Friday, July 21, 2017

The EU: Undermining Israel under the guise of humanitarianism - Janet Levy

by Janet Levy

Between 2012-2014, the EU financed the building of more than 400 illegal structures in Area C identified by an affixed EU flag. The EU claimed diplomatic immunity and refused to appear in court when sued for illegal construction.

More than 70 years after the Holocaust, the European Union has been involved in demonizing and delegitimizing the Jewish State through actions inimical to Israel’s existence. They include indirect funding of terrorist activities, refusals to examine this misdirection of funds, assistance to build illegal Palestinian communities within Israel’s boundaries, and criticism of Israel’s attitudes towards Palestinians as “ethnic cleansing.”  These EU activities have gone on for the past 25 years, and represent a persistent undermining of the Jewish State under the guise of European humanitarianism.

Since the beginning of the Oslo process in 1992, the EU has backed the Palestinian Authority, becoming one of its main financial supporters.  Since 1993, the EU and its member states have given over four billion euros to the PA and a variety of Palestinian NGOs. Ostensibly, these funds were meant to develop democratic institutions as well as promote education and prosperity among Palestinians.  In actual practice, a substantial portion of the European funding has fueled corruption and terrorism.

In 2004, Ilka Schroeder, an EU member of parliament representing the German Green party, called for an investigation of this EU-funding. She accused the governmental body of "winking approval of terrorist attacks” by “financing a murderous anti-Semitic terrorist war against Israel.”  Further, she proclaimed, “It is a well known fact that the EU-funding for the Palestinian Authority was channeled to a black budget.”

As part of her investigation, Schroeder uncovered evidence that PA terrorist leader, Yasser Arafat, had personally signed checks to people linked to terrorist activity. Ultimately, the EU declined her request for a full inquiry and for an accounting and recovery of misappropriated funds.

Even though Israel had provided the European Commission with poof of this illicit use of EU-funding as early as 2002, Chris Patten, the then-European commissioner for external relations, refused calls for investigation. He also denied any knowledge of how the money was used or evidence of serious problems.  Furthermore, despite PA-orchestrated terrorist attacks and the launch of thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian territory, Patten characterized the PA’s survival as vital to peace prospects in the region.

In 2012, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that 16% of annual foreign donations to the PA were used as payments to terrorists and their families.  NGO Palestinian Media Watch has repeatedly demonstrated how EU funding supports hate literature and hate education against Jews. Some of these materials even describe Jews as apes and rats and deny any Israeli connection to the land.

That same year, under the guise of providing humanitarian aid, the EU announced funding for the “development of land and basic infrastructure” for Bedouin and Palestinian communities in an area under the municipal jurisdiction of Israel referred to as Area C.  Under the Oslo Accords which were ratified by the EU, Area C was designated as Israel’s full responsibility and Areas A and B were under full civil control of the Palestinian Authority. But in an attempt to grab more Israeli land for a future state, the PA refused to provide housing for Bedouins and Palestinians in Areas A and B, thereby forcing them into Area C.

Thus, the EU funding constituted illegal building activity and a subversion of Israel’s sovereign authority as a result, a huge upsurge occurred in the number of illegal Bedouin village structures and encampments on both sides of the highway from the entrance to Jerusalem all the way to the Dead Sea.  Between 2012-2014, the EU financed the building of more than 400 illegal structures without Israeli government permission in violation of the country’s zoning and building laws. These structures, made from modular panels and identified by an affixed EU flag, could be built within hours.

This joint EU-PA “building project” was designed to wrest control of Area C from Israel. The ramshackle communities lacked water, sewage, electricity, refuse collection and other infrastructure requirements.  They became blighted centers of poverty, crime and environmental pollution, many near main roads, near military bases, or on designated nature reserves as well as on historic and Christian holy sites.  They came nowhere close to meeting stringent EU environmental policies existent in Europe and, instead, created environmental damage from inadequate sanitation, garbage disposal and rampant burning. 

In addition, children are bused long distances to school instead of attending local schools.  Regavim, an Israeli NGO that monitors building development in Area C, has videos of Palestinian children throwing rocks at passing motorists.

These illegal communities created a foothold for theft of Israel’s land and served the EU-PA purpose of generating bad press for the Jewish state.  When Israel rightfully demolished the illegal properties, a public relations nightmare ensued, featuring Israel as a heartless aggressor.

Except when it comes to Israel, it would be inconceivable that a foreign government would have the temerity to stealthily finance the building of illegal housing in a sovereign nation in another part of the world.  Not only would this not be tolerated but it would most likely cause an international incident.  Yet, in a further display of hubris, the EU claimed diplomatic immunity and refused to appear in court when sued for illegal construction by Regavim.

In 2014, the Israeli government proposed a solution for the EU-sponsored squatter population in Area C.  It proposed building a modern town near Jericho with sanitation, education, health and welfare services within 500 acres of state lands.  The new community would replace the illegal hovels that violate building, zoning, sanitation and environmental laws.  Astonishingly, the EU objected to this proposal and sent representatives on solidarity missions to support the Bedouin squatters.  In 2016, when Israel took down some of the illegal EU structures in Area C, the EU considered suing for damages.

Criticisms of Israel for so-called “ethnic cleansing” fall into the category of blatant hypocrisy considering Europe’s policy of openly discriminating against its Roma population.  Over the past few years, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Italy have carried out waves of expulsions against Europe’s largest ethnic minority, estimated at 16 million.  They have used newly created legislation to destroy hundreds of Roma encampments while welcoming Muslim “refugees” from the Middle East and North Africa with open arms and liberal benefits.  France alone has deported close to 10,000 Romas and sent them to live in Romania, Bulgaria and Kosovo.  Even Amnesty International has criticized Europe’s harsh treatment of Romas and discrimination against them, poor living conditions and their lack of educational access. In the case of the Romas, rather than get involved in the humanitarian crisis, the European Commission deemed the issue best handled by individual states. 

All these actions can be interpreted as attacks on the legitimacy of Israel’s sovereignty and defense of its territory.  They represent still-existent and still-persistent European anti-Semitism, especially with the EU’s past refusals to officially designate Hizbollah and Hamas as terrorist entities and EU support for anti-Israel boycotts, divestments and sanction campaigns.

The false portrayals of Palestinian suffering, especially when humane and beneficial solutions are rejected, demonstrate that they are a ruse masquerading as humanitarian concerns. In realty, they are a clear attempt by the EU to lay claim to Israeli land and further undermine the Jewish State.     

Janet Levy MBA, MSW, is an activist, world traveler, and freelance journalist who has contributed to American Thinker, Pajamas Media, Full Disclosure Network, FrontPage Magazine, Family Security Matters and other publications. She blogs at Read more: Family Security Matters 


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Linda Sarsour’s Epic Twitter Fail - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

CNN’s Jake Tapper calls out Linda Sarsour on her “ugly sentiments” and support for cop killers.

Still reeling from a series of embarrassing disclosures and meltdowns that have blackened her image, Linda Sarsour, the self-promoting anti-Semitic provocateur has found herself once again embroiled in controversy. Sarsour, who has proven to be adept and promoting herself on social media, bit off  more than she could chew when she provoked the ire of CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Sarsour had expressed support for Assata Shakur, a fugitive cop killer who murdered a New Jersey state trooper in 1973. Shakur was convicted of first degree murder in 1977 but managed to escape from prison less than two years later and resurfaced in communist Cuba. She is currently on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. Sarsour has a long, sordid history of expressing support for murderers including Rasmea Odeh, the PFLP terrorist who murdered two Israeli university students, and is slated to be deported from the United States for committing immigration fraud.

Tapper called out Sarsour on her “ugly sentiments” and asked, somewhat rhetorically, if there were “any progressives out there condemning this?” Sarsour, sensitive to the fact that a prominent journalist from the mainstream dared to criticize her, lashed out with a series of bizarre tweets. She ridiculously accused Tapper of “join[ing] the ranks of the alt-right” in an effort to “target” her.  Sarsour has a habit of spewing such paranoid absurdities. Last week she claimed to be the victim of an orchestrated “Zionist media” conspiracy after irregularities were discovered in an online crowd-funding campaign she started.

Sarsour then challenged Tapper to cite examples of her ugly sentiments. Tapper proceeded to cut the rabble-rouser down to size in short order by noting Sarsour’s public wish to remove Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s vagina. Ayaan is a victim of the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation, a widespread, sadistic and life-altering ritual still practiced by many Muslims, even in the United States. Sarsour’s frantic effort to delete the infamous vagina removal tweet in an attempt to hide her odious past proved unsuccessful, and continues to hound her as she tries to rebrand her image and infiltrate into the Democratic Party.

Sarsour’s supporters in the twitterverse proved equally unsuccessful in silencing Tapper.  Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza called Tapper’s tweets “intentionally inflammatory.” Tapper responded with a biting riposte; “How about being part of a gang that kills a NJ State Trooper? Is that considered inflammatory?” Score 2 for Tapper, zero for the fascist left.

With a few notable exceptions, most of the criticism leveled against Sarsour and her rabid antisemitism has emanated from the center-right. The center-left has been shamefully silent in condemning Sarsour’s abhorrent views, while the hard-left has embraced her fully.

Tapper’s criticism of Sarsour stands in marked contrast to cowardly and pernicious elements on the left who pretend to be progressives but in fact, encourage and support fascism.  A good example of this is provided by liberal activist Sally Kohn who tweeted, “#IStandWithLinda today & always…I know @lsarsour to be a defender of justice FOR ALL!” She then absurdly tweeted “both sides have a problem with hateful crazies. The difference is the left denounces theirs. The right elects theirs president.”

The glaring irony strains credulity. Sarsour is on record advocating violence against Israelis and voicing support for terrorists and cop killers. She is a supporter of the anti-Semitic BDS movement, asserted that “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” alleged that supporters of Israel cannot be feminists, and has expressed a desire to remove the vaginas of women with whom she disagrees. She is a supporter of Sharia law of the brand practiced in Saudi Arabia, a country infamous for oppressing women, and which recently arrested a woman who had the temerity to wear “indecent clothing” to wit, a miniskirt. And yet Kohn and others leftists of similar ilk, while claiming to reject extremism within their ranks, still admire and stand with Sarsour.

Antisemitism is a feature ensconced within the hard-left. The hard-left’s embrace of Sarsour is hardly surprising and is in fact, to be expected. The center-left, which seeks to broaden the party’s appeal to more radical elements, is too craven to challenge Sarsour’s outrageous comments and her support for cop killers, convicted terrorists and assorted anti-Semites. But Tapper’s pointed criticism of Sarsour represents a notable crack in the fa├žade. Whether it leads to further action by the center-left to repudiate known anti-Semites like Sarsour, and tackle rampant antisemitism within its ranks is still too early to say. I’m not holding my breath.

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


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Bill to prevent concessions in Jerusalem passes first Knesset hurdle - Gideon Allon

by Gideon Allon

Proposed legislation would make the division of the capital contingent on the support of an 80-MK supermajority

New amendment to basic law would make it harder to concede parts of Jerusalem
Photo credit: Dudi Vaaknin

Gideon Allon


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Flouting the status quo - Dr. Reuven Berko

by Dr. Reuven Berko

By using Islam to dig in their heels in the service of Palestinian politics, Palestinian leaders, like other Islamists, deny the fact that the Quran itself states that Jerusalem is for the Jews -- it says nothing of Palestine or the Palestinians.

If there is one thing we can learn from the pathetic condemnation voiced by Arab lawmakers and members of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee over Friday's terrorist attack near Lions' Gate in Jerusalem, it is that despite their stated objections to Israeli Arabs' picking up arms, they do, in fact, justify Palestinian terrorism against Israel. 

As the Israel Police set up metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount so as to prevent the smuggling of weapons into the holy site and thwart future murders, Israeli Arab leaders and Arab MK boisterously joined the demands voiced by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Hussein and Hamas to remove these security measures and return to the status quo. What status quo? The one underscored by Carl Gustav rifles that are used to kill police officers.

The reactions of these elected Arab officials were not a religious outcry, but rather false political manipulation that supports terrorism as well as the Palestinian ploy to use the crisis in Al-Aqsa mosque to fuel a conflict between Islam and Judaism, which in turn would serve their efforts to eradicate Israel. Unfortunately, this also fuels the illusion the Jerusalem is the capital of "Palestine." 

If, as the Palestinians claim, Al-Aqsa mosque is "in danger" from "Jews seeking to defile and destroy it," why do the Palestinians oppose installing additional security measure in and around the mosque? After all, everyone knows that had the terrorist attack at the Temple Mount not been thwarted, the ensuing escalation would have resulted in many casualties and untold damage to the mosque.

Still, just as the Palestinian leadership and the grand mufti are indifferent to damage caused to other mosques across the Middle East, they are also apathetic to the potential damage to Al-Aqsa mosque. They are perfectly content to let the holy site remain the scene of terrorist attack even it is damaged and preferably so. 

This is why the opposition voiced by Joint Arab List lawmakers to setting up metal detectors on the site is a practical expression of their support for terrorism and their aspiration to channel the Arab-Muslim chaos plaguing the region against Israel.

For years, Al-Aqsa has been used to store weapons stones, knives, iron bars and Molotov cocktails, which rioters throw from its compound at worshippers at the Western Wall either on Jewish holidays or whenever the Palestinians believe an interreligious clash serves their interests.

Fortunately for the holy sites in Jerusalem, it was another electronic system -- the Iron Dome defense system -- that prevented Hamas rockets fired at the area during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 from hitting them.

Senior Israeli Arab leaders never denounced Hamas' criminal attempt, just as they fail to condemn the destruction of mosques and churches elsewhere in the Middle East. Incredibly, against this bleak reality it is the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem -- under Israeli sovereignty -- that is the safest and most secure shrine in the Middle East.

There is no degradation in going through a metal detector. Truth be told, even the holy sites in Mecca and Medina use metal detectors, as does the Western Wall and airports in Israel and abroad. Israeli Arabs, like everyone else, are required to go through metal detectors when arriving at National Insurance Institute offices to collect benefits, and no one decries the humiliation.

The false propaganda by the Palestinians and Israeli Arab leadership incites violence and bloodshed in al-Aqsa mosque, despite the Prophet Muhammad's own decree that "one drop of the faithful's blood is more important than the Kaaba," the sacred mosque in Mecca. What's right for the Kaaba surely applies to Al-Aqsa mosque. The fact that the Palestinians prevent prayer in Al-Aqsa over the metal detectors, whose sole purpose is to boost the site's security, is a form of heresy.

By using Islam to dig in their heels in the service of Palestinian politics, Palestinian leaders, like other Islamists, deny the fact that the Quran itself states that Jerusalem is for the Jews -- it says nothing of Palestine or the Palestinians. They further ignore Islamic historiography, according to which the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab and his converted adviser Kaab al-Ahbar acknowledged the sanctity of the Temple Mount as a Jewish site. 

On Monday, Jewish visits to the mount were barred after several visitors violated the status quo. This is proof that the steps taken there, including the metal detectors, are driven solely by security considerations. Still, it is possible that given the overcrowded entrances, Israel and Jordan would compromise on allowing most worshippers to enter the site as they have so far, and only suspect individuals would be made to go through metal detectors.

Dr. Reuven Berko


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What does Jordan bring? - Dr. Col. Moshe Elad

by Dr. Col. (res.) Moshe Elad

If the peace agreement with Jordan is truly predicated on interests, how does it benefit Israel? In the midst of a crisis, is it not possible that this "asset" will fail us, squandering all the years we invested in it?

When Jordanian King Abdullah's great-grandfather, after whom he was named, was murdered in July 1951 in exactly the same place where two Israeli policemen were murdered last Friday, then-Jordanian Prime Minister Tawfik Abu al-Huda declared a state of emergency in east Jerusalem, including its places of worship, and treated the city's residents with an iron fist.
Those who expected the current king to be remotely mindful -- even just from a humanitarian standpoint -- of the fact that the stone pavement was still wet with the blood of murdered Staff Sgts. Maj. Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan when he demanded the Temple Mount compound be "reopened quickly," were surely left disappointed. Instead, he prodded Israel to reopen the holy site without delay and, as usual, we acquiesced to his demands. Why? Because Jordan is a strategic asset. 
Any Foreign Ministry cadet can regurgitate the mantra that Israel's peace accords with Egypt and Jordan are strategic assets. But is this really the case? How can we measure their effectiveness? If the peace agreement with Jordan is truly predicated on interests, how does it benefit Israel? In the midst of a crisis, is it not possible that this "asset" will fail us, squandering all the years we invested in it?
The Jordanian kingdom has been at peace with Israel since 1994, but even long before that, in the time of the murdered Abdullah, political ties were forged with the "Zionist entity." Before and after Israel became an independent state in 1948, it agreed to view Abdullah as an ally. However, the first chance he had to prove his dependability, he met with Golda Meir and told her, "Sorry, I am going to violate the agreement and join the Arab countries in their war against you."
Even his grandson, King Hussein, who during the 1960s maintained intensive covert ties with Israel -- which became known as the "officers' back channel" -- claimed he supported active coexistence. In 1967, however, Hussein unexpectedly turned his back on Israel, and under directives from Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser began shelling Jerusalem. As if this was not enough, the battle orders he issued as chief of the kingdom's armed forces were even more barbarous than those of the Syrians, commanding his officers not to take Jewish prisoners. 
Israel did not bear him a grudge for that. Quite the opposite: During the "Black September" crisis in 1970, when Syria and Iraq wanted to teach the wayward king in Amman a lesson in Arab solidarity -- for eradicating nearly half the PLO members in Jordan -- the U.S. turned to Israel and asked it to "fight for the king." Israel declined the American initiative but eventually agreed to deploy an armored force to the border. Under American mediation, an unwritten strategic alliance was forged between Israel and Jordan, which essentially persists to this day. The 1994 peace accord signed by Hussein with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was merely the affirmation of this alliance. Incidentally, Israel also promised to give the Jordanians 50 million cubic meters of drinkable water from its sources.
Many wonder, and justifiably so, what is Jordan's role in this alliance? What is Jordan expected to bring to the table within the framework of this complex relationship? To be sure, this peace accord provides Israel almost no benefits. Beyond the diplomatic ties, which are anyway confined to Israel's fortified bunker of an embassy in Amman, there is virtually zero Israeli tourism, aside from sporadic forays to Petra and Aqaba, and only sparse academic and commercial ties. 
"Jordan, in essence, is supposed to just be Jordan," Israeli diplomats who have served in Amman say. The kingdom has zero obligations toward Israel. 
"You have to understand the king," they say. "He has to deal with tough Islamic opposition that regularly threatens his regime and prevents any type of normalization with Israel."
In order to preserve the internal status quo with leaders of the kingdom's Islamic movement, Abdullah occasionally has to "throw Israel's head" to the angry masses. Such was the case during the Khaled Mashaal affair in 1996 and during other crises in our region. 
The time may have come to reassess the usefulness of this strategic asset known as the Kingdom of Jordan.

Dr. Col. (res.) Moshe Elad is a lecturer on national security issues at Western Galilee College.


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Obama-Era Emails May Point To DHS Coordination On Pro-Amnesty Lawsuit - Ian Smith

by Ian Smith

Watchdog obtains documents indicating collusion between DHS appointees and Soros-funded open-borders groups.

DHS emails obtained by an investigative watchdog group reveal possible collusion between Obama-era DHS appointees and a Soros-funded open-borders group involving a series of lawsuits from 2016 that sought to overturn an injunction against the former president’s DAPA amnesty program. The email-communications, going back to May 11th, 2015, took place just days after it was revealed DHS had been mailing out thousands of work-permits to illegal aliens in direct violation of the DAPA-injunction issued by Texas district court judge Andrew Hanen in February of that year.

The emails focus on DHS’s mass recall of the work-permits, a move open-borders attorneys would later claim in a mass lawsuit against the agency was a violation of administrative law. The organization that obtained the emails, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), says the contact the Soros group made with the Obama-appointees was likely key to the eventual lawsuit. IRLI is calling on Congress and the DHS Inspector General to fully investigate the matter. 

IRLI, a non-profit law firm based in Washington, D.C. that’s long been investigating DHS’s violation of the DAPA-injunction, obtained the communications through a public-records request with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the DHS component responsible for issuing work-permits. The emails appear to show top Obama-appointees, USCIS Senior Counsellor Lucas Guttentag and USCIS Chief of Staff Juliet Choi, in direct communication with officials from United We Dream (UWD), a pro-amnesty and open-borders advocacy organization funded by George Soros’s Open Society Institute. Prior to his appointment in 2014, Guttentag was a well-known figure in open-borders circles, having founded and led the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project since the 1980s.

Both appointees can be seen communicating with UWD’s Lorella Praeli, a one-time illegal alien (later naturalized through marriage) who led Hispanic outreach efforts for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and is now director of immigration policy at the ACLU. The emails show Praeli reaching out to Guttentag and Choi, just four days after news of DHS’s admission that they violated the Hanen-order requesting inside information about the agency’s announcement. She asks whether or not the erroneously-issued work-permits will be retracted and “If so,…how many folks are impacted…?” Guttentag and Choi immediately decided to take the discussion offline, arranging to communicate with Praeli over the phone instead.

According to federal regulations, work-permits can only be revoked under a specific process, which arguably was not followed by the agency in this case, according to IRLI attorneys. They say that any information about how many potential plaintiffs were impacted and how they could be located would be crucial for mounting a legal challenge against the revocation. “Just receiving general information about where potential plaintiffs reside would be helpful to these groups, given the resources they have and the number of allies they partner with around the country,” says IRLI’s Executive Director and General Counsel, Dale Wilcox. 

A lawsuit challenging the retraction did eventually follow. After the Supreme Court affirmed Judge Hanen’s nationwide injunction against DAPA in June 2016, UWD’s partner and former parent organization, a law firm called the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), filed identical lawsuits in New York, Illinois, and California, all on behalf of illegal alien plaintiffs they were able to locate who had had their permits revoked. Each of the suits, two of which are still ongoing (the other was voluntarily dismissed), charge that USCIS erred in revoking the permits. The claims were based on the agency’s alleged failure to follow proper revocation processes and the nationwide injunction being too “overly broad” and not applying to Texas and/or the 25 plaintiff-states only. Interestingly, the same group recently made the exact opposite argument in their suit against President Trump’s travel-ban, claiming that an injunction against the president had to have been nationwide due to the Constitution’s requirement that immigration laws be “uniform.”

Other emails obtained by IRLI appear to show a close relationship between UWD and Obama’s top immigration appointees, a fact IRLI has closely documented before. After their phone call, Choi tells Praeli that she and her colleagues “very much appreciate [her] partnership,” especially, she adds, “in these dynamic times.” Meanwhile, another Obama-appointee, Marina Torres, tells Praeli to consider the agency a “resource” for the group and that she’s “happy to assist.”

Elsewhere, the emails show Guttentag directly communicating with long-time open-borders group and Hispanic advocate La Raza, telling an employee he needed a “stiff drink” following the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold the Hanen injunction. The two then arranged to meet in a Washington, D.C. bar.

IRLI is calling on the IG’s office to take a closer look at the matter. As Dale Wilcox observed, “Considering the anti-borders ideologues involved on both sides, and the highly suspect behaviour of DHS in their violation of Judge Hanen’s order, that there’s been collusion here shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. It definitely warrants a DHS inquiry.”

Ian Smith


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Charlie Gard: It Can't Happen Here – or Can It? - Peter Barry Chowka

by Peter Barry Chowka

The purpose is to wrest custody from the parents and place the child in the hands of state officials so that he or she can be treated with conventional therapies.

Charlie Gard has, in effect, been medically kidnapped by the socialist National Health Service bureaucracy that has lined up with the British medical establishment to assert the primacy of the state’s rights over the parents’ rights to determine the fate of a minor child. In Britain, the state essentially owns the child, and the experience faced by Charlie Gard and his parents has brought that outrageous situation clearly to light.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week (July 17 and 18), Michio Hirano, M.D., the noted Columbia University physician, examined 11-month old baby Charlie in a case that has gained worldwide attention. Baby Charlie suffers from a rare genetic disease, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, that is considered progressive and terminal. He is being kept alive on life support at a hospital in London.

Reportedly ignoring Dr. Hirano’s opinion after a five-hour meeting and the physician’s examination of the baby, Charlie’s English doctors, who work for the government under the National Health Service (NHS) the UK’s single-payer socialist medical system, continue to maintain that there is no hope for Charlie and that he should immediately be disconnected from life support systems, which would quickly result in his death. Ever since Charlie’s medical condition was first diagnosed last fall when he was three months old, his parents have sought second opinions, and one has been provided by Dr. Hirano, an esteemed specialist in the United States whose work on children with illnesses like Charlie’s has shown great promise and has gained international recognition in the mainstream medical and scientific community.

Michio Hirano, M.D.

The English court system has been enlisted to reinforce the doctors’ clinical opinions and has taken the additional draconian step of preventing Charlie’s parents from taking their son to the United States for treatment at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, where Dr. Hirano and his team are engaged in leading edge U.S. government-supported research and experimental treatment of affected children.

Connie Yates, Charlie’s mother, was quoted in the Daily Mail on July 18: “As Charlie’s loving parents, we are doing the right thing for our son in exploring all treatment options.” Yates provided the newspaper with a new photo of Charlie that she said proved that he can see. His British physicians claim the child is blind.

New photo of Charlie Gard with his eyes open

The story of Charlie and his future is an emotionally wrenching one, as ordinary people with common sense on both sides of the Atlantic cannot understand why the British government, or any government in a supposedly free and democratic society for that matter, would work to prevent dedicated and loving parents like Charlie’s from taking rational steps that might possibly help their baby. Dr. Hirano is not some obscure quack or marginal figure, but one of the most recognized and respected physicians and researchers in the world. That apparently does not register with the socialist hacks who run the UK’s medical and political establishment, almost all of whom have lined up in a united front against the parents.

Dr. Hirano and his work were initially brought to the attention of Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, by Arthur Estopinan of Baltimore, Maryland, the father of a child who is afflicted with the same condition as Charlie’s. Estopinan’s son Arturo was treated with experimental therapies by Dr. Hirano and is alive six years later and steadily improving, according to his father.

A recent photo of Arthur and Olga Estopinan and their son Arturo

CNN Wire reported in an article on July 18 posted at Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR’s Web site,
“Estopinan was initially told by doctors that his son would die a few months after his diagnosis [in 2011] and that there was no medical treatment for his condition.” According to Estopinan, the experimental treatments by Dr. Hisano and his team “allowed [Arturo] to get stronger by moving his arms, his fingers, his legs. He’s even trying to move his hips.”
On July 13, prior to examining Charlie in London on July 17 and 18, Dr. Hirano testified to a British court that his therapy offered between an 11 and 56 percent chance for clinically meaningful improvement in Charlie’s condition.

Nonetheless, according to reports published on July 18, the British doctors are holding firm in their judgment that Charlie’s case is hopeless and that the parents have no right to take him to New York. The final decision on Charlie’s fate now rests with the British High Court. The judge hearing the case in that venue has promised to render a decision by July 25.

It Can’t Happen Here – Or Can It?

Meanwhile, American readers might be wondering, Can this kind of thing happen here? Answer: It already has – maybe in not exactly the same kind of case as Charlie Gard’s but in numerous analogous ones.

For example, it has been the practice in the United States since the 1970s for courts to become involved when parents of a minor child want to pursue an alternative, unconventional, or innovative therapy for their sick child – counter to the advice of the child’s conventional doctors. Typically, at that point when the parents express an interest in an innovative option, the child’s original physicians and/or the local hospital enlist child protective services and/or take the case to an American court in an effort to charge the parents with neglect. The purpose is to wrest custody from the parents and place the child in the hands of state officials so that he or she can be treated with conventional therapies.

Chad Green, Playas de Tijuana, Mexico July 1979 Photo © By Peter Barry Chowka

The most famous case of this kind of many that I reported on involved Chad Green, a toddler with leukemia, who was “medically kidnapped” by the state of Massachusetts in 1978 in order to enforce chemotherapy treatments over the parents’ preference for nontoxic metabolic therapies. Instances of this kind throughout the United States are common to this day but are seldom reported on by the media.

In the 1970s, the U.S. medical establishment gained more power over parents in instances of this kind involving minor children. As William Ginsburg, one of the Greens’ attorneys, told me in 1979, “It’s proper for courts to determine if parents are competent. It is not proper for the courts to make medical decisions.” Ginsburg should have put his comments in the past tense, as in “It was proper. . .” – because starting in the 1970s, American courts making medical decisions became the status quo.

In 1979, commenting on the case of Chad Green and others like it, noted attorney Benedict FitzGerald told me, “It’s going to be terrible now if every time there’s a new medical treatment people have to go down to the courthouse and have some judge who might or might not be competent decide what a person’s medical treatment is going to be. There is no unanimity among medical people about the treatment of virtually anything. There are always dissenting opinions.”

The state’s actions to compel this or that treatment “apparently are something new,” FitzGerald commented. Only half jokingly, he added, “It looks like the courts will have to move right into the hospitals to decide many of these cases.”

FitzGerald, who practiced law in Cambridge, Massachusetts for many years, is a figure of considerable historic importance in the history of innovative medicine. He is the author of a seminal investigative report on alternative cancer therapies conducted on behalf of a U.S. Senate committee published in the Congressional Record in 1953. He concluded that a widespread conspiracy existed to suppress innovative alternative cancer treatments.

The situation of medical freedom of choice that Ginsburg and FitzGerald were weighing in on four decades ago is even more complicated today in light of the greatly expanded role of the government in paying for, mandating, and regulating health care. The recent accelerated political push for single-payer socialized medicine in the U.S. – as it has been practiced in the UK since 1948 – makes the outlook for the future of medical freedom of choice for parents and indeed for everyone even more problematic.


On July 18, the House Appropriations Committee voted “to give lawful permanent residence to #CharlieGard so he can come to the US for world class medical care.” Permanent resident status was also granted to Charlie's mother and father. The vote was announced in tweets by several committee members, including Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS). The action came in an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. According to Fox8 in Washington, D.C. the “amendment to grant the family residency was passed unanimously in the House Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday, according to Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, who introduced the amendment. But it would need a vote from the full House and the Senate to become law.”
Herrera Beutler – whose own daughter was born with a rare and usually fatal disease but survived after treatment – said that the committee had “an incredible opportunity” to help Charlie Gard.
“This amendment would speed up the process, cut through the bureaucratic red tape, and ease the path for Charlie to be able to receive medical treatment in the US that his parents and medical specialists believe is worth pursuing,” Rep. Beutler said in a statement.
The British media has been closely following developments in the case of Charlie Gard and is highlighting the story of the actions by the U.S. Congress, for example “Charlie Gard is given legal permanent residence in US by Congress so 'he can fly to the States for world class treatment’” in the Daily Mail. Along with Fox News and some conservative media in the U.S., the British press has been instrumental in publicizing the case of Charlie Gard. The media prominence, coupled with social media, has resulted in contributions from the public to the Gard family totaling, as of July 19, £1,339,160 of the original £1.3M goal at the family’s gofundme page, the purpose of which is to raise funds to support Charlie’s hoped-for medical treatment in the United States.

Amendment offering Charlie Gard and his parents permanent alien resident status in the U.S.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about national politics, media, popular culture, and health care. His new Web site is His July 13, 2017 one-hour interview on the Hagmann Report can be watched here.


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Truth in France on Past Persecution of Jews - Michael Curtis

by Michael Curtis

Vichy, not the German Nazis, was responsible for deporting Jews to their death.

"We cannot build pride upon a lie," was uttered by French President Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony on July 16, 2017, commemorating the 75th anniversary of one of the darkest days in French history under the wartime Vichy regime. On that day, July 16, 1942, the French police conducted the Velodrome d'Hiver (Vel d'Hiv) roundup, the arrest of 13,152 Jews, of whom 4,115 were children. They were confined in the velodrome bicycle arena at the Quai de Grenelle. Those arrested were confined there for four days before being sent to Drancy and then to Auschwitz. Fewer than 100 survived.

French participation in the Holocaust has remained a sensitive and controversial issue in the country. Macron's forthrightness and his diplomatic skills are daily becoming increasingly impressive, purposeful, and sensible, and that has been displayed by his remarks on July 16. In the 2017 French presidential campaign, Marine Le Pen, Macron's main rival, had said that today's France could not be held responsible for Vichy. The wartime regime was to blame for the tragedy, not France or the French people.

Macron replied it was very convenient to regard the Vichy regime as a monster that sprang out of nowhere, but that is false. Macron admitted that Vichy was not all of France. Noble citizens, like those in Chambon-sur-Lignon had put themselves at risk to help the persecuted Jews. But during World War II, Vichy was the government of France and the French establishment and administration. Vichy, not the German Nazis, was responsible for deporting Jews to their death. Probably the most important single fact was that not a single German took part in organizing the Vel d'Hiv roundup.

Macron is not the first French leader to address and criticize French wartime official behavior. In 1995, President Jacques Chirac was the first official to admit France had assisted the Nazis by participation in the Holocaust. His forthright statement was that France, the homeland of the Enlightenment and of the rights of man, had committed the irreparable on Vel d'Hiv. Breaking its word, France had handed over those who were under its protection to their executioners.

However, Macron has gone further than Chirac and put the Vichy issue in a contemporary context. Aware of zealots who seek to destroy the State of Israel and the Jewish people, he condemned anti-Zionism as a new form of anti-Semitism. "We will never surrender" Macron said, "to the message of hate, to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism."

The Macron statement may finally lead to the recognition of reality by all sides in France. Official silence in France about its wartime activity persisted for decades until the appearance of Marcel Ophuls documentary film, The Sorrow and the Pity, a study of the city of Clermond-Ferrand in wartime which indicated that not all French people had resisted the Nazis, and Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, the important book by Robert O. Paxton. A more judicious view has come with presentations such as the American film Sarah's Key and the French La Raffle. It is also noticeable that the anticipated commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the death of Celine, a gifted but notorious anti-Semitic writer was not welcomed by many.

It is unlikely that the offenses of the past can today be lightly dismissed or excused as they were previously. It is worth looking at the difference. One instance is the notorious case of Paul Touvier, a ruthless thug who was Intelligence Chief of the Vichy militia in the Lyon area. After the war, Touvier had been sentenced to death twice in absentia but had been protected and hidden by members of a Catholic reactionary offshoot, The Society of Pius X.

The Court of Appeal in Paris in April 1992, rather incredibly, ruled that Touvier, who, among other atrocities, had ordered the execution of seven Jewish hostages in Rillieux, near Lyon, on June 29, 1944, had not committed a "crime against humanity" because the Vichy regime was not a concerted plan in the name of the state to eradicate civilian populations or to persecute for religious, racial. or political reasons. Vichy, the court held, had not considered Jews as state enemies. It minimized Touvier's killings as a tragic accident of war. However, this argument was not accepted on appeal by the Cour de Cassation which held that a crime against humanity had been committed, though it limited the principle only to the murder of these seven Jews.

Touvier was pardoned secretly by President Georges Pompidou in November 1971, probably as the result of pressure from Society of Pius X members. The President remarked that the time has come to draw a veil over the past, when Frenchmen disliked one another, attacked and even killed one another.

Yet truth, albeit inadvertent, came out of some of the most despicable individuals. In October, 1978 the journal L'Express published an interview with Louis Darquier de Pellepoix, Vichy Commissioner for Jewish Affairs, who was disappeared from France and escaped punishment and was living in Spain. He had played a significant role in the Vichy regime and was a collaborator with the Nazis. He informed us about things mere mortals did not know. The gas chambers at Auschwitz were used to kill lice, not people. He knew that the figure of 6 million Jews killed was an invention, an invention of the Jews. He pictured himself as a "protector" of French Jews.

But Darquier also gave the game away. He accused Rene Bousquet, chief of Vichy police, as the real organizer of atrocities, especially the "great lottery" of July 1942, the infamous Vel d'Hiv. Bousquet and "his dirty police" organized everything, escaped punishment and he even became a director of the Bank of Indochina. That was before his assassination on June 7, 1993 for nonpolitical reasons by a frustrated stranger. In his inadvertent self-indictment of himself and the Vichy regime, Darquier explained "By putting on a show of following them, (the Nazis) of coming to meet their desires, I was keeping in my own hands, French hands, the reins of the anti-Jewish struggle.”

That struggle was waged by many others, such as important figures like Rene Bousquet, who indeed was an efficient administrator responsible for mass deportations of Jews to their death, and Maurice Papon, who escaped any or a serious punishment for their deeds. Macron 's remarks and his criticism of those who neglect or minimize France's role in the Holocaust are hopeful signs for sanity, not only in France but in the world, on political and historical truths, as well as for future cooperation between France and the State of Israel.

Michael Curtis


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2,700-year old water system discovered in central Israel - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Major water network from 1st Temple era found in central Israel. System suggests Kingdom of Israel was not desolate after Assyrian conquest.

View from inside the water system
View from inside the water system
Assaf Peretz/Israel Antiques Authority
An extensive 2,700-year-old water system was recently discovered at an Israel Antiquities Authority excavation site near Rosh Haayin in central Israel, with the help of students majoring in the Education Ministry’s Land of Israel and Archaeology studies program.

The excavation was initiated ahead of a planned building project for the construction of a new residential neighborhood in Rosh Haayin.

According to Gilad Itach, director of excavations for the IAA, “It is difficult not to be impressed by the sight of the immense underground reservoir quarried out so many years ago. In antiquity, rainwater collection and storage was a fundamental necessity. With an annual rainfall of 500 mm, the region’s winter rains would easily have filled the huge reservoir. On its walls, near the entrance, we identified engravings of human figures, crosses, and a vegetal motif that were probably carved by passersby in a later period. Overall, we identified seven figures measuring 15–30 cm. Most have outstretched arms and a few appear to be holding some kind of object.”

The water system exposed is nearly 20 meters (66 feet) long and reaches a depth of over 4 meters (13 feet).

The excavations reveal that the reservoir was built beneath a large structure with walls that are all nearly 50 meters (164 feet) long. Some of the potsherds found on the floors of the rooms probably belonged to vessels used to draw water from the reservoir. It is highly likely that the structure and the reservoir were built at the end of the Iron Age (late eighth or early seventh century BCE), but whereas the building was abandoned during the Persian period the reservoir was still in use until modern times.

In recent years, a number of other farmsteads built at the end of the First Temple period have been discovered near Rosh Haayin. They were probably erected after the destruction of the northern Kingdom of Israel in 720 BCE, when the Assyrian empire dominated the region. The establishment of farmhouses in this area is interesting, given the fact that many regions within the decimated Kingdom of Israel remained desolate.

Some scholars believe that the establishment of the farmsteads was motivated by the empire’s wish to settle the area, which lay on an international route and near the western border of the Assyrian empire.

According to Itach, “The structure exposed in this excavation is different from most of the previously discovered farmsteads. Its orderly plan, vast area, strong walls, and the impressive water reservoir hewn beneath it suggest that the site was administrative in nature and it may well have controlled the surrounding farmsteads.”

Arutz Sheva Staff


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Gaza sewage pollutes Israeli aquifers, forcing closures - David Rosenberg

by David Rosenberg

Israel forced to halt pumping stations after Gaza dumps raw sewage into river, polluting aquifers on Israeli side of the border.

Gaza sewage flows into Mediterranean
Gaza sewage flows into Mediterranean
Wissam Nassar/Flash90
Israel has stopped pumping water groundwater out of two sites in the Negev, after raw sewage dumped from the Gaza Strip into a river which flows into Israel seeped into aquifers inside of Israel.

The Israeli Health Ministry ordered the National Water Carrier (Mekorot) to shut off pumping stations near the town of Netiv Haasara in the western Negev after ministry officials found the Gaza sewage had seemed into the soil around the pumping stations, Yediot Ahronot reported.

Because of funding disputes between the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and the PLO-governed Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria, the supply of electricity to Gaza has been reduced over the past month, leading Hamas officials to shut down a waste treatment plant built with some $100 million in foreign aid.

Over the past two weeks, cities in the northern Gaza Strip have let their sewage flow untreated into the Nahal Hanun stream.

The Nahal Hanun stream runs across the Gaza Strip and into pre-1967 Israel, passing by Netiv Haasara and seeping into the nearby aquifers.

The Askhelon Coast Regional Council attempted to use pumping trucks to remove the Gaza waste flowing into Israel, but was unable to remove the buildup of waste.

"The Israeli government must understand that the difficult humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is worsening and its implications for the Gaza area communities are directly observable," Ashkelon Coast Regional Council head Yair Farjoun told Yediot.

"If the situation does not change, the entire State of Israel will be affected by what is happening on the other side of the border. We need immediate government intervention including policy formulation and decisions on how to deal with such phenomena," said Farjoun.

This is not the first time raw sewage dumped from Gaza into streams or the Mediterranean have affected Israel.

In 2016, Gaza sewage flooded Israeli beaches and forced the closure of Israel’s desalination plant in Ashkelon.

The Askhelon desalination plant was shut off again in March 2017 due to further contamination by raw sewage flowing in from Gaza.

David Rosenberg


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Thursday, July 20, 2017

How the IDF aids thousands of wounded Syrians - Kobi Finkler

by Kobi Finkler

[Editor: Think of this video the next time you hear Israelis compared to Nazis. THIS is who we really are - doing tikun olam [improving the world] in real time. I'm so proud to be a Jew and an Israeli!!]

When Brigadier General Yaniv Asor arrived two years ago to command the IDF’s Golan Division during the murderous fighting in Syria, he concluded that steps must be taken to aid both sides in the conflict.

The IDF has been assisting the wounded in Syria in unprecedented numbers. Since the beginning of the fighting there, some 3,000 wounded have been treated in Israel, and about 1,000 children and their parents have been admitted for medical treatment.

"Only yesterday, two children underwent cardiac surgery at the Sheba Medical Center, their operations funded by the Peres Center for Peace," Asor related.
The commander of the "Good Neighbor" branch of the IDF responsible for providing aid to Syrians, Lt. Col. A., related that, after the IDF learned that a local clinic in Syria had been bombed, the defense establishment rushed to send a medical team with equipment to help those in need.
Asor also said that "there was not a single terrorist attack from the area in which the rebels operate (where the locals are being held). This shows the importance of our work in cooperation with 'Good Neighbor'."

Photography: IDF Spokesperson

Kobi Finkler


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