Saturday, April 1, 2017

Israel’s silenced majority - Caroline Glick




by Caroline Glick

The Israeli public has abandoned its support for the two-state paradigm because it believes that Israel’s past moves to implement it have weakened the country and that any attempt in the future to implement it will imperil the country.

During Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House in February, the premier was reportedly taken by surprise when Trump gently prodded – ahead of their meeting – for Israel to “hold back on settlements for a little bit.”

Since their meeting, Trump’s prod that Israel curtail the property rights of Jews in Judea and Samaria has been the central issue Trump’s chief negotiator Jason Greenblatt has discussed with Netanyahu and his representatives.

From the moment Netanyahu returned from Washington, his government ministers have been asking him to brief them on his discussions with Trump. He has refused. But on Thursday, Netanyahu finally agreed to update his security cabinet.

His agreement is long past due. It is vital for Netanyahu to tell his cabinet ministers what is happening in his conversations with the Americans about Judea and Samaria. It is imperative that the cabinet determine a clear response to Trump’s apparent demand for a full or partial freeze on Jewish property rights in Judea and Samaria.

Such an agreed response is urgent because Trump’s position is antithetical to the position of the vast majority of Israelis. If the government caters to Trump’s demands it will breach the trust of the public that elected it.

This state of affairs was brought home this week with the publication of a new survey of public opinion regarding the Palestinian conflict with Israel. The survey was carried out among adult Israeli Jews by veteran Israeli pollster Mina Tzemach for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

The results of the poll are straightforward. Since Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, Israeli support for territorial concessions to the Palestinians has collapsed. Whereas in 2005, 59% of Israelis supported the establishment of a Palestinian state in Gaza, Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria in exchange for peace, today a mere 29% of Israelis support such a policy.

And levels of Israeli opposition to territorial giveaways only grow when the specifics of withdrawal are considered.

Seventy-seven percent of Israelis oppose full withdrawal from Judea and Samaria in the framework of a peace deal. Sixty-four percent oppose a pullout under which Israel would trade sovereignty over the so-called “settlement blocs” for sovereignty over lands inside of the 1949 armistice lines.

Fifty-seven percent of the public opposes an Israeli withdrawal from everything outside the settlement blocs even without such a trade.

The dramatic drop in Israeli support for the establishment of a Palestinian state over the past 12 years has nothing to do with ideology. The Israeli public has not turned its back on the Left’s ideological vision of two-states west of the Jordan River because it has adopted the ideological convictions of the religious Zionist movement.

The Israeli public has abandoned its support for the two-state paradigm because it believes that Israel’s past moves to implement it have weakened the country and that any attempt in the future to implement it will imperil the country.

This conviction is revealed by the fact that 76% of Israeli Jews want Israel to permanently retain sole responsibility for security in all of Judea and Samaria.

Eighty-eight percent say that Israel must permanently control the territory bordering Ben-Gurion Airport. Eighty-one percent insist that Israel must permanently control the land that bordering the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem highway Route 443.

Eighty-one percent of Israelis say that Israel must control the Jordan Valley in perpetuity. Fifty-five percent say that Israel cannot defend itself without permanently controlling the Jordan Valley. Sixty-nine percent of Israelis reject the notion that Israel can subcontract its national security to foreign powers that would deploy forces to the Jordan Valley in the framework of a peace deal.

In other words, Trump’s desire to mediate a deal between Israel and the PLO places him in conflict with anywhere between 60 and 85% of the Israeli public.

Throughout the US presidential race, Trump said repeatedly that his mastery of the art of the deal would enable him to succeed where his predecessors failed. His experience as a negotiator in the business world, he said, makes him more capable of mediating a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians than any of his predecessors.

It is possible that Trump is right about his relative advantage over his predecessors. But how well or poorly he negotiates is completely beside the point.

Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama didn’t fail to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians because they were bad negotiators. They failed because there is no deal to be had. This reality is what informs the Israeli public.

The Israeli public rejects the two-state model that is now informing Trump, because it has become convinced that Israel’s partner in a hypothetical deal – the PLO – has no intention of ever making a deal with Israel.

The people of Israel has come to realize that the PLO demands Israeli concessions – like a freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria – not because it wants to make peace, but because it wants to weaken Israel.

The reality that informs the position of the Israeli public has been borne out by every PLO action and position since July 2000, when the PLO rejected peace and Palestinian statehood and opted instead to initiate a terrorist war against Israeli society and launch a campaign to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist.

In contrast to the Israeli public, the American foreign policy establishment never accepted the obvious meaning of Yasser Arafat’s rejection of then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak’s peace offer at Camp David in July 2000, and his subsequent initiation of an all-out war of terrorism against Israel.

The Americans responsible for determining US Middle Eastern policy, along with the American Jewish community, never acknowledged the significance of the Palestinians’ refusal to accept sovereign responsibility over Gaza after Israel withdrew from the area in 2005.

They never accepted the obvious meaning of Hamas’s victory in the Palestinian elections in 2006 or the post-Israeli withdrawal transformation of Gaza into a hub of global jihad and a launching pad for continuous aggression against Israel.

Unlike the Israeli public, the Americans closed their eyes to the significance of Mahmoud Abbas’s campaign to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist, to the PA’s refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist, to the PA’s finance of terrorism, and its indoctrination of Palestinian society to support and work toward the destruction of Israel.

This week, the willful blindness of the American foreign policy establishment and the American Jewish establishment to the reality that informs the position of the Israeli public was on display at AIPAC’s policy conference. Although the conference was held under the banner, “Many Voices, One Mission,” precious few voices were heard that reflected the view of the overwhelming majority of Israelis.

The view of the Israeli public that the two-state policy is entirely divorced from reality because there is no one on the Palestinian side who is interested in living at peace with a Jewish state, and that further Israeli concessions to the PLO endanger the Jewish state, was virtually ignored, particularly by the American speakers.

No senior American policy-maker explained that given the Palestinians’ commitment to the destruction of Israel, any policy that requires Israel to make territorial and other concessions is an anti-Israel policy – in substance if not in intent.

The reason the position of the majority of the Israeli public was ignored by the largest pro-Israel lobbying organization in America is that no senior American policy-maker on either side of the partisan aisle is willing to allow the reality that informs the Israeli public to influence its thinking. Although an ideological chasm separates Martin Indyk – John Kerry’s chief negotiator – from Elliott Abrams – George Bush’s point man on Israel – the substance of their views of the goal of US policy-making toward Israel and the Palestinians is largely the same. They both believe that Israel should surrender the vast majority of Judea and Samaria to the PLO.

And this again brings us to Israel and the security cabinet meeting on Thursday evening.

Ahead of the meeting, Netanyahu said that he intended ask his ministers to approve his plan to establish a new town in Judea and Samaria for the residents of the recently destroyed community of Amona.

There is no doubt that from a political perspective, and indeed from a humanitarian perspective, Netanyahu’s commitment to establishing a new community for the former residents of Amona is a positive development. But the question of whether or not Israel should build a new community in Judea and Samaria is not the main issue. Indeed, the issue of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria has never been the main issue.

The pressure the Trump administration is exerting on Israel to constrain the rights of Jews to property in Judea and Samaria is the direct consequence of the refusal of the American foreign policy establishment to reckon with the reality that Israelis have internalized.

The Israeli public today recognizes that there is no deal to be had. The Palestinians will never make peace with Israel, because they remain committed to its destruction.

It doesn’t matter how effective the Americans are at negotiations. It doesn’t matter how many concessions they are able to extract from Israel in their endless attempts to coddle the Palestinians and convince them to negotiate. Indeed, the Americans’ collective refusal to come to terms with the reality that guides the Israeli public indicates that regardless of what their actual feelings toward Israel may be, in demanding Israeli concessions to the PLO, the Americans are implementing a policy that is stridently anti-Israel.

Under the circumstances, Netanyahu’s task, and that of his ministers, is not to convince the new administration to respect the legal rights to property of Jews in Judea and Samaria. Their duty is to represent and advance the interests and positions of the public that elected them.

Netanyahu and his ministers must make clear to Trump and his advisers that there is no point in trying to reach a deal with the PLO. Trump’s predecessors’ failure to reach an accord had nothing to do with their failure to master the art of the deal. They failed because there is no one on the Palestinian side who is interested in making a deal.

Moreover, Netanyahu and his ministers must explain to Trump that all previous attempts to reach a deal by extracting concessions from Israel did nothing but weaken Israel. And the Israeli public will no longer accept any such concessions from their government.


Caroline Glick

Source: http://carolineglick.com/israels-silenced-majority/

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AIPAC - Touting tyranny in pursuit of bipartisanship - Dr. Martin Sherman




by Dr. Martin Sherman

​​​​​​​Instead of trying to resurrect the decrepit zombie of two-statism in pursuit of bipartisanship, AIPAC would do better to assist in promoting Zionist-compliant alternatives.

A durable Israeli-Palestinian peace can best be achieved through direct negotiations between the two parties, resulting in a Jewish state living side-by-side in peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state… - From “The Peace Process: Israel's Pursuit of Peace” currently on AIPAC’s website.

Rejecting decades-old policy, the Republican Party approved on July 12 a platform that does not include a call for a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict…and omits any reference to a solution that would establish an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel... - From “In Major Shift, GOP Rejects Two-State Solution” the Forward, July 10, 2016.

This year’s AIPAC conference, held earlier this week, was by all accounts, and on all counts, a rousing event, attended by a massive audience of around 18,000—and yet another testimony to the pre-eminent pro-Israel lobby’s impressive convening power, organizational capabilities and political clout.

Bipartisanship: At what cost?

The conference was accompanied by persistent press reports suggesting that after a bruising—and unsuccessful—dispute with the Obama-regime over the Iran nuclear deal, which eroded support among Democrats, AIPAC will attempt to reinstate its bipartisan status by actively reaffirming its commitment to the two-state paradigm.

Don’t misunderstand me. In principle, bipartisanism is an admirable, and in many ways, necessary goal.  Indeed as AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr pointed out in his 2016 address: “there are those who question our bipartisan approach to political advocacy, but unless any one party controls the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and controls them forever, bipartisanship is the only way to create stable, sustainable policy from one election to the next”.

There is, of course, much to be said for aspiring to bipartisanship, and for attempting to place Israel above the partisan rivalries of US domestic politics. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of any other way to sustain effective influence on Israel-related issues over time, in which the reins of executive and legislative power are transferred from one party to another.

But for all its merits, there is –or should be –a limit to the price required for ensuring such bipartisan approval.   After all, at some point, accommodating positions on one end of the political spectrum in the name of bipartisanship may well become counter-productive and undermine the core objectives for which bipartisanship was sought in the first place.     

Bipartisanship: A means to an end

After all, as important as bipartisanship is, it is in fact a means to achieving a goal – not a goal in itself—and it is crucial that this distinction be kept clearly in mind.

Thus, in his 2017 address, Kohr declared: “…we are here because we are the bipartisan voice in America  needed to help keep Israel safe in a dangerous world.

It is clear therefore that AIPAC’s objective is “keeping Israel safe in a dangerous world” and bipartisanship, a means to achieve it.

But what happens when the only way to attain the desired bipartisanship not only prevents keeping Israel safe, but in fact, creates a situation that places it in grave jeopardy?

This is precisely the situation that is clearly liable to arise if a Palestinian state is established—and this raises a thorny question for AIPAC: Given the fact that the Republican Party has eschewed endorsement of the two-state prescription, explicit support for two-statism would no longer seem to be an indispensable requisite for bipartisanship.

Why, then, did Kohr feel the need to pronounce such an explicit endorsement. Midway through his otherwise admirable address, he urged the US to undertake “steps [that] could…create a climate that encourages the Palestinians to negotiate in pursuit of the goal we desire: Jewish state of Israel living side by side in peace and security with a demilitarized Palestinians state.”  

A polemic & problematic proclamation 

This reflects another statement on the AIPAC website, according to which: “Israel and the United States are committed to a two-state solution — a Jewish state living side-by-side in peace with a demilitarized Palestinian state.”

 Kohr’s proclamation is both highly polemic and problematic—from numerous aspects.

Israel’s commitment to a two-state outcome is patently debatable—at both government and public levels.


First of all, as Hillel Fendel points out in a recent Op-Ed 'Why does AIPAC support two-states if Israeli gov't doesn't?' , over half the government ministers have publicly expressed their opposition to a Palestinian state.

Moreover, with the passage of time, opposition to the land-for-peace formula and the two-state-prescription, on which it is based, seems to be growing in the Israeli public.

A new poll released just this week showed a dramatic decline “in support for withdrawal from the West Bank and the establishment of a Palestinian state”. Conducted by the Midgam Institute, headed by Dr. Mina Tzemach, one of Israel’s foremost pollsters, its findings showed a steep fall in the “willingness to agree to a withdrawal from the West Bank as part of a peace agreement – from 60% in 2005 to 36% in 2017.”

The wide-ranging poll also examined public attitudes to various configurations of a Palestinian state.   Thus, almost 80% oppose a Palestinian state in all the territory of the West Bank, and close to 60% oppose Palestinian statehood even if Israel keeps the settlement blocs. If land swaps are involved, nearly two thirds oppose establishment of a Palestinian state.
 

The delusion of demilitarization

The poll also found that overwhelming majorities support positions that would effectively preclude agreement with any conceivable Palestinian partner. Thus, 79% endorsed retaining a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty and almost 90% believe that Israel cannot withdraw from territories bordering on Ben-Gurion Airport and over 80% that Israel cannot withdraw from territories adjacent to the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway (Route 443).  For some reason, opinions regarding the territory abutting the Trans-Israel Highway (Route 6) were not surveyed.


These findings clearly underscore the deep suspicion the Israeli public harbors regarding the Palestinians and their peaceable intentions.   Curiously, this seems to be a suspicion shared by AIPAC itself, as reflected by its repeated stipulation that the Palestinian state be demilitarized, indicating that even some future Palestinian peace-partner could not be entrusted with the means available to every other sovereign state!

Moreover as Fendel points out in his previously mentioned article, even in the unlikely event that “the [Palestinian Authority] does accept the condition [of demilitarization] , and then declares independence with Israel's consent, and then takes up arms and forms an army, there is nothing that Israel would be able to do about it, nor would the new state cease being a state”.

Interestingly, this is a position that echoes one articulated by none other than the late Shimon Peres, who in his Oslo-era book, “The New Middle East” (1993) asked pointedly: “Even if the Palestinians agree that their state have no army or weapons, who can guarantee that a Palestinian army would not be mustered later to encamp at the gates of Jerusalem and the approaches to the lowlands? And if the Palestinian state would be unarmed, how would it block terrorist acts perpetrated by extremists, fundamentalists or irredentists?

AIPAC would ignore these questions at Israel’s peril!


“Depraved indifference” of the two-state paradigm

Indeed, unless two-state proponents can address them adequately; unless they can provide persuasive prescriptions on how to contend with the grave dangers that may well emerge pursuant to an Israeli withdrawal; unless they present a convincing case why what occurred in the past when Israel relinquished territory, will not reoccur if, yet again, it relinquishes territory, then continued advocacy for Palestinian statehood is reprehensible recklessness.

After all, any Arab entity set up in Judea-Samaria would have a front of around 500 km, abutting Israel’s most populous area, and total topographical superiority over 80% of the country’s civilian population, vital infrastructure systems/installations and 80% of its commercial activity.

So, even in the context of a demilitarized state– absent an air-force, navy armor or heavy artillery—any forces deployed in these areas (regular or renegade) could, with cheap readily available weapons (such as those in “demilitarized” Gaza),  disrupt at will, the socio-economic routine in Israel’s coastal megalopolis, making the attrition in daily life increasingly onerous and hazardous…

Moreover, there is little dispute that if Israel were to evacuate Judea-Samaria, it is far from implausible (to grossly understate the odds) that the territory would –sooner or later—fall into the hands of Hamas-like elements, or worse. Indeed, the only way to ensure that what happened in Gaza does not happen in Judea-Samaria is for Israel to retain control of this territory—thereby precluding implementation of the two-state formula and the emergence of a Palestinian state.

Accordingly, given the clear and present dangers entailed in the two-state paradigm, dangers considerably heightened by the precarious position of the current regime in neighboring Jordan, threatened by ever-ascendant Islamist elements, should not further advocacy of  this perilous prescription be deemed “reckless endangerment”—even “depraved indifference”?

Touting tyranny in pursuit of bipartisanship

Of course, unless one assumes the wildly improbable, implementation of the two-state principle—and the establishment of a Palestinian state—will culminate in realities that are the diametric antitheses of the very values for which it was purportedly supported.

This is something that AIPAC must seriously consider in assessing its support of two-statism. For in its quest for bipartisanship by strongly endorsing the perverse two-state prescription in order to mollify miffed Democrats, AIPAC is in fact…touting tyranny.  

After all, given the socio-cultural conditions in virtually all Arab countries, and the appalling precedents set in Palestinian-administered territories, evacuated by Israel in the past, the most likely outcome of the two-state endeavor is not difficult to foresee.

Indeed , there is little reason to believe—and two-state proponents have certainly  never provided anything approaching a persuasive one—that any prospective Palestinian state, established on territory Israel evacuated, will quickly become  anything but yet another homophobic, misogynistic Muslim-majority tyranny, that discriminates against its women/girls, persecutes its homosexuals, pursues its political dissidents and persecutes it non-Muslim residents.

Are these really the realities that AIPAC strives to foster? Is this, in the words of AIPAC’s CEO, really the best way “to help keep Israel safe in a dangerous world”?

If not, then surely it should undertake some serious soul-searching into the morality and the rationality of its embrace of two-statism in its quest for bipartisanship.


Better route to bipartisanship: Persuasion not pandering 

AIPAC is, of course, in many and important ways an admirable organization, doing sterling work on behalf of the Jewish state and the Jewish people –opposing Iran’s nuclear drive, combating the global delegitimization of Israel and BDS campaign, fighting the scourge of ascendant anti-Semitism…

 Significantly—to its great credit—it has even mustered the courage to abandoned its bipartisan position in the past, to oppose the hazardous Iran deal, which was repeatedly excoriated  during the 2017 conference, probably to the chagrin of many Democrats.  Even if, for the moment, it was unsuccessful, it was the right thing to do—and may well pay off in the future.

This should be its model for its position on the Palestinian issue. 

Rather than pander to the Democrats by embracing the decrepit zombie of two-statism, AIPAC should lobby them to abandon this perilous and pernicious paradigm. That should be the real challenge for AIPAC - to persuade them to forgo the fatally flawed and failed formula of land-for-peace and persuade both parties to adopt new Zionist-compliant alternatives.  That would be a far better route to bipartisanship!


Dr. Martin Sherman served for seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli Defense establishment, was ministerial adviser to Yitzhak Shamir's government and lectured for 20 years at Tel Aviv University in Political Science, International Relations and Strategic Studies. He has a B.Sc. (Physics and Geology), MBA (Finance), and PhD in political science and international relations, was the first academic director of the Herzliya Conference and is the author of two books and numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of political, diplomatic and security issues. He is founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies (www.strategicisrael.org). Born in South Africa,he has lived in Israel since 1971.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/20335

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Sanctuary Cities: Where Hypocrisy Rules - Michael Cutler




by Michael Cutler


NYC’s Mayor Bill DeBlasio blocks the deportation of criminal aliens by ICE.




It should be common sense that a nation’s security begins and ends at its borders.

The primary mission of the military is to keep America’s enemies as far from its shores as possible.

There is a stirring Navy commercial “America's Navy - The Shield” in which numerous members of the United States Navy from a wide array of divisions appear on screen and a voice says, “To get to you they’d have to get past us.”

Indeed, the valiant members of our armed forces from all five branches routinely go in harm’s way to defend America and Americans.

However, as we saw all too clearly on September 11, 2001, in this era of asymmetrical warfare, America’s enemies are likely to not come to our country in a warship but on an airliner.

Indeed, on that horrific day more than 15 years ago, 19 men from the Middle East carried out the deadliest terror attack ever mounted on American soil.  The casualties of 9/11 surpassed the number of casualties that the Japanese fleet inflicted on the United States at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

The 9/11 Commission was convened to determine the vulnerabilities that the terrorists successfully exploited to attack the United States.  Among the most fundamental vulnerabilities were those that pertain to the various components of the immigration system.

I addressed these issues in my article “The 9/11 Commission Report and Immigration: An Assessment, Fourteen Years after the Attacks.”

Immigration Law Enforcement Is Not About Xenophobia But Commonsense:

To be clear, our immigration laws have nothing to do with race, religion or ethnicity but everything to do with preventing he entry of aliens who suffer dangerous communicable diseases or mental illness as well as aliens who are criminals, spies, human rights violators, fugitives from justice, war criminals and terrorists.

The federal government created the Department of Homeland Security in the wake of those terror attacks to better protect America and Americans from the threat of international terrorism.  The enforcement of our immigration laws was moved into that new department because it was understood that border security and the enforcement of our immigration laws from within the United States back-stops the efforts of the military to prevent the entry and embedding of terrorists and criminals in the United States.

You would think that across America our nation’s leaders, irrespective of party affiliations, would all be in agreement about the need to prevent the entry of terrorists and criminals into the United States.

You would think there would be universal agreement to prevent contraband such as narcotics and dangerous weapons from entering the United States in this perilous era.

It would also seem that these concerns would be of particular focus for the political leaders of New York City, the city that bore the brunt of the hellacious attacks of 9/11 especially when you realize that there had been a previous deadly terror attack committed at the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993 and still other attacks in New York.

Certainly Mayor DeBlasio and New York Senator Chuck Schumer make frequent note of those terror attacks to demand that Washington provide additional funding to protect New York City from international terrorists.

However, over time, the nexus between immigration and national security has been, by design, gradually expunged from the narrative.

Over time, beginning with President Jimmy Carter’s strategy of blurring the distinction between lawful immigrants and illegal aliens, the term alien has been replaced by the term immigrant.

Any effort to distinguish lawful immigrants from illegal aliens is now met with accusations of racism, xenophobia, nativism and other such insults.

The complicit mainstream media has come to refer to anyone who calls for securing our borders against illegal entry as being “Anti-Immigrant” while immigration anarchists have been re-branded “Pro-Immigrant.”

By blurring the distinction between lawful immigrants and illegal aliens has tragically conditioned many Americans to believe that the term “Immigrant” is synonymous with “law violator” when nothing could be further from the truth.

The Trump administration is not seeking to deport true “Immigrants” unless, of course a lawful immigrant commits certain serious crimes.

One progressive organization, Credo Action, posted this petition with the bogus premise: Senate Democrats: Block Trump’s attacks on immigrants.

The push for the deportation of illegal aliens must not be confused with the bogus narrative of the politicians who say that they will prevent President Trump from deporting immigrants.  The administration is not attempting to deport immigrants but is attempting to deport illegal aliens, especially when they have committed serious crimes and pose a threat to public safety the same way that criminals living in public housing pose a threat to public safety.

Not content with simply declaring NYC a “Sanctuary City” DeBlasio has provided hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens with municipal identity documents that help illegal aliens embed themselves in NYC and provide them with a level of credibility they should not have.

After Donald Trump was elected president, ABC News reported, Mayor Says If Trump Tries To Deport Undocumented Immigrants He'll Destroy IDNYC Data.

Following the attacks of 9/11 politicians from both parties stood in front of forests of microphones at news conferences and demanded to know, “Why did no one connect the dots?”

Now Mr. DeBlasio has unbelievably threatened to erase potential dots, thereby obstructing governmental administration in matters involving national security.

When I have attempted to explain immigration law enforcement in a way that most folks could relate to, I have come to say that the difference between an immigrant and and illegal alien is comparable to the difference between a houseguest and a burglar.

When I provided a deposition to the law firm retained by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to help in their defense against the Obama DOJ lawsuit over SB 1070 (Arizona’s immigration law that largely paralleled our federal immigration laws) I noted that “During the first four years of my career with the INS when I served as an immigration inspector at JFK International Airport in New York City, you could say that I had my eye to the peephole to America’s front door.”

I believe the analogy of comparing our homes with our nation and how reasonable people take whatever measures they can to protect themselves and their homes by locking their doors at night and being careful about letting strangers into their homes or apartments parallels the mission of immigration law enforcement for the United States.

That analogy works quite well and is worth considering today considering that on March 29, 2017 Spectrum News published a report, “NYPD and NYCHA Need to Do More to Remove Criminals from Public Housing, DOI Says.”

That report prompted me to do a bit of research on the issue of how, in New York City, residents of public housing become subject to eviction when they are convicted of committing certain serious crimes and may be excluded from living in public housing permanently.

I found a December 2015 New York Times article, “Report Details ‘Systemic Failures’ in Communication Between New York Police and Housing Authority” that contained a quote from none other than New York City’s Mayor DeBlasio.

Here is the pertinent segment of the news article:
The issue of excluding violent offenders from public housing gained new attention after the fatal shooting of Officer Randolph Holder near the East River Houses in Upper Manhattan on Oct. 20. The authorities have said the officer was killed by a man, Tyrone Howard, who should have been barred from public housing long before based on his criminal history.
Without mentioning the investigation or its findings, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office issued a news release last week promising improved interagency communication and strategies “aimed at quickly and accurately identifying individuals who pose a serious risk to public safety and taking appropriate action.”
“Improved N.Y.P.D. and Nycha communication and process will shorten eviction and exclusion proceedings from public housing to weeks, as opposed to months, for serious offenders,” Mr. de Blasio said in the statement.
This is absolutely stunning.

Mr. DeBlasio has shown commonsense about keeping criminals out of public housing the same way that DeBlasio’s mayoral predecessor and proponent of Sanctuary Cities, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, demanded that police officers patrol public housing and arrest anyone who would trespass on public housing because, he stated, such trespassers pose a threat to the safety of those who live in public housing.

However, while DeBasio is all for evicting criminals from public housing to keep the residents of those housing developments safe, he determined to prevent the deportation of criminal aliens from the United States.

The hypocrisy is startling. and provides evidence of Theft By Deception: The Immigration Con Game.

On March 15, 2017 Newsday quoted the Speaker of the New York City Counsel in an article, NYC’s Mark-Viverito: Trump deportation plan ‘ethnic cleansing.’

The term depravity come to mind in contemplating her reckless, incendiary and outrageous allegations.  Could you imagine if President Trump had said anything that even approached that insane statement?

In “Sanctuary Cities” public safety, law, reason, commonsense and morality are mere speed bumps to be overcome to create immigration anarchy.

Michael Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) whose career spanned some 30 years. He served as an Immigration Inspector, Immigration Adjudications Officer and spent 26 years as an agent who rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. For half of his career he was assigned to the Drug Task Force. He has testified before well over a dozen congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission as well as state legislative hearings around the United States and at trials where immigration is at issue. He hosts his radio show, “The Michael Cutler Hour,” on Friday evenings on BlogTalk Radio. His personal website is http://michaelcutler.net/.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266277/sanctuary-cities-where-hypocrisy-rules-michael-cutler

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The New Jacobins - Richard L. Cravatts




by Richard L. Cravatts


Campus fascists have been using their Gestapo tactics against pro-Israel speakers for years.




When Chester Evans Finn, Jr., a former United States Assistant Secretary of Education, observed in 1989 that university campuses had become “islands of repression in a sea of freedom,” he was anticipating a troubling and prevalent trend now poisoning academia, namely, the suppression of free speech. With alarming regularity, speakers are shouted down, booed, jeered, and barraged with vitriol, all at the hands of groups who give lip service to the notion of academic free speech, and who demand it when their speech is at issue, but have no interest in listening to, or letting others listen to, ideas that contradict their own world view.

This is the tragic and inevitable result of a decades of grievance-based victimism by self-designated groups who frame their rights and demands on identity politics and who have been successful in weaponizing this victim status to stifle debate. In the space of the past two months, for example, tendentious and morally self-righteous progressive students, and some faculty, have displayed a shocking disregard for the university’s cardinal virtue of free expression, deciding themselves who may say what about whom on their respective campuses—and purging from campuses those ideas they have deemed too hateful, too unsafe, too incendiary to tolerate or to allow to be heard.

At Middlebury College, in one of the most astonishing examples, Charles Murray, political scientist, libertarian, and author of the controversial 1994 book, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, was verbally assaulted by a crazed audience of students intent on shutting down his planned speech—a crowd that eventually physically surrounded Murray and a Middlebury professor, Allison Stanger, and shoved them with sufficient force that she was hospitalized. “Your message is hatred, we cannot tolerate it,” the intellectual thugs screamed out.

At NYU, Gavin McInnes, co-founder of Vice Media and the host of The Gavin McInnes Show on Compound Media, was showered with pepper spray by agitated and raucous protesters before his scheduled February 3rd speech.

Ezra Levant, conservative political activist, writer, and broadcaster, had to endure a similar experience at Canada’s Ryerson University in March when protesters set off alarms, pounded on doors, and continuously interrupted his speech while chanting, “no Islamophobia, no white supremacy.”

And at Berkeley on February 1st, some 1500 violent rioters, including members of the radical, far-Left Antifa group, feminists, gay activists, pro-immigration groups, and other faculty and students, lit fires, smashed windows, tossed smoke bombs, destroyed property, and pepper sprayed and beat pro-Trump bystanders and conservatives, all because of the purported extreme views of Milo Yiannopoulos, a speaker invited to campus by the Berkeley College Republicans that evening as part of his “The Dangerous Faggot Tour.”

Something is clearly amiss on North American campuses, and this recent spate of disrupted events has brought to the forefront a troubling phenomenon on campuses that supporters of Israel have been experiencing for more than a decade already. Anti-Israel campus activists have conducted an ongoing campaign to delegitimize and libel Israel, and their tactics include a concerted and blatant attempt to shut down dialogue and debate—anything that will help to “normalize” Zionism, permit pro-Israel views to be aired, or generate support for the Jewish state.

The marauding, virtue-signaling bullies who were successful in suppressing the speech of conservative speakers whose views they had predetermined could not even be uttered on campus share a common set of characteristics with the campus activists who have led the assault against Israel and Jewish students who support it: it is they, and they alone, who know what it acceptable speech, what ideas are appropriate and allowed, which groups are victims of oppression and should therefore receive special accommodation for their behavior and speech, which views are progressive (and therefore virtuous) and which views are regressive (and therefore hateful), which causes are worthy of support and which are, because of their perceived moral defects, worthy of opprobrium.

The notion that a vocal minority of self-important ideologues can determine what views may or may not be expressed on a particular campus is not only antithetical to the purpose of a university, but is vaguely fascistic by relinquishing power to a few to decide what can be said and what speech is allowed and what must be suppressed; it is what former Yale University president Bartlett Giamatti characterized as the “tyranny of group self-righteousness.”

The sententious activists fueling this ideological bullying may well feel that they have access to all the truth and facts, but even if this were true—which it demonstrably and regularly is not—it certainly does not empower them with the right to have the only voice and to disrupt, shout down, or totally eliminate competing opinions in political or academic debates. No one individual or group has the moral authority or intellectual might to decide what may and may not be discussed, and especially young, sanctimonious students—whose expertise and knowledge about the Middle East, in particular, is frequently characterized by distortions, lies, lack of context, corrosive bias against Israel, and errors in history and fact.

The frequency and intensity of the disruption of pro-Israel events is shocking. The AMCHA Initiative, an organization that tracks instances of campus anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism, reported that in February 2017 alone, pro-Palestinian radicals attempted to disrupt and shut down the following events: a University of Georgia Dawgs for Israel event called “Beyond the Headlines: Israeli Soldiers Tour,” during which members of the toxic Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) tossed images of dead children around the room and then were escorted out of the room by an armed guard, chanting, “The occupation is terrorism” and “We will not allow justification of ethnic cleansing, occupation, and murder on UGA’s campus;” a University of Washington pro-Israel education display promoting peace that was set up by the Coalition of Husky Allies for Israel and was vigorously protested by Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER-UW) who complained repeatedly that the pro-Israel display was “too close to SUPER-UW’s display,” and, more preposterously, that the pro-Israel display was offensive and “triggers” them; a Florida State University Hillel-sponsored event where Israeli soldiers spoke. SJP members disrupted the event, unfurling a large Palestinian flag, standing up during the presentation, and shrieking, “There are not many opportunities . . . to look my colonizers in the eyes with their hands bare of weaponry to tell them [that] what they are doing to Palestine and Palestinians is wrong . . . and so Palestine will never be taken away, it will never disappear and Palestinians all across the world are ready to return. They will return one day . . . Free, free Palestine;” and a Students Supporting Israel at Columbia University event with Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Protestors from the anti-Israel University Apartheid Divest chanted, “Stop your murder, stop your hate, Israel is an apartheid state!” and “No peace on stolen land! Justice is our demand!” and some protesters broke into the lecture hall, interrupting Danon seven times while screaming out such chants as, “From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go,” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

College administrators regularly give lip service to the enshrined value of academic free speech and robust debate about controversial issues, and that is an admirable goal and an intellectual environment in which scholarship and learning can thrive. But university communities also thrive when they operate with civility and decorum, meaning that when it comes to academic free speech, students and faculty have the right to express their ideas, no matter how controversial and unpopular, but they must do so in a way that does not interfere with the normal operations of the university or the ability of professors to teach and students to learn.

This means that it was never the intended purpose of academic free speech to enable or permit students, for example, to scream out in protest in classrooms if they disagree with the instructor or merely wish to raise their displeasure with some issue, engage in speech and behavior that would normally be considered to be incitement or harassment or criminal, and, most relevant to this current issue, individuals cannot, under the protection of free speech, deprive another of his or her free speech rights—through disruptions, heckling, physical obstructions, or other tactics which have as their purpose to suppress and/or eliminate the speech of those with opposing views, including the threat of violence if certain controversial speakers are allowed air their views, the so-called “heckler’s veto.”


True intellectual diversity — the ideal that is often bandied about in academia but rarely achieved — must be dedicated to the protection of unfettered speech, representing opposing viewpoints, where the best ideas become clear through the utterance of weaker ones. “. . . The University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed,” a 2014 Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression by the University of Chicago suggested. “It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose.”


Richard L. Cravatts, PhD, immediate Past-President of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of the forthcoming book, Dispatches From the Campus War Against Israel and Jews (A David Horowitz Freedom Center book).

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266263/new-jacobins-richard-l-cravatts

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Europe fears Islam - Giulio Meotti




by Giulio Meotti

Europe should not be willing to surrender, it can fight Islam, but is letting terror and wombs bring Europe to its knees.

Muslims and Islamic extremists are arriving en masse in a continent that is collapsing demographically and culturally. And there are even important voices, such as that of French philosopher Michel Onfray, who are ready to capitulate and to renounce the Judeo-Christian civilization.

I am not. Europe should not be willing to surrender. Otherwise, nothing will stand on the road between one billion Muslims and their dream to build a caliphate in Europe. Our hedonists are not even willing to fight for an Iphone.

Secularization and apathy are killing what Europe built over centuries. The churches are empty everywhere: Brussels, Milan, London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin. Even the Pope, Francis, refuses to talk about Europe. He simply considers it lost. In France there are 80 new priests every year. In Italy you find the same crazy desperation. Open the televisions during the evening: and you will see how people are brainwashed with programs about “wellness”: food, sexual pleasure, body care. It is the new Karl Marx, the “opium of people”.

Islamic extremists, meanwhile, launch their challenge: transforming Europe’s democracies according to their plans for government by sharia and nutrition by halal, in cafes, in food, in clothing, in the whole idea of ​​the society. They use terror and wombs. In 1914, the Arab world had between 35 million to 40 million people. In 2015, 378 million. In Africa, the population will double to 950 million by 2050, particularly in the Sahel. During this period, Europe will have lost millions of inhabitants due to aging and falling fertility. You can imagine the consequences of this historic demographic changing.


Unlike the mainstream narrative, the relations between Europe and Islam for fifteen centuries have never been “a dialogue of civilizations.” Islam expanded for centuries on the two sides of the Mediterranean and from India to Ukraine. Pierre Lellouche in his new book “Une guerre sans fin” writes that “over the last hundred years we created a 'limes', a boundary between West and Islam”. That border is collapsing and Islam is submerging Europe, again.

Europe opened its borders to mass immigration, a phenomenon that political Islam sees as a form of “peaceful conquest”. Think about France: in forty years, the number of Muslims in France has reached 6 million. These countries have closed their eyes voluntarily. And tomorrow? The demographics will double in Africa, in Sahel in particular, where 200 million people live. And this mass of people will move north. To Europe. And it is there that radical Islam is growing.

Islamic extremists are already changing our societies, they have eliminated Theo van Gogh, Charlie Hebdo, so that today no one says anything about the Prophet of Islam. It means being condemned to death. Salman Rushdie still lives under a fatwa. All the newspapers and writers have adopted self-censorship. Muslim suprematists use our freedoms to destroy them. Across Europe there are dozens of parallel societies, a sort of Kosovo. Molenbeek, in Brussels, is the most famous one. But you find one in Birmingham, UK’s second largest city, where most of the Jihadists live.

It is not true that we cannot defeat our enemies. In our penal system there are many anti-terrorism instruments, but Europe refuses to use them for fear of an Islamic insurgency. We are not fighting seriously. We are saying to people, “learn to live with terrorism”. France, in the past 2 years, refused to approve all the laws it needed to destroy radical Islam.

Europe fears Islam and is running from its responsibility.

A civil war looms in Europe's future, one of low intensity attacks and reorganizations. Meanwhile, our √©lites are betraying both history and people. France’s Education Minister Belkacem has started a program to erase medieval history from textbooks. The Christian roots of France must disappear.

We’re not winning this war, we are just learning to adapt to terrorism, while facing a process of Islamization that is an existential threat to Western civilization.


Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter and of "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/20332

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A Dangerous Newcomer to the Left's War Against Trump & America - Discover the Networks




by Discover the Networks


The agendas of David Brock's organization, Shareblue.




A key participant in the political war by which the Left is currently fighting to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the Trump presidency is a relatively new organization called Shareblue, which grew out of Blue Nation Review (BNR), a pro-Democrat entity that once described Hillary Clinton as “one of the most ethical political leaders in America.” In 2015 David Brock, a former-conservative-turned-leftist, purchased BNR and rebranded it as Shareblue. From the outset, his objective has been to develop Shareblue into a progressive media outlet that speaks directly to grass roots Americans, who are, in Brock's estimation, “avidly and unabashedly pro-Hillary.”

Shareblue first outlined its major objectives in a 44-page confidential memo that set the agenda for a January 2017 conference at Florida's luxurious Turnberry Isle resort, where Mr. Brock addressed some 120 wealthy Democratic donors and tried to map out a course of action by which leftists could effectively “kick Donald Trump's ass” during the next four years. Specifically, the memo indicated that Brock plans to use Shareblue as a forum for “partisan combat” against Trump and his agenda.

Shareblue identifies its top priorities as follows:
  • “Calling out signs of authoritarianism and kleptocracy”;
  • “[Providing] nonstop coverage of the influence of Vladimir Putin and Russia on Trump and his administration”;
  • “Exposing Trump as a weak, thin-skinned 'loser' vulnerable to goading”;
  • “Relentlessly beating the drum that [Trump] has no mandate, lost the popular vote, and is the least popular president-elect in modern American history”;
  • “Spotlighting the Trump administration's vast ties to white nationalists and the ways in which they explicitly empower white supremacy”;
  • “Tracking and fighting back against odious GOP legislation in Congress”;
  • “[Providing] morale-boosting coverage of the grassroots opposition and resistance efforts outside the beltway”;
  • “[Providing] positive coverage of Democrats who boldly call out Trump and aggressively work against him [and] hold him accountable”; and
  • “Fighting outrage fatigue.”
Shareblue has also indicated that yet another Brock organization, the American Independent Institute, will award, on Shareblue's behalf, grants to fund the efforts of “top investigative journalists to cover, expose, and damage the Trump administration and its allies.”

Though Shareblue is a relative newcomer to the political scene, by no means is it a minor player in left-wing circles. Indeed, the organization's website drew 162 million unique viewers during the second half of 2016 a 50 percent increase over the preceding 6 months.

In addition, Shareblue recently announced its plan to develop a premium service where subscribers can pay a fee to participate in a Twitter-like forum open only to leftists and progressives. By Brock's telling, such an ideological echo chamber will provide “a powerful way of merging our connection to the grassroots with our platform.”

Shareblue's overarching objectives are to become “the go-to news outlet” for “grassroots Trump opponents” and “opposition leaders”; to force “Trump allies … to step down or change course due to news we push”; and to embolden Congressional Democrats to “take more aggressive positions against Trump.”

At its heart, Shareblue is rooted in the philosophy and tactics of Saul Alinsky, the famed socialist community organizer whose profound influence on both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has been well established. Alinsky made it clear that left-wing radicals should constantly strive to “rub raw the resentments of the people,” “fan … latent hostilities to the point of overt expression,” and “agitate to the point of conflict.” Moreover, Alinsky explained, these radicals must cultivate unity against a clearly identifiable enemy in this case, Trump who can be caricatured as the very personification of evil.

Alinsky summarized it this way: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it…. [T]here is no point to tactics unless one has a target upon which to center the attacks” so as to effectively cultivate in people’s hearts a negative, visceral emotional response to the face of that target wherever it is seen. Further, Alinsky advised leftists to avoid the temptation to concede that their opponents are not “100 per cent devil” i.e., that those opponents may possess certain admirable qualities like being “churchgoing” or “generous to charity.” Such qualifying remarks, Alinsky said, “dilut[e] the impact of the attack” and amount to “political idiocy.”

By following Alinsky's prescriptions for political combat, Shareblue takes its place alongside a host of aggressive left-wing allies who are likewise engaged in the battle to paint President Trump and his advisers as quasi-satanic figures, and to permanently enshrine the Democrats as America's overlords.


Discover the Networks

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266276/dangerous-newcomer-lefts-war-against-trump-america-discover-networks

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Russia: Rubber Ducks and Green Paint - Shoshana Bryen




by Shoshana Bryen

It is not America's job to create or foment unrest in Russia or anywhere else. But it is in the interest of the West to support and hearten those who have the courage to take on a corrupt and aggressive government.

  • How the United States responds to these protests abroad can determine not only the future of those protesting, but also the future of the governments that find themselves under pressure.
  • Russia seeks superpower status in the Middle East and Europe, but real superpower status has always required the ability to shoulder burdens abroad without fear of upheaval at home.
  • Ignoring the Green Movement in Iran was a missed opportunity for the West and a tragedy for the people of Iran. It is not America's job to create or foment unrest in Russia or anywhere else. But it is in the interest of the West to support and hearten those who have the courage to take on a corrupt and aggressive government.
For all the hyperbole in Washington about Russian hacking, Russian disinformation, Russian influence, and Russian espionage, the really remarkable events in Russia over the weekend appear barely to have registered.

One hundred years after the assassination of the last Czar, and two-and-a-half decades after the fall of the communist regime, Russian people have taken to the streets.

In early March, anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny posted a report on YouTube detailing the corruption of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. After more than 13 million views in roughly three weeks, people, including a large number of teenagers, answered Navalny's call for public protest. They flooded the streets of 95 Russian cities, as well as London, Prague, Basel, and Bonn. Many carried rubber ducks -- or real ducks -- referring to reports of a luxury duck farm on one of Medvedev's properties.

Navalny is now in jail.


Police in Moscow arrest an anti-corruption protestor on March 26, 2017. (Image source: CNN video screenshot)

Depending on the source, 7,000-8,000 (Russia's Interior Ministry) or 25,000-30,000 (Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation) people turned out in Moscow, and hundreds -- or thousands -- were arrested. The Anti-Corruption Foundation claims there were more than 150,000 protesters across the country.

Navalny himself was doused with bright green dye by an opponent in an eerie parallel to the poisoning that disfigured the face of Ukrainian politician Victor Yushchenko. Navalny's supporters, in solidarity, have taken to green face paint.

These courageous protests may call to mind the 2015 "Sunflower" movement in Taiwan or the "Umbrella" movement in Hong Kong. The former opposed Taiwanese trade with China, a plan that could have made the island dependent on the mainland for its economic future. The latter demanded the "full autonomy," promised by Britain and agreed to by China, when the British departed in 1999. Both were notable for the number of students in the forefront. The protests also call to mind the Arab Spring demonstrations of 2011, grounded in the belief by Arab citizens that their governments were hopelessly corrupt; also Iran's massive 2009 Green Movement protests, in which citizens believed the government had conducted a fraudulent election.

For the Trump administration, this moment is immensely important.

How the United States responds to these protests abroad can determine not only the future of those protesting, but also the future of the governments that find themselves under pressure.

Taiwan, a fully functioning democracy, saw a change of government in its latest election. Hong Kong's change of government, however, was fully controlled by Beijing. The Arab Spring opened the way for power vacuums that allowed the rise of ISIS and al Qaeda. And Iran's government smashed the nascent rebellion so thoroughly that no large-scale protest has been able to take place there since.

It has been said that Vladimir Putin personally has a high favorability ratings in Russia because he restored predictability and stability after the turbulent Gorbachev-through-Yeltsin period and because he is a nationalist. Corruption, however, is endemic -- and Putin has been ruthless in wiping out politicians and journalists who poke too closely into it.

Putin critic and lawmaker Denis Voronenkov (2017), Boris Nemtsov (2015), human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov (2009), journalists Anastasia Baburova (2009) Natalia Estemirova (2009), Anna Politkovskaya (2005) and Paul Klebnikov (2004), and politician Sergei Yushenkov (2003) were all shot. Boris Berezovsky (2013) died after falling out with Putin; the cause of his death has not yet been established. Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in 2006. The lawyer Sergei Magnitsky (2009) died in police custody. Last week, his family's lawyer, Nicolai Gorokhov, was said to have fallen out of a fourth floor window "while installing a hot tub."

Vladimir Kara-Murza, leader of the Russian political opposition, directly accused the Kremlin of assassinating political enemies. Earlier this month, Kara-Murza was in a life-threatening coma with elevated levels of heavy metal in his blood; it was the second time he was poisoned. Partially recovered now and not in Russia, Kara-Murza called it retaliation for his work with American lawmakers on the Magnitsky Act, designed to prevent human rights abusers in Russia from keeping their wealth in Western countries.

Perhaps Navalny's call to the public is grounded in the understanding that, one by one, brave people can be eliminated, but thousands at a time in the streets are harder to target. The outpouring of support by young people who have never known any government other than that of Putin or Medvedev is an indication of how deeply they understand.

The usual method of tamping down widespread unhappiness is with money. But the Russian economy has been in a recession for two years, in part due to the decline in oil prices, and its "rainy day" fund has declined from $91.7 billion in September 2014 to $32.2 billion two years later, according to the Russian Finance Ministry. Defense spending is slated to drop by 27% in the draft 2017 budget.

On the nationalist side, the Russian public historically does not like losing soldiers in foreign wars -- think "Afghanistan." Losses in Ukraine, never officially enumerated by the Russian government, were accepted grudgingly as part of the price for restoring Crimea. But casualties in Syria cannot be dealt with so easily. The number remains small -- according official counts just over 100, including both soldiers and military contractors -- but there seems to be widespread unease. More than a few (small) anti-war demonstrations have been seen in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The public is aware of the scale of Russian and Syrian bombing and the resulting casualties of a war that are not understood to be of importance in the homeland. They may be important to us -- and to the Russian government, but the Russian people have never liked wars unrelated to Russian territory. That is probably why they could accept Stalingrad, but balked at Afghanistan.

Russia seeks superpower status in the Middle East and Europe, but real superpower status has always required the ability to shoulder burdens abroad without fear of upheaval at home. World War II is a clear example of American success, but when the domestic situation was turbulent in the late 1960s, the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam and spent decades restoring its international credibility. A shaky domestic situation in Russia may force Putin to consider spending more resources at home than abroad.

Ignoring the Green Movement in Iran was a missed opportunity for the West and a tragedy for the people of Iran. It is not America's job to create or foment unrest in Russia or anywhere else. But it is in the interest of the West to support and hearten those who have the courage to take on a corrupt and aggressive government. President Trump can take a page from Ronald Reagan, who spoke out for the rights of the people, especially Soviet refuseniks, even as he worked to negotiate arms-control with Gorbachev.

If we ignore the rubber ducks and green paint, it will be at our peril.


Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10137/russia-corruption

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