It’s Not the Settlements, Stupid

Immediately after the UN voted last week to vilify Israel, Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security advisor, held a conference call to argue that the Obama administration was motivated by its “grave concerns” about “the continued pace” of Israeli settlement activities. He asserted that the administration could not “in good conscience” veto the resolution. Here is how Rhodes quantified the administration’s “grave concerns”:

[S]ince 2009, the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank has increased by more than 100,000 to nearly 400,000. … There are now nearly 900,000 — I’m sorry, 90,000 settlers living east of the separation barrier that was created by Israel itself. And the population of these distant settlements has grown by 20,000 since 2009.

The figure of 100,000 sounds significant until you realize that 80 percent of it has been in the settlement blocs “everyone knows” Israel will retain in any conceivable peace agreement. The 20,000 person increase east of the separation barrier, established to stop the wave of Palestinian mass murders against Israelis, translates into less than one percent of the population in the disputed territories, over a period of eight years.

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It’s Not the Settlements, Stupid

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The SPLC Has Its Nose Rubbed in the Dirt

Belated justice.

Few left-wing pressure groups are as vicious and mendacious as the Southern Poverty Law Center. Founded in 1971, the SPLC today mainly exists to smear opponents of full-spectrum progressivism as “bigots” and “extremists.” Once the Montgomery, Alabama-based outfit mislabels an individual or an institution this way, it becomes nearly impossible to clear the taint, since many reporters appear to imagine the SPLC acts in good faith.

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The Triumph of Reason at the United Nations

A bright light in a dark place.

When UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced America’s withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) last October, it was clear this was only the beginning. UNESCO had spent decades defying American law and denying Israel ownership of its own cultural heritage. The organization’s “extreme politicization has become a chronic embarrassment,” Haley said. Quoting Ronald Reagan, who withdrew from UNESCO in 1984, she added that American taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for an institution that is “hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense.” That logic demands bold actions from the United States. After all, UNESCO isn’t the only arm of the United Nations that offends American sensibilities and advances the objectives of despots and thugs. Now, it seems the UN ambassador is ready to make her next move.

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A Bias in Favor of Bias

Selectivity in the social sciences.

Last year, I criticized universities for hurrying to implement programs to combat microaggressions, “mostly subtle, mostly inadvertent slights directed at racial minorities and other ‘marginalized” groups.’” According to a review of the research conducted by Scott Lilienfeld, professor of psychology at Emory University, there was little, if any, evidence that such programs do more good than harm. Universities, which should pride themselves on following the evidence wherever it leads, seemed to have succumbed to the pressure to “do something” about racism.

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The Party of Trump, If You Can Keep It

Will the reverence Trump inspires outlast his presidency?

Approximately once every quarter for the last two years, we’ve been bombarded by declarations that Donald Trump’s takeover of the GOP is complete. The frequency with which the verdict is rendered would suggest the thesis is flawed.

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Fossil Fools

Fanaticism.

Over the weekend, the Democratic National Committee voted in favor of refusing all future donations from fossil-fuel companies. They’re so proud of the decision that it was only publicized on Tuesday, and then only by reporters who had to do some digging to learn the news.

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