Saturday, March 5, 2016

Clinton, Libya and Israel - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

Will Obama's disastrous foreign policy live on?

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

The messages from Washington ahead of Vice President Joe Biden’s arrival in Israel next week show President Barack Obama’s hostile policies toward Israel will maintained until he leaves office.

In recent weeks, the administration has warned various government ministers that any construction of housing for Jews in Jerusalem will be viewed with hostility by the administration. In contrast, the administration is pressuring Israel to permit construction of homes for Arabs in its capital city and harshly opposes all moves by the government to destroy illegal construction in Arab neighborhoods and in Judea and Samaria.

In other words, it is the Obama administration’s policy to deny Jews our civil and property rights while it demands that Israel not assert its sovereignty over non-Jews.

Whether or not Obama’s anti-Israel policies will survive his tenure in office depends on who succeeds him. If Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is elected to serve as the next president, there is no question that they will survive him.

During her four years as Obama’s secretary of state, Clinton was a full partner in Obama’s hostile policies toward Israel. Moreover, as her internal emails have shown, all of Clinton’s close advisers are hostile to Israel. The good news for Israel is that Clinton’s chances of election are not as great as they seem from the polls.

First of all, there is every reason to believe that in the coming weeks, the Republicans will unite.

Either party leaders will back front-runner Donald Trump, or his main competitors, Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, will join forces and win the nomination.

The latter alternative, which is gaining traction among Republican leaders and political commentators, involves Cruz, who is more popular with the party’s rank in file than Rubio, and has secured primary victories in four states whereas Rubio finished first only in Minnesota, leading a joint ticket.

But even if the GOP remains fractured, Clinton may still be too weak to win the White House in November. This is first and foremost the case because of the FBI investigation of her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

The FBI probe has been going on since last summer. From what we have already learned, as secretary of state, Clinton and her aides sent thousands of classified emails over her private, unsecured server. Hundreds of those emails included top secret information and at least two dozen included information whose classification was above top secret.

Under federal law, each time Clinton and her associates sent classified information over the unsecured server they committed a separate and distinct felony offense.

The day after Clinton’s Super Tuesday primary victories in seven states, The New York Times and The Washington Post reported that Bryan Pagliano, Clinton’s aide who set up her private Internet server, has received immunity in exchange for his testimony to FBI investigators.

Although in order to minimize the sense that she is the subject of a criminal probe, Clinton refers to the FBI’s investigation as a “security review,” the Washington Post reported that the FBI’s investigation is a criminal investigation.

“There was wrongdoing,” one official told the paper.

The nature of the US justice system places Clinton’s fate in Obama’s hands. Acting through his Attorney-General Loretta Lynch, Obama has the power to decide whether to whitewash Clinton’s activities and so make a mockery of the rule of law, or to instruct Lynch to issue indictments.

Although it is hard to imagine Obama torpedoing Clinton’s campaign and so paving the way for a Republican victory in November, this week, the White House signaled that Obama feels no great commitment to Clinton.

On Sunday the Times published a 13,000-word, two-part investigation into Clinton’s role in the 2011 overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Published in the White House’s paper of record, the report makes no attempt to hide the fact that consequences of Gaddafi’s overthrow have been calamitous and that the decision to overthrow the Libyan strongman was Obama’s most visible foreign policy fiasco.

At the time the US overthrew Gaddafi, it was the position of the US defense establishment that he threatened no one outside his country.

Gaddafi had disavowed nuclear weapons and was assisting the US with its campaign against al-Qaida. Moreover, his regime kept Libya’s massive store of advanced weaponry secure.

Since Gaddafi’s overthrow, Libya has ceased to exist as a functioning state. Islamic State has taken over large swathes of the former country, which now comprises its largest base outside of Syria and Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Libyans have been displaced and up to a quarter of a million Libyans have descended on Europe.

Libya’s storehouse of advanced weapons has fallen into the hands of jihadists. Huge weapons caches have been shipped to jihadists from Nigeria to Syria, from Algeria and Tunisia to Gaza and Sinai. Chemical agents as well as nuclear yellowcake and advanced anti-aircraft missiles were all to be found in Gaddafi’s Libya. The trail of many of these weapons and WMD agents has grown cold as ISIS in Iraq have made regular use of chemical weapons.

The Times’ investigation places the full blame for Obama’s decision to overthrow Gaddafi on Clinton. If it hadn’t been for Clinton, the story claims, Obama never would have gotten involved.

Clinton reportedly not only convinced Obama to join Britain and France in bombing regime targets, she directed much of the campaign from the State Department.

By the Times’ telling, it is all her fault.

For most Americans, Clinton’s central role in the Libyan catastrophe is just the icing on the cake of a story of disaster and defeat that reached its peak on September 11, 2012. That day, al-Qaida attacked US installations in Benghazi murdering ambassador Chris Stevens and four other Americans.

With the public’s preexisting sense that Clinton is to blame for Stevens’s assassination, the Times’ article represented a frontal assault against her central campaign narrative.

Clinton’s campaign is based on the proposition that the former first lady, senator and secretary of state is the most experienced presidential candidate and therefore the most qualified. By showing that the one major policy she led as secretary of state was a disaster of epic proportions, the Times’ report pulls the rug out from under the central rationale for Clinton’s presidential bid.

The White House’s decision to make Clinton the fall guy for Libya while she is running to succeed him signals that at a minimum Obama is far from invested in her victory. Even worse for Clinton, since she is dependent on Obama’s goodwill to evade an indictment for her transfer of classified information over her private server, Clinton cannot defend herself.

From an Israeli perspective, the lessons of Libya have little to do with Clinton’s woes. But they do need to be applied to future dealings with the Obama administration and its successor.

The main lesson for Israel from Libya is that in the era of al-Qaida, Islamic State, and Iranian- sponsored terrorist armies, there is no such thing as a stand-alone conflict in the Islamic world.

Obama and Clinton justified their decision to overthrow Gaddafi by falsely insisting that Gaddafi was about to carry out a slaughter of his opponents that rose to the level of genocide. They also falsely insinuated that a post-Gaddafi Libya would be a pro-American democracy.

At the same time, they refused to notice mountains of evidence that al-Qaida was a major force in the anti-Gaddafi rebellion and was well positioned to take control over large swathes of the country if he were overthrown.

The underlying assumption of the administration’s campaign in Libya was that what happens in Libya stays in Libya. As it turned out, this was the most disastrous assumption of its decision- making process.

The contagion of Islamic revolutions began in neighboring Tunisia a year before the US decided to overthrow Gaddafi. That contagion made clear that there are no isolated events in the Islamic world anymore. Every perceived victory for jihadist forces impacts jihadists regionally and throughout the world. The impact is massively escalated when jihadists gain actual ground – as was the case in Libya.

The implications for Israel in regard to the administration’s demand that Israel commit to withdrawing from Judea and Samaria and effectively end its sovereign rule over Jerusalem are dire. Every time Israel withdraws from territory, jihadists regionally and worldwide proclaim victory and – perhaps more important – are perceived as the actual victors.

So it was in 2000. In the aftermath of the IDF’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Hezbollah was viewed in Lebanon and throughout the Islamic world as the victor. This is the main reason that Hezbollah, rather than the Lebanese armed forces, asserted its control over south Lebanon immediately after the IDF departed.

In 2005, the Palestinians and the larger Islamic world viewed Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza as a victory for Hamas. To a significant degree, it was this widespread conviction that jihad defeated the Jews that propelled Hamas to victory in the Palestinian elections held in January 2006.

Today ISIS and other jihadist forces are growing in power and influence along Israel’s borders and inside its sovereign territory. This week the Shin Bet revealed that it arrested two more Israeli Arabs who joined ISIS.

On Wednesday Jordanian security forces fought a pitched battle against ISIS terrorists in Irbid.

Seven ISIS fighters and one Jordanian policeman were killed. Five Jordanian security forces were wounded.

Since the Syrian war broke out five years ago, hundreds of Jordanians have entered Syria to fight on behalf of anti-regime forces, including ISIS.

Hundreds are also suspected of having returned to the kingdom. Moreover, ISIS is believed to have the support of a significant number of Jordanians.

The genocidal jihadist force is waging a major propaganda campaign against the Jordanian regime.

If Israel bows to US pressure and withdraws from Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem, either in the framework of a peace deal with the PLO or unilaterally, these moves will be immediately perceived regionally as a massive victory for the forces of jihad. Not only will Israel be imperiled, the fate of the Jordanian regime will likely be sealed as empowered jihadists launch a war against the Western-allied regime.

In the world of ISIS and Iran, Israeli sovereignty over united Jerusalem and Israeli control over Judea and Samaria is only real, best guarantor of the survival of the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan, and of what’s left of stability in the Middle East, after seven years of Obama’s – and Clinton’s – foreign policy.

This should be the message to Biden next week, and the basis for our policies in the months and years to come.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit


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

Is there a peace treaty with Egypt? - Benny Tocker

by Benny Tocker

Ex-ambassador says huge majority that voted to dismiss MP who met Israeli shows 'the basic enmity in Arab states towards Israel.'

A full 467 out of the 595 Egyptian members of parliament voted on Wednesday to dismiss MP Tawfik Okasha, who was ousted for the "crime" of meeting with Israel's ambassador to the Nile state, again raising doubts about the 1979 peace treaty.

