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Ruth King

The Transgender Ban Isn’t Fair. Neither is War The military demands results, not diversity. Daniel Greenfield

The ban on transgender service that President Trump reaffirmed was there for eight years under Obama. It was there in his first term and his second term. And the media said nothing.

Only in the summer of last year did the ban technically end. And, in practice, it remained in force. All the while there was no angry clamor about the suffering of potential recruits who couldn’t enlist. Those who are fuming with outrage now had hypocritically remained silent. Obama had done it. So it must be good.

Obama had kept the ban in place for almost his entire two terms in office. And he found a way to retain it throughout his final months. With a year’s review, the transgender recruits could only be accepted after he was out of the White House. That way he could have his social justice cake and eat it too. He would get the credit for ending the transgender ban without dealing with any of the problems.

And there were plenty of problems.

45% of transgender persons in the 18 to 44 age range are suicidal. This is a serious risk for personnel who are around weapons or operating machinery or aircraft. If this were the only issue, it would be enough to justify the medical ban.

Transgender operations and hormone therapy requires constant monitoring by a doctor. They carry serious health risks. Some of those risks require serious medications and ongoing management.

That is not what the military usually expects to deal with from recruits.

The Rand study being touted by transgender advocates who claim that medical expenses will only be in the millions relies on a statistical bait and switch. The actual cost is estimated to be in the billions.

The Army and Air Force wanted to delay implementation for another two years. That was on top of the original year review that was lapsing. The issue had become a heavy burden that we didn’t need.

So President Trump got rid of it. His policy is the same one that existed for most of Obama’s time in office. The televised outrage over it is shameless and cynical posturing by media hypocrites.

The transgender ban isn’t a moral or religious policy. It’s a medical one. The military doesn’t have the resources and isn’t equipped to deal with the complicated medical and social problems involved.

The Department of Defense fitness standards have an extensive list of disqualifiers. A “history of major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia such as change of sex” is there in between pelvic inflammatory disease and missing testicles. These medical issues are there alongside missing fingers, a history of gout and numerous other problems. They’re there because the military wants healthy and able recruits.

It’s that simple.

Military readiness demands personnel who can deploy on short notice without ongoing medical problems holding them back. It wants recruits in prime health who can give all they have. Medical issues don’t just drive up costs so that hard choices have to be made. They also cost lives.

Our armed forces run on teamwork. When members of the team can’t perform, they put lives at risk.

Browder Testimony: Fusion GPS, Firm Behind Trump Dossier and Planned Parenthood, Served Putin’s Corruption By Tyler O’Neil see note please

Bill Browder’s biography of his conversion from leftist doctrine is detailed in his book

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, financier Bill Browder is expected to uncover another shocking revelation about Fusion GPS, the left-wing firm responsible for both the Trump-Russia dossier and the misleading defense of Planned Parenthood after the Center for Medical Progress sting videos. According to Browder’s prepared remarks submitted to the committee ahead of his testimony, the firm spread vicious lies about Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was imprisoned and killed for exposing corruption in Putin’s regime.

Browder’s testimony will dwell on the Russian government’s attempts to repeal a law passed in retaliation for abuses against Magnitsky, the Magnitsky Act. Russian attempts to repeal the law reached a fever pitch last year in Washington, and Browder will allege that the actors involved in this effort did not disclose their roles as agents for foreign interests, thus violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act. One of the notorious players in this game was none other than Fusion GPS.

Before addressing Fusion GPS, Browder will detail Magnitsky’s story. The financier — founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, one of the largest investment advisers in Russia — will explain that in 2000, when Russian President Vladimir Putin first took power, he had to rein in the oligarchs. At first, Browder and Putin had the same enemies, so exposing corruption helped Putin.

In 2003, that all changed, and by 2005, Putin was targeting Browder. The financier hired Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky to investigate raids against his offices. Magnitsky uncovered astounding examples of identity theft and government corruption. For these discoveries, the lawyer was captured by Russian authorities and imprisoned.

Magnitsky was treated horribly and kept an official record of abuses against him by filing official complaints. He died on November 16, 2009, leaving behind a wife and two children. “Sergei Magnitsky was murdered as my proxy. If Sergei had not been my lawyer, he would still be alive today,” Browder’s testimony declares. So he pledged to “seek justice and create consequences for the people who murdered him.”

Browder’s efforts led to the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, which froze assets and banned visas for those who killed Magnitsky, as well as for other Russians involved in human rights abuses. The bill passed the House (364 to 43) and the Senate (92 to 4) in November 2012 and was signed by President Obama in December that year.

Putin retaliated in the worst way possible. He banned the adoption of Russian orphans by American families. This was particularly horrible, Browder will argue, because Russia did not allow the adoption of healthy kids, only sick ones. American families adopted children with HIV, Down syndrome, and other ailments.

But thanks to Putin, these sick children would not be adopted by Americans. Instead, they would stay in the Russian orphanage system, which did not have the resources to properly care for them. Most would die before their 18th birthday, Browder will argue. “In practical terms, this meant that Vladimir Putin sentenced his own, most vulnerable and sick Russian orphans to death in order to protect corrupt officials in his regime.”

The Magnitsky Act hit Putin hard, according to Browder’s testimony, because he keeps a great deal of his money in the West (where property rights are a thing) and because it struck at Putin’s ability to reward his cronies in similar ways.

So Putin launched a campaign against the Magnitsky Act. Here’s where Fusion GPS comes in.

Imran Awan Case Needs Special Counsel 100X More than Russiagate By Roger L Simon

Whether it’s Mohammed becoming the most popular baby name, or one in 10 babies in England being Muslim or the fact that halal meat is being served in Pizza Hut, a Muslim story always tends to generate more heat than light. Indeed, Islamophobia is often perpetuated by fear and a sense that Muslims are taking over our jobs, our homes and our lives, thus leading to a polarizing society and the so-called clash of civilizations.

Those words are the lede of a December 2014 opinion piece for CNN entitled “The Muslims Are Coming!’ Why Islamophobia is so dangerous.”

To the embarrassment, more accurately the humiliation, of CNN, Deborah Wasserman Schultz, Nancy Pelosi, not to mention dozens of Democratic congressmen and women — all of whom used the article’s writer for IT help for their government computers — the author, Pakistani-born Imran Awan was arrested Tuesday by the FBI at Dulles Airport for alleged bank fraud. He was trying to flee the country for Qatar. (Yes, that Qatar!)

But that’s just what the shrinks call “the presenting complaint.” There may be a lot more to it — a whole lot more.

At best, Awan is a fraudster who, working with his family, bilked the U.S. taxpayers out of over four million in IT fees and overpriced computer equipment. At worst he’s an agent of Pakistan’s ISI in league with Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, or even ISIS. There are other possibilities in between that are also of a frightening nature, including (although more remote) the mysterious death of Seth Rich.

Hello, what?

To take the worst first, for those who do not know the ISI, if you Google “Which intelligence service is the best in the world?” Pakistan’s ISI is number one, followed by India’s RAW, Israel’s Mossad, the CIA, and MI6. Russia’s FSB doesn’t make the cut. More on the ISI:

After fall of the Soviet Union, the ISI provided strategic support and intelligence to the Afghan Taliban against the Northern Alliance during the civil war in Afghanistan of the 1990s. [2] During more recent times, however, it has come under increasing criticism from both civilian and military circles for not having kept terrorist forces in society in check, especially against harbouring terrorists and acts against military forces, particularly those in neighbouring India. Recent political commentators and journalists, including Seymour Hersh, have noticed how dreaded terrorists like Osama Bin Laden had taken refuge close to military headquarters in Abottabad, Pakistan, and how it would be “impossible for the ISI not to know”.

For years, Imran Awan had access to the secret data and correspondence of many House committees, including foreign affairs. What did he do with it? As I said, that’s the worst case scenario (I guess). But I don’t want to bury my own lede in a welter of ledes, so here it is:

Jeff Sessions should immediately appoint a special counsel in this case whose tentacles are so vast they reach the highest levels of our government. The FBI, working unsupervised, has already been tainted by its heavily-criticized investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails, an investigation that actually may turn out to be related to this one. It cannot be trusted to do this by themselves. We need a special counsel. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Palestinian application of chutzpah on the Temple Mount By Lev Tsitrin

The classic example of chutzpah is to kill one’s parents and then demand clemency in the court on the grounds of being an orphan.

People laugh hearing this example despite its gruesomeness, for no one in his right mind can take it seriously. Yet it is no laughing matter anymore, for recently, Palestinians utilized that very excuse in the court of public opinion.

There is a hill in Jerusalem called by Palestinians the Al-Aqsa compound, by Jews the Temple Mount. After Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War a half-century ago, Israelis and Arabs came up with a simple equilibrium that became the status quo regarding the site: all can visit, but only Muslims can pray there.

Simply put, the status quo is this: the Al-Aqsa compound is a site of Muslim prayer.

