Friday, February 12, 2016

Hillary Fights to Keep Wall Street Speeches Secret - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

The Occupy Wall Street populist is terrified of being outed as a 1-percenter Wall Street elitist.

The campaign of class-warrior Hillary Clinton is pushing the panic button over the prospective release of secret transcripts of high-dollar speeches she made to Goldman Sachs that threaten to portray her as a two-faced un-progressive Wall Street elitist who is out of touch with the common people.

The Democrats' leading avatar of avarice depicts herself as the candidate of Occupy Wall Street, a fearless champion of the downtrodden, but the transcripts of three speeches for which Goldman paid her an astonishing $675,000 threaten to torpedo the false, focus group-friendly image she has cultivated.

In the speeches to her fellow one-percenters, she reportedly comes across as unduly cozy with the financial titans that her angry left-wing base blames for most of America's (and the world's) problems today. In the current political environment publication of the transcripts could be as damaging to her run as Republican Mitt Romney's ruinous "47 percent" speech was to his 2012 campaign.

One speech attendee reportedly said Clinton "sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director" than a politician. This phrase could easily end up in her Democratic opponent's TV ads as the race shifts to the March 1 vote in critical South Carolina.

The matter now takes on an even greater urgency for Clinton after Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, crushed her in the New Hampshire primary elections Tuesday. At press time Sanders had a reported 60 percent of the Democratic vote, compared to just 38 percent for Clinton. Clinton's humiliation in New Hampshire comes after party insiders' dirty tricks enabled her to just barely limp away from the Iowa caucuses a week ago with a victory over Sanders.

Clinton's duplicitousness could end up being her undoing.

Politico reported in 2013 that Wall Street plutocrats felt reassured by a speech Hillary had delivered away from TV cameras. Sources in attendance paraphrased her saying that "the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish."

The article continued:

"Striking a soothing note on the global financial crisis, she told the audience, in effect: We all got into this mess together, and we’re all going to have to work together to get out of it. What the bankers heard her to [sic] say was just what they would hope for from a prospective presidential candidate: Beating up the finance industry isn’t going to improve the economy—it needs to stop. And indeed Goldman’s Tim O’Neill, who heads the bank’s asset management business, introduced Clinton by saying how courageous she was for speaking at the bank."

During another 2013 speech at a Goldman retreat in Arizona for which she pocketed $225,000, Mrs. Clinton was bursting with praise for the investment bank's capital-generating and job-creation efforts. She lauded Goldman for its workplace diversity and conspicuously left out any criticism of the company or of the financial sector for any role it may have played in the 2008 stock market collapse.

“It was pretty glowing about us,” said one person who heard the speech. “It’s so far from what she sounds like as a candidate now. It was like a rah-rah speech. She sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director.”

Releasing the transcript "would bury her against Sanders,” the individual said. “It really makes her look like an ally of the firm.”

In a separate speech the same year to Goldman and some of its major clients Clinton refused to blame the banks alone for causing the market meltdown from which the U.S. economy has yet to fully recover.

Sounding like a Republican or a libertarian economist, Hillary said the landmark Dodd-Frank financial reform law of 2010 may have contributed to the financial crisis.

“It was mostly basic stuff, small talk, chit-chat,” said one witness. “But in this environment, it could be made to look really bad.”

Clinton mouthpiece Brian Fallon huffed that the anonymous recollections were "pure trolling," but as Bernie Sanders keeps pounding away at the Clinton campaign, attacking her from the left as a tool of special interests, the pressure on Clinton to release the transcripts grows.

“The big-picture question voters care about is: Who does a politician surround themselves with and will they hold accountable people they have a close relationship with?” Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee was quoted as saying.

“Hillary Clinton would reassure voters if she said she would appoint a Treasury secretary not from Wall Street, an attorney general and SEC chair with a proven record of holding Wall Street accountable, and generally work with [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren [D-Mass.] to stop the revolving door between industry and government.”

The former secretary of state has pushed back against allegations of corporate water-carrying in recent days.

And on Monday she directed her fire against her primary opponent, offering an unconvincing argument.

“Sen. Sanders took about $200,000 from Wall Street firms. Not directly, but through the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee,” Clinton said. “There was nothing wrong with that. It hasn't changed his view! Well, it didn't change my view or my vote either!”

Townhall's Guy Benson opines that releasing the speech transcripts could be fatal for Clinton. It "would further undermine her credibility among the Democratic base's rabidly anti-Wall Street base, buttress one of Bernie Sanders' central lines of attack, and again expose her as self-serving and genetically incapable of ruthful candor."

That Hillary Clinton still has any credibility with anyone anywhere at this point in her career is hard for rational people to accept.

She’s an awful candidate and "a congenital liar," as New York Times columnist William Safire famously dubbed her.

And her fevered attempts to depict her family as ordinary people facing the same problems everyone faces have fallen flat.

 This is the person who in 2014 tried to portray her family as financially struggling when her husband's presidency ended in 2001.

"You have no reason to remember, but we came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt," Clinton told ABC’s Diane Sawyer with a straight face. "We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea's education." [italics added]

But as Politico reports, the Clintons "are far from the 'dead broke' couple, as she has described, who left the White House saddled with debt after Bill Clinton's presidency. In fact, they now rank comfortably among the top one-tenth of the top 1 percent of earners."

Disclosure forms indicated that at best the Clintons had a net worth of negative $500,000. But those documents did not include the five-bedroom home in Chappaqua, N.Y., they purchased in 1999 for $1.7 million. Also not included was the seven-bedroom house across the street from the Royal Danish Embassy in Washington, D.C., that they bought in late 2000 for $2.85 million.

By 2001 Hillary had received $2.84 million in royalties from Simon and Schuster and by 2004 she was the 10th-wealthiest member of the U.S. Senate, with a net worth somewhere between $10 million and $50 million.

As of last fall, Clinton herself was worth about $32 million. One source estimates that Clinton has a net worth of "about 50 times that of Bernie Sanders[.]"

Hillary earns more for a 20-minute speech than a fast food employee makes in a year. The Clintons pay more than $100,000 a year in local property taxes on two fancy homes. Then there is the international clearinghouse for future presidential favors known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. How the money moves around isn't entirely clear but surely at least some of the anticipatory bribes paid to the charity by foreign governments and huge multinationals find their way to the Clintons' bank accounts.
Although Hillary Clinton, the supposedly inevitable nominee who managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2008, is (again) in trouble during primary season, it is still too early to write her political obituary.

Clinton has waited eight years for her postponed coronation and this is probably the last opportunity she will ever have to make her mark on history.

Hillary still has more than a few tricks up the sleeve of her pantsuit.

Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative reporter and the author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


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David Horowitz Freedom Center Launches Campaign to Combat Jew Hatred at American Colleges and Universities - David Horowitz Freedom Center

by David Horowitz Freedom Center

New initiative will refute genocidal lies about Israel which fuel anti-Semitism on campus.

Citing a large and disturbing rise in anti-Semitic incidents on American college campuses, the David Horowitz Freedom Center today announced that it is launching a new campaign to counter Jew Hatred at the nation’s colleges and universities.

On college campuses across America, hatred and bigotry directed at Jews is at an all time high. From swastikas appearing on Jewish fraternity houses to mock “apartheid walls” which disseminate mendacious Hamas propaganda, from anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions resolutions to angry and sometimes violent attempts to shut down pro-Israel speakers, America’s universities have become a new fount of Jew hatred which then leeches into our broader culture. Despite their rush to accommodate other campus minorities, American universities have done little or nothing to protect the Jewish students under their charge.

This Jew hatred is fomented by campus organizations—most notably Students for Justice in Palestine— that support the terrorist regimes in Gaza and the West bank who spread lies about the Jewish state. Chief among these lies is the claim that the Jews “stole” Arab land to create the state of Israel.

The lie that Jews stole Arab land is regarded as a universal truth by many students on campuses across the nation, even though it is a transparent falsehood. Like Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, Israel was created on land that belonged to the Turks (who are not Arabs) for 400 years, which they lost as a result of their defeat in World War I. To take just one example of where this lie can lead a person, UCLA student Lisa Marie Mendez, who is also an employee at the UCLA Medical Center, recently wrote on social media:
“F**king Jews. GTFOH with all your Zionist bullshit.Crazy ass f**king troglodyte albino monsters of cultural destruction.F**king Jews. GTFOH with your whiny bullshit. Give the Palestinians back their land, go back to Poland or whatever freezer-state you’re from, and realize that faith does not constitute race.”

This view of Jews as the thieves of Palestinian land is far from rare, and translates into a growing hostility towards Jews on American campuses. A recent study from the Brandeis Center for Human Rights found that more than half of nearly 1,200 Jewish students surveyed at 55 campuses nationwide reported having experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism on campus during the last year.

Stop the Jew Hatred on Campus will confront the agents of this anti-Semitism by refuting the four primary and genocidal lies about the Jewish state spread by Palestinian terrorists and their campus allies which underpin the modern architecture of Jew hatred. These lies include the claims that Israel occupies Palestinian land and that Israel is an apartheid state. These lies and rebuttals to them may be found on the campaign website,

Students at campuses across the nation will participate in the campaign by holding teach-ins to raise student awareness about Jew hatred and anti-Semitism, and to combat the genocidal Hamas propaganda which has become a familiar presence on American campuses.

These teach-ins will feature speakers including David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, Richard Cravatts and others who can expose the truth about Jew hatred on campus and the steps we must take to thwart it. Participating students may also distribute literature including the Freedom Center pamphlets Big Lies: Demolishing the Myths of the Propaganda War Against Israel and Why Israel is the Victim, organize campus film screenings, participate in postering campaigns, and hold silent vigils outside the campus offices of Students for Justice in Palestine (one of the chief instigators of campus Jew hatred) to raise awareness of these pressing concerns. These events will be concentrated during the week of March 7-11, but may also occur throughout the spring semester.

“In order to win the campus war against Israel and the Jews, our first task must be to subvert the malicious and genocidal lies that form the basis of the pro-Hamas and anti-Israel propaganda on American campuses,” stated Freedom Center founder and chairman David Horowitz. “Campus Jew-haters have been hiding their true intentions behind a false front of humanitarianism by claiming that Israel is an ‘apartheid’ state that oppresses the Palestinians.  Our campaign will reveal these lies as Hamas propaganda and expose the baseless Jew hatred, absent all noble intentions, which lies at the heart of anti-Israel activism on campus.”

The David Horowitz Freedom Center, founded in 1989, is a not-for-profit organization located in Los Angeles, California. The Center is a School of Political Warfare whose mission is to identify the enemies of free societies like America and Israel, and devise ways to defeat them. To carry out this mission, the Center publishes, and These sites are visited by more than 3 million readers per month. The Center also operates a website,, which is an encyclopedia of the political left that receives more than 6 million visits per year. The Center operates a number of other programs including, the Israel Security Project run by Caroline Glick, the Individual Rights Foundation and the campaign, The Center is currently publishing a nine-volume series by David Horowitz called The Black Book of the American Left.

Elizabeth Ruiz
818-849-3470, ext. 202

David Horowitz Freedom Center


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Know Your History: Arab Boycott, 1945 - Aussie Dave

by Aussie Dave

Hat tip: Jean-Charles Bensoussan

Introducing a new series where I bring to you news from the newspaper archives to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.

With BDS all the rage among the Israel haters these days, did you know that Arab were boycotting Jewish goods before the establishment of the modern state of Israel?

Except they were not called “Jewish” goods.

From the New York Times, December 4th, 1945.

NY Times archives Arab boycott 1945

Yes, there were Arabs living in Israel at the time, but they were not a distinct nation called “Palestinian.” They were simply referred to as “Arab groups in Palestine” (I will get around to the birth of “Palestinian nationalism” in the early 20th century in other posts).

Aussie Dave


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Watch: Arab MK Ghattas defends terrorism against Israelis - Ari Yashar

by Ari Yashar

MK justifies murders committed 'in passion of struggle against occupation,' Liberman demands 'fifth column' be banned.

Basel Ghattas
Basel Ghattas
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90
Arab MK Basel Ghattas, one of the three MKs from the Joint List party's Balad faction who raised a storm last week by meeting with the families of ten Jerusalem terrorists, has come out with a new statement justifying the terrorist murderers.

Ghattas last Friday termed the terrorists as "martyrs," but speaking on Wednesday to the Arabic-language Israeli TV station Hala TV as translated by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) Thursday, the radical MK took his comments a step further.

According to the member of Israel's Knesset, the murder of Israelis by Arab terrorists is not "criminal," but rather is an act conducted "in the passion of the struggle against the abusive occupation."

"The day that Arab Knesset members abstain from visiting the families of the martyrs who lost their dear children in the passion of the struggle against the abusive occupation - they didn't go to kill or try to kill on a criminal background - on the day we abstain from visiting and meeting the families of martyrs, we will need to clear our places (in the Knesset), leave the keys and go home."

"Ban the terrorists"

Yisrael Beytenu chairperson MK Avigdor Liberman responded to Ghattas's statement Thursday, saying, "the only solution to deal with statements like these of MK Ghattas and his friends is a bill that Yisrael Beytenu submitted. The bill by MK Oded Forer which passed yesterday in an initial reading establishes that a person who incites to terror cannot serve as an MK."

Liberman said the bill "is exactly the solution that will put an end to the insufferable phenomenon of statements like these from the fifth column sitting in the Israeli Knesset."

"I also hope that the Prime Minister will regain composure, stop playing small politics and will not again shoot down the bill that I submitted which rules that the High Court cannot overrule the decisions of the Elections Committee, and thereby make it possible to ban the complete Balad party of terrorists from taking part in the elections and destroying Israeli democracy."

Ghattas's comments legitimizing the murder of his fellow Israeli citizens comes after he was suspended from the Knesset for four months this week, and likewise MK Hanin Zoabi was given four months and MK Jamal Zahalka two months.

However, Liberman on Monday called the suspensions a joke, noting the three will still be able to participate in Knesset votes. He said the Knesset Ethics Committee should have handed them the maximum penalty, a suspension from the Knesset sessions for six months and a denial of wages. Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh had estimated the Balad faction faced being banned.

In the meeting, the three MKs held a minute of silence and said a prayer in honor of the terrorists and comforted their families, who they called "bereaved families."

They promised to secure the return of the bodies of the terrorists - their efforts apparently worked despite widespread outrage over the meeting, as it was reported Monday an agreement has been reached to return the bodies.

Among the families present at the meeting was that of Baha Alian, who together with another accomplice last October conducted a shooting attack on a bus, murdering 78-year-old Haim Habib, 51-year-old Alon Guvberg and 76-year-old Richard Lakin.

Ari Yashar


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Israel Police names first Muslim deputy commissioner - Itzik Saban

by Itzik Saban

Deputy Commissioner Jamal Hakroush to head new division designed to fight crime in Israel's Arab sector and boost cooperation between Arabs and Jews • New division is the brainchild of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and police chief Roni Alsheikh.

Deputy Commissioner Jamal Hakrush

Itzik Saban


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Israel's Arabs: A Tale of Betrayal - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

  • During the past two decades, some of the Israeli Arab community's elected representatives and leaders have worked harder for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip than for their own Israeli constituents.
  • These parliamentarians ran in elections on the promise of working to improve the living conditions of Israeli Arabs and achieving full equality in all fields. However, they devote precious time and energy on Palestinians who are not citizens of Israel. They vie for the distinction of being the most vitriolic provocateur against their country.
  • Such provocations make it more difficult for Arab university graduates to find jobs in both the Israeli private and public sectors.
  • The big losers are the Arab citizens of Israel, who have once again been reminded that their elected representatives care far more about non-Israeli Palestinians than they care about them.
The uproar surrounding a recent meeting held by three Israeli Arab Members of Knesset (parliament) with families of Palestinians who carried out attacks against Israelis is not only about the betrayal of their country, Israel. It is also about the betrayal of their own constituents: the 1.5 million Arab citizens of Israel.

Knesset members Haneen Zoabi, Basel Ghattas and Jamal Zahalka managed to accomplish several things at once with this controversial meeting. They certainly seem to have provoked the ire of many Jewish Israelis. Perhaps they violated the oath they made when they were sworn into parliament: "I pledge to bear allegiance to the State of Israel and faithfully to discharge my mandate in the Knesset."

One thing, however, they have accomplished without question is acting against the interests of Israeli Arabs.

Zoabi, Ghattas and Zahalka met with Palestinian families who are not Israeli citizens and do not vote for the Knesset. As such, none of these families voted for the three Knesset members or the Arab List party to which they belong. Of course, as part of a democratic government, any member of the Knesset is free to meet with any Palestinian from the West Bank, Gaza Strip or Jerusalem.

It is worth noting that not all Arab Knesset members are involved in fiery rhetoric and provocative actions against Israel. However, there is good reason to believe that some Arab Knesset members deliberately engage in actions and rhetoric with the sole purpose of enraging not only the Israeli establishment, but also the Jewish public.

This meeting was the latest in a series of actions by Arab Knesset members that have severely damaged relations between Jews and Arabs inside Israel. Such actions have one clear result: colossal injury to Arab citizens' efforts for full equality.

During the past two decades, some of the Arab community's representatives and leaders have worked harder for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip than for their own Israeli constituents.

These parliamentarians ran in elections on the promise of working to improve the living conditions of Israeli Arab voters and achieving full equality in all fields. However, they devote precious time and energy on Palestinians who are not citizens of Israel. Their spare moments are spent vying for the distinction of being the most vitriolic provocateur against their country.

Instead of acting against the interests of the Palestinians -- by pretending they were sitting in a Palestinian parliament and not the Knesset -- there are alternative scenarios. These Arab Knesset members could be serving as a bridge between Israel and Palestinians living under the jurisdiction of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Decisions such as the one to join a flotilla "aid" ship to the Gaza Strip -- which was more a poke in Israel's eye than any attempt to help Palestinians -- turn the Jewish public against the Israeli Arab public, who are then viewed as a "fifth column" and an "enemy from within."

Such provocations make it more difficult for Arab university graduates to find jobs in both the Israeli private and public sectors. The deeds and rhetoric of these Knesset members have ensured a continuing gap between Arabs and Jews inside Israel.

Thanks to some Arab Knesset members, many Jews no longer see a difference between an Arab citizen who is loyal to Israel and a radical Palestinian from the Gaza Strip or West Bank who seeks to destroy Israel.

Of course, Arab Knesset members have the right to criticize the policies and actions of the Israeli government. But such criticism ought to be leveled from the Knesset podium and not from Ramallah, Gaza or on board a ship carrying a load of Israel-haters and activists.

Just to be clear: this is not a call for banning Arab Knesset members from meeting with their Palestinian brethren from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. Rather, this is a call for Knesset members to consider carefully their aims and the tone in which they are carried out.

The recent meeting in question began with a moment of silence for specific dead -- that is, the Palestinian attackers who murdered and wounded several people. Jewish Israelis are likely to have particular feelings about this choice of opening.

Israeli Arab Members of Knesset Jamal Zahalka, Haneen Zoabi and Basel Ghattas (at the head of the table, facing the camera) recently met with families of terrorists who attacked and murdered Israelis. The meeting opened with a moment of silence for the dead attackers. (Image source: Palestinian Media Watch)

Things could have been different. Arab Knesset members could have used the meeting to issue a call for an end to the current wave of stabbing, vehicular and shooting attacks, which began in October 2015. They could have demanded that Palestinian leaders, factions and media outlets cease brainwashing young men and women, and cease urging them to murder Jews -- any Jews.

The Palestinian families who met with the three Arab Knesset members have nothing to lose. Nor do the other Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. For them, these Knesset members are probably doing a better job representing them than the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.

The big losers are the Arab citizens of Israel, who have once again been reminded that their elected representatives care far more about non-Israeli Palestinians than they care about them.

Thus far, only a handful of Arab Israeli voices have had the courage to criticize their representatives in the Knesset. Yet it is precisely these citizens who need to punish their failed Knesset members, not the Israeli government or any parliamentary committee or court. The power is certainly in their hands.

If the Israeli Arab majority continues to waffle, allowing its leaders free reign, Arab Knesset members will lead their people only to nothing.
  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.


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Turkey's Haunted Border with Syria - Burak Bekdil

by Burak Bekdil

  • Erdogan and his prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, are now paying the price for their miscalculated Islamist aspirations to install a Muslim Brotherhood type of Sunni regime in Syria in place of the non-Sunni Assad regime. Assad, with Russia's help, has become somewhat untouchable, and has never been so safe and secure since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011. By contrast, the Turks now face a multitude of threats on both sides of an apocalyptic border.
  • "With the Middle East ravaged by religious radicalism and sectarianism, the European Union and the United States can't afford the Turkish government's brutal military efforts against the Kurds or its undemocratic war on academics and journalists. Only a secular, democratic Turkey that can provide a regional bulwark against radical groups will bring stability to both the Middle East and Europe. As Mr. Erdogan seeks to eliminate all opposition and create a single-party regime, the European Union and the United States must cease their policy of appeasement and ineffectual disapproval and frankly inform him that this is a dead end." — Behlul Ozkan, assistant professor at Istanbul's Marmara University, writing in the New York Times.

Six years ago, Turkey's official narrative over its leaders' Kodak-moment exchanges of pleasantries with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Damascus promised the creation of a Muslim bloc resembling the European Union. Border controls would disappear, trade would flourish, armies would carry out joint exercises, and Turks and Syrians on both sides of the border would live happily ever after. Instead, six years later, blood is flowing on both sides of the 900 kilometer border.

Inside Turkey, clashes between security forces and members of the youth wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have been taking place for weeks. Many towns and neighborhoods have turned into ghost-towns, as strict curfews are now in place. As a result, tens of thousands of Kurds have been forced to flee their homes, seeking refuge in safer parts of the country. While the Turkish army struggles to diffuse the latest Kurdish urban rebellion, hundreds of Kurdish militants and members of Turkey's security forces have lost their lives.

Worse, the conflict has the potential to trigger further violence in Turkey's non-eastern regions, where there is a vast Kurdish population spread across large cities.

Already in Istanbul, violence erupted on February 2, 2016, when unidentified gunmen opened fire on the campus of an Islamic association; they killed one man and wounded three others. In a second incident in a suburb of Istanbul, two people were killed and seven wounded after armed assailants fired on a tea-house.

Across the border in northern Syria, Turkey's "Kurdish problem" is equally pressing. The PKK's Syrian faction, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), has been successfully fighting on the front-lines alongside the Western alliance that is waging war on the Islamic State (IS), and making itself highly regarded by the alliance, thereby further angering Ankara.

Turkey, which views the PYD as a terrorist organization like the PKK, fears that the Syrian Kurds' fight against IS could, in the near future, earn the PYD international legitimacy.

On February 1, Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the coalition against IS, visited a part of Kurdish-controlled northern Syria. On his visit, McGurk posed in front of cameras with a PYD commander -- all smiles -- while receiving an honorary plaque. The ceremony lent further legitimacy to the PYD. McGurk's actions greatly angered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a statement directed towards Washington, Erdogan asked: "How will we trust [you]? Am I your partner or are the terrorists in Kobane [the Kurdish town in northern Syria]?"

Ironically, Syrian Kurds are not only backed by the U.S., but also by Russia, which became another Turkish nightmare. On November 24, 2015, two Turkish F-16 jets shot down a Russian Su-24 military jet flying along Turkey's border with Syria. Turkey justified its actions against Russia, citing a violation of Turkish airspace. Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to punish Turkey by means "other than" a slew of severe commercial sanctions.

Immediately after the November 24th incident, in a clear signal to Turkey, Moscow began to reinforce its military deployments in Syria and on the eastern Mediterranean. These included installations of S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense batteries, lying in wait for the first Turkish plane to fly over Syrian skies, in order to shoot it down in front of the cameras. Russia's scare tactics worked. The Turks halted their airstrikes against IS strongholds in Syria.

On January 29, 2016, another Russian jet, this time a Su-34, violated Turkish airspace and was not shot down. The Turks, already uneasy over tensions with Russia, did not pull the trigger. Most observers agree that the second violation and Turkey's failure to shoot, despite earlier pledges that "all foreign aircraft violating Turkish airspace would be shot down," was a major humiliation on the part of Ankara.

Left: A Russian Su-24 bomber explodes as it is hit by a missile fired from a Turkish F-16 fighter, on Nov. 24, 2015. Right: A Russian Su-34 fighter jet. On Jan. 29, 2016, a Russian Su-34 violated Turkish airspace and was not shot down, despite earlier pledges that "all foreign aircraft violating Turkish airspace would be shot down."

Much to Turkey's discomfort, the Russians are playing a tough game in Syria. Most recently, the Russian military deployed at least four advanced Sukhoi Su-35S Flanker-E aircraft to Syria; the move -- shortly after the January violation of Turkish airspace by the Su-34 -- further augmented its air superiority and boldly challenging Ankara.

"Starting from last week, super-maneuverable Su-35S fighter jets started performing combat missions at Khmeimim airbase," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told the TASS news agency on February 1. But a more humiliating move by Moscow was to come: Russian forces in Syria bombed "moderate" anti-Assad Islamist groups, as well as Turkmen (ethnic Turks) in northwestern Syria.

Russian airstrikes have reinforced Assad's forces that now encircle Aleppo, a strategic city in the north. More than 70,000 Syrians, mostly Turkmen, fled from their villages to the Turkish border to seek refuge inside Turkey, and potentially add to the country's refugee problem. Turkey is home to more than 2.5 million Syrians who have fled the civil war. It is estimated that at least one million more would flee to Turkey if Aleppo fell to Assad's forces.

Erdogan and his prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, are now paying the price for their miscalculated Islamist aspirations to install a Muslim Brotherhood type of Sunni regime in Syria in place of the non-Sunni Assad regime. Assad, with Russia's help, has become somewhat untouchable and has never been so safe and secure since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011. By contrast, the Turks now face a multitude of threats on both sides of an apocalyptic border.

As Behlul Ozkan, an assistant professor at Istanbul's Marmara University, warned in a recent article in the New York Times:
"With the Middle East ravaged by religious radicalism and sectarianism, the European Union and the United States can't afford the Turkish government's brutal military efforts against the Kurds or its undemocratic war on academics and journalists. Only a secular, democratic Turkey that can provide a regional bulwark against radical groups will bring stability to both the Middle East and Europe. As Mr. Erdogan seeks to eliminate all opposition and create a single-party regime, the European Union and the United States must cease their policy of appeasement and ineffectual disapproval and frankly inform him that this is a dead end."

Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a Turkish columnist for the Hürriyet Daily and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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Shaked rules out adoption of historic Levy Report - Shlomo Piotrokovsky

by Shlomo Piotrokovsky

Minister says report defining Israel's Judea-Samaria presence as legal is 'impossible' now, says region's law enforcement is unbiased.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home party spoke on Thursday at the Dead Sea Directors Conference, where she asserted that it is impossible to adopt the historic 2012 Levy Report at the current juncture in time.

She began by saying, "this coalition is right-wing, and comes to rule according to the agenda of the right, not of the left."

When asked about the management of Israel's Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, which remains under military rule given that it has yet to be annexed since having been liberated in the 1967 Six Day War, Shaked said "we work together with the Defense Minister."

"They lead but we are very dominant. There is cooperation and it's significant and important," she added. Queried regarding law enforcement in the region, she opined, "I don't think that there is harsher enforcement against Jews in Judea and Samaria than there is against Arabs."

The statement comes on the background of the complaints of activists, who have documented systematic illegal Arab building in serious offenses that have yet to be acted on, even though in many cases the structures have demolition orders on them. Meanwhile many Jewish buildings are demolished despite having been bought in full, in many cases in the name of a non-present alleged Arab owner.

Addressing the destruction of Jewish buildings in Judea and Samaria, Shaked said, "some of the crises like Migron and Ulpana occurred because of problems that they built, and some because of responses of the state to the High Court." She said that in her role she works to give quick responses by the state in such cases to increase the chances of legalizing the construction, adding, "we are examining things regarding the chances of saving the nine homes in Ofra and Amona, but the chance isn't high."

Levy Report

Shaked then made a significant policy statement, stating that under the current circumstances it is impossible to adopt the Levy Report through a governmental decision.

The report proved the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is legal according to international law, and many have questioned why the ostensibly right-wing government has yet to adopt it. Voices calling for its adoption have included Likud Minister Ofir Akunis last October, and the Yachad - Ha'am Itanu and Otzma Yehudit joint list which just missed out of the last elections. 

Shaked herself has called to annex the regions classified as Area C by the 1994 Oslo Accords following her party chair Naftali Bennett's plan. She outlined the plan in late 2014 on Channel 2's "Kitzis Show" hosted by Eyal Kitzis, explaining it involves creating a full Arab autonomy in Areas A and B and removing security checkpoints from the vast array of blocs that would have a "border" hundreds or thousands of miles long. She conceded that the plan would create a "Palestinian state" that she thought would later become a "confederation with Jordan."

Despite having been commissioned by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, two consecutive coalition governments headed by him have yet to adopt the Levy Report and thereby fully recognize Israel's legal presence in Judea and Samaria.

"Terrorists can't be expelled abroad"

In the conference on Thursday, Shaked went on to speak about policies that can be taken to fight the current wave of Arab terrorism, including the expulsion of the families of terrorists.

"The state of Israel is working according to international law, and it is possible to expel terrorists. (Former Prime Minister Yitzhak) Rabin did it," she said. "It isn't possible to expel the families of terrorists who were not involved."

Noting on the 1,027 terrorists released in the 2011 Shalit deal, she said that Israel was able to recapture recidivist terrorists in Judea and Samaria following the deal, but not in Gaza, and therefore said, "expelling to Gaza is not a solution, better to Judea-Samaria, in that way we have control."

"Expulsion to outside of Israel will fall in the High Court," she said, indicating that the government would not be able to expel terrorists abroad due to the interference of the court.

Shaked also said she was working to reduce the responsibilities of her Justice Ministry, saying, "we are weak on many things. We have to reduce our control and reduce the dependency on the Justice Ministry."

The minister then addressed the coalition dispute over the responsibilities of Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) over the IDF Civil Administration, which has authority in Judea and Samaria, and said that the decision not to grant Ben-Dahan control was a breach of a coalition promise.

While noting that her party has raised the matter with Netanyahu, she said, "the relations in the coalition are like the relations in a family, and you have to think about what you want to make an uproar over."

"I hope that Jewish Home will rise in the coming elections. We took an electoral blow (in the last elections). The roles in the government are significant and the spirit (in the party) has changed a little. The coalition is stable and successful and it takes time to move the ship."

Shlomo Piotrokovsky


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Russian PM: Foreign offensive in Syria could spark 'world war' - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

After Saudis say their decision to deploy troops in Syria is 'final,' Medvedev issues a dire warning.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned Thursday that if Arab forces entered the Syrian war, they could spark a "new world war" and urged ceasefire talks instead.

Asked about proposals by some Arab countries to enter the conflict under a US command, Medvedev said, "that would be bad because ground offensives usually lead to wars becoming permanent."

"The Americans and our Arabic partners must think hard about this: do they want a permanent war?" he was quoted as telling the German Handelsblatt business daily.

"Do they really think they would win such a war very quickly? That's impossible, especially in the Arabic world. There everyone is fighting against everyone...everything is far more complicated. It could take years or decades."

"Why is that necessary?" he added, according to a pre-released excerpt from the daily's Friday edition. "All sides must be forced to the negotiating table instead of sparking a new world war."

Medvedev's comments come after Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri, the spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition force in Yemen, announced Thursday that Saudi Arabia's decision to send troops to Syria is "final."

He said that Riyadh is “ready” and will fight with its US-led coalition allies to defeat Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, adding that the decision on whether to utilize the deployment will be up to Washington.

Russia along with Saudi Arabia's fierce Shi'ite rival Iran have been militarily propping up Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria.

Al-Assiri on Thursday also said that the Islamic Military Alliance will come into being in two months' time.

Thirty-five Muslim countries released a joint statement announcing the formation of the alliance against terrorism in December of 2015. The alliance’s joint command center is located in the Saudi capital - Iran is not among the countries taking part.

Medvedev's warnings regarding Syria come the same Thursday that US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter revealed NATO is also considering joining the US-led coalition against ISIS in Syria.

AFP contributed to this report.

Arutz Sheva Staff


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Upgraded Emad ballistic missile poses greater threat to Israel - Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

Iranian defense minister says his country "will unveil the next generation of Emad with improved precision in the next [Iranian] year [starting March 20]" • Iran to also start receiving Russian S-300 air defense system and possibly Sukhoi-30 fighter jets.

An Iranian Emad rocket launched as part of a missile test held in October
Photo credit: Reuters

Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff


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

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Plenty of Palestinian Passes - Noah Beck

by Noah Beck

The heavy cost of ignoring or rewarding Palestinian hostility and hate.

Reprinted from

Activists who genuinely want to see peace between Israelis and Palestinians need to internalize a memorably alliterative warning: plenty of Palestinian passes perpetuate the impasse. The more global opinion ignores or rewards irresponsible behavior by Palestinians, the more likely renewed violence (rather than peace) becomes.

There are enough instances of unfair and counterproductive "Palestinian passes" to fill a tome, but here are some recent examples.


Probably the most important pass currently given to the Palestinians is the global silence over news that Hamas is preparing to launch another war against Israel while distressing ordinary Israelis with their ominous tunneling sounds. Such silence by the world's most important media, international bodies, political leaders, NGOs and academics helps keep Hamas in power, and when Hamas eventually launches new hostilities against Israel, many of the same voices that are now silent will blame Israel for the resulting suffering.

Hamas bellicosity is constant, and constantly ignored. Rather than prepare Palestinians for peace, Hamas glorifies death and promotes viciously hateful ideologies. A Hamas TV broadcast announces, "We have no problem with death. We are not like the children of Israel...we yearn for death and Martyrdom...Every mother...must nurse her children on hatred of the sons of Zion."

Last April, Iran reportedly sent Hamas tens of millions of dollars to rebuild tunnels and restock missile arsenals destroyed in 2014 by Israel during Operation Protective Edge. Instead of global sanctions or censure over its support for terrorism, Iran was rewarded with a nuclear deal that just unlocked $100 billion in frozen assets, some of which are expected to support more terrorism.

Hamas regularly starts pointless wars with Israel that doom Gaza to inevitable devastation. Then, when international sympathy and donations pour in, Hamas diverts the resources to rebuilding its offensive capabilities/tunnels (rather than destroyed homes in Gaza).

Hamas recently accelerated its tunnel-digging program. Indeed, three collapsing tunnels killed eight Hamas diggers in late January and another two last week.

Such reports establish that Hamas is diverting resources from rehabilitating Gaza to attacking Israel, and yet the world still blames Israel for Gazan misery.


Ironically, those who claim to excoriate Israel out of their concern for the welfare of Gaza don't seem to care when Hamas causes Gazan suffering.  At least 160 Gazan children died digging Hamas' tunnels intended to kill Israeli children. Hamas tortures political prisoners next to a girl's school and kills its critics (it executed 25 in 2014). Hamas executed 120 Gazans for breaching a curfew. Hamas kills fellow Palestinians when its rockets fall short. Unsurprisingly, in a poll last September, Gazans actually preferred Israeli rule to Hamas.


Facebook tolerates Palestinian incitement but quickly responds to complaints about Jewish racism. The company is clearly able to control the threats circulating on its site, as shown by Facebook's recent decision to stop gun sale promotions, making the continued incitement against Jews and Israelis on Facebook all the more outrageous. Facebook has much to learn from its tech rival, Google, which is reportedly directing jihadi search queries to sites that deradicalize.

Global opinion seems indifferent to how incitement (including in Palestinian pop culture) contributes to Palestinian violence. Instead, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon blames Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israeli policy (settlements), which is like blaming the November Paris attacks on France's policy against Islamic veils in schools (ironically, Israel actually allows such veils in its schools).

When Israelis kill knife-wielding Palestinians in self-defense, Sweden's foreign minister calls for a probe into Israeli "extra-judicial killing," but she was conspicuously silent after French police preemptively killed a machete-wielding Islamist trying to hack them in a Paris police station.

Except for attacks on Israelis, world leaders and commentators never try to blame the victims of Islamist terror. This hateful, blame-the-victim exception for Jews is not limited to the Jewish state. According to recent polls, many of the French believe that Jews in France are responsible for a rise in anti-Semitism.


Those who claim to want Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation should recognize that pressuring only Israel actually reduces the prospects for peace (as an architect of the Oslo Peace Accords observed about the Obama administration's fruitless efforts). Unfortunately, France is repeating Obama's mistakes with its latest threat to recognize Palestine if Israelis doesn't make enough concessions to those trying to stab them.


Phyllis Chesler shows how the New York Times employs a double standard in reporting on victims of violence. Palestinians are personalized with names, ages, and sympathetic eyewitnesses. That rarely happens with Israeli victims.

More recently, CAMERA highlights how leading U.S. papers downplay or ignore the recent Palestinian stabbing murders of Israeli women.
A CBS News headline last week provided a classic example after gunmen attempted a terrorist attack outside Jerusalem's old city. Three terrorists died after killing a 19-year-old policewoman. The headline? "3 Palestinians killed as daily violence grinds on." Thankfully, the network apologized and changed the headline. But the original version would have been akin to a 9/11 headline saying, "19 Muslims Die in Plane Crashes."


A corollary of the pro-Palestinian pass on negative coverage is passing on positive coverage of Israel. There has been virtually no mention of Israel's disproportionately generous humanitarian aid efforts, or its exceptional contributions to solving global problems relating to health, energy, agriculture, security, (as Israel has done in Africa).

If the world knew just how important Israel is to solving some of the planet's toughest problems, and how Israelis can also be victims of war and terror, global opinion might be less judgmental and more protective of the only democracy in the Middle East, as the tiny Jewish state does its best to survive in the world's toughest neighborhood.

All of these types of passes grow exponentially worse whenever war breaks out, usually after Hamas launches one too many missiles at Israeli civilians. When Israel can no longer accept about 40 percent of its population living in range of deadly rocket attacks and finally does what any normal country would do – take military action against those attacking it – the global media bias moves into overdrive, enabled by "Pallywood," journalistic malpractice, and fear of Hamas retribution. Casualties inevitably mount, especially thanks to Hamas's unethical use of human shields, emotions run high, and media outlets compete to get "breaking news" out first, resulting in less time to check facts and more groupthink pressure to favor the perceived underdog. The media slant then exacerbates the bias from world leaders, international bodies, NGOs, academics, and anti-Israel boycott movements.

Thus, with each war, Israel gets more demonized while Palestinians are increasingly presented as blameless victims. Tragically, these biases actually perpetuate the conflict. Those who genuinely want peace should focus global media attention, lobbying, and resources on Palestinian intransigence and Hamas' obsessive focus on attacking and trying to "destroy Israel."

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, a doomsday thriller about the Iranian nuclear threat and current geopolitical issues in the Middle East.


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