... Trump has promised to “put America first,” but there is inevitably a spanner in the works. Now ... it is possible to discern that the new foreign policy will, more than under Barack Obama and George W. Bush, be driven in significant part by Israeli interests ... For many years now, Israel has sought to make the American people complicit in its own crimes while also encouraging our country’s feckless and corrupt leadership to provide their government with political cover and even go to war on its behalf ... Trump might think he is ushering in a new era of American policy based on American interests but it is beginning to look a lot like same-old same-old but even worse, and Benjamin Netanyahu will be very much in the driver’s seat.
... It was a defining and pivotal episode for Jared Kushner, now 35, who is poised to become one of the most trusted advisers to his father-in-law, President-elect Donald Trump. The donation scandal provides a glimpse of the privilege and influence that marked Kushner's upbringing in a prominent family ... Trump told the New York Times last week that, once he is in the White House, Kushner would probably keep his role as an informal counselor and envoy to the Middle East, where Kushner already has close relationships with people close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Several Trump associates have said that Kushner will be a chief of staff in all but name, with wide-ranging -- if sometimes hard-to-quantify -- influence ...
With his nomination of attorney David Friedman as the new United States Ambassador to Israel, President-elect Donald Trump has sent a very clear message that he intends to shift U.S. policy away from its decades-long commitment to ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. That commitment represents not only a strong American political consensus, but an overwhelming international consensus as well. Friedman’s views can only be described as radical. He is an avowed opponent of the two-state solution, which he has called “an illusion that serves the worst intentions of both the United States and the Palestinian Arabs.”
Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday the Israeli refusal to stop building Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory is undermining any attempt to achieve a lasting peace in the region. "The settler agenda is defining the future of Israel, and their stated purpose is clear," Kerry said. "They believe in one state: greater Israel." In an often-harsh, 70-minute plus speech, Kerry said the two-state solution that President Obama and his predecessors have been pushing for is "now in jeopardy" and the continued settlement building by the Israelis is cementing "a one-state reality that nobody really wants." If Israel keeps annexing Palestinian territory, Kerry said, "it can be Jewish or Democratic — but it can't be both."
Major US Jewish organizations declared that US President Barack Obama had undermined his legacy on Israel, and bitterly criticized the administration’s decision to allow a resolution calling for a halt to all Israeli settlement activity to pass in the United Nations Security Council. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which had tussled in recent weeks with President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, offered a full-throated condemnation of the Security Council resolution and of the Obama administration’s decision to abstain from voting. ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt stated that the organization was “outraged over the US failure to veto this biased and unconstructive UNSC resolution on Israel.”
The British government this week formally adopted a definition of anti-Semitism based on the working definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) on 26 May 2016 in Warsaw by 31 countries. A Downing Street statement said the purpose of the definition was to “ensure that culprits will not be able to get away with being anti-Semitic because the term is ill-defined, or because different organisations or bodies have different interpretations of it” ... To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples serve as illustrations: manifestations of anti-Semitism might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.
For years I have argued that Jewish power is the power to silence criticism of Jewish Power. Now, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that my observation is spot on. PM May has decided to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and to integrate it into British law ... Is there not one Jewish leader who can see that such a move, one that makes Jews special in the eyes of the law, is a recipe for disaster? Does any Jewish leader really believe such a law will make British Jews loved or respected? Jewish history actually proves the opposite. It is always Jewish exceptionalism that evolves into Jewish disaster.
Films will not be eligible for two of the main Bafta [British Academy of Film and Television Arts] Awards from 2019 if they do not meet new diversity criteria. Films will be nominated for outstanding British film or outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer only if they meet two of four criteria. The "significant change" will bring in more people from minorities, women, people with disabilities and from lower socio-economic groups, Bafta said. It aims to improve access on screen, behind the scenes and among audiences. To be eligible for the two awards, films must prove they have worked to improve diversity in two of the four following areas ...
Two weeks ago, the Guardian reported that the top Google search result for “Did the Holocaust happen?” was an article on the neo-Nazi website Stormfront titled “Top 10 reasons why the Holocaust didn’t happen.” The story was picked up by numerous outlets and drew widespread anger (at least from everyone who isn’t a Nazi). When Google was asked to comment, however, a spokesperson stated that Google would not tamper with the search results ... Well, it appears as if Google has reconsidered. Gizmodo reported yesterday that the search engine has decided to alter the search results, pushing the Stormfront article further down the first page ... The company told Digital Trends that, despite the correction, search results are still sorted automatically.’
Veronica Bouchard, 19, who lives in Toronto, is currently undergoing investigation by the authorities for allegedly posting a video online in which she praised Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, along with wishing Hitler a happy birthday. Bouchard also mentioned in her video that crime rates have increased drastically due to the increase of immigrants in Canada. More shocking statements that Bouchard had claimed was her view that perhaps the Holocaust had never actually occurred in the first place, and called for a “white Canada.” After her video had been posted, Bouchard was filed for charges on a hate crime, along with her YouTube channel removed from the internet, and her laptop has been confiscated by the authorities.
The Obama Administration on Friday finally allowed the UN Security Council to call on Israel to halt its settlement expansion on Friday. The resolution essentially re-states U.S. policy that settlement activity in the West Bank is illegal and counterproductive, and that Israel’s security must be protected ... The resolution is toothless — it does not, for example, authorize any form of sanctions to compel Israel to respect international law ...The administration’s abstention reflects a larger reality: President Obama did more to shield Israel from international pressure at the United Nations than any of his predecessors ... At the same time, Obama awarded Israel with its largest military aid package ever — signing a memorandum of understanding in September that would give it $38 billion over ten years.
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is very, very cross about last Friday’s United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the creation of illegal Jewish settlements all over the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem ... This is why Netanyahu has to lie all the time, and it drives Obama crazy ... The Jewish settlements are indeed illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and there is not a single government outside Israel that believes they are legitimate. But the recent Security Council resolution will have no effect on Israeli policy, nor will the state of Israel suffer grave consequences as a result.
Benjamin Netanyahu is waging diplomatic war against the world, and notably against Israel’s only vital ally, the United States. We’ve never seen anything like it. It won’t win Israel any new friends ... Israel was annihilated in the Security Council vote on Friday that demanded an end to all settlement activity and that designated all the land that Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war, which includes the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, as “occupied Palestinian territory.” The prime minister’s hope is that he can stave off further, and still more devastating, potential diplomatic defeat at the hands of the outgoing Obama administration via a mixture of pleas, threats and boycotts. On the horizon, he sees the incoming administration of Donald J. Trump. For Netanyahu, it cannot arrive soon enough.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally phoned New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully to warn him a UN resolution co-sponsored by the country was a "declaration of war", according to a leading Israeli newspaper. The UN Security Council resolution called for Israel to stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem, declaring the settlements “illegal.” It was picked up and sponsored by New Zealand and three other countries after US President-elect Donald Trump reportedly pressured Egypt into dropping it.
... By abstaining on that Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal and invalid, raged Bibi Netanyahu, President Obama “failed to protect Israel in this gang-up at the UN, and colluded with it.” ... We have an Israeli leader all but castigating an American president as a backstabber and betrayer, while the White House calls Bibi a liar. This is not an unserious matter ... Not a single Security Council member stood by her [Israel] and voted against condemning Israel’s presence in Arab East Jerusalem and the Old City ... The resolution will stimulate and strengthen the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel ... If Israel does not cease expanding West Bank settlements, she could be hauled before the International Criminal Court and charged with war crimes.
Secretary of State John Kerry tore into Israel on Wednesday for settlement-building, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of dragging Israel away from democracy and forcefully rejecting the notion that America had abandoned Israel with a controversial U.N. vote ... “If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, it cannot be both, and it won’t ever really be at peace,” Kerry said in a speech that ran more than an hour, a comprehensive airing of grievances that have built up in the Obama administration over eight years but were rarely, until this month, discussed publicly.
As tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims converge on the Holy Land this week to celebrate the birth of Jesus, senior Israeli rabbis have announced a war on the Christmas tree. In Jerusalem, the rabbinate has issued a letter warning dozens of hotels in the city that it is "forbidden" by Jewish religious law to erect a tree or stage new year's parties ... In the coastal city of Haifa, in northern Israel, the rabbi of Israel's premier technology university has taken a similarly strict line. Elad Dokow, the Technion's rabbi, ordered that Jewish students boycott their students' union, after it installed for the first time a modest Christmas tree. He called the tree "idolatry", warning that it was a "pagan" symbol that violated the kosher status of the building, including its food hall.
A prominent leader of the “alt-right” left a Hillel rabbi speechless when he drew a direct parallel between white supremacy and Zionism — igniting debate on social media about whether such a comparison has any validity. Richard Spencer, who leads the white nationalist National Policy Institute, appeared at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, on Tuesday [Dec. 6] night ... Strident critics of Israel were quick to jump on the one-sided debate between Spencer and the rabbi as evidence that Zionism shares some ideological common ground with far right political movements ... Max Blumenthal, an activist and harsh critic of Israel, tweeted that the incident illustrates why “Zionists are poorly positioned to confront white nationalists.”
Donald Trump will disappoint and disillusion his far-right supporters by eschewing white supremacy, according to some of the movement’s own intellectual leaders ... Instead of enjoying proximity to power, according to this analysis, vocal parts of the loose coalition known as the “alt-right” could remain on the political fringe, wondering what happened to their triumph. “Their hearts are bigger than their brains,” said Mark Weber, who runs the Institute for Historical Review, an organisation dedicated to exposing “Jewish-Zionist” power. “Saying they want to be the intellectual head of the Trump presidency is delusional.”
A high school principal in Taiwan has resigned after students at his school reportedly dressed up as Nazis for a holiday parade, prompting outrage from local educators and the island’s Israeli representative. According to the Taipei Times, the school’s principal, Cheng Hsiao-ming, took full responsibility and will step down as the head of Kuang Fu High School in Taiwan’s Hsinchu City. Photos of students hoisting swastika banners and parading behind a cardboard tank went viral over the weekend ... Cheng reportedly said that a teacher had recommended Arabic culture as a theme for the event, but that the students twice voted against it in favor of a Nazi parade. The students were advised that the theme would be controversial, according to the Taipei Times, but the teacher decided to respect their decision.
... Earth is no longer the property of the globe’s “sole superpower.” If you want proof, you can start by checking out Moscow’s recent role in reshaping the civil war in Syria and frustrating Washington’s agenda to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. And that’s just one of a number of developments that highlight America’s diminishing power globally in both the military and the diplomatic arenas ... The previously overwhelming economic power of the U.S. is gradually being challenged and curtailed internationally ... At the moment, Chinese leaders do not seem to imagine their country openly challenging the United States for world leadership for, minimally, decades to come ... China and Russia are now trying to ensure that Washington no longer exercises unrestrained power globally, as it did between 1992 and summer of 2008.
Despite almost six years of war between his army and rebels backed by the West and Gulf countries, Syrian President Bashar Assad said he still considers Israel the one and only “enemy” state, in an interview ... Much of the interview, with Syrian daily Al-Watan, was devoted to Assad’s recent success in the battle over Aleppo ... “Whereas Israel occupies Syrian territory, so the issue is different,” said Assad. Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six Day War of 1967, then effectively annexed it in 1981. Syria, and much of the West, considers the Israeli Golan Heights occupied Syrian territory and Syria has pushed for its return.
Anne Frank may not have been betrayed to Nazi occupiers, but captured by chance. A new study published Friday by the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam says that despite decades of research there is no conclusive evidence that the Jewish diarist and her family were betrayed to the Netherlands’ German occupiers during World War II, leading to their arrest and deportation. Ronald Leopold, Executive Director of the Anne Frank House museum, said in a statement Friday that new research by the museum “illustrates that other scenarios should also be considered.” One possible theory is that the Aug. 4, 1944, raid that led to Anne’s arrest could have been part of an investigation into illegal labor or falsified ration coupons at the canal-side house where she and other Jews hid for just over two years.
Two pairs of Polish Jewish siblings, who each believed their entire families died in the Holocaust, met for the first time at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The tale started earlier this year when one of the siblings, Fania Blakay, found a testimony in the Yad Vashem database about her father. The testimony had been filled out by her father’s brother-in-law, who Blakay had been told had died. The brother in-law, it turns out, had actually survived the Holocaust and immigrated with his wife and daughters to Israel. The daughters — Blakay’s cousins — were living in Israel. On Tuesday, Blakay and her brother Gennadi Band — both of whom also live in Israel — were united with their first cousins Henia Moskowitz and Rywka Patchnik.
His assassination of a German diplomat in Paris gave the Nazis the pretext for sanctioning Kristallnacht, the violent pogrom against Jews on 9 November 1938. Herschel Grynszpan, a Polish Jew considered a controversial figure to this day, was widely believed to have perished in a concentration camp during the 1940s. But a photograph discovered in the archives of Vienna’s Jewish Museum now appears to show that Grynszpan survived the war. The snapshot, taken in Germany in 1946, shows the then 24-year-old in a gathering of displaced persons. Its discovery effectively clears up one of the most enduring mysteries of the Nazi era ... His parents, Sendel and Ryfka, who survived the Holocaust and moved to Israel in 1948, had him pronounced dead in 1960, which enabled them to draw a pension from the German state.
... Hess's appearance on Scottish soil, a self-described mission of peace just weeks before Hitler would launch his ill-fated invasion of the Soviet Union, was one of the war's strangest incidents. The search for explanations began on the morning after and has roiled on now for 75 years, spawning theories both intriguing (World War II might have ended differently) and bizarre (the man wasn't Hess at all but a body double.) The truth is likely as interesting as any of the fantasies — but it's still not entirely certain what happened 75 years ago ... Some of the intelligence files on the Hess affair are known to have been 'weeded,' or destroyed. Whatever information they held is lost — but other classified files remain and have yet to be released.
... Hess’s journey to Britain by fighter aircraft to Scotland has traditionally been dismissed as the deranged solo mission of a madman. But Peter Padfield, an historian, has uncovered evidence he says shows that, Hess, the deputy Fuhrer, brought with him from Hitler a detailed peace treaty, under which the Nazis would withdraw from western Europe, in exchange for British neutrality over the imminent attack on Russia ... Mr Padfield, who has previously written a biography of Hess as well as ones of Karl Dönitz and Heinrich Himmler, believes the treaty was suppressed at the time, because it would have scuppered Churchill’s efforts to get the USA into the war, destroyed his coalition of exiled European governments, and weakened his position domestically ...
History will remember the 46-year imprisonment of Rudolf Hess as an act of injustice and inhumanity. Hitler's one-time deputy flew from Germany to Britain on May 10, 1941, in a courageous effort to end the war between the two nations. His plea for peace was promptly rejected, and he was imprisoned ... Hess was sentenced to life imprisonment at Nuremberg for ''crimes against peace,'' a charge invented for the occasion. As Robert A. Taft and other Americans pointed out, this was a blatant violation of our own tradition against ex post facto laws ... Rudolf Hess will be remembered as a prisoner of peace and a victim of a vindictive age.
... What foreign policy experts call the liberal international order is, in fact, the Pax Americana, which was constructed after 1945, and rested on the foundation of preponderant U.S. power. In 1945 — America’s first unipolar moment — the United States accounted for half of the world’s manufacturing output, controlled two-thirds of the world’s gold and currency reserves, and possessed powerful global power projection capabilities ... As scholars of international politics would say, following World War II, the United States was in a position of primacy, or hegemony. Even during the Cold War, U.S. dominance was never seriously challenged ... The liberal international order is fraying because the global balance of power is shifting, and the foundation of U.S. power on which the Pax Americana was built is cracking.
If the 2016 presidential campaign was a national disgrace, the reaction of the losers is an even more disgraceful spectacle. It seems that the political machine backing Hillary Clinton can’t stand losing an election. And why is that? Because they are determined to impose “exceptional” America’s hegemony on the entire world, using military-backed regime changes, and Donald Trump seems poised to spoil their plans ... Trump is the revenge of people who feel manipulated, forgotten and despised. However flawed, he is the only choice they had to express their revolt in a rotten election. The United States is deeply divided ideologically, as well as economically. The United States is threatened, not by Russia, but by its own internal divisions and the inability of Americans not only to understand the world, but even to understand each other.
Christmas truces during the First World War were not a one-off but continued throughout the conflict, a historian has found. / The Christmas truce of 1914 is generally reported as a unique phenomenon not repeated as the conflict grew ever more brutal. However, historian Thomas Weber, of the University of Aberdeen, has uncovered evidence that festive meetings continued throughout the war, with a significant number in 1916 despite the huge casualties suffered in the Battle of the Somme. Professor Weber has been given access to a large number of family memories of the war that show that, despite officers recording in official documents that no such friendly exchanges took place, the situation on the front lines was very different.
... The Germans seem to have made the first move. During the evening of December 24 they delivered a chocolate cake to the British line accompanied by a note that proposed a cease fire so that the Germans could have a concert. The British accepted the proposal and offered some tobacco as their present to the Germans. The good will soon spread along the 27-mile length of the British line. Enemy soldiers shouted to one another from the trenches, joined in singing songs and soon met one another in the middle of no-mans-land to talk, exchange gifts and in some areas to take part in impromptu soccer matches. The high command on both sides took a dim view of the activities ...
The terrorist who hijacked a truck in Berlin and ran over and killed 12 people, maiming and wounding 48 more, in that massacre in the Christmas market, has done more damage than he could imagine ... Europe’s populist right is laying this act of Islamist savagery at the feet of Merkel for her having opened Germany in 2015 to a million migrants and refugees from Syria and the Middle East wars. Before Berlin, she was already on the defensive after mobs of migrants went about molesting and raping German girls in Cologne last New Year’s Eve ... We have to deal with the world as it is, not as we would wish it to be ... Only liberal ideology calls for America and Europe to bring into their home countries endless numbers of migrants, without being overly concerned about who they are, whence they come or what they believe.
... His filmed testimony is one of several taken of Palestinians in Jerusalem who have been violently assaulted recently by far-right Jewish activists ... The attacks were carried out by a far-right group called Lehava, or Flame in Hebrew, an acronym for the Organisation for the Prevention of Miscegenation in the Holy Land ... In 2014, some 200 Lehava supporters - many wearing the group's "Jewish honour guard" T-shirts - protested noisily outside the wedding of a Palestinian man and a female Jewish convert to Islam in the city of Jaffa, near Tel Aviv. Some carried placards with the slogan: "Miscegenation is a Holocaust". Jerusalem's streets, meanwhile, are littered with fliers and stickers in Arabic warning, "Don't even think about a Jewish girl" and in Hebrew stating, "Beware the goys [a derogatory term for non-Jews] - they will defile you".
The CIA has accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 presidential election by hacking into Democratic and Republican computer networks and selectively releasing emails. But critics might point out the U.S. has done similar things. The U.S. has a long history of attempting to influence presidential elections in other countries – it’s done so as many as 81 times between 1946 and 2000, according to a database amassed by political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University. That number doesn’t include military coups and regime change efforts following the election of candidates the U.S. didn’t like, notably those in Iran, Guatemala and Chile ... Italy’s 1948 general election is an early example of a race where U.S. actions probably influenced the outcome.
... Watching the mounting Red Hysteria in the US is bizarre and amusing. But most amusing is the media furor claiming that the Kremlin has ‘meddled’ in US elections ... The US is hardly in a position to play the outraged virgin. Starting in 1946, the US and the Vatican financed Italy’s right-wing Christian Democratic Party, helping it win three national elections against the Left ... Washington organized the overthrow of Syria’s government in 1949. In 1953, the US and Britain colluded to overthrow Iran’s popular democratic government ... As a seasoned intelligence watcher for the past three decades, I think claims by US Democrats that they lost the election due to Russian machinations are absolute bunk .... The Dems lost because they ran a horrible, corrupt woman who was hated, and mistrusted by many.
This Christmas, for once, Bethlehem really can boast again that there is no room at the inn, as relative calm in the Israeli-occupied West Bank brings pilgrims and tourists flocking to the town of Jesus’s birth. Elias Al-Arja of the Bethlehem hoteliers’ association said the troubles of the surrounding region had boosted numbers in the biblical Holy Land, and bookings were up on last year. Tourism is a major source of revenue for the Palestinian economy ... Israeli-Palestinian violence has driven tourists away in the past, especially during the 2000-2005 Palestinian uprising when Bethlehem was a particularly lonely place. While the security situation is more relaxed now, Israeli roadblocks and a six-meter (20-foot) Israeli-built concrete separation barrier snaking through the landscape are still part of the Bethlehem vista.
Though their government plays a determinative role in the region, most Americans are not too sure about where Bethlehem is and who lives there … The surveys have put the spotlight on the plight of the town, which has been fast losing its indigenous Christian population since the construction of the Israeli wall plunged Bethlehem into economic crisis … While the Christians of Bethlehem overwhelmingly (78%) blame the exodus of Christians from the town on Israel's blockade, Americans are more likely (45.9%) to blame it on Islamic politics and are reluctant (7.4%) to blame Israel.
The Obama administration on Friday allowed the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements, defying pressure from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump as well as Israel and several U.S. senators who urged Washington to use its veto ... Israel and Trump had called on the United States to veto the measure. It was adopted with 14 votes in favor, to a round of applause. It is the first resolution the Security Council has adopted on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years. The U.S. decision to abstain was a relatively rare step by Washington, which usually shields Israel from such action ... The resolution demanded that Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem" ...
The United States has given its biggest rebuke in recent history to longstanding ally Israel, allowing the U.N. Security Council to condemn its settlements and continuing construction in Palestinian territory as a "flagrant violation" of international law. Instead of casting a veto to support Israel, as it almost always does on council resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. abstained. That gave a green light for the council to approve the resolution by a 14-0 vote with U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power abstaining, a move greeted with loud applause in the packed Security Council chamber. The resolution says Israel's settlements on Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, have "no legal validity."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has held phone conversations with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts to discuss the unfolding situation in Syria. The three ministers have urged the facilitation of a political resolution to the conflict in Syria. Mark Weber, director of Institute for Historical Review, believes Turkey’s alignment with Russia and Iran over Syria indicates a "major shift" in constellation of power in the Middle East, adding that it reflects a "steady" and "dramatic" decline in US influence in the region. “This collaboration among Russia, Iran, [and] Syria and now at least to some extent with Turkey is part of a really dramatic change that is taking place, and it is part of a major disaster by the United States ... and also a great miscalculation by [US President] Barack Obama’s administration in Syria,” the analyst told Press TV in an interview ...
Russia and Turkey’s negotiations on a ceasefire and evacuation deal for Aleppo was a surprise for the U.S. and European powers, which were seemed not to be aware of it until the media was blasted with the news. This made the Western world, namely the U.S. become more of a spectator than an active participant in post-ceasefire Syria. While the evacuations are ongoing and negotiation continues the U.S. fails to become a part of this procedure ... Mark Weber, director of Institute for Historical Review, said all these alignments, Turkey with Russia and Iran over Syria is a clear illustration on how the "major shift" happens in power relations of states interested in the Middle East, which reflects a rather "dramatic" decline of U.S. as a player in the region.
The party of populist anti-Islam Dutch MP Geert Wilders has risen strongly in the polls since the lawmaker was tried and convicted of discrimination, according to a survey published Sunday [Dec. 11]. If legislative elections due next March were held this week, Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV) would pick up 36 out of 150 seats in the lower house of parliament, making it the biggest single political group, it found. Before the trial began on October 31, the PVV was credited with 27 seats. During the trial, but before his conviction on Friday, its estimated share rose to 34 seats ... Wilders was found guilty of discrimination against Moroccans but acquitted of hate speech over remarks he made at an election rally in March 2014.
The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post. Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.
... We cannot be sure what exactly is happening in Aleppo, but we do know a few things about what happened in Syria over the past five years. This was no popular uprising to overthrow a dictator and bring in democracy. From the moment President Obama declared “Assad must go” and approved sending in weapons, it was obvious this was a foreign-sponsored regime change operation that used foreign fighters against Syrian government forces ... We should end that hypocrisy starting with Syria. That government, along with its allies, seems to be on track to take their country back from ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. The only sensible Syria policy is for the US to stop trying to overthrow their government, to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves.
... According to The Washington Post, the bloodbath is a result of a U.S. failure to intervene more decisively in Syria’s civil war: “Aleppo represents a meltdown of the West’s moral and political will — and … a collapse of U.S. leadership ... But the blunder was not in staying out of Syria’s civil war, but in going in. Aleppo is a bloodbath born of interventionism ... U.S. policy became to back the “good” rebels in Aleppo, bomb the “bad” rebels in Raqqa and demand that Assad depart. An absurd policy ... The lessons for Trump from the Aleppo disaster? Do not even consider getting into a new Middle East war — unless Congress votes to authorize it, the American people are united behind it, vital U.S. interests are clearly imperiled, and we know how the war ends and when we can come home.
The current success of the Syrian army in Aleppo might signify that the ongoing fight against terrorism in Syria is entering its final stage. However Mark Weber, the Director of the Institute for Historical Review underlines that if it weren’t for the help provided by Russia and Iran, the Syrian government would have "never been able to survive." ... Speaking to Iranian 24-hour English language news network Press TV, he noted that the current alliance between Russia and Iran has served as a vital factor which has foiled the US regime change policy in Syria ... The historian noted that experts are now trying to second-guess how the new administration will act when it takes office next month in Washington and what changes, if any, it will bring to the Middle East.
Syria's fight against terrorism seems to be getting close to its final stage ... In an interview with Press TV, Mark Weber, the director of the Institute for Historical Review, highlighted the current alliance between Russia and Iran as a vital factor which has foiled the US regime change policy in Syria. Weber sees the close cooperation among Russia, Iran, and Syria as an expression of bankruptcy or the decline of US power and influence in the region and the world.
State Department spokesman John Kirby reaffirmed the US commitment to a two-state solution and longstanding opposition to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank — referring in unusually harsh language to the enterprise’s “illegality” — five days after President-elect Donald Trump announced he would appoint an outspoken settlements supporter, David Friedman, to be the next US ambassador to Israel ... Designating Israel’s settlement of the West Bank “illegal” is unusual for an American official, as US policy has long avoided invoking international law.
Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations have called on the United States to “unequivocally affirm” that it would veto any one-sided condemnatory United Nations Security Council resolution on the Palestinian-Israeli issue if it is presented Thursday to the Council for a vote. A draft UN Security Council resolution demanding a halt to Israeli building in the West Bank is expected to be voted on in a meeting in New York. The draft declares that existing settlements "have no legal validity" and are "a flagrant violation" of international law. It also stresses that "the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-state solution" which would see Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side in peace.
In recent months, Google has confronted a new and unsettling trend: Its top search results for questions about the Holocaust lead to neo-Nazi sites while queries about different ethnic groups direct users to racist or inflammatory material. The company last week said it was reluctant to take action, citing a desire to preserve the integrity of the company’s algorithms, which are designed to turn up relevant information. But on Tuesday, a Google spokesperson told Fortune it is making some changes. “Judging which pages on the web best answer a query is a challenging problem and we don’t always get it right,” said the spokesperson. “We recently made improvements to our algorithm that will help surface more high quality, credible content on the web. We’ll continue to change our algorithms over time in order to tackle these challenges.”
So there was Samantha Power doing her “shame” bit in the UN. “Is there no act of barbarism against civilians, no execution of a child that gets under your skin, that just creeps you out a little bit?”, America’s ambassador to the UN asked the Russians and Syrians and Iranians ... When Samantha talked about “barbarism against civilians” in Aleppo, I remembered climbing over the dead Palestinian civilians massacred at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in Beirut in 1982 ... Then I recalled the monstrous American invasion of Iraq. Perhaps half a million dead. It’s one of the statistics for Rwanda’s dead. Certainly far more than Srebrenica’s 9,000 dead. And I can tell you that Iraq’s half million dead “creeped me out” rather a lot ...
John Kerry offered yet another tough-love talk to Israel at the pro-Israel Saban Forum yesterday [Dec. 4]. The United States gives Israel more than half of the aid that we give “to the entire world” [he said], and Israel simply ignores us when we warn it about new settlements ... “... We, the Obama administration, have put $23.5 billion on the line for foreign military financing. More than 50 percent of the total that we give to the entire world has gone to Israel. We have just signed an agreement for $38 billion over ten years, $3.8 billion a year, up from 3.1.” ... Kerry also protested that he has spoken to Benjamin Netanyahu 375 times as Secretary of State, to the point that his wife says he talks to Netanyahu more than to her.
A day ahead of a government shutdown deadline, Congress scrambled on Thursday [Dec. 8] to wrap-up unfinished business, voting decisively to send President Barack Obama a defense policy bill, including more than $600 million for missile defense cooperation with Israel. The Senate passed the defense legislation by a wide margin, 92-7, a week after the House overwhelmingly approved the measure, 375-34. The legislation includes the approval of some $600.7 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation for the 2017 fiscal year ...
Anyone living in England during the 1950s and 1960s who was politically alert knew about A.J.P. (Alan) Taylor. He was that diminutive bow-tied Oxford academic who ... marched in protests organized by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He was one of the first of the British "telly dons," who could stand in front of the camera and pontificate without notes about virtually anything ... The surprising portrayal of German policies in Origins [of the Second World War] was pretty shocking stuff. Taylor had assaulted orthodoxies on all fronts. In 1961 the British firmly believed that World War II had been "the good war," a Manichaean clash between light and darkness in which Hitler was the true Beelzebub ... To imply that the war was some sort of mistake or accident was heresy.
Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson tactlessly sermonized that, “The United States was the locomotive of mankind and the rest of the world was the caboose.” The supreme arrogance of the secretary’s bifurcation made no friends but endless enemies ... Acheson and his cohorts at the outset of the Cold War were delusional in the belief that the United States enjoyed a monopoly on the world’s angelic and enlightened DNA. They were equally deluded in the belief that we were saddled with an obligation to be the leader of the world to direct the affairs of other nations as a conductor directs an orchestra ... The United States has chronically fomented instability since World War II ... We have created havoc throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia ...
... If our next president remains trapped in expensive Middle East wars, the budgetary costs alone could derail any hopes for solving our vast domestic problems ... The United States is incurring massive public debt and cutting back on urgent public investments at home in order to sustain a dysfunctional, militarized, and costly foreign policy ... The costly wars in the Middle East — even if continued much less enlarged in a Hillary Clinton presidency — could easily end any realistic hopes for a new era of scaled-up federal investments in education, workforce training, infrastructure, science and technology, and the environment.
“We have fallen into a self-defeating spiral of reaction and counterterror,” writes Mark Danner in his new book Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War. “Our policies, meant to extirpate our enemies, have strengthened and perpetuated them.” ... The war on terror — the Obama administration has re-titled it a war on extremism — hasn’t been just an illegal and moral catastrophe. It’s a failure by any measure ... Danner argues that idea you can defeat terrorism — which is really just a tactic used by the less powerful against the more powerful — with military force is an illusion. It can and does, however, make everything worse.
The white population in the United States has decreased from 79.6 percent in 1980 to 61.9 percent in 2014, according to a new study from the University of New Hampshire. The percentage of Latino Americans has risen from 6.4 percent to 17.3 percent over the same time period, while both the African American and Asian American populations have gone up, the study finds. The number of non-Hispanic whites who died in 2014 outpaced the number of white births in 17 U.S. states, representing the largest number of states to experience a natural decrease in the white population in American history, the study shows ... By 2050, whites are expected to make up less than half the U.S. population.
A former Icelandic minister has claimed that the FBI attempted to frame Julian Assange during a mission to Iceland. Ogmundur Jonasson, who currently serves as a member of the Icelandic Parliament, said US authorities told him in June 2011 that hackers were trying to destroy software systems in the country. The authorities said there was an 'imminent attack' on Iceland's government databases and that the FBI would send agents to investigate ... Jonasson said it was only when a 'planeload' of FBI agents arrived in August that he realized the true reason for their visit. The former minister claims the FBI was seeking Iceland's 'cooperation in what I understood as an operation set up to frame Julian Assange and WikiLeaks'. Jonasson said he immediately told the FBI agents to leave the country.
They are traditionalists with a YouTube channel, nostalgic nationalists who text and tweet. Young, white and European, they call themselves Identitarians, right-wing activists agitating across the continent against immigration and Islam and for a future rooted deep in an idealized past. “I’m a product of my time,” says Pierre Larti, a spokesman for Génération identitaire (GI), the French branch of the movement. “But I know the difference between what is good in this era and what isn’t.” Larti is buff, squeaky clean and, at 27, already part of the old guard of the movement ... Best organized and most militant in France, Germany and Austria, Identitarians have a presence in Italy, Poland, Lithuania, Slovenia and Denmark, according to Larti.
On National Public Radio yesterday the Holocaust scholar Deborah E. Lipstadt said that “the so-called alt-right” is a euphemism for white nationalism, which is itself a euphemism for white supremacy; and the media should cut through the pretense and say “white supremacism.” ... Lipstadt is advocating a double standard. If she is going to criticize white nationalism as a white supremacist ideology, then what about Jewish nationalism? Palestinians routinely describe the Zionist regime in Israel Palestine as Jewish supremacy; and there is plenty of evidence to support the victims’ view of the matter ... Lipstadt is slamming white nationalism while extolling Jewish nationalism. The left is consistent in condemning both.
Britain will be among the first countries worldwide to adopt an international definition of anti-Semitism in efforts to fight hate crimes and incitement targeting Jews which have been on the rise this past year. On Monday, in pre-released excerpts of a speech she is set to give, British Prime Minister Theresa May said “it means there will be one definition of anti-Semitism – in essence, language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews – and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it,” according to Reuters ... The definition adopted by Britain was formulated earlier this year by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and is designed to make it harder to evade repercussions for discriminatory or prejudiced behavior because of a lack of clarity or differing opinions on what constitutes anti-Semitism.
The House of Representatives ended this congressional session without taking action on a bill targeting campus anti-Semitism, a measure that had been backed by mainstream Jewish groups, criticized by civil libertarians and passed unanimously by the Senate on Dec. 1 ... The anti-Semitism bill’s sponsors likely will reintroduce a version of the bill in 2017, their staffers told JTA ... Critics of the bill included Michael Macleod-Ball, chief of staff of the American Civil Liberties Union’s legislative office in Washington, who told The Forward that the bill could impinge on the free-speech rights of critics of Israel. The act “opens the door to considering anti-Israel political statements and activities as possible grounds for civil rights investigations,” he said.
... The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act ... is deeply problematic legislation. As many observers have noted, it defines, for the purpose of investigations into alleged civil-rights violations on campus, anti-Semitism in a way that plainly violates the First Amendment ... This whole thing is just an embarrassing, constitutionally fraught dead end, and it appears the ADL and Congress don’t realize they have wandered into it, or how much of a pain it could be to extricate themselves ... If passed, this bill will likely elicit litigation and widespread criticism from the constitutional-law community, will spark protests from campus critics of Israel who rightly feel as though their free-speech rights are under threat because the federal government is now monitoring which analogies they use, and won’t make Jewish students any safer on campus.
In an unusual display of public candor, Iranian authorities have said in recent speeches that Islamic State [IS] infiltrators are becoming a growing threat to the Islamic Republic. At least three times in recent months, Iranian officials have spoken about breaking up IS-related terror cells and arresting IS-affiliated militants planning attacks inside Iran. The claims lack many details, including when the alleged incidents took place, the identity of most suspects and concrete links to IS. And at times, the information has conflicted with other accounts. But the growing emphasis by Iranian officials on the militant group's possible threat has caught the attention of Western analysts who monitor developments in Iran and offer varying views on the extent of the threat and Iran's aim by speaking publicly about them.
... . While America was focused on an unconventional presidential election season, the federal debt increased $587 billion in Fiscal Year 2016 alone. Last year, our federal government spent $223 billion, or six percent of all discretionary spending, just on debt interest payments. On our current track, we will spend more on debt interest than we do on our national defense within ten years ... Under current policies, our annual deficits are projected to rise above $1 trillion by the end of this decade ... Future interest payments on our current debt spending equates to us stealing from the next generation’s ability to use those dollars for infrastructure, national defense, or any other essential governmental expense ... The clock is ticking louder on the most predictable debt crisis in history.
Sometime in early December, the federal government's official debt will likely cross the $20 trillion mark – an amount no country has ever owed. As we approach this milestone, there are a few myths regarding the debt that should be debunked ... The federal government actually owes around $120 trillion. The $20 trillion debt is the portion of the government's financial obligation that is legally binding. The other portion, the government's unfunded liabilities, is money the government has promised to people but will not be able and isn't legally required to pay. The lion's share is in Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits ... The federal government is already bankrupt. The government doesn't, and can't, collect enough tax revenue to service its obligations let alone pay them.
Donald Trump has named as his ambassador to Israel a pro-settler lawyer who has described some US Jews as worse than concentration camp prisoner-guards. David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who represented the president-elect over his failing hotels in Atlantic City, served Trump’s advisory team on the Middle East. He has set out a number of hardline positions on Israeli-Palestinian relations, including fervent opposition to the two-state solution and strong support for an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He has called President Barack Obama an anti-Semite ... Liberal Jewish groups in the US denounced the appointment as “reckless” and described Friedman – a man with no experience of foreign service – as the “least experienced pick” ever for a US ambassador to Israel.
Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and confidant of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, is a director and board member at the Kushner Foundation which has given money to illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank as well as extremist Jewish groups connected to violent attacks against Palestinians, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Monday. The findings are based on tax records from Kushner’s parents for the years 2010-2014, which show that the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation gave almost US$60,000 to settlement projects and organizations in Israel, which Washington deems publically as illegal, yet finds covert ways of funding. Trump has said that Kushner, who is a married to Ivanka Trump and is an Orthodox Jew, would be “very good” as his Middle East envoy to broker a deal between the Palestinians and Israelis.
The heavy-set face of Robert the Bruce, the father of Scottish independence, has re-emerged from the shadows nearly 700 years after his death. Facial reconstruction experts at Liverpool John Moores University have released 3D digital images of the Scottish king, who led the Scots to victory against the English at Bannockburn in 1314, that show a privileged and muscular man, with large, broad features. After a two-year project in collaboration with Glasgow University, they have found that King Robert, the descendant of Anglo-Norman nobles and Scottish aristocrats, had a powerful physique and ate an excellent diet during his 55 years.
I am sorry to have to report that Ralph Raico has passed away. His intellectual brilliance was evident from an early age, and while still in high school, he attended Ludwig von Mises’s seminar at New York University. There he met Murray Rothbard, who became his lifelong friend. Ralph was one of the most brilliant members of Rothbard’s Circle Bastiat. He received a PhD from the University of Chicago, working under Friedrich Hayek. Ralph became the leading historian of classical liberalism and also a renowned authority on revisionist history.
With the onset of war in Europe [in 1914], hostilities began in the North Atlantic which eventually provided the context - or rather, pretext - for America's participation ... In their reply to the State Department note, the Germans observed that submarine warfare was a reprisal for the illegal hunger blockade; that the Lusitania was carrying munitions of war; that it was registered as an auxiliary cruiser of the British Navy; that British merchant ships had been directed to ram or fire upon surfacing U-boats; and that the Lusitania had been armed.
A 16th century tapestry taken by a U.S. officer from Adolf Hitler's Eagle's Nest retreat near the end of World War II is being returned to Germany. The tapestry will be formally returned Friday in a ceremony in Munich, where it will be eventually displayed at the Bavarian National Museum. The tapestry's trip home began after the officer's daughter donated it to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Experts there decided to try to find its rightful owner. Robert Edsel, founder of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art, helped untangle the mystery. The grandson of the Munich art gallery owner who sold the tapestry to Hitler's architect in 1938 told Edsel he believed its sale was not forced, so it was decided to give it to the Bavarian State.
Much of what's written about the role of Christianity in Third Reich Germany, and about Hitler's views on religion, is grossly distorted or just plain wrong. The official program of Hitler's National Socialist Party expressed support for "positive Christianity, and nearly all NS Party members were either Evangelical Lutherans or Roman Catholics. Although Christianity had a favored status in the Third Reich, Germans were free to profess any religious outlook, or none. In many public statements Hitler affirmed a religious and spiritual outlook, and expressed admiration for Christian ethics and traditions. But privately he grew steadily more critical of the Christian worldview. Runtime: 50:44 mins.
The phrase "Fake News" has exploded in usage since the election, but the term is similar to other malleable political labels such as "terrorism" and "hate speech"; because the phrase lacks any clear definition, it is essentially useless except as an instrument of propaganda and censorship. The most important fact to realize about this new term: Those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it. One of the most egregious examples was the recent Washington Post article hyping a new anonymous group and its disgusting blacklist of supposedly pro-Russia news outlets -- a shameful article mindlessly spread by countless journalists who love to decry Fake News, despite the Post article itself being centrally based on Fake News ... Now we have an even more compelling example.
... These days, people are arguably more worried about the American dream than at any point since the Depression ... In 1940, a child born into the average American household had a 92 percent chance of making more money than his or her parents ... The index is deeply alarming. It’s a portrait of an economy that disappoints a huge number of people who have heard that they live in a country where life gets better, only to experience something quite different ... For children born in 1950, the likelihood of achieving the American Dream had begun to fall but remained very high ... For babies born in 1980 — today’s 36-year-olds — the index of the American dream has fallen to 50 percent: Only half of them make as much money as their parents did.
Americans' confidence in the nation's major institutions continues to lag below historical averages, with two institutions -- newspapers and organized religion -- dropping to record lows this year. The overall average of Americans expressing "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in 14 institutions is below 33 percent for the third straight year ... Americans clearly lack confidence in the institutions that affect their daily lives: the schools responsible for educating the nation's children; the houses of worship that are expected to provide spiritual guidance; the banks that are supposed to protect Americans' earnings; the U.S. Congress elected to represent the nation's interests; and the news media that claims it exists to keep them informed.
The UN human rights chief on Thursday slammed a bill in Israel that would legalize some 4,000 settler homes in the West Bank, saying it would clearly violate international law. Israeli lawmakers voted Wednesday to advance the bill, which would legalize settler homes built on private Palestinian land. “I strongly urge lawmakers to reconsider their support for this bill, which if enacted, would have far-reaching consequences and would seriously damage the reputation of Israel around the world,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein ... The United States, UN officials and the European Union have warned that continued settlement building is eating away at the possibility of a two-state solution to the conflict. All Israeli settlements are viewed as illegal under international law ...
Instead of combating the right-wing antisemitism on the rise in the wake of the election, the problematic “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act” takes aim at campus activism for Palestinian rights by codifying criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic ... The State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism includes vague wording regarding “demonizing” the state of Israel that can and has been interpreted to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel’s human rights abuses and discriminatory policies. Civil rights groups, free speech advocates and news outlets including the Los Angeles Times editorial board have raised free speech concerns about the implementation of this definition.
... So how do governments effectively “answer” and strongly combat rising anti-Semitism? The office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. Department of State has been tracking the rise of anti-Semitism around the world and witnessing its alarming presence and growth in Europe and beyond ... Sadly, if present trends continue, the viability of some of the smaller European Jewish communities will come into question due to anticipated emigration and/or assimilation. To best protect Jewish communities and combat anti-Semitism, the U.S. Department of State has encouraged European states to appoint Special Envoys or other senior officials to focus on anti-Semitism.
Blazoned in huge black letters across page one of the December 4, 1941, issue of the Chicago Tribune was the headline: F.D.R.’S WAR PLANS! … Chesly Manly, the Tribune’s Washington correspondent, revealed what President Franklin D. Roosevelt had repeatedly denied: that he was planning to lead the United States into war against Germany. The source of the reporter’s information was no less than a verbatim copy of Rainbow Five, the top-secret war plan drawn up at FDR’s order by the Joint Board of the Army and Navy … Rainbow Five called for the creation of a ten-million-man army, including an expeditionary force of five million men that would invade Europe to defeat Hitler.
Good mental health and having a partner make people happier than doubling their income, a new study has found. The research by the London School of Economics looked at responses from 200,000 people on how different factors impacted their wellbeing. Suffering from depression or anxiety hit individuals hardest, whilst being in a relationship saw the biggest increase in their happiness. The study's co-author said the findings demanded "a new role from the state". The study was based on several international surveys from around the world. On a scale of one to ten, the doubling of someone's pay saw their happiness rise by less than 0.2 ... However, having a partner saw happiness rise by 0.6 - losing a partner by separation or death saw the same impact downwards.
A northern New Hampshire antiques shop remained closed Tuesday as its owner continued dealing with backlash over her decision to display an early 20th-century flour sack with a swastika logo. A customer disturbed by the symbol posted her dismay on Facebook, prompting a deluge of responses. “The hate messages and threats have become unbearable for me,” owner Nicole Guida said in her announcement that Chic & Unique boutique in Littleton would be closed indefinitely. The threats and anger weren’t directed only at Guida and her shop at 69 Main St. The Bethlehem woman whose Facebook post about seeing the swastika prominently displayed behind the shop counter said she has also been overwhelmed.
Americans who had cast their votes for the next president early on Tuesday [Nov. 8] appeared to be worried about the direction of the country, and were looking for a "strong leader who can take the country back from the rich and powerful," according to an early reading from the Reuters/Ipsos national Election Day poll. The poll of more than 10,000 people ... found: 75 percent agree that "America needs a strong leader to take the country back from the rich and powerful."; 72 percent agree "the American economy is rigged to advantage the rich and powerful."; 68 percent agree that "traditional parties and politicians don’t care about people like me."; 76 percent believe "the mainstream media is more interested in making money than telling the truth."; 57 percent feel that "more and more, I don't identify with what America has become."
There are many reasons to be deeply worried about a Donald Trump presidency. But if he makes the right choices, he could fundamentally alter U.S. foreign policy for the better ... Over the past twenty-five years, American leaders have pursued a policy of liberal hegemony, which calls for the United States to dominate the entire globe ... The Trump administration should abandon liberal hegemony and adopt a realist foreign policy. Realism is chiefly concerned with America’s position in the global balance of power, and it shuns doing social engineering inside other countries. Instead, Washington would respect the sovereignty of other states even when it disagrees with their internal policies.
Germany’s Christian Democratic Union party on Wednesday passed a resolution opposing the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement because the anti-Israel action is antisemitic. “Who today under the flag of the BDS movement calls to boycott Israeli goods and services speaks the same language in which people were called to not buy from Jews. That is nothing other than coarse antisemitism,” the CDU said. The CDU likened BDS to the National Socialists who boycotted Jews in the 1930s. BDS dresses up antisemitism in the “new clothes of the 21st century” as anti-Zionism, the party said. “The German CDU declares with this motion its disapproval and rejection of every form of BDS activity and condemns these activities as antisemitic. The CDU will decisively oppose every hostile action that Israel faces ...,” the resolution read.
Last week, without debate, the United States Senate stealthily passed a disturbing and dangerous piece of legislation introduced by the Republicans’ Tim Scott and the Democrats’ Bob Casey. Called the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016 (AAA), the Scott-Casey bill requires the department of education (DOE) to apply the department of state’s (DOS) definition of anti-Semitism in evaluating complaints of discrimination on college campuses … This language is so vague that when the University of California’s board of regents was pressed to apply the DOS guidance to California campuses, the lead author of the EUMC definition of anti-Semitism objected, pointing out the dangers this would present to free speech …
Italy's education ministry received a nasty shock after a poll seeking to find out what the most 'beloved' book among children returned an unwelcome entry. The cross-country survey of 140,000 secondary school classrooms was intended as a means to understand which works by Italian authors were the most popular, but somehow ended up including Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, according to La Repubblica. Mein Kampf ('My Struggle'), is the partly-autobiographical work that outlined Hitler's ideology, and formed the basis for Nazism ... Ten classes in Palermo, Cantanzro (Calabria), Potenza (Basilicata), Tivoli and Gaeta in Lazio, Udine, Trieste and Piacenza, selected Hitler's book as one of their favourite reads.
... There are three uncomfortable truths that those “in the know” generally accept about the Nuremberg trial, even if the news has yet to trickle down to those who get their World War II information from the History Channel ... The third generally accepted truth (among historians) that probably contributes to the queering of anniversary festivities is the understanding that all of the main actors at the trial were foul ... The “civilized” British and French charged the Germans with starting a war that was declared by…the British and French. At Nuremberg, everyone was a bad guy ... Streicher should not have been executed at Nuremberg ... Streicher was indeed a journalist (a reprehensible journalist is still a journalist), and nobody should ever be executed for mere words or cartoons.
The Nuremberg Tribunal of 1945-46 — the most spectacular judicial enterprise in history — was meant to prove that the defeated German regime had been one of unique and monstrous deceit, rapaciousness and evil. But in fact the Tribunal dispensed not justice, but injustice. The four Allied powers that organized and ran it were themselves guilty of some of the very same crimes they accused the German defendants of having committed. The Tribunal operated on the basis of “ex post facto” law created after the fact expressly for the occasion, and which the Allies applied only to the defeated. The hangings of German leaders ordered by the Tribunal were little more than murders glossed over with a veneer of makeshift, hypocritical pseudo-legality.
Web giants YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft will step up efforts to remove extremist content from their websites by creating a common database. The companies will share 'hashes' - unique digital fingerprints they automatically assign to videos or photos - of extremist content they have removed from their websites to enable their peers to identify the same content on their platforms ... Tech companies have long resisted outside intervention in how their sites should be policed, but have come under increasing pressure from Western governments to do more to remove extremist content following a wave of militant attacks ... Twitter suspended 235,000 accounts between February and August this year and has expanded the teams reviewing reports of extremist content.
Most Democrats consider Israel to be a burden to the United States, according to the published findings of a poll released by the Brookings Institution on Friday. The survey found a clear majority of Americans (76%) said Israel was “a strategic asset” to the US, its authors said. At the same time, they said, “a majority of Democrats, 55%, say that Israel is also a burden”; among Republicans, 24% consider Israel a burden ... The surveys also showed 55% of Democrats believe Israel has too much influence on American politics and policies, while 54% of Republicans think Israel has the “right level” of influence. The surveys also found that the percentage of Americans supporting sanctions against Israel over its settlement policy grew by nine percent over the past year and now stands at 46%.
"I have in my possession a secret map, made in Germany by Hitler’s government – by the planners of the New World Order," FDR told the nation in his Navy Day radio address of Oct. 27, 1941 ... “This map makes clear the Nazi design not only against South America but against the United States as well." ... The source of these astounding secret Nazi plans? They were forgeries by British agents ... It was FDR who desperately wanted war with Germany, while, for all his crimes, Hitler desperately wanted to avoid war with the United States ... What brings these episodes to mind is the wave of indignation sweeping this capital over "fake news" allegedly created by Vladimir Putin’s old KGB comrades, and regurgitated by U.S. individuals, websites and magazines that are anti-interventionist and anti-war.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which seeks to adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism so that the Education Department may consider it in investigating reports of religiously [?] motivated campus crimes ... The bill is supported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Federations of North America, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center ... The bill has attracted criticism from groups including Palestine Legal and Jewish Voice for Peace, who say the proposed definition of anti-Semitism wrongly conflates any criticism of Israel with anti-Jewish sentiments.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today hailed Senate passage of the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, legislation which provides important guidance for the Department of Education and the Department of Justice for federal anti-discrimination investigations involving anti-Semitism, including on campus ... ADL played a central role in working with U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Bob Casey (D-PA) in crafting and promoting the legislation. The League also urged the House of Representatives to approve the legislation before adjournment later this month.
... Unanimous Senate passage of the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act is a bone to Israel and AIPAC, its main US lobby. House passage followed by Obama signing it into law is virtually certain. The measure has nothing to do with addressing a growing number of “religiously motivated hate crimes” - everything to do with targeting vitally needed Israeli criticism and BDS support, especially on college campuses ... It disgracefully conflates justifiable criticism of Israel with attempts to “delegitimize” its status as a Jewish state, along with wanting it held accountable for crimes of war, against humanity and other human rights abuses.
James Mattis, President-elect Trump’s choice to be the next Secretary of Defense, once warned that Israel’s policy of expanding West Bank settlements could lead to an apartheid state. But Jewish Republicans see no problem with this comment ... Speaking at a conference in 2013, Mattis warned that the continuation of Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank would lead to an untenable situation for Israel. “Either it ceases to be a Jewish state or you say the Arabs don’t get to vote — apartheid. That didn’t work too well the last time I saw that practiced in a country,” Mattis said. Conservative Jewish groups were split on Mattis’ choice as Defense Secretary because of his comments on Israel.
Retired US Marine Corps General James Mattis recently [July 2013] said that America pays a price for its perceived bias in support of Israel. “I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CentCom because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel, and that moderates all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, because they can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t show respect for the Arab Palestinians,” he said Saturday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado in response to a question about the peace process ... He called the current situation in Israel “unsustainable” and blamed the settlements for harming prospects for peace.
Geert Wilders, leader of Holland’s far-right anti-Muslim Party of Freedom, was investigated in the past by the country’s General Intelligence and Security Service (AVID) over his “ties to Israel and their possible influence on his loyalty.” Wilders, whose party is leading the polls ahead of the upcoming election in March, is likely to be a key figure in the next government. The undercover investigation was exposed over the weekend by the veteran daily De Volkskrant. According to the article, AVID agents conducted the investigation from 2009 to 2010 ... The reason for the investigation, according to the newspaper, was concern in the Dutch security service about “the possibility that Geert Wilders is influenced by Israeli factors,” with whom he had close ties.
When it comes to science, math and reading, Singapore's teens are the best in the world, according to an international education survey published Tuesday. In all three subjects, Singapore students demonstrated knowledge and skills equivalent to almost two additional years of schooling compared to students in the US, France and Sweden. The US improved on its 2012 performance by moving up to 25 on the list. The findings are part of the 2015 Program International Student Assessment (or PISA) – a benchmark of education systems conducted every three years by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a grouping of the world's richest economies ... East Asia performed best overall, occupying seven of the top spots for science. Estonia, Finland and Canada were the top ranking non-Asian countries.
American students have a math problem. The latest global snapshot of student performance shows declining math scores in the U.S., and stagnant performance in science and reading. "We're losing ground — a troubling prospect when, in today's knowledge-based economy, the best jobs can go anywhere in the world," said Education Secretary John B. King Jr ... The 2015 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, study is the latest to document that American students are underperforming their peers in several Asian nations. The U.S. was below the international average in math and about average in science and reading ... Across the globe, American students were outperformed by their counterparts in 36 countries in math; 18 countries in science and 14 countries in reading.
At least 2,000 educators around the country reported racist slurs and other derogatory language leveled against white students in the first days after Donald Trump was elected president. But the group that surveyed the teachers didn’t publish the results in its report on Trump-related “hate crimes.” The Southern Poverty Law Center partnered with the American Federation of Teachers, which formally endorsed Hillary Clinton, to circulate the questionnaire among its 1.6 million mostly Democratic members. The survey was sent out to K-12 teachers and administrators who subscribe to its “Teaching Tolerance” newsletter ... But the SPLC didn’t present the whole story ... Founded in 1971, SPLC claims to be a nonpartisan civil rights law firm. But it receives funding from leftist groups, including ones controlled by billionaire George Soros.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not apologize for his country's 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor when he visits the site on the U.S. island of Hawaii later this month, a representative said. "The prime minister's visit is to show his commitment toward the future and to never repeat the tragedy of the world war, as well as to send a message of reconciliation between the U.S. and Japan," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the attack that precipitated the American entry into World War II ... “This visit is for the sake of consoling the souls of those who died in the war, not for the sake of an apology," Suga said.
… Today, 70 years after Pearl Harbor, a remarkable secret history, written from 1943 to 1963, has come to light. It is Hoover’s explanation of what happened before, during and after the world war that may prove yet the death knell of the West. Edited by historian George Nash, “Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath” is a searing indictment of FDR and the men around him as politicians who lied prodigiously about their desire to keep America out of war, even as they took one deliberate step after another to take us into war.
Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor 71 years ago this month was a “day that will live in infamy” according to US President Franklin Roosevelt. Seven decades later, it increasingly appears that the president’s surprise and outrage may have been synthetic. Roosevelt had been maneuvering for more than a year to bring the United States into World War II ... Historians will long battle over whether Roosevelt lured Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor ... At minimum, the embargo of strategic material to Japan was a huge provocation. Japan foolishly took the bait and paid a terrible price.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Sunday that Israel is “heading to a place of danger” because settlement growth is eroding chances for a two-state solution and peace with the Palestinians. Using unusually blunt language at the Saban Forum, an annual symposium on Israel at the Brookings Institution, Kerry said he had been “pushing uphill” with the Israeli government because a majority of the ruling coalition does not support a two-state solution. “There’s a basic choice that has to be made,” Kerry said, noting that since the Oslo agreement of 1993 the Jewish settler population in the West Bank has mushroomed from 110,000 to almost 400,000. “That is: Are there going to be continued settlements, is there going to be continued implementation of the settlement policy, or is there going to be a separation and the creation of two states?”
Remarks by the U.S. secretary of state on Sunday are being quickly interpreted by the Israeli media as harsh criticism and undiplomatic. Before a predominately pro-Israel audience in Washington, John Kerry warned that the Jewish state is "heading to a place of danger" because of its government’s policies toward the Palestinians. Kerry ... characterized the long-stalled peace process as “getting worse” and “moving in the wrong direction.” ... U.S. officials have grown increasingly frustrated with the Israeli government ignoring American official criticism of settlements in the occupied territories. Despite the strained relations, the two governments recently finalized a package that sends $38 billion of military aid to Israel over a ten-year period.
...Mr. Mounk, a lecturer in government at Harvard, has spent the past few years challenging one of the bedrock assumptions of Western politics: that once a country becomes a liberal democracy, it will stay that way. His research suggests something quite different: that liberal democracies around the world may be at serious risk of decline ... According to the Mounk-Foa early-warning system, signs of democratic deconsolidation in the United States and many other liberal democracies are now similar to those in Venezuela before its crisis. Across numerous countries, including Australia, Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States, the percentage of people who say it is "essential" to live in a democracy has plummeted, and it is especially low among younger generations.
Two classic American novels have been temporarily banned from a Virginia school district after a parent raised concerns about the use of a racial slur. The use of the books “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” were suspended from Accomack County Public Schools after a parent raised concerns about their use of the N-word, CBS affiliate WTVR reported. “There’s so much racial slurs and defensive wording in there that you can’t get past that,” the mother said during last month’s school board meeting ... Combined, the two books use the N-word more than 250 times. Some parents told WTVR that the use of the racial slur is unacceptable.
... While Trump says he wants the US to stop overthrowing governments, on the issue of Iran both the candidate and his recent appointees have taken a very different view. .. Donald Trump's words in Cincinnati don't seem to match up with the views of the people that he's assigning to high places. At least when it comes to Iran. While I hope we can take President Trump at his word when it comes to foreign policy, I also we think we should hold him to his word – especially his encouraging words last week. Will the incoming president have the ability to rein in his more bellicose cabinet members and their underlings? We can be sure about one thing: if Trump allows the neocons to capture the State Department, keeping his foreign policy promises is going to be a lot more difficult.
President-elect Donald Trump vows to either tear up or rewrite the recent international nuclear deal with Iran, calling it 'disastrous,' and 'the worst deal ever negotiated by Washington.' ... In his rush to condemn the Iran deal, Donald Trump seems to be forgetting that the pact was co-signed by Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and the UN. Backing out of the pact will be no easy matter and sure to provoke a diplomatic storm ... The US Israel lobby has made sabotaging the deal with Tehran a priority. Equally important, Israel’s extraordinary influence over the US Congress and media has been directed at overturning or at least derailing the nuclear accord.
Iran’s foreign minister condemned the US Senate’s extension of a piece of anti-Iran legislation, state TV reported Saturday. On Thursday the Senate voted to extend the Iran Sanctions Act by ten years. The measure will now be sent to outgoing President Barack Obama to sign. Iran’s state television quoted Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying that the extension “shows the lack of credibility of the US government.” On Friday, Bahram Ghasemi, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, issued a statement condemning the extension of sanctions against Iran and said the act is a clear violation of the landmark nuclear deal reached between Iran and the world powers last year.
... The attack on Pearl Harbor, 75 years ago this month, was the worst day in the U.S. Navy’s history ... Although the disaster destroyed the careers of both the Navy and the Army commanders on Oahu, exhaustive investigations made it clear that its causes went beyond any individual in Hawaii or Washington, D.C ... Most devastating, Americans simply underestimated the Japanese. Their success at Pearl Harbor was due partly to astounding good luck, but also to American complacency, anchored in two assumptions: that our Asian adversary lacked the military deftness and technological proficiency to pull off an attack so daring and so complicated, and that Japan knew and accepted that it would be futile to make war on a nation as powerful as the United States.
... Angry Americans wanted to know why their Pacific fleet was caught by surprise, and who was responsible for the woeful lack of preparedness ... As its title indicates, Scapegoats was written with the goal of exonerating Kimmel and Short. Author Edward Beach tries to show why the Pearl Harbor naval base was unprepared for the Japanese attack, and who was to blame for the Pacific Fleet's lack of readiness. More specifically, Beach presents strong evidence to show that Kimmel and Short were unjustly blamed for the misdeeds of Roosevelt, Marshall and other higher-ups in the US military command.
[From the postwar prison writings of Hideki Tojo, Japan’s World War Two premier] ... During this period [1939-1941], Japan's peaceful commercial relations were successively obstructed, primarily by the American rupture of commercial relations, and this was a grave threat to the survival of Japan. In particular, the economic blockade by the various powers, led by the United States, inflicted a mortal blow to the survival of Japan ... This, together with the outrageous act of economic blockade by means of the freezing of Japanese assets by the United States, Britain, and Holland, was a mortal threat to Japan, whose economic activities depended on foreign trade ... From a military point of view, the US-British side openly increased its support of the Chungking [Chinese] forces, thus causing the war to continue.
A former German soldier has left his life's savings to a small Scottish village where he was held as a prisoner of war during World War II. Heinrich Steinmeyer, a Waffen SS soldier, was 19 when he was captured was brought to the POW camp at Cultybraggan near the village of Comrie in Perthshire. After the war, he regularly visited. He died in 2014, leaving 384,000 pounds ($485,000) to the village in his will. His wish was to help the elderly in the community ... “This is his thanks for the kindness shown to him at the point of his life where he was at his lowest ebb and he just wants to say thank you to everybody," George Carson, whose parents were long-time friends of Steinmeyer, told the BBC. Carson said his mother and her friends had made friends with Steinmeyer through the fence at the camp.
The number of Americans supporting sanctions against Israel over its settlement policy grew by nine percent over the past year and now stands at 46 percent, according to a new poll released by the Brookings Institution on Friday. According to twin surveys conducted by the think tank’s Shibley Telhami before and after the November 8 presidential elections, support for punitive measures against Israel has increased among members of both major parties: 60 percent of Democrats and 31% of Republicans back economic sanctions and more serious action, compared to 49% and 26% in November 2015. The surveys also showed that 46% of Americans would support action by President Barack Obama at the UN designed to pressure Israel over stalled peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
... I am convinced that the United States can still shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before a change in presidents, but time is very short. The simple but vital step this administration must take before its term expires on Jan. 20 is to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, as 137 countries have already done, and help it achieve full United Nations membership ... Today, however, 38 years after Camp David, the commitment to peace is in danger of abrogation. Israel is building more and more settlements, displacing Palestinians and entrenching its occupation of Palestinian lands ... This is the best — now, perhaps, the only — means of countering the one-state reality that Israel is imposing on itself and the Palestinian people.
Every year, the media promotes an annual study put out by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left wing organization devoted to “monitoring” hate groups and crimes across the US, despite provoking its own hate crime against a conservative organization in 2012. The group has a cozy relationship with the media, with its president Richard Cohen frequently appearing on news programs to promote his group’s “studies.” Though the group in no way actually vets or verifies any of the alleged incidents they collect for their reports, the media happily hypes the group’s studies without hesitation or question as to their legitimacy. The latest example of this is their new post-election anti-Trump study ...
... In the years between those two moments of high-flown rhetoric [2001-2016], the United States military fought in nine conflicts, according to a 2015 briefing produced by U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), the umbrella organization for America’s most elite forces including Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets. The record of the greatest fighting force in the history of the world, according to SOCOM: zero wins, two losses, and seven ties ... An American century of carnage and combat has yielded many lessons learned, but not, it seems, the most important one when it comes to military conflict. “We can kill people, we can break things,” Bacevich observes, “but we don’t accomplish our political goals.”
The Republic of Turkey has become loose cannon on deck, a short-term asset in enabling the U.S.’s bombing of northern Syria but a major liability when it comes to any eventual settlement intended to quell the fighting in the region ... The White House should recognize that Turkey has become a destabilizing force in the Near East. Its past collusion with — and arming of — terrorist groups like ISIS reveals that it is not unwilling to play a double game against its nominal allies ... If Turkey continues to remain in NATO, and if the U.S. persists in being closely tied to it logistically, the eventual consequences could be grave, with Washington again drawn into a Middle East quagmire by virtue of a war that it is neither prepared for nor seeking to fight.
Robert Faurisson, who denies the existence of homicidal gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps, has been convicted again of Holocaust denial, and sentenced to a fine of 10,000 euros [10,580 US dollars] or 100 days in prison. The former academic at the University of Lyon was convicted by a criminal court in Paris. The sentence of fines or imprisonment means that if he does not pay the full penalty, he will be imprisoned. The person responsible for publishing the video with the interview for which Faurisson was convicted was similarly sentenced to 100 days in prison. Another two defendants were sentenced to pay a sum of 6,000 euros to LICRA (League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism) and 3,000 euros to BNVCA (National Bureau for Monitoring Anti-Semitism), as well as 1,500 and 1,000 euros each, respectively, for legal or court costs.
On December 9, 1992, the Paris Court of Appeal (Eleventh Department) rejected Professor Robert Faurisson’s appeal of an April 1991 conviction on a charge of “contesting the crimes against humanity” because of remarks about the Holocaust story he made in a magazine interview. The appeal court imposed penalties of 187,000 francs (nearly $40,000 at current exchange rates) on each of the two defendants in the case: Dr. Faurisson and magazine publisher Patrice Boizeau ... France's Fabius-Gayssot law, and similar legal measures in other countries, would be universally condemned as intolerable restrictions of free speech and academic expression if they involved any issue other than the Holocaust.