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Over the past week, President Donald Trump welcomed Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe of Japan, Justin Trudeau of Canada and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to the White House.
Before Trump welcomed Shinzo Abe and his wife to the United States last weekend, he already had a big fan club in Japan. This video was filmed on Inauguration Day:
The Abes were in Washington DC on Friday, February 10. Trump and Abe held a joint press conference, wherein Trump pledged ‘even closer’ relations with Japan, including reaffirming America’s security guarantee:
The two leaders met privately before posing for a photo op:
The Daily Mail reported that Mrs Trump did not guide Mrs Abe around Washington, because the latter already had plans for the day: a visit to Gallaudet University for the deaf and hard of hearing followed by a National Cherry Blossom Festival committee meeting at the Japanese Embassy. There is also a language barrier. Mrs Trump does not speak Japanese, and Mrs Abe does not speak English.
However, they rode together that afternoon to meet their husbands for a weekend at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach:
This video shows their arrival in Florida. Each leader had his own entourage. This was the roadside reception for Trump. Abe must have been impressed:
That evening, they had dinner with Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, Superbowl LI champions:
On Saturday, Trump and Abe discussed issues of the day over a round of golf:
Meanwhile, Melania Trump took Akie Abe for a tour of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden in Delray Beach, not far from Palm Beach, where the two couples spent the weekend.
Afterwards, the first lady took Mrs Abe to the Episcopal church where she and Trump got married, Bethesda-by-the-Sea:
A working dinner followed:
That evening, while the couples were having dinner, North Korea launched a missile into the Sea of Japan. The two leaders made an impromptu joint statement:
Trump met with Justin Trudeau on Monday, February 13. This was a day trip.
The neighboring leaders, polar opposites in nearly every way, took up the thorny subjects of trade and immigration, with Trudeau eager to build a relationship with the new U.S. president.
At a joint press conference after a series of meetings, the two emphasized their shared goals. Trump pledged to work with Canada “in pursuit of our many shared interests.” Trudeau spoke of a special bond and the “deep abiding respect” between the two countries, though he also said that “relationships between neighbors are pretty complex.”
While the two leaders stressed shared interests, their contrasting views were also on display. Responding to questions from reporters, Trump defended his refugee and immigration orders, saying that “we cannot let the wrong people in.” Trudeau, on the other hand, said Canada continues to “pursue our policies of openness.”
Trudeau later noted that there have been times when the two countries “have differed in our approaches.” But he said “the last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they chose to govern themselves.”
Trudeau gave the president a photo. It was of Trump and Justin’s father, the late Pierre Trudeau, also a prime minister of Canada.
Trudeau also met legislators at Capitol Hill.
Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara arrived at the White House on Thursday, February 16.
This is their formal welcome to the White House, followed by friendly conversation — they met at Trump’s residence in Trump Tower after the election — and the official photo op:
This short video from Netanyahu’s Twitter encapsulates the highlights of the day:
Trump and Netanyahu held a joint press conference before their private meeting:
NPR has a transcript of the press conference. Topics included the usual concerns, primarily peace in Israel and in the Middle East:
While the two leaders met, their wives went to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. This was apposite as February is Black History Month in the United States. Museum guides provided the two ladies with assistance in viewing important exhibits and interactive displays:
Trump’s meeting with Netanyahu was a sharp and welcome departure from the Israeli’s meeting with Obama in 2014. The Atlantic detailed the breakdown in the relationship, with one White House staffer calling Netanyahu a particularly vulgar word denoting a coward.
For that Obama staffer, if this is what a coward looks like, then I’m the pope. This is Bibi as a young man (courtesy of The_Donald):
As you can see below, Trump picked up on that at the time. Here’s a comparison between Obama and Netanyahu:
Now back to the 2017 visit. The Daily Mail has a complete rundown, including photos, of the Netanyahu visit to Washington.
Melania Trump’s white suit is a Karl Lagerfeld creation.
Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, thought to be a prime mover in strengthening US-Israeli relations, attended the press conference. The Kushners also know the Netanyahus well.
That evening, the Trumps co-hosted a dinner for the Netanyahus. Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) and his wife Jeanette were the other co-hosts.
Joel Pollak wrote a good article on Breitbart, detailing five ways in which this visit will improve relations between the US and Israel, not to mention the Middle East with regard to terror.
In closing, this was the fourth state visit Trump has hosted within the past three weeks.
I am not sure when we had such great presidential optics online. Despite all the slings and arrows the new president continues to take, this one best sums up his inner serenity. From the Abe visit to Mar-A-Lago (note Mike Flynn standing in front of the statue):
The Trump meetings have terrific photos and videos. Long may they continue.
Pat Condell — a British atheist — asks why the West is so tolerant of the Palestinians. Why do we give them so much monetary aid and verbal cover when they are determined to destroy Israel?
Condell condends that Israel is the only buffer between civilisation and radical Islam.
This is a short film and, as always, Condell speaks his mind concisely and eloquently, yet politely:
Leftist Protestants, please take note.
Two stories today about our green and sceptred isle.
The first comes from Cranmer. Two schools near Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire — home to the potteries — have decided to dispense with free New Testaments with Psalms from the Gideons. What makes this even worse is that one of them is named after a clergyman: Abbot Beyne.
Abbot Beyne School began as a grammar school endowed by Abbot William George Arthur Beyne Jr. in the early 16th century, functioning by 1531. The boys’ grammar school moved to Winshill in 1957. It was administered by the County Borough of Burton upon Trent, known as The Grammar School with about 600 boys. The girls’ high school opened in 1928. From April 1974 it was administered by Staffordshire County Council …
Abbot Beyne boasts an array of sporting facilities, including; two gymnasiums, rugby pitches, two athletic tracks, two football pitches and numerous tennis courts.
It gets GCSE and A-level results above the England average, with the A-level results being slightly better than the GCSE results.
Okay, so we discover the kids can read and add up. And who needs Holy Scripture when you’re into sport? It’s, like, so much cooler.
The other school is Paget High School, located in Branston:
There are two schools in Branston, Rykneld Primary School and Paget High School.
Also a major part of Branston these days is the Centrum 100 Retail/Business Park, home to business such as Punch Taverns, Currys, McDonalds and shops like Morrisons and the Bannatyne Health Club.
The name Branston is Old English and means an estate belonging to a man called Brant, a personal name of Scandinavian origin. The medieval village stood near the river, its position decided by its proximity to a ford.
In 942 King Edmund granted an estate at Branston to Wulfsige the Black, possibly an ancestor of Wulfric Spot, the founder of Burton Abbey, and in 1066 it was held by Godgifu (Lady Godiva), the widow of Leofric, Earl of Mercia.
I like the way Branston’s entry talks about banal shop and hospitality chains before actually getting to the town’s history, which is far more interesting. (Note to self: research Wulfric Spot.) Perhaps that tells us something about the local mindset. If so, more’s the pity.
Cranmer takes up the story (emphases mine):
It transpires that the head teachers of the Abbot Beyne School and Paget High School near Burton On Trent in Staffordshire have decided that the dispensing of God’s Word ‘may spark complaints from different faiths’. They have, of course, received none: once again, we have the over-zealous, politically-correct invocation of multicultural sensitivities intervening to prevent a distinctly remote possibility if not a highly unlikely probability.
Maggie Tate, deputy head teacher of Abbot Beyne, said: “The reason we stopped the Gideons coming in is that we are a comprehensive multi-faith school. We felt it was inappropriate to allow one faith group to distribute material in school.”
Well, Ms Tate, His Grace has got a bit of news for you. This is not the United States of America: we have an Established Church. It is insufficient for you to be giving ‘moral-themed assemblies’ and your boast that your school has ‘the highest proportion of pupils in Staffordshire sitting GCSEs in religious education’ is irrelevant. The law (Educations Acts of 1944, 1988 and 2006) requires you hold a daily act of collective worship which is ‘broadly Christian’. While ‘moral-themed’ may indeed constitute that which is ‘broadly Christian’, your prohibitive edict on the Gideons suggests that your understanding of the law as it relates to Religious Education is flawed. You are required by statute to give primacy to the Christian faith in order ‘to reflect the history, traditions and majority make-up of the country’ (Education Acts of 1988, 1996 and 1998). By banning the free distribution of the New Testament, and by censoring the gospel message of the Gideons, your contempt for the history, traditions and majority make-up of the country is manifest.
As for Paget:
Don Smith, the head teacher of Paget High School, said: “As a non-denominational school we do not allow any religious groups to come in and give out literature. If we allowed the Gideons into school then we would have to allow other groups too. While we teach pupils about different religions, we do not want people coming in to the school and pushing their own religious views.”
Wow — ‘pushing their own religious views’. That from a head teacher (equivalent of a principal).
Cranmer points out:
no other religion is known for distributing free text books en masse to the nation’s schoolchildren … But what would it matter if other groups did bring in free literature? Why can’t such books and pamphlets constitute resources in the nation’s impoverished RE departments? Why can’t they be used to stimulate discussion and critical debate? Why not let the students ridicule, criticise, reflect, consider and decide for themselves what they want to send to Room 101, instead of instituting a draconian blanket ban upon everyone?
Agreed. He adds:
But it’s perfectly in order for him to forge a ‘multicultural’ ethos and inculcate his staff to induct children into his personal spiritual worldview, despite the doctrine of state multiculturalism having been criticised by the Chairman of the Equalities Commission and condemned by the Prime Minister.
It is in the nation’s schools that the real battle is being waged for the nation’s soul. Our future depends upon our children. We cannot leave them entirely to secular-minded head teachers and left-leaning teachers, and neither can we devolve entirely control over the curriculum. There is a tension here, but the Church of England’s via media lights the way.
And long may it continue to do so.
The next story is from Israel Matzav about the Ahava cosmetics shop in Covent Garden. Carl in Jerusalem writes:
Pro-‘Palestinian’ thugs have forced the Ahava cosmetics store to move out of London’s swanky Covent Garden neighborhood.
The owner of the shop, currently in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, is looking for other sites after owners of neighbouring stores complained to the landlord following protests.
A spokeswoman for Shaftesbury PLC, which owns the property as well as several others in the Seven Dials area, said: “When Ahava’s lease expires in September, we will not offer them a new one” …
Last week, four demonstrators stood trial for aggravated trespass after they chained themselves to a concrete block inside the store last year.
Colin George, manager of clothes shop The Loft, next door to Ahava, said: “I’m pleased Ahava is leaving. It’s brought the street down. I’ve complained to the landlords, as has everyone here. Everyone would like them to leave. I wish they had left two years ago.
“Protesters are just going to follow them around, wherever they go. Maybe they should be an online business instead.”
Wow. I bet if Ahava were affiliated with another world faith, Mr George would not have been so cavalier. If this were so upsetting, why didn’t the other shopkeepers and the landlord confront all the protesters and ask them to leave? No, it’s much easier to carp about Israel and how awful businesses who trade with the country are. Pathetic.
I hope that Ahava find new and equally well-situated premises soon.
The common catalysts for stories like this are generally leftists. See for yourself — if you haven’t already — as you read similar stories.