Friday, May 27, 2016

Buying the Media to Sell the Iran Nuke Deal - Joseph Klein



by Joseph Klein


Time to investigate the pay-to-play scheming of NPR, the White House and left-wing non-profits.




Ben Rhodes, President Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser for strategic communications, was the subject of a recent eye-opening New York Times Magazine article. The article discussed Rhodes’ prominent role in selling Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran to the public. Rhodes, who was originally interested in writing fiction before embarking on a government career, boasted of the "echo chamber" the administration was able to create among pliant media and non-profit groups to spin the deal in its most favorable light. Channeling his days as an aspiring novelist, Rhodes filled the echo chamber with a false narrative. It turns out that the "echo chamber" itself was more like a pay-to-play chamber, which merits investigation for possible illegal conduct by at least two non-profit tax-exempt organizations.

Money was dispensed through pro-nuclear deal tax-exempt organizations to buy favorable coverage in the media, including the tax-exempt National Public Radio (NPR), according to an Associated Press report. Ben Rhodes had specifically mentioned "outside groups like Ploughshares" as playing a key role in conveying the pro-nuclear deal narrative that the Obama administration wanted the public to hear.

According to the Associated Press report, Ploughshares, a left-wing non-profit organization financed by George Soros' Open Society Institute, "gave National Public Radio $100,000 last year to help it report on the pact and related issues."

Since 2005, Ploughshares has plowed about $700,000 into NPR's coffers. Since 2010, the grants to NPR specifically mention Iran.  Ploughshares’ 2015 annual report, for example, explains that the purpose of its grant to National Public Radio, Inc. is to “support national security reporting that emphasizes the themes of US nuclear weapons policy and budgets, Iran’s nuclear program, international nuclear security topics and US policy toward nuclear security.” (Emphasis added)

Ploughshares and NPR are both 501(c) (3) non-profit organizations, which take tax deductible contributions.  Both organizations are prohibited from engaging in any substantial lobbying, advocacy of legislation or “propaganda.”  Although both may have crossed the line in spreading Rhodes’ propaganda regarding the nuclear deal with Iran, they have denied any wrongdoing.

 "It is common practice for foundations to fund media coverage of underreported stories," Ploughshares spokeswoman Jennifer Abrahamson said, as quoted by the Associated Press.

Underreported? President Obama and senior members of his administration dominated the airwaves in pushing the deal, including on NPR. Many in the mainstream media were also advocates for the deal. Using funds donated to a non-profit organization such as Ploughshares to buy influence with a public broadcasting station would appear to be a step too far. Yet that is precisely what Ploughshares did.

Indeed, Ploughshares President Joseph Cirincione credited his organization for using "high-impact grantmaking" in "creating the conditions necessary for supporters of the Iran agreement to beat the political odds… we provided funding with support from those who understood the urgency of securing this agreement. Ploughshares Fund raised and disbursed over $11 million in grants over the past five years.”

Ploughshares’ 2015 annual report listed a broadcast by its grantee National Public Radio, Inc. under the heading:   “Iran Lobbying Battle Heats Up On The Airwaves.”

Cirincione savagely criticized the New York Times reporter David Samuels who exposed Ploughshares’ connection to Ben Rhodes’ echo chamber. He wrote that Samuels’ piece was a “grossly skewed version of reality” and “a fictional narrative.” Cirincione seems to have forgotten that it was Ben Rhodes who had trained as the fiction writer.

Ploughshares has spread its largesse to push the Iranian nuclear deal beyond just NPR. For example, one of its grantees is the National Iranian American Council, a pro-Iranian lobbyist in the United States.

Ploughshares’ tax exempt status should be examined for its propaganda and lobbying role in helping to fund Rhodes’ echo chamber reverberations.

NPR claims its "partnership" with Ploughshares came with no strings attached. NPR said in an emailed statement, quoted in the AP article, "As with all support received, we have a rigorous editorial firewall process in place to ensure our coverage is independent and is not influenced by funders or special interests."

NPR has a distinctly liberal bias, to be sure. Therefore, it would not be surprising if its coverage tended to be supportive of the Iran nuclear deal, with or without Ploughshares’ money. However, NPR has given an overwhelming amount of airtime to proponents of the deal, while refusing outright a request by a Republican congressman for airtime to counter pro-deal comments of a Democrat.

Ploughshares’ president had no problem getting airtime on NPR to defend the deal.  He appeared twice on NPR during March 2015 as the negotiations were underway. His first appearance was on March 23, 2015, during which he went after Obama’s opponents. NPR made no disclosure at the time that Ploughshares was a donor, as required by federal statute and the Federal Communication Commission’s payola rules. Only after the publication of the Associated Press story – more than a year after the broadcast – did NPR add the following partial disclosure as a postscript to the March 23, 2015 transcript: “Editor’s note on May 20, 2016: This report should have stated that Ploughshares Fund is a supporter of NPR’s coverage of nonproliferation and national security issues.”

NPR senior correspondent Steve Inskeep, who made $404, 818 in total compensation according to NPR’s 2013 tax filing, interviewed Joseph Cirincione regarding the Iran deal on March 31, 2015. “This negotiation could stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, and that is good enough,” Cirincione told Inskeep.

Immediately at the end of that broadcast, Inskeep managed to offer the same partial disclosure text that was added to the transcript of the March 23, 2015 broadcast for the first time just last week. In either case – whether timely or not – NPR did not disclose specifically that Ploughshares has contributed money to NPR for targeted use in broadcasting content on Iran’s nuclear program.

There is a statutory obligation on licensees under the Federal Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 317, "to make a sponsorship identification announcement when matter is broadcast in return for any money, service or other valuable consideration received by the licensee." The FCC’s payola rules state: “When a broadcast licensee has received or been promised payment for the airing of program material, then, at the time of the airing, the station must disclose that fact and identify who paid for or promised to pay for the material.” The FCC wants to make sure that broadcasters “let their audiences know if material was paid for, and by whom.” 

At best, NPR skirted the FCC’s payola rules and should be investigated for possible violations. In fact, the pattern of pro-Iranian broadcasts extended beyond hosting Ploughshares’ president on NPR with incomplete disclosures, one of which was made more than a year late.  NPR correspondent Steve Inskeep also conducted softball interviews of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and the speaker of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijani. Neither interview was accompanied by a disclosure of Ploughshares’ funding targeted for NPR’s favorable coverage of Iran’s nuclear program.

Inskeep asked President Rouhani, for example, a question right out of Rhodes’ playbook, designed to manipulate American listeners into believing that there was a truly moderate faction in Iran with whom we can effectively negotiate:

Question:  “I want to understand where you are on the Iranian political spectrum, because you've become associated with the movement for change and reform. But as many people will know, you've spent many years in senior government positions. Where are you on the Iranian political spectrum? How would you define yourself?”
Rouhani responded that he tries to take the middle course, listening to both conservatives and reformers. Inskeep did not challenge Rouhani with the fact that the hardliners led by Ayatollah Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard are really in charge in Iran. 

Inskeep also did not push back against assertions by both Rouhani and Larijani that Iran was an open democratic society. 

Meanwhile, NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik went on the air in an interview with Renee Montagne, a host of NPR’s Morning Edition, to defend Ben Rhodes against the revelations in the New York Times Magazine article. Just like the president of NPR’s donor Ploughshares, Folkenflik criticized the New York Times reporter who had exposed Rhodes’ echo chamber stratagem, including Ploughshares’ involvement. Renee Montagne, who made even more money than Inskeep according to NPR’s 2013 tax filing, raised the question whether the New York Times reporter, Samuels, had possibly done “a little manipulating” himself. Folkenflik would not go that far, but said that Samuels had biases against a negotiated deal with Iran that should have been disclosed to the readers.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. NPR has done as much as possible to pretend it is an objective news agency and to obscure the Iran connection to its funding from Ploughshares. Unlike print media, however, NPR is a broadcast company that must follow FCC rules. It is also a tax exempt organization subject to IRS rules about lobbying and propagandizing. If NPR accepted payola to propagandize, which is a distinct possibility, both federal agencies should be taking notice.


Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/262966/buying-media-sell-iran-nuke-deal-joseph-klein

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

State Department Inspector General’s report demolishes Hillary’s excuses about her private email server - Thomas Lifson



by Thomas Lifson

Even the Washington Post editorial board is appalled, publishing a collective rebuke titled, “Clinton’s inexcusable, willful disregard for the rules.”

The 83 page State Department Inspector General’s report on Hillary Clinton’s private email server puts the lie to many of Hillary Clinton’s repeated claims about her unprecedented private email server. No, it was not permitted, and she never asked. And if she had asked, she would have been told it was not permitted. Even the Washington Post editorial board is appalled, publishing a collective rebuke titled, “Clinton’s inexcusable, willful disregard for the rules.”
 
The “rules” she disregarded were adopted to implement federal law, the Federal Records Act, so in effect she was violating the law, even thought the IG’s report deliberately avoids saying so. So Hillary’s repeated claims that her use of the private email system was permitted is a blatant lie.

So, too, is her claim that she has cooperated with investigators. She and her top aides all declined to be interviewed by the IG investigators. Andrew McCarthy, a formed Assistant US Attorney explains that this is in effect taking the Fifth:
When a government official or former government official refuses to answer questions in a formal government investigation into potential wrongdoing, this in effect is the assertion of a legal privilege not to speak — otherwise, there is no valid reason not to cooperate. So what conceivable legal privilege do Clinton, Mills, Sullivan, and Abedin have that would allow them to refuse to answer investigators’ questions? Only one: the Fifth Amendment privilege — i.e., the refusal to answer on the grounds that truthful responses might be incriminating.
Hillary has claimed no hacking took place, but that is also false. Steven Dinan of the Washington Times:
…the inspector general concluded in a report sent to Congress on Wednesday that says she failed to report hacking attempts and waved off warnings that she should switch to a more official email account. (snip)

In one instance in 2011, Mrs. Clinton’s tech guru thought the server was being hacked and shut it down for a few minutes. Months later, Mrs. Clinton feared yet another hack attack was underway — yet never reported the incident to the department, in another breach of department rules.
“Notification is required when a user suspects compromise of, among other things, a personally owned device containing personally identifiable information,” the investigators wrote. “However, OIG found no evidence that the Secretary or her staff reported these incidents to computer security personnel or anyone else within the Department.”
There are two highly suggestive – almost smoking gun --  snippets in the report, that speak to Hillary’s motives and sensitivities. When Huma Abedin was worried that Hillary’s emails were being directed to spam filters because they were not from an official account and suggested that she:
…release her secret address to the department so she could be designated as a verified account, keeping her messages out of spam folders.
Mrs. Clinton refused, saying she didn’t “want any risk of the personal being accessible.” The inspector general at that point in the report notes that Mrs. Clinton refused to cooperate, and Ms. Abedin did not respond to a request to be interviewed.
This clearly establishes that she set up the private email system in order to be able to conceal correspondence from the public, not as she claimed as a matter of convenience. Her claims that her personal emails were about Chelsea’s wedding plans and yoga routines becomes a bad joke in this light.

