Saturday, May 25, 2019

Palestinian People Taken Hostage by Their Own Leaders - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

How Palestinian terror and “right of return” demands torture Palestinians.

Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s special envoy, scolded the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday for refusing to accept the obvious cause of Palestinian suffering in Gaza. He said that the Security Council needs “to admit that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are the primary barrier to the dreams of those residents of Gaza who want to live in peace, raise their families and find meaningful work.” Mr. Greenblatt condemned both terrorist organizations for continuing “to target Israeli hospitals and schools” and using Palestinian civilians, including children, as human shields. He asked, “When will the Security Council say this out loud? When will we clearly reject this terrorism?”

Mr. Greenblatt’s observation applies to the Palestinian people’s plight more generally. Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Authority leaders are holding the people they claim to represent hostage to their campaigns of violence, incitement to hatred, and absolutist demands. These leaders have no more interest in genuine peace with Israel than their forebears who rejected the United Nations’ original two-state partition solution more than 70 years ago. Time and again, Israel offered major land concessions to the Palestinians within which they would have been free to determine their own future, so long as that future did not include continuing attacks against Israelis. Time and again, Palestinian leaders spurned the offers, insisting instead on “river to sea” elimination of the Jewish state achieved through violence and artifice.

Shortly after Israel won the 1967 Six-Day War against Arab aggression and took control of the territories of the West Bank and Gaza, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 242. This was the foundational UN resolution in attempting to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict following the changed situation on the ground. It called for negotiations under the framework of Israeli withdrawal from land it had won from Arab countries, including Jordan and Egypt, in exchange for “peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” In June 1967, Moshe Dayan said, “We are waiting for the Arabs’ phone call. They know where to find us.” However, neither the major Arab states nor Palestinian leaders wanted any part of negotiations. They stubbornly clung to their three Nos: No recognition of Israel, no peace, no negotiations.

There were no Jewish settlements in the territories to speak of back in 1967 that the Palestinian leaders and their enablers could use as a pretext to delegitimize Israel. As far as they were concerned, the entire Jewish state of Israel was an illegal "colonial settlement” that needed to be eliminated for there to be any “peace” in the region. The Palestinian leaders and their enablers nullified any chance for a negotiated resolution of territorial disputes with Israel.  As a result, the Palestinian people lost the opportunity more than 50 years ago to obtain control of significant contiguous territory, within which they could have taken concrete steps to begin establishing a state of their own. This would become a recurring pattern.

In 2000, former President Bill Clinton proposed a plan that would have handed to the Palestinians a contiguous area encompassing most of the West Bank. Clinton was quoted in minutes of a meeting of negotiators held at the White House in December 2000 as saying, “Based on what I heard, I believe that the solution should be in the mid-90%'s, between 94-96% of the West Bank territory of the Palestinian State.” Israel accepted the plan, which would have also included Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Clinton said that his plan would give “the Palestinian people the ability to determine their future on their own land” and “a sovereign and viable state recognized by the international community.” The plan also contemplated a split of sovereignty within the Old City of Jerusalem “to accord respect to the religious beliefs of both sides.”

PLO leader Yasser Arafat rejected Clinton’s plan. Clinton was reportedly furious. He blamed Arafat’s insistence on the so-called “right of return,” allowing millions of so-called Palestinian  “refugees” to enter pre-1967 Israel to live, for the failure of his peace plan. Arafat’s answer to the Clinton peace plan he rejected was a campaign of violence, sabotaging a chance for his people to achieve their aspirations for self-determination in their own independent state. In short, rather than accept a solution that would have given the Palestinians their own independent state in return for giving up their absolutist claims, Arafat sold out his own people to keep the Palestinian victimhood narrative alive.

In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and four northern West Bank settlements. Around 8,500 Jewish settlers were uprooted. Israel Defense Forces installations and troops were removed. Israel’s disengagement cost nearly $3 billion. “Some 3,000 homes were razed altogether, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Haaretz reported. Israel left behind synagogue buildings, some greenhouses, and infrastructure including pipes and roads. “The disengagement decision holds hope for a better future; it transfers responsibility for the Strip to the Palestinians, who will be in charge of their destiny,” then Chief of Staff Dan Halutz said at the time. “Their true test will be to prevent terror.”

