Friday, January 21, 2022

The January 6 Narrative is Starting to Unravel - John Green


by John Green

Did the federal government have some involvement with January 6? We don’t know the answer to that question -- and that’s a problem for a constitutional republic.

The Democrats and the propaganda ministry have tried to portray the events of January 6 as the greatest assault on democracy… in like, forever.  But it seems like that narrative is starting to unravel.  The unraveling began when many people began to suspect that the whole thing was a setup and started looking into it. 

It wasn’t law enforcement or MSM journalists investigating -- they could be controlled.  It was amateur citizen investigators using the power of the internet.  Ah… the internet -- allowing average citizens to cross-reference and collate a limitless sea of information.  Our Founders would approve.

Citizen investigators began to identify individuals who were clearly involved in inciting the riot on January 6.  But a curious number of them had not been arrested by the FBI, even though their identity was well known.  One such individual is Ray Epps.  Epps is seen on video urging the crowd to enter the Capitol building.  He lives in Arizona on a ranch and hasn’t been arrested.  There are numerous others, just like him.  The question became unavoidable: Did the federal government have involvement with January 6?  We don’t know the answer to that question -- and that’s a problem for a constitutional republic.

As this curious information began to come to public attention, the FBI cover-up started.  It removed Ray Epps from its “most wanted” list and released a report stating that there was no evidence of a coordinated attack on the Capitol -- even though they had been calling it a coordinated attack for months.  Apparently, the bureau hoped the whole thing would fade into obscurity.  But it didn’t.  Merrick Garland and San Fran Nan wouldn’t let it.

The proud head of the police part of our police state couldn’t let it go.  Garland was having too much fun playing with his new “fully operational death star” -- which has the Orwellian name “Department of Justice.”  The only thing missing is a “Peoples” at the beginning of that name.  Unfortunately, Garland has bragged for months about his “shock and awe” campaign to bring insurrectionists to justice.  The DoJ has had hundreds of citizens under arrest for months -- for the horrendous crimes of trespassing and taking selfies on Capitol grounds.  What are prosecutors supposed to do? Go to the judge and say, “Oops!  Our bad.”  That’s not the way police states operate.

Merrick Garland isn’t the only one pushing the narrative beyond what the evidence supports.  San Fran Nan has kept the topic in the news as well.  She is facing a midterm shellacking, looking down the barrel of a Trump return to politics, and needs a propaganda blunt object with which to beat on Republicans.  Her solution was simple, elegant, and stupid.

  • Appoint a committee to investigate something that didn’t happen -- the greatest assault on our democracy since Pearl Harbor -- or was it 9/11? I forget.
  • Add a couple of useful idiot Republicans -- preferably of the #NeverTrump variety.
  • Subpoena every Republican in the known universe.
  • Provide creative leaks to the awaiting propaganda ministry. [Pelosi note to self: Don’t forget to add Adam Schiff to the committee.]

Viola, a year’s worth of negative Trump news cycles.  Maybe it could even be stretched to three years.  But after a year of investigating an insurrection that the FBI said wasn’t an insurrection, the questions started to get a bit too inconvenient for San Fran Nan’s committee.  So, she did what masters do.  She jerked the leash hard, and her twin dogs barked.  The committee released a statement defending Ray Epps, and the FBI arrested Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers, and a number of his fellow travelers.

In August of 2021, the FBI said there was no evidence of a coordinated attack on the Capitol.  Now, in January of 2022, the FBI is saying that Rhodes organized teams to conduct an armed paramilitary operation to prevent congressional certification of the vote.  There’s just one problem: It never happened.  Except for the activities of Ray Epps, who is no longer wanted by the FBI, there was no coordination at all of the mob at the Capitol.  Stewart Rhodes was present, but he never entered the Capitol, and like the other Oath Keepers present, he was unarmed.  In fact, the only firearms present in the Capitol on that day were those in the possession of the Capitol Police -- one of which was used to kill an unarmed protester.

The indictment of the Oath Keepers is not about what they did.  It’s about what they wanted to do -- even though they didn’t do it.  Crimes of intent are tricky things to prosecute.  How can any man know what’s in another man’s heart and mind?  Does the FBI have some evidence of his actual desire, or is Steward Rhodes automatically guilty of wrong-think because he’s a patriotic (e.g., anti-government) conservative?

Maybe the FBI has gotten possession of incriminating emails.  It’s possible that Rhodes (a Yale-trained lawyer) blasted out his insurrection plans with his Gmail account.  Of course, the jury will also need to consider the FBI history of falsifying emails, such as it did to get warrants against Carter Page.

Maybe the FBI has witnesses that overheard the Oath Keepers’ plans.  The bureau is well known for planting informants in organizations suspected of subversion.  But whatever witnesses it has had better have more credibility than Andrew McCabe, Peter Stzrok, Kevin Clinesmith, or any of the three agents that have been removed from the Whitmer kidnapping witness list.

I’m not jumping to any conclusions about the Oath Keepers.  Whatever evidence the FBI has, is going to need very close examination -- by an army of citizen investigators.  Don’t underestimate their abilities.  Doing so didn’t work out so well for Dan “Fake but Accurate” Rather.

Much to the FBI’s consternation, the January 6 investigation hasn’t faded, and the amateur investigations continue.  The questions are getting more inconvenient by the nanosecond.

Now we have an attorney general and various FBI officials who can do little more than stammer, mutter the words “ongoing investigation,” and stare at the ceiling while being questioned by Congress.  “Ongoing investigation” is starting to feel like the new “pleading the 5th.”

After the Republicans win the midterm elections, they should keep the January 6 committee in place -- but under new management.  San Fran Nan’s committee set a few precedents that should be very useful.  The minority party has no rights.  Committee members are subject to the approval of the Speaker of the House.  Executive privilege is a thing of the past.  Any member of the opposing party is also fair game.  The Republicans should subpoena Merrick Garland, Christopher Wray, and Nancy Pelosi.  I’m dying to see how Granny Boxwine does under questioning from Ted Cruz.  Watching Cackles Harris laugh nervously at every question should just about end her political future -- if she hasn’t already ended it herself.  Heck, they should even subpoena the electronic devices of “Shifty” Schiff and “Bang-Bang the Fang Fang” Swalwell.  I’m sure they have some interesting texts and emails about January 6 as well.

Image: Tyler Merbler


John Green is a political refugee from Minnesota, now residing in Idaho. He currently writes at the American Free News Network (  He can be followed on Facebook or reached at


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Why Palestinian Leaders Ignore Arab Atrocities - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

These leaders know that it is far easier -- and far safer -- to condemn Israel than to demand that Assad cease committing atrocities against the Palestinians. Spewing hatred against Israel has no price tag attached. Criticizing an Arab dictator, by contrast, can prove costly in the extreme.

  • For now, it seems that the Palestinian leadership is ignoring not only the "tragedies" of its people in Syria, but even the complaints about the failure of the Palestinian officials to raise the issue with the Syrian government.

