TBR News December 2, 2017

Dec 02 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., December 2, 2017: “”Mr. Trump has not proven to be

a competent President.

He has had no national political experience as proven by his clumsy moves.

He makes bombastic statements of intent, designed to appeal to the very wealthy and his red-neck supporters and then has to either retract them or decline to act.

His rapid changes of course have seriously unsettled both European and Asian leaders and there are movements now to reject America’s controlling interest in their actions.

His erratic actions launching a rocket attack against a Syrian airfield based on transparently false news of chemical attacks has unnerved more than the US military.

When the Pentagon learned of his intended rocket attacks, they alerted the Russians who promptly removed personnel and aircraft from the target.

Also, the Russians were able, by the use of microwave transmissions, to deflect most of the ship-borne missiles so they fell, harmlessly, into the water.

The problem facing official Washington today is this: If Trump is forced to be a powerless first term president all well and good but if he is forced out of office, like Nixon, who will be able to replace him?

The choices are very, very few…if any.”

Table of Contents

  • Analysis: Despite Flynn’s guilty plea, Trump presidency not over yet
  • Michael Flynn’s wrongdoing is just the tip of the iceberg
  • Mueller’s swift moves signal mounting legal peril for the White House
  • Trump to Keep Embassy in Tel Aviv, but Recognize Jerusalem as Capital
  • Palestinians warn Trump against Jerusalem embassy move
  • The Great Majority of Jews Today Have No Historical or Ethnic Relationship to Palestine
  • Heartwarming or heartless? Israeli propaganda vs. reality
  • Netanyahu Is Not King of the World’s Jews
  • Twitter is paralysed by Trump’s tweeting
  • North Korea missile launch prompts Hawaii nuclear attack warning test


Analysis: Despite Flynn’s guilty plea, Trump presidency not over yet

With a guilty plea and reports that former US national security adviser Michael Flynn is cooperating, the investigation into Russian election meddling has picked up pace. DW answers three key questions.

December 2, 2017

by  Michael Knigge (Washington)


The guilty plea of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who on Friday admitted to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russia, is very significant.

First, in Flynn, not only has a member of US President Donald Trump’s campaign team been charged but also a former high-ranking official in the administration.

Second, despite the White House downplaying the charges by saying that Flynn was only in the administration for a short time, he was one of the most important foreign policy advisers, if not the most important, to the future president during the election campaign. Trump’s high esteem for Flynn led him to be appointed national security adviser, a position that doesn’t require congressional approval, against the advice of many experts.

Third, Flynn’s guilty plea is a clear indication that he has provided important information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who will be able to use that information to prepare investigations and charges against more significant figures.

“That’s the real story here. That he agreed to cooperate in exchange for favorable treatment from Mueller,” said Jimmy Gurulé, a former assistant attorney general at the Justice Department and a law professor at the University of Notre Dame.

“You don’t enter into a plea agreement unless the prosecutor has determined and independently corroborated that the potential witness has substantial, credible and reliable evidence that would implicate higher ups in the criminal enterprise in unlawful activity.”


Michael Flynn’s wrongdoing is just the tip of the iceberg

The former national security adviser is now cooperating with the Mueller investigation. That takes the trail of Russian collusion to the desk of Trump

December 1, 2017

by Richard Wolffe

The Guardian

That scampering sound you can hear is just the rats disembarking from the sinking ship.

Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, is not just any old rodent. For so long, he was the only faintly known quantity in national security to be desperate or insane enough to get close to Donald Trump.

His guilty plea to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador is no minor development. As all the other stampeding rats know, it is the tip of this perilous iceberg.

How can you tell? Because suddenly the White House is dismissing Flynn as a bit player in the history of Team Trump.

Ty Cobb, the White House special counsel with the unsavory task of defending Trump on a dozen fronts, issued this statement to the press: “Today, Michael Flynn, a former National Security Advisor at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI.”

Worse than being a nobody, Flynn was actually an Obama official. Yes, seriously. Never mind that he was fired by Obama as head of the defense intelligence agency for being such a screwball. Cue all the talk of the deep state on the fringes of conservative media.

But that’s not all. Cobb is in agreement with the real special counsel, Robert Mueller, on Flynn’s multiple crimes. After all, Flynn was fired precisely because he was such a rat.

“The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year,” Cobb said. “Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr Flynn. The conclusion of this phase of the Special Counsel’s work demonstrates again that the Special Counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion.”

Well, at least the last line rings true. Mueller is indeed moving with all deliberate speed, and his direction is totally reasonable.

Let us review how far Mueller has traveled in recent weeks. It’s only one month since the guilty plea by one George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign’s point man on Russia, on charges of lying about his extensive efforts to collude with Russian officials during last year’s election.

That means it’s also only one month since Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, was charged with multiple counts of laundering Ukraine government money, along with his associate Rick Gates. Manafort, who is pleading not guilty, was freed on bail of $10m this week. In lobbying, they used to call that nice work if you can get it.

And it’s only two weeks since we learned of Donald Trump Jr’s coordination with WikiLeaks about Hillary Clinton’s emails, which you recall were hacked by the Trump campaign’s friends in Moscow.

Flynn’s guilty plea suggests he’s avoiding far worse charges in exchange for cooperation with Mueller’s investigations. That isn’t surprising, given his failure to disclose his foreign lobbying and all the reporting about his various deals with Turkey and Russia during his time in the campaign, in the transition, and even in the White House.

But there’s more. According to ABC News, Flynn is sharing with Mueller how Trump himself told him to contact the Russians, at first in an effort to coordinate against Isis.

Flynn’s cooperation takes the trail of Russian collusion to the desk of the man we all know is at the center of this plot: Donald J Trump.

We know it because Trump really can’t help but broadcast his guilt. When the Russians hacked Clinton’s emails, Trump publicly asked them to hack some more.

When Flynn back-channeled with the Russians to undermine the Obama administration, Trump tweeted about how “very smart” Putin was. It remains unclear whether Putin feels the same way about Trump.

When his son was caught, ironically by email, colluding with the Russian-backed WikiLeaks, Trump tweeted there was “NO COLLUSION!” Maybe the ALL CAPS are the giveaway here.

Trump says he believes Putin when he claims he didn’t meddle with Trump’s election. At the same time, he really wants all this Russia stuff to go away.

Senator Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the intelligence committee, took the unusual step of going on the record about Trump’s pressure to end his Russia investigation.

“It was something along the lines of, ‘I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible,’” Burr said.

Of course, that’s nothing compared to firing the former FBI director James Comey, presumably because he refused to end his Russia investigation before it had really started.

All this week there have been warning signs about the cracks appearing in the hull of Steamship Trump. The behavior of the 45th president has grown so bizarre that there is now open talk that he just might be unhinged.

Trump managed to astonish the far-right wingnuts with his Islamophobic tweets, cleaving apart his alliance with the British government. He hurled unfounded allegations against news executives, and continued to bleat on about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

There’s something so deliciously guilty about a man who claims his election rival was a threat to national security, at the same time as he was compromising national security.

Then again, Flynn himself whipped up all the Trumpistas at the party convention crowd by insisting that he would go to jail if he had done one tenth of Clinton’s supposed wrongdoing. Now that’s truly delicious.

With all the hindsight that a week gives us, it’s clear that Trump isn’t mad with his reckless tweeting. He’s just desperate: the last caged rat who knows he has nowhere left to go as his one-time friends leave him behind.

If he weren’t so crassly offensive, he might just be pitiful.


Mueller’s swift moves signal mounting legal peril for the White House

December 1, 2017

by Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Karen DeYoung

Washington Post

After six months of work, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has indicted two advisers to President Trump and accepted guilty pleas from two others in exchange for their cooperation with his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election — a sign of mounting legal peril for the White House.

With the guilty plea Friday by former national security adviser Michael Flynn — one of Trump’s closest and most valued aides — the investigation has swept up an array of figures with intimate knowledge of the campaign, the transition and the White House.

It appears to have swiftly expanded beyond Russia’s interference in the campaign to encompass a range of activities, including contacts with Russian officials during the transition and alleged money laundering that took place long before Trump ran for office.

And Flynn’s agreement to fully cooperate with investigators suggests that Mueller is not done yet.

Both Flynn and George Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, acknowledged lying to the FBI about their contacts with the Russians. Now, both are cooperating with Mueller, according to prosecutors, potentially providing evidence against other Trump aides.

“Mueller has proceeded with professionalism, deliberation and without delay to build a case with a wall of substance,” said Richard Ben-Veniste, who was a lead member of the Watergate special prosecution team. “This plea today is another brick in that wall.”

Mueller has moved so swiftly that it has left Trump’s team grasping for answers about how far the probe might ultimately reach.

Along with Flynn and Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, have been charged with money laundering and other crimes related to political consulting they did in Ukraine prior to joining Trump’s effort. They pleaded not guilty.

On Friday, the news about Flynn’s deal broke after the regular senior staff meeting at the White House, startling top officials and leaving many feeling helpless.

“We don’t know really what is going on,” said one adviser who speaks to Trump often and requested anonymity to describe private conversations. “Who’s it going to implicate? What are they going to say?”

Flynn’s cooperation poses particular risks for the White House.

Unlike Papadopoulos, who had minimal contact with top aides and met Trump just once, Flynn was a key member of Trump’s inner circle, considered at one point for the vice-presidential nomination.

There have been signs for months that Trump was particularly nervous about the possibility of the investigation ensnaring his former national security adviser.

Former FBI director James B. Comey testified in June that Trump urged him in February to back off an investigation of Flynn. Their one-on-one conversation in the Oval Office came three weeks after Flynn was interviewed by FBI agents and lied about his foreign contacts.

If anyone on the campaign coordinated with the Russians in their efforts to interfere with the election, Flynn would probably have been aware.

Court documents filed Friday show that Flynn did not operate independently in his contacts during the transition with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — which he then lied about to federal agents.

According to the filings, Flynn consulted with multiple senior Trump officials during the transition. One adviser, described in court documents as a “very senior member” of the transition team, directed Flynn in December to reach out to Kislyak and lobby him about a United Nations resolution on Israeli settlements.

People familiar with the investigation identified the adviser as Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Kushner lawyer Abbe Lowell declined to comment.

Likewise, Flynn spoke to Kislyak about new U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia by President Barack Obama in late December only after discussing the matter with a senior Trump official who had accompanied him on a trip to Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club, according to the documents.

The senior official was Flynn’s deputy, K.T. McFarland, according to two people familiar with the conversation. McFarland, who has been nominated to be ambassador to Singapore, did not respond to a request for comment.

Mueller is now expected to explore who knew what in the White House about Flynn’s interactions with the Russians — and whether any other Trump aides lied about that knowledge.

Legal experts said Mueller could be looking at whether Trump’s team violated a more-than-200-year-old law known as the Logan Act that prohibits private citizens from working with foreign governments against the U.S. government.

Court filings show that Flynn was actively working to undercut Obama’s foreign policy before formally entering government, in consultation with other Trump officials.

“It sure looks like this is a Logan Act violation,” said Stephen Vladeck, an expert in national security law at the University of Texas.

Still, use of the Logan Act, which has not been used to prosecute a U.S. citizen since the Civil War, would face strong legal challenges.

The constitutionality of the law — particularly whether it imposes unacceptable restrictions on freedom of speech — has never been tested. Vladeck also said defense lawyers could argue that presidential transition officials act with the authority of the U.S. government and are not subject to the law.

But Mueller has shown a willingness to be aggressive when it comes to using obscure federal statutes, as seen in his use of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which is rarely prosecuted in criminal cases. Mueller charged Manafort and Gates with violating that law.

Aside from the legal implications, Flynn’s account could ratchet up the political pressure on the White House, which will now face more questions about why incoming Vice President Pence, chief of staff Reince Priebus and then-spokesman Sean Spicer insisted that Flynn did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak when other senior officials knew otherwise.

At the time of Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador, Obama was weighing how to respond to the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russian President Vladi­mir Putin had ordered hacking and propaganda operations to help Trump win the White House.

In those same weeks, Obama’s team had been discussing what to do about the failure to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. That question abruptly required an answer on Dec. 21, when Egypt unexpectedly introduced a U.N. Security Council resolution criticizing Israel for its West Bank settlements and called for a vote the next day.

On both issues, the policies chosen by Obama ran counter to those preferred by Trump and his team.

But long-standing U.S. tradition, supported by the Logan Act, has held that a president-elect take a back seat to the serving president until after taking the oath of office.

On Dec. 28, Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian intelligence officials from this country and the closure of two Russian diplomatic facilities as punishment for what U.S. intelligence said was Moscow’s interference in the election.

The next day, Dec. 29, court documents show that Flynn called Kislyak and asked that Russia avoid escalating tensions with the United States and refrain from responding in kind to Obama’s actions. Just one day later, Dec. 30, Putin announced that he would take no action, prompting Trump to tweet that Putin had made a “great move.”

“I always knew he was very smart,” Trump tweeted.

In mid-February, four days after The Washington Post reported that Flynn had discussed the sanctions with Kislyak, Trump fired him.

But the new court documents show that some Trump aides had been aware of the nature of Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador. He spoke to other aides before and after the conversation with Kislyak on Dec. 29, as well as after a conversation he had with Kislyak on Dec. 31 in which the ambassador said Putin had decided not to retaliate specifically in response to Flynn’s request.

Events surrounding the Dec. 23 Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements as illegal marked the most overt interference in U.S. foreign policy by the Trump team, and Trump personally, between his election and inauguration.

Egypt’s abrupt introduction of the resolution on Dec. 21 — and the scheduling of a vote for the next day — took much of the council, and the Obama administration, by surprise.

As Obama consulted with aides on the U.S. vote, Israeli officials mobilized to head off passage. Trump’s position was the same as Israel’s: The resolution should be vetoed, he tweeted before dawn on Dec. 22.

According to court documents, that same day, the senior official directed Flynn to contact foreign leaders, including from Russia, and urge them to do what Obama had decided the United States would not: oppose the resolution or at least delay it. Trump himself called Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi to discuss the resolution, the Egyptians announced at the time.

At first, Trump’s gambit appeared to have worked. Just before the vote was to take place, Egypt withdrew the resolution. But by the next morning, it had been reintroduced by New Zealand and other co-sponsors, and a vote was quickly held. The United States abstained, and the resolution was adopted with the vote of all other 14 Security Council members.

Trump publicly fumed, tweeting, “We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect.”

Alice Crites, Josh Dawsey and Jenna Johnson contributed to this report.


Trump to Keep Embassy in Tel Aviv, but Recognize Jerusalem as Capital

December 1, 2017

by Mark Landler and Julie Hirschfeld Davis

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but not to move the American Embassy there for now, people briefed on the deliberations said on Friday, a halfway gesture intended to fulfill a campaign pledge while not derailing his peace initiative.

Mr. Trump is expected to announce the decision in a speech next Wednesday, these people said, though they cautioned that the president had not yet formally signed off on it and that the details of the plan could shift.

Those details, experts warned, are fiendishly complicated. The diplomatic status of Jerusalem is one of the world’s most contested issues, with Israel and the Palestinians claiming it as their capital. Its holy sites are sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, and any change in its status would have vast repercussions across the Middle East and other Islamic-majority countries worldwide.

Mr. Trump promised to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv as one of his first acts as president — a pledge that was popular with his evangelical supporters as well as with powerful Jewish donors, like the casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

American presidents must sign a national security waiver every six months to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv. In June, Mr. Trump deferred a decision to move it to Jerusalem, under pressure from Arab leaders, who warned that it would ignite protests, and from advisers, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who worried that it could strangle the administration’s attempt to foster peace in the generations-long dispute.

With another deadline looming next Monday, Mr. Trump is expected to sign an order keeping the embassy in Tel Aviv. But he will couple that with a statement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital — something that no president, Republican or Democrat, has done since the state of Israel was established in 1948.

Given the extreme sensitivities surrounding Jerusalem, Middle East experts said Mr. Trump’s plan was fraught with risk. Even after extensive consultations with Arab leaders, which the White House has not done, such a move could provoke volatile reactions.

“The devil is in the details of what they announce,” said Martin S. Indyk, who served as American ambassador to Israel under President Bill Clinton. “If this is not framed properly, far from resolving this issue, it will land the administration in even hotter water.”

Among the questions, Mr. Indyk said, are whether Mr. Trump will restrict recognition to West Jerusalem, whether he will mention Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem and how he will deal with Jerusalem’s status as a holy city — a factor that could determine whether Saudi Arabia supports or abandons his peace project.

News of Mr. Trump’s decision came amid fresh disclosures about how, even before he took office, he worked closely with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to scuttle a United Nations Security Council resolution critical of Israel’s settlement policy — subverting then-President Barack Obama, who had decided to allow a vote to go ahead.

Documents filed in connection with the guilty plea of Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, revealed that on Dec. 22, 2016, a “very senior member” of Mr. Trump’s transition team instructed Mr. Flynn to contact foreign officials, including from Russia, “to influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat the resolution.”

Lawyers identified the senior transition official as Mr. Kushner. Russia rebuffed Mr. Flynn’s request and voted for the resolution, which passed after the United States abstained.

Mr. Trump has kept up his close relations with Mr. Netanyahu, though that may be tested if, as expected, the White House tries to jump-start peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians early next year.

While Mr. Netanyahu supports the decision to move the American Embassy, Israeli officials have not pushed the issue in recent months. Other leaders in the region, like King Abdullah II of Jordan, remain deeply opposed to it.

But Mr. Trump was under immense pressure from pro-Israel and evangelical supporters and is likely to repeat past assertions that it is not a matter of if, but when, the embassy will be moved to Jerusalem. He is also being pressed to declare that next week’s waiver will be his last — effectively promising to devise a plan by mid-2018 to begin relocating the embassy.

Declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital would not itself mark a change in American law. In 1995, Mr. Clinton signed a statute declaring, “Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.” But administrations have been allowed to decide, as a matter of policy, whether to recognize it as the capital, and none have done so.

That law requires the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem, unless the president issues a waiver finding that doing so would be against national security interests of the United States. American presidents have done so every six months since then to avoid prejudging the outcome of — and therefore hampering — an eventual resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Trump vowed to change course. At the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2016, he said he would “move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”

But he signed a waiver on June 1, and officials said Mr. Adelson was among the supporters who were deeply disappointed by the president’s decision.

Among those pressing hardest for moving the embassy, said people close to the deliberations, was Vice President Mike Pence, who has been a conduit for Mr. Trump to religious conservatives. In a speech in New York on Tuesday, he said Mr. Trump was “actively considering when and how to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

In the short run, the decision could complicate plans for Mr. Kushner and Jason D. Greenblatt, Mr. Trump’s special envoy, to restart peace negotiations. Palestinian officials have warned that Mr. Trump is “playing with fire.”

“If you’re trying to be creative by saying we’re recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, you’d better qualify it,” said Dennis B. Ross, a longtime Middle East peace negotiator. “If you don’t qualify it, that means you’ve just accepted the Israeli position on the final status of Jerusalem, which means you’ve lost the Arabs.”


Palestinians warn Trump against Jerusalem embassy move

December 1, 2017


The Palestinian president’s office and senior officials have warned of the potentially destructive effects of any move denying their claim to occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

The warnings come as US President Donald Trump is due to decide as early as the next week whether to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Reports emerged on Friday that Trump could again delay moving the embassy, but recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that would rewrite long-standing US policy and ignite tensions in the Middle East.

Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee, says he has spoken to Arab leaders, who have relayed the same message “that Jerusalem is a red line, not just for Palestinians but for Arabs, Muslims and Christians everywhere”.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Friday from Virginia, USA, Erekat said: “Everyone has informed the US administration that Jerusalem isn’t just a Palestinian question, it’s an Arab, Islamic and Christian question.

“The US administration understands the enormity of the subject.

“We are being told that promises were made during the election campaign that were postponed due to internal US problems facing Trump or anyone else … but these are not our concern.

“This is a very big issue. To touch Jerusalem, touch al-Aqsa Mosque, touch the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – this is playing with fire.

“There is no meaning for a Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Equally dangerous

In a statement to the official Palestinian Wafa news agency, Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem would be equally dangerous for the fate of the peace process, and threaten to push the region into instability.

“The American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel destroys the peace process,” he told AFP news agency.

The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of future Palestinian state, and fiercely oppose any changes that could be regarded as legitimising Israel’s occupation and annexation of its eastern sector.

Without referring to Trump or the US by name, Abu Rudeina said any just solution in the Middle East required recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

“East Jerusalem, with its holy places, is the beginning and the end of any solution and any project that saves the region from destruction,” he told Wafa.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

No countries currently have their embassies in Jerusalem, instead keeping them in Israel’s commercial capital Tel Aviv.

Reuters news agency reported citing a senior US official that Trump was likely to deliver a speech on Wednesday recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

It also quoted two administration officials as saying on Thursday that even as Trump was considering the declaration, he was expected to again delay his campaign promise to move the US embassy there.

Trump has said he wants to relaunch frozen peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in search of the “ultimate deal”.

Any major shift in US policy would make that goal more difficult to achieve, Middle East analysts say.


The Great Majority of Jews Today Have No Historical or Ethnic Relationship to Palestine

by Issa Nakhleh  LL.B

The Jews of today are composed of the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi Jews. The Sephardi Jews are the Oriental Jews wo are descendants of the Jews who left Palestine during the Christian era and migrated to neighboring Arab countries., North Africa and Spain. Some of the Oriental Jews were also converts to Judaism, such as some Berbers of North Africa who were converted to Judaism. The Tunisian Jews, Albert Memmi, a Professor of Sociology at the Sorbonne in Paris, has expressed doubt as “to whether his own ancestors in the Saraha had any historic connection to Palestine. Perhaps, he suggested, they were just Berbers converted to Judaism, since according to his information, “most North African Jews are simply Berber nomads who have accepted Judaism.”

Arthur Koestler maintains that there were many Jewish converts outside of Palestine with no biblical family roots:

‘Witness to the proselytizing zeal of the Jews of earlier times are the black-skinned Falasha of Abyssinia, the Chinese Jews of Kai-Feng who look like Chinese, the Yemenite Jews with the dark olive complexion, the Jewish Berber tribes of the Sahara who look like Tauregs, and so on, down to our prime example, the Khazars.’

The Ashkenazi Jews who lived in Russian and Central Eastern Europe and later on migrated to Western and Southern Europe, are of Khazar origin and were converted to Judaism in the 9th century A.S. The Khazar Jews have no ethnic or historical connection with Palestine. The Ahakenazi Jews who migrated to Palestine during the British mandate and who committed the crime of genocide against the Palestinian people are descendants of the Khazars. The Jewish Encyclopedia refers to the Khazars and their conversion to Judaism:

“A people of Turkish origin whose life and history are interwoven with the very beginnings of the history of the Jews of Russia. The kingdom of the Khazars was firmly established in most of South Russia long before the foundation of the Russian monarchy by the Varangians(855)…Driven onward by the nomadic tribes of the steppes and by their own desire for plunder and revenge, they made frequent invasions into Armenia…

In the second half of the sixth century the Khazar move westward. They established themselves in the territory bounded by the Sea of Azov, the Don and the lower Volga, the Caspian Sea, and the northern Caucasus…In 679 the Khazars subjugated the Bulgars and extended their sway further west between the Don and the Dnieper, as far as the the head-waters of Donetsk….It was probably about that time that the Khaghan (Bulan) of the Khazars and his grandees, together with a large number of his heathen people, embraced the Jewish religion…

It was one of the successors of Bulan, named Obadiah, who regenerated the kingdom and strengthened the Jewish religion. He invited Jewish scholars to settle in his dominions, and founded synagogues and schools, The people were instructed in the Bible, Mishnah, and Talmud…

From the work Kitab al-Buldan written about the ninth century, it appears as if all the Khazars were Jews and that they had been converted to Judaism only a short time before that book was written….It may be assumed that in the ninth century many Khazar heathens became Jews, owing to the religious zeal of King Obadia,. “Such a conversion in great masses says Chwolson (Izvyestia o  Khazaraka, p 58), ” may have been the reason for the embassy of the Christians from the land of the Khazars to the Byzantine emperor Michael…

The Jewish population in the entire domain of the Khazars, in the period between the seenth and tenth centuries, must have been considerable…

The Russians invaded the trans-Caucasian country in 944…This seems to have been the beginning of the downfall of the Khazar kingdom…The Russian prince Sviatoslav made war upon the Khazars (c.974) the Russians conquered all the Khazarian territory east of the Sea of Azov. Only the Crimean territory of the Khazars remained in their possession until 1016, when they were dispossessed by a joint expedition of Russians and Byzanatines…Many were sent as prisoners of was to Kiev, where a Khazar community had long existed…Some went to Hungary, but the great mass of the people remained in their native country. Many members of the Khazrian royal family emigrated to Spain…

Professor Graetz describes the Khazar kingdom as follows:

“The heathen king of a barbarian people, living in the north,m together with all his court, adopted the Jewish religion…Their kings, who bore the title of Khakhan or Khaghan, had led these warlike sons of the steppe from victory to victory…

It is possible that the circumstances under which the Khazars embraced Judaism have been embellished by legend, but the fact itself is too definitely proved on all sides to allow any doubt as to its reality. Besides Bulan, the nobles of his kingdom, numbering nearly four thousand,m adopted the Jewish religion. Little by little it made its way among the people, so that most of the inhabitants of the towns of the H=Khazar kingdom were Jews…At first the Judaism of the Khazars must have been rather superficial, and could have had but a little influence on their mind and manners…

A successor of Bulan, who bore the Hebrew name of Obadiah, was the first to make serious efforts to further the Jewish religion. He invited Jewish sages to settle in his dominions, rewarded them royally, founded synagogues and schools, caused instruction to be given to himself and his people in the Bible and the Talmud, and introduced a divine service modeled on that of the ancient communities…After Obadiah came a along series of Jewish Khaghans, for according to a fundamental law of the state only Jewish rulers were permitted to ascent the throne…”

According to Dr. A.A. Poliak, Professor of Medieval Jewish History at Tel Aviv University, the descendants of the Khazars-“those who stayed where they were, those who emigrated to the United States and to other countries, and those who went ti Israel– constitute now the large majority of world Jewry.”

The physiological differences between the Ashkenazim, who are mainly of Turkic Khazar origin, the the Sephardim, who are mainly of Semitic Palestinian origin, has been confirmed by scientific evidence:

“By, and large, the Sephardim are dolichocephalic (long-headed), the Ashkenazim brachycephalic (broad-headed)…The statistics relating to other physical features also speak against racial unity…The hardest evidence to date come from classification by blood groups.”The thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler pps. 232-233

Thus both historical and physiological evidence negate any historical claims to being of Palestinian origin to the European Jews in Israel and to the majority of Jews in the world.


Heartwarming or heartless? Israeli propaganda vs. reality

December 1, 2017

by Maureen Clare Murphy


The Facebook propaganda pages touting the activities of the bureaucratic arm of Israel’s occupation might be funny if the policies they attempt to whitewash weren’t so cruel.

Dedicated to showing the softer side of military occupation, the posts made by COGAT – which stands for “Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories” – paint a fantastical picture of Israel’s rule over millions of Palestinians which bears little resemblance to the brutal reality on the ground.

The word “coordination” is euphemistically used to describe Israel’s control over Palestinians’ access to health services, ability to trade, or even visit family. It was recently featured as “word of the day” on COGAT’S page.

COGAT presents itself as a humanitarian body, posting cheery infographics with Israeli government statistics on the amount of goods allowed into Gaza and people allowed out of the territory in a given week. They appear to be modeled after those put out by the United Nations monitoring group OCHA and other watchdogs.

COGAT’s logo, featuring two hands clasped together, might even look like the logo of a humanitarian charity, were it not for the sword that emanates from the handshake, adorned with an olive branch.

Its Arabic-language page is much more active than the English page, likely part of its strategy to normalize relations with certain Arab countries.

“Easy and fast”

A video recently posted on COGAT’s Arabic-language page purports to explain the “easy and fast” process by which Palestinians can obtain a permit for medical treatment in Israel.

Upbeat music accompanies emoji-style graphics and animated text stating that all one needs to do is give the Palestinian Authority health ministry a referral request and a copy of one’s ID and medical report.

In the case of a medical emergency, the video states, COGAT simply requires a referral request from a hospital and a statement of financial commitment to pay the bill.

And yet humanitarian and human rights groups have noted this year an increase in the number of patients from Gaza whose requests for permits have been delayed or denied, preventing urgently needed health care and costing some patients their lives.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel this week made an urgent appeal to COGAT concerning the cases of nine women cancer patients.

“The need for treatment outside the Gaza Strip is intensified due to the long blockade, internal and structural reasons, making adequate medical care for women with cancer unavailable,” PHRI stated.

Israel’s blockade on Gaza and the resulting fuel and electricity shortages are directly to blame for the lack of proper medical care for these patients.

“Bureaucratic nightmare”

As the occupying power, Israel is fully responsible for the welfare of the population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to international law.

“For example, in recent months the permanent lack of radiotherapy for cancer patients, radioactive iodine, or diagnostic equipment was added by shortage in medicine for chemotherapy and difficulties to activate operation rooms due to fuel and electricity shortages,” PHRI added.

The Palestinian rights group Al Mezan stated on Saturday last week, which marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, that “10 women have died since the beginning of 2017 after being denied access to hospitals and appropriate medical treatment outside of Gaza.”

Rather than “easy and fast,” PHRI describes the permit application process for patients in Gaza as “a bureaucratic nightmare.”

On Monday, COGAT posted a heartwarming story about an Iraqi baby who received life-saving treatment in Israel.

“This is the true Israeli humanity,” COGAT boasts.

Palestinian mothers and fathers in Gaza who have had to bury their children after they were denied vital treatment by Israel know the real story.


Netanyahu Is Not King of the World’s Jews

December 2, 2017

by Uri Avnery


Zionism is an anti-Semitic creed. It was so right from the beginning.

Already the founding father, Theodor Herzl, a Viennese writer, penned some pieces with a clear anti-Semitic slant. For him, Zionism was not just a geographical transplantation, but also a means of turning the despicable commercial Jew of the Diaspora into an upright, industrious human being.

Herzl traveled to Russia in order to win the support of their anti-Semitic, pogrom-inciting leaders for his project, promising to take the Jews off their hands.

Indeed, it was always a main plank of Zionist propaganda that only in the future Jewish state will Jews be able to live a normal life. The slogan was to “overturn the social pyramid” – putting it on a sound basis of workers and farmers, instead of speculators and bankers.

When I was a schoolboy in (then) Palestine, everything we learned was soaked with a profound contempt for “exile Jews”, those Jews everywhere who preferred to stay in the Diaspora. They were definitely much inferior to us.

The climax was reached by a small group in the early 1940s, who were nicknamed “Canaanites”. They proclaimed that we were a new nation altogether, the Hebrew nation, and that we had nothing to do with Jews anywhere. When the full scope of the Holocaust became known, these voices were lowered, but not silenced.

The anti-semites, on their part, always preferred the Zionists to other Jews. Adolf Eichmann famously declared that he preferred to deal with the Zionists because they were more “biologically valuable”.

Even today, Jew-haters everywhere loudly applaud the State of Israel, as evidence that they are not anti-Semites. Israeli diplomats are not averse to utilizing their support. They love the alt-right.

This never prevented the State of Israel from exploiting the support of world Jewry. Long ago there used to be a joke: God Almighty divided his bounty justly between the Arabs and the Israelis. He gave the Arabs oil, which provided them with economic and political clout, and He provided the Israelis with world Jewry, for the same purpose.

In the early days of the State of Israel, it desperately needed the money of American Jews – literally to buy next month’s bread. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was persuaded to go to the US to woo them. But there was a problem: Ben-Gurion, an arch Zionist, was determined to tell them to leave everything and come to Israel. His aides had a hard time convincing him please not to mention aliyah (immigration, literally “to go up”).

The uneven relationship prevails to this very day. Israelis secretly despise American Jews for preferring the “fleshpots of Egypt” to living like upright people in the Jewish State, but demand their unconditional political support. Most American Jewish organizations do provide this. They wield huge power in Washington DC, where AIPAC, the Zionist lobby, is considered the second most powerful political organization after the National Rifle Association.

Unfortunately, the relationship creates more and more problems which cannot be hidden anymore.

The latest outburst came from an unexpected source. Its bears an unusual name: Tzipi Hotovely. Hers is a Georgian name. Her parents did indeed emigrate (or “make aliyah”) from that former Soviet republic. (Since in the Hebrew script vowels are not written, few Israelis know how to pronounce this name correctly.)

Tzipi (diminutive of Tzipor, bird) is both an intelligent and beautiful woman of 39. She is also an extreme rightist. Her outlook is a combination of radical nationalism and orthodox religion,. She is, of course, a member of the Likud. This helped her to reach the high position of Deputy Foreign Minister.

So who is the foreign minister? Nobody. Netanyahu is much too clever to appoint anyone to this high position, lest he or she become a competitor. This elevates Tzipi’s standing.

Generally, Hotovely keeps quiet. But a few weeks ago, she threw a virtual bomb.

In an interview with an American outlet, the Israeli deputy foreign minister viciously attacked American Jewry, repeating old anti-Semitic slogans. Among other things, she blasted the American Jews for not sending their sons to the US army. As a result, she said, they are unable to understand Israelis, whose sons are fighting every day.

This is an old accusation. I remember seeing a Nazi leaflet dropped from German planes over the American lines in France during World War II. It showed a fat, cigar-puffing Jew sexually molesting a pure Aryan American woman, with the inscription: “While you are shedding your blood in Europe, the Jew is raping your wife back home!”

The accusation itself is, of course, nonsense. The draft has long since been abolished in the US. The US army consists of lower-class volunteers. Jews generally do not belong to these.

Hotovely has been widely condemned, but was not dismissed. She continues to be in charge of all Israeli diplomats.

This incident was only the latest in a long series of troubles in the relations between the two communities.

Right from the beginning, the State of Israel has sold many religious privileges to the Israeli Orthodox establishment, whose votes in the Knesset were and are essential for putting together a governing coalition.

In Israel, there is no civil marriage. All marriages are religious. If an Israeli Jewish man wants to marry a Christian or Muslim woman – a rare occurrence – they must go to neighboring Cyprus. Foreign marriages are recognized.

But in modern Judaism, there are several religious communities. In the US, the main communities are liberal – Reform Judaism and Conservative Judaism. These are hardly recognized in Israel. All marriages are strictly Orthodox. So is the overseeing of kosher establishments, a hugely lucrative enterprise.

This means that the main streams of American Judaism have practically no rights in Israel. They hardly exist here.

As if this was not enough, there is a vicious conflict about the Western Wall, the holiest Jewish site. It is considered the only remnant of the Jewish temple, which was destroyed by the Romans some 2100 years ago. (Actually, it is only a remnant of an outer supporting wall.)

While belonging in theory to all Jews, the Israeli government has turned this holy place over to the Orthodox establishment, which allows only males to approach it. The reform community and women’s organizations protested, and at long last a compromise was reached, which reserves the main part of the wall for the orthodox, but leaves a separate part to women and reform Jews. Now the government has annulled this compromise.

The basic trouble is that the entire relationship between Israelis and Diaspora Jews is built on a lie: the belief that they are the same people. They are not.

Reality separated them long ago. The real situation is that Israeli “Jews” are a new nation, created by the spiritual, geographical and social realities in the new country – much as US Americans are different from the British or the British are different from Australians.

They have a strong feeling of belonging to each other, of a joint heritage and of family ties. But they are different.

The sooner the two sides recognize this officially, the better it is for both. American Jews can support Israel, as – say – Irish Americans can support Ireland, but it’s up to them. They don’t owe allegiance to Israel and are not obliged to pay us tribute.

Israel, on its part, can help Jews anywhere when they are in trouble, and allow them to join us. Welcome.

But we do not belong to a joint nation. We in Israel are a nation composed of Israeli citizens. American and other Jews are part of their respective nations and of the worldwide Jewish ethnic-religious community.

Netanyahu would like to be, like Queen Victoria, “king and emperor” – King of Israel and Emperor of the Jews.

Well, he ain’t.


Twitter is paralysed by Trump’s tweeting

December 1, 2017

by Dave Lee  North America technology reporter

BBC News

Once again, Twitter finds itself between a rock and a far-right place.

Donald Trump’s retweeting of Britain First’s Jayda Fransen on Wednesday was a truly shocking moment. The British Prime Minister said it was “wrong”. It contributed, as one US news site put it, to Trump’s “darkest day” as President.

Yet as Wednesday rolled into Thursday, the leader of the free world retweeting a far-right organisation became just another frightful part of what we apparently refer to as the “new normal”.

Now perhaps the most surprising element of this spectacle isn’t that the President amplified the tweets of a woman who has been fined for hate speech – but that those tweets are still there.

Volatile space

Recently Twitter has pledged to crack down on hate speech, and, more importantly, promised to be more transparent about how it goes about moderating its increasingly volatile space.

It said those who engaged in hateful behaviour, online and offline, would see their “verified” status removed, acknowledging that some saw the bright blue tick as badge of honour for Twitter users.

The three tweets in question showed shocking video clips, though Ms Fransen’s captions added context that was both inaccurate and inciteful, targeting, as Britain First usually does, Muslim immigrants.

On Thursday, Twitter said it wouldn’t take any action against the tweets – though it did tag the material as “sensitive”.

Despite its new transparency pledge, it refused to offer an explanation, or give any indication – even off the record – as to its reasoning for keeping the tweets online.

Ms Fransen, Britain First’s deputy leader, remains on the platform – verified with a blue tick – despite “offline” behaviour that includes a fine of almost £2,000 for religiously-aggravated harassment of a stranger in the street. Ms Fransen admitted to shouting abuse at the Muslim woman, who was with her children.

When asked about Ms Fransen’s tweets and status, a Twitter spokeswoman sent the BBC the following statement.

“To help ensure people have an opportunity to see every side of an issue there may be the rare occasion when we allow controversial content or behaviour which may otherwise violate our Rules to remain on our service because we believe there is a legitimate public interest in its availability.”

The follow up questions are obvious. What is “every side” to this story? What is the “public interest in its availability”?

Twitter said it would not offer further comment.

Irrelevant nature

One argument might be that the precise content of the videos are important to those wanting to have an informed opinion on Trump’s decision – but even his own press secretary apparently disagrees with that.

“I’m not talking about the nature of the video,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders told White House reporters on Wednesday.

“I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing. The threat is real, and that’s what the president is talking about.”

In other words, the content of the videos were irrelevant to Trump’s wider point, whatever that may have been. Twitter, however, considers it vital to the public interest to keep the videos online, boosted by the President to more than 40 million followers.

That’s not a view shared by Brendan Cox, whose wife, the MP Jo Cox, was shot dead in 2016 by a man who shouted “Britain first” as he killed her.

“Spreading hatred has consequences and the President should be ashamed of himself,” Mr Cox wrote on Twitter.

With that in mind, Twitter’s safety team might want to consider whether there’s greater public interest in taking the tweets down.


It seems a lifetime ago now that Twitter billed itself, back in 2012, as the “free speech wing of the free speech party”, a characterisation that both the company, and arguably the internet as a whole, has well outgrown.

Things were simpler for Twitter back then. Now, its reality is one where it apparently can’t please anyone. While its team in San Francisco debated internally (we assume) what to do about Trump’s retweeting, the head of the US communications regulator was in Washington accusing it (and other big networks) of unevenly and unfairly censoring conservative voices online.

The firm’s chief executive Jack Dorsey, who from time-to-time weighs in on controversial matters to dampen the hysteria, has so far been silent on Mr Trump’s retweeting of Britain first.

Renowned tech commentator John Gruber described Twitter’s statement as “weasel-ese” – another sign of a company paralysed; unprepared to handle the tidal wave it would face were it to take action against the President’s Twitter activity.

Twitter’s inconsistent treatment of hate speech surely makes you consider if rather than acting in in the public’s interests, it’s far more concerned about its own.


North Korea missile launch prompts Hawaii nuclear attack warning test

Hawaii has tested a nuclear attack warning for the first time since the Cold War, after North Korea claimed its missiles could hit anywhere in the US. The UN will hold talks later this month in a bid to lower tensions.

Decenber 2,2017


Sirens across the US state of Hawaii went off for one minute at 11:45 a.m. (21:45 UTC) on Friday, followed by a one-minute “attack warning signal,” the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HEMA) said.

“It is critically important for the public to understand what each tone means,” Vern Miyagi, the head of HEMA, told the Honolulu Star Advertiser newspaper.

The warning sound means people should immediately seek shelter, the paper said, “because a North Korean missile could arrive in Hawaii just 20 minutes after launch.”

Despite Friday’s test, many on Hawaii’s beaches failed to take notice, according to reports.

On Wednesday, North Korea successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile, with leader Kim Jong Un declaring his country had now achieved full nuclear statehood.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the missile had flown higher than any previous missile fired by the communist state.

All 15 UN council members have condemned the launch.

On Friday, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the launch is potentially capable of striking targets as far away as 13,000 kilometers (8,100 miles), putting Washington within reach.

UN talks

Japan has said it will host a ministerial meeting of the UN Security Council on December 15 to look for peaceful ways to prompt North Korea to end its nuclear and ballistic missile tests and denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Japan’s UN Ambassador Koro Bessho said more must be done beyond the “very robust” sanctions the council has imposed targeting the financing and materials for Kim Jong Un’s nuclear and missile programs.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to brief the council, with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson likely to attend.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, told an emergency council meeting on Wednesday that the missile launch had brought the world closer to a war the US doesn’t want, warning that if war comes then Kim’s regime “will be utterly destroyed.”

Haley’s comment drew a sharp rebuke from Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday.

“If somebody is very eager to use force to wipe out North Korea, as the United States’ UN envoy said, it was a very bloodthirsty tirade,” Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying.

Lavrov said he had “the impression over the last two months that there is someone in Washington who wants to provoke new actions” by the North.

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