January 2017

Quote.com

... We ran one hundred of the top American speeches delivered by politicians and celebrities through a platform called TextStat, which compiles and aggregates text analysis from no less than six highly-regarded textual analysis methods ... Most great American speeches don’t require you to have a Ph.D. to get their message, but there are quite a few that might call on your basic comprehension skills. In fact, eleven of the top 25 greatest American monologs we analyzed had a 9th- to 10th-grade-and-above reading level ... Martin Luther King Jr. delivered two of the top 25 discourses, but unlike Kennedy, he used language more accessible to all of us ... Some presidents tailor their talks to their audience, but on average, they tend to make use of denser vocabulary words.

The Free Information Society

Here, in their own voices, are remarks and statements by dozens of historical figures, including Franklin Roosevelt, Lenin, Stalin, Winston Churchill, Hitler, Thomas Edison, Malcolm X, Ronald Reagan, Fidel Castro, Dwight Eisenhower, Warren Harding, and many others.

N. Guttman - Forward (New York)

At 31, Stephen Miller has reached a political stature few have matched - he is drafting president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration speech, to be delivered Friday. But the Santa Monica schoolmates of Trump’s top adviser were hardly surprised that the Jewish kid who insisted on standing and placing his hand on his heart during the pledge of allegiance, ended up alongside a politician like Trump. The Los Angeles Times went back to Miller’s high school, where being an ultra-conservative teenager in the otherwise liberal enclave taught him what it means to be an outsider ... Miller grew up in a Jewish Democratic house and turned to conservatism, and then extreme conservatism ... By the time the terror attacks of 9/11 hit, Miller was fully on the conservative side, writing an article for the school paper titled “A Time to Kill” which supported the Iraq war.

The New York Times

... The lean blond man's voice boomed out over a crowd of hundreds -- some middle-aged and working-class, but with a contingent of polished young professionals. “The AfD is the last revolutionary, the last peaceful chance for our fatherland," declared the man, Björn Höcke, referring to the political party Alternative for Germany, and employing a reverential term for Germany, one of several nationalist buzzwords usually shunned in the country's politics ... Höcke, a rising star in the AfD, has found growing success with his messages of extreme nationalism. Shouting to be heard over cheering supporters, many of whom stood, Mr. Höcke challenged the collective national guilt over the war that has restrained German politics for three generations. At times he used language that seemed to hint at lamenting Nazi Germany's defeat.

David Crossland - The National (UAE)

Germans own a total of 25 million garden gnomes, are more afraid of inflation than anything else, travel more than any other nationality, and produce the biggest quantity and range of sausages in the world, according to a new [2009] book of statistics aimed at defining the Teutonic character ... Statistically, the average German man is called Thomas Müller, has dark blond hair and drives an Audi A4 ... Aside from confirming preconceptions, the book contains some surprising titbits, though. The British may be shocked to learn that the tea bag was invented by a German, Adolf Rambold, in 1929. And Hitler's foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, was a member of the Canadian national ice hockey team in 1914 ... The book also contains a list of such German inventions as the car, the computer, the television, toothpaste and airbags.

Anatol Lieven - The National Interest

... Above all, we need to remember that if the Russian government did in fact engage in these attempts to influence the US election, it was after all only imitating repeated and systematic US attempts to influence elections and undermine governments not just in the former USSR but in many other parts of the world ... Interference in the domestic politics of other states to spread democracy and undermine or destroy rivals had become a fixed part of US international strategy; with deep roots in American ideological nationalism, embedded in a range of official and semi-officials institutions, and apparently justified by the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the (as it now appears, perhaps temporary) democratisation of eastern Europe.

R. Ahren – The Times of Israel

Palestinian and European officials on Monday slammed the UK’s apparent readiness to defy international consensus and stand up for Israel, accusing London of aligning with Jerusalem to garner favor with the incoming Trump administration ... The Palestinians weren’t the only ones who took issue with what appears to be a British pivot toward positions close to those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Several European diplomats said the UK’s sudden departure from its traditional positions is an effort to endear the country, which last year voted to leave the EU, to President-elect Trump. The new US leader has signaled that he intends to reconsider positions that have long been an international consensus regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

M. Benjamin - The Guardian (Britain)

Most Americans would probably be astounded to realize that the president who has been painted by Washington pundits as a reluctant warrior has actually been a hawk ... While candidate Obama came to office pledging to end George W. Bush’s wars; he leaves office having been at war longer than any president in US history. He is also the only president to serve two complete terms with the nation at war. President Obama did reduce the number of US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, but he dramatically expanded the air wars and the use of special operations forces around the globe. In 2016, US special operators could be found in 70 percent of the world’s nations, 138 countries – a staggering jump of 130 percent since the days of the Bush administration.

S. MacMillan – New Eastern Outlook

... When the US President made his first explicit call for the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power in August 2011, who would have thought that the Syrian leader would have outlasted Barack Obama in office? Even for the most optimistic supporter of the territorial integrity of the Syrian state, there must have been moments when they felt that the US/ NATO war machine would topple Assad and completely Balkanize the Syrian state (I know I did). And yet here we are, more than five years later, watching Obama conclude his shambolic reign with a final frenzy of anti-Russian attacks, as Assad still stands in Damascus ... After eight years of carnage and broken promises, many people in the US and around the world will be delighted to see Obama leave office.

Press TV (Iran)

US President Barack Obama’s [Jan. 2016] State of the Union address, his last before leaving office, was an “implicit acknowledgment” of failure on his campaign message of hope and change, said an American historian. On Tuesday night, Obama delivered his seventh State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill ... “In spite of the soaring rhetoric and assurance that America today is ‘strong,’ the final State of the Union address of President Obama was actually an implicit acknowledgment that he had failed to fulfill the great hopes that millions of Americans, and many more around the world, held for him when he took office seven years ago,” said Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review, based in California.

John Perazzo - FrontPageMag

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was founded in 1971 by two Alabama attorneys ... This has been SPLC's modus operandi since its inception: to initiate lawsuits against prominent hate groups for crimes that their individual members commit ... SPLC's “hate group” counts have been shown to be devoid of legitimacy a number of times ... As is typical of organizations on the left, SPLC is ever-prepared to label its political and ideological adversaries as purveyors of “hate” and “intolerance.” But in reality, that is nothing more than psychological projection. Hatred and intolerance for the opinions and values of others are prime components in the very lifeblood of SPLC.

BBC News

Women in Europe are having fewer children, particularly in southern Europe, a French report has found. More than a fifth [20 percent] of women born in the 1970s may remain childless, compared to an average of 15 percent in northern Europe and 18 percent in western Europe. Factors including a precarious labour market and lack of family-friendly work policies help explain the rise in involuntary childlessness, it says ... The rise in childlessness is most marked in southern Europe, with rates surpassing 20 percent among women born in the early 1970s in Greece, Italy and Spain. In western Europe, childlessness was highest in Austria, Germany and Switzerland at about 20 percent of women born in 1968.

Euro News

... In the United States “most names are usually between five and seven letters,” she says ... Other popular names [in the USA] are the result of successful movies, books, celebrities or even Instagram photo filters ... As it stands Oliver, Jack and Harry rule in the UK, while for the girls the sophisticated Amelia is queen followed by Olivia and Emily. In Germany there has been a move away from traditionally teutonic boys’ names such as Wilhelm to shorter, snapper monikers like Ben, Jonas, Leon, Elias and Finn. Maximilian is the most popular German name of more than five letters, though it can contracted to Max for informal occasions. Like in the UK, German girls’ names are getting shorter: Mia, Emma and Hannah are tops.

JTA

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on the government to investigate “improper interference in our democratic politics,” after an Israeli embassy officia. Was recorded as saying he wanted to “take down” several British politicians who he deemed unfriendly to Israel. The comments by Shai Masot, described by Israel as a junior embassy employee, were made to a former aide to a British Conservative lawmaker during a meeting to discuss how to discredit anti-Israel lawmakers at a London restaurant and filmed by an Al-Jazeera journalist posing as a pro-Israel activist. The recording was part of a four-part series aired by Al-Jazeera titled The Lobby, which the network says exposes how the Israel lobby influences British politics.

Gilad Atzmon

“The Lobby,” the Al Jazeera expose of the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish Lobby infiltration into British politics is a landmark in journalism ... The Brits should certainly ask themselves how come it is left to a Qatari TV network to reveal the shocking news about their democracy being taken over by a foreign Lobby ... “The Lobby” exposed, above all, a gross interference with British sovereignty, a crude intrusion into the British democratic process and government ... Israel is, above all, the Jewish state and, as I have mentioned many times before, plotting against other people’s regimes is deeply embedded in Judaic teaching and Jewish culture. It is in practice the message of the Book of Esther, which teach the Jews how to conspire against their rulers and, by proxy, to win over their enemies.

AFP

A leading member of German anti-immigration party AfD sparked an outcry Wednesday over his criticism of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin and calls to stop focusing on the country’s Nazi past. “Up to now, our state of mind is still one of a totally defeated people … We Germans, our people, are the only people in the world who have planted a monument of shame in the heart of the capital,” Bjoern Hoecke told party faithful including youth members, according to a video of the speech circulated online ... “German history has been made lousy and ridiculous,” he complained, winning a standing ovation from the crowd. “There is no moral responsibility to make yourself disappear,” he said, adding that Germany should instead “build up a positive relationship with our history.”

Associated Press

Germany's vice chancellor on Wednesday harshly condemned remarks by a prominent member of the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, who suggested ending the country's decades-long tradition of acknowledging and atoning for its Nazi past. Sigmar Gabriel wrote on Facebook that even though he knows the AfD party thrives on provocation, the comments by Bjoern Hoecke, who leads the party in the eastern state of Thuringia, were "shocking." "This is not just some kind of provocation," Gabriel wrote. "We must never let this kind of demagoguery be undisputed." ... The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany also criticized Hoecke's remarks, calling them as "deeply upsetting and totally unacceptable."

Dhruv Khullar, M.D., M.P.P -- The New York Times

... Social isolation is a growing epidemic -- one that's increasingly recognized as having dire physical, mental and emotional consequences. Since the 1980s, the percentage of American adults who say they're lonely has doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent. About one-third of Americans older than 65 now live alone, and half of those over 85 do ... A wave of new research suggests social separation is bad for us. Individuals with less social connection have disrupted sleep patterns, altered immune systems, more inflammation and higher levels of stress hormones ... All told, loneliness is as important a risk factor for early death as obesity and smoking ... A great paradox of our hyper-connected digital age is that we seem to be drifting apart.

Stephen Kinzer - Boston Globe

Outrage is shaking Washington as members of Congress compete to demonize Russia for its alleged interference in America’s recent presidential election.... Over a period of more than a century, American leaders have used a variety of tools to influence voters in other countries. We have chosen candidates, advised them, financed their parties, designed their campaigns, bribed media outlets to support them, and intimidated or smeared their rivals. One of our first operations to shape the outcome of a foreign election came in Cuba ... Our intervention in Lebanon’s election provoked protests by those who believed that Lebanese voters alone should shape their country’s future. The United States sent troops to Lebanon to suppress that outburst of nationalism ... Perhaps the most recent US intervention in foreign politics came in Ukraine.

Los Angeles Times (1996)

A team of American political strategists who helped Gov. Pete Wilson with his abortive presidential bid earlier this year [1996] said this week that they served as Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin's secret campaign weapon in his comeback win over a Communist challenger ... Although the Americans spoke no Russian and worked through translators, they began secretly laying out an American-style campaign to counter the public sentiment running against Yeltsin ... The Americans will not say how much they were paid, although their fee has been estimated at about $250,000. They were told that their involvement had to be treated like a state secret because of fears that the Communists would use their presence to try to foment anti-Western sentiment among voters.

T. Pileggi - The Times of Israel

US President-elect Donald Trump said his prospects of negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian deal during his presidency have been hampered by the fact that the international community has been “giving so much” to the Palestinians. Speaking to The Times of London and Germany’s Bild just days before his inauguration, Trump further said the December UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements would only serve to harden Palestinians’ ideological positions in future peace talks ... But, Trump went on to say, if anyone could broker an elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, it would be his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner. “Jared is such a good lad, he will secure an Israel deal which no one else has managed to get. You know, he’s a natural talent, he is the top, he is a natural talent,” he said.

The Times of Israel

President-elect Donald Trump has confirmed that he intends to use his Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner to try to broker an elusive peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Speaking to the Times of London and Germany’s Bild just days before his inauguration, Trump “confirmed that he would appoint Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, to broker a Middle East peace deal,” the Times said ... Trump also urged the United Kingdom to veto any new UN Security Council resolution critical of Israel, said the US abstention on December 23’s Resolution 2334 was terrible, and that he wished the UK had vetoed it. “I would hope for a British veto (on any fresh resolution in the next few days). I think it would be great if Great Britain would place a veto, because I’m not sure if the US would do so – extraordinarily enough,” Trump told Bild ...

AFP

Chancellor Angela Merkel made a "catastrophic mistake" in letting migrants flood into Germany, US President-elect Donald Trump said in a newspaper interview Sunday. He blamed the refugee crisis for being the "straw that broke the camel's back" and triggered Britain's vote last year to leave the European Union. "I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals, you know, taking all of the people from wherever they come from," Trump said in an interview with The Times of London and Germany's Bild, adding he had "great respect" for the chancellor ... Britons were wise to choose to leave the 28-member union, Trump said, arguing that it was a "basically a vehicle for Germany." "Other countries will leave" the European Union in future, Trump prophesied.

Jane Eisner - Forward (New York)

Throughout American history, there have been Jews who have held important positions in the White House as advisers to various presidents. And there have been family members of sitting presidents — wives and brothers, in particular — who have wielded enormous political power from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But never has there been the combination reflected in the appointment — should it come to pass — of Jared Kushner as senior adviser to his father-in-law, Donald Trump. The combination of pure political authority and airtight family bonds residing at the most powerful address in the world means that Kushner, who turned 36 years old yesterday, could represent a level of Jewish influence that is historically unprecedented.

Reuters / Forward

President-elect Donald Trump said that he would appoint Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, to broker a Middle East peace deal, The Times of London newspaper reported Sunday. Trump also urged Britain to veto any new UN Security Council resolution critical of Israel, and repeated his criticism of President Obama’s handling of the Iran nuclear deal ... Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, is considered one of the closest people to the president-elect and played a major role in his election victory. Trump did not provide specific details last week regarding what Kushner’s exact fields of responsibility in the administration would be, but his statement in the Times interview fits with a number of past remarks in which he mentioned his son-in-law, an Orthodox Jew, as his possible envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

VOA News

According to the U.S. Mint and U.S. Treasury, the 2017 24-karat gold coin will portray an African-American woman as Lady Liberty, a first. The move comes as the Mint celebrates its 225th anniversary. "The 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin is the first in a series of 24-karat gold coins that will feature designs which depict an allegorical Liberty in a variety of contemporary forms-including designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others-to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States," reads a press release from the Mint.

CFCA (Israel)

Below is information received from one of our readers: I live in China, and in the last few weeks I've been alarmed at the amount of antisemitic propaganda being published by Baidu News. Baidu is China's equivalent of Google, so it reaches a truly enormous readership, and is state owned. This article was published recently, and essentially denies that the holocaust really happened, and the number of Jews really killed numbered only in the "tens of thousands." There is also this article published, which claims that the Jews themselves have responsibility for the holocaust for being too greedy and self-interested. There have been many such articles published recently.

Wikipedia

Cooperation between Germany and China was instrumental in modernising the industry and the armed forces of the Republic of China ... It had a profound effect on Chinese modernisation ... The 1933 seizure of power by the Nazi Party further accelerated Sino-German cooperation ... Finance minister of China and Kuomintang official H. H. Kung and two other Chinese Kuomintang officials visited Germany in 1937 and were received by Adolf Hitler ... A series of Sino-German agreements in 1934-1936 greatly accelerated railway construction in China ... The most important industrial project from Sino-German cooperation was the 1936 Three-Year Plan ... At the height of this programme, Sino-German exchange accounted for 17 percent of China's foreign trade and China, was the third largest trading partner with Germany.

AFP

Nazi war criminal Alois Brunner, who was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 130,000 Jews, died in 2001 at the age of 89, locked up in a squalid Damascus basement, a French magazine reported Wednesday. Its investigation — described as “highly credible” by veteran Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld — aims at resolving the fate of one of the most notorious figures of the Holocaust. Three ex-members of the Syrian secret service interviewed by the magazine XXI said Adolf Eichmann’s former assistant spent his last years in miserable conditions underneath an apartment block in the Syrian capital ... He remained to the end an unrepentant Nazi and anti-Semite, the sources told XXI ... He claimed Brunner was buried secretly in accordance with Muslim rites in the city's Al-Affif cemetery in December 2001.

JTA

The general counsel for the World Jewish Congress and a former State Department official are among four presidential appointees to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. President Barack Obama said last week that he had chosen Menachem Rosensaft, Michael Posner, Tamar Newberger and Eric Ortner to serve on the council, which Congress established in 1980 to commemorate the Holocaust and raise money for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Rosensaft is a lecturer at Columbia Law School and adjunct professor at Cornell Law School. He serves as general counsel of the World Jewish Congress ... Posner is a professor of ethics and finance at the New York University Stern School of Business. He served in the Obama administration in 2009-2013 as an assistant secretary of state.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Operatives for the Hamas [Palestinian] terrorist group hacked into dozens of Israeli combat soldiers’ cellphones by posing as attractive Israeli women on Facebook. Using Israeli women’s photos and identities stolen from social media, the operatives would initiate personal and intimate relationships with the soldiers and then ask them to download what they said was an application in order to video chat, according to reports. The fake app gave Hamas control over the soldiers’ phones, allowing activation by the terrorist group of the camera and microphone, and access to contacts, videos and photos, as well as Whatsapp conversations and emails. The soldiers were not aware that their phones had been hacked.

Patrick J. Buchanan

Although every Republican in Congress voted against the Iran nuclear deal, “Tearing it up ... is not going to happen,” says Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Hopefully, the chairman speaks for the president-elect. ... If, however, in the absence of a violation of the treaty by Iran, we tore up the deal, we could find ourselves isolated. For Britain, France and Germany also signed, and they believe the agreement is a good one ... Also at issue is the deal signed by Boeing to sell Iran 80 jetliners. Airbus has contracted to sell Iran 100 planes, and begun delivery. List price for the two deals: $34.5 billion. Tens of thousands of U.S. jobs are at stake. Is a Republican Congress prepared to blow up the Boeing deal and force the Europeans to cancel the Airbus deal?

The Times of Israel

Amid uncertainty worldwide about the presidency of Donald J. Trump, recent conversations with people in Tehran suggest that the public in Iran, of all places — a country that may well prove a central focus of Trump’s presidency — aren’t unduly worried about the incoming US leader, and plenty of them are actually quite pleased about the imminence of president Trump. Despite having so much at stake under the incoming administration, there is a world-weary calm — and even some optimism — on the streets of Tehran ... It was striking that many (though by no means all) of the Iranians we spoke to feel that Trump will be at worst harmless to their country, and possibly helpful — even if by virtue of his inexperience.

Bloomberg

Hungary plans to crack down on non-governmental organizations linked to billionaire George Soros now that Donald Trump will occupy the White House, according to the deputy head of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party. The European Union member will use “all the tools at its disposal” to “sweep out” NGOs funded by the Hungarian-born financier, which “serve global capitalists and back political correctness over national governments,” Szilard Nemeth, a vice president of the ruling Fidesz party, told reporters ... Orban and his administration have frequently singled out NGOs supported by Soros, a U.S. Democratic Party supporter with a wide network of organizations that promote democracy in formerly communist eastern Europe.

BBC News

Hungary's centre-right Fidesz government has been accused of undermining basic democratic norms and harking back to the country's totalitarian past for launching an offensive against non-government organisations. At the centre of the furore is 86 year-old Hungarian-born philanthropist George Soros. His Open Society Foundations (OSF) are active in 100 countries, and have supported civil groups in Eastern Europe and the Balkans since the mid-1980s ... Fidesz officials and pro-government media accuse the NGOs of representing an unelected, meddling, liberal elite whose time has gone. Soros-funded groups now stand accused of organising anti-government protests in Poland, and of using anti-corruption campaigns in Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary to undermine elected officials.

J. Christian Adams - PJ Media (Los Angeles)

Leaked funding documents reveal an effort by George Soros and his foundations to manipulate election laws and process rules ahead of the federal election far more expansively than has been previously reported. The billionaire and convicted felon moved hundreds of millions of dollars into often-secret efforts to change election laws, fuel litigation to attack election integrity measures, push public narratives about voter fraud, and to integrate the political ground game of the left with efforts to scare racial minority groups about voting rights threats. These Soros-funded efforts moved through dozens of 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) charities and involved the active compliance with civil rights groups, government officials, and purportedly non-partisan groups like the League of Women Voters.

R. J. Barsocchini - Countercurrents (India)

The Film The Battle of Russia, produced in 1943 by the US War Department (which was renamed the Defense Department in 1949), illustrates a respectful and favorable US elite view of Russian history, the Soviet/ Russian people, and Stalin for defeating Hitler in World War II and proving that the German reich (empire) was not invincible. The film was originally intended for viewing by military personnel, but went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, indicating wider elite enthusiasm for its contents ... In contrast to the elite views illustrated in this film, why are we today witnessing what Russia expert Stephen Cohen, and many other analysts, refer to as a storm of dangerous anti-Russian propaganda?

Hengist – Focal Point

In 1981, Jack Glenn, director of the popular 1940's newsreel series "March of Time" died at age 76. His obituary ... let slip an amazing revelation: "As senior director for the popular movie house newsreel, he often created world events with actors and movie sets. One such news feature film, Inside Nazi Germany, made in 1938, included footage of a 'concentration camp' that was filmed on Staten Island with scores of New York City actors..." Millions of Americans watching the "news"-reels in their local theatres were convinced that they were seeing "the real thing." How many such images of "reality" that we see on a regular basis are actually the creation of movie magicians?

Mark Weber - Podcast

A look at lies and deceit in the two world wars. Fantastic stories about German atrocities in World War I were promoted to mobilize public opinion in the US, Britain and France. In World War II, the disastrous British evacuation of Dunkirk was portrayed as a great success. Another durable propaganda myth is the story of “merciless” German bombing of Coventry. Actually, it was the British who first began indiscriminate bombing of civilians. As historian Phillip Knightley points out, German news reports about the war were generally more accurate and reliable than those of the Allies.

P. Weiss - Mondoweiss

A new Pew Research Center poll from Jan. 4-9 of American views on foreign policy shows that Democratic Party sympathies for Israel are crashing, down ten points in the last nine months, from 43 percent to 33 percent. That’s a 23 percent crash. If this was the stock market, Israel would be considered a tanking stock. Liberal Democrats now sympathize with Palestinians over Israelis by two-to-one, while Democrats overall are now virtually tied in sympathies for Israel or Palestine, 33 to 31 respectively. While Republicans are overwhelmingly on Israel’s side. The gap of 41 points between parties in sympathies, for either Israel or the Palestinians, is at widest since 1978.

Eric Margolis

As President-elect Donald Trump fights off fierce assaults by the massed national security apparatus, Democrats, the neocon Praetorian Guard, and a host of other political foes, I am feeling a sharp sense of déjà vu. Trump claimed that these attacks were like ‘living in Nazi Germany.’ Not so. The president-elect could have found a much better analogy: Moscow in August 1991 ... Humor aside, it’s dismaying to hear senior US intelligence officials who faked ‘evidence’ that led to the invasion of Iraq and used torture and assassination attacking Donald Trump ... This past week’s display of the deep state’s grab for power – a sort of re-run of one of my favorite films, ‘Seven Days in May’ – should remind all thinking Americans that the monster police state apparatus created by President George W. Bush is the greatest threat to our Republic.

E. Cortellessa -- The Times of Israel

President-elect Donald Trump named his Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner as a senior adviser in the upcoming administration ... Since winning the presidential election, Trump has suggested Kushner could be deployed as an envoy for Middle East peace. Asked about the subject during a November interview with The Times, the incoming president said his son-in-law would be “very good at it.” ... Kushner, who had no previous governmental or campaign experience, played a pivotal role in Trump’s bid for the White House, advising the candidate on a myriad of issues, including his selection of a running mate. He also reportedly crafted his speech to last year’s AIPAC Policy Conference.

The Times of Israel

Trump transition officials have told the Obama White House that foreign policy matters that need to be brought to President-elect Donald Trump’s attention should be relayed through his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the New York Times reported ... The article pointed out that while Trump has said his Orthodox Jewish son-in-law would play a central role in dealing with the Israel and expressed confidence that Kushner could help bring peace to the Middle East, Kushner’s company has received multiple loans from Israel’s largest bank, Bank Hapoalim. The bank is currently under investigation by the US Justice Department for allegations that it helped wealthy Americans hide assets and evade taxes.

Philip Weiss – Mondoweiss

Donald Trump has now named his son-in-law Jared Kushner as a senior adviser, notably on Middle East/ Israel issues, and as Kushner fired me ten years ago over these issues, it seemed a good time to review my memories of our (limited) interactions ... Jared and I had a few polite conversations in the year that we cohabited on Broadway, and two very uncomfortable meetings over Israel and Palestine ... In the first, Kushner told me about his Holocaust background, his grandparents who barely survived, and his regard for Israel ... When I started talking about the occupation, the room went cold as the poles, and Kushner gazed right through me with those unsmiling dark little eyes.

Gilad Atzmon

A few days ago in London, we witnessed a senior diplomat in the Israeli embassy caught on camera plotting to “take down” members of the British government including Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan ... Are these events connected to each other, or is it mere coincidence that the Jewish state and Jewish organisations such as AIPAC, LFI, JDL, and JVP are, time after time, caught red-handed, plotting and conspiring against other people’s regimes and political institutions? Embarrassingly enough, plotting against other people’s political institutes is deeply rooted in Judaic teaching. In fact, the Book of Esther is a biblical prototype, teaching Jews how to infiltrate and subvert the Goyim’s political affairs ... The Judaic moral of the story is clear: If Jews want to survive, they’d better infiltrate into the corridors of power.

Reuters

Vice President Joe Biden criticized President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday for comparing the U.S. intelligence establishment to Nazi Germany and said it was damaging to the United States’ standing in the world to denigrate agencies that protect the nation. Trump said leaks from intelligence agencies about claims that he was caught in a compromising position in Russia were reminiscent of Nazi Germany. “It is really very damaging, in my view, to our standing in the world for a president to take one of the crown jewels of our national defense and denigrate it,” Biden told reporters ... “The one thing you never want to invoke is Nazi Germany, no matter what the circumstances,” Biden said.

The Washington Post

Anger over the Obama administration’s actions toward Israel has triggered a nasty fight at a predominantly Jewish country club in the Washington suburbs over whether to offer a membership to the president after he leaves office ... A string of scorching emails to the club’s president, Barry Forman, made available for The Post’s review by a person with close ties to club members, captures the passions in the debate within the Jewish community over Obama’s approach to the Middle East. “He has created a situation in the world where Israel’s very existence is weakened and possibly threatened ...” longtime member Faith Goldstein wrote on Dec. 26. “He is not welcome at Woodmont. His admittance would create a storm that could destroy our club. ”

Douglas Bandow – The National Interest

No position taken by President-elect Donald Trump more upsets leading Republican legislators than his desire to reconcile with Russia. GOP leaders routinely assert that 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney was right when he declared Russia “without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe.” Perhaps in Neoconservative nightmares. But not in terms of America’s national interests ... A lamentable lack of respect for human rights does not turn a state into a threat to the U.S ... Washington officials, who routinely interfere in the elections of other nations, have no credibility claiming to be shocked, shocked to find another nation doing the same ... The U.S. should take a tough but practical approach toward Moscow, recognizing that a sometimes a clash of interests does not enemies make. American officials should stop searching for new adversaries.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... Why is liberal democracy losing its appeal? ... France and Europe may be moving inexorably away from a liberal democratic, de-Christianized and militantly secularist America. If we are the future, less and less do France and Europe appear to want that future. While our elites welcome the Third World immigration that is changing the face of America, France and Europe are recoiling from and reacting against it. The French wish to remain who and what they are, a land predominantly of one language, one culture, one people ... Europe’s nations are rising up against what liberal democracy has produced in the USA ... Our Founding Fathers believed that democracy represented the degeneration of a republic; they feared and loathed it, and felt that it was the precursor of dictatorship. They may have been right again.

The Washington Times

... The U.S. no longer ranks in the top 100 most peaceful nations on Earth. It stands at No. 103, according to the Global Peace Index, a comprehensive statistical analysis that quantifies the relative peacefulness of 162 countries. Such nations as Cuba, Gabon, Sri Lanka, Haiti and Bangladesh are ranked as “more peaceful” than America, the massive study found. Released Wednesday [June 8, 2016], the tenth annual assessment is data-driven ... The most peaceful spots on the planet? Iceland, followed by Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Portugal, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Japan and Slovenia for the top ten. Syria is at the very bottom of the list ...

US News

The U.S. ranked 103rd out of 163 in a global assessment of the most peaceful nations in the world, which estimated the economic impact of violence on the global economy totaled $13.6 trillion last year. The 10th annual study published on Wednesday [June 8, 2016] by the Institute for Economics and Peace scored nations based on 23 factors ... America’s murder rate and military spending are higher than average among nations surveyed, including Canada, but the high U.S. incarceration rate was the biggest single drawback in the study’s assessment. The national imprisonment rate was 471 prisoners per 100,000 residents as of 2014. The U.S. stockpile of nuclear and heavy weapons also counted against its ranking as a peaceful nation.

