The Israel tour arranged for a group of NFL players will go ahead as planned starting from Monday despite the publicized pull-outs of several of its original participants.

Three of the NFL players who were scheduled to arrive in Israel on Monday as part of a campaign to showcase the country’s “true face” to the world pulled out of the trip, explaining that they do not want to be “used” by the Israeli government.


Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett led the boycott, being joined by brother Martellus, who won the Super Bowl with New England last week, and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills.

Nevertheless, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, which arranged the trip in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry, is going ahead with the tour, which includes visits to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea and Christian sites.

Bennett’s decision came on the heels of an open letter by renowned musicians, artists and social justice advocates released Thursday asking the NFL players “to consider withdrawing from the delegation given Israel’s track record of human rights abuses.”

Bennett wrote the following via Twitter and Instagram on Friday night: “I was excited to see this remarkable and historic part of the world with my own eyes. I was not aware until reading this article about the trip in the Times of Israel that my itinerary was being constructed by the Israeli government for the purposes of making me, in the words of a government official, an ‘influencer and opinion-former’ who would then be ‘an ambassador of good will.’ I will not be used in such a manner. When I do go to Israel – and I do plan to go – it will be to see not only Israel but also the West Bank and Gaza so I can see how the Palestinians, who have called this land home for thousands of years, live their lives.”

Bennett further cited boxing legend Muhammad Ali and that Ali “stood strongly with the Palestinian people” and wrote “I cannot do that by going on this kind of trip to Israel” and that he was making the decision “to be in accord with my own values and my own conscience.”

The letter to NFL players Thursday urged them “to consider the political ramifications of attending the trip, drawing connections between the struggles faced by Black and Brown communities in the US, and Palestinian, Eritrean and Sudanese communities in Israel and the Palestinian territories.”

The letter was signed by entertainer and activists Harry Belafonte, activist Angela Davis, actor Danny Glover and former sprinter John Carlos, among others, and co-signed by organizations that included the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

Other players listed as part of the delegation are Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Michael Kendricks, New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Calais Campbell, San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde, Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Dan Williams, Denver Broncos running back Justin Forsett and former linebacker Kirk Morrison.

The trip is also scheduled to include a meet-and-greet event on February 18th in Jerusalem (NOT an exhibition game, as had initially been reported) featuring the NFL delegation and players from the American Football in Israel federation and the Kraft Family Israel Football League.


Betsy DeVos Confirmed Despite Massive Protests

The confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education is an outrageous insult to the millions of people who send their children to public schools, to the millions of students who attend public schools, to the millions of educators who work in public schools, and to the millions of people–like me–who graduated from public school.

As expected, the vote was 50-50, and Vice President Pence was called in to cast the tie-breaking vote.

She was never a student, a parent, an educator or school board member of public schools. It is her life’s work to tear down public education. She does not respect the line of separation between church and state. She supports for-profit charter schools.

She is ignorant of federal law, federal programs, and federal policy. When asked at her Senate hearing about the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, she did not know it was a federal law. She had given no thought to lessening the burden of debt that college students bear, which now exceeds $1 trillion. At a time when the federal role in aiding students with the high cost of college needs to be redesigned, she knows nothing about it.

As the ethics counselors for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama pointed out, DeVos has financial conflicts of interest which she refuses to divest. She told the Senate committee that she had no role in her mother’s foundation, which has funneled millions of dollars to anti-LGBT organizations, but her name appears on 17 years of the foundation’s audited tax returns. She told the committee that online charter corporations produce stellar results, but researchers demonstrated with facts that she was wrong.

Choice policies in Michigan have caused the test scores in that state to decline. Detroit, overrun with charters and choice, is a chaotic mess.

It is a sad day for American public education when a person who has repeatedly expressed contempt for public schools is confirmed as Secretary of Education.

But there is a silver lining to this dark cloud. Her obvious lack of qualification for the job has created a maelstrom of protest against her. Senators report that they have never received so much feedback about a cabinet nominee, overwhelmingly negative. Telephone lines were jammed, in some offices, shut down.

The DeVos nomination awakened parents and educators to the dangers of privatization. She personifies the privatization movement. She is the leader of the Billionaire Girls Club, spreading her millions across the land to reward and enrich allies in Congress, on state and local school boards, and in any setting where she could tout school choice as a magical remedy for poor performance. Charters and vouchers, whether for profit or nonprofit, is her sole idea. She has singlehandedly stripped bare the “reform” movement, showing it to be not a civil rights movement but a privatization movement funded by billionaires and religious zealots.

About half the Republican Senators have received substantial campaign contributions from the DeVos family. How else to explain their determination to confirm her regardless of mass protests against her. Hers is the first Senate confirmation vote in history that required the intervention of the Vice President to supply a tie-breaking vote. She enters office with no reservoir of public trust.

Strange as it may seem, the confirmation of DeVos is a victory for those who spoke out against her. We joined with many organizations–People for the American Way, the ACLU, and many more–to say NO. The response was overwhelming. The Network for Public Education generated well over half a million emails.

For those of us fighting back against privatization, Betsy DeVos was a great tool for organizing and mobilizing and informing the public. Had there been one courageous Republican, had DeVos been defeated, Trump would have found another privatizer. And the fight would have started over.

She created the informed public we need to build a strong movement against privatization.

Consider this article that appeared in the Washington Post. The author describes herself as someone who was never interested in politics. Having learned about DeVos, the writer became a political activist.

This is the spirit we need to continue the fight for the future of public schools in America.

Playing The Victim: Whoopi Goldberg (Nigger) Calls Herself A “Slave” Despite Making $5 Million A Year On The View…

Million Dollar Slave

Born Caryn Johnson, and co-host of the View, Whoopi Goldberg has decided that being paid $5 million dollars per year to appear on a daytime talk show in which she prattles on about current events in front of a studio audience is tantamount to working in the cotton fields of the South during the time when the Democratic Party was still fighting to maintain slavery.

Sources close to the Daily Mail have reported that Goldberg’s beliefs erupted in an unprofessional manner when she found out that the ABC executives were considering renewing her contract at a lesser amount of ONLY $2 million a year. That salary is clearly a disgrace, and only 40 times larger than that of a police officer or school teacher. Sources claim that Goldberg began marching up and down the halls declaring,


The comments made the rest of the staff members uncomfortable, but the Oscar winning actress didn’t stop there,


To add to the turmoil over contract negotiations, Goldberg has also allegedly butted heads with the View’s new consulting producer Candi Carter, who had the nerve to move the Hot Topics meeting from 9am to 8:30am. That’s a full thirty minutes of extra work that Carter would be asking Whoopi to take on to earn her multi million dollar salary. Goldberg made it clear that she was upset and would not be giving in to the obvious slave-master-like demands that would require her to come in early.


Goldberg must be correct that she is being treated like a slave, only I am having a difficult time finding any references or accounts that tell the story of any slave in America’s distant past in which a slave owner was asked to go to work a half hour early, participate in the strenusous activity of chit-chat, and during the course of the year, being compensated with millions of dollars.

Perhaps Whoopi is referring to a new kind of slavery that nobody knows about yet.

Haifa residents say Arab-Jewish relations remain strong, despite arson accusations

As the flames that overtook sections of Haifa largely settled by Sunday, residents were left with accusations that Arab-led arson attacks were the cause – threatening the Arab-Jewish coexistence for which the coastal city has become world-renowned.

Speaking in Haifa on Thursday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We are facing the terror of arsonists,” as Education Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted,“Only he to whom the land doesn’t belong is capable of burning it.”

Yet Haifa residents who spoke with The Jerusalem Post on Sunday said that such accusations were brought in by outsiders  and foreign to Haifa.

“We think that the ones that are trying to gain politically from these accusations are the ones talking about incitement,” said Hadash Party secretary in Haifa, Raja Zaatry. “In Haifa the business of racism and incitement does not run well,” said Zaatry, who accused Netanyahu and right-wing MKs of seeking to stoke ethnic tension.

“It is the same as usual, before and after the fire we still say ‘Hi’ in the morning,” said Tidhar Teucher, 40, owner of Fasel cafe on Masada Street. The cafe’s location is a mecca for Haifa’s hip artists, activists, and college students – both Jewish and Arab.

“I think that if this happened in any other place, in Jerusalem for example, the atmosphere would have been much different,” said Zaatry. “We are happy that the coexistence can survive incidents such as these.”

Jewish-Arab relations in Haifa have withstood the test of time, according to Itamar Radai, research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center and academic director of the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation.

“It is too early to estimate the repercussions [of the recent arson accusations], but we can say from the past that the relations have known some serious tests, like the second intifada,” Radai said. “And so far they have remained the same until now.”

Haifa resident Ronen Zeidel lives in the mixed Jewish-Arab Hadar neighborhood and teaches Iraqi history at Haifa University.

“Of course there were discussions and some people were expressing anti-Arab views. There are also anti-Arab feelings here in Haifa,” said Ziedel. “But I don’t think this will effect Haifa. The only thing that will effect Haifa residents is how much they get paid by the government for their [burned and damaged] residences.”

Nevertheless, in Haifa as elsewhere, some people break the mold.

“Two days ago I was at the supermarket and I heard a very anti-Arab speech from the manager, and he didn’t even welcome the Palestinian firefighters,” said Zeidel, “However, I discovered the man’s name was Imad – he was 100% Arab and he was speaking like a Likud supporter – these things happen in Haifa.”

U.S. Officials Defend Integrity of Vote, Despite Hacking Fears

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said on Friday that despite Russian attempts to undermine the presidential election, it has concluded that the results “accurately reflect the will of the American people.”

The statement came as liberal opponents of Donald J. Trump, some citing fears of vote hacking, are seeking recounts in three states — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — where his margin of victory was extremely thin.

A drive by Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, for recounts in those states had brought in more than $5 million by midday on Friday, her campaign said, and had increased its goal to $7 million. She filed for a recount in Wisconsin on Friday, about an hour before the deadline.

In its statement, the administration said, “The Kremlin probably expected that publicity surrounding the disclosures that followed the Russian government-directed compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations, would raise questions about the integrity of the election process that could have undermined the legitimacy of the president-elect.”

That was a reference to the breach of the Democratic National Committee’s email system, and the leak of emails from figures like John D. Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

“Nevertheless, we stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people,” it added.

Supporters of Mrs. Clinton have enthusiastically backed the notion of challenging the results in the three states as a last-ditch effort to reverse Mr. Trump’s clear majority in the Electoral College. They have seized on suggestions by some computer scientists that the states, which were crucial to Mr. Trump’s victory, need to manually review paper ballots to ensure the election was not hacked.

The campaign, uniting around the hashtag #AuditTheVote, has picked up momentum among grass-roots activists still mourning Mr. Trump’s victory. But the pleas for recounts have gained no support from the Clinton campaign, which has concluded that it is highly unlikely to change the outcome.

In Michigan, Ms. Stein must wait for a Monday meeting of the state’s Board of Canvassers to certify the results of the Nov. 8 balloting before filing for a recount. In Pennsylvania, where paper ballots are used only in some areas, election officials said that the deadline to petition for a recount had passed, but that a candidate could challenge the result in court before a Monday deadline.

The recount efforts have generated pushback by experts who said it would be enormously difficult to hack voting machines on a large scale. The administration, in its statement, confirmed reports from the Department of Homeland Security and intelligence officials that they did not see “any increased level of malicious cyberactivity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on Election Day.”

The administration said it remained “confident in the overall integrity of electoral infrastructure, a confidence that was borne out.” It added: “As a result, we believe our elections were free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.”


Emails of John D. Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, were leaked after Russian government-directed hacking. CreditSam Hodgson for The New York Times

However, intelligence officials are still investigating the impact of a broader Russian “information warfare” campaign, in which fake news about Mrs. Clinton, and about United States-Russia relations, appeared intended to influence voters. Many of those false reports originated from RT News and Sputnik, two state-funded Russian sites.

Those fake-news reports were widely circulated on social media, independent studies, including one set for release soon, have shown, sometimes in an organized fashion by groups that appear to have had common ownership. Individuals, conservative talk-show hosts and activists recirculated them, often not knowing, or apparently not caring, about the accuracy of the reports.

But the misinformation effort is far from black-and-white. Many people who spread false news have no connections to any foreign power, including a man in Austin, Tex., who posted a Twitter message saying that paid protesters were being bused to an anti-Trump demonstration there. Though the report quickly went viral, the buses, it turned out, were there for a corporate conference.

Other examples, including one studied by a group called Propaganda or Not and first cited by The Washington Post, appear to have more concrete connections to Russia. In late August, stories suggesting that Mrs. Clinton might have Parkinson’s disease were circulated on, which often runs pro-Russian material. It clearly twisted an email sent by one of Mrs. Clinton’s top aides about a drug called Provigil that is used to treat sleepiness. It has also been prescribed to patients with sleepiness as a side effect from several different ailments, the email added, including “Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.”

That single reference was enough to create a fake story suggesting that Mrs. Clinton was being treated for Parkinson’s.

The allegation was quickly shot down by several news organizations. It made little difference: Propaganda or Not, made up of former national security, intelligence and other professionals, and some workers at Google and other technology firms, concluded that it was reproduced tens of thousands of times, sometimes by botnets, and viewed millions of times.

But it is not known whether that news was circulated under Russian government direction, or simply by Russian sympathizers, or Mrs. Clinton’s opponents.

The barrage of online efforts to influence the election this year has prompted broader concerns that similar attempts, directed by the Kremlin or its surrogates, could now be focused on elections next year in Germany and France. The goal, intelligence officials and outside experts fear, is to undermine the cohesiveness of the Western alliance, particularly NATO members, by calling into question the validity of democratic elections.

“We simply don’t know what the effects of the ‘fake news’ and other disinformation was,” said Jason Healey, an expert on cyberconflict at Columbia University. “If they were able to influence in favor of Trump by one or two percentage points in some places, they will be encouraged to try again for the French and the Germans.”

The efforts have also prompted debate inside Facebook and other social media firms about their responsibility to filter out false news. But doing so is a complex task, akin to editing a news operation, and it comes with complex political calculations: Once social media firms begin editing here to American standards, they will be under pressure from authoritarian regimes to do the same to their standards.

In its statement, the administration focused chiefly on the threat of Russian manipulation of the vote on Election Day, not on the proliferation of propaganda and fake news.

Ms. Stein, of the Green Party, acknowledged on Thursday in an interview with the PBS “NewsHour” that it was unlikely that recounts could change the results. Still, she said that “this was an election in which we saw hacking all over the place,” and that “at the same time, we have a voting system which has been proven to basically be wide open to hackers.”

Despite US veto, resolution condeming Nazi ‘glorification’ passes UN committee vote

Despite the United States voting against it, a resolution that condemns the glorification of Nazis passed a UN General Assembly committee vote Thursday night, according to Russian News Agency Tass.

The UN Social, Humanitarianism and Culture committee passed the vote, 131 states voted in favor, while 48 states abstained, most of which were European Union countries.

The United States, Ukraine and a Palau- a small Island country in the Pacific, were the only three to vote against the resolution.

Anatoly Viktorov, the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry Department for Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights spoke, stressing the importance of the resolution.

Viktorov stated that there are countries that have made “national heros” out of pro-Nazi forces.

The resolution speaks of the concern in the “glorification” of the Nazi movement and of neo-Nazism such as the erecting of monuments or memorials and public demonstrations that glorify anything to do with the Nazi and neo-Nazi movement.

Co-authored by 55 states including Russia, the resolution is set to be brought to the UN General Assembly by the end of the year.

The vote, which happens for the same resolution annually, was vetoed by the US in 2014 and 2015 as well.

In 2014 Terri Robl, who was at the time the US deputy representative to the UN Economic and Social Council, explained her opposition to the resolution, stating that the Russian government had thrown around terms such as Nazi and fascist for its own political ends.

“We believe Russia’s efforts at the General Assembly, via this resolution, are aimed at its opponents, rather than at promoting or protecting human rights,” she said.

NY hassidic village (Kikes) loyal to Clinton despite Trump popularity among ultra-Orthodox (Kikes)

NEW YORK – Back in 2000, when she was running to represent New York in the Senate, Hillary Clinton benefited from the almost unanimous vote of one small Jewish hassidic village in Rockland County called New Square.

This week, running for president, Clinton is once again expected to be the favorite of New Square – a town comprised mostly of Skver Hassidim – whose loyalty runs counter to the prevailing trend of the American Jewish community. While overall support among American Jews traditionally leans Democratic in presidential elections, polls have shown that when it comes to Orthodox voters, the tendency is reversed.

According to the famous 2013 Pew Research Center study on American Jewry, 57% of Orthodox Jewish voters are Republican or lean Republican, and only 36% are Democrats or lean Democratic.

More recently, an American Jewish Committee survey published in September showed 50% of Orthodox respondents prefer Donald Trump, and only 21% side with Clinton.

CEO of the public affairs consulting firm The Friedlander Group, Ezra Friedlander, an Orthodox Jew himself who has accompanied many presidential candidates in visits to the community this year, is familiar with the community in New Square.

A day before the election, Friedlander told The Jerusalem Post that he believes the local Skver hassidic community, like the Satmar Hassidim who have already endorsed her, will cast its vote for Clinton because of their long-time ties.

“The hassidic community has a relationship with Hillary Clinton,” he said.

“She was the senator from New York for eight years, so she knows the community. Donald Trump, by comparison, although he is from New York, never interacted with the Jewish community, let alone the hassidic community. He never really took the time to understand that community. He could be proud of the fact that his daughter is Jewish, but to present that as making the case is insulting in a way.”

But Clinton’s’ relationship with the hassidic community in New Square, some 50 kilometers north of Manhattan, has been in the public eye before she was even contemplating a presidential run.

In 1999, four residents of New Square – Kalmen Stern, David Goldstein, Benjamin Berger and Jacob Elbaum – were convicted of bilking the US government of tens of millions of dollars. They were all sentenced to between two and six years in prison.

Two years later in January 2001, then president Bill Clinton decided to shorten the prison terms of the group – nicknamed the New Square Four – as he was about to leave office.

The decision raised many questions whether the clemency was granted in exchange for votes in favor of Hillary Clinton, who had just won her Senate seat two months earlier.

This was especially suspicious since Clinton and her husband had met with leaders of the New Square community during her campaign, and on Election Day, the hassidic village voted almost unanimously for Hillary Clinton.

An investigation was opened into that clemency and over a hundred other pardons granted by President Clinton during his term, but no charges were filed. Overseeing the case was then US attorney for the Southern District of New York James Comey, who now serves as FBI director and has investigated Hillary Clinton’s email scandal in recent weeks.

“It’s a community comprised of God-fearing Jews who yearn to worship and raise their families in the tradition of their forebears,” Ezra Friedlander told the Post. “Like all communities, you have individuals and leaders who are involved and you have people who are less involved and go about their daily lives without giving it a thought.

Then again, I believe they are aware of the election, and I hope they’ll go and vote. When you’re part of a community, and if you’re on the lower socioeconomic level, then you are worried about making ends meet. You want to have a social safety net, or you are worried about antisemitism, the safety of the world, the commitment to Israel-US relationship. These are all issues that concern all members of the hassidic community, and it’s a concern to the New Square community as well.”

Beyond New Square, Friedlander said, the hassidic vote is much more complex than some of the candidates he has met during the campaign realize.

“One size doesn’t fit all,” Friedlander said. “You cannot come into the hassidic or Orthodox community, say ‘I love Israel’ and sing ‘Hava Nagila’ with a nice black yarmulka and think you are gonna pick up the entire vote. People want more nuanced positions, people are afraid, people are worried, people cannot make ends meet.”

New Square Mayor Izzy Spitzer, who refused requests to be interviewed by the Post, reportedly sat in on the 2000 meetings with Bill and Hillary Clinton, along with the Skver Grand Rabbi David Twersky, during which it was alleged that clemency for the New Square Four was discussed.

New Square in New York is an ultrastrict community of hassidic rule: the town has gender segregated sidewalks, women from the community are not allowed to drive, people can only use “kosher cellphones” with web filtering, and women are banned from using smartphones altogether.

Author Shulem Deen, who was expelled from the Skver community at age 30 some 10 years ago, explained that when voting, New Square residents’ main concerns are very practical: making a living and sustain their families.

“One of the things that characterizes this community is that they emphasize large families and the importance of Torah study,” Deen said.

This, he said, means that women are busy taking care of children and the household, and the men tend to have very meager secular education, which allows them to have only lowskill jobs. The result is that one of the main sources of support and revenue for New Square families is government assistance.

“So one of the cornerstones of their economic system is being on really cozy terms with elected officials, in order to get whatever you can get from the government,” Deen said. “This leads them to emphasize the importance of votes, and they don’t really consider the personal politics or the identity issues in the politician.

“One of the things you’ll never hear someone in New Square talk about is an elected official being gay, or an elected official being pro-abortion or something like that,” he added. “They don’t care about the issues that other Americans care about. They have very narrow interests, and so they vote based on those interests.

“I don’t say that as a judgment,” Deen said. “This is simply how they work their system. If there is a woman in government, that doesn’t bother them in the least, because that woman is not a woman from their community, and they don’t require the world to live as they live. The important thing for them is that it’s a candidate who supports their interests.”

Deen said he remembers the time Clinton came to New Square during her senate run in 2000, and how she held a women-only rally in town before meeting with the rebbe of New Square.

“There was a lot of talk then of whether there was a quid pro quo,” he said.

“It was pretty clear to me at the time that the New Square community tried to win her favor, and she wanted to win their support. They got what they wanted, and she got what she wanted. Whether that was explicit or not, it’s pretty clear that it was an arrangement that worked for both of them.”

In general, Deen told the Post, the hassidic community tends to align with the candidate that is most likely to win.

“They don’t want to be betting on a losing horse because they need that horse’s support after,” he said. “Typically, if there was a clear front-runner, they went for the front-runner.”

Despite polls bump, Clinton can’t shed ‘dishonest’ image

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Clinton bested Donald Trump in three debates. She leads in many preference polls of the most competitive states. Barring a significant shift in the next two weeks, she is in a strong position to become the first woman elected US president.

But Clinton will end the campaign still struggling to change the minds of millions of voters who don’t think well of her, a glaring liability should the Democratic nominee move on to the White House.

While many see her as better prepared to be commander in chief than Trump, she is consistently viewed unfavorably by more than half of the country. Most voters also consider her dishonest.

Clinton’s advisers have spent months trying to erase that perception. They’ve set up small events where she had more intimate conversations with voters. They’ve tested a seemingly endless stream of messages aimed at assuring the public that the former secretary of state was in the race to do more than fulfill her own political ambitions.

As Clinton starts making her closing argument to voters, her team appears to have come to terms that the mission remains unfulfilled.

“Honest and trustworthy has become our most talked about metric because it’s not great,” said Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director. “But we’ve never thought it’s the metric people make a decision on.”

Hillary Clinton shakes hands with Donald Trump while attending the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria on October 20, 2016 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

If Clinton wins, that theory may be proven true.

Just 36 percent of voters believe Clinton is honest and trustworthy, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. That’s compared with about 60 percent who believe she has the qualifications and temperament to be commander in chief.

The public’s perception of Clinton has bounced up and down throughout her time in public life. Her favorability rating fell below 50 percent at times during her years as first lady, but rose to its high water mark then and while she was as secretary of state under President Barack Obama.

Democrats blame some of the current negative personal perceptions of Clinton on the hard-charging tactics she’s used to try to discredit Trump, though they believe her sustained assault on Trump’s character and temperament has been crucial.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Party operatives also say Trump’s personal attacks on Clinton have made it all but impossible for more positive messages to break through. He’s called her a “liar,” a “nasty woman” and pledged to put her in jail.

“When you’re under relentless assault from a reality TV star, it’s hard to come out of that with anybody feeling good about anyone,” said Bill Burton, a former Obama aide.

Still, Clinton’s advisers acknowledge that some of her troubles have been of her own making, including her penchant for privacy.

She’s spent nearly the entire campaign struggling to explain why she used a private email server in the basement of her home while she led the State Department. She hid a pneumonia diagnosis this fall from nearly all of her senior staff, then left the public unaware of her condition and whereabouts for 90 minutes after the illness caused her to rush out of a public event in New York.

“She is a politician that does not seek to be the center of attention and is inherently more private than most politicians, certainly presidential candidates,” Palmieri said. “That doesn’t always serve you great in a campaign for president.”

Clinton frequently shoots down questions about the public’s negative perceptions by saying she’s viewed more positively when she’s doing a job rather than running for one. There’s some evidence to back that up.

When she ran for re-election to the Senate from New York in 2006, she won with 67 percent of the vote, a big jump from the 55 percent share from her first race in 2000. Her approval rating when she left the State Department, where her job kept her out of day-to-day politics, sat at an enviable 65 percent, according to the Pew Research Center.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

But if Clinton is elected president, she won’t have the luxury she had as secretary of state to stay away from the political fray — with Republicans in Washington in the opposition, and possibly Trump, too.

The businessman keeps flirting with the idea he could contest the election results if he loses. There are also persistent rumors that, if he is loses, he might try to harness the enthusiasm of his millions of supporters into some type of media venture.

“The notion that Trump is going to go quietly into the night and wish her Godspeed is highly unlikely,” said David Axelrod, another former Obama adviser. “She’s going to have to contend with that and whatever it is he chooses to make his vehicle.”

Clinton has begun acknowledging the challenge that could await her in the White House, if she wins, centering her closing argument to voters on a call for unity after a bitter campaign.

“My name may be on the ballot, but the question really is who are we as a country, what are our values, what kind of a future do we want to create together,” she said Friday at a rally in Ohio.

Some Democrats see the transition — the two month-plus stretch between the November 8 election and the January 20 inauguration — as a crucial opportunity for her to signal, if she wins, that a Clinton White House would be different from a Clinton campaign.

In a nod to bipartisanship, she could nominate a Republican for her Cabinet. Clinton could start moving on some of her more broadly popular policy proposals as a way of boosting her appeal, assuming no crisis demands immediate action.

Still, Axelrod said changing the public’s view of Clinton will be a “long-term project.”

“There’s no silver bullet to turn around years of wear and tear on her image,” he said.

Trump gains on Clinton despite furor over women, election comments

Donald Trump gained on Hillary Clinton among American voters this week, cutting her lead nearly in half despite a string of women accusing him of unwanted sexual advances and the furor over his disputed claims that the election process is rigged, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.

The survey also showed that 63 percent of Americans, including a third of Republicans, believe the New York real estate mogul has committed sexual assault in the past, though the Republican presidential candidate has denied the recent accusations.

Clinton, the Democratic former secretary of state, led Trump 44 percent to 40 percent, according to the Oct. 14-20 poll, a 4-point lead, with the Nov. 8 election fast approaching. That compared with 44 percent for Clinton and 37 percent for Trump in the Oct. 7-13 poll released last week.

Clinton’s lead also shrank in a separate four-way poll that included alternative party candidates: 43 percent supported her, while 39 percent supported Trump, 6 percent supported Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, and 2 percent supported Jill Stein of the Green Party.

Support for Clinton had been mostly rising in the seven-day tracking poll since the last week of August, when the candidates were about tied.

The latest reading showed that Trump’s deficit narrowed to what it was before a video surfaced on Oct. 7 featuring him bragging about groping and kissing women. Several women have since accused him of making unwanted sexual advances in separate incidents from the early 1980s to 2007.

Trump has denied the allegations, calling them “totally and absolutely false.”

The latest poll included a separate series of questions that asked people what they thought of Trump’s conduct around women. It found 63 percent of American adults, including 34 percent of likely Republican voters, agreed with the statement “I believe Donald Trump has committed sexual assault in the past.”

Reuters contacted a few of the poll respondents who said they felt that Trump had “committed sexual assault” but were still supporting his candidacy. Their answers were generally the same: Whatever Trump did with women in the past is less important to them than what he may do as president.

“I’m embarrassed that our country can’t come up with better candidates, to be honest with you,” said Evelyn Brendemuhl, 83, of Hope, North Dakota. But “he’ll appoint more conservative judges, and she’s (Clinton) pro-abortion, and I’m not for that.”

Gary Taylor, 59, a Republican from Colorado said his support stemmed mostly from a desire to see “something different than the last eight years” in the White House.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English in all 50 states. It included 1,640 people who were considered likely voters, given their voting history, registration status and stated intention to vote. It has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points, meaning results could vary by that much either way.

The poll questions on Trump’s unwanted sexual advances scandal were asked of 1,915 American adults, including 546 likely Republican voters. It had a credibility interval of 3 percentage points for all adults and 5 points for Republican voters.

Despite reconciliation, Turkey presses on with trial of IDF officers

The recent reconciliation deal between Israel and Turkey hit a bump on Wednesday, when a Turkish court refused to dismiss a case against members of the Israeli military, a key condition of the agreement.

Dismissing the legal charges against IDF officers connected to a 2010 naval raid on a Turkish flotilla trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip was a key Israeli demand in the talks.

But, Channel 2 television reported, a court in Istanbul on Wednesday refused to dismiss the case and, instead postponed the hearing until December.

The raid, in which IDF commandos were attacked by activists on board the Mavi Marmara vessel, left 10 Turks dead and several Israeli soldiers wounded. Israel several weeks ago paid Turkey $20 million in compensation for the deadly raid, another central pillar of the deal.

Activists on the 'Mavi Marmara' preparing to attack IDF soldiers (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

The compensation was a key Turkish demand in the reconciliation deal, along with an apology by Israel and an easing of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Israel made the apology three years ago, and while the blockade remains in place — due to Israeli concerns that Hamas would import weapons and other materiel — Ankara has been able to resume delivery of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians through Israeli ports.

The two countries were expected to announce new ambassadors later this month. The exchange of diplomats, who were pulled out of both countries even though formal relations were never fully severed, is the last central element of the agreement signed in June to restore ties.

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