Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
As you have undoubtedly observed, the state of the world is terrible and growing worse. Social unrest, violence, threats of violence and more are all about us: From yet another – particularly horrendous – terror attack, this one in Nice; to an illegal immigrant problem in Europe that is out of control and endangers the entire European society; to Iran’s belligerent stance; to repeated incidents of racially motivated murders of police officers in the US. (Remember Obama’s promise eight years ago of a time of “post-racial” harmony?)
Could I begin this posting without alluding to these exceedingly alarming matters? They can be ignored only at great peril.
In particular is this the case with regard to Islamist terror – which is still not being confronted within Europe and the US with either honesty or anything resembling requisite resolve. After the Nice attack French Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared that France is going to have to learn to live with terror.
Then there is the inability (or refusal) on the part of European officials to address the threat presented by the influx of a huge hostile Muslim population. There is actually a tendency in certain parts of Europe for authorities to hide statistics on rape and sexual aggression by Muslim immigrants, for fear of alarming the populace.
While the world most definitely prefers to ignore the intentions of Iran – and, in fact, is all too accommodating. News has just broken about a “secret deal” – an “add-on document” revealed by AP – which was apparently approved by the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. It “will ease [nuclear constraints on Iran] in slightly more than a decade, cutting the time Tehran would need to build a bomb to six months.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, identified Iran as Israel’s greatest threat: Iran “continues to develop its military missile program with full force,” he said.
While over in the US, after the Baton Rouge massacre of police officers, Attorney General Loretta Lynch – fueling tensions – opined that, while people should not be violent, their feelings of “helplessness” and “fear” are “understandable” and “justified.”
Not only has a huge black-white rift emerged in the US, there are anti-Israel overtones within the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Most recently, Atlanta’s mayor, Kasim Reed, flatly rejected “Black Lives Matter” demands that Atlanta’s police stop associating with Israeli police. Israel is referred to as “Apartheid Israel,” and black identification is with the people of Gaza. (Should we be surprised?)
It is hardly possible for me to address all of these issues in any detail in this one posting – I can only point in a number of very important directions.
Having done so, I want to narrow my focus to Israel-related matters. In this regard, there is some good news. I didn’t start with it, but happily it does exist.
Right now is an especially auspicious time for me to mention the Legal Grounds Campaign, which I co-chair with Jeff Daube –http://israelrights.com
Last week we had the closing ceremony for our pilot law course. Ten law students were provided with eight classes taught by top notch international lawyers on issues regarding our rights in the land – issues that are often not adequately touched upon in the law schools. We now have ten students who will be far better equipped to address these issues once they begin their law careers.
We are delighted about this. Having proven that we can do this successfully, we are aiming for more students and more classes next year. This is a real and important contribution to Israel’s future.
At the same time, Jeff and I are working on the first video for Legal Grounds – a presentation of the case for our rights in the land. There is so much disinformation out there, so much confusion on the various legal and historical issues, that we believe it is critical for us to present our case cogently, simply, and with great clarity. To be done in Hebrew and English versions, it will be dynamic and cutting-edge. We hope it will go viral.
We are grateful to generous donors who have provided the basic funds for the production of this video: we are very close to signing on a video producer.
My friends, I share quite candidly the fact that my intensive work on the Legal Grounds Campaign has prevented me from posting as frequently as has been my habit. Thus does a posting such as today’s have a feel of being not just a current report, but a review of recent events.
As of last Wednesday, the 13th, Theresa May officially succeeded David Cameron as prime minister of Great Britain. This definitely counts as good news.
During her service as home secretary, she demonstrated very warm feelings towards Britain’s Jewish citizens, and voiced support for Israel. She visited Israel in 2014, has spoken before a variety of Jewish groups, and, also in 2014, banned the French anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne from entering the UK.
Prime Minister May’s selection of Boris Johnson, former mayor of London, as Foreign Secretary, is also being celebrated: Johnson has a history of exceedingly supportive ties to the Jewish community and to Israel.
He was here last November in order to boost London-Jerusalem ties. Commenting on supporters of BDS, he referred to them, as “corduroy-jacketed lefty academics.” (One version reports – even better – that he said “corduroy-jacketed, snaggletoothed, lefty academics.”)
“I cannot think of anything more foolish [than to boycott] a country that, when all is said and done, is the only democracy in the region, the only place that has in my view a pluralist open society.”
Referred to as a “larger than life character,” he is, admittedly, a bit idiosyncratic. But that’s quite OK. He sounds like our kind of guy. He has not endeared himself with the Palestinian Arabs.
The best vote of confidence in Israel: the arrival of new olim (immigrants). On Tuesday, 218 people from N. America made the flight, to come home. They were assisted by the organization Nefesh b’Nefesh.
The Nefesh b’Nefesh goal for the summer is 2,000 olim.
I will mention here, just briefly, the July 10th visit to Israel of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. This was the first visit to Israel of an Egyptian foreign minister since 2007, and the tone was most cordial. Recently a growing relationship between Israel and Egypt – with enhanced intelligence cooperation – has come to light, spurred in part by mutual concerns about ISIS.
Shoukry came promoting a reinvigoration of “the peace process,” with Egyptian involvement. It’s that Egyptian involvement that Netanyahu welcomes, as it undercuts EU efforts.
There is talk of arranging for a meeting between Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi but it is not clear whether this will materialize.
Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90
Also briefly: An agreement for normalization of ties between Israel and Turkey was reached at the end of June. Vastly leery of the Islamist perspective of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, I had a response to this that was not positive, and I was hardly the only one reacting this way. In many quarters it was felt that Turkey gained too much, and Israel demanded too little.
What was particularly galling was the apology by Israel for the deaths of nine so-called “activists” who were aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara – which was attempting to break the Gaza blockade six years ago. Those who died had ambushed and viciously attacked Israeli navy commandos who had come aboard to demand that the ship alter its course. A compensation fund for the families of those who died is to be established to the tune of $20 million. It feels altogether too much like an inappropriate admission of culpability from our side, a sort of appeasement. (The quid pro quo here is supposed to be that legal action against Israelis involved would be dropped.)
What is greatly disturbing, Turkey was not required to banish Hamas, but simply to ensure that Hamas not plan terrorism from inside its borders. Right….
On the other hand, Turkey did not secure one of its major demands, which was the end of the Gaza naval blockade. Turkey will be able to provide relief provisions to Gaza via an Israeli port, and to lend assistance to Hamas with reconstruction inside Gaza. (Eyebrows are raised over this last concession, which raises questions about the nature of the Turkish assistance to Hamas, particularly with regard to construction of “hospitals,” which Hamas uses as military headquarters.)
Some in the know are saying that the prime motivator of this agreement was gas. Turkey, whose ties with Russia are not what they once were, requires gas. And Israel is most interested in selling.
Others say that this agreement increases stabilization in the area, but that remains to be seen. There is even a question now as to whether the failed military coup in Turkey will end up weakening the rapport with Israel.
I fervently wish that I could say that in Israel all is peaceful and easy, but of course that is not the case. Terror attacks and attempted attacks continue:
On Sunday morning, alert security guards stopped a suspicious Palestinian Arab man from boarding the light rail at the Jaffa Street station near King George Street, right in the center of town.
Credit: Shmuel Bar Am
Turned out that he was carrying three pipe bombs as well as knives. Had he successfully boarded, it would have been a horror. The terrorist was from a village near Hevron.
I want to share this article by Ruthie Blum – “Where is the feminist outcry?” – because the world so little understands the nature of our enemy, and what we must contend with (emphasis added):
“The recently appointed head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency gave his first presentation on Tuesday to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset. As part of his overview of the country’s current situation, Nadav Argaman addressed the role of Arab women in the terror wave against Israelis that began last September.
“More specifically, he talked about the way in which Palestinian girls and women are being forced by the norms of their society to become cannon fodder in the ‘lone-wolf intifada’…
“According to Argaman, so far more than 40 girls and women have been wounded, killed or arrested for committing — or attempting to commit — terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians. These acts are both homicidal and suicidal in nature: geared toward murder, on the one hand, but usually involve or result in self-sacrifice.Indeed, a teenage girl who runs up to a group of IDF soldiers while flailing a knife and shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ knows she is not long for this world. Even those who go after unarmed passersby are aware that they are likely to be shot in the process.
“…most of these women had ‘shamed’ their families in some way — through what is considered to constitute sexual misconduct. This could include anything from flirting with the wrong boy — a Christian, perhaps — to engaging in actual or perceived adultery.
“These women know that what awaits them is a painful, humiliating and often slow death at the hands of one or more male relatives — fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins — with no intervention on the part of their mothers or the Palestinian police.
“Yes, honor killing is alive and well in the Palestinian Authority, whose leaders traipse around the United Nations in Armani suits to bemoan Israeli injustices.
“To ‘launder’ their inevitable end, many Palestinian girls opt to go out with a literal bang and become ‘martyrs.’ Some, Argaman said, are encouraged to do so — even driven to the site of the terrorist attacks they are told to commit — by their parents. If the girls are put to death for dishonoring their families, the stain remains. If, on the other hand, they are killed in the process of maiming Jews, their parents are guaranteed adulation and a hefty monthly stipend from the coffers of the PA, filled regularly by the United States and Europe…”
Blum’s title is right-on. It has long been a sore point with me: the failure of left wing so-called feminists to cry out on behalf of their Palestinian Arab sisters. Because this involves Palestinian Arab society, they prefer to turn a blind eye.
Please, share this broadly.
And lastly here a look at who we are – along with further information on who they are (emphasis added):
The Knesset Special Committee on the Rights of the Child is working to resolve the issue of Palestinian Arab child beggars. It was revealed that “there are dozens of children aged five to 17 begging in the streets, the vast majority in Arab villages.
“They are mostly minors…who come through crossings or open areas, or children from East (sic) Jerusalem…This is a growing phenomenon [especially] during the holidays and summer vacation.
“…these children, who often suffer from physical and sexual abuse, are often forced by adult handlers to beg on the streets for 11 hours per day.”
Frustration has been expressed because of a lack of cooperation on this issue within the Palestinian Authority.
A long posting, my friends, I know. Hopefully a valuable one. There is more, much more. Next time.
“Ana BeKoach” – a mystical song that is a special favorite of mine. It feels right for today and I like this version (although I don’t know why the illustration utilized).
“We beg, we beg thee with the strength and greatness of thy right arm, untangle our knotted fate.
Accept your people’s song, elevate, elevate and purify us.”
By: Ashraf Ramelah | Voice of the Copts
In the ongoing jihad against Egypt’s Coptic Christians one Bedouin tradition adopted by Islam keeps jihad in business. After every terrorist act, the victim is bullied into an “arbitration” hearing and the criminal courts are circumvented. No serious investigation is ever made nor any evidence gathered because the local government conducts the meeting of “reconciliation” without any need of the facts. Here’s how it works: A regional government official from the office of the governor (currently an Al-Sisi appointee) “offers” the victim a chance to apologize to the perpetrators of the crime. A Muslim official and the Muslim mayor enforce “peace” between the non-Muslim victim and the Muslim attacker.
In the aftermath of bloodshed, the victim apologizes to the perpetrator(s) and drops all rights to press charges of assault, rape, arson, or murder. In many cases, the victim and family are forced to leave town permanently, abandoning property and home. The victim turns over all possessions to the jihadists who divide the spoils among them. With almost no exception an intricate narrative is scripted to reach the news agencies. It characterizes the victim as guilty — deserving of the assault under the code of Sharia divine law. Since every Christian belongs to a parish, a Muslim official coerces the church into the process so that the priest or bishop is forced to submit to the authority of Sharia law along with the victim. This surrender of conscience is the final humiliation.
Cairo’s Al-Ahzar Sunni-Muslim Institute typically steps into the process to control reaction to jihad episodes by sending a handler into local areas to assist in the “reconciliation” meeting. In the high profile case of 70-year old Mrs. Suaad Thabet, who was stripped naked, beaten, and paraded in the street to the screams of Alahu Akbar, Al-Ahzar issued a press release (as always in the aftermath of jihad) stating the immediate need of “reconciliation” to avoid “escalation.” The word “escalation” is intended to imply that two adversaries were fighting each other—an assertion meant to distort the true unilateralism of sectarian violence in Egypt.
After Mrs. Suaad Thabet had been dragged into the street by a mob of three hundred men, she was allowed to return to her house where she harbored her shame. She prayed and reflected for two days. She knew that what happens in the town stays in the town and that the wider public might never have a stake in the horrible truth of that day in the village of Karm.
No one could have anticipated the strength of her will to reach the media and bypass the authorities who had ignored her earlier warnings that something horrible was brewing. This act of courage further inspired the bishop who then took a very brave step.
arbitration meeting saying, “No. This case must be taken to the courts.” The local mayor and police department of Karm village were attempting to settle the Thabet case in the usual manner. Mrs. Thabet would have to surrender to a false version of truth and pay an additional price for her victimization.Bishop Makarious of Al Mynea shocked Egyptian authorities when he refused the “invitation” for Mrs. Thabet’s
When authorities did not act upon Mrs. Thabet’s early report — when her son and family fled the village for safety, in effect, making her a scapegoat — the violence about to erupt fell on her and her Christian neighbors (with seven homes destroyed). The entire ordeal was based upon claims (true or false) made against her son.
Later, in a TV interview, the ringleader’s wife revealed her husband’s secret plot to use a false story to divorce her without alimony and break up a business partnership without financial obligation – consequences perfectly feasible under Sharia law and accomplished easily with the incident contained locally. Interestingly, if the wife were guilty of adultery as claimed, the Sharia requires her stoning or beheading. But instead, Mrs. Thabet, the Christian, was targeted and violated.
The Egyptian media went wild. A national TV talk show host, Rasha Nabeil, aired a live phone call interview with Mrs. Thabet for the audience to hear her story firsthand. Mrs. Thabet said, “I would rather be buried in the ground than have what happened to me,” embarrassing and angering Egyptian authorities who earlier whitewashed the incident as “a normal family dispute.”
Meanwhile, Bishop Makarious accepted an invitation as guest on a panel talk show with the Karm mayor. When asked about the Karm incident the bishop said, “There will be no reconciliation meeting this time” – a bold declaration never before spoken. The mayor responded to the bishop’s decision by stating that the bishop “would be responsible for anything else that happens” – meant as a threat for more violence against Copts if no “reconciliation” took place.
Copts are holding their ground in this confrontation with Egyptian authorities, insisting that the case goes to the courts and not to “reconciliation.” This could be a real opportunity for the state courts to expose and break the ideological ties that bind law enforcement, government officials, and Al-Ahzar to the perpetrators in successful conspiracies against Copts. Most Egyptians desire fairness from the courts. A Pew Research Center Report on Egypt dated May 22, 2014 states that, “nearly eight-in-ten (79%) say that a judicial system that treats everyone in the same way is very important. Similarly, 63% of Egyptians say law and order is critically important to their country’s future.”
So far Coptic resistance has forced officials to admit they should have heeded Mrs. Thabet’s warnings of a pending tragedy. It forced Al-Sisi’s office to apologize to her — an elder, a grandmother and a trustworthy source – as well as journalists expressing sympathy on behalf of the public. However, if religious authorities continue to exercise power over the state courts, justice will not be served.
Where now is the man with heart and sensitivity toward women and Copts? The man who brought a rose to the hospital bedside of a rape victim and made a surprise visit to a church for Christmas Eve service is silent today. This is the man who sought the support of ordinary Egyptians — the ones who endure these types of crimes every day — in his run for president. He received their support.
Where is Al-Sisi today when the people need him to give substance to his gestures and use his power to rid the country of lawlessness based upon the deep prejudices of Islamic law? Al-Sisi appealed to everyone in his early moments as president, and there was great hope that he might be a champion of individual liberty and usher Egypt into the modern world. Instead, the Sharia takes its course in Egypt under Al-Sisi just like the good-old-days of Hosni Mubarak.
By: Dr. Ashraf Ramelah | Voice of the Copts
For over four months, the Egyptian government has refused to submit the documents requested by the Italian judicial authorities concerning the assassination of Giulio Regeni, an Italian citizen.
Reaction to Regeni’s death was reflected in the Italian Parliament with the approval in the Senate on June 28 of an amendment that blocks the sale of spare parts to Egypt for the F16 fighter jets.
Such a decision may have further negative impact in the cooperation between the two countries in bilateral and international relationships.
The Egyptian authorities conducted an investigation of the mysterious death of the young Italian researcher in the dismissive way that aggression against Coptic Christians is handled with little fact gathering, arrests or convictions.
In the following cases of the last two months alone, few suspects were identified, few arrests were made, and it’s likely that no one will ever face a judge and jury:
– A Coptic priest was assassinated
– A Christian nun was murdered with an RPG – a military-grade weapon
– A home under construction by a Christian owner found his structure demolished on the false pretense that he was converting it to a church
– A 70 year-old woman was attacked in her home by a mob of three hundred Muslim men, dragged to the street nude and beaten.
– Seven Coptic-owned residences were burned and destroyed.
This is in serious contradiction to the words of the Egyptian government claiming to be in favor of democracy and human rights.
The decision taken by the It alian government to block the supply of spare parts for the F16 is legitimate in this case regardless of some opposing voices who consider that such a measure may obstruct Egypt’s fight against terrorism.
Those voices, however, are disregarding the fact that the murder of Regeni is in itself a terrorist act when on Egyptian soil a foreign national student disappears until his body is discovered near a dumpster some distance away, and the state is suppressing evidence (photos, video cameras and phone records).
Voices arise from the Egyptian Parliament in arrogance against the will of the Italians to search for the truth in the case of a murdered son and threaten retaliation against Italy regarding its decisive Parliamentary amendment against Egypt in this matter.
Our organization received information indicating that an Egyptian delegation of Egyptian Parliamentarians seeking to overturn Italy’s decision has arrived in Italy.
They intend to meet with members of the Italian Parliament to persuade them to nullify their recent vote and reverse Italy’s decision to withhold spare F16 parts from Egypt.
This interference in the sovereignty of a democratic country should not be tolerated.
The mystery of the Regeni case in Egypt can only be solved when the truth being obscured by the Egyptian state is revealed. As President Al-Sisi came to power on the concepts of government transparency and respect for law and order, he now needs to step in and demand the release of withheld evidence.
In turn, this will show Egypt and the world who he really is.
Finally, we trust in our MP’s to refrain from any compromise of their resolve and to disregard Egypt’s threats because considerations for the truth in the bloodshed of an Italian citizen are of the highest priority.
Here I am, again, skipping over the good news. My apologies for this, as I know my readers enjoy those good reports (as do I). But once again, I feel compelled to focus on the not-good news:
Some painful circumstances – disease, for example – may be unavoidable. Others should never, ever happen. What I have in mind right now is the terrorist murder of 13 year old Hallel Yafa Ariel last week, who met her death at the hands of a knife-wielding 17 year old Palestinian Arab.
Monday I paid a shiva (condolence) call to her family. I was blown away by their determination to persevere, their strength in the face of horror.
And just for one moment it is the horror I need to focus on. For she wasn’t “just” killed via a knifing. Her body endured a pummeling by knife. It is so perversely sick that thinking about it becomes unbearable. (It brought to my mind the 2011 beheading of the two-month old Fogel baby by Palestinian Arabs terrorists who later declared themselves “proud” of what they had done.)
There is a part of me that wants to be circumspect and discrete, passing over these gruesome facts. But I have come to realize I have an obligation to speak out. Because the world does not know. People – embracing some sanitized version of the situation – do not begin to comprehend what we deal with here. And so I must tell it out, and ask you to wrap your heads around this, and tell it out as well.
Please, do not imagine that the way this young terrorist behaved is a response to the “occupation” – an occupation which, in point of fact, does not even exist. (More below on this issue.) Or that he is an anomaly, an aberration in an otherwise normal social. For this is not the case!
What we are facing is a society that in some substantial measure –encouraged by its leadership – embraces, indeed venerates, violence.
Consider Palestinian Arab practices such as “honor killings” and the shooting of guns to celebrate weddings (which practice on occasion causes the accidental death of a celebrant). Mark their hysterical and violent funerals for their terrorists, as compared with the subdued, “let’s make the world a better place” tone of the funerals for the victims of those terrorists.
Hey, even more significantly: Mark the fact that the terrorists are their national heroes, celebrated in a way that the Palestinian Arabs never, ever remotely celebrate scientists or musicians or educators. And that children are taught at a young age to embrace violence. This is a form of child abuse.
See this chilling video:http://www.palwatch.org/site/modules/videos/popup/video.aspx?doc_id=16531 and be sure to read the full comment below about social media.
And so, we come to the great injustice visited upon us by the world: We are told to make concessions to the Palestinian Arabs for “peace.” Concessions to people who venerate violence and celebrate death.
The traditional way of Muslim mourning requires erecting a tent, where mourners receive their visitors. The Taraiyre family – family of the terrorist who murdered Hallel Ariel – has such a tent.
It was paid for by the Palestinian Authority.
Reportedly, a high official of Fatah, the major party of the PA, was among those who paid a condolence call.
And there is still more. As the Palestinian Media Watch has noted:
“…in accordance with PA law, Taraiyre’s family will now begin receiving a monthly stipend — something that is paid to all families of “martyrs” [shahids].
Please, dear friends, wrap your heads around this, as well. The Palestinian Authority condones and rewards what this young terrorist did. Its leaders have no red lines that conform with decency and humanity. They do not speak out against such acts, but the contrary.
How dare the world suggest that we sit with the PA and negotiate a “state” for them!
Before I move on to further points I wish to make, it is important for me to note that certainly not every Palestinian Arab embraces violence and is filled with hatred; some show that decency and humanity I refer to above.
Please see an article here about the Palestinians Arabs who saw the overturned car of the Mark family, and came to help:
(The fact that this was newsworthy indicates that this behavior is out of the norm.)
As to the much touted suggestion that the “occupation” is the cause of this deep-seated and virulent hatred we are witnessing:
 I have spoken many times about the fact that in legal and historical terms Israel is not an “occupier” in Judea and Samaria, and I will return to this many more times. But even if there were an “occupation,” it would not justify what is going on now. No way, no how. To use it as justification is to obfuscate: to rationalize, to mask the total immorality of the current violence.
 While they are reluctant to say so publicly for obvious reasons, it has been clear for years that many Palestinian Arabs would prefer governance by Israel to governance by the PA, which is totally corrupt, provides no human rights, offers scant economic opportunities, has no social services, etc. They are not chaffing under Israeli governance, where it exists, so much as furious about the way the PA conducts itself. But sometimes it is easier (and safer) to vent against Israel. And the PA – in speaking about such things as the alleged danger Jews represent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque – provides a convenient rationale for channeling this fury.
See this, written just a year ago:
It is nonsense to suggest that those Palestinian Arabs under the jurisdiction of Israel are so greatly enraged by this fact that they are reduced to extreme and uncontrollable violence, or that those under the jurisdiction of the PA are livid because they believe the PA has not been given the latitude to establish a full state.
Palestinian Arab culture is hamula-based. The loyalty is to the clan. There is not a huge yearning for a state. Not intrinsically. Whatever the PR hype on the matter.
 Lastly, I would like to share something just written by the eminent scholar Efraim Karsh, “Occupation is not the problem.”
When professor Karsh speaks about “occupation,” he is not referring to legalities of ownership of the land, but of governance of the Palestinian Arabs by Israel.
His executive summary (emphasis in the original):
“The proposition that ‘occupation’ is to blame for Palestinian terrorism defies history, reality, and logic. Israel’s control of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza has been virtually nonexistent for twenty years, ever since the 1995 interim agreement and the 1997 Hebron redeployment. Palestinian terrorism has increased not in response to the ‘occupation,’ but in response to its ending.”
Professor Karch writes (emphasis added):
“If occupation is indeed the cause of terrorism, why was terrorism so sparse during the years of actual occupation? Why did it increase dramatically with the prospect of the end of the occupation, and why did it escalate into open war following Israel’s most far-reaching concessions ever?
“One might argue far more plausibly that it was the absence of occupation – that is, the withdrawal of close Israeli surveillance – that facilitated the launching of the terrorist war in the first place, just as it was the partial restoration of security measures in the West Bank during the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield and its aftermath (albeit without assuming control of over the daily lives of the Palestinian population there) that brought the Palestinian war of terror to a (temporary) halt.
Unfortunately – and it grieves me greatly to say this – some portion of Israeli society is also sick. But in a way that is the inverse of the Palestinian Arab society.
We have had our own Jewish nation in modern times for 68 years now. But before this, we were in galut – in exile – for some 2,000 years. During those years, the survival of Jews often depended upon being able to please the host society. And we have not, as a nation, yet lost the habit of trying to please others.
As the Western world promotes a disproportionate concern for the Palestinian Arabs to the detriment of Israeli rights and well being, our leadership – or some portion thereof – struggles to show what “good guys” we are in dealing with those Palestinian Arabs.
In a nutshell: We are not as tough on them, and specifically on the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, as we need to be. We take little steps, and while they move in the right direction – quicker demolition of houses of terrorists, refusal to return bodies, etc. – they remain insufficient.
Our government needs to be less concerned about what the Western world will say, and more concerned about making certain that no more Israelis meet the fate endured by Hallel Yafa Ariel and Rabbi Micki Mark last week.
There are a number of suggestions on the table as to how to be more stringent. They include such actions as shutting down PA broadcasts, because of the incitement; refusing to turn over any tax monies collected as long as the PA continues to pay the families of terrorists and “salaries” to terrorists in prison; and blocking use of the Internet, which is a major vehicle for terrorists’ communication (although how, is beyond my expertise).
Taking aim directly at PA actions is a critical component of what needs to be done. And it is precisely in this regard that our government tends to tip-toe.
I cannot possibly deal here with all the suggestions for greater stringency that have been proposed, although I will mention one below and return to others later.
There is a feeling in several quarters in Israel that the government is about talk – about “seeming” tough for the moment – rather than about real action.
There is solid reason for this feeling. There have been stringent actions announced in the face of a specific terrorist act that are quietly reversed when the moment is past. And announcements about actions that seem to be stringent but in point of fact are not what they appear to be.
Here I mention a couple of examples of the latter:
The prime minister announced that in response to the terror attack in Kiryat Arba, 42 new housing units would be built.
Subsequently it became apparent that the tenders for this building had gone out well before the attack. That is, it was not a plan for new, additional building being announced at all.
It was also announced that there was going to be “full closure” of the village of Bani Na’im, home of the murderer of Hallel Ariel.
Subsequently, it was discovered that the “full closure” consisted of “nothing more than a pile of dirt that the Arab residents easily drive around.”
What I ask here is that you send a message to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
I cannot emphasize this enough: Do NOT preach to him. Do NOT write in anger. Do NOT suggest that you have superior expertise in the matter and can advise him on what to do. Do NOT engage in polemics or provide history lessons. All of these approaches are severely counterproductive. They will turn him off. If you want to be helpful, you will write with great restraint and avoid these pitfalls.
Be respectful. And write no more than three sentences. Be positive: Urge strength, encourage him to stand tall in the face of enemies, let him know you are with him during this horrendous time. It is the number of messages that matters, not your specific message.
I provide three different addresses below. Send your message to all three. The prime minister will not be reading these messages directly, his aides will. In your subject line, put “Please share this with the prime minister,” “Please pass this message to PM Netanyahu,” or something similar
As to responses that are being called for, I want to allude here to one approach that I see as good news: annexation of Ma’aleh Adumim and of Gush Etzion. It is time for a new message, say those advancing these proposals. And I heartily agree. Whether they meet with success now or not, we must hope that they mark the beginning of a brighter future.
When last I wrote, I noted that neither the White House nor the State Department had expressed condolences for the terrorist murder of Hallel Ariel, who was an American citizen. It was pointed out to me by a couple of readers that indeed there had been a statement by the State Department. This is the case, and so my comment had not been fully correct. But the State Department expression of condolences – which ignored the fact that Hallel was an American – was insufficient.
