Friday, December 7, 2018

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah showed his true colors - Oded Granot

by Oded Granot

Nasrallah claims to be Lebanon's ‎‎"defender" but he has no qualms about sacrificing Lebanon's interests to please Iran

Over two days have passed since Israel exposed ‎Hezbollah's terror tunnels under the Israel-Lebanon ‎border, and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, as ‎well as the Shiite terrorist group's other top ‎officials, have all remained mum. ‎

Following a string of stammered statements in Hezbollah-‎affiliated media, mostly speculating that Operation ‎Northern Shield seeks to distract Israelis from Prime ‎Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's legal troubles, it ‎fell to Nabih Berri, Lebanon's parliament speaker, ‎to assert that "there are no tunnels. If anyone says ‎there are, let them show me where."‎

The lack of any real reaction from Hezbollah, which ‎is very uncharacteristic, is a direct result of the ‎shock crippling it over the Israeli operation.‎ This shock is understandable. Hezbollah's tunneling ‎project was one of Nasrallah's top secret schemes ‎and only a handful of his confidants within the ‎organization knew about it. ‎

Hezbollah's confidence that it was operating under ‎Israel's radar was so ironclad that the project ‎continued even when reports surfaced that the IDF ‎was looking into complaints by the residents of the ‎border-adjacent communities about strange digging ‎noises near the border. ‎

And then, out of the blue, this expansive – and ‎expensive – project collapsed right before ‎Nasrallah's eyes. One tunnel is fully exposed to the ‎world, another's location has been revealed and before you ‎know it, the IDF announces it has information about ‎the entire grid. This means that this was not a random ‎discovery but one based on highly accurate ‎intelligence, meaning that Hezbollah has been ‎significantly compromised. ‎

It should be said that the discovery of Hezbollah's ‎cross-border terror tunnels, significant as it may ‎be, does little to change the fundamental balance of ‎power between Israel and the Shiite terrorist group. ‎

Nasrallah is a bitter enemy and Hezbollah is a mini-‎army of highly motivated terrorists, who are skilled ‎in battle and are armed with 150,000 missiles that ‎threaten Israel nationwide. ‎

We must also remember that Hezbollah would be ‎willing to contain Operation Northern Shield as long ‎as it takes place on the Israeli side of the border. ‎Should the IDF deem it necessary to cross into ‎Lebanese territory Hezbollah will retaliate, even ‎though its tunnels' infringement on Israeli ‎sovereignty is just as grave, if not graver, than a ‎potential IDF infringement on Lebanon's sovereignty.‎ Moreover, if Israel decides to target Hezbollah's ‎missile-production facilities in Beirut, harsh ‎retaliation by the group is all but guaranteed. ‎

Meanwhile, both parties are waging a psychological ‎war, but this time, Israel has the upper hand in ‎terms of public diplomacy.‎

This goes beyond the clear-cut evidence that ‎Hezbollah's tunnel enterprise blatantly violates ‎U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 and Israeli ‎sovereignty, as here, a picture is worth far more ‎than a thousand words: Hezbollah's TV channel Al ‎Manar airs daily propaganda videos showing the ‎group's "fearless fighters" training for battle with ‎Israel, but now, an IDF video showing Hezbollah ‎operatives flee in panic from the exposed tunnel has ‎gone viral, dealing morale a well-aimed blow. ‎

Exposing the tunnels also exposed Nasrallah's true ‎colors as one who, while professing to be Lebanon's ‎‎"defender," actually has no qualms about sacrificing ‎its interests to please his Iranian patrons. ‎

On Wednesday, commentator Ahmed Ayyash wrote in An-‎Nahar daily that Hezbollah was dragging Lebanon down ‎the tunnels with it, warning that Beirut will not be ‎immune to the consequences of Nasrallah's ‎ ‎recklessness.‎

Oded Granot


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Justin Trudeau’s Canada Embraces a World Without Borders - Salim Mansur

by Salim Mansur

Canada’s agreement to sign the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration next week will have serious consequences for Americans on the other side of the world’s longest open border.

The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to sign the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration at an intergovernmental meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, on December 10, 2018.

Few Canadians are aware of what this UN Global Compact represents; even fewer have been consulted, and without any mandate except for a parliamentary majority, Justin Trudeau is committed in signing Canada into an agreement with far-reaching consequences -- not only for Canadians. Canada agreeing to abide by the agreement will also have consequences for Americans, as among migrants entering Canada might well be those intending to sneak into the United States across the world’s longest open border.

The UN Global Compact spells out, in 34 pages of fine print, requirements for member-states to adopt as policy accommodating unfettered mass migration from the global South to the North.

Human migration is as old as human history. But in modern times, especially in the period following the end of the Second World War, resulting in massive dislocation of the European population, settlement of migrants was arranged and conducted by national governments with support of their citizens. The Global Compact, instead, is a UN top-down arrangement to deal with the migration problem turned into the most disruptive global crisis in recent years. This time, the crisis is the result of the massive failure of UN-engineered policies of socio-economic development of post-colonial societies in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.

What we have witnessed since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the end of the Cold War in 1992, is a spike in wars, genocide, failed states, and terrorism. These have cumulatively resulted in mass migration as an escape from the collective failure of people in those countries to build and administer an orderly society, despite trillions of aid dollars provided by countries of the North, directly or through the UN agencies.

And despite this record of the failure of UN-driven development policies, the UN remains insistent on demanding more of the same in its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Global Compact is a critical part of this agenda, based on the notion that “Migration contributes to positive development outcomes.”

There is little or no evidence of migration from the global South providing for positive development in the developing countries of that global South. Instead, the Global Compact turns migration into a human rights issue and confers “rights” on migrants that are the same as those of the citizens of the host countries, “rights” those governments are obliged to “respect, protect and fulfil.”

Any relationship at a minimum has two parties involved. The Global Compact claims for itself “a 360-degree vision of international migration…to optimize benefits of migration.” But it focuses entirely on the needs and rights of one party, the migrants, without taking into account the rights of the people of host countries, given the mounting evidence of how costly, unsettling and disruptive the “invasion” of migrants from the global South to the North has been.

The so-called Arab Spring of 2011, heralding demands for democracy and overthrow of repressive authoritarian governments, very rapidly turned into Arab nightmare. Civil wars in Libya and Syria, with poorly planned interventions by the UN, became uncontainable and spread anarchy. As central authorities collapsed, internal movements of people turned into a mass migration from the Middle East and North Africa, and joined by people from Central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa as economic migrants, headed for Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s invitation in 2015 to Syrian migrants was a detonator of what has now become the migration crisis from the global South to Europe and North America. 

The current wave of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa might only be the harbinger of an approaching tide gathering force to head north in the near future. It is expected that the African population will double to 2.5 billion by 2050. Africa will remain the poorest continent, and this doubling of population will make it the most crowded continent with a military age cohort of young men ready to march. The trajectory of African migration can only be in one direction: due north.

The answer to this ballooning migration crisis came from Angela Merkel in Berlin in the week when the world marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. In speaking to an audience of German parliamentarians and foreign guests, Merkel said, “In this day nation-states must today – should today, I say – be ready to give up sovereignty.”

And to whom, we may ask? 

Since nation-states are obsolete in Merkel’s view, they should fold up and make way for a world without borders administered by multinational organizations under the authority of the UN. But, ironically, Merkel’s advice is primarily directed to the long-standing old and stable nation-states of Europe and North America, and not to the newly established post-colonial states of the global South, such as China, India or South Africa.

The Global Compact that Justin Trudeau has already committed to sign is one among the many agreements the UN has been pushing in the making of a borderless world, including also the Paris Agreement for climate change and R2P or “Responsibility to Protect.”

The UN needs advanced democracies of the North to become signatories and help finance UN-prepared agreements and treaties as international laws, regardless of the customs and legal traditions of these long existing independent sovereign nation-states.

There are, however, a number of developed countries – Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Slovakia, the United States – that have indicated they will not sign the Global Compact in Morocco.

The Global Compact is also Shariah-compliant, since the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the largest bloc of member-states in the UN. And OIC partnership with the EU in the UN makes for a formidable Red-Green alliance in European and North American politics of the traditional Left joining hands with the Shariah-promoting Islamic organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

In accordance with the OIC demand at the UN, the European Human Rights Court has ruled any criticism or insult of Islam and its prophet is not protected free speech, and it might be penalized under “hate speech” provisions of criminal codes.

Similarly, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal parliamentary majority in 2017 adopted motion M-103, which condemns any critical discussion of Islam and Muslims as “Islamophobia,” and under the “hate speech” provision of the human rights commissions in Canada might be subject to prosecution.

Moreover, the Global Compact requires, in terms of UN-speak a controlled media that abides by the UN norms and censors any critical discussion of UN policies relating to migrants as not “ethical.”

The recently announced hand-out of $600 million to the Canadian media over 5 years by Justin Trudeau is in keeping with with the Global Compact’s requirement for a docile media trained in UN-speak to enable the making of a UN-envisioned borderless global order.

Justin Trudeau’s readiness to sign the Global Compact comes as no surprise, since in his publicly stated view, Canada is a post-nationalist state with no core identity. Hence, in Trudeau’s version of Canada, there is no tradition to revere, no sacred values to defend, and no identity or history worth preserving.

Justin Trudeau is the poster face of the UN-envisioned borderless world. And into this UN-designed global order for the 21st century Trudeau-led “Canada without borders” is headed.
Graphic credit: United Nations

Salim Mansur teaches at Western University, London, Canada and is the author of The Qur’an Problem and Islamism (2017).


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Why the Press Pays Less Attention to the Murder of Journalists Not Named Khashoggi - Peter Baum

by Peter Baum

The ongoing story of Khashoggi's murder -- was less important to Western journalists than attacking the Trump administration.

  • Ironically, the same members of the media who have been obsessed with Khashoggi and the Saudi-US alliance have devoted little space to the reality that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has been imprisoning, torturing and killing journalists for years.
  • The ongoing story of Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, more than being a function of concern for the Saudi journalist, was less important to Western journalists than attacking the Trump administration.

Raed Fares, who was among the most prominent critics of Syrian President Bashar Assad's brutal regime, was assassinated on November 23, 2018. (Image source: Oslo Freedom Forum/Reka Nyari/Wikimedia Commons)

While the October 2 murder of the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, continues to be discussed across the world, the November 23 assassination of a Syrian journalist, Raed Fares, and his devoted friend and cameraman, Hammoud al-Jneid, gunned down in Fares's home village of Kafrandel, Syria.

This neglect is noteworthy: Fares was among the most prominent critics of Syrian President Bashar Assad's brutal regime. According to CBS News:
In 2013, Fares posted a satirical YouTube video depicting cave men repeatedly killed by the men representing the Syrian government as men wearing American and European Union flags idly sit by. "This is how the international community reacted to the genocide committed by Assad against the Syrian people," Fares wrote.
Fares was also a key voice in the "Arab Spring," and he daily challenged Assad as well as terrorist organizations operating in Syria, such as the Iranian proxy, Hezbollah. According to The New Yorker:
Three years before his assassination, to the day, Fares posted a photo on Facebook of a protest banner lampooning the fact that other countries were fighting proxy wars in Syria: "BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL OFFER, WHOEVER WHEREVER YOU ARE, BRING YOUR ENEMY AND COME FIGHT IN SYRIA FOR FREE (FREE LAND & SKY) LIMITED TIME OFFER."
"In the absence of peaceful, democratic political voices," Fares noted in an op-ed for The Washington Post, "terrorists have been able to convince Syria's vulnerable youth that violence and destruction can somehow pave the way to stability." One can view his talk to the Oslo Freedom Forum here. In an interview with NPR, Fares said:
"... Jabhat al-Nusra tried to bomb my car. And I was in it, but I survived. And December, 2014, Jabhat al-Nusra, they kidnapped me from their checkpoint, and three days in their jail. They hanged me to the ceiling for six hours. But an activist in Istanbul, he came and talked to them and convinced them to release me. And earlier this year, they attacked my Radio Fresh station and attacked the Women's Center, which belongs to us."
In 2013, Fares established Radio Fresh, where he bravely broadcast support for the Syrian civilian population, without regard to their religious affinities. In 2014, he escaped being murdered at the hands of ISIS.

From that time on, he was targeted by both the Assad regime and the Islamist militias whom he constantly criticized and satirized for their human-rights abuses and totalitarianism.

The US State Department, the British Foreign Office and Syrian human-rights groups all expressed their horror and sadness at Fares', murder, which took place during a cease-fire.

Although many mainstream media outlets have reported on the murder, their coverage of it is so far less than that of Khashoggi, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

What is the difference between the two cases, each of which involved the targeted killing of an Arab journalist with Arab state involvement?

One probable reason is that Khashoggi not only wrote for the Washington Post, but was allegedly killed at the behest -- or at least knowledge -- of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States. The ongoing story of Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, more than being a function of concern for the Saudi journalist, was yet another opportunity to bash the Trump administration.

Ironically, the same members of the media who have been obsessed with Khashoggi and the Saudi-US alliance have devoted little space to the reality that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has been imprisoning, torturing and killing journalists for years.

The mainstream media have also not devoted much attention to the October 2017 car-bombing that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese journalist who led the "Panama Papers" corruption investigation into her government -- a member state of the European Union.

How come the murders of Fares, al-Jneid and Galizia did not merit as much media attention as that of Khashoggi? Evidently, calling countries such as Malta and Syria to task appears to be less important to Western journalists than attacking the Trump administration.

Peter Baum, Vice Chair at New Fair reporting, is based in Great Britain.


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France is a partner in shame - Dror Eydar

by Dror Eydar

It's time the French government was honest about the purpose of its human rights award – to praise groups that work against Israel and for whom "human rights" apply to everyone except the Jews.

On Dec. 10, two Palestinian organizations – one openly declared, the other of which uses Israeli cover – will receive the Human Rights Award from the French government. The two groups deserve each other, and they both fight against Israel and the Jews' return to their homeland. They both talk about morality, but their activities promote the opposite. They both work in response to international pressure on the Jewish state, which urges us to agree to their suicidal peace plans. One organization is B'Tselem, whose director Hagai El-Ad travels the world, slandering Israel and inviting the nations of the world to intervene and call to order these Jews who for some reason insist on defending themselves and holding on to their historic lands in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

This isn't the first time that the activity of El-Ad and his organization creates the impression that for them, human rights include everyone except the Jews. In the imaginary Palestine, which sees to celebrate the destruction of Israel, heaven forbid, El-Ad would be an honored citizen.

The other organization being awarded the sketchy honor is Al-Haq, which hates Israel and the Jews and uses every platform to support the BDS movement and boycott of Israel, meaning wiping it off the map. In February 2016, the group declared it "the right of every individual to take part in and support BDS activity." Their call decreed that the European Union's steps to label products made in Israeli settlements was insufficient, and they are demanding a total boycott of Israeli goods. For them, all of Israel is a "settlement" that must be uprooted from the Middle East, under the guise of "protecting human rights."

Al-Haq encourages the world to fight Israel in the courts, over "war crimes and crimes against humanity" – a reference to our war against terrorism. The organization has suggested attacking the Israeli legal system by "flooding the Supreme Court with petitions in the hope of overwhelming its workload and resources." Last July, the head of the organization declared that convicted terrorists had a "right" to receive a salary from the Palestinian Authority.

This is how the organization described the events leading up to Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014: "On June 12, 2014, three settler boys disappeared near the city of Hebron in the West Bank; the three were later found dead." What do you think? "Disappeared" and "were found dead" – it happens, doesn't it? Like I said, this kind of "human rights" does not include the Jews' right to life.

Wait for the cherry on the cake: The director of Al-Haq, Shawan Jabareen, is a well-known lover of Israel. In June 2007, the Israeli Supreme Court described him as follows: "The petitioner [Jabareen] apparently operates as a kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; he spends some of his working time as executive director of a rights group, and the rest as an operative in a terrorist organization [the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] that does not hesitate to commit murder and attempted murder, and has nothing to do with rights, and actually rejects the most basic right of all, the most fundamental right, without which there are no others – the right to life." These are B'Tselem's friends. It's no coincidence.

Irish Senator Frances Black was quick to congratulate the recipients of the French prize, saying their activity helped her bring a bill to boycott products from Israeli settlements, which she called a "war crime," to a final vote. Birds of a feather.

And now for those who are conferring the honor. It's very doubtful that French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet truly knows to whom she will be awarding the prize. This is not the first time the French government has taken part in such an immoral disgrace. A perverted relationship has been created there that gives prizes to haters of Israel that support terrorism and who use the term "human rights" in vain.

In 2012, the French government gave the prize to none other than the Alternative Information Center for "its work in exposing Israel's lack of culpability in the occupied Palestinian territories." This is an even more extremist organization than B'Tselem (it's hard to compete with them, but they manage it) that supports the Palestinian demand to return to Israel, as well as BDS, of course, and accuses us of genocide and a bunch of other crimes. It's heartening to know that the head of the organization, Michel Warschawski, an anti-Zionist Marxist, was tried and imprisoned in the 1990s for aiding the PFLP.

Here's a suggestion for the government of France – let's drop the pretense and call the prize by an appropriate name: the prize for the rights of those who oppose (sometimes with fire and bloodshed) the Jews' return to Zion.

Dror Eydar


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France honors anti-Israel watchdog groups, sparks backlash - Eldad Beck and Israel Hayom Staff

by Eldad Beck and Israel Hayom Staff

Human Rights Prize awarded to contested Israeli organization B'Tselem and Palestinian group Al-Haq, which advocates boycott of Israel in the international arena

France decided to award its prestigious Human Rights Prize for 2018 to the controversial Israeli watchdog group B'Tselem and to Palestinian group Al-Haq, which supports total boycott and isolation of Israel internationally, drawing broad condemnation and outrage.

Several members of Al-Haq are reportedly linked to the Palestinian terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. B'Tselem, meanwhile, states that its goal is document Israeli misdeeds and crimes against Palestinians and expose these globally. Many in Israel accuse the group of being anti-Israel and fabricating claims.

The prize will be awarded in Paris on Dec. 10 by French Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet and head of France's National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, Christine Lazerges. The ceremony is timed to coincide with International Human Rights Day.

French parliament member Meir Habib criticized the decision.

"I am once again astonished at France's obsession with what it defines as the 'occupation.' We French are once again opting to see a perverted version of reality. How is it possible to give a 'human rights' prize to organizations that treat terrorists like freedom fighters?" Habib said.

"Why is there no reference to the human rights of Israelis, who suffer from unceasing terrorism? This prize pushes peace further off and is a mark of Cain on the forehead of the French Republic," Habib said.

Israel's Culture Minister Miri Regev remarked that "This is not a prize; it's a mark of Cain and it officially characterizes B'Tselem's activity as anti-Israeli."

In a statement published Wednesday, B'Tselem said that this year's prize was being "awarded to organizations that are being harassed or pressured for defending and promoting human rights."

"We at B'Tselem and Al-Haq share the same values and the same realization: that only by ending the occupation can there be a future based on human rights, equality, and liberty," the statement said.

Eldad Beck and Israel Hayom Staff


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Temple U hides behind Constitution to defend anti-Semitic Marc Lamont Hill - Lynne Lechter and Robert Sklaroff

by Lynne Lechter and Robert Sklaroff

How did we arrive at this ugly situation?

Days ago, Marc Lamont Hill, a CNN TV commentator and rock star celebrity professor at Temple University, called for the total destruction of Israel during an address he delivered to the United Nations. In solidarity with Palestinians, he exclaimed that Palestinians should be "free from the river to the sea." This is not a covert dog whistle or code. Rather, it is an overt exhortation to annihilate Israel, as Israel exists from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. 

His words were ugly and chilling. More chilling was Hill's confidence that such violent hate speech could be spewed openly and fearlessly before a global audience, unaware or uncaring of subsequent retaliation. Thomas Lifson first alerted us to this incident on November 30. 

CNN, without explanation, immediately terminated Hill's contract. Temple University did not. Instead, the university trotted out the hackneyed coward's defense that while it does not share Hill's views, it supports his constitutional free speech right to say whatever he pleases.

Some opponents, desiring Hill's tenure at Temple ended, raised the issue of hate speech. Hill's remarks were surely hate speech, but hate speech alone is not unconstitutional. The legal exceptions to the right of free speech that accurately apply are fighting words, true threat, defamation (libel and slander), and incitement to imminent lawless action. Hill's words, dramatically presented at a "Free Palestine Day," clearly exemplified all of these exceptions.

How did we arrive at this ugly situation? Anti-Jewish sentiment, a historical hatred in large parts of the globe, was mostly muted in the United States. After the 1948 creation of the State of Israel (the only Jewish country in the world), Arab countries lost their military war against the fledgling state. Subsequently, they waged a propaganda battle, falsely comparing Israel to Apartheid South Africa in the former's treatment of Palestinians living within its borders. The American left embraced the fallacy and facilitated its success. From this malevolent platform, Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction of Israel, commonly known as BDS, was launched in Ramallah around 2005. Its stated goal is to isolate and pressure Israel; its unpublicized goal is Israel's destruction.

Fueled with Arab petrodollars, Middle East studies departments were established in colleges and universities throughout the United States. BDS student organizations followed. Aligned with the plethora of progressive professors on campus, the debate inexorably became one-sided. Today, Jewish students fight for positions on student organizations, for letters of recommendation, and for bringing conservative speakers on campus who support their views.

More incredibly, lists have sprung up advising Jewish kids which United States colleges to avoid. 

After more than a decade of this relentless anti-Jewish and anti-Israel trope, the false beliefs have spread from the campus to the MSM and a growing number of elected Democrats. Moreover, many in the black community who have converted to Islam share these views.

Temple University, geographically and demographically, is at the intersection of the conflict. As opposing rallies supporting and denouncing Hill are planned, Temple University has a choice. It can continue to cower behind its false assertion of constitutionality, or it can assert the law, suspend Hill, and fight it out in federal court.

If this vile and dangerous speech is not confronted and deemed socially unacceptable, it will further spread and coarsen.

CNN is to be applauded for its swift, courageous, and unexpected action.

Lynne Lechter and Robert Sklaroff


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Palestinians: No Difference Between Hamas and Fatah - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Has Abbas discovered that he was mistaken about Hamas all these years and that its leaders, Ismail Haniyeh, Mahmoud Zahar and Yeyha Sinwar are actually his good buddies?

  • It is supposedly fine for Mahmoud Abbas and his officials to condemn Hamas on a daily basis. It is supposedly not fine, however, for the US administration to condemn Hamas for its terrorist attacks against Israel.
  • "The proposed [unseen] US resolution is harmful to the Palestinians' right of resistance." — Emad Omar, Palestinian political analyst.
  • This is obviously a short-lived honeymoon that will end the day after the UN General Assembly vote on the anti-Hamas resolution. The morning after the vote, Abbas will wake up to the realization that Hamas was a strange bedfellow indeed.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's hatred of Hamas is far from secret. But Abbas is now defending Hamas because he despises the Trump administration, which has sponsored a UN draft resolution that condemns Hamas. Pictured: Abbas (right) meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on May 30, 2007 in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Abu Askar/PPO via Getty Images)

Has Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas changed his position toward his rivals in Hamas? This is the question that some Palestinians have been asking in the wake of Abbas's opposition to a US-sponsored draft resolution that asks the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Hamas for repeatedly firing rockets at Israel and instigating violence.

Abbas's hatred of Hamas is far from secret. For years – and until today – Abbas has used every available platform to launch scathing attacks on Hamas.

He accused Hamas of foiling Arab efforts to end the dispute with his ruling Fatah faction.
He accused Hamas of masterminding a series of explosions targeting the homes of some of his senior Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip.

He accused Hamas of staging a coup in 2007 against his Palestinian Authority (PA) in the Gaza Strip and seeking to establish a separate Palestinian there.

He accused Hamas of standing behind the botched assassination attempt on his prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, in the Gaza Strip earlier this year. He even made a metaphoric remark that, "shoes will be pouring on the heads of Hamas leaders."

In his last speech at the UN General Assembly, Abbas repeated his charges against Hamas and threatened to impose new punitive measures against the Gaza Strip unless Hamas allows his government to assume full control over the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

In the past few days, however, the rhetoric of Abbas and his senior officials in Ramallah toward Hamas has made a 180 degree turn. What is behind this sudden change? Has Abbas discovered that he was mistaken about Hamas all these years and that its leaders, Ismail Haniyeh, Mahmoud Zahar and Yeyha Sinwar are actually his good buddies?

The US-sponsored UN draft resolution condemning Hamas seems to have brought Hamas and Fatah closer to each other. Just last week, it seemed that Egyptian efforts to end the Hamas-Fatah rivalry had once again belly-flopped.

The Palestinian Authority and Fatah are strongly opposed to all the policies of the US administration. They have already rejected US President Donald Trump's yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East, widely known as the "deal of the century." They have rejected Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. They have rejected and condemned Trump's transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They have rejected and condemned Trump's decision to cut financial aid to the PA and UNRWA.

Now, in line with their refusal to accept anything that emerges from the Trump administration, the Palestinian Authority and Fatah have also found themselves in the awkward position of needing to reject and denounce the US initiative to condemn Hamas for firing rockets at Israel.

It is supposedly fine for Abbas and his officials to condemn Hamas on a daily basis. It is supposedly not fine, however, for the US administration to condemn Hamas for its terrorist attacks against Israel. This is the logic of the Palestinian Authority, which has also been imposing financial and economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip in the past year. The sanctions include, among other things, the suspension of salaries to thousands of civil servants, cutting financial aid to needy families in the Gaza Strip, and refusing to pay for fuel and electricity supplied by Israel to the residents living under Hamas.

Abbas and Hamas have been working separately to thwart the US draft resolution at the UN General Assembly. Abbas has instructed his envoy to the UN to make an effort to foil the anti-Hamas resolution, while Hamas leaders have been urging Arab and Muslim leaders and governments to help thwart the US initiative.

"Despite all our differences with Hamas, we are categorically opposed to the American and Israeli attempt to label Hamas a terrorist group," explained Osama Qawassmeh, a senior Fatah official. We will fight to thwart the US resolution."

Another senior Fatah official, Abbas Zaki, was even more adamant in his defense of Hamas. "Hamas belongs to us and we belong to Hamas," he said. "If Hamas, which is practicing resistance, is considered a terrorist organization, this would mean that all Palestinians are practicing terrorism. Hamas, like all Palestinian factions, is a national liberation movement."

Abbas and Fatah are defending Hamas not out of love for Hamas, but because they despise the Trump administration to the extent that they are willing to go to bat for their arch-rivals in Hamas. Judging from the statements of some of Abbas's top officials, it is nevertheless clear that they fear that a condemnation of Hamas would pave the way for similar moves against other Palestinian factions, including the Palestinian president's own Fatah.

As Palestinian political analyst Emad Omar put it, "The proposed US resolution is harmful to the Palestinians' right of resistance. As president of the Palestinians, Abbas is forced to defend Hamas and any other Palestinian faction."

Hamas, for its part, has expressed gratitude to Abbas and Fatah for their strong opposition to the US-sponsored draft resolution.

Does all this mean that Fatah and Hamas have agreed to patch up their differences and open a new page in their relations? The answer, of course, is no. This is obviously a short-lived honeymoon that will end the day after the UN General Assembly vote on the anti-Hamas resolution. Abbas wants to score points on the Palestinian street by showing that he is capable of challenging the US administration at the UN. For now, Abbas is prepared to swallow the bitter pill of defending Hamas. The morning after the vote, Abbas will wake up to the realization that Hamas was a strange bedfellow indeed.
  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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Sweden's Ugly Ultraliberalism and the Jews - Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

The deep presence of anti-Semitism in Sweden reveals that the country’s image as a near perfect liberal democracy is false.

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,026, December 4, 2018

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: For anyone curious to see just how ugly ultraliberalism can get, Sweden is the ideal case study. The deep presence of anti-Semitism in Sweden reveals that the country’s image as a near perfect liberal democracy is false.  So serious is the problem that the country is in dire need of a national anti-Semitism commissioner who can point out the threats coming from neo-Nazis and Muslims, the flaws of the police and the justice system, and other failures of the authorities to deal with anti-Semitism. But Sweden’s purported love of free speech is unlikely to extend so far as to give a mouthpiece to such a person.

In this century, only one Jewish community in all of western Europe has decided to dissolve itself because of nonstop threats from neo-Nazis: the community in the town of Umea, in northeastern Sweden. Jews in Sweden account for less than 0.2% of the population, but they are the targets of profound hatred. This does not comport very well with Sweden’s image as a near-perfect liberal democracy.

Major anti-Semitic threats to Swedish Jews have come out of parts of the Muslim community. In 2017, a movie was shown on Bavarian television about the visit to Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city, by the German Jewish author Henryk Broder and the Egyptian writer Hamad Abdel Samad. They met several local Jews, including the town’s American rabbi. He told them the shrinking community had installed bullet-proof windows at the synagogue, but even that precaution didn’t keep them safe. A bomb went off in front of the synagogue and another was thrown into the chapel of the Jewish cemetery, which was totally destroyed. The rabbi himself is regularly harassed when walking on the street. Objects thrown at him have included an apple, a lighter, a glass, and a bottle. In an indication of the lack of police control, when Broder and Samad came to Malmö, they were told by police not to open the windows of their car when they were driving through a Muslim neighborhood.
The number of complaints about hate crimes in Malmö reached a record in 2010 and 2011. It did not lead to any convictions.

In December 2017, two Palestinians and a Syrian threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in Sweden’s second-largest city, Gothenburg. Some 20 youngsters who were meeting in the building took shelter in its cellar during the attack. A Swedish appeals court overturned a criminal tribunal ruling that had decided that one of the perpetrators, a Gaza-born Palestinian, would be deported at the end of his two-year prison term. The court said he should not be deported because the anti-Semitic nature of the attack could put him in danger from Israel. The court thus preferred the imagined interests of the perpetrator over the actual interests of his victims. The judges were apparently unconcerned that if he stayed in Sweden he might commit more crimes.

In recent years, Sweden has taken in the highest number of migrants in western Europe as a percentage of population. Most immigrants come from Muslim countries where societies are permeated by extreme anti-Semitic prejudices. The authorities there promote Jew-hatred as national policy. Sweden can thus be characterized as a major importer of anti-Semites out of humanitarian motives.

But anti-Semitism in Sweden is not limited to Muslims and neo-Nazis. A recent scandal concerns the highly reputable hospital of Karolinska University, near Stockholm. This institution annually awards the Nobel Prize in medicine. The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) wrote a complaint to the hospital’s dean when it became known that open anti-Semitism among the hospital’s senior physicians had been ignored by management for almost a year. There were also anti-Semitic comments posted on Facebook.

Two Jewish employees had already quit over this issue. Management finally acted only after Sweden’s largest paper, Aftonbladet, reported on the hatemongering. Thereafter one of the physicians in question left.

There are many problems in Sweden that the government doesn’t want to confront.  Before the Swedish parliamentary elections, then Norwegian Immigration Minister Sylvi Listhaug traveled to Stockholm and visited the extremely violent Rinkeby suburb. She made a point of noting that there are more than 60 no-go zones in Sweden. The Swedish migration minister responded to this observation by canceling her meeting with Listhaug.

The problems with immigrants have given rise to the growth of a right-wing populist party, the Sweden Democrats. In the September 2017 elections they got 17% of the vote, an unprecedented level of support. This party promotes the prohibition of nonmedical circumcision. While this measure is aimed primarily against Muslims, who vastly outnumber Jews, it is serving to introduce a new anti-Semitic element into Sweden.

Sweden has also long led western Europe in anti-Israelism. The country’s best known postwar PM, the Social Democrat Olof Palme, was one of the very few leaders of a democratic country to openly compare Israel’s acts to those of the Nazis. The current Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, also a Social Democrat, has asked for an investigation into the killing of terrorists by Israel. She hasn’t made any such request from other democratic countries where terrorists have been killed after attacks. By singling Israel out in this way, Wallström committed an anti-Semitic act according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition.

The above is but a small selection of events to illustrate the falseness of Sweden’s image as a near-perfect liberal democracy. For anyone curious to see just how ugly ultraliberalism can get, Sweden is the ideal case study.

Freedom House, according to its website, is an “independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world.” Sweden is one of the few countries to which it has granted the maximum possible number of points for freedom, one hundred. Freedom House bases its judgments on issues like political rights, civil liberties, pluralism, the functioning of government, supposed freedom of the media, and so on. The few cases mentioned above indicate not only that Freedom House’s ranking system is flawed, but that absolute freedom is far from desirable.
The philosopher Karl Popper has pointed out that freedom representing an absence of constraining control will lead to major abuse. He added that “unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”

All in all, the attitude towards Jews and their experience in a country may be a better indicator of that country’s democratic reality than a Freedom House ranking. This is certainly true concerning Sweden.

Sweden urgently needs to appoint a national Anti-Semitism Commissioner. Such a person might point out the anti-Semitic threats coming regularly from neo-Nazis and Muslims, the flaws of the police and justice system, and other failures of the authorities to deal with anti-Semitism. But Stockholm is highly unlikely to appoint such a person. Though it purports to be a model democracy that believes in free speech, Sweden would not welcome the revelations that would result.

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

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is a Senior Research Associate at the BESA Center and a former chairman of the Steering Committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He specializes in Israeli–Western European relations, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism, and is the author of The War of a Million Cuts.


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Thousands of American Girls At Risk As Judge Strikes Down Federal FGM Ban - Abigail R. Esman

by Abigail R. Esman

Women's rights groups globally have reacted with shock and anger.

Dar al-Hijrah imam Shaker Elsayed endorsed "partial" female 
genital mutilation in a sermon last year.

As her aunt held her down, the child screamed and fought desperately to escape. But even as she struggled, the woman sliced at the child's genitals with a razor, sending blood coursing down her legs. Years later, the girl recalled, "They tied my legs together the whole way down so I couldn't open my legs. I was like that for three or four weeks."

She was only 6 years old.

Two million women worldwide have endured similar torture through female genital mutilation (FGM), or are at risk of becoming victims. Yet last month, a Michigan judge ruled that laws preventing such torture and abuse of girls were unconstitutional, raising the risk of genital cutting for hundreds of thousands of vulnerable girls across America.

The decision, passed down in a case involving the prosecution of two doctors who performed the procedure in a suburban Detroit clinic, addressed a 1996 federal ban on FGM, which U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman claimed overstepped congressional power. The Federalism clause permits the federal government authority only over criminal cases involving interstate commerce, which Friedman argued was inapplicable in this case. Nor, he said, is there a "rational relationship" between federal equal rights treaties and a ban on FGM, as it only affects women.

Rather, the judge argued, the power to ban FGM, like other criminal law, lies with the states; and while Michigan does have such a statute in place, it was instated after the doctors and the mothers of nine girls had been arrested and charged. Friedman therefore dismissed those charges.

Women's rights groups globally have reacted with shock and anger. The AHA Foundation, which had filed an amicus brief in the case, called the ruling "outrageous." The decision "sets a precedent that cutting girls' genitals is not a concern at the national level," AHA senior director Amanda Parker said in a statement. Established by activist and former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, herself a victim of genital cutting, the AHA Foundation considers the fight against FGM a central effort in its mandate.

Female genital mutilation is a growing concern in the United States. According to Parker, the Centers for Disease Control have estimated that 513,000 girls and women in America have been or are at risk of being cut. "And the number of girls under 18 has quadrupled since 1997," she noted in a recent interview. However, she cautioned that these numbers are only estimates, "because this is super underground."

Yet FGM is on the rise even in countries where the procedure is banned. Thirty thousand girls are believed to be at risk in the Netherlands. In Belgium, 17,273 women had been circumcised and nearly 9,000 more were believed to be at risk in 2016, up from 6,250 circumcised women in 2007, when fewer than 2,000 were believed to be facing future mutilation.

Elsewhere, 3,000 girls are said to be at risk in Finland, where 10,000 women are believed to have undergone FGM. In the UK, "a case of female genital mutilation is either discovered or treated at a medical appointment....every hour," the Independent reports.

In part, said Parker, this increase reflects the growth in immigration from parts of the world where FGM is commonplace. But anecdotal evidence suggests too that "families that move to new countries may cling more tightly to cultural tradition in order to hold on to their identity and practices that they might not cling to as tightly in their home countries."

With the Michigan ruling, Parker and other women's advocates have expressed fear of a significant increase in FGM in the United States as well – far more than would have been the case had the law been upheld. Already in 2017, an imam at a major mosque in suburban Washington, D.C. endorsed the practice and remains on the job, and a defense lawyer in the Michigan case described it as "far less invasive than male circumcision."

Still, like others, Parker and the AHA hope prosecutors will appeal the ruling. "For us it is clear that FGM is an interstate commerce issue," she said, noting that even in this case, some of the girls were trafficked across state lines, brought by their mothers from Minnesota to Detroit. Further, she added, "FGM is transactional by nature. It is a service requested by families for their girls and paid for, and the cutters earn their living that way."

What's more, Parker pointed out, so-called "brideprice" – the money grooms pay to a family for the daughter's hand in marriage – "is linked to whether or not she has undergone FGM." A girl who has had her clitoris removed or labia sewn together is more valuable than one who has not.

But until such an appeal can be made, and depending on whether it succeeds, Parker and other advocates fear for the future of more than 100,000 women and girls living in the 23 states that still do not have statutes prohibiting the practice. "As we've seen in other harmful practices," said Parker, "if it's outlawed in one place, parents who are looking to cut their girls will find a way; and so those 23 states will become destinations for girls to be trafficked across the borders. The fact that that's what happened in the Michigan case shows just how cunning and committed these people are to cutting their little girls. And it will only get worse."

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands. Follow her at @radicalstates.


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Talking Millennials Out of Socialism - Bruce Thornton

by Bruce Thornton

Can a generation marked by privilege and arrogance be reasoned with?

Writing last week about the new affection for socialism on the part of Millellenials, electoral maven Karl Rove warned us not to ignore or dismiss this enthusiasm. Socialism’s long record of failure “doesn’t mean new forms of socialism can’t gain a following.” Rove’s solution is for Republicans to “do the hard work of updating old arguments,” and “hone their arguments” against socialist policies in preparation for the 2020 presidential race.

Welcome to 2500 years of dubious thinking about the power of rational persuasion and coherent argument to talk people out of bad ideas. It didn’t save Socrates from the hemlock, and it’s unlikely to change the minds of the worst-educated, most self-centered, and most pampered cohort in American history.

This stubborn belief in the power of rational thought and knowledge to improve human life lies at the heart of modern political ideologies like Marxism and progressivism. Both assume that the knowledge useful for politically organizing a state or society is “scientific,” comprising principles and techniques that are beyond ideology and universally true. Hence the need for enlightened technocratic elites to control social institutions and use power in order to rationally arrange human existence more justly and efficiently.

The flaw in this thinking was first identified by contemporaries of Plato, whose Republic imagined a utopia of elite Guardians educated to exercise totalitarian control over society. And the earliest critics of Plato’s flawed assumptions about human nature were likewise Greek writers such as Thucydides and Sophocles. Both argued that a human nature universally subject to irrational passions, free will, and a tragic world would always to some degree triumph over the rational mind.

Yet despite the subsequent millennia in which history has demonstrated that the road to utopia is lined with mountains of corpses, the dream of creating heaven on earth by applying rational techniques of control and improvement over human beings has not lost its allure. In modern times, the decline of faith and the belief in a transcendent reality has made us even more vulnerable to political religions, those delusional visions of human power and will alone able to eliminate the tragic limits of earthly life, such as inequality, suffering, injustice, and violence.

The Founders knew this history of political speculation going back to ancient Athens, and they agreed with Machiavelli that “it is necessary for whoever arranges to found a Republic and establish laws in it, to presuppose that all men are bad and that they will use their malignity of mind every time they have the opportunity.” This fundamental assumption also underlies the Constitution’s architecture, most famously laid out by James Madison in Federalist 10.

To protect political freedom, Madison writes, the state must be organized to protect against “faction,” groups of citizens united and motivated “by some common impulse or passion, or interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interest of the community as a whole.” Freedom nourishes faction and gives it scope, especially freedom of speech, which allows opinions to be publicized and conflict with those of others. Finally, faction is not a result of bad education or poverty, it is “sown in the nature of man,” which creates a “connection between his reason and his self-love,” and makes “his opinions and passions” a “reciprocal influence on each other.” To protect the freedom of all from this dynamic, the Founders checked and balanced and divided power so no one faction could dominate the rest and create tyranny.

Notice that although Madison does mention “interest,” property and wealth, he says nothing about rational scientific truths or rational arguments as causes of factions or means for restraining them. We don’t as a people gather into parties over facts, scientific theories and mathematical formulas, rather than over factional purposes to which some, like global warming, can be put. Mainly that’s because the most important political disagreements concern questions that science or reason or facts alone can’t answer: What are human beings? What do we owe to others? Why do we do what we do? What is the best way of life? What is the highest good for a political community? And who should participate in governing?

Most of us, then, are not going to be talked out of our political passions, any more than we will abandon our economic interests. Yet every election we hear over and over about the “partisan divide” that keeps us from rational discussions and solutions about important issues. Half an hour on any raucous internet, cable, or network news show will demonstrate that what we decry as “partisanship,” “polarization,” and even “hatred” are politics just as Madison understood it, and whose threat to freedom he guarded against by making “ambition counter ambition.”

There are, however, differences between our world and the centuries before World War II that have exacerbated these factional passions. Our high level of material existence, safety, and comfort is on an unprecedented scale. One consequence has been the elevation of expectations for our existence far beyond what’s possible for flawed, passionate creatures like us. And these expectations never seem to be gratified, but only to escalate.

The Greatest, Silent, and older Boomer Generations grew up in a harder, more dangerous, more contingent world of material want, disease, and daily physical labor. Their expectations were tempered by hard experience and constant reminders that their desires and dreams were a matter of indifference in such a world. More of them were skeptical about the utopian promises of socialism and communism. These collectivist ideologies did see some success after initial enthusiasm, but invariably they failed because they couldn’t meet the expectations they had raised. As a consequence, collectivist ideologies have had to resort to murder, gulags, tyranny, and corruption––imposing by force what could not be won by the persuasion of success, as free-market capitalism has done.

Millennials are a different breed. They have lived in this brave new world of affluence from childhood, and so have a much higher baseline standard of material comfort, and greater expectations for achieving their political ideals like universal free health care, guaranteed jobs, free college tuition, social harmony, and equality of outcomes rather than of opportunity. But they are continually disappointed and aggrieved because despite the serial failure of a century of socialist economies and social policies, our country hasn’t been eager to repeat those failures. This is the same childish mentality that has fueled the rise of political correctness, hate speech codes, whimpering “snowflakes,” and all the illiberal and oppressive policies that have followed.

Finally, having spent 40 years in the university watching the degradation of scholarly disciplines, I’d like Rove to show me where he will find the millennial socialists educated enough in traditional subjects like history, philosophy, or critical thinking to be open to rational persuasion. A generation marked both by an elevated, unearned sense of self-regard, and an arrogant certainty about their own intellectual and moral superiority is more likely to scream and threaten rather than listen thoughtfully.

Not all Millennials, of course, deserve this portrait. Millions reject the nostrums of fashionable leftism and trendy socialism. They have experienced a world more challenging than their parents’ basements or a college dorm room. They go to church, serve in the military, protect our streets, and raise their children to be virtuous. But because they are busy at these adult activities, they don’t have the impact on our culture and politics that subsidized activists and “social justice” warriors do. That’s why the establishment media ignores them.

Will socialism, as Rove fears, start to attract more and more voters as the Boomers die off and the Democrat coalition of tribes expands? I don’t think so, and not because of Trump’s success in starting to reverse Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of America, of which the current socialist enthusiasm is the logical culmination. Nor will socialism be rejected because Republicans fanned out across the country to meetings and town halls and made converts with refurbished messaging.

Rather, our socialist poseurs are heading inexorably toward a looming economic disaster: the unfunded liabilities, mountains of government debt, and unsustainable entitlement spending, for which the reckoning is relentlessly growing closer. And who’s on the hook for that bill? Not most of us Boomers. The Millennials are going to be left holding the bag, and some hard lessons about an unforgiving reality and the eternal laws of compound interest will have to be learned.

But crises are unpredictable and irrational, and as Thucydides said, bring men’s characters down to the level of their circumstances. That process of righting our fiscal ship is likely to be dangerous and rife with social disorder that will make our petty quarrels over tweets and porn stars seem quaint. Voters may even become sufficiently frightened for their economic future, and desperate enough to turn to socialism for solutions that don’t require anything from them beyond more of other people’s money.

There’s no predicting how things will turn out in such circumstances, or how Millennials will respond. But one thing right now we know for sure: socialism will fail. It always has, and it always will.


Photo by Paul Stein

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


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