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The Brainwashing of a Nation

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 06:16

Brainwashing isn’t a secretive event that takes place in hidden rooms. No hypnotists or vials full of chemicals are required. It takes place every day on a massive scale across the United States.

Unlike Raymond Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate, brainwashing does not turn people into hypnotized zombies who would be ready to kill a presidential candidate at a command. Instead, it transforms them into the sort of people who would be willing to kill someone for political reasons.

The distinction is why so few people understand the sources of political radicalism and violence.

Brainwashing isn’t magic, but it can look like magic. The sleight of hand that causes us to think so is our firm belief in our reason and free will. It’s easier to believe in changing minds through hypnotism and drugs, than to understand, what the successful practitioners of brainwashing do, that the human mind is more malleable than we like to think, and that the subconscious is more powerful than the conscious.

The art and science of brainwashing is well known. We don’t know it because we choose not to.

Brainwashing happens every day. It doesn’t have to mean a complete transformation of identity. On the simplest level, it means compelling someone to believe something that isn’t true.

It’s as simple as two cops browbeating an innocent suspect into believing that he’s guilty. The officers and the suspect won’t see their interaction as brainwashing. The officers can honestly believe in his guilt. And, at the end of the process, the suspect will also believe that he committed the crime. He will even be able to describe in great detail how he committed it. That’s common, everyday brainwashing.

The key elements of brainwashing are present in that cold room with the peeling paint on the walls. Those three elements are control, crisis and emotional resonance. To successfully brainwash someone, you have to control their environment, force a crisis on them, and then tap into core emotions, fear, love, guilt, hate, shame, and guide them through the crisis by accepting and internalizing a new belief.

The belief can be anything, but the pseudo-religious ritual taps into an emotional core requiring them to believe that they were bad people, and that by accepting this new belief, they are now good people.

This false conversion is the essence of brainwashing and of leftist political awakening narratives.

The human mind, like the human body, adapts to a crisis with a fight-or-flight response. Brainwashing forces the mind into a flight response. Once in flight mode, the mind can rationalize a new belief as a protective behavior that will keep it safe. Even when, as in the case of the suspect, the new belief will actually destroy his life. Fight or flight mode inhibits long term thinking. In panic mode, destructive and suicidal behaviors seem like solutions because they offer an escape from unbearable chemical stresses.

There’s a good biological reason for that. Our minds stop us from thinking too much in a crisis so that we can take urgent action, like running into a fire or at a gunman, that our rational minds might not allow us to do. But that same function can be ‘hacked’ by artificially putting people into fight-or-flight mode to break them down and shortcut their higher reasoning functions. Decisions reached subconsciously in fight-or-flight mode will then be rationalized and internalized after the initial crisis has passed.

When that internalization happens, then the brainwashing is real.

Almost anyone can be compelled to say anything under enough stress. Many can be forced to believe it. The acid test of brainwashing is whether they will retain that belief once fight-or-flight mode passes.

Cults, abusive relationships and totalitarian movements maintain ‘total crisis’, shutting down higher reasoning, creating a permanent state of stress by triggering fight-or-flight responses unpredictably. This leads to Stockholm Syndrome, where the captive tries to control their fate through total emotional identification with their captor, pack behavior, loss of identity and will, and eventually suicide or death.
Total crisis leads to burnout, emotional exhaustion, detachment from friends and family, and violence.

How do you brainwash a nation?

Control the national environment, force a crisis on the country, and tap into their fear and guilt. And then you can outlaw planes, cows, skyscrapers, straws, plastic bags and the rest of the Green New Deal.

The environmental crisis is just one example of how leftist movements can brainwash a nation.

The growing number of Millennials who say that they will not have children because of environmental panic is an example of how brainwashing can make suicidal behavior seem like self-preservation.

Since the Left still lacks total control over the United States, it relies on repetition, itself a form of control and stress, to create fear and panic. It makes up for its lack of physical control by bombarding Americans with messages meant to inspire fear, love, hate and guilt through the media, through the educational system, through entertainment and through every possible messaging channel.

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Global Warming panic is one of a succession of manufactured leftist crises in America that began with a class crisis. transitioned to a racial crisis, and then to an environmental crisis.

Each of the crises claimed that society was on track to an inevitable apocalypse, that the nature of the crisis, economic, racial or environmental, had been verified by experts, that we were all complicit in the crisis, and that the only solution was radical change administered by the crisis experts.

The panic over Trump is a micro-crisis of the sort that leftists detonate in the political opposition, but the fear, anger, terror, stress and violence on display are typical of the crisis mode of fight-or-flight.

The “Resistance” isn’t a political movement. It’s a political cult whose crisis was the 2016 election. Its irrational belief that Trump is a Russian agent is typical of the conspiratorial mindset of cults. Its inability to understand that its convictions are completely irrational show how brainwashing works.

The 2016 election inflicted on its members a loss of control. Trump became the crisis embodying their loss of control. Their fear, guilt and anger induced stress that altered their behavior and beliefs.

And, within the very recent past, millions came to believe that Trump was really working for Moscow.

This is brainwashing on a timescale so immediate that we can easily recall it. Yet most of us have trouble understanding how it works and why it works. And that lack of understanding is holding us back.

How can smart people fall for minor variations of the same lie in generation after generation?

Smart people make the best brainwashing targets. Cults recruit bright students on college campuses, they target aspiring executives looking for leadership training, and dissatisfied professionals searching for meaning. Cults are rarely made up of stupid people. They’re made up of smart, vulnerable people.

Human beings don’t behave rationally. We rationalize our behavior.

The more people rationalize, the more they can be brainwashed. Your old Casio digital watch can’t be hacked. Even if it were hacked, there’s not much it could be made to do. Your smartphone can be hacked and made to do more. Your desktop can be hacked and made to do even more. Intelligence doesn’t make us less vulnerable to being manipulated, it leaves us much more vulnerable.

The political brainwashing campaign in this country targets the upper class and the middle class. The best subjects for brainwashing are intelligent and emotionally vulnerable. They’re easier to manipulate by using the gap between their emotions and their reason, and their emotional instability makes it easier to force them into crisis mode. The ideal subjects are in their teens and their early twenties. In modern times, that’s a period in which identity is still developing, and can be fractured and remade.

That’s why the Left aims most of its brainwashing efforts at high school and college students. It’s why it prioritized control of the educational system and the entertainment industry above all else.

Both of these have become highly profitable brainwashing industries: one sugar-coated, and one bitter.

Classrooms and campuses provide physical control over students for nearly two decades of their lives. That control was initially used for simple dogmatic preaching. Then it escalated to cult behavior with classroom role-playing rituals encouraging mass expressions of love and hate, transformations of sexual and gender identity, detachment from friends and family, and violent displays of pain and rage.

The modern American identity politics campus looks a whole lot like Jonestown or a Hitler Youth rally.

Exploiting sexuality, triggering guilt and shame in children, to transform their identity was usually the work of the lowest savage tribes and the vilest cults. It’s now the American education system.

The techniques aren’t new. They’re as evil and old as time itself.

Like every cult, the modern campus claims to serve an educational purpose, helping students find meaning and purpose, but insisting that they must first be cured of the subconscious evils such as white privilege and toxic masculinity that are holding them back through a process that deconstructs their barriers, encourages confession, expressions of trauma, shame and guilt, to create new identities.

This isn’t education. It’s not even dogmatic lecturing. It’s the same basic set of techniques used by any major cult in the country. Once colleges began trying to cure their students of subconscious evils at closed sessions, under the guidance of unlicensed therapists associated with a movement, there was no longer any difference between them and that of any cult, except billions in taxpayer dollars.

The sessions at which white privilege or toxic masculinity can be cured, or at which students are put in touch with the trauma of their oppression as minorities, duplicate cult indoctrination in every regard.

They’re the successors of consciousness raising groups whose name even signaled their cultish nature.

Despite attempts to wrap leftist politics in the objective garb of the expert, the scientist, the scholar and the bureaucrat, its heart lay in its spiritual narrative of a struggle between an altruistic good and a materialistic evil, the inevitable historical triumph of progress over reaction, and the pseudo-religious induction of new recruits into the gnostic revelation of our oppressive world with its layered conspiracies of capitalism, sexism and racism. The original ‘red pill’. Or, ‘little red book’.

To non-cult members, it’s brainwashing. To cult members, it’s revelation. The distinction may seem like a matter of perspective between believers and non-believers, but it lies in the question of consent. Brainwashing always relies on removing control from the victim. The control may be taken openly, by force. It can be taken covertly through manipulation and deceit. But there is always a loss of control.

The victim does not understand the process by which they are being taken apart and put back together until much later. And if the process works as intended, he or she may never realize it happened at all. Brainwashing’s cruelest trick lies in using the intelligence of its victim as its greatest ally in building a trap for its own ego and its consciousness that it cannot escape from without a great deal of determination.

Like drug addiction, the aftermath of brainwashing transforms the mind into a convoluted maze of rationalizations for self-destructive behavior that are guarded by biology and the subconscious. It cannot be escaped without breaking down the defense mechanisms that were put into place to avoid re-experiencing the original trauma, and without examining the emotions behind the mechanisms.

Brainwashing can create new ideas and realities, but it can’t create new emotions. All it can do is amplify them and use them to induce in its subject a new belief in an altered reality. It doesn’t create guilt, shame, fear, love or hate. It amplifies, exploits them and uses them as tools to create stress, force a crisis, and then transform a single belief or an entire identity.

That is why the Left cannot be defeated through policy debates and intellectual abstractions. It is a belief system. Though it traffics in seeming abstractions, these are a language, but not the meaning. The esoteric languages of policy and pop culture in which it speaks are vehicles for a deeper language of primal emotions. Behind the theories and manifestos is a great darkness of fear and terror, of love and hate, of emotional instability and vulnerability on which its lies and propaganda are built.

And it is within that primal darkness out of which all evil is born that the brainwashing does its work.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article originally appeared at Front Page Magazine.

1 SAMUEL 31:4

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 04:11

Normally, suicide is absolutely forbidden in Jewish law. However, there are rare exceptions. The Sages teach that King Shaul’s death is even greater than his life. Though he knows it will lead to his death, he and Yehonatan lead the army into battle. Rather than allow himself to be captured and killed, he falls on his sword, as he is well aware that the capture of a king of Israel would bring despair to the entire nation. Thus, Jewish law views King Shaul as a prime example of self-sacrifice, as he sanctifies the name of Hashem and the People of Israel through his death. True leaders know that they don’t represent themselves alone; they represent the entire nation, and are therefore willing to make the necessary sacrifices. While Shaul’s death serves in Jewish law as the model of a rare acceptable form of suicide, the most famous such act in Jewish history took place on the mountain of Masada. According to Josephus Flavius in The Jewish War, the 960 Jewish inhabitants of the fortress on Masada, the last Jewish stronghold against the Romans after the destruction of the second Temple, killed themselves rather than surrender to the Roman soldiers.

Israelis Living Near Gaza Struggle With Trauma of Rockets

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 02:26

Israelis living near the Gaza Strip have experienced dozens of rounds of rocket fire fired upon them since 2007. In the chaos and violence, the psychological effects -trauma – have taken a toll.

Trump Warns That Iran Will ‘Suffer Greatly’ If ‘They Do Anything’

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 02:13

Amid increasing tensions between the United States and Iran, U.S. President Donald Trump warned on Monday that Tehran will “suffer greatly” if “they do anything.”

“We’ll see what happens with Iran…If they do anything, they will suffer greatly,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office in response to reports that two oil tankers owned by Saudi Arabia and two others, one owned by the United Arab Emirates and another by Norway, were sabotaged, possibly by Tehran.

“It’s going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens. I can tell you that,” said Trump. “They’re not going to be happy. They’re not going to be happy people.”

The president did not elaborate on the threat, saying, “You can figure it out yourself. They know what I mean by it.”

Trump’s warning came as the Washington has increased pressure on Tehran over the past week with new sanctions and deploying two warships with fighter jets, in addition to a Patriot missile battery, to the Gulf in response to Pentagon reports that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was planning an attack on U.S. forces or interests in the region—moves that have caused European foreign ministers to call for de-escalation.

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“We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident with an escalation that is unintended really on either side, but ends with some kind of conflict,” said British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Monday. “What we need is a period of calm to make sure that everyone understands what the other side is thinking.”

For his part, Trump said on Thursday, “What [Iran] should be doing is calling me up, sitting down, and we can make a deal. A fair deal. We just don’t want them to have nuclear weapons; it’s not too much to ask. And we would help put them back into great shape. They’re in bad shape right now. I look forward to the day when we can actually help Iran. We’re not looking to hurt Iran. I want them to be strong, and great, and have a great economy.”

However, the Islamic Republic rejected Trump’s call.

“The Americans know that no other war will bring about their defeat to such an extent and that’s why there won’t be a war because war is not part of the U.S. strategy,” said Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, the head of Iran’s parliamentary commission for national security and foreign affairs, reported the Islamic Students’ News Agency. “Nobody is going to call Trump, and eventually, the Americans will be forced to raise the issue of negotiations with Iran in a serious way.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Brussels on Monday, and “shared information and intelligence with allies and discussed the multiple plot vectors emerging from Iran,” U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told reporters. That included meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Discussions included the alleged attacks on the oil tankers.

Who Can Count the Dust of Jacob

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 02:00

Who can count the dust of Jacob or number the seed of Israel.” Numbers 23:10

The sun sets above the hills. The siren cries out and on the busy highways that wend among the hills, the traffic stops, the people stop, and a moment of silence comes to a noisy country.

Flags fly at half mast, the torch of remembrance is lit, memorial candles are held in shaking hands and the country’s own version of the Flanders Field poppy, the Red Everlasting daisy, dubbed Blood of the Maccabees, adorns lapels. And so begins the Yom Hazikaron, Heroes Remembrance Day, the day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terror– Israel’s Memorial Day.

What is a memorial day in a country that has always known war and where remembrance means adding the toll of one year’s dead and wounded to the scales of history. A country where war never ends, where the sirens may pause but never stop, where each generation grows up knowing that they will have to fight or flee. To stand watch or run away. It is not so much the past that is remembered on this day, but the present and the future. The stillness, a breath in the warm air, before setting out to climb the slopes of tomorrow.

Who can count the dust of Jacob.

And yet each memorial day we count the dust. The dust that is a fraction of those who have fallen defending the land for thousands of years. Flesh wears out, blood falls to the earth where the red daisies grow, and bone turns to dust. The dust blows across the graves of soldiers and prophets, the tombs of priests hidden behind brush, the caverns where forefathers rest in sacred silence, laid to rest by their sons, who were laid to rest by their own sons, generations burying the past, standing guard over it, being driven away and returning each time.

On Memorial Day, the hands of memory are dipped in the dust raising it to the blue sky. A prayer, a whisper, a dream of peace. And the wind blows the candles out. War follows. And once again blood flows into the dust. A young lieutenant shading his eyes against the sun. An old man resting with his family on the beach. Children climbing into bed in a village on a hilltop. And more bodies are laid to rest in the dust. Until dust they become.

In this land, the Maker of Stars and Dust vowed to Abraham that his children would be as many as the dust of the earth and the stars of heaven. In their darkest days, they would be as the dust. But there is mercy in the numberless count of the dust. Mercy in not being able to make a full count of the fallen and remaining ignorant of that full measure of woe. Modern technologies permit us terrible estimates. Databanks store the names of millions; digital cemeteries of ghosts. But there is no counting the dust. And when we walk the length and breadth of the land, as the Maker told Abraham to do, it the dust that supports our feet, we walk in the dust of our ancestors.

Some new countries are built to escape from the past, but there is no escaping it in these ancient hills. IDF soldiers patrol over ground once contested by empires, tread over spearheads and the wheels of chariots buried deep in the earth. The Assyrians and the Babylonians came through here in all their glory. Greek and Roman soldiers and mercenaries pitted themselves against the handful of Judeans who came out of the Babylonian exile. The Ottoman and the Arab raged here, and Crusader battering rams and British Enfield rifles still echo in the quiet hills.

