Friday, August 10, 2018

The Pitiful Roots of Anti-Americanism - Robert Curry

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by Robert Curry

Why Europeans, South Americans, and even U.S. Progressives hate the United States of America.


The anti-Semite is a crank and a bore.  However, the anti-Semite has an important psychological and even spiritual advantage over certain other kinds of cranks: he knows that to other people, he is a crackpot.  This leaves the door slightly ajar for him to discover that he is one.
Anti-Americanism is anti-Semitism's first cousin, but with an important difference.  A person afflicted with this terrible condition is also a crank and a bore, but because anti-Americanism is so widespread both in America and abroad, it is all too easy for the sufferers never to realize they are cranks.
After all, anti-Americanism is the norm among the globalist elites.  In his book Anti-Americanism, Jean-François Revel writes that he had "formed [his] opinion about the United States through the filter of the European press, which means my judgment was unfavorable."   But Revel wants us to understand that he has learned that anti-Americanism is more than simply a widespread climate of opinion.  Instead, he labels it a "psychopathology" and an "obsession."
For Revel, the source of this malady is obvious.  America has supplanted Europe, and the elites of Europe resent it.  Europe once dominated the world.  It no longer does, and the European elites blame America instead of themselves. 
Revel believes that the Europeans:
... should force themselves to examine how they have contributed to that [America's] preponderance.  It was they, after all, who made the twentieth century the darkest in history; it was they who brought about the two unprecedented cataclysms of the World Wars; and it was they who invented and put into place the two most criminal regimes ever inflicted on the human race – pinnacles of evil and imbecility achieved in a space of less than thirty years.
Revel is saying that obsessing over what's wrong with America helps Europeans ward off such thoughts.  Warding off unwelcome thoughts is, after all, the psychological mechanism of blame.  The greater the need for denial, the greater the intensity of the obsession. 
Anti-Americanism has the same psychological dynamic as anti-Semitism.  When the anti-Semite launches into his harangue, we instinctively recoil.  We recognize that he is a troubled soul.  We understand that he is obsessively tracing the inner contours of a mental cage that exists beyond the reach of rationality.
The mechanism of blame also explains the endemic anti-Americanism in Latin America.  Revel turns to Carlos Rangel of Venezuela for an explanation of that variant of the malady:
For Latin Americans, it is an unbearable thought that a handful of Anglo-Saxons, arriving much later than the Spanish and in such a harsh climate that they barely survived the first few winters, would become the foremost power in the world.  It would require an inconceivable effort of collective self-analysis for Latin Americans to face up to the fundamental causes of this disparity.
Once again, at the root of the condition is "an unbearable thought" – a thought so unbearable that the necessary "self-analysis" would require "an inconceivable effort."
The insights of Revel and Rangel suggest that the Americans who suffer from anti-Americanism must also be afflicted by an unbearable thought.
What unbearable thought?  The answer is ready at hand.  The Progressive project has gone from strength to strength politically in America – and everywhere it has brought ruin in its wake.  Detroit was once an economic powerhouse, and San Francisco was once America's most beautiful city.  Decades of one-party rule according to the Progressive project have wrecked Detroit, and San Francisco is becoming something truly strange, a modern city overwhelmed by human excrement in public places.
Just as the Europeans brought ruin on Europe and the South Americans keep on failing, keep on doing what has not worked and never will, the Progressives persist despite failing again and again the simple tests of common sense. 
The Progressives' failure is not a failure to enact their agenda.  They have dominated America politically for the past century.  FDR gave us really big government, and the federal government has become a scandal of fraud, waste, and abuse – a scandal that even the Big Government Press cannot keep hidden from us.  LBJ declared War on Poverty – and that war was lost.  Instead of eliminating poverty, the War on Poverty has made poverty more pathological, creating an underclass, often now described as "permanent," living on government handouts.  Even the Progressives' anti-Americanism was given free rein with the election of Barack Obama, who shared their obsession with "fundamentally transforming" America.  Yet wave after wave of electoral victory has not made American Progressives happy.
Whenever the voters put the Progressives in charge, the result is governmental metastasis and social catastrophe – by necessity.  The left is simply wrong about how things work.  It is easy to come up with programs that defy common sense.  It is also possible to use governmental power to impose those programs on society.  But the power of government can't make them work.
Instead of learning from experience, the Progressives keep ramping up their anti-Americanism in order to keep deflecting their unbearable thought that Progressivism does not work.  Today, the American left's anti-Americanism has become completely undisguised.  Leftists now want to do away with America's borders.  What would that mean?  It would mean that the American experiment in liberty had failed; it would mean the end of America. 
Destructive elements of European culture and politics brought Europe to ruin in the twentieth century, and destructive elements in South American culture and politics have kept South America down.  The ascendance of Progressivism in American culture and politics threatens to do the same to America. 

Robert Curry serves on the Board of Directors of the Claremont Institute and is the author of Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea from Encounter Books.  You can preview the book here.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/08/the_pitiful_roots_of_antiamericanism.html

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Hamas is taking the region to the brink of war - Yaakov Lappin

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by Yaakov Lappin

Hamas’s leadership is dangling the option of a long-term truce before Israel with one hand and firing barrages of rockets at southern Israel with the other, terrorizing hundreds of thousands of Israelis and risking the security of the Gazan civilians it rules over.

Hamas’s leadership is dangling the option of a long-term truce before Israel with one hand and firing barrages of rockets at southern Israel with the other, terrorizing hundreds of thousands of Israelis and risking the security of the Gazan civilians it rules over.
Why is Hamas doing this? Essentially, it’s because its leadership wants to signal to Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority that it is willing to go all the way in its quest to end Gaza’s isolation, and that if it cannot get enough money into Gaza to save its regime and military wing, it is willing to drag the area into a new war, whatever the consequences.
The latest round of fighting began when a Hamas live-fire demonstration of snipers in Gaza was seen, apparently by mistake, as an attack by the Israel Defense Forces, drawing Israeli tank fire that killed two Hamas gunmen. Hamas swore to revenge their deaths and began rocketing the Israeli south. But the tank-fire incident is more of a secondary catalyst, which acted as a spark in a powder keg.
The site where a mortar shell from Gaza hit an apartment building and cars in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, near the border with Gaza, on Aug. 9, 2018. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Hamas is gambling on the assumption that Israel, preoccupied with greater threats to the north in the form of Hezbollah and Iranian forces in Lebanon and Syria, will make due with responding with limited airstrikes and seize on the opportunity to de-escalate in Gaza.
Hamas is also using this latest escalation to broadcast a dangerous message to the rest of the region: that it is able to control the rules of the “game,” and that it can exchange blows with Israel—the strongest regional power around—flood the Israeli south with rockets and walk away to tell the tale.
This, Hamas likely believes, will strengthen its narrative and credibility on the Palestinian street. Hamas is also using these events to push other actors into answering its demands to end Gaza’s isolation and get money pouring into Gaza again, thereby preventing an economic collapse.
But Hamas’s brinkmanship can fail for many reasons and blow up in its face. It might push too far, and compel Israel to seize the initiative and launch a major military operation that will end when Jerusalem, not Hamas, decides. Whether or not this happens will be up to the Israeli cabinet and its various, complex calculations over such a maneuver.
In addition, Hamas may fail to secure funds for Gaza because it is unable to reach an agreement with its internal enemy, the Palestinian Authority, which in many ways holds the keys to Gaza’s economy.
As long as the P.A. views Gaza as a renegade rebel Islamist province, which is under an illegitimate government that rose to power in a coup in 2007, it will block efforts by the international community or regional actors to invest in Gaza’s economy. The P.A. can get in the way of Egyptian efforts to reach a long-term arrangement to stabilize the situation.
The P.A. is demanding that Hamas disband its military wing first—something Hamas will never accept, meaning that the situation is stuck in a stalemate.
Hamas’s military wing in Gaza, which has evolved into a terrorist army specializing in urban warfare and rocket attacks, is its top priority. Hamas would rather go to war than contemplate the option of disarming. This is one of the signals it appears to be sending through recent incidents. It wants to continue investing huge sums in the military wing, and have others foot the bill for Gaza’s civilian needs.
Hamas is trying to blackmail Israel and others into accepting this setup.
Israel, for its part, will soon have to make critical decisions.
Its leaders will either need to decide that the status quo has become intolerable, and that a strategy is needed—based on a combination of military force and diplomacy—to restore calm and restore Israeli deterrence, which has been badly eroded. Alternatively, it may decide to go for a long-term truce.
Hamas’s aggression is a signal that the middle-ground option of a limited truce that is violated with increasing frequency and severity is becoming untenable.

The security escalation in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip over the last 24 hours shows that Hamas is prepared to take the region to the brink of war, and that it believes it can force new rules of conduct on Israel while paying a minimal price for its aggression.
Its actions have placed the region in danger of a major new conflict.

Yaakov Lappin

Source: https://www.jns.org/hamas-is-taking-the-region-to-the-brink-of-war/

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State Department: Israel has a right to defend itself - Elad Benari

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by Elad Benari

State Department spokeswoman says U.S. concerned by situation in Gaza but says Israel has the right to defend itself from rocket attacks.

The State Department said on Thursday that the United States is watching developments in Gaza closely and believes the situation is very concerning but Israel has a right to defend itself.

“We’ve been watching this as it has been unfolding, and it’s a very concerning situation that has taken place in Gaza,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a press briefing.

“Overall, we condemn the launching of missile attacks into Israel and call for an end to the destructive violence. We’ve seen reports that 180 or so rocket attacks have taken place, shot from Gaza into Israel, and we fully support Israel’s right to defend itself and to take actions to prevent provocations of that nature,” she stressed.

Pressed by a reporter who insisted that the current escalation was not started by Hamas, Nauert replied, “I’m not going to get into how this thing started. Let’s not forget that Hamas bears ultimate responsibility for the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. It’s a tremendous concern of ours.”

According to IDF data, more than 180 rocket and mortar launches from Gaza into Israeli territory have been identified since Wednesday night.

On Thursday evening, Israeli fighter jets leveled a five-story building in the Rimal neighborhood in northern Gaza.