On July 14, 2017, three terrorists ran out of it, gunning down two Israeli policemen, and ran back, hoping to escape there. They were shot and killed by the police.

This means that the status quo got changed – by the Palestinians. From the place of prayer, Al-Aqsa was turned into a weapons storage facility and a launchpad for terrorist attacks.

By placing around it metal detectors and surveillance cameras – thus rendering Al-Aqsa unusable for military purposes – Israeli authorities turned the location back into a prayer site.

And yet the Palestinians are unhappy. Instead of being grateful for restoring the status quo, they are accusing Israelis of altering the very status quo they, the Palestinians, themselves murderously altered in the first place, which Israelis restored! Not willing to come back to Al-Aqsa, they cry to heaven, irate at Jewish perfidy!

I don’t think heaven hears them. They are refusing to come pray at Al-Aqsa for several days now, yet somehow the heavens are not falling down.

Perhaps even Allah does not find funny Palestinians’ bizarre claims of victimhood after committing a murder.

It’s about Sovereignty By Shoshana Bryen

The disgusting terror murders of two Israeli policemen (one shot in the back) on the Temple Mount, coupled with the indescribable terror murders of three Israelis (grandfather, father, and aunt) celebrating the birth of a baby at their Sabbath dinner, were met with howls of outrage and threats of retaliatory violence and even religious war –- not by Israelis seeking vengeance, but by Palestinians!

Echoed by Jordanians, al Jazeera, and the UN, Palestinian strongman Mahmoud Abbas claimed he couldn’t be held responsible for escalated violence if Israel maintained the metal detectors on the Temple Mount installed to prevent a recurrence of violence directed at Jews.

Nothing in the Middle East is ever what it looks like. Metal detectors may be metal detectors elsewhere, but on the Temple Mount they are an attack on “Muslim patrimony.” Turkey’s President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan made that clear. “When Israeli soldiers carelessly pollute the grounds of Al-Aqsa with their combat boots by using simple issues as a pretext and then easily spill blood there, the reason [they are able to do that] is we [Muslims] have not done enough to stake our claim over Jerusalem.”

Israel, to the relief — and kind words — of the White House, has removed the metal detectors, but far from resolving the problem, the retreat encouraged Fatah to announce it would “intensify the struggle” because the “campaign for Jerusalem has effectively begun, and will not stop until a Palestinian victory and the release of the holy sites from Israeli occupation.”

Two important issues have to be sorted out here: first, the political and religious rights of Jews in their indigenous space; and second, the right not to be murdered for the “crime” of being Jewish, or Israeli, or non-Jewish and non-Israeli but being in Israel. Among the recent victims of Palestinian terror are Druze Muslim police officers Kamil Shnaan, 22 and Haiel Sitawe, and American Vanderbilt University student and U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force, as well as American and Israeli Jews.

Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people — the restoration of Jewish sovereignty to even part of the historic homeland was prayed for since the end of the Second Jewish Commonwealth and celebrated since 1948. In the 20th century, Jews and Israelis accepted various suggestions and commands for borders of a reconstituted State — everything from the lopping off of 75% of the British Mandate for a Judenrein Arab state (1917) to the split-state Peel Commission Partition Plan (1937) to the British Partition Plan (1938) to the Jewish Agency plan (1946) to the much smaller UN Partition Plan (1947).

The Arab states agreed to none of those and declined to say where Jews might then exercise sovereignty — because there was no such place. The 1949-67 lines were unacceptable and so were the post-67 lines. Israel and the U.S. posited new lines after the Oslo Accords, and in 2008 when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proposed 93% of the West Bank plus political rights in Jerusalem for the Palestinians (the Gaza Strip already being 100% in Palestinian hands). Mahmoud Abbas said no.

“No” was the necessary answer because the Palestinians agree there is no legitimate place for Jews to exercise sovereign authority. This goes directly to the question of the Temple Mount and metal detectors.

The Missing Weapon at Dunkirk By Steve Feinstein

Although most people under 40 are astonishingly ignorant about it, a great worldwide armed conflict known as World War II took place from 1939-1945 in the European and Pacific regions. It is relevant and important to know and understand because the outcome of World War II put into place the political, economic and geographical conditions and relationships that make the world what it is today. An understanding of the ramifications of WWII is central to comprehending how today’s world came to be. People under 40—heck, even under 60—would do themselves a huge favor if they learned some history and saw how that history affected today’s world.

The 1939 war in Europe was caused mostly by the consequences of the unresolved complications and volatile conditions that persisted following the end of World War I in 1918. World War I took place from 1914 to 1918 and was a struggle for the control of Europe, primarily between the Germans on one side against the French and British (aided by America after 1917) on the other side. Germany remained particularly unstable in the years after the end of the Great War (as WWI came to be known) and in retrospect, many historians now feel that another war in Europe was inevitable.

The inevitability of another European war after 1918 became reality on Sept. 1, 1939 when Germany turned eastward and attacked Poland. Having built up its military forces in direct contravention to post-WWI treaties, Germany overwhelmed Poland in a matter of a few short weeks, using their newly-developed blitzkrieg tactics. Unlike the ponderous, static, slow-motion trench warfare that dominated World War I, Germany saw the potential of combining fast-moving armored forces with close-support air power (dive bombers and fast low-altitude bombers) to deliver a decisive, overpowering blow to their enemy’s critical targets in the very early stages of the action. (Germany’s blitzkrieg tactics were so successful that the term has now become part of the popular lexicon, meaning any quick, overwhelming action, whether in sports or business or some other endeavor.)

Following a relatively uneventful 1939-1940 winter (a time period that came to be known as the “Phony War”), Germany resumed its hostilities against Europe in the spring of 1940, turning its attention westward. German forces blasted through the “Low Countries” of the Netherlands and Belgium and swung around to invade France from a point behind its main defensive eastern border with Germany. Following World War I, France fortified its eastern border with Germany with a massive wall of concrete and armament called the Maginot Line in an effort to prevent any future invasion by Germany. But Germany attacked the Netherlands and Belgium to the north and west of Germany, through the supposedly impenetrably dense Ardennes forest and then swung into France from behind the Maginot Line. France’s expensive, foolproof defense against German aggression proved to be a worthless folly.

As German forces poured into France, the French military was disoriented, confused and demoralized. Despite having numerical superiority over Germany in planes and equipment, the French utterly failed to mount an effective defense of their homeland. Desperate and panicked, France pleaded with Britain to send men and materiél to their aid.

The British did so, in the form of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), consisting of several hundred thousand troops along with tanks and aircraft. It was a wasted effort, as the British could not buttress the listless and disorganized French forces against the brilliantly trained, highly motivated German army. Germany’s blitzkrieg tactics decimated the allied formations, inflicting severe losses and taking great swaths of French territory.

Sometimes, what might seem to be a small decision at the time can have huge long-range consequences, with repercussions that last decades into the future, even to the point of altering the course of history. Such was the case in the battle for France in May of 1940. British Air Marshal Lord Hugh Dowding made the decision to not send any of Britain’s valuable Spitfire fighter aircraft to France for the fight against the Germans. The Spitfire was generally regarded as the best fighter plane in the world at the time (narrowly edging out Germany’s BF-109). Dowding correctly recognized that Britain would soon be in a one-on-one fight for survival against Germany and any hope Britain had of fighting off the German air force (the Luftwaffe) rested squarely on the shoulders of their small contingent of Spitfires.

That Joe and Mika New York Magazine Cover Is Why Everyone Hates the Media When journalists willingly make themselves the center of the story, ordinary voters shake their heads in disgust. By Tiana Lowe

Once upon a time, the greatest sin journalists could commit was to make themselves a part of the story. On Sunday, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski did just that, soaking up the fluorescent spotlight on the cover of New York magazine and dishing about their “star-crossed relationship with the president” — and, of course, each other — in its pages.

During trying times, contentiousness between the press and the president has often morphed into spectacle, with anchors such as Sam Donaldson receiving flak from the public for seeming to enter the political arena rather than report or comment on it. With the advent of social media, the lines between reporting, commentary, analysis, and activism were blurred, and they’ve been obliterated by the crossover of celebrity into politics. First there was Al Franken. Now, there is Trump. Soon, there might be Senator Kid Rock. So it makes sense that reporters will become unwittingly entangled in the political fray. We saw as much with Megyn Kelly, who became a political lightning rod overnight following Trump’s deeply personal attacks on her moderation of the first Republican primary debate.

In all fairness — or depending on whether you believe that Morning Joe’s fluffy platforming helped him win the Republican nomination — Trump sort of started it. In his petty, derisive, unpresidential tweet-storm last month, he attacked Brzezinski’s appearance and Scarborough’s sanity, and immediately after the fact, the pair responded with a measured defense in the Washington Post. They seemed to rise above the pathetic occasion and take Trump’s bullying in stride. At first.

Earlier this month, Scarborough published a high-and-mighty critique of the GOP, notable only for what it unwittingly revealed about its author. No, the former Republican congressman did not object to Trump’s denouncing John McCain for being captured in the line of duty during the Vietnam War. He did not declare the Republican party shot when it chose Trump as its nominee. He reached his breaking point only once the personal became political.

The next stop on Joe and Mika’s media junket was The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, in which the duo discussed the vicissitudes of journalism in the 24-hour news cycle, the ethics of sourcing, and their own relationship, making a few obvious Trump jokes along the way. At the end, Joe even got to debut a song from his new dad-rock album!

Their New York magazine cover, then, really shouldn’t be shocking, yet somehow, it is.

It’s not that journalists and commentators should exist in the shadows, especially when Trump pulls them into the arena. Jake Tapper and Megyn Kelly have both recently been featured and glamorized in monthly magazines, but in each case they discussed their roles as journalists, not as the leaders of an opposition or resistance movement. Mika and Joe, meanwhile, used the opportunity to embrace their roles in the cheap soap opera of petty palace intrigue.

“At one point, Joe sent me a Snapchat and Donald was on top, and then he sent me another one and Melania was!” Brzezinski gushed about her pet bunnies, not-at-all-creepily named after the president and first lady, to Olivia Nuzzi, the magazine’s Washington correspondent. The nearly 6,000-word cover story is rife with such anecdotes. Scarborough makes sure to get in a plug for his album, discussing the process of writing a love song for Brzezinski. She makes sure to flaunt her “large diamond solitaire” and play with his hair in front of Nuzzi. They both express shock and awe that Trump remained, well, himself as he progressed from candidate to president. Barely half of the feature covers the pair’s dealings with the president. The rest reads like an incredibly nuanced analysis of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

This Is a Safe Space. No Jews Allowed. Why are some American progressives embracing overt anti-Semitism? By Mark Joseph Stern

Are you a Jew in Chicago who’d like to march for LGBTQ rights and gender equality? You’ll have to follow a few rules, helpfully laid out in recent weeks by the Chicago Dyke March and the Chicago SlutWalk.

First, you must not carry any “Zionist displays.” What are Zionist displays? That’s for others to decide. A Star of David might be OK. But if it’s on a rainbow flag, it probably isn’t because “its connections to the oppression enacted by Israel is too strong for it to be neutral.”

Second, you must express solidarity with Palestine. Marching in a parade with a pro-Palestinian stance is not sufficient, nor is advocating for a Palestinian state. As an openly Jewish person, you’ll need to satisfy more heightened scrutiny; other marchers may repeatedly demand that you disavow Israel and swear allegiance to the Palestinian cause. You must comply with these demands or else you will be expelled.

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

Third, you must renounce any previous connections you have had with Israel. Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of a group with ties to Israel? Repudiate and repent. Openly Jewish marchers are presumed to be in league with the Israeli government unless they can prove otherwise.

One final note: If you are a journalist who covers the implementation of these rules, you deserve to lose your job.

Listed all at once, these guidelines may sound too blatantly anti-Semitic to be stated openly—yet they are, at present, the operating principles of two widely celebrated progressive movements in Chicago. Both the Dyke March and the SlutWalk allege that these rules are compelled by intersectionality, the theory that all forms of social oppression are linked. In reality, both groups are using intersectionality as a smokescreen for anti-Semitism, creating a litmus test that Jews must pass to be part of these movements. American progressives should reject this perversion of social justice. No coherent vision of equality can command the maltreatment of Jews.

The debate over intersectionality and anti-Semitism jumped into the headlines following last month’s Dyke March, an LGBTQ demonstration that avoids the corporate sponsorships and bland political undertones of mainstream Pride events. During the march, several organizers approached Jewish demonstrators who were carrying rainbow Star of David flags. The organizers asked whether these women held Zionist sympathies, their suspicions reportedly having been aroused when the flag-carriers allegedly replaced the word “Palestine” with “everywhere” in a group chant. (That chant: “From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go.) One woman, Laurel Grauer, reportedly responded, “I do care about the state of Israel but I also believe in a two-state solution and an independent Palestine.” The organizers then ejected the Jewish demonstrators.

What Else Did Al Gore Get Wrong? Over time, the former vice president’s pronouncements on population may be more embarrassing than his climate predictions.By James Freeman

Al Gore’s latest global warming movie will open in U.S. theaters on Friday. “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” arrives eleven years after his award-winning “An Inconvenient Truth.” In the interim, conservatives like talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh haven’t let Mr. Gore forget his most dire and least accurate weather predictions. But the Gore analysis on another issue is being rejected by even some of his committed climate allies.

The good news for all of us is that Mr. Gore appears to have overstated the threat of eco-apocalypse, which he seems to implicitly acknowledge on his latest media tour.

Back in 2006, CBS News reported on Mr. Gore’s arrival at the Sundance Film Festival:

The former vice president came to town for the premiere of “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary chronicling what has become his crusade since losing the 2000 presidential election: Educating the masses that global warming is about to toast our ecology and our way of life.

…Americans have been hearing it for decades, wavering between belief and skepticism that it all may just be a natural part of Earth’s cyclical warming and cooling phases.

And politicians and corporations have been ignoring the issue for decades, to the point that unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return, Gore said.

Eleven years later, the mischief makers at the Climate Depot website asked him about the 10-year deadline at this year’s festival—just before he climbed into a large chauffeured sport-utility vehicle. He didn’t have much to say then, but in the absence of drastic global measures, it’s clear that Mr. Gore now believes that the end is not quite nigh. The tech website CNET describes an “optimistic” Mr. Gore with a “sunny outlook” discussing his latest cinematic venture with a crowd in San Francisco.

The new movie will likely spark more discussion about the accuracy of various Gore environmental predictions. The left-leaning Politifact has flagged several “half-truths” from the former vice president.


Sarah Halimi case: Will truth lead to justice? Nidra Poller

Commemoration of the Rafle du vel d’hiv

There was every reason to expect the July 16th commemoration of the Rafle du vel d’hiv to be limited to the usual concern for the dead. It does not take a gigantic soul to condemn retrospectively the arrest, deportation and extermination of more than 13,000 Parisian Jews, including over 4,000 children. Since 1995, when President Jacques Chirac placed responsibility for the irreparable crime on France, subsequent presidents have followed suit. But the Front National candidate Marine Le Pen dissents. During the presidential campaign she vehemently rejected this misguided repentance: France was in London, the Vichy government was not France. Her international anti-jihad supporters didn’t even notice let alone understand this reassertion of the founding values of the party she inherited from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen.

dozen members of the Truth and Justice for Sarah Halimi committee, meeting a few days before the commemoration were resigned to the certainty that it would be restricted to the historical past. The Crif, they supposed, would maintain its lay-low institutional role and not make waves or in any way embarrass the president who, at this stage, had shown absolutely no interest in the case and its broader implications. One member suggested they wear white armbands, a knotted piece of torn sheet like the ones handed out at the recent demonstration of cyclists for Sarah.

The ceremony kicked off early in the morning on July 16th with a walk around the memorial garden guided by Serge Klarsfeld who has tirelessly unearthed and published information about the exterminated children one by one. For security reasons, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu did not accompany the small group. The Vel d’hiv ceremony was a striking contrast with the pomp and circumstance of the 14th of July parade with honored guest President Donald Trump, protected by the most imposing security detail known to man. The magnificence of French architecture, French style, French ceremony, the Champs Elysées, the mounted Garde Républicaine, combat planes with their red white and blue plumes, military cadence, well-rehearsed exactitude, the first ladies and their wardrobes (no one can compete with Melania Trump). The back-slapping shoulder-tapping good hearted-hugging friendship between the Trumps and the Macrons was almost comical…and almost sincere.

The site where the infamous winter velodrome stood until it was demolished in the mid-fifties is surrounded by nondescript buildings. The modest ceremony was held before a small audience under a pitched tent roof in the presence of a handful of survivors, a bouquet of children, a sprinkling of descendants of righteous gentiles. Brigitte Macron, contrary to what had been announced, did not attend. The commemoration, broadcast live by BFM TV, LCI and, of course, i24 news French channel, was followed by ample media commentary. As far as I could tell CNN Intl. did not cover or even mention the ceremony.

Rabbi Oliver Kaufman chanted El Mole Rachamim, Raphael Esrail recited the kaddish, followed by a minute of silence, the Marseillaise…but no Hatikvah. And then, Crif President Francis Kalifat stood upright and articulated forthrightly the message that Jews and non-Jews have been trying to communicate to French society and authorities over the past seventeen years. Yes, Jews and non-Jews. One of the ploys used to stifle this message is the constant repetition of “the Sarah Halimi murder has dismayed French Jews, the Jewish community is distressed by the failure to investigate the anti-Semitic motive of the suspect,” etc. as if it were a narrowly Jewish issue pushed by parochially Jewish worry warts and exploited to attract attention to their minority concerns.