Friday, August 3, 2012

Mordechai Kedar: Christians of the Middle East - Endangered Communities


by Mordechai Kedar

Read the article in the original עברית
Read the article in Italiano (translated by Yehudit Weisz, edited by Angelo Pezzana)


For hundreds of years, members of many religions lived side by side in the Middle East, usually with a spirit of mutual tolerance and acceptance of the Other. Muslims, Christians, Jews, Druze, Alawites, Zoroastrians, Sabais, Mandaeans, Ahmadis and Bahais minimized the differences between their groups and conducted themselves in the public domain in a reasonable way. Christians, who had connections to European culture were even the harbingers of modern Arab nationalism in the late 19th century, and they contributed greatly to the spread of modern ideologies in the area, principally Socialism, specifically the Ba'ath party, and liberalism. These modern European ideologies were to provide the residents of the Middle East with a modern substitute for the traditional religious, sectarian, ethnic and tribal identity, thereby creating a new egalitarian consciousness, upon which could be built a new, modern society where the members of all religions would be equal to each other, and a modern civil state such as those in Europe, where all of its residents would have equal rights and responsibilities.

The problem with these modern ideologies that were imported from the West is that they are contrary to the spirit of Islam which holds that "Islam is supreme and there is nothing above it", so Jews and Christians can live under its protection, but as dhimmis, with fewer rights than the Muslims. Modern states, mainly those which have undergone revolution in the past (Syria, Iraq, Egypt, South Yemen, Libya), have tried to create a system of law which treats Muslims and Christians equally, and in the process have angered the Islamic zealots, who kept a low profile in the past in order not to give the authoritarian power of the state an excuse to strike them with its iron fist.

Naturally, the egalitarian ideologies attracted the religious minorities, because this gave them the "certificate of kashrut" that allowed them to enter - as equals to the Muslims - into the circles of society, government, management, culture, education and livelihood. Christians became ministers of the government, mayors, ambassadors and managers, as well as officers in the Arab armies. The first minister of the treasury of the modern state of Iraq was a Jew, in Syria Alawites ran the state beginning in 1966, and Druze filled senior positions. During the second half of the twentieth century it seemed that the egalitarian national consciousness had permanently removed the traditional differences from the public consciousness.

However, in parallel, during the last twenty years, the idea of the modern Arab state has been losing its power, while social consciousness is being reinforced, such that the various sectors and their traditional leadership are increasingly the focus of public attention. Two main factors have contributed to this process: one is the discussion about human rights that has penetrated into the public consciousness, and one is the media, mainly the satellite TV channels, which focus on the individual: his difficulties, misery, desires and hopes. The focus of the public has changed from noble ideology to bitter reality, from the dictatorial state to social consciousness, which centers on human rights. The egalitarian ideologies decreased in importance after it became clear to the public that they are no more than hollow slogans that are intended to justify the existence of the dictatorship, which has failed to provide reasonable living conditions, a stable economy, personal security, work, education, welfare and health to a majority of its population.

The rout that the Arab states suffered at the hands of Israel, especially regarding the Six Day War (1967), contributed to the general feeling of disillusionment with Arab nationalism and with the failure to achieve the principal tasks that it had set for itself - to destroy the "Zionist Entity" and to achieve Arab unity. With the decline of the modern ideologies imported from Europe, the traditional, original, ideologies of the Middle East - tribalism and Islam - were restored to their prior importance, and with them the particularistic, separatist concepts, based on images, stereotypes and Islamic Shari'a. In keeping with these traditional trends, they sought where to place the blame for the terrible situation in the Middle East, and the tendency to see the different one, the Other, as guilty, immediately caused the Christians to be placed on the defendant's seat.

The "Christian West" is perceived by traditional Islam as responsible for all of the ills of the region: the establishment of the State of Israel, its arming and its reinforcement, are perceived as a "Western" project and therefore also as a "Christian plot" and "modern crusade". During the past twenty years, permissive ideas have increasingly permeated into Middle Eastern societies, mainly by means of satellite TV channels and the Internet, presenting a difficult challenge to the normative Islamic system, family values and accepted standards of modesty in the region. Traditional Islamic circles have placed responsibility for the moral deterioration within their societies on the "West", which is led by Christians. The war that the West conducted against Iraq under the command of the United States in 1991, the war that the West conducted against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan beginning in 2001 ("crusade", as President George Bush called it at first) and the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 all exacerbated the regional rage against the "Christian" West. The traditional support by the "Western Christians" of the smug billionaires from the Gulf countries flush with petrodollars, also arouses the envy of the indigent, unemployed, ignorant and sick Arab masses, and this jealousy is translated into rage directed toward the local Christians, who serve as the scapegoats.

Another reason for the hatred towards Christians is the great difference between the Western "Christian" states and the Islamic states: the West is thriving, flourishing, rich, developed, democratic, honors the rights of the individual and the citizen, even those of children and women, while the Middle Eastern societies lag behind, are poor, stagnant, dictatorial, violent and oppressive. These differences create envy within the peoples of the Middle East and this leads to hatred. This hatred is also directed toward the "Westerner", meaning the local Christian. It can be said in general that the worse and more complex these problems in any specific location in the Middle East have become, the worse the Christians there are treated by the surrounding Muslim environment.

In the days of the First World War, the Turkish Muslims slaughtered more than a million Armenian Christians because of the suspicion that they were cooperating with the Christian European super-powers against the Muslim Turkish Ottoman Empire, which was defeated in the war. The nations of the world did the Turks a favor when they ignored the religious component, because if the slaughter had been called a "massacre of Christians" as indeed was the case, modern Turkey would have carried the extremely problematic "mark of Cain" on its political forehead until today.

Since 2003, there have been a number of severe attacks in churches in Iraq when they were filled with people; other churches have been broken into and looted, Christian women were forced to wear a head covering in the public, Christian homes were broken into and robbed, and businesses of Christians suffered harassment. As of today, only about half of the Christians that were present in Iraq in 2003 remain there.

In Egypt, in recent years, there have been many terror attacks against the Copts as they emerged from their churches, and many of them were killed and wounded. Especially noteworthy is the car bomb that exploded next to the church in Alexandria on New Year's Eve of 2011, that caused the death of about forty people and wounded about two hundred. Egyptians who convert from Islam to Christianity are received among the Christians as heroes, but according to the law, which permits conversion from Christianity to Islam, but not the opposite, they have committed a transgression. Not one day passes without some violent act being reported against Copts in Egypt. As a result of this, the Copts emigrate from Egypt in great numbers; according to the estimate, between one quarter and one third of them have emigrated over the years.

In Sudan, the civil war that was conducted between the Islamic North and the Christian and pagan South (the longest-lasting civil war in the world), caused two million fatalities over more than fifty years. Salafis in Tunisia recently slaughtered a youth who converted to Christianity and recorded it on video. In Lebanon, the whole history of the state during its eighty years is that of an experiment to establish and maintain a state intended for the Maronite Christians, despite the fact that they were a minority and the Muslims were the majority. It is a story about how the Maronites strive to survive in a state ruled by the increasingly powerful Shi'ite Hizb'Allah, and how they cling to their historic dwelling place, Mount Lebanon, despite the temptation to emigrate to other states where life is more comfortable and serene. As a result of this never ending struggle for survival, between one quarter and one third of its Christian residents have emigrated from Lebanon over the years.

