistent and no real means existed for individuals to defend their rights.

Under Putin’s governance, bribery skyrocketed, Satter says. Profitable businesses not loyal to the Putin regime or which failed to pay bribes were raided under false charges and their assets seized. By starving opponents of funds and raising the threshold for popular representation, Putin eliminated political opposition. Votes were falsified and workers forced to vote under the watchful eye of bosses. Those in rural areas who opposed authority risked losing access to water or having their houses burned down.

In The Less You Know, Satter explains that evidence exists that two later terrorist attacks mirroring the 1999 apartment bombings – the Dubrovka theater hostage crisis of 2002 and the Beslan school siege of 2004 -- were government-instigated operations. He points out that all the terrorists believed to be involved in these two incidents were executed, thus precluding any public trial that would have led to the release of inconvenient details. The government bureaucracy harassed families of victims who sought information about the death of loved ones, denied requests by human rights groups about the incidents and voted down parliamentary investigations. When the commissioner who investigated the apartment bombings promised to look into the theater attack and was assassinated, a clear message was sent by the Kremlin.

Like the apartment bombings, the Dubrovka and Beslan incidents sought to achieve unfettered political control over Russia. The theater attack legitimized a renewed assault on the Chechens and was instrumental in quelling dissent from Russians tired of war and international pressure to approve a Chechen constitution for self-governance.

The Beslan attack enabled the Russian authorities to show that the war was continuing and that Chechen resistance, especially among radical Islamists, was strengthening. Curiously, the day after the siege, all the Beslan school debris, including books and body parts, were removed to a garbage dump outside of town. According to police documents, prior warnings of terrorist attacks on schools in the area had been received, but no roadblocks were set up and no action taken. Also, most of the terrorists who were later identified as having participated in the attack were supposed to have been locked up and in prison at the time of the attack.

Conveniently, the perceived seizure of the school by Chechen Muslims helped reinforce the fear that Chechens were formidable terrorists and aided Putin's image as a indomitable fighter and staunch foe of terrorism. It justified the war in Chechnya that enabled him to destroy the separatist movement and eliminate opposition.

Satter's book does much to bolster the conviction that the supremacy of state interests in Russia overwhelmingly overrides any value placed on human life and individual freedom. The reality exposed in this riveting book is that despite the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia continues in its long tradition of being a rogue state under yet another autocratic regime determined to hold onto power by any means possible, including murder.


Janet Levy

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/12/russias_road_to_terror_and_dictatorship_under_yeltsin_and_putin.html

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Pruitt to Dismantle EPA Climate Agenda - Daniel John Sobieski




by Daniel John Sobieski

“Global climate alarmism has been costly to society, and it has the potential to be vastly more costly. It has also been damaging to science, as scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions,” writes Lindzen

Personnel is policy, as they say, and despite his meeting with the High Priest of Climatology, Al Gore, president-elect Donald Trump’s pick of Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to be the new head at EPA, shows Trump is serious about pulling back the curtain to expose climate fraud, leaving climate zealots as unsettled as the alleged “science” they trumpet.

Pruitt has already fought the various unconstitutional power grabs that essentially established it as the fourth and unelected branch of government. As Tom Borelli notes in Conservative Review:
Pruitt’s concerns of EPA overreach also includes the agency’s controversial, “Waters of the U.S.” rule that significantly expanded the federal government’s regulatory reach to include ditches on private land. During the presidential campaign, Trump promised to address the regulation that he called one of the “most intrusive rules” and Pruitt could execute the new president’s goal to neuter its impact.
Every puddle in America, every creek running through a farm or ranch would become subject to regulation by the unelected bureaucrats at the EPA. Pruitt has set dead aim on this and other EPA abuses.

In an article in National Review, coauthored with fellow attorney general of Alabama, Luther Strange, Pruitt opined that climate science isn’t settled and should be subject to a vigorous debate. He argued that EPA dictates are no different than the tyranny America rebelled against in its founding, and that EPA has no justification to bypass the will of the people as expressed through its elected representatives:
The United States was born out of a revolution against, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, an “arbitrary government” that put men on trial “for pretended offences” and “abolish[ed] the Free System of English laws.” Brave men and women stood up to that oppressive government, and this, the greatest democracy of them all, one that is governed by the rule of law and not by men, is the product…..
Sadly, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this tactic of advancing the climate-change agenda by any means necessary. President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a particularly noteworthy example. This EPA regulation, one of the most ambitious ever proposed, will shutter coal-fired power plants, significantly increase the price of electricity for American consumers, and enact by executive fiat the very same cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions that Congress has rejected.
The Clean Power Plan was promulgated without any consultation with Congress. No bills were debated, no votes were taken, and the representatives of the American people had no opportunity to object or offer their own suggestions. The checks and balances built into our system of government were simply ignored as inconvenient impediments to the president’s agenda.
It is the tyranny of the EPA that Pruitt seeks to overthrow. The EPA is the poster child for dictatorship by regulation and its reform is key to President-elect Trump’s agenda of job growth and energy independence. There is no justification for EPA’s draconian dictates. As Investor’s Business Daily noted:
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says global climate change caused by carbon pollution "is one of the most significant public health threats of our time," thus forcing her agency to adopt stringent measures. Yet carbon emissions are declining while temperatures are not rising. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Oct. 21 released data showing energy-related carbon dioxide emissions declined by 3.8% in 2012.
And according to the EPA, emissions from power plants declined by 10%. CO2 emissions in the U.S. have actually declined by 12% since 2007… while average global temperatures have been flat since 1998. Part of that is due to competition from increasingly abundant natural gas made so by improvements in an energy technology known as hydraulic fracturing.
The EIA notes the country saw an "overall decline" in power generation from renewable sources, but "the carbon intensity of power generation still fell by 3.5%, due largely to the increase in the share of natural gas generation relative to coal generation."
Climate change and global warming hype is nothing more an attempt by climate change scammers to impose what has become a religion. MIT Professor Richard Lindzen is quoted in the Daily Caller questioning the tenets of this new religion:
Throughout history, governments have twisted science to suit a political agenda. Global warming is no different, according to Dr. Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Global climate alarmism has been costly to society, and it has the potential to be vastly more costly. It has also been damaging to science, as scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions,” writes Lindzen in the fall 2013 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons….
Lindzen compares global warming to past politicized scientific movements: the eugenics movement in the early 20th Century and Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union under Stalin. However, the MIT professor argues that global warming goes even beyond what these past movements in terms of twisting science.
“Global Warming has become a religion,” writes Lindzen. “A surprisingly large number of people seem to have concluded that all that gives meaning to their lives is the belief that they are saving the planet by paying attention to their carbon footprint.”
The goal is to use climate change as a means to increase government power over every aspect of our lives, what we make, how we make it, what energy we use, what cars we drive, even what food we eat. The scientific record, as IBD notes, shows that climate change is a scam:
…a paper published recently in the journal Global Environmental Change found that carbon dioxide emissions are essentially self-regulating and that after countries reach a higher GDP level, CO2 emissions either stabilize or even decline, without the need for carbon taxes or carbon capture technology.
Here in the U.S., the fracking revolution has released from our vast shale formations vast natural-gas deposits that have done more to reduce carbon emissions than any IPCC report.
A study published late last year by the Energy Information Administration reported that the "carbon intensity" of the electricity produced in the U.S. actually fell by 13% from 2007 to 2012.
British climate-change skeptic Lord Christopher Monckton recently pointed out at Marc Morano's Climate Depot that the "Great Pause" in global temperatures — now at 18 years and counting — has occurred even as carbon dioxide concentrations have risen.
This 18-year period constitutes roughly half the satellite observation period that began in 1979.
Physicist Gordon Fulks of the Cascade Policy Institute notes that the warming pause since 1997 has occurred while atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased 25%.
"CO2 is responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring ... and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring," he states.
Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but the source of all plant and animal life. Even if emissions were a threat, and they are not, it's prosperity and the technology that comes with it, such as fracking, that reduce overall emissions in the atmosphere.
And now the high priests of the global warming religion are demanding what other false religions have demanded -- human sacrifices upon their altar. Pruitt is the right man to expose climate fraud and end the job and freedom-killing actions of the EPA.


Daniel John Sobieski is a free lance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/12/pruitt_to_dismantle_epa_climate_agenda.html

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