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February 2017

The art of the ‘no deal’ with the PA Ruthie Blum

There is much speculation about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming meeting at the White House with U.S. President Donald Trump. Typically, rather than waiting to hear the outcome of Wednesday’s deliberation, Israelis have been analyzing a conversation that has yet to take place, and weighing in on the extent to which the Jewish state can count on the new administration in Washington to embrace the policies of the Israeli government, and on the level of personal chemistry that emerges between the two leaders.

The assumption is that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers in July 2015 — will be on the agenda, and that the issue of achieving a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be raised. The second topic includes several directly related issues, such as the possibility of the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the newly passed Judea and Samaria Settlement Regulation Law, which retroactively grants permits to a number of outposts on privately owned Palestinian land.

Whatever the upshot of the meeting, however, one thing is certain: The Trump administration will not be able to broker an agreement that resolves the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, no matter how talented, smart or well-intentioned Jared Kushner — the president’s son-in-law who is purportedly being charged with this task — may be.

The charade in which Netanyahu has participated since he announced his conditional support for Palestinian statehood in a televised address to the nation in June 2009, is that there is a “solution” to the ongoing war waged by the Arabs in Judea and Samaria, Gaza and east Jerusalem against the very existence of the Jewish state. Netanyahu knows better than anybody else that this is as much an exercise in rhetoric as it is in futility. He is fully aware that the only way for peace to be possible is for the Palestinians to oust their corrupt and evil leaders in Fatah and Hamas and — in striving for the freedom and prosperity they have been denied by the honchos in Ramallah and Gaza City — emulate Israeli society.

If such a day ever comes, no more than five minutes will be required for the sides to agree on the technicalities — maybe 10, if the negotiators get stuck in traffic on the way to the table.

Cleaver Defends Zionism. Israel; Charges Arabs with Being Most Racist People January 22, 1976

BOSTON (Jan. 21)http://www.jta.org/1976/01/22/archive/cleaver-defends-zionism-israel-charges-arabs-with-being-most-racist-people-says-moynihan-is-too-s

Eldridge Cleaver, the former Black Panther leader now in a California prison, has written an impassioned defense of Zionism against the UN General Assembly’s resolutions defining it as racist and declared that “having lived intimately for several years among the Arabs, I know them to be among the most racist people on earth.”

Cleaver’s article, written from his jail cell, was published in the Boston Herald-American. He said that many wealthy Arab families owned one or two Black slaves. “Sometimes they own an entire family. I have seen such slaves with my own eyes,” he wrote describing his experience in Algeria where he lived after fleeing the United States.

He bitterly condemned the most anti-Semitic, anti-Israel African leader, President Idi Amin of Uganda, as one of the “hired killers” and “the hatchet man of Uganda.” He also declared that the “so-called hard line” taken by the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Daniel P. Moynihan against Amin “seems too soft to me.”

Cleaver wrote that two aspects of the UN’s anti-Zionist resolution shocked and surprised him. “Shocked because, of all the people in the world, the Jews have not only suffered particularly from racist persecution, they have done more than any other people to expose and condemn racism. Generations of Jewish social scientists and scholars have labored long and hard in every field of knowledge, from anthropology to psychology, to lay bare and refute all claims of racial inferiority and superiority. To condemn the Jewish survival doctrine of Zionism as racism is a travesty upon the truth.

“Secondly. “Cleaver wrote. “I am surprised that the Arabs would choose to establish a precedent condemning racism because it can so easily and righteously be turned against them. Having lived intimately for several years among the Arabs, I know them to be among the most racist people on earth. No one knows this better than the Black Africans living along the edges of the Sahara.”

Cleaver said that he had “the deepest sympathy for the Palestinian people in their search for justice, but I see no net gain for freedom and human dignity in the world if power blocs, because of their ability to underwrite sagging economies for a season, are able to ram through the UN resolutions repugnant to human reason and historical fact.”

The writer charged that “The combination of Communist dictatorships, theocratic Arab dictatorships, and economically dependent Black African dictatorships are basically united in their opposition to the democratic forces inside their own borders. It is not a combination deserving of respect by people from countries enjoying democratic liberties and traditions of freedom.”

Cleaves suggested that “the time has come to re-examine the credentials of all the members of the General Assembly. Why should all these little so-called countries with miniscule populations have a vote equal in weight to that of the United States? When such votes are cast in the reckless manner of the anti-Zionist resolution, it is time to sit up and take notice.” Cleaver observed that “The General Assembly is no longer filled with Mahatma Gandhis pleading the case of the downtrodden, colonized masses. It is now a forum for crude, hired killers like Idi Amin Dada, the hatchet man of Uganda.”


By Vincent van den Born

The English translation of Hungarian president Viktor Orbán’s State of the Nation Address of 10 February has been published. For highlights of his speech, see below.

“A common mistake among humanity’s rich and powerful is to believe that they can act like God and be immune from the consequences. They declare supposedly incontrovertible facts; they push utopias onto other countries and peoples; they decide what others can or cannot say, and what they can or cannot believe in; they decide on membership of elite circles and they believe their global power is unquestionable.

Money, the media, global governance and an open global society – in 2016 people in many places around the world had had enough of all this. There was Brexit, the US presidential election, the ejection of the Italian government, the Hungarian migrant referendum – and perhaps there is still more to come. Oh people, ‘you are finally beginning to be great’; but of course using the poet Petőfi as a shield will not stop the sinking liberals saying that listening to the people is an act of pure populism – which, as we all know, is a ‘bad thing’, and is in fact ‘harmful’. In Europe properly house-trained politicians must not say things like that.”

“There has been an uprising by those who are not usually asked, whose voices are not usually heard:(…) whose mouths have been gagged in the name of political correctness; (…). They demanded the return of their homelands, of their economies and social opportunities. They demanded the return of the world in which they once felt at home: the wide and diverse world of nations.”

“And we too are members of the European Union: we cannot distance ourselves from this either, and the bell also tolls for us. This is not a game, and the stakes are real – in fact they are the highest imaginable. The people of the West feel that the history of their generation and future generations could indeed be at an end. (…) Can they continue the way of life they inherited from their parents, or will something change forever without their consent – and indeed against their will? Will they have the right to their own culture? Will they be able to protect Europe’s non-material, intellectual assets? (…) And will there be security without the threat of terrorism, and will life in big cities be free of fear? Regardless of the prosperity and affluence of today, within the European Union the future is now casting a shadow on the present. That shadow is a long, dark one. And this isn’t being pointed out by envious Eastern Europeans or ludicrous old Soviet propaganda. This is different: Western Europeans are saying all this about themselves, about their own situations and their own future.”

“The issue of migration will also remain on the agenda. Despite the fact that illegal immigration raises an insoluble problem and the threat of terrorism, and despite the bloody reality and the terrible events seen throughout Europe, migrants can still move freely around Europe until their claims have been finally ruled on in the courts. The question for 2017 will be whether we should detain them and keep them in detention until there are final verdicts on their applications. And in 2017 we will also need to take up the struggle against international organisations’ increasingly strong activists. In addition, in 2018 there will be elections in several countries – including here at home. It is a problem that foreign funding is being secretly used to influence Hungarian politics. (…) We are not talking about non-governmental organisations fighting to promote an important cause, but about paid activists from international organisations and their branch offices in Hungary. Are we going to do something to at least ensure transparency, and make these issues publicly known?”

“They say that it is generally impossible to show a correlation between demographic indices and changes in the standard of living. But I believe that there is indeed a correlation between a nation’s will to live, a people’s discovery of themselves and changes in demographic indices: between whether a nation is capable of believing in itself and in the future of its offspring, and the number of children it wants to raise. It is my firm belief that there is a correlation between what over the past seven years we have been striving to achieve and the fact that the nation wants to become younger; because what individuals cannot achieve – turn their old age into youth – is possible for the nation. A people that has begun to age can still become a youthful people: it is up to its members, and it is a question of will.”

Former Obama Officials, Loyalists Waged Secret Campaign to Oust Flynn Sources: Former Obama officials, loyalists planted series of stories to discredit Flynn, bolster Iran deal BY: Adam Kredo

The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.
The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn’s credibility, multiple sources revealed.
The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.
Insiders familiar with the anti-Flynn campaign told the Free Beacon that these Obama loyalists plotted in the months before Trump’s inauguration to establish a set of roadblocks before Trump’s national security team, which includes several prominent opponents of diplomacy with Iran. The Free Beacon first reported on this effort in January.
Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon requested anonymity in order to speak freely about the situation and avoid interfering with the White House’s official narrative about Flynn, which centers on his failure to adequately inform the president about a series of phone calls with Russian officials.
Flynn took credit for his missteps regarding these phone calls in a brief statement released late Monday evening. Trump administration officials subsequently stated that Flynn’s efforts to mislead the president and vice president about his contacts with Russia could not be tolerated.
However, multiple sources closely involved in the situation pointed to a larger, more secretive campaign aimed at discrediting Flynn and undermining the Trump White House.
“It’s undeniable that the campaign to discredit Flynn was well underway before Inauguration Day, with a very troublesome and politicized series of leaks designed to undermine him,” said one veteran national security adviser with close ties to the White House team. “This pattern reminds me of the lead up to the Iran deal, and probably features the same cast of characters.”

In West Virginia, a Rising Republican Star Threatens the Nation’s Most Vulnerable Democratic Senator After years of fights with the Obama administration and the EPA, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is well positioned to take down Senator Joe Manchin in 2018. By Jim Geraghty

About a year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, and though the court didn’t know it at the time, this probably killed off the plan for good.

The 5–4 decision, delaying enforcement until lower courts reviewed legal challenges to the new regulations, was a decisive setback for President Obama’s signature environmental initiative, which used an “aggressive” interpretation of the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act in an effort to control greenhouse-gas emissions.

In September, some state attorney generals and power companies argued before the D.C. Circuit Court that the act gives the federal government too much power to enforce state laws. A decision in the case is expected within the next few months. But the outlook for the regulation is grim: Even if the court affirms the rule, President Trump has said he intends to repeal it, and his choice to run the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is one of the state AGs who challenged the plan in court. Environmentalists have already begun concluding that, “the rule will be shelved, replaced or rescinded for the near term.”

If and when the Clean Power Plan is cast aside, it will be a major victory for Patrick Morrisey, currently the attorney general of West Virginia, chairman of the Republican Attorney Generals Association, and a strong potential GOP option for 2018, when West Virginia’s Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, faces reelection.

A lot of state attorney generals opposed the plan, but it was Morrisey’s office that wrote the brief, and he was eager to lead the charge.

“The president’s power plan was such an absolute overreach, and it affects so many people’s lives,” Morrisey says, when asked about which suits in his tenure have affected people’s lives the most. “Coal matters. Energy resources matter. When you see the executive branch put a bulls-eye on your state, one of the poorest states in country, and you know people are going to lose their jobs, and it doesn’t come in a purposeful manner . . . it’s particularly callous, reckless, and illegal.”

Morrisey doesn’t look or sound like a figure primed to lead a revolution in West Virginia politics; given his résumé, one might have expected him to follow a path closer to Chris Christie’s in the Garden State. He grew up in Edison, N.J., and as a teenager he taught tennis in nearby Metuchen. He got his bachelor’s and juris doctor at Rutgers University, and even ran for Congress in New Jersey in 2000. (He finished fourth in the primary.)

But during his years working on the House Energy and Commerce Committee — serving as staff counsel on legislation covering bioterrorism and the creation of Medicare Part D, which subsidizes the cost of prescription drugs for seniors — Morrisey lived in Harper’s Ferry, W.Va., about sixty miles from Capitol Hill, and found himself increasingly enamored with his new home.

In 2012, Morrisey was active with the state GOP and tried to help the party recruit a candidate for attorney general, an office no Republican had occupied since 1933. That year the American Tort Reform Association called West Virginia a “judicial hellhole,” and placed a lot of blame at the feet of the state’s Democratic attorney general, Darrell McGraw, contending he ran “his office as if it were a private personal injury law firm and distributing litigation settlements to programs and organizations of his choosing, rather than the state and its taxpayers.” Morrissey was particularly irked that McGraw had refused to join other state attorney generals in challenging Obamacare. When no other Republican was willing to run, Morrisey jumped in himself.

McGraw had held the state attorney general’s office since 1992, but age, the electorate’s appetite for change, and its alienation from the Obama-dominated modern Democratic party caught up with him. Campaigning resolutely against Obamacare, Morrisey won in a year when Democrats carried every other statewide office.

It didn’t take long for Morrisey to establish himself as one of the state attorneys general most inclined to file suit against the federal government.

He joined a challenge to the Obama administration’s interpretation of the Gun Control Act of 1968 as prohibiting so-called straw purchases of a gun even when the true buyer could buy the gun lawfully. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled 5–4 in favor of the administration.

In October of the same year, he filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services, contending the department did not have the authority to suspend Obamacare’s insurance mandate and accusing President Obama of “cherry-picking which laws his Administration will enforce.” In July 2016, the D.C. circuit court ruled that West Virginia had not suffered an injury in fact and lacked standing.

Last year, he joined a suit against the Obama administration over its directive to school districts on accommodating transgender students’ access to bathrooms and locker rooms, contending the administration “conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment.” The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in that case in March.

Morrisey has had mixed success with these and other lawsuits — the Clean Power Plan suit, for example, was one of 14 cases he’s brought against the EPA — but his losses haven’t seemed to hurt his reputation much in West Virginia.

“We’ve had a good batting average because we’ve taken the time to do this the right way,” Morrisey says.

West Virginia voters seem pleased; in November, they reelected Morrisey 51 percent to 41 percent. During the campaign, Democrats tried to paint him as too cozy with big drug companies, pointing to his past work at the Washington law firm of King & Spalding, his lucrative work lobbying for a pharmaceutical industry trade group, and numerous donations to his campaign from drug companies, their law firms, and their PACs.

One reason this criticism didn’t work as well as Democrats hoped was Morrisey’s numerous lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies. In court, he has contended that the industry recklessly provided massive quantities of painkillers to small-town pharmacies and doctors, fueling the state’s severe opioid-addiction crisis. By January, his office had obtained more than $47 million in settlements from pharmaceutical companies to resolve the allegations. The settlement money will go to drug-abuse prevention and treatment programs.

“Our plan [for addressing opioid addiction] includes an aggressive education component,” Morrisey says. “You have to educate people at an early age.”

In January, Morrissey’s office won a fight to sue McKesson Corp., the nation’s largest wholesale drug distributor, in state court, contending the company failed to develop an adequate system to identify suspicious drug orders. The company shipped more than 100 million doses of painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone to West Virginia —a state with fewer than 2 million people — in a five-year period.

His office isn’t just pursuing high-dollar settlements from the biggest fish, either. In December, he filed suit against Larry’s Drive-In Pharmacy in Madison, W.Va., alleging the pharmacy failed to identify suspicious prescriptions. The pharmacy dispensed nearly 10 million doses of prescription painkillers over eleven years — in a county of fewer than 25,000 people.

The other traditional attack against a Republican candidate is to paint him as a friend to the wealthy and powerful, helping them kick the little guy. But as attorney general, Morrisey’s gone toe-to-toe with some of the state’s biggest employers when he’s convinced they’re on the wrong side of the law.

Frontier Communications is the biggest Internet provider in the state, and when its customers claimed their connection was far slower than advertised, Morrisey’s office negotiated what a press release called “one of the largest consumer protection settlements in the state’s history,” as Frontier agreed to put an additional $150 million into infrastructure improvements throughout West Virginia while reducing monthly customer bills by $10 million.

Morrisey’s office also filed a lawsuit against the state’s largest residential landlord, Metro Property Management, alleging that the company violated the state’s consumer-protection law by charging tenants a non-refundable fee, in addition to the standard damage deposit, to prepare each residence for its next tenant.

One of Morrisey’s more recent targets is Mylan, the increasingly infamous maker of the EpiPen, a life-saving device used to treat severe allergic reactions. The company came under intense public criticism last year after reports that it had raised the base price of an EpiPen two-pack 600 percent since 2009. Republicans point out with relish that Mylan’s chief executive, Heather Bresch, is Manchin’s daughter. Bresch told a hostile House of Representatives committee that the price increase was “fair” and that the company only makes a profit of $100 per two-pack.

In September, Morrisey announced that his office is looking into whether Mylan violated antitrust laws or defrauded the state’s Medicaid program. In November, after the company announced it had reached a $465 million settlement with the federal government to resolve allegations that it had shortchanged the Medicaid system, Morrisey publicly denounced the proposed resolution as a “sweetheart deal” and “a losing proposition for taxpayers who fund Medicaid and the countless families who rely on EpiPen and are beholden to Mylan’s skyrocketing greed.” Strangely, after the company’s announcement, the federal government said it hadn’t signed on to any settlement, and as of January, the outgoing head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Andrew Slavit, denied the existence of an agreement.

It’s quite possible that Morrisey’s name will be taken in vain around the Manchin family dinner table more often in the coming years. For now, he is noncommittal about any potential 2018 run. But it doesn’t take too much to get him to analyze the difficult spot his potential Democratic foe is in.

“I have respect for Senator Manchin as a politician and a person,” Morrisey says. “He is a very talented politician who has been working hard to shift his positions, to move away from a position of a strong public endorsement of Hillary Clinton, who won less than 27 percent in this state. The national Democratic party’s values do not reflect West Virginia values, and it is an exceedingly difficult challenge to walk that line.”

Precisely because of his predicament, Manchin has quickly become one of the most fascinating Democrats to watch in Washington: Facing reelection in perhaps the most pro-Trump state in the nation, he must decide where to work with the new administration and where to oppose it. He voted to confirm Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general and applauded Trump’s executive order on the Keystone Pipeline, but joined fellow Democrats in a protest against Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees at the Supreme Court last month and voted against Tom Price as HHS Secretary and Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary.

Over the next two years, it will be interesting to see if he takes a softer stance on Trump with a potential challenge from Morrisey lurking.

— Jim Geraghty is National Review’s senior political correspondent.

Say No to David Petraeus He did his county a great service, but he also broke the law. By David French

If Donald Trump doesn’t understand now, he will eventually. Integrity and truth ultimately do matter, and if he wants to be a successful president, he’s going to have to appoint people to high office who won’t violate the public’s trust.

That means appointing more men like Neil Gorsuch and James Mattis. And it means keeping David Petraeus out of the White House.

This is a painful thing to say. I served under General Petraeus (far, far under, I was a lowly captain in an armored cavalry squadron deployed roughly 100 miles from Baghdad) during the Surge, and I saw with my own eyes the power of effective leadership, the right strategy, and the proper application of force. He came into Iraq at a time of maximum chaos and was instrumental in transforming an emerging and bloody defeat into a stunning battlefield victory.

It’s no understatement to say that by the September 2008 — when he turned over command in Iraq to General Raymond Odierno — he was an American hero, one of the great generals of modern times. Then he betrayed his family, violated the law, and established a precedent for prosecutorial favoritism that haunted America during the 2016 presidential election.

The facts of his case are simple and disappointing. Petraeus had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and provided her with notebooks containing highly classified information. Compounding his offense, he apparently initially lied to the FBI when they confronted him in 2012, denying that he had provided any classified information to his mistress.

Lest anyone think the disclosure was harmless — more the by-product of overclassification than an action that risked national security — consider the information he shared with Broadwell. As the Washington Post reported, the notebooks “contained code words for secret intelligence programs, the identities of covert officers, and information about war strategy and deliberative discussions with the National Security Council.”

This was a serious offense, but rather than serve the prison time that virtually any service member would receive under similar (or lesser) circumstances, Petraeus received a sweetheart plea deal. In exchange for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information, Petraeus was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.

It pays to be powerful.

A Gamble Helped Black Students Thrive On the similarities between Betsy DeVos and another education philanthropist. By William Mattox

Tallahassee, Fla.

Something curious happened at a Black History Month program held at Florida A&M University last week. An actress portraying African-American educator Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) praised someone with a demographic profile eerily similar to Betsy DeVos, who earlier that day was confirmed by the Senate as education secretary. As the program unfolded, it became easy to see why the performer decided to speak up.

When Bethune started her Daytona School for Negro Girls in 1904, the education establishment had little interest in seeing young black children receive good instruction. So she looked elsewhere for help. Bethune reached out to James N. Gamble, son of the Procter & Gamble co-founder and a regular vacationer in Daytona. Bethune told Gamble she wanted more than money. She needed someone who would share her vision for giving underprivileged black children more opportunities.

Gamble was so impressed with Bethune and her students that he bought into her vision—wholeheartedly. He not only became the chairman of Bethune’s school, but enlisted the support of other wealthy businessmen, including John D. Rockefeller.

The influx of financial resources helped. Bethune had previously made school desks out of discarded boxes and crates, and ink for pens out of elderberry juice. But outside funding didn’t solve everything.

During her performance last week, Ersula Odom re-enacted the story of how Bethune and her students huddled one night in their schoolhouse as an angry mob of Ku Klux Klan members assembled outside. Suddenly, the voice of one schoolgirl pierced the darkness, singing the comforting hymn “God Will Take Care of You.” When Bethune and the other students joined in the resounding chorus, the Klansmen realized that they were up against forces they dare not cross. Sheepishly, they turned and walked away.

I realize some people think Mrs. DeVos should be disqualified from public service because she supports giving students more opportunities, including the option of attending faith-based schools where such hymns are often sung today. But I see in Mrs. DeVos echoes of James N. Gamble—another Midwestern Protestant Republican with a family fortune from a cleaning-products company. Like Gamble, Mrs. DeVos has given generously to help disadvantaged kids receive a good education, and she has fully bought into a philosophy that places the needs of children ahead of the interests of the education establishment.

That’s something that should give pause to all of the new education secretary’s detractors—especially those who last Friday stood in a schoolhouse door to block Mrs. DeVos from entering.

Mr. Mattox is director of the Marshall Center for Educational Options at the James Madison Institute.

A Step Toward Mideast Peace: Tell the Truth Netanyahu’s Washington visit is an opportunity to debunk pernicious falsehoods about Israel. Max Singer

Donald Trump ran for president pledging to throw off political correctness and tell bold truths. That’s something to keep in mind this week. On Wednesday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the White House. Thursday will bring Senate confirmation hearings for David Friedman, Mr. Trump’s nominee for ambassador to the Jewish state. Both events offer an opportunity for the fearless truth-telling that Mr. Trump promised.

The U.S. has long favored Israel, even during the relative chill of the Obama administration. Washington has nevertheless parroted or passively accepted the conventional falsehoods about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If Mr. Trump wants to advance the possibility of peace, he should begin by challenging the five big untruths that sustain the anti-Israel consensus:

• Israel occupies “Palestinian territory.” This is nonsensical: There never has been a Palestinian government that could hold any territory, meaning Israel could not have taken “Palestinian land.” Quite possibly large parts of the West Bank should become Palestinian territory, but that is a different claim.

The Trump administration should always describe the West Bank as “disputed” land and speak against the phrase “Palestinian territory”—except when used in the future tense. It should also recognize that Israel came to the territory it holds not only during a defensive war but also through historical and legal claims, including the 1922 League of Nations mandate to establish a Jewish homeland.

• Millions of Palestinian “refugees” have a “right of return” to Israel. The standard international view is that Israel has prevented five million Palestinians, many living in “refugee camps,” from returning to their homes. But practically none of these people are refugees as normally defined; rather they are the descendants of refugees. The Arab world has kept them in misery for three generations to preserve their plight as a weapon against Israel.
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Washington Institute Distinguished Fellow David Makovsky on how to repair U.S.-Israeli relations. Photo credit: Getty Images.

The U.S. has failed to challenge this false narrative. It is the principal financial supporter of Unrwa—the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East—whose sole purpose is to provide for the basic needs of these perpetual “refugees.”

Privately, American diplomats understand that the normal description of Palestinian “refugees” is a fraud and that these descendants have no legal “right of return.” A first step to peace, then, would be to end the charade and begin to dismantle Unrwa. The Trump administration might also mention the estimated 800,000 Jewish refugees who, in the late 1940s and early ’50s, were thrown out of the Arab countries where they had been living for millennia. Most of them settled in an impoverished, newborn Israel without international assistance.

• Israelis and Palestinians have comparable claims to Jerusalem. This is the best example of the false “evenhandedness” that has long characterized American policy—saying, for instance, that “Jerusalem is sacred to both religions.” Although the city’s Al Aqsa mosque is significant in Islam, Jerusalem itself has essentially no religious importance. It is not mentioned in the Quran or in Muslim prayers. It was never the capital of any Islamic empire.

Peace requires recognizing three things: that Jerusalem must remain the capital of Israel; that the city’s religious sites must be protected and free, as they have been only under the Jewish state; and that any provision for a Palestinian capital must not threaten the city’s peaceful unity. A bold truth-teller would also move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, despite the threats of a violent response, and would allow the passports of American citizens born in the capital to record that they were born in Israel.

• There was no ancient Jewish presence in Israel. Palestinian leaders insist that this is true, and that the historical Jewish temples were not actually located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This feeds their claim that the Jews came to Israel as foreign colonialists imposed by the Europeans after the Holocaust.

This falsehood can be sustained only because it is politely tolerated by the U.S. and Europe—and sometimes supported by U.N. agencies like Unesco. It works against the possibility of peace by denying the Palestinians a moral basis for negotiating with Israel. The Trump administration should contradict these absurd denials of history so often that Palestinian leaders begin to look foolish to their own people.

• The Palestinians are ready to accept a “two-state solution” to end the conflict. The U.S. has a tendency to assume that Palestinian leaders are ready to accept Israel if suitable concessions are offered. The Trump administration ought to ask: What is the evidence for this? When did the Palestinians give up their long-term commitment to destroy Israel, and which leaders backed such a dramatic change? Undoubtedly, many Palestinians are willing and even eager for peace. Yet it is still taboo in Palestinian debate to publicly suggest accepting Israel’s legitimacy or renouncing the claims of the “refugees.”

Washington is practiced at superficial evenhandedness, always issuing parallel-seeming statements about both sides. What the Trump administration can bring is genuine evenhandedness: respecting each side’s truths and rejecting each side’s falsehoods, even when this leads to a position that seems “unbalanced.” CONTINUE AT SITE

The Michael Flynn Fallout Congress should include the leaked transcripts in its Russia probes.

Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser is an opportunity for Donald Trump to stabilize his White House operation. But it’s also an opening for Congress to clarify the troubling intelligence machinations over Mr. Flynn’s 2016 campaign contacts with Russia.

Mr. Flynn became a political liability after his account of Dec. 29 phone calls with the Russian ambassador was contradicted by news reports. In his resignation letter, the former intelligence officer said he had given Vice President Mike Pence “incomplete information” about whether he had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia on these calls.

Initially Mr. Flynn claimed Russian sanctions hadn’t come up in the conversations, and that’s what the Vice President said in defending him on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” But U.S. officials then leaked to the press that transcripts of Mr. Flynn’s phone calls show that sanctions were discussed. “This was an act of trust, whether or not he misled the Vice President was the issue,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.

Fair enough, if that’s the real reason. But as troubling is the fact that Mr. Flynn may have been targeted for political destruction by intelligence sources inside the government. We wrote Tuesday that the existence of transcripts of Mr. Flynn talking with a foreign official suggests that he may have been the subject of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) warrant.

Some media outlets have reported that the FBI requested the warrant as part of the Obama Administration’s investigation into contacts between associates of Mr. Trump and Russian banks. Democrats are now demanding hearings, which they believe will expose more serious and unseemly interactions between Vladimir Putin and the Trump campaign. The House and Senate intelligence committees are already investigating Russian election meddling.

But readers should understand how rare it is for electronic intercepts of a private U.S. citizen—which Mr. Flynn was at the time—to be leaked to the press. The conversations of American citizens are supposed to be protected, lest private reputations be ruined without accountability. So it’s unsettling to read that so many in the government claim to have read the transcripts of Mr. Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador, and then spoke about them to the press.

America Snoozing Europe is waking up. When will blue-state U.S.A.? Bruce Bawer

There was a time, in the years immediately after 9/11, when I was reasonably (though not entirely) confident that we Americans would be too savvy to let ourselves be led down the primrose path of Islamization. I assumed that the alarming example of Europe – where the destructive nature of Islam’s impact was there for all to see – would be effective enough to persuade us to pull up the welcome mat and double-lock the door. What I didn’t count on was that so many of our politicians and media would do such a splendid job of covering up the facts about the European situation and whitewashing the Religion of Peace. Nor could I have imagined that the post-9/11 generation of Americans would grow up to be so thoroughly drenched in political correctness that many of them would, in fact, come to see Islam not as an violent existential threat but as the most vulnerable of victim groups.

Yes, Americans elected Trump. Red-state Americans, anyway. But coastal elites went ballistic over his executive order that sought to put a temporary halt to immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. Hollywood, the bubble-headed brain trust of blue-state America, set the tone of the backlash: Judd Apatow denounced Trump’s “ignorance and cruelty”; Patricia Arquette suggested returning the Statue of Liberty to France; John Leguizamo reminded his Twitter followers that “The pilgrims came here on the #mayflower as refugees!” Several celebrity tweets implied that Europeans would never support such a monstrous act. Yet a new poll tells otherwise. Most EU citizens, it shows, would be happy to see a total and permanent end to immigration from the Islamic world. To be specific: 71% of Poles, 65% of Austrians, 53% of Germans, 51% of Italians, 64% of Belgians, 58% of Greeks, 61% of Frenchmen, and 64% of Hungarians want Muslim immigration to stop. For good. Only in two of the ten European countries surveyed did a Muslim immigration ban not win the support of a clear majority, and even in those cases a plurality approved of a ban: in Britain, the numbers were 47% for, 23% against; in Spain, 41% to 32%.

Chatham House, the London-based think tank that conducted the survey, plainly found these results distasteful. Calling them “sobering” and attributing them (at least in part) to the influence of the so-called “radical right,” the pollsters sought to discount opposition to Muslim immigration by emphasizing that it was stronger among pensioners, the undereducated, rural types, and those “who are dissatisfied with their life” – in other words, not the right sort of people. Of course, what self-respecting think tank would be willing to admit that Europeans – having had enough of doling out welfare to immigrants who, in return, rape women and children, torment Jews and gays, commit violent crimes on an unprecedented scale, and express contempt for democracy and their infidel neighbors while tacitly supporting terrorism and sharia – are finally waking up?

How depressing that while more and more Europeans are snapping out of their self-delusions, all too many North Americans remain first-class dupes. According to the results of a Rasmussen poll that were released just the other day, 56% of Democrats actually believe that Muslims undergo serious persecution in the U.S, while only 46% think that Christians are persecuted in the Islamic world. What could be more delusional? Meanwhile, a CBS survey showed that only one in seven Democrats consider Islam to be more dangerous than any other religion and that nearly seven out of ten Democrats think Islam encourages violence to approximately the same extent as other faiths. Insane. Not to leave Canadians out, on February 16 the Parliament in Ottawa will actually consider a motion, known as M-103, that would criminalize Islamophobia. It’s a move that should elicit mass protests in the streets; but most Canadians appear to be far more worked up about Trump than about the prospect of their own government severely curtailing their free-speech rights.