Saturday, April 7, 2018

Israel turns a corner on protecting its sovereignty - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

Working together, over the past three years, the four sides of the anti-Israeli sovereignty coalition overturned all three laws the Knesset had passed mandating the expulsion of the illegal migrants, and they ran a worldwide campaign to demonize Israel for its efforts to deport them.

bibi south tel aviv

Monday may have been a turning point in the global battle between the forces of nationalism and national self-determination on the one hand, and the forces pushing for a post-nationalist world with open borders on the other.

While most eyes were on the U.S., where President Donald Trump used his Twitter feed to force the Mexican government to prevent a “caravan” of approximately 1,100 migrants from Central America from approaching the northern border, an even greater drama was unfolding in Israel.

Whereas Trump’s efforts are directed towards stopping the flow of illegal migrants across America’s porous southern border, in Israel the flow of illegal aliens into its territory from Africa has already been stopped.

In 2013, Israel completed construction of a barrier along its 150-mile land border with Egypt. In the years before the “wall” was constructed Israel, was flooded with thousands of illegal migrants from Eritrea, Sudan, and Somalia. On a per capita basis, Israel had accepted more illegal aliens than Spain. But by 2017, with the barrier in place, illegal migration ended completely.

After the flow of illegals ended, Israel was left with the issue of how to manage the 40,000 illegal immigrants from Africa who had entered the country before the “wall” was built. Those migrants, who live primarily in the poor neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv, have turned those neighborhoods into violent crime-plagued zones.

The Swiss Federal Administrative Court, and official delegations from Britain and Denmark, have all recently concluded that Eritreans, who comprise three-quarters of the migrants, can return home safely and without fear of punishment.

European courts and the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have both concluded they can return to their countries of origin without fear of punishment.
In light of these basic facts, the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) passed laws mandating the migrants’ removal from the country. Unfortunately, a consortium of Israeli and international forces have come together to prevent the government from enforcing those laws.

On Monday, their campaign accomplished its goal. Israel effectively agreed to give up its efforts to remove most of the African migrants.

On Monday afternoon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri held a joint press conference where they announced that they had ditched the government’s plan to deport illegal aliens from Eritrea, Sudan, and Somalia to other countries in Africa. In its place, they had concluded a deal with the UNHCR that would see 16,250 illegal migrants — or roughly 40 percent of the total — settled in Western countries. Netanyahu mentioned Canada, Germany, and Italy as destinations.

The rest, he said, would remain in Israel for a period of not less than five years.

Netanyahu said the government had no choice but to cut the deal because Rwanda, the country that had agreed to accept the migrants, reneged on the deal. At the same time, he noted, Israel’s Supreme Court had blocked every other option the government had developed for expelling them.

Israel’s political left, including most of its media organs, responded positively to the news. Like the media in the U.S., they equated citizens’ desire to preserve their nation’s identity with racism.

Netanyahu, they declared triumphantly, had finally accepted the responsibility of leadership and recognized that leadership means betraying racist voters.

Netanyahu’s voters and coalition members, including members of his governing Likud party, were appalled. They condemned the deal as a surrender of Israeli sovereignty. Education Minister Naftali Bennet, who heads the Jewish Home Party (which competes for the same voters as Likud), led the assault against the deal. Bennet charged that the deal “will turn Israel into a paradise for infiltrators.”

Gideon Sa’ar, Likud’s former interior minister — who many consider Netanyahu’s chief rival for his party’s leadership — also attacked the deal.

“The agreement to keep most infiltrators in Israel is a grave mistake. It shows weakness, renunciation of [Israeli] sovereignty, and encourages illegal immigration to Israel,” Sa’ar said.

In response to the outcry, on late Monday night Netanyahu announced that he was suspending the agreement pending discussions with south Tel Aviv residents the next morning. By Tuesday afternoon, Netanyahu announced that he was cancelling the deal.

Why did Netanyahu feel compelled to accept the UN agreement? Who were the forces that blocked the government from implementing the laws the Knesset had passed, which mandated deporting the migrants who had entered Israel illegally?

As political philosopher Yoram Hazony, author of the soon-to-be-released book The Virtue of Nationalism, explains: “The international left has decided to wage war on the idea of borders and [the] idea that states should be able to maintain and defend a unique national identity and heritage.

“The very idea that Israel should be different from other nations is itself seen as troubling, so naturally any policy aimed at protecting such difference is condemned as morally wrong. Liberal imperialists who want to see all countries adopt the same cookie-cutter set of liberal values can’t help finding fault with what Israel is.”

In Israel’s case, the anti-nationalist liberal imperialist coalition has four parts.

First, and most importantly, there is the Israeli judiciary. In the 1990s, Israel’s then-Supreme Court President Aharon Barak undertook what he referred to as a “judicial revolution.” By applying radical interpretations to a series of basic laws Israel’s Knesset had naively passed in the early 1990s, Barak arrogated to the Court the right to abrogate laws that had been duly passed. He also coined the term “Everything is Justicible,” and effectively gave the Court the right to rule on any issue it wished by giving legal standing to any party it wished to hear.

