Saturday, 3 December 2016
Trump: Ready to Lead in First Hundred Days
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by Conrad Black

The post-electoral media buzz over the president-elect is surrealistic, in that it seems to reflect the almost universal inability of the U.S. national media to grasp the fact that no one is listening to them and no one cares what they think of anything. The liberal media, the natural enemies and incredulous denigrators of the Trump campaign, have done even more savage violence to their reputation than the anti-Trump conservatives have done to theirs. (The ne plus ultra of this latter bedraggled group is poor Gabe Schoenfeld, who two months ago was soliciting my help in denouncing Donald Trump as a Nazi, but tweeted the world this week that I was just "a convicted felon." Yes, Gabe, and proud of having successfully fought the injustices of genuine American fascists – the Chicago prosecutors.)

Some of the media are focused on the supposed need for Donald Trump to divest himself of his business interests, rather than just hand control of them over to his family, because of the corrosive danger that he might speak with family members in ways that could redound unfairly to the benefit of those interests.

This is nonsense. He need not be held to a higher standard of enforced disinterest than any of his predecessors just because he is the first serious and successful businessman to be elected president. Obviously he has to avoid direct conflicts and must take effective measures to be sure that his family's interests do not benefit unfairly from insider information. Some mechanism will have to be put in place to give some assurance on these points, but it is a bit rich for the media, which were pretty quiescent with the long-running Clinton pay-to-play casino, to become so unctuous about the moral imperative of Trump putting the company he has run for more than 40 years so far out of reach that no one he ever sees or speaks with has any association with it.

Equally absurd is the continued overreaction of elements of the media to the president-elect's teaser-tweets. During the campaign, he was admonished not to allow his opponents to goad and provoke him into undignified reactions. It wasn't bad advice, but the counselors in that case should heed their own advice. Donald Trump knows perfectly well that citizenship rightfully acquired can't be revoked, and that most legally competent people have a perfect right to burn an American flag if they wish, just as they can burn a fire-log or autumn leaves. Perhaps this mad notion arises from the same neuralgic zone of his mind that inflicted on us the fatuity of the birther controversy, and that reads the National Enquirer. In some circumstances, excessively provocative or offensive displays of disrespect for national symbols can be sanctioned, though not with the draconian consequences of imprisonment and expulsion from citizenship (the punishment the Soviet Union meted out to Alexander Solzhenitsyn).

The media should by now have learned the lesson that it is a more complicated business than it thought it was to assess when Trump is serious, when he is maneuvering tactically, and when he is simply engaging in self-amusement. The country, including the press, has not seen enough of him in this new role to do any more than cautiously report facts. The impulse to lunge, as if at a beleaguered, forlorn hunchback, lingers like an addiction.

All free societies require a free press that contains important responsible elements. The United States is now almost without that, and no one but the media can rebuild the media's credibility, and they can do it only by imposing professional standards of integrity on themselves and steadily rebuilding their professional reputation from the archeological levels it has plumbed in the late election campaign.

The media seem not to have noticed that Trump is preparing a mighty policy revolution, fulfilling explicitly his reform promises that won him the nomination and the election. All of his selections to date to important positions have been impressive, though there is some legitimate concern about the conspiracy-theory vocation of Breitbart, formerly directed by counselor-designate Stephen Bannon. The initial effort to portray Bannon as an anti-Semite was a complete fiction, and his performance as campaign strategist was impressive. The new education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is a strong champion of charter schools and her appointment presages the de-emphasis of the state education systems that have almost been destroyed by the shameful antics of the teachers' unions, to which the Democratic party is bound, hand and foot.

Nominating Elaine Chao, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell's wife, as secretary of transportation seems somewhat inspired, as she will be largely responsible for implementation of Trump's New Deal like program for putting the unemployed to work repairing scandalously decayed American infrastructure. The new health and human services secretary, Tom Price, is the Congress's ranking expert for the promised radical reform of Obamacare, and Steven Mnuchin, apparently the next Treasury secretary, appears to be well qualified to carry through Trump's promised tax reforms and spending reductions. Attempts to tar him with the brush of Wall Street, 14 years after he left Goldman Sachs and moved to California and set up his own hedge fund, are piffle.

Although we are awaiting the nomination of a secretary of state, it is clear that, as promised, the mad Obama love-in with Iran is almost over, and Trump was right to warn Raúl Castro that if he doesn't do better for the people of Cuba, Trump will revisit Obama's precipitate embrace of that ghastly Stalinist dictatorship, which, in 57 oppressive years, has driven almost all of Cuba's middle class to Florida, where they greatly enriched that state, and helped deliver it to Trump on Election Day. Everyone who is on the national-security team and most of those auditioning for it look like they will help the new president enact an Eisenhower program – one in which the country has a realistic strategic interest, steers clear of needless danger, and executes theatrical shows of strength where there is no risk. (Eisenhower ended the Korean War and stayed clear of Vietnam, and the Marine landings in Lebanon and the Gilbert and Sullivan saber-rattling over Quemoy and Matsu did not cause a single American casualty.)

The emerging story is that Trump is packing his government with people admirably equipped to work closely with the Republican leadership in the Congress. (It was only nine months ago that Ms. Chao's husband was advising his congressional colleagues to be ready to "drop [Trump] like a hot rock," and two months ago that Speaker Ryan was running like a gazelle for the tall grass.) Trump has declared his intention to put through a comprehensive reform of taxes, spending, infrastructure renovation, health care, campaign financing, immigration, and trade in the first Hundred Days of his administration. The Republican leadership in Congress are working feverishly to prepare the agenda, while the Democrats debate the fate of the vaguely amiable Democratic antique, Nancy Pelosi.

It is obvious to everyone except the myopic Washington press, fumbling about like punch-drunk prizefighters too often concussed to swing at a moving target accurately, that Donald Trump is preparing to come out of the gate like a fire engine and join Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Ronald Reagan as a transformative president. Now that he is about to take the oath, apart from a few diversionary tweets, he is cranking up to do what he promised, and has been given a mandate, to do. If the outgoing president had done the same, Mrs. Clinton would be moving back into the White House.

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Posted on 12/03/2016 3:04 PM by Conrad Black
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Saturday, 3 December 2016
Taliban suspect arrested in southwest Germany
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From Deutsche Welle

German officials have detained a 20-year-old Afghan on suspicion of being a member of the Taliban. The man had fought against security forces in his home country, German prosecutors say.

German authorities identified the suspect as Hekmat T. on Friday, saying that the Afghan joined the Taliban as a teenager in 2013. He was repeatedly involved in the attacks on the Afghanistan police and security forces before traveling to Europe, Karlsruhe-based federal prosecutors said, without providing details on why he was in Germany.

The news of the arrest in the southwest German state of Rhineland-Palatinate comes only two weeks after the police in nearby Bavaria detained another young Afghan national. According to the prosecutors, the 17-year-old boy also joined the Taliban in 2013 and took part in armed clashes until 2015.

Both men are to stay in jail until their respective trials.

Last month, a powerful truck bomb also targeted the German consulate in the Mazar-i-Sharif city, killing six people and injuring over a hundred more. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack

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Posted on 12/03/2016 6:12 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 3 December 2016
Muslims win as Kidero bans beer festival in CBD at the last minute
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This headline has itself been criticised on the Nairobi News facebook page
"Ruto Zephy this reporter need to be trained on how to report issues its not about who win between Muslims and the other team its about the residents"
and comments both on the Nairobi News and another Kenyan newspaper The Star seem to favour the ban, and consider the event to be 'disrespectful' so near any place of worship. It has been suggested that Uhuru park would be a better venue; I seem to remember that Nairobi's Anglican cathedral is adjacent to the park. 

Police and city askaris were on Friday deployed to stop a beer fest that was set to kick off at 6pm next to the Jamia mosque

Governor Evans Kidero banned the Tusker Street Bash at the last minute following a protest by Muslim leaders over the beer fest that was to be held near their worship place. 

Kidero on his facebook page said, "While we respect the need for business to roll out their marketing activities, we must be conscious and not lose sight or respect for principles and beliefs of different religions". On his twitter handle, Kidero said through a hashtag 'keeping our word' that his government was committed to offering better city life to all regardless of their status.

Jamia Mosque Committee Secretary General Abdul Bary Hamid, in a protest letter, had told Dr Kidero that the noise from the street party will affect Friday prayers. In the letter seen by the Star, the committee said facilitating the promotion of alcohol right at their doorstep of the mosque was not only an anathema but a provocation to members of the Muslim community.

"We have gravelly noted that Tusker promotion event by East African Breweries is being organized right outside our mosque. It is well known that due to adverse health and social effects of alcohol consumption, strict regulations aimed at limiting the consumption of alcohol have been enacted in the country and we cannot understand why the county council is going out of its way to encourage its consumption more so at the doorsteps of a religious institution," read a letter addressed to governor Kidero.

The letter said the loud noise out of the event would interfere with prayers at the mosque.

Police deployed at the venue of the planned beer fest outside Mojo's Club ordered for the immediate dismantling of tents and sound system (below) that had been set-up to entertain revellers

Performances by musicians Khaligraph Jones and Wangeci were expected.

I don't know Swahili but the English language comments mostly support the Governer and criticise the brewery for chosing the wrong street. This is a sample.

"I am in full agreement. We do not need these so called festivals that are actually a lame excuse for debauchery."

"Medi Medi Not Muslim won......common sense prevailed, humanity and self conscious won the day."

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Posted on 12/03/2016 4:21 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 2 December 2016
Tommy Robinson visited Israel: A response to the Jewish Chronicle’s attack
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by Brian of London
 
I invited Tommy Robinson to Israel for two reasons. I wanted to show him the real boundaries of Zionism today and give him a glimpse of the almost unfathomably deep connection between Jews and Israel.
 
I achieved both on our first day, starting from the beach in Tel Aviv, swinging through Arad and driving all the way north across Judea and Samaria along the west bank of the Jordan river, passing Massada and the Qumran caves as we headed to our destination on the shores of the Kinneret.

Tommy certainly has a colourful past and it’s all explained in his book, Enemy of the State. I’ve known him years but hadn’t met him till  I arrived to pick him up from the beach in Tel Aviv where I told him and his friends to wait for me on the first morning of our trip.

Tommy learned of the amazing links between Jews and our land over the next few days. He saw Jewish and Christian history and our obvious, deep love for our land. He saw the stunning country we built out of the diseased ruin it had become under a succession of emperors, sultans, caliphs and Imperial British troops.

Since his earliest days opposing supremacist Islam on the streets of Luton, Tommy knew most of what he heard about Israel in the mainstream press was distorted. He knew how badly his own story had been twisted and could see the same being done to Israel.

We met Arabs, Jews, including an Aramaean Christian priest, IDF soldiers, Beduins, Palestinian “refugee” children, a Christian Arab exiled from Gaza and rude Jordanian guards on the Temple Mount. Tommy spoke with everyone with an open mind and heart. And we tweeted it all to his “142,000 followers”.

tommy-and-father-n_wm

Tommy with Aramaean Christian Priest, Nazareth – Photo: T.T.

When we tweeted an unplanned picture on a tank on the Golan Heights, a Muslim pressure group in the UK seriously suggested that Tommy posing in shorts and flip-flops while gingerly holding a gun, was equivalent to Jihadi John beheading journalists in Syria.

I don’t believe Marcus Dysch has met or even spoken to Tommy Robinson yet he writes with great authority that Tommy’s

‘support’ for Israel and Jews was designed simply as a provocation to British Muslims”.

What nonsense. Do you hurl this baseless accusation at Douglas Murray, Col. Richard Kemp, Pat Condell or many other non-Jews who proudly support Israel? Why not? Why do you single Tommy out? Is it his accent? Did he use the wrong fork at dinner? He didn’t go to the right college at Oxford? He didn’t go to Oxford, unless you include his speech to the Oxford Union. One can only think it is your own bigotry. You clearly have never bothered to asked Tommy why he supports Israel.

Tommy had no need of seeking out new provocations in the UK. He challenged Muslims’ reverence for some of the very questionable deeds of their prophet. That was all the “provocation” they needed: everything can be a provocaiton if they wish. The death threats and repeated attacks on his life did not stem from waving an Israeli flag. Perhaps you don’t understand that the very existence of a non-dhimmi, Jewish State of Israel, rejecting Islamic Sharia and refusing to bow before Islam is a provocation to Muslims. Non-Jews who support Israel are no such provocation.

Your timid Jewish community in Britain, which is so careful not to rock the boat or vigorously defend “settlement activites” may not “desire any links whatsoever with Robinson and his ilk”. But I can assure you that strong and proud Jews in Israel feel much the same about you and the subservient parts of UK Jewry who seem more concerned with their future peerages than the real security of Israel.

Tommy has suffered persecution at the hands of the British state that rivals stories I’ve heard from Natan Sharansky about the Soviet Union. You might not want to believe that your host nation is capable of forcing a man to plead guilty to ridiculous charges to avoid having his wife jailed, but it is.

Through my friendship with Tommy, I can reach out to his growing following. That goes beyond him, reaching the large numbers of disaffected people in the UK who voted to leave the EU and Europeans preparing to elect new leaders, as well as Americans who have sent Donald Trump to the White House.

Most of these people don’t hate Jews. It is counter productive to malign their honest fears for a future where their daughters risk being beaten for venturing outside with short sleeves. They haven’t been poisoned by the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. But if you reject them and dismiss their fears as Islamophobia or racism, you compromise the integrity of the Jewish people?—?and this is what could send some of them into the arms of the real Jew-haters and xenophobes. That is why I showed Tommy (and by extension, his followers) the boundaries of Zionism. Zionism’s physical boundaries are the borders of the State of Israel. They have nothing to do with some ridiculous conspiracy about a globalist takeover.

Tommy’s followers are people who know Islam because they live alongside it in the UK. What they see is not the ingratiating Islam you meet in your gentrified interfaith dialogue sessions. No?—?what they see every day is the Islam that beat up my gay, Guardian-reading-friend (who formed the EDL’s LGBT division) on the streets of Tower Hamlets or that drove the Luton Hebrew Congregation out of Bury Park in Luton in 2001.

Tommy was amazed (as I am too) at the level of co-existence between Arabs and Jews in Israel. I hope he saw that having our strong Jewish identity here allows us to live with Islam better. He was horrified at the manufactured conditions of poverty in the refugee camp in Bethlehem (we sneaked inside). He heard the inhabitants express their contempt for the PA fat cats who steal billions of dollars and euros in aid and keep kids living with pictures of terrorists on every corner as heroes.

Your organ’s article about Tommy constituted the worst of prejudice and even lashon hora. You presume to ascribe the very worst motives to a man you’ve never bothered to listen to.

Israel is poorly understood. Tommy has been fighting against Islamisation in the UK for so long that he always knew hatred of Israel, which often includes hatred of Jews, was a basic feature of the Islamic ideology he sees in Britain. Anti-Israel demonstrations, including expressions of support for terrorist organisations that deliberately target Israel’s Jewish citizens, are common on British streets. Expressions of support for Palestinians seem more often than not to be outright denials of Jewish Israel’s right to exist.

The Green Line doesn’t exist for Jew hating enemies of Israel: they want the entire Jewish state gone, Green Line or no. For Israelis, the Green Line is fading. It’s becoming irrelevant as we showed Tommy by driving across it too many times to count.

Tommy’s time in Israel confirmed to him that he is on the right side of a fight that will define Europe. On which side will British Jews line up? That remains to be seen.

Videos:

Why did I tour Israel with Tommy Robinson? Nov 2016

Tommy Robinson wrap up visiting Israel on beach in Tel Aviv?—?Nov 2016

This post is a response to the this article which appeared in the Jewish Chronicle on November 24th.

You can read even more here at Gates of Vienna.

First published in Times of Israel.
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Posted on 12/02/2016 10:30 AM by Brian of London
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Friday, 2 December 2016
Save Us from Social Justice - TFF Episode 54
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Janice Fiamengo explains how Canada's Social Justice Tribunals work on the principle that you can force people to respect others by punishing them over even trivial misunderstandings or honest expressions of opinion.

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Posted on 12/02/2016 10:16 AM by David Solway
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Friday, 2 December 2016
A Note on ‘Mainstream’
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and the power of definition

by James Como

Recently Senator Schumer made a threat: unless President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee was in the Mainstream, the Democrats would oppose him; this when the President-Elect was urged to name someone in the tradition of Antonin Scalia, who, apparently, was not within that magic flow. 

Notice the four assumptions contained in the threat:  that  1/ there is a mainstream,  2/ all reasonable people recognize it as such,  3/ it is more nourishing to the commonweal than any other stream, and  4/ Schumer will define it for those who do not know it.  I suggest the time is ripe for rejecting the last three, as well as the first as normally understood.

The same assumptions, with the same recommendation, apply to the mass media of communication. There are the putative mainstream media, with the Times leading the current, and the . . . the what?  Fox News?  Breitbart?  The Daily Kos?  Rush?  Politico?  Rolling Stone?  But the Times is no more mainstream than the others I’ve named, its authority stemming from its consideration as the paper of record and its editorials as dispositive.  (The Wall Street Journal has more weekday readers.)  It’s rather like Daniel Boorstin’s definition of a celebrity as someone who is famous for being well-known.

In that light, our political struggle over the past five-plus decades (certainly since Goldwater’s presidential candidacy) has been, in part, over definitions, an ongoing attempt to establish a New Normal, ‘mainstream’, debt, GDP growth, or anything else: that has certainly been Obama’s intent. Thus the image of our political spectrum has shifted Left, but the on-the-ground reality very much less so and only selectively. Thus the surprise of so many pundits, Progressives, and professors: they bought into the new image of normalcy

And why not?  It is their imagecreation by definition (which Aristotle teaches is the first of the inventional topoi. (Invention here meaning the discovery of arguments, and topoi being those lines of thought that help us to think matters through and then to communicate the results.) 

Just so does an unborn child become merely a fetus (as with any species), then “a mass of cells” (even though no one has ever asked a pregnant woman how her fetus or cells are doing), as does same-sex union become ‘marriage’, and as does the previously unknown ‘alt-Right’ (both real and repulsive) enter our lexicon without an ‘alt-Left’ when clearly there is one, in the Green Party, Black Lives Matter and other race hustlers, Paul Krugman, Senator Warren, the flag-burners and -removers, and many of those who play identity politics.

C. S. Lewis has uncle Screwtape counsel his nephew Wormwood that a good start in winning a soul for “Our Father below” is the corruption of language. I believe exactly that has happened with ‘mainstream’ (and other concepts), and too often the supposed counter-cultural media have played the same word-game. Okay, so then call and raise: after all, isn’t the discernment of a new mainstream at the core of President Obama’s recent complaint about Fox News?  That it’s everywhere?  It’s time for the image to catch up with the reality and for the new mainstream to start the defining.  

In other words, if you believe that there is a mainstream in the first place, and you have half the population with you, and you have a ready-made lexical tool, then use it: say out loud that another Antonin Scalia would be precisely ‘mainstream’. 

And keep going from there.

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Posted on 12/02/2016 8:50 AM by James Como
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Friday, 2 December 2016
What kind of culture is this?
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by Gary Fouse

This past week or so  I have watched the news reports about the fires raging in Israel with sadness and outrage. These are not accidental fires rather cases of arson. Suspects have been arrested, and it is pretty clear that these fires are the latest terror tactic of the Palestinians. Indeed, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are celebrating in their usual style. They heartily approve of these outrages.

Just as they heartily approve of other acts of terror against innocent Israeli citizens-not to mention acts of terror against the US, such as 9-11.

I am old enough to remember the late 1960s and 1970s, after the 1967 war launched against Israel by her Arab neighbors, a war won in 6 days by Israel. (To be accurate, Israel launched a preemptive strike as Arab armies were gathering on her borders.) I clearly recall the skyjackings carried out by Palestinian terrorists. I also recall the 1972 Munich Olympic terror attack that wiped out the entire Israeli team. I was living in Italy in 1985 when the Achille Lauro Italian cruise ship was boarded by Palestinian killers. An elderly American Jew named Leon Klinghoffer was shot and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by those savages.

It was the Palestinians who gave those outrages to the world. Unlike the Israelis and Jews they sought to murder en masse, Palestinians were contributing nothing else to the world in the way of inventions, arts, science, music, sports, or anything else. Just murder.

But then the Palestinians gave us suicide bombings, suicide belts and blowing up buses. That was the new tactic since skyjackings had become too difficult. Long security lines at airports, which we still endure today, had cut those to a minimum (notwithstanding 9-11. That was not conducted by Palestinians; they just celebrated.). Soon, Israelis had to fear boarding buses or going to a simple pizza parlor lest some Palestinian walk in with a bomb strapped against his or her waist. Mothers were now raising their children to be suicide bombers.

Naturally, the Israelis had an answer to that. They built a wall, not to keep their own citizens trapped inside a'la the Berlin wall, but to keep murderers out and protect Israeli citizens. It has been pretty effective. Yet, US college campuses have wailed in protest. How dare Israel hinder the travel of Palestinians? How dare they set up humiliating check points?

Of course, while all this was happening, the noble government of Gaza (otherwise known as Hamas) was periodically lobbing rockets into southern Israeli schools in places like Sderot. The Israelis responded militarily trying to attack the Hamas fighters while minimizing civilian deaths, an impossible task especially when you consider that Hamas shields their fighters by using civilians and their homes and schools from behind which they fight. Again, the world reacts in selective outrage against Israel.

Then there is the West Bank under the control of Mahmoud Abbas. This is the entity that US presidents expect Israel to negotiate a peace treaty with. All they do is educate their children that Jews are evil monsters via textbooks, music and cartoon shows that would make the old Nazi publisher and Gauleiter, Julius Streicher, and his Der Stuermer blush with envy. In addition, every once in a while, killers set forth to murder Israelis living in the disputed settlements. In one truly infamous case in 2011, two young Palestinians entered the home of the Fogel family in the settlement of Itimar and slit the throats of Ehud and Ruth Fogel and three of their children as they slept in their beds. Even their 3-month-old baby was murdered in its crib. And what was the reaction of the Palestinian population? They danced in the streets and passed out sweets-just as they did on 9-11. The killers were celebrated as heroes. What kind of culture is this?

Now the Palestinians have added a new facet to their celebrated culture: Forest fires and arson. And once again, the people cheer and celebrate the actions-not of pyromaniacs, but cold-blooded arsonists.

I am no expert on the origins and history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I am not denying that Palestinians may have some valid talking points and grievances, Yet, when they embraced terrorism as their weapon, murdering innocent Israelis, Americans and others in pursuit of their goal, they lost my sympathy a long time ago. At this point in time, they have not demonstrated to me that they are worthy of running their own country. At this point an independent Palestinian state would be nothing more that a base for terror against Israel and any country that has friendly ties with the Jewish state.

Like the United States.

That is why I take issue with the  American college students and their faculty enablers who support the Palestinian cause. They damn Israel for trying to protect itself while totally ignoring the murderous culture of the Palestinians, a murderous culture of death that seeks to eliminate every last Jew from the Holy Land.

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Posted on 12/02/2016 8:44 AM by Gary Fouse
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Friday, 2 December 2016
Four in ten British Muslims want some aspect of Sharia Law enforced in UK
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From the UK Express:
 
MORE than four in ten British Muslims want to see at least some aspects of Sharia Law in force in the UK, an opinion poll revealed last night.

Forty-three per cent of followers of the religion living in the country believed that parts of the Islamic legal system should replace British law while only 22 per cent opposed the idea.

Researchers also found "deeply worrying" levels of belief among British Muslims in conspiracy theories such as blaming the US government or “Jews" for the 9/11 terror attacks on America

The findings were revealed last night in one of the biggest surveys of opinion among Muslims ever carried out in the UK. Data from the polling firm ICM showed very similar views to the rest of the UK population on a range of key issues including the NHS, unemployment and immigration. 

 

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Posted on 12/02/2016 5:13 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 1 December 2016
Vicious Palestinian Politics
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by Michael Curtis

The mills of democratic politics in Palestinian organizations grind slowly, if they ever grind at all. This was borne out once again at the 7th General Congress of the Fatah section of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) held in Ramallah, the capital of the West Bank on November 29, 2016, the anniversary of the day in 1947 when the UN General Assembly approved the Partition of Palestine. This was the first such conference since 2009. It was attended by 1400 delegates compared with 2355 in 2009.

The main function of the Congress was to elect the leader of Fatah, the Fatah Central Commitee and the Revolutionary Council. The main event was the reelection of 81 year old Mahmoud Abbas, said to be suffering from a heart problem, and having undergone cardiac catheterization, as chairman of Fatah. The stated term of office is five years , but it is unpredictable when it will actually end. The lack of adherance to rules and time restraints by Palestinian leaders is famiiar. Mr. Abbas is presently in the twelth year of his 4 year term as president of the Palestinian Authority, and appears ready to hold the post until destiny calls.

In the Congress in Ramallah, Abbas, not unexpectedly, was elected unanimously inspite of a possible challenge from his long time rival , the 55 year old Mohammed Dahlan, former leader of Fatah in the Gaza Strip, who is in exile in Abu Dhabi. Dahlan had been minister for Palestinian security for a short time in 2003 and had organized a paramilitary force in 2007.

However, no challenge took place. Abbas has been wary of a threat to his leadership and acted ruthlessly. He thus suspended key Dahlan supporters from Fatah, reduced the PA salaries of many others,and prevented many other Dahlan supporters from attending the Fatah conference.

At the Congress there was pointless talk about the successor to Abbas when he retires Interestingly, that retirement will not be in Palestine or Jordan,  but in Qatar, where Abbas has citizenship and where his two sons, who through connections have aquired considerable wealth, have investment firms.

Abbas's bitter rival,  Dahlan has had a chequered career, personal and political. In the Karni scandal of 1997 he was accused of diverting 40%  of taxes levied in Gaza to his own personal bank .Dahan fled the West Bank in 2014 after accusing Abbas of corruption .As a result  he was sentenced in abstentia to two years in prison.

The bitter power struggle continues. In a ceremony on November 10, 2016, the 12th anniversary of Arafat's death, Abbas in his remarks implied that Dahlan was behind Arafat's death in Paris. Two days later Dahlan replied.  In his version, it was Abbas who was a suspect, because Abbas was the only one who benefited from Arafat's death.

The power struggles in Palestinian politics make the contest between Presidential candidates in American politics look likely a friendly game of chess. The organizers of the Ramallah Congress using political muscle could have given Debbie Wasserman Schultz valuable lessons in her attempts to distort the Democratic party primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton. 

The bitter rivaly between Abbas and the ambitious Dahlan is highly personal, rather than based on issues on which their opinions are largely similar. This rivalry is only part of the other divisions among Palestinians: the bitter fight between Fatah and Hamas; the rival groups with Fatah; and the feud between the PLO and other groups, the Popular Front (PFLP) and the Democratic Front (DFLP) .  

Abbas has tried to reach agreement with Hamas, partly through the agreement signed in Cairo in 2011 for a joint goverment in the West Bank and Gaza. But this has been postponed , even though Abbas met Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar in October 2016.

Supporters of all sides in Palestinian politics claim they are  following the path of Yasser Arafat. That path was a devious one, but it bears some similarity with the road taken by Abbas concerning Russia.  Arafat had emerged as a leader of Fatah (Movement for the Liberation of Palestine), formed in Kuwait in 1959, and then as chairman in 1964 of the PLO created by the Arab League aided by the Soviet Union in 1964.

There is controversy over the origin of the PLO.The most dramatic, if exaggerated, explanation comes from Ion Pacepa, a former adviser to Nicolae Ceausescu, dictator of Communist Romania, and a general in the secret police of that country,who defected to the U.S. in July 1978. Pacepa's argument is that the Soviet Union proposed the creation of the PLO and decided on the main point of appeal, the liberation struggle of the "Palestinian people."

Indeed. around this time the Soviet Union was creating "liberation fronts" throughout the Third World, especially in Bolivia and Columbia. The Soviet influence is shown in the PLO Charter created on May 28, 1964, with a preamble , "We, the Palestnian Arab people," and Article 25 which calls for the liberation of its homeland in "liberational, organizational, political, and financial matters."

The first PLO Council with 422 representtives, in which the KGB had an influnce, approved the document. The first chair, Ahmad Shukeiry, only held the position for a few months after which he was replaced by Arafat, who was dependent on the Soviet Unon for military and economic assistance.

It is unclear the exact nature of Soviet influence in the creation of the PLO, but it is more than coincidental that Abbas studied in Moscow in the early 1980s, that he got his doctorate from Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, and published in 1984 his dissertation, The Other Side: the Secret Relationship between Nazism and Zionism. Abbas told the world that the Holocaust had been exaggerated, and that "Zionism" had fabricated the myth of six million killed.

According to some documents, revealed by another Soviet defector Vasili Mitrokhin, Abbas was a KGB agent in 1983.

The Obama administration has persisted in seeing Abbas and Fatah as a possible negotiating partner for peace with Israel. President Trump can benefit from the true nature of Fatah as illustrated by the rhetotic and ruthless power politics at the Ramallah Congress.   The most devastating comments were that Abbas is a political corpse, corrupt, tyrannical , who has lost political direction. The incoming Secretary of State in the Trump administration should act accordingly.

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Posted on 12/01/2016 1:06 PM by Michael Curtis
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Thursday, 1 December 2016
George Soros, Karl Popper, and Podsnap
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

George Soros has just pledged $15 million to fight “hate crimes.” Who could object to this? Well, I could, and you could, if by “hate crimes” Soros means truthful statements about what Islamic texts — Qur’an and Hadith and Sira – contain. But those texts and teachings of Islam do represent a menace to all non-Muslims, and it would be folly not to recognize this. And I could object, and you could, if Soros means to exclude as “hate crimes” (or “hate speech” precedent to “hate crimes”) a Muslim quoting those exact same texts because, in his view, if made by a Believer, they cannot possibly be “hate speech.” For if they were, that would mean that the texts of Islam itself would have to be called into question, and that – according to the Defenders of the Faith such as George Soros – can simply never be. A Muslim reports, for example, that the Qur’an says that Muslims are the “best of peoples”(3:110) and non-Muslims the “most vile of creatures.”(98:6) This is both accurate and, for George Soros, not a “hate crime.” But when some non-Muslim reports that Muslims say that the Qur’an says that “Muslims are the best of peoples” and “non-Muslims the most vile of creatures,” George Soros and the Muslim groups he funds regard those statements as whipping up hatred against Muslims; that is, they constitute a “hate crime.” For Soros, what the Muslim quotes in such a case says hardly matters; Soros long ago made up his mind that these passages don’t matter or don’t exist or are being taken out of context or surely have to be interpreted differently, and in any case, who cares about such remarks except for those Islamophobes always trying to sow distrust and hate.

Soros has, through his Open Society Foundation, shown a deep interest in defending Muslims and in deflecting attention from Islam’s texts. His foundation has consistently given grants to organizations, such as the Muslim Advocates, that seek to water down anti-terrorist measures, and to constrain the effectiveness of domestic intelligence in monitoring likely terrorists, and has been responsible for forcing the NYPD to end some of its most effective programs, including its monitoring of mosques. After the Dec. 2, 2015 attack in San Bernardino, for example, the Open Society’s Muslim grantees did not express horror at the attack by a Muslim couple on their Infidel fellow workers, but rather, according to a hacked document, immediately “mobilized to counter anti-refugee and anti-Muslim immigration sentiment.” The policy agenda of the Open Society Foundation is to insist that the main source of “hate crimes” in the United States is a never clearly-defined “Islamophobia,” which vague term is used to describe and consign to the outer darkness all criticism of Islam, to suggest that Islam itself is always and everywhere beyond criticism, which – given the observable behavior of Muslims in the United States and all over the world – becomes more ludicrous every day. Can anyone with a straight face still maintain that all those who are made anxious, angry, fearful about Islam, because of what has happened in Paris and Nice, in Brussels and Amsterdam, in London and Madrid, in Moscow and Beslan, in Beijing and Bali, in New York and Washington and Boston, at Fort Hood and in Chattanooga and San Bernardino (you can fill up notebooks with the list of nearly 30,000 attacks by Muslim terrorists, following the texts of Islam, that have been committed since 9/11/2001) are merely hate-filled Islamophobes?

Soros has not listened to, much less heeded, the testimony of that growing number of ex-Muslims who actually grew up within Islam, and in the West found both the intellectual freedom and physical security (though that security is relative; most must live under constant guard for fear of their former coreligionists), to find their way out of Islam and have chosen to sacrifice their safety in order to alert the non-Muslim world about the teachings and texts of Islam. These ex-Muslims are particularly worrisome because they are thoroughly versed in what Islam teaches, cannot be bullied into backing down by claims they “don’t know what they are talking about,” and offer from the inside an authentic view of Islam and of Muslims, which may be unflattering, but also happens to be true. If Soros were truly interested in “reforming” Islam – assuming that such a difficult and doubtful undertaking might improve matters – then surely one would want to publicize and to promote Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, Nonie Darwish, Ibn Warraq, Magdi Allam and others like them. Soros has never been interested sin these witnesses; for him there are only victimized Muslims and Islamophobes. Yet these ex-Muslims are as valuable now as, decades ago, were defectors from the K.G.B. who alerted the West to the full menace of Soviet Communism.

When Ayaan Hirsi Ali, for example, writes that on September 11, 2001 she was horrified by the news of the attack on the World Trade Center, but not at all surprised, because she knew from her own Muslim upbringing of the intense hatred of Infidels to be found in Islam, does Hirsi Ali’s remark constitute “hate speech”? When Wafa Sultan or Nonie Darwish or Magdi Allam describe in similar terms the passages of murderous hatred toward non-Muslims to be found in the Qur’an and Hadith, and that they were constantly subjected to when they grew up in Muslim environments in Syria and Egypt, shouldn’t George Soros want to support them in their commitment to warning the West? Soros has taken his stand: he will do nothing to encourage the truthful study of Islamic texts, and will instead do everything he can to avoid having the American public be made aware of, for example, this telling — if oft-repeated — list of Qur’anic passages pertaining to Infidels:

Qur’an 2:191 “Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them”
Qur’an 3:21 “Muslims must not take the infidels as friends”
Qur’an 5:33 “Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam”
Qur’an 8:12 “Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Koran”
Qur’an 8:60 “Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels”
Qur’an 8:65 “The unbelievers are stupid, urge all Muslims to fight them”
Qur’an 9:5 “When the opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you find them”
Quran 9:123 “Make war on the infidels living in your neighbourhood”
Qur’an 22:19 “Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water, melt their skin and bellies”
Qur’an 47:4 “Do not hanker for peace with the infidels, behead them when you catch them”

Soros does not want to acknowledge such passages. I suspect at this point nothing could induce him to read the Qur’an and Hadith. He doesn’t want to know for certain what he suspects he might find. He wants, rather, to live in a comfortable cocoon of high-minded ignorance, where he is flattered sycophantically by the recipients of his largesse, and can remain happily convinced that for some reason he can’t quite fathom, all over the world, Christians and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, atheists and agnostics, are engaged in an effort to persecute defenseless Muslims in an orgy of Islamophobia. For Soros, there is only one way to bring about the heavenly kingdom, or some reasonable facsimile thereof, which is for non-Muslims to recognize, and reject, the “climate of fear” they have created for Muslims, a fear for which there is no discernible reason. Never mind the Muslim clerics who speak openly about deliberately leaching on Infidel societies, with Muslims helping themselves to a proleptic Jizyah both from the receipt of every possible welfare-state benefit they can get, and by property crimes, also seen as a kind of Jizyah, against Infidels. Never mind the skyrocketing statistics on Muslims committing sex crimes on non-Muslims (women, men, children of both sexes). Never mind those Muslims who speak openly of how they are using demography as a weapon of Jihad – outbreeding while battening on their helpless hosts, so that with each year their percentage of the population inexorably rises.

Here is Hirsi Ali in a 2007 interview in the London Standard:

Just like Nazism started with Hitler‘s vision, the Islamic vision is a caliphate — a society ruled by Sharia law – in which women who have sex before marriage are stoned to deathhomosexuals are beaten, and apostates like me are killedSharia law is as inimical to liberal democracy as Nazism.” In this interview, she said, “Violence is inherent in Islam – it’s a destructive, nihilistic cult of death. It legitimates murder.

Islam – not “Islamism” –is a cult that you can be born into, or join, but once in you can’t get out; the punishment for apostasy is death. It is both a fanatic and a fighting faith, where Infidels are likened to animals, women and homosexuals can be beaten or killed, and those who leave the faith killed for defecting from the Army of Islam. Could George Soros allow himself to recognize the simian similarities between Islam and the Nazism from which he just barely escaped? Does George Soros think that apostates are not killed, that women are not beaten (or killed) for sex outside marriage, that homosexuals are not killed simply for being homosexuals? Does he think the murderous depiction of Infidels, and especially of Jews (for being the firmest in their opposition to Muhammad) is simply made up?

And why does Soros promote campaigns that spread false Islamophobia on social media? There is so much of this already going around, these anti-Muslim “hate crimes” designed to elicit sympathy for Muslims that turn out to be hoaxes, that Soros need hardly bother. The latest example is the story about one Abdul Aziz Usmani, a 7-year-old whose father claimed he was repeatedly beaten up by fellow students on a school bus in Cary, North Carolina, though neither the bus driver nor any of the other students noticed anything awry, and furthermore, the boy bore no signs of any injury, nor reported any attack, until his father did. Liza Luten, a spokesman for the school, told BuzzFeed news: “[The principal] interviewed seven students sitting near this child, and none of the students, nor the bus driver, witnessed any type of altercation or incident.” When [the family] originally shared the information, they didn’t share any information about religion or race, and just that their child was bullied.

The police investigated, and concluded that it was a charge without merit, one more pretend-hate crime. Robert Spencer has also noted the case in New Jersey of a Muslim who was convicted of a murder that he had tried to depict as an “Islamophobic” attack, and another in California of a man convicted of killing his wife, an attack he tried to blame on “Islamophobia.” And then there was the woman who said she was called a terrorist and her cheek slashed in Manhattan, who later admitted she made up the story. If you click on each word here — CAIR and other Muslims have on many occasions not hesitated — you will have ten more examples of claimed anti-Muslim “hate-crimes” that turned out to be hoaxes. And tomorrow, or next week, there will be still more to add to the list.

Does George Soros allow himself to know anything about this long catalogue of “hate crimes” where there was no crime, or where the crime in question was indeed committed, but by Muslims? A moment’s thought would tell him that if he really cared about the reputation of Muslims, he would want to do whatever he could to put a stop to these false reportings. For when they are finally revealed (as so many of them have been), they only earn Muslims still more suspicion and contempt. But Soros will have none of that. He prefers simply to ignore the whole lengthening list of fabricated hate crimes, and instead, dwells in a phantasmagoric world where Muslims live in constant fear of attack. Nor is there convincing evidence of such fear. Instead of cowering, Muslims appear quite aggressive throughout the Western world in pushing their own agendas: demands for prayer rooms in schools and workplaces, insistence upon wearing hijabs that violate longstanding dress codes, prayer times that interrupt the work day schedule, rewriting of history in school textbooks — wherever they sense Infidel weakness, demands are made.

George Soros seems strangely unaffected by the rise of antisemitism in Europe. Though he escaped from the Nazis by the skin of his teeth, he appears unwilling to recognize the source of the new wave of antisemitism in Europe – the burgeoning population of Muslims. One wonders if he is aware of the description of the Jews in the Qur’an as the “descendants of apes and pigs,” the people who were most firm in their opposition to Muhammad, and who even were responsible — see the Sira — for poisoning Muhammad. Here is the conclusion to a 700-page treatise, Jews in the Qur’an and the Traditions, by Grand Sheik Tantawi, Sunni Islam’s leading cleric, and the head of Al-Azhar University in Cairo:

[The] Qur’an describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah, corrupting His words by putting them in the wrong places, consuming the people’s wealth frivolously, refusal to distance themselves from the evil they do, and other ugly characteristics caused by their deep-rooted lasciviousness … only a minority of the Jews keep their word. … [A]ll Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims, the bad ones do not.

Descriptions of Jews by prominent Muslim clerics are quoted by Robert Spencer in an omnium-gatherum article on the persistence of antisemitism in Islam:

The grand sheikh of Al-Azhar, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, the most respected cleric in the world among Sunni Muslims today, has called Jews “the enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs.” Saudi sheikh Abd al-Rahman al-Sudayyis, imam of the principal mosque in the holiest city in Islam, Mecca, said in a sermon that Jews are “the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs.” Another Saudi sheikh, Ba’d bin Abdallah al-Ajameh al-Ghamidi, made the connection explicit: “The current behavior of the brothers of apes and pigs, their treachery, violation of agreements, and defiling of holy places … is connected with the deeds of their forefathers during the early period of Islam—which proves the great similarity between all the Jews living today and the Jews who lived at the dawn of Islam.

The steady rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Europe has been attributed, by European authorities, to Muslims who have taken to heart what the Qur’an and Hadith have to say about Jews. Why should we not believe that as the Muslim population grows in the United States, there will not be the same rise in hate crimes by Muslims against Jews here, too? Or should we believe, as some fondly do, that there is something unique about “American” Muslims – uniquely tolerant, as opposed to Muslims elsewhere in the world, even though all Muslims read the same Qur’an, the same Hadith, the same Sira? Doesn’t the less aggressive behavior, so far, of American Muslims reflect only the fact of lesser numbers, of their constituting 1% rather than 3% or 5% or 10% of the population?

It is too bad that George Soros, with his willingness to deploy millions to work his will, remains adamantine in his refusal to look at the evidence of Muslim “hate speech” that then gives rise to “hate crimes.” It is too bad that he has decided that it is Muslims who need to be protected from a potential wave of violence from “Islamophobes,” though there has been no such wave, not in North America, and not anywhere in the Western world. It is too bad that George Soros does not recognize that the charge of “Islamophobia” is a Muslim invention, designed to silence all criticism of Islam, and misleadingly characterizing as “irrational hatred” the criticism of Islam that is solidly based on a familiarity with the contents of the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira.

George Soros fancies himself more than merely a supremely enlightened Maecenas. He thinks of himself as a philosopher, keeper of the flame of the late Karl Popper who, like Soros, was of Jewish descent and, like Soros, escaped the Nazis in time. Popper’s most influential work for Soros was his “The Open Society and Its Enemies.” But whatever Soros learned from that work of political philosophy, he seems not to have taken to heart the single most celebrated remark of Popper, made in 1945, after the final defeat of the Nazis: “Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.” Soros may have learned, or thinks he learned, a great deal from Karl Popper,but he did not learn this. And because he is more than tolerant of the most intolerant and fanatical force now bestriding the earth, he has made himself one of the enemies of the “open society” that Popper championed.

But there is one personage whom Soros, in his willful blindness about Islam, does resemble. That is Dickens’ Mr. Podsnap:

…Mr Podsnap settled that whatever he put behind him he put out of existence. There was a dignified conclusiveness–not to add a grand convenience–in this way of getting rid of disagreeables which had done much towards establishing Mr Podsnap in his lofty place in Mr Podsnap’s satisfaction. ‘I don’t want to know about it; I don’t choose to discuss it; I don’t admit it!’ Mr Podsnap had even acquired a peculiar flourish of his right arm in often clearing the world of its most difficult problems, by sweeping them behind him (and consequently sheer away) with those words and a flushed face. For they affronted him.

“I don’t want to know about it; I don’t choose to discuss it; I don’t admit it” – that is George Soros, on Islam. He fancies himself a disciple of Karl Popper. But when it comes to “clearing the world of its most difficult problems,” he turns out to be, though he would be outraged at the suggestion, merely, and maddeningly, an avatar of Mr. Podsnap.

First published in Jihad Watch.

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Posted on 12/01/2016 10:54 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 1 December 2016
Court won't listen to Muslim woman's evidence unless she removes veil
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From The Australian and the Daily Telegraph (of Australia)

A judge has refused to hear evidence from a Muslim woman, the wife of a Islamic extremist, because she refused to remove her veil in court.

Moutia Elzahed, one of two women married to convicted criminal and Islamic extremist Hamdi Alqudsi, is suing the police alleging they punched her and called her a “bitch” during the Operation Appleby terrorism raids at her Revesby home on September 18, 2014. (and) is seeking compensation for “assault and battery, wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and intimidation”.

...NSW District Court Judge Audrey Balla would not allow her to take the stand while she was wearing her veil. But she still refused to take it off.

Ms Elzahed’s lawyer Clive Evatt argued his client was not allowed to show her face to any man outside her family for religious reasons.

Judge Balla gave Ms Elzahed the option to have the court closed while she gave evidence or to do so in another room, or via video link. Mr Evatt then argued that the options were not suitable because male legal counsels would still be able to see Ms Elzahed’s face.

Ms Elzahed also ­refused to stand for Judge Balla when the judicial officer entered and exited the court.

Ms Elzahed has accused police of punching her during the September 2014 dawn raid and

It is understood Ms Elzahed told reporters outside court that being told she couldn’t give evidence was “unfair”.

... she failed to turn up to the fourth day of the hearing this morning. Her lawyer Zali Burrows declined to say why Ms Elzahed did not appear.

She is joined in the lawsuit by her husband Hamdi Alqudsi and her sons Hamza George, 17, and Abdulla George, 17. Today, two NSW police officers who handcuffed Ms Elzahed’s teenage sons during a terrorism raid on their Sydney home have denied slamming either of the boys into a cupboard and window and calling them terrorists, a court has heard. Sen Cons Young said he only used “enough force to put the handcuffs on” one of the boys, who was struggling and resisting.

Since the raid Alqudsi has been convicted of helping seven men travel to Syria to fight with Islamist rebels in the civil war. He was jailed for eight years with a non-parole period of six years.

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Posted on 12/01/2016 5:48 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwaxe
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Thursday, 1 December 2016
'Isis fanatics planned to feed poisoned ice-cream to kindergarten kids before bombing nursery'
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Alan Hall writes in the Evening Standard:

An alleged Islamic State plot to feed poisoned ice cream to kindergarten children before detonating a bomb in their nursery car park has been revealed in Germany.

The plan reportedly came to light during hearings relating to the case of two IS fanatics accused of blowing up a Sikh temple in the industrial city of Essen during wedding celebrations.

Mohammed O., 17, one of the alleged temple bombers who carried out the assault in April which wounded four people, planned to sell the toxic ices before blowing himself up in the midst of the children.

Yusuf T., 17, was accused of being the leader of the so-called Temple bomber group. The young Salafists first allegedly formed their murder gang on Whatsapp and built bombs from ingredients ordered from online retailer Amazon.

When they were captured after the bombing a letter that Mohammed O. had written to Yusuf T. while he was in detention was intercepted by guards, a court heard. On it he posed the question: “May one kill targetted children?”

The letter allegedly went on to say: “I work as an ice cream man with my ice cream van and sell to many children.  May I, following Sharia law, use arsenic or warfarin, or better still strychnine, to kill children?”

Then the final question was put to his leader: “Can I make Istis hadi Amaliya (suicide) in the kindergarten too?”

The court was told that he also suggested in the two page letter written on A4 paper if it might also be possible to crash the van into the kindergarten. He further asked if it was permissible for him to “rape the girls of the enemies of the Prophet Muhammad,” it is claimed.

He allegedly urged Yusuf T. secretly to obtain a mobile phone so that he could make phone calls to plot the outrage. Investigators admitted at the trial in Essen that phone numbers of IS sympathisers were later found on a device owned by T.

Yusuf T’s defender Burkhard Bahri said: “My client suffered a deep impression in pre-trial detention and has renounced the Salafist scene. He wants to have nothing more to do with it and will therefore  testify fully in court.”

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Posted on 12/01/2016 5:26 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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