Archive for the ‘Donald Trump and Israel’ category

Trump’s Iran Decision Is Already Paying Off

May 15, 2018

By Brandon J. Weichert| May 14th, 2018 American Greatness

Source Link: Trump’s Iran Decision Is Already Paying Off

{Iran is no match for DJT’s four dimensional chess strategy. – LS}

The Iran deal has been killed. With it, Iran’s grand designs for regional hegemony are badly wounded.

President Trump’s decision last week to withdraw from the deal comes at a time when the Iranian economy is suffering the effects of a decades’ long decline. After the Obama Administration secured its ill-advised executive agreement with Iran over the mullahs’ nuclear weapons program, the United States gifted Tehran with with pallets of American cash and cleared the way for European multinationals to gobble up all sorts of lucrative business deals with Iranian state-owned enterprises. That breathed new life into the sclerotic theocracy.

U.S. policy until now has favored Iran, whether intentionally or not. The Iraq War of 2003 removed Iran’s chief rival in the region, allowing Tehran to expand its influence across the Middle East into the Levant and practically on to Israel’s doorstep, sowing all sorts of chaos along the way. With Obama’s legacy-seeking 2015 agreement, the pariah state suddenly had legitimacy in the international community, as well as a legal path toward acquiring nuclear weapons within the decade.

Ending the Iran deal proves that the president is committed to strengthening traditional alliances, as it shows how dangerous the Obama Administration’s feckless gambit was to begin with.

The Iran deal didn’t effect a fundamental transformation in Iran or make sane democrats out of mad mullahs. All it did was paper over the real differences between the West and Iran while giving the regime the time it needed to gather its strength, while the United States lowered its guard.

In the week since Trump made his announcement, Iran’s parliament chanted “death to America!” while incinerating an American flag, and Iran’s proxies launched 20 missiles into Israel from Syria. What’s more, the mullahs are vowing to restart their illicit nuclear program at “industrial strength”—as if they actually ever discontinued it. And they’ve reiterated their commitment promote Islamic terror groups around the world.

None of this is President Trump’s fault. The Iranians have been doing these things for decades. Now, they’ve been called out and they’re having an epic geopolitical temper tantrum.

Nevertheless, Trump’s detractors contend that his decision to withdraw from the deal undermines the United States diplomatically. They take for granted that Iran’s participation in the deal represented a legitimate pathway to peaceful integration in the global economy. Thanks to President Trump’s decision, some “experts” claim, we have now ensured that Iran will charge headlong into its destabilization strategy for the Middle East—and they will do it sooner rather than later.

Never mind that Iran never stopped backing Hezbollah in Lebanon. Never mind that Iran has been funding and arming the Islamist insurgents who regularly lob missiles from Yemen into Saudi Arabia. And never mind that Iranian armed forces—including the elite Quds Force—have operated more or less unchecked in Syria, Iraq, and western Afghanistan. Boosters of the Iran deal would ignore all of that for a worthless agreement and an illusion of “peace.”

Sometimes diplomacy works well. But diplomacy without the implicit backing of force—or, worse, mealy-mouthed diplomacy—negates any benefit a negotiated settlement may have.

This is especially true with rogue states, such as Iran and North Korea. Just days after Trump withdrew from the deal, Israel hit the bulk of known Iranian military bases in Syria. How did Iran’s ally Russia respond? By announcing its forces in the region would not interfere with Israeli military operations directed against Iranian targets in Syria.

More strangely, the religious blood feud between the Persian Shiites of Iran and the Arab Sunnis of Saudi Arabia has made the Saudis (and the other Sunni Arab states) look at Israel as a regional ally. Obama inexplicably opened the door for Iran to invade the Middle East. Trump has closed it. And, rather than the United States standing as the only force in the way of Iranian revanchism, an unlikely (and powerful) coalition of Sunni Arab states, Israel, and Russia have effectively joined with America in stuffing Iran back into its proverbial box.

None of this would have happened had the United States remained a party to Obama’s awful deal.

It is likely that tensions, as well as hostile actions involving Iran and its neighbors, will continue—and possibly intensify—over the next year. Even so, the termination of the deal will likely ensure that the Iranian threat dissipates quickly, as they are deprived of economic opportunity. Trump didn’t just kill the Iran deal. He very likely prevented the possibility of a long-term, costly nuclear confrontation between the Sunni Arabs, the United States, and Israel on one side, and Iran and Russia on the other.

A new balance of power is being rekindled that will isolate Iran, secure America’s allies, ensure America’s strategic dominance in the region, and respect Russia’s interests as well—all of which lends itself far more to regional stability and world peace than any ill-conceived giveaway to Iran could.

They just can’t help themselves: Predictably outrageous international reactions to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration

December 12, 2017

They just can’t help themselves: Predictably outrageous international reactions to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration | Anne’s Opinions, 11th December 2017

 

The Israeli flag flies over the Old City of Jerusalem

Just like the Palestinians and their supporters simply can’t help themselves but resort to violence whenever a political decision is not anti-Israel enough, similarly the UN, the EU, and many other countries, whether civilised or not, feel it incumbent upon them to condemn Israel or the US or both if an action or statement is undertaken from which Israel benefits.

The case of Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration was no exception. We could have written the script ourselves.

The UN convened an emergency discussion to “debate”, i.e. to condemn, Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital:

Washington’s move left it isolated as one after another fellow UN Security Council members — Russia, France, the UK, China, Egypt, Jordan and a host of others — condemned the announcement.

The debate unfolded at a largely symbolic emergency meeting of the council — no vote on a resolution was planned, as the US has veto power — two days after Trump reversed two decades of US policy on the holy city.

The meeting was convened by eight of the 14 non-US members of the council. It seemed a vivid show of the discord triggered by Trump’s announcement, which included plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Asked what he expected to come from the UN meeting, one diplomat said: “Nothing.” Another said the session would show US “isolation” on the issue.

That very attitude is the essence of what is wrong with the UN. They are all about empty declarations on the one hand, or about rejectionism – opposing the US and Israel almost automatically. This time it is the US in the hot seat, being isolated for its views. More often it is Israel in this position.

Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour spoke of the “global consensus” against Washington’s recognition and said Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and ultimately move the US embassy there should be reconsidered and rescinded.

Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour at the UN Security Council, December 8, 2017 (United Nations)

“There can be no just and lasting solution to the Palestine question without a just solution” to Jerusalem, he said, calling the city “the heart of Palestine.”

This is a flat-out lie. When Jerusalem was in the hands of “Palestine”, aka Jordan, during the years 1949-1967, the Jordanian Arabs (or Palestinians or whatever they want to call themselves) did absolutely zilch for Jerusalem besides emptying it of Jews in a horrific act of ethnic-cleansing never acknowledged by the world. They destroyed 58 synagogues and turned the Western Wall into a rubbish dump. They severely damaged and partially destroyed the ancient, 3,000 year old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, using some gravestones for latrines. THIS is called “being the heart of Palestine”??? I hate to think what their brain looks like. Their mendaciousness is beneath contempt.

Even before the UN debate, individual countries also chided him for his recognition of reality. Sweden led the charge with the demand for the UN debate:

Replies came thick and fast, for example:

Turkey accused Trump of “putting the region in a ring of fire”. The only “ring of fire” is the one of their own making. Again: violence is a choice. The Turks don’t HAVE to whip up their streets into a frenzy. They could also call for calm and restraint. But pigs could also fly.

Erdogan had earlier threatened to sever diplomatic ties with Israel if the president recognized Jerusalem as the capital.

To be honest I did not realise that Turkey and Israel had renewed relations at all. Would it be such a great loss if Erdogan carried through on his threat? He is forever trying to hold Israel hostage to his tantrums. Maybe it’s time to call his bluff.

Theresa May at the debate in the Commons about Trump’s declaration

Britain said Trump’s declaration was “unhelpful”. The British would know all about being unhelpful in the Middle East, particularly during the infamous White Paper years of 1939-1948 when the doors of Palestine were shut to the fleeing Jews of Europe. Prime Minister Theresa May said:

‘Our position on the status of Jerusalem has been clear and long-standing: it should be determined in negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states.

As Arlene Kushner below remarks, the two parts of the above paragraph contradict each other. Either Jerusalem’s status should be determined in negotiations, or it should ultimately be a shared capital. But there is no point in negotiations if the “ultimate” solution is pre-determined. And if if it is OK to determine that the capital should be shared, it can equally be acceptable to pre-determine that it is the Israeli capital.

France’s Emanuel Macron urged Trump to desist from his declaration – to no avail evidently.

Even the US State Department itself has not caught up with the statements of its President, and is still not listing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital!

The United States still will not formally recognize Jerusalem as being located in Israel on official documents, maps, and passports, despite President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this week that America is formally recognizing the holy city as Israel’s capital, according to State Department officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the matter.

Despite Trump’s declaration, which was formally codified on Wednesday into U.S. policy, the State Department is taking a more nuanced position on the matter, drawing some ire in Congress among pro-Israel lawmakers who accuse the State Department of undermining Trump’s efforts.

State Department officials this week had difficulty stating as fact that Jerusalem is located within Israel, instead trying to parse the issue as still subject to diplomatic negotiations.

State Department officials who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation said that while it supports Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, it is not yet at the point where it will list Jerusalem as part of Israel on passports, maps, and official documents. This means that official documents, such as passports, will not, at this point, list “Jerusalem, Israel” as a place that exists.

The State Department’s careful parsing of the issue has already drawn outrage on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers are describing this as part of an effort to undermine the Trump White House’s clear-cut declaration on the matter.

Arlene Kushner sums up the situation excellently when she writes that the world is crazy:, making note of the pretzel-logic needed to explain the EU’s position: (last emphases are mine):

But look at the line-up that includes: France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and the UK, as well as the EU, Russia, etc. etc.

Incredibly, EU foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini declared that the Trump declaration “has the potential to send us backward to even darker times than the ones we are already living in.”

….

There is an inherent lack of logic in the position routinely embraced by these nations and the EU: They insist that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is premature because this issue must be resolved via negotiations. And besides, they insist, Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state.

That is to say, they have no trouble prematurely advancing a scenario that has not been determined via negotiations, as long as it is their scenario.

Thank goodness for the breath of fresh air that is US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. She launched a blistering attack on the UN that was condemning the President, accusing it of causing more damage to Middle East peace than advancing it.

UN Watch brings us the full text of her speech:

“Thank you, Mr. President. The Jewish people are a patient people. Throughout three thousand years of civilization, foreign conquest, exile, and return, Jerusalem has remained their spiritual home. For nearly 70 years, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel, despite many attempts by others to deny that reality.

The American people are less patient. In 1948, the United States was the first nation to recognize the independent state of Israel. In 1995, the U.S. Congress declared that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel, and that the U.S. Embassy should be located in Jerusalem.

Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all agreed with that position, but they did not act. They delayed, in the hopes that a peace process would produce results – results that never came.

For 22 years, the American people have overwhelmingly supported that position, and they have waited . . . and waited. This week, President Trump finally made the decision to no longer deny the will of the American people…

Israel, like all nations, has the right to determine its capital city. Jerusalem is the home of Israel’s parliament, president, prime minister, Supreme Court, and many of its ministries.

It is simple common sense that foreign embassies be located there. In virtually every country in the world, U.S. embassies are located in the host country’s capital city. Israel should be no different.

The United States took this step in full knowledge that it will raise questions and concerns. Our actions are intended to help advance the cause of peace. We must recognize that peace is advanced, not set back, when all parties are honest with each other. Our actions reflected an honest assessment of reality.

I understand the concern members have in calling this session. Change is hard. But we should never doubt what the truth can do. We should never doubt that when we face the truth, believe in the human spirit, and encourage each other, that peace can happen.

To those who have good faith concerns about the future of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, let me again assure you that the President and this administration remain committed to the peace process.

To those who do not act in good faith – to any person, leader, country, or terrorist group that uses this week’s decision as a pretext for violence – you are only showing yourselves to be unfit partners of peace.
Finally, I will not let this moment pass without a comment about the United Nations itself. Over many years, the United Nations has outrageously been of the world’s foremost centers of hostility towards Israel.

The U.N. has done much more to damage the prospects for Middle East peace than to advance them. We will not be a party to that. The United States no longer stands by when Israel is unfairly attacked in the United Nations. And the United States will not be lectured to by countries that lack any credibility when it comes to treating both Israelis and Palestinians fairly.”

Once again, kol hakavod to Nikki Haley who is not afraid to speak truth to power and put the UN in its place. Let’s hope her words start to sink in and begin to have an effect.

Binyamin Netanyahu, on a trip to Paris, was not backwards in coming forward to counter French Prime Minister Emanuel Macron’s pleas to Trump to refrain from his declaration:

Prime Minister Netanyahu ridiculed continued opposition to President Trump’s declaration, and the ongoing refusal of most of the international community to acknowledge the reality that Jerusalem is and has been the Jewish capital city.

“There is an effort, continually, in UN forums – UNESCO, and elsewhere – to deny the millennial connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. And that’s absurd.”

“You can read it in a very fine book – it’s called the Bible,” Netanyahu said. “You can read it after the Bible. You can hear it in the history of Jewish communities throughout our diaspora – ‘Next year in Jerusalem’,” continued Netanyahu, referencing a phrase from the Passover Seder.

“Where else is the capital of Israel, but in Jerusalem? Where is our Knesset – our parliament? Where is our supreme court? The seat of our government? The Prime Minister’s Office? The President’s Office? It’s not in Beer Sheva, it’s not in Ashdod – these are wonderful cities, but its in Jerusalem.”

And there has been other positive fallout from Trump’s declaration. A few countries have expressed their interest in moving their embassies to Jerusaelm too:

The Phillipines sent a message to Israel:

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte sent a message to Israel that he wanted to move his country’s embassy to the capital, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported Wednesday.

The Czech Republic too, always a good friend of Israel, is similarly weighing up an embassy move, and Hungary joined in:

The Czech Republic and Hungary have broken ranks with the European Union on President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the EuObserver reported this week. Czech president Milos Zeman on Thursday announced: “[Trump’s decision] makes me truly happy […] We may, sooner or later, follow the United States.”

Both countries refused to endorse the EU’s statement that was going to express “serious concern” on the part of the entire organization of states. As a result, the statement was issued only by the EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

Just imagine a day in the not too distant future when it will be simply a matter of course for countries to have their embassies in Jerusalem. They should be brave like the Czechs and Phillipines, and give it a go. I’m sure the sky will not fall in.

Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration amid dire warnings of mayhem and violence

December 7, 2017

Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration amid dire warnings of mayhem and violence | Anne’s Opinions, 7th December 2017

 

US President Donald Trump holds up a signed memorandum after he delivered a statement on Jerusalem from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, DC on December 6, 2017 as US Vice President Mike Pence looks on. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

After days of speculation and rumour-mongering, Donald Trump delivered the speech of a lifetime – at least in the lifetime of the Jewish People.

I never thought he would have it in him, but I give Trump full credit. The speech was excellent. He hit all the right notes without committing any great diplomatic faux pas. He declared America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – “recognizing reality” as he accurately called it. He simply reaffirmed the blindingly obvious – that Jerusalem has always been the capital of Israel and that it’s about time America recognized that fact

He walked a diplomatic tightrope by not going into the details of exactly where the US Embassy will be located or how long it will take to get it ready. In this way he satisfied the Israelis, and if the Palestinians were so inclined, they could be satisfied too, since the issue of the Embassy was left open-ended.

He also didn’t mention the dreaded two-state solution – which by now should be recognized by all as a non-starter. He simply reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to peace and to settling the Arab-Israeli conflict, calling on all sides for restraint.

In fact the speech was startling for the lack of any great new insights. It was the very fact that every point was obvious, and has always been evident for anyone who cared to look, that was so unusual – because when it comes to Middle East Peace-processing, wishful thinking is the name of the game. This speech was almost an “Emperor has no clothes” moment, except that here Donald Trump was playing the part of the naive child who states the reality for all the world to see.

I will post below the video of Trump’s speech and the full text, but before that I just want to make a couple of points:

The Arabs, the Palestinians in particular, are threatening “days of rage” in response to Trump’s declaration. But did they ever declare “days of peace” when countless UN resolutions were passed in their favour? How about that miserable UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which declared all of Judea and Samaria as Palestinian territory, and calling all the settlements illegal, which was passed with the aid, abetting and active assistance of the United States under President Barack Obama? Did we get peace talks and normalization, or offers of land-swaps? We did not. We simply got more of the same old violence: stabbings, car-rammings, shootings and more. So please, give us Israelis one reason why we should take any more notice of these latest threats of days of rage than any other days of rage that are routinely declared on the slightest of pretexts.

The Palestinians assert that America is no longer an honest broker in the peace talks. My question is “what peace talks?”. And was America an honest broker when those UN resolutions were going your way?

Similarly with other countries who have strongly objected to Trump’s declaration. Britain’s Theresa May is going to express her concern to Trump, saying (wrongly) that Jerusalem is intended to be a shared capital between Israel and the Palestinians.

The UN, the EU and even the Pope criticized Trump for his move. All expressed their “concern for peace”. But where were they when Israel’s streets were exploding? When “lone-wolf” stabbers ran rampant. When car-rammings took place on a nearly daily basis? And all this while Jerusalem was NOT recognized as Israel’s capital, and while “peace talks” were ostensibly taking place!

So why should Israel, or Donald Trump for that matter, take the slightest notice of their ignorant opinion? Why do they think their dire warnings will resonate when they never paid more than lip service to the violence committed daily against Israeli civilians.

Where was their pressure on the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table? Where was their pressure on the Palestinians to stop the violence, stop the incitement?

Only the Trump Administration has had the courage to shake up the playing board and restate the facts as they are, rather than as anyone would wish them to be. In perfect timing, maybe not coincidentally, the Taylor Force act was just passed in Congress, targeting moneys passed from the Palestinian Authority to terrorists in payment for their terrorist acts.

None of this though is to derogate from the fact that Trump did not deny any Palestinian claims to Jerusalem, nor did he rule out the possibility of a Palestinian state. All they need to do for that is come to the table.

**********************

And now to the main event. Watch the video of Trump’s speech:

And here is the full text:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. Old challenges demand new approaches.

My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city — and so importantly — is Israel’s capital. This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.

Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the US embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.

Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.

Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.

I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long-overdue step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement.

Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.

It was 70 years ago that the United States, under President Truman, recognized the State of Israel. Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem — the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times. Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the Prime Minister and the President. It is the headquarters of many government ministries.

For decades, visiting American presidents, secretaries of state, and military leaders have met their Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem, as I did on my trip to Israel earlier this year.

Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.

Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all.

But today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.

That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners, so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.

In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear: This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.

The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement. Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides.

In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.

Above all, our greatest hope is for peace, the universal yearning in every human soul. With today’s action, I reaffirm my administration’s longstanding commitment to a future of peace and security for the region.

There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement. But we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace and a place far greater in understanding and cooperation.

This sacred city should call forth the best in humanity, lifting our sights to what it is possible; not pulling us back and down to the old fights that have become so totally predictable. Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach.

So today, we call for calm, for moderation, and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate. Our children should inherit our love, not our conflicts.

I repeat the message I delivered at the historic and extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia earlier this year: The Middle East is a region rich with culture, spirit, and history. Its people are brilliant, proud, and diverse, vibrant and strong. But the incredible future awaiting this region is held at bay by bloodshed, ignorance, and terror.

Vice President Pence will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations.

t is time for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midst. It is time for all civilized nations, and people, to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate –- not violence.

And it is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future.

So today, let us rededicate ourselves to a path of mutual understanding and respect. Let us rethink old assumptions and open our hearts and minds to possible and possibilities. And finally, I ask the leaders of the region — political and religious; Israeli and Palestinian; Jewish and Christian and Muslim — to join us in the noble quest for lasting peace.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless Israel. God bless the Palestinians. And God bless the United States. Thank you very much. Thank you.

(The proclamation is signed.)

************************

Israel expressed its gratitude to America by lighting up Jerusalem in red, white and blue:

And here is Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu giving due thanks to Donald Trump for recognizing our capital, Jerusalem:

Trump to announce recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

December 6, 2017

Trump to announce recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital | Anne’s Opinions, 6th December 2017

After holding our collective breath over the last couple of days, it emerged – without much fanfare from the American side – that Donald Trump has not quite refused to sign the waiver permitting the US to retain its embassy in Tel Aviv (the whole issue is terribly vague. Maybe the waters are being muddied on purpose) but he is going to make an announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Plus, he will be instructing the State Department to examine the practicalities of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump will announce in a speech on Wednesday that he is formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while asking the State Department to formulate a plan for moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, White House officials confirmed Tuesday evening.

The recognition of Jerusalem, widely expected to anger the Arab world and cast a shadow over US-led peace efforts, will also be accompanied by Trump committing to support a two-state solution should both Israel and the Palestinians back it, the officials said, in a likely bid by the administration to balance the announcement seen as heavily favoring Israel.

The US Consulate in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood, adjoining a possible site for the US Embassy (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

Trump’s administration is certainly a reality-based one, as opposed to the Obama administration which was based on wishful thinking at best, and on an anti-Israel bias at worst:

The White House repeatedly referred to the recognition and embassy move, which will likely take years, as “acknowledging a reality,” noting the city’s role as the seat of Israel’s government but disregarding Palestinian claims there.

“He views this as a recognition of reality, both historic reality and modern reality,” one official said.

“While President Trump recognizes that the status of Jerusalem is a highly sensitive issue, he does not think it will be resolved by ignoring the truth that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, it’s Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s residence, and as such, it is the capital of Israel,” one of the officials said.

The US now officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – and the world has gone into meltdown.

Reality-based diplomacy

US officials warned Trump not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The reason is less ideological, more capitulation to threats of violence from the Arabs:

If Trump made such a move, it could spark demonstrations or violence by Palestinians or by Muslims around the world, in part because of the sensitivity of the Jerusalem site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.

The site includes the al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, and the golden Dome of the Rock. It was also the site of an ancient Jewish temple, the holiest place in Judaism.

The Arab threats of mayhem and violence (as any good mafiosi would do) came thick and fast, with clashes expected in Judea and Samaria after Friday prayers – or incitement – in the mosques.

But best of all was Turkey’s threat to cut ties with Jerusalem (or was that a promise?):

ANKARA – President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday Turkey could go as far as breaking off diplomatic ties with Israel if the United States formally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move he said would be a “red line” for Muslims.

Erdogan is the latest in a string of regional leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Hussein to warn of negative implications of the move.

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett was quick to respond.

“Unfortunately, Erdogan does not miss an opportunity to attack Israel. Israel must advance its goals, including the recognition of United Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel,” Bennett said in a statement. “There will always be those who criticize, but at the end of the day it is better to have a united Jerusalem than Erdogan’s sympathy.”

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said that Israel “does not take directives or threats from Turkey.”

Israel is a “sovereign state, and Jerusalem is its capital,” Katz said. “There is nothing more historically just or right than to recognize Jerusalem, which has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years, as the capital of the State of Israel. The days of the Sultan and the Ottoman Empire are over.”

Caroline Glick cheekily tweeted:

The Europeans, in their own weaselly way, also warned against American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital:

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, said on Tuesday that “any action that would undermine” peace efforts to create two separate states for the Israelis and the Palestinians “must absolutely be avoided”.

Palestinian President-for-life Mahmoud Abbas is leading the Arab charge against recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital:

Trump is expected on Wednesday to declare US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to order the start of work to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, White House officials confirmed Tuesday. US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is legitimate, almost banal; the same goes for moving the embassy there. But the warnings coming from even moderate Arab states show how sensitive the Jerusalem issue is and how problematic it can be to deal with even for them.

While the embassy move is expected to take months if not years, merely the prospect of it, as well as the recognition of Jerusalem, have inspired a blizzard of warnings of possible violence in the West Bank and elsewhere.

In a series of phone calls Tuesday, Trump made clear to Arab leaders his plans to move the embassy and recognize the city as Israel’s capital. He spoke about it with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Saudi King Salman. The leaders of all of the Sunni Arab states considered to be “moderate,” even those that have covert security ties with Israel, warned of the grave consequences of the move and of an escalation in violence because of the disregard for Muslim sensitivities around the world.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco, the Arab League, and the top Islamic body al-Azhar also all emphasized that moving the embassy could have serious consequences.

Leading the chorus, rather than being led this time, is Abbas. He has spoken in recent days with every Arab and European leader he could and warned them that an action like this could lead to violence on the ground.

Should there be an actual increase in violence, it won’t stem from attacks by “lone wolves” or smaller Palestinian factions; rather, the descent into chaos will have been orchestrated from above, by the chairman himself, just like in the bad old days of Yasser Arafat.

Last July, amid the crisis over metal detectors at the Temple Mount, he made the unprecedented move of freezing security coordination with Israel, and now he is practically ordering his men to escalate violence. His Fatah faction published on Tuesday an official announcement calling for “days of rage” on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and for mass protests.

But in the end, does any of this matter in the end? Will anything change on the ground for Israel and Jerusalem? (Besides the expected Palestinian violence of course).

Kay Wilson wrote an excellent post on Facebook, succinctly summarising the issue. I wish I wrote this myself:

Times of Israel reporter Haviv Rettig Gur also sums up the issue in an eloquent nutshell:

Here is a series of tweets demonstrating the absurdity of the situation until now, and the implications of American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital:

Here is a witty but true observation about the Muslims’ attitude towards Jerusalem:

Let’s finish off on a positive note:

Thank you President Trump

 

The State Department blinks in the face of Palestinian threats

December 3, 2017

Posted under a slightly different title: The State Department reverts to form | Anne’s Opinions, 3rd December 2017

Last week we were cheering on the State Department, that bastion of anti-Israel attitudes in every American administration, for telling the PLO that their mission was to be closed due to their non-engagement in the “peace process” and for their threats to bring Israeli officials before the International Criminial Corut.

As expected the Palestinians huffed and puffed. Unfortunately they blew the State Department down (metaphorically speaking – so far)/ The State Department blinked, and gave in to the Palestinian threats. As Caroline Glick writes, the State Department dropped the ball:

in response to Tillerson’s notification, the PLO lashed out as the US. Abbas and his advisers launched an all-out assault against President Donald Trump and his team of Middle East envoys led by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and his senior negotiator Jason Greenblatt.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump

 

 

PLO-controlled media outlets published a flood of stories which trafficked in antisemitic conspiracy theories against Trump and his Jewish American advisors. The PLO media renewed its allegations that Kushner, Greenblatt and US Ambassador David Friedman are more loyal to Israel than to the US.

Abbas’s media outlets also escalated their criticism of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE for their focus on combating Iranian aggression. These regimes are selling the Palestinians down the river, the PLO outlets have proclaimed, as Abbas’s flacks have insisted that the PLO will not accept any regional peace.

Relations between Arab states and Israel, the PLO insists, cannot be fostered so long as Israel fails to capitulate to all of the PLO’s demands.

In commentary published at the Gatestone Institute website, Palestinian commentator Bassam Tawil alleges that the Palestinian rejection of the requirements of US law and its assaults against the Trump administration and Sunni Arab states may serve as a pretext for another Palestinian terror campaign against Israel, which will be justified as a response to an American-Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian plot against the Palestinians.

Given that the US is a superpower and the largest state financier of the PA, not to mention the foundation of the PLO’s claim to legitimacy on the world stage, the US might have been expected to respond harshly to the PLO’s threats and slanders. But then, that isn’t the State Department’s way of doing things with the PLO.

Saturday, The Hill online newspaper reported that the State Department had changed its mind. It is no longer interested in following the law. Instead, it has rewritten the law. Now, it’s fine for the PLO to operate in Washington while trampling US law. It just needs to pretend it isn’t doing what it is doing.

According to the State Department spokesman who revealed State’s about face to the media, the PLO mission can continue to operate, but its operations must be “related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

And if they aren’t, well, under this new interpretation of the law, the State Department can pretend it hasn’t noticed.

By empowering the PLO to continue to breach US law – with the full expectation of continuing to receive US assistance to the tune of more than $500 million a year – the US has made itself a laughingstock. Neither Hamas nor the PLO will take the US seriously. Any pressure the US attempts to apply toward the PLO to moderate its stand toward Israel will be ignored by Abbas and his cronies in the PLO and Hamas alike.

The Palestinians have taken the Trump administration’s measure. By beating a hasty retreat from its initial decision to stand with the law against the PLO, the State Department has told the PLO that the Trump administration is a paper tiger, at best.

The Trump administration will do nothing against them. Instead, in the face of this contemptuous slap in the face to the US, Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Ramallah next month and have his picture taken with Abbas the “moderate” leader and peace partner.

This then brings us to the second question of how surrendering to PLO threats will influence the US’s regional position. As Tawil reported, Al Quds, a Palestinian paper that reflects the views of Abbas and his associates, blasted the Arab League for focusing on Iran at its most recent foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo.

For more than a generation, the State Department, and through it US Middle East policy as a whole, have been captivated by the myth that nothing can happen in the Middle East without Israel first capitulating to PLO demands.

By reversing course on closing the PLO mission, and groveling to the threatening PLO, the State Department made a laughingstock of the US and President Trump. The decision to reverse course should itself be reversed, in accordance with US law and in the interest in restoring what it is still possible to restore of US credibility in the Middle East.

There is still a chance for the Untied States to recover its credibility – by moving its embassy to Jerusalem. All it needs is for Donald Trump to refuse to sign the waiver which permits the embassy to remain where it is. Will he refuse to sign and thus move the embassy at last? The media is rife with reports and rumours that Vice President Mike Pence is going to make the fateful announcement on Wednesday – but given the State Department’s record, can we actually rely on this happy event taking place? I’m not so sure. From Arutz Sheva’s account:

Will President Donald Trump fulfill his campaign promise of moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as recent reports citing unnamed administration officials claim? Or will the president settle with a symbolic move of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as other senior sources have claimed?

Last week, a number of unnamed senior US and Israeli officials were cited in reports claiming that the Trump administration is planning on finally implementing 1995 law requiring the executive branch to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.

Other reports claimed that the White House was not planning an embassy move in the near future, but was poised to declare that it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

While White House officials publicly refused to verify the claims, officials in Jerusalem have noted the timing of Vice President Mike Pence’s comments at the 70th anniversary of the United States General Assembly vote on Resolution 181, endorsing the establishment of a Jewish state.

The Palestinians, as expected, have reverted to form and are issuing threats in all directions:

Palestinian President-for-life Mahmoud Abbas has called on the leaders of eight Arab and other nations to intervene with Trump to prevent the embassy move. As with the closure of the PLO offices, the Palestinians threatened to abandon the peace process – which is surely the most cynical move ever made given that the only reason the peace process has stalled is because of the refusal of the Palestinians themselves to accept a Jewish presence anywhere in the Middle East:

Abbas “warned categorically that taking such a step would lead to the destruction of the peace process and would bring the region into an uncontrollable situation,” according to his spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

Mahmoud Abbas, President for life

On Wednesday Abbas ordered his foreign minister to demand the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation hold emergency sessions regarding the possible US measures.

On Friday, a delegation from the Palestinian Authority reportedly met with presidential adviser Jared Kushner to warn that if the White House announces the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, or if Trump makes remarks acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, this would mark the end of the peace process, according to Israeli news reports.

Any such steps “will kill the negotiations,” the PA delegation — which included Majed Faraj and Saeb Erekat, senior officials close to Abbas — told Kushner, Hadashot news reported.

Hamas is still determined to remain relevant (even while begging Fatah to take over the running of the Gaza strip), and has threatened another intifada if the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Caroline Glick had plenty to say about this as well in her article “From Amman to Jerusalem“. She starts by reminding us of a diplomatic incident that almost spiralled out of control, which King Abdullah did nothing to quell:

Five months ago, 28 year old Ziv Moyal, an Israeli security officer at Israel’s embassy in Amman, was stabbed in his apartment by a Jordanian assailant, whom he shot and killed.

Moyal also accidentally killed his Jordanian landlord, who was present on the scene.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, incited by the state-controlled media, the Jordanian public was whipped into an anti-Israel frenzy. In short order, a mob surrounded the embassy, to which Moyal and another 20 Israeli diplomats fled immediately after the shooting.

Violent demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy in Amman

For 24 hours, those Israeli diplomats, led by Ambassador Einat Schlein were besieged.

Despite the fact that they are barred from doing so under the Vienna Convention, Jordanian authorities demanded to interrogate Moyal. By refusing to enable the diplomats to safely return to Israel until Moyal submitted to questioning, they effectively held Schlein and her colleagues hostage.

Jordan is still playing its duplicitous game:

But Jordan isn’t interested in ending the crisis it deliberately precipitated.

On Thursday, Reuters quoted a Jordanian diplomatic source saying that a new Israeli ambassador “will not be welcome in Jordan until a due legal process takes its course [against Moyal] and justice is served.”

So, unless Israel criminally prosecutes its diplomat who was attacked in his home by a terrorist, Jordan will continue to breach its peace treaty with Israel and bar the Israeli embassy from operating in Amman.

Jordan’s latest round of diplomatic war against Israel took place while Abdullah was in Washington on a “working visit.”

And here is where this story ties in with the State Department, the Trump administration and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital:

According to the Jordanian media – which he controls – Abdullah is devoting significant time in his meetings with senior administration and Congressional officials to attacking Israel.

Specifically, Abdullah is lobbying against President Donald Trump’s intention to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, in accordance with US law.

According the Times of Jordan, Abdullah told senior US lawmakers that “moving the embassy… could be potentially exploited by terrorists to stoke anger, frustration and desperation in order to spread their ideologies.”

Jordanian King Abdullah meets with American VP Mike Pence

During his visit, Abdullah also met with Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster.

Although Jordanian media reports of those visits did not include information regarding the possible move of the US embassy, it stands to reason that Abdullah made similar points to Pence, Tillerson and McMaster.

It can only be hoped that Abdullah’s warnings were rebuked by his American interlocutors.

Because, if terrorists are motivated to act in the wake of a US decision to move the embassy, Jordan will hold a significant share of the blame.

Glick reveals more of the nasty side of Jordanian politics, including a deep-seated antisemitism (stoked by the media with the encouragement of the elites), which can clearly be seen in the following story:

Last March, for instance, Abdullah rejected the US’s extradition request for Hamas terrorist and mass murderer Ahlam Tamimi, the mastermind of the 2001 Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem.

Fifteen people, including eight children were murdered in the attack. Tamimi selected the Sbarro pizzeria as her target because of the large number of children who frequented the eatery during summer vacation.

She was sentenced to 16 life-in-prison sentences, but was released in Israel’s exchange of Hamas terrorists for captive IDF sergeant Gilad Schalit in 2011. Upon her release, she moved to Amman where Abdullah gave her the red carpet treatment. In her new home, Tamimi hosts a show on Hamas’s television station. She uses her platform to incite terrorism and indoctrinate her viewers to aspire to murder Israelis, as she did.

Several of Tamimi’s victims at Sbarro were American citizens, including 15-year-old Malki Roth and 31-year-old Shoshana Judy Greenbaum.

Greenbaum was five months pregnant when her body was blown apart.

The vile terrorist Ahlam Tamimi who murdered 15 Israelis in the Sbarro bombing – publicly thanks Jordan’s judiciary and leaders for getting her off the hook with the FBI and the US Department of Justice – though the pursuit continues [Source]

By harboring Tamimi, Abdullah tells his subjects they are right to hate Israelis and to work toward Israel’s destruction.

Arnold and Frimet Roth, the parents of Malki Roth who was murdered in that terror attack, have been relentless in following Tamimi’s doings and pulling every string, contact every diplomat and politician possible, in order to have her extradited – all to no avail so far. You can follow their endeavors at their blog This Ongoing War.

Returning to Caroline Glick’s article:

This brings us to the question of Trump’s possible decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Israel’s capital.

By having his media spew a constant diet of genocidal antisemitism, Abdullah is all but guaranteeing that the terrorism he warns of will occur if Trump enforces US law and moves the embassy. So he is not speaking as a worried friend when he tells his American hosts of the dire consequences of moving the embassy. He is threatening them with an outcome for which he will have significant responsibility.

One of the reasons Abdullah feels comfortable making the argument that moving the embassy will provoke terrorism is because that is the argument that has been used successfully to block the transfer of the US embassy to Israel in the past.

But, in October, we received a clear indication that these Chicken Little warnings are untrue.

In October, Trump overruled Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Tillerson and McMaster, and chose not to tell Congress that Iran was in compliance of the nuclear deal the Iranians were breaching. Supporters of the nuclear deal in the administration and outside of it warned that such a move would have a deeply destabilizing impact on the region and endanger the US.

As the past three months have shown, those warnings were entirely wrong.

The world did not explode after Trump rejected the received wisdom of the foreign policy establishment in Washington. Instead, the US’s Sunni-Arab allies have been empowered to join forces to combat Iran. Economically and diplomatically, Iran is far more isolated globally today than it was three months ago.

… if Trump disregards Abdullah’s threats posing as warnings, and disregards the advice of Abdullah’s many friends in Washington, and moves the US embassy to Jerusalem, the sky will not fall. By recognizing the basic fact that Jerusalem is and always will be Israel’s capital, Trump will give himself the ability to develop Middle East policies that are similarly grounded in reality.

Unfortunately, the State Department did not follow through on Trump’s new strategy. They blinked in the face of Palestinian threats of violence, and retracted their threat to close down the PLO offices.

Will they blink again when it comes to moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem? I fear they will but am prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

White House “Champion” Blasts Muslims Who Talk to Any Pro-Israel Jews

December 7, 2016

White House “Champion” Blasts Muslims Who Talk to Any Pro-Israel Jews, Investigative Project on Terrorism, December 7, 2016

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Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour took to Twitter Nov. 22 with a quick, venting post: “You know what I can’t stand? Bitter people. That’s all.”

Sarsour spoke at the annual American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) conference three days later. Evidently, she can’t stand herself.

Sarsour, who describes herself as a “racial justice and civil rights activist,” lashed out at Jews who extended a hand of friendship and solidarity over concerns that increasing hostility toward Muslims in America might lead to draconian government action. And she lashed out at fellow Muslims who accepted the gesture and joined in a new inter-faith dialogue.

Why the bitterness?

The Jews at issue support the state of Israel, support its existence and its vitality. Sarsour wants none of that.

“We have limits to the type of friendships that we’re looking for right now,” Sarsour told the AMP conference, “and I want to be friends with those whom I know have been steadfast, courageous, have been standing up and protecting their own communities, those who have taken the risk to stand up and say – we are with the Palestinian people, we unequivocally support BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctioning Israel] when it comes to Palestinian human rights and have been attacked viciously by the very people who are telling you that they’re about to stand on the front line of the Muslim registry program. No thank you, sisters and brothers.”

It’s a message that fit right in at the AMP conference. AMP claims its “sole purpose is to educate the American public and media about issues related to Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage.” But in practice, the group has defended Hamas and its leaders admit they seek “to challenge the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”

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Sarsour, a media darling honored by the Obama White House as a “Champion of Change” and a high-profile surrogate for Bernie Sanders‘ failed Democratic presidential nomination campaign, seems to strike a different tone in public appearances. Her biography says she is “most known for her intersectional coalition work and building bridges across issues, racial, ethnic and faith communities.” That clearly wasn’t her intent at the AMP conference.

She acknowledges there’s a rift among Islamists about how hard a line to draw in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, yet she was intent on pouring gasoline on the fire.

The “cracks in our community” are so wide, she said, they’re visible to “right-wing Zionists, Islamophobes, white supremacists.”

“They know where we’re divided. They know that we’re segregated,” she said. “So they, we could easily be targeted when we’re a fragmented community. But if we were a strong, united, steadfast community that stood up for each other first and foremost, you’d better believe that no opposition would ever be trying to take us down, because we’d be too big, too strong and too united.”

Some of her comments likely were directed at Anti-Defamation League chief Jonathan Greenblatt. Should a Trump administration create a registry for Muslims, an idea that does not seem to be on the table, Greenblatt recently pledged that “this proud Jew will register as Muslim.”

Sarsour not only rebuked the gesture, she cast Muslims who might respond more positively as sellouts of the Palestinian cause. Cooperation and solidarity gestures should only be reserved for those who share the depth of her hatred toward Israel, she said.

“I am tired of Muslims working towards acceptance and not respect of our communities. And I’m also tired of the Muslims willing to sell Palestine just for a little acceptance and nod from the white man and white power in these United States of America,” Sarsour said.

1902Sarsour, in the red hijab, poses with others at the White House Eid celebration.

Despite this extreme stance, Sarsour is a rising star among American Islamist activists. She has been welcomed to the White House at least 10 times during President Obama’s tenure, most recently in July for a celebration of the Muslim Eid holiday. Last year, a glowing New York Times profile described her as “a Brooklyn Homegirl in a Hijab.”

“But the most apparent thing about her voice is that it is exceedingly Brooklyn,” the story said. “She says ‘swag’ instead of ‘charisma.’ (‘Mr. B. has swag …) She calls her father, a Palestinian immigrant in his 60s, ‘Pops.’ Like the actress Rosie Perez in a hijab, Ms. Sarsour has perfected her delivery of the head-swaying ‘Oh no you dih-int’ and pronounces the word ‘Latino’ like, well, a Latino.”

Sarsour also says “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” and all-but accused the CIA of faking an attempted terrorist attack.

Those statements didn’t make the Times profile. And they didn’t prompt the Obama administration to reconsider the wisdom of elevating Sarsour’s clout with repeated White House access.

In February, just over a year after terrorists massacred the staff at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, saying they “avenged the Prophet,” Sarsour told a Council on American-Islamic Affairs (CAIR) banquet in Chicago that she would not stand with the victims. The magazine was “a bigot and a racist” for publishing caricatures of Islam’s prophet Muhammad, she said. The images served to “vilify my faith, dehumanize my community [and] demoralize my prophet.”

Building off Sarsour’s rejection of anyone who breaks bread with Zionists, former AMP New York President Raja Abdulhaq defined the BDS movement – not as a tool to lead to peaceful negotiations – but as way to break Israel into total surrender.

“The rights are non-negotiable. And that’s the whole point of BDS, is that we demand, we want to apply pressure,” Abdulhaq said, “not sit down in a negotiated setting and figure out what you can give up so that I can give up something in return, because what you’re essentially doing is you’re asking the other side – give up your illegality, stop your illegality and I will give up my rights. What kind of negotiation is that? No, I demand my rights, and you stop your illegality. And that’s the whole basis of BDS.”

Among the non-negotiable “rights” Abdulhaq says AMP and the BDS movement insist upon is the so-called “right of return” for Palestinians. That would lead to a huge influx of Palestinians into Israel, swamping the country demographically and ending its existence as a Jewish homeland.

That’s just fine with conference speaker Lamis Deek, an attorney and board memberfor CAIR’s New York chapter. She repeatedly described Israelis as “serial killers” intent on ethnic cleansing.

“There is a serial killer in our home,” Deek said. “And what do you do when you are confronted with a serial killer, right? You protect yourself. You protect your family. You scream for help. And you expect that when you scream for help from a serial killer everybody is gonna come to your aid, they’re gonna come protect and defend you. Right? You don’t expect somebody to intervene on behalf of the serial killer … and say ‘the serial killer has some rights, let us tell you about the rights the serial killer has’ as he begins to kill you. Right?”

Like Sarsour, Deek expressed frustration at Muslims who accept other viewpoints.

“Nothing has set back the Palestinian movement in the U.S. more than demands by people who want to work and focus their efforts on [Washington] D.C., by their demands that we tame our demands for Palestine,” she said.

Dawud Walid, CAIR’s Michigan director, echoed the message about Muslim groups who appear too accommodating. “If these organizations claim to represent the Muslim community,” he said, “then when we see them doing things that go outside of the mainstream of the (UI word) of our community, we need to hold them accountable, and if they continue to step outside of the boundaries, then we should withdraw our support and make that very public.”

Walid has acknowledged that his employer, which works hard to project an image as a civil rights organization, really sees itself as “defenders of the Palestinian struggle.”

Deek, meanwhile, spoke of the harm done to the Palestinian cause by the U.S.-brokered Oslo Accords. While that initiative may have given Palestinians autonomy, it came at the cost of unity, she said.

It’s not clear what she means. But, since 2006, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has governed the West Bank while Hamas controls Gaza.

Oslo also made it more difficult to engage in terrorism – what Deek calls “armed resistance.”

“Now armed resistance, self-defense, has been the only direct challenge to Zionist colonial expansion. Nothing else is a direct challenge,” she told the AMP conference. “Everything else is an indirect challenge, right? Pressure – economic pressure, diplomatic pressure. So this national united Palestinian body was able – by supporting the resistance – was able to be part of directly impacting and influencing Zionist policy.”

Advocating more Palestinian violence is consistent for an AMP gathering. The organization’s message never mentions peaceful co-existence. An Investigative Project on Terrorism investigation found connections between at least five AMP officials and speakers and the defunct Hamas support network called the “Palestine Committee.”

During the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, AMP’s then-National Campus Coordinator Taher Herzallah posted images of wounded Israelis, calling them “The most beautiful site (sic) in my eyes.” He defended indiscriminate Hamas rocket fire at Israeli civilian communities as “an audible cry for help” and “an act of resistance.”

Two clear messages emerged from the AMP conference. “Resistance” is better than renouncing violence and seeking peace. All Muslims who might disagree, even if they see eye-to-eye on other issues, are no longer welcome.

These extreme stands came from speakers who enjoy prominent political profiles and high-level contacts.

Sarsour is right about one thing. There is a rift in her community. She and her AMP panelists are the ones widening it.

The golden double standard

November 23, 2016

The golden double standard, Israel Hayom, Annika Hernroth-Rothstein, November 23, 2016

Benjamin Netanyahu, red-faced and happy, sits next to Donald Trump in a gold Roman-style litter. The ancient vehicle is being carried by big-nosed Orthodox Jews, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, a voluptuous woman and a few Israeli soldiers — marked with large Israeli flags on their chests. A speech bubble comes out of Netanyahu’s mouth, saying “Finally!”

The image I just described was published in Sweden’s largest-circulation daily paper, Dagens Nyheter, as a political cartoon, commenting on Trump’s victory in the American presidential election. It’s a bizarre mishmash of people and symbols, where IDF soldiers and a robed clansman are celebrating Trump side by side, and wildly stereotypical Orthodox Jews are hanging out with a pinup girl next to Israel’s security barrier. But the logical fail not withstanding, it reeks of anti-Semitic imagery and messaging, and it is the next step in normalizing something that has been underground for quite some time. One would assume the paper would realize this and issue a thorough apology. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the paper doubled down and defended the cartoon, saying that it was merited by the fact that Netanyahu celebrated Trump’s victory, despite Trump being supported by anti-democratic forces and white power movements. No mention of the fact that Netanyahu’s support of Trump extended only to the courtesy shown to a president-elect by any and every national leader or that Jews rarely stand shoulder to shoulder with the Klan, but just that Netanyahu “celebrated” Trump — as if the Israeli prime minister had thrown Trump an opulent party.

Dagens Nyheter calls itself an independent, liberal publication, and in the past year, it has taken a clear stand against Trump, saying he has made the world more extreme and xenophobic. Editor-in-Chief Peter Wolodarski has used his editorials to ride a very high moral horse, and his decision to run that particular cartoon is a fascinating portrait of the division between the right and wrong kinds of racism and bigotry.

What the cartoonist, known as “Bard,” is saying by this crude drawing is not only that the Jews and Israel orchestrated and celebrated the Trump win but also that the evil hook-noses side with anyone to get their way, including organizations known for wanting their annihilation.

Now, for the sake of entertainment and folly, let’s imagine another drawing: a cartoonish Barack Obama sitting in a golden carriage with a sweaty Mahmoud Abbas, being carried by big-nosed ISIS terrorists, voluptuous virgin brides and members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Imagine that it was published by a country’s most popular publication and that the editor-in-chief defended it by saying that Obama had been supportive of Abbas and therefore, the imagery was fair game.

Do any of you, dear readers, think this would happen? Does anyone think that if it did, it would be go largely unnoticed and accepted? No, me neither, and I know this because we have an example of this very thing. When Charlie Hebdo was attacked and journalists were murdered in cold blood over their criticism of Islam, people still said that the portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad was inexcusable and unacceptable, and remained on the fence after the very heart of freedom had been ripped to bits. Famous writers such as Joyce Carol Oates, Junot Díaz and Michael Ondaatje protested Charlie Hebdo receiving the PEN award, and were supported by a wide array of liberals all across the globe who called the French satirical magazine racist.

So what is really fair game — what racism is allowed and celebrated in today’s society? We know that portraying Israel as the leader of a Zionist conspiracy that elects presidents is fine, as is literally painting anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews side by side with white supremacists in a dog whistle loud enough to give you tinnitus. That elicits a few angry and summarily ignored letters from Jews, whereas similar imagery and messaging about any other group might close down the publication, if it were to survive the inevitable terrorist attacks.

Some of my friends filed a complaint against Dagens Nyheter, but I didn’t bother, as it is the activist equivalent of drawing a picture of a sandwich to feed the starving. Our voices mean little when others stay silent, and it is because of this silence that the largest paper in the land can go full Der Sturmer and no one even bats an eye.