Friday, April 22, 2011

Jewish, Not Arab, Roots in Judea and Samaria

by Hillel Fendel

U.S. Pres. Barack Obama’s demand that Israel not settle Jews in the Biblical areas of Judea and Samaria ignores thoroughly-documented Jewish roots in the Land of Israel, and in Judea/Samaria in particular.

Yoram Ettinger, a former liaison for Congressional affairs in Israel's Washington embassy, lists in the latest of his periodic position papers some of the evidence showing that Judea and Samaria has Jewish, not Arab, roots.

Area Always Known as "Judea and Samaria"
Ettinger negates Obama's claim – enunciated during his June 4, 2009 speech at Cairo University – that "the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in" the Holocaust. For one thing, Ettinger notes, many world-renowned travelers, historians and archeologists of earlier centuries refer to "Judea and Samaria," while the term "West Bank" was coined only 60 years ago.

Jordan gave the region this name when it occupied it after Israel’s War of Independence. No nation on earth other than Britain and Pakistan recognized Jordan’s claim to Judea and Samaria.

Among the travelers, historians and archeologists who referred to Judea and Samaria are H. B. Tristram (The Land of Israel, 1865); Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad, 1867); R.A. MacAlister and Masterman ("Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly"); A.P. Stanley (Sinai and Palestine, 1887); E. Robinson and E. Smith (Biblical Researches in Palestine, 1841); C.W. Van de Velde (Peise durch Syrien und Paletsinea, 1861); and Felix Bovet (Voyage en Taire Sainte, 1864). Even the Encyclopedia Britannica, as well as official British and Ottoman records until 1950, used the term Judea and Samaria, and not the West Bank.

Land Was Named "Palestine" in Order to Erase Jewish Presence
Ettinger goes even further back, and says that the name "Palestine", which had nothing to do with a people as non by that name existed, was given to the Holy Land for the sole purpose of erasing the previous name of the country – Judea – from human memory. The Romans, whose plan this was, similarly sought to extinguish Jewish presence in Jerusalem by renaming it Aelia Capitolina.

Arabs Came in the Last 150 Years
When speaking of “Palestinian national rights,” it must be similarly kept in mind, Ettinger notes, that most Arabs residing today in Israel – anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean - have their origin in a massive 19th-20th century migration from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and other Moslem countries. They adopted the title "Palestinian", which gives the impression of ancient ties to the land.

Town Names Betray Their True History
Finally, Ettinger says that almost all Arab localities in Judea and Samaria have retained Biblical Jewish names, thus reaffirming their Jewish roots. Examples include the following:

  • Anata is Biblical (and contemporary) Anatot, the dwelling of the Prophet Jeremiah.
  • Batir is Biblical (and contemporary) Beitar, the headquarters of Bar Kochba, the leader of the Great Rebellion against the Roman Empire, which was suppressed in 135CE.
  • Beit-Hur is the biblical (and contemporary) Beit Horon, site of Judah the Maccabee's victory over the Assyrians.
  • Beitin is biblical (and contemporary) Beit El, a site of the Holy Ark and Prophet Samuel's court.
  • Bethlehem is mentioned 44 times in the Bible and is the birth place of King David.
  • Beit Jalla is biblical (and contemporary) Gilo, in southern Jerusalem, where Sennacherib set his camp, while besieging Jerusalem.
  • El-Jib is biblical (and contemporary) Gibeon, Joshua's battleground known for his command to stop the sun and moon (Joshua 10:12).
  • Jaba' is the biblical (and contemporary) Geva, site of King Saul’s son Jonathan’s victory over the Philistines.
  • Jenin is the biblical (and contemporary) Ein Ganim, a Levite town within the tribe of Issachar.
  • Mukhmas is biblical (and contemporary) Mikhmash, residence of Jonathan the Maccabee and site of King Saul's fortress.
  • Seilun is biblical (and contemporary) Shilo, a site of Joshua's tabernacle and the Holy Ark and Samuel's youth.
  • Tequa is biblical (and contemporary) Tekoa, hometown of the Prophet Amos.

Arabs Never Wanted Palestinian State
In another of his posts, Ettinger has negated the US government position that a Palestinian state is the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict and that its formation would resolve the situation. He cites proofs from recent history showing that Arab antipathy to Israel not only predates Palestinian concerns, but often sidesteps such interests.

Israel's war for its independence in 1948-9, for instance, was conducted by the Arab countries at the expense of local aspirations. Though Egypt conquered Gaza, and Jordan took Judea and Samaria, and Syria claimed the Golan, in none of these areas was a government of local Arabs allowed.

When Egypt conquered the Gaza Strip, it proceeded to prohibit "Palestinian" national activities and expel its leadership. Not only did Jordan not grant locals independence to Judea and Samaria, it actually annexed these areas to its own country. When Syria occupied and annexed the Hama area in the Golan Heights, the Arab League outlawed a provisional "Palestinian" government there.

In short, it can be concluded that Arab "rights" to a state in Judea and Samaria are historically weak and were long ignored by other Arab countries.


Hillel Fendel

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

A Pacifist? He Hated Israel

by Fiamma Nirenstein

The cruelty of the public execution of a young man who had family and friends, as it was the case with Vittorio Arrigoni's killing, is always awful. This is clear. What is not clear to the European public is that it is evident that the killers are his old Islamic Jihadists friends from Gaza. But they could have been Afghanis To understand the death of this Italian activist, one important fact must be grasped: his death was triggered by the way he mixed his life with that of his potential enemies, whom he thought were his best friends. But militant fundamentalists, or Islamists do not have stable affinities and "best friends." The only thing that counts for them is their interpretation of Quran. Hamas's Gaza, where Arrigoni was killed, is a land ruled by awful and distant laws. Arrigoni loved the Palestinians, but for them, he remained a total foreigner.

The crucial issue is this: When you go to Gaza or Afghanistan, it is important to realize that our concept of life is completely different from politically Islamic people's concept of life. To them, you can die because you are Jewish, because you are Italian, or Christian, because you are an apostate, or a corrupt Westerner... the extremist mentality, make no bones about it, cancels out friends and allies. No matter how much you have worked against the "Zionist power" or that you have called Zionists "rats," as Arrigoni did, nothing is of any worth if you break their rule -- a rule which will remain changing and unclear until the knife blade comes.

The decapitation of the American Nick Berg in Iraq in 2004 was filmed, the Jihadists said, "to give a clear message to the West;" the Italian Fabrizio Quattrocchi was executed because he was "an enemy of God, an enemy of Allah;" Vittorio Arrigoni, as his butchers say in the video, in words that scroll across the screen, because "he was spreading western immorality in Gaza," and because "Italy fights against Islamic countries;" in 2002, Daniel Pearl was killed in Karachi because he was a Jew. It has been repeated again and again that Hamas, with whom Arrigoni was on friendly terms, has condemned the crime. But in actual fact it does not matter if the assassins are members of Hamas or not. They have been, they will be, they all are controlled by Hamas. Even Al Qaida, which has a presence in Gaza, is seen by Hamas in a better or worse light, depending on the moment. But Hamas is always top dog in Gaza.

Hamas is responsible for the armed destruction of the UN recreational camp for children, which did not abide by Islamic dictates; it was responsible for arresting 150 women under the accusation of witchcraft and the execution of several of them; and it is Hamas that has introduced by law death penalty, whipping, cutting off hands and crucifixion, according to Sharia. Hamas killed the 32-year old Christian book salesman, Rami Khader Ayyad, guilty of selling Bibles. It was responsible for the captivity of Gilad Shalit. Not all those who carry out these operations, or to whom Hamas gives orders to fire Qassam missiles against Israel, are members of the terrorist organization that rules Gaza. At times Hamas even pretends to fight them.

Hamas is a movement, a party, a fundamentalist State. Its statute stipulates that it wants to destroy the Jewish State, to exterminate Jews and impose an Islamic caliphate on the entire world. Salafi fringes and those linked more to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, those influenced to a greater or lesser extent by Iran or Al Qaeda and based in the Gaza Strip, join Hamas and leave Hamas by turns. The fact that Hamas has now disowned the killers of Arrigoni is not of the slightest importance. The killers, as members of the Al Qassam Brigades, were employed by Hamas

Arrigoni was fan of political Islamism because he was an enemy of the Jews, but this did not save him from a cruel execution in front of the camera, just as many others friends or enemies of Hamas or the Islamic Jihad never understood.

So it is intellectually sad and even dangerous that a demonstration in front of the Italian Parliament blamed Israel and Italy for Arrigoni's death; or that the ISM, the pro-Palestinian NGO group to which Arrigoni belonged, attributed "moral responsibility to the State of Israel." These reactions seem to be triggered only by ideological hatred. But what is more striking still, with sincerest respect for the figure of the President of Republic, was the statement of condolences which Giorgio Napolitano rightly delivered; instead of laying the blame on Islamic fundamentalism, he asked that "a negotiated solution be found to the conflict which sees bloodshed in the region."

For us, it is inconceivable, even if you are a militant like Arrigoni, to live alongside those who fire missiles on civilians, wear belts packed with explosives and hand out sweets when an Israeli family is killed, including a three months baby, a four year old child and another of nine, in the Israeli suburb of Itamar.

With the same coherence, he could have invoked any good cause: the fight against world hunger, or child prostitution. Yet instead, Israel is being summoned to face some mysterious responsibility. But the fault is only of Islamic fundamentalism; what is the point of dragging the pained witness and victim of Hamas terrorism into the question?


Fiamma Nirenstein

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

Britain vs. Muslim Immigration

by Soeren Kern

Islamic jurisprudence is spreading throughout Britain at an astonishing rate. At least 85 Islamic Sharia courts are now operating in the country, almost 20 times as many as previously believed. A recent think tank study titled "Sharia Law or One Law for All" found that scores of unofficial tribunals and councils, may operating in mosques, regularly apply Islamic law to resolve domestic, marital and business disputes.

The study warns of a "creeping" acceptance of Sharia principles in British law, and follows the outcry over remarks by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, who had said that Sharia law in Britain is "unavoidable."

The emergence of a parallel Muslim society in Britain and the failure or refusal of many Muslim immigrants to integrate is troubling millions of British voters.

It is also increasing the political pressure on British Prime Minister David Cameron -- who delivered a keynote speech on immigration to members of his Conservative Party in Hampshire on April 14 -- to crack down on widespread abuses of the immigration system, particularly abuses that involve forced or sham marriages, bogus students, dodgy colleges or dubious work permits.

Cameron also takes aim at immigration fraud. He addresses the abuse of student visas, by far the biggest route for non-EU immigrants into Britain -- he said: "Immigration by students has almost trebled in the past decade. Last year, some 303,000 visas were issued overseas for study in the UK. But this isn't the end of the story. Because a lot of those students bring people with them to this country: husbands, wives, children…we know that some of these student applications are bogus, and in turn their dependents are bogus. Consider this: a sample of 231 visa applications for the dependents of students found that only twenty-five percent of them were genuine dependents. The whole system [is] out of control and we're now getting to grips with it. That badly needs to be done."

The government will also begin targeting bogus colleges that offer sham courses. Cameron said: "We're making sure that anyone studying a degree-level course has a proper grasp of the English language. We're saying that only postgraduate students can bring dependents. And we're making sure that if people come over here to study, they should be studying rather than working, and that when they've finished their studies, they go home unless they are offered a graduate-level skilled job, with a minimum salary."

In recent years, there has grown up a thriving industry of bogus colleges, providing bogus qualifications as cover for bogus visas. According to the British government, of the 744 private colleges on the UK Border Agency Sponsor Register in January, only 131 had attained Highly Trusted Sponsor status. Yet, as of mid-January 2011, the 613 private colleges that are not Highly Trusted have been able to sponsor 280,000 students between them. "The potential for abuse is clearly enormous," Cameron said.

In one case, students were sent off to so-called work placements in locations up to 280 miles away from the college where they were supposed to be studying on a regular basis. In another, students were found working in 20 different locations and undertaking no study time whatsoever. In yet another case, there were 2 lecturers for 940 students.

By any measure, the Muslim population in Britain has skyrocketed over the past ten years. Based on official estimates, Britain's Muslim population has grown from 1.6 million in 2001 (when the British Census first began to measure religion) to 1,870,000 in 2004, to 2,422,000 in 2008, to 2,869,000 in 2010. That is an overall increase of more than 1.2 million, according to data compiled by the British government's Labour Force Survey (LFS), which were first published by the Times of London newspaper in January 2009, later confirmed by Hansard, the official report of debates in the British Parliament, and then updated by the Pew Research Center in September 2010.

In just two decades, the percentage of the British population born abroad has doubled to over 11%, according to the Office for National Statistics. In real terms, that amounts to nearly seven million immigrants, equal to the population of the City of London, or the equivalent of one immigrant every two minutes. This rate of inflow is 25 times higher than any previous period of immigration since the Norman Conquest of England in September 1066. Demographers forecast that at current trends, Britain's population will exceed 70 million in less than twenty years, with almost all of that increase being driven by immigration. This would turn Britain into the most crowded country in Europe. According to a recent "Citizenship Survey," 77% of those polled said immigration should be cut, with slightly more than half saying it should be reduced "by a lot."

The Cross Party Group for Balanced Migration, a bi-partisan group that is attempting to protect and re-establish a sense of British national identity, has called for all parties in Britain to commit to keeping the population below 70 million. In January 2010, Cameron told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC One (here, here and here) that the population of Britain should be kept below 70 million "to relieve pressure on public services." He made those remarks after the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, called for immigration caps to protect Britain's Christian ethos.

In other words, Britain's Muslim population has multiplied 10 times faster than the rest of society over the past decade, while the number of Christians in the country has dropped by more than two million during the same period. Demographers expect that trend to continue. A new study titled "The Future of the Global Muslim Population" forecasts that Britain's Muslim population will double to 5.5 million within the next 20 years.

As Britain's Muslim population grows, British society is being transformed in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. For example, Mohammed is now the most popular name for baby boys in Britain. And the number of mosques in Britain (1,689) has grown to almost the number of Anglican churches (1,700) that have recently been closed.

In his Hampshire speech, Cameron unambiguously promised to cut the number of immigrants entering Britain from non-European Union (EU) countries from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands. In more specific terms, whereas some 200,000 non-EU immigrants have entered Britain every year over the past decade, Cameron has for the first time ever placed an annual immigration cap of 20,700 visas for non-EU workers during 2011.

According to Cameron, there are some 155,000 illegal immigrants claiming welfare benefits in Britain. (Research conducted by the London School of Economics estimates that there may be more than 600,000 illegal immigrants living in Britain.) "That's wrong -- and we're stopping it. We're making sure that only people who have the right to work here can claim benefits," Cameron said.

In his speech, Cameron said: "For a start there are forced marriages taking place in our country and overseas, as a means of gaining entry to the UK. This is the practice where some young British girls are bullied and threatened into marrying someone they don't want to. I've got no time for those who say this is a culturally relative issue -- frankly it is wrong, full stop, and we've got to stamp it out."

He continued: "But as well as abuse of the system, there are other problems with what's called the family route. We know, for instance, that some marriages take place when the spouse is very young, and has little or no grasp of English. Again I don't believe we should allow cultural sensitivity to stop us from acting. That's why last November we introduced a requirement for all those applying for a marriage visa to demonstrate a minimum standard of English, and we will defend the age limit of 21 for spouses coming to the UK."

Cameron criticized the previous Labour government's "open door" policy, which resulted in some three million foreigners being added to Britain's population roster during the past decade. Cameron said: "For too long, immigration has been too high. Between 1997 and 2009, 2.2 million more people came to live in this country than left to go and live abroad. That is the largest influx of people that Britain has ever had and it has placed real pressures on communities up and down our country."

Although Cameron did not mention the taboo topics of Muslims or Islam in his Hampshire speech, it was clear to all Britons that his comments were directed at the growing concern about uncontrolled immigration from Muslim countries. Britain, said Cameron, will begin to promote "good immigration instead of mass immigration."

Cameron recently said that multiculturalism has been responsible for fostering Islamist extremism in the United Kingdom; he has now pledged to dramatically reduce immigration to Britain from non-European countries.

"Europe," he said in a speech to the Munich Security Conference 2011 on February 5, "needs to wake up to what is happening in our own countries."


Soeren Kern

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

Obama Justice Department Saves Brotherhood Fronts

by Ryan Mauro

Investigative journalist Patrick Poole has broken a blockbuster story about how the Obama Administration’s Justice Department blocked plans to prosecute a co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and others labeled “unindicted co-conspirators” in the Holy Land Foundation trial. Rep. Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has written a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and is requesting answers by April 25.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) were all designated by the federal government as “unindicted co-conspirators” in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim Brotherhood front found guilty of covertly financing Hamas. A total of 246 organizations and individuals received the label but have yet to face prosecution. Now, a high-level Justice Department source has informed Patrick Poole that this is because of a decision by the Obama Administration, in what the source called “a political decision from the get-go.” A second Justice Department source substantiated the tip.

A March 31, 2010 report titled “Declination of Prosecution of Omar Ahmad,” referring to one of the co-founders of CAIR, was sent from Assistant Attorney General David Kris to Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler. The document claims that Ahmad would not be prosecuted because of fears that jury nullification would result. The source of the information rejects this and says it is just an excuse to not move forward.

Rep. Peter King has confirmed the story and is now putting Attorney General Eric Holder in the hot seat. King writes that he has been “reliably informed” that the decision to not prosecute the unindicted co-conspirators “was usurped by high-ranking officials at Department of Justice headquarters over the vehement and stated objections of special agents and supervisors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the prosecution at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, who had investigated and successfully prosecuted the Holy Land Foundation case.”

King requests a reply by April 25 but it is unclear what will follow if the response is unsatisfactory. David Rusin, the director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, told FrontPage that “if Congress subpoenas Justice Department files on the organizations, incriminating details go public.” Such an investigation would be “a nightmare in the making for groups like CAIR and ISNA, whose very lifeblood has been the ability to camouflage their radicalism with the aid of gullible dupes in government and the press.”

However, Politico reports that the Bush Administration originally decided against prosecuting CAIR in 2004. Poole told the website that this is not necessarily a contradiction, as it just means that “They decided to get the bigger fish after they convicted the smaller fish.”

The government has expressed certainty that these groups and individuals are part of a Muslim Brotherhood network with the objective of assisting Hamas. In December 2007, a federal court filing flatly stated, “From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists” and “the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists.”

Efforts by CAIR, ISNA and NAIT to get their designations as unindicted co-conspirators have failed. On July 1, 2009, U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis ruled that “The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF [Holy Land Foundation], the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), and with Hamas.” The IAP is another charity that was shut down for acting as a Brotherhood-created front for Hamas.

Poole’s Justice Department source explained the decision not to prosecute Ahmad and the others involved. “These individuals who were going to be prosecuted are still the administration’s interfaith allies. Not only would these Muslim groups and their friends in the media be screaming ‘Islamophobia’ at the top of their lungs and that this is a war against Islam, but the administration would look like absolute fools,” the source said.

It isn’t hard to find out how close the Obama Administration has been to these groups and their defenders. The “most influential Muslim” in the White House is Dalia Mogahed, who sits on his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She is a close colleague of John Esposito, a staunch defender of the Muslim Brotherhood and a witness for the defense during the Holy Land Foundation trial. Officials from the Obama Administration, like the Bush Administration, have made a concerted effort to court these Brotherhood affiliates, including senior advisor Valerie Jarrett; chief counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan; Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough and many other lower-level government officials that have sought to engage them as part of their outreach to the Muslim-American community.

David Rusin told FrontPage that there is “some hope” that public pressure will force the Obama Administration to change course. However, he thinks it is more likely that a major political battle is brewing as Attorney General Eric Holder could be “shown to have quashed prosecutions for political gain.”

“The major obstacle is that Democrats have so much to lose, given their long history of pandering to these groups and promoting the narrative of rampant anti-Muslim prejudice,” he said. “Thus, expect the party to pull out all the stops to ensure that such a day never comes.”


Ryan Mauro

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

Whose Land is Palestine?

by Eli E. Hertz

International law expert Professor Eugene V. Rostow, a key draftee of the 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242, examining the claim for Arab Palestinian self-determination on the basis of law, concluded: [1]

"The Mandate [for Palestine][2] implicitly denies Arab claims to national political rights in the area in favor of the Jews; the mandated territory was in effect reserved to the Jewish people for their self-determination and political development, in acknowledgment of the historic connection of the Jewish people to the land. Lord Curzon, who was then the British Foreign Minister, made this reading of the mandate explicit. There remains simply the theory that the Arab inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have an inherent 'natural law' claim to the area. Neither customary international law nor the United Nations Charter acknowledges that every group of people claiming to be a nation has the right to a state of its own." [italics by editor]

Political rights to self-determination as a polity for Arabs, were guaranteed by the League of Nations in four other mandates - in Lebanon and Syria [The French Mandate], Iraq and later Trans-Jordan [The British Mandate].

[1] See Eugene V. Rostow, The Future of Palestine, Institute for National Strategic Studies, November 1993. Professor Rostow was Sterling Professor of Law and Public Affairs Emeritus at Yale University and served as the Dean of Yale Law School (1955-66); Distinguished Research Professor of Law and Diplomacy, National Defense University; Adjunct Fellow, American Enterprise Institute. In 1967, as U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, he became a key draftee of UN Security Council Resolution 242. See also his article: "Are Israel's Settlements Legal?" The New Republic, October 21, 1991.

[2] "Mandate for Palestine" at:


Eli E. Hertz

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

Egypt: Muslims Riot Over Appointment of Christian Governor

by Robert Spencer

In the new modern, moderate, secular, democratic Egypt of the Arab Spring, Muslims in Qena are enraged and protesting because a Christian governor has been appointed for them. It was yet another indication that the Egypt that will emerge from this season of revolution and upheaval is much more likely to be an Islamic state than a secular democracy, no matter how much the mainstream media fantasizes about the latter.

The protests have been vehement, if not violent. Reuters reported Sunday that “thousands rallied outside the governor’s office in Qena and prevented employees from entering, blocked highways leading to the town and sat on a railway line into the province demanding that the appointment of Emad Mikhail be reversed.” A local resident added: “They started out by camping at the local government’s office. Then they set up a tent on the railroad tracks. They also tried to block the road and stopped buses to separate men and women passengers.” And “tensions were so high that the local Christian residents had to stay inside and couldn’t go to church to celebrate Palm Sunday.”

Reuters suggested that the protesters were angry about government corruption, claiming that the protesters were outraged because the last Christian governor in the area “left a negative impression of Christian officials,” but AP let the cat out of the bag on Monday when it noted that “many” of the protesters were “from the ultraconservative Salafi trend of Islam.”

For the mainstream media, one is “ultraconservative” for adhering to Islamic law and wanting to impose it on others, and likewise “ultraconservative” for resisting the imposition of that law. But anyway, why would “ultraconservative” Islamic supremacists be outraged over a Christian governor? Because Islamic law forbids non-Muslims to hold authority over Muslims. This is in accord with the Qur’anic command that Muslims fight the People of the Book – the Qur’an’s term for primarily Jews and Christians, until they “feel themselves subdued” (9:29).

In the Qur’an, the equation is simple: obedience to Allah brings prosperity, and rebellion from Allah brings calamity. Islam teaches that Jews and Christians are considered to have rebelled from Allah by rejecting the prophethood of Muhammad and daring to tamper with their own Scriptures in order to remove prophecies of his coming and obscure their sacred texts’ congruence with the Qur’anic message. Accordingly, the Muslims, the “best of people” (Qur’an 3:110) must subjugate the “unbelievers among the People of the Book” – that is, the Jews and Christians who do not accept Muhammad – since they are “the most vile of created beings” (Qur’an 98:6). These vile beings must be made to feel the pain of their rejection of Allah in this life: this will simultaneously serve as an exhortation to them to relent and accept Islam, and a warning to Muslims to obey Allah, lest nothing similar befall them.

Thus historically, Muslims aware of the Qur’anic teaching on the People of the Book have reacted poorly when non-Muslims have been placed in authority over them. This happened even in the mythical proto-multicultural paradise of medieval Spain, al-Andalus. On December 30, 1066, about four thousand Jews in Granada were murdered by rioting Muslim mobs. The Muslims were enraged about the appointment over them of a Jewish vizier, Samuel ibn Naghrila, as well as about the political power of Samuel’s son Joseph. Ironically, contemporary hagiographers of Islamic Spain point to the appointment of Samuel as an example of Islamic tolerance, without bothering to mention the subsequent Muslim riots, which took place solely because Muslims resented that appointment as a violation of Islamic law.

The boodthirsty mob in Granada was incited to kill the Jews by a poem composed by the Muslim jurist Abu Ishaq: “I myself arrived in Granada and saw that these Jews were meddling in its affairs. . . . So hasten to slaughter them as a good work whereby you will earn God’s favour, and offer them up in sacrifice, a well-fattened ram.”

Since the mob was killing dhimmis who were considered to be in breach of the contract of “protection” that mandated their subjugation to the Muslims, the attackers could claim that by the light of the Sharia the killings were lawful. And today, the stipulation that a non-Muslim must not have authority over a Muslim is still part of Islamic law. It has never been reformed or rejected by any school of Islamic jurisprudence. The Saudi Sheikh and legal expert Manaa K. al-Qubtan explained it in a 1993 fatwa: “The command of a non-Muslim over a Muslim is not permitted based on the words of Allah: ‘and Allah will not open to the unbelievers against the believers a way [Qur’an 4:140].’”

The demonstrators in Egypt are aware of this law. A speaker told the demonstrators: “This won’t work. A Copt won’t implement Islamic law.” The local imam, Sheikh Qureishi Salama, said the demonstrations would end when the Christian governor was removed: “When there is a decision to change the governor to a civilian Muslim, we will end the strike and life will return to normal. Why is Qena becoming a testing ground for Christians? We aren’t guinea pigs.”

Indeed not. But the Christians in Qena have good reason to feel like sitting ducks.


Robert Spencer

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

Reconsidering the Brotherhood's Inevitability

by IPT News

He joined in the demonstrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square, enduring a beating from Hosni Mubarak's forces while trying to topple a dictator. Mahmoud Salem's hopes for Egypt's future have everything to do with pluralism and economic growth and nothing to do with empowering Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood.

During an appearance Thursday at American University in Washington, Salem explained why he's confident that conventional wisdom about the Brotherhood is wrong, and its ascendance to power after parliamentary elections this fall is far from certain.

"I'm not afraid of the Brotherhood," says Salem, who writes under the Internet moniker "Sandmonkey," and has a popular blog, Rantings of a Sandmonkey. "They are a minority."

It may be more than wishful thinking. During a congressional hearing last week, witnesses who disagree about how worried the West should be about the Brotherhood seemed to agree that its political might may not live up to the hype.

Brotherhood candidates won 88 seats in Egypt's 444-seat parliament in 2005. But that election saw a minimal voter turnout, Harvard University public policy Professor Tarek Masoud told the House Intelligence Committee subcommittee hearing.

"Since the movement has never been put to a free and fair electoral test, any attempt to infer future performance from past results is risky," Masoud says. "But it is safe to say that in past elections, even in districts where the Muslim Brotherhood eventually won, more people generally voted against the Brotherhood (for candidates of the ruling party or for local notables) than for it."

The Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 and with a primary objective of making society more Islamic in Egypt and throughout the world. Critics fear a Brotherhood-dominated Egyptian government would impose strict religious law, restrict rights for religious minorities and threaten the country's 33-year-peace with Israel.

On Thursday, the Brotherhood's Deputy Supreme Guide, Mahmoud Ezzat, stirred up controversy after telling an audience in a Salafi-dominated section of Cairo that the Brotherhood sought to bring Egypt under the fold of Islamic law.

"The enforcement of sharia [Islamic law] punishments will need time, and will only come after Islam is planted in every heart and masters the life of people, and then Islamic punishments can be applied," Ezzat is quoted telling the crowd.

Statements such as these—especially when contrasted with other recent statements by Brotherhood leaders mollifying critics by claiming their intentions to support a moderate, free, and open civil state—have caused concern.

Some harsh realities remain. The Brotherhood is the country's best organized, most affluent political movement and is adept at messaging. This is, after all, a movement known for its deception and doublespeak that has long showed an astute ability to navigate in trying political waters.

For that reason, the United States needs to develop a clear policy for dealing with a Brotherhood-controlled or influenced Egyptian state, said U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, HUMINT, Analysis, and Counterintelligence.

"A lack of understanding about the group has lead to a classic case of government disorientation—we have heard the full spectrum of views on, and approaches to interaction with, the Brotherhood from various government officials, said Myrick, R-N.C. "This inconsistency makes me feel like our government is playing checkers while the Muslim Brotherhood is playing chess."

During a February hearing, FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged that elements of the Brotherhood support terrorism. In that same hearing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper drew flak when he described the Brotherhood as "a mostly secular umbrella organization."

It is important to recognize the Brotherhood's true political objectives, said Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in testimony last week. He spoke days after returning from Egypt to assess the situation since the predominantly peaceful revolution.

The Brotherhood "absolutely tries to be opportunistic and offers a different face to different audiences," he said. It jumped on the Tahrir Square protests well after they were underway to capitalize and gain good will. Since then, the group has tried to soften its rhetoric about peace because "it does not want to trigger alarm bells in Washington."

Today's rhetoric is not an accurate reflection on how the Brotherhood would steer Egypt, he said. Its core ideology would kick in once it attained power, when it "will almost certainly use that power to transform Egypt into a very different place."

The United States should make clear that it can support a future Egyptian government that demonstrates a commitment to religious pluralism and free speech. One that offers an independent judiciary and upholds existing treaties and commitments.

"Washington should project a clear message that it stands ready to provide such aid to a government that can endorse these principles and work toward their implementation in practice," Satloff said. "A Brotherhood-led, -guided or –inspired government of Egypt would not meet this test."

Salem believes Egyptian voters will heed other appeals to pragmatism. In Satloff's example, more than $1 billion in annual foreign aid could be at stake. For Salem, the billions of dollars generated by Egypt's vital tourism industry – 11 percent of the total economy – makes increased theocratic policies a more difficult sell. The Brotherhood, he claims, "is getting weaker by the day."

The Egyptian "people are quickly getting the point that they don't want to live in a theocracy," he writes. "Go to Upper-Egypt and talk to regular people, and they will tell you that they don't want the Islamists taking over because they want the tourists to come back."

The Brotherhood thrived as the only viable alternative to a brutal ruling regime. To gain power in the post-Mubarak era, however, it needs a cohesive, unified platform of its own.

"Internal divisions are ripping the MB apart," Salem writes in a recent blog post, with younger members announcing their intention to form their own group. The Brotherhood, he writes, is "out of touch with the public."

That coincides with a public backlash over concerns about more radical Salafists, prompting the Brotherhood to try "to appease the public by declaring their party platform will call for a 'civil state' and will not have any conditions against women or copts running for President and thus in turn angering their own hardliners as well."

If the Brotherhood is struggling, it may be for entirely different reasons, said Yigal Carmon, founder and president of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). Carmon's organization closely monitors Egyptian media, and he sees the Brotherhood losing public support among those who backed the revolution due to a tacit alliance it struck with Egypt's army.

In recent weeks, the army has cracked down on ongoing demonstrations, including the shooting deaths of two Tahrir Square protestors earlier this month. It also is cracking down on criticism of the army.

Salem says that while many Egyptians are preparing for September elections and excited at the prospect of having an electoral voice, first on the list of post-Revolution priorities is to see former President Hosni Mubarak and his inner circle brought to justice. While acknowledging that it's best for the country to look to the future rather than the past, Salem says that he and others feel they cannot turn the page when a rock [Mubarak] is sitting on the page preventing it from being turned. Once he has been brought to justice, the sole focus can then turn to re-building Egyptian civil society from the ground up.

Carmon, who previously served as counter-terror advisor to Israeli Prime Ministers Shamir and Rabin, agrees that the fall elections are a wild card that cannot be accurately predicted at this point. It is possible that Brotherhood candidates will win a plurality of parliamentary seats and that will help it to build a coalition which will write the country's new constitution.

The need to form partnerships will force the group to continue softening its positions, Carmon said. But that would be temporary.

He points to Turkey, where Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan came to power in 2002 after his party won about a third of the seats in parliament. His initial term was relatively free of Islamist emphasis, something that changed as he consolidated power. Now Turkey is moving consistently away from the West, warming relations with Iran and supporting provocative acts against Israel.


IPT News

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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Muslims Demostrate at Tennessee Capitol In Support of Sharia (Islamic Law) and Terror Funding

by Chas Sisk

<b>Muslims in the lobby watch the House Judiciary Committee meeting on TV after the room filled. Hundreds of people showed up at the Capitol to oppose a bill that sponsors say is intended to fight terrorism.</b>

Muslims in the lobby watch the House Judiciary Committee meeting on TV after the room filled. Hundreds of people showed up at the Capitol to oppose a bill that sponsors say is intended to fight terrorism. / DIPTI VAIDYA / THE TENNESSEAN

Several hundred Muslims thronged the state Capitol on Tuesday in protest of legislation that they say takes aim at their religious beliefs, calling on the bill to be defeated.

Muslims from across the state — many wearing traditional skullcaps and headscarves — packed a committee room and corridors to hear testimony on a bill that supporters say would help Tennessee stop terrorist plots but opponents believe singles out Muslims who adhere to Islamic law.

They urged lawmakers to withdraw the bill, or at least to delay it until it can be rewritten so that groups labeled as terrorist organizations can protest the designation before they are forced to shut down.

“These are issues for any group,” said Nadeem Siddiqi, a native Knoxville resident who traveled to Nashville to speak against the bill. “The United States of America is known for its freedoms, known for due process, known for a fair system, and to be able to have a few individuals in a state of panic create this kind of risk to civil society is just inappropriate.”

The gathering, which was put together by mosques and Muslim civic groups around the state, comes in response to legislation that originally criticized Shariah, the basic set of Muslim religious laws governing everything from warfare and criminal punishments to prayer preparations and family matters.

The first version of the bill, which was written by an Arizona organization critical of Islam, labeled Shariah “a legal-political-military doctrine and system” that requires its followers to support the overthrow of the United States government. Several Muslims who turned out Tuesday said that is a distortion.

“People have this idea that Shariah is just chopping people’s hands, but Shariah is a way of life for us,” said Arshia Shah, a lawyer originally from Britain who now lives in Sparta and came to the Capitol with her husband and two daughters. “It’s prayer. It’s how we deal with our spouses. And to tell people that they can’t practice this — that they’re doing something wrong — is a great concern.”

The bill has since been amended to remove all references to Shariah and Islam.

What is left is legislation, known formally as the Material Support to Designated Entities Act, that would let the governor and the state attorney general label groups as terrorist organizations.

Once designated, a group’s financial assets could be frozen and its contributors could face criminal penalties.

The bill’s sponsors, House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, and state Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, say the bill gives Tennessee law enforcement agencies the ability to disrupt terrorist plots. They also say it could be used to disrupt street gangs and neo-Nazi groups, as well as terrorist organizations.

“I think it’s a good bill,” Ketron said. “They say it’s duplicative because it mirrors the Patriot Act on the federal level, but local law enforcement see and hear what’s going on locally.”

Large turnout

Muslim organizations have been opposed to the legislation from the outset, but Tuesday was the first time they turned out in large numbers, drawing a crowd that rivaled those brought to the Capitol by labor and teachers organizations earlier this session.

Several said they had heard about Tuesday’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee at weekly prayer services last Friday or through an email distribution list maintained by the Islamic Center of Nashville, a local mosque.

“We’re proud of being in Tennessee,” said Rashed Fakhouddin, an outreach volunteer with the Islamic Center. “We want Tennessee to be a shining image all across the country. Bills like this just make us look like we’re witch-hunting Muslims.”

Only 20 minutes of testimony was given Tuesday, as the committee spent most of its allotted time discussing other bills.

During their testimony, opponents complained that the bill gives the attorney general and governor too much discretion to label groups as terrorist and that they would have to wait two years to contest the designation in court. They also say the bill would allow for the use of confidential evidence that they could not contest.

Opponents also derided the legislation’s origins. The original bill was drafted by the Society of Americans for National Existence, an organization that they characterized as a hate group.

“If a bill was written by the KKK, would you consider it even if it was amended?” Sabina Mohyuddin, a youth coordinator at the Islamic Center of Nashville, asked the committee.

Opponents called for the bill to be withdrawn or sent to a summer study committee to be rewritten.

Ketron said he sees little reason to do so.

“I don’t think if it goes through a study committee that we are going to do anything different,” he said. “They just want it to go away.”

The House Judiciary Committee took no action on the bill before adjourning. It is expected to take the bill up again next week, when it also will be heard in a Senate committee.


Chas Sisk

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

Where Drug Cartels Really Get Their Arms

by Ryan Mauro

The Mexican government and the media have consistently blamed the U.S. for the vicious drug war in Mexico that has resulted in over 35,000 deaths since late 2006. A diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks will disappoint them, as it shows that 90 percent of the heavy weapons used by the drug cartels come from Central America. The strength of the drug cartels is more attributable to the Mexican government’s inefficiencies than America’s gun laws or consumption of narcotics.

According to the published documents, U.S. diplomats in Mexico believe that these weapons, such as grenades and rocket launchers, are being stolen from the armed forces of Central American countries. They arrive in Mexico via the 577-mile Guatemalan border that only 125 Mexican immigration officials guard. Hezbollah and the Colombian FARC terrorist groups also deserve blame, as there are increasing indications that they are in bed with the drug cartels and are providing them with training, financing and possibly arms.

Other cables show that U.S. diplomats are frustrated with Mexico’s handling of the drug war. The army is said to be so risk-averse that it declines to act on intelligence provided by the U.S. One document dated November 9, 2009 written by U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual says, “Mexico’s use of strategic and tactical intelligence is often fractured, ad hoc, and heavily reliant on the United States for leads and operations.” The responsibility for the failure to tame the escalating drug war lies with Mexico, as no U.S. gun restriction can disarm the drug lords when the Mexican army is unwilling or unable to fight.

These documents are unlikely to stop the blaming of the U.S. for the war in Mexico. Secretary of State Clinton said on March 25, 2009, “Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade.” The media constantly cites the dubious claim 90 percent of the guns used by the drug lords come from the United States. This statistic comes from a report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is based on the fact that, of the 29,000 guns seized in 2007 and 2008, 6,000 were sent to the U.S. for tracing. Of these, 90 percent were indeed found to have come from the U.S. But there is much more behind this fuzzy statistic.

As Matt Allen, Special Agent of Immigration Customs and Enforcement explained to, “[N]ot every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market.” Of the guns sent to the ATF for tracing, a large amount could not be traced and therefore are not accounted for in the statistic. Guns known to be from domestic sources, like the Mexican police or military, and guns from foreign countries are not submitted.

When all is said and done, only 17 percent of the guns seized by the Mexican authorities from the drug lords were actually traced back to the U.S. The incorrect assumption that 90 percent of the cartels’ guns come from the U.S., though, continues to be regularly cited by the media and officials. The highly-respected STRATFOR intelligence company agrees that the statistic is incorrect. The group likewise explained that only 3,480 guns were traced back to the U.S., which equals 12 percent of the total arms seized by the Mexican authorities in 2008 and less than 48 percent of those sent for tracing.

“According to the figures presented by the GAO [Government Accountability Office], there is no evidence to support the assertion that 90 percent of the guns used by the Mexican cartels come from the United States—especially when not even 50 percent of those that were submitted for tracing were ultimately found to be of U.S. origin,” STRATFOR concluded.

In addition, it simply doesn’t make sense for the Mexican drug cartels to make the U.S. their primary point of gun acquisition. As Howard Nemerov writes, “Why would cartels spend over $1,000 — plus a background check and smuggling risks — for a decent American semi-automatic rifle, when they can buy 4-5 fully automatic AK-47s for the same price on the black market?”

Even if it were true that U.S. gun laws are responsible for the violence in Mexico, these arms have to cross the porous border to end up being used in the drug war. Securing the border is a much more sensible solution than severe gun control laws, which wouldn’t be able to stop already-purchased guns from going south. This obvious fact isn’t mentioned because the Mexican government and left-wing politicians would rather portray gun control, rather than border security, as the solution. Furthermore, even if the U.S. was no longer a source for guns, the drug cartels would still have other sources, heavy weapons would still flow through Guatemala, and the corrupt, inefficient and risk-averse Mexican police and military would still be unable to defeat the drug cartels.

If the past is any indication, the U.S. and its gun laws will still be blamed for the drug war in Mexico, but it is only a distraction. The violence in Mexico continues to spiral out of control, and until the real problems and solutions are addressed, the death toll will only climb.


Ryan Mauro

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

Libya and The Abdication of American Sovereignty

by Herbert I. London

For many, the American engagement in Libya is confusing. Was the use of American aircraft a humanitarian mission to prevent a bloodbath? Were those planes deployed to assist the so-called rebels? Were the planes called on to send a message to Khadafy – perhaps even oust him?

There has been speculation about all of these objectives. To complicate matters, President Obama's speech about Libya was filled with clich├ęs, and was sufficiently ambiguous so that the public could not arrive at any conclusion (We want Khadafy deposed, but that is not a policy objective).

But now as the battles continue, it is increasingly clear, based on commentary from Obama foreign pokicy [policy] advisers Samantha Powers and Ann Marie Slaughter, that the objective was different from those.. The Libyan exercise was a test case for transnational governance.. It was predicated from the start on multilateral cooperation and building consensus within the United Nations. How else can one explain the president's consultation with the Security Council rather than the House of Representatives?

This limited action -- what the president described amusingly as a "kinetic military operation" -- was based on British, French and U.S. cooperation, and a green light from the Security Council nations. Now there is nothing new about multilateralism, as can be seen in war in Afghanistan and even Iraq. What is new is the seeming willingness of this government to abandon U.S. national sovereignty, to allow the U.N. to determine how American forces would be deployed.

While one-world advocates have argued for the abandonment of nation states, they have finally found a president who agrees with their goals. President Obama once described himself as a "citizen of the world," but at the time the remark was considered rhetorical.. Little did anyone know that Obama was revealing a serious definition of his role.

For believers in this position, such as Farid Zakaria, among others, the declining economic and military strength of the United States warrants multilateral action. However, once this view is adopted as policy, it is hard to turn back. Decline delivers its own set of policy options.

That transnationalism was the objective in Libya -- above all other objectives -- can be seen in the failure to achieve any other goals. Khadafy appears ensconced in Tripoli. The rebels are still on the defensive. Lives of civilians remain at risk. And if humanitarian impulses are driving policy, why not intervene in the Sudan or the Ivory Coast where thousands have been and continue to be slaughtered?

If the U.S. is headed down the path of transnationalism, Americans ought to debate this matter. Should American treasure and blood really be sacrificed under a U.N. banner by a multinational body that invariably displays anti-American sentiment? Even if the U.S. is losing the dominant global position it once had, it is the only nation possessing the weapons and logistics to be an international balance wheel.

What seems to be driivng [sic] policy is not a loss of resources but a loss of will, an emotional fatigue. The consequence is that many former internationalists eager to retain their stance have turned to transnationalism as an alternative. In doing so, however, policy makers cede control and independent action. They cede sovereign rights as well.

It not hard to imagine how destabilized the world will be with the drawdown of U.S. global forces and political vacuums filled by the Chinese, the Russians and the Iranians. With all of the imperfections in American policy, no nation in this century and the last has been more generous in coming to the aid of others in war and peace than the United States. If the Libyan action is a foreshadowing of a new American stance, and U.S. sovereignty will clearly be hollowed out by people who do noit [not] seem to wish us well, and the world will be a much more dangerous place.


Herbert I. London

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

Britain: "Failed by a System That Tiptoes Around Cultural Sensitivities"

by A. Millar

The media and political classes in Britain have been reluctant, to put it mildly, to speak honestly about the problems of mass immigration, Islamist extremism, Muslim ghettos and gangs, and other domestic difficulties.

When Britain's only Asian bishop, Nazir-Ali, warned in 2008 that Islamic extremists had turned parts of some British cities into "no-go zones" for non-Muslims, even the then Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said he thought Nazir-Ali had "probably put it too strongly." Nick Clegg, head of the Liberal Democrats and now Deputy Prime Minister, called it "a gross caricature of reality." For many non-Muslims living in or around such areas, however, the no-go zones have proven nightmarish.

"In the post-9/11 world, [the northern British city of Bradford] looks like one of the fault lines in a supposed global confrontation between 'Islam' and 'the West'," Dr. Alan Carling observed in 2008. Carling had just finished compiling a report on the fragmentation of British cities especially into Muslim enclaves and non-Muslim areas. Since then, it has become increasingly difficult to disguise the fact that Bradford is not alone in having split into various enclaves.

As is becoming increasingly clear, Islamists across the country target women and homosexuals in campaigns of intimidation, forcing the former to wear the hijab, and threatening the latter. Recently, posters and stickers declaring areas "gay free zones" and "Allah is severe in punishment [against gays]" have been posted around Nottingham and London. The[n] there are child victims.

The Daily Mail reported recently that there have been seventeen prosecutions for the "grooming" of girls between the ages of 11 and 16 since 1997. Fourteen of these were heard in the last three years. Of the 56 men convicted, 53 were Asian (in most cases Pakistani, and 50 of which were Muslim), and three were White. Between them they have victimized "hundred" of girls, at least. Many of the victims were gang raped – often repeatedly – drugged and pimped. Sometimes the rapes were filmed on mobile phones and later shared with other men.

Last year Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Ramadhan Foundation, accused police authorities of being "overcautious because they are afraid of being branded racist." Echoing this sentiment, after a recent case, Mick Gradwell, a former detective superintendent, told The Daily Mail that the abuse had been allowed to continue for decades. "How many young girls have been abused and raped," he asked rhetorically, "because of the reluctance of the authorities to say exactly what is happening?"

The decline of Europe and the transformation of its cities, through especially Muslim immigration. Is the theme of Walter Laqueur's Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent. His words seem an understatement in the light of the recent revelations about the extent and history of sexual violence against girls, and the reluctance of police authorities to tackle the problem due to cultural sensitivity: Europe would not become a "shining example" or a "moral superpower."

"The age of delusions is over," he wrote, "[a]nyone who doubts this should take a guided tour through Neukolln or La Courneuve or the center of Bradford." Even if Europe's decline could not be reversed, Laqueur believed there was "no reason" for total collapse. "There is, however, a precondition," he said: "facing realities at long last, something that has been postponed in many parts of Europe to this day."

The era of denial appears at last to be drawing to a close – at least in Government. Last week, in a speech to Conservative Party members at Hampshire, Prime Minister David Cameron spoke of the transformation of neighborhoods through mass immigration, forced marriages, and the relationship between the welfare state and immigration.

The relationship is real, but, it should be said, not the only reason for the previous, New Labour Government's immigration policy.

As Andrew Neather, a former advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair, recalled in 2009, New Labour wanted mass immigration. New Labour's members recognized that it would transform Britain, and perceived, correctly, that it would make the Britain-first, Euro-skeptical, Thatcherite conservatism a thing of the past. It would "make the UK truly multicultural," and New Labour would be able to "rub the Right's nose in diversity." During its years in Government, New Labour allowed somewhere between 2.2 million and three million immigrants to settle in the UK. The party perhaps did not recognize, or, more likely, did not care, that mass immigration adversely affects poorer areas, and poorer people – its traditional core constituency – long before it negatively impacts others.

As Bernard-Henri Levy observes in his Left in Dark Times, "the Left" has changed over the decades since 1968. Levy recalls that he and others wanted to believe that "the Left" stood "for average people," while "the cruel Right" was dedicated to a class politics that made "the poor poorer." Nicolas Sarkozy – a friend of Levy's – appealed to the author during his electoral campaign, pointing out how the two sides of the political divide in France had even reversed their positions in some cases, especially in regard to the "oppressed."

As in France, so in Britain.

The Labour Party was founded at the beginning of the 20th century to advance the interests of Britain's working class. The revamped, modernized, party – "New Labour" – however, clearly regarded work as the curse of the racist class, to modify a phrase by Oscar Wilde. Under New Labour, the working class was deemed to be "cruel," racist, reactionary, lazy, and fundamentally at odds with the party's agenda. As Lord Maurice Glasman – a friend of Ed Miliband – said a few days ago

Working class men can't really speak at Labour Party meetings about what causes them grief, concerns about their family, concerns about immigration, love of country, without being falsely stereotyped as sexist, racist, nationalist.

"So, in many ways," Lord Glasman has also acknowledged, "you had a terrible situation where a Labour government was hostile to the English working class."

Glasman also says that New Labour used "immigration as a de facto wages policy" -- to keep wages low.

Likewise, after the 2010 election, the new (Conservative-Liberal Democrats) coalition Government announced that it would engage in dialogue with industry prior to deciding on a final immigration cap -- despite the fact that, during their electoral campaign, the Conservatives promised the general public that it would very significantly reduce immigration levels.

In his recent Hampshire speech, however, David Cameron promised to cut immigration to tens of thousands – reduced from the current influx of several hundreds of thousands – each year. Perhaps of even greater importance, Cameron also drew attention to, and appeared to lend moral support to, those most disenfranchised by the previous New Labour Government: the Working class and Muslim women and girls.

New Labour and its supporters never seemed to tire of invoking particularly "women's rights" and the rights of Muslims – and yet being both a Muslim and a woman seemed to cancel out the rights allotted to each. When New Labour talked of the "Muslim community" or "Muslim communities" it seemed to mean Muslim men. Even if some police forces believe that they "have a legal duty to promote community cohesion and tackle unlawful discrimination," they have been notoriously slow at prosecuting honor violence. As Poorna Shetty pointed out in the Guardian in 2009, Tulay Goren, a schoolgirl of Turkish origin, was "failed by a system that tiptoes around cultural sensitivity."

Tulay had been murdered by her father. Like Banaz Mahmod -- a 20-year-old woman of Kurdish origin, murdered by her father and uncle for leaving an arranged and unhappy marriage and finding a new boyfriend -- Tulay had "contacted the police but nothing was done." Banaz's boyfriend, Rhamat Sulemani, had even filmed her lying in hospital, after a previous attempt on her life, but the police appear to have wanted to "respect" Kurdish cultural sensitivities.

Importantly, addressing the problem of forced marriage among Britain's Muslim communities, Cameron spoke of it affecting "British girls" rather than "Asian girls," "Muslim girls," "the Muslim communities," "British Muslims," and so on. This is not, it would seem, more of the sort of evasion that saw Islamist terrorism re-branded as "anti-Islamic activity." Rather, Cameron is saying that in the eyes of the Government these girls are British first, and that, as such, they will be protected and accorded the rights due to them as British citizens. They are a living part of British liberal democracy:

For a start, there are forced marriages taking place in our country and overseas as a means of gaining entry to the UK. This is the practice where some young British girls are bullied and threatened into marrying someone they don't want to.

I've got no time for those who say this is a culturally relative issue – it is wrong, full stop, and we have got to stamp it out.

Those addressing the issue of Islamization, Sharia law, ans similar issues, are sometimes criticized for contrasting Islam to liberal democracy, thereby lending credence to the "clash of civilizations" narrative. The concern has some merit, but the decade-long history of introducing very illiberal legislation and arguments aimed simply to prevent criticism of Islam has made it inevitable that the religion would be seen by many as antithetical to liberal democracy. Cameron, to his credit, has managed to sidestep this trap, by recognizing that his role is as the Prime Minister of a liberal democracy, not as an amateur theologian making pronouncements about "the religion of peace." He has grasped that the issue is one of truthfulness and fairness, as much as it is about specific grievances – legitimate in many cases – of various segments of British society. Addressing the concerns of the working class, Cameron remarked,

When there have been significant numbers of new people arriving in neighborhoods, perhaps not able to speak the same language as those living there, on occasions not really wanting or even willing to integrate, that has created a kind of discomfort and disjointedness in some neighborhoods.

This has been the experience for many people in our country and I believe it is untruthful and unfair not to speak about it and address it.

The naysayers are already expressing their "concern." Liberal Democrats' Member of Parliament and the Government's Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has described Cameron's comments as "very unwise." He is patently incorrect. Cable's inability to face the real issues that have reigned supreme since at least 1997, and the disastrous results, are clear for anyone to see. Britain has fragmented, and the legitimate grievances of the working classes are in danger of being exploited by demagogues, violent or non-violent. As Dr. Carling observed in 2008, "A political vacuum exists where the public debate should be in Bradford about the realization of a shared future. We have more to gain by opening out the debates on these issues than by closing them down." As goes Bradford, so goes the UK.


A. Millar

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

Efforts to Ban the Burqa Go Well Beyond France

by David J. Rusin

Amid demonstrations, terror threats, and hyperbolic headlines, France has become the first Western country to enforce a ban on face-covering attire in virtually all public places, more than six months after the Senate approved sweeping legislation. Penalties for wearing garments such as burqas and niqabs include a fine of €150 and citizenship classes, while those who intimidate others into donning the apparel risk a €30,000 assessment and a year in prison. Tickets are being issued, but questions persist about legal challenges and enthusiasm to administer the law.

Though France is the pace setter, efforts to impose burqa bans, both broad and narrow, press on across the West. The following is a quick and by no means exhaustive update on recent attempts:

  • Australia. The cabinet of New South Wales declined to endorse a ban in August 2010, though calls for such measures continue at various levels of Australian government.

  • Belgium. The Chamber of Deputies passed a French-like ban last April, but a government collapse prevented its ratification by the Senate. In January, a court refused to enforce a burqa ban in a district of Brussels, prompting the reintroduction of nationwide legislation, which a committee of Belgium's lower house approved last month.

  • Canada. Bill 94, requiring that those who receive or provide public services in Quebec show their faces, remains stalled in the provincial parliament.

  • Germany. In February, the state of Hesse announced a prohibition on face veils for government employees after an office worker returned from parental leave demanding to wear one. Reportedly other German states are considering similar codes.

  • Italy. A parliamentary bill patterned on the French law was introduced last September, but apparently it went nowhere. Further, lack of news suggests that the policies of several towns to fine face-covering women under an old terrorism statute remain intact.

  • Netherlands. Geert Wilders predicted that the governing coalition would push for a burqa ban in exchange for his party's support, but no concrete actions have been taken to date.

  • Spain. Lerida, the first town to bar the burqa in public buildings, implemented the ban in December, but a judge halted it due to a lawsuit. Plans are on the table in Barcelona and elsewhere. Catalonia's parliament and the national one both rejected legislation in 2010.

  • Switzerland. The council of Aargau canton voted to "work on a state initiative" to outlaw the burqa in public last May, but there has been no news since. In addition, a federal panel on gender issues recommended that face veils be nixed at government facilities.

France "lives with its face uncovered," one ubiquitous poster declares. As surveys and the above efforts indicate, many other Westerners are intent on having their countries live the same way.


David J. Rusin

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Glenn Beck: This Passover, Israel is the Sacrificial Lamb

by Susan L. M. Goldberg

“If the United States allows the United Nations to dictate that there will be a Palestinian state, then all the democratic nations of the world are at risk …if we allow that democracy [Israel] to be dictated to by the UN, why do we think as Americans that the UN will not try, in turn, to dictate to us?”

- Pastor John Hagee, CUFI

Last Friday night, Glenn Beck (the “Jew-loving anti-Semite”) kicked off the pre-Passover party with an episode dedicated to Standing for Israel, something that he wants to see become a global movement. Along with Dore Gold, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, and Pastor John Hagee, Beck discussed the possibility that Israel is being “set up as the fall guy” by the US in the current war against the Radical Islam/Radical Left unholy alliance.

The cultural perspectives were telling. Gold’s argument focused on the historical relationship between America and Israel, transcending the anti-Israel politics of certain un-named officials. (Beck was the one who had to fill “Obama” in the blanks.) For this former Israeli ambassador, the problem wasn’t in the Oval Office, but in Europe, among a “Quartet” of nations including Great Britain, Germany, and France who are seeking to force Israel back to its pre-’67 borders. For Gold, this European union is the “other woman” trying to lure America away from its otherwise faithful relationship.

A relationship that, according to Pastor John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is mutually beneficial from a Biblical perspective. To Hagee, the problem is simple: Americans don’t recognize Israel’s relationship to history, to the Word of God, and what the nation means to America as a democracy. Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East — moreover, God promises that if we bless Israel, we will be blessed, a perspective with which Beck agrees.

Contrary to Gold’s theory, Hagee and Beck also agree, Europeans aside, that the Obama Administration is doing everything in its power to destroy America’s relationship with Israel:

Hagee: “I think that what Israel would appreciate from America is a President that would be vocally and visibly firm that they have the right to exist, the right to defensible borders, and the right to defend themselves against their enemies.”

Beck: “Well, a lot of people are working on that, but it’s going to take about 2 years.”

Today, Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot reports that, contrary to the image Gold projects, America is a part of the Quartet putting pressure on Israel to cede post-’67 territories, including East Jerusalem, to a Palestinian state.

God and politics aside, Rabbi Potasnik put the responsibility of young Jewish support of Israel (or lack thereof) on the shoulders of Jewish American leadership. “We have done a bad job in terms of exciting our young people about Israel. If all we talk about is victimhood, pain, and suffering kids will ask ‘Why should I be Jewish? Is there any joy in being Jewish?’” The key to Jewish pride, it would seem, is Israel. And the key to supporting Israel, apparently, is Jewish pride.

I wonder if the Union for Reform Judaism’s youth movement will pass a resolution on that one.

So, Beck and the audience asked, “what can we do to support Israel?”

Potasnik’s answer was benignly simple: Teach good versus evil and the importance of standing up for good.

Hagee’s reply combined faith with politics: Pray for Israel and join CUFI in lobbying American politicians to take a pro-Israel stance.

Gold’s response was slightly more complicated: “We don’t need to have the territories of the Bible or the Bible as our source of our inspiration. It is the source of the inspiration of the pioneers who established Israel. But we are entitled to defensible borders to keep our country safe. We need a firm commitment on that. And I believe that our protection of Jerusalem is not just good for the Jewish people or the people of Israel, it is good for the world. Let’s keep Jerusalem whole.”

In other words, thanks for the political support, but please keep your religion out of it.

Was the response strategically wise on Gold’s part? After all, isn’t it a good thing to have someone use their religion to support Israel for a change, instead of using it as an excuse to blow up our buses, murder our families, or “drive us into the sea”? Choosing to agree with the religion of your supporters is one thing, but outright rejection traverses to the opposite end of a longstanding divide, one thats gap is thankfully growing smaller by the day for the sake of a greater good that includes Israel’s survival. What is the harm (or should I say, the fear) in encouraging good willed support?

Moreover, from a strictly PR perspective, why not give the Bible a level of credence in public discourse? It is, after all, the text that gave us the land in the first place. Israel may have been re-established, but it was not birthed with Herzl’s dream. In an era that questions Jewish ownership of Israeli land, why not use every weapon in your arsenal, even the ideological ones, to keep your enemies on their toes?

The goal of Beck’s episode was to lay out his thesis, provide some facts and opinions, and encourage his audience to decide. For hardcore, battle-hardened Israel lovers, the facts weren’t new, but the support was refreshing. If anything, this signals a turning-tide in the dynamics of pro-Israel politics. Just as the bulk of new immigrants to Israel are increasingly right-wing politically (and religiously) so, too, are Israel’s supporters in America. They may have their points of contention, but finally, it seems, Jews and Evangelicals have found a cause that binds them together in a politically powerful way.

Will Standing for Israel become a global movement? With an eye on flotillas and protests in May, along with a possible unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood in September, the answer seems fairly simple: Do Israel and her supporters have a choice?


Susan L. M. Goldberg

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