The Palestinians were overjoyed. Not surprisingly, however, some of them showed their gratitude with wanton destruction and looting, including of synagogues, greenhouses and infrastructure left behind in some locations. The Palestinians' leaders squandered an opportunity to build a prototype of a viable state focused on economic development and trade with Gaza’s neighbors, including Israel.

Dr. Mohammed Samhouri, a Palestinian economist and academic who had served as a senior economic adviser to the Palestinian Authority, has written about what could have been if the Palestinians had followed a constructive path. Instead, especially after Hamas took over full control of Gaza in 2007, Gaza was turned into a launching pad for terrorist rocket attacks. Dr. Samhouri wrote that he “was a member of a hopeful group of technocrats who developed a clear roadmap for Gaza after Israel unilateral disengagement in 2005, and then watched as that plan collapsed.” After Hamas’s “violent takeover of the entire Gaza Strip,” he added, “it was all downhill from there for Gaza.”

Israel did not initiate the violence wracking the Gaza region since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. Israel only responded in self-defense to the escalating barrage of rockets and mortar fire, principally aimed by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad at Israeli civilian population centers. Israel also tightened security at border crossings and at sea to prevent the smuggling of arms into Gaza. The Palestinian terrorists brought devastation upon the residents of Gaza by their own aggressive acts, resulting in measures that Israel had to take to protect its own citizens.

The latest round of violence in Gaza earlier this month followed this same pattern. Lebanese journalist Nadim Koteich placed the blame where it belonged.  "The peddling of the blood of the people of Gaza must stop. This battle was started by the Islamic Jihad, not by Israel," he said during an interview posted by MEMRI. "[Israel] was forced into this battle, in which it had no interest. Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005. The Palestinians should have turned the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza into an opportunity for a national Palestinian compromise. Instead, Hamas opted for a coup in 2007 and for a civil war…Hamas and The Islamic Jihad have thwarted all opportunities for peace, and they have ended up in a prison called Gaza."

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prioritizes payments to families of dead or jailed Palestinian terrorists over using tax revenue transfers from Israel, which have made up about half of the Palestinian Authority budget, to improve the lives of his own people. That is why, after Israel decided to withhold approximately 5 percent of the monthly transfer payments equivalent to Abbas’s “pay to slay” stipends, Abbas refused to accept the remaining 95 percent. “We have refused to receive the 700 million-shekel ($194 million) transfer after Israel deducted 42 million shekels from it,” Hussein al-Sheikh, the Palestinian Authority minister of civil affairs, told Reuters regarding the first planned monthly transfer of 2019.

Finally, Palestinian leaders continue to insist on the so-called “right of return” of millions of so-called Palestinian “refugees” as part of any final peace agreement.  Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which are engaged in a battle with each other to speak on behalf of all Palestinians under one centralized government, agree on this demand.

“Our people will not agree to keep the ‘right of return’ only as a slogan,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said last year in explaining the reason for so-called March of Return protests near the Gaza border with Israel that turned violent.  “We have waited for too long to return to the lands from which our grandparents were expelled 70 years ago,” said another senior Hamas official.

A video for children, appearing on Palestinian Authority TV last year, was entitled “From generation to generation, there is no alternative to the return.” A narrator said in the video, “Our return is certain, and Jerusalem is the eternal capital of our state.” It is blind hatred against Jews that is being transferred from generation to generation.

Of course, for Israel the “right of return” demand is a non-starter because it would destroy Israel’s raison d'être as a secure homeland for the Jewish people. Surprisingly, the Palestinian leaders are also out of step with many of their own people, according to two surveys conducted by different Palestinian pollsters last October. As reported by the Washington Institute, “the data suggests that a peace plan advancing Palestinian aspirations, even at the price of major concessions, would be accepted at the popular level—despite its likely rejection by both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas.” Regarding the “right of return” issue, “Two-thirds of Gazans say Palestinians should accept that ‘right of return’ not apply to Israel, but only to the West Bank and Gaza, if that is the price of a Palestinian state.” Opinion is more evenly split in the West Bank, although “a mere 5 percent say they would probably move to Israel even if they could.” The surveys indicated that a majority of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank thought that “most Palestinians will not return to the 1948 lands.”

The leaders of both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are leading their people on a self-destructive path. The rigidity of their leaders, enforced by harsh repression of dissent, is the single biggest cause of the Palestinian people’s continuing suffering and the lack of an independent Palestinian state existing side-by-side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.

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

The Rage Less Traveled - Mark Tapson

by Mark Tapson

An interview with a survivor of Palestinian terrorism.

On December 18, 2010, two female friends – one Christian and the other Jewish - were hiking together in the hills of Jerusalem when they were accosted by a pair of members from a Palestinian terror cell. Both women were bound and hacked with machetes until the Christian, Kristine Luken, was dead and the other seemingly so.

But in an incredible display of a bottomless will to live, Kay Wilson – with thirteen machete wounds, a crushed sternum, multiple rib fractures, bone splinters in her lungs, a dislocated shoulder and broken shoulder blade – got up and walked over a mile barefoot, bound, and bleeding until she reached help. She survived to testify against her assailants in court. The reason the pair was caught was that Wilson had managed to stab one in the groin with a penknife during the assault, and investigators linked him to the DNA in his blood on her clothing. The two monsters, who were convicted of other crimes as well, including stabbing another Jewish woman to death earlier that same year, were imprisoned for life.

The Rage Less Traveled: A Memoir of Surviving a Machete Attack is Kay Wilson’s relentlessly gripping, intensely personal story. You can find it on Amazon here (and here on audiobook) where the book has racked up dozens of exclusively 5-star reviews. Simultaneously raw and poetic, transcendent and unsentimental, The Rage Less Traveled is not a predictable book about learning to forgive your attackers or seeking interfaith dialogue with members of a Jew-hating ideology. The book acknowledges that evil exists and that there can be no coexistence with it. It is a story about the tortuous road through survival into the light. As Wilson said in her 2019 AIPAC address, “My story is Israel’s story.”

Ms. Wilson kindly agreed to answer some questions about the book and her shocking experience.

Mark Tapson: You wrote that the media’s initial explanation for the attack on you and your friend Kristine Luken was that it was in retaliation for Israel’s assassination of a Hamas commander. But what was the real reason?

Kay Wilson: According to the police footage they filmed when they took the murderers back to the crime scene, the terrorists state very clearly, “We wanted to kill Jews.” When the police asked for what reason, he responded, “For no reason.” I heard that in court too. When asked, he answered with an apropos of nothing, as if peeved that he murdered a Christian instead of “getting the Jew.”

MT: Having your terrorists imprisoned wasn’t the end of the ordeal for you, because when the news broke that the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit might come home through a prisoner exchange, you feared that your assailants might be among those released. Can you give us your thoughts on such prisoner exchanges and the mixed feelings you had about this one in particular?

KW: It’s easy to express glib yet sincere opinions until the implications of a political decision actually happens to you. Politics that touch deeply our lives is far more complex than just facts or expressing an opinion. Hence, I was both thrilled and moved for Corporal Schalit and his parents, yet conversely terrified and resentful that the exchange of cold-blooded murderers for his release, may include the people who attacked me. The release opened up my world to the incalculable suffering of those who have had their loved ones murdered. For a change, it wasn’t just all about me.

I am not a politician, or a leader, or have access to all the intelligence that is needed to reach a decision concerning prisoner exchanges or any other decisions. With that said, and with emotions aside, to me it is clear: releasing un-remorseful terrorists who are bent on doing their same deeds again, not only leaves more families bereaved, but is politically counter-productive because it encourages future kidnappings.

MT: On the book’s website you note that every publisher to whom the book was submitted acknowledged that it is extremely well-written and “a page-turner,” but none had the guts to publish it. You mention that one publisher in particular had the nerve to suggest something rather outrageous about the book. Can you tell us about that?

KW: Firstly, I was encouraged and frankly flattered that every major New York publisher said it was beautiful written and a page-turner. That is a compliment. I had to work very hard at writing. Writing doesn’t come naturally to me. Every word, comma and colon felt like hell. This one publisher rejected my book on this basis that I did not talk about my “subsequent charitable work for young and impoverished Palestinians.” Because of this, they said, “I’m sorry to say then, I am going to pass on this one.”

I was working with an agent so I had no direct contact, but I would have liked to tell them a few things. Firstly, my memoir, like all memoirs, is about the author and not about other people. Secondly, have they never heard of a second book? From a professional and literary point of view, who I am now and what I am doing now has a different tone, weight and voice, to the unspeakable trauma and hell I have gone through for years. It would have been completely inappropriate to put that in my memoir. Thirdly, to use the “young and impoverished Palestinians,” on the back of me being butchered nearly to death in which I witnessed a woman chopped up before my eyes because her executioners thought she was Jewish, is frankly obscene. Clearly, what happened to us doesn’t fit into their narrative of the "brutal Israeli occupation” and the “cycle of violence.”

