Wednesday, September 26, 2018

PM warns against Russian delivery of S-300 system to 'irresponsible' Syria - Yoni Hersch, Ariel Kahana, Eli Leon, Lilach Shoval, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

by Yoni Hersch, Ariel Kahana, Eli Leon, Lilach Shoval, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff 

Israel will continue to defend its security, PM Netanyahu tells Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin 
Photo: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO 

Israel convened an emergency Diplomatic-Security Cabinet meeting on ‎Tuesday to discuss the transfer of Russian S-300 ‎missiles to Syria.‎

The meeting took place ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's departure to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, where he is expected to bring up Israeli-Russian tensions in a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Moscow announced its plans to deliver up to eight S-300 batteries to Syria on Monday, citing last ‎week's downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane by ‎Syrian forces, which mistook the Russian aircraft for an Israeli ‎fighter jet. Fifteen Russian crewmen were killed in ‎the incident, stoking regional tensions.‎

Russia laid the blame entirely on Israel, saying Israeli ‎fighter jets were hiding behind the Russian plane, ‎an account denied by the Israeli military.‎

Netanyahu spoke ‎with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday about the issue.‎

A statement by the Prime Minister's Office said that ‎Netanyahu warned Putin that supplying advanced ‎weapons systems to Syria would only intensify ‎tensions in the highly volatile region.‎

‎"The prime minister expressed his confidence in the ‎credibility of the IDF's investigation [into the ‎incident] and its conclusions, and reiterated that ‎the Syrian military, which shot down the plane, ‎and Iran, whose aggression is undermining stability, ‎are responsible for the unfortunate incident," the ‎statement said.‎ ‎ ‎ ‎"Prime Minister Netanyahu said that transferring ‎advanced weapons systems into irresponsible hands ‎will ramp up the dangers in the region, and added ‎that Israel will continue to defend its security and ‎its interests. It was also agreed to continue the ‎dialogue between the professional teams and the ‎inter-military coordination via the military ‎channels."

Former  Military Intelligence Director Maj. Gen. ‎‎(ret.) Amos Yadlin tweeted that the Russian ‎accusations that Israel was to blame for the ‎Russian plane being shot down were "fake news" meant ‎‎"to amplify diplomatic pressure and deflect ‎responsibility from Syrian and Russian officers for ‎downing the plane."‎

Yadlin tweeted, "Supplying S-300 missiles [to Syria] ‎increases the risk posed by unprofessional Syrian operators ‎first and foremost to the Russian Air Force, to ‎Israel, the United States and the coalition as well ‎as to civil aviation.‎

‎"Israel has been preparing for this threat for 20 ‎years and will know how to handle it."

Israel has long lobbied Russia not to provide Syria ‎‎with S-‎‎‎300 missiles, fearing this would hinder Israel's ‎‎aerial ability to strike Iranian and ‎‎Hezbollah ‎‎assets in Syria.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow ‎had in the past obliged Israel, but last week's ‎incident had forced Moscow to take "adequate ‎retaliatory measures" to keep its troops safe.‎

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the decision to ‎supply the weapons was not directed at any third ‎country.‎

‎"Russia needs to increase the safety of its military and ‎it should be clear for everyone," he said. ‎

But he also repeated Moscow's accusations that ‎Israel was to blame for the plane's downing, saying, "No ‎doubt that according to our military experts, ‎deliberate action by Israeli pilots was the reason ‎for the tragedy and this cannot but harm [Russian-‎Israeli] ties."‎

Russian news website Kommersant reported Tuesday that Russia plans to supply Syria with at least two S-300 air defense missile systems within the next two weeks. The systems will be deployed along Syria's coast and later on its borders with Jordan, Israel, Lebanon and Iraq.

Russian news outlet Izvestia reported that Moscow is boosting its electronic warfare systems in Syria as well, saying the first systems have already been delivered to the Hmeimim air base in Latakia, to be used by Russian forces stationed there.

In the U.S., the White House expressed concern at the Russian plans to ‎supply the S-‎‎300 surface-to-air missile system to ‎Syria, saying it hoped Russia would ‎‎reconsider the move.‎

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would ‎discuss the issue with Russian Foreign Minister ‎Sergey Lavrov in New York. The two are scheduled to ‎meet on the sidelines of the U.N. General ‎Assembly this week.

‎"We are trying to find every place we can where ‎there is common ground, where we can work with the ‎Russians," he said. He added that Russia was working against the United ‎States in many areas, and "we will hold them accountable."‎

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday that the delivery would cause a "significant escalation" in already high regional tensions.

"There shouldn't be any misunderstanding here – the party responsible for the attacks in Syria and Lebanon and really the party responsible for the shooting down of the Russian plane is Iran," he said.

Bolton said a political process is needed to end Syria's war but that Russia's plans with the S-300 are making that difficult.

He said U.S. troops would stay active in Syria as long as Iran was involved.

"We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders, and that includes Iranian proxies and militias," he said.

"We think introducing the S-300s to the Syrian government would be a significant escalation by the Russians and something that we hope, if these press reports are accurate, they would reconsider."

Russia's Deputy Foreign Ministry Sergei Ryabkov responded to Bolton's comments by warning the U.S. against taking "a mentor's tone."

International and regional powers backing various sides in Syria's civil war have been carrying out strikes for years, often using special hotlines to prevent aerial confrontations.

Russian officials said Syria's Soviet-made S-200 systems, one of which downed the Russian plane, were not sophisticated enough to identify the Russian aircraft as a friendly one.

Originally developed by the Soviet military, the S-300  fires missiles from trucks and is designed to shoot down military aircraft and short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.

Alexander Khramchikhin of the Moscow-based Institute of Military and Political Analysis said the S-300 could "seriously affect Israel's ability to carry out its strikes in Syria."

Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center and a former colonel in the Russian army, said the S-300 would make Israel "more careful in the vicinity of Russian assets."

Syrian President Bashar Assad's office issued a statement saying, "President Putin held Israel responsible for bringing down the plane and informed President Assad that Russia will develop Syria's air defense systems."

Yoni Hersch, Ariel Kahana, Eli Leon, Lilach Shoval, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff


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Video: The Silencing of James Woods - Paul Joseph Watson

by Paul Joseph Watson

The surreal reason he was suspended by Twitter.

In this new video, Paul Joseph Watson discusses The Silencing of James Woods, unveiling the stupid reason why he was suspended by Twitter. Don't miss it!

Paul Joseph Watson


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Google Claims It Didn’t Manipulate Search Results for “Islam” and “Muslim” - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

But we have known for well over a year that it did.

Now that even President Trump has complained about Google manipulating its search results, the social media giant’s underhanded practices are finally getting some attention. A Fox News report Friday noted that at Google, “internal emails show conversations between employees highlighting a desire to manipulate search results on the heels of President Trump’s controversial travel ban in order to mute conservative viewpoints and push ways to combat the ban.” Google claims that this remained on the level of discussion, and wasn’t implemented, but there is considerable evidence to the contrary.

The emails show that “Google employees suggested ways to ‘leverage’ the search engine to combat what the tech giant staffers considered anti-immigration rhetoric and news.” Specifically, “Google staffers suggested actively countering ‘islamophobic, algorithmically biased results from search terms “Islam,” “Muslim,” “Iran,” etc.’” But all is well, Google would have us believe, because this wasn’t done.

Really? But we already knew that Google was manipulating search results for words such as “Islam” and “Muslim.” We have known for quite some time. On July 26, 2017, Turkey’s state-run news outlet Anadolu Agency reported:

Google’s first page results for searches of terms such as “jihad”, “shariah” and “taqiyya” now return mostly reputable explanations of the Islamic concepts. Taqiyya, which describes the circumstances under which a Muslim can conceal their belief in the face of persecution, is the sole term to feature a questionable website on the first page of results.

“Reputable” according to whom? “Questionable” according to whom?

Google was bowing to pressure from Texas imam Omar Suleiman, who led an initiative to compel Google to skew its results. Apparently Google didn’t consider whether those who were demanding that search results be manipulated in a particular direction might have had an ulterior motive. Could it have been that those who were pressuring Google wished to conceal certain truths about Islam that they preferred non-Muslims not know?

“Queries about Islam and Muslims on the world’s largest search engine have been updated amid public pressure to tamp down alleged disinformation from hate groups,” Anadolu Agency reported. Google could have performed a bit of due diligence to determine if sources being tarred as “hate groups” actually deserved the label, and if the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the hard-Left smear propaganda organization the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), both of which are invoked in the Anadolu article, were really reliable and objective arbiters for defining “hate groups.” Google could have tried to determine whether or not the information it was suppressing was really inaccurate. Instead, Google swallowed uncritically everything Omar Suleiman and his allies said.

Despite his success, Suleiman still isn’t satisfied:

One leading activist in favor of Google modifying its results told Anadolu Agency he noticed the updated search results and thanked the company for its efforts but said “much still needs to be done.” He claimed that Google has a responsibility to “combat ‘hate-filled Islamophobia’ similar to how they work to suppress extremist propaganda from groups like Daesh and al-Qaeda."

This should have made Google executives stop and think.

The Islamic State (Daesh) and al-Qaeda slaughter people gleefully and call openly for more mass murders. There is no corresponding “Islamophobic” terror organization. There have been over 30,000 lethal jihad attacks worldwide since 9/11, and no remotely corresponding wave of “Islamophobic” violence. CAIR and the SPLC claim in the Anadolu Agency article that supposedly “Islamophobic” rhetoric has led to a rise in hate crimes against Muslims, but this is not supported by a scintilla of evidence.

When Suleiman equated critical words about Islam with the direct exhortations to murder emanating from actual murderers, Google should have realized that Suleiman had an agenda and wasn’t being honest. Yet he tried to pose as an impartial arbiter: “Suleiman said Google should differentiate between ‘criticism of Islam and hate-filled Islamophobia’, emphasizing the religion should not be infringed upon.”

Suleiman is granting that acceptable criticism of Islam is different from “hate-filled Islamophobia.” But if that is so, then the religion can be “infringed upon” by this legitimate criticism, no? Or if the claim that Islam must not be “infringed upon” means that it cannot be criticized, why is that so of Islam but no other religion?

Suleiman says: “I don’t think Google has a responsibility to portray Muslims positively. I think Google has a responsibility to weed out fear-mongering and hate groups but I don’t want Google to silence critique of Islam, or critique of Muslims.”

The problem with this is that neither Suleiman, nor Hamas-linked CAIR, nor anyone else who has ever said that there was a distinction between legitimate criticism of Islam and “hate-filled Islamophobia” has ever identified anyone they think is a legitimate critic of Islam without being “Islamophobic.”

Through 18 books, thousands of articles, and over 60,000 blog posts at Jihad Watch, I have attempted to present a reasonable, documented, fair, and accurate criticism of Islam and explanation of the jihad doctrine. Nevertheless, I’ve been tarred as a purveyor of “hate-filled Islamophobia” by groups and individuals that have never given my work a fair hearing, and have read it only to search for “gotcha!” quotes they could wrench away from their obviously benign meaning in order to claim I was stating something hateful.

This doesn’t happen only to me. It happens to anyone and everyone who dares to utter a critical word about Islam or jihad, wherever they are on the political spectrum.

This experience, reinforced countless times over a decade and a half, makes me extremely skeptical when Omar Suleiman says that he doesn’t want Google to silence critique of Islam. If he could produce a critique of Islam that he approved of, my skepticism might lessen. But he won’t, and can’t.

It seems much more likely that he pressured Google to skew its results so as to deep-six criticism of Islam. Probably, knowing that he couldn’t reveal he was trying to bring Google into compliance with Sharia blasphemy laws forbidding criticism of Islam, he told them instead that he wasn’t against criticism of Islam as such, but only against “hate-filled Islamophobia.”

And they fell for it, making their present claims not to have skewed searches on Islam ring hollow.

Robert Spencer


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Trumponomics Triumphant - Jack Hellner

by Jack Hellner

Trumponomics is actually a very simple concept. Get rid of unnecessary regulations and let people and businesses keep more of the money they earn, which will allow great compounding throughout the private sector

Trumponomics is working extremely well and it can for a long time if we don't screw it up.
I saw a headline in the Washington Post telling us that Trumponomics is not working, and I wondered what the heck these people must be smoking because obviously the economy is humming on almost all fronts. 

The reason they say his policies aren’t working or won’t work in the near future is because of Trump’s trade policies.

Trumponomics is actually a very simple concept. Get rid of unnecessary regulations and let people and businesses keep more of the money they earn, which will allow great compounding throughout the private sector.

We should all remember that a lot of economists predicted doom and gloom by now, and since they were way off they will just predict doom and gloom down the road a little. Few predicted the growth that we are having now so why would we believe their predictions for the future. 

Let’s look at the current economic statistics to see how Trumponomics is working today:
  • Economic growth of 4.2%,
  • consumer and business confidence near record highs,
  • Unemployment for all ages, education levels, sexes and races near record lows,
  • unemployment claims at 50 year low,
  • part time jobs for economic reasons are down more than one million,
  • stock prices have hit record high over 100 times since Trump took office,
  • capital spending for businesses up substantially,
  • business and retail sales up,
  • imports and exports up,
  • oil production near record highs,
  • median family income rising faster than at any time in over a decade,
  • corporate profits are high,
  • bonuses have gone up, wage levels are rising,
  • take home pay is up more because of tax cuts,
  • dividend income, interest income and capital gains income up.

Oil prices are actually below 2008 and 2012-2015, when incomes and economic growth were lower. Isn’t it amazing how more drilling and production works. 

Government entities throughout the country are seeing extra revenue come in because of the surging growth. Higher stock prices, interest rates, dividends and capital gains are helping their (and everyone’s) pension funds. 

Food stamp usage and disability claims are down, helping the budget. Health care costs and premiums look to stabilize in 2019 for the first time in a long time. Isn’t it amazing what more competition, freedom of choice and getting rid of the individual mandate will do

I am truly having trouble finding anything that indicates that Trumponomics isn’t working.
But since journalists support Democrats and more government, the WaPo puts out this.
So is Trumponomics working? With one significant caveat, the answer is no. For one thing, Trump’s trade policy is turning out to be worse than expected. For another, the growth surge mostly reflects a temporary sugar high from last December’s tax cut. Economists are already penciling in a recession for 2020.
Here's the link predicting recession. Fortune:
The panelists forecasted that the nation’s GDP would grow by 2.7% in 2019.
However, the NABE [National Association of Business Economists] panel also stated that the growth could be cut short by an upcoming recession, with two-thirds of the economists predicting that a recession will start by the end of 2020 and 18% believing that a decline could begin as soon as the end of 2019.
One of the biggest causes for the decline according to the economists are Trump’s current trade policies; three-fourths of the panelists predict that Trump’s imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, as well as tariffs on Chinese imports, will trigger a global trade war as the nations look to retaliate.
As for trade, it seems that most economists didn’t mind the theory that manufacturing jobs were gone for good and that there was no harm in letting them to continue to flow overseas. Trumponomics is about more than simple growth. I believe it is very short sighted to not understand the long term risk if a dangerous country like China controls so many of the goods we need in our economy. Do any of these economist understand that China could cut off supplies any time they want? Do economists think that if China gets control of most of our manufacturing that they wouldn’t also go after services?

Have these economists not noticed that Europe, South Korea, Mexico and Canada are clearly willing to deal? Do they think China will let their economy completely tank by not giving in somewhat to Trump?

We were told that if Trump pulled out of the TPP that countries would stop trading with us. That shows a complete lack of thought. These countries need the U.S. because we are the biggest economy in the world. 

We also hear how the tariffs will raise prices and then we are told that the tariffs are lowering grain prices. Why don’t we hear about the benefit to 100% of consumers from the lower grain prices? Doesn’t that reduce the sting of the minor tariffs on China?

There is absolutely no reason the economy won’t continue to grow substantially if we stick to Trumponomics. There is a great risk of recession if we move to the socialist policies the WP writers and others support. We can make growth collapse by reversing the corporate and individual tax cuts, going to single payer health care and adding back regulations. We can go back to the slowest economic recovery in seventy years which we got because of Obamanomics. 

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Jack Hellner


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World Bank report: Gaza Strip's economy is in 'free fall' - AP and Israel Hayom Staff

by AP and Israel Hayom Staff

Gaza economy has fallen 6% since the first quarter of 2018, when Hamas launched its border riots campaign, report finds

The Gaza Strip's economy is in "free fall" and Israel and the international community must take urgent action to avoid its "immediate collapse," a report from the World Bank warned Tuesday.

According to the report, Gaza's economy contracted by 6% in the first quarter of 2018 and unemployment there is now over 50% – and over 70% among Gaza's youth.

The World Bank said the enclave's crippled economy was the result of various factors, starting with Israel's decade-long blockade against Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007 in a military coup, as well as budget cuts by the rival Palestinian Authority and a reduction in international aid, particularly from the United States.

"A combination of war, isolation, and internal rivalries has left Gaza in a crippling economic state and exacerbated the human distress," said Marina Wes, the World Bank's director for the region.

The report was released ahead of a high-level meeting this Thursday of the bank's Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, responsible for coordinating development assistance to the Palestinians.

The increasingly dire economic situation in Gaza "has reached a critical point," Wes said.
"Increased frustration is feeding into the increased tensions, which have already started spilling over into unrest and set back the human development of the region's large youth population."

Gazans have staged near-weekly violent demonstrations along the border with Israel since late March. Hamas has led and organized the protests, which include remote arson attacks, in which burning kites and balloons are sent over the border to spark fires in Israel. Thousands of fires have devastated 10,000 acres of fields, nature reserves, and open land in southern Israel.

The World Bank report called on Israel to lift restrictions on trade and movement of goods and people to help improve Gaza's economy, and called for the development of "legitimate institutions to govern Gaza in a transparent and efficient manner."

AP and Israel Hayom Staff


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Castro’s Torture of American POWs in Vietnam - Jamie Glazov

by Jamie Glazov

Reflecting on an untold story -- to honor National POW/MIA Recognition Day

FrontPageMag Editors’ note: Last Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, our nation, led by our president, solemnly marked National POW/MIA Recognition Day, during which we honored all American prisoners of war and expressed our deep gratitude and respect for what they endured and -- as empirical evidence suggests -- in some cases may very well be continuing to endure. Indeed, we pay tribute to those who never returned -- and, of course, also to their suffering families. In honor of this sacred day, Frontpage has deemed it important to run Jamie Glazov's article, Castro’s Torture of American POWs in Vietnam from Breitbart's Dec. 8, 2016 issue. We hope that our leadership and citizens will take serious action on this issue. We will always remember and we will never forget. 


Castro’s Torture of American POWs in Vietnam.
By Jamie Glazov

The death of communist tyrant Fidel Castro has yielded much-deserved coverage of the monstrous nature of his tyrannical rule.

What has gone virtually unreported, however, is the direct and instrumental role Castro played in the torture and murder of American POWs in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The story of Castro’s atrocities against American soldiers in this conflict is rarely ever told, least of all by our mainstream media.

During the Vietnam War, Castro sent a gang of his henchmen to run the “Cuban Program” at the Cu Loc POW camp in Hanoi, which became known as “the Zoo.” As Stuart Rochester and Frederick Kiley have documented in their book Honor Bound in a chapter entitled “The Zoo, 1967–1969: The Cuban Program and Other Atrocities,” one of the primary objectives of this “program” was to determine how much physical and psychological agony a human being could withstand.

Castro selected American POWs as his guinea pigs. A Cuban nicknamed “Fidel,” the main torturer at the Zoo, initiated his own personal reign of terror. He was described in documents based on POW debriefings as “a professional who was trained in psychology and prison control in Russia or Europe.”

Among Fidel’s torture techniques were beatings and whippings over every part of his victims’ bodies, without remission.

Former POW John Hubbell describes the horrifying ordeal of Lt. Col. Earl Cobeil, an F-105 pilot, as Fidel forced him into the cell of fellow POW Col. Jack Bomar:
The man [Cobeil] could barely walk; he shuffled slowly, painfully. His clothes were torn to shreds. He was bleeding everywhere, terribly swollen, and a dirty, yellowish black and purple from head to toe. The man’s head was down; he made no attempt to look at anyone. . . . He stood unmoving, his head down. Fidel smashed a fist into the man’s face, driving him against the wall. Then he was brought to the center of the room and made to get down onto his knees. Screaming in rage, Fidel took a length of black rubber hose from a guard and lashed it as hard as he could into the man’s face. The prisoner did not react; he did not cry out or even blink an eye. His failure to react seemed to fuel Fidel’s rage and again he whipped the rubber hose across the man’s face. . . . Again and again and again, a dozen times, Fidel smashed the man’s face with the hose. Not once did the fearsome abuse elicit the slightest response from the prisoner. . . . His body was ripped and torn everywhere; hell cuffs appeared almost to have severed the wrists, strap marks still wound around the arms all the way to the shoulders, slivers of bamboo were embedded in the bloodied shins and there were what appeared to be tread marks from the hose across the chest, back, and legs.
Earl Cobeil died as a result of Fidel’s torture.
Maj. James Kasler was another of Fidel’s victims, although he survived the torture:
He [Fidel] deprived Kasler of water, wired his thumbs together, and flogged him until his “buttocks, lower back, and legs hung in shreds.” During one barbaric stretch he turned Cedric [another torturer] loose for three days with a rubber whip. . . . the PW [POW] was in a semi-coma and bleeding profusely with a ruptured eardrum, fractured rib, his face swollen and teeth broken so that he could not open his mouth, and his leg re-injured from attackers repeatedly kicking it. 
Castro’s reign of terror against American POWs in Vietnam was just another grotesque reflection of the communist dictator’s barbarism and sadism. After the end of the war, U.S. investigators launched a manhunt for the Cuban program torturers. In the midst of their hunt, investigators cataloged over 2,000 Cubans who were in North Vietnam during the late 1960s. Unfortunately, officials failed to positively identify the torturers at “the Zoo” at that time.

Today, some evidence suggests that some of the Cuban Program torturers may be living in the United States. The investigations and pursuits of these monsters continues – and it is never too late, we may hope, with Donald Trump entering office, to bring them to justice. But it will require intense effort on our part. It is the least we can do for Lt. Col. Earl Cobeil, and for all those who shared his torment and pain at the hands of Fidel and his communist monsters.

Jamie Glazov


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Will North Korea Take Over South Korea? - Gordon G. Chang

by Gordon G. Chang

Is South Korean President Moon Jae-in sending signals of submission to Kim Jong-un?

  • Throughout his visit to North Korea, South Korean President Moon Jae-in went out of his way to downplay the legitimacy of the government he leads and the country he was elected to represent. He was not asserting South Korea's right to exist.
  • Up to now, the South's textbooks have stated that Seoul is "the only legitimate government on the Korean Peninsula." New textbooks, however, do not include that declaration.
  • Moon, unfortunately, has undermined democracy in tangible ways. Since becoming president in May of last year, he has used control of big broadcasters to reduce access to dissenting views and to promote North Korea's. Alarm is now widespread.
  • If all this were not enough, Moon is taking down defenses along invasion and infiltration routes into Seoul and proposing substantial reductions in the South Korean military. Americans should care because by treaty they are obligated to defend the South.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (right) guides South Korean President Moon Jae-in during his visit in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 18, 2018. (Photo by Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool/Getty Images)

Kim Jong Un assembled a reported 100,000 people, many waving his North Korean flag or the blue-and-white unification standard, to greet Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, as he arrived in Pyongyang on September 18.

President Moon did not seem to mind that no one was holding the symbol of his country, the Republic of Korea. "What was glaringly missing was the South Korean flag," Taro O of the Pacific Forum told Gatestone in e-mailed comments. "Maybe South Korean people take comfort in seeing that Samsung's Lee Jae-yong wore the South Korean flag badge on the lapel of his jacket while in North Korea. No one in the Moon administration did."

Nor did Moon himself. In fact, throughout the trip Moon went out of his way to downplay the legitimacy of the government he leads and the country he was elected to represent. As Ms. O observed, Moon on the trip often used "nam cheuk," literally "south side" or "south," when the custom has been for South Korean leaders to say "Hanguk," literally "country of Han people." Similarly, Moon while in the North said "nam cheuk gookmin." That translates as "south side citizens." South Korean presidents would normally use "uri gookmin," literally "our citizens" and figuratively "my citizens."

In contrast, Kim Jong Un did not reciprocate Moon's rhetorical gestures. During Moon's visit, he used the communist term "uri inmin," "our people" or "my people."

Kim's Democratic People's Republic of Korea does not recognize Moon's Republic of Korea as sovereign. Similarly, South Korea does not recognize the North. Moon's choice of terms signaled -- subtly but significantly -- he was not asserting South Korea's right to exist.

Moon obviously wants to change Seoul's core position, which it has maintained since the founding of the South Korean state in August 1948. His Ministry of Education, disturbingly, has already changed textbooks. Up to now, the South's textbooks have stated that Seoul is "the only legitimate government on the Korean Peninsula." New textbooks, however, do not include that declaration. And, as Ms. O points out, the South's Unification Ministry has also deleted the critical phrase from training materials.

To pave the way for unification, Moon's long-cherished goal, he has also tried to make the South more compatible with Kim's horrific state. Most fundamentally, his Democratic Party of Korea led an attempt to remove the notion of "liberal" from the concept of "democratic" in the constitution.
Fortunately, the South's "conservatives" rebuffed the effort, but the Education Ministry in June tried to change the country's textbooks, proposing to describe the nation's political system as just "democracy." The ministry had to relent, permitting the concept of freedom to be included in the materials.

Moreover, Moon's government has given only a lukewarm endorsement to the South's National Community Unification Formula, which affirms that a unified state should be a liberal democracy. Since September 1989, every South Korean president has backed the document as official policy.
The Kim regime in the north rejects the label "liberal" but maintains it too is "democratic," so Moon's various changes would have reduced a high barrier to the union of the two Koreas.

President Moon, unfortunately, has undermined democracy in tangible ways. Since becoming president in May of last year, he has used control of big broadcasters to reduce access to dissenting views and to promote North Korea's. "An American expert recently visiting [South] Korea was warned by a state-funded media outlet to avoid any remarks critical of Moon's approach to North Korea," Lawrence Peck, a leading expert on pro-North Korea activities in the U.S., told Gatestone this month.

Now, Moon's government is going after free expression on social media. Minjoo, as Moon's party is known, is behind a "broadcast law reform" bill, which if enacted will give the government the right to take down YouTube videos it does not like. "YouTube remains the only open venue for those Koreans who want to safeguard their country as a democratic republic," writes In-ho Lee, a former South Korean diplomat and once president of the Korea Foundation, in e-mail comments.

Is South Korea becoming North Korea? It is certainly moving in that direction. Its leader, in Peck's words, "attempts to stifle dissent, both under color of law and by unofficial and more subtle forms of pressure." A favorite tactic has been, as he explains, "extremely dubious criminal defamation charges against critics." Moreover, the South Korean government is pressuring North Korean defectors to keep quiet about the North.

Conservative voices, Peck says, are being "persecuted, censored, fired, prosecuted, pressured, or otherwise retaliated against or harassed."

And they are not the only ones targeted. Moon has created an atmosphere where pro-North Korea elements are waging what Lee calls "a reign of terror." In the terror, these forces feel free not only to speak but also to deny freedom to others. The North's radical proponents now hold rallies urging the arrest of "scum" -- those who have escaped from the North to live in the South. Moreover, radicals have put up in Seoul wanted posters naming two defectors, asking citizens to report on their whereabouts. Because the pair is believed to be targeted by Pyongyang for assassination, the posters put their lives in danger.

It is not clear whether "free democracy" is "currently on the verge of a collapse," as charged in the September 4 Statement of the Congress of the Republic of Korea on the National Emergency on the Situations that Face the Nation, but alarm is now widespread.

If all this were not enough, Moon is taking down defenses along invasion and infiltration routes into Seoul and proposing substantial reductions in the South Korean military. Americans should care because by treaty they are obligated to defend the South, which for decades has anchored their western defense perimeter.

Many speculate as to Moon's motives, but, whatever his intentions, he has kept as senior advisors those who, as members of the so-called juchesasangpa groups, advocated North Korea's juche self-reliance ideology and have refused to disavow their views to this day. And to this day concerns continue to swirl around Im Jong-seok, Moon's radical chief of staff. Moon, according to Peck, has continued to hire far-left advisors.

Therefore, Moon's refusal to insist that the North Koreans fly his country's flag, something a host country would do as standard diplomatic protocol, is deeply troubling. As David Maxwell of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies notes, the North continually attempts to undermine South Korea with "subversion, coercion, and use of force."

And now, Kim appears to have recruited a sympathizer, Moon Jae-in.
  • Follow Gordon G. Chang on Twitter

Gordon G. Chang is the author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World" and a Gatestone Institute Distinguished Senior Fellow.


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Former envoy: Israel-Russia crisis artificial, driven by anti-Semitism - Ariel Kahana

by Ariel Kahana

As tensions rise over shooting down of Russian plane in Syria, researcher Zvi Magen says two clear factions have emerged in Russia: One is pleased that Israel is doing the work for Russia and acting against Iran, while the other one sees Iran as an ally.

Former Israeli Ambassador to Moscow Zvi Magen at the Institute 
for National Security Studies
Photo: Gideon Markowicz

The crisis between Israel and Russia resulting from a Russian military aircraft being shot down over Syria last week is "calculated and artificial, unrelated to reality or the facts, because the Russians want payment," former Israeli Ambassador to Russia Zvi Magen told Israel Hayom in an interview.

Now a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies, Magen underscored that "it doesn't matter what Israel does. From the moment the other side wants a crisis, there's no way of preventing one.

"The media blamed Israel on the day of crisis in a well-timed orchestrated manner, filled with anti-Semitic elements. This wasn't random."

According to Magen's analysis, the Russian defense establishment never changed its stance, even after Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin visited Moscow to present Israel's findings on the incident.

The Russian plane was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft missiles trying to repel an Israeli strike in Latakia. The Russians claimed Sunday that Israel failed to give them enough advance warning and "misinformed" the Russian command about the exact location of the strike. The Russian Defense Ministry blamed Israel "entirely" for the downing of the plane, which killed all 15 crew members.

However, the findings presented by Norkin suggested that Israel had given Russia plenty of advance warning and had acted entirely in line with the "deconfliction" agreements between Israel and Russia.

"The same evening after those meetings concluded, they blamed Israel, just as they did the day the plane was shot down," Magen said. "True, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin took a more moderate line, playing the role of the responsible adult. But until that moment, it was unclear whether that was really his position or not, or whether it was a coordinated gambit between him and Russian Defense Minister [Sergei] Shoigu, where one was playing good cop and the other the bad cop."

Magen said there are two opposing voices in Russia when it comes to Iran.

"One sees it [Iran] as a threat, and is somehow pleased that Israel did the work for Russia in dealing with Iran in Syria. The Russian defense establishment, on the other hand, as usual, sees the Iranians as a kind of ally against the U.S. and the West. So it doesn't like Israel's actions against Iran in Syria.

"In addition, three years after entering Syria, Russia wants to finish things and leave. As far as that goes, Israel's activity – which is destabilizing to Syria – is a hindrance," he said.

Magen believes that the crisis with Russia over the downed plane was artificially constructed and designed to help Russia achieve gains.

"The Russians only have 16 planes in Syria, which is very few, and they know that Israel can cause serious damage and means what it says. They don't want another clash," Magen said.

Ariel Kahana


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Combat-Decorated Green Beret Takes On a New Enemy: The Washington Swamp - Elise Cooper

by Elise Cooper

Michael Waltz, a 22-year veteran of the Green Berets, terrorism expert, and small business-owner who is running to replace gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis in Florida's Sixth District, spoke with American Thinker in a wide-ranging interview

Many politicians in Washington, D.C. are more concerned with getting elected than with governing this country. Veterans see this as something that goes against their spirit. They served in the military to protect and defend, and now they want a chance to serve in Congress to fight for their fellow Americans. Their mission is to get results and not constantly be lame-duck representatives. One such candidate is Michael Waltz, who is running in Florida's District 6, the seat Ron DeSantis currently holds as he runs for governor. He interviewed with American Thinker about why he is running for office.

