Friday, March 6, 2020

The undemocratic alliance bent on toppling Netanyahu - Alex Traiman

by Alex Traiman

While the public has chosen to stand with Netanyahu even as he is about to face trial, the opposition is prepared to ignore the will of the public and twist democratic norms for their own machinations of power.

In Israel’s third election in less than one year, embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defeated his closest challenger by three Knesset seats (36-33), and his bloc of right-wing allies defeated the opposing left-wing bloc supporting challenger Benny Gantz by a stunning 18 seats (58-40). Yet, similar to the first two election contests, Netanyahu still remains precariously shy of a parliamentary majority. 

Coalition negotiations have yet to officially begin, and just three of the remaining 62 Knesset members from outside of Netanyahu’s bloc could push Israel’s tenured premier over the 61-seat majority threshold. By doing so, they would bring much-needed stability to a convoluted parliamentary political system whose efficacy is now being rightfully questioned. 

The parliamentarians who refuse to join the right-wing bloc are united by a singular goal: to dethrone Netanyahu. Yet these 62 opposing members of Parliament are incapable of forming their own governing coalition. In addition to their unwillingness to sit with Netanyahu, they have all repeatedly stated that they are ideologically opposed to sitting with one another. 

This opposition includes the Blue and White Party, a mini-coalition of center-right and center-left parties that came together to challenge Netanyahu, the seven-seat far-left Labor-Meretz alliance, the seven-seat secular right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu Party led by Avigdor Lieberman and a 15-seat Joint Arab List.

Since the establishment of the modern State of Israel, no Arab party has ever joined any Israeli government right or left, and the Joint List has expressed no intention of joining a coalition led by either Netanyahu or Gantz. Furthermore, Lieberman has vowed not to sit in any government that includes the anti-Zionist Arab parties. 

Excluding the self-stated anti-Zionist Joint List, the opposition totals an underwhelming 47 mandates—well short of a 61-seat majority and a whopping 11 seats smaller than Netanyahu’s bloc of 58 seats.

By hook or by crook

For years, Netanyahu’s opponents have been trying to replace Israel’s longest-serving prime minister by hook or by crook. And since they have failed to remove him at the polls, they now seek to create a parliamentary putsch to remove their political nemesis from office.

Blue and White has announced its intention to advance a parliamentary bill, with the backing of the 62-member opposition, to prohibit a prime minister from serving while under indictment.

Meanwhile, Israeli law explicitly permits a prime minister to remain in office while facing criminal charges under indictment. The law even permits a prime minister to continue in office if convicted, until all legal appeals are exhausted.

In response, Netanyahu stated that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz is attempting to “steal the elections,” and that advancing such a bill “undermines the foundations of democracy.”

The highly questionable cases against Netanyahu have been openly simmering for the past two years with numerous pieces of police evidence being illegally leaked for public consumption. Netanyahu has maintained his innocence in each of the cases.

More than 2 million Israelis have voted again and again for Netanyahu and his allies, believing that the charges are either contrived or not serious enough to warrant removing the successful leader from office. Each vote has been a democratic referendum on Netanyahu’s ability to serve under indictment.

Just prior to the elections, Blue and White pasted large billboards across Israel likening Netanyahu to Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, an Islamist dictator who has been incrementally rolling back democratic freedoms in Turkey.

Yet it is Netanyahu who has consistently returned his mandate to govern to the people. And while the public has chosen to stand with Netanyahu even as he is about to face trial on March 17, it is an opposition concocted of disparate agendas that is prepared to ignore the will of the public and twist democratic norms for their own machinations of power.

Meanwhile, the stakes have never been greater for the State of Israel. Iran is racing towards nuclear breakout and regional hegemony across Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Gaza has increasingly stepped up rocket attacks on Israeli population centers. Syria continues to remain a state of disarray, while Egypt and Jordan’s leaders struggle to maintain control in the face of growing extremism.

In a released recording, adviser Israel Bachar, who was fired after the leak, reported that fellow Blue and White Party member and MK Omer Yankelevich “says he is stupid and a complete nobody and she says ‘he can’t be prime minister.’ ” Bachar also said Gantz “doesn’t have the courage to attack Iran” and would be “a threat to the Israeli nation” as prime minister.

Perhaps more important is the rollout of the Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” Mideast plan. In the coming weeks, following completion of a careful bilateral mapping process, Israel will be permitted to apply full sovereignty to every settlement and outpost in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, as well as the strategic Jordan Valley.

Despite tepid approval of the U.S. plan by Gantz, the left-wing Labor-Meretz Party is staunchly opposed to Israel’s application of sovereignty over any of the territories, as is the Arab Joint List. Furthermore, Gantz and his advisers have been repeatedly antagonistic to the Trump administration, some comparing the U.S. president to Adolf Hitler. Both Gantz and party No. 2 Yair Lapid have repeatedly attacked Netanyahu for his close relationship with the president, which they say has cost Israel bipartisan support in Congress. As such, Israelis cannot count on Gantz as prime minister to carry out the application of sovereignty over territories central to Israel’s security and biblical narrative.

And while Gantz has significant military experience, he has zero political experience, with the exception of losing three successive election campaigns that have been peppered with numerous rhetorical gaffes.

These are the considerations that Israelis have weighed when going to the polls. And while the overwhelming majority of the Jewish candidates chose to keep the man who has arguably been the most successful prime minister in Israel’s history at the helm, it is an undemocratic alliance that will use any tool at their disposal to send Netanyahu packing, even if the means they apply spit directly in the face of Israel’s democratically elected outcome.

Alex Traiman is managing director and Jerusalem bureau chief of Jewish News Syndicate.


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Gaza, Elections and the Corbynization of the Democratic Party - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

The Israeli public determines how Israel will respond to aggression.

The hundred rockets and missiles that Gazan terrorists launched into Israel this week served as yet another reminder that we have an account to manage with Gaza.
“Manage,” not “settle,” because we lack the opportunity to settle our score with Gaza. There is not today, and for the foreseeable future, there will not be any regime in Gaza that will agree to set aside its war with Israel and leave us alone.

Gaza, like Judea and Samaria, is a long-term problem that requires management, not resolution.

To understand what needs to be done, we have to focus on the two sides of the problem.

First, Gaza is a military problem. To successfully and permanently quell the security threat Gaza poses to Israel, the IDF requires the capacity to operate freely in Gaza – as it does in Judea and Samaria. Israel built its capacity to operate throughout Judea and Samaria during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002.

In 1995, Israel signed the Interim Agreement with the PLO. The deal set out the basis for the transfer of authorities and powers to the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria.

The PLO agreed to combat terrorism in all the areas transferred to its authority. Area A, which encompasses the Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria was an area under full Palestinian security and civilian authority. In Area B, which includes the Palestinian villages, the PLO received full civil authority and police authorities, while Israel retained what was referred to as “overriding security authority,” or, in plain English, the authority to conduct counterterrorism operations at will.

Area C encompasses the rest of Judea and Samaria, including all Israeli military installations, Israeli cities, towns and villages and Jordan Valley. There the PLO received limited civil authority and no military authority.

From 1996, when the PLO set up shop in Judea and Samaria until Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, the PLO transformed Area A into one large terrorist infrastructure. The suicide bombers that massacred Israeli civilians on a near-daily basis from 2000 through 2002 were trained and equipped in the bomb factories and terror bases in Area A.

Following a month in which 130 Israelis were slaughtered in suicide bombings and shootings, including 30 in the Seder massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya, in April 2002, the government ordered the IDF to destroy the terrorist infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.

The implication was clear. The strategic goal of the operation was to militarily transform Area A, where the PLO had a free hand to behave like the Taliban, into Area B, where the IDF was capable of breaking up terror cells before they got up and running.

In the event, after one of the most complex urban warfare operations in history, and while sustaining significant battlefield losses, the IDF achieved the sought-after result. Since 2002, the IDF has been able to operate throughout Judea and Samaria. As a consequence, the PLO and its fellow terrorist groups have been unable to rebuild their suicide belt assembly lines or import or develop a rocket and missile industry.

The military reality in Gaza is similar to the situation that held in Judea and Samaria on the eve of Defensive Shield – just with missiles and rockets and more arms concentrated in far denser population centers. There are many reasons Israel has not undertaken an operation like Defensive Shield in Gaza to date. But they can be watered down to a simple cost-benefit analysis. The price of such a Defensive Shield-Gaza would be extremely high while the benefits Israel would obtain remain fiercely debated.

Rather than conduct a Defensive Shield, the government and IDF have adopted a strategy of minimizing risks and violence. The strategy is implemented at times by appeasing the Hamas regime through cash transfers from Qatar and the provision of work permits for Gazans in Israel.

The strategy is implemented at times through military operations – generally conducted from the air to minimize risk to troops. Every few years, Israel is required as it was in 2014, 2011, 2010, and 2008-09 to carry out a limited ground operation in Gaza to scale back Hamas’s military capabilities.

In the absence of a clear casus belli along the lines of a missile-launched Park Hotel massacre, it is hard to see Israel initiating an operation with a scope similar to that of Defensive Shield in Gaza. And so, in the coming years, Israel will be required to continue to act with varying degrees of force in Gaza to secure an acceptable quality of life for residents of southern Israel and to prevent Hamas from developing the capacity to pose a strategic threat to the country.

This brings us to the second aspect of the complex, long-term problem of Gaza – the diplomatic challenge. And this, in turn, forces us to consider the strategic implications of socialist Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential run.

Following Sanders’ landslide victory last Saturday in the Nevada caucuses, during Tuesday’s night Democratic debate, the radical senator from Vermont was center stage. Sanders is now the undisputed frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Towards the end of the debate, Sanders, who began referring to himself recently as “proud to be Jewish,” was asked about his view of Israel. He was also asked whether he plans to move the US Embassy in Israel to Tel Aviv.

The question came following Sanders’ wild attack on AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby in Washington earlier in the week. On Sunday, Sanders announced that he wouldn’t be participating in AIPAC’s annual policy conference. AIPAC, he alleged, serves as a “platform” for “leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.”

In response to the Israel questions Tuesday night, Sanders said, “I am very proud of being Jewish. I actually lived in Israel for some months. [He was a volunteer at a Communist kibbutz in the early 1960s, CBG] But what I happen to believe, right now, sadly, tragically, in Israel through Bibi Netanyahu you have a reactionary racist who is now running that country.”

As to whether or not he would remove the embassy from Jerusalem, Sanders replied, that it was “something that we would take into consideration.”

The primary threat Sanders poses to Israel, of course, is that he becomes the next President of the United States. But he poses an additional danger. If, as now seems likely, Sanders wins the Democratic nomination, he will transform the Democratic Party into an Americanized version of Jeremy Corbyn’s British Labour Party. Like Labour under Corbyn, the Democrats under Sanders will become an anti-Semitic party that supports the boycott of Israel and gives a warm and supportive shoulder to Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and their allies and partners. Sanders and his Democratic Party will reject the morality of Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement, just as Corbyn and his people have done.

Sanders himself has said on numerous occasions that he sees Corbyn as his overseas twin and that his vision for the Democratic Party is to turn it into Corbyn’s Labour party in America.

Which brings us back to Gaza.

In a world where the best-case scenario has a Democratic Party that is openly hostile to Israel and its American Jewish supporters, and the worst-case scenario has the White House openly hostile to the Jewish state and its American Jewish supporters, how is Israel supposed to deal with Hamas/Gaza – the sweethearts of the radical left?

Since then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower compelled then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to withdraw IDF forces from the Sinai in 1956, a central plank of Israel’s national security doctrine has been to avoid going to war without US support. A Corbynized Democratic party – not to mention a Corbynized White House – will not back any Israeli military operations in Gaza.

Israel faced a similar quandary six years ago. In Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then-IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon were blindsided when then-Secretary of State John Kerry adopted as the US position, Hamas’ ceasefire demands as presented by its representatives Turkey and Qatar.

They were stunned again when then-President Barack Obama decided to prohibit US civilian flights to Ben-Gurion International Airport in the middle of the war. They were shocked when the administration embargoed the supply of Hellfire missiles to the IDF and they were flummoxed by the steady stream of condemnations of IDF operations by senior administration spokesmen and officials.

At the time senior IDF officials directly involved in the General Staff deliberations revealed that Gantz did not comprehend the strategic implications of the administration’s behavior. A testament to the veracity of their claims came a year later when in defiance of Netanyahu, Gantz supported the 2015 nuclear deal the administration negotiated with Iran despite the fact that the agreement guaranteed Iran a nuclear arsenal within a decade and despite the fact that its inspection clauses were unenforceable.

During Operation Protective Edge, Netanyahu realized immediately what was happening and took unprecedented steps to scuttle the administration’s efforts to coerce Israel into accepting Hamas’ ceasefire demands.

Netanyahu created a coalition to bypass the Turkey-Qatar axis. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were members of the bloc. When Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi demanded to mediate between Israel and Hamas, as had been Egypt’s general practice for decades, the Obama administration couldn’t figure out an excuse to deny him the role. When Sisi rejected Hamas’ ceasefire demands and embraced Israel’s conditions, it was Obama and Kerry’s turn to be flummoxed.

Parallel to those efforts, with support from key senators, Netanyahu worked with friendly governments – particularly Stephen Harper’s government in Canada and Silvio Berlusconi’s government in Italy to force the Obama administration to end its prohibition on civilian fights to Ben Gurion.

These actions by Netanyahu secured the IDF the time and the diplomatic over to do what needed to be done on the ground in Gaza.

The actions Netanyahu took were high risk. He couldn’t speak openly about the depth of the Obama administration’s animosity because doing so would have risked demoralizing the public and even instilling panic. He had to publicly support Obama and Kerry as they worked directly on Hamas’s behalf against Israel in order to keep channels of communication open and to preserve relations with more supportive Democrats.

Today when it is clear that another campaign in Gaza is just around the corner, and that that campaign won’t be the last one, we need to consider both the military and diplomatic conditions under which those campaigns are likely to be undertaken. This is doubly true in light of the Corbynization of the Democratic Party.

The Israeli public cannot influence the outcome of the US elections. But on Monday, it will determine how Israel will respond to aggression against it – whether that aggression emanates from Gaza or from Washington.

Caroline Glick


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ABA ‘deeply troubled’ by Schumer’s Supreme Court comments - Edmund DeMarche

by Edmund DeMarche

Will Schumer be held accountable?

The American Bar Association said on Wednesday that it is "deeply troubled" by a comment made by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., outside the Supreme Court that many said was a direct threat to two sitting justices.

Schumer was at a rally over a high-profile abortion case while the case played out inside. Schumer named Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh and, in an impassioned speech, said, "You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions."

Justin Goodman, a Schumer spokesman, responded after Chief Justice John Roberts issued a statement on what he called "threatening" comments. Goodman said that Schumer was addressing Republican lawmakers when he said a "price" would be paid.

Goodman noted that the chief justice remained quiet in recent weeks when President Trump questioned the impartiality of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

"Personal attacks on judges by any elected officials, including the president, are simply inappropriate," the ABA’s statement read. "Such comments challenge the reputation of the third, co-equal branch of our government; the independence of the judiciary; and the personal safety of judicial officers. They are never acceptable."

Trump himself weighed in on Schumer's comments, tweeting, “If a Republican did this, he or she would be arrested, or impeached. Serious action MUST be taken NOW!”

Mark Levin, the “Life, Liberty, & Levin” host, said he wants Schumer to be “sanctioned by the Bar, admonished by the Senate, investigated by the Senate ethics committee, and even reviewed” by the Department of Justice.

"No individual, let alone the Senate Democrat leader, who is also a lawyer, should escape accountability for his loathsome conduct," Levin said.

Fox News' Gregg Re, Joseph A. Wulfshon and the Associated Press contributed to this report

Edmund DeMarche


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Biden Rising - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Will he be able to save his party from its communist odyssey?

Former Vice President Joe Biden had a superlative Super Tuesday. Although his closest challenger Bernie Sanders won in California, the largest state up for grabs on Tuesday, Joe Biden ran the table virtually everywhere else in the country. He won in the Northeast with victories in Massachusetts and Maine. He won the second largest state contested on Tuesday, Texas. He won Minnesota in the upper Midwest and swept across the South in Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas. He also picked up Oklahoma. In addition to California, Sanders won his home state of Vermont, as well as Utah and Colorado. Sanders, the front runner going into Super Tuesday, is now behind Biden in the delegate tally – 566 to 501 as of the writing of this article. With Mike Bloomberg’s decision to drop out of the race and endorse Biden, following Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg who dropped their candidacies and endorsed Biden before Super Tuesday, Biden is now in a commanding position as the sole survivor navigating the so-called “center” lane. 

Bernie Sanders significantly underperformed. Last minute undecided voters went in large numbers for Joe Biden, including in delegate-rich Texas where Sanders had been leading in recent polling. Minnesota, known for its ultra-liberal streak, became Joe Biden country after its home state Senator Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race. Elizabeth Warren's candidacy is on life support after her humiliating third place finish in her home state of Massachusetts. She is reportedly reassessing her next steps.

On the surface at least, it looks like the socialist wing of the Democratic Party took it on the chin. A National Review column called Tuesday night’s results “the biggest setback for socialism since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.” The more “moderate” wing coalesced in support of Joe Biden, who pulled together a broad coalition of African Americans and other centrist voters older than 45. Bernie Sanders was unable to broaden his own coalition beyond the young voters, Latinos and leftists who want to fundamentally transform America’s economic and political systems from the bottom up.

However, before prematurely writing an obituary for socialism in this country, consider this. While socialism’s messengers have faltered, their radical message remains very much alive. Bernie Sanders, along with Elizabeth Warren, have moved ideas considered too far out for prime time just four years ago to the mainstream of today’s Democratic Party.

For example, Democrat-Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez popularized an ambitious Green New Deal plan that would drastically remake the U.S. economy by transitioning the United States to a 100 percent renewable energy system by 2035. Joe Biden’s website states that “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.” He would take 15 more years than Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to reach the same objective of ensuring that “the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions.” Biden would also recommit the United States to the disastrous jobs-killing Paris Agreement on climate change, under which China committed to lax greenhouse gas emission targets by 2030 deemed “highly insufficient” by the Climate Action Tracker.

Joe Biden is pushing for a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million of those he calls “undocumented” or “unauthorized” immigrants – i.e., illegal aliens. Mike Bloomberg agreed with this sentiment, by the way. Here is what this ex presidential candidate-turned-Biden supporter said when he was still running for president: “One of the things in immigration is you’ve got to do some things quickly in immigration. Stop this craziness with 11 million people living in a shadow. You’ve got to give them a clear path to citizenship. You’ve got to staple a green card on every degree when they get out of college…”

Joe Biden, it should be remembered, raised his hand in the affirmative during the first Democrat primary debate last summer when asked whether his government health plan would provide coverage for “undocumented immigrants." Democratic-Socialist Sanders, as well as other debate participants in the so-called center lane such as Pete Buttigieg, also raised their hands. Biden may not yet embrace the Sanders version of “Medicare for All,” but he is willing to use taxpayers’ money to subsidize health care for illegal aliens. As President Trump tweeted at the time, “How about taking care of American Citizens first!?”

Biden’s alternative to the Sanders “Medicare for All” program, in which Biden offers massive new subsidies and a government-run “public option” plan, would still move the needle in the direction of much further government involvement in the health care industry. Its estimated cost is at least $750 billion over 10 years. Biden’s public option plan would cover abortion. At the same time, Biden is opposed to even modest incremental pro-life laws such as clinic regulations, waiting periods, and parental involvement laws, just like the extremists in his party.

Meagan Day, a writer for the socialist magazine Jacobin, and Bhaskar Sunkara, the socialist magazine’s editor, wrote an opinion column for the New York Times, entitled “Modern Day Debtors’ Prisons.” They wrote in support of Bernie Sanders’ call for an end to cash bail across the country. The authors observed that there was evidence of “the idea’s transformation from activist demand to mainstream policy proposal.” Joe Biden has proved their point. “Cash bail is the modern-day debtors’ prison,” Biden’s website says.

Joe Biden does not espouse communist ideology like Bernie Sanders does, and Biden has proclaimed that he’s “not the socialist” in the race. It is true that Biden does believe in some form of a capitalist system, although with far more burdensome government regulations and higher taxes. But the Democratic Party’s establishment “savior” will either lead, or be led by the nose, in the direction of the ideological base of today’s Democratic Party, which is built around socialist ideas including those he has already embraced.

Joseph Klein


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With Biden ascendant, it’s useful to remember just how awful he is - Andrea Widburg

by Andrea Widburg

We should celebrate the fact that Democrats are finally recoiling from Bernie the Red, but it’s important to remember that Biden is a terrible candidate.

The specter of Americans voting for an open socialist is frightening. We're way past 1972, when Americans rejected a hard-left candidate. Since then, leftists acquired a stranglehold on education, creating a generation of young people who think socialism is cool. Bernie could have won.

Bernie’s probable departure shouldn’t cause us to ignore that Joe Biden is a terrible candidate. He’s usually wrong, famously dishonest, almost as hard-left now in his policies as Bernie himself, corrupt, and showing signs of severe mental degradation.

(Regarding the incipient senility, Dorothy Parker’s cruel question when the famously taciturn Calvin Coolidge died comes to mind: “How can they tell?” The same can be said of Joe’s mental decay.)

With almost 50 years in office, there’s a laundry list of “awfuls” attached to Biden: Borking the esteemed Robert Bork, plagiarism, leading the hi-tech lynching against Clarence Thomas, crafting the 1994 crime law that warehoused generations of black men in American prisons, leading the intemperate pullout from Iraq that led to ISIS, and helping credit card companies ride roughshod over Americans all spring to mind.

Kyle Smith has an excellent run-down of some other painful and dirty Biden moments:
Even at his best, Biden was notorious for being loopy, digressive, and sloppy, and he’s long past his best. Clarence Thomas noted of Biden’s line of questioning during his Senate confirmation hearings, “You have to sit there and look attentively at people [who] you know have no idea what they are talking about.” His bizarre 2012 debate with Paul Ryan consisted of bursts of strangely out-of-context laughter and boorish interruptions. His own aides panic every time he goes off-script, to such a degree that David Axelrod once quipped that Biden was being kept in a “candidate-protection program.” When he starts riffing, he is given to making false claims such as that he was arrested trying to visit Nelson Mandela in prison. His answer to all questions in debate is a subject, a verb, and Obama.
Moreover, Biden looks moderate only in the context of the insanity that is gripping the Democratic Party, only by comparison to wackadoodles such as Warren and Sanders. He has so far escaped scrutiny for the implications of his policy proposals, such as a “public option” for health insurance that would inevitably destroy the private insurance market. He was specifically asked whether this could happen by the New York Times and replied, “Bingo. . . . Sure they would.” He blithely said that when employer-based private health insurance dies out, people could simply go on “the Biden plan.” His health-care policy is just a slo-mo version of Sanders’s and Warren’s policy. He has called for massive tax hikes, offered public health care for illegal immigrants, said such immigrants should not be deported if they’re convicted of drunk driving, and endorsed the $93 trillion boondoggle known as the Green New Deal.
Tucker Carlson documents that Joe is willing to prostitute himself to Democrat Party extremists if it means finally winning the White House:

And then there’s Biden’s corruption. Yes, he didn’t enrich himself personally, but he used his political connections to set up crooked deals that sent millions of dollars to his family members. Had Trump done that, he would have been kicked out of office to universal approval.

Lastly, even honest left-of-center journalists are noting that, of late, Biden isn’t just being stupid, he’s decompensating:

Glenn Reynolds made an astute comment about Joe’s appearance, which is familiar to all of us who have seen our loved ones fade away:
I’ve also noticed a change in the way he looks. Just a few months ago I was thinking he looked pretty good for a guy his age. Lately I’ve noticed his head is developing that skull-like look you see in the old and the sick.
In addition to talking about Biden's willingness to sell himself to the highest leftist bidder, Tucker Carlson has shown a short montage with just a few of Biden’s most recent departures from reality (beginning at 1:30):


The Democrats know exactly how bad Biden is. That means we need to keep a close eye on his running mate because there’s a decent chance that, if the Democrat establishment gets Biden into office, it will then use his declining mental state as a way to get him out of office (the 25th Amendment), leaving his Veep as the new (and, for Democrats, real) President.

Andrea Widburg


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Former Labor MK says Gantz blinded by Lapid's hypocrisy - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Hat tip: Dr. Carolyn Tal

Ramon says Gantz missing political foresight, calls him "hypocritial" for trusting Ehud Barak.

Haim Ramon
Haim Ramon                                                                                                                                        Ori Lantz/Flash 90

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, former Labor MK who served as Minister of Jusice under Sharon's Kadima government Haim Ramon discussed election results, Netanyahu's successful decisions as opposed to mistakes committed by Benny Gantz's campaign team, and his former party's gradual disappearance from the political map.

Regarding Blue and White's decision to turn down Likud's offer to form a rotation government whereby Gantz and Netanyahu would alternate terms as prime minister, Ramon stated that Gantz's party was wrong to rule out partnering with the Likud based on "personal and ideological" motives. He said Blue and White didn't have a problem with the Likud itself and if "Bibi [were to] retire tomorrow." "They'd join forces and feel right at home with the Likud," he declared.

"This biggest mistake was ruling someone out whom the law actually vindicates" said Ramon. "They didn't shy away from teaming up with Ehud Barak, one of the most corrupt politicians around, and Liberman, whom most Blue and White supporters consider a symbol of corruption. All the talk about a 'Prime Minister facing corruption charges' is hypocrisy and deception."

Ramon stressed that even Ben-Gurion did not rule out [Herut founder Menachem] Begin or [Communist Party leader Meir] Vilner due to personal differences but rather party affiliation. "If Blue and White were to claim they didn't want to sit with the Likud that would make sense. In any case, Bibi's behavior doesn't actually bother them." "Blue and White MK Yoaz Handel has said [that Netanyahu is] a great leader but that he has a problem with [Netanyahu's] personal conduct," he stressed.

Asked whether the Blue and White party was capable of putting their denial to rest and come to terms with Netanyahu, Ramon claimed there wasn't much standing in their way. "A very senior White and Blue member stated that a rotation government, with Netanyahu serving the first part of the term, and upholding legislation introduced by [Blue and White], would be fine with him, but MK Yair Lapid prevented Gantz from becoming prime minister."

"I don't think it's too late. We have to do it," said Ramon, adding: "I don't like national unity governments, but Israel's needs a national reconciliation government especially at a time when both parties want to continue the status quo, i.e. de facto annexation." "The political platform of these two parties can be summarized in five minutes tops," he quipped.

"It would be an [ineffectual] government [who would veto each other out], but that's what's required [at the moment]. The people of Israel need some quiet to heal from [all the political upheaval]."

"I hope Blue and White makes true on their [campaign] slogan of "Israel first." I hear Benny Gantz saying [they] know what needs to be done. He should say what exactly that is and do it quickly. I would advise him to get on the phone with Netanyahu and start discussing prerequisites for a unity government soon. That's what a responsible person; a real leader – not one subject to Lapid's opinion that Bibi is incompetent to lead ever again."

According to Ramon, this is Gantz's leadership test. He adds: "from a moral perspective, Blue and White [claim] they have a solution for the Gaza crisis and Israel's health concerns [in wake of the coronavirus threat]. They have no such thing, but say they do. Gantz sounds as if he's run ten different hospitals and knows how to treat Israeli citizens. So lying about that isn't [immoral but] turning down a rotation with Netanyahu is?"

Addressing Gantz, Ramon said: "You failed to get enough seats, so you have to choose between keeping your promises to the people of Israel and 'Just not Bibi.'"

Asked about his former party's predicament, Ramon said he doesn't want to deal with something as tedious. "This is an uninteresting party. They were already non-existent by the time the last election rolled around. When I [left the party], I said it had ended its historic role and [former prime minister] Ehud Barak was responsible for nailing the last nail in its coffin. Barak cooperated with Bibi in 2009, [serving as his Defense Minister]. Labor has long lost the desire to offer an alternative to the Likud. It has turned into a [boring] niche party. There is nothing to discuss," pined Ramon.

Ramon continues to attack Ehud Barak: "Barak was Bibi's slave, served him, defended him and dismantled the Labor Party so that Bibi would remain in power. He went along with five Knesset members who were all handed [government] positions, and the biggest insult to Labor was that they all agreed to cooperate with him. When they suddenly discovered that Bibi was corrupt, [the one accusing him of it] was the most corrupt individual of all."

Arutz Sheva Staff


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17 Israelis have coronavirus as country defends travel bans and quarantines - Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Tovah Lazaroff, Alex Winston

by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Tovah Lazaroff, Alex Winston

On Thursday, two more Israelis were diagnosed with the coronavirus disease COVID-19, and an American woman who spent time in Jerusalem was diagnosed with the virus, too.

MDA checking station at Ben Gurion Airport (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
MDA checking station at Ben Gurion Airport
(photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)

Seventeen Israelis have been diagnosed with coronavirus and tens of thousands more are in home-quarantine as coronavirus panic spreads across the Jewish state ahead of the Purim holiday.

On Thursday, two more Israelis were diagnosed with the coronavirus disease COVID-19, and an American woman who spent time in Jerusalem was diagnosed with the virus, too.

Patient No. 17, a pensioner from the center of the country, returned to Israel from Italy on February 29, according to the Health Ministry. The patient drove from the airport directly to his home in a private car and entered isolation. 

Patient No. 16 is a 38-year-old male tour bus driver from East Jerusalem, who is currently being treated in isolation at Poriya Hospital in Tiberias, where he checked in with pneumonia. According to the hospital’s director of infectious disease, the man is in stable condition and fully conscious. 

Hebrew media reported that the driver recently toured with a group from Greece, 21 of whom had been diagnosed with coronavirus upon return to their country on February 27. The group had made stops in Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt.

The Palestinian Authority Tourism Ministry said that it closed Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity on Thursday due to concern over the coronavirus, after it was understood that the Greek pilgrims visited the site. The ministry did not say how long the closure would last.

Earlier in the day, the Health Ministry shared the whereabouts of American tourist from New York City who travelled around Jerusalem from February 23 to 27. She visited many locations popular with the Anglo-Israeli community, including spots in Mamilla, First Station and Talpiot.

The ministry is now asking anyone who was in the locations she visited when she was there to start a 14-day period of home isolation.

“Travelers from the following locations must be placed under a 14-day home quarantine: Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, mainland China (including Hong Kong and Macau), South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Singapore,” the Health Ministry reminded Israelis on Thursday in a release.

It is estimated that tens of thousands of Israelis are currently in isolation, according to the Health Ministry. 

On Wednesday, the ministry expanded restrictions to help avoid spread of the potentially lethal virus, also asking the public to avoid congregating in groups of more than 5,000 people and stay away from international conferences. Healthcare workers and soldiers are forbidden to travel abroad. 

 Moreover, the Police reported that a number of people are deliberately ignoring the quarantine guidelines given by the Ministry of Health. As a result, the Police said it opened eight separate criminal investigations against people who have not stayed in quarantine as required by the Ministry of Health.

“The Police will be notified of those that violate the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and will react,” the Police said in a statement. 

Government officials held several meetings about the coronavirus Thursday, including meeting with foreign diplomats in Jerusalem in an effort to defend the travel ban it has put in place against tourists from 12 countries. 

“We are [putting in place] so many restrictions, because we can,” Population and Immigration Authority’s director-general Shlomo Mor Yosef told a gathering of foreign diplomats, to whom he explained Israel’s decision not to allow tourists arriving from at least 12 countries into Israel.

“We are talking about risk management of an international global pandemic," Mor-Yosef said. “Every country has its own measures and its own limitations and ability. It depends how much risk you would like to take.

“All the measures are not against anyone and not pro-anyone,” he added.

Israeli borders are highly monitored with minimal ports of entry, Mor-Yosef said. European countries are too porous and cannot monitor entry and exits in the same fashion, he explained.

The outbreak of the disease in Israel has been linked so far to travellers, including those Israelis who went abroad or tourists who came here, Mor-Yosef said of the 17 reported cases of coronavirus in the country. 

“We can count the numbers by names. We know exactly where they came from and how they acquired the disease,” Mor-Yosef said, noting that home-isolation is the best way to prevent the spread of the disease. “The minute we will have cases that came out of the blue, meaning we do not know how they acquired the disease; I think that home isolation won’t be the right medication," he added.

 He explained that because tourists cannot comply with a self-quarantine-at-home plan, that the best solution is to keep them from entering the country unless they can prove that they have a home to stay in.

“Hotel room isolation is not home isolation, so the decision if you are a tourist ... you are not allowed into Israel,” Mor-Yosef said. 

He added that those who are not Israeli citizens but are permanent or temporary residents will be allowed into Israel but must comply with the isolation instructions. This includes diplomats and business people, he said.

“When we started with China the ambassador was on his way to Israel, he stayed for 14 days at home, and now he is working,” Mor-Yosef said.

However, many people are not working and many activities are being cancelled as a result of the threat of the virus spreading. 

The Tomb of Joseph in Nablus has been ordered closed ahead of the scheduled monthly visit, which was to take place on Monday, the Jewish Fast of Esther, due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Following discussions between Samaria Regional Court head Yossi Dagan, the IDF’s Samaria Brigade Commander Col. Sagiv Dahan, and in consultation with Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of the Elon Moreh Yeshiva, it was decided to postpone the monthly visit.

The decision was made by telephone consultation with Dagan, as he is currently in home-quarantine due to returning from France earlier this week, in accordance with a directive issued by the Health Ministry on Wednesday.

Dagan said in a statement, "Following the assessment of the situation we had with the Shimron Brigade and the Central Command and in light of the Health's Ministry's instructions, we decided to postpone the entrance to Joseph's Tomb on the third day of [the Jewish month of] Adar, Ta'anit Esther [Fast of Esther.]

"We have a responsibility to get the general public to pray and connect with their roots," the statement continued. "But on such days, we must take increased precautions and obey the Health Ministry's instructions for the health of our people. We count on the IDF and the health system. We will immediately coordinate with the Samaria Division to determine the new date for entering Joseph's Tomb.

"Monthly entry to Joseph's Tomb, which is inside the Palestinian city of Nablus, is organized by the Samaria Regional Council, in coordination with Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories [COGAT] and the IDF Samaria Regional Division.

Averting fears that the Western Wall in Jerusalem may be closed to visitors, Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman announced on Wednesday that the Western Wall Plaza is open and that there is no concern about coming to the Western Wall due to coronavirus.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, said, "In this time of distress, there is nothing more appropriate than coming to pray at the Western Wall and asking the Creator of the Universe, the Healer of all men, to remove all illness from the inhabitants of this land and the entire world.

"Nine people who had been quarantined at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer certainly expressed thanks on Thursday. These individuals, who were not diagnosed with coronavirus but had been on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, were released from the hospital Thursday night to much celebration. 

There had been 15 Israelis on the ship, which was docked in Japan, when the coronavirus started spreading aboard the boat. Four Israelis were diagnosed with virus before leaving the shift. Another 10 Israelis underwent 14 days of quarantine on the boat and then were brought to Israel for 14 more days of quarantine at Sheba. 

Before being released, the patients were rechecked and confirmed not to be carrying the virus. 

The quarantine restrictions are beginning to have acute economic impact on Israel. On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tasked Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon with establishing an emergency fund to support businesses deemed critical for the economy, as local businesses have lost billions of shekels due to the quarantine of employees, lack of supplies, delivery delays and cancellation of flights. 

At the same time, some industries are benefitting. A report on Israel’s Channel 12 showed that due to widespread fear that they will have to enter isolation, Israelis are buying out packages of pasta, boxes of cereal, bottles of water and other dry goods. And the online grocery shopping industry is skyrocketing with people afraid to shop at crowded grocery stores.

According to the World Health Organization’s March 5 report, there is now a total of 95,265 reported cases of COVID-19 globally, and 3,281 deaths. In the past 24 hours, China reported 143 cases. Outside China, 2,055 cases were reported in 33 countries. 

“This epidemic can be pushed back, but only with a collective, coordinated and comprehensive approach that engages the entire machinery of government,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday during a virtual press conference. “We are calling on every country to act with speed, scale and clear-minded determination.”

Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Tovah Lazaroff, Alex Winston


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Nefesh B'Nefesh cancels Mega Event in NJ due to coronavirus - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Health concerns surrounding the coronavirus have led the organization to cancel this year’s expo in Teaneck, New Jersey.

While Nefesh B’Nefesh has been excitedly preparing for the annual Mega Aliyah Event, ongoing health concerns surrounding the coronavirus have led the organization to make the decision to cancel this year’s expo which was planned to take place on March 15, 2020 in Teaneck, New Jersey.

As an alternative, Nefesh B’Nefesh will be offering broadcast sessions and presentations on an all-encompassing slate of Aliyah resources for retirees, medical and young professionals, families and singles looking to make Aliyah. Further information regarding the new program can be found at:

The organization has been working tirelessly to plan its annual flagship Mega Aliyah Event with an expected 1,250 participants, from 15 states and 60 Jewish communities from across North America. Only after much deliberation with health officials, and in light of recent published medical incidents, Nefesh B’Nefesh came to the decision that it would be prudent not to hold the event as scheduled, especially given the diverse representation at this convention.

Co-Founders of Nefesh B'Nefesh, Tony Gelbart and Rabbi Yehoshua Fass stated: “Over the last eighteen years, we have had the privilege to earn the trust of over 60,000 Olim as they placed their futures in our hands. We will continue to take all the precautionary measures in order to act in the most professional and responsible way and wish a speedy recovery to all those in need at this time."

Arutz Sheva Staff


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Comprehensive Immigration Reform Should be Renamed the “Overwhelm America Act" - Michael Cutler

by Michael Cutler

How Sanders and radical Dems weaponize compassion to destroy America.

We must never lose sight of the fact that Bernie Sanders is a pro-communist candidate who has called for a “Political Revolution” in America.  He must be taken at his word. 

Sanders steadfastly lauds Cuba’s Castro for providing health care and education for Cubans, blithely ignoring the barbaric brutality of the Cuban communist government that has caused many Cubans to flee Cuba by perilously taking to the sea on virtually anything that floats.  Sanders also ignores the actual collusion between Castro and Russia that brought the world to the brink of a nuclear World War III in October 1962 when Castro welcomed nuclear-tipped Russian missiles that could have struck cities across the east coast of the United States including Washington, DC and New York.

Bernie has also expressed similar sentiments about former Nicaraguan communist and totalitarian Sandinista leader, Daniel Ortega. 

It is beyond disturbing and very telling, that Sanders, a candidate for the U.S. presidency, would hold such anti-American foreign leaders in high esteem.

My dad used to tell me that if you want to turn capitalists into communists, take away their money.

It is my belief that Bernie Sanders plans to achieve a total revolution in America through passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform coupled with his off the charts costly programs to provide for everyone in the United States, not just citizens of the United States with “Medicare for all,” free college and a number of other such expensive programs that would crash our systems.

Not long ago, Bernie was clear about his opposition to Comprehensive Immigration Reform because of the harm it would do to the jobs and wages of American workers.   Now he has come to not only embrace such dangerous legislation, but essentially end immigration law enforcement.  Many of his colleagues in the radicalized Democratic Party are in agreement with him.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform would also undermine public safety and national security.  This aspect of Comprehensive Immigration Reform was the focus of my June 22, 2007 Op-Ed for the Washington Times, Immigration bill a ‘No Go’ wherein I suggested that the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act should be renamed the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act” because there would be no way to interview, let alone conduct field investigations, to verify the information provided in the applications of the unknown millions of illegal aliens who  would apply to participate in this wrong-headed program.  Remember, these are aliens who entered the U.S. without inspection so that their actual identities and entry data would be unknown and unknowable. 

On January 19, 2020 Buzz Feed News published a report, “He Has Made Wild Shifts”: How Bernie Sanders Has Changed His Approach To Immigration that began with this excerpt:
When Bernie Sanders joined the Senate, he and his allies in the labor movement took on a big target: a new comprehensive immigration reform bill.
"I believe we have very serious immigration problems in this country," Sanders said during a 2007 press event, with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka behind him.
"I think as you've heard today, sanctions against employers who employ illegal immigrants is virtually nonexistent. Our border is very porous."“And I think at a time when the middle class is shrinking, the last thing we need is to bring over in a period of years, millions of people into this country who are prepared to lower wages for American workers,”
The key question we must consider is, “How many aliens would be granted lawful status in the United States if our government was to pass this dangerous legislation?”

For more than a decade we have been told by various agencies that there are approximately 11 million illegal aliens residing in the United States.  However, that number is likely way off.  

On September 21, 2018 Yale University’s website, Yale Insights published a report, Yale Study Finds Twice as Many Undocumented Immigrants as Previous Estimates that began with this excerpt:
Immigration is the focus of fierce political and policy debate in the United States. Among the most contentious issues is how the country should address undocumented immigrants. Like a tornado that won’t dissipate, arguments have spun around and around for years. At the center lies a fairly stable and largely unquestioned number: 11.3 million undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S. But a paper by three Yale-affiliated researchers suggests all the perceptions and arguments based on that number may have a faulty foundation; the actual population of undocumented immigrants residing in the country is much larger than that, perhaps twice as high, and has been underestimated for decades.
Using mathematical modeling on a range of demographic and immigration operations data, the researchers estimate there are 22.1 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
I actually believe that even the Yale assessment understates the magnitude of the illegal alien population in the United States.  The “don’t ask don’t tell” policies of a growing number of “Sanctuary Cities” and “Sanctuary States” further complicates the issue.  Furthermore we can look back to the Reagan administration’s passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA).  Prior to the passage of that bill the Reagan administration estimated that some one million illegal aliens would participate in that amnesty program.  In the end more than 3.5 million aliens participated.

So now we come back to my question as to how many aliens would likely acquire lawful immigrant status through the passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

You might think that the answer would only involve the number of illegal aliens who are present in the United States.

You would be completely wrong!

What is never discussed is the fact that under Comprehensive Immigration Reform every alien who would be granted lawful status would also immediately be granted the absolute right to bring his/her spouse and minor children to the United States, if they were not already here.

Families in Third World countries generally have many, many children.  Of course not every illegal alien is married and not every illegal alien would have children back in their home countries.  Let us then, for the sake of argument, optimistically estimate that on average each legalized illegal alien would petition for two minor children to have them come to the United States along with their spouses.

Let us also be optimistic and estimate that about 25 million illegal aliens would participate in Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

This would mean that overnight 50 million minor aliens would be able to legally immigrate to the United States and immediately be enrolled in our public schools across the United States.  Many would be accompanied by one of their parents who had remained back home to care for them.

Imagine the impact this would have on our already struggling schools to educate American children, even as more money continues to be used to teach English as a second language.

The massive influx of tens of millions of immigrants would increase congestion, drive up the prices of real estate and lead to more homelessness as wages would be suppressed and the cost of housing would skyrocket.

The increased demand for food, clothing and other essentials would cause significant inflation while the already crumbling infrastructure in cities across the United States would face unprecedented stresses with increased demands for electricity, water, transportation and other such necessities.

Unemployment rates would skyrocket as millions of more workers would flood into the labor pool.

I previously noted that I had given Comprehensive Immigration Reform the new title of the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act.”  Given the true magnitude of this program today, we must also add a new title to this suicidal bill, the “Overwhelm America Act.”

Think of how, in a few short years, Venezuela went from being the wealthiest nation in South America to the poorest.

We must never forget President Reagan’s warning:
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didnt pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our childrens children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Michael Cutler


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