When It Becomes

An allegory.

 

Seth’s ninth birthday seemed like a welcome time for skipping school and a take-your-son-to-work day. As his father, the architect, did most of his work from home, his mother was quite excited to bring Seth to see her latest projects.

The housing development was designed to accommodate 73 homes. With only about 20 homes completed, the sunny day was a great chance to show the nine-year old the various stages of home building.

Seth knew that his mother was a home builder but had never really understood what was involved in her day-to-day activity. He was very excited to find out.

They parked at the entrance of the complex and got out of the car to take in the lesson on foot. Seth was surprised that they began at an open field.

“There’s nothing here,” Seth said, “it’s just a bunch of grass.”

“Yes,” his mother replied, “this is how things are before we break ground. I wanted you to get a sense of how a house is built by taking you through the various stages of home building. Here we have a flat field which will one day have a four-bedroom house.”

They walked up the road to what looked like a large hole in the ground. Inside the pit were rectangular gray walls with various notches on top. Seth was confused. “What’s this?”

His Mom replied, “that’s the foundation to a house. It’s what holds up the rest of the house and keeps it from sinking into the ground. We start by digging a hole and then pouring concrete which is very strong that can hold up the walls of the house. These gray rectangles will become the rooms of the basement.”

“I can’t really see it,” Seth mumbled. “It just looks like a jumbled maze.”

His Mom laughed. “I know, it’ll look more obvious to you as we get further along.”

The next stop had a few people working. They wore helmets and were standing among lots of wooden beams. Measuring tape and tools were everywhere.

“What’s happening now?” Seth asked.

“They’re putting up the walls. Those are wooden frames of the outside and inside walls of the house.”

The child was frustrated. “I still don’t see it. It looks like a jumble of wood. There are no walls! I can see though everything!”

The mother was upset. Her goal was to make this interesting and exciting, not frustrating. She decided to move onto a more complete project. They took a diagonal cut through some sites to a large building.

Seth became excited. “Now I see it! There’s the roof and walls and windows! That’s where the door goes!”

“That’s right! You can start to make out the definite outlines of the house at this point. Grab this helmet and let’s go inside!”

The two of them walked up some boards and into the house. “Be very careful and try not to touch anything,” she warned. “It’s an active construction site so there’s a lot of workers with nail guns which are dangerous. Stay close to me.”

Seth was excited. It finally felt like he was seeing a house.

Seth noted that the tone of his mother changed. She suddenly went from being his Mom to a working professional. “This is going to be the entrance hallway. Over there is the living room. Come with me and we’ll look at the kitchen,” she said.

The large space looked much like the other large spaces. There was saw dust everywhere just like the first rooms. His mother started going into details about where the refrigerator and oven were going to be, the sink and the island. She waved her hand at the open walls which was going to have the kitchen table. Suddenly, it started to come together in Seth’s mind. “I get it. I can imagine the table, but it’s hard to imagine all of the appliances. I still just see open walls.”

“Come to the next house which already has the plumbing and electrical work installed. We will be closing the walls this week. A building inspector is going to be there tomorrow.”

The house next door was still under construction but clean. There were wires and pipes in many of the walls. “These are the guts of the house. These thin wires are for electricity and broadband. These pipes are for hot and cold water. And these big tubes are the air conditioning.”

Seth nodded. “So that’s why the walls aren’t solid? So you can put in all of the pipes and electricity?”

She smiled, “that’s certainly a big part of it. It also would be much more expensive to make all of the walls solid.”

They went outside and down the street to a home that looked totally finished. The grass wasn’t in, but the house itself looked safe.

They went inside. Aside from the lack of furniture, everything looked finished. “Didn’t anybody buy this house? Why is it empty?” Seth asked.

“The owner’s want everything completed before they move in. They’re adding some chandeliers, changing the paint in some rooms, adding window treatments. A bunch of little items before they move in the furniture.”

Seth paused for a second. “So Mom, when is a house officially a house? Is it once a person moves in?”

“That’s an excellent question. I would say a house becomes a home when a family moves in. That’s when there’s a personal connection to the building, when people make memories. But a house becomes a house much earlier.”

“Like when a foundation is put in?” Seth asked.

“No, that’s too early. That’s the building blocks for a house, but not yet a house itself. I would say it’s when the building gets the ‘C of O,’ the certificate of occupancy.”

Seth was now confused. He didn’t see any ‘C of O’ on the tour. “What’s that?”

“Do you remember how I said that a building inspector was going to come look at the wiring of the house before we closed the walls? The city sends a person to look at the house during various stages of the construction to make sure that everything is safe and up to the latest safety codes and regulations. When they’re satisfied that everything is done and the house is ready to be occupied, they issue a Certificate of Occupancy. Typically, no one moves into a house for many more weeks as the house gets the finishing touches, but I would say the C of O probably marks the house as officially being a house.”

“So even though the government doesn’t own the house, it gets to decide on whether it really is a house?”

“No one ever suggested that the government owns the house and gets to decide on the colors of the draperies or anything like that. But the government does get the sign-off on when the building is ready.”

“And how long does that typically take?” asked Seth.

“There’s no set formula, but for this project, from the time we break ground to getting a C of O takes about 24 weeks. The last weeks before people move in are installing lighting fixtures, back-splashes and other incidentals that invariably take a bunch of time. It’s about 9 months from the start until someone moves in.”

“That’s almost like a baby,” noted Seth.

“Yes, it’s very much like the development of a baby. It takes about 24 weeks from conception to become a viable person, and a total of nine months for the baby to be born and for a family to begin to build a lifetime of memories together.”


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#NeverGillibrand #NeverSanders #NeverHarris #NeverDeBlasio

US elections have become affairs seemingly as much about who people will NOT vote for as much as who they actually do endorse.

In that spirit, with a crowded field of Democrats vying to become the next US president, let’s toss out the clearly unacceptable candidates, those who will tear this country apart – the extremists.

Both Republicans and Democrats have them, and the current nature of the primary season is unfortunately to cater to the radical base of the party. But it is a recipe for disaster and a continuation of the fracturing the great United States.

Three of the Democratic candidates for president are among the most extremist liberal fringe of the senate, as compiled by GovTracks, an independent monitoring group which tracks the voting records of all members of Congress.

Look at the five most extreme liberal voters in the US Senate for 2018:

Rank       Score     Senator

#95 0.09 Sen. Edward “Ed” Markey [D-MA]
#96 0.05 Sen. Kamala Harris [D-CA]
#97 0.03 Sen. Jeff Merkley [D-OR]
#98 0.01 Sen. Bernard “Bernie” Sanders [I-VT]
#99 0.00 Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY]


Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Three of the most extremist members of the US Senate are running for president. Voting for such people to the highest office is akin to trying to initiate a civil war in the country between the blue states and the red states, between the rural and the urban, between the religious and the secular.

Similarly, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is a far left-wing fringe politician and should be shunned and the national stage.

When Barack Obama was leaving the political stage, he warned his fellow Democrats not to let themselves be “characterized as coastal liberal latte-sipping politically-correct out-of-touch folks.” Well they’re not be characterized as such – they are the very epitome of the alt-left.

If Americans actually want to heal the divide, it is time to encourage the moderate voices from both parties to take leadership roles in the national debates, not the lunatic fringe embodied by Gillibrand and Sanders.


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The Real Offensive Question of the US Census: Dominican or Cuban?

There is quite a bit of fuss about a particular question in the 2020 census.

Many Democrats are contending that a question asking about the citizenship status of people is an attempt to under-count Hispanics who are often not citizens and will be nervous to check off the “not a U.S. citizen” box in the form in fear of being deported. Many of these non-citizens live in urban areas which vote Democratic, and the Democratic politicians are looking to boost their weight in Congress and budgetary allocations so want to ensure as many people fill out the census forms in Democratic strongholds as possible. Anything which might hurt their personal politics is repulsive.

But the census forms are filled out anonymously. The forms specifically state that the information collected is private and confidential. Are the Democrats worried that the census results will show that the number of people in a census block is much lower than the number of voters, proving severe voting irregularities with many people voting in elections who are non-citizens? That there is a perfect correlation between high levels of non-citizens and newly minted “sanctuary cities”?

According to the US Census Bureau, the citizenship question has been asked for many years, “in 1820, 1830, 1870 and 1890 to present.” Why the sudden hullabaloo?

If people were really concerned about the Hispanic population and not their own politics, why not challenge the government asking about the origin of Hispanics? Why does it matter if someone came to the United States from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba or El Salvador? Will the government use a different dialect of Spanish in some forms? Will it change the meal plans at schools?

The census form has a distinct question about race, not related to the Hispanic question. The race question asks Asians to specify if they are Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese and other. That is understandable as each speaks different languages. Further, the government states that it asks questions about race to “evaluate government programs and policies to ensure they fairly and equitably serve the needs of all racial groups and to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination laws.” Seems fair enough.

But why does the form separate Hispanics into a different category outside of race? The Census Bureau clarifies:

“Though many respondents expect to see a Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish category on the race question, this question is asked separately because people of
Hispanic origin may be of any race(s) in accordance with the 1997 Office of Management and Budget standards on race and ethnicity.”

Are only Hispanics of mixed race? In the race question, respondents are allowed to check off more than one box (say, White and Black), but not so in the Hispanic question. That seems bizarre. A person cannot be both Cuban and Puerto Rican?

When the FBI reports on hate crimes – a pretty good indicator of whether there is discrimination in society – it doesn’t break down the details of “anti-Hispanic or Latino” into Cuban or Dominican, so why is there a need for so much granular detail in the census? In 2017, the number of hate crimes against Jews was more than against Hispanics, Arabs, Asians, Native Americans and Pacific-Islanders COMBINED. If the US government is really concerned about discrimination, why doesn’t the census ask questions about religion?

It is far more likely that the government is extracting details of the country of origin in the census as a matter of mapping international relations. More Mexicans in the US may mean reconsidering trade policy with Mexico, or changing the visa and immigration policy. If the US governments finds a spike in Hondurans in the United States, it might decide to either cap or relax immigration policy with Honduras, and similarly with each of the Latin American countries where the majority of US immigrants are coming from.

That’s a real concern for the Hispanic community which no one discusses.

If Democrats really cared about the Hispanic community and not about their own personal politics, it would attempt to abolish the census question which might limit immigration from Latin America, not the power of Democratic kingpins.


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Mayor De Blasio is Blind to Black Anti-Semitism

New York City has seen a large spike in anti-Semitic attacks according to recent reports. According to the New York Police Department, the vast majority of hate crimes in the first quarter of 2019 were against Jews.

Anti-Jewish 59%
Anti-White 10%
Anti-Black 8%
Anti LGBT 8%
Anti-Muslim 3%
Anti-Asian 3%

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the attacks, but repeatedly falsely attributed the incidents as stemming only from “white supremacy.” In May 2019, de Blasio saidThe forces of white supremacy have been unleashed and … those are profoundly anti-Semitic forces,” and yesterday he doubled down on the sentiment statingI think the ideological movement that is anti-Semitic is the right-wing movement,… I want to be very, very clear, the violent threat, the threat that is ideological is very much from the right.


NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio
(photo: Gregory P. Mango)

De Blasio is correct in stating that white supremacy is a force of antisemitism, but he routinely refuses to acknowledge that black antisemitism is just as large a factor in hate crimes in New York City. In a city with a population which is roughly 43% white and 24% black, white people commit 58% of the anti-Semitic crimes while black people commit 36%. The ratios between white-black populations and white-black anti-Semitic attacks are virtually identical. It is the Hispanic and Asian communities which live in New York City who do not commit many hate crimes against Jews.

But De Blasio is a liberal mayor married to a black woman, and is running for president as a Democrat. As such, he believes that his pathway to higher office is to minimize black antisemitism and inflate charges against the right. It is a motivation of personal gain rather than fighting against a surge of attacks against Jews.

An average NYC Jew is now 13 times more likely to suffer a hate crime than an average NYC black person, but the mayor is protecting blacks against the charges of antisemitism in a reversal of protecting the accuser over the accused.

De Blasio is putting personal gain and politics over protecting the innocent. What kind of president do you think he would be?


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The Press Are Not Guardians of the Galaxy

There are many freedoms which are cherished in the United States, as outlined in the Bill of Rights. These freedoms were specifically enumerated to curtail the power of the government. Key provisions reserved for individuals can be found in the very first of the ten amendments made to the U.S. Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Individuals were given the right to speak their minds, to associate with people of their own choosing and to publicly write and disseminate materials without government interference. The government was specifically limited in forcing upon people a particular narrative.

That was in 1791.

Several items have changed the way Americans and (much of the world) view these key principles of freedom:

  • The Internet and social media have enabled people to have platforms which can reach every corner of the world, making each person potentially more influential than the mainstream media
  • The mainstream media’s business model has been collapsing as money from classifieds and advertising abandoned the press for those new media platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter with greater reach, driving the remaining corporate media titans to become more partisan and inflammatory in their content to retain and attract viewership
  • Social media is not simply a soap box nor bulletin board, but includes a range of sophisticated algorithms which direct viewers towards a prioritized list of media to consume, making the platforms themselves powerful disseminaters of information

These first three points are critical to understanding the tension between the democratization of the press: how large media companies backed by large corporate advertising dollars are dissolving in the face of smaller and more niche sources of media. Those smaller media sources can survive as hobbies of individuals and can attract micro-audiences and some actually become larger than the historic media agencies.

Against this democratization of the press which has unfolded over the past two decades is the growth of global terrorism:

  • History has shown (the Holocaust) how propaganda can quickly descend into a genocide of innocent people prompting the introductions of hate speech laws which inherently limit free speech
  • World leaders and the press have presented their case that leading global terrorist organizations like the Islamic State and al Qaeda effectively recruited individuals online, and have pushed the social media platforms to remove the content of those organizations
  • Governments have similarly asked the social media platforms to alter their algorithms to intersperse a range of ideas to people who may be searching for niche extremist ideas

Lastly, in addition to the democratization of the press and growth of terrorism prompting governments to intervene in the business of social media, is the more general backdrop of society and how social media is currently used:

Taken together, governments and global organizations are infringing on many freedoms in the stated desired hope of promoting a more peaceful and inclusive society.

It sounds noble as a goal and problematic in practice. Limiting speech that incites violence is logical and lawful, but calling non-violent speech a form of illegal “microaggression” is an assault on the First Amendment. Perhaps a person could get over a very limited number of restrictions if the world would indeed become more peaceful. Perhaps, but that is beside the point here.

The issue is that the limitations on individual speech and associations online are being advanced while the mainstream media is becoming ever more inflammatory and biased. The dynamic that governments were held in check by a free press in a balance of power with the press acting as a guardian of the people is a principle which may have had a shelf life from 1791 to 2000, but no longer applies in a world where the people’s voices are just as loud.

Consider two statements made by the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres over the last few days:

On social media contributing to hatred and violence: “Around the world, we are seeing a disturbing groundswell of intolerance and hate-based violence targeting worshipers of many faiths. In recent days alone, a synagogue in the United States and a church in Burkina Faso have come under attack….

Parts of the Internet are becoming hothouses of hate, as like-minded bigots find each other online, and platforms serve to inflame and enable hate to go viral. As crime feeds on crime, and as vile views move from the fringes to the mainstream, I am profoundly concerned that we are nearing a pivotal moment in battling hatred and extremism.

That is why I have set in motion two urgent initiatives: devising a plan of action to fully mobilize the United Nations system’s response to tackling hate speech, led by my Special Representative on Genocide Prevention; and exploring how the United Nations can contribute in ensuring the safety of religious sanctuaries, an effort being led by my High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations.”

On Freedom of the Press:A free press is essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights. No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power….

When media workers are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price. On World Press Freedom Day, I call on all to defend the rights of journalists, whose efforts help us to build a better world for all.

The concepts that the head of the U.N. put forward taken together are ancient: the press is no longer the vehicle for “transparent and reliable information.” It is as jaundiced and bigoted as social media. Protecting the press while quashing social media would be the opposite of speaking truth to power; it would be empowering the press at the expense of the people, not in favor of the people.

Consider the leading mainstream media organization The New York Times. It’s portrayal of the Israeli-Arab Conflict is beyond biased. It posts articles and cartoons vilifying Jews and the Jewish State over and again while it whitewashes the antisemitism of Palestinians. Should the bigots of The NY Times control the narrative while individuals on social media explaining Muslim antisemitism be silenced? Who gets to decide if liberal or conservative ideas have a right to be shared or censored?

Journalists are no longer limited to the large press organizations but can be found throughout social media. Their rights must be defended as vigorously as any.

A free press without free speech for all would be a tyranny of the worst sort.

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Bernie Sanders is Less Sophisticated Than Forrest Gump

The King of the Democratic Socialists, Senator Bernie Sanders, continues to show off his stupid ideas. His latest – capping pay of private companies.

The current salvo is part of Sanders’ “Stop Walmart Act” in which he wants to limit CEO’s pay to 150 times that of a typical employee. Somehow, raising the quality of life for poorest Americans is not sufficient via increases to the minimum wage and work conditions. Sanders is intent on putting the breaks on income inequality by limiting what the top brass earn. So if the average employee made $50,000 per year at a company, the CEO pay would be capped at $7.5 million.

Think about applying the logic to the movie business.

Tom Hanks earned roughly $60 million for his work in Forrest Gump. Taking his pay and dividing by 150 would mean that the average worker for that movie – including hair and makeup, lighting, sound editor, key grip (whatever that means) – would earn $400,000. Needless to say, the average worker on the movie made nowhere near that total. If the average person made $75,000, should Hanks have his pay capped at $11.25 million?

In baseball, Mike Trout earns $33.25 million a year playing for the Angels. The ecosystem in baseball is vast and includes groundskeepers, umpires, gate and parking attendants, people in concessions and advertising and marketing. Does the average person who works in Major league Baseball make $221,667? If they don’t, then Sanders believes that Tout shouldn’t make as much as he does. His perception of fairness trumps the value of his contribution as determined by the free markets.

People can readily appreciate the performances of actors and athletes, and pay money to see them perform. But the management talents of corporate executives is not easy to comprehend or see. A bad CEO could cost a company billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. Their work is not simply to amuse people for a few hours, but has dramatic impact on shareholders, employees and customers.

But for new era of American Socialists, income inequality is inherently evil. As freshman member of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saida system that allows billionaires to exist… is wrong” and “immoral.


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders

The start of this thinking in the Democratic Party can be traced to 2012, when President Barack Obama made the remark “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” While there is a kernel of truth to his broader commentary that most businesses are built with many employees and an ecosystem which enables wealth creation, the current alt-left version of that thinking is that ALL people who have a hand in wealth creation inherently deserve a good portion of that wealth. In the example above, Sanders does not only think that a grounds-keeper at a stadium should get a large raise when the baseball players get huge paydays, but Mike Trout’s Little League coach when he was ten years old should also be entitled to some of Trout’s salary.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is another presidential hopeful from the left-wing who is hyper-focused on income inequality. She has proposed forcing large companies to have almost half of the boards of directors be representatives of the employees. Such efforts are meant to curtail the efficiencies and cost-savings which companies like Amazon utilize to pass cost-savings onto consumers, and instead ensure more employees are hired and make more money relative to shareholders and management. The goal is for unskilled labor to get shielded in a world of automation while trimming Jeff Bezos’s wealth; a double win for progressives. For the people who maximized efficiencies and created new companies, not so much.

Big progressive government is trying to launch the biggest takeover ever – of the entirety of the American business community. It promises to be heavy-handed, very intrusive and punitive as it devalues the contribution of those who innovate and lead.

Bernie Sanders proudly adopted one of the mottoes of Forrest Gump, that “mama said there’s only so much fortune a man really needs… and the rest is just for showing off,” as he pushes to pass laws preventing highly skilled people from making “too much” money. In truth, the Democratic Socialist motto is “stupid is as stupid does.


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As Ilhan Omar Clearly Demonstrates, Not Every “First” is Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson became the first black person to play Major League Baseball when he took the field on April 15, 1947. His ten years in the majors were remarkable in many ways, including his incredible talent on the field and his exemplary personal character in an era of tremendous black-white tensions in the USA. His stellar record made it much easier for segregation to come crashing down, and chart a course for an MLB which showcases talents of people with all backgrounds.

Not all firsts are shining stars like Jackie Robinson, as several members of the freshman class in Congress demonstrate, none more than Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

Freshmen members of Congress
Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)

In just a few short months in office, Omar has already made several antisemitic comments including that Jewish money buys off Congress and that Jews suffer from dual loyalty. Over the past week, she minimized the terrorism of 9/11, and rather than apologize for the statement, doubled-down with stupid and erroneous remarks about former President George W. Bush.

Fellow Democrats have tried to rush to her defense that she’s relatively new at politics. It is worth reminding them that so was Donald Trump, but after repeatedly making offensive remarks, people understood that the man himself is offensive.

The New York Times Charles Blow penned a piece “Demonizing Minority Women” on the 72nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s taking the field for the first time. Blow made the Omar incidents about white racism and painted Omar as a victim of the reaction to her repeated vile comments. As someone deeply impacted by 9/11, let me say clearly that such op-ed is bizarre, preposterous and offensive itself.

It is unreasonable to assume that every “first” person – whether black, women, gay, refugee or amputee – will be an outstanding leader. Most white baseball players never approached the level of talent and grace of Jackie Robinson, and why should every black player be held to such a high standard or every “first” person breaking a barrier?

Similarly, why can’t we admit that the first black Muslim woman in Congress has serious deficits that cannot be excused because she is new, or black, or Muslim, or a woman, or a refugee? With so many strikes in such a short time period, the early results are that she is highly offensive, the progressive version of Trump. If that’s the kind of “leader” that Sen. Bernie Sanders respects, he deserves the same condemnation heaped on the supporters of another black Muslim anti-Semite named Louis Farrakhan.

To paraphrase Sen. Lloyd Benson, during the Vice presidential debates, “Jackie Robinson was a hero of mine. Ilhan Omar, you’re no Jackie Robinson.”


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Anti-Israel Lobbyists Dwarf Pro-Israel Lobbyists

As AIPAC kicks off its 2019 conference in Washington, D.C., it is worth reviewing some basic statistics about this pro-Israel lobbying group.

Biden_at_AIPAC, once upon a time

According to Open Secrets, AIPAC spent $3.5 million on lobbying in 2018, slightly more than the $3.4 million it spent in 2017. This is a relatively small number compared to the anti-Israel Open Society Foundation (OSF) which spent $31.5 million in 2018 – NINE TIMES what AIPAC spent. That figure is also almost four times the $16 million that OSF spent on US lobbying in 2017. This huge jump in lobbying dollars may coincide with George Soros’s transfer of $18 BILLION into OSF, making it the second largest “charity”/ largest lobbying group in the United States. (By calling itself a charity instead of a lobbying group, Soros was able to avoid paying any capital gains on the billions of investment dollars in his hedge fund.)

In addition to its work lobbying the US government, the OSF directly funds many anti-Israel organizations according to NGO Monitor, including Adalah, Breaking the Silence, Ir Amim and Al-Haq.

That’s just one giant far left-wing lobbying group countering most of AIPAC’s agenda.

The left-wing J Street has likewise repeatedly fought the current Israeli administration and lobbied aggressively against it, and spent more money lobbying Congress in 2018 than AIPAC, a total of $4 million. Not one dollar of J Street went to Republican candidates, which is not surprising as it is really an alternative to the Republic Jewish Coalition, not a broad-based bipartisan group like AIPAC.

When it comes to foreign countries lobbying the US government, the number one country was South Korea, spending $82.5 million in 2018. I do not recall hearing any of the Democratic candidates for president who ran to the defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s remarks about AIPAC talking about South Korea.

Perhaps that is because foreign governments and their companies are mostly lobbying about trade deals which are critical for their economies. The top governments lobbying the US are:

South Korea
Bermuda
Japan
Ireland
Israel
Marshall Islands
Bahamas
Saudi Arabia
Qatar
China

That’s Israel at number five- behind Bermuda and Ireland.

But the liberal media will print articles about the pro-Israel lobby as if it’s a right-wing money machine – even though AIPAC doesn’t give money to candidates while J Street and the OSF do. It will try to defend Ilhan Omar’s AIPAC lobbying comments, while refusing to actually point out that it’s the left-wing groups like OSF and J Street that are really powerful and spending the money to trash Israel.

Perhaps the New York Times is getting money from J Street and George Soros too?


The bipartisan group AIPAC spends less on lobbying than the far left-wing J Street, and a small fraction of what George Soros’s Open Society spends on US lobbyists. The Democratic machine has taken notice what the money spigot is demanding and is taking their anti-Israel talking points to line their pockets. Not that the media will tell you what’s actually going on. #AlternativeFacts


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J Street is a Partisan Left-Wing Group, NOT an Alternative to AIPAC

Ilhan Omar Isn’t Debating Israeli Policy, She is Attacking Americans

J Street’s Select Appreciation of Transparency

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The Anger from the Zionist Center

The Democratic Party is Tacking to the Far Left-Wing Anti-Semitic Fringe

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Israel Has Much Higher Claims to The West Bank Than Golan Heights

On March 21, 2019, US President Donald Trump said that it was time to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The nature of the timing was viewed by cynics as a nod to help Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu win the election happening in a couple of weeks. For people who understand the nature of the strategic security need for the Golan, the timing had much more to do with the ending of the eight-year civil war in Syria and the rapidly expanding deployment of Iranian forces into Syria. An Iranian-Syrian axis in the Golan Heights would certainly lead to a war with Israel which would kill tens of thousands of people, conservatively.

While there was certainly some benefit politically to Netanyahu for the gesture, the rationale for Israel’s control of the plateau is definitely about security. But the arguments applied to the Golan are relatively weak compared to all of the reasons Israel should have sovereignty over the “West Bank.”

History

Jews lived in the Golan Heights for thousands of years. The ancient Kingdom of Israel occupied most of southern Lebanon and Syria and dozens of synagogues over 1000 years old can be found in the area. But most Jews did not live in that area, certainly compared to the West Bank, over the past 100 years.

Religion

There are no particularly important religious sites for Jews in the Golan. However, almost all of the sacred sites for Jews are located in the “West Bank,” which the Jordanians seized in 1949 including Jerusalem, the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus/Shechem.

Legal

When the global powers opted to divide the Ottoman Empire after World War I, they set some arbitrary lines. The French took the mandates of Lebanon and Syria and the British took Palestine. While the Syrians wanted control of all of Palestine, the global powers allotted Syria the Golan Heights, and Syria controlled the area until Israel attacked it in a preemptive defensive war in 1967.

The situation could not be more different regarding the “West Bank.” That area has always been a core part of the Jewish holy land for thousands of years. It was set as an integral part of the Jewish Homeland in international law in 1920 and 1922, specifically stating that no person should be denied the right to live there based on their religion.

The Jordanian army seized the land of Palestine and annexed it in 1949, contrary to all international laws, and evicted all of the Jewish inhabitants. The Jordanians then attacked Israel again in 1967 and lost the land for which they never had any rights.

Security

The security situation in the Golan is extraordinary, due both to the height and reach of the area which can cover all of northern Israel, as well as the military operation of an Iranian-Syrian pact.

But the security situation from the West Bank is also severe. The spine of the western West Bank is very high and overlooks all of Israel’s major population centers and airport. The miles of borders dwarf the size of borders in the Golan and Gaza.


The contrast between the Golan Heights and the West Bank is striking:

  • Original rights: Syria was allotted the Golan Heights roughly 100 years ago, while the West Bank was allotted to the Jewish homeland at the same time.
  • Rights of holder: Israel took the Golan from Syria which had rights to the land, while Israel took the West Bank from Jordan which had NO RIGHTS to the land.
  • Method of acquisition: Israel took the Golan in a preemptive attack, and took the West Bank in a DEFENSIVE ATTACK.
  • History/connection: While Israel has a connection to the Golan Heights, it pales compared to the eternal connection to the “West Bank” and Jerusalem.

It was President Barack Obama who saw the Israeli-Arab Conflict as one based purely on security. If he were president today and saw Iran embedding itself into Syria, he might have sought to help secure Israel’s rights and defenses in the Golan, just as Trump announced.

But Trump sees the Jewish State from more than just a security or political standpoint. As he appreciates the long history, deep religious connection and legal rights of Israel to the West Bank, one must foresee Trump embracing Israel’s annexation of that region as well.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

The Many Lies of Jimmy Carter

Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies

Maybe Truman Should Not Have Recognized Israel

The US Recognizes Israel’s Reality

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Inclusion versus Attention, and The Failure of American Leadership

The United States of America was founded on the principles of liberty and equality for all. In its early days, it came up short of those ideals, most notably in its treatment of African Americans who were kept as slaves, and of women who were denied the right to vote. Over the course of many years, the discriminatory laws fell and all people were understood to have a right to participate in every part of the public forum.

Some of the restrictions which were impediments to sections of society were marked in law while others were inherently physical. If the communal forum could be described as a public park, the American migration towards inclusion did not only remove the “No Jews Allowed” signs and the separate entrance for African-Americans, but removed the large flight of steps from the entrance, to enable all people to navigate into and throughout the park. The goals and actions of inclusions targeted both the intentional historic biases as well as the manifest material barriers which prevented all people from enjoying our collective world.

There are times when America falls short. As a society, we may not have removed all of the obstructions to enable everyone to join activities or we may have actually facilitated de facto hurdles which prevent certain segments of the community from engaging. Those are critical moments which need our attention, not a repetition of society’s aims.

As a continuation of the park example above, if a physically challenged person fell down stairs at the park, the appropriate action is to address the injury (perhaps with ice) and to fix the problem (build a ramp or smooth walkway). The immediate action should NOT be to pass out ice packs to everyone at the park nor to make pronouncements that the park is a space for all. Inclusion is a mission for our society, but it is not a salve to be uttered when things or people need attention. At those moments, required actions are the appropriate course.

Ilhan Omar Waves the Ice

In the winter of 2019, a new Democratic member of the House of Representatives, Ilhan Omar, seemingly could not stop attacking Americans who supported Israel. She accused Americans of bribing government officials to get them to support Israel, and she said that those pro-Zionists had misplaced and dangerous loyalties to foreign governments. After past comments in which she called Israel an “apartheid” state, “evil,” and a demonic institution that “hypnotized the world,” Omar was widely labeled an anti-Semite.

Many Americans – Republicans and Democrats – called on Omar to be censured from the House floor. They demanded a clear call to denounce antisemitism, the most prevalent type of bigotry in the United States, which has only grown more prevalent in recent years.

But the Democratic leadership under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opted not to do that. She did not strip Omar of her committee assignment (on Foreign Affairs, no less!) nor did she unambiguously rebuke Omar’s antisemitic words. Instead, Pelosi simply offered a general denunciation of all forms of bigotry. It was as if someone was singled out in the public park for injury, and Pelosi handed out ice packs to everyone she could see.

The insult to Jews would remarkably get worse, as Omar used the opportunity to wave her Pelosi ice pack in front of teary Jewish eyes as they remained on the ground in pain. She said:

“Today is historic on many fronts. It’s the first time we have ever voted on a resolution condemning Anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation’s history. Anti-Muslim crimes have increased 99% from 2014-2016 and are still on the rise.”

It is not as though the statement on its own is problematic. However, a call of inclusion at a moment that requires attention is misplaced and is hurtful. The Democratic leadership acted just like the United Nations, which calls for inclusion for “all” people when Jews are victims, but specifically gives attention to Palestinian Arabs when they are victims. It is a disgraceful tacit blessing of antisemitism by those in power in the face of Jews who just suffered from bigotry.

Donald Trump’s “Many Sides”

The Democratic leadership is not alone in missing the boat on focused attention in moments of stress.

In August 2017 a group of white nationalists took to the street of Charlottesville, VA shouting racist and antisemitic slogans and killed a woman counter-protester. Republican President Donald Trump condemned the bigotry – but broadly – on “on many sides, on many sides.” A person was run over in a racist riot and the citizens of the country needed attention at such a fragile moment, not equivocation.

The stain on Trump has not gone away, and the United Nations remains an antisemitic cesspool. Will Nancy Pelosi suffer the same consequences from her failure to clearly and unambiguously call out antisemitism and instead reward the instigator?


Related First.One.Through articles:

Ilhan Omar Isn’t Debating Israeli Policy, She is Attacking Americans

“Protocols of the Elders of Zion – The Musical”

In Defense of Foundation Principles

“Jews as a Class”

NY Times Discolors Hate Crimes

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

Between Right-Wing and Left-Wing Antisemitism

Fact Check Your Assumptions on American Racism

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