The IDF said that the building serves as the command center for Hamas' internal security forces, which is responsible for and manages all internal security activities in the Gaza Strip. Some members of the internal security unit are also active in the military wing of Hamas and take part in armed activity against Israel.

Early Thursday morning, IDF fighter jets targeted over 20 terror sites in military compounds and in a Hamas training camp.

Among the sites targeted were a weapons manufacturing and storage facility, a complex used for the Hamas' naval force, and a military compound used for rocket launching experiments.

On Wednesday, Nickolay Mladenov, the UN envoy to the Middle East, expressed concernover the latest escalation in Gaza and particularly by the multiple rockets fired towards Israel.

Jason D. Greenblatt, the U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations, criticized Hamas in the wake of the latest escalation in Gaza.

"Hamas regime again is launching rockets at Israeli communities. Another night of terror and families huddling in fear as Israel defends itself. This is the Hamas regime’s choice. Hamas is subjecting people to the terrifying conditions of war again," he tweeted.







Elad Benari

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/250321

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NAACP's own poll reveals surge in black support for Trump – and they react badly - Thomas Lifson

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by Thomas Lifson

Panic?

Dependence on 90% voting support from African-Americans for electoral success is the jugular vein of the Democratic Party.  President Trump's rising support among black voters is correctly seen as an existential threat to the party's – and progressivism's – ability to win national elections.  That's why I thought it was big news last Saturday when Rasmussen proclaimed that black approval of Trump had hit 29%, even though most of the media ignored it for reasons AT readers well understand.
But the surge in black support for President Trump is real – so real that even the far-left NAACP discovered it in a poll, though that poll (perhaps with a differently worded question) put the support at 21%.  Here is a graphic presentation of the result, showing the support for Trump among various ethnicities:

What's a race victimology group to do with this?  Of course, double down on charges that Trump is a racist.  Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner:
The NAACP said in its poll analysis, "Voters across all racial and ethnic groups believe Trump is setting race relations back.  Three quarters of African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans believe Trump is setting race relations back while a small majority of white voters believe so.  Black women (89 percent), in particular, feel disrespected by President Trump."
If calling Trump a racist hasn't stemmed the flow of black support his way, there is no reason to believe that shouting it more will start working.  It's almost as if the groups that purport to represent the interests of African-Americans are really more worried about their own careers.
Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit


Thomas Lifson

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/08/naacps_own_poll_reveals_surge_in_black_support_for_trump__and_they_react_badly.html

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A pregnancy of media lies from Gaza - Jack Englehard

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by Jack Englehard


The NY Post has not noticed that Hamas began the hostilities and Israel is responding to 140 rockets in one night on its civilians, and one critically wounded woman.

Earlier, in another column, we asked if the New York Post has changed sides, from friend to foe as regards Israel.

Today, we wonder no more. Dig this for a headline: “Israeli airstrikes in Gaza Strip kill pregnant woman, her 1-year-old daughter.”


Never mind that Hamas started it and accelerated it with more than 100 rockets being fired into Israel as thousands of Israelis along the Gaza border are sent running to their bomb shelters.   
That gets no mention and even the rest of the story gives it a passive voice moral equivalency twist, as in – “A flare-up of violence.”

It is no surprise that the story was picked up from the AP, never a friend, but it is a surprise that the Post carried it, with that howler of a headline, as is.

This means that 1. They’ve grown lazy over there at the international desk, or,2, they’ve changed policy in order to catch up with the rest of fake news.

That would be a pity. New Yorkers and Post readers everywhere have relied on the Post as about the only big-time paper to cover Israel’s back, as well as Trump’s.

The paper features a true friend in columnist Michael Goodwin and its editorials are still a voice of sanity.

A voice of fairness and sanity we can never expect from the BBC.Sure enough, the BBC duplicated the headline that ran in the Post.

Coincidence, or coordinated? In any case, that didn’t take long. Actually, it did, because the system works like this throughout the media --

Silence when Israel is attacked by a barrage of rockets (or terrorist kites and balloons), only to awaken at Israel’s response – and THEN cover the story but slanted against Israel.
Israel, through its foreign ministry, protested the BBC headline. But no matter what – the damage has been done.

Everybody knows the game. Some win, some lose, and Israel seldom gets the prize. You only get a few words to make your case. That’s no game, really.

It’s war – the headline wars, which is how you sway public opinion through 280 words or less, preferably less.

Because these days most readers want it down and dirty and seldom get to “the rest of the story.”

The headline is what people wake up to and go to bed at night remembering. Headlines, at this time of tweets, and in this era of impatience, are a powerful means of persuasion.
In the wrong hands, as we see, headlines can manipulate truth into falsehood and can turn the good guys into the bad guys, a conjuring we expose fully in this thriller.  
So the Big Lie, any Big Lie, sticks.

From New York to London, as people read it, aha, they say, it’s those Israelis again.
In the midst of yet another heated conflict with Hamas, the Israeli marketing department needs to sharpen its focus and shape up to the new reality.

New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva.

He is the author of the international book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal” and most recently the two inside journalism thrillers “The Bathsheba Deadline” and “News Anchor Sweetheart, Hollywood Edition.” Engelhard is the recipient of the Ben Hecht Award for Literary Excellence. Website: www.jackengelhard.com


Jack Englehard's classic international bestselling novel Indecent Proposal, which later became a worldwide hit movie, has been republished to meet readers’ demands. His other major works include Compulsive: A Novel, his award-winning post-Holocaust Montreal memoir Escape from Mount Moriah, plus Slot Attendant: A Novel About A Novelist. His website: www.jackengelhard.com

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/22581

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Hamas-Israel Truce Would Be “Painkiller, not Antibiotic” - Yaakov Lappin

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by Yaakov Lappin

All the economic benefits being offered to Gaza as part of a package deal -–  hinge on Hamas accepting conditions it is categorically unwilling to countenance.

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 917, August 9, 2018

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: All the economic benefits being offered to Gaza as part of a package deal – an improvement in water and electricity supplies, the construction of a seaport, the cancellation of debts owed by the Hamas government, a relaxation of the Israeli security blockade – hinge on Hamas accepting conditions it is categorically unwilling to countenance.
Intensive efforts are underway to reach a long-term, comprehensive truce arrangement between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel. Former members of the Israeli defense establishment have expressed skepticism that such a truce is feasible. In their view, a limited truce might be more realistic.
Reaching a broad cease-fire arrangement would be “a very complex maneuver,” said Col. (res.) Dr. Shaul Shay, former deputy head of the National Security Council of Israel.
Egypt is leading the attempt, mediating talks and hosting senior Palestinian delegations in Cairo. A high-ranking UN coordinator in the region, Nickolay Mladenov, is also involved.
Shay, who today serves as director of research at the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC) in Israel, pointed out that a long-term arrangement for Gaza would be possible only if two components are put into place. The first is a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, and the second “is a period of calm between Hamas and the State of Israel. The two things are interlinked,” Shay said.
“In order to obtain a long-term period of calm, there needs to be major investment in the Gazan economy and infrastructure,” he went on. “That means bringing the Palestinian Authority (PA) to Gaza. Because this is a condition, it is very problematic. If you look back, ever since Hamas seized power in Gaza in 2007, there have been countless attempts, led by Egypt, to reach Palestinian national reconciliation.” None of them have succeeded, Shay pointed out.
Today, while Hamas has an interest in reaching reconciliation with its Palestinian rival, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has no similar sentiment. “Abbas is dragging his feet because he has no interest in promoting this procedure, which would give Hamas gains, but not the PA,” said Shay. “If internal Palestinian reconciliation is the condition for an Israel-Hamas arrangement, then very large question marks will remain over this.”
On the other hand, a more limited truce involving the end of Gazan border demonstrations – and the cessation of incendiary kite and balloon attacks from Gaza, which have burned large swaths of Israeli farmland, harmed wildlife, and affected Israel’s honey production before Rosh Hashanah – is feasible.
In exchange, Shay said, Israel could reopen the Kerem Shalom border crossing, allowing more materials to flow into Gaza, and expand the fishing zone for Palestinian fishermen.
“The more limited the agreement, the more limited its ability to improve the Gazan economic situation,” he cautioned. Therefore, “it is like a painkiller, not an antibiotic. It does not significantly change the situation on the ground.”
Any such arrangement should also include the return of the bodies of two IDF soldiers held by Hamas, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in combat during the 2014 Gaza conflict, in addition to the return of two Israeli nationals being held captive by Hamas. “This must be a condition,” Shay said.
Echoing Shay’s assessment, Dr. Col. (res.) Moshe Elad, one of the designers of the security coordination between the IDF and the PA, said any attempt to reach a full agreement was very likely to end in failure.
“There are a number of arenas involved; each is more complex than the other,” said Elad, currently a lecturer at Western Galilee College. Hamas and the PA have failed at all previous attempts to settle their differences, and “this time will be no different,” he said.
On the Israel-Hamas front, Israel will want “full quiet” as part of a large package deal. But “Hamas has never agreed to full quiet,” Elad noted. “I don’t remember it ever agreeing to this.”
“There are smaller [armed] groups in Gaza that are known as the rebellious groups. The truth is, if Hamas wants to, it can rein them in. But the problem is that Hamas does not want to stop them. It wants to use them to threaten Israel. Israel will insist on full quiet. It will insist that not even a single shot is fired. Hamas won’t agree to that,” Elad said.
All the economic benefits being offered to Gaza as part of a package deal – an improvement in water and electricity supplies, the construction of a seaport, the cancellation of debts owed by the Hamas government, a relaxation of the Israeli security blockade – hinge on a PA-Hamas agreement, but Elad does not see “any intention” by the PA to agree to this since Abbas would emerge as “the main loser.” “What incentive does he have for it to succeed?” he asked.
At best, if Hamas finds its back to the wall, it might agree to freeze the activities of its military wing and place its members on leave, said Elad. “But they will never disband the military wing” as the PA has demanded. Doing so would symbolize “cancelling the resistance” from Hamas’s perspective, which would be unthinkable for the hardline Islamist organization.
According to Elad, recriminations over “why this didn’t work out” will likely emerge within days.
This is an edited version of an article that was published in JNS.org on August 7, 2018.
Yaakov Lappin is a Research Associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He specializes in Israel’s defense establishment, military affairs, and the Middle Eastern strategic environment.
BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family


Yaakov LappinBESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 917, August 9, 2018

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: All the economic benefits being offered to Gaza as part of a package deal – an improvement in water and electricity supplies, the construction of a seaport, the cancellation of debts owed by the Hamas government, a relaxation of the Israeli security blockade – hinge on Hamas accepting conditions it is categorically unwilling to countenance.
Intensive efforts are underway to reach a long-term, comprehensive truce arrangement between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel. Former members of the Israeli defense establishment have expressed skepticism that such a truce is feasible. In their view, a limited truce might be more realistic.
Reaching a broad cease-fire arrangement would be “a very complex maneuver,” said Col. (res.) Dr. Shaul Shay, former deputy head of the National Security Council of Israel.
Egypt is leading the attempt, mediating talks and hosting senior Palestinian delegations in Cairo. A high-ranking UN coordinator in the region, Nickolay Mladenov, is also involved.
Shay, who today serves as director of research at the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC) in Israel, pointed out that a long-term arrangement for Gaza would be possible only if two components are put into place. The first is a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, and the second “is a period of calm between Hamas and the State of Israel. The two things are interlinked,” Shay said.
“In order to obtain a long-term period of calm, there needs to be major investment in the Gazan economy and infrastructure,” he went on. “That means bringing the Palestinian Authority (PA) to Gaza. Because this is a condition, it is very problematic. If you look back, ever since Hamas seized power in Gaza in 2007, there have been countless attempts, led by Egypt, to reach Palestinian national reconciliation.” None of them have succeeded, Shay pointed out.
Today, while Hamas has an interest in reaching reconciliation with its Palestinian rival, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has no similar sentiment. “Abbas is dragging his feet because he has no interest in promoting this procedure, which would give Hamas gains, but not the PA,” said Shay. “If internal Palestinian reconciliation is the condition for an Israel-Hamas arrangement, then very large question marks will remain over this.”
On the other hand, a more limited truce involving the end of Gazan border demonstrations – and the cessation of incendiary kite and balloon attacks from Gaza, which have burned large swaths of Israeli farmland, harmed wildlife, and affected Israel’s honey production before Rosh Hashanah – is feasible.
In exchange, Shay said, Israel could reopen the Kerem Shalom border crossing, allowing more materials to flow into Gaza, and expand the fishing zone for Palestinian fishermen.
“The more limited the agreement, the more limited its ability to improve the Gazan economic situation,” he cautioned. Therefore, “it is like a painkiller, not an antibiotic. It does not significantly change the situation on the ground.”
Any such arrangement should also include the return of the bodies of two IDF soldiers held by Hamas, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in combat during the 2014 Gaza conflict, in addition to the return of two Israeli nationals being held captive by Hamas. “This must be a condition,” Shay said.
Echoing Shay’s assessment, Dr. Col. (res.) Moshe Elad, one of the designers of the security coordination between the IDF and the PA, said any attempt to reach a full agreement was very likely to end in failure.
“There are a number of arenas involved; each is more complex than the other,” said Elad, currently a lecturer at Western Galilee College. Hamas and the PA have failed at all previous attempts to settle their differences, and “this time will be no different,” he said.
On the Israel-Hamas front, Israel will want “full quiet” as part of a large package deal. But “Hamas has never agreed to full quiet,” Elad noted. “I don’t remember it ever agreeing to this.”
“There are smaller [armed] groups in Gaza that are known as the rebellious groups. The truth is, if Hamas wants to, it can rein them in. But the problem is that Hamas does not want to stop them. It wants to use them to threaten Israel. Israel will insist on full quiet. It will insist that not even a single shot is fired. Hamas won’t agree to that,” Elad said.
All the economic benefits being offered to Gaza as part of a package deal – an improvement in water and electricity supplies, the construction of a seaport, the cancellation of debts owed by the Hamas government, a relaxation of the Israeli security blockade – hinge on a PA-Hamas agreement, but Elad does not see “any intention” by the PA to agree to this since Abbas would emerge as “the main loser.” “What incentive does he have for it to succeed?” he asked.
At best, if Hamas finds its back to the wall, it might agree to freeze the activities of its military wing and place its members on leave, said Elad. “But they will never disband the military wing” as the PA has demanded. Doing so would symbolize “cancelling the resistance” from Hamas’s perspective, which would be unthinkable for the hardline Islamist organization.
According to Elad, recriminations over “why this didn’t work out” will likely emerge within days.
This is an edited version of an article that was published in JNS.org on August 7, 2018.
Yaakov Lappin is a Research Associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He specializes in Israel’s defense establishment, military affairs, and the Middle Eastern strategic environment.
BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family
Source: https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/hamas-israel-truce/

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Hayek vs. Ocasio-Cortez - Lloyd Billingsley

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by Lloyd Billingsley

A real lesson on socialism for the Democrats' new rising star.




Capitalism has not always existed in the world, and it will not always exist in the world,” explains Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, poster child for the “democratic socialism” now surging in the Democratic Party. By all indications, the upstart politician and establishment media remain ignorant of the major critic of socialism in modern times.
Friedrich A. Hayek, 1899-1992, is the author of The Road to Serfdom, first published in 1944 when the Allies were doing battle with Adolph Hitler’s National Socialist regime, which from 1939-1941 was allied with Josef Stalin’s Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Hayek left his native Austria before World War II but he was well aware of the socialist dynamics in Germany. 
The socialist policy of Germany, “was generally held up by progressives as an example to be imitated.” And “few are ready to recognize that the rise of fascism and Nazism was not a reaction against the socialist trends of the preceding period but a necessary outcome of those tendencies.” For further study, consult Hayek’s chapter on “The Socialist Roots of Nazism.”
Free societies feature the rule of law but as Hayek observes “economic planning of the collectivist kind necessarily involved the very opposite of this.” Under socialist planning, “if things are to get done, the responsible authorities must be freed from the fetters of democratic procedure.” Even with that authority, the planners face a tougher problem.
Knowledge about the allocation of resources is dispersed among many people, with no individual or group of experts capable of acquiring it all. So even government planners of great expertise cannot command more than the smallest fragment of that knowledge. This is why socialist regimes from the USSR to Cuba to Venezuela have been economic basket cases, barren of liberties and groceries alike. 
Socialism always trends toward the “Great Leader” and the totalitarian state. In his chapter “Why the Worst Get on Top,” Hayek writes: “Just as the democratic statesman who sets out to plan economic life will soon be confronted with the alternative of either assuming dictatorial powers or abandoning his plans, so the totalitarian dictator will soon have to choose between disregard of ordinary morals and failure. It is for this reason that the unscrupulous and uninhibited are likely to be more successful in a society trending towards totalitarianism.” 
Hayek understood that “ruthlessness is required for the task” and in such a system, “it is easier for people to agree on a negative program – on the hatred of an enemy, on the envy of those better off – than on any positive task.” 
Under socialism “a person is respected only as a member of a group” and works for common ends. Further, “once you admit that the individual is merely a means to serve the ends of the higher entity called society or the nation, most of those features of totalitarian regimes which horrify us follow of necessity.” For further study, see the chapter on “The Totalitarians in Our Midst.” 
Under socialism, “public criticism or even expressions of doubt must be suppressed because they tend to weaken public support” and “the probable effect on the people’s loyalty to the system becomes the only criterion for deciding whether a particular piece of information is to be published or suppressed.” Under socialism, “everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people.” As Hayek notes, “the minority who will retain an inclination to criticize must also be silenced,” and it gets worse.
The machinery of monopoly becomes “identified with machinery of the state. The state becomes more identified with the interests of those who run things than with the interests of the people in general.” Individual freedom “cannot be reconciled with the supremacy of one single purpose to which the whole society must be entirely and permanently subordinated.” So if the state has its way, you can’t have yours. 
Therefore, Hayek explains, “democratic socialism, the great utopia of the last few generations, is not only unachievable, but to strive for it produces something so utterly different that few of those who now wish for it would be prepared to accept the consequences.” For details, see Cuba, Venezuela and recall the enforced poverty of the Eastern Bloc. 
For Ocasio-Cortez and her media-celebrity posse, democratic socialism is essentially free hors d’oeuvres in every bar. For socialism, as it actually exists, this squad could use a briefing from Hayek, winner of the Nobel Prize for economics in 1974 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991. The Road to Serfdom drew praise from John Maynard Keynes, and the author offers timely advice for partisans of a free society. 
“If the democracies themselves abandon the supreme ideal of the freedom and happiness of individual,” they in effect admit “that their civilization is not worth preserving.” Therefore, says Hayek, “we must retain the belief in the traditional values for which we have stood in the past and must have the moral courage stoutly to defend the ideals which our enemies attack.”

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of the new crime book, Lethal Injections: Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer, Canada’s Serial Killer Nurse, and the recently updated Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/270978/hayek-vs-ocasio-cortez-lloyd-billingsley

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New Heights of Turkish Hypocrisy - Uzay Bulut

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by Uzay Bulut

Erdogan needs to be reminded that it is not Israel -- a vibrant and flourishing democracy with equal rights for all its citizens -- whose behavior is reminiscent of dark chapters in history. It is Turkey.

  • According to a 2015 news report, there were only 1,244 Greeks left in Istanbul at that time. In addition, even those tiny minorities are reportedly leaving Turkey in increasing numbers, to escape the instability and aggression they suffer in the country.
  • Many Muslim Turks who are on the receiving end of Erdogan's human-rights abuses, seem shocked by the current undemocratic events in Turkey. They should not be; such abuses have been going on in the country for decades. The Turks are likely to continue living under the oppression that they themselves have created.
  • Erdogan needs to be reminded that it is not Israel -- a vibrant and flourishing democracy with equal rights for all its citizens -- whose behavior is reminiscent of dark chapters in history. It is Turkey.
During a parliamentary meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on July 24, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel the "most Zionist, fascist, and racist state in the world." Referring to the recent passage by Israel's Knesset of the "Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People," Erdogan attacked the Israeli government's view as "no different from Hitler's obsession with the Aryan race."
In fact, there is nothing "fascist" or "racist" in Israel's new law. On the contrary, as David Hazony noted in the Forward:
"This law has been in the works at least since the early 2000s, a time when two major forces arose that threatened the Zionist project as it was historically understood. The first was the rise of 'post-Zionism,' a small but passionate intellectual-political movement that explicitly repudiated the idea of a 'Jewish state' and sought to transform the country into a "state of all its citizens" by stripping it of any connection to Jewish history, peoplehood, or symbolism.
"The second, more important factor was the 'constitutional revolution' led by then-Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, which recognized earlier Basic Laws as having constitutional status, and which culminated in the passing of two new Basic Laws (Basic Law Human Dignity and Liberty, and Basic Law: Freedom of Employment) that established the core rights of Israeli citizens, Jewish or not.
"These basic laws were not at all a bad thing. The fact is, Israel is both a Jewish state and a liberal democracy, and basic freedoms must be protected for all."
Erdogan of all people should not be falsely accusing others of practices in which he has been engaging for years -- and which he has increased since the failed coup to oust him from power in July 2016. In fact, a mere few weeks ago, the Turkish government fired more than 18,000 civil servants over alleged ties to organizations that "act against national security."
According to Human Rights Watch's World Report 2018:
"...Under the state of emergency in place since July 2016 [the failed coup], ...[m]any decrees adopted contained measures that undermine human rights safeguards and conflict with Turkey's international human rights obligations.
"Public officials continued to be dismissed or suspended by decree without due process...Hundreds of media outlets, associations, foundations, private hospitals, and educational establishments that the government shut down by decree remained closed in 2017, their assets confiscated without compensation...
"People continued to be arrested and remanded to pretrial custody on terrorism charges...Those prosecuted include journalists, civil servants, teachers and politicians as well as police officers and military personnel...Prosecutions...often lacked compelling evidence of criminal activity...
"Turkey is the world leader in jailing journalists and media workers as they face criminal investigations and trials... Most newspapers and television channels lack independence and promote the government's political line...
"Authorities frequently imposed arbitrary bans on public assemblies and violently dispersed peaceful demonstrations...
"...over 500 lawyers have been jailed pending trial, and over 1,000 prosecuted...
"For a third year, the Istanbul governor's office banned the annual Istanbul Gay and Trans Pride marches..."
Turkey's treatment of minorities has been equally appalling. The recent launch of an "urban transformation" project in Istanbul illustrates one way in which the government actively dismisses both its Jewish and Christian histories.

According to the Turkish media, the Istanbul Municipality has declared the historic Kuzguncuk neighborhood and 16 others as "urban transformation" sites." Judging by previous such projects, which ended up reducing green areas and replacing historical homes with modern high-rise buildings, the same fate awaits Kuzguncuk. This quaint neighborhood was "once a mixed community of Greeks, Jews, and Armenians" with a minority of Muslims, according to the scholar Amy Mills, in her 2010 book, Streets of Memory: Landscape, Tolerance, and National Identity in Istanbul. As Mills writes: "In Kuzguncuk in 1914, there were 1,600 Armenians, 400 Jews, 70 Muslims, 250 Greeks, and 4 foreigners."

This all shifted dramatically starting in 1915, during to the 10-year genocide against Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. Although approximately 3,000,000 Christians were slaughtered, the Turkish government continues to this day to deny that the genocide took place.

According to a resident historian of Kuzguncuk, Nedret Ebcim, in 1933, the neighborhood's population was still 90 percent non-Muslim.

Mills writes:
"The majority [was] Jews, followed by Greeks, Turks, and Armenians... Kuzguncuk's residents who remember old times "describe a culture in which it was not uncommon for every resident to speak a little Ladino [Judeo-Spanish], Greek, Armenian or French.
"But today, Jewish and Christian families resident in Kuzguncuk number merely a handful. And most of them are married to Muslims... The churches and synagogues are maintained largely by people who live in other neighborhoods and return to Kuzguncuk to attend weekend services and maintain the buildings... The Armenian church has a very small congregation that comes from other areas of Istanbul, as there are almost no remaining Kuzguncuklu Armenians."
The same applies to the rest of Turkey, in which non-Muslim citizens remained targets of persecution even after the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923. One form this took was the use of "ancestry codes" to register minorities in the Turkish Population Directorate – with the number 1 indicating Greeks, the number 2 indicating Armenians and the number 3 indicating Jews.

According to Mills:
"Since the beginning of the republic, Turkey's leaders wanted to increase the participation of Muslims in the economy and reduce minority influence in the economy, especially in Istanbul... During the teens and early 1920s, boycotts against non-Muslim businesses and the expulsion of minorities from hundreds of jobs where they had dominated resulted in thousands of non-Muslims leaving Istanbul. By 1929, 70,000 non-Muslim people had left Turkey.
"In 1922, the National Turkish Trade Association was founded to determine which businesses were Turkish. The association discovered that 97% of the import-export trade in Istanbul, and all shops, stores, restaurants, and entertainment centers in Beyoğlu, were owned by minorities. This survey was a precursor to actions taken with the aim of Turkifying the city's economy; in 1923, non-Muslims were expelled from trading jobs and insurance companies. In 1924 minorities were barred from service jobs, bars, restaurants, coffeehouses, as well as trades such as boat captain, fisherman, and streetcar driver, jobs previously dominated by non-Muslims. In 1934 a law identified further minority-dominated professions to be prohibited to foreigners.
"Turkification policies in the 1920s and 1930s in Istanbul targeted not only property and economic rights, but also non-Turkish language and culture."
In 1928, for example, a campaign to force minorities to speak Turkish was begun by a student association in Istanbul. The public use of languages other than Turkish was prohibited, and those who did not comply were threatened, beaten, arrested or fined.

In 1941, Armenian, Assyrian, Greek and Jewish males in Turkey were forced into labor camps -- under a policy referred to as the "conscription of the twenty classes" – were forced to work under terrible conditions to construct roads and airports. Some of them lost their lives to disease and other factors.

In 1942, the Turkish government enacted the Wealth Tax Law, as a way of removing Armenians, Greeks and Jews from Turkey's economy. Those who could not pay the tax were sent to labor camps or deported, or their properties were seized by the government. According to historian Corry Guttstadt:
"Many families were forced to sell their shops and businesses, their houses, even their carpets, furniture, and other household articles, to raise the tax money. Some people committed suicide in despair."
On September 6-7, 1955, the Christian Greeks of Istanbul became the target of a government-led pogrom, in which Armenians and Jews were also victimized.
Turks attacked everything belonging to Greeks -- homes, businesses, churches, cemeteries and schools, among others. A British journalist reported that the Greek neighborhoods of Istanbul "looked like the bombed parts of London during the Second World War." The savagery of the mobs created such an atmosphere of fear that, following the pogrom, tens of thousands of Greeks left Turkey.



In this photo from September 1955, a mob of Turks in Istanbul is destroying stores owned by Greek Christians. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)


In 1964, Greeks in Istanbul -- including the disabled, the elderly and the infirm -- became victims of a mass expulsion at the hands of the Turkish government. The deportees were given 12 hours to leave Turkey, and were only permitted to take 20 kilograms [44 lbs.] of possessions and the equivalent of $20 with them, leaving behind the rest of their property, much of which was then confiscated by the Turkish state and private citizens. In the aftermath of the deportation, many members of Greek Orthodox communities outside Istanbul also left the country, bringing the total to 45,000, according to researcher Salih Erturan.

According to a 1992 report by Helsinki Watch, even in 1991, the tiny Greek minority in Istanbul lacked freedom of expression, being continually censored by Turkish authorities. The two remaining Greek-language newspapers in the city were forced to submit five copies every day to the office of the governor, and were not allowed to criticize the Turkish government.

In 2008, an Armenian journalist wrote that many Armenians in Turkey used two different business cards -- one for their fellow Armenians and another, using a Turkish name, for Turks who might be hostile to Armenians. "Armenianness is visible only within the [Armenian] community; it is not visible in public sphere," she wrote. "Particularly 20 or 30 years ago, this 'invisible' Armenian phenomenon was even more widespread." Apparently, it was a safety precaution for many Armenians not to reveal their true identity in public.
The current population of the Armenian community in Turkey is about 60,000. There are fewer than 15,000 Jews and as few Assyrian Christians. According to a 2015 news report, there were only 1,244 Greeks left in Istanbul at that time. In addition, even those tiny minorities are reportedly leaving Turkey in increasing numbers, to escape the instability and aggression they suffer in the country.

Meanwhile, Turkey is ruled today by a jihad-supporting government that tries to crush whatever crumbs of freedom remain in the country. Many Muslim Turks who are on the receiving end of Erdogan's human-rights abuses seem shocked by the current undemocratic events in Turkey. They should not be; such abuses have been going on in the country for decades. The Turks are likely to continue living under the oppression that they themselves have created.

Erdogan's verbally violent reaction to Israel's nation-state law, then, is not only hypocritical, but utterly unwarranted. There is nothing in the legislation that is offensive to minorities, or as Jonathan Tobin writes in National Review:
"...there is nothing offensive unless you happen to think the Jews deserve to be denied basic rights of settlement, sovereignty, and self-defense in their own country — rights that no one would think of denying to anyone else. That is why such anti-Zionist bias is indistinguishable from anti-Semitism."
...
"... a closer look reveals nothing that would in any other context be controversial. Stating that Israel's national language is Hebrew while recognizing Arabic's special status is no more discriminatory than the priority given to Spanish throughout Spain.
Erdogan needs to be reminded that it is not Israel -- a vibrant and flourishing democracywith equal rights for all its citizens -- whose behavior is reminiscent of dark chapters in history. It is Turkey.
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Uzay Bulut a journalist from Turkey, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute. She is currently based in Washington D.C.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12817/turkish-hypocrisy

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