Here in the silence of remembrance the present is always the past and the sky hangs like a thin veil fluttering against the future. The believers cast their prayers out of their mouths against the veil. The soldiers cast their lives and their hearts. And still the future flutters above, like the sky near enough to touch, but out of reach. Beneath it, the sky-blue flag, the stripe of the believer’s shawls adorned with the interlocked star of the House of David.

Can these bones live, the Lord asks Ezekiel. And generations, after each slaughter, they come again, the descendants of the dead to reclaim the hills of their ancestors. Rising like the red flowers out of the soil. Like the bones out of the earth. They come up as slaves out of Egypt and out of the captivity of empires, their tongues as numberless as the earth. Here they come again to set up kingdoms and nations. And there in shadows on the dust, a handful of men fight off a legion; swords, spears and rifles in hand they face down impossible odds. They fight and die, but they go on.

The calendar itself is a memorial. Israel’s Memorial Day, Independence Day and Lag BaOmer; the  commemoration of the original Yom Yerushalayim, the brief liberation of Jerusalem from the Romans, still covertly remembered in bonfires and bows shot into the air, all in a season that begins with Passover, the exodus that set over a million people off on a forty-year journey to return to the homeland of their forefathers.

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The battles today are new, but they are also very old. The weapons are new, but the struggle is the same. Who will remain and who will be swept away. Some 3,000 years ago, Judge Jephthah and the King of Ammon were exchanging messages not too different from those being passed around as diplomatic communiques today. The King of Ammon demanding land for peace and the Judge laying out the Israeli case for the land in a message that the enemy would hardly trouble to read before going to war.

Take a stray path in these hills and you may find a grinning terrorist with a knife, or the young David pitting his slingshot against a lion or bear. This way the Maccabees rush ahead against the armies of a slave empire and this way a helicopter passes low overhead on the way to Gaza. Time is a fluid thing here. And what you remember; you shall find.

The soldier is not so sacred as he once was. The journalist and the judge have taken his place. The actors sneer from their theaters. The politicians gobble their free food and babble of peace. Musicians sing shrilly of flowers in gun barrels and doves everywhere. But the soldier still stands where he must. The borders have shrunk. The old victories have been exchanged for diplomatic defeats. From the old strongholds come missiles and rockets. And children hide in bomb shelters waiting for the worst to pass. This is the doing of the journalist and the judge, the politician and the actor, the lions of literature who send autographed copies of their books to imprisoned terrorists and the grandchildren of great men who hire themselves on in service to the enemy.

The man who serves is still sacred, but the temple of duty is desecrated more and more each year. Leftist academics dismiss the heroes of the past as myths or murderers. Their wives dress in black and harass soldiers at checkpoints, their children wrap their faces in Keffiyas and throw stones at them. Draft dodging, once a black mark of shame, has become a mark of pride among the left. Some boast about how easy it is, others enlist only to then refuse to serve. They call themselves Refusniks , accepting the Soviet view of Israel as an illegitimate warmongering state, but laying claim to the name of the Zionists who fought to escape the Soviet Union.

Some are only afraid, but some are filled with hate. They have looked into a twisted mirror and drunk of the poisoned wine. They have found their Inner Cain and go now to slay their brothers with words.

How shall I curse whom G-d has not cursed, asks Balaam. But the King of Moab is determined to have his curses anyway. And today it is to the UN that they come for curses. The Arab lands boil with blood, but resolution after resolution follows damning Israel. China squats on the mountains of Tibet, Russian government thugs throw dissidents out of windows and Saudi firefighters push girls back into a burning building. And still the resolutions come like curses.

In a land built on memory, it is possible not to remember, but it is impossible to entirely forget. A war of memories comes. A war for the dust. Is this a day of remembrance or a day of shame. Were those men who fought and died for Judea and Samaria, for the Golan and Jerusalem, for every square inch of land when the armies of Arab dictators came to push them into the sea, heroes or villains. Were Nasser, Hussein, Saddam, Arafat, Gaddafi, Assad and the House of Saud the real heroes all along. The tiny minority of 360 million pitted against the overwhelming majority of 6 million.

Yet though men may forget, the dust remembers. And the men return to it. For some four thousand years they have done it. And they shall do it again. For He who has made men of the dust and made worlds of the dust of stars does not forget. As the stars turn in whirling galaxies and the dust flies across the land, so the people return to the land. And though they forget, they remember again. For the dust is the memory of ages and the children shall always return to the dust of their ancestors.

In the cities, towns and villages– the dead are remembered. Those who died with weapons in their hands and those who just died. Men, women and children. Drops of blood cast to the dust, reborn as flowers on lapels. Reborn as memory.

All go to one place, said King Solomon, all that lives is of the dust, and all returns to the dust. There is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his works. And so memorial day precedes the day of independence. That we rejoice in that which those who sleep in the dust have died to protect. The skyscrapers and the orchards, the sheep ranches and the highways, the schools and the synagogues. For they who drained the swamps and built the roads, who held guard over the air and built the cities, may not have lived to see their works. But we rejoice in their works for them. And a new generation rises to watch over their dust and tend the works that they have built. Until the day when He that counts the dust of Jacob shall count them all, and the land shall stir, and in the words of Daniel, they that sleep in dust shall arise, and then rejoice with us.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Sultan Knish

Boomerang: Thank You Christian Supporters of Israel

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 01:50

In the last few years, we have witnessed a unique historical phenomenon – a growing movement of Christians who are ardent supporters of Israel, and who wish to take part in the restoration of the Jewish people in their Homeland.

This movement has led to the relocation of the American Embassy to Jerusalem, to the recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights, and to so many other historic milestones.

Income Inequality Blamed for Teen Bullying

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 01:36

Life is often not fair, and this is illustrated by a new finding about bullying from research carried out by an international team. It included Israeli researchers who studied 874,000 children in 40 countries in Europe, North America and Israel.

The study, called the Health Behaviors in School Aged Children (HBSC) study was just published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Pediatrics. It concluded that children up to the age of four who live in areas of income inequality are more likely to be bullied as teenagers.

The children studied, lived in 40 medium- and high-income countries. The researchers were led by Canadian researchers with colleagues from Israel, Ireland, Poland and Romania.

Prof. Sophie Walsh of the criminology department of Bar-Ilan University, serves as the international leader of the Violence and Injury Focus Group within the HBSC and participated in the study. Prof. Yossi Harel Fisch, of the Churgin School of Education at Bar-Ilan University, is the Israeli principal investigator for HBSC.

The researchers used 35 years of data from the HBSC survey, which uses representative samples of 11, 13 and 15-year-olds in each country. The analysis was carried out within the framework of the Violence and Injury Focus Group.

They defined bullying as a series of “repeated, unwanted, aggressive acts intended to harm or intimidate someone who is less powerful.” Bullying could show up as physical or verbal attacks or by rumors or social exclusion. It may also cause serious damage to the mental and physical health in both those who are bullied and those who are the aggressors. Both sides are at risk of suffering emotional and behavioral problems when they grow up, including post-traumatic stress syndrome, according to experts.

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According to the study, income inequality at a country during the first four years of a child’s life – and surprisingly not during school-age years – was associated with being bullied later, as a teenager. “One might think that children become aware of income inequality at school, but it seems that the impact of income inequality comes at a time before children would actually have awareness of it,” noted Walsh. She added that these harmful effects may be related to processes occurring within the family that result from greater income inequality.  The researchers also found that income inequality did not predict whether kids would become bullies rather than victims of bullying.

In Israel, data from the last survey published in 2013 and 2014 found that levels of bullying victimization were in the middle, compared with other countries in the survey. About 5% of 13-year-old Israeli girls and 16% of the boys reporting having been bullied at least two or three times in the previous few months.   

The findings show that income inequality impacts not only low-income children and that it can have long-term impact on development in the future, including youth violence.  The study authors say that more research is needed in order to understand what social influences can lead to youth violence, how early-life income inequalities influence development and why children who grow up in a family with relatively less income may be at greater risk.

“It is possible that the relationship found between measures of economic inequality and rates of bullying victimization is a reflection of differences in exposure to key protective factors such as coherent family culture, parental and teacher support, positive school experience, healthy peer connectedness and access to organized extracurricular activities,” said Harel-Fisch. “Resiliency factors such as these have been demonstrated in many studies as predicting lower victimization rates. In societies suffering from significant socio-economic inequalities, these resiliency factors might be limited, thus effecting higher levels of bullying victimization.”  

While national governments should minimize differences in income in their populations, bullying prevention and education efforts in young children could be effective more quickly in reducing the harmful effects of income inequality.

The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada) and Canada Research Chairs Program.

Targeting Terrorist Leaders in Gaza and International Law

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 01:00

“Each state is expected to aid and enforce the law of nations, as part of the common law, by inflicting an adequate punishment upon the offenses against that universal law.” – William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Law of England[1]

Sometime before the so-called ceasefire, Israel’s cabinet had given an apparent go ahead for IDF targeting of specific terrorist  (Hamas/Islamic Jihad)  leaders in Gaza. Although it is by no means certain that such “decapitation” tactics can tangibly diminish Palestinian terror attacks, there is little reason to doubt their permissibility under international law. In the final analysis, such permissibility is a consequence of our decentralized world legal structure.

This anarchic structure has existed essentially unmodified since the seventeenth century Peace of Westphalia, the landmark treaty that ended the Thirty Years’ War back in 1648 and created the modern state system.

Notwithstanding “collective security” established by the United Nations and by the prior League of Nations, world authority remains a fundamentally “self-help” or vigilante legal system. It is within this codified global anarchy that individual states must exercise and accept a wide latitude of reprisal or preemption options concerning terrorism.

Always. .Under authoritative international law, terrorism is an egregious crime. Derivatively,  by definition,  terrorists are known in formal jurisprudence as hostes humani generis or “common enemies of humankind.” There is nothing that can ever justify deliberate attacks upon the innocent.

Never. Ordinarily, assassination, like terrorism, is an established crime under international law. Yet, under certain well-established conditions, the targeted killing of terrorist leaders can represent both a life-saving and permissible example of law-enforcement.[2] In a more perfect legal world, of course, there could never be any defensible justification for such violent self-help expressions of international justice.

But this is not yet such a world.

In our present and still self-defense oriented world legal order, the only real alternative to victim states launching periodic and precise actions against terrorists is to effectively allow terror-violence against the innocent. Terror-organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad have nothing but contempt for normally prescribed legal expectations’ of “extradite or prosecute” (aut dedere, aut judicare), for example.

On its face, accepting assassination or targeted killings as law-enforcing remediation means to disregard the ordinarily binding expectations of “due process.” Still, international relations are not governable by the same civil protections offered by individual national societies, and Hamas/Islamic Jihad terrorist leaders are ceaselessly planning violent attacks against Israeli men, women and children. In the future, it is likely that such attacks would make use of chemical, biological or even nuclear elements.

Just a few days ago, on May 4, 2019, Islamic Jihad threatened to attack Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor in the Negev and Ben-Gurion Airport.

Earlier, in July 2014, Hamas actually fired three rockets at Dimona. These rockets were intercepted or not on target.

The casual indiscriminacy of Hamas and Islamic Jihad operations is well documented. Such intentional blurring of the lines between lawful and unlawful targets is firmly rooted in certain generic principles of Jihad. Several years ago, an open remark of Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, a prominent Muslim cleric in London, echoed this significant origin: “We don’t make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever (a Jew or Christian) has no value. It has no sanctity.”

International law is not a suicide pact. Jihadist attackers regularly seek to add barbaric effects to their primal ideologies of sacrificial slaughter.  For both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, “military objectives” have included elementary schools, bomb shelters, ice-cream parlors, civilian buses and elderly pedestrians. Jurisprudentially, therefore, these perpetrators are never “militants.” They are simply and legally “terrorists.”

The latest news from Jewish border areas near Gaza is unambiguous. Israel, a country half the size of Lake Michigan, still lives under the constant shadow of Jihadist terrorism. Even while they fire rocket clusters at Jewish civilian neighborhoods within southern Israel, Palestinian Arab terrorists continue to display an operational preference for more intimate incendiaries. The “liberation” weapon of choice  remains a custom-made bomb filled with screws, nails and razor blades. Typically, these flesh-slicing projectiles are first dipped meticulously in some sort of rat poison.

Even when the victims of Palestinian terror include fellow Arabs – which is more frequent than one might suppose – there are never any public statements of regret. And why should there be? After all, the appropriate clerical authorities have ruled repeatedly that “collateral” Arab victims are now “martyrs.” Unlike the Jews and Christians whose lives are judged “without value,” these vastly more fortunate shahids can expect to be propelled by their homicidal blasts directly into Paradise.

What could possibly be better?

Identical clerical exonerations and promises apply to “heroes” who eagerly drive their cars or trucks into crowds of vulnerable pedestrians,. If shot by bystanders or police, these terrorists immediately become shahids

Even today, even after it has become obvious that they can never “win,” not a single Arab/Islamist terror organization recognizes the basic right of Israel to remain “alive.”  Each group – including “moderate” Fatah – remains dedicated to the immutable idea that any real peace with Israel is an intolerable abomination to Islam. Facing such implacable enemies within our self-help system of international law, Israel’s security options must always include the residual right of targeting  identifiable terrorist leaders.

Again, determining whether or not such last-resort self-help remedies are operationally sound represents another question altogether. This query is best asked the military and must always be kept logically distinct from any considerations of law.

What is most noteworthy about targeted killing as counter-terrorism is not its permissibility, but the general unwillingness of our international community to acknowledge this right. When British or  French newspapers and magazines discuss Palestinian Arab violence against Israeli noncombatants, they normally speak only of “militants.” But when the subject becomes Jihadist bombings or attacks in London and Paris, they speak only of “terrorists.”

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Israel’s more-or-less continuous policy of going after terrorist leaders has been undertaken with reluctance. For years, first under “Oslo” and later under the “Road Map,” Israel has given its self-declared Palestinian foes every opportunity for compromise, always in the vain hope that with such accommodations, the country would no longer need to turn to these remedies of self-protection. Most recognizable, in this connection, are the several mass terrorist releases undertaken by Jerusalem. These unreciprocated gestures continue to have sad and murderous outcomes.

Understandably, as the country soon celebrates another Independence Day, Israel is still hoping for peace. Hoping against hope, Jerusalem has remained steadfastly determined to show “good faith,” even though this stance has always meant “Land For Nothing” and a corresponding loss of Israeli lives. The Jihadist path remains thoroughly planned, unhidden and indifferent to international law. It is a twisted path of  insidious bombings, shootings and vehicular homicides.

Under international law, every state maintains the right and the obligation to protect its citizens. In some residual circumstances, this dual responsibility can extend to targeted killing of terrorist leaders. This responsibility is as well understood in Washington as in Jerusalem, where every president in recent memory has given either nodding or direct approval to terrorist “removal” operations. Moreover, whenever American presidents resort visibly to assassination (which is expressly forbidden by U.S. law) they are acting to defend the presumed interests of the strongest state on Earth.

Israel, on the other hand, is half the size of an American lake (as written above, Lake Michigan) and, given its size, substantially less durable.

More than any other state on earth, Israel faces a persistent threat of national extermination. The Arab world, which generally excludes Israel from its official maps, sometimes expressly applies the term “liquidation” in reference to “The Zionist Entity.” According to the still-unamended Charter of Hamas, which had been embraced by terrorist Mazen Faqha, a previous major Israeli target: “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad…I swear by that (sic) who holds in His hands the Soul of Muhammad: I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I promise to assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill.”

By the standards of contemporary international law, terrorists are known as hostes humani generis or “common enemies of humankind.”  In the fashion of pirates, who were to be hanged by the first persons into whose hands they fell, terrorists are acknowledged international outlaws who fall  within the recognizable scope of “universal jurisdiction.” That Hamas/Islamic Jihad terror-crimes are directed specifically at Israel should remove any lingering doubts about the specific permissibility of Jerusalem’s juridical jurisdiction.

There is also pertinent intellectual history. Support for a limited right to assassination can be found in the classical writings of Aristotle, Plutarch and Cicero, and in Jewish history – ranging from the Sicarii (who flourished at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple) to Lehi (who fought the British mandatory authority).  Should the civilized community of nations ever choose to reject this residual right altogether, it would then have to accept the reciprocally injurious effects heaped upon innocent human life. In the future, as we have already noted, these effects could present in chemical, biological or menacingly nuclear forms.

And, as noted, international law is not a suicide pact. Targeted killings, subject to applicable legal rules of discriminationproportionality, and military necessity, may sometimes offer the least unwelcome form of self-protection and punishment. In those cases where additional terrorist crimes are still being planned, the acceptability of such violent self-help would evidently be much greater.

This vital point of law is incontestable.

In the best of all possible worlds, targeted killing could expect no defensible place in lawful counterterrorism. But we do not yet live in the best of all possible worlds, and the starkly negative aspects of any such assassination should never be evaluated apart from alternative options. In other words, such aspects must always be compared to what could reasonably be expected from these other options.

If the expected costs of targeted assassination appear lower than the expected costs of alternative counterterrorist options, such assassination will emerge as the indisputable rational choice.  However odious it might appear in isolation, targeted killing in such still foreseeable circumstances may represent the least injurious path to improved national and personal safety from terrorism.

Targeted assassinations, even of  Hamas/Islamic Jihad terrorist leaders, will inevitably elicit “civilized” indignation,  even from those who might find full-scale warfare reasonable or appropriate. In essence, the civilizational promise of universal brotherhood remains far from being realized, and  imperiled states such as Israel must reluctantly continue to confront difficult operational choices.  In facing such painful choices, these exposed states will discover that tactical alternatives to a targeted-killing option must also include violence, and that these alternatives could (immediately or eventually) exact a much larger human toll.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel National News

Living with Terror: Observations on how Israelis Deal with Rockets from Palestinian Arab Terrorists in Gaza

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 00:00

You could be forgiven if you hadn’t heard of the latest round of Palestinian Arab terrorists firing an unprecedented barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israel this past weekend.  Since most of the world media broadcast limited details, if you’ve heard about it, odds are that you’ve only heard part of the reality, if at all.

Following please find a variety of observations about the situation that you’ve probably not heard of or considered to give you a sense of what life is like on the ground.

Another battle, not a war – with this week being Israel’s 71st Independence Day, the latest barrage of missiles underscores that this is another battle in the war that began 71 years ago and that has never ended. Israel has not known a day of peace in 71 years.

Who started it – foreign media reports have suggested that Israel started the latest round of violence, indiscriminately, and that the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza merely responded. In fact, a terrorist sniper shot an Israeli soldier Friday night and Israel responded. Reports also are that the terrorists responded to Israel destroying another terror tunnel that crossed the border from Gaza to Israel.

Pray for the victims – the names of the four victims who have the distinction of being the newest of more than 3100 Israeli civilians killed in terror attacks on the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day are Pinchas Menachem Prezuazman, 21, Moshe Agadi, 58; Zaid al-Hamamdeh, 47; and Moshe Feder, 68.

What’s a few rockets between neighbors – Palestinian Arab terrorist fired some 690 projectiles at Israel during the 41 hours of fighting from Saturday morning to Monday — the largest-ever number of projectiles fired from Gaza in a two-day period. During one hour, 7:00- 8:00 p.m. on Sunday evening, at least 117 rockets were fired at the city of Ashdod. Only one of the projectiles made it past Israel’s air defenses.

Terrorist color war – Gaza is dominated by Hamas but there are other terror groups that operate there. They compete for hegemony, followers, and money. Their “sport” is terror. It’s understood that Islamic Jihad instigated the latest round. However, not to be outdone, Hamas joined in to compete to be the most aggressive and not lose control.

Welcome to Ramadan – most religions celebrate their holy seasons with prayer and introspection. As Ramadan began this week Islamic terrorists welcome their holy month with belligerence, their common denominator.

Threats to shut down Eurovision – On May 14 Israel is hosting the international musical competition, Eurovision, with participants from 41 countries and thousands of tourists. The terrorists want to hold Israel hostage, threatening to shut down Eurovision by escalating the violence. Israelis are debating whether we should take care of business in Gaza even if that means Eurovision being canceled. Others think that we need to be sure Eurovision goes on because if the terrorists succeed, there will never be an end as to what they can and threaten in the future.

Red Alert annoying – like many Israelis and its supporters, we have apps that sound whenever there is an air raid siren in Israel. These days the Red Alert sirens have sounded like a room full of slot machines hitting the jackpot, over and over and over. Designed to keep people safe, these also create stress particularly among children.

Frightened to shower – at one point one of my kids was going to take a shower. While we are far from the front line (for now) and would have 90 seconds to get cover if there were to be an air raid siren, the stress of something as mundane as being in the shower and hearing (or not) an air raid siren is hard to deal with.  How much more so for people who have 15-30 seconds to get cover within just a few miles of Gaza!

Protecting our children – Israelis went to great lengths to protect their children physically as well as psychologically. In one case, so as not to make her child more frightened, a mother spoke on national TV about how she told her child that the rockets and counter measures exploding overhead were fireworks.

No public mourning – As Israeli victims are buried, public warnings are issued people not go to the funerals because cemeteries don’t have public bomb shelters in case of an air raid.

No public parties – people who scheduled weddings or other family celebrations within 40km of the Gaza border had to cancel or rethink plans. In one case a couple was told they had to uninvite 70% of the guests to their wedding because the wedding hall did not have space in bomb shelters for everyone.

Dozens injured and treated for shock – in addition to those killed, dozens have been injured and treated for shock.  This doesn’t include children who are scared and suffering PTSD by the thousands.

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Schools and workplaces closed – Israel has employed emergency measures within 25 miles of the Gaza border. Schools, universities and places of work are closed, disrupting the ability to attempt to have any sense of normalcy.

Parents stay home – even if parents were able to get to work, they need to stay home with their kids who can’t go to school, much less go out of the house, for fear of a rocket attack.

Several hundred rockets – as of Monday morning, several hundred rockets and mortars have been fired at dozens of Israeli communities in about 36 hours. Rockets are packed with shrapnel to maximize injuries.

No other country would behave like this – a familiar mantra that’s heard in Israel and abroad where people know what’s going on. We sometimes say it as a matter of pride, that we don’t go in with an all-out blitz. But other than bemoaning the situation, or engaging in an all-out war to clean up the terrorist situation once and for all, there are limited answers and many more questions.

Israel values life and invests to protect its citizens – The irony is that the Iron Dome probably protects Palestinian Arabs more than their own leaders do. If a fraction of the rockets fired at Israel were not shot down and hit their targets, Israel would have no choice but to respond in a way that would cause much more collateral damage and many more casualties among Gazan Arabs.

Terrorists value death – When they die, they win. When we die, they win. For terrorists it’s all about death.

A distraction – one wonders if this is not all a set up for a more serious drone or other attack from Gaza, or from Lebanon. Israel needs to be on alert, and imagine any possible means of attack from all directions.

Life is surprisingly normal – for the 80% of Israelis not in the line of fire (yet), life has been surprisingly normal: people go to school, work, shopping and play sports as usual. In Jerusalem one sees Palestinian Arabs and Jews mingling freely as if nothing is going on. Arab teens can be seen taking selfies and bantering in Arabic and mingling with Israeli Jews in public as if nothing was going on 50 miles to the south.

The hazard of the news – broadcasts from areas under fire are interrupted by announcements of all the places that air raid sirens are being sounded. When air raid sirens interrupt live broadcasts where they are sitting, the anchors quickly get up and go to public bomb shelters with everyone else.

Open house – throughout Israel, people have opened their homes to host strangers whose lives have been impacted. Hotels and guest houses have offered their vacant rooms. Israel is like one small community and when pushed hard, we become closer.

National test in “citizenship” – in 11th and 12th grade, standardized tests in the same subject are taken on the same day throughout the country. This week is the test in “citizenship.” For the students in the areas under rocket fire who can’t go to school, the tests will be postponed. However, this week their very lives embody a text in citizenship, albeit nor for a grade.

Celebration and mourning – how do we celebrate Independence Day and observe Memorial Day this week, with four new victims and a heavy heart over the situation clouding the festive day?

Cease fire – even if there is a cease fire, there are two catches. Each time Hamas increases terror and things get too close for comfort, meaning that they are not deriving any benefits, they need to climb down from the tree they put themselves in. To do so they increase demands from Israel so when they back down they can somehow claim victory. Second, while Hamas might agree to a cease fire (to restock rockets for next time), Islamic Jihad and other terror organizations will resist, in order to try to challenge Hamas for leadership and influence.

No end – The conflict will never end as long as there are Islamic terrorists that want to kill Israelis and Israelis who don’t want to be killed. If the Arabs put down their weapons, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons, there would be no more Israel.

Two Saudi Oil Tankers Attacked Raising Tensions Between US and Iran

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:35

Two Saudi Arabian oil tankers were targeted by “sabotage attacks” adding more heat to the regional tensions.

Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, announced to the state-run media on Monday morning that two of his nation’s oil tankers were targeted in a “sabotage attack” off the coast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The site of the attacks is less than 100 miles from the vital Strait of Hormuz shipping channel. The tankers sustained “significant damage.”

He said: “Fortunately, the attack didn’t lead to any casualties or oil spill; however, it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels.”

The UAE on Sunday said an alleged sabotage attack targeted four boats, without elaborating or naming suspects. It is believed that one of the vessels was Norwegian.

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Reuters reported INTERTANKO, an association of independent tanker owners and operators, saying that it had seen pictures of “at least two ships have holes in their sides due to the impact of a weapon,” and that “trading and shipping sources identified the Saudi vessels as Bahri-owned very large crude carrier (VLCC) tanker Amjad and crude tanker Al Marzoqah.”

The Saudi Foreign Ministry published a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency on Monday, saying, “this criminal act poses a serious threat to the security and safety of maritime traffic, which reflects negatively on regional and international peace and security.”

Though it is still unknown who was responsible for the attack, the timing raises suspicions that indicate that Iran may be involved. Last week, the U.S. Maritime Administration issued a warning to commercial shipping companies that from the beginning of May there had been, “an increased possibility that Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against U.S. and partner interests, including oil production infrastructure, after recently threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf.”

The White House ordered the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region on May 4, indicating heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

The statement from the Saudi government on the alleged “sabotage attacks” off the United Arab Emirates port at Fujairah came just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets aired false reports of explosions at the port in Fujairah.

Britain’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt warned that such incidents could spark a larger conflict.

“We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident with an escalation that is unintended,” Hunt said about the incident.

Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani,  the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, agreed with that assessment.

“Such irresponsible acts will increase tension and conflicts in the region and expose its peoples to great danger,” Al Zayani said in a statement.

Are the Palestinians Planning Another Round of Temple Mount Violence?

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 07:41

Ramadan began eight days ago and the security situation is already heating up the Temple Mount, threatening to be as violent as it has been in the past.

Muslim prayers at the site on Fridays during the month-long Ramadan period are usually well attended and this year is no exception. An estimated 135-180,000 Muslims ascended to the Temple Mount for the first Friday of this Ramadan, 50 percent more than attended the same event last year. The Israeli police deployed hundreds of security personnel in preparation for the day, protecting the Muslims’ right to worship as well as the peace and order of the city.

Police units in Jerusalem secured the first Friday events for Ramadan in the old city. @IL_police forces secured over 135,000 people that took part in the prayers on the Temple Mount pic.twitter.com/560oX2faoR

— Israel Police (@israelpolice) May 10, 2019

The Israeli government eased travel restrictions, allowing some 75,000 people from the Judea and Samaria to pass through security checkpoints into Jerusalem. Men over the age of 40 and children under 12 will be allowed to enter the city on Fridays during the month of Ramadan, while there are no restrictions on women, the Israeli army announced.

Ramadan is supposed to be a period of intense devotion during which Muslims refrain from eating or drinking during the day but in the past, the Ramadan period has also been a period of intensified violence, most particularly on the Temple Mount. This was especially true last year as Palestinians rioted on the Temple Mount in order to show unity with Gazans rioting on the southern border.

In 2017, a wave of deadly terrorist attacks took place in the Old City during the last part of Ramadan. An Israeli policewoman was stabbed to death and four other police officers were injured in a shooting attack.  This mirrored terrorist attacks in London, Paris, Asia, Iran, and Australia. Coptic Christians were targeted by deadly attacks in Egypt.

The Temple Mount was closed to Jews for several days in 2016 in the wake of Palestinian riots over non-Muslim visitation during the Ramadan period.

This Ramadan cycle may follow suit. Just after midnight on Saturday night, clashes between Israeli police and Muslims broke out. Palestinian media reported that a large number of Israeli police officers entered the complex and started removing Palestinians from inside, resorting to tear gas to control the crowds. Riots again broke out on the Temple Mount on Sunday night after the prayers ending the Ramadan fast.

דיווחים פלסטיניים: כוחות משטרה מפנים מתפללים מוסלמים מאזור הר הבית@yaara_shapira pic.twitter.com/KpFr6MF7do

— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) May 11, 2019

Assaf Fried, the spokesman for the Temple Organizations, explained that the Ramadan disturbances were to be expected.

“For the time being, the police are still ensuring that Jews can ascend to the Temple Mount in the morning. In the past, the response to Muslim violence was to close the site entirely to non-Muslims.  This is by far the simplest solution. The police are currently going to great efforts to protect the rights of Muslims and Jews.”

Fried explained that the violence is directed at changing the status quo. He compared this to riots which broke out on the Temple Mount in March, focusing on area adjacent to Sha’ar HaRachamim (Gate of Mercy, also known as the Golden Gate) in the Temple Mount compound. The site was locked 16 years ago by court order after it was used as a meeting place for a Hamas-affiliated organization. The Palestinians usurped the area, declaring it a prayer area for exclusively Muslim use. The actions were in contravention of agreements signed between Israel and the Waqf (Muslim authority) under the auspices of Jordan. The area is still being used as a Muslim prayer area.

“The police are functioning very well and it is entirely to their merit that a major conflict has not broken out at the site,” Fried said. “The Muslims remain after prayers and it is clear from their actions that they are gathering forces to riot. Everything is seen on the security cameras and the police understand the situation precisely. They step in and remove the Muslims before the situation explodes. The Palestinians have done this many times already on Ramadan and on other Muslim holidays.”

“For now, it is quiet on the Temple Mount thanks to the amazing work of the Israeli police, not because of the Muslims,” Fried said. “But what will be tomorrow, no one can tell.”

 

II KINGS 20:20

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 07:19

South of Jerusalem’s Old City is an Arab neighborhood. Down the hill from the Temple Mount and in the heart of the Arab neighborhood of Silwan is a pool of water. Silwan is the Arabic name for Shiloah, the pool fed by the Gihon Spring mentioned in this verse.

Now It’s Tlaib’s Turn; Congresswoman Attempts to Rewrite Palestinian-Arab History

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 05:05

Freshman Congresswoman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) has joined the antisemitism carousel by claiming that her Palestinian ancestors provided a safe haven for Jews after the horrors of the Holocaust.

Interviewed on the skullduggery podcast, Tlaib indulged in casuistry and thought-vomit, and it is difficult to countenance such an egregious re-writing of history.

Tlaib – either wilfully or accidentally (it is not clear), fudges historical record in saying that her family provided succor to Jews escaping the European inferno and at the same time, draws direct parallels between the Jewish experience in the immediate post-war period and Palestinians of today.

One of the most eye-opening responses to the interviewer asking her about her support for a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. She claimed that it is Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is responsible for the death of the prospects of a two-state solution, rather than the murderous Islamist rejectionists of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and even sections of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.

Although she also claimed that she did not intend her “one-state solution should be compared to Hamas, in this context, it means a Jew-free Palestinian state stretching from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean Sea – and bordering that other Palestinian state, The Kingdom of Jordan.

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“There’s always kind of a calming feeling when I think of the tragedy of the Holocaust, that it was my ancestors — Palestinians — who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence, in many ways, has been wiped out … in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-Holocaust, post-tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that in many ways,” said Tlaib.

Arab rejection of any Jewish immigration saw a spike during the British Mandate – and it was due to threats of Arab violence – orchestrated by the Hitler-supporting Haj Amin al-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, which led the British Mandate authorities to limit the number of Jews able to flee from the gathering inferno.

Unsurprisingly, Tlaib has faced a wave of criticism for her inaccuracies. Even more obviously she has hit back at those critiques, with claims of racism and Islamophobia, rather than accepting when people reflected her words back at her.

Statement on lies being spread regarding Congresswoman Tlaib’s appearance on Yahoo’s SkullDuggery Podcast. pic.twitter.com/fBASeibLwV

— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) May 13, 2019

This kind of selective reading of history is inherently dangerous – no matter from which quarter it is drawn. When there is ample photographic and written evidence of the leader of Palestine’s Arabs (they did not call themselves Palestinians during this period) meeting with high-ranking Nazis, including Adolf Hitler, and encouraging the murder of Palestine’s Jews after the European Jewish population had been annihilated, it is impossible to stay silent.

Made in Israel: Water

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 03:41

Because more than half of Israel is desert, the lack of clean water is a life-or-death issue. This video examines several of the ways that Israel conserves water, including desalination, drip irrigation and recycling.

Hezbollah Leader Calls for ‘Stepped Up’ Fundraising

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 03:21

“Again we need greater solidarity … the Resistance needs popular assistance. This [fundraising] activity must be stepped up.” This March 8, 2019, appeal by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to the organization’s supporters to increase their donations is an indication of the financial difficulties Hezbollah has found itself in following the recent tightening of American sanctions on it and on its sponsor Iran.

The UAE-owned, London-based Al-Arab daily reported that American pressure has also impacted the revenues Hezbollah receives from Iraq via the contraband oil trade and allocations by Hashd Al-Sha’bi—the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) umbrella organization of Iran-backed Iraqi Shi’ite militias that are part of the Iraqi armed forces.

According to Arab and Western media reports, after the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran a year ago, Hezbollah streamlined operations and instituted sweeping cutbacks, even cutting fighters’ salaries.

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This is not the first time Hezbollah has appealed to its supporters for aid; in 2015, after serious defeats in Syria, it asked supporters to help equip its fighters. In May 2016, it again turned to supporters for donations, after Bank of Lebanon Governor Riad Salamé ordered Lebanese banks to implement the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, passed by the United States Congress in December 2015.

It appears that most of the funds Hezbollah raises from its supporters are in cash, in order to circumvent sanctions, so it is difficult to ascertain how much it is raising. In a video released March 23, 2019, Nasrallah stated that in just a few weeks Hezbollah had raised $2 million. About a week later, the Lebanese press reported it had raised between $7 million and $10 million.

However, Hezbollah is not likely to be able to meet its deficits if Iran reduces the estimated $700 million it provides to Hezbollah annually.

The rest of this article can be found on the MEMRI website.

Precautionary Steps

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 03:10

Last week, the US deployed an aircraft carrier – the USS Abraham Lincoln – to the Persian Gulf in a move Iran characterized as “psychological warfare.” The US decision was reportedly made after Israel’s Mossad intelligence services warned about a possible plot by Iran to attack US interests in the Gulf.

(Credit: Feintooner)

Are US and Iran Headed for a Military Conflict?

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 02:59

Iran said it would not negotiate any deal with the United States. It also claimed the U.S. wouldn’t dare attack its forces. But are the two countries really headed for military clashes?

Palestinian Propaganda Rockets Forward

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 02:00

In the ongoing ideological war against Israel, the Palestinians are as usual lying about civilian deaths in the recent rocket attacks from Hamas, and Israel’s response.

From May 4-6, Israel responded to the hundreds of rocket attacks from Gaza; four Israeli civilians were murdered.

Of the 23 Palestinians killed, 17 were from Palestinian terror groups, including Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Fatah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, reported that 27 Palestinians were killed, but he did not provide names or details. This was because when the terrorists (and their friends in global media) accuse Israel of murder, they do not want people to know the circumstances of those deaths. For example:

“The list issued by the spokesman for the ministry of health’s list also included a pregnant woman and an infant who were killed when a rocket fired by the terrorist organizations misfired (see below), and an unborn baby still in its mother’s womb when she was killed. (The mother belonged to the Hamas security forces).”

This information was provided by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

In a notice released by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the eight men of this unit were pictured, under the heading “Men of the Victory.”

Needless to say, the whole affair was another disaster for the Palestinians, yet the mindless propaganda deludes the population into believing they “won” something over Israel!

Among the terrorists killed:

“Abdallah Abd al-Rahim al-Mahoun, 22, from western Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. Killed in an attack on his father’s house in the northern Gaza Strip (Ashraf al-Qidra’s Facebook page, May 5, 2019). Three civilians were killed along with him. The PIJ’s military wing said Abdallah al-Madhoun, from western Beit Lahia, was an operative in its ranks (Jerusalem Brigades website, May 5, 2019).”

Did you catch that? Three civilians were killed alongside him. This is the cult of death known as Gaza Strip society. One picture this week showed an Israeli man covering another and the man’s small child as rocket sirens blared. Here is the stark contrast between Israelis and Arabs: one side prioritizes life, while the other glorifies death and murder.

Here’s a short profile of another terrorist killed:

“Talal Atiya Muhammad Abu al-Jadyan, 46, killed in an attack on the Sheikh Zaeid Towers in the northern Gaza Strip (al-Quds, May 6, 2019). The PFLP issued a mourning notice for him, indicating he was member of the organization (PFLP website, May 6, 2019). He was detained in Israel during the first intifada. Worked as a security guard in al-Awda Hospital (affiliated with the PFLP) in the northern Gaza Strip.”

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If he was detained during the First Intifada (in the 1980s), he was merely a teenager when he got involved in terrorist activities. This buttresses claims by Israel that Palestinians are raised on a culture of death from the cradle up. This is unconscionable, but the international community insanely blames Israel for the violence.

Finally, I would like to give you the name of Maria Ahmed Ramadan al-Ghazali, a four-month-old killed in an Israeli strike. She was put in harm’s way by her mother, Iman Abdullah Musa Asraf, an officer in the Hamas security forces!

Here in America, we are preparing to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday. Most of us have wonderful mothers, and we honor them for their sacrifices and love for us. Yet in Gaza, a baby was put in harm’s way by her own mother, herself raised on a diet of hatred and death.

For those of us who are Christian believers, we can take solace in the fact that little Maria is now free from the grip of the demonic Allah, and now sees the face of the true God.

Like many of you, I long for the day when the Messiah will put down all this madness once and for all and usher-in righteousness in all the earth.

May it happen today, Lord.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Rapture Ready

Notre Dame: Christianity Is Desecrated in Europe

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 01:00

Mystery surrounds the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the very symbol for France’s Christian heritage. Even before the fire was extinguished, French authorities stated that the Notre Dame fire was a “mistake due to renovation.” How did they already know? Paris’ Church of St. Sulpice burned just a few days earlier, on Sunday, March 17, set afire by arson – as many churches have in France the past year. Still, French authorities ruled out arson in Notre Dame even before an inquiry into the matter, which some characterized as a political decision.

The Notre Dame consumed by flames was instantly described by the joint mainstream media as an isolated happening. Why? Over 1,000 churches have been set afire, vandalized and subjugated to theft in France in 2018 alone. Over 80 percent of the desecrated places of worship in France are Christian churches, according to police reports. It is a massive scandal.

The situation is horrifying: In the same period as the Notre Dame burning, the Saint-Denis basilica outside Paris was vandalized, and in Notre-Dame-des-Enfants, in Nimes, human poo was formed as a cross on a wall, its consecrated bread found in the garbage. Human excrement is smeared on and in French churches on a regular basis, a well-known method to demonstrate hatred against that which is sacred.

Two churches are now desecrated every day, yet French politicians remain locked behind a code of silence, including the clergy. Very little is done to stop it, though the rumors state that the priesthood and church leaders are desperately pleading for the government to react. This is a scandal of gigantic proportions and a blatant attack on France’s traditional values. What if Notre Dame were a mosque or a synagogue? The uproar would have been at an all-time high. Yet, the media hardly mention the attacks on churches, as the truth about the slow killing of Christianity in France is silenced.

The examples are seemingly endless. As Islamic scholar Raymond Ibrahim writes, the St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Houilles was vandalized on three separate occasions in February; a 19th century statue of the Virgin Mary deemed “irreparable” was “completely pulverized,” and a hanging cross was thrown to the floor. The Saint-Alain Cathedral at Lavaur was desecrated and crosses smashed, the altar cloth burned and the arms of a crucified Christ mutilated in a mocking manner. Ibrahim adds that a January 2017 study revealed that “Islamist extremist attacks on Christians” in France rose by 38 percent, going from 273 attacks in 2015 to 376 in 2016. As the French media do not mention the ethnic origin of the perpetrators, it is hard to know to which degree the vandalization is linked to Muslims or secular extremists, yet smearing poo on churches and leaving excrement on altars is hardly a typical European way of demonstrating disdain.

There are other driving forces. Notre Dame is state-owned and was not insured. The building was in a very poor state; the government had for years halted the urges from the clergy to renovate. The wooden roof where the fire “started” was allegedly not under renovation with no workers there, and the French government recently removed many of the valuable artifacts.

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One thing is certain: The spate of attacks on churches in France is not deemed an important issue by its radically secular elites, who for decades have sought to undermine France’s Christian traditional values as outdated. If they cared, they would have done something about it.

Ever since the French Revolution, the mocking of religion and disdain for priests has been a national trait. When the magazine Charlie Hebdo, on its one year marking after the 2015 terrorist attack, chose to print a blasphemous picture, depicting God with blood on his clothing, saying he was the real perpetrator of the attack, the Vatican stated that the cover was sacrilegious: “Behind the deceptive flag of an uncompromising secularism, the French Weekly once again forgets what religious leaders of every faith have been urging for ages – to reject violence in the name of religion and that using God to justify hatred is a genuine blasphemy,” adding that Charlie Hebdo does not want to respect believers’ faith in God.

In the aftermath of the Notre Dame burning, French officials have largely focused on its cultural value, billionaires now saving the French state from the restoration expenses, yet few focus on the church’ spiritual heritage as the most valuable element. Was religion dead in France – and traditional European culture with it – long before Notre Dame burned?

Reprinted with author’s permission from Raymond Ibrahim

The Middle East Anti-Peace Movement

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 00:00

[The Jordanian mayor] went on to say that he believes in the “liberation of Palestine, from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River” – meaning that he supports the elimination of Israel.

The campaign against the Jordanian mayor is the direct result of anti-Israel incitement in Jordan and most of the Arab and Islamic states. While some of the leaders of these countries may appear to be relatively moderate in their views towards Israel, their people continue to reject any form of normalization with the “Zionist enemy.”

For decades, Arab and Muslim leaders have been radicalizing their people on a daily basis against Israel. They have delegitimized Israel in the eyes of their people to a point where they can no longer be seen talking to or making peace with Israelis.

One is left wondering how any Arab leader would accept any peace plan with Israel when a mayor is being widely condemned and shamed for being caught on camera in the company of Israelis.

In order to achieve peace with Israel, Arab and Muslim leaders need to start preparing their people for peace, and not inciting them against Israel.

Ibrahim al-Karaki, the mayor of the Jordanian city of Al-Karak, 87 miles to south of Amman, with a view to the Dead Sea, is under attack for hosting Israeli (Jewish) tourists during the Jewish Passover holiday. His critics have accused him of promoting normalization with the “Israeli enemy” and are demanding his resignation.

Although Jordan has a peace treaty with Israel, many Jordanians remain opposed to any form of normalization with Israelis. The same applies to Egypt, the second Arab country that has a peace treaty with Israel and where the “anti-normalization” camp remains one of the strongest in the Arab world.

Al-Karaki is reported to have helped the Israelis cross a valley that is closed to tourists. His other “crimes” include feeding the Israeli tourists and presenting them with plaques of appreciation from the city.

Because of these “crimes,” the mayor has been facing a massive wave of condemnations from angry Jordanians accusing him of engaging in normalization with the “Zionist enemy.”

“The mayor’s actions have sparked anger among many residents, political parties and activists in his governorate,” according to a report in the Jordanian newspaper Al-Rai. “They considered that what the mayor did as a normalization step with the Zionist enemy. They also said that the mayor’s actions contradict our values and moral, humanitarian and religious heritage, and called on him to apologize and submit his resignation.”

Representatives of various political factions and community leaders in Al-Karak held an emergency meeting during which they denounced the mayor for his interaction with the Israeli tourists. At the end of the rally, they issued a statement that said that the mayor “is no longer a representative of the sons of Al-Karak, who reject normalization with the Zionist entity.” The statement also called on the members of the municipal council immediately to resign and quoted a verse from the Koran that says: “O you who have believed, do not take My enemy and your enemy as guardians/allies.” (60:1)

Shortly after the rally, Al-Karak municipal council member Khaled Bkaeen announced his resignation. He was the first council member to resign in protest over the mayor’s “crimes.” Other council members, meanwhile, issued statements strongly condemning al-Karaki for welcoming and helping the Israeli tourists. They said that the mayor had acted on his own and did not represent the city when he met with the Israelis.

The embattled mayor has gone on the defensive, claiming he was not aware of the identity of the tourists when he helped them and received them in his city. In a video posted on his Facebook account, al-Karaki apologized to the residents of his city and all Jordanians and denied engaging in normalization with Israel. “We are against normalization and the Zionist entity,” the mayor said. “I thought that what I did was a humanitarian act. If you believe that I made a mistake and offended your feelings, I apologize. As mayor of Al-Karak, I did what I did out of a humanitarian motive.” He went on to say that he believes in the “liberation of Palestine, from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River” – meaning that he supports the elimination of Israel.

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Despite the apology and call for destroying Israel, many Jordanians continued to call for the mayor’s resignation. “The mayor’s apology and claim of ignorance do not exempt him from his responsibility,” commented Dima Tahboub, a member of the Jordanian parliament. “The only acceptable thing is for him to quit his job so he could be replaced by someone else.”

Journalist Rania al-Sarayra, a resident of Al-Karak, also rejected the mayor’s apology and called on him immediately to resign. “He should be fired and held to account,” she said. “His apology does not change anything.”

In addition, scores of Al-Karak residents took to the streets after Friday prayers to protest their mayor’s “crimes.” During the protest, the angry residents burned the Israeli flag and stressed their opposition to any form of normalization with the “Zionist enemy.”

Jordanian writer and political analyst Anis Khasawneh joined the vicious campaign against the mayor. He wrote: “We do not want their tourists, and the Zionists need to realize that they are not welcome in Al-Karak and other Jordanian lands. The mayor must apologize not only to the residents of his city who elected him and made him an important public figure, but also to all Jordanians. It is painful and even shameful for an elected mayor to host Zionist tourists and honor them in the name of an ancient city.”

The campaign against the Jordanian mayor is the direct result of anti-Israel incitement in Jordan and most of the Arab and Islamic states. While some of the leaders of these countries may appear to be relatively moderate in their views towards Israel, their people continue to reject any form of normalization with the “Zionist enemy.” One of the reasons for this deep hatred of Israel may be attributed to the ongoing anti-Israel incitement by the leaders themselves.

For decades, Arab and Muslim leaders have been radicalizing their people on a daily basis against Israel. They have delegitimized Israel in the eyes of their people to a point where they can no longer be seen talking to or making peace with Israelis. A leader who promotes boycotts and sanctions against Israel will be condemned by his people if and when he is seen talking to or doing business with Israelis.

Sadly, instead of defending his humanitarian action of helping tourists visiting his city, the mayor of Al-Karak has chosen to appease his critics by voicing his support for the “liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.” Even this extremist message has failed to placate his critics, who continue to call for his resignation and punishment.

The incident in Al-Karak comes weeks before the announcement of US President Donald J. Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the “deal of the century.” One is left wondering how any Arab leader would accept any peace plan with Israel when a mayor is being widely condemned and shamed for being caught on camera in the company of Israelis. In order to achieve peace with Israel, Arab and Muslim leaders need to start preparing their people for peace, and not inciting them against Israel.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Gatestone Institute