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February 2018

Has Israel Grown Too Dependent on the United States? Cracks are increasingly discernible in the famous “special relationship.” Can they be repaired? If not, could Israel’s national security survive the loss of American military aid?Charles D. Freilich

Charles D. Freilich, a former deputy national security adviser in Israel, is a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center. His new book, Israeli National Security: A New Strategy for an Era of Change, is forthcoming from Oxford.

Israel’s relationship with the United States is a fundamental pillar of its national security. Militarily, diplomatically, and economically, American support has for decades been a vital strategic enabler. For consultations on emerging events, Washington is usually Israel’s first and often sole port of call, almost always the foremost one, and inevitably the primary address when planning how to respond to such events. Indeed, Israel’s reliance on the United States is so great today that the country’s very survival is at least partly dependent on it—with, as we shall see, a variety of consequences not all of which are salutary.

I. The Origins and Growth of a “Special Relationship”

First, some historical background. Contemporary readers may be surprised to learn that, until the late 1960s, the Israel-U.S. relationship was actually quite limited and even cool. Only in the aftermath of the Six-Day War (1967) and especially the Yom Kippur War (1973) did it begin to evolve into a more classic patron-client setup, and not until the 1980s did it start to become the institutionalized and strategic “special relationship” we know today.

And it truly is a special relationship: a largely unprecedented arrangement for the U.S. and a critical one for Israel, encompassing ties in all spheres of national life—military, political, economic, diplomatic, and cultural. Even through episodes of government-to-government disagreement and discord, not to mention the continual criticism of various Israeli polices by American elites of one stripe or another, popular support for Israel remains high in the U.S., by some measures higher today than ever, and the security relationship itself remains not only fundamentally strong but extraordinarily close.

Let’s count the ways. Economically, the United States is Israel’s single biggest trading partner (only the EU taken as a whole is larger), with bilateral trade in 2016 running at approximately $35.5 billion. The two countries signed a free-trade agreement in 1986, the first such bilateral deal ever concluded by the U.S. Over the years Washington has, in addition, provided emergency economic assistance and loan guarantees.

Peter Smith: The Art of the Real

You’ve heard the lie so often it has become a faux truth, one told and broadcast with such spite and frequency its propagators must be relieved they need offer only the headline shorthand ‘Trump is Putin’s stooge’. Yet the target of such enmity keeps winning. Like him or not as a man, we had all better hope that doesn’t change.

Did the FBI and Department of Justice use a dodgy and salacious dossier on Donald Trump, paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to repeatedly obtain a FISA warrant to wiretap the hapless Carter Pagem, for a time a bit player in the Trump election campaign? Did they deliberately omit to tell the judge about the provenance of the dossier? Did this mean that they wiretapped Trump Tower; which, incidentally, would have given them access the communications of Trump himself? Was Trump therefore right in March 2017 in claiming to have been wiretapped by the Dems?

The answer to all of these questions seems to be ‘yes’.

Is the whole Russian investigation a crock? Another ‘yes’. It is amazing really. After over a year of looking not one shred of evidence has been dug up to show collusion between Trump’s campaign and Putin. And yet the baseless slur continues, as it can. If nothing is found today or tomorrow, who knows what next week or month will bring if we keep digging.

Recall this all started with a suggestion that John Podesta (Clinton’s campaign head) had his emails phished (not ingeniously ‘hacked’ so far as we know) by the Russians in cahoots with Trump. The plot thickens. The Russians then passed them on to Wikileaks.

In other words, Trump and the Russians got into a (figurative or real) backroom to devise how to trick Podesta (or his staff) into revealing his email details and hence his dirty secrets. Why they stopped at Podesta, who knows? To this day we have no precise idea how it was done, but have to take it as fact from intelligence agencies that the Russians did it and, moreover, that Putin himself must have been personally complicit.

It is a joke. Where is the evidence? Apparently, you are disloyal if you ask. And, to boot, a Russian spy.

Islamic London: “Run, Hide, Tell” by Daniel Pipes

Muslim-majority areas typically consist of poor, unattractive housing projects, remote from the city center, which long ago were abandoned by their original indigenous, working-class populations. They often feature men sitting around cafes and women cooped up at home. They suffer from a range of social pathologies, including unemployment, criminal gangs, and drug-trafficking.

In some instances, store names are only in Arabic.

The Muslim presence is implicit in the intense, pervasive, and depressing security measures installed against jihadi threats of violence. These range from signs urging “Run, Hide, Tell” to bollards, barriers, and gates.

To understand the development of Islam in Western countries, I make a habit of visiting Muslim-majority areas such as Lakemba in Australia, Lodi in California, and Lunel in France. But London, England, is unique in the extent of its Islamic impress.

Muslim-majority areas typically consist of poor, unattractive housing projects, remote from the city center, which long ago were abandoned by their original indigenous, working-class populations. They often feature men sitting around cafes and women cooped up at home. They suffer from a range of social pathologies, including unemployment, criminal gangs, and drug-trafficking.

London too has such areas, and they are very large; but what makes the English capital unique is the intense Muslim presence in the very most central and expensive parts of the city, where Muslims do not constitute a majority. This presence takes two main forms.

The Cost of Illegal Immigration by Ruthie Blum

“At the federal, state, and local levels, taxpayers shell out approximately $134.9 billion to cover the costs incurred by the presence of more than 12.5 million illegal aliens, and about 4.2 million citizen children of illegal aliens.” — Matt O’Brien and Spencer Raley.

It is also rather more than the single payment of $25 billion that it will cost to build a wall — five and a half times more, and every year.

“Undocumented immigrants are at least 142% more likely to be convicted of a crime than other Arizonans. They also tend to commit more serious crimes…” — John R. Lott.

In 2015, included in the DEA’s drug-threat assessment was the fact that drug overdoses killed more people in the United States than car accidents or guns. Many of these drugs [were] smuggled in large volumes by drug cartels.”

In his State of the Union address on January 30, US President Donald J. Trump referred to the brutal murder of two 16-year-old girls from Long Island in December 2016 by members of the “savage MS-13 gang,” responsible for a spate of other gruesome killings in the area, as well.

Many of these gang members, he explained, had entered the United States illegally. “For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities,” he said.

Calling on Congress “to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed… criminal gangs to break into our country,” he listed the four pillars of his immigration-reform proposal:

A path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought to America by their parents.
The construction of a “great wall on the southern border” and enforcement by agents patrolling and securing the border.
Ending the visa lottery, “a program that randomly plans out green cards without regard for skill, merit, for the safety of American people.”
Ending the “current, broken system” of chain migration of distant relatives, and limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children.

The Memo Reveals the Coup against America The memo has been released, now it’s time to release everything. Daniel Greenfield

The Democrats and the media spent a week lying to the American people about the “memo.”

The memo was full of “classified information” and releasing” it would expose “our spying methods.” By “our,” they didn’t mean American spying methods. They meant Obama’s spying methods.

A former White House Ethics Lawyer claimed that the Nunes memo would undermine “national security.” On MSNBC, Senator Chris Van Hollen threatened that if the memo is released, the FBI and DOJ “will refuse to share information with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.”

Senator Cory Booker howled that releasing the memo was “treasonous” and might be “revealing sources and methods” and even “endangering fellow Americans in the intelligence community.”

The memo isn’t treasonous. It reveals a treasonous effort by the Democrats to use our intelligence agencies to rig an election and overturn the will of the voters.

The only two “sources” 29 are Christopher Steele, who was funded by the Clinton campaign, and a Yahoo News article, that were used to obtain a FISA warrant against a Trump associate. That Yahoo story came from Michael Isikoff, the reporter who knew about Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky but suppressed it. It was based on more leaks from Steele which the FBI and DOJ chose to ignore. Steele’s identity was already well known. The only new source revealed is Yahoo News.

No vital intelligence sources were compromised at Yahoo News. And no Yahoo News agents were killed.

The media spent a week lying to Americans about the dangers of the memo because it didn’t want them to find out what was inside. Today, the media and Dems switched from claiming that the memo was full of “classified information” that might get CIA agents killed to insisting that it was a dud and didn’t matter. Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.

Here Comes the Dems’ Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown After FISA memo, are leftists fearful of an approaching political reckoning? Bruce Thornton

To paraphrase a more recent song, it’s hard out there on a Dem. Staggered by Donald Trump’s unthinkable victory in the presidential election, Democrats have continued to be pummeled by the Trump’s tax reform, the supercharged economy, his withering tweet-scorn for them and their media flunkeys, their own failed government shut-down, and a rousing State of the Union address that raised his poll numbers and made the Democrat Congressmen in the audience look like pouting prom wallflowers.

And now comes the “Memo,” the House Intelligence Committee’s exposure of the slow-motion coup engineered by partisan FBI and DOJ functionaries, and other deep-state members of the “resistance.” Now it’s up to “we the people” to demand accountability from these abusers of the public trust and violators of the Constitution.

The intensity of the hysterical spin before and after the memo’s release has revealed the depths of anxiety over the chickens of corruption coming home to roost. Shrieks of “nuance” and “context” are desperate attempts to drown out the bad news. “How dare you!” protestations of the “professional integrity” and “sterling character” of political appointees and rank careerists in the intelligence agencies are pleas to the voters to pay no attention to the blue-state man behind the curtain.

Equally duplicitous as the Dems’ desperate misdirection is the squealing about damaging national security or intelligence gathering methods or vulnerable spies or the Constitution. But we know the FBI wanted to redact the names only to shield the possibly guilty men and women. None of the contents of the memo exposed intelligence-gathering techniques or undercover agents. And since when have progressives cared about the integrity of the Constitution? Where were they when their Messiah Obama, an alleged Constitutional scholar, trashed the Constitutional separation of powers and used an executive order to legislate the DACA program––something he said several times he couldn’t do because it was un-Constitutional?

House Memo Details Use of Steele Dossier to Spy on Trump Campaign Adviser The memo appears to confirm suspicions that a FISA court warrant targeted Carter Page based on information in the dossier funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. By Andrew C. McCarthy

What we have long suspected (see, e.g., here and here) has now been confirmed: The Obama Justice Department and the FBI used the unverified Steele dossier to convince a federal court to issue a warrant authorizing surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser. Confirmation came in the much-anticipated memorandum released today by the Republican-controlled House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The memo states that the Obama administration concealed from the court that the dossier was commissioned and paid for by the political campaign of Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Nor was the court informed that the dossier’s author, former British spy Christopher Steele, told a senior Justice Department official that he was “desperate” to prevent Trump from being elected president.

Moreover, despite presenting dossier information as probable cause on four separate occasions — for the initial FISA warrant in October 2016, and three times in the ensuing months — the FBI failed to verify the dossier’s explosive allegations and failed to inform the court that its efforts to corroborate the allegations had been unavailing. Indeed, the memo relates that the government once presented a news story to the court as corroboration for Steele’s claims, apparently unaware that Steele himself was the source for the news story.

The dossier was a compilation of Steele’s reports, based on anonymous Russian sources. His informants provided information based on accounts that were multiple levels of hearsay removed from the events they purported to describe.

The FISA court warrant targeted Carter Page, who had volunteered to serve as a Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser. The memo relates that the warrant was originally issued on October 21, 2016, and re-authorized three times thereafter. Under FISA, warrants targeting American citizens lapse after 90 days. If you’re keeping score, that means a warrant based on claims that Trump was corruptly aligned with the Kremlin was renewed twice after Donald Trump became president.

How Iran seduces the Europeans Jed Babbin

On January 12, President Trump set a deadline for Congress — and the five nations that joined President Obama in signing his nuclear weapons deal with Iran — to make major changes to the deal. He said it was the last chance to either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States would withdraw from it.

Nine days later Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Zarif, in an op-ed in the Financial Times, one of Europe’s most highly-regarded newspapers, presented his European counterparts with arguments for “security cooperation” in a new “post-Western global order” artfully stated in the terms of the European leaders’ most fervently-held globalist beliefs.

It was an elegant attempt at diplomatic seduction, aiming to increase European — and Iranian — strong opposition to any changes in the agreement. Mr. Zarif appealed to Germany, France and Britain for their appeasement of Iran stated in the diplomatic terms those nations’ leaders use most often.

Mr. Zarif posed what he called an opportunity for nations to cooperate in a post-ISIS world in pursuit of regional strength in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. He argued that the historical modes of forming alliances have become obsolete because they assume a commonality of interests.

Instead, he proposes “security networking” that is ” Iran’s innovation to address issues that range from divergence of interests to power and size disparities.”

Jerry Nadler’s Leaked Rebuttal of the Nunes Memo Is Very Weak Representative Nadler is a shrewd lawyer but he has spent his life in legislatures rather than courtrooms. By Andrew C. McCarthy

Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has written a six-page response to the FISA-abuse memo published Friday by the committee’s Republican staffers under the direction of Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.).

I won’t get sidetracked by the fact that Nadler’s “Dear Democratic Colleague” letter has been “exclusively obtained” by NBC News — i.e., that it was leaked to the media, whereas the so-called Nunes memo was provided to committee Democrats before publication so they could seek changes. The Nunes memo had to be subjected to a rules-based process because of classified-information issues. The Nadler memo does not seem to contain classified information; it just responds to what the Republicans have produced, which is now public record.

I don’t agree with Jerry Nadler’s politics, but he is an able lawyer. What surprises me about his retort is how weak it is.

He posits four points, the last two of which are strictly political red meat. Of the other two, one provides an inaccurate explanation of the probable-cause standard in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA); the other is an ill-conceived argument about Christopher Steele’s credibility. The latter provides a welcome opportunity to confront a wayward theory — which I’ll call “vicarious credibility” — that has been vigorously argued by apologists for the FBI and Justice Department’s handling of the Steele dossier.

Obama’s Bunker Festers in The Swamp By Joan Swirsky

Once upon a time a seasoned political operative ran for President of the United States against a candidate who had virtually no political experience.

She––Democrat Ms. Hillary Clinton––former First Lady of Arkansas, former First Lady of the United States, former U.S. Senator from New York, former Secretary of State under the faux “president” Barack Obama, was clearly the favorite.

Her opponent––Republican Mr. Donald J. Trump––the billionaire builder who lived in the American version of the Palace of Versailles in Manhattan and in several other resplendent homes around the country and the world, who hosted two wildly successful TV shows, who owned casinos and built golf courses and was a favorite of tabloid magazines, and who had been lionized and courted by the Hollywood crowd, the media whores, and both Democrats and Republicans for his generous contributions, was the clear loser.

Ha ha ha sputtered the political experts. The idea that this neophyte, this (pardon the expression) capitalist could go up against a representative of the outgoing Big Government regime––which brought us socialized medicine (Obamacare) and socialized education (Common Core) and 94-million unemployed Americans and strangulating regulations and horrific trade deals and a foreign policy that bowed deeply to our enemies and spit in the faces of our faithful allies––well that just struck the experts as preposterous.