Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mordechai Kedar: The Alternative Homeland


by Mordechai Kedar

Read the article in the original עברית
Read the article in Italiano (translated by Angelo Pezzana)
Since the establishment of the Kingdom of Jordan, it has suffered from a split personality between two identities, the Jordanian and the Palestinian, which are intermingled with each other like a pair of Siamese twins who hate one another, but cannot part from each other. The source of the problem is the fact that most of the citizens of the Hashemite Jordanian monarchy define themselves as "Palestinians", but their state is "Jordanian". So how should they relate to it - as their country or as a foreign country?

The core of the problem hinges on the fact that the Kingdom of Jordan is not an entity with historic roots, but rather a modern creation of British colonialism that succeeded the Ottoman Empire at the conclusion of the First World War. Back then its name was "The Transjordan Emirates" because the British did not have a better, more unique name for it. Jordan is part of the "Sham", the area that today includes Jordan, Israel, Syria and Lebanon. Until the era of the British Mandate, Jordan was never a state or a distinct country, like - for example - Egypt, and did not have its own local leadership. The British appointed Abdullah, the son of Sharif Hussein, to be responsible for the Transjordan Emirates, despite the fact that the people of the area didn't see him as a natural leader, one of their own, since he was born hundreds of kilometers south of Jordan. This fact is the reason that the regime in Jordan is seen as an illegitimate regime by many in Jordan even today.

Jordan is culturally divided into two parts: Bedouin on one hand, and farmers and city folk on the other. In the days of the British Mandate, before the establishment of the Emirates, everyone was "Palestinian" because everyone was a resident of the British Mandate for Palestine - the Land of Israel. After the founding of the Emirates, Abdullah, the son of Sharif Hussein from Mecca, was accepted as a legitimate leader mainly by the Bedouin, who formed the center of gravity for those who were faithful to him, however the residents of the villages and cities felt that he was a foreigner whom the British brought in to pay him off with a job. Therefore the Bedouin adopted the identity of the Emirates, and subsequently, beginning from the year 1946, assumed identity as subjects of the monarchy; while the residents of the villages and cities continued to call themselves "Palestinians" just as they had during the period of the Mandate. Some of them had family connections with the residents West of the Jordan, and therefore it was easier for them to adopt the Palestinian self-definition, which they preferred over that of "Jordanian".

In the 1948 war, a few hundred thousand Arabs fled from Israel to Jordan, most being housed in refugee camps. During the years after that, mainly as a result of the Six Day War in 1967, a few more hundred thousand moved to Jordan. All of these are "Palestinians" of another sort: those who in the past lived in "Western Palestine", and then crossed over the Jordan. All together, the Palestinians form an absolute majority of the residents of Jordan, estimated at 70 percent. The Jordanians - by the way - claim that the Palestinians are no more than 30 percent. The main task of the monarchy since then has always been to unite the two main components of the population: the Bedouins and the Palestinians. In recent years this task has been given the name "Jordan First", which is to say that all of the residents of Jordan should adopt the common Jordanian national identity, and rise above their traditional cultural differences. Just how effective this campaign has been is subject to disagreement. The king and his supporters speak of "holy unity", while the Palestinians speak about a feeling of being pushed to the sidelines. This feeling of theirs stems from the fact that government positions are usually given to Bedouins, while the Palestinians are prevented from taking any significant part in governing, and therefore they mainly employed within the private economic sector. Usually the Palestinians are merchants, contractors, professionals and academics; and the Bedouins are officers in the military, police and the Muchabarat (internal intelligence).

Some changes have occurred over the years between the state of Jordan and the Palestinians living within its territory. The first watershed event was the Jordanian occupation of the West Bank in 1948, an occupation that was not internationally recognized. Residents of the West Bank received Jordanian citizenship after the conquest; however the Bedouin governing power related to them as hostile aliens: whoever among them dared to speak of Palestinian identity endangered his life.

A second event was the murder of Abdullah at the entrance of the Al-Aksa mosque in 1951. The claim was that the murder was a result of the negotiations that Abdullah held with the representatives of the Zionist movement. He had no problem negotiating with the Zionists, because he had no special interest in the part of Palestine that was west of the Jordan River and therefore he was willing to give it up to enable the establishment of a Jewish state.

The third event was Israel's liberation of Judea and Samaria, (the "West Bank") in the Six Day War (1967), and since then a conspiracy theory has developed that the Jordanian government actually gave up the territory willingly because it didn't want the Palestinian residents.

The fourth event was the blocking of the connection between the two banks in 1988, as a result of the first Intifada. The disconnection included cancelling the Jordanian citizenship of the residents of Judea and Samaria, which led to the reality in which many of them today lack any citizenship at all. This event added to the suspicion that the only thing the Jordanian government wants is to rid itself of its Palestinian citizens, in order to relatively increase the Bedouin component of the Jordanian population.

An additional subject that negatively influences the way the Jordanian government relates to Palestinians is the tension that exists between the right of citizenship and the "right of return". One would expect any person to want citizenship of the state in which he lives, because citizenship gives him a status of permanency in the state, and basic services such as passport, education, employment, medical care and pension insurance. But in the case of the Palestinians in Jordan, obtaining citizenship means that they have permanent status in the state of Jordan and therefore lose their status as refugees. Therefore they can no longer demand the "right of return". This matter was exacerbated as a result of the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan in 1994, in which Jordan recognized Israel without demanding from it to recognize the "right of return" of the Palestinians to the West Bank. In the opinion of many Palestinians, the awarding of Jordanian citizenship to Palestinians residing in Jordan serves Israel's interests because Jordan is thus released from the refugee problem in a way that is unsatisfactory to the Palestinians.

During the past fifty years, since the Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded, a cat and mouse game has been played between the Palestinians and the Jordanian government. The PLO has claimed all these years that it is the "only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people", meaning all of the Palestinians in the world, including those Palestinians with Jordanian citizenship. Therefore King Hussein always suspected the PLO of undermining his status among the Palestinians with Jordanian citizenship and trying to incite them against the monarchy. This came to a boiling point in September of 1970, when the PLO took over broad areas in northern Jordan and turned it into an area of Palestinian autonomy with a military nature. The claim then was that the PLO needs these territories in order to conduct the battle against the state of Israel from there, three years after Israel had eliminated the PLO from Judea and Samaria. However, Hussein understood that the battle against Israel was only part of the story, while the other part was the desire of the PLO to control the northern parts of Jordan, the areas in which the Palestinians are an absolute majority. Hussein also understood this as "it's either Arafat or me" so he conducted a massacre among the Palestinians that resulted in the deaths of about 20,000 Palestinians. This seminal event created a positive balance of power for Jordan, the memory of which is not forgotten until today.

The peace with Israel is seen as illegitimate among the majority of Jordanian Palestinians. They see the peace as a personal interest of King Hussein, in order to win Israeli and American support against the neighboring Arab powers to the North and East: (then) Syria of Haffez al-Asad and Iraq of Saddam Hussein. The Palestinians see the peace agreement as a betrayal of their interests, because there was no stipulation for progress in the Palestinian matter, in contrast to the Camp David agreements between Sa'adat and Begin (1978) in which there was a clear reference to the promotion of Palestinian autonomy. Moreover, Palestinians saw the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan as a result of the desire of King Hussein to win recognition of the monarchy by Israel, and thus put an end to the Israeli talk by some - Ariel Sharon for example - about Jordan as a Palestinian state.

Also the internal situation in the Palestinian arena is a source of tension between the PLO and the Jordanian monarchy. Since Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament in January of 2006, the people of the PLO suspect that Jordan prefers Hamas over the PLO for a number of reasons. The first is the close cultural similarities between the Bedouins of Jordan and Hamas, a movement that is based, in large part, on the groups of Bedouin descent, which constitute a significant part of the population in the Gaza Strip. The second reason is the assumption that in the Palestinian arena, Hamas is the rising power and the PLO is declining, and the Jordanians prefer to connect with the future leadership over those politicians whose star is falling. Another reason is the desire of Abdullah, King of Jordan to placate the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, the ideological brothers of Hamas. Senior PLO people have found ways to express their displeasure with the connection between the Jordanian government and Hamas in the ears of their brothers in Jordan.

An additional problem that has darkened the relations between the Jordanian government and the Palestinians is the claim that Palestinians are marginalized. This is reflected in the absence of Palestinians in the decision-making process, and in positions in the military, security and intelligence. And in their meager representation in political positions. They are discriminated against in the division of electoral districts and therefore also the parliament does not reflect their true proportion in the population. The rate of unemployment among Palestinians is high, because the government prefers to employ the graduates of Bedouin universities, and not the Palestinian ones. In many cases, Palestinians who are suspected of activities against the state have their citizenship revoked, and their ability to appeal the revocation of citizenship is limited. Arbitrary and outrageous decisions are taken against them, and they have nowhere to turn for help.

The marginalization of the Palestinian majority in Jordan spawned talk among them during this past year, the year of the "Arab Spring", of the "alternative homeland". Originally, this was a derogatory expression, relating to the intention of Israelis, Ariel Sharon, for example, to turn Jordan into a Palestinian state. The Palestinians want the northern part of Jordan, the area populated by a significant Palestinian majority, to become an autonomous area or even totally independent, regardless of what happens between Israel and the Palestinians who live in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Because even if a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria will arise, this will not solve the problem of the tension between the Jordanian regime and the Palestinian citizens of Jordan. Therefore they have the right to solve their problem at Jordan's expense, without regard to any solution that might be found west of Jordan between Israel and the Palestinians of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

This explains why King Abdullah has met often with the American President Obama: his father - Hussein - fought with all of his strength against the founding of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria because he saw it as an irredentist threat to Jordan, while Abdullah is trying to convince the United States into pressuring Israel to establish a Palestinian state quickly in Judea and Samaria, so that he can say to the Palestinian Jordanians, "Whoever is interested in living in a Palestinian state should move to the Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria". The situation that results is that there is today a sort of negative competition between Israel and Jordan: whichever of the two states will not give the Palestinians a state within its own territory, and succeed in fobbing off the hot potato called the "Palestinian State" to the other side, wins.

There is a certain resemblance between the claim of the Palestinians in Jordan and the claim of the Palestinian Arabs who are citizens of Israel, mainly in the Galilee. Also those Palestinians who are among us (in Israel) claim that a Palestinian state will not solve their problem as a Palestinian minority that lives in a Jewish state. Therefore they demand autonomy, if not independence, in those areas of the Galilee where they are a majority. Israel firmly rejects this demand, and Jordan is no different from Israel in its approach to the Palestinian demand. However, there is one small difference between Israel and Jordan: the Palestinians in Jordan are an absolute majority within the population, while in Israel their proportion (including Bedouins) is approximately one fifth of the citizens of the State of Israel.

The situation in Jordan is fragile, because during the past year the king began to lose esteem among the Bedouins, the traditional supporters of the house of the Hashemites. He apparently does not share his father's abilities in public relations, and his efforts to placate Palestinian public opinion in Jordan do not please the Bedouins. The economic situation in Jordan also does not add to the stature of the king, and there are many unemployed. The lower the king sinks in status, the stronger become the voices among the Palestinian public to go to battle against the regime, and conduct a struggle like those in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, which was the main feature that characterized public conduct within the Arab world during the past year. Among the Palestinians in Jordan there is plenty of resentment against the regime, and it could very well be that the shock waves of the "Arab Spring" will bring out the Palestinian Jordanians from their tranquil places of business to turbulent street demonstrations, which may begin soaked with blood and no one knows how it might end.

The idea of the "alternative homeland" gives chills to Abdullah II, king of Jordan and his Bedouin supporters, who have no alternative at this point, because if this idea will break out to the streets, he and they may find themselves in a situation similar to Mubarak, in the best case, and in the situation of Qadhaffi in the worst case. In a tribal society such as that in Jordan, things may deteriorate into harsh violence quickly, and the result of the battle might be a bloody scene reminiscent of what has been occurring in Syria during the past year.

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Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Mordechai.Kedar@biu.ac.il) is an Israeli scholar of Arabic and Islam, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and the director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. He specializes in Islamic ideology and movements, the political discourse of Arab countries, the Arabic mass media, and the Syrian domestic arena.

Translated from Hebrew by Sally.

Links to Dr. Kedar's recent articles on this blog:

Source: The article is published in the framework of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. Also published in Makor Rishon, a Hebrew weekly newspaper.

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

Obama’s Islamist Agenda


by Jeffrey T. Kuhner

Radical Islam is on the march. It is being aided and abetted by the Obama administration. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently warned at a conference in Tunisia that the Arab Spring is backsliding. The democratic transformation of the Middle East and North Africa is not working out as Mrs. Clinton and President Obama had hoped. Liberal reformers are being eclipsed by Muslim militants. Islamist parties are coming to power. Mr. Obama has no one to blame but himself.

He has encouraged Arab street revolts against corrupt autocracies. Long-standing American allies, such as former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak, were abandoned. Yet, contrary to his simplistic narrative of freedom fighters battling tyranny, Mr. Obama has helped pave the way for the triumph of Shariah democracy - the drive to establish a global Islamic caliphate. At his core, Mr. Obama is a radical secular progressive. Like all multiculturalists, he believes in one seminal myth: Mass poverty and oppression in the Third World is America’s fault. Hence, he champions anti-colonial “liberation movements” - the uprisings of repressed peoples, especially those in the Muslim world, chafing under authoritarian rule. Yet he never bothers to ask: What comes next? What kind of regime replaces the previous one? The results are often even worse.

The Arab Spring is turning into an Islamist winter. Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen are now becoming Wahhabi Sunni theocracies. Shariah law is being imposed. Minorities, especially Christians, are being eradicated. Dissidents are imprisoned. Women are oppressed. The Muslim Brotherhood and its allies are in the saddle. One-man, one-vote is being used by religious fanatics to impose Islamofascist rule.

In particular, two countries are driving the Arab Spring - Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The House of Saud has largely financed the Muslim Brotherhood and the street protests convulsing the region. Their goal is to promote Wahhabism, a puritanical strain of Sunni Islam. Wahhabism is profoundly reactionary; it is at war with the modern West, seeking to reimpose the Dark Ages. This is why it is virulently intolerant of Jews, Christians, women, atheists and even other Muslims such as the Shiites. The Obama administration has allied itself with wacky Wahhabis in the name of democracy and human rights. Yet the very opposite is taking place: Religious fanatics are seizing power. There is now an unholy alliance between the postmodern secular left and radical Islam.

Take Libya. The U.S.-NATO intervention that toppled Moammar Gadhafi has led to an Islamist state. Shariah is spreading. Young militant men with heavy firepower control the country’s airports, harbors and major roads. Militias roam the countryside. Former al Qaeda terrorists and Taliban fighters have infiltrated the country, targeting moderate Muslims and blacks. The nation is on the verge of splintering along ideological, sectarian and tribal lines. This is not a victory for humanitarianism but anarchy.

Now the Obama administration wants to repeat the Libya fiasco in Syria. Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are publicly backing the rebels in their battle against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are funding the Free Syrian Army. Al Qaeda fighters and the Taliban are coming from Libya and Iraq through Turkey to join the swelling jihadist movement. The emir of Qatar has been open about his aim: Topple the last secular Arab regime. Washington is contemplating arming the insurgents, thereby tipping the military scales in their favor.

Contrary to media spin, however, the opposition is not full of Western-style democrats; rather, it wants to forge a Sunni-dominated Syria. Wahhabi rule would lead to mass killings and religious cleansing. The rebels vow to massacre the moderate Alawites. They call for Syria’s Christians to be expelled to Lebanon. Mr. Assad is a butcher, who has transformed Damascus into a proxy of Iran. His father, Hafez Assad, slaughtered more than 20,000 members of the Muslim Brotherhood at Hama in 1982. I have little sympathy for this cruel dictatorship. Yet the rebels do not represent the majority. Most Syrians despise the Wahhabis even more than they do Mr. Assad. They fear their country will revert to the 14th century. Mr. Obama is not interested in the wishes of ordinary Syrians. Instead, he wants the United States to partner with al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Muslim Brotherhood in an anti-Assad coalition. In the end, the only winners will be the Islamists.

Mr. Obama has supported every major uprising in the Muslim world - except the only one that truly sought to establish a pro-American, secular democracy. In 2009, Iranians protested stolen elections. The Green Revolution wanted an end to the mullahs, their implacable hostility to the West and the desire for a nuclear-armed Iran. Millions poured onto the streets of Tehran and other cities. Mr. Obama remained silent. He did not wish to offend the ayatollahs, hoping to appease Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This act will go down in history as the most craven, reckless decision of the Obama presidency; the moment when America blinked in its confrontation with Iran, squandering a golden opportunity for its besieged people to overthrow the vile clerical fascist regime. For this treachery, Israel - and the Jews - may pay the ultimate price. Mr. Obama turned his back on the Iranian opposition - unlike Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and now, increasingly, Syria. He has betrayed our friends while rewarding our mortal enemies.

Whether this is a deliberate expression of anti-Americanism and national self-abnegation, or naive multicultural liberalism, is irrelevant. The pattern is clear: Mr. Obama’s foreign policy has directly empowered the Islamist agenda. Future generations will ask: Who lost the Middle East? Historians will write: Mr. Obama did.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner

Source: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/1/obamas-islamist-agenda/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS

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

Investigation Shows 5 US Soldiers Responsible for Koran Burning


by Rick Moran

The incident was the result of the soldiers "misinterpreting" their orders. LA Times:

A U.S. military investigation into the burning of the Muslim holy book in a trash pit in Afghanistan last month found that several enlisted soldiers had misinterpreted an order to dispose of the Korans, two officials familiar with the findings said Friday.

The investigation found that five U.S. soldiers were responsible for confiscating the Korans and other religious materials from a U.S.-run detention facility near Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, and dumping them in a pit used to incinerate trash.

News of the incident sparked attacks that killed six Americans and riots that left more than 30 people dead. Hundreds of Western military and civilian advisors working at Afghan government offices were withdrawn by embassies and NATO commanders as the crisis grew.

U.S. officials said several of the soldiers, who have not been publicly identified, are likely to face disciplinary proceedings. Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has not yet made a decision on punishment, the officials said.

Allen was briefed on the investigation late this week, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the findings, which have not been made public.

The riots and violence appear spent for now. Friday prayers, the most important religious event of the Muslim week, passed without more protests breaking out.

The military investigation largely supports official U.S. claims that the burnings were inadvertent.

This is not over - not by a long shot. In fact, since it is not likely there will be a "public trial" of the soldiers, the Afghans are set to go ballistic once again:

A group of politically powerful Muslim clerics met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and demanded a public trial in an Afghan court of the U.S. troops involved, Karzai's office said.

The clerics denounced the Koran burning as an "inhumane, savage act" and said no apology would suffice, the presidential palace said.

In releasing the clerics' statement, Karzai appeared to be seeking leverage for his demand that the detention facility at Bagram be handed over to Afghan control. His office quoted the clerics as demanding "the closure of prisons run by foreigners."

Karzai is shamelessly - and dangerously - exploiting this incident for all that it's worth. He is being outdone by the clerics who see political advantage in maintaining an extremist position on the inadvertent burning.

Nice bunch we're allied with, don't you think?

Rick Moran

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/03/investigation_shows_5_us_soldiers_responsible_for_koran_burning.html

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

Showdown Over Iran


by Jacob Laksin

Relations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama have been famously strained over the past three years, but their upcoming meeting this Monday may be the tensest moment to date.

While both sides have been tight-lipped about the topic of discussion, it’s clear the dominant issue will be how to deal with Iran’s nascent nuclear threat. Despite agreeing on the nature of that threat, the two sides depart dramatically in their assessments about how advanced Iran’s nuclear program is and the steps necessary to halt its continued development.

The Obama administration favors a more passive approach. In the administration’s view, there is still sufficient time to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Believing that U.S. and European sanctions passed this summer can slow down Iran’s nuclear program, Obama has consistently argued that a two-track policy of stiffer sanctions and muscular diplomacy should be given a chance to work.

That assessment delays a military reckoning for Iran, but even administration officials concede that it is rooted in part on wishful thinking. James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, admitted in January that “so far” sanctions had not convinced Iran to change its behavior. Instead, he said, the administration was hopeful that continued pressure held out the “prospect that they could change.” Accordingly, Obama will likely pressure Netanyahu to hold off on a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities until sanctions have been given a chance to work.

Netanyahu is unsympathetic to that view. As he has pointed out in the past, sanctions have been tried before, with little deterrent effect on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The current Israeli view is that a strike will have to happen before the summer in order to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

Still, Israel recognizes that the Obama administration is unlikely to support such an attack. That is one reason why Israeli intelligence leaked this week that Israel would not give the U.S. warning of an impending Israeli strike, thus leaving the U.S. with plausible deniability in the aftermath. Although that is unlikely to sit well with the Obama administration, Israel believes it has little choice, and little time, if it wants to destroy Iran’s weapons capability before it becomes fully operational.

If Israel’s red line action is lower than Obama’s, it’s because the Israeli assessment of Iran’s nuclear project is more dire. American intelligence agencies have hedged on the question of weather Iran truly seeks a nuclear bomb, as opposed to a nuclear program. Israel has fewer doubts. This week, for instance, Israeli officials pointed to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s findings that Iran has accelerated uranium enrichment, a precondition for a nuclear weapon’s program, and is increasingly moving its nuclear operations deeper underground, likely to avoid their being targeted in an aerial attack. It has hardly allayed Israel’s concerns that Iran, demonstrating its traditional contempt for international law, recently denied IAEA inspectors permission to visit a key military site.

Yet the issue runs deeper than differing strategic assessments. Because of its geographical proximity, Israel considers Iran an existential threat and not simply a troublesome rogue state. It’s not just that Iran has repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction. The more serious issue is that, with it’s backing for Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as it’s arsenal of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles within striking range of Israel, Iran is already waging the war of destruction it has long threatened. That reality is all too clear in Israel. A strategic study released this week by Bar Ilan University points out that Iran’s nuclear ambitions, combined with the fall of Arab states and the rise of Islamic revolutionary regimes, has created a “deteriorating security environment for Israel.” Clearly, Israel feels it needs to act — and soon.

That is not to say that there is no room for common ground on Iran. The Obama administration has indicated that it might be amenable to Israeli appeals for a more urgent and forceful response. Thus, ahead of Netanyahu’s arrival, the administration has been sending signals that it could still endorse a military solution to Iran’s nuclear program. For instance, Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz said this week that the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff have prepared military options for a strike against Iran’s nuclear sites. So that there was no mistaking the message to Tehran, Schwartz added: “What we can do, you wouldn’t want to be in the area.”

If that is indeed a sign that the U.S. is prepared to consider military options, it would be welcome news for Netanyahu. Polls suggest that the Israeli public is reluctant to undertake a strike against Iran without U.S. support. To that end, firmer backing from the White House would provide much-needed reassurance that even if the U.S. won’t officially sanction an Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear sites, it is at least open to the possibility. Given Netanyahu and Obama’s apparent personal dislike for one another, Monday’s meeting may not be a happy reunion. But with so much at stake for Israeli and U.S. security, there is hope that it may still prove a productive one.

Jacob Laksin

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/03/02/showdown-over-iran/

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

Muslim Brotherhood in America


by Frontpagemag.com

Introduction: The Muslim Brotherhood in America by Robert Spencer is a new Freedom Center pamphlet that shows how the Muslim Brotherhood has targeted the United States for subversion.

It is well known that the Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al Banna, who became an avowed admirer of Hitler, is the godfather organization for the terror group Hamas and has become a dominant player in the changing politics of Egypt, Libya and Syria. Less well known is that it has also created a presence in Western countries with an eye toward creating more space for Islamic extremism there.

Robert Spencer, a nationally recognized expert on Islamism, shows in this pamphlet how the Brotherhood has been active in America for decades, and bolstering its power and influence with increasing momentum over the past few years. The MB acts through “fronts” such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and especially the Muslim Students Associations (MSA) — which the FBI has documented it set up as part of a “stealth jihad” to make U.S. public opinion and social institutions more vulnerable to the inroads of radical Islam.

In Muslim Brotherhood in America, Spencer outlines the history of the Brotherhood’s secret efforts to establish a presence in the U.S., dissects the organizations it created to spread its message, and explains why its hidden agenda could succeed.

To read the pamphlet, click here.

Frontpagemag.com

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/03/02/muslim-brotherhood-in-america-2/

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

Al-Qaeda in Syria


by Farid Ghadry

The events unfolding in Syria over the last 12 months have led anyone with their uncles to meddle into its affairs. But one meddler we can do without are the inescapable tentacles of Islamic terror, which, now that it is obvious the west is not about to stop Assad from killing, may plant new and dangerous roots in Syria no one, including a weak Assad, will be able to stop.

The worst part is the very western policies for Syria that have created the conditions for extreme Islam and awakened a gigantic religious conflict are the same reasons western policy makers are citing today not to arm the Syrian opposition.

To many, al-Zawahiri’s pronouncement of support for the Syrian Revolution provided an opportunity for Assad to scare the west with. This begs the question: What did the west expect will happen if it just kept to the sidelines and never even moved a finger to help Syrians defend themselves with real weapons? Syrians that view this war as Alawites killing Sunnis (2m Arab Alawites vs. 250m Arab Sunnis)? That somehow this conflict will have no dangerous consequences for the region? Did Bahrain not ring that alarm for a wake-up call but instead of helping its citizens, the west just let Saudi Arabia stifle their liberties, which only stoked further the regional religious war coming?

The US is viewing the al-Zawahiri message in terms of al-Qaeda planting roots in Syria when it should look at his interference in terms of their shortcoming to help the Syrian opposition free Syria from Assad. This goes to show that the Obama administration and the Assad regime are engaged in a friendly game of tennis with each making the other partner’s job easier to explain through either apathy or massacres.

The best planned wars can produce bad losses as much as the best planned diplomatic efforts can produce even worse losses. If Iraq went awry, as the Democrats so claimed, their diplomatic masterpiece in Syria is about to produce the worst losses ever in the region. Iraq will be a cakewalk as compared to Syria because US apathy towards Assad has already sparked a Sunni-Shiite war capable of consuming the whole region.

Why is it that the worst enemies of the US always come to power during the term of a liberal US President? Khomeini under Carter, the Muslim Brotherhood and keeping Iran strong by letting Assad off-the-hook under Obama? What is the use of killing Bin Laden if your policies just opened the door for his replacement while simultaneously paralyzing US military capabilities?”

The US contained the Iraq-Iranian war and it had total control of Desert Storm and the Liberation of Iraq. But who will control this new religious war capable of destroying the whole region? Its repercussions from West N. Africa to the eastern shores of the Near East will send one tremor after another rippling all the way to Foggy Bottom. It will touch everyone and every economy in the Near East.

Syria has become a cesspool of violence and death ushering the possibility for a regional religious war. If the west wanted to destabilize the region any further, it could not have done a better job.

The worst part? The next president of the US will have no choice but to send US troops to the region because the cancer of Islamic terror will simply get out of control.

Do you really think Sunnis will just be obedient to al-Saud or abide by any 9/11 instituted laws in the Kingdom? Do you think young Arab Muslims will just turn a blind eye to Assad? Or their imams will not take advantage of the opportunity to harden few souls? Extremism in the region just got a shot in the arm thanks to Obama.

So kudos to all those who stood by watching Syria bleed to death. You have just facilitated a religious war no one will be able to escape and added another $2trillion worth of US debt to save $10billion.

Farid Ghadry

Source: http://ghadry.com/2012/03/02/al-qaeda-in-syria/

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

The Hate Business


by Khaled Abu Toameh

Fatah activists in Ramallah denounced the visit by Israeli physicians as a form of "normalization" with Israel.

The fact that thousands of Palestinian patients receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals each year did not stop Palestinians from voicing opposition to a visit by Israeli physicians to Ramallah last week.

The Israeli physicians arrived in Ramallah as part of a tour that was organized by the Palestinian Authority.

The physicians visited the Palestine Medical Compound and another clinic to learn about the Palestinians' medical services in the West Bank.

The presence of the physicians in Ramallah drew furious reactions from the workers at the medical compound and many Palestinians, including the Western-backed Fatah faction headed by Mahmoud Abbas.

Some doctors and nurses claimed that the physicians were in fact Israeli army officers. Palestinian media outlets quoted "eyewitnesses" as saying that the army vehicles and soldiers accompanied the Israeli doctors during the tour. Attempts by the Palestinian Ministry of Health to explain that the visitors were not army officers have thus far fall fallen on deaf ears.

Fatah activists in Ramallah denounced the tour as a form of "normalization" with Israel. They reminded the Palestinian Authority that its leaders had repeatedly urged Palestinians to resist all forms of "normalization" with Israel.

The Palestinian fury over the visit of the Israeli medical team to Ramallah is a sign of increased radicalization among Palestinians. It is also a severe blow to those Israelis and Palestinians who continue to talk about coexistence and peace between the two sides.

If anyone stands to lose from boycotting Israeli physicians it is the Palestinians themselves.

Because the Palestinian Authority has not invested enough in improving medical services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the past two decades, many Palestinians continue to rely on Israel for proper medical treatment.

Some of the Palestinian's top leaders, including ministers and the former mufti of Jerusalem, were among tens of thousands of Palestinians who underwent life-saving surgery in Israeli hospitals over the past two decades.

Scores of Palestinian physicians receive training in Israeli hospitals every year and many even seek the assistance of their Israeli colleagues in treating patients who are admitted to Palestinian hospitals. Some Palestinians sold their homes and lands to be able to cover the expenses of being admitted to an Israeli hospital.

But instead of welcoming Palestinian-Israeli cooperation in the medical field, some Palestinians are calling for boycotting those who are trying to save the lives of their own patients.

The Palestinian Minister of Health, Fathi Abu Mughli, is now facing sharp criticism for permitting the Israelis to visit the medical center. Some Palestinians have gone as far as calling on the Palestinian government to bring him to trial for his "crime."

But to his credit, Abu Mughli has come out in defense of the visit, arguing that he did not advocate a boycott of Israeli physicians and medical services. The minister explained that it would be foolish of Palestinians to boycott Israeli doctors and hospitals at a time when many Palestinian patients are being treated in Israel.

Palestinians who are opposed to "normalization" with Israeli physicians are the victims of years of indoctrination and messages of hate emanating from their leaders and media. And some Palestinians have become so enriched by hatred that it it would not pay for them to stop.

Khaled Abu Toameh

Source: http://www.stonegateinstitute.org/2907/hate-business

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

Goldberg Interview Can’t Disguise the Divide Between Obama and Israel


by Jonathan S. Tobin

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg was rewarded for years of diligent cheerleading for Barack Obama with an exclusive interview that was published this morning. Goldberg asks some interesting questions as well as some that can be characterized as mere sucking up. But though there’s not much here that we haven’t already heard, the transcript of the exchange provides a summary of the Obama attempt to persuade Israel, American supporters of Israel, Iran and the rest of the world that he means business about stopping Tehran from gaining nuclear weapons.

Obama is at pains to try to assert he doesn’t “bluff” when it comes to threatening the use of force, but after three years of a feckless engagement policy followed by a largely ineffective effort to impose sanctions on Iran, it’s hard to find anyone who really believes he would actually launch a strike to prevent the ayatollahs from getting their hands on a nuclear weapon. Much of what the president says in this interview is exactly what he should be stating. But his credibility is undermined by his disingenuous attempt to deny that until his re-election campaign began the keynote of his Middle East policy was to distance the United States from Israel. Equally false is his attempt to make it seem as if he doesn’t despise Israel’s prime minister.

Obama complains, with Goldberg’s assent, that it is unfair to characterize his administration as unfriendly to Israel. But in order to buy into his assumption, you have to ignore the entire tenor and much of the substance of the U.S.-Israel relationship since January 2009. Though, as I have often written, Barack Obama has not sought to obstruct the decades-old security alliance between the two countries, he has needlessly and repeatedly quarreled with Israel’s government in such a way as to create the justified impression there is a wide gap between America and the Jewish state on a host of issues including borders, security arrangements, Jerusalem and settlements.

More to the point, despite Obama’s statements about an Iranian nuke being as much a danger to the United States and the West as it is to Israel, talk is cheap, and that is all he has ever done on the issue. That has left Israel with the impression Obama will never take action on an issue that is an existential threat to the Jewish state.

The Goldberg interview is, of course, not just one more salvo in the administration’s charm offensive to American Jewish voters. It is part of his effort to head off an Israeli strike on Iran, something he may fear far more than the ayatollahs getting their fingers on the nuclear button. For all of his lip service to the Iranian threat, Obama clearly is still more worried about Israel.

But the problem is Obama is bluffing when he talks about being willing to hit Iran. His halfhearted attempt to force Iran to its knees via sanctions is failing, and the idea that waiting until the end of the year (when, Obama hopes, he will be safely re-elected and thus free from needing to worry about Jewish voters or donors) to see if it works is just hot air. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who will be in Washington to meet with Obama following his address to the AIPAC conference, knows this, and that will be focal point of their next confrontation.

Netanyahu knows Obama does not have his country’s back despite Goldberg’s cajoling this promise out of the president. But he will likely smile when he reads Obama’s answer to Goldberg’s question about the relationship between the two men. Though Obama has bragged of his close relationships with other leaders such as the Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, he makes little effort to disguise his contempt for Netanyahu. He tells Goldberg he and Netanyahu are too busy to discuss anything other than policy. Obama then slips up a bit and attempts to explain their differences as being the result of belonging to “different political traditions,” as if there was some sort of natural tension between being an American Democrat and an Israeli Likudnik. This actually tells us more about Obama than anything else.

The truth is, these two “traditions” are not natural antagonists because they are the result of two entirely different political systems and histories. If Obama sees them as inherently opposed to each other it is because his conception of American liberalism sees an Israeli nationalist faction dedicated to their nation’s security as somehow antithetical to his own view. In fact, the origins of both parties are “liberal” with a small “l” in the sense that they are based on the idea of democracy and opposed to socialism. Indeed, the Likud is far closer to both American major parties because it is dedicated to free market principles the Israeli left abhors.

The divide here is not between a Democrat and a member of the Likud but between an American who is ambivalent about Israel and an Israeli who is deeply sympathetic to the United States. That is why a close reading of Goldberg’s attempt to help Obama to portray himself as Israel’s best friend only reinforces the phony nature of the president’s Jewish charm offensive.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Source: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/03/02/obama-israel-jeffrey-goldberg-iran/

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

Chicago Police Dept. Embraces Hamas Front


by IPT News

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is exploiting recent criticism of the New York Police Department's surveillance of a Muslim students group and some mosques to acquire legitimacy and intimidate police departments to promise not to investigate Islamic groups.

CAIR has been described as a front for Hamas by federal law enforcement.

After a meeting Tuesday, CAIR's Chicago chapter announced that Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy will speak Saturday night at CAIR-Chicago's annual fundraising banquet. In their meeting, McCarthy reportedly said surveillance by Chicago police would not be used in intelligence gathering as it was in New York.

"We want to know, should we be concerned about this happening in Chicago?" CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab told Fox News. "And if the answer is no, we need him to come out and say this was wrong."

The NYPD has been criticized for surveillance programs, nearly all of which involved activity and material in the public domain, of Muslim subjects including the Muslim Students Association. As the Investigative Project on Terrorism reported last week, the MSA was created by the Muslim Brotherhood and has a disturbing history of spawning people involved in terrorist plots and spewing radical rhetoric.

By yielding to CAIR pressure, the city's top police officer will share the microphone with an imam tied to a Hamas-support network which court papers indicate was responsible for CAIR's very creation.

Kifah Mustapha, head imam at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, is being honored with the chapter's "Mobilizer Award."

Mustapha is suing the Illinois State Police after being rejected in his bid to become the agency's first Muslim chaplain. The decision followed a report by the Investigative Project on Terrorism showing he raised money for the Holy Land Foundation, which saw five former officials convicted in 2008 for illegally routing millions of dollars to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

He also sang in a band which frequently performed at HLF fundraisers. In a videotaped performance entered into evidence at the HLF trial, a Hamas caption in shown the background and Mustapha can be heard in the chorus reiterating Hamas' call for jihad:

"O mother, Hamas for Jihad. Over mosques' loudspeakers, with freedom. Every day it resists

with stones and the dagger. Tomorrow, with God's help, it will be with a machine gun and a rifle."

Mustapha also worked with the Islamic Association for Palestine which, like HLF and CAIR, was a part of the Muslim Brotherhood's "Palestine Committee." The committee included a series of separate entities, which prosecutors say and government exhibits show, was created to help Hamas politically and financially in the United States.

In recent years, Mustapha has helped CAIR raise hundreds of thousands of dollars at fundraisers. CAIR attorneys, in turn, are representing Mustapha in his lawsuit against the state police.

Also addressing Saturday's banquet is Georgetown University Professor John Esposito, who has amassed a long record as an apologist for terrorist supporters. Esposito served as an expert witness for the defense in the HLF trial. He sat on an editorial board for the Middle East Affairs Journal, which was published by another wing of the U.S.-Hamas support network, called the United Association for Studies and Research.

In addition, Esposito wrote to a federal judge, advocating the release of Palestinian Islamic Jihad board member Sami Al-Arian, calling him "an extraordinarily bright, articulate scholar and intellectual-activist, a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice."

Esposito has also defended Hamas and Hizballah, saying each does not deserve the label of a terrorist organization. "One can't make a clear statement about Hamas," Esposito said in an interview from 2000. "One has to distinguish between Hamas in general and the action of its military wing, and then one has also to talk about specific actions. Some actions by the military wing of Hamas can be seen as acts of resistance, but other actions are acts of retaliation, particularly when they target civilians."

In the same interview published by The Middle East Affairs Journal, he said some Hizballah actions could be considered terrorist, but "Hezbollah in recent years has shown that it operates within the Lebanese political system functioning as a major player in parliament. But when it comes to the south it has been primarily a resistance movement."

The guest list fits with Rehab's attitudes.

Like other CAIR officials, Rehab is evasive when asked if Hamas is a terrorist group. Asked during a November 2006 interview on BBC's Hardtalk for a "straight forward" condemnation, Rehab hedged.

"Do I condemn the hospitals run by Hamas or the schools that help children learn, in Hamas? No. I don't condemn that," Rehab said. "But I do condemn the blowing up of Tel Aviv pizzerias or cafes."

When banners connecting the Star of David with a swastika and Palestinian deaths in Gaza flew during a January 2009 pro-Palestinian rally, Rehab was offended when asked about it.

"As hundreds of innocent human lives are crushed in full view of the world by a belligerent Israeli government, I find it appalling that some on the pro-Israeli side are better concerned with cardboard paper," Rehab said.

He dismissed the prosecution theory in the HLF case as ludicrous and said the evidence amounted to nothing more than "textbook guilt by association."

Jurors disagreed. In a verdict upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, they reached guilty verdicts on 108 counts. "The purpose of creating the Holy Land Foundation was as a fundraising arm for Hamas," said U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis said during a sentencing hearing.

He also reacted strongly to FBI raids in September 2010 targeting activists in Chicago and Minneapolis who are suspected of providing support to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Colombian FARC terrorist groups. Rehab called the investigation "a waste of taxpayer dollars," while his chapter issued a statement saying "The FBI has overstepped its bounds in targeting individuals based on their commitment to peacefully challenge US policies in Palestine and Columbia (sic). The Justice Department should call off the investigation and return what was taken in the searches."

The FBI, it bears repeating, cut off non-criminal communication with CAIR in 2008 based on evidence in the HLF case showing CAIR's founding was part of the Muslim Brotherhood's "Palestine Committee" network in the United States.

In testimony during the HLF trial, FBI Special Agent Lara Burns said CAIR was created after a secret meeting of Hamas members in supports in Philadelphia that was called to discuss ways to "derail" U.S.-led peace efforts which resulted in the 1993 Oslo Accords.

One conferee, FBI transcripts show, said that they needed to "begin thinking about establishing alternative organizations which can benefit from a new atmosphere, ones whose Islamic hue is not very conspicuous."

"The organization that was started as a result of that was CAIR, C-A-I-R?" prosecutor Barry Jonas asked Burns.

"That was an organization that was created after the Philadelphia meeting as a result of this," she said.

Burns also testified that CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad was a powerful force in the Palestine Committee, convening group meetings and dictating instructions.

Since the cutoff, CAIR has continued its consistent criticism of law enforcement counter-terror investigations, especially those involving informants and sting operations. A year ago, CAIR's San Francisco chapter published a poster urging people to "Build a Wall of Resistance; Don't Talk to the FBI" to promote an upcoming event. The poster features an FBI agent prowling in front of peoples' homes as doors slam shut in the backdrop.

After that, a board member from CAIR's New York chapter gave a presentation in which Muslims were told FBI agents were willing to break the law to set them up. "They will do anything, anything within their power and oftentimes beyond their power to get you to talk," Lamis Deek told her audience last April. "They will threaten you. OK? I've had one case where they tried to blackmail my client, I mean blackmail, seriously blackmail; that's illegal. But they'll do it."

Rehab has criticized some of the sting operations. The Bronx Four, a case involving four converts to Islam arrested after planting what they thought was a car bomb outside a synagogue, had nothing to do with the men's faith, he wrote in a Huffington Post column. Rather, it was the FBI's "self-deluding initiatives that seem to seek terror-case quotas by entrapping 'intellectually challenged' outcasts and then deceptively marketing their isolated cases as evidence of an imminent and contiguous global threat with homegrown components."

Despite the suspect ties of CAIR and those it honors at its banquet, a slew of Illinois politicians have issued statements saluting the Chicago chapter. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin issued two letters praising CAIR's Chicago chapter last year.

This year, Democratic U.S. Reps. Danny Davis, Mike Quigley, Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Bobby Rush were joined by Secretary of State Jesse White, Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in praising CAIR-Chicago.

"CAIR-Chicago has provided a comprehensive array of invaluable services to the Muslim-American community and has facilitated important partnerships and civil rights advocacy opportunities for Muslim-Americans throughout the Chicagoland area," said Emmanuel, the former White House Chief of Staff to President Obama.

McCarthy was police chief in Newark, N.J. and was informed about NYPD surveillance that took place there. But Emmanuel this week emphatically ruled out any similar tactics. "We don't do that in Chicago, and we're not going to do that," he said.

Quinn similarly commended the group "for your ongoing commitment to serving the needs of Chicago's Muslim population and for working towards ensuring justice and civil rights for all the communities you serve."

In August, Quinn appointed CAIR-Chicago board member Safaa Zarzour to serve on his newly established Muslim American Advisory Council.

Quinn endorsed the CAIR banquet in 2011, too. Praise for Saturday's event also came from some Republican state lawmakers, including House Republican Leader Tom Cross and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno.

CAIR's ability to attract so many public officials, including Chicago's top police official, to a chapter banquet is just another example of the obsequious nature of politicians jumping to satisfy the demands of an unreliable actor. The FBI, which uncovered the evidence tying CAIR to a terror-support network, made it clear that "until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner."

Why other, less-informed officials feel free to dismiss that linkage is mystifying.

IPT News

Source: http://www.investigativeproject.org/3469/chicago-police-dept-embraces-hamas-front

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

Sabbath Rocket Attacks Continue


by Gavriel Queenann

Saturday, shortly before dusk, terrorists in the Gaza strip fired two rockets into Israel

The rockets landed in an open field in the Eshkol Regional Council.

No physical injuries or property damage was reported.

The Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades – the Hamas terror militia responsible for mortar and rocket attacks on Israel – refused to comment on the attack.

Saturday's rocket attack follows the firing of three rockets into the same region of Israel on Friday.

No physical injuries or property damage was reported in that incident, either.

The Eshkol Regional Council lies on the Ashkelon coast, South of Tel Aviv and is a routinely targeted by terrorists firing rockets and mortars.

The IDF spokesperson's officer confirmed the rocket attacks. No military response has been reported as of yet.

Gavriel Queenann

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/153382

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

Thursday, March 1, 2012

US Liberals Don't See the Whole Picture


by Ron Jager

Can a liberal American Jew support Israel?

If we accept the thesis that most American Jews are predominantly liberal and vote Democratic, and that most Liberals are concerned with human rights and social justice, a simple question begs to be asked;

Can American Jewish Liberals who detest war and violence, who believe that fighting is not ‘the Jewish way;’ who willingly believe that Jews have their own higher standards of behavior, support Israel today?

Can American Jewish Liberalism "co-exist" with an Israel that refuses to enforce Democratic principles and values on behalf of Jew-hating enemies sworn to its destruction?

For many in the Liberal camp, all Jews should adhere to the 60's slogan "make love not war, see driver for details".

You can hear them saying: After all, if I adhere to Liberal values, how I can possibly support Israel as she is increasingly projected, spoken about, and portrayed, as a country that is becoming right-wing, increasingly religious, increasingly foreign to the very liberal values that I have sworn by and believe in.

Can an American liberal Jew identify with an Israel that is constantly vacillating in a dialectic relationship between Democratic principles and her Jewish Character? Can an American Jewish liberal identify with a nation that reveres The Temple Mount, the Tomb of Joseph (Kever Yosef), the Tomb of Rachel (Kever Rachel Imanu), and the Patriarch's Machpela Cave?

For many in the Liberal camp, the very notion of Jewish sovereignty based on religious and historical claims misrepresents the essence of what Israel should be. War and violence, creating an army and projecting Jewish strength is not the Jewish way, so they believe.

The Liberal perception of Palestinian terrorism and support for the Palestinian Arabs is very much at the heart of why so many Liberal Jews find themselves becoming more detached and alienated from Israel every day.

In acknowledging Palestinian terrorism as a response to a specific cause, in Israel’s case, “the occupation,” - which has become a brand-name for legitimizing the killing Jews and demonizing Israel - many Liberal Jews choose to ignore the hypocrisy of Liberal values implicitly condoning of indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians.

The danger in associating terrorism to grievances and causes is that it rationalizes murder and justifies those who perpetrate it.

Arab Palestinian terrorists, who plan and train for meticulously murderous attacks on Jews, don’t seek political compromises; their goal is jihad, total elimination of Jews, and the State of Israel. They don’t even think about a “peace process” or human rights, or even accepting Israel's right to exist, but are committed to the total annihilation of their enemies. They see themselves as “martyrs,” glorified by their communities and by the Palestinian Authority. Most major Arab Palestinian towns have pictures of “martyrs,” terrorists who have committed acts of murder against Jews, hung high on light poles throughout major streets and boulevards for all to see as role models.

It seems as though some Liberals will forever remain blind to this Palestinian elevation of glorifying death as a central belief in the Arab mindset and culture.

These Liberals also always seem to belittle the success of Israel's vibrant democracy, diminishing the significance of Israel being the single Democratic nation in all of the Middle East. This amazing success has become even more challenging because of two major competing factors: the first, Israel must constantly navigate the inherent tension between Israel's democratic structure and her Jewish character and do this amidst the reality of being surrounded by Jew hating enemies calling to "wipe her off the map" and "throw all the Jews in the sea".

Why is it that so many Liberals take everything for granted concerning Israel's democracy, yet explain away these phrases by Israel's enemies as nothing more than expressions of free speech?

Israel's need to constantly navigate the tension between its democratic ideal and its Jewish character. while being surrounded by Jew-hating enemies sworn to its destruction has made Israel's democratic journey that more turbulent. So if we want to gauge how democratic Israel really is, I would suggest that all Liberals ask themselves to what extent Israel enables the unrestricted expression of liberal ideas and liberal freedoms.

Here are some actual examples: Israeli academicians call for the boycott of Israel, Israeli Arab NGO's actively campaign to deligitimize the continuing existence of Israel as a Jewish state, Israeli leftists actively participate in anti-Israeli activities such as violent opposition to the security barrier created to prevent the free passage of Arab terrorists into the center of Israel. They continue to receive funding from foreign governments hostile to Israel, and arrange the organized badgering, photographing, and heckling of Israeli soldiers at military checkpoints.

Israel allows anti-Israel groups to visit the family of the barbaric murderers of the Fogel family from the community of Itamar and hears them publicly condemn the Israeli investigation. Liberals would be wise to wake up to this complicated reality of Israel's vibrant democratic society before they donate a dime to organizations that falsely claim to be combating Israel's democratic institutions.

Today's Israel can justifyingly claim to be a vibrant democracy, with progressive social values, industriousness, with ingenuity, with sensitivity and respect for human rights in the midst of a protracted, existential struggle - that is the true narrative of Israel.

Liberal Jews can easily identify and defend this kind of Israel, all they have to say is "yes we can".

Ron Jager, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer and Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Contact: medconf@netvision.net.il

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/11324#.T0_tq1FvIi4

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

WikiLeaks: Russia Gave Israel Codes for Iran’s Missiles


by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Russia gave Israel codes for breaking Iran’s missile defense system in return for codes of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Israel sold to Georgia, WikiLeaks claims.

The information was among 5 million emails released this week by WikiLeaks, which said it worked in cooperation with the Anonymous hacker group. The leaked information focused on the U.S.-based Stratfor global intelligence company.

A source identified as “A” was quoted in an e-mail from a Stratfor employee as having heard from a “former Mexican cop” and military analysts that "the Georgians are frantically looking for a replacement for the Israeli UAVs that were compromised.”

The Israeli-based Elbit company had sold UAVs to Georgia since 2007, and earlier this month Georgia said it is replacing the Hermes UAVs.

“Met with my Mexican source/friend again today and dude is getting shadier by the day. We followed up on our past discussion on Russia compromising the Israeli-made Georgian UAVs prior to the August war,” said one e-mail.

“I inquired more about the compromised Israeli UAVs,” it continued. “What he explained was that Israel and Russia made a swap -- Israel gave Russia the 'data link' code for those specific UAVs; in return, Russia gave Israel the codes for Iran's Tor-M1s [missile defense system].

“I asked about the S-300 (source tracks a lot of defense deals for Jane's). He doesn't think the Russians will give it to the Iranians. Besides, he said... Israel and Turkey have been collaborating very closely on the S-300s….The gist of what he said is that Turkey has been cracking the S-300 since the Crete sale and has been sharing intel on the S-300 with the Israelis to ensure that they retain an advantage over Iran should Iran get them from the Russians.

“SOURCE DESCRIPTION: MX301 - Former Mexican cop, Latam military analyst, writes for Jane's; SOURCE RELIABILITY: A

“The Russians got the data link for the UAV (there is some suspicion that the Israelis after the war may have given this to them…. So, since the Georgian UAVs were compromised, they then tried to sell them to the Azerbaijanis. I don’t know if that deal went through.”

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/153273#.T0_s-lFvIi5

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

A Wake-up Call for the Prime Minister's Office


by Isi Leibler

Thankfully, the unsavory allegations of harassment against the former Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) are behind us. But the fallout from further impending resignations and bitter infighting amongst key officials remain the order of the day and continue inhibiting one of the most important divisions of government from fulfilling its primary obligations.

Yet the reality is that the shortcomings of the PMO long precede the Netanyahu government and are not primarily related to personality conflicts. One of the principal weaknesses has been the long standing failure to ensure that vital government information services are efficiently managed and coordinated at the political and military level. One would have expected that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, sensitive to the importance of the war of ideas, would have regarded rectifying this state of affairs as a priority.

Alas, this failed to eventuate and despite possessing a powerful case to justify our actions and display our bona fides to the world at large, due to a combination of incompetence and failure to respond in a timely manner as issues arise, our cause continues to be ineffectively advocated.

This was exemplified by the appalling manner in which we mishandled the recent breakdown of negotiations with the Palestinians.

We had agreed to discussions without preconditions. It was the Palestinians who broke up the talks on the grounds that we rejected their outrageous demands to accede to another settlement freeze and recognize the 1967 armistice lines as the opening benchmark for negotiating borders. Yet Palestinian spokesmen succeeded in convincing the global media that it was due to our intransigence that the talks had collapsed.

Only several days later did an Israeli government spokesman belatedly explain that the Palestinians refused to even consider our security requirements, making it inconceivable for us to start drawing maps.

In the global battle to obtain public support, our government seems oblivious to the critical imperative of promoting our narrative in a timely and effective manner. In stark contrast, the Palestinians, repeatedly and systematically, articulate their distorted and false version, which alas, much of the world now blindly accepts.

Again and again the media recycles the false Palestinian narrative of our having indulged in ethnic cleansing in 1948 and were responsible for the “expulsion” of millions of displaced and suffering Palestinian refugees. We seem to have given up refuting these lies.

It is also only recently that we began drawing attention to the massive expulsion of Jews from Moslem countries and the appropriation of their property without any restitution that was cruelly orchestrated at the time of Israel’s establishment. And yet, in stark contrast to Arab refugees, they were fully integrated within Israeli society.

On the other hand, we frenziedly concentrate on justifying our "legitimacy" and “right to exist as a nation” to the point where it has become a counterproductive exercise.

During his June visit to Washington, Netanyahu adamantly conveyed to President Obama why ‘67 borders plus “agreed” swaps were a prescription for disaster. Yet we became silent when the Europeans and others subsequently pressed us to implement this formulation. Israeli spokesmen should be vigorously rejecting this demand, pointing out that it conflicts with 1967 UN Resolution 242 and conflicts with undertakings made to Israel by the former Bush Administration. Besides, the intransigent Palestinians have clearly stated that they would reject “swaps” enabling us to retain the major settlement blocs and Jewish Jerusalem, thus ensuring that the indefensible armistice lines of 1948 would de facto become the borders. If we fail to firmly repudiate these demands today, a possibly re-elected Obama will be encouraged to seek to impose these disastrous borders upon us in the future.

Likewise, we should be far more aggressive in urging the US and others to formally endorse our rejection of the Palestinian refugee “right of return” to Israel, on the grounds that implementation of such a procedure would effectively result in the demise of the Jewish State.

It is only recently that our Prime Minister has belatedly begun hammering the truth about the all-pervasive Palestinian culture of death and criminality and the barbaric indoctrination of children from kindergarten level sanctifying the murder of Jews. It is only now that we have begun stressing that this incitement to genocide emanates no less from the PA than Hamas, highlighting the charade of portraying any Palestinian leader as a genuine peace partner.

We must also actively refute the bizarre liberal Western and US efforts to depict the hate-filled Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a moderate group. Otherwise a future US administration will be more likely to seek to placate the new Islamic regimes by pressuring us to make further unilateral concessions to the Palestinians. We must explain that appeasing extremists not merely harms us but poses no less a threat to Western interests and will inevitably serve to embolden Jihadists to extort more in order to achieve their ultimate goal of global domination.

In this context, we should not overestimate the impact on us of the conflicts between the Sunnis and Shiites. Yes, the Saudis would be overjoyed if we intervened to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear status. But we should not overlook the fact that the one issue which continues to unite extremist Sunnis and Shiites is their ultimate objective of eliminating Jewish sovereignty in the region, even if genocidal means are required to achieve that goal.

Benjamin Netanyahu is blessed with an extraordinary gift of articulating the case for Israel. But unless he also ensures that the government employs competent people capable of expeditiously responding in the war of ideas, he must be held accountable for our failures in this area.

In the coming months we will be confronting grave diplomatic challenges with existential implications. Netanyahu must recognize that one of the highest priorities of his office is to provide effective liaison between the IDF, the Foreign Ministry and other divisions to ensure that Israel responds speedily and acts efficiently in the face of the ongoing defamatory campaigns being launched against us.

Only too often we remain the last cab off the rank when it comes to damage control. By the time we respond to Palestinian lies and subterfuge, it is invariably too late and the initial falsehoods which dominated the media cannot be undone.

Examples abound. One need only recall the Jenin “massacre”, the Muhammad Al- Dura libel, the Goldstone Report, the Mavi Marmara flotilla and the ongoing stream of false allegations in which our responses were always far too late and frequently ineffective.

We have a powerful even irrefutable case based on facts. But it must be communicated clearly and professionally. It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister’s Office to implement this and it is Netanyahu’s direct obligation to ensure that his office is manned by the best available staff. Until now, notwithstanding a number of talented individuals serving in the PMO, overall the information services remain an abysmal failure. The time is long overdue for the Prime Minister to intervene. If some of his current staff are incapable of fulfilling their obligations, he should replace them with personnel competent to do so.

This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post

Isi Leibler may be contacted at ileibler@netvision.net.il

Source: http://wordfromjerusalem.com/?p=3918

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

The Struggle for Civil Rights, 2012


by Frank Gaffney, Jr.

As we witness surging Muslim violence against non-Muslims in Afghanistan, Egypt and even here, the response seems increasingly that the victims must apologize to the perpetrators. In particular, the United States government – from President Obama on down – has been assiduously seeking forgiveness for giving offense to Islamic sensibilities by accidentally burning Qurans. This was felt necessary even in a case where the books had been defaced by captured Afghan jihadis as a means of encouraging their comrades to further acts of violence against us.

It seems that Christians are also widely considered to be at fault for having churches, Bibles and religious practices that offend the ascendant Islamists in Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. Certainly, no apologies are forthcoming when the Christians are murdered or forced to flee for their lives, their churches and sacred texts put to the torch, etc.

And in America last week, a Pennsylvania judge felt the need to dress down a man assaulted for parading in a Halloween costume he called “Zombie Mohammed.” Far from punishing the perpetrator, a Muslim immigrant, Judge Mark Martin sympathized with him for the offense caused, noting – seemingly without objection – that it was a capital crime to engage in such free expression in some countries.

Worse yet, the judge suggested that the victim in this case had exceeded the “boundaries” of his “First Amendment rights.” Such a view seems to track with the Obama administration’s collaboration with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in fashioning international accords that would prohibit “incitement” against Islam.

This is a short step from – and enroute to – the OIC’s larger goal of banning and criminalizing any expression that offends Muslims or their faith. As such, it poses a mortal peril to the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech.

What is going on in country after country, in international forums like the UN Human Rights Council and even in some American courts is a calculated effort, backed by terrifying violence or its threat, to make us “feel subdued,” as the Quran puts it. The idea is to use Western sensibilities and civil liberties, notably, respect for the free practice of religion, to deny the rest of us our fundamental freedoms. These include the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and, yes, freedom of religion.

The trouble is that when we accommodate such demands, it is seen by Islamist enemies of liberty as evidence of our inevitable submission. According to the doctrine of shariah, they must, under such circumstances, make a redoubled effort to achieve their ultimate triumph, including through the use of violence.

So, far from alleviating the threat posed by shariah’s adherents when we accommodate, apologize and appease, we are actually exacerbating it, at home as well as abroad.

In short, we find ourselves in what is, properly understood, the civil rights struggle of our time. Those who stand up for freedom against shariah are quite literally protecting the rights of women, children, people of faith, homosexuals and other minorities sure to be abused by its misogynistic, intolerant and domineering doctrine. That means protecting, as well, Muslim Americans who have come to this country to escape the long arm of shariah law. In due course, though, shariah’s repressive strictures would not simply be a threat to these communities. They would be a toxic blight upon all of us.

Ironically, today it is defenders of our freedoms who are being denounced as “racists,” “bigots” and “Islamophobes.” Such terms are, in truth, being used in much the same way and for precisely the same purpose as the Ku Klux Klan's members reviled an earlier generation of civil rights activists for loving Negroes: to defame, threaten and isolate their opponents. We cannot, and certainly must not, tolerate the Islamists’ intolerance.

Muslims are, of course, free to practice their faith in America like anyone else – provided they do so in a tolerant, peaceable and law-abiding way. What they are not entitled to do, in the name of religious practice, is subvert our Constitution, deny us our rights or engage in sedition without facing concerted opposition – if not prosecution.

Today, every bit as much as in the civil rights struggles of the past, there are those who are prepared to go along with what they know is wrong, in order to get along. Now, as then, the few who recognize that any such accommodation makes more certain the ultimate triumph of evil, may be vilified and even harmed. But now, as then, more and more Americans are emerging who see the danger posed by our time’s totalitarian threat – shariah – and who will do their part to secure freedom against it, both here and, as necessary for that purpose, elsewhere.

Frank Gaffney, Jr. is President of the Center for Security Policy (www.SecureFreedom.org), a columnist for the Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program, Secure Freedom Radio, heard in Washington weeknights at 9:00 p.m. on WRC 1260 AM.

Source: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/p18936.xml

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