Friday, August 23, 2019

Pompeo warns of ‘new turmoil’ if UN lifts arms embargo on Iran - JNS , Israel Hayom Staff

by JNS , Israel Hayom Staff 

“Time is drawing short to continue this activity of restricting Iran’s capacity to foment its terror regime,” Pompeo tells UN Security Council.

Pompeo warns of ‘new turmoil’ if UN lifts arms embargo on Iran
United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo addresses a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the Mideast, Tuesday Aug. 20, 2019 at UN headquarters | Photo: AP/Bebeto Matthews

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Tuesday that Iran will be “unshackled to create new turmoil” when a UN arms embargo on Iran and a travel ban on the leader of the regime’s elite Quds Force is lifted in October 2020.

“Time is drawing short to continue this activity of restricting Iran’s capacity to foment its terror regime,” he said at a UN Security Council meeting about the latest in the Middle East, which also included mention of the situations in Yemen and Libya and the threat from Islamic State. “The international community will have plenty of time to see how long it has until Iran is unshackled to create new turmoil and figure out what it must do to prevent this from happening.”

Pompeo noted that the US State Department’s website has a “Countdown to Terror” clock leading up to the removal of the restrictions in accordance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the United States withdrew from, reimposing sanctions, in addition to enacting new financial penalties against Tehran.

Additionally, the US top diplomat warned against helping the vessel, which is carrying 2 million barrels of oil.

“We have made clear that anyone who touches it, anyone who supports it, anyone who allows a ship to dock is at risk of receiving sanctions from the United States,” he told reporters at the United Nations, where he addressed the UN Security Council about the latest in the Middle East.

“If that ship again heads to Syria, we will take every action we can consistent with those sanctions to prevent that,” said Pompeo, adding that revenues from the oil sold from the tanker would benefit Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. “We want to deny them the resources to continue their horrific terror campaign.”

Reprinted from

JNS , Israel Hayom Staff


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Enabling China’s Mass Surveillance System - John Glynn

by John Glynn

How an American organization is helping a communist tyranny control its people.

In the 18th century, Jeremy Bentham, an English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer, introduced the idea of the Panopticon, a disciplinary concept brought to life in the form of a central observation tower placed within a circle of prison cells. Each cell is flooded with light, which creates an environment in which prisoners are under constant watch. Even if no guard is on duty, a prisoner will always feel as if they are being watched. Bentham described it as “[a] new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind.” The Panopticon is the optimal prison; it enables an unprecedented level of surveillance.

When we discuss the concept of surveillance, one country automatically springs to mind.

China’s transition from what Rebecca MacKinnon calls a “networked authoritarianism” to what is now a form of networked totalitarianism is almost complete. The difference is not merely semantic. As John Naughton writes, “An authoritarian regime is relatively limited in its objectives: there may be elections, but they are generally carefully managed; individual freedoms are subordinate to the state; there is no constitutional accountability and no rule of law in any meaningful sense.”

In contrast, according to Naughton, totalitarianism “prohibits opposition parties, restricts opposition to the state and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life.” The historian Robert Conquest put it best when he argued that a totalitarian state recognizes no limits to its authority.  Proponents of totalitarianism have no respect for privacy. In a totalitarian state, privacy is but an illusion.

By implementing a fully functional social credit system replete with an inescapable network of surveillance cameras keyed to facial recognition, China has morphed into a technocratic totalitarian state.  For many readers, such reports are nothing new. However, what if I was to tell you that an American organization is currently helping China’s authoritarian government to conduct mass surveillance against its citizens?

In a recent op-ed for the New York Times, Peter Thiel criticized Google for working with Chinese authorities. The billionaire venture capitalist who helped found PayPal criticized the company's decision to forego work with the Pentagon on Project Maven, an initiative that uses AI to improve the analysis of drone footage. Google decided not to renew its contract after its employees protested the project, instead opting to focusing on fostering relations with the Chinese.

Now, according to The Intercept’s Ryan Gallagher, “The OpenPower Foundation — a nonprofit led by Google and IBM executives with the aim of trying to “drive innovation” — has set up a collaboration between IBM, Chinese company Semptian, and U.S. chip manufacturer Xilinx.”

Why? To develop a breed of microprocessors that enable computers to analyze vast amounts of data more efficiently.

What will this technology be used for? Semptian, a company based in the city of Shenzhen, is using the devices to enhance the capabilities of internet surveillance and censorship technology. Journalist Jeremy Scahill warns us that this “technology is being used to covertly monitor the internet activity of 200 million people.” Of course, it is. After all, Semptian works with IBM and Google through a collaborative cloud platform called SuperVessel, which is maintained by an American led research unit in China.

In an interview with The Intercept, Mark Warner, D-Va., vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had this to say: “It’s disturbing to see that China has successfully recruited Western companies and researchers to assist them in their information control efforts.”

The idea that two major American companies now pledge allegiance to Communist China is as baffling as it is worrying. Google and IBM have a professional responsibility to conduct human rights due diligence throughout their operations and supply chains, including through partnerships and collaborations. Obviously, this is no longer the case.

An employee of the aforementioned Semptian recently released documents showing that the company has developed a mass surveillance system named Aegis, which has the capacity to “store and analyze unlimited data.” By providing the Chinese with cutting-edge technology, Google and IBM are actively supporting one of the most oppressive regimes of the 21st century.

Aegis allows government officials to see “the connections of everyone,” including “location information for everyone in the country.” Of course, this invasion of privacy doesn’t just affect the lives of Chinese citizens. Today, there are more than 70,000 Americans currently living in China. One assumes that their online activities are being monitored very closely.

Peter Thiel calls the collaboration between Google, IBM and China “treasonous." Only a fool would argue with the entrepreneur. By sleeping with the enemy, Google and IBM executives are helping one of the most repressive countries in the world operate its very own Panopticon, replete with 24 hour surveillance and a complete disregard for an individual’s right to privacy.

John Glynn is a professor of psychology at American University of Bahrain. Follow him on Twitter: @John_A_Glynn.


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In the Absence of Sovereignty: The Dangers Posed by Attorneys/Terrorists - Shimon Cohen

by Shimon Cohen

The absence of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria leads to an absurd situation where it is not possible to assure that the people representing terrorists, who receive information from imprisoned terrorists, are indeed attorneys.

The decision to leave Judea and Samaria outside the scope of Israeli sovereignty has many costs, in the political, security and Zionist aspects. It now seems that the absence of sovereignty leads to surprising and previously unrecognized security dangers as well.

Former military chief prosecutor Lieutenant-Colonel (res.) Morris Hirsch addresses one of these issues.

Atty. Hirsch, being familiar with the legal sphere in Judea and Samaria and dealing with terrorists’ attorneys, says that under the Oslo Accords, one of the authorities that was transferred to the PA, is the authority to award attorneys’ licenses. Although this permission should deal solely with professional issues, it has extremely serious security ramifications.

“This is a historical arrangement that is based on relating to Judea and Samaria as an area that is not under Israeli sovereignty, and even if it is under our control, we allow the local population to appear before military courts, including the attorneys”.

Hirsch’s comments indicate that the situation where military courts recognize the status of terrorists’ representatives as attorneys, allows them to enter the prisoners’ cells, meet with terrorists and converse with them on matters that do not necessarily relate to their function as representatives, to pass information from the imprisoned terrorists to parties outside of the prison and from parties outside of the prison to the imprisoned terrorists and among the prisoners themselves.

All of this is being done without Israeli supervision and no one from the Israeli authorities checks whether these are indeed attorneys or are parties who are involved with terror, and that the entire purpose of their visits to detention cells and prisons is to promote terrorist goals.

As mentioned, the situation is unsupervised and current mode of oversight is a result of the Oslo Accords, in which Israeli willingly chose to transfer authorities to the leadership of the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, while in the past, the Palestinian Bar Association worked together with the Civil Administration and at least there was some sort of regulation. Currently, there is no way to know if the person to whom the Palestinian Bar Association has granted a license to practice law has actually studied law”.

Atty. Hirsch’s admonitions are consistent with the situation in which it has been discovered that Arab attorneys were supposedly representing terrorists but actually served as couriers for terrorists and as contact people between terror organizations and senior terrorists, and have aided in carrying out terror attacks, attempted terror attacks and in transferring monies to terrorist goals.

Written for the Sovereignty Movement and translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav

Shimon Cohen


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Prager U Video: What's the Deal with the Green New Deal? - Prager University

by Prager University

Beyond the headlines, what is it really?

There’s been a lot of talk about The Green New Deal. Beyond the headlines, what is it really? Given our energy needs, is it practical? Can we have an abundance of energy and a clean planet? Alex Epstein, the author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, considers these questions and has thought-provoking answers. Don't miss it!

Prager University


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Who’s funding illegal PA settlements in Area C—Nearly 10,000 cases - Edwin Black

by Edwin Black

What makes the Palestinian settlements “illegal” is the thin wisp of Oslo that remains. The rest is dust.

Area C,” which comprises some 60 percent of the 'West Bank', also known as Judea and Samaria, has become highly volatile again. In the past, debate has centered on Jewish settlements. Now, “illegal Palestinian settlements” sprouting across the region, are under the spotlight.

According to Israeli activist watchdog groups such as Regavim, during the last five years, illegal Palestinian settlements and infrastructure have sprawled across more than 9,000 dunams in more than 250 Area C locations, supported by more than 600 kilometers of illegally constructed access roads and more than 112,000 meters of retaining walls and terracing. This massive works project is being conducted in broad daylight, often heralded by tall announcement placards and proud press releases.

Israeli government officials contacted did not dispute the Regavim numbers. In exasperation, one military spokesman close to the Area C files estimated “close to 10,000” illegal construction efforts are now underway—adding they feel “powerless to stop them.” 

In the 1990s, after years of diplomatic wrangling, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Oslo Accords, envisioning a peaceful two-state solution. Under the complex Oslo Accords, the “West Bank” is divided into three separate administrative zones, Areas A, B and C.

Area A is reserved for Palestinian civil and administrative control and seats the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Area B is governed by Palestinian civil control under a joint Israeli-Palestinian security apparatus.

Area C —also called Judea and Samaria—comprises roughly 60 percent of the 'West Bank'. The majority of Area C residents are Israelis—an estimated 325,000 alongside some 300,000 Arabs. Under the Oslo Accords, only the Israeli Civil Administration can authorize new construction in the zone—for Israeli and Arab alike.

But in 2009, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad introduced the so-calledFayyad Plan, well-described by a 2011 article in the Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture as having “the potential to dramatically transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, by extension, the Middle Eastern political landscape.”

The analysis adds, “The essence of the Fayyad plan involves establishing an internationally recognized demilitarized Palestinian state encompassing both the West Bank and Gaza, based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Since August 2009, Fayyad, with the help of the Barack Obama administration and the European Union, has been quietly building national institutions and physical infrastructure … in the West Bank.”

To create a de facto Palestinian State without further negotiation or even diplomatic consultation with the Israelis, European countries, individually and through the EU, have pumped hundreds of millions of euros annually into scores of illegal state-building and related projects—called Area C “interventions.” Just one cluster of the “European Union Area C Development Programme” boasts a €300 million annual commitment, and within three years, is budgeted to reach about €1.5 billion. A single 1650-meter roadnear Jenin in Area C was funded with a €500,000 allocation.

The Area C Palestinian boom advances without any coordination with Israelis about land use, security, environmental impacts, or close proximity to Jewish villages. The PA’s 2014 Roots Project greatly accelerated the entire process. Thus, European governments and the PA have completed the shredding of the already-weakened Oslo agreements.

Most of new Area C settlements are not natural Arab urban growth or urban sprawl. Rather, they are often strategically scattered to effectively carve up Area C, sometimes surround Jewish villages, and sometimes push onto Israeli nature or military reserves.

In many instances, Arab residents from Areas A and B are bused in, encouraged by incentives to relocate or start a second home in the new settlements. Some structures are makeshift festooned with the logo of the European Union. Some are multi-floor office centers. Other times, palatial homes are built. The gamut of construction styles can be seen.

