The Anger from the Zionist Center

Yossi Klein Halevi penned a piece in the left-wing journal by the Forward, Sh’ma Now called “A Jubilee For Our Political Certainties.” The article advanced the notion that both the right-wing and left-wing camps have valid points regarding Israel’s administration of Judea and Samaria/ the “West Bank.” However, Israeli society – and increasingly the American one as well – has become more polarized and is unwilling to listen to the validity of the other side’s arguments. The goal of the center should therefore be to not have someone adopt their position, but to appreciate some elements of the counter argument.

In short, he argues for balance.

As someone right-of-center, I appreciate the sentiment of the article, but I disagree with the author’s contention that American Jews are simply engaging in “that dysfunctional Israeli debate.” Such language suggests that some American Jews are simply expressing a personal opinion. They are not.

They are actively pushing Israel’s largest benefactor – the USA – to abandon Israel.

Since 2008/9, the left-wing of the American Jewish community took a much more aggressive stance amid a backdrop of new wars from Palestinian Arabs and the ascendency of a liberal American president.

  • November 2007: Palestinians launched a push for a global boycott (BDS) campaign of Israel
  • April 2008: J Street founded
  • July 2008: J Street pushed against naval blockade of Iran, as sanctions were pushing Iran to the negotiating table
  • November 2008/ January 2009: Election and inauguration of President Barack Obama
  • December 2008/ January 2009: First Gaza War
  • May 2009: First meeting between Obama and Israeli PM Netanyahu in which Obama ignored Netanyahu’s argument for aggressively countering Iran and instead demanded settlement freezes
  • October 2009: Daniel Sokatch takes over as head of the New Israel Fund
The election of a liberal to the White House with absolutely no international experience was an opportunity for liberal Jews to actively advance a new set of policies towards Israel. J Street falsely billed itself to the Obama administration as an alternative to AIPAC (a non-partisan pro-Israel lobby) rather than an alternative to the Republican Jewish Coalition. J Street told Obama that many American Jews were against the “occupation of the West Bank,” and preferred a negotiated settlement of the Iranian nuclear program.
The left-wing “pro-Israel” group told Obama that American Jews hated Israel’s policies (counter to actual facts), and advocated that he take actions directly opposite the desires of the Israeli government.
Such activity is not joining Klein Halevi’s “debate,” but manipulating a judge to determine the outcome.

Peaceful protest against Iran nuclear deal in Times Square, NYC July 2015
(photo: First.One.Through)
Over the past decade left-wing American Jews:
  • pushed the US administration to allow anti-Israel resolutions to pass at the United Nations
  • pushed BDS proposals in universities, so schools could not invest in Israel and would ban Israeli speakers on campus
  • rewrote Jewish texts (the NIF Haggadah) in a shared assault with anti-Zionists to undermine Jewish history
  • supported a pathway for Iran, a state-sponsor of terrorism that has called for wiping Israel from the map, to obtain nuclear weapons

In short, the left has become an active participant in the attacks on Israel, not just a protestor. And they are pushing such arguments with Israel’s prime supporter, the United States.

And that is the main issue with Yossi Klein Halevi’s approach.

Klein Halevi is correct that the center can see the merit of the arguments of both the left and right. But many in the center cannot agree with ACTIONS taken.

While the right-wing may give money to support the “settlements,” those actions are: 1) supportive of Israelis; 2) limited in scope; and 3) can be reversed (such as Israel’s removal of settlements in Sinai in 1982 and Gaza in 2005, or adjustments to the path of the security barrier).

However, the actions of the left-wing are: 1) harming Israelis by advocating for Israeli boycotts and Iranian nuclear weapons; 2) done on an international level; and 3) becoming permanent international law.

As the left-wing has moved from personal opinions to dangerous global actions, the split in the American Jewish community has moved passed a civil exchange on matters of policy. It has become a fight between people.

As such, Klein Halevi’s conclusion for “each side to concede the enormity of our dilemma and the compelling arguments of the other,” is insufficient. The two sides need to withdraw the weapons and from the forums of their disagreement:

  • The debate should be internal: Make the arguments about Judea and Samaria with the government of Israel, not with Israel’s key ally, the United States. It certainly should not be with Israel’s enemies or at the United Nations.
  • The actions should not be malicious: Calling for boycotts of Israeli businesses and people is harmful to Israel on many levels. Argue about policies; do not hurt people with whom you disagree.

The “centrist” article ultimately suggests “an invitation to humility,” to appreciate the merits of both sides of the Israel/Palestinian Arab debate. I would suggest another form of humility: that American Jews realize that they are not Israeli citizens. While they are deeply engaged and attached to Israel for many reasons, the day-to-day ramifications of policies are only felt by the people who live there. Have some humility about the actions that you advocate to advance your personal sense of “morality” on the backs of people living in a dangerous part of the world thousands of miles away.


Related First.One.Through articles:

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

The Evil Architects at J Street Take a Bow

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

For Liberals, It’s Israelis, Palestinians, and Indifference

Squeezing Zionism

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

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Can YouTube Understand Hatred?

In March 2017, YouTube was criticized for placing advertisements next to videos that were considered disturbing expressions of hate, including racist and anti-Semitic videos. Large brands like AT&T, HSBC, Starbucks, Volkswagen and Walmart, pulled their ad campaigns from the media giant as they did not want to be associated with such ugly videos.