Not for a second do I believe this was an inadvertent oversight on the part of the State Department. To acknowledge Hallel’s citizenship is to acknowledge responsibility for responding to what happened to her. The State Department would rather avoid this.
A ZOA press release on this issue makes the further point that the condolence statement neglects to mention that the terrorist was a Palestinian Arab. Hmmm… It also compares the State Department condolence here to similar condolences regarding events in other parts of the world.
I will do my best to focus on some measure of good news when next I post.
“You try to scare us so that we’ll wear down, break, and leave, but it’s all for naught. The sentiments in Otniel are not of fear and exhaustion, but rather of cohesion, resilience and especially a strong desire to move forward. The murderers that imagine eliminating us through bloodshed will find before them again and again a solid wall of people who believe in life a lot more than those same murderers believe in death.”
These are the words of Eran Dgan, secretary of Otniel, a small Jewish community south of Hevron in the regional council of Har Hevron, and home of the Otniel Yeshiva.
Amazing words from an anguished man. Dgan was addressing the terrorists – not yet captured – who late on Friday afternoon attacked and killed Rabbi Michael (Micki) Mark, who was director of the Otniel Yeshiva and lived in the community with his wife and their 10 children.
Let all potential terrorists mark Dgan’s words well. As a matter of fact, let the world mark them well. We are not going anywhere.
Described as a pillar of the community, Rabbi Mark was a much-loved man – “a man of faith and spirit [who] spent every moment of his free time studying Torah…a gentle man and a devoted father to his family.” He was in his car on route 60, south of Hevron, when Arabs drove past him and began shooting at his car. There are at least 20 bullet holes in the car.
As Mark’s 14 year old son described it:
“They shot at us from the side where my sister was sitting next to me, on my left – then suddenly dad wasn’t moving anymore.”
As the rabbi lost control, the car flipped over.
Credit: Har Hevron Regional Council
The rabbi’s wife, Chava, was seriously injured. Following a series of surgeries her life is now out of danger, but she is still in very serious condition and faces a long recovery. A daughter, 14, was moderately injured and remains in the hospital. The son, quoted above, was lightly injured and has been released from the hospital.
The funeral today was held in two venues. First a service in Otniel, with many rabbis and other notables in attendance.
Credit: Arutz Sheva
Credit: Hadas Perush/Flash90
Credit: Hadas Perush/Flash90
And then interment in Jerusalem.
Please see this extraordinary video clip of the Mark children put out before the funeral:
Said President Ruby Rivlin, who was a distant cousin of Rabbi Mark, “We are not loosening our grip on the land. Terrorism will never undermine our hold on the land...” Again, let everyone take note. (Mark was also a cousin of Yossi Cohen, head of the Mossad.)
Rabbi Yehuda Glick, mourning deeply, on Friday noted his close relationship with Rabbi Mark: “He was like a brother to me.”
And Rabbi Binyamin Kelmanson, Rabbi Mark’s brother-in-law, said, addressing Mark at the funeral:
“Ironically, you will also be missed by the members of the [group] your murderers came from, you will be missed by our [Arab] neighbors whom you helped so much. We will still try to maintain good relations with our neighbors, and we will continue to meet with them.”
“But,” – now addressing the Arab population – “know this, that if you do not strike down the arms of the murderers, it will hurt you.”
Religious Jews, on receiving news of a death, say “Baruch Dayan HaEmet.” “Blessed be the Righteous Judge.” We, even when bereft and devoid of understanding, surrender to the Almighty’s judgment in the matter. And so, we see, again and again, an astonishing lack of bitterness in those mourning victims of terror.
We encounter, instead, a desire that some good should result from the unbearable tragedy. And a firm determination to stand strong.
I have written again and again about the sense of family we have here in Israel. And this is part of what we are witnessing: a strength that comes from being tied to the people. The people embracing the mourners and holding them upright in unending comfort.
I was going to say there will be no good news in today’s posting. But the news of who we are as a people and how we cope as a people is very very good news indeed.
Har Hevron Regional Council head Yochai Damri put out a message before Shabbat:
“…For a long time in Otniel and Har Hevron, we have experienced difficult events, and today an additional event, but they will not break us! A peaceful Sabbath and a warm and lamenting hug to all.”
The Security Cabinet met last night and has decided on a number of more stringent measures for dealing with the Arabs: there will be a cemetery for burying terrorists, and none of their bodies will be returned; more work permits will be cancelled; more speedy demolition of houses of terrorists; more closures, including of Hevron; etc. etc. More to follow on this in my next posting.
All to the good, and, taken collectively, still not sufficient. This cannot continue. That is the message that was delivered in demonstrations held here in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria last night.
Approval has been given for construction of 42 new apartments in Kiryat Arba, in response to the terrorist murder of Hallel Ariel last week.
I am very eager to get this out, but pause to note just a couple of other matters:
We must ask, first, how much one family can endure. Chava Mark, who is seriously injured, is the aunt of Yondav Hirschfeld, one of the eight high school students murdered during the 2008 terror attack in the Markaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Her son, Shlomi, is married to Iska, the daughter of Eliyahu Ben-Ami of Otniel, who was killed in a terror shooting attack in 2000.
Hallel Ariel, murdered in her bed by a terrorist last week, was a US citizen (with joint Israeli and American citizenship). To the best of my knowledge there has been no mention of this by the White House or State Department – no expression of outrage over this death. If I am wrong, and it has come, it is in recent hours, for last I checked it was not the case. Shameful.
And then: Abbas, who has remained purposely silent on these Palestinian Arab terrorist murders. To decline to speedily and forcefully condemning is to condone. Make no mistake about it: His people get the message.
Not an easy thing to do – to maintain balance. We might know where we want to go, yet find the way there exceedingly slippery. This is what we are dealing with now: the rapids and the uneven stepping stones.
I like to sustain my practice of starting with good news – it is one of the things that provides balance. But today I cannot. First things first.
Yesterday morning, in Kiryat Arba, a Jewish community adjacent to Hevron, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, age 13 – shown below with her mother, Rina – was asleep in her bed. She was sleeping late because she had performed in a dance recital in Jerusalem the night before.
A Palestinian Arab teenager from the nearby village of Bani Na’im jumped the fence surrounding Kiryat Arba and broke into Hallel’s home, getting into her bedroom. There he stabbed her multiple times before he was shot dead by security forces.
Hallel was rushed to the hospital.
Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
There she succumbed to her wounds.
She was buried Thursday evening in the old Jewish cemetery of Hevron, with thousands in attendance.
Credit: Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP
“Rina [Hallel’s mother] called on the public to come to Kiryat Arba…
“We invite everyone to come…to console; there are…Jews here who need strengthening. We are strong and we won’t break, but we need your help to continue and build here…
“I want to address the mother of the terrorist who did this. I teach my children to love and you’ve educated yours to hate.’” (Emphasis added)
She ended with the Shema prayer. And once again, I am in awe at the strength and lack of bitterness. Let the world see who we are, should it ever choose to see.
“Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who is a first cousin of the victim’s father Amichai, eulogized young Hallel with a call to strengthen the Jewish presence in the land of Israel.
“”We say to the mourners: through the building of the land we will be comforted.’ (Emphasis added)
“’This cannot be just a demand – this is a Torah command!…I stand here and say to you Hallel, and to all the Ariel family… we vow today to further build up the land of Israel.’”
And MK Yehuda Glick “burst into tears as he offered his condolences to Hallel’s grieving parents.
“Rena and Amichai, there is no person in the world who can see a young girl’s bedroom with a mattress full of blood and not cry out, ‘God Almighty, enough. Enough fathers and mothers who bury their children and children who bury their parents. Avenge the spilled blood of they servants!’”
A child. A beautiful and innocent child. Dead for no reason whatsoever, except that she was Jewish and lived in Kiryat Arba.
I want to wax eloquent, but suddenly find that words fail. “How do you eulogize a girl thirteen and a half years old?” sobbed her mother, at the grave.
Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke of “bloodlust” and “inhumanity,” and he sure has that right.
Entry in and out of the terrorist’s village has been blocked, and the work permits of the members of his family have been rescinded. Additionally, family members are being questioned. The body of the terrorist will not be returned to his family, and the process has begun for the demolition of his house.
But here, I think, is where we can see the heart of the matter: Almost immediately after the terror attack, the official Facebook page of Fatah (the party of Abbas and the main party of the PA) posted the terrorist’s picture and referred to him as a martyr (a “shahid”). The official PA news agency WAFA did the same.
The terrorist’s mother, speaking to a local Hevron news network, said, “My son died as a Martyr defending Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
And where would she get this idea about defending Al-Aqsa, if not from the PA and Abbas himself? See this from the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida:
“During its weekly meeting held…[June 7, 2016] in Ramallah, led by [PA Prime Minister] Rami Hamdallah, the [PA] government called to visit Jerusalem, and for every one of our people who can, to come to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray and carry out Ribat (i.e., religious conflict/war over land claimed to be Islamic) there. Likewise, it called on the Arab and Islamic world to fulfill their responsibility and support the resolve of the [Arab] citizens of Jerusalem who are the defenders of Jerusalem and guardians of its honorable [Al-Aqsa] Mosque.”
And so, let’s take a look for a moment at what’s going on on Har HaBayit (The Temple Mount) in recent days. Please understand, this is during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, which means increased Muslim agitation is almost taken for granted.
At the beginning of the week, there was repeated violence on the part of Muslims, who attacked Jews on the Mount. Masked men stockpiled rocks in their sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque with which to pelt Jews and Israeli security forces.
A video of the violence here:http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/214143#.V3U9kJDr3IV
You can perceive immediately how “pious” these people are, and how deeply they revere the mosque they use to support their violent behavior.
It always astounds me – the juxtaposition of their claims of great reverence for their holy site and their demonstrations of defilement in its environs. I guess what most astounds me is how little the world chooses to notice this.
The presence of Jews on the Mount is apparently “offensive” to these masked men. At the beginning of the week, the Jews were protected by security forces, with warnings sounded to the Muslims that violence would not be tolerated. A handful of violent Muslims was arrested.
But by Tuesday a different approach was being taken: Since the presence of Jews agitated the Muslims on the Mount, it was decided that no non-Muslims would be permitted up there.
What a fantastic idea! Give in to their violence. Let them win by removing the source of their agitation. Then quiet can be maintained and security forces can handle the situation. And the only cost is that Jews (and Christians) will be deprived of the right to ascend to the Mount. Piffle. What is that?
According to this article, this practice will be enforced only for three days. But I’ve read elsewhere that this will go on until the end of Ramadan, which is next Tuesday. Today is the last Friday (the sabbath of Islam) of Ramadan and security forces will be out in large numbers in Jerusalem.
In theory, Israel has sovereignty over the Mount, which sits in the heart of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel. In theory. What I want to know is when it will be the case in practice, as well.
Credit: Muammar Awad/Flash90
I wrote in my last posting about the importance of our holding our heads high. How do we imagine that we can defeat Islamic-based terrorism when we surrender to Islamic-based violence?
If it were up to me, I would send a battalion of IDF soldiers up there, if necessary, to sustain quiet and permit a Jewish presence on the site.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat had it right, when he said:
“We must not make decisions under pressure from violent disturbances. Only consistent and determined practice in protecting the status quo will ensure a long-term reduction in violent incidents and bring quiet to Jerusalem.” (Emphasis added)
Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90
At roughly the same time that Hallel Ariel was being buried, there was another knifing attack in a market in Netanya, along the Mediterranean coast. Two people were wounded, one seriously. The terrorist was shot dead.
Let me now turn to Brexit, and explain why I put this in the good news category.
Quite simply: The EU is inherently hostile to Israel.
 They undermine us with demands for labeling of goods from Judea and Samaria.
 They refer to the communities in Judea and Samaria as “illegal settlements,” which they are not.
 Showing a blatant disregard for the rule of law, they fund illegal building of Arab housing in Area C – claiming that “diplomatic immunity” prevents Israel from taking them to court.
 They are applying pressure on Israel to participate in negotiations for a “two state solution” embracing terms – via the French plan – that are untenable and dangerous, as well as unjust.
Bad enough. But worse – worst of all – was what happened last week, when Abbas addressed the EU parliament. He said:
“Only a week ago, a number of rabbis in Israel announced, and made a clear announcement, demanding that their government poison the water to kill the Palestinians.”
A blood libel pure and simple. And for this he received a standing ovation.
Credit: Elder of Ziyon
What can one say? This is a mark of Jew hatred, pure and simple. The EU is totally without moral or political integrity.
That it should be weakened is a positive development.
I note that Abbas “sort of” retracted his statement just days after the above picture was taken. A release from his office said: It has become evident that the alleged statements by a rabbi on poisoning Palestinian wells, which were reported by various media outlets, are baseless.”
Myself, I think a more honest statement would have been: While the EU parliament seemed to love what Abbas said, he faced severe criticism from other quarters and decided it was politic to walk back his position.
It doesn’t matter, of course, because the point is that the EU parliament loved him before he walked it back.
But in the end, this is not just a question of what’s “good for the Jews.” There are other reasons to celebrate a weakening/possible breakdown of the EU.
Italian journalist Guilio Meotti speaks of the development of the EU as a project that “was entrusted to a bureaucracy with extraordinary legislative and administrative powers.” But he asks, “Who will guard the guardians? It is the question of political legitimacy and sovereignty…
“As everyone knows, there is a terrible deficit of legitimacy regarding the European institutions…
“The integration of Europe was conceived in one-dimensional terms withthe dictatorship of unelected bureaucrats and judges, cancellation of laws passed by representative parliaments, constitutional treaties signed without any input from the people…” (Emphasis added)
The open borders policy of the EU, which has permitted an uncontrolled and massive influx of Muslim migrants into the nations of the EU, is its biggest failure and may ultimately bring about its downfall.
For more on this, a Gatestone video, “Brexit: What It Means to Get Our Freedom Back.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdb0IUxoOfI with Dennis Maceoin.
Pro-Brexit Brits are hopeful that they can regain their sovereignty and control of their nation now. Dry Bones has it right, I think:
Other nations may not be far behind. There is talk, but it is still speculation at this point.
Many of us have been watching the horrendous implosion of Europe, as it is being overrun by those Muslims immigrants. The breakdown of the EU – should it happen – would represent a return to sanity on the part of some individual European nations. Might such a turn of events ultimately halt what seemed to be a runaway train?
We can ask, and then we must wait and watch…
I wanted to examine the new agreement between Israel and Turkey here – which leaves me greatly unsettled. But other issues have taken precedence. As it is a complex matter, I will save it for next time.
Additional good news items before closing:
“The 3 Million Club is an Israeli NGO that works in Haiti, Nepal, and is now starting in India. It supplies nutritional bars that are specially formulated to cure children from malnutrition within 12 weeks.”
The Knesset last week gave final approval to marking the seventh of Chesvan on the Hebrew calendar as “Aliyah Day.” Aliyah is immigration to Israel or, literally, going up.
The legislation – sponsored by MKs Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), Miki Zohar (Likud), Avraham Neguise (Likud), and Hilik Bar (Zionist Camp) – will institute “a day dedicated to olim (immigrants) and their contributions to the country. It will be marked around the country in schools, the Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police, the President’s Residence, and the Knesset.”
The date was picked because it is close to the Shabbat – in the fall – on which there is the reading of the Torah portion Lech-Lecha, which describes God’s command to Avraham to leave his home and go to the Land of Israel.
And so, fittingly, Prayer for the State of Israel, with IDF Chief Cantor Shai Abramson. I hope it uplifts you as it does me.
Denise Simon | FoundersCode.com
Sen. Cruz Questions DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson About Administration’s Willful Blindness to Radical Islamic Terrorism
Highlights Obama administration’s dangerous practice of scrubbing anti-terror materials
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) continued pushing back against the Obama administration’s willful blindness to radical Islamic terrorism in a Judiciary Committee oversight hearing today.
While questioning Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson, Sen. Cruz said, “What concerns me, and I believe should concern the Department of Homeland Security, is that because of this effort – scrubbing your law enforcement materials of any acknowledgment of radical Islamic terrorism – when you see the red flags of radical Islamic terrorism, you do not follow up on them effectively. And we have terrorist attack, after terrorist attack, after terrorist attack that could have been prevented but for this Administration’s willful blindness.”
Maybe some one should check the records and see if Dick Durbin and Jeh Johnson have dinner together often. Why?
BizPac: Illinois Senator Dick Durbin has now admitted he was the one who ordered the FBI to remove words he deemed “offensive” to Muslims that were found in the Bureau’s training documents all at the behest of Muslim advocacy groups claiming to be offended by words such as “jihad” and other words linked to incessant Muslim terrorism.
Senator Durbin, the Democrats’ Senate Minority Whip, admitted he ordered the purge of nearly 900 pages of FBI training manuals because they contained the “offensive” words.
“I asked for it, because there were provisions in the training manual which were flat-out wrong and embarrassing and they didn’t characterize the threat to America properly and after the FBI re-visited the manual, they changed it and I’m glad they did,” Durbin told The Daily Caller.
Durbin also lambasted Texas Senator Ted Cruz for “badgering” a witness for what Cruz said was the government’s “lack of emphasis of radical Islam in combating terrorism.” The witness was testifying recently at a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing.
Cruz maintained that the training document purge of words offensive to Muslims made America weaker by gutting the real-world reasons for terrorism in FBI terror training. ButFarhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates, disagreed saying that using “inflammatory” words in FBI training documents “makes us less safe.”
“Our organization’s position is that training materials as well as intelligence products that were produced by the FBI are not only offensive, inflammatory and alienating Muslims and American Muslims, but, more importantly, they make us less safe,” Khera said at the hearing.
Durbin also insisted Muslims have no problem informing on other Muslims when they are suspicious of terrorist activities.
The Illinois Senator next claimed that Orlando nightclub terrorist Omar Mateen wasn’t acting as a Muslim and said the claim that the killer was acting in the name of ISIS was nothing but “baloney.”
Durbin’s dismissal, though, flies in the face of Mateen’s own claims on 9-1-1 calls that he was acting in the name of ISIS. It is also hard to reconcile since the FBI had already been investigating the killer under suspicion of having ties to ISIS.
Does Dick really have this kind of power and influence all by himself? Not likely.
Politico: Ted Cruz and Jeh Johnson clashed Thursday during a Senate Judiciary oversight hearing, with the Texas senator and former Republican presidential candidate grilling the Homeland Security secretary on whether he had investigated the “systematic scrubbing” of law enforcement materials to remove references to terms like “jihad,” “Muslim” and “Islam.”
Cruz began his line of questioning by noting that the same committee conducted a hearing on Tuesday that explored the consequences of President Barack Obama’s unwillingness to use words like “radical Islamic terrorism” to describe threats facing the homeland.
Among those who testified was former Homeland Security officer Philip Haney — who, Cruz recalled, said that “in October 2009, more than 800 Customs and Border Patrol documents were ordered, modified, scrubbed or deleted to remove references to jihad or the Muslim Brotherhood or other similar references.”
“Was Mr. Haney’s testimony that the Department of Homeland Security had ordered over 800 documents altered or deleted in CBB, was that testimony accurate?” Cruz inquired.
Johnson responded, “I have no idea. I don’t know who Mr. Hanen is. I wouldn’t know him if he walked in the room,” he added, mispronouncing his name on multiple occasions.
“So you have not investigated whether your department ordered documents to be modified in 2009 to remove references to jihad, radical Islamic terrorism, the Muslim Brotherhood, you have not investigated that question?” Cruz followed up.
“No I have not taken the time to investigate what Mr. Hanen says, no,” Johnson answered.
Cruz then asked, after noting that the department did not participate in Tuesday’s hearing, whether Johnson or anyone in his staff had looked into those issues.
“No, but you have me right here, right now, to ask questions of, so here I am,” Johnson shot back.
Cruz responded, “Your answer is you don’t know. I am asking you. In 2009 and again in 2012, Mr. Haney testified there were two “purges,” and that was the word he used, “purge” at the Department of Homeland Security to remove references to radical Islamic terrorism. Is it accurate that the records were changed—”
“Same answer I gave you before. I have no idea, sir,” Johnson said.
“You have no knowledge of any records being changed at the Department of Homeland Security?” Cruz asked, and Johnson repeated that he had “no idea.”
Asked if he would be concerned if Haney’s account was accurate, Johnson got defensive about Cruz’s line of questioning.
“Senator, I find this whole debate to be very interesting, but I have to tell you, when I was at the Department of Defense giving the legal signoff on a lot of drone strikes, I didn’t particularly care whether the baseball card said Islamic extremist or violent extremist,” Johnson said.
“I think this is very interesting,” he went on. “But it makes no difference to me in terms of who we need to go after, who is determined to attack our homeland. The other point I’d like to make, sir, is that, and I have to think in practical terms in Homeland Security. I think this is all very interesting, makes for good political debate. But in practical terms, if we in our efforts here in the homeland start giving the Islamic State the credence that they want to be referred to as part of Islam or some form of Islam, we will get nowhere in our efforts to build bridges with Muslim communities, which we need to do in this current environment right now that includes homegrown violent extremists.”
As Cruz noted that his time was running short, Johnson snapped, “Hold on just a second please,” adding that Muslims “all tell me that ISIL has hijacked my religion, and it’s critical that we bring these people to our side to do this.”
“You’re entitled to give speeches other times. My question was if you were aware the information has been scrubbed,” Cruz retorted. “I would note the title of the hearing Tuesday was ‘Willful Blindness,’ and your testimony to this full committee now is that you have no idea and apparently have no intention of finding out whether DHS materials had been scrubbed.”
Johnson remarked as Cruz spoke, “That’s not what I said.”
“And you suggested just a moment ago that it’s essentially a semantic difference,” Cruz said. “Well I don’t believe it is a semantic difference that when you erase references to radical jihad, it impacts the behavior of law enforcement and national security to respond to red flags and prevent terrorist attacks before they occur.”
Cruz then offered two separate examples of what he said were intelligence failures under Obama’s watch, in the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood and in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
“I disagree with your factual predicate,” Johnson said after Cruz broached the Fort Hood example. When asked to qualify, Johnson remarked, “in one minute, I couldn’t possibly answer your question.”
Asked point blank whether the “Obama administration” knew the shooter Nidal Malik Hassan was communicating with terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki, Johnson asked how Cruz was defining the term “administration.”
Cruz responded, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
“The entire Federal Bureau of Investigation? I can’t answer that question sitting here,” Johnson said.
“OK, the answer is yes, and it is in public record, sir,” Cruz remarked.
On the Boston Marathon bombing, Johnson remarked that as a result of lessons learned, the intelligence community is “doing a better job of connecting all the right dots.”
Cruz noted that the pattern of failing to connect the dots “keeps occurring over and over and over again,” bringing up what he said were lapses before attacks in San Bernardino, California, and Orlando Florida.
“First of all, virtually every day I read about the good work of our law enforcement personnel, our Homeland Security personnel and our intelligence community connecting the dots to identify potential terrorist plots, terrorist plots on our homeland, irrespective of the label you want to put on it,” Johnson responded. “I think our people are smart enough to identify somebody who is a violent extremist, who is self-radicalizing, who is moving toward violence when there are some warning signs, like somebody who see somebody buying a gun or training or buying weapons of explosive material. Every day I see people connecting the dots across our law enforcement, Homeland Security intelligence communities.”
“Are there lessons learned? Could we do a better job? The answer is probably yes,” the secretary continued. “But every day I see this happening, and I think we are doing a better job, and I think that our people are smart enough to identify potential terrorist behavior whether you call it Islamic or extremist or anything else. I think the labels, frankly, are less important except where we need to build bridges to American Muslim communities and not vilify them so that they will help us help them. That is my answer to your question, sir.”
By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media
Apologists for Vladimir Putin, including his propaganda channel Russia Today (RT), have been telling us for months that Turkey has been facilitating and even funding the global Islamic terrorist group ISIS. But the carnage at the Istanbul, Turkey, airport, apparently carried out by ISIS, demonstrates this is a big lie. ISIS is doing Russia’s dirty work in targeting the only Muslim and Middle Eastern country that is a member of NATO.
This would not have been the first time that ISIS had attacked Turkey. In fact, a suicide bomber who struck a busy tourist area in central Istanbul on Saturday, March 19 was also an ISIS terrorist.
But there’s also the possibility that the PKK, the Kurdish terrorist organization also known as the Kurdistan Workers Party, was behind the attack. The PKK has killed thousands of people in Turkey, and has bombed or attacked the country’s tourism industry, hospitals and businesses.
Incredibly, in a scandal that could turn into another Benghazi, it has been confirmed that President Obama’s administration is arming the Democratic Union Party (PYD)—a branch of the PKK—supposedly to fight ISIS. But the PYD’s increasing consolidation of power in northern Syria could pose a military threat to Turkey.
Turkey, a long-time NATO member, is caught in the middle between ISIS and the PKK, while Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says Obama’s support for the PYD is helping to create a “sea of blood” in the region.
In addition to sponsoring International Coalition military attacks on ISIS from its own Incirlik Airbase, Turkey is the only Muslim country that belongs to NATO. Since the days of the old Soviet Union, Russia has hated NATO and has wanted to see it abolished. During the Cold War, American nuclear weapons were deployed in Turkey to counter the Soviet/Russian threat.
The timing of this terrorist attack was significant. The NATO Summit of Heads of State and Government in Warsaw, Poland is scheduled to begin on July 8.
If it turns out that another terrorist group carried out the attack, such as the PKK, that would not be surprising either. Turkish President Erdogan has directly accused Russia of providing anti-aircraft weaponry and rockets to the PKK. “At this moment, terrorists are using anti-aircraft guns and missiles supplied by Russia,” Erdogan recently said. “The separatist terrorist organization is equipped with these weapons. They have been transferred to them via Syria and Iraq.” These charges followed revelations that the PKK used a Russian-made shoulder-launched missile to down a Turkish helicopter.
Retired Turkish diplomat Murat Bilhan, who served in Moscow, noted, “The PKK had an office in Russia and from time to time it received assistance and support from Russia in the 1990s; Russia never considered PKK as a terrorist organization.”
Indeed, the PKK was another one of the “liberation movements” started by the old Soviet intelligence service, the KGB.
Turkish commentator Burhanettin Duran noted that Obama’s support for the PYD “continues to strain ties between Turkey and the United States.” He added, “A recent visit to Kobani by U.S. special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS (DAESH), Brett McGurk, where he accepted gifts from a former PKK member who now serves in the PYD leadership, took the crisis to the next level…To make matters worse, State Department spokesman John Kirby stated at least twice that the United States would continue working with the PYD, which the U.S. does not consider to be a terrorist group.” He went on to say that McGurk offered “to protect Turkey against the PKK,” but that he “came out in favor of strengthening the PYD’s armed People’s Protection Units (YPG) even after President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an openly asked the administration to choose between Turkey and the PYD.”
The New York Times has been slow to acknowledge the scandal that is developing with another Obama administration policy in the Middle East. However, the paper did run astory in February that Turkish President Erdogan “called into question the American commitment to fighting terrorist groups in Syria and cited Washington’s failure to recognize a Syrian Kurdish rebel group as a terrorist organization.” That group was the PYD. “Are you on our side or the side of the terrorist PYD and PKK organizations?” Erdogan asked.
At the State Department’s daily press briefing on February 8, spokesman John Kirby said, “…we don’t, as you know, recognize the PYD as a terrorist organization. We recognize that the Turks do, and I understand that. Even the best of friends aren’t going to agree on everything.”
During testimony before a Senate panel, Obama’s Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said “yes” when asked by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) whether the PYD and its militia force, the YPG, were aligned with the PKK. The Reuters news agency noted that Graham had said, “We are arming people inside of Syria who are aligned with a terrorist group: That is the finding of the Turkish government.”
Isn’t that a variation of the pro-terrorist policy that led to the Benghazi massacre?