Saturday, October 20, 2018

Mowing the lawn in Gaza - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

There is a long-term way to topple Hamas or at least to gut its power.

Pal Nazi Gaza

Wednesday night, the security cabinet convened to discuss the Hamas regime in Gaza’s escalating war against Israel. The current round of war began seven months ago when Hamas terror bosses ordered Gaza residents to the border with Israel. The declared purpose of the mass gatherings was to destroy Israel in what Hamas referred to as “the march of return.” Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh promised they would hold a press conference on the embers of destroyed Israeli border communities in short order.

The “march,” of course, never happened. What came instead has been seven months of unremitting terror. Tens of thousands of acres of farmland and nature preserves have been scorched and destroyed by arson kites and balloons sent over the border from Gaza. Kibbutzim and townships have been subjected to intermittent rocket and missile attacks interspersed with incendiary kites and balloons that have fallen in school yards, on private homes and in the middle of playgrounds filled with children.

And then, in the early morning hours on Wednesday, Hamas shot a missile into Beersheba and another toward Tel Aviv. The missile in Beersheba destroyed a family home. A family of four avoided death through the heroic efforts of the mother, who dragged her sleeping children into their bomb shelter moments before the missile destroyed their house.

The missile shot toward central Israel landed in the Mediterranean Sea.

For seven months, the government has been subjected to continuous criticism for avoiding any major response to Hamas’s unrelenting aggression. And for seven months, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman have promised to hit Hamas hard while acceding to the IDF General Staff’s position that Israel should do as little as possible militarily and try to bribe Hamas into standing down by increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Why has the government responded so weakly to Hamas’s assaults and what can we expect to happen, going forward in the wake of the security cabinet’s meeting Wednesday night? What does the situation in Gaza tell us about the future of the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria, and about Israel’s options moving forward in relation to both groups of Palestinians?

To understand the government’s dilemma, we need to first understand what we’re dealing with in Gaza and what Israel’s options are, realistically, for shaping the situation on the ground in a manner that will improve the safety and security of Israel.

For the past 13 years, since Israel abandoned Gaza and destroyed its communities in the area, Gaza has been a quasi-independent state. Since January 2006, when Hamas won the elections to the Palestinian legislature, the terror group has been the most powerful and most popular force in Gaza – and arguably in Judea and Samaria as well.

Moreover, if Hamas were toppled tomorrow, it wouldn’t be replaced by a peaceful regime. It has no moderate opponents. As The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh has reported, the second most powerful force in Gaza is the Islamic Jihad terror group. Hamas is controlled by Qatar, Turkey and Iran. Since it was established in 1988 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Islamic Jihad has been a wholly owned proxy of Tehran. Pick your poison.

THERE IS a long-term way to topple Hamas or at least to gut its power. Were Egypt to open its border with Gaza, hundreds of thousands of Gazans would emigrate out of the region. Hundreds of thousands more would work in the underpopulated northern Sinai. Such a situation would leave Hamas with no economic leverage over the population and consequently with much reduced military capabilities to pursue its eternal war against the Jewish state.

Unfortunately, as things stand, Egypt remains adamant in its opposition to any suggestion that it permit the Gaza Strip to merge economically – let alone politically – with the Sinai. Perhaps the US can convince Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to change his mind and integrate Gaza’s economy into Egypt’s economy. But Israel is in no position to do so.

Which brings us back to the security cabinet.

Frustrated by the harsh criticism he has received as a consequence of his feeble response to Hamas’s new round of aggression over the past seven months, and fearful of the electoral consequences of his appearance as weak and flaccid, this week Liberman said the time has come to hit Hamas hard. He reportedly offered a plan to achieve his goal Wednesday night. His colleagues reportedly rejected Liberman’s plan in favor of other options offered by the IDF.

The cabinet ministers’ reported rejection of Liberman’s plan makes sense. Because the fact is that Israel’s options in relation to Gaza are very limited.

If Israel tried to retake control over Gaza, as exasperated politicians sometimes recommend, it would never stop paying the price for the move. Even if Israel had the ground forces to undertake such an operation without leaving northern Israel vulnerable to aggression from Iran and its proxies in Lebanon and Syria, the cost of conquering Gaza in blood and treasure would be prohibitive, and in the absence of any moderate force on the ground that could eventually take over, Israel would be stuck ruling over a hateful population until it finally abandoned Gaza again and another terror group took over.

Israel’s Left, along with its protean chorus of partners in the West, insist that the only way to “solve” the situation in Gaza is to replace the Hamas regime with a regime led by the PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria. That would be the regime that Hamas ousted in a bloody and swift rout in June 2007.

There are two problems with this claim, and they point to Israel’s larger quandary with regard to the PA regime in Judea and Samaria.

The first problem is that the PA would never be able to take over because it has no power base in Gaza. If Israel or Egypt tried to install them, at best the PA officials would be nothing more than front men for Hamas.

The second problem with bringing the PA into Gaza is that there is no evidence it would be any less extreme than Hamas.

During the two years the PA controlled independent Gaza, following Israel’s abandonment of the area in August 2005, it militarized the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented way. Rocket, mortar and missile attacks against Israel became a daily event. Most of the missiles were shot by Fatah cells loyal to the PA.

In Judea and Samaria, the PA runs an autonomous regime in the Palestinian population centers. Like Hamas, the PA regime has done nothing to develop its economy. It has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars in international assistance to line the pockets of its corrupt leaders and pay off their cronies.

AS IT DID in Gaza between 1996 and 2002, the PA militarized the areas of Judea and Samaria that it controlled. Israel only demilitarized the Palestinian areas in response to the PA-directed terror war that was launched in September 2000.

The only reason Israel is not facing the same situation in Judea and Samaria as it faces in Gaza is because its military forces have controlled the areas since 2004.

Which brings us back to Wednesday night’s security cabinet meeting.

In their meeting Wednesday night, as in all their meetings regarding Gaza, the ministers had very limited options. All they can really decide is what level of military force to order the IDF to use against Hamas and what level of humanitarian aid to order the IDF to permit to enter into Gaza.

According to media reports, the cabinet decided Wednesday night to “change the rules of the game” in relation to Hamas, and particularly in relation to its riots along the border every Friday afternoon. What this means remains to be seen.

Perhaps the IDF will assert control over the security perimeter it controlled on the Gaza side of the border until the end of 2012. Israel abandoned its security perimeter, which was 300 meters wide, and permitted Gazans to farm along the border fence, (and so set the conditions for Hamas’s current border aggression) in the framework of cease-fire talks at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense – the mini-war it fought against Hamas in 2012. Such a move would certainly constitute a significant improvement over the current situation.

Perhaps Israel will carry out major air assaults that could destroy a significant number of Hamas’s missile and mortar stocks. Perhaps Israel could retaliate for Wednesday’s missile strike by destroying the homes of Hamas leaders.

Whatever it does, and whatever military moves Israel makes, the fact is that Israel cannot end the menace it faces from Hamas. It can and should weaken Hamas’s war-fighting capability and perhaps intimidate Hamas leaders into cooling their jets for a few months or a year or two. But the next round will come whenever Hamas decides to open one and Israel will be forced to respond again.

As for Judea and Samaria, Israel has no reason to be concerned about who is in charge and to what degree they are in charge in the Palestinian population centers so long as Israel retains overall security control of the area. We don’t have a dog in the fight. None of the possible successors to Mahmoud Abbas or to his kleptocratic PA are any better than he is. And none of them are significantly worse.

The main strategic takeaway from Gaza and from Judea and Samaria is that there is no solution, military or otherwise to the Palestinians’ never-ending war against the Jewish state.

All Israel can do is secure its control over what it already controls by, among other things, applying its law to Area C, and use military force to limit the Palestinians’ ability to attack its civilians and its territory.

The coming days and weeks may and should see a significant escalation in IDF offensive strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza. But no matter how successful they may or may not be, they shouldn’t be seen as anything more than a military version of mowing the lawn. And just as grass grows back, so Hamas will rebuild its strength. Israel’s challenge is not to uproot the grass, but to maintain the capability to keep it as short as possible.

Who knows? Maybe one day the Palestinians will get tired of fighting and there will be peace.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post. 

Caroline Glick


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The Terror-Reinforcing Primary - Lloyd Billingsley

by Lloyd Billingsley

Meet the anti-Trump Democrats who are friendly to terrorists.

Since the 2016 election Democrats have centered their activism around opposition to President Trump. This furious enmity may have overshadowed some Democrats’ friendliness toward Islamic terrorists, and for the Democrat running in California’s 50th district it’s a family affair.

“Palestinian-Mexican” Ammar Campa-Najjar, also billed as “Latino Arab-American,” is the grandson of Yousef al-Najjar, a leader of Black September, the Palestinian terrorist group that abducted, tortured and murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

In 1973, Israeli commandos killed Yousef al-Najjar, and the king of Morocco adopted his son Yasser al-Najjar, who lived in Egypt until 1981 when he reportedly moved to the United States. How al-Najjar fils was able to enter the USA remains something of a mystery, but in the official account he married Abigail, a Mexican-American woman, and lived in San Diego, California.

The Democrat now contending with Republican Duncan Hunter, who faces campaign finance violations, claims his father Yasser al-Najjar returned to Gaza in the 1990s to help Yasser Arafat form a government and promote “peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.” Yasser al-Najjar served as a de-facto ambassador, defending the Palestinians against charges that they misused money from the government of Norway for anti-Jewish propaganda.

Yasser al-Najjar is regarded as a “legend” among Palestinians and in 2014 his father Yousef al-Najjar received the “Grand Star of Honor” medal from PA boss Mahmoud Abbas. The Black September terrorist also has Martyr Abu Yousef Al-Najjar Hospital, named after him in Gaza.

The California Democrat failed to reveal any of this before he launched his campaign. News that Black September terrorist Yousef al-Najjar was his grandfather only emerged in February from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.  The Democrat dismissed it as a “quick take” and said that innocent civilians should never be killed, not quite the same as specifically denouncing the Munich massacre. The terrorist attack also failed to emerge in 2012 when al-Najjar worked in the reelection campaign of POTUS 44.

It was only last June that the “progressive” Democrat legally changed his name from Ammar Yasser Najjar to “Ammar Joseph Campa-Najjar.” This was all of great interest but for establishment media, it was “don’t ask don’t tell.” 

Several retired generals, friendly to Hunter, wondered if an elected Campa-Najjar would compromise U.S. operations to protect relatives. Defenders of the progressive Democrat said the charge was all about “bigotry, xenophobia and racism,” and so forth. In early October, some polls showed the Democrat within a point of Hunter.

For her part, Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema was formerly with the Green Party and made a name for herself organizing rallies against the war in Iraq. In 2003 she promoted events at Arizona State University featuring Lynn Stewart, attorney for terrorist Omar Abdel Rahman. Stewart had been charged with passing messages from Rahman to his terrorist followers.

Rep. Sinema is one of the Democrats who used the services of IT man Imran Awan, who accessed sensitive congressional computers without authorization and destroyed evidence. POTUS 44 judge Tanya Chutkan recently let Awan off with no jail time.

Sinema has equated the deaths of U.S. soldiers in combat with illegals trying to enter the United States. Republican opponent Martha McSally has charged that Sinema said “it was OK for Americans to join the Taliban to fight against us” and that this was treasonous. Sinema responded that McSally, a U.S. Air Force combat veteran, is “engaging in ridiculous attacks and smearing my campaign.” The Senate race remains close and Sinema is hardly the only terrorist-friendly politician.

Indiana Democrat Andre Carson has been a speaker at numerous Islamist conferences and Islamists have given him generous donations. CAIR proudly lists Carson on their website, along with John Kerry, Keith Ellison and many other Democrats.

Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib, who aims to the first Muslim woman in Congress, supports Rasmea Odeh, convicted of murdering two American students in a Jerusalem bomb attack. Tlaib has also supported Islamic Relief, a group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Somalia-born Minnesota state representative Ilhan Omar defended nine men who sought to join ISIS, including Abdirahman Yasin Daud, sentenced to 30 years in prison by a federal judge. Omar, of the Democrat Farmer Labor Party, is now running for Congress in Minnesota’s Fifth District.

Meanwhile, in 2012 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismissed the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack as a protest over a video. The former First Lady said “what difference, at this point, does it make” about the motive for the deaths of four Americans, including ambassador Christopher Stevens.

POTUS 44, formerly known as Barry Soetoro, who attended a “predominantly Muslim” school in Indonesia, refused to link Islam with terrorism in any way. When Muslim psychiatrist Nidal Hasan gunned down 13 Americans at Ford Hood in 2009, the president famously called it “workplace violence,” not even “gun violence.”

As November 6 approaches, voters across the nation may already have some indication how candidates friendly to terrorists would behave in Washington.

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation, recently updated, and Hollywood Party: Stalinist Adventures in the American Movie IndustryBill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield, is a collection of his journalism.


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The deal that disappeared - Eldad Beck

by Eldad Beck

Historian Kobby Barda has found a lost chapter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: After World War II, the U.S. gave Israel and Arab nations $1.5 billion to solve the Middle East refugee problem. But only Israel lived up to its end of the deal.

Palestinian refugees leaving the Galilee, November 1948
Photo: AP 

Kobby Barda couldn't believe what he was seeing. While researching the establishment of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee under the auspices of the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa, Barda found his way to the personal archive of one Isaiah Leo "Si" Kenen, a Canadian-born lawyer, journalist and philanthropist who was one of the founders of the pro-Israel lobby.

 Researcher Kobby Barda: The American aid deal rebalances the historical narrative
Tal Givoni

Among the many documents that record in detail Kenen's work in the first years of Israel's existence as a state, Barda discovered a lost chapter in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the start of the 1950s, in addition to pouring money into the Marshall Plan to rehabilitate Europe after World War II, the U.S. decided to provide money to Arab states and Israel so they could find a solution to the refugee problem created by the 1948 War of Independence.

The American aid earmarked to solve the issue of Middle East refugees was supposed to have been split evenly between Israel and the Arab states, with each side receiving $50 million to build infrastructure to absorb refugees. The money to take in the Arab refugees was handed over to the U.N. agency founded to address the issue of Palestinian refugees, and the Americans gave Arab countries another $53 million for "technical cooperation." In effect, the Arab side received double the money given to Israel, even though Israel took in more refugees, including ones from Arab nations – Jews who had been displaced by the regional upheavals. The amount Congress allocated to provide for Middle East refugees – Jewish and Arab – at the request of then-President Harry Truman was equal to $1.5 billion today.

"When I saw the documents, I was in complete shock," Barda says.

"The U.S. undertook to fund a solution to the refugee problem in the Middle East. A message Harry S. Truman sent Congress explicitly says that this is where the matter ends. It was a commitment the president made in a letter to convince Congress to vote for the aid bill. In other words, an important chapter in the history of the conflict has been lost, simply swept away by history. The people who worked on it aren't alive anymore, and there's no one who will put it back on the table. Now, when the Trump Administration is coming up with new ideas to solve the conflict and address the refugee issue, the information takes on new relevance.

"In hindsight, the Americans have already paid to have the Palestinian refugees accommodated, but they are still defined as refugees and still living in refugee camps. Israel, on the other hand, has taken in [Jewish] refugees from Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, given them citizenship, and ended the matter. In Jordan, where most of the Palestinian refugees wound up and which signed the aid deal with the U.S. – unlike Syria, which refused – there are still Palestinian refugee camps. This is the asymmetry that has been created in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and it's very important to the historical narrative and to any future attempt to reach an agreement," Barda explains.

The decision to send aid to the Middle East to solve the double refugee problem was the result of an Israeli initiative. The young Jewish state urgently needed foreign aid to confront the many challenges it was facing. One option was to appeal to the U.S., both because of its size and because of the influence of the American Jewish community. To promote the idea, Israel asked to establish a pro-Israel lobby in Washington. Then-Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Abba Eban suggested that Kenen – who served as spokesman for the Israeli delegation – to travel to Washington and work with the American authorities. The need for a congressional lobby was born out of the Israeli embassy's failed efforts to convince the State Department to provide Israel with a grant, despite the support of President Truman. Truman tried to convince his cabinet that American foreign aid laws allowed him to move up to 10% of all foreign aid grants, meaning that the money for the Middle East would be taken out of the Marshall Plan for Europe. But then-Secretary of State Dean Acheson was a vigorous opponent of the idea of the U.S. sending aid to Israel.

Thus it was decided to hand the decision over to Congress, even though there were still obstacles to its passage. Eban wanted Congress to pass an aid law specifically for Israel. Kenen, as head of the new pro-Israel lobby, thought that the best way to secure aid for Israel would be by expanding the Marshall Plan to the Middle East and make it part of the humanitarian framework to address the post-war refugee problem as a whole.

"Abba Eban wanted his law to be included in the refugee aid bill. Kenen and others, including some in Congress, told him, 'With all due respect, you're wrong.' The bills presented to Congress in 1951 included a bill to send Israel aid to take in refugees. It was the first and last time that any mechanism was established for the Jewish refugees," Barda says.

American economic interests 

"To avoid creating the impression that [the U.S.] was trying to provide aid to Israel alone, Kenen said, 'Let's attach it to the Marshall Plan, include the Arab countries, and break down the opposition in the State Department.' The U.S. State Department has objected to the establishment of Israel as well as to giving it any money. In the end, the aid bill passed, because they managed to convince the same government operatives that the lion's share of the aid was going to Arab states. Israel was only mentioned in passing, in half a sentence. Congressman Abraham Ribicoff Connecticut [who would later become a cabinet secretary under President John F. Kennedy] even argued that it was a terrible mistake to put Israel's name in the bill. The idea was to soften the State Department objection through simultaneously sending aid to Arab countries, and it became the historic basis of that same deal," Barda says.

In May 1952, Truman sent a message to Congress explaining the importance of passing a law for international aid and laying out his vision for the Middle East. Truman said that Israel and the Arab countries needed a regional approach to basic problems of economic development, which he called "vital" to easing existing tensions that were mainly the result of a satisfactory solution to the refugee problem.

Truman said that the aid he was proposing for Arab nations would allow them to produce more food and develop their water infrastructures, whereas the aid to Israel would help the young state sustain its economy in a crucial time of national development. Moreover, the president argued, aiding Arab refugees from Israel would serve three purposes: It would help their new home countries; strengthen the countries where they settled; and help Israel and the Arab countries by eliminating the refugee problem, which he said presented a "serious threat" to peace in the region.

Barda sees this as an enormous miss for Israeli foreign policy and public diplomacy.

"This information completely changes the perspective on the matter of [the Palestinians'] right of return. There are two nascent sides, both of whom a rich uncle agreed to pay so they could solve their problems about the refugees once and for all, just like what happened in the population exchanges between Greece and Turkey after World War I, and in the spirit of the action taken to rehome the German refugees in central and eastern Europe, who after World War II were returned to Germany, partly through the Marshall Plan. Both sides received hefty sums of money and were told: take compensation and let's move on," Barda says.

"Israel took in refugees from Arab countries and didn't perpetuate their status by giving them any different status [here]. Arab counties didn't do that – even though it was clear that the Americans had given them the money so they could feed the refugees, develop agriculture, provide housing and employment for them – in addition to the aid that was transferred directly to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.

"If today [U.S. President] Donald Trump really wants to make a move toward creating a mechanism of compensation for the refugees, particularly with Jordan, where most of them live, he can take into account that any additional compensation will in effect be superfluous. This story could be a very powerful card to play, as Jordan and other countries have already received money to take in refugees," Barda says.

The documents Barda found in Kenen's archive show that just before the aid plan was passed, another obstacle popped up. A congressman from South Carolina put together a coalition to block any aid to Israel. After returning from a tour of Jericho, Gaza and Jerusalem, where he witnessed the distress of the Palestinian refugees, he decided that there was no reason to send American aid to Israel. Nevertheless, his gambit failed, and the bill passed in the House of Representatives in a vote of 146:65. The decision to bundle American aid to Israel in with aid to Arab states turned out to be the right one. The aid bill passed in the Senate, as well, and became law.

An exclusive agency for the Palestinians 

Only a few days before the law passed, Deputy Secretary of State George McGhee addressed the Senate and told legislators that the regional economic plan included three parts: direct aid to Arab countries, direct aid to Israel, and helping the U.N. coordinate the matter of refugees from Arab countries.

Barda says that this is exactly the idea Kenen was pushing for in the first place.

"UNRWA was established in 1949, started operating in 1950, and in 1960 declared that its work was done. But then, under pressure from Arab countries, it was decided to extend its mandate. It's a unique organization because there is a high commission in the U.N. that deals with refugees from all over the world, and a special authority established to handle only the Palestinian issue. On the other hand, no one established any agency for Jewish refugees in Israel.

"The American aid plan rebalances the historical narrative. The U.S. undertook to pay both sides to put an end to the refugee issue. Israel also played a part in the equation. There was drama the entire time it took to get the aid approved, which was the first U.S. foreign aid to Israel. They were always trying to cut down the amount. This story doesn't exist in history books. In contemporary journalism, it is mentioned offhand. Kenen's archive opened my eyes and let me see the full picture and understand what happened and why it provides us with a lot of armor," Barda says.

Eldad Beck


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The Ideological Conversion of the Democratic Party - Alexander G. Markovsky

by Alexander G. Markovsky

It is not a stretch to equate the Democratic Party with the ideas of socialism and the principles of the Bolsheviks' Democratic Centralism.

In his January 1989 State of the Union Address, President Ronald Reagan said, “Yes, we will have our differences. But let us always remember: what unites us far outweighs whatever divides us.”

The point the president was making that we are all Americans and we all share the same ideals and aspirations: self-reliance, belief in a free-market economy, and commitment to the democratic process. The current political environment, however, is fundamentally different.

Today’s Democratic Party does not offer a different philosophy for achieving the same objectives; for years, it has had a different philosophy and different objectives entirely. The ideological paradigm of today’s Democrats is Obama’s neo-Marxist version of socialism, the driving force of which is bondage: “The hand that feeds you controls you.”

Devotion to the socialist cause has turned the Democrats in the House and Senate into what Bolshevik Leon Trotsky called “the Voting Herd,” acting much like the unthinking members of the Soviet Congress of People’s Representatives that for seventy years unanimously approved every one of the Communist Party’s programs.

Just like the Soviet Politburo, a small group of ideologically driven Democrats in leadership positions formulates the policies while the majority, possessing a limited understanding of the underlying ideology and not overburdened by convictions or moral virtues, is enmeshed in a philosophy that destroys individualism and self-reliance and fosters the blind following of leaders. There is no inner hesitation and no inner opposition. The psychopaths have turned this once respected political party of John Kennedy, Henry M. Jackson, and Mike Mansfield into a socialist cartel.

It is not a stretch to equate the Democratic Party with the ideas of socialism and the principles of the Bolsheviks’ Democratic Centralism. The core principle of Democratic Centralism is, "The decisions of higher bodies shall be absolutely binding on lower bodies and on all Party members." The Party requires uniformity of thought and action, exhibits the signs of Soviet obedience, and equates the will of the Party with the will of the people.

This ideological conversion eroded democratic values, forced the Democrats to abandon their principles, and eventually led to the moral degeneration of the party.

Unable to offer an ideologically sustainable alternative to capitalism and powerless to stop Trump’s massive onslaught on socialist programs, the Democrats have purposely been trying to worked America into a deadlock by employing potent Marxist tactics -- resistance, demagoguery and lies.

In a concerted effort to paralyze executive authority, they blatantly subvert every program on the President’s agenda and actively support a collective mania for ever more sweeping investigations of dubious claims, rumors, unsubstantiated allegations and innuendos that has descended over the President, his family, his associates, and nominees.

The intellectual concept of truth has been challenged. Falsehood confronts reason, and intimidation replaces consensus. The truth is no longer what can be proven, the truth is any insinuation that cannot be avoided. The party migrated to the Soviet playbook and completely abandoned American ethics.

The Democrats have employed political homicide and character assassination as a weapon of choice. Unsubstantiated accusations of sexual misconduct against male rivals have become a familiar feature of the American political landscape. People with a lifelong stellar record in public service have been smeared and venomously attacked for their virtues and success.

The prerequisites of being Democratic nowadays are political expediency and knavery supplemented by a congenital lack of integrity and common decency. There are hardly any thinkers or mavericks left in the party, but rather a gathering of pedestrian opportunists who, just like their Bolshevik precursors, have professed their egalitarian vision and prophetic absolutism they committed to achieve at any cost.

Having failed to find a middle ground between total victory and total defeat, the “born again” Bolsheviks, with nothing to offer beyond racism and mistreatment of women, will inevitably resolve to violence in order to preserve socialist gains. 

According to the Bible, the great battle of Good vs. Evil would take place in the plain of Armageddon. Americans must realize that this battle has been going on for a quite a while in Washington, D.C. and soon will take place around the country in this November. 

Alexander G. Markovsky is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and author of Anatomy of a Bolshevik and Liberal Bolshevism: America Did Not Defeat Communism, she Adopted It.


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Why Palestinians Do Not Have a Parliament- Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

In the absence of a parliament, the Palestinians have no address to express their grievances.

  • In the absence of a parliament, the Palestinians have no address to express their grievances. They cannot write to or phone their elected legislators to complain about anything. All they can do is resort to social media, especially Facebook, to air their views.
  • As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not tolerate criticism particularly well, he doubtless feels more comfortable delivering speeches at international forums such as the United Nations, the European Parliament and his own Fatah and PLO institutions than at the Palestinian parliament. The others are places where no one takes him to task for his tyranny.
  • In the past few years, scores of Palestinians have been harassed, arrested and interrogated by Abbas's security forces for posting critical comments on Facebook.

The Fatah Revolutionary Council, dominated by people loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has recommended that Abbas dissolve the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). This is yet another attempt by Abbas to silence his critics and prevent an open debate among Palestinians about his policies. Pictured: The PLC building in Ramallah on January 28, 2006, three days after its last election. (Photo by Zharan Hammad/Getty Images)

Parliaments, among the strongest manifestations of a democracy, represent the electorate, enact laws and oversee the government through hearings and inquiries.

Apparently, this does not apply to the Palestinians, who, as a result of the power struggle between Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, have, for the past 11 years, been without a functioning parliament.

The Palestinian Authority's unicameral legislature is the 132-member Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Both the PA and PLC were established after the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993. The first Palestinian legislative election took place in January 1996. The second, and last, election took place in January 2006; it resulted in a victory for Hamas.

In 2007, Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip and toppled the Palestinian Authority regime that was there. Since then, the Palestinian parliament has not been functioning properly, although Hamas legislators sometimes meet separately in the Gaza Strip. In the absence of a functioning parliament, Abbas has been passing laws by "presidential decree." Several Palestinians have questioned their legality and accused the Palestinian leader of violating Palestinian Basic Law.

Abbas has effectively replaced the PLC as the sole lawmaker for the Palestinians. This situation has turned him into an autocratic and totalitarian president who makes decisions without being held accountable by anyone, including members of the Palestinian parliament.

Worse, Abbas has also been using his powers to punish those members of parliament who dare to criticize him or voice opposition to his policies. In 2016, for instance, Abbas stripped five "rebellious" legislators of their parliamentary immunity: Mohammed Dahlan, Shami al-Shami, Najaf Abu Bakr, Nasser Juma'ah and Jamal Tirawi.

"Abbas's decision is in violation of the Palestinian Basic law, which calls for the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial authorities," commented Abu Bakr. "We respect the judicial system and the law. We reject any attempt to exploit the law to tamper with the judiciary."

Abbas, for his part, does not like the PLC because he knows that many of its Fatah and Hamas members are critical of him and his policies. As Abbas does not tolerate criticism particularly well, he doubtless feels more comfortable delivering speeches at international forums such as the United Nations, the European Parliament and his own Fatah and PLO institutions than at the Palestinian parliament. The others are places where no one takes him to task for his tyranny.

The PLO and Fatah institutions Abbas frequently addresses are dominated by his loyalists, many of whom are also on his payroll. Who needs a parliament when one has the PLO Executive Committee, the PLO Central Council and the Fatah Central Committee, whose members can be counted on blindly to back Abbas and his decisions? The three Palestinian bodies have, in fact, replaced the PLC as the key decision-making institutions of the Palestinians. However, the only decisions these bodies take are ones that fully support Abbas in everything he says and does.

In the absence of a parliament, the Palestinians have no address to express their grievances. They cannot write to or phone their elected legislators to complain about anything. All they can do is resort to social media, especially Facebook, to air their views. Even then, the Palestinians are not safe from the long arm of the Palestinian security forces. In the past few years, scores of Palestinians have been harassed, arrested and interrogated by Abbas's security forces for posting critical comments on Facebook.

On October 14, Abbas loyalists took yet another step that will further undermine the Palestinians' chances of ever becoming a free and democratic society that would include a functioning and vibrant parliament with an open debate. The Fatah Revolutionary Council, another significant body dominated by Abbas loyalists, recommended that the Palestinian president dissolve the PLC and prepare for general elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This recommendation, by unelected Fatah officials against elected members of the Palestinian parliament, was seen both as undemocratic on legal and parliamentary grounds, and as undermining the Palestinians' confidence in Abbas and the Palestinian leadership.

Critics of Abbas and legal experts have condemned the Fatah recommendation to dissolve the Palestinian parliament. They argue that the move is not aimed at bringing reform and democracy, but to allow Abbas and Fatah to get rid of the PLC.

Hasan Khraisheh, a deputy speaker of the PLC, said that neither Abbas nor Fatah was authorized to dissolve the parliament. "The PLC was elected by the Palestinian people, and it can't be dissolved by the Fatah Revolutionary Council, which was not elected by the people," he argued. "Dissolving the parliament means dissolving the Palestinian Authority, which also means dissolving President Abbas himself."

The latest move to dissolve the PLC is yet another attempt by Abbas to silence his critics and prevent an open debate among Palestinians about his policies. In the absence of a parliament, for example there is no debate about Abbas's policy towards his rivals in Hamas or his relations with the US and Israel. His aides claim that the decision to dissolve the PLC is aimed at preparing for long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections. However, the continued power struggle between Abbas and Hamas makes it impossible to hold free and fair elections. The rival parties do not trust each other, so it is hard to see how, under the current circumstances, when they are at each other's throats, they would ever agree to hold such elections.

For the past 11 years, because of the infighting between Hamas and Fatah and because of Abbas's continued attempt to bypass and undermine the Palestinian legislators, the Palestinian parliament has been dying . Now, the Fatah recommendation to dissolve it completely has driven the final nail into the parliament's coffin. By sidelining the PLC, Abbas and his loyalists have destroyed any dream the Palestinians ever had of having a functioning parliament.

By a stroke of fate, the Fatah move to dissolve the PLC came hours before the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, opened its winter session in Jerusalem.

All that is left, therefore, for the Palestinians to do is envy Israel, which has a vibrant parliament where lawmakers, including Arab MPs, are free to criticize and denounce Israeli government leaders and policies without fear of intimidation and retribution. For now, it seems the Palestinians will have to live with a dictatorship and autocratic leaders who are doing their utmost to deprive their people of democracy, transparency and accountability.
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Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss — Lara Alqasem’s enablers - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

To understand how Lara Alqasem became an instant celebrity for Israel-haters and an attractive victim worth saving for Israeli leftists, we need to understand a few basic truths.

SJP Alqasem
For the past two weeks, Israel-bashers have had a brand-new poster child. Her name is Lara Alqasem.

Alqasem is an American citizen registered in a masters degree program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is also a key operative in the so-called BDS or “boycott, divestment and sanctions” campaign against Israel.

Alqasem flew to Israel two weeks ago. Upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport, in accordance with Israeli law, which bars BDS activists from entering Israel, Alqasem was denied entry and immigration officials attempted to deport her.

Rather than agree to go home, Alqasem called in a battery of attorneys to appeal the decision in court. The move went from one judicial body to another, gathering the force of a massive media storm from day to day until it landed on the laps of three justices in Israel’s radical Supreme Court.

The three justices, who care more about looking good to the Left — and the New York Times — than the law, predictably ignored the law and let her in.

How did an expulsion order against a 22-year-old graduate student cause such a maelstrom? How did it come about that Alqasem was immediately defended by a battery of lawyers? Why did Israel’s leftist media outlets and the world media immediately embrace her as a heroine, and so ensure that Israel’s radical justices would pounce at the opportunity to prove their leftist credentials and let her into the country?

To understand how Lara Alqasem became an instant celebrity for Israel-haters and an attractive victim worth saving for Israeli leftists, we need to understand a few basic truths.

The Israeli government, Alqasem’s many powerful supporters, and Israel’s radical Supreme Court justices agree that Alqasem headed the BDS movement against Israel on her campus.

Until she graduated last spring, Alqasem served as the head of University of Florida’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The Israeli government and Alqasem’s lawyers and supporters (including Israel’s radical justices), differ on what that means.

The BDS movement calls for isolating the world’s largest Jewish community. It does so for two reasons. First, it seeks to build political support in the U.S. and throughout the West for the claim that Jews have no right to self-determination, and that Israel has no right to exist. And second, the BDS movement aims to turn Jews who support Israel’s existence, (that is, approximately 90 percent of world Jewry) into evil Untouchables.

The agenda and goal of the BDS movement are of course inherently bigoted against Jews. Indeed, the BDS campaign is the most active, and the most powerful, antisemitic campaign in the Western world.

So how do BDS operatives prevent their cause from being treated as an intrinsically racist enterprise?

To avoid being recognized and treated like the bigots they are, BDS operatives have adopted multiple means to shield their nature and their goals.

First, they insist that they aren’t boycotting Israel per se. They are boycotting the Israeli government and everyone who is “complicit” with it, (i.e., Jewish).

In other words, they aren’t boycotting Israel, they are boycotting all Jewish Israelis and their Jewish counterparts abroad.

Second, BDS operatives say they aren’t ostracizing Israel and Israelis per se. They are “critiquing” the Jewish state and its citizens. They aren’t trying to shun Israelis from the public square or the marketplace by calling for them to be denied the right to study or teach or present their views freely while studying or teaching. BDS operatives are merely “critiquing” them when they picket their classrooms and work to get Jews kicked out of campus life.

BDS operatives aren’t trying to bankrupt Israeli businesses when they call for universities and city councils to divest from stock in them or remove their products from store shelves and cafeterias. BDS operatives are merely “critiquing” certain policies of the Israeli government.

And BDS operatives aren’t trying to relegate Israelis and their Jewish supporters to ghettos when they intimidate other groups into rejecting cooperation with them. Again, their actions are simply garden variety “critiques” that are eminently reasonable in an open society.

The BDS movement has two areas of operation: Western nations, and Israel.

In the West, BDS operatives use mob actions and intimidation to drive Israelis and their Jewish supporters out of the public square and popularize hatred of Israel and Jews who support it.

In Israel, BDS operations focus on political theater. Operatives use Israel, as well as Israelis and Palestinians, as props and backdrops to stage productions that present Israel and Israeli Jews as evil, and the Jewish state as unworthy of existence. In the past, through the pro-BDS International Solidarity Movement, they have even collaborated with suicide bombers.

Given these modes of operations, BDS operatives like Alqasem who travel to Israel do so for two primary reasons.

First, they want to stage anti-Israel political theater. And second, they want a “went to Israel” credential for their resume. When they leave Israel, they can use their time in Israel as a means to prove that they are “credible.” After all, they know what it’s like. They were there on the ground.

That brings us to Alqasem’s seemingly odd preference for voluntary incarceration at the airport and an international outcry against Israel over a plane ride home — where she would have been free to follow her legal proceedings from her couch, and fly back to Israel at her leisure if she won.

Last year, Israel’s Knesset amended Israel’s immigration law to bar BDS operatives from entering Israel. Given the goal of BDS operations in Israel, the amendment is reasonable. Since the purpose of BDS operations in Israel is to film theatrics whose goal is to demonize Israel, the best way for Israel to undermine the campaign is to bar BDS operatives from entering the country.

Alqasem’s behavior ahead of her trip and since her arrival have made clear that this is the precise purpose of her trip. Before purchasing her plane tickets, Alqasem carefully deleted her social media accounts to make it hard for Israeli immigration authorities to discover her vast record of BDS operations while a student.

When she was apprehended upon entry, Alqasem proceeded to act out her drama. Her demand to be detained rather than fly home, the immediate appearance of her attorneys, and the help from her army of leftist supporters indicate that she and her comrades planned for the possibility that she would be detained pending deportation, and prepared a plan for exploiting it relying on Israel’s leftist media, the international media that are always happy to print a negative story about Israel, and Israel’s radical Supreme Court.

Indeed, now that Alqasem’s appeal of her expulsion order has been accepted by Israel’s Supreme court, it is clear that the main characters in this tale were her many enablers, who quickly and ardently fell for her blatant publicity stunt.

Alqasem’s defenders, failing to recognize that she is a seasoned BDS operative who is using her trip to Israel as a way to advance her hatred for Jews, embrace the lie that the campaign’s bigoted goals and operations are mere “critiques,” and accuse Israel of seeking to squelch dissident opinions.

It isn’t surprising that American Jewish leftists and their Israeli counterparts support Alqasem’s anti-Jewish theater stunt. Doing so advances their personal and group interests even as Alqasem’s actions and aims constitute a formidable threat to their rights and freedoms as Jews. Pretending this is just an argument about freedom of expression enables them to prove their continued value in a movement and a Democratic party that are rapidly abandoning their traditional support for Israel and advancing outspoken Jew haters like Linda Sarsour and Louis Farrakhan.

Criticizing Israel also allows more moderate American Jews to remain Democrats and leftists without feeling guilty. If Israel is to blame, then they don’t need to worry about standing shoulder-to-shoulder with partisan colleagues who burned Israeli flags outside the Democratic National Convention in 2016 and who booed the mention of Jerusalem during the 2012 convention.

The Israeli left, for its part, needs to support antisemites like Alqasem and her racist BDS movement to stay relevant in a country where its numbers are depleted. According to a Pew opinion survey from January 2018, a mere 8 percent of Israeli Jews define themselves as leftists. Israeli leftists have no chance of achieving political power through the ballot box unless they give up their mindless endorsement of every anti-Israel initiative, something they are not ready to do.

Under the circumstances, the easiest way for Israeli leftists to influence government policy is by serving as Israeli faces for the international Left in its efforts to demonize Israel. Among other things, Israeli leftists act as agents for the international left from their positions as lawyers for radical lawfare NGOs funded by the European Union and the radical Jewish Left in the U.S.

Had Alqasem’s appeal been backed only by leftist Jews in the U.S. and leftist Israelis, it is possible that the justices wouldn’t have dared to deny the government’s ability to enforce Israel’s law barring BDS operatives from entering the country.

But her supporters weren’t limited to the Left.

Self-proclaimed  “unhinged Zionists,” former conservatives and current neo-progressives Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss from the New York Times joined Alqasem’s BDS comrades and enablers in bashing Israel for trying to deport her.

In a joint column published last week attacking Israel for its efforts to enforce its immigration law, like their leftist counterparts (and bosses), Stephens and Weiss chose to ignore the inherent antisemitism of the BDS movement and Alqasem’s role in propagating and advancing Jew-hatred. Instead, like the others, they whitewashed her racism and transparent provocation.

Stephens and Weiss are popular targets for leftist enforcers, as onetime conservatives who left their political and ideological camp to take positions at the unabashedly leftist Timeseditorial page.

In their joint article, Stephens and Weiss regurgitate the Left’s pro-Alqasem’s talking points. Like their new friends, they insist that by barring Alqasem, Israel is undermining its liberal values and alienating its American supporters.

After allowing that the BDS campaign is “a thinly veiled form of bigotry,” Stephens and Weiss then set this key fact aside. They then insisted, irrationally, that BDS is merely a “political view” that any liberal society must import without restriction.

In their words: “Liberal societies thrive not by expelling critics but by tolerating and even assimilating them — and therefore defanging them.”

Again, the truth is the opposite. And Stephens and Weiss know it. Lara Alqasem is a bigoted activist seeking to utilize a trip to Israel for hate propaganda. She isn’t interested in having a debate or “critiquing” Israel.

Western democracies that Stephens and Weiss have never criticized have proudly blocked entry of foreigners for far less than that. The United Kingdom, for instance, publicly denies entry to scholars and activists who oppose totalitarian political Islam and warn of the dangers it poses to Britain and the West.

Like their leftist colleagues, Stephens and Weiss abandoned reason and embraced the BDS subterfuge to advance their own fortunes, while knowing full well that they were also empowering the most powerful antisemitic force in America. Perhaps, now that they’ve thrown Israel under the bus, they will be forgiven for the handful of articles they have written attacking the Left’s bigotry and mob mentality since joining the Times.

The impact of their column was profound. The Jerusalem Post, where Stephens served as editor 14 years ago, published an editorial pointing to his criticism as cause to permit Alqasem to enter. Multiple other Israeli media organs reached the similarly demoralized conclusion that the Stephens-Weiss column meant Israel had lost the support of pro-Israel American Jews.

In short, then, the Stephens-Weiss column effectively mainstreamed their whitewashing of the most powerful antisemitic force in the Western world.  It certainly empowered the Israeli Supreme Court to ignore the law and let Alqasem in.

Israel’s big mistake was letting Alqasem land at the airport. It tried to correct its mistake when authorities apprehended Alqasem at the border. But as events show, it was too late. As should have been predicted, as soon as she landed at the airport, Alqasem immediately began carrying out her propaganda stunt. In doing so, she demonstrated how important it is for Israeli authorities to properly enforce the entry ban on BDS operatives.

But the incompetence of Israeli immigration officials aside, they aren’t they real culprits in the Alqasem affair.

The culprits in this sordid story are Alqasem and her comrades in her racist movement — as well as their self-serving enablers on the Israeli Left; the American Jewish Left; and, perhaps most critically, Stephens and Weiss.

All of them viewed joining the BDS pile-on over Alqasem as a way to buy credibility — at Israel’s expense.

Media pundits are always quick to proclaim that they are not responsible for anything that happens subsequent to their writing. “We aren’t the decision-makers,” they bleat, as if they are convinced that all of their harping is utterly inconsequential.

These protestations are absurd, however. Pundits chose their profession to influence policymakers and the public. If they didn’t recognize their importance, they would have chosen a different profession. The Stephens-Weiss column was decisive in this absurd anti-Israel propaganda play.

Now that Israel’s Supreme Court has permitted Alqasem to spend a year in Israel, given what we know about the BDS campaign, and what we have observed about her over the past two weeks, we can be certain she will use her time, and her newfound celebrity to harm Israel far more.

She and the bigoted BDS movement she serves have her many enablers — including, and perhaps especially, “unhinged Zionists” Stephens and Weiss — to thank for the opportunity.

Originally published at 

Caroline Glick


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