The Only Religious Extremists for the United Nations are “Jewish Extremists”

On March 21, 2016, Robert Piper, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance and Development Aid for the occupied Palestinian territory (yes, that’s an actual title), condemned an arson attack in Judea and Samaria/ East of the Green Line (EGL)/ the “West Bank” in which no one was injured. Without any evidence, he called out the Jews:

“I strongly condemn today’s arson attack by suspected Jewish extremists on the home of Palestinian Ibrahim Dawabsheh in the occupied West Bank village of Duma. Mr. Dawabsheh and his wife were at home during the attack and sustained light injuries as a result of smoke inhalation. I wish them both a full and speedy recovery.”

As it turns out, the blaze was set by Palestinian Arabs who tried to frame Israelis. The person who fabricated the story is now in police custody.  Oops.

The UN does not waste a moment in vilifying Jews, even when there’s no supporting evidence. Incidents and allegations are opportunities to validate their opinion that all of the problems in the region stem from Jews living in homes that they purchased.

Meanwhile, the United Nations never calls out Muslim terrorists.

When Muslim terrorists killed five members of the Fogel family while they slept in their home, the UN condemned the attack, but never referred to the attackers as “Muslims” or “Palestinian Arabs.”  It never even called the attack “terrorism.” However, when an arson attack killed three Palestinian Arabs a few miles away, the UN called the attack “terrorism” three times and placed blame on “Jewish extremists.”  That phrase seems to have a certain ring at the UN.

The United Nations singularly uses the term “extremists” when it comes to Jews.

On March 17, just four days before the UN jumped to conclusions and blamed “Jewish extremists” for a Palestinian Arab crime, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon addressed the UN Human Rights Council. He referred to his new “Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism,” which clearly spoke of violent extremism generically, and not tied to any religion in particular. In fact, the UN specifically tried to distance religion from the term “extremism.”

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore said at the event that “selective application of the term “violent extremism” only to Muslim believers reinforces intolerance and discrimination.”

Kate Gilmore
Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.
(photo: UN File Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre)

She would do well to look at the UN’s record, which only uses the term “extremism” in conjunction with one religion in the world: when it discusses Israeli Jews. She will then better understand the embedded “intolerance and discrimination” that Israeli Jews feel from the UN.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The United Nation’s Ban Ki Moon is Unqualified to Discuss the Question of Palestine

The Hollowness of the United Nations’ “All”

UN Media Centre Ignores Murdered Israelis

The UN Can’t Support Israel’s Fight on Terrorism since it Considers Israel the Terrorists

UN Press Corps Expunges Israel

UN Concern is only for Violence in “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” not Israel

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The Color Coded Lexicon of Israel’s Bigotry: It’s not Just PinkWashing

Opponents of Israel have come up with a variety of terms to portray the Jewish State in a negative light. Terms like “Zionist Entity” and “Apartheid Wall” are meant to show the country as a transient racist place.

Over the past years, a new term arose which doesn’t paint Israel in negative colors, but begrudgingly acknowledges the country as a liberal democracy, and does so as it calls out the actions as a flimsy veneer to an otherwise disgraceful country.

Pink Washing” is when entities promote themselves as gay-friendly. The anti-Israel community considers Israel’s actions in this regard a “cynical use of gay rights to distract from and normalize Israeli occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid.”

pinkwashing

Below, I offer the rest of the color-coded lexicon of Israel’s “bigotry” against Palestinian Arabs.

PinkWashing– touting Israel’s rights for the LGBT community, in the face of surrounding Muslim countries that execute homosexuals.

GreenWashing– touting Israel’s leadership role in environmental projects and technology, as a mockery of Arab world dropping chemical weapons on its own civilian populace in places like Syria.

OrangeWashing – mentioning leaving Jewish homes in Gaza in 2005, while Gaza voted for Hamas in 2006, let that terrorist group take over in 2007 and then launch three wars against Israel with over 10,000 missiles fired since 2008.

RedWashing – mentioning that Arabs and Muslims are responsible for over 90% of Muslim deaths in wars, while Israel accounts for less than 1% of Muslim deaths, even though the country is surrounded by 8% of the Muslim world.

BlackWashing – noting that Israel is the only country in the region that does not have capital punishment, while the other Arab countries execute people for reasons including adultery, apostasy and withcraft.

SilverWashing – pointing out that Arabs in Israel have the longest life expectancy of Arabs in the region. The second-longest life expectancy for Arabs is in Judea & Samaria/ the West Bank.

WhiteWashing – constantly calling Israel the only democracy in the region, next to the various dictatorships and monarchies nearby. Beyond Syria and Saudi Arabia, even the Palestinian Authority is inept at democracy: it held elections for Prime Minister to a four-year term in 2005, and hasn’t had another election since; they voted in parliamentary elections in 2006, and the terrorist group Hamas got the most seats.

BuffWashing – a slightly off-white/ taupe color has been used to describe Israel’s discussing that Arab population in Israel and its territories have gone up more than the Arab population in any of the surrounding countries.

BrownWashing – the insulting practice of describing the long history of Jews throughout the holy land, dating back over 3700 years, while also noting that Arabs only came to the region en masse in the 7th century, and that more Arabs than Jews moved to Israel during the British Mandate.

BlueWashing – pointing out that Jews were the only people to ever have distinct self-governing governments in the holy land – three times.

PurpleWashing – is relaying that Jews have been the majority in Jerusalem since 1870, and are the only people who made Jerusalem its capital.

YellowWashing – is the rude process of pointing out that Palestinian Arabs are the most anti-Semitic people in the world, that has a leader that wrote his doctoral paper on Holocaust denial, and that United Nations-run schools in areas controlled by Palestinian Arabs, are the only UN schools in the world that are prohibited from teaching the Holocaust.

GoldWashing – is the terrible tendency of Israelis to point out that they are the only country in the Middle East that built a thriving economy without relying on commodities, that survived the market meltdown in 2008-9, and continues to excel as the oil economy plunges its neighbors into distress.

A few terms have also been introduced beyond the rainbow, as Israel’s “bigotry” and “racism” is quite extensive.

SiliconWashing – is the annoying situation of Israel touting itself as a “Start-Up Nation” and a huge technology powerhouse, while the rest of the region struggles with obtaining broadband.

XXWashing – is the insulting tendency of Israelis to note that they have more women in Parliament than the United States, while the Palestinian Authority territories lead the world in “honor killings” of women per capita.

LegalWashing – mentioning Israel’s rights for living and buying land throughout the holy land as established in international law in 1920 and 1922, while also noting the illegal annexation of Jordanian Arabs seizure of the “West Bank” in 1949, and its expulsion of Jews counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

PluralismWashing – is the noxious narrative of noting that Israel granted over 100,000 non-Jews citizenship when it declared statehood in 1948, offered citizenship to non-Jews in the eastern part of Jerusalem when it reunified the city in 1967, and has over 25% non-Jewish population today.  This is done to only highlight that when Jordan illegally attacked Israel in 1948, it granted citizenship to everyone EXCEPT JEWS, passed laws prohibiting the sale of any land to Jews punishable by death – which was later adopted into law by the Palestinian Authority. Of course, there is the Palestinian Authority’s publicly-stated goal of having a new State of Palestine devoid of any Jews at all.

 

The list of affronts to global sensibilities does not stop at “PinkWashing.”  Israel has a multi-color rainbow of insults that discredits the Palestinian Arabs’ quest for self-determination, while highlighting the anti-Semitic, misogynistic, racism of Palestinian Arabs themselves.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Israel, the Liberal Country of the Middle East

A Flower in Terra Barbarus

Israel’s Peers and Neighbors

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The New York Times Wrote About Computer Hackers Charged by the US and Israel. Differently.

On March 24, 2016 the New York Times wrote an article about Israel’s arrest of a computer hacker breaking into sensitive military computers. The next day, the paper wrote about the United States charging several Iranian computer hackers attacking the United States. Similar stories should get similar coverage, right?  Not when one party is Israel.

A comparison of the two stories can provide a primer for how the NY Times continues to portray Israel in a negative light:

  1. Use of Headlines.
  2. Using soft or harsh language.
  3. Quoting insiders and outsiders.
  4. Statement of fact versus charges.
  5. Providing background on fear of attacks.
  6. Pictures of targets (or none).
  7. Use of multiple reporters covering different sides of the story

Use of Headlines

The Times article on Iranian hackers attacking the US was titled U.S. Indicts 7 Iranians in Cyberattacks on Banks and a Dam.”  The article clearly laid out that Iranians committed cyberattacks. No question.

The article about the Israeli arrest had a different approach to the headline: “Family Sees TV Talent Scout Where Israeli Authorities See Jihadist Spy.” In this case, there is a difference of opinion about the facts. Israelis perceive evil, while others see a normal working person.

The Israeli situation is not cut-and-dry. The US is cracking down on attacks, while the Israelis are arresting people who may simply work for a fun media company.

20160325_140615
New York Times article with headline questioning Israeli arrest

Soft versus Harsh Language

The article about the hacker against Israel describe a “young man” on an “innocent” mission. The age and supposed profession of the hacker was given.

The US story mentioned only the attackers’ names with no ages. The only color given for the individuals were their “online handles” including “Nitr0jen26,” “PLuS,”and “Turk Server,” making them all appear guilty.

Selection of Quotes

An often used strategy of twisting the narrative of a story is carefully selecting the parties who provide personal color to the events.

For Israel, the only quotes about the arrest came from Palestinians: a spokesman for the terrorist group Islamic Jihad, and the accused’s brother (I’m not making it up- his brother). The quotes include many denials, and accusations against Israel.

In the article about the US arrest, no Iranians were interviewed (nor any of the accused family members- imagine that). Quotes came from the indictment itself, Senator Chuck Schumer, and the head of the national security department of the Justice Department.

Guess which way the quotes tilted in each case?

Statement of Facts versus Charges

This subtle and directed approach is often used by the New York Times.

The article’s description of the Israeli arrest is couched in cautionary, inconclusive language: “according to Israeli authorities” or “”according to the charge sheet” and “the Shin Bet says,” are followed by statements.  The NY Times aim is to clarify that the charges against the hackers are not necessarily true.  Maybe cyberattacks happened, maybe they didn’t.  Maybe this is the person responsible, maybe he isn’t.  The paper is just reporting what they culled from Israeli authorities.

Compare that use of cautionary language to the article about the attacks against US targets.  Those attacks were all described as factual; there is no language that suggests that hacking attacks did not happen, the question is why the attacks happened.

For example, in the attack on the dam the Times wrote “It appeared to be an effort to take over the dam itself,” meaning, the attack is a fact, but it is unclear if the attackers wanted to fully control the entirety of the dam.  There was no caveat of “according to US investigators.”

Background

The US story included information about the recent US-Iranian negotiations around the Iranian nuclear power program. It stated that “the indictment appeared to be part of an American effort to keep Iran from shifting activity from its nuclear program to its growing corps of cyberwarriors.”

However, the article on Israel mentioned nothing about the current attacks by Palestinian Arabs against Israelis, nor the missile attacks and wars launched from Gaza over the past eight years.

In other words, America was rational in trying to protect itself against Iran. Meanwhile, Israel’s arrest was seemingly made in a vacuum to “create frustration among Gazans,” as a quote said.

Use of Pictures

The story about Iranians attacking American targets included a picture of US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and one of the targets of the cyberattacks- a dam in suburb of New York City. The picture added to the significance of the story and fear of the attack.

The Israeli story featured no pictures. Hacking into the country’s airports and drones was not prominently featured with accompanying photos. There were no captions that highlighted Israeli’s fears.

cyber-web-master
New York Times Photo accompanying article:
Caption: “Cyberattackers attempted to gain control of the Bowman Dam in Rye, a suburb of New York, in 2013. The effort failed, but worried American investigators because it was aimed at seizing a piece of infrastructure.
Credit Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times”

Use of Reporters

The long article by David Sanger about the US arrests did not rely on any other reporters. However, the Israeli article which was half the length of the US story, used two reporters: “Isabel Kershner reported from Jerusalem, and Majd Al Waheidi from Gaza.

Such wonderful balance!

 

Newspapers can write up a story in any manner they see fit. It is not surprising that an American paper would side strongly in its reporting with the United States and against its foes. One would imagine that papers treat American allies in much the same manner.

Not the New York Times for Israel.

As seen above and analyzed often in FirstOneThrough, the New York Times skews its reporting against Israel and in favor of Palestinians.

20160325_140548
New York Times on US indictment of Iranian hackers


The articles from the New York Times:

Article on Israeli arrest of cyberhackers:

“JERUSALEM — The young man was on his way out of Gaza on an innocent-seeming mission: to scout potential contestants for his embryonicPalestinians Got Talent” television show and meet the show’s West Bank staff in Ramallah. He had an Israeli permit for the journey.

But the Israeli authorities say the would-be impresario — Majd Oweida, 22 — had been doing something sinister: spying for Iranian-backed extremists.

They arrested Mr. Oweida at the Erez checkpoint last month, and on Wednesday they charged him in an Israeli court with, among other things, hacking into computers at Israel’s international airport and intercepting transmissions from the country’s military drones.

The charge sheet says he was recruited by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group about five years ago. He soon became the group’s cyber expert, the Israeli authorities said, and developed software that allowed Islamic Jihad to monitor road traffic and the movement of security forces in Israel; to view video images from Israeli air force drones in real time as they flew over Gaza; and to track flights in and out of Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv and see lists of the passengers on board.

According to Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, Mr. Oweida has confessed to developing the hacking programs and showing his Islamic Jihad handler how to use them.

Dawood Shehab, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad in Gaza, said the group knew nothing about Mr. Oweida or anybody else mentioned in the case.

“I believe there is exaggeration about his arrest,” Mr. Shehab said on Wednesday in a telephone interview. “All I can say is that Israel always uses cheap techniques and ways to use our young men and pressure them and create frustration among Gazans.”

Shin Bet, he added, “wants to prove to their people that they can do something, and the victim is usually our young people.”

Mr. Oweida’s brother, Amjad Oweida, 23, the executive director of “Palestinians Got Talent,” said his family was shocked by the charges and denied that Majd, the show’s general supervisor, had ties to Islamic Jihad or any other Palestinian faction.

“He is just a talented young man who can use and work on computers in a brilliant way,” Amjad Oweida said of his younger brother. “He cannot hack or do cyberattacks.” He added: “Majd did not work for Islamic Jihad or any other political party. He used to work for Palestine’s Talent Club to help talented people leave Gaza for TV programs outside.”

According to the charge sheet, Mr. Oweida met his Islamic Jihad handler, Ismail Dahdouh, by chance sometime in 2011 at Mr. Oweida’s father’s electrical appliance store, and told Mr. Dahdouh that he was looking for work. The charge sheet said Islamic Jihad started Mr. Oweida off as a sound engineer and host at a radio station affiliated with the group’s student union, and was soon asking him to develop hacking programs as well.

The first cybertarget, the charge sheet said, was a computer system that keeps track of movement on Israel’s roads; hacking that system allowed Islamic Jihad to spot where in Israel the rockets fired from Gaza had landed. About a year later it was the drones.

The authorities said Mr. Oweida told Mr. Dahdouh that he needed a frequency reader, a satellite dish with an Amos Satellite lens and a laptop computer for the project. Mr. Dahdouh obtained the equipment from the United States and smuggled it into Gaza through tunnels from Egypt, according to the court documents. Israel said that the frequency reader stopped being able to penetrate the drone systems’ transmissions sometime in 2014.

The authorities say Mr. Oweida is suspected of having broken into the airport system in part by stealing the identity of an American man who had access to the data. Mr. Oweida is also accused of hacking into the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza to obtain the Palestinian population registry for Islamic Jihad’s use.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, said on Wednesday that it had no information about the case.

Mr. Oweida was traveling with a group of other young Gazans working for the talent show when he arrived at the Erez checkpoint on Feb. 23. Two Israeli soldiers arrived and took him into custody.”

 

Article on US arrest of cyberhackers:

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Thursday unsealed an indictment against seven computer specialists who regularly worked for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, charging that they carried out cyberattacks on dozens of American banks and tried to take over the controls of a small dam in a suburb of New York.

The indictment, while long expected, represents the first time the Obama administration had sought action against Iranians for a wave of computer attacks on the United States that began in 2011 and proceeded for more than a year, paralyzing some banks and freezing customers out of online banking.

The indictment stops short of charging that the attacks were directed by the Revolutionary Guards, a branch of the Iranian military. But it referred to the seven Iranians as “experienced computer hackers” who “performed work on behalf of the Iranian government, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.”

Nothing in the indictment addresses the motives for the attacks. But intelligence experts have long speculated that the cyberactions directed at roughly four dozen financial institutions — including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Capital One and PNC Bank — were intended to be retaliation for an American-led cyberattack on Iran’s main nuclear enrichment plant. That attack, which employed the so-called Stuxnet virus, was revealed in 2010.

All of the Iranian attacks — which, the indictment said, included actions against the New York Stock Exchange and AT&T — were “distributed denial of service” attacks, often called DDoS attacks. In those assaults, the target’s computers are overwhelmed by coordinated computer requests from thousands of machines around the world. The targeted networks often crash, putting them out of service for some period.

 

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced an indictment against seven Iranians who are believed to have attempted to hack into several American banks and a dam in New York.

But the case of the Bowman Dam in Rye, N.Y., was entirely different: It appeared to be an effort to take over the dam itself. The attempt failed because the dam was under repair and offline, but in some ways it worried American investigators more because it was aimed at seizing control of a piece of infrastructure.

“The most likely conclusion is that it was a warning shot” from the Iranians, who were saying, “‘Don’t pick on us, because we can pick on you,’” said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York.

But Mr. Schumer said that the lesson from this case was “not that we should not employ cyberweapons, but that we should be able to protect ourselves.”

It is doubtful that any of the named Iranians will ever appear in an American courtroom. In that respect, the indictment is similar to one the Justice Department issued two years ago against members of Unit 61398 of the People’s Liberation Army of China, which it accused of stealing data from American corporations. The Chinese have never been arrested.

But the administration argues that such indictments send a strong signal and make it difficult for those who are indicted to travel, for fear of extradition.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department indicted two other hackers who it said were members of the Syrian Electronic Army, which has supported the government of Bashar al-Assad, and it believes that it has a chance to gain custody of one of them. On Wednesday, the department obtained a guilty plea from a Chinese national living in Canada, Su Bin, whom it accused of mounting a cybercampaign to steal the designs of military aircraft from Boeing, on behalf of Chinese intelligence agents.

The Iran indictment comes eight months after the nuclear deal reached between Tehran and six other nations, including the United States, which appeared to be putting Tehran and Washington on a track toward a more productive relationship after 35 years of enmity. But Iranian missile launches in recent months — also organized by the Guards — have led to calls in Congress for new sanctions.

The indictment appeared to be part of an American effort to keep Iran from shifting activity from its nuclear program to its growing corps of cyberwarriors, some of whom work directly for the government, while others, like those named in the indictment, seem to be contractors.

As a measure of the importance the administration placed on the indictment, it was announced by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, in a news conference in Washington with Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, where the indictment was handed up. It was unclear how long it had been under seal.

The Iranians named in the indictment included Ahmad Fathi, Hamid Firoozi, Amin Shokohi and Sadegh Ahmadzadegan, who went by the online handle of “Nitr0jen26.” Also named were Omid Ghaffarinia, known as “PLuS,” Sina Keissar and Nader Saedi, also known as “Turk Server.” Their whereabouts was not described, but some worked for a firm the indictment called the ITSec Team, and some for the Mersad Company, both described as security companies in Iran.

John P. Carlin, who heads the national security division of the Justice Department, said in an interview that the indictments arose from a new approach within the Obama administration. “Prior to 2012, we dealt with these cases as intelligence matters,” which were hard to bring to court, Mr. Carlin said, because the evidence was classified. “Now we are following traditional investigative rules,” he said, assembling data that can be entered into court records.

Iran’s computer networks have been a primary target of the National Security Agency for years, and it is likely that in penetrating those networks — for intelligence purposes or potential sabotage — the N.S.A. could have traced the attacks to specific computers, IP addresses or individuals.

But naming individuals, some experts suggested, could lead to retaliation. Jason Healey, a cyberconflict expert at Columbia University and the Atlantic Council, asked in a Twitter post on Thursday whether naming individuals, rather than governments, put cyberoperators for the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency “at risk for similar indictments.”


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Every Picture Tells a Story: Arab Injuries over Jewish Deaths

The New York Times Refuses to Label Hamas a Terrorist Group

Framing the Israeli-Palestinian Arab Conflict: WSJ and NY Times

Every Picture Tells a Story: Versions of Reality

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The Candidates Feed the Pro-Israel Community’s Fears and Aspirations

The red carpet was out for presidential hopefuls in Washington, D.C. in March 2016. Four of the five remaining presidential candidates spoke to the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) about their thoughts about the US-Israel relationship. Bernie Sanders, the only Jewish presidential candidate, opted to not address the committee advocating for the Jewish State.

Their approaches were quite different.

When it came to calling out Israel’s enemies or counter-parties, the Republican leaders led with the greatest number of mentions of: Iran; Palestinians; Terror; and Hamas. However, Republican candidate John Kasich was much more like Democrat Hillary Clinton than fellow Republicans.

Number of Mentions in Their Speechs

 Item Hillary Kasich Cruz Trump
Iran 11 11 11 16
Palestinian 10 7 5 11
Terror/ism/ist 6 7 10 11
Hamas 2 2 7 2
Islam/Muslim 0 0 3 4
TOTAL 30 27 36 44

Kasich was the only candidate to mention Libya, which he did three times.  The failing country which is becoming a haven for terrorists would have been an easy mark for Republicans to mention, as the overthrow of the Libyan government was spearheaded by Hillary Clinton. Neither the other Republicans nor Hillary herself chose to bring it up.

Ted Cruz highlighted that Trump mentioned “Palestine” three times, even though no such entity currently exists.

Interestingly, Trump was the only person to mention the United Nations, which he did three times, including this quote: “The United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It’s not a friend to freedom. It’s not a friend even to the United States of America, where as all know, it has its home. And it surely isn’t a friend to Israel.”

trump aipac
Donald Trump at AIPAC
March 2016 (photo: Associated Press)

When it came to positive terminology, including words such as: democracy; values; Israel and Jerusalem, Hillary Clinton stood out compared to the other candidates.

Number of Mentions in Their Speeches

 Item Hillary Kasich Cruz Trump
Security 17 10 5 3
Israel 65 46 31 31
Jerusalem 0 3 1 1
Democracy 4 2 1 3
Values 5 4 1 1
TOTAL 91 65 39 39

Both Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz came out against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) movement, Cruz, doing so very forcefully.  But the candidates were otherwise silent on the Israeli economy and America’s trading relationship. Hillary Clinton, uniquely, went out to describe improving the Palestinian economy.

Yet, interestingly, despite the positive tone of Clinton, she was the only candidate that did not mention Jerusalem. While Kasich mentioned Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel, he did not say that he would move the US embassy there, as both Trump and Cruz said they would.

Hillary was also the only candidate to mention Jewish “settlements,” which she condemned saying that they were “damaging” to peace.  She did not mention “settlements” in her 2008 address to AIPAC.  Of course, that was an address that was made after seven years of George W. Bush’s administration, not Barack Obama’s who has repeatedly called Jewish homes east of the Green Line (EGL) as “illegitimate.”

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Conference's morning general session at the Verizon Center in Washington March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addresses AIPAC in Washington March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

All four candidates threw out lots of red meat for the pro-Israel crowd of over 18,000 during an election season. However, Hillary Clinton opted to continue the Obama administration approach of underscoring Israel’s security, while minimizing labelling radical Islamic terrorism, and undermining fundamental Jewish rights and history in the holy land.

The comments made at AIPAC represent the most extreme pro-Israel actions that any of the presidential candidates may ever pursue, if elected.  The American pro-Israel community still has a few months to watch and listen to the candidates and decide who will proudly stand by Israel.


Related First.One.Through articles:

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Political Pinatas: Populist Greed Meets Populist Anger

Trump Fails to Understand that Jews Want Peace, not a Deal

While Joe Biden Passionately Defends Israel, He Ignores Jewish Rights and the History of the Jewish State

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While Joe Biden Passionately Defends Israel, He Ignores Jewish Rights and the History of the Jewish State

Vice President Joe Biden addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 20, 2016. He spoke passionately about the importance of the security of Israel and America’s commitment to defend Israel.

At roughly the 29 minute mark of the speech, he said that “One thing is certain: the United States will constantly and forever have Israel’s back….no administration has done more to advance the security of Israel than we [this administration] have. Our commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge is unquestionable; it will not change.” Putting aside the enormity of the pending threat of Iran from the JCPOA, the statement strikes many people in the Israeli government as accurate.

Biden_at_AIPAC

Vice President Joe Biden at AIPAC, March 20, 2016

However passionately Biden spoke about the importance of Israel’s security and America’s commitment to such, he confused the cause of safety, with the contours of  the basic history of the Jewish State. At three different occasions Biden spoke about the Holocaust and the current anti-Semitism in Europe. He stated that Israel needs to exist “as the ultimate guarantor of security for Jewish people around the world…Never, never, never again! And without Israel, there is no guarantee.”

The pro-Israel crowd rose to its feet in a standing ovation (video 33:30).

I was sad.

  1. “Never Again” is universal. It is the moral, ethical and primary responsibility of every government to protect each and every one of its citizens. It is true that many countries throughout history have turned on the Jews. But in 2016, I expect the Vice President of the United States of America to stand a foot taller and declare twice as loud as the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls who saidif 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure.”
    ”Never Again” should not just be a slogan inside of Israel; it must be the slogan of every country in the world. How could a leader of the greatest country in the world pawn off the security of Jews to Israel alone?
  2. Modern Israel is the Third Jewish State. Israel was not created as a reaction to the Holocaust in World War II. It was not made as the United Nations’ pen for holding people out of harm’s way. That is a mischaracterization that President Obama has made repeatedly over his term. In his interview in The Atlantic in 2015, Obama compared the security of Jews to American blacks when he said “There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law. These things are indivisible in my mind.
    Nope.
    Israel was established in international law as the homeland of the Jewish people in 1920 in the San Remo Agreement, well before World War II. The 1922 British Mandate for Palestine clearly stated that the reason for the Jewish homeland in Palestine was specifically because of “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” The mandate facilitated Jews to move there, acquire property and citizenship once again.

Does the myopic view of Vice President Biden seeing and describing Israel solely as a safe haven for Jews matter?

You bet.

Without an understanding of Jewish history that dates back more than 3000 years in the land, and the international law that gives Jews the option of living throughout the land, Jews have no real rights.  They are interlopers and recent arrivals in “Arab lands,” rather than the indigenous people.  They are only entitled to security – and that security could be in an arbitrary, very small part of the holy land.

That is why the Obama administration calls Jewish homes east of the Green Line (EGL) as “illegitimate.”  That is why the administration could propose “settlement freezes.”  It leads to a view that Jerusalem, the holiest city to only one religion (Judaism), that has been the capital city of only one people in history (Jews), could be subject to negotiation and division.

When Biden said (video 20:45-22:45) that settlements hurt the chance for peace with Palestinian Arabs, he wasn’t just advocating splitting the land; he was segmenting his logic and ignoring facts.  To him, Israel has no inherent rights and Jews have no freedom to live where they want.  Israel and Jews are only entitled “to exist” with security.

For their part, the Democratic administration argues that Palestinians are entitled to “dignity and self-determination.”  And if that “dignity” means anti-Semitic laws, banning Jews and squashing the freedoms and rights of Jews, this administration will support it – as long as Israel has security.

Such a view destroys there ever being peace between Israel and Arabs.

The underlying reason preventing peace is the Arabs’ refusal to recognize the basic and fundamental rights Jews have for living in the land – regardless of whether it is under an Israeli flag, a Jordanian flag or a future Palestinian flag.  Sadly, the Obama administration holds the same position.

Perhaps, sadder still, is watching a pro-Israel community applaud.


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The Narrative that Prevents Peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Invisible Anti-Semitism in Obama’s 2016 State of the Union

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

The Arguments over Jerusalem

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Names and Narrative: Genocide / Intifada

William Shakespeare once wrote What’s in a name? that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”  The suggestion of Juliet’s comment to Romeo was that the name given to a person or a thing is less significant than the essence of what that person or item is.  The famous phrase is often repeated; it is a widely-held belief in the western world: essence trumps labels.

It is therefore surprising that so many concentrate efforts to precisely label things.  Consider the term “genocide,”  which the United States government just used for only the fourth time.

ISIS Committing Genocide

On March 17, 2016, US Secretary of State John Kerry defined the actions of the Islamic State/ ISIS as “genocide.” He stated that “in my judgment, (ISIS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims.” Kerry made such declaration after the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution stating that ISIS was committing a genocide against Christians in Syria and Iraq, just days before. Their action followed the European Union  designating the killings as a genocide in February.

Does labelling the actions of ISIS a “genocide” change anything? Will the United States be forced to take action to stop the brutal slaughter of Christians and other minorities by these jihadists? No.

Will ISIS be so upset by the declaration that it will stop killing people? No.

Senator Marco Rubio noted as such when he said “That it took so long for the administration to arrive at this conclusion, in the face of unspeakable human suffering, defies explanation. At long last the United States is no longer silent in the face of this evil, but it would be travesty if we were to mistakenly take solace in this designation, if the designation did not then yield some sort of action.”

Possible actions could include: pushing for the restoration of property and lands taken; offering aid and asylum to those being persecuted. It may also mean that the US must take action according to the Genocide Convention which was adopted after World War II. Article I of that Resolution specifically states that genocide is a crime “to prevent and to punish.

ISIS-executing-prisoners
Islamic State executing prisoners

The Definition and Roadmap to Genocide

The Genocide Convention enumerates what constitutes a genocide in Article II.
[G]enocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  • Killing members of the group;
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births with the group;
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

These actions are clearly being taken by the Islamic State against the Yazidis.

A group called “Genocide Watch” described a multistep pathway in which many genocides unfold. The pathway includes:

  1. Classification
  2. Symbolization
  3. Dehumanization
  4. Organization
  5. Polarization
  6. Preparation
  7. Extermination
  8. Denial

In addition to labelling the pathway to genocide, the authors of this list enumerated actions that society could implement to prevent a genocide from happening during each phase. For example, in the case of “Organization,” they suggest that “membership in these militias should be outlawed. Their leaders should be denied visas for foreign travel. The U.N. should impose arms embargoes on governments and citizens of countries involved in genocidal massacres.

While people may agree or disagree with the pathway to genocide enumerated by Genocide Watch, it is a useful tool to examine evil intent as it unfolds in some societies, and some potential remedies.

Palestinian Intifada or Genocide

The Palestinian Arabs have launched numerous wars, riots and “intifadas” since the world approved the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland in the holy land in 1920. The Arab activities over these almost 100 years can be benchmarked against the definition and roadmap of genocide described above.

  1. Classification, is the deliberate use of ethnic and racial divisions in a society to promote intolerance. Muslim-majority countries often rule with unique systems of laws, where ethnic and religious minorities are given a “dhmmitude” status.  These dhimmis have secondary status in society. When Islam invaded the holy land in the seventh century, they gave the indigenous people the option of converting to Islam, dying, or living in dhimmitude.
    The Arabs of EGL (east of the Green Line) extended the pariah classification of Jews when they evicted all of them from the region including the Old City of Jerusalem in 1949. The Jordanians granted all people in the area citizenship, but explicitly excluded any Jews. To this day, Palestinian Arab leadership has called for a country to be devoid of any Jews, and has official laws that call for the death sentence for any Arab caught selling land to a Jew.
  2. Symbolization, is the use of special symbols like the yellow star that Nazis forced Jews to wear. The Palestinian Arabs have no authority over any Jews so such comparison is not apropos, at this time.
  3. Dehumanization of Jews is a something that Palestinian Arab media and leadership does repeatedly. Actions include calling Jews the “sons of apes and pigs“.
  4. Organization is the assembly of special groups and militias to carry out the killings. This is a Palestinian Arab specialty, as they have more terrorist entities than any other group in the world. They include: Abu Nidal; Hamas; Palestine Liberation Front; Palestinian Islamic Jihad; Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; PFLP- General Command; and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, to name a few.
  5. Polarization includes broadcasting hate propaganda and the targeting of moderates. MEMRI and Palestinian Media Watch have hundreds of examples of Palestinian hate propaganda. The Hamas Charter calls against any negotiation with Israel. Palestinian leadership assassinates anyone considered collaborating with Israel.
  6. Preparation includes limiting where people can live and identifying them for death. As noted above, the “moderate” Palestinians call for removing all Jews from EGL/Judea and Samaria, while the more popular and extreme Palestinians openly call for targeting Jews for death and wiping out Israel in its entirety.
  7. Extermination has been an ongoing Arab effort since the riots of the 1920s and 1930s, to the war to destroy Israel in the 1940s, and the wars and “intifadas” of the past two decades.
  8. Denial only exists after the genocide is complete, which fortunately has not happened to the Jewish State. An example of genocide denial can be best captured by the “moderate” acting-Prime Minster of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial, and the champion of Hamas, the Turkish leader Recep Erdogan who continues to deny the genocide of Armenians to this day.

Gaza cattle ranchers

The Palestinian war against Israel fits the UN’s definition of genocide as well. Can the Palestinians claim they are simply “resisting” Israel and “resorting” to violence?

  • Killing Jews has been going on since 1920. Today the actions are with knives and cars. In 2014 it was with missiles. In 2002 it was with bombings. The focus on killing a subset of Israelis – the Jews – is made clear in Palestinian founding documents which include such statements as:
    1. Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious….”
    2. The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews
    3. In face of the Jews’ usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised…”
    4. Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people…”
    5. Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.
  • Causing serious bodily and mental harm is also part-and-parcel of the attacks. The dehumanization (mentioned above), denying Jewish history in the holy land and the rights to live in their holy land are also forms of inflicting mental harm.
  •  As noted above, Palestinians have repeatedly tried to destroy Israel.  The wars of 1948 and 1967 were intended to destroy Israel completely.  Terrorism has targeted Jewish schools, synagogues and everywhere that people live.
  • The Palestinian Arabs have not been able to enforce items 4 and 5 under the UN definition of Genocide as they have not have sufficient control over Jews.

Whether by the United Nations own definition, or the pathway described by Genocide Watch, it is clear that the Palestinians are actively trying to engage in a genocide of the Jews in the Middle East.  According to an ADL poll, Palestinian Arabs are almost 100% anti-Semitic.

Har Nof
Murder in Synagogue in Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem
November 2014 (photo: Israel Government Press Office)

Actions to be Taken

Genocide Watch recommends embargoes and denying visas to genocidal groups like Hamas.  The United Nations is mandated by the Genocide Convention to “to prevent [massacres] and to punish [those committing and inciting such actions].”  And what has the United Nations done with the Palestinian Arabs?  The opposite.

  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has pushed for a Palestinian reconciliation government that includes the terrorist group Hamas
  • The UN promises Palestinian Arabs that they will all get to move into Israel
  • The UN emphasizes Palestinian victims while it ignores Israeli victims
  • The UN pushes for this anti-Semitic group to get their own country and become a member of the UN
  • The UN Secretary General pushes to end the blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza
  • The UN gave the podium and recognition to Mahmoud Abbas, who blamed Jews for the Holocaust in his doctoral thesis, and then added to the insult, claiming from that UN platform that Jews were committing a genocide against Palestinians

The UN is supposed to fight to prevent genocide.  However, when it comes to Palestinian Arabs, the organization either chooses to not recognize the vileness of Palestinian actions, or it simply forgives their activities, in the belief that Arab self-determination will pacify their blood lust beyond their new borders.

If one chose to be more “generous” about the UN’s actions and statements regarding Palestinian Arabs, it is that the world wants to prevent an inevitable genocide by Palestinian Arabs against the Jews, so it supports enforcing anti-Semitic edicts and evicting Jews from their homes and businesses in Judea and Samaria.  Give the Palestinian Arabs their Jew-free state, and prevent a large scale genocide.

What’s in a Name?

ISIS has been slaughtering minorities for a long time, and only in March 2016 did the United States opt to call the brutality a “genocide.”  Will the new designation of “genocide” make people and governments take a stand against the racist jihadist slaughter?

The world has used Palestinian terminology of their war against the existence of a Jewish State, calling it an “intifada,” or an uprising.  In a similar vein, the UN refers to Arabs “resisting” Israel and the New York Times says that Hamas “resorts” to violence.  Arab violence and incitement get a pass.

The labels and terms do not conceal the murders or bold statements that Hamas declares in its charter and its leaders call out today.  They seek a genocide of the Jews and Jewish State.  Yet their genocidal movement is labeled in soft reactionary language.

Do names and labels matter?

If people called the ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria an “intifada,” would they consider that their goal of a Sunni state is legitimate?  Would the world embrace the eviction of Christians from their homes in Iraq, so the Islamic State can be self-governing in a new caliphate?

If the world acknowledged the evil of the anti-Semitism of the Palestinian Arab mission to ban Jews from living in their homes, and their mission to drive Jews from the holy land, and called their attacks a “genocide,” would they demand an end to Hamas instead of including it in a reconciliation government?

Will a label produce an action?  Or is a designation simply a conclusion?  A statement of opinion of right versus wrong; good versus evil.

Perhaps the United States will take new actions against the Islamic State, and actively protect the persecuted, now that they have taken to calling the actions of ISIS a “genocide.”

Maybe the pro-Israel community can stop calling the Palestinian Arab attacks an “intifada,” and clearly call out the “genocide” and put an end to the war on the Jewish State.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

UN Press Corps Expunges Israel

The UN Can’t Support Israel’s Fight on Terrorism since it Considers Israel the Terrorists

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

The United Nations’ Remorse for “Creating” Israel

Names and Narrative: Palestinian Territories/ Israeli Territories

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

Names and Narrative: CNN’s Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa Complex Inversion

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The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

In the course of a war, there are often incidences where civilians are harmed. It is interesting to consider the United Nations responses to such attacks during recent battles.

  • Saudi Arabia killed 41 civilians on March 16, 2016. The UN condemned the airstrike, but not Saudi Arabia that carried out the attack.
  • Russia carried out attacks in Syria that killed 41 people, including 27 civilians on November 6, 2015. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon issued no statement.
  • The USA bombed a medical facility run by Doctors Without Borders, killing 22 people on October 3, 2015. The UN condemned the attack, but not the United States.
  • Israel attacked an UNRWA school, killing 10 people on August 3, 2014. The UN called out Israel for the “moral outrage and a criminal act.” Ban Ki Moon repeatedly stated that the Israelis responsibility was to protect Palestinian civilians, and made no mention of their actual responsibility to protect Israeli civilians.

Why can the UN Secretary General only recognize and call out an attacker in the case of Israel? Why are Palestinian civilians worthy of more protection and recognition than other civilians? Why is an attack on Palestinians uniquely a “moral outrage and criminal act?”

The Protector of One

The United Nations views itself as the guardians of the Palestinians uniquely; every other conflict in the world is between two independent warring parties.

The Palestinians have a unique definition of “refugee” and a unique relief agency (UNRWA) compared to every other actual refugee (UNHCR).  This enables the United Nations to funnel money and assume a parental role of 5 million people instead of the actual 30,000 current Palestinian refugees from the 1948-9 war they initiated.

Therefore, when Palestinians are attacked, the UN views itself as attacked.

The United Nations adopted the Palestinians.  They are the guardians of these Arab wards.

The UN’s outrage against Israel is unique in words, actions and intent.  The Palestinians are part of UN’s family.  As such, the UN is inherently an unqualified arbitrator in any dialogue between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.

Ban Ki Moon
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon


 

UN Statement on Saudi Arabia killing of 41 civilians in Yemen. KSA is not mentioned:

“The Secretary-General condemns the airstrikes that hit al-Khamees market in Mastaba district in the Hajjah province of Yemen yesterday. This incident is one of the deadliest – reportedly killing and wounding scores of civilians, including women and children – since the start of the conflict. This is the second major incident of this kind in just over two weeks.

The Secretary-General underscores to all parties the utmost necessity to fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights laws, including the fundamental rules of distinction, proportionality and precaution. Attacks directed against civilians and civilian objects, including populated markets, are strictly prohibited. The Secretary-General stresses that any intentional attack against civilians or civilian objects is a serious violation of international humanitarian law. It is critical to carry out prompt, effective, independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of serious violations.

The Secretary-General continues to urge all parties to the conflict to cease all military activities and to start to resolve all differences and outstanding issues in a new round of peaceful negotiations facilitated by his Special Envoy for Yemen.

The Secretary-General expresses his sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.”

 UN Statement on US killing 22 people in hospital. USA is not mentioned:

“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the airstrikes in Kunduz, Afghanistan, that resulted in the death and injury of medical workers and patients at a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital on 3 October.

The Secretary-General recalls that hospitals and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law. He calls for a thorough and impartial investigation into the attack in order to ensure accountability.          Médecins Sans Frontières have been operating the only hospital in Kunduz under extremely trying conditions. The Secretary-General commends the courageous and dedicated staff of the organization and extends his deepest sympathies to the families of those killed and injured in this attack.”

UN statement on Israel’s killing of 10 people near an UNRWA school. Calls out Israel and highlights Palestinian civilians.

“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the killing today of at least 10 Palestinian civilians in shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah providing shelter to thousands of civilians.  The attack is yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law, which clearly requires protection by both parties of Palestinian civilians, UN staff and UN premises, among other civilian facilities.

United Nations shelters must be safe zones not combat zones. The Israel Defence Forces have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites.  This attack, along with other breaches of international law, must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable. It is a moral outrage and a criminal act.

The Secretary-General is profoundly dismayed over the appalling escalation of violence and loss of hundreds of Palestinian civilian lives since the breach of the humanitarian ceasefire on 1 August. The resurgence in fighting has only exacerbated the man-made humanitarian and health crisis wreaking havoc in Gaza.  Restoring calm can be achieved through resumption of the ceasefire and negotiations by the parties in Cairo to address the underlying issues.

The Secretary-General repeats his demand to the parties to immediately end the fighting and return to the path of peace.  This madness must stop.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

The UN Can’t Support Israel’s Fight on Terrorism since it Considers Israel the Terrorists

The United Nations’ Remorse for “Creating” Israel

The United Nation’s Ban Ki Moon is Unqualified to Discuss the Question of Palestine

The United Nations’ Ban Ki Moon Exposes Israeli Civilians

The United Nations “Provocation”

The Hollowness of the United Nations’ “All”

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

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Magnifying the Margins, and the Rise of the Independents

If people really had such compelling arguments, why do they need to always use extreme examples to make their case?

Magnifying the Margins

Both liberal and conservatives often try to argue their points of view by highlighting extreme examples that have little to do with day-to-day reality. Could it be that the basic lines of their arguments are tenuous? Consider some examples:

President Obama took to the airwaves after a terrible mass killing in October 2015, to argue for gun control. The reality is that the number of murders from mass killings is a very small percentage of gun-related deaths. The vast majority of gun deaths – over 60% every year – are in suicides. The over 700 deaths from guns in accidental shootings, is lower than the number of drownings in pools.  Gang and drug-related crimes make up another large segment of gun deaths. Of the over 32,000 gun-related deaths in the United States in 2015, 475 – 1 percent – were in mass shootings.  If Obama really cared about gun deaths, he should take to the airwaves after suicides and gang violence, not from random mass shootings.

Obama tear
Obama sheds a tear during remarks on gun violence, October 2015
(photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)

Liberal and pro-abortion activists highlight the need for abortion, and vilify pro-life people that are against abortions in cases of rape and incest. Rape and incest account for just 1% of abortions according to the Guttmacher Institute. Almost all abortions are done for financial or relationship reasons. Why bring up such marginal cases to make a point? If the law states that abortions are legal before the baby is viable outside of the mother, at about 22 weeks (a law driven by time), then the reasons for having the abortion should have no part in the conversation.

Republicans and foreign policy hawks are equally at fault for magnifying the margins. Conservatives continue to pound the table about the threat of Islamic terrorism in the United States. In fact, the number of deaths from Islamic terrorism in the 14 years since September 11, 2001, is less than the number of people who died in lightening strikes.

Denying the Obvious

The convoluted arguments noted above become further estranged from the truth when people also deliberately deny the obvious.

Consider Obama’s refusal to state that there even is something called “radical Islamic terrorism,” which presidential candidate Republican Senator Ted Cruz repeats often.  While Obama may be correct that there many, many Muslims who are not terrorists, that has nothing to do with the scourge of terrorism in the world that is almost exclusively conducted by Islamic radicals.

Trump muslims
Donald Trump calls for banning all Muslims from the US
until the vetting process is improved, December 2015

It is similarly absurd for pro-choice advocates to claim that abortion is 100% about a women’s privacy, as if the issue was akin to a tattoo or body piercing. Such a position inherently argues that a fetus has zero rights until it is actually born. That line of reasoning is as extreme as people who argue that life begins at the very instant of conception. The US Supreme Court and most thoughtful Americans believe a fetus deserves rights at some point between those two extreme moments in time.

The Beautiful Gray Truth

Reality is often a bit too complicated to fit on a bumper sticker. “Pro Choice” fits neater than “Roe v. Wade is about the stage of development of the fetus, and modern science now enables pre-mature births to survive at 22 weeks as opposed to 24 weeks when the law was passed 50 years ago, so I am in favor of moving the timeframe to the new earlier date as the limit for having a legal abortion.” Definitely too wordy.

The truth is that radical Islam is the source of most of the terrorism in the world and the destabilizing force from the middle east and north Africa through Europe. And it is also true that most Muslims are not terrorists.

But political discourse is now only had at the edges.  Politicians and mainstream media magnify marginal situations, denying the middle any air.  That middle ground is where 99% of the truth lies.

Rise of the Independents and Libertarians

If there is a silver lining to the extreme positions taken by the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, it is that Americans are leaving them both.  The number of people who consider themselves political Independents jumped to 43% in 2014, according to a Gallup poll, the highest level ever.  That figure compares to 30% for Democrats and 26% for Republicans.

Perhaps Americans realize the foolish spin they are given every day.  Maybe Americans are not really being driven to extremes – its just the two party system that has begun to champion marginal rhetoric, and most Americans are still in the middle.  Americans may only be fed up with Washington D.C., because they hate the two parties that occupy it.

Maybe.

Hopefully.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Political Pinatas: Populist Greed Meets Populist Anger

Absolute and Relative Ideological Terrorism in the United States

The Invisible Anti-Semitism in Obama’s 2016 State of the Union

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Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Killed Terrorists

France Against ISIS

Every media outlet reported repeatedly about the devastation in Paris in November 2015. The terrorist attacks throughout the city killed 130 people going about their daily lives, and pictures filled newspaper pages of the bloody scene of the Batclan night club where most of the people were murdered. There were many other pictures and articles of the various innocent victims over the following days.

IMG_3612
Front page of the New York Times, November 15, 2015

In the following days the headlines of newspapers broadcast that France was attacking ISIS in retaliation for the attacks. Liberal papers like the New York Times editorial section even stated that “France rightfully attacked ISIS.” The papers reported 20 sorties.

Yet, where were the pictures of the dead ISIS fighters?  Where was the headcount of how many fighters were killed?

For all of the coverage about the terrorist attack and follow-up airstrikes, there was virtually no discussion of the deaths inflicted on the ISIS fighters in Syria or Iraq.

The pictures in the paper show the innocent victims of France. Nowhere does it show the images of what the French did in response.

The US Against Al Shabab

On March 8, 2016, the New York Times reported that the US struck and killed 150 fighters in Somalia, belonging to the terrorist group Al Shabab. The United States has been fighting against Al Shabab, an affiliate of Al Qaeda, for a decade.  While this group has not conducted any attacks on US soil against American civilians, a Pentagon spokesperson claimed that the group was planning a “large-scale attack” against US troops.

The US attack was the deadliest attack against Islamic militants in Africa.

There were no pictures in the newspapers to accompany the article.

There were no follow up stories.

Israel Against Hamas

Hamas has defined itself as opposed to the very existence of Israel.  They refuse to acknowledge any right or legitimacy of the Jewish State.  They repeatedly state in their charter and on their news programs that there can be no peace agreement with Israel, only jihad.

Hamas has launched over 10,000 rockets into Israel, since Israel left Gaza in 2005.  The group has instigated three wars and killed over a thousand Israelis.  Those Hamas wars have claimed thousands of Palestinian Arab lives as well.

However, unlike the invisible terrorists of ISIS and Al Shabab, the papers post the pictures of dead Palestinian terrorists.  Whether covering the front pages of the paper in the summer of 2014, or running long articles with several pictures of Gazans dying using the tunnel network, the paper relays the Palestinians in a sympathetic light.  The people of Gaza, who voted for and are governed by the terrorist group Hamas, are shown as victims time and again.

 

The United Nations often condemns Israel for “disproportionate” force in stopping Palestinian attackers actively involved in attacking people.  It did not condemn France  nor the United States for its actions against terrorists.

Maybe every day people can begin to condemn the media for disproportionate coverage of Israel’s handling its War on Terror.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Review of Media Headlines on Palestinian Arab Terror Spree

Every Picture Tells a Story: Arab Injuries over Jewish Deaths

Every Picture Tells A Story: Only Palestinians are Victims

Every Picture Tells a Story- Whitewashing the World (except Israel)

The Big, Bad Lone Wolves of Terrorism

The New York Times Refuses to Label Hamas a Terrorist Group

Flip-Flopping on the Felling of Terrorist Groups’ Founders

My Terrorism

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Political Pinatas: Populist Greed Meets Populist Anger

Politicians have always been great at promising people things for free. However, over the past decade, there has been an added element of not simply granting goodies to constituents, but to blame select parties for problems and seizing their money to pay for the free stuff for the masses. It is a dangerous path of divisiveness being waged by both the far-left and right.

Free, Without Guilt

Americans began to believe that things can be totally free over the past decade.  They downloaded digital music and movies for free over the internet.  They got games for free based on “freemium” business plans.  Now, they want to abrogate the bargain they quietly struck with media companies to watch their advertising, as they install ad-blocking software on their devices.

People are demanding – and getting – more and more stuff for free.

Not surprisingly, politicians have ratcheted up their promises too.

Individuals seeking office would declare that once in office, they would fix whatever was broken, whether infrastructure, the economy or the military. The funds to pay for such repair would be easy to come by, mainly through removing government “waste” and “inefficiencies.” These solutions were wonderfully popular. The country could be great again without hurting anyone or sacrificing anything. The money was already present, but simply wasted in bureaucracy.

How great! A nation got stuff, and it didn’t cost a dime!

Occasionally politicians would be a bit more specific and attack an institution that no one liked, like the IRS. Some people would lose jobs – those that collect your taxes – but otherwise, America would be fixed and Americans would be wealthier without any effort or sacrifice.

Someone Took Your Cheese

The model changed in 2008 when Senator Barack Obama ran for president. Obama spoke about the “top 1%” obtaining too much wealth. As president in 2009, he described the “fat cat” investment bankers who put the country at risk in the financial meltdown of 2008.

He pointed fingers. He ascribed blame to people who abused a profession.

Economists argue how much the economic collapse was the fault of investment banks as opposed to the government that pushed banks to lend to the poor to purchase homes that they could not afford, in an effort to close the wealth gap. Whether right or wrong, Obama openly segmented the United States into the rich that caused the financial crisis, and other 99% that bore the brunt of the meltdown due to no fault of their own.

These fat cats would help pay for Obama’s promise for free stuff for America.  Americans would get free healthcare, and the rich would pay “their fair share.”

Beginning the Class Civil War

The liberal wing actively forgot the roles of Democratic favorites Bill Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, Frank Raines and Barney Frank had in the housing crisis and the financial meltdown. Selective memory authenticated the manifest superiority of their world view.

Their arrogance begat outright outrage when the Supreme Court ruled against Hillary Clinton in Citizens United in 2010. That ruling stated that corporations were entitled to free speech, similar to citizens. The “progressive” politicians, led by Obama, decried that with such ruling, the rich could now effectively buy any election. The wealth gap would translate into a voting gap whereby the wealthiest people and corporations could taint the airwaves with capitalistic propaganda. The masses would never be able to withstand the onslaught of big corporate advertising, and would relegate liberals to a permanent minority party.

For the liberal elites, the wealthy were no longer simply “fat cats” that didn’t pay their “fair share.” They were an oversized enemy that threatened to forever quash their aspirations.

Vilification from the Far-Left

The liberal arrogance and anger produced hostility.  Republicans met those feelings with a wealthy businessman.

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate in 2012, was attacked for being rich and his investment firm for being predatory.  His policies for the country were not attacked; his wealth was attacked.

By the next presidential election cycle in 2015, liberals dug in even deeper.  Self-described “Democratic Socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders went beyond pointing fingers at bankers.  Instead, he described the entire financial industry as a “fraud.” Sanders’ claim surpassed Obama’s statement that there were some bankers that abused the system that avoided paying their fair share – Sanders said “fraud is the business model on Wall Street.”  The very essence of banks was a corrupt system that cheated Americans.

Sanders announced that the pathway to free goodies such as free college, would be to reclaim from the rich the money that those criminals never deserved in the first place. It’s not only that the wealthy didn’t pay enough taxes; they made too much money in a corrupt system. He proposed that the banking system should be completely revamped to both limit how much income bankers could make, and to double their tax rates.  Free college would be paid “by imposing a tax on Wall Street transactions by investment houses, hedge funds and other speculators.”  Note that these institutions were no longer investing to build America’s economy according to Sanders – they were all “speculators.”

In just a decade, liberal politicians moved from handing out free stuff without any blame, to vilifying a group of people, to demonizing an entire industry and capitalism itself.

sanders
Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders

The far-left is not alone in demonizing whole groups of people, then reaching into those pockets to fund projects, all while claiming the righteousness of the cause.

Vilification from the Right

A Republican candidate for president, businessman Donald Trump, also wants to “make America great again.” Part of how he’ll do it is by giving Americans things for free – like a secure border.

Trump declared that he was going to protect America from foreign rapists and terrorists by building a “great great wall” between the USA and Mexico. And guess what? It’ll be for free. The Mexican government will pay for it.

Yay! More free stuff!

He rallied people to his cause by degrading both his Republican and Democratic opponents.  Like Sanders, he bellowed about Americans’ fears, and pointed fingers at people and institutions that were corrupt and inept that needed to be overhauled and overthrown.

Greed and Anger

Americans are fond of getting things for free.  If the amount of government waste is not enough for free handouts, they will be happy to take a baton to a piñata to get their due.  And they will beat that piñata senseless if they are both angry and feel threatened.

Trump and Sanders are handing their angry and scared followers large batons, and pointing to opponents as political piñatas.

Healthcare and education have been the only two items that have escalated in cost more than inflation every year.  These important components of life were rapidly becoming prohibitively expensive for many.  The fear of becoming ill and then destitute is real for many Americans.  The burden of college loans frightens many to abandon the dream of a degree.

The solution offered by Obama was to focus on adding fees onto various people and the healthcare industry, to give subsidized medicine to the poor.  But he made virtually no attempt to lower the escalation of healthcare costs through items like major tort reform.

For his part, Sanders is looking to provide free college to people.  He makes no attempt to lower the escalating costs of education through reforms to professor tenure and sabbaticals (no other industry in America has such institutionalized largess and abuse).  Instead, he seeks new taxes to pay for the new perks.

Sanders’ proposal does not follow Obama’s lead that taxed the institutions from the same industry (healthcare) to pay for education.  Sanders wants to tax a group that has nothing to do with college (Wall Street), simply because he views the industry as corrupt and too wealthy.

Such action moves past Obama’s coupling of fear and entitlements. That is a marriage of greed and anger.

Trump’s call to build a great big wall is a modification of those two efforts: a pairing of fear and anger.

Trump is addressing Americans fear about terrorism. Not everyday killings on the street by gangs, but foreigners coming into the country and causing havoc.

Americans see the carnage all over Facebook and news in Europe about foreign murderers and rapists. That situation can come to the USA. Like Obama, he will provide Americans with something they want, to address something they fear that will not cost them anything.  Like Sanders, he loudly points a finger at the party that he intends to charge with the solution.

Reality

Getting free stuff is fun. Addressing a fear is important.  Vetting anger feels good.  But those feelings have nothing to do with truth.

Only addressing the method of paying for free healthcare and education does nothing to address the painful sacrifices that must be made to address the COSTS of healthcare and education.  It remains unsustainable and the quality of both will plummet.

Exclusively blaming Wall Street without blaming the government that pushed banks to lend to the poor, is not just half-a-story. It is cherry-picking so much that it tells a lie that will lead to more bad governmental policies.

Blaming the border with Mexico for Islamic terrorism that grips the world is a gross misrepresenting of the people from Latin America that are seeking a better quality of life.  They seek to join America, not a path to destroy America.

The fears of Americans regarding security and the economy are real.  But the politicians from the right and left are feeding Americans a diet of half-truths with their free give-aways. They have stoked public anger in an environment of free entitlements.

The movement to blame people for systemic problems is called scapegoating.  Vilifying them with falsehoods put dangerous emotions in play.  Today’s candidates are coupling fear, anger and greed to a dangerous level.

Almost 600 years ago, on March 12, 1421, the people of Vienna, Austria accused the Jews of abusing Christianity.  They burned families at the stake and took all of their possessions.  A false claim turned into an inferno.  The coupling of fear and anger led to free goodies for the masses.

Let’s not simply hope that calmer heads prevail.  We must all call out the lies and hatred that are emanating from the Democratic and Republican contenders.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

Trump Fails to Understand that Jews Want Peace, not a Deal

The Invisible Anti-Semitism in Obama’s 2016 State of the Union

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