He told American Thinker, "I have been serving my country my entire life, twenty-two years as a Green Beret. I wake up in the morning thinking about the issues this country is facing. We can either yell at the TV or roll up our sleeves and serve in the political arena. When someone is in the foxhole, he does not care about differences in race, religion, creed, sex, or economic or political background. It is all about mission and country. There is a commonality of service on how we should move this country forward."

Waltz's résumé shows that he has multiple kinds of experience. A retired Army lieutenant colonel, he was awarded four Bronze Stars, including two for valor. A counterterrorism adviser during the George W. Bush administration, he worked in the Pentagon as a defense policy director for secretaries of defense Rumsfeld and Gates, and in the White House as Vice President Cheney's counterterrorism adviser. He is a small business-owner, CEO of Metis Solutions.

The credit goes to his mother for instilling in him the drive to be someone who strives for success; leading by example; and putting forth the value of delivering results, not excuses. 

"My mother truly represented someone who lives the American dream. She worked three jobs when my sister and I grew up, sleeping only between 6 A.M. and 10 A.M. Her jobs included a night security guard, dental hygienist, and a claims clerk. We ended up graduating college at the same time because it took her fifteen years. She ended up retiring as a vice president of a company."

Because the #MeToo movement is playing a role in current events today, Michael was asked about his views. 

"The men being exposed in Hollywood, like Harvey Weinstein, or in New York, like Les Moonves, deserve to be exposed. As a father of a teenage girl I have zero tolerance for them. But we need a balance. People's lives should not be ruined because of a spurious accusation."

Furthermore, he wants people to understand that the extremist Islamists want a society that would keep women down. Many countries do not believe in freedom, equal opportunity, and human rights for women.

"I spent my life fighting Islamic extremists' ideology. We need a broader strategy that goes after it. Think of the quote by Malala, the Indian girl shot for going to school. She said the thing the extremists fear the most is a girl with a book. It is a global issue. The cover of my book has schoolchildren. This school was burned down multiple times just because it taught girls, but we rebuilt it."

One of the important issues facing America is border security. 

"President Trump offered a deal on DACA that would allow about one million more people than what President Obama offered. I think it is reasonable to move away from a lottery system and chain immigration because border security is national security. Let's remember: Hezb'allah has a track record of working with the Mexican drug cartels when they attempted to murder the Saudi ambassador in Washington. If they can infiltrate by moving drugs and human-trafficking, then they can cross our southern border. It is certainly possible to be used for all types of bad activities. It is not as if the smugglers discriminate what they move across our border."

He gives President Trump high marks for getting things done. 

"I cannot tell you how many speeches I wrote for the defense secretaries asking our NATO allies to live up to their defense commitment. They shrugged their shoulders and blew us off. No longer with this president."

On the domestic front, he is grateful to the president for reducing so many regulations.
"When I tried starting my business, I could not get capital or loans under the past Democratic administration. Then we had to take the Obamacare compliance that exploded our overhead costs. Year after year, we had sky-high deductibles."

Andrew Gillum, the Democratic choice for governor of Florida, is a progressive who wants Medicare for all and to abolish ICE. Along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is running for Congress in New York, Gillum and others in the Democratic Party have socialistic ideals. Waltz shakes his head and points to socialist nations around the world.

"What has socialism given to people? Look no farther than Venezuela and Cuba. It is mind-boggling this is the direction they want to take us. They believe in Medicare for all and a single-payer health system yet cannot explain how they will pay for it, with the estimated cost about $32 trillion. Let's not forget that Pelosi and now Gillum say they will raise taxes."

What he wants Americans and Floridians to understand is that "I am in a tough race. The Democratic Party is sliding toward socialism with an open border agenda. They call for an impeachment of our president that will grind his positive agenda to a halt. The question voters need to ask: Which America do they want? I hope to run a positive campaign that highlights what the Republicans have done so far. Frankly, I wish the White House would talk more about their accomplishments. I am focused on results and what has been done to affect American lives for the better. Anyone with the ability to work hard should be able to achieve the American dream as long as he plays by the rules."

Elise Cooper writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.


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The Passing of Uri Avnery - Col (Res.) Dr. Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen

by Col (Res.) Dr. Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen

A clear look at Uri Avnery and his effect on the Israeli security situation.

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 958, September 24, 2018

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Most of the articles and statements following the passing of veteran Israeli journalist and far-left political activist Uri Avnery were of a glorifying nature, praising his persistent support for a Palestinian state and the end of the Israeli “occupation.” However, his misconceived predictions and deeds undermining Israeli sovereign interests, including during wartime, were intentionally ignored.

The traditional proverb “after death, say holy” (“de mortuis nil nisi bene” in Latin) means one should say only good things about people after they die. This tradition provides a kind of “comfort zone” to controversial figures after their demise.

The recent death of Uri Avnery, the veteran Israeli journalist, politician, and ultra-left-wing activist, prompted an unprecedented wave of fawning obituaries, mostly praising his activities in the journalism domain as well as his allegedly courageous stand on behalf of the Palestinians.

Special attention was given to his extraordinary meeting, on July 3, 1982, with PLO leader Yasser Arafat in West Beirut in the midst of the first Lebanon War. Arafat himself admitted that Avnery was the first Israeli he had ever met, making him the pioneer who “broke the dam” for the many Israeli left-wing activists who followed.

The Arafat-Avnery meeting was very important. On the one hand, it was a tremendous journalistic achievement. On the other, it was an act of defiance towards the Israeli authorities during wartime.

The event was utilized by Avnery as an international scoop as well as an opportunity to show Arafat as a human being rather than a demonized monster. Notwithstanding the international response, the meeting outraged the Israeli public, and the government ordered an investigation into Avnery.

Most of the articles and statements following Avnery’s death praised his persistent support for an independent Palestinian state and an end to the Israeli “occupation” (despite the fact that ideologically, Avnery previously favored a single state, replacing Israel, as the ultimate framework to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). Though he was a divisive figure in Israel, even senior Israeli officials – first and foremost President Reuven Rivlin – paid tribute to him. In Rivlin’s words, his fundamental disagreements with Avnery “were diminished in light of the ambition to build a free and strong society here.” Opposition leader Tzipi Livni described Avnery as “a courageous journalist and a rare, trailblazing man.” She asserted that he maintained “his principles despite attacks and planted in the heart of Israelis ideas of peace and moderation, even when they weren’t in the lexicon.”

While praising Avnery’s meeting with Arafat in Beirut, his admirers intentionally ignored, or at least omitted, a striking part of the puzzle, which was the fact that the PLO leader had been spotted by Israeli intelligence. Ronen Bergman, in his book Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, reported that – in Avnery’s words – “the Mossad learned that I was going to meet with Arafat, and its people secretly shadowed me to find him and kill him.” Avnery told Haaretz (February 4, 2018) that “having read Ronen Bergman’s report that then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon didn’t care if I was killed in an assassination attempt on Yasser Arafat, I’m grateful for the precautions the PLO chief took.”

Avnery claimed that the meeting with Arafat was spontaneous rather than pre-arranged, but that assertion is dubious. He had had previous connections to the PLO, and the fact that he was escorted by two female staff members of his weekly magazine, Ha’olam Haze, could indicate a pre-planned operation. Further, Avnery’s reputation as “scoop-hungry” doesn’t correspond to the description of the meeting as spontaneous.

In one of his last interviews, with the BBC on March 22, 2018, Avnery downplayed the idea that he had risked his life when he met with Arafat in Beirut. He claimed to have had “some doubts about it,” explaining that he made the phone call arranging the meeting less than 24 hours before it took place. He went on to suggest that “if they were very efficient they could have listened [to the phone call], caught me at the point where I crossed the front line and tried to follow our car. It’s possible.”

Avnery is thus describing a sophisticated operation in which he acted as a human shield to protect Arafat while enjoying an international scoop. Though it could in fact have been a gamble for his life (as well as those of the two female staff members joining him), Avnery could rely on the restraint of the Israeli military in such controversial circumstances.

Avnery used a similar tactic when visiting Arafat at his headquarters in Ramallah (the Mukata’a) in 2003 during the bloodiest phase of the PLO leader’s terror war (euphemized as the “al-Aqsa Intifada”). Again he operated as a human shield for Arafat.

Striking evidence of this can be found in Avnery’s article entitled “Human Shield,” which was published in the Gush Shalom bulletin on October 14, 2003. He rather astonishingly explained the logic behind being a human shield: “The moment we heard about the shocking atrocity in Haifa on Saturday afternoon (a suicide attack) we understood that we had to hurry to the Mukata’a. Within an hour, a small group of ten Israeli peace activists was organized. With us were also some 30 international peace activists from many countries.” Avnery believed ”the killing of Arafat would be a historic disaster for the State of Israel, because it would mean the elimination of any chance for peace for generations to come and the increase of bloodshed to dimensions unknown until now. Therefore we decided to prevent this disaster with the paltry resources at our disposal.”

Speaking of Arafat, Avnery wrote, “He received us, the Israeli peace activists, with much feeling, smiling broadly, with much shaking of hands and hugging. The fact that in such an emergency men and women from Israel had come to constitute a ‘human shield’ had made a deep impression. He spoke about this repeatedly.

“After three days and nights we went home, ready to go there again if the need arose, in order to do everything possible to prevent an act that would be a disaster for Israel,” Avnery concluded his article. “For us, that is the most important, patriotic thing we can do.”

Avnery’s passing cannot justify ignoring his deeds against Israeli national interests, especially during wartime. Any other democracy would have taken a firm stance against his initiatives undermining sovereign government policy.

It is regrettable that the attorney general decided not to call Avnery to account after his Beirut meeting with Arafat. Avnery said the reason for this was twofold: first, that at time there was no law barring Israelis from meeting with PLO members; and second, the law forbidding entry to an enemy country didn’t apply as they had crossed the border at the invitation of the IDF.

But Avnery’s act fell by definition under clause 99 of the Israeli Penal Law (legislated in 1956 and amended in 1979) entitled “Assisting an enemy at war.”

These events should teach us a lesson about automatic displays of sympathy towards controversial figures, such as the late Uri Avnery, while overlooking their detrimental deeds. This superficial approach is a human failure. One would be wiser to apply the Jewish proverb, “judge as you would be judged.”

BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family

Col (Res.) Dr. Raphael G. Bouchnik-Chen is a retired colonel who served as a senior analyst in IDF Military Intelligence.


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