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March 2018

What Is a “Refugee”? The Jews from Morocco versus the Palestinians from Israel by Alan M. Dershowitz

The Arab exodus from Israel in 1948 was the direct result of a genocidal war declared against the newly established Jewish state by all of its Arab neighbors, including the Arabs of Israel… approximately 700,000 local Arabs were displaced.

Approximately the same number of Jews were displaced from their Arab homelands during this period. Nearly all of them could trace their heritage back thousands of years, well before the Muslims and Arabs became the dominant population. …The most significant difference is between how Israel dealt with the Jews who were displaced and how the Arab and Muslim word dealt with the Palestinians who had been displaced by a war they started. Israel integrated its brothers and sisters from the Arab and Muslim world. The Arab world put its Palestinian brothers and sisters in refugee camps, treating them as political pawns — and festering sores —in its persistent war against the Jewish state.

The time has come – indeed it is long overdue – for the world to stop treating these Palestinians as refugees. That status ended decades ago. The Jews who came to Israel from Morocco many years ago are no longer refugees. Neither are the relatives of the Palestinians who have lived outside of Israel for nearly three quarters of a century.

A visit to Morocco shows that the claim of Palestinians to a “right of return” has little historic, moral or legal basis.

Jews lived in Morocco for centuries before Islam came to Casablanca, Fez and Marrakesh. The Jews, along with the Berbers, were the backbone of the economy and culture. Now their historic presence can be seen primarily in the hundreds of Jewish cemeteries and abandoned synagogues that are omnipresent in cities and towns throughout the Maghreb.

I visited Maimonides’s home, now a restaurant. The great Jewish philosopher and medical doctor taught at a university in Fez. Other Jewish intellectuals helped shape the culture of North Africa, from Morocco to Algeria to Tunisia to Egypt. In these countries, Jews were always a minority but their presence was felt in every area of life.

Don’t Meet with Kim NRO

If President Trump indeed conceives of his presidency as a reality-TV show, he pulled off his greatest cliff-hanging plot device yet with his quick agreement to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

This is stunning improvisatory diplomacy and also, we believe, a very bad idea. North Korean leaders have long sought summits with American presidents as the ultimate means of international legitimacy. And what has Kim done to deserve this honor? Over the last nine months or so, he murdered Otto Warmbier, threatened Guam, and launched multiple missile tests, including two that flew over Japan.

Kim reached out for a meeting with Trump via South Korean intermediaries with hazy assurances he is willing to discuss denuclearization. The gambit may reflect the squeeze Pyongyang is feeling from sanctions that the Trump administration has, to its credit, steadily ratcheted up. But it is also straight from the regime’s playbook. Its pattern over the decades has been to buy time and get relief from sanctions, while continuing to pursue its core strategic goal of developing nuclear weapons and an advanced missile capability.

The North may believe that Trump is an easy mark for the latest iteration of this approach. The president is not given to extensive preparation or attention to detail, and his recent White House meetings on immigration and guns demonstrate a negotiator who is eager to tell his interlocutors what they want to hear, even if it is counter to his administration’s policy. Trump will be under pressure from South Korea and from his State Department to be conciliatory, and the temptation to get an agreement, any agreement, to wave around as an against-the-odds diplomatic achievement will be considerable.

Fugitive Cities Have Harbored 10,000 Criminal-Alien Recidivists By Deroy Murdock

The phrase “sanctuary cities” is warm and welcoming. Sanctuaries are safe, cozy, and sometimes therapeutic. This term is also a deceptive euphemism for something thoroughly unacceptable.

Conservatives redefined the debate on the “estate tax” when 60 Plus Association founder Jim Martin rechristened it the “Death Tax.” Likewise, those who seek law, order, and sanity in immigration should refer to “sanctuary cities” as “fugitive cities.”

Anyone who hides a wanted criminal from federal officials could be prosecuted for harboring a fugitive. According to 18 U.S. Code § 1071, it is “an offense to harbor or conceal any person for whose arrest a warrant or process has been issued, so as to prevent the fugitive’s discovery and arrest.” Also, 8 U.S. Code § 1324 prohibits sheltering illegal aliens from authorities. Breaking these laws can cost up to five years behind bars.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) lists Boston, New Orleans, West Palm Beach, and 31 other municipalities as fugitive cities. Some 135 fugitive counties span the nation. California, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont are fugitive states. Washington, D.C. is another fugitive jurisdiction. So far, the mayors, commissioners, and governors behind this rampant anarchy suffer few if any consequences for violating these laws, in letter or at least in spirit.

If only illegal-alien maids and busboys dodged Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other authorities in fugitive locales, this would be bad enough. But lawless politicians, mainly Democrats, shield often-deadly illegal-alien criminals from federal lawmen. These liberals protect foreign lawbreakers, often with dangerous and deadly results for law-abiding American citizens.

New York Times Blames Israel For Stalin’s Antisemitism by Ira Stoll

The New York Times art critic last seen complaining that a Jewish museum exhibit was insufficiently sympathetic to the Nazi Adolf Eichmann is at it again.https://www.algemeiner.com/2018/03/08/new-york-times-blames-israel-for-stalins-antisemitism/#

The latest piece from the critic, Jason Farago, is a review of an exhibit at the Jewish Museum Vienna. The exhibit explores Jewish involvement in Communism.

Farago’s inaccuracy is on display from the start of his story, which appears under the headline “The Jews Who Dreamed of Utopia.” He writes:

Step into the Jewish Museum Vienna, just off the main shopping drag of this imperial city, and you will be greeted by a bust of Karl Marx, the descendant of rabbis who would call religion the “opiate of the masses.” Dour, wild-haired Karl presides over the first gallery of an ambitious, searching show on religion and revolution, uniting paintings, posters, propaganda, film clips, and a fair amount of Soviet kitsch. Its romantic title — “Comrade. Jew. We Only Wanted Paradise on Earth” — sets the tone for an extensive overview of the dreams and nightmares of communism and international socialism, as seen through the lives and work of Jewish politicians, philosophers and artists: not just Marx, but also Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, El Lissitzky, and many others.

Farago calls Marx “Jewish” and “the descendant of rabbis” without telling Times readers that Marx’s parents had both converted to Christianity. Marx himself was formally converted to Christianity at age six and confirmed as a Christian at age 15, according to the Encyclopaedia Judaica.

Hedy Lamarr – the 1940s ‘bombshell’ who helped invent wifi Pamela Hutchinson

The actor, who depicted film’s first female orgasm, was well known for her scandalous love life and sultry beauty. Now, a new documentary explores how her scientific talents were vastly overlooked.

Hedy Lamarr, the star MGM called “the most beautiful woman in the world”, had two of the worst-kept secrets in Hollywood. One of them, she could never escape until long after her career was over. The other, the press took little interest in at the time – but since her death in 2000, this is the story that has come to define her. A new documentary about Lamarr’s life, released this weekend, encapsulates both stories – one about sex and the other about science – in the innuendo of its title: Bombshell. Lamarr’s story is one of a brilliant woman who was consistently underestimated. It also gives us the clearest possible illustration of why on-screen representation matters – of all the parts that Lamarr was given to play, none of them was as fantastic, or inspirational, as her real life.

The actor, who was born Hedwig Kiesler in Vienna in 1914, was given her new surname by Louis B Mayer when she signed for MGM in 1937. He named her after the studio’s silent-era vamp Barbara La Marr – intending that her dark, heavy-lidded beauty should remind people of MGM’s sizzling back catalogue, not her own. Back in Europe she had made a film that was too hot for MGM’s family-values ethos. Gustav Machaty’s Ecstasy (1933) starred a teenage Hedy as a frustrated bride who finds fulfilment in an affair with a young man: she appears completely nude and performs what is probably the first on-screen female orgasm. Lamarr herself said that her movements in the love scene were prompted by the director shouting instructions and sticking her with a safety pin, but the effect, in this atmospheric, heavily symbolic and near-silent drama, is remarkably intense. The film was banned in the US, but screened illicitly there for years, and no matter how many hits she had at MGM, and despite the studio’s efforts, Lamarr was frequently referred to as the “Ecstasy girl”.

Anthony Daniels Free Speech’s Emboldened Enemies

At a recent literary festival it was not enough for those who disagreed with a fellow speaker merely to protest her words and sentiments. Rather, they assaulted patrons and filled the air with threats and menaces while the police, as usual, did nothing. Free speech, it seems, is now a public nuisance

It is difficult to estimate the strength of the tide against free speech in the Western world: in other words to navigate safely between the Scylla of panic and the Charybdis of complacency. But recently I have had two experiences that suggest to me that our attachment to freedom of speech is by no means so strong as to be unbreakable, and that those who wish to restrict it are a good deal more active and passionate, though not necessarily more numerous, than are those who want to defend it. In a world of monomaniacs, the reasonably balanced man, the man who sees the world as “so various, so beautiful, so new”, is at a perpetual disadvantage, engaged as he is on asymmetric (and boring) warfare against the fanatics of the latest mad orthodoxy.

Our current monomania is that of transsexualism which, as with all modern monomanias, is like the dawn that comes up like thunder outer Berkeley ’crost the Bay. Yesterday, for example, I read in the Times that the National Association of Head Teachers in Britain has issued “guidance” (the kind that communist dictators used to issue when they visited locomotive repair workshops or sausage factories, their words of wisdom on every subject being taken down by scribes), to the effect that there should be books in all schools for children under the age of eleven about “transgender” parents, and that “trans people, their issues and experiences”, should be “celebrated across the school”. This raises the interesting question of how exactly one celebrates transsexualism: dancing round a maypole hung with packets of oestrogen or testosterone, perhaps?

Jill Abramson, Voodoo Priestess By Michael Walsh

The first, and so far, last, female editor of the New York Times has found a second career as a spokeswoman for the lunatic Left, writing in the pages of Britain’s Guardian. Still preaching to the Upper West Side, however, Ms. Abramson has saved the money graf for last in her latest column:

It’s easy to look at what’s happening in Washington DC and despair. That’s why I carry a little plastic Obama doll in my purse. I pull him out every now and then to remind myself that the United States had a progressive, African American president until very recently. Some people find this strange, but you have to take comfort where you can find it in Donald Trump’s America.

Some people… but on to the main story, in which Abramson is among the last to the party, hopefully speculating that a “blue wave” will demolish president Trump and the GOP this fall. Why, just look at Texas! And all those strong women!

With new Democratic voters racing to the polls in big numbers in Tuesday’s primaries, Texas is looking purple rather than Republican red. That’s big news, especially on the heels of Democrats winning recently in Alabama, where Doug Jones beat Roy Moore, and Virginia, where Democrat Ralph Northam was elected governor.

Though their optimism may be premature, national Democrats think Ted Cruz can be defeated in November by a well-funded liberal House member from El Paso with the name of Beto O’Rourke, who just won his state’s Democratic Senate nomination.
Republican gloom in Washington DC is palpable, with White House chaos, Donald Trump’s sinking approval ratings and incumbent retirements piling up. This week brought news that Mississippi’s long-serving Thad Cochran is leaving the Senate. That has left the Republican party searching for a replacement strong enough to defeat a Roy Moore-like rightwinger in an upcoming primary from which Cochran has decided to withdraw. And a special House election in Pennsylvania next week looks dicey.

At the Box Office and Voting Booth, Leftist Fantasies Bomb By Andrew Klavan

Early on in a life spent studying the art of storytelling, I came upon an interesting example of narrative power. In his encyclopedic study of mythology, The Masks of God, Joseph Campbell quotes an essay by German ethnologist Leo Frobenius. Frobenius tells of a little girl who plays with three matchsticks, pretending they are Hansel, Gretel and the witch. After a time, she lets out a shriek of terror. When her father asks her what’s the matter, she replies, “Daddy! Daddy! Take the witch away!” In her imagination, the matchstick has become the witch she pretended it was.

Something similar has happened to the Democratic Party and its communications arm, by which I mean so-called journalists and Hollywood entertainers. They have convinced themselves that their duty to defeat the demonic evil of Donald Trump overrides their obligations to do their various jobs. Instead of governing, informing and entertaining us, they have spun out a fairy tale of heroic resistance against authoritarian wickedness, conspiracy and corruption. And now, like the little girl in the anecdote, they are shrieking in terror because they believe Donald Trump is what they pretended he is instead of what he is in fact.

What is the president, in fact? Well, without dabbling in psychology or mind-reading — that is, judging only by what we know of his presidential record so far — he seems to be a run-of-the mill conservative Republican who is getting quite a lot done. Oh, and he has an obstreperous personality and a big mouth.

Because most people live in something vaguely resembling the real world, the disparity between the left’s hysteria — their imaginings of Russian conspiracy, of Gestapo governance, of abusive power — and the facts of Trump’s actual presidency — tax cuts, regulation rollbacks, Constitutional judges and the occasional unruly tweet — makes the self-serious emergency activism of the “resistance” seem like a child’s game, a silly fantasy.

And so, instead of the hero’s welcome the left always seems to be expecting, the people keep giving them the bum’s rush.

Weepy former man Jimmy Kimmel acknowledged as much in his opening monologue at the Oscars, “Of the nine best picture nominees only two of them made more than a hundred million dollars. But that’s not the point. We don’t make films like Call me By Your Name for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence.” CONTINUE AT SITE

A.O. Scott’s Vision of America By Marilyn Penn

In the Times’ film critic’s review of “A Wrinkle in Time,” he states: “It is the first $100 million movie directed by an African-American woman, and the diversity of the cast is both a welcome innovation and the declaration of a new norm. This is how movies should look from now on, which is to say, how they should have looked all along.” (NYT 3/9)
I assume that by this, he means that movies should accurately reflect what America actually looks like today.

Currently, whites still comprise the majority of our population; Hispanics are over 17%, Blacks are 14%, Asians are 6% and Native Americans are 2%. But if Mr. Scott is referring to how this country looks, he should consider that at least 33% of our population is obese, 8% are disabled, 3% are LGBTQ and 3% are anorexic. If we’re insisting that diversity represent an accurate picture of America, then surely the 33% obese demands greater representation in our films than the handful of actors he can name. And surely there should be many more of these people in all walks of life, just as we have insisted on portraying blacks, gays and women.

But if visibility is what’s important, we should also include the 14% of Americans who are tattooed, the 85% of men with thinning hair by the age of 50 and the 40% of women who have visible hair loss by 40. What about the 15% of Americans who still smoke? Or the 2.2% who have psoriasis – way more than are transgender, yet the latter is a topic that has been done to death on stage, in movies, on television and several times a week in the NYT.

Weeding Out Waste and Fraud at Federal Agencies By H. Sterling Burnett

Some recent inspector general reports from within various federal agencies show that the Trump administration is attempting to weed out abuse, fraud, and waste in government programs.

Early in his tenure as secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI), Ryan Zinke asked for a briefing on DOI grant programs and found to his dismay that not a single person could tell him how much DOI disbursed in grants every year or what projects it had funded or was committed to funding. Saying he feared that the grant program was open to fraud and abuse, Zinke order DOI to review its major grants and cooperative agreements.

Zinke’s fears proved prescient. A February 20 DOI inspector general (I.G.)’s report found that Richard Ruggiero, head of the Department of International Conservation (DIC), which is within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), had violated federal ethics laws when Ruggiero took advantage of a federal cooperative agreement providing nearly $325,000 in funding to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The agreement financially benefited a family member who was an independent contractor with IFAW.

The I.G. report says that before Ruggiero took over DIC, the department had signed a cooperative agreement with IFAW to establish a professional training program for conservation leaders overseas, providing the $126,871 to fund the program. Within nine days of Ruggiero becoming DIC chief, the cooperative agreement was modified several times, extending the program for three years and increasing DIC’s grant to $324,108.