Saturday, January 12, 2019

The New Palestinian 'Catastrophe': A Shopping Mall Hiring Palestinians - Bassam Tawil

by Bassam Tawil

Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall.

  • "Rami Levy does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, or religion when hiring and promoting employees. All employees, Palestinians and Israelis, are treated equally and receive equal benefits. Salaries are based solely on one's position and performance. My goal for all Rami Levy employees is to have the same opportunity to succeed." — Rami Levy, owner of Israel's third-largest supermarket chain, half of whose 4,000 workers, he says, are Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
  • Palestinian investors, according to Fatah official Hatem Abdel Qader Eid, could have prevented Rami Levy from building his new mall had they invested in the construction of a Palestinian shopping center. "It's true that there are wealthy Palestinian businessmen..."
  • Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall.
  • If a Palestinian who buys Israeli milk is a traitor in the eyes of Fatah, it is not difficult to imagine the fate of any Palestinian who would dare to discuss compromise with Israel. If he is lucky, he will have a close encounter with a firebomb. If he is not lucky, he will be hanged in a public square.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction has responded to a new shopping mall in east Jerusalem, which has Arabs as most of its workers and customers, in a manner that showcases how Palestinian leaders continue to torpedo benefits to their people. Pictured: A Rami Levy supermarket branch in western Jerusalem. (Image source: Yoninah/Wikimedia Commons)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction is angry. It seems a Jewish Israeli businessman has just built a shopping mall in east Jerusalem and most of its workers and customers are Arabs.

Fatah leaders have called for boycotting the mall.

Fatah, which is often described in the Western media as a moderate faction, has responded to the mall enterprise in a manner that showcases how Palestinian leaders continue to torpedo benefits to their people.

Where in the world would any leader condemn a project that provides jobs to hundreds of his or her people? Where in the world would any leader call on his or her people to boycott a shopping mall or a supermarket that offers competitive prices for clothes and food? Where in the world would a leader describe the opening of a commercial project that benefits his or her people as a catastrophe ("nakba")?

Rami Levy, a businessman and owner of the third-largest Israeli supermarket chain, invested more than $50 million in the construction of a mall in the Atarot Industrial Park northeast of Jerusalem. Despite the boycott calls, some Palestinians have rented stores in the mall, which is being described as a model for coexistence between Arabs and Jews. The new mall also has a large supermarket belonging to Levy's supermarket chain.

Levy's supermarkets in Jerusalem and the West Bank are popular among Palestinian shoppers. They say the prices there are lower than those in Arab-owned businesses. That is most likely why hundreds of Palestinians converged on the newly opened supermarket in the mall when it officially opened on January 8. Israeli supermarkets hire hundreds of Palestinians from the West Bank, as well as Arab residents of Jerusalem, who work together with Jewish colleagues.

According to Levy, half of his 4,000 employees are Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. "I began employing Palestinian and Israeli Arab workers at the first Rami Levy location, a stall in Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market that opened in 1976. Arabs were among my first employees," he said.
"Those employees continue to work for Rami Levy Hashikma -- our supermarket outlets -- and many have seen their careers flourish with the company. The first employee I hired 35 years ago was a man named Ibrahim, an Arab from east Jerusalem who has remained at Rami Levy and currently works as our director of logistics. Other Arab Israeli and Palestinian employees who have since joined the Rami Levy team have also been promoted to upper management positions. Rami Levy does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, or religion when hiring and promoting employees. All employees, Palestinians and Israelis, are treated equally and receive equal benefits. Salaries are based solely on one's position and performance. My goal for all Rami Levy employees is to have the same opportunity to succeed. This goal that can only be realized if the principle of equality is implemented in all aspects of the company."
For Abbas's Fatah officials, however, the image of Palestinians and Jews working in harmony is loathsome. They do not like the idea that Palestinian workers are being paid good salaries and are being treated by their employer with respect. They also do not like seeing Palestinian shoppers queuing to buy food and goods that are being offered to them in better quality and cheaper prices. The Fatah officials would rather see their people unemployed or pay higher prices in the Palestinian market than give their business to a Jewish-owned shopping center.

Instead of welcoming the inauguration of the shopping mall for providing job opportunities to dozens of Palestinians and lower prices, the Fatah officials are taking about an Israeli plan to "undermine" the Palestinian economy. "This was a sad day for Jerusalem," said veteran Fatah official Hatem Abdel Qader Eid in reference to the opening of the new mall. "This project aims at undermining the Arab commerce in Jerusalem and making it subordinate to the Israeli economy."

The hundreds of Palestinians who flooded the new mall on its first day, however, seem to disagree with the grim picture painted by Abdel Qader Eid. The large turnout is, of course, good news: it shows that Palestinians are like any customers around the world who prefer better products at lower cost. For them, this was not a "sad day," as the Fatah official said, but an exciting one. Finally, a mall has come near their home, offering them a wide range of products at economical rates.

Nonetheless, Abdel Qader Eid got one thing right: his lament concerning the absence of Palestinian investors and capital. "Palestinian capitalists are cowards," he said. Palestinian investors, Eid added, could have prevented Rami Levy from building his new mall had they invested in the construction of a Palestinian shopping mall. "It's true that there are wealthy Palestinian businessmen. But while they are rich with money, they are poor in their will and education."

Sadly, the Fatah official is saying that Palestinian businessmen have no faith in their people and would rather invest their money elsewhere.

Another senior Fatah official, Osama Qawassmeh, took the incitement a step further. He warned that any Palestinian who shops at the new mall or rents space there will be accused of "betraying the homeland." He went on to peddle the old Palestinian lie that purchasing Israeli products is an act of "supports for settlements and the Israeli army."

