Friday, March 25, 2011

What Israel Knows About Hamas

by William Sullivan

The general estimation of Hamas by the international community is something of a mystery. On the one hand, the group openly harbors an unwavering desire to ethnically cleanse Israel of its Jewish population through suicide bombings and rocket attacks in order to reclaim the land for their god and their prophet.

On the other, a 2006 victory in a democratic election gave Hamas control of the Gaza Strip, so as the elected political body of its opposition, the international community somehow expects Israel to negotiate with this group to broker a peace.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, does not currently seem content to sit down and speak with Hamas, however. Hamas recently released a statement committing to the "unofficial truce" if Israel will refrain from attacking Gaza. Netanyahu apparently finds the prospect of truce and negotiation with Hamas fruitless, so Israeli jets struck the Gaza Strip in response to a barrage of over 50 Palestinian rockets that found targets in Southern Israel.

To Palestinian supporters, this will undoubtedly be chalked up as more Zionist aggression against reasonable political opposition. Never discussed by this deluded demographic, however, is the real reason why Israeli leaders like Netanyahu lack the incentive to choose negotiation with Hamas over retaliation. Where Israel has in the past and would continue to bring to the bargaining table a desire for coexistence and the will to make concessions, Hamas has stated on the record, and has shown in its actions, that it would bring to negotiations nothing more than strategic lulls in combat and a suicide belt.

Westerners have an affinity for separating the notions of religion and politics. In fact, the design of our modern, liberal societies is predicated upon the belief that religion and politics must operate independently of one another, with a broad political structure safeguarding the individual practice of religion. This is why the West cannot grasp the ideology of fundamental Islamic groups like Hamas. For these groups, religion and politics must exist indivisibly, lest political policy be amended to contradict religious doctrine, and thereby suggest the imperfection of Islam.

To prove the fact that the religion of Islam has shaped the politics and practice of Hamas, one need look no further than their founding charter, the Hamas Covenant, written in 1988. Observe the slogan of Hamas, found in Article Eight: "Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur'an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief."

Hardly a secular mission statement. So using the religious template of Muhammad, along with the teaching of standard Islamic jurisprudence, this charter goes on to issue a primary directive that is little more than an eternal threat to the state of Israel. Hamas' primary ambition is outlined as "discarding the evil, crushing and defeating it, so that... calls for prayer be heard from the mosques, announcing the reinstitution of the Muslim state."

And the text makes no bones about the identity of the evil that must be crushed, defeated, and discarded:

The Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!

From where does this example of hatred and bloodlust derive? In particular, this reference of Muhammad's teaching can be found in the widely observed Hadith (Islamic traditions) of Sahih Muslim and Bukhari. Though apologists may question of the context of these verses in the Hadith, there is no question about the context in which Hamas finds them, and therefore, it is undeniable that intolerance found in Islam has shaped the unshakable political creed of Hamas.

So what does all this tell the Western world that struggles to understand Israel's opposition in the Middle East? It should tell us that Hamas is not a free-thinking unit that is able to amend its practice to meet the Western desires of peace with Israel, because its "constitution" of the Quran demands that there be no alternative path apart from jihad. It tells us that Hamas is as capable of compromise and negotiation as Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, as they are both bound to the same steadfast ideological tether.

But that conclusion raises an interesting question, doesn't it? If both Hamas and al-Qaeda share the same ideological source material, the same methods of terror and martyrdom to advance their agenda, and the same ambition as dictated in Islamic jurisprudence, why is it that one of these groups is looked at as a shadowy and rabid terrorist group while the other looked at as a defined and viable political player in establishing a Middle Eastern peace? Why should Israel negotiate with Hamas? Would America enter negotiations with al-Qaeda, a group which we understand reserves no alternatives to America's destruction or its replacement with an Islamic state?

With a president who refuses to examine the link between core Islamic doctrine and global terrorism while establishing a platform to negotiate with hateful ideologues like Mahmoud Ahmedinejad of Iran, I shudder to think of the possible answer to that question. But aside from the blind and apologetic pacifism displayed by our president and our more ignorant citizens, the correct answer is: No, there is nothing to be gained by negotiating with terrorists.

The West's delusional approach to groups like Hamas makes it, in part, culpable for the men, women, children, and babies who are routinely targeted and murdered in Israel by groups claiming Islam as their spurring motive. Rather than accepting Hamas as we would accept secular and peaceful opposition, the truth we must come to understand is that being a member of, or even a supporter of, groups like Hamas, Fatah, al-Qaeda, or Hizballah should be as clear a mark of fascism, intolerance, and hate as the wearing of a swastika remains today. These groups are merely the many heads of the hydra that is fundamentalist Islam, and it is to our detriment and to Israel's immediate danger that we choose to strike at one head while ignoring or pacifying all the others.

So when presented the option to either negotiate with or retaliate against a group that will accept no option beyond the destruction of Israel and its citizens, it is not only reasonable, but admirable and honorable that Netanyahu has made the decision to protect his people by choosing to press the Islamic terrorists of Hamas, as opposed to pacifying them and allowing them to feign politics to fulfill their stated religious conquest.

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William Sullivan

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After Gaddafi, Democracy or Jihadists?

by Walid Phares

We all agree that Colonel Gaddafi is a dictator, that he supported terrorism against the U.S. and France, was responsible for the tragedy of PanAm 103, that he funded, armed and trained radicals in many African countries such as in Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Upper Volta, and in a few Middle Eastern countries, including Lebanon. We all are aware that his regime oppressed his people and tortured and jailed his opponents for four decades.

I observed Gaddafi ruling Libya unchecked during and after the Cold War before and after 9/11, and he was received by liberal democracies as a respectable leader.
My first question is: Why has the West been silent so long and why is it so late in taking action against this dictator? Of course it had to do with oil. Western elites were morally and politically encouraging him by buying his oil and empowering him with endless cash as Libyan dissidents were dying in jails.

Now, as missiles are crushing Gaddafi's air defense systems and tanks, Western governments should be invited for serious self-criticism for having enabled this regime to last that long. Squeezing or even defeating Gaddafi should prompt a comprehensive review of past decades of Western policies towards this regime and its abuses of human rights.

The military operation should not end with the departure of Gaddafi from power. It must open the door for an examination of US and European policies that have aligned themselves with Petrodollars interests for over half a century. Such self-criticism was supposed to start with the removal of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, but unfortunately, it hasn't taken place yet, precisely because of the mega-influence inside the West and the United States by powerful lobbies representing the interests of OPEC, the Arab League and the OIC.

Besides, questions should be raised about the Arab League and OIC endorsement of an action against Gaddafi's regime. Where were they for decades, when the Libyan dictator used to seize the microphone on their platforms and blast the very democracies they implored to act against him? These organizations catered to the interest of regimes they now are calling for sanctions against. Mr. Amr Moussa, the current secretary general of the Arab League, rises against Gaddafi after having supported him for years, while the latter was oppressing his own people.

In my book, The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East, I call all these regimes and organizations a "brotherhood against democracy." They have supported each other against democratic movements and minorities everywhere in the region. From Sudan to Lebanon, from Iraq to Libya, the regional organizations were at the service of these regimes, not of the people. As these revolts are ongoing, these inter-regimes' organizations must be criticized and eventually reformed.

Last year, the Arab League and OIC were endorsing Libya's role in the UN Council on Human Rights. Egypt, Tunisia and Libya's representatives at the Geneva UN body were shutting up the voices of Libyan dissidents just a few months ago. Now that the uprisings have crumbled the regimes in Cairo and Tunisia, and Tripoli's ruler is cornered, the negative impact these inter-regime organizations have on dissidents and human rights on international levels must be exposed and their future representation comprehensively reformed.

Research confirms that many jihadists have been recruited from Libya, and particularly from its eastern provinces. Besides, Western policies towards Gaddafi's regime were incoherent. They should have supported true democratic forces and uprisings in the region from Iran to the Arab world.

In short I would have advised for a different set of US global strategies in the Middle East. We should have backed the Iranian Green Revolution in 2009, the Cedars Revolution as it struggles against Hezb'allah, and Darfur in its liberation drive against the Jihadist regime in Khartoum. In Egypt, we should have clearly sided with the secular youth and Copts, as they asked for a new constitution. In Iraq, we should have been clear in supporting reformist and secular forces.

As far as Libya is concerned, removing Gaddafi is not the question. That should have been done years ago on the grounds of abuse of human rights. The question is who will come next? The agenda of the Benghazi leadership is not clear. We know there is a layer of former bureaucrats, diplomats, intellectuals and military dissidents with whom partnership is possible and should be encouraged. But there is another layer below the surface which is made of Islamists, Salafists and in some cases Jihadists.

From a simple observation of the latter's narrative on al Jazeera, one major component of the opposition is an Islamist force aiming at taking over in Tripoli. Hence, Washington must partner with the secular-democrats and warn that it won't endorse replacing Gaddafi's Jamahiriyya with a Jihadi emirate.

Why aren't the most liberal Libyan dissidents received in Washington and made visible? The US and NATO military has been tasked to open the highways to Tripoli for the opposition, but we need to insure that on that highway we won't see the democracy groups eliminated by the next authoritarians.

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Dr. Walid Phares teaches Global Strategies in Washington and is the author of The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East.

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When Human Shields Die

by Alan Wellikoff

When it comes to shields, nothing protects despots from democrats as effectively as the profusely-sweating human variety. The reason is obvious: democrats by definition believe in the sanctity of human life, while despots generally get where they are by mowing down all those who stand in their way.

They also like to place in their way all those who can come between them and enemy fire.

Thus, the use of non-combatants as shields in many countries that (in keeping with Tom Friedman’s unreliable panacea) don’t have Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises, becomes an effective weapon in the cause of inhibiting the ability to wage war by their democratic opposites – or those with ready access to the Colonel’s New $5 Everyday Meals.

Moreover, the despot’s fielding of human shields result in his earning propaganda points once leftist elements within the democrats’ free-speech-enjoying populace get into the act. These quickly don the bloodthirsty keffiyeh to protest what they promote as yet another massacre of innocents on the part of the West. Thus, people who boundlessly hate Israel any time a Gazan in a suspiciously lumpy frock gets a hard look from an IDF border guard, will at the same time have no problem with Hamas using that same geezer as outright human Kevlar.

By thus invoking it to mask cruelty, leftists use compassion in pretty much the same way that outfits like Hamas use innocent civilians.

But none of this should be news to any reasonable – and reasonably aware — person. Less likely to be understood is the fact that the unpleasant consequences of using human shields go well beyond loss of life on the part of the non-combatants themselves. This is because once the contraceptive use of innocents in combat proves successful, not only does it allow the traders in human shielding go on to fight another day, it encourages the repeated use of non-combatants as defensive weapons of war.

This seems to place Western democracies at a insurmountable disadvantage, leaving them no choice other than to harm innocent civilians or – as a consequence of leaving them unharmed – risk losing in battle (a third option – namely the adoption of the means that Israel has developed to spare the lives of enemy civilians while still winning at war — is not necessarily transferable to other armies, only lessens the disadvantages they face, and fails to guarantee that they won’t be vilified as “murderers” anyway). However, there is a simple way to begin to redress the issue – one that starts with the proper ascription of blame:

Historically, human shields have fallen into types that are very different despite sharing the same classification. The first consist of voluntary human shields like those who came to Iraq from the West to place their bodies between Saddam’s anti-aircraft batteries and the stealth fighter jets that would otherwise take them out. As such people have the potential of being integral to the success of enemy warfare in the same way that, say, an underground missile silo would, they cannot be properly characterized as either innocent nor civilian. They function rather as an outwardly-passive shock troop – or a martyrdom-seeking militia whose chosen role is to exploit their enemy’s humanity to afford their Allah-invoking comrades the ability to return fire with impunity. As they seek martyrdom, so should they be helped to find it, and be taken out just as any barricade might. Voluntary human shields are effectively combatants – and the responsibility for their deaths lies with themselves.

However, while the notion that voluntary human shields are “direct participants in hostilities” reflects of the customary tenets of international humanitarian law; no treaty norm addresses the issue of an attacker’s obligations relative to their use.

A similar ambiguity attends the second category of human shields – namely those who are involuntarily forced into that condition. These are people worthy of all the protection denied them by those for whom they are forced to serve as fleshy armor. However, as deaths of involuntary human shields cannot always be avoided, it should be forthrightly proclaimed in law that the responsibility for their deaths lies with those who intentionally – and with monumental cruelty and cowardice — place them in harm’s way.

In a culture where total irrationality has come into fashion as a valid political stance, it may be naïve to hope that by enforcing the above perspective we might succeed in ending the slanders directed at democratic forces that, in fog of war, kill the innocents their despotic enemies place in the line of fire. But so long as we’re at it, let’s also hope that doing so will help undermine – and eventually do away with – the practice of using human shields altogether.

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Alan Wellikoff

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Mounting Terror in Israel

by P. David Hornik

Snugly asleep at 5:30 on Wednesday morning, I was awoken by sirens that rang through Beersheva. By the time, groggy, I made it to the stairs of the apartment building, heading down to the air-raid shelter, I and other groggy, semi-dressed people around me heard the boom, sounding very near.

It was a Grad rocket fired from Gaza. It landed in a private yard—indeed not far from us—and a man who saw the explosion from his third-story window was injured by shrapnel. Beersheva schools were closed for the day.

Another Grad from Gaza hit Beersheva four hours later, this time with no damage.

These two Grads were part of a larger barrage of southern Israel: a Grad had also landed near Ashdod Tuesday night, causing no damage, and another seven mortar shells struck the region on Wednesday. During Tuesday, amid a general escalation stretching back to the weekend and earlier, Israeli planes had hit terrorist targets in Gaza, killing nine including four civilians.

Not surprisingly, on such days all Israelis with access to a TV turn it on periodically to see if there’s further news. Wednesday afternoon, there was: this time it was a bus being bombed in Jerusalem, killing a 60-year-old woman and injuring dozens, some seriously. The bomb appears to have been left inside a bag beside a telephone pole, the bomber—for the time being—to have escaped.

Not long ago, as anti-regime protests broke out first in Tunisia and then in Egypt, Israel was criticized by liberals like Thomas Friedman and Peter Beinart, and neoconservatives like Elliott Abrams and Paul Wolfowitz, for not showing enthusiasm over a purported wave of democracy sweeping the Arab world. But of course it’s hard to celebrate under such circumstances. And there’s a strong connection between those circumstances and the supposed “democratic” developments—and not a positive one from Israel’s standpoint.

Various reasons have been adduced for Hamas’s (whether or not it was responsible for the Jerusalem bomb) current escalation of terror, including a desire to deflect popular discontent over its inability to reunite with the Fatah movement that rules the West Bank. Undoubtedly in the mix, though, is the tailwind Hamas is feeling these days from its southwest, in the Land of the Nile, where hasty arrangements to hold elections in September are seen by all knowledgeable observers as favoring Hamas’s parent organization the Muslim Brotherhood—the virulently jihadist group that calls to wipe Israel off the map.

No, in Israel we have to disappoint the critics and admit that, amid the bombs bursting in air and in the streets, we’re not celebrating the advent of “Arab democracy.”

As the crisis intensifies, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has canceled a trip to Russia and is consulting with top security officials. As always, Israeli decision-making in such situations is particularly difficult. If it were just a military matter, Israel is clearly superior militarily to Hamas, as was evident two years ago in Operation Cast Lead. Hamas has built up its capacities since then, but so has Israel.

But Israel also has to face diplomatic issues if and when it decides to defend itself. Put differently, it has to face what passes for Western (and UN) “moralism.” Seemingly, at a time when the U.S., Britain, France, Italy, and Canada have gone into combat in Libya, it shouldn’t be hard to grasp that Israel—which lives amid the Arab Middle East all year round—has to fight sometimes too.

But it isn’t that simple, and it wasn’t during Operation Cast Lead. As Palestinian civilian casualties—inevitable as Hamas ensconced itself in mosques, schools, and hospitals—flashed across U.S. and European TV screens, Israel came under mounting Western and UN pressure to halt the fighting and leave Hamas standing, and eventually it caved to it.

Meanwhile Hamas has rebuilt, and the results in Israel are already bloody. Will it be different this time if and when Israel hits Hamas hard again?

It would not be a safe bet. Israelis could hardly be encouraged by the world reaction to the Itamar massacre—indifferent at best, dehumanizing the victims as “settlers” at worst. This despite the fact that the victims—when terrorists broke into a home in the Samarian community of Itamar two weeks ago—were a mother and father and their 11-year-old, 3-year-old, and 3-month-old children, all stabbed to death, the grisly photos disseminated by the Israeli government in what turned out to be a futile measure.

Added to the basic disposition to keep Israel on a very short leash militarily—no matter how severe the hypocrisy, especially on the part of Western powers that also find themselves fighting in the Middle East and even kill civilians as collateral damage when they do—is that, unlike Operation Cast Lead in the waning days of the Bush presidency, another president now sits in Washington. As many have pointed out, President Barack Obama seems to waffle on almost all other Middle East issues but to come out swinging only when condemning Israel for building housing in places he thinks no Israelis should live. Again, it makes Israeli decision-making about possible military measures all the more difficult.

In sum, while Israeli civilian casualties of terror no longer seem to register, unintended Palestinian civilian casualties—should Israel mount another offensive in Gaza—are sure to kick up a storm. Somehow, the laudable Western ethos of trying to avoid civilian casualties gets twisted—particularly in Israel’s case—into something self-defeating and self-destructive: the purpose of war no longer being to protect one’s own population, but to protect the other side’s population, even if it means forfeiting any lasting, solid achievements in the war.

As the old Jewish maxim has it: “If I am not for myself, who will be?” Translated into today’s terms: if I am under terrorist assault, am I allowed to defend myself?

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P. David Hornik

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Suicidal Jews and the Anti-Semites They Ignore (and Sometimes Embrace)

by David Horowitz

Our attempt to place an advertisement in student papers featuring our “Palestinian Wall of Lies” [] has met with resistance from editors, whom it would be polite to call ignorant. Where student papers have actually published the ad, it has been met with outraged letters, particularly from Jews, which it would be appropriate to call suicidal. The Palestinian Wall of Lies was devised to counter the genocidal propaganda campaign launched by the Hamas-related Muslim Students Association. This propaganda campaign portrays Israel as an apartheid Nazi state and the Palestinians as innocent victims of Israeli theft and oppression. The “Palestinian Wall of Lies” is our response to these blood libels and is strictly factual, which may account for the absence of reasoned challenges to any of its statements or the offer of any evidence that would contradict its claims.

The following voice message was left on the Freedom Center’s voice mail and appears to be in response to the Wall of Lies ad that appeared in the Yale Daily News:

“This is a Desert Storm veteran. I’ve served time in the Middle East, unlike most Jewish people in this country that have never been to Israel or the Middle East. You know, is this really necessary, the Wall of Lies? It’s more of a, you know, I have Palestinian friends that are gonna take very big offense to this, uh, article you have in the Yale Daily News. Is that your goal just to bring up a bunch of bullsh*t? I wouldn’t say bullsh*t I would say, maybe some of it’s fact, maybe some of it’s not. But, you’re causing more problems by printing stuff like this. You’re in America now, so act like it.”

I don’t believe for a second that the caller served in the armed forces. But notice how his first move is to attack the Jews, and then to proclaim his opposition to ads that offend the sensibilities of an ethnic group. All of the rejections of the ad by campus editors have been on the grounds that it was offensive to ethnic or religious groups – clearly Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims. To my knowledge there has never been a single editorial in any campus paper, let alone in the 15 that have rejected our ad so far, decrying the Israel Apartheid Weeks that have been staged on their campuses to promote monstrous slanders against Israel and its Jews. What is really taking place on American campuses is a hate campaign against Israel and the Jews along with a parallel campaign to censor any criticism of its main sponsors, which are Muslim and Palestinian campus groups.

And the response of campus Jewish groups? In the case of Hillel – the largest Jewish student organization – it is to join the anti-Semites and attack their critics. At Florida State University, the campus Hillel joined in a coalition with the Muslim Students Association – the Hamas supporting campus group that is sponsoring the hate weeks against Israel across the country – to protest our campaign to correct the lies they were propagating. The name of the coalition? “The Coalition Against Hate.” Now how Orwellian is that.

Meanwhile at Brown, the student Hillel, which has written no such letters protesting Israel Apartheid Week, had this embarrassing mouthful to say:

To the Editor:

The student leadership at Brown-RISD Hillel would like to express its disapproval of an advertisement that ran on page 8 of yesterday’s Herald. The advertisement propagated several Islamophobic, racist and hurtful untruths by linking all modern Arab leadership to Nazi ideology and equating Islam with violence.

Though neither Hillel nor any affiliated students had anything to do with the advertisement, we feel compelled to declare that there should be no place for these spiteful, bigoted words in the Brown — or any — community, even under the guise of political free speech. We stand staunchly beside any members of our community who feel alienated and attacked by the advertisement.

We trust that the Brown University community will be wise enough to view the “Wall of Lies” advertisement as an unfortunate example of hatred and as unrepresentative of Hillel or the Jewish community.

The Brown-RISD Hillel Student Executive Board

The student leadership at Brown-RISD Hillel is upset not with the Muslim Students Association, sponsor of Israel Apartheid Weeks across the country, but with those of us who have had the temerity to attempt to correct the hateful lies spread by enemies of the only Jewish state. According to Brown Hillel, there are “Islamo-phobic, racist and hurtful untruths” in our ad which consist in “linking all modern Arab leadership to Nazi ideology and equating Islam with violence.” Of course there are no such statements in our ad. What the ad says is that “Today Arab leaders call for the destruction of the Jewish state and routinely deny that the Holocaust with which their forebears collaborated actually took place.”

Is this actually the case? Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestine Authority has actually written an entire book of Holocaust denial. Hamas, which is the government of Gaza, promises in its charter that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.” Perhaps the Hillel Student Executive Board would like to name a Palestinian leader who does not call for the destruction of the Jewish state. And then they should explain how the truth can be described as “bigoted.” And then they should explain how they expect normal people to regard their embrace of the cause of Palestinians whose leaders without exception call for the destruction of the Jewish state.

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David Horowitz

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The Most Islamic Community in Europe

by Soeren Kern

Leicester, an industrial city in central England, is home to the most conservative Islamic population anywhere in Europe, according to American diplomatic cables that were obtained and recently released by the website, Wikileaks. Leicester is also on track to become the first majority non-white city in British history.

The politically incorrect observation was made by a senior US State Department official who visited the city as part of an effort to engage Muslim communities in Europe. It reflects how Leicester's long-ballyhooed experiment with multiculturalism is being challenged by Muslim separatism and assertiveness.

A leaked diplomatic cable recounts the October 2007 visit of Farah Pandith, the US State Department's Senior Advisor for Muslim Engagement, to Leicester, a mid-sized city some 70 minutes north of London. The stated purpose of the visit was for the US government to find ways to help Britain "update and improve" its approach to stopping "home-grown" Islamic extremists. The document says Pandith found the lack of integration of the Muslim community in Leicester to be "striking."

The cable says, among other observations, Pandith was shocked to find "girls as young as four years old were completely covered." The document continues: "At a local book store, texts… seemed designed to segregate Muslims from their wider community, urging women to cover themselves and remain in their homes, playing up the differences between Islam and other religions, seeking to isolate Muslims from community, and feeding hate of Jews to the young."

The cable also recounts a discussion Pandith had with religious and community leaders at an Ahmadiyya [an Asian Islamic sect] mosque: "Yaqub Khan, General Secretary of a local organization called the Pakistan Association, insisted that he had to teach young people in Urdu. When Pandith challenged him as to why he would use Urdu with children who were growing up with English as their first language, Khan insisted that there were no good books on the Koran in English."

After World War II, the British government encouraged immigration to the country to alleviate an economic crisis, and that trend accelerated dramatically in recent years due to left-wing immigration policies seeking to foster multiculturalism. A new study by the think-tank Migration Watch UK shows that during the thirteen years that the last Labour government was in power (1997-2010), immigrants arrived in Britain at a rate of almost one a minute.

A fair number of those immigrants settled in Leicester -- once known as a center for manufacturing shoes and textiles -- where immigrant groups now make up nearly half that city's total population of 280,000. Many of the immigrants are of South Asian origin; the city is now known for its many Hindu, Sikh and Muslim places of worship.

The sharp rise in Muslim immigration, however, is upsetting Leicester's ethnic balance, and casting doubt upon the city's multicultural future. After Christians and Hindus, Muslims are the third-largest faith group in Leicester. The city's Muslim population is estimated at between 11% and 14% (or somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 Muslims), which is well above the percentage (4.6) of Muslims in Britain as a whole. The Muslim population in Leicester is made up mainly of Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, as well as Turks, Somalis, Kenyans and Ugandans. According to the Ummah Forum, "you'd really like Leicester if you want to be around a large population of Muslims."

Muslim immigration has led to the proliferation of mosques in Leicester, which now has more than 200 mosques and madrassas [Islamic religious schools]. The city is also home to several mega-mosques. The Leicester Central Mosque complex has a capacity for nearly 3,000 worshippers. It also has a school, a community hall, a residence hall for imams, a mortuary and a guest house. The huge Masjid Umar mosque has four towering minarets and a grand dome that displays Arabic calligraphy from the Koran.

The most influential Muslim in Leicester is Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh-ul-Haq, a hard-line Muslim cleric who runs the Al Kawthar Academy, an Islamic school in the city. Ul-Haq, 40, is also the leader of a new generation of "home-grown" British Islamists who loathe Western values, support armed jihad and preach contempt for Christians, Jews and Hindus.

Ul-Haq, who preaches in mosques across Britain, outlaws television and music, and says football is "a cancer that has infected our youth." He is appalled by young women who want to get educated and go to university. He regularly praises the work of the Taliban and their attacks against British troops in Afghanistan.

In a typical sermon entitled "Imitating the Disbelievers," ul-Haq warns British Muslims of the danger of being corrupted by the "evil influence" of Western culture. He also heaps scorn on Muslims who say they are "proud to be British," and argues that friendship with a Christian or a Jew makes "a mockery of Allah's religion." Ul-Haq sermons are broadcast on Radio Ramadhan Leicester in Urdu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Somali, Arabic and English.

Other Islamic separatists have been linked to the University of Leicester, according to the recent report, "Radical Islam on UK Campuses."

In 2002, British police initiated a crackdown on supporters of Osama bin Laden's terror network in Leicester. A police swoop on predominantly Muslim areas of the city led to the arrest of eight Islamic jihadists, who were accused of belonging to al-Qaeda and conspiring to raise money to fund terrorism.

Meanwhile, Leicester has the fourth-highest rate of unemployment in Britain. The city also has very high rates of illiteracy, and ranks as one of the worst five municipalities in England for education.

An April 2010 survey titled "Muslims in Leicester" says that Muslims in the city are especially prone to underachievement and unemployment. The report says the inner city Spinney Hills neighbourhood, which has the highest percentage of Muslims in the city, is also the ward with the lowest rate of full-time employment, the highest rate of unemployment, the highest level of economic inactivity, the highest percentage of "no qualifications" for work and the highest level of social housing.

Muslims are now demanding political power within the Leicester city council, as well as the freedom to wear their religious dress at work and to have halal food in the city hospitals. They are also seeking their own faith-based schools.

One such school, the Leicester Islamic Academy -- where female students wear the full-length dress and head-covering and the boys wear black robes and skullcaps -- has been accused by the British government of promoting Islamic separatism. Another state-run Islamic school in Leicester, the Madani High School, has run afoul of government regulators for reneging on its promise that 10% of its pupils would be non-Muslim. A government official has warned that Britain is "sleepwalking to segregation." He said: "Segregation is now so extreme in some schools that there is not much farther it can go. It does not help to prepare children in these schools for the real world."

The British government has tried -- unsuccessfully -- to reverse the tide of Islamic separatism in Leicester. In June 2008, for example, the city hosted the first in a series of road shows designed to tackle the problem of honour-based violence. Leicester has been plagued by forced marriages, kidnappings, physical and mental abuse of women, and other honour-based violence crimes against those who have not, according to family and local community members, conformed to religious or cultural expectations.

Muslim assertiveness is also turning Leicester into a lightening rod for those who oppose radical Islam. In October 2010, for example, Leicester was the site of a demonstration organized by the English Defense League, a far-right group which emerged after Muslim extremists disrupted a homecoming parade in Luton in March 2009 for British soldiers returning from Iraq. EDL protesters in Leicester carried banners with slogans such as, "Sharia laws will destroy Britain and all our British values."

Alluding to the transformation of cities like Leicester, Michael Nazir-Ali, a bishop of the Church of England, has lamented that Islamic extremists have turned parts of Britain into no-go areas for non-Muslims. Lashing out at the spread of religious separatism and the damage caused by the doctrine of multiculturalism, Nazir-Ali warned against the acceptance of Islamic Sharia law in Britain, and added that amplified calls to prayer from mosques are imposing an Islamic character on many British towns and cities.

It is a rather strange irony that Leicester's motto is Semper Eadem: "Always the Same."

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Soeren Kern

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Get Tough with Hamas Now

by Isi Leibler

These are indeed difficult times requiring painful decisions over issues such as how to placate the Obama administration in order to forestall a breakdown in US-Israel relations and avoid international efforts to force us to revert to the 1949 armistice lines.

But when it comes to matters of defense, there are clear lessons to be learned from the past.

Yet, in addition to Wednesday's monstrous attack opposite the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, there is a horrible sense of déjà vu as we observe the rapid escalation of Hamas missile launches which had been reduced as a byproduct of Operation Cast Lead.

One is even tempted to compare the current situation with what happened 10 years ago when the crude and limited-range Kassam rockets were first launched against us and contemptuously dismissed by leaders as primitive missiles with little capacity to incur serious damage or casualties.

In a Jerusalem Post column at the time, I predicted that if we avoided tough measures to curtail these "primitive" rocket attacks, the international community would become accustomed to regarding Palestinian missile launches against our civilians as the norm.

When the government would ultimately be obliged to act, a world accustomed to Israeli passivity against such attacks, would accuse us of over-reacting.

Unfortunately, that is precisely what happened. Each time we responded, we were accused of disproportionality.

Moreover, the situation deteriorated to such an extent that we were left with no alternative but to mount a full scale war against Hamas in Gaza for which the international community condemned us.

IT IS thus alarming to observe the government again prevaricating, issuing empty threats and bombing primarily empty buildings in Gaza in response to increasing attacks.

This has climaxed in recent weeks, with 50 missiles raining down over the Negev over the weekend and the deployment of lethal Iranian grad rockets. Israelis living in the southern region were destabilized and a few were even injured.

Moreover, this is the first time that instead of trying to blame "unauthorized groups," Hamas felt sufficiently confident to brazenly accept direct responsibility for the missile launches.

Yet, according to media reports, the security establishment relates to these outrageous breaches of international law and attacks on Israeli civilians as "low level confrontation" and reassures us that Hamas was not seeking a "major" conflict. And when civilians located adjacent to rocket-launching areas became casualties we once again apologize rather than condemning those responsible.

Obviously, the deterrent established in the wake of Operation Cast Lead "is eroding rapidly and we are again reconciling ourselves to large areas of Israel being subjected to "low level" missile attacks without reacting with tough military responses.

We should be under no illusions. Limiting our responses in order to meet Western expectations of "proportionality" serves no purpose. The lesson learned from Cast Lead was that any action we undertake to defend ourselves will at best be condemned as disproportionate but more likely as war crimes. One need only compare the absence of international criticism to the innocent casualties from Western bombardments in Libya in contrast to the cynical and hypocritical condemnations of Israel during Cast Lead, despite the far greater efforts of the IDF to minimize civilian casualties.

A MAJOR motivation for the attacks by the Iranian proxy Hamas is undoubtedly to divert attention from Iran's internal problems and its ongoing nuclear project. There is also the desire by Hamas leaders to deflect domestic public opposition to their rule. But above all, Hamas is testing our resolve and seeking to identify to what extent we will remain restrained because of our concern not to antagonize or embarrass the Americans who are pressuring us not to be "spoilers" during this period of turmoil sweeping the Arab world.

This is surely one time when we must demand that our prime minister display decisive leadership, gather his cabinet and insist this will be one of the rare occasions when all ministers must display unity and speak with one voice, proclaiming to the world that failing to employ deterrence is a prescription for disaster.

The opposition should be co-opted to create a united front and there is little doubt that Kadima supporters will demand that the party support such a policy.

Our embassies must be instructed to inform all nations that we will remain neither passive nor act with restraint. If Hamas continues launching lethal missiles against our civilians, we will severely punish them. We should emphasize that we seek quiet and stability on our borders. But if our citizens are targeted once again, not by terrorist splinter groups but by Hamas, which has exclusive jurisdiction over Gaza, it will be made to pay a bitter price. We will resume targeted assassinations and, while endeavoring to minimize civilian casualties, will be obliged to inflict massive reprisals on its infrastructure.

WE MUST make it clear in advance that Israel will no longer adhere to the tit-for-tat formula and that we will respond with overwhelming force, not because we seek revenge but in order to deter future attacks. This is not behaving disproportionately but is rather striving to employ deterrence to protect our civilians and avoid a new full-scale conflict. Such behavior is fully consistent with international law and our obligation to defend our citizens from outright aggression.

The time to bite the bullet is now. If we fail to reinforce deterrence immediately, the long-term price may be far more severe than any worldwide condemnations that will result.

We will be adopting a moral position which will undoubtedly be condemned by those with no love for Israel. But any country seeking to deny our government the right to protect its civilians will stand exposed as malicious hypocrites.

Ideally, this strategy may serve to stabilize the borders and avoid another war. On the other hand, if Hamas has a desire for martyrdom, we will be obliged to once again confront them full on. I am no military strategist, but it would surely be preferable for us to face this situation now, before Hamas manages to acquire more deadly weaponry that will undoubtedly reach Gaza under a future Egyptian regime.

We would also be in a better position to confront the terrorists today, prior to the stabilization of the new Arab governments - which are likely to be even more hostile to us than their predecessors.

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This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post

Isi Leibler

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

Hatem Bazian's Pernicious Misuse of 'Never Again'

by Cinnamon Stillwell and Rima Greene

Just when it seemed as though the misuse of language and imagery associated with the Holocaust could get no worse, along came "Never Again for Anyone." A national speaking tour designed to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, "Never Again for Anyone" traveled the U.S. from January 25 through February 19, 2011, landing at the First Presbyterian Church in Oakland, California on February 17. The event was a benefit for the virulently anti-Israel organization, the Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA).

The purpose of the tour was pernicious: to draw a connection between the Holocaust and the Arab-Israeli conflict, with Israelis cast as the new Nazis and "Never Again" transformed into the Palestinian rallying cry. Accordingly, the flyer for the event juxtaposed a photo of Jews fleeing Warsaw in 1944 with a photo of Arabs appearing to do the same from Tulkarm, in the British Mandate of Palestine, in 1948. Conveniently omitted was any context for the photos: the former group was fleeing extermination and the latter voluntarily abandoning their homes at the behest of an Arab leadership who tried and failed to exterminate the Jews.

In an attempt to lend an air of credibility to this exercise in propaganda, the tour featured Hajo Meyer, an 87-year-old Auschwitz survivor-turned fanatical anti-Zionist. Joining Meyer at several locations was Hatem Bazian, a senior lecturer in the department of Near Eastern studies at the University of California at Berkeley. Bazian—who gave the introduction at a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) event at UC Berkeley in October 2010—is a notorious anti-Israel activist. He is also the director of the "Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project," a program of UC Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender.

Speaking to an audience of approximately 100 comprised largely of local leftist and anti-Israel activists who hung on his every word, Bazian wasted no time conjuring up the specter of Islamophobia. He referred to "the production of Islamophobia," claiming that, "politicians use Islamophobia to win elections." Holding up the grossly inaccurate comparison of the Japanese internment camps during WWII and the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings during the Cold War, he alleged that Islamophobia is part of the plan "to create a new enemy." Bazian—using racial terminology to describe what is, in fact, a religion—asserted that, "Islamophobia reintroduces the pre-existing racial structure . . . Arabs, Muslims are racialized."

Ratcheting up the hysteria several notches, Bazian later claimed that:

They [the U.S.] want to produce reflexive hatred against Arabs and Muslims so that when they bomb Arabs and Muslims they do not feel that they are . . . destroying legitimate families like us[Americans]. . . . [They] need to create the feeling they [Muslims] do not belong to the human family . . . they are less than human, subhuman.

After asking, "What interests are served by Islamophobia? Who benefits?," Bazian cited an oft-mangled 2001 quote from Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes, strategically omitting the essential component (indicated below in italics):

I worry very much, from the Jewish point of view, that the presence, and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims, because they are so much led by an Islamist leadership, that this will present true dangers to American Jews.

Although the quote had nothing to do with Israel, he then added:

Muslims are part of civil society. But American Zionists want to keep it exclusive to themselves. They want to shut down the discussion of 'does Israel serve our national interests?' They want to shut down the debate; it's a strategy of silence.

He followed this with a rant about opposition to Park51 (the ground zero mosque), before reaching the ludicrous conclusion that:

Right-wingers are leading the charge against Muslims in America. These are the same people as the neo-Nazi skinhead groups.

Without pausing for a breath, Bazian launched into his favorite list of organizations and websites he hates: Campus Watch, Jihad Watch, The Investigative Project on Terrorism, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He drew no distinctions between them, but expressed particular animus towards the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Along the same lines, Bazian criticized the documentary series, Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West and The Third Jihad: Radical Islam's Vision for America. Rather than debating the substance of the films, Bazian charged them with supporting this supposed wave of Islamophobia.

In fact, FBI statistics reveal that two-thirds of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the U.S. are committed against Jews; anti-Jewish incidents outnumber anti-Muslim incidents by a factor of ten. A recent study conducted by the Center for Security Policy, "Religious Bias Crimes against Muslim, Jewish and Christian Victims: American Trends from 2000-2009," shows that hate crimes against Muslim Americans have remained relatively low and trending downward since 2001. Given this evidence, one might ask why, instead of the focus on "Islamophobia," there isn't a center for the study of anti-Semitism at UC Berkeley?

Bazian later resumed bashing Israel, alleging—against all evidence—that "it was Israel that prevented the two-state solution, not the Palestinians." Similarly, he made the following conspiratorial claim:

They [Israelis] still think the transfer [of Arabs] is the best approach . . . all of them, not one family, not one tribe should be left. . . . The highest levels of the Israeli government still believe that to solve the problem is to transfer the Palestinians.

Regarding the counter-terrorism training Israel has provided to American police and military forces, he concluded, "So who do you think those officers see as terrorists? Who do they look like?" That both Israel and the U.S. are targets for Islamic—not Irish or Basque—terrorists was left out of the equation.

Bazian lamented American financial support for Israel, insisting that the U.S. "budget is heavily invested in the military industrial complex" and spending a fair amount of time trying to back up this assertion, however faulty. Indeed, a video with excerpts of his talk posted at YouTube includes text with facts and figures that successfully contradicts Bazian on this point.

Meanwhile, events were transpiring outside the venue—where 25 or so pro-Israel protesters holding Israeli and American flags were gathered peacefully—that lent an air of paranoia to the evening. Unbeknownst to those of us sitting near the front of the church, security guards and tour volunteers were ejecting seated members of the audience in the rear whom they recognized as pro-Israel activists—either from the protest in front of the church or other local events. Similarly, they refused entrance to at least one person attempting to buy a ticket.

It was a replay on a smaller scale of the scene at Rutgers University on January 29, 2011, when sponsors and campus endorsers of the tour—having advertised the event as "free and open to the public"—suddenly began charging for tickets when a number of pro-Israel protesters tried to enter. Meanwhile, they allowed others in for free.

Adding to this pattern, audience members at several other stops on the tour reported that they were not allowed to photograph or record events.

The thuggish and discriminatory behavior of the event's organizers; the calculated inclusion of Hajo Meyer; and Bazian's radical, conspiratorial commentary are all standard fare for the "Never Again for Anyone Tour," not to mention the morally reprehensible and historically false premise of the entire enterprise. Perhaps it's time for organizers to apply the "Never Again" slogan to themselves.

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Cinnamon Stillwell and Rima Greene

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

No Holds Barred at Islamist Confab

by IPT News

A global assortment of radical Islamists held an online conference last weekend, calling for the destruction of the West and the violent implementation of Islamic law.

It isn't clear how many people tuned in to the Rise of Islam Conference 2011, but many of the speakers are considered fringe elements, even among Islamists. They represented English-speaking Islamist groups from all over the world. Jamaican Islamist Abdullah al-Faisal and British leaders Abu Izzadeen and Anjem Choudary hammered home their views about why and how Islam will dominate the world. But American Abdullah Younus Muhammad, currently living in Morocco, took the spotlight with his open endorsement of al-Qaida's war on the West.

"O Muslims, there is no honor, there is no dignity, there is no victory, unless Islam is a complete system established," said Muhammad, of "We do not believe in mass protest movements. We do not believe in each one teach one as the way forward. We believe that when a sufficient amount of Muslims have might to take all the powers that be, they go out and march forth in the way of Allah."

He cited Osama bin Laden's 1996 "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places" in calling on Muslims in the West to do more.

America considered the defeat of the Soviet army in Afghanistan and the fall of communism to be "a victory over the entire world" and a victory for liberal democracy, Muhammad said. "And it is this system that they continue to try to perpetuate, and to try to force down the throats of people all over the world, that is the true enemy, that is the true empire that Islam is waging a war against today."

In bin Laden's 1996 declaration, he called for a combination of "operations" with political and economic moves, Muhammad said, describing how American Islamists could aid al-Qaida's cause. They should "pay more attention, give more effort to propagation, spend more time promoting and defending the message of the mujahideen wherever they may be … Publish their words; don't just call yourself jihadi and say 'I am allying with them,' speak as if you are speaking on their behalf."

In practical terms he advised that Muslims boycott American goods to open an economic front to coincide with al-Qaida's military front. "If the economic boycott is coupled with the mujahideen's strikes, then the enemy's defeat is imminent, Insha'allah [if Allah wills]. And vice versa, if the Muslims do not cooperate with and support their mujahideen brothers by severing economic deals with the U.S. enemy, then they are paying him money which is the foundation of wars and armies, hence promoting the war and the Muslim suffering from it."

Other speeches, although militant in their own right, paled in comparison.

Abdullah el-Faisal, a Jamaican Islamist militant who has been deported from Kenya and Britain, explained why Islam is destined to dominate the world. "If communism is dead in the grave, what makes you think capitalism will survive? What makes you think capitalism will survive? It can't survive. Allah says … Truth has come and falsehood has vanished, and falsehood is by nature a vanishing thing."

Abu Izzadeen, a British Islamist who once called bin Laden "the only true leader of Muslims" and was convicted of terrorist financing charges, talked about shaking British society through Muslim pressure.

"We are not aiming to control a mosque in East London or South London or West London. No! We are aiming for the society to bow down to La Illah Illa Allah [This is no god but Allah]," Abu Izzadeen preached to calls of "Allahu Akbar" from the crowd. "To see the Queen bow down to La Illah Illa Allah, Prince Harry and William to bow down to La Illah Illa Allah. Even his new wife to wear the hijab and the khimar, and the niqab. We aim higher, akhi [my brother], because this deen [religion] is superior and nothing will supersede Islam."

Anjem Choudary, a leading British Islamist who tried to spark a new American movement called "Shariah4America," reinforced the idea of bringing Islamic law to America and the West. "That Rasul Allah [the messenger of Allah] said, that before the Day of Judgment, Islam will enter every single household, whether with dignity or whether humiliation, dignity because they will embrace Islam, and humiliation because they will be Kuffar [non-believers] but they will be under the Sharia."

Supporters of freedom and democracy, he said, ultimately are doomed because of God's will. "The messenger Muhammad (saws) came with the guidance and the Haq [truth], the Deen [religion] of truth, for it to be dominant on all other ways of life, no matter how much the polytheists, the disbelievers, those Kuffar, dislike it or hate it. Our objective, therefore, is the domination of the world by Islam."

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IPT News

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

Juan Cole’s Map of Lies

by Steven Plaut

Juan Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History. He claims to be a Middle East historian and expert. He has served as the president of the “Middle East Studies Association.” At least one scholar has accused him of being personally responsible for the intellectual bankruptcy plaguing Middle East studies. Cole is an anti-Israel and anti-American extremist, and his extremism prevented him from getting a job offer from Yale a few years back. He is probably best known for his professing beliefs in grand Jewish conspiracies. He tosses around the term “Zionofascists” when he means “Jews.” He led the pro-Saddam lobby and is a Hamas apologist. He loves to spread anti-Jewish blood libels. He is bosom buddies with Neo-Nazi anti-Semitic conspiracist nuts, like Justin Raimondo (who claims the Jews and not al-Qaeda were behind the 9-11 attacks on the US).

For those who think that the fascist method of The Big Lie must be restricted to slogans or phrases, you should never underestimate the value of a false map. Perhaps the world title for telling a Big Lie by means of a map, or rather a pseudo-map, now belongs to the pseudo-academic Cole, regarding “Palestinian lands.” He has decided that lands owned by the British imperial mandatory governing in control of “Palestine” between the world wars were “Palestinian land.” Those are the “Palestinian lands” he claims were stolen by Israel. Now, as it turns out, those were “Palestinian lands” only in the sense that they were state land owned by the British “Palestine” mandatory government. They were by and large not lands owned by “Palestinian” Arabs. And they were by and large completely empty.

Those were the lands taken over by Israel when it became independent that Cole maps as “Palestinian lands.” Today Juan Cole is the daddy of the world’s most absurd propaganda pseudo-map, which purports to tell the history of “Palestine.” The map can be viewed here and is entitled “Palestinian Loss of Land 1946 to 2000.” It consists of four frames.

The first frame is labeled “Palestinian and Jewish Land 1946.” It shows “Palestinian land” in green comprising more than 90% of “Palestine” (defined as the area later forming Israel, the West Bank and Gaza). Most of this “Palestinian” land was “Palestinian” only in the sense that it was public land owned by the British mandatory government of “Palestine.”

The second frame shows the UN partition plan 1947, under which roughly equal slices of land in Mandatory Palestine were assigned to a proposed Jewish state and a proposed Palestinian Arab state. Unwittingly, the map prepared by Cole makes the Israeli case. Readers might want to ask of Cole and his friends embarrassing questions, such as why that Arab Palestinian state never arose. After all, the Jews accepted the compromise proposal. The answer that Cole does not want you to know is that the Arab states invaded the territory militarily and gobbled up most of the what had been earmarked for a Palestinian state. Readers might also wonder how come half the segment of Western Palestine that had been reserved for the Jews after Transjordan had been truncated from Palestine was being offered to the Arabs.

In the same map, what are shown in Cole’s second frame as “Palestinian lands” were also by and large public lands controlled by the British Mandatory government and not lands owned by “Palestinian” Arabs. The third frame shows Israel’s borders after Independence and the last frame shows Israel’s borders today together, again with lands in the West Bank and Gaza defined by Cole as “Palestinian lands.”

The Big Lie is most visibly and viciously concentrated in Cole’s first frame. After World War I, all of Western Palestine was governed by Britain under a Mandate granted to it by the League of Nations. Its mandate was to develop the area as a Jewish homeland. The eastern part of Palestine was truncated and illegally turned by Britain into the independent Arab kingdom of Transjordan. The rump segment of Palestine was reserved for the Jews. None of this was earmarked for creation of yet another Arab state. The bulk of land within the Palestinian Mandate was state-owned land, governed by the British Mandatory government. It had also been state-owned land previously under the Ottoman imperial government, before Britain liberated “Palestine” from the Turks. [Before World War I, land in Palestine was owned by the Ottoman state and a feudalistic class of absentee landlords. The few “Palestinian” Arabs who lived in the country at the time seldom owned any land. They farmed it as sharecroppers.]

The Cole map of “Palestinian lands” gives the impression that before Israel’s creation 90% of the land of Palestinian was owned by “Palestinian” Arabs. In reality, almost none of it was. It was mainly land owned by feudal aristocrats and by the imperial government. Most of it was empty. When the Zionist migrations began, the Jews started buying up lands from their feudal landlords, who were happy to turn a quick profit. Almost no “Palestinian” Arabs were forced off those lands as the ownership changed and the Jewish immigrants arrived. The anti-Israel Lobby, which loves to accuse the Zionists of “colonialism,” is invited to find any other case in human history in which the “colonialists” came and paid in full at (and often well above) market prices for the lands they were “colonizing.”

As Jewish capital flowed into the country, bringing with it rising wages, health and educational standards, Arabs from neighboring countries, mainly from Lebanon and Syria, flowed in to “Palestine” to take advantage of the progress. Those Arabs never saw themselves as “Palestinians” until the fabrication of a mythical “Palestinian people” became the Arab propaganda line after 1967. The “Palestinians” were then assigned the same role of the German Sudetens in the late 1930s, pretending to be oppressed “victims” whose liberation required annihilation of their democratic “oppressors,” or so their genocidal totalitarian patrons insisted.

The large increase in Jewish land ownership between the late 1800s and 1948 was due to this process of land acquisition by means of Zionist purchases. Swaths of lands were also purchased by Jews in Syria and Transjordan. They were later stolen by the respective Arab governments, a little matter about which the “anti-apartheid” poseurs and Hillary Clinton have never had much to say. The bulk of the land in Western “Palestine,” including almost the entire Negev in Israel’s south, was state-owned during the British mandatory period. If Cole and Sullivan had an ounce of integrity, they would have identified public lands as precisely that.

Then to make matters worse, the pseudo-map and its sponsors paint all of Israel and large swaths of the West Bank and Gaza as “Jewish lands.” Even when they are owned by Arabs.

Let us note that what Cole and Sullivan call “Jewish lands” or “Israeli lands” include not only private lands owned by Arabs but also public lands serving Israeli Jews and Arabs in common. Are highways and parks used by all Israelis “Jewish lands?” Evidently Cole thinks so. Are lands upon which Arab schools, mosques, libraries and sports stadiums sit “Israeli lands?” Maybe Cole has never met an Arab who uses a park.

In addition, the bulk of land in Israel is publicly owned even today. As an economist I oppose this anachronistic “socialist ownership.” These holdings include public lands that are used by all Israelis, Arabs and Jews. Of privately-owned land, Israeli Arabs own more of it than their share in the Israeli population!

Then we have parts of the Gaza Strip being shown on the Cole map as “Israeli land.” Never mind that there is not a single Israeli anywhere in the Gaza Strip, ever since Israel – somewhat foolishly – turned the entire area over to the Hamas years ago. In the West Bank, Cole shows large swaths of “Palestinian land.” What he means of course is land on which Arabs live today. There are also swaths of land there on which Jews live. If the very fact of Arabs living on those lands turns them into “Palestinian lands,” then most of the American Southwest is Mexico.

Let me put this a little differently. If we apply Cole’s “logic,” then we need to note that a hundred years ago there were no properties at all owned by Juan Cole in Ann Arbor. In contrast, today there are no properties in Ann Arbor owned by me. Therefore, Cole’s house there must belong to me!

Cole actually took the pseudo-map – as is – from a Bash-the-Jews web site operating out of Leeds, English. This “borrowing” shows the reliability of Cole’s academic sources and scholarship. A student of mine who did the same would be brought up on disciplinary charges. The “Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign” is a pro-jihad pro-terrorist tiny group promoting boycotts of Israel. It reprints the usual Islamofascist propaganda and it links itself to Aljazeera, Osama bin Laden’s favorite news outlet. In its statement of purpose it lists battling the “Zionist nature” of Israel as one of its goals. It is not clear who prepared the map for the Leeds bigots, but it was obviously not anyone with any interest in facts. This is evidently why it appealed to Juan Cole.

Cole took the map from the Leeds jihadists and ran it with no editing at all on his own web site here. It was posted as part of a broader Bash-Israel posting. That posting is so filled with pseudo-scholarship and disinformation that, in and of itself, it raises enormous doubts about Cole’s qualifications to serve on the faculty of any bona fide institution of higher learning. Among other things, Cole writes there:

“Israelis claim a ‘birthright’ to do things like colonize Palestinian territory, based on romantic-nationalist reworkings of biblical narratives. But Canaan was populated for millenia before some Canaanite tribes adopted the new religion of Judaism, and it was also ruled, as Palestine, for centuries by Romans and Greeks, and for 1400 years by Muslims. The Palestinian Jews converted to Christianity and then to Islam, so they are cousins of the European Jews (who appear to have gone to Europe voluntarily as male merchants around 800 CE,, where they took local wives). European Jews are about half European by parentage and all European by cultural heritage, and it is no more natural that they be in geographical Palestine than that they be in Europe (where nearly two-thirds of their mothers were from and about a third of their fathers). From a Middle Eastern point of view, European Jews planted in British Mandate Palestine by the British Empire were no different from the million colons or European colonists brought to Algeria while it was under French rule from 1830-1962.“

Cole’s attempt to claim that “Palestinian Arabs” have roots among Canaanite tribes is laughable charlatanism. His pseudo-history of Jews resembles those to be found on many Neo-Nazi web sites. Palestinian Jews did not become Christians and Moslems. Those who did go to Europe did not do so “voluntarily” but to escape persecution, in contrast with the Syrian and Lebanese Arabs who migrated into “Palestine” in the late 19th and early 20th century to morph into up-and-coming “Palestinians.” Jews were hardly “planted” in Palestine by the British Empire. Jews lived there thousands of years before London was established. If anything, the British Empire did its best to mollycoddle Arab fascism during the 1920s and 1930s by preventing Jewish refugees escaping growing persecution in Europe and immigrating to “Palestine.”

Cole’s publication of the “maps” of “Palestinian Lands” was quickly picked up by Andrew Sullivan, writing in the Atlantic. While in the past Sullivan was capable of expressing the occasional approving sentiment about Israel and Jews, he suddenly became a vicious Israel basher during Israel’s “Cast Lead” military campaign against Hamas terrorism in the Gaza Strip. Israel had patiently sat back during years of being bombarded by thousands of Palestinian rockets, mortars, and sniper attacks. When it at long last retaliated, Sullivan went on a series of rage rants. In several of these he ran Cole’s pseudo-map.

Sullivan was called to task on that by Leon Wieseltier, writing in the New Republic: ‘Sullivan is hunting for motives, not reasons; for conspiracies, which is the surest sign of a mind’s bankruptcy.. These days the self-congratulatory motto above his blog is “Of No Party or Clique,” but in fact Sullivan belongs to the party of Mearsheimer and the clique of Walt (whom he cites frequently and deferentially), to the herd of fearless dissidents who proclaim in all seriousness, without in any way being haunted by the history of such an idea, that Jews control Washington.’ More than one blogger saw the exchange between Sullivan and Wieseltier as the bubbling out of Sullivan’s latent anti-Semitism.

When Sullivan ran the Cole pseudo-map, he accompanied it with the caption: ‘Joe Biden was kicked in the balls as he came to Israel with a simultaneous “f**k you” by the Israeli government announcing new settlements – 1600 houses – in East Jerusalem.” Why Israel’s building housing in its capital is an obscenity, while the United States building housing in Washington, DC is not – is just one more mystery unexplained by Sullivan.

The Cole pseudo-map would not die, and continues to metastasize. Jeffrey Goldberg made a valiant attempt at debunking it in the Atlantic, but missed the most important points. Sullivan then defended his use of it, out-Cole-ing even Juan Cole.

