The sudden decline and fall of America 1

… from triumph to abasement.

So, the Left won its Pyrrhic victory,” Victor Davis Hanson writes at American Greatness.

Having control of the White House and both Houses  of Congress, what have the Democrats accomplished with all that power?

Their priority was to undo what President Trump had done.

What followed was a concerted effort to destroy the Trump record.

What had Trump achieved? Most importantly –

The greatest level of combined annual natural gas and oil production in any nation’s history, record low minority unemployment and near record peacetime, general unemployment, a border secure and illegal immigration finally under control, and a New Middle East in which Israel and its Arab enemies concluded neutrality pacts. China was put on notice for its past mockery of global norms. Inflation was low, growth was good. “Stagflation” was still a rarely remembered word from the past. …

Then came the rule of the Left and –

Within eight months the following was finalized [by the Democrats]:

Joe Biden utterly destroyed the idea of a border. Some 2 million were scheduled to cross illegally in the current fiscal year. The sheer inhumanity of deplorable conditions at the border surpassed any notion of the “cages” Donald Trump, in fact, had inherited from the humanitarian Barack Obama.

A war almost immediately broke out in the Middle East, once Biden distanced the United States from Israel and rebooted the radical Palestinian cause.

The Taliban defeated the 20-year effort of the United States in Afghanistan, in the most humiliating withdrawal of the American military in over 45 years. Tens of billions of dollars of abandoned military equipment now arm the Taliban and have turned Afghanistan into a world arms mart for terrorists.

Whereupon –

Iran is emboldened and speeds up its nuclear proliferation efforts.

China brags that the United States has been Afghanistanized and will not defend its allies, Taiwan in particular.

At home, gas prices have soared.

Prior trillion-dollar deficits now seem financially prudent in comparison to multitrillion-dollar red ink.

The nation is more racially polarized than at any time in the last half-century.

A bleak and venomous woke creed has outdone the hate and fear of the McCarthyism of the 1950s, as it wages war on half the nation for various thought crimes

With Biden came not just woke polarization, stagflation, a subsidized ennui that erodes the work ethic, and selective non-enforcement of existing laws: wors, still, we got a bankrupt ideological defense of these insanities. Critical legal theory, critical race theory, and a new monetary theory were all dreamed up by parlor academics to justify the nihilism.

And among the shocks administered to Americans as their country fails and falls, acts of treachery and deeds of corruption:

Did America ever believe that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would trash his commander in chief as Hitlerian to journalist hitmen, or allegedly denounce news organizations as “terrorists”, or interrupt the chain of command on a prompt by the Speaker of the House, or warn the Chinese military that he believed there was enough instability in the White House to justify a promise to warn of any impending U.S. military action against Beijing deemed offensive?

With Biden, China is now omnipresent in the halls of power. A task of our chief COVID advisor, Anthony Fauci, seems to be to deny repeatedly that his stealthy funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan virology lab in China had anything to do with the likely accidental release of a likely human engineered and energized coronavirus. Americans still cannot even imagine that their government might have helped subsidize the plague germ that has wrought such havoc upon them.

Meanwhile the president’s son still owns a 10 percent cut in a communist Chinese government-affiliated financial venture, apparently due to his prior drug-addled record of financial mismanagement. The media still insists Hunter Biden’s laptop was “Russian disinformation”, while his paint-by-numbers art is auctioned off to foreign lobbyists expecting a return of the old days when Hunter and Joe grandly arrived on Air Force Two to do their bidding.

All who voted for Trump are declared to be “white-supremacists’ and “terrorists”. Peaceful protestors are labeled “insurrectionists” and locked up without charge as political prisoners, while  violent protestors are called “peaceful”. The “peaceful” rioters, arsonists, and killers are alone exempted from having to wear masks in obedience to the absurd restrictions imposed on the rest of the nation in the time of pestilence, on the grounds that their ideological correctness sanitizes and immunizes them.

Our esteemed retired military and civil libertarians who had damned the mere thought of using federal troops to quell the prior four summer months of continuous rioting were suddenly happy to see 25,000 federal soldiers patrol Washington to hound out fantasy second-wave insurrectionists. …. There were now to be good federal troops deterring mythical violent domestic extremists, but bad federal troops who should never stop real, ongoing mayhem in the streets.

When there were –

120 days of continuous rioting, looting, and arson. In the election-year summer 2020, federal courthouses and iconic buildings were torched. Nearly $2 billion worth of property was destroyed and 28 were killed. Yet Vice President Kamala Harris rallied the public to help bail out the arrested. … The weeks of “spontaneous” mayhem magically vanished after November 3, 2020 [when Biden “won” the election]. Note that esteemed medical professionals argued that BLM protestors who flooded the streets were exempt from quarantine, social distancing, and mask requirements, given their higher morality.

Convicted criminals have been let out of prison by the thousands. The innocent are punished. The guilty go free – and are rewarded.

America’s undoing has taken less than a year.

Tyrannosoros 12

… and the thinker whose reputation it befouls.

1.The Monster

George Soros is a real-world supervillain and he is able to direct the law, constitutional and political culture of entire nations using his money and his vision of what society ought to look like. He is able to get away with it thanks to general ignorance of just how effective he is and a coordinated effort by the media to smear anyone who calls him out as a dangerous fanatic.

George Soros is a dangerous fanatic.

He is gunning for you, your property, your children, and ultimately your way of life.

So Sam Jacobs explains at Ammo.com.

George Soros is bankrolling and influencing public policy and opinion from the local level all the way up to the national level. Entire nations have been made to bow to the Soros agenda, but perhaps more importantly for us, key local officials in government are increasingly wholly owned subsidiaries of the Soros machine.

He distributes money to subvert governments and institutions mainly through The Open Society Foundations, an umbrella organization with many subsidiaries.

He spreads his destructive ideology through a “think-tank” called New America. 

Ever wonder why urban terrorists can burn down cities with no consequences but the McCloskeys are prosecuted for defending their home against the same? The answer is George Soros, his money, and his influence.

How does Soros go about his subversive work, his treasonous work in America?

We partly quote, partly summarize the article by Jacobs:

The Soros operation aims to abolish the police. It has invested $1.5 million in the “Community Resource Hub for Safety & Responsibility”, one of these blandly named organizations working to undo the American way of life.

Soros funded urban unrest in Ferguson in 2014.

He spent $33 million fomenting chaos in the formerly safe suburb of St. Louis, and another $33 million on Black Lives Matter (BLM) alone.

BLM is a communist racist organization.

And he has been quietly funding a campaign to place district attorneys amenable to his agenda across the United States.

As of September 2020, there were 31 Soros-backed DAs in the United States. That might not sound like a lot, but it includes the DAs of Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, and St. Louis. All told, tens of millions of Americans are now victims of the Soros racket in the form of their local top prosecutor.

Some examples of the Soros machine at work in America’s DA offices include:

    • After the last round of rioting, looting, and arson in St. Louis, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner dismissed charges against all 36 people arrested. She’s on the take from Soros for $307,000. This is also the prosecutor who filed charges against the McCloskeys.
    • Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon got over $2 million from the Soros operation, he ended cash bail and is no longer prosecuting the crimes of trespassing, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, prostitution, or driving without a license.
    • Kim Foxx is the Illinois State’s Attorney and has received $807,000 from Soros. She also declined to prosecute rioters, saying “The question it comes down to is, is it a good use of our time and resources? No, it’s not.” Foxx likewise declined to prosecute hate crime hoaxer, Jussie Smollett.
    • Philly District Attorney Larry Krasner has received $1.7 million from Soros. He won’t be prosecuting rioters, looters, and arsonists. Krasner was very open about the ideology driving his permitting chaos in the city: “Prosecution alone will achieve nothing close to justice—not when power imbalances and lack of accountability make it possible for government actors including police or prosecutors to regularly take life or liberty unjustly and face no criminal or career penalty.”
    • Krasner is worth calling out for special attention because he filed 75 cases against the police and has represented both Occupy Philadelphia and Black Lives Matter. At his victory party, supporters chanted, “F*** the police! F*** the police!” He generally declines to call himself a prosecutor, instead labelling himself a “public defender with power”.
    • The results in Philadelphia are stunning as charges are dropped in 60 percent of all shooting cases – though we suspect your odds of being a conservative self-defense case and having your charges waived are rather slim. Shootings in Philadelphia were up 57 percent year after year from 2019 to 2020.
    • San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who’s working off $620,000 in Soros money, proclaims, “The criminal justice system isn’t just massive and brutal, it’s also racist.” He doesn’t prosecute crimes such as solicitation, public camping, or public urination. Homicide rates, burglary cases, motor vehicle theft, and arson rates have all hugely increased. He was formerly an advisor to Hugo Chavez and his parents were members of the Weather Underground, a far-left terrorist organization. [They murdered police officers – see here and note the 1981 killings.] Chesa Boudin’s victory party included obscene anti-police chants.
    • DA Mike Schmidt of Portland, who has received $230,000 in Soros money, also declined to prosecute rioters who burned the city for months and besieged a federal building. He openly sympathized with the rioters.
  • The Open Society Foundations announced a plan to spend $220 million on “efforts to achieve racial equality in America”. What Soros deems “racial equality” might more accurately be called “racial revenge”.

Which is what the Left means by the term “racial equity”.

Soros has caused political upheaval in many other countries.

He has spent and continues to spend multi millions on trying to bring about Leftist revolutions that would turn existing open societies into closed societies. He promotes Marxism, communism, socialism. As a youth he helped the Nazis round up Jews to be mass murdered – although he is Jewish himself, and dares to complain that any criticism of him is “anti-Semitic”! And he is trying to destroy Israel.

Some of the revolutions he has promoted have succeeded not so much in overthrowing an existing government but in forcing it to accept radical concessions that dramatically remake the political culture in the country. Revolutions which were effectively regime change were those in the Republic of Georgia (twice), Ukraine, the Arab World, and Belarus.

There are some common themes to all these revolutions. A disputed election where there is widespread cheating generally kicks things off. There are then street rallies where violent operatives – actually terrorists using human shields – hide in crowds of otherwise peaceful protesters. The government then responds and there is outcry from [Soros funded] “humanitarian” organizations.

The playbook should look familiar to Americans after the summer riots of 2019 and 2020, and in the aftermath of the 2020 elections.

All of which is true and appalling.

2.The Great Thinker

But Jacobs goes on to say this:

So what is an “Open Society?” Well it’s based on a phrase used by Karl Popper, a somewhat obscure 20th Century thinker known best for his “paradox of tolerance” which essentially says that liberals should stop tolerating diversity of opinion when it begins to threaten liberalism.

NO, that is not what Karl Popper’s “paradox of tolerance” means. What it does mean is that tolerance cannot tolerate intolerance.

Jacobs continues to misunderstand and mislead:

There are some key takeaways about what an open society actually is. First, the open society is an atomized society. People are to be seen not as part of any kind of social organism, but rather as radically separate individuals. The individual is not an essential building block of society, it is the end to itself. Social norms and traditions are seen as necessarily oppressive.

That is not what Karl Popper meant by an open society. Certainly he asserted that each individual is an end in himself but not “radically separate” from others; and nowhere does he say or imply that “social norms and traditions are oppressive”.  He was a conservative, and the observing of norms and the keeping of traditions are what conservatism is all about.

Karl Popper is an extremely illustrious and famous (not”somewhat obscure”) political philosopher and philosopher of science. One thing he is famous for is his “fallibility test” of scientific theory. It distinguishes real scientific theory from pseudo-scientific theory. In the case of a real scientific theory, something could happen, something could be discovered, that would show it to be wrong. (Scientists test their theories by trying to disprove them.) But nothing could ever happen, or be imagined, that would disprove to believers the dogmatic contentions of (eg.) Freud, or Marx, or the propounders of catastrophic man-made global warming.  

It is as a political philosopher that Karl Popper is invoked in this context. His two-volume work titled The Open Society and its Enemies is a monumental defense of freedom.

An open society is one in which there are no government-imposed barriers to individual achievement. In an open society, government has limited powers and is the servant of the people; the members of an open society make personal decisions for themselves. A closed society is a collectivist society; all lives are regulated by government.

Popper critically examines the ideologies of closed societies from ancient Greece to the present, mainly those of Plato and Marx, and explains lucidly what is wrong with them. Collectivist ideologies  of our time are called Marxism, communism, socialism, national socialism (Nazism), international socialism (such as Trotskyism), New Leftism, or  – the most recently preferred “ism” on the Left –  “wokeism” (a term that became common after Popper died in 1994). All of them are tyrannies and all of them could also accurately be called Sorosisms.

Jacobs seems to be trying to find fault with Popper’s political vision as part of his criticism of Soros, finding Soros’s inspiration where it cannot possibly be found. It is unmistakably obvious that Soros uses the phrase “open society” cynically, sarcastically, as if it is his aim, while he tirelessly promotes the creation of closed societies, collectivist regimes, wherever he possibly can.

The Open Society and its Enemies is one of the essential political books of our culture. 

For more about George Soros, including lists of the many organizations he funds, see the entry on him in that excellent resource, Discover the Networks.

Heroic child-killers welcomed back to DC 1

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, DFLP (formerly the Popular Democratic Front for etc., PDFLP), was founded by a Jordanian Christian Bedouin named Nayef Hawatmeh. It was a break-off from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the PFLP, led by another Christian – Greek Orthodox – named George Habash.

Both Habash and Hawatmeh were also Communists, Hawatmeh favoring the Trotskyist denomination of that evil religion, and the New Left.

Both are sub-groups of the Palestine Liberation Organization, PLO, formed under the headship of Yasser Arafat.

On May 15, 1974, three members of Hawatmeh’s group broke into an apartment in Ma’alot, in the Galilee, and shot to death a man, his wife, and their son aged four, and gravely injured their five-year-old daughter. The three heroes then went on to a local school where they killed twenty-two children and wounded another fifty-six. All three were eventually killed by Israeli soldiers and are now honored martyrs.

Palestine Media Watch reports and questions:         

While the Biden administration is planning to reopen the PLO offices in Washington DC, one of the PLO member factions – the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) terror organization – is openly glorifying its bloody terror attacks as “acts of heroism”.

[Last month] the DFLP terror organization listed in a statement, with “pride, admiration, and esteem”, its lethal terror attacks over the decades – among them the massacre of 26 Israelis, including 22 children. DFLP vowed to “continue… to provide our people and its political forces with the blood of the heroes”. The terror organization further took pride in the “glorious list of the thousands of Martyrs who sacrificed their lives and their blood under the flag of Palestine”. [Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, June 3, 2021]

In its terror glorifying statement, the DFLP stressed its affiliation with the PLO, stating that the DFLP “always marches and advances in the national ranks under the flag of the PLO, the sole legal representative of our heroic people and its national project“. The organization then listed several of its “heroic operations” – i.e., lethal terror attacks – among them what is known as the Ma’alot Massacre.

Palestine Media Watch asks:

Will Biden reopen PLO offices while a PLO member organization glorifies its bloody terror attacks as “acts of heroism”?

The answer is yes. That is exactly what “Biden” – more accurately the junta now in power – intends to do: reopen the offices of the Palestinian terrorists that President Trump closed. 

Posted under communism, Israel, Palestinians, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, June 22, 2021

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The Hamas Charter 1

Here are the main points of the Charter of Hamas.

Hamas is a terrorist organization, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and it has the covert support of most Western governments and the overt support of the mainstream media everywhere.

Its Charter, or Covenant, is its manifesto. It can be read in full here.

THE COVENANT OF THE HAMAS – MAIN POINTS

The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement, aka the  Hamas, was issued on August 18, 1988.

The following  are  excerpts  from the HAMAS Covenant:

Goals of the HAMAS:

The Islamic  Resistance  Movement  is  a  distinguished  Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and  whose  way  of  life  is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over  every  inch  of Palestine.

(Article 6)

 

On the Destruction of Israel:

Israel will exist and will  continue  to  exist  until  Islam  will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.

(Preamble)

 

The Exclusive Moslem Nature of the Area:

The  land  of  Palestine  is  an  Islamic  Waqf  [Holy   Possession] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part, or  abandon  it  or  any  part  of  it.

(Article 11)

Palestine is an  Islamic  land…  Since  this  is  the  case, the Liberation of Palestine  is  an  individual  duty  for  every  Moslem wherever he may be.

(Article 13)

 

The Call to Jihad:

The day the enemies usurp part of Moslem land,  Jihad  becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In the face of the Jews’ usurpation, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised.

(Article 15)

Ranks will close,  fighters  joining  other  fighters,  and  masses everywhere in the Islamic world will come forward in response to  the call of duty, loudly proclaiming: “Hail to  Jihad!” This  cry  will reach the heavens and will go on being resounded until liberation  is achieved, the invaders vanquished and Allah’s victory  comes  about.

(Article 33)

 

Rejection of a Negotiated Peace Settlement:

Peace  initiatives,   and   so-called   peaceful   solutions  and international conferences are in contradiction to the  principles  of the Islamic Resistance Movement… Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the infidels  as  arbitrators  in  the  lands  of Islam… There is no solution for the Palestinian problem  except  by Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.

 (Article 13)

 

Condemnation of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty:

Egypt was, to a great extent, removed from the  circle  of  struggle [against Zionism] through the treacherous Camp David  Agreement. The Zionists are  trying  to  draw  other  Arab  countries  into  similar agreements in order to bring them outside  the  circle  of  struggle. …Leaving the circle of struggle against Zionism  is  high  treason, and cursed be he who perpetrates such an act.

(Article 32)

Anti-Jewish Incitement:

The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and  the rocks and trees will cry out, “O Moslem, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.”

(Article 7)

The enemies have been  scheming  for  a  long  time  …  and  have accumulated huge and influential material wealth. With  their  money, they took control of the world media… With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the globe… They  stood  behind  the French  Revolution,  the  Communist  Revolution  and  most   of   the revolutions we hear about… With  their  money  they  formed  secret organizations – such as the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs and the Lions  – which are spreading around the world, in order to  destroy  societies and carry out Zionist interests… They stood behind World War I  ..and formed the League of Nations through which they  could  rule  the world. They were behind World War II, through which  they  made  huge financial gains… There is no war going  on  anywhere  without  them having their finger in it.

(Article 22)

Zionism scheming has no end, and after Palestine,  they  will  covet expansion from the Nile  to  the  Euphrates  River.  When  they  have finished digesting the area on which they have laid their hand,  they will look forward to more expansion. Their scheme has been  laid  out in the’Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

(Article 32)

The HAMAS regards itself the  spearhead  and  the  vanguard  of  the circle of struggle against World Zionism… Islamic groups  all  over the Arab world should also do the same, since they are best  equipped for their future role in the fight against  the  warmongering  Jews.

(Article 32)

Posted under Islam, Israel, jihad, Judaism, media, middle east, Muslims, War by Jillian Becker on Sunday, May 23, 2021

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Report from Gaza 0

From Instapundit:

 

Hamas spokesman: “The illegitimate Zionist entity must be forced to end its occupation of all of Palestine, from Tel Aviv to Jericho.”

Western Reporter: “So what you’re saying is that you support a peaceful 2-state solution.”

 

Hamas spokesman: “We will kill the sons of pigs and apes like the great Hitler.”

Western reporter: “So what you’re saying is that you object to right-wing Israeli politicians like Netanyahu.”

 

Hamas Spokesman: “We want an Islamic state governed by sharia.”

Western reporter: “Democracy, one-person, one-vote, religious freedom for all. Got it.”

 

Hamas Spokesman: “We thank our great friends in Iran for their money, missiles, and bombs.”

Western Reporter: “Hamas insists on being a grassroots Palestinian movement not dependent on foreign support.”

Posted under Israel, Palestinians by Jillian Becker on Sunday, May 23, 2021

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The media spread lies world-wide 4

… and in doing so co-author terrorism, war, oppression and mass murder.

Almost all news reporting is false. Almost all of it is propaganda. Most of the press, all over the world, is the tool of terrorists, Communists, Islamic religious fanatics, and their useful idiots.

Matti Friedman, a rare truth-telling reporter of Middle Eastern affairs, writes (in part) at The Atlantic (which is woke, so well done Matti Friedman for getting it in there!):

To make sense of most international journalism from Israel, it is important first to understand that the news tells us far less about Israel than about the people writing the news. Journalistic decisions are made by people who exist in a particular social milieu, one which, like most social groups, involves a certain uniformity of attitude, behavior, and even dress (the fashion these days, for those interested, is less vests with unnecessary pockets than shirts with unnecessary buttons). These people know each other, meet regularly, exchange information, and closely watch one another’s work. This helps explain why a reader looking at articles written by the half-dozen biggest news providers in the region on a particular day will find that though the pieces are composed and edited by completely different people and organizations, they tend to tell the same story.

Foreign activists are a notable feature of the landscape, and international NGOs and numerous arms of the United Nations are among the most powerful players, wielding billions of dollars and employing many thousands of foreign and local employees. Their SUVs dominate sections of East Jerusalem and their expense accounts keep Ramallah afloat. They provide reporters with social circles, romantic partners, and alternative employment—a fact that is more important to reporters now than it has ever been, given the disintegration of many newspapers and the shoestring nature of their Internet successors.

In my time in the press corps, I learned that our relationship with these groups was not journalistic. My colleagues and I did not, that is, seek to analyze or criticize them. For many foreign journalists, these were not targets but sources and friends—fellow members, in a sense, of an informal alliance. This alliance consists of activists and international staffers from the UN and the NGOs; the Western diplomatic corps, particularly in East Jerusalem; and foreign reporters. There is also a local component, consisting of a small number of Israeli human-rights activists who are themselves largely funded by European governments, and Palestinian staffers from the Palestinian Authority, the NGOs, and the UN. Mingling occurs at places like the lovely Oriental courtyard of the American Colony hotel in East Jerusalem, or at parties held at the British Consulate’s rooftop pool. The dominant characteristic of nearly all of these people is their transience. They arrive from somewhere, spend a while living in a peculiar subculture of expatriates, and then move on.

In these circles, in my experience, a distaste for Israel has come to be something between an acceptable prejudice and a prerequisite for entry. I don’t mean a critical approach to Israeli policies but a belief that the Jews of Israel are a symbol of the world’s ills, particularly those connected to nationalism, militarism, colonialism, and racism—an idea quickly becoming one of the central elements of the “progressive” Western zeitgeist, spreading from the European left to American college campuses and intellectuals, including journalists. In this social group, this sentiment is translated into editorial decisions made by individual reporters and editors covering Israel, and this, in turn, gives such thinking the means of mass self-replication.

Many freshly arrived reporters in Israel, similarly adrift in a new country, undergo a rapid socialization in the circles I mentioned. This provides them not only with sources and friendships but with a ready-made framework for their reporting—the tools to distill and warp complex events into a simple narrative in which there is a bad guy who doesn’t want peace and a good guy who does. This is the “Israel story,” and it has the advantage of being an easy story to report. Everyone here answers their cell phone, a d everyone knows what to say. You can put your kids in good schools and dine at good restaurants. It’s fine if you’re gay. Your chances of being beheaded on YouTube are slim. Nearly all of the information you need—that is, in most cases, information critical of Israel—is not only easily accessible but has already been reported for you by Israeli journalists or compiled by NGOs. You can claim to be speaking truth to power, having selected the only “power” in the area that poses no threat to your safety.

Many foreign journalists have come to see themselves as part of this world of international organizations, and specifically as the media arm of this world. They have decided not just to describe and explain, which is hard enough, and important enough, but to “help.” And that’s where reporters get into trouble, because “helping” is always a murky, subjective, and political enterprise, made more difficult if you are unfamiliar with the relevant languages and history.

Confusion over the role of the press explains one of the strangest aspects of coverage here—namely, that while international organizations are among the most powerful actors in the Israel story, they are almost never reported on. Are they bloated, ineffective, or corrupt? Are they helping, or hurting? We don’t know, because these groups are to be quoted, not covered. Journalists cross from places like the BBC to organizations like Oxfam and back. The current spokesman at the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza, for example, is a former BBC man. A Palestinian woman who participated in protests against Israel and tweeted furiously about Israel a few years ago served at the same time as a spokesperson for a UN office, and was close friends with a few reporters I know. And so forth.

International organizations in the Palestinian territories have largely assumed a role of advocacy on behalf of the Palestinians and against Israel, and much of the press has allowed this political role to supplant its journalistic function. This dynamic explains the thinking behind editorial choices that are otherwise difficult to grasp, like the decision to ignore a report about an Israeli peace offer to the Palestinians in 2008, or the idea that Hamas’s development of extensive armament works in Gaza in recent years was not worth serious coverage despite objectively being one of the most important storylines demanding reporters’ attention.

When the UN released its controversial Goldstone report on the Gaza fighting, we at the bureau trumpeted its findings in dozens of articles, though there was discussion even at the time of the report’s failure to prove its central charge: that Israel had killed civilians on purpose. The director of Israel’s premier human-rights group, B’Tselem, who was critical of the Israeli operation, told me at the time that this claim was “a reach given the facts”, an evaluation that was eventually seconded by the report’s author. “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document,” Richard Goldstone wrote in The Washington Post in April 2011. We understood that our job was not to look critically at the UN report, or any such document, but to publicize it.

Decisions like these are hard to fathom if you believe the foreign press corps’ role is to explain a complicated story to people far away. But they make sense if you understand that journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories often don’t see their role that way. The radio and print journalist Mark Lavie, who has reported from the region since 1972, was a colleague of mine at the AP, where he was an editor in the Jerusalem bureau and then in Cairo until his retirement last year. (It was Lavie who first learned of the Israeli peace offer of late 2008, and was ordered by his superiors to ignore the story.) An Indiana-born Israeli of moderate politics, he had a long run in journalism that included several wars and the first Palestinian intifada, and found little reason to complain about the functioning of the media.

But things changed in earnest in 2000, with the collapse of peace efforts and the outbreak of the Second Intifada. Israel accepted President Bill Clinton’s peace framework that fall and the Palestinians rejected it. Nevertheless, Lavie recently told me, the bureau’s editorial line was still that the conflict was Israel’s fault, and the Palestinians and the Arab world were blameless. By the end of Lavie’s career, he was editing Israel copy on the AP’s Middle East regional desk in Cairo, trying to restore balance and context to stories he thought had little connection to reality. He wrote a book, Broken Spring, about his front-row view of the Middle East’s descent into chaos, and retired disillusioned and angry.

I have tended to see the specific failings that we both encountered at the AP as symptoms of a general thought pattern in the press, but Lavie takes a more forceful position, viewing the influential American news organization as one of the primary authors of this thought pattern. This is not just because many thousands of media outlets use AP material directly, but also because when journalists arrive in their offices in the morning, the first thing many of them do is check the AP wire (or, these days, scroll through it in their Twitter feed).

Journalistic hallucinations occur when reporters are not granted the freedom to write what they see but are rather expected to maintain a “story” that follows predictable lines. For the international press, the uglier characteristics of Palestinian politics and society are mostly untouchable because they would disrupt the Israel story, which is a story of “Jewish moral failure”.

Most consumers of the Israel story don’t understand how the story is manufactured. But Hamas does. Since assuming power in Gaza in 2007, the Islamic Resistance Movement has come to understand that many reporters are committed to a narrative wherein Israelis are oppressors and Palestinians passive victims with reasonable goals, and are uninterested in contradictory information.

Hamas is aided in its manipulation of the media by the old reportorial belief, a kind of reflex, according to which reporters shouldn’t mention the existence of reporters. In a conflict like ours, this ends up requiring considerable exertions: So many photographers cover protests in Israel and the Palestinian territories, for example, that one of the challenges for anyone taking pictures is keeping colleagues out of the frame. That the other photographers are as important to the story as Palestinian protesters or Israeli soldiers—this does not seem to be considered.

In Gaza, this goes from being a curious detail of press psychology to a major deficiency. Hamas’s strategy is to provoke a response from Israel by attacking from behind the cover of Palestinian civilians, thus drawing Israeli strikes that kill those civilians, and then to have the casualties filmed by one of the world’s largest press contingents, with the understanding that the resulting outrage abroad will blunt Israel’s response. This is a ruthless strategy, and an effective one. It is predicated on the cooperation of journalists. One of the reasons it works is because of the reflex I mentioned. If you report that Hamas has a strategy based on co-opting the media, this raises several difficult questions, like, What exactly is the relationship between the media and Hamas? And has this relationship corrupted the media? It is easier just to leave the other photographers out of the frame and let the picture tell the story: Here are dead people, and Israel killed them.

In previous rounds of Gaza fighting, Hamas learned that international coverage from the territory could be molded to its needs, a lesson it would implement in this summer’s war. Most of the press work in Gaza is done by local fixers, translators, and reporters, people who would understandably not dare cross Hamas, making it only rarely necessary for the group to threaten a Westerner. The organization’s armed forces could be made to disappear. The press could be trusted to play its role in the Hamas script, instead of reporting that there was such a script. Hamas strategy did not exist, according to Hamas—or, as reporters would say, was “not the story”.  There was no Hamas charter blaming Jews for centuries of perfidy, or calling for their murder. [There is.] This was not the story. The rockets falling on Israeli cities were quite harmless; they were not the story either. [It is.]

Hamas understood that journalists would not only accept as fact the Hamas-reported civilian death toll—relayed through the UN or through something called the “Gaza Health Ministry,” an office controlled by Hamas—but would make those numbers the center of coverage. Hamas understood that reporters could be intimidated when necessary and that they would not report the intimidation; Western news organizations tend to see no ethical imperative to inform readers of the restrictions shaping their coverage in repressive states or other dangerous areas. In the war’s aftermath, the NGO- UN-media alliance could be depended upon to unleash the organs of the international community on Israel, and to leave the jihadist group alone.

When Hamas’s leaders surveyed their assets before this summer’s round of fighting, they knew that among those assets was the international press. The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby—and the AP wouldn’t report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)

Colford, the AP spokesman, confirmed that armed militants entered the AP’s Gaza office in the early days of the war to complain about a photo showing the location of a rocket launch, though he said that Hamas claimed that the men “did not represent the group”.  The AP “does not report many interactions with militias, armies, thugs or governments,” he wrote. “These incidents are part of the challenge of getting out the news—and not themselves news.”

This summer, the Western press corps showed up en masse to cover the conflict. It was deliberately fought from behind Palestinian civilians, many of whom died as a result. Dulled by years of the “Israel story” and inured to its routine omissions, confused about the role they are meant to play, and co-opted by Hamas, reporters described this war as an Israeli onslaught against innocent people. By doing so, this group of intelligent and generally well-meaning professionals ceased to be reliable observers and became instead an amplifier for the propaganda of one of the most intolerant and aggressive forces on earth. And that, as they say, is the story.

Posted under Israel, media, middle east, Palestinians by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, May 19, 2021

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Biden’s new war 13

President Trump achieved a remarkable development in the Middle East with the “Abraham Accords”, bringing peace, trade, and –  even more amazing – good will between Israel and several Arab states. A new era had dawned, in which a settlement of the Palestinian problem was for the first time in a hundred years genuinely possible.

Then along came the crooked “Biden administration” and undid all the good President Trump and his envoy Secretary of State Pompeo had done. “Biden” gave billions to the terrorist group Hamas, and released billions to the mullahs of Iran, who fund not only Hamas but terrorist attacks everywhere in the region.

It was not just encouragement to Hamas to make war on Israel, it was a signal to do so. The Democrats’ anti-Israel White House did everything it could to undo the Trump achievements and return to the disastrous policies of Obama, with greater intensity.

And it is Israel who is blamed for the war! As usual.

Richard Kemp writes at Gatestone:

During an operation in Gaza last week, the Israel Defence Forces attacked a Hamas tunnel complex with 12 squadrons of 160 combat planes striking over 150 targets with hundreds of bunker-busting JDAMs [Joint Direct Attack Munitions] in less than an hour. Although the battle damage assessment is still underway, the raid destroyed perhaps the most critical element of Hamas infrastructure, wiping out vast stocks of munitions and likely killing dozens if not hundreds of fighters. This was a hammer blow to Hamas and may prove to be a turning point in the conflict. It also sent a powerful message to Iran and Hizballah, foretelling the consequences of an assault on Israel with their arsenal of tens of thousands of missiles in southern Lebanon.

The IDF operation was a carefully coordinated combination of intelligence, surveillance, knowledge of enemy tactics, deception, surprise and precisely targeted, overwhelming force. Of all these, deception and surprise were key. Surprise is a principle of war in the American, British and many other forces, defined in the US Army Field Manual as “striking the enemy at a time or place or in a manner for which he is unprepared’. The manual goes on to say: “Deception can aid the probability of achieving surprise”. Throughout the history of warfare, surprise achieved through deception has led to many stunning military victories — often against the odds.

Last Thursday, the IDF massed tanks, artillery and infantry combat vehicles on the Gaza border. The build-up was observed by Hamas and widely reported in international media as an imminent ground invasion. Hundreds of Hamas fighters rushed to take shelter inside the “metro” tunnel network. Built by Hamas after the 2014 conflict to house command facilities, store weapons and facilitate protected movement, these tunnels covered dozens of kilometres beneath the Gaza Strip. There the fighters were trapped as JDAM after JDAM thundered in from above. Emerging to fight the invasion that never came, the surviving anti-tank teams and mortar squads were then also hit from the air.

This masterpiece of tactical synchronisation, with all its complex elements, symbolises the IDF’s precision attacks during this campaign, Operation Guardian of the Walls, which have already inflicted damage from which Hamas will not recover for years. The IDF learnt many lessons from previous engagements in Gaza and since 2014 have vigorously collected intelligence and worked to develop battle plans and technological solutions to deal with Hamas and their Palestinian Islamic Jihad bedfellows.

Hamas is no match for the IDF and could be quickly and much more cheaply defeated by blunt and crushing military force were it not for one thing — the Israeli need to minimise loss of civilian life. Hamas know that. They know they cannot prevail over the IDF and have no intention of trying. Their entire strategy is to attack Israeli population centres using rockets, kamikaze drones and tunnels, aimed at luring IDF counter attacks that will kill their own civilians in order to vilify and isolate Israel around the world and gain international support for their cause. With human shields as the fundamental element of every operation, Hamas are the first “army” in history to use the lives of their own civilian population as weapons of war.

Their strategy has been woefully successful. Over many years of conflict in Gaza, the majority of the world’s media have enthusiastically reported the deaths of Palestinian civilians as though they were the deliberate object of Israel’s callous and uncaring way of war. This blatantly false propaganda has been taken up by Hamas supporters and “useful idiots” in the West. In the US, Britain and Europe, last week we have seen hundreds of anti-Israel demonstrators brandishing Palestinian banners, burning Israeli flags, spitting out their hate for the Jewish state and screaming about IDF baby-killers. Hamas’s calumny is a prime motivator among Israel-loathing academics in Western universities and high schools who have mined their false allegations as rich seams of material to indoctrinate generations of students.

Human rights groups around the world have been doing the same. There have been dozens of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN, often drawing on Hamas’s narrative, twisting every aspect of the conflicts in Gaza. The prize has been the International Criminal Court’s decision this year to launch a full investigation with the hope of dragging Israeli soldiers, officials and politicians into the dock at The Hague.

I have taken part in every UN Human Rights Council evidence session and emergency debate on Gaza conflicts in the last 15 years. The wilful ignorance combined with malice has always been breathtaking. Every commission of inquiry determined Israel’s guilt before it even met for the first time. Every debate and vote has overwhelmingly and of course falsely affirmed Israel’s supposed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Meanwhile Hamas’s actual multiple war crimes have been brushed aside.

The reality is very different from the lies emanating from these modern-day Towers of Babel. The IDF attack on the “metro” tunnels this week depended on lightning action and the coordination of 160 planes attacking a small area in a very short space of time. Alongside these awesome complexities, the IDF did all they could to ensure minimum loss of civilian life by selecting targets where the lowest levels of innocents would be harmed, such as empty roadways under which tunnels ran, and maintaining close surveillance to confirm a bus load of civilians didn’t suddenly appear. The IDF have so far destroyed several high-rise buildings containing critical Hamas military infrastructure as well as civilian offices and apartments. Remarkably all of these have been smashed down without any reported civilian casualties.

As in previous conflicts in Gaza the IDF has made radio broadcasts in Arabic, sent SMS messages and even phoned civilians inside the Strip to warn them of impending strikes, where to go for their own safety and which routes to take.

When civilians do not leave an intended target building, the IDF sometimes drop specially designed low-power munitions (“knock on the roof”) to encourage them to get out. With careful surveillance of target areas, the Israeli air force frequently aborts planned sorties if there is a risk of civilian casualties.

In a conflict designed by Hamas to maximize civilian deaths, some are inevitable. It is too early to accurately assess casualty figures or ratios of civilians to fighters killed, but current assessments suggest the IDF have been even more successful in minimizing civilian casualties during this campaign than in previous engagements in Gaza. Many in the media, human rights groups and international bodies have rushed to characterize all civilian casualties (other than those inflicted by Hamas, of course) as war crimes. But the Geneva Conventions disagree. Inflicting civilian casualties is not illegal provided a military operation is necessary for the prosecution of a war, they are not disproportionate to the planned military gain and that combatant commanders do not intentionally target civilians while doing all they can to avoid hitting them.

The media takes reports from the Gaza health ministry as authoritative and objective. That is disingenuous and they know it. The health ministry is controlled by Hamas and follows their every order. For example, of around 2,000 rockets fired so far by Hamas during this conflict, approximately 400 have fallen short, landing inside Gaza. Some of these have killed civilians and the health ministry has attributed all of them to IDF action.

Counterintuitively, the most effective means of saving Gazan civilian lives has been Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Despite Hamas efforts to overwhelm it, Iron Dome has had a 90% success rate in preventing missiles from Gaza hitting their targets. Not only has this saved the lives of countless Israeli civilians but it has also meant the IDF campaign can be more deliberate, discriminating and precise. If hundreds of Israelis were dying under Hamas rockets, the IDF would have no choice other than to strike Gaza with much greater ferocity and ground forces would already have entered the Gaza Strip, unavoidably inflicting vastly more civilian casualties than we have seen so far.

Despite all of this, as the media unceasingly show us, the real victims in this campaign have indeed been Gaza civilians. But they usually get the cause wrong. Every one is due to Hamas’s unprovoked aggression against Israel. None would have occurred without it. Once this round of fighting is over, Hamas will work to build back better for next time — that is, to regenerate their military capability rather than civilian infrastructure. If Western governments, international bodies and human rights groups are genuinely interested in avoiding suffering in Gaza, they should start now, striving to end Hamas’s reign of terror rather than support it by parroting their baleful narrative.

Posted under Israel, Palestinians, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, May 17, 2021

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Wind of irony 7

Sometimes even we are tempted to believe that there is a god – a just god.

Here’s an example of an event that does this strange thing to us:

https://twitter.com/i/status/1391265085121867776

Posted under Iran, Israel by Jillian Becker on Friday, May 14, 2021

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Bombardments in Iran 3

DebkaFile reports:

The attack on Iran’s nuclear center at Natanz on April 14 totally destroyed two of its three uranium enrichment halls operated by advanced centrifuges. Even the remaining third of centrifuges have been put out of action by the cutoff of a steady power flow.

The explosive material which caused the blast was planted there two years ago and awaited a remote signal to detonate. Contrary to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s claims on Monday that the attack caused only minor damage and just disrupted the old centrifuges, our sources disclose a different reality. Iran is now unable to move enrichment up to the 60pc grade as Tehran boasted because most of the advanced IR-6 centrifuges with that capability were wrecked in the blast.

This serious setback has caused a major rift in the Tehran regime, including the Revolutionary Guards leadership. Atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi, who is close to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is being bombarded with angry accusations. He is blamed for failing to seriously address the security aspects of the nuclear program’s key facility and abandoning it to hostile penetration. How did a large explosive charge come to be planted in the heart of the facility and, moreover, be allowed to repose there unnoticed for two years, he is asked. How could this happened just nine months after the first hit on Natanz wrecked the main centrifuge produce hall?

Have Joe Biden, John Kerry, Barack Obama sent their condolences?

Posted under Iran, Israel by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

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Iran’s nuclear program set back again 1

The Jerusalem Post reports this good news:

Israel has attacked Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. The target was an electrical substation located 40 to 50 meters underground.

The attack was carried out through an explosive device that was smuggled into the facility and detonated remotely. It took out both the primary and backup electrical systems. The initial explosion set off secondary explosions, causing of course even greater damage.

The head of Iran’s Parliament Research Center announced in a television interview today on Tuesday (April 13, 2021) that thousands of centrifuges had been destroyed, damaging most of the enrichment facilities.

The attack by Israel last July –  its damage still not fully repaired – was also carried out with explosives that were smuggled into a centrifuge assembly facility at the site, the explosives being embedded in a heavy table that was brought into the facility.

The Biden Administration was given no advance notice about the attack. The White House said on Monday that it was not involved.

As the “Biden administration” is hostile to Israel, is gifting enormous sums of money to its Palestinian enemies, and wants to revive the nuclear deal with Iran that President Trump cancelled, that is no surprise.

Posted under Iran, Israel, War by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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