Fatah's incitement against the new mall did not fall on deaf ears. On the day the mall was inaugurated, Palestinians threw a number of firebombs at the compound, forcing (Palestinian) shoppers to flee for their lives. Fortunately, no one was hurt and there was no damage to the stores or vehicles in the parking lot.

The campaign of incitement against Levy's shopping mall began several months ago, as it was being built, and has continued until today. Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall. The thugs who attacked the mall with firebombs could have injured or killed Palestinians. The thugs, who are believed to be affiliated with Fatah, would rather see their people dead than having fun or buying attractively-priced products at an Israeli mall.

By spearheading this campaign of incitement and intimidation, Abbas's Fatah is again showing its true colors. How is it possible to imagine that Abbas or any of his Fatah lieutenants would ever make peace with Israel when they cannot even tolerate the idea of Palestinians and Jews working together for a simple common good?

If a Palestinian who buys Israeli milk is a traitor in the eyes of Fatah, it is not difficult to imagine the fate of any Palestinian who would dare to discuss compromise with Israel. If he is lucky, he will have a close encounter with a firebomb. If he is not lucky, he will be hanged in a public square. How is that for Palestinian readiness to engage in a peace process with Israel?

Bassam Tawil, a Muslim Arab, is based in the Middle East.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

US launches global initiative against Iranian funds to Hezbollah - Ariel Kahana, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

by Ariel Kahana, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

Measures to focus on compelling Iran to meet international rules for the prevention of money laundering, stem the flow of funds to terrorist groups

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is initiating a global initiative to fight illegal Iranian economic activity around the world, which will focus primarily on the transfer of funds to terrorist organizations, Israel Hayom has learned.

The United States also intends to intensify pressure on Iran in international bodies, chief among them the Financial Action Task Force. The FATF is an intergovernmental organization founded by G7 countries to combat money laundering.

The American initiative will focus on compelling Iran to meet international rules for the prevention of money laundering and, as stated, stem the flow of funds to terrorist groups. Iran, it has been well documented, gives vast sums of money to the Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah, and to Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The White House intends to expose Iran's illicit behavior and bring to bear legal and public pressure to force the Islamic republic to change its ways.

Aside from its own direct measures, the U.S. has also asked various European governments to help target Iran's economic activities on the continent. American officials have told their European counterparts that the administration was prepared to invest considerable resources to expose Iran's financial operations, and would share its information with European authorities to help them indict the perpetrators. The administration is still waiting for the European response.

Iran is aware of the international pressure against it on the money laundering front. On Saturday, a powerful Iranian council approved an anti-money laundering bill in a step toward reforms to bring the country in line with global norms.

Foreign businesses say Iran's compliance with FATF standards and its removal from the organization's blacklist are essential if they are to increase investment, especially after re-imposition of the U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

However, Iranian hardliners have opposed passing legislation toward compliance with the FATF, arguing it could hamper Iranian financial support for its terrorist allies such as Hezbollah.

Iran's parliament last year passed the anti-money laundering bill, one of four amendments Iran needs to implement to meet FATF requirements, but the Guardian Council, a vetting body, rejected it, saying it was against Islam and the constitution.

On Saturday, the Expediency Council, a body intended to resolve disputes between parliament and the Guardian Council, approved the bill with some changes, Iran's state news agency IRNA said, quoting a member of the council.

Seven months after his harsh dismissal of parliamentary efforts to adapt to FATF guidelines and other international conventions on money laundering, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei seems to have warmed to the reforms, a reversal that experts say is aimed at preventing Iran's economic collapse.

In recent months, cities have been rocked by demonstrations as factory workers, teachers, truck drivers and farmers protested against economic hardship. The sanctions have depressed the value of Iran's rial currency and aggravated annual inflation fourfold to nearly 40% in November.

Ariel Kahana, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Islam Enters Congress - Valerie Greenfield

by Valerie Greenfield

Both congresswomen Omar's and Tlaib's first acts in Congress are clear attempts to prioritize their own religious preferences and to honor the heritage of their home countries over their duty to represent their districts.

The two newly elected Muslim darlings of the Democratic Party have more ego than intellect and more hatred for Israel than love for America.

On January 3, 2019, new members of Congress arrived at their Longworth House offices radiating a contagious excitement. Scores of political fans from Muslim districts in Michigan and Minnesota greeted each other in Arabic, smiling as if Uncle Sam were Santa Claus bringing gifts to greet the first female Palestinian and the first Somali members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Minn.) wore the Palestinian flag on election night and a Palestinian thobe to the House offices, clearly stating where her alliances lie. Then she announced her alarming position: a one-state solution creating a binational state of "Palestine." According to the Anti-Defamation League, "a 'one-state solution,' is nothing less than an indirect attempt to bring about an end to the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people."

Support for the single state; the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement; and a delegation to Judea and Samaria for freshman members of Congress demonstrates Tlaib's anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bigotry. "I want us to see that segregation [of Palestinians] ... has really harmed us from being able to achieve real peace[.] ... I don't think AIPAC provides a real, fair lens into this issue." Did she forget that she was elected to represent her district in Michigan?

Tlaib said she will "absolutely vote against military aid to Israel," but she went too far when stating she would "stand up to bullies like President Donald Trump and impeach the m‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑." While the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and other Democratic leaders did condemn Tlaib's inappropriate language, none of them countered her declaration that Israel has no right to exist.

Her congressional office had a map with Israel labeled "Palestine." While the culprit of this geographical misinformation was a Palestinian-American comedian, Amer Zahr, Israel-supporters are not laughing. 

Tlaib did not speak at all about her plans to represent her constituents in Michigan. Her focus was solely on Palestinians rights, a world away from her district. As the first elected Palestinian woman, even though she was born and raised in Detroit, Tlaib aligns herself with the dangerous, anti-Semitic socialist Linda Sarsour. Sarsour was disavowed by the president of the Women's March due to her anti-Semitic remarks and close ties to Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam. Tlaib will be known by the company she keeps.

While America celebrates diversity and women's rights with eyes closed in the glory of political correctness, the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, is electing representatives to carry out its work. Indeed, the decades-long struggle to put the Muslim Brotherhood's Explanatory Memorandum fully into action has arrived. As stated, "the work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by the hands of the believers, so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."

Former congressman Keith Ellison, another friend of Louis Farrakhan, vacated the seat that was filled by Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a young, hijab-wearing Somali-American Muslim who "turned her victory rally into a display of Islamic solidarity and triumph. Accused of marrying her brother, committing immigration fraud (to become a U.S. citizen), and polygamy after marrying the father of her child, Omar seems to be chasing controversy. Later, she was accused of campaign finance violations. Even though these moral questions were never resolved, she was still elected.

Her opening statement on taking office was in Arabic, "As-salaam-aleikum," addressing only Muslims – which alienated non-Muslim supporters. But no matter – Omar's district is located in a Somali area of Minneapolis nicknamed "Little Mogadishu."

Omar's message was less about being a Democrat or an American and more about being Somali and Muslim, less about speaking English and celebrating American traditions and more about speaking Arabic "Alhamdulilah" and thanking Allah in lieu of her supporters.

Stronger than the white men that Democratic socialists despise are the social media-toting, youthful women of color who made honorable pledges on Thomas Jefferson's Quran as they began the 116th Congress.

Already, Congresswoman Omar is "pushing to change a 181-year-old rule barring headwear in the House chamber, "so she can wear a hijab on the House floor. When Bishop E.W. Jackson complained about Omar's push for a religious exemption she responded, 'Well sir, the floor of Congress is going to look like America ... And you're gonna have to just deal.'"

Both congresswomen Omar's and Tlaib's first acts in Congress are clear attempts to prioritize their own religious preferences and to honor the heritage of their home countries over their duty to represent their districts. Do they need to be reminded that they were elected to represent their districts inside the United States?

Valerie Greenfield is the author of Backyard Jihad: How Parents Can Detect the Invisible Threat of Radicalization and is managing partner of Skyray Security, LLC, a consultancy providing training to Americans seeking to remain safe in a dangerous world.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Pretend refugees - Nadav Shragai

by Nadav Shragai

The new campaign by former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor tackles the absurdity of the Palestinian refugee narrative by displaying the successful lives of nine descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948 but who still identify as refugees.

Israel and the U.S. want the U.N. to dismantle UNRWA, which 
perpetuates the refugee status of Palestinians across the globe
Photo: AP 

A few months ago, researchers Adi Schwartz and Einat Wilf wrote in an article about their book "The War for Return" that children in refugee camps run by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) could recite by heart their parents' and grandparents' stories about leaving Israel during and after the 1948 War of Independence. Sometimes, it seemed they'd experienced it themselves. The indoctrination in the camps was so intensive that the children "described the homes that had been left down to the smallest details, and could describe the color of the curtains, the shape of the windows. The garden and the scent of the flowers."

Later, when interviewed for various studies, the children admitted that if it hadn't been for the UNRWA education, they might have lost their identity and assimilated into the society that surrounded them.

Now the Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya is "exposing" the decidedly non-refugee lives of many of these children who grew up, established careers, acquired professions, and sometimes became wealthy. The campaign, titled "Double Identity," is the brainchild of institute director and former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor and his team. It focuses on individuals from the second, third, and fourth generation of the never-ending Palestinian refugeedom.

The exhibit represents a new dimension of the public diplomacy campaign Israel is waging against the U.N. The institute wants to see UNRWA shut down by being merged with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees (the U.N.'s agency for all other refugees worldwide), under a clear mandate to eradicate Palestinian refugeedom rather than preserve it for all eternity, as has been done thus far.

The unique refugee mechanism the U.N. created for the Palestinians has created 5.3 million refugees over the course of seven decades, even though only some 700,000 Arabs left Israel in 1948, most of whom are no longer alive. Research generally repeated the narrative of Palestinian refugeedom, which passes from generation to generation, with children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren now unwilling to give up their "right of return." Now Prosor and his staff are launching a different campaign for public opinion in the U.S., one that includes pictures and stages of the lives of nine people that illustrate the absurdity of Palestinian refugeehood.

All the material in the exhibit was collected from open sources, generally texts that the nine people featured wrote or published on social media or various Internet sites.

Three people represent the youngest generation of "refugees" in the Double Identity campaign: Tareq Abu Nahel, Hoda Daoud, and Batoul Bilali, all in their 20s. Their life stories are distinguished by a lack of distinction. They aren't different from other people their age who are living comfortably in the West, and Prosor and his team chose them to model the face of twenty-something Palestinian refugeedom precisely because it isn't clear what aspects of their lives earn them refugee status.

Abu Nahel was born in the Gaza Strip and now lives in Oslo, Norway, with his family. Daoud and Bilali were born and live in Lebanon. Abu Nahel launched a successful career as a young rapper, and some of his songs are about the Palestinian struggle. Daoud, whose father moved from Gaza to Lebanon when he was 17, holds a degree in mathematics and economics from the American University of Beirut. She recently posted pictures of a successful adventure holiday she took to Morocco.

Bilali, who earned a B.A. in business administration, frequents the theater, art galleries, and her hobbies include swimming, kayaking, and hiking. Her father, Nabil Bilali, owns Original Dental, a thriving dental equipment supplier. Bilali dreams of running a research center devoted to promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Iyad el-Baghdadi, 41, a native of Kuwait, is a third-generation refugee and a noted author and human rights activist who now lives with his family in Norway. His grandparents were uprooted from Jaffa in 1948 and went to Egypt, along with Iyad's father, Ismail, who was only a baby. Two decades later, the family moved to the United Arab Emirates. Al-Baghdadi gained fame during the Arab Spring of 2011 when he penned a satirical essay titled "The Arab Tyrant's Manual" that mocked and needled the Arab dictators whose regimes were being shaken up. The essay was translated into 13 languages.

In the spring of 2014, el-Baghdadi was arrested for his activity and writing, not given a trial, and deported from the UAE. After a brief stay in Malaysia, he was given asylum in Norway, where he is now working on a book about the Arab Spring. In his writing and lectures, he represents himself as a "citizenshipless Palestinian refugee from the Arab Emirates." According to the UNRWA definition, el-Baghdadi and his children, who belong to the third and fourth generation of Palestinian refugeedom, are counted as refugees and entitled to aid from the organization.

Mona Hatoum, 67, was born in Lebanon and now holds British citizenship. She is the daughter of parents who left Haifa in 1948 and became refugees in Lebanon. Hatoum's father worked in the British Embassy in Lebanon, making him and his family eligible for British citizenship. In 1975, while the family was visiting London, the Lebanese civil war broke out and they were forced to stay in Britain, eventually making it their home.

Hatoum studied at the Bame Shaw School of Art and the Slade School of Art and eventually won accolades for her video work, performances, and installation. In 1995 she was nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize. She now has work on display in prominent museums across the globe and is represented by famous galleries, including White Cube in London. Her work has also been exhibited in Israel, and a few pieces are in the Israel Museum.

Although she was born in Lebanon, Hatoum does not define herself as Lebanese since her family, like other Palestinians who arrived in Lebanon in 1948, were not granted citizenship and remained refugees. Based on the UNRWA criteria, Hatoum is one of the 5.3 million Palestinian refugees who are demanding and entitled to return to their homes within the borders of Israel, even though in her case it is hard to imagine a starker contrast between her comfortable lifestyle and the term "refugeedom."

Two other women who had stellar careers while defined as refugees by UNRWA are actress Shukran Murtaja and media personality Mayssoun Azzam.

Murtaja, 48, is a native of Saudi Arabia and the daughter of parents from Gaza who moved to Syria, where she was educated and became famous as an actor in films and TV series. Murtaja graduated from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus, and after she married a Syrian actor she was given Syrian citizenship and lived a comfortable life there. Eight years ago, Murtaja visited the Gaza Strip and met with her father's family and said she identified with the suffering of the residents of Gaza.

Azzam, 45, is a native of Abu Dhabi. Her parents fled Israel for Lebanon in 1948. Azzam is a television broadcaster in Dubai who has worked for the Al-Arabiya news network since 2003. She teaches media studies at the American University in Dubai. Over the course of her career, she has interviewed PA President Mahmoud Abbas; Microsoft founder Bill Gates; former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; and former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. In 2011 she took part in an ad campaign for a coffee company. She learned to ride horses and completed a B.A. in communication at the Lebanese American University and an M.A. in international politics at Birkbeck, University of London.

The last two people featured in the Double Identity exhibit are Fatma Dabdus and Abdul Rahman Katanani. Dabdus, born in the U.S., was five when her family moved to Lebanon. Today she teaches at the school of medicine at the American University of Beirut and says she enjoys swimming, reading, politics, and history. Dabdus, like many others with similar life stories, claims Palestinian refugee status despite the fact that she was born in the U.S., raised in Lebanon, and her life is in no way reminiscent of the image of a helpless refugee who needs international aid.

Katanani is a successful artist. His grandparents left Yazur (now Azur), a tiny village near Jaffa, 71 years ago and moved to Lebanon. Although he grew up in the Sabra refugee camp in Beirut, he no longer lives the life of a refugee. He earned a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. from the Lebanese University in Beirut, apprenticed in France, and has won many important prizes for his work. His pieces, which often reflect identification with Palestinian suffering and the Palestinian struggle are on display all over the Arab world, as well as in galleries in Munich and Paris. They fetch hefty prices.

Prosor underscores that Double Identity aims to move the debate over UNRWA from the macro to the micro and show who the Palestinians – who represent themselves or are portrayed by others as refugees deserving of UNRWA assistance –really are.

"If the grandfathers and grandmothers of these people and people like them were refugees from anywhere else in the world, they would already have settled permanently and not be entitled to transfer refugee status to their children," Prosor says.

"Because of the crooked way in which the U.N. and UNRWA keep defining Palestinian refugeehood, these young people can live regular, successful lives but keep calling themselves or are being called 'refugees.'"

The Abba Eban Institute has discovered that UNRWA spends an average of $250 per year on each of the 5.3 million Palestinian refugees, compared to the average $60 dollars the U.N. Refugee Agency on each of the 68 million other refugees worldwide.

UNRWA's employment rolls also point to bloat. Some 10,000 people work for the U.N. Refugee Agency, while UNRWA – which handles a number equivalent to 8% of the number of refugees in the charge of the U.N. Refugee Agency – employs three times as many, some 30,000.

"The U.N. won't merge UNRWA and the U.N. Refugee Agency without heavy pressure on it to do so. The Double Identity campaign and other public diplomacy on the issue of UNRWA and the refugees … will help coalesce public opinion in support of the pressure the U.S. and Israel are putting on the U.N. The goal is to end this [UNRWA] scandal, which even now maintains refugee camps that have turned into breeding grounds for hatred and terrorism against Israel," Prosor says.

Nadav Shragai


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Tlaib, the Democratic Party, and Jew-Hate - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

The Democrats' silence in the face of vile comments by one of their own.

It’s fair to say that ex-congressman John Conyers (D, Mi.), who represented Michigan’s 13th district, was not a good guy. The octogenarian congressman willingly attended Farrakhan gatherings, signed on to anti-Israel legislation and was eventually forced to resign amid a string sexual harassment allegations. It’s also fair to say that his replacement, Rashida Tlaib, who identifies as “Palestinian,” is a walking train wreck by comparison.

In the hours following her inauguration, Tlaib demanded Trump’s impeachment, called him a “mother f*cker,” admitted that she used this language in front of her child, displayed a map in which the State of Israel was replaced with “Palestine,” insinuated that U.S. Jews maintain dual loyalties (this coming from a woman who draped herself in a “Palestinian” flag and garb during her inauguration) and implied that U.S. politicians are controlled by Israel.

This behavior is to be expected from someone like Tlaib, whose unhinged anti-Israel and anti-Semitic vitriol is well known. In fact, Tlaib is so anti-Israel that even the anti-Israel J Street withdrew support for her. What is surprising is the Democratic Party’s near-complete silence on the matter. The calumny of dual loyalty is nearly as old as antisemitism itself and is regurgitated with banal regularity by conspiracy theorists on the hard-right and left. Former KKK leader David Duke and Tlaib find common ground on this matter. Tlaib’s ally, the Farrakhan-supporting Linda Sarsour recently invoked the same anti-Semitic trope.

So why have Democrats remained silent? Why have they not issued a full-throated condemnation of Tlaib’s vile comments? There are three likely explanations, which are not mutually exclusive and often overlap.

First, many Democrats suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome, which prevents them from assessing serious matters, such as antisemitism, in rational terms. Tlaib is anti-Semitic to her core but because she is a Trump hater, she’s given a free pass. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) falls into this category. She showered Linda Sarsour with praise despite Sarsour’s odious past and ties to Farrakhan. Gillibrand’s hatred of Trump is so deep-seated that she will choose to pair up and find common cause with sordid characters who share her pedantic views on Trump.

Second, fear is a powerful motivator and is effective at curbing dissent. Many within the Democratic Party are fearful of speaking their minds and challenging the new up and coming but still relatively small socialist contingent within the Democratic Party. This includes people like Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar who replaced Keith Ellison. Ocasio-Cortez is a key Sarsour ally and has been highly critical of Israel while Omar accused Israel of committing “evil doings” and hypnotizing the world. She is also a BDS supporter who lied to her constituents about her position on BDS prior to the elections.

Chris Coons (D-Del) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) who represent the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, and are staunch supporters of Israel have inexplicably failed to address the growing chorus of anti-Semitic invective issued by fellow party members. Their silence can largely be attributed to abject fear of provoking a backlash from radical elements within the party. The fascist left has been successful in drowning out voices of moderation. This is best exemplified by the so-called Women’s March organization where Sarsour and her foul-mouthed cronies sidelined and marginalized more moderate elements within the movement who desired more inclusivity. In fairness, Manchin did condemn Tlaib’s vulgar comments regarding Trump but he was in the minority. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) defended them.

Finally, the Democratic Party itself is metastasizing into an anti-Semitic body much the same way that Britain’s Labour Party has. The British Labour Party, taking its cues from its party boss, Jeremy Corbyn, is rife with Judeophobia and hatred of Israel. In fact, Britain’s Labour Party is so irretrievably anti-Semitic that many of its members have left or resigned in disgust. Every leading Jewish paper in Britain classified Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party as an existential threat to British Jewry and at least 40 percent of Britain’s Jews said they would consider emigrating if Corbyn ever seized power.

America’s Democratic Party is not the British Labour Party. In fact, it displays nowhere near the malevolence of its cousin across the Atlantic. Yet the seeds of Corbyn-like antisemitism have been implanted by the likes of Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and the king of Democratic Socialism, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt).

One of the more shocking instances of Jew-hate from the Democratic Party did not originate with the Democratic Socialist contingent. It occurred during Trump’s hard-fought battle to have Kenneth L. Marcus confirmed as assistant secretary of education for civil rights and involved Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash). Marcus, whose impressive curriculum vitae rendered him more than qualified for the job witnessed intensive Democratic efforts to have his appointment thwarted. He has been vocal in his criticism of the anti-Semitic BDS campaign and believes that the Department of Education should be more pro-active in combatting the scourge antisemitism, which has become pervasive on college campuses thanks to the presence of anti-Semitic groups like Students for Justice in Palestine.
During an exchange between a Marcus supporter and a senior aide to Murray, the Murray staffer reportedly said “We do not care about anti-Semitism in this office.” Murry’s communication director later characterized the quote as inaccurate but the denial is highly suspect. This rancid view has taken hold within the extreme elements of the Democratic Party and traces of it have filtered into mainstream Democratic Party discourse. If this deleterious trend remains unchecked, the Democratic Party will without question transform into the party of Jeremy Corbyn, and that would be disastrous for all Americans.   

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


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Europe: More Nifty Censorship from the EU - Judith Bergman

by Judith Bergman

By signing up to the Code, the major technology and social media corporations have committed themselves to censoring the internet on behalf of the EU.

  • Sadly, the main victims of many of the abuses that the European Commission seemingly wishes to silence are often Muslims, often women and children, and often too scared to speak out.
  • One of the foremost tools used by the EU is its "Code of conduct on countering illegal hate speech online," including hate speech against Muslims. By signing up to the Code, the major technology and social media corporations have committed themselves to censoring the internet on behalf of the EU.
  • Apparently, it is no longer enough, as "each offense to a religion" is now "an offense to all", that members of one religion are offended. Now, it seems, according to the OSCE, every European is supposed to be offended in solidarity with them, as well.

On December 3, the European Commission hosted a "high-level conference to address intolerance, hate speech and discrimination affecting Muslims in the EU". According to the EU press release, "By sharing good practices, the aim of the event is to identify key actions at all levels to address intolerance, racism and discrimination against Muslims in the coming years". The event brought together over 100 "representatives of national authorities, civil society, academia, the religious community, EU agencies and international organisations."

There is, according to the European Commission, a "need for action", as "unfavourable views of Muslims appear to have surged in the past few years". The European Commission does not, of course, offer up the possibility that such unfavorable views might be due to the fact that an overwhelming majority of all terrorist attacks on European soil in recent years have been committed primarily by one group, among several other signs of transformation on the European continent. Examples include preaching jihad against "infidels" in mosques; the rise of rape, as well as rape grooming gangs -- not exclusively, but overwhelmingly run by the same group in countries such as the UK, the Netherlands and now also apparently Finland; brutal misogynist practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM), honor killings, forced marriages and polygamy -- in addition to an exponential rise in anti-Semitism, especially in France. Sadly, the main victims of many of the abuses that the European Commission seemingly wishes to silence are Muslims, often women and children, and often too scared to speak out (here, here and here).

These minor details, however, do not appear to interest the European Commission.

"Recent surveys show that intolerance towards Muslims is growing in the EU and the protection of their basic fundamental rights is being challenged. In our European vision, there is no place for discrimination against any minority. After all, we are all minorities in the European Union" said First Vice-President Frans Timmermans at the high level conference.

"Discrimination, acts of intolerance or racism against the 25 million Muslims living in the EU is a violation of their fundamental rights, but it also fuels marginalisation and self-exclusion. We need to fight this intolerance and discrimination, as these only make us weaker and more fragile," said Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.

According to Kuwait News Agency -- apparently, only Arabic news outlets covered the conference -- Jourova said, "Muslim minorities are perceived as someone different", stressing that "all of us must confront this cultural stereotypes [sic] because they are dangerous and poisoning [our] modern secular and tolerant societies."

"How do we nurture a sense of belonging that allows every Muslim to live his or her life as a Muslim in the EU alongside all other religions?" Jourova asked.

"We have a very serious problem in the EU and I hope this meeting is a testimony to getting more serious about tackling it," said Michael O'Flaherty, director of the EU's Agency for Fundamental Rights at the conference.
"Situation is so bad that I was in a European capital last week and a representative of an Islamic community said to me that things are getting so dangerous for my community now that people are thinking of emigrating. I haven't heard that before but it brought home to me as a non-Muslim the extent of the problem."
Kuwait News Agency further reports:
"He [O'Flaherty] said that the FRA will soon publish a survey with data which fundamentally challenges the lie in public discourse that says somehow there is a correlation between the largely Muslim migration into Europe, and a rise in anti-Semitic hate crime: 'That is a lie and we will be publish evidence in two weeks time', he added."
FRA did not publish such evidence. However, it did publish its "Second survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in the EU" in December 2018:
"With respect to the most serious incident of antisemitic harassment, on average, across the 12 Member States surveyed, the most frequently mentioned categories for perpetrators were: 'someone else I cannot describe' (31 %); 'someone with an extremist Muslim view' (30 %); 'someone with a left-wing political view' (21 %); 'work or school/college colleague' (16 %); 'teenager or group of teenagers' (15 %); 'an acquaintance or friend' (15 %); 'someone with a right-wing political view' (13 %).
"While the category 'someone with Muslim extremist view' is reported often, respondents frequently selected it in combination with another category. In one third of the cases of anti-Semitic harassment, respondents chose it together with 'someone with a left-wing political view' (33 %); in one quarter, together with the category 'teenager or group of teenagers' (22 %). Slightly fewer respondents also selected 'someone else I did not know' (15 %), 'work or school/college colleague' (14 %); or 'someone with a right-wing political view' (13 %) in addition to 'someone with Muslim extremist view.'"[1]
Previously, in November 2018, O'Flaherty's agency published a report, "Antisemitism - Overview of data available in the European Union 2007–2017," which stated:
"The main perpetrators of antisemitic incidents are 'Islamists' and radicalised young Muslims, including schoolchildren, as well as neo-Nazis and sympathisers of extreme-right and, in some cases, extreme-left groups".[2]
Antisemitic incidents were defined as including "violence; threats; insults directed at Jews going to the synagogue; harassment of rabbis; repeated attacks on Jews wearing symbols of their religion; hate speech; antisemitic bullying in schools; and damage to or desecration of property, including arson".[3]

"Religious intolerance and discrimination in its various forms is rising globally and not only in Europe and in particular against the Muslims," said Ismat Jahan, ambassador of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Brussels. She also condemned any attempt to link religion and Muslims with terrorism as "irresponsible" and warned that it "further polarizes society".

The high-level conference is just one small aspect of the system that the EU has in place to combat what it sees as manifestations of hate against Muslims, and many call "Islamophobia".

On the same day of the conference, the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency launched a new online tool, "Freeing Muslims from hatred: a toolbox for Europe." It is a database meant to "assist Member States as they confront anti-Muslim hatred. It seeks to expand the knowledge base available to policy makers and practitioners so they can develop more effective responses". The database "brings together information on significant international, European and national, regional and local level case law and rulings relating to hate crime, hate speech and discrimination against Muslims". Furthermore, "By providing a unique street-level view of victim support services in all 28 EU Member States, it will also guide to where they can find appropriate information, support and protection."

One of the foremost tools used by the EU is its "Code of conduct on countering illegal hate speech online," including hate speech against Muslims. By signing up to the Code, the major technology and social media corporations have committed themselves to censoring the internet on behalf of the EU, including the review of offending content in less than 24 hours and, if necessary, removing or disabling access to such content. "Progress" is regularly reported in the context of the High Level group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance; according to the EU, "in the recent evaluations of the Code, hate speech targeting Muslims features as the most frequently reported ground of hatred online".

The EU is not the only organization in Europe laboring to censor voices critical of whatever they may not agree with.

In October, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, (OSCE) held a conference on a similar topic, "Conference on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination, with a Focus on Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief: Towards a Comprehensive Response in the OSCE Region". In a completely secularized Europe, religion, for decision makers, has become one of the top issues.

At the OSCE conference, "Government officials and representatives of civil society and religious communities discussed good practices for addressing racism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination".

"Fighting intolerance has been among the priorities of Italy's OSCE Chairmanship. We firmly believe that freedom of religion or belief, individual or collective, is indivisible: each offense to a religion is an offense to all," said Guglielmo Picchi, Italian Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.

Which "religion" in Europe takes constant "offense"? The religion that Picchi is referring to is the only one that seems constantly to be taking offense. Apparently, it is no longer enough, as "each offense to a religion" is now "an offense to all", that members of one religion are offended. Now, it seems, according to the OSCE, every European is supposed to be offended in solidarity with them, as well.
Judith Bergman, a columnist, lawyer and political analyst, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

[1] Second survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in the EU, p 53.
[2] "Antisemitism - Overview of data available in the European Union 2007–2017" p 14.
[3] Ibid.

Judith Bergman, a columnist, lawyer and political analyst, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Free Health Care for Illegal Immigrants - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Progressives combine open borders and government-funded universal health care demands.

The left-wing bastions of California and New York City are becoming more than just sanctuaries for illegal immigrants already residing there. They are being transformed into powerful magnets luring more illegal immigrants to enter the country. California Governor Gavin Newsom and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio intend to have their legal residents pay for the comprehensive health care of illegal immigrants.

Amongst New York City's roughly 600,000 uninsured who will be guaranteed government-funded health care under Mayor de Blasio’s plan are an estimated 300,000 so-called “undocumented New Yorkers" – i.e., illegal immigrants. The mayor’s proposed social experiment in universal health care, including for illegal immigrants, is estimated overall to cost $100 million per year. "We also have a way to provide direct health care to a lot of our neighbors who happen to be undocumented,” Mayor de Blasio said. “They're still part of our community. They need health care; their families need health care."

California Governor Newsom wants to extend health care benefits already offered to illegal immigrants under the age of 19 to young adults up to the age of 26. This would make California “the first state in the nation to cover young undocumented adults through a state Medicaid program,” the governor’s office boasted last Monday. The additional cost has been estimated at $250 million a year, which could rise to as much as $400 million by the 2020-2021 fiscal year. “It’s the moral thing to do … When we talk about universal health care, it means everybody,” Governor Newsom said.

The next step, if Governor Newsom and some other state Democrat politicians have their way, would be to extend state-funded health care to all uninsured illegal immigrant California residents, irrespective of age.

Out of the estimated 1.8 million people in California who are uninsured and reside in California illegally, approximately 1.2 million would qualify for Medi-Cal, which is the state’s part of the federal Medicaid program. The plan would be to fund this giveaway out of California’s own general fund to avoid the restrictions in Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid provisions that prohibit the use of federal funds for illegal aliens. The bill to California taxpayers would be an estimated $3 billion. Such a plan “means more and more illegal immigrants will come to California, which would put incredible additional pressure on California’s budget,” said Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute.

In short, such freebies for illegal immigrants will drain state and city budgets of taxpayer funds that should be spent to improve infrastructure and the delivery of basic public services for the benefit of legal residents. Too many illegal immigrants will overwhelm the health care system and drive up health care costs while lowering the quality of service for virtually everyone.

Not to worry, say the progressives who reject the very idea that someone can be in this country illegally. To call someone an illegal immigrant, they believe, is racist. We should be a welcoming country to all migrants who want to enter no matter how, they argue. The more the merrier for both the immigrants themselves and the progressives who see a treasure trove of potential votes down the road. No wonder Speaker Nancy Pelosi tries to shut down any rational discussion of funding for physical border barriers at the U.S. border with Mexico by claiming that such barriers are “immoral.” This exercise in self-righteousness and hypocrisy is itself immoral.

Border barriers are only “immoral” to those who think sanctuary cities and states are acting morally when they shield illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes separate and apart from their illegal entry itself.  Pelosi’s twisted moral code led her to reiterate her support for San Francisco’s liberal sanctuary policies right after the death of Kathryn Steinle at the hands of an illegal immigrant, a felon who had been previously deported five times. San Francisco authorities released this monster rather than turn him over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as the federal agency had requested.

Border barriers are also only “immoral” to those who think that illegal immigrants should be rewarded for their illegal entry with plenty of freebies. Progressives combine their moral certitude that our borders must be open with their moral certitude that comprehensive health care is a basic “universal human right.” Thus, for progressives, anyone residing in this country, regardless of immigration status, must be granted this “universal right.” Their sanctuary cities and states would become honeypots attracting more and more illegal immigrants to partake.

It is “immoral,” progressives believe, to worry about the cost of health care for all, including those who should not be in this country in the first place. It is their hidden agenda that is truly immoral. Progressives would like nothing more than to overwhelm the health care system in keeping with the so-called Cloward-Piven Strategy, first proposed in 1966 by two members of the Democratic Socialists of America, Richard Andrew Cloward and his wife Frances Fox Piven. The idea is to increasingly overload the current capitalist economic system deliberately with impossible financial demands so that it collapses from within, leading to radical change.

As Brian Joondeph wrote in American Thinker: “Think of what the current migrant caravan means in terms of Cloward-Piven.  Thousands of poor, unskilled migrants entering the US. They need health care, education, housing, food, clothing, and other basic needs which all cost money. Who pays for this?” The answer is you and I. Universal health care, including for illegal immigrants, is becoming mainstream within today’s Democrat Party.

The current battle over funding for President Trump’s border barrier is a battle not only over defense of the southern border from the surge of immigrants seeking to enter the country by any means possible. It is part of the larger battle to defend America as we know it from those who seek its radical transformation into their fantasy of a progressive utopia.

Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Trump Moves Closer to Invoking Emergency Powers to Build Wall - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

Open-borders fanatics can’t argue with the National Emergencies Act of 1976 - which Obama invoked 10 times.

Fed up with Democratic obstruction, President Donald J. Trump moved closer yesterday to fulfilling his signature campaign promise by declaring a national emergency under federal law so the government can finally move forward with building a desperately needed wall on the nation’s porous multi-state border with Mexico.

“We’re either going to have a win, make a compromise, because I think a compromise is a win for everybody, or I will declare a national emergency,” Trump said at the White House Thursday before leaving for a tour of the border in Texas.
They could solve this problem in literally 15 minutes. We could be back. We could have border security. They could stop this problem in 15 minutes if they wanted to. I really believe now that they don’t want to. I really believe that. I really believe that they don’t care about crime. I really believe this. The Democrats don’t care about crime.
They’ve been taken over by a group of young people who, frankly, in some cases — I’ve been watching — I actually think they’re crazy. But they’ve been taken over by a group that is so far left. I really don’t think they care about crime. And, you know, sadly, they’re viewing this as the beginning of the 2020 presidential race, and that’s okay with me. But they have been taken over by a group of people that don’t care about gangs. They don’t care about human trafficking and drugs. They don’t care about anything. I’ll tell you what — they have gone crazy.
Legal experts say the president has the authority to declare an emergency and invoke a federal statute called the National Emergencies Act that President Gerald Ford signed into law on Sept. 14, 1976.

“The Democrats & their media mouthpieces have been warned, either deal or the president will exercise his statutory authority under the National Emergencies Act,” tweeted conservative radio host and Landmark Legal Foundation founder Mark R. Levin.

While left-wing constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley expressed concern in The Hill newspaper about the wisdom of such an invocation, he wrote that it is clearly a legitimate legal option available to Trump.

“Congress expressly gave presidents the authority to declare such emergencies and act unilaterally,” Turley writes.
The 1976 National Emergencies Act gives presidents sweeping authority as well as allowance in federal regulations to declare an “immigration emergency” to deal with an “influx of aliens which either is of such magnitude or exhibits such other characteristics that effective administration of the immigration laws of the United States is beyond the existing capabilities” of immigration authorities “in the affected area or areas.” The basis for such an invocation generally includes the “likelihood of continued growth in the magnitude of the influx,” rising criminal activity, as well as high “demands on law enforcement agencies” and “other circumstances.”
“Democrats,” Turley writes, “have not objected to use of this authority regularly by past presidents, including roughly 30 such emergencies that continue to this day. Other statutes afford additional emergency powers.”

Turley adds that a Congressional Research Service report from 2007 stated, “Under the powers delegated by such statutes, the president may seize property, organize and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces abroad, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States citizens.”

President Trump has already invoked the National Emergencies Act three times in his tenure, according to ABC News. President Barack Obama invoked the statute no fewer than 10 times.

Given the state of Trump’s current relations with the opposition party, an emergency declaration may be the president’s only means of ending the wall-funding stalemate.

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives voted 217 to 185 on Dec. 20 for a spending bill with $5.7 billion for the wall. The measure floundered in the Senate and the partial shutdown got underway Dec. 22. The Senate remains in Republican hands but the House is now controlled by Democrats.

The president’s negotiations with Democrats over the $5 billion needed to begin construction of the border wall have gone nowhere and the federal government continues to be partially shut down for lack of appropriated funds. Although pressure on Trump has been growing, the president has vowed to keep the shutdown going as long as it takes to secure funding for the wall.

It’s been a rough week for wall opponents.

Left-wing entertainer Cher, one of the most visibly partisan Democrats in Hollywood, urged Democrats to abandon their suicidal opposition to the wall.

After calling Pelosi “A HERO” in all-caps, Cher tweeted that Democrats should give the president the money for the wall, otherwise people “WILL STARVE LOSE THEIR HOMES, B UNABLE 2 C DRS.”

“DON[’]T DIE ON THIS HILL[,]” she wrote.

But that’s exactly what Democratic leaders seem intent on doing.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) haven’t exactly been taking the negotiations seriously. Last week Pelosi mocked Trump, saying she would give the president $1 to reopen the government,

“One dollar? Yeah, one dollar,” Pelosi said. “The fact is a wall is an immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation.”

At 7 o’clock last night, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted his disgust with Democrats.

“Mr. President, the Democrats are not working in good faith you. Declare emergency, build the wall now.”

At a linguistically tortured presser yesterday, a bug-eyed Pelosi, who turns 79 on March 26, seemed to say the roads near the border should be improved to make it easier for illegals to enter the United States. We should “repair the roads to facilitate immigration and trade in those regions.”

Her comment came as CNN’s Jim Acosta made a fool of himself at the border. In a video package intended to show there is no crisis at the border, Acosta ended up inadvertently proving that walls work.

Walking alongside some of the heavy border fencing near McAllen, Texas, Acosta said, “Here are some of the steel slats that the president’s been talking about.”

“But as we’re walking along here, we’re not seeing any kind of imminent danger.”

Acosta added, “There are no migrants trying to rush toward this fence,” and there is “no sign of the national emergency the president has been talking about.”

Trump heaped scorn on the CNN on-air personality, tweeting “Dear Diary ...” along with Acosta’s tweet about the report.

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


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter