Friday, March 10, 2017

Palestinians: Fake News and "Alternative Facts" - Bassam Tawil

by Bassam Tawil

This garbage is accepted as factual by many Palestinians and other Arabs.

  • There is no shortage of Palestinian and Arab news websites that publish hoaxes, propaganda, lies and disinformation disguised as real news. This garbage is accepted as factual by many Palestinians and other Arabs.
  • This is a form of incitement to which the West is deaf, largely because journalists working for Western mainstream media do not wish to understand what is being reported in Arabic, or even in English.
  • Blood libels against Jews were once thought to be part of the dark past. They are not. What do such stories accomplish? Excuses for the murder of Jews.
  • Another "new" old blood libel that Palestinians have been spreading against Israel claims that Israelis are flooding Palestinian communities with narcotics in order to spread moral corruption and destroy the health of Palestinians. This lie helps Palestinians avoid responsibility for the smuggling of drugs (by Palestinians) into the West Bank and Gaza Strip from Jordan and Egypt.
  • That leaves us with some questions: Where is the international community's exposure of the lies that fuel the Palestinian murder of Jews? And: Will the international community once again in history fail to speak the truth about the murder of Jews?
One after another, young Palestinians continue to carry out terrorist attacks against Jews. Why? We might start at the beginning: the campaign of incitement, indoctrination and lies that Palestinian media outlets wage against Israel. This campaign has poisoned the hearts and minds of millions of Arabs and Muslims. It ought to be no surprise, then, when the poisoned Palestinian youths grab a weapon and set out to do the death-work they are taught to cherish.

The anti-Israel incitement can even be quite subtle. Those injecting the venom do not always issue a direct call for Palestinians to go out and kill Jews. It is enough, for example, to tell Palestinians that Jews are "defiling with their filthy feet" Islamic holy sites, to drive a Palestinian to go out and stab a Jew.

Or when a Palestinian leaders repeatedly accuse Israel of seeking to "Judaize" Jerusalem and change its "Arab and Islamic character." This is like urging Palestinians to "defend" their city against Israel's "evil conspiracies."

The vicious rhetoric and the fairy tales they feed Palestinians provide ample incentive and ideology for would-be terrorists.

While Palestinian mosque preachers, political activists, journalists and senior officials have long been preoccupied with the mission of delegitimizing Israel and demonizing Jews, other Palestinians also fabricate "news" in order to further the Israeli death count.

The epidemic of "fake news" and "alternative facts," which has recently flooded the internet, is not new to Palestinian culture. In fact, "fake news" has long been an essential component of the Palestinian campaign to delegitimize Israel, demonize Jews and even to cite false claims. Historically, for example, Jordan illegally seized Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1948 war and proceeded to ethnically cleanse the area of Jews; in the 1967 war, the Israelis merely took their land back.

The head of Apple, Tim Cook, was recently quoted as saying, "Fake news is killing people's minds."

Palestinians have long been fed fake news. It is a tried and true method for recruiting terrorists and jihadists in the fight against Israel and Jews. As, in Islam, jihad is allowed to "defend Islam," narratives sometimes have to be provided to give the impression that Islam is being attacked.

There is no shortage of Palestinian and Arab news websites that publish hoaxes, propaganda, lies and disinformation disguised as real news. This garbage is accepted as factual by many Palestinians and other Arabs.

This is another form of incitement to which the West is deaf, largely because journalists working for Western mainstream media do not wish to understand what is being reported in Arabic, or even in English. These journalists either deliberately turn a blind eye to this indoctrination or underestimate how it deforms the hearts and minds of Palestinians.

Take, for example, a recent story published on Palestinian news websites, claiming that Israel has been spraying agricultural fields in the Gaza Strip with pesticides. According to the report, Israel uses planes to destroy Palestinian agricultural products in order to ruin the Palestinian economy and deprive farmers of their livelihood.

Last week, some Palestinian news websites came up with a story that sounds as if it were lifted straight from an action movie. What do such stories accomplish? Excuses for the murder of Jews.

The story goes as follows: "An Israeli plane dropped suspicious objects that look like candies near the Palestinian city of Jenin in the northern West Bank." According to the report, Palestinians who examined the "candies" discovered that they contained toxic material. In other words: Israel is seeking to poison Palestinian children. Is it any wonder when a Palestinian teenager who hears such a story runs out to murder Jews, as in Petah Tikva last month, when a 19-year-old Palestinian shot and stabbed several Israelis.

Another recently resurrected old blood libel that Palestinians have been spreading against Israel claims that Israelis are flooding Palestinian communities with narcotics in order to spread moral corruption and destroy the health of Palestinian youths. This particular lie helps the Palestinians avoid responsibility for the smuggling of drugs (by Palestinians) into the West Bank and Gaza Strip from Jordan and Egypt.

At a recent seminar in the Gaza Strip, a group of Palestinian "experts" claimed that "hidden parties backed by Israel" were responsible for "drowning the Gaza Strip with various types of lethal and dangerous drugs."

Similar false charges were made by the Palestinian police in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip last year.

Ayman Al-Batnihi, a police spokesman in Gaza City, went as far as claiming that the widespread use of narcotics was the product of an Israeli "conspiracy" to destroy Palestinian youths and prevent them from engaging in the fight against Israel. Needless to say, the spokesman, like the Palestinian news websites, never provides any evidence to back up his false claims.

The libels and lies are not coming from Hamas alone. The Palestinian Authority (PA), which relies almost solely on American and European funding, offers similar "information" to its readers. Here is a news report that appeared in the PA's Ramallah-based Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda newspaper, claiming that Israel is "flooding" the Arab residents of Jerusalem with narcotics. The report claims that some 20,000 Arabs have fallen victim to the purported Israeli "conspiracy" and have become drug addicts. "Israel's goal is to destroy the Arab youths of Jerusalem and empty the city of its Arab inhabitants," the report went on to explain.

According to reports such as these, Jews also supposedly use pigs to persecute Palestinians. Palestinian news websites regularly inform their readers that Israel releases wild pigs in the West Bank to destroy Palestinian crops and drive Palestinians out of their homes. The wild pigs, the reports tell Palestinians, are brought by Jews to Palestinian villages as part of a scheme to destroy the crops and intimidate villagers (some of whom claim the wild pigs attack them). An interesting facet of this "fake news" is that the Jewish settlers accused of using pigs to wage war against Palestinians are mostly religious, the last people in the world interested in getting involved with swine.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the lies about Israelis that Palestinians are fed daily by their leaders, journalists and media outlets. This is also what Palestinians think of when they pick up a knife to thrust into the body of a Jew.

Blood libels against Jews were once thought to be part of the dark past. They are not. That leaves us with some questions: Where is the international community's exposure of the lies that fuel the Palestinian murder of Jews? And: Will the international community once again in history fail to speak the truth about the murder of Jews?

Bassam Tawil is a scholar based on the Middle East.


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If You Want Real Change, Start with Education - Bruce Thornton

by Bruce Thornton

Stopping the indoctrination of our children is a necessary first step.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

The first eight weeks of Trump’s administration have been filled with executive orders attacking the unconstitutional excesses of the Obama presidency. He’s also pledged to kill the regulatory Hydra, increase defense spending, reform the tax code, and restore America’s prestige. And all these changes and promises have been met with vicious attacks and outlandish charges from the media, and scorched-earth obstructionism from Congressional Dems.

All of which is as entertaining as an MMA blood-fest. But to effect real change, we need to get beneath the telegenic food-fight and transient click-bait, and start dynamiting the foundations of the deep state. And that means going after higher education, the one institution that more than any other shapes the young and indoctrinates them with progressive ideology.

But it’s not enough to go after the ideologically biased professoriate and administrators, or ridicule the pretentious “research” churned out by pseudo-disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. No doubt such critical exposure of the “higher nonsense” is important, for those bad ideas trickle down from the research universities to the state colleges, where most of the K-12 teachers get their teaching credentials. And most of those teachers inflict these political prejudices and false knowledge on the impressionable young, who by the time they reach college will already have been primed for even more pernicious indoctrination.

Take, for example, the silly notion of “microagressions.” This is the preposterous idea that systemic racism, sexism, etc. are so pervasive that people can subconsciously inflict injury on women, homosexuals, “people of color,” and all the other certified victims due special treatment like “safe spaces.” This wacky idea got started back in 2007 with a scientifically dubious paper called “Racial Microagressions in Everyday Life.” An even more influential bad idea, “Islamophobia,” traces its origins to Edward Said’s 1978 Orientalism, a “work of malignant charlatanry,” as Middle East scholar Robert Irwin described it, and one of the most-assigned books in social science and humanities courses. Like bacilli, such ideological prejudices disguised as scholarship have infected curricula from grade school to university, and from there sickened the whole culture. And they replicate themselves through the education industry’s monopoly on training, hiring, and tenuring of teachers.

Beyond this sort of research, however, lies the mother of all bad ideas, “diversity.” This pseudo-concept became part of national law in the 1978 Bakke vs. University of California case. In the Bakke decision, Justice Lewis Powell promulgated the idea that a vaguely defined “diversity” could justify racial discrimination in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s ban on–– racial discrimination. How? Because “diversity” along with its alleged pedagogical benefits is a “compelling state interest.” Yet despite the continuing failure to specifically identity, define, or empirically substantiate this “state interest” or its benefits, the Supreme Court has continued to justify race-based policies by invoking “diversity.” Backed by the highest court in the land, promoting “diversity” now has become the dominant policy in nearly all colleges and universities. The result has been the institutionalizing of an illiberal identity politics that corrupts curricula, compromises liberal education’s traditional mission to promote “the free play of the mind on all subjects,” stifles free speech, and privileges politically selected “victims.”

Another example of how the deep state polices institutions to ensure their compliance with progressive ideology is the unconstitutional and unjust campus tribunals created to adjudicate claims of “sexual misconduct.” Robert L. Shibley, the executive director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, has explained how the political corruption of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act has put the coercive, fiscal, and investigative power of the Department of Education behind ideologically based violations of the Constitution.

In 2011, the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights sent universities a “dear colleague” letter offering “guidance” about how schools should handle charges of sexual assault. As Shibley points out, the term “guidance” allows the agency to skirt the Administrative Procedure Act’s requirements that new agency regulations must notify those affected by the new rules and allow them time to comment. Thus the OCR in effect created two new laws, usurping the law-making powers of Congress. One allows both sides in a complaint to appeal the outcome of the proceedings, creating the possibility of double jeopardy if the accused is found guilty. Second, colleges have to use the “preponderance of evidence” standard, basically 50.01 percent certainty, when determining guilt, in contrast to the criminal justice system’s “beyond a reasonable doubt standard, a 98-99 percent certainty.

The result has been campus tribunals that violate the canons of justice and due process, leading to travesties of justice such as the falsely accused Duke lacrosse team, or the fake rape story published by Rolling Stone. In fact, the system is designed to be unfair. Administrators choose who presides over the hearing and who will be jurors––mostly other administrators with a vested interest in the outcome. Neither party has a right to counsel, cross-examination, or examination of the evidence, which can include even hearsay. As Shibley writes, “Such a system is not, by any stretch of the imagination, just, fair, or equitable.”

And huge difficulties face the unfortunate student found guilty who wants to sue, for his future in higher education could be compromised by allegations even if later proven false. Colleges and universities also have standing to sue, but either are ideologically committed to the politicizing of sexual encounters between adults, or fear the ever-present threat that the DOE can withhold federal money––$76 billion in 2013–– from colleges and universities that fall afoul of the agency’s diktats. Such leverage is so powerful that only one school, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, has filed suit against a Dear Colleague Letter.

The solution to this corruption of both the Constitution and the mission of liberal education is for Congress to pass legislation that reforms Title IX and corrects the over-vague and elastic language that gives the DOE scope for such bureaucratic tyranny. Yes, the DOE’s latest assault, the 2016 “Dear Colleague Letter” mandating that students can use whatever restroom fits their assumed sex identity, was suspended by Trump’s Executive order. But that’s a temporary fix that doesn’t get at the root of the problem, which goes beyond one federal agency. Congress must step up and reclaim its Constitutional right to make the laws. For just as appeasement begets appeasement, ignoring deep-state violations of the Constitution will create even more. The DOE’s tyranny permeates the federal bureaucracy, as we’ve seen under Obama with the politicizing of the IRS, the DOJ, and the intelligence community. That’s to be expected from a regulatory leviathan staffed by unaccountable partisan functionaries that every day encroaches on the Constitutional rights of American citizens and compromises their freedom.

It is easy to put a low priority on our how progressive ideology has corrupted higher education, and spend our time and energy on reforming the tax code or reining in the EPA. But remember the Jesuit maxim: “Give me the child until he is seven and I’ll give you the man.” Education today gets children at five, and in some cases continues to mold them until they’re 21. Changing the laws that empower bureaucratic ideologues to indoctrinate our children is the necessary first step to dismantling deep-state tyranny.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


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Kerry's knee-capping of Israel - David M. Weinberg

by David M. Weinberg

Michael Herzog is not a right-wing ideologue, and when his narrative undermines core beliefs of the global "consensus" against Israel regarding the diplomatic process -- and it does -- this should be noted.

Because the news is elsewhere, few have bothered to pay attention to the insider expose on the "Kerry peace process" published in The American Interest late last month by Brig. Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog. This is unfortunate, since Herzog blows many peace process myths to smithereens, and reveals both the artifice of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the chicanery of former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Herzog is a veteran Israeli peace processer, having participated in most of Israel's negotiations with the Palestinians, Syrians and Jordanians since 1993. He processed peace, or tried to, for Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu, and worked closely with Tzipi Livni too. He was part of the Wye, Camp David, Taba, Annapolis and Kerry rounds of negotiation. He is also the brother of Zionist Union leader and Labor Party chairman Yitzhak Herzog.

So Herzog is not a right-wing ideologue, and when his narrative undermines core beliefs of the global "consensus" against Israel regarding the diplomatic process -- and it does -- this should be noted.

Herzog details the ups and down of the process led in 2013-2014 by Kerry, and layers this on the background of both public and secret talks that had been held previously. While he tries to be politically correct -- apportioning some blame on all sides for the failure of the effort, crediting Kerry for his commitment, and adhering to doctrine about two states being the "only" solution possible -- Herzog nevertheless bulldozes a ton of stale assumptions and false narratives.

Firstly, Herzog tells us that, contrary to what just about every world leader seems to think, Prime Minister Netanyahu was extraordinarily serious about negotiating peace with the Palestinian Authority, and he made significant concessions in the process; so much so, that he still dares not admit the details to the Israeli public and to his current coalition partners.

It is nevertheless clear from Herzog's telling (and from previous pieces, such as the 2014 New Republic expose by Ben Birnbaum and Amir Tibon) that Netanyahu was ready to withdraw from vast tracts of Judea and Samaria to facilitate Palestinian statehood, venturing "well outside his natural comfort zone."

Secondly, Herzog makes it clear that Abbas did not really want an agreement of any sort, period. He was in the process to cry on the shoulders of then U.S. President Barack Obama and Kerry about Palestinian rights; to pocket concessions from Israel without being willing himself to compromise on any concrete issue or sign on any dotted lines; and to ensure failure of the talks with blame heaped on Israel, and thus justify breaking previous Palestinian commitments.

Abbas pretended to negotiate before "losing interest"; used Hamas to doom the talks; and ran to international institutions to criminalize and isolate Israel with failed talks as his excuse. He still expects the international community to "deliver" Israeli withdrawals on a silver platter, without tying the hands of the Palestinian state to any concrete end-game commitments.

Thirdly, Herzog makes it clear that it is simply not true -- not even remotely -- that the parameters for a settlement between Israel and Palestinians are "well-known," "clear," "obvious," and "within easy reach" if only brave leaders step forward. 

"Unlike some simplistic notions out there," writes Herzog, and despite 20 years of Oslo-era peace processing, "the gaps are significant and widened by the weight of history, religion, emotions, and domestic politics."

Fourthly, the most interesting and disturbing of Herzog's revelations relate to the disastrous negotiating dynamics dictated by John Kerry.

To begin with, Kerry drove the notion that there was a constant need to reward Abbas for coming to, and staying at, the negotiating table. This fed Palestinian appetites, and allowed Abbas to continually blackmail the U.S. and Israel for concessions and sweeteners (like the release of Palestinian terrorists from Israel jails).

Then when the talks reached a stalemate, Kerry's approach was again to reward the Palestinians for their obduracy (by moving American goalposts on the issues and begging Abbas to stay engaged), and to punish Israel for its flexibility (by pressuring Netanyahu for more sweeteners and concrete concessions).

In fact, according to Herzog, Israel began to realize that Kerry was negotiating mainly with and against Israel, while conducting substantially no such parallel process with Abbas. When the crunch came and it was finally time to prod Abbas into accepting a proposed U.S. framework for continuing the talks, "it was too little too late. Abu Mazen (Abbas) has shut down ... no longer interested or invested in the process."

In other words, the gullible Kerry "discovered" only at the end of the process that Abbas had been stringing him along with no intention of budging.

(Herzog also charges Kerry with near-messianic hubris, bull-in-a-china-shop behavior, mismanagement, and deliberate misrepresentation of Israeli positions; all fodder for future analysis. And in my view, Herzog does so much too softly).

Fifth, up against Abbas in "shutdown mode," Obama and Kerry offered-up significant concessions to Abbas in a desperate attempt to re-engage him.

This involved "new ideas and formulations that departed from traditional official U.S. positions and tilted towards Abbas' positions (including an explicit confirmation of a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem and equivalent land swaps) -- positions that were never shared with Israel."

What happened next? Abbas walked away without acceding to America's entreaties, knowing full well that Obama would never blame him for failure of the process, and knowing that America's new positions were essentially in his pocket.

And then, sure enough, Kerry enunciated these moves away from Israel as official Obama administration policy, when he harangued Israel (and not the Palestinians) in an overwrought 70-minute sermon at the State Department in December.

Sixth and perhaps most importantly, Herzog lays bare American unfairness to Israel on the settlement issue. When he testified before Congress, Kerry publicly blamed Israeli housing starts in the territories for the failure of his negotiating effort. I worked so hard to bring peace, he wailed, and then poof, the entire effort went up in smoke because of Netanyahu's damned settlements.

Kerry's venality here is plain. Herzog makes it clear that Netanyahu never promised to freeze settlement construction for the duration of the talks. On the contrary: Israel had fully informed Kerry it would announce construction of up to 1,500 housing units beyond the Green Line to coincide with every phase of terrorist releases. This was the price of getting the very controversial and dangerous prisoner releases through the Israeli cabinet.

In other words, having improperly promised Abbas and foisted upon Israel these prisoner releases, Kerry knew that some construction in settlement blocs adjacent to the 1967 line (in areas that even Palestinian maps in previous negotiations indicated would be part of Israel) would follow. Abbas knew this too, and they both went along with this. So, settlements certainly were not the main reason behind the failure of the talks, Herzog writes. And yet, Kerry's "poof" vindictively and falsely pinned the failure on settlement activity; an American crime against Israel that has skewed the global diplomatic narrative ever since.

In the end, Herzog's essay is more than an impeachment of Obama and Kerry. It is an indictment of the overall Oslo paradigm (even though Herzog won't say this himself).

His essay makes it obvious that, alas, the Palestinian Authority under Abbas is not a "willing or capable" peace partner for the visible future; isn't truly seeking an end of conflict and all outstanding claims; and its bottom-line is nowhere near that of even the most flexible Israeli government.

Therefore, it is time for a new approach in dealing with the conflict. 

"The sea changes in relations between major Arab states and Israel," concludes Herzog, allow for emergence of a solution strategy "in a broader regional context."

David M. Weinberg


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France: The Taboo of Muslim Racism and Anti-Semitism - Part I - Yves Mamou

by Yves Mamou

It is becoming more and more difficult in France to hide the fact that hate speech and anti-Semitic statements are coming mainly not from non-Muslims, but from French Muslims.

  • Since Bensoussan rejected "any idea of destiny or essentialization," the judges denied any possibility that he could "be accused of having aroused or wished to arouse a feeling of hostility or rejection against a group of people [Muslims]".
  • The Islamist CCIF said it would appeal the decision.
  • It is becoming more and more difficult in France to hide the fact that hate speech and anti-Semitic statements are coming mainly not from non-Muslims, but from French Muslims.

March 7, 2017, the 17th Chamber of the Tribunal Correctionel of Paris acquitted Georges Bensoussan, a Jewish Moroccan-born historian, of any "incitement of racial hatred" ("provocation à la haine raciale").

On January 25, 2017, all of France's "anti-racist" organizations -- even the Jewish International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA) -- joined the Islamist Collective Against Islamophobia (CCIF) in court against Bensoussan. He was prosecuted for remarks he made in October 2015, during a debate on radio station France Culture about anti-Semitism among French Arabs. Benoussan said:
"An Algerian sociologist, Smaïn Laacher, with great courage, just said in a documentary aired on Channel 3: It is a shame to deny this taboo, namely that in the Arab families in France, and everyone knows it but nobody wants to say it, anti-Semitism is sucked with mother's milk."
The Islamist CCIF send the quote to the public prosecutor, who opened a case against Bensoussan. The charge was simple: "mother's milk" was not a metaphor for cultural anti-Semitism transmitted through education, but a genetic and "essentialist" accusation. "Mother's milk", they claimed, means: "all Arabs are anti-Semitic" -- in other words, that Bensoussan supposedly a racist.

The decision of the court to acquit of Bensoussan is a key moment for freedom of speech in France in general, and for the freedom to speak about Muslim anti-Semitism in France.

Georges Bensoussan, a highly regarded Jewish historian of Moroccan extraction, was recently found not guilty of "hate speech." (Image source: Jusqu'au dernier video screenshot)

The judges said that "the impugned remarks [of Bensoussan] were held in a very particular context" -- a radio debate on a hot topic, "in the heat of conversation". The judges recognized that the quotation of Smaïn Laacher by the defendant was not strictly accurate. Laacher said:
"it is a monumental hypocrisy not to see that this anti-Semitism is in the beginning domestic, and quite evidently, is without doubt reinforced, hardened, legitimized, almost naturalized with various distinctions... externally. He will find it at home and will sense no radical lack of continuity between home and the external environment. Because the external environment, is, in reality, the most often [experienced]. It is to be found in what are termed the ghettos, it feels as though it is in the air one breathes, it is not at all strange. And it is difficult to escape from it in those places, particularly when you find it in yourself."
According to the judges, however, "the idea expressed by Smaïn Laacher is almost the same, or even identical to that expressed by Georges Bensoussan."

"Lastly and above all," according to the court, "the offense of incitement to hatred, violence or discrimination presupposes to be constituted, an intentional element," and the characterization of this intent is lacking and "runs against the fact that Georges Bensoussan... never ceased to deplore this constitution of two separate peoples [Muslims and non-Muslims in France]... and never called for a separation of the faction [Muslims] supposed to have seceded, its rejection, its banishment or its eradication, but on the contrary, [Bensoussan called] for their reintegration into the French nation."

Since Bensoussan rejected "any idea of destiny or essentialization," the judges denied any possibility that he could "be accused of having aroused or wished to arouse a feeling of hostility or rejection against a group of people [Muslims]".

The Islamist CCIF said it would appeal the decision.

It is becoming more and more difficult in France to hide the fact that hate speech and anti-Semitic statements are coming mainly not from non-Muslims, but from French Muslims.

Yves Mamou is a journalist and author based in France. He worked for two decades for the daily, Le Monde, before his retirement.


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US troops land in Syria to launch Raqqa operation - debkaFile

by debkaFile

President Donald Trump decided, after consulting with Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, that the US army would go it alone in the Raqqa offensive together with a single local force: the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

debkafile’s military and intelligence sources disclose that elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment have arrived in Syria for the Trump administration’s first direct military operation in Syria: the long-delayed offensive to capture Raqqa from the Islamic State. The plan was put before the US, Russian and Turkish chiefs of staff who were getting together for the first time on Tuesday, March 7, in the Turkish town of Antalya, as revealed earlier on this site.

Rangers Regiment troops, which will spearhead the Raqqa attack, flew in from Fort Lewis air base, Washington, to the US air facility in Rmeilan, near the Syrian Kurdish town of Hasaka, equipped with light Striker tanks. More tanks and heavy equipment reached the Syrian base overland from Iraqi Kurdistan.

According to our sources, President Donald Trump decided, after consulting with Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, that the US army would go it alone in the Raqqa offensive together with a single local force: the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

The SDF is composed of 45,000 fighters of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and 10,000 Arab tribesmen, most belonging to the north Syrian branch of the Shamar.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russian Chief of Staff, and Gen. Hulusi Akar, Turkish army chief, were conferring in Antalya when the Rangers landed in Syria.

DEBKA Weekly, which comes out on Friday, March 10, will provide the background leading up to the US president’s decision to go for Raqqa.

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Cultivating a New Generation of Racists on Campus - John Perazzo

by John Perazzo

The hate-filed worldview and agendas of the student group MEChA.

The Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), or “Chicano Student Movement,” describes itself as an organization that urges young Chicanos (people of Mexican ancestry living in the United States) to use “higher education” and “political involvement” to promote “cultural and historical pride,” “liberation,” and “self-determination” among their people. In practice, MEChA aggressively promotes anti-Americanism and anti-white hatred by relentlessly stoking the fires of racial and ethnic grievance among Latino students.

MEChA's roots can be traced back to the Chicano Movement of the late 1960s, which emphasized “brown pride” while rejecting “acculturation and assimilation” into the American mainstream. In that milieu, the first National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference, organized by an entity called Crusade for Justice, was held in Denver, Colorado in March 1969. Participants in this conference drafted the basic premises for the “Chicana/Chicano Movement” in a seminal document titled El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán (EPEA), which today is required reading for all members of MEChA's various chapters.

The term “Aztlán” refers to the territory in the Southwestern United States—including California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, as well as parts of Nevada, Utah, and Colorado—that Mexico ceded to the United States in 1848 via the Treaty of Guadalupe de Hidalgo. But Mexican separatists consider this region to be part of a mythical Aztec homeland that was stolen from its rightful owners.  Proceeding from that premise, MEChA rejects the notion that any Chicano can be considered an illegal immigrant. A popular slogan that surfaces at many MEChA rallies is: “We didn't cross the border. The border crossed us.” 

Claiming that “Aztlán belongs to those who plant the seeds, water the fields, and gather the crops and not to the foreign Europeans,” EPEA stipulates that the “Chicanas and Chicanos of Aztlán” are a “sovereign” and “indigenous people” who are “not subject to a foreign culture,” and are now “reclaiming the land of our birth (Chicana/Chicano Nation).”  It sees the “bronze (Chicana/Chicano) Nation” as “a union of free pueblos” whose “cultural values strengthen our identity as La Familia de La Raza.

Following the tenets of EPEA, MEChA denounces “the brutal gringo invasion of our territories,” and it vows to “struggl[e] against the foreigner 'gabacho' [a pejorative term for an English-speaking, non-Hispanic] who exploits our riches and destroys our culture.” MEChA’s exclusionary racial attitudes are summarized in the organization’s slogan: “Por la Raza, todo. Fuera de La Raza, nada.” (“For the race, everything. Outside of the race, nothing.”)

MEChA today espouses what it calls an ideology of “Chicanismo,” wherein Chicano purity is held up as a supreme virtue that reflects “self-respect and pride [in] one's ethnic and cultural background.” The organization seeks to advance a radical ideology by promoting “Chicanismo within the community, politicizing our Raza with an emphasis on indigenous consciousness to continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlán.”

MEChA condemns as “race traitors” those Latinos who fail to adhere to its ideological platform. In 1995, for example, Voz Fronteriza, the official publication of UC San Diego’s MEChA chapter, ran an editorial excoriating a recently deceased Latino INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) agent as one such turncoat. The piece stated that “all the migra [a pejorative term for the INS] pigs should be killed, every single one.”

By supporting continued high levels of Mexican immigration to the United States, MEChA hopes to flood the Southwestern U.S. with enough immigrants to establish a numerical majority and thereby achieve the “reconquista” which would represent the fulfillment of EPEA's credo: “Where we are a majority we will control; where we are a minority we will represent a pressure group; nationally, we represent one party: La Familia de Raza.”

Such a “reconquista” represents only the first phase of  MEChA’s agenda. The next phase involves the ethnic cleansing, or expulsion, of Americans of European, African, and Asian descent out of “Aztlán.”

Today MEChA is a leading campus advocacy group for illegal immigrants. The organization supports open borders; government benefits (including the right to vote) for non-citizens; state recognition of Spanish as an official language of the U.S.; racial preferences and set-asides for Hispanics in education and corporate hiring; taxpayer-funded welfare outlays and public education for illegal aliens; and ultimately, amnesty or a path-to-citizenship for illegals.

