Saturday, April 6, 2019

What Is Behind the Opposition to Peace with Israel? - Bassam Tawil

by Bassam Tawil

The Trump administration will soon discover what every child in the Arab and Islamic world already knows

  • The anti-Israel campaign in the Arab and Islamic world sees peace with Israel -- and not failed leadership, bad economic policies and corruption -- as the biggest threat to Arabs and Muslims. Recognizing Israel's right to exist is also seen by many Arabs and Muslims as a humiliation to their values, their culture, their political power and their economic traditions. They seem concerned that Arabs and Muslims might wake up one morning and start demanding freedom of expression and free and democratic elections like the ones held every few years in Israel.
  • The anti-peace camp seems to want its people to continue living in misery and under dictatorships, so that it is easier to recruit people to jihad against Israel and the West. Also, if people are lifted from poverty and misery and begin to enjoy the fruits of modern civilization, there is a chance that Arabs and Muslims will move away from Islam and even start endorsing the inadmissible values of the West.
  • The Trump administration will soon discover what every child in the Arab and Islamic world already knows: that the Israeli-Arab conflict is not about a settlement or a checkpoint or a security fence, but about Israel's very right to exist in the Middle East. The Trump administration will also learn that peace with Israel is seen by many Arabs and Muslims as nothing but an unacceptable threat that must at all costs be stopped.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is often described by Western media and officials as "moderate" and "pragmatic," last year quoted Egyptian intellectual Abdel-Wahab El-Messiri, saying Israel "constitutes a colonialist enterprise that has nothing to do with Judaism," and adding that Europeans wanted "to transfer the Jews" to the Middle East because "they wanted this region to become an advanced post to protect the interests and the convoys coming from Europe to the East." (Image source: MEMRI video screenshot)

Peace with Israel is purportedly a form of surrender and submission that will harm the dignity of Arabs and Muslims.

This is the theme of a massive campaign being waged by Palestinians and other Arabs in preparation for the announcement of the US administration's plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the "deal of the century." The plan, according to US officials, is expected to be announced sometime after the general elections in Israel, slated for April 9.

The latest campaign is designed to thwart the "deal of the century" and terrorize Arabs and Muslims who may wish to accept the US administration's peace plan.

As part of an effort to raise awareness to the dangers of the "deal of the century," an increasing number of Palestinians and Arabs are now trying to explain to their people why peace and normalization of ties with Israel is totally unacceptable.

The latest effort came in the form of an online campaign called "The International Anti-Normalization Campaign."

The organizers of the campaign say they are worried that some Arab states and leaders may cooperate with the "deal of the century." They are concerned because they see that some Arab states and leaders are already engaged in various forms of normalization with Israel.

The campaign clearly aims to send a warning not only to ordinary Arabs and Muslims, but also to their leaders, about the "dangerous repercussions" of making peace with Israel.

According to the organizers of the anti-peace campaign, "normalization [with Israel] is the miserable outcome of a culture of surrender and submission" -- and concessions and peace are only shameful and degrading.

For them, the words peace and compromise (with Israel) seem associated with extremely negative connotations such as retreat, defeat and surrender.

Recognizing Israel's right to exist is also seen by many Arabs and Muslims as a humiliation to their values, their culture, their political power and their economic traditions. They have been educated to see Israel as an alien body and a "colonial project" planted in the Middle East by Western powers. They therefore cannot accept the presence of Jews -- in what they regard as their own sovereign state -- on lands they believe belong solely to Muslims.

Even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is often described by Western media outlets and officials as a "moderate" and "pragmatic" Arab leader, shares the view that Israel is nothing but a "colonial project." In a speech before PLO delegates in Ramallah last year, Abbas quoted Egyptian intellectual Abdel-Wahab El-Messiri, saying:
"The functional nature of Israel means that it was evoked by colonialism in order to fulfill a specific function, and thus it constitutes a colonialist enterprise that has nothing to do with Judaism."
Abbas added:
"[Oliver Cromwell] came up with the idea of transferring the Jews from Europe to the Middle East... because they wanted this region to become an advanced post to protect the interests and the convoys coming from Europe to the East... He asked Holland, which owned the largest fleet in the world, to transfer the Jews, but the project was unsuccessful. This was in 1653."
In the past year, Abbas has also repeatedly announced his rejection of the unseen "deal of the century." He has referred to the plan as a "conspiracy" and the "slap of the century." How then can he turn to his people and suddenly accept it -- or any deal that might recognize Israel's right to exist?

"Normalization [with Israel] is tantamount to defeat," explained Mohammed al-Adloni, secretary-general of an anti-Israel group, "The International Coalition for Supporting Jerusalem and Palestine."

He went on to warn that making peace or normalizing ties with Israel would constitute a threat to the "consciousness" of Arabs and Muslims. Making peace with Israel, al-Adloni said, would be like "a complete occupation of the consciousness [of Arabs and Muslims]."

Al-Adloni and other anti-Israel activists in the Arab and Islamic countries appear worried that, should they make peace with the "Zionist entity," their people might be exposed to democratic values and freedom of expression. They seem concerned that Arabs and Muslims wake up one morning and start demanding free and democratic elections like the ones held every few years in Israel.

The anti-peace camp in the Arab and Islamic world appears not to want its people exposed to advanced Israeli technology, including medical care. This camp seems to want its people to continue living in misery and under dictatorships, so that it is easier to recruit people to jihad against Israel and the West. Also, if people are lifted from poverty and misery, and their living conditions are improved so they begin to enjoy the fruits of modern civilization, there is a chance that Arabs and Muslims will move away from Islam and even start endorsing the inadmissible values of the West.

