Thursday, June 21, 2018

U.S. Withdraws From UN Human Rights Council - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

UN travesty refused to heed calls for reform.

The United States has withdrawn from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced the Trump administration’s decision at the State Department Tuesdayafternoon. “We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights,” Ambassador Haley said at a press conference announcing the decision. Secretary of State Pompeo added succinctly, “The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights.”

The United States joined this travesty of a human rights body in 2009 during former President Barack Obama's first term, three years after it was established to replace the widely discredited UN Commission on Human Rights. While intended to be more accountable and effective in monitoring human rights abuses without favor or bias, the Human Rights Council was fundamentally flawed from the outset.  “Negotiations watered down the U.S. proposal to one that failed to adopt any meaningful criteria for membership and left the new body vulnerable to the same manipulation by human rights abusers that plagued the old Commission,” Brett Schaefer, a Heritage Foundation foreign policy expert, wrote back in 2006 when the Human Rights Council was being launched. Former President George W. Bush refused to play along and kept the United States out of the Human Rights Council. Obama decided that the United States would have a better chance of encouraging real reform from the inside rather than by criticizing the UN body from the outside. His administration failed miserably. In the years since, the Human Rights Council has fulfilled the worst fears of its critics. 

Ambassador Haley warned the Human Rights Council last year that, unless this "forum for politics, hypocrisy and evasion" reformed its ways, the United States would pull out. It did not change its ways. As usual, the Trump administration meant business and followed through with its threat.

The Human Rights Council includes amongst its members the likes of Cuba, Egypt, Burundi, China, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, which are not exactly known for their attention to human rights protection at home. Yet they get to sit in judgment on the United States and Israel. 

“Literally half of all U.N. resolutions at the Human Rights Council criticizing a country have not been directed at North Korea, not against Iran, not against Saudi Arabia, not against Egypt, not against China, not against Venezuela, not against Cuba – against Israel, the only democratic free country in the Middle East,” said conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, based on data compiled by UN Watch, a nongovernmental organization. 

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein sent letters to about 150 Israeli and overseas companies operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, threatening that they may be added to a UN compiled blacklist of companies that, in his words, “operate in opposition to international law and in opposition of UN resolutions.” About 30 of the companies are reportedly from the United States. The UN’s blacklist will serve to bolster the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, whose co-founder Omar Barghouti said, “We hope the UN Human Rights Council will stand firm and publish its full list of companies illegally operating in or with Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land, and will develop this list as called for by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2016.” Barghouti showed his true colors when he said back in 2013 that “we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.”

Enough is enough. “The Human Rights Council has long been the foe of those who truly care about human rights around the world,” said Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon in welcoming the announcement by the United States that it will withdraw from the Human Rights Council. 

We also have had enough of the self-righteous lecturing by the UN’s human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, presuming to tell the United States how to enforce its immigration laws. “The thought that any State would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable,” he said, calling on the United States to immediately put a stop to the separation policy, and ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

Zeid, an unelected bureaucrat from a country with its own dubious human rights record, has gone after President Trump personally on several occasions, both before and after Mr. Trump’s election victory. Fortunately, Zeid has decided not to continue in office beyond the end of his current term later this summer. The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the UN Human Rights Council charade sends a signal that the United States, the UN’s largest funder, will no longer tolerate business as usual anywhere within the bloated, hypocritical globalist United Nations institution.

Joseph Klein


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Illegal Aliens Fatally Separate American Parents and Children - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

Hispanic, black and white children torn away from American families.

In 2008, Colorado separated a Jewish boy from his parents.

Marten Kudlis was separated from his parents while waiting for his mother to bring him his ice cream. The 3-year-old boy who had just been playing in the park never got his ice cream. 

Instead Francis Hernandez, an illegal alien driving 81 miles an hour, slammed into a pickup truck, killing the two women inside, and smashing it through the glass wall of the Baskin Robbins. 

Blood and broken glass covered the floor. Little Marten, who had just learned to ride a bike, died of a slashed jugular vein and was buried with a teddy bear.

Francis Hernandez had been arrested 16 times in 5 years without ever being turned over to immigration authorities. That failure to enforce immigration law separated a little boy from his family forever. 

Advocates for illegal migration claim to be outraged by family separation. They want illegal alien invaders like Francis to go on separating American children from their families. What the fake news media falsely calls family separation is just arresting illegal aliens like Francis instead of releasing them. When previous administrations failed to enforce border security, they separated American children like Marten and many others from their parents forever. And the blood of those children is on the hands of the posturing politicians, activists and pundits who want to unite illegal aliens and separate Americans.

In February 2018, the United States government separated Grace Aguilar from her parents. 

Grace was a bright and cheerful 6-year-old girl. While she was sitting by her favorite tree in the front yard of her family home, Maximino Delgado Lagunas, a Mexican illegal alien who had already been deported twice, ran her down.

The illegal alien's blood alcohol limit was three times the legal limit. He had been arrested before for a DUI, but was put back on the street by local cops instead of being turned over to immigration authorities.

Sanctuary city policies separated Grace, whose parents had tried to have children for 8 years, from her parents. The illegal alien who killed her had been deported twice, once under Bush and once under Obama. The combination of lax border security by these two administrations and local sanctuary policies permanently separated the little girl and her parents. Unlike the illegal migrants whose plight is playing out on every cable news channel, the Aguilar family will never get their daughter back.

16-year-old Kayla Cuevas and 15-year-old Nisa Mickens were separated from their parents when they were battered with baseball bats and butchered with a machete in a suburban cul-de-sac by illegal alien MS-13 members. 

The brutal illegal alien assault left the bodies of the African-American teenage girls, who had been out celebrating Nisa's birthday, barely recognizable. 

“There are days where you feel like you want your world to end, just like your child’s,” Kayla's mother said. “Then you realize you have a new purpose: to fight, so that your child’s death is not in vain.”

10-year-old Alena Clay was separated from her family while walking down a bike lane with her 16-year-old sister and two other girls. Juan Carlos Ortega-Santos, an illegal alien, had no driver's license, no insurance and his blood alcohol level was far over the limit. 16-year-old Tyeisha Lacy, Alena's sister, pushed an 8-year-old girl out of Juan's way. But Juan slammed into the two Lacy girls killing them both.

"He will never know the extent of the damage he did," Lakeenya Lacy, Tyeisha's mother, said in court. "You did not just take their lives. You took other people's lives with them."

4-year-old Ellie Bryant and 22-month-old Grayson Hacking were separated forever from their mother when Margarito Quintero Rosales slammed head on into their car. Ellie, Grayson and Courtney Hacking's husband, Peter, were all killed.

Rosales had been previously deported and had no license. He was sentenced to two years in prison.

15-year-old Genesis Cornejo-Alvarado was separated from her parents when two illegal alien MS-13 gang members killed her in a satanic ritual after previously raping her and a 14-year-old girl. 

11-year-old Abigail Robinson and 6-year-old Anna Dieter-Eckerdt were separated from their parents while playing in a pile of leaves. Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros, who ran them over, was an illegal alien and one of Obama's DREAMERs. Despite killing the two girls, she was released from jail and allowed to apply for a Social Security number and a work permit. And that is exactly what illegal alien advocates want.

When illegal aliens separate a child from her parents, no power on earth can undo that separation. 

The sheriff's department and volunteers searched hundreds of acres for 14-month-old Owen Hidalgo-Calderon. The body of his mother, 18-year-old Selena Hidalgo-Calderon, had already been found. 

Evarardo Donoteo-Reyes, a Mexican illegal alien who had already been deported twice, and convicted once of illegal entry, was charged with moving her body.

10-year-old Kayla Gomez-Orozco went missing after church. Her body was later found in a well. The accused murderer was Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, her previously deported illegal alien uncle, who allegedly sexually assaulted her, beat her with a blunt object, choked her and then drowned her in the well.

But sometimes illegal aliens don’t even bother separating parents and children. Marco Tulio Hernandez Ramirez was driving his employer’s van when he slammed into the Cannon family's Toyota Camry.

His blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit, he didn’t have a license and was driving on the wrong side of the roadway. But the illegal alien survived to become a 40-year burden on taxpayers.  5-year-old Rose Marie Cannon didn't. Neither did Katherine Cannon and Russell Cannon.

Rose Marie had been given a dollar to spend as the family headed out to do their Christmas shopping.

“And she died with that dollar in her hand," Louise Cannon, Russell's mother, said. "That's the most heartbreaking thing."

"He gave them the death sentence," she said of Ramirez.

But it wasn’t only Ramirez who did that. Ramirez had been deported before, but there he was back again. The failure to enforce immigration laws separated Rose Marie forever from her family. 

America is full of angel dad and moms whose children were separated from them by illegal aliens.

Ray Tranchant was separated forever from his 16-year-old daughter Tessa, when Alfredo Ramos, a drunk illegal alien, slammed into the back of their car. 

"My idea of heaven", Tessa had written in her journal, "is a nonstop vacation on a tropical island … all the people I love would be there with me."

Ray Tranchant has been fighting to prevent other American families from being separated from their child. 

And he’s not alone.

The victims are all around us. These are only a handful of their stories. They are members of every race and religion. Some were born in this country and others came here as legal immigrants. 

We have a choice to make.

Either we can detain illegal migrants crossing the border or we can let them all in. We can take the Merkel way out and hope that the family that pays the price for illegal migration isn’t our own.

There are no apologies or excuses necessary for detaining illegal aliens who illegally cross the border. Even if we set aside minor matters like national sovereignty and the rule of law, the stories of these murdered children provide ample justification for arresting every single illegal migrant. 

Either we separate illegal migrants from this country. Or they will go on brutally tearing families apart. And if we allow them to use children as human shields, then American children will pay the price.

President Trump has called the media the “enemy of the American people.” It’s not just the enemy. Its manicured hands are covered in the blood of American men, women and children. The media advocates for drug dealers, for Islamic terrorists and for illegal aliens. The more Americans they kill, the more the media cheers them on. The media’s lies aren’t just tearing apart the country, they’re killing children.

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


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The real agendas behind the ‘separation of families’ PsyOp meme - Peter Barry Chowka

by Peter Barry Chowka

It’s the final push of Democrats and activists to make open borders legal and permanent — and that’s not all.

For years — decades, actually — the Democrats have been facilitating the invasion of our country by millions of people who are from, as President Trump once reportedly described them, “s—t hole countries.” The constantly cited figure of “11 million illegal immigrants” is a joke. It has remained constant for more than a decade, while new waves of illegal immigrants arrive annually. There are more likely tens of millions of them here. In California, according to the LA Times July 8, 2015, non-Hispanic whites are now in the minority having been outnumbered by Latinos, a.k.a. “people of color.” Very little of this profound demographic shift is a result of legal immigration. This recent wave of immigrants, coming from poor countries with repressive backward regimes, as a rule do not believe in the laws and the importance and supremacy of the founding documents of this country, including the Constitution.

Screen shot of Los Angeles Times article July 8, 2015

Our domestic politics are increasingly manipulated by, and now follow and reflect, this profound demographic shift. Soon, living in the United States will totally be like living in the s—t hole countries of Mexico and Central America. (In 2017, the most powerful Democrat in the California legislature — open borders activist and California State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Léon — bragged that “‘half his family’ was in the country illegally, using false documents, and eligible for deportation.” De Léon is now challenging fellow Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein from the left in the November election.)

Many of the separated “migrant children,” who are now being highlighted in the mainstream media as a story that might actually stick to President Trump, arrive without any experience, skills, or training to prepare them to live in a First World country. As Breitbart reported on June 15 about a visit to the government facility in El Cajon, California where migrant children are being housed:
They are also given toiletries and lessons in hygiene — literally how to flush a toilet, brush their teeth, and operate the shower, which some of the children may have never seen in their lives.
Illegal immigrant “DREAMers” Source: Americans for Legal Immigration PAC

The agenda of the Democrats and open borders advocates is now to push to finish the job and to make open borders the legal, as opposed to only the de facto, status quo. The reason is simple: millions more illegals means millions of additional reliable votes for Democrats in their plan to make the United States a one-party socialist country like what they have achieved in the state of California in less than two decades as the result of the invasion of illegals there, most of whom can now vote.

The additional and broader intention of the activists is to de-criminalize most crimes so the jails will be emptied of people of color, who comprise prison populations far out of proportion to their numbers – because they disproportionately commit crimes, particularly crimes committed by people of one race against another. They have already started to do this in California and other states with very unpleasant consequences. This article on June 19 in The Federalist confirms the Democrats’ intention to stop punishing crimes committed not only by illegals but by all criminal “parents,” especially ones who happen to be people of color.

Source: Twitter

The Federalist reports that a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate – the “Keep Families Together Act”– endorsed by every Democrat in the U.S. Senate:
…would actually prevent federal law enforcement agencies almost anywhere inside the United States from arresting and detaining criminals who are parents having nothing to do with unlawfully crossing the border and seeking asylum.
According to a 2005 fact sheet “Women in Prison” by Amnesty International USA:
An African American woman is eight times more likely than a European American woman is to be imprisoned. African American women make up nearly half of the nation’s female prison population.
According to a 2014 fact sheet by Rutgers University:
More than 2.7 million children in the U.S. have an incarcerated parent. That is 1 in 28 children. . .
One in 9 African American children (11.4%), 1 in 28 Hispanic children (3.5%), and 1 in 57 white children (1.8%) in the United States have an incarcerated parent.
The left is now pushing the Fake News meme that non-white minorities, especially American blacks, are locked up disproportionately because of a racist criminal justice system. The proposed solution? Go easier on prosecuting crimes committed by people of color and/or give criminals a get out of prison free card. In New York, Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently engineered restoring voting rights to convicted felons — a partisan politically-driven move that added 35,000 voters to the election roles. (Cuomo is up for re-election in November.)

On June 19, the Los Angeles Times reported in an article by Jaweed Kaleem that Austin, Texas, a progressive city, has declared itself to be the first “Freedom City” in Texas. The move is seen as a challenge to Texas’s state law passed last year that forbids localities from declaring themselves “sanctuary cities.”
City Council members unanimously passed two resolutions last week that will restrict police attempts to question immigrants about their status and curtail arrests for nonviolent crimes.
One of the new city resolutions requires officers who question immigrants about status to also say that their questions about immigration need not be answered. The other resolution directs police to avoid arrests for misdemeanors, including those for smoking marijuana, having drug paraphernalia, and taking part in petty theft — crimes that city data shows frequently end in arrests of black and Latino residents. [emphasis added.]
While Austin is among the country’s first so-called freedom cities, it’s part of a wider movement around decriminalizing low-level offenses and decreasing arrests. According to Local Progress, a national network of progressive city officials, some council members in El Paso and Dallas are also considering “freedom city” proposals.
“Poor people of color in our city are over-punished and over-incarcerated,” said Greg Casar, an Austin City Councilman who pushed for the resolutions. “If people are being arrested less, we can also prevent people from being put in the deportation pipeline.”
As we have seen in recent years, law breaking from the streets to the political suites no longer carries consequences for the preferred classes — whether they are entrenched politicians, high-level Deep State bureaucrats, or illegal immigrant invaders. Just ask Kate Steinle’s surviving relatives about that.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture. He is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

Peter Barry Chowka


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The Horrors of Honor Violence: Terrorism At Home - Abigail R. Esman

by Abigail R. Esman

A harrowing glimpse into a deadly form of "tribal violence".

Reprinted from
To order Phyllis Chesler's Book, A Family Conspiracy: Honor Killing, CLICK HERE.
She was a 15-year-old student at San Antonio's Taft High School with a soft smile and dark eyes. Like most girls her age in Texas, she favored blue jeans. Unlike most girls her age in Texas, in 2017 she was promised in marriage to a man 10 years her senior, who would pay her parents $20,000 to take her as his wife.

But the Iraqi-born Maarib Al Hishmawi had no intention of marrying so young, least of all to a man so much older and whom she hardly even knew. She refused.

Her parents, who had moved to the United States from their native Iraq two years prior, were furious. They "choked her almost to the point of unconsciousness," said Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar. They beat her with broomsticks. Her mother, 33-year-old Hamdiya Sabah Al Hismawi, threw hot oil on her body.

Maarib escaped, running away from home in January. Claiming they feared she'd been kidnapped, her parents called in local police and the FBI to help track her down. But even from the start, Salazar told CBS News, it was clear to him that "this wasn't an ordinary missing persons case." When police found her in an undisclosed location some weeks later, Maarib explained her story. She and her five brothers were taken in by Child Protective Services and her parents immediately taken into custody. Her father blamed Maarib for his arrest.

This is not just a story about domestic abuse. It is a story about cultural mores, institutionalized violence against women and girls (and occasionally young men) in the name of family honor. And it happens to thousands of them every year, not just in places like Afghanistan and Somalia and Iraq, but in America, England, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, France, and elsewhere across the Western world.

Honor violence, according to Phyllis Chesler, the author of A Family Conspiracy: Honor Killings and several studies on the subject, is a form of "tribal violence." It differs from domestic abuse in that honor violence involves "carefully planned conspiracies and may be perpetrated by multiple family-of-origin members." Honor violence also differs from domestic abuse in aim: rather than violence directed at a woman's immediate behavior, such as coming home late, or failing to serve a perfect meal, honor-based violence aims to punish women who "are seen to be acting too 'western' or who have relationships or friendships which transgress gender, caste, ethnic or religious distinctions," according to a 2008 CIVITAS report. "Women's behavior which is viewed as 'unacceptable' by families and communities can include having a boyfriend of different race, religion, caste or wearing 'western style clothing and listening to 'western' music."

Such violence is also not limited to Muslims, says Jordanian journalist Rana Husseini, author of Murder in the Name of Honor. "While some Muslims do murder in the name of honor – and sometimes claim justification through the teachings of Islam – Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and others also maintain traditions and religious justifications that attempt to legitimize honor killings," she writes.

Weapons of choice often differ from non-honor-related abuse, involving acid attacks, burning, or hot oil as with Al Hishmawi. Many rights organizations, including the Ayaan Hirsi Ali (AHA) Foundation, also consider forced marriage and female circumcision, or FGM, to be forms of honor violence.

While Chesler's work focuses on honor killing and not honor violence in general, her observations about the nature of honor killings applies as well to honor violence. "Brothers, uncles, fathers, and other male relatives usually commit the murder, although mothers have also been known to collaborate in the murders of their daughters; sometimes, they are even hands-on perpetrator," she said in a recent e-mail. By contrast, "Batterers who murder in the West are usually acting in an unplanned and spontaneous way. They alone are the perpetrators. Their own families do not assist them nor does the victim's family of origin." Moreover, she adds, "In the West, batterers and wife killers are not celebrated—they are shunned. If possible, they are also prosecuted." Yet those who commit honor killings and honor violence, she said, "are viewed as heroes who have saved their family's honor. Thus, they feel no shame or remorse."

Indeed, even the victims may feel they "deserve" their fates, or at least show understanding of their abusers. When 19-year-old Aiya Altameemi was spotted talking to a boy near their home in Phoenix, Ariz., her mother and sister padlocked her to a bed so she could not escape and then beat her severely. Officials handling the case learned later that Altameemi's father also once held a kitchen knife to her throat and her mother burned her with a hot spoon when she refused an arranged marriage. Yet at their trial, Aiya wailed that she wanted her mother back, and later defended her to reporters. "We are Muslim," she said. "Our culture says no talking to boys."

While growing attention to the phenomenon of honor killings has led to greater oversight by most Western governments, many of which now recognize such murders as a distinct category, honor violence remains largely overlooked and misunderstood. Too often it is grouped with domestic violence, which ignores the true and most insidious nature of the threat. Those facing honor violence have nowhere to run – not their mothers, their sisters, their imams. Consequently, treating the problem of honor violence is far more complicated than handling domestic abuse, or simply putting the husband or other family in prison.

What's more, Western countries are only now starting to recognize the magnitude of the problem, said Amanda Parker, senior director of the AHA Foundation, an organization that fights honor violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage. "Across the board, when you see the data being collected in each of the countries, the consensus from experts is that the estimates are low because these are crimes that are not reported, are kept under wraps within families and then there is a judgment call among those who are collecting the data," she said in a recent phone conversation. "Are they going to actually define it as 'honor violence'?"

Even official estimates can vary widely. In the Netherlands, the only country with a special police force dedicated to honor crimes, officials registered 452 incidents in 2015. But police receive approximately 3,000 reports of honor-related violence each year, claims criminologist Janine Janssen of the National Expertise Center for Honor Related Violence and author of the Dutch handbook Focus on Honor. According to Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant, 80 percent of these incidents take place in Turkish-Dutch families, 20 percent in Dutch-Moroccan, and 10 percent in Iraqi, Afghan, and Kurdish homes. Others occur in families with roots in the Balkans, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, and in Hindu families from Suriname.

These numbers seem relatively consistent Europe-wide. In the UK, for instance, the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organization (IKWRO) registered 2,823 incidents in 2011, a 57 percent increase over 2010. It is not clear whether the increase in reported assaults is due to an actual rise in the number of incidents, increased bravery among victims in reporting, or better awareness of the problem by law enforcement itself.

And in Sweden, where in 2016 a man cut off his wife's nose and upper lip before stabbing her 66 times in her home, 97 people were serving time for honor-related crimes, according to a 2017 State Department report. A separate 2007 report estimated that 1,500-2,000 women "had been subjected to honor-related violence" that year alone, exclusively among Muslim immigrant families. The State Department report quotes cabinet minister Nyamko Sabuni, a Congolese immigrant, as saying that honor violence against women had reached "urgent proportions."

None of these figures, however, seem to reflect the problem of FGM, which is at least as urgent in the West. "Forced marriage and female genital mutilation are acts of violence in that they are acts of physical or emotional force that are intended to preserve or improve the family honor," said an Honor Violence Study Report produced by the Maryland-based research outlet WESTAT. The numbers are shocking. The State Department report cites data showing 53,000 victims in France, most of whom were "recent immigrants from sub-Saharan African countries." In Germany, the numbers are similar, at an estimated 48,000 victims, with about 9,000 adolescent girls at risk; and in the Netherlands, an estimated 29,000 have suffered FGM, with 40 to 50 young girls are still at risk each year according to a 2013 report.

Although FGM is illegal in all of these countries, prosecution is sporadic. "Despite having legislation in place since 1985, the United Kingdom has failed to prosecute any perpetrators of FGM," the AHA Foundation noted, this while the country recorded 5,391 incidents in 2016-2017. Moreover, "only 26 states in the US specifically ban FGM," the foundation reported last month, yet more than 110,000 women and girls at risk live in the 24 states that do not. Worse: according to Amanda Parker, "The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than half a million women and girls are at risk of FGM in the US." And if that's just for FGM, she says, "the numbers facing honor violence have to be giant."

Parker and others are also concerned that recent immigration crackdowns in the United States may make the matter worse, as immigrant women and girls become more fearful of seeking help. And the lack of training among law enforcement makes it difficult to prosecute honor crimes when women do report them. "The main thing is that those who are best-placed to count these incidents are really law enforcement, and they aren't sure what they're looking at when they see it," she says. Training, as has been done in the Netherlands, is therefore crucial. "If there were a box they could tick that said 'reclaiming family honor,' that would work," notes Parker, "but we are very far from that at this point."

Still, she and other activists against honor violence remain hopeful. "As slowly as things are moving," says Parker, "they are actually moving."

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands. Follow her at @radicalstates.


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Major BDS groups have ties to Palestinian terrorist organizations, ministry says - Ariel Kahana

by Ariel Kahana

Strategic Affairs Ministry names 42 anti-Israel groups affiliated with ‎Hamas, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, says they ‎receive their orders from Palestinian Authority

The BDS movement comprises over 300 organizations worldwide, report says
Illustration: Reuters

The Strategic Affairs Ministry on Tuesday named 42 major anti-‎Israel organizations as having clear ties to Palestinian terrorist ‎groups.‎

According to the ministry's data, these groups – part of a network ‎of 300 boycott, divestment and sanctions organizations operating ‎worldwide – have traceable ties to Hamas and the Popular Front ‎for the Liberation of Palestine, and receive their orders directly from the ‎Palestinian Authority. ‎

This network is directed by the BDS National Committee, which is headed ‎by the co-founder of the global BDS movement Omar Barghouti, who holds ‎permanent Israeli residency status and lives in the northern city of ‎Acre.‎

The Strategic Affairs Ministry, tasked by the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet ‎with heading ‎Israel's efforts to counter the BDS movement and its efforts to ‎delegitimize Israel, has spent the past two years mapping what it ‎calls the "network of hatred." ‎

The ministry's data shows that not only do Hamas and the PLFP ‎support BDS activists in theory, their operatives take an active part ‎in BDS initiatives. ‎

The report names, for example, the Al-Haq human rights ‎organization, Defense for Children International – Palestine, and the Al-‎Dameer Association for Human Rights as being headed by former ‎PFLP operatives. ‎

Al-Haq is chaired by Shawan Jabarin, of Ramallah, who served 13 ‎years in an Israeli prison for being a member of the PLFP's military ‎wing. ‎Jabarin is a leading figure in the BDS movement's lawfare campaign ‎against Israel, especially its attempts to pursue legal action against ‎Israeli officials in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. ‎

Other examples include groups such as the Palestinian Return ‎Center, which the ministry says promotes Hamas interests in ‎Europe; and members of the U.K.-based Palestine Solidarity ‎Campaign and Friends of Al-Aqsa group, which the ministry says have neem with Hamas ‎leader Ismail Haniyeh, participated in the 2010 Navi Marmara ‎flotilla that sought to breach the maritime blockade on the Gaza ‎Strip, and have recently held a demonstration outside the British ‎Prime Minister's Office in support of Hamas so-called "March of ‎Return" or Gaza border riot campaign.‎

Speaking at the biennial GC4I conference in Jerusalem Wednesday, ‎attended by the directors of over 150 pro-Israeli groups, as well as ‎Jewish community heads and activists from around the world ‎dedicated to fighting the BDS movement, Strategic Affairs Minister ‎Gilad Erdan said much of the anti-Israel group's momentum is ‎fuel by the Palestinian Authority.‎

Ramallah is a longtime proponent of anti-Israel boycotts and the ‎National Palestinian Council has officially endorsed the BDS ‎movement during its annual meeting in May.‎

‎"We have seen the attempts led by senior Palestinian Authority ‎officials to suspend Israel from FIFA and to promote various ‎‎'blacklists' at the U.N. Human Rights Council. These campaigns ‎have all been widely promoted by the network of hatred exposed ‎by the Strategic Affairs Ministry," he said. ‎

Erdan noted that leading world powers such as the United States, ‎Britain, Germany, France, Canada and others, were turning their ‎backs on the BDS movement, adding that in recent years, 25 states ‎in the U.S. have passed laws foiling BDS activities after their anti-‎Semitic and discriminatory nature was exposed. ‎

Erdan further said that the ministry has identified a new BDS trend – calling for trade embargos against the Jewish state, especially ‎with respect to its military industries, saying that BDS activists were ‎lobbying among parliamentarians worldwide to boycott Israeli ‎defense contractors. ‎

‎"Terrorist organizations and the BDS movement have never been ‎closer, ideologically and operationally. I will continue to lead a ‎counterattack against the perpetrators of the anti-Semitic hate ‎campaign emanating from Gaza and Ramallah."‎

Ariel Kahana


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Turkey: Erdogan's "Holy War" Obsession - Burak Bekdil

by Burak Bekdil

Muslim leaders complain of travel bans on some Muslim nations, but many Muslim countries have travel bans against other Muslims in addition to banning Israelis.

  • When non-Muslims deny Muslim minorities the rights that Muslim-majority countries systematically deny non-Muslim minorities, extremist Muslims in Turkey seem to have the habit of threatening non-Muslim lands with holy war.
  • President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who spoke of "a war between the cross and the crescent" because the Austrian government closed down seven mosques, does not seem to bother with any of those visible, documented cases of religious discrimination against non-Muslims and against Islam's minority sects.
  • Muslim leaders complain of travel bans on some Muslim nations, but many Muslim countries have travel bans against other Muslims in addition to banning Israelis.
When non-Muslims deny Muslim minorities the rights that Muslim-majority countries systematically deny non-Muslim minorities, extremist Muslims in Turkey seem to have the habit of threatening non-Muslim lands with holy war.

"Soon religious wars will break out in Europe. You are taking Europe toward an abyss. That's the way it's going," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, predicted in a 2017 speech. The minister was angry with the European states that had banned Turkish Islamist political shows in their territories.

On June 10, Erdoğan said: "These measures taken by the Austrian prime minister are, I fear, leading the world toward a war between the cross and the crescent."

So, once again, we are hearing promises of holy war, and an angry Islamist threatening a Christian state because a Christian state had decided to close down seven mosques and expel some 60 Turkish-funded imams as part of a crackdown on extremist Islam.

The Austrian authorities had already launched a probe after images emerged in April showing children in a Turkish-funded mosque playing dead and re-enacting the World War I battle of Gallipoli. The photos of children, published by the weekly Falter, showed the young boys in camouflage uniforms marching, saluting, waving Turkish flags and then playing dead. Their "corpses" were then lined up and draped in flags.

Turkish Islamists' understanding of religious freedoms is limited to freedom for the Islamic cause only, for example here, here, here and here. Their understanding of religious pluralism is limited to defending pluralism in Muslim-minority lands -- and majoritarianism in Muslim-majority lands, again as, for example, here, here, here and here.

Muslim leaders complain of travel bans on some Muslim nations, but some Muslim countries have travel bans against other Muslims, in addition to banning Israelis.

In a 2017 report, Turkey's Association of Protestant Churches noted that hate speech against the country's Christians had increased in both the traditional media and social media. Hate speech against Protestants, the report said, had persisted throughout 2016, in addition to physical attacks on Protestant individuals and their churches.

Andrew Brunson, an American pastor, has been in a Turkish jail for more than a year and a half on spurious charges of terrorism and espionage. He faces up to 35 years in prison.

American Pastor Andrew Brunson, pictured with his wife Norine, has been in a Turkish jail for more than a year and a half on spurious charges of terrorism and espionage. He faces up to 35 years in prison.

In Saudi Arabia deportation and a lifetime ban is the minimum penalty for non-Muslims trying to enter the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. In 2013, the Saudi Minister of Justice, Mohamed el-Eissi, insisted that "the cradle of the Muslim sanctities will not allow the establishment of any other places of worship".

The Saudis ban non-Muslim religious houses of worship. This ban comes from a Salafi tradition that prohibits the existence of two religions in the Arabian peninsula. Under the Saudi law all citizens must be Muslims; there is no legal protection for freedom of religion; and the public practice of non-Muslim religion is prohibited.

In Iran, where even non-Muslim female visitors must wear the Islamic headscarf, the government continues to imprison, harass, intimidate and discriminate against people based on their religious beliefs. A 2014 U.S. State Department annual report noted that non-Muslims faced "substantial societal discrimination, aided by official support".

Also in Iran, marriages between Muslim women and non-Muslim men are not recognized; the government does not ensure the right of citizens to change or renounce their religious faith. Furthermore, apostasy, specifically conversion from Islam, can be punishable by death. In 2013, 79 people from religious minorities were sentenced to a total of 3,620 months in prison, 200 months of probation, 75 lashes and 41 billion rials in fines [approximately $1.3 million].

Enter Erdoğan's Turkey again. The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report 2017, released this year, found that:
  • [The Turkish government's] Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) governs and coordinates religious matters related to Islam. Its mandate is to promote and enable the practice of Sunni Islam.
  • The government continued to prosecute individuals for "openly disrespecting the religious belief of a group" and continued to limit the rights of non-Muslim minorities, especially those not recognized under the 1923 Lausanne Treaty.
  • The government continued to treat Alevi Islam as a heterodox Muslim "sect," and continued not to recognize Alevi houses of worship.
  • The government closed two Shia Jaferi television stations based on allegations of spreading "terrorist propaganda."
  • Religious minorities said they continued to experience difficulties obtaining exemptions from mandatory religion classes in public schools, operating or opening houses of worship, and in addressing land and property disputes.
  • The government restricted efforts by minority religious groups to train their clergy.
  • The legal challenges of five churches, whose lands the government expropriated in 2016, continued; members of the churches said they still did not have access to their buildings.
  • The government did not recognize the right to conscientious objection to military service.
  • Alevis continued to face anonymous threats of violence. Threats of violence by ISIS and other actors against Jews, Protestants, and Sunni Muslims also continued.
  • Anti-Semitic discourse continued, as some pro-government news commentators continued to publish stories seeking to associate the 2016 coup plotters with the Jewish community.
  • These commentators also sought to associate the Orthodox ecumenical patriarch with the coup attempt.
  • Unidentified assailants vandalized some Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic, and Alevi places of worship, including marking red "X"s on the doors of 13 Alevi homes and attacking a Protestant church in Malatya.
Erdoğan, who spoke of a war between the cross and the crescent because the Austrian government closed down seven mosques, does not seem to bother with any of those visible, documented cases of religious discrimination against non-Muslims and against Islam's minority sects. This is vintage Erdoğan: Europe must treat its Muslim minorities well and with respect, or we will fight a holy war; for non-Muslim minorities in our Muslim lands, we give them two choices: convert to Islam or suffer the persecution.

Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey's leading journalists, was recently fired from Turkey's leading newspaper after 29 years, for writing what was taking place in Turkey for Gatestone. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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Swiss Foreign Minister Tells the Truth, Causes “Surprise and Consternation” - Hugh Fitzgerald

by Hugh Fitzgerald

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

“By supporting the UNRWA, we keep the conflict alive. It’s a perverse logic,” Cassis said. He called for the integration of long-term refugees in their countries of residence.

Experts have reacted with surprise and consternation to Swiss foreign affairs minister Ignazio Cassis’ comments that the United Nations’ aid work for Palestinian refugees is a stumbling block to peace in the Middle East.
So long as Palestinians live in refugee camps, they can dream of returning home, Cassis said in an interview published in several Swiss newspapers on Thursday, which came after his first official trip to Jordan. Five million Palestinian refugees currently live in such camps, with aid and protection provided by the UNRWA.
He said that UNRWA had become part of the problem rather than the solution and it supplied the ammunition to continue the conflict. “By supporting the UNRWA, we keep the conflict alive. It’s a perverse logic,” Cassis said. He called for the integration of long-term refugees in their countries of residence.
Ignazio Cassis, having seen for himself the “Palestinians” kept in camps, understood the cruel hypocrisy of the situation: the Arab countries deliberately keep the “Palestinians” in camps, do not allow them to become citizens (save for a brief period in Jordan), nor to enjoy full access to higher education, nor to enter certain professions, all in order to keep them in harshly constrained conditions, prevented from integrating into their host countries, so that their own resentment of Israel is kept at a boiling point, and at the same time, in those UNRWA-run camps, their wretched state is a constant reminder to  the “international community” of the “plight of the Palestinians.” No one, and especially no one at UNRWA, wants it to be known that the other Arabs are to blame for the condition of the “Palestinians” in the camps.

Decades ago Ralph Galloway, former director of UN aid to the Palestinians in Jordan, summarized this situation succinctly. He wrote that

“The Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.” (quoted in The Palestinians: People, History, Politics by Terence Prittie, p. 71)
And another voice, from a time when truth-telling about the matter was still possible, is that of Elfan Rees, the World Council of Churches’ Adviser on Refugees, who declared in 1957:

“I hold the view that, political issues aside, the Arab refugee problem is by far the easiest post-war refugee problem to solve by integration. By faith, language, race and by social organisation they are indistinguishable from their fellows of their host countries. There is room for them in Syria and Iraq [and even more room, and need, now, in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf oil states]. There is a developing demand for the kind of manpower they represent. More unusually still, there is the money to make this integration possible. The United Nations General Assembly, five years ago, donated a sum of $200,000,000 to provide, and here I quote the phrase “homes and jobs” for the Arab refugees. That money remains unspent, not because these tragic people are strangers in a strange land — because they are not, not because there is no room for them to be established — because there is, but simply for political reasons.”
Elfan Rees wrote before the OPEC oil bonanza reached its zenith. Since 1973 alone, the Arab states of OPEC have received $25 trillion dollars; they could easily pay for closing down the “refugee” camps in other Arab states (there is not a single such camp in the Gulf oil states themselves) and for building more than decent housing for “Palestinians” where those camps formerly stood — or indeed, wherever in the  Middle East or North Africa such housing might be welcome. But as Elfan Rees wrote, this won’t be done, because of “political reasons.”

Ignazio Cassis saw the camps in Jordan, and understood that UNRWA is a major part of the problem: it contributes to keeping the “Palestinians” in the camps, keeping their false and vengeful narrative alive, preventing them from integrating, as they so easily could if allowed to do so by their host countries.

“So long as Palestinians live in refugee camps, they can dream of returning home.”
Cassis said that UNRWA had become part of the problem rather than the solution and it supplied the ammunition to continue the conflict. “By supporting the UNRWA, we keep the conflict alive. It’s a perverse logic,” Cassis said. He called for the integration of long-term refugees in their countries of residence.
What was the response? From supporters of UNRWA, which is overwhelmingly staffed by “Palestinians” and headed by their European sympathizers, there was horror that someone should dare to tell the truth about UNRWA’s main function, which is not to help the refugees but to keep them from integrating, so that the conflict with Israel can be kept alive, and the world can see the “Palestinians” as a group permanently deserving of sympathy, with so few understanding that those maltreating them are not the Israelis, but the Arabs of their host countries, and UNRWA itself, help keep them in a state of dependency.

Former Swiss diplomat to the Middle East Yves Besson – and a former UNRWA director –  told that he was astonished by these comments. “The UNRWA is today the last vestige of the international community’s interest in the Palestinians and their refugees. What’s more, these comments are anything but neutral: this argument will be of service to Israel and the United States.”
Besson was “astonished” because truths about UNRWA must not be told, and here is Ignazio Cassis, the Foreign Minister of Switzerland fresh from touring a camp in Jordan, doing exactly that, undercutting decades of carefully-tended propaganda by, and for, UNRWA. When Besson claims that “UNRWA is today the last vestige of the international community’s interest in the Palestinians and their refugees,” what can he be talking about? The “Palestinians” are hardly in danger of neglect, with only UNRWA as the “last vestige of.the international community’s interest” in the “Palestinian” refugees. In fact, they receive far more sympathetic attention at the U.N. than any other people or group in the world. Consider, for example, that from its creation in June 2006 through June 2016, the UN Human Rights Council adopted 135 resolutions criticizing countries; 68 out of those 135 resolutions were against  Israel (more than 50%). And from 2012 through 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted 97 resolutions criticizing countries; 83 out of those 97, or 86%, were against Israel (86%). That’s some last vestige.

Notice that Besson finds Cassis’ comments “anything but neutral,” that “this argument [about UNRWA helping to prolong the Arab-Israeli conflict] “will be of service to Israel and the United States.” We can’t have that, of course. Mustn’t say anything, even if you believe it to be true, even if it is true, that could help the United States or Israel. To be “neutral,” you have to limit yourself to remarks that will help the “Palestinians” and the Cause of Palestine. That’s what neutrality is all about.

Besson added that, during the Oslo peace process, the Palestinians had not called for the effective return of millions of Palestinians, but the recognition of Israel’s responsibility towards the 700,000 Palestinians who fled in 1948.
Cassis shows little concern for these people who rely on their origin and right and [sic] return – even if they would necessarily not use it,” said Besson.
Besson wants us to believe that when the “Palestinians” demand the Right of Return, as they have been doing quite violently during their six-week Great March of Return in Gaza, they don’t really mean it, because they did not call for it during that ill-fated “Oslo peace process.” But they certainly are calling for it now. Everything we know about the “Palestinians” shows that they mean what they say when they make their maximalist demands. They intend, if they can, to return to claim houses, communities, towns that their grandparents came from in what is present-day Israel, and intend, too, to dispossess the Jews. This will take place by degrees. They hope, for now, to gradually overcome the Jews of Israel, not through military means, but demographically.

Cassis is being accused of showing “little concern” for the inhabitants of the camps, but it is he, in fact, who who shows real concern for real people. He doesn’t think the “Palestinian” refugees should be barred from citizenship and full participation in the life of their current host countries; he doesn’t think they should be forced to live in camps; he doesn’t think they should be barred from certain professions. It is Cassis, and not his outraged critics, who is truly sympathetic to the “Palestinian” refugees. He wants to end their exploitation as political pawns, kept in camps so as to ensure that their “Palestinian” sense of grievance against Israel does not diminish, and to keep the world’s sympathy for, and focus on, their cause.

Riccardo Bocco, Middle East expert at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, agrees. “We should not confuse the origin of the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1948 with the solution found for the Palestinian refugees. And the situation for Palestinian refugees is different depending on the country they are in. Who is advising Cassis?
Riccardo Bocco does not tell us what he thinks the “origin of the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1948” was, but perhaps we can help him out: the origin of that conflict was the absolute refusal of Muslim Arabs to countenance an Infidel-run state smack in the middle of Arabdom, on land that was once possessed by, and therefore must always belong to, Muslim Arabs. Still worse, those Infidels were the despised Jews. The 1948 war was a Jihad by military means; the Jihad against Israel has continued ever since, carried out through warfare (1956, 1967, 1973), terrorism (both inside and outside Israel), diplomacy (as at the U.N.), economic warfare (boycotts), and propaganda (billions of dollars spent, with great success, to blacken Israel’s name).

Bocco’s comment about the “Palestinian” refugees being treated differently in different countries is not quite true. In all Arab countries save Jordan, they are denied the right of citizenship; in Jordan, some of the refugees had citizenship granted but it was then taken away; their status in Jordan remains insecure, and can depend on which part of Palestine their ancestors came from.  They are in all of their host countries deprived of full access to higher education and prevented from entering certain professions. There is less difference in their treatment than Bocco would have you believe.

Speaking to the Le Temps daily, Pierre Krähenbühl, the Swiss current head of the UNRWA, did not want to wade directly into the debate around the comments. “Switzerland has until now given excellent support to the UNRWA,” he told the newspaper. This collaboration includes a good number of “innovative projects” which help the organisation to “reinvent itself”.
On the question of whether the UNRWA is an “obstacle” in the peace process in the region, Krähenbühl said: “We don’t have the same perspective on the issue.” “From our point of view, UNRWA,is not part of the fundamental issues which explains why there is no resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he added. “If you look at what has happened in the Middle East, our role as provider of humanitarian assistance, medical work and training has increased in importance.”
UNRWA has not “reinvented” itself in any significant way: it still does not oppose, but collaborates with the Arab governments that want those refugees kept in camps and prevented from integrating. UNRWA’s main purpose is to keep UNRWA itself going, to keep the mass of the “Palestinians” within the closed circle of the camps, made permanently dependent economically on UNRWA, unable even to attempt to break that dependency, given the limits on their educational and vocational possibilities and, as non-citizens, their lack of political rights.

When Krähenbühl claims that UNRWA is “not part of the fundamental issues which explains why there is no resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he is wrong. There is “no resolution” to the conflict because the Arabs do not want one; for them, no compromise could possibly be permanent. UNRWA keeps the flame of resentment and murderous revenge in “Palestinian” hearts alight, and acts as the advocate for the “Palestinian” side, making sure that Israel (which long ago integrated the 900,000 Jews who fled Arab lands) is blamed for the “plight” of the “Palestinians” who are kept in camps, quite unnecessarily, by Arab leaders, including their own.

Reaction from politicians was mixed. Christian Imark of the rightwing Swiss People’s Party told the SRF public radio that Cassis’ statement was a “step in the right direction.” Social Democrat Cornelio Sommaruga, however, said he was shocked and announced he would raise the issue during next month’s summer session of parliament.
For its part, the Swiss Foreign Affairs ministry told in a written statement: “The Foreign Affairs ministry has nothing to add to the comments that Minister Cassis made in the Aargauer Zeitung.”
Ignazio Cassis has done something rare in the annals of Arab-Israeli diplomacy. He has spoken the truth. Cassis openly recognized that UNRWA is an obstacle to peace. It helps to keep the conflict alive, for UNRWA fosters a climate of angry dependency among the “Palestinian” refugees. UNRWA makes no effort to convince the host countries to offer citizenship to the “Palestinians” in the camps. Nor does it try to get the host countries to allow the “Palestinians” to move out of the camps, or to have the same access to higher education, or to be able to practice the professions, as their own citizens enjoy. UNRWA also uses an extraordinarily expansive definition of a “Palestinian” refugee, to include all those who are descended from someone who once lived in Palestine. Even if your parents and grandparents were born, lived, and died outside of Palestine, you will be considered a “Palestinian refugee” by UNRWA as long as someone among your ancestors — your great-grandfather, or great great-grandfather — lived in Palestine. This definition is applied to no other group of refugees on earth. UNRWA staffers have also managed to keep on its rolls “Palestinians” who have died; that’s why the numbers of those who are dependent on UNRWA for food, clothing, education, housing, health care, continue inexorably to rise. And naturally the sums allotted to UNRWA continue to rise as well.

For having described UNRWA as a part of the problem, Ignazio Cassis has been raked over the coals. He has “shocked” Yves Besson, a former Swiss diplomat and director of UNRWA, and Riccardo Bocco, a Middle East “expert” in Geneva, and Christian Krähenbühl, the current director of UNRWA.

Cassis caused “surprise and consternation” among these Swiss “experts,” former diplomats, directors and heads of UNRWA; among the Arabs he caused rage. The Swiss president Alain Berset was quick to distance himself:

President Alain Berset says there is no change in Swiss policy on the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, which remains a strategic partner for Switzerland.
He was speaking on Friday after a meeting with foreign minister Ignazio Cassis, who caused outcry on Thursday by saying that the United Nations’ aid work for Palestinian refugees is a stumbling block to peace in the Middle East.
Berset said UNRWA “plays an essential role for stability in the region and the fight against radicalisation”. But he said that as a donor it was legitimate for Switzerland to join the debate on the agency’s future. 
Will Ignazio Cassis, and the forces of reason, prevail over those who want to continue to exploit the “Palestinians” confined to their UNRWA-staffed camps, so as to make peace between Israelis and “Palestinians” ever more unlikely? Swiss President Alain Berset did distance himself from Cassis’s remarks, but not perhaps to the extent the Arabs expected. He noted, as his parting remark, that it was “legitimate” for Switzerland to “join the debate” on UNRWA’s future. This  suggests that he is not dismissive of Cassis. He wants that debate. In the frozen wastes of the U.N.’s policy on Israel and the “Palestinians,” that’s a sign of a not impossible thaw. For Israelis, and for those “Palestinians” stuck in camps who would like to improve their own lives by being accepted as citizens by their Arab hosts,  it can’t come soon enough.

Hugh Fitzgerald


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