Friday, July 6, 2018

The REAL reason "Palestinian" Arabs don't have their own state - Avi Abelow

by Avi Abelow

The world is 100% wrong to blame Israel for the absence of peace. The fault lies 100% with the Arabs.

If Israel just allowed the “palestinian” Arabs to have a state of their own there would be peace in the Middle East, right? WRONG. There are so many wrong things about this statement. Let’s break it down one point at a time.

No Historic People Called “Palestinians”

Did you know that at the beginning of the 20th century it was the Jews who were called “palestinians?”

Watch this video from a 1939 soccer match between team Australia and team Palestine. It was Maccabi Tel Aviv, in the light blue shirts with a white Star of David logo on their jerseys. All the players on team “Palestine” were Jews!


The name Palestine is a Roman term created by the Romans to replace the real name of the region called Judea. The Romans created the term “palestine” based on a historic invading people from the Bible called Philistines. Some “Palestinian” Arabs today like to say that they are descendants of the Biblical Philistines, but that is impossible. The Philistines were invaders from the Sea, hence their name, based on the Hebrew term ‘Polesh’, or “invade” in English. The Philistines were killed and exiled from the region, together with the Jews, by the Babylonians in around 600 BCE. The Jews returned, but the Philistines never did. There is no connection between the ancient Biblical Philistines and today’s “palestinian” Arabs.

The first “palestinians” were Jews, living here in the land of Israel when Rome renamed the geographical area “Syria-Palestina.”

They Don’t Deserve a State of Their Own

The so-called “palestinian” Arabs have no national claim to our land. The Jews are the true indigenous population with a historic claim to this land. The so-called “palestinian” Arabs have no such claim. Especially, since they are historically not even from here! They are mostly from other Arab countries.  Hence many of their last names are names of cities from other Arab countries, as this Hamas official from Gaza says himself!

They are at Fault, Not Israel

Israel has agreed to various peace deals over the past 100 years. It has always been the Arabs who have said no.

The world is 100% wrong to blame Israel for the absence of peace. The fault lies 100% with the Arabs. They have waged war after war against Israel to destroy our country. When they failed with wars, they then switched tactics to a war of terror. When that didn’t work they moved on to “peace” talks, which Yasser Arafat himself called the “plan of stages”, to destroy Israel one piece at a time.

It’s time the world wakes up. Peace with these people, who falsely call themselves an “ancient” people called “palestinians” is impossible.

One day it will be possible to live in peace with them, but only when they accept how blessed they are to live with the Jewish people, in the Jewish State called Israel. All Muslims have more freedoms and equalities living in Israel than they do in all other Muslim countries in the Middle East. That is the truth. 

Avi Abelow


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Did Obama Grant Residency To Sworn Enemies Of America? - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

New bombshell allegation reveals the depth and breadth of Obama’s appeasement efforts.

Like a recurring bad rash that simply won’t go away, the aftershocks of Barack Obama’s calamitous Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) keep coming and with each aftershock, another layer of betrayal, deception and appeasement is exposed. The latest controversy centers on an allegation made by a high level Iranian official that the Obama administration, in an effort to appease the mullahs and close the Iran deal, granted citizenship or residency permits to 2,500 Iranian nationals some of whom were connected to the ruling mullah elite.

The bombshell allegation was leveled by hardline cleric Hojjat al-Islam Mojtaba Zolnour. Zolnour is no small-time slouch. He’s chairman of Iran’s parliamentary nuclear committee and a member of its national security and foreign affairs committee. He’s also part of “Supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei’s inner circle so presumably, he has some inside knowledge. 

Though he did not name names, Zolnour alleged that Obama extended naturalization to the children of top level Iranians; this in an effort to curry favor with the mullahs and make them more amenable to signing the JCPOA. The children of at least two top Iranian officials currently reside in the United States. The son of Iran’s speaker of parliament, Ali Larijani, and the son of Hossein Fereydoun, a brother and close aide to Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, both reside in the nation routinely characterized by their parents as the “Great Satan.”

To date, the only Obama administration official to publicly comment on Zolnour’s allegation was former State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, who termed his allegation, “…totally made up BS.” Like most Iranian officials, Zolnour is a dissembler and his allegations should be viewed with healthy dose of caution. Nevertheless, there is ample reason to believe that there’s some truth to the allegation, after all, many ancillary aspects of the Iran deal were kept from Congress and the American people by an opaque administration that trampled on the concept of transparency.

For example, the Iran deal embodied secret side arrangements between the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Iranian regime, which governed inspection of nuclear sites under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Congressional leaders stumbled across these secret side deals wholly by accident, and were shocked to learn that sites like the highly secretive Parchin facility remained off limits to international inspectors, making a mockery of Obama’s numerous declarations that any agreement with the Islamic Republic would embody “anytime, anywhere” intrusive inspections. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Then we learned that the Obama administration transferred $1.7 billion in untraceable cash, in the dead of night, to the mullahs as ransom for the release of four hostages they were holding. Cash was the preferred method of payment for the mullahs given Iran’s difficulties in dealing with the international banking sector. It is a virtual certainty that at least some of the money was diverted to pay Iranian mercenary gangs who are currently waging war in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and elsewhere throughout the region. In addition, the legality of the exchange remains dubious. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was supposed to have signed off on the arrangement but no paper bearing her signature was ever forthcoming despite congressional demands to produce such a document.

If that wasn’t enough, we were stunned to find out that in its twilight months in office, the Obama administration gave its consent to allow the Iranians to receive 116 metric tons of natural uranium, the foundational material for nuclear bombs, from Russia as compensation for Iran’s export of tons of reactor coolant. Experts familiar with the transaction noted that that quantity of uranium could be enriched to weapons-grade sufficient for the production of at least 10 nuclear bombs.

Following that revelation, we learned that the Obama administration shut down a highly successful and complex DEA operation aimed at thwarting Iranian-Hezbollah drug smuggling, arms trafficking and money laundering schemes. The secretive operation was known as Project Cassandra and was reaping rewards before Obama stepped in and quashed it. Law enforcement officials involved in the operation were outraged and left scratching their heads. Countless expense and time had gone to waste.

Then there’s the matter of Obama’s alleged thwarting of an Israeli effort to assassinate Qassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s infamous Quds Force. The Quds Force is the IRGC’s overseas terrorist branch in charge of creating mischief wherever they set foot.  Soleimani’s elimination would have significantly hampered Quds Force operations and Israel was keeping tabs on his movements and had a plan to take him out during one of his excursions to Syria. Obama was fearful that an assassination of an official so closely associated with the mullah regime would derail the JCPOA. Consequently, he tipped the Iranians off to Israel’s plans. If true, it would represent one of Obama’s most glaring acts of treachery.

During the course of Obama’s fanatical zeal to secure a foreign policy legacy, he committed unfathomable acts which undermined the security of the United States and its allies. The granting of residency to sworn enemies of the United States, if proven true, would merely represent another betrayal in a long series of perfidious actions.

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


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Hezbollah's Indefinite Presence in Syria - Sirwan Kajjo

by Sirwan Kajjo

With no end in sight to Syria's seven-year war, Hezbollah will undoubtedly continue its military expansion, causing more instability in an already volatile region.

  • After more than seven years of fighting alongside the Assad regime in Syria, the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah is highly unlikely to make an easy exit from the war-torn territory, no matter what supposed agreements are reached or promises made.
  • Hezbollah fighters are now in control of much of Syria's border with Lebanon. In fact, the Shi'ite terrorist group is in charge of controlling the Lebanese side of the border, despite the presence of the Lebanese military, which is weak.
  • With no end in sight to Syria's seven-year war, Hezbollah will undoubtedly continue its military expansion, causing more instability in an already volatile region.
After weeks of shuttle diplomacy allegedly carried out by Russia and Israel, Iranian forces and allied militias -- including the so-called "military wing" of the Lebanon-based organization Hezbollah, all of which has been designated as a terrorist group by the US -- reportedly began to withdraw from parts of southern Syria, near Israel's border. According to other reports, however, many Hezbollah fighters, disguised as members of the Syrian army, have simply remained on their bases to escape being targeted by the Israel Air Force. Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Israel's air force has carried out sporadic strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah bases and convoys across its neighbor on the north. After more than seven years of fighting alongside the Assad regime in Syria, the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah is highly unlikely to make an easy exit from the war-torn territory, no matter what supposed agreements are reached or promises made.

In a televised speech on "Quds Day" -- which Iran has marked every year since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 -- Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah addressed his supporters as follows:
"We are in Syria because we should be there. The Syrian leadership has asked us to be present there based on developments in the ground.... Gulf states and Israel must know that we will be happy when we return our men to Lebanon... we will be happy and we will feel victorious to complete our mission. So what keeps us in Syria is our duty and the Syrian leadership, but at the same time I would like to tell you even if the entire world decided to remove us from Syria, we will not leave."
Nor does it seem that the Syrian regime is in a rush to tell Hezbollah to leave the country. In a recent interview with an Iranian state-run news channel, Syrian President Bashar Assad said, "Hezbollah is an essential element in this war -- the battle is long and the need for these military forces will continue for a long time."

Having helped defeat anti-regime rebel forces in the suburbs of Homs, Aleppo and Damascus, Hezbollah fighters are now in control of much of Syria's border with Lebanon. In fact, the Shi'ite terrorist group is in charge of controlling the Lebanese side of the border, despite the presence of the Lebanese military, which is weak. The areas in which Hezbollah operates are of great importance to the group, which uses the mountainous terrain as a route to transport military equipment between Syria and Lebanon. So entrenched is Hezbollah in that region that it has managed to build multiple military bases within a small radius.

With those fronts of Lebanon and southern Syria already secured, Hezbollah fighters increasingly have moved to the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria to aid the Syrian military in its battle against Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists. Meanwhile, Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias – such as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) -- are largely in control of strategic areas along Syria's border with Iraq.

Not far from those frontiers, the U.S.-led coalition has been aiding Kurdish-led forces to push out ISIS from other parts of Deir Ezzor. The months-long campaign has liberated large strategic areas from ISIS. More than once, however, these two anti-ISIS campaigns have come head to head in Deir Ezzor, leaving the U.S. with no choice but to defend its local partners.

Once ISIS is completely defeated in these areas, Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed groups could be better positioned to wage attacks on U.S. interests there and elsewhere in Syria.

With no end in sight to Syria's seven-year war, Hezbollah will undoubtedly continue its military expansion, causing more instability in an already volatile region.

Hezbollah soldiers on parade. (Image source: VOA video screenshot/Wikimedia Commons)

Sirwan Kajjo is a Syrian-Kurdish Washington-based journalist and author.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

EU condemns Israel over plans to raze illegal Arab town - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

EU says plans to raze Khan al-Ahmar 'exacerbate threats to viability of two-state solution.'

Federica Mogherini
The European External Action Service, the diplomatic arm of the European Union, condemned this morning, Thursday, Israeli efforts to demolish illegal Bedouin encampments located east of Jerusalem.

“These demolitions, together with plans for new settlement construction for Israelis in the same area, exacerbate threats to the viability of the two-state solution and further undermine prospects for a lasting peace,” the EEAS said in a statement released Wednesday night.

“In line with our long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, the EU expects the Israeli authorities to reverse these decisions and fully meet its obligations as an occupying power under International Humanitarian Law.”

The statement followed reports earlier on Wednesday that Israeli law enforcement officials and security personnel were preparing to demolish the Bedouin encampment of Khan al-Ahmar, following years of delays and legal battles.

Khan al-Ahmar contains some 170-180 Palestinian Authority Bedouin and was established in the 1990s with no authorization or building permits. The outpost was built within the town limits of an existing Israeli community – Kfar Adumim – prompting Israeli law enforcement authorities to declare Khan al-Ahmar illegal, and call for its demolition.

After years of appeals to the Israeli judicial system, the Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions ruling that the outpost was indeed illegal and must be removed.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s Middle East envoy, on Wednesday condemned Israel over the impending demolition.

“Israel should stop such actions and plans for relocating Bedouin communities in the occupied West Bank. Such actions are contrary to international law and undermine the two-state solution,” read a tweet from Mladenov.

Arutz Sheva Staff


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Robert Spencer Video: Muslim Spokesman Admits the Real Cause of “Islamophobia” -


Corey Saylor reveals why some people have negative views of Islam.

In this new video, Robert Spencer discusses recent remarks by Muslim spokesman Corey Saylor, in which Saylor revealed that he knows that some people have negative views of Islam not because of “Islamophobic propaganda,” but because of the activities of jihad terror groups:


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Sex, Lies and the Deep State - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

What the affairs of the deep state tell us about it.

At the heart of the effort to bring down President Trump were two affairs. Unlike the bizarre lies about Moscow hotel rooms and prostitutes in the Steele dossier that was used by the Clinton campaign and its allies to smear President Trump and generate an investigation against him, these affairs truly took place.

And they didn’t just expose the malfeasance of four people, but of a corrupt political culture.
The affairs between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in the FBI, and between Senate Intelligence Committee security director James Wolfe and New York Times reporter Ali Watkins, did more than betray the spouses of Strzok, Page and Wolfe. They also betrayed the duties of the two men and two women.

The affairs were not private matters. The two illicit sexual relationships were also illicit political arrangements. As the Inspector General’s report noted, Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Clinton ally who has since been fired, used Page as his liaison with Strzok to circumvent the chain of command on the investigation. McCabe used Page as his conduit and Watkins’ media employers used the young reporter as a conduit to her older married lover and the leaked information he allegedly provided her.

BuzzFeed, Politico, the Huffington Post and the New York Times were aware of the Watkins affair. As the Times piece on Watkins coolly put it, “Their relationship played out in the insular world of Washington, where young, ambitious journalists compete for scoops while navigating relationships with powerful, often older, sources.” Usually it’s enemy governments that employ young women having an affair with older married government officials to extract information on Intelligence Committee proceedings.

But here some of the biggest names in the media were caught using the same tactics as the Russians.

How significant was the Ali Watkins and James Wolfe affair? Former New York Times editor Jill Abramson, in her furious defense of Watkins, noted, "most crucially, the value of her journalism (her Carter Page scoop in BuzzFeed actually helped lead to appt of Mueller)." Strzok was forced to leave the Mueller investigation due to the exposure of his texts with Lisa Page. Watkins’ affair with Wolfe has been credited by a key media figure with helping create the monster that is the Mueller investigation.

At the rotten heart of the campaign against Trump lay the betrayal of private and public fidelities.

But the Strzok-Page and Watkins-Wolfe affairs were also crucial in bypassing formal lines of communication. Illicit affairs are popular espionage tradecraft not just because they provide blackmail material against influential officials, but because their very informality makes it easy to create covert networks within organizations as personal intimacy is used to maintain political intimacy.

McCabe allegedly used Page to create such a connection between him and Strzok. The media appeared to have used Watkins to create a link into the Senate Intelligence Committee. It’s unknown if anyone on Wolfe’s end was aware of the affair and using it to feed information to the media. But it would not be too surprising if the open secret of the affair was just as open on his end as it was on the media’s end.

It’s easier to piggyback one illicit secret on another. There were two layers of secret affairs here, one layer of intimacy between two couples, and another layer of illicit intimacy between organizations. The organizational affairs cover three key players in the campaign against President Trump: elements in the FBI, the media and the Senate Intelligence Committee who had adulterated their responsibilities.

When we talk about the deep state, what we really mean are these illicit networks within the government that have their own rogue agenda. These networks exist in every part of the government. Some are just corrupt, trading favors, cash and access. Others are political. Like enemy spy cells, their members coordinate privately to suborn organizations the way that these men and women did.

The arrest of the occasional spy ring gives us an insight into how they operate. The exposure of Strzok, Page and McCabe, of Watkins, Wolfe and the media, gives us an insight into how the deep state runs.

Corruption requires complicity. As every good spy knows, the best sources are those who have proven that they are willing to compromise their ethics in other areas, whether it’s gambling, adultery or theft.

The network that went after Trump was, at least in part, built out of such people. In their varied cases, mistresses and spouses served as crucial conduits to a public official such as the DOJ's Bruce Ohr whose wife Nellie worked to dig up dirt on Trump for Fusion GPS or McCabe whose wife Jill had received $675,000 for her political campaign through a close Clinton ally, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Spouses could be used to route financial benefits while mistresses carried information, as Watkins did from Wolfe and Page did from Strzok. Formal political affiliations, such as James Comey’s supposed Republican status, matter less than the private ones of his wife and daughters who are rabid Clinton  supporters and Trump opponents. In Washington D.C., formal party affiliation is downstream from social politics. The career networks that matter are built in restaurants and cocktail parties, not polling places.

Up close the swamp is making friends who can help you move from the public sector to the private sector. It’s peddling influence, getting to know people and building transactional relationships. It’s players who know everybody hiring out to other players who need to know everybody. It’s also knowing how to bypass ethics rules, oversight and chains of command to be able to get the things you need to do done. That might be a contract, a subsidy, a sale or the overthrow of the United States government.

It’s just another day in the swamp.

The Mueller investigation rose out of that swamp and the Clinton-Steele dossier dived deep into it. The investigation of the investigations has only begun mapping the swamp. Underneath the turgid waters of the Potomac, the swamp dwellers have their own mores. The stately government buildings, cozy restaurants and dignified manors conceal twisted relationships between people and organizations. 

In every society, the governors live by a different set of rules than the governed. In Washington D.C., infidelity to spouses, oaths, governments, voters and ethics is not an aberration. It’s the rule. Adultery to whatever you claim to hold true is the price of admission. It’s how you can be trusted to join the club.

The political side of the imperial city is a small town. And everyone knows all the dirty secrets. Call it the deep state, the swamp or just what happens when government becomes its own culture.

Government runs on rules, on knowing them, enforcing them and breaking them. At the lowest level of power, you know the rules. At the next level you enforce them. At the final level, you break them.

That final level of power is the deep state. It lives where the rules are meant to be broken.

The campaign against Trump ran on the parallel laws of Washington D.C. Its networks were covert alliances that ran on the social relationships of the swamp. That these networks included infidelity and political prostitution as a feature would only be natural. In a transactional town that traffics in relationships, running a coup piggybacked on an affair and prostituting a reporter are virtues not sins.

The legitimate body of government tests for ethics. The parallel deep state tests for corruption. The men and women who went after President Trump didn’t just cheat on each other, they cheated on America.

These parallel networks, in government, in public life and in private life, are the conduits of corruption. To defeat the deep state, these parallel networks in government must be exposed to the light of day.

As long as the deep state remains deep underwater, the corruption will continue.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Dem nightmare deepens as party is ‘underperforming’ among Hispanics - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

Democrats counting on President Trump’s hard-line immigration policies to spark energized Hispanic turnout and a wave against GOP candidates in this year’s midterms will be surprised to see what’s transpiring.

Golly gee, it turns out that race-baiting and fear mongering aren’t paying off for the Democrats, and that Hispanic voters are not universally motivated by the call of open borders. Josh Kraushaar reports for the National Journal:
Democrats counting on President Trump’s hard-line immigration policies to spark energized Hispanic turnout and a wave against GOP candidates in this year’s midterms will be surprised to see what’s transpiring. Even during the heat of the family-separation crisis, Democrats are underperforming in heavily Hispanic constituencies, from GOP-held border battlegrounds in Texas to diversifying districts in Southern California to the nation’s most populous Senate battleground in Florida
It's becoming increasingly obvious that Democrats believe all sorts of racist stereotypes about minorities: that blacks are incapable of advancing themselves without help from Democrats and the quotas they espouse, and that Hispanics are all supportive of illegal immigration, for example.

Kraushaar makes the interesting point:
If immigration affects the battle for Congress, it will be because of the anti-Trump backlash among suburban women as much as any increased mobilization in the Hispanic communities.
If he means “soccer moms,” he is probably mistaken. Trump won a majority of the vote among married women. Increasingly, the Democrats rely on single women, both childless and single mothers, for their support.

Thomas Lifson


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Another Hail Mary Attempt from the Left to Deny Trump His SCOTUS Pick - Brian C. Joondeph

by Brian C. Joondeph

When you hear desperate excuses, such as those above, claiming that Trump’s next SCOTUS nomination is illegitimate, just remember past precedent which blows up these arguments.

June was a tough month for the left. It began with a successful North Korean summit, followed by news that the economy is hotter than even the current heat wave embracing much of the country. The Supreme Court handed President Trump a win on the travel ban on nationals from terrorist-heavy countries, along with a handful of other decisions which are displeasing, to say the least, to Democrats.

The month culminated with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s imminent retirement, providing the president with his second SCOTUS nomination in as many years. Liberal heads are exploding on cable news shows and on the sets of unfunny late night comedy shows. Last week Trump was a Nazi, this week he is overturning Roe v. Wade and Brown v. Board of Education, sending America back into the dark ages.

The left is now trying to disqualify any of Trump’s potential court nominees. Senator Elizabeth Warren is front and center in the resistance saying the president’s “short list of Supreme Court nominees was hand-picked by right-wing extremists who want to criminalize abortions and punish women who have them.” Hey, at least it wasn’t a bunch of Nazis (left-wing extremists, by the way) suggesting nominees, just “right-wing extremists.” Not yet, at least.

The academics have weighed in, too, with the able assistance and partnership of the anti-Trump media. George Washington School of Law Professor Paul Schiff Berman opined in the New York Times about how to derail, or at least delay, the president’s court nomination, scheduled to be announced next week.

The professor’s first tactic argues that Kennedy’s, “replacement should not be confirmed until after the midterm elections this fall” since the same argument was, “used to stymie President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016.”

Unfortunately, the professor forgets that these precedents were set years ago, by Democrats. Call them the Biden-Schumer rules, where Democrats began the practice of stymie-ing presidential SCOTUS nominations.

In 1992, then Senator and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Joe Biden said that then-President George H.W. Bush should “not name a nominee until after the November election is completed.” 

Senator Chuck Schumer echoed this approach, recommending that, “no George W. Bush nominee to the Supreme Court should be approved, except in extraordinary circumstances, 19 months before a new president was set to be inaugurated.”

But Trump isn’t on the ballot in November. It’s an election year for Congress, not the president. Still, the argument will be made by the media and the left. Just remember the Biden-Schumer rules.

Professor Berman then offered a second reason why President Trump can’t make a SCOTUS nomination. “People under the cloud of investigation do not get to pick the judges who may preside over their cases.” Actually the special counsel investigation results go the deputy Attorney General who then decides whether to release the results or not. The Supreme Court doesn’t preside over the Robert Mueller investigation.

If high crimes and misdemeanors are alleged, the remedy is Congress, not any court, including the Supreme Court. Impeachment is the constitutional mechanism for dealing with presidential crimes and the Senate can vote to remove the president from office if they so desire. It’s members of Congress who would preside over Trump’s case, if there is one, and Trump does not appoint members of Congress.

For President Trump to find himself before a criminal court, he must be indicted first, and the Office of Legal Counsel from past administrations declares that criminal indictment of a sitting president “is a categorical no.” The Constitution provides the appropriate remedy.

Out of curiosity, have other presidents made SCOTUS nominations while “under the cloud of investigation”? Precedent is a concept that I assume a law professor would find useful. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane.

President George W. Bush made two SCOTUS nominations while his administration was being investigated by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, appointed in 2003. John Roberts and Samuel Alito were both nominated to SCOTUS in 2005. Fitzgerald’s case against Scooter Libby was still active in late 2005, during and after both nominations. Both nominees were confirmed despite the president and his administration being, “under the cloud of investigation.”

President Bill Clinton was “under the cloud of investigation” beginning January 1994, when Attorney General Janet Reno appointed Robert Fiske as special prosecutor to investigate Whitewater and the death of Vince Foster. Yet Clinton was able to nominate Stephen Breyer to SCOTUS in May 1994 followed by a confirmation vote of 87 to 9. Back in the day, when the opposition party actually consented to a president having a SCOTUS justice of his choosing. And despite the president being under investigation.

President Reagan, going back even further, was also “under the cloud of investigation” beginning in December 1986, when Lawrence Walsh was appointed independent counsel to investigate the Iran-Contra affair. This investigation didn’t wrap up until 1993. Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy, who is now retiring, to SCOTUS in 1987, bringing this discussion full circle. Kennedy was confirmed 97-0, a far cry from what we will see with any Trump nomination.

How about that? Three recent past presidents made four SCOTUS nominations while “under the cloud of investigation” by some combination of special or independent counsels or prosecutors. These nominees were all confirmed and I don’t recall journalists or law professors caterwauling that such a nomination, “will be a stain on the legitimacy of this nomination, on the performance of whomever is confirmed and, even, on the Supreme Court itself” as Professor Berman asserted.

Only with Donald Trump are these important issues. Just as being tough on border security was fashionable during the Obama and Bush years, but not during the Trump presidency.

When you hear desperate excuses, such as those above, claiming that Trump’s next SCOTUS nomination is illegitimate, just remember past precedent which blows up these arguments. It will fall on deaf ears as the left is in freefall panic over Trump’s successes and the increasing irrelevancy of the modern Democrat party. Pass the popcorn and enjoy the show.

Brian C. Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter.
Image Credit: Ted Eytan, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Israeli Arab citizens: Aspirations vs. reality - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

The situation prevailing among the Arab citizens of Israel is as complex and complicated as their affiliations are.

The topic of Arabs who are Israeli citizens is a complex and complicated one, on the one hand because this population sector is far from uniform, and on the other, because of its extant geo-political context. 

This sector, close to one fifth of Israel's citizenry, includes members of five different religions: Muslims, Christians, Druze, Alawites and  Ahmadis, in addition to two non-Arab religions to be found in Israel, the Samaritans and the Bahais.

Three main cultural groups can be identified:  Bedouin, fellahin (agricultural workers) and urban dwellers, whose sociological characteristics and ways of life differ considerably from each other. Regarding their relationship to the state, it should be noted that the Druze, along with some of the Christians and Muslims (mainly the Bedouin) serve in the IDF, a clear indication of their outlook on the Jewish state.

When taking into account the differences found in the "Arab sector" into account, the first question to be addressed is how these Arabs define their identity:  some define themselves as an inseparable part of the Arab nation, without referencing religious or cultural differences. In their view, Muslims, Christians and Druze are equal to one another, brothers in arms against the colonialism that ruled the Arab homelands. This idea's foremost proponent was former MK Asme Beshara and the Balad party he founded. According to the party's platform Israel has no right to be a Jewish and democratic state and must become a land of  all its citizens, allowing anyone who claims to be a Palestinian refugee or the descendant of  one to enter the country and receive citizenship.

 In contrast to this "Arab" definition, most of the Israeli Arab citizens of Israel define themselves as "Palestinian" citizens of Israel. Palestinian self-definition is a result of the first Intifada (1987-1992) in which they achieved much international and Arab recognition as a distinct people fighting honorably for its freedom, land and  rights. The disastrous situation that took over the Arab world from late 2010, termed the "Arab Spring" at first, soon to turn into a horrific bloodbath, caused many Israeli Arabs to refrain from identifying with the violent, internally fractured Arab world and encouraged the development of a particularist Palestinian identity. The Palestinian Authority under Arafat tried to gain control over the Israeli Arab sector, but most, despite their sympathy for the Palestinians of Judea, Samaria and Gaza- rejected his interference totally and unequivocally.

Other Israeli Arabs emphasize their Islamic ties, and their inseparable connection to the Islamic nation whose current leader is Turkey's Erdogan. They see a religious problem in the existence of Israel, in that Islam was meant to replace Judaism and Christianity – at least in Islamist eyes – so that there is no justification for a Jewish army, state, police force, land and sovereignty. Jews, like Christians, must be subject to Islam's mercy as "protected ones" (dhimmis) in accordance with Islamic law which grants them only limited rights. 

Islamists see Islam as lording over all other religions, so that Christians, Druze and all others must live in peace under its protective wings. It is worth noting that a small group of Sufi Muslims who do not share these views and want no political and nationalist issues involved in their beliefs, also live in Israel. The Bedouin and Muslims who serve in serve in the IDF are also totally divorced from the Islamist approach, as led by the Islamic Movement – the Israeli branch of the International Muslim Brotherhood, the organization founded towards the end of the 1960s by Sheikh Abdallah Nimer Darwish of Kfar Qasem.

As of 1996, the Islamic Movement in Israel divided into two factions: One known as the "northern branch" because its leadership lives in northern Israel and the other as "southern branch" whose leadership lives in the south. The northern faction is more extreme and dogmatic than the southern branch and feels that Muslims must not take part in the political life of the State of Israel as this means recognizing the state and its existence.

For obvious reasons, this faction is not represented in the Israeli Knesset and calls for its members – clearly or by inference – not to participate in Israeli elections.  Sheikh Raed  Salah of  Umm al-Fahm leads the sector along with Sheikh Kamal Khatib of Kafr Kanna.  Salah was indicted and found  guilty of a long list  of crimes, including transferring funds to sister organization Hamas. He spent several jail terms in Israeli prisons and the 13 organizations that form the backbone of the sector were declared illegal in 2015, ending his activities. There is good reason to suspect that some of the sector's activities continue on underground.

The southern sector is headed at present by Sheikh Hamad abu Dabbous, who lives in the Bedouin town Rahat, and in the past was headed by  Sheikh Ibrahim Zarzur of  Kafr Qasim and Sheikh Kamel Rian of Kafr Bara. This sector also does not consider Israel a legitimate state, but reluctantly takes part in the political activity of the state for pragmatic reasons. Muslims, they believe, must try to influence the Israeli political system as much as they can, using the existing means to do so. Its members take part in elections and some are Knesset members. 

That said, it must be stressed that most Muslim citizens of Israel do not consider themselves members of the Islamic Movement, a fact proven by the group's notable lack of success in becoming a sweeping mass movement. The majority of Israel's Muslim citizens live their private, family-oriented, public and political lives soberly assessing changing circumstances, attempting to  improve  their personal and group status in a democratic Israel without questioning its very existence. Very few want to live in an Arab state, especially in  light of how life in Arab states has deteriorated over the past few years. 

There is an every growing number of Israeli Arabs who identify with the state and see themselves as Israelis in every way and who feel an integral part of the state. Leading the list is the Druze minority whose sons serve in the army shoulder-to-shoulder with Jewish fighters, and whose record of volunteering for combat units is higher than that of Jewish soldiers.

Druze women are exempted from security service, although some volunteer in the IDF and an even larger number in national service, which also has thousands of young Muslims in its ranks.

Recently, a group of Christians who define themselves as Arameans, not Arabs, has come to the fore, and they enlist in the IDF with heart and soul. Bedouin, whose religion is Muslim, also enlist in the IDF – and there are even some non-Bedouin Muslims who volunteer in the IDF, and understand that this is the army of the one and only state they can defend.

Still,  we must not forget that within the Arab sector there are those who carried out terror attacks against Jews and those who cooperated with terrorists during the Second Intifada (2000-2003) for strongly felt anti-Zionist, anti-Israel and  anti-Jewish reasons. Others donated funds to strengthen terror organizations, such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and there are those who identified with the terror against Israel and its Jewish citizens.  After all, the wave of fires set by Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria four years ago spread into pre 1967 Israel when Israeli Arab citizens followed their brothers' example and mimicked their actions.

The conclusion that can be reached from the above is that the prevailing  situation  among the Arab citizens of Israel is complex and complicated. The question of Arab/Muslim/Palestinian/Israel identity is complicated, since they are all Israeli citizens who enjoy civil rights, but an Israeli identity card is not always a sign of a person's real identity. When the situation is relatively quiet and relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are on an even keel, that has an affect on the lives of Israeli Arab citizens. 

When the atmosphere heats up, when attacks and pictures of dead and wounded fill the media, there is a parallel rise in tension between Israel and its Arab citizens.

Once, there were those who hoped the Israeli Arab citizens would act as a bridge to the Arab world, but that dream did not come to pass, because most of the Arab world saw in the Arabs of 1948 traitors to the Arab nation and Zionist collaborators who did not continue rebelling against Israel. Some called them "Arabs of privilege" who live in a democratic, tranquil state that cares for their welfare, identify with it and enjoy its citizen services. Over the last few years, there is an increasing feeling in the Arab world that the Israeli Arabs are unwilling prisoners of the State of Israel, leading to more positive feelings towards them.

The State of Israel must be fair to its Arab citizens, realizing that its national anthem ("the turbulent Jewish soul") does not express their hopes, and that a flag with a Star of David is not their heart's desire. I certainly do not wish to imply that Israel change its anthem or flag, but when it comes to government grants there simply must be equality: budgets, development, roads, employment, industrial centers, construction, citizens' development and economic integration. There must be no gap between Jewish Israelis and Arab Israelis. Fairness and decency must be the operative words upon which Israel's relationship to its law-abiding Arab citizens must be based.

Written for Arutz Sheva, translated from Hebrew by Op-ed and Judaism editor Rochel Sylvetsky.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Germany: 'Decapitating' Freedom of the Press? - Stefan Frank

by Stefan Frank

What has become clear is how easily authorities in Germany can censor the news and punish bloggers who spread undesired information.

  • If it was indeed the authorities' plan to censor the news and keep the information of the beheading under wraps, then it backfired. Due to the reports about the raid, thousands of people have seen the video, and hundreds of thousands have heard about the botched censorship attempt.
  • Hamburg's government is still trying to conceal the beheading. Among other things, they [the AfD party] wanted to know whether the child had been beheaded. The administration -- in breach of its constitutional duty -- refused to answer. It also censored the questions by blacking out whole sentences.
  • Why the beheading should be kept a secret is anyone's guess. What has become clear is how easily authorities in Germany can censor the news and punish bloggers who spread undesired information. They have a vast toolbox of laws at their disposal. It does not seem to bother them that the law invoked in this case stipulates explicitly that it shall not be applied to the "reporting of contemporary events."
In an apparent attempt to sweep under the rug a recent double homicide in Hamburg, Germany, authorities there censored the story. They also raided the apartments of a witness who filmed a video describing the murder, and a blogger who posted the video on YouTube.

The murder, which made headlines worldwide, occurred on the morning of April 12. The assailant, Mourtala Madou, a 33-year-old illegal immigrant from Niger, stabbed his German ex-girlfriend, identified as Sandra P., and their one-year-old daughter, Miriam, at a Hamburg subway station. The child died at the scene; her mother died later, at the hospital. The woman's three-year-old son witnessed the murders.

According to the prosecutor's office, Madou -- who initially fled the scene, but then called the police and was arrested shortly thereafter -- acted "out of anger and revenge," because the day before the incident, the court had denied him joint custody of his daughter.

It later emerged that for months Madou had been threatening to harm Sandra P. and the baby. A senior public prosecutor told reporters that the police investigated the woman's charges, but had concluded that the "threats were not meant seriously" and did not pursue the case.

Furthermore, half a year earlier, in October 2017, a judge revoked a restraining order that Sandra P. had obtained against Madou two months earlier, on the grounds that he saw "no evidence" that Madou had threatened her. That was when Madou's threats increased and he explicitly announced: "I'm going to kill our daughter, and then I kill you!"

A detail of the murders that has never officially been revealed, is that Madou apparently attempted to decapitate the baby. This detail was mentioned by a commuter -- Ghanaese citizen Daniel J., a gospel singer at an evangelical church in Hamburg -- who happened to arrive at the subway station moments after the attack and filmed the scene on his phone. In the video, police officers can be seen questioning witnesses, and paramedics are surrounding what appears to be the baby girl. Daniel J. says, in English, "Oh my God. It's unbelievable. Oh Jesus, oh Jesus, oh Jesus. They cut off the head of the baby. Oh my God. Oh Jesus."

Police question witnesses to the double-murder in Jungfernstieg subway station in Hamburg, Germany. (Image source: Daniel J./Heinrich Kordewiner video screenshot)

Heinrich Kordewiner, a blogger from Hamburg who discovered the video on Daniel J.'s Facebook page, uploaded it to YouTube.

A few days later, a team of state prosecutors and officers of the cybercrime unit of the Hamburg police arrived at Kordewiner's apartment with a search warrant, and confiscated his computer, mobile phone and other electronics, allegedly to find "evidence" of the "crime". He was -- and still is -- accused of: uploading the video.

Kordewiner and his flatmate told Gatestone about the raid, which took place at 6.45 a.m. They recounted that when they first refused to open the door, police forced it open -- and even searched the flatmate's room, although it was apparently not covered by the search warrant.

"The police officer said that he could also search for SD (secure digital) cards," the flatmate told Gatestone. "While he fumbled through the books on my shelf, he suggested that he could turn my whole apartment upside down. He told me to relax."

According to the search warrant, Kordewiner is accused of having "invaded the private sphere" of the murder victim, in breach of §201a of Germany's Criminal Code. This so-called "paparazzi paragraph" -- the legislation of which was launched by Heiko Maas (currently Germany's Foreign Minister), who as Minister of Justice was responsible for Germany's internet censorship law -- is a barely known and rarely applied law, passed in 2015. Among other things, it makes it illegal to take pictures that "display someone in a helpless situation." Supposedly aimed at protecting victims of traffic accidents from being filmed by curious onlookers, the law was already highly controversial when it was debated in 2014, and journalist associations criticized it for jeopardizing freedom of the press.

When the German parliament debated the law, one of the 10 experts invited to give their opinions on the matter was Ulf Bornemann, head of the "Hate and Incitement" department of Hamburg's public prosecution office. A former MP and member of the East German civil rights movement, Vera Lengsfeld, wrote at the time that Bornemann was the only one to embrace the law without reservations: "Why," she reported he had said, "should the data of a supposed inciter be protected?"

In a written statement, Bornemann praised the censorship law for sending "a clear political message that the administration is willing to act against hate crime in social networks." Bornemann was also part of the team that raided Kordewiner's apartment.

The stated reason for the raid -- a breach of privacy rights -- is flimsy. Only the victim's feet can be seen in the video, and even those for only a brief moment. As the daily newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt pointed out, the footage "is blurred, taken from a distance and doesn't allow the identification of any person."

Meanwhile, the German publication Welt online posted a video that shows close-up footage of the victim -- something that did not spur state prosecutors into action. The main difference between the two videos seems to be the verbal comment on the beheading in Daniel J's video. The alleged breach of "privacy rights," then, would appear to be a pretext.

The "Beheading"

"We don't comment on this rumor," state prosecutor Nana Frombach said to Gatestone when asked about the beheading. All she was willing to acknowledge was that the child had suffered "severe neck injuries." When Gatestone said that §201a could not be applied to the video in question because it did not show anybody's face, she replied that this had "yet to be decided," and that the raid was based on an "initial suspicion." Gatestone then mentioned that Kordewiner, instead of uploading the video anonymously (which would have been easy for him to do), had uploaded it to his YouTube channel, along with his full name and address, rendering the raid's stated goal of "finding evidence" not merely disproportionate but entirely unnecessary. Frombach said that she was not allowed to "comment on details of an ongoing investigation," but that she could "guarantee" that the search warrant had been "approved by a judge."

How can any journalist, under such censorship, report the news? Would it be illegal to film the scene of a terrorist attack? Frombach said that she could "not tell" whether this would still be legal in today's Germany. "I can only judge specific cases, not ones that lie in the future," she said.

The libertarian website Achse des Guten (Axis of the Good) was the first media outlet to report the raid. Two days later, the daily Hamburger Abendblatt wrote:
"Hamburg's state prosecutor rabidly prosecutes a blogger who has published pictures of the tragedy at Jungfernstieg... The raid was based on paragraph 201a, a law that the council of the press and journalist associations view as being problematic with regard to free reporting."
The Abendblatt criticized the "nebulous phrasing" of the law and the "even more nebulous interpretation by the state prosecutor," stating, "The law stipulates that no pictures of helpless persons may be taken. However, the cell phone footage does not show such persons."

According to the Abendblatt, sources "from within the security apparatus" had been "surprised" by the raids of the homes of the blogger and Daniel J. The state prosecutor who ordered the raids had been "very hot on this case," these sources said, and was "shooting out of cannons into sparrows... it is surprising how quickly the search warrant was issued, given the high obstacles we face every day, even when dealing with serious crime."

In an accompanying comment, Abendblatt editor Matthias Iken called the raid "foolish," because "it supports the conspiracy theories of right-wingers." Where, he asked, "do the prohibitions start? And where do they stop?"

In the meantime, the incriminated video has been deleted from all German websites and YouTube channels (although it can still be found on websites that are out of reach of the German authorities).

Censorship Backfired

If it was indeed the authorities' plan to censor the news and keep the information of the beheading under wraps, then it backfired. Due to the reports about the raid, thousands of people have seen the video, and hundreds of thousands have heard about the botched censorship attempt. Even worse for the would-be censors, they unwittingly revealed the very detail that they wanted to keep from the public. This is because the search warrant -- a copy of which was handed to Kordewiner -- happens to provide a detailed account of the murders. It elaborates that Madou had "wanted to punish the mother of the child" and "enforce his claim to power and ownership." With an "intent to kill," Madou "suddenly" took a "knife from the backpack he was carrying, stabbed the child in the belly and then almost completely cut through the neck."

The office of the state prosecutor is under the authority of Hamburg's state government, a coalition of Social Democrats and the Green Party. The state's Minister of Justice, Till Steffen, is a member of the Green Party and has for years been accused of being behind many scandals in his ministry. Among these are that alleged murderers repeatedly have had to be released from pre-trial detention because their trials have taken too long. In 2016, Steffen prevented police from sharing pictures of the Berlin truck terrorist, Anis Amri when he was still at large, out of fear that sharing images of jihadist terror suspects could incite racial hatred.

Censorship in Parliament

Hamburg's government is still trying to conceal the beheading. This became clear when, in May, MPs of the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) made a parliamentary enquiry about the police raid and details of the murder case. Among other things, they wanted to know whether the child had been beheaded. The administration -- in breach of its constitutional duty -- refused to answer. It also censored the questions by blacking out whole sentences. The newspaper Die Welt noted: "That the text of an enquiry and the questions are blackened out without consultation" is something "that almost never happens."

When Gatestone contacted Alexander Wolf, one of the MPs who made the enquiry, to find out what exactly was censored, he sent the original enquiry (the first two pages from the left) as well as the senate's answer (pages 3, 4 and 5) in which parts of the questions were censored. Every hint of a beheading that might have taken place was blacked out, as was the link to the article that first broke the news about the beheading and the subsequent police raid. Wolf told Gatestone:
"In the session of the interior committee, the Senator of the Interior and the responsible state prosecutor both replied very evasively to the repeated questions of our speaker, Dirk Nockemann, and imputed a lack of respect [for the murder victim]. In my opinion, this was designed to cause indignation against the enquirer on the part of the other MPs. Apparently, the Senator wants to sweep the issue under the rug."
The speakers of the other opposition parties were also contacted by Gatestone: Dennis Gladiator of the Christian-Democrats (CDU) and Anna von Treuenfels-Frowein of the centrist Free Democrat Party (FDP). Treuenfeld-Frowein replied:
"Of course, the public has a right to information. But for us as a party committed to the rule of law, personal rights do not end with death. We therefore consider the decision to black out parts of the enquiry to be appropriate. Right now, there is no need to make details of the crime public."
Gladiator did not respond to Gatestone's repeated requests for comment.

Why the beheading should be kept a secret is anyone's guess. What has become clear is how easily authorities in Germany can censor the news and punish bloggers who spread undesired information. They have a vast toolbox of laws at their disposal. It does not seem to bother them that the law invoked in this case stipulates explicitly that it shall not be applied to the "reporting of contemporary events." The state prosecutor, however, argues that this murder case – which was reported, among others, in France, India, Pakistan, South Africa and the United States – does not constitute such a "contemporary event."

"For Hamburg's ministry of justice," the Abendblatt wrote, "the double murder is a crime of passion that must not be of any interest to the public."

Stefan Frank is a journalist and author based in Germany.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter