Pro-Israel Groups Blast SJP for Racism and UCLA for Fecklessness: Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Seven staunchly pro-Israel organizations told the California Board of Regents at a hearing on Thursday, May 15, that its failure to stand up to the thuggery and blatant racism of the UCLA Students for Justice in Palestine against pro-Israel students was a failure of leadership and of morality.

What was so egregious that these pro-Israel organizations were protesting?


The UCLA-SJP introduced an initiative which calls for a Judicial Board investigation of student council members who have taken trips to Israel sponsored by groups which the SJP deems to have “political agendas that marginalize multiple communities on campus.” The groups on SJP’s hit list are the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and Hasbara Fellowships.

As Dumisani Washington, the Pastor-leader of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, said in his remarks at the hearing Thursday morning, the SJP’s denunciation of pro-Israel groups for having a political agenda is not just hateful, it is hypocritical.

“One wonders exactly what SJP assumes itself to be, if not an organization with a ‘political agenda,’” Washington told the Regents.


The second initiative promoted by the SJP to deprive pro-Israel students of a voice in campus discussions was its demand that candidates for student government positions sign a statement pledging that they will not go on any trip to Israel sponsored by the three Jewish organizations.


Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist, pastor of an Anglican church, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle Eastern Forum, and director of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness. He has published many articles and books on the language and culture of the Acehnese, Christian-Muslim relations and religious freedom. A graduate of the Australian National University and the Australian College of Theology, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA and Stanford, and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1992.
It is a common refrain of pious Muslims in the face of atrocities done by other Muslims in the name of Islam that Islam must not be shamed: whenever an atrocity potentially dishonors Islam, non-Muslims are asked to agree that ‘This is not Islamic’ so that the honor of Islam can be kept pristine. However the real issue is not what would be good or bad for Islam’s reputation. … Islam is not the victim here. The pressing issue here is not to get people to think well of Islam, but how these girls can be rescued, and above all how Boko Haram’s murderous rampage is to be halted.

Qasim Rashid, an American Muslim, published on FoxNews a heart-felt expression of deep distress at the kidnapping of Nigerian girls by Boko Haram (‘What would Muhammad say to Boko Haram’). He declared that Muhammad himself would not recognize this group as acting in line with his teachings:

“Boko Haram’s claim that Islam motivates their kidnappings is no different than Adolf Hitler’s claim that Christianity motivated his genocide. This terrorist organization acts in direct violation of every Islamic teaching regarding women.”

Qasim Rashid is not the only Muslim who has been speaking out in support of the kidnapped girls, while denying that their plight has anything to do with Islam (see here).

Qasim Rashid is a member of the Ahmaddiyah community, which is regarded as unorthodox by most Muslims. Indeed Ahmaddiyahs are often severely persecuted for their beliefs in Islamic nations. Although Qasim Rashid does not speak for mainstream Islam, he is nevertheless to be commended for speaking up against Boko Haram’s repugnant acts.

But does the claim that Boko Haram is not Islamic hold up to scrutiny?

What counts as a valid manifestation of Islam? Ahmaddiyah beliefs can be considered Islamic, in that those who hold them do so on the basis of a reasoned interpretation of Islamic canonical sources, even if the majority of Muslims reject them as Muslims. By the same token, the beliefs of Boko Haram must also be considered a form of Islam, for they too are held on the basis of a reasoned interpretation of Islamic canonical sources.

It needs to be acknowledged that Boko Haram has not arisen in a vacuum. As Andrew Bostom has pointed out, violent opposition to non-Islamic culture has been a feature of Nigerian Islam for centuries. Today this hatred is being directed against Western education and secular government, but in the past it was indigenous Africa cultures which were targeted for brutal treatment, including enslavement and slaughter. The modern revival of absolutist sharia-compliant Islam in the north of Nigeria is a process which has deep roots in history. It has also been in progress for decades. Khalid Yasin, an African American convert to Islam and globe-trotting preacher waxed lyrical about the advance of sharia law in Nigeria on Australian national radio in 2003:

“If we look at the evolution of the Sharia experiment in Nigeria for instance. It’s just a wonderful, phenomenal experience. It has brought about some sweeping changes, balances, within the society, regulations in terms of moral practices and so many things. …What did the Sharia provide? Always dignity, protection, and the religious rights?”

But let us consider the evidence Qasim Rashid gives for his view that Muhammad would disown Boko Haram. His arguments can be summarized as follows:

‘Boko Haram violates the Koran 24:34 [i.e. Sura 24:33] which commands, “and force not your women to unchaste life,” i.e. [this is] a condemnation of Boko Haram’s intention to sell these girls into prostitution.’
‘They violate Koran 4:20 [i.e. Sura 4:19] which declares, “it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will; nor should you detain them,” i.e. a specific repudiation of Boko Haram’s kidnapping and detention.’
‘Prophet Muhammad’s dying words embodied these commandments. He implored, “Do treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers.”’
The seeking of knowledge is an obligation on all Muslims, including ‘secular knowledge’.
‘Islam … commands female education.’


Last Sunday, the government passed what was billed as a major reform in Israeli broadcasting.

The cabinet voted 18-2 to eliminate the fee the public is forced to pay to finance public broadcasting, shut down the public broadcasting authority and open a new public broadcasting authority that will be unfettered by the wreckage of the old one.

The problem with the bill that was approved by the government for submission to the Knesset is that the larger problem with public broadcasting remained unaddressed. The main reason that members of the public railed against the fee is that they don’t like what they are paying for. By and large, with a few notable exceptions, public broadcasting’s offerings are unoriginal, uninteresting and poorly done.

Moreover, they either reflect the worldview of the narrow post-Zionist sliver of the population or signify nothing at all.

The decision to close the broadcast authority and reopen it under another name while canceling the fee is a net positive achievement. But it was also a missed opportunity.

At the last moment, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni inserted radical amendments in the bill to ensure that the price of reform will be maintaining public broadcasting as a subsidized platform for the radical Left.

The original bill, written by Communications Minister Gilad Erdan and co-sponsored by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, gave authority to a committee to nominate an unlimited number of candidates to serve on the new broadcast authority’s nine-member board of directors. The committee was to be chaired by an unelected, retired Supreme Court justice or district court judge, and manned by two other members appointed by the judge.

In the original draft, the judge was supposed to give the list to the minister of communications, who would be empowered to accept or veto the individual names on the list. While this system would give the retired judges enormous power to impose their political ideology on the public broadcasting system, the minister would retain some limited power to block this corruption of broadcasting independence. As new ministers are appointed every few years from different political parties, in all likelihood the minister’s power would ensure some degree of political diversity among committee members.

Livni’s amendment took the minister’s power away. Her version – which Erdan accepted and the government approved – gives the judge the power to present a closed nine-person list to the minister and the minister can either approve or reject the entire list.

So, too, the original bill gave the minister and the government ultimate power to fire the general director of the new authority. Under Livni’s amended version, only the judge has that power.

So who is this all-powerful unelected judge? Since the overwhelming majority of Supreme Court justices are radical leftists, it is fair to assume that the judge will be a radical leftist.

Clinton Allies Send Davis To Set Up Spin Operation Outside Gowdy’s Committee By Jim Geraghty

From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

Guess Who’s Setting Up a Spin Operation Right Outside Gowdy’s Committee?

Let’s start the Friday off right by exposing something that a bunch of Progressives don’t want you to know. At dinner last night, Larry O’Connor of WMAL mentioned his latest interview with the affable but indisputably ruthless Lanny Davis:

Davis will be heading up something he calls “The Truth Squad,” and will position himself right outside the committee room where Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) will be conducting his investigations into the events of the Sept 11th Benghazi attacks.

Davis joined me and my co-host, Brian Wilson on our morning radio show in Washington DC on WMAL Thursday morning.

Okay, that’s not surprising, a Democratic spin doctor sets up shop to “fact check” the findings and questioning of Gowdy’s special committee. But a guy like Davis – who’s represented the Clinton White House, some unsavory foreign clients and Redskins owner Daniel Snyder – doesn’t come cheap. So who’s putting all this together?

Davis said his partner in the effort is an advocacy group called “Correct The Record”, which is funded by the American Bridge 21st Century PAC.

Davis claimed, “They are funded by thousands of grassroots people all over the country,” said Davis. “It’s a great organization, because all they do is put facts out, and that’s really all I do.”

Black Americans Are Worse Off Under Obama Yet They Still Support him Almost Unanimously. By Deroy Murdock

According to a Fox News survey released on Wednesday, Obama’s approval rating stands at 45 percent among all registered voters. However, among black voters, Obama’s job approval soars to 86 percent.

Given Obama’s devastating impact on black Americans, this is even more confounding than the whereabouts of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Obama’s election, no doubt, generated considerable ethnic pride. Seeing a black man (or, precisely, a half-black man) inaugurated was a truly exceptional milestone for all Americans — black and otherwise.

But Obama reached the Oval Office nearly five years and four months ago. Since then, his performance should have dimmed his halo among blacks, especially considering how much they have suffered on his watch.

• When Obama entered office on January 20, 2009, U.S. unemployment stood at 7.8 percent. By April 2014, that Bureau of Labor Statistics figure had fallen to 6.3 percent — a modest improvement. Among blacks overall, joblessness dropped, though less significantly — from 12.7 to 11.6 percent. But for blacks aged 16 to 19, unemployment grew from 35.3 to 36.8 percent.

• Obama’s somewhat more sanguine unemployment numbers, such as they are, seem less about job growth and more about people simply abandoning the workforce — whereupon they conveniently exit the unemployment rate. The more revealing labor-force-participation rate thus fell from 65.7 percent in January 2009 to 62.8 percent last month, a portrait of disengagement last witnessed in March 1978. For black adults, that number slipped from 63.2 to 60.9 percent. While 29.6 percent of blacks aged 16 to 19 were working when Obama took power, only 27.9 percent were employed last month.

• Poverty has increased under Obama. Overall, 14.3 percent of Americans were below the poverty line in January 2009, versus 15.0 percent in 2012, according to the latest available data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. Similarly, the share of black Americans living in poverty expanded from 25.8 to 27.2 percent.


I am not an economist, so the following observations should be considered in the context that they represent only the thoughts of a casual observer. But I have read, as have most of you, Milton Friedman’s explanation of inflation, that it “is always and everywhere a result of excess money growth.” The monetary base has expanded exponentially – from $949 billion in September 2008 to $3.9 trillion in March 2014, according to data from the St. Louis Fed. Can inflation be far behind?

It has long seemed commonsensical when looking at markets to take note of extremes, especially when one’s analytical capabilities are as limited as mine. The extraordinary high prices people were paying for technology stocks in the late 1990s was such an example, as was the complacency that descended on equity markets in late 2006 when the first signs of the mortgage problems were beginning to sprout.

Today, when we look at markets, the extremes appear to be in interest rates, where an investor gets paid a measly 2.55% for holding Ten-year Treasuries, versus almost 4% at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 and 7.8% twenty years ago; in the extraordinary increases in the Fed’s balance sheet over the past five years from under a trillion dollars to $4.2 trillion today, and in the $2.5 trillion of idle reserves sitting on bank balance sheets, up from just over $800 billion just before the credit crisis.

These are extraordinary changes, the consequences of which have yet to be felt. (And, of course, we will only know their full effects in hindsight.) But they are worth considering. Treasury rates are lower than they have been at any point during my 47 years on Wall Street, other than last summer when they were 100 basis points lower. According to Sidney Homer’s A History of Interest Rates, at no point did Treasury rates in the U.S. get as low as they did last July when the rate on the Ten-year momentarily dipped under 1.4%. Counter intuitively, rates have fallen as Treasury borrowings have increased. Between 2006 and 2013, combined Federal budget deficits have amounted to $6.7 trillion. One reason rates have stayed low – probably the principal reason – is that the Federal Reserve has financed over $3 trillion of those borrowings.

Aggressive central banks and low interest rates are not just U.S. problems. Spanish and Italian bonds are now priced to yield 2.9% and 3.0% respectively, making U.S. Treasuries look relatively cheap. Bonds have been in a bull market for over thirty years. Perhaps that bull run ended last summer. I don’t know. The only conclusion one can safely conclude is that there is an unhealthy level of complacency in bond land, with expectations favoring deflation, not inflation.

The Emerging Junta The IRS’s Illegal Actions — and its Efforts at Cover-Up — Undermine the Foundations of our Government. By Kevin D. Williamson

I will confess to a little despair over the relatively mild reception that has greeted the evidence, now conclusive and irrefutable, that the Internal Revenue Service, under the direction of senior leaders affiliated with the Democratic party, was used as a political weapon from at least 2010 through the 2012 election. It may be that the American public simply does not care about the issue; it is always difficult, if not impossible, to predict what issues will seize the electorate’s attention, or to understand why after the fact. It may be that the public does not understand the issue, in which case a brief explanation of the known facts may be of some use.

Here is what happened. In the run-up to the 2012 election, senior IRS executives including Lois Lerner, then the head of the IRS branch that oversees the activities of tax-exempt nonprofit groups, began singling out conservative-leaning organizations for extra attention, invasive investigations, and legal harassment. The IRS did not target groups that they believed might be violating the rules governing tax-exempt organizations; rather, as e-mails from the agency document, the IRS targeted these conservative groups categorically, regardless of whether there was any evidence that they were not in compliance with the relevant regulations. Simply having the words “tea party,” “patriot,” or “9/12” (a reference to one of Glenn Beck’s many channels of activism) in the name was enough. Also targeted were groups dedicated to issues such as taxes, spending, debt, and, perhaps most worrisome, those that were simply “critical of the how the country is being run.” Organizations also were targeted based on the identity of their donors. Their applications were delayed, their managements harassed, and the IRS demanded that they answer wildly inappropriate questions, such as the content of their prayers. When an internal review threatened to expose the fact that, in the words of the IRS’s inspector general, the agency was “using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status,” Ms. Lerner staged an event at a tax-law conference at which she used a planted questioner to preemptively disclose the issue on her own terms, and the agency began claiming that the tea-party targeting, while regrettable, was the work of a few misguided agents at a satellite office in Cincinnati. In fact, the direction came from Washington and was, in the words of the agency’s own e-mails, “coordinated with” a senior manager there, Rob Choi, director of rulings and agreements. This began at the behest of Democratic officeholders, including Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, who requested that the IRS disclose to him information about tea-party groups that it would have been illegal for the IRS to disclose. It subsequently emerged that IRS officials had intentionally misled members of Congress and investigators about the matter.


Haggling over the price
This week, Iran could have nuked Tel Aviv without Israelis noticing. A bigger bombshell was the sentencing of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert — and a long list of co-defendants — convicted of taking bribes and breach of trust.
The reason that this caused such a stir was not merely due to the fact that a former prime minister received a stiff sentence for his part in the “worst corruption case in the country’s history.” By now, Israelis have grown accustomed to politicians going to jail.
The phenomenon is considered both a mark of Cain and a source of pride. On one hand, there is shame in leaders whose hubris and greed outweigh their civic responsibilities. On the other, there is something uplifting about an egalitarian society with a legal system that does not treat members of the upper echelons differently from average citizens.
Indeed, it is the latter that has caused Arabs throughout the Middle East, regardless of their level of hostility to Jews and the State of Israel, to envy Israeli democracy.
No, the shock elicited by the sentence stemmed from the disbelief that Olmert would actually serve time. For decades, a cloud of suspicion — culminating in a number of police investigations and trials — has been hanging over his head. Yet the seasoned statesman, who has been a member of Knesset, a minister, the mayor of Jerusalem and the prime minister, has always been acquitted.
This, rightly, has been his claim to innocence. Rumors, after all, do not constitute proof of dirty dealings. Since Olmert’s conviction in March, then, the view of the public has been that the worst punishment he would receive is the inability to make a political comeback. In Israel, where neither age nor electoral failure nor disgrace prevents a politician from popping up like a jack-in-the-box every time he is pushed down, such an outcome seemed harsh enough.
In addition, Olmert has continued to enjoy the political support of much of the media, particularly the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. His push toward massive Israeli territorial withdrawals and other major concessions on behalf of Palestinian statehood has kept him relevant in academia and on the lecture circuit.

Desperate Antics to Obstruct the Truth About Benghazi By Joseph Klein

The Democrats and their media acolytes who are pushing back against a full investigation of the Benghazi scandal are in full circle the wagons mode. They are trying to make investigating this scandal into some sort of late night joke against Republicans, but instead are looking more desperate by the day.

Many Americans do not believe the Obama administration’s account of what happened leading up to and during the September 11, 2012 attack. They smell a cover up. According to a Rasmussen poll earlier this month, 59 percent feel it is unlikely the administration has revealed all of the details surrounding the tragic attack.

“Seventy-two percent continue to believe that it is important to find out exactly what happened in the Benghazi matter, with 46 percent who say it is ‘Very Important.’ Twenty-five percent consider more information about the Benghazi case unimportant, up from 19 percent in January, but that includes just 7 percent who say it is ‘Not At All Important,’” said Rasmussen.

Distrust of the Obama administration was stoked by the recent revelation of an e-mail written by then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes showing White House involvement in concocting the bogus anti-Muslim video explanation for the killings. The purpose of this intervention by the White House was to prepare then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice for her Sunday TV show appearances on September 16, 2012, with the goal of pushing the video narrative even though senior officials at the State Department and intelligence personnel on the ground knew early on that a pre-meditated terrorist attack was the real cause.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made a fool of himself yet again when he tried to claim with a straight face that the Rhodes e-mail had nothing to do with Benghazi. It’s all old news anyway, he intoned.

Bill Clinton has tried to blunt criticism of his wife’s conduct as Secretary of State by saying that the State Department’s own Benghazi investigation, which was led by retired Adm. Mike Mullen and former U.S. diplomat Thomas Pickering, “looked into what was wrong. They gave 29 recommendations. She took ‘em and started implementing them.”

That may be true, but Bill conveniently left out the fact that Hillary’s hand-picked Accountability Review Board failed to interview her. When she finally appeared before Congress to testify, Hillary responded to questions with a question of her own: “What difference at this point does it make?”


I’ve been predicting that Russia would not send its army into eastern Ukraine, but stand back and let the country dissolve into chaos. The crisis erupted because the country is dead flat broke, after nearly $200 billion in aid over the past twenty years, most of it stolen. All the huffing and puffing about a new Hitler seizing a new Sudetenland in preparation for a Drang nach Westen is beside the point. The center ring of this bathetic circus has shifted to Beijing, where Vladimir Putin is negotiating the terms of a new Sino-Russian deal. This isn’t a fusion of the two countries by any means, but rather a cautious, self-interested alignment of interests. The Indian journalist M.K. Bhadrakumar, a former ambassador to Turkey and several Central Asian Republics, has a useful assessment on his blog today. Bhadrakumar is a sympathetic and canny observer of Russian policy.

The highlight of the two-day state visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to China on Tuesday is probably going to be the signing of the long-awaited 30-year mega gas deal. The Russian media have been speculating such a strong possibility. The Chinese official remarks, however, remain cautiously optimistic and flag that the “main difference”, namely, over the price of gas, “still lingers.” To be sure, it is a political call now for the Kremlin.
Russia took a tough stance in the recent years insisting that the price of gas should be linked to the price of oil, which is the formula it maintains in dealings with Europe. With the passage of time, China’s negotiating stance (which rejected such a linkage), has strengthened.
Time worked in China’s favor. Beijing has been in no tearing hurry to conclude the deal while it kept lining up LNG supplies from other sources — Qatar and Australia — and kept up the momentum of overseas upstream investments, including in Canada, as well as boosting further supplies from Turkmenistan and other Central Asian countries.
China is also estimated to have the world’s largest source of shale gas. On the contrary, Russia’s negotiating hand has weakened. A ‘Look East’ strategy for energy exports is increasingly a matter of compulsion rather than of choice, as the United States pushes for Europe’s diversification of energy imports to reduce high dependence on Russia.