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February 2017

Lawrence Solomon: Trying to create a Palestinian state would repeat mistakes that have led to so much Mideast bloodshed

Will Palestine exist in another generation? With the Trump administration gearing up for its meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week, it’s a question worth asking. The last thing the Trump administration should want is a repeat of the mistakes the Great Powers made a century ago when they created artificial countries.

Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen and Palestine among others were all carved up out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire by the Great Powers — chiefly Britain and France — after the First World War. It was a recipe for continual strife, as peoples of different nationalities, ethnicities, cultures, religions and political traditions were forced to live together. The Great Powers created, in effect, mini multicultural, multinational states. The result was civil and sectarian discontent, and war, throughout much of the last 100 years.

We see the latest chapter of those horrors in Syria where yet another civil war has led to yet another split up. Iraq has de facto split, as has Yemen, and Lebanon, which originally was part of a multi-state Syrian federation. Jordan, whose Hashemites fought a civil war against its Palestinian Arab majority, is also tenuously held together.

The creation of a Palestinian state astride Israel — the two-state solution today’s Great Powers insist on — would have even less chance of survival than its failed neighbour states. The Arab clans of Palestine throughout the 20th century refused to accept a state of their own. Only in the 1960s did the idea of a Palestinian nation take shape when Yasser Arafat created the concept of an Arabic “Palestinian people.” Previously, “Palestinian” was a term that referred to all the residents of Palestine, Jews and Arabs. The original name of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was the Palestine Orchestra. The Jerusalem Post was first the Palestine Post.

But Arafat never forged a united people — most Palestinians only grudgingly accepted the rule of his Palestinian Authority and some never did. Few Palestinians identify chiefly with a national identity; their loyalty instead is clan-based — to the tight-knit group of extended families that share the same ancestry, based on the father’s male line and a preference for marrying within the clan. Palestinians pledge loyalty to their clan in a binding, formal code of honour backed by local militias. An attack on one clan member is an attack on all members.

Clan-based systems of governance do not lend themselves to nation states. Little surprise, then, that after Arafat died, civil war broke out and Gaza broke off from the West Bank to form its own statelet. To make dicier still the notion of a coherent Palestinian nation whose people share common values, Gaza is theocratic, run by Hamas, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, while the West Bank is largely secular.

The Muslim Council of Britain’s Little Problem Miqdaad Versi and Dodgy Facts by Douglas Murray

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) presented themselves in the manner of debt collectors: standing beside a big bruiser stressing how sorry they were to have to demand this payment, but that they were only just holding back their big, angry friend.

Unfortunately for them, during the last Labour government in Britain the MCB’s behaviour and beliefs were exposed by the more progressive Muslim voices who were by then coming along, and also by a wider society which had become wise to the tricks of these self-appointed “community leaders.”

The Daily Mail issued an apology, allowing supporters of the radical National Union of Students president to pretend that she was the victim of a smear campaign by self-confessedly inaccurate media reports rather than a nasty anti-Semite whose back was being covered by a full-time pedant with dodgy facts.

Miqdaad Versi is happy to apply rigorous standards to others, but holds exceedingly lax standards himself so long as he can carry on his own campaigning work against the UK government’s counter-terrorism and counter-extremism programmes.

Sadly for Versi, the British public’s security concerns are not caused by very slightly inaccurate media reports but rather by the deadly accurate bomb blasts and shooting attacks around the world which nobody needs to make up and nobody can fully cover over.

When considering the roles that various people worldwide play in advancing various causes, a lot of attention is paid to the people who blow themselves up. A fair amount of time is spent on the victims of such people. But relatively little time is spent focusing on the people whose role is clearly to tire everyone to death.

In this regard, it is worth introducing to a wider audience the existence of a man called Miqdaad Versi. This man works for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an organisation which enjoyed a certain amount of access to the British government after the Satanic Verses affair, 9/11, 7/7 and other atrocities. During those years, they presented themselves in the manner of debt collectors: standing beside a big bruiser stressing how sorry they were to have to demand this payment, but that they were only just holding back their big, angry friend.

Unfortunately for them, during the last Labour government in Britain, the MCB’s behaviour and beliefs were exposed by the more progressive Muslim voices who were by then coming along, and also by a wider society which had become wise to the tricks of these self-appointed “community leaders.” The Labour government took a strong exception to the MCB’s then-Deputy Secretary General, Daud Abdullah, signing the ‘Istanbul Declaration’. As Home Office Minister Hazel Blears said at the time, it “supports violence against foreign forces — which could include British naval personnel… and advocating attacks on Jewish communities all around the world.”

Radicalizing for Vandalism with Campus Identity Politics Campus identity politics studies are a taxpayer funded violent campus cult. Daniel Greenfield

“Bernie is asking for a political revolution and college students are some of the main demographic he is speaking to,” Elizabeth Prier, communications director for the Young Democrats of Watauga County, told students at Appalachian State University’s Plemmons Student Union.

That was a year ago.

This year, Prier became one of four ASU students arrested for spray painting “F— Trump,” “F— Cops” and “Black Lives Matter” on a police car and stores in downtown Boone, North Carolina.

Watauga County is divided between rural conservative voters and the students of Appalachian State University. Boone has a smaller population than the number of students at ASU. The tug of war between residents and students made it a swing county going by very narrow margins from Obama to Romney.

The Watauga County Board of Elections had been forced to add an early voting site on campus so that ASU students wouldn’t be expected to walk a few blocks over to vote even while rural voters were being disenfranchised and expected to travel for miles. ASU students won. And the natives lost.

Hillary Clinton won Watauga County, but it didn’t give her the state. And the ASU leftists lashed out.

At four in the morning, the four feminists went to work. The Appalachian Antique Mall, its cozy windows still filled with shining lights and gifts, was defaced with hateful scrawls of “Black Lives Matter” and “Ruled by White Supremacy”. Earth Fare, an organic food supermarket, was denounced for “Neoliberalism”. The term is largely associated with the anti-free enterprise radical left.

The Dan’l Boone Inn, a family restaurant in one of the oldest buildings in town serving Southern Fried Chicken and Black Cherry Preserves, was smeared. The vandals did their worst to a Boone police cruiser.

ASU facilities had also been vandalized making it all too easy to figure out who was responsible. A tip to High Country Crime Stoppers located the culprits who were predictably ASU students.

The four, Elizabeth Prier, 22,, Julia Grainger, 22, Taryn Bledsoe, 22, and Hannah Seay, 21 were part of Appalachian State University’s social justice crowd. The meaning of what happened to them goes beyond the vandalism in downtown Boone. It was the endpoint of the indoctrination into extremism on campuses across the country that transforms students into vandals and violent protesters.

How did Elizabeth Prier go from campaigning from Bernie Sanders to vandalism within a year?

The Ninth Circuit: Dangerously Out of Order Black-robed politicians on the Left Coast handcuff Trump, keeping the borders wide open for terrorists. Matthew Vadum

Three unelected federal judges in San Francisco yesterday ordered the Trump administration to continue accepting visitors and would-be immigrants from seven dangerous countries that are incubators of Muslim terrorism.

When President Trump learned his temporary ban on the admission of aliens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen that was put on hold Feb. 3 by Seattle-based Judge James L. Robart would continue in abeyance, he got on Twitter immediately.

At 6:35 p.m. Eastern time he tweeted in all caps: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”

The open-borders crowd doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on. That may be why at a press conference celebrating the outrageous ruling, a member of Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s (D) team deployed the phrase “social justice” to justify the decision. “Social justice” is a magical amulet that nullifies anything the Left doesn’t like, including the president’s executive order. Its very invocation is an admission that a cause is illegitimate and un-American.

The Ninth Circuit’s fairy dust-based decision is “an intellectually dishonest piece of work,” said retired Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Tucker Carlson was in fine form last night as he roughed up the platitude-spouting, Haitian-born District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine (D) on television.

Racine, who supported the lawsuit by filing an amicus brief, absurdly argued EO 13769 was “discriminatory to a certain religion” and therefore violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause.

Carlson retorted that “there is a precedent for singling out people for special treatment because of religion” and that the U.S. had used “explicit religious tests until pretty recently.” Until September 1988, he said, the U.S. granted refugee status to Soviet Jews because they were persecuted in their home country.

Probably the two most insane legal principles invented in the decision are (1) that everyone, everywhere on the planet enjoys due process rights under the U.S. Constitution, and 2) that courts can second-guess a national security-related executive order based on something other than the actual words in the order.

That a panel of the notoriously left-wing U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit committed this unlawful, unconstitutional atrocity is not surprising but it is still unsettling. In the decision Judges William C. Canby, Richard R. Clifton, and Michelle T. Friedland, substituted their vision of how to conduct foreign affairs for the nation’s elected president. The ruling not only violates separation of powers but also constitutes an attack on the status of the president as Commander-in-Chief charged with protecting the United States.

How Judge Robart Just Undermined the Constitution By Roger Kimball

Jefferson warned us: “Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so.”
The funniest part of Judge James L. Robart’s cursory, six-and-a-bit-page restraining order against Donald Trump’s executive order — which temporarily suspends travel into the United States from seven notorious sponsors of terrorism — comes at the end:

Fundamental to the work of this court is a vigilant recognition that it is but one of three equal branches of our federal government. The work of the court is not to create policy or judge the wisdom of any particular policy promoted by the other two branches.

Ha! What a card!

The Left goes shopping for a likeminded judge, and finds a Seattle District Court judge who is sympathetic to Black Lives Matter and does pro-bono work for refugees. He has the added advantage of being located in the Ninth Circuit, the wackiest, most reliably left-wing precinct of the U.S. appellate system (though that may change soon). Said judge then intervenes to suspend the implementation of an executive order issued by the president of the United States to help safeguard the country.

The Justice Department quickly asked for an emergency stay of Judge Robart’s order, but, as could have been predicted, the left-leaning Ninth Circuit just as quickly denied the request. Additional legal briefing in the ninth circuit is forthcoming, but most observers believe the case is headed for the Supreme Court. What happens then will depend on many things — including the fate of Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s nominee to fill the seat vacated by Antonin Scalia’s death last year. In the meantime, if another Orlando, San Bernardino, or Boston Marathon slaughter takes place, public sentiment will surely, and rightly, support Donald Trump’s suggestion that Judge Robart is to blame.

Let’s pause to note what just happened.

Although he is but one of hundreds upon hundreds of District Court judges, Judge Robart insists that the “declaratory and injunctive relief” outlined in his order be applied immediately and on a “nationwide basis” (my emphasis). Seattle has spoken, Comrades! Judge Robarts finds (where? how?) that his court has jurisdiction over … well, over just about everything: the president and the head of the Department of Homeland Security, for starters, but also “the United States of America (collectively).”

So all across the fruited plain, “Federal Defendants and all their respective officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys, and persons acting in concert or participation with them are hereby ENJOINED and RESTRAINED” from enforcing the President’s executive order.

This may be the best place to pause and point out that Donald Trump, acting as the president of the United States, was perfectly within his rights to issue an executive order to suspend travel from particular countries.

As Andrew McCarthy pointed out at National Review, the order was completely legal. Not only does the Constitution vest plenary executive power in the president — “the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations” — but laws governing immigration explicitly recognize that the president has authority to forbid specific foreigners from traveling into the United States for national security reasons.

McCarthy cites federal immigration law Section 1182(f):

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate (emphasis added).

In other words, Donald Trump did exactly what the law allowed.

Following the determination of the Obama administration, he judged that Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and the other four countries were a forcing bed for jihadist activity, and therefore all travel from those countries should be suspended for a few months while his administration attempted to formulate better vetting procedures.

That’s why Judge Robart’s conclusion was so funny: he intervened to bring a lawfully issued executive order to a screeching halt all across the country, then tells the world about his court’s “vigilant recognition” that it is “but one of three equal branches of our federal government.” You’ll recall that some characters in George Orwell’s Animal Farm also talk about things being “equal,” even if it turned out that they meant some were “more equal than others.”

Finland: Radical Islamic propaganda spreading

Finland’s security and intelligence police Supo says it’s seeing a rise in radical Islamic Finnish-language propaganda. Supo highlighted one blog in particular, which has been operating since last August.

Finnish security police have identified a Finnish-language blog disseminating propaganda by the extremist Islamic State organisation. The blog has been used to share content such as speeches by IS leaders as well as texts from the group’s online paper, translated into Finnish.

According to Supo, the blog has been in existence since last August and officials described the translations as reasonably clear Finnish, although peppered with some foreign words.

“The blood of kaffirs is halaal [acceptable] to you so let it flow,” one section of texts urges.

Supo added that the writings say that sowing fear in the hearts of infidels is the duty of Muslims.

The existence of the blog was first reported by the independent online foreign and security policy paper, The Ulkopolitist.

The blog calls on adherents of extreme Islam to select a variety of soft targets for attacks, such as businessmen on the way to work, young people playing in parks and florists.

In another article translated from IS’s online paper, the writer calls on readers to take their families and flee to Muslim states for protection. If that is not possible, the writer continues, Muslims should publicly declare an oath of allegiance to the caliphate.

The blog also urges followers to use the Telegram messaging service, which offers end-to-end encryption as a security feature, to receive IS updates.
Supo following propaganda phenomenon

Supo special researcher Pekka Hiltunen said that the intelligence agency is familiar with the blog. However he added that Supo will not comment on the legality of individual blog posts.

The agency also declined taking a public position on who may be behind the blog or the location from which it is updated.

According to Hiltunen Supo has observed a growing trend to provide radical Islamic content in Finnish and to target Finland with such propaganda. He said that two factors must be considered when looking at the calls to commit murder.

“First, if we look at it from a law enforcement perspective, then if generally speaking there is reason to suspect a crime, then a preliminary investigation will be launched,” Hiltunen noted.

He noted that if the case is viewed as part of a wider phenomenon of propaganda distribution, then the writings represent a broader trend aiming to drive Islamic State’s agenda, he noted.

“It is also trying to instigate strikes anywhere outside the conflict area, in countries where readers may be,” he added.

The Supo researcher said however that the intelligence police have long known about IS’s propaganda incursions. He pointed to a 2015 Supo threat assessment which also mentioned strikes committed by so-called lone wolves.

“Several of those incidents by individual actors either have propaganda as the background or some similar inspiration. So as a trend, this has been in the threat assessments for a long time,” he noted.

At the end of last year an IS call to action shocked the Lapland tourism sector, as the propaganda images showed Santa, a snowy winter landscape, reindeer as well as a burning sign showing the year 2017.

New Jersey: Egyptian Immigrant Gets 2 Life Sentences for Beheading 2 Christians

This is one of those terror attacks that POTUS was talking about going unreported. Source: Jersey City man gets 2 life sentences for gruesome murders, decapitations – Hudson County View

Yusuf Ibrahim, 31, of Jersey City, was sentenced by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez to two consecutive life terms in state prison.

He was sentenced to an additional 48 years, to be served concurrently, on charges including desecration of human remains, theft, unlawful possession of a weapon, and hindering apprehension, officials said. The sentence also includes 127.5 years of parole ineligibility.

Ibrahim was found guilty on June 22 by a Hudson County jury of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree desecration of human remains, and other crimes related to the murders and mutilation of the bodies.

He was indicted after a joint investigation by the New Jersey State Police, Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.

Ibrahim murdered Hany Tawadros, 25, and Amgad Konds, 27, in the early morning hours of February 5, 2013. Tawadros and Konds were Egyptian nationals who were living in Jersey City.

The state presented testimony and evidence at trial that Ibrahim shot each man once in the chest with a .38-caliber handgun inside Konds’ white Mercedes C280 before driving the bodies of the deceased victims to Buena Vista in the Mercedes.

There he disposed of their remains in a wooded area behind the unoccupied home of a relative, after stealing the victims’ money and jewelry.

Before burying the victims, in order to hinder their identification, he cut off their heads and hands using a small drywall saw and scissors, and knocked out their teeth with a tire iron.

After staying overnight at the relative’s house on Harding Highway in Buena Vista, Ibrahim drove the Mercedes to Philadelphia, where he abandoned it at a secluded location after setting it on fire to destroy evidence of the murders.

“Justice for the victims and the safety of our citizens required that Ibrahim face a true life sentence without parole for the sickening murders he committed,” Porrino said in a statement. “This sentence delivers that justice by ensuring that Ibrahim will spend the rest of his days behind bars.”

Back in January 2015, Ibrahim was sentenced to 18 years in prison for two armed robberies he committed in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Why It’s Wrong To Compare Terrorist Attacks To Generic Gun Violence Being unsure about what’s going to happen and knowing we’re helpless to prevent it increases how afraid we are By M.G. Oprea


On Friday, an Egyptian man armed with two machetes attacked a group of security guards patrolling the Louvre Museum in Paris. The man, who yelled “allahu akbar” during the attack, was shot and taken to the hospital. Thankfully, no one was killed. The attack still terrified Parisians and many across the West. Why? Because of the attacker’s intent and our own vulnerability in our day to day lives.

Since President Trump signed his executive order on immigration two weeks ago, social media has been flooded with memes and graphs showing how few people have died at the hands of immigrants from Muslim-majority countries who’ve committed acts of terrorism. The Left uses this narrative to argue that we don’t need to worry about Middle Eastern terrorism or refugees coming into the country.But this misunderstands, on a deep level, the psychology of terrorism and the importance of intention.
Terrorism Aims to Destabilize Society

Statistics about terrorism are often accompanied by the number of gun deaths that occur every year. This is a typical tactic of the Left. Whenever Islamist terrorism comes up, they change the conversation to guns and gun control.

There’s no doubt that gun violence in America is out of control. But comparing terrorism to gun violence misses the importance of intention, and how strongly it affects peoples’ sense of security. This is at the root of why terrorism frightens people so much.

Man stabbed in the neck with a SCREWDRIVER and others shot after terror attack in market A TERROR attack has left at least four people injured following a knife and gun rampage in an Israeli market. By Rebecca Flood

Local media reported a man opened fire on a bustling market, injuring at least three people who were buying groceries ahead of the Jewish sabbath. Israeli police have said one man also suffered stab wounds after being knifed in the neck with a screwdriver. The ambulance service rushed to the scene and confirmed they treated a man and a woman, in their 50s, for bullet wound injuries to their lower bodies.

Paramedics added the stab victim was a 40-year-old man. Police branded the incident a terror attack, adding the suspect was overpowered by shoppers using their bare hands.The incident occurred at a market in the central Israeli town of Petah Tikva, on Thursday afternoon.

Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the suspect was arrested at the scene.A police investigation is underway. According to reports the suspect is a 19-year-old Palestinian. Video from the scene shows a large crowd gathered around the suspect, who is on the floor and surrounded by armed police. The attack came just hours after an explosion ripped through the Gaza border with Egypt, killing two Palestinians in what appeared to be a strike on cross-border smuggling tunnels.

Elizabeth Warren’s Secrets and Lies Warren will stop at nothing to shield the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from scrutiny. After all, it’s her signature accomplishment, and she has a political future to think about. By Ronald L. Rubin

Last Friday, President Trump signed an executive order listing “Core Principles” for reforming financial regulation, including the Democrats’ 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau it created. Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren could hardly object to some of the principles — for example, “prevent taxpayer-funded bailouts” or “empower Americans to make independent financial decisions and informed choices in the marketplace” — because she herself had previously expressed similar sentiments. So instead, she quickly accused Republicans of “rushing to unleash the big banks” and “gut the consumer agency that has forced banks to give $12 billion back to customers they cheated.”

It’s time to retire these slurs, which Democrats have used for five years to attack any Republican who criticizes the CFPB or suggests ways to fix it. The vast majority of Republicans are not billionaires, or even millionaires, but they are all consumers, and they don’t enjoy being defrauded any more than Democrats do. Understanding economics and opposing policies that harm rather than protect consumers do not make one a bank worshipper.

Democrats’ latest talking point, that the CFPB has forced banks to give $12 billion back to their customers, is incorrect for the same reasons as the myth that the bureau forced Wells Fargo to return $185 million to its victims. The bank actually paid less than $5 million to the millions of customers who had unauthorized accounts opened in their names; the remaining fines disappeared into various government black holes.

It’s no surprise that Democrats and the liberal media shamelessly perpetuate such obvious lies about the CFPB, since its leadership by an ostensibly irremovable director, funding outside the congressional appropriations process, and ideological hiring turned the bureau into a political rather than professional organization. Just this week, Paul Krugman wrote in his New York Times column that the Wells Fargo “scandal only came to light thanks to the bureau.” In fact, a Los Angeles Times article exposed the fraud in 2013, and the CFPB allowed it to continue for three years while the Los Angeles City Attorney and Comptroller of the Currency led investigations that produced the $185 million settlement.

Those who defend the CFPB status quo by extolling the bureau’s “mission” are almost as dishonest as Krugman. Their straw-man argument implies that Republicans are calling for the bureau’s elimination, a goal all but its most strident critics abandoned years ago. Furthermore, the bureau almost immediately strayed from its official mission of consumer protection into consumer advocacy. The 20th century taught us that advocates most of all should never be given absolute power.

CFPB supporters are outraged that President Trump might remove Director Richard Cordray before he completes his five-year term. But Cordray has been director since January 4, 2012. He remains in office only because his illegal recess appointment was followed by confirmation 18 months later as Democrats threatened to change Senate filibuster rules. The Supreme Court subsequently held the three other recess appointments President Obama made on January 4, 2012, unconstitutional. However one feels about Cordray, he’s served a full term.

How would Republicans “gut” the CFPB? Exclusive jurisdiction over debt-collection laws could be returned to the Federal Trade Commission, and non-discriminatory–lending laws to the Department of Justice. Arbitration regulations could be limited to ensuring clear and meaningful waiver disclosures. The CFPB’s mission could be restricted to “establishing guidelines for consumer disclosure” and “evaluating financial products to eliminate the hidden tricks and traps that make some of them far more dangerous than others.”