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Radical Opponents of Free Speech Can’t Tolerate Hearing Anything New

Turn Left and Go Over the Top

Stefan Kanfer writes: Pity the poor members of the Resistance. They decried violence on the right—only to have GOP congressman Steve Scalise shot by rifle-wielding left-winger James T. Hodgkinson. Then, a group of theater professinals decried any attempt to quash a staging of Julius Caesar with the title character, caparisoned as Donald Trump, assassinated with shouts of revenge and gouts of blood. But soon afterward, yet another assemblage of theater professionals decided that censorship was a good thing after all.

The Lincoln Center Festival is staging a four-night production this month of To the End of the Land, a dramatization of the acclaimed novel by Israeli author David Grossman. The play is underwritten by a cultural-outreach arm of the Israeli government. The Jewish State is anathema to the radical Left, and angry members of an organization identifying itself as “Adalah-NY, the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel,” are demanding that the production be taken off the boards before the Center dares to raise its curtain. Signatories to the demand include playwrights Tracy Letts, Lynn Nottage, and Annie Baker, as well as director Sam Gold, rock star Roger Waters, indie-film darling Greta Gerwig, and reliably anti-Israel playwright/actor Wallace Shawn.

[Read the full story here, at City Journal]

Adalah-NY says that production of To the End of the Land will aid the Isralie government in its “Brand Israel” campaign, which aims to use arts and culture to beguile audiences into thinking that Israel is a modern, civilized nation—while the wicked Hebrews continue their “violent colonization, brutal military occupation and denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people.”

Never mind that the play is actually an antiwar document, that its Israeli writer lost a son to battle and is understandably reluctant to fan any fires, and that, in fact, it has a sympathetic Palestinian character. Never mind that Israel is surrounded by would-be assassins who have sworn to destroy the Jewish state and all who live there. Never mind that a quick glance at the state of human rights or rule of law among any of Israel’s neighbors provides the sharpest possible foil, and that not a peep has been heard from Adalah-NY about the lives of the citizen-victims of Egypt, Gaza, Syria, or Lebanon. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Authoritarian Media

The New York Times has crossed a moral line, writes James Taranto.

Jan. 11, 2011, James Taranto wrote: After the horrific shooting spree, the editorial board of New York Times offered a voice of reasoned circumspection: “In the aftermath of this unforgivable attack, it will be important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions . . .,” the paper counseled.

Here’s how the sentence continued: “. . . from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East.”

The Tucson Safeway massacre prompted exactly the opposite reaction. What was once known as the paper of record egged on its readers to draw invidious conclusions that are not only prejudicial but contrary to fact. In doing so, the Times has crossed a moral line.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday’s editorial:

It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.

That whirlwind has touched down most forcefully in Arizona, which Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described after the shooting as the capital of “the anger, the hatred and the bigotry that goes on in this country.” Anti-immigrant sentiment in the state, firmly opposed by Ms. Giffords, has reached the point where Latino studies programs that advocate ethnic solidarity have actually been made illegal. . . .

Now, having seen first hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments.

To describe the Tucson massacre as an act of “political violence” is, quite simply, a lie. Read the rest of this entry »


Did the Obama Administration’s Abuse of Foreign-Intelligence Collection Start Before Trump?

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One clue: The Russia story is a replay of how the former White House smeared pro-Israel activists in the lead-up to the Iran Deal.

Lee Smith writes: The accusation that the Obama administration used information gleaned from classified foreign surveillance to smear and blackmail its political opponents at home has gained new traction in recent days, after reports that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice may have been rifling through classified transcripts for over a year that could have included information about Donald Trump and his associates. While using resources that are supposed to keep Americans safe from terrorism for other purposes may be a dereliction of duty, it is no more of a crime than spending all day on Twitter instead of doing your job. The crime here would be if she leaked the names of U.S. citizens to reporters. In the end, the seriousness of the accusation against Rice and other former administration officials who will be caught up in the “unmasking” scandal will rise or fall based on whether or not Donald Trump was actively engaged in a conspiracy to turn over the keys of the White House to the Kremlin. For true believers in the Trump-Kremlin conspiracy theories, the Obama “spying and lying” scandal isn’t a scandal at all; just public officials taking prudent steps to guard against an imminent threat to the republic.

But what if Donald Trump wasn’t the first or only target of an Obama White House campaign of spying and illegal leaks directed at domestic political opponents?

In a December 29, 2015 article, The Wall Street Journal described how the Obama administration had conducted surveillance on Israeli officials to understand how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, like Ambassador Ron Dermer, intended to fight the Iran Deal. The Journal reported that the targeting “also swept up the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups.”

Despite this reporting, it seemed inconceivable at the time that—given myriad legal, ethical, political, and historical concerns, as well as strict National Security Agency protocols that protect the identity of American names caught in intercepts—the Obama White House would have actually spied on American citizens. In a December 31, 2016, Tablet article on the controversy, “Why the White House Wanted Congress to Think It Was Being Spied on By the NSA,” I argued that the Obama administration had merely used the appearance of spying on American lawmakers to corner opponents of the Iran Deal. Spying on U.S. citizens would be a clear abuse of the foreign-intelligence surveillance system. It would be a felony offense to leak the names of U.S. citizens to the press.

[Read the full story here, at Tablet Magazine]

Increasingly, I believe that my conclusion in that piece was wrong. I believe the spying was real and that it was done not in an effort to keep the country safe from threats—but in order to help the White House fight their domestic political opponents.

“At some point, the administration weaponized the NSA’s legitimate monitoring of communications of foreign officials to stay one step ahead of domestic political opponents,” says a pro-Israel political operative who was deeply involved in the day-to-day fight over the Iran Deal. “The NSA’s collections of foreigners became a means of gathering real-time intelligence on Americans engaged in perfectly legitimate political activism—activism, due to the nature of the issue, that naturally involved conversations with foreigners. We began to notice the White House was responding immediately, sometimes within 24 hours, to specific conversations we were having. At first, we thought it was a coincidence being amplified by our own paranoia. After a while, it simply became our working assumption that we were being spied on.”

This is what systematic abuse of foreign-intelligence collection for domestic political purposes looks like: Intelligence collected on Americans, lawmakers, and figures in the pro-Israel community was fed back to the Obama White House as part of its political operations. The administration got the drop on its opponents by using classified information, which it then used to draw up its own game plan to block and freeze those on the other side. And—with the help of certain journalists whose stories (and thus careers) depend on high-level access—terrorize them.

Once you understand how this may have worked, it becomes easier to comprehend why and how we keep being fed daily treats of Trump’s nefarious Russia ties. The issue this time isn’t Israel, but Russia, yet the basic contours may very well be the same.

***

Two inquiries now underway on Capitol Hill, conducted by the Senate intelligence committee and the House intelligence committee, may discover the extent to which Obama administration officials unmasked the identities of Trump team members caught in foreign-intelligence intercepts. What we know so far is that Obama administration officials unmasked the identity of one Trump team member, Michael Flynn, and leaked his name to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Obama Was Soft on Iran, Trump Says ‘Those Days Are Over’

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[VIDEO] PragerU: What’s Holding the Arab World Back? 

What’s holding the Arab world back? Why, by nearly every measure, are Muslim nations so far behind the West economically, culturally and scientifically? Bret Stephens, Global View columnist for the Wall Street Journal, explains, for PragerU.

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In the judo competition of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, an Israeli heavyweight judo fighter named Or Sasson defeated his Egyptian opponent, Islam El Shehaby, in a first-round match. The Egyptian then refused to shake the Israeli’s extended hand, earning boos from the crowd.

If you want the short answer for why the Arab world is sliding into the abyss, look no further than this little incident. It illustrates how hatred of Israel and Jews corrupts every element of Arab society.

You won’t find this explanation for the Arab world’s decline among journalists and academics. They reflexively blame the usual suspects: the legacy of colonialism, unemployed youth, the Sunni-Shia sectarian divide, and every other politically correct excuse they can think of. For them, hatred of Israel is treated like sand in Arabia — just part of the landscape.

Yet the fact remains that over the past 70 years the Arab world expelled virtually all of its Jews, some 900,000 people, while holding on to its hatred of them. Over time the result proved fatal: a combination of lost human capital, expensive wars against Israel, and an intellectual life perverted by conspiracy theories and a perpetual search for scapegoats. The Arab world’s problems are a problem of the Arab mindset, and the name of that problem is anti-Semitism.

As a historical phenomenon, this is not unique. Historian Paul Johnson has noted that wherever anti-Semitism took hold, social and political decline almost inevitably followed. Just a few examples:

Spain expelled its Jews in 1492. The effect, Johnson noted, “was to deprive Spain (and its colonies) of a class already notable for the astute handling of finance.”

In czarist Russia, the adoption of numerous anti-Semitic laws ultimately weakened and corrupted the entire Russian government. These laws also led to mass Jewish emigration, resulting in a breathtaking loss of intellectual and human capital. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES HE DID: Obama’s Last-Minute $221 Million Palestine Payout Frozen by Trump

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Source says State Department has notified Ramallah the funds will not be immediately available, while it examines the transfer.

Avi Issacharoff and AP report: The Trump administration has informed the Palestinian Authority that it is freezing the transfer of $221 million which was quietly authorized by the Obama administration in its final hours on January 20, a senior Palestinian source has told The Times of Israel.

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“Kerry formally notified Congress that State would release the extra $221 million money Friday morning, just hours before President Donald Trump took the oath of office.”

US officials conveyed to PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday that the funds were not expected to be handed over in the immediate future, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

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“I am deeply disappointed that President Obama defied congressional oversight and released $221 million to the Palestinian territories.”

On Tuesday, the State Department said it was reviewing the last-minute decision by former secretary of state John Kerry to send the funds to the Palestinians despite objections to the transfer by congressional Republicans.

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 “I worked to make sure that no American taxpayer dollars would fund the Palestinian Authority unless very strict conditions were met. While none of these funds will go to the Palestinian Authority because of those conditions, they will go to programs in the Palestinian territories that were still under review by Congress. The Obama Administration’s decision to release these funds was inappropriate.”

–Kay Granger, House Appropriations Committee member, in a statement on Tuesday

The department said it would look at the payment and might make adjustments to ensure it comports with the Trump administration’s priorities. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Obama Palestinian Aid Supports Gaza’s Anti-Semitic Propaganda

“I think that was a final slap at Israel by Obama on the way out the door. It doesn’t compare with abandoning Israel at the United Nations on the vote at the Security Council a week before. But nonetheless, this is, a lot of this is money that goes through agencies of the U N which support really awful stuff being done, particularly in Gaza — the propaganda, the Jew-hatred that is taught — but nonetheless it is unnecessary it is gratuitous. It is not going to be reversed, the money amount is too small relatively speaking.”

bibi-obama Read the rest of this entry »


Obama May Be Blackballed by Golf Club Over Anti-Israel Policies

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Obama, who is hoping to join Rockville’s Woodmont Country Club, drew ire from many of its Jewish members after failing last month to block a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements, the New York obama-golf-sqPost reported late Tuesday.

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

Days after the White House decision to abstain from the U.N. Security Council vote, Secretary of State John Kerry reprimanded Israel for threatening a two-state solution with Palestinians.

“In light of the votes at the U.N. and the Kerry speech and everything else, there’s this major uproar with having him part of the club, and a significant portion of the club has opposed offering him membership,” an unnamed source told the Post.

The country club had planned to provide the outgoing president with a complimentary membership, which costs regular members an $80,000 initiation fee and another $9,673 in annual dues. A source said this was now unlikely following the administration’s handling of the U.N. Security Council vote. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Warning, Graphic Video: Four Soldiers Killed in Truck Attack 

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[VIDEO] State Department Grilled on Why Obama Admin Abstained From Anti-Israel UN Resolution Vote 

Fourteen members of the U.N. Security Council raise their hands in affirmation of a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements. The U.S., which had veto power, abstained from the vote, thereby allowing it to pass. Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Zuma Press

 


Senate Republican to Offer Resolution Rebuking UN’s Israel Vote

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Moran’s rebuke, which was first reported by Politico, might not be the only formal action taken by Republican leaders. Several Senate Republicans called for cuts to UN funding over the vote.

Kyle Feldscher reports: Senate Republicans could rebuke the United Nations’ for condemning Israeli settlement construction as early as next week.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., plans to introduce a “sense of the Senate” resolution issuing the rebuke next week. The formal condemnation resolution would be the first official action against the U.N. by the Senate GOP in response to the Security Council resolution, which passed because President Obama refused to veto it.

“I am committed to working with both Republicans and Democrats to make sure we stand with Israel and that the United Nations cannot be used as a forum to create policies that hurt our nation and its allies,” Moran said Friday.

The Security Council resolution was long feared by Israel and their congressional allies, as rumors percolated throughout the fall that the Obama administration would countenance a condemnation of Israeli settlement construction in disputed Palestinian territory. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Israel’s Legal Founding 

When the state of Israel was founded in 1948, it was done so with the approval of the United Nations. But today, Israel’s enemies routinely challenge the legitimacy of its very existence. So, under international law, who’s right? Israel? Or its enemies?

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[VIDEO] Iranian Jet Picking Up Obama Administration’s Prisoner Release Ransom Payment of $400 Million in Swiss Francs

A video from Jan. 17, 2016, shows an Iranian government jet as it departs Geneva, Switzerland, with $400 million in Swiss francs from the Obama administration. It was the same day four American prisoners were released from Iran.


[VIDEO] The Middle East Problem

The Middle East conflict is framed as one of the most complex problems in the world. But, in reality, it’s very simple. Israelis want to live in peace and are willing to accept a neighboring Palestinian state. And most Palestinians do not want Israel to exist. As Dennis Prager explains, this is really all you need to know. In 5 minutes, understand how Israel was founded, and how, since that auspicious day in 1948, its neighbors have tried to destroy it, again and again.

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Obama: Anti-Israel, Anti-West

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Ben Shapiro writes: Barack Obama has done his best for nearly eight years to undermine the state of Israel. He’s signed a treaty that enshrines an Iranian path to a nuclear weapon while funding their global terrorist activities to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. He’s repeatedly undercut Israel’s image on the world stage, labeling Israel a mere outgrowth of the Holocaust and suggesting that Israeli intransigence stands as the chief obstacle to peace. He’s ushered Benjamin Netanyahu out the side door of the White House, attempted to undercut the prime minister’s speech before Congress, and then deployed an election team to Israel to try to defeat him in an election. Obama has tried to cut weapons shipments to Israel in the middle of a war against terrorists, forced Israel to apologize for stopping weapons shipments to Hamas terrorists, and funded the Palestinian terrorist unity government with American taxpayer dollars.

“Here’s the most plausible explanation: Obama despises Israel because at root, Obama despises the traditional Judeo-Christian underpinning of Western civilization. He breaks down Bible believers into two categories: fools and liars. The fools are the ‘bitter clingers,’ the idiot masses who fall into racism and xenophobia and Bible jabber because they’re poor and stupid. The liars are the self-interested characters who want to do what they want to do while citing the Bible for their support.”

Nonetheless, Israel has survived.

Actually, Israel has thrived.

It’s thrived, in part, because Obama’s absolute incompetence has created an alliance of convenience between Israel and its erstwhile enemies. Saudi Arabia is more fearful of a nuclear Iran than of Israel; Egypt worries more about the Muslim Brotherhood than about Israel; Jordan frets over the Palestinians more than it does over Israel. Even the Palestinian Authority is more concerned about Hamas and ISIS than about Israel.

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[Read the full text here, at National Review]

That means that there’s been very little pressure on Israel to make concessions to Palestinian terrorists in recent years.

Until now.

Obama’s animus for the state of Israel stretches beyond the typical internationalist leftist view of Israel as a colonialist outpost, a cancer growing in the heart of the Muslim Middle East. Most internationalist leftists think that Israel is the cause of Muslim ire, that if Israel were to disappear, suddenly the Muslim lands surrounding it would view the rest of the world with fresh, dewy eyes. This is the same general philosophy that blames the West for the problem of Islamic violence, that suggests that income maldistribution breeds discontent that in turn breeds terrorism.

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[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Obama may think that, but that’s not what drives him.

Something deeper drives Obama when it comes to Israel. Why else would he spend the last few weeks of his presidency throwing gasoline on Israel and then lighting a match?

Some might suggest ideological kinship with Islam. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Special Report Panel: US-Israel Ties Strained by Anti-Settlement Vote 

Fourteen members of the U.N. Security Council raise their hands in affirmation of a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements. The U.S., which had veto power, abstained from the vote, thereby allowing it to pass. Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Zuma Press

 


[VIDEO] Horowitz: Israeli Settlements are Not an Obstacle to Peace 

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[VIDEO] Israeli Prime Minister Responds to John Kerry’s Comments on UN Vote Part 1 



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[VIDEO] Krauthammer on the United Nations: Trump Should ‘Turn It Into Condos’

Charles Krauthammer has been clear in his disapproval for America’s decision to not veto the United Nation’s resolution on Israeli settlements. The syndicated columnist revisited this topic last night, saying that President-elect Donald Trump already knows how he can put the U.N.’s New York headquarters to better use than it is right now.

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“I think it’s good real estate in downtown New York City. Trump ought to find a way to put his name on it and turn it into condos.”

On Fox’s Special Report, Krauthammer lamented that the U.S. provides so much to the U.N., yet the organization spends its time “trying to attack the only Jewish state on the planet,” instead of addressing international concerns like genocide and terrorism more.  Read the rest of this entry »


Israel: ‘Ben Rhodes is an Expert at Fiction’

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Patrick Goodenough reports: Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. on Monday contemptuously dismissed White House deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes’ denials that the Obama administration played a key behind-the-scenes role in getting a resolution condemning Israel through the U.N. Security Council, describing him as an “expert at fiction.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government says it has “iron-clad” information indicating that the Obama administration had a role in the crafting and passage of the resolution that passed Friday in the absence of a U.S. veto.

Ambassador Ron Dermer told MSNBC the Israeli government had proof that it would share that evidence with the incoming Trump administration – which “can decide whether they want to share that with the American people.”

“We’re obviously not going to share it with this [Obama] administration because this administration is behind it,” he charged.

Asked about Rhodes’ denial of an administration role, Dermer replied, “Ben Rhodes is an expert of fiction

“Let’s just wait until all the evidence is presented to the new administration and they will decide,” he said.

And then you can invite me back on your show and you can see whether I’m telling you the truth,” he added. “When the prime minister of Israel makes such an allegation, that is backed up by 100 percent evidence. You can take that to the bank.”

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(Dermer’s barb directed at Rhodes may allude both to his educational background – he has a master’s degree in fiction writing from New York University – and to last summer’s controversy surrounding his reported boasting at having “created an echo chamber” of experts and journalists to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the U.S. people and lawmakers.)

Dermer said criticism of the incoming administration taking a stance on the matter was a distraction; the real issue was an outgoing administration shifting policy towards Israel so fundamentally in its waning days, a step he called “an attempt to handcuff” the Trump administration.

Resolution 2334 states that areas of land disputed between Israel and the Palestinians – including the holiest site in Judaism – is “Palestinian territory” and declares Israeli presence there to be “a flagrant violation under international law.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Alan Dershowitz on President Obama: ‘He will go down in history as one of the worst foreign policy presidents ever’

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Obama’s Anti-Israel Tantrum 

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The anti-Israel U.N. resolution is a defining act of Obama’s Presidency.

The decision by the United States to abstain from a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel over its settlements on the West Bank is one of the most significant, defining moments of the Obama Presidency.

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“No effort to rescind the resolution, which calls the settlements a violation of ‘international law,’ will succeed because of Russia’s and China’s vetoes.”

It defines this President’s extraordinary ability to transform matters of public policy into personal pique at adversaries. And it defines the reality of the international left’s implacable opposition to the Israeli state.

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“Instead, the resolution will live on as Barack Obama’s cat’s paw, offering support in every European capital, international institution and U.S. university campus to bully Israel with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.”

Earlier in the week, Egypt withdrew the Security Council resolution under pressure from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. President-elect Donald Trump also intervened, speaking with Egypt’s government and, via Twitter, urging Mr. Obama to block the resolution, as have past U.S. Administrations and Mr. Obama himself in 2011.

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“For Donald Trump, meet your State Department. This is what State’s permanent bureaucrats believe, this is what they want, and Barack Obama delivered it to them.”