These two moves empowered a slew of radical leftist non-governmental organizations (NGOs), financed by foreign money, to petition the Court to overturn not only laws, but also government policies. Working hand-in-glove with these radical groups, over the past 25 years the Court has overruled government decisions and Knesset laws on everything from the Israeli military’s counterterrorism tactics; to the government’s right to conclude business deals with international corporations; to the government’s prerogative to select the military chief of general staff and the attorney general; to the government’s ability to enforce Israel’s immigration laws.

The cumulative impact of this judicial tyranny has been the gutting of the powers of the Knesset and the government to fulfill their duty to advance the will of the voters.

The second partner in this assault on Israel’s sovereignty is a consortium of radical, anti-Israel NGOs registered in Israel. Together and separately, they frequently petition the court against laws and government policies. Together and separately, they lobby foreign governments to oppose Israel, and run public campaigns in foreign countries to slander Israel and its right to self-determination.

The third partner in the coalition is a consortium of far-left American Jewish groups led by a radical multi-million dollar foundation called the New Israel Fund. The New Israel Fund has been the subject of multiple investigative reports in Israel over the past 15 years. It has become shorthand for radical left political warfare against the state. The NIF supports the operations of Israeli NGOs that commit lawfare and political warfare against the state at home and abroad. According to Im Tirzu, Israel’s conservative student organization, NIF has donated $14.2 million to Israeli-registered NGOs that are campaigning against deporting the illegal migrants.

In his press conference Monday, and in his later statements this week, Netanyahu alleged that the NIF had lobbied European governments to pressure Rwanda to cancel its agreement with Israel to accept the deported migrants.

In other words, the NIF stands accused of deliberately undermining the foreign policy of the government of Israel.

When Netanyahu announced that he was abrogating his agreement with the UN, he called for the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry into the operations of the NIF.

This, then brings us to the fourth partner in the coalition against Israeli sovereignty: the EU.
According to Im Tirtzu, the governments of Europe and the EU have donated $16.2 million to the Israeli NGOs that ran the campaign against deporting the illegal aliens. And according to Netanyahu, the EU played a central role in forcing Rwanda to renege on its agreement to accept the deportees.

Working together, over the past three years, the four sides of the anti-Israeli sovereignty coalition overturned all three laws the Knesset had passed mandating the expulsion of the illegal migrants, and they ran a worldwide campaign to demonize Israel for its efforts to deport them.

But this week, the Rubicon was crossed. The public outcry against the deal was so immediate and so overwhelming that it forced two things to happen.

First, Netanyahu cancelled the deal with the UN. Second, and far more significantly, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announced he will support a new law that bars the Supreme Court from overturning Knesset legislation on illegal immigration.

Since Netanyahu formed his current government in 2015, Kahlon’s soft-right Kulanu party has blocked every effort to reform the judiciary. His announcement signals that the Court has lost its immunity from Knesset oversight for the first time.

Following Monday’s events, many Israeli commentators have noted that the day’s drama made clear what the critical issue will be in next year’s general elections. The vote will not be about the Palestinians or the economy. The power of the court will be the decisive issue.

And the party that convinces the public it will restore the balance of power between the three branches of government by checking the power of Israel’s Supreme Court will win.
Originally published at

Caroline Glick


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Palestinians: Abbas Targets Hamas, Then Condemns Israel for Targeting Hamas - Bassam Tawil

by Bassam Tawil

Here is the situation: Abbas is arresting and torturing Palestinians on suspicion of being affiliated with Hamas at the same time that he is criticizing Israel for killing or arresting members of Hamas.

  • Here is the situation: Abbas is arresting and torturing Palestinians on suspicion of being affiliated with Hamas at the same time that he is criticizing Israel for killing or arresting members of Hamas.
  • Mahmoud Abbas and his government actually owe Israel a massive debt of thanks for targeting their enemies -- the same enemies they just accused of trying to assassinate Abbas' prime minister in the Gaza Strip last month.
  • Abbas, of course, knows the truth: that Hamas is sending Palestinians to be killed and disabled near the border with Israel just to be able to hold up dead Palestinian babies with which to blame Israel in front of the press.
  • Abbas, however, is not only hypocrite, he is a coward. He knows it is safer for him to turn the heat falsely against Israel -- the same Israel that is propping up his regime in the West Bank and ensuring that Hamas does not drag him to the center of Ramallah and hang him as a traitor.
The Palestinian Authority (PA), now calling for an international inquiry into the March 30 events along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, says that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have the right to demonstrate and protest against Israel.

Ironically, however, when it comes to areas under the control of the PA in the West Bank, Palestinians are banned from staging protests in front of President Mahmoud Abbas's "presidential" Mukata headquarters in Ramallah. In general, the PA leadership does not tolerate any form of criticism -- which happens to be the reason that protests against Abbas and his government are virtually unheard of.