The situation in Syria in the past year and a half is threatening to the Christian minority in that state as well. The Christians traditionally took part in the government of Asad, because he promised them security, as he promised other minorities. Because they are identified with Asad, they are today targets for harassment, murder, rape, robbery and looting by the Muslim majority. The anarchy that reigns in some areas allows the Muslims to break into churches, businesses of Christians and their private houses, in order to plunder and murder. It is not known how many Christians have fled from Syria, but the estimate is that between one tenth and one fifth of those who resided there until a year and a half ago, no longer do.

In the Palestinian Authority - Gaza, Judea and Samaria - the Christians suffer from built-in discrimination: the Christian library in Gaza was destroyed by fire, pressure is put on the Christian youth to convert to Islam, Muslims have taken over the houses of the residents of the Christian city Beit Jalla, which is south of Jerusalem, in order to turn them into firing positions from where they can shoot into the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo. All of its residents have fled to South America. Muslim terrorists escaped from the hands of the IDF into the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and desecrated it while taking shelter there. Lands and houses, officially owned by Churches in Bethlehem area, were forcibly confiscated by the Muslims who live in that area. About one quarter of the Christians who lived in the area of the Palestinian Authority in the past have left it.

Since the "Arab Spring" broke out toward the end of 2010, it has become clear that the Arab project of nationalism has failed, and with it, the concept of the modern Arab state is descending into oblivion. Islam, which is increasing in strength, along with growing tribalism, casts a dark, threatening shadow over the Christians in the Middle East, who come to the only possible conclusion and flee in droves from the area. The Pope related to this problem lately and expressed great concern over it.

By the way, the only state in the Middle East where the number of Christians is not decreasing is the State of Israel. Can anyone explain this?

===============

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 Zahav.

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.

Reid Doubles Down on Hearsay Tax Charges Against Romney


by Rick Moran

This is indicative of the way politics is played today -- pedal to the metal, full tilt, guns blazing, and without remorse or apology.

Harry Reid said last week that somebody who invested at Bain Capital told him that Romney hadn't paid any income taxes for 10 years. No evidence whatsoever, just a hearsay accusation from someone he doesn't name. Ordinarily, that's the kind of thing the media would come down on a politician for. But WaPo gleefully printed it, and it was dutifully picked up by the rest of the MSM.

When given an opportunity to climb down from his ridiculous, unsubstantiated charge, Reid instead doubled down and stuck his foot in it even deeper.

Examiner:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that the burden of proof is on Mitt Romney to prove that he hasn't evaded paying his taxes, despite the legal principle that a person accused of a crime is "innocent until proven guilty."

Reid accused Romney of what amounts to tax fraud, but he doesn't think he [has] to provide evidence for the charge. "I don't think the burden should be on me," Reid told reporters on a conference call, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. "The burden should be on him. He's the one I've alleged has not paid any taxes. Why didn't he release his tax returns?"

The Nevada Democrat earned a law degree at George Washington University in 1964 - not so long ago that he should have forgotten that due process protections in the American legal system require the accuser to prove that the accused is guilty for a case to stand. Of course, Reid isn't filing a formal charge, so there is no impediment to him making such accusations.

"What if he has paid no taxes, like I am saying he hasn't," Reid told reporters, before mentioning Romney's offshore bank accounts. "I mean, gee whiz, rather than ask me why I should do this, that is a story you should be writing."

Reid claimed to have "several" sources who told him that Romney had avoided paying taxes for at least a decade. He wouldn't name any of those sources.

This isn't some back bench bomb thrower making this accusation. This is the highest ranking Democrat in Congress, and second highest ranking elected Democrat in the nation.

It used to be that members of one's own party would come down on someone making an absolutely spurious charge like this. But there is only silence from Obama and the Democrats are now in desperation mode with the economy continuing to tank and the election less than 100 days away.

Rick Moran

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/08/reid_doubles_down_on_hearsay_tax_charges_against_romney.html

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

Olympics and the International Community


by Bethany Mandel

From the moment the International Olympic Committee (IOC) turned down the request to commemorate the deaths of Israeli Olympians killed in Munich forty years ago the tone was set for how the games would portray the international community. The Olympics are meant to spotlight sportsmanship and patriotism, but have given the games and many of their participants black eyes on the world stage.

The anti-Semitism exhibited by the opponents of the Munich moment of silence weren’t the only instances we’ve seen so far. Members of the Lebanese judo team refused to practice next to Israelis. Commentators on Al-Jazeera derided Israel as the Israeli delegation entered the stadium during the Opening Ceremonies. The Palestinian Olympic chief applauded the IOC’s decision to forgo a moment of silence for the Munich 11. Israeli swimmers were left without a security detail at a training camp outside of London, even in the wake of the Burgas terror attack. The London Olympics’ website couldn’t quite understand where the city of Jerusalem lies, first awarding it to “Palestine” as its capital, leaving Israel without a seat of power. The list of offenses against the Jewish state unfortunately goes on, and equally unfortunate, given how much time is left in the Olympics, there will no doubt be more to follow.

The embarrassments don’t end there, however. Stories about the cruelty of the Chinese government in their pursuit of gold have circulated the internet along with heartbreaking photos of crying children, removed from their families and forced into grueling training. CNN published an opinion piece today about the story behind the Saudi women’s Olympic squad, showcasing the backwards cultural impediments to female athletes in the Middle Eastern nation. Stories have emerged about doping, thrown badminton games, fencing controversies and unfair judging for gymnastics competitions as well.

Can someone please remind me: What’s the point of the Olympics? What was once billed as a rare opportunity to put ethnic controversies and rivalries aside for the sake of “the game” has warped into exactly what the “international community” has become: a body of nations plagued by mainstream anti-Semitism, led by totalitarians, perpetuating everything they claim to be working to combat.

Bethany Mandel

Source: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/08/02/olympics-and-the-international-community/

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

Romney Lays It Out: Progress and Success Versus Name-Calling And Bragging About Being Victims


by Barry Rubin

There are some broad and important political issues raised by a minor flap concerning presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel. To look at these questions in a detached and honest way can tell us a lot about the future of the world and of U.S. policy.

The controversy began when Romney said at a meeting with donors:

As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality.

Romney said the economic history of the world has shown that “culture makes all the difference.”

Palestinian leaders complained, saying that this showed Romney was racist and out of touch with the realities of the Middle East. Actually, their reaction showed that they are counterproductive leaders who are out of touch with the realities of the Middle East and human history.

The basis of the complaint is two-fold:

First, is a reference to culture in some way “racist” and why is Israel so far ahead of the Palestinians?

Racism refers to a belief that some people are inherently and biologically inferior. Consequently, nothing that they do can alter their inevitable backwardness.

This has nothing to do with culture, which is an alterable state of being. Indeed, racism has been disproven precisely because of the abilities of society to change their culture. Once, the Britons were a bunch of barbarian tribes who endlessly warred on each other and painted themselves blue. They have progressed considerably since then. (Joke: And yes, I have been at British football/soccer games and still believe it.)

Countries like China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Singapore — to restrict oneself to Asia alone — have dramatically developed in the last half-century. They kept many aspects of their culture and society while altering others. In America, the descendants of slaves brought unwillingly from Africa have proven able to accomplish a full range of technological, cultural, professional, and other things.

So it is never racist to state the reality that some societies at any given time are in advance of others; you are only racist if you say that this can never change. In other words, if Arabs decided to do certain things, they could be just as prosperous and developed as Israel, or America, or anyone else.

Unfortunately, though, and with some exceptions — particularly in the smaller Persian Gulf oil-rich sheikdoms — Arab polities and societies are changing in the wrong way. Both Romney and President Barack Obama have spoken of being on the “right side of history,” but the phrase would better be on the “right direction of history.”

But since Palestinian Authority leaders want to discuss culture, here’s one out of thousands of examples. Recently, at a cultural performance whose audience included the PA minister of culture, the songs and poetry spoke of how the main priority of raising children is to make sure they were ready to use guns — not computers — against you-know-who. And Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, holds summer camps where thousands of young people are encouraged to grow up to be suicide bombers and terrorists.

By heading toward Islamism, increased ethnic strife, and Sunni-Shia conflict, most of the Arab polities are either going backwards in time or being threatened by neighbors who are doing so. This ensures that the gap will not only remain, but become larger. Arab and Iranian liberal dissidents have the right ideas but are losing the battle.

Now here’s the problem: If Palestinians deny that there’s a problem, they cannot resolve the problem. Failure to acknowledge that there is a real difference is disastrous for the Palestinians. Insisting on the very ideas responsible for that difference is catastrophic.

When Romney refers to “culture,” he’s not referring to literature and music but to what is usually called “political culture.” And Romney uses the precise same criteria when he’s talking about America. Democracy, individual liberty, free enterprise, and the rule of law are among the ingredients necessary for success of any society.

Ironically, Romney actually understated the economic differences. In 2011, Israel’s per capita gross domestic product was about $31,000, while that of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was just over $1,500. If he was being so nasty, why did he underestimate the Israeli figure by 33 percent and overestimate the Palestinian number by about 700 percent?! What would they have said if he had given the real numbers?

Now, one way of explaining this gap is to talk about the sources of economic progress. What’s the alternative? For the Palestinians, as in the American debate, the answer is: victimization. And being part of the “victimization” side, the Associated Press agrees with the Palestinians, claiming that Romney’s:

Comparison of the two economies did not take into account the stifling effect the Israeli occupation has had on the Palestinian economy in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem—areas Israel captured in 1967 where the Palestinians hope to establish a state.

In the West Bank, Palestinians have only limited self-rule. Israel controls all border crossings in and out of the territory, and continues to restrict Palestinian trade and movement. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in 1967, but has invested much less heavily there than in Jewish west Jerusalem.

And although Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, it continues to control access and has enforced a crippling border blockade since the Islamic militant Hamas seized the territory in 2007.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund repeatedly have said that the Palestinian economy can only grow if Israel lifts those restrictions.

I have quoted this at length so that when I say that this is utterly lies and rubbish you will have heard both sides. Note, however, that the AP did not present the other side.

The fact is that in economic terms the West Bank and Gaza Strip did well in the years of occupation, as can be statistically documented, except during periods of high-level, Palestinian-initiated violence. Especially egregious is that the AP highlights a blockade on the Gaza Strip without explaining why that happened. How can Hamas be a victim if you are the perpetrator of the problem by continuous rocket, mortar, and cross-border attacks against Israel?

In addition, by turning to violence instead of negotiating — remember the Palestinians could have negotiated a two-state solution as early as the late 1970s after Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat’s initiative — they damaged their own situation. Repeated intifadas, terrorism, corruption, and the Hamas-Fatah war, plus Hamas’s attacks on Israel, have a lot more to do with economic damage than anything Israel has done. Why were there once tens of thousands of Palestinians earning good money by working in Israel daily, and now only a handful? Racial discrimination or the fact that some used the opportunity to commit terrorist violence?

Far from being victims, the Palestinians have been coddled by the international community for more than two decades. The Palestinian Authority has not been held responsible for corruption and squandering money, behavior that had no effect on the flow of proportionally huge cash payments. Nor has it been punished politically for its incitement and intransigence. And it refuses to resettle people from refugee camps into regular housing. Only Palestinians in all the world receive refugee status and UN welfare payments over many generations.

While Israeli economic pressure has played a role, Israel has also transferred millions of dollars of customs and other payments to the PA while always opposing cut-offs in international aid because that might destabilize the Palestinian regime and lead to even more violence. Moreover, World Bank and International Monetary Fund reports have repeatedly said that such pressures were a relatively secondary factor in comparison to the internal flaws of the Palestinian governments and economy. In other words, the Associated Press has dishonestly misrepresented the contents of the reports.

And finally there is one simple, decisive argument. Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, for example, have not been under Israeli occupation. So why haven’t they flourished?

Whining eternally that you are a victim and putting your priority on getting sympathy and hand-outs get in the way of doing what’s necessary to start being successful. Those Third World peoples and countries who have learned these lessons have done well; those who haven’t done so have become basket cases.

The bottom line is this: Romney is bringing us back to the proper argument on the causes of economic development and stagnation. Indeed, his standpoint is the same as post-colonial liberal development theory in the era before radicals, drawing on Lenin and Marxist ideology, redefined it by blaming everything on some endless imperialism.

Romney’s points also apply to America as well as to the Middle East. The main problem is not Israel, or capitalism, or a racial group meanly oppressing someone else, but on bad and undemocratic governance along with demagogic leaders encouraging their followers to adopt behavior not conducive with progress and prosperity.

And what can we say of the Western intellectuals, “experts,” journalists, and politicians who encourage the Third World and many other groups to continue going down the road of poverty, hatred, violence, and instability?

Note: A large number of mainstream media outlets and columnists have attacked Romney for his statement mainly, echoing the AP story, because he didn’t talk about the negative effects of Israeli policy on the Palestinian economy. Because, you see, nobody can be successful and prosperous unless they stole it from others.

To my knowledge not a single one pointed out: 1. Statistics showing major advances during the period of Israeli occupation; 2. Palestinian violence has been the main cause of Israeli roadblocks and interventions; 3. A comparison to non-oil rich Arab countries showing that the Palestinian Authority has not done at all badly in comparison to those where Israel had no effect; 4. The massive corruption and incompetence of the PA; 5. The massive inflow of international aid to the Palestinians; and 6. The large transfer of funds (as provided in the Oslo agreement but PA behavior did not make Israel violate the agreement) from Israel to the PA regarding refunds on customs duties and workers’ fringe benefits. This is how shameless the coverage is on these issues. It’s funny to think that only a couple of months ago, the same media outlets were talking about a big economic boom on the West Bank.

This article was also published in PJ Media.

Barry Rubin

Source: http://www.gloria-center.org/2012/08/romney-lays-it-out-progress-and-success-versus-name-calling-and-bragging-about-being-victims/

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

Obama's Body Count


by Michael Widlanski

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton feel that Osama bin Laden's death and the drone attacks show that they have mastered national security and foreign policy. They are wrong.

Counting bodies and sorties proves little. As Einstein said, "[n]ot everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."

President Obama's term in office has left entire regions where U.S. influence has waned and U.S. interests have been defeated. Thousands protested in the Islamic world, seeking "Hope and Change," but found that it was only a cynical slogan. Millions now wonder: does America remember what it means to be "the leader of the free world"?

Obama sent an ambassador to Syria -- over Congress's express objection. Bashar Assad began slaughtering 20,000 of his people. Obama did nothing about the bloody repression in Iran, but he did help oust a far less despotic regime in Egypt, ushering in the Muslim Brotherhood -- the organization that spawned Hamas and al-Qaeda. Now Obama-Clinton pretend that the Muslim Brothers are moderates.

Secretary Clinton is often struck dumb by Arab-Islamic extremism. In 1999, she hugged Suha Arafat, wife of the PLO leader. Arafat said (in Clinton's presence) that Israel used poison gas on Arabs and poisoned their wells. Clinton was silent. Clinton, who hugged Arafat, now embraces Obama's bashing of Israel.

When an Israeli judge found that Israelis have a right to build on land bought in the West Bank, the State Department said all Israeli settlements were "illegitimate" -- a term Obama likes.

Clinton kept quiet when Egypt's Islamist foreign minister declared, in a joint press conference, that keeping the peace treaty with Israel was contingent on Israel getting out of the West Bank entirely. Clinton acquiesced when Islamist Turkey banned Israel from taking part in NATO exercises and top counter-terror forums.

Turkey helps Hamas. Israel is the world's greatest foe of terror. Clinton helps Turkey.

Clinton's sad performance is not limited to the Mid-East. She led a "reset" in ties with Russia that is now a fiasco. She unveiled a huge button ostensibly labeled "reset" in Russian but actually reading "overcharge" -- an apt depiction of the failure of U.S.-Russian ties and the Obama-Clinton foreign policy in general.

There was no reset. Russia's leaders returned to brutal autocracy, invading Georgia, threatening Ukraine and Poland, assassinating political foes, and opposing the U.S. wherever possible. But Obama-Clinton think they can charm Russia into moderation.

Obama put his arm around Dmitri Medvedev -- the puppet of Russian chief Vladimir Putin -- and confided that, after the inconvenient U.S. elections, he (Obama) would be "flexible" about Russian demands.

Obama's first major foreign venture was to Islamist Turkey, whose leader, Recep Erdoğan, dreams of leading a caliphate (like Egypt's leader Muhammad Morsi). Obama thinks Turkey's Erdoğan is a "moderate" and might mediate between the U.S. and Iran. For America's most pro-Islam president ever, this makes sense. Both Erdoğan and the ayatollahs share the dream of leading a new Islamic caliphate.

This is but a small sample of Obama-Clinton foreign policy failures. The list of successes has only bin Laden on it, and Obama should paraphrase what he just said about success: "you didn't do that by yourself" and "somebody helped you."

Obama's biggest terror test is yet to come: dealing with a terror state that wants to be a nuclear power -- Iran. During this testing period, Obama will listen to his "inner voice," his closest advisor, Valerie Jarrett, who speaks Farsi and was born in Iran.

Jarrett has also been Obama's emissary to U.S. Muslims, many of them rich Iranian donors. The day after the Iranian-aided terror attack on Israelis in Bulgaria, the White House hosted a day-long conclave with Iranian-Americans, including the leader of the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), who said Israel invited the terror attack in order to have an excuse to attack Iran. Ms. Jarrett was featured at the event.

Later, perhaps coincidentally, The New York Times reported that a senior Obama official said the Iranian terror attack was "in retaliation for the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, for which Iran has blamed Israeli agents." The Times report again quoted the senior Obama official saying, "This was tit for tat."

In other words, the day after an Iranian terror attack, the White House hosted pro-Iranian groups, and a senior U.S. official adopted the Iranian narrative: "tit for tat."

As President Obama wonders what to do or -- more likely -- not to do about Iran, it is good that he has both the ear and the inner voice of Iran. As they say in Farsi, "o-ba-mah": "He is with us."

Dr. Michael Widlanski, an expert on Arab politics and communications, is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat, published by Threshold/Simon and Schuster. He was strategic affairs advisor in Israel's Ministry of Public Security and teaches at Bar Ilan University.

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/08/obamas_body_count.html

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

Valerie Jarrett’s Bin Laden Raid Veto


by Matthew Vadum




Although taking out Public Enemy Number One would seem to be the easiest of calls, President Obama allowed key public relations adviser Valerie Jarrett to nix the military operation to kill arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden on three separate occasions last year, according to an upcoming book.

Although President Obama’s reelection team is loudly trumpeting the dispatch of bin Laden in May 2011, saying it shows Obama’s decisiveness, author Richard Miniter suggests in Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him, that the president was anything but decisive.

Apparently Obama had to be dragged kicking and screaming into action against bin Laden. Miniter’s evidence suggests the president took a long time to steel his resolve, hemming and hawing over the life-and-death decision, putting it off repeatedly over a four-month period.

Miniter says Obama bowed to the wishes of his close friend Jarrett, a slick, well-connected political hack from Chicago whose White House title is Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. Obama has confirmed how much pull Jarrett has with him. “I trust her completely … She is family,” he said in 2009. Obama said he trusts Jarrett “to speak for me, particularly when we’re dealing with delicate issues.” Obama has acknowledged that he runs every decision by her.

The military excursion that targeted bin Laden was first scratched in January 2011, then in February, and again in March, according to a summary of the book in the Daily Caller. Each time Jarrett convinced Obama to abort the planned raid, Miniter says, citing an unidentified source within the Joint Special Operations Command. Of course this raises the question of who is actually running America’s Overseas Contingency Operations, i.e. the Obama’s administration politically correct euphemism for the Global War on Terror.

Even on the day before the mission was ultimately carried out, Obama reportedly vacillated. The White House said the mission was temporarily delayed because of inclement weather in the area of bin Laden’s hideaway in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Miniter disputes the bad weather excuse. He says he examined the day’s weather reports from the U.S. Air Force Combat Meteorological Center and that they depicted picture-perfect conditions for the raid.

Miniter, a two-time New York Times bestselling author, has not yet explained to the media why Jarrett pushed for three separate stays of extrajudicial execution. Americans will have to wait until the book, published by St. Martin’s Press, is officially released on August 21 in order to find out.

Those who study American leftists know their ambivalence toward their country’s use of military power, even for indisputably worthwhile objectives.

One need only look at Obama’s schizophrenic attitude about the military’s use of force against bin Laden.

Last year after the raid, Obama inexplicably vowed not to gloat about sending bin Laden to his maker. This was an unusual promise for any politician to make. When asked why he refused to allow publication of photos showing the secret mission to Abbottabad, the president said, “We don’t need to spike the football.”

Fair enough perhaps. Maybe Obama thought he was being statesmanlike.

But that wasn’t the end of the matter. It wasn’t long before Obama began spiking the football up and down the end zones of the body politic, bragging to anyone who would listen about what in the opinion of many left-wingers and libertarians was a blatant example of an extra-judicial execution, the kind of thing they believe the U.S. government shouldn’t do.

Anyone who watched the stiff and robotic presidential candidate John Kerry on television saluting perfunctorily and saying he was “reporting for duty” at the Democratic Party’s 2004 national convention knows what I mean. Liberals’ hearts aren’t into it.

So-called progressives generally don’t care a whole heck of a lot about defending America; they would prefer to blow the nation’s defense budget on welfare. Leftists would rather send soldiers abroad as armed social workers bearing care packages instead of as warriors defending America’s freedoms.

And there’s no doubt that Jarrett, who seemed to function as de facto Secretary of Defense last year, is, like Obama, a hardcore leftist with radical roots.

Like Obama and Bill Ayers, Jarrett lived within the precincts of Hyde Park, Chicago, the home of many elite leftists. She worked for Chicago’s first black mayor, the radical Harold Washington, whose election was cheered by leftover 1960s radicals. After Washington died in 1987, she worked for the new mayor Richard Daley. Jarrett later landed a job at Habitat, which was headed by Daniel Levin, cousin of two left-wing politicians, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Congressman Sander Levin (D-Mich.).

In 1983 she was married to Dr. William Robert Jarrett, son of the Chicago Sun-Times columnist Vernon Jarrett. Her father-in-law wrote upbeat articles about communist members of the artistic community including Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, and W.E.B. DuBois. He also served on a union publicity committee alongside Frank Marshall Davis, an important early influence on the young Barack Obama. And as Paul Kengor notes in his new book, The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, the Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor, Vernon Jarrett was also a member of the Illinois Council of American Youth for Democracy, the youth wing of the Communist Party USA.

Jarrett is obsessed with racial issues. She has helped to promote Al Sharpton’s radical agenda, according to Obama administration staffers. She pushed Obama’s campaign staff in 2008 to be more aggressive on racial matters, telling them they needed to be less “gun-shy on race issues.” After that, according to a campaign source, moving forward Obama “made it very clear to us that we were just a bunch of white people who didn’t get it.”

Once ensconced in the Obama White House, Jarrett successfully lobbied to weaken rules preventing officials from meeting with lobbyists. The reason given for the flip-flop on lobbyist meetings was that the rule would prevent other “legitimate” issues raised by “civil rights organizations whose directors happen to be registered lobbyists – [from being] heard.” Of course, to Jarrett so-called civil rights organizations are groups like ACORN, Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and the radical Service Employees International Union.

Jarrett pressed Obama to create the office of Chief Diversity Officer within the Federal Communications Commission. The post came to be occupied by Hugo Chavez admirer Mark Lloyd, a Saul Alinsky adherent and former senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who wants to put conservative talk radio out of business.

Jarrett also helped bring in law professor Cass Sunstein as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration. The fey legal theorist has said Americans should “celebrate tax day,” and that animals ought to be allowed to sue people.

Without Jarrett’s advocacy, it seems unlikely that the self-described “communist” revolutionary Van Jones would have become green jobs czar in the Obama White House in 2009. At a leftist confab Jarrett got positively goofy about Jones.

“We were so delighted to be able to recruit him into the White House,” Jarrett said. “We were watching him…for as long as he’s been active out in Oakland. And all the creative ideas he has. And so now, we have captured that, and we have all that energy in the White House.”

What exactly was Jones doing out in Oakland, California?

He was leading a Maoist group called Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM). The vehemently anti-American collective held a vigil in Oakland mourning the victims of U.S. imperialism around the world on the night after Sept. 11, 2001.

That’s what Jarrett, now arguably the most powerful woman in the world, holds in high regard.

Imagine what she’ll help Obama do to America if he wins a second term.

Matthew Vadum

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/matthew-vadum/valerie-jarretts-bin-laden-raid-veto/

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

Caroline Glick: Israel on the Eve of U.S. Elections


by Mark Tapson

Monday night I attended an insightful presentation entitled “Israel on the Eve of the U.S. Elections,” given by Caroline Glick for the Los Angeles-based organization Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.

Glick is the adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy in Washington D.C., and recently was appointed as the Director for the Israel Security Project at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The author of Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad, she served as Assistant Foreign Policy Advisor to Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu in 1997-98, and regularly briefs administration officials and Congress on issues of joint American-Israeli concern.

Glick began her presentation with her perspective on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recent visit to Jerusalem. It was very, very well-received, she said; in fact, he was “a breath of fresh air” – not because he made a candidate’s usual extravagant promises of support for Israel, but because “he lives in the real world,” where we acknowledge that the Middle East is extremely dangerous and the radiant “Arab Spring” is actually a much bleaker Islamic Winter.

Romney’s reassuring statements in Israel, such as his assertion that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state, were in stark contrast to those of the Obama administration for the last three and a half years, Glick said. Obama has shown that he believes that the way to mollify the Muslim world is to put distance between the United States and Israel, deny that Jerusalem is the capital, take the Palestinians’ side in various issues, use the media to deter Israel from attacking Iran, and cozy up to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Romney endeared himself to the Israelis simply because he acknowledged basic truths about Israel and the Middle East: “The irony of the topsy-turvy times in which we live is that stating the obvious – such as the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel – is enough to get you a standing ovation.”

By contrast, in Obama’s “fantasy world,” the reason jihad is rampant is that the United States has treated the Arab world poorly,

and if the United States turns on its allies and even on its own interests, and apologizes to its worst enemy, which is what [Obama] did on June 4, 2009 in his speech in Cairo, then somehow or another things are going to get better – that is, by being bad to yourself, by weakening your allies and empowering your worst enemy, you’re going to turn your enemy into your friend.

Glick pointed out that the Obama administration brought down the Mubarak regime in Egypt, our certainly imperfect but most important ally in the region, and one which had kept the peace for 30 years with Israel. Now the Muslim Brotherhood is in control. “What we have today in Egypt is a sea change on the magnitude of the Communist Revolution in China,” said Glick. After China turned Red, she said, “America was obsessed with the question, ‘Who lost China?’ Today, there’s no question that America lost Egypt, but our government doesn’t seem to realize the problem with that.”

After commenting on unsettling developments regarding the Egyptian military, Glick turned to the issue of Iran. The Obama administration has focused not on preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but on preventing Israel from acting military to stop Iran’s openly genocidal nuclear program. Sanctions have not diminished Iran’s ability one iota, largely because 20 countries have been exempted by the Obama administration from participating in the sanctions. So Iran simply continues on its apocalyptic path unabated.

“We’re living in a very disturbing world,” Glick pointed out, “and unfortunately that world is being led down the garden path by an American government that is insisting on preventing people from seeing reality.” The Obama administration has purged the government vocabulary, for example, of “all the terms required to describe the reality” of our conflict with Islamic fundamentalism: “jihad,” “Islamic terrorism,” etc.

She condemned “J Street,” the Jewish lobby, for proclaiming politicians who don’t support a two-state solution to be “anti-Israel.” The two-state solution, Glick says, is “nothing but a recipe for war,” and this time, “the scale of war will be on a much greater dimension than in the past.” We have to look at other options for peace.

When asked about the threat from Turkey, Glick said it’s a very dangerous country partly because it’s a member of NATO and has the power to influence that body to move away from protecting Israel. This is something NATO never contemplated having to contend with – a scenario in which a NATO member is actually a potential enemy. Turkey also influenced the United States not to include Israel in a recent international counterterrorism conference. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan is “a Jew-hater” and “America-hater,” and yet Obama openly describes him as one of the world leaders whom he confides in most often and whose friendship he cherishes:

This is a disturbing thing because under Erdogan, the Turkish media, which has become a surrogate for the government, and the Turkish entertainment industry have become virulently anti-American, virulently anti-Israel, virulently anti-Semitic. Nobody likes to talk about these things, but this is a country that has put out popular television series, bestselling books, movies where Americans and Israeli Jews are portrayed as… just diabolical monsters. And nobody in the Obama administration seems to think that this should impact the way that America looks at the Turkish government.

It’s very important to realize, Glick closed by saying, that Israel is “privileged that we have the ability to take up arms to defend ourselves. After five hundred generations in which Jews did not have the ability to defend ourselves, we are living in a time when we do.”

Mark Tapson

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/mark-tapson/caroline-glick-israel-on-the-eve-of-u-s-elections/

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

Obama’s Signature Move: Unsealing Private Records


by Ann Coulter

Mitt Romney presents one enormous problem for Barack Obama’s campaign: No divorce records. That’s why the media are so hot to get their hands on Romney’s tax records for the past 25 years. They need something to “pick through, distort and lie about” — as the Republican candidate says.

Obama’s usual campaign method, used in 100 percent of his races, has been to pry into the private records of his opponents.

Democrats aren’t going to find any personal dirt on the clean-cut Mormon, so they need complicated tax filings going back decades in order to create the illusion of scandal out of boring financial records.

Romney has already released his 2010 tax return and is about to release his 2011 return. After all the huffing and puffing by the media demanding those returns, the follow-up story vanished remarkably quickly when the only thing the return showed was that Romney pays millions of dollars in taxes and gives a lot of money to charity.

Let’s take a romp down memory lane and review the typical Obama campaign strategy. Obama became a U.S. senator only by virtue of David Axelrod’s former employer, the Chicago Tribune, ripping open the sealed divorce records of Obama’s two principal opponents.

One month before the 2004 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, Obama was down in the polls, about to lose to Blair Hull, a multimillionaire securities trader. But then the Chicago Tribune leaked the claim that Hull’s second ex-wife, Brenda Sexton, had sought an order of protection against him during their 1998 divorce proceedings.

Those records were under seal, but as The New York Times noted: “The Tribune reporter who wrote the original piece later acknowledged in print that the Obama camp had ‘worked aggressively behind the scenes’ to push the story.” Many people said Axelrod had “an even more significant role — that he leaked the initial story.”

Both Hull and his ex-wife opposed releasing their sealed divorce records, but they finally relented in response to the media’s hysteria — 18 days before the primary. Hull was forced to spend four minutes of a debate detailing the abuse allegation in his divorce papers, explaining that his ex-wife “kicked me in the leg and I hit her shin to try to get her to not continue to kick me.”

After having held a substantial lead just a month before the primary, Hull’s campaign collapsed with the chatter about his divorce. Obama sailed to the front of the pack and won the primary. Hull finished third with 10 percent of the vote.

As luck would have it, Obama’s opponent in the general election had also been divorced! Jack Ryan was tall, handsome, Catholic — and shared a name with one of Harrison Ford’s most popular onscreen characters! He went to Dartmouth, Harvard Law and Harvard Business School, made hundreds of millions of dollars as a partner at Goldman Sachs, and then, in his early 40s, left investment banking to teach at an inner city school on the South Side of Chicago.

Ryan would have walloped Obama in the Senate race. But at the request of — again — the Chicago Tribune, California Judge Robert Schnider unsealed the custody papers in Ryan’s divorce five years earlier from Hollywood starlet Jeri Lynn Ryan, the bombshell Borg on “Star Trek: Voyager.”

Jack Ryan had released his tax records. He had released his divorce records. But both he and his ex-wife sought to keep the custody records under seal to protect their son.

Amid the 400 pages of filings from the custody case, Jack Ryan claimed that his wife had had an affair, and she counterclaimed with the allegation that he had taken her to “sex clubs” in Paris, New York and New Orleans, which drove her to fall in love with another man.

(Republicans: If you plan a career in public office, please avoid marrying a wacko.)

Ryan had vehemently denied her allegations at the time, but it didn’t matter. The sex club allegations aired on “Entertainment Tonight,” “NBC Nightly News,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” and NBC’s “Today” show. CNN covered the story like it was the first moon landing.

(Interestingly, international papers also were ablaze with the story — the same newspapers that were supposed to be so bored with American sexual mores during Bill Clinton’s sex scandal.)

Four days after Judge Schnider unsealed the custody records, Ryan dropped out of the race for the horror of (allegedly) propositioning his own wife and then taking “no” for an answer.

Alan Keyes stepped in as a last-minute Republican candidate.

And that’s how Obama became a U.S. senator. He destroyed both his Democratic primary opponent and his Republican general election opponent with salacious allegations about their personal lives taken from “sealed” court records.

Obama’s team delved into Sarah Palin’s marriage and spread rumors of John McCain’s alleged affair in 2008 and they smeared Herman Cain in 2011 with hazy sexual harassment allegations all emanating from David Axelrod’s pals in Chicago.

It’s almost like a serial killer’s signature. Unsealed personal records have been released to the press. Obama must be running for office!

So you can see what a pickle the Obama campaign is in having to run against a Dudley Do-Right, non-drinking, non-smoking, God-fearing, happily married Mormon.

They’ve got to get their hands on thousands of pages of Romney’s tax filings so that the media can — as Romney says — lie about them. It will be interesting to see if Obama can pick the lock of the famously guarded IRS.

Ann Coulter

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/ann-coulter/obamas-signature-move-unsealing-private-records/

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

The Spring of Islamic Fundamentalism


by Georgy Gounev

To what extent should an Islamic leader be trusted when he proclaims his intention to act in keeping with all the requirements of a democratic political system and to respect the principles of religious and political freedom?

The ability of the American media to ignore a "politically incorrect" event, regardless of its importance, is familiar. One of the best examples is the invitation issued by President Obama to the President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, to pay an official visit to the United States during the September session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The most frequently asked question in the immediate aftermath of the presidential elections in Egypt is: To what extent should an Islamic leader be trusted when he proclaims his intention to act in keeping with all the requirements of a democratic political system? Also, how much should an Islamic leader be trusted when he promises to respect the principles of religious and political freedom?

What, for instance, is the value of the following statement: "Islamic clerics will help lead the Revolution but then they step aside to let others rule"? Or: "Criticism of the Islamic Government will be tolerated."?

Oops..! Sorry for the mistake! Those were not the words of the newly elected President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi. These encouraging thoughts were expressed by Ayatollah Khomeini on September 25, 1978, just four months before his triumphant return to Teheran.

What Khomeini then did is well known; there is no need to repeat it here. On August 18, 1979, however -- less than a year after his pro-democracy statements -- the thoughts of the powerful dictator of Iran had acquired a different direction. When he addressed the participants in the demonstrations of some disappointed former young supporters, the angry cleric issued the following warning: "I repeat for the last time: "Abstain from holding meetings, from blaspheming, from public protests. Otherwise I will break your teeth."

On February 2, 2011, The American Thinker published an article by this author, exploring the similarities and differences between developments in Egypt and Iran. While the mainstream media was elated by what seemed a sunrise of democracy over the Nile, the article stated: "[T]he demonstrations shaking Tehran at the time and Cairo now have a clearly visible violent and Islamic component." It also emphasized the prominent role the actions of President Obama's administration were about to play in shaping the future political system of the most important Arab country.

As President-Elect, Mohammed Morsi promised to establish a "civil and democratic state in Egypt." He also said he would appoint as Vice Presidents both a woman and a Christian, and assured Egyptian journalists that there would be no Islamization of the cultural life of the country. Morsi added, however, that those journalists who had published articles supporting the peace treaty with Israel would not be allowed to practice their profession.

If one again compares the Egyptian developments with the Iranian precedents, Mohamed Morsi currently is using Khomeini's vocabulary from September of 1978. The question is: What kind of statement will he make if he reaches the degree of power Khomeini was enjoying in August of 1979?

Secretary of State Clinton proudly declared in Cairo that the United States did not have any preferences regarding the participants in the Egyptian elections. Although her announcement followed a well-established pattern of political correctness, at the same time it reflected the completely wrong strategy of the Obama administration. That policy is based on the absurd premise that by exposing Islamic Fundamentalism as the main enemy of democracy and Western civilization, American policymakers are endangering the United States more than are the actions of the Jihadists. It was this "strategy" that contributed immensely to the electoral victory of the Muslim Brotherhood. Twenty-Five million out of eighty million Egyptians preferred not to vote at all; the rest of the votes were almost split between Mohamed Morsi and his main rival – General Ahmed Shafik, a close associate of former President Hosni Mubarak.

American diplomacy had a better path to follow. A definite assurance should have been given to the effect that the United States would respect the choice of the Egyptian people. At the same time, if the new Government tried to change Egypt's political system by imposing an ideology, that discriminated against women and minorities, and that violated its peace treaty with Israel, it should not expect any support from the United States.

One of the many questions Secretary Clinton could have asked President-Elect Morsi was: "If the Brotherhood has so tightly embraced the ideals of political democracy, how is it possible that such a crucial change did not in any way affect the ideology of the organization?"

No one will be surprised that Mohamed Morsi failed to mention to Ms. Clinton that the most essential part of his fiery speech delivered in front of an enthusiastic crowd on May13, 2012 was the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood: "The Koran is our constitution. The Prophet Muhammad is our leader. Jihad is our path. And death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration."

Wouldn't it be logical to expect that before issuing an invitation to Morsi to visit him at the White House, President Obama would ask his future guest how, if he believes that the country must be subjected to Islamic Law, he intends to defend the secular constitution of Egypt?

If Jihad is the path Morsi wants to follow, then how can President Obama treat him as his guest? It is understandable: Once he contributed to Morsi's ascension to power, the President has to deal with him on the issues of international politics. This fact does not mean, however, that Mr. Obama should lay down a red carpet for him. A White House reception for Morsi will represent a huge boost to -- and an endorsement of -- the "gathering storm" of Islamic Fundamentalism. Weren't the Jihadists the ones who murdered thousands of Americans, and have openly stated that one of their most important goals has always been to destroy the American political system?

If the occupant of the White House after November 2012 does not know how to say the words 'Islamic Fundamentalism', America will face tough times ahead not only abroad, but at home as well.

Georgy Gounev, PhD, teaches 'The Ideology and Strategy of Radical Islam' and is the author of the book "The Dark Side of the Crescent Moon. The Islamization of Europe and its Impact on the American-Russian Relations," Foreign Policy Challenges LLC, Laguna Hills, 2011.

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3240/spring-islamic-fundamentalism

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

France's "Enemies of the People"


by Guy Millière

In France today, Muslim anti-Semitism is spreading. But as it is now Muslim and not coming from the "far right," those who claim to fight anti-Semitism refuse to see it as anti-Semitic. How individuals become anti-Semitic criminals is explainable: When groups of human beings are defined as "enemies of the people," their elimination becomes logical.

Seventy years ago, on July 17, 1942, the Velodrome d'hiver Roundup took place in Paris. It was the greatest mass arrest of Jews ever carried out on French soil, and one of the main mass-arrests of Jews in Europe during World War II .

It took fifty-one years before a commemoration was held in memory of this crime. And it took two more years for a President of the Republic, Jacques Chirac, to acknowledge France's responsibility for this crime. The new French President, Francois Hollande, was even more explicit this year; he talked about a crime committed "in France, by France." He added, most pointedly, that anti-Semitism is not an opinion but "an abjection". At a time when anti-Semitism is in France again, and just four months ago in Toulouse the worst anti-Semitic crime to have been committed in France since World War II took place -- the murder of three Jewish children and the father of two of them, by a French Islamist -- these words are not enough. It is necessary to look deeper.

In fairness, France was not the only country in Europe to have been infected for centuries with anti-Semitism, but French authors have played a particularly important role in the formulation of racist theories and modern anti-Semitism.

Few other European countries have seen the publication of a major newspaper devoted almost entirely to inciting hatred against Jews. Before Der Stürmer was published by Julius Streicher in Germany under Adolf Hitler, France was where Edouard Drumont published La libre parole (the Free Speech), from November 1892 to June 1924; hardly any page of La libre parole was devoted to anything but inciting hatred against Jews.

No viscerally anti-Semitic book has enjoyed the success of La France juive (Jewish France); written by the same Edouard Drumont; published in 1886; continually reprinted until 1938, and since 1986, available again in bookshops.

Joseph-Arthur de Gobineau, a French diplomat, played a founding role in the development of modern racism with his Essay on the Inequality of Races. His views (and those of his disciple, Houston Stewart Chamberlain), exerted a profound influence on writers such as Paul de Lagarde and Julius Langbehn, who played a crucial role in the development of German National Socialism.

At the time when Der Stürmer was published in Germany, Leon Daudet and Charles Maurras were the figureheads of the extremely anti-Semitic L'Action Francaise [The French Action]. It rivaled the ardor of the equally anti-Semitic Je suis partout [I Am Everywhere], overseen by French fascist writers Lucien Rebatet and Robert Brasillach, author of the famous sentence, "We must finish with the Jews as a whole, and not keep the small ones".

The Roundup took place in a context of pervasive anti-Semitism; the anti-Semitism was not limited to just a handful of people. And it did not magically disappear with the end of the war. The idea, long inculcated, that the crime was committed by a minority of bad apples that were "not France" has prevented a wider examination of conscience and allowed more easily the rebirth of anti-Semitism later, under more elegant packaging.

In France today, anti-Semitism in the manner of Edouard Drumont, Leon Daudet or Robert Brasillach has not disappeared, but it is minor. The main form of anti-Semitism is Muslim anti-Semitism. And since those who claim to fight anti-Semitism only recognize anti-Semitism when it speaks like Edouard Drumont, Leon Daudet or Robert Brasillach, anti-Semitism as it exists is not challenged.

In addition, France is not alone in having been occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II. The difference is that while France was occupied, it adopted a political regime based on active collaboration with Nazi Germany, and this regime was largely composed of people from the Left.

Even though some French conducted themselves with dignity and courage during that period, the large majority acted with cowardice. Many French denounced Jews. France had forty million inhabitants then, including almost "forty million Pétainists," as the title of a book by historian Henri Amouroux states.

Most ministers of the collaborationist government of Vichy were socialists before the war. The two main collaborationist parties during the war were the Parti Populaire Français (French popular party), headed by Jacques Doriot, a former Communist mayor of Saint Denis near Paris, and the Rassemblement National Populaire (Popular National Gathering), headed by Marcel Deat, a former Socialist deputy of Paris. Until the failure of Nazi-Soviet Pact, the French Communists were among the most ardent collaborators.

In 2008, Israeli historian Simon Epstein published a book, Un paradoxe français [A French Paradox], explaining in detail how the pacifist left of the 1930s became the collaborators in the 1940's. Simon Epstein's book was totally ignored by the French media when it was published.

The Roundup was organized by a regime based on active collaboration with the Nazis. Moreover, that regime was composed mostly of people coming from the French left.

The silence that is kept in France until today on the reality of the collaborationist regime at the time of the Roundup has helped build the legend that collaborators were not just a minority of bad apples, but a minority composed of people coming from the "far right."

The idea that the crime had been committed by the "far right" -- and the automatic association of anti-Semitism with the "far right" -- has prevented a full understanding of what collaboration with the Nazis really was, and how members of the Left could have become Nazi Collaborators and anti-Semitic criminals.

In France today, Muslim anti-Semitism is spreading, but because it is not coming from the "far right," and because it is Muslim, those who claim to fight anti-Semitism refuse to see it as anti-Semitic. It is members of the left who have become the fellow travellers of the Muslim anti-Semites; it is they who speak of Israeli Jews with the words used by anti-Semites when they spoke of Jews seventy years ago.

To understand the Roundup, pervasive anti-Semitism in France, the Collaborationist regime, and members of the Left becoming "collaborators" and anti-Semitic criminals, one has to understand the meaning of July 14, the French national holiday of the French Revolution.

The French Revolution was fraught with consequences significantly different from the American Revolution.

The American Revolution was imbued with the thought of John Locke, and English Whig ideas about civic virtue, corruption, ancient rights and liberty. It led to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the rule of law, and the American ideas of liberty and freedom, as they have existed for over two centuries,

The French Revolution was primarily influenced by thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the totalitarian idea of "general will" that allows the legislator to claim embodying the will of the people, and the equally totalitarian idea that an absolute and perfect political truth exists that can be used to reshape a society. It led to the Reign of Terror, and to a political and judicial instability that has not stopped to this day. Since July 1789, France has had five republics, two empires, a return to absolute monarchy, constitutional monarchy and an authoritarian regime. The four republics that preceded the present one ended either in coups or in the vote of full powers to a "Providential Man".

The Reign of Terror, 1793 to1794, could be considered the first totalitarian experience in modern times. It allowed Robespierre to be the first dictator actually to try to mold a whole society according ti his vision. It implied the physical elimination of "counter-revolutionaries" and of all those who could be considered as non-integrable to the future society. Thousands of innocent people were hastily sentenced to death and sent to the guillotine until the moment when Robespierre himself was executed. More than three hundred thousand people were massacred in Vendée: the first totalitarian experience in modern times included the first genocidal action in modern times.

The French Revolution was an inspiration to modern dictators. Robespierre was admired by Lenin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot.

Robespierre spoke of "revolution," those inspired by him spoke of "proletarian revolution," Hitler spoke of the "National Socialist revolution," and the French collaborators during World War II spoke of "national revolution."

At the time of Robespierre, those who had to be eliminated were defined as "enemies of the people," just as Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot also defined those they decided to eliminate as "enemies of the people."

Just as Hitler intended to eliminate those he considered "enemies of the German people," and who, as such, could not be part of Germany's future, so too, the French collaborators during World War II said they intended to eliminate "enemies of the people", who, as such, could not be part of France's future.

And just as the Collaborationist regime in France was no accident, so the Velodrome d'hiver Roundup was no accident. How members of the French left, who had never stopped admiring Robespierre, could become collaborators and then anti-Semitic criminals is explainable: When groups of human beings are defined by totalitarians as "enemies of the people," their elimination becomes logical.

In the context of widespread anti-Semitism, Jews could easily be defined as "enemies of the people." The collaborators were not a minority composed of people from the "far right," and anti-Semitism in France before World War II and during the nineteenth century was not a phenomenon from the far-right. Edouard Drumont, the author of La France Juive, defined himself as a "socialist." Jules Guesde, the main French Socialist leader in the late nineteenth century, regularly attacked "Jewish finance." Jean Jaures openly criticized the "stranglehold of Jewry" on the economy.

Could it get worse? Muslim anti-Semites who speak and act in today's France are close to Islamist movements; people can easily find excuses for those who use these words. Without a second thought, they may be open to the definition Muslims anti-Semites give of their enemies.

Political speeches, especially speeches coming from a left in which admirers of the French Revolution are still many, cannot change the situation.

The lessons of the Velodrome d'hiver Roundup still have not been learned in France. And clearly they involve much more than France.

Guy Millière

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3241/france-enemies-of-the-people

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

Islam at the Olympics


by Shiraz Maher

"The Muslim community have taken it upon themselves to rid the streets of evil. This is just how the Taliban started in Afghanistan. For all intents and purposes, you are witnessing the emergence of the Taliban in Walthamstow." — Website, Islam4UK

With East London hosting the world during the Olympics, a group of Islamists associated with Anjem Choudary and his group, Islam4UK, have taken the law into their own hands.

Over recent weeks the group has launched a vigilante campaign in Waltham Forest, close to the main Olympics venues, to target "Pimps and Prostitutes," part of a wider campaign by Choudary's associates to launch their own vigilante campaigns, based on a narrow interpretation of Shariah law. Last year, the group put up stickers around parts of East London declaring it a 'Shariah Zone.' It warned women to observe strict dress codes, and local residents against drinking alcohol. Homosexuals were also threatened.

"Pimps and Prostitutes" is a new campaign. Of course, few would argue with a genuine civic movement to clear the streets of prostitutes, but Choudary's men are not motivated by public spirit. They want instead to assert Islamist principles and practice over parts of public life in London, in the hope of carving out enclaves for themselves. "As Muslims in your local area it is our duty to invite you to embrace Islam" the group states, "but we also want to share with you some of the great projects we're involved in that can make a real change to the area."

Underpinning this is a complete disregard for British law and the authority of the state – as is confirmed by the group's website, which states that the local community should "give Muslims a chance to work towards eradicating prostitution, with members pointing to the Quran and declaring it to be the way forward for the area…we believe that intimate relationships should only be between married couples."

This is the tip of the iceberg: the group also wants to target what it calls "pornographic advertising." It argues that billboards which show revealing pictures of women "dehumanize" them and consequently promote prostitution. They also want far stricter punishments for those persons violating these rules, and, at least for for the Waltham Forest area, argue for the imposition of Shariah punishments against those who do not agree with their view.

The group's ambitions were confirmed when they told a newspaper, "The Muslim community have taken it upon themselves to rid the streets of evil. This is just how the Taliban started in Afghanistan. To all intents and purposes you are witnessing the emergence of the Taliban in Walthamstow."

This gives an indication of the group's inspiration. On their website they make reference to the Red Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan -- a mosque run by radicals who slowly began challenging the government by enforcing the Shariah in parts of Islamabad. Things eventually came to a head when the group began flogging women for alleged prostitution, and the government was forced to act against the group.

"What truly set Lal Masjid [Red Mosque] apart was the desire of its students to give life to the verses in the Quran" the group boasts. "They would actively confront evils in their community, in particular brothels and prostitutes, and made sure that whatever they learnt from their teachers was implemented and did not die in their hearts."

Islamists have launched these kinds of campaigns in the past as well. In 2009, Yusuf Patel, who is connected to the radical group Hizb ut Tahrir, launched a campaign against sex and relationship education (SRE) in schools. The core mission of the SRE initiative was described as:

As Muslims we believe in the primacy of marriage, the prohibition of sexual relations outside marriage, the unacceptability of homosexuality which is often portrayed as a lifestyle choice. We also subscribe to the concept of Hayaa (modesty) which guides the interaction between men and women.

In itself, there is nothing wrong with this. Many parents might object to aspects of sex education in school, but Patel's campaign was cloaked in disingenuous terms. The primary aim of the campaign was to promote Hizb ut Tahrir to unsuspecting parents who might have had their own objections to SRE classes. The campaign is also dressed in deeply homophobic terms, expressing concern that same sex relationships could be "normalized" in the minds of children.

The campaign typified Hizb ut Tahrir's approach to entering a society. It told members they should become school governors because:

Governors have a huge amount of leeway to mould the strategic direction of a school. Whether you are a parent, community, staff or LA [Local Authority] governor, you can get involved to improve the educational experience of all children.

The latest anti-prostitution campaign in East London typifies an Islamist strategy, which is to create parallel communities for Muslims that do not interact with their non-Muslim neighbors. Islamists use these initiatives to present themselves as active members of the community, often picking on legitimate and understandable concerns. Their aim is to win new recruits and further their divisive agenda. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Waltham Forest where, by their own admission, Islamists are proudly declaring the emergence of a Taliban-styled vigilante group.

Shiraz Maher

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3237/islam-olympics

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

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