In several cases, the illegal constructions are deliberately established on Israeli military reserves. Since the 1970s, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have maintained military training and firing ranges, such as Firing Zone 918. That zone now has illegal settlements.

One road, dubbed Smuggler’s Routecourses through the hills from the Palestinian city of Yatta all the way to the Arad Valley in the Negev.

In prior years, Israel’s Civil Administration boasted of its many Palestinian construction permits. A glowing report cites 328 projects authorized during 2011 and 2012. That number has drastically diminished because Area C Palestinians no longer apply for permits; they deny Israel’s right to issue them. Now, they just start building.

While the sudden development rush has been percolating into the Jewish and Israeli media, many Jewish leaders worldwide are completely unaware of this phenomenon. Many are incredulous that the Israeli government has not acted to block the illegal projects. But a security spokesman close to the Area C files located in Bet El blames the inaction on Israel’s complex legal system.

“When we discover something,” stated a security spokesman, “we give them a stop order, and if they don’t stop, they are summoned to an [adjudication] panel. But they don’t come. They go to court to enjoin us.”

These court cases are frequently financed and represented by well-funded NGOs, such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. The Gordian knot of legal principles to parse includes Ottoman land law from a long-dismantled empire, Jordanian law from the withdrawn 1948 illegal occupation, post-Six Day War military administrative law, and a library of international legal codes--all stoked and poked with competing maps, surveys, expert opinions, decrees, chronologies, and historical accounts.

“It can take years to decide, and without a court ruling, we cannot get close,” lamented the spokesman, adding, “Meanwhile, they are still building. We can’t do anything about it.” The spokesman continued, “Court can take half a year -- or four years. There is no specific time. Each case is different. We have some cases that were opened 15 years ago.”

Once the court rules, if Israel takes enforcement action with bulldozers, the international headlines, EU accusations of war crimes, threats of sanctions, close-up photos of weeping people and global uproar makes being legally right a very unappealing political idea. The EU, the NGOs, and the illegal settlers know this process. 

What makes the Palestinian settlements “illegal” is the thin wisp of Oslo that remains. The Accords have now been fractured so many times that what remains is only the preserved corpse of a long-deceased vision.

At the end of July 2019, when the Israeli cabinet voted to authorize an extra 715 permits, the Palestinian response was immediate. PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh declared: “We don’t need permission from the occupying power to build our homes on our lands,” adding, the Oslo classification of land into A, B and C “no longer exists.”

Before year’s end, the PA is expected to issue thousands of new permits further circumventing Oslo. As Palestinian expansion roils across Area C, the prospect looms of Gaza fence-style encounters coming soon to a hill in Judea and Samaria.

As Area C dynamics become clearer, still murky is the source and route of the diverse European funding that enables this confrontation. What’s more, there is widespread fear that millions in funds are continuously funneled through entities openly accused of being affiliated with established terrorist organizations.

Edwin Black is the New York Times best selling investigative author of "IBM and the Holocaust", and his just released book, "Financing the Flames: How Tax-Exempt and Public Money Fuel a Culture of Confrontation and Terrorism (Dialog Press)." He can be reached at 


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Iran's Mullahs: Loving the Democrats' Presidential Debates - Majid Rafizadeh

by Majid Rafizadeh

[T]he Democratic presidential candidates have apparently not learned a thing from the damage their nuclear deal inflicted -- in Iran, in the region and even as far as Venezuela -- under the leadership of their former president.

  • "As long as Iran has money, we will have money...." — Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of the Lebanese paramilitary party;
  • "Iran Executed 110 In Six Months, Including Minors" — Radio Farda, July 5, 2019.
  • It is not hard to track Iran's aggression and quest for regional dominance in the Middle East.
  • What should come as a surprise, is that the Democratic presidential candidates have apparently not learned a thing from the damage their nuclear deal inflicted -- in Iran, in the region and even as far as Venezuela -- under the leadership of their former president.

The Democratic Party's presidential campaign is receiving massive interest in Iran. Pictured: A Democratic Party presidential debate on June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The ruling mullahs of Iran, whose undue influence and bullying in the region have been significantly restrained by America in times past, have, as expected, been championing hate and dissent against Washington. They have been monitoring events in the United States with keen attention; a vivid example is the massive interest the Democratic Party's presidential campaign is receiving from the Islamic Republic of Iran. The mullahs seem to enjoy a cordial relationship with the Democratic Party -- why not? The former administration of President Barack Obama was most generous and sympathetic to their cause: being able to create a nuclear-weapons capability.

As of now, nine or ten out of twenty candidates of the Democratic Party have been qualified to participate in the third round of presidential debate and Iran has been closely monitoring the situation examining the willingness and determination of each of the candidates to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as Iran nuclear deal.

Iran's state-controlled newspapers have, in fact, been filled with headlines from statements by the democratic candidates about Iran. Updates on the debate have become the staple everyone is chewing on in Iran as we speak. Etela'at (Intelligence), Iran's leading hardline newspaper, saluted Senator Bernie Sanders: its front page headline read, "Sanders: I'll Return to JCPOA on First Day of Presidency!" The Jomhori Islami newspaper boasted that "US Representatives Urge Return to JCPOA". Iran's Vice President responded, according to Iran's Ebtekar newspaper, by stating that "Iran's Return to JCPOA is Very Easy".

We all know that the Iranians are not friends of democratic norms and principles, so possibly there might be something in it for them to be so interested in America's political scene?

First of all, the return to the Iran nuclear deal, cancelled by President Donald J. Trump, would ensure that billions of dollars would be flowing again into the treasury of the theocratic establishment; there is a precedent to it.

President Obama during his tenure made significant concessions to the Islamic Republic. He transferred cash and $1.7 billion to Tehran; showered the ruling mullahs with $150 billion in lifted sanctions, and struck secret agreements under the nuclear deal, such as paving the way for Iranian leaders to advance their nuclear capabilities at a higher level and reducing the nuclear break-out timeline from one year to six months before the nuclear agreement was to end.

