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April 2018

An Israeli’s Message to Mark Zuckerberg : Jean Vercors

Jean Vercors left France and now lives in Israel….rsk

Writes Jean Vercors:

I have used Facebook for years as a platform to share my thoughts, comments and articles. I value that platform because of its global reach. It connected me to some of my friends in France, the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and many other countries. It is a window to the world to differing opinions by allowing me to see what my friends think and share on their walls.It gives me an outlet to speak my mind and to share my thoughts on topics ranging from domestic politics to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

However, I have observed that your social media has reached a point of violent antisemitism, at least for me, and I guess many other people too. I am appalled by Facebook’s insistence to allow this on social media. I cannot believe that a group that calls for the death of the Jews, your own people for that matter, does not violate Facebook’s “Community Standards.” Do you realize how dangerous your media has become allowing the antisemites of the world to vomit their hate on Israel with lies?

I am disgusted that Facebook not only calls this group socially acceptable, but it endangers the lives of our brothers, our families, our children, and more importantly, our people as a whole.

Free Speech should not be Hate Speech.

We all know too well that allowing such a negative behavior only encourages the killing of Jews as we have seen it lately when Facebook users that were anti-Zionists and posting anti-Jewish posts assassinated innocent people in France, Israel or elsewhere.

As a Jew, I was taught to stand up for Justice and truth against anyone not matter his faith or ethnicity. We Jews have been standing in front line for thousands of years, defending, protecting and teaching human rights.

As we celebrate Pesach, we all retell the story of our journey from bondage to freedom when we were slaves in Egypt reading the Haggada. Not only to ourselves but to our children and the future generations. It has been this way for 3000 years.

You were quoted coming to the defence of Muslims after the November 2015 Paris attacks “As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. Even if an attack isn’t against you today, in time attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone. So I wonder Mr.Zuckerberg have you forgotten or ignored your statement that all of us should “stand up against attacks on all communities?” Maybe you do not even know about the double standards applied to Jews and Palestinians on Facebook?

The Cudgel of ‘White Privilege’ ‘I’m not interested in negotiating with racists,’ an Ivy League historian told me. By Zachary Wood

Mr. Wood, a senior at Williams College, is a former Robert L. Bartley Fellow at the Journal.

‘White people need to be checked, Zach. End of discussion.”

I was talking with an Ivy League historian, a fellow African-American, about “white privilege.” I asked if his goal was to antagonize or to promote dialogue.

“Do you know who I am?” he demanded. “I’ve been helping black people longer than you’ve been alive. I’m telling you what I know: Lecturing these white kids is only the beginning.”

Is it really necessary to be so aggressive?

“Listen, I don’t give a damn. I’m not interested in negotiating with racists.”

I tried to close the conversation cordially, saying I’d have to reflect on the issue. But when I extended my hand, he looked at it, looked up at me, and then walked away.

Does white privilege exist? Sure. If you’re white and you excel at academic or other cognitively demanding endeavors, for example, the light of your success is never dimmed by speculation about whether you benefited from affirmative action.

White privilege has become the target of many initiatives in higher education. The goal, advocates say, is to fight racism and promote justice. Yet the practice often doesn’t seem constructive. In my college career, I’ve spoken to many peers and professors who insist adamantly that any conversation about race in America should begin and end with the accusation of white privilege. The aim seems to be to establish guilt, not build understanding.

As I see it, the main goal of discussing white privilege should be to promote a more complex and nuanced view of the world so that, for example, it would be difficult for one of my white peers to drive through the Washington neighborhood where I grew up and say: “What’s wrong with those people?” People of all races should aim to understand the range of attitudes and perspectives on race that make the issue a difficult one. CONTINUE AT SITE

North Korea Ready to Discuss Denuclearization, U.S. Officials Say Assurance clears the way for a summit meeting between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump By Michael R. Gordon and Jonathan Cheng

North Korea has told the U.S. that Kim Jong Un is prepared to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, clearing the way for a summit meeting between the North Korean leader and President Donald Trump, according to U.S. officials.

U.S. officials didn’t say when and how that assurance was delivered, but U.S. and North Korean officials have been in communication.

“The U.S. has confirmed that Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a Trump administration official said on Sunday.

Hopes for a breakthrough that might end more than six decades of animosity on the Korean Peninsula were raised last month when South Korean national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, told the White House that North Korea was prepared to engage in talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and would refrain from nuclear and missile tests.

For weeks, however, U.S. officials heard nothing from the North Koreans, raising concerns that the South Korean government, which is eager to reduce tensions on the peninsula, might have exaggerated Pyongyang’s willingness to put its nuclear arsenal on the negotiating table.

The North Korean assurance doesn’t mean that talks will necessarily succeed. Pyongyang has indicated that progress toward denuclearization should proceed in phases that are synchronized with diplomatic and economic concessions from the U.S. side.

It is possible that North Korea’s timetable for reducing and ultimately eliminating its arsenal might be far longer than the Trump administration would be prepared to accept. The North, for example, may define denuclearization as a long-term goal that would only be achieved if the U.S. eliminated the potential military threat to its regime by withdrawing forces from South Korea.

North Korea also might ask for more concessions than Washington is willing to provide. Working out verification arrangements to confirm that North Korea isn’t hiding weapons could be an additional stumbling block.

“Kim Jong Un being willing to discuss denuclearization is a good development given that in the past he has said that denuclearization was not possible,” said Joseph DeTrani, who served as the U.S. special envoy to the so-called Six Party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program from 2003 to 2006. The talks included the U.S., North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

“We now have to discuss whether his definition of denuclearization is similar to ours, which is complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of all of their nuclear weapons and weapons programs,” said Mr. DeTrani.

North Korea has previously committed itself to denuclearization. A September 2005 statement issued during the Six Party talks noted that Pyongyang was “committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.” That statement also said that steps toward denuclearization would be taken “in a phased manner” and based on the reciprocal principle of ”action for action.” CONTINUE AT SITE

The Justice Stonewall Continues The House Intel Committee can’t see all of a key electronic memo.

Hours after we published an editorial Friday about the Justice Department’s refusal to turn over a document subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee, Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) received an official response from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd.

It was cleverly spun. Mr. Boyd played up the access to the secondary information Mr. Nunes had demanded—access to the application and renewals for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants on one-time Trump associate Carter Page. Mr. Boyd describes his department’s response as “extraordinary accommodation.”

Upon inspection, however, the focus on the FISA warrants looks more like an effort to distract attention from Mr. Boyd’s refusal even to mention Mr. Nunes’s main request of FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That request was for the “electronic communication,” or memo, that officially launched the counterintelligence investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

On Friday Trey Gowdy, an Intel Committee member who has seen a redacted form of the memo, said Justice has redacted the “good stuff.” He means information that would tell whether the counterintelligence investigation was credible, and how and whether the FBI vetted the information. “All of that,” Mr. Gowdy said, “is in a paragraph I can’t read.”

Hungary Decides By John O’Sullivan

My bet: Orban and his party will not manage a landslide but will hang on.

Today, Sunday, April 8, sees Viktor Orban’s attempt to win a third successive term for his party, Fidesz, and for himself as prime minister, put to the test by the country’s eighth election since the end of Communism. Hungarians have become used to elections since 1989 and to power changing hands as a result. Governing parties lost elections in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2010.

Usually an election in a small Central European country with this democratic record would struggle to get into the news at all, let alone into the headlines. Yet the restless caravan of the world’s media has for the last week been bidding up the prices of Budapest’s best restaurants and hotels (which, incidentally, are very good indeed — as a glimpse at the travel pages of the same media would disclose) to cover the result.

And this level of interest is itself a story — and a changing one.

Until a month ago, the international media consensus was that the election was a formality, or at best a foregone conclusion, because Orban was the authoritarian strongman of a nation that had ceased to be a real democracy. Fidesz had ensured its victory by gerrymandering the election system, suppressing opposition media, buying votes with EU money, and swamping the country with posters appealing to the nationalist and ethnic prejudices of the electorate. The conditions for genuine democratic elections were therefore no longer in place, and Orban’s victory would confirm the fact. To be sure, the media would still turn up in large contingents for the burial, but the story they wrote would be the end of democracy.

And then in Hodmezovasarehely, a town in the southeast of Hungary (pop., 47,019, local attractions: thermal bathing), there was a small political earthquake. An independent candidate for the local mayoralty, but one supported by all the opposition parties, easily defeated the front-runner Fidesz candidate by a healthy margin of 16 points.

That was genuinely a big surprise since the town had been a Fidesz stronghold. At once there was an outburst of optimism among the opposition parties along the lines of . . . a Fidesz election triumph wasn’t a foregone conclusion . . . if only the opposition parties united as they had done in Hodmezovasarehely . . . the mathematics for an opposition victory were there in the result . . . And so on and so forth. That response may have overinterpreted one small-town election result — we’ll know later tonight — but it made the result look less certain and gave the opposition a real fillip.

Why the Leadership of Both Parties Is Lax on Immigration By Ned Ryun

When then-candidate Donald Trump announced his presidential bid in 2016, he did so with a bang. Right out of the gate, he took on one of the deepest and long-simmering dysfunctions in our republic—illegal immigration.

Never one for subtlety when an opportunity for the dramatic presents itself, Trump used what some found to be incendiary rhetoric referencing Mexicans, drugs, rape, and criminality. Ever since, this important discussion is punctuated by the claim from the Left that “people can’t be illegal,” despite the fact that the term “illegal” refers only to immigration status which can, of course, be illegal. The point of that discussion-ending appeal to emotion is to insinuate that any human arguing against illegal immigration lacks compassion and that the Right rejects our shared and immigration-rich history, is therefore unpatriotic, and that any desire for secure borders is fundamentally based on racism.

This kind of idiocy serves only to anger all parties so that there is rarely any real scrutiny of the illegal immigration reality in this country. The issue is growing worse daily and we need to accept certain facts. First and foremost we must accept that illegal immigration is, in fact, illegal and that this is a problem. People who are not coming here through legal channels are breaking our laws. This is an exercise in the obvious. Our nation, like all nations, has a set of immigration laws that were designed to protect its citizenry from those who would not be additive to our society, might harm our citizens, or don’t demonstrate sufficient potential to be happy here among us.

America is a welcoming land, full of promise. One does not need to be the kind of entrepreneurial soul capable of founding an electric car company, or to serve in our military, or to become an expert in our history to come to America. But if one does come to this country, it is important that he loves it, understands what it represents, and does his best to make it better in whatever way God has made him able.

When an individual, regardless of the circumstances, breaks the immigration laws of this country, his immigrant status is illegal and he is an illegal alien. Calling it something other than illegal denigrates the value and importance of law in our society and, after all, one of the defining aspects of America that made it such a desirable destination for so many immigrants is our respect for the rule of law against the rule of men.

The Lion in Water: Some Facts About ‘Chappaquiddick’ By Lloyd Billingsley

Way back in July 1969, reporter Leo Damore covered Senator Edward Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick caper for the Cape Cod News. As he showed in his masterful Senatorial Privilege: The Chappaquiddick Cover-Up, everything Kennedy said about the incident was a lie.

Ted Kennedy rode his brother John’s coattails to win a seat from Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate in 1962. The next year, JFK was assassinated and brother Bobby fell to shooter Sirhan Sirhan in 1968. That led to speculation that Ted might be a contender for president by a simple process of family succession. For the full story, read The Kennedys: An American Drama, by Peter Collier and David Horowitz.

In July 1969, Senator Kennedy came to Cape Cod for a regatta and stashed brother Bobby’s “boiler room girls,” in a cottage on Chappaquiddick Island. The film version of “Chappaquiddick” plays this covert hook-up like a ’60s beach flick with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello and viewers won’t spot a single navel. Ted (Jason Clarke) slips away from the drunken bash with the beautiful Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara). Viewers don’t see what’s going on in the black Oldsmobile, but it is possible to guess.

Spooked by a cop, Kennedy roars away and promptly drives off a bridge into Poucha Pond. The senator somehow gets out and one of his first thoughts is “I am not going to be president.” The senator leaves Mary Jo in the car, where she dies, and does not report the accident until the next day.

As the film shows in great detail, Ted deploys squads of heel-clicking sycophants to control the press, the police, the hearing, the medical examination, and the handling of Mary Jo’s body. He gets off with a tap on the wrist. Family scribe Ted Sorensen (Taylor Nichols) pens Kennedy’s explanatory television speech, which as another handler explains is “all bullshit.” At the funeral for Mary Jo, Joan Kennedy tells husband Ted, “go fuck yourself.” Viewers may agree, but this does not wrap the story.

“You will never be great,” family patriarch Joe Kennedy (Bruce Dern) tells Ted. As the film explains in text, Joe died four months later, and Ted went on to become the “lion” of the U.S. Senate. The takeaway is that the drunken control freak who left Mary Jo Kopechne to die did eventually become a great man. As Millennials should understand, even liberal Democrats of the time never thought Ted Kennedy was great.

In fact, it wasn’t even close.

Let The Word Go Forth: Chappaquiddick Invented The Cover-up Daniel Oliver

The grand jury foreman told the Vineyard Gazette, “There seem to be two sets of rules and justices that are doled out — one for the rich and powerful, and one for the regular people, for you and me.” Exactly.

Chappaquiddick — a name that should live in infamy … as “Watergate” does. But as bumper stickers said during the Nixon scandal, nobody died at watergate. And nobody’s died at Mar-a-Largo either. You’d never know that the Kennedys’ very own Chappaquiddick saga is the mother of all American scandals — and that, of course, is the real story.

The movie gives a more or less accurate picture of part of that story. Some say that Jason Clarke’s portrayal of Edward M. Kennedy is perfect, including his voice. Different ears, perhaps those brought up near Boston, may think differently. Clarke makes Kennedy seem a bit listless — not the way most people remember him, but then Chappaquiddick took place only thirteen months after Kennedy’s brother Robert was killed, and Kennedy probably was a bit listless.

In an early scene after the opening credits, Kennedy is talking to 28-year-old blond Mary Jo Kopechne on the beach (not by accident, probably, the director does not have them sitting close to each other) raising an obvious question: how did Kennedy get to the beach? Two methods leap immediately to mind: 1) He drove (the movie has him being driven down Dike Road and over the bridge — he’s in the back seat reading the paper, presumably in English) and then walked to the beach; or 2) He rappelled down a seriously long rope from Apollo 11, then on its way to the moon.

Half of college students aren’t sure protecting free speech is important. That’s bad news By Cathy Young

Last month, a small group of protesters at Lewis & Clark College law school tried to shut down visiting lecturer Christina Hoff Sommers, a libertarian feminist critical of feminist dogma on “rape culture,” the pay gap and other issues. They chanted, shouted, played loud music and sang, “We will fight for justice until Christina’s gone.” Appalled commentators deplored the intolerance, but then came a spate of “nothing to see here” articles. Free speech on campus is doing fine, progressive pundits scoffed; it’s absurd to paint a few left-wing students as a danger to freedom when we face right-wing authoritarianism in government.

But it should be possible to be against more than one threat at a time. And the climate on college campuses in recent years is very much a threat to the principles of a free society.

The “no problem” argument is based mainly on a poll, the General Social Survey, which shows steadily rising support for allowing “offensive” speakers a platform, especially in the under-35 age group. But it’s not clear how relevant that survey is to present-day campus speech battles. Its examples of controversial speakers include a homosexual (absurdly dated) and an atheist (ditto). On the one item that is relevant to current controversies — allowing a speech by a racist — support has dropped, notably among young adults.

Another supposedly reassuring poll, the Gallup-Knight Foundation survey, found that 70% of students felt it was more important for colleges to have “an open learning environment” with diverse viewpoints, even at the cost of allowing offensive speech, than to create a “positive” environment by censoring such expression.

A first-year assessment of Trump’s triumphs: Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt is a host with the Salem Radio Network, an MSNBC host and NBC News analyst, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post and a law professor at the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University.

We are going to have to wait a long time for anyone to approach Donald Trump with, say, the detachment and scholarship that Robert Caro has brought to his study of Lyndon Johnson. Caro published his first volume, “The Path to Power,” in 1982, nearly a decade after LBJ died, and about 35 years later the biographer is still at work, on a fifth volume. So it will be with Trump — as it is with all men and women who change history. We will have to wait until we get the end of the story and have access to all the primary sources. We also will need a biographer with the talent and dedication to find the “figure under the carpet,” as Leon Edel described the biographer’s task. The many Trump books along the way should be regarded more or less as source material. They should be graded on how useful they will be to the ultimate project, and of course on the trustworthiness of their contents.

[Ronald Kessler’s “The Secrets of the FBI”]

Ronald Kessler’s new book, “The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game,” is trustworthy, and, in an unusual twist these days, it’s favorable to the president. “Because of the liberal bias of the mainstream media,” Kessler writes in a poker tell as obvious as any ever seen, “many of Trump’s achievements are either underplayed or not reported at all.” Kessler doesn’t underplay them, and overstates some, but gets almost everything down — good and bad — of Season One of the Trump presidency. Among Trump’s triumphs, Kessler points to the two most significant: the seating of Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, and the massive tax cut and tax reform bill. Kessler also got Trump to sit down for an interview on New Year’s Eve at Mar-a-Lago, a conversation that shows the president confident and comfortable in his role.

I checked with one of Kessler’s sources, who is quoted quite liberally, and discovered that indeed the source spent time with the author. The source hadn’t read the book yet but the voice he projects in the pages sounds right to me. Thus, Kessler’s note-taking or tape-recording seems reliable, which is an odd but increasingly necessary assessment to include in a book review, but we are in an era when facts and sources are sometimes elusive. Kessler’s book seems to me professional and ethical, a workmanlike, useful contribution to the accumulating pile of source material on this presidency (beginning of course with the tweets. All of them. Pity Trump’s Caro).
“The Trump White House,” by Ronald Kessler (Crown Forum)

Kessler, a former reporter for The Washington Post and a former chief Washington correspondent for the conservative news site Newsmax, has published 21 books. For this one, he interviewed the major players in the 2016-17 season: Reince Priebus, Stephen K. Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer and others. “The Trump White House” deserves a careful reading as a chronicle of what went on inside Trump World in 2017.