Friday, May 11, 2018

Withdrawal from the Deal Weakens Chances of War - Salman Al-dossary

by Salman Al-dossary

[N]o one wants to stoke the tensions in the region and it is in no one’s interest for the Arab Gulf states to be on the brink of war, but maintaining the nuclear deal would have done just that.

Former US President Barack Obama used to view Iran as a “complicated country – just like we are a complicated country.” His successor, Donald Trump, believes that the Iranian regime is an “exporter of evil.” Developments have proven that the former was wrong. The US consequently withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) after three years during which facts and evidence demonstrated that continuing with the deal would lead the region towards an unavoidable war.

When we say it is a justified, understandable and reasonable step, we are not simply following what Saudi Arabia has been calling for or that ending the deal falls in its favor or that it was necessary to stand against evil. The US withdrawal from the agreement and the return of economic sanctions against the Iranian regime will weaken the chances of war in the region. Iran has exploited the massive loopholes in the agreement to export its revolution, launch ballistic missiles and fund its militias.

Of course, no one wants to stoke the tensions in the region and it is in no one’s interest for the Arab Gulf states to be on the brink of war, but maintaining the nuclear deal would have done just that.

Saudi Arabia, for example, was targeted by the Houthi militia with 135 Iranian ballistic missiles only after the sanctions were lifted off Iran by the bad nuclear deal.

Expectations that the regime will change its behavior were dashed, but this is something the Europeans are still counting on. They have also argued that Trump did not offer an alternative to the deal. The truth is that the best confrontation lies in cornering Iran. The gaps that allow it to infiltrate the region should be blocked.

The catastrophic deal definitely overlooked Tehran’s behavior. No sooner had the economic sanctions been lifted that it dedicated $150 billion to fund the Revolutionary Guards. What world could possibly be safer and more secure with such a terrible deal?

We can say that the harsh economic sanctions that will be imposed on the Iranian regime will be the first and lightest step of a strategy that will prevent Tehran from taking the region to the brink of war. The carrot and stick policy proved to be useless and the Iranian people did not reap a single benefit from the three years of sanctions relief.

Tehran is now bracing itself for very difficult days, especially on its economy. The US is banking that a lot of companies with major trade ties with Iran would be keen to avert a clash with Washington. Even Russian firms and banks will be wary of coming at odds with the US.

The US economic intentions against Tehran were clear when the Secretary of Treasury announced that Boeing and Airbus agreements with Iran will be canceled after the withdrawal from the nuclear deal. This is a major blow because one contract alone covered 200 passenger planes, including 100 airbuses.

More importantly, with regards to Iran’s oil exports, the sanctions will diminish them to a third of what they are. This is a real catastrophe for the Iranian economy. China, India and Korea are the main importers of Iranian oil, but Washington warned that it will go after countries that maintain their trade relations with Tehran. Trump should not be taken lightly when he said: “We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction. Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States.”

Prior to the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the region was sitting on a powder keg that was ready to go off at any moment. The spark may be coming later rather than sooner. Until Trump gives Iran the ultimatum of returning to negotiations “or else”, then the future of the region, despite some tensions, is without a doubt better off than waiting for that keg to explode.

Salman Al-dossary


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Why Trump Is Winning on Foreign Policy - Jamie Monckton

by Jamie Monckton

There are substance and action behind Trump's Twitter account.

Make America Great Again. These four words helped Donald Trump crush Crooked Hillary and take him all the way to the White House. Democrats were left shattered as Trump appealed to a certain audience who had been left behind by the Obama administration for too long. Now ahead of his visit to the U.K. in July, he is changing opinion again. People are beginning to like him overseas; they are acknowledging his difference, decisiveness, relatability, and clear messaging.

From a communications perspective, Trump unequivocally has had a positive whirlwind effect. He has done this by leveraging previously disregarded leadership tactics coupled with an understanding of his various target audiences. Trump managed to identify the audience that matters most, prioritize it, and enable it. This was not an accident. Trump's informed and considered leveraging of social media and information operations has been outstanding. He has expertly created a profile that generates engagement, accentuates his points of difference, and therefore generates discussion, which indubitably enhances his agenda.

The age of lazy opinion is over. We now have an incredibly well educated population who are not satisfied until the why and the so what are satisfactorily answered. Trump has been able to galvanize opinion with modern audiences. How did he do it?
  • Information environment and the advent of social media. Social media have been among the main reasons for Trump's ascendancy to the presidency. He has correctly identified that the way to drive engagement and build his brand was to talk to people on the same level and by the same means. Social media not only enabled Trump to convey his messages in a timely fashion, but enabled him to relate to the audience.
  • Data. The Trump campaign was able to increase the odds of resonance and cut-through considerably through targeted and precise advertising. The role of data in achieving campaign success was identified and effectively utilized from the beginning to the end of Trump's presidential campaign.
  • Millennial generation. They are arguably the most important cohort to be engaging with. The role and significance of the marginalized and disaffected should never be neglected. The younger generation today feels marginalized and feels that it has been dealt a bad hand. Trump was able to identify this unrest and concurrently identify that the majority of the youth would be siding with Clinton.
  • Fake news versus real news: taking advantage. This is hard, and if fake news is used effectively, it can reinforce your Normative Social Influence (NSI) and negate any progress toward Informed Social Influence (ISI). The efficacy of messaging on social media is further distorted by the sheer volume, which increases the opacity of the information environment exponentially and makes it increasingly difficult for one's message to be heard. Trump overcame this by remaining agile and consistent in his nature and narrative. The real issue is making your message heard through the clutter of fake and real news and by building up a trusted brand. This is what Trump did masterfully.
What actions did Trump take to achieve success?
  • Used insights to understand his audience. He identified the current audience behavior and sentiment and set out to appeal to it and identified key intervention points. By successfully understanding his target audience, he was able to draw out actionable insights to maximize the effectiveness of his campaign.
  • Leveraged his point of difference as a candidate. Trump leveraged the fact he was not a politician by nature and that he stood for change, something different, something that would achieve results. He was able to pursue the narrative of "things have not worked in the past; I am the unconventional, successful breath of fresh air." This is a compelling narrative to any person who does not believe that the government represents him.
  • Used unambiguous, entertaining, and easily digestible language. Trump's rhetoric on Twitter, no matter how inflammatory, offensive, imprudent, and shocking, has been orchestrated. This makes Trump "exciting" and engaging for all people regardless of political affiliation. A powerful tool! Even those who do not support him and disagree with his anachronistic and abhorrent behavior still check in to see what he is up to.
  • Remained consistent in persona and messaging. Identified the role of conversation cohort messaging (messaging along the lines of commonality irrespective of demographic). In doing so, he was able to achieve cut-through, persuasion, and engagement. Complementary to this, he orchestrated his image so that he was seemingly accessible and relatable.
So what makes a good leader, and is the President doing it? Many analysts and experts talk about efficiency, time-keeping, adaptability, and the ability to inspire people. Donald Trump certainly has covered all those and more. Through policy, the economy hasn't faltered, and his foreign policy decisions on the Koreas, Iran, and Syria have all been lauded by world leaders so far. There seem to be substance and action behind his Twitter account. On the world stage, Trump is delivering on what he said he would do.

Jamie Monckton, Director of Global Influence, a Strategic Communications consultancy in London.


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Iran is in trouble - Benny Tucker

by Benny Tucker

Middle East expert Dr. Kedar says US sanctions, successful Israeli intelligence, will cause upheaval in Iran.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Yoni Kempinski
Middle East expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar told Arutz Sheva that Iran is facing economic collapse, something which could potentially destabilize the government's rule.

"The Iranians fear, and rightfully so, that the US sanctions will drag in other Western countries who signed the 2015 agreement," Dr. Kedar explained. "I don't know of any bank in Europe which would prefer to work with Iran instead of the US. And we are witness to the fact that even now, the Iranian rial is plunging. Every Iranian is trying to get rid of his rials and buy dollars or gold. Today the dollar is worth 70,000 rials - a drop of 30-40%. There's no such drop in the world, and it shows the population's lack of trust in the economy and the government."

Dr. Kedar also does not believe that the Iranian government will withstand the pressure.

"They took too big a step: On the one hand, the Iran deal collapsed, and on the other hand, they're involved in Syria. Iranian citizens are asking themselves how much more of their money will be spent on Syria, on missiles and people and corpses whose blood is being spilled in Syria. The civilian in the Iranian street knows what the economic price of Iran's involvement in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon is, and in my estimation, the US sanctions on Iran, together with the enormous amount of money being poured into the Middle East, place the Iranian government in a precarious position," he said.

"If I estimate correctly, we're about to see the Iranian government collapse, because of the terrible internal situation. We're already seeing arrests within the ruling echelon, and there will be more isolated and bilateral assassinations. The pressure makes people go out of their minds, and Israel's intelligence accomplishment, which gave Israel Iranian documents on the country's nuclear program, makes them crazy. It proves that they are spies and accomplices within them, and everyone suddenly becomes a suspect.

"Their failure makes them seem clumsy and unsuccessful to the public, as if they can't even keep the most important thing - the nuclear program - a secret. And that's in addition to the fact that they're still dealing with Kurdish and Balochi rebellion in the south and west of the country. Soon, we'll see upheaval over there."

Hear Dr. Kedar speak on the subject (in Hebrew).

Benny Tucker


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Surprise: Iran is full of Trump supporters - Menashe Amir

by Menashe Amir

"Trump's name should be written out in gold letters upon the stars in the sky," one Iranian citizen said.

The Iranian regime may have blocked popular messaging apps to prevent citizens from connecting with one another and to curb the flow of news, photos and videos out of Iran, but global news outlets, broadcasting in Farsi, are obtaining thousands of responses from Iran on a daily basis.

Most of the latest messages are expressions of gratitude and appreciation for U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement, and expectations that the U.S. will help the Iranian people topple the oppressive regime.

"Trump's name should be written out in gold letters upon the stars in the sky," one Iranian citizen said. Another citizen remarked that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali "Khamenei threatened to set fire to the nuclear agreement if the U.S. decides to withdraw form it. Why is he suddenly hesitating?"

All the messages are anonymous or made under assumed identities, because of general fear of the regime.

Here are a few more examples: "The honorable supreme leader: Perhaps Trump is the messiah that Shiite Muslims have waited so long to welcome!" and "We are willing to withstand any kind of suffering as long as it provides hope of toppling the regime of oppression."

Hundreds of messages of this nature have been posted on Farsi-language websites and media outlets outside Iran since Trump announced the U.S.'s withdrawal from the nuclear accord on Tuesday.

One Iranian gave his analysis of the situation by phone to a friend in German, saying that "everything is ready for the resumption of the popular uprising, whose aim this time will be to topple the regime." He spoke about the economic hardships in his country and surmised that renewed sanctions would permanently destroy most of the republic's economic mechanisms.

And indeed, the local currency fell by half in a matter of days.

When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini rose to power 39 years ago, for example, the dollar was worth seven Iranian rials. Today, it is traded at tens of thousands of percentages more, with one dollar worth over 40,000 rials. Even at this price, however, it is virtually impossible to find even one dollar in Iran.

Another Iranian told relatives abroad that he had to close his import store in Tehran. The spike in foreign currency exchange rates was so drastic that he can no longer import products and command any kind of profit.

It is believed that the vast majority of Iranians support a regime change, although they know the price is steep and many will likely be sacrificed. They see the reality in Syria and are deterred by the large number of casualties incurred in the failed uprising there. They complain about the absence of a worthy leader who would unite and command the resistance movement. They expect real and serious assistance from the U.S. and welcome any pressure Trump can exert on the regime.

If some of the thousands of messages appear to support the Iranian regime, it is likely because they were written by Iran's cyber soldiers, tasked with disseminating pro-regime propaganda on social media around the world.

One Iranian, possibly an Iranian soldier in a cyber unit, said that "the only countries that support Trump's policy are Saudi Arabia, which backs terrorism; Israel, which continually commits crimes against the Palestinian people; and a handful of emirates that are essentially Saudi satellites."

Menashe Amir is an expert on Iranian affairs and former head of the Israel Broadcasting Authority's Persian language division.


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Are We Waking Up from the Diplomacy Delusion? - Bruce Thornton

by Bruce Thornton

The real path to a more peaceful world.

President Trump this week withdrew the United States from the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. It’s about time. In the long history of delusional diplomatic agreements, Obama’s pact with the genocidal mullahs to halt their development of nuclear weapons was was one of the worst since Neville Chamberlain handed Czechoslovakia over to Nazi Germany. Like Trump’s abandoning of the feckless Paris Climate Accords, ending the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action may contribute to a needed reevaluation of the West’s antique paradigm of diplomatic engagement as the best way to stop aggression and protect our country’s interests and security.

The Europeans, of course, are unhappy. They’ve been doing a bustling business with Iran ever since Obama delivered $1.7 billion in cash on pallets as the payola to the mullahs for going along with the charade. At home, the evangelical internationalists of both parties and the foreign policy establishment are caterwauling, with grim predictions of doom of the sort we heard about North Korea until Kim, his mind apparently focused by Trump’s tough talk, agreed to meet with the president. They all assert that Trump’s move is counterproductive, that under the watchful eye of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the agreement was working and that Iran had stopped it progress. Not counting ballistic missiles, of course. Now, they warn, Iran is free to start the program back up and obtain a weapon sooner than they would have if the deal remained.

This is what counts as a diplomatic triumph for delusional internationalists:  for nearly forty years, a brutal, apocalyptic, fanatical cult has been at declared war on us, threatened our closest ally Israel with genocide, murdered our troops, kidnapped our citizens, fomented terrorism across the world, and declared openly and repeatedly its hatred of us and its intentions to harm our interests––this failing state that brutalizes its own citizens and rampages throughout the Middle East will see its acquisition of nuclear weapons delayed for maybe a decade. 

Forget the lies of the plan’s supporters, forget the despicable John Kerry, whose began his political career in the seventies by cozying up to the brutal North Vietnamese and slandering his comrades, and lately graduated to giving comfort and aid to another enemy. Forget the talk about us not keeping our word, when the only “word” that counts in international relations is a treaty ratified by our Senate. Forget the bipartisan gaggle of apologists who either are lying about the efficacy of the plan, or are terminally naïve. The only sure fact we know is that we have no real clue what Iran has been up to over the last few years. We don’t know how much progress they have secretly made as they have pretended to comply with the terms of the agreement. That’s because the only way to know is to demand intrusive, unannounced inspections without limits on what to inspect. But Obama discarded that trump without even playing it.

Consider carefully The Wall Street Journal’s wording in its brief for the deal: “Most experts believe that the accord largely ensured that by removing roughly 98% of Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile, mothballing two-thirds of its uranium-spinning centrifuges, limiting research and development, and removing the core of the Arak reactor.” Not “know” or “have confirmed,” but “believe.” Apparently, many foreign policy wizards in this country and Europe are willing to roll the nuclear device based on an unverified “belief.” This is nearly as feckless as Neville Chamberlain telling his cabinet that Hitler “would not deliberately deceive a man whom he respected and with whom he had been in negotiation.” Maybe that’s why John Kerry has been canoodling with Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, the slick and soothing “moderate” who pulled off this diplomatic swindle.

Worse yet, even if the Iranians have complied, so what? The fatal flaw of the agreement––that it terms out after a mere decade––is that it won’t keep the regime from the bomb, but merely delay it. Analysts disagree over how quickly the Iranians could create a nuclear device and a delivery system, but the main point is that deal or not, they possess and will keep all the infrastructure, enriched uranium, equipment, and technical know-how, along with help from Pakistan and North Korea, necessary eventually to succeed. 

But we can be sure that the Iranians have cheated and lied, just as they cheated and lied to the world about not pursuing nuclear weapons program, a fact we know definitively because the Israelis, our only ally that seems to know what it’s doing and understands the hard world we live, stole 100,000 documents from under the mullah’s noses. The apologists, of course, brush that away as old news. Since the agreement, the Iranians have been the souls of honesty and rectitude, obeying every jot and tittle of the agreement they signed in faith. 

Again, how do we know? We don’t. We just trust but don’t verify. But history tells us that every significant arms reduction or arms control agreement has been violated by most of the signatories. Germany in the twenties and thirties, the Soviet Union and Russia for decades, Saddam Hussein in the nineties, North Korea for the last thirty years, and now the Iranians. Especially the Iranians, given that they have not allowed inspectors unannounced access to all suspected facilities. And even with more intrusive inspections, we can’t be completely sure we’ve seen everything. Hussein managed to rope-a-dope international inspectors and intelligence agencies for several years until he just kicked them all out, even while Iraq was occupied by foreign troops, its army had been degraded and disarmed, and two-thirds of its country’s air-space dominated by its enemies. Only after the George Bush coalition invaded and removed Saddam from power in 2003 did we finally know for sure he had only a program.

No doubt numerous dire consequences will be prophesized by the disappointed keepers of worn-out foreign policy paradigms. Iran will restart its program! Though we don’t know if it’s even slowed it down that much. So it will get sooner rather than later what the deal already gave it. The Europeans will go their own way, refusing to cooperate with reimposed economic sanctions! As though we don’t have powerful economic incentives to concentrate the minds of E.U countries currently underperforming economically and facing intensifying resistance to Brussel’s high-handed ways. Iran might resort to terrorist attacks! Which suggests they have been restraining themselves lately, even as they have been brutally rampaging throughout the Middle East, empowering the terrorist gang Hezbollah, propping up the mass-murdering Assad, hijacking Lebanon, and threatening Saudi Arabia from Yemen. 

On the other hand, turning off the economic respirator and restoring the deterrence that the feckless Obama squandered could have other, more positive effects. Reimposing sanctions could further weaken Iran’s economy, and increase its people’s anger over the ruling elite’s corruption, galvanizing the forces for regime change. Iran might provide some casus belli in the Gulf that could give us an opportunity to teach them the grim wages of arousing America’s might. Or Iran could lash out at Israel, which would invite a response they are unlikely to survive––especially if the U.S. keeps its nerve and backs Israel up with action rather than empty threats and Security Council tsk-tsking. 

Obama’s bad agreement, however, is just climax of a bipartisan failure to accept the eternal lesson that weakness and restraint in the face of an aggressor only breed more aggression. We have never punished Iran for its offenses against our interests and honor: the hostage crisis, when Jimmy Carter dithered then paid ransom to Khomeini; the Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon, when the Reagan administration did not punish the Iranian-backed perpetrators, a failure that disgusted even the French who did strafe and bomb the camps in the Bekaa Valley over the attack on their embassy; the training, munitions, and money supplied to al Qaeda and other jihadist groups who have killed our troops in Iran and Afghanistan; and its continual support, throughout the region and beyond, for terrorist outfits targeting us and our allies. And, of course, Barack Obama’s groveling appeasement of them that has brought us to this pass, when time is running out, and the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran are so severe for our interest and security, and those of our regional friends and allies.

Trump’s rejection of this deal can be the first step––and only a step–– in restoring our confident independence and willingness to take action when our security and interests are threatened. It must be followed up, however, with attention-getting action when it’s needed, with all the risk and uncertainty force always entails. 

For a century we have indulged delusional fantasies, serially discredited by history, that multilateral negotiated agreements can give us the luxury of not having to take the politically risky and costly action required to stop aggression. It’s time to awaken from our foreign policy dogmatic slumbers. Returning our foreign policy to the tragic realism that, as Plato said, “war is the natural state of relations among states, and peace is just a name,” will restore our prestige, strengthen our power of deterrence, and create not world peace, but a more peaceful world.

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


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The Failure of Democracy in the Arab World - Rafael Castro

by Rafael Castro

Almost twenty years down the road, the push for democratization has had catastrophic results

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 827, May 9, 2018

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Ever since 9/11, Western leaders have pushed for democratization of the Arab world. Almost twenty years down the road, the push for democratization has had catastrophic results: With the partial exception of Tunisia, the Arab states whose dictators were toppled are mired in strife or have relapsed into despotism. The time has come to learn from the experiences of South Korea, Spain, and Chile in the mid-to-late 20th century and realize that without a growing economy and a sizable middle class, democracy cannot take root in society. 

Western ambitions of planting democracy in the Arab world have failed miserably. Be it after foreign military interventions in Iraq and Libya or after civilian protests in Egypt, Yemen, and Tunisia, the toppling of dictators has hardly given birth to stable liberal democracies, with the respective Arab states sinking into greater strife and barbarism.

This failure was perhaps unavoidable. Liberal democracy is not a panacea for social and economic problems. Nor can democracy thrive in extremely challenging social and economic conditions. The belief that the successful democratization of post-World War II Germany and Japan could be replicated in the Arab world ignored the fact that democratization in Yugoslavia paved the way to civil war and ethnic cleansing. Because Arab countries are far more similar to Yugoslavia than they are to postwar Germany and Japan, it was foreseeable that democratization in that part of the world would aggravate social and ethnic tensions rather than heal them.

Liberal democracy flourishes best in strong economies with a sizable middle class, and is held hostage by internal schisms. In the Arab world, those elements work against the success of democracy. The Arab states are often riven by linguistic, ethnic, social, and religious cleavages. Their economies are often dependent on natural resources, and the absence of a diversified economy hinders the emergence of a resilient bourgeoisie – the backbone of civil society and liberal democracy. Without these elements, attempts at democratization in the Arab world have fomented rather than inhibited political and religious extremism, social sectarianism, corruption and nepotism, terrorism, and repression.

Western leaders must understand that just as during the Cold War, when authoritarian governments promoting capitalism were often the most reliable allies against Communism, the best allies against Islamism may prove to be autocrats promoting capitalism. The time is ripe to ensure that President Sisi in Egypt, King Muhammad VI in Morocco, and President Bouteflika in Algeria receive the economic aid and advice needed to smooth the transition towards genuine free-market economies that will unleash domestic economic growth.

This Western assistance must be complemented by a drastic reduction in non-essential military aid and must be predicated on a strict supervision of economic policies. Generous assistance needs to foster sustainable economic growth, not subsidize the inefficient institutions and patronage networks that characterize the region. The ultimate goal must be to prepare the Arab states for democratization after an extended period of rapid economic growth – not to prop up autocrats indefinitely.

The West needs to condition its tolerance and support for Arab autocrats on the pursuit of intelligent economic policies. Only such policies can provide the economic growth and jobs needed to absorb a rapidly growing labor force and reduce the social tensions that make Islamism attractive to the young and unemployed.

Islamism, like Communism, cannot be defeated by poor democracies. It can only be defeated by prosperous democracies. The economic success stories of Spain, Chile, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea suggest that autocracies can deliver economic reforms and economic growth at least as well as liberal democracies. Given that the Arab world currently lacks virtually all the historical, cultural, economic, and social prerequisites needed for liberal democracy to take root, encouraging economic reforms and rapid economic growth unhindered by partisan feuds may be the most sober strategy with which to tackle the region’s many problems.

BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family

Rafael Castro is a Yale- and Hebrew University-educated political analyst based in Berlin. His pieces on Middle Eastern politics appear regularly on YNET. Rafael can be reached at


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Soros Buying San Diego DA Race - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

Just another day in the radical transformation of America.

Leftist billionaire George Soros is injecting big money into a San Diego district attorney race as part of his larger effort to install extremist prosecutors across America who will refuse to enforce inconvenient laws that liberals and progressives don’t like.

Soros, who turns 88 in August, has been underwriting district attorney races across America in an effort to dismantle the criminal justice system, empty the prisons, and sabotage the enforcement of immigration laws. Soros supports state and local efforts to resist U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and wants to cripple police in order to advance the neo-Marxist abstraction known as social justice that simplistically breaks the world down into race, class, and sex or gender. Radicals claim that American laws and institutions are inherently corrupt and that these systems protect, for example, wealthy, white, native-born, non-disabled males at the expense of everyone else.

Getting people who share Soros’s worldview into public office at every level is key to promoting his ugly vision of how America, which he calls “the main obstacle to a stable and just world order,” should look.

Months ago Soros saturation-bombed his Open Society Foundations philanthropy with an $18 billion donation, likely guaranteeing OSF will remain one of the most important players in left-wing activism for decades to come. According to the New York Times, this was “one of the largest transfers of wealth ever made by a private donor to a single foundation.” (Click here for a brief video primer on Soros narrated by yours truly. Click here for an in-depth Discover The Networks profile of Soros.)

So far Soros has pumped $1.5 million into the San Diego County, Calif., prosecutor’s race to support the candidacy of radical left-winger Geneviéve Jones-Wright, the Democrat candidate and deputy public defender in the county, according to the Washington Free Beacon’s Joe Schoffstall.

On May 3 Soros’s money was deposited into the California Justice & Public Safety PAC, a political action committee created as a vehicle for his assault on law and order in the county that borders Tijuana, Mexico. Some of the members of the so-called caravan of Central Americans led by Pueblos Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders, in English) have sought asylum at the busy San Ysidro Point of Entry in the county.

The PAC is administered by Whitney Tymas, a longtime treasurer of Soros PACs. From 2011 to 2014, she was director of the Prosecution and Racial Justice Program at the pro-criminal Vera Institute of Justice. Vera has received close to $6.7 million from OSF. The PAC has so far spent $194,884 on TV ads, $100,000 on digital ads, and $107,575.60 on campaign literature and mailings in recent days, according to Schoffstall.

Local elections for district attorney are relatively low-key, small-scale affairs that rarely see the kind of money Soros has been throwing around. By pouring millions of dollars into the campaigns of various extreme-left district attorney candidates across America, Soros has provided his preferred candidates huge financial advantages over their rivals.

And his money has brought results.

Soros money helped to knock off Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas, District Attorney Nico LaHood, a Democrat who opposes sanctuary cities and describes himself as “a conservative guy.” The billionaire’s cash also helped Kim Ogg unseat incumbent Republican Devon Anderson to become DA in Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston. Ogg promised a “significant culture change,” including greater leniency in marijuana possession cases and making it easier for criminal defendants to make bail.

A flood of Soros cash helped elect radical leftist Lawrence (Larry) Krasner (D) as Philadelphia DA. In private practice, Krasner had sued police more than 75 times and represented Occupy Philadelphia and Black Lives Matter. Soros lucre also helped reelect Portsmouth, Va., Commonwealth Attorney Stephanie Morales (D).

According to a Daily Signal analysis, in the 2016 election cycle Soros shelled out almost $11 million in 12 DA races. Democrat candidates backed by Soros ended up winning in 10 of those dozen contests. Soros also funded district attorney candidates in Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

According to Schoffstall,
Soros operates similarly in every city: His PAC treasurer will establish a committee as an avenue for him to pour his money to back his preferred candidate. Once the money is parked in the PAC, independent expenditures are made in support of his candidate and against their opponent. Soros then refunds himself any excess money at the conclusion of the race and the PAC is dissolved.
And just how radical is San Diego’s Jones-Wright? She is so hostile to law enforcement that she may as well have been recruited from the ranks of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, or Occupy Wall Street.

The current DA, Summer Stephan (R), launched a website called ThreatToSanDiego that provides a laundry list of leftist positions embraced by Jones-Wright. The site states that "anti-law enforcement $$$ is coming into San Diego," and highlights quotations from Soros, such as his statement that he has "always harbored an exaggerated view of self importance" and that he thinks of himself as "some sort of god."

Stephan campaign strategist Jason Roe told the Washington Free Beacon that Jones-Wright "has fully embraced his [Soros's] positions on decriminalizing sex crimes, closing jails and prisons, and eliminating bail." Roe added that the Democrat candidate is "committed to not enforcing what she calls ‘quality of life crimes' like breaking and entering and other things that are not necessarily violent crimes."

Jones-Wright made a guest appearance at the shadowy, Soros-cofounded Democracy Alliance's grant-making conference last fall, participating in a panel discussion titled, "Prosecutor Races – Winning Big in 2018?" The Democracy Alliance is a donors’ collaborative whose members secretly fund left-wing political infrastructure projects, such as think tanks, leadership institutes, and activist groups. Democracy Alliance president Gara LaMarche, a former Soros lieutenant, wrote in a letter to conference attendees that President Trump's victory a year ago was "the most cataclysmic election of modern history."

Jones-Wright refused to comment on what she did at the Democracy Alliance shindig but told the Free Beacon she was "thrilled" to have won the backing of "one of the most generous and progressive donors in the country."

"People talk a lot about the need to close the gap between the rich and the poor, but George Soros puts his money where his values are," she said.

"It brings a megaphone to the message of true justice and allow communities that have been marginalized by the status quo to have a shot at representation," she said. "Criminal justice reform is getting the attention it deserves as a life and death issue for communities."

On this point Jones-Wright is correct. Criminal justice reform is indeed a life and death issue for communities, but not in the way she means it.

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


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Durham synagogues, Federation employ BDS operatives - Mordechai Sones

by Mordechai Sones

'Raises eyebrows that federations and synagogues are comfortable with BDS activists teaching at local Hebrew schools.'

Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reports that two of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) operatives who helped pass a Durham City Council resolution banning life-saving police exchanges and joint training between the city’s police department and Israel’s military are employed by synagogues in the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill.

In addition to promoting anti-Israel resolutions, Sandra Korn and Lara Haft are both employed in the Durham Jewish community at two area synagogues and at the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill.

Haft, a Hebrew-school teacher at Beth El Synagogue for the Jewish Federation, promotes anti-Israel content on social media. Korn, who spoke at the council meeting in favor of the ban, works at the Jewish Federation as a youth Midrasha teacher, and is a board member and head of adult education at Durham’s Judea Reform Congregation.

Korn often posts anti-Israel and anti-capitalism content on social media, including a re-tweet that stated that the Anti-Defamation League is anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian, as well as a tweet that said she was planning on shoplifting to fight capitalism.

"The employment of anti-Israel activists by local Jewish Federations, and particularly by synagogue education departments, is raising eyebrows about the low level of standards maintained during the hiring and vetting of professionals—or worse, that the federations and synagogues themselves are comfortable with BDS activists teaching at local Hebrew schools," wrote JNS.

"While each synagogue attempted to distance themselves and their organizations from the views promoted by Korn and Haft, neither responded to direct questions posed by JNS on whether they are comfortable with BDS activists teaching kids about Israel and Judaism, or whether participation in anti-Israel groups like JVP should raise a red flag for mainstream Jewish organizations when hiring," the paper said.

Mordechai Sones


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Amsterdam kosher eatery to close due to frequent attacks - JTA

by JTA

Restaurant owner says he cannot keep establishment open without proper security due to repeated assaults, vandalism.

The owner of a frequently-vandalized kosher eatery in the Dutch capital said he will close it down unless city officials install permanent security measures outside his business.

Sami Bar-On’s lawyer, Herman Loonstein, told the Het Parool daily Wednesday that his client feels it is “irresponsible to go on like this” at HaCarmel restaurant without permanent security measures.

In December, a 29-year-old Syrian asylum seeker smashed the restaurant’s window while holding a PLO flag. He then broke into the restaurant as two police officers watched and took out an Israeli flag from inside the restaurant before they arrested him. He has been charged with vandalism in an indictment that does not include an aggravated element of a hate crime.

Since the incident, the restaurant’s windows were again smashed once and are repeatedly spat on and smeared with garbage, Bar-On said. Police beef up security after each incident but leave shortly after, he said.

Bar-On also claimed the mayor has refused to meet him on the issue. But a municipal spokesperson said that Bar-On has declined several offers by the city to have him meet lower-level officials.



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NBC's Demonization of Bolton and Gatestone - Alan M. Dershowitz

by Alan M. Dershowitz

Blaming an organization for those who read or circulate its material is McCarthyesque defamation. Attributing to an organization all the views of those who are invited to debate controversial issues is McCarthyesque demonization.

When I was growing up, organizations that expressed any views at all similar to those expressed by Communist groups were called "Communist fronts". Anyone who defended on the grounds of civil liberties the right of communists to express their hateful ideology was labeled a "commie-symp."

All decent people railed against this coerced, "politically correct" guilt-by-association, because it endangered freedom of speech, freedom of association, basic fairness and especially truth.

Today a similar tactic of defamatory character assassination against people with whom one disagrees, particularly conservatives, is being employed by elements of the left, including some in the mainstream media. Consider the recent attack by Heidi Przybyla of NBC News against the recently appointed National Security Advisor, Ambassador John Bolton, and an organization whose board he chaired before that, Gatestone Institute. The headline of the hit piece is: "John Bolton chaired anti-Muslim think tank." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Przybyla wrongly called Gatestone an "anti-Muslim think tank," presumably because it published some articles about Muslim "no-go zones" in parts of Europe. The existence of certain areas in Europe that are unsafe for non-Muslims is widely debated as "politically incorrect" in the European media. It is well established that visible Jews – wearing kippahs or other indicators of their religion – have been attacked. Two weeks ago, a non-Jew apparently trying to discredit such rumors by wearing a kippah, was attacked on a Berlin street.

Others have been attacked as well. Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a vocal supporter of mass-migration, has commented on this troubling situation. According to the Daily Express, Merkel warned that, "There cannot be any no-go areas... where people are afraid to go, but such places are a reality."

For some Gatestone writers to have participated in this debate does not make Gatestone "anti-Muslim". It makes them pertinent. Even a cursory look at Gatestone's website shows that its writers and scholars include numerous Muslims, such as the prominent journalists Amir Taheri; Khaled Abu Toameh; President of the American Islamic Forum M. Zuhdi Jasser; Salim Mansur, and Raheel Raza, among others. Many of Gatestone's articles are, in fact, pro-Muslim -- advocating human rights and civil liberties for all Muslims, including Palestinians and Iranians.

Przybyla also claims that Gatestone is somehow in the pocket of Putin's Russia based on the following "fact": "NBC news found at least four instances of known Russian trolls directly retweeting from the Gatestone account." The fact that Russian trolls may have retweeted a handful of Gatestone articles means nothing, especially as Dan Abrams's Law and Crime website independently confirmed 267 retweets by MSNBC's Joy Reid. As the noted journalist Daniel Greenfield wrote, "Four times vs. 267 times. If getting retweeted 4 times makes you a Russian spy, NBC must be the Kremlin." Everything on the Internet is public information; anyone is free to read or tweet about it. One cannot post material labeled, "except for Russians."

If Przybyla's accusations sound familiar to those of us who lived through the "Thought Police" of the McCarthy era, it is because they are so similar. Blaming an organization for those who read or circulate its material is McCarthyesque defamation. Attributing to an organization all the views of those who are invited to debate controversial issues is McCarthyesque demonization.

McCarthyism, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a "political attitude characterized chiefly by opposition to elements held to be subversive and by the use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges; broadly: defamation of character." Pictured: Senator Joseph R. McCarthy in 1954. (Image source: National Archives and Records Administration)

Let John Bolton be judged by his own statements and actions, for which he needs no defense from me. But let not the media indulge in the discredited tactics of guilt-by-association, distortion and outright deceit based on ideological or political differences.

I am a frequent op-ed contributor to Gatestone and often speak at its events. I also proudly serve on its board.

I find Gatestone to be refreshingly centrist. It encourages dialogue between the center-left, represented by people such as Senator Joe Lieberman and myself, and people from the center-right represented by speakers such as John Bolton and the eminent historian Victor Davis Hanson. I am scheduled to speak at an event with Ayaan Hirsi Ali who, based on her own personal experiences of female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, has expressed views about abuses committed by some Muslims against other Muslims in the name of Islam. These discussions are always informative and serious. I disagree with some of what I hear and read at Gatestone events and in its publications, but that is true of every organization of which I am aware. Przybyla wrenches out of context a few points of view that to her seem controversial, and not only attributes them to the organization, but makes it appear as if these views are the only ones the organization represents.

The answer to deception and falsehoods has always been truth. I urge everyone who has read Przybyla's misrepresentation to go to the Gatestone website and read a wide array of its extensively substantiated articles. Then everyone can judge for themselves. Is Gatestone an "anti-Muslim think tank"? Or is it an open-minded institute that encourages diverse views on a wide range of pressing subjects? Then you can answer Groucho Marx's famous rhetorical question: "Who are you going to believe – me or your lying eyes?"

Alan M. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School and author of "Trumped Up, How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy."


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Thursday, May 10, 2018

IDF attacks dozens of Iranian targets in Syria - Uzi Baruch and Kobi Finkler

by Uzi Baruch and Kobi Finkler

IDF attacks dozens of military targets belonging to the Iranian Qods Force in Syrian territory following rocket barrage on the Golan.

The IDF attacked dozens of military targets belonging to the Iranian Qods Force in Syrian territory overnight Wednesday, said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
As part of the large-scale attack, the following targets were hit:
• Iranian intelligence sites operated by the Qods Force.
• Logistics headquarters of the Qods Force.
• A military compound and logistics complex of the Qods Force in Kiswah.
• An Iranian military camp north of Damascus.
• Weapons storage sites belonging to the Qods Force at Damascus International Airport.
• Intelligence systems and installations associated with the Qods Force.
• Observation, military posts and weapons in the buffer zone.

In addition, the Iranian launcher from which missiles were fired at Israel was destroyed.

The Israel Air Force attacked Syrian air defense batteries, which fired despite an Israeli warning not to do so. In response, the IDF attacked a number of interception systems (SA5 SA2 SA22 SA17) belonging to the Syrian army.

All Israeli aircraft returned to their bases safely.

The IDF said that the overnight attacks were carried out in retaliation for the rocket attack by the Iranian Qods Force towards IDF posts on the Golan Heights. There were no casualties in the Iranian attack, no damage was caused, and no missiles exploded in Israeli territory.

"The Iranian attack on Israel last night is yet another clear proof of the intention behind the Iranian forces' entrenchment in Syria and the danger they pose to Israel and to regional stability." The IDF Spokesperson stated that the Israeli Home Front will continue its normal routine, and that schools and agricultural work will continue as usual. Up to 1,000 people will be permitted to gather in an open area in the Golan Heights and Katzrin.

Residents were instructed to obey the instructions of the Home Front Command which will be updated as necessary.

"The IDF will continue to act decisively and firmly against the Iranian establishment in Syria. The IDF also considers the Syrian regime responsible for what is happening in its territory and warns it against acting against our forces. The IDF is highly prepared for a variety of scenarios and will continue to act as necessary for the safety of Israeli citizens.”

Uzi Baruch and Kobi Finkler


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Trump's Iran Speech: No More Surrendering To Bullying Dictatorial Regimes - Yigal Carmon and A. Savyon

by Yigal Carmon and A. Savyon

Trump's speech announcing his withdrawal from the JCPOA significantly alters the strategic power balance in the Middle East and the world.

U.S. President Donald Trump's May 8, 2018 speech turned the tables on Iran, on the European parties to the JCPOA and on the supporters of the deal around the world. Trump reiterated the basic truths about the Iranian regime, which the Obama administration had swept aside in its eagerness to attain the deal.

Announcing his withdrawal from the JCPOA, Trump clarified that he refused to go along with the Obama administration's and the Europeans' deceptive presentation of Iran and of the nuclear deal.

Significance And Implications:

Trump's speech announcing his withdrawal from the JCPOA significantly alters the strategic power balance in the Middle East and the world. The Trump administration has completely reversed Obama's U.S. policy vis-à-vis Iran, resuming the strategic political-military alliance with America's traditional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia, against Iran, which Obama supported, and against the Shi'ite resistance axis.

Iran now faces two fronts working in tandem: a political-economic front led by the U.S., and a military front for expelling Iran from Syria, led by Israel. On both fronts, Iran is on the defensive and is openly adopting a policy of restraint. Iran has no means, neither political nor military, to confront this old-new coalition of the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel, and it has not dared to retaliate for Israeli strikes in Syria targeting its troops and military infrastructures there.

Trump's new Iran policy is also a firm message to North Korea, that the U.S. will not be party to deceptive and fraudulent agreements, and will act against dictatorial regimes that employ terror and develop nuclear weapons.

Parameters Of The New U.S. Policy On Iran:

In his speech, Trump presented the principles of the new U.S. policy on Iran:
  1. The Iranian regime is an oppressive totalitarian theocratic regime which is still under sanctions for human rights violations and does not merit a Western seal of approval. In its 30 years in power, it has murdered thousands of Iranian citizens, and it imprisons political dissidents and abducts Western nationals and holds them hostage.
  2. The Iranian regime is the main supporter and disseminator of global terror, responsible for the murder of many Americans, and is under sanctions for this terrorist activity.
  3. The Iranian regime is striving for regional expansion throughout the Middle East, destabilizing countries that are U.S. allies.
  4. The Iranian regime is developing missiles for offensive purposes (its claim that the missiles are defensive is false. The 2000-km range missiles, which Iran was allowed to develop following the JCPOA, are clearly offensive).
  5. The JCPOA is rooted in a U.S. capitulation to Iran's demand to recognize it as a nuclear power, and in a complete disregard of the fact that Iran had a detailed program for manufacturing nuclear weapons and missile delivery capabilities – as was already known and was comprehensively corroborated by Israel's recent exposure of Iran's nuclear archive.
Components Of The JCPOA Deception
  1. U.S.-Iran negotiations secretly began during the presidency of Ahmadinejad, not after the election of Rohani, as the Obama administration deceptively claimed.
  2. Negotiations began only after an initial capitulation by president Obama, who met Iran's demand to recognize its right to enrich uranium, after years of negotiations in which the Europeans persistently refused to recognize this as an Iranian right. 
  3. The Iran deal is not a signed document, because Iran refused to commit to a bilateral or multilateral agreement. The unsigned document was approved by the UN Security Council under the heading "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)," which means that it is only one of thousands of decisions passed by the Security Council.
  4. In stark contrast to the claim of Obama and his spokespersons, that the JCPOA is "the most comprehensive and intrusive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated," the JCPOA actually employs the laxest inspection mechanism ever negotiated with a country that has been caught lying to the IAEA and the Security Council and failing to comply with the NPT, to which it is a signatory. The inspection mechanism is outrageously inadequate, since it does not allow the inspection of military sites and other suspected sites of military nuclear activity.
  5. Obama transformed Iran from a suspect state, accused of military nuclear activity, which must be subjected to constant and meticulous scrutiny, into a partner allowed to negotiate the mechanisms of its own inspection. The Obama administration and the Europeans surrendered to the refusal of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to allow the questioning of Iranian nuclear scientists and the inspection of military facilities, and agreed to close Iran's Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) case in an outrageous process, in which the Parchin military compound remained closed to IAEA inspectors and soil samples from the site were supplied by Iran itself.
  6. The nuclear negotiations were based on a constant surrender to Iran's conditions and demands. The few conditions it is required to meet are unverifiable: the uranium that was removed from Iran has disappeared, the heavy water it is producing – contrary to the usual procedure applied to heavy water producing countries – is stored in Oman, within Iran's reach, and the inspection procedures agreed upon do not include military bases and sites suspected of military nuclear activity, but apply only to nuclear sites that were declared by Iran itself (and even this only after they were exposed by foreign forces, as in the case of Fordo).
  7. Acting in an unprofessional and non-independent manner, the IAEA and its secretary-general, Yukiya Amano, agreed to these scandalous inspection procedures. Amano closed Iran's PMD case in complete disregard of the IAEA's own findings, published in a 2011 secretary-general report, which found Iran guilty of pursuing nuclear weapons. Amano's justification for closing the case was the ridiculous claim that no evidence had been found that the Iranian regime was behind the suspicious findings collected at Iranian sites. Amano agreed to downgrade the IAEA from an independent body to one that is professionally subordinate to a political forum: the JCPOA Joint Commission. This means that any Iranian violation of the JCPOA is automatically defined as a contested issue that must be forwarded to the political echelon, namely the Joint Commission. This applies, for example, to IAEA inspection of Section T of the JCPOA, which allows Iran to develop theoretical simulations of nuclear explosions as long as they are for non-military purposes and subject to inspection. The IAEA reports confirming Iranian compliance with the agreement are meaningless, because the IAEA is barred from inspecting any site that was not accepted by Iran in advance as a site subject to inspection.
  8. The European countries, which had led the nuclear negotiations with Iran until Obama assumed the presidency, and had espoused a principled position that mandated stringent inspection, the questioning of scientists, and a refusal to recognize uranium enrichment as an Iranian right, fell in line with Obama, who led the nuclear negotiations, relinquishing all their demands.
  9. Obama and the Europeans consented to Iran developing missiles with a range of up to 2000km, a range which covers the entire Middle East but not Europe.
  10. The Obama administration and the Europeans accepted the Iranian lie regarding Khamenei's fatwa banning nuclear weapons, endorsed it and used it to justify the JCPOA, even though they knew Iran was developing such weapons.

Yigal Carmon is the President and Founder of MEMRI; A. Savyon is Director of MEMRI's Iran media project.


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