Saturday, June 1, 2019

Mueller and Obstruction of Justice - Daniel John Sobieski

by Daniel John Sobieski

By refusing to go after the real colluders with Russia who committed real crimes, it is Robert Mueller who was obstructing justice.

The irony was that Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn was charged with and plead guilty to making false statements to the FBI.

By his own standards Robert Mueller was guilty of making “false statements” in his parting gift to Democrat impeachment seekers. He was not, however, under legal oath, which is maybe why Democrats did not want him to be questioned by Congress in a hearing beforehand.

Mueller has had to walk back his lie about Office of Legal Counsel policy keeping him from indicting a sitting president. In his alleged “farewell” address, former Special Counsel Mueller managed to channel former FBI Director James Comey. Where is it written that former FBI directors get to recite a litany of possible charges against someone they are not going to charge? If, as Mueller had said, you could indict a sitting President, and that is why he was not indicted, then why did he spend some $40 million the past two years pursuing an indictment? Just what happened to the presumption of innocence?

Mueller told AG Barr that it was not DOJ policy on not indicting sitting presidents that guided his decisions. Then, knowing the lamestream media would run with his lie, said the opposite. Elizabeth Vaughan noted at Red State:
In his statement this morning, Robert Mueller said “if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” He also said that, because of Office of Legal Counsel guidance, his team did not have the option of charging a sitting president with a crime.
This is the opposite of what he told Attorney General William Barr and several other DOJ officials at a meeting which took place on March 5th.
Barr was asked about why Mueller had failed to come to a conclusion on the question of obstruction of justice during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1st. He said, “We were frankly surprised that they were not going to reach a decision on obstruction and we asked them a lot about the reasoning behind this. Mueller stated three times to us in that meeting, in response to our questioning, that he emphatically was not saying that but for the OLC opinion he would have found obstruction.”
Barr made a similar remark at the press conference he held prior to the public release of the redacted Mueller Report. He told reporters, “We specifically asked him about the OLC opinion and whether or not he was taking a position that he would have found a crime but for the existence of the OLC opinion. And he made it very clear several times that was not his position.”
It is not his or any prosecutor's job to "exonerate" anyone. They are presumed innocent, are they not? It was not a matter of whether you can indict a sitting president. The fact is that no president can be indicted for doing what he is constitutionally empowered and entitled to do. That is not obstruction of justice. Trump could have fired Mueller just as he did Comey and closed his entire investigation at any time and it would not have been obstruction of justice. So noted legal scholar Alan Dershowitz in an interview with Leandra Bernstein of the Sinclair Broadcast Group on ABC7/WJLA Thursday:
Constitutional lawyer and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said the special counsel had a legally flawed approach to investigating alleged obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.
"What jumps out at me is that the Mueller people got the law all wrong on obstruction of justice," Dershowitz told Sinclair Broadcast Group in a Thursday interview. "They came to the conclusion that a president could obstruct justice by simply exercising his constitutional authority under Article 2."…
According to Dershowitz, the president was within his authority to fire the FBI director and would have been justified, under the unified executive theory, to shut down the investigation.
"The position I've taken from day one is for the president to obstruct justice, he has to go beyond his own permissible constitutional authority and engage in conduct that would be a crime for anyone else, like tampering with witnesses, obstructing a witness, paying witnesses, telling them to lie. None of that is charged against President Trump," Dershowitz said.
Trump also could have fired Mueller and closed the Office of Special Counsel at any time. If he couldn’t, Democrats and some Republicans wouldn’t have tried to pass laws preventing just that event. They are creatures of the executive. Trump can fire any of his executive branch employees at any time for any reason. Agreeing with that assessment, Andrew C. McCarthy writes at National Review:
In our system, we have a unitary executive. All executive power is vested in a single official, the president of the United States. That means subordinate executive officers do not have their own power; they are delegated to exercise the president’s power. When they act, they are, in effect, the president acting. …
Prosecutorial power is executive in nature. Federal prosecutors therefore exercise the president’s power. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have no power of their own; they exercise President Trump’s prosecutorial power for as long as that arrangement suits President Trump. The president does not need cause to fire them. He does not need to explain any dismissal to Congress -- “Gee, it’s Thursday and I feel like firing someone” is good enough….
If lawmakers believe the president is abusing his power by firing good public servants arbitrarily, they can impeach the president. Or they can try to bend the president into better behavior by cutting off funding, refusing to confirm nominees, or holding oversight hearings that embarrass the administration. Congress has these powerful political tools. But it does not have legal means to usurp the president’s constitutional power.
But exercising presidential powers is not a crime. Of course, Robert Mueller didn’t need a crime. In the best traditions of Josef Stalin, Mueller with Flynn and others needed only the man. He would find the crime, As Dershowitz writes in the Washington Examiner:
Special counsel Robert Mueller was commissioned to investigate not only crime but the entire Russian "matter." That is an ominous development that endangers the civil liberties of all Americans.
Federal prosecutors generally begin by identifying specific crimes that may have been committed -- in this case, violation of federal statutes. But no one has yet identified the specific statute or statutes that constrain Mueller's investigation of the Russian matter. It is not a violation of any federal law for a campaign to have collaborated with a foreign government to help elect their candidate…
One does not have to go back to the Soviet Union and Lavrentiy Beria's infamous boast to Stalin, "Show me the man and I will show you the crime," in order to be concerned about the expansion of elastic criminal statutes. There are enough examples of abuse in our own history.
From McCarthyism to the failed prosecutions of Sen. Ted Stevens, Rep. Thomas DeLay, Gov. Rick Perry and others, we have seen vague criminal statutes stretched in an effort to criminalize political differences.
Obstruction of what? An investigation fraudulently spawned by James Comey's felonious leaking of a private conversation with President Trump and a fake dossier put together by a British spy from Russian sources and paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC? Funny, but Mueller never said his investigation was obstructed or impeded in any way. Nor was anything else.

How can you obstruct justice on social media in front of 300 million people anyway? Mueller is now free to run and hide from testifying before Congress and answering embarrassing questions like when did he know there was no collusion and why did he keep going anyway, why he hired a team of Democratic lawyers, including one from the Clinton Foundation, and had as his chief deputy someone who was at Hillary’s victory party?

By refusing to go after the real colluders with Russia who committed real crimes, it is Robert Mueller who was obstructing justice.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Breaking: Two missiles launched towards Mount Hermon - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

IDF confirms: Two projectiles launched from Syria toward northern Israel.

Two projectiles were launched Saturday from Syria towards Mount Hermon, the IDF reported.

The IDF is investigating, but believes that the missiles were intentionally aimed at Israel, since there has been no fighting on the Syrian side of the border.

One of the missiles may have landed in Israeli territory, while the other is believed to have landed in Syria.

No injuries were reported.

On Monday, the IDF confirmed that it had launched an airstrike targeting a Syrian missile launcher following an attack on an Israeli aircraft. The missile did not strike the plane and landed in Syria.

Arutz Sheva Staff


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Slavery, the Left and Our Constitution - Walter Williams

by Walter Williams

Did our founders really disregard the promises of our Declaration of Independence?

The favorite leftist tool for the attack on our nation's founding is that slavery was sanctioned. They argue that the founders disregarded the promises of our Declaration of Independence "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." These very ignorant people, both in and out of academia, want us to believe that slavery is unusual, as historian Kenneth Stampp suggested in his book, "Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South." But slavery is by no means peculiar, odd, unusual or unique to the U.S.

As University of Nebraska-Lincoln political science professor David P. Forsythe wrote in his book, "The Globalist," "The fact remained that at the beginning of the nineteenth century an estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom." Slavery was common among ancient peoples — Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Greeks, Persians, Armenians and many others. Large numbers of Christians were enslaved during the Ottoman wars in Europe. White slaves were common in Europe from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages. It was only during the 17th century that the Atlantic slave trade began with Europeans assisted by Arabs and Africans.

Slavery is one of the most horrible injustices. It posed such a moral dilemma at our 1787 Constitutional Convention that it threatened to scuttle the attempt to create a union between the 13 colonies. Let's look at some of the debate. George Washington, in a letter to Pennsylvania delegate Robert Morris, wrote, "There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it." In a Constitutional Convention speech, James Madison said, "We have seen the mere distinction of color made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man." In James Madison's records of the Convention he wrote, "(The Convention) thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men."

John Jay, in a letter to R. Lushington: "It is much to be wished that slavery may be abolished. The honour of the States, as well as justice and humanity, in my opinion, loudly call upon them to emancipate these unhappy people. To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused." Patrick Henry said, "I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil." George Mason said, "The augmentation of slaves weakens the states; and such a trade is diabolical in itself, and disgraceful to mankind."

Northern delegates to the Convention, and others who opposed slavery, wanted to count only free people of each state to determine representation in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. Southern delegates wanted to count slaves just as any other person. That would have given slave states greater representation in the House and the Electoral College. If slaveholding states could not have counted slaves at all, the Constitution would not have been ratified and there would not be a union. The compromise was for slaves to be counted as three-fifths of a person when deciding representation in the House of Representatives and Electoral College.

My question for those who condemn the Three-Fifths Compromise is: Would blacks have been better off if northern convention delegates stuck to their guns, not compromising, and a union had never been formed? To get a union, the northern delegates begrudgingly accepted slavery. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass understood the compromise, saying that the three-fifths clause was "a downright disability laid upon the slaveholding states" that deprived them of "two-fifths of their natural basis of representation."

Here's my hypothesis about people who use slavery to trash the founders: They have contempt for our constitutional guarantees of liberty. Slavery is merely a convenient moral posturing tool they use in their attempt to reduce respect for our Constitution.

Walter Williams


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

The Supreme Court could intervene in attempt to remove Trump from office, Dershowitz says - Dam Dorman

by Dam Dorman

Dershowitz, in his Friday op-ed, pointed to previous Supreme Court justices who indicated that the Supreme Court should intervene under certain circumstances.

President Trump may succeed if he follows through on his attempt to take an impeachment attempt to the Supreme Court, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said on Friday.
"Our non-lawyer president may be closer to the truth than his lawyer critics," Dershowitz wrote in an op-ed published in The Hill.

Dershowitz, a Fox News contributor, was referring to responses to the president's tweet that he would take the issue to the nation's highest court.

The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn’t lay a glove on me. I DID NOTHING WRONG. If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only......

"I DID NOTHING WRONG. If the partisan Dems ever tried to impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court," Trump said in April.

Dershowitz, in his Friday op-ed, pointed to previous Supreme Court justices who indicated that the Supreme Court should intervene under certain circumstances.

“Finally, as applied to the special case of the President, the majority argument merely points out that, were the Senate to convict the President without any kind of trial, a Constitutional crisis might well result," former Supreme Court Justice Byron White said.

"It hardly follows that the Court ought to refrain from upholding the Constitution in all impeachment cases. Nor does it follow that, in cases of presidential impeachment, the Justices ought to abandon their constitutional responsibility because the Senate has precipitated a crisis."

Dershowitz also knocked people for criticizing Trump's willingness to go to raise the prospect of a Supreme Court challenge.

"No one should criticize President Trump for raising the possibility of Supreme Court review, especially following Bush v. Gore, the case that ended the 2000 election," he said. "Many of the same academics ridiculed the notion that the justices would enter the political thicket of vote-counting."

Dershowitz's op-ed came as media outlets amplified questions surrounding potential impeachment. While some in Congress supported that move, many didn't.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. -- who presides over the chamber responsible for impeachment -- has repeatedly pushed back on impeachment and, on Thursday, argued it could ultimately prevent an effective prosecution against the president.

Many have speculated that impeachment could spell trouble for Democrats in 2020, but some progressives, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., have argued that certain issues transcended politics.

Meanwhile, congressional Democrats continued pressing the administration for more information surrounding the Russia investigation -- coming up against the Trump administration's refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas.

Dam Dorman


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Reservists on Duty Fight for Israel on College Campuses - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

“UC-Irvine is the most dangerous place for Jews today.”

It’s Israel Apartheid Week and the Israeli veterans and student activists of Reservists on Duty are reporting to campuses across America. Their mission is fighting back against the lies and the hate.
The annual anti-Israel campus events have become notorious for anti-Semitism and assaults on Jewish students. Posterboard walls rise on quads depicting Israel as a racist apartheid state. Fake checkpoints manned by anti-Israel activists dressed in the uniforms of Israeli soldiers pop up around the country.

Meanwhile Jewish students tuck their Stars of David into their shirts. Distinctive Jewish clothing is put away. Most Jewish students just try to keep their heads down until the ugliness of the week passes.

It’s a tough time to be pro-Israel. But the Shillman Fellows of Reservists on Duty are used to challenges.

Reservists on Duty was co-founded by Amit Deri. A major in the Israeli Defense Forces, Deri hadn’t paid much attention to politics during his decade in the military. While in the IDF, he didn’t know “what was happening outside the military”. And once he did, he was determined to fight back with the truth.

Deri had lost one of his best friends in the fight against terrorism. And he and other IDF vets founded and staffed Reservists on Duty to ensure that those sacrifices in the War on Terror would not be in vain.

On American college campuses, Deri saw for the first time just how ugly the lies were.

At the University of Houston, a school that Deri describes as one of the worst, alongside UC-Berkeley and UC-Irvine, a girl told him, "You’re taking organs from Palestinians and putting them into Israelis".

Like American soldiers during the Vietnam War, Israeli soldiers are demonized and spat on. There is no bizarre atrocity and no impossible horror, too implausible or unlikely to attribute to the men in green.

Reservists on Duty challenges the prejudices and lies by bringing actual Israeli veterans to campus.

Every Israeli Apartheid Week, they call up the ‘reservists’ who jump into action.

“We’re sending our guys there during Apartheid Week to engage with students exposed to these carnivals of hate,” Deri says.

In 3 weeks, they’ve hit over 30 campuses. The University of San Diego is one of them.

The University of San Diego isn’t holding an Apartheid Week, but Jonathan Elkhoury showed up anyway to tell his story. The Arab Christian refugee was only nine years old when he came to Israel. Like many of Israel’s Jewish refugees, his family came to Israel fleeing Islamic violence and built a new life in Israel.

Now, while working on his degree, Jonathan Elkhoury is challenging lies and preconceptions by telling his story. On campuses where no ugly smear or conspiracy theory about Israel is too extreme, he brings his own experience of both sides to bridge the gap and tell the truth about Israel and its people.

 It’s not easy.

He’s been called an Uncle Tom and was spat on at George Mason University for waving an Israeli flag.

At UC Irvine, he was told that Haifa is an apartheid city with a separate transportation system for Jews and Arabs. Elkhoury, who had lived in Haifa laughed and replied that it was the most diverse city in Israel. As a child, he had grown up attending a school with students of different of religions and backgrounds. He knows better than anyone else that the apartheid myth is really a big lie.

And now, at the University of San Diego, Elkhoury had achieved a breakthrough.

It was an “amazing moment,” Elkhoury told me. Usually the anti-Israel activists heckle, yell and refuse to participate. But this time, he had convinced a Muslim student from the West Bank to hold a dialogue. As their conversation evolved, the student agreed that the ‘Palestinian’ leadership was the problem.

The amazing moment was just another day for an amazing organization and its Shillman Fellows.

Deri, along with Elkhoury, had been spat on at George Mason University. Elkhoury has been at UC Berkeley. At UC Irvine, one of the women with Reservists on Duty was pushed and another spat on.

But some of the activists have seen worse in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. It’ll take a lot more than spitting and shoving to stop them. Instead, the members of Reservists on Duty go on the offensive.


When anti-Israel activists hold a ‘die-in’ at Berkeley to protest Israel, Reservists on Duty show up in IDF medic shirts with medical equipment, and announce, “We are IDF medics, there’s been a Hamas terror attack, and we are here to treat wounded regardless of their race or religion.”

The creative disruption is part of what Deri calls a ‘chutzpah’ strategy.

“Chutzpah is something that is missing among American Jews,“ he chuckles. “You have to be in Israel for three or four years.”

The other side, he says, has plenty of it. And he’d like to teach American Jews some chutzpah and pride.

At fake checkpoints where anti-Israel activists dressed up as IDF soldiers abuse and humiliate anti-Israel activists dressed up as Arab civilians, the real deal show up with signs warning that the scene is a lie.

"I am an actual IDF soldier, ask me questions,” they announce.

And there are many takers.

When an anti-Israel activist dressed as an IDF soldier puts his hands on a pregnant woman, an actual veteran intervenes. “Male soldiers are not allowed to touch women,” he points out.

Reservists on Duty challenge the lies of the campus ‘Apartheid walls’ with their own displays. But instead of just defending Israel, they go on the offensive, telling the truth about the treatment of Christians, women and gays in the territories under terrorist control. Feminist students are told about honor killings. Gay students are warned that Islamists would happily throw them off the nearest building.

And Elkhoury, the leader of The Minorities Projects at Reservists On Duty, tells his story.

He’s one of over a dozen members, Christian, Druze, Bedouin, and Muslim, who confront campus intersectionality with the truth of Israel’s diversity.  

Elkhoury, whose family built a new life in Israel, wants students to know that “Israel is more than the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

“Diversity is the story of Israel,” he says. And Reservists on Duty represent that diversity.
With Christians disappearing from the Middle East, the Christian refugee sees Israel as a model for the region. The same fanatics who had kicked out Jews in the 40s and 50s are now expelling his people.

His work with Reservists on Duty is an opportunity to protect the country where his family found safety.

Deri agrees that Christians are natural partners in the ugly culture wars of campus politics. “As Israelis and Americans, we share the same values and the same way of life, they will come to attack you.”

Some might be daunted by the hostility of the contemporary campus, but the brotherhood of the reservists, forged in the toughness of adversity, sees victory where others can only envision defeat.

“UC-Irvine is the most a dangerous place for Jews today,” Deri mentions. And pauses. California campuses are “the most hostile and violent.” At SDU and UC Irvine, they encounter the same activists every year. "They never graduate from college," he observes. His mission is reaching the actual students.

And that can be challenging.

When Students for Justice in Palestine and members of the Muslim Students Association see them, they become more aggressive. But that also brings out the hateful and violent nature of their opponents.

“I'm optimistic because a lot of people get it,” Amit Deri tells me. “They've been on the attack for 30 years, you have to pick specific battles, and we chose Apartheid Week.”
And he has his own shining moments and success stories.

At Columbia University, one student told Deri that he had spent three years going to Students for Justice in Palestine meetings. “All I ever saw was Israeli apartheid week,” the student told Deri. “I'm in shock, I never knew this. And next time I go to an SJP meeting, I'll have some questions for them."

Reservists on Duty, generously funded by Robert Shillman, was founded in 2015. After four years of hard work, its members have turned a brotherhood into a movement to take back the campus. They travel together, they advocate together, and they want to pass down their esprit de corps to pro-Israel students on campus.

“One of our missions is to give people pride,” Deri tells me. “Many people deep inside are pro-Israel, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, but they're too afraid to be active because of the harassment.

The activists of Reservists on Duty want students to feel that they’re fighting for the right thing.

“I want them to feel,” Deri concludes. “Yeah I'm proud, I'm pro-Israel.”

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Obama offers blatant lies about US gun laws in speech given in Brazil - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

Abysmally ignorant or blatant liar? Either way, Barack Obama is a hideous ex-president.

Former president Barack Obama reportedly told author Richard Wolffe, "You know, I actually believe my own b-------." So it is possible that he actually had no idea what he was talking about when he spread blatant lies about U.S. gun control laws to a large gathering on Brazil. The BS of the Left could be all he ever bothered to absorb before shooting off his mouth.

Or perhaps he thought he could get away with telling lies because he was overseas and there were no television cameras recording his speech visible on platforms in the back of the auditorium. He was in São Paulo to address an annual high-tech gathering called VTEX, which claims that 15,000 people a day attend it, but it is not clear how many were in the auditorium for his speech.

Cropped from VTEX home page.