  • The Palestinian leadership apparently does not want to assume any responsibility for its people in the Arab world because that would mean spending money on them and providing them with various services. Palestinian leaders would, it seems, rather keep the money for themselves than assist their own people.

  • The Palestinian leaders appear more concerned about the return of the Assad regime to the Arab League than the return of tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians to their homes in Syria. These leaders know that it is far easier -- and far safer -- to condemn Israel than to demand that Assad cease committing atrocities against the Palestinians. Spewing hatred against Israel has no price tag attached. Criticizing an Arab dictator, by contrast, can prove costly in the extreme.

The Palestinian leadership is ignoring not only the "tragedies" of its people in Syria, but even the complaints about the failure of the Palestinian officials to raise the issue with the Syrian government. The London-based Action Group for Palestinians of Syria estimated the number of Palestinians who have died of torture in Syrian prisons at 620. Hundreds more Palestinians died due lack of proper medical treatment during the Syrian army's siege of the Yarmouk refugee camp, the group said. Pictured: Yarmouk refugee camp, near Damascus, on May 22, 2018, days after Syrian government forces regained control over the camp. (Photo by Louai Beshara/AFP via Getty Images)

Palestinian leaders never miss an opportunity to condemn Israel and accuse it of committing "crimes" against the Palestinians. This is in the context of the ongoing virulent Palestinian campaign of incitement against Israel.

The Palestinian leaders, however, remain oblivious to the suffering of their people in some Arab countries, especially Syria, where more than 4,100 Palestinians have been killed during the fighting between the Syrian army and the opposition or died as a result of torture, starvation and medical negligence over the past decade. These leaders are also most likely afraid that their Arab brothers would punish them if they speak out against the atrocities committed against Palestinians in the Arab countries.

Human rights organizations have described the Syrian practices and measures against the Palestinians as a "catastrophe" and "massacres." They pointed out that since the eruption of the civil war in Syria in 2011, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been arrested or displaced.

The "crimes" against the Palestinians in Syria do not, unfortunately, seem to be at the top of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) priority list. Worse, the PA leadership is currently trying to curry favor with Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose security forces are accused of killing, wounding, arresting and displacing tens of thousands of Palestinians.

The PA leadership's attempt to restore its ties with the Assad regime has drawn sharp, widespread and harsh criticism from many Palestinians and Syrians. They say they cannot grasp the logic of reconciling with an Arab leader who has so much Palestinian blood on his hands.

Earlier this month, a delegation representing the ruling Fatah faction headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas visited Damascus, where its members met with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. The delegation, headed by Fatah Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub, handed the minister a letter from Abbas to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The letter "affirmed the depth of the historic relations between the two sides and [Abbas's] desire to strengthen relations between the State of Palestine and the Arab Republic of Syria."

Rajoub later announced that Abbas was planning to visit Damascus soon to meet with Assad. Rajoub was also quoted as saying that a decision to suspend Syria's membership in the Arab League was "shameful." The decision was taken in 2011 by the Arab League in response to Syria's failure to end its bloody and violent crackdown on anti-Assad protesters.

Rajoub's support for the reinstatement of Syria's membership in the Arab League and the PA leadership's efforts to normalize its ties with the Assad regime drew sharp criticism from many Palestinians and Syrians.

Commenting on Rajoub's statements, Syrian cartoonist Ammar Agha Al-Kala wrote:

"The shame is that 14 million [Syrians and Palestinians] have been displaced. The shame is that 1.5 million people have been killed."

Palestinian-Syrian writer and journalist Suad Qatanani remarked:

"Mahmoud Abbas will visit the one (Assad) who starved and killed Palestinians in Yarmouk refugee camp (near Damascus). Will he ask Assad why he destroyed the Palestinian camps and displaced their people? Will he ask Assad about those who were killed in Syrian detention? Will he ask Assad about the fate of the Palestinians who disappeared in Syrian prisons?"

According to the London-based Action Group For Palestinians of Syria (AGPS), a human rights watchdog that monitors the situation of Palestinian refugees in war-torn Syria, 1,458 Palestinians from Yarmouk have been killed since 2011. This includes 496 who died due to shelling of the camp, 208 who died from starvation or medical neglect due to the siege by the Syrian army and 215 tortured to death in Syrian prisons. According to a recent report by AGPS:

"Yarmouk camp is considered one of the most affected areas in Syria as a result of the siege imposed by the Syrian army and its loyal forces since 2013, while water and electricity were completely cut off for the population in 2014, and the entry of food, medical and other items was also prohibited."

"War crimes and crimes against humanity have been carried out against Palestinian and Syrian civilians in Yarmouk, which is under brutal siege by Syrian government forces," Amnesty International revealed in 2014. Residents told the human rights group that they had not eaten fruit or vegetables for many months, while others said they had resorted to eating cats and dogs.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) pointed out that before the civil war in Syria, Yarmouk camp was home to nearly 160,000 Palestinians. Today, the number of residents living in the camp is estimated at 3,000. In 2018, it was estimated that 60% of the camp had been destroyed by the Syrian army and pro-Assad militias.

During their visit to Syria, the Palestinian delegation members attended a rally in Yarmouk camp to mark the 57th anniversary of the launch of Fatah's first terrorist attack against Israel.

Commenting on the visit, Palestinian-Syrian lawyer and writer Ayman Abo Hashem wrote:

"The visit of the Fatah delegation to Damascus and the [Fatah] rally held on the ruins of Yarmouk camp are a stab in the back of all the Palestinian and Syrian victims whose homes were destroyed and who were killed, arrested, and displaced by the Assad regime's criminal regime. Palestine refuses to be associated with leaders who turn a blind eye to its tragedies and care only about their interests."

The Fatah delegation that visited Damascus has faced severe criticism and widespread condemnation from Palestinians and Syrians for ignoring the "tragedy" of the Palestinians in Syria and not including it in the discussions with Syrian government officials, AGPS reported on January 8, adding:

"A number of Palestinian activists expressed outrage at Fatah's and the Palestinian Authority's neglect and marginalization of the tragedy of the Palestinians in Syria and their lack of sense of responsibility towards it... The activists said that the Palestinian leadership works for its own interests, forgetting the pain of their people and displaying indifference to their suffering."

Samer, a Palestinian from Yarmouk, told AGPS:

"This complete disregard [for the plight of the Palestinians in Syria] was accepted with great resentment by the Palestinians, who no longer have confidence in the leadership that undervalues them and wants to achieve its own political gains at the expense of its people."

Noting that 620 Palestinians have died of torture in Syrian prisons and detention centers since 2011, AGPS pointed out that the Palestinians of Syria urged the Palestinian embassy in Damascus dozens of times to intervene to release Palestinians held by the Syrian regime and halt the siege of Yarmouk camp and the repeated attacks on Palestinian camps, especially air raids and barrel bombardments. Their appeals went unheeded.

Palestinian activist Abu Mustafa al-Qaoud said that the Palestinian leadership has never used its relations with the Syrian regime to serve the interests of the Palestinians in Syria. "The Palestinian Authority has failed to secure the release of one Palestinian [from Syrian detention] or the return of one displaced family to its home," al-Qaoud complained.

For now, it seems that the Palestinian leadership is ignoring not only the "tragedies" of its people in Syria, but even the complaints about the failure of the Palestinian officials to raise the issue with the Syrian government.

The Palestinian leadership apparently does not want to assume any responsibility for its people in the Arab world because that would mean spending money on them and providing them with various services. Palestinian leaders would, it seems, rather keep the money for themselves than assist their own people.

The Palestinian leaders appear more concerned about the return of the Assad regime to the Arab League than the return of tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians to their homes in Syria. These leaders know that it is far easier -- and far safer -- to condemn Israel than to demand that Assad cease committing atrocities against the Palestinians. Spewing hatred against Israel has no price tag attached. Criticizing an Arab dictator, by contrast, can prove costly in the extreme.

  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter


Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.


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Did the Texas Synagogue Jihadi Act Alone? - Clare Lopez


by Clare Lopez

A sobering look at the Pakistani connection.


In the wake of the turbulence surrounding the 15 January 2022 Texas synagogue attack, it may be useful to take a step backward to review those events from a broader strategic perspective. John Guandolo at Understanding the Threat  has done an excellent job explaining how this attack fits into the overall Islamic Movement jihad campaign against Western Civilization and the United States Constitutional Republic and the Jewish people in particular. Here, though, let us focus on the particular involvement of two international aspects: the Tablighi Jama’at Islamic revivalist/missionary organization and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

First, the event itself: from what we know as of this writing, a Pakistani jihadi with British citizenship named Malik Faisal Akram entered the Reform Jewish Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, TX (a Dallas-Ft. Worth suburb) around 10:40 the morning of 15 January 2022 during Shabbat services. The shul’s prayer and services schedule is helpfully posted online at its monthly calendar page. Services were being livestreamed for the benefit of congregation members praying from home, so much of the event and subsequent 10-hour stand-off with law enforcement was captured on audio, although apparently not on video.

Akram initially approached the closed front doors of the synagogue and was let in by Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, affectionately known by his congregation as ‘Rabbi Charlie”. At first Rabbi Charlie didn’t suspect anything untoward, but interrupting Shabbat services, decided to make tea for Akram. In a 17 Jan 2022 interview with CBS News, Rabbi Charlie recounted the moment when things turned terrifying. Reportedly, Akram pulled a gun and made claims about bombs. According to a portion of the synagogue livestream broadcast obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Akram is heard saying, "I've got these prisoners" and "I am going to die." While his key spoken demand was the release from U.S. federal prison of the Pakistani jihadi known as “Lady Al-Qa’eda” – true name, Aafia Siddiqui – that was but a pretext for a broader objective. Akram claimed that he and Siddiqui would be “going to Jannah (Muslim belief of heaven) after he sees her,” according to a statement from the FBI on Saturday night.

What neither Rabbi Charlie, his congregation members, nor apparently Local Law Enforcement Officers (LLEOs) and the FBI have understood was that, with these statements, Akram was reciting his belief in core Islamic doctrine. As Robert Spencer wrote in PJ Media, antisemitism is deeply rooted in the Qur’an itself, where it is written that “Jews are called the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); they fabricate things and falsely ascribe them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); they disobey Allah and never observe his commands (5:13), and Muslims should wage war against them and subjugate them under Islamic hegemony (9:29), among many other slanders.” Further, as Spencer writes, the abduction of infidels as hostages is also sanctioned in the Qur’an (Sura 47, Verse 4), where it is stipulated that Muslims may choose to kill hostages, enslave them, ransom them, or “show favor” and release them. Similarly applicable is Sura 9, Verse 111, which offers the promise of paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah, in the act of jihad, thus becoming a shahid.

While it is a tremendous relief to know that Rabbi Charlie and all the other hostages got out of the situation alive and unharmed, their unfamiliarity with these Qur’anic passages may well have contributed to their unquestioning acceptance of interfaith dialogue associations that in retrospect may be seen as unwise. Indeed, as the synagogue’s Mission Statement declares, “we believe in interfaith inclusion” and “Tikkun Olam (Repair the World)”. Further, as the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue’s Facebook pages show, the Rabbi and his congregation had promoted interfaith events, including a 2 November 2019 and 6 November 2021 “Peace Together Walk”, with a photo of the walk beginning in front of the Colleyville Masjid, also known as the “Colleyville Association of Mid-Cities”. The Islamic Center of Southlake also was a participant. Unfortunately, each of these mosques has Muslim Brotherhood/jihadist connections, as documented by Understanding the Threat. Just one of those connections, for example, is the Imam Siraj Wahhaj, of the Brooklyn, NY Al-Taqwa Mosque, who was specifically named in a list of the unindicted co-conspirators at the 1993 World Trade Center bombing trial.

Now, to the Tablighi-Jama’at and Pakistani connections. As we now know, Akram entered the U.S. through JFK Airport in late December 2021 with his British passport on the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)’s visa waiver program. He would have obtained that entry permit through the CBP’s online portal. Once waived through Customs at JFK, Akram was free to travel onward anywhere in the U.S. that he wished. It is unlikely that CBP is aware of what Tablighi Jama’at is or that Akram was affiliated with it. CBP should have, but possibly didn’t know either about Akram’s criminal record, as revealed by his brother. As Ilana Freedman documented in her excellent October 2016 monograph, “Gateway to Jihad: Tablighi Jama'at”, Tablighi Jama’at (TJ) is a global Islamic proselytizing organization with millions of followers in at least 80 countries. Although TJ is jihadist, it is not known to commit terrorism per se, but rather sends its missionaries to preach in mosques and Islamic Centers to strengthen the commitment of Muslim faithful to the essential doctrine and law (shariah) of Islam. Such dawah efforts, however, in many cases, serve as a conveyer belt or gateway to kinetic jihad, as was the case with Akram.

Akram himself, born in the United Kingdom (UK) of a family that hailed from the Jhelum district in the Pakistani Punjab, reportedly had traveled abroad on just such missions. According to reporting from the Hindustan Times, in the Blackburn, Lancashire area of England where Akram grew up, he “served as the head of the Rondell Street Islamic Centre in the London area, also known as Reza Masjid, where largely Muslims of Pakistani origin prayed. He also prayed at the Eldorado Masjid that was frequented by Gujarati Muslims in the region.” Two teenagers, possibly Akram’s sons, were arrested by UK Counterterrorism police in South Manchester on Sunday 16 Jan 22 and held for questioning.

As we can see, the connections to Pakistan are many. Nevertheless, it must be said that any possible connections to the Pakistani government or to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency are premature at this point. It is instructive, though, to recall the many Islamic terror attacks in which ISI has been involved. We may begin with the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India, in which, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) drawing on classified Indian government documents, the ISI was “heavily involved”. The following year, on 30 December 2009, according to declassified U.S. government documents, a Jordanian doctor reportedly recruited and dispatched by the ISI, detonated a suicide vest at the CIA’s Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, killing seven and injuring an additional six. Then, on 2 December 2015, U.S.-born Syed Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani wife, Tashfeen Malik carried out a deadly shooting attack at Farook’s office Christmas party in San Bernardino, CA.  The couple had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State online and expressed support openly for Islamic jihad. Malik had attended college and the Al-Huda International Welfare Foundation women’s Islamic seminary in the Punjab before marrying Farook through an online arranged wedding that took place in Saudi Arabia in 2014.

Once again, while direct ISI involvement in this attack has not been publicly documented, the area of the Punjab where Malik studied is known as a stronghold of Deobandi jihadist groups, such as Lashkar-e Jangvi and Lashkar-e Taiba, both closely affiliated with the ISI. Then, in June 2016, Omar Mateen, who identified himself as “an Islamic soldier” in talks with a crisis negotiator, opened fire inside the Orlando, FL Pulse nightclub, killing 49 people and leaving 53 wounded. Mateen, age 29, was a U.S. citizen, born in Queens, NYC to Afghan immigrant parents. At some point, Mateen had attended the Islamic Center of Ft. Pierce, whose imam, Syed Shafeeq Rahman, quickly after the shooting, named Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, a local leader of the Hamas-related Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), as the mosque’s new spokesman. Rahman, also a General Practitioner medical doctor, obtained his medical degree from the Ayub Medical College in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Finally, a brief mention must be made about the 2018 cybersecurity breach involving multiple Members of Congress. The Pakistani Awan brothers, who were given access to highly sensitive government information without a background check, were permitted to work remotely – from Pakistan – up to several months at a time, according to investigative reporter Luke Rosiak.

In summary, then, there are far too many Pakistani connections to jihadist attacks and operations, spanning many years, to ignore. Nevertheless, those connections would appear to be rarely noted and only perfunctorily investigated.  Certainly, in this most recent attack on the Texas synagogue, there must have been an extensive support network that conducted the pre-attack casing and surveillance, recruited and prepared Akram, and arranged for his travel to and within the U.S., his lodging, and provision of the funding and knowledge for how to purchase a gun on the street. Clearly, the Muslim Brotherhood/CAIR network in and around the Dallas-Ft. Worth area has been vocal in campaigns to get the Pakistan-born convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui released from prison. Siddiqui not only tried to kill U.S. personnel in Afghanistan in 2008, leading to her conviction on terrorism charges in a 2010 Manhattan trial, but had been married to a nephew of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, who remarked on her “obsession” with jihad. Educated at MIT, Siddiqui earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brandeis University in 2001, before returning to southwest Asia in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. She is serving her sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, Ft. Worth, located some 24 miles from the Congregation Beth Israel. Note: This does not automatically mean that CAIR was involved in the synagogue attack, but rather that it shares Akram’s antisemitic animus and purpose in obtaining Siddiqui’s release from prison.

This analysis is offered in the interests of encouraging the situational awareness of faith communities, law enforcement, and national-level security agencies alike. Comments such as that made by FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno at a press conference following the end of the hostage crisis attest to the critical need for such education. Although roundly criticized later, that evening, DeSarno said that the “hostage taker was specifically focused on an issue not directly connected to the Jewish community” and added that there was “no immediate indication that the man had was part of any broader plan”.

The fact that UK police and counterterrorism officials are assisting their U.S. counterparts in the investigation does indicate that the overall investigation extends internationally. At the same time, comments such as made by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Sunday 16 Jan 22, who said that it was “too soon to tell” if the Texas synagogue hostage situation was part of a “broader extremist threat” and that they were looking into "what this person's motives were and whether or not there are any further connections” demonstrate just how far we yet have to go.


Clare M. Lopez is the Founder/President of Lopez Liberty LLC and serves as a senior advisory board member for the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement (NEC-SE).


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Emma Watson is Right, Sort Of - Hugh Fitzgerald


by Hugh Fitzgerald

Who, exactly, is keeping the Palestinians unfree?


Emma Watson, the actress who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies, made news recently when she declared on Instagram “Free Palestine” and declared her “solidarity” with the oppressed Palestinians. Why her opinion should matter tells us something about the mental state of our giddy globe. What’s next? Should we consult Mick Jagger for his views on the expansion of NATO? Or ask Randy Quaid for his thoughts on the IMF? Watson’s sentiment isn’t wrong, writes Stephen Flatow: the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank do indeed need to be free, but she’s sending her message to the wrong address. It’s not the Israelis who are keeping the Palestinians unfree, but their own corrupt and despotic rulers, both those belonging to Hamas in Gaza, and those belonging to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Flatow’s response to Emma Watson is here: “Emma Watson is right about Palestinians being enslaved,” by Stephen M. Flatow, Israel Hayom, January 10, 2022:

“Free Palestine!” says actress Emma Watson.

She’s right.

The territories where the Palestinian Arabs live are indeed enslaved. They deserve to be freed from the tyrannical rule of their oppressors – Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

The actress, best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” films, set off a firestorm in the world of social media this week with her Instagram post showing “Free Palestine!” banners and expressing “solidarity” with them. Hopefully, her declaration will stimulate a serious conversation about the cruel occupation that the international community has been ignoring.

The “cruel occupation” of Gaza has nothing to do with Israel. There has not been a single Israeli in Gaza since 2005. It is Hamas that makes life miserable for the people of Gaza. The “cruel occupation” in the PA-ruled areas of the West Bank where Israel’s writ does not run, is that imposed by the PA leaders themselves; they are the true source of the Palestinians’ anguish.

The details concerning Hamas and the PA, which I cite here, are all quoted from the latest reports by two strongly pro-Palestinian groups: Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. These are not “Israeli allegations.” They are what the Palestinian Arabs’ most vocal supporters are saying about the two Arab regimes that rule over 98% of the Palestinian Arabs.

During the past year, “the Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip continued to crack down on dissent, including by stifling freedoms of expression and assembly, attacking journalists and detaining opponents,” reports Amnesty.

Human Rights Watch notes that the PA recently jailed journalist Sami al-Sai for the crime of “administering a Facebook page that had posted information about PA corruption.” Twenty protesters in Ramallah who dared to cry out against PA corruption were likewise jailed. Hamas recently arrested seven citizens for “participating in a video chat where they answered questions from Israeli civilians about life in Gaza.” And other Gazans were jailed for “weakening the revolutionary spirit.”

Both Hamas and the PA rule over their people with an iron fist. Those who dare to criticize the corruption and nepotism of their leaders, exemplified in Hamas by Khaled Meshaal and Moussa Abu Marzouk, and in the PA by Mahmoud Abbas, or to the lack of elections that makes a mockery of their claims to be democratic, are swiftly punished. The lucky ones are imprisoned. The most unlucky, like Nizar Banat, are beaten to death.

Elections? Nothing doing. Mahmoud Abbas is entering the 17th year of his four-year term as President, and he has put his time in office to good use, having accumulated with his sons Tarek and Nasser a family fortune of some $400 million. Abbas briefly contemplated holding elections in 2021, but as soon as he realized from the polls that he would lose the presidency by a wide margin — any candidate running against him would receive at least 60% of the vote — he promptly cancelled them, and hasn’t spoken of elections since.

Hamas is just as ruthless in Gaza. It routinely imprisons anyone who says a word against the terror group. No one dares to complain about the two Hamas leaders, Khaled Meshaal and Moussa Abu Marzouk, each of whom has a fortune of at least $2.5 billion, stolen from the aid money intended for the impoverished Palestinians in Gaza. In addition there are 600 Hamas millionaires living in lavish villas in Gaza; these are the relatives and friends of the Hamas leaders, enjoying their well-paid sinecures. Hamas has a long record, beginning with its campaign against Fatah, in 2007, of violence in Gaza. In its war on Fatah in 2007 it killed more than 100 members of the group; it also broke the arms and legs of anyone who, though not members, expressed support, however mild, for Fatah. Since 2007 Hamas has carried on inflicting violence to terrorize and crush any critics. It shoots dissenters in the legs, crippling them, or sometimes, Hamas goons break the arms and legs of those who complain about its rule. And every year there have been dozens of extra-judicial killings, in Gaza, of Hamas’ severest critics.

Hamas also frequently executes citizens after “trials” that are “marred with due process violations,” reports Human Rights Watch.

How do the PA and Hamas regimes treat those whom it arrests? “Palestinian security forces in the West Bank and Gaza routinely used torture and other ill-treatment with impunity. … Security forces in both areas used unnecessary and/or excessive force during law enforcement activities.”

What about women’s rights in Occupied Palestine? Amnesty: “Women and girls faced discrimination in law and practice and were inadequately protected against sexual and other gender-based violence, including so-called honour killings.” Last year alone, “nineteen women died in the West Bank and 18 in Gaza as a result of gender-based violence.”

The men who commit these “honor killings” of female relatives in order to “restore the family honor” are seldom punished, and when they are, they can expect only a short time in prison. Wives and daughters are commonly viewed as chattels of their male relatives, who can treat them as they wish. The situation for women is better, but not by much, in the West Bank, where the strictures of Islam have been loosened; in Gaza the fanatical believers hold sway.

Human Rights Watch points out that the PA “has no comprehensive domestic violence law.” Keep in mind that the PA has been ruling for 27 years. Nearly three decades in power and still no comprehensive domestic violence law….

A domestic violence law, meaning a law punishing husbands for disciplining their wives, would likely be seen to conflict with Qur’an 4:34, which allows husbands to “beat” their wives If they even suspect them of being “disobedient.” The PA chooses not to risk opposition from fanatical Muslims; it keeps postponing consideration of a “domestic violence law” and will almost certainly continue to do so. In Gaza, the subject simply never comes up; such a law, limiting the freedom of husbands to discipline their wives, would be unthinkable for Hamas, the Gaza branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Homosexuals in Gaza can be imprisoned for up to ten years for committing homosexual acts. The PA has not legislated for or against rights for homosexuals. But it forbids homosexual rights groups from meeting. The PA police keep close tabs on homosexuals, and blackmails them – threatening to tell their families about their homosexual activities – unless they become informers for the police.

Any expression of dissent or criticism of the leaders, in Gaza and the West Bank, is immediately shut down, and the dissenters arrested. Nonviolent protests, whether over price rises or are broken up with extreme violence in both Gaza and the West Bank. There is no freedom of the press; any criticism of Hamas in Gaza or of the PA in the West Bank can cause a newspaper to be temporarily closed. Palestinian courts have ordered shutdowns of websites and social media pages which contained criticism of President Mahmoud Abbas, or were affiliated with opposition groups, or focused on combating corruption.

There have been no elections, either presidential or for the legislature, in the West Bank since 2005, when Mahmoud Abbas became president of the PA. There have been no elections, either presidential or for the legislature, in Gaza since 2006. Both Gaza and the PA territories are despotisms, where public protests, no matter how peaceful, are violently suppressed, social media sites are shut down, and critics imprisoned or killed.

The Palestinians are ruled by grasping despots – in Gaza by the leaders of Hamas, in the West Bank by the leaders of the PA – who have blighted their lives. In mid-December, the telling results of a poll taken by Palestinians themselves were made public. Ninety-three percent, or 1,116 of the 1,200 Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem who were queried, said that they preferred to continue living under Israeli rule rather than be transferred to the rule of the Palestinian Authority. They’re no fools.

Emma Watson, if you care about the Palestinians, turn your gaze on the real villains of the piece and focus the attention of your 61.3 million followers on Instagram not on Israel, but on those who are the Palestinians’ true oppressors: in Gaza, not Israel, but Hamas; in the West Bank, not Israel, but the Palestinian Authority. If only they could speak freely, the Palestinians would thank you for it.


Hugh Fitzgerald


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When Joe Biden speaks, sane people are horrified - Patricia McCarthy


by Patricia McCarthy

The sad aspect of it all was that one could tell Biden thought he was dazzling his audience. He was, as usual, quick to anger when asked a question that intimated that he was less than the best President ever.

If there was any doubt that Joe Biden is unfit for the office of President of the United States, yesterday’s marathon press conference put such qualms to rest. But the signs have been there all along, while his decline into incoherent totalitarian irascibility is accelerating. 

His painfully over-long press conference on Wednesday, only his second of this long and miserable year of drastic inflation, lunatic covid restrictions, vaccine mandates, etc., confirms the decline.   It did not put anyone’s fear about Biden’s competency at rest.  Faux reporters like Yamiche Alcindor and Jennifer Rubin swore Biden performed brilliantly but every rational person watching knew it was a “slow-motion train wreck.”

The sad aspect of it all was that one could tell Biden thought he was dazzling his audience.  He was, as usual, quick to anger when asked a question that intimated that he was less than the best President ever.  He insisted that he had outperformed all previous presidents!  He accepted no responsibility for inflation, for the disastrous debacle in Afghanistan, for the administration’s confusing and ever-changing advice and restrictions re: COVID.  Everything and anything that has gone wrong is not his fault. 

There were many moments of awkward silence as he thumbed through notes on the podium or suffered one those mind-freezes that have become so familiar.  He seemed to throw Ukraine under the bus by approving of a “minor incursion” by Putin into that nation.  

The White House spent the day trying to walk that one back.  Psaki released this statement:  

President Biden has been clear with the Russian President: If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that's a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies," Psaki said. "President Biden also knows from long experience that the Russians have an extensive playbook of aggression short of military action, including cyberattacks and paramilitary tactics. And he affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response.

He said nothing of the kind.  Exactly who is in charge?

Except for one softball question from Alcindor, and several from Cecilia Vega and one from Janet of Univision which did point up the cruelty of Biden’s open border policy, there were few other probing questions about the ongoing invasion across our southern border and the explosion of human and child sex trafficking and import of fentanyl as a result.  He blathered on without actually answering them other than to say how wonderful his policies are compared to Trump’s.  

 He still will not allow journalists to visit the facilities housing the thousands of migrants there.  Biden is effectively a partner-in-crime with the drug cartels that are reaping vast billions thanks to Biden’s open border policy.  There were no questions about the horrific rise in crimes across the nation in Democrat-run cities with Soros-placed district attorneys who consistently value criminals over victims.  These DAs, like Gascon in Los Angeles, Boudin in San Francisco, Kim Gardner of St. Louis, Krasner in Philadelphia, John Chisholm of Milwaukee, Alvin Bragg in Manhattan all believe in bail “reform,” which essentially means no bail; criminals have been given the freedom  to commit crimes again and again with impunity.  The list of homicides and other violent crimes committed by people released onto the streets by these DAs is the saddest commentary of all and Biden has never uttered a word of opposition to these DA’s intentional destruction of civil society. 

While Biden got some challenging questions that triggered his quick temper, the reporters in that room today were more concerned with Russia, masks, and vaccine mandates.  There was one questions about China, our most fearsome enemy, to which Biden gave a long rambling non-answer.  He will never anger China; they own him.  China is currently suffering another wave of some variant or another just as the winter Olympics are about to begin.  No one questioned the wisdom of sending our athletes into the super-spreader event of all time.  

But the presser only confirms what Biden proved over a week ago. The speech that Biden angrily delivered in Georgia on January 11th was an abomination and only those Democrats blinkered by mindless devotion to the progressive hate-America agenda could or would dare to defend it.  As he ranted on and on, one had to wonder “Who wrote this?  Who loaded it onto the teleprompter without a sense of dread?”  

Neither of Biden’s principal speechwriters, Vinay Reddy and Jon Meacham, have admitted to it.  So full of contempt for anyone who operates in opposition to the progressive, anti-white agenda, it sounded as though it was written by Louis Farrakhan or Stokely Carmichael.  

There is no tolerance for disagreement within the current radical leftist mob.  If one does not succumb to Biden’s (or his puppet-masters’) commitment to transforming America into a Marxist hell ala Venezuela, we are deemed the worst sort of racists; we are akin to Bull Connor, George Wallace and Jefferson Davis. 

Exactly to whom was this speech meant to appeal?  Those who embrace the racist aims of Black Lives Matter perhaps were cheering him on, but most black Americans were likely to be as horrified as everyone else who heard it.  Contrary to the left’s mantra that blacks should not have to show voter ID, a majority of blacks strongly support voter ID.   

It was insulting and offensive, but it was vintage Joe Biden.  He has always been an unprincipled man – consider his abhorrent treatment of SCOTUS nominees Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas at their confirmation hearings – and he’s always been a dim demagogue, interested only in advancing his personal power for financial gain.  There is not an iota of decency in Joe Biden; never has been.

That speech in Georgia revealed who and what the man really is, a thug and a bully.  Quoting Ken Masugi at American Greatness:  

“The Biden speech is one no president should give, they, and the whole establishment punditry, agreed.  None of them pointed out it was the latest in Biden’s history of racial fanaticism.”

The bill is not a voting rights bill since there is no voter suppression in this nation.  It is designed to enable the Democrats to steal all future elections with mail-in ballots, ballot harvesting, no voter ID, indiscriminate voter drop boxes for stuffing.  See Hans von Spakovsky’s column on what the bill does.

The Wednesday press conference only proved again that this President and his staff are incompetent, that Biden himself is not mentally fit, that the Democrat party is officially a Marxist party that cares not one whit about the American people or the Constitution.   These are dangerous times.  The mid-term elections cannot come soon enough.

Photo credit: YouTube screengrab (cropped)


Patricia McCarthy


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The Dems' Media Turn on Biden - Bruce Thornton


by Bruce Thornton

But keep his failing bad ideas.



The Biden Administrations’ failures are so numerous and egregious, as Jim Geraghty catalogues, that court-scribes like the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN are turning on him. Even DNC heartthrob Stacey Abrams, chronic denier of election results, snubbed Biden when he came to Georgia.

The media’s new-found willingness to fulfill their self-proclaimed sacred charge to “afflict the comfortable” and “speak truth to power,” however, is driven not by a recovered fidelity to fact, evidence-based argument, and objectivity, but by Biden’s record-setting disapproval numbers, especially the declines among Latinos, independents, and young people––constituencies critical for the Democrats’ longed-for “permanent majority.”

So don’t expect the current criticism to signal the media’s return to fact and coherent argument. They’ve just been spooked by the specter of a red midterm tsunami come November. They’re still slaves to the anti-constitutional Leviathan technocracy, growth-killing regulate-tax-redistribute economics,  illiberal racialist identity politics, na├»ve globalism, and preposterous narratives of “white supremacists,” “systemic racism,” “voter suppression,” and the Trump-led “insurrection” against “our democracy.”

A column from the Washington Post’s Megan McArdle illustrates this reflexive fidelity to ideology and lies in the face of the media’s patent contribution to Biden’s failures. The bulk of her piece chides the Democrats for not taking seriously the possibility of a Republican return to power, because Dems stereotype conservatives as the party of “reactionary whites” condemned by demographic change to wander forever in the political wilderness. This misperception has pushed the current Democrat control of all three branches of government too far to the left, and hence alienates the party’s moderates and white working-class voters, as well as Asians and Hispanics whom Republicans have been siphoning from the Democrat coalition.

All this is sensible and true, as McArdle often is, and portends a Democrat collapse in this year’s midterms if, McArdle implies, the party’s progressives don’t back off their radical attacks on the filibuster and the Electoral College, and stop “their endorsement of various court-packing schemes.”

What follows next, though, reveals the unexamined assumptions and bad ideas that characterize the progressive narrative:

Of course, conservatives should engage in similar introspection. If Republicans expected to win more elections, what would they say about the filibuster, or America’s growing preference for running all important decisions through the Supreme Court? For that matter, how would a party swelling with Hispanic and Asian voters position itself on immigration? And if Republicans can assemble a majority of the vote, won’t they want Democrats to accept the legitimacy of that vote? If so, shouldn’t they set a good example now?

First, we know how Republicans feel about the filibuster from their rejection of Trump’s suggestion  in 2017 that the Republicans “get rid of 60 vote NOW!” The next issue McArdle implies that Republicans need to explain to their new constituents, is astonishingly ignorant. Conservatives have been criticizing for years the Dems’ “growing preference for running all important decisions through the Supreme Court,” and their belief in the “living Constitution” that will allow them to weaken the Constitution’s guardrails against concentrated power.

Indeed, from its beginnings progressivism has chafed at the Constitutions’ “checks and balances” that protect freedom from the tyranny of both the majority and the minority.  Over a century ago, Progressives preferred an oligarchy of technocrats––the “hundreds who are wise,” as Woodrow Wilson described the unelected, unaccountable federal bureaucrats––who know better how to manage the government than Wilson’s “selfish, ignorant, timid, stubborn, or foolish” ordinary voters and their representatives accountable to the ballot-box.

The Supreme Court, its justices appointed for life, has functioned as just such a technocratic oligarchy, and has serially revised a plastic, “living Constitution” by rifling through its dubious “penumbras” and “emanations.” It has become the go-to branch of government for serving the progressives’ technocratic ambitions by discarding the Constitution’s checks on them like regularly scheduled elections, instead empowering the federal bureaus and agencies that in fact make the laws, execute them, and adjudicate them, thus aggrandizing all three branches of government.

Then there’s this bromide: “How would a party swelling with Hispanic and Asian voters position itself on immigration?” We know the Dem talking-point buried here: Republicans are xenophobes and nativists, hence anti-immigrant. As more Asians and Hispanics join the party, the GOP’s harping on illegal aliens and securing the border will alienate these new Republicans, and weaken the party.

The big fat begged question is that ethnic Asians and Latinos are all in favor of porous borders, amnesties for illegal aliens, and unlimited immigration. Anyone who is familiar with both ethnicities know this is false. Like everybody else, they have a great variety of opinions, interests, and beliefs. For those like McArdle who live in the cognitive elite’s affluent silos, that genuine diversity of ethnicities learned by living among them is invisible, and so they assume that all Hispanics or Asians are against limiting immigration and rounding up illegal aliens.

But those of us who have spent our lives among, for example, Latinos, know that significant numbers of them don’t support policies like open borders or sanctuary cities, the malign effects of which hit their communities the hardest. In fact, Donald Trump’s policies like strengthening border security and cracking down on illegal aliens attracted Hispanics, rather than repelling them. In fact, Hispanic support for Trump has increased since he left office.

Moreover, non-elite Hispanics are more religious and conservative in their beliefs, which is why they’re not big supporters of transgenderism or same-sex marriage, or of anti-American Marxist drivel being taught to their kids. The aggressive and arrogant promotion of such radical challenges to traditional morality is another reason why Hispanics have been shifting to the Republicans.

Finally there’s the canard that Republicans don’t accept the outcome of elections or the legitimacy of the vote,  which will trouble their new Asian and Hispanic constituents. First, ordinary voters of any ethnicity generally care more about the economy, crime, and jobs, rather than politicians who contest the outcome of an election. Right now inflation, draconian covid mitigation diktats, and skyrocketing energy costs are more important than Donald Trump’s complaints last year, many of them legitimate, about the irregularities in the 2020 election. Nor are they fretting about the cooked-up “sedition” charges against some of the January 6 rioters.

But how tin-eared, or shameless, do you have to be to bring up the issue of accepting “the legitimacy of the vote,” clearly a reference to Republicans, when for six years that’s all the Dems have done? For all that time Hillary Clinton has been claiming that Donald Trump was illegally elected with the help of Russian dirty tricks. Stacey Abrams similarly talks about nothing else except the mythic “voter suppression” that led to her loss in the Georgia gubernatorial election.

In fact, contesting presidential election outcomes has been the Democrats’ modus operandi after every Republican victory. For years we heard that George W. Bush was “selected” by the Supreme Court, “not elected” in 2000. And Democrats in Congress have sought to exploit the vague Electoral Count Act in order to overturn the Electoral College votes after a Republican wins. But most serious, what have Republicans done to undo an election even remotely close to the Russian collusion hoax hatched during Barack Obama’s final days in office? When have Republicans corrupted the FBI, the DOJ and the FISA Court, and later a Special Prosecutor, in order first to prevent a candidate from being elected, then crippling his administration with incessant leaks to the media of information, like the “Steele dossier,” already known to be false?

And don’t forget the “sedition” claptrap that caps the year-long fairy-tale about Trump’s evil plot to overturn the Constitutional order and seize power by “inciting” those attending a rally on last January 6 in order to “sack” the sacred “temple of Democracy.” Isn’t this dubious narrative a preemptive attempt to control the outcome of the 2024 election by means of an ongoing, endless smear of Donald Trump and the Republicans? McArdle’s question is one that should’ve been put to the Democrats, not the Republicans.

For all her “fair and balanced” rhetorical pretentions, McArdle still relies on DNC talking-points and political urban legends, not to mention historical confusion or amnesia. As such, she and other progressives now cudgeling Biden are more dangerous than the obvious propagandist on MSNBC. We can see them coming a mile away.


Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.


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Plea bargains should not be for prime ministers - Jonathan S. Tobin


by Jonathan S. Tobin

The talk of Netanyahu’s corruption trial ending in a possible plea bargain is bad for Israeli democracy, even if it offers a chance to move on from a long-running nightmare.

It’s the sort of story that makes you wonder about who is doing the leaking and why. When the first reports of a possible plea bargain deal ending the trial of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were circulated, it was hard to know who was seeking to benefit from the news about such an agreement becoming known.

The leaks have raised the stakes in their negotiations between Netanyahu and the office of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. But those two antagonists aren’t the only ones with skin in the game. The government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will also have a lot riding on any deal that could result in Netanyahu’s resignation from the Knesset and replacement as head of the Likud Party’s parliamentary faction. And that’s not to mention the former prime minister’s many would-be successors, who have been waiting for the beginning of the post-Netanyahu era to claim the leadership of Likud.

Yet the questions observers should be asking about this go beyond whether Israel’s longest serving prime minister will agree—as the agreement reportedly calls for him to do—to admit to guilt to even the least of the four corruption counts on which he was indicted or to “moral turpitude,” let alone to ending (even temporarily) his position as the unquestioned leader of the country’s largest political party.

At the heart of this dispute is not just the allegation that Netanyahu is corrupt. Rather, it is whether his foes within a justice system that he and his party repeatedly challenged for their lack of accountability and political bias will succeed in asserting their supremacy over the Knesset and the office of the prime minister and the voters who elected them.

The duel between Netanyahu and Mandelblit—a former supporter who took on the role of Netanyahu’s personal “Inspector Javert” once ensconced in the AG’s office—has been depicted by Israel’s political and media establishment as one about democracy and the rule of law. Yet you don’t have to like Netanyahu or think of him as a model of ethical probity—or that he deserved to remain in office indefinitely despite having alienated so many colleagues and allies—to understand that his prosecution was actually the opposite of an effort to uphold the rule of law. Indeed, by seeking to force a sitting prime minister out of office via a quartet of obviously flimsy charges, the state prosecutor’s office was intervening in the country’s politics in a way that was clearly illegitimate.

It was that factor that provided some justification for Netanyahu continuing in office once he was indicted. The same applies to his decision to contest four inconclusive elections over a two-year period long past the point when it was obvious that doing so would merely prolong a stalemate that could only end with either his departure or a splitting of the right-wing/religious majority that had governed the country.

By refusing to resign, Netanyahu essentially forced some of his former allies to choose between a fifth election and continued political chaos, and a coalition with their opponents in order to put the country out of its misery. Bennett chose the latter, and he will likely never be forgiven by his voters or anyone else on the right. But the creation of the unlikely government comprised of the left, the right, the center and one Arab Islamist party was more than anything the result of Netanyahu’s stubborn determination to never give in to the prosecutors and those cheering them on in Israel’s leftist media.

Netanyahu’s ironclad grip on the loyalty of Likud voters is often depicted as a form of proto-authoritarian and anti-democratic tribalism. Much like the American mainstream liberal media’s sneering contempt for those who voted for former President Donald Trump and Republicans, coverage of Netanyahu voters in most of the Israel press reflects the same belief that those who vote for the right are “deplorables.” Even though there has been a good case to be made that, despite Netanyahu’s long record of success, Likud needed to move on from him, the devotion to its leader is about more than a personality cult.

His adherents, as well as many of those who voted for parties that were aligned with Likud, believe that the same people who despise them were unfairly targeting Netanyahu. They understand that if the legal establishment that he challenged is allowed to succeed in bringing him down after his political opponents couldn’t do it at the ballot box, then that—and not Netanyahu’s policies or his bitter criticism of the courts—is the real danger to democracy.

That’s why the news that he might possibly agree to a plea bargain was discouraging as well as infuriating to his supporters. Indeed, it drove many of them to contribute to a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to pay Netanyahu’s legal costs to continue the fight in court, though it appears that he cannot legally accept it.

You might think that the same people on the right who have been howling about some of the decisions made by the Bennett-Lapid coalition, especially those that show the clout that Mansour Abbas’ Ra’am Party has acquired as a result of its historic decision to join an Israeli government, would understand that Netanyahu waving the white flag will hasten its demise. Assuming that any plea bargain will involve electing a new head of Likud, once that happens, there will be no justification for any of the right-wing parties serving in the coalition to remain in it. At the very least, it would ensure that Lapid will never succeed Bennett, as he is scheduled to do in 2023.

Though there are good reasons for Israelis to want to end this experiment in having a government divided against itself on every conceivable issue, there are better ones to hope that this dispute doesn’t end in this manner.

A week after the rumors about the plea bargain negotiations were first aired in a report in the Maariv newspaper, a deal between Netanyahu and Mandelblit has still not been signed and may not happen after all. While it was believed that Mandelblit was pushing for a resolution to a trial that first began in May 2020 and could well drag on well into the decade, before his term in office ended at the end of the month, the deal that was reportedly hammered out by the lawyers has provisions that are difficult for both sides to swallow.

Still, this is about more than Netanyahu’s pride or his unwillingness to admit guilt or the left being satisfied with his ouster instead of the spectacle of his imprisonment. The case against him is weak, but Israel’s system of having judges decide the outcome of trials rather than juries means that he may suspect that the system is geared to convict him of something, no matter how flimsy or politically motivated the charges may be. So it’s not unreasonable that his legal team is considering cutting their losses. He may also realize that despite his skill in tormenting Bennett from the opposition benches, at this point the chances of him winning back the prime ministership are not as good as he likes to pretend they are.

Yet having put the country through an ordeal that has lasted several years, giving up now would grant an undeserved victory to the legal establishment that he rightly understands had no right to attack him in this fashion.

Innocent people often accept plea bargains to avoid being bankrupted by unscrupulous prosecutors or to avoid the possibility of a wrongful conviction that will result in a worse outcome for them and their families. While one can understand Netanyahu wanting to move on if he thinks it’s in his personal interests, innocent prime ministers should not accept plea bargains under these circumstances. Having come this far, it would not be to his credit to simply slink away from this battle.


Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS (Jewish News Syndicate). Follow him on Twitter at: @Jonathans_Tobin.


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The TSA's stunning admission about how illegal aliens board American planes - Andrea Widburg


by Andrea Widburg

While the government makes flying increasingly onerous for legal American residents, things are different if you're illegal.

In response to a congressman's request for information based upon a whistleblower's tip, the TSA admitted that illegal aliens are allowed to fly even if the only identification they have is an arrest warrant or warrant of removal from DHS related to their illegal status.  So, while you're flashing the REAL ID driver's license that was a total pain to obtain, the illegal alien in front of you just shows his arrest warrant.  That'll teach those illegal aliens not to break into our country.

Think about travel now, compared to travel before COVID and 9/11.  In the old days, you'd walk up to the airplane, often with friends and family at your side to see you off; show your ticket; and board the plane.  Even without paying an extra fee, you might have legroom.  Only Saudi Arabian women wore face coverings, and everyone felt appropriately sorry for these sad women hidden from view.

Nowadays, you must have a formal government-approved form of identification, whether it's a passport or a driver's license.  But it can't be just any driver's license.  Instead, it must be a REAL ID.

For many of us, that meant the pain in the neck of dealing with our state DMV despite just recently renewing our old driver's license.  When I did that a few years ago in California, the clerk snatched my old license from me and then told me I needed to pass a written test as part of getting the REAL ID if I wanted to drive home.  I wasn't expecting that.  (I passed.)

Once at the airport, the TSA agent scrutinizes your license or passport as well as being placing it on a scanner of some sort.  That's in addition to stripping off all your outerwear, practically unpacking your bags, and getting x-rayed because we can always use a little more radiation.  Once on the plane, of course, we're packed like sardines and forced to wear stifling masks in some of the most purified air on the planet.  The indignities never seem to end.

Image: Airport security by Wavebreakmedia_micro.  Freepik license.


But a whistleblower introduced a new wrinkle to all of this. It turns out that, if you're an illegal alien lacking both passport and license (never mind that REAL ID), you can still fly in America.

When Rep. Lance Goodwin (R-Texas) wrote a letter to the TSA asking about the fact that illegal aliens without official identification are boarding American planes, the TSA 'fessed up:

Responding to Republican Texas Rep. Lance Gooden's Dec. 15 inquiry about illegal migrants flying across the country, TSA Administrator David Pekoske explained that certain Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents may be considered acceptable forms of alternate identification for non-citizens, including a "Warrant for Arrest of Alien" and a "Warrant of Removal/Deportation."

"TSA's response confirms the Biden Administration is knowingly putting our national security at risk," Gooden told the DCNF. "Unknown and unvetted immigrants shouldn't even be in the country, much less flying without proper identification."

The same letter also says that the "alien identification number" on these DHS documents gets run through some databases to ensure that the person isn't a terrorist or on another watch list.  In addition, he says the people get extra screening.

That procedure, naturally, assumes that the DHS documents are accurate.  However, Gooden reported to the Daily Caller, which broke the story, "that he was told by a border patrol officer that 'they often have to take migrants at their word that they are who they say they are' when issuing DHS documents accepted by TSA as alternate forms of identification."

In just the first ten months of 2021, these DHS documents were used at airport security by 45,577 people — or around 124 people per day.

I hope all of this makes you feel safer flying America's unfriendly skies.

But it's not just the security aspects of this that are so maddening.  Someone who is in the country illegally shouldn't have the privilege of hopping onto an airplane.  Even as Joe Biden has made masks mandatory and is contemplating forcing vaccines on air travelers, illegal aliens have been flying around America as if they own it.

Once again, leftists are punishing American citizens and legal residents, while at the same time making it clear that people who are illegally in this country get special treatment.

I don't believe that America has ever before suffered a governing class that despises the people it governs.  You'd better participate in primaries this spring to make sure the best people are running and then, in November, vote as if your life depends on it, because this year, it does.


Andrea Widburg


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