And hello everyone and welcome to the second edition of our brand new podcast, MidEast News Brief, where we bring you the most important news and developments out of the Middle East. I am your host Winston R Holland. Be sure to subscribe to this Podcast in iTunes if you have not already, it will also be in the Google Play store eventually. It has been submitted but Google has to crawl it or whatever, but it will be in there eventually. If you subscribe on iTunes, and if you like it, please leave a review (but only if you like it). And be sure to head over to MidEastNewsBrief.com where you can subscribe as well as get the transcripts of the shows and links to the articles and research discussed.
I really don’t like people taking my word for things, which is one of the things that bothers me most about talk radio. Some guy bloviating into a microphone is proof of nothing. On this broadcast, however, I at least provide the links to the information I am using along with my bloviating, so I hope that’s at least a little bit better….
So, we have a ton to get to this week, including our pals over at Palwatch provide a report of the so-called “moderate” Palestinian faction Fatah’s Facebook activity, and well, let’s just say the results are terror-ifying. Also, Open Doors USA has come out with their yearly report on Christian persecution worldwide, and you can only imagine where countries in the Middle East rank. I mentioned last week that we’ll get into some anti-semitism in the good ol’ USA by our own elected leaders, which is beyond abhorrent. And Trump did talk some foreign policy at the state of the union so we of course will play some clips and touch on points there….
Netanyahu and Draconian Laws
First off though, as I mentioned last week, Israeli elections are coming up April 9 and let’s face it if they were held today Netanyahu would run the table. He’s extremely popular and the polls are not even close… except…. An investigation into possible corruption charges could, possibly, cost him the election, because, well, you know here in America it’s really, really hard to get rid of a president? He has to resign under pressure or be impeached, which requires a simple majority in the House of Representatives, but if you want to actually convict and remove the prez from office that takes a TWO-thirds, yes, TWO-thirds majority in the Senate. Think about that. I mean, do you think we’ll ever see a ⅔ majority when it comes to impeaching a president again? It would take a massive political revolution to get that many senators to agree on that.
Anyway, well, it’s different in Israel. In the US sitting presidents will likely not be indicted or prosecuted. They gotta get booted by the Senate. But in good ol’ Israel, things are much different. This is from American Thinker, February 3: Trump, Netanyahu, and the Witch-Hunters, by Shoula Romano Horing, and Israeli born and raised attorney who practices here in the US:.
According to Israeli law, after an attorney general announces his intent to indict, a preindictment hearing requested by the defendant will begin, after which the final decision to indict will be made by the attorney general and a trial will follow….
In previous high-profile criminal cases, the preindictment hearings took several months and even longer. In 2012, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman managed to avoid obstruction of justice and money laundering charges, after a hearing process that lasted over a year…. [remember I quoted the Prime Minister’s office last week as saying that “a process that should take 20 months is being squeezed into a few days….” basically due to pressure from the left wanting to see Netanyahu indicted before the election]….. In a past case against former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the preindictment hearing in which evidence was put forth persuaded prosecutors to drop the case entirely.
So here’s where it gets really crazy. In Israel, you can actually arrest witnesses, yes, witnesses, not just suspects. I couldn’t find out how long for witnesses, but I do know suspects can be held for up to 75 days without being charged. Fathom that. Here in the US suspects can only be held for up to 3 days without being charged and some states even shorter than that.
And so with that backdrop, here you have the Israeli government arresting Nir Hefetz, who was the Prime Minister’s spokesman, and holding him in detention for 15 days and I quote,
“under severe conditions, which included sleep deprivation, hundreds of flea bites and blisters, and a lack of access to immediate medical care. In the U.S., such detention would be found unconstitutional and any testimony or evidence from such a witness would be inadmissible under the “Fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine.” (which is basically the idea that any evidence obtained by illegal means is not admissible in court, such as the police not having a warrant and they search the house anyway yet find real evidence in the individual).
That’s pretty horrendous when the state can basically engage in torture of a citizen, and not just any regular guy off the street, this guy was high, high up there, to get him to turn on a political foe. If they can do this to a man who held such a prominent position, what else can they do? Can you imagine if they did this to a Palestinian? But Netanyahu’s guy, great! Sick the fleas on him. It’s truly sad and I hope those heinous laws end up being changed. I love Israel and am 100% committed to the right of the Jewish people to have their own state because it’s really, really dangerous for them not to have their own state, but this draconian law has got to go.
Facebook and The Fatah Facebook Page
I didn’t talk much about Israeli-Palestinian issues last week so I want to spend a little more time today on it. The first thing I want to get to is what came out of the Jerusalem Post this morning, a report titled, “ISRAELI WATCHDOG TO FACEBOOK: REMOVE ABBAS’ PARTY’S PAGE – EXCLUSIVE.”
Now remember, we’re supposed to believe that in the regions that are carved out for a future Palestinian state, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, The Fatah party, which rules the West Bank, is the “moderate” party, and Hamas, which rules Gaza, is the “extreme” party. I’m sure Mahmoud Abbas loves that designation for Western media propaganda purposes, but at the same time it’s absolutely astonishing how they display in full view for anyone that’s watching the most blatant pro-terrorism images, and they do it on their public Facebook page! What??
This is a long report, so I’m just going to hit some highlights, it will of course be linked at MidEastNewsBrief.com if you would like to dig into the details:
An Israeli watchdog group has submitted a request to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to close down Fatah’s official Facebook page.
In a letter, sent to Zuckerberg Thursday – and reviewed first by The Jerusalem Post – Palestinian Media Watch … claim that Palestinian terrorists carried out terrorist attacks in 2018 “influenced by Fatah’s glorification of murder and its promotion of violence on its Facebook page.”
Let THAT sink in for a moment… Look, we talked about this last week with how Fatah was honoring two murderers “under the auspices” of PA President Abbas, for their role in killing and murdering an Israeli solder forty years ago. Anyway, the article continues for quite a while but let me point out a few of the pictures compiled in this report by Palestinian Media Watch:
- Ashraf Na’alwa murdered two colleagues, Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 29, and Ziv Hajbi, 35, Fatah even glorified his work and even prayed for Allah’s safety and protection on him while he hid for six weeks. (I won’t read the prayer). And then after he was killed by Israeli authorities on December 13 last year, Fatah called him a hero, martyr, and legend.
“When Fatah honors a terrorist, who murdered two of his Israeli colleagues in cold blood by publicizing on Facebook that he is a ‘hero,’ a ‘martyr,’ and a ‘legend,’ it tells Palestinians that Fatah continues to support violence and terror against Israelis,” said Nan Jacques Zilberdik, senior analyst at PMW and co-author of the report.
Now think for a moment… could you imagine what would happen if an IDF soldier murdered a Palestinian citizen in cold blood and then publicized it on their Facebook page, calling him a hero, how the international community would respond? Yet the Palestinians get a pass, and we get more resolutions against the only free country in the Middle East than all of the countries combined? (the link for that info will be in the transcript). This includes countries like Iran and North Korea. You know its antisemitism when a double standard is in place. Period.
Okay, so I’ll go through a couple more examples. This report is 45 pages long and is replete with example after example, and this is hardly my favorite topic in the world, but I think you’re getting the idea:
Ahmed Jarrar, who murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a father of six, in a drive-by shooting in January 2018; Abu Jihad–responsible for the murder of 125 people; Dalal Mughrabi – responsible for the murder of 37 people including 12 children; Ali Hassan Salameh – responsible for the murder of 11 at the Munich Olympics; and Kozo Okamoto – responsible for the murder of 24 people, most of them Puerto Rican tourists in the Lod Airport massacre.
This is really, really sad. I feel for the Jews who have to live with this constant threat and the Palestinians who are raised in a culture that glorifies and honors murder… it’s truly, truly sad, please continue to pray for this region if you are a praying type. I’m not going to get into more examples, but you get the idea.
It’s worth noting Facebook’s initial response to the letter. Now, I don’t trust Facebook any further than I could throw their corporate office but I don’t know their internal dealings so, who knows what the truth is here. But this is what their PR person said:
A spokeswoman for Facebook said that to the organization’s knowledge, Zuckerberg had not yet received PMW’s letter. But she told the Post that “Praise and support for terrorism is not allowed on Facebook and we remove this type of content when it is reported to us.
“In this case, some of the content had already been reported and removed,” she continued. “We will continue to review any reports we receive and remove any content that violates our community standards.”
Now here’s what I’m wondering, Facebook. How does Fatah still have a Facebook page, but Alex Jones does not? If Jones was booted for violating their standards, the Fatah page should have been gone a long, long, long, long time ago. And regardless of how you feel about Jones, anything that he did is NOTHING compared to this gruesome glorification of violence. Are we really to believe Facebook knew nothing about this? I don’t believe it for a second, it’s not like Fatah is some obscure terrorist group running a Facebook page off their smartphone under a rock in Afghanistan. I’m not surprised at all, considering their willingness to work with Pakistan to make sure to no blasphemy seeps through their geographic safe-space.
The end of Supporting Palestinian Terrorism
So, some much-needed enforcement of legislation that came out of the Knesset is being enacted soon. But before that though, back in December Texas Senator Ted Cruz proposed a bill titled the “End Palestinian Terror Salaries Act of 2018.’’ Let me just read the main text of the bill because I alluded to this last time when I mentioned the Palestinians paying families of terrorists over $347 million last year. This bill seeks to help curb that:
To impose sanctions with respect to any entity of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, or any successor or affiliated organization that is responsible for providing payments to Palestinian terrorists imprisoned for committing acts of terrorism against citizens of Israel or the United States, the families of such terrorists, or the families of Palestinian terrorists who died committing such acts of terrorism, and for other purposes.
The bill goes onto recap the Taylor Force Act, which if you remember was named after the Vanderbilt graduate student and much more importantly US Army veteran who was killed in March 2016 in Jaffa by a Palestinian terrorist. It also gives several interesting quotes from PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is quoted multiple times as saying they will continue to pay their “martyrs” and their families, even if they’re down to their last cent, which is truly remarkable. Calling brutal murderers, “martyrs?” And we somehow think we can negotiate peace with these people?
You’ve probably heard the name Ari Fuld. The bill mentions Ari because his killer’s family is now receiving a monthly stipend from the PA! It’s truly incredible. This is insanity on an unassailable level, and it’s almost funny (almost) to read how people online just deflect when this is brought up and talk about Israeli’s stealing land from Palestinians, as if there is even some kind of moral equivalent there. It’s funny how we’re open borders along the Southern US and Southern Israel but strict, strict, strict border hawks along the West Bank when we want to keep Jews out. Mahmoud Abbas has said that no Israeli, settler or, soldier, could remain in a future Palestinian state. Interesting…. So besides the obvious Jew-hating racism of such a statement, he is promoting good old-fashioned ethnic cleansing, like what happened in Gaza in 2006 where Jews were ripped out of their homes and transferred to Israel proper. What if Jews were to suggest the same thing? What if Benjamin Netanyahu came out and proudly declared, “I will not accept a two-state solution unless all Arabs are transferred to the West Bank.” Could you imagine the uproar? Yet the international community gives Abbas a pass on this bigotry? It’s beyond evil.
So Netanyahu is enacting what’s called the Deduction Law, where Israel withholds funds to the PA equal to the amount that they dole out to terrorists and their families for rewarding the murder of innocent Israelis. Sounds reasonable… This is from The Jerusalem Post:
The Deduction Law requires the Defense Ministry to present the security cabinet with a report on how much the PA paid terrorists in prison or the families of terrorists who were killed, and for the Finance Ministry to deduct that amount from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA. The Defense Ministry confirmed that it is in “advanced stages” of collecting the information, in order to transfer the report to the security cabinet, as required by law. Netanyahu said that he will enact the law, Israel Hayom reported, but is concerned that it will destabilize the PA, and is seeking a way to find a balance between the two elements
Also, they are gathering the data on how much the PA paid terrorists and their families in 2018 so they can withhold that money from the PA as well.
The State of Our Union
President Donald Trump hit some major foreign policy in his State of the Union Address, and I want to play some of that now in case you guys missed it. I’ll pause it at various moments to comment, but I want to start off with his quick introduction to it toward the beginning of the speech.
Antisemitism in the US Congress
And while we’re camping out in that hallowed chamber… So, when US politicians, especially high profile US politicians make antisemitic statements, I tend to take notice and will be reporting on it regularly. Here we have a sad story from the Daily Caller about Minnesota rep Ilhan Omar, who, back in 2012 tweeted out something rather, well, disturbing, to say the least. I’m just going to read it and imagine if you were Jew, or you are a Jew, how this would come across to you:
So she was interviewed by CNN and here’s how she responded:
“You wrote Israel has ‘hypnotized the world,’” CNN host Poppy Harlow asked Omar. “I wonder what your message is this morning to Jewish-Americans who find that deeply offensive…. “That’s really a regrettable way of expressing that. I don’t know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish-Americans. My comments precisely are addressing what was happening during the Gaza War,” Omar said.
I’m sorry, but this tweet sounds like something you would expect out of ISIS or Al-Queda, not a future US Congresswoman. And there’s more here with Omar, actually quite recently. At an event at the Center for American Progress, this past Tuesday, February 5th, Omar was actually asked point blank about anti-semitism. This is from The Federalist:
When asked what she has “learned about anti-Semitism from engaging in these debates,” Omar did not address anti-Semitism or Jewish people.
“A lot of the conversation often times is one that refuses really to separate, I think, discussions around the country and its policies, and when that is hatred for the people and their faith,” she said after a long pause. “I think I am at a breaking point where we are starting to have a conversation about what it means to be a people that harbor hate, and um, and the kind of journey we could all be on in fighting against discrimination collectively while still having the freedom to debate foreign policy and not only think about how we engage our allies but also how we criticize and hold them accountable.”
Okay…. so…. what… about anti-semitism? I don’t know about you, but that’s troubling, but we shouldn’t be surprised when she has such inane views as blaming the United States’ involvement around the world for an Al Shabab terrorist attack on a Kenyan shopping mall! And even as recently as 2016 wrote a letter to a judge asking for leniency for nine men accused of trying to join ISIS! The fact that someone with such a disdain for Israel, she even said she “chuckles” at the idea of Israel being upheld as a democracy, and a sympathy for our enemies is serving in our congress is simply astonishing. Pray for her and pray for our nation!
Israel and Its Arab Neighbors
This is what I was referring to last week in regard to the bi-lateral relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors. It’s simply astonishing. This is from The Tower: “UAE Minister of State: There is no enmity between Us and the State of Israel:
Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, a minister of state in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government, said this week in an exclusive interview with Sohrab Amari of The New York Post that, “There is no enmity between us and the state of Israel,” – a groundbreaking statement that would have been unthinkable in the not so distant past.
Nusseibeh made the comments as Christian and Jewish leaders gathered in Abu Dhabi for the first-ever papal visit to the UAE and the Arabian Peninsula.
Wow! Relations with Israel and many of its Arab neighbors have never been warmer. I don’t know how long this will last but we will enjoy it as long as it does!
The Israel Project’s Senior Fellow, Julie Lenarz, observed in an op-ed published on Tuesday in Reaction that, “The Pope’s visit also comes at a time, when the Arab World is increasingly engaging in a rapprochement with the global Jewish community and in particular, Israel.” The emirate, she said, “has been one of the leading exponents of this approach.”
So Open Doors USA published their World Watch List, which is their yearly report of the top 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution. I don’t want to downplay the persecution of other religious minorities, I am fully aware of that very sad reality, but Open Doors is a Christian Organization and as such is the focus their research. The link to this report of course will be at MidEastNewsBrief.com.
Before I get to the list there are some very, very sad trends this report highlighted that I’ll briefly mention:
“1. The shocking reality of persecution against women.” There was a disproportionate persecution of women over men and sometimes women received double persecution – one for being a Christian and two for being a woman. It’s nuanced and complex as a lot of it is hidden, but they were able to parse out some examples.
“2. Islamic oppression continues to impact millions of Christians.” I’ll get to this in a minute
“3. The world’s two most populated countries rise on the World Watch List.” India is for the first time in the top ten and China has jumped 16 spots, from 43 to 27. I realize China is not in the Middle East but they are dragging people of all religions into these “re-education camps,” and it’s simply horrific. I expect to see that number continue rise. China is not getting more tolerant, at all.
“4. The Spread of radical Islam across Sub-Saharan Africa.” I’m just going to quote directly from this one: “While the violent excesses of ISIS and other Islamic militants have mostly disappeared from headlines from the Middle East, their loss of territory there means that fighters have dispersed to a larger number of countries not only in the region but, increasingly, into sub-Saharan Africa. Their radical ideology has inspired, or infiltrated, numerous splinter groups such as Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a deadly group that broke away from Nigeria’s Boko Haram that also enslaves Christian women and girls as an integral part of their strategy.” What do you say to that? Pray my friends, please pray.
“5. More laws added to control religion.” Tyranny is on the rise, thanks in part to the technology integrated into the device you’re likely listening to this on right now. If technology was ever a double-edged sword it is today!
First, some quick stats: [read page 5 of the report]
All right, here is your list of the top 20 religious persecutors in the world as well as the source or reasoning behind the persecution:
14 out of the top 20 come from what source? Somalia, who our good friend and congresswoman Ilam Omar is from, is number THREE! Will she speak out against this systematic persecution of her own home country? I’m not aware of it, perhaps you’ve heard her but I would doubt it.
Okay, so what is the point of telling you all of this? Well, for those listening that are believers there is a scripture in the book of Hebrews that is appropriate for this situation. It’s chapter 13 verse 3 [corrected from broadcast], “ Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” We can’t invade those countries and stop them from doing this, but we can invade spiritually and pray for those across the world suffering such horrific persecution. And get that report, you can get the link at MidEastNewsBrief.com or just look up Open Doors USA and you should be able to get it pretty quickly.
Quote of the Week
All right, let’s end this broadcast with this week’s quote of the week. This one is from Otto von Bismarck, Minister-President of Prussia from 1862 – 1890. In light of current events discussing endless wars I thought this quote was rather relevant:
Woe to the statesman whose arguments for entering a war are not as convincing at its end as they were at the beginning.
And that will do it for this week’s edition of MidEast News Brief. Be sure to check us out online at MidEastNewsBrief.com where you can subscribe to the podcast as well as get the show notes and links to the articles discussed. Have a great week, and I’ll see you again here next time.