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Almanac – Tuesday 8/1/17 | KALW – KALW

Tuesday, 1st of August of 2017 is the 213th day of the year…

There are 152 days remaining until the end of the year.

There are 462 days until Mid-Term Elections on Tuesday November 6, 2018 (1 year 3 months and 5 days from today)

and there are 1190 days until Presidential Elections on Tuesday November 3, 2020 (3 years 3 months and 2 days from today)

The sun will rise in San Francisco at 6:14 am

and the sun will set at 8:18 pm.

We will have 14 hours and 4 minutes of daylight today.

The solar transit will be at 1:16 pm.

The first low tide will be at 2:04 am

and the next low tide at 1:31 pm.

The first high tide will be at 8:55 am

and the next high tide at 7:56 pm.

The Moon is currently 67.8% illuminated; a Waxing Gibbous moon

Moon Direction: 287.31 WNW

Moon Altitude: -44.98

Moon Distance: 251132 mi

Next Full Moon: Aug 7, 2017 at 11:10 am

Next New Moon: Aug 21, 2017 at 11:30 am

Next Moonrise: Today at 3:36 pm

Today is…

Homemade Pie Day

Lammas, a festival to mark the annual wheat harvest in England

Lughnasadh (Lunasa) the harvest festival in Ireland and the Celtic diaspora

National Girlfriends Day

National Minority Donor Awareness Day

National Raspberry Cream Pie Day

Play Ball Day

Respect for Parents Day

Rounds Resounding Day

Spiderman Day

Woman Astronomers Day

World Wide Web Day

Yorkshire Day

Today is also…

Armed Forces Day in Lebanon

Armed Forces Day in China, the Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Liberation Army in the People’s Republic of China

Azerbaijani Language and Alphabet Day

Celebration of the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 which ended the slavery in the British Empire, generally celebrated as a part of Carnival, as the Caribbean Carnival takes place at this time (British West Indies):

Caribana, the first Weekend of August. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Emancipation Day (Anguilla, the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands) (Barbados, Bermuda, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago)

If today is your birthday, Happy Birthday To You! You share this special day with

1770 William Clark, American soldier, explorer, and politician, 4th Governor of Missouri Territory (d. 1838)

1779 Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, author, and poet (d. 1843)

1819 Herman Melville, American novelist, short story writer, and poet (d. 1891)

1843 Robert Todd Lincoln, American lawyer and politician, 35th United States Secretary of War (d. 1926)

1874 Charles Spaulding, the insurance man who built one of America’s largest black-owned businesses, was born.

1931 Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

1932 Meir Kahane, American-Israeli rabbi and activist, founded the Jewish Defense League (d. 1990)

1933 Dom DeLuise, American actor, singer, director, and producer (d. 2009)

1936 Yves Saint Laurent, Algerian-French fashion designer, co-founded Yves Saint Laurent (d. 2008)

1941 Ron Brown, American captain and politician, 30th United States Secretary of Commerce (d. 1996)

1942 Jerry Garcia, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1995)

1949 Jim Carroll, American poet and author (d. 2009)

1953 Robert Cray, American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist

1963 Coolio, American rapper, producer, and actor

1978 Dhani Harrison, English singer-songwriter and guitarist

On this day in history…

1774 British scientist Joseph Priestley discovers oxygen gas, corroborating the prior discovery of this element by German-Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele.

1790 The first U.S. census was completed, showing a population of nearly 4 million people.

1834 Slavery is abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into force.

1893 – Henry Perky patents shredded wheat

1911 Harriet Quimby takes her pilot’s test and becomes the first U.S. woman to earn an Aero Club of America aviator’s certificate.

1927 The Nanchang Uprising marks the first significant battle in the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and Chinese Communist Party. This day is commemorated as the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.

1944 World War II: The Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi German occupation breaks out in Warsaw, Poland.

1957 The United States and Canada form the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

1960 Dahomey (later renamed Benin) declares independence from France.

1960 Islamabad is declared the federal capital of the Government of Pakistan.

1961 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara orders the creation of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the nation’s first centralized military espionage organization.

1964 The former Belgian Congo is renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

1966 Charles Whitman kills 16 people at the University of Texas at Austin before being killed by the police.

1966 Purges of intellectuals and imperialists becomes official China policy at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

1980 Vigds Finnbogadttir is elected President of Iceland and becomes the world’s first democratically elected female head of state.

1981 MTV begins broadcasting in the United States and airs its first video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.

1988 Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh began broadcasting his nationally syndicated radio program.

1995 Westinghouse Electric Corp. struck a deal to buy CBS for $5.4 billion.

2007 The I-35W Mississippi River bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, collapses during the evening rush hour.

2011 The U.S. House of Representatives passed, 269-161, emergency legislation to avert the nation’s first-ever financial default.

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Almanac – Tuesday 8/1/17 | KALW – KALW

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August 4, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

A Jewish Summer Camp Welcomed Guests With a Palestinian Flag. It Didn’t Go Down Well – Haaretz

American and Palestinian campers spent a few days at Camp Solomon Schechter in Washington state. The backlash that ensues prompted the camp to issue a full-blown apology

The directors of a Jewish overnight camp in the Pacific Northwest thought it might be nice to welcome their Palestinian guests by flying the Palestinian flag. Little were they prepared for the backlash to their gesture of goodwill.

The flag flying took place as part of a delegation meeting of American and Palestinian campers participating in Kids4Peace, a Jerusalem-based coexistence program, who spent a few days at Camp Solomon Schechter in Washington state as part of their summer activities.

In an email to parents on Friday, the camp directors explained that the decision to fly a Palestinian flag was meant to provide a teachable moment and serve as a sign of friendship and acceptance.

At the same time, they acknowledged, that not all took kindly to this gesture of goodwill. It was met with uncertainty by some campers and staff, especially the Israelis, the email said.

Hoping to relieve the sadness and anger that some feel at the sight of the flag, the directors reported that they had agreed to take it down.

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But that did not calm things down. Many took to social media to express their dissatisfaction. Controversial anti-Islam activist, Pamela Geller, wrote: “Flying the Palestinian [flag at a] Jewish day school camp is akin to flying the Nazi flag and at German Jewish day school in 1938. Has a Jewish flag ever flown over a Muslim school or camp? Ever?”

Another group, the right-wing New Jewish Defense League’s NYC chapter wrote that the flag flying is partly how young American Jews are being “indoctrinated to be self hating Jews.”

On Sunday Camp Solomon Schechter issued a full-blown apology on its Facebook page, that it has since taken down. Here is the text of that post:

We sincerely apologize that we upset some in our CSS and larger Jewish community by introducing the Palestinian flag into our educational program. Camp Solomon Schechter reiterates our unwavering support for the State of Israel as the Jewish homeland. This past week at Camp Solomon Schechter we hosted Kids 4 Peace an organization that works to create peace through youth leadership and friendship. We hosted a group of 14 children, including Christian and Muslim Palestinian children. Every morning here at camp, we raise the US, Canadian and Israeli flags. For the 2 days that our guests were here, we demonstrated the Jewish value of Hachnasat Orchim (welcoming guests), and raised the Palestinian flag along with the other flags after they requested this and parents were informed. Camp Solomon Schechter is a proud Zionist and pro-Israel camp. We honor the Israeli Army and Israeli people on a daily basis at CSS. Our goal was to create a safe space for all, and begin dialogue among the next generation.”

The Facebook apology generated another round of responses, exposing the deep divisions in the Jewish community about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By saying Palestinian flag you are saying there is a state of Palestine, when there is none, nor will there ever be, wrote one commenter.

Another wrote that while the decision to raise a Palestinian flag at the camp was clumsy, at least it was a well-intentioned and loving step away from the inculcation and towards teaching kids to seek a more nuanced, thoughtful path to peace.

A woman who identified herself as a former camper and mother of a current camper used the Yiddish term Yosher Koach [kudos] to congratulate the directors for walking the walk and leading by example.

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A Jewish Summer Camp Welcomed Guests With a Palestinian Flag. It Didn’t Go Down Well – Haaretz

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August 4, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

Jewish summer camp in Washington slammed for welcoming kids with Palestinian flag RT America – Standard Republic (press release) (blog)

Jewish summer camp Solomon Schechter in Washington state was forced to apologize following backlash over its raising of a Palestinian flag to welcome Palestinian guests participating in the Kids4Peace program.

The decision to fly the Palestinian flag was meant to provide a teachable moment and serve as a sign of friendship and acceptance, camp directors told parents in an email on Friday.

Last week, the Jewish summer camp hosted kids participating in the Jerusalem-based Kids4Peace program, which brings Jewish and Palestinian young people together for a few days to promote peace between the two peoples that have been in conflict with each other for decades.

What the camp saw as a gesture of friendship and acceptance has been met with an angry reaction among some in the Jewish community.

A group called the New Jewish Defense League wrote that the flag flying is how young American Jews are being indoctrinated to be self hating Jews.

Activist Pamela Geller, who had previously expressed anti-Muslim views, compared it to flying the Nazi flag and at German Jewish day school in 1938.

Eventually, Camp Solomon Schechter issued an apology on its Facebook page.

We sincerely apologize that we upset some in our CSS and larger Jewish community by introducing the Palestinian flag into our educational program. Camp Solomon Schechter reiterates our unwavering support for the State of Israel as the Jewish homeland, Haaretz quotedthe post on the camps Facebook page, which the newspaper said was later deactivated for unknown reasons, as saying.

However, the Solomon Schechter camps apology too did not go down well in social media.

Sad that a Jewish camp felt the need to apologize for flying Palestinian flag as a goodwill gesture, wrote Rabbi David Mivasair.

Others resorted to sarcasm: An apology just wont cut it. This situation could have blown out of control. Someone could have gotten respected! tweeted @MotionToStrike.

Two years ago, the Palestinian flag was raised for the first time at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The international community has long called for a two-state solution in the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, in which the two peoples would eventually live in separate states.

Israel had formally agreed to the two-state solution but has yet to take any practical steps to make it happen.

The Trump administration said it wants to negotiate the ultimate deal between the parties, but has not provided any specifics of what that would entail.

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Jewish summer camp in Washington slammed for welcoming kids with Palestinian flag RT America – Standard Republic (press release) (blog)

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

Jewish Summer Camp Draws Fire After Flying Palestinian Flag – Forward

flickr

A Palestinian flag waves in the breeze.

What was meant to be a symbolic goodwill gesture toward visiting Palestinian campers ended up causing major conflict, drawing anger from Jewish families and from outside right-wing groups.

Haaretz reported that Kids4Peace, an Israeli-based program aimed at encouraging Israeli-Palestinian co-existence, took Christian, Jewish and Muslim campers to visit Camp Solomon Schechter in Washington State. Camp directors decided to greet the visitors by flying the Palestinian flag over the camps mast, alongside flags of the U.S., Canada, and Israel.

The response, described later by the camp as one of sadness and anger, led directors to take down the flag, but that did not end the controversy.

Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller said the move was akin to flying the Nazi flag. The New York City chapter of the New Jewish Defense League added that our our young Jews are indoctrinated to be self hating Jews.

On Sunday, the camp issued a statement expressing its sincere apology and stating that the camp is a proud Zionist and pro-Israel camp. We honor the Israeli Army and Israeli people on a daily basis.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter @nathanguttman

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Jewish Summer Camp Draws Fire After Flying Palestinian Flag – Forward

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August 1, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

The History Is Too Deep, The Pain Is Too Real – HuffPost

A week ago, a pro-Israel media monitoring group accused me of making an unsubstantiated charge that Israel supporters are responsible for discrimination, hate crimes, and the political exclusion of Arab Americans. Because this issue is so important to Arab Americans and because some hardline pro-Israel groups refuse to acknowledge their role in harming my community, I am obliged to respond with a few examples representing just the tip of the iceberg of painful acts of defamation, discrimination, exclusion, threats, and violence.

From the moment Arab Americans began to organize and to advocate for causes we held dear, we were confronted by attacks from major Jewish community organizations. Our early efforts to bring our community into the mainstream of American political life were met with resistance and campaigns of pressure designed to make us radioactive. They used political pressure to have us excluded from government meetings, engagement with coalitions, and involvement in political campaigns. They defamed us in reports they circulated (I have copies of all of them), terming us Arab propagandists, a made up community, a creation of petro dollars, purveyors of anti-Semitism, or a subversive plot supporting Palestinian terror.

My first direct encounter with this exclusion came in 1978. I was invited to the White House for an ethnic leaders roundtable with Vice President Mondale. A few days after the meeting, I received call from the White House informing me that because they had received complaints from Jewish groups that a pro-Palestinian Arab had been at the meeting, I wouldnt be invited to follow-up discussions.

The next year, my organization applied for membership in the Coalition for a New Foreign and Military Policya grouping of 60 religious, and peace and justice organizations. We overwhelmingly won the vote for admission, but three members, led by a liberal Jewish group, objected to our entry and threatened to quit the coalition if the Arabs were admitted. The coalition leadership then asked us to withdraw our application.

In late 1979, my Palestine Human Rights Campaign hosted a major national conference that featured seven Members of Congress, major Black leaders, and many figures from peace and justice organizations. Despite receiving prominent and favorable national news coverage for three consecutive nights, a pro-Jewish Defense League newspaper in New York described the event with a huge font front page headline as a SECRET PLO MEET that plots terror.

A few months later, after having received a number of threats, my office was firebombed. The JDL issued a statement which, while not claiming credit, said that they approved of the act.

Months later, JDL head, Meir Kahane, showed up pounding on my office door taunting us about the firebombing until the police arrived and removed him from the premises.

In 1981, I was invited by a national Italian American organization to head-up a multi-ethnic meeting addressing issues of media stereotyping. Some Jewish groups objected to my role accusing me of having another agenda. They refused to participate and convened their own meeting.

In 1983, former Senator James Abourezk was invited to serve on the Executive Committee of the 20th anniversary of Dr. Kings March on Washington (I was asked to serve on the National Steering Committee). Once again, major Jewish groups threatened to withdraw if Arab Americans were included. After a long and painful debate, the matter was resolved in our favor when Rev. Joseph Lowery and Rev. Jesse Jackson intervened on our behalf.

The threats continuedby mail and phoneall of which were reported to authorities. Some came to us in Washington, others to Arab American offices in other cities. Then, in 1985, Alex Odeh, the Director of the California American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee was murdered when a bomb exploded as he entered his office.

Shortly after Alexs murder, the House Judiciary Committee and, later, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, held hearings on violence against Arab Americans. In my testimony, I said

These acts of violence and threats of violence against Arab American organizations are but part of a larger picture of discrimination, harassment, and intimidation. We can document numerous instances of active political discrimination against Arab Americans, blacklisting of Arab American political activists and spokespersons, and efforts to bait or taint Arab American leaders and organizations as terrorist supporters.

All of these actions and practices create a climate…[which] serve[s] to embolden the political opponents of Arab Americans to the point where, as we have seen, some have escalated their opposition to include acts of violence against Arab Americans and their organizations.

While our efforts to organize and normalize our involvement in civic life proved challenging, in the political arena, Arab Americans faced even greater hurdles.

Throughout the 1980s Arab Americans had contributions returned and endorsements rejected. A prominent group of St. Jude Hospital board members had their contributions to the Mondale campaign returned in 1984, and in 1988, presidential candidate Michael Dukakis rejected our endorsement.

Two national political leaders, David Dinkins, running for Mayor in New York City, and Ed Szchau, running for a Senate seat in California, both directly asked me to discourage Arab Americans from contributing to their campaigns citing their fear of a backlash from the Jewish community. Whether their fears were real or imagined, the impact on my community was real and hurtful.

In spite of these obstacles, we persisted and with the help of courageous leaders like Jesse Jackson, Ron Brown, and Bill Clinton we made our way into the mainstream. Jackson welcomed us into his two presidential campaigns. As Chair of the Democratic Party, Brown, despite warnings by some Jewish donors that they would withdraw support for the party, came to our events, welcomed us, and gave us a seat at the table.

But problems remained. In 1992, Arab Americans were being rebuffed by the Clinton campaign. At that years Democratic Convention, I was approached by AIPACs legal director, who also served as the Clinton campaigns legal advisor. He said to me I know youre trying to get into the campaign. Why the F___ should we let you in? …leave us alone. I was shaken by the naked hostility of the encounter and went to Brown. Together we laid out a strategy. It ultimately led me to an unlikely placea meeting with Senator Joe Lieberman. Despite our many disagreements, he was approachable and fair. He was so incensed that he called the Clinton campaign expressing his outrage over this behavior. The next day, we were invited to join the campaign.

While the Clinton years, shaped as they were by the Oslo Accords and the Presidents own personal commitment to justice, changed the political dynamic for Arab Americans, problems persisted with some Jewish groups still attempting to exclude Arab Americans and defame those who were in government posts. Now, however, the main threats came not from the mainstream groups, but from the fringes, and from a collection of entities funded by the likes of Sheldon Adelson and Robert Shillman. They assumed the role of smearing Arab Americans and now, American Muslims. Their efforts have not been able to exclude us, but they have been able to incite against usand the toll they continue to take on community leaders and activists is substantial.

After 9/11, three men were arrested, tried, and convicted of making death threats against me, my family, and my office. Two of the three used, in their threats, material culled from these hate sitesciting their support for Israel as a reason for their hatred and death threats.

The bottom line is the charge that supporters of Israel are, in part, responsible for instances of discrimination, hate crimes, and the political exclusion of Arab Americans cannot be dismissed as unsubstantiated. The history is too real and the pain is too deep. Shame on those who cant acknowledge the history and the pain.

Follow @jjz1600 for more.

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The History Is Too Deep, The Pain Is Too Real – HuffPost

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July 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

Convicted Bomber Robert Manning Denies Any Role in Alex Odeh’s Murder in Lawsuit – OC Weekly

Odeh in his Santa Ana office

Courtesy of Odeh Family

The unsolved murder of Alex Odeha Palestinian-American activist killed in an Oct. 11, 1985, pipe bomb attack at his Santa Ana officeis getting renewed attention in an unlikely setting: Phoenix, Arizona. That’s where Robert Manning sits in a federal prison cell decades after being convicted for the 1980 mail-bomb murder of Patricia Wilkerson, a Manhattan Beach secretary.

Manning was an activist with the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a militant group founded in 1968 by Rabbi Meir Kahane with the rally call of “every Jew a .22” that set off bombs targeting the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the organization for which Odeh worked. Though no one knows exactly who assassinated Odeh, a 1988 Village Voice expos noted law enforcement quickly focused its attention on three JDL associates: Keith Fuchs, Andy Green and Manning. The latter was collared in Israel for Wilkerson’s murder, then extradited back to the United States, where he was convicted in 1994.

Though maintaining his innocence, Manning asked to serve his punishment in Israel, which the judge at the time refused. But in September 2015, the Department of Justice mysteriously approved his transfer request, only to revoke it two weeks later because of “additional information [that needed] to be reviewed and evaluated before we are authorized to make a decision.”

He sued the United States government in court a year later, shortly after being denied parole in October 2016. And that’s where the Odeh case comes in.

The suit claims the FBI has repeatedly approached Manning to try to obtain information on the Odeh bombing, citing a 2001 letter from now-retired agent Mary Hogan. “As the primary investigator in the Alex Odeh case, I have previously contacted you to solicit your assistance in this investigation,” she wrote to Manning. “In my view, you have nothing to lose in providing any information you have relating to the . . . case and can only help yourself.”

Manning claims to not have any information about the bombing and that he wasn’t a JDL member, though media accounts have pegged him as one and he appears in a photo from JDL leader Irv Rubin’s wedding in the 2016 documentary about the group, Mother With a Gun. “Given the widely known and fundamentally incorrect assumptions about him, Mr. Manning has exercised his right to refrain from communicating with the government about any substantive issues, including matters relating to the Odeh event,” the suit reads.

Yet, a 2015 Weekly cover story (see “Activists and Family Members Keep the Memory of Alex Odeh Alive, 30 Years After His Unsolved Assassination,” Oct. 7, 2015) revealed agents had, indeed, questioned Manning in the Odeh case over the course of their investigation.

Citing pending litigation and an open investigation, the FBI declined to comment for this story. But Odeh’s widow did.

“It’s shocking to even think of letting Manning finish his sentence back home,” says Norma Odeh. The Odeh family has long pinned responsibility on Manning for Alex’s murder. “Is that fair that Alex is gone, but Manning’s still there and thinking about going home? That’s ridiculous.”

Representing Manning is Paul Batista, a well-known New York trial attorney whose legal-thriller novels receive high-profile praise from television personalities such as Nancy Grace. Batista used his prolific writing skills last week to file a challenge to the government’s recent move to dismiss the lawsuit. The DOJ’s attorney countered in May that Manning has no standing to challenge its discretionary authority under the International Transfer of Offenders Act. In addition, the DOJ claims, the New York Southern District Courtroom where Batista filed the lawsuit is an improper venue since Manning was convicted in California and serves his sentence in Arizona.

“This ability to give and take away may have been viable in the France of Louis XVI,” Batista responded. “It is not viable here.” He also challenged the government’s improper-venue argument. “Manning could be required to hopscotch endlessly around the country to file an action in a judicial district where he ‘resides’ or is physically located. The government, in other words, can engage in an endless shell game to evade Mr. Manning’s claim.”

The ADC, which Odeh helped to build as its western regional director, first learned of the Manning lawsuit earlier this year. “They’re trying to distort the fact that he’s a suspect” in the Odeh case, says Abed Ayoub, ADC’s legal and policy director. “We are confident that the FBI will pursue this aggressively and he will face charges.”

The Odeh family wanted to attend Manning’s parole hearing last October, but they weren’t allowed because they had no direct connection to the Wilkerson case. But Patricia’s daughter, Pamela Wilkerson, contacted them and spoke about their case at the hearing. “When I showed up, he realized that there’s someone still around and invested in making sure he stays in prison,” Wilkerson says. While Manning’s suit describes him as confined to a wheelchair and nearly deaf, that’s not who Wilkerson says she saw from less than 3 feet away in a small conference room. “He’s a huge, strapping man who isn’t in a wheelchair,” she says. Manning pushed a walker, she adds, but insists “he isn’t frail in any way whatsoever.”

Regina Tapoohi, Israel’s senior deputy to the State Attorney, and former U.S. Senator Carl Levin have signed letters of support for Manning (who holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship), arguing he deserves proper medical care in Israel, where he can be closer to his children and grandchildren. But Wilkerson, whose mother wasn’t Manning’s intended target, isn’t sympathetic. “In my mother’s case, a terrorist groupthe JDLwas willing to accept money to murder somebody who had nothing to do with their cause,” she says.

Batista has high hopes for his client’s return to Israel. “If we prevail on the motion to dismiss, we will move for summary judgment to compel the transfer,” the lawyer told the Weekly.

The prospect worries Wilkerson. “The idea of this being in the hands of a single judge scares me,” she says. “William Ross, the man who paid the fee and asked for the murder, died in prison. Manning needs to do the sameand in a U.S. prison [because that’s the country] where he committed the murder.”

Jewish extremists hail Manning as a hero and rally for his return to Israel on online forums. And the JDL is making a comeback; members violently assaulted a Palestinian-American professor at a Washington, D.C., protest this year.

Meanwhile, the Odeh case grows colder by the day. “It’s going to be 32 years, and nothing has been done,” Norma says. “I keep hoping [that] somehow they [will] bring the people responsible for my husband’s death to justice.”

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Convicted Bomber Robert Manning Denies Any Role in Alex Odeh’s Murder in Lawsuit – OC Weekly

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

The End of Europe as We Know It? – Middle East Forum

The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age, by James Kirchick. Yale University Press, 280 pp., $27.50.

James Kirchick introduces us to one of the arch-villians of his new book, The End of Europe, with a characteristically witty flourish:

Try to imagine a Christian being fed to a Coliseum full of lions (but make the Christian a fusion of John Cleese and Colonel Blimp and the lions all herbivores) and you begin to capture the essence of Farage’s regular performances before the European Parliament.

This is, of course, Nigel Farage, the longtime leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). But cranks make history too. Farage was never able to secure a seat for himself in the House of Commons, but since British representatives to the European Parliament are elected through a system of proportional representation, he succeeded in being reelected as a Euro-MP amidst ever larger numbers of fellow UKIP militants. In 2014, the last Euro-elections in Britain before Brexit, UKIP “earned more seats than any other British party.” Now that this “perpetually tanned and pinstriped, chain-smoking former London City banker” has won his the campaign to get the United Kingdom out of the European Union, he may be “the most consequential British political figure of the past quarter century, second only to former prime minister Tony Blair.”

To turn to a another part of Europe, and a different Kirchickian blend of derision and insight, take the story of the Palestinian schoolgirl and the Chancellor. In the summer of 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined a group of schoolchildren in the city of Rostock for a televised discussion. Rostock is in the poorest part the former East Germany, and has a high concentration of non-European asylum seekers. One of the students who Merkel met there was a Palestinian teenage girl named Reem Sahwil. She told Merkel that her family who had been in Germany for four years was now facing deportation, and asked whether they could stay.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s on-the-spot rejection of Palestinian teenager Reem Sahwil’s asylum request in 2015 was a public relations disaster. Merkel later changed Germany’s immigration policy, and Sahwil later explained that her life’s dream is to return to “Palestine” once Israel no longer exists.

True to her image as the no-nonsense “Iron lady of Europe,” Merkel replied “You are a very nice person but you know that there are thousands and thousands of people in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and if I say ‘you can all come’ and ‘you can all come from Africa’, we just can’t manage that . . .” Anybody could have predicted that the girl would burst into tears creating a public relations disaster, that is to say, anybody but the Chancellor. Within six weeks, Merkel had reversed her stand, both regarding the Sahwil family and the “thousands and thousands” (actually over a million and mostly male) refugees seeking asylum in Germany. Moreover, she suggested that all European Union nations should do the same, in proportion to their population.

What has hurt Merkel, Germany, and the EU more, her icy arrogance in Rostock, or her reckless policy surrender in Berlin? In a fascinating coda, Kirchick notes that in a subsequent interview young Reem explained that her life’s dream was, in fact, not to stay in Germany but to return to Palestine once Israel no longer exists. Why does Europe, the late-20th century’s greatest success story, now look so chaotic? How could a figure like Farage wrestle the second European power out of the EU? And how could, Angela Merkel, of all politicians, lose first her temper and then her sense of geopolitical balance? Just how dire is the European crisis?

Why does Europe, the late-20th century’s greatest success story, now look so chaotic?

Kirchick’s subtitle provides his own bleak answer to these questions: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age. We’re back in the 1930s again, but instead of fascism and Stalinism, we now have authoritarian populism of both right-wing and left-wing varieties. Instead of a German-led assault on the Versailles treaties, we have Russian-led revisionism. And instead of the good, old antisemitism, we have good, new brands of racism and xenophobia, including antisemitism, now (at least on the left) rebranded as anti-Zionism.

As a European reader, and more specifically as a French Jewish one, I must, very unfortunately, agree with much of what Kirchick saysbut with some reservations. For Kirchick is too unsystematic in some ways, and too oversystematic in others. The End of Europe is, he explains, organized “geographically and thematically into eight chapters, each a case study of a nation in crisis, none of these crises are exclusive to the nations where they predominate,” so that “worrisome trends that are most visible in one country spill over borders and reverberate across the continent.” This makes for a brilliant but uneven, sometimes messy book (the chapter on a “France Without Jews,” for instance, does not say very much about France); it might have been better to make a more linear, synthetic argument. On the oversystematic side, Kirchick may make too much of some of the parallels he draws with the 1930’s. Nobody can deny, however, that he is right that populism is on the rise.

In all its forms, populism posits that the ordinary citizens, “the people,” have been betrayed, impoverished and dispossessed by the system, and the nefarious predatory “elites” who run it. In its present European incarnation, populism is primarily directed against the European Union and globalization, and very frequently, albeit not always, against the United States and the Jews. Some of today’s European populists are anti-Muslim, some are not. Most are pro-Russian, though, again, some are not.

It is indeed puzzling that such a mindset should be prevalent again across Europe. Western Europe has enjoyed peace and stable democracies for over seventy years, and its eastern half has spent the last three decades catching up. Thanks to the EU, the Euro-American special relationship and, yes, globalization, Europe as a whole and individual European countries have risen from poverty to affluence. Even taking into account an economic slowdown in some Europeans countries since 2008, and the EU’s transition from a redistribution agency to the budgetary and fiscal austerity enforcer it has become since the introduction of the Euro currency in 2002, it is still a much better bargain to be in Europe than outside of it. So why are so many Europeans convinced that the opposite is true?

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor Party shares many traits and positions with the authoritarian right (not least in its tolerance of anti-Semites and Putin’s Russia).

While Brexit is the most spectacular success story of European populism to date, it remains a limited one: UKIP did not take over Britain, and Theresa May succeeded David Cameron as prime minister, not Farage. If, after the surprising results of the recent snap elections on June 8, she fails to cobble together a stable majority, the beneficiary will be Jeremy Corbyn, a very unenthusiastic supporter of remaining in the EU at the time of the vote who now says that he will support Brexit if he takes power. As Kirchick argues, Corbyn’s Labor Party shares many traits and positions with the authoritarian right (not least in its tolerance of anti-Semites and Vladimir Putin’s Russia). But to see how 21st-Century European populism truly works, one must turn to a EU country where the populists actually won a general election: Hungary.

Freedom Square in central Budapest, Kirchick points out is “teeming with monuments attesting to Hungary’s turbulent twentieth century”: a huge obelisk dedicated to the city’s Red Army liberators, a bust of Admiral Miklos Horthy, the conservative regent who ruled from 1920 to 1944, a statue of Imre Nagy, “the executed hero of the 1956 anti-Soviet revolt,” and a marching “bronzed Ronald Reagan” whose finger points to the United States Embassy. The most recent monument, dedicated to “the Victims of the German Occupation” is also the most controversial. Its design is bizarre, an ugly, Teutonic eagle falling upon the luminous Archangel Gabriel, against a neo-Greek portico background, but its implication is worse : All Hungarians were equally victims of the Nazi occupation. Those who know (and care) that more than half a million Hungarian Jews were murdered either in Hungary proper or in Auschwitz, not to speak of the fact that many Magyars supported the invaders, cannot possibly agree.

The Victims of German Occupation Monument was commissioned by the present Hungarian government, led by Viktor Orban and his Civic Alliance party (Fidesz). A loyal if skeptical follower of the communist regime in his youth, a center-right politician in the 1990’s, and then a classic conservative prime minister between 1998 and 2002, Orban returned to office in 2010 as a populist-nationalist leader. He then undertook to turn Hungary in an authoritarian and, as he proudly defined it, “illiberal” and “national” direction, following the examples of Russia, China and Turkey. The constitution was revised, with a clear view to making Fidesz rule permanent: “Either we want to prolong the two-party system with the ongoing division,” Orban stated in a public rally, “or we assert ourselves as a great governing party, a political force striving after permanent government.” Kirchick admits that Orban and the present Fidesz administration are nonetheless “genuinely popular.” And they owe their popularity, precisely, to their nationalism and the historical narrative they condone.

Hungary’s Viktor Orban is extraordinarily popular.

Orban’s populism, some have argued, is a response to his powerful competitor on the right, the Better Hungary Movement or Jobbik. While Fidesz won 52% of the national vote in 2010 and 44% in 2014, Jobbik swelled from 16% to 20%. An openly neo-Nazi party, it envisions much more than a mere taming of the liberal “elites.” It longs for a racially homogeneous State that would exclude the Roma minority as well as “the Jews,” who, in its parlance, are comprised by not just the present community of some 100,000, but all the real and imaginary descendants of 19th century and 20th century Hungarian Jews who assimilated or converted. Some of Orban’s supporters see him as preventing the further rise of Jobbik; his opponents see Jobbik as an unrestrained Fidesz. Whatever the interpretation, the unsettling fact is that this xenophobic anti-democratic surge is supported by roughly two-thirds of Hungary’s population in the heart of the European Union.

In fact, more EU countries and more of their parties, are emulating Hungary and Fidesz. In Poland, the conservative Catholic Law and Justice Party has been passing Orbanesque legislation since 2015; Milos Zeman’s conservatives have become increasingly authoritarian and nationalistic in Czech Republic. Nor is the phenomenon restricted to Eastern Europe: while Marine Le Pen, the leader of the sovereignist, “anti-system” and anti-immigration National Front and a staunch admirer of Orban, did not win the presidential election on May 7, she garnered an impressive 37 % of the vote.

Nor, of course, is populism restricted to right wing parties. As Kirchick shows, the left-wing Syriza regime in Greece is the clearest example of “the rise of an European Hard Left exuding the same authoritarian populism of the extreme right.” After five years of bankruptcy and negative growth, Syriza, led by an ex-Communist named Alexis Tsipras won a majority in the Vouli, Athens’ parliament, with the straightforward platform of promising that Greece could keep its welfare system, never pay its creditors, and, if necessary, renounce the euro. It was, at least in part, a bluff, the opening bid in negotiations with the EU over fiscal austerity and financial aid. Underlining Kirchick’s point about right and left, Nigel Farage lauded “the courage of the Greek people in the face of political and economic bullying from Brussels.” Other fans include leaders of the French National Front and Hungary’s Jobbik party.

Similarly, during the recent French presidential campaign, Jean-Luc Mlenchon garnered 20% of the vote on the first ballot representing a new populist hard Left. After losing, Mlenchon declined for ten full days, in between the two presidential ballots, to take a stand against the National Front’s Marine Le Pen.

It is not, of course, from the right that the existential threat to the Jews of France has emerged, but from the very immigrants its rhetoric and policies have targeted (which is not, of course, to say that the National Front is philo-Semitic either). The “home of both the largest Jewish population,” as Kirchik writes, “and the largest Muslim population on the continent,” France has become a notoriously dangerous place for Jews. “Anti-Semitic attacks in France comprise 51 % of all hate crimes even though Jews represent less than 1 % of the population.” Most of this anti-Semitic violence, from harassment to arson, murder or pogrom-like street violence, is perpetrated by radicalized Muslims. In 2006, there was the famous horrific “kidnapping, three week long torture and murderous dismemberment of 21 year-old Ilan Halimi” in Paris by a Muslim-led gang who called themselves “the Barbarians.” In 2012, Mohamed Merah, an Islamist activist of Algerian descent, murdered or maimed four soldiers in Toulouse and Montauban in Southern France and then killed a Jewish teacher and three Jewish preteen children in Toulouse at point blank. In 2014, “at the height of the Gaza war, what can only be described as a pogrom descended on the Don Isaac Abravanel synagogue” in Paris:

A crowd of several hundred people, chanting ‘Death to Jews’ in Arabic and wielding iron bars and axes, tried to break into the building where about 200 worshippers were caught inside… Though French police rushed to the scene, one witness reported, had it not been for members of the vigilante Jewish Defense League, ‘the synagogue would have been destroyed.’

In 2015, in the wake of a mass shooting of journalists at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Central Paris, an ISIS supporter of Malian descent, shot a policewoman near a Jewish school in Montrouge, South Paris, and then, the following day, killed four hostages at a kosher supermarket in East Paris. As recently as in April 2017, as we were about to elect a new president, a 66 year-old Orthodox Jewish kindergarten director was tortured for an hour in her home in Paris by a young Muslim neighbor who was heard shouting “Allahu Akhbar,” and who prayed after throwing her out of the window of her third-story apartment. There is currently a public controvesy as to whether this will be prosecuted as a hate crime. These are but the headlines.

No wonder then that the French Jews, in spite of their remarkable achievements as a community since 1945, and their no less remarkable contribution to French culture, are now leaving their country in large numbers. Two thousand French Jews immigrated to Israel in 2011. Four years later, Kirchick reports, the number had quadrupled. In fact, the decline is steeper than even these numbers suggest, for one has also to take into account those French Jews who settle in Israel as students or visitors without formally undertaking aliyah, not to speak of those who opt for other countries. Kirchick quotes the famous remarks of then-Prime Minister Manuel Valls after the January 2015 killing spree in Paris:

The son of Spanish immigrants, Valls declared: If 100 000 French people of Spanish origin were to leave, I would never say that France is not France anymore. But if 100 000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France.

At the present rate of immigration, this will take no more than two decades, probably much less. And yet even if we stay, France, and its Muslim communities, must figure out how they will be integrated into a modern democratic society if France is to remain a viable nation.

Radical Islamists seem to understand their migration to an originally non-Muslim Europe as part of a religious-political conquest.

Radical Islamic brotherhoods and preachers seem to understand their migration to an originally non-Muslim Europe as part of a religious-political conquest, and many Muslims in France seem to accept this proposition at some level. On this understanding, Europe’s very acquiescence to a multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious societal model appears to be an admission of weakness. Ironically, they have a point. The political class has, too often been unable to confront immigrant communities, even when basic legal and societal norms are challenged. Muslim neighborhoods have indeed been turned into “no go zones,” not ghettoes where minorities are secluded, but areas from which non-Muslims are being expelled. As I write these lines, in the first weeks of the Emmanuel Macron administration, there is much discussion of the so-called “no women zones” that are spreading across Northern Paris, These are places where women who do not dress and behave according to strict interpretations of Sharia law are harassed and at times molested. France and its Muslim communities must figure out how they will be integrated if that country is to remain a viable nation.

One of Kirchick’s strongest points, emphasized throughout his book, is that a single powerful player is at work supporting almost all European populists: Vladimir Putin. Right-wing populists praise Putin’s Russia as the vanguard of the White, Christian civilization, against both the rising tide of Islam and American decadence. Left-wing populists, on the other hand, still hail Russia as they did in the Cold War days as the main adversary of American imperialism. Both sides are generously rewarded.

As Kirchick shows, even after the Soviet Union dissolved, its ruling elite stayed largely in place, especially in the very heart of the Empire. The army and the secret police remained intact, the planned economy became a State-controlled oligarchy, nationalism was substituted for communism, and Mother Russia sought to regain what she had lost.

Vladimir Putin’s drive to reunite Russian-speaking communities into a single nation-state evokes little criticism from right-wing populists.

It was the Yeltsin regime that began the process, with its “Near Abroad” doctrine, according to which Russia retained “vital interests” in the neighboring post-Soviet countries, and the parallel doctrine of “the Russian World,” that envisioned the “reunification” of all Russian-speaking communities into a single nation-state. Putin merely accelerated the process. In 2014, following the takeover of Crimea, he complained that following the dissolution of the USSR “the Russian nation became one of the biggest, if not the biggest ethnic group in the world to be divided by borders.” “Presumably,” Kirchik observes drily, “it is the Russian government’s duty to reassemble it.”

A second explicitly stated Russian goal is to reestablish the former Soviet Union as a single geopolitical unit if not as a single state: a “Eurasian community” with Russia at its center. A concommitant third goal is to weaken or eliminate rival powers. Kirchick adapts the motto of NATO’s first Secretary General “Keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down.” Today, he says, “Putin’s strategy can be understood as a slight spin on this formula: ‘Move the Russians in, get the Americans out, and keep the Germans down.'”

What Kirchik tells us about European populism and Russian revisionism is deeply alarming. But even as he points to the shortcomings of the European Union and the European political leadership in the major member-states, he demonstrates surprising confidence in the grand project of the European Union. Some may suspect that he confuses the Union as it is now with what it was supposed to have been. Certainly, he does not pay enough attention to what many observers or politicians, including committed Europhiles, call the Union’s “democratic deficit.” This describes the EU’s steady drift from democracy, or an administrative framework under which democracy could flourish, to a bureaucratic system in which many if not most decisions are made by unelected officials, and, once made, are close to irreversible.

The EU’s ‘democratic deficit’ prevented it from dealing with the refugee crisis effectively.

Indeed, just this democratic deficiency in our institutions may have prevented Europe as a whole, and many of the individual European governments, from identifying unavoidable political issues and dealing with them effectively, including fiscal problems and the refugee crisis. The European bureaucracy, as well as the various national bureaucracies, recognized these issues, and others, but did not act, often suppressing relevant information to legitimize their inaction. In doing so, they actually contributed to the rise of the populists, and played into the hands of the Russian schemers.

Nonetheless, James Kirchick’s book is an impressive, deeply reported, and incredibly courageous, report on the challenges Europe faces. If Europe were to come to an end, its demise would not be through the populism of demagogues, or Russian agression, nor through the continued rise of radical Islamism, but rather through the fossilization of its democracy.

Michel Gurfinkiel, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, is the founder and president of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute, a conservative think tank in France.

Related Topics: Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muslims in Europe | Michel Gurfinkiel receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free mef mailing list

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July 19, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

The History of Anti-Arab Sentiment Is Too Deep, the Pain Too Real – LobeLog

by James J. Zogby

A week ago, a pro-Israel media monitoring group accused me of making an unsubstantiated charge that Israel supporters are responsible for discrimination, hate crimes, and the political exclusion of Arab Americans. Because this issue is so important to Arab Americans and because some hardline pro-Israel groups refuse to acknowledge their role in harming my community, I am obliged to respond with a few examples representing just the tip of the iceberg of painful acts of defamation, discrimination, exclusion, threats, and violence.

From the moment Arab Americans began to organize and to advocate for causes we held dear, we were confronted by attacks from major Jewish community organizations. Our early efforts to bring our community into the mainstream of American political life were met with resistance and campaigns of pressure designed to make us radioactive. They used political pressure to have us excluded from government meetings, engagement with coalitions, and involvement in political campaigns. They defamed us in reports they circulated (I have copies of all of them), terming us Arab propagandists, a made up community, a creation of petrodollars, purveyors of anti-Semitism, or a subversive plot supporting Palestinian terror.

My first direct encounter with this exclusion came in 1978. I was invited to the White House for an ethnic leadersroundtable with Vice President Mondale. A few days after the meeting, I received call from the White House informing me that because they had received complaints from Jewish groups that a pro-Palestinian Arab had been at the meeting, I wouldnt be invited to follow-up discussions.

The next year, my organization applied for membership in the Coalition for a New Foreign and Military Policya grouping of 60 religious, and peace and justice organizations. We overwhelmingly won the vote for admission, but three members, led by a liberal Jewish group, objected to our entry and threatened to quit the coalition if the Arabs were admitted. The coalition leadership then asked us to withdraw our application.

In late 1979, my Palestine Human Rights Campaign hosted a major national conference that featured seven Members of Congress, major Black leaders, and many figures from peace and justice organizations. Despite receiving prominent and favorable national news coverage for three consecutive nights, a pro-Jewish Defense League newspaper in New York described the event witha huge fontfront page headline as a SECRET PLO MEET that plots terror.

A few months later, after having received a number of threats, my office was firebombed. The JDL issued a statement which, while not claiming credit, said that they approved of the act.

Months later, JDL head, MeirKahane, showed up pounding on my office door taunting us about the firebombing until the police arrived and removed him from the premises.

In 1981, I was invited by a national Italian American organization to head-up a multi-ethnic meeting addressing issues of media stereotyping. Some Jewish groups objected to my role accusing me of having another agenda. They refused to participate and convened their own meeting.

In 1983, former Senator JamesAbourezkwas invited to serve on the Executive Committee of the 20th anniversary of Dr. Kings March on Washington (I was asked to serve on the National Steering Committee). Once again, major Jewish groups threatened to withdraw if Arab Americans were included. After a long and painful debate, the matter was resolved in our favor when Rev. Joseph Lowery and Rev. Jesse Jackson intervened on our behalf.

The threats continuedby mail and phoneall of which were reported to authorities. Some came to us in Washington, others to Arab American offices in other cities. Then, in 1985, AlexOdeh, the director of the California American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee was murdered when a bomb exploded as he entered his office.

Shortly after Alexs murder, the House Judiciary Committee and, later, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, held hearings on violence against Arab Americans. In my testimony, I said:

These acts of violence and threats of violence against Arab American organizations are but part of a larger picture of discrimination, harassment, and intimidation. We can document numerous instances of active political discrimination against Arab Americans, blacklisting of Arab American political activists and spokespersons, and efforts to bait or taint Arab American leaders and organizations as terrorist supporters.

All of these actions and practices create a climate . . . [which] serve[s] to embolden the political opponents of Arab Americans to the point where, as we have seen, some have escalated their opposition to include acts of violence against Arab Americans and their organizations.

Althoughour efforts to organize and normalize our involvement in civic life proved challenging, in the political arena, Arab Americans faced even greater hurdles.

Throughout the 1980s, Arab Americans had contributions returned and endorsements rejected. A prominent group of St. Jude Hospital board members had their contributions to the Mondale campaign returned in 1984, and in 1988, presidential candidate MichaelDukakis rejected our endorsement.

Two national political leaders, David Dinkins, running for mayor in New York City, and EdSzchau, running for a Senate seat in California, both directly asked me to discourage Arab Americans from contributing to their campaigns citing their fear of a backlash from the Jewish community. Whether their fears were real or imagined, the impact on my community was real and hurtful.

In spite of these obstacles, we persisted and with the help of courageous leaders like Jesse Jackson, Ron Brown, and Bill Clinton we made our way into the mainstream.Jackson welcomed us into his two presidential campaigns. As chair of the Democratic Party, Brown, despite warnings by some Jewish donors that they would withdraw support for the party, came to our events, welcomed us, and gave us a seat at the table.

But problems remained. In 1992, Arab Americans were being rebuffed by the Clinton campaign. At that years Democratic Convention, I was approached by AIPACs legal director, who also served as the Clinton campaigns legal advisor. He said to me, I know youre trying to get into the campaign. Why the F___ should we let you in? leave us alone. I was shaken by the naked hostility of the encounter and went to Brown. Together we laid out a strategy. It ultimately led me to an unlikely placea meeting with Senator Joe Lieberman. Despite our many disagreements, he was approachable and fair. He was so incensed that he called the Clinton campaign expressing his outrage over this behavior. The next day, we were invited to join the campaign.

Althoughthe Clinton years, shaped as they were by the Oslo Accords and the presidents own personal commitment to justice, changed the political dynamic for Arab Americans, problems persisted with some Jewish groups still attempting to exclude Arab Americans and defame those who were in government posts. Now, however, the main threats came not from the mainstream groups, but from the fringes, and from a collection of entities funded by thelikes of SheldonAdelsonand RobertShillman. They assumed the role of smearing Arab Americans and now, American Muslims. Their efforts have not been able to exclude us, but they have been able to incite against usand the toll they continue to take on community leaders and activists is substantial.

After 9/11, three men were arrested, tried,and convicted of making death threats against me, my family, and my office. Two of the three used, in their threats, material culled from these hate sitesciting their support for Israel as a reason for their hatred and death threats.

The bottom line is the charge that supporters of Israel are, in part, responsible for instances of discrimination, hate crimes, and the political exclusion of Arab Americans cannot be dismissed as unsubstantiated. The history is too real and the pain is too deep. Shame on those who cant acknowledge the history and the pain.

James J. Zogby is the president of the Arab American Institute.

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Islamophobia Is the Glue That Unites Diverse Factions of the Far Right – Truth-Out

Women brandish US flags and shout at the “March Against Sharia” at Foley Square on June 10, 2017 in New York City. (Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images)

The nationwide “March Against Sharia” rallies on June 10, 2017, brought an unholy alliance of far-right actors into the streets. While normally many of them would not be seen in the same room with each other, these different factions were drawn together by their mutual hatred of Muslims. Nazis and right-wing Zionists, LGBTQ activists and right-wing paramilitaries, “alt-lite” teens and hardened racist skinheads all took to the streets.

While the left was quick to loudly oppose the march, it has been slower to try and understand the changing role that Islamophobia is playing on the US far right. Islamophobia is increasingly uniting formerly disparate factions. It is more socially acceptable than anti-Semitism while still demonizing a minority group. Plus, its ostensible emphasis on religion is a way to avoid specifically naming race.

The rally was sponsored by the Islamophobic groupACT for America. The rally’s description said it was “In memory and support of victims of FGM [female genital mutilation], honor killings, and violence toward the LGBT community in the name of religion, culture or foreign law.” However, this was no gathering of human rights activists. Instead, it was a call for a range of (frequently misogynistic) far-right actors to shamelessly rally under a pretext of defending human rights.

These includedfascists from groups like Identity Evropa, Vanguard America and Keystone State Skinheads; Islamophobic vigilantes like Soldiers of Odin; the Proud Boys, an alt-right fight club; the neo-confederate League of the South; and a variety of Patriot movement paramilitaries, including the Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and local militia groups. A handful of right-wing Zionists, as well as LGBTQ people, including the rally’s national organizerScott Presler,participated. The spectacle of right-wing Zionists in the street with Holocaust deniers, and LGBTQ people with rightist paramilitaries, is not one often seen.

Although, since February 2017 many of the same actors had come out to supposed “free speech” events — really a cover for ultra-nationalist rallies — the March Against Sharia was an even broader coalition, with more mainstream reach. And it congealed around an issue with staying power which has made its way into the mainstream discourse.

Zainab Arain, coordinator of the department to monitor and combat Islamophobia at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told Truthout this march is part of a third wave of US Islamophobia. The first emerged after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the second with the 1991 Gulf War, and the third with 9/11 and continuing since. But Arain said the recent marches were “the most striking examples of Islamophobic and far-right groups working together” that she had seen. In the past, differences over questions of race, LGBTQ people, Jews and foreign policy split these groups. Now, they have a firm common ground. Partly this is because Islamophobia acts as a replacement for (or an addition to) anti-Semitic and anti-Communist conspiracy theories that have long been core beliefs on the right.

Like other conspiracy theories, Islamophobic ones often morph quickly as they adapt to fit new developments into their narrative. As Thomas Cincotta shows inManufacturing the Muslim Menace, some of the most frequent themes of recent years are Islamophobes demonizing Muslims as a foreign “other” that exist both outside the US, and as an unassimilable group inside of it. Islam is said not to be a religion at all, but rather a political ideology that seeks to dominate all cultures, either by force or subversion. US Muslims are portrayed as a fifth column who have infiltrated major institutions — including academia and the military — in order to replace the Constitution with Sharia law. Sleeper cells exist in the federal government (this is related to why former president Barack Obama was constantly accused of being a secret Muslim). And all Muslims are seen as potential terrorists, and all mosques are suspected enemy bases.

As with any good conspiracy theory, a circular logic insulates Islamophobes from criticism. When Muslims try to resist oppression using legal means, Islamophobes claim this is “lawfare” — an attempt to subvert the judicial system. When Islamophobes are called out for their bigotry, they claim that the left, which they paint as “in” on the conspiracy, uses “political correctness” to silence them. Lindsay Schubiner at the Center for New Community told Truthout that US Islamophobes have imported apocalyptic fears of looming disaster from their European cousins, who “warn, outrageously, that Europe has already been lost to multiculturalism and advocate for closing the door to immigrants to preserve so-called Western civilization.”

Islamophobia is important to the far right because it can fill the same political role as the old anti-Semitic narratives, and draw on the same emotional power — but it is far more socially acceptable and appeals to a larger audience. For example, in some parts of the far right, Muslims have replaced Jews as a feared unassimilable religious minority that seeks to undermine the moral fabric of our society. Muslims are also perceived by many on the right to be lower on the socioeconomic ladder than US Jews, and therefore an easier target.

These Islamophobic narratives also update 1950s anti-Communist conspiracy theories — especially the notion that the major US institutions are controlled by a foreign fifth column — with a new enemy. The two get combined as well. While anti-Semites have long claimed a “Judeo-Bolshevik” conspiracy was at work, today, Islamophobes see a “Marxist-Islamic” conspiracy.

Islamophobia crops up in parts of the far right that people frequently overlook. For example, there is intense and widespread Islamophobia among the heavily armed Patriot movement. As I documented in Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement, well-known Islamophobic organizers were among the armed paramilitaries led by Ammon Bundy, who seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in January 2016. They included John Ritzheimer, who just months before had organized a global rally targeting Muslims; and Blaine Cooper, who filmed himself wrapping pages of the Koran in bacon and setting them on fire. Additionally, the 3% of Idaho, a paramilitary group which came to Oregon to help protect the occupiers from being attacked by law enforcement, had previously organized anti-Syrian refugee rallies in Idaho.

Islamophobia is also a way to express white nationalist ideals while avoiding explicit appeals to race, since it is cloaked as a criticism of a religion — even though its targets are overwhelmingly people of color. It is similar to, and has a large crossover with, the anti-immigrant movement. For example, one conspiracy theory is that ISIS sleeper cells sneak into the US through border towns controlled by Mexican drug cartels. And panic over Syrian refugees being secret terrorists combines both anti-immigrant and Islamophobic narratives.

But Islamophobia is more than coded white nationalism — or, at least, there are other parts of the movement as well. These include the participation of people that white nationalist movements are usually allergic to — including people of color, immigrants, ex-Muslims, Jews and/or LGBTQ people. For example,in Toronto, Canada, Islamophobic groups include vigilante street patrol group Soldiers of Odin, which was started by Finnish neo-Nazis, who can be found next to the Jewish Defense League and Hindu nationalists.

In the heavily armed Patriot movement, Islamophobia looks like it has basically replaced the role that antisemitism played in the 1990s militias. But others, including neo-Nazis and the “alt-right,” espouse both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia at the same time. And to make matters even more jumbled, a common Islamophobic position is to support Israel, which in their view is the frontline against the Muslim world, while also using thinly-veiled anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, such as “cultural Marxism.”

Islamophobic conspiracy theories are not new in the US, and the left is aggressive about opposing them. But it needs to think about their changing function on the far right. Islamophobic rallies which include people of color, Jews and LGBTQ people are not as easy to dismiss as those solely made up of openly white supremacist groups — even if their racial politics end up the same in the wash. It is also necessary to cultivate subtlety and discernment in order to walk the line of supporting the struggles of LGBTQ people in Muslim-majority countries, while also opposing the US’s homegrown Islamophobes. The left has made a good start, but there is more work to be done. In order to confront the current wave of Islamophobia, it is crucial to understand how different far-right groups are deploying it as a unifying tool — and how this affects the growth of the far right as a whole.

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Almanac – Tuesday 8/1/17 | KALW – KALW

Tuesday, 1st of August of 2017 is the 213th day of the year… There are 152 days remaining until the end of the year. There are 462 days until Mid-Term Elections on Tuesday November 6, 2018 (1 year 3 months and 5 days from today) and there are 1190 days until Presidential Elections on Tuesday November 3, 2020 (3 years 3 months and 2 days from today) The sun will rise in San Francisco at 6:14 am and the sun will set at 8:18 pm. We will have 14 hours and 4 minutes of daylight today. The solar transit will be at 1:16 pm. The first low tide will be at 2:04 am and the next low tide at 1:31 pm. The first high tide will be at 8:55 am and the next high tide at 7:56 pm. The Moon is currently 67.8% illuminated; a Waxing Gibbous moon Moon Direction: 287.31 WNW Moon Altitude: -44.98 Moon Distance: 251132 mi Next Full Moon: Aug 7, 2017 at 11:10 am Next New Moon: Aug 21, 2017 at 11:30 am Next Moonrise: Today at 3:36 pm Today is… Homemade Pie Day Lammas, a festival to mark the annual wheat harvest in England Lughnasadh (Lunasa) the harvest festival in Ireland and the Celtic diaspora National Girlfriends Day National Minority Donor Awareness Day National Raspberry Cream Pie Day Play Ball Day Respect for Parents Day Rounds Resounding Day Spiderman Day Woman Astronomers Day World Wide Web Day Yorkshire Day Today is also… Armed Forces Day in Lebanon Armed Forces Day in China, the Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Liberation Army in the People’s Republic of China Azerbaijani Language and Alphabet Day Celebration of the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 which ended the slavery in the British Empire, generally celebrated as a part of Carnival, as the Caribbean Carnival takes place at this time (British West Indies): Caribana, the first Weekend of August. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) Emancipation Day (Anguilla, the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands) (Barbados, Bermuda, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago) If today is your birthday, Happy Birthday To You! You share this special day with 1770 William Clark, American soldier, explorer, and politician, 4th Governor of Missouri Territory (d. 1838) 1779 Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, author, and poet (d. 1843) 1819 Herman Melville, American novelist, short story writer, and poet (d. 1891) 1843 Robert Todd Lincoln, American lawyer and politician, 35th United States Secretary of War (d. 1926) 1874 Charles Spaulding, the insurance man who built one of America’s largest black-owned businesses, was born. 1931 Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, American singer-songwriter and guitarist 1932 Meir Kahane, American-Israeli rabbi and activist, founded the Jewish Defense League (d. 1990) 1933 Dom DeLuise, American actor, singer, director, and producer (d. 2009) 1936 Yves Saint Laurent, Algerian-French fashion designer, co-founded Yves Saint Laurent (d. 2008) 1941 Ron Brown, American captain and politician, 30th United States Secretary of Commerce (d. 1996) 1942 Jerry Garcia, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1995) 1949 Jim Carroll, American poet and author (d. 2009) 1953 Robert Cray, American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist 1963 Coolio, American rapper, producer, and actor 1978 Dhani Harrison, English singer-songwriter and guitarist On this day in history… 1774 British scientist Joseph Priestley discovers oxygen gas, corroborating the prior discovery of this element by German-Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. 1790 The first U.S. census was completed, showing a population of nearly 4 million people. 1834 Slavery is abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into force. 1893 – Henry Perky patents shredded wheat 1911 Harriet Quimby takes her pilot’s test and becomes the first U.S. woman to earn an Aero Club of America aviator’s certificate. 1927 The Nanchang Uprising marks the first significant battle in the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and Chinese Communist Party. This day is commemorated as the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army. 1944 World War II: The Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi German occupation breaks out in Warsaw, Poland. 1957 The United States and Canada form the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). 1960 Dahomey (later renamed Benin) declares independence from France. 1960 Islamabad is declared the federal capital of the Government of Pakistan. 1961 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara orders the creation of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the nation’s first centralized military espionage organization. 1964 The former Belgian Congo is renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 1966 Charles Whitman kills 16 people at the University of Texas at Austin before being killed by the police. 1966 Purges of intellectuals and imperialists becomes official China policy at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. 1980 Vigds Finnbogadttir is elected President of Iceland and becomes the world’s first democratically elected female head of state. 1981 MTV begins broadcasting in the United States and airs its first video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. 1988 Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh began broadcasting his nationally syndicated radio program. 1995 Westinghouse Electric Corp. struck a deal to buy CBS for $5.4 billion. 2007 The I-35W Mississippi River bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, collapses during the evening rush hour. 2011 The U.S. House of Representatives passed, 269-161, emergency legislation to avert the nation’s first-ever financial default.

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August 4, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

A Jewish Summer Camp Welcomed Guests With a Palestinian Flag. It Didn’t Go Down Well – Haaretz

American and Palestinian campers spent a few days at Camp Solomon Schechter in Washington state. The backlash that ensues prompted the camp to issue a full-blown apology The directors of a Jewish overnight camp in the Pacific Northwest thought it might be nice to welcome their Palestinian guests by flying the Palestinian flag. Little were they prepared for the backlash to their gesture of goodwill. The flag flying took place as part of a delegation meeting of American and Palestinian campers participating in Kids4Peace, a Jerusalem-based coexistence program, who spent a few days at Camp Solomon Schechter in Washington state as part of their summer activities. In an email to parents on Friday, the camp directors explained that the decision to fly a Palestinian flag was meant to provide a teachable moment and serve as a sign of friendship and acceptance. At the same time, they acknowledged, that not all took kindly to this gesture of goodwill. It was met with uncertainty by some campers and staff, especially the Israelis, the email said. Hoping to relieve the sadness and anger that some feel at the sight of the flag, the directors reported that they had agreed to take it down. We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter. But that did not calm things down. Many took to social media to express their dissatisfaction. Controversial anti-Islam activist, Pamela Geller, wrote: “Flying the Palestinian [flag at a] Jewish day school camp is akin to flying the Nazi flag and at German Jewish day school in 1938. Has a Jewish flag ever flown over a Muslim school or camp? Ever?” Another group, the right-wing New Jewish Defense League’s NYC chapter wrote that the flag flying is partly how young American Jews are being “indoctrinated to be self hating Jews.” On Sunday Camp Solomon Schechter issued a full-blown apology on its Facebook page, that it has since taken down. Here is the text of that post: We sincerely apologize that we upset some in our CSS and larger Jewish community by introducing the Palestinian flag into our educational program. Camp Solomon Schechter reiterates our unwavering support for the State of Israel as the Jewish homeland. This past week at Camp Solomon Schechter we hosted Kids 4 Peace an organization that works to create peace through youth leadership and friendship. We hosted a group of 14 children, including Christian and Muslim Palestinian children. Every morning here at camp, we raise the US, Canadian and Israeli flags. For the 2 days that our guests were here, we demonstrated the Jewish value of Hachnasat Orchim (welcoming guests), and raised the Palestinian flag along with the other flags after they requested this and parents were informed. Camp Solomon Schechter is a proud Zionist and pro-Israel camp. We honor the Israeli Army and Israeli people on a daily basis at CSS. Our goal was to create a safe space for all, and begin dialogue among the next generation.” The Facebook apology generated another round of responses, exposing the deep divisions in the Jewish community about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By saying Palestinian flag you are saying there is a state of Palestine, when there is none, nor will there ever be, wrote one commenter. Another wrote that while the decision to raise a Palestinian flag at the camp was clumsy, at least it was a well-intentioned and loving step away from the inculcation and towards teaching kids to seek a more nuanced, thoughtful path to peace. A woman who identified herself as a former camper and mother of a current camper used the Yiddish term Yosher Koach [kudos] to congratulate the directors for walking the walk and leading by example. Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today

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August 4, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

Jewish summer camp in Washington slammed for welcoming kids with Palestinian flag RT America – Standard Republic (press release) (blog)

Jewish summer camp Solomon Schechter in Washington state was forced to apologize following backlash over its raising of a Palestinian flag to welcome Palestinian guests participating in the Kids4Peace program. The decision to fly the Palestinian flag was meant to provide a teachable moment and serve as a sign of friendship and acceptance, camp directors told parents in an email on Friday. Last week, the Jewish summer camp hosted kids participating in the Jerusalem-based Kids4Peace program, which brings Jewish and Palestinian young people together for a few days to promote peace between the two peoples that have been in conflict with each other for decades. What the camp saw as a gesture of friendship and acceptance has been met with an angry reaction among some in the Jewish community. A group called the New Jewish Defense League wrote that the flag flying is how young American Jews are being indoctrinated to be self hating Jews. Activist Pamela Geller, who had previously expressed anti-Muslim views, compared it to flying the Nazi flag and at German Jewish day school in 1938. Eventually, Camp Solomon Schechter issued an apology on its Facebook page. We sincerely apologize that we upset some in our CSS and larger Jewish community by introducing the Palestinian flag into our educational program. Camp Solomon Schechter reiterates our unwavering support for the State of Israel as the Jewish homeland, Haaretz quotedthe post on the camps Facebook page, which the newspaper said was later deactivated for unknown reasons, as saying. However, the Solomon Schechter camps apology too did not go down well in social media. Sad that a Jewish camp felt the need to apologize for flying Palestinian flag as a goodwill gesture, wrote Rabbi David Mivasair. Others resorted to sarcasm: An apology just wont cut it. This situation could have blown out of control. Someone could have gotten respected! tweeted @MotionToStrike. Two years ago, the Palestinian flag was raised for the first time at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The international community has long called for a two-state solution in the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, in which the two peoples would eventually live in separate states. Israel had formally agreed to the two-state solution but has yet to take any practical steps to make it happen. The Trump administration said it wants to negotiate the ultimate deal between the parties, but has not provided any specifics of what that would entail.

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

Jewish Summer Camp Draws Fire After Flying Palestinian Flag – Forward

flickr A Palestinian flag waves in the breeze. What was meant to be a symbolic goodwill gesture toward visiting Palestinian campers ended up causing major conflict, drawing anger from Jewish families and from outside right-wing groups. Haaretz reported that Kids4Peace, an Israeli-based program aimed at encouraging Israeli-Palestinian co-existence, took Christian, Jewish and Muslim campers to visit Camp Solomon Schechter in Washington State. Camp directors decided to greet the visitors by flying the Palestinian flag over the camps mast, alongside flags of the U.S., Canada, and Israel. The response, described later by the camp as one of sadness and anger, led directors to take down the flag, but that did not end the controversy. Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller said the move was akin to flying the Nazi flag. The New York City chapter of the New Jewish Defense League added that our our young Jews are indoctrinated to be self hating Jews. On Sunday, the camp issued a statement expressing its sincere apology and stating that the camp is a proud Zionist and pro-Israel camp. We honor the Israeli Army and Israeli people on a daily basis. Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter @nathanguttman

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August 1, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

The History Is Too Deep, The Pain Is Too Real – HuffPost

A week ago, a pro-Israel media monitoring group accused me of making an unsubstantiated charge that Israel supporters are responsible for discrimination, hate crimes, and the political exclusion of Arab Americans. Because this issue is so important to Arab Americans and because some hardline pro-Israel groups refuse to acknowledge their role in harming my community, I am obliged to respond with a few examples representing just the tip of the iceberg of painful acts of defamation, discrimination, exclusion, threats, and violence. From the moment Arab Americans began to organize and to advocate for causes we held dear, we were confronted by attacks from major Jewish community organizations. Our early efforts to bring our community into the mainstream of American political life were met with resistance and campaigns of pressure designed to make us radioactive. They used political pressure to have us excluded from government meetings, engagement with coalitions, and involvement in political campaigns. They defamed us in reports they circulated (I have copies of all of them), terming us Arab propagandists, a made up community, a creation of petro dollars, purveyors of anti-Semitism, or a subversive plot supporting Palestinian terror. My first direct encounter with this exclusion came in 1978. I was invited to the White House for an ethnic leaders roundtable with Vice President Mondale. A few days after the meeting, I received call from the White House informing me that because they had received complaints from Jewish groups that a pro-Palestinian Arab had been at the meeting, I wouldnt be invited to follow-up discussions. The next year, my organization applied for membership in the Coalition for a New Foreign and Military Policya grouping of 60 religious, and peace and justice organizations. We overwhelmingly won the vote for admission, but three members, led by a liberal Jewish group, objected to our entry and threatened to quit the coalition if the Arabs were admitted. The coalition leadership then asked us to withdraw our application. In late 1979, my Palestine Human Rights Campaign hosted a major national conference that featured seven Members of Congress, major Black leaders, and many figures from peace and justice organizations. Despite receiving prominent and favorable national news coverage for three consecutive nights, a pro-Jewish Defense League newspaper in New York described the event with a huge font front page headline as a SECRET PLO MEET that plots terror. A few months later, after having received a number of threats, my office was firebombed. The JDL issued a statement which, while not claiming credit, said that they approved of the act. Months later, JDL head, Meir Kahane, showed up pounding on my office door taunting us about the firebombing until the police arrived and removed him from the premises. In 1981, I was invited by a national Italian American organization to head-up a multi-ethnic meeting addressing issues of media stereotyping. Some Jewish groups objected to my role accusing me of having another agenda. They refused to participate and convened their own meeting. In 1983, former Senator James Abourezk was invited to serve on the Executive Committee of the 20th anniversary of Dr. Kings March on Washington (I was asked to serve on the National Steering Committee). Once again, major Jewish groups threatened to withdraw if Arab Americans were included. After a long and painful debate, the matter was resolved in our favor when Rev. Joseph Lowery and Rev. Jesse Jackson intervened on our behalf. The threats continuedby mail and phoneall of which were reported to authorities. Some came to us in Washington, others to Arab American offices in other cities. Then, in 1985, Alex Odeh, the Director of the California American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee was murdered when a bomb exploded as he entered his office. Shortly after Alexs murder, the House Judiciary Committee and, later, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, held hearings on violence against Arab Americans. In my testimony, I said These acts of violence and threats of violence against Arab American organizations are but part of a larger picture of discrimination, harassment, and intimidation. We can document numerous instances of active political discrimination against Arab Americans, blacklisting of Arab American political activists and spokespersons, and efforts to bait or taint Arab American leaders and organizations as terrorist supporters. All of these actions and practices create a climate…[which] serve[s] to embolden the political opponents of Arab Americans to the point where, as we have seen, some have escalated their opposition to include acts of violence against Arab Americans and their organizations. While our efforts to organize and normalize our involvement in civic life proved challenging, in the political arena, Arab Americans faced even greater hurdles. Throughout the 1980s Arab Americans had contributions returned and endorsements rejected. A prominent group of St. Jude Hospital board members had their contributions to the Mondale campaign returned in 1984, and in 1988, presidential candidate Michael Dukakis rejected our endorsement. Two national political leaders, David Dinkins, running for Mayor in New York City, and Ed Szchau, running for a Senate seat in California, both directly asked me to discourage Arab Americans from contributing to their campaigns citing their fear of a backlash from the Jewish community. Whether their fears were real or imagined, the impact on my community was real and hurtful. In spite of these obstacles, we persisted and with the help of courageous leaders like Jesse Jackson, Ron Brown, and Bill Clinton we made our way into the mainstream. Jackson welcomed us into his two presidential campaigns. As Chair of the Democratic Party, Brown, despite warnings by some Jewish donors that they would withdraw support for the party, came to our events, welcomed us, and gave us a seat at the table. But problems remained. In 1992, Arab Americans were being rebuffed by the Clinton campaign. At that years Democratic Convention, I was approached by AIPACs legal director, who also served as the Clinton campaigns legal advisor. He said to me I know youre trying to get into the campaign. Why the F___ should we let you in? …leave us alone. I was shaken by the naked hostility of the encounter and went to Brown. Together we laid out a strategy. It ultimately led me to an unlikely placea meeting with Senator Joe Lieberman. Despite our many disagreements, he was approachable and fair. He was so incensed that he called the Clinton campaign expressing his outrage over this behavior. The next day, we were invited to join the campaign. While the Clinton years, shaped as they were by the Oslo Accords and the Presidents own personal commitment to justice, changed the political dynamic for Arab Americans, problems persisted with some Jewish groups still attempting to exclude Arab Americans and defame those who were in government posts. Now, however, the main threats came not from the mainstream groups, but from the fringes, and from a collection of entities funded by the likes of Sheldon Adelson and Robert Shillman. They assumed the role of smearing Arab Americans and now, American Muslims. Their efforts have not been able to exclude us, but they have been able to incite against usand the toll they continue to take on community leaders and activists is substantial. After 9/11, three men were arrested, tried, and convicted of making death threats against me, my family, and my office. Two of the three used, in their threats, material culled from these hate sitesciting their support for Israel as a reason for their hatred and death threats. The bottom line is the charge that supporters of Israel are, in part, responsible for instances of discrimination, hate crimes, and the political exclusion of Arab Americans cannot be dismissed as unsubstantiated. The history is too real and the pain is too deep. Shame on those who cant acknowledge the history and the pain. Follow @jjz1600 for more.

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July 22, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

Convicted Bomber Robert Manning Denies Any Role in Alex Odeh’s Murder in Lawsuit – OC Weekly

Odeh in his Santa Ana office Courtesy of Odeh Family The unsolved murder of Alex Odeha Palestinian-American activist killed in an Oct. 11, 1985, pipe bomb attack at his Santa Ana officeis getting renewed attention in an unlikely setting: Phoenix, Arizona. That’s where Robert Manning sits in a federal prison cell decades after being convicted for the 1980 mail-bomb murder of Patricia Wilkerson, a Manhattan Beach secretary. Manning was an activist with the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a militant group founded in 1968 by Rabbi Meir Kahane with the rally call of “every Jew a .22” that set off bombs targeting the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the organization for which Odeh worked. Though no one knows exactly who assassinated Odeh, a 1988 Village Voice expos noted law enforcement quickly focused its attention on three JDL associates: Keith Fuchs, Andy Green and Manning. The latter was collared in Israel for Wilkerson’s murder, then extradited back to the United States, where he was convicted in 1994. Though maintaining his innocence, Manning asked to serve his punishment in Israel, which the judge at the time refused. But in September 2015, the Department of Justice mysteriously approved his transfer request, only to revoke it two weeks later because of “additional information [that needed] to be reviewed and evaluated before we are authorized to make a decision.” He sued the United States government in court a year later, shortly after being denied parole in October 2016. And that’s where the Odeh case comes in. The suit claims the FBI has repeatedly approached Manning to try to obtain information on the Odeh bombing, citing a 2001 letter from now-retired agent Mary Hogan. “As the primary investigator in the Alex Odeh case, I have previously contacted you to solicit your assistance in this investigation,” she wrote to Manning. “In my view, you have nothing to lose in providing any information you have relating to the . . . case and can only help yourself.” Manning claims to not have any information about the bombing and that he wasn’t a JDL member, though media accounts have pegged him as one and he appears in a photo from JDL leader Irv Rubin’s wedding in the 2016 documentary about the group, Mother With a Gun. “Given the widely known and fundamentally incorrect assumptions about him, Mr. Manning has exercised his right to refrain from communicating with the government about any substantive issues, including matters relating to the Odeh event,” the suit reads. Yet, a 2015 Weekly cover story (see “Activists and Family Members Keep the Memory of Alex Odeh Alive, 30 Years After His Unsolved Assassination,” Oct. 7, 2015) revealed agents had, indeed, questioned Manning in the Odeh case over the course of their investigation. Citing pending litigation and an open investigation, the FBI declined to comment for this story. But Odeh’s widow did. “It’s shocking to even think of letting Manning finish his sentence back home,” says Norma Odeh. The Odeh family has long pinned responsibility on Manning for Alex’s murder. “Is that fair that Alex is gone, but Manning’s still there and thinking about going home? That’s ridiculous.” Representing Manning is Paul Batista, a well-known New York trial attorney whose legal-thriller novels receive high-profile praise from television personalities such as Nancy Grace. Batista used his prolific writing skills last week to file a challenge to the government’s recent move to dismiss the lawsuit. The DOJ’s attorney countered in May that Manning has no standing to challenge its discretionary authority under the International Transfer of Offenders Act. In addition, the DOJ claims, the New York Southern District Courtroom where Batista filed the lawsuit is an improper venue since Manning was convicted in California and serves his sentence in Arizona. “This ability to give and take away may have been viable in the France of Louis XVI,” Batista responded. “It is not viable here.” He also challenged the government’s improper-venue argument. “Manning could be required to hopscotch endlessly around the country to file an action in a judicial district where he ‘resides’ or is physically located. The government, in other words, can engage in an endless shell game to evade Mr. Manning’s claim.” The ADC, which Odeh helped to build as its western regional director, first learned of the Manning lawsuit earlier this year. “They’re trying to distort the fact that he’s a suspect” in the Odeh case, says Abed Ayoub, ADC’s legal and policy director. “We are confident that the FBI will pursue this aggressively and he will face charges.” The Odeh family wanted to attend Manning’s parole hearing last October, but they weren’t allowed because they had no direct connection to the Wilkerson case. But Patricia’s daughter, Pamela Wilkerson, contacted them and spoke about their case at the hearing. “When I showed up, he realized that there’s someone still around and invested in making sure he stays in prison,” Wilkerson says. While Manning’s suit describes him as confined to a wheelchair and nearly deaf, that’s not who Wilkerson says she saw from less than 3 feet away in a small conference room. “He’s a huge, strapping man who isn’t in a wheelchair,” she says. Manning pushed a walker, she adds, but insists “he isn’t frail in any way whatsoever.” Regina Tapoohi, Israel’s senior deputy to the State Attorney, and former U.S. Senator Carl Levin have signed letters of support for Manning (who holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship), arguing he deserves proper medical care in Israel, where he can be closer to his children and grandchildren. But Wilkerson, whose mother wasn’t Manning’s intended target, isn’t sympathetic. “In my mother’s case, a terrorist groupthe JDLwas willing to accept money to murder somebody who had nothing to do with their cause,” she says. Batista has high hopes for his client’s return to Israel. “If we prevail on the motion to dismiss, we will move for summary judgment to compel the transfer,” the lawyer told the Weekly. The prospect worries Wilkerson. “The idea of this being in the hands of a single judge scares me,” she says. “William Ross, the man who paid the fee and asked for the murder, died in prison. Manning needs to do the sameand in a U.S. prison [because that’s the country] where he committed the murder.” Jewish extremists hail Manning as a hero and rally for his return to Israel on online forums. And the JDL is making a comeback; members violently assaulted a Palestinian-American professor at a Washington, D.C., protest this year. Meanwhile, the Odeh case grows colder by the day. “It’s going to be 32 years, and nothing has been done,” Norma says. “I keep hoping [that] somehow they [will] bring the people responsible for my husband’s death to justice.”

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

The End of Europe as We Know It? – Middle East Forum

The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age, by James Kirchick. Yale University Press, 280 pp., $27.50. James Kirchick introduces us to one of the arch-villians of his new book, The End of Europe, with a characteristically witty flourish: Try to imagine a Christian being fed to a Coliseum full of lions (but make the Christian a fusion of John Cleese and Colonel Blimp and the lions all herbivores) and you begin to capture the essence of Farage’s regular performances before the European Parliament. This is, of course, Nigel Farage, the longtime leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). But cranks make history too. Farage was never able to secure a seat for himself in the House of Commons, but since British representatives to the European Parliament are elected through a system of proportional representation, he succeeded in being reelected as a Euro-MP amidst ever larger numbers of fellow UKIP militants. In 2014, the last Euro-elections in Britain before Brexit, UKIP “earned more seats than any other British party.” Now that this “perpetually tanned and pinstriped, chain-smoking former London City banker” has won his the campaign to get the United Kingdom out of the European Union, he may be “the most consequential British political figure of the past quarter century, second only to former prime minister Tony Blair.” To turn to a another part of Europe, and a different Kirchickian blend of derision and insight, take the story of the Palestinian schoolgirl and the Chancellor. In the summer of 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined a group of schoolchildren in the city of Rostock for a televised discussion. Rostock is in the poorest part the former East Germany, and has a high concentration of non-European asylum seekers. One of the students who Merkel met there was a Palestinian teenage girl named Reem Sahwil. She told Merkel that her family who had been in Germany for four years was now facing deportation, and asked whether they could stay. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s on-the-spot rejection of Palestinian teenager Reem Sahwil’s asylum request in 2015 was a public relations disaster. Merkel later changed Germany’s immigration policy, and Sahwil later explained that her life’s dream is to return to “Palestine” once Israel no longer exists. True to her image as the no-nonsense “Iron lady of Europe,” Merkel replied “You are a very nice person but you know that there are thousands and thousands of people in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and if I say ‘you can all come’ and ‘you can all come from Africa’, we just can’t manage that . . .” Anybody could have predicted that the girl would burst into tears creating a public relations disaster, that is to say, anybody but the Chancellor. Within six weeks, Merkel had reversed her stand, both regarding the Sahwil family and the “thousands and thousands” (actually over a million and mostly male) refugees seeking asylum in Germany. Moreover, she suggested that all European Union nations should do the same, in proportion to their population. What has hurt Merkel, Germany, and the EU more, her icy arrogance in Rostock, or her reckless policy surrender in Berlin? In a fascinating coda, Kirchick notes that in a subsequent interview young Reem explained that her life’s dream was, in fact, not to stay in Germany but to return to Palestine once Israel no longer exists. Why does Europe, the late-20th century’s greatest success story, now look so chaotic? How could a figure like Farage wrestle the second European power out of the EU? And how could, Angela Merkel, of all politicians, lose first her temper and then her sense of geopolitical balance? Just how dire is the European crisis? Why does Europe, the late-20th century’s greatest success story, now look so chaotic? Kirchick’s subtitle provides his own bleak answer to these questions: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age. We’re back in the 1930s again, but instead of fascism and Stalinism, we now have authoritarian populism of both right-wing and left-wing varieties. Instead of a German-led assault on the Versailles treaties, we have Russian-led revisionism. And instead of the good, old antisemitism, we have good, new brands of racism and xenophobia, including antisemitism, now (at least on the left) rebranded as anti-Zionism. As a European reader, and more specifically as a French Jewish one, I must, very unfortunately, agree with much of what Kirchick saysbut with some reservations. For Kirchick is too unsystematic in some ways, and too oversystematic in others. The End of Europe is, he explains, organized “geographically and thematically into eight chapters, each a case study of a nation in crisis, none of these crises are exclusive to the nations where they predominate,” so that “worrisome trends that are most visible in one country spill over borders and reverberate across the continent.” This makes for a brilliant but uneven, sometimes messy book (the chapter on a “France Without Jews,” for instance, does not say very much about France); it might have been better to make a more linear, synthetic argument. On the oversystematic side, Kirchick may make too much of some of the parallels he draws with the 1930’s. Nobody can deny, however, that he is right that populism is on the rise. In all its forms, populism posits that the ordinary citizens, “the people,” have been betrayed, impoverished and dispossessed by the system, and the nefarious predatory “elites” who run it. In its present European incarnation, populism is primarily directed against the European Union and globalization, and very frequently, albeit not always, against the United States and the Jews. Some of today’s European populists are anti-Muslim, some are not. Most are pro-Russian, though, again, some are not. It is indeed puzzling that such a mindset should be prevalent again across Europe. Western Europe has enjoyed peace and stable democracies for over seventy years, and its eastern half has spent the last three decades catching up. Thanks to the EU, the Euro-American special relationship and, yes, globalization, Europe as a whole and individual European countries have risen from poverty to affluence. Even taking into account an economic slowdown in some Europeans countries since 2008, and the EU’s transition from a redistribution agency to the budgetary and fiscal austerity enforcer it has become since the introduction of the Euro currency in 2002, it is still a much better bargain to be in Europe than outside of it. So why are so many Europeans convinced that the opposite is true? Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor Party shares many traits and positions with the authoritarian right (not least in its tolerance of anti-Semites and Putin’s Russia). While Brexit is the most spectacular success story of European populism to date, it remains a limited one: UKIP did not take over Britain, and Theresa May succeeded David Cameron as prime minister, not Farage. If, after the surprising results of the recent snap elections on June 8, she fails to cobble together a stable majority, the beneficiary will be Jeremy Corbyn, a very unenthusiastic supporter of remaining in the EU at the time of the vote who now says that he will support Brexit if he takes power. As Kirchick argues, Corbyn’s Labor Party shares many traits and positions with the authoritarian right (not least in its tolerance of anti-Semites and Vladimir Putin’s Russia). But to see how 21st-Century European populism truly works, one must turn to a EU country where the populists actually won a general election: Hungary. Freedom Square in central Budapest, Kirchick points out is “teeming with monuments attesting to Hungary’s turbulent twentieth century”: a huge obelisk dedicated to the city’s Red Army liberators, a bust of Admiral Miklos Horthy, the conservative regent who ruled from 1920 to 1944, a statue of Imre Nagy, “the executed hero of the 1956 anti-Soviet revolt,” and a marching “bronzed Ronald Reagan” whose finger points to the United States Embassy. The most recent monument, dedicated to “the Victims of the German Occupation” is also the most controversial. Its design is bizarre, an ugly, Teutonic eagle falling upon the luminous Archangel Gabriel, against a neo-Greek portico background, but its implication is worse : All Hungarians were equally victims of the Nazi occupation. Those who know (and care) that more than half a million Hungarian Jews were murdered either in Hungary proper or in Auschwitz, not to speak of the fact that many Magyars supported the invaders, cannot possibly agree. The Victims of German Occupation Monument was commissioned by the present Hungarian government, led by Viktor Orban and his Civic Alliance party (Fidesz). A loyal if skeptical follower of the communist regime in his youth, a center-right politician in the 1990’s, and then a classic conservative prime minister between 1998 and 2002, Orban returned to office in 2010 as a populist-nationalist leader. He then undertook to turn Hungary in an authoritarian and, as he proudly defined it, “illiberal” and “national” direction, following the examples of Russia, China and Turkey. The constitution was revised, with a clear view to making Fidesz rule permanent: “Either we want to prolong the two-party system with the ongoing division,” Orban stated in a public rally, “or we assert ourselves as a great governing party, a political force striving after permanent government.” Kirchick admits that Orban and the present Fidesz administration are nonetheless “genuinely popular.” And they owe their popularity, precisely, to their nationalism and the historical narrative they condone. Hungary’s Viktor Orban is extraordinarily popular. Orban’s populism, some have argued, is a response to his powerful competitor on the right, the Better Hungary Movement or Jobbik. While Fidesz won 52% of the national vote in 2010 and 44% in 2014, Jobbik swelled from 16% to 20%. An openly neo-Nazi party, it envisions much more than a mere taming of the liberal “elites.” It longs for a racially homogeneous State that would exclude the Roma minority as well as “the Jews,” who, in its parlance, are comprised by not just the present community of some 100,000, but all the real and imaginary descendants of 19th century and 20th century Hungarian Jews who assimilated or converted. Some of Orban’s supporters see him as preventing the further rise of Jobbik; his opponents see Jobbik as an unrestrained Fidesz. Whatever the interpretation, the unsettling fact is that this xenophobic anti-democratic surge is supported by roughly two-thirds of Hungary’s population in the heart of the European Union. In fact, more EU countries and more of their parties, are emulating Hungary and Fidesz. In Poland, the conservative Catholic Law and Justice Party has been passing Orbanesque legislation since 2015; Milos Zeman’s conservatives have become increasingly authoritarian and nationalistic in Czech Republic. Nor is the phenomenon restricted to Eastern Europe: while Marine Le Pen, the leader of the sovereignist, “anti-system” and anti-immigration National Front and a staunch admirer of Orban, did not win the presidential election on May 7, she garnered an impressive 37 % of the vote. Nor, of course, is populism restricted to right wing parties. As Kirchick shows, the left-wing Syriza regime in Greece is the clearest example of “the rise of an European Hard Left exuding the same authoritarian populism of the extreme right.” After five years of bankruptcy and negative growth, Syriza, led by an ex-Communist named Alexis Tsipras won a majority in the Vouli, Athens’ parliament, with the straightforward platform of promising that Greece could keep its welfare system, never pay its creditors, and, if necessary, renounce the euro. It was, at least in part, a bluff, the opening bid in negotiations with the EU over fiscal austerity and financial aid. Underlining Kirchick’s point about right and left, Nigel Farage lauded “the courage of the Greek people in the face of political and economic bullying from Brussels.” Other fans include leaders of the French National Front and Hungary’s Jobbik party. Similarly, during the recent French presidential campaign, Jean-Luc Mlenchon garnered 20% of the vote on the first ballot representing a new populist hard Left. After losing, Mlenchon declined for ten full days, in between the two presidential ballots, to take a stand against the National Front’s Marine Le Pen. It is not, of course, from the right that the existential threat to the Jews of France has emerged, but from the very immigrants its rhetoric and policies have targeted (which is not, of course, to say that the National Front is philo-Semitic either). The “home of both the largest Jewish population,” as Kirchik writes, “and the largest Muslim population on the continent,” France has become a notoriously dangerous place for Jews. “Anti-Semitic attacks in France comprise 51 % of all hate crimes even though Jews represent less than 1 % of the population.” Most of this anti-Semitic violence, from harassment to arson, murder or pogrom-like street violence, is perpetrated by radicalized Muslims. In 2006, there was the famous horrific “kidnapping, three week long torture and murderous dismemberment of 21 year-old Ilan Halimi” in Paris by a Muslim-led gang who called themselves “the Barbarians.” In 2012, Mohamed Merah, an Islamist activist of Algerian descent, murdered or maimed four soldiers in Toulouse and Montauban in Southern France and then killed a Jewish teacher and three Jewish preteen children in Toulouse at point blank. In 2014, “at the height of the Gaza war, what can only be described as a pogrom descended on the Don Isaac Abravanel synagogue” in Paris: A crowd of several hundred people, chanting ‘Death to Jews’ in Arabic and wielding iron bars and axes, tried to break into the building where about 200 worshippers were caught inside… Though French police rushed to the scene, one witness reported, had it not been for members of the vigilante Jewish Defense League, ‘the synagogue would have been destroyed.’ In 2015, in the wake of a mass shooting of journalists at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Central Paris, an ISIS supporter of Malian descent, shot a policewoman near a Jewish school in Montrouge, South Paris, and then, the following day, killed four hostages at a kosher supermarket in East Paris. As recently as in April 2017, as we were about to elect a new president, a 66 year-old Orthodox Jewish kindergarten director was tortured for an hour in her home in Paris by a young Muslim neighbor who was heard shouting “Allahu Akhbar,” and who prayed after throwing her out of the window of her third-story apartment. There is currently a public controvesy as to whether this will be prosecuted as a hate crime. These are but the headlines. No wonder then that the French Jews, in spite of their remarkable achievements as a community since 1945, and their no less remarkable contribution to French culture, are now leaving their country in large numbers. Two thousand French Jews immigrated to Israel in 2011. Four years later, Kirchick reports, the number had quadrupled. In fact, the decline is steeper than even these numbers suggest, for one has also to take into account those French Jews who settle in Israel as students or visitors without formally undertaking aliyah, not to speak of those who opt for other countries. Kirchick quotes the famous remarks of then-Prime Minister Manuel Valls after the January 2015 killing spree in Paris: The son of Spanish immigrants, Valls declared: If 100 000 French people of Spanish origin were to leave, I would never say that France is not France anymore. But if 100 000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. At the present rate of immigration, this will take no more than two decades, probably much less. And yet even if we stay, France, and its Muslim communities, must figure out how they will be integrated into a modern democratic society if France is to remain a viable nation. Radical Islamists seem to understand their migration to an originally non-Muslim Europe as part of a religious-political conquest. Radical Islamic brotherhoods and preachers seem to understand their migration to an originally non-Muslim Europe as part of a religious-political conquest, and many Muslims in France seem to accept this proposition at some level. On this understanding, Europe’s very acquiescence to a multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious societal model appears to be an admission of weakness. Ironically, they have a point. The political class has, too often been unable to confront immigrant communities, even when basic legal and societal norms are challenged. Muslim neighborhoods have indeed been turned into “no go zones,” not ghettoes where minorities are secluded, but areas from which non-Muslims are being expelled. As I write these lines, in the first weeks of the Emmanuel Macron administration, there is much discussion of the so-called “no women zones” that are spreading across Northern Paris, These are places where women who do not dress and behave according to strict interpretations of Sharia law are harassed and at times molested. France and its Muslim communities must figure out how they will be integrated if that country is to remain a viable nation. One of Kirchick’s strongest points, emphasized throughout his book, is that a single powerful player is at work supporting almost all European populists: Vladimir Putin. Right-wing populists praise Putin’s Russia as the vanguard of the White, Christian civilization, against both the rising tide of Islam and American decadence. Left-wing populists, on the other hand, still hail Russia as they did in the Cold War days as the main adversary of American imperialism. Both sides are generously rewarded. As Kirchick shows, even after the Soviet Union dissolved, its ruling elite stayed largely in place, especially in the very heart of the Empire. The army and the secret police remained intact, the planned economy became a State-controlled oligarchy, nationalism was substituted for communism, and Mother Russia sought to regain what she had lost. Vladimir Putin’s drive to reunite Russian-speaking communities into a single nation-state evokes little criticism from right-wing populists. It was the Yeltsin regime that began the process, with its “Near Abroad” doctrine, according to which Russia retained “vital interests” in the neighboring post-Soviet countries, and the parallel doctrine of “the Russian World,” that envisioned the “reunification” of all Russian-speaking communities into a single nation-state. Putin merely accelerated the process. In 2014, following the takeover of Crimea, he complained that following the dissolution of the USSR “the Russian nation became one of the biggest, if not the biggest ethnic group in the world to be divided by borders.” “Presumably,” Kirchik observes drily, “it is the Russian government’s duty to reassemble it.” A second explicitly stated Russian goal is to reestablish the former Soviet Union as a single geopolitical unit if not as a single state: a “Eurasian community” with Russia at its center. A concommitant third goal is to weaken or eliminate rival powers. Kirchick adapts the motto of NATO’s first Secretary General “Keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down.” Today, he says, “Putin’s strategy can be understood as a slight spin on this formula: ‘Move the Russians in, get the Americans out, and keep the Germans down.'” What Kirchik tells us about European populism and Russian revisionism is deeply alarming. But even as he points to the shortcomings of the European Union and the European political leadership in the major member-states, he demonstrates surprising confidence in the grand project of the European Union. Some may suspect that he confuses the Union as it is now with what it was supposed to have been. Certainly, he does not pay enough attention to what many observers or politicians, including committed Europhiles, call the Union’s “democratic deficit.” This describes the EU’s steady drift from democracy, or an administrative framework under which democracy could flourish, to a bureaucratic system in which many if not most decisions are made by unelected officials, and, once made, are close to irreversible. The EU’s ‘democratic deficit’ prevented it from dealing with the refugee crisis effectively. Indeed, just this democratic deficiency in our institutions may have prevented Europe as a whole, and many of the individual European governments, from identifying unavoidable political issues and dealing with them effectively, including fiscal problems and the refugee crisis. The European bureaucracy, as well as the various national bureaucracies, recognized these issues, and others, but did not act, often suppressing relevant information to legitimize their inaction. In doing so, they actually contributed to the rise of the populists, and played into the hands of the Russian schemers. Nonetheless, James Kirchick’s book is an impressive, deeply reported, and incredibly courageous, report on the challenges Europe faces. If Europe were to come to an end, its demise would not be through the populism of demagogues, or Russian agression, nor through the continued rise of radical Islamism, but rather through the fossilization of its democracy. Michel Gurfinkiel, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, is the founder and president of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute, a conservative think tank in France. Related Topics: Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muslims in Europe | Michel Gurfinkiel receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free mef mailing list

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July 19, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

The History of Anti-Arab Sentiment Is Too Deep, the Pain Too Real – LobeLog

by James J. Zogby A week ago, a pro-Israel media monitoring group accused me of making an unsubstantiated charge that Israel supporters are responsible for discrimination, hate crimes, and the political exclusion of Arab Americans. Because this issue is so important to Arab Americans and because some hardline pro-Israel groups refuse to acknowledge their role in harming my community, I am obliged to respond with a few examples representing just the tip of the iceberg of painful acts of defamation, discrimination, exclusion, threats, and violence. From the moment Arab Americans began to organize and to advocate for causes we held dear, we were confronted by attacks from major Jewish community organizations. Our early efforts to bring our community into the mainstream of American political life were met with resistance and campaigns of pressure designed to make us radioactive. They used political pressure to have us excluded from government meetings, engagement with coalitions, and involvement in political campaigns. They defamed us in reports they circulated (I have copies of all of them), terming us Arab propagandists, a made up community, a creation of petrodollars, purveyors of anti-Semitism, or a subversive plot supporting Palestinian terror. My first direct encounter with this exclusion came in 1978. I was invited to the White House for an ethnic leadersroundtable with Vice President Mondale. A few days after the meeting, I received call from the White House informing me that because they had received complaints from Jewish groups that a pro-Palestinian Arab had been at the meeting, I wouldnt be invited to follow-up discussions. The next year, my organization applied for membership in the Coalition for a New Foreign and Military Policya grouping of 60 religious, and peace and justice organizations. We overwhelmingly won the vote for admission, but three members, led by a liberal Jewish group, objected to our entry and threatened to quit the coalition if the Arabs were admitted. The coalition leadership then asked us to withdraw our application. In late 1979, my Palestine Human Rights Campaign hosted a major national conference that featured seven Members of Congress, major Black leaders, and many figures from peace and justice organizations. Despite receiving prominent and favorable national news coverage for three consecutive nights, a pro-Jewish Defense League newspaper in New York described the event witha huge fontfront page headline as a SECRET PLO MEET that plots terror. A few months later, after having received a number of threats, my office was firebombed. The JDL issued a statement which, while not claiming credit, said that they approved of the act. Months later, JDL head, MeirKahane, showed up pounding on my office door taunting us about the firebombing until the police arrived and removed him from the premises. In 1981, I was invited by a national Italian American organization to head-up a multi-ethnic meeting addressing issues of media stereotyping. Some Jewish groups objected to my role accusing me of having another agenda. They refused to participate and convened their own meeting. In 1983, former Senator JamesAbourezkwas invited to serve on the Executive Committee of the 20th anniversary of Dr. Kings March on Washington (I was asked to serve on the National Steering Committee). Once again, major Jewish groups threatened to withdraw if Arab Americans were included. After a long and painful debate, the matter was resolved in our favor when Rev. Joseph Lowery and Rev. Jesse Jackson intervened on our behalf. The threats continuedby mail and phoneall of which were reported to authorities. Some came to us in Washington, others to Arab American offices in other cities. Then, in 1985, AlexOdeh, the director of the California American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee was murdered when a bomb exploded as he entered his office. Shortly after Alexs murder, the House Judiciary Committee and, later, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, held hearings on violence against Arab Americans. In my testimony, I said: These acts of violence and threats of violence against Arab American organizations are but part of a larger picture of discrimination, harassment, and intimidation. We can document numerous instances of active political discrimination against Arab Americans, blacklisting of Arab American political activists and spokespersons, and efforts to bait or taint Arab American leaders and organizations as terrorist supporters. All of these actions and practices create a climate . . . [which] serve[s] to embolden the political opponents of Arab Americans to the point where, as we have seen, some have escalated their opposition to include acts of violence against Arab Americans and their organizations. Althoughour efforts to organize and normalize our involvement in civic life proved challenging, in the political arena, Arab Americans faced even greater hurdles. Throughout the 1980s, Arab Americans had contributions returned and endorsements rejected. A prominent group of St. Jude Hospital board members had their contributions to the Mondale campaign returned in 1984, and in 1988, presidential candidate MichaelDukakis rejected our endorsement. Two national political leaders, David Dinkins, running for mayor in New York City, and EdSzchau, running for a Senate seat in California, both directly asked me to discourage Arab Americans from contributing to their campaigns citing their fear of a backlash from the Jewish community. Whether their fears were real or imagined, the impact on my community was real and hurtful. In spite of these obstacles, we persisted and with the help of courageous leaders like Jesse Jackson, Ron Brown, and Bill Clinton we made our way into the mainstream.Jackson welcomed us into his two presidential campaigns. As chair of the Democratic Party, Brown, despite warnings by some Jewish donors that they would withdraw support for the party, came to our events, welcomed us, and gave us a seat at the table. But problems remained. In 1992, Arab Americans were being rebuffed by the Clinton campaign. At that years Democratic Convention, I was approached by AIPACs legal director, who also served as the Clinton campaigns legal advisor. He said to me, I know youre trying to get into the campaign. Why the F___ should we let you in? leave us alone. I was shaken by the naked hostility of the encounter and went to Brown. Together we laid out a strategy. It ultimately led me to an unlikely placea meeting with Senator Joe Lieberman. Despite our many disagreements, he was approachable and fair. He was so incensed that he called the Clinton campaign expressing his outrage over this behavior. The next day, we were invited to join the campaign. Althoughthe Clinton years, shaped as they were by the Oslo Accords and the presidents own personal commitment to justice, changed the political dynamic for Arab Americans, problems persisted with some Jewish groups still attempting to exclude Arab Americans and defame those who were in government posts. Now, however, the main threats came not from the mainstream groups, but from the fringes, and from a collection of entities funded by thelikes of SheldonAdelsonand RobertShillman. They assumed the role of smearing Arab Americans and now, American Muslims. Their efforts have not been able to exclude us, but they have been able to incite against usand the toll they continue to take on community leaders and activists is substantial. After 9/11, three men were arrested, tried,and convicted of making death threats against me, my family, and my office. Two of the three used, in their threats, material culled from these hate sitesciting their support for Israel as a reason for their hatred and death threats. The bottom line is the charge that supporters of Israel are, in part, responsible for instances of discrimination, hate crimes, and the political exclusion of Arab Americans cannot be dismissed as unsubstantiated. The history is too real and the pain is too deep. Shame on those who cant acknowledge the history and the pain. James J. Zogby is the president of the Arab American Institute.

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July 17, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed

Islamophobia Is the Glue That Unites Diverse Factions of the Far Right – Truth-Out

Women brandish US flags and shout at the “March Against Sharia” at Foley Square on June 10, 2017 in New York City. (Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images) The nationwide “March Against Sharia” rallies on June 10, 2017, brought an unholy alliance of far-right actors into the streets. While normally many of them would not be seen in the same room with each other, these different factions were drawn together by their mutual hatred of Muslims. Nazis and right-wing Zionists, LGBTQ activists and right-wing paramilitaries, “alt-lite” teens and hardened racist skinheads all took to the streets. While the left was quick to loudly oppose the march, it has been slower to try and understand the changing role that Islamophobia is playing on the US far right. Islamophobia is increasingly uniting formerly disparate factions. It is more socially acceptable than anti-Semitism while still demonizing a minority group. Plus, its ostensible emphasis on religion is a way to avoid specifically naming race. The rally was sponsored by the Islamophobic groupACT for America. The rally’s description said it was “In memory and support of victims of FGM [female genital mutilation], honor killings, and violence toward the LGBT community in the name of religion, culture or foreign law.” However, this was no gathering of human rights activists. Instead, it was a call for a range of (frequently misogynistic) far-right actors to shamelessly rally under a pretext of defending human rights. These includedfascists from groups like Identity Evropa, Vanguard America and Keystone State Skinheads; Islamophobic vigilantes like Soldiers of Odin; the Proud Boys, an alt-right fight club; the neo-confederate League of the South; and a variety of Patriot movement paramilitaries, including the Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and local militia groups. A handful of right-wing Zionists, as well as LGBTQ people, including the rally’s national organizerScott Presler,participated. The spectacle of right-wing Zionists in the street with Holocaust deniers, and LGBTQ people with rightist paramilitaries, is not one often seen. Although, since February 2017 many of the same actors had come out to supposed “free speech” events — really a cover for ultra-nationalist rallies — the March Against Sharia was an even broader coalition, with more mainstream reach. And it congealed around an issue with staying power which has made its way into the mainstream discourse. Zainab Arain, coordinator of the department to monitor and combat Islamophobia at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told Truthout this march is part of a third wave of US Islamophobia. The first emerged after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the second with the 1991 Gulf War, and the third with 9/11 and continuing since. But Arain said the recent marches were “the most striking examples of Islamophobic and far-right groups working together” that she had seen. In the past, differences over questions of race, LGBTQ people, Jews and foreign policy split these groups. Now, they have a firm common ground. Partly this is because Islamophobia acts as a replacement for (or an addition to) anti-Semitic and anti-Communist conspiracy theories that have long been core beliefs on the right. Like other conspiracy theories, Islamophobic ones often morph quickly as they adapt to fit new developments into their narrative. As Thomas Cincotta shows inManufacturing the Muslim Menace, some of the most frequent themes of recent years are Islamophobes demonizing Muslims as a foreign “other” that exist both outside the US, and as an unassimilable group inside of it. Islam is said not to be a religion at all, but rather a political ideology that seeks to dominate all cultures, either by force or subversion. US Muslims are portrayed as a fifth column who have infiltrated major institutions — including academia and the military — in order to replace the Constitution with Sharia law. Sleeper cells exist in the federal government (this is related to why former president Barack Obama was constantly accused of being a secret Muslim). And all Muslims are seen as potential terrorists, and all mosques are suspected enemy bases. As with any good conspiracy theory, a circular logic insulates Islamophobes from criticism. When Muslims try to resist oppression using legal means, Islamophobes claim this is “lawfare” — an attempt to subvert the judicial system. When Islamophobes are called out for their bigotry, they claim that the left, which they paint as “in” on the conspiracy, uses “political correctness” to silence them. Lindsay Schubiner at the Center for New Community told Truthout that US Islamophobes have imported apocalyptic fears of looming disaster from their European cousins, who “warn, outrageously, that Europe has already been lost to multiculturalism and advocate for closing the door to immigrants to preserve so-called Western civilization.” Islamophobia is important to the far right because it can fill the same political role as the old anti-Semitic narratives, and draw on the same emotional power — but it is far more socially acceptable and appeals to a larger audience. For example, in some parts of the far right, Muslims have replaced Jews as a feared unassimilable religious minority that seeks to undermine the moral fabric of our society. Muslims are also perceived by many on the right to be lower on the socioeconomic ladder than US Jews, and therefore an easier target. These Islamophobic narratives also update 1950s anti-Communist conspiracy theories — especially the notion that the major US institutions are controlled by a foreign fifth column — with a new enemy. The two get combined as well. While anti-Semites have long claimed a “Judeo-Bolshevik” conspiracy was at work, today, Islamophobes see a “Marxist-Islamic” conspiracy. Islamophobia crops up in parts of the far right that people frequently overlook. For example, there is intense and widespread Islamophobia among the heavily armed Patriot movement. As I documented in Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement, well-known Islamophobic organizers were among the armed paramilitaries led by Ammon Bundy, who seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in January 2016. They included John Ritzheimer, who just months before had organized a global rally targeting Muslims; and Blaine Cooper, who filmed himself wrapping pages of the Koran in bacon and setting them on fire. Additionally, the 3% of Idaho, a paramilitary group which came to Oregon to help protect the occupiers from being attacked by law enforcement, had previously organized anti-Syrian refugee rallies in Idaho. Islamophobia is also a way to express white nationalist ideals while avoiding explicit appeals to race, since it is cloaked as a criticism of a religion — even though its targets are overwhelmingly people of color. It is similar to, and has a large crossover with, the anti-immigrant movement. For example, one conspiracy theory is that ISIS sleeper cells sneak into the US through border towns controlled by Mexican drug cartels. And panic over Syrian refugees being secret terrorists combines both anti-immigrant and Islamophobic narratives. But Islamophobia is more than coded white nationalism — or, at least, there are other parts of the movement as well. These include the participation of people that white nationalist movements are usually allergic to — including people of color, immigrants, ex-Muslims, Jews and/or LGBTQ people. For example,in Toronto, Canada, Islamophobic groups include vigilante street patrol group Soldiers of Odin, which was started by Finnish neo-Nazis, who can be found next to the Jewish Defense League and Hindu nationalists. In the heavily armed Patriot movement, Islamophobia looks like it has basically replaced the role that antisemitism played in the 1990s militias. But others, including neo-Nazis and the “alt-right,” espouse both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia at the same time. And to make matters even more jumbled, a common Islamophobic position is to support Israel, which in their view is the frontline against the Muslim world, while also using thinly-veiled anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, such as “cultural Marxism.” Islamophobic conspiracy theories are not new in the US, and the left is aggressive about opposing them. But it needs to think about their changing function on the far right. Islamophobic rallies which include people of color, Jews and LGBTQ people are not as easy to dismiss as those solely made up of openly white supremacist groups — even if their racial politics end up the same in the wash. It is also necessary to cultivate subtlety and discernment in order to walk the line of supporting the struggles of LGBTQ people in Muslim-majority countries, while also opposing the US’s homegrown Islamophobes. The left has made a good start, but there is more work to be done. In order to confront the current wave of Islamophobia, it is crucial to understand how different far-right groups are deploying it as a unifying tool — and how this affects the growth of the far right as a whole.

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July 17, 2017   Posted in: Jewish Defense League  Comments Closed


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