Palestinians are banned from staging protests in front of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's "presidential" Mukata headquarters (pictured) in Ramallah. (Image source: PalestinianLiberator/Wikimedia Commons)

The only protests the PA accepts and welcomes are those directed against Israel. Yes, in PA-controlled territories in the West Bank, Palestinians can stage daily protests against Israel anywhere and at any time they wish! They can throw stones at IDF soldiers and Jewish settlers, and the Palestinian policemen will do nothing to stop them. Does any Palestinian, however, dare to throw a stone at a Palestinian policeman? You guessed it. Definitely not.

In a similar vein, the PA security forces feel free to arrest any Palestinian they want, even for the most trivial infraction. They are allowed to hold Palestinians in detention without trial and deny them visits by their family and lawyer. They are allowed to arrest any Palestinian journalists they wish for posting supposedly critical remarks on Facebook. Rami Samara, for instance, was arrested by PA security forces on April 3. for criticizing "arbitrary measures" taken by the PA against Palestinian journalists. Unwilling to face the strong protests by human rights organizations and Palestinian journalists, Abbas ordered the release of Samara hours after the journalist was taken into custody.

Again ironically, hardly a day passes without the PA and its institutions condemning Israel for arresting Palestinians in the West Bank for security-related offenses. The PA often denounces the Israeli arrests as "abductions" and "violations of human rights" of Palestinians. Yet, this is the same PA that takes liberties in arresting and harassing Palestinians on a daily basis, mostly for being affiliated with rival groups, and for voicing criticism of the PA leadership and its policies – not to mention corruption.

When Israel arrests Hamas and Islamic Jihad supporters, the PA expresses outrage and demands the immediate release of the suspects. When the PA stages a campaign of arrests against its political opponents, however, suddenly, everything changes. Then, Palestinians are required to remain silent and even support their leaders and security forces for supposedly defending the national interests of the Palestinian public or "preserving law and order."

Consider, for example the following: just in March, Abbas's security forces in the West Bank arrested 210 Palestinians for allegedly being affiliated with Hamas and other Palestinian opposition groups. Another 121 Palestinians were summoned for interrogation by the PA security forces. The PA security forces also raided the homes of 49 Palestinians for various reasons, including critical comments on social media. At least eight detainees are said to be on hunger strikes in PA prisons in different parts of the West Bank. Among the detainees in Palestinian prisons are 25 university students, two school pupils, three journalists, one human rights activist, three school teachers, an engineer, two physicians and two university lecturers.

On April 4, the families of some of the Palestinians held by the PA security forces tried to hold a peaceful sit-in strike in front of Abbas's office in Ramallah to demand the release of their sons. The families, however, were told that it was forbidden to stage any form of protest in front of Abbas's headquarters for "security reasons." The families were told that they could instead go to one of the streets in the center of Ramallah and protest there. The only demonstrations that are permitted in and around Abbas's headquarters are those where Palestinians pledge allegiance to their 83-year-old president or to protest against Israel.

At the April 4 protest, the wives and mothers of the detainees complained that their sons were being held without trial and without family and lawyer visitations. The wife of Ziad Kilani, arrested last month by the PA security forces, said that she and her family do not know anything about their son and do not know where or why he is being held. Kilani's mother said that when she asked the PA security officers the reason for her son's detention, she was told that he was being held on the order of a top Palestinian official. She said that when she asked the official himself, he denied any knowledge of the matter.

The Palestinians say that the vast majority of the detainees arrested by Abbas's security forces are detained solely for their political affiliations. They say these "politically motivated" arrests are part of the PA's continued security crackdown on its political rivals in the West Bank, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Huda Na'im, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council -- the Palestinian parliament that has been paralyzed for the past decade because of the power struggle between Hamas and Abbas's ruling Fatah faction -- called for the immediate release of all the Palestinian detainees held in PA prisons. "The ongoing politically motivated arrests in the West Bank [by the PA security forces] constitute a crime against the Palestinian people, and only serve the interests of Israel," she said. Nai'm called on the PA to backtrack on its "treacherous practices. She also called for bringing the commanders of the PA security forces responsible for the arrests to trial for politically motivated arrests and torture.

Some may argue that the PA security forces are doing a good job by targeting Palestinians affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. One is left, however, with the nagging question: Why does the PA castigate Israel when it does the same thing against Hamas and Islamic Jihad?

During the March 30 events along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, several Palestinians belonging to Hamas and other armed groups in the Gaza Strip were killed by the Israeli army. The victims were not supporters of Abbas and Fatah. In fact, they were Abbas's enemies. Didn't Abbas recently hold Hamas responsible for the March 13 assassination attempt against his prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, during a visit to the northern Gaza Strip? Didn't Abbas threaten to take "legal, financial and national measures against Hamas? Didn't he threaten that "shoes will be pouring on the heads of the most junior and senior official in Hamas?"

Here is the situation: Abbas is arresting and torturing Palestinians on suspicion of being affiliated with Hamas at the same time that he is criticizing Israel for killing or arresting members of Hamas.