Okasha even had a shoe thrown at his head by another MP in a traditional Arabic insult as he was berated for meeting Israel's Ambassador to Egypt Haim Koren, who on Thursday tried to play down the tensions with Egypt.

In order to better understand the situation, Arutz Sheva spoke with former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Tzvi Mazel, who said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi wants to preserve the peace treaty but doesn't want to clash with Egypt's parliament now.

"Those in the parliament are the elite who have boycotted Israel since 1980," said Mazel. "It's clear that if the parliament voted to cancel the peace treaties, al-Sisi would get involved."

According to the ex-ambassador, "there is security cooperation and the government of Egypt needs it. But al-Sisi will not fight the parliament because he wants to preserve the stability in Egypt, and he doesn't want to stand the legislature and the elite against him."

"But there's no doubt we received a slap in the face, after 37 years that there's such a large majority in favor of getting rid of someone who dared to meet with an ambassador of Israel - that teaches about the basic enmity that exists in Arab states towards Israel."

Aside from Okasha's dismissal, that hostility was recently shown again Wednesday when Egypt's soccer association rejected a friendly match against Israel. 

A recent poll found that Egyptians see Israel as the "most hostile" of their neighbors, despite the peace treaty, and back in 2013, the movement that led opposition to former Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi said it would work to cancel the peace treaty.

Mazel said that al-Sisi has done a lot in order to rehabilitate Egypt, saying, "a year ago he said that the Islam of today is not appropriate for the 21st century."

"Al-Sisi is doing incredible things, he launched a campaign of economic investments, and he invites countries like China, Saudi Arabia and lands of the East to invest, he opened Egypt to those searching for oil and gas, he's building agricultural territories and establishing a new capital east of Cairo that all of the governmental institutions will move to."

"It's hard for him because the West and America betrayed him, even the European Union is renouncing him because he ousted President Morsi, even though he's the one who basically saved Egypt from a dictator," said Mazel.

Indicating how ties with Israel have improved under al-Sisi, just last week President Reuven Rivlin accepted the credentials of Egypt's new Ambassador to Israel, Hazem Ahdy Khairat, marking the end of a more than three-year period without any Egyptian Ambassador to Israel.

Benny Tocker


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Connecticut College Anti-Semitism Continues; Some Faculty Speak Out - Noah Beck

by Noah Beck

Campus hate against Israel and Jews has become an increasingly frequent and widespread problem thanks to the "Boycott, Divest, Sanction" (BDS) movement. Even Palestinians who aren't sufficiently critical of Israel are targeted by BDS.

A Connecticut College professor has told colleagues that his school has grown so hostile toward Jews that he can no longer recommend Jewish students or professors study or teach at the college.

"In my opinion, this harassment of Jews on campus in the name of fighting for social justice should end; immediately," wrote Spencer J. Pack, an economics professor, in a faculty-wide email.
His comments were triggered by the smear campaign that pro-Palestinian students successfully waged against a pro-Israel professor, resulting in his indefinite leave from campus, and a more recent push to malign Birthright (a program enabling student travel to Israel) by plastering the campus with posters. The posters reportedly intimidated Jewish or pro-Israel students and faculty, while attempting to poison the minds of uninformed students and faculty with vicious falsehoods about Israel. The posters were put up by Conn Students in Solidarity with Palestine (CSSP), whose faculty adviser, Eileen Kane, runs the school's Global Islamic Studies program.

Kane's Global Islamic Studies program also invited Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi to speak at Connecticut College on April 12. Kanazi, who is scheduled to give a "poetry performance," is on the organizing committee of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and listed among its endorsers. His strategy has been to connect anti-Israel politics with popular urban struggles.

Making matters worse, Jasbir K. Puar also was invited to speak at Connecticut College. At a Feb. 3 talk at Vassar College, Puar unleashed a torrent of vicious anti-Israel lies and blood libels, including outrageous accusations about Israel harvesting Palestinian organs and conducting scientific experiments in "stunting" the growth of Palestinian bodies. Her Connecticut College appearance was scrapped, but Kane has ignored repeated questions about the invitation.

Hatred of Israel and overall hostility towards Jews at Vassar has been amply detailed. More generally, campus hate against Israel and Jews has become an increasingly frequent and widespread problem thanks to the "Boycott, Divest, Sanction" (BDS) movement. Even Palestinians who aren't sufficiently critical of Israel are targeted by BDS. Bassem Eid, founder of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, was directly threatened by anti-Israel protesters while lecturing at the University of Chicago on Feb. 18. More recently, the New York Post reported on the hateful harassment of Jews at four City University of New York campuses.

Connecticut College seems to be moving in the same direction. Last spring, Connecticut College Professor Andrew Pessin was libeled and silenced in a campaign led by Students for Justice in Palestine activist Lamiya Khandaker. That campaign included condemnation of Pessin by scores of Connecticut College departments and affiliates, including the Global Islamic Studies program. The administration nevertheless gave Khandaker the "Scholar Activist Award." Then came the Birthright smear last December, the Puar invitation, and the scheduled talk by anti-Israel activist Kanazi, sponsored by the Islamic studies program.

These developments reinforce the perception that Connecticut College is hostile to pro-Israel voices. Meanwhile, discussion of the Pessin affair continues as questions mount over the role and nature of the school's Islamic studies program. In a Jan. 26 email to fellow faculty members, Manuel Lizarralde, a professor of anthropology and botany, called the Pessin affair a "train wreck" and expressed regret at previously staying silent. "Why did we not have the Andrew defending his views?...We acted like vigilantes and found the perfect scapegoat," he wrote.

In a Feb. 4, faculty-wide response to Lizarralde, Pack accused the Islamic studies program of organizing students to join the anti-Pessin campaign and then sponsoring "a new group on campus that [posted the anti-Birthright and anti-Israel] posters." That's when he called on the harassment to stop and indicated that he couldn't recommend Jews join the Connecticut College community. In response, Pack received some private support but wrote that "many, (perhaps most?), of the faculty...are quite upset with me."

Kane responded to Pack's email on Feb. 9, denying that CSSP is anti-Israel. But CSSP's posters smear the Birthright program with the label "settler colonialism," effectively demonizing any student participant in that program, and spread the blatant lie that that there are "seven million Palestinian refugees today." Even the pro-Palestinian United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) claims that there are only five million Palestinian refugees, and that total is grossly inflated because UNRWA defines the term "refugee" to include all subsequent generations of the original refugee – a definition unique to Palestinians among all other global refugee groups.

Posters vilifying students who want to visit Israel as "settler-colonists" and spreading blatant lies to undermine support for Israel would seem to be "anti-Israel." Kane did not respond to an email asking for her definition of "anti-Israel" after her claim that the group behind those posters is not "anti-Israel."

Kane's faculty-wide response to Pack's email describes the Pessin controversy as "a heated disagreement over ... Pessin's Facebook post on the 2014 Gaza war." That's misleading, because it minimizes what happened. The "disagreement" was more of a mob-like character assassination that ignored Pessin's insistence that his words had been purposely distorted, the Washington Post article presenting evidence corroborating Pessin's position, and Pessin's immediate, polite apology to the student who first voiced concern.

As if trying to resolve campus tensions, Kane asks "what are we going to do to advance informed, responsible discussion of the history and politics of Israel/Palestine on this campus?" But she may not be the best arbiter of what constitutes a responsible discussion; she can't even recognize that her student group's posters are blatantly anti-Israel.

Kane's email notes that we are in a time "when Islam is widely misunderstood." One powerful way to reduce such misunderstanding would be to highlight Muslim efforts to reform the way Islam is practiced. But Kane also refused to say whether the Global Islamic Studies program has invited any speakers who advocate such reforms.

When Pessin's wife, Gabriella Rothman, was asked about the few apologies that Pessin had received nearly a year after the events in question, she said, "It's hard to get too excited about it," given how duplicitous and dishonest so many of his colleagues and friends had been. Read Rothman's full comments here.

Remarkably, the Connecticut College administration hasn't taken any initiative to protect students and faculty brave enough to espouse unpopular views. Nor has it issued any apology to Pessin, who has been forced out of the classroom for nearly a year in the wake of the controversy. To regain some of its credibility, Connecticut College should publish the results of an independent investigation into the Pessin affair and a detailed plan of how to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and other geopolitical issues in the Middle East.


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

Anti-Semitic Bigots at Oxford and Elsewhere - Michael Curtis

by Michael Curtis

Oxford is facing a test of intellectual integrity as a result of an investigation of anti-Semitism on the part of student members of the Oxford University Labour Club.

Every ranking of the world’s higher educational institutions puts Oxford University at or near the top. This internationally renowned institution is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, existing in some form since 1096. 

The university, with its dreamy spires, prides itself on its traditional role as an international focus for learning and as a forum for intellectual debate. Oxford numbers among its alumni numerous outstanding persons in politics, literature, mathematics, science, philosophy, and sport. Among them are 26 prime ministers, including the present one, David Cameron, and 27 Nobel Laureates.

Oxford is now facing a test of intellectual integrity as a result of an investigation of anti-Semitism on the part of students who are members of the Oxford University Labour Club, linked to the British Labour Party. The issue began when a non-Jewish student named Alex Chalmers resigned as co-chair of the club, alleging that many members of the Club supported Israel Apartheid Week, and had a “problem with Jews.” Since then, many Jewish students have spoken about being troubled by left-wing anti-Semitism at universities.

Let one thing be perfectly clear: rational criticism of policies of the State of Israel is wholly appropriate as is discussion, to be welcomed, of controversial issues between Israel and Palestinians. Leftists in general go further and have long argued that it is a delusion to say that opposition to the State of Israel and its actions means hatred of Jews.

However, though this may sometimes be true, it is more often a fallacy. This was apparent in London in November 2014. The merging of opposition to Israel and anti-Semitism was already clearly shown by the events when there was an attempt by Palestinian activists and others to boycott the Jewish (sic) Tricycle Film Festival that had received a small grant from the Israeli Embassy in London. Not only was open dialogue being rejected. Jews in London were connected with and related to occurrences in the Middle East.

Leftist student politics in Britain has become poisonous, with varying attitudes towards Jews: casual anti-Semitism, fantasies of Jewish conspiracy theories, organized harassment and bullying. For some time there has been disquiet over reports in universities of anti-Jewish “racism,” verbal abuse against Jews, and prejudice against Jews.

The allegations concerning the Oxford leftists show that anti-Israeli positions and anti-Semitism had come together. Indeed, this is commonplace since anti-Israeli condemnation is often accompanied by rhetoric of “Stop doing what Hitler did to you,” or “Gaza is a concentration camp,” or justifications of Hamas for killing Israeli Jews, or singing “Rockets over Tel Aviv,” or mocking Jewish students protesting anti-Semitism as “filthy Zionists.”

It is crucial that acknowledged and even alleged anti-Semites be publicly named and exposed. In the Oxford case two individuals have been named, though they have not yet been officially declared responsible for anti-Semitic behavior. They are accused of but not declared guilty, and as of yet no formal or legal charges or political criticism have been made against them.

One of them, James Elliott, a 22-year-old third-year history student, is a member of the youth section of the national policy forum of the Labour Party, and is an aspirant to become youth representative of the Party National Executive Committee. He is an ally of and was a political adviser of the campaign in 2015 of Jeremy Corbyn to become leader of the Labour Party. He helped write the party’s youth manifesto, and is considered a protégé of Corbyn.  

The other named student is Max Shanly, a 25-year-old who is a member of the Young Labour national committee. Both Elliott and Shanly are linked to or supported by the far left pressure group, Momentum, backed by and supportive of Corbyn. The student hard left has been infiltrated by Momentum, an activist group founded in 2015 that now claims 60,000 members and encourages mass mobilization for what it says is “a more democratic, equal and decent society.” However, in spite of its claims to be opposed to racism, anti-Semitism, and all forms of oppression, more objective observers consider it a neo-Marxist, authoritarian group, intolerant of dissent.

The Oxford issue led to concern within the University and in the Labour Party. A member of the House of Commons, John Mann, chair of the all-party parliamentary group against anti-Semitism, called on Corbyn, the Labour leader, to begin an inquiry into the issue and to sever all relations with the Oxford Labour Club.

Within Oxford University an investigation by Labour Students, the student wing of the party, was conducted and given to the party. The national chair of the Labour Students, Michael Rubin, said it would be made public on February 23, but the report appears to have been shelved, at least for the moment.

Instead, the party decided on February 29, 2016 to begin an investigation headed by Janet, Baroness Royall, former Labour leader in the House of Lords, a senior party figure. In view of the leftist inclination of part of the party headed by Corbyn, it remains to be seen if a report will be an objective assessment of the extent of anti-Semitism among Labour groups at Oxford. The soul of the Labour Party is at stake.

Oxford is not the only British university to be the scene of alleged anti-Semitism. At York University on February 24, 2016, pro-Palestinian activists, including Corbyn’s son, organized a production of the short controversial play, Seven Jewish Children: a Play for Gaza, written by Caryl Churchill, which is critical of Israel and which some consider beyond the boundaries of reasonable political discourse. The site of this production is particularly wounding since the city of York is shamefully memorable for the massacre of Jews in 1190.

Oxford, among other things (such as being the murder capital of the world, at least in the BBC "Inspector Morse" TV series), has been called the home of lost causes and impossible loyalties. Both the university and the Labour Party must ensure that anti-Semitism is one of those lost causes. In December 2015, a senior Labour activist, Scott Nelson, was expelled from the party for abusing a disabled member of another political party and for anti-Semitism in his attacks on the Jewish-founded shopping chains Tesco and Marks and Spencer’s. 

In similar fashion, responsible governmental, political, and educational authorities must insist the perpetrators of anti-Semitic actions and utterances be punished and where appropriate be expelled from their university institution. Education after all is intended to advance tolerance and open-minded discussion, not to foster destructive prejudice and hatred.

Michael Curtis


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Palestinians: The Right Time to Take Big Steps? - Bassam Tawil

by Bassam Tawil

Despite the "official" surveys taken among Palestinians, which show support for Hamas, the residents of the West Bank are terrified that Hamas will gain control and destroy our lives and property, the way they did in the Gaza Strip.

  • The BDS organizations are trying to boycott products made in the West Bank, which only throws masses of Palestinians out of good jobs in an effort to force Israel into a hasty withdrawal that has no chance of taking place. The Israelis and everyone else remember all too well that the last Israeli withdrawals -- from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip -- led to the terrorist takeover of the vacuums created.
  • Ikrima Sabri, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, often said that Palestinians were better off with the Jews in charge of Al-Aqsa mosque and Jerusalem, because in the future they could be removed and killed off, but if the Crusaders returned to Jerusalem -- such as an international commission headed by the French -- it would be harder to get rid of them.
During a visit to Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Israel's Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu that now is not time to move forward with the "two-state solution" and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Merkel, evidently seeing Israel as a dam protecting Europe from Islamist extremists, told Netanyahu that while the Germans recognized the terrorist threat faced by Israel, and that a peace process had to be advanced based on two states for two peoples, now was not the right time to take big steps.

Agreed: It's not a good time to establish a Palestinian state. Pictured: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel address a press conference in Berlin, Germany, on February 16, 2016. (Image source: Israel Government Press Office)

The Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are well aware that they are hostages of the terrorist organizations, in particular Hamas. Jibril Rajoub, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority (PA), told Al-Jazeera TV the same thing just last week.
The Palestinians in the West Bank, regardless of public declarations, also secretly support security collaboration with Israel, which protects us from radical Islamist terrorism. Therefore, despite the "official" surveys taken among Palestinians, which show support for Hamas, the residents of the West Bank are terrified that Hamas will gain control and destroy our lives and property the way they did in the Gaza Strip. We do want a Palestinian state, but one that will preserve the lifestyle and accomplishments we have built over the years -- not a state that will have them fall to the horrors of Hamas and ISIS.
In light of the quiet, passive public support for the regime of Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas is inciting Palestinians against it. Hamas, in an attempt to overthrow the Palestinian Authority, is portraying Abbas's security forces as traitors who transmit information to Israel.
Like Germany -- and unlike Sweden and France -- Britain has recently instituted a more balanced policy. The UK has begun to fight the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) organizations. Matthew Hancock, Britain's Minister for the Cabinet Office, who coordinates activities between various government ministries, is advancing protocols to prevent the ongoing boycotts by the British establishment.
These BDS organizations are trying to boycott products made in the West Bank, but the boycott only throws masses of Palestinians out of good jobs and great benefits in an effort to force Israel into a hasty withdrawal that has no chance of taking place. The Israelis and everyone else remember all too well that the last Israeli withdrawals -- from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip -- were nothing more than case-studies for the terrorist takeover of the vacuums created, exactly the same way as the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq made room for the Islamic State (ISIS).
As Palestinians we know that the BDS may or may not harm Israel, but it does untold damage to the Palestinians who support their families by working in the settlement factories and would otherwise be unemployed and then, as a scarcity of jobs will have been created, hired by various terrorists. When the SodaStream factory moved out of the West Bank, 500 Palestinians lost their well-paid jobs.
In view of the current U.S. helplessness in dealing with the Russians, Iranians and Syrians, the Obama administration has now chosen to bare its fangs at Israel. Despite what are apparently his predictable personal objections, U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to sign into law the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, which includes anti-BDS provisions. It introduces new policy language by including all "Israeli-controlled territories" as part of Israel. Meanwhile, the American customs authority is still continuing to enforce a 20-year-old law, marking products made in the West Bank and hurting Palestinians. Labeling products hurts the Palestinians, who then are driven look for work in the eager arms of the terrorist organizations radicalizing the region.

The French, as usual, slither and shift. A number of months ago, they tried to build up steam for an international commission of inquiry into the Al-Aqsa mosque. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians objected.
Ikrima Sabri, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, often said that Palestinians were better off with the Jews in charge of Al-Aqsa mosque and Jerusalem, because in the future they could be removed and killed off, but if the Crusaders returned to Jerusalem through the back door -- such as an international commission headed by the French -- it would be harder to get rid of them.
The French, fearing for their lives at the hands of their own local Islamist enclaves, are in dire straits and doggedly try one maneuver after another to appease them. In desperation, they have proposed peace negotiations for the Palestinians and Israel "with international mediation." They even brazenly suggested that if the negotiations failed, they would recognize the Palestinian state. The outcome is written on the wall: the Palestinians, who will have no reason to negotiate, will fall over themselves rushing to the conference, then automatically veto every proposal or possible compromise, and then receive the promised recognition of Palestine.
The French are masters of diplomatic flimflam: on the one hand, they will do anything to appease their own Islamists at the expense of Israel, and on the other, they know full well neither Israel nor any other Western country will accept their self-serving suggestion. The French keep revealing their duplicity again and again. They refuse to designate Iranian-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization; they instead call it a "political party," despite its full participation in slaughtering Sunni Muslims in Syria. Hezbollah is also one of the main actors pushing the countless asylum-seekers (and occasional ISIS operative) flooding Europe, Turkey and Jordan.
The atrocities committed today in the Middle East are the direct result of the refusal of Europe (including France) and the United States to intervene, and the stunning silence of the Arab states. Unwilling to fight ISIS, they are more than willing to condemn, slander and criticize Israel, while the Middle East slips into anarchy.
The result for us Palestinians will be bloodletting, either in the Hamas-Fatah rivalry, or as collateral damage in the Israelis' war against Islamist terrorism, or, when the Palestinian Authority falls, at the hands of ISIS and Al-Qaeda and the Al-Nusra Front as they sweep through the Jordan Valley on their way to attack Israel.
Al-Jazeera TV is also trying to serve its master, Qatar, radicalize the Palestinians by saying that the Palestinian Authority's security coordination with Israel, which benefits everyone here by keeping out Islamic terrorists, is betraying the Palestinian cause. In addition, Israeli intelligence, by saying that a seaport for Hamas should be built is, for some mysterious reason, trying to kill off the Palestinian Authority by strengthening Hamas. Both the Egyptians and we Palestinians -- and even the Israelis -- do not need Hamas strengthened at our expense. Hamas and the many other extremist organizations that have infiltrated the Gaza Strip, including ISIS, are what enable Israelis to justify their security concerns as well as those regarding peace negotiations with the Palestinians, and that prevent a withdrawal from the West Bank. Given the current situation in the Middle East, Angela Merkel was correct. It is not the right time now to take big steps. 

Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.


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Iran says blacklisting Hezbollah may jeopardize Lebanon's stability - News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

by News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

Six-member Gulf Cooperation Council brands Hezbollah a terrorist organization, opening up possibility of further sanctions against the group • "Hezbollah is vanguard of resistance against Zionist regime," says Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister.

Shiite and Sunni clerics listen to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah as he speaks via video link during ceremony to honer fallen Hezbollah leaders, Feb. 16, 2016
Photo credit: AP

News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff


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Killing ISIS with Kindness - A.J. Caschetta

by A.J. Caschetta

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, an Obama insider, has a plan for fighting ISIS with "messages of hope."

Originally published under the title "Facebook Came Up With A Ridiculous 'Strategy' To Fight ISIS But Obama Might Actually Start Using It."

The Obama administration lacks a viable strategy for disrupting ISIS' use of social media to recruit members and disseminate its propaganda.
The persistent and unprecedented failure of the Obama administration to conduct foreign policy in ways that promote American interests is baffling to most observers.

The impulse to offer succor to those who would do us harm became almost too absurd to parody when State Department spokesperson Marie Harf suggested in January of 2015 that ISIS could be disarmed with a jobs-for-jihadists program.

A month later, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest answered a question on counterterrorism by claiming that the administration was hard at work developing "some pretty sophisticated social media strategy."

But it appears now that the administration is contemplating an even less confrontational approach – a widespread effort to "Like" ISIS.

Policymakers must abandon the delusion that our enemies can be swayed or defeated by displays of kindness.
This new low point in foreign policy thinking came in the person of Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, an Obama insider who was rumored in 2012 to have been on the short list for a second-term cabinet position. In a January 20, 2016 panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Sandberg offered what appears to be a new counterterrorism strategy – the "'like attack."

This amicable assault occurs when the forces of good wage battle against the forces of evil by flooding their Facebook pages with "Likes" and posting positive messages there. As Sandberg explained, "The best antidote to bad speech is good speech and the best antidote to hate is tolerance." Illustrating her facile theory with an anecdote about a neo-Nazi party in Germany whose Facebook page was deluged with "Likes" and positive messages, Sandberg concluded triumphantly that "What was a page filled with hatred and intolerance was then tolerance and messages of hope." Just like that.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, an Obama insider, has a plan for fighting ISIS with "messages of hope."
Sandberg was very vague on how the "Like attack" would affect ISIS, and her implication that neo-Nazis and Islamists will react similarly to these social media stories betrays a shallow understanding of Islamism. Like her previous campaign to ban the word "bossy" (oddly similar to the Obama administration's attempts to ban the words "Islam" and "jihad" from discussions of terrorism), any effort to prohibit something solely by proclaiming it prohibited has no chance of succeeding.

It is tempting to dismiss Sandberg's folly as nothing more than the self-aggrandizing eccentricity of a billionaire tech guru, but she is taken seriously at all levels of the Obama administration, including the Department of Defense. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter calls Sandberg a friend and says she "has strong expertise in our mission." Carter has implemented Sandberg's "Lean In Circles" in the Pentagon. Her ideas are taken seriously by many Democrats, including Hillary Clinton.

The erstwhile New York Senator and Secretary of State, perpetual presidential candidate, and frequent advocate of the oxymoronic "soft power," appears to be convinced of the thinking behind the Facebook fusillade. The former first lady often claims that effective foreign policy is simply a matter of rejecting what she calls "the clash of civilizations." In place of the "hard power" implied in "clash," she has lately taken to extolling the powers of love and kindness.

Her embrace of the pusillanimous outreach agenda has recently become even more pronounced. In a January 6th feel-good interview with Youtube luminaries GloZell, Shameless Maya, and Chriselle Lim on Amanda de Cadenet's Lifetime Network show, she channeled John Lennon with this deep analysis: "I really believe we need more love and kindness and nurturing in our country, and in the world."

American interests will be far better served if the policy-makers in the next administration abandon the delusion that our enemies can be swayed, even defeated, by a display of our love. John Lennon was wrong: you need more than love.

A.J. Caschetta is a senior lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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Hamas operatives fear entering tunnels, believe Israel behind collapses - Noam Rotenberg

by Noam Rotenberg

In the latest incident, a tunnel collapsed in Khan Younis in Gaza, killing one Hamas operative.

Hamas operatives are afraid to enter underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip fearing they will collapse, The Jerusalem Post has learned from Palestinian sources.

In addition, some of the operatives digging the tunnels believe Israel was involved in at least some of the recent tunnel collapses that claimed the lives of several Hamas men.

The most recent collapse occurred on Thursday afternoon when a tunnel collapsed in Khan Yunis, killing one operative. The collapse marked the sixth such collapse in recent months – the highest number of collapses to have occurred since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.


Official reports, both in Israel and Gaza, describe collapses caused by recent storms and heavy rains. However, among Hamas and others, there are many who believe Israel is responsible.

Hamas operatives have seen Israeli activities near the border fence against tunnels and fear they are connected to the tunnel collapses. Some of the activists have even spoken of the methods Israel is supposedly using to cause the collapses.

One operative claimed Israel is using liquid explosives, while another operative expressed fears of Israel’s ability to cause localized earthquakes, which could also collapse the tunnels.

Hamas has mentioned the IDF’s elite combat engineering corps unit, which has special anti-tunnel measures, and the Oketz canine unit, which sends trained dogs into the tunnels.

Senior Hamas officials have paid condolence calls to those killed in the tunnel collapses, but have refused to give the bereaved families further information on the incidents.

According to the mother of one of the victims, Hamas would only say the collapse was caused by the weather, but failed to elaborate and maintained secrecy.

The leadership of Hamas apparently cannot prevent the collapse of the tunnels and recently, leader Ismail Haniyeh claimed Israeli technology had been discovered underground.

Noam Rotenberg


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Here’s The FULL List of Wall Street Paychecks Hillary Collected - Robert Gehl

by Robert Gehl

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

She’s been very, very busy, raking in millions in a three-year stretch since she left her post as the Secretary of State.


The media’s going nuts that Hillary Clinton took three big paychecks for three speeches at Goldman Sachs.

At $225,000 a pop, that’s pretty good scratch – but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

She’s been very, very busy, raking in millions in a three-year stretch since she left her post as the Secretary of State.

Her defense? It varies from “It’s what they offered me” to the hilarious “I happen to think we need more conversations about what’s going on in the world.”

Pricey “conversations” indeed.

Here’s a list of the 92 “conversations” that Clinton has had in just the past three years. The total: $21.7 million.
Hillary Clinton Speeches 2013-2015_1
She’s been very, very busy.

What did Hillary promise in all these speeches? What was her advice to Deutche Bank, Cisco and the Council of Insurance Agents? What did she tell eBay? Or the “American Camping Association” and why on earth would the American Camping Association pay $260,000 to hear from Hillary? Has she ever been camping?
We may never know because she refuses to tell us.

What Hillary discloses to us peasants is on a “need to know” basis only.

H/T: zerohedge,

Robert Gehl is a college professor in Phoenix, Arizona. He has over 15 years journalism experience, including two Associated Press awards. He lives in Glendale with his wife and two young children.


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