Why Europe Is Irrational About Israel By David P. Goldman

Coming soon after Sweden’s recognition of a non-existent state of Palestine, the British Parliament’s 274-to-12 resolution to recognize “Palestine” flags a sea-change in European sentiment towards Israel. France is thinking of following suit. The European Community bureaucracy, meanwhile, has readied sanctions against Israel. One remonstrates in vain. The Gaza War should have taught the world that Israel cannot cede territory to Mahmoud Abbas, now in the 7th year of a 4-year term. Hamas has the support of 55% of West Bank Palestinians vs. just 38% for Abbas, and Hamas openly brags that it could destroy Israel more easily from firing positions in the West Bank. Only the Israeli military keeps Abbas in power; without the Israelis Hamas would displace Abbas in the West Bank as easily as it did in Gaza; and a Hamas government in the West Bank would make war on Israel, with horrifying consequences.

To propose immediate Palestinian statehood under these circumstances is psychotic, to call the matter by its right name. The Europeans, along with the United Nations and the Obama administration on most working days, refuse to take reality into account. When someone tells you that Martians are transmitting radio waves into his brain, or that Elvis Presley really is the pope rather than an Argentine Jesuit, one doesn’t enquire into the merits of the argument. Rather, one considers the cause of the insanity.

The Europeans hate Israel with the passion of derangement. Why? Well, one might argue that the Europeans always have hated Jews; they were sorry they hated Jews for a while after the Holocaust, but they have gotten over that and hate us again. Some analysts used to cite Arab commercial influence in European capitals, but today Egypt and implicitly Saudi Arabia are closer to Jerusalem’s point of view than Ramallah’s. Large Muslim populations in Europe constitute a pressure group for anti-Israel policies, but that does not explain the utter incapacity of the European elite to absorb the most elementary facts of the situation.

Europe’s derangement has deeper roots. Post-nationalist Europeans, to be sure, distrust and despise all forms of nationalism. But Israeli nationalism does not offend Europe merely because it is one more kind of nationalism. From its founding, Europe has been haunted by the idea of Israel. Its first states emerged as an attempt to appropriate the election of Israel. As I wrote in my 2011 book How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying, Too):

The unquiet urge of each nation to be chosen in its own skin began with the first conversion of Europe’s pagans; it was embedded in European Christendom at its founding. Christian chroniclers cast the newly-baptized European monarchs in the role of biblical kings, and their nations in the role of the biblical Israel. The first claims to national election came at the crest of the early Dark Ages, from the sixth-century chronicler St Gregory of Tours (538-594), and the seventh-century Iberian churchman St Isidore of Seville.

5 Key Implications if Baghdad Falls to ISIS By Patrick Poole

Reports that ISIS has surrounded Baghdad and is quickly closing in on the Baghdad International Airport (armed with MANPADS, no less) are troubling. Baghdad itself has been rocked by a series of VBIED attacks in the past 24 hours by ISIS, indicating that the battle for Baghdad has begun.

The possible fall of Baghdad could be the most significant development in the War on Terror since 9/11. And yet many among the D.C. foreign policy “smart set” were not long ago mocking such a scenario.

So what happens if such a situation comes to pass? Here are five key implications (by no means limited to these) if Baghdad falls to ISIS:

1) ISIS will not be claiming to the be the Islamic State, they will BE the Islamic State

Symbolism doesn’t matter much to your average post-modern Westerner, but it still does in the Islamic world, and the capture of Baghdad will hold enormous value. For 500 years Baghdad was the seat of the Abbasid caliphate, and its fall to ISIS would allow the terrorist group to reclaim that mantle. Such an event will electrify the Middle East and beyond, with many Muslims holding firmly to the belief that the abolition of the Ottoman caliphate in 1924 by Ataturk was one of the key contributing factors in the decline of the Muslim world over the past century. No amount of State Department hashtags or tweets, or pronouncements by Sheikh Barack Obama and Imam John Kerry that there is nothing Islamic about the Islamic State, will be able to negate any claims by ISIS to be the revived caliphate.

2) The Great Reconciliation between jihadist groups will begin

Much of the Obama administration’s anti-ISIS efforts have been trying to leverage other “vetted moderate” groups in Syria against ISIS, with some “smart set” thinkers even advocating engaging “moderate Al-Qaeda” to that end. We are already seeing jihadist groups gravitating towards ISIS, such as the announcement this week by Pakistani Taliban leaders pledging their allegiance to the Islamic State. Other groups of younger jihadis are breaking away from Al-Qaeda franchises in North Africa and defecting to ISIS. Despite bitter rivalries between ISIS and other jihadist groups in Syria, namely Al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, these other groups will be hard-pressed to deny ISIS’ caliphate claims if they do take Baghdad. In that part of the world, nothing succeeds like success. If Baghdad falls, jihadist groups, some of whom have been openly hostile or remained neutral, will quickly align behind ISIS. And the horrid sound coming out of Washington, D.C., will be of foreign policy paradigms imploding.

Germany: Holy War Erupts in Hamburg by Soeren Kern

“We are living in Hamburgistan.” — Daniel Abdin, imam of Hamburg’s Al-Nour Mosque.

One politician has been repeatedly threatened with beheading as the price to pay for leading a fundraising campaign to provide food and water for Kurds in northern Iraq.

“As a society we must ask ourselves: how can it be that people who live in Germany and… born and raised here, are supporters of a brutal, inhuman and fundamentalist group such as the IS and attack peaceful protestors with knives, sticks and machetes. Here in Germany, the IS threatens to become a refuge for frustrated young people….” — Claudia Roth, Vice-President, German Parliament.

“Under no circumstances should [politicians who receive death threats] give in and change their stance, otherwise the extremists will have achieved their objectives.” — Wolfgang Bosbach, CDU official.

Parts of downtown Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, resembled a war zone after hundreds of supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State [IS] engaged in bloody street clashes with ethnic Kurds.

The violence—which police say was as ferocious as anything seen in Germany in recent memory—is fuelling a sense of foreboding about the spillover effects of the fighting in Syria and Iraq.

Some analysts believe that rival Muslim groups in Germany are deliberately exploiting the ethnic and religious tensions in the Middle East to stir up trouble on the streets of Europe.

The unrest began on the evening of October 7, when around 400 Kurds gathered outside the Al-Nour mosque near the central train station in Hamburg’s St. George district to protest against IS attacks on the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani.

According to police, the initially peaceful protest turned violent when the Kurds were confronted by a rival group of around 400 Salafists armed with baseball bats, brass knuckles, knives, machetes and metal rods used to hold meat in kebab restaurants.

The Obama Deniers :Senate Democrats Want Voters to Believe They Barely Know the Man.

Senate candidates across the country are now training their fire on President Obama , railing about his failed policies and touting their fierce opposition to his agenda. And those are the Democrats.

The Obama-denial campaign reached new comic heights last week with Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes ’s refusal to say if she had voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 or 2012. The Democrat dodged the question again at a Monday debate, insisting she had a “constitutional right” to keep secret whether she voted for the man for whom she served as a delegate at the 2012 Democratic nominating convention. Voters might fairly conclude Ms. Grimes is less worried about the sanctity of the ballot than she is Mr. Obama’s 31% job approval in Kentucky.

Not that this is a new theme for Ms. Grimes, who last month debuted an ad showing her toting a shotgun, declaring she is “no Barack Obama” and explaining she disagrees with the President on “guns, coal and the EPA.” The ad followed one by West Virginia Democratic candidate Natalie Tennant, who in July ran an ad showing her cutting off the electricity to the White House and vowing to “make sure President Obama gets the message” that she supports coal.

More amazing have been Senate Democratic incumbents, who want voters to forget their lock-step support of the President for the last six years. Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor ’s first ad—which ran last year—highlighted his opposition to Mr. Obama’s gun control agenda. “No one from New York or Washington tells me what to do,” Mr. Pryor declared. He’s voted with Mr. Obama 93% of the time.

Alaska’s Mark Begich is bragging that he “took on Obama” to fight for oil drilling in his state and has mused that he’d love to drag the President to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and “bang him over the head” with the oil subject. He’s gone with the White House 97% of the time.

Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu boasts in an ad that she helped end the Administration’s 2010 moratorium on drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, and in another TV spot claims personal victory in forcing Mr. Obama to let people “keep their health care plans.” People still can’t keep their health plans, and as chair of the energy committee Mrs. Landrieu has passed nothing of note.

Mark Gunzinger And John Stillion: The Unserious Air War Against ISIS

The Campaign Against Serbia in 1999 Averaged 138 Strike Sorties Daily. Against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria: Seven.

Since U.S. planes first struck targets in Iraq on Aug. 8, a debate has raged over the effectiveness of the Obama administration’s air campaign against Islamic State. The war of words has so far focused on the need to deploy American boots on the ground to provide accurate intelligence and possibly force ISIS fighters to defend key infrastructure they have seized, such as oil facilities. But debate is now beginning to focus on the apparent failure of airstrikes to halt the terror group’s advances in Iraq and Syria—especially Islamic State’s pending seizure of Kobani on the Syrian border with Turkey.

While it is still too early to proclaim the air campaign against Islamic State a failure, it may be instructive to compare it with other campaigns conducted by the U.S. military since the end of the Cold War that were deemed successes. For instance, during the 43-day Desert Storm air campaign against Saddam Hussein’s forces in 1991, coalition fighters and bombers flew 48,224 strike sorties. This translates to roughly 1,100 sorties a day. Twelve years later, the 31-day air campaign that helped free Iraq from Saddam’s government averaged more than 800 offensive sorties a day.

By contrast, over the past two months U.S. aircraft and a small number of partner forces have conducted 412 total strikes in Iraq and Syria—an average of seven strikes a day. With Islamic State in control of an area approaching 50,000 square miles, it is easy to see why this level of effort has not had much impact on its operations.

Of course, air operations during Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom were each supported by a massive coalition force on the ground. Thus it may be more appropriate to compare current operations against Islamic State with the 78-day air campaign against Serbian forces and their proxies in 1999, or the 75-day air campaign in Afghanistan that was instrumental in forcing the Taliban out of power in 2001.

The Ferment that Feeds Anti-Semitism in France: Michel Gurfinkiel

A mix of the far-left, the far-right, radical Islam, and a dysfunctional political class.

A recent survey conducted by a British firm, ICM Research, and published on August 14 by the Russian press agency Rossiya Segodnia, tested European opinion toward the jihadist Sunni organization now known as Islamic State (IS). Reassuringly, the poll showed solid majorities in France, Germany, and the UK opposed to IS and what it stands for. Presumably, this would have satisfied Rossiya Segodnya’s primary interest in the exercise, since IS is a foe both of the Assad regime in Syria (a Russian ally) and of Iran (a Russian partner).

But what did the survey reveal about the minority of Europeans who are favorably disposed to IS? That is the more interesting terrain. In Britain, the figure for those holding “positive” views of IS stood at a moderately low but still disquieting 7 percent, which included the 2 percent whose views were “very positive.” In Germany, the comparable figures were significantly lower: 2 percent and zero percent. But in France, by contrast to both countries, they rose to an impressive 16 percent and 3 percent. Buried in the survey report, moreover, was an even more unsettling contrast: of those under the age of twenty-four, fully 27 percent in France declared themselves supporters or admirers of IS, versus only 4 percent and 3 percent in the UK and Germany.

ICM Research is a highly respected pollster, and its findings—which strikingly confirm Robert Wistrich’s sober analysis of the French situation in his Mosaic essay, “Summer in Paris”—cannot be easily dismissed. Indeed, for the past many weeks they have formed the subject of ongoing discussion among French political scientists and others.

How Obama and Hillary Gave Human Rights the Heave-Ho By Monica Crowley

The one positive thing — pretty much the only positive thing — about having a leftist president is the assumption that he will champion human rights.

How, then, to explain President Obama’s nonexistent response to the massive pro-democracy demonstrations currently underway in Hong Kong? After all, more than 200,000 people are in the streets, refusing to accept the revocation of Chinese promises of greater freedom, and yet, not a word of moral support for them from the president of the United States? Chinese communism is facing a growing existential threat, and the supposed greatest representative of liberty — the American president — is silent.


Three things happened in Mr. Obama’s first year-and-a-half in office that signaled to the Chinese communist leadership that he would allow it a free hand in the way it treated its own people and the way it behaved in the Pacific Rim as well as globally.

Episode 1: In 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turned her back on victims of Chinese oppression when she gave a speech that suggested we’d look the other way on human rights as long as we could deal productively on economic and strategic issues. The Chinese heard the message loud and clear, and subsequently ramped up their policy of jailing, torturing and killing democracy advocates, ethnic minorities and Catholics, among others. By early 2011, she had backed off from her “see no evil” position.

Mr. Obama, however, has utterly failed to take on the Chinese on the issue. In 1993, I was in the room in Beijing when former President Richard Nixon blasted the communist leadership on human rights. Their only counterargument was a lame point about the need to control more than 1 billion people. Nixon wasn’t having it, and neither should Mr. Obama. Human rights is the one area in which we actually do have some leverage with the Chinese, and yet Mr. Obama has been an AWOL moral warrior.


There are two mistaken tropes about artistic genius that suffuse the screenplay of Whiplash: one is that it is enhanced by suffering and the other is that it borders on madness. This is a movie about a young drummer determined to gain immortality through his dedication to excellence; it is also a movie about a teacher rationalizing his own sadistic psychoses by pretending that abject humiliation is an effective tool for weeding out the merely talented from the truly great. It’s Rocky meets The Great Santini within the academic halls of the best music school in America.

Andrew arrives at Shaffer Conservatory (read Julliard) as a naive young man, ill at ease with girls and anxious to gain the favor of Fletcher, the charismatic teacher who heads the prestigious jazz band. Played by J.K. Simmons as the most tightly wound marine sargeant since Full Metal Jacket, the teacher gives Andrew the nod, inviting him to participate in this inner sanctum. From this point on, we cringe as Andrew and other students suffer the consequences of Fletcher’s abuse – staccato tirades of vulgar, homophobic invenctive mingled with the outing of each individual’s personal weakness or tragedy. The phoniness of this plot point can best be illustrated by referencing what’s happened to football coaches and owners of basketball teams in our politically correct culture. Racism and homophobia are the ultimate sins – the punishments for these “hate crimes” are more severe than for theft, drug abuse or plain physical assault. The chair-hurling, gay-bashing Fletcher would last at a prestigious music school for as much time as it takes for students to video his outbursts and post them online.

Obamacare Website Won’t Reveal Insurance Costs for 2015 Until After Election

States with key Senate races face double-digit premium hikes

Those planning to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchange will soon find out how much rates have increased — after the Nov. 4 election.

Enrollment on the Healthcare.gov website begins Nov. 15, or 11 days after the midterm vote, and critics who worry about rising premium hikes in 2015 say that’s no coincidence. Last year’s inaugural enrollment period on the health-care exchange began Oct. 1.

“This is more than just a glitch,” said Tim Phillips, president of free-market Americans for Prosperity, in a Friday statement. “The administration’s decision to withhold the costs of this law until after Election Day is just more proof that Obamacare is a bad deal for Americans.”

Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, said in a Monday column in USA Today that “when it comes to a lack of openness and transparency about Obamacare, this administration has no peer.”

Even so, details about cost increases are trickling out in states with pivotal Senate contests: Alaska, Iowa and Louisiana. All three states are wrestling with double-digit premium hikes from some state insurance companies on the exchange, which has fueled another round of Republican attacks on the Affordable Care Act.

In Illinois, Substitute Teaching For One Day Reaped Nearly $1 Million in Taxpayer-Funded Pension Money (!!!!) By Adam Andrzejewski

Adam Andrzejewski is the founder of OpenTheBooks.com a project of American Transparency 501(c)3.

In 2011, the Chicago Tribune exposed a pair of Illinois teacher union lobbyists, Stephen Preckwinkle and David Piccioli, who substitute taught for one day and stood to collect nearly $1 million in state teacher retirement pensions from a severely underfunded system. The five Illinois pension systems have a $100 billion liability and the teachers fund may run out of money as early as 2029. Newspaper editorials, elected officials, the governor and citizens cried foul. Legislation was quickly passed to stop the abuse.

When Gov. Pat Quinn signed the pension “reform” legislation into law on January 5, 2012, he said. “The pension abuses unearthed were flagrant. They needed to be stopped immediately and prevented from ever happening in the future.”

Mission accomplished, or so it seemed.

Even though all Illinois citizens were led to believe that the pension abusers had been stopped, within twenty-four months after the “reform” legislation passed, the union lobbyists retired and received their lifetime Illinois state teacher pensions.

Even in Illinois, how this could have happened? The governor and the entire statewide media and political class took credit for stopping these abuses in late 2011 through January 2012.

A couple of weeks ago, we spotted Preckwinkle and Piccioli within a long list of 30 state retirees from the Illinois Federation of Teachers (private sector teachers union). Sure enough, in 2014, Piccioli is receiving $30,564 and Preckwinkle $37,416 pensions (click here for their life expectancy pension payouts of nearly $1 million each). The experience was a bit overwhelming, even for our seasoned team of forensic investigators.

In order to understand this massive pension “reform misunderstanding,” we questioned the Public Relations Spokesman for the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) David Urbanek, who explained: