Thursday, March 28, 2019

Trump Signs Proclamation: ‘Golan Heights Are Part of the State of Israel’

President Trump on Monday signed a proclamation recognizing “that the Golan Heights are part of the State of Israel,” challenging decades of largely unquestioned convention that the strategic ridge is occupied Syrian territory, to be returned as part of a future peace deal between the warring neighbors.

With Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Vice President Mike Pence, and senior administration officials looking on, Trump signed an order at the White House citing “unique circumstances” making it appropriate to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.

They included Israel’s capture of the ridge in 1967 “to safeguard its security from external threats,” aggressive actions by Iran and Hezbollah in Syria that “continue to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks on Israel,” and the fact that “[a]ny possible future peace agreement in the region must account for Israel’s need to protect itself from Syria and other regional threats.”

Netanyahu called the decision “historic.”

“Your recognition is a two-fold act of historic justice,” he told Trump. “Israel won the Golan Heights in a just war of self-defense, and the Jewish people’s roots in the Golan go back thousands of years.”

(Jewish links to the Golan go back to the conquest of Canaan as recounted in the Old Testament (Joshua 20:8 and 21:27). The remains of one of the world’s oldest synagogues were excavated in the 1970s at Gamla, scene of a costly battle during the Jewish revolt against the Romans in the 1st century AD.)

In the years leading up the Six Day War the Syrians frequently launched artillery attacks from the Golan on Israeli communities in the Galilee valley to the west.

One week after Israel captured the territory in June 1967 it offered to return it in exchange for a peace treaty with Syria. The Arab states rejected the offer that September, declaring there would be no peace, no recognition, and no negotiations with Israel.

Israel formally annexed the Golan in 1981, although from the early 1990s, several Israeli governments mulled relinquishing it in return for a full peace agreement with Damascus.

A deal never materialized, and the Golan’s future has not featured meaningfully in peacemaking efforts since 2008, when Turkey tried to mediate between its then ally, Bashar Assad, and Israel.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, the notion of Israel surrendering the Golan has looked increasingly remote.

“Your proclamation comes at a time when the Golan is more important than ever for our security, when Iran is trying to establish bases in Syria to strike at Israel,” Netanyahu told Trump. “From across the border in Syria, Iran has launched drones into our airspace, missiles into our territory.”

Trump’s decision brought praise from supporters of Israel inside and outside Congress.

“This show of support is a blow to Iran & its terrorist puppets who want to wipe Israel off the map,” tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) voiced hope the Senate would take up his recently-introduced legislation to enshrine the move in U.S. law.

“Words have power and meaning when those words are linked to action,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said earlier.

“In the recent past, the words of America’s leaders have meant little to the international community because their words often stood alone without a commitment to action. Under President Trump, the world sees and understands that the United States is a true friend and ally of Israel as his words of support are followed by meaningful and historic action.”

‘Departure from the international consensus’

Condemnation was fast in coming, too. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call that the move “leads to a flagrant violation of international law, impedes the settlement of the Syrian crisis, aggravates the situation throughout the Middle East.”

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation called the move “a serious departure from the international consensus and a violation of the international legitimacy that recognizes the Golan as an occupied Syrian territory since 1967.”

Protests also came from the European Union, Iran, Turkey, and others.

The latest scapegoat:  British newspapers

This afternoon, Corbynistas and other activists will protest outside News UK in London. Their beef? They think the newspapers produced in that building, primarily the Sun and The Times, are ‘Islamophobic’ and therefore bear some responsibility for the barbaric racist slaughter in Christchurch last week. This is a new low for the censorious PC left. It is not five years since nine journalists and cartoonists (and three non-journalists) were massacred in France for the crime of being ‘Islamophobic’, shot to death at their desks simply because they mocked Muhammad and were stinging critics of radical Islam. To gather outside the offices of journalists and brand them ‘Islam-haters’ so soon after journalists were murdered for being ‘Islam-haters’ strikes me as quite repulsive. This is the definition of a dodgy protest.

The finger-pointing at the media in the aftermath of Friday’s slaughter has been chilling. No sooner had the killer carried out his heinous deed than the Twitterati and sections of the commentariat were blaming certain columnists for contributing to this horror. Everyone from loudmouth alt-right agitators to established newspaper writers who have questioned the validity of the term ‘Islamophobia’ were named and shamed as facilitators of the mosque massacres.

The chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque said the media have to be more ‘responsible’ when writing about Islam. Press TV, the Iranian state channel Jeremy Corbyn once worked for, says the ‘Islamophobic media’ are ‘responsible for the deadly shootings at two mosques in New Zealand’. Online, leftists have been sharing actual lists of journalists who apparently have blood on their hands. These are like McCarthyite lists, lists of the undesirable, lists of people whose words apparently cause murder. Again, to draw up such lists in an era when journalists have been murdered for criticising Islam strikes me as incredibly callous.

