Wednesday, November 09, 2016

From Ian:

Alan M. Dershowitz: The Day After the Election
With the world's attention focused on the U.S. presidential election, some attention must be devoted to the problems we will continue to face the day after the election, regardless of who is elected. Here are some of these problems.
1. The world will continue to move away from the center and toward the extremes on both the right and the left. In many parts of Europe -- from Poland to Hungary to Greece -- neo-fascist parties are strengthening their influence in their governments. In the United States the "alt-right" has been considerably strengthened during this election.
The hard left is also increasing its influence in some part of Europe and on many university campuses. The British Labour Party has now been hijacked by radical extremists on the left. In many universities, the absurd concept of "intersectionality," which has become a code word for anti-Semitism, is dominating discussions and actions by the hard left.
The center is weakening. The empowerment of extremes poses great dangers to the world. The hard right and the hard left have more in common than either has to centrist liberals and conservatives. They both hate America, distrust government, demonize Israel and promote anti-Semitic tropes.
2. Following the election President Obama may try to tie the hands of his successor, regardless of who it may be. During the lame-duck period, when Presidents can act without political accountability, he may foolishly send the Israel-Palestine conflict to the United Nations. This would mean the end of the peace process, because the Palestinian would be dis-incentivized from entering into the kinds of direct negotiations without preconditions that the Israeli government continues to offer, and that is the only realistic road to peace. The only hope of stopping this counterproductive move would be for the President-elect to insist that her or his hands not be tied by the lame-duck president.
Ben-Dror Yemini: US elections as a symptom of Western fracture
What is happening in the United States is a symptom of what is happening in the West. It was an election campaign that points to a deep fracture in Western democracies. We are about to see a similar show in France soon. Neither candidate excites the public.
In Britain, it was the Brexit referendum, which reached its climax with a political murder. In other European countries, the polls predict a real drop in power for old parties and the rise of radical right-wing parties. The battle is between an old, corrupt and rotten establishment and populist and demagogic politics. In other words: Clinton vs. Trump.
The ugly expressions of the election campaigns, like the one taking place in the US as we speak, should not conceal the real fracture. Western democracies are struggling with questions of national identity, solidarity, a shared ethos, or what is left of it, the place of religion, etc. There are not simple questions, even if the answers so far are simplistic. Most European countries have tried to imitate the American melting pot over the past few decades. More foreigners, more immigrants, more refugees. No more nation states, but an open, pluralistic and multicultural society.
In the US, admittedly, it worked. Especially when the immigrants were from Italy and Poland, from England and Germany. And we are forbidden, strictly forbidden, to say a single word of criticism which exceeds the political correctness choir. US President Barack Obama reached the top when he willingly chose blindness and refused to say the words “Islamic terror.” There is no such thing as far as he is concerned, because someone might be offended. Donald Trump took the frustration from this blindness, leveraged it and became the Republican Party’s nominee.
On the other hand, there is something symbolic about the fact that one of Hillary Clinton’s chief donors, George Soros, an anti-Israel billionaire, is both an ardent supporter of philosopher Karl Popper’s “open society” concept and a person whose name has been linked to corruption affairs and who made a fortune from speculations in the capital market.
David M. Weinberg: The ultimate slapdown for Obama
We now know there will not be a Hillary Clinton presidency, and not just because of her own flaws. It's because more than 50% of Americans rejected the notion that Obama has "done a good job," and they are not interested in "sustaining" his policies.
They didn't want another four or eight years of Obama. They didn't buy the Democratic message that everything was swell in America, and that all that was needed was a competent Democrat to advance Obama's superior approach.
They were uncomfortable with Obama's smug assurances on everything and his apparent omnipotence: that he possessed exceptional insight on every issue, that he had executed the most outstanding economic, social and foreign policy, and that Clinton was the repository of this unique wellspring of near-prophetic and superhuman wisdom.
It was time to take Obama down, resoundingly. And so they did, those middle-of-the-road Americans. They weren't swayed by the crooning of Jay Z, Beyonce and Bruce Springsteen, or the endorsements of Hollywood or academics.
It's clear to me that the real headline today is: "Trump thrashes Obama."



Netanyahu hails Trump as a ‘true friend’ of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday congratulated Donald Trump on his election victory, saying the Republican is “a true friend of the State of Israel.”
Netanyahu’s remarks were released a few hours after Trump proclaimed victory over his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in a surprise electoral coup.
“We will work together to advance security, stability and peace in our region,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
“The bond between the US and Israel is based on shared values, shared interests and a shared future. I am sure that president-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the special alliance between Israel and the US and we will bring them to new heights,” he added.
The prime minister’s statement came on the heels of statements expressing a mix of optimism and wariness by Israeli politicians, many of whom joined Netanyahu in stressing the continued strengthening of the US-Israel ties.
President Reuven Rivlin congratulated Trump on his victory, which he said demonstrated that the US is the “greatest democracy.”
Bennett: Trump win ‘opportunity’ to scuttle Palestinian statehood
Education Minister Naftali Bennett was among the first Israeli officials to congratulate US president-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday morning, saying the Republican’s victory was “an opportunity” to do away with the pursuit of a two-state solution once and for all.
Israeli officials began responding to Trump’s election with a mix of congratulations and wariness, with many stressing the continuation of the US-Israel cooperation.
“Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause,” Bennett said in a statement.
“This is the position of the president-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple,” he said. “The era of a Palestinian state is over.
“We are sure the special relationship between the United States and Israel will continue, and even grow stronger,” Bennett added.
Herzog calls on Netanyahu to disavow allies who support Trump
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) raised his suspicions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is intervening in the US election, in a statement made at his party's faction meeting on Monday.
"In the past, we saw serious information stating that Israeli leaders tried to intervene and influence the results of the elections [in the US], and the citizens of Israel paid the high price," Herzog said. "Recently, we saw again information on Israeli leaders' intervention in elections through people close to them across the sea."
Herzog demanded that Netanyahu clarify that he is not intervening in the election through his allies.
"His silence about the actions of those patrons is dangerous and destructive," he warned.
Herzog also said he will cooperate and stretch his hand out to whomever is elected as president of the US, "our most important and strongest ally in the world."
Palestinian Authority: We'll work with any US president to achieve peace
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday and said he hopes a just peace will be achieved during his term, Wafa, the official PA news site, reported.
Earlier Wednesday morning, PA Presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah, said the Palestinian leadership will work with any US President to achieve peace.
“We will work with any president the American people elect to achieve peace in the Middle East on the basis of the two state solution along 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine,” PA Presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah told Wafa.
Trump has expressed support for positions in conflict with the Palestinian leadership such as moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and supporting Israel’s annexation of territories in the West Bank.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the Palestinian people continue to suffer because of biased US policy in favor of Israel, but called on Trump "to reevaluate [US] policy and work on bringing justice to the Palestinians."
PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Saeb Erakat said that he hopes the next US administration will take actions to achieve a two-state solution.
Hamas urges Trump to re-evaluate US policy that 'favors Israel'
Hamas on Wednesday urged US president-elect Donald Trump to "bring justice to the Palestinians."
Speaking to reporters in Gaza, the Islamist group spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said: "The Palestinian people is not very much concerned about the changes in American policies towards the Palestinian cause because such a policy is constant and is based on bias in favor of the Israeli occupation. However, we urge the American President to re-evaluate this policy and to work on bringing justice to the Palestinians."
Trump has told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month that if elected, the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, marking a potential dramatic shift in US policy.
While Israel calls Jerusalem its capital, only few other countries accept that. Most nations maintain embassies in Tel Aviv.
Iran’s Rouhani: Trump cannot reverse nuclear deal
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday there was “no possibility” of its nuclear deal with world powers being overturned by US President-elect Donald Trump despite his threat to rip it up.
“Iran’s understanding in the nuclear deal was that the accord was not concluded with one country or government but was approved by a resolution of the UN Security Council and there is no possibility that it can be changed by a single government,” Rouhani told his cabinet, according to state television.
Last year’s accord with world powers saw international sanctions on Iran lifted in exchange for guarantees that it would not pursue a nuclear weapons capability.
During the election campaign, Trump described the deal as “disastrous” and said it would be his “number one priority” to dismantle it.
Rouhani’s remarks came after the American ambassador to Israel called on the incoming administration to adhere to the Iranian nuclear agreement.
US ambassador to Israel calls on Trump to uphold Iran deal
With a Donald Trump victory being declared early Wednesday morning, the American ambassador to Israel called on the incoming administration to adhere to the Iranian nuclear agreement.
The nuclear pact, brokered under American leadership between six world powers and Iran last year, has been “very successful in doing exactly what it was designed to do, and that is to block systematically each pathway Iran had to achieve a nuclear weapon,” Dan Shapiro said. “Obviously we recommend the next administration continue [honoring the agreement], because it does fulfill that function.”
Israel was and remains the world’s leading critic of the deal, calling it a “historic mistake” and arguing that it falls woefully short of preventing Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Shapiro did not deny that Jerusalem was opposed to the pact, but added, “There is no disagreement between the US and Israeli experts about Iran’s adherence to the terms of the agreement.”
Addressing an election-themed conference at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, Shapiro refused to comment on the election’s outcome and what it might mean for America and for US-Israel relations beyond very general observations.
“The new administration will inherit a great deal of continuity and achievements in the US-Israel partnership,” he said, referring to the military aid Washington provides Jerusalem and bilateral cooperation in various fields. “These are real achievements by the Obama administration in partnership with the Netanyahu government, which can be built upon by the next administration.” Indeed, the diplomat said, he was “confident that the strong partnership will grow even stronger in the many years ahead.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: African Children To Reject Leftover Hillary Campaign Shirts, Hats (satire)
Kigali, Rwanda, November 9 – Tribal elders and heads of families are reporting that under no circumstances do they or their children want to accept the surplus or used promotional attire from the failed presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, according to local sources.
Leaders across sub-Saharan Africa, where surplus clothing and seconds often wind up donated or sold for a minimal amount, insisted this morning that under no circumstances may anyone bring “I’m With Her” paraphernalia into their towns and villages, and anyone who attempts to sell “Hillary ’16” attire will be run out of town.
“It’s one thing to walk around with a ‘Cleveland Indians – 2016 World Champions’ shirt that some entrepreneur produced a few thousand of,” explained Mbala Suboka, a father of eight from rural Namibia. “There’s some humor in that, and most people have no idea. The same thing goes for misspelled, offensive, or otherwise unacceptable words and images that we couldn’t care less about. At least we have something to wear. But we draw the line at invoking a candidate with so little appeal she couldn’t defeat a narcissistic orange windbag whose escapades should have undermined any candidate with a competent opponent.”
“Please don’t send us any surplus,” begged Anda Zumbaya, a mother of six from Ghana. “Please. We are willing to swallow our pride and accept aid from donors abroad, but that has limits. No Hillary merchandise. Please. I have six boys to clothe and can barely afford food, let alone new shirts for them. But I still have some shame.”
ISIS Announces: ‘Our Work Here is Done’ (satire)
Calling it “the culmination of everything we’ve worked for all these years,” a teary-eyed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced that ISIS had completed its mission of bringing around the end of Western Civilization.
At ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, supporters were celebrating well into Wednesday morning, with a “Mission Accomplished” banner hanging in the background. Ignoring the Muslim ban on alcohol, fighters were spraying each other with champagne.
“I knew that eventually, with hard work, we could bring about the destruction of America. I just never knew it would happen this quickly,” said one ISIS member. “I would like to thank the Republican Party, Vladimir Putin, the State of Florida, and Scott Baio.”
Peace Can’t Be Forced on Israel, or the Palestinians, from the Outside
As France considers a UN resolution that would aim to impose a two-state solution by fiat, and rumors fly that a lame-duck U.S. president might endorse it, Eran Lerman explains why such a course of action cannot but backfire:
By advocating coercive pressure on Israel, the would-be “peacemakers” make peace impossible. For any Palestinian leader (particularly a weak and hesitant one), an imposed solution is a painless alternative to the difficult business of negotiating a compromise. Even the hint of such a possibility is enough to persuade Palestinian policymakers that it is better to cast their hopes on international intervention than to accept a negotiated outcome.
Saeb Erekat’s “Study No. 15” of 2014 (an extensive policy document in which he advocated a confrontational course and international pressure) is an example. It resulted in the failure of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to achieve a breakthrough despite an intense effort by the Obama administration to bring Mahmoud Abbas to the negotiating table.
[The] false assumption that a major international intervention against Israeli interests can force the government into major concessions is equally dangerous. It would be a myopic attempt to upset the status quo. True moral responsibility (which the so-called peace activists claim as their guiding light) requires a sober assessment of what would follow such an intervention. A systemic analysis, going from the end-game backwards, makes the tragic implications of an imposed solution all too obvious. . . .
Will Obama launch a lame-duck Israel surprise? Not likely
Jonathan Schanzer, a vice president at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal titled “Obama’s Israel Surprise?” saying that the farthest-reaching possibility for the administration would be to allow through, without veto, a Security Council resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood. That was unlikely, he said, if only because Congress would nix it, perhaps by cutting funding to the United Nations.
“Congress would become unyielding,” he said. “The president would be forced to spike it.”
More likely, he said, are two less consequential actions: a speech by Obama outlining the parameters he sees for a two-state solution, or allowing through a narrow resolution condemning settlement expansion. (That would be a first for the Obama administration, which unlike every administration since 1968 has vetoed all resolutions related to the Israeli-Arab conflict that have been opposed by Israel.)
The settlements resolution might not advance, Schanzer said, because the Obama administration could insist on balancing it with language that would soften it for Israel – condemning Palestinian incitement, for instance – that the Palestinians and their UN allies would oppose.
That leaves the parameters speech, which would have the fewest consequences, if any, although it would engender bitterness in Jerusalem.
“The Israelis would likely be unhappy, it would likely call for concessions that they would prefer to be done in negotiations,” Schanzer said. “The drawbacks are minimal because he can speak whenever he likes – and it’s nonbinding.”
This would be a serious mistake for Interpol
The Palestinian Authority is completely different. Freedom House ranks it as “Not Free,” and as only marginally better than Russia. The Palestinian president is 11 years into his four-year term, the media is not free, and the Authority makes generous payments to the families of terrorists and celebrates them as martyrs.
The Palestinians aren’t seeking admission to Interpol because they want to support it. They want to join Interpol for the same reason they want to join every international organization: because it is a cheap way to win a legitimacy they do not deserve on their merits. And if they can use Interpol to persecute a few supporters of Israel, that would be a bonus.
Giving the Palestinians rewards they do not deserve only incentivizes them to keep on governing badly. We should stand on our principles, and vote against giving the Authority the opportunity to join the parade of dictatorships that already abuse Interpol.
The ICC sham was exposed again
The current crisis began with the recent withdrawal of some African countries from the court. Other countries are expected to follow their lead, and none are hiding their reasons behind the move: an unwillingness to extradite Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, one of the worst tyrants of our time, and general anger over the court "hounding" Africans. If we translate this from the language of political correctness, we will get the real picture -- the principle of justice is the last thing that interests the absolute majority of the court's member nations. A huge portion of those members are far from democratic, and they have no interest in promoting human rights or punishing those who intrude on these rights.
139 countries supported the establishment of the ICC, mostly as a means of bashing their opponents. Some saw it as the ideal playing field for hurling accusations against Israel in an attempt to make the victim the accused. Israel's enemies fantasized about seeing Israeli leaders and soldiers led into the courtroom in handcuffs. This court has been asked to investigate Israel at least twice, and no objections were made in response. In case you were wondering, the court is not investigating the massacre in Syria. The court is not even capable of arresting Al-Bashir, whose hands are stained with the blood of millions. Bring a ruthless tyrant to justice? No. Blame Israel? Most definitely.
The ICC has fallen victim to the same plague that killed off international initiatives like the U.N., UNESCO and the International Court of Justice. All of these were introduced by decent people, noble souls who really and truly wanted to bring about tikkun olam and comprehensive peace. They started off as the initiatives of pure idealists, and were instantly hijacked by those with dark ulterior motives. The decision-making process in all of these forums is driven solely by political interests, and if some moral resolution nevertheless manages to pass -- as in the resolution calling for the arrest of Al-Bashir -- the anti-democratic majority will do everything it can to ensure it remains a dead letter. Israel was wise to not follow the way of fools and become a part of this process.
UN committees adopt 10 resolutions against Israel in a single day
The 193 member states of the United Nations vote in the committee stage, and then adopt measures in the final stage at the General Assembly plenary in December, UN Watch said in a statement. States’ votes rarely change between the committee and final votes, according to the Geneva-based nongovernmental watchdog organization.
“On the renewal of the mandate of a special committee to investigate ‘Israeli practices,’ one of the 10 resolutions passed, the vote was 86 in favor, 71 abstaining, and 7 opposed, with the US, Canada and Australia joining the Jewish state, backed by Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau,” UN Watch said. “Those abstaining included EU members, as well as several from Africa and Latin America, including Argentina, Mexico and Costa Rica.”
“Today’s farce at the General Assembly underscores a simple fact: The UN’s automatic majority has no interest in truly helping Palestinians, nor in protecting anyone’s human rights,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “The goal of these ritual, one-sided condemnations remains the scapegoating of Israel.
“The UN’s disproportionate assault against the Jewish state undermines the institutional credibility of what is supposed to be an impartial international body. Politicization and selectivity harm its founding mission, eroding the UN Charter promise of equal treatment to all nations large and small,” he said.
Among the resolutions voted on Tuesday were “Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”; “The occupied Syrian Golan,” and “Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities.”
End U.N. Bias Against Israel
During its 71st session, the U.N. General Assembly is set to adopt 20 resolutions condemning Israel... and 4 condemning the rest of the world combined.


22 EU diplomats visit Gaza, urge Israel to lift restrictions
More than 20 senior European diplomats visited Gaza on Tuesday, calling for the Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave to be lifted.
Ambassadors from the 22 European Union states visited to assess the state of Gaza’s reconstruction in a trip organized and led by the EU.
It was the first such delegation since late 2014, which took place after that summer’s 50-day war with Israel. The conflict, which erupted after rockets from the Gaza Strip targeted Israeli cities, is said to have killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, many of them civilians, according to Palestinian sources in the Hamas-run Strip; and 73 Israelis, including 66 soldiers. Israel said about half of those killed in Gaza were combatants and blamed Hamas for all civilian casualties, since the terror group placed military infrastructure in residential areas.
Ralph Tarraf, head of the EU delegation to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, urged Israel to end the blockade on Gaza, calling for “steps to bring about a political, security and economic change.”
Palestinian tries to stab soldier with screwdriver, is shot — IDF
A Palestinian man, armed with a screwdriver, attempted to carry out a stabbing attack on an Israeli soldier in the northern West Bank on Wednesday morning and was shot, according to the army.
The attempted stabbing took place in Hawara, south of Nablus, the Israel Defense Forces said.
The soldier had been on guard duty in the area at the time of the attack, the army said.
Troops on the scene shot the attacker, who received first aid at the scene, the IDF said.
No Israeli injuries were reported. The condition of the assailant was not immediately known.
He was later identified by the Red Crescent ambulance service as Muhammad Amer, 32, from Tulkarem, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news outlet.
Errant shell from Syria hits Golan Heights; IDF strikes back
A mortar shell apparently fired from Syria struck the northern Golan Heights on Wednesday morning, causing neither injury nor damage, the army said.
The projectile, as with most others emanating from the war-torn country, appeared to be accidental spillover rather than an intentional attack on Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
Nevertheless, the Israeli army fired back into Syria, hitting “artillery positions belonging to the Syrian regime in the northern Syrian Golan Heights,” the military said.
The army would not elaborate on how Israel retaliated to the attack, whether it was by airstrike or artillery fire.
“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm the sovereignty of the State of Israel or the security of its citizens,” the army said.
Water crisis looms as PA refuses to cooperate with Israel
The IDF has warned the international community that the water infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza will collapse as long as the Palestinian Authority refuses to cooperate with Israel.
According to Head of the Coordination for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the joint Israeli-Palestinian water distribution council—which manages water infrastructure in the West Bank—hasn’t met since 2010 due to the Palestinians' refusal to approve water infrastructure upgrades in the West Bank settlements.
The major general sent an urgent letter to the UN humanitarian aid coordinator in the West Bank, the head of the Palestinian UNRWA, the head of the Red Cross, head of USAID, and various ambassadors, including the German, UK, Italian, French and EU ambassadors to Israel.
The COGAT head said that he wants significant steps to be taken to fix the water crisis in the West Bank and Gaza, saying "the Gaza Strip almost completely relies on its aquifer, and the water quality in it has become very poor as a result of years of over-pumping and pollution."
Regarding the West Bank, he wrote that "according to Palestinian estimates, 96% of the water drawn from the aquifer there isn't fit to drink, and thus the Palestinians rely on water from Israel… the water infrastructure in place isn't enough to meet the needs of the population, leading to water shortages in certain areas (of the West Bank)."
Israel ‘Greatest Threat to Humanity,’ Iranian FM Tells Palestinian Terrorist Leaders in Beirut
Israel is the greatest threat to humanity, Iran’s top diplomat said on Tuesday, during a meeting in Beirut with leaders of Palestinian terrorist groups.
According to the Iranian regime-aligned Tasnim news agency, Mohammad Javad Zarif — the Islamic Republic’s foreign minister — called the Jewish state a “colonial phenomenon” that is the “source of all threats to peace, security and human rights.”
Zarif — who also met with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah and new Lebanese President Michel Aoun while in Beirut — was quoted by Iran’s semi-official Fars state news agency as slamming Sunni anti-Assad regime groups in Syria for not attacking Israel.
“While terrorism has set fire to our region and has shed bloods [sic], it is interesting that the Takfiri [apostate] terrorists haven’t posed any danger and threat to the Israeli regime,” said Zarif, Iran’s chief negotiator of the nuclear deal signed with world powers in July 2015. “These two threats are interwoven and we, as the supporters of resistance against the danger of Zionism and terrorism, have no way out, but unity to confront these threats.”



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