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May 2017


Recent stories about President Trump’s initiatives in the Middle East have been causing consternation among Israel supporters.

First the World Jewish Congress president, Ron Lauder, reportedly told a group of Israeli politicians that the president was confident he could persuade the Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to make concessions that would renew the peace process.

The only concession that matters, though, is to abandon the Palestinian goal of destroying Israel. That one wouldn’t currently seem to be on the cards.

The next day, Prime Minister Netanyahu was reported to be furious with Lauder for having briefed Abbas before he met President Trump.

Then came a report that the White House had told Netanyahu that Trump had decided not to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem after all. Israel promptly denied this report, saying no such communication from the Trump administration about the embassy move had been received.

These reports may all be fake news. They have deepened nevertheless the mood of nervousness and even despair among Israel supporters after Trump invited Abbas to the White House for what seemed to be a warm and encouraging meeting.http://melaniephillips.com/change-narrative-mr-president/

The Palestinians say they were pleasantly surprised. The London-based Arab newspaper Al-Hayat reported senior Palestinian officials saying Trump might use his upcoming visit to Israel to announce the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Israel supporters fear all this suggests Trump is going down the same peace-process rabbit hole as previous administrations.

Such reports, however, should be taken with a large dose of salt. The first relied on what Israelis said Lauder said, which he may or may not have done; Trump may or may not have thought Abbas would make concessions; Netanyahu may or may not have been furious; Trump may or may not be planning a resumed peace process. It’s all spin and hype.

What we do know is this. Trump wants to broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, acting as a “mediator, an arbitrator or a facilitator.” He has said so repeatedly.

Ahead of his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority later this month, Trump will stop in Saudi Arabia. He wants to show that he respects the Muslim world in order to seek Saudi help in promoting a regional approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and he wants Arab leaders to help pressure Abbas to make concessions.

Well, over the years Palestinian “concessions” have all popped like soap bubbles as soon as they are floated. I am told, however, by those who know the president that he will never, ever betray Israel.

And the fact is that he has set the Palestinians a high bar to jump. They must stop paying terrorists’ families; they must stop teaching their children to hate Jews. And there may be other requirements he will make.

The Opening of the Liberal Mind Wesleyan president Michael S. Roth on why universities need affirmative action for the study of conservative, libertarian and religious ideas.

There is no denying the left-leaning political bias on American college campuses. As data from UCLA’s Higher Education Institute show, the professoriate has moved considerably leftward since the late 1980s, especially in the arts and humanities. In New England, where my own university is located, liberal professors outnumber their conservative colleagues by a ratio of 28:1.

How does this bias affect the education we offer? I’d like to think that we left-leaning professors are able to teach the works of conservative thinkers with the same seriousness and attention that we devote to works on our own side of the political spectrum—but do we?

It is hard to be optimistic about this challenge in the wake of recent episodes of campus intolerance for views on the right. Would-be social-justice warriors at Middlebury College transformed the mild-mannered political scientist Charles Murray into a free-speech hero, and campus appearances by the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald and the right-wing provocateur Ann Coulter have been handled badly, turning both women into media martyrs.

Most colleges, of course, host controversial speakers without incident and without much media coverage. In March, for instance, Franklin & Marshall College gave a platform to the Danish editor who published cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad. There were protests and arguments but no attempt to silence the speaker.

Academics worried about attacks on free speech have felt the need to respond, and they have articulated sound principles. Princeton professors Robert P. George and Cornel West recently attracted lots of supporters for a statement underscoring that “all of us should seek respectfully to engage with people who challenge our views” and that “we should oppose efforts to silence those with whom we disagree—especially on college and university campuses.”

The issue, however, isn’t whether the occasional conservative, libertarian or religious speaker gets a chance to speak. That is tolerance, an appeal to civility and fairness, but it doesn’t take us far enough. To create deeper intellectual and political diversity, we need an affirmative-action program for the full range of conservative ideas and traditions, because on too many of our campuses they seldom get the sustained, scholarly attention that they deserve.

Such an effort can take many different forms. In 2013, Wesleyan decided to join Vassar College in working with the Posse Foundation to bring cohorts of military veterans to campus on full scholarships. These students with military backgrounds are older than our other undergraduates and have very different life experiences; more of them also hold conservative political views.

One notable episode illustrates how this program has contributed to broadening discussion on campus. A student named Bryan Stascavage, who had served almost six years as a U.S. Army military intelligence analyst in Iraq and Haiti, came to Wesleyan to study social sciences. In the fall of 2015, he published an op-ed in the student newspaper questioning the Black Lives Matter movement, which enjoys widespread support here. He asked whether the protests were “actually achieving anything positive” because of the damage done by the extremists in their ranks.

The essay caused an uproar, including demands by activists to cut funding to the school newspaper. Most students, faculty and administrators recognized that free speech needed to be defended, especially for unpopular views. They rose to the challenge of responding substantively (if sometimes heatedly) to Bryan’s argument.

‘I don’t want to be in an environment where everybody thinks the same as me, because you just don’t learn that way.’

—Wesleyan student Bryan Stascavage

As for Bryan himself, he felt that he had “field-tested” his ideas. As he told the PBS NewsHour in an interview about his experience at Wesleyan, “I don’t want to be in an environment where everybody thinks the same as me, because you just don’t learn that way.”

At Wesleyan, we now plan to deepen our engagement with the military. We have been working with the U.S. Army to bring senior military officers to campus, and starting next year, the first of them will arrive to teach classes on the relationship between military institutions and civil society. CONTINUE AT SITE


Thomas Paine, a founding father of our nation ( 1737-1809) famously wrote: ” These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

The leftist media and their acolytes are now shrieking about President (not theirs) Donald Trump and his firing of James Comey. More troubling is the number of “summer and sunshine” Republicans who are wringing their hands and speaking in hushed tones of impeachment. I don’t deride their patriotism but marvel at their buckling knees.

Donald Trump makes it easy for the them. He twitters and sputters, and he is often crude with a tin ear for public relations, but he has broken no law….and James Comey deserved to be fired.

Tom Bailey writes in Spiked online http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/comey-hero-of-the-resistance-please/19810#.WRbggcYpCUk

Before the firing, however, Democrats were condemning Comey, and even calling for his head. A few days before the presidential election, Comey wrote a letter to Congress saying the FBI would reopen its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Back then, Schumer said he’d lost confidence in Comey. Democratic lawmakers were outraged by his actions. Democrat representative Steve Cohen even called for him to resign.

Comey’s decision to reopen the Clinton investigation gave him top billing on the Democrat establishment’s list of extenuating circumstances that cost it the election. He was the man who cost Clinton her crown. Clinton herself partly blamed him for her loss.

He was a Trumpist in a federal windbreaker jacket, people suggested. Some even said the FBI itself was politically compromised and out to get the Clintons. As a writer for the liberal magazine Mother Jones argued, ‘The FBI is full of middle-aged white guys’ with an anti-Clinton bent, due to their listening to ‘lots of Rush Limbaugh’.

Now, post-firing, as if he were entering the federal witness protection programme, Comey is viewed entirely differently; he’s becoming an almost legendary figure. He’s no longer a Trump stooge – he’s a fallen member of the #Resistance. He’s been reimagined as the man who was about to bring down Trump.”



The Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR) is the UK’s first university rankings for free speech. We survey British universities, examining the policies and actions of universities and students’ unions, and rank them using our traffic-light system. Read our analysis below and get clued up on the bans and bureaucracy stifling free debate.

Data accurate up until January 2017.

“Why is There So Much Politics in Arabic Class?”Swarthmore College

“Why is There So Much Politics in Arabic Class?”
I’ve been browsing the Spring 2017 issue of the Swarthmore College Alumni Bulletin. It’s clear that along with all the other socio-political stances that comprise the often bizarre and contradictory (women’s rights, Islamophilia) package deal of ideologies and attitudes of the Left, an anti-Israel default position is integral to that publication.

Regular readers of my blog may remember that not so very long ago I exposed the sympathetic publicity given by the Bulletin to visiting professor and alumnus (class of ’06) Sa’ed Atshan, who deplores Israel’s very existence.

The current Bulletin assures us that he has again

“completed his annual class trip with his Swarthmore students to Israel and Palestine. He’ll continue to inspire future generations as as assistant professor of peace and conflict studies.”

There’s plenty regarding Atshan by Canary Mission here

Under the heading “Global Thinking” the current Bulletin has a feature article by staff writer Elizabeth Slocum about another anti-Israel activist, Missoula, Montana high school Arabic teacher Brendan Work (’10).

Beneath the title “Speaking the Same Language: His immersion in Arabic became a lesson in empathy” Slocum tells us:

‘Brendan Work ’10 jokingly tells his students that they are learning “an enemy language.”

“They sometimes ask, ‘Why is there so much politics in Arabic class?’” says Work … “Well, when you’re learning Spanish or French, there just isn’t an international conflict with the U.S. that involves those speakers now.”

This is important context for his students, who must work through so much history and tension tied up in the study of the language through class discussions on the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Iraq War, and Syrian refugees. He seeks to offer them a point of view beyond bias or preconceived notions that he honed as a reporter. [Emphasis added here and below]

“I knew I wanted to find employment at the intersection of Arabic and journalism,” says Work, who studied the language at the College as a comparative literature major. “I was looking for the big story, so I bought a one-way ticket into the occupied territory,” at a time when Palestine was submitting its statehood bid to the U.N.

Work secured a job at a small press agency in Bethlehem where he improved his language skills …before heading into the field as a reporter and photographer. As Work detailed the struggles of those in the conflict zone, he realized the Arab narrative was often told from a limited perspective.

For example, while covering a planned protest near the West Bank wall on the day of the statehood bid, a clash escalated and a Palestinian teen was struck by a tear-gas canister. (A Reuters photographer captured an image of Work aiding the boy moments after the violence.) Denied access to the nearest hospital because it was on the other side of the wall, the youth ultimately lost his eye. Later, out of concern, Work met with the teen’s parents…

“Their thinking was, ‘Resistance is our reality. In America, I thought, protests happened out of a sense – rather than a reality – of injustice.”

The UN’s Obsession against Israel by Pierre Rehov

Israel is thus the only country on the planet to benefit from the doubtful privilege of being scrutinized on the least of its actions, through an agenda decided by its enemies.

There is also no need to go back to 1976, to remember the infamous UN Resolution 3379, “Zionism is a form of Racism,” under the Secretary-Generalship of a former Nazi, Kurt Waldheim, a week after Uganda’s brutal Idi Amin received a triumphant reception at the UN headquarters.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) met once again on March 20 to debate “Agenda Item 7,” a mandatory subject of debate since June 2006, the only one whose goal is systematically to condemn the Israeli democracy for crimes the existence of which remain to be proven.

The agenda, officially designed to assess the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories, in the light of the reports submitted by Fatah, the PLO and various NGOs, is part of a wider campaign, carried out by countries such as Libya, Algeria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Sudan and Yemen. Israel is thus the only country on the planet to benefit from the doubtful privilege of being scrutinized on the least of its actions, through an agenda decided by its enemies.

If it were only a question of expressing this obsession, born out of an old habit for the Arab-Muslim dictatorships to turn the Hebrew state into their scapegoat, responsible for all the misfortunes plaguing their societies, Agenda Item 7 would be a mere oddity, especially since the session is regularly boycotted by a majority of Western countries, and systematically by the United States.

Unfortunately, this Israelphobia has been spreading throughout the United Nations. In 1948, when Israel, after being officially recognized as a sovereign state by virtually all Western democracies, had just repelled the genocidal aggression of five neighboring countries, and hundreds of thousands of Jews were fleeing the oppression of Arab dictatorships, the UN gave birth to UNRWA, an organization designed to help Palestinian refugees exclusively. This was despite there already being a program for refugees at the UN, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Our Fragile Civilization By Richard Fernandez

Mark Steyn argued that exclusively blaming the other political side for your troubles can provide false comfort. When everything is falling apart the problem is probably bigger than any one point of view. “The point about civilizational collapse is that it’s a civilization that’s collapsing, not merely your political arrangements.” Take the ransomware attacks which paralyzed Britain’s national health service which forced the cancellation of operations and other medical treatments. “A global cyberattack leveraging hacking tools widely believed by researchers to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency hit international shipper FedEx, disrupted Britain’s health system and infected computers in dozens of other countries on Friday.” Everybody was affected. It didn’t matter how you voted.

The incident revealed at least ten NHS trusts still relied on the Windows XP. The instrusion allegedly relied on NSA tools stolen during the Obama administration from a contractor. “According to one source, that includes more than 75 percent of the hacking tools belonging to the Tailored Access Operations. TAO is an elite hacking unit that develops and deploys some of the world’s most sophisticated software exploits.”

An unnamed US official told the paper that Martin allegedly hoarded more than 75 percent of the TAO’s library of hacking tools. It’s hard to envision a scenario under which a theft of that much classified material by a single individual would be possible.

When Shadow Brokers appeared in October, it published hundreds of TAO-developed exploits, including one that, for years, had exploited what was then a critical unknown vulnerability in a widely used firewall sold by Cisco Systems. Last month, the person or group said it was shutting down in a post that dumped 61 Windows-formatted binary files. Whether Martin was somehow involved with Shadow Brokers or was a compulsive hoarder working alone, the events underscore serious security lapses inside the NSA.

It was a long time coming. The defection of Edward Snowden, the Office of Personnel Management data breach and the now infamous Hillary hacks all predated Trump though the vulnerabilities will probably continue under him. The list of commercial data breaches is also stunningly long. “It is estimated that in 2015 alone, 707 million records were exposed as a result of data breaches”. These suggest that too many of our systems may be built on rotten props or false assumptions. The ice looked solid enough until the weight of civilization stepped on it and things fell through.

One of the weaknesses of the anti-Trump resistance is their inability to address the factors which brought the current administration into existence. Too many think it’s all about one man. This may explain why the Resistance to the Resistance has been surprisingly hard to push off the Hill and why Bernie Sanders is the most popular Democratic politician in America. The key insight into the problem is that people didn’t vote for Trump but against Hillary, PC, and the ending of their world. Charles Sykes in New York Times noted this element of sheer reaction. “Mr. Trump’s most vocal supporters don’t have to defend his specific actions as long as they make liberal heads explode”.

A hundred years ago the liberal project seemed easily attainable. “I have seen the future and it works,” wrote Lincoln Steffens, yet it’s proved surprisingly hard to close the sale. The reason why the masses should reject such a brilliant vision were hard to explain. Despite Leftist fears their foes were never more than a coalition of amateurs with no particular ideology. The alt-right didn’t even know it was alt-right until they were properly analyzed and labeled. CONTINUE AT SITE

Billboard Depicting Trump as a NAZI Funded with Taxpayer Dollars By Debra Heine

An outlandish billboard depicting President Donald Trump surrounded by a nuclear blast and money signs resembling swastikas was funded with taxpayer dollars, Judicial Watch alleged Thursday.

The billboard, erected in downtown Phoenix on March 17, also features a pin of a Russian flag on the president’s lapel. And if you look closely, the mushroom clouds look like clown faces. The work was commissioned by “arts advocate” Beatrice Moore, a longtime patron of the arts, and created by Los Angeles-based artist Karen Fiorito.

Fiorito told azfamily.com back in March that she chose the offensive symbolism to reflect “power, money, and dictatorship.”

When neighbor Jeff Whiteman first saw the Nazi Trump image staring “right back at him through his kitchen window,” he was appalled. “It’s pretty drastic. I thought swastikas were very crude and violent,” he said.

But Fiorito was unapologetic. “There are people who say, ‘Well, it’s offensive,’ but the current administration, its policies, the people that are put in power are offensive to me,” she said.

“I worked with Karen Fiorito over 10 years ago, and she created the anti-Bush W billboard for this site then,” Moore posted on her Facebook page on March 17. “Deciding we needed an anti-Trump billboard, I contacted Karen and hired her to design the current signage for the billboard, which we had printed and installed.”

University of Buffalo Students Shout Down Robert Spencer Lecture on Jihad By Robert Spencer

Last Monday, I appeared at the University of Buffalo at the invitation of the courageous students of Young Americans for Freedom. They have to put up with campus Left-fascist thuggery on a daily basis, while I was able to leave Buffalo the morning after the event.

I say I “appeared,” because to say “I spoke” would be exaggerating a bit. Rather, I spoke a few sentences and made a couple of points in between being screamed at by Leftist and Islamic supremacist fascists who think they’re opposing fascism.

The Spectrum, the student newspaper of the University at Buffalo, reported:

Robert Spencer couldn’t speak for more than 30 seconds without students shouting and cursing at him.

Spencer planned to speak to students about “the dangers of jihad in today’s world” but constant heckling from the crowd made it near impossible for him to complete a full sentence.

Indeed. The raucous student mob, of course, believes it represents the side of all that is good and righteous. These students have been hoodwinked into thinking that “Islamophobes,” rather than jihad terrorists, are killing people around the world.

For example, one man held a sign that read “Queers Against Islamophobia.” The crowd booed lustily when I attempted to read from Islamic authorities about Islam’s death penalty for homosexuality. Even to read from Islamic sources is hate, apparently, at the University at Buffalo — unless, of course, one endorses such penalties rather than oppose them.

By shutting down any discussion of the motivating ideology of the jihad threat and consigning it all to the realm of “hatred” and “bigotry,” the student mob at the University of Buffalo enables that threat to grow. One day, the Leftists who screamed, heckled, and booed as I tried to speak may very well experience the consequences of their actions, carried out by those with whom they thought they stood in solidarity.

The Spectrum article did capture one thing I managed to say:

The attempt to silence someone who has a differing viewpoint was a “quintessentially fascist act, and you are manifesting it in a wonderful way tonight,” said Spencer.

There was also this:

Spencer frequently discusses terrorism by Muslims as being religiously motivated, an argument that has put him in the cross-hairs of American Muslims who say his interpretation of Islam is dangerously inaccurate and perverts their faith.

Those American Muslims have a big problem on their hands, because in reality, I offer no interpretation of Islam at all. I only report on how Muslims interpret Islam, which all too often involves justifications of and exhortations to violence. They are anxious to silence me because they don’t want Americans to know how jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify hatred, violence, and supremacism. CONTINUE AT SITE

A ‘Muslim girls only prom’ is a very bad idea By Silvio Canto, Jr.

We are living in weird times:

The state of Texas has to pass a law to get some county officials to follow the law;

Harvard University approved a “black only” graduation; and

A school in Detroit is holding a prom for Muslim girls: With the goal of creating a “safe space” in mind, a Detroit school has set out to hold a girls-only prom to celebrate traditional Muslim customs.

It’s being created for girls who would otherwise be prohibited by their ultraconservative Muslim families from going to regular proms, where attendees are allowed to have fun and dance with members of the opposite sex in good old American tradition.

Hamtramck High School’s girls-only “Princess Prom” was first organized in 2012 by a group of five Muslim girls to give them the opportunity to go to a “safe space” prom.

In 2016, 230 girls showed up. This year, they’re expecting at least 250 attendees.

Let me show respect for Muslim traditions. I understand that prom nights, or the way that some girls dress up, may violate some of their religious principles.

However, this is a public school district. I thought that we settled that issue back in the 1950s when President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock, Arkansas!

What about a prom for ultraconservative Catholic families who want their daughters and dates in a separate environment away from talk about Roe v Wade or same-sex marriage opinions? Or Jewish kids?

The left’s silence about all of this is the other story. Where is the outrage and editorials?

With all due respect to the parents of these young girls, they should send their daughters to a private school if they want this kind of special treatment. Again, it’s a public school and no one gets a special prom.