Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave Theresa May a frightening account during their meeting of the threat posed by Iranian aggression to Israel and everybody else. In Mr Netanyahu’s eyes, Iran is a much more dangerous enemy than Isis or al-Qaeda, seeking “to annihilate Israel, it seeks to conquer the Middle East, it threatens Europe, it threatens the West, it threatens the world.” Even by Mr Netanyahu’s standards the rhetoric sounds excessive and is probably motivated by a wish to divert attention from Israeli settlement building on the West Bank ... Iranian influence in the region is increasing simply because it leads what is essentially a Shia coalition of states and movements – Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon – that is winning the war in Syria in alliance with Russia.
On February 15, President Donald Trump condemned the Iran nuclear deal during a joint press conference with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House ... Netanyahu lauded Trump for his administration’s strong reaction to Iran’s recent ballistic missile test, including imposing new sanctions. He also alleged that the Islamic Republic wants a nuclear arsenal of “a hundred” bombs, including intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the United States. Two days later, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded with a tweet: “The only regime in ME [Middle East] with nukes, ICBMs & a history of aggression whines about Iran's means of defense. Fear-mongering hype IS fake news.”
Fake news, false stories that masquerade as real news are not new. In the spring of 1917 some of Britain's most influential newspapers published a gruesome story that has been called "the master hoax" - and I think we finally have proof about where it came from. Britain was at the time trying to bring China into the war on the Allied side. In February a story appeared in the English-language North China Daily News that claimed the Kaiser's forces were "extracting glycerine out of dead soldiers". ... The Times and the Daily Mail published accounts from anonymous sources who claimed to have visited the Kadaververwertungsanstalt, or corpse-utilisation factory ... It was in 1925 that Sir Austen Chamberlain admitted, in a Commons statement, there was "never any foundation" for what he called "this false report".
A series of extracts will give the record of one of the most revolting lies invented during the First World War, the dissemination of which throughout not only Britain but the world was encouraged and connived at by both the [British] government and the press. It started in 1917, and was not finally disposed of till 1925 ... The story had a world-wide circulation and had considerable propaganda value in the East. Not till 1925 did the truth emerge.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in danger of being brought down, possibly soon, over what initially appears to be little more than an imprudent taste for Cuban cigars and pink champagne. In truth, however, the allegations ensnaring Netanyahu reveal far more than his personal flaws or an infatuation with the high life. They shine a rare light on the corrupt nexus between Israel’s business, political and media worlds, compounded by the perverse influence of overseas Jewish money ... It is the second investigation, Case 2000, and the still-murky relationship between the two cases, that more fully exposes the rot at the heart of Israel’s political system.
On February 10, Iranians celebrated the 38th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. The popular uprising ended centuries of monarchical rule. In 2017, anti-U.S. sentiment at the mass rally in Tehran was more subdued than in previous years. Many demonstrators protested President Trump's travel ban while thanking those Americans who opposed the executive order.
... An exploration of the Islamic Revolution in Iran conveys two great truths with vast implications: religion can still be a more potent mobilizer of mass political action than can secular ideologies, and the longtime hegemony of Western social models has ended. The Iranian Revolution thus emerges as one of the most important events in modern history, on a par with the watershed French and Russian revolutions ... About the broad outlines of the history of Iran during the last 150 years there can be no doubt. Foreign powers have heavily influenced the country's international affairs to suit their own economic and strategic interests, with scant regard for the opinions and interests of the citizenry.
Steve Bannon apparently referenced an infamous Italian fascist thinker as influential on his own ideology in a talk he gave at the Vatican three years ago ... Bannon made passing mention in that address to Julius Evola, who actively wrote under Benito Mussolini’s regime and afterward, espousing a philosophy of Traditionalism that presented concepts like equality and progress as false ideals ... Evola has also been adopted by far-right parties in Europe, including Hungary’s Jobbik and Greece’s Golden Dawn. In an ironic twist, Evola was not only a fascist – he met with Mussolini and influenced the dictator’s writing of racial laws against Jews and other minorities – but even more radical than the Italian leader, castigating him for being too compromising, and instead finding his intellectual model in the Nazis.
Lithuanian ultranationalists marched near execution sites of Jews with banners celebrating a pro-Nazi collaborationist who called for ethnic cleansing and a symbol popular with members of the U.S. “alt-right” movement. Approximately 170 people attended Thursday’s annual march in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city that is also known as Kovno, the website Defending History reported. The main banner featured a picture of the collaborationist Kazys Skirpa modified to resemble Pepe the Frog, a cartoon figure ... The banner also included a quote attributed to the Pepe-like portrait of Skirpa, an envoy of the pro-Nazi movement in Lithuania to Berlin, that read “Lithuania will contribute to new and better European order.”
... The increasing problem facing our culture and society: Whom do we trust? The answer, it appears, is no one. Well, that's not entirely true. We trust our military, and in fact that trust has grown, said Richard Edelman, CEO of one of the world's largest public relations consultancies ... Only 43 percent of people said they trust the media; a whopping five percent drop from last year. Government came in even lower, at 41 percent; trust in military has grown, and trust in business is a bit stronger than the media and government, but not by much ... We feel destabilized, uncertain and disillusioned by everything that was supposed to lift us up; even family icons like Bill Cosby have let us down.
America’s ambassador to the United Nations has said the US “absolutely” supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, directly contradicting comments made by Donald Trump just a day ago. The US President told reporters after a meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his administration was no longer wedded to the creation of a Palestinian state. The remarks signalled a departure from America's decades-old approach to Middle East foreign policy. But Nikki Haley, Mr Trump's appointment for ambassador to the UN, said the US remained committed to a two-state solution. She said anyone who believed the US was abandoning the policy did so in “error”.
Donald Trump became the first US President in recent years to suggest a shift in US foreign policy concerning the two-state solution during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday. “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” Trump said. “I can live with either one.” ... In a poll released on Thursday, the Palestinian Center for Policy & Survey Research found that 55 percent of Israelis and 44 percent of Palestinians support the two-state solution. Both groups showed a decline in their support since June, when 59 percent of Israelis and 51 percent of Palestinians reported supporting the solution. Yet, far more people prefer the two-state solution relative to a one-state. Only 24 percent of Israelis and just over one-third of Palestinians polled supported a one-state solution.
On Sunday, 70 countries and international organizations met in Paris in a last-ditch effort to save something Palestinian leaders have been seeking for decades: a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel ... But even as the conference's closing statement urged Israelis and Palestinians "to officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution," two in three Palestinians say that model is no longer viable, according to a recent poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) in Ramallah ... After years of fruitless negotiations, 36 percent of Palestinians now support a single state. Among those, some even say they would be willing to live under Jewish rule, saying they lived better before the PA came, and that Israeli bosses treated them better and paid them on time.
... Trump said he wanted to explore the possibilities for making what he has called "the ultimate deal," a peace pact between Israel and the Palestinians. He is deploying his son-in-law -- and now senior adviser on the Middle East -- Jared Kushner to the task ... More than 60 percent of the West Bank is under complete Israeli military and civilian control, where even permissions for Palestinians to add a barn or plow a field must be approved by the military government. The same territory is home to more than 400,000 Jewish settlers living in 125 established communities and another 100 outposts, many of them deemed illegal even under Israeli law.
The operator of a Japanese hotel chain already in hot water for denying a Japanese World War II atrocity has come under fire for reported anti-Semitic remarks. Toshio Motoya is CEO of APA Group, which calls itself Japan’s largest hotel chain, and has drawn China criticism for writing a book denying the 1937 Nanjing massacre happened and placing copies in hundreds of APA hotel rooms. The group also runs 40 hotels in North America and its February edition of an in-house magazine for guests staying at its Canada properties contained the anti-Semitic remarks. “Jewish people control American information, finance, and laws, and they benefit greatly from globalisation because they move their massive profits to tax havens so they don’t have to pay any taxes,” Motoya said in the magazine ...
Weber reviews the little-known story of misery and death imposed by the victors on defeated Germany in the aftermath of World War II. The Allied powers imposed an “unknown holocaust” of destruction, looting, starvation, rape, “ethnic cleansing,” and mass killing. More than 14 million Germans were expelled or forced to flee from eastern and central Europe. Some three million Germans died needlessly -- about two million civilians, mostly women, children and elderly, and one million prisoners of war. Weber also highlights the Allied double standard in putting German leaders to death for policies that the Allies themselves were carrying out, sometimes on a far greater scale. Runtime: 23:37 mins.
An Alternative for Germany (AfD) parliamentary hopeful has shared a photo of Hitler with the words “Missed since 1945.” The scandal comes days after another senior member called Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial “a monument of shame.” Elena Roon, a chairwoman and a parliamentary candidate in the Nuremberg area, shared the image of Adolf Hitler among fellow members in a closed WhatsApp group, local media reported. The photo came alongside the captions: “Missed since 1945 … Adolf, please get in touch! Germany needs you! The German people!” ... Though she did not deny sending the images, Roon told Merkur newspaper that she distances herself from “right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism.”
Americans believe the world at large sees the U.S. more unfavorably (57 percent) than favorably (42 percent), their worst assessment of the country's image in ten years. A year ago, Americans' perceptions were more positive than negative. These results are from a Gallup survey conducted Feb. 1-5, about two weeks into Donald Trump's presidency. The 42 percent favorable rating is one of the lowest since Gallup began asking this question in 2000 and may be attributable to the election of Trump, whose sometimes controversial statements and actions have rankled several world leaders ... Fewer than three in ten Americans (29 percent) say leaders of other countries have respect for the new president, with 67 percent saying world leaders do not have much respect for him.
World War II is having a moment, at least in the minds of people doing Google searches. Google Trends, a tool that measures the popularity of search terms over time, shows that there have been dramatic spikes in searches for topics related to the war, including: Reichstag fire, Pearl Harbor, fascism, Kristallnacht, and Nazi Germany... Searches on "Nazi Germany" jumped from typical levels of 25-50 to 100 in the first week of November, right before the US election. Worldwide searches for “fascism” also jumped from a baseline of 10 to 55 the week before the US election, but the authoritarian ideology saw an unprecedented spike in the first week of February, with searches for "fascism" jumping from 15-20 to 100 around the world.
On social networks and talk radio, in classrooms and at kitchen tables, the country’s past is suddenly inescapable ... Trump may or may not make America great again, but he has certainly revived interest in U.S. history ... Historians say the speed and breadth of Trump’s policy pronouncements have prompted the electorate to deploy history as an offensive or defensive rhetorical weapon ... Even Adolf Hitler is hard to avoid ... In the United States, there have been enough Hitler comparisons on social media to inspire satirists. Steve Hely, a former writer for “The Office” and “30 Rock,” recently tweeted several “ways Hitler was better than Trump.” One was “Wrote his own book.” Hely’s satire gets at the concerns scholars have about the recent flood of historical citations. Americans are terrible armchair historians.
Thousands of people have formed a human chain in Dresden in a message of "peace and reconciliation" marking the anniversary of the deadly Allied firebombing of the eastern German city near the end of World War II. The dpa news agency reported that Mayor Dirk Hilbert told the crowd linking hands across the Elbe River bridge to remember the past as they view conflicts today where "human dignity is trampled underfoot." Hilbert placed a white rose on a memorial to the attack by Allied bombers on Feb. 13-14, 1945. Some 25,000 people are believed to have died in the bombing, according to a 2008 official study. Hilbert also recalled the crimes of the Nazis, and said people must remember all "the human suffering that war brings."
Hundreds of neo-Nazis marched through the eastern city of Dresden at the weekend to mark the anniversary of the city’s bombing at the end of World War II. Meanwhile, an art exhibition to remember refugees who lost their lives at sea has divided opinion.
Hundreds of neo-Nazis descended on Dresden on Saturday, two days ahead of the anniversary of the destruction of the city by Allied forces in World War II. In front of about 200 right-wing extremists, convicted neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier Gerhard Ittner declared himself to be a "national socialist" and glorified Nazi ideology as a "model for the whole world." Police announced on Twitter that his comments could have legal repercussions. Denying the Holocaust is a crime in Germany ... The neo-Nazis faced opposition from protesters who attempted to block the path of the two marches, but the rallies passed mainly peacefully ... The student group Durchgezählt reported that about 650 right-wing extremists took part in the second rally on Saturday, organized by rival Nazi leader and Dresden local, Maik Müller.
... Dresden is not only a German city, or the symbol of a German destiny. Dresden is also the universal symbol of countless German and countless European, Croatian, Hungarian, Italian, Belgian and French cities that were bombed by the Western Allies, or for that matter that were fully bombed out ... We are often criticized for playing up the Dresden victims in order to trivialize the fascist crimes. This is nonsense. This thesis can be easily reversed. The establishment historians and opinion-makers, 70 years after the war, are in need of forever renewing the fascist danger in order to cover up their own catastrophic economic failures and their own war crimes.
The destruction of the virtually undefended German city of Dresden by bombers of the Royal Air Force and U.S. Army Air Force, in mid-February 1945, remains one of the most controversial episodes of the Second World War ... British military historian, Alexander McKee, has produced a new account of the Dresden bombing, based in part upon an examination of official records recently declassified, as well as interviews from survivors of the attack and Allied airmen who flew in the raids. McKee had doubts about the efficacy of area bombing when, as a soldier with the 1st Canadian Army, he witnessed the results of the Allied bombing of "friendly" French towns.
… In February 1945, American bombers reduced this treasure to crushed stone and embers; disembowelled her with high explosives and cremated her with incendiaries … It is with some regret that I here besmirch the nobility of our airmen, but, boys, you killed an appalling lot of women and children. The shelter I have described and innumerable others like it were filled with them. We had to exhume their bodies and carry them to mass funeral pyres in the parks, so I know … The “Get Tough America” policy, the spirit of revenge, the approbation of all destruction and killing, have earned us a name for obscene brutality.
The European Union's foreign policy chief and the United Nations secretary-general on Tuesday criticised an Israeli move to legalise thousands of settler homes on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. The EU's Federica Mogherini said that the law, if it was implemented, crossed a new and dangerous threshold. "Such settlements constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten the viability of a two-state solution," she said. "(It) would further entrench a one-state reality of unequal rights, perpetual occupation and conflict," she said, highlighting that the EU sees Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as illegal ... U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the action went against international law and would have legal consequences for Israel.
Israel faced international criticism on Tuesday over a new law allowing the appropriation of private Palestinian land for Jewish settler outposts, although the United States remained notably silent. Britain, France, the United Nations and Israel's neighbour Jordan were among those coming out against the legislation passed late on Monday. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the law would have "far-reaching legal consequences for Israel" and was "in contravention of international law" ... France called the bill a "new attack on the two-state solution," while Britain said it "damages Israel's standing with its international partners". Turkey "strongly condemned" the law and Israel's "unacceptable" settlement policy and the Arab League accused Israel of "stealing the land and appropriating the property of Palestinians".
In recent days, the Statue of Liberty has been reproduced across multiple social and print media as a national symbol in opposition to the Trump administration’s aggressive ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations. The lines, “Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses” are repeated as an established principle of U.S. identity ... Although today the poem is calcified in our political imagination, [Emma] Lazarus’s sonnet should be recognized as a progressive poem that radically refigures Bartholdi’s vision ... In Lazarus’s reworking, the statue embodies the principle of hospitality that welcomes all dispossessed, displaced people from all over the world: ... According to Josephine Lazarus, Emma’s sister, the strong public protests against the Jews were a “trumpet call that awoke the slumbering” poet into political action.
... Along with the increasingly popular ACT, the SAT is critical in identifying student readiness for college and as an important gateway to higher education. Yet despite efforts to equalize academic opportunity, large racial gaps in SAT scores persist ... Insofar as SAT scores predict student success in college, inequalities in the SAT score distribution reflect and reinforce racial inequalities across generations. In this paper, we analyze racial differences in the math section of the general SAT test, using publicly available College Board population data for all of the nearly 1.7 million college-bound seniors in 2015 who took the SAT ... The mean score on the math section of the SAT for all test-takers is 511 out of 800, the average scores for blacks (428) and Latinos (457) are significantly below those of whites (534) and Asians (598).
... President Trump certainly stirred a whirlwind in his first ten days. But it wasn't unprecedented. Take a look at the front pages from the first ten days of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency in 1933 ... Before his second full day in office was over, President Roosevelt had suspended all banking transactions in the United States. The goal was to stanch the hoarding of currency and gold by anxious depositors ... By the time the banks finally began reopening on March 13, Roosevelt had delivered the first of his intimate "fireside chats" over the radio and had been granted what The Times described as "practically dictatorial powers" by Congress after he proposed a $500 million cut in federal salaries and pensions, and in veterans' compensation. That would be the equivalent of more than $9 billion today.
“We have the power. Now our gigantic work begins." Those were Hitler's words on the night of January 30, 1933, as cheering crowds surged past him, for five long hours, beneath the windows of the Chancellery in Berlin. His political struggle had lasted 14 years. He himself was 43 … Half a century later, few people understand the crisis Germany faced at that time … During the preceding years, a score of "democratic" governments had come and gone, often in utter confusion. Instead of alleviating the people's misery, they had increased it, due to their own instability …
One of the most direct indications of Donald Trump’s failure, or refusal, to understand issues involving Iran is his tweeted declaration this week that the Iranians “should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!” ... Another illusionary Trump tweet asserts that Iran “was on its last legs” — which it certainly was not, having endured not only years of sanctions but also an extremely costly war begun by Iraq — until the U.S. “gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran deal: $150 billion”. That $150 billion figure has long been discredited ... Meanwhile, Trump and Flynn leave themselves no apparent exit from an ever-escalating confrontation with Iran, no matter what the Iranians could reasonably do.
... Now the United States will be facing down a far stronger Iran, one that has taken advantage of the past six years of turmoil in the Arab world to steadily expand its reach and military capabilities ... Iran now stands at the apex of an arc of influence stretching from Tehran to the Mediterranean, from the borders of NATO to the borders of Israel and along the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula ... So pervasive is Iran’s presence across the region that it is hard to see how any U.S. administration could easily roll it back without destabilizing allies, endangering Americans, undermining the war against the Islamic State and upsetting the new regional balance that emerged during the Obama administration’s retreat, analysts say.
... Some of the most notable differences revolved around the concepts of “individualism” and “collectivism”; whether you consider yourself to be independent and self-contained, or entwined and interconnected with the other people around you, valuing the group over the individual. Generally speaking, people in the West tend to be more individualist, and people from Asian countries like India, Japan or China tend to be more collectivist ... People in more individualistic, Western societies tend to value personal success over group achievement, which in turn is also associated with the need for greater self-esteem and the pursuit of personal happiness. But this thirst for self-validation also manifests in overconfidence, with many experiments showing that Weird participants are likely to overestimate their abilities.
Of the national identity attributes included in the Pew Research Center survey, language far and away is seen as the most critical to national identity. Majorities in each of the 14 countries polled say it is very important to speak the native language to be considered a true member of the nation. Roughly eight-in-ten or more Dutch, British, Hungarians and Germans believe the ability to converse in their country’s language is very important to nationality ... In the United States, about half of all immigrants were proficient in English as of 2014. Most Americans consider such language facility to be an important attribute of U.S. nationality. Fully 70 percent of the public says that to be truly American it is very important to be able to speak English, and an additional 22 percent believe proficiency is somewhat important.
About one-third of all Americans think that you have to be a Christian to truly be an American — despite the history of religious pluralism that dates back to the nation’s very earliest days. In a timely survey released Wednesday afternoon, just as the United States is debating the merits of suspending immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, the Pew Research Center asked residents of numerous nations what it takes to truly belong in their countries. Americans were far more likely than residents of other countries included in the survey to say that religion was key to sharing in the national identity. Thirty-two percent of Americans said one should be Christian to really be American, compared to just 13 percent of Australians, 15 percent of Canadians and 15 percent of Europeans who felt the same way about belonging in their homelands.
British Baroness Jenny Tonge, who was suspended and then resigned from the UK Liberal Democrat party in October over allegations of antisemitism, doubled down Sunday on her accusations against the “Jewish lobby” and against Israel for being the “root cause” of global terrorism ... She argued, “The core problem here is not …what literature you’ve read, or what you can spout on the history of a particular country. It’s the fact that a great injustice has been done to the people who were in Palestine for centuries before the state of Israel was created.”
A majority of young people in America believe the tone of the country’s politics has taken a turn for the worse, according to a new poll. Sixty-two percent of Americans between the ages of 18-29 believe the level of civility of American politics has decreased during the past five years, the poll released Thursday by the Harvard Institute of Politics found. The same poll indicates 60 percent of young people disapproved of Trump’s performance during the presidential transition, though the numbers were split largely along party lines. Eighty-seven percent of Democrats polled disapprove of Trump’s performance, while just 22 percent of Republicans feel the same way.
In its March 1967 issue, Ramparts ... published an exposé of the close relationship between the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Student Association ... then the leading American organization representing college students, with branches on about 400 campuses ... The disclosures about the CIA’s ties to the NSA were the most sensational of a number of revelations in that era that exposed the Agency’s involvement in such institutions as the Congress for Cultural Freedom; the International Commission of Jurists; the AFL-CIO; Radio Free Europe; and various leading philanthropic foundations. Karen Paget’s new  book, Patriotic Betrayal, is the most detailed account yet of the CIA’s use of the National Student Association as a vehicle for intelligence gathering and covert action.
The federal government [of Canada] secretly gave RCMP security officials the authority to tap telephone calls without court oversight during the Cold War, newly unearthed archival documents show. The surveillance program, codenamed “Picnic,” began as an emergency effort during the Korean War, but federal agencies collaborated with telephone companies in 1954 to continue the wiretaps, says Dennis Molinaro, who teaches history at Ontario’s Trent University ... It has long been known the Mounties kept an eye on a wide array of people and organizations – from church and gay rights groups to Quebec separatists and Communists – in the name of national security, amassing hundreds of thousands of dossiers.
The Trump administration is continuing to make reckless threats against Iran. On Wednesday, in response to recent missile tests, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn announced that the White House was “officially putting Iran on notice,” and refused to say whether military force is under consideration. The administration is now escalating sanctions against Iran, which will further ratchet up tensions — even though the missile tests are not a violation of the Iran nuclear agreement, and the White House hasn’t even tried to say they are. But that’s not stopping Trump. Just hours ago, he tweeted: “Iran is playing with fire — they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them. Not me!” The escalation is also taking hold in the mainstream press.
... During the concluding decade of the twentieth century and the first decade-and-a-half of the twenty-first, Americans endured a seemingly endless series of crises. Individually, none of these merit comparison with, say, the Civil War or World War II. Yet never in U.S. history has a sequence of events occurring in such close proximity subjected American institutions and the American people to greater stress ... The Age of Great Expectations has ended, leaving behind an ominous void. Yet Trump’s own inability to explain what should fill that great void provides neither excuse for inaction nor cause for despair. Instead, Trump himself makes manifest the need to reflect on the nation’s recent past and to think deeply about its future.
... This nasty little spat came on the heels of last week’s refusal by Trump to accept Mideast refugees from seven nations, supposedly to keep America safe. However, there has not been a single attack against the US from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria or Yemen – even though all have been bombed (26,171 times) or had their governments overthrown by the US and its allies ... One of the key tenets of Republican theological voters is the hatred of Islam as the ‘new’ Communism and the fear that Islam’s growth is far outpacing Christianity. Few of these confused Republican core voters have any sense of geography or history ... President Trump benefitted from this accrued ignorance in his startling electoral victory.
In his campaign and transition to power, President Donald Trump has repeatedly sent tremors through the commanding heights of the U.S. national security establishment. Recently, he again attacked the NATO alliance, calling it "obsolete," because NATO was not set up to respond to terrorist threats, and reminding the world that the allies free-ride off U.S. military efforts by not bearing their fair share of the burden. Embarrassingly, Trump is right on both counts ... Thus Trump is correct that the Cold War-era alliance needs to be scrapped or at the very least reformed. More generally, the bedrock of defense reform should be staying out of other nonstrategic brush fire wars in the developing world, such as in Iraq and Syria. As was the case in Afghanistan, such long-term U.S. involvement only creates more terrorists.
The executive order that forced Japanese-Americans from their homes also put immigrants from Italy under the watchful eye of the government / ... The incarceration of Japanese-Americans is the best-known effect of Executive Order 9066, the rule signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942 ... But the full extent of the government order is largely unknown. In addition to forcibly evacuating 120,000 Americans of Japanese background from their homes on the West Coast to barbed-wire-encircled camps, EO 9066 called for the compulsory relocation of more than 50,000 Italian-Americans and restricted the movements of more than 600,000 Italian-Americans nationwide. Now, the order has resurfaced in the public conversation about immigration.
French nationalist Marine Le Pen vowed to put "France First" as she launched her presidential bid Sunday, speaking out against globalization. "The primaries have shown that the debates on secularism or on immigration, as well as on globalization or generalized deregulation do constitute now a fundamental and cross-cutting division," she told crowds in the central city of Lyon. "The division is not between right and left anymore, but between patriots and pro-globalization." Le Pen has been a vocal representative of the National Front (FN) party for years, and continues to gain popularity as France falls victim to more terrorist attacks, prompting voters to shift toward nationalist and populist policies. Le Pen in recent months has called to ban the Muslim veil and Jewish kippah on streets.
What a stunning clash of messages: President Dwight David Eisenhower’s farewell address and President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address! The clash [in Jan. 1961] ... is still much underappreciated today. The straightforward words of the departing leader were drowned out by the electric vocabulary of the nation’s new Sir Galahad. The old general who had seen it all in war and peace warned the nation against the growing power of the military-industrial complex, decried excessive governmental spending and debt, and emphasized the need to preserve a sound economy as the basis for American power in the world ... With 50 years’ perspective and with countless wars and mindless governmental spending to look back upon, Ike’s words serve us better than JFK’s.
In his farewell address, delivered to the American people on national television, Jan. 17, 1961, President Eisenhower spoke firmly, and in carefully chosen words, to warn against the dangers in the years to come of the great “military-industrial complex.” Excerpt. Runtime: 1:54 mins. “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
When Gen. Michael Flynn marched into the White House Briefing Room to declare that “we are officially putting Iran on notice,” he drew a red line for President Trump. In tweeting the threat, Trump agreed. His credibility is now on the line ... Is the United States making new demands on Iran not written into the nuclear treaty or international law — to provoke a confrontation? ... The problem with making a threat public — Iran is “on notice” — is that it makes it almost impossible for Iran, or Trump, to back away. Tehran seems almost obliged to defy it, especially the demand that it cease testing conventional missiles for its own defense.
The Trump administration on Friday imposed new sanctions against Iran, continuing what one observer describes as "an escalatory cycle with no clear exit." ... Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, however, said Wednesday that the test was "provocative" and in defiance of the U.N. resolution, adding, "As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice." ... Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif struck a different tone on Twitter, tweeting, apparently in response to Trump, that "Iran is unmoved by threats." The new sanctions, according to foreign policy expert Phyllis Bennis, "will further ratchet up tensions."
The Trump administration is imposing sanctions on Iran following its recent ballistic missile test. The US Treasury Department announced the measures against 13 people and a dozen companies on Friday. President Donald Trump tweeted earlier: "Iran is playing with fire - they don't appreciate how 'kind' President Obama was to them. Not me!" But Iran has said it will not yield to "useless" American threats from "an inexperienced person" ... [BBC News correspondent Kim Ghattas writes:] This administration is filled with officials whose are fixated on Iran, such as National Security Advisor Michael Flynn or Defence Secretary James Mattis ... The whole framework of the approach has changed and Mr Trump and his team are signalling clearly they want to cut Iran to size.
In recent years prominent American politicians and other influential public figures have spoken repeatedly of the alleged danger of Iran’s nuclear program, and have again and again threatened war against this Middle East nation of 75 million ... How real is this “threat”? How dangerous is Iran? What’s behind the campaign for war? And what does all this mean for Americans? In fact, the so-called Iran “crisis” is artificial ... Often ignored amid the clamor for war are the sober warnings of informed scholars, historians, specialists, analysts, and military leaders, who point out some basic, key facts: Iran is not building nuclear weapons, Iran is not a threat to the US ... War is not the answer. What’s needed instead is a bold new reality-based approach toward Iran.
“Five million non-Jews died in the Holocaust.” It’s a statement that shows up regularly in declarations about the Nazi era. It was implied in a Facebook post by the Israel Defense Forces’ spokesperson’s unit last week marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day. And it was asserted in an article shared by the Trump White House in defense of its controversial Holocaust statement the same day omitting references to the 6 million Jewish victims. It is, however, a number without any scholarly basis. Indeed, say those close to the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, its progenitor, it is a number that was intended to increase sympathy for Jewish suffering, but which now is more often used to obscure it.
… In my view, Simon Wiesenthal was a liar and a fraud. In fact, I’d go so far as to say he was one of the biggest conmen of the 20th century. I spent four years working on a history of Nazi-hunting that was published last year, and the material I gathered on Wiesenthal was enough to make me scream out loud. When I started my book, I too believed that the great man was just that — great. But when I looked at all his memoirs, biographies and original archive material, I realised that, like so many others, the image I had built up of Simon Wiesenthal was hopelessly incorrect.
Holocaust denial is alive and well in the highest offices of the United States. It is being spread by those in President Trump’s innermost circle. It may have all started as a mistake by a new administration that is loath to admit it’s wrong. Conversely, it may be a conscious attempt by people with anti-Semitic sympathies to rewrite history. Either way it is deeply disturbing ... The de-Judaization of the Holocaust, as exemplified by the White House statement, is what I term softcore Holocaust denial ... What we saw from the White House was classic softcore denial. The Holocaust was de-Judaized.
In Croatia, International Holocaust Remembrance Day was marked in the absence of representatives of the Croatian Jewish community. This was the second year in a row that the Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Communities in Croatia decided to boycott the official Holocaust commemoration event for the victims of Jasenovac concentration camp. The Jewish representatives say that the government is not doing enough to counter right-wing attempts at historical revisionism. On January 17, 2017, the traveling exhibition “Anne Frank – A History for Today” was removed from a high school in the town of Šibenik after being there for only one day ... World War II is a part of the daily public discourse in Croatia. The issues are constantly questioned in search for “the real truth.”
US President Donald Trump said that “nothing is off the table,” when it came to a response to Iran’s controversial test this week of a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Speaking to reporters Thursday, Trump was responding to a question about whether a military response to Iran was under consideration. “Nothing is off the table,” he replied, borrowing a phrase Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has used for years vis-à-vis Tehran’s nuclear program. Trump’s comment followed a string of remarks by Republican senators, including the House Speaker, backing additional sanctions on Iran in the wake of the missile test, which prompted an emergency UN Security Council session and a call by Netanyahu to reimpose punitive measures.
A quite incredible story out of England has not received much media coverage in the United States. It concerns how the Israeli Embassy in London connived with government officials to “take down” parliamentarians and government ministers who were considered to be critical of the Jewish State. It was also learned that the Israeli Embassy was secretly subsidizing and advising private groups promoting Israeli interests, including associations of Members of Parliament (MPs) ... Britain under its new Prime Minister Theresa May has also been rolling over in response to Israel’s perceived interests almost as obsequiously as the U.S. Congress ... Lobbying on behalf of Israel is a global phenomenon ...
Russia’s alleged attempt to sway the results of the US presidential election pales by comparison to Israel’s proven infiltration of Britain’s political sphere. However, whereas the US political establishment is up in arms, threatening a new round of anti-Russian sanctions, the British government has done its utmost to sweep the explosive findings of an Al Jazeera undercover reporter under the rug. This is, of course, unsurprising. Israel is a special case, uniquely permitted to get away with anything from snubbing international law and UN resolutions to inserting spies and working against unsympathetic politicians in the US Congress and UK Parliament. Much has been written about the power of the Israeli lobby in the US, and its ability to destroy the careers of out-of-step lawmakers.
Ten-Day Dawn celebrations have kicked off across Iran, marking the run-up to the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which put an end to the monarchy of the US-backed Pahlavi regime in the country. The festivities started all over the nation [on Jan. 31] at 9:33 a.m. local time, symbolically marking the precise time when the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, arrived back home from exile on February 1, 1979 ... Special ceremonies are being held in more than 80 Iranian cultural centers in 60 countries to mark the first day of the Ten-Day Dawn period ... The Ten-Day Dawn festivities will culminate in nationwide rallies on February 10 this year, the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
... These are just some of the 30 southern California organizations listed on the latest edition of the Hate Map, an annual product of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The 2015 Hate Map (a new one is due next month) lists 892 groups nationally, including 68 in California ... “They simply list everyone who disagrees with them,” said Evelyn Miller, treasurer of the Huntington Beach-based National Coalition for Immigration Reform (NCIR), which is listed as an “anti-immigrant” hate group on the 2015 Hate Map ... She said her group is only opposed to illegal immigration, not legal immigration – though she also believes legal immigration should be curbed, saying the influx of immigrants at this time is “too much.” ... The Hate Map is both well regarded and widely controversial.
Every year, the media promotes an annual study put out by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left wing organization devoted to “monitoring” hate groups and crimes across the U.S., despite provoking its own hate crime against a conservative organization in 2012. The group has a cozy relationship with the media, with its president Richard Cohen frequently appearing on news programs to promote his group’s “studies.” Though the group in no way actually vets or verifies any of the alleged incidents they collect for their reports, the media happily hypes the group’s studies without hesitation or question as to their legitimacy.
The US Embassy in Tel Aviv has clarified that President Donald Trump’s travel ban will largely not affect the tens of thousands of Israeli Jews born in Middle Eastern countries. A Tuesday statement said the controversial executive order would not be enforced against Israelis from those countries unless they possess a valid passport from one of the seven Arab countries banned under the directive ... Regarding those Israelis born in the seven countries who do have a valid passport from one of those countries, the embassy did not have definitive information, but seemed to indicate this would be handled on a case-by-case basis.
... The dominant foreign-policy vision animating left and right in recent years has been promiscuous intervention. While elites disagreed on tactics and targets, both major political parties shared a belief that Washington, DC should micromanage the world ... Ultimately, the U.S. government is created, funded, staffed and defended by the American people. Its first and overwhelming obligation is to those it represents — and coerces. It has no cause to squander its wealth and risk the lives of its own citizens unless something serious is at stake ... U.S. government officials should put America First. Their failure to do so in recent years has resulted in high costs to the American people: thousands of deaths, tens of thousands of serious injuries, and destructive blowback including terrorism and massive debt.
Donald Trump’s travel ban on refugees and visitors from seven Muslim countries entering the US makes a terrorist attack on Americans at home or abroad more rather than less likely. It does so because one of the main purposes of al-Qaeda and Isis in carrying out atrocities is to provoke an over-reaction directed against Muslim communities and states ... The great success of Mohammed Atta and his eighteen hijackers was not on the day that they and 3,000 others died, but when President George W Bush responded by leading the US into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that are still going on ... Though 9/11 is cited as an explanation for Trump’s executive order, none of the countries whose citizens were involved (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Lebanon) are facing any restrictions.
... The idea of a permanent barrier between our countries [US and Mexico] goes to the heart of the divide between our two Americas on the most fundamental of questions. Who are we? What is a nation? What does America stand for? ... Were we from the beginning a new, unique, separate and identifiable people like the British, French and Germans? Or was America a new kind of nation, an ideological nation, an invented nation, united by an acceptance of the ideas and ideals of Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln and Dr. King? ... To the tens of millions for whom Trump appeals, what the [proposed] wall represents is our last chance to preserve that nation and people. To many on the cosmopolitan left, ethnic or national identity is not only not worth fighting for, it is not even worth preserving.
President Donald Trump’s executive orders last week limiting immigration to the U.S. may be the first such directives in recent years, but they are hardly the first time the U.S. government has sought to restrict immigration ... In the late 1800s, Congress moved for the first time to limit the number of immigrants. Lawmakers targeted Asians, especially Chinese ... In the 1920s, restrictions on immigration increased. The Immigration Act of 1924 was the most severe: it limited the overall number of immigrants and established quotas based on nationality. Among other things, the act sharply reduced immigrants from Eastern Europe and Africa. And it completely restricted immigrants from Asia, except for Japan and the Philippines.
... Recent research has shown us that most enslaved persons in the Americas before 1700 were Indians; that Indians constituted a sizable proportion of the global slave population thereafter; and that Europeans enslaved Indians from Quebec to New Orleans, and from New England to the Carolinas ... In his beautifully written (and National Book Award-nominated) The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America, Andrés Reséndez offers a tour-de-force account of the enslavement of Indians in the New World, and in the process broadens our definitions of slavery.
... Today our children our being taught that the people who lived in the pre-Columbian Western Hemisphere were not “merciless Indian savages” (as Jefferson calls them in the Declaration of Independence), many of whom delighted in torture and cannibalism, but rather spiritually enlightened “native Americans” whose wise and peaceful nobility was rudely destroyed by invading European barbarians ... ; and that Africans were not uncultured slave traders and cannibals, but unappreciated builders of great empires. But just how did these peoples live before they came into contact with Europeans? Although historical myth is ever more rapidly replacing factual history, not only in popular culture but also in our schools and universities, we may still find accurate historical accounts buried in larger libraries or in used book stores.
... I don't defend a false or romanticized image of the Indians, as propagated, for example, by Hollywood in such films as "Pocahontas" and the others mentioned in the Journal. But just as inaccurate as the currently fashionable media image of the "Noble Red Man" is the disgraceful picture drawn by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) in the article reprinted from a 1870 issue of The Galaxy ... While the Iroquois' ferocity against their enemies may seem quite shocking to us, what real difference is there between burning people to death on scaffolding by Indians in the 17th century, and incinerating tens of thousands of people at a time in fire-bombings (Hamburg, Dresden) or with atomic blasts (Hiroshima, Nagasaki) by "civilized" Whites in the "enlightened" 20th century?
... A study from Iceland is the latest to raise the prospect of a downwards spiral into imbecility. The research from deCODE, a genetics firm in Reykjavik, finds that groups of genes that predispose people to spend more years in education became a little rarer in the country from 1910 to 1975 ... Those who carried more “education genes” tended to have fewer children than others. This led the scientists to propose that the genes had become rarer in the population because, for all their qualifications, better educated people had contributed less than others to the Icelandic gene pool.
The first-ever direct China-to-Britain freight train pulled into London last week - the latest milestone in China’s ambitions to redevelop the old "Silk Road" trade routes from Asia to Europe ... After 18 days and 28,000 kilometers, the freight train pulled into London on time last week. It passed through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, finally crossing under the English Channel ... But there’s more to the train than its cargo. Analysts say the historic journey also carried with it a political message – that China is forging new trade routes and new markets. Already, 15 European cities are served by freight trains from China as part of Beijing’s "One Belt, One Road" initiative.
President Donald Trump is getting ready to plunge into the burning Mideast with all the zeal and arrogance of a medieval crusader. The new administration’s knowledge of the region is a thousand miles wide and two inches deep. Reviving a truly terrible idea originated by know-nothing Congressional Republicans, Trump proposes US-run safe zones in Syria for refugees from that nation’s conflict. The president went out of his way to insist that such safe zones would spare the United States from having to shelter Syrian refugees ... Trump’s ardently pro-Israel cabinet must be rubbing their hands in glee as they see Syria in his cross hairs. The destruction of Syria’s regime and fragmenting that nation is an Israeli strategic priority.
President Trump’s ban against letting people from seven mostly Muslim countries enter the United States looks to many like a thinly concealed bias against a religion, but it also is a troubling sign that Trump doesn’t have the nerve to challenge the false terrorism narrative demanded by Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Israeli-Saudi narrative, which is repeated endlessly inside Official Washington, is that Iran is the principal sponsor of terrorism when that dubious honor clearly falls to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Sunni-led Muslim states, including Pakistan, nations that did not make Trump’s list ... The absurdity of Trump’s immigration ban is underscored by the fact that it would not have kept out the 15 Saudi hijackers dispatched by Al Qaeda to carry out the 9/11 attacks.
... As staggering as the death toll in these wars have been, it pales in comparison to what remains the world’s most barbaric city fight, the Battle of Stalingrad, in which an incomprehensible 1.9 million German and Soviet soldiers and civilians are estimated to have been killed in six months ... The carnage of the Battle of Stalingrad finally came to an end in February 1943, when the German Sixth Army Commander, Gen. Friedrich Paulus, surrendered the remaining ninety thousand troops of his army to the Soviet Forces ... Of the ninety thousand Germans that went into Soviet captivity, fewer than six thousand would live to see their homeland again, and those didn’t come until the mid-1950s.
... Why in God's name were Italian peasants freezing to death outside Stalingrad? They should have been home eating pasta in Palermo, or veal in Venice, during that bitter winter of 1942–43. Instead, they were being trampled into the snow by waves of Soviet tanks that had materialized like demons from the freezing fogs of the vast Russian steppe. Some Italian soldiers fought, and others fled. Many were killed, and those that weren't disappeared into the Soviet gulag prison camps. Nearly half of the Italians who fought in Russia never made it home ... Then in December 1942 came Operation Little Saturn, which targeted the Italians, Romanians and Hungarians. Two Italians divisions were slammed by fifteen Soviet divisions and a hundred tanks, while the few German reserves were too busy to support the Italians.
We will never understand liberals and progressives until we recognize that they often see reality as a social construct subject to being challenged and changed ... Another part of reality that liberals and progressives find difficult to accept is the fact that equality among humans is the exception and inequality the norm ... Somehow liberals and progressives manage to cope with some realities but go ballistic with others. They cope well with black domination of basketball, football, and track and with the near absence of black performers in classical concerts ... The reality that they go ballistic on is the reality that we are not all equally intelligent ... The lesson liberals need to learn is that despite their arrogance, they do not have the power to alter reality.
A little more than seven weeks after the United States officially entered World War II, a live, 15-minute shortwave radio broadcast was transmitted into Germany from a small studio in New York City on February 1, 1942. It was introduced by the American patriotic song "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." ... That was the very first broadcast from what, 75 years later, is now the Washington-headquartered Voice of America. By the end of the war, VOA was broadcasting in 40 languages, with programming consisting of music, news and commentary. Since then, VOA has grown into a multimedia international broadcasting service, with programming and content in 47 languages on multiple platforms, including radio, television and mobile.
Israel's Diaspora Ministry has revealed the findings of the annual Anti-Semitism Report for 2016. Half a million people were exposed to anti-Semitic posts on Twitter every month, and the number of anti-Semitic incidents around the world rose drastically ... The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany more than doubled between 2015 and 2016 ... The number of violent anti-Semitic incidents rose 62 percent in London. The number of anti-Semitic remarks on the internet rose several hundred percent, and 40 million users were exposed to anti-Semitic posts on Twitter in October 2016 alone. On US college campuses, the number of anti-Semitic incidents rose 45 percent ... Overall, the report concludes, the number of anti-Semitic incidents around the globe has increased, as has the number of incidents on the internet and social media.
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine excoriated the Trump White House on Sunday for failing to mention Jews in its International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, a move he deemed consistent with the tactics of Holocaust deniers. “This is what Holocaust denial is,” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “Many Holocaust deniers acknowledge, ‘Oh yeah, people were killed but it was a lot of innocent people. Jews weren’t targeted.'” On Friday, the administration released a statement remembering the victims of the Holocaust without noting the six million Jews who were targeted and killed by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime, an omission that led to criticism from the Anti-Defamation League and others.