The Internet is rife with extremist videos, but Google has had a difficult time using algorithms to flag them.

Consider the channel FirstOneThrough, which posted over a dozen videos to COMBAT the hatred of Israel. The titles of its video series was deliberately called “I hate Israel” to counter the arguments against Israel:

The videos were headed with “I hate Israel” to CONFRONT hatred and push the videos with actual evil bias off of the front search pages. But YouTube has a hard time discerning the content of the videos and has labeled each video as “Not advertiser-friendly.

FirstOneThrough does not seek profit from any of its videos, so the removal of advertisements is not a source of concern. However, the action underscores the difficulty of algorithms to distinguish between a simple phrase and the broader discussion in the videos.

In the meantime, supporters of Israel should continue to watch and share the videos in the series to not only become further educated about the incredible democracy, but to push anti-Israel videos off of the first page of the YouTube search screen.


FirstOneThrough’s Series “I hate Israel”


Related First.One.Through articles:

Take Names in the Propaganda War

Social Media’s “Fake News” and Mainstream Media’s Half-Truths

NY Times Discolors Hate Crimes

New York Times Finds Racism When it Wants

Your Father’s Anti-Semitism

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Regime Reactions to Israel’s “Apartheid” and “Genocide”

Summary: The new leaderships at the UN and US have joined to take a forceful approach to anti-Israel rhetoric, in a sharp break from the prior regimes. Alas, the New York Times still does little to report on it and educate its remaining readership.

“Apartheid”

On March 14, 2017, a United Nations commission issued a report that called Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Arabs equivalent to “apartheid.” It’s findings came as a result of a study

“whether Israel has established an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.”

The new Trump administration’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, pounced on the report and pressured the new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to have it withdrawn. Not only did he have the report removed from the UN website, one of the authors of the report resigned.

US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley

This is in sharp contrast to the reactions of the prior regimes of US President Barack Obama and UNSG Ban Ki Moon who applied no such pressure to even worse false accusations.

“Genocide”

One of the authors of the March 2017 UN report, Richard Falk, is a notorious anti-Semite. In December 2013, he said that Israel’s “criminal intention [toward Palestinians] is genocidal.” Canada quickly called on the UN to fire Falk. The US and UN distanced themselves from Falk’s comments but would take no aggressive action for his removal.

The tolerance for anti-Semitism from the Obama and Ban regimes was neither new nor surprising. It was pervasive.

Obama was reluctant to use US pressure on the world body. He believed that everybody was entitled to a point of view and that he would rather sit at a table and listen to the anti-Semitism than take aggressive action to stop it.

Consequently, people like Mahmoud Abbas felt no compunction in taking the podium at the UN General Assembly to make absurd comments that Israel was carrying out a “genocide.

Under-Reporting Anti-Semitism

The New York Times wrote about the latest brouhaha at the UN in an article “Tempest at U.N. Over Report Saying Israel Practices Apartheid.” In a story without any depth, the article noted that one of the authors of the UN report had been accused of being anti-Israel.

“One of the authors of the report was Richard Falk, an American law professor and former United Nations human rights investigator whom critics regard as an anti-Israel extremist. He has been refused entry to Israel for what Israeli leaders have described as his hostile point of view.”

This was the first mention of Falk in the NYT for almost a decade. As detailed in FirstOneThrough’s article “The New York Times and Richard Falk,” the paper never discussed this “human rights investigator” who touted conspiracy theories about the attacks on 9/11, and that the US deserved the Boston Marathon bombing because of its foreign policy. It also never mentioned Falk’s outrageous claim that Israel carries out a genocide against Arabs.

Further, the paper has never opted to give a basic education to its readers:

The paper’s choice of giving color and context to certain items is conspicuously selective. It would rather constantly pepper its articles that “most of the world considers the West Bank to be occupied territory,” but will never add the clause “most Palestinian Arabs harbor anti-Semitic attitudes,” when it writes about the absurd accusations of “genocide” and “apartheid” coming from Palestinian Arabs.


In 1991, New York City Mayor David Dinkins let anti-Semitic riots run rampant in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. His successor, Rudy Giuliani, opted to take a tough stand on crime and was able to transform New York City into the safe city that people recognize today.

The civilized world can only hope to see a similar outcome in the transition from Obama/Power to Trump/Haley and from Ban to Guterres: that the mayhem and hatred that has been tolerated for way too long will be aggressively combatted.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Nikki Haley Will Not Equivocate on the Ecosystem of Violence

The UN is Watering the Seeds of Anti-Jewish Hate Speech for Future Massacres

Arabs in Jerusalem

Palestinian Jews and a Judenrein Palestine

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

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Mutual Disagreement of Mediators and Judges in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Mediators serve an important role in conflicts. They attempt to bridge the gap between parties to arrive at a mutually-agreed upon compromise to conclude the disagreement. If the mediator cannot resolve the matter, it is most likely that a judge would be tasked at making – and imposing – a final ruling.

Take divorce as an example. A mediator may be brought in by the parties to resolve issues related to child custody. If the mediator cannot get the parties to agree to terms, the case would go to court to rule on the matter.

Obama and Trump as Mediators

In February 2017, US President Donald Trump seemed to take a new stance in trying to mediate the Israeli-Arab conflict. In response to a reporter’s question about how the US will approach its role as a mediator, Trump said:

“So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.  (Laughter.)  I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.  I can live with either one.  

I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two.  But honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians — if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”

The media went wild. They printed headlines that Trump abandoned the two-state solution.

In actuality, Trump said that he is happy if the parties themselves are happy. The role of the mediator was not to dictate the outcome but to resolve the conflict so that the parties themselves reach a consensus. The goal was peace between the parties, not necessarily a particular formula to get there.

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) laughs with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Consider the contrast in Obama’s approach to the negotiations and the response of the media. In May 2011 Obama said:

“I said that the United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine.  The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps — (applause) — so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.”

The media noted that Obama laid out a conclusion of what the final result of the compromise would look like: two states.

The Obama speech irked the Israeli government that was clear in its intention of not returning to the “Auschwitz” lines of 1967.  Obama countered that he had not laid out a conclusion that was not a matter of consensus, as he specifically included language that there would be “mutually agreed” land swaps.

From Mediator to Biased Mediator to Judge

If a mediator in a divorce announced that she was open to the father having custody or the woman having custody of the children, whichever conclusion could be worked out by the parties, her position would be considered open and balanced. However, if she stated that the mother would have custody and that the only matter to work out was whether the father would see the children on Tuesdays or Fridays, her position as mediator would be seen as clearly biased. The inclusion of a minor clause that the only point being considered was a matter of visitation, while the broad parameters were already concluded, would be seen as a jaundiced farce.

And so was the position of Obama.

He did not focus on a bringing peace agreed to by each party, but stated an outcome that he viewed as fair. Obama abandoned his position as a private unbiased mediator. Not surprisingly, the Israeli government not only questioned the content of Obama’s statement, but his role as both a mediator and important ally.

In November 2016, when Obama’s preferred presidential successor Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic election, Obama decided that ANY role for the United States as a mediator had concluded, as he did not believe that Donald Trump’s administration would be fair, competent or effective. It was therefore time to pass the Israeli-Arab Conflict to a judge: the United Nations.

In December 2016, Obama directed his UN ambassador Samantha Power to abstain from an important vote, thereby allowing United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 to pass which declared that Israelis living east of the Green Line was illegal. Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry then went on to berate Israel (still under the guise as a “mediator”):

“Provide for secure and recognized international borders between Israel and a viable and contiguous Palestine, negotiated based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed equivalent land swaps.”

Team Obama again left the “mutually agreed” clause at the edges – literally. And Kerry added a new dimension that the land swaps should be “equivalent,” echoing a phrase (“comparable”) introduced by the Arab League.

President Obama moved his team from an impartial mediator to a biased one, happy to hand the situation to a judge that shared his animus for Israel. As he left office, Obama chose to belittle and undermine both the Trump administration and Israel, by enabling the UN and world to begin boycotting and suing the Jewish State.

Obama was well aware that the UN was anti-Israel at its core as it moved to sideline a negotiated solution between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs. Samantha Power read a prepared statement right after UNSC 2334 passed:

“But in reality this vote for us was not straightforward, because of where it is taking place – at the United Nations. For the simple truth is that for as long as Israel has been a member of this institution, Israel has been treated differently from other nations at the United Nations. And not only in decades past – such as in the infamous resolution that the General Assembly adopted in 1975, with the support of the majority of Member States, officially determining that, “Zionism is a form of racism” – but also in 2016, this year. One need only look at the 18 resolutions against Israel adopted during the UN General Assembly in September; or the 12 Israel-specific resolutions adopted this year in the Human Rights Council – more than those focused on Syria, North Korea, Iran, and South Sudan put together – to see that in 2016 Israel continues to be treated differently from other Member States.”

In other words, Obama knew that the judge would eviscerate Israel, but if Team Obama could not bring peace, this was the best that could be hoped for.

Trump’s Two Fronts: A New Mediator and Sidelining the Judge

The Trump administration now has a two-pronged effort to resolve the century old conflict: as a new unbiased mediator, and as an active player in managing the judge.

As the UN officially declared (with Obama’s blessing) that Jews are illegally living in their homeland in a reversal of the League of Nations declarations of 1920 and 1922, the Trump administration is actively fighting back.

On March 18, 2017, after a UN agency released a report that Israel is an “apartheid state,” the US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley pressured the UN to withdraw the report. The diplomat that co-authored the report refused and resigned. Haley applauded the move, saying “When someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the U.N., it is appropriate that the person resign.

Earlier in the week, Trump’s new envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to re-launch the peace process that was crippled by the Obama administration. After the meeting with Abbas, the US Consulate General said that the two men “reaffirmed the commitment of both the Palestinian Authority and the United States to advance a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”


Obama concluded his tenure regarding the Israeli conflict as a disgrace. He proved to be a terrible and biased mediator. To add an exclamation to his failure, his hubris compelled him to undermine the Trump Administration’s role of mediator, and passed the conflict into the hands of anti-Semitic judges at the United Nations.

Obama made the odds of achieving peace in the Middle East more remote. But perhaps under the watch of Nikki Haley and Jason Greenblatt, the peace process will get another chance.


Related First.One.Through articles:

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

The Illogic of Land Swaps

Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

A “Viable” Palestinian State

John Kerry: The Declaration and Observations of a Failure

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Take Names in the Propaganda War

The International Apartheid Week began its thirteenth annual hate-fest of lying propaganda this week. It’s aim is to circle the globe with calls on college campuses to end the Jewish State.

iaw-columbia
Israel Apartheid Week at Columbia University

The basic call of IAW is to mischaracterize various foundational elements about Israel and urge today’s youth to destroy the “illegal” country. As stated on its website:

“The coming year (2017) will mark 100 years of Palestinian resistance against settler colonialism, since the inception of the Balfour Declaration. IAW will be an opportunity to reflect on this resistance and further advance BDS campaigns for the continued growth and impact of the movement.”

Note that the group claims that the “settler colonialism” began in 1917, when the British recognized in the Balfour Declaration – followed by the international community in 1920 (San Remo Agreement) and 1922 (Mandate of Palestine) – the historic rights of Jews to live in their homeland. For the IAW, the “apartheid” did not happen in 1967 after the Jordanians attacked Israel and lost the land east of the Green Line (EGL)/West Bank, but when international community made the following statement:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

A national home for the Jewish people – regardless of such borders – is an anathema to the IAW. As such, it seeks to undermine Israel and to destroy this democratic country by any means possible.

The lies and incitement to purge undesirables are not new ideas.

In Nazi Germany, Joseph Goebbels used anti-Semitic propaganda to enlist Europe to eradicate its Jewish population in World War II. In Asia today, ISIS uses online videos to recruit more jihadists to rid “non-believers” from its desired caliphate.

And on college campuses, IAW is using its propaganda to destroy the Jewish State.

Your Role

The Department of Homeland Security has trademarked a phrase “If you see something, say something.” The goal is to engage all Americans to be active in fighting terrorism. Similarly, the United Nations has a Counterterrorism Strategy which includes a goal to “prohibit by law incitement to commit a terrorist act or acts and prevent such conduct.

As IAW comes onto college campuses with a mission of destroying a democratic member of the United Nations, it is incumbent on every person to video every person that takes part in IAW – ideally getting their names – and reporting to law enforcement any calls to destroy the Jewish State.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Stopping the Purveyors of Hateful Propaganda

The UN is Watering the Seeds of Anti-Jewish Hate Speech for Future Massacres

The UN Fails on its Own Measures to address the Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism

Elie Wiesel on Words

Martin Luther King and Zionism

The “Unclean” Jew in the Crosshairs

The Legal Israeli Settlements

Israel, the Liberal Country of the Middle East

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Nikki Haley Will Not Equivocate on the Ecosystem of Violence

The new United States ambassador to the United Nations was unimpressed with her first monthly meeting of the UN Security Council. Nikki Haley addressed the press and called out the blinding anti-Israel hatred at the United Nations. She clearly stated that the US would stand up against the distortions of reality peddled repeatedly at the global body.

Some of her remarks were not new compared to Obama’s UN ambassador Samantha Power, who also lamented the anti-Israel bias of the UN. Like Haley, Power also stated that any peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs would need to be negotiated directly between the parties and not forced on them by external forces.

But there was a clear break from the Obama administration, specifically as it related to Israeli “settlements” east of the 1949 Green Line (EGL).

Settlements

The Obama administration believed that no Jews should be allowed to live in EGL. As such, it allowed a damning UN Resolution, UN Res 2334, to pass the UN Security Council which labeled such settlements as illegal. Haley was horrified. She stated:

We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334 and allow one-sided Security Council resolutions to condemn Israel. Instead, we will push for action on the real threats we face in the Middle East.”

Haley said that the UNSC has failed its mission. “The Security Council is supposed to discuss how to maintain international peace and security.” Under her watch, she would aim to refocus the group on the ecosystem of violence in the Middle East which includes:

  • Hizballah’s illegal build-up of rockets;”
  • on the “money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists;
  • and holding “Bashar al-Assad accountable for the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of civilians.”

Haley wants the UN Security Council to focus on how “we defeat ISIS,” not on Jewish families buying and moving into apartments in the eastern half of Jerusalem.

This is a sharp departure in approach from the Obama administration.

haley
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley at her first press conference
February 16, 2017

Even when Obama’s team at the United Nations condemned Palestinian Arab terrorism, it equivocated by discussing Jewish homes in the same statement. Just look at the statement one month ago about the condemnation of the January 8 terrorism against Israelis. Ambassador Michele J. Sison said:

Let me begin by reiterating, in the strongest possible terms, the United States’ condemnation of the horrific vehicular attack on January 8 by a terrorist in Jerusalem. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the four Israeli soldiers who were killed, including U.S. citizen Erez Orbach, and we hope for a full and fast recovery of those injured. The United States and the Security Council both issued statements condemning the attack. There is absolutely no justification for such brutal and senseless attacks. … We have repeatedly and emphatically stressed to the Palestinians that all incitement to violence must stop and that all acts of terror must be condemned. Our position regarding settlement activity has also been clear.”

How did a condemnation of violence (note that the terrorist was not labeled “Palestinian”) get combined with condemnation of Jewish homes? Because of Obama’s symmetry of Palestinian violence and Jewish presence. It was not just cause-and-effect for the Obama administration; it was the equivalence of evil.

The Obama administration wanted to put Palestinian violence in context. It was not naked aggression against innocents as the Middle East witnessed in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, but simply part of an ongoing dispute about land.

As further evidence, consider Ambassador Sison’s comments about a two-state solution on December 16, 2016:

The United States remains committed to achieving a lasting resolution to the conflict, and we will continue to work to advance the interest we all share in bringing about a lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. We remain in close consultation with the parties and key stakeholders to try to move things in a more positive direction.

We continue to call on all sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to the two-state solution that will enable a resumption of meaningful negotiations in the future.

This administration has consistently opposed every effort to delegitimize Israel or undermine its security, including at the United Nations, and we will continue to oppose any resolutions that would seek to do so.

As you know, we are very concerned about the situation on the ground and believe that current trends are moving in the wrong direction. This includes our serious concerns about continued settlement activity. Make no mistake – the United States views settlements as illegitimate and counterproductive to the cause of peace.

In his recent remarks at the Saban Forum, Secretary Kerry made clear that Israel now faces a choice between continued settlement activity and a two-state solution in the future. As he said, while we do not believe that settlements are the root cause of the conflict, they are clearly a barrier to achieving a two-state solution.

The number of settlers in the West Bank has climbed from 110,000 at the time of the Oslo accords in 1993 to nearly 400,000 today. We are deeply disturbed by Israel’s moving forward on the unprecedented legalization under Israeli law of outposts deep in the West Bank. We believe the potential legalization of thousands of settlement housing units that are currently illegal under Israeli law would profoundly damage prospects for a two-state solution.

We are further troubled when ministers in the Israeli government say publicly that there will be no Palestinian state.

Terrorism, incitement to violence, glorification of terrorists, and other violent acts also profoundly threaten efforts to advance peace. We continue to stress to the Palestinian leadership the importance of strongly opposing violence in all forms. We continue to make clear that the terrorism and incitement to violence must end, such acts run contrary to efforts to preserve prospects for peace.

We strongly condemn terrorist acts and other violence against Israelis and Palestinians. There is absolutely no justification for such acts.

We are also deeply concerned about reports of excessive use of force by Israeli security forces against Palestinian civilians. Authorities should conduct timely and transparent investigations into these incidents, and ensure that appropriate measures, including prosecution when warranted, are taken to follow through on the findings.”

This went beyond equivocation. Team Obama laid most of the blame for a stalemate of peace negotiation on Jews living in EGL. There was only a single statement against Palestinian Arab violence and the PA leadership’s support of the violence. The problem principally stemmed from Jewish homes and violence and excessive force against Palestinians.

Ambassador Samantha Power used the same formulation time-and-again. On July 12, 2016, Power said:

“Let me begin with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We share the Secretary-General’s serious concern about the situation on the ground, especially the violence against innocent civilians. There is absolutely no justification for terrorism or for the taking of innocent lives. That is why we condemn in the strongest terms the unconscionable terrorist attack last week in the West Bank, where a 13-year-old girl, Hallel Ariel, was stabbed to death in her own home as she slept.

In recent months, there’s been a steady stream of violence on both sides of the conflict. On June 21, as we heard, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, Mahmoud Badran, was killed when returning home from a night out at a water park in the West Bank, in what the Israeli army said was an accidental shooting. Shortly thereafter, clashes broke out at Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount during Ramadan. We offer our most sincere condolences to the families of Hallel and Mahmoud and all victims of senseless acts of violence.

Israel just announced the advancement of hundreds of settlement units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. If implemented, this would be the latest step in what seems to be a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions, and legalizations of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.”

A deliberate act of Palestinian Arab terrorism became morphed into an accidental killing of an Arab boy. And then somehow Jewish homes get thrown into the discussion.

Further, how did a phrase “absolutely no justification” get repeated for Palestinian violence? Why was it constantly sandwiched between condemnation of violence and settlements? Either Palestinian violence and Israeli settlements have nothing to do with each other (no cause-and-effect, just both equally bad), or they very much are connected, and the Obama administration really believes that there IS a justification for murdering Jews.

In such a mindset of distortions, it was not surprising that the Obama administration allowed UNSC Resolution 2334 to pass


It is still very early, but the words of the US Ambassador Haley at her first press conference were encouraging. As she clearly stated:

The prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues does the peace process no favors. And it bears no relationship to the reality of the world around us.”

#AlternativeFacts have been present for many years at the United Nations, including from the mouths of US officials. Maybe Haley’s new focus on hatred and violence will lead to a more peaceful world.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

The Obama Administration Continues to Abandon Israel in Fighting Terror

Ban Ki Moon Understands Why People Kill Israelis

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The UN Fails on its Own Measures to address the Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism

The US State Department Does Not Want Israel to Fight Terrorism

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Remembering the Terrible First Obama-Netanyahu Meeting

On May 18, 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to Washington, D.C. to meet the new president of the United States, Barack Obama. It was the beginning of a terrible friendship.

FILE - In this May 18, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. For six years, Obama and Netanyahu have been on a collision course over how to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a high-stakes endeavor both men see as a centerpiece of their legacies. The coming weeks will put the relationship between their countries, which otherwise remain stalwart allies, to one of its toughest tests. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

May 18, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Netanyahu was extremely distressed about the state of the Iranian nuclear weapons program and urged Obama to set a hard, near-term timetable to reach a conclusive deal with the Iranians, or use military force to dismantle the dangerous program. Obama rejected both the idea of a timetable and the threat of military force.

Quite to the contrary, Obama used the public forum with Netanyahu by his side, to PRAISE IRAN, even though the US State Department defined it as a state sponsor of terrorism and the country’s leadership had threatened to destroy Israel. In his remarks before Netanyahu, Obama said:

“I [Obama] indicated to him [Netanyahu] the view of our administration, that Iran is a country of extraordinary history and extraordinary potential, that we want them to be a full-fledged member of the international community and be in a position to provide opportunities and prosperity for their people, but that the way to achieve those goals is not through the pursuit of a nuclear weapon.”

It would take SIX YEARS for Obama to conclude a deal with the Iranians that left their entire nuclear weapons infrastructure in place and permitted the country a legal path to nuclear weapons in a decade. Netanyahu considered the negotiation a collosal failure and argued against it. Obama walked out on him.

Along the way Obama did threaten to use force against another state sponsor of terrorism – Syria – but ultimately decided to retreat from his August 2012 “red line.” A couple of hundred thousand dead Syrians later, Obama announced the legalization of Iran’s nuclear program while millions of Syrian refugees swarmed the western world.

And now Netanyahu is meeting a new US president.

Netanyahu is meeting with Donald Trump to discuss a range of issues. Like Netanyahu, Trump thought that Obama’s handling of Iran and Syria were complete failures. So it is unlikely that Trump will treat Netanyahu like a cuckold the way that Obama did in publicly lauding Iran in his face.

Will this meeting set the tone and restart the US-Israel relationship? Time will tell.


Related First.One.Through articles:

International-Domestic Abuse: Obama and Netanyahu

Some Global Supporters of the P5+1 Iran Deal

Netanyahu’s View of Obama: Trust and Consequences

Obama’s Iranian Red Line

Seeing Security through a Screen

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The Media Finds Religion in Matters of Security. Sometimes.

Several news sources described President Donald Trump’s suspension of admitting refugees from war-torn countries as a “Muslim ban.” The media called out the “seven Muslim-majority countries,” highlighting the religion of those countries.

Why?

There are approximately 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world. That means that there are many more Muslim-majority countries that are NOT banned by the Trump order.

What the seven countries – Syria; Yemen; Libya; Somalia; Sudan; Iran; and Iraq – do have in common are unstable governments. Syria and Yemen are in embroiled in civil wars. Libya and Iraq are failed states that have been taken over by terrorists. Somalia and Sudan are combinations of both.

And Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world (just ahead of Syria and Sudan).

trump-ban

So why does the media not state that these seven countries are failed states that cannot be relied upon to vet the citizens? It is not as though the media has a record of discussing religion in matters of American security.

In 2014, the Obama administration opted to cancel US flights to Israel after a missile fired by Palestinian Arab terrorists fell close to the Israeli airport near Tel Aviv. It uniquely cancelled flights for Israel, even though planes had been shot down in various countries, including Ukraine, Russia, Indonesia and Egypt. Actually shot down; not just a missile landing near an airport causing minimal damage.

Did the media debate whether the ban was unconstitutional or unwarranted? Did it point out that it was Muslim terrorists that shot at the Israeli airport? That Obama created a ban against the only Jewish-majority country in the world? Did protestors take to the streets around the United States to lift the ban?

No, no, no and no.

Israeli officials protested loudly. Ephraim Sneh, a retired general and deputy defense minister of Israel, was sharply critical of the decision to suspend flights. He said that it was a dream of the Hamas leadership “to disconnect Israel from the outer world.” A reward for the terrorists.

But virtually no one – other than New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – voiced outrage at the ban. More than voicing his outrage – Bloomberg actually flew to Israel in spite of the ban.


The media and Democrats long ago concluded that Trump is a “deplorable” racist. They have been telling the world for many years to be wary of “Islamophobia,” and America’s biggest security threat is really from the right-wing.

Therefore, when a racist (Trump) passively harms Muslim refugees (it must be Islamophobia), the religion must be called out. But when a peace-loving liberal (Obama) harms Israel (not ever really innocent according to mainstream media), there was no need to discuss religion (the Jewish-majority country) or anti-Semitism (which Obama couldn’t possibly harbor.)

That jaundiced narrative of no anti-Semitism/ real Islamophobia and liberal purity/ Republican racism certainly won’t stop now.


Related First.One.Through articles:

NY Times Discolors Hate Crimes

New York Times Finds Racism When it Wants

Obama’s Select Religious Compassion

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

If you Only Loved Refugees as Much as you Hate Donald Trump

The Presidential Candidates on Islamic Terrorism: The Bumblebee, the Crocodile and the Pitbull

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A Country Divided

Politicians have a long history of throwing mud at each other. However, over the past ten years, our elected officials have turned from attacking each other, to attacking sectors of Americans. It has divided our nation.

When Barack Obama ran for office, he took aim at the top 1% of wage earners in the country. He blamed “fat cat” bankers for making too much money and further blamed them for pushing the country into financial ruin (“you guys caused the problem,“) conveniently ignoring the government failings for pushing banks to lend to credit-challenged people to buy homes. Obama continued to attack wealthy Americans as people that did not pay their “fair share” of taxes. His attacks appealed to the masses – the 99% of Americans – that would be the beneficiaries of his wealth redistribution. He bought votes by dividing a slice of Americans.

Obama’s class warfare was enhanced by far-left wing politicians like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Sanders claimed that “the business model of Wall Street is fraud,” attacking the entire financial sector, not just some “fat cats.” Warren wouldn’t even allow a banker, Antonio Weiss, to leave his position at an investment bank to help fix the economy of Puerto Rico which was in crisis, because she viewed him as part of the evil Wall Street, even though Weiss had nothing to do with the financial meltdown.

The radical socialists in Congress were no longer satisfied only picking the pockets of “fat cats,” they wanted them either in jail or unemployed.

What these left-wing politicians failed to appreciate, was that there were professions more reviled by Americans than bankers. Specifically, politicians and the news media.

According to polls – both by Pew and Gallup – politicians were ranked as the least trust-worthy group by Americans. The October 2016 Pew poll ranked the military, scientists, school principals, religious leaders, the news media, business leaders and then elected leaders in order of highest to lowest in regards to confidence. A total of 73% of Americans had little or no confidence in their elected officials.

The December 2016 Gallup poll had similar results, with people in the medical profession scoring as the most honest and ethical, with the least trust-worthy professions being state senators, business executives, stock brokers, HMO managers, Senators, advertising people, insurance salespeople, car salespeople and members of Congress. A total of 59% and 50% of Americans had either low or very low views of members of Congress and Senators, respectively. That compared to 30% for bankers and 41% for journalists.

Donald Trump understood this. He rode Americans distaste for their elected officials, and became the first non-public official in the White House.

Rather than attack bankers, Trump has taken aim at the media, another industry that is not trusted by Americans. He called out “fake news” which the public has long believed. One of his advisors sited “alternative facts” in an interview with the press in an ongoing debate with the media.

trump-fake-news

Donald Trump in first news conference as President-elect labeled CNN as “fake news”
January 11, 2017
The press, which has long enjoyed crafting a narrative to fit the political agenda of their editorial boards, are appalled.  Already under threat from changes in technology that is making their work uneconomic, they are attacking every move being made by Trump, in sharp contrast to the gentle treatment of Obama for eight years.


It would be nice to have politicians debate issues rather than resort to personal attacks. Unfortunately, that has never been proven effective in political campaigns.

But politicians have moved passed throwing mud at a single opponent to attacking the American people they are meant to serve.

Obama decided to splinter off only a small number of Americans – the “fat cats.” He made fun of Americans that “cling to guns or religion,” but he didn’t vilify them as bringing down the country. We are past that now.

Hillary Clinton said that she was proud that Republicans hated her, and then described half of America as “deplorables.” Warren and Sanders have continued the attack broad swaths of America.

For his part, Trump narrowed his attacks on those that were unpopular in America. When Americans said that they were more scared of terrorism than mass shootings, he attacked radical Islamic terrorism and went light on gun control. When Americans showed their hatred for politicians and the news media, he berated them to their faces, to the cheers of many.

It is ugly. It is popular. It is the voice of protestors and people angry with the state of our world.

It is us.

Our leaders contributed to our division. Do we rely on them to fix it?

We are all media pundits in a world of social media. We celebrate and castigate politicians with whom we agree and disagree. But we are also doing so with friends and colleagues.

That splinter that Obama opened with the top 1% has opened a chasm in our country and our relationships.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Political Pinatas: Populist Greed Meets Populist Anger

American Hate: The Right Targets Foreigners, The Left Targets Americans

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Naked Democracy

Eyes Wide Shut

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If you Only Loved Refugees as Much as you Hate Donald Trump

There have been many protests launched against President Trump’s Executive Order slowing the number of refugees coming to the United States from particular war-torn countries. People have debated about whether the EO was specifically targeting Muslims as each of the seven countries on the list were Muslim-majority countries. Democratic politicians have called out Trump as being “backward and nasty.”

Here are statistics about refugees coming to America from war-torn countries since 2002 – covering the George W Bush and Barack Obama presidencies. Periods which had NO protests about refugees.

First a review of the countries not impacted by Trump’s EO.

Afghanistan

The United States has been battling in Afghanistan since the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. Thousands of people have been killed and many more injured and displaced as the USA fought to eliminate al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

From 2002 through 2016, the US allowed 14,072 refugees into the USA. The annual average under Bush was 966 people per year, slightly higher than the 913 average under Obama.

There were no protests that not enough people fleeing the war were let into America.

Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon

Boko Haram launched numerous attacks in the Lake Chad Basin for several years. The United States has responded with… allowing almost no refugees into the US.

From 2002 through 2016, the USA permitted a total of 557 refugees from the three countries confronting terrorism combined. President Bush allowed an annual average of 49 refugees, about twice the annual average of 27 under Obama. The large difference was mostly due to the discrepancy in how each administration treated Nigeria, with Obama only allowing an average of 3 people per year, compared to 34 by the Bush administration.

Ethiopia and Kenya

While the majority of the attacks by the terrorist group al-Shabaab occurred in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya have also suffered attacks.

Between 2002 and 2016, the USA admitted 14,890 refugees from the two countries, almost all of them from Ethiopia. The Bush administration welcomed an annual average of 1,292 per year, 77% more than the 731 annual average under Obama.

Saudi Arabia

People have questioned why Saudi Arabia – home to 15 of the 19 September 11 terrorists – was not on Trump’s refugee order. In truth, the US barely admits any refugees from the country – a total of 7 people since 2002.

 

In summary, for seven countries that have been involved in terrorism, the US barely admitted any refugees over the past 15 years. The Obama administration let in many fewer refugees than the Bush administration, even though the terrorism was much more prevalent in the countries over the past eight years than during the Bush years.

And no Americans protested.

So let’s consider the countries in Trump’s Executive Order.

Libya

Obama overthrew the Libyan government and then watched as jihadists took over the country; a real moment to celebrate. Not surprisingly, there were no refugees from Libya under Bush (since there was no war or mayhem). However, Obama barely allowed any refugees from the country he actively dismantled – a grand total of 12 people over his eight-year presidency.

Yemen

Yemen has been in on-and-off again civil war for decades. In recent years, the situation deteriorated as the government fell while Iran and Saudi Arabia engaged in a proxy war to control one of the poorest countries in the world. The US sided with its ally Saudi Arabia in the war, and involved with killing many civilians.

Even while thousands died, the Obama administration only admitted 123 Yemeni refugees over his entire tenure. Bush admitted just 25.

Sudan

Sudan has suffered from both ongoing civil war and terrorism for a long time and the USA has been more forth-coming granting refugees asylum – a total of 21,180 people since 2002. President Bush welcomed an annual average of 1,678, about 42% more than the 1,179 granted by Obama.

Iran

Iran has had a repressive government since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. It remains one of the leading countries that executes gays and one of the only countries that executes minors.

The US has consistently granted asylum to over one thousand refugees from Iran every year. Since 2002, 45,791 refugees have come to America, with an annual average of roughly 3000 per year under both Bush and Obama.

Somalia

Somalia has been a mess for 30 years, undergoing a variety of civil wars. The unrest was so bad that in 2006, that Ethiopia sent troops in 2006 to help repel the advance of the Islamic Courts Union, which soon splintered into the al-Shabaab terrorist group. Mayhem continues to this day.

The US allowed entry to 100,930 refugees from Somalia from 2002 to 2016; a great number of whom have settled in Minnesota. Both Presidents Bush and Obama allowed roughly 6700 Somalis to enter each year.

Iraq

The United States entered Iraq shortly after the attacks of 9/11 and overthrew the government. While the long war under Bush finally helped settle the country, the rapid withdrawal under Obama and the decision to not leave any US troops behind led to chaos and the emergence of ISIS.

Over 140,000 refugees have come to the US from Iraq since 2002. The majority have come under the watch of Obama, with over 15,000 coming annually, compared to an average of 2800 under Bush.

Syria

Syria has been in a civil war since March 2011, in a war that has killed roughly half a million people.

Before the war began, there were few people fleeing the country, and President Bush admitted about 14 people per year. From 2009 through 2013, the number of refugees welcomed to America barely changed, but gradually increased towards the end of Obama’s presidency, with 249, 2192 and 15,479 coming in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.

refugees

Aside from the spike of Syrian refugees in 2016, Obama did less for refugees – over a much more tumultuous period – than Bush.

Observation

The number of refugees admitted under Bush and Obama were roughly the same, even though the situation for people in the Middle East was much worse since the “Arab Spring” began in early 2011. Further, the terrorist threats from groups like ISIS, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and others grew dramatically during the Obama years. In a time of greater instability and violence, Obama barely acted in providing sanctuary.

But there were no protests in the streets of America to let in more refugees.

Even as millions of refugees fleeing the war-torn countries overwhelmed Europe, Obama did not increase the numbers entering the US until the final two years of his second term- and only for Syria.

Why the lack of protests in the streets of the USA?

Presumably it was because American liberals loved Obama and trusted his liberal instincts. They assumed that he was doing whatever he could – even though it was clear that Europe was doing much, much more than the US in protecting refugees.

Conversely, liberal protesters assume the very worst of President Trump. They have listened to his campaign promises about banning Muslims and concluded that his executive order was really a step to ban all Muslims from entering the US. They have channeled their hatred today in regards to refugees. Yesterday it was for abortion rights. Tomorrow it may be about bank reform.

In other words, the protestors hate Trump much more than they care about refugees. Their protests are masked as concern for the weak and disenfranchised, as it lends a smug self-righteousness to conceal their ugly anger.

It is emotional, not fact-based.

refugees
Protestors at JFK Airport January 28, 2017
(photo: Reuters: Stephen Yang)

So why review the facts above? Why combat or discuss #AlternativeFacts or #FakeNews? Americans stopped paying attention to facts long ago and have relied on screaming and sharing their emotions.

It is our new reality, the lack of reality. As conveyed in “Eyes Wide Shut,

“In a world where facts are extraneous, we are only left with a clash of emotions.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Arab Middle East Makes Refugees, They Don’t Help Them

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants September 2016

Trump’s Take on Obama’s “Evil Ideology”

Murderous Governments of the Middle East

The Presidential Candidates on Islamic Terrorism: The Bumblebee, the Crocodile and the Pitbull

Republican Scrutiny and Democratic Empowerment of Muslims in Minnesota

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