A Test for the Anti-Trump Movement

Posted February 28, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: "Champion of Change", Anti-Zionism in America, Antisemitism in America, Democrats, Democrats and Israel, Democrats and Palestinians, Far left, Linda Sarsour, Never Trumpers, Ramsea Odeh

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A Test for the Anti-Trump Movement, Tablet MagazineBari Weiss, February 28, 2017

(Please see also, Perez, Ellison and the Meaning of Anti-Semitism. — DM)

A movement that has so much to say about the value of black lives, of transgender lives, of women’s lives, of Latino lives, of Muslim lives, of the lives of the disabled and the poor and the weak, but becomes mealy-mouthed and contingent about the lives of Jews when those Jews happen to live in the land of Israel should make any person of conscience question the sincerity of that movement.

Indeed, what’s perhaps even more disturbing is the increasing tendency on the part of Jews to silence themselves on these fundamental moral matters to fit in or to avoid accusations of being soft on Trump. On this, our leaders must do better, even though it will surely mean fewer likes and retweets from popular progressives. It’s incumbent upon those who assert themselves as representatives of the Jewish community not to paper over this disturbing hypocrisy—especially if what they are trying to do is convince amcha that it’s still in their best interest to be at the anti-Trump table.

Somehow it seems that Jews are always the ones being asked to check their identity at the door in movements driven by identity politics. We may assiduously follow the “two-thirds and 51 percent” rule, but our partners often do not. If asking for something so minimal—to disassociate and condemn a woman who murdered innocent Jews—seems impolite or greedy, then perhaps the compromise we have made is rotten.

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In the week leading up to the presidential election, like hockey players who refuse to shave during the playoffs, the women of the Weiss family lived in their “Pussy Grabs Back” T-shirts. For months, our family texts had buzzed day and night with emoji-laden reactions to the latest Trump outrage, while my mother waged a very personal campaign against the Republican candidate. When the first Tuesday in November was upon us, my dad, who has a giant poster of William F. Buckley in his office, bowed to shalom bayit and wrote in Steph Curry.

All of this camaraderie put me in a strange position. Since the crucible of my college years—in which being an outspoken Zionist made you fascist, supporting the war in Iraq made you an imperialist, and believing that some cultures are indeed more enlightened than others a hegemon—I’ve gotten used to feeling politically homeless. I’m typically the hardass among the squishes. All of a sudden, I found myself making common cause with those whom I disagree with vehemently on, say, the Iran deal (bad), the necessity of teaching Western Civ. (good), and most certainly Israel. It is the difference on the Jewish state that has been the starkest and the most painful, as anyone who has paid any attention to the increasingly leftward tilt of the Democratic Party will not be surprised to learn.

One of the rising stars of this new generation of progressive politicos is Linda Sarsour, who was honored as a “champion of change” by the Obama administration and is now one of the anti-Trump movement’s most visible leaders. Sarsour, a longtime Arab-American community organizer, was one of the heads of the Women’s March in Washington and is the named plaintiff in the high-profile lawsuit against Trump’s immigration ban. The image of her, hijab-clad and flashing a defiant smile, rivaled the pink knitted hat as the unofficial symbol of the march.

She is also a proudly outspoken supporter of BDS. “Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” she has tweeted, a remark that, along with the fact that in December she posed for a photo with a former Hamas operative, stirred a series of critical pieces on right-wing websites in the days following the march on the capital. Within hours, Sarsour’s newfound friends and supporters—do I even need mention that Mark Ruffalo and Susan Sarandon were among them?—burst forth with a social-media-driven campaign dubbed #IMarchWithLinda, in which the stories about her background and views were presented as vicious hatchet jobs by pro-Trump legions determined to slow the momentum of the anti-Trump brigades. Indeed, how could a woman who last week made headlines for organizing a fundraising drive that raised more than $56,000 to repair the desecrated Jewish cemetery in St. Louis harbor hostility to Jews?

Among those who have pledged allegiance to Sarsour are prominent Jewish leaders and rabbis. Criticism of the Muslim activist was nothing but “a deliberate smear campaign from the far right to delegitimize the march itself,” said Los Angeles Rabbi Sharon Brous, expressing the view of many other anti-Trump Jews. “This is a time for serious coalition-building, for standing beside other minority populations that are targeted. It is time for people to stand for and with each other. There will be in the mix a number of different perspectives. I don’t feel at all uncomfortable about that,” Brous has said. “A much greater problem would be if the Jewish community stepped out of activism because we’re afraid that someone on the stage has a position on BDS different than our own.”

This was something of a dodge, because, as Brous and others must know, Sarsour’s odious views aren’t limited to BDS, and stretch particularly into issues that directly relate to the systemic oppression of women. “You’ll know when you’re living under Sharia Law if suddenly all your loans & credit cards become interest-free. Sound nice, doesn’t it?” Sarsour tweeted about the Islamic law code that justifies beating women and considers the testimony of a woman half that of a man. She has also denigrated the anti-Islamist feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in astonishingly vulgar terms, insisting that Hirsi Ali is “not a real woman” and joking that she wishes she could take away Ali’s vagina—a particularly vicious bon mot, given that Hirsi Ali was well-known as a victim of genital mutilation in her native Somalia.

Still, anti-Trumpers argued, Sarsour’s personal imperfections didn’t come close to forcing Jews to disavow her and her movement. Echoing Brous, Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, pushed back against those who use support of Israel as a single-issue litmus test. In a piece in the Jewish Journal, he made the case that American Jews should stick to what he dubbed the “two-thirds and 51 percent” rule: “We identify in political communities, or organize for particular causes, with people who share, or at least do not operate in contradistinction to, two-thirds of our core moral imperatives, and with whom we agree on a minimum of 51 percent of our moral concerns,” he writes. By this standard, Sarsour’s leadership role is not a deal breaker. “Rotten compromise, the kind we must not do,” wrote Kurtzer, “entails making common cause with evil.”

So what does boundary-crossing evil look like? Is it OK, for example, to support the civil rights of Palestinians, undocumented immigrants, and women who wear hijab while also calling for the denial of the national and indigenous rights of Jews, and rejecting the rights of women in Muslim-majority countries to control their own bodies? Is that a fair definition of Kurtzer’s 51-percent rule? If you call for the death of Zionists but support Palestinian nationalism, is being against Donald Trump the moral tie-breaker that makes you a legitimate ally of American Jews like me—and immune from our criticism? Kurtzer doesn’t say, but the assumption was that nothing had thus far emerged in the anti-Trump movement to meet the rotten compromise test.

That logic resonated with almost all the anti-Trump Jews I know, who either actively rallied around Sarsour, or—like me—held their tongues. I justified it by telling myself that no political movement is perfect, no coalition entirely pure. Opposing this president, I reasoned, is too critical a priority.

Now, unhappily, the anti-Trump movement has produced a leader far worse than Sarsour: a woman whose actions must surely qualify as evil. If they don’t, the problem doesn’t belong to Zionists or Jews, but to the movement itself—and even more so to the spiritual health of the political party angling to benefit from it.

***

The names Leon Kaner and Edward Jaffe are now lost to history, but Rasmea Odeh surely remembers them well. Kaner and Jaffe are the 21-year-old and 22-year-old who went to a Jerusalem supermarket on Feb. 21, 1969 to pick up food for a trip and were blown up thanks to a bomb that Odeh and an accomplice had placed there. Nine others were injured in the blast. Four days later, a second bomb that the duo planted exploded at the British Consulate. Odeh was sentenced to life in prison by Israel but was released in a prisoner exchange in the early 1980s.

This convicted terrorist has surfaced since the march on Washington as a new leader of the women’s movement, announcing its next global action in the pages of the Guardian: a worldwide women’s strike on March 8. Along with Angela Davis and several others, Odeh called for a day of “striking, marching, blocking roads, bridges, and squares, abstaining from domestic care and sex work, boycotting, calling out misogynistic politicians and companies, striking in educational institutions.” And the organizers of the Washington March followed Odeh’s lead, recently announcing their participation in this international “day without women.”

The political stupidity of embracing Odeh is plain. What better ammunition could there possibly be for a White House all too keen to dismiss a genuine grassroots movement as paid professional protestors and anti-American anarchists than the public participation of a bona fide terrorist? If the anti-Trump movement is going to stand for tolerance, genuine liberalism, civility, and decency—everything we disdain Trump for disdaining—Odeh and her ilk can have no place in it.

But there is a deeper, darker point here beyond strategy: It concerns the alarming cheapness of Jewish blood. A movement that has so much to say about the value of black lives, of transgender lives, of women’s lives, of Latino lives, of Muslim lives, of the lives of the disabled and the poor and the weak, but becomes mealy-mouthed and contingent about the lives of Jews when those Jews happen to live in the land of Israel should make any person of conscience question the sincerity of that movement.

Indeed, what’s perhaps even more disturbing is the increasing tendency on the part of Jews to silence themselves on these fundamental moral matters to fit in or to avoid accusations of being soft on Trump. On this, our leaders must do better, even though it will surely mean fewer likes and retweets from popular progressives. It’s incumbent upon those who assert themselves as representatives of the Jewish community not to paper over this disturbing hypocrisy—especially if what they are trying to do is convince amcha that it’s still in their best interest to be at the anti-Trump table.

Somehow it seems that Jews are always the ones being asked to check their identity at the door in movements driven by identity politics. We may assiduously follow the “two-thirds and 51 percent” rule, but our partners often do not. If asking for something so minimal—to disassociate and condemn a woman who murdered innocent Jews—seems impolite or greedy, then perhaps the compromise we have made is rotten.

Perez, Ellison and the Meaning of Anti-Semitism

Posted February 28, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Anti-Zionism in America, Antisemitism in America, Democrat Party, Democrats, Democrats and Israel, Far left, Judiasm in America, Keith Ellison, Linda Sarsour, Ramsea Odeh, Tom Perez

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Perez, Ellison and the Meaning of Anti-Semitism, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, February 28, 2017

perez

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

While America as a whole will suffer from the radicalization of the Democratic Party, perhaps no group will suffer more from the far Left’s takeover of the party than the American Jewish community. The vast majority of American Jews give their partisan allegiance to the Democratic Party and their ideological allegiance to the Left.

With each passing day, the Left becomes more open in its embrace of anti-Jewish voices. If Sarsour’s leadership role last month in the anti-Trump women’s protests constituted a new low in progressive politics, a month later the bar has dropped even lower. At the next round of women’s protests, Ramsea Odeh is one of the announced organizers.

Whereas Sarsour simply supports the terrorist murder of Jews, Odeh is an actual terrorist murderer of Jews. Odeh participated in a PLO terrorist attack at a Jerusalem supermarket in 1970 in which two Jews were murdered.

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Was former secretary of labor and assistant attorney-general Tom Perez’s victory over Congressman Keith Ellison over the weekend in the race to serve as the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee a victory of centrist Democrats over radical leftists in the party? That is how the mainstream media is portraying Perez’s victory.

Along these lines, Prof. Allen Dershowitz, a lifelong Democrat who promised to quit the party if Ellison was elected due to his documented history of antisemitism and hostility toward Israel, hailed Perez’s election. Speaking to Fox News, Dershowitz said that Perez’s election over Ellison “is a victory in the war against bigotry, antisemitism, the anti-Israel push of the hard Left within the Democratic Party.”

There are two problems with Dershowitz’s view. First, Perez barely won. Ellison received nearly half the votes in two rounds of voting.

Tipping his hat to Ellison’s massive popularity among the party’s leadership and grassroots, Perez appointed the former Nation of Islam spokesman to serve as deputy DNC chairman as soon as his own victory was announced.

There is a good reason that Perez is so willing to cooperate with Ellison in running the DNC. And this points to the second problem with the claim that Perez’s election signals a move toward the center by Democratic leaders.

Perez is ready to cooperate with Ellison because the two men have the same ideological worldview and the same vision for the Democratic Party. As Mother Jones explained, “There’s truly not much ideological distance between the two.”

Far from being a victory for the centrist forces in the party, Perez’s win marks the solidification of the far Left’s control over the party of Harry Truman. Only hard leftists participated in a meaningful way in the race for leadership of the second largest party in America – a party that less than a decade ago controlled the White House and both houses of Congress.

The implications of this state of affairs are disastrous for the US generally. It is inherently destabilizing for a nation when one of the parties in a two-party political system is taken over by people who have a negative view of the country.

While America as a whole will suffer from the radicalization of the Democratic Party, perhaps no group will suffer more from the far Left’s takeover of the party than the American Jewish community. The vast majority of American Jews give their partisan allegiance to the Democratic Party and their ideological allegiance to the Left.

While Perez made a name for himself by fighting the enforcement of US immigration and naturalization laws against illegal immigrants, and Ellison rose to prominence for his activism in radical African American and Islamic circles, thanks to the so-called intersectionality of the far Left, that makes the cause of one faction the cause of all factions, today Perez is as much an apologist for Israel bashers as Ellison.

Perhaps in response to the danger that the far Left’s takeover of the Democratic Party represents, Malcolm Hoenlein, the long-serving professional head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called on Sunday for the convening of a global conference on antisemitism. In a meeting with The Jerusalem Post’s editorial board, Hoenlein said that one of the goals of the proposed conference would be to reach a universally accepted definition of antisemitism.

At the same meeting at the Post, Hoenlein insisted that “we can’t afford a split” on Israel among the Republicans and the Democrats.

On the surface, Hoenlein’s position makes sense. Israel and the Jewish community in the US are both endangered by the partisan split. If a broad consensus can be reached on the definition of antisemitism, in theory, such a move could force the radical Left, which now controls the Democratic Party, to eschew Jew hatred.

The problem with Hoenlein’s view is that to get everyone on board, it is necessary to pretend that even antisemites oppose antisemitism.

This sad state of affairs has been on prominent display in the wake of the recent spate of antisemitic attacks against Jewish cemeteries in the US. Muslim Americans with records of antisemitism have been quick to condemn the attacks.

On the face of it, statements by Ellison, Hamas supporter Linda Sarsour and others condemning the attacks on Jewish cemeteries are welcome. Sarsour’s support for Palestinian mass murderers of Jews and open calls for Israel’s destruction have been ongoing for more than a decade. It’s nice that she is suddenly raising money to repair broken Jewish graves in St. Louis.

The problem is if Sarsour and her Jew hating comrades are viewed as legitimate partners in fighting antisemitism, when they themselves are abetting and popularizing antisemitism, then the notion of fighting antisemitism is destroyed.

If Sarsour, who wrote in 2012 that “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” is a legitimate voice in the fight against anti-Jewish discrimination and violence, then the fight against anti-Jewish discrimination and violence is reduced to farce.

Sarsour, like Ellison, is no fringe figure on the Left. She has become a major mover and shaker in the second party in America. Sarsour was one of the organizers of the anti-Trump women’s protests the day after the president was inaugurated.

Sarsour’s rising prominence in progressive and Democratic circles despite her open support for Hamas shows why it is important today to draw a line in the sand and reject the notion that antisemites can suddenly become defenders of Jews.

With each passing day, the Left becomes more open in its embrace of anti-Jewish voices. If Sarsour’s leadership role last month in the anti-Trump women’s protests constituted a new low in progressive politics, a month later the bar has dropped even lower. At the next round of women’s protests, Ramsea Odeh is one of the announced organizers.

Whereas Sarsour simply supports the terrorist murder of Jews, Odeh is an actual terrorist murderer of Jews. Odeh participated in a PLO terrorist attack at a Jerusalem supermarket in 1970 in which two Jews were murdered.

According to Politico, the radical Left’s takeover of the Democratic Party apparatus through Perez and Ellison isn’t enough to satisfy the party’s young activists. They also want for long-serving Democratic lawmakers in Congress to retire and clear the path for their takeover of the Democratic congressional roster.

Following my column last week, where I harshly criticized Senator Robert Menendez for questioning the loyalty of David Friedman, Trump’s ambassador designate to Israel, a number of prominent American Jews insisted that in asking the question Menendez was not embracing the antisemitic dual loyalty slur. He was trying to protect Friedman from his more radical Democratic colleagues.

There is good reason to accept their argument. Menendez has a long record of standing up for Israel and he has paid a political price for that support.

The problem is that such justifications of Menendez’s actions indicate that American Jews have already lowered the bar on what constitutes antisemitism too far and made defending their own interests all but impossible.

The Democrats are in a dangerous place for themselves, for the US and for the American Jewish community. They will not move back to the center if standards for judging what it means to be antisemitic are lowered. The only chance that they will return to their senses is if they are made to choose between the Sarsours of the world and the Dershowitzes. And this cannot happen by looking for a consensus on what antisemitism means. It can only be done – if it can be done at all – by drawing a line and demanding that it be respected.

EXCLUSIVE: Geert Wilders on “the patriotic spring” sweeping the West

Posted February 28, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: BREXIT, Civilization jihad, Europe and Islam, European "democracy", European Union, Freedom of religion, Freedom of speech, Geert Wilders, Islam and democracy, Islam and human rights, Islam in Europe, Islamic invasion, Islamisation, Islamophobia, Media and Islam, Multiculturalism, Nationalism, Netherlands, Sharia law

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EXCLUSIVE: Geert Wilders on “the patriotic spring” sweeping the West, Rebel MediaEzra Levant, February 27, 2017

The Netherlands has its Parliamentary elections in a couple of weeks, and the man who is leading the polls right now is Geert Wilders.

Wilders is the leader of the Party for Freedom. His chief campaign focus is de-Islamification:

Stopping mass immigration, for sure, but more specifically, stopping the cultural, legal, criminal and social ramifications of bringing in a million Muslims into a country of 17 million Dutch.

(That’s twice the Islamification that Canada has, proportionately; we have just over a million Muslims in a population of 36 million.)

I sat down with Geert Wilders in The Hague on Thursday morning.

That very day, news broke that one of Wilders’ own security staff was caught secretly passing on information about Wilders’ movements to a Moroccan jihadist group.

Of course they want to kill him. He’s the only one trying to close the door, while the rest of the politicians there are prying it further open, in return for power or votes or money…

Watch all the footage from my trip by clicking here.

Muslim Brotherhood: We’re Spending $5 Million on PR in U.S.

Posted February 28, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Foreign Terrorist Organization, Islamist organizations, Islamists in America, Muslim Brotherhood, Trump agenda, U.S. Congress

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Muslim Brotherhood: We’re Spending $5 Million on PR in U.S., Clarion Project, Ryan Mauro, February 28, 2017

cair-nihad-awad-ibrahim-hooper-hp_38Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups in the U.S. include the Council of American Islamic Relations. Shown here are CAIR’s Founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad (R) and National Communications Director and Spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper (L). Awad was present at the 1993 secret meeting of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Committee in Philadelphia that was wiretapped by the FBI. Participants of the meeting discussed how to support Hamas and, in the words of U.S. District Court Judge Solis “goals, strategies and American perceptions of the Muslim Brotherhood.”(Photo: © Reuters)

The allotment of money for this campaign is an indirect acknowledgement by the Brotherhood that it exists in the U.S., and its activity in the country is important enough to fight for. The claim that the Brotherhood has an American wing will earn you a branding as a bigoted “Islamophobe,” but it isn’t so controversial in the Arab press (even though the Brotherhood insinuates the same thing there).

Foreign influence operations are at the top of the news right now in the U.S., but they center about Russia. Why is it acceptable to say that Russia would try to influence our policy, but it is bigoted to suggest that the Brotherhood—the largest Islamist movement in the world—would do the same?

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A senior Muslim Brotherhood official in Sudan told an Arab newspaper* that the group’s international leadership has launched a major PR campaign to influence the U.S. media and members of Congress to oppose the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

The Brotherhood official predicted that the group would not be designated by the Trump Administration and that the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act introduced into Congress would fail.

He claimed that his organization had made contact with governmental officials and members of Congress and convinced them that the Brotherhood is opposed to terrorism, even though the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing—Hamas—is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department.

The author of the article reports that, according to sources within the Brotherhood, the group has spent $5 million on the PR campaign, with contracts being signed last month. The effort to influence American media included having articles and essays published to argue against designation of the Brotherhood.

Indeed, a slew of articles defending the Brotherhood were published as it was reported that the Trump Administration was planning to designate the Brotherhood. Most of these argue that the Brotherhood is opposed to terrorism and violence. As I wrote in December 2014, this notion is patently false.

The Brotherhood also thanked the leaders of Turkey and Qatar for defending the organization. Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

The Egyptian government warned that the Brotherhood has a lobby in the U.S. disguised as civil society organizations. An Egyptian government website cited a study done by a think-tank in Cairo that concluded that the Brotherhood is trying to influence U.S. policy using affiliates in America that “aim to spread the Muslim Brotherhood’s extremist ideologies in the U.S.,” in the words of the website.

A senior UAE official likewise said that the Brotherhood’s American lobby was responsible for political blowback over his country’s previous designation of the Brotherhood and two of its U.S.-based entities, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS).

The allotment of money for this campaign is an indirect acknowledgement by the Brotherhood that it exists in the U.S., and its activity in the country is important enough to fight for. The claim that the Brotherhood has an American wing will earn you a branding as a bigoted “Islamophobe,” but it isn’t so controversial in the Arab press (even though the Brotherhood insinuates the same thing there).

Foreign influence operations are at the top of the news right now in the U.S., but they center about Russia. Why is it acceptable to say that Russia would try to influence our policy, but it is bigoted to suggest that the Brotherhood—the largest Islamist movement in the world—would do the same?

 *This article was first noticed by Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. It was then reviewed by Clarion Project’s Arabic translator.

Trump condemns ‘cowardly’ wave of anti-Semitic incidents in US

Posted February 28, 2017 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: Israel Hayom | Trump condemns ‘cowardly’ wave of anti-Semitic incidents in US

Fifth wave of bomb threats targets over 25 Jewish centers from coast to coast • President Trump is “concerned” by incidents, White House says, adding, “No one in America should feel afraid to follow the religion of their choosing freely and openly.”

Yoni Hersch, Eli Leon and Israel Hayom Staff

Muslim Group Offers $15,000 for Beheading of ‘Moderate’ Islamic Scholar

Posted February 28, 2017 by joopklepzeiker
Categories: Uncategorized

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A Muslim group in India is offering $15,000 to anyone who beheads an Islamic scholar deemed too moderate.

By – on February 28, 2017

Source: Muslim Group Offers $15,000 for Beheading of ‘Moderate’ Islamic Scholar – Geller Report

A Muslim organization has placed a $15,000 bounty on the head of an Islamic scholar deemed guilty of spreading false teachings about the faith.

Specifically, the All-India Faisan-e-Madina Council has called for the beheading of scholar Tarek Fatah, seen as too “moderate,” and will pay $15,000 to anyone who can do it.

Moeen Siddique, the head of the All-India Faisan-e-Madina Council, which has announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh to behead Islamic scholar Tarek Fatah.

His crime?

From the Hindustan Times:

“‘Tarek Fatah is conspiring to disrupt harmony between Hindus and Muslims. He is as an agent of our enemies. He must be stopped at any cost and our organisation will pay Rs 10,00,786 to any person who will decapitate him,” said Moeen Siddique, head of the council.

“‘He and his programme are being funded by foreign enemies of our country and the government must initiate an inquiry against him,’ Siddique said.”

Fatah is a Canadian national who hails from Pakistan. He holds secular views of many principles of Islam. For instance, Fatah doesn’t believe the burka is required wear for women, the Hindustan Times reported.

“‘In his programme, he claims that it is not required to wear a burqa and terms triple talaq as haram. Muslims must not listen to his advice and come forward against him,’ said Siddique.”

Still, as Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch notes, just because a Muslim group finds Fatah moderate doesn’t make it so.

Spencer writes:

“Tarek Fatah is a paradoxical figure; indeed, he personifies the paradoxes of most moderate Muslims. He speaks out strongly against Muslim Brotherhood organizations and Sharia encroachment in the West, but is extraordinarily concerned at the same to absolve Islam of all responsibility for the crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings. Around ten years ago I spent a day with him and others in New York, where among other meetings, we met with Roger Ailes and other Fox News officials. Fatah was an amiable fellow, but I began to grow disenchanted when he replied exasperatedly to Nonie Darwish’s pointing out that the Qur’an was full of violent passages with the now-common dodge that the Bible contains violent passages as well — as if the world were as full of Christians screaming “Jesus is Lord” and opening fire on crowds of non-Christians as it is of Muslims screaming “Allahu akbar” as they take out Infidels.

“By the end of that long and eventful day I was extremely skeptical of Fatah’s sincerity. My suspicions were compounded when he attacked the courageous ex-Muslim truth-teller Wafa Sultan, in much the same terms that Leftists and Islamic supremacists use to smear and destroy those whom they fear and hate. He also engaged in sly apologetics to exonerate Islamic texts and teachings of any responsibility for jihad terror, rather than calling for and working for genuine reform. … Fatah soon thereafter began to denounce me as a racist and bigot, which I expect coming from Leftist Alinskyites and Islamic jihad enablers, but was sheer opportunism and jockeying for market share coming from him. …

“And now there is a bounty on his head from the All-India Faisan-e-Madina Council, which only shows that the All-India Faisan-e-Madina Council, in its hatred, bloodlust, and savagery, doesn’t realize who its true friends are. In any case, however, this just illustrates yet again the uphill battle that Islamic reformers, and even pseudo-reformers such as Tarek Fatah, face: when they speak out against Islamic practices that have a foundation in the Qur’an and Sunnah, they’re threatened with death as heretics or apostates. That’s why we don’t see more Islamic reformers, even insincere and opportunistic ones.”

News, Fake News, Very Fake News: A Primer

Posted February 27, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Faked news, Leftists, Media - leftist, Media and Trump, Media jihad, Trump agenda, Trump Hater's Club, Trump presidency

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News, Fake News, Very Fake News: A Primer, PJ MediaRoger Kimball, February 27, 2017

spiceynewsconfWhite House Press secretary Sean Spicer takes questions from the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The motor of fake news is not inaccuracy. It’s malice.

I had an insight into this important truth a couple weeks back when I was at a swank New York club for an evening event. The establishment in question is overwhelmingly conventional, i.e., leftish in that smug “We’re-all-beautiful-people-who-are-you?” sort of way that publications like The New Yorker and the New York Times, along with such media outlets as CNN and MSNBC, exude like the cloying aroma of paperwhites.

I ran into an acquaintance, a female journalist I hadn’t seen in years. I knew that her politics were echt conventional in the above sense, but I had also found her an amusing and lively person. We were chatting with a couple of other people about this and that when someone she knew from the Times joined in. I then overheard him explain to her that she had to be careful about what she posted on Facebook, Twitter, etc., because anything too explicitly anti-Trump could be used against her when that glorious day came and “they” — the conventional fraternity of groupthink scribblers — finally took down that horrible, despicable man.

“We’ve got dozens of people working on it all the time,” he explained, adding that it was only a matter of time before they got the goods on Trump and destroyed him.

There in a nutshell, I thought, is the existential imperative that has been so gloriously productive of fake news and its exacerbated allotrope, first delineated by Donald Trump in his famous media-bashing presser on February 16, “very fake news.”

News is the reporting of facts. Someone says “this happened on such-and-such a day in such-and-such a way,” and independent, publicly available sources confirm that, yes, what was alleged happened at just that time and in just that fashion.

Fake news insinuates a skein of innuendo and a boatload of shared presumption floating on an ocean of fantastic desire into the mix. Repetition, like Rumor in the Iliad, whips this unstable congeries into an intoxicating frenzy:

Trump’s transition is in chaos, pass it on.”

Trump is a puppet of Putin, pass it on.”

Trump is Steve Bannon’s puppet, pass it on.”

Trump, like Steve Bannon, is a white supremacist/racist/homophobic/woman-hating xenophobe, really pass that one along.”

Every one of these fantasies is not only untrue, but ostentatiously, extravagantly untrue. Liberals of sound mind understand this.

Thus the British journalist Piers Morgan, than whom a more reliably left-liberal figure is hard to imagine, noted to Tucker Carlson that the Left’s hatred of Donald Trump has blinded them to reality. Godwin’s law, which states that the longer an online exchange proceeds, the more likely it is that Adolf Hitler will be dragged into the conversation, has been exacerbated in the case of Trump. It is true that every Republican since at least Ronald Reagan has been compared to Hitler, but in the case of Trump the comparisons have taken on an especially surreal tone. This, too, is something that Piers Morgan, in another interview with Tucker Carlson, noted with a sense of exasperated amazement.

In fact, Donald Trump’s first 30-odd days have been extraordinarily successful. That’s the news.

As Charlotte Allen noted in a column for USA Today, to date Trump has been even more successful than was Reagan in beginning to fulfill his campaign promises. All of his cabinet nominees have been confirmed (Trump withdrew his nominee for Labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, after it became clear that the two differed on immigration). He has moved quickly to get the ball rolling on tax cuts, repealing Obamacare, strengthening the military, enforcing the country’s immigration laws, and cutting the jungle of business-sapping regulation down to size. He has, as Allen observes, “already taken steps … to fulfill at least a dozen of his campaign promises.”

But listen to the New York Times or any of the other conventional (see above) “news” sources, and you would think Trump is a malevolent and incompetent monster who, despite his supreme incompetence, is somehow tipping the country into moral Armageddon.

Harken, for example, to Andrew Sullivan, who in a column for New York called “The Madness of King Donald,” tells his readers:

This man is off his rocker. He’s deranged; he’s bizarrely living in an alternative universe; he’s delusional.

Sullivan’s evidence?

There is no anchor any more. At the core of the administration of the most powerful country on earth, there is, instead, madness.

Hmm. The dogs are barking, but the caravan keeps moving along, Andrew.

So there’s news (well, there was news) and then there is fake news. Here’s one bit of news: the stock market has risen by nearly 3000 points since Trump’s election.

Here’s another bit of news: while Trump’s personal popularity remains low for a new president, the mood of the country as a whole has exploded with optimism, whereas towards the end of Barack Obama’s reign, 70% of those polled said that the country was moving in the wrong direction.

But what about “Very Fake News”? One could investigate the Left’s truly bizarre Russian fantasy to get a glimpse of the phantasmagoric nature of very fake news. Memo to CNN: Donald Trump was correct when he said the whole Russian gambit was “a ruse.” One of my favorite lines from the English essayist William Hazlitt is: “Those who lack delicacy hold us in their power.” It is ironical, to say the least, to find the very same people who decried Republicans for “red scare” tactics and the like now turn around and pretend that a man who is actively rebuilding America’s military, encouraging native energy production, and taking steps to unleash economic growth is somehow playing into Vladimir Putin’s hands.

That whole Russia narrative is deserving of the epithets served up by Andrew Sullivan: “deranged,” “delusional,” and smack dab in the middle of an alternate universe.

But Very Fake News is really more an attitude, an exfoliation of a moral atmosphere, than a putatively factual account. An exquisite specimen of the genre was vouchsafed us by the New York Times back in July, when the anti-George W. Bush historian Bruce Bartlett revealed that the Republican Party had become … the “party of hate.”

How did that terrible thing happen? Apparently, by a process akin to alchemical transformation.

Bartlett knows that the Democratic Party was the party of slavery in the 19th century, the party of segregation and Jim Crow in the early 20th century, and the party of identity politics, i.e., neo-segregation, now. He also knows, though he doesn’t come right out and say, that the Civil Rights Act was orchestrated overwhelmingly by Republicans over concerted Democratic opposition.

But then afterwards, somehow, Republicans became Democrats, or at least they became Southerners, i.e. the epitome of all that is racist, intolerant, homophobic, etc.

Note the logic: the GOP ushered in the Civil Rights and and the Voting Rights Act, but — pay attention now:

… in the process, Republicans absorbed the traditions of racism, bigotry, populism and rule by plutocrats called “Bourbons” that defined the politics of the South after the Civil War. They also inherited an obsession with self-defense, allegiance to evangelical Christianity, chauvinism, xenophobia and other cultural characteristics long cultivated in the South.

What do you think of that?

You should, I submit, think badly of it, on logical, moral, and historical grounds. Whence this alleged “process” of “absorption”? Is there any justification, any, for the deployment of those negative epithets racism, bigotry, populism? (And how did that last one sneak in?)

Bartlett’s dog’s breakfast of accusation is nothing more than a bagful of insults, utterly without content. He continues the disreputable campaign in the next paragraph:

The Southern states have long followed what are now doctrinaire Republican policies: minuscule taxes, no unions, aggressive pro-business policies, privatized public services and strong police forces that kept minorities in their place. Yet the South is and always has been our poorest region and shows no sign of converging with the Northeast, which has long followed progressive policies opposite those in the South and been the wealthiest region as well.

Personally, I am in favor of “minuscule taxes,” but, alas, the Republicans don’t favor them, at least not the ones writing the laws. Unions? There’s a place for unions in the private sector. But public sector unions, as even FDR understood, are a prescription for corruption. Privatized public services?  Why not? What’s better: FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service? Then there’s “pro-business policies.” I like them, the more  “aggressive” the better. Successful businesses make money, ergo they employ people and add to the country’s material well-being. It is true that Democrats favor the opposite strategy, but is that something to brag about?

As for the police, “strong police forces,” as Heather Mac Donald has shown (and Donald Trump has echoed) are valuable not only because they keep crime low but because they protect minorities, especially those in inner cities.

As for the relative prosperity of North and South, Bartlett is stuck in the 1850s. For more than a decade now, the South has outpaced the North in economic growth if not, thank God, in “progressive,” i.e., leftwing, anti-prosperity attitudes.

Bartlett’s scurrilous essay is one of those productions that, merely contemptible in itself, is nonetheless worth noting as a symptom. It exemplifies, even as it contributes to, that surreal atmosphere of groundless accusation and intimidation that has made the conventional (again, see above) reception of Donald Trump such a carnival of malignancy and groundless apocalyptic self-dramatization.

Steve Bannon was right to brand the media the “opposition party.”

To an extent marvelous to behold, it has become a factory for the production of fake and very fake news: not just the dissemination of lies, half-truths, and unsubstantiated fantasies, but also the perpetuation of that echo-chamber in which political paranoia feeds upon the bitter lees of its impotent irrelevance. As I say, that old adage about the barking dogs and the moving caravan is deeply pertinent to our situation. If Donald Trump is at all successful in his efforts to help the country, we will look back on the behavior of the media and its enablers circa 2017 with a mixture of horror and contempt.