Since the Cole-Sullivan tag team started promoting the map as reflecting some sort of historic record, it has been picked up by countless anti-Semitic and anti-Israel web sites, blogs and magazines around the world. I found reprints in thousands of web pages. It has also been debunked by others, such as this web site. But it is now indelibly part of the anti-Israel canon of the Bash-Israel Left and the Islamofascists, both beloved by the pseudo-academic, Juan Cole.

Original URL:

Steven Plaut

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

Why Israelis Hate the Left

by P. David Hornik

At last Haaretz—Israel’s left-wing daily that I’ve criticized on more than one occasion (here, here, or here, for instance)—has an editorial that I like. Appearing this week, it marks the retirement of left-wing Knesset member Haim Oron and describes the “entire Israeli left” as being at an “unprecedented nadir” and “in desperate need of a new path forward….”

Pleasant words, those.

Trying to account for what it calls the Israeli left’s “helplessness and hopelessness,” Haaretz adduces “the failure of Oron and Meretz [his party] to voice a clear-cut alternative” to what Haaretz calls “the murky right-wing wave that threatens to flood the country.” As for that “wave,” Haaretz describes it in terms of “the nationalistic, racist and anti-democratic legislation that [the right] is proposing almost unhindered in the Knesset.”

In other words—as usual—Haaretz portrays Israel in terms not distant from those used by the Israel Apartheid Week crowd. That habitual Israel-bashing led Marty Peretz—no friend of the Israel right—to assert regarding Haaretz last week that

many of its columnists are intellectual psychopaths…. If you want one reason for why the international press is so hostile to Israel, it is because the only paper foreign journalists read is Haaretz in English. It is an exemplar of Jewish self-hate, full of ridicule, righteousness, and loathing. Its circulation is going down, down, down.

Oh yes, Haaretz’s circulation—one thing the paper forgot to mention while lamenting the state of the Israeli left in general. The mournful editorial, that is, skips the fact that if the Israeli left as a whole is a sinking ship, Haaretz is going right down with it.

As for why that should be so, Haaretz, of course, doesn’t have a clue. In addition to the left’s supposed failure to “voice a clear-cut alternative” to the right, the editorial lamely attributes the left’s decline to “the fact that Oron focused in his work mainly on economic and social issues” while “the fight against the occupation was secondary….”

“The occupation” refers, of course, to Israel’s presence in the West Bank—something most Israelis hardly want to “fight against,” especially now that Israel’s removal of “the occupation” of Gaza has resulted in six straight years of rocket and mortar fire on Israeli communities.

But if Haaretz really wanted to cast around for reasons for the left’s unpopularity, it could consider, for instance, a recent Israeli news item about Amos Oz and Marwan Barghouti. Oz is a septuagenarian, Israel Prize-winning, Nobel-candidate Israeli writer. Barghouti was one of the major leaders of the genocidal Palestinian onslaught known as the Second Intifada, now serving a life term on five counts of murder.

But what is strange—or maybe not so strange, considering that he’s a lifelong leftist—is that Oz now wants to send Barghouti something close to a love letter. Oz’s acclaimed autobiography, A Tale of Love and Darkness, has been translated into Arabic. Oz has asked another Israeli leftist to bring Barghouti a copy of the book in prison, bearing this personal dedication:

This story is our story. I hope you read it and understand us better, as we attempt to understand you. Hoping to meet soon in peace and freedom.

Earth to Haaretz: Israelis, as they scamper with their children into shelters while the rocket-alarms sound, don’t like this kind of thing. We don’t like writers who feel a kinship with terrorists and long to see them free, nor the left-wing culture that spawns such bizarre and sinister sentiments.

And as for that other leftist, the one Oz requested to bring his present to Barghouti for him…it’s none other than Haim Oron, the pol whose imminent retirement prompted Haaretz’s editorial. Oron is, in fact, a regular visitor of Barghouti and a constant advocate of his release, bloody hands and all.

Blaming the ongoing aggression on “the occupation”—that is, on Israel. Vilifying Israel while lionizing terrorists. Providing an endless stream of Israel-bashing fodder to ignorant and malevolent foreign media. These are not some of Israelis’ favorite things.

Until the Israeli left starts to understand that—and whether it can understand it is doubtful, since understanding it would entail abrogating its identity—it will continue to sink.

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P. David Hornik

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Obama: Rewarding Obstructionists, Shafting Allies - Again

by Anna Mahjar-Barducci

U.S. President Barack Obama is trying to play "Nothing To See Here" in foreign policy. Just after declaring that the White House organized a coalition to start a military action in Libya, he was landing with his family - wife, Michelle, daughters, Sasha and Malia, and mother-in-law, Marian Robinson - in Brazil, one of the five nations that abstained in the vote of a UN resolution to impose a no-fly zone over Libya – and thereby bestowing a reward for behavior that was "unhelpful," to say the least.

Obama went for a five-day Latin American Tour that will be bringing him to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador, at a time when the Middle East is burning, Further, Libya is massacring facing a massacre; a civil war might start in the Ivory Coast, and an earthquake, a tsunami and collapsing nuclear reactors have hit Japan, leaving the country at risk of a radioactive meltdown. The trip to Latin America, however, was planned to strengthen economic and political relations, and also as a way to confront the anti-American propaganda that mainly the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Cuba are trying to spread over the continent.

Obama tried to charge his first visit to Latin America with symbolism; it marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the 1961 Kennedy administration's "Alliance for Progress," aimed at establishing economic cooperation between South America and the U.S. The program was seen as a failure already in the '70s, based especially on the worsening of socio-economic indicators throughout the 60s. Policies set by the Alliance for Progress were in fact a total fiasco. The region's annual economic growth went from 1% to between 0.6 to 1%, well below the goal set by the Alliance[1].

However, even though Obama seems keen to exhume the Alliance for Progress, in his first trip to the region, the US President did not include in his agenda a visit to Washington's main ally in Latin America: Colombia, a country with which the United States has effectively worked in the fight against drug trafficking activities and terrorism. Colombia, which borders with Venezuela, keeps being threatened by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's support to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - known by its Spanish abbreviation, FARC – a Marxist-Leninist group that carries out extortion, kidnappings and drug trafficking.

The reason behind President Obama's avoiding a visit to Colombia is no surprise. Five years ago, the United States negotiated free-trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, another top White House ally. In the last two State of the Union addresses, Obama said that his administration will pursue the free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, but did not set any timetable to have the pact ratified. The Washington Times reports that at a hearing on Capitol Hill, "senators from both parties practically begged the White House to submit the trade accords - but U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk hemmed and hawed about how they weren't quite ready just yet."[2] However, Montana's U.S. Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat, seems to do not agree with the Obama Administration and said: "The time is here. The time is now. In fact, the time has passed to ratify the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. It has long passed. We are losing market share hand over fist"[3].

This unjustified delay is not only undermining relations with US top allies in Latin America, but also has a direct impact on the US economy: As explained by Sen. Baucus, since Obama has not yet submitted the agreement to Congress for approval, Montana farmers and businesses have difficulty competing with businesses from other countries that have free trade agreements with Colombia. Specifically, Canada has passed an FTA with Colombia, set to enter into force in the next few months. If the U.S. still has not approved its agreement when that happens, America is likely to lose the entire Colombian wheat market.[4]

In the meantime, while Obama was in Brazil, French jets were deployed over Libya. The US President, who is also the US Commander in Chief, was absent also at the Paris talks, where military options against Libya were decided, while he was heading to Latin America. His absence left a void -- and the impression of a weakness of the US -- in its foreign policy. White House and Pentagon officials said the President's trip could not have been cancelled. "It is imperative that the United States not disengage from these regions [Latin America]," Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, told reporters. "When we disengage, our ability to advance partnerships that serve our interest suffers."

The interests of the US seem to suffer anyway, thanks to the Obama administration. The international community perceives that the US left the mantle of the Free World leadership to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is now leading the battle against Gaddafi's dictatorship. Gaddafi himself seems to consider Obama as a dwarf in foreign policy by sending him an eccentric letter, in which he addresses the US President as his "son," hence putting him underneath him: "To our son, his Excellency, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama. I have said to you before, that even if Libya and the United States of America enter into a war, God forbid, you will always remain a son. Your picture will not be changed."

[4] Ibid.

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Anna Mahjar-Barducci

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