This is absolute BS. Nate Madden of The Blaze lays out the extent of the lies:
First off, not everyone can buy a gun in the United States.
Convicted felons and people under indictment for felonies cannot buy guns under federal law. Other "prohibited persons" include fugitives from justice, people convicted of domestic violence, convicted drug users, people adjudicated as a "mental defective," illegal aliens, people who were dishonorably discharged from the military and people who have renounced their U.S. citizenship.
Obama's machine gun claim is wildly false:
In 1986, the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners protection act made it "unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machine gun." Before that, automatic firearms were required to be registered under the National Firearms Act, which was first passed in 1934.
However, automatics that were already registered under the NFA were grandfathered in under the Hughes Amendment, meaning that "NFA guns" manufactured before 1986 are still legal for private ownership and transfer.
In order to buy one, however, you have to first apply a tax stamp from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives — which costs $200 and requires the notification of a local chief law enforcement officer — and then register with the bureau. That process can take months or longer.
And paying for the tax stamp is only a minor part of the expense of legally acquiring a pre-1986 transferable NFA machine gun. They can also get quite expensive, often costing tens of thousands of dollars or more.
Brazil, where Obama was speaking, has had strict gun control laws, but also has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Just like Chicago. However, Jessica Chasmar in the Washington Times notes that Brazil's new populist president is moving the country in the direction of firearms freedom in order to stem the tide of lawlessness:
Mr. Obama's comments come just weeks after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree easing restrictions on gun imports and increasing the amount of ammunition a person can buy. In January, Mr. Bolsonaro signed a decree making it easier for Brazilians to keep weapons at home without first demonstrating that they have a need to own a gun.
Abysmally ignorant or blatant liar? Either way, Barack Obama is a hideous ex-president.

Thomas Lifson


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Exposing a University’s Hypocrisy - Abraham H. Miller

by Abraham H. Miller

Universities always dust off the First Amendment when it comes to defending speech that transmits an approved agenda.

On May 14, 2019, Professor Rabab Abdulhadi gave a guest lecture at the University of California Los Angeles that was laced with distortions of history and anti-Semitic tropes. Abdulhadi characterizes herself as a scholar/activist, an oxymoron that would have inspired ridicule in the academic world I entered as a student in the late 1950s.

If scholarship is the objective search for the truth, how is it possible to be both an ideologue and a scholar? The short answer is the two are visibly incompatible, for a believer will not accept disconfirming evidence of cherished articles of faith.

Nor should they, because the world of faith and the world of evidence are two distinct and different realms. In today’s academic world, however, those realms are inseparable.

Academia is now a place where one is encouraged to proudly embrace one’s commitment to ideology as some sort of badge of honor rather than as a mark of intellectual limitation. That is, of course, if the ideology conforms to the normative standards of leftist/socialist thought and intersectionality.

Despite universities being havens for safe spaces and concrete bunkers to prevent students from hearing ideas that might make them uncomfortable, universities can always dust off the First Amendment when it comes to defending speech that transmits an approved agenda.

It was no surprise that the UCLA invoked the First Amendment to support Abdulhadi’s insufferable and ahistorical nonsense that Israel is a colonial entity based on white supremacy. At a minimum, Abdulhadi should know that more than half of Israelis are the descendants from the Jews of the Middle East that were ethnically cleansed by her kinsman from homelands they lived in for a thousand years before the first Muslim warrior galloped out of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century.

I have no objection for any university to invite anyone to enter the free marketplace of ideas and spout their nonsense. The problem is that some nonsense, like Abdulhadi’s, is acceptable while other points of view run up against the trenches of political correctness.
Freedom of thought is highly prized when it is consonant with popular thought on campus. For example, hardly a faculty member would find a loyalty oath palatable, but UCLA requiring a written commitment to diversity as a condition for promotion is not seen as telling faculty what to think.

If a university is going to hide propaganda behind the First Amendment and embrace the objective of freedom of thought, at a minimum it should not make attendance at a propaganda festival compulsory.

No one signed up from the class bulletin to hear Abdulhadi, who as a faculty member at San Francisco State University, issued an “ukase” that Zionists were not welcome on campus. Her declaration was repudiated by the chancellor the state university system.

Abdulhadi’s behavior toward Jewish students on the SFSU campus has long been a matter of public controversy, and the university, on March 20, 2019, entered into an out-of-court settlement to cease what is widely perceived as its longstanding tolerance of both anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

To her credit, Abdulhadi makes no secret of her ideology. Consequently, anyone extending an invitation to her should not be surprised by what they are getting, which raises the additional question of what does her teaching and research have to do with a class in anthropology?

This is yet another instance of indoctrination of a captive -- dragooned in this case -- audience of students who pay outrageous tuition to hear the political opinions of leftist activists. It is kind of activity that is producing generations of college graduates that have been told what leftist shibboleths to parrot but not how to think for themselves, which at one time was the function of a college education.

Lest one think UCLA’s raising of the First Amendment shows that it is a bastion of free thought removed from concerns with political correctness, consider Abdulhadi’s presentation in the context of a momentous decision on the UCLA campus, the gutting of its English major in 2011.

As Heather Mac Donald notes, until 2011, UCLA English majors took one course in Chaucer, one in Milton, and two in Shakespeare. These authors represent the foundations of English literature and our connection with Western civilization.

But these authors were outed as dead white European males or part of the white, racist, imperialist establishment. So, UCLA expunged them and replaced them with trendy courses in gender, race, ethnicity, and post-colonial studies, etc. (You can fill in the rest of the politically correct buzz words.)

Thanks to the purging of the foundational authors of English literature, a student in English literature can spend four years at UCLA and have substituted “alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class” and never have read Shakespeare.

So, one wonders, can a UCLA student receive a degree in anthropology and never read Franz Boas, Edward Sapir, or Karl Polanyi but know Rabab Abuldhadi’s seminal work in the Islamophobia journal?

There was a time when an education in the liberal arts taught one how to think independently, how to grapple with conflicting ideas, and how to understand the work of the luminaries that created intellectual disciplines. That time has passed.

More than likely Boas, Sapir, and Polanyi, some of the greatest minds of the last century, have been replaced by “alternative rubrics” that are not part of the “imperialistic establishment.” After all, they are not only dead white European males but also Jews. Two reasons not to incorporate them in the politically correct curriculum dominated by “alternative rubrics” and “activist scholars.”

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science and a distinguished scholar with the Haym Salomon Center.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Best of Both Worlds for Netanyahu? - Seth Frantzman

by Seth Frantzman

Polls show Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will likely do well in snap elections in September.

In power for ten years, the Israeli prime minister appeared to stumble on Wednesday when he drove the Knesset to dissolve itself and call new elections. Ostensibly this was because Benjamin Netanyahu had failed to form a coalition government. But how could the master politician who has dominated Israeli politics for a decade and has thirty years of experience in the Knesset's coalition politics end up in a situation like this? What if it is actually the best of both worlds for him? He continues on as prime minister with polls showing that he will likely do well in September, and his rivals have to fight over the scraps.

Netanyahu secured 74 votes to dissolve the Knesset. He got more support for new elections than he got for his coalition. If the smaller parties had been smarter, they might have refused to disperse the Knesset and forced the mandate back to President Reuven Rivlin. However, Netanyahu outplayed them, as he has outplayed rivals in the past. He got Kulanu's Moshe Kahlon to join Likud just before the last-minute Knesset discussion, ensuring that Kahlon couldn't oppose new elections. This may have been cynical, but it worked.

Avigdor Lieberman's resignation as defense minister last November backfired politically.

Netanyahu has successfully pushed a narrative since calling elections in late December 2018. Let's recall that defense minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned in November over the Gaza crisis. At the time, Bayit Yehudi's Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked also appeared likely to resign and trigger elections. But no. Netanyahu convinced them of the importance of staying on. In early December, Israel announced Operation Northern Shield. Netanyahu could say that he had postponed any major operation in Gaza because of the threats in the North. Shaked and Bennett looked responsible for not bolting. Lieberman looked doomed.

But things changed in the first months of 2019. Lieberman's hopes rose and Bennett and Shaked fumbled the campaign for their new party, the New Right. They fell short of the threshold. Netanyahu, as usual, needed those right-wing votes that might have bled over to the New Right, and he gobbled up enough of them on election night to keep Bennett and Shaked out of the Knesset. But Lieberman made it in with five seats and 4% of the vote. Math seemed to favor Netanyahu. So did Israel's voters, who have become more right-wing and religious over the years. Several parties openly ran under various banners of being either the "new Right" or the real and authentic Right. Arye Deri's Shas campaigned under the idea that Netanyahu needs a "strong Arye." Indeed, he got 6% of the vote and eight seats.

Naftali Bennett (right) and Ayelet Shaked (left) fumbled the electoral campaign of the New Right.

In the end the math wasn't quite there for Netanyahu to form the right-wing government he championed. Instead, those he pilloried as "Left," the Blue and White party of several former chiefs of staff and Yair Lapid received the same 35 seats that Likud got. But Blue and White leader Benny Gantz had no path to the prime minister's office. He didn't appear to try very hard either in the month and a half after the April elections. He let Netanyahu take the discussions down to the wire. When 100,000 did gather in Tel Aviv to protest on May 25, they were looking the wrong way. They were protesting Netanyahu's drive for an immunity law, a "defense shield for democracy." What they got was more democracy in the form of more elections.

There is some irony to Gantz saying that night that Netanyahu was turning Israel into "one-man rule" and Lapid claiming that "we're not your subjects." Dispersing the Knesset on May 29 enables Netanyahu to continue to rule. He continues to hold on to numerous ministries and concentrate power. While it's true there will be more elections, it's unclear if the electorate won't simply slip into apathy.

If Netanyahu continues controlling the narrative and demanding a strong mandate, he might find the coalition math in his favor.

Netanyahu was off to a quick start to grab the narrative on May 29. He argued that the people had chosen him to lead and form a government, and Lieberman had prevented it. Now, Netanyahu may have the best of both worlds ahead of him. If he can keep the narrative going, blaming Lieberman and demanding a strong mandate in the next elections, he might find the coalition math in his favor and he will have two months to govern as he wants. This comes at an important time for Israel. The US wants to roll out a peace plan, and the new elections could postpone that. Netanyahu can also try to continue to seek a way out of a pre-indictment hearing on corruption charges. It was already postponed until October.

Disagreement over a draft bill for conscription of ultra-orthodox haredim contributed to the impasse in forming a new government.

Netanyahu is super-conservative when it comes to any major moves in politics or strategy. He doesn't want a war in Gaza. He doesn't want a real political crisis that could give an opportunity to opponents. He wants to manage each crisis in such a way that all the small parties need him more than he needs them. That means giving the haredim most of what they want in the draft discussions, it means not rocking the boat on the continuing discussions about the Western Wall, it means not removing small bedouin communities such as Khan al-Ahmar or Susiya that caused international opprobrium. It means not causing another crisis related to deporting African migrants.

All in good time. Let the small parties fight over these issues, let them all claim they are more right-wing than the next party, while Netanyahu waits for elections. He has shown in the past that he can do magical things just before elections, always behind in the polls, he comes out ahead or equal in the end. Even when he loses – as Likud did in 2009, coming in second – he finds a way to win.

Netanyahu has successfully managed coalition crises before.

He has successfully managed coalition crises before. He signed an agreement with Kadima's Shaul Mofaz in May 2012, averting elections. Ehud Barak even broke up Labor in 2012 in a move that helped Netanyahu's government. Netanyahu briefly neutered Yisrael Beytenu when Lieberman ran with Likud in 2013. Yair Lapid was even co-opted into the coalition in 2013 as Finance Minister.

It's almost like people forgot all this on May 29 as Israel headed to new elections. Netanyahu doesn't leave things to chance. He is conservative and contemplative. He doesn't allow risk and crises to dominate. He certainly did not want Lieberman in his coalition, forever being able to scupper it. And he evidently didn't want other Center or Left parties in. He also didn't want to give Gantz a chance. So he chose what might be a better path: New elections.

Netanyahu may receive more palatable and malleable choices on the Right in the next government.

The New York Times and others have headlined this as a defeat for Netanyahu. But what has he lost so far? He may lose Lieberman, who he doesn't mind being rid of. He has gained Kahlon. Depending on how things play out, he may also receive more palatable and malleable choices on the Right in the next government that he hopes to form. And he likely knows that the Lapid-Gantz coalition in Blue and White may not be a long marriage. And he knows that Avi Gabbay's Labor has internal struggles, as do the Balad-Ra'am and Hadash-Ta'al marriages.

Netanyahu came through the smoke and mirrors of the coalition discussions unable to form a government. But in calculating the other scenarios, it may be the best of both worlds for him. At least, in the short term. And Netanyahu prefers to govern for short-term gains, not long-term strategies that require too much risk.

Seth Frantzman is The Jerusalem Post's op-ed editor, a Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a founder of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis.


Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter