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July 31, 2016 / 25 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Merkel Uses the I Word in Pointing Finger at Terrorist Refugees

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday has agreed publicly that Germany is “at war” with Islamist terrorists, but insisted that they would nevertheless not erode German values or cause her to change her refugee policy.

“A rejection of the humanitarian stance we took could have led to even worse consequences,” Merkel said at a press conference in Berlin, adding that the terrorists “wanted to undermine our sense of community, our openness and our willingness to help people in need. We firmly reject this.”

She defended her open door policy for refugees, said she feels no guilt for the violent attacks those refugees have carried out in Germany, and insisted she had been right to permit those hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees to enter a year ago.

Still, Merkel did call a spade a spade, berating Islamist extremists for biting the German hands that feed them. “Taboos of civilization are being broken,” Merkel said. “These acts happened in places where any of us could have been.”

She was referring to a string of attacks Germans have endured in the space of one week: an axe attack on a train, a mass shooting in Munich that left nine dead, a machete attack that killed a pregnant woman, and a suicide bomb in Ansbach. Three of the attacks were carried out by refugees.

“The fact that [the] men who came to us as refugees are responsible mocked the country that took them in, mocks the volunteers who have taken so much care of refugees. And it mocks the many other refugees who truly seek protection from war and violence with us, who want to live peacefully,” Merkel said.

“I didn’t say eleven months ago that it would be easy,” she said. “I am still convinced today that ‘We can do it’. It is our historic duty and historic task in these times of globalization. We have already achieved so much in the last 11 months.”

Merkel is counting on the EU migrant deal with Turkey, which she negotiated, and the closure of the Balkan Route, will slow down the rush of asylum seekers into Germany. “An influx like last year’s will not happen again, but I cannot say that we will not take in any more refugees,” she said.

Merkel introduced a nine-point plan to defeat domestic terror, including improved monitoring of suspects and improved intelligence co-operation with the US and the Europeans. She is also determined to speed up deportations of rejected asylum seekers. The Ansbach suicide bomber had been rejected but was able to stay in Germany.

“I believe we are in a fight, or for that matter at war with ISIS,” Merkel said. “We are not in any way in a fight or war with Islam.”

The next German federal elections will take place in late summer or early fall, 2017, unless the Merkel government loses a no confidence motion.

David Israel

Down Rabbit Hole with Anti-Israel Conspiracy Crowd after Nice, Munich, Tweets

Monday, July 25th, 2016

To start our review of how the world’s conspiracy theories crazy crowd is lumping together Israel with every evil, real and imagined, let’s begin with the following headline, in a website called Veterans Today: “BREAKING! Same Israeli photo-propagandist pre-positioned in Nice AND NOW MUNICH.” And the story (one line, really) goes: “Mossad photographer Richard Gutjahr was pre-positioned in both Nice AND Munich! Talk about chutzpah.”

Richard Gutjahr, 43, is a German TV moderator, journalist and blogger. On July 14, 2016, Gutjahr was present at the truck ramming attack in Nice, which he reported on Twitter and on German media.

Gutjahr is married to former Israeli MK Einat Wilf. They have two children. That explains the “Israeli photo-propagandist” part. Gutjahr is not himself Israeli, but his wife is. Wilf is equally connected to the Labor party (served as consultant to Shimon Peres) and Likud (writes columns for Yisrael Hayom).

Richard Gutjahr

Richard Gutjahr

Now it gets complicated: after shooting the truck massacre in Nice more than two weeks ago, journalist Richard Gutjahr was also present during the police operation at the Olmypia shopping center in Munich and tweeted pictures from the incident. Gutjahr shared one picture of a group of armed police at the mall entrance, and another of armed officers crouching behind a wall.

Then he tweeted: “I made mistakes today. Could not believe that I once again ended up in such a situation. The images are now gone. #OEZ” The hashtag stands for Olympia-Einkaufszentrum, the mall where the attack took place.

Gutjahr tweet

What are the chances that the same journalist, who lives and works in Europe, would be present during two separate terrorist attacks within two weeks? Gutjahr himself appears stunned by this coincidence, as his tweet attests. He lost the images he had shot, admittedly that’s suspicious, but could also be explained so many reasonable different ways.

Enter former Georgia Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, whose Saturday night Tweet linked Israel to the two acts of terrorism: “Same Israeli photographer captures Nice and Munich tragedies,” McKinney tweeted, pointing to the Veterans Today page, and asking, “How likely is that? Remember the Dancing Israelis?”

Cynthia McKinney tweet

The “dancing Israelis” is a reference to a real rabbit hall drop, a September 11, 2001 story about a moving van with five young Israeli tourists which was stopped by NJ police in a Jersey City parking lot for what could best described as inappropriate behavior. The men were eventually detained and interrogated by the FBI. The FBI report about the incident remains classified until 2035. In the conspiracy theory universe, those five Israelis constitute the proof that Mossad was behind the 9/11 attack. Because, as we know, Mossad agents always dance in open parking lots after taking down major US targets.

Cynthia McKinney is no stranger to Planet Crazy. McKinney was defeated by Denise Majette in the 2002 Democratic primary. Her loss was a rejection by the voters of her support for Arab causes and her suggestion that President Bush knew in advance of the Sept. 11 attacks. Her father, State Rep. Billy McKinney, said on Atlanta TV that his daughter was fighting for her political life because the “Jews have bought everybody. Jews. J-e-w-s.”

On March 29, 2006, Cynthia McKinney struck a Capitol Hill Police officer for stopping her to ask for identification. In 2007 she left the Democratic Party. She ran for President as the Green Party candidate in 2008 and received 0.12% of the vote.

As to Richard Gutjahr, the video McKinney linked to claims: “The fact that this guy happened to be at both [terrorist attacks], there’s no way it’s a coincidence.” Add to that Gutjahr’s Israeli wife, who served in the IDF Intelligence unit, and the video concludes that “it’s 100 percent clear that Israel’s fingerprints are all over these events.”

The sad fact is that in many communities and many countries, you don’t need more than the above conspiracy silliness to convict, and attempts to explain that while it’s unusual for a German journalist to be present in two terror attacks, it’s far from impossible, or that being married to an Israeli does not make one a Mossad agent—immediately dub the explainer an agent of the same conspiracy. Because when one denies there is a conspiracy, isn’t that exactly what someone behind the conspiracy would say?

JNi.Media

Erdogan Utilizing Turks’ Ingrained Conspiracy Theory Culture to Purge Foes, Real and Imagined

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Devin Devlet (lit. giant state, col. deep state) is a Turkish word referring to the notion of there being a permanent government, existing through a shadowy network of civil servants, military officials and academics, who are the real decision makers. Every country on earth sports its own crowd of conspiracy theorists, who seem to proliferate following national disasters. But according to a growing number of respected voices in the media, Turkey, with its unique political history, may be the only democracy whose leader is the biggest believer in those conspiracy theories, which actually serve as the foundation of his policy and may have fashioned the ultimate conspiracy — a fake coups d’état.

Imagine that every conspiracy theory you’ve heard, from the Communists taking over America, to Obama conspiring with the deans of Al Azhar University to bring Islam to the US, to the CIA blowing up the World Trade Center, “was, if not true, at least plausible, and you have some idea of what the deep background of Turkish politics looks like,” James Palmer wrote this week in Vox. Palmer described the twentieth century in Turkey as a violent streaks of democratic government interlaced with military coups, resulting in an inevitable sense that someone in there is the puppeteer of this show, pulling the strings to fit his needs.

The Devin Devlet notion provided a reasonable explanation of their reality to generations of Turks living through perpetual instability: “To Islamists, its fundamental purpose is to crush religion; for liberals, it’s anti-democratic; for Kurds, it’s fanatically nationalist and anti-Kurdish; for nationalists, it’s secretly in league with the US; for anti-Semites, it’s an Israeli-backed scheme,” Palmer pointed out.

Roger Cohen, writing for the NY Times (Turkey’s Coup That Wasn’t) joined the growing voices suspicious of the Erdogan version of reality. “As coups go, the Turkish effort was a study in ineptitude: no serious attempt to capture or muzzle the political leadership, no leader ready to step in, no communication strategy (or even awareness of social media), no ability to mobilize a critical mass within either the armed forces or society. In their place a platoon of hapless soldiers on a bridge in Istanbul and the apparently uncoordinated targeting of a few government buildings in Ankara.”

Cohen is convinced that not only was the coup produced by the Erdogan regime, but that it was done with the tacit approval of the Obama Administration. He quoted a former special assistant to Obama on the Middle East, Philip Gordon, who said: “Rather than use this as an opportunity to heal divisions, Erdogan may well do the opposite: go after adversaries, limit press and other freedoms further, and accumulate even more power.”

Indeed, in a few hours more than 2,800 military personnel were detained and 2,745 judges were removed from duty, Cohen noted, adding that what’s coming next is “a prolonged crackdown on so-called ‘Gulenists,’ whoever Erdogan deems them to be, and the … ‘deep state.’ . . . An already divided society will grow more fissured. Secular Turkey will not quickly forget the cries of ‘Allahu akbar’ echoing from some mosques and from crowds in the streets.”

The speed with which the coup rose and crumbled continues to intrigue the western media. Mehul Srivastava and Laura Pitel, reporting from Turkey for the Financial Times, have suggested that “among the mysteries yet to be unraveled from the failed Turkish coup was this: the attack on Saturday morning by helicopter-borne commandos against a resort hotel in Marmaris. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was meant to be staying there. But the attack took place nearly an hour after every news channel in Turkey beamed images of Mr Erdogan addressing the nation from the airport in Istanbul, some 750 km away.”

“That episode is one of many inconsistencies and strange occurrences in a coup whose amateurish — almost kamikaze — nature preordained its failure and is now providing rich fodder for conspiracy theories,” Srivastava and Pitel wrote.

Kristin Fabbe and Kimberly Guiler, writing for the Washington Post, noted that the war of words in Turkey is being waged by two armies of conspiracy theorists. “On one side, government detractors are speculating that the attempted coup was a masterful, state-managed scheme to consolidate Erdogan’s power. On the other side, the AKP government is placing the blame for the coup attempt on perpetrators — real and imagined. The government’s list of villains ranges from bitter Erdogan rival Fethullah Gulen, a cleric who now lives in the United States, and other shadowy foreign ‘invaders’ to supporters of Turkey’s Ataturkist secular establishment and even the U.S. government. The skeptics are painting Erdogan as a megalomaniac tyrant bent on elected dictatorship; the believers are portraying him as a savior and victim.”

It is highly doubtful that the coup was initiated by Gulen, not because such action is necessarily beneath him, but because at the time Gulen immigrated to the US, his followers were estimated to number between 5 and 9 million, and had he launched the coup, it would not have collapsed overnight.

In June 1999, after Gulen had left Turkey, Turkish TV ran a video in which he said, “The existing system is still in power. Our friends who have positions in legislative and administrative bodies should learn its details and be vigilant all the time so that they can transform it and be more fruitful on behalf of Islam in order to carry out a nationwide restoration. However, they should wait until the conditions become more favorable. In other words, they should not come out too early.”

Gulen later complained that his words were taken out of context, and his supporters said the tape had been “manipulated.” Gulen was subsequently tried in absentia, and acquitted in 2008 under the new Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But the ideas Gulen, or his manipulated recording, espoused, were just the kind of nourishment the Turkish conspiracy theorists everywhere needed to confirm their worst fears or highest aspirations, take your pick.

At the moment, President Erdogan is riding high on his conspiracy accusations: he has just suspended democracy in Turkey for three months (he could go three more, according to Turkish emergency laws), and his henchmen are busy weeding out pockets of resistance across Turkish society, regardless of their connection to the coup or obvious lack thereof. Many thousands of people have been sacked or arrested following the failed coup. According to a BBC report, Thousands of soldiers, including high-ranking generals, have been arrested, along with members of the judiciary. More than 50,000 state employees have also been rounded up, sacked or suspended and 600 schools closed. Academics have been banned from foreign travel and university heads have been forced to resign. The government has revoked the press credentials of 34 journalists.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn on Thursday urged Turkey to respect the rule of law, rights and freedoms. The EU is “concerned” about developments after Turkey imposed its emergency rule, and about the measures taken so far in the fields of education, judiciary and media, which are “unacceptable,” Mogherini and Hahn said in a statement.

But it is doubtful Erdogan is going to interrupt his sacred mission of ridding Turkey of its clandestine Devin Devlet, real or imagined. And what if anything of the secular Turkish state will remain standing come September 2016, by the end of Erdogan’s own coup against his country’s democratic institutions, is anyone’s guess.

JNi.Media

Analysis: Should Israeli Settlers Fear Trump’s Peace Negotiations? [video]

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Donald Trump’s website mentions only two foreign countries by name: in its Positions section it deals with “Reforming The US-China Trade Relationship To Make America Great Again,” and in its Issues section, which is a series of videos with the candidate spending about a minute speaking forcefully on the issues, the one country that’s mentioned as an “issue” is, you guessed, Israel.

Should Israelis and US Jews be concerned that the Jewish State is so clearly a burning issue for Trump? Not if you believe the opening, where Trump straightens his gaze at the camera and declares, “I love Israel, I’m very pro-Israel.” He hasn’t said it about any other country in quite this total fashion.

But what to Trump is the Israel issue begins and ends with what he considered, back in March, when he shot this video, a challenge to his skills as negotiator. You can be a Trump supporter and still be perplexed by the amount of personal prestige the candidate has invested in being that one American president who finally brought peace to “Israel and the Palestinians.”

“Trump is plainly the best bet for the Jews,” Seth Lipsky wrote in the NY Post Wednesday, citing neoconservative Norman Podhoretz, who berated Hillary for the 2012 rejection by the Democratic convention of restoring both God and Jerusalem to the DNC platform.

True enough, but Trump was booed at his AIPAC appearance last December when he, too, refused to commit to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“Trump’s also the candidate siding with religious Americans whose rights are in jeopardy from the proliferating series of laws and court rulings in which religious persons are being asked to bow to a liberalism hostile to religious law,” Lipsky argued.

But religious Jews are not under attack by the liberal government anywhere in America: unlike in Europe, Jewish rituals are not under attack anywhere, with the possible exception of the Bay area; why even the latest NYC policy on oral suction in circumcision is restricted to educational pamphlets, rather than court orders.

The problem with Trump regarding Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria (and, possibly, eastern Jerusalem) is the candidate’s eagerness to make a difference in the age old Israeli-Arab conflict.

Here is what Trump said on tape in March, which the campaign has chosen to keep up there as one of his key concerns:

“I would love to see a deal be made between Israel and the Palestinians. It’s probably the hardest negotiation there is. Great negotiators have tried and they failed. It’s just so deep seated, the hatred, the level of distrust.

“But I’m going to give it an awfully good shot. I want to remain as neutral as possible, because if you’re not somewhat neutral the other side is never going to do it.

“But just remember, Israel, I love you, we’re gonna’ see if we can get something done, it has to be done for both sides, it cannot continue to be the way it is. Let’s see what we can negotiate, let’s see if it can be done.”

Does the last paragraph strike you as something you might tell your child before taking him for his booster shots? It’ll hurt, for sure, but remember, Daddy loves you very much and when the doctor is done poking you Daddy will buy you an ice cream cone.

There’s no doubt that presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is easily as worrisome when it comes to Israel. She is surrounded by anti-Israel advisors, one of whom is a radical Muslim. It is a tough call to make — which Roman emperor will bring more trouble to tiny little Judea: Hillary, who might end up just talking the talk but avoid the actual walk; or Trump, who might just, God forbid, decide to test his skills — and then what would Israel do when the Arabs agree to some of his proposals and a victorious Trump turns to Netanyahu and says, Brother, I got you a great deal, just hand over control of eastern Jerusalem and take the Jews out of the “territories.”

We welcome a civilized discussion of the concerns raised in this article.

David Israel

14 Senate Democrats Call for Extending Sanctions on Iran

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Tower Magazine website}

Fourteen Democratic senators introduced legislation last week calling for an extension of existing sanctions on Iran, which are set to expire at the end of this year.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) are leading the push for renewing the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, which aims to prevent foreign investment in Iran’s energy sector. Both voiced their opposition to the nuclear agreement with Iran after it was announced.

“After extensive consultations with my colleagues in both chambers of Congress and on both sides of the aisle, it is clear that we need to reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act before the end of the year,” said Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Doing so is vital if the United States wants to retain a credible deterrent of snap back sanctions.”

Cardin and Schumer called on their colleagues in both chambers to quickly advance the legislation when Congress reconvenes in September.

“It is essential that Congress keep Iran’s feet to the fire to make sure they do not violate the [nuclear deal]. This bill would provide the sanction authority that helps us do just that,” said Schumer, chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

On Friday, many of the same Democratic Senators who originally supported the nuclear deal wrote a letter criticizing the agreement’s inspection procedures and calling for the International Atomic Energy Agency to release more information from its inspections.

Despite international criticism, including from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Iran has continued to test ballistic missiles. The Islamic Republic reportedly launched a ballistic missile using North Korean technology on the night of July 11-12, the ninth such test it carried out since reaching a nuclear deal with global powers last year.

Tower Magazine

RNC Night 2 Devoted to ‘Making America Work Again’

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

The theme for Tuesday’s Republican National Convention was “Make America Work Again,” and each speaker included an element devoted to the economy in their speeches regardless of what else was on the plate, and to bringing the country together.

It was “domestic policy night” at the RNC, with no mention of foreign policy, let alone Israeli politics, save a nod towards the sacrilege of Hillary Clinton’s role in helping to secure the Iran nuclear deal, and a swift passing mention of the nightmare at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Donald J. Trump Jr. were the two heaviest hitters of the evening, both in their oratorial elegance and in their ability to deliver the goods in terms of content and impact at the microphone.

Christie in particular had the audience literally on its feet repeatedly throughout his speech.

“The facts, and just the facts, lead you to the same verdict,” he repeated to the crowd. “Guilty… ” he inquired at the podium, “or not guilty?”

And the crowd roared back, “GUILTY!”

The verdict delivered by the delegates at the convention, over and over, about the various actions of Hillary Clinton during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State.

“We know what four years of Hillary Clinton will bring,” he said. “Four more years of Obama with less charm and more lies.”

As for Trump’s oldest son, “father of five, son of my father,” he told the audience that he and his siblings got their education as apprentices “from the time they could walk, learning from those with doctorates in common sense” who worked for Donald Trump.

“As for ‘impossible’ … well, ‘impossible’ was always just the starting point for my father,” Trump Jr. grinned from the podium. “And when they told my father it would be ‘impossible’ for him to succeed in running as a candidate for president 11 months ago,” chuckled the son, “well here we are…”

Former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson also spoke, underlining the importance of a candidate who is proud to acknowledge “the Creator” as opposed to one who “acknowledges Lucifer.”

Carson went on to say, “One of the things that I have learned about Hillary Clinton is that one of her heroes, her mentors, was Saul Alinsky. Her senior thesis was about Saul Alinsky… This was someone she greatly admired and that affected all of her philosophy subsequently.

“Are we willing to elect someone as president who has as their role model somebody who acknowledges Lucifer?” he asked the crowd — which roared back, “NO!”

Alinsky dedicated his book, ‘Rules for Radicals,’ to “Lucifer, the very first radical” in a sly swipe along with a dedication to his wife Irene.

Carson had abandoned his own run for the White House in March, instead pledging support for Trump’s campaign.

Each of the speakers devoted a portion of their remarks to the issue of unity: unity of the party, and unity of the country. Republican National Convention chairman Paul Ryan emphasized the issue of equality in his own speech, which was focused primarily on keeping the party message itself front-and-center.

“Everyone is equal, everyone has a place,” Ryan. “No one is written off…that is the Republican ideal. And if we don’t defend it, who will?”

Hana Levi Julian

Tuesday 223 American Olim Made Israel their Home

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

On Tuesday, July 19, a flight with 223 olim from the US and Canada landed in Ben-Gurion International Airport, where a ceremony was held to welcome them to Israel.

KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar said that “the Aliyah to Israel is the foundation on which the Zionist enterprise stands. It is the clearest expression of our love to the land of Israel.”

“The strategic cooperation between KKL-JNF and Nefesh Be’Nefesh assists many diaspora Jews to find their way to Israel, build their home there, integrate in the Israeli society and contribute to the prosperity of Israel,” Atar said, adding, “I am sure that many Olim will encounter KKL-JNF down the road … We are here for you and proud of you.”

The 223 newcomers include Jews from 17 US states and two Canadian provinces, former servicemen from three different US Armed Forces units, families of all sizes, and young professionals.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/tuesday-223-american-olim-made-israel-their-home/2016/07/19/

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