Friday, December 30, 2016

UN, Obama Further Radicalize Palestinians - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

The Gaza-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad see the resolution as another step toward their goal of replacing Israel with an Islamic empire.

  • Last week's UN Security Council resolution sent the following message to the Palestinians: Forget about negotiating. Just pressure the international community to force Israel to surrender up all that you demand.
  • Abbas and his cronies are more belligerent and defiant than ever. They have chosen the path of confrontation, and not direct negotiations -- to force Israel to its knees.
  • One of Abbas's close associates hinted that the resolution should be regarded as a green light not only to boycott Israel, but also to use violence against it, to "bolster the popular resistance" against Israel -- code for throwing stones and firebombs, and carrying out stabbing and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.
  • The resolution has also encouraged the Palestinians to pursue their narrative that Jews have no historical, religious or emotional attachment to Jerusalem or any other part of Israel.
  • The Gaza-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad see the resolution as another step toward their goal of replacing Israel with an Islamic empire. When Hamas talks about "resistance," it means suicide bombings and rockets against Israel -- it does not believe in "light" terrorism such as stones and stabbings.
  • The UN's highly touted "victory," is a purely Pyrrhic one, in fact a true defeat to the peace process and to the few Arabs and Muslims who still believe in the possibility of coexistence with Israel.
Buoyed by the latest United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal, Palestinian leaders are now threatening to step up their diplomatic warfare against Israel -- a move that is sure to sabotage any future effort to revive the moribund peace process. Other Palestinians, meanwhile, view the resolution as license to escalate "resistance" attacks on Israel. By "resistance," of course, they mean terror attacks against Israel.

The UNSC resolution sent the following message to the Palestinians: Forget about negotiating with Israel. Just pressure the international community to force Israel to comply with the resolution and surrender up all that you demand.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians are not wasting any time by waiting for the international community to act against Israel on their behalf. Rather, they are thinking of ways of taking advantage of the UNSC vote to promote their campaign to isolate and delegitimize Israel, especially in the international arena. One thing is certain: Abbas and his Palestinian Authority cronies are not planning to return to the negotiating table with Israel. In fact, they are more belligerent, confrontational and defiant than ever.

In the days following the UNSC vote, the voices emerging from Ramallah and the Gaza Strip clearly indicate that Palestinians have put themselves on a collision course with Israel. This bodes badly for any peace process.

Earlier this week, Abbas convened the PLO Executive Committee -- a decision-making body dominated by his loyalists -- to discuss the implications of the new resolution. The declared purpose of the meeting: to discuss the decisions and strategy that the Palestinian leadership needs to take in the aftermath of the resolution.

The decisions announced following the PLO meeting are a clear sign of the new approach that Abbas and the Palestinian leadership have endorsed. The Palestinian leaders have chosen the path of confrontation, and not direct negotiations, with Israel. They see the UNSC resolution, particularly the US abstention, as a charge sheet against Israel that is to be leveraged in their diplomatic effort to force Israel to its knees.

The PLO decisions include, among other things, an appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch an "immediate judicial investigation into Israeli colonial settlements on the land of the independent State of Palestine." Another decision envisages asking Switzerland to convene a meeting to look into ways of forcing Israel to apply the Fourth Geneva Convention to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The Geneva Convention, adopted in 1949, defines "humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone."

The appeal to the ICC and Switzerland is part of Abbas's strategy to "internationalize" the conflict with Israel, by involving as many parties as possible. In this context, Abbas is hoping that the UNSC resolution will ensure the "success" of the upcoming French-initiated Middle East peace conference, which is slated to convene in Paris next month. For Abbas, the conference is another tool to isolate Israel in the international community, and depict it as a country that rejects peace with its Arab neighbors.

In addition, Abbas and his lieutenants in Ramallah are now seeking to exploit the UNSC resolution to promote boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel:
"The PLO Executive Committee renews its call to the world countries for a comprehensive and full boycott of Israeli colonialist settlements in all fields, as well as all companies working in or dealing with these settlements."
One of Abbas's close associates, Mohamed Shtayyeh, hinted that the UNSC resolution should be regarded as a green light not only to boycott Israel, but also to use violence against it. He said that this is the time to "bolster the popular resistance" against Israel. "Popular resistance" is code for throwing stones and petrol bombs and carrying out stabbing and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.

The UNSC resolution has also encouraged the Palestinians to pursue their narrative that Jews have no historical, religious or emotional attachment to Jerusalem, or any other part of Israel. Sheikh Ekrimah Sabri, a leading Palestinian Islamic cleric and preacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, was quick to declare that the Western Wall, the holiest Jewish site in Jerusalem, belongs only to Muslims. Referring to the wall by its Islamic name, Sheikh Sabri announced: "The Al-Buraq Wall is the western wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Muslims cannot give it up."

While Abbas and his Palestinian Authority consider the UNSC resolution a license to proceed with their diplomatic warfare to delegitimize and isolate Israel, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two groups that seek the elimination of Israel, are also celebrating. The two Gaza-based groups see the resolution as another step toward achieving their goal of replacing Israel with an Islamic empire. Leaders and spokesmen of Hamas and Islamic Jihad were among the first Palestinians to heap praise on the UNSC members who voted in favor of the resolution. They are also openly stating that the resolution authorizes them to step up the "resistance" against Israel in order to "liberate all of Palestine."

"Resistance is the only means to end the settlements," said a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip. "We appreciate the position of those countries that voted against settlements." He also seized the opportunity to renew Hamas's demand that the Palestinian Authority stop all forms of cooperation with Israel, first and foremost security coordination.

When Hamas talks about "resistance," it means launching suicide bombings and rockets against Israel. The Islamist movement does not believe in "light" terrorism such as stones and knife stabbings against Jews.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who is based in Qatar, reacted to the UNSC vote by saying that the world should now support his movement's terror campaign against Israel:
"We want the world to stand with the Palestinian resistance because it is just... The armed resistance is the path to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem. Hamas is continuing to manufacture and smuggle weapons in preparation for a confrontation with Israel."
Mashaal did not forget to praise the US Administration's abstention as a "correction of some American policies."

Islamic Jihad, for its part, characterized the UNSC resolution as a "victory" for the Palestinians, because it enables them to "isolate and boycott Israel" and file charges against it with international institutions. Daoud Shehab, one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad, added that the resolution means that Arabs should stop any effort to "normalize" relations with Israel or conduct security cooperation with it. The Arabs and Muslims should now work toward confronting and deterring Israel, he said.

Clearly, Hamas and Islamic Jihad see the UNSC resolution as a warning to all Arabs and Muslims against seeking any form of "normalization" with Israel. The two groups are referring to the Palestinian Authority, whose security forces continue to conduct security coordination with Israel in the West Bank, and to those Arab countries that have been rumored to be moving toward some form of rapprochement with Israel. The UN's highly touted "victory" is a purely Pyrrhic one, in fact a true defeat to the peace process and to the few Arabs and Muslims who still believe in the possibility of coexistence with Israel.

Thus, the UNSC resolution already has had several consequences, none of which will enhance peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Apart from giving a green light to Palestinian groups that wish to destroy Israel, the resolution has prompted Abbas and the Palestinian Authority to toughen their stance, and appear to be more radical than the radicals.

Far from moving the region toward peace, the resolution has encouraged the Palestinians to move forward in two parallel paths -- one toward a diplomatic confrontation with Israel in the international arena, and the other in increased terror attacks against its people. The coming weeks and months will witness mounting violence on the part of Palestinians toward Israelis -- a harmful legacy of the Obama Administration.

  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

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


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John Kerry’s Farewell Stab at Israel - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Kerry would not know the truth if it hit him in the face.

On December 28th, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a rambling truth-challenged defense of the Obama administration’s scandalous decision allowing the United Nations Security Council to pass its most egregious anti-Israel resolution yet. Security Council Resolution 2334, which was adopted last Friday, denounced Israel’s settlements activities as illegal and destructive to the prospects of a two-state solution. Kerry concluded his 73 minute speech by outlining six principles to guide direct negotiations of a final status agreement on all outstanding issues, giving some indication that the Obama administration does not intend to use the Security Council to impose complete parameters for a final agreement or to unilaterally recognize a state of Palestine before a final agreement between the parties is reached. However, given President Obama’s animus toward Israel, and particularly Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama may still have something up his sleeve to further hurt Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said in reaction to Kerry’s speech that it was "as unbalanced as the anti-Israel resolution passed [at the United Nations] last week." Indeed, the Obama administration destroyed all prospects for good faith negotiations directly between the Israelis and Palestinians by facilitating the Palestinians’ lawfare strategy executed through the United Nations. The anti-Israel Security Council resolution Kerry called “balanced” prejudges all the major issues against Israel under the patina of international law.

Kerry began his speech by declaring, in response to Israeli criticisms of the Obama administration’s abstention on Security Council Resolution 2334, “Friends need to tell each other the hard truths.” Kerry would not know the truth if it hit him in the face. Kerry omitted and misrepresented key facts about the resolution itself and the root cause of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He recited Palestinian talking points in lecturing Israel for expanding settlements where he said they do not belong, including in so-called “East Jerusalem.” He went so far as to accuse Israeli leaders, whom he called “the most right-wing in Israeli history,” of deliberately setting about to systematically take over the West Bank, with policies leading toward one state under Israeli rule.

Kerry claimed that the final text of Security Council Resolution 2334 was “balanced” and that it was consistent with long-standing U.S. policy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The resolution was virtually all about condemning Israeli settlements and declaring them to be illegal under international law.

Kerry said in his speech, “We have called for the Palestinians to do everything in their power to stop violence and incitement, including publicly and consistently condemning acts of terrorism and stopping the glorification of violence.” However, all of Kerry’s references in his speech to such wrongdoing, which he claimed he had raised with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to no avail, failed to make it into the resolution itself. A truly balanced resolution would have cited Hamas and the Palestinian Authority by name for incitement to genocide against Jews and committing or condoning random attacks on civilians, in violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and international humanitarian law.

The anti-Israel settlements resolution did not limit its condemnation of Israeli settlements to the far-flung outposts in the middle of the West Bank that Kerry focused attention on in his speech. To the contrary, the resolution, which Kerry tried to defend, declared that the “establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law." (Emphasis added.)

In consenting to wording declaring that all Israeli settlements since 1967 have “no legal validity” from their inception, the Obama administration sharply departed from the position of past administrations, as well as its own position when it vetoed a similar resolution in 2011.

Kerry, just like UN Ambassador Samantha Power in her remarks to the Security Council following the vote on Resolution 2334, invoked Ronald Reagan’s name to justify the Obama administration’s betrayal of Israel. True, Ronald Reagan did criticize Israel’s expansion of its settlements on policy grounds. However, neither he nor any other U.S. president did what President Obama decided to do – effectively use the United Nations Security Council as an instrument to outlaw retroactively all Israeli settlements built since 1967, including apartment dwellings in the Old City of Jerusalem. Indeed, to the contrary, President Reagan had said in 1981 that Israel’s settlements were “not illegal.”

Kerry also attempted to justify the Obama administration’s abstention on Resolution 2334 by citing the Reagan administration decision to abstain on UN Security Council Resolution 605,passed on December 22, 1987 by a 14-0 vote, as a precedent. Resolution 605 had criticized Israel for its actions in what was referred to as "occupied" territories, including in Jerusalem. There are some superficial similarities. Both resolutions did refer to the Geneva Convention as being applicable to the Palestinian and other Arab territories said to be occupied by Israel since 1967, including in Jerusalem. Like Resolution 2334, Resolution 605 deemed Israel as the “occupier” of the artificially divided portion of Jerusalem that Jordan had illegally invaded and attempted to ethnically cleanse until Israel re-unified all of Jerusalem after winning a defensive war against Jordan in 1967. However, there is a big difference between the two resolutions that Kerry chose to gloss over. The resolution on which the Reagan administration abstained did not question the legality of the settlements, in Jerusalem or anywhere else. It said simply that Israel was obliged under the Geneva Convention as the “occupying power” to limit its use of force against “defenceless Palestinian civilians.” The resolution on which the Obama administration abstained, on the other hand, effectively declared any Israeli residences or building activities in the Old City of Jerusalem, which is in the eastern portion of Jerusalem and includes the Western Wall, as illegal per se under international law.

Kerry doubled down on prejudging that Jerusalem needs to be artificially re-divided and the eastern portion handed over to the Palestinians as the capital of their new state. This would effectively ratify Jordan’s original illegal aggressive occupation and de-Judaizing of the Old City, which would certainly resume if the Palestinians were to assume control.

Kerry made a couple of pronouncements in his speech recognizing Israeli concerns about terrorism and its concerns about preserving its legitimacy as a Jewish state. However, the Security Council resolution he defended worsens Israel’s situation in both of these areas.

Kerry said “we all understand that Israel faces very serious threats in a very tough neighborhood. Israelis are rightfully concerned about making sure that there is not a new terrorist haven right next door to them, often referencing what’s happened with Gaza.” Yet what the resolution has done in declaring all Israeli settlements established since 1967 to be illegal is to provide Palestinians with justification for couching their acts of terrorism in the garb of “legitimate” resistance against "illegal" occupation and settlements.
Kerry also said “Israelis are fully justified in decrying attempts to…question the right of a Jewish state to exist.” He cited the intent of General Assembly Resolution 181, the 1947 partition resolution accepted by the Jewish residents but rejected by the Palestinians and their Arab supporters, “to create two states for two peoples, one Jewish, one Arab; to realize the national aspirations of both Jews and Palestinians.” He referenced the PLO’s self-proclaimed “Declaration of Independence,” which stated that Resolution 181 “provides those conditions of international legitimacy that ensure the right of the Palestinian Arab people to sovereignty.” Yet Abbas has repeatedly rejected the very idea of a Jewish state existing in peace alongside a Palestinian state, for which Resolution 181 also provided the “conditions of international legitimacy.” If Resolution 2334 was intended to preserve the goal of “two states for two peoples, one Jewish, one Arab,” as Kerry claimed, why did he not insist that the words “Jewish state of Israel” appear at least once in the resolution? At least the resolution that Abbas is now demanding be followed as the basis for any future negotiations would give one point to Israel.

John Kerry’s speech defending the Obama administration's decision to allow the UN Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements and declare them to be illegal has been described as his farewell speech. The best advice to give to Kerry after his disastrous tenure as Secretary of State is “don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Joseph Klein


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Iran in Syria: Russia Took Over - Heshmat Alevi

by Heshmat Alevi

The conference outcome makes it clear that Russia enjoys hegemony over Iran in Syria, and that Moscow has imposed its interests and road map on Tehran, leaving the mullahs no choice but to submit to the status quo.

  • It appears that Iran literally gained nothing from the Moscow conference, meaning that its participation was merely of a ceremonial nature.
  • "The regime in Tehran is the source of crisis in the region and killings in Syria; it has played the greatest role in the expansion and continuation of ISIS. Peace and tranquility in the region can only be achieved by evicting this regime from the region." — Maryam Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and a leader of the opposition to Iran's regime.
The recent three-party conference held in Moscow with the participation of Russia, Turkey and Iran came to a significant end. With mainstream media emphasizing how the U.S. Administration was completely sidelined in talks that discussed the future of Syria, a different perspective also sheds light on how Iran was sidelined to an unprecedented degree. Considering that this session ended with a document signed by all three parties, one can take a hard look at the results.

This document emphasizes Syria's independence and territorial integrity as a multi-racial, multi-religious, non-sectarian, democratic and secular state; underscores the necessity of reaching a political solution; welcomes joint efforts in East Aleppo to evacuate civilians and armed rebels; highlights the need to expand a ceasefire across the country and facilitate access to humanitarian aid; supports a possible agreement between the Syrian opposition and the Syrian government; and accentuates continuing joint efforts against terrorism and especially the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), differentiating their forces from those of the armed democratic opposition.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (center) holds a joint press conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (left) and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (right) in Moscow, December 20, 2016. (Image source: Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

A closer look brings us to a preliminary conclusion that most of the articles are clash Iran's interests. For example, Iran was, and remains, fully against the safe evacuation of civilians and rebels from East Aleppo.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani went so far as saying, "Various Islamic states... are worried about the fate of terrorists and seek their safe exit from Aleppo."

In this document, there is no mention of the Assad regime or any language discussing its remaining in power. And importantly, while Iran went to great lengths to massacre all dissidents and annihilate the entire Syrian opposition under the pretext of fighting ISIS, this document specifically differentiates and recognizes the separate nature of ISIS and the Free Syrian Army.

The Moscow conference also emphasized the role of the United Nations in resolving the Syrian crisis, highlighting the necessity to abide by UN Security Council Resolution 2254. This resolution emphasizes the Security Council as the reference body, also enjoying support from the United States and Saudi Arabia. There is no reference to Assad's future role; instead the resolution:
"expressed support for free and fair elections, pursuant to the new constitution, to be held within 18 months and administered under United Nations supervision, 'to the highest international standards' of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians — including members of the diaspora — eligible to participate."
Taking these factors into consideration, it appears that Iran literally gained nothing from the Moscow conference, meaning that its participation was merely of a ceremonial nature.

The conference outcome makes it clear that Russia enjoys hegemony over Iran in Syria, and that Moscow has imposed its interests and road map on Tehran, leaving the mullahs no choice but to submit to the status quo. This setback of its hegemony seems a major reason why Iran needed to parade Revolutionary Guards Quds Force General Qassem Suleimani in Aleppo: perhaps to boost an iota of morale in its dwindling base of support.

On the ground, Iran's hordes of Shiite militias relied completely on Russian air power to take even one step forward. This provides a clear picture of the road ahead.

To bring an end to Iran backing Assad's atrocities, the international community and Middle East states need to begin fundamentally to cooperate in establishing a coalition, parallel to implementing economic and political pressures on Tehran. Companies investing in Iran should also recalculate their priorities.

Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, went even further to provide a solution for Syria and ISIS:
"The regime in Tehran is the source of crisis in the region and killings in Syria; it has played the greatest role in the expansion and continuation of ISIS. Peace and tranquility in the region can only be achieved by evicting this regime from the region."
Iran may have enjoyed tactical gains in Aleppo. However, Russia apparently has separate, long-term interests in complete dissimilarity from those of Tehran. Russia has conducted secret direct talks with the Syrian opposition. To add insult to injury, Iran -- viewing the Obama presidency as a golden era -- is also concerned about the incoming presidency of Donald Trump and his administration, who seem to have strong views against Tehran.

"The fact that Trump has taken very firm positions against Iran, including threatening to rip apart the nuclear deal, has," according to The Hill, "already terrified Tehran, representing a major contrast to the 'golden era' under Obama."

Heshmat Alevi is a political and rights activist. His writing focuses on Iran, ranging from human rights violations, social crackdown, the regime's support for terrorism and meddling in foreign countries, and the controversial nuclear program. He tweets at @HeshmatAlavi & blogs at IranCommentary


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Boeing/Airbus Deals Will Boost Iran’s Support of Terrorism - Amir Basiri

by Amir Basiri

By signing the Iran nuclear accord, also known as the JCPOA, Obama set the grounds to delist five of Tehran’s designated airlines despite the knowledge that they also facilitated terrorism through logistical and financial support.

Mainstream media is rife with news about Iran sealing multibillion-dollar deals with Airbus and Boeing to purchase more than 100 passenger planes.

Unfortunately, Iran is no ordinary buyer. It's a mistake for anyone to rejoice over such a deal or boast about it improving economies and creating jobs. This is a regime designated as the leading state sponsor of terrorism.

The U.S. Treasury Department has identified Iranian commercial airlines as linked to the regime’s lethal and nonstop support for terrorism. With its numerous campaigns in support of Shiite militias and dictators, Iran has actively used its aging air fleet to shuttle hired mercenaries and arms to Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon.

Iran Air and Iran Air Tours were both designated as terrorist-related in 2011. According to the U.S. Treasury Department these airlines are known to “disguise and manifest weapons shipments as medicine and generic spare parts” to Syria. They are known to airlift missiles and rocket components.

Mahan Air, an Iranian airline in close relations with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and its Quds Force (QF), is known to provide airlifts to IRGC-QF personnel flown between Iran, Syria, and Iraq for military training.

“Mahan Air’s close coordination with the IRGC-QF–secretly ferrying operatives, weapons and funds on its flights–reveals yet another facet of the IRGC’s extensive infiltration of Iran’s commercial sector to facilitate its support for terrorism,” emphasized David S. Cohen, former U.S. Treasury Department undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. “Following the revelation about the IRGC-QF’s use of the international financial system to fund its murder-for-hire plot, today’s action highlights further the undeniable risks of doing business with Iran.”

Mahan Air eased the covert transfer of IRGC-QF officers by bypassing normal security procedures, such as excluding specific data on flight manifests in order to eliminate records of the IRGC-QF travel.

Eyebrows are raised as European and Asian countries provide legitimacy to IRGC-linked Mahan Air by permitting flight rights to relevant commercial routes. Furthermore, one can also argue that the revenue from these flights are used to fuel Iran’s support for extremist ends.

“By letting Mahan in, the Europeans are forgoing a critical pressure tool they have in their arsenal of non-military coercive measures to pressure Iran and Assad,” explained Emanuele Ottolenghi of the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance at the bipartisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Representatives in the U.S. Congress from both sides of the aisle have been very clear in their positions about the nature [of] Iran’s air fleet.

“Instead of more actions to ground these planes,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), adding, “the White House agreed to lift an Interpol notice.”

In the same hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) demanded answers over how the Obama administration intended to ground “the airline of choice for the [IRGC] and Quds Force to go into Syria and kill people.”

Analysts have cited concerns over Iran’s airlines continuing “to ferry materiel to fighters in Syria.” A notable case in September involved an Iran Air flight scheduled to depart Tehran for Damascus which made a suspicious stop in Abadan -- an Iranian port city located around 960 miles off route that also acts as a major IRGC logistics hub.

Here are further suspicious flights reported by Forbes:
“On June 9, an Iran Air aircraft flew to Damascus from Abadan using the Tehran-Damascus flight number, and on June 8 and 15 from Tehran while using the now-defunct Najaf-Tehran number. Since then, the airline’s flights to Damascus have multiplied in number and frequency, with the most recent one leaving from Yazd but broadcasting a Tehran-Damascus flight number, on July 29.”
The main Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has a history of unveiling Iran’s support for terrorism and exporting extremism across the region. Mahan Air provides “multiple daily flights from Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Abadan to Damascus. These flights use Iraqi air space and carry weapons, equipment and Revolutionary Guards for war against the Syrian people. Three daily direct flights from Abadan airport to Damascus is mainly done by Mahan Air,” as explained by a Nov. 12 NCRI statement.

State Department spokesman John Kirby assured that the Obama administration would certainly not neglect Iran's support of terrorism following the nuclear deal, describing the notion as “completely without merit.” However, no serious action has been taken to this date, other than the Iran Sanctions Act passed by Congress, which U.S. President Barack Obama refused to sign.

By signing the Iran nuclear accord, also known as the JCPOA, Obama set the grounds to delist five of Tehran’s designated airlines despite the knowledge that they also facilitated terrorism through logistical and financial support.

The JCPOA has itself directly given the green light to Iran’s support for Shiite militias across the region, as forecast by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry even prior to the deal.

The atrocities in Aleppo also showed the lack of will in the Obama administration for any meaningful action against Iran. The regime continues to airlift fresh recruits and supplies to Assad's armed forces, the Lebanese Hizb’allah and the IRGC, all considered staunch U.S. adversaries. This notorious trio is also heavily supporting Assad’s ruthless regime in the near six-year war claiming the lives of half a million people.

The new Airbus/Boeing signings, placing economic interests before those of international security and morality, will most likely pave the path for Iran to further expand its efforts to support terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism.

Advocates of these deals may argue Iran will not use planes such to shuttle forces to Syria due to its desperate need to replace its aging fleet. Considering Tehran’s ongoing interest in supporting extremism across the Middle East, it is quite hard to imagine any obstacle can be placed to prevent Iran from continuing its illicit airlifts throughout the region.

Amir Basiri


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Ending the Confusion of the Obama Years - Howard Rotberg

by Howard Rotberg

Terrorism isn't an existential threat?

I have been writing about terrorism now for 13 years. Like many other writers, the tragic events of 9/11 in September, 2001 were one impetus for my inquiry into the goals and methods of terrorism. The other impetus is a growing recognition that terrorism often seems to work exactly as it is planned to do: it so strikes fear into the minds of otherwise good people that they begin to submit to the moral framework of the terrorists and begin to adopt the cause of the terrorists.

Unfortunately, during the Obama Presidency, both politicians and left-leaning journalists have scoffed at the proposition that terrorism poses any existential threat. That is because they define “existential” narrowly to mean anything that could defeat, destroy or wipe out America. They do not, as I do, define existential to include not just living but living “free” and having individual human rights, a fair Justice System and the other Constitutional protections. For me, submission to the ideology of Islamists destroys bit by bit what I see as “free” existence. To the extent that we give in, submit to, respect, tolerate or empathize with the cause of the terrorists, we have lost our freedom and have gone down the road to submission, whether or not our militaries are defeated in “conventional war.” We can look at opinions in the media and the universities to see this empathy, or look at how the Democratic Party is considering a Muslim with contacts among Islamist terror supporting organizations to be the Chair of the DNC.

"Live Free or Die" is the official motto of the U.S. state of New Hampshire, adopted by the state in 1945. How things have changed in American political culture since 1945.

The Left and the Obama administration see an existential threat as one only coming from major nuclear powers. They ignore that Obama’s Iran “deal” will allow Iran to give nuclear weapons to its terrorist proxies.

The Left seems to be mostly concerned that the government will in response to terrorism pass tough security laws that will inhibit the “rights” of Islamists and their supporters or at least be offensive to them. Some naively think that the purpose of terrorism is only to wage an asymmetrical type of warfare against more military strong foes and hence to eventually defeat them, and anything short of that is not an existential threat.

Simonsen and Spindlove, in their textbook on terrorism, entitled Terrorism Today: The Past, the Players, the Future, say that terrorism, by its violence against civilians, brings awareness of the alleged grievance, uses the media to spread knowledge of the cause, and provokes fear, all of which attempt to secure policy changes and weaken government’s resolve.  Attaining these policy changes occurs as a fearful people seek to feed the wild animal in their midst, hoping that its appetite for more random violence will be sated.

Terrorism is the modus operandi of Islamists – the overtly violent jihadists seeking to spread Sharia Law and a restoration of an Islamic Caliphate.   Obscene acts of violence, often involving suicide bombing are then followed inevitably by apologists and propagandists alleging that Islam is a “religion of peace” and that terrorism can best be fought by more understanding, tolerance, compassion and acceptance of political Islam’s goals.

If the goals of terrorism are meant to support a submission to its radical ideology and Sharia Law and induce tolerance for its illiberal policies and separatist illiberal communities within the liberal democracies, and eventually to bring Islam to the world, then tolerance, empathy, compassion, and acceptance are a delusional response to the problem. The successful way to stop terrorism is to convince the proponents of terrorism (including the passive supporters in much of mainstream Islam who fail to stand up in opposition to the jihadists) that the goals above-mentioned will not be achieved by their terrorist acts, and they will in fact be met with a strong resolve within Western nations to reject this attempt to diminish our fundamental human rights, individual freedoms and liberties and the hard-won rights of women, gays, children and ethnic and religious minorities.

The Americans, by allowing a UN Security Council resolution saying Israel illegally occupies the older part of the historical capital of Israel in Jerusalem, have shown terrorists the way to success.

In my book, Tolerism:  The Ideology Revealed, I explore the ways in which our political culture has moved to change its policies as a reaction to the fear caused by catastrophic terrorism.  It is my belief that the fear has caused us to become irrationally accepting and tolerant of many actions that are contrary to our most basic traditional values.

I discuss:
  1. Our cultural Stockholm Syndrome, based on the reaction of hostages who instead of hating their abductors, begin to not only sympathize with the grievances of their abusers but begin to advocate for them or even fall in love with them.   Some readers will remember the Patty Hearst story and some will remember the bank hostages in Stockholm two of whom married their captors when they were released from prison.   Others will remember journalists who were held hostage by Hamas, face down on the floor in cells and were forced to convert to Islam, but who nevertheless upon release praised their captors and their cause.     I believe that Islamist terrorism with the relentless march of the Islamic demographic across Europe and now the rest of the West, is causing those who should be putting up red flags to curtail the immigration of those who might be at war with our values, to submit to the inevitable and use their energies to curry favours through their tolerism.
  2. The culture of denial that has arisen, where the West denies that the perpetrators are in fact seeking these very goals. Obama’s negation of the phrase “Islamic terrorism” in favour of confused terminology like “workplace violence” or “man-made disasters” is meant to obfuscate the issue.  When “diversity” becomes a higher goal than individual liberty, you start to include in your diverse society a number of people who oppose your traditional values and might even hate the very concept of freedom and individual rights.
  3. Our culture of tolerism hides the very definition of “tolerance” which is “a sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own”.  “Sympathy” is one thing, but how about “indulgence”?  “Indulgence is defined as “giving free reign, or taking unrestrained pleasure in, or treating with excessive leniency” some ideology or group or individual.    Tolerance of course only relates to negative acts – we say that we tolerate pain, not pleasure.   So tolerance as a value implies that we are taking some pleasure from, or giving some lenience to, groups of peoples and illiberal ideas that are threatening us. 
  4. The indulgence inherent in “tolerism” relates to another little understood cultural reaction to jihadist Islamism, and that is the self-defeating concept of masochism.  Through unresolved feelings of guilt or inadequacy, large groups of people take actions or adopt policies that they know will cause pain to them or their children.   To what extent did Germany’s remaining guilt of the Nazi era atrocities influence Merkel and her ilk to allow a million unvetted Islamic migrants into the country including those who perpetrated mass sexual assaults in public places like in Cologne, and another who drove a truck into a Christmas market, yet who had already been ordered deported but for procedural reasons had been allowed to walk the streets and kill people when he should have been in jail? 
On March 26th, after the attack in Belgium, Gwynne Dyer, who is a London-based commentator carried in 45 different countries, published an article which my local newspaper headlined and subtitled as follows:  “Belgium and the true risk of deadly attack:  Terrorists are not an existential threat, they are a lethal nuisance, no more than that”.

Dyer took exception to a Belgian politician stating the terrorist attacks in Belgium meant that Belgium was now living through the darkest days since the end of the Second World War.

Most of us would have thought that statement to be unremarkable, but Dyer minimized these tragic events, (and their symbolic effects) by sarcastically stating, “Can any country be so lucky that the worst thing that has happened to it in the last 75 years is a couple of bombs that killed 34?”

Dyer minimizes terrorism by saying it is a “statistically insignificant risk – (people) are in much greater danger of dying from a fall in the bath than of dying in a terrorist attack.”     This of course misses the very essential nature of terrorism:   bathtubs have no agenda and we can have hundreds of people slip and fall without any danger to our political culture and commitment to freedom.    However, every major terrorist attack is followed by renewed calls for acceptance and tolerance of Muslims, including the radical ones who create “no-go” areas and seek to reverse the separation of church and state, or mosque and schools.   

While the political and media “elites” dismiss the terrorism as insignificant, regular folks understand what is actually happening to their societies.    According to a leaked government report carried last February by Britain’s The Express, some 20% of the migrants have already been charged with some crime. The people sense this change, and sense the betrayal of the elites.

By July 30, 2016, Dyer argued that combating terrorism at home implied a war with Europe’s own Muslim citizens.  This, he then says is exactly what ISIS wants. Says Dyer:  “they want to stimulate anti-Muslim hatred, turn the majority against this underprivileged minority and ensure the victory of ... neo-fascist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant” parties.    

“Why does Islamic State want an anti-Muslim backlash in European countries?” he asks.   “Because it will radicalize many more European Muslims ... Islamic State’s ideology claims that the whole Muslim world is under attack by the evil West, and that only ISIL can defend it successfully.”   

I instead argue that terrorism is meant to result in terror, which in an overly tolerant, submissive West, losing its loyalty to Judeo-Christian ethics, eases submission to the Islamist message - that the Caliphate will be revived, that Europe will be taken back again as in the 12th century, as the rest of the world chooses between the embrace of Islam or dhimmi status, subject to Sharia Law.  Dyer’s approach is meant to disarm the West from its resolve to stop the march of Islamism by falsely asserting it is just an attempt by one organization to gain power in the Arab world, rather than a world-wide problem..

With the election of Trump, it is now time to challenge that agenda of minimizing the real effects of terrorism, and using words from an alternate leftist universe, such as calling Major Dr. Hassan’s attack on the soldiers of Fort Hood “workplace violence” or calling terrorists “lone wolves” if the direct chain of command cannot be discovered.  We hope to see a resurgent West understand the nature of this War and make a better effort to win this War.  Writing from his home in England where separatist enclaves of intolerant Islamists are resulting in separatist “no go” areas and terrorist attacks, Dyer’s approach does nothing to encourage Muslim immigrants who might be inclined to assimilate to British, Canadian, or American values;  instead he parrots a rather discouraging anti-Western message that Islamism is partly the West’s fault, that it must learn to live with it as it is not an existential threat to our culture of freedom and human rights, but a mere nuisance.

In the new era of a Trump presidency, I am hoping to see Americans join hands with Israel which has dealt with terrorism since the founding of the State.   In Israel, of course, there is a existential physical threat, where tiny Israel is surrounded by hostile states and pseudo-states that make it clear they want to destroy the country and kill or deport most of its citizens. Hopefully, with an understanding of just how terrorism creates an existential ideological threat to America by its Islamist enemies, America will move forward as a strong, free, and proud nation.

Howard Rotberg is a Canadian writer, businessman and publisher.  He is the author of The Second Catastrophe: A Novel about a Book and its Author, TOLERism: The Ideology Revealed, and Exploring Vancouverism: The Political Culture of Canada’s Lotus Land. He is President of Mantua Books.


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Obama and Israel: Why Are People Surprised? - Jerrold L. Sobel

by Jerrold L. Sobel

Love him or hate him, Obama has never hidden his disdain for Israel in general, or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular.

For reasons beyond my comprehension, friends of the Jewish state both here and in Israel are shocked and dismayed over last Friday’s U.S. veto abstention at the UN. But hold the presses. If Israel’s claims, which they profess to be ironclad, are true, the passage of UNSC resolution 2334 is just the tip of the iceberg in the ever-widening breach of American/Israeli relations. 

The real story may be that the Obama administration orchestrated the resolution and colluded with New Zealand and such democratic stalwarts as Malaysia, Senegal, and Venezuela to present it to the Security Council. If this proves correct, it will confirm what many on the right have been saying for years: Obama is malevolent toward Israel and intends to apply this animus both here and in the UN. With only three weeks to go he’ll be working at breakneck speed to make as big a mess as possible for incoming President Trump. 

Love him or hate him, Obama has never hidden his disdain for Israel in general, or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular. So what’s the surprise? The surprise is: Democrats so programmed to kiss the ring of the emperor for the past eight years are now up in arms. 

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said it was "extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding" that the Obama administration failed to veto the UN's vote. He went on to say that the U.N. is a "fervently" anti-Israel body, since the days of "Zionism is racism.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, another Democrat from Connecticut, called the U.S.'s abstention from the vote “unconscionable." Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon, stated he was "deeply disappointed" that the Obama administration allowed such a "one-sided" resolution to pass and that "actions like this will only take us further from the peace we all want to see.” In the same vein, Sen. Mark Warner, Democrat from Virginia, wrote: "I am dismayed that the administration departed from decades of U.S. policy by not vetoing the UN resolution regarding Israeli settlements.”

In the House, the ranking Democratic member on the Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engle said he was "very disappointed" by the U.S.'s "acquiescence to a one-sided, biased resolution at the United Nations Security Council.” He went on: "I have always believed that Israel can’t get a fair shake at the U.N.”

Why these seasoned long-time Democratic members of Congress and long-term supporters of president Obama are so astonished at this betrayal beats me. Although admittedly dismayed, I’m far from astounded. To understand why, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

From his first days in office, President Obama has been intent on creating distance between the United States and Israel because he viewed the closeness of the relationship as bad for American foreign policy. Meeting with Jewish leaders in 2009 he’s on record saying: “Look at the past eight years. During those eight years, there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get from that? When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sidelines, and that erodes our credibility with the Arab states.” 

Interesting quote: “what did we get from that?” A close friend, a loyal ally, Israel is not a vassal state. As a supposed impartial arbitrator, he should not expect to get anything from that. Some might call it chutzpah to expect the democratically elected government of Israel to forego their own security so the U.S. could maintain credibility with the Arab states. Would we do that? Would any sovereign nation do that facing a contumacious enemy showing no sign or willingness to negotiate a compromise peace deal?

In 2012, Israel had a viable option for a preemptive military strike against Iran’s budding nuclear capability. Unfortunately, the Obama's administration, seeking to quash this option, repeatedly leaked vital covert Israeli information, including which countries Israel had effected a deal with to fly over their territory for an attack on Iran. Where was the outrage from the aforementioned then?

For that matter, why didn’t Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti Defamation League and other Jewish leaders who condemned the veto vote offer any pushback when Obama cajoled Netanyahu to return to the indefensible and suicidal pre-1967 armistice lines?

Confronted with a recalcitrant foe whose malevolence knows no bounds, this president, like none other, has placed the onus for stalemated “peace talks”, not where it belongs on Abbas and his intractable PA, but has instead censured, reprimanded, and excoriated Israel throughout his tenure in office. Why? For the blame he affixes to Netanyahu for failure to accede to the debunked policy of land for peace. A policy bereft of peace but not of war.

One enigma will remain for many years to come. Why with all that’s going on in the world, much to his making, Obama has this obsession with Israel and their right to build housing in their ancestral homeland? it’s inexplicable. 

Likewise inexplicable is seeing outrage from many among the 70% of the American Jewish electorate and mainstream Jewish organizations other than the ZOA which sat by for eight years and were silent during:
  • Hillary Clinton's 43-minute pillorying of the prime minister for announcing already approved construction in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.
  • David Axelrod asserting that President Obama considered the housing approval “an affront, an insult, and very, very destructive.”
  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates calling Israel “an ungrateful ally.”
  • Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s chastising Israel to “get back to the damn negotiating table.”
  • Obama shoving PM Netanyahu out the White House back door, no dinner, no joint statement.
  • Pushing Israel to apologize for intercepting the terrorist Gaza flotilla.
  • Obama’s speech sandbagging Netanyahu just before he arrived in Washington, calling on Israel to retreat to the 1949 Armistice line as a starting point for negotiations?
In answer to the question, there was no outrage. Except for false platitudes, by word and deed Obama has never hidden his bitterness toward Israel. Except to the willfully blind, the record clearly indicates rather than acting as an impartial arbiter, his actions have encouraged Palestinian intransigence and in effect extirpated any chance for a peace deal. Taken in this context, last week’s veto abstention and today’s accusation of complicity should be no surprise to anyone.

Jerrold L. Sobel


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Russia, Turkey, Iran eye dicing Syria into zones of influence - Eli Leon, Daniel Siryoti, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

by Eli Leon, Daniel Siryoti, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

Moscow, Ankara seek to broker deal that would leave Syrian President Assad in power until a less polarizing Alawite candidate emerges • Tehran remains unconvinced • Plan aims to cement narrative that Russia is regaining its mantle as a key Mideast player.

Syrian President Bashar Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin [Archive]
Photo credit: Reuters

Eli Leon, Daniel Siryoti, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff


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Andrew Torba Talks Fighting Internet Censorship and His New Site 'Gab' -


An alternative to leftist-controlled social media.

Below are the video and transcript to Andrew Torba's speech at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2016 Restoration Weekend. The event was held Nov. 10th-13th at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Andrew Torba from DHFC on Vimeo.

Well, folks, it's great to be here, and it feels fantastic to finally win, but now it's time to get to work.  We can't get tired.  We have to take our culture back.  We have to take our media back if we're going to win.  So I have two quotes here to start off, and one is from John Milton, and one is from Charles Bukowski.  So one is, "Give me the liberty to know, to utter and to argue freely, according to conscience above all liberties."  And I believe this is the most important liberty because unless we can speak freely, we can't get truth out to the people.  And this is something that is being suppressed on the Internet, whether you realize it or not.  So, as was mentioned, I worked in Silicon Valley, lived and worked in Silicon Valley for a few years, and I since escaped and made headway to Texas, home of some more conservatives and some more conservative thinkers, but while I was there, I got some insight into what Facebook and Google and Twitter and all of these companies are doing to push their agenda on billions of people that are using their products each and every day, and I saw this stuff happening firsthand. 

And what I'm going to show you today, I'm going to run through a few examples, but these are only just a handful, and this stuff is happening every single day.  And the nature of censorship is that you don't know that it's happening until it's already too late because you're not seeing things because they're being censored.  So let's go through just a few examples here, and the first one is myself.  So I kept my politics to myself for 5 years that I was in the tech industry, up until about 6 months ago, and when I finally came out as a pro-Trump, Republican, conservative Christian, I started getting suppressed.  I started being blacklisted.  I started having people cancel their memberships with my prior company.  I worked in an ad site company, where I was working with Facebook, Twitter, and Google, helping digital advertisers, and I started getting banned.  So the trailer that you saw right before Milo got on stage the other day, I shared that on my Facebook, and I was banned for 24 hours for sharing that because I have 40,000 followers, and I'm a very influential person on Facebook. And because I shared that trailer that you saw the other day, I was banned for 24 hours, shut up completely.  Just this weekend, Y Combinator, which I was a part of back in 2015 with my first company, decided to blacklist me and ban me from their network.  Why?  Because I said build the wall on Twitter, and they had some of their other founders who felt that they were unsafe by my statement.  So they prioritized immigrant feelings over an American support for political policy and decided to completely blacklist me and shut me out completely from the network.  So I'm the first example of censorship as a great example.

Censorship happens in a lot of different ways, and some of it could be pushing a certain agenda, as you can see here.  So thousands of people are making this Google search every day, and what you get is a nice ad for the Clinton campaign when you're making a simple search of, what does it say here?  Tough to see.  When is Election Day, right?  So that's one example of just a small example of Google impressing their agenda on tens of thousands of people that are making tens of thousands of search queries every single day.  Another great example. Do you notice anything missing?  Our current president-elect.  So there are folks that are out there searching for information and for truth and for knowledge on the Internet and trusting these progressive Internet companies to give them some sense of reality, and what they're getting is a distorted sense of reality that fits the progressive agenda. 

Two great examples.  So over the past 18 months -- this has been going on for years, right?  And we all kind of just sat by and let it happen and excused it, and oh, it's just those progressives in Silicon Valley up to their no good again, but what started happening over the past 18 months, especially during this election cycle, is they started to suppress news, and this is not only happening in the United States, but it's happening in a global way.  So here you could see in Turkey, for example, they're shutting out actual journalists from Twitter and blacklisting them completely.  We saw journalists here, I mean, Milo Yiannopoulos, perfect example, completely banned from Twitter, blacklisted, not welcome back ever again, period.  They're shutting people up that don't agree with their agendas and that don't agree with what they believe in. 

Another great example, during the Orlando attack, I was covering this live for hours, sourcing information on Reddit, on Twitter.  I have a great understanding of the social consciousness of the social web, and I was trying to source news and information to get the facts out there.  Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, they were suppressing everything.  They were just shutting us up completely, blacklisting anything that we were posting, hiding it from any accessible view, and this was happening as breaking news is happening, they're trying to shut it down and suppress it. 

Another perfect example, I mean, it's no surprise to any of us that Silicon Valley leaders are extremely progressive and support Democratic candidates.  Well, President Obama decided to do an "ask me anything" on Twitter, and Twitter's CEO at the time, Dick Costolo, decided that he would start censoring and suppressing any controversial questions or tweets that were aimed at the president, just because. 

This is actually from last night.  I found this in my feed last night, and this is from Poland, where they are burning Facebook flags because they were banned for "hate speech."  And what these companies do is they have these very vague and ambiguous guidelines, where they can decide what is hate speech and what isn't, and what is harassment and what isn't, and these terms have become very subjective online, and they've really become defined as anything that does not fit their agenda. 

Here's another great example.  It's not only news.  It's not only conservative sources.  It's art, it's journalism, it's a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, one of the most iconic photos of all time that they're censoring, and this is just a few months ago.  I actually read this morning, right before I got on stage, of a burn victim who had his own personal photos suppressed and banned and censored from Facebook because they felt that it was too graphic, and that's very sad. 

So I've seen all of these things happening, and my tipping point was when I saw this.  So when I saw a whistle-blower come forward from Facebook's trending topics team, and for those of you who don't know, trending topics is this little product down here, and you can see I pulled this actually this weekend, this screenshot, and you can see a little bit of the agenda at work here with Trump University as one of the top talked about, according to Facebook, subjects.  So what had happened is a whistle-blower came forward from the trending topics team and said listen, we are actively suppressing conservative news, conservative sources, and conservative ideas from this product that is being used every month by over a billion people around the world.  So you have people like my younger brothers, who think that Facebook is the Internet, who think that Facebook is news.  And you also have, on the other end of the spectrum, my grandmother, who just came online for the first time, who thinks that Facebook is also the Internet and what is news.  And what they're doing is they're pushing their agendas and suppressing our ideas and our thoughts and our leaders and our sources from the news feed, so that they just get completely shut out.  This is what pushed me over the edge to take action.  I said you know what?  Conservatives have been complaining about these things, about the left owning media, and two great things that we've heard this weekend is that social media helped win this election.  I mean, 6 percent of people trust the news media.  Social media is the future.  It is new media, but the problem is that the left also owns that, and what I want to do is help us take it back and put it in control of the people, really, not just to control for conservatives, but for everybody, for everybody to speak freely and for truth to surface and not just political agendas of the person in charge of the network. 

So I took action, and I built something.  This is Gab.  Gab is the answer to the question that I asked Ann Coulter the other day.  I said Ann, conservatives are being suppressed online.  What can we do about it?  And she said we need to build our own network.  Well, that's what I did 90 days ago, and we launched on August 15, and now we have over 120,000 users from around the world.  We're a top 7,000 web site within 90 days.  That tells you how much demand there is out there for free speech and free expression and free thought on the Internet.  People are so sick and tired of being suppressed and shut up and censored that they're willing to move completely to a new network just to be able to speak freely. 

So Gab works functionally similar to Twitter in that it's short, microblogging-type posts.  We have 300 characters.  Unlike Twitter, you can edit your content, and unlike Twitter, we're not censoring trending topics.  Whatever people are talking about on Gab, that's what is going to trend, and instead of us enforcing what should or should not be seen by the user, we give you, the user, total control over your experience.  So what we do is we allow you to mute users that you don't want to see in your feed, and not only users, but also words, phrases, hashtags or topics.  So people can mute "hate words" or words that they deem to be harassing, or this could be something simple like I don't really like sports, so I'm going to block the NFL and a bunch of NFL teams, so that I still see your content on Sunday, but I don't see you talking about the game for 6 hours.  And the reason that we don't have blocking is because blocking actually encourages the harassment behavior that we're seeing on Twitter, on Facebook, et cetera.  Blocking serves as a trophy or a badge of honor for the trolls, and I would know because I had a lot of them myself.  So here's some of the top Silicon Valley people and VCs that have blocked me from me calling them out on what they're doing. 

And one of the ways that we've innovated is, okay, so how do you prevent harassment?  Say someone is, you can't block them, so how do you prevent this harassment?  Well, if you mute a user on Gab, we then created what's called a spam folder, and similar to the spam folder in your email inbox, it's something that you're probably not going to check that often, but you still have the option to check it.  So if someone's bothering you, you just simply mute them, and any of their engagement with you will go into the spam folder, and you won't be bothered anymore. 

So like I said, we launched actually August 15, believe it or not.  We have 120,000 users within under 90 days, and this is all across the globe.  You can see some of our top ten countries here.  We have a global rank.  We're a top 33,000 web site in the world within 90 days.  We're a top 7,000 web site in the United States within 90 days, and our growth is exploding.  This has all been through word of mouth.  We are completely bootstrapped.  We haven't taken a dime in funding.  We are completely supported by our community and by the people, and our mission is to put people first and promote free speech and expression, and we have some of the top conservative influencers and new media thinkers already on Gab.  So Milo's already on Gab, Michelle Malkin.  I just talked to Ann yesterday.  She's going to get on Gab.  A lot of the people that have been speaking, I've been speaking to this weekend, we're going to get them on Gab.  But I want to really, it's really important for me to express that Gab is not a conservative network.  We've had VICE and Salon and the mainstream media try to label us, actually, believe it or not, as the racist Twitter alternative simply for having a lot of prominent conservatives on the site.  Gab is for everybody.  All are welcome.  We welcome everybody, and we're trying to protect and promote free speech on the Internet and take it back from the censorious Big Brother progressives in Silicon Valley. 

So thank you so much for your time, and if you want to learn more, you can find me after.  Thank you.


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