A recent poll found that almost all Palestinians — 95.5 percent —
believe there is corruption in Abbas' government. Nader Said, a veteran
pollster, surveyed 1,200 people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip last
month. Among Gaza residents scoring the performance of the territory's
Hamas rulers, the figure was 82 percent.
"This is the highest rate I have ever seen in all the polls I have
done," Said, who runs an independent polling agency called AWRAD, told
The Associated Press. The margin of error was 3 percentage points.
Experts say perceptions of corruption tend to be overblown. The World
Bank, for example, found in a survey of Palestinians several years ago
that far more people believed there was corruption than actually
But critics say secretiveness among Abbas and his advisers and a lack
of responsiveness have fanned suspicions among the public that the
political elite enjoy privileges and special deals at the expense of
For example, the government hasn't submitted annual budget reports
for mandatory audits for four years, effectively preventing scrutiny of
how millions of dollars are spent, said corruption monitor Aman, the
Palestinian branch of Transparency International.
Hamdallah's predecessor, Salam Fayyad, was credited by international
donors with making public spending more transparent. Fayyad resigned in
2013 amid tensions with Abbas and Fatah, including over the budget.
Abbas then installed Hamdallah, an academic without political experience.
"Fayyad used to host us and brief us every year," Afaneh said. "In
the current situation, we don't hear from the government or the Finance
Finance Ministry officials did not respond to requests for comment.
The government does post its spending plans online. But the listings are bare-boned and often puzzling, said Afaneh.
For example, out of the government's development budget of $17.9
million for the first three months of 2014, $9.4 million went for Abbas'
small presidential plane and $4.4 million for "other" expenses. A
development budget typically goes to projects that benefit the
Afaneh said plane expenses shouldn't be listed under development and
that portraying one-fourth of the development budget in that quarter as
"other" raises questions.
The public has complained loudly over issues of nepotism and
disproportionately high salaries for select senior officials, some of
whom make $10,000 a month, about 10 times the average for government
"It's rare to find someone who got a job based on his
qualifications," said Diaa Abu Dhaher, 23, who has an undergraduate
degree in business administration but works as a waiter in a Ramallah
95.5% is the kind of number you usually see in polls in a dictatorship... oh... wait... this is a dictatorship. But usually you don't see wall-to-wall opposition to the dictator.
But the US Left and the Europeans continue to shower money on their beloved 'Palestinian Authority' because... anything to hurt the Jews.
Those villas at the top are part of the story, by the way, and they are not Jewish. They're located in Ramallah. Read the whole thing to see who owns them and how they got them. Yes, that's part of it. And this story too is part of the Obama #Legacy.
Obama administration: 'We stopped sanctioning Iranian human rights abusers after the nuke deal'
Remember how the Obama administration promised us last summer that sanctions would be 'snapped back' into place in the event of violations by Iran of the (still unsigned) JCPOA? Well, they're now admitting that in at least one area, the sanctions are gone - permanently. Not one Iranian human rights abuser has been designated as such since the P 5+1 (but not Iran) signed the JCPOA. And Congress is awakening to the reality that it was fooled.
Republicans and Democrats alike are now accusing the administration
of misleading Congress about its commitment to sanctions and saying that
it has avoided such designations in order to prevent the Iranian regime
from walking away from the deal.
“We were told during this process that getting the nuclear issue off
the table was so critical and we could actually expect Iran to engage in
additional destabilizing activity,” Rep. David Cicilline (D., R.I.)
said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee examining the
administration’s promises regarding Iran.
“We were assured that this would give us an opportunity to push back
hard in these other areas because the danger of a nuclear Iran would be
off the table, and I was very persuaded by that,” said Cicilline, a supporter of the nuclear agreement.
Cicilline asked Ambassador Stephen Mull, the administration’s lead
coordinator for implementing the nuclear deal, what the administration
has “done since the signing of the [nuclear deal] with regard to
imposing sanctions on human rights violators in Iran.” Mull admitted
that the U.S. has not taken any action.
“There has not been a specific sanction on human rights cases since the signing” of the deal, Mull said.
Cicilline questioned why, since the administration promised to take
action, it had not done so in the face of rising human rights abuses by
Mull emphasized that the administration is concerned about human
rights in Iran and has raised the issue in meetings with regime
In case you missed it, Cicilline is a Democrat and supported the deal.
Meanwhile, the White House plans to block any attempt to impose new sanctions on Iran, because... you know... the legacy....
“Congress wants to impose new pressure against Iranian human rights
violations, but the Obama administration keeps blocking new action. The
administration’s excuse is they already have all the tools they need,”
said one source who works closely with Congress on the Iran issue. “What
today’s admission shows is that they might have those tools, but
they’re certainly not using them.”
Make sure to read the whole thing. The unsaid problem in this whole affair is that reimposing sanctions is like closing the barn door after the cow has escaped. It would take years to new sanctions to begin to have the effect that the old ones had. As one Presidential candidate asked, "What difference does it make?"
Former NSC official: 'Most pro-Israel administration evah' conducted whisper campaign to smear Netanyahu
A former National Security Council official has told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that the Obama administration conducted a whisper campaign to smear Prime Minister Netanyahu and get the sellout to a nuclear Iran through Congress.
According to the congressional testimony
of Michael Doran — Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former
senior director in the National Security Council (NSC) in the
administration of President George W. Bush — the White House initiated a
“whisper campaign” against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cast
him “as the villain of the Middle East peace process, an
arch-nationalist with unseemly ties to the Republican party who refuses
to make the necessary compromises to bring about an historic
reconciliation with the Palestinians,” he told the House Committee on
Oversight and Government Reform.
Doran’s testimony came in response to a controversial New York Times Magazine profile
on White House national security advisor Ben Rhodes, who gloated about
how he was able to deceive the public to garner support for last July’s
nuclear agreement. Rhodes admitted to creating an “echo chamber” among
susceptible journalists, policy experts and officials to spin the White
According to Doran, the Obama
administration engaged in a strategy of “deception” in order to create a
“detente” with Iran. Had the White House been open and honest about the
true nature of the agreement, there would have been significant public
backlash, Doran said.
In Doran’s estimation, Rhodes’s
behavior is part of a greater problem: the growing size and power of the
NSC. “Rhodes’s war room is not an isolated problem, it is symptomatic
of an NSC that, according to all three of Obama’s former secretaries of
defense, has grown imperial in both size and ethos. In order to protect
our system of checks and balances, Congress must take action to school
the White House in a healthy respect for republican values.”
#FeelTheBern Sanders appoints 3 anti-Israel 'activists' to write Democratic party platform, Wasserman-Schultz appoints another one as chair, and Clinton appoints... Wendy Sherman
The Democratic party has revamped the way it appoints members of its platform committee, apportioning representation based on votes in the primary. As a result, Hillary Clinton has appointed six members of the platform committee, Bernie Sanders has appointed five, and party Chaircritter Debbie Wasserman Schultz ('I wear my support for Israel to work on my sleeve every morning') has appointed four.
One of Sanders' appointees is longtime anti-Israel activist James Zogby.
Sanders’s choices include James Zogby, a pro-Palestinian activist who
is president of the Arab-American Institute in Washington and a
frequent commentator on Arab-Israeli issues.
On Saturday Zogby
noted recent government shifts under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
that consolidated his right-wing power base.
“His behavior has
been shameful, but so too is the extent to which Israelis, Americans and
others continue to enable his malevolent rule,” Zogby wrote.
The Obama administration has “repeatedly expressed displeasure over
Netanyahu’s settlement policies and his blatant interference in US
internal politics. Nevertheless the administration is now debating
whether to reward his government with a 10 year aid package valued at
$35 billion—while Netanyahu, supported by allies in Congress, is
brazenly holding out for $45 to $50 billion,” he wrote. “And so,
operating with virtually no restraints, Netanyahu continues to maneuver
and to aggressively advance his hard-line agenda. He maintains his grip
on power. Israeli society continues to become more extreme and
intolerant. Palestinians are more despairing and desperate. And peace
Other Sanders appointees include two other anti-Israel 'activists' - Cornel West and America's first Muslim Congresscritter, Keith Ellison.
One of Clinton's appointees is Wendy Sherman, the social worker turned nuclear negotiator, who brought us the disastrous nuclear agreements with Iran and North Korea.
And Wasserman Schutlz appointed as Chairman of the Platform Committee Representative Elijah Cummings, another member of the Hamas 54 (along with Ellison) who called for lifting the Gaza 'blockade' and letting Hamas continue to lob rockets at Israel.
Jewish woman forced to hide from anti-Israel 'activists' at UC Irvine
You all remember the University of California at Irvine, the place where then-Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren was heckled and forced to stop speaking? Well, it happened again. Last week, a Jewish woman was forced to hide from anti-Israel 'activists' at Irvine outside a meeting at which a movie about the IDF was being screened.
Sophomore Eliana Kopley had just left a Holocaust-related event when
she was walking toward the facility featuring a screening of “Beneath
the Helmet,” a documentary about the Israel Defense Forces. As she
arrived at the event hosted by Students Supporting Israel, Ms. Kopley
was met by an angry crowd pounding on the doors and windows—engaged in
violent chants targeting the Jewish state.
“I was terrified. There is no other word to describe how I felt,” Ms. Kopley told the Haym Salomon Center.
As the mob tried to gain entrance to the event, one protestor shouted, “If we’re not allowed in, you’re not allowed in!”
With the crowd physically forbidding Ms. Kopley from attending the
event and chants inciting violence against Jews and Israel such as
“Intifada, Intifada—Long live the Intifada!” and “F**k Israel!” Ms.
Kopley walked away from the scene.
But she was not alone. A group of female students followed her as she escaped to safety in the room nearby.
“When I turned back, at that moment, I looked at one of the girls and wanted to hide and cry,” Ms. Kopley said.
Throughout this entire time, Ms. Kopley never hung up the phone with
her mother, who was anxiously fearful on the other end of the line.
“My mom keeps asking what’s going on. But I couldn’t even say
complete sentences. All I managed to say was ‘protesters’ and she
started yelling at me to call the cops,” Ms. Kopley said.
So she did. As the chanting heightened, Ms. Kopley remained on the
line with 9-1-1 until an officer found her shortly after. Two officers,
who decided it would be best to put on black rubber gloves to protect
them from sharp objects, escorted her through the crowd of protesters to
the nearby film screening safely.
How the Obama administration paid J Street to push the Iranian nuclear sellout
The Obama administration through its National Security Council passed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Ploughshares Fund, an NGO that favors allowing Iran to have nuclear weapons. And the Ploughshares Fund paid J Street over $500,000 to push its agenda last summer. That's what came out over this past weekend.
A group the White House recently identified as a key surrogate in
selling the Iran nuclear deal gave liberal Jewish lobbying organization J
street $576,500 to advocate for the deal.
J-Street, a liberal Jewish political action
group, undertook a comprehensive campaign last year to support the
nuclear deal, amid lobbying by Jerusalem and other pro-Israel groups to
convince Congress to block the landmark pact.
J Street also created TV ads and built a wesbite to stump for the accord.
The group said called the New York Times ad
was “the latest phase of [our] multimillion dollar campaign to ensure
that the US Congress does not sabotage the nuclear deal.”
The Ploughshares Fund’s mission is to “build a
safe, secure world by developing and investing in initiatives to reduce
and ultimately eliminate the world’s nuclear stockpiles,” one that
dovetails with President Barack Obama’s arms control efforts. But its
behind-the-scenes role advocating for the Iran agreement got more
attention this month after a candid profile of Ben Rhodes, one of the
president’s top foreign policy aides.
Waiting to hear regrets from Senate Democrats over their votes in favor of letting Iran become a nuclear power.
Here are some more Ploughshares donees.
The Arms Control Association got $282,500; the
Brookings Institution, $225,000; and the Atlantic Council, $182,500.
They received money for Iran-related analysis, briefings and media
outreach, and non-Iran nuclear work.
Other groups, less directly defined by their independent nuclear expertise, also secured grants.
More than $281,000 went to the National Iranian American Council.
Princeton University got $70,000 to support
former Iranian ambassador and nuclear spokesman Seyed Hossein
Mousavian’s “analysis, publications and policymaker engagement on the
range of elements involved with the negotiated settlement of Iran’s
The Ploughshares grant to NPR supported
“national security reporting that emphasizes the themes of US nuclear
weapons policy and budgets, Iran’s nuclear program, international
nuclear security topics and US policy toward nuclear security,”
according to Ploughshares’ 2015 annual report, recently published
Oh yeah, and NPR got $100,000 too. Because government funding isn't enough.
J Street didn’t deny receiving the funds and
said it “acted in order to advance the nuclear deal with Iran out of
faith that it was an important deal, that it had a great contribution
also to the security of Israel.”
“(This) faith is shared by us as well as many
sources, both in the American government and in the Israeli security
establishment, as well as among the Jewish public in the US, most of
whom supported the nuclear deal,” the group said in a press release on
“The nuclear deal with Iran has blocked Iran’s
pathways to a nuclear weapon for the coming years,”said J Street,
adding “we are proud of the activities of the organization to advance
the nuclear deal between the world powers and Iran, a deal that we
believe is of the utmost importance for the security of the state of
Among those J Street cites as Israeli supporters of the deal is pathological liar Ami Ayalon. The endorsements of the deal have already been proven false.
One day, this will all be part of Obama's legacy - along with his infesting American politics with sleaze.
Nasser al-Rashid, one of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest figures and an adviser to the country’s royal family, has donated somewhere between $1 million to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, putting him in an elite category of prominent donors.
Al-Rashid’s children—including one who pled guilty to assaulting his
estranged wife—have poured almost $600,000 into Democratic coffers
during the past several years, raising questions about influence
peddling by prominent foreign families.
The controversy has already rippled through Florida’s contentious
race for a Democratic Senate seat and threatens to further entangle
presidential contender Hillary Clinton, who has already faced questions
about her close ties to foreign governments.
“This raises a very simple question in my mind—why is this family of
one of Saudi Arabia’s richest billionaires and a key adviser to the
royal family pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into our political
system to elect and influence these Democrats?” asked Ian Prior, a
longtime Republican political operative and current spokesman for the
Senate Leadership Fund, which advocates the election of Republican
Nasser Ibrahim al-Rashid, the family’s patriarch, is the founder and
chairman of the Riyadh-based Rashid Engineering, making him one of the
country’s top five wealthiest men.
His high-dollar donations to the Clinton Foundationput him in league with other prominent donors such as financial giant Barclays Capital and beer magnate Anheuser-Busch.
Al-Rashid's son Ibrahim might be even worse.
Al-Rashid’s three sons have followed in their father’s political
footsteps, contributing large sums to top Democrats, including Rep.
Patrick Murphy (D., Fla.), whose Senate race could help decide which
party controls the Senate in 2017.
Murphy has already returned a portion of al-Rashid’s donations due to his involvement in a domestic assault incident.
Ibrahim al-Rashid allegedly forced his way into his estranged wife’s
Pennsylvania home, where al-Rashid allegedly “grabbed her by the wrist,
struck her about the head and face with a closed fist then threw her to
the ground,” according to a copy of the police report viewed by the Free Beacon.
Following the 2014 incident, al-Rashid allegedly sent his wife a text
message stating, “I am not sorry this time I hope you die in hell,”
according to the police report.
Murphy, a longtime friend of al-Rashid, was recently forced to donate
around $16,000 in campaign funds to domestic violence groups after the
assault charge became a public liability for the campaign. Murphy also
returned all of the donations made by al-Rashid during the last three
However, that did not account for all of the money al-Rashid donated
in 2012 to a pro-Murphy Super PAC, prompting calls for Murphy to return
that money as well.
Al-Rashid has donatedat least$490,000mainly to Democratic campaigns,
the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Super
PACs, according to funding data, raising further questions about whether
these candidates and organizations also will return the controversial
Al-Rashid's other sons have also donated significant amounts to Democrats.
Ibrahim’s brother, Salman al-Rashid, also has sunk at least$57,600 into Democratic campaigns, including the DCCC.
This includes contributions to the campaigns of Murphy and Sen. Cory
Booker (D., N.J.), as well as Rep. Ted Deutch (D., Fla.), Rep. Keith
Ellison (D., Minn.), and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), among
others, according to Federal Election Commission data.
A third son of Nasser, Mohammed al-Rashid, appears to have donated around $40,000 mainly
to Democrats, according to FEC data. This includes donations to the
DCCC, Murphy, Ellison, Booker, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.,
Fla.), among others, according to the FEC.
One veteran political operative who has been tracking the 2016 election cycle told the Free Beacon that these donations raise questions about foreign influence in U.S. politics.
“Saudi Arabia is anti-Israel, anti-woman, and anti-human rights, yet
Hillary Clinton’s Foundation takes millions from the Saudi government
and well-connected billionaires like this al-Rashid,” the source said.
“Now we have down ballot Democrats looking the other way and taking
money from al-Rashid’s sons, one of whom committed domestic violence.
This from the party that uses divisive ‘war on women’ rhetoric at every
Booker and Deutsch both have reputations for being pro-Israel. You have to wonder how true that is if they're taking money from the al-Rashid's.
This video came from Arutz Sheva (Hat Tip: Gershon D).
Let's go to the videotape.
Which party is pro-Israel? Which party is conducting a war on women? And why is Debbie "I wear my support for Israel to work on my sleeve every day" Wasserman Schultz taking money from the al-Rashid's?
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-four years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 11 to 32 years and seven grandchildren. Three of our children are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com