These people are virtue-signalers and cowards. If I would have been a trans, black, Muslim Palestinian, who had been attacked by white Jewish settlers, there is no reason my book would be on the bestsellers list. It is written well, readable, a page-turner, my story of survival is off the charts, and at the most basic level, facing death as I have, is a matter of curiosity for people. Facing death is a subject that sells.

MT: In the book’s epilogue you note that the Palestinian Authority (PA) pays out salaries to thousands of incarcerated terrorists, including your assailants, and that these rewards come from funds donated by foreign governments, including the UK. What has been the official response to your efforts to put a stop to this practice?

KW: Together with scrupulous and tireless work of Palestinian Media Watch, I have had the privilege of being instrumental in the Dutch government reducing their foreign aid by 7% to the PA (the sum they take from their general budget to pay the murderers’ salaries). We are working on other European countries now and see some remarkable progress.

As a dual citizen of both Israel and the United Kingdom, I lobbied the British government as an individual. I sent a letter to every single MP [Member of Parliament] along with photos of my gruesome injuries, yet only a handful replied, expressing the “British government’s commitment to a two-state solution.” I was not writing them about a two-state solution. I was writing to tell them that my own family in England are paying my would-be murderers a salary from their taxes. There are MP’s who have knowing mislead parliament and continue to lie about where the foreign aid ends up. I am disgusted by the British government. Clearly, with immoral politics such as this, and a total disregard for evil, Great Britain is hardly “great” anymore.

Mark Tapson is the Shillman Journalism Fellow on Popular Culture at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Canada Moves to Ban Christians From Demonstrating in Public Under New “Anti-Hate” Proposal - Pamela Geller

by Pamela Geller

The Canadian province of Ontario is considering legislation that would officially criminalize Christianity.

Dark times in Canada. “Anti-hate” – who decides what’s good and what’s forbidden? Terror tied groups like CAIR? Antifa? Freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society. Without it, a tyrant can wreak havoc unopposed, while his opponents are silenced.

Putting up with being offended is essential in a pluralistic society in which people differ on basic truths. If a group will not bear being offended without resorting to violence, that group will rule unopposed while everyone else lives in fear, while other groups curtail their activities to appease the violent group. This results in the violent group being able to tyrannize the others.

Islamic law forbids criticism of Islam, Quran, Muhammad. If they cannot be criticized, we are in effect accepting Islamic law as overriding the freedom of speech. This would establish Muslims as a protected class and prevent honest discussion of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism.

The concept of Islamophobia has two meanings. Few ever make any distinction between them. One is the brutalization of innocent Muslims, which is never justified. The problem is that the label is also used to refer to analysis of how Islamic texts and teachings incite to violence.

Any criticism of jihad terror that examines its ideological roots in Islam is called Islamophobia, The word is used to intimidate people into thinking there is something wrong with opposing jihad terror. This deforms our response to terrorism by placing off-limits any examination of its guiding ideology, and effectively enforces Sharia blasphemy laws in the US by placing Islam, Quran, Muhammad beyond criticism.

If speech that offends a group is outlawed, that group has absolute power, and a free society is destroyed. A group that cannot be criticized cannot be opposed. It can work its will no matter what it is, and no one will be able to say anything to stop it.

Inoffensive speech needs no protection. The First Amendment was developed precisely in order to protect speech that was offensive to some, in order to prevent those who had power from claiming they were offended by speech opposing them and silencing the powerless.

A free society is by its nature one in which people put up with others being uncivil and offensive. The alternative is a quiet authoritarian society in which only one opinion is allowed and the others are silenced, and ultimately sent to the camps.

The quran is full of hatred and violence. Will Trudeau ban the quran?

Big League Politics, May 20, 2019:
Legislation proposed in the Canadian province of Ontario would criminalize public displays by Christians deemed hateful to Muslims, the LGBT community and other victim groups designated by the left.
The bill, “Prohibiting Hate-Promoting Demonstrations at Queen’s Park Act, 2019,” bans any demonstration, rally or other activity that is deemed hateful by the Speaker from being permissible on legislative grounds – effectively insulating the government from Christian speech.

Life Site News explains that the nebulous nature of Canada’s anti-hate laws essentially give leftist legislators carte blanche to ban all Christian protest:
The problem with this bill, however, lies in the fact that the definition of “hate” is uncertain under Canadian law. As a result, unfortunately, the use of the word “hate” can be a useful tool for some to prevent differing views from being expressed. That is, the word “hate” can be used to silence opposing views expressed when, in fact, the views are simply a reasonable expression of belief.
This concern is based on actual experience. Canadians have already experienced the contempt shown by the Supreme Court of Canada towards Section 2 of the Charter of Rights which provides for freedom of opinion, expression and religion. In the Trinity Western Christian University case (2018), a private Christian university’s moral covenant was deemed hateful and discriminating. In the Bill Whatcott case (2013), the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the effects of an expression used, not the communicator’s intent, are what is relevant. The court went on to conclude that “truthful statements and sincerely held beliefs do not affect the finding of “hate”. Mr. Whatcott merely expressed in his pamphlet the well-established facts about homosexuality which the court held to be “hateful”. It is worth noting that the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, presumably consisting of equally learned judges, had previously concluded that the pamphlet was not hateful. The Supreme Court of Canada prides itself on being a “progressive” court and has an established bias as evidenced in a series of decisions that have struck down laws based on traditional values. There is little likelihood that the court will protect tradition-based groups if they are denied the right to demonstrate at the provincial legislature.
As Canada becomes more restrictive toward Christianity, they open their arms for the LGBT agenda and Islam to take a foothold in their culture.
The Royal Canadian Mint issued a commemorative coin last month to celebrate homosexual love as a core principle of Canadian society.
“Marking 50 years since a landmark decision that began a process of legal reforms to recognize the rights of LGBTQ2 Canadians is a powerful way to recognize Canada’s profound belief in equality and inclusion,” said Marie Lemay, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.
Meanwhile, the far-left Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been revealed to be plotting different ways to bring ISIS terrorists to his nation and possibly be re-introduced in public life.
“None of the options are ideal and all present different challenges and risks,” said the three-page secret paper, which was heavily redacted after its release through the Access to Information Act.
As globalism and liberalism takes a stronger hold in Canada, the government can be expected to become even more hostile to Christianity and more hospitable to subversive agendas.

Pamela Geller


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

The Truth about What Causes Income Inequality in America - Antonio R. Chavez

by Antonio R. Chavez

It's a very politically incorrect truth.

In a 2017 article in the Atlantic titled "The Curse of Econ 101," author James Kwak defends increasing the minimum wage as a means to address income inequality. Here is a sample of Mr. Kwak's reasoning skills:
Although the standard model predicts that employers will replace workers with machines if wages increase, additional labor-saving technologies are not available to every company at a reasonable cost. Small employers in particular have limited flexibility; at their scale, they may not be able to maintain their operations with fewer workers. Therefore, some companies can't lay off employees if the minimum wage is increased.
What will small businesses with "limited flexibility" do when wage hikes eliminate their profit margins? Only someone with no clue on how to run a business would have written something so asinine.

Since income inequality is so important to progressives, maybe they should find out which states have done a better job of addressing this "grave injustice."

Zippia (a website for employers and job hunters) compiled data to calculate Gini scores for all states from 2012 to 2016. The Gini Coefficient has been used since 1912 to quantify income inequality. Values range from 0 (perfect inequality) to 1 (perfect equality). Based on data from the publication 24/7 Wall St. and Forbes, there is no evidence that government policies for spreading the wealth or restricting business freedom have narrowed the wealth gap (Tables 1 and 2):

Table 1: Income redistribution and income inequality.
States doing the most in 2011 Gini coefficient (2012-2016) States doing the least in 2011 Gini coefficient (2012-2016)
Alaska 42.60 Alabama 47.69
California 48.80 Arizona 46.82
Connecticut 49.47 Arkansas 47.08
Hawaii 43.69 Florida 48.52
Massachusetts 48.26 Idaho 44.57
Minnesota 44.90 Indiana 44.94
New Jersey 47.82 Oklahoma 46.52
New York 51.02 S. Carolina 46.90
Pennsylvania 46.80 Tennessee 47.86
Rhode Island 47.38 Texas 48.03
average 47.07 average 46.89

Table 2: Business regulatory environment and income inequality.
Worst 10 for
Regulations (2017)
Gini coefficient (2012-2016) Best 10 for
Regulations (2017)
Gini coefficient (2012-2016)
California 48.80 Florida 48.52
Connecticut 49.47 Georgia 48.16
Delaware 44.88 Indiana 44.94
Hawaii 43.69 Iowa 44.22
Maine 45.15 Nebraska 44.20
Maryland 45.13 North Carolina 47.48
New Jersey 47.82 South Carolina 46.90
Rhode Island 43.38 Tennessee 47.86
Vermont 44.35 Utah 42.61
West Virginia 46.21 Virginia 46.73
average 46.89 average 46.16

If government programs have not diminished inequality, maybe we should focus our efforts on some of the root causes. Data on single parenting trends from the Kids Count data center provides a clue (Table 3). This difference becomes more prominent when the sources are switched (Table 4):

Table 3: Family breakdown and income inequality.
Highest 10 for
Single Mothers
Gini coefficient (2012-2016) Lowest 10 for
Single Mothers
Gini coefficient (2012-2016)
Alabama 47.69 Colorado 45.90
Delaware 44.88 Idaho 44.57
Florida 48.52 Minnesota 44.90
Georgia 48.16 Montana 45.87
Louisiana 49.03 Nebraska 44.20
Mississippi 47.99 North Dakota 45.86
Nevada 45.22 Utah 42.61
New Mexico 47.54 Vermont 44.35
Rhode Island 47.38 Washington 45.60
South Carolina 46.90 Wyoming 42.79
average 47.33* average 44.67*

Based on a one-tailed T-test, the means are significantly different at p = 0.0001.

Table 4: Income inequality and family breakdown.
10 highest Gini scores (2012-2016) % Single Mothers 10 lowest Gini scores (2012-2016) % Single Mothers
California 34 Alaska 34
Connecticut 32 Hawaii 31
Florida 40 Iowa 30
Georgia 39 Nebraska 29
Illinois 34 New Hampshire 30
Massachusetts 33 South Dakota 32
Mississippi 48 Utah 19
Lousiana 45 Vermont 27
New York 36 Wisconsin 32
Texas 36 Wyoming 29
average 37.7* average 29.3*

Based on a one-tailed T-test, the means are significantly different at p = 0.0005

Based on these data, moral decline, not laissez-faire capitalism, is a major cause of income inequality in America. Conservatives have been saying this for years, but when University of Pennsylvania professor Amy Wax defended "bourgeois values" in 2017, the National Lawyers Guild denounced her column as "a textbook example of how white supremacy and cultural elitism are used to denigrate the poor and sustain the gross wealth inequality that defines American capitalism." This statement is a textbook example of virtue-signaling at the expense of cold, hard facts.

To discredit opponents of "living wages," James Kwak conjures up straw men that "abstract away the (harsh) reality of low wage work." Nevertheless, with no hint of self-awareness, Kwak cavalierly "balances" the hardship of "some people" losing their jobs against the "benefit of greater earnings for other low-income workers."

The law of supply and demand is like the law of natural selection. It does not care how much you are suffering or how much you "deserve." This is why almost everyone agrees that some kind of safety net is necessary. But the alleviation of poverty does not justify increasing taxes on the wealthy in order to "narrow" the wealth gap.

John Adams warned against the moral hazard of wealth redistribution:
If "Thou shalt not covet" and "Thou shalt not steal" were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.
When Pope Francis wrote in his 2013 apostolic exhortation that "inequality is the root of social ills" and that "inequality spawns violence," he inverted the commandments against coveting and stealing by shifting the moral burden to the property-owner. To narrow the wealth gap, the pope recommended "a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders." If government is the solution to inequality, why are less affluent Americans fleeing in droves from nearly all the states on the left columns of Tables 1 and 2?

Coveting and stealing are natural impulses. Respect for property is a learned value that requires moral restraint. If voters from these states revisit the Ten Commandments and reject false teachings about the "evils" of inequality, the hardships that compelled so many residents to leave will be minimized. Unfortunately, natural impulses are hard to resist, especially when religious authorities join forces with the media to enable them.

Antonio R. Chavez teaches biology at a local community college. His interest in economic and social issues stems from his experience teaching environmental science.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Sandy O Starts Feeling the Heat - Tim Philen

by Tim Philen

Sandy's dreams are in danger of drying up like raisins in the sun now that her six-month-long utility as the rabbit in the long-distance race to the next election is no longer needed.

Ever true to her sophomoric self, the Democratic party’s new thought leader never stops thinking about what’s best for the planet, and what’s most punitive for the old white patriarchal robber barons who run it.

And Sunday was no day of rest for this champion of all things green.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s cortex was buzzing with the thought of a new grievance she’d dug up while visiting a communal garden in her Bronx, New York, district.

In the Instagram video that followed, she revealed her discovery of an elitist “colonial approach” that’s taken root in most of today’s community gardens -- a surprise to everyone, especially the gardeners.

Evidently by omission, they’ve been guilty of denigrating the “culturally familiar” vegetables prized by communities of color: long-oppressed indigenous peoples and slave progeny whose culinary traditions are being dismissed by community garden gatekeepers -- those palefaced neo-hippies who unwittingly do the bidding of their neo-racist overlords by growing healthy vegetables like cauliflower.

What’s worse, stripping people of color of their dietary identities makes them wary about embracing the noble goals of environmental justice, which are intractably woven into the larger reed basket of socioeconomic justice issues.

This creates a de facto “Stockholm syndrome” in which the oppressed end up voting in line with their oppressors -- or not voting at all -- resulting in a subversion of their own cultural interests.

To Ocasio-Cortez and other radical progressives, it’s simply the latest example of the poisonous Eurocentric bias of America’s dominant white culture.

As for the cauliflower itself, this cruciferous edible is, admittedly, white -- and privileged to be brimming with nutrients. It’s also thankfully short on the starches and other carbohydrates that saturate such primitive vegetables as corn, wheat, and rice, the staples of diets that have caused an epidemic of childhood obesity, type-2 diabetes and shortened lifespans within the communities that Ocasio-Cortez claims to be protecting and nurturing.

The truth is, when one peels back the onion of her most recent whining, it’s not about cauliflower or cauliflower power.

It’s simply about power.

Like so many of her puerile postings on social media, this vegetable shaming is, at its core, one little harrumph in a herculean harangue that calls for the left’s totalitarian control of every aspect of America’s economic and cultural future, while railing against the Democratic party’s incrementalism of the past. 

Sandy O and her comrades in the instant gratification generation decry the meager progress of “La Revolucion Todo” promised 50 years ago by the New Left: Students for a Democratic Society, MEChA, the Peace and Freedom Party and the like. It was never delivered, at least not in any cohesive form or to any transformative degree.

The last straw for the venerable “Occupy Wall Street” movement and the newly minted “Antifa” faction was the election of Donald Trump in 2016, a watershed event that so dispirited the left generally, and was seen as such an insult to women specifically, it paved the way for Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning ascension to power.

After defeating ten-term congressman and Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary, she trounced Republican Anthony Pappas in the November 2018 congressional election.

Suddenly, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the Democrats’ Golden Girl and the darling of the liberal media. She was the breath of fresh air and gateway to the youth vote they had longed for. Her victory was an energizing flash point for the left -- so much so that this 29-year-old bartender from the boroughs began serving her own signature drinks, cutting off the back-slapping bipartisan drunks of the old Democratic guard, and calling every tune the House jukebox played.

Ah, but fame is fleeting, and her dreams are in danger of drying up like raisins in the sun now that her six-month-long utility as the rabbit in the long-distance race to the next election is no longer needed or wanted. 

In fact, her very presence is becoming a liability.

While Democratic presidential hopefuls are carefully choosing policy positions that can appease their progressive base without alienating the moderate voters they’ll need to succeed in the general election, Ocasio-Cortez is still busy burnishing her Joan of Arc chain mail.

Her promotion of the standard democratic socialist canon has burgeoned into an unabashed insistence on an extreme progressive platform that includes the Green New Deal’s total restructuring of the U.S. economy, the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the opening of all U.S. borders, Medicare for all, family-sustaining government jobs for all, free higher education for all, student loan debt forgiveness for all, financial reparations for all African-Americans, a 70% marginal tax rate for all wealthy Americans and, of course, the immediate impeachment of President Trump.

As a result, the liberal media are covering her now as sparingly as possible, and Fox News is happily taking up the slack, promoting her day and night as the poster child for all things Democratic.

Can a Sandy O Town Hall on Fox be far behind?

It had better be soon. Otherwise, we may not hear much about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her all-but-communist ideology, at least not until after the 2020 election, when it will once again be safe for Democrats and their minions in the media to idolize her.

Until then, she’ll have plenty of time to study up on cauliflower, a common addition in Indian food, and a vegetable abundant in Dominican restaurants and Mexican markets.

And, if she jogs her memory, she might recall that it’s also the prime ingredient in the “Roasted Cauliflower Special” that has long been served at Flats Fix, a hipster hangout in Union Square where she worked before running for Congress.

Not that it matters. When you’ve proclaimed, as she has, that being “morally right” is more important than being “factually right,” you’re in a very safe space these days, on either side of the aisle.

Timothy Philen is an opinion writer and author of Harper&Row/Lippincott’s You CAN Run Away From It!, a satirical indictment of American pop psychology.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Why is The New York Times Trying to Abort the Trump Peace Plan? - Alan M. Dershowitz

by Alan M. Dershowitz

If the editors of The New York Times refuse to separate opinion and analysis from hard reporting, every reader has an obligation to make that separation for herself or himself. Bear this in mind when you read The New York Times.

  • No one ever lost money betting against peace between Israelis and Palestinians.... It would be far better if The New York Times waited until the plan was released and then commented on its specific provisions rather than stacking the deck against it by quoting only its most strident critics.
  • There are those who will criticize any plan, no matter how positive it may be, if it emanates from the Trump administration. When President Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, many Democrats who would have favored such moves if they had been done by Barack Obama, opposed them only because these same moves were done by President Trump. These Democrats do not want to see Trump succeed at anything, even if his success would be good for America, for Israel and for peace.
  • If the editors of The New York Times refuse to separate opinion and analysis from hard reporting, every reader has an obligation to make that separation for herself or himself. Bear this in mind when you read The New York Times.

The New York Times seems determined to kill the proposed Trump Middle East peace plan before it is even made public. In the guise of news, the Times provided "analysis" in the news section, which was, in reality, an editorial. Readers must be wary.... (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The New York Times seems determined to kill the proposed Trump Middle East peace plan before it is even made public. In a recent article, it quoted only nay-sayers and critics, who without having even seen the plan have declared its demise. In the guise of news, the Times provided "analysis" in the news section, which was, in reality, an editorial. This has become more and more common on the news pages of The New York Times. The separation of news from opinion is in the highest tradition of journalism, but The New York Times seems determined to knock down that wall of separation, especially when it comes to subjects on which its editors and publishers have strong opinions. Among these subjects are both Israel, which can do no right, and Donald Trump, who is always wrong. When these two subjects come together, as they do with regard to the Trump peace plan, readers must be wary of accepting news reports as objective.

Every single expert quoted in the article predicted that it would not succeed. Many of these experts have been involved in past unsuccessful efforts to bring about a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is not surprising that these experts would not want to see others succeed where they have failed, especially if those others were members of the Trump administration. Then one expert went so far as to say: "The only way to protect the long-term viability of the best aspects of the Kushner plan," he wrote, "is to kill the plan."

The danger of such biased reporting is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If The New York Times reports that the plan will fail, that report itself is likely to have influence on parties to the negotiation. Nobody wants to risk their credibility by being part of a failed effort.

The New York Times declined to seek expert opinion from those of us who actually consulted with the administration on aspects of the plan. They seem deliberately to avoid quoting anyone who had a positive view of the Trump administration's efforts.

No one ever lost money betting against peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and the expressed unwillingness on the part of Palestinians leaders even consider the Trump plan is not an encouraging sign, despite published reports that the plan includes considerable economic incentives that could improve the lives of all Palestinians. The hope is that the other Sunni Arab nations in the area will see virtues in the plan and will pressure the Palestinians to sit down and negotiate.

Despite the likelihood of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forming a right-leaning government, it is likely that Israel will look positively upon the Trump efforts, if not all aspects of the plan.

Any peace plan requires compromise on the part of both sides. It would be far better if The New York Times waited until the plan was released and then commented on its specific provisions rather than stacking the deck against it by quoting only its most strident critics.

There are those who will criticize any plan, no matter how positive it may be, if it emanates from the Trump administration. When President Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, many Democrats who would have favored such moves if they had been done by Barack Obama, opposed them only because these same moves were done by President Trump. These Democrats do not want to see Trump succeed at anything, even if his success would be good for America, for Israel and for peace.

Such an attitude reflects the hyper-partisan nature both of today's politics and of today's media.
If the editors of The New York Times refuse to separate opinion and analysis from hard reporting, every reader has an obligation to make that separation for herself or himself. Bear this in mind when you read The New York Times.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of The Case Against the Democrats Impeaching Trump, Skyhorse Publishing, 2018. He is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter