Joel B. Pollak

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large and in-house counsel at Breitbart News. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he also has a degree in Jewish Studies from the University of Cape Town. He ran for Congress in 2010 in his hometown of Skokie, IL and worked as a Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute, as well as speechwriter to the Leader of the Opposition in the South African Parliament. He enjoys improv comedy, rock 'n' roll, and the literature of liberal apostates and iconoclasts. His wife Julia is a Ph.D. Fellow at the Pardee Rand Graduate School and his daughter Maya is unbelievably cute.

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Sanity Prevails in Senate Debate on Sexual Assault in Military

Last week, the U.S. Senate chose between two competing bills on sexual assault in the military. The successful bill, authored by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), prevents those accused of crimes from using positive character evidence--the so-called "good soldier" defense--in their trials. The failed bill, by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), would have removed authority from commanding officers in sexual assault cases. It failed to reach cloture. Mar 10, 2014 11:07 PM PT

Netanyahu Blasts World's Hypocrisy on Iranian Weapons

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked what he described as global hypocrisy on Iran, noting that the world's leaders had largely failed to condemn a large Iranian shipment of weapons to Palestinian terrorist groups that Israeli naval commandos intercepted last week. Instead, he said, while Iran prepared to kill civilians, diplomats were shaking hands with the regime in Tehran and talking about a thaw in relations. Mar 10, 2014 10:42 PM PT

Obama's Quadrennial Defense Review Calls for 'Engaging' Russia

The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) released last week--in the midst of the Ukraine crisis, and as Russian troops poured into the Crimea--calls for the U.S. to continue to "engage" Russia. The QDR, prepared by the Pentagon, is a comprehensive guide to U.S. military strategy and is used to coordinate procurement and policy across the entire administration. Its recommendations on Russia acknowledge growing threats, but call for new nuclear reductions, even beyond those undertaken in the New START treaty with Russia in late 2010. Mar 10, 2014 10:51 AM PT

In Donning Hijab, EU's Ashton Signals Surrender to Iran

You don't have to regard the Islamic hijab, the headscarf worn by women to preserve their modesty, as a symbol of oppression to object to the spectacle of western diplomats wearing them when negotiating with or meeting with representatives and leaders in the Muslim world. The late Oriana Falacci, in a gesture celebrated later by Christopher Hitchens (who, sadly, has also left us), famously tore off the garment she had been made to wear--in the midst of an interview with Ayatollah Khomeini. In diplomacy, respect must flow in both directions. Mar 10, 2014 10:22 AM PT

Israel Releases Full Report on Iranian Weapons Ship

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released the first photographs of the full weapons cargo of the Klos C, the ship seized by Israeli naval commandos in the Red Sea last Tuesday en route from Iran to Sudan, with advanced missiles and other weapons destined for smuggling to terrorists in Hamas-controlled Gaza. Tweeting under the hashtag "#IranFail", the IDF showed an array of Syrian M-302 surface-to-surface missiles at the port of Eilat. Mar 10, 2014 5:47 AM PT

California Democrats Put Pot Plank in Party Platform

The Democratic Party of California voted on Sunday to add the full legalization of marijuana to their party's platform in time for the 2014 elections. Despite vocal opposition from Gov. Jerry Brown--“How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?”--the state's hegemonic ruling party is determined not to be outdone by Colorado and other states that have fully legalized the drug, with impacts still unknown. Mar 10, 2014 5:33 AM PT

Report: Netanyahu Considering 'Belgian' Model for Peace

The Times of Israel reported over the weekend that Israeli Prime Minister has dispatched researchers to study part of the international border between Belgium and the Netherlands, which includes a "highly complex," non-linear border, "under which citizens of one country live in enclaves within the other, as a possible precedent to enable Jewish settlers in the West Bank to remain under Israeli rule inside a future Palestinian state."  Mar 10, 2014 5:15 AM PT

Gates's Lame Defense of Obama on Crimea

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates offered a weak defense of President Barack Obama's policy on the Crimea on Fox News Sunday, telling host Chris Wallace that the Crimea was "gone" and that "some of the domestic criticism ought to be toned down while he's trying to handle this crisis." Noting that Russia had invaded Georgia while George W. Bush was president, Gates said there was not much Obama could have done. Mar 9, 2014 8:49 AM PT

The Honor Flight from CPAC

Touching down at Los Angeles International, on the transcontinental flight from Dulles. Just over five hours, coast-to-coast. Not bad. Even got some work done and caught the last half hour of 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. The pilot welcomes us to L.A. The weather is about 40 degrees warmer than in D.C. Good to be home. Mar 9, 2014 6:11 AM PT

McClintock on CA Drought: 'We Are Being Governed by People Who Are Out of Their Minds'

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) warns that California’s water crisis will continue until there are major changes in state government, and until Republicans win the U.S. Senate. “We are being governed by people who are out of their minds,” McClintock said, referring to the inability of state and federal authorities to manage California’s water supply. Mar 7, 2014 3:58 PM PT

HuffPo Slams CPAC over Exclusion of Gays, 25 Minutes Too Early

Having just published a column in which I called the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference "the gayest CPAC ever," I was surprised to read a piece by Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post claiming that gay rights were "missing" at CPAC. Terkel claims that gay issues weren't mentioned at all at the conference: Mar 7, 2014 3:36 PM PT

Crimea and the Limits of Gestural Foreign Policy

By the end of the week, the Obama administration had begun to do what it had declined, at first, to do after Russia made its “uncontested arrival” in the Crimea. It had provided loan guarantees to Ukraine, and promises of further aid. It had sent Secretary of State John Kerry to stand in solidarity in Maidan Square. And it sailed the USS Truxtun into the Black Sea. Mar 7, 2014 3:16 PM PT


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