Saturday, February 11, 2017

Are Jews Indigenous to the Land of Israel? - Ryan Bellerose

by Ryan Bellerose

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

It is my belief that strengthening Jewish identity is the optimum way to fight against the perpetuation of false narratives and lies.

As an indigenous activist—I am a Métis from the Paddle Prairie Metis settlement in Alberta, Canada—there is one question I am most often asked by the public, one that can instantly divide a community due to its intense and arduous subject matter.

Yet, regardless of the scenario, each time I hear the words, “Are Jews the indigenous people of Israel?” I’m inclined to answer not only with my heart but with the brutal, honest truth, backed by indisputable, thousands-year-old historical and archaeological fact: yes.

While evidence in favor of this view is overwhelming, activists who oppose Israel’s right to exist and deny the Jewish people’s connection to the land—perhaps before learning where indigenous status stems from and what it means—still have an issue with this claim, supporting a narrative built on falsehoods that today is basically acknowledged as fact.

It is my belief that strengthening Jewish identity is the optimum way to fight against the perpetuation of false narratives and lies. This can be achieved only through an indigenous decolonization of Jewish identity, which would urge Jews to see themselves through a Jewish lens and manifest the indigenous aspects of Jewish identity in a meaningful way.

Now, to understand indigeneity, one must also understand indigenous people, how we see ourselves, and how we see the world. At its simplest, indigenous status stems from the genesis of a culture, language, and traditions in conjunction with its connections to an ancestral land, most commonly derived from ties to pre-colonial peoples. Once a people have such a cultural, linguistic, and spiritual genesis as well as a coalescence as a people, they are generally acknowledged as an indigenous people.

An anthropologist named José Martínez Cobo, who served as the UN’s special rapporteur on discrimination against indigenous populations, developed a simple checklist in order to make indigenous status easier to understand. Even though that checklist has since been adjusted—I would argue, to fit the UN’s anti-Israel agenda—it remains the standard for most anthropologists in the field today:
Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing on those territories, or parts of them. They form at present nondominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system.
This historical continuity may consist of the continuation, for an extended period reaching into the present of one or more of the following factors:
a) Occupation of ancestral lands, or at least of part of them;
b) Common ancestry with the original occupants of these lands;
c) Culture in general, or in specific manifestations (such as religion, living under a tribal system, membership of an indigenous community, dress, means of livelihood, lifestyle, etc.);
d) Language (whether used as the only language, as mother-tongue, as the habitual means of communication at home or in the family, or as the main, preferred, habitual, general or normal language);
e) Residence on certain parts of the country, or in certain regions of the world;
f) Other relevant factors.
As a guideline, the Martínez Cobo study is fairly clear and gives us a way to avoid falling prey to false claims. However, there is one section—which, as far as I can tell, wasn’t in Cobo’s earliest definition—that has been referred to as problematic by many indigenous activists. This section refers to “nondominant sectors of society,” which is directly related to the issue of Jews as an indigenous people. It implies that by being “nondominant,” you have yet to realize self-determination. Ergo, if a group has achieved self-determination (i.e., the Jewish people or the Fijians), they will no longer meet the checklist as indigenous.

Seeing how the goal of all indigenous peoples is to achieve self-determination on their ancestral lands, it’s basically the most egregious example of a Catch-22.

You might be wondering why this seemingly throwaway line about “prevailing societies and non-dominant sectors” was included when it’s so clearly counterintuitive to our goals as indigenous peoples. It is my belief that it was inserted to deny indigenous status to one specific people, in fact, the only people who have actually achieved full self-determination on their ancestral lands: the Jewish people.

Why else would the United Nations include a caveat that basically denies indigenous peoples’ identity if we actually win in our struggle?


Archaeology, genealogy, and history all support the Jewish claim to indigeneity. A debate on this issue only even exists because we’ve been fed a false narrative that Palestinian Arabs also hold a claim to the land of Israel. Not to say that two peoples can’t be indigenous to one land. The Palestinians do indeed have the legitimate “rights of longstanding presence” in Israel, but this does not trump the indigenous status of Jewish people, 90 percent of whom can directly trace their genetics to the Levant. The cultural genesis, spirituality, language, and ancestral ties of Palestinian Arabs, however, trace back to the Hejaz (a region in present-day Saudi Arabia). In the Quran, the Hejaz is where Muhammad was born and where he established a community of followers.

To say that Palestinian Arabs were the first inhabitants of the land of Israel is problematic for actual indigenous people like the Jewish people, the Amazigh, the Copts, the Assyrians, the Samaritans, and others who were forcefully conquered, subsumed, and converted. It would literally be akin to white Europeans in North America making that same claim. Conquering peoples can still become indigenous through cultural genesis and coalescence. They cannot, however, become indigenous simply through conquering indigenous people.

Indigenous status is specific to certain areas, just as in North America, where certain tribes are indigenous to specific regions. The same rules should be applied in the Middle East. Just as the Cree would not claim Mohawk territories, Arabs should not try to claim Jewish, Amazigh, Kurdish, or Assyrian territories. Each of those peoples have clearly defined territories that date to pre-colonial times.

The primary argument promoting the false narrative that Jews are not indigenous to the land of Israel is that they are actually the descendants of European colonizers. This can be easily rebuked. Recent studies support the notion that some 80 percent of Jewish males, and 50 percent of Jewish females, can trace their ancestry to the Middle East. Early population genetics studies also confirm that “most Jewish Diaspora groups originated in the Middle East.”

Another study shows that even the first European Ashkenazi Jews were at least half Middle Eastern.
The next argument against Jews being an indigenous people derives from the fact that Abraham was from Ur. And, while he is considered the father of the Jewish people, they did not become a people in Ur but in the Levant—specifically, in modern-day Judea and Samaria.

According to Jewish tradition and spirituality, the Torah was given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, but they had their cultural Genesis in the land of Israel. Of the 613 mitzvot, the vast majority can only be completed in the land of Israel. The Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people are all buried in the land of Israel. The holiest sites in Judaism are located—you guessed it—in the land of Israel. Abraham was indeed from Ur, but the people who stemmed from him are, without a doubt, from Israel.
This is closely related to the issue of Jerusalem, which both Palestinian Muslims and Israeli Jews claim as their own. One need only look to the Tanakh, where Jerusalem is mentioned an astounding 699 times, and then to the Quran, where Jerusalem is not mentioned even once, to resolve this dispute.

Then there is the Canaanite argument, a relatively newer piece of Palestinian propaganda that argues—because the Torah claims that the Canaanites were driven out by the Israelites—that Jews are therefore not indigenous to Israel. Archaeologists suggest, however, that the Canaanites were in fact not destroyed at all, but subsumed by the ascendant Hebrew people.

It appears that once Palestinian Arabs realized their claim to being descendants of the Philistines was false—as the Philistines, derived from the Hebrew word peleshet, have no connection ethnically, linguistically, or historically to the people of Arabia—they decided that they were descended from Canaanites instead.

In a 2012 speech, a spokesperson for Mahmoud Abbas said, “The nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7,000-year history B.C.E. This is the truth, which must be understood, and we have to note it, in order to say: ‘Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.’ ”

This comment from the Abbas camp is complete rubbish, just one on a laundry list of Palestinian misnomers. First, the Canaanites have been extinct for 3,000 years and little is known today about their direct descendants. Second, pre-Islamic Arabs—of whom Palestinians are direct descendants—first appeared only in the 9th century BCE, not in 7000 BCE. Third, in 1946, before the establishment of Modern Israel, Palestinian-Arab leaders themselves only claimed a connection to the land of Israel dating back no further than seventh century CE—when Muhammad’s followers conquered North Africa and the surrounding region. You may also want to ask: What spiritual, cultural, or traditional constructs of the Canaanite people have Palestinian Arabs maintained? The answer is none.

But this should not be surprising. Even the most novice researcher looking into falsehoods perpetrated by Palestinian leaders would quickly find other blatant lies aimed at delegitimizing the history of the Jewish people, like the time Yasser Arafat told Bill Clinton there was never a Jewish temple in Jerusalem, or the time Ekrima Sabri, former Jerusalem mufti and chairman of the Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem, said, “After 25 years of digging, archaeologists are unanimous that not a single stone has been found related to Jerusalem’s alleged Jewish history.”

These are the proponents of the false narrative attempting to rebuke the indigenous status of the Jewish people in the land of Israel.

I got involved in this struggle because I was seeing nonindigenous people make arguments that are detrimental to actual indigenous people, arguments that attempt to rewrite our history. The idea that “Palestinian Arab” conquerors could become indigenous through conquering the Jewish people, even though the term “Palestinian” was only used in reference to Jews before 1948, is anathema. While Arabs claim to be related to the descendants of Israel through blood, it’s just another way to say that they acted like all conquerors, raping and pillaging and then settling and subsuming the locals. Native North Americans especially understand that simply conquering indigenous people does not grant one indigenous status.

Building a monument over our sacred places does not make them yours (Mount Rushmore, anyone?) Not any more than UNESCO declaring the Temple Mount to be a Muslim sacred site because they built a mosque over the church that was built over the ruins of the Jewish Temple. It’s a basic tradition in the Western ethos to respect those who came before you; it’s even built into most of our laws to respect prior claim, and that’s what indigenous rights are really all about. Respecting the rights of those who came before you.

Read more from Tablet magazine about the legal definitions of Jewish indigenous rights here.


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Trump is turning America into a Global Energy Champion - Christopher Mendoza

by Christopher Mendoza

Trump’s “America First” energy plan will actually help Washington build stronger bridges with other countries.

After a painful, Obama-induced decline, worsened by a sustained slump in oil prices, the U.S. oil and gas industry is finally staging a comeback. While the liberal elite wastes no opportunity to decry Trump’s “America First” energy plan, a more sober look will actually show that not only is the policy a godsend for the industry, but it will actually help Washington build stronger bridges with other countries.

After a lengthy slump, last December’s OPEC agreement to lower production has set the stage for America’s fossil fuel resurgence. Saudi Arabia’s commitment to cut production by 1.2 million barrels a day, with additional cuts by other OPEC members and non-members, led Goldman Sachs to predict oil prices will rise to around $60 per barrel in the first half of 2017. U.S. shale production has declined by about 1 million barrels a day since hitting a peak in April of 2015, but output has stabilized in recent months -- during a period when oil prices were still at $50 a barrel. A price hike like the one predicted by Goldman Sachs promises to accelerate that recovery -- and it was already confirmed by a recent Drilling Productivity Report released by the Energy Information Administration, which showed that crude oil output will continue to rise in the following months.

These developments promise a golden future for the American fossil fuel industry. As oil prices increase again, it has become clear that OPEC has had to relinquish its once tight grip on the global energy market. In fact, the OPEC agreement is nothing short of a surrender to American shale, which has elevated the U.S. into the position of the world’s pre-eminent swing producer. This means that American shale now has the power to dictate global oil price fluctuations in the future, in line with predictions made last year by Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, now Secretary of State.

While Obama’s anti-oil policies hastened the energy industry’s decline, Trump’s pro-oil stance is already attracting new investments into U.S. oil production. For example, Saudi Arabia seeks to invest more heavily in the U.S. oil sector in order to better align the U.S. and Saudi economies and build a stronger relationship with Washington. Since the kingdom rolled out its Vision 2030, an economic diversification plan designed to reduce its reliance on oil, the sheiks have embarked on a worldwide campaign to win the hearts and minds of investors to help them achieve their objectives. To that end, the Saudis have requested proposals from banks including Morgan Stanley and HSBC on the initial public offering of state-owned Aramco, the world’s largest oil firm, while looking towards markets in New York, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. They found a willing audience in the U.K., where the post-Brexit government of Theresa May is fast at work sealing a free trade agreement with Riyadh and its Gulf neighbors. While Saudi Arabia will undoubtedly profit from the influx of capital, this long-term Saudi move away from an oil-based economy tellingly points towards the cementation of American oil’s primacy on the global energy market.

By following through on his campaign trail promises to “lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks” and boost fossil fuels, Trump’s revival of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines has swiftly brought to an end obstacles from the past designed to prevent oil from reaching its full potential. The decision to relaunch the pipeline projects was enthusiastically welcomed in Canada, where Obama’s energy policies, and particularly his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, had badly damaged bilateral relations. Not surprisingly, Canadian PM Trudeau has come out in strong support of Trump’s decision, which he says will provide jobs and a much-needed economic boost for Canadians.

But that’s only half the picture. “America First” will deliver a stunning blow to the mandarins in China, who will finally be shut out of the U.S. Over the last 15 years, Chinese companies were allowed to invest $7.4 billion in Texas, most of which went towards the oil and gas industry. One Chinese investment firm spent $1.3 billion on Texan oil fields in 2015 alone. Thankfully, the Chinese push to penetrate the American oil industry and compromise our energy security will no longer be that easy, as Trump has taken a hard line stance against China’s encroachment. Add to this the possibility of slapping the Chinese with a 45% import tariff and speaking out on Beijing’s currency manipulations, and China’s U.S. plans will be stifled before more damage is done. With the Saudis reaching out to the U.S., Washington has very little to lose from a potential shift in Chinese investment.

Donald Trump is shaking up the old guard dominating the global oil market, and as energy prices recover and the administration rolls out its fossil fuel friendly packages, the momentum will be unstoppable. For the U.S., and much of the world, this will be a blessing. 

Christopher Mendoza


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Trojan Horses in Women's Movement - Khadija Khan

by Khadija Khan

The hypocrisy is that her bold lifestyle in the US portrays that deep down, she herself loathes the suppressing conditions that she likes promoting for the poor women of the Muslim world who actually have to live with them.

  • It must be so convenient, while marching in the safe confines of Washington DC, to advocate that other women -- far away -- be genitally mutilated, married off in childhood, and beaten and violated in their own homes. These women in hijabs marching on Washington do not have to live in this "Utopia." They are comfortably living in the "infidel West," protected from such barbarity.
  • The Western culture that allows women to shout into microphones is not even necessarily the culture these women believe in; it is often just a tool they use to promote totalitarian ideas such as anti-Semitism, religious intolerance and imposition of theocratic beliefs.
  • Does Linda Sarsour really think that people have gone so mad that they will give up the civil liberties that their ancestors earned through the centuries, merely for interest-free loans?
  • The hypocrisy is that Sarsour's bold lifestyle in the US portrays that deep down she herself loathes the suppressing conditions that she promotes for the poor women of the Muslim world, who actually have to live with them. Coming from a conservative Muslim society, I know the culture she yearns for would never allow her to launch such activism without permission from her "guardian" men.
  • The dissenting voices of the oppressed are fighting on two fronts. They are being crushed by their own totalitarian regimes and at the same time by Western apologists for these tyrants.
Why do women who believe in equal rights for women, pick as their spokesperson someone who one minute boasts of her supposed dissent as "patriotism," while the next minute advocating chopping off other womens' genitals? It is like choosing a hangman to campaign against the death penalty, or the head of ISIS to campaign for same sex marriages.

The principles of "dissent," of which they claim to be so proud, and to have borrowed from religious sources, are actually the modern world's liberal values and human rights -- just those rights values they seem to be trying to destroy.

From the other side of their mouths, however, they are trying to impose Islamic sharia law on the West. Unfortunately, sharia is openly antagonistic to Western values and human rights.

How can cults that believe in dominating others call themselves progressive, when their entire message runs counter to the spirit of tolerance and social coexistence?

The champions of sharia have always said they wish to establish a "righteous" form of government, made by divine law, and presumably to that end, they implant their set of rules -- such as allowing no debate or criticism on their beliefs, or such as segregating sexes -- to destroy modern democracies.

It must be so convenient, while marching on Washington DC, to advocate that other women -- far away -- be genitally mutilated, married off in childhood, and domestically beaten and violated -- and all the while, in the safe confines of Washington, to stay silent on issues of truly massive abuse: floggings; acid burnings; chopping off limbs or heads, or burning, drowning or burying people alive.

These women in hijabs marching on Washington DC do not have to live in this "Utopia." They are comfortably living in the "infidel West', protected from such barbarity.

The values they are enjoying here are the values of the enlightened world and have nothing to do with the culture they are trying to impose on others.

The culture that is allowing women such as Linda Sarsour to shout into microphones is not even necessarily the culture these women believe in; it is often just the culture they are using to promote totalitarian ideas such as anti-Semitism, religious intolerance and the imposition of theocratic beliefs through infiltration or force.

The culture to which Sarsour says she aspires, allows mutilating women but does not allow women to speak in a loud tone, let alone speaking through microphones. Hence, she owes her current privileges to her American identity.

Muslim activist Linda Sarsour one minute boasts of her supposed dissent as "patriotism," while the next minute advocates chopping off other womens' genitals. (Image source: Seriously.TV video screenshot)

Sarsour stated in a tweet on May 13, 2015: "You'll know when you're living under Sharia Law if suddenly all your loans & credit cards become interest free. Sound nice, doesn't it?"

Then she wrote on an April 29, 2014 tweet: "@RobertWildiris I don't drink alcohol, don't eat pork, I follow Islamic way of living. That's all Sharia law is."

It would be nice if the only requirements of sharia were avoiding alcohol or pork were; there happens, however, to be an ocean of dos and don'ts that fall into the category of "I follow Islamic way of living."

The ocean Sarsour never bothered to mention, but that the world witnesses every day, exists from the Saudi palaces to the caves of Afghanistan and Raqqa.

The culture that Sarsour desires to impose on the world -- along with promises to waive interest on loans -- does not allow women to interact with unrelated men, drive cars, ride bicycles, attend sports events, leave the house without permission, or wear makeup and clothes that reveal their body parts, let alone address a crowd.

Women would also need four male witnesses to prove a rape, or risk being stoned to death for "adultery."

Does Sarsour really think that people have gone so mad that they will give up all of their civil liberties and freedom that their ancestors earned through the centuries, merely for interest free loans?

The hypocrisy is that her bold lifestyle in the US portrays that deep down, she herself loathes the suppressing conditions that she likes promoting for the poor women of the Muslim world who actually have to live with them.

How would these women in hijabs like to spend a few weeks under the totalitarian regimes about which they love to brag?

Three British girls who followed the call of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi slipped into Syria to join the jihad, only to be desperate over the mistake they had made; one is believed dead.

Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, intoxicated by ISIS propaganda, entered Syria to join the holy mission and be ISIS brides.

Sultana reportedly was killed in a Russian airstrike while too scared to try an escape from ISIS, fearing extreme torture and public execution if caught.

The whereabouts of the other two are still unknown, apart from rare contact reported between them and their families.

Sophie Kasiki, a French girl who also managed to break away from the ISIS stronghold in Raqqa with her four-year-old son, said she risked death if caught to try to save her son. She defined the ordeal of being with ISIS as "a journey into a hell from which there seemed no return."

Samra Kesinovic, a 17 year old Austrian girl, was reportedly beaten to death by ISIS fighters when she was caught trying to flee, after being "gifted" by her partner to another ISIS fighter as a sex slave.

The irony is that Linda Sarsour and her followers say they love Hamas and caliphates like the one established by Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi, or Saudi and Iranian regimes -- but of course they do not live in them.

Sarsour has doubtless been put forward by men to promote their soft image as they themselves cannot boast about the rights they are giving to their women.

Coming from a conservative Muslim society, I know the culture she yearns for would never allow her to launch such activism without permission from her "guardian" men.

How come she forgot to mention that in Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim states, her kind of activism would cost a woman her family, her honour and probably her life.

A court in the state of Washington suspended the ban on travelers from seven mainly Muslim countries imposed by the President Trump last week.

Would any judge or influential person dare refute the order of, say, the Saudi King, a sharia council of Iran, a member of a royal family from a Middle Eastern country, a military dictator or the Hamas leaders Sarsour apparently so admires?

You cannot even imagine in your worst nightmares dissenting in those sharia-compliant territories, but yes, dissent is allowed in the US and the West, where people are freely allowed to speak their thoughts.

These are not the values of the alien land she professes to admire; these were fought for and earned by the people of the West with their blood.

The progressives' one-sided love affair with extremists will never serve the purpose of promoting equality.

In fact, it could be counterproductive. In Egypt, the conservative men used women as protestors to overthrow Husni Mubarak's regime, but once the Muslim Brotherhood, which spearheaded the Morsi regime, took control, the whole world watched in shock as they imposed sharia on everyone -- most of all on those women. The Morsi regime later punished women who protested the Iranian-style sharia that it was imposing.

The same imams who were the moving spirits behind Egypt's revolution were then delivering fatwas [religious opinions] to rape the same women who had been marching in the streets for their rights. According to al Arabiyya:
"An Egyptian Salafi preacher, said raping and sexually harassing women protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square is justified, calling them "crusaders" who "have no shame, no fear and not even feminism.... Abu Islam added that these women activists are going to Tahrir Square not to protest but to be sexually abused because they had wanted to be raped...And by the way, 90 percent of them are crusaders and the remaining 10 percent are widows who have no one to control them.. "
Around 80 women were molested in one night alone, when the Morsi government was ousted and people came out to celebrate his departure.

Those are the views Sarsour is trying to sell.

The same men these liberals and progressives are trying to empower, once enthroned, would declare them apostates and inflict the worst imaginable punishments on them for the "crimes" they are committing by promoting the set of values they think bring harmony in the world.

The dissenting voices of the oppressed are fighting on two fronts. They are being crushed by their own totalitarian regimes and at the same time by apologists for these tyrants whom the marchers are empowering -- probably without even realizing what massive harm they are doing.
Khadija Khan is a Pakistan-based journalist and commentator.

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The Ninth Circuit: Dangerously Out of Order - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

Black-robed politicians on the Left Coast handcuff Trump, keeping the borders wide open for terrorists.

Three unelected federal judges in San Francisco yesterday ordered the Trump administration to continue accepting visitors and would-be immigrants from seven dangerous countries that are incubators of Muslim terrorism.

When President Trump learned his temporary ban on the admission of aliens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen that was put on hold Feb. 3 by Seattle-based Judge James L. Robart would continue in abeyance, he got on Twitter immediately.

At 6:35 p.m. Eastern time he tweeted in all caps: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”

The open-borders crowd doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on. That may be why at a press conference celebrating the outrageous ruling, a member of Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s (D) team deployed the phrase “social justice” to justify the decision. “Social justice” is a magical amulet that nullifies anything the Left doesn’t like, including the president’s executive order. Its very invocation is an admission that a cause is illegitimate and un-American.

The Ninth Circuit’s fairy dust-based decision is “an intellectually dishonest piece of work,” said retired Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Tucker Carlson was in fine form last night as he roughed up the platitude-spouting, Haitian-born District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine (D) on television.

Racine, who supported the lawsuit by filing an amicus brief, absurdly argued EO 13769 was “discriminatory to a certain religion” and therefore violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause.

Carlson retorted that “there is a precedent for singling out people for special treatment because of religion” and that the U.S. had used “explicit religious tests until pretty recently.” Until September 1988, he said, the U.S. granted refugee status to Soviet Jews because they were persecuted in their home country.

Probably the two most insane legal principles invented in the decision are (1) that everyone, everywhere on the planet enjoys due process rights under the U.S. Constitution, and 2) that courts can second-guess a national security-related executive order based on something other than the actual words in the order.

That a panel of the notoriously left-wing U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit committed this unlawful, unconstitutional atrocity is not surprising but it is still unsettling. In the decision Judges William C. Canby, Richard R. Clifton, and Michelle T. Friedland, substituted their vision of how to conduct foreign affairs for the nation’s elected president. The ruling not only violates separation of powers but also constitutes an attack on the status of the president as Commander-in-Chief charged with protecting the United States.

Conservatives who follow judicial affairs know that no other court compares to the Ninth Circuit. In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court reversed an incredible 86 percent of the decisions it reviewed from that court. The circuit previously struck down the Pledge of Allegiance because it contained the phrase “under God.” It has also found that citizens have no constitutional right to own guns. Some call the court the “Ninth Circus” and the “Nutty Ninth,” and for good reason. (The ruling in Washington and Minnesota v. Trump may be read here at the Ninth Circuit’s website.)

The litigation arose out of Executive Order 13769, which President Trump signed Jan. 27. The order, which isn’t much different from an executive order President Obama signed a few years ago dealing with the same seven countries, is titled “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States.”

The idea behind EO 13769 was to put a brief pause on the admission of aliens from the terrorism-plagued countries so the new administration could devise new strategies for dealing with visitors from those countries in ways that enhance, as opposed to imperil, U.S. national security. It also indefinitely halts the entry of Syrian refugee applicants because they can’t be properly vetted and many of them are no doubt jihadists posing as bona fide migrants.

Meanwhile, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), whose state challenged the travel ban, rejoiced at the Ninth Circuit ruling. He wasted no time shooting back at Trump.
I just saw a tweet from the president. He said, see you in court. Well, Mr. President, we just saw you in court, and we beat you, and you ought to think about this because these courts have said this is unconstitutional and it will not stand. And we’re hopeful that that happens. If it doesn't Washington State's going to continue its fight.
Inslee’s gloating over the Left Coast court’s ruling may be short-lived. Legal observers say even with the current 4-4 ideological split on the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump would still stand a good chance of prevailing there.

As Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sees it, the case shouldn’t even be before the courts because the law is so clearly on the president’s side.

"President Trump's order to temporarily pause the refugee program and travel from seven war-torn countries is plainly legal under the Constitution and our immigration laws,” Cotton said.

“No foreigner has a constitutional right to enter the United States and courts ought not second-guess sensitive national-security decisions of the president,” he said.

“This misguided ruling is from the Ninth Circuit, the most notoriously left-wing court in America and the most reversed court at the Supreme Court,” he said. “I'm confident the administration's position will ultimately prevail."

Daniel Horowitz seemed to anticipate the kooky ruling in a recent column at Conservative Review.

“The ubiquitous notion,” he wrote, “among the political and legal establishment that there are any constitutional limitations on our sovereign right to exclude any immigrant for any reason is the most dangerous constitutional crisis we are facing in the coming months.”

Two centuries of case law, he adds, “the accepted laws of nation states, and the principles of the social compact, popular sovereignty, and jurisdictional sovereignty, the American people — as expressed through their elected representatives — have the right to exclude or deport any non-citizen for any reason.”

Obviously, Horowitz and Cotton are right.

According to 8 U.S. Code § 1182:
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may … suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.
Of course, there are limits to what the highest court in the land is willing to do. It bent over backwards to avoid conflict with the executive branch by upholding the grotesquely unconstitutional Obamacare law forcing Americans to purchase health insurance. Would it dare challenge a president in the area of foreign affairs and national security where a president’s authority is at its highest ebb?

For the high court to give a U.S. president the finger by ignoring the text of this clearly-worded federal statute would be nearly unthinkable and truly earth-shattering. It would create a constitutional crisis the likes of which the republic hasn’t seen in a very long time. It seems unlikely the U.S. Supreme Court would want to generate so much intense political heat.

But even if Trump continues to face resistance from leftists on the bench who make up stuff to arrive at preordained results, he doesn’t have to play by the legal Left’s rules by limiting his fight to the current litigation. He could moot the Ninth Circuit’s ruling by issuing a new executive order or by issuing a series of executive orders dealing with the individual subjects addressed by his original executive order.

This is chess, not checkers, and a president has a lot more moves available to him than judges do. There is absolutely no reason for him to limit his efforts to protect the homeland to his opponents’ turf in the judiciary.

This brings us to the larger problem of judicial supremacism, which isn’t anything new. But the Ninth Circuit’s boneheaded decision illustrates how unelected people in black robes can expose us to grave threats in an age in which Muslim terrorists want to annihilate America and Western Civilization.

Courts arrogate jurisdiction to themselves, taking authority away from the people’s representatives. To the Left, everything is justiciable, and that’s the problem. And this lust for power is going to get Americans killed.

It could be said that from Honolulu to Baltimore, a curtain fashioned of black cloth has descended over the country.

The courts take on too many cases they have no business hearing. In too many instances, judges recognize no limits on their authority. This is wrong. This is not what the Framers of the Constitution wanted.

It is not even what Chief Justice John Marshall wanted when he invented American-style judicial review in Marbury v. Madison. “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is,” wasn’t intended to be a gateway to judicial dictatorship.

At long last limits must be imposed on judicial review.

When unelected judges seize power they are not supposed to have and thumb their noses at We The People by rejecting the Constitution and the unambiguous language of a congressionally approved statute specifically giving the president discretion regarding the admission of aliens, it is time for a revolution against those usurping judges.

Americans fought a long and bloody war to win independence from an oppressive mother country.

Now they must fight a new war against this judicial tyranny that has darkened the American landscape.

Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


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The Fall of Aleppo - Fabrice Balanche

by Fabrice Balanche

-- it is clear that only when the two superpowers put aside their differences and pull together their military and diplomatic resources can the Islamic State be defeated and the Syrian civil war ended.

Summary account by Marilyn Stern, Middle East Forum Communications Coordinator.

The fall of Aleppo was a turning point in the Syrian civil war. In an impressive feat, the Russian-backed Syrian army dealt a crushing blow to the rebel forces, driving many of them to entertain a compromise with the Assad regime.

This by no means implies that the war's end is anywhere in sight. With the regime in possession of merely one third of Syria's territory (and two thirds of the population), it now needs to gain control of the northwestern province of Idlib, with its 50,000-strong mainly Islamist rebels, in order to consolidate its Aleppo gains and to establish a sustainable land corridor to the Alawite region along the Mediterranean coast.

No less important, the Kurds seem determined to follow up the summer 2016 occupation of Manbij by seizing the strategically-located town of al-Bab, so as to establish contiguity between the Kurdish areas of Afrin and Kobane. This, however, will be anathema not only to the Assad regime but also to Ankara, which is fiercely opposed to Kurdish unification and which launched an armed incursion into Syria, with Moscow's tacit approval, to prevent this eventuality. Should the Turks respond to the fall of al-Bab by attacking the Kurds, this will greatly complicate Washington's hopes for a Kurdish offensive against the Islamic State's capital of Raqqa.

Bashar and Asmaa al-Assad have much to celebrate after the fall of Aleppo.

But even if the Raqqa offensive were to materialize, it is unlikely that Moscow and Tehran would allow eastern Syria to fall under the sway of the Western-Gulf-propped rebels (or to remain under ISIS control for that matter). For one thing, given this area's vast natural resources (notably oil, gas, wheat, and cotton), it is certain to play a crucial role in Syria's economic reconstruction. For another, Sunni control of eastern Syria would disrupt the territorial contiguity of the Shiite crescent - from Iran to Lebanon - that Tehran has been busy creating for some time.

As things are, while the internal Syrian opposition appears to have all but crumbled after the fall of Aleppo, the regime still confronts an uphill struggle. Though it looks likely to reassert its authority over western Syria with the support of its Russian and Iranian patrons (apart, perhaps, from a small Turkish enclave in northwestern Syria), the situation in the Kurdish areas and in eastern Syria seems much less promising. Yet if the limited and indirect Russian-American cooperation against ISIS's recent Deir az-Zour offensive is something to go by, it is clear that only when the two superpowers put aside their differences and pull together their military and diplomatic resources can the Islamic State be defeated and the Syrian civil war ended. Given the present international circumstances, this may be a matter of years rather than months.

Fabrice Balanche, a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and associate professor at the University of Lyon 2, briefed the Middle East Forum on the Syrian crisis in a conference call on January 31, 2017.


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Iran's Apologists Still Pushing to Appease Tehran’s Mullahs - Hassan Mahmoudi

by Hassan Mahmoudi

The choice is between a firm stance against the mullahs’ regime, and supporting the will of the Iranian people in their quest to establish democracy.

After eight years, Barack Obama left the White House on Jan. 20, bringing an end to a failed policy of appeasement. This policy led to the spread of fundamentalist and state-sponsored terror, displaced millions, plunged the entire Middle East into instability, and cast a long shadow over the future of U.S. influence in the region.

Now with a new administration in Washington, President Donald Trump is facing tough challenges with regard to relations to Iran as a result of that legacy.

Based on a recent interview with Fox TV, Trump does mean to initiate a new approach. But he is up against an Iran that has become emboldened following the Obama nuclear deal, with Trump noting that it has resulted in an Iran that has become increasingly disrespectful to the U.S. and remains the number one state sponsor of terrorism.

Iran is still an uncontained regime. It continues to issue threats to pursue its expansionist ambitions and can be seen in its behavior. This is despite its being sidelined in the Syria ceasefire and suffering major military defeats in Yemen with its Houthi rebel proxies. These setbacks have only cornered Tehran into a defensive position.

Senior Iranian officials are now concerned about losing their influence and network across the region. At the same time, the mullahs are increasingly terrified of domestic uprisings similar to those of 2009. Last week alone, 76 protests were registered across Iran by teachers, college students, laborers and administrative workers.

It's a powder keg, and explains exactly why the mullahs are resorting to numerous executions and increased domestic crackdowns.

Iran still employs lobbyists and apologists abroad and they are concerned about major policy shifts in Washington. Their agenda is to attempt to annul or at least downgrade a possible firm U.S. policy vis-à-vis Tehran, by advocating the perception that any strong approach against the mullahs is the equivalent of marching to a “pro-war” tune.

To this end, they are pursuing two key objectives. First, they are advocating the continuation of more appeasement. Second, based on the logic of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend,' they have launched a hate campaign against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the main Iranian opposition group known to have first blown the whistle on Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Iran’s lobbyists are also very concerned about the revelation that the Obama administration provided them with unprecedented White House access. These Iran apologists have taken advantage of the Iran nuclear deal by claiming it promotes peace, and yet have reaped huge profits from the economic deals with Iran associated with it.

Iran apologists have also portrayed Iran’s role in the global war against terror as important. If the Trump administration’s priority in the region is to annihilate Daesh (ISIS/ISIL), they claim Washington needs a coalition with Russia - and Iran - meaning the U.S. must maintain the nuclear deal with Tehran.

This is happening while many world leaders have expressed concerns about how Iran has played a major role in allowing the spread of Daesh, especially in Iraq, and consider such a phenomenon a result of Obama’s appeasement policy.

Under the pretext of concerns over the new U.S. administration's policy on the Iran nuclear deal and possible imposing new sanctions, Iran's appeasers are actually preventing the new White House from containing Tehran’s sponsoring of terrorism, its meddling in the Middle East and its flagrant human rights violations.

Another tactic involves spreading the notion that Iran lacks any opposition, or at least is devoid of any democratic opposition to the mullahs. In pursuit of such a policy, they have focused on discrediting the MEK and the long slate of political figures in Washington in favor of a tough stance against Iran.

Twenty-three former senior U.S. officials recently signed a hand-delivered letter to President Trump emphasizing that Iranian intelligence is “covertly spreading false and distorted claims through third parties in the West”about the MEK.

While Iran's apologists are seemingly targeting the MEK, and complaining about U.S. dignitaries supposedly taking part in their events, their real issue is U.S. policy on Iran.

The choice is between a firm stance against the mullahs’ regime, and supporting the will of the Iranian people in their quest to establish democracy.

What it shows is that the Trump administration has an opportunity to support the Iranian people against the mullahs’ regime, and stand on the right side of history.

Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate, and a graduate of California State University, Sacramento.


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Beautiful Friendship - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

An unprecedented opportunity for the U.S.-Israel relationship is on the horizon.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Less than a week after he was inaugurated into office, President Donald Trump announced that he had repaired the US’s fractured ties with Israel. “It got repaired as soon as I took the oath of office,” he said.

Not only does Israel now enjoy warm relations with the White House. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in the US capital next week, he will be greeted by the most supportive political climate Israel has ever seen in Washington.

It is true that dangers to Israel’s ties with America lurk in the background. The radical Left is taking control of the Democratic Party.

But the forces now hijacking the party on a whole host of issues have yet to transform their hatred of Israel into the position of most Democratic lawmakers in Congress.

Democrats in both houses of Congress joined with their Republican counterparts in condemning UN Security Council Resolution 2334 that criminalized Israel. A significant number of Democratic lawmakers support Trump’s decision to slap new sanctions on Iran.

Similarly, radical Jewish groups have been unsuccessful in rallying the more moderate leftist Jewish leadership to their cause. Case in point is the widespread support Trump’s appointment of David Friedman to serve as his ambassador to Israel is receiving from the community.

Whereas J Street and T’ruah are circulating a petition calling for people to oppose his Senate confirmation, sources close to the issue in Washington say that AIPAC supports it.

Given this political climate, Netanyahu must use his meeting with Trump to develop a working alliance to secure Israel’s long-term strategic interests both on issues of joint concern and on issues that concern Israel alone.

The first issue on the agenda must be Iran.

Since taking office, Trump has signaled that unlike his predecessors, he is willing to lead a campaign against Iran. Trump has placed Iran on notice that its continued aggression will not go unanswered and he has harshly criticized Obama’s nuclear deal with the mullahs.

In the lead-up to his meeting with Trump, Netanyahu has said that he will present the new president with five options for scaling back Tehran’s nuclear program. No time can be wasted in addressing this problem.

Iran continues spinning its advanced centrifuges.

The mullahs are still on schedule to field the means to deploy nuclear warheads at will within a decade. Netanyahu’s task is to work with Trump to significantly set back Iran’s nuclear program as quickly as possible.

Then there is Syria. And Russia.

On Sunday, Trump restated his desire to develop ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Netanyahu must present Trump with a viable plan to reconstitute US-Russian ties in exchange for Russian abandonment of its alliance with Tehran and its cooperation with Iran and Hezbollah in Syria.

Here, too, time is of the essence.

According to news reports this week, President Bashar Assad is redeploying his forces to the Syrian border with Israel. Almost since the outset of the war in Syria six years ago, Assad’s forces have been under Iranian and Hezbollah control. If Syrian forces deploy to the border, then Iran and Hezbollah will control the border.

Israel cannot permit such a development. It’s not just that such a deployment greatly expands the risk of war. As long as Russia is acting in strategic alliance with Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, the deployment of Iranian-controlled forces to the border raises the real possibility that Israel will find itself at war with Russia in Syria.

Then there are the Sunnis. For the past six years, Netanyahu successfully withstood Obama’s pressure by developing an informal alliance with Sunni regimes that share its opposition to Iran and to the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to sources aware of the Trump administration’s strategic plans, the administration wishes to integrate Israel more strongly into Washington’s alliance structure with Sunni regimes. Israel, of course, has good reason to support this plan, particularly if it involves extending the US military’s Central Command to include Israel.

There are, however, significant limitations on the potential of Israel’s ties to Sunni regimes. First, there is the fact that all of these regimes are threatened by Islamist forces operating in their territory and on their borders.

As Israel Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel warned this week, Israel is concerned that in the event any of these regimes is overthrown, the advanced US weapons it fields will fall under the control of Islamist forces.

Then there is the fact that in exchange for taking their relations with Israel out of the proverbial closet, the Arabs will demand that Israel make concessions to the PLO.

This then brings us to the only subject the media is discussing in relation to Netanyahu’s upcoming meeting with Trump: Will Trump push Israel to make concessions to the PLO or won’t he? The short answer is that it doesn’t appear that Trump has the slightest intention of doing so.

Over the past week, the administration has made three statements about the Palestinians.

First, of course, was the White House’s statement about the so-called Israeli settlements that came out last Thursday.

Although nearly all media reports on the statement claimed it aligned Trump with his predecessors in opposition to Israel’s civilian presence in Judea and Samaria, the fact is that the statement was the most supportive statement any US administration has ever made about those communities.

Obama, of course rejected Israel’s right to any civilian presence beyond the 1949 armistice lines, including in Jerusalem. In his final weeks in office, Obama joined the international mob in falsely castigating Israeli communities in these areas as illegal.

George W. Bush for his part, made a distinction between the so-called settlement blocs and the more isolated Israeli villages in Judea and Samaria. He gave grudging and limited support for Israel’s right to respect the property rights of Jews in the former. He rejected Jewish property rights in the latter.

Trump repudiated both of these positions.

In its statement on Thursday, the administration made no distinction between Jewish property rights in any of the areas. Moreover, the statement did not even reject the construction of new Israeli communities.

According to the text of the statement, “the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving” the goal of peace.

But, then again, they may be helpful. And then again, they may have no impact whatsoever on the chance of achieving peace.

Not only did the administration’s statement not reject Israel’s right to build new communities, it rejected completely the position of Trump’s predecessors that Israeli communities are an obstacle to peace.

In the administration’s words, “We don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace.”

After renouncing the positions of its predecessors on Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, the administration then refused to say whether its vision for peace includes a Palestinian state.

In line with the Republican Party’s platform that makes no mention of support for Palestinian statehood, the Trump administration continues to question the rationale for supporting a policy that has failed for the past 95 years.

Finally, the administration said it had no comment on the regulations law this week regarding Jewish construction rights in Judea and Samaria.

All White House spokesman Sean Spicer would say was that it would be discussed in Trump’s meeting with Netanyahu.

This brings us back to that meeting, and how Netanyahu should broach the Palestinian issue.

Both from statements by administration sources since the election and from the administration’s refusal to speak with Palestinian Authority officials since Trump’s electoral victory, Trump and his top advisers have made clear that they see no upside to US support for the PLO.

They do not want to support the PLO and they do not want to be dragged into fruitless discussions between Israel and the PLO. For the past 24 years, US mediation of those discussions has weakened America’s position in the region, has weakened Israel and has empowered the PLO and anti-American forces worldwide.

According to sources with knowledge of the administration’s position, Trump views the Israeli- Palestinian conflict as an internal Israeli issue.

He expects Israel to deal with it and do so in a way that stabilizes the region and keeps the Palestinians out of the headlines, to the extent possible.

In this vein, sources with knowledge of administration considerations claim that last Thursday’s White House statement on Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria was in part the result of exasperation with Israel’s inability to keep quiet on the issue. Had Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman not announced that they were issuing permits for thousands of building starts in Judea and Samaria, the White House wouldn’t have felt compelled to issue a statement on the matter.

The administration’s desire to disengage from the PLO is well aligned with Israel’s strategic interests. No good has ever come to Israel from US support for the PLO. Moreover, Israel has achieved its greatest strategic successes in relation to determining its borders when it has kept its moves as low key as possible.

For instance, in 1981, when then-prime minister Menachem Begin applied Israeli law to the Golan Heights, he did so with no fanfare. Rather than loudly announcing Israel’s right to sovereignty over the area, Begin insisted that the move was done to satisfy administrative imperatives and that Israel would be willing to consider border corrections in the event that Syria became serious about peace at some later date.

Begin’s example should inform Netanyahu’s preparations for his meeting with Trump.

Unfortunately, Netanyahu does not seem to realize the implications of Trump’s lack of interest in following in his predecessors’ footsteps in relation to the PLO.

Over the past few weeks, Netanyahu has insisted that he wishes to coordinate his positions on the Palestinians with the administration. While he should take any concerns Trump voices to him on the issue into consideration, he should also make clear that the administration’s belief that no good has come to the US from its support for the PLO is well-founded. He should also explain Israel’s need to control Area C in perpetuity, and the problem with maintaining military administration of the area. Finally, he should assure Trump that Israel intends to secure its interests in Judea and Samaria in a way than does not impinge on US priorities.

Next week can be the beginning of a new era in Israel’s relations with the US. But to make the most of this unprecedented opportunity, Israel needs to recognize its role as America’s ally. It must take the necessary steps to perform that role, and it must free the administration from the shackles of the PLO while securing its long-term interests in Judea and Samaria unilaterally, and quietly.

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


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