Monday, May 07, 2018

Israel Strikes Hamas Position in Gaza Used to Send 'Kite Bombs'

Military says airstrike targeted position next to border fence

The Israel Air Force on struck a Hamas position in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday night, the Israeli military said Sunday morning. The strike, near the border fence, occurred after a position next to the fence was used by Palestinians to send firebombs tied to kites into Israel, the military said.

On Friday, the health ministry in Gaza said 70 Palestinians had been wounded by Israeli live fire as thousands protested along the Gaza-Israel border fence. According to the Israeli military, riots broke out at five locations along the fence, with protesters burning tires, throwing stones and flying kites with flammable material with the aim of starting fires in Israeli territory.

On Saturday night, Hamas' military wing blamed Israel for the killing six of its men in an explosion in the central Gaza Strip. The Israeli military denied any involvement in the blast.

Wednesday saw ten firefighters gaining control of a fire that destroyed some 60 acres of land near Kibbutz Be'eri near the Gaza border, which local regional councils said was caused by a firebomb tied to a kite.  



When a Philadelphia Starbucks manager called the police after two black men refused to leave, the chain of events ended with the burnt taste of the overpriced coffee chain colluding with anti-Semitism.

Starbucks reacted to the brief arrest by blaming the police, but Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who is African-American, initially said that his officers, “did absolutely nothing wrong”. But then he was forced to offer a bewildering apology to the arrested men, the officers and the entire city.

“It is me who in large part made most of the situation worse than it was,” he announced.

But that wasn’t Ross. It was Black Lives Matter and other black nationalist groups which targeted the coffee chain, chanting, “Starbucks coffee is anti-black”. And to appease them, Starbucks rolled out a major company retraining effort overseen by former Attorney General Eric Holder, along with Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP, Heather McGhee of Demos and Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL. Greenblatt was the only non-black civil rights leader on the list.

And, like a cup of overpriced Starbucks coffee, the burnt taste got worse the deeper you went.

In February, Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam had delivered a violently anti-Semitic speech to an appreciative audience that included Tamika Mallory. "White folks are going down," the hate group leader had declared. "And Farrakhan, by God's grace, has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew."

Farrakhan had praised Mallory and the Women’s March leader had dubbed him the greatest of all time. Nor was she the only Women’s March leader with a crush on the black nationalist bigot. Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez had their own Farrakhan fandom. And despite pressure, the radical leftist org had refused to condemn Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, but continued to defend the hate group.

In the Greenblatt era, the ADL had become even more tentative about challenging anti-Semitism on the left. It had been largely absent in the battles over campus anti-Semitism, had defended some forms of BDS and had attacked Jewish civil rights activists, such as Canary Mission, for fighting for Jewish rights.

But the ADL took credit for condemning Mallory’s attendance and support for Farrakhan. The Nation of Islam’s anti-Semitism had been widely denounced. And the ADL didn’t think it was taking much of a risk.

When Starbucks made its retraining announcement, Mallory and her allies were quick to pounce. They berated the coffee chain for working with an “anti-black” organization. The dispute split the left between black nationalists and establishment groups. Mallory was joined by Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, while Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress, called them out.

“Women of color who promote anti-Semitism -- defending Farrakhan and attacking ADL - are deserving of criticism and I say that as a woman of color.” Tanden had retorted sharply.

But the brief shining moment of decency on the left quickly vanished as Starbucks dumped the ADL.

In the dispute between black nationalist Farrakhan fans and the ADL, Starbucks chose anti-Semitism. The coffee chain was spending money buying immunity from protests by Tamika’s allies. There was no reason for it to continue working with the ADL if the organization not only couldn’t protect it from angry protesters, but if its Jewish associations might actually incite even more attacks on its businesses.

And the rest of the Starbucks social justice deck would have been more likely to lean toward Mallory.

As Attorney General, Eric Holder had become notorious for his collaboration with black racist and anti-Semitic groups, including The New Black Panther Party and Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund had participated in the Women’s March. And the NAACP has its own troubling history with Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

Tossing the ADL overboard, the corporate leadership of Starbucks showed that it would fight racism, but collude with anti-Semitism. And it wasn’t the first time Starbucks had colluded with anti-Semitism.

In 2014, Starbucks had issued a bizarre statement assuring Muslims that it didn’t fund Israel.

"Neither Starbucks nor the company’s chairman, president and CEO Howard Schultz provide financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army in any way," the press release assured.

It stated that its Israeli stores were closed and that its business plans for the region would be developed with a Kuwaiti family. Kuwait has been known to boycott companies doing business with Israel.

The press release insisted that Starbucks is "a non-political organization." Except that’s a lie.

Starbucks had pushed for gun control, cheered gay marriage and refugee migration. The coffee chain hadn’t been worried about the resulting boycotts. It was only concerned about offending customers with certain views. Those views have always included anti-Semitism.

The politically correct coffee chain dropped the ADL for the same reason it had disavowed Israel.

It would have been unthinkable for Starbucks to have put out a press release assuring the KKK that it didn’t do business with black people. Or that it didn’t donate to gay marriage or to Muslim groups.

It’s never been proven that the Philly Starbucks had racist motivations, but the entire company has a consistent history of blatantly pandering to anti-Semites that is as bitter as its dark roast.

The Starbucks double standard on anti-Semitism is the same one that pervades the left.

From Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson to the Women’s March, civil rights has required a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with anti-Semitism. Al Sharpton led a race riot through a Jewish neighborhood and was rewarded for it with a speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention, an MSNBC show and easy access to Obama and Holder. Mallory had been photographed with Farrakhan, but so had Obama.

And then there’s the NAACP, whose legal defense fund had also been enlisted by Starbucks.

NAACP leaders have repeatedly appeared with Farrakhan. Benjamin Chavis, who had become notorious for convening a summit with the Nation of Islam, later joined the hate group. Ben Jealous, currently running for the governor of Maryland, appeared at forums attended by Farrakhan.

Muslim advocacy has followed the same pattern with groups such as CAIR, whose leaders have made anti-Semitic statements and who have hosted Neo-Nazis, being elevated while their bigotry is ignored.

That’s how we ended up with Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour. And Louis Farrakhan.

The post-King era has erroneously conflated racial tribalism with civil rights. Its civil rights leaders are invariably black nationalists and that’s why they find it so hard to resist Farrakhan’s racist supremacism.

Starbucks could have rejected both racism and anti-Semitism. But that’s too much work. Like most corporations, it doesn’t partner with racial healers, but racial dividers. They’re the ones who threaten its bottom line. And they’re the ones who are seen as having credibility with the radicals on the street.

The real lesson here is for the ADL which tried to have it both ways. Under Greenblatt, it wanted to belong to the social justice axis while paying lip service to the fight against anti-Semitism. It did the least that it could do to challenge anti-Semitism on the left. And even that proved to be too much for the left.

There’s no room on the left for even the mildest criticisms of anti-Semitism from the left.

Like Starbucks, the ADL will have to choose between fighting anti-Semitism and pandering to the left. And, like Starbucks, it is likely to drop anti-Semitism as the price of admission for staying on the left.

Starbucks will go on touting its commitment to fighting racism even as it colludes with anti-Semitism. And the ADL will criticize anti-Semitism from white nationalists, but not black nationalists, from the right but not the left, and hope that the overpriced coffee chain will welcome it back with some burnt coffee.

 Because there’s no price to pay for anti-Semitism, but there is a bitter price for fighting anti-Semitism.


Boy Scouts Nix the Word ‘Boy,’ Showing They No Longer Believe in Masculinity

It seems the Boy Scouts of America would prefer not to exist.

On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts announced that their signature program known simply as the “Boy Scouts”—which serves ages 10 to 17—will no longer bear the word “boy.” Beginning in February, it will be known as Scouts BSA.

This change comes only months after the Boy Scouts announced girls would be allowed into the program. Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said they wanted to choose a name that “evokes the past but also conveys the inclusive nature of the program going forward.”

This name change, and the “inclusive” policy change that preceded it, indicates a fundamental shift away from the mindset that first gave rise to the Boy Scouts in the early 20th century. One can’t shake the impression that if the Boy Scouts were starting from scratch, they’d ditch even the acronym “BSA” and go completely gender-neutral.

It’s worth probing that fundamental shift in mindset.

The very existence of Boy Scouts, as separate from Girl Scouts, suggests a belief that boys and girls are fundamentally different, and that some good could be achieved by separating them for certain purposes. Otherwise, we would have simply had the “Scouts.”

The Boy Scouts emerged out of a culture that valued boyhood and girlhood as distinct realities, rooted in maleness and femaleness. Each gender had its own unique set of virtues that our culture sought to cultivate in the next generation.

Those virtues are captured in the Boy Scouts’ 1916 congressional charter, which read:

The purpose of this corporation shall be to promote, through organization and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods which are now in common use by Boy Scouts.

Courage. Self-reliance. Virtues accessible to all, no doubt, yet which were considered integral to the masculine ideal.

The Girl Scouts came into being just two years after the Boy Scouts. Their motto was even more explicitly tailored to a single gender: to train girls “first as good women, then as good citizens, wives, and mothers.”

If the founders of these organizations believed men and women are essentially the same, and that the same ends could be achieved by mixing Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts together, then again, we would simply have inherited the “Scouts of America.”

But instead, two years after the Boy Scouts were founded, Juliette Gordon Low founded the organization that became the Girl Scouts. Though she took inspiration from Sir Robert Baden-Powell, who founded the Boy Scouts, she wanted to start a different organization.

So the legacy we have is two separate institutions premised on the idea that masculine and feminine identities actually matter—that they are unique, special, each worthy of celebration in their own right, and worth cultivating in the next generation.

Yet today, the Boy Scouts organization is perpetually at war with itself—at war with the very premise of its own existence.

The Boy Scouts rightly recognize that male and female are inherently equal. But equal doesn’t mean the same. The Boy Scouts seem to have conflated the two. If boys and girls are essentially the same, what’s to be gained from keeping them separate? That would be arbitrary and perhaps even wrong.

But if boys and girls are in fact different, and generally oriented toward their own unique masculine and feminine virtues, then it makes perfect sense to nurture them in separated settings—at least for discrete activities like scouting.

Yet the Boy Scouts have jettisoned that thinking in favor of radical inclusion. They may have achieved greater inclusivity, but at what cost? Their very definition is exclusive, just as so many other groups are exclusive (think of AARP, the NAACP, or the National Organization for Women). The Boy Scouts have sacrificed their identity to the left’s absolutist vision of inclusion.

That vision will be the death of any group that seeks to define itself by any unique trait.

Definitions are by necessity exclusionary, and any group that defines itself as A and not B will face pressure from the left to embrace B as well.

Except then, there’s no point to having a group at all. We’ll all just be absorbed into the left’s all-consuming impulse to “include” everyone. The left’s crusade for inclusion will redefine and un-define every group it touches.

Ironically, such radical inclusion is the death of any real diversity, because without real difference, there can be no diversity.


How a ‘Far-Left Propaganda Machine’ Got a Respected Legal Group Expelled by Amazon

Alliance Defending Freedom has won seven cases at the U.S. Supreme Court in as many years, including one that upheld an Arizona school choice program and another that prevented the state of Missouri from discriminating against a Christian preschool.

The legal powerhouse, which fights for religious freedom, is awaiting decisions in two more landmark free speech cases it argued this term before the high court. It is counted as one of the most successful legal advocacy organizations in the country.

But even that stellar record was not enough to prevent Alliance Defending Freedom from being banned from participating in AmazonSmile, which allows customers to contribute “0.5% of eligible purchases” to “almost one million eligible 501(c)(3) public charitable organizations.”

ADF had been one of those charities since the 2013 launch of AmazonSmile until recently, when those who had assigned the legal organization as their charity were notified that it was no longer eligible.

The reason? Southern Poverty Law Center.

Those who had selected ADF as their charity received the following explanation of why they’d no longer be able to give to the religious freedom group through the program:

The AmazonSmile Participation Agreement states that certain categories of organizations are not eligible to participate in AmazonSmile. We rely on the Southern Poverty Law Center to determine which charities are in certain ineligible categories. You have been excluded from the AmazonSmile program because the Southern Poverty Law Center lists Alliance Defending Freedom in an ineligible category.

For those unfamiliar with SPLC, they are the hysteria-stokers responsible for producing a slanderous list of “hate groups” that lumps together actual violent extremists with respectable organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council and with international human rights activists such as Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

So, the “ineligible category” to which Amazon’s statement refers is really nothing more than a hit list of groups and people SPLC disagrees with. Amazon’s decision to rely on the false accusations of such a bad actor is inexplicable.

In response to the ban, Alliance Defending Freedom’s CEO, Michael Farris, sent a letter urging entrepreneur and philanthropist Jeff Bezos’ Amazon to reconsider its alliance with the widely discredited Southern Poverty Law Center:

Although the SPLC did good work many years ago, it has devolved into a far-left propaganda machine that slanders organizations with which it disagrees and destroys the possibility of civil discourse in the process. The group has been discredited by investigative journalists and charity watchdogs as a ‘direct mail scam’ that has seen its leaders amass enormous fortunes. It is no surprise that the United States Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have severed ties with the SPLC.

Lest one think that Southern Poverty Law Center is a misunderstood group of would-be do-gooders just trying to provide a public service, but not quite hitting the mark, consider the words of a senior executive, Mark Potok, who said: “Sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate crimes and so on … I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them.” (Emphasis mine.)

By its own admission, SPLC is in the game not to inform, but to obliterate. Nice set of friends you have there, Mr. Bezos.

“Southern Poverty Law Center spends its time and money attacking veterans, nuns, Muslims who oppose terrorism, Catholics, evangelicals, and anyone else who dares disagree with its far-left ideology,” ADF Senior Vice President Kristen K. Waggoner said. “Meanwhile, ADF works every day to preserve and affirm free speech and the free exercise of religion for people from all walks of life and all backgrounds because we believe freedom is for everyone.”

I can affirm the truth in the above statement, as I spent 13 years working alongside Kristen and many other honorable people at Alliance Defending Freedom. From firsthand experience, I know ADF is committed to building freedom’s future, while Southern Poverty Law Center is hell-bent on vaporizing any opposing views.

With SPLC having been repeatedly exposed as a huckster racket for decades by voices from across the ideological spectrum, it is mind-boggling that one of the largest companies in the world would align itself with its  destructive bigotry.

As a private business, Amazon has the freedom to make choices like this.

But faithful Amazon customers should know that Amazon’s choice is to side with a torch-and-pitchfork fear merchant over millions of people who have the audacity to believe in religious freedom, free speech, strong families, and the sanctity of human life. Those are all causes that Alliance Defending Freedom has spent a quarter of a century ably defending.



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: