Are Muslim-Majority Countries Anti-Christian?

The February 2017 “Muslim ban” imposed by the Trump administration was criticized in many circles. People who were opposed to the limit on refugees from seven war-torn countries pointed to a carve-out in the order that allowed minorities (read non-Muslims) to find refuge in the United States. The protestors claimed that the clause showed the anti-Muslim sentiment of the executive order.

President Trump said that the rationale for the carve-out for minorities was because Christians in those countries had been “horribly treated,” but former President Obama did not make enough allowance for the Christian minorities to escape. He sought to change that dynamic by giving Christians and other minorities priority.

The statments have a mix of facts.

Anti-Christian Countries

The organization Open Doors USA monitors anti-Christian activity from around the world. On January 11, 2017, it announced the worst 50 countries regarding the persecution of Christians.

As there are over 50 Muslim-majority countries, or about 27% of the total number of countries, statistically one would expect 27% of the worst 50 countries to Muslim-majority. According to Open Doors, the number was actually 70%.

However, that statistic – while accurate – is misleading since the vast majority of the 73% of non-Muslim majority countries in the world are Christian-majority, which are unlikely to persecute Christians. The worst non-Muslim countries persecuting Christians were: North Korea (globally ranked #1); India (15); Vietnam (17) and Kenya (18).

open-doors-2016
Open Doors USA 2016 Map of Christian Persecution

The seven countries listed on the refugee ban were among the worst persecutors of Christians in 2016, with Somalia (ranked #2); Sudan (5); Syria (6); Iraq (7); Iran (8); Yemen (9) and Libya (11). The travel ban did not cover Afghanistan ranked #3 and Pakistan ranked #4 regarding Christian persecution.

Obama Not Allowing Christian Refugees

Trump accused Obama of not doing enough for Christian refugees. The statement is both correct and incorrect.

Obama barely allowed in any refugees from the seven war-torn countries. The only country where Obama did more than President George W. Bush was in Iraq, and the comparison to Bush is sorely lacking, as most of the region fell to war and mayhem under Obama’s watch.

However, statistically, the Obama administration did permit a respectable number of Christians into the US, relative to their population in the country.

Country Percent Muslims in Country Percent of Refugees that were Muslim allowed under Obama Jan 2009-Jan 2017
Iran 99.7% 6.5%
Iraq 98.9% 64.9%
Libya 96.6% 100.0%
Somalia 98.9% 99.7%
Sudan 97.0% 84.7%
Syria 90.0% 98.5%
Yemen 99.0% 33.3%

Source: Wrapsnet.org

As seen in the table above, Obama did not favor Muslim refugees over other minorities in general.

Obama just didn’t do much for any refugees.

But when Trump protestors point out that the biggest casualties of ISIS, al Qaeda and other radical Islamic terrorist groups are other Muslims, that comment is also devoid of meaning. Almost everyone living in the country is Muslim, having long ago gotten rid of any minorities. Over 90% of the casualties in Muslim wars since 1948 are Muslims. That’s the makeup of their societies today.

So beware of each side quoting statistics. The concept of “targeting minorities” in a society that is almost exclusively Muslim has little meaning anymore.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Media Finds Religion in Matters of Security. Sometimes.

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants September 2016

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

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

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Time for King Abdullah of Jordan to Denounce the Mourabitoun

King Abdullah II of Jordan came to Washington D.C. in February 2017 to attend the National Prayer Breakfast. We once again spoke eloquently about “tolerance, mercy, compassion for others, mutual respect.” He stated clearly his belief that people should be “equal in dignity” and that there should be “respect for the houses of God.” Welcome words, particularly from the leader of a country with a terrible history of treating Jews and Jewish holy places.

As reviewed in “Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem,” Jordan attacked Israel several times, banned Jews from their holy places and instituted an anti-Semitic nationality law that specifically excluded Jews from getting Jordanian citizenship.

abdullah-prayer-breakfast
Jordanian King Abdullah II speaking at National Prayer Breakfast
February 2, 2017

But Jordan made peace with Israel in 1994 and perhaps King Abdullah may finally be ready to take the next step in recognizing Jewish rights in Jerusalem.

The Mourabitoun

After the Gaza War in 2014, the Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank were looking for a way to express their anger at Israel. On the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem, dozens of Muslim women began to actively protest Jews coming onto the plaza. They would follow the visitors around the site ad yell “Allahu Akbar” in efforts to intimidate them to leave the area.

Men joined these protestors as well, sometimes throwing rocks at the Jewish visitors. These “Mourabitoun” were actively promoted by the terrorist group Hamas, and tacitly approved by the Waqf that administers the holy site. The Waqf is funded by the Jordanian government.

Because of the Mourabitoun, the number of Jews that get to visit the Jewish Temple Mount is a fraction of the tourists that ascend to the complex each day. Armed Israeli guards vet each Jews that goes up to ensure that they have no prayer books and do not pray during the visit. The soldiers surround these small groups of 10-15 people as they methodically go to discrete areas of the site.

Meanwhile, thousands of non-Jewish tourists get to visit Judaism’s holiest site unimpeded.

If Abdullah wants to be a man true to his word, it is time to denounce the Mourabitoun and give Jews the tolerance and mutual respect he says is necessary for a peaceful world. It is time for the Waqf to not stand in the way of Jewish visitors who used to pray freely on the Temple Mount 450 years ago, before Suleiman kicked them from the site and relegated a small section of the western retaining wall of the mount – the Kotel – for Jewish prayer.

Will Abdullah be a man of his word in advancing peace and respect as he advocated at a prayer breakfast? Or will he be a hypocrite and anti-Semite who cannot show mutual respect to Jews? It is time for action, not just words.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

It’s the Temple Mount, Not the Western Wall

It is Time to Insert “Jewish” into the Names of the Holy Sites

The UN’s Disinterest in Jewish Rights at Jewish Holy Places

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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.


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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.


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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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The Palestinian’s Three Denials

In September 1967, the Arab States put forward the Khartoum Resolution in the wake of their defeat in the June 1967 Six Day War with Israel. The resolution set down their intransigence in accepting the nation of Israel with a call of “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it,” in a policy that would stymie any chance of peace in the region for decades. It became known as “the Three No’s.”

Today, the Palestinian Arabs have adopted their own version of the policy which can be called “The Three Denials”: deny the history of the Jews; deny the rights of the Jews; deny the acceptance of the Jews.

It will similarly block any chance for peace in the region.

Deny the History of the Jews

There was once a time when the Arab world accepted the basic history of the Jews in the holy land. In 1925, the Supreme Muslim Council published a guidebook for the Temple Mount which clearly identified the place as the location of the Jewish Temples.

“The site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest times.

Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.”

al-haramal-sharif-cover150best

However, the acting president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas somehow came to the conclusion that acknowledging Jewish history in Jerusalem would undermine the claim that the site is purely a Muslim holy site. As such, he repeatedly charged that Israel is trying to “Judaize” Jerusalem. He asserted that Israel is getting rid of “the Arab character of the city.” He was recently successful in putting forward resolutions before the United Nations that referred to the Temple Mount in Islamic terms that denied any connection of Jews. So when the new UN Security General Antonio Guterres clearly stated that “it is completely clear that the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple,” the Palestinians went crazy and demanded an apology.

Perhaps revisionist history should not come as a surprise, as Abbas wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial.

Deny the Rights of the Jews

The follow up to the denial of Jewish history in their holy land is to deny Jews the rights to live there.

Abbas stood at the UN General Assembly and claimed that Israel is “colonizing” Arab land. He claimed that Jews first began to colonize Palestine with the British declaration of the Balfour Declaration in 1917. He has now demanded an apology from the United Kingdom and for it to “bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibility for the consequences of this declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people.” Abbas has stated that the colonization continues post-1967, as Israel seized additional Palestinian land in the 1967 war.

To Abbas, it has always been Palestinian land, so Jews have no rights to any part of it.

As such, Abbas has called for a new Palestinian country to be free of any Jews. He has retained a Jordanian law that condemned to death any person selling land to Jews, and was able to get former US President Barack Obama to agree that Jews should not be allowed to live in “Palestinian Land.” A sorry note in US-Israel relations.

Beyond the rights of living in the land, Arabs have denied the basic rights of Jewish access to their holy places.

The Jordanians evicted all Jews from the West Bank and Jerusalem after they illegally annexed the land in 1950 in a move that was not recognized by the world. They denied Jews any visitation rights into Jerusalem, just as they denied Jewish rights to visit the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron. Abbas has similarly called for Jews to be expelled from the Jewish Temple Mount and Jerusalem today.

Deny the Acceptance of Jews

Abbas has stated that he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish State. The declaration received support from the Arab States:

“The council of the Arab League confirms its support for the Palestinian leadership in its effort to end the Israeli occupation over Palestinian lands, and emphasizes its rejection of recognizing Israel as a ‘Jewish state’.”

Foreign ministers of the Arab League countries meet in Cairo March, 9, 2014. The Arab League on Sunday endorsed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's rejection of Israel's demand for recognition as a Jewish state, as U.S.-backed peace talks approach a deadline next month. The United States want Abbas to make the concession as part of efforts to reach a "framework agreement" and extend the talks aimed at settling the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. REUTERS/Stringer (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS)

Foreign ministers of the Arab League countries meet in Cairo March, 9, 2014. The Arab League on Sunday endorsed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s rejection of Israel’s demand for recognition as a Jewish state, as U.S.-backed peace talks approach a deadline next month. The United States want Abbas to make the concession as part of efforts to reach a “framework agreement” and extend the talks aimed at settling the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. REUTERS/Stringer (EGYPT – Tags: POLITICS)

So much for the principle of two states for two people. The Palestinians – at best – are seeking one state that is 100% Arab and second state that is a mix Arab and Jewish, with no preferences for Jews at all.

The Global Response

The world seemed to understand the Arab States “3 No’s” in 1967, and would soon push forward a “Zionism is racism” resolution at the United Nations. It would take many years for that resolution to be rescinded, and for some Arab states to begin to make peace with Israel.

For many years the United States under Obama and the United Nations under UNSG Ban Ki Moon also seemed to endorse the “3 Denials” of the Palestinian Arabs. The UN routinely passed resolutions which inverted facts regarding rights and access to holy places and disregarded the history of Jews in the holy land. Obama endorsed the #AlternativeFacts as well.

Not surprisingly, the region went backwards. Three wars against Israel from Gaza and wars spreading throughout the region under the watch of inept leadership. The responses from Ban Ki Moon and Obama? That they stood with Gaza and sought the inclusion of the terrorist group Hamas into a joint Palestinian leadership.

However, there is now a new president in the United States, and a new Secretary General at the United Nations. Antonio Guterres showed that he will not deny the history of Jews in Israel in an attempt to appease the anti-Semitic Palestinian Arabs. Hopefully, but he and President Trump will break “The 3 Denials” of the Palestinians and advance peace in the region.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

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

Real and Imagined Laws of Living in Silwan

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

Donald Trump and Barack Obama took very different approaches to dealing with terrorism.

While president, Barack Obama referred to the “evil ideology” in extremists that engaged in barbarous acts of violence, without referring to it as “radical Islamic terrorism.” His handling of the “evil ideology” essentially broke down into four categories, as detailed in “Grading Evil and Evil Doers.”

  • Evil to Destroy: those terrorist groups that threaten America like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State
  • Evil to Condemn: terrorist groups that target other countries, but not the USA, like al-Shabaab and Boko Haram
  • Evil to Tolerate: These are countries that slaughter their own citizens including minors, like Syria, Iran and America’s ally Saudi Arabia
  • Evil to Ignore: This is from governments and aspiring countries like the Palestinian Authority that routinely incites violence against an American ally, Israel.

Obama used direct military action against the first category, when he felt that American lives were at stake, while only lending support against the second. When it came to countries that harbored evil ideologies, Obama opted to remain inactive and relatively silent.

In short, the “evil ideology” itself was not the barometer of whether Obama took action; it was the nature of the threat to American lives, and whether he could act narrowly against relatively small groups of people rather than entire countries.

Trump’s Approach to Radical Jihadist Terrorism

In his first week in office, Donald Trump is seemingly approaching his obligation to protect Americans in a manner quite different than Obama.

  • Name: For one, Trump clearly labeled the “evil ideology” as “radical Islamic terrorism.” While Obama felt that attributing the extremist actions specifically to Islam was unfair, Trump thought that avoiding the connection between the terrorists’ motives and Islamic teachings masked the problem.
  • Breadth: While Obama sought to target a narrow audience for military attacks, and giving a pass to others with “evil ideologies,” Trump seems more willing to go broader and use more tools to address the issues. He has advocated for using torture to get information from terrorists (he said he would be willing to reconsider it if his defense advisors warn against it). Trump has instituted restrictions on immigrations from several countries that have been unable to deal with terrorists, to minimize the probability of terrorists coming to the United States.

Trump has only been in office for ten days, so it is difficult to ascertain how he will use the military in fighting groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda that Obama targeted, and others where Obama acted indirectly like Boko Haram and al-Shabaab. He has already authorized an attack in Yemen in an operation that reportedly killed 14 militants. Will he use troops rather than relying mainly on drones as Obama did in countries like Yemen and Somalia?

trump-refugee-ban
Donald Trump signing ban on some refugees January 2017
(photo: Reuters: Carlos Barria)

Beyond combatting terrorism, how will Trump interact with countries that promote radical Islamic terrorism like Iran and Saudi Arabia? Obama traded with them and gave them billions of dollars. Will Trump treat them as potential business partners too and ignore their support of terrorism?


The United Nations called on the world to not label violent extremism as “Islamic” as they argued that doing so would be unfair to the religion. The UN preferred to only use the term “extremists” in regards to Jews, as part of its ongoing attack on Israel.

Obama lied to the world that the birthplace of extremism was in poverty, rather than a twisted view of the world. His #AlternativeFacts were parroted by the members of his administration, even though every study on the subject showed the statement to be bogus.

So now that Trump has opted to call out the root of terrorism as not being from lack of economic opportunity, but having distinct Islamic origins, will the US push to take actions against Islamic countries rather than a limited number of terrorist groups? Is Trump calling out a clash of civilizations? If so, how will such a clash play out?


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

Murderous Governments of the Middle East

What’s “Outrageous” for the United Nations

Civil Death and Terrorism

Strange difference of opinion on Boko Haram and Hamas in New York Times

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The UN Wants “Real Stories on REAL Refugees”

On January 26, 2017, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) co-sponsored an event with the EU on the impact of the media in telling the stories of refugees. The High Representative of UNAOC Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser noted that while there was “solidarity towards refugees, we also witnessed a surge of xenophobic hate speech.” The symposium sought ways to change the negative perception that many people have about immigrants to combat growing xenophobia and distrust of “the other.”

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High Representative of UNAOC Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

Al Nasser said:

“Social media provides a wide and open platform for hate speech, facilitating the rapid spread of negative narratives and ideas online.

“But we will do our utmost to tell the real stories of refugees, in order to protect communities’ interests and safeguard the rights of each individual. I think a balance must be found that protects the freedom of expression as well as the rights of migrants as human beings with human rights,”

What an interesting turn of events for the United Nations. The UN wanted to combat hate speech on social media from the people that did not want refugees, by sharing real stories of the refugees, in the hope that the humanity of the people and situation would cause the populace to not fear the stranger and incorporate them into society.

This is the exact OPPOSITE of what the United Nations has done for decades regarding Palestinian Arabs.

  1. The count of millions of Palestinian “refugees” that the UN touts is fiction. There are only about 30,000 Palestinian Arab refugees alive from the 1948 war. The millions of descendants from the 700,000 Palestinians that left Israel are not real refugees at all. Refugee status cannot be handed down like inheritance. The UN has perpetuated this myth just for Palestinian Arabs as if they were doing them a favor.
  2. Many of these fake UN refugees are taken care of by a dedicated UN agency called UNRWA. UNRWA does not try to settle people into their surroundings as the UN does with refugees everywhere else. Instead, it tells the fake refugees that -with UNRWA’s help – they will leave their current location and move into Israel.
  3.  UNRWA doesn’t try to calm the situation by telling “real stories.” It allows negative propaganda about Israel and Jews to permeate UNRWA classrooms and textbooks that deny Israel’s existence and legitimacy.
  4. Beyond the UNRWA textbooks, many UNRWA staffers called out on social media to “stab Zionist dogs.” Social media hate speech by the UN itself.
  5. Just to clarify that last point again, the UN staffers called Jews “dogs” that should be killed. Quite a far cry from the current UNAOC plan to treat “human beings with human rights.”

The United Nations AOC is moving in a positive direction in calling for peace and co-existence. The action further highlights the illegitimacy of the stale evil farse that is UNRWA that spreads “negative narratives” about Israel.

UN: Don’t just tell real stories about refugees. Tell stories about “REAL refugees.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants September 2016

The New York Times Thinks that the Jews from Arab Countries Simply “Immigrated”

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Journalists Killed in 2016 #AlternativeFacts

There were several dozens of journalists killed around the world in 2016. The exact number seems hard to pin down.

According to UNESCO, 101 journalists were killed. It considered Syria as the most dangerous country for journalists, and elaborated that “the most lives were lost in the Arab States, where the armed conflicts in the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq and Yemen have claimed the largest share. Media operating in Latin America and the Caribbean saw 28 casualties, including bloggers and freelancers, constituting the region as second deadliest in 2016.

However, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) counted 93 journalists as targeted and killed. They note that another 29 were killed in accidents or natural disasters bringing the total to 122. IFJ listed the most lethal country for journalists as Iraq (15 killed) followed by Afghanistan (13). Syria ranked as  #6 with 6 killed.

Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) tallied 74 journalists murdered, including non-professional “citizen-journalists.” RSF tagged Syria as the deadliest country. “Syria continues to be the world’s deadliest place for journalists, followed by Afghanistan. Worldwide, two thirds of the journalists killed this year were in war zones. Almost all of them were local journalists, now that news organizations are increasingly reluctant to send their reporters to dangerous hotspots abroad.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) announced that 48 journalists were killed in 2016, with clear motives. Syria led the list with 14, followed by other Arab and Muslim countries: Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

So how many journalists were killed in 2016? 122? 101? 93? 74? 48?

How did four “non-partisan” and “reputable” organizations come to such different conclusions? Did some organization include accidents while others did not? Perhaps one included civilian-journalists and bloggers while another just counted professionals. Maybe some groups did not include peripheral casualties if the journalist wasn’t specifically targeted.

All possibilities. As is bias.

Consider that IFJ has a history of declaring that anyone who self-declares as a journalist is a journalist. So if a terrorist operative used press credentials to infiltrate certain areas to commit murder, that person counted as a journalist by IFJ, but not always by other organizations.

In searching for a reason, maybe one could argue that a higher total of injured journalists heightened the importance of umbrella organizations like IFJ. But that would leave a question of why RSF and CPJ would post such low totals compared to UNESCO.

Maybe the reason for one country getting a higher total was purely innocent. If a Syrian journalist was killed in Turkey maybe one organization listed the murder as happening in Turkey, while another focused on the place where the journalist reported.

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Anti-ISIS Syrian journalist Zaher al-Shurqat killed in Turkey in May 2016

Beyond listing the raw “facts,” UNESCO, RSF and CPJ reached conclusions based on those facts that the most lethal country in the world for journalists was Syria, even though IFJ announced that the country wasn’t even in the top five. IFJ stated that the most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist was the Asia-Pacific region, specifically Philippines, Pakistan and India. UNESCO, RSF and CPJ claimed that it is the Arab states.  Which was right?

The IFJ website covers the entire world by region and claims to be devoted to a mission beyond politics. “The IFJ does not subscribe to any given political viewpoint, but promotes human rights, democracy and pluralism.”  But the English site reserves reporting about the Middle East to only be in Arabic – clearly limiting the audience of readers to a narrow segment of the world population. Why would it deliberately produce an entire section in Arabic? To educate the region that it scores the lowest in regards to “human rights, democracy and pluralism?” To make it impossible for non-Arabic speakers to read about the state of journalists in the Arab world?

 

In 2017, the world was intrigued by the term “Alternative Facts,” and reacted to it as if it were a new phantom reality. In truth, people and organizations have always looked at the same situation and extracted DIFFERENT FACTS, not only different conclusions. Sometimes the reasons are apparent and other times not. Often one can see the motivating factors which led to a party extracting and expressing particular facts and conclusions, and there are times when the listener is simply stumped.

Does it make the party sharing the facts a liar? Biased? Uninformed? Maybe, maybe and maybe.

As the consumers of information that is oftentimes murky, seek the source and basis of the “facts,” and don’t only rely on someone’s conclusions.


Related First.One.Through articles:

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

Journalists in the Middle East

Israel’s Freedom of the Press; New York Times “Nonsense”

New York Times Confusion on Free Speech

Selective Speech

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An Orthodox Rabbi at the Capitol

It has been several decades since any rabbi delivered a prayer at a presidential inauguration, the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan in 1985 being the last one. In Reagan’s and each of the prior events, the prayer was delivered by a rabbi from the Reform or Conservative movements. In 2017, at the swearing in of President Donald Trump, an Orthodox rabbi finally took the stage.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, is a well-known rabbi on the national and international stage, as dean and founder of the Simon Weisenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance. He also founded Moriah Films which has won two Academy Awards. His credentials in combatting hatred and in educating the world about the evils of the Holocaust are beyond reproach.

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Why did Trump invite a rabbi when Obama, the Bushes and Clinton did not do so? Why invite an Orthodox rabbi, the smallest of the Jewish denominations?

A major factor to consider must be that Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her entire family are Jewish. And Orthodox.

Trump also hails from New York City and built his business in the real estate industry, where many Jews live and work. He has gotten to know many Jews – and Orthodox ones in particular- over many years. That is in sharp contrast to past presidents who were lifelong politicians, a profession with fewer Orthodox Jews. 

The point that I will add here is that it should not be a surprise that the first party to include an Orthodox rabbi in one of the greatest of human occasions – the peaceful transfer of power of the most powerful nation in the world – was the Republican party.

Orthodox Jews are Mostly Republican

The Pew Research group did a comprehensive survey of American Jews in 2013, and published the results in August 2015. The survey found that “American Jews tend to be more highly educated and politically liberal than the U.S. public as a whole,” but one group did not fit that pattern: the Orthodox, which are 57% Republican-leaning.

“Unlike most other American Jews, Orthodox Jews tend to identify as Republicans and take conservative positions on social issues such as homosexuality. On average, they also are more religiously committed and much younger than other U.S. Jews, and they have bigger families.

“…the median age of Orthodox adults (40 years old) is fully a decade younger than the median age of other Jewish adults (52). Despite being younger, more than two-thirds of Orthodox adults are married (69%), compared with about half of other Jewish adults (49%), and the Orthodox are much more likely to have minor children living in their household. On average, the Orthodox get married younger and bear at least twice as many children as other Jews (4.1 vs. 1.7 children ever born to adults ages 40-59).

“…in a few ways, Orthodox Jews more closely resemble white evangelical Protestants than they resemble other U.S. Jews. For example, similarly large majorities of Orthodox Jews (83%) and white evangelicals (86%) say that religion is very important in their lives, while only about one-fifth of other Jewish Americans (20%) say the same. Roughly three-quarters of both Orthodox Jews (74%) and white evangelicals (75%) report that they attend religious services at least once a month. And eight-in-ten or more Orthodox Jews (84%) and white evangelicals (82%) say that Israel was given to the Jewish people by God – more than twice the share of other American Jews (35%) who express this belief.”

So while Orthodox Jews only make up about 10% of the 5.3 million American Jews, they are the fastest growing denomination by far. The implication is that even as Democrats point to the growth of the non-white population in the USA as favoring the Democrats, within the Jewish minority, the Republicans hold an advantage.

The Address

Rabbi Hier spoke for just two minutes after President Trump was inaugurated. In his remarks he recited a passage from Psalm 137: “By the rivers of Babylon we wept as we remembered Zion… If I forget thee o’ Jerusalem may my right hand forget its skill.” It was an interesting choice of quotes, as the Obama Administration let the area of Babylon – in today’s Iraq – fall into an Islamic jihadist war zone, and neighboring Iran have a pathway to nuclear weapons. In regards to Jerusalem, Obama abandoned Israel at the United Nations, letting a motion pass that declared that the eastern half of Jerusalem which houses the Jewish Temple Mount and all of the West Bank were illegally controlled by Israel.

Conversely, the Trump administration has broken with Obama’s view that Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory, and has vowed to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is a campaign promise that many presidents have made only to reverse course once they assumed office, however, it would appear that Trump is likely to follow through with his pledge.

Did Hier deliberately use the quote to voice the displeasure of the pro-Israel community with Obama? As encouragement to Trump to honor his pledge to Jerusalem?


It had been over 30 years since a rabbi was invited to give a blessing at the presidential inauguration. While it was a special moment for all Jews to celebrate, many liberal Jews tried to petition Hier to withdraw as they disliked Trump’s stated policies. It was a shame that in the divisive election campaign between Democrats and Republicans, Jews could not pause to appreciate the acknowledgment and invitation that was extended to their small community.


Related First.One.Through articles:

On Accepting Invitations, Part 2

“Jews as a Class”