There are so many problems with this rush to blame the media for the barbarism in New Zealand. The first is that it lessens the moral responsibility of the killer himself. It dilutes his evil through implying, or outright arguing, that certain journalists who have never said anything racist, far less called for violence, must burden some of the responsibility for what he did. Guardianistas have expressed more anger with Melanie Phillips than with the NZ killer himself in the days since the massacre – it is perverse.

The second problem is the plain censoriousness of it. Many of the journalists being named and shamed and listed and protested against have not expressed anti-Muslim bigotry – they are simply concerned about radical Islam and some of them are also concerned about Muslim immigration. Whether you agree or disagree with these concerns is immaterial – they are legitimate talking points. To argue that certain views and opinions directly give rise to murderous violence is a form of censorious blackmail. It says: ‘Silence yourself or else people will die.’

And thirdly there’s the double standard. Today’s protesters should answer this: if journalists who criticise Islam bear responsibility for the New Zealand massacre, do journalists who love and defend Jeremy Corbyn bear responsibility for the anti-Semitic slaughter at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October, when 11 Jews were killed? After all, the Corbyn movement has a pretty bad problem with anti-Semitism. It has supporters and members who have promoted actual racist views of the Jews. Corbynista journalists have continually tried to downplay the seriousness of anti-Semitism. They can’t get a handle on this crisis of prejudice. Did their words create the conditions for the Tree of Life barbarism? If not, why did other journalists’ mere criticisms of Islam cause the New Zealand horror? It doesn’t add up. Unless, of course, this media-bashing is just ghoulish opportunism rather than a properly thought-through analysis of the bigotry that fuelled the mosque massacres.

That is what we have here: ghoulish opportunism. It is really unfair to target journalists at News UK over what happened in New Zealand. These are decent reporters and columnists who cover world events as they understand them and who happen to have different political and moral opinions to the PC left. That is really why they are being protested against: because they deviate from ‘correct thinking’ as defined by the self-righteous left. These protesters are essentially exploiting the horrors that occurred in New Zealand to put pressure on certain journalists and editors to silence themselves and their ‘problematic’ opinions. These journalists have done nothing to facilitate terrorism; the protesters, on the other hand, come across like the unwitting heirs to the Charlie Hebdo barbarism with their targeting and demonisation of journalists who have committed the ‘crime’ of criticising Islam.


Justice in Chicago is political

On Tuesday, the Cook County State's Attorney's office announced it had dropped the 16 counts against Empire star Jussie Smollett. State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from the case, but the prosecutor who dropped the case reports to her. A Chicago police union rep told PJ Media that Foxx was behind the decision to drop the charges, and this represents merely one more example of her throwing the Chicago police "under the bus," following the lead of former president Barack Obama.

"Once again, she's throwing the Chicago Police Department completely under the bus, which she's been doing for the last two years in office," Martin Preib, second vice president at the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), told PJ Media on Tuesday. He argued that Foxx had never truly recused herself from the case, since her "underlings" remained involved.

"What's the difference between her recusing herself and her underlings having the case? What really has been recused here? Nothing," Prieb declared.

Smollett told police that on January 29, masked white attackers wearing MAGA hats had screamed, "This is MAGA country!" before seizing him, putting a noose around his neck, and pouring an unknown bleach-scented liquid on him. His story fell apart as no video evidence of the alleged attack was captured, and two black men came forward, telling police Smollett paid them to orchestrate the hoax.

Smollett was eventually charged with 16 felony counts after reporting a hate crime hoax.

After the charges were dropped, he claimed, "I have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I've been accused of."

Last week, Prieb told PJ Media many police doubted Smollett's story from the get-go. Even so, he said he was not surprised when prosecutors dropped the charges on Tuesday, even though the evidence against the Empire star seems crystal clear.

"The weaponization of the criminal justice system that we saw under the Obama administration through to this Mueller investigation, this attack on Trump, Foxx falls right in line with that — undermining the criminal justice system and turning it into a political advocacy outpost for the left," Prieb said.

The FOP has called for investigations of Foxx many times in the past. Just last week, it renewed those calls, highlighting Foxx's early interference in the Smollett case.

Just days after Smollett gave his story to police, Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, Tina Tchen, asked Foxx to contact the FBI and get the feds involved in the hate crime investigation. Foxx told Tchen she had reached out to Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, telling him to get the FBI involved.

"It seems a totally inappropriate thing to do, to ask a prosecutor to get involved in a case that early on," Prieb told PJ Media last week.

Yet Foxx has a notorious history of letting criminals off the hook.

One particularly egregious example involved the vacating of two felony convictions for high-ranking Spanish Cobra gang member Ricardo Rodriguez in February. Eliminating the 20-year-old convictions paves the way for Rodriguez to avoid deportation and remain in the country, FOP representatives argued.

Prieb also mentioned two cases early in Foxx's administration. Arturo DeLeon-Reyes and Gabriel Solache confessed to stabbing Mariano and Jacina Soto, murdering them and kidnapping their children. Yet Solache and DeLeon-Reyes claimed, like so many convicts, that they were victims of police misconduct, even though they pleaded guilty and confessed to the murders. The two were later released after Foxx's office granted immunity to a police officer who testified against the department.

According to FOP's reporting in 2017, Foxx received hefty political contributions from Arthur Loevy, one of the most powerful wrongful conviction law firms in Illinois.

Prieb also noted that one of the attorneys for Smollett, Patricia Brown-Holmes, also prosecuted three Chicago police officers for an alleged conspiracy against 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Foxx relentlessly attacked her predecessor, Anita Alvarez, for failing to charge the police involved, even though the officers were later acquitted.

Prieb argued that Foxx's crusade against police to free criminals echoed the efforts of the Department of Justice under Barack Obama. Obama himself intervened in many high-profile cases of alleged police abuse against black men.


Top cop wants to edit Britain's national news

Neil Basu’s lecturing of the press is a worrying sign of the times.

We are told that assistant commissioner Neil Basu, Britain’s top counterterrorism cop, has ‘the toughest job in UK policing’. Yet somehow AC Basu has found time to take on an extra job – as the self-appointed editor of our national news.

Basu has published what the sympathetic Guardian calls ‘an open letter to the media on how to report terrorism’, which sounds like a top cop issuing orders to newspapers and TV broadcasters on what they can and can’t publish. Anybody might think we lived in a PC police state.

AC Basu blames the mainstream news media for ‘radicalising’ far-right terrorists such as the New Zealand mosque murder suspect. He attacks the tabloid press for publishing clips of the carnage in Christchurch and for making ‘the rambling “manifestoes” of crazed killers available for download’.

The accumulated wisdom of Britain’s head of counterterrorism, backed by the sophisticated hi-tech methods of modern policing, basically boils down to: ‘I blame the meejah.’

Basu even claims that the racist who rammed a van into worshippers outside London’s Finsbury Park mosque was ‘driven to an act of terrorism by far-right messages he found mostly on mainstream media’. Some of us might naively have assumed the murderer was responsible for driving his vehicle at the crowd. But no, he was ‘driven’ to it by the media, apparently with no more personal responsibility for his actions than an unthinking van with somebody’s foot on its accelerator.

Amid the confused discussion that follows any act of terrorism these days, one official message always rings out loud and clear: that the problem is we have ‘too much’ freedom of speech and of the press. Thus AC Basu declares that ‘society needs to look carefully at itself’: ‘We cannot simply hide behind the mantra of freedom of speech. [I]t is not the freedom to cause harm – that is why our hate-speech legislation exists.’

If there is a ‘mantra’ being repeatedly chanted in Britain today, it is certainly not in defence of free speech. It is the mantra that free speech means ‘hate speech’, that freedom does ‘harm’, that words are as dangerous as weapons, and that society needs even more restrictions on what we should all be allowed to say, hear or read.

Remarkably, in the new free-speech wars, a top cop like AC Basu is on the same side of the barricades as the radical press-haters who picketed the offices of News UK – publisher of the Sun and The Times – after Christchurch. Both the police establishment and the Corbynite left loathe freedom of speech and of the press, largely because of their shared contempt for the ‘ordinary people’ who they fear are ignorant and gullible enough to be turned into racists and terrorists by a ‘hateful’ word or image.

Free speech and a free press are not excuses we ‘hide behind’. We should shout upfront that they are the most precious liberties of all in a civilised society. Free speech is never the problem, but the potential solution to political crises. Some of us do not believe the scaremongering about a far-right ‘upsurge’ across the West. But if you want to plant the seeds for one, keep lecturing people on what they are permitted to think or say about Islam or anything else.

The hard truth is that free speech has to be for the self-styled ‘eco-fascist’ suspect in the Christchurch massacre as much as for the imam of Finsbury Park mosque or assistant commissioner Neil Basu.

Of course, that freedom does not give any Islamist or far-right terrorist the ‘right’ to have their manifesto published or linked to via the mainstream media. Those decisions are judgement calls, matters of editorial discrimination which the rest of us are free to endorse or criticise. But the last thing we need is those judgement calls on what should be published being made by police chiefs or judges.

If it can now be deemed in the public interest for a top cop to try to edit the news, then, to quote AC Basu, our supposedly free society surely does ‘need to look carefully at itself’.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


No comments: