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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Harvard’

Report: Whole Arab Villages in Judea and Samaria Stand Empty as Residents Flee to US

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

Media reports about the Arab struggle to retrieve the lands of Amona has been presented by politicians and the media as part of an Arab tradition of loyalty to their land.

Indeed, one of the Arab claimants against the Amona community has been quoted as saying, “If your child dies, you can make another one in his place, but land that you sold cannot be replaced.”

And yet, a report in Friday’s Makor Rishon suggests reality on the ground in Judea and Samaria reflects a somewhat different set of values. Local Arabs may not be willing to sell their land, but many of them don’t live on said land either, preferring instead to emigrate to the US.

According to reporter Assaf Gibor, Route 60, which runs from Afula, on Israel’s side of the “green line” through Jenin, near Shechem, through Ofra and outside Ramallah to Jerusalem and then through Gush Etzion, past Hebron all the way to Be’er Sheva, features ghost villages on either side of the highway. The Jewish settlers of Ofra and Amona have been wondering what has happened to neighboring Arab villages such as Silwad, three miles from the main road and about 8 miles north-east of Ramallah. A visitor happening inside the village can see numerous, luxurious villas, that are deserted.

Gibor, who describes those empty homes as “white elephants,” met in Silwad a man in his 79s named Salah, who sat with him over a cup of coffee and revealed that he’s been living in Puerto Rico for 52 years. Having left in 1964, before the Israeli liberation of 1967, Salah got his BA in Puerto Rico and MA in Tennessee, and now he is retired and living off his rental property on the island. His children were born in the US, one is a lawyer, the other a pharmacist, both Harvard graduates. Sadly, they’ve only visited the old country once – but both speak Arabic.

Hamza Awada, 21, who lives with his parents in Arizona, met Gibor in Dir Dibwan, not far from Silwad. He is visiting to conclude a two-year wife search. It’s an arranged marriage, and after the wedding the happy couple will move to America. Hamza has lived in New York City and in Arizona, as well as in Jordan. “Life here in the village is quaint, but it’s not for me.”

Hamza describes himself as a Palestinian, not as an American, and he likes the sense of community in the village his parents had left in their youth. He’d even like to come back some day, maybe. But “life here is difficult,” he says. “It’s hard to find work, make a living and earn enough to support the lifestyle I’m used to abroad.” He plans to maintain the same ties to the old place his parents have kept: visit every few years. He speaks Arabic with his parents at home, but at school and elsewhere outside the home it’s all English.

According to Gibor, between 80 and 90 percent of Dir Dibwan’s residents have an American citizenship. One local resident, Muhammad Manasra, who splits his life between the village and California, estimates the population in the two neighboring villages at 16,000, most of them living abroad.

One of the most common methods used to obtain a US Visa is marrying an American citizen.

In many cases, Arab wives who discover the US lifestyle after having grown up in poverty in Judea and Samaria, refuse to go back. “My brother married a woman from the nearby village of Beitin,” Manasra relates. “There are many Palestinian-Americans there, too. He brought her to the US, arranged for a visa, and the minute she landed there her eyes opened, like she discovered a new world. He would work and she moseyed through the malls and spend money. They had two children, and when the elder was five, my brother wanted his wife and both children to go back to the village so the children learn Arabic and become familiar with Palestinian culture. His wife refused. It ended very badly. They divorced and today both live in the US separately. My brother’s house is sealed,” he says and points at the deserted villa.

Arab immigration from Judea and Samaria has been going on for decades. Official Palestinian Authority figures suggest there are three million Arabs living there. In reality, the figures are lighter by at least one million, according to many experts. Since 1997, Israel is no longer operating the census there, and the PA count does not abide by international norms, whereby a person who has been absent for a year or more from his country is no longer counted. Demographers Yaakov Feitelson and Yoram Ettinger suggest the figure of 1.8 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, as opposed to the PA claim of 2.9 million.


Prisons: Harvard for Radicals

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

Great Britain is not short of irritating, scoundrelous, extremist figures. One thinks of today’s Labour party leader, the Trotskyite Jeremy Corbyn, a ‘friend’ of Hamas and Hizbullah; the anti-Semitic far-left former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, recently suspended from the same party for anti-Jewish remarks; or George Galloway, who defended and lobbied for Saddam Hussein and called on the Iraqi leader to conquer Israel and retake Jerusalem. We have had more than our share of self-vaunting and holier-than-thou religious figures, too, notably the string of Muslim hate preachers who tour our universities and mosques, radicalising students and a host of other impressionable and easily-angered young people.

But for many of us, there is concern about the high rate of radicalisation engineered by Muslim extremists such as Anjem Choudary, who has tried to promote some of Britain’s most radical Islamist movements for some twenty years. His interview technique is to say things that are offensive, or at times seemingly demented, while remaining calm and apparently rational. He preaches hatred for democracy, loathing for British law, and a candid disrespect for all non-Muslims. In different circumstances, he would make a very able politician. In fact, he is a traitor to his country, a manipulator of the young and vulnerable, and is probably best revealed in his own words:

“We [Muslims] take the Jizya, which is ours anyway. The normal situation is to take money from the kuffar [non-Muslim]. They give us the money. You work, give us the money, Allahu Akhbar. We take the money.”


‘Next time when your child is at school and the teacher asks, ‘What is your ambition?’ They should say, ‘to dominate the whole world by Islam, including Britain, that is my ambition'”.

And, concerning the British hostage, Alan Henning, a volunteer aid worker about to be beheaded by the Islamic State: “In the Quran it is not allowed for you to feel sorry for non-Muslims. I don’t feel sorry for him.”

Or, prophetically, “If they arrest me and put me in prison,” he has said, “I will carry on in prison. I will radicalise everyone in prison.”

He has called for the “flag of Sharia” to be raised over 10 Downing Street; for Buckingham Palace to be turned into a mosque, and for Islamic shari’a law to replace British secular law — while predicting that this country will before long be taken over by Muslims. These might be childish dreams, but they are currently inspiring terrorist attacks and raising security threats.

Born in London in 1967, Choudary is a lawyer by training. He smiles contemptuously as he proclaims his superiority over the non-Muslim population of the UK. With Omar Bakri Muhammad, he created al-Muhajiroun, a Salafi group linked to half of the terrorist attacks in the UK during the past 20 years. When it was banned in 2005, it re-emerged under a string of aliases, reforming every time another ban was put in place: Islam4UK; al-Ghurabaa; the Saved Sect; Need4Khilafah; the Shariah Project; and the Islamic Dawah Association.

Choudary had been arrested more than once, but soon re-emerged into public life. His knowledge of the law has, until very recently, allowed him to evade punishment.

British police have now revealed his links to 500 Islamic State terrorists.

Mr Choudary, however, and a younger follower, Mohammed Rahman, between August and September 2014, posted speeches on the scarcely-secret website YouTube, in which they encouraged listeners to support and join the Islamic State, urging them to travel to Syria to take part in the fighting. Choudary had apparently accepted the claim of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to be the latest in the long but interrupted chain of Muslim caliphs. Baghdadi continues to assert that claim through his leadership of the Islamic State terrorist group, not just in Iraq and Syria, but in several other Muslim countries — not to mention hundreds of operatives now infiltrating Europe. In accordance with long-established tradition, Choudary declared bay’a (formal allegiance) to the caliph.

Choudary was charged on August 5, 2015, under section 12 of the Terrorism Act (2000), of inviting others to support, between June 2014 and March 2015, a banned organization, the Islamic State. He was tried along with Rahman and convicted on July 28, 2016. His sentence will be handed down this month. It is estimated that he will be sent down for about 10 years.

If that sounds short, it could get shorter. Unlike the United States, where many offenders serve their full term, the UK system is more flexible. According to the provisions of the 2003 Criminal Justice Act, introduced in 2005, any prisoners serving a fixed sentence are required to serve half of their sentence in custody. They are then released from jail and remain on licence (supervised by probation) for the other half of their sentence. In five years, therefore, Choudary could conceivably be back in the community and attending a mosque and religious festivals.

Ironically, that might be the least of our worries. Prison is the last place anyone with terrorist and radical affiliations should be sent. Radical publications are widely distributed to prisoners in British jails. In April 2016, a review ordered by Justice Minister Michael Gove revealed that extremist materials had been found in over ten jails in November 2015. Writing in The Telegraph, Sophie Jamieson summed up some of the report’s findings:

Extremist Islamic hate literature is available on the bookshelves of British jails and distributed to inmates by Muslim chaplains, according to a leaked report.

A review into extremism in prisons found misogynistic and homophobic pamphlets and hate tracts endorsing the killing of apostates were available in chaplaincy rooms, the Times reported.

Hate literature and CDs were reportedly discovered in more than ten prisons in November.

That extremism exists within the chaplaincy system of British prisons should not be too surprising. Samuel Westrop has pointed out that innumerable links exist between Muslim chaplains and radical organizations such as Hizb ut Tahrir, Jamaat-e Islami, Al-Hikma Media, and many more. In a major report, Unlocking al-Qaeda, published in 2009 by the Quilliam Foundation, close ties to groups such as al-Qaeda were identified among Muslim chaplains and inmates. The report recommended:

“The removal of all books, newspaper and televisions in de-radicalization centres will have [sic] will gradually create a great hunger among extremist prisoners (many of whom are highly literate and intelligent) for new information and literature. Prisoners who show good behaviour and evidence of reform, can be gradually supplied with counter-extremism books, written either by more moderate Muslim authors (including books by former extremists from groups such as al-Gamaa al-Islamiya). Such books should be supplied sparingly in order to force inmates to read them.”

Yet seven years later, a government report revealed that radical literature remains freely available to inmates.

The report identifies several factors that cause or play a part in prison radicalisation: extremism seen as a logical solution to other problems; extremism as a ‘new start’; prison deepens radicalisation (“While some individuals first adopt extremist ideologies only while in prison, in other cases individuals who entered prison as extremists become more radical as a result of their experiences there”); perceptions of mistreatment in prison; extremism as an extension of earlier behaviour; extremism causes dramatic behavioural changes; extremism can follow release.

One of the most troubling factors is the vulnerability of fresh converts to radicalisation. Because they start out with minimal knowledge of their new faith, converts are easily lured into adopting strict forms of Islam, a passage through which they may be guided by existing radicals and by the sort of extremist literature freely available in jail.

But there are reasons for the indulgence given to radicalisers and the newly radicalised in British jails. Citing an August 2016 classified report written for Britain’s Ministry of Justice by Ian Acheson, a former prison governor, Peter Dominiczak, political editor of The Telegraph, argues that “political correctness in prisons is allowing extremism to flourish because guards are too afraid of confronting Muslims.”

Acheson warns that supervising staff are being “pressured” to leave prayer rooms during collective worship and that extremists are “exploiting… staff fear of being labelled racist”. The report concluded that “cultural sensitivity” among National Offender Management Service staff towards Muslim prisoners has “extended beyond the basic requirements of faith observance and could inhibit the effective confrontation of extremist views”.

The report also warned that “charismatic Islamist extremist prisoners [are] acting as self-styled ’emirs’ and exerting a controlling and radicalising influence of the wider Muslim prison population.” It concluded that some charismatic prisoners had exerted a radicalising influence over fellow Muslims. And it claimed that “some have attempted to engineer segregation, encouraged aggressive conversions to Islam, and been involved in the intimidation of prison imams”.

According to the BBC, “Muslim inmates now account for 14.4% of those behind bars, compared with 7.7% in 2002.” In other words, that “wider Muslim prison population” is extensive. In the ten years between 2004 and 2014, the number of Muslims in prisons rose from 6,571 to 12,106.

Under these conditions — which are replicated in France, the Netherlands, Spain and elsewhere — Choudary could easily, as he has promised, continue radicalising others — anyone predisposed to lend a hearing ear to his fulminations against the “infidel” world and his invitations to convert to Islam or to become a more radical Muslim. He could possibly recruit more to this cause than he did when on the streets.

There are many studies of the problem of radicalisation within prisons. On the one hand, our democratic laws are too weak to take radicalising preachers off the streets. Choudary got away with his Islamist language and his nods towards extreme action for twenty years. He was not alone. That weakness in the law, created by an understandable desire to allow free speech, remains crucial to everyone — Trotskyites, neo-fascists, and Islamic militants — who wants to tear down Western civilisation and erect a totalitarian regime in its place. But just taking agitators off the streets is objectively inadequate.

If we let men like Anjem Choudary on the streets, they will use whatever means they can to bring more young Muslims and Muslim converts in their wake, and some of those newly-baptized extremists will either head for the Middle East or work their way into terror networks in Europe. If we keep men with these mindsets in prison, new generations of proselytes will carry more than their personal effects when they check out of jail a month or a year later.

Following Acheson’s report, the government announced new measures to tackle some of the problems in jails. Their proposals will radically alter a fifty-year-old system of dispersing the most dangerous prisoners across many prisons. Liz Truss, who recently replaced Michael Gove as Minister of Justice (who had commissioned the Acheson review) has announced that the most dangerous extremists will instead be locked up in isolated high-security prisons-within-prisons, in order to prevent them radicalising other inmates.

Unfortunately, this proposal has already come under fire. An editorial in the left-wing newspaper The Independent quotes Professor Peter Neumann of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College, London. Neumann argues that keeping Muslim terrorists apart from other prisoners exposes the system to two risks. One, he believes, is that putting these individuals together would give them a chance to create a military command structure tighter than anything they could achieve if dispersed. The other is that, by putting them in one place, there is a danger that this would award them a political status. The new arrangement would be portrayed as a “British Guantanamo” that will serve Muslims everywhere as a propaganda machine.

Neumann goes further, saying that it would be wrong in principle to treat one category of criminal as distinct from another because their crimes are ideologically motivated. He argues that under British law, murder is murder and terrorism is terrorism, regardless of the belief system in whose name such crimes are carried out. This seems extraordinarily naïve and politically correct. A man who stabs his wife to death in a jealous rage is very different indeed from someone who has killed in order to do God’s will and who tells other people they should do the same, perhaps in a massacre.

The editorial shows its political interests, saying:

The Independent has long been in favour of a radical rethink about the alternatives to custody for punishment and rehabilitation. That is the solution to the problem of prisoners learning how to be more serious criminals, and it is also the way to prevent petty offenders being radicalised in prison.”

Unfortunately, the author does not explain just what these “alternatives” may be. No doubt, there is much to be said about finding better ways to turn convicts away from a life of recidivism. When the present author sat as a magistrate in a British court, it was always depressing to be shown an accused’s record sheet (something we were shown, but never mentioned in court proceedings). Young men and women went in and out of prison so many times there seemed no easy way to break the cycle.

Islamic radicalisation in prisons currently possibly poses far greater risks to the public than drug addiction or theft.

For a start, non-Muslim experts must be brought in to evaluate prison chaplains or to decide that no more should be appointed. Certainly, such outside experts should make regular checks of the books available to Muslim prisoners in English, Arabic, Urdu, Turkish or Persian, and reject any that may be contentious.

It would be advisable to separate them out, even if jails are overcrowded. What we can also do is keep radicals or young men who have returned from fighting for the Islamic State well away from petty criminals and those at risk from radicalisation. In these cases, the best solution might be solitary confinement. This will be expensive and may be attacked as harsh. But if political correctness means that potential or actual terrorists continue to be treated with kid gloves, the lives of many innocent people will be lost. Radicals and terrorist recruiters do not deserve special sympathy. Being a Muslim should not be some sort of “get out of jail free” card.

Muslim extremists whose beliefs are deeply ingrained in their identity need to be treated differently from drug addicts or petty offenders. We used to send drug addicts to jail for six months, in the hope they would be kept in long enough to go through a thorough rehabilitation program. That can sometimes work. Schemes to provide young offenders with education and training are also capable of providing the means to steer clear of crime on release. However, many are critical of deradicalisation programs for Muslim terrorist or extremists. John Horgan and Kurt Braddock of the International Center for the Study of Terrorism, at Pennsylvania State University, have argued against the effectiveness of such programs:

To date, there is no consensus on what constitutes success in reforming a terrorist, let alone what even constitutes reform in this context. There is, in addition, confusion about whether any kind of rehabilitation is necessarily brought about by “de-radicalization” (itself a term which has not been adequately conceptualized, let alone defined) as opposed to other interventions for eliciting behavior change. Recent research suggests that many of those who disengage (or desist) from terrorist activity are not necessarily de-radicalized (as primarily conceived via a change in thinking or beliefs), and that such de-radicalization is not necessarily a prerequisite for ensuring low risk of recidivism.

Much has been said about the extensive Saudi deradicalisation and rehabilitation program that was initiated in 2004 by Assistant Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, is run by the Advisory Committee based in Riyadh, and has seven regional offices. The Saudis have proclaimed tremendous success for their program, but Andreas Capstack, writing for the Middle East Institute offers severe qualifications for that success:

At first glance, the figures of the deradicalization programs in Saudi Arabia are remarkable. In 2007, Sheikh Al-Sadlan, a member of the Counseling Program, announced that 90 percent of its participants had renounced their radical views and that 1,500 of the 3,200 prisoners involved in the program had been released. Further, in November 2007 Prince Muhammad bin Nayef claimed that there had been only 35 recorded cases of recidivism—equivalent to a rate of less than two percent—and none of the acts of violence resulting from this recidivism occurred within Saudi Arabia. However, the small numbers of cases in which individuals have resisted rehabilitation cannot be ignored due to the severity of some of these cases. The most notable example is Said al-Shihri, who, after his release from Guantanamo Bay in 2007, completed and passed the Saudi deradicalization program but then proceeded to become deputy leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen, orchestrating the bombing of the American embassy in Sana’a in 2008. It has been estimated that 10 percent of the incarcerated jihadists, many of whom have been previously detained in Iraq or Guantanamo by the United States, are “hard-core militants with entrenched deviant beliefs.” They are likely to refuse to cooperate with the rehabilitation process, dismissing the clerics as having been co-opted by the West-aligned Saudi government; as a result, they are probably beyond the reach of any deradicalization program.

This 10 percent “hard-core” figure neatly corresponds with the program’s 90 percent success rate, and would include the most violent and dangerous of the imprisoned extremists. Although these prisoners are unlikely to be released—rehabilitated or not (with al-Shihri’s case being an exception)—it still means that the effectiveness of the rehabilitation campaign is limited mainly to minor offenders and jihadist supporters and sympathizers who may already be looking for a way out of jihadism, having been disillusioned by the circumstances leading to their capture. The results of the Sakinah campaign, which announced in 2007 that they had persuaded 690 individuals from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere to “recant their takfir and deviant views,” must be similarly qualified.

If the Saudis, themselves advocates of a Salafi approach, find it so difficult to deradicalise their hard core, there can be little hope that Choudary and his friends will leave British jails as reformed and integrated men.

A report issued in August 2016 shows that half of UK Muslims deemed to be at risk of grooming by the Islamic State have refused to participate in the government’s counter-radicalisation program, “Channel“, part of the wider Prevent strategy. A Labour MP, Khalid Mahmood, called for the program to be made compulsory and pointed out that many of the mentors who are supposed to guide young people away from becoming radicalised are themselves non-violent radicals. This means that those at risk were being advised to agree to the ideology that ultimately leads to the violence. We clearly have a long way to go before governments take Islamic radicalisation as seriously as it deserves.


Denis MacEoin

Dershowitz to Play Trump in Hillary’s Debate Prep

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

As the Trump campaign is surrounding itself with strong, anti-Hillary voices from well established conservative media — Stephen Bannon and Roger Ailes, to name but two, WNYC’s All Things Considered host Richard Hake last week said that “the Clinton campaign has been looking for a surrogate to play Trump so she can practice and they are bringing in the well-known criminal and constitutional law attorney Alan Dershowitz.”

Hake was interviewing former New York City Public Advocate Mark Green, who said that of the two components required to win a presidential debate, knowledge and the ability to react quickly and sharply, Hillary possessed the former to a degree close to her own husband’s and to President Obama. But how should she react to an offensive criticism from her attacker in real-time?

“With Roger Ailes and Stephen Bannon advising Trump, Hillary’s team has to guess at what off-the-wall questions, attacks, about her or Bill are coming her way, and how to response with one phrase, one over-arching ribbon,” Green said.

Green, who used to be a student of Dershowitz’s at Harvard, said “Alan Dershowitz is quick-talking, New Yorkish, loud, of course a liberal, and he can mimic Trump pretty well.”

Green said the Democratic candidate should have one overall debate manager, one surrogate, and a team of ten advisers who would micro-analyze her answers during the practice bouts, and remind her to remain poised and, most important and “cheesy,” as Green put it, smile a lot.

“If you’re ideologically neutral and you see Trump yelling and angry, and self-centered, he never smiles, he never laughs, he’s too self-referential,” Green said, and then you turn to Hillary, and “Hillary is the tough mother you want, and if she smiles periodically and is always poised, she conveys empathy. Remember, Kennedy beat Nixon not on points but on appearance.”

So far, Dershowitz denied the story about his playing Trump, writing “Not that I’ve heard,” in response to a Jewish Insider email asking if he’ll do Trump in Clinton’s debate prep.

The first presidential debate is scheduled for Monday, September 26 at Hofstra University in New York.

Dershowitz Preps Hilllary for Debate


New Harvard Study Debunks Racist Cop Narrative

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

A timely new study just released by a Harvard economics professor concludes that while blacks are more likely than whites to be confronted by police, there is no evidence that blacks are more likely to be shot by police officers. In some instances, blacks are actually less likely to be shot.

These results fly in the face of the contentions of groups like Black Lives Matter and some government officials that African-Americans tend to be singled out for lethal treatment by law enforcement personnel – contentions that have helped fuel the violent reactions to recent fatal shootings of blacks by police.

The author of the study, Rolando G. Fryer, Jr., an African-American economics professor, looked at more than 1,300 police shootings in Texas, Florida, and California between 2000 and 2015. He described the findings as “the most surprising result of my career.”

The study does not address individual instances of police bias and excess, but it does make a compelling case that the problem needs to be approached more realistically and with greater nuance and precision.

Editorial Board

Analysis: Trump’s Praise for Saddam Challenges GOP Presidents Who Took him Down [video]

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

“He was a bad guy, really bad guy. But you know what? He did well. He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over,” Donald Trump said at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina Tuesday. In comparison, Trump said, “today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism. You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq. It’s like Harvard. Okay? So sad.”

That assertion may be challenged by Israelis, as Clinton’s senior campaign adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN, “In reality, Hussein’s regime was a sponsor of terrorism — one that paid families of suicide bombers who attacked Israelis, among other crimes.”

Then Sullivan added that “Trump’s cavalier compliments for brutal dictators, and the twisted lessons he seems to have learned from their history, again demonstrate how dangerous he would be as commander-in-chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”

Not necessarily so. In retrospect, after the violent collapse of the “Arab Spring” everywhere but in Tunisia, Trump’s assessment of what the Arab world requires to keep it stable is not necessarily democracy. Back in October, 2015, Trump said he believed Iraq and Libya would be more useful in forging a stable Middle East if ruthless dictators like Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi had not been terminated by a succession of American presidents.

“If you look at Iraq from years ago,” Trump said in October, “I’m not saying [Hussein] was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now. Right now, Iraq is a training ground for terrorists. Right now Libya, nobody even knows Libya, frankly there is no Iraq and there is no Libya. It’s all broken up. They have no control. Nobody knows what’s going on.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rushed to the defense of both Bushes and Obama, telling Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that Saddam Hussein “was one of the 20th century’s most evil people. He was up there. He committed mass genocide against his own people using chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein was a bad guy.”

Yes, but, in the immortal words of FDR, when someone asked him about the wisdom of supporting Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, “He may be an SOB but he’s our SOB.” Back in 1979, when Iran’s Shah was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution, giving way to an Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which drove the US out of Iran (and kept hundreds of American hostages), only Saddam Hussein was able to limit the spread of Iranian influence in the region. The Iran–Iraq War lasted from September 1980 to August 1988, exacting millions of victims in the service of Western interests in the region. No Arab democracy (an oxymoron if ever there was one) could have stopped Iran. The only force able to facilitate Iran’s yearning for regional hegemony were presidents Bush I and Bush II, followed by Obama.

On July 25, 1990, US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie held an emergency meeting with Saddam, who attacked American policy with regards to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Saddam complained bitterly: “So what can it mean when America says it will now protect its friends? It can only mean prejudice against Iraq. This stance plus maneuvers and statements which have been made has encouraged the UAE and Kuwait to disregard Iraqi rights.”

Saddam was referring to his neighboring oil sheiks “drilling sideways” into Iraqi deposits. Saddam viewed the entire concept of there even being a country named Kuwait to have been a conspiracy of British Petroleum and Her Majesty’s government to steal oil-rich Iraqi land. Saddam felt that in light of his service to the US, he should receive its support in his conflict with the Kuwaitis.

Ambassador Glaspie replied that the US would rather see the conflict resolved through peaceful means, but in the end, “…we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.”

And so, after his ultimatum to the Sabah ruling family of Kuwait had failed, Saddam invaded Kuwait, believing the US was going to take a neutral position on his move. But his move frightened the Saudis, whose Ambassador under both Bush administrations had his own desk in the Oval office, and they pressured Bush I to start what is now a 26-year program of completely destabilizing the Middle East, complete with attacks on US soil, lingering civil wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, two worldwide Islamic terrorist armies, one of them a Caliphate wannabe blowing up half of Europe. All of which could have been avoided had the Bush I and certainly Bush II administrations been more accommodating to the monstrous dictator who used to be our monstrous dictator.

The Democratic and Republican establishments insist on presenting Trump as an admirer of dictators, which he may be — but that was not the case Trump has been making for boosting rather than unseating dictators, such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Trump has a much clearer view regarding US foreign interest than do the establishment politicians on either side of the aisle, and it ain’t about spreading the spirit od democracy and goodwill to all mankind.


Israeli Scientists Find Protein in Blood to ID Alzheimer’s Disease

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Researchers at Tel Aviv University, Technion, Rambam Medical Center and Harvard University discovered a new biomarker to identify cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

The new study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that levels of “activity-dependent neuroprotective protein” (ADNP) can be easily monitored in routine blood tests. Moreover, ADNP levels in blood tests correlate with higher IQ in healthy older adults.

The research was led by Prof. Illana Gozes, the incumbent of the Lily and Avraham Gildor Chair for the Investigation of Growth Factors. She is also former director of the Adams Super Center for Brain Studies at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and a member of TAU’s Sagol School of Neuroscience. It was also spearheaded by Dr. Gad Marshall, Dr. Aaron Schultz, and Prof. Reisa Sperling of Harvard University, and Prof. Judith Aharon-Peretz of Rambam Medical Center – The Technion Institute of Technology. TAU PhD student Anna Malishkevich also participated in working with the team.

Investigators analyzed blood samples taken from 42 healthy adults, MCI (mild cognitive impairment) patients and Alzheimer’s disease patients at Rambam Medical Center in Israel. After comparing the DNP expression in the blood samples, the researchers prepared plasma samples and once again compared the protein levels.

Significant increases in ADNP RNA were seen in patients ranging from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer’s disease. ADNP levels tested in plasma and serum samples, as well as white blood cell RNA levels, distinguished between cognitively normal elderly, MCI and Alzheimer’s disease participants.

“This study has provided the basis to detect this biomarker in routine, non-invasive blood tests, and it is known that early intervention is invaluable to Alzheimer’s patients,” Gozes said.

“We are now planning to take these preliminary findings forward into clinical trials — to create a pre-Alzheimer’s test that will help to tailor potential preventative treatments. We have found a clear connection between ADNP levels in the blood and amyloid plaques in the brain,” she said.

The researchers are currently exploring larger clinical trials to better determine the ability of ADNP to predict cognitive decline and disease progression.

Hana Levi Julian

Madonna and Portman May Vie to Purchase $55 Million Tel Aviv Penthouse [video]

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Singer Madonna and actress Natalie Portman each is considering buying the $55 penthouse atop the Meier-on-Rothschild Tower in Tel Aviv, the London Daily Mail reported.

Madonna often has said how much she loves Israel, and she likes saying the word “kabbalah” so she can imagine she has some kind of Jewish mysticism to guide her.

Portman is Jewish, even if she does not fool around with Kabbalah. She was born in Jerusalem as Neta-Lee Hershlag, moved to the United States with her parents at the age of three and earned a degree in psychology from Harvard University, where she stood up for Israel in a letter to the university’s Crimson magazine.

She could have been one of Israel’s best-looking spokeswoman, having been a guest lecturer in Columbia University on terrorism and counter-terrorism, but Hollywood grabbed her, and she has won award after award.

That is why she is rich, and there is nothing like a $55 million penthouse n Tel Aviv to make a rich person “feel at home” at the expense of Jerusalem, where the best view overlooks the Western Wall and Temple Mount instead of the Mediterranean Sea.

Speaking of being rich, Madonna’s bank account would hardly even jingle if she took out $55 million to buy the penthouse in the 42-story building designed by prize-winning architect Richard Meier.

It features a private elevator, a huge entertaining area, private gym, cocktail bar, cinema and mini-spa.

Whether Madonna or Portman becomes Israel’s new resident remains to be seen.

Here is a  free tour of the luxury high-rise.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/madonna-and-portman-may-vie-to-purchase-55-million-tel-aviv-penthouse-video/2015/02/22/

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