Latest Analysis and Commentary

Palestinian Elections: How Abbas and Europe Are Trying to Blame Israel

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  January 27, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • The last time there were Palestinian elections, Hamas won in a landslide. Even if Israel does agree to allow Arab residents of Jerusalem to take part in the Palestinian elections, Abbas will undoubtedly find another excuse to continue his policy of foot-dragging.

  • Abbas and his senior officials in Ramallah have, in fact, turned the PA into a private fiefdom. They have no functioning parliament, no free media, and no open debate. The only people Abbas consults with are his "yes-men" who appear to agree with every word he says. This is how Abbas likes matters, and he obviously sees no reason why Palestinians should waste money and energies on new elections as long as they have him as president for life.

  • As long as Abbas can use the issue of the elections to denounce Israel, why not do so? His friends in the European Union would be more than happy to join him in skewering Israel for not allowing Palestinian elections (if that turned out to be the case). Many EU representatives are Abbas's useful idiots, gladly parroting his every anti-Israel pronouncement.

The Palestinians have been without a functioning parliament since Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007. The parliament building is still standing, dusty and unused, in Ramallah, and Palestinian parliament members have continued receiving salaries although they have been doing nothing. (Photo by Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty Images)

This month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas entered the 16th year of his four-year-term in office. Abbas, who was elected to succeed Yasser Arafat in January 2005, has since avoided holding a Palestinian presidential election, each time using a different excuse. While in the past he used to blame his rivals in Hamas for the failure to hold a new election, Abbas is now trying to hold Israel responsible. His attempt seems to be supported by some Europeans.

Abbas's four-year tenure ended in January 2009. Two years earlier, Hamas had violently seized control of the Gaza Strip, by ousting Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA) regime and throwing some of his loyalists from the top floors of tall buildings.

Back then, Abbas's excuse may have sounded convincing: he and his senior PA officials argued that there was no chance Hamas would allow a free election in the Gaza Strip.

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Turkey's 'Truthophobia'

by Burak Bekdil  •  January 27, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • The ways through which the Turkish state silences dissent are typical of the unfree world.

  • A clear majority of Turks think that their rights are systematically violated and that they are not equal before law. Then half of them keep voting for Erdoğan (and his allies). These two facts point to a third, and unpleasant conclusion: Millions of Turks know that their country is not free and just, but they keep voting for the leader who is responsible for the gross democratic deficit...

  • This is a bad message to Erdoğan: You will keep winning votes no matter how maliciously you crush dissent. We are with you and your undemocratic rule.

The ways through which the Turkish state silences dissent are typical of the unfree world. According to the left-wing Birgün newspaper, 5,223 people stood trial on the charge of "insulting the president" in 2018, with journalists often being singled out. Pictured: A protest in Istanbul against the imprisonment of journalists in Turkey, on January 10, 2016. (Photo by Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2014 the government of Turkey's strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan banned YouTube and Twitter, fearing that millions of young Turks could otherwise read "dangerous content" on social media. The Constitutional Court declared the bans unconstitutional. In 2017, the Turkish government banned Wikipedia. That ban was removed only recently, after two and a half years. It is not that Wikipedia is a reliable source of information. Banning it altogether is a rogue state behavior. It is not, however, only about Wikipedia: in Turkey, truth, regardless of its source, is feared and often banned.

The World Report 2020, released by the Human Rights Watch, drew a realistic yet gloomy picture of civil liberties in Turkey:

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Cruelty to Animals Gets More Media Coverage than Beheaded Christians

by Giulio Meotti  •  January 26, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • The Bishops' Conference of Nigeria described the area as "killing fields", like the ones the Khmer Rouge created in Cambodia to exterminate the population.

  • "We are Aramaic people and we don't have this right to have anyone protect us? Look upon us as frogs, we'll accept that -- just protect us so we can stay in our land". — Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Mosul the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, home to many of the Christians who fled jihadis, National Catholic Register, April 7, 2017.

  • In an era of round-the-clock information... the abominations suffered by Christians have been left without images, while the brutality against the Chinese pig was streamed all over. Christians are an endangered species; pigs are not.

  • One of the last Nigerian Christians was executed by an Islamic State child soldier. Slaughterhouses' workers go on trial in France for abuses to animals. But the same France has already repatriated more than 250 ISIS fighters, the same people who turn Iraqi churches into slaughterhouses.

"The world prefers to worry about pandas rather than about us, threatened with extinction in the land where we were born", said Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf (pictured), the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Mosul as well as a refugee in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, home to many of the Christians who fled jihadis. (Photo by Safin Hamed/AFP via Getty Images)

First there was the beheading of 11 Nigerian Christians during the recent Christmas celebration. The next day, a Catholic woman, Martha Bulus, was beheaded in the Nigerian state of Borno with her bridesmaids, five days before the wedding. Then there was a raid on the village of Gora-Gan in the Nigerian state of Kaduna, where terrorists shot anyone they met in the square where the evangelical community had gathered, killing two young Christian women. There was also a Christian student killed by Islamic extremists who recorded his execution. Then pastor Lawan Andimi, a local leader of the Christian Association of Nigeria, was beheaded.

"Every day", says Father Joseph Bature Fidelis, of the Diocese of Maiduguri, "Our brothers and sisters are slaughtered in the streets. Please help us not be silent in the face of this immense extermination that is taking place in silence".

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Tehran and its Three Fantasies

by Amir Taheri  •  January 26, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • The first of these is that Iranians as a nation are united behind Khomeini's messianic regime and ready to put up with poverty, injustice and even oppression in order to keep "The Revolution" alive. Over the past few years that fantasy has been punctured by almost continuous protests, strikes and socio-political turmoil at various levels throughout Iran.

  • For years, that [second] fantasy has been fed by foreign leaders and groups who have revived the ancient industry of flattery in a new form.... The idea that a majority of Lebanese, Iraqis, Yemenis and Syrians love the Islamic Republic and adulate Khamenei may still deceive the "Supreme Guide". But more and more Iranians now realize that Khamenei, and through him, the Islamic Republic as a whole, have been sold a bill of goods.

  • The third fantasy in the fable of which Soleimani is but the latest propagator-cum-victim, is that the Islamic Republic's strategy of "exporting the revolution is virtually cost free and that, shaking in fear, the rest of the world won't dare oppose it.... That fantasy was generously fed by people like former US President Barack Obama and former European Union foreign policy tsarina Federica Mogherini who, perhaps with good intentions, treated the Islamic Republic like an unruly teenager who should be cajoled into more reasonable behavior through kind inducements rather than parental punishment

  • This means that news from the Islamic Republic is not as bad as sober heads in Tehran believe. It is much worse.

For Iran to continue to live, and hopefully even prosper, one must hope and pray for the end of the strategy of which General Qassem Soleimani was the poster-boy. (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

"He died, so that Iran lives!' This is the slogan attached to posters and T-shirts distributed in Tehran as the Islamic Republic prepares to mark the 40th day of General Qassem Soleimani's "martyrdom" in accordance with religious mourning traditions.

Whoever invented the slogan may not have known about the Persian literary device known as "iham" or double-entendre that enables the poet or writer to say something that might sound as if he intended the opposite.

The Tehran slogan writer must have hoped to persuade the Iranians that Soleimani somehow sacrificed himself in order to ensure Iran's continued existence. However, the slogan could also be read as a statement that for Iran to continue to live, it was imperative that Soleimani should die.

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New EU Report on Integration Misses the Point

by Judith Bergman  •  January 25, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • It is worth noticing that the European Commission places the responsibility for integration of third-country nationals exclusively on the shoulders of EU member states.

  • The most conspicuous aspect of the report is how it insists that integration of people who have come mainly from the Middle East and Africa is merely an issue of ensuring that the rights that they are entitled to under EU and national laws be fulfilled and everyone will live happily ever after. It takes a lot of denial of the facts to reach such a conclusion....

  • First, the report appears to operate on the premise that EU countries have unlimited resources at their disposal with which to care for third country nationals. It completely ignores, for example, that countries such as Sweden, as a result of the high number of migrants that they have taken in, are now experiencing financial hardships that make it difficult even properly to take care of their own nationals.

  • Second, the report completely disregards how poorly the project of multiculturalism in Europe, including the integration of people from the Middle East and Africa, has fared until now.

  • The Six Country Immigrant Integration Comparative Survey... conducted 9,000 telephone interviews in Germany, France, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and Sweden. The respondents were Turkish and Moroccan immigrants. Two thirds of the Muslims interviewed said that religious rules were more important to them than the laws of the country in which they lived.

  • The EU's Agency for Fundamental Rights instead has chosen to ignore reality. The question is why.

A new report on the integration of refugees, by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, completely disregards how poorly the project of multiculturalism in Europe, including the integration of people from the Middle East and Africa, has fared until now. (Image source: GuentherZ/Wikimedia Commons)

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights recently published a report in which it warned Europe against creating a "lost generation" of migrants aged 16-24, who had arrived in Europe between 2015 and 2018. The report focuses particularly on the experiences of those young people who arrived in 2015-16 and looks specifically at the five EU member states with the most asylum applicants: Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden. The report also includes Greece, as it is a first EU member state of arrival.

According to the report, Integration of young refugees in the EU: good practices and challenges:

"From 2015 to 2018, according to Eurostat, 1.9 million people received international protection in the EU, either as refugees or as beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, or received a humanitarian residence permit. More than 80 % were below the age of 34..."

Also, according to the report:

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Sweden and its Welfare State in Crisis

by Nima Gholam Ali Pour  •  January 24, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • Within a generation, Sweden's third largest city, Malmö, will have a population in which the majority of people are of foreign background. How will integrating immigrants take place then, and which group will be integrated into which?

  • At the same time, many children born in Sweden learn Swedish so poorly that they cannot really speak it, because there is not enough Swedish spoken in some preschools and grade schools. This change is unfolding at a rapid pace.

  • It is not just Swedish society that will look radically different within a decade. The Swedish welfare state, which has been the hallmark of the Swedish state around the world, is also changing or possibly even being phased out.

Many children born in Sweden learn Swedish so poorly that they cannot really speak it, because there is not enough Swedish spoken in some preschools and grade schools. This change is unfolding at a rapid pace. Pictured: Migrant children are in a school in Halmstad, Sweden, February 8, 2016. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Swedish welfare state has often been praised by the left in the United States. After the migration crisis of 2015, however, when Sweden was flooded by Syrian refugee claimants, Sweden is now facing a welfare crisis that threatens the entire Swedish welfare state model.

Sweden had 9.7 million inhabitants in 2015, before it received 162,000 asylum seekers. 70% of those asylum seekers came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. 70% of those asylum seekers were also men. The migration crisis created an unsustainable financial and social situation that caused the Swedish political establishment to rethink its stance on asylum migration, which, until then, had been extremely liberal.

Asylum migration has continued, nevertheless. Between 2016 and 2018, more than 70,000 additional migrants have applied for asylum in Sweden, and more than 105,000 asylum migrants have been granted asylum.

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Erdogan's Bold Plan for a New Muslim Brotherhood Regime in Libya

by Con Coughlin  •  January 23, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • The concern now is that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will use the failure of international mediators to end the fighting to intensify his support for the GNA, thereby strengthening the position of the numerous Islamist militias that are backing the UN-backed body.

  • Mr Erdogan was an ardent supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood when it held power in Cairo, and there is mounting concern, especially in Europe, that the Turkish leader has now set his sights on establishing a similar regime in Libya.

Support for Libya's rebel leader General Khalifa Haftar has grown as a result of his claim that one of the key aims of his military campaign is prevent the country from falling into the hands of Islamist militias which have aligned themselves with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Pictured: Haftar (right) meets with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on November 12, 2018 in Palermo, Italy. (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty Images)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's decision to intervene militarily in the Libyan conflict not only raises the prospect of the conflict entering a new and more dangerous phase; it also promises to provide a significant boost for the Islamist militias that are vying to take control of the country and establish a Muslim Brotherhood-style government in Tripoli.

Mr Erdogan's justification for sending Turkish troops to Libya, which has the backing of the Turkish parliament, is to provide support for Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, the head of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

The GNA is under enormous pressure as a result of the offensive being undertaken by General Khalifa Haftar, the rebel Libyan leader who, with the backing of Russia, France and the United Arab Emirates, has overrun large swathes of the country and is now attempting to seize control of the Libyan capital.

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The EU Needs to Take Tougher Stance Towards Iran's Mullahs

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  January 23, 2020 at 4:30 am

  • It is worth noting that, the EU did announce a positive step. In light of the revelations concerning Iran's assassinations plots, minor sanctions were imposed on sectors of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, as well as on Saeid Hashemi Moghadan, the deputy intelligence minister.

  • However, these do not go nearly far enough, particularly if the EU is inclined to continue its support for the JCPOA.

  • It is incumbent upon the EU to stop softening its tone toward the Islamic Republic, and instead join the Trump administration in imposing maximum pressure on the ruling mullahs of Iran. The more the EU appeases the Iranian government, the more it empowers it to pursue aggressive and terrorist activities.

It is incumbent upon the European Union to stop softening its tone toward the Islamic Republic, and instead join the Trump administration in imposing maximum pressure on the ruling mullahs of Iran. The more the EU appeases the Iranian government, the more it empowers it to pursue aggressive and terrorist activities. Pictured: The EU's then High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federica Mogherini (left), laughs with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, during her August 2017 visit to Iran. (Image source: European External Action Service/Flickr)

The European Union really needs to do two things as soon as possible: stop criticizing the Trump administration for its Iran policy, and halt its appeasement policies toward the ruling mullahs of Iran who have committed some of the worst crimes against humanity, not only in Iran but abroad.

On January 19, 2020, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated their commitment to keep Iran nuclear deal alive. Europe has been working to implement a special purpose vehicle that will allow countries to continue trading with Iran, despite US sanctions, known as INSTEX.

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The US Must Facilitate Regime Change in Iran

by Peter Huessy  •  January 23, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • Aiding the Iranian people to oust the regime does not, however, require the US to launch a full-fledged war with the Islamic Republic.

  • On the contrary, a four-pronged strategy of maximum pressure -- involving continued financial pressure on the mullahs; helping local forces expel Iranian proxy groups from Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen; supporting the Iranian protesters through a robust social-media campaign promising a future without repression and terror, and using appropriate military force to deter and protect our interests -- would get the job done without troops on the ground.

The goal of US policy on Iran, really to exert "maximum pressure," should be the change of the mullah-led regime in Tehran before it is armed with nuclear weapons, becomes the hegemon of the Persian Gulf and commands much of the world's oil and gas. Pictured: Iran's "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left), and President Hassan Rouhani. (Photo by Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images)

The goal of US policy on Iran, really to exert "maximum pressure," should be the change of the mullah-led regime in Tehran before it is armed with nuclear weapons, becomes the hegemon of the Persian Gulf and commands much of the world's oil and gas. Iran is already seeking to take over Iraq, OPEC's second-largest crude oil producer, with the fifth-largest oil reserves, in the world.

But helping to spur the end of the Iranian empire -- or, at least, keeping its power in check -- cannot be accomplished without a clear knowledge and understanding of the nature of the regime.

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France: Smoke Grass, Kill a Jew, Skip the Trial, Go Free

by Guy Millière  •  January 22, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • "In France, perpetrators of anti-Semitic attacks claim insanity to elude justice. The mental illness defense has become more prevalent when it comes to hate crimes in France. And it seems to be working." — Shirli Sitbon, Haaretz.

  • Muslim anti-Semitism has long been ignored in France.

  • "The situation is not under control." — Celine Pina, Le Figaro.

A French court recently ruled that Kobili Traoré would not stand trial for torturing and murdering Sarah Halimi, a 66-year-old Jewish woman, saying that Traoré had a "temporary abolition of discernment" from smoking marijuana. Francis Kalifat (pictured), president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, remarked that "an anti-Semitic murder could become the only murder excused by the courts on the basis of the use of drugs, while in all other cases, drugs are an aggravating factor." (Photo by Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images)

Paris, April 4, 2017. Sarah Halimi, a 66-year-old Jewish woman, is thrown from her third-floor balcony or window. Her body lands in the building's courtyard. Her murderer first had tortured her. Neighbors had heard screams and called the police. Nine officers came, but when they heard through the door a man shouting "Allahu Akbar", they ran downstairs to wait for reinforcements. When Kobili Traoré finally surrendered, he said, "I killed the sheitan" (Arabic for "Satan"). While torturing his victim, he said, he had recited verses from the Qur'an, and the Qur'an had "ordered him to kill a Jew". He said he had spent the previous day in a nearby mosque. He was placed in a mental institution, where he told the psychiatrist who examined him that he smoked marijuana.

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U.S.-China Trade Deal Should Not Obscure Beijing's Hegemonic Objectives

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  January 22, 2020 at 4:30 am

  • It [the deal] does not prevent China from its pursuing its aggressive designs on the South and East China Seas, where it is positioning itself to challenge the U.S.'s role as protector of the world's sea lines of communication...

  • Cambodia's concession to China includes a 99-year lease for 20% of its coastline. This arrangement provides China with the ability to keep Vietnam's granting of access to the U.S. Navy in check.

  • Of equal, if not greater, significance is China's purchase of territory overlooking the potential maritime chokepoint, the Panama Canal Zone.

  • The other [Chinese acquisition] is a 99-year lease of Australia's Port Darwin, where U.S. Marines train for six months of each year. This means that China will be able to document American military exercises and collect ship signal emissions from U.S. combatants.

  • This pattern of China's investments in some 20 ports around the globe should be of great concern to the Free World.

An important part of China's projected hegemonic plan is the establishment of a naval facility at the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb in Djibouti, a potential maritime chokepoint across from the Arabian Peninsula at the mouth of the Red Sea. Pictured: China's President Xi Jinping (right) meets with Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh on April 28, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Madoka Ikegami-Pool/Getty Images)

The recent signing of the first stage of a trade pact between the United States and China should not mask what appear to be Beijing's ultimate hegemonic ambitions.

Phase 1 of the deal, which went into effect on January 19, includes a partial reduction of current -- and cancellation of planned -- tariffs; a Chinese pledge to increase American agricultural imports; and an agreement from Beijing to address Washington's concerns about U.S. technology being transferred to China by American companies doing business there, and about intellectual property theft.

While the trade deal appears to be beneficial to U.S. interests, there are two things to consider. The first is that it is likely to be temporary. The second is that it does not prevent China from its pursuing its aggressive designs on the South and East China Seas, where it is positioning itself to challenge the U.S.'s role as protector of the world's sea lines of communication (SLOCS).

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Tibet: The Pointless Pursuit of Dialogue with China

by Jagdish N. Singh  •  January 22, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • China has persisted in doing inestimable damage to Tibetan identity, language, culture and ecology. Communist China has destroyed more than 6,000 Tibetan monasteries on the Plateau, and Beijing's destructive activities in Tibet continue unabated. Since 2009, at least 156 Tibetans have immolated themselves in protest against Chinese rule.

  • It is not only the Dalai Lama, however, who needs to push for complete Tibetan independence. All liberal democracies that uphold the value of freedom need to do so, as well.

  • The US Congress recently introduced the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2019, which seeks to impose sanctions and a visa ban on any Chinese official who interferes in the selection of a successor to the current Dalai Lama, and which requires the establishment of an American consulate in Lhasa.

  • The next step for the US administration in its negotiations with Beijing should be to insist on total Tibetan independence.

China is seeking to gain more effective control over Tibetan society by taking over the institution of the Dalai Lama. Beijing insists that it had recognized the current Dalai and that, after the 84-year-old spiritual leader dies, it must approve his successor. Pictured: The Dalai Lama (center) on October 25, 2019. (Photo by Lobsang Wangyal/AFP via Getty Images)

Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, apparently hoping to ease the tension that has existed between Lhasa and Beijing since 1949, recently expressed interest in "explor[ing] the same channels of communication" with the Chinese government that he had established in the past. To this end, the 32nd session of the Tibetan Task Force met in Dharamshala on December 11, to "hold an in-depth discussion on the situation inside Tibet, the perceptible shifts in the global political landscape and the overall prospects for the resumption of dialogue between Dharamshala and Beijing to resolve the protracted issue of Tibet."

The Dalai Lama's approach, however, makes little sense.

After China occupied Tibet in 1949, the Dalai Lama downgraded the status of his independent country to that of autonomy within China. He did this through the 17-Point Agreement, signed on May 23, 1951 between Lhasa and Beijing. After escaping to India in 1959, he continued on the same path.

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The 'Crime' of Arabs Singing to Arabs in Israel

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  January 21, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • The Arab citizens [of Israel]... are seeking integration into Israel, and not separation.

  • The committee, like other anti-Israel groups around the world, particularly the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, are opposed to visits to Israel because they want to keep the world in the dark. The whole idea of boycotting Israel is designed to prevent the world from learning about the good things that Israel stands for and actually provides.

  • These groups are afraid that Maraka will go back to Jordan and report that he was welcomed in Israel by both Arabs and Jews, and that he was harassed by no one.

  • That is not a pretty picture for Israel-haters. These groups want the world to think that Arab citizens are being oppressed by Israel and have no rights. That, of course, is completely false. As a minority, Arabs in Israel enjoy more rights than in many of their own Arab and Muslim countries.

The Jordanian Arab singer Aziz Maraka, who performed before Arab citizens of Israel last month at the Christmas Market festival in Kafr Yasif, has been facing widespread criticism and a shaming campaign on social media for performing in Israel. Pictured: Kafr Yasif, Israel, pictured in 2006. (Image source: Tamar Hayardeni/Wikimedia Commons)

Here is a new one for the books: An Arab singer stands up to perform in front of an Arab audience, and the anti-Israel brigade goes berserk.

What has so inflamed the Israel haters this time?

The singer is Aziz Maraka, a Jordanian composer, performer, recording artist, and producer. The audience are Arab citizens of Israel from the town of Kafr Yasif in the Northern District of Israel.

Maraka, who was invited last month to entertain Arab citizens of Israel during the annual Christmas Market festival in Kafr Yasif, has been facing widespread criticism and a shaming campaign on social media for agreeing to perform in Israel.

Never mind that Maraka, an Arab, was invited by Arabs to a Christmas event in an Arab town. Never mind that Maraka was not invited by any Israeli private or public institution. Never mind that Maraka did not perform before a Jewish audience.

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Austrian Coalition Agreement: The "Road to Serfdom"

by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff  •  January 21, 2020 at 4:30 am

  • Most of what the People's Party and the Greens grandly announce in their pact paves the road to an illiberal democracy, even a totalitarian country, by introducing a dictatorship of political correctness.

  • "[There is a] major restriction, if not ultimately, the abolition of the most important fundamental and human right, freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is the central basis and prerequisite for any democracy based on the rule of law. This is exactly why Turkey or Russia are not democracies -- there are elections there, but people are constantly being locked up for [their] opinions." — Andreas Unterberger, Austria's most widely read political blogger, January 3, 2020.

  • Now, a number of institutions, funded by taxpayer money, will be established to monitor those people whose opinions are no longer acceptable.... the measures introduced in the coalition agreement which target only "right-wing extremism or extremists" will lead to a new wave of turning people in that is reminiscent of a very dark era in Austrian history.

  • "This is the first time since 1945 that the fight against thoughts has become official government policy in Austria." — Andreas Unterberger.

Most of what the Austrian People's Party and the Greens Party grandly announced in their recent coalition agreement paves the road to an illiberal democracy, even a totalitarian country, by introducing a dictatorship of political correctness. Pictured: Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (right) and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler of the Greens Party during a session of the parliament on January 10, 2020 in Vienna. (Photo by Herbert Neubauer/APA/AFP via Getty Images)

While most of the world's attention was focused on the death of a terrorist leader, Iran's Qasem Soleimani, and the ensuing missile retaliation in the Middle East, a small country in the heart of Europe was once again ruled by an elected coalition government. Following snap elections in late September 2019, the Austrian population exhibited great patience until the start of a new decade, when, on January 2, the Austrian People's Party and the Greens proclaimed, to paraphrase the Vatican: "Habemus gubernationem!" (We have a government!)

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The Hidden Cost of Cannabis...

January 21, 2020 at 4:00 am

As legalized marijuana becomes epidemic across the country, Gatestone Institute will be posing serious questions throughout the coming year regarding its potential impact on road and occupational safety; its effect on children and our country's overall health, the role of states to protect society from its potential abuse and what lessons can be applied from the tragedy of driving "under the influence".

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