Saturday, May 30, 2020

'Sovereignty has become the new excuse for tearing apart the Holy Land' - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Group of over 400 leading Israeli rabbis embarks on campaign to inform the public of shortcomings and dangers of the 'Deal of the Century.'

Netanyahu with Jordan Valley sovereignty map
Netanyahu with Jordan Valley sovereignty map                                                              Flash 90
The Rabbinical Congress for Peace, comprised of over 400 leading Israeli rabbis, have completed their appraisal of the current plan to apply sovereignty over Jewish communities in the Land of Israel – proudly presented by Prime Minister Netanyahu as part of the “Deal of the Century.” In response, the Council has decided to embark upon a widespread public campaign to inform the Israeli public of the plan’s shortcomings and dangers.

“We give our ready blessing to any plan that seeks to establish Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel, which were promised us in our Holy Torah,” states the Council. “However, as long as the plan is based upon the equation 'sovereignty over one territory in exchange for renunciation of control over another,' it no longer matters who lives in that area. The loss is much greater than the profit and the danger outweighs the benefits."

“The general public is confused by all of the announcements and maps they are presented with, and fail to see that the plan is a replay of the great mistake of Oslo and the disengagement,” said Rabbi Abraham Shmuel Lewin, secretary of the Congress. “In the final analysis, all these compromises and declarations stand in direct opposition to the eternal truth of the Torah, which is also the simplest and most logical to prove – that any concession of full Israeli control of the land, even if only at the 'declarative level,' strengthens the will and ability of our enemies to attain further concessions through acts of terrorism and murder, exactly as happened after the Oslo Accords and the disengagement from Gaza.”

“Israel’s enemies care little as to how we define the settlements. From their perspective, Jaffa and Haifa also belong to them,” said Rabbi Abraham Schreiber, rabbi of the Kfar Darom Congregation in the Negev. “But there is one thing that they do care deeply about – that the Israeli government declares certain territories to no longer part be of Greater Israel. This declaration then becomes the Palestinians' starting point for future negotiations. In their eyes, this is proof that Israel has already surrendered and agreed to a Palestinian state on seventy percent of Judea and Samaria, and that Israeli communities will have to live within it in hopeless enclaves. Why not continue their terrorist activities to attain the rest of their goals?”

Rabbi Yosef Gerlitzky, chairman of Congress and rabbi of Central Tel Aviv, called upon all Israeli rabbis to use their Shavuot sermons to explain to the public the great danger of the government’s steps. “On the festival of the giving of the Torah, every Jew knows that the Torah was given to us in its entirety, and that it would be impossible to accept a mere part of it. Even the children know that a Torah scroll missing a single letter is invalid. In the same way, it is impossible to declare Jewish sovereignty over certain settlements, and in the same breath, to give up other territories to our enemies. This is not the way to protect the Land of Israel or the people of Israel. Only by firmly declaring that we will never surrender territory and never recognize a Palestinian state will we bring security to the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.”

Arutz Sheva Staff


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US demanding Israel drop claims to areas beyond sovereignty plan - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Israeli officials say US is pushing Israel to accept sovereignty plan as final border, drop claims to rest of Judea & Samaria

Netanyahu (right) with David Friedman (left)
Netanyahu (right) with David Friedman (left)                                                          REUTERS
The Trump administration has called for the boundaries set by Israel’s sovereignty plan to become Israel’s eastern border, with Israel agreeing to give up its demands to apply sovereignty over the remaining parts of Judea and Samaria, according to a report by Galei Tzahal Wednesday afternoon.

According to the report, which cited unnamed members of the Israeli coalition government, the Trump administration has pushed for the joint US-Israeli mapping team, which is delineating the boundaries of the areas to be placed under Israeli sovereignty, to define those new boundaries as the borders of the State of Israel.

While the precise boundaries have yet to be finalized by the mapping team, Israel is expected to apply sovereignty over approximately 30% of Judea and Samaria, including the Jordan Valley, Dead Sea coast, and all Israeli towns beyond the pre-1967 Green Line.

The US will, in keeping with the Trump administration’s peace plan, recognize Israeli sovereignty in these areas, while requiring Israel not to expand towns or establish new communities outside of the areas delineated for sovereignty for a period of four years, leaving the door open to final status negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli officials cited by the Galei Tzahal report said the new conditions for US recognition of Israeli sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria would require Israel to not only fix its final border based on the mapping team’s boundaries, but also drop its claims to the remainder of Judea and Samaria.

The officials said the new demand was part of a series of measures that are “unfavorable to Israel” being pushed by the US mapping team. Scott Leith a senior advisor to the US National Security Council on the Israel-Arab conflict, was named as the official responsible for the new measures.

Samaria Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan, who is lobbying against the peace plan’s provision for the establishment of a Palestinian state, said the American request “was further proof” that the US is “slowly making its demands harsher and in so doing is harming the basic interests of the State of Israel”.

Dagan called on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to apply sovereignty immediately – with or without American support.

“The ball is always in Jerusalem’s court,” said Dagan. “With all due respect to the US and its friendship [with Israel], Israel is a sovereign state, not a banana republic of the US. The excessive demands of the US and its interference in setting Israel’s borders are beyond what is acceptable between friends, even good friends.”

Arutz Sheva Staff


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The Morality of Israel’s ‘Annexation’ - Jason D. Hill

by Jason D. Hill

Reclaiming ownership of indigenous lands - and governing those outside the process of history.

With some degree of the annexation of Judea and Samaria imminent in the next few months in Israel, recent statements by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (who oversees a massive kleptocratic terrorist regime that endorses a massive Pay-for-Slay program that provides Palestinian suicide bombers, terrorist murderers, and their families with lifelong financial security), sound more like conceptual inanities than they do reasoned disagreements by a serious politician.
Abbas said last week that he was terminating all agreements with Israel and the United States as a result of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to extend Israeli law to parts of Judea and Samaria under the stewardship of the Trump peace plan. Well, no one really cares if he terminates any agreement with the United States. The PA is irrelevant to the United States except as a disgraceful moral stain on our foreign policy record for having financed a terrorist rogue political institution for decades. What would be truly humorous, were it not backed with the routine rampant anti-Semitism and support of the European Union, is his statement on the order of: Israel has “annulled” the Oslo Accord with its intention to apply Israeli law in occupied Palestine.
No Abbas, the Palestinian National Authority and other militant groups acting under its aegis long ago nullified the Oslo Accord with the Second Intifada when it sought to repay Israel’s generous peace-and-land offerings by repeated bloody attacks against the state of Israel and her people from September 2000 until February 2005. By all accounts, the Intifada lasted for 4 years, 4 months, 1 week, and four days. Four years of bloody murder and unleashed terror against Israelis for their generosity.
But let us retreat for a moment. The Oslo Accord was always a sham agreement made to cripple Israel to begin with. This will be debated by many. What is not debatable is that the Oslo Accord was never legitimate because it was nullified on origination by the charters of the PLO/PA. Once said charters remain in existence, they are, indeed, permanent declarations of war against Israel. All Palestinian charters, including the one created by Hamas, call for the obliteration of the state of Israel and the removal of Jewry from the region.
Along with the indoctrination school curriculum promulgating hatred and debasement against Jews and Israel by the PLO/PA, the charters support all Palestinian political parties that engage in a state of war against Israel. The Second Intifada, orchestrated by then PLO leader Yasser Arafat, completely neutralized the Oslo Accords. This means that any action Israel takes against the PA and those who vote it into power—such as the refusal to confer citizenship and voting privileges to a population that votes terrorist organizations into power—are moral responses to a declaration of permanent war by sworn enemies of the state. There can be no peace once those charters exist.

The only moral response the U.S. can have to Abbas’ revocation of ties with the United States of America is:
Good riddanceWhat was offered by the United States was never really a peace plan which was made impossible by the mere existence of the PA’s charter. It was a Security and Victory Plan morally delivered to the ethical state of Israel.
Aid to the PA has been futile against the historical backdrop of how the Palestinian National Authority has neutralized the Oslo Accords by invoking the Second Intifada after the 2000 Camp David Peace Summit. So, let us briefly recall two major issues. They are ways in which Arafat and then Abbas twice rejected generous peace offerings and a literal Palestinian state inside the state of Israel.
In July 2000, President Clinton brought Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat and their negotiating teams to Camp David for a peace deal that was unprecedented. Barak offered the Palestinians shared sovereignty over Jerusalem—something that, as Israeli-American journalist, Caroline Glick has pointed out numerous times, had never been offered before. He offered them all of Gaza, 92 percent of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and control of the Jordan Valley. Fortunately, Ehud Barak refused to compromise on the right of return. Why? Because like any sensible person, he knew that this would have resulted in the destruction of Israel. At a later point in time President Clinton did broker an arrangement that offered Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Arafat responded by returning to Israel and launched the Second Intifada. It is reported that he said his own people, Palestinians, would have killed him had he accepted the offerings. So much for talk of non-complicity between Arafat, his people, and the failure of a Palestinian state.
And so much for Israel’s culpability in nullifying the Oslo Accord.
Again, in September of 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made Abbas a comprehensive offer of peace and Palestinian statehood. It should be noted that this political and moral peace offering was more beneficent and certainly more expansive than the one made by Barak. There was a single conditional Abbas had to agree to in order to end the conflict: and it was this: Israel offered him 94 percent of Judea and Samaria, and an additional 327 square kilometers of land within sovereign Israel adjacent to the Gaza strip and northern Samaria. The Palestinians were also offered complete sovereignty over the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
Olmert promised to transfer sovereignty over the Temple Mount and other sacred areas of Jerusalem’s Old City to an international body. A limited right of immigration to a part of Israel to descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948-1949 was also extended. The offer was militantly rejected by Abbas. Not only was it rejected, Israel’s generosity, its literal behavior as an ethical state, was met with a cruel crusade of vengeance. Abbas launched a campaign of hatred and smears against Israel in the United Nations and referred to all Israel as occupied Palestine. As far as he was concerned Israel had no right to exist within any borders. He was adhering to the charters of the PLO/PA. He was ejecting his people from the historical and civilizational process.
All charters of any existing governing Palestinian bodies function in such a way that they place both the Palestinian people and Palestinian political actors in a permanent state of war against Israel. It is tragic that there are unwitting, decent individual Palestinians who get caught in this crossfire.
In a previous essay, I have written about Israel’s moral right to annex Judea and Samaria. I want to now turn to the actual morality of annexation of Judea and Samaria as it relates to the so-called creation of a future Palestinian state. Annexation as it applies to Judea and Samaria is simply a preposterous term. Israel cannot annex land that is indigenously the land of the Jews that was repeatedly stolen from them over millennia. It properly re-captured those lands in a 1967 offensive war against it. The term is a non-concept here—a true misnomer. Nevertheless, for the sake of expediency we will use it since it has traction in the political world. The ethical upshot of annexation is two-fold.
First, it recovers territory that is historically the property of the state of Israel. Second, it will, over time, and if applied consistently and with moral implacability, incarcerate the terrorist organization that is the Palestinian Authority. Some regimes can be politically rehabilitated, ethically placed in trusteeship, and then released back into the global commons. The PLO and then the PA have always been politically rogue institutions. The PA today betrays civilizational maturity by engaging in thuggery and terrorism that engender—among other things—national destabilization.
Rogue institutions such as the PA posing as a representative of a legitimate state or claiming the right to initiate statehood, pose threats to those who fall within their geographical ambits. They defile the individual rights of their citizen and residents in a way that undermines their legal personalities and moral integrity. The PA as a rogue governing body consciously removes the possibility of a lasting peace by subjugating human beings in the regional, local or global community to continuous fear by: a) exposing them directly to the threat of war;  b) compromising or destroying those institutions that are devoted to maintaining a peaceful regional, state, and world order; and c) inflicting deliberate political, economic and general oppression against its own people. Rogue political governing bodies are not just inimical to the moral order of an existing ethical state—in this case Israel—they are political ballasts.
The morality of annexation of Judea and Samaria lies in its ability (if its architects so desire) to dissolve, over time, the PA; to show that its reach for autonomy and sovereignty was already violated before it achieved any such status: its systemic violence and reigns of terror disqualified it from any right of sovereignty. Once a rogue political body is divested of its sovereign status then it can have no political or legal standing in the international community—let alone demand right of existence within a legitimate democracy such as Israel. Should the PA seek violent reprisals against Israel’s moral right to reclaim its historic holy lands, then Israel has the right to disband the PA, incarcerate its political actors and practice a new form of political eugenics that would see the radical resocialization of the moral and political sensibilities of those Palestinians who reside within its geographical boundaries. Such individuals who have long existed outside the historical process largely because of their socialization in death cults and by soul-killing ideologies, would re-achieve their right of belonging to the state. The process could be long; it could take generations, however, the supremacy of Israel and the rise of Judea and Samaria simply cannot exist without the dismantling of the de jure and de facto sovereignty that the Palestinian Authority enjoys.
Individuals cannot be auctioned off. However, if the PA is divested of its sovereignty and recognized for what it is: a morally feral panopticon; and further, if it is divested of its sovereignty given that it has violated the conditions under which sovereignty itself is justified, then it exists in a state of nature. The vacuum left there is to be filled, and residents there re-fashioned by the state. Subjects there can re-enter the historical process and enjoy freedom in an order governed by Israeli law. So long as Israel protects the individual rights of the Palestinians as individuals and not as members of some invented group, then there can be no true ethical dilemma in regards to exercising sovereignty and rulership of individuals who, heretofore, had been living in a state of nature, one outside the historical process. Rescued from this political state of nature they would matriculate within the boundaries of a civilized nation-state in a manner subject to the procedural protocols of Israeli Intelligence and other security and defense institutions created to protect the security and eternal permanence of sovereign Israel.

Jason D. Hill is professor of philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago, and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His areas of specialization include ethics, social and political philosophy, American foreign policy and American politics. He is the author of several books, including We Have Overcome: An Immigrant’s Letter to the American People(Bombardier Books/Post Hill Press). Follow him on Twitter @JasonDhill6.


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Someone finally brings clarity to the Obamagate narrative - Andrea Widburg

by Andrea Widburg

[W]hen someone sits down and writes an article that explains with marvelous clarity what happened and why it's evil, anybody who is interested in truth and justice should read that article.

One of the problems with Obamagate is that it's incredibly complicated. It began under the Obama administration and involved the alphabet agencies (the CIA, the FBI, and the DOJ), as well as President Obama, the national security adviser, the director of National Intelligence, the FISA court, and overseas intelligence agencies.

The wrongdoing included false affidavits; spying on innocent people, including the president-elect; unmasking; and set-ups, such as perjury traps and spies inveigling people into ambiguous statements that could be used against them. It then escalated to an attempt to overthrow the Trump presidency through a two-year-long investigation that destroyed several people's lives, even though the special counsel's office knew from Day One that neither Trump nor his team had done anything wrong.

What I stated above is just the super-simple, short version. Meanwhile, on the other side, for three years, all that the left had to do was holler "Russia! Russia! Russia! Collusion! Ukraine! Putin!," and everyone fell in line.

The problem for the forces of justice is that it's tough to get people excited about wrongdoing that they can't understand. Watergate was simple: a bumbling break-in followed by a foul-mouthed president who tried to cover it up. With Obamagate, though, within a few minutes of reciting multiple dates, dozens of names, three different continents, myriad documents, endless lies and cover-ups...well, people's eyes glaze over, and they start thinking, "This really does sound like some sort of crazy conspiracy theory. There are too many moving parts."

That's why when someone sits down and writes an article that explains with marvelous clarity what happened and why it's evil, anybody who is interested in truth and justice should read that article. I've been following Obamagate since the end of 2016. I've read books on the subject, stayed abreast of the articles, and listened to the podcasts, and I'm still confused. Today, though, I read Charles Lipson's essay at Real Clear Politics, "What the 'Obamagate' Scandals Mean and Why They Matter," which is the most streamlined, organized, and persuasive explanation about Obamagate I've seen to date. 

The article is divided into three sections, which helps break out the scandal's separate phases:

Scandal No. 1: Massive, illegal surveillance of American citizens, using the database of the National Security Agency
Scandal No. 2: Spying on the Trump campaign
Scandal No. 3: Covering up this spying, continuing it during the new administration, charging that Trump was not legitimately elected, and impeding his presidency with major investigations, based on false charges
Within each section, Lipson's lucid prose provides an easy-to-comprehend overview of truly heinous conduct, the likes of which have never before occurred in America. For example, for "spying on the Trump campaign," which is normally a mess of confusing details, Lipson has this to say:

When NSA surveillance was halted, the Obama administration lost its secret eyes on domestic political activity and especially on the rising Trump campaign. To regain that vision, the CIA and FBI launched new surveillance efforts. Three elements stand out. First, the executive branch, then controlled by Democrats, was determined to spy on the opposition party. Second, much of the spying was conducted by agencies that are limited, by law, to foreign operations. Since their goal was actually domestic surveillance and since that was illegal, they apparently outsourced some of it to friendly foreign governments, who relayed the information back to Washington. Third, since the FBI wanted to spy on Trump aides who were not actually suspected of crimes, they couldn't get regular warrants. To work around that, the FBI (under James Comey) and Department of Justice (under Loretta Lynch) falsely claimed the targets were foreign spies, making them eligible for FISA warrants. They also tried to entrap them (with help from CIA assets abroad), hoping they would commit illegal acts or say their colleagues had done so.
If you've been struggling to explain to people what Obamagate is and why it matters, only to have them shrug and walk away because it's just too complicated, send them a copy of Lipson's article. If they're not outraged by what they read in it, either they hate Trump so much that nothing will bring them to reason or they really shouldn't even vote because they care so little about politics, the Constitution, and the rule of law in America.

Andrea Widburg


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Pennsylvania: How Democrats Can Steal an Election - Lynne Lechter

by Lynne Lechter

Covid-19 provides the excuse for "creative" balloting

Last week, the Department of Justice announced that in March, a former Philadelphia election official admitted to, and was convicted of, accepting bribes to stuff ballots for three Democrat candidates for Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge. He admitted to inflating the votes in primaries in years 2014 through 2016. He purportedly committed the fraud by standing in a voting booth and voting multiple times. That he acted alone seems unlikely. In Pennsylvania, each polling place must have a minimum of five poll workers to open and operate. They all work for thirteen hours – where were they? This trick could explain why some Philadelphia precincts end up, unabashedly, on election nights with more total votes than registered voters, and an outcome producing 100% of the votes for Democrat candidates. This case is not an isolated incident, as other cases of altering vote counts have been successfully prosecuted.

In Pennsylvania, more insidious than the overt fraud just exposed by the Justice Department, are the myriad subtler ways in which perhaps more systematized election fraud occurs. Out-of-date voter rolls often list multiple names at the same address. Deceased voters may not be immediately purged. Once an individual has voted in Pennsylvania, a poll worker is not permitted to ask for identification. If that individual keeps voting, their name remains on the rolls without question. That’s how dead people vote. That’s how multiple residents at the same address vote. Moreover, if a live voter has recently moved, it is possible they can vote in two different polling places. In the past few years, Pennsylvanians have been successfully prosecuted for: fraudulent use of absentee ballots, either through forgery, or filing without the real voter’s knowledge; duplicate voting; ineligible voting due to lack of citizenship; and, multiple registrations both inside and out of state. These abuses frequently occur in other states as well.

In 2019, Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf signed a law that all registered voters could apply for an absentee ballot without having to provide a reason. Previously, one could only vote absentee by stating on the application that one would be out of state on election day or was physically prevented from voting in person. As previously reported, Wolf enacted one of the more stringent COVID-19 stay-at-home mandates in the country – closing the entire state to all but essential workers. Pennsylvania’s primary was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing stay at home mandates. Large parts of Pennsylvania cannot reopen until two days after the new primary date of June 2, 2020, and most polling places have been relocated. Predictably, chaos reigns; the likelihood of fraud has spiked. Moreover, Wolf and election board officials are encouraging voters to vote by write-in ballot. Stay home, they exhort. President Trump has a different message and has correctly pointed out the propensity for fraud and election theft when distance voting is the norm.

The draconian stay-at-home measures and warnings have scared most poll workers and voters alike. As noted above, without a minimum of five poll workers, a poll cannot open. With poll workers’ mass refusals to work, 60% of all existing state poll locations have been closed. The remaining polls have been bunched and moved to public schools – many counties have yet to announce the new locations

Prior to Wolf’s cockamamie change, the procedures for absentee ballot control were tighter, but problems existed. To apply for an absentee ballot, a registered voter had to apply, complete the application with the reason for the request, and mail back to the county Board of Elections, all within a certain time frame prior to the election date. When the ballot was received, it was accompanied with two envelopes: the smaller, unmarked envelope was used to seal the completed ballot, and the larger was to insert the sealed ballot and mail back to the Board of Elections – again within a certain time frame before the election. The weekend before the election, the Judge of Elections for each polling place, would pick up all materials assigned to their poll. Included were the absentee ballots, the books containing the names of registered voters, and a list of all voters who had submitted absentee ballots. The list was posted on a wall and the ballots counted to ensure the numbers matched. They were then separated, and unopened until the polls closed, and the tallies were taken.

When voters first enter the polling place and it is their turn to vote, they sign their name in the spot where they are listed in the registration book. If they have submitted an absentee ballot, it will be marked in the book. The clerk informs the Judge of Elections, and before the voter can vote, their absentee ballot is publicly pulled from the absentee ballot bag, nullified, and their name is crossed off the list. After the polls close, at least two pre-certified poll watchers enter the polling place (one from each party), watch the votes being counted and check the results. Only then are the absentee ballots taken out, the outer envelopes destroyed, the ballots shuffled, and counted. Cumbersome and time consuming, yes. It was far from perfect and problems abounded. Even with these controls in place, there were accusations of lost ballots, applications and ballots arriving too late to be returned by the deadline – especially among the military, and stashes of absentee ballots discovered after the election and too late to be counted. While the pandemic was not a factor when Wolf changed the write-in ballot rules, it is now. And the likelihood for fraud has grown exponentially.

With Democrats in a vast majority, Philadelphia as of one week ago had received 158,000 write-in ballots compared with a presidential election record of 23,000. Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, had received more than 225,000 ballots when in a normal primary they receive 10,000. In Montgomery County, a densely populated suburb of Philadelphia, the Board of Elections is also controlled by Democrats. Issues are mounting. Pre-COVID-19 restrictions and warnings, numbers such as these were never anticipated or planned for adequately. Requested write-in applications and ballots have been slow in arriving. As many as 2,000 ballots have arrived in error – such as to party affiliation, wrong county list of candidates and/or with incorrect instructions.

Another fraud-including factor is that the city/county of Philadelphia, and its surrounding suburbs of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery are all sanctuary counties. Investigations by the watchdog group Public Interest Legal Foundation have forced election board officials to admit that illegal residents have registered in high numbers. Estimates place the total of over 100,000.

Additionally, alarm bells should be ringing in every Republican’s heart from an article published in Politico, May 24, 2020, by Holly Otterbein:
Key swing state warns of November election ‘nightmare’.
‘Pennsylvania could determine the presidency. But it might not be clear for days who won the state on Nov. 3.
Election officials throughout the critical battleground, which is implementing no-excuse mail-in voting for the first time ever amid pandemic, say they are unlikely to finish counting those ballots the night of the general election.
If the race is close enough – as it was in 2016, when Donald Trump carried the state by only 44,000 votes – that could mean the status of one of the nation’s biggest swing states could remain up in the air long past Election Day.
“My nightmare is that on Election Day in November, you’re waiting for Montgomery County results to declare Pennsylvania to declare who wins the White House,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Ken Lawrence, a Democrat who chairs the Board of Elections there. “The reality is that all of our counties are going to be in that same situation, and it will take a while to actually count the ballots.”
Less than two weeks away from Pennsylvania’s primary, some state election officials said they lack the funding and staff needed to handle the massive influx of mail-in ballots they’ve received for that race.
They also said the fact that they legally can’t start counting those ballots until the morning of Election Day is complicating matters…’
Rewind: ‘ … they legally can’t start counting those ballots until the morning of Election Day…’?!

If the officials start counting on the morning of election day, how is a cross check enacted to ensure that double in-person voting is thwarted? If not stopped, the Democrats seem to be setting the stage for How to steal an election, in November.

Lynne Lechter is a “non-essential” litigator in Philadelphia, currently working remotely, and an elected member of the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee.


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Russia's Arctic Empire - Lawrence A. Franklin

by Lawrence A. Franklin

Russia's blanket claims of territorial sovereignty pose a direct challenge to "Law of the Sea" conventions such as the "Freedom of Navigation" (FON) principle, championed by the U.S. and other Free World navies.

  • These Russian claims have not yet been adjudicated by international law courts, the United Nations, or by any bilateral or multilateral treaty.
  • Russia's blanket claims of territorial sovereignty pose a direct challenge to "Law of the Sea" conventions such as the "Freedom of Navigation" (FON) principle, championed by the U.S. and other Free World navies.
  • The aspirations of the five polar nations -- Russia, Denmark, Norway, Canada and the U.S. -- may also have to contend with the ambitions of the People's Republic of China.
  • Perhaps a prudent path for the U.S. and Free World countries to adopt in the Arctic, given Moscow's comprehensive advance and the China-Russia tandem, would be to maintain its nuclear submarine superiority while closely monitoring Russia's own Northern Fleet based in the Arctic base of Murmansk. NATO successfully carried out this mission during the Cold War.

Moscow sent a spectacular message last month to the world's other Arctic powers: Russia is determined to dominate the region. Pictured: Russia's nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika in Saint Petersburg on December 14, 2019. (Photo by Olga Maltseva/AFP via Getty Images)

Moscow sent a spectacular message last month to the world's other Arctic powers: Russia is determined to dominate the region. Russian transport aircraft, breaking the record for the highest altitude jump ever, parachuted a group of their Spetsnaz (Special Forces) over the Arctic from a height of almost 33,000 feet (Mt. Everest is 29,000 feet). Russian paratroops then executed a military exercise operation before reassembling at the Nagurskoye base, the northernmost military facility in Russia.

Any rival's attempt to catch up and surpass Moscow's head start in the Arctic is unlikely to succeed. Russia has a geopolitical advantage in that its sovereign land abuts over half of the Arctic's territorial waters. Historically, Russia's czars and commissars were frustrated in their attempts to secure warm-water ports, which would have benefited commerce and military force projection. Now, with environmental warming and subsequent accelerating ice-melt in the Arctic Ocean, Moscow appears poised to control the newest maritime corridor, "the Northeast Passage." This waterway will unite Russian Europe with Russia's Far East provinces adjacent to Pacific waters. The "Northeast Passage" could shorten the transshipment of goods from Asian countries to Europe by two weeks, rather than shipping goods through the Suez Canal route.

For centuries, ships could navigate only sections of the Arctic a few months of the year. If present climatic warming trends continue, however, and probably even if they do not, Russia seems to be expecting exclusively to exploit the region's vast energy, mineral and fishing resources, at least within the legal limits of its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone beyond its land borders.

Russia's northwestern Arctic territory of the Kola Peninsula accounts for large portions of the country's nickel and copper output, as does Norilsk in East Siberia. The Arctic region also accounts for most of Russia's tin extraction. Russian mining centers within the Arctic Circle produce valuable minerals, such as diamonds in the Yakutia Republic in Russia's Far East, as well as palladium, platinum, selenium and cobalt. Probably the most famous minerals are the area's legendary gold deposits in the Kolyma area.

Russia's claim of exclusivity, or at least its special ties, to the Arctic are of long-standing. Moscow first claimed sovereignty over all the islands in the Arctic Sea north of its Eurasian land mass as early as 1926, and repeated this claim in 1928 and again in 1950. Russia's claim of sovereign control of these islands, along with its nearly 25,000 kilometers of Arctic coastline, is considered part of the country's historical patrimony and, therefore, its ownership supposedly non-negotiable.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin seemed to be underscoring that axiom in his 2017 visit to the Franz Josef Land archipelago, the northernmost outpost in a region, where Russia's claim of sovereignty includes 463,000 square miles of territory. All the same, these Russian claims have not yet been adjudicated by international law courts, the United Nations, or by any bilateral or multilateral treaty. Russia's assertiveness, and the failure of the other Arctic nations to corral Moscow into negotiating definitive boundary treaties, leave significant potential for misunderstanding and serious international incidents in the Arctic seas. Russia's blanket claims of territorial sovereignty pose a direct challenge to "Law of the Sea" conventions such as the "Freedom of Navigation" (FON) principle, championed by the U.S. and other Free World navies. The FON concept permits foreign vessels freely to ply waters outside the internationally recognized 12 nautical mile limit of sovereign national waters.
One longstanding territorial dispute fraught with tension is seen in the conflicting claims by Russia and NATO members Denmark and Canada over ownership of the Lomonosov Ridge. Nevertheless, some historical territorial counterclaims are negotiable, like the decades-old dispute between Russia and Norway over which country controlled the waters of the Barents Sea. Russia and Norway resolved the issue amicably in September 2010 with each country settling for 175,000 square km of the Barents waters.

The Kremlin continues integrating its industrial and military infrastructure in its Far North project, begun over a century ago. Pointedly, between 2015 and 2016, Moscow constructed six new military bases, at Aleksandra Land, Novaya Zemlya, Sredny Island, Wrangel Island, Kotelny Island, and Camp Schmidt. Russia maintains strict vigilance of the skies over its Arctic realm, and stations medium-range surface-to-air missile systems to assure control of its airspace. Russia's military has also deployed a polar-capable version of its latest air defense weapon, the S-400. Lessons learned from the Red Army's World War II winter combat against Germany's invading forces guarantees that all Russian military weapons systems are operable at -50 degrees Celsius.

Russia, in addition, has a natural geopolitical and cultural advantage over rivals for hegemony in the land and waters in the Arctic Circle. Russian citizens seem more acclimated to the frigid climate of the far northern regions, as evidenced by Russia's several large urban population centers in the far north such as: Murmansk, Vorkuta, Norilsk, and Tiksi.

Underscoring Russia's apparent determination to dominate the Northern Sea Route (NSR) once the passage is completely navigable, Moscow has already proffered a jurisdictional regime to manage all commerce. Russia's proposed NSR administration entails a mandatory 45-day advance application for right of passage, a hefty fee for passage, and the boarding of every vessel by a native Russian pilot to guide the ship into port. The U.S. will not likely comply with this proposal, as the U.S. Navy firmly adheres to the principle of mare liberum ("freedom of the seas"). In recent decades, the U.S. Navy has conducted hundreds of "Freedom of Navigation" military exercises around the world, and now may have to intensify such missions in the high north to prevent Moscow's unchallenged dominance of the Arctic region.

The aspirations of the five polar nations -- Russia, Denmark, Norway, Canada and the U.S. -- may also have to contend with the ambitions of the People's Republic of China. In the recent past, China and Russia have cooperated in navigation and commercial operation in the Arctic. Russia, owner of the world's largest fleet of icebreakers, has on occasion deployed these vessels to escort Chinese maritime convoys in the far North's frigid seas. It was Russia that also pioneered the building of the first nuclear-powered icebreaker, The Lenin, when passage in the Russian far north was restricted to the period from mid-July through the end of September. China is now busy producing its own icebreakers to ply Arctic waters. China evidently sees the Northern Corridor as a "Polar Silk Road" that will facilitate two-way commerce from Asia to the European Union. Now that the Northern Sea Route fully materialized last August, Russo-Chinese cooperation might also include China's financing of cash-strapped Russia's formidable development plans for military bases and modern ports. China's insatiable appetite for coal has likely caused Beijing to cast an avaricious eye toward the Russian Arctic's vast coal deposits in the Siberian region of Kemerovo, not far from the Sino-Russian border.

Perhaps a prudent path for the U.S. and Free World countries to adopt in the Arctic, given Moscow's comprehensive advance and the China-Russia tandem, would be to maintain its nuclear submarine superiority while closely monitoring Russia's own Northern Fleet, which is based in the Arctic port city of Murmansk. NATO successfully carried out this mission during the Cold War.

The U.S. and Russia remain quite capable of executing their most critical Arctic mission: over-the-pole attacks. While bilateral fail-safe procedures are in place to lessen the risk of such a catastrophe, unresolved differences in the Arctic region raise the prospect for miscalculation.

One such difference is Moscow's periodic claims that several of the seas adjacent to its land borders are "internal seas" or "historical sovereign waters," barring foreign maritime traffic. Occasionally, Kremlin spokespersons have designated that the Sea of Ohkotsk off the far eastern Russian coast is an "internal sea" and, as such, is Russian sovereign territory. That claim remains unresolved and vigorously disputed by both the U.S. and Japan. This is but one potential Arctic flashpoint of many likely to arise.

Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.


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The Biggest Blacklist in American History - John Perazzo

by John Perazzo

How this anti-American scourge works.

The left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a $592 million non-profit. It is also the creator and leader of the largest blacklist, by far, in American history. Its infamous list of “hate groups,” which currently consists of 940 separate entities in all 50 U.S. states, is the centerpiece of a massive smear campaign that conflates a small number of mostly insignificant fringe groups with entities whose sin is being politically conservative, but which are not “hate” groups in any meaningful sense of the word.

By equating a smattering of actual hate groups with respectable conservative organizations, SPLC seeks to delegitimize conservatives as repugnant monsters whose viewpoints do not merit a hearing. And by labeling mainstream conservative individuals and organizations as “hate mongers,” it seeks to deprive them of the funding they need to reach an audience or even stay alive. Consider, for instance, the SPLC's branding of David Horowitz, founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, as an “anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim extremist” and as one of the “10 Most Dangerous Hatemongers” in the United States — solely because he opposes illegal immigration and warns against the dangers of Islamic jihad.

After Horowitz gave a speech to the bi-partisan American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in August 2018, SPLC organized a boycott that singled out his remarks as worthy of suppression and called on ALEC’s corporate sponsors to withdraw their support. The actual sin Horowitz committed was confined to one sentence in which he referred to Black Lives Matter as a “racist organization” and the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist” group.[1] Within two weeks, 79 leftist organizations had joined the boycott. This led to the withdrawal of financial support by major corporations like Verizon, AT&T, and Dow Chemical, and the loss of tens of thousands of dollars for ALEC.

The following month, SPLC’s slurs were the basis of major media attacks smearing Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis as a “white supremacist” for appearing at a Restoration Weekend event hosted by Horowitz, who was described as “an infamous racist” in a headline that appeared in the Huffington Post. (As a side note to this baseless slander, Horowitz is a friend of Arianna Huffington — who founded but no longer owns the Post — and was married in her home.)

The SPLC blacklist is enabled by — and could not be successful without — the mindless support of media outlets like the Washington PostNew York Magazine, Vanity Fair, and so-called “liberal” organizations like People for the American Way and Common Cause. It is also empowered by major support from billionaires like Apple CEO Tim Cook and JP Morgan chairman Jamie Dimon, and by the charitable arms of such major American corporations as Amazon.

Amazon's alliance with SPLC is institutionalized in its popular “AmazonSmile” program, through which customers can purchase Amazon products at their regular prices and then indicate, at checkout, that they wish to have Amazon redirect 0.5% of the payment to a charitable nonprofit organization of the customer's choice. In fiscal 2018, AmazonSmile funneled some $44 million to non-profits via this program.

But not every governmentally recognized non-profit is eligible to receive Amazon’s largesse. Amazon warns its customers that “organizations that engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities are not eligible to participate.” Among the organizations denied Amazon charity on these grounds is the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the chief legal non-profit group committed to protecting religious liberty. ADF is ineligible for Amazon’s program because it defends the First Amendment rights of religious organizations to hold views that SPLC doesn’t support.

ADF, by its own telling, provides legal advocacy “for the right of people to freely live out their faith,” with a specific focus on “cases involving religious liberty issues, the sanctity of human life, and marriage and family.” In other words, ADF thinks that if a religious organization opposes taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, or believes that marriage should be defined explicitly as a sacramental union between one man and one woman, such an entity should be allowed, in accordance with the First Amendment, to freely espouse those particular values.

But to the leftists at the Southern Poverty Law Center, the defense of the First Amendment by organizations like ADF is a “hateful” endeavor which merits the group's inclusion in the SPLC blacklist. And AmazonSmile, in turn, has dutifully declared itself off-limits to ADF. As one AmazonSmile spokesperson has acknowledged: “We remove organizations that the SPLC deems as ineligible.” And by that chain of unexamined “evidence” — i.e., the mere word of SPLC — the blacklist works.

ADF is just one of scores of mainstream religious organizations that have been targeted by SPLC. In particular, SPLC depicts any entity objecting to transformative cultural changes involving homosexuals — such as gay marriage — as a “hate” group whose opinions have no more legitimacy than those of an Aryan militia. In this way, SPLC classifies the conservative Family Research Council, a Christian public policy ministry, as yet another purveyor of hate. And in accordance with SPLC's guidance, AmazonSmile has removed the Council from the list of charities eligible to receive AmazonSmile donations.

The D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM), whose mission is to proclaim “the Gospel of Jesus Christ” as widely as possible, likewise opposes the notion that marriage should be redefined to include same-sex unions. Consequently, SPLC has defamed DJKM as yet another “active hate group.” And AmazonSmile, in turn, refuses to direct any of its customer funds to DJKM. But in fact, there is not the faintest trace of “hate” in DJKM's message. As Ministries spokesman John Rabe has said: “We desire all people, with no exceptions, to receive the love of Christ and his forgiveness and healing. We unequivocally condemn violence, and we hate no one.”

Other noteworthy Christian groups blacklisted by both SPLC and AmazonSmile include the Religious Freedom Coalition (RFC), the Ruth Institute, and the Saint Benedict Center — all of which are guilty of the apparently unpardonable sin of opposing same-sex marriage on religious grounds. When a spokesman for the Saint Benedict Center, Brother André Marie, asked Amazon to explain why his Center had been barred from participating in AmazonSmile, the company told him candidly: “We rely on the Southern Poverty Law Center to determine which charities are in certain ineligible categories. You have been excluded from the AmazonSmile program because the Southern Poverty Law Center lists Saint Benedict Center Inc. in an ineligible category.”

In stark contrast to its shabby treatment of the aforementioned Christian groups, AmazonSmile has had absolutely no objection to passing along 0.5% of its customer expenditures to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was co-founded by individuals with close ties to Hamas — a proudly genocidal organization of murderous Jew-haters. Terrorism expert Steven Emerson, citing federal law-enforcement sources and internal documents, has bluntly described CAIR as “a radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas.”

AmazonSmile is likewise happy to funnel some of its customer funds to the Islamic Center of Jersey City (ICJC), an institution whose imam, in a recent sermon, not only characterized Israeli Jews as “apes and pigs,” but also besought Allah's assistance in killing them, right “down to the very last one.” Moreover, a former ICJC imam was a Hamas activist who was named on a “List of Possible Unindicted Co-conspirators for the [1993] World Trade Center Bombing.”

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) — a Jew-hating entity that praises terror attacks, supports the imposition of Sharia Law, promotes the establishment of an Islamic caliphate, has ties to the radical Pakistani group Jamaat-e-Islami, and is closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood — is also an AmazonSmile member in perfectly good standing.

Similarly, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which promotes Sharia Law and Islamic supremacism, is free to rake in loads of cash through AmazonSmile. Established by U.S-based members of the Muslim Brotherhood, ISNA was identified by declassified FBI memos as a Brotherhood front group as early as 1987. Four years after that, ISNA was explicitly named in a Brotherhood document as one of 29 likeminded Islamic organizations that shared the common goal of carrying out a “grand Jihad” in America and “destroying … Western civilization from within.” But it's not a “hate group,” according to the cheerful, grinning folks at AmazonSmile and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Obviously, the double standards of AmazonSmile are many. But perhaps most troubling is the fact that the single most noteworthy beneficiary of the program is none other than the Southern Poverty Law Center itself. That's correct: The principal gatekeeper that determines who should, and who should not, be permitted to earn money through AmazonSmile, routinely stuffs its own deep pockets with AmazonSmile cash. Indeed, SPLC is currently the 33rd leading recipient of contributions through AmazonSmile. This of course is in keeping with SPLC's legendary aptitude for wringing every last penny out of every cash cow in the proverbial barn. Today SPLC boasts a $592 million endowment, of which nearly 30% is sheltered in offshore tax havens.

In their crusade against conservative organizations, SPLC and AmazonSmile have plenty of company. For instance, Color of Change has pressured corporations to cut all business and commercial ties to entities that SPLC designates as “hate groups.”

Similarly, will not be satisfied until all “financial service companies” stop “profiting from hate” by “tolerating the use of their services by hate groups.” In short, BloodMoney favors the blacklisting and economic suffocation of conservative groups in much the same way as AmazonSmile does. Particularly remarkable is the fact that BloodMoney has named none other than Amazon as a company guilty of conducting business with various “hate groups” that pursue “dangerous agendas.” In other words, AmazonSmile's blacklist doesn't go far enough for BloodMoney, which boasts that, as a result of its own blacklisting efforts, “158 funding sources have been removed from white supremacist sites.”

In 2017, Discover, Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal — much like AmazonSmile — blacklisted a number of organizations deemed objectionable by self-anointed arbiters of “hate” like SPLC, Color of Change, and BloodMoney. As PayPal said in a statement at that time, its own objective was to “ensure that our services are not used to accept payments or donations for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance.”

While aiming to deprive conservative organizations of funding from a host of sources, leftist entities like Amazon and SPLC unapologetically seek to pack as much cash as possible into their own massive coffers. Business Insider recently published an article speculating that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is on track to become the world's first trillionaire by the year 2026. And if present trends continue, the Southern Poverty Law Center's holdings may surpass the $1 billion mark at just about that same time. Such a parallel would be a fitting reflection of AmazonSmile's unique relationship with SPLC — one gang of reckless slanderers lining the pockets of another, in an obscenely crooked, rigged charade.

The SPLC's massive blacklist is sustained by a powerful movement on the left and in the Democratic Party, which is determined to suppress its conservative opposition and create a one-party state — a feat it has already accomplished in our colleges and universities and in large swathes of our media institutions.

[1] The full text of the speech is available HERE.

John Perazzo


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Germany: U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell's Legacy of Success - Soeren Kern

by Soeren Kern

Grenell's greatest achievement during his roughly two years as ambassador was his tireless pursuit of the American interest and his unwillingness to appease Germany's anti-American establishment.

  • Richard Grenell arguably has done more than any other American official, with the possible exception of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, to call out the duplicity, hypocrisy and recklessness of Germany's foreign policy establishment.
  • Closely related to the defense spending issue is Germany's increasing energy dependency on Russia.... while the United States is spending billions of dollars annually to defend Europe against growing threats from Russia, German energy policies are increasing Russia's grip over Europe.
  • Grenell's greatest achievement during his roughly two years as ambassador was his tireless pursuit of the American interest and his unwillingness to appease Germany's anti-American establishment.
  • On April 30, 2020, after years of equivocating, the German government announced a compromise measure between German lawmakers who want to take a harder line against Iran and those who do not. The ban falls far short of a complete prohibition on Hezbollah and appears aimed at providing the German government with political cover that allows Berlin to claim that it has banned the group even if it has not.
  • "With @RichardGrenell, Germany is losing one of the best US Ambassadors to our country ever. Whether it was pressure to stop NordStream2, rethink German-Iranian regime (love) affairs or increase our defense expenditure - he was always on point and acting in the best interest of the United States and Germany. THANKS SO MUCH!" — Julian Röpke, political editor of Bild, Germany's largest newspaper

Richard Grenell is stepping down from his role as U.S. ambassador to Germany. The move ends one of the most effective American ambassadorships to Berlin in recent memory. Pictured: Grenell with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 6, 2018 near Gransee, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Richard Grenell is stepping down from his role as U.S. ambassador to Germany. The move ends one of the most effective American ambassadorships to Berlin in recent memory.

Grenell arguably has done more than any other American official, with the possible exception of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, to call out the duplicity, hypocrisy and recklessness of Germany's foreign policy establishment.

On a wide range of geopolitical issues — from relations with China, Iran and Russia to anti-Semitism, climate change, defense spending (NATO), energy dependence (Nord Stream), globalism, Hezbollah, Huawei and mass migration — Grenell embarrassed German leaders by showing that their words and actions do not match.

The greatest point of contention in U.S. relations with Germany is Berlin's refusal to honor its pledge to spend 2% of its GDP on defense. Germany, the largest and wealthiest country in the European Union, currently lacks a functioning Air Force and Navy and is completely dependent on U.S. security guarantees. Germany's unwillingness to pay for its own defense has led to charges that it is "free-riding" on American security. Grenell consistently drew attention to this untenable arrangement, much to the anger of German elites.

Closely related to the defense spending issue is Germany's increasing energy dependency on Russia. Despite opposition from the United States and 15 European countries, Germany is determined to complete the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which will further increase Russia's leverage as an energy supplier to Europe. Grenell placed a spotlight on the inherent contradiction that while the United States is spending billions of dollars annually to defend Europe against growing threats from Russia, German energy policies are increasing Russia's grip over Europe.

Grenell's skillful use of Twitter enabled him to bypass Germany's mainstream media and offer an alternative to the official narratives parroted by Germany's political and media establishment. German elites frequently responded with ad hominem attacks; Grenell remained above the fray and stayed focused on the policy issues.

Grenell's greatest achievement during his roughly two years as ambassador was his tireless pursuit of the American interest and his unwillingness to appease Germany's anti-American establishment.
Cliff Sims, a former advisor to President Trump, encapsulated the essence of Grenell's diplomatic style:
"The mandate of a diplomat is usually to be diplomatic. Trumpian foreign policy is obviously more confrontational. Ric is willing to be publicly confrontational with his host country if it's in America's national interest in a way that is not typical historically but directly reflects the way Trump operates."
Thomas Jaeger, a political scientist at the University of Cologne, said that Grenell has had an important impact on shaping the public debate in Germany:
"He had no qualms about putting the German government under pressure in public, which might not have always been the smartest thing to do. But everyone knew Trump listened closely to him. I think they could have used that connection a lot better. In any case, Grenell has been highly effective in getting Germany to talk more about defense spending and about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The public opinion on those two issues has changed, and Grenell certainly had a role in that."
Following is a brief selection of Grenell's tweets, statements and interactions with Germany's political establishment on a variety of issues:


On May 8, 2018, Grenell's first day as U.S. Ambassador to Germany, he made a splash with a tweet that the Trump administration was serious about enforcing sanctions against Iran: "As @realDonaldTrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran's economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately."

The tweet, which came after President Trump announced that he was pulling the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal, was greeted with indignation:
  • Former German Ambassador to the United States, Wolfgang Ischinger, tweeted: "Ric: my advice, after a long ambassadorial career: explain your own country's policies, and lobby the host country - but never tell the host country what to do, if you want to stay out of trouble. Germans are eager to listen, but they will resent instructions."
  • Green Party lawmaker Omid Nouripour said: "Good cooperation means that one does not drive a highly aggressive, ruthless policy towards our security interests and before you even arrive here, you threaten the German economy. It's simply not a tone of cooperation and we have to say so very clearly."
  • The then leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party, Andrea Nahles, added: "It's not my task to teach people about the fine art of diplomacy, especially not the U.S. ambassador. But he does appear to need some tutoring."
Grenell responded by tweeting that what he wrote was "the exact language sent out from the White House talking points & fact sheet."

After former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel insinuated that the United States was no a friend of Germany, Grenell tweeted:
"Gabriel is now in Iran meeting with the regime to talk about doing more trade deals.... this after an Iranian 'diplomat' was arrested in Germany for giving an explosive device to 2 people on their way to blow up a convention in Paris."
Grenell also said that months of pressure from the United States led Germany finally to ban Iran's Mahan Air, which is linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). German officials countered that they took the initiative on their own.


Grenell was tireless in his efforts to pressure the German government to outlaw Hezbollah — Arabic for "The Party of Allah" — in Germany. On December 19, 2019, the German parliament, known as the Bundestag, approved a three-page resolution — "Effective Action against Hezbollah" — that called on the German government to ban the activities of the Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group on German territory. According to the Bundestag, a complete organizational ban of Hezbollah is (supposedly) impossible because the group's structures in Germany are "not currently ascertainable."
On April 30, 2020, after years of equivocating, the German government announced a compromise measure between German lawmakers who want to take a harder line against Iran and those who do not. The ban falls far short of a complete prohibition on Hezbollah and appears aimed at providing the German government with political cover that allows Berlin to claim that it has banned the group even if it has not.

The ban does not require the closure of Hezbollah mosques or cultural centers, nor does it require that members of the group be deported. The ban also does not prohibit Hezbollah operatives from travelling to Germany.


Grenell has been an indefatigable supporter of Israel. Germany claims that the security of Israel is a fundamental element of its Staatsräson, or "reason of state." German foreign policy, however, is decidedly anti-Israel. Grenell frequently reminded German leaders that their words and actions regarding Israel do not match.

In recent years, Germany has approved scores of anti-Israel UN resolutions. In May 2016, Germany voted in favor of an especially disgraceful UN resolution, co-sponsored by the Arab group of states and the Palestinian delegation, that singled out Israel at the annual assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the world's only violator of "mental, physical and environmental health."
Much of Germany's political establishment appears to be fundamentally anti-Israel. In March 2019, for instance, the Bundestag overwhelmingly rejected a resolution by the Free Democratic Party (FDP) to urge Chancellor Angela Merkel's government to reverse its anti-Israel voting record at the United Nations.

In February 2019, on the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier congratulated, "also in the name of my compatriots," the Iranian regime, which openly seeks Israel's destruction. The move was defended by much of the German establishment as "diplomatic custom."

In February 2020, Grenell rebuked the German government for its plans to celebrate the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran:
"Germany has a moral responsibility to say to Iran very firmly and clearly that it is unacceptable to deny basic human rights to your people, or kill protesters in the streets or push gay people off buildings. Celebrating the regime's ongoing existence sends the opposite message."
In response, Steinmeier's office announced that it would not send the Iranian regime a congratulatory email on the anniversary of the revolution — but then "accidentally" sent it anyway.

President Trump's Middle East Peace Plan

On January 28, 2020, the Trump administration unveiled its Middle East peace plan. The proposal was widely criticized in Germany. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said: "Only a negotiated two-state solution, acceptable to both sides, can lead to a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians."
  • Bundestag member Norbert Röttgen tweeted: "The so-called #PeacePlan is to the detriment of #Palestine and presented as an ultimatum depicts a setback in the conflict. It is primarily a contribution to the ongoing election campaigns in the #USA & #Israel and a welcome diversion from domestic crises in both states."Grenell replied: "Abbas is in his 15th year of a 4 year term. The US didn't cause this conflict but we are trying to solve it. Maybe some help?"
  • The director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Volker Perthes, tweeted: "#Trump's 'deal of the century' is essentially a reflection of Netanyahu's ideas for #Israel's relation with Palestinians, packaged as a US 'peace plan'. Don't take it lightly though. It will shape developments on the ground, as well as international law debates and practice."Grenell replied: "Europeans who criticize this good initiative from the sidelines, while failing to offer any ideas of their own should be dismissed and ignored for wanting the failing status quo. Less talk, more action."


In June 2018, a month after assuming his ambassadorship, Grenell, in an interview with Breitbart, said that he wanted to empower European conservatives:
"I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders. I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left.
"There's no question about that and it's an exciting time for me. I look across the landscape and we've got a lot of work to do but I think the election of Donald Trump has empowered individuals and people to say that they can't just allow the political class to determine before an election takes place, who's going to win and who should run.
"That's a very powerful moment when you can grasp the ability to see past the group-think of a very small elitist crowd telling you you have no chance to win or you'll never win, or they mock you early on."
Grenell's seemingly innocuous comments stoked hyperbolic outrage:
  • Martin Schulz, a former leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party, said: "Grenell does not behave like a diplomat, but like a far-right colonial officer."
  • Left Party lawmaker Sahra Wagenknecht called for Grenell's expulsion: "Anyone who, like US Ambassador Richard Grenell, thinks that he can determine who governs Europe, can no longer remain in Germany as a diplomat."
  • A parliamentarian for the Social Democrats, Johannes Kahrs, tweeted: "If this is how it was said, then this man should leave the country."
  • Sevim Dagdelen of the opposition Left party described Grenell as Trump's "regime change envoy."


The Trump administration has repeatedly urged Germany against allowing the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei to participate in its next-generation mobile network. The U.S. government has warned that Beijing could use Huawei technology to conduct espionage or cyber sabotage.

The President of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, Bruno Kahl, also advised against a role for Huawei. "Infrastructure is not a suitable area for a group that cannot be trusted fully," he said.

In February 2020, after China threatened to retaliate against German carmakers, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservatives announced a compromise measure that stopped short of banning Huawei.

In response, Grenell tweeted:
"@realDonaldTrump just called me from AF1 and instructed me to make clear that any nation who chooses to use an untrustworthy 5G vendor will jeopardize our ability to share Intelligence and information at the highest level."
The tweet elicited a series of responses:
  • Left Party lawmaker Steffen Bockhahn tweeted: "Mister Ambassador, you should know, that parliamentarians are free in mind and in decision. In old Europe we want it like that and we like diplomatic diplomats. It makes real and open-minded conversation much easier. Regards!"Grenell replied: "You want a US that doesn't pressure you to pay your NATO obligation, looks the other way when you buy too much Russian gas, doesn't demand you take back your Nazi prison guard living in NYC, accepts your higher car tariffs and still sends 50,000 troops to your country."
  • Bundestag member Alexander Graf Lambsdorff tweeted: "Is there a US vendor the President would care to recommend instead? Does he have a list of 'trustworthy vendors'? Which criteria does he apply to determine 'trustworthiness'?"Grenell replied: "It's odd that you don't think about European solutions. Do you take any responsibility or just blame the US?"
  • A director of the French search engine Qwant, Guillaume Champeau, tweeted: "According to the U.S. ambassador to Germany, the U.S. is threatening to withhold [intelligence] information from states that have Huawei in their 5G infrastructure."Grenell replied: "According to this guy, the US doesn't get to react to policies we find dangerous. I find it offensive that you think the US cooperation must stay the same no matter what you do. We call that taking us for granted."
  • German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, a close confident of Chancellor Angela Merkel, created a false equivalency between the United States, which guarantees Germany's security, and China. On a television talk show, he suggested that American telecommunications companies posed just as much of a security threat as ones from China.Grenell responded that Altmaier's comparison was "an insult to the thousands of American troops who help ensure Germany's security and to the millions of Americans committed to a strong Western alliance. These claims are likewise an insult to the millions of Chinese citizens denied basic freedoms and unjustly imprisoned by the CCP [Communist Party of China]."

Defense Spending

At a NATO summit in Wales in 2014, members agreed to meet a goal of spending at least 2% of their GDP on defense within the next decade.

On March 18, 2019, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz announced that Germany would not be spending two percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense. He said that the share of defense expenditure in GDP would rise to 1.37% in the short term, but decrease to 1.25% by 2023. Chancellor Angela Merkel had pledged to increase spending to 1.5% by 2024.
Grenell responded:
"NATO members have clearly committed to moving towards two percent by 2024 and not moving away from it. The fact that the Federal Government is even considering reducing its already unacceptable contributions to military readiness is a worrying signal from Germany to its 28 NATO allies."
The deputy speaker of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Kubicki, called for Grenell to be expelled from Germany:
"If a U.S. diplomat acts like a high commissioner of an occupying power, he will have to learn that our tolerance has its limits. It is no longer tolerable that the US ambassador intervenes again in political questions of the sovereign Federal Republic. Germany should not tolerate this improper behavior for reasons of self-respect."
The SPD parliamentary director, Carsten Schneider, also rejected Grenell's criticism: "Mr. Grenell is a total diplomatic failure. With his repeated clumsy provocations, Mr. Grenell damages the transatlantic relationship."

In November 2019, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said that Germany would not meet its NATO defense spending target until 2031.

Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline

Grenell worked tirelessly to stop the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline directly linking Russia to Germany. The €9.5 billion ($10.5 billion) pipeline would double shipments of Russian natural gas to Germany by transporting the gas under the Baltic Sea. Opponents of the pipeline warn that it will give Russia a stranglehold over Germany's energy supply.

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual defense spending bill, which included Nord Stream 2 sanctions language. The measure previously cleared the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate by overwhelming margins. The American sanctions forced Switzerland's Allseas Group SA, which was laying the sub-sea pipes, to abandon work, throwing the project into disarray.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted: "European energy policy is decided in Europe, not in the US. We reject external interference and extraterritorial sanctions."

Grenell, in an interview with Bild, the largest-circulation newspaper in Germany, responded:
"This is a longstanding US policy that goes back to the Obama administration. The goal has always been for diversification of Europe's energy sources and to ensure that not one country or source can build up too much influence on Europe through energy....
"Fifteen European countries, the European Commission and the European Parliament have all expressed their concerns about the project. We have been hearing from our European partners that the United States should support them in their efforts. That is why the sanctions are a very pro-European decision. Currently, there is a lot of talk in Germany about being more for Europe and we believe that when it comes to Nord Stream 2, we have taken an extremely pro-European position. I've been hearing all day from European diplomats thanking me for taking this action."
Richard Herzinger, political correspondent for Die Welt, wrote in support of Grenell:
"U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell said that the Washington sanction decision against the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was 'a very pro-European decision.'
"American interest in the European gas market is certainly not entirely selfless. In principle, however, Grenell is absolutely right when he rejects the accusation that the sanctions are directed against Europe.
"The German government, most recently in the person of Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, incorrectly presents the U.S. punitive measures as an attack on pan-European energy sovereignty. In truth, it is more Berlin itself that isolates itself in Europe with its stubborn adherence to Nord Stream 2.
"A number of EU governments, especially Poland and the Baltic States, welcome U.S. intervention as a long-awaited step against the expansion of German-Russian energy cooperation, which they see as an eminent threat to their security. The German energy special route has also been met with great skepticism from the EU Commission and the European Parliament, which has spoken out explicitly against the construction of Nord Stream 2.
"Incidentally, the U.S. sanctions are by no means a further outflow of anti-European affectations from Donald Trump. Rather, they were imposed by the U.S. Congress — with an overwhelming majority that includes both Democratic and Republican members. Such punitive measures had already been considered at the time of Obama's presidency.
"Today, many Europeans believe Washington's intervention is the last hope of stopping the pipeline project that would dramatically increase Europe's dependence on Putin's Russia."
On May 26, Grenell announced that the United States was preparing additional sanctions to prevent completion of the pipeline. "Germany must stop feeding the beast while at the same time it does not pay enough for NATO," he said. The German financial newspaper Handelsblatt described the new sanctions as Grenell's "farewell greeting" (Abschiedsgruß).

Nazi War Criminals

In August 2018, Jakiw Palij, a 95-year-old Nazi collaborator who had lived in New York City for decades, was deported to Germany. Despite a court ordering his deportation in 2004, past American administrations were unsuccessful in removing him. Under orders from President Trump, Grenell secured Palij's deportation to Germany. Palij died six months later.
On January 10, 2019, Grenell tweeted:
"Former Nazi prison guard Jakiw Palij has died in Germany. I am so thankful to @realDonaldTrump for making the case a priority. Removing the former Nazi prison guard from the US was something multiple Presidents just talked about - but President Trump made it happen."
In an interview, Welt am Sonntag asked Grenell: "You have introduced a very direct way of communicating with your German audience. Are you surprised by the critical reception?" Grenell replied:
"I'm not surprised at all. I think that the American style has always been different from the European one. And it's OK to have different styles. I've always thought that I would be judged by the political class on the progress I make. For too long, we have ignored some problems.
"One example of this is over the Nazi prison guard Jakiw Palij, who had been living in the US and who we wanted to be returned to Germany for a very long time. I was told that the Germans simply didn't want to make this happen, which I didn't find to be true — after pushing harder on this topic and after raising it at every meeting across all levels of government. So, is my style more pushy? I believe it is. But it also helps to reform our relationship and make it deeper and stronger."
In March 2020, a US immigration judge ordered Tennessee resident Friedrich Karl Berger, who served as an armed guard at a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, to be deported to Germany. With Grenell no longer ambassador, it remains unclear if Germany will take Berger back.

North Korea

Grenell was instrumental in closing a hostel in Berlin that is owned by the government of North Korea. The Cityhostel Berlin funneled approximately €450,000 ($500,000) a year into the coffers of the regime of Kim Jong Un in violation of UN Security Council sanctions.

On January 28, 2020, a Berlin Administrative Court ordered the hostel to be shut down. Grenell tweeted:
"US Embassy Berlin has been hard at work getting this hotel shut down. It seems like a no-brainer to us. North Korea is under UN sanctions and the Germans are the Chair of the UN enforcement committee."

Farewell to Germany

On February 20, 2020, President Trump installed Grenell as the acting director of national intelligence. Grenell was to fulfill his new duties while continuing in his role as ambassador. Almost immediately, German leaders complained that the lack of a full-time ambassador signalled that the United States was downgrading its relationship with Germany.

Bundestag member Alexander Graf Lambsdorff said that the additional post was an "upgrade" for Grenell, but a "downgrade" for Germany: "Even with the greatest effort, it is not possible to coordinate 17 intelligence agencies while maintaining German-American relations."

Johann Wadephul, Bundestag member for the Christian Democrats, added: "Especially in these times, the transatlantic relationship needs a full-time ambassador."

A foreign policy spokesman for the Social Democrats, Nils Schmid, said that the fact that Grenell would continue the post of ambassador from Washington was "an expression of a disdain for Germany." He added: "U.S. President Donald Trump should appoint a successor who does not make one-sided propaganda, but also campaigns for German positions in Washington."

On May 24, the German newspaper Die Welt, citing the German Press Agency, reported that Grenell would be stepping down. The announcement generated a range of responses, including:
  • A fellow at the German Marshall Fund, Noah Barkin, tweeted that Germany would breathe a "sigh of relief" at Grenell's departure. Grenell replied: "You make a big mistake if you think the American pressure is off. You don't know Americans."
  • German Bundestag member Andreas Nick, tweeted: "For a generation, each and every US Ambassador I got to know personally - career diplomat or political appointee alike - used to leave his post as a highly respected figure and trusted friend of Germany. Now someone leaves issuing threats as if he were representing a hostile power."
    Grenell responded: "You always wanted me to stop asking you publicly to pay your NATO obligations and calling for an end to Nord Stream 2. But these are US policies. And I work for the American people."
  • Bundestag member Alexander Graf Lambsdorff admitted that Grenell will be missed because of his authenticity and closeness to President Trump: "In Ambassador Grenell, you knew what the American government thinks and how it acts."
  • Julian Röpke, political editor of Bild, Germany's largest newspaper, tweeted: "With @RichardGrenell, Germany is losing one of the best US Ambassadors to our country ever. Whether it was pressure to stop NordStream2, rethink German-Iranian regime (love) affairs or increase our defense expenditure - he was always on point and acting in the best interest of the United States and Germany. THANKS SO MUCH!"

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.


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