Saturday, October 2, 2010

Is stuxnet the new Ultra?


by Mladen Andrijasevic

Few people realize the importance of Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski. These three Polish mathematicians and cryptologists solved the Enigma machine in 1932, the main cipher used by the Germans, and in 1939 transferred their knowledge to the British who under the leadership of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park continued to penetrate most of the German communication during WWII.

The history of WWII would have been quite different if it had not been for Ultra as the intelligence obtained through breaking Enigma was called. The anti submarine warfare in the Battle of the Atlantic was won almost entirely thanks to Ultra. Many of the major battles of the Second World War, The Battle of Britain, El Alamein, Stalingrad, Kursk, D-Day were won at least partly because Ultra had broken the German code.

But all this was unknown until 30 years after the end of the Second Word War.

So what is one to make of the articles like this one in Computerworld Is Stuxnet the 'best' malware ever?

The Stuxnet worm is a "groundbreaking" piece of malware so devious in its use of unpatched vulnerabilities, so sophisticated in its multipronged approach, that the security researchers who tore it apart believe it may be the work of state-backed professionals.

"It's amazing, really, the resources that went into this worm," said Liam O Murchu, manager of operations with Symantec's security response team.

"I'd call it groundbreaking," said Roel Schouwenberg, a senior antivirus researcher at Kaspersky Lab. In comparison, other notable attacks, like the one dubbed Aurora that hacked Google's network and those of dozens of other major companies, were child's play.

The malware, which weighed in a nearly half a megabyte -- an astounding size, said Schouwenberg -- was written in multiple languages, including C, C++ and other object-oriented languages, O Murchu added.

Or this one in The Economist A cyber-missile aimed at Iran?

But the possibility that it might have been aimed at one set of industrial-control systems in particular—those inside Iranian nuclear facilities—has prompted one security expert to describe Stuxnet as a "cyber-missile", designed to seek out and destroy a particular target. Its unusual sophistication, meanwhile, has prompted speculation that it is the work of a well-financed team working for a nation state, rather than a group of rogue hackers trying to steal industrial secrets or cause trouble. This, in turn, has led to suggestions that Israel, known for its high-tech prowess and (ahem) deep suspicion of Iran's nuclear programme, might be behind it. But it is difficult to say how much truth there is in this juicy theory.

Are we witnessing the first visible stages of the war against the Iranian nuclear sites? Although the worm can apparently be patched I can imagine the level of concern that is spreading among the Iranians is significant. Will it take 30 years to find out what has happened?

Is Israel involved? Should we be surprised if it were? Not really. One just needs to read the book Start-Up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer to get the magnitude of Israel’s achievement in computer technology in the last 30 years. The 8088 chip used in the original IBM PC was designed in Haifa, the 386 in Jerusalem. Centrino and Core 2 Duo, and most of the Intel’s forty new processors over a one-hundred-day period were based on Intel’s Israeli team’s design.

Is stuxnet just the tip of the iceberg? Will computer know-how play the same role Ultra played in the Second World War? Let’s hope so. Is the ingenuity, innovation and chutzpah that made the Israeli computer revolution possible now being utilized to counter the Iranian threat? Apparently.

There is a difference. The scientific and technological achievement of both sides during Word War II was comparable. Britain had the radar and Alan Turing, the Americans the Manhattan project. The Germans had Karl Zuse, who invented the first electro-mechanical computer and Wernher von Braun. Today the difference is between a country (or countries) that virtually invented the technology and one that is still leaning how to use it. Let’s hope that this difference will prove crucial.

Mladen Andrijasevic


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Kenny Gamble Nets Another $500K from Taxpayers


by David J. Rusin

This year's winners of the U.S. Department of Education's $500,000 Promise Neighborhoods planning grants — used by recipients to "create plans to provide cradle-to-career services that improve the educational achievement and healthy development of children" — include Philadelphia-based Universal Community Homes, under the direction of a man quite familiar to Islamist Watch: Kenny Gamble, a.k.a. Luqman Abdul Haqq. Naturally the above announcement, the summary of Universal's proposal, Congressman Chaka Fattah's press release, and local news stories all ignore Gamble's associates and dubious agenda, but IW is pleased to fill in a few gaps.

Gamble sits on the governing board of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), a mostly black Muslim group brimming with radicals. The formation of MANA was driven by Jamil al-Amin, now a convicted cop killer; MANA embraces him to this day. Its leader is Siraj Wahhaj, who was fingered as a potential unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and has advocated replacing the Constitution with Shari'a law. Among the board members listed alongside Gamble are Johari Abdul-Malik, outreach coordinator of the terror-tied Dar al-Hijrah mosque, and the late Luqman Ameen Abdullah, a Detroit imam who preached war against the U.S. and was killed in a 2009 shootout with FBI agents.

Gamble's Universal Companies oversees a South Philly real estate empire viewed by many as a burgeoning "black Muslim enclave." Such fears are bolstered by Gamble's United Muslim Movement having a mission of "establishing the religion of Islam," even as its separation from Universal is murky at best. He also has expressed desire to "create a model so that, in the coming years, Muslims would be able to live close to each other, that they would live closer to the masjid, that they would eventually be able to open up businesses so that they would be able to employ each other and develop community life." Confronted about worries that he is building the latest Muslim enclave on U.S. soil, Gamble offered a bizarre endorsement of segregation.

Finally, a recent article exposing the Jawala Scouts, an entity linked to radicals and affiliated with his United Muslim Movement, has opened eyes regarding Gamble's work with children. As described by Joe Kaufman and Beila Rabinowitz, this is an "Islamic paramilitary boys group" whose activities include "hand-to-hand combat, firearms training, and survival tactics."

Imagine the outrage if government funded an organization — regardless of whatever services it provides — headed by a man whose labors suggest an effort to build a "white Christian enclave" and who sits on the board of a Christian group steeped in violent radicalism. Yet Universal has a long history of happily feeding at the public trough. Paul Williams vastly overestimates the total dollar amount in a May 2010 piece, but the real data are bad enough: Philadelphia selling properties, some seized through eminent domain, to Universal for trifling sums; millions of dollars from the city's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative; and on and on.

Universal could receive millions more from D.C. to implement the plan that it now is being paid to conjure up. For readers who believe that $500,000 already is too much for an enterprise led by Gamble, the Department of Ed awaits your feedback (contact info here, arne.duncan@ed.gov).

David J. Rusin

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Are the territories disputed or not?


by Ted Belman


With all the talk about the freeze, announced or de facto, I decided to write an article on the genesis of the freeze thinking it began with the Mitchell Report in the early nineties. Prof Barry Rubin set me straight and advised that in 1993 Israel agreed or at least announced, a freeze. She would not build new settlements but would do infilling of existing settlements.

My research led me to this very important resource, Statements on American Policy toward Settlements by U.S. Government Officials – 1968-2009

    Introduction

    The policy of all Israeli governments since 1967 of settling Israeli citizens in the territories Israel occupied in the 1967 war is regarded by most governments as a violation of international law defined by the “Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.” In 2004, the International Court of Justice confirmed this in an advisory opinion. The United States supported the applicability of the Geneva Convention and the unlawful character of settlements until February 1981 when President Ronald Reagan disavowed this policy by asserting that settlements are “not illegal.

    President Reagan’s policy has been sustained, implicitly, by subsequent U.S. administrations, all of whom have declined to address the legal issue, although they have all opposed, with varying emphasis, settlements or settlement expansion. However, on April 14, 2004, President George W. Bush, in a further retreat from past policy, told Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that, “In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949…”

I presented the truth about the occupation and the settlementsin an article in which I concluded that the FGC does not apply and even if it did, there was nothing to prevent Jews from voluntarily settling in the “occupied territories”.

The first statement of the US government on the matter came in April 8, 1968

    The Johnson Administration

    “Although we have expressed our views to the Foreign Ministry and are confident there can be little doubt among GOI leaders as to our continuing opposition to any Israeli settlements in the occupied areas, we believe it would be timely and useful for the Embassy to restate in strongest terms the US position on this question.

    You should refer to Prime Minister Eshkol’s Knesset statement and our awareness of internal Israeli pressures for settling civilians in occupied areas. The GOI is aware of our continuing concern that nothing be done in the occupied areas which might prejudice the search for a peace settlement. By setting up civilian or quasi-civilian outposts in the occupied areas the GOI adds serious complications to the eventual task of drawing up a peace settlement. Further, the transfer of civilians to occupied areas, whether or not in settlements which are under military control, is contrary to Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, which states “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

    September 10, 1968

    “Arab governments must convince Israel and the world community that they have abandoned the idea of destroying Israel. But equally, Israel must persuade its Arab neighbors and the world community that Israel has no expansionist designs on their territory.”

Already the US government took the position that the FGC applied and that the West Bank was Arab territory; both dubious propositions.

    The Nixon Administration, July 1, 1969

    The expropriation or confiscation of land, the construction of housing on such land, the demolition or confiscation of buildings, including those having historic or religious significance, and the application of Israeli law to occupied portions of the city are detrimental to our common interests in [Jerusalem]. The United States considers that the part of Jerusalem that came under the control of Israel in the June war, like other areas occupied by Israel, is governing the rights and obligations of an occupying Power. Among the provisions of international law which bind Israel, as they would bind any occupier, are the provisions that the occupier has no right to make changes in laws or in administration other than those which are temporarily necessitated by his security interests, and that an occupier may not confiscate or destroy private property. The pattern of behavior authorized under the Geneva Convention and international law is clear: the occupier must maintain the occupied area as intact and unaltered as possible, without interfering with the customary life of the area, and any changes must be necessitated by the immediate needs of the occupation. I regret to say that the actions of Israel in the occupied portion of Jerusalem present a different picture, one which gives rise to understandable concern that the eventual disposition of East Jerusalem may be prejudiced, and that the private rights and activities of the population are already being affected and altered.

    “My Government regrets and deplores this pattern of activity, and it has so informed the Government of Israel on numerous occasions since June 1967. We have consistently refused to recognize those measures as having anything but a provisional character and do not accept them as affecting the ultimate status of Jerusalem. . . .”

Thus the US has consistently refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

This position with the exception of the Reagan recalibration and the Bush ’04 letter continued until today.

What drove the US policy from the beginning was the desire to prevent anything which would “prejudice the search for peace”. This search for peace started with the assumption that the territories were Arab lands and not disputed lands as Israel from time to time asserted.

This is the reason that Israel never asserts her rights to the land. She doesn’t have any in the eyes of the world. She is left to only claim concessions in the name of security. Throughout most of time since the ’67 war, Israel has accepted the American limitations on settlements and simply looked for wiggle room.

Israel has always taken the position that the FGC does not apply and that she would voluntarily be ruled by its humanitarian provisions. Were Israel to have accepted that it applied, she would in effect have accepted that the territories were lands of another party. This she wouldn’t do. Nevertheless she never asserts her rights to them.

Ted Belman

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Diabolically Audacious: Design, Jizya, and Sharia Financing The Ground Zero Mega Mosque


by Pam Geller

Audacious: Design, Jizya, and Sharia Financing
The Ground Zero Mega Mosque

Gzm star

The Islamic supremacists get more bold and naked in their motive. They have released the architectural renderings of the tumbling Star of Davids here. But back in May, it was reported that the morphing mosque had a different architectural plan.

The plan calls for a 15-story building, including two levels below ground. There is no architect. Instead, the builders plan to hold a "world-class design competition."

What happened to the worldwide competition and how did we get the crashing Stars of David?

The Cordoba Park51 announced a new series of renderings of the Cordoba Park51 Community Center, "as prepared by our Architectural Design consultants SOMA Architects."

Soma

soma architects is a multi-diciplinary [sic] office for architecture, design, film and art. based in new york city, it was founded by Michel Abboud (here)

I guess Abboud trumped the world. Let's hope Mr. Abboud's architectural skill surpasses his spelling ability. GZM rendering

Wait, it gets better, I mean worse. Just as it is an Islamic pattern to build triumphal mosques on the cherished sites of conquered lands, it is an Islamic mandate for non-Muslims to pay the jizya, an exorbitant tax on non-Muslims living in Muslim lands. Islam requires people of other faiths to pay money to support the Muslim religion. And here it is no different.

Non-Muslims will pay the exorbitant jizya of $2,700 for the privilege of membership in the Cordoba house, while Muslims will pay the nominal fee of $375 per year.

The NY Times has this:

Mr. Gamal is counting on the center’s eventually having about 4,330 paying members, about half of them paying $2,700 a year for the most expensive family plan, which would include use of a planned fitness center and pool.

Most of that core group, Mr. Gamal expects, would be non-Muslim neighborhood residents and commuters.

Muslims from around the region would make up a larger but less frequently visiting group — what he calls the “dinner and a date” crowd — many of them choosing the cheapest $375 family membership for cultural programs.

But that's not all. Financing to build this mega mosque will come from the sharia -- Islamic bonds, aka sukuk, and the American taxpayer (more jizya):

Most of the financing, Mr. Gamal said on Wednesday, would come through religiously sanctioned bondlike investments known as sukuk, devised in Muslim nations to allow religious Muslims to take part in the global economy and increasingly explored by American banks. Sukuk and other Islamic banking instruments are tracked on the Dow Jones Islamic Market Index.

In sukuk construction projects, the investors own the real estate asset, and the developers lease it back; the investors’ profit on the rent is analogous to the yield on a bond. Some Islamic scholars do not accept the system, but it is widely used in places like Malaysia and Dubai.

Mr. Gamal, a broker and property manager with Soho Properties, uses conventional mortgages on other deals, but said using sukuk would attract a broader range of Muslim investors.

He expects to fund this triumphal mosque with taxpayer dollars.

He restated his hope of getting the bonds issued tax-free through a public development authority, but said he would do so privately — which would require higher payments to investors — if that was not possible. Besides individual investors, Mr. Gamal said he would court corporations interested in tapping Muslim-American markets, foundations that finance international development, and Jewish, Christian and Muslim philanthropists.

Diabolically audacious.

Fight the this monster. Join Robert Spencer and me at Temple University October 7th here and advance the opposition. And don't forget to protest thug developer Sharif El-Gamal's appearance at the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas-linked hatefest on October 9th in Arlington, Virginia.

Doing nothing is not an option.

UPDATE: Soma architects shares the same address as the recently evicted thug Gamal's Soho properties.

UPDATE: Something needs pointing out here. Now the Gamal cabal is saying that most of the people in the area of the center will be non-muslim? Wait a minute. We were told that the Muslim community in lower Manhattan was bursting at the seams and had to have this huge place, right? But according Anne Barnard in today's NY Times piece, most of the people living or working near the center and wanting to use the facilities are not Muslim.

Morphing mosque morphs, yet again.

Pam Geller

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Mr. Abbas, Tear Down This Wall!


by Sol Stern


While the world's headlines focus with exaggerated alarm on Israel's lifting of its ten-month building freeze within Jewish West Bank settlements, an issue of far greater moment for the prospects of peace in the Middle East goes determinedly unaddressed. This is the matter of the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees—a subject on which the Obama administration, a fierce promoter of the building freeze, has been strikingly silent.

In Cairo a little over a year ago, President Obama proclaimed "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world." After reminding his Arab audience that "six million Jews were killed" by the Nazis, he added immediately that, for their part, the Palestinians too "have endured the pain of dislocation" and many still "wait in refugee camps . . . for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead." At the time, a number of commentators objected to the President's seeming equation of the abundantly funded refugee camps run by the United Nations with Nazi death camps. Few, however, pointed out that his explanation of the plight of the Palestinian refugees was false, confusing historical cause and effect.

For it is not the absence of peace that keeps Palestinians "waiting" in refugee camps. Rather, most Arab leaders since 1948, including the current Palestinian leadership itself, insist that the refugees—originally numbering between 500,000 and 750,000 but now swollen through natural increase to over four million—must remain in those camps until allowed to return en masse to Israel. This insistence in turn makes it impossible to achieve any resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, let alone a "new beginning" in the Middle East.

A few years ago I briefly visited the Balata refugee camp with its 20,000 residents. The camp is inside the West Bank city of Nablus—that is, within the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority (PA). It is where many of the Arabs of Jaffa settled when they fled the armed conflict that flared up immediately after the November 1947 UN partition resolution dividing Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Most of Balata's current residents are the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the original refugees. Thus, a new baby born in Balata today is still designated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) as a refugee dislocated by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and hence entitled to substantial material benefits for life, or at least until the conflict is settled. That infant will grow up and attend a segregated school run by UNRWA. In UN schools and cultural clubs financed by American tax dollars, Balata's children, like the children in similar camps in Gaza and neighboring Arab countries, are nurtured on the myth that someday soon they will return in triumph to their ancestors' homes by the Mediterranean Sea.

While awaiting redemption, Balata's Palestinian residents are prohibited, by the Palestinian Authority, from building homes outside the camp's official boundaries. They do not vote on municipal issues and receive no PA funding for roads or sanitation. As part of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's "economic renaissance" and state-building project, a brand new Palestinian city named Rawabi is planned for the West Bank near Bethlehem. But there will be no room at the inn for the Balata refugees. Sixty years after the first Arab-Israeli war, Balata might accurately be defined as a UN-administered, quasi-apartheid, welfare ghetto.

This historical and political absurdity—unique in the experience of the world's tens of millions of refugees displaced by modern war and political conflict—helps explain why Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas walked away from the best deal his people have ever been offered. It happened in November 2008, when Ehud Olmert, then the prime minister of Israel, presented him with a detailed map of a future Palestinian state that, with land swaps, would constitute close to 100 percent of the territory of the West Bank and Gaza prior to the June 1967 war. Olmert also offered to divide Jerusalem, enabling the Palestinians to locate their capital in the eastern half of the city. The only thing he would not agree to was a right of return for Palestinian refugees—for the obvious reason that this would mean the end of the Jewish state.

As I have reported elsewhere, Abbas, promising to come back for further discussions, took the map to his Ramallah office for his aides to study. But he never returned with the map, and this was the last time the Israeli and Palestinian leaders met. The reason, I believe, is clear: if Olmert's offer had ever become the basis of serious negotiations, Abbas would have had to admit to the residents of Balata and the other refugee camps on the West Bank that their leaders had lied to them for 60 years and that they were not returning to Jaffa. Among those leaders was Abbas himself, who in his 2005 campaign for the PA presidency declared repeatedly that he would never bargain away the Palestinian refugees' right of return.

Today, two years later, face-to-face meetings, brokered by the Obama administration, are again being held between Abbas and an Israeli prime minister. But just like the Abbas-Olmert meetings, the current talks will go nowhere until Washington recognizes that the official Palestinian stance on the refugees presents a far more serious obstacle to Middle East peace than the issue of construction within Jewish West Bank settlements. The latter is no more than a complication, while Palestinian insistence on the right of return is a deal breaker.

Why not, at long last, break up the awful refugee camps and encourage their residents to integrate themselves into West Bank civil society? The rationale for doing so is not merely political expediency. There is an overwhelming human-rights imperative to deal with the issue now. For the past decade, an array of peace and human-rights groups has been protesting Israel's "brutal" West Bank occupation and the military checkpoints restricting the movement of innocent Palestinians. Now, many of the checkpoints have been closed, and Palestinians are building their economy and policing their own cities. In these circumstances, where are the human-rights advocates demanding that the Palestinian refugees be freed from their crowded camps, allowed to build their own homes anywhere on the West Bank, and permitted to send their children to regular Palestinian schools? Why aren't peace demonstrators marshaling outside the Balata refugee camp with signs saying, "Mr. Abbas, tear down this wall"?

Somehow one doubts that the Palestine Human Rights Campaign or other like-minded groups will undertake such protests. But what does that say about their bona fides as advocates of peace? Does it not powerfully suggest that for them, as for Arab leaders throughout the Middle East, the welfare of suffering Palestinians has been of far lesser import than the demonization, if not the weakening and destruction, of the state of Israel?

Sol Stern is a contributing editor of City Journal, published by the Manhattan Institute.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

A Mess of His Own Making


by Jennifer Rubin


The non-peace talks are on hiatus while Mahmoud Abbas goes running to the Arab League for instructions. Elliott Abrams explains why we shouldn’t much care:

"The sky is not falling. Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations were suspended on Sunday, perhaps briefly and perhaps for months, after Israel’s 10-month moratorium on settlement construction expired. Palestinian officials said they would refuse to talk if construction restarted, and so they did. Yet war hasn’t broken out, nor will it. …"

"Also last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reminded his people that “we tried the intifada and it caused us a lot of damage.” Hamas, the terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip, can commit acts of terror at any time. But with Israeli and Palestinian officials working together to keep the peace, Hamas can’t create a general uprising."

"Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) have been an on-again, off-again affair since they began with the Oslo Accords in 1993. During the Arafat years talks alternated with terrorism, for Arafat viewed both as useful and legitimate tactics. After the so-called second intifada of 2000-2001 and the 9/11 attacks, Israel’s then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ran out of patience with that game, as did President George W. Bush. From then on they worked to push Arafat aside."

As Abrams points out, the Bush team oversaw negotiations for five years, under the “in and up” but not “out” understanding on settlements:

"The Obama administration junked that deal, and its continuing obsession with a settlement freeze—Mr. Obama mentioned it again at the U.N. last week—has cornered Mr. Abbas. The Americans are effectively urging him back to the table while making it impossible for him to get there. This diplomatic problem is what medical science calls “iatrogenic”: a disease caused by the physicians themselves."

Whether or not the parties return to the table, Abrams explains, it is important to keep our eyes on the real world. On the West Bank, economic progress continues. Security has improved. ('Most of this good news came, of course, during 18 months when there were no peace negotiations at all.') So long as the Obami manage not to get in the way of all that, there is hope that one day there will be a Palestinian society that supports a peace deal. But not now. So let the diplomats shuttle. Or not.

The greatest danger right now is not to “peace” but to Obama’s prestige and credibility. And frankly, that’s an iatrogenic phenomenon, too. Or in common parlance, Obama has made his bed, and unless the Arab League and Bibi rescue him out, he will be forced to lie in it.

Jennifer Rubin

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Obama’s Repudiation of Promises to Israel Comes Back to Haunt Him


by Evelyn Gordon


The Israeli media ran a mind-boggling story today: in exchange for a two-month extension of the freeze on settlement construction, Barack Obama has offered Israel various mouth-watering goodies, as Jen noted in an earlier post. Yet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leaning toward refusing.

Obama’s offer reportedly includes the following (see here and here, for instance): support for Israel’s demand that any Israeli-Palestinian deal include a long-term Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley; a Security Council veto of any anti-Israel resolution submitted in the coming year; additional military aid; advanced weaponry; stringent measures to halt arms smuggling; and a pledge not to seek another extension when this one expires.

Israel needs all of the above, and Obama has hitherto often failed to provide them. Thus the offer’s benefits would seem to far outweigh the damage of extending the freeze for two months. Yet Netanyahu claims his cabinet — those same ministers who approved a 10-month freeze in exchange for nothing — wouldn’t approve another two months, even for these lavish promises. What gives?

I suspect Netanyahu resorted to this flimsy excuse because the real reason is too undiplomatic to state publicly: Obama, by his own actions, has shown he views presidential promises as made to be broken. And Israel’s government is loath to incur the real damage of extending the freeze (which J.E. Dyer ably explained here) in exchange for promises that will be conveniently forgotten when they come due.

Israel, after all, received its last presidential promise just six years ago, in exchange for leaving Gaza. In writing, George W. Bush said the Palestinian Authority must end incitement and terror, voiced support for Israel “as a Jewish state,” vowed to “strengthen Israel’s capability” to defend itself, and said any Israeli-Palestinian deal should leave Israel with the settlement blocs and “defensible borders” and resettle Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian state rather than Israel. He also promised orally that Israel could continue building in the settlement blocs.

But when Obama took office, he denied the oral pledge’s very existence, infuriating even Israeli leftists. As Haaretz’s Aluf Benn wrote, it was possible to argue the policy should change, “but not to lie.”

And while Obama hasn’t denied the written document’s existence, he’s nullified it de facto through his every word and action: he’s never challenged PA incitement; he’s advocated the indefensible pre-1967 borders, including in East Jerusalem (where he bullied Israel into halting construction even in huge Jewish neighborhoods that will clearly remain Israeli under any deal); he hasn’t publicly demanded that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state or said the refugees can’t be resettled in Israel; and far from strengthening Israel’s defensive capabilities, he’s condemned Israel’s enforcement of an arms blockade on Hamas-run Gaza, bullied Israel into accepting a UN probe of its raid on a blockade-busting flotilla, imposed unprecedented restrictions on Israel’s purchase of F-35 fighters, and more. He has supported Israel only when domestic pressure necessitated it.

With enough domestic pressure, Obama would probably do everything in the latest offer anyway. But without it, Israelis fear he’ll renege the moment he finds it convenient.

And for that, Obama has only himself to blame.

Evelyn Gordon

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.



Late Breaking Rushdie-Rule Developments


by Daniel Pipes

Several important developments took place right after my article, "Two Decades of the Rushdie Rules," went to press,:

(1) Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida planned to burn hundreds of Korans on Sep. 11, but then submitted to pressure and canceled the bonfire. When his intention became international news, it lead, according to established pattern, to unrest and threats in the Muslim world and to at least 18 deaths (5 in Afghanistan, 13 in Kashmir). Under pressure from U.S. government officials, Jones relented and did not burn Korans.

I argued in a column, "'Rushdie Rules' Reach Florida," that the novelty and significance of this incident lies in the full weight of the U.S. government, from Barack Obama on down, bearing down on Jones. In distinct contrast to Margaret Thatcher in 1989, when the Rushdie affair broke, or Anders Fogh Rasmussen in 2006, when the Danish cartoon affair occurred, American authorities took upon themselves the role of protectors of Islam and executors of the Shari'a. In so doing, they extended the Rushdie Rules to the United States.

Mollie Norris' cartoon that ended her normal life and began her "ghost" existence.

(2) Mollie Norris, the cartoonist who devised "Everyone Draw Muhammad Day" went into hiding. As her editor, Mark D. Fefer, at the Seattle Weekly put it,

You may have noticed that Molly Norris' comic is not in the paper this week. That's because there is no more Molly. The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, "going ghost": moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity. She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor. She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program—except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It's all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" cartoon.

That "appalling fatwa" was posted in July by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who lives in Yemen. He wrote:

A cartoonist out of Seattle, Washington, named Molly Norris started the 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day'. This snowball rolled out from between her evil fingers. She should be taken as a prime target of assassination along with others who participated in her campaign. This campaign is not a practice of freedom of speech, but is a nationwide mass movement of Americans joining their European counterparts in going out of their way to offend Muslims worldwide. They are expressing their hatred of the Messenger of Islam through ridicule

Katherine Kersten discusses the American response to this outrage:

Surely, you say, American journalists and media moguls—always staunch defenders of the First Amendment—are proclaiming outrage and rallying round this young woman? On the contrary. The media have largely been silent about her nightmarish plight. When the Washington Examiner, an on-line newspaper in Washington, D.C., asked the American Society of News Editors for a statement about Norris, none was forthcoming. Ditto for the Society of Professional Journalists. This, despite the fact that the editors group's mission statement extols "the First Amendment at home and free speech around the world," while the journalists claim to stand for "the perpetuation of the free press as the cornerstone of our nation and liberty."

This incident suggests that Awlaki has the power to turn any American's life upside down by simply uttering a threat against him. This is no longer a battle of giants, Khomeini v. Rushdie, but of pygmies, Awlaki v. Norris. One can imagine the threats proliferating so that any person critical of "Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran" will be in danger of having to "go ghost."

(3) Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Daniel Huff proposed an important reply to some of the wanton threats against Americans in "It's Time to Fight Back Against Death Threats by Islamic Extremists," Los Angeles Times, Sep. 27:

It's time for free-speech advocates to take a page from the abortion rights movement's playbook. In the 1990s, abortion providers faced the same sort of intimidation tactics and did not succumb. Instead, they lobbied for a federal law making it a crime to threaten people exercising reproductive rights and permitting victims to sue for damages. The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or FACE, passed in 1994 by solid bipartisan margins. A similar act is needed to cover threats against free-speech rights.

A federal law would do two things. First, it would deter violent tactics, by focusing national attention on the problem and invoking the formidable enforcement apparatus of the federal government. Second, its civil damages provision would empower victims of intimidation to act as private attorneys general to defend their rights. …

Existing state laws prohibiting intimidation are inadequate. On the criminal side, the heightened standard of proof deters prosecutors from investing scarce resources. Explicit grounds for a civil action do not always exist, and damages can be difficult to quantify. By contrast, the FACE Act, which provides the model for the proposed legislation, lets victims opt for preset damages.

Daniel Pipes

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


Two Decades of the Rushdie Rules


by Daniel Pipes


From a novel by Salman Rushdie published in 1989 to an American civil protest called "Everyone Draw Muhammad Day" in 2010, a familiar pattern has evolved. It begins when Westerners say or do something critical of Islam. Islamists respond with name-calling and outrage, demands for retraction, threats of lawsuits and violence, and actual violence. In turn, Westerners hem and haw, prevaricate, and finally fold. Along the way, each controversy prompts a debate focusing on the issue of free speech.

I shall argue two points about this sequence. First, that the right of Westerners to discuss, criticize, and even ridicule Islam and Muslims has eroded over the years. Second, that free speech is a minor part of the problem; at stake is something much deeper – indeed, a defining question of our time: will Westerners maintain their own historic civilization in the face of assault by Islamists, or will they cede to Islamic culture and law and submit to a form of second-class citizenship?

The cover of the book that prompted the Rushdie Rules.

The era of Islamist uproar began abruptly on February 14, 1989, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran's supreme leader, watched on television as Pakistanis responded with violence to a new novel by Salman Rushdie, the famous writer of South Asian Muslim origins. His book's very title, The Satanic Verses, refers to the Koran and poses a direct challenge to Islamic sensibilities; its contents further exacerbate the problem. Outraged by what he considered Rushdie's blasphemous portrait of Islam, Khomeini issued an edict whose continued impact makes it worthy of quotation at length:

I inform all zealous Muslims of the world that the author of the book entitled The Satanic Verses – which has been compiled, printed, and published in opposition to Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran – and all those involved in the publication who were aware of its contents, are sentenced to death.

I call upon all zealous Muslims to execute them quickly, wherever they may be found, so that no one else will dare to insult the Muslim sanctities. God willing, whoever is killed on this path is a martyr.

In addition, anyone who has access to the author of this book but does not possess the power to execute him should report him to the people so that he may be punished for his actions.

This unprecedented edict – no head of government had ever called for the execution of a novelist living in another country – came out of the blue and surprised everyone, from Iranian government officials to Rushdie himself. No one had imagined that a magical realist novel, replete with people falling out of the sky and animals that talk, might incur the wrath of the ruler of Iran, a country to which Rushdie had few connections.

The edict led to physical attacks on bookstores in Italy, Norway, and the United States and on translators of The Satanic Verses in Norway, Japan, and Turkey; in the last case, the translator and 36 others perished in an arson attack on a hotel. Other violence in Muslim-majority countries led to more than 20 fatalities, mostly in South Asia. Then, just as the furor wound down, in June 1989, Khomeini died; his death made the edict, sometimes inaccurately called a fatwa, immutable.

The edict contains four important elements. First, by noting "opposition to Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran," Khomeini delineated the wide range of sacred topics that may not be treated disrespectfully without invoking a death sentence.

Second, by targeting "all those involved in the publication who were aware of its contents," he declared war not just on the artist but also on an entire cultural infrastructure – including the thousands of employees of publishing houses, advertisers, distribution companies, and bookstores.

Third, by ordering Rushdie's execution "so that no one else will dare to insult the Muslim sanctities," Khomeini made clear his purpose not only to punish one writer but also to prevent further instances of ridicule.

Finally, by demanding that those unable to execute Rushdie "report him," Khomeini called on every Muslim worldwide to become part of an informal intelligence network dedicated to upholding Islamic sanctities.

These four features together constitute what I call the Rushdie Rules. Two decades later, they remain very much in place.

The edict set several precedents in the West. A foreign political leader successfully ignored conventional limits on state powers. A religious leader at will intervened directly, with little cost or resistance, in Western cultural affairs. And a Muslim leader established the precedent of applying an aspect of Islamic law, the Shari'a, in an overwhelmingly non-Muslim country. On this last point: Western states have, at times, served as Khomeini's effective agents. The government of Austria imposed a suspended prison sentence on a person who defied the Rushdie Rules, while the governments of France and Australia brought charges that could have meant jail time. Most strikingly, authorities in Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Finland, and Israel actually jailed Rushdie-Rule trespassers. It takes effort to recall the innocent days before 1989, when Westerners freely spoke and wrote about Islam and related subjects.

The Rushdie Rules had an immediate impact on Muslims living in the West, whose outbursts of insults and violence generated a newfound sense of power. From Sweden to New Zealand, Islamists responded with joy that, after centuries on the defensive, Muslims had found their voice and, from the belly of the beast, could challenge the West. Most of the violence that followed was of the indiscriminate sort, on the model of 9/11, Bali, Madrid, Beslan, and London, in which jihadists killed whoever happened to cross their paths; TheReligionOfPeace.com documents on average five indiscriminate Islamist terrorist attacks per day around the world.

Less common but more intimidating is the violence that targets those who defy the Rushdie Rules. Let us limit examples of this phenomenon to one country, Denmark. In October 2004, an instructor at the Carsten Niebuhr Institute at the University of Copenhagen was kicked and hit by several strangers as he left the university. They informed him that he had read from the Koran, which as an infidel (kafir) he had no right to do. In October 2005, Jyllands-Posten editor Flemming Rose was threatened for having commissioned cartoons depicting Muhammad. Two of the cartoonists had to go into hiding. One of them, Kurt Westergaard, subsequently narrowly escaped physical attack inside his home. In March 2006, Naser Khader, an anti-Islamist politician, was threatened by an Islamist who warned that if Khader became a government minister, he and his ministry would be blown up.

The Danish experience is typical. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Across Europe, dozens of people are now in hiding or under police protection because of threats from Muslim extremists." Even Pope Benedict XVI received a flurry of threats in the aftermath of his quoting a Byzantine emperor on the subject of Islam. In the Netherlands alone, politicians reported 121 death threats against them in just one year. The November 2004 execution on an Amsterdam street of Theo van Gogh – a well known libertarian, filmmaker, talk show host, newspaper columnist, and mischief-maker who had ridiculed Islam – traumatized his country and led to a brief state of insurrection.

Westerners generally perceive this violence as a challenge to their right to self-expression. But if freedom of speech is the battlefield, the greater war concerns the foundational principles of Western civilization. The recurrent pattern of Islamist uproar exists to achieve three goals – not always articulated – that go well beyond prohibiting criticism of Islam.

A first goal consists of establishing a superior status for Islam. Khomeini's demands for the sacred trinity of "Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran" imply special privileges for one religion, an exclusion from the hurly-burly of the marketplace of ideas. Islam would benefit from unique rules unavailable to other religions. Jesus may be sacrilegiously lampooned in Monty Python's Life of Brian or Terry McNally's Corpus Christi, but, as one book's title puts it, "be careful with Muhammad!"

This segues to a second goal – Muslim supremacy and Western inferiority. Islamists routinely say and do things more offensive to Westerners than anything Westerners do vis-à-vis Muslims. They openly despise Western culture; in the words of an Algerian Islamist, it's not a civilization, but a "syphilization." Their mainstream media publishes coarser, viler, and more violent cartoons than anything commissioned by Flemming Rose. They freely insult Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism. They murder Jews just for being Jews, like Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, Sébastian Sellam and Ilan Halimi in France, and Pamela Waechter and Ariel Sellouk in the United States. Whether because of fear or inattention, Westerners assent to an imbalance whereby Muslims may offend and attack while they themselves are shielded from any such indignities or pains.

Should Westerners accept this imbalance, the dhimmi status will follow. This Islamic concept permits "people of the book," monotheists such as Christians and Jews, to continue to practice their religion under Muslim rule, subject to many restrictions. For its time, the dhimmi status offered certain benefits (until as recently as 1945, Jews generally had better lives in Islamdom than in Christendom), but it is intended to insult and humiliate non-Muslims, even as it exalts Muslims' superiority. Dhimmis pay additional taxes, may not join the military or the government, and suffer from encompassing legal disabilities. In some times and places, dhimmis could ride on a donkey but not on a horse, wore distinctive clothing, and an elderly dhimmi on the street was required to jump out of the way of a Muslim child. Elements of the dhimmi status have recently been applied in such varied places as Gaza, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Clearly, Londonistan and beyond are also in their sights.

In turn, re-establishing the dhimmi status is one step toward the Islamist's third and ultimate ambition, applying full Shari'a law. Closing down discussion of Islam paves the way toward this end. Conversely, retaining free speech about Islam represents a critical defense against the imposition of an Islamic order. Keeping our civilization requires open discussion of Islam.

The Shari'a regulates both private and public life. The private dimension includes such intensely personal matters as bodily cleanliness, sexuality, childbearing, family relations, clothing, and diet. In the public realm, the Shari'a regulates social relations, commercial transactions, criminal penalties, the status of women and minorities, slavery, the identity of the ruler, the judiciary, taxation, and warfare. In brief, Islamic law includes everything from toilet etiquette to the conduct of warfare.

Yet the Shari'a contradicts the deepest premises of Western civilization. The unequal relations of male and female, of Muslim and kafir, of owner and slave cannot be reconciled with equality of rights. The harem cannot be reconciled with a monogamous order. Islamic supremacism contradicts freedom of religion. A sovereign God cannot allow democracy.

Islamists all concur on the goal of applying Islamic law globally. But they differ on whether to achieve this through violence (the preference of bin Laden), totalitarian rule (Khomeini), or by politically gaming the system (the Swiss intellectual Tariq Ramadan). However done, were Islamists to achieve a Shar'i order, they would effectively replace Western civilization with Islamic civilization. In American terms, allowing the Koran to trump the Constitution ends the United States as it has existed for more than two centuries.

The Muslim Council of Britain wishes to transform schools in the United Kingdom.

Accepting the Rushdie Rules, in other words, implies a process that culminates with full application of the Shari'a. Were Khomeini to have his way, those of us who value Western civilization could not argue against Shari'a. To understand the consequences of closing the debate about Islam, note what appears to be an innocuous report published in 2007 by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), a leading Islamist institution in the United Kingdom. Titled Towards Greater Understanding, it advises British authorities on how to deal with Muslim students in taxpayer-funded schools.

The MCB seeks to create an environment in schools in which Muslim children do not make "inappropriate assumptions" that "to progress in society they will have to compromise or give up aspects of who they are, and their religious beliefs and values." Toward this end, the MCB proposes a jaw-dropping list of changes that would fundamentally alter the nature of British schools, transforming them, in effect, into Saudi-like institutions. Some of its suggestions:

  • Prayers: Provide (1) extra "water cans or bottles" for washing before the prayers and (2) prayer facilities, ideally separate ones for boys and girls. Schools should also make available "a suitable external visitor, a teacher or an older pupil" to lead the communal Friday prayers and give the sermon.
  • Toilets: Water available in water cans or bottles for cleansing purposes.
  • Social customs: No pressure to shake hands with members of the opposite sex, whether students or teachers.
  • Scheduling: Vacation days for all on the two major Muslim holidays, the Eids.
  • Holiday celebrations: Involve non-Muslim students and their parents in Islamic holiday rituals. During Ramadan, for instance, all children, not just Muslim ones, should celebrate "the spirit and values of Ramadan through collective worship or assembly themes and communal Iftar (the breaking of the fast)."
  • Ramadan: (1) No examinations during this month, "since the combination of preparing for exams and fasting may prove challenging for some pupils" and (2) no sex education, to respect strictures against sex during that month.
  • Food: Provide halal meals. Permit students to eat with their right hands.
  • Clothing: Accede to the wearing of hijabs and even jilbabs (a long outer garment down to the ankles). In swimming pools, Muslim children should wear modest swimwear (e.g., for girls, full leotards and leggings). Islamic amulets must be permitted.
  • Beards: A right for male students.
  • Sports: Sex-segregation where there is physical contact with other team players, as in basketball and football, or when exposed, as in swimming.
  • Shower rooms: Separate stalls needed, so Muslims are not subject to the "profound indignity" of seeing or being seen in the nude.
  • Music: Should be limited to "the human voice and non-tuneable percussion instruments such as drums."
  • Dancing: Excluded, unless it is done in a single-sex environment and does not "involve sexual connotations and messages."
  • Teacher and administrator training: Staff should undergo Islamic "awareness training" so that schools are "better informed and have greater and more accurate appreciation of their Muslim pupils' needs."
  • Art: Exempt Muslim pupils from producing "three dimensional figurative imagery of humans."
  • Religious instruction: Pictures of any prophets (including Jesus) prohibited.
  • Language instruction: Arabic should be made available to all Muslim students.
  • Islamic civilization: (1) Study the contribution of Muslims to Europe in history, art, mathematics, and science classes and (2) emphasize common aspects of European and Islamic heritage.

One response to the Muslim Council of Britain booklet.

The imposition, explicit or implicit, of Rushdie Rules would render impossible any criticism of a program such as the MCB's. I could not write this article, Commentary could not publish it, and you could not read it.

Overhauling schools is just one of a myriad of planned changes. Step by step, piece by piece, Islamists wish to trump the premises of Western life by infusing its education, cultural life, and institutions with a concurrent Islamic system that in time overrides secular institutions, until an Islamic order comes operationally into being. Some changes are already in place and extend to many aspects of life. A few pungent examples:

Polygamous marriages are valid under certain circumstances in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Australia, and the Canadian province of Ontario. Muslim women-only swimming sessions exist in municipal pools in Washington State. Women-only classes are being offered at Virginia Tech, a taxpayer-supported university. Women can have their drivers license photographs taken wearing hijabs in three U.S. states. If they work at IKEA or for the London police, women can wear branded hijabs provided by their employers.

Piggybanks have been banned as a symbol of saving at two major British banks. "Any matter containing religious materials contrary to Islamic faith" may not be sent via the U.S. postal system to soldiers serving in the Middle East. Medical personnel may not eat or drink in the presence of Muslim patients or colleagues during the month of Ramadan in a Scottish hospital. The City of Boston sold public land at a discount price to build an Islamic institution.

IKEA, the furnishings store, provides branded hijabs for employees in Great Britain.

These steps, large and small, toward Islamization undermine Western values and mores. They are unacceptable: Muslims are entitled to equal rights and responsibilities but not to special privileges. They must fit into the existing order, not remake Western societies in the Islamist mold. Increasing freedom is welcome, regressing to the medieval norms of the Shari'a is not.

In retrospect, responses to the Rushdie edict among intellectuals and politicians in 1989 were noteworthy for the support for the imperiled novelist, especially on the left. Leftist intellectuals were more likely to stand by him (Susan Sontag: "our integrity as a nation is as endangered by an attack on a writer as on an oil tanker") than were those on the right (Patrick Buchanan: "we should shove his blasphemous little novel out into the cold"). But times have changed: Paul Berman recently published a book, The Flight of the Intellectuals, that excoriates his fellow liberals for (as the dust jacket puts it) having "fumbled badly in their effort to grapple with Islamist ideas and violence."

At the time, François Mitterrand, the socialist president of France, called the threat to Rushdie an "absolute evil." The Green Party in Germany sought to break all economic agreements with Iran. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the German foreign minister, endorsed a European Union resolution supporting Rushdie as "a signal to assure the preservation of civilization and human values." The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution that declared its commitment "to protect the right of any person to write, publish, sell, buy, and read books without fear of intimidation and violence" and condemned Khomeini's threat as "state-sponsored terrorism." Such governmental responses are inconceivable in 2010.

For every exercise in free speech since 1989, such as the Danish Muhammad cartoons or the no-holds-barred studies of Islam published by Prometheus Books, uncountable legions of writers, publishers, and illustrators have shied away from expressing themselves. Two examples: Paramount Pictures replaced the Hamas-like terrorists of Tom Clancy's novel The Sum of All Fears with European neo-Nazis in its movie version of the story. And Yale University Press published a book on the Danish cartoon crisis without permitting the cartoons to be reproduced in the study.

The reasoning of those who capitulate is as unexceptional as it is dismal: "This decision was based solely on concern for public safety"; "the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority"; "I feel real fear that someone will slit my throat"; "If I would have said what I actually think about Islam, I wouldn't be in this world for long"; and "'If this goes down badly, I'm writing my own death warrant."

Changes since 1989 result mainly from the growth of three isms: multiculturalism, left-fascism, and Islamism. The multicultural impulse regards no way of life, belief system, or political philosophy better or worse than any other. Just as Italian and Japanese food are both delicious and filling, so environmentalism or Wicca offer equally valid alternatives to Judeo-Christian civilization. Why fight for one's way of life when it has no claim to superiority over any other?

But perhaps one way is worse: if Western imperialism and the white race pollute the world, who wants Western civilization? A sizable movement of left-fascists, led by Hugo Chávez, sees Western power, which they call "Empire," as the world's main threat, with the United States and Israel viewed as the chief offenders.

Islamism has grown spectacularly since 1989, becoming the most powerful form of radical utopianism, forming an alliance with the left, dominating civil societies, challenging many governments and taking over others, establishing a beachhead in the West, and smartly advancing its agenda in international institutions.

The yin of Western weakness, in short, has met with the yang of Islamist assertion. Defenders of Western civilization must fight not just Islamists but also the multiculturalists who enable them and the leftists who ally with them.

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum, Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, and a columnist at National Review.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

An Inoffensive Mosque and an Offensive Kindergarten


by Daniel Greenfield


If you believe the newspapers, a kindergarten in a town built by Jewish refugees from Yemen is about to doom all hopes for peace in the Middle East. Forget the fact that there was never any peace long before a few dozen Jews who fled Yemen built themselves a small town where they could raise their families, without being murdered for their faith or driven into ghettos-- as is the fate of the last remaining Jews of Yemen. Forget a thousand years of Muslim bigotry, which time and time again have exploded into orgies of violence, pogroms of hate and terrorist atrocities. No, it is the kindergarten at Kiryat Netafim that is at fault here.

The very same headline scribblers who chastised Americans as hopelessly racist, for not wanting a mosque to be built where thousands of people had been murdered in the name of Islam, are united in denouncing the terrible evil of this kindergarten. If it were not for this kindergarten, doves would be flying overhead with olive branches. And everyone would be dancing and singing "Kumbaya." If it weren't for that specter of that terrible kindergarten ruining it all.

There is of course no objection to Muslims building things anywhere they want. Oil money from the gulf states is pouring in to finance Muslim construction without a word from the White House. While Jewish homes, barns and kindergartens are denounced as "obstacles to peace", Muslim construction is not even a topic of discussion. The underlying bias behind this attitude is rather blatant. A Jewish home is illegitimate. A Muslim home is unquestionably legitimate. Just as a mosque near Ground Zero gets wrapped up in the flag, and a church gets tossed aside. The rights and wrongs always manage to come up star and crescent for Muslims, and snake eyes for everyone else.

Through that distorted lens, a kindergarten can become a threat to peace and a mosque at Ground Zero, an act of tolerance.

So the US State Department announced that it was "disappointed". The British Foreign Minister topped that by announcing that he was "very disappointed". Not just disappointed, very disappointed. Moscow is reportedly "concerned". Sarkozy stated that the construction must stop and invited everyone to a summit in Paris to talk about it, a proposal that seems to have more to do with helping promote tourism and his own popularity, than with peace. Ireland's extremist Foreign Minister, Micheál Martin, who had already pandered to Castro and Hamas, used his UN speech to berate Israel. Baroness Ashton of the EU, who often makes Martin look like a moderate, announced that she "strongly regrets" Israel's decision to allow people who happen to be Jewish to build kindergartens for their children.

But will there be peace if Jewish families in Kiryat Netafim are deprived of a kindergarten? A brief history of the last thousand years, or even the last seventeen years during which Israel has bent over backward to a coalition of terrorist groups run by Yasser Arafat, would suggest otherwise. The media assures us that the fate of peace hangs on negotiations with the illegitimate leader of a declining terrorist group who doesn't even control Gaza anymore. Negotiations which Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat's successor, has already turned into a farce by refusing to even recognize Israel as the Jewish state.

While Israelis continue to be murdered by terrorists, the Obama Administration and its media lackeys insist that the real barrier to peace is at the kindergarten. But yet with no kindergartens under the settlement freeze, there was still no peace. There were hardly even any negotiations.

Israel's Druze-Arab Deputy Minister, Ayoob Kara, put it bluntly; "The game in the Middle East is strong. Kill or be killed." The Obama Administration and the European Union have been insisting that Israelis should allow themselves to be killed, rather than kill. To concede on everywhere in the hopes that if Israel humiliates itself enough, then its Muslim enemies will finally feel good enough about themselves to make a lasting peace. That was Kissinger's strategy in the 70's, which cost thousands of lives and nearly destroyed Israel. And it has been the theme of the latest stage of the "Peace Process."

That is why there can never be any serious talk of "Peace for Peace". It isn't a matter of meeting around a table, shaking hands and deciding to make war no more. No, the poor bruised Muslim ego must be soothed at the expense of the infidels.

For Muslims to be able to live in peace with non-Muslims, they must be able to assert their sense of superiority, to put their boot on the infidel's neck, claim the traditional privileges of a racist and bigoted majority, ruling over irritating minorities who must be taught their place. Otherwise they will pout and whine, and declare Fatwas and Jihads, give their support to terrorist groups promising them a brand new Caliphate and anything else that will nurture their sense of grievance at the loss of their former status.

So there must be a mosque erected at Ground Zero, and NASA's chief mission must be to make Muslims feel good about their scientific accomplishments. And Israel must stop building homes in a part of Jerusalem, from which invading Muslim armies ethnically cleansed Jews, only a few years after the Holocaust. Europeans must be forbidden from eating during Ramadan and 9/11 memorials must incorporate Muslim themes. We ban burning the Koran and censor cartoons that offend Muslims, the only religion to receive such privileges. And when all that groveling is said and done, will there be peace?

In a pig's eye.

Israel achieved its peace treaties through war. Had it not shown that it could defend itself, endure the worst that the Arab Socialist dictatorships could throw at it, and still survive-- then there would have never been any peace treaties to sign. That is why the Cold Peace with Egypt and Jordan holds, while the Peace Process with the PLO has failed badly. Israel almost defeated terrorism, but it gave into it in the end. And that was a fatal mistake.

It was not goodwill or a trickle of the milk of human kindness that brought Sadat to Jerusalem, but the recognition that further war was a doomed course. That understanding has never trickled down to the average Egyptian, which is why the peace remains only a Cold Peace. Regime change will send it tumbling down, in Egypt and in Jordan. Because until the average Arab Muslim matures enough to set aside his arrogant sense of superiority over the non-Arab and the non-Muslim, there can be no peace.

Pandering to people who want to kill you, only wins you a place at their feet. At best. The spot of the Dhimmi, the house slave and the serf. It does not bring peace, only the peace of submission that Mohammed offered to the Jews of his day, before exterminating and enslaving them anyway. That is the way business has been done in the desert long before Mohammed. It is likely the way business will be done there long after the sands have buried Mecca over, as they have buried over so many ancient cities amid the dunes.

Western diplomats know enough of the Muslim mind to pander to it. To soothe it with deep bows and kowtows. With flattery and praise. But rather than soothing it, such antics only feed the worst of it.

Whatever small hope for peace there ever was, went into the rubbish basket of history, once the pandering began, and it was clear that Muslim terrorists would never be held accountable for anything they did. Similarly once American troops stopped being the goliaths in the helicopters raining down death on Taliban and Republican Guard alike, and became smiling faces eager to help rebuild, the tables were turned. Muslims once again felt themselves to be superior to the vulnerable infidels. And the violence really took off.

When we measure offense not by the deed, but by the need to appease the violent tempers of murderers, then what we have is not the basis for peace, but the terms of surrender. Muslims who have grown too used to a history in which they were the rulers, the enslavers and the conquerors, must adapt to a history in which they are not the master race, but only another group in a large global tapestry of them. If they cannot do so, then the war and the violence that they habitually spawn will continue.

We can blame the cartoonists, the kindergartens and anything else that offends the Muslim ego-- but that will not bring peace. Only when we place the responsibility on Muslims to embrace change and abandon hate, can there ever be peace.

Daniel Greenfield

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Fear and Survival: The Tragedy And Threat That Is George Soros


by Barry Rubin


I’ve long pondered the bizarre doings of billionaire financier George Soros, who’s become the single biggest funder of left-wing and often anti-Jewish (certainly, anti-Israel) causes in Europe and North America. Most recently, it was revealed that Soros was a huge contributor to the anti-Israel J Street group even though the organization had lied about that connection.

But how can one explain the behavior and motives of Soros? For me, finally, the missing piece of the puzzle has fallen into place.

The first key bit of evidence was Soros’s interview with the December 20, 1998, “Sixty Minutes” television show in which he recounts his experiences as a 14-year-old boy in Nazi-occupied Hungary, a time when he said his “character was made.” Soros’ father had sent him to live with a bribed Christian government official who was involved in confiscating Jewish property.

A lot of the discussion about this interview has been misdirected over whether Soros was in some way a war criminal. This is clearly untrue since he was barely a teenager and didn’t actually do anything but observe. He was as he describes himself, a “spectator.”

Let’s get a more sophisticated, accurate understanding by examining what Soros actually said about the experience long afterward. What did he learn from being a spectator, watching both sides but truly being on neither side?

Did watching the extinction of his fellow Jews in Hungary make him feel guilty? No, Soros replied. This is an extraordinary answer. It was decades later and Soros could have done the polite social thing, which would have made him look better, of pretending to feel bad about it.

Soros didn’t emphasize, though he mentioned as a passing afterthought, that he didn’t feel guilty because he did nothing wrong. But what about survivor’s guilt, something almost anyone Jewish would feel when he survived and so many others didn’t? Again, no, said Soros.

Soros showed precisely why he didn’t feel or even pretend to feel guilty. When the astonished interviewer asked whether Soros might have thought, “I’m Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there?”

Soros’ response is truly extraordinary:

“Well, of course I c--I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn't be there, because that was--well, actually, in a funny way, it's just like in markets--that if I weren't there--of course, I wasn't doing it, but somebody else would--would--would be taking it away anyhow.”

Notice how he stutters, no longer the powerful multimillionaire who shakes countries but rather reverting back to the frightened, helpless little boy, his life endangered because he is a Jew. Unlike almost every other Jew in Europe, however, he had a choice.

Does he blame the Nazis and Hungarian fascists or the Jews for putting him in that perilous position? Who does he identify with? What conclusions does he draw about how to ensure his survival in future? Soros tells us clearly:

“I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing was being taken away.”

For me, this is the key to Soros and his behavior today. He would choose to stand with those he sees as winners not losers; strong, not weak; the non-Jews rather than the Jews, the determined extremists rather than the toothless moderates. After all, that choice had been the basis of his survival. What is most important is that Soros survive and prosper, and his background gives him a very different outlook from most Jews and most rich people on how to achieve that goal.

Yet he is no confident mogul but a very frightened man. In this, he is less unique. Non-Jews don’t understand how inside of even the most seemingly powerful Jews—Henry Kissinger offers a prime example—there is a strong sense of fear and vulnerability. One misstep, they think, and everything he has could all be taken away instantly.

Being too much of a Jew is something you will rue. The more visible your wealth and power, the more danger to you. That kind of thinking stems not merely from the Nazi era but is a Jewish condition that goes back to the Middle Ages, when at any second a lifetime of hard work and success could be replaced by poverty, exile, beating or death by a rampaging mob.

How have Jews responded? Some by assimilating and others by being quiet, the kind of approach one might expect someone like Soros to take.

Still others by being defiant as Zionists or as proud Jews. Compare Soros to the man whose life most parallels his, Abe Foxman, long-time leader of the Anti-Defamation League, who was a hidden child during the Holocaust. Another option, becoming a leftist revolutionary, combines defiance of existing society with assimilation and abandonment of Jewishness.

The life of Soros, however, led him to a unique solution: convincing him that he must be highly visible…on the winning side. No longer could he have the anonymity of that fourteen-year-old camouflaged boy, but he could still stand on the safer side of the confrontation.

Read that key sentence again: “I could be on the other side [the stronger side, the side persecuting the Jews] or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away.” In context, he is essentially saying that he could not imagine himself enough of a fool to be on the losing side and is determined never to be one of those helpless, doomed Jews.

And so, decades later, he sought to be on or buy off those he saw as the winning side. As for those on the Jewish side--and Israel being the most intense expression of that posture—they would be the losers in history.

Now comes the final piece of the puzzle. On November 7, 2003, almost five years after the television interview, Soros made a rare appearance at a pro-Jewish Jewish event, a conference of the Jewish Funders Network.

Asked about antisemitism in Europe, Soros responded that it was the result of the policies of Israel and the United States, and particularly of President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "If we change that direction, then antisemitism also will diminish," he said.

Once again, his words led somewhat in the wrong direction as some of the attendees were outraged. After all, blaming Jews for antisemitism is an old argument of antisemites. But to focus on that is to miss the point.

Soros continued:

"I'm also very concerned about my own role because the new antisemitism holds that the Jews rule the world," he explained. He knew he is personally vulnerable to such charges. After all, Soros added, "As an unintended consequence of my actions," he said, "I also contribute to that image," no doubt referring to an incident of a few weeks previously when Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad referred to Soros personally in saying, "Jews rule the world by proxy."

So he must prove to the enemies of the Jews that he is not someone they should see as an enemy. By fighting Jewish interests he can claim to diminish antisemitism while also protecting his own interests.

What did Soros say was the main lesson he had learned on those streets in 1944 Hungary? “That one should think ahead. One should understand and--and anticipate events and when--when one is threatened.”

So for Soros, religious Jews, Zionists, and in effect the overwhelming majority of the Jewish communities of the world are bringing disaster on themselves by provoking an antisemitic backlash.

His intention here is in no way to help the Jews (“the ones from whom the thing was taken away) but to act in what he perceives as being his own benefit. Soros is not the first Jew in history to calculate that if Israel didn’t exist or that if the Jews merely shut up and hid their identity there would be no problem with antisemitism. And if this happened he could be safe. It isn't surprising that he has come to hate the people who he believes directly endanger his life and wealth.

Similarly, he is scared that conservatives are provoking a leftist upheaval. Soros is insuring himself against the new winning side by financing it, believing that if America and Europe move ever leftward, this will reduce pressure against capitalism in general or at least protect his personal wealth. After all, he must reason, why would the radical movement--anti-capitalist or anti-Israel--ever turn on its patron?

In effect, Soros reserves the phrase "never again" not in regard to Jewish suffering but in regard to his personally never being "the one from whom the thing was being taken away." And meanwhile he can, ironically enough, use his wealth and power to be the Jew who in the entire world came closest to ruling "by proxy." All the more need for him to take such protective measures.

It is true, as the expert on Soviet affairs Bertram Wolfe remarked about Leon Trotsky (who Wolfe regarded as a "Jewish antisemite"), "A man can reject his heritage but he cannot root the traces of it out of his soul." But for Soros those traces are those of the loser in history. He regards Zionism and Israel as fantasies that will only build the momentum to return Jews to their traditional victim status.

Ironically and sadly, of course, by putting his money into anti-Israel and left-wing causes he is not merely anticipating events but making bad outcomes more likely; not reducing antisemitism but intensifying it; not ensuring social peace but making costly and tragic conflict more likely.

In short, unfortunately, what Soros mislearned from the tragedy he observed as a youth has made him a man helping to bring about more tragedies.

He was also wrong in saying that if he didn't do these things someone else would. There is no one else to play this role because there is no one else who has his combination of life experience and bottomless riches.

Note 1:
Melanie Phillips has provided a list of causes backed by Soros's main front groups that gives a sense of what the billionaire has been doing. Among them:

"•Promoting the view that America is institutionally an oppressive nation
•Promoting the election of leftist political candidates throughout the United States
•Opposing virtually all post-9/11 national security measures enacted by U.S. government, particularly the Patriot Act
•Depicting American military actions as unjust, unwarranted, and immoral
•Promoting open borders, mass immigration, and a watering down of current immigration laws....
•Defending suspected anti-American terrorists and their abetters
•Financing the recruitment and training of future activist leaders of the political Left
•Advocating America’s unilateral disarmament and/or a steep reduction in its military spending....
•Promoting the tenets of radical environmentalism, whose ultimate goal, as writer Michael Berliner has explained, is “not clean air and clean water, [but] rather ... the demolition of technological/industrial civilization....”

Note2: A friend suggested it would be appropriate to quote these lines from Bob Dylan's song, "Positively Fourth Street:"

"You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on
The side that’s winning."

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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