Anti-Israel Lobbyists Dwarf Pro-Israel Lobbyists

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

Biden_at_AIPAC, once upon a time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Related First.One.Through articles:

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

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

J Street’s Select Appreciation of Transparency

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

Enduring Peace versus Peace Now

The Anger from the Zionist Center

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

The Evil Architects at J Street Take a Bow

A Basic Lesson of How to be Supportive

The Impossible Liberal Standard

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

The Illogic of Land Swaps

The Real “Symbol of the Conflict” is Neta Sorek

When Power Talks the Truth

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Israel & the United States Repel the Force of the World

“It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the world.”

Thomas Paine, Common Sense
January 9, 1776

On January 9, 1776, exactly 242 years ago, the great American Patriot Thomas Paine published the first edition of his pamphlet “Common Sense.” In it he advanced the arguments why the colonies needed to break free from England, and argued for a new political system based on democracy and equality, quite dissimilar to England’s monarchy and class-based hierarchy. While he acknowledged that the colonies were outnumbered and outgunned, he declared that the unity of the American colonies in spirit and purpose would withstand the battles to come.

Those sentiments are being borne out again, this time, between the United States of America and Israel.

On December 6, 2017, US President Trump acknowledged the reality that Jerusalem is the capital city of the State of Israel. It was a move that was welcomed by the government of Israel, but not by much of the world.

Shortly thereafter, the United Nations Security Council voted to denounce USA’s decision in a vote of 14-to-1, with only the US voting against the measure. That single vote by a permanent member of the UNSG was enough to block the resolution.

The Arab states moved to have a similar vote at the UN General Assembly. The lopsided vote came in at 128 countries voting to condemn the American recognition, 9 votes supporting the USA and 35 countries abstaining. The overwhelming vote was non-binding and the US continued to take measures that were completely within its rights and jurisdiction .

Not seven weeks after the US declaration of the Jerusalem Acknowledgment, US Vice President came to Israel, to visit its capital city of Jerusalem and address its parliament, the Knesset. He loudly and clearly proclaimed the unity between the US and Israel:

US Vice President Mike Pence addressing the Knesset
(photo: January 22, 2018)

“Thanks to the [US] President’s leadership, the alliance between our two countries has never been stronger, and the friendship between our peoples has never been deeper. And I am here to convey a simple message from the heart of the American people: America stands with Israel.

We stand with Israel because your cause is our cause, your values are our values, and your fight is our fight.

We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny.”

Pence made clear that the US stands with Israel in both the positive and negative; in the passive and the aggressive.

The US stands with Israel in the mundane. In a democratic way of life. In commerce and trade. In acknowledging truth and fact.

And the US also stands with Israel against the forces of hatred, racism and antisemitism. Against evil ideologies and terror. Against distortions and fake history.

Pence reiterated those comments, as he absorbed the history of the Jews and the history of America:

In the story of the Jews, we’ve always seen the story of America. It is the story of an exodus, a journey from persecution to freedom, a story that shows the power of faith and the promise of hope….

“And your story inspired my forebears to create what our 16th President called a “new birth of freedom.” And down through the generations, the American people became fierce advocates of the Jewish people’s aspiration to return to the land of your forefathers to claim your own new birth of freedom in your beloved homeland.”

Pence addressed the lies spewed from the mouth of the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority and the UNESCO that the Jews have nothing to do with the land of Israel:
“The Jewish people held fast to a promise through all the ages, written so long ago, that “even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens,” from there He would gather and bring you back to the land which your fathers possessed….“The Jewish people’s unbreakable bond to this sacred city [of Jerusalem] reaches back more than 3,000 years. It was here, in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, that Abraham offered his son, Isaac, and was credited with righteousness for his faith in God.

“It was here, in Jerusalem, that King David consecrated the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. And since its rebirth, the modern State of Israel has called this city the seat of its government.

“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. And, as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, and that United States Embassy will open before the end of next year.”

Pence further spoke of a revolution in the Arab world, where some countries are breaking with past hatreds and establishing ties with Israel:
“Over the past two days, I’ve traveled to Egypt and Jordan, two nations with whom Israel has long enjoyed the fruits of peace. I spoke with America’s great friends, President Al Sisi of Egypt, and King Abdullah of Jordan, about the courage of their predecessors who forged an end to conflict with Israel in their time.And those two leaders prove every day that trust and confidence can be a reality among the great nations who call these ancient lands home.

In my time with those leaders, and with your Prime Minister, we discussed the remarkable transformation that is taking place across the Middle East today, and the need to forge a new era of cooperation in our day and age.

The winds of change can already be witnessed across the Middle East. Longstanding enemies are becoming partners. Old foes are finding new ground for cooperation. And the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael are coming together in common cause as never before.

Last year, in Saudi Arabia, President Trump addressed an unprecedented gathering of leaders from more than 50 nations at the Arab Islamic American Summit. He challenged the people of this region to work ever closer together, to recognize shared opportunities and to confront shared challenges. And the President urged all who call the Middle East their home to, in his words, “meet history’s great test — [and] conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism together.”

And Pence spoke about the common threat posed by radical Islamic terrorism and the evil of the Islamic republic of Iran:
“Radical Islamic terrorism knows no borders — targeting America, Israel, nations across the Middle East, and the wider world. It respects no creed — stealing the lives of Jews, Christians, and especially Muslims. And radical Islamic terrorism understands no reality other than brute force.Together with our allies, we will continue to bring the full force of our might to drive radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the Earth.”
Just over 242 years since Paine’s call for unity to launch a new nation, the US administration declared its affinity for Israel, in maintaining and advancing the Jewish State, just 70 years after it was reestablished:
“How unlikely was Israel’s birth; how more unlikely has been her survival. And how confounding, and against the odds, has been her thriving. You have turned the desert into a garden, scarcity into plenty, sickness into health, and you turned hope into a future.Israel is like a tree that has grown deep roots in the soil of your forefathers, yet as it grows, it reaches ever closer to the heavens. And today and every day, the Jewish State of Israel, and all the Jewish people, bear witness to God’s faithfulness, as well as your own.

It was the faith of the Jewish people that gathered the scattered fragments of a people and made them whole again; that took the language of the Bible and the landscape of the Psalms and made them live again. And it was faith that rebuilt the ruins of Jerusalem and made them strong again.

The miracle of Israel is an inspiration to the world. And the United States of America is proud to stand with Israel and her people, as allies and cherished friends.”

The US is proud of Israel and Israel is proud of the US. That unity is a strength for both countries and will hopefully continue to “repel the force of the world” for many years to come.


Related First.One.Through articles:

In Defense of Foundation Principles

Israel’s Peers and Neighbors

Comparing Nikki Haley’s and Samantha Power’s Speeches after UN Votes on Israel

Israel’s Colonial Neighbors from Arabia

Both Israel and Jerusalem are Beyond Recognition for Muslim Nations

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

The Invisible Flag in Judo and Jerusalem

First.One.Through videos:

US and Israel are there for each other (music by Michael Jackson)

God is a Zionist (music by Joan Osborne)

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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.

firstonethrough 2 10
First.One.Through

 

 

 

Let’s Make America VOTE Again

The United States has a long history of terrible voter turnout.

The voter turnout as a percentage of the voting age population (VAP) since 1992 has been: 58% (1992), 51% (1996), 54% (2000), 60% (2004), 62% (2008) and 57% (2012). This compares to countries like Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom which had turnouts around 70%.

It is not that people are apathetic about the outcomes of elections; they just realize that their votes do not matter.

In the US, presidential elections are not based on the popular vote, where every single vote counts. The outcome is awarded by electoral votes, where every state has a set number of electoral votes as roughly determined by the population in the state, in a winner-take-all formulation. Therefore, if a state is a virtual certainty of voting for a Democrat (say California) or for a Republican (like Texas), it makes no difference if any individual casts a ballot. It is therefore possible that a state like Texas can have as few voters as Minnesota, but the 55 electoral votes for Texas would still be cast for the Republican, even as Minnesota only awards its pre-determined 10 electoral votes.

There is a way to get people to participate in the elections, and it does not entail making it mandatory, as is done in Australia.

This proposal is to INCENTIVIZE people to vote by weighing the electoral votes by the percentage of people that vote in the state.

If a state has less than half of the population casting a ballot, that state would only get 50% of the predetermined electoral votes. For every 2% of the VAP that participates in the election, another 10% of the electoral votes would count, up to 58% of the VAP, when 100% of the electoral votes would be counted.

Percent of VAP Percent of Electoral Votes
Less than 50% 50%
50% to 51.9% 60%
52% to 53.9% 70%
54% to 55.9% 80%
56% to 57.9% 90%
58% and above 100%

 

Consider Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes. In the 2012 presidential election, it had a 57.8% VAP turnout (5,596,499 votes out of a voting age population of 9,677,000). According to this proposal, Pennsylvania would have only gotten 90% of its electoral votes, or 18 instead of the full 20. The shortfall of 16,161 voters (which would have brought it to 58%) would have netted the state 2 important electoral votes.

This formulation incentivizes everyone in the state to vote, and everyone in the country to care about each state. No state would be considered “secure,” as the drive to get every American to participate in the democratic process would be critical.

A great example is New York, with its 29 electoral votes, which has been a lock for almost every Democrat (as opposed to Pennsylvania which is a “swing” state).  Most New Yorkers (yes, a majority) opt to go to work and skip the polls.  In 2012, only 6,160,193 people voted, out of the 13,302,000 voting-aged population. Only 46.3%. That’s pathetic.  This formula would have penalized the state for the poor turnout, and awarded NY only 50% of the 29 electoral votes, or 15 votes.  The loss of 14 votes would have been equivalent to losing the entire states of Wisconsin and Hawaii.


Americans are going out to vote today – in the somber 2016 election – when people have strong dislikes for the candidates. Many will opt to stay home because of that distaste.

vote-hat

Let’s change the current election model, so people don’t withdraw from the democratic process itself.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Libertarian Validation and Absolution

Older White Men are the Most Politically Balanced Demographic By Far

Buckets of Deplorable Presidential Endorsements

The Broken Glass Ceiling in Politics Hides the Importance of Education

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Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through  Israel Analysis

“Jews as a Class”

In December 2015, Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump announced his intention to impose a ban on all Muslims coming into the United States in response to various terrorist attacks done by militant radical jihadists. The question of whether such an action could be legally and practically enforced made historians look back to the treatment of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. However, there is a better reference point for singling out a religious group, which happened 153 years ago this week.

General Grant Expelled the Jews

In the heat of the American Civil War, Major General Ulysses S. Grant was eager to establish military advantage. One of the ways he sought to accomplish this task was to curtail illegal smuggling of cotton and other goods out of the South which helped finance the Confederate’s war efforts. One group that Grant saw as being particularly involved in the trade was the Jews.

As such, on December 17, 1862 Union General U. S. Grant issued General Order No. 11 which stated:

The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the Department [of the Tennessee] within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order.

Post commanders will see to it that all of this class of people be furnished passes and required to leave, and any one returning after such notification will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permit from headquarters.

No passes will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application of trade permits.

By order of Maj. Gen. U. S. Grant”

As clearly spelled out, the order singled out one minority group – in its entirety – to be expelled from their homes within Grant’s territory (western Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi). This order continues to stand as the most anti-Semitic act by the US government to this day.

Grant expel jews
Jonathan D. Sarna’s book on Grant Expelling Jews in the Civil War

The Objection

As detailed in Jonathan D. Sarna’s book “When General Grant Expelled the Jews,” there were many objections to Order No. 11 at the time:

  1. Treat smugglers as individuals. While there were certainly Jewish smugglers profiting from the war, American laws require action against the people who actually commit the crime, and in some cases, people who aid and abet the illegal activity. In no situation does the law enable prosecution of an entire category of people who have no connection to the illegal activities.
  2. Prosecute all smugglers. There were many non-Jews involved in the smuggling trade. The North itself enabled the sale of cotton which it hoped would be used to finance its own war efforts while it penalized the South. Yet Grant’s orders do not punish all smugglers, but only Jewish one’s together with co-religionists, reeked of anti-Semitism and illogic.
  3. Non-violence, nor calls for violence. None of the smugglers committed any violent acts against other Americans. While Grant argued that the smuggling itself helped fund the Confederacy, neither Jews as individuals, nor any Jewish group overall called for harming the Union. All of the smugglers – Jews and non-Jews alike – were simply seeking a profit.
  4. Jews were serving in the Union Army. There were roughly eight thousand Jews serving in the Union army, including nine generals. The broad edict by Grant would have forced his own soldiers to be expelled from the region.

President Lincoln thought the order was inappropriate and countered the order. Lincoln commanded his general chief of the army, Henry Halleck, to revoke the order on January 4, 1863. Halleck wrote a letter to Grant which stated:

“It may be proper to give you some explanation of the revocation of your order expelling Jews from your department. The President has no objection to your expelling traitors and Jew peddlers, which, I suppose, was the object of your order; but, as it in terms proscribed an entire religious class, some of whom are fighting in our ranks, the President deemed it necessary to revoke it.”

Grant, who was later to become president of the United States, deeply regretted his Order No. 11 later in life, according to Sarna. He created a cabinet that included more Jews than any previous administration. When he was asked in 1875 why he issued such a bigoted order, he simply replied that in wartime “nice distinctions were disregarded. We had no time to handle things with kid gloves.”

Which has a similar ring to some calls against Muslims in America today.

Muslims in America Today

On December 8, 2015, the Wall Street Journal led with an editorial “The Obama-Trump Dialectic” which blamed the rise of Donald J. Trump’s illiberal suggestions of how to treat Muslims on the failures of Obama to confront militant radical jihadists.

The Obama failures regarding calling out and responding to radical Islam are plentiful, but beyond the scope of this article.  The question is Trump’s desire to treat “an entire religious class” (to use the Lincoln-Grant phraseology) as a single unit.

Trump had two principle ideas of handling Muslims as of December 2015:

  1. a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”
  2. a database for tracking all Muslims in the United States

Each of Trump’s ideas treats all Muslims as a distinct minority subject to rules that do not apply to any other people.  The distinction is based on religion, as was the case for Jews in 1862, which was objectionable to President Lincoln.

1. Immigrants: The first idea relates to incoming immigrants, not US Muslim citizens.  As such, while objectionable in principle, it is different than applying discriminatory laws against US citizens who have broad protections under the law.  Trump’s arguments for foreign Muslims today are different than for Jews in 1862, as they also are in comparing Jewish immigrants fleeing Europe in the 1930s and 1940s:

  • There were no global Jewish militants threatening to destroy America, like radical jihadist groups ISIS, Al Qaeda, and others today
  • Foreign Jewish groups did not kill thousands of Americans as was the case of Muslim foreigners over the recent past
  • There was no Jewish state for Jews 150 years ago or during World War II to act as a natural safe haven for Jews fleeing persecution, while there are 57 Muslim countries to absorb fellow Muslim immigrants
  • Jews were not engaged in any violent activities in America in the 1860s or during World War II, while Muslims today are engaged in several international wars and have attacked America
  • Jews have always been a very small minority, while there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world leading to a potentially much more significant immigration issue
  • Jews have a long history of being expelled from countries, and hoped for a tolerant country in the United States which was founded on the principle of religious freedom; Muslims do not have a history of being expelled, but they also hope to enjoy America’s freedoms

Regarding Muslim immigration, Obama’s failures to call out Islamic terrorism is magnified by his refusal to take a strong stand on border control, according to Republicans and the WSJ.  Trump said that the ban would only be temporary until the government better understands the situation.

As detailed in “A Logical Approach to Immigration from Personal History,” there is a successful history of the US processing immigrants fleeing persecution to make sure that proper vetting takes place.  It would NOT ban all Muslims, but instead require them to first be situated out of harm’s way in a displaced person’s camp, say in Jordan, at which point vetting would occur.  Women and children would be permitted into the US first, followed by men at some point in the future.

Most significantly, not every situation is the same.  Muslims in Myanmar are different than Sunnis and Shiites from the Middle East.  Each may or may not have valid reasons to seek asylum in the USA.

Trump’s call for an edict against “Muslims as a class” regarding immigration recalls Grant’s comment during wartime that “nice distinctions were disregarded. We had no time to handle things with kid gloves.”  But today, there is time to manage a logical vetting process – which is more robust than put forward by President Obama.

2. Muslim Citizens. While non-American Muslims are not afforded protection of US laws (but only those that relate to immigration policies), American Muslims are full citizens with full rights and protections.  They account for 0.9% of the US population.  While some may have committed terrorist acts, the vast majority have not.  Further, there is no indication that there is a widespread plot to harm America or American interests.

Like the Jews in 1862, there is no basis of treating all co-religionists as a single “class,” while the treatment of the Jews was punitive, and the Trump suggestion for Muslims would just be placing the group under surveillance.

The US government just ended its vast metadata collection program.  That database was on all Americans that helped to track connections between potential terrorists.  Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie stated that ending that program was a big mistake, as using data collection and analytical tools helped locate would-be terrorists and keeps Americans safe.

Chris Christie RJC
NJ Governor Chris Christie addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition
in Washington, D.C., December 2015

(photo: First.One.Through)

A new modified approach of data collection in which people who make calls to, or visit war zones, such as Iraq and Syria, would be tracked may be an appropriate next step.  That would be more logical and fair and not treat all Muslims “as a class” simply for their religious beliefs, but based on actions.  An action-based monitoring system and database would capture information on Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Conclusion

On December 10, 2015, the liberal newspaper The New York Times led with an editorial “The Trump Effect, and How it Spreads” which blamed the entire Republican party as being a bunch of racists.  As opposed to the Wall Street Journal editorial two days prior, it did not place any blame for the popularity of Trump’s positions on the many failures of the Obama administration.

While liberals and conservatives would both agree that a government’s primary concern is for the safety of its citizens, it does so within the framework of laws. America has laws requiring the separation of church-and-state and also does not have a class-based entrenched society.  The foundation documents of the country are that “all men are created equal, and they should be treated equally under the law.

General Grant made an anti-Semitic order during the Civil War, but society was fortunate to have Abraham Lincoln who realized the deep inherent flaw of punishing an entire group of people.  In the middle of that episode, Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which freed the slaves.  Lincoln understood that if all men are to be equal, it must include every minority – blacks or Jews.

General Grant had Lincoln to keep his anti-Semitic edict in check, and Grant ultimately proved to be a good friend of the Jews.  His Order No. 11 was issued in the fervent hope of winning the war and protecting the Union.

Donald Trump has no power today so his words can best be kept in check by public voices, and ultimately the public vote.  Both Republicans and Democrats have spoken out against his suggestions as being un-American.  Indeed they are.

However, just as Grant was acting out of the interest of protecting America (with a very bad idea), it did not mark him as a permanent anti-Semite. It is similarly possible that a President Trump would place many Muslims on his cabinet.

Trump’s calls to treat Muslims “as a class” is wrong and racist. However, it does not mean that he will ultimately harbor anti-Muslim animus, just as Grant reformed in a time of peace.  The NY Times suggestion that all of the Republican candidates are racists is as narrow-minded and bigoted as Trump’s declaration.  However, it is more unlikely that the Times changes its biased viewpoints, than Trump modifying his.


Related First.One.Through articles:

I’m Offended, You’re Dead

Dancing with the Asteroids

The Gap between Fairness and Safety: WMDs in Iraq and Iran

Not Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the Girders

The Banners of Jihad

Finding Mr. Right-Wing

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A Flower in Terra Barbarus

Summary: The “Western World” rallies within its own borders when terrorism strikes, but ignores Jihadist radicals operating in the “Old World.” As it does so, it risks forgetting that neither values nor barbarism has borders.

Terra Incognita

The “cradle of civilization” is generally described as the location from where human beings emerged. Archeological evidence pins earliest humanoids in the region around Ethiopia, while biblical scholars point to modern day Iraq. The crescent between those regions is viewed as the birthplace of humankind.

Mankind slowly spread from its cradle to populate Europe, Asia and the rest of Africa. This held true (with few exceptions) until the late 1400s. Mapmakers of the 1470s and 1480s portrayed the known world in just those few continents, kept in check by various “winds.” It was the Columbus journey of 1492 that began the next expansion of civilization into North and South Americas, and then Australia in the early 1600s.

It took many decades to map out and settle these new lands as the voyagers from Western Europe slowly charted these new territories. Maps that initially referred to uncharted areas as “Terra Incognita,” eventually established the “New World.”

Claudius_Ptolemy-_The_World
Claudius Ptolemy’s view of the World
(Johannes Schnitzer, engraver, 1482)

Western Europe’s New World

The New Worlds of North America, South America and Australia still feel closely aligned with Western Europe hundreds of years after the explorers from Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Netherlands and Great Britain established themselves on those shores.  US President Obama stated on November 24, 2015 “Americans have recalled their own visits to Paris — visiting the Eiffel Tower, or walking along the Seine.  We know these places.  They’re part of our memories, woven into the fabric of our lives and our culture.”

And so it is with much of the New World and Western Europe.  While the Europeans established the Americas and Australia/ New Zealand centuries ago, those new lands still feel a unique warmth and connection to the European continent separated by oceans and thousands of miles.

Over the centuries, the New World took in new immigrants from around the “Old World.”  Africans were shipped against their will as slaves for the former Western European colonies, while people from Eastern Europe and Asia came on their own more recently.

The New World still prefers the close connections to their old motherlands in Western Europe.

Terra Barbarus

Western Europe was hit with several terrorist attacks after the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001.  Those attacks included: Madrid (2004); London (2005); Belgium (2014); an two attacks in France in 2015.  The reactions to attacks in Europe were noticeably different than reactions to terrorism in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region over this time period.

Regarding the second attack on Paris in November 2015, as well as another Islamic extremist attack in Turkey just days before, US President Obama said: “it’s an attack not just of France, not just on Turkey, but it’s an attack on the civilized world…. This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”

There were no such broad declarations about “an attack on all of humanity… and universal values” when it came to terrorism in MENA.

The leader of the New World looked back to the Old World and saw terrorism divided into two: attacks on the “civilized world” which held “universal values that we share,” and other attacks from beyond the civilized world, in what can best be characterized by various American politicians as “Terra Barbarus.”

Politicians were not alone in this world view.

The world uniquely lit up Facebook with the flag of France after terrorist attacks.  The terrorist slaughters in Nigeria, Kenya and Israel by jihadists over the same weeks barely passed people’s minds or hurt their hearts. The New World looked back on the Old with disgust and disdain: those are uncivilized barbaric lands.  Terrorism emerges from there.  Terrorism is expected there.

So Obama, himself the son of a man from Kenya, drew borders around the civilized world.  It’s physical limit seemed to take him to Turkey, a member of NATO that sits on the edge of wars in Syria and Iraq.  The edge of “civilization” touched the cradle of civilization.

Borders or Values

There is a country that sits in that Terra Barbarus that shares western values, and calls out to be recognized as part of “civilization.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly stated that the various jihadist forces that continue to kill in the Middle East, whether Islamic State, Hamas or Al Qaeda, are all “branches of the same poisonous tree.”  While his country sat in a dangerous neighborhood, the values of Israeli society were the same as western values.  He sought to remind western leaders of that point right after the Paris attacks in November 2015:

“Terrorism is the deliberate and systematic targeting of civilians. It can never be justified. Terrorism must always be condemned. It must always be fought. Innocent people in Paris, like those in London, Madrid, Mumbai, Buenos Aires and Jerusalem, are the victims of militant Islamic terrorism, not its cause. As I’ve said for many years, militant Islamic terrorism attacks our societies because it wants to destroy our civilization and our values.

“All terrorism must be condemned and fought equally with unwavering determination. It’s only with this moral clarity that the forces of civilization will defeat the savagery of terrorism.

Indeed, Israel is the most liberal country in the entire Middle East and Africa.  It’s values are closely aligned with Western Values.  Yet despite Obama’s address on values, the West could not look beyond its contours of civilization.  Unwilling to reframe its own narrative, the western world has opted to ignore the Israeli liberal society, and cast it as part of that dark side of humanity.

The Future

Should the West continue to ignore the liberal society in the Middle East, it can never expect to realize a different future for the entire region.  The warring parties in Terra Barbarus will continue to battle each other, and occasionally reach out and damage the New World like a solar flare.  So far, the New World reacts by alternatively bombing and ignoring the barbarians.

To realize a future world with universal values, the world must recognize the blue-and-white flower that has re-emerged in the arid soil in the cradle of civilization.  Just as the West promises to fight barbarism that appears on its shores, it  must nurture the “humanity” that exists everywhere.

Condemning terrorism was just part of Obama’s speech. Elevating those people that share western values must be part of the battle.

DSC_0210
Flower in the hills around Jerusalem
(photo: First.One.Through)


Related First.One.Through articles:

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

Obama’s Friendly Pass to Turkey’s Erdogan

International-Domestic Abuse: Obama and Netanyahu

Double Standards: Assassinations

Israel and Wars

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New York Times: “Throw the Jew Down the Well”

Sacha Baron Cohen, a comedian from the United Kingdom, developed some fascinating characters as part of his comedic routine. One of them was Borat, a tall, awkward man who hailed from Kazakhstan.

borat
Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat

Cohen used Borat as a tool on unsuspecting Americans to elicit responses which may be funny or frightful in his movie, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” Cohen counter-balanced Borat’s large 6’3″ frame with a friendly, simple and naïve demeanor, such that ordinary people responded to him in a more open manner than they would have for another large adult male stranger. Once within their sphere of hospitality, he engaged people in various outrageous actions.  Cohen captured those bizarre interactions for the public to witness.

Borat was introduced as a foreigner, unfamiliar with the social norms of the USA. As people interacted with him, they quickly saw evidence of his primitive, racist, homophobic, misogynistic and anti-Semitic side. For example, when he attended a dinner party in the South, his lack of etiquette was so extreme he did not know how to use the bathroom.  As the American hosts viewed themselves as extremely enlightened, they excused his outrageous behavior.  The comedy of Baron Cohen/Borat was specifically about revealing people in such awkward and “dark” moments.

Throw the Jew down the Well

Another scene from the movie placed Borat in a cowboy bar in Tucson, Arizona. Borat was invited to sing a song from his home country to the crowd. The audience of men and women were at first unsure of this foreigner in a cowboy hat, as he started his song “In my Country there is a Problem.” It was clear from the first verse that Borat could not really sing, play the guitar or rhyme. But the crowd wanted to be hospitable and welcomed this stranger who was trying to fit in.

By the second verse, the song became rabidly anti-Semitic. Jews were blamed for taking everyone’s money and causing problems in his country. Imagery of Jews being wild animals with claws, gnashing teeth and horns were sung aloud, and the crowd joined in louder with each verse. The women – much more than the men – loudly clapped and sung along to the anti-Semitic verses with free abandon. One would imagine a scene from the Hofbrahaus in Munich 1920 more than Tucson 2006.

Sacha Baron Cohen is himself a Jew who is likely not an anti-Semite nor a racist nor a homophobe.  He used the Borat character to force people to confront their own biases in unconventional ways. His use of a big fish-out-of-water persona made people want to embrace this gentle giant. The American-way of hospitality placed people in a situation where they were closely engaged with little room to maneuver. They were left with a choice of either being astonished and sickened (as were the southerners at the dinner party) or engaged, as were the anti-Semites in the Tucson cowboy bar.  However, the Southerners took the effort to correct Borat, while the cowboys embraced his foul behavior and language.

The New York Times embrace of the Primitive

The New York Times has long looked on the Arab world with sympathetic eyes. Whether in advocacy for Arabs in urging the Obama administration to welcome thousands of Arab refugees, and pushing for building of a mosque at ground zero, or in ignoring Arab crimes through the use of double standards for people from a “primitive” culture, the NYT embraced the Arab world.

Like Borat, Arabs are from a different culture and unfamiliar with America’s progressive ways.  As enlightened people, the writers for the Times have sought to engage and embrace these people. For example, Saudi Arabia is rarely called out as one of the most repressive regime in the world which decapitates minors in the streets; it is just an American ally.

No where is the treatment more apparent than in the warmth shown to the acting President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.  The soft-faced nearly 80 year old man is repeatedly described as a “moderate,” who seeks “non-violent” means to achieve “independence” for Palestinian Arabs. In the Times desire to see Abbas succeed, they turned deaf to his various statements and actions:

  • Abbas’s inability to govern the Palestinian Authority territories is never blamed on his ineffectual leadership.
  • The Times rarely mentions that Abbas is so unpopular among Palestinians that he would have lost any election since 2007 according to every poll (if he ever had the ability to have an election).
  • Abbas’s phd paper on Holocaust denial is almost never discussed.  When it is, the Times makes an effort to say that he now respects the history of the Holocaust, even though he explicitly said the opposite
  • When polls show that the Palestinians are the most anti-Semitic people on the planet, the Times just brushed over the fact as “not particularly surprising
  • The Hamas Charter call for the destruction of Israel and death of Jews is rarely mentioned, and Hamas is almost never labeled a terrorist group
  • Palestinians engaged in the most honor killings per capita is ignored and blame assigned to Israel
  • Abbas’s calls to “defend al Aqsa by all means possible” is never described as an incitement to violence

The Times opted to not take a constructive approach like the Southern lady who taught Borat how to use the bathroom. It never sought to educate its readers about the misstatements and outright lies of the Palestinian Arabs. Instead, the Times just ignored that Abbas or the Palestinians were incompetent or said and did anything wrong.

However, on October 8, 2015, the Times decided to move past being deaf and joined the Palestinians’ anti-Semitic chants.

Throw the Jew from the Temple Mount

In an article entitled “Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem’s Holiest Place” Rick Gladstone wrote that there is little evidence that Jewish Temples existed on the Temple Mount.

20151009_065901New York Times article Refuting the Existence of the Jewish Temples
October 8, 2015

As if echoing the Palestinian Arab and Jordanian Arab narrative that Jews have no history in Israel or Jerusalem, that they are trying to “Judaize” the city and “falsify history,” the Times wrote a piece that completely misrepresented archaeological findings.  Indeed, the only religion that has archaeological proof of being on the Temple Mount is Judaism (there are no structures to show where Jesus walked or Mohammed’s night journey).

The Times’ echoed the calls of anti-Semites who seek to deny Jews of their history and basic rights.  The Times effectively moved from the back of the Tucson cowboy bar to the front row singing and clapping along with Abbas:

Throw the Jew from the Temple Mount
so my country can be free!
You must grab him by his horns
and we will have a big party!”

Now that the Times has more openly embraced its anti-Semitic Borat persona, perhaps we will soon see articles that Jews are really from Khazar and have no connection to the bible at all.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

Educating the New York Times: Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood

New York Times Finds Racism When it Wants

The New York Times wants the military to defeat terrorists (but not Hamas)

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

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US State Department Comments on Terrorism in Israel and the Territories

There were several terrorist attacks against Israeli Jews in early October 2015.  The US State Department gave very tepid comments about the murders, especially compared to how the US reacted to the arson attacks that claimed the lives of three Palestinian Arabs in July 2015.  When one considers that the attack against the Arabs was arson against a house (which could have been empty) compared to deliberate murders shooting at a moving car and stabbing individuals, the response from the US State Department was even more appalling.

 Kirby
State Department Spokesperson John Kirby

 

July 31 Attack on Arabs October 1 Attack on Jews October 3 Attack on Jews
Words in Statement 122 68 77
Condemnation “condemns in strongest possible terms” “strongly condemns” “strongly condemns”
Terrorist attack “vicious terrorist attack” AND “terrorism” “terrorist attack” Not called terrorism
Condolences “profound condolences” “condolences” No condolences
Prayer for Injured “prayers for a full recovery” None None
Families mentioned “Dawabsheh family” None None
Location of Incident “Palestinian village of Douma” West Bank.” Not Israeli; not Samaria Old City of Jerusalem today”. Not Israeli
Call for Justice “murderers” “the perpetrators all perpetrators of violence” A general term

As seen in the chart above, the trend line of not even expressing condolences or calling the attack terrorism is very worrying.

Supporters of Israel have long complained about the bias of the United Nations against Israel.  It would appear that those supporters must now worry about the support of its strongest ally.

#JewishLivesMatter

Attacks Against Israelis

US State Department October 3, 2015:

“The United States strongly condemns all acts of violence, including the ‎tragic stabbing in the Old City of Jerusalem today that left two victims dead and two injured. We call for all perpetrators of violence to be swiftly brought to justice. We are very concerned about mounting tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem, including the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount, and call on all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm and avoid escalating the situation.”

US State Department October 1, 2015:

The United States strongly condemns the terrorist attack that took place late Thursday evening in the West Bank. The shooting resulted in the death of an Israeli couple who were driving with their young children. We extend our condolences to the victims’ family. We urge all sides to maintain calm, avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this tragedy, and work together to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Attacks Against Palestinian Arabs

US State Department July 31, 2015:

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms last night’s vicious terrorist attack in the Palestinian village of Douma. The arson attack on a family’s home in the dead of the night resulted in the death of an 18 month-old baby and the injury of three other family members. We convey our profound condolences to the Dawabsheh family and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured.

We welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu’s order to Israel’s security forces to use all means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers for what he called an act of terrorism and bring them to justice. We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this tragic incident.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

UN Comments on the Murder of Innocents: Henkins

UN Comments on the Murder of Innocents: Itamar and Duma

The New Blood Libel

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

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The USA, a Country of Immigrants

The United States has always been a country of immigrants. During the late 1800s through the market crash of 1929, ten percent of the country moved to the country every decade. After the Great Depression, immigration slowed to a trickle. It has grown to about 3.5% of the population per decade today.

Consider that the US grants more citizenship each decade than the entire populations of most countries.

The main changes to the immigrant population have been the source countries (now Asia and Latin America rather than Europe and Russia) and the greater number of illegal immigrants that are also coming to the US. Over 80% of today’s illegal immigrants come from Mexico and Latin America.