Patrick Cockburn - The Independent (Britain)

As recently as two years ago, Saudi Arabia’s half century-long effort to establish itself as the main power among Arab and Islamic states looked as if it was succeeding ... What it did not foresee was the speed with which Saudi Arabia would see its high ambitions defeated or frustrated on almost every front ... Nothing has gone well for the Saudis in Yemen and Syria ... Critics of Saudi and Qatari policies often demonise them as cunning and effective, but their most striking characteristic is their extreme messiness and ignorance of real conditions on the ground ... The attempt by Saudi Arabia and Gulf oil states to achieve hegemony in the Arab and Sunni Muslim worlds has proved disastrous for almost everybody.

Forward (New York)

Albert Einstein is remembered as one of modernity’s (and Judaism’s) great geniuses. But, according to a recent article from Scientific American, many of Einstein’s most influential works were not the products of his individual genius, but rather born from intellectual collaborations with his first wife, Mileva Marić ... Marić, herself a brilliant physicist, was responsible for jumpstarting the young Einstein’s career ... Their marriage saw them continue their intellectual partnership, with Marić reportedly playing a large role in the development of the theory of special relativity, among other famous scientific achievements credited exclusively to Einstein ... One of the most celebrated figures in Jewish history owes much of his legacy to his marriage to a non-Jewish woman from Serbia.

J. Bronitsky – Tablet

Where does American Jewry stand on the Obama administration’s admittance of 10,801 Syrian refugees to the United States in fiscal year 2016? ... The Jewish community, though, has made it clear that opening America’s doors to Syrian refugees is one of its defining priorities ... Some Jewish Americans, on the other hand, have already suggested that backing Syrian resettlement in the U.S. is at variance with combating anti-Semitism, a sworn task of practically every Jewish organization in America ... Given the disturbing information about Middle Eastern attitudes presented by the ADL — and corroborated by various other institutions — it might behoove American Jewry to consider the possibility that Syrian resettlement is incompatible with its interests and its values, which are very much American interests and values.

New Historian (Britain)

A team of Russian researchers has announced they have discovered a long-abandoned weather station constructed during the Second World War by Nazi Germany ... The weather station was active for approximately a year, with around ten German laborers and meteorologists constructing the site in 1943 as part of an initiative to create an early-warning weather detection network across the Arctic. The artifacts discovered by the team were left behind when the base was evacuated in 1944 via German submarine. More than 600 individual objects have been recovered from the base station building remains, an emergency landing strip for aircraft and a nearby emergency supply depot ... Life at the research station was hellish even from the start, according to historical records.

The Guardian (Britain)

An Israeli embassy official has been caught on camera in an undercover sting plotting to “take down” MPs regarded as hostile, including foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan, an outspoken supporter of a Palestinian state. In an extraordinary breach of diplomatic protocol, Shai Masot, who describes himself as an officer in the Israel Defence Forces and is serving as a senior political officer at the London embassy, was recorded by an undercover reporter from al-Jazeera’s investigative unit speaking about a number of British MPs. The Israeli ambassador, Mark Regev, apologised to Duncan on Friday ... UK ministers are understood to regard such plot talks as a matter of serious concern, crossing the line beyond normal diplomatic activity.

Daily Mail (Britain)

The Israeli embassy made a shocking vow to ‘take down’ Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office deputy, a secret film reveals today. The bombshell footage, covertly filmed in a London restaurant and obtained by The Mail on Sunday, shows a senior diplomat making the astonishing threat to target Sir Alan Duncan. Extraordinarily, he is egged on by a senior aide to another Conservative Minister, Robert Halfon. The video comes in a film claiming to expose the way that the Israeli government has ‘infiltrated’ both the Conservative and Labour parties via its embassy in the UK, using secret cash and covert support. Further footage shows the Israeli diplomat, intelligence expert Shai Masot, telling senior Labour MP Joan Ryan that he has obtained ‘more than one million pounds’ to pay for sympathetic Labour MPs to visit Israel.

Jonathan Cook

... One can and should expose and shame the British politicians who are collaborating with Israel in further harming Britain’s representative democracy ... Once, no one would have hesitated to call British politicians acting in the interests of a foreign power, and very possibly taking financial benefits for doing so, “traitors” ... Here we have documented evidence of the Israeli government secretly plotting with “friendly” British MPs to oust a British government minister. If that isn’t interference in the British political system I don’t know what is. Will we similarly have weeks of coverage of this story in the UK media, or will it be quickly filed away and forgotten?

Mark Weber / London Forum (Britain) - Video

At this London Forum meeting, American historian Mark Weber looks at the astonishing power and influence of the “Jewish lobby,” and explains why the task of identifying and countering Jewish-Zionist power is vitally important. More than a hundred men and women attended this April 11, 2015, gathering at the Grosvenor Hotel in the English capital. Organizer Jez Turner introduces Weber. Video runtime: 33 mins.

Ron Paul

Last week, as the mainstream media continued to obsess over the CIA’s evidence-free claim that the Russians hacked the presidential election, President Obama quietly sent 300 US Marines back into Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. This is the first time in three years that the US military has been sent into that conflict zone, and it represents a final failure of Obama’s Afghanistan policy ... The interventionists in Washington continue to run our foreign policy regardless of who is elected. They push for wars, they push for regime change, then they push for billions to reconstruct the bombed-out countries ... Obama – the “peace” candidate and president – has proven himself no different than his predecessors.

N. Thayer - Variety

The subjects of a TV documentary series about the Ku Klux Klan abruptly canceled last week [in Dec.] by A&E allege to Variety that significant portions of what was filmed were fabricated by the producers. Some KKK leaders divulged that they were paid hundreds of dollars in cash each day of filming to compel them on camera to distort the facts of their lives to fit the documentary’s predetermined narrative: tension between Klan members and relatives of theirs who wanted to get out of the Klan. The findings are based on an exclusive Variety investigation based on interviews with over two dozen individuals in and around the KKK who cooperated with the documentary in at least six U.S. states.

Chris Hedges

Some thoughts on “Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election,” the newly released declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence ... The primary purpose of the declassified report, which offers no evidence to support its assertions that Russia hacked the U.S. presidential election campaign, is to discredit Donald Trump. I am not saying there was no Russian hack of John Podesta’s emails. I am saying we have yet to see any tangible proof to back up the accusation. This charge ... is the first salvo in what will be a relentless campaign by the Republican and Democratic establishment, along with its corporatist allies and the mass media, to destroy the credibility of the president-elect and prepare the way for impeachment.

EJP

US Jewish groups warmly welcomed the vote by the House of Representative of a motion expressing opposition to the UN Security Council resolution against settlements after the US abstained [on Dec. 24] instead of using its veto power. The motion, passed 342-80, garnering the support of both Republicans and Democrats, a bipartisan measure that splits with the outgoing Obama administration and sides with the incoming Trump administration on this issue ... The House resolution, which is non-binding and more of a statement, calls on the United Nations to repeal the UN resolution, and says US President Barack Obama violated long-standing policy regarding Israel ... The World Jewish Congress (WJC) said it “applauded” the House for its adoption of the motion, as did the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

EJP

The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s landmark, was lit with the Israeli flag Monday night to express solidarity with the Israeli people following the terror attack in Jerusalem in which four Israeli soldiers were killed ... Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin, joined the many visitors who attended the event at the Brandenburg Gate. “Here, at a central and important place in Berlin, where just over two weeks ago we experienced a ramming attack as well, we stand and show the people of the Holy Land that we identify alongside with them,’’ he said.

Tom Engelhardt

... Donald Trump will inherit a country that has been hollowed out by the new realities that made him a success and allowed him to sweep to what, to many experts, looked like an improbable victory. He will inherit a country that is ever less special, a nation that, as Trump himself has pointed out, has an increasingly third-worldish transportation system, ... an infrastructure that has been drastically debased, and an everyday economy that offers lesser jobs to ever more of his countrymen ... With its unexceptional billionaires, its dispensable generals, its less than great national security officials, its dreary politicians, and its media moguls in search of the passing buck, it’s likely to be a combustible country in ways that will seem increasingly familiar to so many elsewhere on this planet ...

Press TV (Iran) – Video

Turkey’s new readiness to cooperate with Russia, Iran and Syria is one more sign of an important, ongoing shift in the Middle East balance of power explains this “On the News Line” report. This broadcast also looks at the Syria conflict, the Saudi role in the region, and other underreported developments in the Middle East. Runtime: 15:32 mins. Specialists also provide analysis. James Jatras, former US Senate foreign policy analyst, explains that what’s happening is part of a major shift in the region’s power alignment. As the Saudi role in the region becomes better known, says Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review, pressure will grow for member countries of the United Nations, to take serious action against the Saudi Kingdom, and that, in turn will put the US in an ever more awkward and difficult position.

The Times of Israel

The 115th US Congress, which convened for the first time on Tuesday, is 5.6 percent Jewish, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. Jews made up 28 members of Congress in the 114th Congress and have now picked up two more seats. Of the 30 current Jewish lawmakers, 28 are Democrats and two are Republican. The last election proved to be highly successful for Jewish candidates, as roughly eight percent of the freshman class’s non-Christian representatives are Jewish, the largest share of Jews ever entering the halls of Congress since data became available, Pew said. In 2014, roughly one percent of Washington’s legislative newcomers were Jewish, while in 2012 and 2010, four percent and two percent were members of the tribe, respectively.

J. Ofir - Mondoweiss

... Matt Rosenberg, the Hillel rabbi at Texas A&M University, sought to convince white-supremacist Richard Spencer of the error of his ways by citing a ‘Torah’ message of ‘radical inclusion and love’. Spencer masterfully responded by citing Israeli policy, Zionism and Jewish exclusivity, which left Rosenberg speechless. Rosenberg professed that this ‘radical inclusion and love’ is what the Torah teaches. But is this really true? ... Classical Jewish Talmudic tradition is full of qualifications that not only distinguish ethics between Jews and non-Jews – it even contains opinions that regard a Jewish soul as blessed and elevated above the level of the gentiles ... Whilst there are milder interpretations, these opinions certainly leave a wide space for perceiving non-Jews as lesser than human.

Philip Graubart - Forward (New York)

... I became acutely conscious of her survivor status about twenty years ago when I suddenly put together a few of the facts I knew about her – Amsterdam, Westerbork, 1929 birthdate – and asked what should have been an obvious question: had she known Anne Frank? She scowled, shut her eyes, then nodded. “Yes,” she said slowly, grimacing, as if reliving a particularly bitter moment of indigestion. “I knew Anne.” “Huh,” I said, noting the unusual frown, the downturned eyes. This wasn’t sadness or loss it was … irritation. “You didn’t …” “Arrogant girl,” she snapped. “Snobby. Self-absorbed. Typical German Jew. I didn’t like her.” She didn’t like Anne Frank. At first, I couldn’t absorb the sentiment, couldn’t really believe my ears.

artnet News (New York)

Star architect David Chipperfield’s 78 million euros ($83.7 million) renovation plan to revert Munich’s Haus der Kunst to its original Nazi-era state has provoked outrage amongst Jewish groups and locals. Originally called “House of German Art,” the museum was opened by Adolf Hitler in 1937 ... Chipperfield plans to restore the exterior of the building and the surrounding grounds to the original Nazi-era state ... The removal of the greenery would allow an unobstructed view of the monumental architecture with its 22 prominent columns and wide staircase ... Renderings of Chipperfield’s design proposal look almost identical to photos of the building from the Nazi era, albeit without the prominent swastika flag.

Religion News Service

When it comes to Martin Luther and anti-Semitism, even popular toys in Germany can’t escape theological scrutiny. Playmobil, one of Germany’s leading toy manufacturers, rolled out a three-inch plastic figure of Luther back in 2015 to promote this year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation ... All was apparently going fine until Micha Brumlik, a retired Frankfurt University education professor and respected Jewish commentator, wrote last June that the popular toy was “anti-Jewish, if not even anti-Semitic.” ... The regional Protestant church in Hesse and Nassau, the area where Frankfurt is located, soon seconded Brumlik’s criticism and said the wording could be misunderstood.

Philip Weiss - Mondoweiss

President Obama’s decision to allow passage [on Dec. 24] of a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal has done more to change the shape of the conflict than any other action in the last ten years, even than Israel’s massacres in Gaza. He has nudged Israel, and the media, toward recognition of the country’s new status, as a rogue state; he has split the Israel lobby right down the middle, or down the side anyway; and he has given huge impetus to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) ... The hysteria against the resolution from Israeli leaders is a reminder to even-moderately-well-informed Americans of ideas that were once heresies but are now hardening into public attitudes here: We give these people tens of billions of dollars and they act like spoiled brats.

The Times of Israel

More Americans support last month’s United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements than those who oppose it, while a plurality of respondents hold no viewpoint on the matter, according to new polling. A national tracking poll conducted by Politico and Morning Consult recently found that 35 percent of US voters back UNSC Resolution 2334 — which declares all settlement construction to be in violation of international law — while 28 percent said they opposed the measure. The US abstaining on that vote was seen as a sharp policy shift by Washington, which has historically shielded Israel from similar resolutions dealing with settlements by wielding its veto.

D. DeMar - New Historian (Britain)

New research has suggested that the influx of Viking raiders in England, starting in 793 CE with the terrifying raid of Lindisfarne, might have been motivated by nothing more than the search for a mate. An international team of researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden and the University of Aberdeen in Canada says that the Viking Age, characterized by violent Norse incursion and settlement in the British Isles over the course of several hundred years, was caused in part by societal changes in Scandinavia that made it difficult for young men to find marriage partners. With social inequality and polygamous marriage on the rise in the late Iron Age, the number of single women shrunk, creating intense competition among men – especially those of lesser social status ...

P. Weiss, D. Johnson – Mondoweiss

Trump’s election is having fascinating consequences. Today [Dec. 20] the New York Times ran a long piece titled “Liberal Zionism in the Age of Trump,” by Omri Boehm of the New School saying that liberal Zionism is a contradiction: liberal American Jews have “identified themselves with Zionism, a political agenda rooted in the denial of liberal politics.” Boehm’s most startling point is that Zionism has anti-Semitic strains, witness its collaboration with Nazis ... The piece will greatly increase the pressure on liberal Zionists to choose one idea or the other, and to stop denying the existence of apartheid.

J. Ofir – MondoWeiss

It must have been a terrible embarrassment to Hillel rabbi Matt Rosenberg at Texas A&M University, when he tried to challenge the alt-right Spencer with ‘radical inclusion and love’. Spencer was invited to the University, and Rosenberg was there to challenge his bigotry: “My tradition teaches a message of radical inclusion and love,” Rosenberg said ... Spencer gracefully declined the offer to pray, but in return offered an appraisal of Judaism and Zionism that literally left the rabbi speechless. Spencer actually blew Rosenberg’s pink balloon, and Rosenberg didn’t know what to do ... You’ve got to hand it to this neo-Nazi, he is a masterful debater. He’s certainly not stupid.

Mark Weber – Podcast

A critical look at Zionism as an ideology and as a social-political movement. The IHR director reviews its origins and history, including the little-known story of Zionist collaboration with Third Reich Germany during the 1930s. Citing statements by Jewish and Israeli leaders, Weber notes that the essence of Zionism is its view of Jews as a distinct people or nationality, with interests separate from those of non-Jews. Zionists, he explains, insist that Jews everywhere owe a primary loyalty to Israel and the world Jewish community.

Kathleen Christison (Former CIA analyst)

Words fail; ordinary terms are inadequate to describe the horrors Israel daily perpetrates, and has perpetrated for years, against the Palestinians… But the horror generally falls on deaf ears in most of Israel, in the U.S. political arena, in the mainstream U.S. media. Those who are horrified -- and there are many -- cannot penetrate the shield of impassivity that protects the political and media elite in Israel, even more so in the U.S., and increasing… Critics of Israel note increasingly that Israel is self-destructing, nearing a catastrophe of its own making. Israeli journalist Gideon Levy talks of a society in “moral collapse.”

Andrew Bacevich

... “I love Israel.” So declared Donald Trump while campaigning for the presidency ... As George Washington wrote when warning against the danger of “passionate attachment,” such sentiments should have no place in statecraft ... However unwittingly, Netanyahu, Obama and Trump have thereby collaborated in radically reformulating the basis of US-Israeli relations. No longer does the relationship rest even nominally on a mutual commitment to a negotiated peace. For Netanyahu, power obviates the need for negotiations, an argument that prior US administrations including Obama’s contested, but one that Trump seems certain to endorse. No longer a partner in the quest for peace, Goliath becomes instead David’s unquestioning enabler.

Paul Findley

... Who is responsible for this tragic treatment of Palestinians? If you ponder that question, bear in mind that Israel could not possibly commit this criminal behavior without automatic, unqualified, U.S. government support year after year. Pro-Israel lobby pressure controls all major news media. Congress behaves like a committee of the Israeli parliament. No president since Dwight Eisenhower has had the courage to stand up to Israeli wrongdoing. Those who know the truth are afraid to speak out for fear of paying a heavy price – maybe loss of employment. All citizens of the United States must face the truth: Our government is complicit in in Israeli crimes against humanity.

Patrick J. Buchanan

... Putin does not seek to destroy or conquer us or Europe. He wants Russia, and her interests, and her rights as a great power to be respected. He is not mucking around in our front yard; we are in his. The worst mistake President Trump could make would be to let the Russophobes grab the wheel and steer us into another Cold War that could be as costly as the first, and might not end as peacefully. Reagan’s outstretched hand to Gorbachev worked. Trump has nothing to lose by extending his to Vladimir Putin, and much perhaps to win.

Igor Torbakov - LobeLog

... We appear to be witnessing a momentous shift in the Russian governing elites’ approach to values and ideals, as well as to the country’s past ... For much of the last two decades, Moscow’s official position was that it shared the West’s basic liberal values ... These days, however, this position has clearly been abandoned. Now the Kremlin leadership has opted to uphold what it calls the “traditional national values,” epitomized in the extremely opaque notion of Russian “spirituality,” and vaguely defined “inner strength” found in Russia’s “thousand-year history.” The current task of Kremlin ideologues is to conceptualize Russia’s historical path so it demonstrates that the values and principles underlying Russian civilization are homegrown values shaped over the centuries.

The Times of Israel

President-elect Donald Trump has commissioned aide Stephen Miller, who penned a controversial speech panned for anti-Semitic overtones, to write his historic inaugural address next month. The 31-year-old incoming senior White House adviser on policy, who is Jewish, is credited with writing most of Trump’s planned speeches during the campaign, including a controversial October address in which he spoke of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton conducting secret meetings with international bankers to destroy US sovereignty ... Other noted speeches that Miller crafted include Trump’s Republican national convention address, which was noted for its dark tones and portrayal of a rapidly deteriorating world.

Forward (New York)

Jason Dov Greenblatt and his brother Joseph grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family in Queens, the sons of a diamond cutter. Both went to Yeshiva University, and then on to law school. There, their paths diverged. Today, Jason Greenblatt is poised to become President-elect Donald Trump’s point man on talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, among other international negotiations, and one of the most influential Jews in the incoming Trump administration. His brother Joseph Greenblatt is in state prison in New York, where he wound up after running a series of investment fraud schemes that targeted Jewish investors.

JTA - Forward

Ivanka Trump’s in-laws have donated to an organization headed by Marvin Hier, the rabbi who is scheduled to deliver a prayer at the inauguration of her father, President-elect Donald Trump. The Charles and Seryl Kushner Family Foundation has donated $35,000 to the Simon Wiesenthal Center: $25,000 in 2011 and $10,000 in 2012, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported, citing the foundation’s tax filings. Hier is the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, is the son of Charles and Seryl Kushner. The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced last week that Hier will offer readings, recite an original prayer, and give Trump and incoming Vice President Mike Pence each a benediction at the Jan. 20 ceremony.

Ron Paul

... We have been told all along by the neocons and “humanitarian interventionists” that the United States must take a central role in every world crisis or nothing will ever be solved. We are the “indispensable nation,” they say, and without our involvement the world will collapse. Our credibility is on the line, they claim, and if we don’t step up no one will. All this is untrue, as we have seen last week. The fact is, it is often US involvement in “solving” these crises that actually perpetuates them ... Non-intervention in the affairs of others does not damage US credibility overseas. It is US meddling, bombing, droning, and regime-changing that damages our credibility overseas. US obstruction in Syria kept the war going.

BBC News

The German publisher of a special annotated edition of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf says sales have soared since its launch a year ago. About 85,000 German-language copies of the anti-Semitic Nazi manifesto have been sold. Publisher Andreas Wirsching said "the figures overwhelmed us". He is director of the Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich. But the sales are well below those of best-sellers in Germany. It is an academic edition, costing 58 euros [USD $60]. At the end of January the IfZ will launch a sixth print run. The book contains critical notes by scholars. Unlike the Nazi-era editions, the IfZ's Mein Kampf (My Struggle) has a plain white cover - without a picture of Hitler. The swastika and other Nazi symbols are banned in Germany.

Eric Margolis

... Trump does not know much about the Mideast. He will rely on a tight circle of extreme Zionists he has named to deal with the issue. That’s crazy and utterly deluded ... Israel may look small on the map but it’s a giant of a country, filled with very smart people who know just what they want and how to get it. But that’s a very short-sighted victory. By thwarting a UN peace deal that would have ended nearly a century of strife, Israel guarantees endless more years of violence, growing anti-Semitism, and its continued estrangement from the rest of the world. A new apartheid state is being born. All of President Obama’s perfumed orations about Mideast peace have come to nothing.

Henry Siegman - LobeLog

Has America’s president betrayed Israel, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his government bitterly accused after President Obama failed to veto a UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israel for its settlements in the West Bank? ... Netanyahu’s “j’accuse” against Obama and his administration is a concoction of the lies and deceptions that have characterized Israel’s defense of its settlement project from the outset ... The tragedy is that everything that President Obama and his predecessors have done to protect Israel’s security will have been for naught as Netanyahu’s mad drive with the settlements towards an apartheid regime threatens to end Israel’s existence as a democratic and Jewish state, something its enemies could not have achieved on their own.

Mitchell Plitnick - LobeLog

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2334, which calls on Israel to cease building settlements in territories it occupied in 1967. The Obama administration decided to abstain from the vote, allowing it to pass 14-0 ... In the short term, this resolution is unlikely to affect Israeli plans for settlement expansion ... Did the United States betray its commitment to protect Israel at the United Nations by abstaining from this vote? Absolutely not. Every president since 1967 has allowed UNSC resolutions critical of Israel to pass ... Ronald Reagan allowed 21 UNSC resolutions critical of Israel to pass, including some which greatly angered Israel. Yet he is considered Israel’s greatest friend among US Presidents.

The Daily Signal – The Heritage Foundation

The Israeli government, and Republicans in Congress, have expressed outrage over the Obama administration’s decision to allow adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution that condemns Israel’s settlement construction. These critics are portraying the U.S. move to abstain from the vote on Israel’s settlement activity — rather than using its veto power — as a last symbolic blow from outgoing President Barack Obama to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They also depict it as a break from the American precedent of shielding its longtime ally from action at the United Nations. But other American administrations regularly have abstained or supported U.N. resolutions critical of Israeli policy.

JTA

More than two million people from all over the world visited the Auschwitz Museum in 2016. The 2,053,000 visitors is a record number in the history of the museum, which this year will mark the 70th anniversary of its creation, the museum [in southern Poland] said in a statement on its website. The top ten countries visitors came from were Poland, with 424,000; the United Kingdom, with 271,000; the United States, with 215,000; Italy, with 146,000 ... The numbers include 61,000 organized tour groups, and individually conducted tours by museum guides for 310,736 people, according to the museum. In addition, some 150 movie crews produced documentaries at the museum and memorial last year.

Mark Weber

... Auschwitz camp death records — which were hidden away for more than 40 years in the Soviet Union — cast grave doubt on these widely accepted claims. Inmate deaths at Auschwitz were carefully recorded by the camp authorities on certificates that were bound in dozens of death registry volumes. Each "death book" (Sterbebuch) contains hundreds of death certificates ... Consistent with the Sterbebuch records, other German wartime documents show that a very high percentage of the Jewish inmates at Auschwitz were not able to work, and were nevertheless not killed.

L. McCauley -Common Dreams

In the final hours before the Christmas holiday weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday quietly signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law — and buried within the $619 billion military budget is a controversial provision that establishes a national anti-propaganda center that critics warn could be dangerous for press freedoms. The Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, introduced by Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, establishes the Global Engagement Center under the State Department which coordinates efforts to "recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United Sates national security interests."

CBS News

One of the most violent years in Chicago history ended with a sobering tally: 762 homicides, the most in two decades in the city and more than New York and Los Angeles combined. The nation’s third largest city also saw 1,100 more shooting incidents in 2016 than it did in 2015, according to data released Sunday by the Chicago Police Department. New York, the nation’s largest city, logged 334 homicides in 2016, according to the New York Daily News, while the country’s second-largest city, Los Angeles, saw 294 ... Several of the top ten largest U.S. cities saw a spike last year in homicides. San Antonio police say they investigated 151 homicides in 2016, marking the deadliest year in the Alamo city in more than two decades.

UPI

The murder rate in the nation's third-largest city more than doubled in 2016 -- a staggering statistic that represents the largest spike in decades, statistics show. According to the Chicago Police Department, 762 homicides were recorded last year -- an increase of 277 deaths, or a 57 percent jump. The increase was Chicago's largest in up to six decades. Further, 2016 saw more than 1,100 shootings than it did the previous year. The skyrocketing rate last year came amid nationwide public opposition to certain police behaviors involving a number of unarmed minority citizens. Commentators have pointed to the perceived increase in social injustice and a steady supply of illegal guns in the city as contributing factors to the increase.

Patrick J. Buchanan

Donald Trump has a new best friend. “President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support of Israel,” gushed Bibi Netanyahu, after he berated John Kerry in a fashion that would once have resulted in a rupture of diplomatic relations ... And the problem for Trump in a full embrace of Bibi? Britain and France, which voted for the resolution where the U.S. abstained, are going to go their separate way on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, as is the world ... Having America publicly reassert herself as Israel’s best friend, with “no daylight” between us, could have us ending up as Israel’s only friend — and Israel as our only friend in the Middle East. Bibi’s Israel First policy must one day collide with America First.

Gareth Porter - Middle East Eye

President Barack Obama has long been under fire from the US national security elite and the media for failing to intervene aggressively against the Assad regime. But the real strategic blunder was not that Barack Obama didn’t launch yet another war in Syria, but that he decided to go along with the ambitions of America’s Sunni allies to create and arm a Syrian opposition army to overthrow the regime in the first place ... The former official revealed that when Obama made the first move toward supporting the arming of Syrian opposition forces, the president failed to foresee the risk of a direct Iranian or Russian intervention on behalf of the Syrian regime in response to an externally armed opposition ...

The Anti-Defamation League (New York)

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued its top ten list of manifestations of antisemitism that have afflicted Jewish communities across the United States and around the world in 2016. The past year saw the volume of antisemitic cyberhate elevated to unprecedented levels. The ADL list included Jewish social media users being targeted because of their faith, anti-Jewish internet memes going viral and consuming the web, the swastika remaining a hate symbol of choice, conspiracy theories in the presidential race, continuing Iranian and Palestinian incitement, and the threat to European Jewry.

The Washington Times

President Obama’s refusal to veto an anti-Israel U.N. resolution was ranked Tuesday as the most anti-Semitic incident of 2016 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. In the annual anti-Semitism report, the center placed the Obama administration’s decision Friday to abstain on the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements at the head of its list, the “Top 10 Worst Global Anti-Semitic/Anti- Israel Incidents.” “The most stunning 2016 U.N. attack on Israel was facilitated by President Obama when the U.S. abstained on a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel for settlement construction,” the center said. “It reversed decades-long US policy of vetoing such diplomatic moves against the Jewish State.” Also making the list was activity by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement ...

JTA

Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, will offer a prayer at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. Hier reportedly will offer readings, recite an original prayer and give Trump and incoming Vice President Mike Pence each a benediction at the Jan. 20 ceremony. “Since the first inaugural ceremony, our leaders have paid tribute to the blessings of liberty that have been bestowed upon our country and its people,” Tom Barrack, the chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said in a statement issued Wednesday announcing the six faith leaders who will participate in the inauguration.

Forward (New York)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday summoned the U.S. ambassador to Israel on Christmas Day to discuss the U.S. abstention in a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an end to settlement-building. As a diplomatic crisis swirled, Netanyahu reportedly told cabinet allies that the U.S. might go further by allowing a declaration of principles of Palestinian statehood before President Obama leaves office next month. “They are spitting at us,” Netanyahu told colleagues behind closed doors, Channel 2 news reported. “We will respond forcefully.” Separately, the envoys of ten other nations were called in to the Israeli Foreign Ministry to be reprimanded on Sunday, and Netanyahu had more harsh words for Washington over Friday’s U.N. vote.

The Washington Times

George Washington University now joins a growing list of elite American schools that no longer require history majors to take a U.S. history course before earning a diploma. An education watchdog reported Thursday that GWU has embraced a policy by one-third of the nation’s most prestigious schools, which makes a U.S. history course optional for students who call the field their vocation. The College Fix said GWU History Department Chair Karin Schultheiss and multiple instructors at the university rebuffed inquiries on the new rule.