Is Trump Seeing Mid-East Countries to Combat Religious Extremism, or Visiting Religious Sites to Promote Coexistence?

On May 4, 2017, US President Donald Trump announced that he will visit the Middle East. He saidThe purpose of this meeting is to bring together all the different countries and all the different religions in the fight against intolerance and to defeat radicalism.” The destinations on the trip included the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Israel and the Vatican. The GOALS of the visit were to fight against intolerance and radicalism.


President Trump announcing intention to visit the Middle East
May 4, 2017

Can Trump “bring together” the countries and religions in such an effort?

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

KSA is just one of 50 Muslim-majority countries, so Trump could have visited any of the fifty to make a point of connecting with Islam.

But KSA has a number of key attributes that the other Islamic countries do not have:

  • It holds the two holiest sites for Islam, Mecca and Medina
  • It is a US ally, compared to several Muslim countries that are not
  • It is a major opponent to Iran, which is a US-designated state-sponsor of terrorism
  • KSA has received billions of dollars in US military equipment and is engaged in joint strikes against targets in war zones like Yemen

Trump will not get to visit Mecca or Medina, the central places holy to Muslims because KSA forbids non-Muslims from visiting the Islamic holy sites. However, his meeting with the custodian of the holy sites – the KSA royal family – will make clear that the trip is not simply a visit to any Muslim country, but one that is willing to fight alongside America.

Is KSA a repressive regime? No question. It’s human rights record is appalling and many Trump critics think it outrageous to give the royal family such honor. But Trump made clear in his remarks:

“Our task is not to dictate to others how to live, but to build a coalition of friends and partners who share the goal of fighting terrorism, and bringing safety, opportunity and stability to the war-ravaged Middle East.”

Trump’s focus is narrow: the war on terror. However, KSA is actually a supporter of Wahabism and radical Islam. It happens to be a foe of Iran which earned its designation of a sponsor of terrorism well before it got involved in regional wars in Syria and Yemen, wars in which KSA is opposing Iran.

In visiting KSA, Trump will be visiting a country that is both a custodian of religious holy sites and a military partner. He will not get to visit religious sites nor showcase religious tolerance.

The Vatican

There are dozens of countries with a majority of Christians that Trump could have visited. And the Vatican isn’t even a country according to the UN.

But Catholicism is the largest of the Christian denominations, and the Pope is unique in being a central figure of a church. No other single individual has a command over such a flock.

While the Pope has no army to engage in a military battle against violent extremism, his message of tolerance is one that Trump seeks to connect with and spread throughout the world.

Israel

There is only one Jewish majority state, which makes the choice of Israel apparently simple in rounding out the Trump tour of the monotheistic faiths. In the other two countries with a significant Jewish populations – the United States and France – the Jews make up just a small percentage of the overall population, 2.1% and 0.8%, respectively.

For many decades, Israel has been America’s closest ally in the entire Middle East. It is the only true democracy in the region and Americans and Israelis share many of the same values. Israel has also been an important ally for the US in the ongoing War on Terror.

But there are large differences between Israel and the other stops on Trump’s trip:

  • Israel is the only country in Trump’s Mideast tour to tamper radicalism, that suffers from ongoing terrorism
  • Israel is the only country that had the (former) United Nations Secretary General stand up and state that he supports a terrorist regime (Hamas) and their inclusion in a Palestinian Authority government
  • The Jewish State is the only country where the world doesn’t recognize its holiest location and where the Muslim Waqf forbids Jewish prayer.

Israel promotes religious tolerance but receives none. It does this while confronting ongoing terrorism.

Trump will visit the holiest site in Judaism accesible to Jewish prayer today – the western wall of the Jewish Temple Mount. But he will do so WITHOUT Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as the US is not comfortable stating that the Jewish state is the custodian of the religion’s holiest site.

It is an interesting backdrop on which to draw further comparisons.

The War on Religious Radicals and
the Promotion of Religious Tolerance

As Trump navigates the Middle East, he will attempt to promote two messages: of religious tolerance and of the battle to stamp out religious violence.

Religious Tolerance:

  • Saudi Arabia is 100% Muslim and the Vatican is 100% Christian. Only in Israel is there a mix of religions (75% Jewish and 25% non-Jewish)
  • Saudi Arabia restricts access to its holy sites only to Muslims. The Vatican welcomes all religions to the city. In Jerusalem, the Islamic Waqf which is overseen by Jordan, prohibits Jews from praying at its holiest site, the Temple Mount.
  • Saudi Arabia restricts bringing religious artifacts like a cross or Jewish bible into the country. The Vatican and Israel have no such restrictions.

The list goes on. Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia clearly has nothing to do with rewarding it for promoting religious tolerance. Perhaps that is an aspiration. Israel is the prime example of religious tolerance to be emulated in the Middle East

War on Radicalism:

  • In the attacks of 9/11/01, fifteen of the 19 terrorists were from KSA. Saudi Arabia continues to fund a radical form of Islam in schools around the world. For its part, the Catholic Church tries to convert people to Catholicism, but not by force and it does not promote violence. Israel and the Jewish State do not attempt to convert anyone in any manner and is not engaged in terrorist activities around the world.
  • Saudi Arabia does not fight radical Islam; it fights Iran and the Islamic State as discrete entities in an ongoing war between Sunni and Shia Islam. The Vatican has no army to participate in any war. For its part, Israel is actively fighting terrorism in its homeland, principally against an enemy that is rabidly anti-Semitic that wants to rid the region of Jews.

In short, only in Israel will Trump find both a partner in promoting religious tolerance and a partner in combatting violent religious extremism. Only in Israel will Trump see a people that faces terrorism on a daily basis.

Together:

Trump stated that he sought to bring parties “together.” With the exception of Egypt and Jordan, the rest of the Arab countries have refused to recognize the legitmacy of the State of Israel. Perhaps Trump hopes that this initiative to eradicate radical jihadists will change that dynamic. It would appear to be wishful thinking: The Saudi royal family has funded the families of Palestinian terrorists for years.

 

These are important points for Trump to address during his Mideast visit. A key victory in advancing both agendas of combatting religious violence and promoting religious tolerance would be to get the Palestinian Authority to finally rip up the anti-Semitic law which calls for the death sentence for any Arab that sells land to a Jew. Nothing demonstrates the vileness of intolerance and radicalism as much as the Palestinian Land Law.


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The Palestinian’s Three Denials

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

Saudi Arabia, “Ally” of the United States

Ban Ki Moon Defecates on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Extreme and Mainstream. Germany 1933; West Bank & Gaza Today

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In Inversion, New York Times Admits “The Truth is Hard to Find”

Ever since politics introduced the concept of “Alternative Facts” and “Fake News” some months ago, the mainstream media has been fighting back that it is the real authority on the truth. The New York Times has sought to portray itself as the media source that uncovers the truth and has pushed the tagline of “the Truth is Hard to Find,” as it features its journalists in large promotional advertisements.


Double page advertisement in The New York Times about Jodi Ruduren
April 23, 2017

On April 23, 2017, the Times featured an enormous spread to convey how its Middle East reporter, Jodi Roduren, went deep into a hidden Hamas tunnel to tell a story behind the Gaza War in 2014. The caption in the advertisement read: “Forty-six feet underground, Jodi Rudoren, Jerusalem bureau chief, ventured into a secret tunnel used by Hamas insurgents to launch surprise attacks from Gaza into Israel.”

If only the New York Times actually reported such events during the war in 2014.

As detailed in “The New York Times’ Buried Pictures” about Rudoren’s story when it was written on July 28, 2014, Rudoren mischaracterized the entirety of the story about the terror tunnels:

  • It took three weeks for the NYT to post a single picture of the terror tunnels, even though they were the root cause of the war;
  • On the day that the paper finally showed a picture of the tunnels, it only placed a small black-and-white photograph on page A6, even while it posted a large color picture on the front page of Palestinians mourning, and a large black-and-white picture of Palestinians mourning above the picture of the tunnel;
  • Rudoren’s article made light of Israeli concerns about the tunnels, referring to the Israeli invitation to tour the tunnels as a “propaganda push,” rather than a chance to report on the nature of the battle from a first-hand encounter;
  • Roduren wrote that “Israelis exchange nightmare scenarios that are the stuff of action movies” about the tunnels, as if the threat was simply imagined.
  • Compare Rudoren’s late and under-emphasized report during the 2014 war, with the front page story on May 21, 2016 that Palestinian Arabs are scared about the tunnels (because Israel will destroy them).

Yet the Times describes itself as the discoverer of “truth,” even while it misleads readers.

Consider two stories on the next day, July 30, 2014, when the Times repeatedly blamed Israel for bombing a power plant even though there was no proof that it was not done by Hamas, either intentionally or not. The two articles also did not mention the dozens of rockets that Hamas fired into Israel, nor that Hamas refused to accept a ceasefire.

Just two days before Rudoren’s article about the Hamas tunnels, she wrote that anti-Israel riots in Europe had an “anti-Semitic tinge,” belittling the thousands of people storming streets in Paris yelling “Hitler was right” and attacking Jews and Jewish stores.

Roduren was a key player in the New York Times’ biased and terrible coverage of Israel:

  • In October 2012, Roduren wrote an article about “honor killings” in Gaza and the West Bank. Rather than point the finger squarely at the disgraceful Islamic practice performed by Palestinian Arabs on their own family members, Rudoren repeatedly blamed Israel. How? Read the fact-altering “news” for yourself.
  • Rudoren’s May 2014 coverage of the Pope’s visit to Israel was disgraceful in repeatedly stretching facts to fit a narrative that Palestinian Arabs are victims of racist Israeli policies
  • On July 6, 2014, Rudoren wrote about the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, making it sound like an ancient Arab neighborhood rather than an ancient Jewish neighborhood
  • In September 2014, when Palestinian Arabs were firebombing Jewish homes and a gas station in an attempt to create a large explosion, Roduren minimized the riots and that Israeli soldiers over-reacted to the Arabs’ “crude gestures toward Israeli soldiers.”
  • Her front page article on March 13, 2015, “As Israeli Settlements Take Root, So Do Complications,” repeated Palestinian propaganda as fact when she claimed that a few thousand Jews living in the West Bank threatened the “viability” of a Palestinian State.

The examples of Roduren’s anti-Israel bias and deliberate misrepresentation of the facts were present in almost every article that she wrote for the Times. Her bias was so intense, that when Foreign Press Association wrote about threats its journalists received from Hamas about its reporting on the war, Roduren took to Twitter to defend Hamas. Yes, that same anti-Semitic terrorist group that dug terror tunnels into Israel.


On September 17, 1993, A.M. Rosenthal wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about the Oslo Accords. He concluded with a prescient comment about the news media confusing their biased narrative and hope for the future with actual facts: “[There] is the tendency to confuse hope for the future with present reality….Pray for peace but add another prayer for truth upon which it depends.”

The New York Times may write that the “Truth is Hard to Find.” In truth, for the liberal paper, the facts are difficult to print.


Related First.One.Through articles:

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New York Times’ Tales of Israeli Messianic War-Mongering

The New York Times Refuses to Label Hamas a Terrorist Group

Educating the New York Times: Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood

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

Every Picture Tells a Story: Goodbye Peres

Every Picture Tells a Story: Arab Injuries over Jewish Deaths

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

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Murdered Israelis

Every Picture Tells A Story: Only Palestinians are Victims

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

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

There is a common refrain that it is not easy to be a Liberal Zionist these days.

There was a time when Democrats and Liberals had a strong preference for Israelis over Palestinians in the ongoing 100-year conflict. In 2002, Democrats sympathized more with Israelis than Palestinians by a margin of 45% to 21% while Liberals had a margin of 41% to 19%.  Today, that gap has disappeared altogether.

In the latest 2017 Pew Research poll, Democrats split evenly in their preferences between Israelis (33%), Palestinians (31%) and neither (35%). The Democratic leanings are in sharp contrast to Republicans who still favor Israel by 74% to 11%. It is a remarkable phenomenon considering that Israel is the most liberal country in the entire region for a thousand miles in any direction.

pew-2017

This dynamic has become a struggle for Liberal Zionists who easily relate to their fellow Liberals on most matters, but not with 2/3rds of them when it comes to Israel.

Elliot Cosgrove, the liberal rabbi of the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City felt that he had to pen a piece about the situation. In the January 11, 2017 edition of The Jewish Week he wroteFor socially progressive Jews, it is an awkward time to be a Zionist — to be both liberal and a Zionist at one and the same time.” Why is this the case, what has been done and what can be done?

The Causes

There are arguably many reasons why liberals have moved away from supporting Israel. Here are two.

Inequalities and the Size of the Conflict: A goal of many liberals is to bridge inequalities in society. The gaps may be between the haves and have-nots; between the rich and the poor; or between the powerful and the weak. Their desire is to flatten the field to cause the gaps to shrink or be virtually eliminated.

When the left-wing looks at Israel, they see a fiscally-strong, military power occupying a poor Arab demilitarized population. The inequalities between the groups are enormous and the goal to “flatten” the dynamics strikes them as fair and appropriate. As such, they conclude that Israel must sacrifice so the Palestinian Arabs can have more.

However, when many Zionists look at Israel, they see a dependable, democratic ally in the middle of unstable dictatorships. They admire a single, small Jewish State surrounded by dozens of hostile Arab and Muslim countries.

Both views are true, and two liberal Zionists can arrive at different conclusions: either looking at the situation very narrowly as an Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict, or more broadly as a conflict between Israel and the Arab World. A liberal approach based on the second perspective would argue for Israel ceding no land as it is the more vulnerable entity in the region, while the former approach adopted by many liberals today, pushes for Israel to hand over all disputed land to be a new state of Palestine.

Multi-Culturalism and Relevancy: Liberals advance a cause of universalism over particularism. They see the underpinnings of a strong society as one that advances a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic existence over one that is more insular and monolithic.  Consequently, many liberals see the idea of a Jewish State as backwards thinking, as the essence of tribalism.  They therefore consider any association with such an entity as an embarrassment that would insult their liberal principles. These liberal Zionists support groups like the New Israel Fund and Adalah that seek to replace the Jewish State with a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society.

Other liberal Zionists see the thriving multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society that Israel has become, even a a Jewish State. The Jewish Mizrachi community is the largest in Israel, and includes people from Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. Thousands of Israeli Jews from Ethiopia, Yemen and Iraq have little in common with other Israeli Jews from Russia, Argentina and Poland. More so, roughly 25% of Israeli citizens are not Jewish, leading Israel to be the most ethnically diverse population in the MENA region.

What Has Been Done

To accommodate the wide range of opinions, liberal Zionists have stretched the definition of a “Zionist.” In liberal circles, a self-described Zionist can be pro-BDS, as they fight for Palestinian Arab equality. A Liberal Zionist can donate to organizations that seek to undermine the Jewish character of Israel, as an expression of loving the modern thriving democracy. In contorting the bounds of Zionism, they have enabled themselves to sit comfortably with other two-thirds of “progressives” with whom they respect.

For traditional Zionists, this situation is an absurdity.

Imagine someone at a pro-choice rally with a large placard that argues for banning abortions after a fetus has a heartbeat at eight weeks, claiming that they are pro-choice because they are in favor of permitting the procedure in the first weeks of pregnancy. Many fellow pro-choicers might ask that person to move to the other side of the picket line to join the pro-life camp. They might negate the person’s self-declared status as “pro-choice” as they consider their actual position stands against the passionate tenets of the majority.

What Can Be Done

No individual needs to subscribe to an entire platform of a group. For example, a Democrat might agree with the party line on global warming, but disagree on tax policy. A Republican could agree with the party position on foreign affairs, but disagree on social issues. In dealing with conflict, some people stay within their registered parties while they disagree on many issues, while others leave the party to become Independents.

Single issue matters are more cut-and-dry. Someone may be in favor of gun control or against it. However, even within those binary choices, there is a range of opinion. For example, being against gun control doesn’t mean being in favor of getting rid of background checks or gun licenses. A single issue is still dynamic within itself.

Liberal Zionists are subset of two groups: Liberals and Zionists. Liberals cover a broad range of issues similar to Democrats and Republicans. As reviewed in many polls, Liberals are not sympathetic to Israel.  But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t Liberal Zionists that break with the majority.

Israel is a single issue matter for Americans and more easily broken into binary choices. However, there is still nuance in the pro-Zionist camp, especially within the Liberal Zionist community.

Rabbi Cosgrove noted that it is hard to be both a Liberal and a Zionist today. That is a sentiment that is rooted in someone that defines themselves as a Liberal first and a Zionist second.

Zionists have no issues with Liberals, and Israelis are, by-and-large, liberal. Most Israelis and Zionists just believe in the essential nature of the country as a Jewish State and the critical need for security.

For Liberals, being a Zionist is a bit harder to swallow. It typically means running against the majority opinion of the group with which one has chosen to identify. To reconcile that struggle, liberals either counter the ambivalence or anti-Israel sentiment of the group, or redefine Zionism in a manner that accommodates either liberal or Zionistic preferences. Many have chosen the ladder, and twisted the definition of “Zionist” into something that is unrecognizable to the majority of Zionists.

There is another way.

An easy way to be a Liberal Zionist is to use a wide lens when looking at Israel from a security standpoint within the broader Arab world, and narrowly when examining Israeli society from a social vantage point. Such an approach would be consistent with the majority of Liberal regarding daily life and with the majority of Zionists regarding daily existence.


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Squeezing Zionism

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The Obama Administration Continues to Abandon Israel in Fighting Terror

Once again, the Obama administration has refused to stand with Israel as it confronts terror.

On January 8, 2017, a terrorist rammed a group of soldiers who had just exited a bus in Jerusalem. At least four were killed. The US State Department made the following statement in response:

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific vehicular attack by a terrorist in Jerusalem.‎ There is absolutely no justification for these brutal and senseless attacks. We‎ condemn the glorification of terrorism now or at any time and call on all to send a clear message that terrorism must never be tolerated.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the four Israeli soldiers who were killed, and we hope for a full and fast recovery of those injured.”

Stating their is “no justification” for violence but NOT stating that America stands by Israel and the people of Israel in combatting terror IS JUSTIFYING TERROR. The Obama administration just let a UN resolution claiming that the 1949 Armistice Lines are actual borders is a reward for terror. Propping up the acting President of the Palestinian Authority whose term expired eight years is rewarding terror.

jerusalem-truck-attack
Israeli security forces after car ramming attack in Jerusalem
(photo: AP:AHMAD GHARABLI)

Consider the State Department’s response to the car ramming attack in Nice, France:

“Today’s horrendous attack in Nice is an attack against innocent people on a day that celebrates Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.

On behalf of all Americans, and especially the great many with close ties to France, I offer our deepest condolences to the friends and family of those who were killed and our hopes for a speedy recovery to those who were injured.

I was proud to stand alongside French leaders earlier today at Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, and the United States will continue to stand firmly with the French people during this time of tragedy. We will provide whatever support is needed.

Our embassy in Paris is making every effort to account for the welfare of U.S. citizens in Nice. Any U.S. citizens in Nice should contact friends and family directly to inform them of their well being.”

This US administration has done this to Israel time and again.

Consider the attacks in the fall of 2015, as detailed in “Select Support in Fighting Terrorism from the US State Department.” The US stood by the governments of Chad, Lebanon and France in terrorist attacks. But not Israel.

In reviewing the global terrorism in the summer of 2015, as detailed in “The US State Department Does Not Want Israel to Fight Terrorism,” the US supported the governments of Turkey, Afghanistan and Cameroon in combatting terrorism. But not Israel.

The terrorism of January 8 , 2017 fell out on the Jewish fast day of the 10th of Tevet. It is a holiday where the Babylonian leader Nebuchadnezzar began to lay siege to Jerusalem.  The city would not fall for another 30 months, but Jews have commemorated the beginning of the siege for 2500 years. History has shown that calamities often do not come out of the blue, but start with incremental steps. Each one is a tragedy.

Just a few weeks ago, the Obama administration let a UN resolution pass which stated that it was illegal for Jews to live in the entirety of the Old City of Jerusalem. Obama once again continued to make clear that it will not stand with Israel while Jews are murdered in the city.

A question for Jews to ponder is whether the commemoration of the US abandoning Israel should be marked on December 23 when the UN Resolution 2334 passed, or January 20, 2008, when Obama was elected to office.


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Ban Ki Moon Understands Why People Kill Israelis

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The Evil Architects at J Street Take a Bow

On January 5, 2017, the left-wing organization J Street took out a full page advertisement in The New York Times to thank President Obama for letting a UN Security Council resolution pass that condemned Israelis living east of the Green Line (EGL). A casual observer would think that the left-wing group was simply being appreciative of a position that they described as “both practical and moral.” The reality is that J Street is RESPOSNSIBLE for pushing the Obama administration to take the action.

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Full page J Street advertisement in the New York Times
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

J Street has been active in “educating” Barack Obama since he became the Democratic nominee for president in 2008.

At the AIPAC conference in June 2008, Obama announced that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” I was there and applauded, as did the entire conference hall.

That enthusiasm would be short-lived.

The next day, Obama back-tracked on the statement and said that it would be up to the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate the status of the city. Rep. Robert Wexler (NY), who defended Obama in the remarks, was officially endorsed by J Street just a few weeks later, as part of a wave of endorsements of liberal candidates including Rep. Keith Ellison (MN). Another recipient of a J Street endorsement was Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL), a far left-wing Congresswoman from Obama’s home state, who was also very involved in the education of the novice nominee about the new liberal agenda regarding Israel.

J Street and their favorite candidates would push President Obama over his tenure to retreat from historic bi-partisan pro-Israel positions. Here are some of J Street’s positions that it advanced:

January 2011: “[I]f the [UN] Resolution [condemning Israeli settlements] does come to a vote, we urge the Obama administration to work to craft language, particularly around Jerusalem, that it can support condemning settlement activity and promoting a two-state solution.

While we hope never to see the state of Israel publicly taken to task by the United Nations, we cannot support a U.S. veto of a Resolution that closely tracks long-standing American policy and that appropriately condemns Israeli settlement policy.”

In September 2014: “J Street urges the United States government to undertake a thorough review of its policy toward Israeli settlements and to announce the steps it will take if Israel goes forward with this decision. As a first step, it should declare now that it is the view of the United States that settlements are not merely “unhelpful” or “illegitimate” but illegal under international law as laid out in the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

In 2015, the J Street candidates would boycott Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress (Wexler was no longer in office, having resigned in 2010). Other J Street favorites like Rep. Steve Cohen (TN) would not only walk out on Netanyahu, but defend Obama’s December 2016 UN vote.

Some of J Street’s candidates like Rep. John Yarmuth (KY) and David Price (NC) proposed a resolution in the US Congress in April 2016 to condemn Israeli settlements (to J Street applause). Not surprisingly, both were part of the 50 Democratic representative bloc that boycotted Netanyahu’s 2015 speech. On December 28, 2016, Yarmuth commended Kerry’s speech after the UN vote in which he lambasted Israel. On December 31, Jan Schakowsky did the same.

J Street let their candidates know that walking out on and abandoning Israel was perfectly Okay in the pro-Israel community.

It is important for everyone to realize that J Street is not simply an organization grateful to Obama that has an extremist position related to Israel. It is the organization that ACTIVELY PROMOTED Obama’s actions at the United Nations against Israel.

If the US vote at the UN Security Council angered you, just don’t vent at an outgoing administration. Take it out on J Street and the candidates it supports.


Related First One Through articles:

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

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

J Street’s Select Appreciation of Transparency

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

Adalah, Dismantling Zionism

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Rep. Keith Ellison Refuses to Condemn UN Resolution Aganist Israel

The Obama Administration let a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel (Res 2334) pass in December 2016 to the anger of many Americans.  The US Congress took it upon itself on January 5, 2017, to condemn the UN action as a bipartisan effort, voting to condemn it by a margin of 342 to 80 (with 4 people voting Present and 7 abstentions). A total of 233 Republicans and 109 Democrats stood by the US’s ally in a bill entitled “Objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 as an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and for other purposes.” Of the 80 people voting against the measure, 76 were Democrats to only 4 Republicans.

Before the vote, two leading Republicans, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (CA-39) released the following statement:

“This Administration has lost all credibility when it comes to Israel. The Administration’s stunt at the UN hurt our ally Israel and made peace in the region even more difficult to achieve. This Thursday, the House will not abstain from its responsibility and will vote on a bipartisan resolution reaffirming our longstanding policy in the region and support of Israel.

While Republicans voted to condemn the UN vote by a margin of 233-to-4, the Democrats barely achieved a majority of consensus, voting 109-to-76, with 8 others not voting at all.

Rep. Keith Ellison, who is running to be the new chair of the Democratic National Committee (with the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders) was one of those Democrats that decided to vote against the effort to condemn the UN censure of Israel.

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Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)

Ellison’s action was not a surprise to many.

Ellison was one of the 50 House Democrats to boycott Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in 2015. A big Democratic supporter, Haim Saban said recently that Ellison “is clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual.” But leading Jewish Democrats in the Senate like Charles Schumer and Bernie Sanders have still rallied to Ellison’s defense and continue to support his candidacy.

If this is how Ellison votes when Americans are focused on him and his bona fides, how will he treat Israel in the future? Will he continue to turn Democrats against Israel? Will he support more actions at the United Nations to condemn the leading democracy of the entire Middle East?

If Ellison becomes the new chair of the DNC, it will be the final straw for this lifelong Democrat.


Related First.One.Through articles:

International-Domestic Abuse: Obama and Netanyahu

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

Bernie Sanders is the Worst U.S. Presidential Candidate for Israel Ever

Sanders Accuses Israel of Deliberately Killing Palestinians

Missing Netanyahu’s Speech: Those not Listening and Those Not Speaking

The Democrats’ Slide on Israel

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2016 FirstOneThrough Summary

2016 was dominated by the US presidential election, additional terrorism in Europe, and a United Nations that continued to attack the Jewish State. Readership interest in FirstOneThrough continued to grow.

FirstOneThrough published 133 articles in 2016, down from the 2015 total of 151 articles. Despite the fewer posts, the number of visitors jumped by 35% year-over-year.

Countries

Israel and the United States continued to lead the readership, accounting for 70% of the views overall, down from 73% in 2015. The drop was due to the readership in Israel being flat, while readership around the world grew. Visitor growth from English-speaking countries was significant: Canada (+49%); United Kingdom (+46%); Australia (+14%) and South Africa (+125%). Overall, readership from those countries jumped to 18% of the total, up from 15% in 2015. Other countries that also saw an increase in viewership included: Netherlands; France; Germany; Sweden; Norway; and Brazil. Brazil saw the greatest increase year-over-year, jumping 167%.

Articles

The most popular stories of 2016 were:

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

Jared Kushner’s Parents Donate $20 million to the First Hospital Likely to Win the Nobel Peace Prize

UN Media Centre Ignores Murdered Israelis

The Countries that Acknowledge the Jewish Temple May Surprise You

Sanders Accuses Israel of Deliberately Killing Palestinians

New York Times Grants Nobel Prize-in Waiting to Palestinian Arab Terrorist

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

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

Al Jazeera (Qatar) Evicts Jews and Judaism from Jerusalem. Time to Return the Favor

Referrers

In 2016, Facebook became an even more important source of viewers, jumping to 60% of referrers from 46% in 2015.  Search, The Jewish Press and Twitter continued to be the next important sources, but Facebook did not take share from any of those categories, as much as other referral sites.

Some of the global sites that have linked to the FirstOneThrough blog include:

Australia
Jewish Issues Watchdog
Jews Down Under

France
Malaassot

Germany
Heplev

Switzerland
Politisches
Audiatur Online

Austria
DerStandard
Antisemitism-europe

Holland
Fredbarendsma

Poland
Listyznaszegosadu

Norway
SMA-Norge
Rights.no has taken information without properly sourcing the information and link to FirstOneThrough

Denmark
Document.no also used information with properly sourcing FirstOneThrough

China
LightOfZion

Brazil
Pletz

Israel
Israellycool
JewsNews
Shiloh Musings
Calevbenyefuneh
Anne’s Opinions
Israpundit
Aliyahland

Canada
Black Kettle
AmProject

USA
Jewish Press
American Thinker
CAMERA (not used properly as not sourced to FirstOneThrough)
The Israel Forever Foundation
JewishLeadership
Legal Insurrection
The Truth About Guns
ElderOfZion
EretzYisrael
Watching Over Zion
DusIzNies (not used properly as not sourced to FirstOneThrough)
TeaParty Community
1jewess
Exposing Modern Mugwumps
UN Trendolizer
Jewish Refugees 
FreeRepublic

Please continue to encourage others to join the blog.

Wishing you a wonderful 2017.

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Palestinian Jews and a Judenrein Palestine

“Now, you may hear from advocates that the settlements are not an obstacle to peace because the settlers that don’t want to leave can just stay in Palestine like the Arab Israelis who live in Israel. But that misses a critical point, my friends; the Arab Israelis are citizens of Israel, subject to Israel’s law.

Does anyone here really believe that the settlers will agree to submit to Palestinian law in Palestine?”

US Secretary of State John Kerry

December 28, 2016

US Secretary of State John Kerry made a public speech after the UN Security Council voted to condemn Israelis living east of the Green Line as “illegal” and an obstacle to peace. In his speech, Kerry chose to continue to attack Israel’s actions as being illegal and contrary to peace, even though the US didn’t technically vote in favor of the resolution (the US abstention alone was enough to let it pass).

The quote above is symbolic of the Kerry’s passive-aggressive vitriol against the Jewish State.

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John Kerry admonishing Israel December 28, 2016
(photo: AP)

Kerry chose to ignore the vile anti-Semitism that is the essence of the Palestinian Authority’s demand that no Jews be allowed to live in a new Palestinian State. Instead, he placed the blame on Israeli Jews, commenting that no Jew would consider living in a home subject to Palestinian law. Really?

Does Kerry realize that there were 1 million Jews living in Muslim lands from Morocco to Afghanistan during this century? Most of those Jews fled countries like Egypt and Morocco during the 1950s and 1960s when those governments began Anti-Semitic edicts. The Jews in Afghanistan fled in the 1930s. Jews from Yemen started to leave in the 1880s, and established communities like Silwan in the eastern part of Jerusalem (which the UN claims is “occupied Palestinian territory.”)

During the Ottoman rule in Palestine, Jews were the fastest growing group by far. Consider that from 1800 to 1922, the number of Jews in Palestine grew by almost 3.5 times, while the number of Muslims grew by less than 2 times.  Further, Jews have been a MAJORITY in Jerusalem since the 1860s. During this time period, the Jews in Jerusalem called themselves Palestinian Jews.

Until the reestablishment of the Jewish State in 1948, there was no exclusive use of the term “Palestinian” to refer to only Arabs. People called themselves Palestinian Jews, Palestinian Christians or Palestinian Arabs for centuries before the Palestinian Liberation Organization adopted the term for their exclusive use under the 1964 PLO Charter Article 6: The Palestinians are those Arab citizens who were living normally in Palestine up to 1947, whether they remained or were expelled. Every child who was born to a Palestinian parent after this date whether in Palestine or outside is a Palestinian.

Jews once had a long history of living in Muslim countries, including in Palestine under the Ottoman Turks. However, the history of Jews willingly living in Muslim countries disappeared when rabid anti-Semitism took hold of their governments and forced Jews to flee their homes throughout the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, with the sole exception of Palestine/Israel.

Anti-Semitism is still rife in Muslim countries, and the Palestinian Arabs are the most anti-Semitic, with 93% holding anti-Semitic opinions according to the latest ADL poll.  Is that the reason that Kerry believes that no settler “will agree to submit to Palestinian law in Palestine,” as such laws would likely be completely anti-Semitic (like current laws in which selling land to a Jew is a capital offense)?

If that is the case, why doesn’t the Obama administration EVER castigate the Palestinian Arabs and its leadership for their gross anti-Semitism? Does the desire for Palestinian Arab self-determination trump the fact that the Arabs would likely impose anti-Jewish laws? Are the United States and United Nations actively seeking to create a Nazi state alongside Israel?

If the United States believes that the Palestinian Arabs are grossly anti-Semitic, how does it pretend that the two-state solution will have Israel “living side by side in peace and security with its neighbors?” How could any country expect Israel to go along with such a dangerous plan?

Which goes to the essence of Kerry’s comment above. To sell the notion of a peace agreement, the core of the problem MUST be the Israelis.

If Kerry were to admit that the lack of a peace agreement stems from Palestinian Authority anti-Semitism and the rejection of the basic human rights of Jews to live in the land, he would be tacitly admitting that there can never be peace. However, by portraying the problem as stemming from Israel’s settlements, he cut off the line of reasoning. A Judenrein Palestine that is the GOAL would indicate that the entire peace process is a sham; however, a Judenrein Palestine that is simply a BYPRODUCT of arriving at a two-state solution, masks the lethal inherent flaw.

As Kerry casually tossed out the notion that Israeli Jews should “self-deport” from lands that international law mandated to them in the 1920s but which the UN Security Council now has ignored, he threw a red herring before people hungry for peace.  All but the deaf and blind saw through the deception.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The United States Joins the Silent Chorus

The US State Department’s Selective Preference of “Status Quos”

International-Domestic Abuse: Obama and Netanyahu

Extreme and Mainstream. Germany 1933; West Bank & Gaza Today

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

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

John Kerry: The Declaration and Observations of a Failure

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

The US State Department Does Not Want Israel to Fight Terrorism

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