What did the Iranian government do with this gift from President Obama? It was deployed to fan the embers of unrest in the Middle East. It funneled some of the money into the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to expand the government's influence and military stranglehold across the Middle East, including in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was on the verge of losing his stranglehold on power, received a boost of adrenaline as Iran ramped up its "investment" in Syria by spending between $6 and $35 billion a year to keep its staunchest regional ally in power. Iran succeeded in so doing.

The other major beneficiaries of the nuclear deal were Iran's militias and terror groups: they were able to strengthen their Shiite armies and their proxies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. A conglomerate of roughly 40 Iraqi Shiite groups under the banner of the Popular Mobilization Forces also gained significant power.

The militias were empowered and emboldened to such an extent that they began admitting and boasting about receiving money from Iran. Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, pointed out, "We are open about the fact that Hezbollah's budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran".

"As long as Iran has money," he added, "we have money... Just as we receive the rockets that we use to threaten Israel, we are receiving our money. No law will prevent us from receiving it".

"Iran Executed 110 In Six Months, Including Minors, Radio Farda noted in July.

"Iran executes more people per capita than any other country, and carries out more total executions than any nation but China (whose population is over 17 times the size of Iran's).... Capital punishment can be—and often is—carried out against juvenile offenders and for nonviolent crimes," United Against Nuclear Iran reports.

"The Iranian authorities have flogged and secretly executed two boys under the age of 18... displaying an utter disdain for international law and the rights of children," Amnesty International reported in April.

It is not hard to track Iran's aggression and quest for regional dominance in the Middle East.
It should therefore not come as a surprise that the Iranian government is excited about Democratic presidential debates and the prospects of returning to the nuclear deal.

What should come as a surprise, is that the Democratic presidential candidates have apparently not learned a thing from the damage their nuclear deal inflicted -- in Iran, in the region and even as far as Venezuela -- under the leadership of Barack Obama.
  • Follow Majid Rafizadeh on Twitter

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu


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Question to Cummings: Where did the Billions in Missing Federal Money Go? - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

Why Trump was right to ask.

President Trump went after purported congressional watchdog Elijah Cummings recently, slamming the Democrat congressman for failing to improve his troubled Baltimore, Maryland, district despite the inflow of billions of dollars in federal aid during and in the years leading up to Trump’s administration.

Cummings came to the attention of conservatives as he zealously defended the IRS throughout the Lois Lerner saga. Lerner is the corrupt IRS tax-exempt division executive who engineered the tax agency’s targeting of conservative nonprofits during the Obama administration. Cummings also apparently conspired with Lerner to sabotage True the Vote, a leading grassroots electoral integrity group. In 2012, Cummings falsely claimed the group would “do almost anything to stop people from voting.”

“Baltimore’s numbers are the worst in the United States on Crime and the Economy. Billions of dollars have been pumped in over the years, but to no avail[,]” the president wrote on Twitter July 29. “The money was stolen or wasted. Ask Elijah Cummings where it went. He should investigate himself with his Oversight Committee!”

“Baltimore, under the leadership of Elijah Cummings, has the worst Crime Statistics in the Nation. 25 years of all talk, no action! So tired of listening to the same old Bull…Next, Reverend Al will show up to complain & protest. Nothing will get done for the people in need. Sad!” Trump tweeted.

Trump was responding to taunts by RINO Michael Steele, who used to run the Republican National Committee and was Maryland’s lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2007, Baltimore Mayor Bernard Young (D), and racial arsonist Al Sharpton, who accused the president of not spending enough federal money on Baltimore.

Two days before his tweets, Trump took Cummings to task on Twitter after the congressmen lobbed harsh criticisms about the conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA......” Trump tweeted.

“....As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded[,]” Trump added. “Cumming[s’] District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place[.]”

Naturally, Democrats in the media and the political establishment responded with indignation, defending the squalor of Baltimore, even though just a few years ago, they had admitted Charm City was in bad shape.

In 2015, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders blasted West Baltimore, likening it to a “Third World country.” The next year the socialist senator from Vermont lamented in a tweet: “Residents of Baltimore’s poorest boroughs have lifespans shorter than people living under dictatorship in North Korea. That is a disgrace.”

Lynne Patton, a regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, defended Trump, saying that $16 billion in grants was directed to Cummings’s congressional district in 2018 alone.

“I want to say this expressly to Mayor Young and Michael Steele and Al Sharpton, who today called out the president and said let President Trump put his money where his mouth is. Well, boys and girls, I have a message for you, President Trump has given $16 billion in 2018 alone to Elijah Cummings’s district in federal grants,” she said.

Newsweek verified that Cummings’s home turf, the 7th Congressional District, which includes portions of Maryland outside Baltimore, took in a little under $15.7 billion in grants and other funding from the U.S. government in fiscal 2018.

“We have given more money in homeless funds to Baltimore than the last administration. We have given more money in community development grants than the last administration to Baltimore. My question to you guys is this, what are you actually doing with the money so that it benefits residents in the community for once instead of deep-pocket crooked politicians?” Patton said.

Statistics paint a depressing picture of Baltimore.

Baltimore has the highest homicide rate among America’s 50 largest cities and the second-highest violent crime rate overall, according to FBI data released in September 2018. There were 342 homicides in Baltimore in 2017, which works out to 56 per 100,000 people residing in the city. On 24/7 Wall Street’s list of the most dangerous cities in the country, Baltimore ranked 3rd, behind 1st-place St. Louis, Missouri and 2nd-place Detroit, Michigan.

Baltimore’s economic data are nothing to brag about, either, according to a summary prepared by Fox Business.

The median home there is valued at $113,500. Home values have fallen 3.2 percent over the last year. Zillow expects they will tumble another 4.2 percent over the coming year. Census Bureau data show Baltimore had retail sales of $5,871 per capita in 2012, which was well below the national average of $13,443.

Baltimore’s unemployment rate in May was 5.1 percent, which is above Maryland’s state rate of 3.8 percent and the national average of 3.7 percent. Average household income in Baltimore was $46,641 in 2017, well below the average household income nationally of $57,652. The poverty rate in Baltimore is 22.4 percent, which is dramatically higher than the national average of 12.3 percent.

On WalletHub’s list of 150 best-run cities, Baltimore weighed in at the 129th spot in terms of city leadership.

The evidence suggests Trump was right on the money, as usual. Local Democrat leaders in Baltimore, especially Elijah Cummings, have some explaining to do.

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


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Virtue-Signaling Jewish Dems Betray Israel and Themselves - Jonathan F. Keiler

by Jonathan F. Keiler

Post-Obama, Democrats have moved more forcefully leftward than he dared and are busy adopting the far left's open hostility to Israel and actively welcoming active and obvious anti-Semites.

President Trump has ripped the Band-Aid off a festering wound: the increasing division between Israel and American Jewish Democrats. This split has been worsening for decades, but the anti-Zionist infection afflicting Jewish Democrats has largely been salved and covered over rather than addressed directly. Now Trump is forcing the matter.

That the Democratic Party has long been moving toward a leftist anti-Zionist ideology, and is willing to harbor anti-Semites within its ranks with nary a quibble, is old news. The last Democrat president, someone named Obama, is no Zionist, and while not personally an anti-Semite, he didn't mind their support. Post-Obama, Democrats have moved more forcefully leftward than he dared and are busy adopting the far left's open hostility to Israel and actively welcoming active and obvious anti-Semites.

The Democratic Party's open embrace of fervently anti-Zionist congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilan Omar, as well as their corresponding anti-Semitism, is the acute problem, but the underlying issue with Jewish Democrats runs deeper. It's an issue that plagues the left in general, and it says much about leftist ideology. 

That issue is virtue-signaling — publicly doing or saying things that demonstrate one's good character and moral virtue. Much of the Left's current agenda is largely driven by this dynamic, rather than real needs or credible rationales. Issues like climate change, immigration reform, gun control, on-demand abortion, and national health care are treated as ideological litmus tests often passed via virtue-signaling and little more.

Liberal American Jews tend to be strong virtue-signalers. It likely stems in part from Jewish history itself. Attempting to assimilate into dominant Christian societies, urban European Jews tended to adopt new bourgeois ideas and customs with a vengeance, so much so that this alone occasionally bred resentment. 

The Dreyfus Affair in late 19th-century France is as good an example as any. Dreyfus was a French army captain from a well-to-do and upwardly mobile family that signaled its "Frenchness" as strongly as it could. That didn't help Dreyfus, falsely accused of treason and brutally imprisoned thanks to anti-Semites within the French Army. 

Modern American Jewry managed to escape much of this, the United States truly becoming a kind of Promised Land for many millions who had suffered generationally in so many other lands. Yet the need to "prove" oneself as a success, and a good, respected person, remains an abiding facet in modern Jewish culture and probably in part drives much Jewish accomplishment. 

Jews who gravitated to the Democratic Party in the 1930s and 1940s felt a need to prove they were the best Democrats. In the 1960s, Jews adopted Democratic ideas and programs that, actually went against their own best interest. High taxes and regulation worked against their growing wealth and businesses, while programs like affirmative action benefited non-Jewish minority groups and hurt accomplished Jewish students and job applicants alike.

In the 1960s, being a Jewish Democrat and being pro-Israel were the same thing. Jewish Democrats were happy to bask in Israel's military successes, as evidence of their own toughness and competence, real or imagined. But Israel's successes and territorial conquests quickly ran afoul of the Democratic Party's already entrenched leftist anti-colonialism. So the Arabs fighting Israel cleverly recast themselves as aborigines fighting off European invaders. 

The movement to cast Israel as a colonial invader of Arab lands largely began in the academy but over the past half-century has become enshrined as liberal orthodoxy. The Western college students have long received large doses of anti-Zionist propaganda to go along with other nonsense.

At this point, Democrat Jews could have pushed back, but they did not — instead, they went along, virtue-signaling the whole way. As Jews, taking anti-Israel positions appeared to provide extra virtue, criticism of Israel usually preceded by the words "As a Jew, I..." Jewish liberals postured as morally "brave" and willing to go against confessional interests for what is "right." 

Some Jews with names like Chomsky went off the deep long before that. But mainstream Jewish Democrats got to their current sad state more gradually. It picked up steam bashing Menachem Begin and continued with rightist Israeli leaders up to Netanyahu. During Netanyahu's first term in office in the 1990s, liberal reform synagogue–goers might typically begin a discussion with "I support Israel, but not Netanyahu..." 

This obviously has continued as a common refrain throughout the many years Netanyahu has led Israel, and it is all virtue-signaling. Netanyahu is exactly the kind of Jew a liberal Spielbergian Los Angelino or New York Jew would otherwise admire to a fault if it weren't for the fact that the domestic and international Left hates him. He's urbane, articulate, linguistically fluent, smart, and legitimately a tough and brave Jew, having served in Israel's most elite commando unit. His fellow commando brother is one of Israel's greatest military heroes. The vibrant, rich, and much less socialist Israel he has helped create allows his Jewish critics to visit Israel in fine hotels, dine first class, and stay at former kibbutzim turned into boutique inns and spas. 

Now Trump has called out the Democrats on their slide toward anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Democrat Jews (like Dems in general) despise Trump, and this exacerbates their bind. Will Jewish Democrats betray Israel to embrace the anti-Trump Left, itself dominated by anti-Zionists and anti-Semites? Or will they give up their incessant virtue-signaling and move away from a party that never really wanted them in the first place and is now quite ready to abandon them? 

Unfortunately, I expect the virtue-signaling to continue, the lesson of Dreyfus long lost in the lefty fog.

Jonathan F. Keiler


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Vermont Is Going Insane. Will the Rest of America Follow? - John Klar

by John Klar

If America looks ahead, it will see the chilling dystopia unfolding in Vermont

This spring, visiting professor Ryszard Legutko was prevented from speaking at Vermont's prestigious Middlebury College due to strident opposition by extremist and intolerant students. This was the second such embarrassment for the college: writer Charles Murray and a Middlebury professor were insulted and assaulted there in 2016.

Professor Legutko recently related his perspective on the experience, revealing that the college not only caved to the disruptive and disrespectful students, but legitimized their conduct! Further, the students have set out to proscribe future discourse that might again ignite their sociopathic anarchy.

Last year, our nation's children walked out of high schools to complain about school shootings. Encouraged by teachers and principals, these students proclaimed that they would finally end school violence by effecting changes to national gun laws. Many have praised these optimistic youths; others have condemned them. Both approaches are wrong.

Addressing the rebellion of America's youth in the 1960s, writer Wendell Berry remarked that "this generation is as subject as any other to intelligent scrutiny and judgment, and as deserving of honest criticism. It has received much approbation and condemnation, very little criticism" ("Discipline and Hope," 1970). Mr. Berry argued that the '60s youths correctly criticized their parents' world but that without guidance, they eventually embraced those same values in new forms. Thus, the Flower Children took root in Silicon Valley, where they now grow bald while the military complex and industrial waste flourish.

Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students sharply criticized college professors who encouraged student walk-outs to protest the Vietnam War. Disrupting education and politicizing issues in this way is destructive both of education and of political discourse. Or worse...

Last year in Parkland, Florida, students were encouraged to protest against guns, and all students were released from school, even if they chose not to participate. One 11-year-old sixth-grader who elected not to protest was struck and killed by a car at 10:27 A.M., when he should have been in school. Who is responsible for this death? Prayers and tweets will not suffice.

Berry and Bloom both criticized professors and other adults who, instead of correcting or challenging our youths, grabbed a bullhorn and joined in. A notorious example is Professor Timothy Leary, who famously concluded that LSD is intellectually enlightening and advocated its use, advising disenchanted young people to "turn on, tune in, drop out."

Vermont filmmaker Jay Craven advocates for extending the vote to 16-year-olds ("Listen to the Young," he admonishes). Vermont Public Radio commentator Bill Schubart proclaimed that "I've recently learned I'm a "privileged, cisgendered, white male[.] ... I'll keep an open mind about identity politics, and trust the next generation to better educate me on the concept." Talk about optimism — an old man hoping to be educated about his hitherto unknown identities by those with less than fully formed brains.

This failure to steward our youth is now extending to even younger groups. In most ancient cultures, there was no concept of "adolescence." Jews, Romans, Greeks — all adhered to rites whereby "manhood" was acknowledged: one was either a child or an adult. We moderns have indulged ourselves greatly, employing the nebulous cloak of adolescence to confer the benefits of adulthood on children (without responsibilities) and to conversely extend childhood into adulthood by excusing adults who behave like children. This frees would-be leaders like Bill Schubart (who references the "turmoil" of his own '60s experience) to offer the precise opposite of sage advice to those who follow.
Consider what Allan Bloom took a snapshot of for us in 1987:
Picture a thirteen-year-old boy sitting in the living room of his family home doing his math assignment while wearing his Walkman headphones or watching MTV. He enjoys the liberties hard won over centuries by the alliance of philosophic genius and political heroism, consecrated by the blood of martyrs; he is provided with comfort and leisure by the most productive economy ever known to mankind; science has penetrated the secrets of nature in order to provide him with the marvelous, lifelike electronic sound and image reproduction he is enjoying. And in what does progress culminate? A pubescent child whose body throbs with orgasmic rhythms; whose feelings are made articulate in hymns to the joys of onanism or the killing of parents; whose ambition is to win fame and wealth in imitating the drag-queen who makes the music. In short, life is made into a nonstop, commercially prepackaged masturbational fantasy.
Thirty-plus years later, our youths have been corrupted by unhealthy food, limitless violence in television and pornography, phone and internet obsession that leaves them anxious and stressed, and Facebook that feeds toxicity. (Old people don't understand self-immolation very well; perhaps our youth will "better educate us.") One is compelled to ponder whether Bill Schubart skipped class to drop acid with Jay Craven and Timothy Leary. But Professor Legutko paid heed and describes in his book The Demon in Democracy how this corrupting consumerism now threatens Western civilization at its core.

America's youths are more alienated than their elders, and the internet that promised to unite people causes a new degree of isolation. Studies have found that 30% of college students don't know how to boil an egg; 52% of high school students don't know how to change a tire; 70% of young people have no clue how to sew on a button. Yet we grown-up adolescents are yoking them with responsibility to "lead" us to solve our social ills while they can't find jobs, many require psychiatric medications, and the national deficit has exceeded the capacity of the human mind to comprehend. High hopes, indeed.

Vermont leads the nation in adults who behave like errant children and delegate leadership to infants. Small wonder that Vermont uncritically embraced a 14-year-old candidate for governor. Vermont is the forefront of the new utopian vision of which Ryszard Legutko has cautioned — this is the state where Black Lives Matter flags are flown at numerous schools, and textbooks are edited to teach children that Vermont is a white supremacist culture. This is where young children halt public parades while no police or other authorities intervene.

In Vermont, this experiment now extends to sexual and gender identity decisions in early childhood, and genital-mutilating surgeries at taxpayer expense, which insurance companies are mandated to provide without age minimums. Vermont's largest hospital even invites children to think ahead before they attempt to alter their sex:
We can provide a referral to the reproductive endocrinology team at the UVM Medical Center to discuss fertility preservation options if it is desired by the patient and family, and if the patient is at pubertal age[.] ... When the right time comes, planning for having children is a part of life. Like everyone else, a transgender person has choices. Once on pubertal suppressive treatment and/or gender affirming hormones, the likelihood of being able to have biological offspring decreases significantly or is not possible at all. It's good to plan ahead.
If America looks ahead, it will see the chilling dystopia unfolding in Vermont, where bizarre, government-imposed perversions of identity, culture, and society are being augmented by swelling poverty and an opioid crisis. It's about time we adults embraced adulthood and led our children instead of abandoning them.

John Klar


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Thursday, August 22, 2019

The PA's most absurd lie was actually caught on camera! - Leah Rosenberg

by Leah Rosenberg

These are the types of stories and lies being broadcasted on official PA TV. But the truth is right there for all to see!

Official PA TV Lies

The PA (Palestinian Authority) is the leadership in charge of the Palestinian Arabs. And these are the types of lies they show on their official TV channel. They claim that Israel targets and kills innocent Muslim children. But the truth is that these Muslim children are jihadists. They attacked an Israeli police officer with the intention to kill. CHILDREN did this. The Palestinian Arab leadership praises those who do such horrific things. They call them “martyrs.” It is so sickening that children are being robbed of a proper childhood and future.

The Footage Tells the Truth

The footage of the terrorist attack is hard to watch. You can see as the children run up to stab the policeman. Only then do the other policeman shoot. Israel does not protect their people with the hopes of killing the enemy. They hope they never have to lift their gun and use it. But the reality is, they do. And that is the fault of the Palestinian Arabs and their hatred. There is no occupation. Israel does not mistreat the Arabs or target innocent children. The claim that these child terrorists were “executed” on a “pretext” is the most absurd lie ever. The police shot the terrorists in self defense. 

But the ignorant and antisemitic people of the world just listen to what the terrorists say. They do not care about what really happened. Even when it is all caught on camera.

Leah Rosenberg


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How a US Congresswoman Can Help Palestinians - Bassam Tawil

by Bassam Tawil

If Tlaib really cared about the Palestinians, she should be campaigning against the PA and Hamas leaders engaged in a power struggle over money and power.

  • While Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib is using the controversy surrounding her visit as an excuse to launch scathing attacks on Israel, Palestinians seem to be more worried about failed leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This concern is not something that Tlaib seems to share with Palestinians because for her the only wrong-doing is coming from Israel.
  • "Praising suicide bombers and pushing blood libel is not 'criticizing Israeli policy.'" — Charles Sykes, The Bulwark, August 19, 2019.
  • As a Congresswoman, Tlaib should have been worried that a US Embassy was forced to cancel an event to help Palestinians because of threats and calls for a boycott.
  • It would have been helpful had the Palestinian-American Congresswoman made an effort to persuade Palestinian Authority officials to resume their relations with the US administration and explore ways of boosting the Palestinian economy and improving living conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As a Congresswoman, she should be working to build, and not destroy, bridges between her people and the US. Her fierce attacks on Israel and the US administration, however, embolden Palestinian hardliners and fuel hate against Israelis and Americans.
  • If Tlaib really cared about the Palestinians, she should be campaigning against the PA and Hamas leaders engaged in a power struggle over money and power. Moreover, she should be calling for reforms and democracy under the PA and Hamas. The least she could do is demand an end to human rights violations by the PA and Hamas or demand that they hold long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections. She could also demand an end to crackdown on freedom of speech under the PA and Hamas.

As a Palestinian-American Congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib should be working to build, and not destroy, bridges between her people and the US. Her fierce attacks on Israel and the US administration, however, embolden Palestinian hardliners and fuel hate against Israelis and Americans. (Photo by Christ Chavez/Getty Images)

Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib is apparently upset because she was not able to agitate against Israel during a proposed visit to her grandmother there.

"I would like to request admittance to Israel," she had written, "in order to visit my relatives, and specifically my grandmother, who is in her 90s and lives in Beit Ur al-Fouqa. This could be my last opportunity to see her. I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit. Thank you, Rashida Tlaib."

When her letter was leaked to the media, however, Tlaib quickly backtracked:
"Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother's heart."
Her trip was to have been co-sponsored by Miftah, a not-for-profit organization founded by Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Miftah promotes destroying Israel through economic strangulation, such as boycotts, has referred to a suicide bombing as "Palestinian women dedicated to sacrificing their lives for the cause," and has promoted the medieval blood libel that Jews kill Christian children to use their blood to bake matzoh. The itinerary Miftah had planned included "no meetings planned with Israeli officials of any political persuasion, including Arab lawmakers." As the journalist Charles Sykes noted, "Praising suicide bombers and pushing blood libel is not 'criticizing Israeli policy.'"

Tlaib's retraction came after many Palestinians had criticized her for requesting permission from Israel and for "complying with Israeli pre-conditions."

Tlaib and her colleague, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, have since been attacking Israel for banning them from entering the country simply because of their anti-Israel activities.

While Tlaib is using the controversy surrounding her visit as an excuse to launch scathing attacks on Israel, Palestinians seem to be more worried about failed leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This concern is not something that Tlaib seems to share with Palestinians because for her the only wrong-doing is coming from Israel.

Palestinians are more worried about the continued power struggle between their Fatah and Hamas leaders than Tlaib's grievances over not seeing her grandmother. The Fatah-Hamas dispute, which has resulted in the creation of two separate Palestinian entities -- in the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- is seen by many Palestinians as proof of their leaders' incompetence and failure to improve living conditions in the two areas.

As everyone was talking about the cancellation of Tlaib's trip, the leaders of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas were still busy fighting each other. The latest controversy between the two parties erupted over visits by non-Palestinian Arabs and Muslims to Jerusalem, particularly the holy sites in the city.

The PA and Hamas have been at each other's throats ever since Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip and removed the PA from power there in the summer of 2007.

Since then, the two parties have been quarreling over just about everything – including, remarkably, time. If, for example, the PA announces that Palestinians will switch to daylight saving time on a certain date, Hamas is quick to make it clear that it will not follow the announcement and will change the clocks on a different date.

It would have been helpful had the Palestinian-American Congresswoman made an effort to persuade PA officials to resume their relations with the US administration and explore ways of boosting the Palestinian economy and improving living conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As a Congresswoman, she should be working to build, and not destroy, bridges between her people and the US. Her fierce attacks on Israel and the US administration, however, embolden Palestinian hardliners and fuel hate against Israelis and Americans.

If Tlaib really cared about the Palestinians, she should be campaigning against the Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders engaged in a power struggle over money and power. Moreover, she should be calling for reforms and democracy under the PA and Hamas. The least she could do is demand an end to human rights violations by the PA and Hamas or demand that they hold long-overdue presidential and parliamentary elections. She could also demand an end to crackdown on freedom of speech under the PA and Hamas.

As Tlaib was strongly condemning Israel and the US administration, Palestinians boasted that they managed to foil a conference in Ramallah organized by the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

The planned conference was supposed to bring together alumni of US educational and cultural programs, including dozens of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who received permission from Israel to attend. The US Embassy was forced to call off the conference after Palestinians called for boycotting the event and warned the manager of a hotel in Ramallah against hosting the event.

As a Congresswoman, Tlaib should have been worried that a US Embassy was forced to cancel an event to help Palestinians because of threats and calls for a boycott.

Back to the dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which has now hit the issue of Arab and Muslim visits to Jerusalem while it is under Israeli sovereignty. The same debate has also divided prominent Muslim scholars, who seem to endorse contradictory positions on this topic.

Recent tensions between Palestinians and Israel over Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif in Arabic, in the Old City of Jerusalem have retriggered the debate among Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims about the meaning and consequences of such visits.

The PA argues that visits by Arabs and Muslims to Jerusalem are important, mainly because they emphasize the "Arab and Islamic identity" of the city. Hamas and its allies, on the other hand, claim that non-Palestinian Arabs and Muslims who visit Jerusalem are in fact promoting normalization with Israel.

The PA and other Arabs and Muslims, however, maintain just the opposite point of view: they argue that such visits will be seen as a show of solidarity with Palestinians residents of Jerusalem and "strengthen the Islamic and Arabic identity" of the city.

The PA and Hamas, however, are in agreement when it comes to totally opposing visits by Jews to the site, which is holy to Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The leaders of both Palestinian rival parties claim that Israel is seeking to divide it between Muslim and Jewish worshippers.

As part of their campaign against the Jewish visits, PA and Hamas officials are continuing to urge Palestinians to converge on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to "foil" the purported Israeli scheme (to allow Jews to pray there). These appeals are made almost on a weekly basis.

In a number of public statements in the past few years, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has called on Arabs and Muslims to visit Jerusalem and its holy sites to show solidarity with its Palestinian residents.

"Visiting Jerusalem is not considered normalization with Israel or recognition of its sovereignty," Abbas said in a recent speech. Addressing Arabs and Muslims, he added: "I call on everyone to visit Jerusalem and not leave the Palestinians there alone." Abbas went on to argue that Israel is the only party that benefits from an Arab and Islamic boycott of Jerusalem.

In another speech, Abbas was quoted as saying that the Quran and Islamic religious law, Shari'a, do not prohibit Arabs and Muslims from visiting Jerusalem.

He was responding to a fatwa (Islamic religious opinion) by Egyptian Islamic theologian Yusef al-Qaradawi banning non-Palestinian Muslims from visiting Jerusalem while the city is under Israeli control. "There isn't any word in the Quran indicating such a ban," Abbas said.

On another occasion, Abbas strongly condemned al-Qaradawi and called him a "dishonorable man." Abbas pointed out that while al-Qaradawi, now based in Qatar, was calling on Muslims and Arabs not to visit Jerusalem, he himself had visited the Gaza Strip a few years ago in 2013, after receiving permission from Israel.

Al-Qaradawi entered the Gaza Strip through the border crossing with Egypt, not Israel. Abbas and other Palestinians maintain, however, that the visit could not have taken place without Israel's approval.

They are saying, in other words, that al-Qaradawi is a hypocrite because he allegedly received Israeli permission to enter the Gaza Strip while banning Arabs and Muslims from visiting Jerusalem just because it is under Israeli control.

During his visit to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, al-Qaradawi stated that Israel has no right to exist. "This land has never once been a Jewish land," he said. "Palestine is for the Arab Islamic nation."

Al-Qaradawi, who is considered the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, is famous for fanning the flames of religious hatred and promoting violence. He has justified suicide bombings, especially against Israel, has repeatedly spoken out against Jews as a community, and has issued fatwas that demean women.

In January 2009, al-Qaradawi said in an interview with Al-Jazeera:
"Oh God, take Your enemies, the enemies of Islam ... Oh God, take the treacherous Jewish aggressors ... Oh God, count their numbers, slay them one by one and spare none."
In addition to al-Qaradawi, a number of Islamic clerics and organizations have also ruled that it is forbidden for Arabs and Muslims to visit Jerusalem while it is under Israeli control. Their main argument: such visits promote normalization with Israel and may be interpreted as recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Despite the ban, several Arab and Muslim officials and individuals have visited Jerusalem in recent years, only to discover that, under Israel, they have free access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and other holy sites in the city. The visits, of course, have enraged al-Qaradawi and his friends in Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Arab and Muslim officials who visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound actually discovered that the real threat to them was from Palestinian extremists there who attacked them with shoes and chairs and even spat in their faces and hurled insults at them. The most recent incident took place last month, when a group of Palestinians attacked Saudi blogger Mohammed Saud when he arrived to pray in the mosque.

Last week, a Moroccan Muslim scholar again sparked the controversy over visits to Jerusalem by Arabs and Muslims when he came out in support of such visits. The scholar, Ahmed al-Raysuni, ruled that Arabs and Muslims visiting Jerusalem were not engaging in the promotion of normalization with Israel.

Not surprisingly, the PA and Hamas found this ruling another excuse to highlight their differences. The PA leadership rushed to welcome it, while Hamas opposed it.

In 2013, the Hamas-affiliated Palestine Scholars' Forum issued its own fatwa banning non-Palestinian Arabs and Muslims from visiting Israel altogether, including Jerusalem. The group argued that by boycotting Israel, the "ember of jihad (holy war) will continue to exist among Arabs and Muslims until the liberation of Al-Aqsa Mosque."

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas are unlikely to resolve their visitation dispute anytime soon. In fact, they seem determined to pursue their fight to the bitter end, at the rather high expense of ordinary Palestinians.

Palestinians, it is becoming clear, are not the only Muslim victims of the PA-Hamas rivalry: non-Palestinian Arabs and Muslims who wish to carry out a religious trip to their holy sites in Jerusalem are now caught in the capricious power struggle between two Palestinian parties -- both of which continue to display total disregard for their people and anyone who dares to disagree with them.

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


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