This camp, extremists, seem not to care about lowering the high rate of unemployment among Arabs and Muslims, improving the living conditions of its people or offering young Arabs and Muslims hope for a better future. They seem instead to want their people to continue living in misery so that their anger, again, can be directed more easily towards Israel and the West.

The anti-Israel campaign in the Arab and Islamic world sees peace with Israel -- and not failed leadership, bad economic policies and corruption -- as the biggest threat to Arabs and Muslims. The message that the anti-peace activists are sending to their people says: "Peace with Israel is the worst thing that could happen to us Arabs and Muslims because these Jews will invade our minds and our culture."

Yasser Qadoura, who represents a Lebanon-based group called "The Popular Committee for Palestinians in the Diaspora," says that his organization is now making a big effort to educate Arabs and Muslims about the "dangers" of peace and normalization with Israel. He said that his followers and he are planning to publish a "list of shame" containing the names of Arabs and Muslims who are caught promoting peace and normalization or trying to make peace with Israel.

Anyone whose name appears on the list will immediately be denounced by Arabs and Muslims as a "traitor." Treason, in many of the Arab and Islamic countries, is a charge punishable by death. The "list of shame" would therefore be seen by Arabs and Muslims as a license to kill anyone who dared even to talk about peace with Israel.

Last month, a large group of Arab and Islamic activists who met in the Lebanese capital of Beirut ruled that "all forms of normalization with the Zionist entity are an act of treachery." According to the group, an Arab or Muslim who even engages in sports, cultural and artistic activities with the "Zionist entity" would be considered a "traitor." In the eyes of the Arab and Islamic activists, including Islamic religious leaders, anyone who plays soccer or attends a cultural event with a Jew would be condemned as a "traitor."

If and when US President Donald J. Trump's administration finally publishes its plan, it will discover that many Arabs and Muslims have already launched a campaign of intimidation to stop their leaders from making peace with Israel. If an Arab or Muslim child is prohibited from playing soccer with a Jew, how can the Trump administration expect the Arabs and Muslims to recognize Israel's right to exist?

The Trump administration will soon discover what every child in the Arab and Islamic world already knows: that the Israeli-Arab conflict is not about a settlement or a checkpoint or a security fence, but about Israel's very right to exist in the Middle East. The Trump administration will also learn that peace with Israel is seen by many Arabs and Muslims as nothing but an unacceptable threat that must at all costs be stopped.

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


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The suffering of Gaza's population - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Very little has been written about the reign of terror Hamas has inflicted on the people of Gaza.

The Gaza Strip's borders have been under an Israeli-imposed siege ever since Hamas – a terror organization by any definition of the term – overran Gaza and turned it into a terror state, hostile both to Israel and its southern neighbor, Egypt and also to the nearly two million residents of the Strip itself. 

Much has been written about the terror Hamas aims at Israel by means of the rockets, explosive balloons and incendiary kites that have turned life in the Israeli communities in close proximity to Gaza, known as 'The Gaza Envelope," into hell on  earth. It is important to realize that despite all the terror Hamas exports to Israel, the Jewish state continues to supply Gaza's population with food, drinking water, fuel, electricity, medicines, and more.

Much has also been written about the terror operations carried out by Hamas and the terrorist organizations under its wing in Egypt, including hundreds of tunnels used to export terror to Egypt and help to terrorist organizations in the Sinai and within Egypt. These include the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and the remnants of ISIS, fleeing terrorists who took shelter among Sinai-based tribes. 

For years, Egypt has accused Hamas of fanning the flames of terror in the Sinai and Egypt and this is the main reason for the fact that the Rafah crossing – the only legal way to go from Gaza to Egypt – is closed for most of the year. Egypt, in fact, has imposed a much more severe siege on Gaza than has Israel, since Egypt does not supply the Gazans with anything, but little has been written about that. 

Similarly, very little has been written about the terror Hamas inflicts on the residents of Gaza. A reign of terror began in June 2007 when the Hamas movement seized control of the Strip and attacked the Palestinian Authority security forces with extreme brutality: Scores of PA police died when a tunnel dug by Hamas under one of the PA security installations was booby trapped and set off, others were shot down in front of their families, and some were thrown from the roofs of the residential buildings they escaped to for fear of Hamas only to be hurled to their deaths on the asphalt.

Hamas terrorists eliminated at least twenty members of Amarat Beyt al-Maqdis in Rafah when they shot them on the street in cold blood. Over the years, a good many of those who expressed opposition to Hamas died in the organization's torture chambers. Another horrible practice developed by Hamas was to swoop down on the homes of those opposed to it at night and rape their wives and daughters. These methods sealed the mouths of many of those opposed to Hamas who did not want to pay the steep price of opposition to the terrorist organization that has taken over the lives of Gaza's residents. 

Recently, however, more and more complaints have been leveled at Hamas by Gazans, due to the disastrous economic situation in the Strip and the fact that it affects most of those living there. The only group whose lives continue as usual is that of the Hamas leadership, which has become wealthy by levying exorbitant taxes on food and merchandise imported to the Strip. For example, a box of tomatoes costs the consumer 200 shekels and one of cucumbers 150 shekels, many times more than the price charged by the Israeli supplier. Hamas, naturally, blames Israel and the PA for the miserable situation, but the Gazans are not stupid: They have begun pointing an accusing finger at those who appointed themselves to be responsible for Gaza's future, but who first take good care of themselves.

Dissatisfaction with Hamas has grown stronger over the past few months during which Qatar transferred – with Israeli permission - 15 million dollars each month to the Strip. At first the money came in suitcases stuffed with cash, later on by means of bank transfers. These funds were not used to rebuild the ruins of the last Israeli IDF air strikes in response to incessant shelling of Israeli civilian communities, to build schools, health facilities, support welfare or employment needs, nor were they used to subsidize foodstuffs. They went to pay the salaries of Hamas employees, as if there is no one else needy in the Strip. 

On March 21 – in the midst of preparations for the "March of the Million" planned for March 30th, Land Day, protests with the mantra "We want to live" erupted in Gaza. Someone even created a logo for these anti-Hamas protests, aimed at the leadership's corruption and the terrible economic situation brought about by its policies. Other signs seen at the protests were "The Revolution of the Hungry," "Religion, homeland and legitimacy have left you." This last sign is the most damaging, because Hamas bases its legitimacy on its connection to Islam, love of homeland and the legitimacy it gained in the 2006 elections when it won most of the seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The Hamas leadership needed no time at all to realize the size of the threat posed by the street as well as its potential significance, because its members are fully aware of what the man in the street thinks of them. Before the demonstrations could gain more participants, widen their scope and begin to snowball, Hamas security forces attacked the demonstrators with clubs and kidnapped some of the organizers to unknown destinations, dispersing the protestors with severe cruelty and injuring many of them with heavy blows. 

The public responded by posting videos showing Hamas security forces in their camouflage uniforms mercilessly beating peaceful demonstrators, by publicizing photographs of the injuries inflicted on the demonstrators and by posts on social media, the likes of which had never been seen before.  Imad abu Neima wrote: "I am writing to you from Shifa Hospital, from  amidst  the ever growing number of injured, and out of their rock-splitting groans and I say: The condition of the injured is very bad and they are an albatross around your necks, o leaders, and need you to take a great interest in them. Don't lose them because that will mean losing your families. Care for them as you would if it were your sons who are injured." 

The writer's words hint at the impossible situation known to all Gazans:  Hamas gives preference to its own families in everything, and when all of Gaza is suffering, this rankles even more than usual. The discrimination will become even greater on April 6th, when Ramadan, during which it is the custom to consume more food at night because of the daily fast, begins.

One writer posted: "Go to the Jews to learn from them [how a political leader acts towards his citizens]. Imagine!  A fellow resident of my city beat me in front of my parents!! Hamas oppresses, breaks the arms and legs of women, children and the elderly."

Hamas has internalized the problem but lifts an accusing finger at Israel. Salah Albardwil, a member of the political office of Hamas, claims that all the protests and activities using the mantra "We want to live" are organized by the Intelligence Corps of the PA which incited the masses against Hamas while, at the same time, its men eliminated a poor boy from Gaza who infiltrated the PA to bring some money to his mother and brothers.

Hamas leader Yihye Sinwar outdid them all when he declared on March 30: "'Land Day'…Our nation emphasizes its loyalty to our basic principles, it will never relinquish the right of return despite those who do (=PLO), despite the normalization of the normalizers (=Saudi, UAR, Egyptian and Jordanian officials), and in the face of the collaborators (=the PA)." He then added: "Our people go out today to say 'We want to live with honor' (=in the face of Israeli humiliation).." By saying this, Sinwar manages to outflank the protest movement, taking the phrase used by the protestors against Hamas and re-directing it against Israel. 

On another occasion, Sinwar did the same, proclaiming: "Our people say strongly that they intend to continue on their present path and will break the siege with the power of the strong or the helplessness of the weak, because our nation goes out [to the border fence] today to say  'We want to live with honor.'"

The PA did not ignore the Gaza protests and Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told the cameras: "…A curse on the fathers [of Hamas]…Dogs…we have an exemplary people in Gaza…may Allah help them..their sacrifice will not be forgotten…they (Hamas)  have to end up in the dustbin of history."

Hamas spokesmen did not take these insults lying down. They accused Mahmoud Abbas of spreading the culture of "we want to live" in the areas under his control, meaning that he prefers they seek a livelihood, support their families and give up the opposition to Israel. Hamas believes that Abbas turned the Palestinian nation into a passive, spineless people, whose only wish is to live in the present, abandoning the dream of destroying Israel, the struggle to free Falestin and the hope for "return."

This "we want to live" culture is the total opposite of Hamas, which bases all its activities on Palestinian Arab willingness – both individual and group – to be sacrificed on the altar of the homeland in order to eliminate the Zionist entity and return to the villages from which they claim their grandparents fled in the 1948 war.

Does the sacrifice expected of Gaza residents include the sons of Hamas operatives? Gazans know the answer to that, which is why they are going out to the streets chanting :"We want to live"                                        

Is this the harbinger of an "Arab Spring" in the Hamas state of Gaza? Only time will tell. 

Translated from Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky

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


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The Darkness at the Heart of Radical Feminism - Carrie Gress

by Carrie Gress

And how it's savaging western civilization.

Reprinted from The Stream.

In 1970, the academically successful but mentally unstable Kate Millett found herself on the cover of Timemagazine with the title “The Politics of Sex: Kate Millett and Women’s Lib,” featuring her book Sexual Politics.Considered groundbreaking, Millett quickly became the intellectual force behind radical feminism. Time called her the “high priestess” of the movement and her book, its bible.

The New York Times also called her book “the Bible of Women’s Liberation” and “a remarkable document because it analyzes the need and nature of sexual liberation while itself displaying the virtues of intellectual and emotional openness and lovingness.” Time also called her “the Karl Marx of the Women’s Movement” because her book laid out a course in Marxism 101 for women. “Her thesis: The family is a den of slavery with the man as the Bourgeoisie and the woman and children as the Proletariat.”

A few months after Millett appeared on Time’s cover, the magazine ran a second article about her, this time less laudatory. The article, entitled “Women’s Lib: A Second Look,” attacked Millett for her bisexuality. The fame and the shame, many people say, destroyed her. Her personality wasn’t strong enough for the glowing limelight, followed by the dark scrutiny.

Dark and Demented

“Kate had a s***load of charm and, in the beginning, a commanding presence,” Phyllis Chesler recalls. “But she also had periods in which she didn’t sleep, raged at others, attempted suicide, and exploited her groupies — all the while feeling victimized by them (which she was). She couldn’t be counted on to remain lucid at a press conference. She also fell in love, and tried to have her way, quite aggressively, with woman after woman (including me).”

Millett died in 2017. But her sister, Mallory Millett, has started speaking up about the irreparable damage Kate did to Western culture through the popularization of her dark and demented work. Mallory attests to the fact that Kate’s mania wasn’t brought on by the Time articles. It had preexisted her fame since childhood. “She was the most disturbed, megalomaniacal, evil and dishonest person I have ever known,” Mallory said. “Kate tried to kill me so many times that it’s now an enormous blur of traumatizing horrors. She was a sadist, a torturer, a deeply-engrained bully who took immense pleasure in hurting others.”

“What the Time article did do,” Mallory says, “is it destroyed her marriage. Despite being seduced by a female professor in college, Kate had given up her lesbian lifestyle when she married Fumio Yoshimura, and for seventeen years, they had a happy marriage.”

After the Time article appeared Kate got ambushed at an evening church meeting by a cabal of lesbians, who felt left out of the movement’s limelight. “To defend herself against their charges, Kate confessed that she had once been a lesbian, unaware that two Time reporters were among the throng. This prompted the second Time article, but it also led Kate back to promiscuity as a lesbian and the ruin of her life with Fumio. It was something that she would regret for the rest of her life.”’

Relationships Destroyed

Kate’s relationship and the years of heartache and regret it brought to both spouses proved hardly an isolated case. The movement destroyed relationship after relationship with the promise of free love and liberation. Bodies were used for amusement and vows and promises were quickly tossed aside.

Mallory spent a period devoted to her sister Kate and her radical ideas before returning to the Catholic faith of their childhood. She eventually left Kate’s inner circle when things just got too weird. But she spent enough time with women in the movement to see its underbelly. Mallory has dark stories that make it clear these women were involved in the occult, with a Marxist twist.

A Litany of Evil

“It was 1969 and she took me to a meeting at her friend, Lila Karp’s place, in Greenwich Village,” Mallory explains. “At a consciousness raising (an idea imported from Mao’s China), twelve women gathered at a large table. They opened with a type of Litany from the Catholic Church. But this time it was Marxism, the church of the Left.”

“Why are we here today?” the chairwoman asked. “To make revolution,” they answered.

“What kind of revolution?” she replied. “The Cultural Revolution,” they chanted.

“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” she demanded.

“By destroying the American family!” they answered.

“How do we destroy the family?” she came back.

“By destroying the American Patriarch,” they cried exuberantly.

“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she probed.

“By taking away his power!” “How do we do that?”

“By destroying monogamy!” they shouted. “How can we destroy monogamy?”

“By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution, abortion and homosexuality!” they resounded.

Pregnancy Is “Barbaric.”

Such antics might seem insignificant except for the fact that these women achieved all of their goals. The rhetoric used to convince women to engage in these things seems ridiculous now, but somehow it was compelling then.

But the craziness didn’t stop with Kate. “Shulamith Firestone called pregnancy ‘barbaric,’ preferred artificial reproduction and imagined a utopia in which children, like Eros, would roam freely throughout the world.” Mallory adds, “Greer, with a PhD from Cambridge, encouraged women to taste their own menstrual blood and discouraged them from partnering monogamously. ‘Women,’ Greer claimed, ‘have very little idea of how much men hate them.’”

These ideas extended beyond their little troop of women through the women’s studies programs they helped establish across the country. In those women’s studies classes, a young impressionable girl, Mallory explains, “will be told, ‘Be an outlaw, be a damned outlaw Every law was concocted by dead white men. Be a sl*t and be proud of it.’”

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Millett and her crew of eleven young women lived by this very philosophy. They started calling themselves “sl*ts” and engaged in orgies and every other sort of thing that captured the imagination.

Marxism and the Occult

Mallory marvels at how it happened, how this anti-apostolic crowd succeeded so wildly in their ragtag efforts from start to finish. “These twelve American women who were the most respectable types imaginable. Clean and privileged graduates of esteemed institutions: Columbia, Radcliffe, Smith, Wellesley, Vassar. The uncle of one was secretary of war under Franklin Roosevelt. How could they plot such a thing?” she asks.

“Most had advanced degrees and appeared cogent, bright, reasonable, and good. How did these girls rationally believe they could succeed with such vicious grandiosity? And why?” Clearly, there had to be more to their motivation and Kate’s mania. Their adherence to Marxism, and their engagement in the occult, made it a perfect storm of destruction. It was an anti-Marian bomb that is still exploding throughout Western culture.

This post is an excerpt from Carrie Gress’ new book, The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture from Toxic Femininity.

Carrie Gress has a doctorate in philosophy from the Catholic University of America and is a faculty member at Pontifex University.


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The City of David and the problem with dividing Jerusalem - Jonathan S. Tobin

by Jonathan S. Tobin

Archaeological finds continue to debunk Palestinian attempts to deny Jewish history. Yet without the Jewish presence at the site, all these precious relics would be trashed.

Those who continue to deny the historical facts about Jewish Jerusalem got more bad news this week. Archeologists working at the City of David site in Jerusalem revealed some of their latest finds, among them was a bulla or small seal that can be dated to the sixth century BCE and before the Babylonian destruction of the First Temple.

This particular item was found this past fall in the City of David, an area just outside the current Old City walls of Jerusalem, but which was the site of the biblical capital of the kingdom of Judea. The seal bears an inscription that notes that it “belonged to Natan Melech, servant of the king.”

The significance of the small seal lies in the fact that its owner is mentioned in 2 Kings as an official who worked in the service of King Josiah, who lived and died some 2,600 years ago. As such, it is one more in a growing list of evidence found in excavations at the City of David that offers proof that the stories told in the Bible of the Davidic kingdom are rooted in historical fact, not religious fiction.

This is important for two reasons.

One is that it debunks claims by Palestinians to deny Jewish history and the ties of the Jewish people to the country, and in particular, to Jerusalem.

Second, it puts into context the ongoing controversy over the excavations at the City of David and the right of Jews to move into the area.

As Bari Weiss noted in an even-handed feature published in the Sunday New York Times this past weekend, as far as the Palestinian Authority and local Arab residents are concerned, the archeologists are as unwelcome as the Jews who have come to live in this section of the ancient city.

While the significance of the treasures found there are undeniable, Israel’s critics consider the dig to be more about politics than history. By developing the site into a historical park, the City of David Foundation has been blasted as a settler group more intent on solidifying Israel’s hold on a section of the city that is not recognized as part of Israel by most of the world.

Like the Old City and the West Bank, Jordan illegally occupied the City of David site from 1948 to 1967. The Palestinian Arabs who live in the vicinity of the site consider Jews foreign interlopers, even though almost all of the property in the area is or was owned by Jews prior to the founding of the State of Israel. Though no one is chasing them out of their homes, they feel increasingly threatened by an influx of Jews into the neighborhood, now making up one-sixth of the local population, according to the Times. More than that, they bitterly resent the development of the archeological park, and consider the discoveries made there to be an insult to their belief that Jerusalem and all of its sacred sites are exclusively Arab.

Their fables about that attempt to treat the physical evidence of Jewish Jerusalem – like the Temple Mount itself and the Western Wall – as either fake or Islamic in nature have been encouraged by Palestinian leaders like Yasser Arafat and his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority.

Critics of the City of David Foundation are against its activities because they believe that the area should be part of a future Palestinian state. They say that the development of the site and the digs are part of an effort to prevent the redivision of Jerusalem that will enable the Palestinian Authority to put its capital in the city.

Many Israelis still believe in principle in the idea of a two-state solution, though not nearly as many as in the past because of the lack of a credible Palestinian peace partner. But the effort to delegitimize the work at the City of David points to a basic problem with the concept when applied to a sensitive site. If you’re going to deny Jewish rights to the place where King David and his descendants ruled their ancient kingdom, then you can deny them anyplace in the country. And that is what Palestinians have continued to do. Their effort to treat the City of David or even the Western Wall as linked to Jewish myths rather than the beginning of Jewish civilization is inextricably linked to their refusal to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders might be drawn.

Nor can it be argued that in a two-state solution, the Palestinians could be trusted to safeguard historical sites such as these.

Just this week, evidence surfaced of ancient tombs in the Jericho area – territory that is governed by the Palestinian Authority – being looted by local Arabs. This is a commonplace occurrence throughout the territories; the region’s ancient Jewish heritage is being systematically destroyed by those out to make a profit or whose main goal is to eradicate the abundant evidence of the ancient Jewish ties to this land.

Indeed, there is no better example of such vandalism than the Temple Mount itself, where the Muslim Waqf, which administers the site, has trashed archeological evidence on a massive scale. We know the extent of the damage because of the volunteers who sift through the detritus from their work on the site and have discovered many important archeological finds that point to the Mount’s Jewish origins wantonly thrown out as trash.

The only way to protect the heritage of the City of David is to ensure that it and the rest of Jerusalem remains under undivided Israeli authority with the right of Jews to live in their ancient capital undiminished. Any other solution isn’t a path to peace, but something that will only further encourage the history deniers of the Palestinian Authority to keep fighting their war on Jewish history.

This article is reprinted with permission from

Jonathan S. Tobin


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The Hungarian resistance - Clifford D. May

by Clifford D. May

The European Union's quarrel over immigration intensifies.

Most people want to survive. What could be more natural than that? Most peoples want to survive, too. That’s no less natural.

For a thousand years, the lands inhabited by the Hungarian people have been invaded, their settlements sacked, men, women and children enslaved and slaughtered. Mongols, Ottomans, Nazis and Soviets were among those who conquered and ruled the Hungarians. Somehow, they’ve survived.

Hungarians today, a clear majority, believe their national existence – their unique identity, language, culture and traditions – is threatened again. This time, however, it is not by nomads on horseback or soldiers in tanks. It is by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Union.

In 2015, Merkel decided, on her own initiative, to establish an open-door policy for “migrants” from the broader Middle East and Africa. Since then, she and other EU leaders have been pressuring Hungary to accept its “fair share.”

All members of the EU have a “duty to make legal migration possible to help countries that are in trouble,” she has insisted. Hungary should demonstrate “solidarity” by agreeing to participate in a “fair system of distribution” of those who have arrived – more than a million in 2015, several hundred thousand since – as well as those who will arrive over the years ahead.

Here in Budapest just over a week ago, a conference was convened by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium, Hungary’s largest multidisciplinary college. Its title: “Migration: The Biggest Challenge of Our Time?”

 A featured speaker was former Czech President Václav Klaus, who argued that there was no need for a question mark on the sentence above. He accused “European elites” of seeking to replace the continent’s existing nation-states with a single “European nation,” and attempting to create a “truly European man, a Homo bruxellarum.” To accomplish that, he said, “they have to dissolve the old existing nations by mixing them with migrants from all over the world.”

He added: “Mass migration necessarily leads to substantial cultural, social and political conflicts, shocks and tensions. It touches upon fundamental aspects of citizenship, community and identity of our countries. The European political leaders pretend not to see it. This is unacceptable.”

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy made clear that he didn’t quite agree but he defended “my friend Viktor Orbán,” the controversial Hungarian prime minister, and called for compromise among the nations of a now “greatly divided” Europe.

Orbán took the podium next. He observed that the population of Africa is predicted to rise by a half billion over the next 13 years and that the gap between the quality of life in Africa and Europe will widen. He urged more economic assistance be given to Africans in their home countries.

He distinguished between asylum seekers – for whom Hungary has an application process in place – and other would-be immigrants, especially “men of military age, unarmed but in military style.”

The mainstream media mostly ignored the conference. The only CNN story I saw was headlined: “US sending diplomats to speak at migration summit – in hardline Hungary.” It criticized the Trump administration for not addressing “concerns over the spreading influence of far-right ultra-nationalist parties on the continent.”

CNN is entitled to its opinions – though in days gone by distinguishing opinions from news was a skill its reporters and editors were expected to master.

Here’s my opinion: I think Hungarians have a right to make decisions for themselves, especially about issues likely to have profound and long-lasting economic, political, cultural and demographic impacts.

We all say we value diversity and pluralism. Doesn’t that imply that different peoples are entitled to make different choices? Hungarians make such choices by casting ballots. Last year, Orbán won his third consecutive term in office, with a two-thirds majority in parliament. Oddly, however, democratic outcomes disapproved by the “elites” of whom Klaus spoke are reflexively disparaged as “populist” (or worse).

Some proponents of open borders and mass migration are undoubtedly motivated by humanitarianism. But the remedy for poverty in the developing south cannot be to resettle all the poor in the developed north.

Opponents of mass migration are often called nationalists, a term meant to be pejorative, and often justified by the assertion that it was nationalism that caused World War II and the Holocaust.

But Hitler – born in Austria – founded the Third Reich, meant to be understood as a new empire. Its goal was to conquer and rule other nations. So Nazi Germany was not nationalist but imperialist.

Can nationalism lead to hypernationalism, chauvinism, and supremacism? Sure, just as having a cocktail before dinner can lead to alcoholism. But that’s no justification for the defamation of either.

In “The Virtue of Nationalism,” Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony argues that to be a nationalist simply means believing that the world is “governed best when nations are able to chart their own independent course, cultivating their own traditions and pursuing their own interests without interference.” Does that sound “far right ultra” to you?

Orbán’s priority, and that of those who have been voting for him, is the preservation of what Hazony would call a “national collective characterized by bonds of mutual loyalty and unique inherited traditions.” Again, I ask: Is that so radical?

Hungarians, Orbán said, “don’t want to change, we’d like to stay as we are. We have our faults, of course, which we’re happy to go about correcting, but in essence, we don’t want to change.”

Merkel and other EU leaders are not obliged to agree with that view. They might be wise, however, to tolerate it.

Clifford D. May


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Turkey's Elections: What Do They Mean for Turkey and Erdoğan? - Burak Bekdil

by Burak Bekdil

Simple religious Islamist conservative and ultra-nationalist populism are still keeping Erdoğan in power, but there are signs that, if the economy keeps getting worse, those forces may not be able to save him.

Translations of this item:

  • The election results in Istanbul, now disputed by the AKP, put the opposition candidate into the lead by a margin of 23,000 votes in a city with 10.5 million voters.
  • "Though Turkey's government and many commentators are blaming the Trump administration and foreign speculators for the country's economic downturn, the reality is that it was already 'baked into the cake' many years ago due to the credit bubble that formed." — Jesse Colombo, Forbes.
  • Simple religious Islamist conservative and ultra-nationalist populism are still keeping Erdoğan in power, but there are signs that, if the economy keeps getting worse, those forces may not be able to save him. There are signs that this is taking place.

The defeat of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's AKP party in the March 31 municipal elections, coupled with a new wave of economic and financial crises, could force Erdoğan into early presidential and parliamentary elections. (Photo by Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images)

On March 31, the Turks went to the ballot box to elect mayors for their cities. Ostensibly the election results marked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's 15th consecutive election victory since his (Islamist) Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in November 2002. The AKP won the biggest number of votes (44%) nationwide. Its ultra-nationalist ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) won 7% of the vote. That was good news for Erdoğan. In reality, it was good but incomplete news for Turkey's Islamist strongman.

"Who loses Istanbul [in elections] loses Turkey," Erdoğan roared in a 2018 speech, underlying the importance of big Turkish cities in municipal elections.

He may be right. Winning Istanbul and Ankara was how political Islam eventually won Turkey. Precisely 25 years ago, in March 1994, the municipal elections caused a series of seismic events in the then-secular Turkish political landscape: In an altogether shocking election result the (Islamist) Welfare Party (RP) won Ankara and Istanbul, with Erdoğan elected as mayor of Turkey's biggest city. RP's leader, Necmettin Erbakan, Erdoğan's mentor became Turkey's first Islamist prime minister after he won the biggest number of votes in parliamentary elections in 1995, just a year after the party had won two of Turkey's biggest cities.

Ironically, 25 years later, Turkey's Islamists lost Ankara and Istanbul in another municipal election, although Erdoğan's AKP, citing vote rigging and other irregularities, challenged the results. The claim is particularly ironic as in all of past elections Erdogan was accused of vote-rigging, but only now, for the first time, are they complaining about irregularities. According to the Supreme Election Board, so far known to be a pro-Erdoğan rubber-stamp authority, opposition candidates won both Ankara and Istanbul. Ruşen Çakır, a Turkish columnist, said, perhaps prematurely:
"The election today is as historic as the local election in 1994. It's the announcement of a page that was opened 25 years ago and is now being closed".
"While losing Istanbul would be a nuclear defeat for Erdoğan," said Soner Çagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, "losing Ankara, which is shorthand for political power and government, is a pretty significant loss".

In addition, the opposition bloc won several big cities that had traditionally voted for Erdoğan's AKP. With Sunday's results, the entire Turkish coastline of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas -- as well as the capital, Ankara, some major cities in Central Anatolia, the entire Thrace region and two provinces in northeastern Turkey -- went to the opposition. The predominantly Kurdish southeast was, as always, divided between the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party and AKP.

What do the election results mean for Turkey and Erdoğan? A few observations:
  • Allegations about Erdoğan's/AKP's vote-rigging have never been unconvincing, but the magnitude was hard to prove. It was anyone's guess: from 1% to 10%. This author has been on the lower end of the wide spectrum. The election results in Istanbul, now disputed by the AKP, put the opposition candidate into the lead by a margin of 23,000 votes in a city with 10.5 million voters.
  • It was the economy, not politics, that caused the average Turk, otherwise a staunch supporter of Erdoğan, to feel bitter about the government. In 2018, the Turkish lira hit record-low levels against major Western currencies; the unemployment rate hit a nine-year-high; inflation spiked, and the economy shrank by 2.4% in the last quarter of the year and 1.6% in the third quarter. Jesse Colombo of Forbes wrote:
    "Though Turkey's government and many commentators are blaming the Trump administration and foreign speculators for the country's economic downturn, the reality is that it was already 'baked into the cake' many years ago due to the credit bubble that formed".
  • That "baking into the cake" is Erdoğan's worst nightmare. His election defeat, coupled with a new wave of economic and financial crises (a new Turkish lira plunge, surging bond and inflation rates, several conglomerates in the defaulting queue, more jobless voters, price hikes, more taxes and banking restrictions) could force Erdoğan into early presidential and parliamentary elections (now scheduled for June 2023). Erdoğan, relying on his nationalist partner, MHP, has played down the message of the municipal elections, ruling out early national elections at any time. "Please do not be heartbroken with this result," Erdoğan told party loyalists after the March 31 election results came in. "As of tomorrow morning, we will start finding and making up for our shortcomings," Erdogan added.
  • Ironically, the two "kingmaker" forces in the near future of Turkish politics will be the two camps that have traditionally been most hostile to each other: Turkish and Kurdish nationalists, both of which have around a 10% popularity in nationwide elections. Until 2016, Erdoğan courted the Kurds and deeply antagonized Turkish nationalists, including his best ally, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli. He then scrapped all peace talks with the Kurds, made a U-turn and allied himself with Bahçeli -- a smart maneuver that earned him votes in the 2018 presidential race. After March 31, Erdoğan can easily calculate that his dependency on Bahçeli has grown even bigger. Bahçeli, for his part, could be tempted to abandon Erdoğan and, before a near-crisis has turned into a perfect storm, call for early national elections, by citing economic mismanagement.
Simple religious Islamist conservative and ultra-nationalist populism are still keeping Erdoğan in power, but there are signs that, if the economy keeps getting worse, those forces may not be able to save him. There are many signs that this is taking place.

Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey's leading journalists, was recently fired from the country's most noted newspaper after 29 years, for writing in Gatestone what is taking place in Turkey. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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2,000-year-old menorah discovered near Beersheba - i24NEWS and Israel Hayom Staff

by i24NEWS and Israel Hayom Staff 

Find marks first evidence of 2,000-year-old Jewish settlement, as the site appears to contain underground hidden passageways used by Jewish rebels around the first century C.E., says Israel Antiquities Authority.

2,000-year-old menorah discovered near Beersheba
The 2,000-year-old oil lamp shard decorated with a nine-branched menorah | Photo: Anat Rasiuk, Israel Antiquities Authority

The remains of an oil lamp depicting the Jewish lampstand used to symbolize the “eternal light,” the menorah, estimated to date back 2,000 years, was discovered at an archaeological excavation site in Israel’s Negev Desert, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Thursday.

“This is probably one of the earliest artistic depictions of a nine-branched menorah yet discovered,” the IAA archaeologist Dr. Daniel Varga said.

The IAA said it was the first evidence discovered of a 2,000-year-old Jewish settlement, as the site appears to contain underground hidden passageways used by Jewish rebels around the first century C.E., leading up to the Bar-Kokhba Revolt in 135 C.E.

“For the first time, the remains of a Jewish settlement of the Second Temple period have been discovered in Beersheba,” the Government Press Office said.

The shard of the rare oil lamp depicts a menorah with nine branches, since seven-branched menorahs could only be found inside the ancient temple in Jerusalem, of which only the Western Wall remains.

This article was originally published by i24NEWS.

i24NEWS and Israel Hayom Staff


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The Candace Owens Show: Brandon Tatum - Prager University

by Prager University

Former Tucson police officer exposes the war on police officers.

Former Tucson Police Officer Brandon Tatum joins Candace Owen to discuss police brutality, parenting, Blexit, the 2016 Tucson Trump Rally, the war on police officers and much more! 

Prager University


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Putin has big problems on the Russian home front - Monica Showalter

by Monica Showalter

Putin is neglecting Russia's economy back home, prompting some scary reports about Russian poverty and a new report that Russians want to flee.

Things aren't looking so strong for Russian strongman Vladimir Putin on his home front.

As Russia callously props up the brutal Marxist Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela, presumably to get repaid on billions in loans from the socialist hellhole, as well as to take a slap at us, Putin is neglecting Russia's economy back home, prompting some scary reports about Russian poverty and a new report that Russians want to flee.

Here's what U.S. News & World Report has about desire to leave:
A NEW HIGH OF one-in-five Russians say that, if they could, they would like to leave their country.
According to a new Gallup poll, in 2018, 20% of Russians wanted to permanently move to another country, an increase from 17% in 2017. The increase may be of concern to the country, which experienced a population decline last year for the first time in a decade.
Here's what Newsweek had to report about Russian poverty:
President Vladimir Putin's spokesperson has reacted with confusion to new official data showing that Russians are increasingly struggling to make ends meet.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin's press secretary, said the Kremlin did not understand the data published by Rosstat — the state statistics agency — on March 31.
When asked about the data, Peskov reportedly sighed and said the government "struggled" to understand the figures, the BBC reported. "Why shoes? Why one third? Where are these figures from?" he asked. The press secretary added he would appreciate an explanation from Rosstat as to the findings.
Combine a bad economy with weak political freedom that has been pretty weak for a while, and it's sufficient to see why people just want to leave. The New York Times had a good piece last month about how the Russian government is now trying to manipulate the numbers to keep the poverty out of the press.

Not good.

This raises questions about what Putin's own prospects are as he digs in to defend Maduro. He's been out of touch for a while — "bronzed," as New York Times correspondent Steven Lee Myers noted in his 2015 book. Analyst Michael Rubin notes that the 20% figure wanting to emigrate was also around in 2011, so we know that Russia can probably endure a lot.

But the figure keeps sliding, and Rubin thinks Russia's economy — mired in the old oil-as-a-weapon model not that different from Hugo Chávez's — and more importantly, not changing, is in trouble. As U.S. News notes, it now comes as the country has gone back to its bad old days of demographic decline. People are comparing Putin to Brezhnev now, and Brezhnev was big on military adventurism, too.

This one is worth watching. Putin's ouster may be in the cards. It certainly should be used as leverage on the matter of U.S. interests. Maduro, beware.

Monica Showalter


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A Lesson for Pope Francis on Walls and Muslims - Raymond Ibrahim

by Raymond Ibrahim

Today, many Muslims, not just of the ISIS-variety, continue to boast that Islam will conquer Rome

"I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges" has long been Pope Francis's mantra.
Most recently, when asked last Sunday "a question about migration in general and about U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to shut down the southern border with Mexico," the pope pontificated in platitudes: "Builders of walls," he said, "be they made of razor wire or bricks, will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build.... With fear, we will not move forward, with walls, we will remain closed within these walls."
Less than a week earlier, Pope Francis lectured the mayor of Rome about the need to be more welcoming to Muslim migrants. "Rome," he declared, "a hospitable city, is called to face this epochal challenge [Muslim migrants demanding entry] in the wake of its noble history; to use its energies to welcome and integrate, to transform tensions and problems into opportunities for meeting and growth."
"Rome," he exulted, "city of bridges, never walls!"
The grand irony of all this is that Pope Francis lives in the only state to be surrounded by walls—Vatican City—and most of these bastions were erected to ward off centuries of Islamic invasions.
Most notably, in 846, a Muslim fleet from North Africa consisting of 73 ships and 11,000 Muslims, landed in Ostia near Rome. Muslim merchants who frequently visited Italy had provided them with precise intelligence that made the raid a success. Although they were unable to breach the preexisting walls of the Eternal City, they sacked and despoiled the surrounding countryside, including—to the consternation of Christendom—the venerated and centuries-old basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul. The Muslim invaders desecrated the tombs of the revered apostles and stripped them of all their treasures.
Pope Leo IV (847-855) responded by building many more walls, including fifteen bastions along the right bank of the Tiber River, the mouth of which was forthwith closed with a chain to protect the sacred sites from further Muslim raids and desecrations. Completed by 852, the walls were in places 40 feet high and 12 feet thick.
Further anticipating the crusades against Islam by over two centuries—and thus showing how they were a long time coming—Pope Leo (and after him Pope John VIII) offered the remission of sins for those Christians who died fighting Islamic invaders.
Such was the existential and ongoing danger Muslims, referred to in contemporary sources as "Sons of Satan," caused for Europe—more than two centuries before the First Crusade was launched in 1095.
Indeed, just three years after the initial Muslim invasion of Rome, "in 849 the Muslims attempted a new landing at Ostia; then, every year from around 857 on, they threatened the Roman seaboard," explains French medieval historian C. E. Dufourcq:
In order to get rid of them, Pope John VIII decided in 878 to promise them an annual payment [or jizya] of several thousand gold pieces; but this tribute of the Holy See to Islam seems to have been paid for only two years; and from time to time until the beginning of the tenth century, the Muslims reappeared at the mouth of the Tiber or along the coast nearby.
Today, many Muslims, not just of the ISIS-variety, continue to boast that Islam will conquer Rome, the only of five apostolic sees never to have been subjugated by jihad (unlike Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Constantinople). Similarly, Muslims all throughout Europe continue exhibiting the same hostility and contempt for all things and persons non-Islamic, whether by vandalizing churchesand breaking crosses, or by raping "infidel" women as theirs by right. As for Italy, click here, here, and/or here for an idea of how Muslim migrants behave.
And that is the point Pope Francis misses: walls should only go down and bridges should only be extended when both parties are willing to live in amicable peace—as opposed to making the destructive work of those who have been trying to subjugate Europe in the name of Islam that much easier.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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