Archive for March 3, 2017

The Lessons of the Hamas War

March 3, 2017

The Lessons of the Hamas War, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, March 3, 2017

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Sunni regimes, led by Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Saudi regime and the United Arab Emirates, were shocked to discover that the Obama administration was siding with their enemies against them.

If Israel went into the war against Hamas thinking that the Obama administration would treat it differently than it treated the Sunni regimes, it quickly discovered that it was mistaken. From the outset of the battle between Hamas and Israel, the Obama administration supported Hamas against Israel.

America’s support for Hamas was expressed at the earliest stages of the war when then-secretary of state John Kerry demanded that Israel accept an immediate cease-fire based entirely on Hamas’s terms. This demand, in various forms, remained the administration’s position throughout the 50-day war.

Netanyahu asked Sisi for help in blunting the American campaign for Hamas. Sisi was quick to agree and brought the Saudis and the UAE into an all-but-declared operational alliance with Israel against Hamas.

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The State Comptroller’s Report on Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war with Hamas in the summer of 2014, is exceedingly detailed. The problem is that it addresses the wrong details.

Israel’s problem with Hamas wasn’t its tactics for destroying Hamas’s attack tunnels. Israel faced two challenges in its war with Hamas that summer. The first had to do with the regional and global context of the war. The second had to do with its understanding of its enemy on the ground.

War between Hamas and Israel took place as the Sunni Arab world was steeped a two-pronged existential struggle. On the one hand, Sunni regimes fought jihadist groups that emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood movement. On the other, they fought against Iran and its proxies in a bid to block Iran’s moves toward regional hegemony.

On both fronts, the Sunni regimes, led by Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Saudi regime and the United Arab Emirates, were shocked to discover that the Obama administration was siding with their enemies against them.

If Israel went into the war against Hamas thinking that the Obama administration would treat it differently than it treated the Sunni regimes, it quickly discovered that it was mistaken. From the outset of the battle between Hamas and Israel, the Obama administration supported Hamas against Israel.

America’s support for Hamas was expressed at the earliest stages of the war when then-secretary of state John Kerry demanded that Israel accept an immediate cease-fire based entirely on Hamas’s terms. This demand, in various forms, remained the administration’s position throughout the 50-day war.

Hamas’s terms were impossible for Israel. They included opening the jihadist regime’s land borders with Israel and Egypt, and providing it with open access to the sea. Hamas demanded to be reconnected to the international banking system in order to enable funds to enter Gaza freely from any spot on the globe. Hamas also demanded that Israel release its terrorists from its prisons.

If Israel had accepted any of Hamas’s cease-fire terms, its agreement would have constituted a strategic defeat for Israel and a historic victory for Hamas.

Open borders for Hamas means the free flow of armaments, recruits, trainers and money to Gaza. Were Hamas to be connected to the international banking system, the jihadist regime would have become the banking center of the global jihad.

The Obama administration’s support for Hamas was not passive.

Obama and Kerry threatened to join the Europeans in condemning Israel at the UN. Administration officials continuously railed against IDF operations in Gaza, insinuating that Israel was committing war crimes by insisting that Israel wasn’t doing enough to avoid civilian casualties.

As the war progressed, the administration’s actions against Israel became more aggressive. Washington placed a partial embargo on weapons shipments to Israel.

Then on July 23, 2014, the administration took the almost inconceivable step of having the Federal Aviation Administration ban flights of US carriers to Ben-Gurion Airport for 36 hours. The flight ban was instituted after a Hamas missile fell a mile from the airport.

The FAA did not ban flights to Pakistan or Afghanistan after jihadists on the ground successfully bombed airplanes out of the sky.

It took Sen. Ted Cruz’s threat to place a hold on all State Department appointments, and Canada’s Conservative Party government’s behind-the-scenes diplomatic revolt to get the flight ban rescinded.

The government and the IDF were shocked by the ferocity of the administration’s hostility. But to his great credit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surmounted it.

Netanyahu realized that Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood nexus of jihad and also supported by Iran. As a result the Egyptians, Saudis and UAE rightly view it as a major enemy. Indeed, Egypt was in a state of war with Hamas in 2014. Gaza serves as the logistical base of the Salafist forces warring against the Egyptian military.

Netanyahu asked Sisi for help in blunting the American campaign for Hamas. Sisi was quick to agree and brought the Saudis and the UAE into an all-but-declared operational alliance with Israel against Hamas.

Since the Egyptians were hosting the cease-fire talks, Egypt was well-positioned to blunt Obama’s demand that Israel accept Hamas’s cease-fire terms.

In a bid to undermine Egypt, Obama and Kerry colluded with Hamas’s state sponsors Turkey and Qatar to push Sisi out of the cease-fire discussions. But due to Saudi and UAE support for Sisi and Israel, the administration’s attempts to sideline the Egyptians failed.

The cease-fire terms that were adopted at the end of the war contained none of Hamas’s demands. Israel had won the diplomatic war.

It was a strange victory, however. Netanyahu was never able to let the public know what was happening.

Had he informed the public, the knowledge that the US was backing Hamas would have caused mass demoralization and panic. So Netanyahu had to fight the diplomatic fight of his life secretly.

The war on the ground was greatly influenced by the diplomatic war. But the war on the ground was first and foremost a product of the nature of Hamas and of the nature of Hamas’s relationship with the PLO.

Unfortunately, the Comptroller’s Report indicates that the IDF didn’t understand either. According to the report, in the weeks before the war began, the then-coordinator of government activities in the territories, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eitan Dangot, told the security cabinet that the humanitarian situation in Gaza was at a crisis point and that hostilities were likely to break out if Israel didn’t allow humanitarian aid into the Strip.

On Wednesday we learned that Dangot’s view continues to prevail in the army. The IDF’s intelligence chief, Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi, told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel must send humanitarian aid to Gaza to avert a war.

There is truth to the IDF’s position. Hamas did in fact go to war against Israel in the summer of 2014 because it was short on supplies.

After Sisi overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt the previous summer, he shut Egypt’s border with Gaza because Gaza was the logistical base of the insurgency against his regime. The closed border cut off Hamas’s supply train of everything from antitank missiles to cigarettes and flour.

The problem with the IDF’s view of Hamas is that providing aid to Gaza means supplying Hamas first and foremost. Every shipment into Gaza strengthens Hamas far more than it serves the needs of Gaza’s civilian population. We got a good look at Hamas’s contempt for the suffering of its people during Protective Edge.

After seeing the vast dimensions of Hamas’s tunnel infrastructure, the then-OC Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Sami Turgeman, told reporters that Hamas had diverted enough concrete to its tunnel project to build 200 kindergartens, two hospitals, 20 clinics and 20 schools.

Moreover, the civilian institutions that are supposed to be assisted by humanitarian aid all serve Hamas. During the war, three soldiers from the IDF’s Maglan unit were killed in southern Gaza when they were buried in rubble of a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic.

The soldiers were in the clinic to seal off the entry shaft of a tunnel that was located in an exam room.

Hamas had booby trapped the walls of the clinic and detonated it when the soldiers walked through the door.

All of the civilian institutions in Gaza, including those run by the UN, as well as thousands of private homes, are used by Hamas as part of its war machine against Israel.

So any discussion of whether or not to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza is not a humanitarian discussion. It is a discussion about whether or not to strengthen Hamas and reinforce its control over the population of Gaza.

This brings us to the goals of the war in Gaza in 2014. At the time, the government debated two possible endgames.

The first was supported by then-justice minister Tzipi Livni. Livni, and the Left more generally, supported using the war with Hamas as a means of unseating Hamas and restoring the PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority to power in the area.

There were four problems with this notion. First, it would require Israel to reconquer Gaza.

Second, the Obama administration would never have agreed to an Israeli conquest of Gaza.

Third, Israel doesn’t have the forces to deploy to Gaza to retake control of the area without rendering its other borders vulnerable.

The final problem with Livni’s idea is that the PLO is no better than Hamas. From the outset of the war, the PLO gave Hamas unqualified support. Fatah militias in Gaza manned the missile launchers side by side with Hamas fighters. PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas represented Hamas at the cease-fire talks in Cairo. He led the political war against Israel in the West. And he financed Hamas’s war effort. Throughout the war Abbas sent a steady stream of funds to Gaza.

If PLO forces were returned to Gaza, they would behave precisely as they behaved from 2000 until Hamas kicked them out in 2007. That is, they would have acted as Hamas’s full partners in their joint war against Israel.

The second possible endgame involved a long-term strategy of defeating Hamas through attrition. This was the goal the government ended up partially adopting. The government ordered the IDF to destroy as much of Hamas’s missile arsenal as possible and to destroy its offensive tunnels into Israel. When the goals had been achieved to the point where the cost of opposing Obama grew greater than the battle gains, Netanyahu agreed to a cease-fire.

For the attrition strategy to have succeeded, the cease-fire would have only been the first stage of a longer war. For the attrition strategy to work, Israel needed to refuse to resupply Hamas. With its missile arsenal depleted and its tunnels destroyed, had Israel maintained the ban on supplies to Gaza, the residents would have revolted and Hamas wouldn’t have had the option of deflecting their anger onto Israel by starting a new war.

The IDF unfortunately never accepted attrition as the goal. From the Comptroller’s Report and Halevi’s statement to the Knesset this week, it appears the General Staff rejected attrition because it refuses to accept either the nature of Hamas or the nature of the PLO. Immediately after the cease-fire went into force, the General Staff recommended rebuilding Gaza and allowing an almost free flow of building supplies, including concrete, into Hamas’s mini-state.

The Comptroller’s Report is notable mainly because it shows that nearly three years after Protective Edge, official Israel still doesn’t understand what happened that summer. The problem with Hamas was never tactical. It was always strategic. Israel won the diplomatic battle because it understood the correlation of its strategic interests with those of the Sunni regimes.

It lost the military battle of attrition because it permitted Hamas to resupply.

U.S. Senator Colludes With Russians to Influence Presidential Election

March 3, 2017

U.S. Senator Colludes With Russians to Influence Presidential Election, PJ MediaJ. Christian Adams, March 2, 2017

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Yes, a United States senator really did collude with the Russians to influence the outcome of a presidential election.  His name was Ted Kennedy.

While Sen. Al Franken (D-Ringling Bros.) and other Democrats have the vapors over a truthful, complete, and correct answer Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave in his confirmation hearing, it’s worth remembering the reprehensible behavior of Senator Ted Kennedy in 1984.

This reprehensible behavior didn’t involve launching an Oldsmobile Delmont 88 into a tidal channel while drunk.  This reprehensible behavior was collusion with America’s most deadly enemy in an effort to defeat Ronald Reagan’s reelection.

You won’t hear much about that from CNN and the clown from Minnesota.

To recap, from Forbes:

Picking his way through the Soviet archives that Boris Yeltsin had just thrown open, in 1991 Tim Sebastian, a reporter for the London Times, came across an arresting memorandum. Composed in 1983 by Victor Chebrikov, the top man at the KGB, the memorandum was addressed to Yuri Andropov, the top man in the entire USSR. The subject: Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. “The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.”

Among the promises Kennedy made the Soviets was he that would ensure that the television networks gave the Soviet leader primetime slots to speak directly to the American people, thus undermining Reagan’s framing of the sinister nature of the USSR.  Event then, the Democrats had the power to collude with the legacy media.  Kennedy also promised to help Andropov penetrate the American message with his Soviet agitprop.

That’s right, folks.  Even 30 years ago, Democrat senators were colluding with America’s enemies to bring down Republicans.

And no, Jeff Sessions didn’t perjure himself.  It’s not even a close call.

So now they are after Jeff Sessions instead of Ronald Reagan.   Ideological comrades throughout the Justice Department are helping out this time.  Just before Trump’s inauguration, the Obamites widely distributed intelligence information throughout the Department of Justice, where their political comrades could be counted on to leak the information after January 20.

This is a problem that will plague President Trump and General Sessions until they drain the swamp at the Justice Department — something that isn’t even close to getting started.  Ideological leftists throughout the DOJ are serving as agents of the Obama regime and undermining the new administration.

For example, even now, the front office at the Civil Rights Division is largely made up of Obama holdovers and “permanent career political” appointees.  The Obamaites expanded the number of deputy assistant attorney general slots throughout the Department of Justice and populated them with the most reliably radical people.  They also appointed swarms of radicals into political offices on January 18 to “assist” the transition.  They, too, are still there watching, observing, and probably “reporting.”

Nobody thinks the noise about Jeff Sessions is a substantive issue. Eric Holder was found in criminal contempt of Congress and there wasn’t a fraction of the sanctimonious outrage from Democrats and CNN like we see today.

Today’s Justice Department drama is a tactic by Democrats to personalize and polarize a target.  It is a strategy to make Jeff Sessions devote time and energy to this instead of protecting America from foreign influences and cleaning up the Justice Department from the lawless rot that Obama caused.  The Democrats prefer the lawless rot, so they want Sessions to be diverted from his job.

Of course the leaks are going to continue until the new administration has the guts to clean the place out of all the radicals that were embedded there.

Leaks are pouring out over large and small matters because so far nobody is afraid of crossing the new administration.  The attacks on Sessions started when some of his own employees decided to leak intelligence information — just like happened to General Flynn.  It will continue unless the administration realizes the media isn’t the only gang in Washington opposed to the interests of the American people.

Anti-Trump Leftist Muslim reporter arrested for Jewish Center bomb threats blamed on Trump supporters

March 3, 2017

Anti-Trump Leftist Muslim reporter arrested for Jewish Center bomb threats blamed on Trump supporters, Jihad Watch

Dozens of Jewish Community Center bomb threats have occurred throughout the country since President Donald Trump’s election, and liberal groups and politicians have attacked Trump for them. The president condemned the threats during his address to Congress, but he reportedly said earlier that day, “sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people — or to make others — look bad.”

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So many things illustrated here: the fanatical hatred of the Left; the absolute unscrupulousness of Leftists in their quest to defame and destroy those whom they hate and fear; the Leftist/Islamic alliance; the Jew-hatred of the Left in general and of Leftist “journalists” in particular; the credulousness or willful ignorance of the establishment propaganda media; and the fact that the Left will stop at absolutely nothing in its quest to destroy free societies. Juan M. Thompson took matters farther than his former colleagues at Glenn Greenwald’s Intercept, but he and they share the same mindset, world view, and goals.

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“Anti-Trump Communist Arrested For Jewish Community Center Bomb Threats,” by Alex Pfeiffer, Daily Caller, March 3, 2017:

A disgraced former reporter was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Friday for several bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers, Jewish schools and other Jewish organizations around the country.

Juan Thompson, 31, was arrested in St. Louis by the FBI for making at least eight bomb threats and the cyberstalking of an ex-girlfriend. Thompson was a former reporter for The Intercept, and was fired after it was discovered that he made up sources and stories, including one about Charleston shooter Dylann Roof.

The criminal complaint states that threats made to the Jewish establishments across the country by Thompson were under his name and the name of his ex-girlfriend, and occurred after the relationship ended. The threats were made by both email and phone calls.

Dozens of Jewish Community Center bomb threats have occurred throughout the country since President Donald Trump’s election, and liberal groups and politicians have attacked Trump for them. The president condemned the threats during his address to Congress, but he reportedly said earlier that day, “sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people — or to make others — look bad.”

Thompson’s Twitter account, which is referenced in the criminal complaint, espouses communist and anti-Trump beliefs. Several tweets from the Twitter account are mentioned in the criminal complaint….

Thompson also tweeted about the Jewish Community Center threats as recently as this past week. “Another week, another round of threats against Jewish ppl. In the middle of the day, you know who’s at a JCC? Kids. KIDS,” the former reporter wrote Monday.
He also tweeted, “[Trump] is not insane. That’s a slur against ppl who actually suffer w/mental health issues. He is simply a racist/sexist/capitalist monster.”

Bernie Sanders to Friedman: Should Some Israel Funds go to Gaza?

March 3, 2017

Bernie Sanders to Friedman: Should Some Israel Funds go to Gaza?, Jerusalem Post, March 2, 2017

(Why shouldn’t we give everything to the IRGC, Al Qaeda and the Taliban instead? Aren’t they our allies in fighting the non-Islamic State.– DM)

bsandersBernie Sanders speaking at an event in Phoenix, Arizona.. (photo credit:GAGE SKIDMORE)

Washington (JTA) — Sen. Bernie Sanders asked David Friedman, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Israel, whether he would back using funds earmarked for assistance to Israel to help rebuild the Gaza Strip.

Sanders in a letter he handed Friedman after they met Wednesday also asked whether he thinks the tax-exempt status of groups that fundraise for settlers should be reviewed. JTA obtained a copy of the letter on Thursday.

The questions in the letter are significant as they suggest the path forward for Israel policy among progressive Democrats.

Sanders has emerged as a de facto leader of progressives following his insurgent but unsuccessful campaign last year for the Democratic presidential nomination. In perhaps the best-received speech over the weekend at the annual conference of J Street, the liberal Middle East policy group, Sanders pushed the theme that pro-Israel Jews need not hesitate to criticize Israeli government policies.

His letter outlines three questions for Friedman: whether he supports a two-state outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the appropriateness of an ambassador having deep involvement in the settler movement as a fundraiser and advocate, as Friedman does; and regarding Israeli assistance.

Two states has long been Democratic policy and for 15 years was official U.S. policy until Trump retreated into agnosticism on the issue when he met last month with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The second two points, however, venture into areas that Democrats have yet to embrace.

“As ambassador, would you take steps to end the flow of donations to illegal settlements, perhaps by supporting the re-examination [of] their tax-exempt status?” Sanders asked.

J Street has advocated for withdrawing tax-exempt status for groups that fundraise for settlements. Other pro-Israel groups – including some of J Street’s allies on the left – oppose the position, in part because it could trigger far-reaching consequences for all nonprofits on the left and right while turning tax-exempt status into a political battlefield.

Sanders also asked Friedman whether “a portion” of the $38 billion in defense aid to Israel over the next 10 years under an agreement signed last year by former President Barack Obama “should be directed toward measures that would facilitate a much greater flow of humanitarian and reconstruction materials” to Gaza.

Aid to Israel in Congress and the pro-Israel community has been sacrosanct, and no president has seriously proposed cutting it since Gerald Ford in the mid-1970s. Subsequent presidents used short delays in delivery of assistance and the amount that the United States guarantees Israel’s loans as means of leveraging pressure on Israel, but assistance has been untouched.

Sanders cast the proposal in part as one that would help secure Gaza by stabilizing the strip. But it comes at a time that Republicans in Congress are proposing cutting assistance to the Palestinians as a means of pressuring them into direct talks with Israel and pushing the Palestinian Authority to end subsidies for the families of jailed or killed terrorists.

Friedman, a longtime lawyer to Trump, did not reply to a request for comment. His ambassadorship is controversial in Congress and in the Jewish community because of his past involvement with settlers, and because of the rhetoric he has used to describe Jews who disagree with him.

Facebook and Twitter censor Jihad Watch, block thousands from reading it

March 3, 2017

Facebook and Twitter censor Jihad Watch, block thousands from reading it, Jihad Watch

(Please see also, Facebook enables Fatah terror promotion by reopening their terror promoting page. — DM)

The facts at hand presumably speak for themselves, but a trifle more vulgarly, I suspect, than facts even usually do.

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 2, 2017: 16,683
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 2, 2017: 1,051

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 6, 2017: 12,882
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 7, 2017: 1,880

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 7, 2017: 23,783
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 7, 2017: 1,718

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 8, 2017: 18,926
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 8, 2017: 1,091

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 9, 2017: 11,914
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 9, 2017: 974

And then the very next day:

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 10, 2017: 2,923
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 10, 2017: 295

The dropoff has continued:

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 20, 2017: 3,408
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 20, 2017: 416

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, February 27, 2017: 2,369
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, February 27, 2017: 329

Referrals to Jihad Watch from Facebook, March 2, 2017: 1,645
Referrals to Jihad Watch from Twitter, March 2, 2017: 206

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Did thousands of people who used to click on Jihad Watch articles from Facebook and Twitter suddenly on February 10 lose interest? Of course not. This is what happened: Facebook and Twitter are censoring Jihad Watch as “hate speech.” Now, I do not accept and will never accept the idea that reporting on jihad activity and Sharia oppression constitutes “hate speech,” but that is, of course, the longstanding claim of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Muslim groups in the West, and has been uncritically adopted by the Left, with which Facebook and Twitter are so firmly aligned.

In reality, what constitutes “hate speech” is a subjective judgment. The label itself is a tool in the hands of the powerful, enabling them to control the discourse and silence dissenters to their agenda. That is ultimately what this is about: the purveyors of the Big Lie always have to shut down those who tell the truth, because they are aware that their whole enterprise rests on a lie and is deeply threatened by the truth. They can only put their lie across by constant repetition and relentless persecution of those who tell the truth. The truth-tellers, in contrast, need not resort to censorship against the liars, for they are confident that the truth, if given a fair hearing, will be obvious and compelling.

The good news in all this is that despite this choking-off of referrals from Facebook and Twitter, Jihad Watch’s overall readership is growing. Apparently many people who used to come here from Facebook and Twitter are finding different avenues. That is very important in general: free people must not accept this censorship, which is a desperate lashing-out of a discredited and weakening political and media elite against an inexorably growing populist revolution. If Facebook and Twitter shut out the truth, then we have to, in large numbers, shut out Facebook and Twitter. That is certainly what I am going to do: while each Jihad Watch post automatically goes up on Facebook and Twitter (for as long as that will last), I will never personally go to either one again.

And despite the ever-decreasing platform for those who dissent from the socialist, globalist, internationalist agenda of these sinister and authoritarian elites, there is every reason to be confident. They have all the money and all the power and all the platforms, and even so, Brexit was voted in, Trump was elected, and much, much more is to come. There is, after all, one weapon they do not have on their side, and that is why, for all their intermediate success, they are doomed to failure: that weapon is, of course, the truth.

“EU Reads Riot Act to Facebook, Twitter, Google Over Hate Speech (FB, GOOG),” by Rakesh Sharma, Investopedia, December 5, 2016:

The European Union has warned Facebook Inc. (FB), Twitter Inc. (TWTR), Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Google (GOOG), and Microsoft Inc. (MSFT) that they could face the prospect of hate speech laws, if they fail to clamp down on such speech on their platforms. The companies, which own or run social media platforms with member numbers that run into millions on the continent, had signed a code of conduct to take down instances of offensive and hate speech within 24 hours back in May. (See also: Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft Agree To Report Hate Speech To The EU).

According to a new report that quantifies their efforts, the tech behemoths still have some way to go. The report, which will be discussed by EU ministers this week, stated that the companies reviewed 40 percent of reported cases within the first 24 hours and 80 percent within 48 hours. Germany and France saw the highest rates that were “in excess” of 50 percent while only 4 percent and 11 percent of reported posts were removed in Italy and Austria respectively.

“If Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft want to convince me and the ministers that the non-legislative approach can work, they will have to act quickly and make a strong effort in the coming months,” Vera Jourova, EU’s justice commissioner, told FT in an interview. (See also: Facebook May Allow Third-Party Groups To Censor Content In China)….

And:

“Google Launches AI Program to Detect ‘Hate Speech,’” by Lucas Nolan, Breitbart, February 23, 2017:

Google has launched a new AI program called Perspective to detect “abusive” comments online in an effort to crack down on hate speech.

Publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Economist are testing the new software as a way of policing comments sections, according to the Financial Times.

“News organizations want to encourage engagement and discussion around their content, but find that sorting through millions of comments to find those that are trolling or abusive takes a lot of money, labour and time,” said Jared Cohen, president of Jigsaw, the Google social incubator that built the tool. “As a result, many sites have shut down comments altogether. But they tell us that isn’t the solution they want.”

Perspective is available to all publications that are currently part of Google’s Digital News Initiative, which includes The Guardian, the BBC and The Financial Times. In theory, the software could also be utilized by social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter. Twitter has recently attempted to impose stricter rules on users in an attempt to reduce supposed harassment on the platform.

CJ Adams, a product manager at Jigsaw, discussed the adaptability of their program, saying, “We are open to working with anyone from small developers to the biggest platforms on the internet. We all have a shared interest and benefit from healthy online discussions.”

Perspective is used to filter and compile comments on websites for human review. In order to learn what exactly counts as a “toxic” comment, the program studied hundreds of thousands of user comments that had been deemed unacceptable by reviewers on websites like The New York Times and Wikipedia. “All of us are familiar with increased toxicity around comments in online conversations,” said Cohen. “People are leaving conversations because of this, and we want to empower publications to get those people back.”…

Facebook enables Fatah terror promotion by reopening their terror promoting page

March 3, 2017

Facebook enables Fatah terror promotion  by reopening their terror promoting page, Palestinian Media Watch, Itamar Marcus, March 2, 2017

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pal2[Official Fatah Facebook page, April 20, 2016]

Three days ago, Facebook shut down Fatah’s terror promoting account. The Palestinian Authority protested the closure as evidence of unfair collaboration between Israel and Facebook against the Palestinians (see below). Yesterday, Facebook reinstated the account, without removing any of the terror promoting material that is regularly posted on the page by Fatah. In 2016 alone, Palestinian Media Watch documented over 130 posts glorifying individual terrorist murderers and terror attacks, and posts encouraging violence and terror.

The following are examples of the terror and murder promotion that Facebook has reopened for public viewing:

video produced by Fatah’s student movement at Birzeit University urges Palestinians to murder Israelis and seek Martyrdom by carrying out stabbing and car ramming attacks. The video shows a staged car-ramming and stabbing attack at a checkpoint near Ramallah. [Official Fatah Facebook page, April 20, 2016]

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Fatah expressed pride in the first Palestinian female suicide bomber Wafa Idris, who murdered 1 and wounded over 100 in 2002: “Her pure body exploded into pieces in the Zionists` faces” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Jan. 27, 2017]

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Fatah posted an image encouraging stabbing Jews on its Facebook page, at the beginning of the 2015-2016 terror wave. The image depicts a religious Jew screaming in pain with a knife stuck in his shoulder, accompanied by the text: “Here is Jerusalem, you crazies, beware!” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Oct. 4, 2015]

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A Fatah student movement election campaign poster showed a bloody knife shaped as the PA map of “Palestine”. Text on poster: “Plant it [the knife] in the heart of your enemy.” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Apr. 26, 2016]

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Fatah celebrated murdering 116 Israelis, when it bragged about its “10 most outstanding operations” and “10 most outstanding operations during the Intifada” in two separate posts [Official Fatah Facebook page, Dec. 16, 17, 2016]

PA accuses Facebook of bias

Before Facebook reopened Fatah’s page, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information complained that the closure was due to an “an agreement” between Facebook and Israel:

“The [PA] Ministry [of Information] emphasized in a statement… that the targeting of… Palestinian national platforms on social media constitutes blind bias in favor of the occupation and a violation of the international conventions and decisions. It also constitutes additional proof of an agreement – whose existence Facebook has been denying for a long time – between its administration and the freedom oppressing occupier (i.e., Israel).”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

Reacting to the closure of Fatah’s page, Head of Information at the Fatah Commission of Mobilization and Organization Munir Al-Jaghoub, who manages Fatah’s Facebook page, emphasized that Fatah “will establish an alternative page and new accounts,” and complained pages of “settlers” and “ISIS” have not been shut down:

“There are Facebook pages of settlers who post pictures of weapons and weapon training, and [Facebook] does not oppose them. The Facebook administration claims that it is not receiving complaints about these pages. This is in addition to the pages of ISIS, which every day post scenes of murder, slaughter, and weapons, and which have approximately a quarter of a million followers – and they are not closed or blocked… This page belongs to the [Palestinian] National Liberation Movement (i.e., Fatah), not a gang. It has had historical glory since the day of its founding.”

[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

The following are longer excerpts of the responses to Facebook’s closure of Fatah’s page:

Headline: “The [PA] Ministry of Information: Facebook’s supervision of our forums is bias in favor of the occupation”<

“The [PA] Ministry of Information said that the fact that the Facebook administration closed the Fatah Movement’s official page and the page of a private radio station constitutes blind bias in favor of the occupation, and siding with the hangman who creates terror and spreads hate through all the means and pictures day and night.<

The ministry emphasized in a statement today, Tuesday [Feb. 28, 2017], that the targeting of the media platforms and Palestinian national platforms on social media constitutes blind bias in favor of the occupation and a violation of the international conventions and decisions. It also constitutes additional proof of an agreement – whose existence Facebook has been denying for a long time – between its administration and the freedom oppressing occupier (i.e., Israel) who disdains the international conventions.

The ministry added that the Facebook administration closed the Fatah Movement’s official page and the page of a media outlet, which was a victim of ongoing incitement and acts of terror by the Israeli occupation army against its employees. This requires its administration (i.e., Facebook’s) to clarify its steps, so as not to be perceived as one that follows the path of the occupation and violates the standards of individual and public freedoms…

The ministry called on the site’s administration to take back the unfair decision, as one who spreads freedom of speech and thought and defends its platforms in the world cannot support the occupation and side with racism and dark terror that expels the people of Palestine who is thirsty for its freedom.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

Headline: “A picture of late President Arafat causes the closure of the Fatah Movement’s Facebook page”

“The ‘Facebook’ social media administration closed the Fatah Movement’s page on the site. According to the movement, the Facebook administration notified it that the reason for the closure was the posting of a picture of late President Yasser Arafat, in which he is seen holding a Kalashnikov rifle that had been in the possession of an Israeli soldier – after [the soldier] was captured in Beirut in the ’80s – and next to him [current Fatah Deputy Chairman and] leadership member Mahmoud Al-Aloul.

Head of information at the Fatah Movement Bureau (sic., Commission) of Mobilization and Organization Munir Al-Jaghoub told the [independent Palestinian] news agency Wattan: ‘The Facebook administration closed the page, which has approximately 70,000 followers, and said that the reason for the closure was that the picture contradicts Facebook’s standards.’ He added that ‘The admin pages that manage this page were blocked for a period of 30 days.’

Al-Jaghoub noted that they were warned by the Facebook administration that the page would be removed if they continued to post pictures like this, and said: ‘In the past approximately four warnings reached us before [the page] was closed today [Feb. 28, 2017].’

He responded to the closure by saying: ‘There are Facebook pages of settlers who post pictures of weapons and weapon training, and [Facebook] does not oppose them. The Facebook administration claims that it is not receiving complaints about these pages. This is in addition to the pages of ISIS, which every day post scenes of murder, slaughter, and weapons, and which have approximately a quarter of a million followers – and they are not closed or blocked.’

Al-Jaghoub continued: ‘This page belongs to the [Palestinian] National Liberation Movement (i.e., Fatah), not a gang. It has had historical glory since the day of its founding.’

He also emphasized that they will establish an alternative page and new accounts, as this is the second time that the movement’s page was closed; approximately a year and a half ago the Facebook administration closed this page when it had 200,000 followers.”
[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

EU seeks to help prosecute Marine Le Pen for… Tweeting

March 3, 2017

EU seeks to help prosecute Marine Le Pen for… Tweeting, Hot Air, Jazz Shaw, March 3, 2017

The horrible, dangerous activity which Le Pen engaged in was the tweeting of an “image of violence” last year. The picture in question was one of James Foley, the journalist who was beheaded by ISIS. 

The law in question is one which forbids the publication of violent images but this is where the true irony comes in. Le Pen was considered in violation of a rule which was designed to stop people from distributing such images as a way to recruit terrorists. She was doing precisely the opposite, drawing attention to the barbaric nature of the enemy, but now may run afoul of the law.

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Clearly French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is making all the right enemies in high places. The established political class in France clearly despises her but the European Union is now getting in on the act, no doubt because of her less than favorable opinions of the continental organization. In one of the stranger stories to come out of the French election cycle, the EU has moved to suspend Le Pen’s standard immunity from prosecution over images which she posted on her Twitter account. If that sounds to you like something out of a George Orwell novel, fasten your seat belts because it gets even more strange. (Washington Post)

On Thursday, the European Parliament voted to lift Marine Le Pen’s immunity from prosecution for tweeting violent images, a crime that in France can carry up to three years in prison.

As Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, rises in the polls ahead of France’s presidential election next month, authorities will now be able to pursue a case against her. Speaking on French television Thursday morning, she was quick to condemn her European colleagues for what she called “a political inquiry.”

Apparently in France the phrase “political inquiry” is the European equivalent to what we in the United States would call “an obvious witch hunt.”

This question of immunity is the first one to sort out because the entire concept will no doubt sound like something from an alien planet to most Americans. The European Union Parliament provides immunity to its members in matters of free speech so that they will be free to express their opinions in public debate. That sentence alone is a chilling reminder of precisely how different things are across the pond if you grew up taking American rights to freedom of speech for granted. Yes, in Europe you can frequently be prosecuted for thought crimes.

The horrible, dangerous activity which Le Pen engaged in was the tweeting of an “image of violence” last year. The picture in question was one of James Foley, the journalist who was beheaded by ISIS. Such images are no doubt disturbing to some people, in this case the Foley family in particular. After a complaint was raised by relatives, Le Pen apologized and deleted the tweet but the damage had already been done.

Keep in mind that one of Marine Le Pen’s main selling points in the election is her outrage over attacks by violent Islamic extremists and her insistence that the nation do more to protect its citizens. The law in question is one which forbids the publication of violent images but this is where the true irony comes in. Le Pen was considered in violation of a rule which was designed to stop people from distributing such images as a way to recruit terrorists. She was doing precisely the opposite, drawing attention to the barbaric nature of the enemy, but now may run afoul of the law.

It’s simply impossible to deny that this is a political hit job. By lifting Le Pen’s immunity, the European Union is paving the way for France to prosecute her over a tweet. This prosecution is taking place (assuming it happens) just as the final stages of the presidential election are kicking into high gear. You don’t need the world’s best detective to figure that one out. Of course, it would be nice to pretend that this is somehow a unique situation, but it’s obviously not. You’ll recall that Dutch candidate Geert Wilders was actually taken to trial and convicted for chanting a slogan at a political rally. Wilders did not wind up serving any time for his “crime” and the trial lead to a surge in sympathetic support for him in the polls. But it still underscores the fact that freedom of speech in Europe is largely a joke.

The thing to watch for now and over the next few weeks is whether or not Marine Le Pen receives the same sort of boost in her popularity which Wilders experienced previously. Are the French truly such a nation of sheep that they want to stand by idly and watch a presidential candidate be dragged into court over a tweet expressing a political position? If not, and if they are truly disgusted by this effort to stifle Le Pen’s opinions, there may be another upset brewing in the European electoral races.

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