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Just one day after two Black Hebrew Israelites targeted a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, killing one police officer and three private citizens, President Trump signed an executive order designed to address growing antisemitism on college campuses. The Order permits the federal government to deny funding to universities that don’t properly address the rising epidemic of Jew-hatred on their campuses.

Of course, the left is melting down Twitter with embarrassing hot takes.

The order directs those departments enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to adopt the definition of antisemitism formally recognized by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Title VI states, “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Jewish Insider obtained a draft of the executive order, titled “Combating Anti-Semitism.” The EO opens by stating that the Trump “administration is committed to combating the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States and around the world.” It notes the alarming rise in anti-Semitism on college campuses. “Anti-Semitic incidents have increased since 2013, and students, in particular, continue to face anti-Semitic harassment in schools and on university and college campuses.”

The EO does not, contrary to The New York Times’ initial reporting, label Judaism a category of “national origin.” It instead states that antisemitism will be treated as harshly as any other discrimination against individuals on the basis of their race, color, or national origin. It orders that Title VI be enforced “against prohibited forms of discrimination rooted in anti-Semitism as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VI.”

It also allows for departments enforcing Title VI to consider “‘Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism’ identified by the IHRA, to the extent that any examples might be useful in determining whether a discriminatory event has actually taken place. According to IHRA’s Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, such examples include “accusing Jews of dual loyalty, denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of Nazism, and using classic anti-Semitic symbols to portray Israel or Israelis.”

In predictable fashion, media outlets rushed to criticize Trump’s EO before its full release on Wednesday, declaring with spastic breathlessness that the president’s order was akin to Nazism because allegedly, the document was supposed to define Judaism as a “national origin.” There are several things wrong with these critiques–beyond the obvious left-wing bias such that corporate media figureheads’ brains seem to be falling out of their heads whenever Trump so much as breathes.

“When news of the impending executive order leaked, many rushed to criticize it without understanding its purpose,” Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, stated in a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday. “The executive order does not define Jews as a nationality. It merely says that to the extent that Jews are discriminated against for ethnic, racial or national characteristics, they are entitled protection by the anti-discrimination law.”

Despite the hallucinations of the permanently Trump-scarred left, even if the EO had defined Judaism as a nationality, it would not have been an incorrect assessment. Relatively recent ahistorical and revisionist views on Judaism notwithstanding, it has long been understood to be “simultaneously a religion, a culture, and a nationality.” This is particularly true if you are describing a nation as a group of people sharing a common language, history, and culture.

Although I have not constructed the Venn Diagram in its entirety, I have a sinking suspicion that those declaring the Jews do not comprise a nation run roughshod with the same individuals who pen fruitless thought pieces on how Israel should not exist. Just a hunch.

Trump’s EO “Combating Anti-Semitism” arrives as antisemitism continues to proliferate on college campuses, largely under the guise of “anti-Zionism.” Just a few weeks ago, a former Israeli soldier arrived at Vassar to deliver a speech and was met by raucous protesters from the school’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. The crowd enthusiastically chanted, “from the river to the sea,” a popular anti-Zionist refrain that advocates for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the nation of Israel (in other words, from the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea — which is, of course, all of Israel).

There are countless more instances in which antisemites, masquerading as anti-Zionists, have engaged in open antisemitism on an American college campus, unfettered by the bloated administrations of some of our allegedly “top schools.” Earlier this year, New York University opted to award its chapter of SJP with the President’s Service Award, an honor given to a student group that has “positively impacted the NYU community through significant contributions to either community service and civic engagement or student leadership and campus programming.”

But this group has repeatedly engaged in Jew-hatred, sometimes in mind-bendingly bizarre ways. In 2014, members of NYU’s SJP chapter sent out fake eviction notices to Jewish students at NYU in order to “protest Israeli policies.” Just last year, they crashed an Israeli Independence Day event, stole the flags, and burned them. SJP is cultivating some sort of culture, indeed, but it’s certainly not one we should be encouraging on our college campuses.

Earlier this year, when Chelsea Clinton attended an NYU memorial honoring the victims of the Christchurch mosque shooting, she was confronted by members of NYU’s SJP chapter, who accused her of “Islamophobia” by questioning whether Rep. Ilhan Omar’s statements regarding Jews buying political influence were antisemitic.

If pointing out antisemitism is now “Islamophobic,” American universities will no doubt have their work cut out for them. However, such behemoth institutions, with their mazes of diversity officers and “Student Success Managers” and “Health Promotion Specialists,” are largely to blame for their own woes. Under the weight of their own administrative excesses, they fail to see what is directly in front of them, or perhaps, more perniciously, they simply don’t care.

As Leil Leibovitz emphasized his Tablet article entitled “Get Out” back in May, American universities, in all their attempts to indulge the fantasies of far-left antisemites, are destroying their bonds with the American Jewish community and shunning the principles of rational thought and critical human inquiry that once made them excellent. In the words of Leibovitz, it’s time for Jews to “get out.”

American universities are openly breaking their bonds with the Jewish community by embracing active discrimination against Jewish students and rejecting their intellectual, emotional, and moral attachments to the values of equal human dignity, universal rights, critical inquiry, and rational thought… Now is the time for all of the good people involved—students, parents, donors—to get out, and fast.

Trump’s EO solves what had perpetually been a problem for enforcers of Title VI, who were unable to respond with any real teeth to incidents of anti-Semitism on college campuses. As Kenneth Marcus, the assistant secretary of civil rights in the Department of Education, noted in an essay nearly a decade ago titled “A Blind Eye to Campus Anti-Semitism?” enforcement issues have stemmed largely from issues of legal categorization.

The lack of a coherent legal conception of Jewish identity has rendered the Office for Civil Rights (henceforth, OCR) unable to cope with a resurgence of anti–Semitic incidents on American college campuses, of which the Irvine situation is enragingly emblematic. The problem stems from the fact that federal agents have jurisdiction under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act over race and national-origin discrimination—but not over religion. And because they have been unable to determine whether Jewish Americans constitute a race or a national-origin group, they found themselves unable to address the anti-Semitism at UC-Irvine. This confusion has led to enforcement paralysis as well as explosive confrontations and recriminations within the agency.

The left’s anger towards the EO designed to combat antisemitism was particularly virulent, in part due to the fact that the left has spent the last three years marketing itself as having seized the moral high ground on tackling Jew-hatred, despite the fact that anyone with a set of eyes and a brain can tell that this a far cry from reality.

No matter how many times the left screams that Trump is a Nazi, it will not change the fact that the vast majority of antisemitism on college campuses is being perpetrated by radical leftist groups. No matter how many times the left shouts that Trump hates Jews, it is the majority of Democratic House leadership that has met with rabid antisemitic hate preacher Louis Farrakhan—several times.

No amount of inane, baseless deflection will undo Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ (D-N.Y.) “great” phone call with aspiring UK Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn, whose victory, if it were to come to fruition, would compel nearly half of U.K. Jews to “seriously consider” leaving the country. Indeed, there isn’t enough political spinning in the world to undo the damage the Women’s March caused the Democratic Party in this area. They ripped the mask off of the Democratic establishment, exposing the party’s perpetual coddling of Marxist, antisemites in exchange for votes from the radical left.

Just this past week, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) was the headliner at an event hosted by American Muslims for Palestine, a group that regularly peddles antisemitic conspiracy theories and has among its supporters many who seek the annihilation of Israel. “AMP has its organizational roots in the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), an anti-Semitic group that served as the main propaganda arm for Hamas in the United States until it was dissolved in 2004,” stated the Anti-Defamation League to Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon. “Since its creation in 2005, AMP continues to work closely with some former IAP leaders who currently hold positions as AMP board members.”

The reason corporate media hasn’t given ample coverage to attacks on Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn is the same reason that mainstream media outlets haven’t asked Tlaib about her latest speech. When the perpetrators are on the left, calling out antisemitism is no longer politically rewarding.

I applaud President Trump for doing what the American left (and British left) seem incapable of doing — ensuring Jews are treated with equal dignity. You would think such an endeavor would be uncontroversial, but the left has shown us otherwise.

Erielle Davidson is a Staff Writer at the Federalist and a law student at Georgetown University Law Center. Find her on Twitter at @politicalelle.

Author: Erielle Davidson

Source: The Federalist: Left Attacks President Trump For Executive Order On Combatting Antisemitism

As Israel faces repeated rocket fire from Islamic jihadists, the EU engages in its own battle to delegitimize the Jewish state in its latest ruling condoning discriminatory labeling practices for Jewish goods produced in contested areas of Israel.

Yesterday, the EU’s Court of Justice (ECJ), the highest court in the EU, ruled that Jewish products made in contested areas of Israel must bear consumer warning labels. Prior to the ruling, U.S. lawmakers in Congress fired warning shots, cautioning the EU that such a move would prompt the enforcement of American anti-boycott laws, thus endangering the EU’s trade with the United States.

Now, according to reporting by Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon, the Trump administration is ready to go to battle over the ruling. Currently, the United States is the EU’s largest trading partner.

The origins of the legal dispute stretch back several years to when the EU issued a mandate in 2015 declaring that products produced in the West Bank and Golan Heights be labeled as coming from an Israeli settlement, facially for the purpose of promoting “consumer protection,” although it’s unclear if that is actually achieved here. In late 2016, France became the first EU member state to attempt to enforce the mandate, resulting in the Israeli winery Psagot filing a lawsuit claiming that such a mandate violated the EU’s anti-discrimination laws.

Under the new rule, goods produced by Jews will be labeled as having been produced in an Israeli settlement, while goods produced by Muslims may be labeled as made in “Palestine,” indicating blatant discriminatory treatment. Unsurprisingly, Israel’s presence in the West Bank and the Golan Heights are the only contested areas in the world to be the focus of the labeling ire of the EU.

“No other territory, occupied, disputed, or otherwise is subject to such requirements,” noted Eugene Kontorovich, director of the Center for International Law in the Middle East at George Mason University. Kontorovich emphasized the peculiarity of the ruling. “In no other case does any ‘origin labeling’ require any kind of statement about the political circumstances in the area. This is a special Yellow Star for Jewish products only.”

Indeed, there are a multitude of contested areas throughout the world that produce goods for which the EU has deemed politicized labeling requirements unnecessary. Despite Russia’s occupation of parts of Georgia or Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, nothing in EU law or greater international law requires labeling goods produced by Russia in occupied parts of Georgia as “Made in Georgia” or goods produced by Morocco in Western Sahara as “Made in Western Sahara.”

As Kontorovich explained on Twitter, “Products around the world are made in many situations that raise ‘ethical’ and legal questions, from Chinese prison labor factories to Moroccan drilling Sahrawi oil. Only such concern that requires labeling in EU is Jews living in neighborhoods where they are not ‘supposed’ to be.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has led the fight against antisemitism on a federal level, echoed those thoughts: “This labeling singles out Jews who live in communities where Europeans don’t think they should be allowed to live and identifies them for boycotts.” The senator elaborated on the somber gravity of the EU ruling, declaring the decision to be “reminiscent of the darkest moments in Europe’s history.”

Cruz alluded to the fact that he and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) previously spearheaded a bipartisan resolution “condemning and committing to combat anti-Semitism in all its forms, including campaigns to boycott Jewish businesses.” As a sign of the dichotomy between the United States’s position and that of the EU, Cruz asserted, “The Europeans should note that [the resolution] passed the Senate unanimously.”

Yohan Benizri, the lawyer representing the winery, indicated the potential for such a ruling to foment a bureaucratic nightmare. “One doesn’t need legal training to recognize the unintended consequences of the EU adopting a policy of politicized labeling,” Benizri noted. “If the EU Court rules that geographic location is not enough, and that EU law mandates every product coming from either a ‘disputed territory’ or a country with ‘objectionable social policies’ be labeled as such, then EU markets will be thrown into chaos.”

Indeed, the EU’s treatment of Israeli goods violates the core norm of non-discrimination present in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and in its institutionalized successor, the World Trade Organization (WTO), of which the EU is a member. Eventually, the EU will likely be forced to justify its harsh measures against Israeli “settlement” products and detail why similar measures have not been imposed on goods produced by other WTO members from other supposedly occupied territories.

Before Wednesday’s ruling, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NY) sent a letter to the EU Ambassador to the United States Stavros Lambrinidis, detailing his concerns over the anticipated ruling and its potential to cause “tensions” with the United States. “The regulation in question is problematic for a number of reasons, including because it targets specific businesses based on the ethnicity and national origin of their owners,” Menendez wrote.

Menendez also identified the slippery slope of engaging in ethnic favoritism via such labeling requirements, warning that such practices could “potentially lead to discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religion and nationality, contrary to existing EU policies and laws against BDS campaigns, Israel boycotts and discrimination.”

As Menendez noted, many states (29, to be exact) have enacted robust anti-boycott laws that harshly penalize companies that engage in boycotts or economic pressure campaigns against Israel. Such EU maneuvers, Menendez warned, would likely jeopardize America’s trade relations with the EU, resulting in “serious and far-reaching implications and unintended consequences.”

Following the ruling, senior officials who briefed the Washington Free Beacon revealed that the Trump administration was ready to confront the EU over the decision, emphasizing that the ruling indicated EU support for the BDS movement and could thwart the administration’s ability to facilitate peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

“This is BDS, plain and simple,” the official stated on background to Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon. “The administration strongly opposes the decision. It will not have the the intended effect. These efforts have never brought peace, only more divisions.”

The official continued on background by noting that the administration believes BDS (the political movement boycott, divestment, sanctions) to be antisemitic and finds the timing of the EU’s latest ruling particularly abhorrent: “The decision to announce this as Israel is defending a civilian population against hundreds of rockets is particularly tone deaf and demonstrates how poorly the E.U. understands the ramifications of these actions.”

Like Menendez, the official warned of the probable triggering of anti-boycott laws, a result that inevitably will heighten tension between the two otherwise relatively amicable trade partners. Given the Trump administration’s investment in crafting and forwarding a cohesive policy in the Middle East, it would make sense that such EU measures would come across as highly meddlesome at best and supportive of antisemitic economic warfare at worst.

As the administrative official asserted, “This administration has been perfectly clear, we think Israel is what’s right with the Middle East, not wrong with it. To do this kind of punitive action at this moment doesn’t recognize this reality.”

Indeed, given that contested areas in Israel are the only regions of the world subjected to these types of labeling requirements, it is hard to see how the EU’s decision isn’t simply evidence of more anti-Israel bias. As terrorists rain down hundreds of rockets on Israeli citizens in acts of jihadist warfare, the highest court of the European Union engages in its own economic warfare against the Jewish state.

Erielle Davidson is a Staff Writer at the Federalist and a law student at Georgetown University Law Center. Find her on Twitter at @politicalelle.

Author: Erielle Davidson

Source: The Federalist: Trump Administration Vows To Fight EU Decision To Put Warning Labels On Jewish Products

Following a unipartisan House vote to approve a resolution “formalizing” the procedures of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, House Republicans held a blistering press conference Thursday afternoon where they detailed the manipulation, dishonesty, and selfishness that continue to drive Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Cal.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Cal.) grand “impeachment inquiry.” The Democrats lost the 2016 presidential election, and as evidenced by their rather pompous vote yesterday, they have not yet recovered.

The House GOP responded with the sort of righteous indignation that would be expected from a party that has witnessed two charade-like investigations unfold in three years — one based on a laughably far-fetched “dossier,” the other premised upon an event that never took place, as is clear from publicly released transcripts.

Despite the circumstances, it was arguably one of the House GOP’s finer moments, as it forcefully articulated the extent to which the impeachment inquiry resembles a corrupt circus. As various GOP members reiterated, the House vote on Thursday was another congressional Democrat attempt to undo the results of an election whose winner they have detested since November 9, 2016. Below are the key takeaways from a bright spot in an otherwise political hellscape.

1. The Only Bipartisan Vote Was the Vote Against the Impeachment Inquiry

As House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reiterated at the opening of the press conference, “The only bi-partisan vote on that floor was against.” Indeed, the breakdown of the vote indicated that both Democrats and Republicans voted against the resolution, while not one Republican voted in favor.

McCarthy quoted Pelosi’s past statements on impeachment, which included the sentiments that impeachment was horribly divisive for a country and should be performed along bipartisan lines, not as a political cudgel. As Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., of the House Foreign Affairs Committee sarcastically quipped, “In a way, you could say congratulations to Nancy Pelosi. She wanted a bipartisan vote on her impeachment inquiry resolution. She got it.”

2. From Its Start, the ‘Inquiry’ Has Been Fundamentally Unjust

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House whip, labeled the entire endeavor a “Soviet-style impeachment” process, and he’s not far off. In past impeachment processes, whether Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon was at the center, the most basic elements were far more transparent and allowed more fairness to both sides. As Scalise dutifully explained, “Both sides were treated equally. Both sides could call witnesses. President’s legal counsel was in the room, not at the discretion of the chair, but because it’s fair.”

As Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wis., chairwoman of the House Republican Caucus, noted, Pelosi and Schiff have run an objectively unfair operation and have been doing so long before this vote, only now Pelosi’s resolution is an attempt to “codify” those very unjust maneuvers. But, as Cheney noted, “This is a process that has been fundamentally tainted.”

She explained, “The Democrats cannot fix this process. They’ve now created a record over the course of the last several weeks with witnesses they selected.” Cheney continued. “We know that there were circumstances where Chairman Schiff told witnesses not to answer questions that our members were asking. We know there have been circumstances where our members have attempted to go read transcripts, and they’ve been told by staff members that they’re not allowed to go read those transcripts.”

As Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, elaborated, “For 38 days, we’ve witnessed a one-sided investigation in the most secret room in the United States Capitol, without an opportunity to call witnesses on our side, without White House Counsel present.” He announced emphatically, “This defies historic precedent.”

Zeldin later weighed in on the egregious lack of transparency. “Isn’t it kind of curious that you don’t know what’s going on today with Tim Morrison in his deposition? Why is it that you don’t have the information, the opening statements?” Zeldin then called for a full release of the transcripts from the closed-door hearings. “On behalf of our constituents, on behalf of the American public, for everyone who’s pissed about being misled by Adam Schiff and his cohorts hiding in the bunker of the capitol basement, release the darn transcripts.”

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, emphasized the importance of adhering to an honest process when investigating substantive allegations and dismissed Democrats’ allegations that the GOP is hyper-focused on procedural matters. “Process leads to substance. When you screw up the process, then you’re looking for an answer you’ve already determined.”

3. House Democrats’ Witch Hunt Is Harming U.S. National Security

Given the manpower needed to carry out the “impeachment inquiry,” all resources stemming from the House Intelligence Committee — or, in Cheney’s words, from “the single most important committee…when it comes to the national security of the nation” — will need to be redirected to investigating the July 25 phone call, for which we already have a transcript in which no quid pro quo is to be found.

As Cheney explained, “We’re at a moment where the nation faces grave, significant, ongoing threats. And [Pelosi] has completely neutered the intelligence committee. She has said they must be focused on a partisan impeachment process and not their oversight obligations.” From this standpoint, the Democrats’ performative theatrics could possibly have heavy and unforeseen consequences within the national security realm.

4. House Democrats Are Blocking Other Urgent National Business

Scalise and Cheney pointed to the fact that House Democrats are opting to spend precious resources on taking down Trump instead of on pursuing pressing agenda items, all supposedly due to a tip from an anonymous, allegedly Democratic National Committee-connected whistleblower with no firsthand knowledge of the alleged incident. As Scalise noted, “We should be tackling real problems. We could have lower prescription drug prices today, but Pelosi won’t bring those to the floor because she’s infatuated with impeachment.”

Scalise also cited funding for troops, job creation, and trade relations with our North American partners as issues getting tabled so that House Democrats can satisfy their thirst for impeachment, which arguably began in November 2016. “There is long list of things that the American people deserve to have done that are simply not being addressed because of the Democrats’ obsession with impeachment,” Cheney later noted.

5. The Media Has Botched Its Reporting on the ‘Inquiry’

Much of the genuine lopsidedness of the impeachment inquiry process would be difficult to find in reporting from mainstream outlets. This dishonesty likely stems from the fact that, in much the same way reporters staked their careers on Russian collusion being a reality, they too have begun to bet their reputations on the existence of a quid pro quo between President Trump and the Ukrainian president (despite no such evidence in the phone call’s transcript).

Zeldin held no punches in making this astute observation to his audience of mostly media members. “Many of you are reporting zero percent of the story. There was one story that came out yesterday in POLITICO that was filled with falsehoods. Just somebody lied to you.” He continued. “I watched CNN last night, and I saw a host – one allegation after another – just say stuff that was not true.”

6. A Sham Impeachment Will Damage the Country Long-Term

Stunningly apparent was sincere concern about the impact such farcical proceedings could have on the political dynamics of the country, which are already polarized to an unforeseen extent. As McCarthy expressed solemnly, “End the sham that has been putting this country through a nightmare.” Zeldin echoed similar sentiments, singling out “the eagerness, the happiness that Democrats have and their enriched liberal activist base at home has to rip the country in half.”

Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, offered a more hopeful take, speaking of a unified American people with the capacity to see through House Democrats’ dishonest operation. “The American people see this for what it is because the American people are fair people. They are just people.” He continued. “They are people with common sense, and they will not tolerate this.”

In short, the House GOP delivered a much-needed, sharp rebuke of the increasingly partisan and opaque impeachment probe that has seized House Democrats. House GOP members also underscored that codifying past dishonest practices does not suddenly legitimize them or make them palatable. There are serious ethical issues with the impeachment inquiry that has become Democrats’ cause celebre. Indeed, there are few things more disappointing than watching the norms of our republic be sacrificed upon the altar of the Resistance.

Erielle Davidson is a Staff Writer at the Federalist and a law student at Georgetown University Law Center. Find her on Twitter at @politicalelle.

Author: Erielle Davidson

Source: The Federalist: House GOP Fed Up With Crooked Impeachment Inquiry: ‘It’s A Sham’

News of Hunter Biden profiting from his father’s political activity is becoming an endless saga that has yet to genuinely interest our media who claim “democracy dies in darkness.” The latest set of coincidences, uncovered by Alana Goodman of The Washington Examiner, reveal more unseemly connections between Hunter’s business adventures and his father’s political maneuvers. Whether it be China, Ukraine, or China again, we have heard this pattern before.

While serving as senator of Delaware, Joe Biden reached out discreetly to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to discuss matters his son Hunter Biden’s firm was then lobbying for, according to government records Goodman gathered.

The latest revelations further buttress accusations that Joe Biden’s work as senator and vice president frequently converged with and assisted Hunter Biden’s business interests. Whether it be getting the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating his son’s company fired or meeting one of his son’s business partners while on a diplomatic trip to China in 2013, Joe Biden’s political activities in relation to his son Hunter have continued to garner scrutiny.

In 2002, while his father was a senator, Hunter founded the lobbying firm Oldaker, Biden & Belair, which lobbied on the Hill. When his father announced his candidacy for president in 2008, Hunter opted to leave the firm, claiming it was to reduce concerns about conflicts of interest.

While Hunter was still at the firm, in late February 2007, then-Sen. Joe Biden reached out to DHS, expressing concern over the department’s proposed chemical security regulations. The regulations were in accordance with Section 550 of the DHS Appropriations Act of 2007, which called for chemical facilities to submit detailed “site security plans” for DHS approval. Part of these plans were expected to include specifics related to training and credentialing employees.

Biden’s call seems like an eerie coincidence. Two months prior to that phone call, the Industrial Safety Training Council had enlisted Hunter Biden’s firm to lobby DHS precisely on Section 550. The Industrial Safety Training Council is a 501(c)3 that offers safety training services to employees of chemical plants. In the midst of debates over regulations stemming from Section 550, ISTC launched significant lobbying efforts to encourage the expansion of background checks under the new regulation regime.

Hunter was not registered as an individual lobbyist on behalf of ISTC, but he did serve as a senior partner at his namesake firm Oldaker, Biden & Belair, which only boasted three partners at the time. According to Goodman, from early 2007 to the end of 2008, his firm earned a total of $200,000 from ISTC in return for its lobbying efforts.

While we don’t know the source of Joe Biden’s concern over Section 550 and whether his “concern” was the one ISTC shared, it is worth noting this repeated crossover between Hunter Biden’s business and his father’s political stratagems. At some point, coincidences stop being merely a product of a chance. In the case of Hunter and Joe Biden, the coincidences continue to pile up.

Joe Biden’s use of his political power for his son’s business dealings didn’t stop there. At one point, Hunter’s firm was lobbying on behalf of SEARCH, a national nonprofit devoted to information-sharing between states in the criminal justice and public safety realm. SEARCH was interested in expanding the federal government’s fingerprint screening system and hired Hunter’s firm to lobby on behalf of this issue.

During that very time, Joe Biden sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales expressing a desire to unpack this very topic. In his letter, then-Sen. Joe Biden asked to meet with DOJ to explore the benefits of the expanding the federal government’s fingerprint system.

“I write to request your assistance in implementing an expanded background check system for our nation’s volunteer organizations,” Joe Biden’s letter says. “If we can work together to expand the number of volunteer organizations that have access to fast, accurate, and inexpensive fingerprint background checks, we will make significant and important strides in our ongoing effort to protect kids across our country.”

The letter is dated January 31, 2007, 12 days after SEARCH put forth its own resolution, expressing support for recommendations previously made by the attorney general, recommendations which included the “integration of the State criminal history repository system in ways that will allow the return of all criminal history record information maintained by the States on the search subject through a single fingerprint check.” In short, Biden reached out to Gonzalez within days of SEARCH penning its resolution. A fun coincidence, indeed.

It doesn’t stop there. Later, in early 2008, Joe Biden introduced legislation titled the “Child Protection Improvements Act,” which, among other things, ensured that the FBI’s fingerprint background check system would be available for organizations that serve youths. Surprise, surprise. As Goodman reports, Hunter’s firm began lobbying on behalf of SEARCH in favor of the bill. SEARCH compensated Hunter’s firm with a payment of $93,000 in 2008 for its lobbying efforts.

As presidential candidate, Joe Biden waves off accusations of “bad optics” related to his son’s business dealings. Yet it’s worth asking, when do the coincidences become simply untenable? There’s an undeniable, repeated, and unseemly parallel between Joe Biden’s political activity and Hunter Biden’s business interest.

When Joe was running our Ukraine policy, Hunter landed at Burisma. When Joe was the linchpin of our China policy, Hunter was busy shoring up investors in Beijing. At its best, the relationship between Joe Biden and his son represents simply the worst of crony capitalism. At its worst, it’s good, ol’ fashioned corruption. Neither seems particularly desirable, and both indicate bad character.

Erielle Davidson is a Staff Writer at the Federalist and a law student at Georgetown University Law Center. Find her on Twitter at @politicalelle.

Author: Erielle Davidson

Source: The Federalist: Joe Biden Repeatedly Asked Federal Agencies To Do What His Son’s Lobbying Clients Wanted

The brewing conflict along the Syrian-Turkish border, which reentered the news cycle this week as Turkish President Recep Erdoğan threatened to invade Syria, is rooted in Obama policies that were always destined to erupt in chaos.

The brewing conflict along the Syrian-Turkish border, which reentered the news cycle this week as Turkish President Recep Erdoğan threatened to invade Syria, is rooted in Obama-era policies that were always destined to erupt in chaos. The conflict in Syria is one of the geopolitical crises that the Trump administration has been both quite focused on and fairly sophisticated in addressing. None of this was apparent from the last few days of media coverage, however.

To put it bluntly, President Obama left Trump an intractable situation in northern Syria. Back in the mid-2010s, after President Obama dismissed the Islamic State as a “JV team,” his administration scrambled to address the very real ISIS threat that had fomented in Syria. They had a range of allies to choose from in Syria, but they chose to empower the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which has close ties with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group regarded as a terrorist organization by the United States, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, European Union, United Kingdom, and Japan. The Obama administration helped to install the YPG along hundreds of miles of Syrian-Turkish border.

There are compelling arguments that suggest their decision was more broadly linked to the Obama administration’s wider pivot toward Iran and away from traditional American alliances, an assertion policy expert Michael Doran has posited here. Regardless of their motivations, the alliance created an impossible situation for Turkey. The Turks, justifiably or not, were never going to allow forces that they believed to be terrorist enablers to post up indefinitely across their border. Absent some alternative to address Turkey’s security concerns, military action was all but inevitable.

To complicate the situation even more greatly, the Obama administration’s decision entangled us in the fate of the Syrian Kurds as never before. We threw our weight vociferously behind their cause and vice versa. In the process, they took enormous losses in battles that we had declared to the international community were absolutely critical to our national security. With the Syrian Kurds, we had become allies. And that means an enormous amount.

This entire quagmire was emblematic of the untenable situation the Trump administration inherited from the Obama administration. Eventually, Turkish security concerns would have to be addressed, but those concerns stemmed unfortunately from Kurdish fighters who had fought with honor alongside our soldiers.

After several attempts to solve the problem, the Trump administration dispatched some of our most seasoned diplomats to the region to offer the Turks a choice between two options: they could cooperate with us, and in return, we would assist them in addressing their security concerns by setting up a “security mechanism”; or they could unilaterally plunge into Syria and target the Kurds under their own auspices, in which case they would be entirely on their own and bear the full brunt of the consequences. Those consequences would include, but not be limited to, a potential impasse with the Kurds, thousands of ISIS fighters released into the chaos, international disapprobation, and potentially U.S. sanctions.

For anyone paying attention, this bifurcation of options always had been at the center of the Trump administration’s policy in northern Syria. Indeed, just a few months ago, the Pentagon set up a Joint Center with Turkey to give them access to intelligence, so they could be assured we were holding up our end of the bargain on the cooperative security mechanism.

But, true to form, our firefighting media was not paying attention. Thus, when President Trump announced this past Sunday that he will pull American troops out of northern Syria — after a call with Erdogan that must have gone poorly, given that the call ended with a Turkish threat to finally invade Syria — a cast of characters on both the right and left expressed frustration and anger at the announcement, claiming we were abandoning the Kurds and gesturing toward prolonged stays in the region.

To be sure, such outrage wasn’t the universal position. Sen. Ted Cruz took to Twitter with a balanced response, supporting President Trump’s commitment to bring our soldiers home — we cannot “leave our troops in foreign theaters forever” — while respecting the fact that Kurdish troops fought honorably beside us in northern Syria and that honorable nations don’t abandon those who have shed blood beside us. He tweeted that it would be “disgraceful” to leave the Kurds at the mercy of invading Turkish forces. It would be.

But Cruz’s position is highly at odds with the left, the establishment right, and neoconservatives. Most pundits have wasted no time in constructing the narrative that Trump has again recklessly gone rogue and that his position is entirely unreasonable. The usual invectives have been hurled at the president. However, the only way to believe the insanity narrative is if you don’t understand our actual policy in Syria.

What seems to have unfolded over the past several days is that Erdogan — either out of calculation or simple anger — has decided to forgo the security mechanism and address the conflict in northern Syria independent of U.S. assistance. Such a choice, though seemingly less wise, had always been a possibility. And the U.S. Department of Defense soon reminded Erdogan of the consequences. DoD quickly issued a statement cutting off Turkey from the agreed upon “cooperation” (or security mechanism) that had been the White House’s preferable path to the possibility of Turkish “unilateral action.”

As matters currently stand, it is unclear what follows. Although Turkish forces are assembling at the border and signalling that invasion may be imminent, yesterday, we learned in an odd twist that Erodgan plans to visit Washington in mid-November. It is possible that Erdogan may want to mitigate tensions until his visit in the interest of actually having a meeting.

Regardless of the outcome, it is abundantly clear that media coverage of the crisis has significantly underplayed both that Trump inherited a terrible foreign policy quagmire and that the diplomats he has empowered are doing a great deal to make a frustrating situation less frustrating. The media has little motivation to report on the complexity of this situation with accuracy, for acknowledging what is actually transpiring in northern Syria wouldn’t fit the narrative of either a scandal-free Obama presidency or an incompetent Trump administration.

Erielle Davidson is a Staff Writer at the Federalist and a law student at Georgetown University Law Center. She currently serves as a Fellow at the Center for International Law in the Middle East (CILME) at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University. She writes about Israel, the Middle East, and related issues. Find her on Twitter at @politicalelle.

Author: Erielle Davidson

Source: The Federalist: Trump Gave Turkey A Choice on Syria: Cooperate With the U.S. Productively Or Risk Catastrophe

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