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AIPAC Roundup: The Best Quotes and Speeches of AIPAC Policy Conference 2018

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 03:15

A crowd of more than 18,000 pro-Israel advocates gathered in Washington D.C. on March 4 to 6  for the 2018 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference. This year, the annual conference included the participation of student activists from all 50 US states, more than half of the Senate, a third of the House of Representatives, as well as countless Israeli and American policymakers and thought leaders.

Breaking Israel News is eager to bring you the best quotes from the most prominent speakers of the conference so that you don’t miss a beat:

Jimmy Morales

President of the Republic of Guatemala

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales addresses AIPAC’s annual conference, March 4, 2018. (YouTube)


On the decision to move the Guatemala embassy to Jerusalem:

“In May of this year, we will celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary, and under my instructions two days after the US will move its embassy, Guatemala will return and permanently move its embassy to Jerusalem.

“This decision strongly evidences Guatemala’s continued support of Israel.

“We are sure that many other countries will follow in our steps.”


Mike Pence

Vice President of the United States

US Vice President Mike Pence addresses the 2018 AIPAC conference (YouTube)


On the peace process:

“As we gather here, our team – Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, and our great ambassador [David Friedman] – are hard at work crafting our administration’s vision for peace. And while any peace will undoubtedly require compromise, know this: The United States of America will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish State of Israel.

“The winds of change are blowing across the Middle East. Old foes are finding new ground for cooperation.”

“Dangerous provocations will not go unchecked by Israel, America, or our allies. […] Unless the Iran nuclear deal is fixed in the coming months, the United States will withdraw from the deal immediately.”

“We will not allow the defeat of ISIS to become a victory for Iran […] The U.S. will never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”

On the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem:

“President Trump made his decision in the best interests of the United States, and this decision is also in the best interests of peace. We chose facts over fiction, and facts are the only foundation for a true and lasting peace. The United States remains fully committed to achieving a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. If both sides agree, the United States of America will support a two-state solution.”


Ambassador Nikki R. Haley

US Permanent Representative to the United Nations

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley addresses the 2018 AIPAC conference. (YouTube)


On Working in the United Nations:

“When I come to AIPAC, I am with friends. And at the UN, we don’t usually have very many friends.

“At the UN and throughout the UN agencies, Israel does get bullied. It gets bullied because the countries that don’t like Israel are used to being able to get away with it. That just doesn’t sit well with me.”

“My father wore a Turban and my mother wore a Sari, I stood up to bullying then, and I will stand up to bullying Israel at the UN.”

“Some of you might have seen that the top Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, recently had some advice for me. He told me to shut up. Mr. Erekat, I will always be respectful, but I will never shut up.”

“The UN spends more than half of its time singling out one country. We will not stand for it any longer.”

“We will not tolerate a situation that a world body of 198 countries can spend half their time attacking one country: Israel. What used to be a monthly Israel bashing session now at least has more balance. But we’re never going to put up with bullying.”

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Prime Minister of the State of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the AIPAC Conference in Washington DC, US, on March 6, 2018 (Photo by Haim Zach / GPO)


On Isolationism:

“You remember people talked about Israel’s isolation? You remember that? Israel’s isolation? Pretty soon, the countries that don’t have relations with us, they’re going to be isolated. There are those who talk about boycotting Israel? We’ll boycott them.”

On Iran:

“If I have a message for you today, it’s a very simple one: We must stop Iran. We will stop Iran.

“Last week, we read in the Book of Esther about an earlier Persian attempt to exterminate our people. [Referring to the Jewish holiday of Purim] They failed then. They’ll fail now.

“[The day will come] when this horrible tyranny will disappear, will perish from the earth and at that point, the historic friendship between the people of Israel and the people of Persia will be reestablished. Today we have Haman. Tomorrow we’ll have Cyrus and friendship and peace.”

On the peace process:

“I believe President Abbas should find better use for this money [referring to the Palestinian Authority’s payment of $350 million per year to terrorists and their families] to build, roads, schools, hospitals, factories. Build life, don’t pay death. Invest in life, invest in peace.”

On US-Israel Relations:

“What is this beautiful alliance [between the U.S. and Israel] made of? It’s made of our shared values. That’s the wellspring of the great alliance between our two countries.”


His Excellency Edi Rama

Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania

Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama at the 2018 AIPAC conference. (YouTube)


On Albania-Jewish-Israel Relations:

“I’m very honored and very humbled to speak in front of your audience as the Prime Minister of Albania, a country where there were more Jews after the Second World War than before. And the salvation of Jews during the Second World War is a very shining page of our history, but not the only one concerning the relations of Jews with Albania.

“Your ancestors came to find refuge in Albania three other times before – in the 1st century, in the 15th century, in the 70th century, and they always found it. So our relation with the State of Israel is very special and excellent and, of course, we want to see it develop and we want to see more happening between us.

“I want to share with you that I’m personally engaged to build a Jewish-Albanian friendship cultural center in the heart of Tirana, our capital city, and we have engaged the great author of the Holocaust Museum in Berlin, Daniel Libeskind, who is working with us for a project.

“Albania as a country of Muslims and Christians, but it’s also fully committed against terrorism and violent extremism, and this makes us natural allies in nowadays in a common front against these enemies. We are building in Tirana also a regional center against violent extremism, and Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised that Israel will be among the partners for making this center a point of reference in the whole region.”


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Hamas: Full Steam Ahead to Nowhere

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 02:00

When the “Islamic Resistance Movement” – the full name of Hamas – took over Gaza in 2007, some pundits expressed the opinion, or more accurately the hope, that once Hamas has a state and is responsible for its drinking water, gasoline, electricity, employment, and food, it will have no choice but to become more moderate. These commentators predicted Hamas would soon prefer governing to continued jihad, exchange terror for running a state, develop political tools instead of war, adopting a political stance instead of armed conflict. Every one of those pundits and observers was could not have been more wrong, because no Islamic terror organization abandons terror without being seen as an organization that has abandoned Islam as well.

In actual fact, what has happened is a peculiar process that could only occur in Islamic societies. It is a self-destructing or self-immolating process that can be traced to a specific trait of Islamic organizations. This process is a function of the collective belief shared by Islamic leaders that it is a religious obligation to stick to their political principles – and that any deviation from total allegiance to those principles will result in their falling victim to skewed, subjective criticism aimed at them personally by others whose religious image is more vivid, more faith-based and therefore more trustworthy.

On the other hand, Hamas also wants to seem like a political organization, so it ran in the legislative elections in 2006, winning a majority of the seats.  Now it is getting ready for presidential elections where it hopes to conquer the seat of the PA President. Hamas’s problem is the inherent contradiction between two roles: Being a political organization that takes part in political life in  the PA  and which therefore must adopt suitable patterns of  behavior, headed by pragmatic flexibility and the ability to talk  to Israel about basic issues – and at the same time continuing to act according to the principle that forbids moving off the path dictated by Allah,  who only allows his earthly representatives  to talk to the Zionists about technical issues such as transferring food, water, gasoline, electricity, and medical services.

From the standpoint of Hamas, it is not so bad if the Gaza Muslims suffer because that is considered  “bla’a”,  one of the tests Allah presents to believers in order to decide whether or not they deserve a passport to Paradise when the time comes. That explains why Hamas is so ready to sacrifice hundreds and even thousands of victims in every military encounter with us, and why the Arab world media present the situation as a victory for Hamas and a defeat for Israel, convincing the world that they are telling the truth, when actually, just the opposite is the case.  The price for this delusionary “victory” is paid by the man in the Gaza street, whose family members are dead or wounded,  and who has to live with a destroyed infrastructure. The man in the street is not in the Hamas camp on this issue because he is much more pragmatic than those who have taken over his life – and death.

The religious conceptual framework prevents Hamas from giving in to the Jews or from doing anything that might be interpreted as giving in to them, including freeing prisoners or the bodies of fallen soldiers who have fallen into Hamas hands, and even from giving out information about them. Anyone with a connection to the issue knows full well that Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul  are, to our great sorrow, not among the living, but Hamas spokesmen continue  to throw sand in the  eyes of the Palestinian Arabs, saying that they will not divulge any details about the two, not even  whether they are alive or dead, as if there could be any chance they are still alive.

From a religious standpoint, Hamas is mired in a dark and dismal swamp. During the 1400 years since the dawn of Islamic history, there were Muslim regimes that treated strangers with respect, refrained from attacking countries more powerful than they, and cared about the economic conditions of those living under their rule. Hamas is light years away from this type of behavior and is not only uninterested in improving the health, education and living standards of the people of Gaza, it takes step after step to create a picture of suffering and want in order to squeeze donations from the rest of the world.

Another detail that might prevent Gaza from undergoing another violent bout of conflict with Israel – at the expense of the ordinary citizens’ lives, of course, not those of the Hamas leaders whose underground bunkers will protect them – is Hamas readiness to carry out a prisoner exchange with Israel. Yihye Sinwar, the current Hamas leader freed in the Shalit deal, knows that Israel will not free over 1000 prisoners in exchange for corpses, but is pressured by the Hamas prisoners and their families and finds it almost impossible to reach a deal with the Israelis that results in fewer prisoners being freed than were when he was part of an exchange.

Do you get it? Sinwar got himself freed from an Israeli prison, but would he do the same for others? Come on – that’s too much to expect from him. Hamas, instead, is making use of all kinds of mantras to justify its obstinate policy: “We will not cowtow to the Zionist entity on anything!”  “We will not give the Zionists any free information!” “We will continue to struggle for a Palestine from the river to the sea.” No one on the Gaza street believes these mantras anymore, nor do they put their faith in those who post them on the internet or satellite stations.

Hamas does everything it can to publicize the “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza but forgets to tell listeners that the situation there is primarily a result of the way Hamas has governed the region in the last decade.  The organization was given billions of dollars by Qatar and international organizations which do not follow up on what happens to their donations, are recipients of taxes taken off salaries – and what did they do with the money? Did they build schools? Hospitals?  Factories?  Infrastructure? None of the above.

Some of the money found its way into Hamas leaders’ private, hidden bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, the Virgin Islands or other tax havens, some was used to purchase homes and apartments for those leaders – but the majority of the funds, by far, went to build underground tunnels, rockets and other weapons of destruction intended for use in the war to liberate Palestine. So far they have managed to liberate residents of Gaza from any chance they might lead a semblance of normal lives.

And since the Arab world has turned its back on Hamas, the organization is close to bankruptcy, a reason for its new, warm relationship with Iran. Hamas leaders are hoping to obtain money, arms and rockets from Iran – to break the stalemate with Israel. That is the reason they reconnected with Hezbollah and fell victim to its endless war. Now that this war is slowly dying, Hamas is ready to renew its ties to Iran.

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Iran does not hide its leadership’s joy at renewing ties with Hamas. The ayatollahs see Hamas as the long arm of the Iranian octopus extended towards southern Israel, intending to grasp it in a pincer between Hezbollah on the north and Hamas in the south. Will this move improve life in Gaza? Will Hamas succeed in convincing unemployed Gazans – 60% of the Strip’s employable breadwinners – that it is doing this for their benefit?

And then there is the old-new fiasco of the relations with the PLO/PA and the reconciliation, unachievable since Hamas burst on to the Israeli and international scene in 1988 with the outbreak of the First Intifada. The rivalry, hostility, hatred, and jealousy running rampant between the two organizations and the insults each hurls at the other express much more than a political divide. They are the living proof of the collective cultural differences between Judea and Samaria Arabs and those of Gaza. Even the  Arabic spoken in Judea and Samaria is not the same as that of  Gaza, and language – as every fledgling Middle East scholar knows – is the microcosm of culture. Gaza’s culture is that of desert-dwelling Bedouin, while the Arabic spoken by Judea and Samaria Arabs is that used by city and town dwellers. The conflict between the PLO and Hamas is all-embracing: it is over leadership positions, the treasury (the secure place for the corrupt and the breeding ground of corruption), the police and most important: the armed forces. Notwithstanding all the joint papers both sides signed while smiling at international media photographers, the inspired speeches made by spokesmen on both sides lauding the concept of sacred reconciliation – and  despite the public demand to see both the PLO and Hamas working together for their shared goal of establishing a Palestinian Arab state on the ruins of  Israel, the two organizations have failed to rise above their conflicts and keep the promises that lie at the basis of these agreements. They continue to castigate, humiliate and mock one another while the public looks on.

On the other side of the cultural and political equation are the Salafist organizations along the lines of al Qaeda and ISIS. They have active delegations in Gaza, although most of their activists have moved to Sinai. Hamas is engaged in a fight to the death with the organizations engaged in doing to Hamas exactly what that terror organization did to the PLO:  Jihad in the name of Islam, all the while accusing Hamas of abandoning the real jihad and becoming Israel’s ‘Border Patrol’.  Hamas has killed scores of Salafist activists, including over 30 of them cut down by machine gun fire on a street in Rafiah after gas grenades succeeded in making them leave the Ibn Timia mosque.

Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, was supposed to create an alternative religious nationalist ethos in contrast to the secular nationalism led by various Arab organizations. It failed in its attempt to present an Arab nationalist model of a democratic, modern state that protects its citizens and provides for their welfare, health and employment – an ordinary, functioning state that earns the loyalty of its citizens and their identification with it, taking over from the previous focus on the Middle East’s traditional tribal, ethnic, religious and group identities.

The Arab nationalist movements have sunk into the deep morass of despotism. Not one of them has managed to establish and maintain a democratic nation-state on the lines of Israel. The Zionist movement succeeded exactly where the Arab nationalist movements failed, and the Hamas movement was supposed to offer an alternative religious ethos that could unfurl its flag over all the tribal and religious groups living in “Falestin”: Muslims, Christians, Cherkassim, Achmadim. The religious movement failed dismally, one of the reasons being its inability to abandon the principle of Jihad long enough to join up with the PLO and establish a Palestinian Arab state alongside Israel until the time is ripe to destroy the Jewish State. Hamas does not see a way to accept the Jewish states’ existence, even on a temporary basis, and is obligated to maintain a constant state of war with Israel.  Let me emphasize: not an active war but a state of war. Waging a war would lead to the destruction of Gaza and topple the heads of the Hamas leaders, while a state of war gives them justification for the sad state the movement and the Gaza Strip have reached. The residents of Gaza are the albatross hanging on the neck of Hamas, weighing it down as it tries in vain to navigate a stormy sea.

The situation in Gaza provides another proof, for anyone who is still in need of one, of the inability of an Islamic movement to establish and maintain a modern state that can live in peace with its neighbors and tolerate ideologies that differ from its own.

The schism dividing the PLO and Hamas is a cultural divide expressed by means of political conflict. There is no way to create unity or a true, long-lasting reconciliation between the two groups so that anyone counting on one unified Palestinian Arab state had better align his expectations with bitter Middle East reality, widely different from what we have become accustomed to in  Europe, America, and Australia.

The PLO failed because the secular nationalist ideology that does so well in Europe, cannot make a go of it in the Middle East. It has failed in every country that tried to base its existence on that kind of ideology – Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan are the exemplars. The Hamas movement is a failure because fundamentalist Islam cannot maintain a modern state with European democratic standards based on human laws. Turkey, while returning to  Islam since the nineties, is also distancing itself more and more from the accepted Western model of a constitutional democracy.

The conclusion all this leads to is completely clear: There is neither a religious or secular basis for establishing a Palestinian Arab state. The only solution is the natural base of Middle Eastern society: The tribe. Only Emirates in Judea and Samaria based on local families, – like those in the Gulf emirates – can operate legitimately in this region.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel National News

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Adding Fuel to the Fire

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 01:00

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently accused leftist Jewish billionaire George Soros of funding anti-government campaigns challenging Israel’s deportation of tens of thousands of illegal African infiltrators. Soros denied it. But he also denied grants to anti-Israel groups such as J Street and Adala—until DCLeaks posted several of his Open Society Foundations (OSF) documents online. The leaks revealed Soros’ plan to keep “a low public profile” on his Middle East investments to avoid investigation by “pro-Israel entities.”

But the leaks unveiled a bigger picture: His support of radical U.S. groups whose aim is to “influence American public opinion and government leaders on Middle East policy, and reduce support for Israel,” said Washington Times reporter Eli Lake. It includes pressuring Europe and America to “hold Israel accountable to its obligations under international law.”

President Donald Trump’s even-handed support of the Jewish state may be a key reason Soros chose to blast him at an international venue in Davos, Switzerland. Soros was upbeat when Obama came to power, but he can’t control Trump, whom he denounced in Davos as “a danger to the world.” OSF is funding more institutions in the US to assure a Democratic victory in November, he said.

Soros’ meddling in Israel’s affairs is channeled through his web of Arab and Israeli politicized “human rights” NGOs that serve to implement his larger strategy. These agencies delegitimize Israel, deny its sovereignty, and wage political and legal warfare and BDS, according to the NGO Monitor. Others (Mossawa, Mada al Carmel, and I’lam) criticize Israeli media for their coverage of the Nakba (an Arabic term meaning catastrophe or disaster used to describe the rebirth of Israel).

Soros bankrolls Israeli political opposition groups such as Yesh Din, Breaking the Silence, Molad, and B’Tselem. Two Soros grantees—B’Tselem and Al Mezan—also get “substantial funding” from UNICEF, which, in concert with its affiliated NGOs, is spearheading a campaign to blacklist the IDF as a “grave” violator of children’s rights, the NGO Monitor said. This is not surprising since the leftist agenda has long touted global disarmament, with the UN’s one world government holding supreme military control, according to the Jan. 10, 1963 Congressional Record.

Soros’ globalist agenda puts Israel’s African infiltrators into a broader perspective. Mass migration and open borders have been mainstays of the Left for decades. With globalism’s spread, open-borders advocates snowballed, with “hundreds of leftist organizations and tens of thousands of grassroots activists, backed by hundreds of millions of dollars from big, tax-exempt leftwing foundations,” said William Hawkins and Erin Anderson. Enter the radically politicized NGO—which has taken a more central role in the context of porous borders and ebbing loyalties to the nation-state.

Under the guise of a human rights veneer, radical NGOs use politically correct doublespeak, with the goal of making over society in their leftist image, Hawkins and Anderson said.

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Citizens’ pushback against the surge of refugees, immigrants, and illegal aliens prompted the NGOs to develop a “countering strategy”—regimented legal and political tactics to “target, discredit and attack” whoever questions refugee resettlement, especially Muslim refugees, reporter James Simpson said.

There’s a method to the globalist madness, Simpson said: “The Left’s goal is to build a permanent progressive majority ruling class. The open borders agenda is the perfect vehicle.” In America, that means “millions of needy poor become ‘bought and paid for Democrat voters’ once citizenship is obtained.” Simpson traces refugee resettlement to the U.N. plan to redistribute “not just wealth—but population and land.”

Globalists attack countries like Israel because Israel values its Jewish identity, sovereignty, and borders—and knows its own defense forces are vital to its survival.

A recent altercation in France signals what the future could hold for countries that welcome open borders: “Hundreds of Africans and Asians armed with knives and iron rods fought running street battles in the northern port city of Calais on February 1, less than two weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron visited the area and pledged to crack down on illegal immigration. The clashes plunged Calais–emblematic of Europe’s failure to control mass migration — into a war zone and reinforced the perception that French authorities have lost control of the country’s security situation.”

Netanyahu is well aware of the threat. “Israel was the first country in the world to physically block entry of infiltrators,” he said. “Without building the fence we would easily have reached at least 100,000 a year— meaning … within a decade—the state would stop being the Jewish state.” And this is the crux of much of the tension in the Middle East – Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. Behind the scenes and in plain sight, the Left is hard at work adding fuel to the fire and creating new hot spots hoping to burn Israel out of existence.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

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Punishing Syrian Chemical Weapons Use

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 00:00

The primary goals of American foreign policy are to make our citizens, friends, and allies secure and to make our adversaries think twice. There are moments in history when well-timed, well-placed military action will have the effect of causing fear — and moments that, if allowed to pass by, ensure the opposite. President Barack Obama’s failure to uphold the international conventions against chemical weapons worked against American interests in what is perhaps the ugliest battlefield of the 21st century. President Donald Trump’s decision to attack Syria’s Al-Shayrat Military Airbase from which the Assad regime launched chemical attacks in 2017 was a welcome reversal, though with limited results.

The illegitimacy of chemical weapons use is one of the few points of international consensus in warfighting. The first treaty against it is more than 115 years old – the Hague Declaration of 1899, which was followed by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles and the 1925 Geneva Protocol.

But the Bashar Assad regime in Syria — with the active support of Russia — has again been using chlorine barrel bombs against the 400,000 hostage civilians of Ghouta. Having failed to pass a Security Council resolution to sanction Syria (Russia and China vetoed), the United Nations Security Council succeeded in passing a unanimous resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire. Less than 24 hours later, there were new reports of chemical raids killing hundreds.

Ambassador Kelley Currie, U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs at the UN, addressed the UN Security Council. “The only way to change the situation on the ground is for all of us to speak the truth about what is happening. These past 4 days should show us that when it comes to demanding a ceasefire, it’s not enough to say ‘all parties’ must commit to a ceasefire.”

With all due respect to Amb. Currie, “speaking the truth” won’t change the situation on the ground. Syria has to be made to pay. Since the UN has no enforcement capabilities — and no one should want it to — the world’s only superpower has to consider undertaking to punish the violator and uphold the consensus.

This is not a call for the U.S. to enter the Syrian civil war or effect regime change, both of which have been rightly rejected by President Trump as outside the scope of our interests in Syria.

The propriety of punishing the Assad regime can be measured against the 8-point “Powell Doctrine,” devised by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell. It was General Powell’s determination to have the American government not rush headlong into the deployment of our forces, and so the questions encourage hesitation. They are also not fully appropriate because President Trump would not be committing forces. But they are a reminder of the difference between a war for “regime change” and a singular event, the repetition of which depends on the Syrian dictator and his allies.

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  • Is a vital national security interest threatened? Yes. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said after the March 2017 chemical raid, “As Assad has continued to use chemical weapons in these attacks with no response… from the international community, he, in effect, is normalizing the use of chemical weapons, which may then be adopted by others. Therefore, it’s important that some action is taken…”
  • Do we have a clear attainable objective? Yes, two: To establish the principle that violations will be punished and to prevent the use of the Syrian Air Force in such activities again.
  • Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed? This question is disingenuous; risks and costs can never be fully accounted for. But yes.
  • Have all other nonviolent policy means been fully exhausted? Yes, in the execution of the 2013 U.S.-Russian agreement for the destruction of Syria’s chemical capability, and in the UN Security Council resolutions Russia vetoed.
  • Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement? Yes. There is no necessary American military follow up.
  • Have the consequences of our action been fully considered? Another disingenuous question. But yet again – it is likely that the responses of Syria, Russia, and Iran were considered, as well as the likely impact on North Korean and Chinese behavior.
  • Is the action supported by the American people? Historically, the American people have supported military action explained by the president in terms of the points above. President Trump will have to make his case.
  • Do we have genuine broad international support? UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has said of a response against Syria, “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.

Appropriate targets for the United States would be a) the air base from which the chemical sorties were flown; or b) any airbase; or c) the long-range artillery that is an effective means of CW distribution, or d) the military HQ from which such sorties are ordered.

The targets should be accompanied by a warning: The Syrian Ministry of Defense is next, if necessary. Your call.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Jewish Policy Center

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Making Representative Governance Effective in Real Time

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 10:40

The Israeli company of Ct Connect is helping people to connect with a municipality’s city hall in real time.

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Rabbi Yehudah Glick Reads Trump Into Bible

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 10:29

Upon being presented with a coin honoring US President Trump, Rabbi Yehudah Glick, a Knesset Member (Likud) and Temple Mount activist, was so overcome with emotion that he began to recite from the Bible. But the verses he recited, describing the President’s activities, don’t really exist. The rabbi’s recitation was intended to graphically illustrate how the political events surrounding the US Embassy move and the president’s actions bear a striking resemblance to King Cyrus’ actions in the days of Ezra the Scribe and the Second Temple.  Or, as Rabbi Glick said, “Whoever does not see the proclamation of the word of God and the word of the prophecies and the Book of Ezra, a repetition of Cyrus, the King of Persia, should buy himself a new pair of glasses.

The coin was issued a few weeks ago by the nascent Sanhedrin and the Mikdash (Temple) Educational Center for Israel’s 70th anniversary. Intended to honor the president for his support of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it features an image of President Trump and Persian King Cyrus on one side and an image of the Temple on the other.

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The Face of Hunger in Israel

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 10:26

Ruth’s father died two years ago of cancer. Since then, her mother, Yaffa has been struggling to raise Ruth and her brother on the meager salary she earns from ironing shirts at a local laundromat. Without charitable support, the family would have almost nothing to eat.

One organization that helps Yaffa maintain her family is Meir Panim, which provides the family with hot meals through its restaurant-style soup kitchens and prepaid shopping cards before Jewish holidays.

“They help us a lot,” Yaffa told Breaking Israel News.

The story of Ruth’s family is not an isolated one. According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, there are approximately 131,000 “single parent” families in the country, nearly 31 percent of which live in poverty. In addition, two out of every five children in Israel go to bed hungry. Lack of proper nutrition, especially with young children, stunts growth, causes lack of concentration in school and leads to illness.

Charities that provide food and other social welfare services are crucial to the survival of hundreds of thousands of struggling Israelis. Meir Panim alone delivers 190,000 Meal-on-Wheels each year to impoverished and homebound elderly people and single-parents. Additionally, children across the country receive 21,000 prepaid shopping cards and 100,000 hot school lunches from Meir Panim. However, the organization is finding it challenging to keep up with demand.

“It costs $1,000 a year to feed one hungry child,” said Goldie Sternbuch, director of overseas relations for Meir Panim. “Normalizing the lives of Israel’s poverty-stricken citizens is our top priority.”

Israel’s National Insurance Institute reports that over 80 percent of single mothers work. However, due to expensive child care and problematic laws, which stunt women from making more than the minimum wage or they lose their child support, one-fourth of single mothers and their children live in poverty.

For example, a woman with one child who earns a maximum of 5,489 shekels a month ($1,570), is not entitled to state assistance. Should she have two children, she cannot exceed 6,282 shekels a month ($1,790) in income.

Although single mothers are entitled to state-funded professional training, they must pay tuition themselves. Even though they may get reimbursed, there is a layover time, which most of these struggling women cannot afford.

Also, public housing is only available for single mothers with at least three children. Since rental costs are high in Israel, single-parent families are forced to live in the periphery where the rent is cheaper but also where work is scarce. As a result, the vicious cycle of poverty continues. Such factors force single-parent families into the position of accepting help from non-governmental organizations.



“The prepaid shopping cards that Meir Panim provides go a long way to help struggling families feel like regular families and maintain their dignity and independence,” explained Sternbuch.

“People shop in regular supermarkets, picking out food and supplies their family needs and allowing their living situation to feel like a home, with bags of food coming into the door and meals cooking in pots.”

In order to ensure that the thousands of people who seek help from Meir Panim get the basics that they need to survive, the organization is running an urgent crowdfunding campaign. For just $1 a day over the course of a year, a donor can get the satisfaction of knowing that they have fed a child like Ruth for a third of a year. Three dollars a day feeds someone like Ruth for the entire year.

“The hardest thing is when my children come home from school and ask, ‘what is there to eat?’ And I have to say, ‘Nothing,’” said Yaffa quietly. “It is hard to say, but I need people to help us so we can get the food we need to survive.”

Some of Israel’s hungry children attend after-school clubs that provide hot meals, which gives children at least one hot, balanced meal a day.

“Malnourishment is a plague we need to remedy,” said Sternbuch. “Children are Israel’s future. We must get off the OECD’s list of countries with a high rate of poverty. We must help today in order to ensure that Israel continues to be a thriving country. ”

To feed a hungry Israeli child for a year, please click here.



Written in cooperation with Meir Panim.

The post The Face of Hunger in Israel appeared first on Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective..

Evangelist Journalist Christine Darg On The Jews, Israel and Writing Biblical Prophecy

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 09:52

Last month, award-winning journalist and founder of Exploits Ministry, Christine Darg, was honored with the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus lifetime achievement award for tourism and contributions to Israel, given together with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and the World Jewish Congress.

She received the award, presented as a part of the 12th annual Night to Honor our Christian Allies in Jerusalem, co-sponsored by Israel365, in the presence of Knesset members and government officials. It was her most recent of some 300 trips to Israel.

Dard said she received a “divine call” to activism for Israel that she believes led to her award, and so many other aspects of her professional and personal life.

Darg first visited Israel in 1975, just after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. She, a journalist, and her London-born husband Peter, a broadcaster, loved to travel. They went to Israel on a student ticket that cost $13 and immediately upon landing, Christine was “amazed.”

“I felt so surprised when we landed and people on the airplane applauded,” Darg told Breaking Israel News. “Even though I’d been brought up in a pastor’s home and knew the Bible, I didn’t know that Israel would hit me like that. I felt like I had come home,” she said.

From an early age, Darg’s southern minister parents also taught her great reverence for the Jewish people. She recalled her first book of ABCs, where A stood for Abraham: “I’ve always felt that the Jewish people were my extended family,” said Darg.

Darg reflected on how painful it was to leave Israel after that first trip, and recalled “always plotting ways to get back to attend a conference or press tour.” The Dargs experienced “divine discontent” and decided to quit their jobs in secular journalism to start their careers in Biblical journalism, starting at the 700 Club, a program of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).

When given the choice to begin work in London or Jerusalem, Darg’s husband preferred London, his hometown, but at a Church meeting, the Pastor gave Peter Darg a revelation about Biblical prophecy and Israel, regarding the oath to never forget Jerusalem and the restoration of the Holy Temple:

“If I forget you, O Yerushalayim, let my right hand wither.” (Psalms 137:5)

“He knew he was cornered and was excited about it, because he had also fell in love with Israel,” Darg told Breaking Israel News.

So in the 1980s, the Dargs started the first Middle East news bureau for CBN, today run by Chris Mitchell.

Even after the couple moved to England to start a second bureau in London, they took it upon themselves to spread the message about Israel all through Europe, and even in Africa.

Today, Darg’s Exploits.TV and Jerusalem Channel programs are produced in Israel, Europe and worldwide, giving a timely perspective on Bible prophecy and the ministry of reconciliation, healing and Gospel. Exploits Ministry is a prophetic ministerial group who carry out end-time exploits and assignments, including tent evangelism, conferences and prayer journeys. The ministry reaches globally out of Jerusalem to all nations via Revelation TV and The Jerusalem Channel, with Gospel campaigns and Bible Workers Congresses in many nations, as well as three annual prayer convocations in Israel.

“I come back to Israel every month,” said Darg. “I’ve gone on at least 300 trips to Israel, leading prayer broadcasts, and in addition to that, I bring people three times a year for conferences.”

Darg’s inspiration comes principally from the Biblical understanding of Israel’s history and how, “God singled out the Jewish people to be a nation of priests and a light unto the nations.”

As a teacher of Bible, Darg told Breaking Israel News, “everything motivates me in scriptures, verses, and prophecy that is coming to pass so quickly in the land of Israel.”

“We must never forget that the Bible is Israel’s greatest export to the world, and so it is impossible to think of the Bible without connecting it to Israel, its land and its people,” she said.

“It seems like everyday there is a new archeological discovery that proves that Israel belongs to the Jewish people,” Darg explained. “Even the UN resolutions against Israel prove Biblical prophecy about controversy over Zion. God is bringing back the Jewish people to the land.”

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She expressed great honor in “carrying this revelation about Israel,” especially in trying times in Europe. She spoke of the rise of anti-Semitism in Britain, hitting record levels this past year: “A charity that monitors anti-Semitism recorded 1,400 hate crimes this past year, the highest in all 34 years of recording,” said Darg.

“We are praying, holding events with Magen David Adom (Israel’s medical ambulance fleet) and trying to bring the biblical truth to Europe,” Darg told Breaking Israel News. “It’s a spiritual battle that has to be won on our knees.”

“People now must decide whether to be politically correct, or believe the word of God and be Biblically correct,” Darg said. “Many Christians, many eschatologists, only pray for Israel’s destiny in the future, but God has raised up a generation of believers to pray for Israel to fulfill her destiny now–that Israel should become a holy nation–a holy nation of priests, a light to the nations, God’s treasured possession in the earth.”

It is this message that has led Darg on her path to become a trailblazer in a great transition of Jews and Christians working together and building bridges over the last 10-15 years.

“That was a dream come true for me,” said Darg, who has held five Christian assemblies in the Israeli parliament, leading her to receive the lifetime achievement award.  

“There are so many Israelis and Jews reaching out, like the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) and Rabbi Tuly Weisz,” the Director of Israel365 and publisher of The Israel Bible and Breaking Israel News.

“Those assemblies were preparatory for things happening now between Jews and Christians,” she concluded. “We are feeling more comfortable together now, simply because people with ministries have been reaching out.”

The post Evangelist Journalist Christine Darg On The Jews, Israel and Writing Biblical Prophecy appeared first on Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective..

Polish Heads of State Reportedly Not Welcome at White House Over ‘Holocaust Law’

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 09:06

Polish spokeswoman Joanna Kopcinska confirmed on Monday that the US government had expressed “concerns and questions” about Poland’s controversial Holocaust legislation but denied that the US would penalize Warsaw over the issue.

“Bilateral strategic cooperation with the United States is not threatened, diplomatic contacts remain at the current level,” Kopcinska said.

Her remarks come in response to a report on Onet, a Polish news site, which claimed that according to certain documents, US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence refuse to host Polish President Andrzej Duda and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki over the law. The US also reportedly threatened to block the financing of joint military projects with Poland.

Kopcinska stated, however, that diplomatic channels remain open, noting that other government officials have visited Washington recently and will do so in the near future.

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The law, which took effect this week, imposes prison sentences of up to three years for anyone in the world who attributes the crimes of Nazi Germany to Poland or accuses Poland of complicity in the Holocaust.

Just a few hours after the law took effect, the Polish League Against Defamation said it filed a complaint against Argentina’s Pagina 12 daily for violating the law.

In late January, the US State Department warned the Polish government that the law could have “repercussions … on Poland’s strategic interests and relationships.”

The Polish government responded harshly to criticism of the bill. At the Munich Security Conference last month. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki defended the law by stating that Jews were also complicit in the Holocaust.

“It’s not going to punishable, not going to be seen as criminal, to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukraine and German perpetrators,” Morawiecki said, earning the ire of many including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the statement “outrageous”.

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Netanyahu Compares Trump To Cyrus in Compliment of Biblical Proportions

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 08:43

In a meeting at the White House on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised his host, US President Donald Trump in unmistakably Biblical terms, comparing him to the Persian King Cyrus.

“I want to tell you that the Jewish people have a long memory, so we remember the proclamation of the great King Cyrus the Great — Persian King,” Netanyahu told Trump. “Twenty-five hundred years ago, he proclaimed that the Jewish exiles in Babylon can come back and rebuild our temple in Jerusalem.”

“And we remember how a few weeks ago, President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” Netanyahu continued.  “Mr. President, this will be remembered by our people through the ages.”

Some have noted that this larger-than-life compliment comes with historical lessons that supersede current political agendas that favor the two-state solution. The nascent Sanhedrin for one has been comparing President Trump to King Cyrus since he was inaugurated last year, calling for him to follow in the footsteps of the Biblical figure by helping to facilitate the rebuilding the Third Temple.

“There is no question that the comparison between Cyrus and Trump, two non-Jewish leaders, is apt,” said Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman of the Sanhedrin, to Breaking Israel News. “But it is important to learn the lesson history teaches us from Cyrus and Balfour.”

Trump Cyrus coin (Photo courtesy Mikdash Educational center)

Most recently, the Sanhedrin emphasized the apparent connections between both leaders by issuing a silver medallion with the image of Trump superimposed on an image of Cyrus with an image of the Jewish Temple on the flip side of the coin.

Rabbi Weiss emphasized that King Cyrus and the former British Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour encountered significant pushback after promising to help the Jews return to their homeland.

“Cyrus began to back down from building the Temple after listening to Jewish sects that objected,” Rabbi Weiss said. “The British also began to renege on their promise and gave in to political pressure from the Arab nations.”

Rabbi Weiss believes that Trump’s success will hinge on whether his agenda continues to support not just the Jewish connection to Jerusalem but more specifically the Temple Mount. The Rabbi noted, however, that both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have referred to the Temple Mount by its Islamic name, “Haram al-Sharif.” Moreover, it has been reported that Trump’s peace plan would include the creation of a Palestinian capital in parts of Jerusalem.

“Cyrus and Balfour both earned our gratitude, as has President Trump, but the source of all blessings is the Temple Mount,” Rabbi Weiss said. “If he does not continue and support the Jewish return to the Temple Mount, he will encounter the same difficulties as those who came before him.”

Rabbi Weiss emphasized that Netanyahu also needed to pay heed to this historical precedent as well.

Mark Zell (Twitter)

Mark Zell, Chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, said that he had campaigned for President Trump precisely because he believed he would make such historic changes.

“The importance of the change of the State Department’s 70-year position on Jerusalem is unquestionably of enormous historic importance on the same level of the Balfour Declaration and even of Cyrus,” Zell told Breaking Israel News.

“Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is earth-shaking,” he continued. “Netanyahu was accurate when he said that the Jewish People will remember this.”

“This is a sure sign of his courage and demonstrated leadership. Other presidents have been generous with fine words but haven’t come through with actions on the level of President Trump. Netanyahu showed himself a true ally by expressing gratitude.”

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Zell believes that Netanyahu’s remarks to Trump, comparing him to King Cyrus, was also intended as a message of gratitude for Israel’s Evangelical supporters in America.

“Netanyahu was not speaking to the American Jews who don’t appreciate this comparison to Cyrus,” Zell claimed. “Netanyahu was speaking directly to the pro-Israel, faith-based Evangelicals in a Biblical language they understand and value.”

“That shows sensitivity and foresight,” he added. “The Evangelicals are essential to both Trump and it is humbling to see how strongly they support Israel.

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Tue, 03/06/2018 - 07:55

Beit El (Bethel) appears throughout the Torah (Bible) as a special location for prayer. The Hebrew name Beit El means, “The House of the Lord,” and signifies the city’s spiritual character. Just as a home is meant to protect the individuals inside from the physical elements, the Jewish people are meant to view “The House of the Lord” as a protection from spiritual dangers. The modern community of Beit El is characterized by the value it places on prayer, worship and advanced Torah study. Pictured above is a quorum of Beit El residents wrapped in tallitot (prayer shawls) participating in the daily morning prayer service.

The post GENESIS 28:19 appeared first on Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective..

Netanyahu Meets With Trump at White House

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 06:44

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, met with US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump met on Monday for the second time at the White House.

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With UN Exhibit, Israel Shows ‘3,000 Years of History Cannot be Denied’

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 06:18

As part of his five-day visit to the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will stop at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York on Thursday to check out a special exhibit aimed at providing archaeological proof of the continuous Jewish history in Jerusalem.

The exhibit—a joint effort by the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry, and the Israeli Mission to the United Nations—follows a series of resolutions passed by the international governing body denying Jewish ties to the city.

Ambassadors, diplomats and senior U.N. officials have all been invited to view the exhibit, which presents authentic archaeological findings unearthed in Israel alongside replicas of other historical items that serve to illustrate the connection between the Jewish people and Israel’s capital.

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Among the findings on display are a 2,700-year-old seal impression inscribed in ancient Hebrew, which was discovered in Januaryand an inscription from the seal of biblical King Hezekiah, who ruled from 727-698 BCE and helped build Jerusalem into an ancient metropolis.

Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, said: “The historical truth is the best answer to the attempts to dispute the eternal connection between the Jewish people and their capital.”

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Alternative Conference in DC Calls for Israeli Sovereignty

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 03:15

YESHA Council Chief Foreign Envoy Oded Revivi on Monday told a forum located only a few blocks away from the AIPAC conference in Washington, DC, that “applying Israeli law on the region of Judea and Samaria will clarify the rules and regulations with relation to daily life in the region and by doing so, demonstrate to the world that on a day-to-day basis we are actively living peacefully and cooperating with our Palestinian neighbors and giving them as well as the Jewish population, clear and legal tools to protect each one’s rights.”

Four hundred participants packed the event to support Judea and Samaria in face of delegitimization and boycotts, organized by YESHA Council in partnership with the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Jordan Valley Municipal Council.

“I stand in front of you and wish to argue that our communities are not the obstacle to peace but rather an integral part of the solution that will bring peace to the region,” Revivi declared, noting that “the industrial areas in Judea and Samaria are living examples of ‘islands of peace’ where Jews and Arabs are standing one alongside the other by the conveyer belt and in other jobs, producing different products. The byproducts of their working together are friendly warm relations, understanding, the building of bridges and true caring one for the other.”

The event focused on solidifying Israel’s connection to her ancestral heartland and building bridges for peace by supporting the industrial zones of Judea and Samaria which employ thousands of Israeli and Palestinians that work together in peace.

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Former CEO of the YESHA Council and now Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, told the participants in the forum that “the Palestinian state is off the table… it’s done.. now the big question is how we progress…the world will respect a country that respects itself. We cannot ask for recognition in Judea and Samaria without full Israeli recognition and implementation of Israeli law.”

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said, “The industrial zones in Judea and Samaria and the your bringing their agricultural produce to Washington is significant and tells not only the story of the settlement but also the coexistence that takes place daily in these areas.”

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that “boycotting the settlements in Judea and Samaria is a boycott of the very essence of the State of Israel. Israel cannot survive without Judea and Samaria – it will not be possible to defend it strategically. God forbid, the boycott will develop for the entire State of Israel. We must work together, the Jewish world and its supporters against these attempts to boycott”

Israel’s Consul General to New York Dani Dayan said, “The mother of all delegitimization claims against Israel is that we don’t belong, that we invaded a land to which have we have no claim …in order to shatter that absurd claim there is no better place to prove our right to the land than Judea and Samaria…There are those that say I don’t boycott Israel I just boycott the settlements, to those people I say failure to visit or buy from Judea and Samaria is BDS.”

Minister Gilad Erdan sent a video message saying, “As the Minister in charge of leading Israel’s fight against delegitimization, I’ve set a clear policy: We will oppose any and all forms of the anti-Semitic hate campaign known as BDS and especially those targeting Judea and Samaria.”

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Democratic Dementia: Americans “Mistreat” Muslims More than Muslims Mistreat Christians?

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 02:00

A February Rasmussen report sheds light on just how divorced from reality millions of American liberal voters are. After pointing out that “Democrats are more likely to think Muslims are mistreated in America than to think Christians are persecuted in the Islamic world,” the report elaborates:

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Democrats, however, believe most Muslims in this country [America] are mistreated, a view shared by only 22% of Republicans and 39% of voters not affiliated with either major party. Fewer Democrats (47%) think most Christians are mistreated in the Islamic world, compared to 76% of GOP voters and 64% of unaffiliateds.… Women are more likely than men to think most American Muslims are mistreated here but less likely to believe Christians are mistreated in the Islamic world.  Nearly as many voters under 40 think most Muslims are mistreated in America (51%) as think most Christians are mistreated in the Muslim world (57%).

To put these dismal statistics in perspective, consider some facts. Open Doors, an international human rights organization that publishes annual reports concerning the global persecution of Christians, noted in its most recent report: “215 million Christians experience high levels of persecution.” During 2017, a reported 3,066 Christians were killed, 1,252 abducted, and 1,020 raped or sexually harassed on account of their faith. And 793 churches were attacked or destroyed.

The overwhelming majority of this slaughter and destruction occurred in 50 nations — 38 of which are Muslim-majority.

“Islamic oppression” is further responsible for the “extreme persecution” of Christians — meaning the abuse, rape, imprisonment, or slaughter of Christians on sight — in eight of the worst ten nations.  “Every day,” the organization adds, “six women are raped, sexually harassed or are forced into marriage to a Muslim under threat of death due to their Christian faith.”

The above statistics are actually conservative. Based on the findings of the Italian-based Center for Studies on New Religions, “90,000 Christians died for their faith in 2016” alone, a great many under Islam.

It’s worth noting that the overwhelming majority of Muslims persecuting Christians are not “terrorists” (at least not formally), but rather come from all rungs of Muslim society.

Take Egypt, for example (the 17th worst nation where Christians experience “very high persecution”). According to the report, along with “violent religious groups,” two other segments of society are “Very Strong[ly]” responsible for the persecution: (1) “Non-Christian religious leaders” — meaning Muslim clerics, sheikhs, imams, and the rest — “at any level from local to national”; and (2) “Normal citizens (people from the general public), including mobs.”

Similarly, “officials at any level from local to national” are “strongly responsible” for the “oppression” of Egypt’s Christians, particularly “through their failure to vindicate the rights of Christians and also through their discriminatory acts which violate the fundamental rights of Christians.”

That the same segments of Muslim society are involved in the same patterns of persecution of Christians throughout the Islamic world — despite the racial, linguistic, cultural, and economic-political differences of all these African, Asian, Arab, and Caucasian nations — further underscores the only commonality, or true source of the persecution: Islam.

Now, compare all this to the supposedly worse — in liberal minds — “mistreatment” Muslims suffer in America.

According to a November 2017 Pew report: “In 2016, there were 127 reported [Muslim] victims of aggravated or simple assault.” In the preceding decades, assaults on Muslims averaged around 50 a year.

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Even if this number were accurate, it pales in comparison to what millions of Christians — not 127 — are experiencing under Islam. But the fact is many of these anti-Muslim hate crimes are later found to have been fabricated or grossly exaggerated. Note, for instance, how the Pew report conflates “assaults” with “simple assaults” — even though the latter “does not involve physical contact with the victim.”

Moreover, Muslims in America do not experience institutionalized persecution — that is, persecution at the hands of governments, authorities, and police — as Christians under Islam do.

And there is a final ironic difference: Muslim persecution of Christians is religiously motivated and built on Islamic doctrines that portray non-Muslims as subhuman chattel. And that’s what the “assaults” and “simple assaults” on Muslims are generally motivated by, or rather in response to Americans knowing and disliking what Muslims are about. That such assaults are so exceptionally rare proves that Americans understand what makes such values incompatible with our laws.

Nonetheless, and as usual, all these actual facts have little to do with what a significantly large segment of the American voting population — mostly liberals/Democrats, a majority under 40 and female — believe.

Why they are so misinformed becomes apparent when one understands that liberal media is dedicated to maintaining liberal Narratives at all costs: in this case, that Christians are always the aggressors, Muslims always the misunderstood victims.

Thus, when journalist Shannon Bream recently announced a forthcoming segment on the growth of Christian persecution around the world, ABC’s Matthew Dowd tweeted: “Maybe you can talk about the bigger problem which is persecution of Muslims in America and around the globe. Bigger issue.”

The truly “bigger issue” is that tens of millions of Americans are so deluded as to believe — and inevitably base their votes on — the inverse of reality.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Raymond Ibrahim

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Despite Latest Iranian Outrage, Euro-Business Keeps Churning

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 01:00

The website Iran Front Page proudly announces: “The first edition of International Hourglass Festival, dedicated to anti-Israel art and media productions, will be held in the Iranian capital Tehran in April.”

Last week a press conference on the festival was held in Tehran. During it Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, identified as “the Secretary-General of the International Conference on Supporting Palestinian Intifada and an international advisor to Iran’s Parliament Speaker,” explained that “the ‘Hourglass Festival’ is a symbol of the imminent collapse of the Zionist regime of Israel, as predicted by the Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.”

Amir-Abdollahian further explained that he “cannot publicize the Islamic Republic’s plan to realize the Leader’s prediction that the Israeli regime will collapse within 25 years, but it will definitely happen.”

What will the Hourglass Festival be like? Its executive secretary, Mahdi Qomi, offers a preview, saying it “will be held in 11 sections”:

Audio-visual productions, graphic design (poster, cartoons, etc.), mobile apps, mobile and web-based games, social media and websites, animation, motion-graphics, start-ups are among the fields in which the festival accepts entries.

The festival will accept entries until April 21, when all the submitted works will be put on display to the public….

The organizers will work with 2,400 anti-Israel NGOs in Europe, North America, Latin America, and Eastern Asia to promote the festival across the world, Qomi said.

The website for the festival itself features a disappearing Star of David. It declares that “Israel Will Not Exist in 25 Years: if the resistance from [sic] stands firm, the enemy cannot do a damn thing,” while offering instructions for submissions and much else.

Seemingly this is news; it’s one UN member-state not only calling for the destruction of another UN member-state but holding an international festival devoted to that goal. Yet so far it is almost solely some Israeli and pro-Israeli websites that have reported the development.

This is hard, of course, the first time Iranian leaders and officials have openly called for Israel’s eradication. Apparently, if you do it enough it becomes humdrum and acceptable—even with the added twist of an international effort, in tandem with “2,400 NGOs,” to instill the notion that the Jewish state needs to be wiped off the face of the earth.

Meanwhile, West European countries are in a state of anxiety over President Trump’s warning that unless the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, or JCPOA, is seriously modified, he will withdraw from the deal and reinstate U.S. sanctions. These countries regard Iran—ayatollah regime and all—as an invaluable business partner to be protected at all costs.

As the Financial Times reported last October:

European countries are battling to save commercial ties with Iran as part of a wider effort to stop the US upending the landmark deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme. [That includes] contingency plans to protect companies such as Airbus, Total, Siemens and Peugeot, which have all struck deals in Iran….

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[Since the JCPOA] trade between Iran and the EU, which was Tehran’s top trading partner before broad economic sanctions were imposed in 2010, has all but doubled annually to almost €10bn for the first half of [2017]….

It turns out Germany is one of the countries reaping a bonanza from this renewed trade. In the first nine months of 2017 “Germany sold 2.358 billion euros worth of goods ($2.846 billion) to Iran,” while it “imported just $328 million worth of goods from Iran”—a huge trade surplus in Germany’s favor. And “German exports to Iran…remain on a steep upward curve.”

The article—posted on the Deutsche Welle site—complains that “The Trump Administration has taken a strident anti-Iranian tone, as have the political establishments of Israel and the Gulf Arab countries.” That is, even though Iran sponsors subversion and terror against Israel and Gulf Arab countries and threatens their destruction, strident tones are something to avoid when German business is at stake.

At the Munich Security Conference in February, U.S. national security adviser H. R. McMaster and Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir raised the issue that European funds are flowing to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The Revolutionary Guard is the main engine of Iranian subversion and terror and is believed to control about a third of Iran’s economy.

Yet CNBC reports that Iran’s key business partners Germany, France, and the UK keep fighting the good fight for European multinationals Airbus, Siemens, Peugeot, and Total, all of which have “struck major deals in the country worth billions.”

When business is that good, it would be naïve in the extreme to think that any further Iranian outrage—even an innovation like the International Hourglass Festival—could swing the Euros toward Trump’s stance on reining in Iran.

Instead, it can be confidently predicted that the festival in April will go forward and most of the international community will keep trading with Iran and treating it as a respectable, legitimate country. Meanwhile, Israel’s government will be seen as “too right-wing.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Frontpage Mag

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There is No There Here

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 00:00

One of the distressing aspects of the police probes against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is that police seem to be attributing criminality to normal policy-making.

To date, the Bezeq-Walla investigation, dubbed Case 4000 by the police, is being presented as the mother lode – the probe that will sink Netanyahu.

Case 4000 exploded last week with pre-dawn arrests of some of the most powerful people in Israel. Telecommunications giant Bezeq’s owner Shaul Elovitch, his wife, Iris, and their son Or were nabbed in their beds. So was Netanyahu’s former communications chief Nir Hefetz and former director-general of the Communications Ministry and Netanyahu confidante Shlomo Filber.

The headlines screamed “Bribery!” And the reports were no calmer.

The media reported that the police have hard evidence Netanyahu and Filber colluded to give Netanyahu’s crony Elovitch hundreds of millions of shekels in tax and regulatory breaks for Bezeq. In exchange, Elovitch, who also owns the popular Walla Internet site, agreed to give positive coverage of Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, on Walla’s news site.

Before we could consider the evidence, Netanyahu’s fate was sealed. He was a goner.

But when the smoke cleared, it became apparent that there isn’t anything there.

Netanyahu and Filber did give Bezeq and its subsidiary, satellite television provider Yes, regulatory and tax breaks.

On the regulatory side, the Communications Ministry agreed to end the forced separation between the two commonly owned corporations.

As Eli Zippori noted last Friday in Globes, far from being a criminal conspiracy, the move was perfectly sound policy. By allowing the two companies to work together, the government improved a lot of consumers. Together they could offer the public discounted service bundles that include landlines, Internet service, and television service.

Moreover, in exchange for permitting them to work together, Bezeq agreed to permit private Internet providers to operate off of its communications infrastructure. Today, Zippori noted, 550,000 Israelis receive Internet through such services.

Would another policy move have brought better results for the public? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean this policy was wrong or criminal.

As for the tax breaks, it is true that Yes received hundreds of millions in tax relief. Yet as Zippori noted, Yes’s corporate losses topped a billion shekels. The Income Tax Authority routinely gives tax relief to corporations that lose money. And the higher the losses, the higher the tax break.

Would it have been better for the government to discriminate against Yes? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean this policy was wrong or criminal.

So the case that spells Netanyahu’s doom is no case at all. It’s a policy dispute. It isn’t surprising that the police are trying to criminalize Netanyahu’s policies in Case 4000. They’re doing the same thing in Case 1000 and in Case 3000.

Case 1000 involves Netanyahu’s support for amending the so-called Milchan law. The law, passed in 2008 under the Olmert government, provides a 10-year income tax and reporting exemption for overseas income. The law was passed to encourage wealthy expatriates and immigrants to move to Israel. It is called the Milchan law because businessman Arnon Milchan pushed very hard to get it passed.

In 2013, Milchan sought to extend the law’s exemptions to 20 years. Netanyahu supported its extension.

The police allege that Netanyahu’s support for the law’s extension owes to the fact that Milchan gave him free cigars for a decade or so. The problem with the police’s claim is that Netanyahu’s position reflects the same economic positions he has held for decades. Moreover, his position was shared by the Immigration and Absorption Ministry, which like him, supported the law and the proposed amendment because it encouraged immigration of wealthy individuals and capital flows into Israel.

Then-finance minister Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid is the star witness against Netanyahu. Although like Netanyahu, Lapid and Milchan are old friends, and Lapid met with Milchan twice about the proposed amendment, Lapid eventually bowed to his ministry’s position that the law induced money laundering and is therefore problematic.

Was Netanyahu’s position wrong? Did the Finance Ministry’s position serve the public’s interest better? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean his policy was wrong or criminal.

In Case 3000, Netanyahu is accused of basing his support for Israel’s purchase of German submarines on his cronies’ monetary interests. Netanyahu’s attorney and cousin David Shimron represented the German shipyard.

The problem with this claim is that Netanyahu has publicly supported expanding and modernizing Israel’s submarine fleet for 20 years.

True, some senior officials in the IDF and the Defense Ministry oppose expanding Israel’s submarine fleet. Their position is not without merit. But that doesn’t mean that Netanyahu’s position was wrong or criminal.

Yet in all of these cases, the police leakers are telling the media that Netanyahu’s policy positions were criminal acts. Rather than reject these claims as absurd on their face, and recognize that they contradict the basic values of a free society, the media have been mindlessly parroting them.

Which brings us to Case 2000 and the second half of Case 4000.

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These investigations revolve around the premise that Netanyahu engaged in criminal activity when he sought to receive less hostile coverage from the Yediot Aharonot media group and from Walla news portal.

Yediot publisher Arnon Mozes and Elovitch are accused of offering bribes to Netanyahu in the form of better coverage in exchange for governmental support for their business interests. In Mozes’s case, he asked Netanyahu to act against Israel HayomYediot’s primary competitor. In Elovitch’s case, Netanyahu allegedly agreed to provide Bezeq/Yes with regulatory and tax breaks in exchange for supportive coverage in Walla.

There are two problems with these allegations. First, Yediot’s implacably hostile coverage of Netanyahu never improved. And, as an inquiry at Mida website, this week demonstrated, like Yediot, Walla’s coverage of Netanyahu is relentlessly negative.

Investigations 2000 and 4000 are predicated on a draconian premise that rejects the very notion of freedom of speech and expression. The premise is that any time a reporter writes about a public figure, he is offering that public figure a bribe. His expectation in writing his article is that at some point, the politician will pay him back for his work.

Conversely, if a reporter writes negatively about a public figure, he is extorting him. Under this premise, Mozes and Elovitch gave Netanyahu bad coverage because that gave them a bargaining chip against him. In exchange for better coverage, they could expect him to do something for them.

In other words, these probes assume that all reporting is inherently corrupt and criminal.

All of the police probes suffer from another problem – they all scream out selective law enforcement.

As Zippori notes, whereas Case 4000 is premised on the notion that a pro-business regulatory environment is inherently criminal, investigators never probed an even larger tax break the Communications Ministry conferred on Yes’s top competitor, the HOT cable television provider.

According to Zippori, HOT received tax breaks totaling more than a billion shekels over several years. It received these tax breaks despite the fact that it failed to abide by its obligation to provide cable service throughout Israel.

During the period HOT received the tax breaks, Mozes and his partner Eliezer Fishman were major shareholders in the company. The tax breaks continued when Mozes’s close friend Patrick Drahi bought their shares.

In other words, Netanyahu and Filber are being treated like Al Capone for giving standard tax breaks to Yes, which is owned by his friend Elovitch. Fliber’s predecessor Avi Berger gave tax breaks to Netanyahu’s nemesis Mozes, and the media is treating him like a principled professional.
This brings us back to Case 2000. Netanyahu is accused of accepting a bribe of good coverage from Mozes and in exchange working to curtail the operations of Israel Hayom, Mozes’s chief competitor. Never mind that Netanyahu did no such thing, and preferred to bring down his own government in 2014 rather than harm Israel Hayom.

Forty-three members of Knesset voted in favor of the “Israel Hayom bill” that would have shut down Mozes’s competitor. They are not under investigation.

Lapid, the star witness against Netanyahu in the Milchan law probe, met twice with his old friend Milchan to discuss the law during his tenure as finance minister. Lapid never reported his meetings.

And he’s the star witness against Netanyahu, not the subject of a probe.

Lapid’s Yesh Atid party went out of its way to advance Mozes’s financial interests. Not only did more than half of Yesh Atid lawmakers vote for the “Israel Hayom bill.” Lapid’s ministers – then-education minister Shai Piron, then-minister of social affairs Meir Cohen and then-science minister Yaakov Peri, paid Yediot millions of shekels from their ministries’ budgets for advertising.

And they all received fantastic coverage.

And none of them is under investigation.

The final problem with the investigations of Netanyahu is that as we saw this week, the police’s openly obsessive desire to “get” Bibi is corrupting the law enforcement and judicial community.

This week Channel 10 published text messages sent between magistrate’s court judge Ronit Poznansky-Katz and Israel Securities Authority investigator Eran Shaham-Shavit. In their text exchange, the two discussed and agreed on the length of continued confinement of suspects detained in Case 4000.

It is possible to read their exchange, in which they discuss the police investigators’ obsession with keeping the suspects remanded to jail, as friendly banter. It is also possible to interpret their text exchanges more critically. Shaham-Shavit wrote: Police investigators “almost beat me up or arrested me.” He angered them because he supported releasing the suspects earlier than the police investigators did. Poznansky-Katz’s responded sympathetically, “I think there is nothing scarier than that.”

It’s easy to read this as two colleagues commiserating about out of control police investigators ready to run over anyone who stands between them and their prey – Prime Minister Netanyahu.

However you interpret their exchange, the fact is that their messages were a crime. They coordinated Poznansky-Katz’s rulings before the defendants were allowed to present their cases. Yet, whereas Netanyahu’s advisers and friends are treated like mafia bosses for advancing legal policies, Poznansky-Katz and Shaham-Shavit were let off with administrative slaps on their wrists.
And we’re supposed to believe in the justice system.

It is easy to get swept away in the flood of prejudicial leaks and biased reporting that has already indicted tried and pronounced Netanyahu’s guilt. But when you analyze the actual cases being assembled against him, it becomes clear that not only is there nothing there, these probes themselves represent an unprecedented assault on the basic norms of Israel.

Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post

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Haley, Pence Tout Trump Administration’s Triumphs on Israel, at AIPAC

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 23:00

In their marquee addresses to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual policy conference on Monday night, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley and Vice President Mike Pence used the friendly platform to tout many of the Trump administration’s triumphs on Israel.

Haley, whose tenure at the U.N. has been heavily focused on combating the institution’s long-perceived bias towards Israel, began her speech by saying that “when I come to AIPAC, I am with friends. In the United Nations, we sometimes don’t have many friends.”

“In the real world, Israel is a strong country with a strong military,” she said to a raucous crowd that repeatedly gave her standing ovations. “But at the U.N., it’s a different story. Israel does get bullied there. It gets bullied because the countries that don’t like Israel get away with it. That just doesn’t sit well with me.”

Haley also took aim at the Obama administration for abstaining on a late 2016 U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, calling it a “shameful day” for the U.S., adding that “on my watch, that would never happen again.”

“Some people accuse us of favoritism towards Israel,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with showing favoritism towards an ally, that’s what being an ally is all about. But in all that we’re doing, our approach on Israel is tied to one major idea – the simple concept that Israel must be treated like any other normal country.”

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In his speech, Pence took a more measured tone, drawing on many of the same themes he discussed in his address to the Israeli Knesset in January, including the Iranian threat and the recognition of Jerusalem.

“Dangerous provocations will not go unchecked by Israel, America, or our allies,” Pence said regarding Iran’s aggression in the Middle East. “We will not allow the defeat of ISIS to become a victory for Iran,” he said, promising that the U.S. “will never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”

“Unless the Iran nuclear deal is fixed in the coming months, the United States will withdraw from the deal immediately.”

On Jerusalem, Pence said that Trump “did more than promise – he delivered. In May of this year we will open the American embassy in Jerusalem.”

At the same time, Pence said that the U.S. remains committed to a two-state solution.

“Our team, Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, Ambassador Friedman, are hard at work on a peace plan. Any peace will require compromise, but the United States will never compromise the security of the state of Israel,” Pence said.

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Putin Announces Improved Russian Nuclear Arsenal Featuring Satan 2 Missile [VIDEO]

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 10:52

During his annual address to Russia’s Federal Assembly in Moscow last Thursday, President Vladmir Putin unveiled the Satan 2, an intercontinental ballistic missile that he claims cannot be shot down by any anti-missile system currently in existence. Even more unexpected than the apparent revelation was the format in which he chose to make his announcement: a video depicting the new weapon targeting Tampa Bay, Florida, which happens to be the location of the US military’s Central Command.

Russia’s new Satan 2 missile. (Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau)

“Efforts to contain Russia have failed, face it,” Putin said. “Russia remained and remains the largest nuclear power. Do not forget, no one really wanted to talk to us. Nobody listened to us. Listen now.”

The official Russian designation of the missile is the RS-28 Sarmat,  but the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) dubbed it the SS-X-30, or in everyday language, the “Satan 2.” It is 119 feet long with a payload of about 10 tons. Its size and capacity would allow for up to 10 heavy warheads in each Satan 2, which is enough to wipe out France or England in a single strike.

With a range estimated to be between 7-11,000 miles, the entire US would also easily be in range of the Satan 2.

It is speculated that RS-28 could fly a trajectory over the South Pole, completely bypassing any current US missile defense system.  The Center for Strategic and International Studies claims that the new missile will be deployed in about 20 silos by 2020.

The Satan 2 was not the only, or even the most formidable, weapon that Putin revealed last week to the assembly. He proudly announced the “Avangard,” a hypersonic missile that could allegedly travel at several times the speed of sound. Another missile presented was a nuclear powered and low-flying cruise missile with an unlimited range and an ability to endlessly outmaneuver any countermeasure.

Putin also described apparent technological weapons for weapons used in water including a high-speed underwater drone. Supposedly, it is faster and more maneuverable than anything else used in the water, with an ‘intercontinental’ range that makes it capable of delivering a nuclear warhead into both aircraft carriers and coastal facilities.

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Putin emphasized that the new arsenal would not be used for offensive purposes.

“We aren’t threatening anyone, we aren’t going to attack anyone, we aren’t going to take anything from anyone,” he said. “The growing Russian military power will guarantee global peace.”

In a press conference on Thursday, US State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert responded to questions regarding Putin’s statements.

“We’re not going to react to every word or idea that world leaders express,” Nauert said. “It was certainly unfortunate to have watched the video animation that depicted a nuclear attack on the United States. We don’t regard that as the behavior of a responsible international player.”

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Netanyahus Receive Welcome Letter From Melania Trump

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 10:23

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara received a welcome letter from US President Donald Trump’s wife, First Lady Melania Trump.

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