Abbas and his government want the international community to launch an investigation against Israel for killing a number of their Hamas enemies in the Gaza Strip. Abbas and his government say Palestinians are entitled to demonstrate near the border with Israel and endanger the lives of soldiers and Israeli citizens but are not allowed to stage a small protest outside his Ramallah office for "security reasons."

Abbas and his government actually owe Israel a massive debt of thanks for targeting their enemies -- the same enemies they just accused of trying to assassinate Abbas' prime minister in the Gaza Strip last month.

Instead, Abbas is busy inciting against Israel and accusing it of committing "massacres" against "unarmed" civilians in the Gaza Strip. Who is Abbas fooling? Doesn't Abbas see that even Hamas has boasted that several of those killed by the Israeli army were members of Hamas's military wing, Izaddin al Qassam?

Again, we are showered by Abbas and the PA leadership with deceit and dissimulation. Were it not for Israel, these Hamas men would have crossed the border from the Gaza Strip and killed not only Israelis, but the Palestinian president and many of his Ramallah-based cronies.

As the leader of the Palestinians, Abbas should be criticizing Hamas and other terror groups for sending children, the elderly, women and "unarmed civilians" to the border with Israel, where they are endangering their lives. Abbas, however, is terrified of Hamas. He is also afraid of his own people, whom he has taught to hate – more than they love life.

Abbas, of course, knows the truth: that Hamas is sending Palestinians to be killed and injured near the border with Israel just to be able to hold up dead Palestinian babies with which to blame Israel in front of the press.

Abbas, however, is not only hypocrite, he is a coward. He knows it is safer for him to turn the heat falsely against Israel -- the same Israel that is propping up his regime in the West Bank -- and ensuring that Hamas does not drag him to the center of Ramallah and hang him as a traitor.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.


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Trump signs order ending 'catch and release' of illegal aliens - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

A policy that made a mockery of US sovereignty will end.

Donald Trump signed a memorandum order agencies to end the practice known as "catch and release."

The Bush-era policy allowed for the release of border crossers from detention who were without papers to await the determination of their status in court.

The Hill:
The memo signed by Trump orders the Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with other agencies, to submit a report to the president within 45 days "detailing all measures that their respective departments have pursued or are pursuing to expeditiously end 'catch and release' practices."
The report instructs departments to share information on any contracts to construct or operate detention facilities along the border as well as steps taken to assign asylum officers at detention facilities, among other measures.
As part of the order, Trump is requesting "a detailed list of all existing facilities, including military facilities, that could be used, modified, or repurposed to detain aliens for violations of immigration law at or near the borders of the United States."
Trump has also directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to identify any other resources or steps "that may be needed to expeditiously end 'catch and release' practices."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders characterized catch and release, the practice of paroling detained immigrants who await a court's determination on their status, as "dangerous."
It's not only dangerous, it makes a mockery of US sovereignty. The notion that we should trust lawbreakers who cross the border to show up in court only to be deported is idiotic. The majority of those detained at the border never appear before a judge and disappear into the vast illegal alien underground.

President Obama vastly expanded catch and release from the policy followed during the presidency of George Bush to where immigration authorities were actually busing illegals into the interior of the US. Trump's order will end that practice.

Will the end of the program have an effect on the number of people trying to cross the border illegally? If a prospective border jumper knows he will be detained until his hearing, he may think twice about trying to come into the US illegally. 

Of course, the end of this policy will be challenged in court. It faces an uncertain fate given the proclivity of US courts to frown on detaining anyone for long periods of time. But coupled with a hefty increase in the number of immigration judges being planned by AG Sessions, the wait times for deportees should drop substantially.

Rick Moran


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Iran vs. America: Today's State of Play - Paul Austin Murphy

by Paul Austin Murphy

The Iranian problem grows more complex even as it grows more urgent.

There's a new term for some of the new faces in Donald Trump's administration: “super-hawks.” In fact another term has also been coined for Trump's cabinet: the “war cabinet”... Actually, when you look into it, you'll quickly find (or remember) that the term “super-hawks” has been used a fair few times before! Remember the “neo-conservatives”? The term was used about them just before -- and after -- the Iraq War of 2003. And if you go back a little further in history than that you'll also find that some of those in Ronald Reagan's administration (as well as Reagan himself) were classed as “super-hawks.” In fact the term goes back to the Vietnam War and even well before that.

So, yes, the term “super-hawks” is little more than political rhetoric.

The other point is that if we now have super-hawks, then their predecessors must have been plain old hawks. This means that those on the Left will always see right-wing (or conservative) governments has being made up of hawks (of some description). Indeed, the very act of engaging in any war/intervention at any time over any issue is “hawkish” to those who're already against “capitalist democracies”.


Perhaps the trick is to take a middle way between knee-jerk interventionism and claiming that whatever happens in foreign countries has no effect at all on what happens in the United States. That is, perhaps it's best to intervene only when there's a direct impact on -- or threat to -- the U.S. That, of course, leaves the big problem as to what's actually meant by the words “direct” and “threat” here. And these words can be debated until the cows come home.

The extreme interventionist position can be summed up in the often-quoted (i.e., by radical-left sources) pre-Iraq War phrase, “Baghdad today, Tehran and Damascus tomorrow.” (Did any “neo-conservative” ever actually say this or is it simply an Internet meme?) Nonetheless, at the other end of the scale you have the non-interventionist or “isolationist” (which can be said to be the logical conclusion of non-interventionism) view that that the United States should never intervene anywhere outside of the U.S. itself. However, is this position actually held by many on the Right? When it comes to the Left, on the other hand, many do indeed believe that no U.S. intervention at any time and for any reason can ever be acceptable. That's because it will be a “capitalist state” which will be doing the intervening. In other words, any intervention by a capitalist state will be -- by definition -- wrong. So, such an intervention will be “all about oil” or at least all about something not stated by the interveners.

It's also very odd that many of those who speak out against any military intervention also say that “sanctions against Iran don't work.” That seems to be a roundabout way of saying (as Britain's Stop the War Coalition has said): “Hands off Iran!” Basically, there are many on the Left who ideologically and politically support Iran. Indeed, many left-wing leaders have also worked for Press TV, Iran's state-run news outlet. For example, the leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, is one such “radical socialist” who's worked for Iran's Press TV. (He can also be found speaking at a demo in the “Hands off Iran” video just linked.)

The Threat From Iran

So what about Iran's threat to “U.S. interests” (as it's often put)? That's hard to quantify. Indeed, the words “U.S. interests” can be stretched so widely that anything that happens in Iran and its satellites can be seen as being a threat to U.S. interests.

Nonetheless, what we have here is the historical threat of what has often been called the “Shia crescent.”

Iran is a Shia state. So now (i.e., after the Iraq war) is Iraq. Syria is also led by a Shia minority. If we move further afield, we also have a large and powerful Shia population in Lebanon. There are also relatively large numbers of Shia Muslims in Pakistan, India, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Kuwait, Bahrain, Tajikistan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar

Iran is the “spiritual home” of most Shia. Iran also arms, funds, and trains militia in many counties which have Shia populations. It's also on very good terms with the political leaders of some of these countries. Thus, in theory at least, we could have a Iranian-led political block of immense power in the region.

Of course, it's not quite that simple.

There are so many Islamic sects in this part of the world (as well as many non-Muslim minorities) that total Shia power is perhaps unlikely. And even among Shia there are rivalries. Nonetheless, those with minor differences often unite together against those they see as being greater mutual enemies.

For example, Syria's Bashar al-Assad has little in common with Iran's theocrats -- except, of course, that he's of the Alawite branch of the Shia religion. In addition, many Shia in Iraq don't like kowtowing to Iran either. This basically means that no matter how close these religious or ideological groupings are, the very fact that they're separate political power-blocks means that total Shia unification will prove to be almost impossible.

Invade Iran?

It can be said that whatever action the United States takes against Iran, many will compare it to the situation which occurred just before the intervention in Iraq in 2003. In other words, they'll say that the U.S. “doesn't know what it's getting into.” This is odd, really, because that's almost true by definition. That is, there's never been a single war (or intervention) in which those involved could have forecast every detail of the future and therefore known beforehand what they were getting into. Indeed wars, interventions or even economic changes involve so many variables that no one can ever know -- in complete detail -- what they're getting into.

All this was of course true of Iraq in 2003.

Post-2003, the omniscient retrospecters condemned George W. Bush and the U.S. government for failing to be excellent futurologists. Nonetheless, it can indeed be said that the Bush government underestimated the danger of tribal Islamic loyalties in the Iraq case. Then again, many on the Left also entirely factored out Islam because left-wingers saw this religion -- and still see it -- as a mere “epiphenomenon of material and political conditions” (i.e., Marx's “sigh of the oppressed creature” and all that). So Islam and Islamic rivalries were -- and still are -- played down by all sides.

Nonetheless, Iran is both directly and indirectly involved in nearly all the wars and conflicts in the Middle East and just beyond.

Of course, the main conflict is in Syria. And Syria is closely allied to Iran.

In more concrete terms, in January this year, the former U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said that the U.S. should keep its forces in Syria after the defeat of Isis in order to go on to then defeat Bashar al-Assad. This, he believed, would limit Iranian influence in that part of the world. 

Opposed to the Syrian part of the (Iranian-led) “Shia crescent” is Sunni Turkey. Perhaps Sunni Turkey itself wants to resurrect something like its own historic Sunni crescent -- i.e., the Ottoman Empire. Thus, the Turkish army has been pouring into northern Syria over the last few months (specifically after the Kurds suffered a major defeat in Afrin in January). Not surprisingly, Hassan Rouhani, the president of Iran, demanded that Turkey immediately pull out. (The U.S. is allied to the largely secular -- i.e., politically secular! -- Kurds.)

There's also the Sunni-Shia war as it's played out in the Saudi Arabia-Iran war.

This has been recently and graphically shown with what's been happening in Sunni-majority Yemen. In this case, there's been Iranian intervention on the Shia side. (Iran provides funding and weapons to the Zaydi Shi'ite Houthi rebels.) And the Sunni states of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar have intervened on the Sunni side.

More clearly of all, a military intervention in Iran would of course impact on neighbouring Shia-led Iraq. So it's not a surprise that Iraq's prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, believes that a U.S.-Iran war would actually be fought out in Iraq, not Iran.

There are also tactical (i.e., not political or moral) reasons for not intervening in Iran and elsewhere.

Take the destruction of Iran's “nuclear capacity”.

The new U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, suggested that it would take “under 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity.” Mr. Pompeo believes this to be an acceptable figure (hence the word “under”). Then again, whether or not 2,000 sorties is regarded as a little or a lot, if Iran really is an “existential threat” to the United States and to countries in the Middle East, then if it takes 2,000 sorties to quell that threat -- then, surely, so be it!

Paul Austin Murphy writes on politics and philosophy. He's been published in the New English Review, The Conservative Online, Philosophy Now, Human Events, Intellectual Conservative, Brenner Brief (Broadside News), etc. Murphy's blogs are Paul Austin Murphy on Politics and Paul Austin Murphy's Philosophy


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California may elect a Republican governor -- Incredible as that sounds - Newt Gingrich

by Newt Gingrich

If California Republicans do not turn out in force in June and November, the Republican majority and President Trump’s agenda could be in trouble.

FILE -- California gubernatorial candidate John Cox.
FILE -- California gubernatorial candidate John Cox.  
(REUTERS/Empowerment Congress/Leroy Hamilton/Pool) 

John Cox is doing something remarkable for a Republican. A recent survey indicates he is now within striking distance of being elected governor of the infamously liberal state in November.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, Cox (who I greatly respect and have worked with for years) has been gaining support since January and is now the second-place pick for governor among likely California primary voters. This puts him right behind the leading Democrat and represents a great potential for Cox to win the governorship seven months from now.

The poll result is important because California’s primary system for congressional and statewide elections is unusual.

Instead of running in individual party primaries, all candidates for governor of California – regardless of political party affiliation – will appear on a single ballot June 5. The two candidates who earn the most votes move on to the Nov. 6 gubernatorial election. Washington is the only other state that elects both congressional and state-level candidates this way.

California’s primary setup is a great system for silencing and drowning out political minorities, and it has likely been a big help to California Democrats since it was adopted in 2010. This is why Cox’s polling gains are so important.

In the Public Policy Institute of California survey, Cox earned 14 percent support against the five other primary candidates, as well as options for “someone else” and “don’t know.” This was up from 7 percent support in January. The top Democrat still has a significant lead on Cox, but nearly a quarter of likely voters in California remain undecided.

This race is also important for Republicans across the United States, because having Cox on the election ballot in November will be vital for keeping the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Republicans currently hold only 14 of California 53 House seats, all of which will be on the ballot this November. Any losses or gains in California could have a serious impact on the ability of Republicans to keep control of the House.

A survey by SmithJohnson Research found that 99.6 percent of California Republicans said they planned to vote in the June primary, with 97 percent reporting they “definitely will vote.”

However, when asked if they would vote in the November election if there were only Democratic candidates for governor on the ballot, only 56.1 percent of these Republican voters responded affirmatively, and only 42.8 percent reported they “definitely will vote.”

If California Republicans do not turn out in force in June and November, the Republican majority and President Trump’s agenda could be in trouble.

Clearly, Californians would benefit from Cox’s conservative leadership. The state is ranked worst for individual income taxes and 48th overall by the Tax Foundation’s 2018 State Business Tax Climate Index.

Cox would work to cut state taxes so that Californians would see more take-home pay and small businesses would be more able to grow, succeed, expand and create more jobs. This includes the hugely unpopular gasoline tax that the Democratic California Legislature and Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown imposed on drivers last year.

The expensive welfare and government dependency programs that California’s liberal leadership has embraced and enacted over the years have also made it the “poverty capital of America,” as Kerry Jackson wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed.

Jackson, a fellow of California studies at the Pacific Research Institute, pointed out that duplicative state and local welfare programs in California have resulted in nearly $958 billion in spending from 1992 to 2015. Yet when the cost of living is factored in, California has the highest poverty rate among states in America.

California is home to 12 percent of the national population but about one in three of America’s welfare recipients live in the state. As Jackson puts it: “The generous spending, then, has not only failed to decrease poverty; it actually seems to have made it worse.”

Establishing a system that promotes work and capability over welfare and dependency would do wonders to bring struggling Californians out of poverty.

We know this system works. We saw it work when we put work requirements on welfare benefits when I was serving in Congress, and we’ve seen it work in states such as Maine, where Republicans leadership moved 80,000 people out of the Medicaid program and 70,000 off food stamps.

Following these pro-work models, Cox could do wonders for replacing poverty with prosperity in California. You can bet the Democratic candidates will simply double-down on the government spending model and make the problem worse.

Democratic leadership has also made California a haven for criminals who are in the country illegally. Cox has pledged to end California’s lawless sanctuary policies and work with federal officials to get those who are in the country illegally and committing crimes off the streets and out of the country.

As governor, Cox would put the safety and interests of Californians over those of criminal non-citizens.

If Republicans are serious about keeping and growing our governing majority – and making America great again – we need to engage and build momentum in every election, at every level. Each fight we win will make winning the next ones more and more likely.

There’s no doubt: California will be a difficult battleground. Our opponents are entrenched and well-funded. However, if we can win there, it will show the nation that we can win everywhere. 

Newt Gingrich is a Fox News contributor. A Republican, he was speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. Follow him on Twitter @NewtGingrich. His latest book is "Understanding Trump."


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Yes, “Islam Is Part of Our History” - Raymond Ibrahim

by Raymond Ibrahim

... but hardly in the way that European elites claim.

European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans recently chaired a roundtable with ten Muslim imams from six EU Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands).  Afterwards Timmermans announced that “the Commission is strongly committed to promoting diversity in Europe. Islam is part of our history, Islam is part of our present and Islam will be part of our future.” 

Such assertions are as true as the assumptions they are based on—and whether such assumptions are grounded in historical facts or fictions. In prefacing his claims about Islam’s historic role in Europe by saying “the Commission is strongly committed to promoting diversity in Europe,” it is clear which perception Timmermans is invoking.

The true, historically documented role that Islam played has a much different story to tell: in the early seventh century, sword-waving Arabs burst out of the Arabian Peninsula and in a few decades conquered some two-thirds of what then constituted the Christian world—from Syria and Egypt in the east to Carthage and Spain in the west and everything in between.  One hundred years after the death of their prophet (traditionally dated to 632), they were in the heart of France where, thanks to their defeat at Tours in 732, and other Frankish victories, the whole of Europe was also not conquered.  

But where lands could not be subjugated, bodies still could, and for the next few centuries the jihad turned into a giant slave trade of European flesh, as slave raids left virtually no part of Europe untouched (even the Viking raids in northern Europe were in large measure fueled by Arab gold).

In the tenth and eleventh centuries, the Turks—who embraced the jihad ethos even more than the Arabs—converted to Islam and became its new standard bearers.  Although they had notable victories and conquests—particularly after the Seljuk victory against the Eastern Roman Empire in 1071—it was only with the coming of the Ottomans that the jihad on Europe was renewed in earnest: in the late 1300s and early 1400s, much of the Balkans was brutally subjugated, and Constantinople—Islam’s original archenemy—finally (and horrifically) sacked in 1453. 

The Ottoman advance continued unabated—the European victory at Lepanto in 1571 was more symbolic than anything—and in 1683 Vienna was encircled by hundreds of thousands of Muslims.  As happened nearly a millennium earlier when the Islamic advance into Europe was stayed in 732, a Christian victory at Vienna only caused Muslims to collapse back to their more modest role as slave traders of white flesh: between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, Muslims slavers from the Crimean khanate in the east and the Barbary coast enslaved more than five million Europeans—including in the late 1700s, American sailors, precipitating the Barbary Wars. 

Perhaps the most telling aspect of this aforementioned history is the evident continuity of hostility in distinctly Islamic terms: the Muslim notion that all infidels have three choices—conversion, willing capitulation via jizya/dhimmi status, or death; the willful and mass destruction of churches, crosses, and anything Christian; the sadistic atrocities that beggar description; the shouts of “Allahu Akbar” and other jihadi slogans; the invocations of Koranic promises of a carnal paradise for those who fall in jihad—all these are present in virtually every encounter between Muslim and European, beginning at the fateful battle of Yarmuk in 636, to America’s experiences with Barbary circa. 1800, as copiously documented in my forthcoming book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West

Such is the true role Islam played in Europe’s past.  

As for its role in the present, this is built on Europeans being entirely ignorant of—when not willfully twisting—this unwavering history of hostility; welcoming Muslims into their lands en masse—and in the name of “diversity”; suffering accordingly, and then wondering what they, European host nations, did wrong. 

Considering the unwavering part Islam played in the past and continues to play in the present, it remains to be seen if the West will build its future atop facts or fictions—getting its just deserts in either case. 

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007).

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ICNA Featuring Hamas Operative Monzer Taleb, in Texas This Weekend - Joe Kaufman

by Joe Kaufman

Taleb thinks masked Hamas terrorists are “superheroes.”

​This weekend, the so-called charitable arm of the Islamic Circle of North America, ICNA Relief, a group that has been linked to the financing of Hamas, will be sponsoring an event in Texas featuring Hamas operative Monzer Taleb. The title of the event is ‘Changing COMMUNITIES with COMPASSION,’ but there can never be compassion with anything concerning Hamas, only hate, violence and bloodshed.

Monzer Mostafa Taleb (Talib) loves to sing about the Palestinian cause. He has been doing so for years. This includes singing about Hamas, specifically his involvement with Hamas.

During the US government’s prosecution of the Hamas charity Holy Land Foundation (HLF), the trials of which took place in 2007 and 2008, a video was submitted into evidence showing Taleb participating at an event sponsored by the Islamic Association for Palestine as the lead vocalist of a singing troupe called Al-Sakhra. On the video, Taleb sings, “O Jew, O coward… I am from Hamas and have never cheered for anyone else besides her… And she is the one which marches with the light of Muhammad… towards Jihad… And Hamas refuses peace with its enemies, and her slogan is to forever fight the attacker.”

The Islamic Association for Palestine or IAP was the American propaganda wing of Hamas and was founded in 1981 by future Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook and future Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Sami al-Arian. Both IAP and HLF were member organizations of Marzook’s Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood US umbrella group, the Palestine Committee. [Taleb has also spoken in front of and cavorted with another Palestine Committee member organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).]

In addition to his singing gig, Taleb ran the multimedia wing of the InfoCom Corporation, a now-defunct web hosting service company established by HLF co-founder Ghassan Elashi and his four brothers. Following trials taking place in 2004 and 2005, InfoCom and the Elashi brothers were convicted of money laundering and fundraising on behalf of Hamas.

Over a decade later, Taleb is still promoting Hamas and associating himself with Hamas-related groups and activists.

In August 2014, Taleb posted a graphic on his Facebook page referring to a member of Hamas as a “superhero.” The graphic depicts four characters, three of which are famous superheroes; the fourth is a masked Hamas militant with the name, GAZAMAN. The caption under the figures reads, “A SUPERHERO ALWAYS WEARS A MASK.”

In 2015, Taleb posted a video showcasing five Palestinian flags, three of which are from groups – Hamas, PIJ and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – named on the US State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).

In November 2017, Taleb sang at and helped lead the 10th Annual Convention of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the most recent incarnation of HLF and IAP. At the event, Taleb is seen on video sitting next to AMP Conference Chairman Salah Sarsour and AMP Registered Agent Abdelbaset Hamayel. According to a November 2001 FBI report, Sarsour has been involved with Hamas and has been a fundraiser for HLF. Abdel Hamayel is the former Executive Director and Secretary General of IAP.

In December 2017, Taleb attended the Dallas, Texas ‘Rally for Jerusalem, Capital of Palestine’ event, where he filmed himself and others stepping and/or stomping on an Israeli flag. He, as well, posted a video on his Facebook page of Dallas imam Omar Suleiman, who is falsely touted as a moderate, speaking at the rally and calling for Israel’s destruction, stating, “Inshallah, God willing, we will live to see the liberation of Palestine in our time.”

On April 7, 2018, Taleb will be one of two keynote speakers at an event sponsored by ICNA Relief, the so-called charitable arm of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). The other keynote speaker will be Abdul Nasir Jangda, a director at the Arlington, Texas Qalam Institute. ICNA and ICNA Relief both have their own documented associations with Hamas.

In August 2006, ICNA Relief was the top donor and partner to Pakistani charity Al Khidmat Foundation (AKF), at the same time AKF took a delegation to Damascus, Syria to hand deliver $100,000 to then-global Hamas leader Khaled Mashal at Mashal’s residence. Mashal thanked the group and assured the delegation that Hamas would continue to wage “jihad” (war) on the “Zionist yoke” (Israel). ICNA Relief continues to work directly with AKF overseas.

In July 2014, ICNA co-sponsored a pro-Hamas rally held outside the Israeli Consulate in downtown Miami. The rally goers repeatedly shouted, “We are Hamas,” “Let’s go Hamas,” and “Hamas kicked your ass.” After the rally, the event’s organizer Sofian Zakkout wrote, above photos from the event, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”

Having Taleb speak in front of ICNA seems like a good match, and the two have been matched up a number of times before. However, considering Hamas is banned in the United States, should not Taleb and ICNA be banned as well?

Instead, they have been allowed to fundraise under the guise of “charity” and spread their terror and bigotry undeterred, at America and Israel’s expense.

Taleb, ICNA and their associates present a clear and present danger to national security and must be investigated by federal agencies charged with combating terrorism and incitement. Like the Elashi’s InfoCom enterprise, their operations should be shut down and their operatives prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

It is time that their terror and bigotry come to an end.

Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.

Joe Kaufman was the 2016 Republican nominee for United States House of Representatives in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. He is an expert in the fields of counter-terrorism, foreign affairs and energy independence for America. He has been featured on all major cable networks, including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, PBS and C-SPAN. Joe has been instrumental in getting terrorist charities shut down and terror-related individuals put behind bars. Exactly one month prior to the September 11 attacks, he predicted the attacks by stating in an article that “the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was no aberration” and that it would happen again.


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