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January 2017


During two intensive days of private and public sessions held at the Brookings Institution in Washington this week, focusing on the future of Israeli society, I spent considerable time with Mohammad Darawshe, director at The Center for a Shared Society at Givat Haviva, who has dedicated his life to improving Jewish-Arab relations and integrating Israeli Arabs into society.

Darawshe presented some astounding statistics that contradict the fabricated inflammatory rhetoric that we hear so often. Here are some of the facts:

• 23% of Israeli doctors are Arabs
• 46% of Israeli pharmacists are Arabs
• 28% of hi-tech students at the Technion are Arabs
• 16% of the students in all of Israeli higher education are Arabs Regarding perceptions about Israel within the Arab community (based on 2015 polling performed by Prof. Sammy Smooha, University of Haifa):
• 73% view “Israeli” as part of their identity
• 77% want to see their community fully integrated into Israeli society
• 60% are “at peace” with the reality that Israel has a Jewish majority, and 52% would actually vote in a nation referendum in favor of a constitution which declares Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, with equal rights for all minorities.

Concerning the Arabs and Knesset representation:
• 17% are against any Knesset participation
• 15% support the extremist Balad party; two-thirds support the more moderate parties within the Joint List
• 72% want to see the Arab parties in the government working to improve their quality of life
• 73% disagree with the decision by the Joint List not to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres

Peter Smith Trump’s Weaponised Narcissism

His critics, especially in the media, just can’t understand why their lies, false dossiers and pejorative dismissals of the man haven’t ruined him. The tactic helped humble George W. Bush and, locally, Tony Abbott, but this president punches back twice as hard. There’s a lesson there.
When President Trump addressed CIA agents as one of his first acts he received generous ovations. I know. I listened to them. At one point he talked about his inaugural crowd size and (accompanied by engaged laughter) the dishonest press. His critics pounced. Wailing at his temerity at being off-point and self-indulgent in front of the Memorial Wall where stars honour the CIA fallen. They had a point, but deliberately overlooked the very positive result he achieved by reassuring the intelligence community of his support. His critics are in a permanent crouching mode.

His first week was active to say the least. He signed five Executive Orders and nine Memorandums, all in keeping with his campaign promises. And he found the time in his eighteen-hour working days to give at least three sit-down interviews, to meet with major manufacturers, with union leaders and with British PM Theresa May. But, into this overwhelmingly productive week, he also injected talk not only about the crowd size at his inauguration but also about the likelihood that millions of people voted illegally robbing him of the popular vote. His critics pounced again.

And many of his supporters, how do they respond? They say he would do better to avoid queering his own pitch. They want Trump without Trump; Father Christmas without soot on the carpet. They should understand that the soot is an integral part of the territory.

Apparently, Donald Trump doesn’t like the idea of coming second in anything. He likes to tell us, in various ways, that he was right or did an excellent job. To his critics, who include most of the media, the Democrats and many Republicans, he is a narcissistic braggart. Again, they have a point. But he is a lot of other things too. And his narcissism, in my view, is an armoured shield; the key to his unique ability to withstand the dark forces which have taken over American society — its media, schools, universities and public services — as they have all Western societies.

Have you noticed when someone in the public eye is labelled pejoratively that we are meant somehow to infer that the case is closed? That there is nothing more to be said; that he or she can be filed away under whatever is the pejorative label. It is ridiculous in the general case and in Trump’s case particularly ridiculous. Here we have a unique and talented human being

I have heard him described as a loving and supportive father and as a warm, caring and humorous friend. He is obviously a very good businessman, who can come back from the brink, and reality-TV-show entertainer extraordinaire. And, so far, judging by the quality of his appointments and his resolute action, he is showing distinct promise of being a formidable political leader. It is early days of course.

But, leave all this aside, he is impervious to criticism. The nervous Nellies in his own party must be quaking in their boots. He simply does what he says he will do and says what’s on his mind. This is beyond normal behaviour among the political class. Maybe Margaret Thatcher came closest but the dark forces are stronger now than then. Conservatives in power are used to bowing and scraping before the altar of political correctness and doing their best to hide themselves from the rapacious left-driven media. Trump simply takes the fight on in a way which before him was unimaginable.

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Trump’s Exclusion of Aliens from Specific Countries Is Legal Arguments to the contrary ignore the Constitution and misstate federal law. By Andrew C. McCarthy

On Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order calling for heightened vetting of certain foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States. The order temporarily suspends entry by the nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. It is to last for 90 days, while heightened vetting procedures are developed.

The order has predictably prompted intense protest from critics of immigration restrictions (most of whom are also critics of Trump). At the New York Times, the Cato Institute’s David J. Bier claims the temporary suspension is illegal because, in his view, it flouts the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. This contention is meritless, both constitutionally and as a matter of statutory law.

Let’s start with the Constitution, which vests all executive power in the president. Under the Constitution, as Thomas Jefferson wrote shortly after its adoption, “the transaction of business with foreign nations is Executive altogether. It belongs then to the head of that department, except as to such portions of it as are specifically submitted to the Senate. Exceptions are to be construed strictly.”

The rare exceptions Jefferson had in mind, obviously, were such matters as the approval of treaties, which Article II expressly vests in the Senate. There are also other textual bases for a congressional role in foreign affairs, such as Congress’s power over international commerce, to declare war, and to establish the qualifications for the naturalization of citizens. That said, when Congress legislates in this realm, it must do so mindful of what the Supreme Court, in United States v. Curtiss-Wright (1936), famously described as “the very delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations – a power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress.”

In the international arena, then, if there is arguable conflict between a presidential policy and a congressional statute, the president’s policy will take precedence in the absence of some clear constitutional commitment of the subject matter to legislative resolution. And quite apart from the president’s presumptive supremacy in foreign affairs, we must also adhere to a settled doctrine of constitutional law: Where it is possible, congressional statutes should be construed in a manner that avoids constitutional conflicts.

With that as background, let’s consider the claimed conflict between the president’s executive order and Congress’s statute. Mr. Bier asserts that Trump may not suspend the issuance of visas to nationals of specific countries because the 1965 immigration act “banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin.” And, indeed, a section of that act, now codified in Section 1152(a) of Title 8, U.S. Code, states that (with exceptions not here relevant) “no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence” (emphasis added).

Even on its face, this provision is not as clearly in conflict with Trump’s executive order as Bier suggests. As he correctly points out, the purpose of the anti-discrimination provision (signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965) was to end the racially and ethnically discriminatory “national origins” immigration practice that was skewed in favor of Western Europe. Trump’s executive order, to the contrary, is in no way an effort to affect the racial or ethnic composition of the nation or its incoming immigrants. The directive is an effort to protect national security from a terrorist threat, which, as we shall see, Congress itself has found to have roots in specified Muslim-majority countries.

Trump’s Order on Entry into the U.S.: Implementation Problems The president would’ve been wise to give government agencies and foreigners time to prepare. By Andrew C. McCarthy

Yesterday, in explaining the lawfulness of President Trump’s executive order dealing with the entry of aliens into the United States, I opined that the question of legal authority was separate from that of policy wisdom. Whether something is good policy depends not only on whether its objectives are worthy but also on whether its implementation is sound. Poor implementation can undermine good policy objectives and create unforeseen, unnecessary legal problems.

There are three major implementation problems with the EO.

1. Lack of Notice

The overarching problem is that the Trump administration opted for immediate implementation rather than giving travelers a brief notice period (say, a week or even a few days), so that people who had done nothing wrong were sandbagged. Through no fault of their own, they were detained or denied entry and put on a plane back to the country from which they had come. This seems inexplicably unfair (and, as I’ll address in a bit, strategically foolish).

Even if you accept, as I do, that the inadequate vetting of aliens who come to our country is a serious security problem, surely the imposition of temporary restrictions (in anticipation of more refined restrictions to come) could have waited a few days. President Trump has been issuing orders since a few hours after he was sworn in; if the threat situation is such that he could afford to wait a week to issue this EO, then there’s no reason he couldn’t have waited another week to give government agencies time to prepare, and foreign travelers a chance to alter their plans.

2. Application to Lawful Permanent Resident Aliens

The second and most serious question, as David French, Dan McLaughlin, and Charlie Cooke have all discussed, is the application of the EO to green-card holders — i.e., lawful permanent resident aliens (LPRs). I agree that the EO should either have excluded them altogether or proposed a different procedure for them in the interim before the administration announced a more refined vetting plan. And, indeed, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus intimated in a Meet the Press appearance Sunday morning that the EO’s application to LPRs is being eased, if not rescinded.

Unlike some of my colleagues, I do not think there is any doubt that the order literally applies to LPRs. It states in pertinent part (italics are mine):

[P]ursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order[.]

LPRs are aliens who have immigrated to the U.S. — i.e., permanent settlers. When they travel internationally (as they are liberally permitted to do while maintaining their LPR status) and then return to the U.S., they seek an “immigrant entry” (as opposed to a “nonimmigrant entry,” which generally involves alien visitors whose presence is lawful but who do not seek to settle in the United States). The terms of the EO clearly make it applicable to entry by any immigrant alien. Consequently, it applies to LPRs who have traveled from the seven countries implicated by the suspension order.

Trump’s Order on Refugees: Mostly Right on Substance, Wrong on Rollout By The Editors NRO

On Friday, Donald Trump signed an executive order halting admission of refugees for 120 days and halting travel from seven majority-Muslim countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia — for 90 days while the federal government undertakes a review of admission procedures. He has also imposed an annual cap of 50,000 refugees. The instant backlash, which has culminated in thousands of protesters creating chaos at the nation’s airports, is the result more of knee-jerk emotion than a sober assessment of Trump’s policy.

It’s a well-documented fact that would-be terrorists are posing as refugees to obtain admission into Europe, and visa screenings have routinely failed to identify foreign nationals who later committed terrorist attacks in the United States. As the Islamic State continues its reign of terror across a large swath of the Middle East, it should be a matter of common sense that the U.S. needs to evaluate and strengthen its vetting.

Trump’s executive order is an attempt — albeit, an ill-conceived attempt in several ways, about which more momentarily — to address this problem. Rhetoric about “open arms” aside, the United States. has been modest in its approach to refugees for the past two decades. During the George W. Bush administration, the U.S. regularly admitted fewer than 50,000 refugees. Barack Obama’s tenure was little different — he increased the refugee cap to 70,000 at the beginning of his second term but normally admitted numbers on par with Bush’s — until he dramatically expanded the cap (to 110,000) for 2017. Trump’s order is, to this extent, a return to recent norms.

Similar myths have dominated the public understanding of the Syrian-refugee program. Until ratcheting up the program in 2016, the Obama administration admitted fewer than 2,000 Syrian refugees between 2011 and 2015 — this at the time that the former president was dithering over his “red line.” The 13,000 Syrian refugees admitted during 2016, pursuant to President Obama’s expansion, still constitute an infinitesimal fraction of the refugee population, which is in the several millions, of that war-torn country. Trump has suspended that program temporarily, pending review.

When that program comes back on-line, it will include a directive to prioritize Christians, Yazidis, and other persecuted religious minorities — against which the Obama administration effectively discriminated at the same time that it was declaring Christians to be victims of “genocide” at the hands of ISIS. Given the unique threats these groups face, moving them to the front of the line should be an obvious measure, and contrary to outraged claims otherwise, prioritizing religious minorities is in accordance with law; religion is already used as a criterion for evaluating refugee-status claims.

Finally, there is recent precedent for Trump’s order. In 2011, the Obama administration halted refugee-processing from Iraq for six months in order to do exactly what the Trump administration is doing now: ensure that terrorists were not exploiting the program to enter the country. No one rushed to JFK International to protest. Also, the seven countries to which the order applies are taken from Obama-era precedents.



Israeli doctors save Arab baby with serious birth defect. Ibtihaj from Arab village of Kfar Kassam was born with her intestines outside her abdomen. After birth, surgeons at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital put her organs back in place. They closed the wound with the Israeli TopClosure Tension Relief System (see here).

50 patients cured of essential tremor. (TY Karen) Haifa’s Rambam medical center has now used the non-invasive focused ultrasound brain treatment to cure 50 patients of essential tremor. This video features Haya Mandelbaum – a baker, who celebrated “getting her life back” by making Hanukkah donuts for hospital staff.

Golf event saved 16 lives. I reported previously (Jun 19) on the “Hole in One” golf event that Israeli charity Ezer Mizion uses to raise money for its bone marrow registry. Funds pay for specific genetic tests and the subsequent bone marrow donations are monitored. In 2016, 16 people were saved thanks to these donations.

Israeli tech cuts down prescription errors. (TY Nocamels.com) I reported previously (see here) about Israeli tech that prevents medical errors. Here now is an article about Israel’s Medaware that alerts doctors about mistakes when writing out prescriptions. A Harvard Medical School study proves Medaware saves lives.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/NzWTFbUdSbc?rel=0 http://www.medaware.com/

US approves media for growing stem cells. (TY Atid-EDI) The US FDA has approved the application from Israel’s Biological Industries for its NutriStem hPSC XF Medium to grow stem cells. The kibbutz-based company has over 30 years’ experience in cell culture media development and manufacturing.
http://blog.bioind.com/fda-drug-master-file-acceptance-nutristem-hpsc-xf-medium/ http://www.bioind.com/

US approves suturing system. (TY Atid-EDI) I wrote previously (Oct 10) that Israel’s Gordian Surgical had received CE (European) certification for its innovative TroClose1200 system for closing wounds after keyhole surgery. The system has now received US FDA approval and Gordian has received a $2.25 million investment.

Advanced gene editing. Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have combined two powerful research tools to advance the search for genetic breakthroughs. First, they use CRISPR gene editing to make changes to DNA molecules. Then they use single-cell genomic profiling to confirm the outcome of changes.

Detecting disease in “healthy” people. (TY Karen) Recent video by Israeli-Arab Professor Hossam Haick of Israel’s Technion who invented the Na-Nose breath test to detect diseases such as cancer.

Predictive analytics health research institute set up. Israel’s Maccabi Health Services has set up a $6 million digital health research institute. It has already developed technology for predicting colon cancer among Maccabi patients who never considered going for a scan for this purpose. And it is not stopping there.

Migraine treatment for South Korea. (TY Meron) Israel’s Redhill Biopharma and its Canadian co-development partner, IntelGenx have signed a definitive agreement with Korea’s Pharmatronic, granting an exclusive license (initially for 10 years) to market the acute migraine treatment RIZAPORT® in South Korea.

Fake Atomic Scientists for Iranian Doomsday Against Trump Blaming President Trump for their own nuclear disaster. Daniel Greenfield

The Doomsday Clock is now at two and a half minutes to midnight. That doesn’t mean that the world will be destroyed in 150 seconds. All it means is that some people who couldn’t find a better way to get on CNN will enact an ancient left-wing ritual that involves pretending to care about a fake clock.

The ritual moves a fake clock closer to midnight summoning hoarse cries of media anguish.

“Scientists: World Closer to Doomsday Than It’s Been Since the 1950s” is a typical media headline. “The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the keepers of what is called the Doomsday Clock, took a look at the state of the world today and was expected to move the clock one minute closer to ‘midnight.’”

And it’s all Trump’s fault for not believing in Global Warming. No, seriously.

According to the official statement, “Board Marks 70th Anniversary of Iconic Clock By Expressing Concern About “Unsettling” and “Ill-Considered” Statements of President Trump on Nuclear Weapons and Climate Change.”

It was either that or go out for another round of Jagerbombs while actual nuclear scientists in Iran work to build bombs that will kill millions in Tel Aviv, New York or maybe even back in Chicago.

The heavily hyped announcement of the “Doomsday Clock” being the closest to midnight since 1953 (by no coincidence whatsoever the first year of Eisenhower’s term) bombed. Or maybe it was a dud.

The rollout was introduced by Rachel Bronson, the confused executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Bronson has a degree is in political science and her social media feed is filled with childish anti-Trump rants. She is less of an “atomic scientist” than your Aunt Sally.

Rachel informed attendees that John Mecklin, the Bulletin’s editor in chief, was in the audience. “He is the one who pulled together and helped the board develop this statement that accompanied this important announcement.”

John Mecklin’s qualifications for warning that the world is about to end can be found in his past as editor of High Country and Key West. Key West is “a high-end, monthly city magazine devoted to documenting the rich, quirky stories of the Florida Keys.”

He is not an “atomic scientist”.

Three men sat at the table to the right of Rachel. There was the scowling mug of Thomas Pickering. Pickering is a Hillary pal who played a role in whitewashing her role in Benghazi, a former State Department hack with dubious business interests and Iran deal lobbyist with ties to Boeing.

Pickering is not an “atomic scientist”, but he played a role in helping terrorists go nuclear.

At the rickety table, Pickering lobbied for the Iran nuke sellout. The Bulletin had certainly come a long way from its anti-war roots to seating a Boeing man at the table to argue for Iran’s nukes.

Obama-Appointed Judge vs. Trump’s Immigration Changes George Soros groups try to block Trump’s time-limited executive order to protect U.S. security. Matthew Vadum

A day after President Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from terrorism-producing countries was signed, an Obama-appointed judge on Saturday night followed the advice of George Soros-funded groups seeking to blunt it.

It is yet another searing reminder that the Left doesn’t believe in American democracy. To the Left, elections only have consequences when their side wins. And when they lose, mobocracy, intimidation, and street violence take over. The chant “this is what democracy looks like” is the hallmark of left-wing authoritarianism.

These leftist temper tantrums are becoming a regular thing in the week-and-a-half-old Trump era. When President Trump honors a campaign promise he made to the American people, on cue the Left explodes in a fireball of anger and hatred, much of it underwritten by radical billionaire George Soros.

The Hungarian-born billionaire two dozen times over is a radical open-borders advocate committed to dissolving national boundaries. He has said Communist China’s system of government is superior to our own and that the United States is the number one obstacle to world peace. In the U.S. he has financed the violent, politically destabilizing Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movements. He also funds many of the groups that participated in the various anti-Trump women’s marches across America on Jan. 21.

Before the narrowly drawn restraining order was issued Saturday evening, near-riots broke out as leftist freak shows descended on airports across America. Demonstrators were horrified that some individuals were actually being detained at ports-of-entry as required by the president’s 100 percent legal and constitutional executive order. The left-wing hissy-fit consisted of radicals trespassing and endangering airport security by staging disruptive in-your-face protests at airports around the country.

Those who hate America have increasingly been expressing themselves politically at the nation’s airports. On Jan. 6 suspected jihadist Esteban Santiago gunned down innocent people at the baggage check at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“Islam Strengthening in Europe with the Blessing of the Church” by Giulio Meotti

There are now many Catholic commentators who are questioning the Church’s blindness about the danger Europe is facing.

“Islam has every chance massively to strengthen its presence in Europe with the blessing of the Church…. the Church is not only leading Europe to an impasse, it is also shooting itself in the foot.” — Laurent Dandrieu, cultural editor of the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles.

“It is clear that Muslims have an ultimate goal: conquering the world…Islam, through the sharia, their law…allows violence against the infidels, such as Christians….And what is the most important achievement? Rome.” — Cardinal Raymond Burke, interview, Il Giornale.

“[T]hey are not refugees, this is an invasion, they come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’, they want to take over.” — Laszlo Kiss Rigo, head of the Catholic Hungarian southern community.

François Fillon published a book entitled, Vanquishing Islamic Totalitarianism, and he rose in the polls by vowing to control Islam and immigration: “We’ve got to reduce immigration to its strict minimum,” Fillon said. “Our country is not a sum of communities, it is an identity!”

Everyone in Italy and the rest of Europe will “soon be Muslim” because of our “stupidity”, warned Monsignor Carlo Liberati, Archbishop Emeritus of Pompei. Liberati claimed that, thanks to the huge number of Muslim migrants alongside the increasing secularism of native Europeans, Islam will soon become the main religion of Europe. “All of this moral and religious decadence favours Islam”, Archbishop Liberati explained.

Décadence is also the title of a new book by the French philosopher Michel Onfray, in which he suggests that the Judeo-Christian era may have come to an end. He compares the West and Islam: “We have nihilism, they have fervor; we are exhausted, they have a great health; we have the past for us; they have the future for them”.

Turkey: The Purges Continue by Burak Bekdil

Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey’s leading journalists, was just fired from Turkey’s leading newspaper after 29 years, for writing what was taking place in Turkey for Gatestone. He is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

What makes Turkey look more like North Korea than a European democracy is the legal authorities’ reflex to launch probes into anyone accused, without evidence, of terrorist activity or insulting the president.

Philipp Schwartz was a Hungarian-born neuropathologist who worked for the Goethe University in Frankfurt for 14 years until he was fired in 1933 for being Jewish. After his — and other scholars’ — dismissal, he convinced the then decade-old modern Turkish Republic to admit persecuted German professors to positions at Turkish universities. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the secular founder of the Turkish state, enthusiastically agreed to Schwartz’s proposal. Turkey quickly admitted 150 German Jewish professors. Schwartz was appointed as director of the Department of Pathology at the University of Istanbul. More than seven decades after, a German initiative that bears Schwartz’s name is returning the favor.

In the first week of 2017, another 631 Turkish researchers and professors were dismissed from their universities, adding to thousands who were purged during the second half of 2016. Several Turkish scholars are now reversing Schwartz’s path: In the fall of 2016, the Philipp Schwartz Initiative received more applications from Turkey than war-torn Syria or any other country. Turks now account for 46% of all applicants worldwide. As the Brussels-based European affairs weekly newspaper Politico put it: “Turkey loses its brains.”

Turkey’s problem is bigger than just literally losing its brains. The country apparently is also figuratively losing its brains. News headlines are so confusing that often one cannot decide whether he is reading a real newspaper or the Turkish version of The Onion, reflecting a collective, socio-pathological frenzy — ironically Schwartz’s work of science.

An Islamist and militantly pro-Erdogan newspaper, Yeni Akit, ran the photo of what looks like a main battle tank, claiming that this weapons system had been developed by Aselsan, a state-controlled defense company, and was capable of “even stopping an atomic bomb.” Yeni Akit belongs to an “elite” group of media outlets whose editors often find a seat aboard Erdogan’s private jet when he travels abroad for state visits. What is more worrying than the absurdity of Yeni Akit’s claim is that few Turks would question the story’s authenticity.