As was widely reported Friday after the U.N. vote, the White House decided to abstain—thereby allowing the pro-Palestinian resolution to pass—in retaliation against the intervention by Messrs. Netanyahu and Trump.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Mr. Obama’s animus toward Prime Minister Netanyahu is well known. Apparently Mr. Obama took it as an affront that the President-elect would express an opinion about this week’s U.N. resolution. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Netanyahu Exposes US Treachery in UN Vote, Slams Obama, Kerry; ‘Friends Don’t Take Friends to the Security Council’

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‘BAM BETRAYS ISRAEL’: New York Post Cover for December 24, 2016

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Source: New York Post


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Anti-Israel Vote a Disgrace: ‘U.S. Joined the Jackals at the U.N.’ 

“What happened today is that the United States joined the jackals at the U.N. That was a phrase used by Pat Moynihan, the great Democratic senator, the former U.S. ambassador who spoke for the United States standing up in the U.N. and to resist this kind of disgrace. To give you an idea of how appalling this resolution is, it declares that any Jew who lives in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem, the Jewish quarter, inhabited for 1,000 years, is illegal, breaking international law, essentially an outlaw, can be hauled into the international criminal court and international courts in Europe, which is one of the consequences. The Jewish quarter has been populated by Jews for 1,000 years. In the war of Independence in 1948, the Arabs invaded Israel to wipe it out. They did not succeed, but the Arab Legion succeeded in conquering the Jewish quarter. They expelled all the Jews. They destroyed all the synagogues and all the homes. For 19 years, no Jew could go there. The Israelis got it back in the Six-Day War. Now it’s declared that this is not Jewish territory. Remember, it’s called “the Jewish quarter,” but it belongs to other people. And any Jew who lives there is an outlaw. That’s exactly what we supported. The resolution is explicit in saying settlements in the occupied territories and in east Jerusalem.”

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Read the rest of this entry »


A Frantic Path to Obama’s Dark Side: The U.N. Vote on Israeli Settlements

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Israeli officials became convinced Obama might take action after Trump’s election; Palestinians believed new administration would never endorse a vote critical of Israel.

In three frenetic days of diplomacy this week, President Barack Obama openly sided with the United Nations Security Council against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And the fallout for U.S.-Israel relations, and the future of the Middle East peace process, could be profound, said current and former U.S. officials.

Resolutions at the U.N. concerning the Israeli settlement issue had been circulating for around a year, according to U.S. and Arab diplomats. Obama administration officials said their plans on Mideast peace, however, were complicated by the U.S. presidential elections. The White House didn’t want to undermine the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, who is viewed as a strong supporter of Israel.

Israel’s government became increasingly convinced Mr. Obama might take action after Donald Trump’s surprise victory. Israeli officials have described the time before the president elect’s Jan. 20 inauguration as the “kill zone,” when the Obama administration could take steps that would be difficult to reverse.

Fourteen members of the U.N. Security Council raise their hands in affirmation of a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements. The U.S., which had veto power, abstained from the vote, thereby allowing it to pass. Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Zuma Press

Fourteen members of the U.N. Security Council raise their hands in affirmation of a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements. The U.S., which had veto power, abstained from the vote, thereby allowing it to pass. Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Zuma Press

Israeli officials said they were spooked by a Dec. 4 speech Secretary of State John Kerry gave in Washington in which he sharply criticized Mr. Netanyahu’s settlement policy. Mr. Kerry then held meetings with the Palestinians’ lead negotiator, Saeb Erekat, on Dec. 12 at the State Department to discuss the peace process.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

A senior Israeli official said its government got wind that Mr. Kerry conveyed to the Palestinian diplomat at that meeting that the U.S. was likely to abstain on the U.N. resolution. “Kerry was colluding with the Palestinians to put the resolution in motion,” said the Israeli official.

Obama administration officials denied “previewing” the U.S. vote to anyone.

As early as October, Palestinian diplomats at the U.N. began assessing prospects for a Security Council resolution. They drafted two resolutions: one that would condemn Israel’s rapid expansion of settlements in disputed territories of West Bank and East Jerusalem, and another that would recognize Palestine as a state at the U.N. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Future of Israel Relations After U.S. Abstains from UN Vote

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Israel Thrashes Obama for Anti-Israeli ‘Shameful Move’ at UN

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The Israeli official’s admission marked a final chapter in the icy relations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama over the last eight years and signaled an era of close ties between Israel and the incoming Trump administration.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Josef Federman reports: An Israeli official on Friday accused President Barack Obama of colluding with the Palestinians in a “shameful move against Israel at the U.N.” after learning the White House did not intend to veto a Security Council resolution condemning settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem the day before.

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“President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the U.N.. The U.S administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tail wind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory.”

“President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the U.N.,” the official said. “The U.S administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tail wind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory,” he said calling it “an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN.”

Earlier he said Israel’s prime minister turned to President-elect Donald Trump to help head off the critical U.N. resolution.

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“Under heavy Israeli pressure, Egypt called off a planned vote in the Security Council hours before it was to take place. In the diplomatic activity ahead of the postponement, both Netanyahu and Trump issued nearly identical statements urging the U.S. to veto the measure.”

Although the U.S. opposes the settlements, it has traditionally used its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council to block resolutions condemning Israel, saying that disputes between Israel and the Palestinians must be resolved through negotiations. But after eight years of failed peace efforts during the Obama Administration, Israel has expressed concern the outgoing president would take an audacious step to leave his mark on the region. In recent weeks, the White House had been especially secretive about its deliberations.

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The Israeli official’s admission marked a final chapter in the icy relations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama over the last eight years, and signaled an era of close ties between Israel and the incoming Trump administration.

Israel knew even before the Egyptian draft resolution that the White House was planning an “ambush” and coordinating it with the Palestinians, said another Israeli official, who requested anonymity to discuss internal diplomatic conversations.

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Israeli diplomats believe they were misled by the U.S. during a meeting last week between high-ranking Israeli and Obama administration officials in which the U.S. side offered reassurances about its efforts to support Israel but declined to explicitly state that the U.S. would veto such a resolution if it came up. The Israelis told their counterparts that “friends don’t take friends to the Security Council,” the official said. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Trump Opposing U.N. Israel Resolution ‘Extremely Effective and Extremely Daring’ 

The U.N. was expected to vote today on a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building, and reports indicate that Obama was ready to allow the resolution to pass until Egypt put off the vote. President-elect Donald Trump put pressure on Egypt not to go forward with the resolution, and it seems to have had an effect. Charles Krauthammer said that the resolution could have done serious damage to Israel, making Trump’s involvement bold and effective.

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Israel Fires: Tens of Thousands Flee; Arson Suspected

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Tens of thousands of people are being evacuated as wildfires rage through parts of the Israeli city of Haifa, the third largest in the country. On social media, the Arabic-language hashtag #Israel_on_fire began trending, with most tweets expressing pleasure over the outbreak.

Huge flames are being fanned by strong winds in residential areas in the north of the city of about 250,000.

“It’s likely that where it was arson, it goes in the direction of nationalistic. I don’t want to disturb the investigation.”

— Roni Alsheich

Fires are also threatening homes near Jerusalem and in the West Bank.

Israel’s police chief said arson was suspected in some cases and hinted that some of it could be politically motivated.

“It’s likely that where it was arson, it goes in the direction of nationalistic,” Roni Alsheich told reporters, adding: “I don’t want to disturb the investigation.”

Map showing Haifa

“Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav said there were indications that one of the fires started when ‘someone tossed a cigarette in an area full of oil and flammable fluids’ in an industrial zone.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing religious Jewish Home party, said on Twitter in Hebrew: “Only those to whom the country does not belong are capable of burning it.”

On social media, the Arabic-language hashtag #Israel_on_fire began trending, with most tweets expressing pleasure over the outbreak.

Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav said there were indications that one of the fires started when “someone tossed a cigarette in an area full of oil and flammable fluids” in an industrial zone.

Four Palestinians have been arrested in connection with a fire near Jerusalem and are due to appear in court on suspicion of starting a bonfire negligently.

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Months of dry weather have left the country vulnerable to fires – Reuters

“Four Palestinians have been arrested in connection with a fire near Jerusalem and are due to appear in court on suspicion of starting a bonfire negligently.”

The Palestinian Authority has offered to help Israel’s fire department, a senior Israeli security official told the BBC, but has not yet received a reply.

Meanwhile, hundreds of military reservists have been called up to help battle the three-day outbreak of fires. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: After NY Talks, Abe Confident He Can Build Trust-Based Ties with Trump

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the two talked about various issues but refrained from disclosing the contents of the meeting with Trump because the talks were unofficial.

He made the comments in New York after a meeting that was intended to smooth relations following Trump’s campaign rhetoric that cast doubt on long-standing U.S. alliances.

Abe became the first world leader to meet Trump on Thursday, seeking reassurances over the future of the U.S.-Japan security and trade relations.

Abe met with Trump in New York, where the incoming president is working on setting up an administration after his surprise election victory last week that has injected new uncertainty into old U.S. alliances.

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“I do believe that without confidence between the two nations (the) alliance would never function in the future and (after) the outcome of today’s discussion I am convinced Mr. Trump is a leader in whom I can have great confidence,” Abe said following the meeting.

Trump’s campaign rhetoric caused consternation in many world capitals, including Tokyo. Trump has said he would demand that allies such as Japan and South Korea contribute more to the cost of basing U.S. troops in their countries.

Such comments have worried Japan at a time when the threat from North Korea is rising, and China is challenging the U.S.-led security status quo in the Pacific. Read the rest of this entry »


Kosovo Arrests 19 in Islamic State Plot to Attack Israel Soccer Match 

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Suspects planned ‘synchronized’ attacks in Kosovo and Albania, police say; weapons, ammunition and a drone seized in sweep

Police said the arrests were made over the past 10 days and that the suspects had planned “synchronized terror attacks,” without going into further detail.

Israel's Eran Zahavi (center) celebrates after scoring a goal during the World Cup 2018 qualifier football match Albania versus Israel at the Elbasan Arena stadium in Elbasan on November 12, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / GENT SHKULLAKU)

“They were planning to commit terrorist attacks in Kosovo and also [an attack] against [the] Israeli football team and their fans during the Albania-Israel match,” Kosovo police said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that weapons, explosives, ammunition and a drone were seized during the sweep.

The police said the suspects were communicating and receiving orders from an Islamic State member, Lavdrim Muhaxheri, the self-declared “commander of Albanians in Syria and Iraq.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu: ‘UN Is a Global Moral Farce’

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[VIDEO] Benjamin Netanyahu Response to a Video: ‘The Palestinian Leadership Must Stop Encouraging Children to Kill’

“I’ve just watched a video that shook me to the core of my being. In just a few seconds, it shows why our conflict persists.

So here is a short snippet:

“Shoot him! Shoot him! Here he is. Go, go. Shoot him!”

A Palestinian father holds up his 4-year-old son. He pleads with Israeli border police to kill his own child. He shouts, “Shoot this little boy!” His boy.

He pushes his young son forward toward the soldiers and screams, “Kill him! Shoot him!”

The boy pauses. He is scared. Any child would be.

He turns back, looking at his father for guidance.

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With his shirt tightly tucked into his bright red shorts, the boy ambles forward towards the soldiers. One of them extends his hand in friendship. The boy gives him a high-five.

It’s hard to make a four-year-old hate.

Imagine your own child at that age. Think of his smile. Imagine her laugh. Picture the unrestrained joy and innocence that only a child possesses.

Encouraging someone to murder a child – let alone your own child – is probably the most inhumane thing a person can do.palestinian-boy2-1-400x324

What did this child do to deserve this? The answer is: nothing. He is innocent.

He should be in a playground. He should be in the sun, laughing with other children.

Sadly, this father’s crime is not an isolated example. In Gaza, Hamas runs summer camps that teach children to value death over life – suicide kindergarten camps.

The Palestinian Ministry of Education in Ramallah recently organized an event for students to honor terrorists who murdered three civilians.

Two weeks ago, the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper praised teenage terrorists and wrote that “death as a martyr is the path to excellence and greatness.” That’s a direct quote.

Palestinian and Israeli children deserve better. They deserve to live. They deserve to live in peace.
Children are not cannon fodder. They are the most precious things in the world. They’re the most precious things we have.

I’m sure Palestinian parents, many of them, are as outraged as I am at this video. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Archaeology: Monkeys Have Used Stone Tools for Hundreds of Years

New archaeological evidence suggests that Brazilian capuchins have been using stone tools to crack open cashew nuts for at least 700 years. Researchers say, to date, they have found the earliest archaeological examples of monkey tool use outside of Africa. In their paper, published in Current Biology, they suggest it raises questions about the origins and spread of tool use in New World monkeys and, controversially perhaps, prompts us to look at whether early human behaviour was influenced by their observations of monkeys using stones as tools. The research was led by Dr Michael Haslam of the University of Oxford, who in previous papers presents archaeological evidence showing that wild macaques in coastal Thailand used stone tools for decades at least to open shellfish and nuts.


[VIDEO] Milo Yiannopoulos at Orlando Shooting Site, and at UC San Diego 6-6-16 

“What I Think is a Pity is the Way the Left Has Domesticated Homosexuals”

Milo Begins at 58:00. Streamed live on Jun 6, 2016. Sponsored by the Koala and College Republicans.

At Least 3 Killed, 7 Wounded in Shooting Attack at Food & Retail Center in Tel Aviv

At least three people were killed and seven people were wounded in a shooting attack at a food and shopping center in Tel Aviv, after two gunmen, said to be disguised as ultra-Orthodox Jews, opened fire on passersby.

All of the wounded were evacuated to nearby hospitals. One of the shooters was captured by police and taken in for questioning, and the other was taken to Ichilov Hospital in serious condition.

Netanyahu, who arrived on Wednesday from Moscow, is convening a security briefing in Tel Aviv.

Seven of the wounded have been evacuated to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital and another was taken to Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. One of the wounded was said to be in critical condition, four in serious condition currently and two are in light condition. The casualty at Sheba is in moderate condition.

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The attack took place at Sarona Market, an upscale food and retail center located opposite to the military headquarters in central Tel Aviv and near government buildings. Police said they received a call at 9:30 P.M. regarding shootings heard at Sharon. As emergency forces were making their way to the scene, there was another of a shooting incident at near the food and shopping center.

Tel Aviv district police chief Moshe Edri said there was no prior terror alert before the shooting occured and there was no information about an additional terrorist at large.

According to initial reports, two armed man opened fire at passersby near the Benedict restaurant. The shooter then reportedly opened fire at the nearby Ha’arbaa Street. Read the rest of this entry »


THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Clinton Email Probe Going Nowhere Because ‘Legal Experts Agree’ Clinton Did Nothing Illegal

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Del Quentin Wilber writes: Federal prosecutors investigating the possible mishandling of classified materials on Hillary Clinton’s private email server have begun the process of setting up formal interviews with some of her longtime and closest aides, according to two people familiar with the probe, an indication that the inquiry is moving into its final phases.

“Legally it doesn’t matter if the emails were marked as classified or not, since government officials are obligated to recognize sensitive material and guard against its release. But legal experts noted that such labels would be helpful to prosecutors seeking to prove she knew the information was classified, a key element of the law.”

Those interviews and the final review of the case, however, could still take many weeks, all but guaranteeing that the investigation will continue to dog Clinton’s presidential campaign through most, if not all, of the remaining presidential primaries.

No dates have been set for questioning the advisors, but a federal prosecutor in recent weeks has called their lawyers to alert them that he would soon be doing so, the sources said. Prosecutors also are expected to seek an interview with Clinton herself, though the timing remains unclear.

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The interviews by FBI agents and prosecutors will play a significant role in helping them better understand whether Clinton or her aides knowingly or negligently discussed classified government secrets over a non-secure email system when she served as secretary of State.

“This is clearly disruptive to the campaign. It will take her off message and coverage about important aides being questioned is not coverage you’d like to have. However, this issue is largely dismissed by Democratic primary voters and baked into the cake for the general electorate.”

— Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster.

The meetings also are an indication that much of the investigators’ background work – recovering deleted emails, understanding how the server operated and determining whether it was breached – is nearing completion.

“The interviews are critical to understand the volume of information they have accumulated,” said James McJunkin, former head of the FBI’s Washington field office.  “They are likely nearing the end of the investigation and the agents need to interview these people to put the information in context. They will then spend time aligning these statements with other information, emails, classified documents, etc., to determine whether there is a prosecutable case.”

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“The facts of the case do not fit the law. Reasonable folks may think that federal law ought to prohibit what Hillary did, but it’s just not clear to me that it currently does.”

— Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University

Many legal experts believe that Clinton faces little risk of being prosecuted for using the private email system to conduct official business when she served as secretary of State, though that decision has raised questions among some about her judgment. They noted that using a private email system was not banned at the time, and others in government had used personal email to transact official business.

The bigger question is whether she or her aides distributed classified material in email systems that fell outside of the department’s secure classified system. But even if prosecutors determine that she did, chances she will be found criminally liable are low. U.S. law makes it a crime for someone to knowingly or willfully retain classified information, handle it in a grossly negligent manner or to pass it to someone not entitled to see it. Read the rest of this entry »


Andrew C. McCarthy: What Americans Need to Know About the Encryption Debate

In the surveillance area, I believe the public is mostly wrong.

Andrew C. McCarthy writes: Should private companies that provide users with encryption technology be required to assist law-enforcement and intelligence services to defeat that technology? This question is a more pressing one in the wake of November’s Paris terrorist attacks. But it is a very tough question that has vexed both the government and providers of communications services for years.

“The problem is that encryption technology has gotten very tough to crack and very widely available. Consequently, if terrorists or other high-level criminals are using it to carry out schemes that endanger the public, government agents cannot penetrate the communications in real time.”

Part of what makes it so difficult is the new facts of life. As I noted during the debate over the NSA’s bulk-collection of telephone metadata, we are operating in a political environment that is night-and-day different from the aftermath of 9/11. Back then, a frightened public was demanding that the government do a better job of collecting intelligence and thwarting terrorist plots. Of course that sentiment was driven by the mass-murder of nearly 3,000 Americans, coupled with the destruction of the World Trade Center and a strike against the Pentagon. But it also owed in no small measure to the fact that government had done such an incompetent job gathering and “connecting the dots” prior to the attacks. There was a strong public sense that intelligence agencies needed an injection of muscle.

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“That they have a legal basis to conduct surveillance is beside the point; all the probable cause in the world won’t help an agent who lacks the know-how to access what he’s been authorized to search.”

Today, the public’s sense tends in the other direction. There have been spectacular abuses of government power (e.g., IRS scandal), and intrusive security precautions infused by political correctness (e.g., airport searches). Americans understandably suspect that government cannot be trusted with enhanced authorities and that many of its tactics are more about the appearance of security than real security.

[Read the full story here, at PJ Media]

It is, moreover, no longer sufficient for the national-security right to posit that security measures pass legal muster. The public wants proof that these measures actually and meaningfully improve our security, regardless of whether they are justifiable as a matter of law.

This makes it a very uphill environment in which to suggest, as FBI Director Jim Comey has recently done, that communications providers should provide the government with keys to unlocking their encryption technology – encryption-key repositories or what is often called “backdoor” access.

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The problem is that encryption technology has gotten very tough to crack and very widely available. Consequently, if terrorists or other high-level criminals are using it to carry out schemes that endanger the public, government agents cannot penetrate the communications in real time. That they have a legal basis to conduct surveillance is beside the point; all the probable cause in the world won’t help an agent who lacks the know-how to access what he’s been authorized to search. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] EDUCATION: ‘I Want to Stab a Jew,’ Young Girl Tells Her Teacher Father 

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A video posted by a Jordanian-Palestinian teacher on Facebook shows his young daughter holding a large knife and declaring, “I want to stab a Jew,” the watchdog group MEMRI reported, amid an ongoing surge of stabbings and other terror attacks by Palestinians on Israelis.

“Why do you want to stab the Jew?”

Abdulhaleem Abuesha, a teacher in the Madaba refugee camp in Jordan, posted the clip on Friday. MEMRI translated and highlighted it on Tuesday.

“Because he stole our land.”

After his daughter Rahf, standing in front of the refrigerator in the kitchen, declares her desire to stab a Jew, Abuesha asks, “Why do you want to stab the Jew?”

“With what do you want to stab them?”

“Because he stole our land,” she replies.

“With a knife.”

Her father confirms approvingly: “They stole our land.” He then asks, “With what do you want to stab them?” Read the rest of this entry »