The other very telling incident noted in the report is:
…when lower-level staffers pressed the issue [of her private email server], saying she was skirting open-records laws, they were ordered “never to speak of the secretary’s personal email system again.”
We do not know who said this. But almost certainly the FBI does.

The Hillary campaign is responding in its customary fashion, with the big lie:
“The inspector general documents just how consistent her email practices were with those of other secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal email.”
The campaign is relying on the complexity of the matter to obscure the seriousness with half-truths and evasions. Talking heads dispatched to cable news shows are already intimating that the IG, appointed by President Obama, had partisan motives, as Jamu Green did this morning on Fox News. But that simply won’t fly. As Roger L. Simon notes this morning, the person who could realty move this issue forward is Bernie Sanders, who is on record as being sick and tired of the “damn emails.”
 Does he move now before that crucial California primary or wait for the FBI?  A candidate who really wants the nomination would do the former.  As the old saw goes, he who hesitates is lost.  In this case, that loss could come in a number of  forms -- the nomination of Joe Biden or John Kerry, a Hillary indictment that arrives after the Democratic convention (too late for Sanders),  a recommended Hillary indictment that is deferred by the attorney general until after the convention (again too late for Sanders) and on and on.
It's up to Bernie.
At least until it’s up to James Comey and Loretta Lynch.


Thomas Lifson

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/05/state_department_inspector_generals_report_demolishes_hillarys_excuses_about_her_private_email_server.html

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

No Retreat from Hillary’s Village - Mary Grabar



by Mary Grabar


Clinton's dream of sending federal agents into American homes.




A campaign ad that Hillary Clinton used against Barack Obama in 2008 featured images of sleeping children, with a voice asking who would answer the phone ringing in the White House at 3 a.m., “someone who already knows the world leaders . . . the military,” someone “tested and ready to lead”—or (by implication) a first-term U.S. Senator/community organizer?

Hillary Clinton is running for president again, and of course is ignoring her failure as secretary of state to answer the late-night phone call coming from Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Instead, she is advertising how she wants to send federal emissaries into the homes of parents with newborn infants to teach them how to handle 3 a.m. feedings and baby talk. It’s an extension of her agenda as first lady in the Arkansas governor’s mansion and in the White House.  Her political career, after graduating and having written a thesis on friend Saul Alinsky, was launched with the Children’s Defense Fund under the direction of Marian Wright Edelman, agitator for increased welfare “for the children,” including federally funded childcare workers. 

As president, Hillary Clinton would implement the Edelman/Alinsky domestic vision she put forward, in more palatable terms, in her 1996 book, It Takes a Village to Raise a Child. Of course, it takes someone like Clinton to see the federal government as a “village.”  

In that book Clinton wrote, “government is not something outside us—something irrelevant or even alien to us—but is us.  To acknowledge this is to acknowledge that government has a responsibility not only to provide essential services but to bring individuals and communities together.”  This is the backwards notion of the community organizer.

Recently, in a May 21, 2016, Washington Post op-ed, Clinton revealed her totalizing domestic plans by reiterating her commitment to paid family leave legislation and to the “big idea” of “increasing federal investments and incentivizing states so that no family ever has to pay more than 10 percent of its income for child care.” 

She also proposed doubling the investment in programs that she helped develop as first lady: Early Head Start and the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership program. Parroting bureaucrats, Clinton claimed, “These programs bring an evidenced-based curriculum to child care and make sure kids get the best possible start in life. . . . .”

She, however, ignores the studies, including one by the agency administering the program, that show that when Head Start does have a positive impact, it is slight and disappears by third grade. 

Even so, Clinton wants to expand federal daycare, and also to send government agents into homes, following her efforts as first lady of Arkansas when she introduced the “Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters,” or “HIPPY.” Her campaign website boasts of a more recent feat, “As a leader at the Clinton Foundation,” when she “started a national public awareness campaign called ‘Too Small to Fail’ or ‘Pequeños y Valiosos’ aimed at closing the ‘word gap.’”

The Clinton Foundation, a purported charity (in reality a campaign slush fund with contributions helping friends’ business pursuits), is using the latest “gap” as the basis for the programs she hopes to enact as  president. The campaign site explains: “This gap refers to the 30 million fewer words heard by lower-income children by the time they are 4 years old, which leads to disparities in language development and school readiness.”  Low-income students already receive free breakfasts and lunches, even in the summer.  Under the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act they can look forward to attending “community schools,” where they will receive homework help, family dinners, and health and dental services.

Under Clinton’s plan, the federal government would provide childcare subsidies to families, raise the wages of childcare workers, and provide “home visiting services”—the latter to teach parents to talk to their children.  In It Takes a Village, Clinton celebrated England’s tradition of providing home visits through its national health service.  (She also bragged about her work on Goals 2000, the precursor to Common Core.)   

Initiatives, like the one to end the “word gap” may sound head-scratching-ly bizarre to people who have been around babies, and made idiots of themselves by cooing and lapsing into inane talk. 

But the studies that show that many low-income (i.e., single and government-dependent) parents do not speak to their young children are borne out by observation. 

It is an uncomfortable subject for many leftists.  Anyone who has taken public transportation in cities like Atlanta, where it is mostly used by those who cannot afford cars, knows this--including one of my leftist friends. In traffic-choked Atlanta it made sense for her to commute to her job downtown via the rail line, a straight shot from her apartment.  She would save on time, car wear-and-tear, gas, and parking—not to mention “The Environment.” 

But she stopped, explaining in an agonized voice that she couldn’t bear to watch how young mothers treated their children, with slaps and pulls, screaming abuses at them, at the train station. 

Of course, no one would dare reprimand such parents.  

So my friend retreated.  Leftist parents retreat by sending their children to private schools, while arguing for more funding for public schools.

The reaction is to retreat, to one’s car, and to vote for and advocate more government social programs so that “experts” can deal with such parents.  Leftists refuse to acknowledge that government programs that incentivize family breakdown and interfere with natural communities are the problem.  

Conservatives, frustrated by the inability of political representatives to cut back on detrimental government programs and despairing at the takeover of education by radicals, retreat to far-flung suburbs, where they undertake the dual tasks of parenting and teaching.  No one can or should blame them.  In fact, they are to be commended.  When I taught college I could count on homeschooled students to be better educated and more motivated than students from public schools.

But with the retreat of such parents, public schools suffer.  It’s a vicious cycle, but the progressive’s solution (or opportunity) is to use the deterioration as an entrée to more government meddling. 

Now, especially in Obama’s final year, we are witnessing the Washington overlords hounding the middle-class citizens into their retreats.  They are forcing “individuals and communities together” under Obama’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation of 2015.  The suburbs are being forced to build housing for the poor, who will bring their dysfunction to everything from the playground to the shopping mall.  As the feds impose their diktats on public spaces and private businesses, the homeschooling family will find fewer and fewer places where they are comfortable.  Under Obama’s Department of Education, they have found themselves forced to adhere to crazy Common Core standards if they want to pass GED tests, college entrance exams, and AP exams.  They find that many colleges now use Common Core test scores for placement in classes.  This overreach inspired many conservatives into activism and made Common Core part of the presidential campaign.

But as the presidential election approaches, many of the same conservatives are retreating--from the voting booth.  Morally repulsed by the profligate past, rhetoric, and impure ideology of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, they vow to back a third-party candidate, write in a name, or just stay home and pray. They are impervious to arguments that their retreat makes a Hillary Clinton (Obama.2) presidency likely.    

Surprisingly, the anti-Trump super PAC, Our Principles, as part of their attacks on Trump’s sexism, has been using statements about fatherhood that he made on the Howard Stern show in 2005.  Like the leftists, these Republicans take umbrage at Trump’s comments about husbands who relent to pressures and “act like the wife.”     

Trump expressed traditional sentiments and said he believed in supplying “funds,” but not changing diapers or pushing a stroller through Central Park.  In contrast, I am reminded of one of many absurd helpful hints about fatherhood coming from the Obama administration.  Early on, a Father’s Day campaign that encouraged fathers’ involvement showed a picture of a burly father with his young daughter.  They were both painting their fingernails.   

Voters should be asking themselves if they want the Big-Nanny-in-Chief sending government agents into homes.  Or do they want to become breadwinners again?


Mary Grabar, Ph.D., a resident fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, taught college English for 20 years. She founded the Dissident Prof Education Project, Inc., a 501(c)(3) education reform initiative.  The motto, “Resisting the Re-Education of America,” arose in part from her perspective as a very young immigrant from the former Communist Yugoslavia (Slovenia specifically). Her writing can be found at www.marygrabar.com.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/262968/no-retreat-hillarys-village-mary-grabar

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

WHO singles out Israel as world’s only ‘health rights violator’ - Shoshana Mishkin



by Shoshana Mishkin

World Health Organization's UN resolution marks Israel as the world’s only violator of ‘mental, physical and environmental health.’

The World Health Organization (WHO) called for an investigation into alleged abuses of “mental, physical and environmental health” rights by Israel, the only country singled out during the U.N. agency’s annual assembly in Geneva.

The motion was co-sponsored by the Arab Group of States and the Palestinian delegation, and it commissioned a WHO delegation to investigate and report on “the health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory” and “the occupied Syrian Golan."

France, Germany and the United Kingdom were among the 107 countries that voted for the proposal. Eight countries – the United States, Canada, Australia, Paraguay, Guatemala, Micronesia and Papua New Guinea – voted against the resolution.

Watchdog organization UN Watch blasted the WHO resolution.

“The UN reached new heights of absurdity today,” said executive director Hillel Neuer immediately following the vote.

Neuer said the motion was more of a political and religious persecution than a measured policy since it did not address other alleged abuses in other Middle Eastern countries such as Syria, Saudi Arabia or Yemen.

“By scapegoating the Jewish state for all the world’s health problems, just as medieval Europe once accused the Jews of poisoning the wells, the EU aids and abets the UN and its World Health Organization to betray the cause of humanity and the very principles upon which they were founded,” he said.

The motion also raised criticism from inside Israel. Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid told WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan in a letter that the UN vote was “a modern manifestation of anti-Semitism.”

“The blame here lies with those who abuse medical facilities and turn them into military facilities. It is Hamas and the Islamic Jihad who should be the focus of your condemnation,” he wrote.

Lapid noted how Palestinian terrorists regularly use hospitals and schools to launch rockets at Israeli civilians, as was the case during Operation Protective Edge, while Israel set up a field hospital to treat injured Palestinians.

He further blasted WHO of allowing itself “to be used by those who seek to alienate the State of Israel through a campaign of de-legitimization. This orchestrated campaign against the sole Jewish state in the world is a modern manifestation of anti-Semitism.”


Shoshana Mishkin

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/212855#.V0deKuSzdds

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Sanders aides pledge to push Democratic party away from Israel - David Rosenberg



by David Rosenberg


Sanders representatives chosen to help draft party platform demand Democratic Party use clout to pursue 'justice for Palestinians'.


While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now all but assured the Democratic nomination this summer, her rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says the political revolution is far from over. As some Democratic officials fear, Sanders’ claim may be more than an idle threat to the party establishment.

Because of his performance in the Democratic nominating process, Sanders has been awarded 5 of the 15 seats at the party platform drafting committee; the body which sets the official agenda for the Democratic National Committee and 2016 presidential election campaign.

Sanders looks to push the party to the left on a variety of issues, but has also placed an emphasis on the Israeli-Arab conflict. Two of Sanders’ five representatives – Cornel West and James Zogby – are outspoken opponents of the Jewish state.

On Wednesday the two announced their intentions to use the Democratic platform drafting committee to shift the party away from support for Israel – and towards the Palestinians.

West decried what he described as the “occupation”, demanding the party take an active role in ending Israeli control over Judea and Samaria.

“Justice for Palestinians cannot be attained without the lifting of the occupation,” West said, drawing attention to what he called “the plight of an occupied people”, the New York Times reported.

West, who teaches philosophy at the Union Theological Seminary, has a history of abrasive comments towards Israel, and has been a vocal supporter of the BDS movement.

In an interview with Salon, West said the Israeli “occupation” of Judea and Samaria must be terminated.

“It’s ugly, it’s vicious, it’s brutal, and it needs to not just be brought to attention, it needs to be brought to an end.”

West brushed off criticism of his stance as “Zionist critiques”, and compared the Gaza Strip to Nazi concentration camp and drawing parallels to racism in the West.

“[T]here is no doubt that Gaza is not just a ‘kind of’ concentration camp, it is the hood on steroids.”

For his part, Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute, also has a history of vicious anti-Israel rhetoric, abuse of the legacy of the Holocaust, and tropes aimed at Jewish supporters of Israel.

In a 2010 Huffington Post article, Zogby compared Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria to the Nazi Holocaust.

An early supporter of the BDS movement, Zogby himself organized boycotts of businesses with branches in Israel.

In the past, Zogby has as suggested that Israeli influence was behind America’s involvement in the Iraq War, and has smeared some American Jews as “Israel firsters”.


David Rosenberg

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/212832#.V0cDeOSzdds

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Irony: Israeli academics lead academic boycott of Israel - Arutz Sheva Staff



by Arutz Sheva Staff


Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

Im Tirtzu report reveals that top Israeli professors are behind boycott to 'cut off the branch they sit on.'

A new report by the grassroots Zionist group Im Tirtzu on Thursday exposed the leading role played by top Israeli academics in promoting the BDS boycott movement - which includes an academic boycott of Israel aiming to harm research in the Jewish state.

The report focuses on the Israeli Anthropological Association as a case study so as to reveal just how involved Israeli academics are in encouraging the international movement pressing for an academic boycott of Israel, which would consequently harm Israel's economy.

What Im Tirtzu found is that leading Israeli professors who receive salaries funded by Israeli taxpayers legitimize and often promote boycott efforts - including those that directly harm the institutions where they work.

Those actions come despite the fact that the Israeli Council for Higher Education back in 2012 passed a resolution explicitly rejecting academic boycotts targeting Israel coming from Israeli academics.

The Israeli Anthropological Association was examined in the report, which exposed its growing involvement with efforts for an academic boycott of Israel that particularly escalated after the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in 2013 began discussing such a boycott.

A vote on whether or not to boycott Israeli academic institutions will be held by the AAA's 10,000 members on May 31 this year, targeting all institutions in Israel regardless of whether or not they are over the 1949 Armistice line.

Undermining BDS opposition

In response to the growing resolution, the Israeli Anthropological Association back in August 2014 wrote to AAA, protesting against the boycott.

But even as the association fought the boycott, a group of 20 Israeli anthropologists - many of whom teach in public institutions - wrote to the AAA praising the effort and urging passage of the boycott resolution.

Later in 2015 the AAA sent a task force to create a biased report on the situation in Israel, which repeatedly quoted anonymous Israeli academics to give a veneer of legitimacy to its distortions and accusations.

The report was published in July 2015 - several months after the Israeli Anthropological Association had sent another letter to the AAA in which it capitulated to the boycott pressure by criticizing Israel for its "occupation," even while calling for the AAA not to level an academic boycott.

Once again, a group of 22 "anonymous" Israeli anthropologists wrote their own letter to AAA shortly after the Israeli Anthropological Association letter, and again they called to boycott Israel, writing, "we urge all members of the AAA to join in supporting the academic boycott resolution on the spring ballot."

"Cutting off the branch they sit on"

Im Tirtzu in its new report reveals that all of the anthropologists who called for the boycott in the first letter are members of radical leftist organizations, which receive huge foreign funding and work against the state from within.

Furthermore not all of the Israeli academics currently live in Israel, with many of them directly connected to foreign organizations or the international BDS movement.

Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu, condemned the radical minority for operating from within Israel in order to impose international pressure on it.

"Decision-makers and presidents of Israeli universities look to combat the international BDS movement, but completely ignore the boycott phenomenon from within Israel that is being led by Israeli academics," said Peleg.

"It is sad to see that those leading the boycott are cutting off the branch on which they are sitting and are working behind the scenes in order to mortally wound the future of Israeli academia."

Touching on the motives of the boycott movement, he said, "the BDS movement is driven by blind hatred towards the State of Israel and is equipped with tremendous resources. Faced with the consistent attempt to harm the Israeli public, we as citizens need to mobilize against it. The State of Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and the only country in the region that preserves human and civil rights."

"The Im Tirtzu movement will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to fight against this theater of absurdity in which Israeli academics are playing the leading role."


Arutz Sheva Staff

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/212844#.V0dJROSzdds

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Lie of "Disproportionality" - Fred Maroun



by Fred Maroun

No other military force drops leaflets, telephones its adversaries and "knocks on the roof" to warn them of an imminent attack, so that civilians will have time to evacuate.

  • By making an accusation of disproportionality without defining the meaning of the term, Bernie Sanders and Haaretz betrayed not only the Palestinians and the Israelis, but also their professions. They made false and unsubstantiated accusations while ignoring the thousands more deaths that the Palestinians are inflicting on their own people -- by training toddlers and children for war, using their own people as human shields and failing to provide shelters for them, as the Israelis do for their citizens.
  • In addition to helping Bernie Sanders attract the naïve and anti-Israel vote, and helping Haaretz attract anti-Semitic readers, unsubstantiated claims of disproportionality divert attention from the fact that preventing more wars requires replacing Gaza's Iranian-backed terrorist regime with a regime that is interested in the well-being of the Palestinians.
As a fourth Gaza war looms on the horizon, we should be aware of the hypocrisy and demagoguery of past Gaza wars: because we are likely to see more of the same.

The Accusation

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a candidate in the Democratic primaries for president, claimed that Israel's response in the 2014 Gaza war was "disproportionate," and Haaretz columnist Asher Schechter agreed. Yet neither Sanders nor Haaretz provided evidence to back that claim.

Schechter made one point worth mentioning: the claim of "extremely permissive rules of engagement during the operation that aimed to protect the lives of IDF soldiers even if the cost was a greater loss of civilian lives." If true, it simply means that IDF soldiers, as all soldiers, have to make split-second decisions, and when they do so in a situation when confronted with Palestinians who appear to be terrorists, they err on the side of assuming they are terrorists in order to protect their own lives. That is not unexpected, and Israel has no obligation to do otherwise.

Israel has repeatedly demonstrated how much it values the civilian lives of the people it is fighting. No other military force drops leaflets, telephones its adversaries and "knocks on the roof" to warn them of an imminent attack, so that civilians will have time to evacuate. Israel values the lives of Palestinian civilians, but naturally, it values the lives of its own soldiers more. Israel has repeatedly demonstrated how much it values its soldiers, for example when it freed more than one thousand Palestinian criminals. Why would anyone expect Israel to suddenly to value its soldiers less when forced to fight terrorism in Gaza?

What is disgraceful is not that Israel cares about its soldiers, most of whom have families at home -- in many cases dependent on them for their livelihood. What would morale in any military be if soldiers felt they were merely regarded as cannon-fodder, not cared about?

What is disgraceful is that the Palestinian government in Gaza cares less about the lives of its own civilians, who themselves have families, than about killing Jews. This is why the terrorists exploit those civilians as part of their "dead baby strategy," described by American human rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

As Dershowitz has also written, Hamas has a "calculated strategy designed to point the emotional finger of moral blame at the IDF for doing what every democracy would do: namely, defend its civilians from rocket attacks by targeting those who are firing the rockets, even if they are firing them from civilian areas."

No Credible Evidence

There has been no evidence from an unbiased and credible source that Israel's actions in Gaza were disproportionate -- in the laws of war, not meaning that the number of dead on both sides of a conflict have to be the same (which would be nonsense) -- but that the amount of military force to be applied to accomplish a particular military operation may not exceed the amount of force required to accomplish the goal of that military operation: "Loss of life and damage to property incidental to attacks must not be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage ..."

This is not a simple concept, especially for a public not versed in military matters.

Among the biased sources that have weighed in is Amnesty International (AI), which made that accusation in July 2015. The Israeli government explained why AI's conclusion was not valid, but AI's thoroughly documented record of anti-Israel bias already tainted its report.

AI's bias against Israel has also been documented by several analysts, in addition to NGO Monitor: Dr. Yvette Alt Miller and Alan Dershowitz himself. AI's national office denied Alan Dershowitz the right to speak after AI's Columbia chapter had invited him. AI even co-sponsored the speaking tour of a Palestinian activist who promotes violence and who openly exploits his own children to provoke Israeli soldiers.

In addition to the lack of credibility of the accusations, non-Israeli and non-Jewish sources have also reached the conclusion that Israel committed no crimes of disproportionality. During the 2014 Gaza war, Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said, "No other army in the world has ever done more than Israel is doing now to save the lives of innocent civilians in a combat zone". In April 2016, he reiterated that assessment.

Haaretz's Schechter admits that "Hamas, of course, launched rocket attacks against schools, hospitals and houses. It did so deliberately, with the intent of inflicting death and suffering." Everyone who is not an outright terrorist supporter, including Sanders and Haaretz, agrees that Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorist attacks from Gaza. It is, of course, the duty of Israel to use only the force required to stop the attackers and not much more, but how does one determine if Israel went "too far"?

To the naïve observer, it seems that because far more Palestinians died than Israelis, Israel must be using disproportionate force. This conclusion, however, does not take into account that Israel goes to great lengths to protect its civilians while Hamas encourages civilian casualties in order to gain sympathy, as Dershowitz explains. It also does not take into account the actual meaning of proportionality.

A Betrayal of both Israelis and Palestinians

By making an accusation of disproportionality without defining the meaning of the term, Sanders and Haaretz betrayed not only the Palestinians and the Israelis, but also their professions. They made false and unsubstantiated accusations while ignoring the thousands more Palestinian deaths that the Palestinians are inflicting on their own people -- by training toddlers and children for war, using their own people as human shields and failing to provide shelters for them, as the Israelis do for their citizens.

In addition to helping Sanders attract the naïve and anti-Israel vote, and helping Haaretz attract anti-Semitic readers, unsubstantiated claims of disproportionality divert attention from the fact that preventing more wars requires replacing Gaza's Iranian-backed terrorist regime with a regime that is interested in the well-being of the Palestinians. Sanders and Schechter propose nothing to achieve this. They prefer falsely to accuse Israel of anything that might possibly sound damning, and hope that no one will dig for some truth or ask any questions.

To naïve people, Sanders and Schechter appear thoughtful, compassionate individuals who care about the Palestinians; in fact, they merely are either ignorant themselves or duplicitous. If betraying Israelis and Palestinians equally is what Sanders means by "a more balanced position," all that is disproportionate is their unjustified hostility towards Israel that is also unhelpful to the Palestinians.
 
 
Fred Maroun, a left-leaning Arab based in Canada, has authored op-eds for New Canadian Media, among other outlets. From 1961-1984, he lived in Lebanon.
Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8132/disproportionality

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Is It Only the Fascist Left That Can Save Israel from Fascism? - Daniel Greenfield



by Daniel Greenfield

They really don’t make fascists like they used to.



Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak declared recently that the new Israeli government coalition has "been infected by seeds of fascism.” What are “seeds of fascism”? They’re a lot like sour grapes.

Barak had been a member of a coalition government with Netanyahu and Lieberman, the new Minister of Defense, and the subject of his fascism accusation. When Barak was in the coalition, was it also infected with “seeds of fascism”? Or do these magical fascist seeds only sprout when Barak is not in the coalition? Is Barak even now spreading his fascist seeds across the carpets of Israeli television stations every time he walks in to give another interview?

But no one expects sanity or consistency from the Israeli left which throws around accusations of fascism like a drunken British punk rocker denouncing Thatcher.

Departing Minister of Defense Ya’alon is being mourned as the victim of a fascist “purge” even though he left of his own free will after being offered a post as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Instead Ya’alon left to try and found his own party. It’s a strange kind of fascist purge to be offered one of the top jobs in the government instead of a cigarette, a blindfold and a spot in front of a concrete wall.

The left keeps accusing Netanyahu of being a “fascist”, but he doesn’t seem to be very good at the fascism thing. Maybe they don’t make fascists like they used to.

The left has embraced Ya’alon as its newfound Galileo, praising him as a voice of conscience and a martyr to Netanyahu’s horrible fascism. They forgot that only two years ago they were calling for his head after he accused Secretary of State John Kerry of being “obsessive” and opined, “The only thing that can ‘save’ us is for John Kerry to win his Nobel Prize and leave us alone.” 

Back then left-wing opposition boss Herzog had barked, “Ya’alon is revealing the true face of Netanyahu’s government.” Now Herzog is reaching out to Ya’alon hoping he’ll join his party. In only a few years, Ya’alon has gone from a militaristic fascist to the potential face of the Labor Party.

And that reveals Herzog's true face.

The hypocritical Israeli left complains that a democratically elected government giving orders to generals subverts democracy. Instead it wants to protect democracy through a junta of top generals and judges so that Israel can be just like Latin America.

At least that’s what it wants this Wednesday. By next week it may be back to calling for Ya’alon’s head and begging Netanyahu to let them join his coalition.

Because the only way to beat the fascists is to join them.

The left’s complaints come down to whining that Netanyahu is a fascist because he picked the kind of government coalition that Israelis wanted, rather than the one that they wanted.

If the Israeli left could manage even a stray moment of honesty, its sad collection of bad actors, worse generals, former newscasters, academic bigots and spoiled social justice activists from neighborhoods where a home costs more money than most Israelis will ever see in a lifetime might admit that their definition of “fascism” is anything they don’t like at a given time.

So far the biggest “fascist” scandal the unhinged left has managed to attach to Netanyahu has been the amount of money he spent on pistachio ice cream. They really don’t make fascists like they used to.

If Netanyahu were a fascist, shouldn’t he be delivering speeches from balconies and rounding up and shooting the left-wing opposition instead of negotiating coalition agreements with them? Why for that matter, under Israel’s new fascist government, is the media wholly dominated by left-wing voices?

The left whines that a failure to fund their pet media outlets threatens democracy and freedom of speech. But the only newspaper that was banned was the conservative Israel Hayom because it was just too successful. Trying to ban a paper because you don’t like its point of view is arguably fascist in a loose sense of the word. And it’s the kind of fascist behavior that the Israeli left is often guilty of.

Haaretz, the paper of record of the left which routinely accuses Netanyahu, every Israeli to the right of Stalin and passing migrating birds of being “fascist”, claimed that the conservative paper is “illegal” because it’s not a newspaper, but an “anti-newspaper. Why is Israel Hayom an “anti-newspaper” while Haaretz is a newspaper? Because Israel Hayom supports Netanyahu. Therefore the free paper had to be banned for posing “an imminent danger to this country’s free press.”

“A free press is the last obstacle to racist fascism and cannibalistic capitalism.” So the free press had to be banned to protect the free press from the free press.

Failing to ban the free press would be fascism.

This is the lopsided Orwellian world of meaningless word salads that the Israeli left inhabits in which democratic elections that the right wins are a threat to democracy, newspapers have to be banned to protect freedom of the press and any election which the left doesn’t win is a fascist election.

The Israeli left has no concept of what democracy, freedom or fascism mean. It’s a privileged class which measures all things as good or bad based on its entitlement. Its talentless academics and artists, who have achieved their posts through the political connections of their protekzia, rather than the merest hint of merit, are convinced that any criticism of them is fascist and ought to be banned.

When Zionist human rights group Im Tirtzu ran a campaign calling out celebrities for their anti-Israel statements, Labor’s Shelly Yachimovich shrilled, “Stop the fascist wave that is threatening to wash away Israeli democracy and distort it beyond recognition.” Why does criticizing overrated establishment hacks like Amos Oz or Gila Almagor threaten Israeli democracy? Yachimovich demanded that Netanyahu intervene to stop Im Tirtzu from criticizing left-wing celebrities for their anti-Israel views.

Silencing organizations for their political views is a lot more “fascist” than criticizing political views. But Haaretz had championed Yachimovich, a former television personality with all the charisma of an overworked cashier on a smoking break at midnight, as “The only woman who can save Israel from fascism”. But then who will save Israel from her brand of anti-fascist fascism?

The Israeli left is fascist. It’s also too stupid and ignorant to even realize that it’s fascist. Instead it pushes fascism in the guise of fighting fascism. It wants to ban freedom of speech, freedom of the press and eventually free elections to stop fascism. It’s convinced that only a progressive junta of gatekeepers can preserve Israeli democracy from fascism.

If the Israeli left really wanted to fight fascism, it would stop trying to interfere in democratic elections and dismantle its own attempts to dictate political outcomes through a Deep State of academics, judges and media honchos. If the Israeli left really wanted to fight fascism, it would fight itself.

Instead it uses “democracy” to mean the preservation of its own undemocratic power and describes democracy as “fascist”. To understand the left, you have to run all its words through a filter so that they mean the opposite of what they usually do. Freedom is slavery. Slavery is freedom. Democracy is fascism. Fascism is democracy. Censorship is freedom of the press. Only the fascist left can save Israel from Netanyahu’s fascism in which the left loses election after election despite controlling the press.

How can it be that it’s been 15 years since the last Labor Prime Minister? The Israeli left has come to the entirely rational conclusion that since it keeps losing democratic elections and “fascists” like Netanyahu keep winning them, that democracy must be fascist and that their fascism must be true democracy.


Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/262964/it-only-fascist-left-can-save-israel-fascism-daniel-greenfield

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Israel intercepts weapons transfer from Judea to Gaza Strip - Kobi Finkler



by Kobi Finkler

Shipment carrying materials for mortars from Judea to Gaza Strip via Israel discovered.


Seized weapons-making equipment at Gaza border
Seized weapons-making equipment at Gaza border
Defense Ministry
Border control agents, working in conjunction with the Shin Bet internal security agency, confiscated a large shipment at the Tarkumia Crossing in the Hevron region.

The shipment, bound for Gaza via Israel, carried a large quantity of building materials for rockets and mortars, along with heavy-duty electric motors, used to construct and fortify underground facilities.
Security officials believe the shipment was destined for the Hamas terror organization.

The smuggled materials were concealed in what appeared to be a shipment of textiles and jewelry.
Officials say the shipment included hundreds of special pipes used to manufacture rockets and mortars, in addition to motors Hamas likely intended to use to expand its vast underground network.

The shipment was destined for the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza via Israel. Authorities are searching for those responsible for the smuggling attempt.







All pictures credit: Defense Ministry


Kobi Finkler

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/212827#.V0dTp-Szddt

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Israeli companies successfully print 3-D stem cell tissue - Reuters, Ilan Gattegno, and Israel Hayom staff



by Reuters, Ilan Gattegno, and Israel Hayom staff

Israeli-based Nano Dimension and Accellta announce a successful "proof of concept 3-D bioprinter for stem cells" • Feasibility study could lead to the printing of "large and complex tissues and organs" and bolster various fields of medicine.



A new breakthrough in 3-D printing could bolster regenerative medicine, says Nano Dimension
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Photo credit: Reuters, Ilan Gattegno, and Israel Hayom staff


Reuters, Ilan Gattegno, and Israel Hayom staff

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=33935

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.