MEChA attributes most of the problems presently afflicting Chicanos in America to the nation's allegedly ubiquitous racism. For example, the organization says: “Overall, Chicana/Chicano junior high, high school and college pushout rates have risen since 1969, forcing many Chicanas and Chicanos to a life of poverty. These factors along with a growing right wing trend in the nation are combining to work greater hardships on Chicanas and Chicanos. New repressive and racist immigration laws are continuously directed at our Gente [People].” To address these trends, MEChA is “committed to ending the cultural tyranny suffered at the hands of institutional and systematic discrimination that holds our Gente captive,” and to put an “end to oppression and exploitation of the Chicano/Chicana community.”

Its violent language about America’s alleged anti Hispanic bigotry has made MEChA a potent force on school campuses nationwide: the organization boasts hundreds of chapters in universities across the United States. It has also established a number of chapters in public high schools, routinely encouraging its young supporters to participate in political protests and marches. Like so many of its comrades on the left, MEChA has become expert in dressing up its own vile racism as a commitment to a nebulous something-or-other called “social justice.” 

John Perazzo is the managing editor of


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American College of Pediatricians doubles down on common sense - James Arlandson

by James Arlandson

-- the College maintains it is abusive to promote this ideology, first and foremost for the well-being of the gender dysphoric children themselves

All the way back in August 2016, the American College of Pediatricians took a brave stand and proclaimed that gender ideology harms children. They updated their post in January of this year, and it must not go unnoticed.

They write (emphasis added):
The bottom line is this: Our opponents advocate a new scientifically baseless standard of care for children with a psychological condition (GD) that would otherwise resolve after puberty for the vast majority of patients concerned. Specifically, they advise: affirmation of children’s thoughts which are contrary to physical reality; the chemical castration of these children prior to puberty with GnRH agonists (puberty blockers which cause infertility, stunted growth, low bone density, and an unknown impact upon their brain development), and, finally, the permanent sterilization of these children prior to age 18 via cross-sex hormones. There is an obvious self-fulfilling nature to encouraging young GD children to impersonate the opposite sex and then institute pubertal suppression. If a boy who questions whether or not he is a boy (who is meant to grow into a man) is treated as a girl, then has his natural pubertal progression to manhood suppressed, have we not set in motion an inevitable outcome? All of his same sex peers develop into young men, his opposite sex friends develop into young women, but he remains a pre-pubertal boy. He will be left psycho-socially isolated and alone. He will be left with the psychological impression that something is wrong. He will be less able to identify with his same sex peers and being male, and thus be more likely to self identify as “non-male” or female. Moreover, neuroscience reveals that the pre-frontal cortex of the brain which is responsible for judgment and risk assessment is not mature until the mid-twenties. Never has it been more scientifically clear that children and adolescents are incapable of making informed decisions regarding permanent, irreversible and life-altering medical interventions. For this reason, the College maintains it is abusive to promote this ideology, first and foremost for the well-being of the gender dysphoric children themselves, and secondly, for all of their non-gender-discordant peers, many of whom will subsequently question their own gender identity, and face violations of their right to bodily privacy and safety.
In other words, manipulators of the education system should not promote sexual confusion at an early age. Educators should let the boys and girls develop naturally and not seize on adolescent searching by telling the kids that they are mature enough to decide these things. It is "abusive" to manipulate. It makes them face "violations of their right to bodily privacy and safety."
The college even has the courage to call it, appropriately, "gender dysphoria." Any word with the prefix dys- attached to it in today's politically correct culture is bound to attract an onslaught.
Are there any conservative radio and TV hosts out there who would like to invite one of the authors of the college's post on their shows to support them? Would anyone who reads this blog send them an email to tell them to stand strong for science and common sense?
The college deserves all the support it can get.


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The Death of an Unrepentant Terrorist-Lawyer - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

Convicted of providing material support for terrorism, Lynne Stewart was released early so she could die peacefully at home.

After a lifetime of radical anti-American activism and passionate legal advocacy for foreign and domestic terrorists, cop-killers, and gangsters, convicted terrorist enabler Lynne Stewart died at her home in Brooklyn – instead of in prison where she was supposed to be.

Her son said Stewart, 77, expired Tuesday from complications related to cancer and a series of strokes. Mourners who run the website of “Democracy Now!” ran a headline describing her as the “People’s Lawyer & [Former] Political Prisoner.” The article called her “[a] former teacher and librarian, [who] was known as a people’s lawyer who represented the poor and revolutionaries.”

That represents only part of the life story of the self-described “radical human rights attorney” and cheerleader for totalitarianism.

This outspoken, persistent, quick-witted woman didn’t look like a zealous subversive. She may have been a bit too extreme for many liberals but they gave her a pass because, after all, her heart was in the right place. To the Left, this Maoist who said she favored “violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism, sexism, and at the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions," was an endearing, grandmotherly figure blessed with a disarming honesty.

"I'm not a pacifist,” she once said. “I have cried many bitter tears. There is death in history, and it's not all rosebuds and memorial services. Mao, Fidel [Castro], Ho Chi Minh understood this."

"I don't have any problem with Mao or Stalin or the Vietnamese leaders or certainly Fidel [Castro] locking up people they see as dangerous," Stewart told Monthly Review in 2002. "Because so often, dissidence has been used by the greater powers to undermine a people's revolution."

This lovable, folksy ball of fluff hailed the Black Lives Matter-inspired killers who gunned down police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge last year as noble freedom fighters.

“They are avengers,” Stewart said. “They spoke for some of us when they did that.”

“They are not brazen, crazed, you know, insane killers,” she said. “They are avenging deaths that are never and have never been avenged since the ’60s and ’70s.”

Stewart likened American conservatives to the theocratic totalitarians of the Islamic world who abuse women, treating them as chattel. “The American Right,” she said, “is certainly anti-woman, anti-inclusiveness, and I certainly oppose that here in my own country for my own sake, for my children’s sake, for the way I want to live.”

She was simply misunderstood.

“Belying the image of a dangerous radical,” the New York Times tearfully emoted at word of her demise, “Ms. Stewart, a short, round-faced woman, often arrived at court [for her trial in 2005] wearing a New York Mets cap and a floral-print housedress, dangling a cloth tote bag rather than the typical briefcase and inevitably drawing a clutch of news photographers.”

After being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, Stewart was released early from prison in January 2014 by a sentimental Clinton-appointed judge at the request of the Obama administration. She was supposed to stay caged until 2018.

Her passing came 18 days after the behind-bars death of her most prized client, the 78-year-old convicted Islamic terrorist ringleader Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the Blind Sheikh, with whom she used to flirt during prison visits. He had received a sentence of life imprisonment in 1996.

“He was a personification of an American hero,” she told the Times after Abdel-Rahman departed. “I feel very strongly that he suffered. He suffered unjustly because he was convicted of this bogus crime.”

In 2003 Stewart called Rahman "a world figure, someone who was listened to by the entire Muslim population for being a very learned scholar, [who] deserved to have a platform, deserved not to be entombed in the middle of America and not able to speak."

In 2002, Stewart praised Islamic militants as “forces of national liberation,” adding that “Islamic revolution” was “the only hope” for the peoples of Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf states, and Saudi Arabia. “If their people see that they want to reinstate a system of law [Sharia] and government that was in existence for hundreds and hundreds of years, I’m not going to judge.”

The same year she said that on 9/11 the Pentagon was "a better target" than the World Trade Center, because those in the towers "never knew what hit them. They had no idea that they could ever be a target for somebody's wrath, just by virtue of being American. They took it personally. And actually, it wasn't a personal thing."

But Stewart’s work for her infamous client was her undoing. In 2005 she was convicted in federal court in Manhattan of providing material support for terrorism.

While acting as legal counsel to Abdel-Rahman she violated a national security-related gag order by relaying a message from her client who was convicted of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in which six people were killed and more than a thousand wounded. The communiqué, from a prisoner who was held incommunicado specifically to prevent him from directing terrorist activities from his prison cell, was “the blessing of a return to violence from a terrorist leader,” prosecutor Anthony Barkow said. In the message, Abdel-Rahman urged his disciples in Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (in English, Islamic Group), to abandon a ceasefire with the government of Egypt and resume terrorist operations.

Prosecutors said he waged a “war of urban terrorism” aimed at pushing the U.S. to withdraw its support for Israel and Egypt. One of his followers, El Sayed Nosair, was convicted in the 1990 murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane.

At his sentencing, Abdel-Rahman urged his Muslim disciples to rise up against “infidel” America. “America will go and be withered and this civilization will be destroyed,” he said. “Nothing will remain.”

Years before, he issued a fatwa linked to the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. He was a spiritual leader of al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and a symbol of holy righteousness to his followers, including deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

As Daniel Greenfield previously noted,
A year after Rahman was sentenced to life in prison, terrorists from his Muslim Brotherhood splinter organization, the Islamic Group, carried out the Luxor Massacre in Egypt. European tourists had their ears and noses cut off before being killed. The attack had been carried out to take hostages to exchange for Lynne Stewart’s client [i.e. Abdel-Rahman]. A note calling for the release of Rahman was found in a disemboweled body.
At Stewart’s trial for serving as a terrorist’s mouthpiece, prosecutors said she made loud noises when visiting her client so guards wouldn’t notice that she was acting as a go-between. She maintained the distractions were necessary to protect attorney-client privilege.

At a 2005 rally for her criminal defense, she said, “I was so angry at the thought of what they were doing to me.”
The sheikh asked me to make this press release and we all thought it was a good idea because we felt our duty was to keep his name alive in the world, in the real world. That when somebody sinks below the level, where nobody remembers him, he’s not heard of, no one cares what happens to him, at that point, that person is, indeed, doing a death penalty, even though we call it “a life sentence.”
Stewart said at the rally that she thought of herself as a victim of U.S. government oppression.
But I do think that I’m now facing 30 years, not because of what they accuse me of having done, which really I’m completely innocent of and they understand that, too, but really for being 30 years as a movement lawyer and for the 10 years before that, being opposed to their war in Vietnam, being opposed to the racist policies of the Board of Education of the City of New York and fighting against that and standing up for people, regardless of the circumstances, who really were designated enemies of the state.
So, I’m here today, as an enemy of the state myself … But when I say “the state,” I think of myself, and I know that the tabloid press of New York, notably the New York Post, refers to me as [a] “traitor lawyer.” And that, to me, is not at all true. I think that I’m a greater patriot because I didn’t just come out in the sunshine and when it was good weather but I came out when it was bad weather, and when things were very, very much at a low ebb and I spoke up and I said what had to be said, and I continued with my work and I defended the people who needed defense. That was my job, that’s what I did.
The Left likes to refer to some of its legal heroes like Stewart and Sixties icon William Kunstler as “People’s Lawyers.” It’s not what you might think.

A “People’s Lawyer” – the phrase is always capitalized – is a crusading, small-c communist attorney who devotes his life to using the legal system to fundamentally transform America. As such it is a profoundly antisocial, un-American concept.

It is embraced by the communist-dominated National Lawyers Guild (NLG). The NLG states that it was founded in 1937 “on the principle to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.”

Guild members reject the wisdom James Madison imparted in his 1792 essay titled "Property." Madison argued that individual rights are inseparable from property.
Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions. Where there is an excess of liberty, the effect is the same, tho' from an opposite cause. Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.
The Guild-affiliated People’s Law Office in Chicago, which goes by the fitting acronym PLO, brags of its efforts on behalf of the supposedly downtrodden against the system. “We have defended activists who have been targeted as a result of their political beliefs or organizing efforts on behalf of movements struggling for social justice and liberation,” its website states.

If Stewart had lived in the Windy City, she could easily have landed a job with the PLO given her defense of America’s most aggressive social justice warriors.

Stewart acted as defense counsel for Weather Underground bomber and cop-killer Kathy Boudin, airline-hijacking Black Panther Willie Holder, and Mafia turncoat Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. She said that, if given the opportunity, she would have defended Osama bin Laden. Long a love object of the Guantanamo-emptying Center for Constitutional Rights, she once referred to the 9/11 terrorist attacks as an example of “armed struggle.”

She was choosy in selecting clients.

"There are a lot of people I wouldn't represent," Stewart said in a 2002 interview with World War 3 Report, a Marxist magazine. "I wouldn't represent [Charles] Schwarz, the cop who supposedly held [New York City police torture victim Abner] Louima down [in 1997]. I don't represent people who are accused of hurting children in any way, either sexually or violently. I wouldn't take a Nazi case, or an Aryan case.”

“If I can't give it my heart and soul, I won't represent somebody,” she said.

“My politics are those of inclusion, and I hope that my politics are represented in the people I actually represent."

Lynne Stewart was true to her word.

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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From Noble to Ignoble: Quaker Relations with Israel - Asaf Romirowsky

by Asaf Romirowsky

The once-noble American Friends Service Committee has embraced an ignoble cause.

Originally published under the title "The Nature of Quaker Education."

The Quakers have evolved over the years from opposing war to opposing Israel's existence.

Unwittingly, Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, PA, a well-regarded Quaker establishment, has once again come under fire for its ties to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement supported by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

The school operates in accordance with the Quaker philosophy of "simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship. Underlying all facets of School life is the belief that 'there is that of God in everyone.' Meeting for Worship is central, providing time for connections among members of the community and between individuals and their spiritual sources. Peaceful resolution of conflicts, seeking truth and collaboration are key aspects of a Friends' Central education."

The Quakers have cultivated their image as peaceful and supremely benign. Few suspect, much less know, that one of their central missions is promoting the BDS movement that opposes Israel's existence.

The Quaker experience in the Middle East was unique; they provided relief to Palestinian refugees in 1949-1950 but withdrew after the United Nations took over. The Friends also spearheaded religious diplomacy about the fate of Jerusalem, which was besieged and divided during the war of 1948. Though the mission was unsuccessful, and Jerusalem would remain divided until 1967, their efforts were characterized by the scrupulous evenhandedness and appeals to the religious sensibilities of Christians, Muslims and Jews.

The Quakers play a leading role supporting BDS on university campuses.

Building on this and a long history of opposing Israel, it is no surprise that the AFSC is one of the leading organizations supporting BDS on university campuses and through support to various groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, which spearhead the movement.

Enter Sa'ed Atshan, an assistant professor of peace and conflict studies at Swarthmore College who is also, not surprisingly, a well-known advocate for BDS. Atshan had been set to appear at Friends' Central but his talk was canceled after his BDS ties were exposed to the administration by parents who found the scheduled presentation to be biased and one-sided.

Atshan has also been active with SJP, whose parent organization, American Muslims for Palestine, was recently shown to be connected to the same American Muslim Brotherhood supporters who funded Hamas through the Holy Land Foundation, and which has trained its activists in "Countering Normalization of Israeli Oppression on Campus."

Atshan is a poster child for Quaker education, an alum of the Quaker school in Ramallah who now teaches for the same Quaker school he attended as an undergraduate. In many regards, he represents the Quaker echo chamber regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that ensures that only the Palestinian narrative will be voiced.

Friends' Central canceled an appearance by Swarthmore College professor Sa'ed Atshan, a staunch BDS advocate, in February.

Predictably, once Atshan's appearance was canceled, students protested; some expressed their "disappointment and dismay" while others walked out of the meeting after the announcement. Jewish students and parents will thus bear the blame for the cancellation. But the fact is that they fell into a not very clever trap: Either shut up and accept a biased speaker, or protest and take the heat, whether the talk was canceled or not. This is one of the basic tricks of the BDS movement.

In turn, this incident will undoubtedly transform into a conversation on free speech and academic freedom but pedagogically, the bigger concern is that pro-BDS individuals who use hate and racist speech will use and abuse academic freedom, whether it is academic or not.

This freedom to critique is, predictably, directed mostly at the twin Satans, Israel and America, although efforts to curtail speech that academics find unpleasant and unacceptable have been longstanding in the form of "speech codes" and restrictions on "hate speech." Clearly academic freedom is a one-way street; only those having the correct opinions may claim it.

Historically, the AFSC has adopted a hypocritical form of pacifism. It claims to oppose violence, but in practice engages in apologetics for terrorism. It claims to want peace for both sides, but inevitably advocates only for the Palestinians, often in extremist terms. And it has moved closer and closer to a retrograde, supersessionist theology that has been the basis of Christian anti-Semitism for centuries.

The once-noble American Friends Service Committee has embraced an ignoble cause.

The AFSC's relationship to Israel is tragic; a once-noble organization has not only embraced an ignoble cause, but has betrayed its own founding principles in the process.

The AFSC appears to regard its support for the BDS movement as righteous. As it puts it, its advocacy of BDS is "contextualized by Quakers and AFSC's long support for boycotts, divestment and sanctions as economic tactics that appeal to human conscience and change behavior," relating this to its opposition to slavery, segregation, apartheid and other reprehensible phenomena.

But it also betrays itself by claiming to support, in accordance with its "principles and history," all "nonviolent efforts to realize peace and justice in Israel and Palestine," even though this is demonstrably not the case, and has not been for years, given its support for Palestinian groups that both advocate and practice extreme forms of violence.

Many Jewish parents send their children to Quaker schools seeking to instill values they find analogous to those represented by Judaism, especially since the Quakers and their schools have substituted "social justice" for traditional liturgy. But Jewish parents should be encouraged to do more research on the Quaker approach and then decide whether Jewish values and Quaker values, as they exist today, are the same.

Asaf Romirowsky is the executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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