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By Mark Sokolow

Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

President Trump signed the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) on October 3, 2018, to restore rights of U.S. terror victims over the PLO and Palestinian Authority. The Presi- dent did the right thing when he signed it. But now the State Department is asking Congress to delay the law the President signed. The Administration should put a stop to this madness.

Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism Act in 1992 to give U.S. citizens the right to bring civil cases against terrorists who attack them overseas. Every prior Republican Administration since 1991 has supported the Anti-Terrorism Act as serving vital national security interests, in- cluding in lawsuits against the PLO and PA. Up until 2015 the PLO and PA were repeatedly held liable for terror attacks against Americans, and they paid off hundreds of millions of dollars of judgments in favor of US families.

In Sokolow v. PLO, some 40 U.S. citizens sued the PLO and the PA for orchestrating and executing terror attacks in Israel, causing deaths and catastrophic injuries. In 2015, a jury found the PLO and PA liable, awarding a judgment of $655M. But in 2016 the Second Circuit re- versed, holding that the law of personal jurisdiction allowed these terrorists to avoid accountabil- ity in the U.S. courts.

Congress passed the ATCA in response. Senator Grassley introduced the ATCA to reit- erate “Congress’s original intent that terrorist groups and their supporters be brought to justice in U.S. Courts, regardless of where the attacks occurred.” The ATCA was supported by the pro- Israel community from AIPAC to ZOA. Congress followed regular order with hearings in both Chambers. The bill was vetted by the DNI and other Administration officials before being passed unanimously in both Chambers as a stand alone bill. It was signed by the President after due consideration. It says that if the PLO or PA accept U.S. foreign assistance, they are deemed to consent to jurisdiction in civil Anti-Terrorism Act cases. The law takes effect January 31.

The ATCA restored the status quo for anti-terror cases against the PLO and PA. It is one of dozens of laws conditioning US assistance to the PA on compliance with anti-terror promises, including the Taylor Force Act.

The State Department currently oversees more than a dozen programs that benefit the PA, including training, construction, and provision of equipment. The PA relies on these programs for its own security. The State Department is arguing that the PA will cut off all these programs and existing ties with the US if Congress does not delay the law.

Congress should do no such thing. Congress made a simple policy decision. If the PA wants American assistance, it has to do so on the understanding that it will be held accountable for terror attacks that took American lives and caused severe injuries.

State Department officials are arguing that the PA will make a “rational” economic deci- sion to stop taking U.S. assistance if it will cost the PA money in the form of judgments in favor of terror victims. That is simplistic thinking, as the PA makes many decisions for political rea- sons rather than economic reasons—like paying hundreds of millions of dollars to reward terror- ists for murdering civilians instead of stopping that outrageous policy, which would free up hun- dreds of millions of dollars withheld from the PA under the Taylor Force Act. Of course, if the PA values avoiding its just debts for murdering Americans more than it values its security assis- tance from the United States, perhaps that means something important for U.S. policy.

Just as the President signed the Taylor Force Act, which is costing the PA hundreds of millions of dollars every single year, the Administration should stand firm with US victims of Palestinian terror and support the ATCA, which the President signed two months ago. The State Department should stop undermining the clear message sent by President Trump when he signed the ATCA.

Mark Sokolow is the lead plaintiff in Sokolow v. PLO, in which the PLO and PA were found liable for orchestrating and executing terror attacks in Israel that killed Americans. Mark, a lawyer and native New Yorker, survived the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and then a suicide terror attack four months later in Jerusalem, Israel.

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Photo: AP Photo / Adel Hana

November 26, 2018

Featuring Prof. Efraim Inbar

On November 11th, Hamas terrorists killed IDF Lieutenant-Colonel M in southern Gaza Strip during a covert Israeli operation, marking the first death of an Israeli officer since Operation Protection Edge in 2014. Starting the very next day, during a period of only 24 hours, terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched more than 460 rockets into Southern Israel, and approximately 100 of them were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. While the majority of rockets fell into open territory, others fell into Sderot, Ashkelon, and other Gaza border communities, resulting in the death of a 48-year-old Palestinian man, and more than 50 people injured. The IDF, in response, struck more than 160 terror targets in the Gaza Strip, including tunnels created by Hamas to use to infiltrate and carry out attacks in Israel, and four military compounds.

Thereafter, Israel agreed to an Egyptian mediated ceasefire with Hamas.

Why did Israel accept a “cease-fire,” rather than finish the job of taking out Hamas targets? How long can we expect the “cease-fire” to actually last? And does the recent flare-up in Gaza impact President Trump’s Middle East peace plan? Professor Inbar tackles these questions.

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On November 4, 2018, “thousands of Iranians poured into the streets of Tehran on Sunday to burn American flags and mock President Trump with cardboard effigies and caricatures.” They also shouted “Death to America.”

Much of the U.S. press reporting on these protests also linked them to the same day’s snap-back of American sanctions on the oil, shipping, insurance, and banking sectors in Iran.

These sanctions were reinstituted after President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), noting the poor terms of the deal, and its funding of Iranian terror and aggression. One article specifically emphasized that “rancor is especially strong this time following Trump’s decision in May to withdraw from world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.”

The idea that the Iranian regime’s “rancor” towards the U.S. has been on an upsurge since the U.S. left the JCPOA is laughable. Nothing has really changed.

Every year, Iran holds protests on November 4 to commemorate the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by Iranian supporters of the Islamist regime. (This was a violation of international law, and an act of war, by the way). Each year, the protestors scream “Death to America,” burn the American flag, and mock the U.S. President. This is not specific to American presidents who are hostile to Iran; the Iranians did this under President Obama too. Even when Obama was reaching out to the Iranian leadership, and negotiating the Iran deal with them, the anti-American protests on November 4 still occurred, and featured booths where Iranians could throw their shoes, or darts, at Obama, and hang him in effigy.

And this is just one of two days each year Iranian leaders have set up to castigate the U.S. They also “celebrate” “Death to America” on the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The Iranian regime also doesn’t limit itself to verbal attacks on the U.S.

Over the decades it has used its proxies to attack and to kill Americans, from Hezbollah in the 1980’s to the Iraqi rebels in the 2000’s. Hundreds of U.S. citizens have been killed and wounded. In 2011, Iranian agents plotted a bombing of Cafe Milano, an upscale Georgetown restaurant, to assassinate the Saudi ambassador. Had this bombing been successful, countless other Americans would also have been killed or wounded.

Furthermore, Iran, which for 40 years has been the leading state sponsor of world terrorism, has disseminated hate and plotted terror attacks against Israeli and European targets as well.

The Iranian regime does these things not because the U.S., Israel, and the West, under any one leader, have done anything in particular to antagonize Tehran.

The Iranian regime does these things because they hate the U.S., Israel, and the West. They hate them for what the Iranian mullahs believe is the immoral state of Western culture, and because of their fear that the West wants to spread its immorality to Iran and the rest of the Muslim world. They hate them because these nations are not comprised of Shia Muslims, and allow freedom of worship and freedom of speech. They hate them because these nations do not discriminate against, or murder, homosexuals. They hate them because these nations use democratic systems of government, rather than allow God — as interpreted by Shia Islamist theocrats — to govern over them.

Even some Western Europeans, which have gone out of their way to maintain good relations with Iran, are finally figuring this out.

Since May, when the U.S. left the JCPOA, the Western European nations have worked feverishly to save the JCPOA and provide economic benefits to the Iranian regime. With the Iranian economy in shambles because of the U.S. reinstitution of sanctions, Iran desperately needs these benefits. Yet, at the same time that Iranian President Rouhani was touring Europe to drum up support, the Iranian government was plotting terror attacks on European soil. In June, an Iranian diplomat plotted with some Iranian expiates to bomb the National Council of Resistance of Iran (MEK) rally near Paris. The MEK is an Iranian opposition group that the Iranian regime despises. Luckily, this terror attack was thwarted; thousands of innocent civilians attended the rally, including several prominent Americans, and hundreds might have killed or wounded. More recently, Tehran planned to assassinate three Iranians believed to be members of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA) who live in Denmark. The ASMLA is an Arab separatist insurgent group that advocates for an Arab state in the Khuzestan Province in Iran. Once again, this terror attack was disrupted without casualties.

Unfortunately, not all Western Europeans can be expected to hang tough against the Iranian regime. Many would rather live in a world of make believe, than acknowledge an uncomfortable truth. There is no appeasing the Iranian regime crocodile.

Originally published: https://www.newsmax.com/adamturner/iran-sanctions-terrorism/2018/11/28/id/892341/

Photo: New World Order News

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EMET Strongly Condemns Iran’s Latest Eliminationist Rhetoric Towards Israel
(Washington, DC, November 27, 2018) – Today, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) strongly condemned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the supposed “moderate” in the Iranian government, for his eliminationist and false rhetoric towards Israel.  On Saturday, at an Islamic Unity Conference, Rouhani called Israel “a cancerous tumor” and a “fake regime” created by Western countries in order to advance their interests in the Middle East.  The use of this type of language is, unfortunately, a common occurrence in Iran. 
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Today, on this Giving Tuesday, EMET needs your help more than ever.

Last month a vile anti-Semite murdered 11 worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue in the deadliest attack ever on Jews in the United States.  This is only the latest, and most brutal, of a rising number of anti-Semitic incidents throughout the U.S., especially on college campuses, where Jewish students – or pro-Israel students – are often under siege.

On Capitol Hill, EMET is working harder than ever to protect Jewish students on campus, the State of Israel, and the United States. In addition to our legislative success, EMET continues to fight the battle of ideas by hosting our monthly Capitol Hill seminars and phone seminars, featuring worldwide experts and policymakers.

During the past year, EMET has held more than 280 meetings on Capitol Hill, hosted 13 Capitol Hill Seminars, and 7 phone seminars.

But EMET cannot continue our critical work alone.  We need you to help us fight anti-Semitism on campuses, curb the biases of Middle East Studies Centers, educate the Congress about the Golan Heights, and help American victims of Palestinian to get the justice they so sorely deserve.  And we need you to help us convey the emet – the truth – about Israel’s proud struggle to survive, and thrive, in the volatile Middle East.

We ask you to please contribute as much as you can comfortably afford on this Giving Tuesday.  With your support, we can continue to make a difference.

Click HERE to donate to EMET 

**If you are making purchases on Amazon, #StartWithaSmile, and Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Endowment for Middle East Truth. Bookmark the link 
smile.amazon.com/ch/20-4329740  and support EMET every time you shop.

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We at EMET are profoundly saddened and chilled to the core at the deadly massacre at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh and we offer prayers of solidarity, strength, and support to the Squirrel Hill community, to all of those who suffered the loss of family members and friends, and pray for the recovery of all those injured.

Throughout the Diaspora, our synagogues serve as our links to our collective history, our identities, and our faith. They serve as our sanctuaries, our places to go in times of personal joy, crisis or sorrow. They are our original “safe spaces.”

All of this was shattered on Saturday morning when Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in a leafy suburb of Pittsburgh, shouting, “All Jews must die,” mowing down 11 people at worship.  This attack was not only an attack on the Jewish people, but it was also an attack on the very values that make the United States the exemplary nation that it is. It is an attack on one of the core, founding principles of the United States, religious freedom.

We are painfully aware that on the extremes of both sides in this country, our people are not wanted. Anti-Semitism is a rather virulent virus, which has found a welcome home in both the extreme right and the extreme left. There are people who lurk in the margins of our society, in the shadows of the internet, who spew their hateful creed.

In its most common form today, anti-Semitism in America is found on our college campuses, where Israel is held to a standard that no other country could possibly be asked to live up to, particularly when faced with the same difficult conditions that Israel must live under.  Swastikas and apartheid walls have sprung up on virtually every campus from Columbia to UCLA and hundreds of points in between. It has become far too acceptable for university administrators to give a “pass” to hateful symbols and slogans aimed at intimidating and chilling Jewish students, under the cover of free speech, something which they would never allow when aimed at any other minority group.

At anti-Israeli rallies throughout our college campuses, students are often heard shouting such expressions as  “Zionist pigs,” “Hitler was right,” and even “Jews to the ovens.” The very symbol of the swastika, which has proliferated throughout our college campuses, represents the goal of the extermination of Jews.

This creates an environment that is hostile to Jewish students, and teaches non-Jews that a certain form of hatred in our country, anti-Semitism, is acceptable “free speech.”

What gives us some solace in this sorrowful time is that opposed to Europe of just one generation ago, and the world of radical Islam, including Hamas-controlled Gaza, where the massacre of Jews is exhorted, glorified and incentivized on a daily basis, the Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre was condemned by the vast majority of Americans, from the President on down.

The vast majority of people in this country are people of good will, but our history has taught us that we must remain forever vigilant of those who lurk in the margins of our society, and of the growing problem of anti-Semitism on our college campuses, which has taken the 21st-century form, of anti-Zionism.

Let us hope that we can make something positive out of the recent horrific events in Pittsburgh and work together as a community to prevent the proliferation of this latest form of anti-Semitism that our students must confront on our college campuses.

About The Endowment for Middle East Truth

Founded in 2005, EMET’s mission is to educate policymakers in Washington and the general public about the importance of Israel to the United States in their common struggle against radical Islam. For more information, please visit, http://www.emetonline.org. Follow EMET on Twitter and Facebook.

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Texas Senator Ted Cruz has introduced legislation that would impose sanctions on individual members of Hamas or Hezbollah who direct civilians to shield military targets. Unable to defeat the IDF outright, Hamas and Hezbollah cynically locate rocket launchers and weapons caches in homes, schools, clinics, and mosques, knowing that Israel will be held responsible for the resulting collateral damage.

In the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah kept many of its rockets in underground bunkers in uninhabited areas nicknamed “nature preserves.” However, over the last decade, Hezbollah has shifted its strategy and located its arsenals in towns and villages throughout Southern Lebanon. The use of human shields will be even more central to Hezbollah’s military strategy in its next war with Israel.

Hamas has not only used civilian infrastructure from which to fire rockets at Israel, during the 2014 conflict Operation Protective Edge, but Hamas leaders also exhorted Gazan civilians to ignore the IDF’s warnings to evacuate the combat zone. So solid was Hamas’s confidence that it would pay no price and bear no responsibility for collateral damage, that they had civilians stand on the rooftops of buildings that housed rockets or were located near rocket launchers.

The bipartisan STOP Using Human Shields Act is a necessary step to hold the leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas accountable for the double war crime of targeting Israeli civilians while hiding behind their own.

Call Your Senators TODAY to Ask Them to Vote For the STOP Using Human Shields Act!

You can find your Senators’ Numbers Here: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

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