Date: December 3, 2015

Takeaways from Marco Rubio’s foreign policy speech to Republican Jewish Coalition

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition has been energizing conservatives and was shared frequently on Twitter. In it, the Senator from Florida and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee outlined a hawkish position to bolster what he feels is a waning American influence in the world and support Israel against the boycott campaign. Here are some key takeaways from his speech (which can be viewed in full at his website):

Rubio opposed international campaigns to pressure Israel over its West Bank settlements.

He called the European Union’s product labeling rule, which requires products produced in the West Bank to be labeled as “made in settlements” anti-Semitic.

“The rule applies to no other country – not to Russia, which invaded Georgia and Ukraine, nor China, which occupies Tibet. The EU is singling out only Israel,” Rubio said.

“Discriminatory laws that apply only to Jews are now being written into European law for the first time in more than half a century. I believe we need a president who is not afraid to call this out for what it is: anti-Semitism,” he continued.

He also promised to “defund UN entities that attack Israel or promote anti-Semitism.”

The US did, under President Obama, cut off funding to UNESCO after UNESCO voted to admit Palestine. That was in accordance with laws passed in 1990 and 1994. As such, the US lost its voting rights within UNESCO.

Rubio also promised to oppose the domestic “BDS” (“boycott, divest, and sanction”) campaign within the US.

Rubio would not follow the nuclear deal with Iran.

Rubio reaffirmed his past promises to abandon the nuclear deal the Obama administration and five other nations negotiated with Iran that attempts to stop or limit its nuclear development.

“Let me be loud and clear about how I will begin: I will immediately shred this president’s disastrous deal with Iran. … And those who are now rushing to do business with Iran need to know that upon taking office, I will re-impose the sanctions that President Obama plans to waive over congressional objection,” he said.

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Just another Greek general strike, with a few Molotov cocktails

Another anti- austerity general strike passed today in Greece. Second in last then a month. Reportedly it was attended by some 15,000 demonstrators.

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Protesters outside of building of Greek central bank

The strike was organised because of new cuts in social security system (among others state – guaranteed pensions will be cut by half – to a minimum of 384 euros) and it was called by all the large unions supported by left parties primarily. The strike was not much different from everything what we could see for last three years, however the lack of enthusiasm for protest was notable.

The members of Pame (Union of Greek Communist party) started with rally one hour before others. Even if rallies that are organised by Pame are always very well attended they never seem to join other left groups but prefer to do their solo march towards parliament and then leave.

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The Pame supporters passing the poster that calls for rally organised by other unions.

 

The meeting point of other worker unions (mainly members of Pasok or Syriza) that played rather unpopular role in recent Greek workers history – accused of nepotism and political affiliation, thereby losing all credibility.

One angry Greek lady screamed towards the stage: “Thieves!”..signifying the general mood of the public towards the leaders. There were almost no young faces. 

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A Lack of Religious Experience

 

Recently The Telegraph posted an article questioning why we seem to be so afraid to actually educate children on the subject of religion. In the UK Religious Education is a required course in schools, but it doesn’t appear to actually teach much about religion. And this week the high court ruled that, starting from the next academic year, “non-religious world views” would be included as a part of the RE curriculum, and found on the religious studies GCSE. Author Celia Walden agrees that, seeing as only 30 percent of the UK considers itself religious, “[I]t would make sense to include agnosticism, atheism, humanism and secularism on the syllabus – but only if RE dares to do what it says on the tin in the first place.”

 

I, for one, am on the side of Walden.

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