Friday, May 10, 2013

Mordechai Kedar: An Open Letter to the Arab League




by Mordechai Kedar
 

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

To the Honorable Leaders of the Arab States,
 

We in Israel received with great pleasure your agreement to normalize relations with Israel  on condition that we agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state and exchanges of territories between that state and Israel. The Palestinian state that you propose to establish in Judea and Samaria would be the second Palestinian state, since the first Palestinian state was established six years ago in the Gaza Strip, and you clearly recognize it as such in practice. How else can the state visits of the Emir of Qatar and the secretary of the Arab League in Gaza  be understood?  Now you propose the establishment of a second Palestinian state? Perhaps a third!! Because Jordan is also a state with a Palestinian majority. And all of these states were established - as you know - on land that the League of Nations had designated for a Jewish state at the San Remo Conference, in April  of 1920. So why should we agree to exchange territories with any state or states that have been established or will be established on our land?

And if indeed a second Palestinian state will arise in Judea and Samaria (that which you call "the West Bank") can you promise us that this state will not at some time in the future become another Hamas state? Do you not recall that Hamas won a clear majority of the seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006? Did you not see how Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip with bombs, fire and kalashnikovs in June of 2007? Will you send a military force to get rid of Hamas after this terror organization also takes over - by means of elections or revolution - the new Palestinian state as well? Or perhaps you will leave us bleeding as a result of the problem that you have created?


We in Israel are very touched by the fact that you, as an Arab collective, not as individual states that have made a peace agreement with us, finally agree to accept us as an existing state in the Middle East. Indeed, it has taken you 65 years to understand that we are here, on the land of our fathers, that we have come back to stay in our land forever and ever until eternity. But why do you call to displant Jerusalem,  the
historical capital of the Jewish people, from the Jewish state? Was Jerusalem ever a capital of something connected to the Arab world or Islam? Throughout all of history, did an Emir, Sultan Caliph or Arab or Islamic King rule in it even for one day? Do you not remember that since the Islamic conquest in 637, the capital of "Jund Filastin" (the region of Palestine) was called Ramle? Then why has Jerusalem suddenly emerged as a candidate for capital of the second Palestinian state? Just because it is our capital?

Just to remind you: Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria were under Jordanian occupation for 7000 days, from May of 1948 until June of 1967. You had 7000 golden opportunities to establish a Palestinian state on this territory with Jerusalem as its capital. Why didn't you do it? Why did you think of it only after the Jewish people liberated the territory from the Jordanian occupation whose legality even you, the Arab League, never recognized? What did you know all those years about "the rights of the Palestinian people" that you don't know today? And why is Israeli "occupation" worse than Jordanian occupation?


Just imagine that we had made a peace agreement with Asad's Syria. Would the Saudi Arabian jihadists, followers of al-Qaida who want to eliminate Asad, honor the peace agreement that he signed with the Zionists? And what about the Palestinians in Jordan -  if they will also rise up and overthrow the royal house that the British imported from Saudi Arabia,
are you sure that they would honor the agreement that that royal house signed with us over the Palestinians' objections? Are you willing to assure us that the Muslim Brotherhood, which has taken over Egypt, will always honor the peace agreement with Israel after all the years that they said that they would cancel it when they could? Just to remind you, Israel has had agreements of mutual recognition on different levels with Qatar, the United Emirates and Tunisia. Why did they cancel these agreements and close the Israeli diplomatic missions? Is this what your signature is worth?

And in general, why should we, the citizens of Israel, believe you? Is your promise worth anything? Does the Arab League indeed function as a relevant and effective body? In the
covenant of the Arab League, which all of the Arab states have signed, there are articles that state principles of behavior among yourselves, but you behave in the totally opposite way!! Article 5 prohibits your states from using force against each other. Were there not wars between Egypt and Libya? Between Egypt and Sudan? Between Saudi Arabia and Yemen? Between Iraq and Kuwait? Between Syria and Iraq? And while we're on the subject of Syria and Iraq, Article 6 of the League's covenant states that if a foreign state attacks an Arab state, the League must take measures against this attacker. What did you do when your brother, Saddam Hussein, was attacked in 2003 by foreign states? Not only did you not help him but you joined the attackers!!! So can anyone trust you?

And when Syria occupied Lebanon what did you do? And in August 1976, when Syria slaughtered Palestinians in the Tel al-Za'atar refugee camp in Lebanon, what did you do? and when Kuwait eliminated many thousands of Palestinians after it was liberated from Iraqi occupation, what did you do to your Palestinian brothers? And what did you do in order to solve - not perpetuate - the problem of your brothers,  the "Palestinian refugees" since 1948? Why have you not allowed those "refugees", who
originally came to Israel from your countries before 1948, to return to their homes in your countries after they fled the wars that you started? And when Qadhaffi slaughtered 50,000 of his citizens, what did you do as an Arab collective besides calling on Europe to do your work for you, to rescue Arabs from the knife of the Arab butcher!!! When 'Ali abdAlla Salah, the former dictator of Yemen, slaughtered his citizens what did you do? And during the past two years, while your brother Bashar Asad, has been slaughtering 80,000 of his citizens until today, where have you been? If this is the way you behave, allowing so very many thousands of Arabs, your brothers, to suffer and be killed in vain, only because they want to live the normative lifestyle of a human being, then why should we, citizens of Israel, think that you would care at all about us? Would you come to our aid if one of your countries decided to attack us?

The way you relate to one another is so terrible that we are not sure that we want anything to do with you. Can an Arab travel to another Arab state without a visa? How does any Arab state treat foreign workers who come from other Arab states? And why do the Egyptians kill Sudanese living in Egypt when they demonstrate against the humiliating way they are treated by their Egyptian brothers? And what did the Iraqis do to the Palestinians who were in Iraq until 2003? Did they not persecute them and chase them with knives into refugee camps of Rawishad on the Iraqi-Jordanian border and al-Kaaam on the border of Iraq and Syria? And why have Arab citizens of Lebanon been slaughtering Arab citizens of Syria for the past year? Only because the killers are Shi'ites and the victims are Sunnis? And why does Saudi Arabia send criminals to Syria in order to slaughter Asad's soldiers, who only wanted to slaughter Syrian citizens? And why does the Sudanese government slaughter its citizens in Darfur? Is this any way for a nation that proposes peace to the citizens of Israel to behave? And what has the Arab League ever done in order to bring a little calm to the Arab nation? Why do people say that the Arab League is like a frozen body in a morgue, that no one has the courage to declare as dead?


And even if we assume that there will be peace between us and all of the Arab states, what will that give us? Will you be able to buy our products? Do you think that we will allow tourists from your countries to visit us freely? We tried this in the nineties, when hordes of tourists came from Jordan, and more than a hundred thousand of them "disappeared" into Israel. We have learned the lesson, and many years will pass until we'll want to see your tourists in Israel again.


But the most important thing is the fact that despite the terrible holocaust, in which  the Palestinian Mufti - your brother, Hajj Amin al-Husseini - took an active part, and despite the wars and the terror between the wars that you have imposed upon us, we have established a democratic and developed country, and we have proven to the whole world that we need you, our dear neighbors, about as much as we need a headache. We have managed very well without you, and according to all the signs, we will continue to manage not at all poorly without you. You have nothing to offer us besides the poverty, unemployment, corruption, backwardness, violence and neglect that characterizes your societies and countries. Believe us, nothing, absolutely nothing, makes us want to connect ourselves with you. Do you want peace with us? We're willing - but what do you offer us in return? What will you give to us in exchange for our agreement to get into the same picture frame with you and to sit  around the same table with you?


Peace with you will come only after we see that you really want peace. As long as you encourage and arm terror organizations who act against us, incite against us in your media, erase the state of Israel from the geography books in your schools and act against us in international arenas, why should we believe that you indeed want peace? A peace agreement should be a recognition of actual peace in the field, for one important reason: when we see how you behave with yourselves, no one in Israel believes even one word of yours, because you have no idea what peace is. If you want peace with us, show us please that you have some concept of the term "peace". Begin with making peace within your countries, continue with peace between your countries and then perhaps we will believe that you know what peace is.


And if anyone thinks that our requirement is absurd, because there will never be peace in the Arab world, this is the proof that we are right. There is a saying in Arabic "Faqd a-Shay la y'atiha" - "He who has nothing, cannot give to someone else." How can a nation that has no notion of peace, give peace to others?


In conclusion, dear neighbors, we - citizens of Israel - want very much to live in Peace, in a region of peace where you and we enjoy it together. But we do not think that there is any point in signing an agreement with someone who today is here and tomorrow is in a grave, and his successors won't honor his signature. When the Middle East becomes a region of peace, give us a call, perhaps we will join the peace that you will begin in the Middle East. until then please leave us alone.  


Signed: Mordechai Kedar, and many, many more citizens of Israel.



===============
 

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 with permission from the author.


Additional articles by Dr. Kedar

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 author.

Blow-by-Blow: How Obama & Hillary Left Americans to Die



by Arnold Ahlert


xxx-benghazi-hearings-hdb-1-4_3_r541_c540 

Wednesday on Capitol Hill, three impeccable witnesses offered the clearest evidence to date that the Obama administration’s response to Benghazi before, during and after the terrorist attack that claimed the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, State Department employee Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen A. Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods, was a deadly combination of ineptitude, political calculations, and outright lying. Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant Secretary of State for counterterrorism; Greg Hicks, former deputy chief of mission in Libya; and Eric Nordstrom, former regional security officer in Libya, offered unshakeable testimony, despite efforts by several Democratic lawmakers to protect both the current administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, their party’s most viable presidential candidate for 2016. What the witnesses averred reveals a grim web of deceit likely orchestrated by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to cover up the order to ground U.S. rescue teams that could have easily saved our besieged countrymen in Benghazi.

Some of the most compelling and emotional testimony was provided by Hicks, who offered  the House Oversight and Government Reform committee a damning blow-by-blow account of the September 11, 2012 attack: In Tripoli at the time, Hicks recounted how he had spoken with Stevens early in the evening, and there was no sign of unusual activity. After relaxing for a while, he got an alert that Benghazi was under attack. When he checked his cell phone he saw two numbers, one of which he didn’t recognize. He called that number first and got Stevens on the phone. “Greg! We’re under attack!” said Stevens, according to Mr. Hicks.

Later, when it became clear that Stevens was missing, the first concern was that he had been taken by terrorists. “We began to hear also that the ambassador’s been taken to a hospital,” said Hicks. “We learn that it is in a hospital which is controlled by Ansar al-Shariah, the group that Twitter feeds had identified as leading the attack on the consulate.” As this information was coming in, a “response team” from Tripoli arrived at the Benghazi airport, one that Hicks thought might become involved in a “hostage rescue” operation, even as officials worried they were being “baited into a trap.”

Hicks then spoke of the mortars that landed on the compound shortly after a group of Americans fleeing the consulate arrived at the annex. The first mortar landed among a group of Libyans who had helped bring the Americans to safety. “The next was short,” he said. “The next three landed on the roof.”

Those were the mortars that killed Doherty and Woods.

Hicks was visibly choked up when he recounted learning about Stevens’ death from the Libyan prime minister. ”I think it’s the saddest phone call I’ve ever had in my life,” he said.

In one of the most stunning portions of the hearing, Hicks confirmed the chilling refusal of the Obama administration to send in readily available U.S. assets to stop the consulate slaughter. This order to “stand down” was given not once, but at least twice. Hicks also revealed that an explicit order from the chain of command prevented a four-man special forces rescue team in Tripoli from getting to the Americans trapped at the annex. He  noted the order came from ”either AFRICOM or SOCAFRICA” and that the team was “furious” when they were told to stand down. “I will quote Lieutenant Colonel Gibson,” said Hicks, referring to the officer on the receiving end of that command. “He said, ‘This is the first time in my career that a diplomat has more balls than somebody in the military."  Hicks’ testimony on this point directly contradicts recent statements from the Obama-run Pentagon. “There was never any kind of stand-down order to anybody,” said Maj. Robert Furman, Pentagon spokesman, on Monday.

Yet Mark Thompson also testified that he tried to get a Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) comprised of special ops and intelligence personnel deployed, and he, too, was told to stand down. According to a source interviewed by Breitbart.com, only President Obama, or someone acting on his authority, could have given the stand down order. As we know from testimony provided by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, President Obama met with the two officials on September 11 at 5 p.m. EDT for 30 minutes — less than an hour-and-a-half into the attack — and was supposedly never heard from him again for the rest of the evening. The very next day, Obama headed to a campaign fundraiser in Las Vegas.

The Obama administration undoubtedly understood that its decision to leave defenseless Americans, including our ambassador, to needlessly die at the hands of al-Qaeda-linked jihadists would not go over well for a commander-in-chief in the throes of a presidential election and a secretary of state angling for the Oval Office in 2016. Hicks’ testimony affirmed suspicions that administration officials conspired to conceal the nature of the attack by concocting an absolutely fictitious account of events involving a “spontaneous” attack prompted by an anti-Islam YouTube video. 

Hicks testified that he had personally told former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the Benghazi raid was a terrorist attack at 2 a.m. that same night. He recounted that ”everybody in the mission” believed it was an act of terror “from the get-go,” a reality echoed by Libyan President Mohammed al-Magariaf, who said his government had “no doubt that this was pre-planned, predetermined.” Magariaf made this assertion the very day before UN ambassador Susan Rice went out to peddle the lie that a “spontaneous demonstration” had gotten out of hand due to an Internet video.

When Hicks heard Rice, he was appalled. “My jaw dropped, and I was embarrassed,” he said.

In reality, Rice was a willing mouthpiece for the two biggest promoters of the Internet video lie: President Obama and Hillary Clinton. In fact, the State Department spent $70,000 to run advertisements in Pakistan featuring the two of them rejecting the contents of the video, and promoting tolerance for all religions. Even more remarkable, despite committee Democrats implying that a thorough investigation was conducted internally by the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB), Hillary Clinton was never interviewed by the ARB.

Hillary’s entire take on the matter can be whittled down to the infamous statement she made during the U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing on May 8, 2013. After being questioned as to why the administration misled the American people, Clinton became indignant. “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” she said. “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?”

Eric Nordstrom, who became emotional when he described his friends and other personnel who lost their lives in the attack, provided an answer to that question. “It matters to me personally and it matters to my colleagues–to my colleagues at the Department of State,” he said, his voice breaking. “It matters to the American public for whom we serve. And, most importantly, it matters to the friends and family of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods who were murdered on September 11, 2012.”

Nordstrom further testified in writing that Hillary Clinton waived security requirements for the Benghazi consulate despite high and critical threat levels in the six categories of security standards established under the Overseas Security Policy Board and the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999. The waiver can only be authorized by the Secretary of State, who cannot delegate that responsibility to someone else. ”If the Secretary of State did not waive these requirements, who did so by ordering occupancy of the facilities in Benghazi and Tripoli?” Nordstrom wrote.

Nordstrom also offered his take on the ARB. ”I found the ARB process that I was involved in to be professional and the unclassified recommendations reasonable and positive. However, it is not what is contained within the report that I take exception to but what is left unexamined,” Nordstrom wrote. “Specifically, I’m concerned with the ARB’s decision to focus its attention at the Assistant Secretary level and below, where the ARB felt that ‘the decision-making in fact takes place,’” he wrote.

Hicks testified that the State Department actively sought to intimidate witnesses in order to prevent facts surrounding the Benghazi attack from being leaked. He revealed that a top State Department official called him to demand a report from his meeting with a congressional delegation and expressed unhappiness that a State Department lawyer was not present for the session. “I was instructed not to allow the RSO, the acting deputy chief of mission–me–to be personally interviewed,” he said. Later in the hearing, Hicks noted that State seemed especially concerned with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who has done yeoman’s work tracking down the survivors of the attack, kept under wraps by the administration." We were not to be personally interviewed by Congressman Chaffetz,” said Hicks, who added that Cheryl Mills, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff,  ”demanded a report on the visit” that did take place.

The State Department was caught in another lie yesterday as well. While the hearings were getting underway, Republicans revealed that Ambassador Thomas Pickering, co-chairman of the ARB, refused to testify. State countered that Republicans refused to let him. Frederick Hill, spokesman for Committee chairman Darryl Issa (R-CA), produced a letter dated February 22 inviting Pickering to testify. “Ambassador Pickering initially told the Committee he was not available on that date,” Hill told ABC News. “When asked about a different date, he said he was not inclined to testify.”

The State Department isn’t the only entity interested in controlling the flow of information in this tragedy. House Democrats embarrassingly struggled to distract from the proceedings with absurd non sequiturs and personal attacks. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the ranking Democratic at the Benghazi hearing, told one of the whistleblowers to “protect your fellow employees.” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) suggested it was unpatriotic to challenge the administration’s narrative. “I find it truly disturbing and very unfortunate that when Americans come under attack, the first thing some did in this country was attack Americans,” she said. “Attack the military; attack the president; attack the State Department;   attack the former senator from the great state of New York, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.” Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) blamed Republicans and congressional budget cuts for the terror attack, even as he apparently remains oblivious to the reality that it was Democrats who insisted the lion’s share of the budget cuts induced by sequestration come from the military.

Media are also shamelessly entrenched in the campaign to suppress the facts surround the Benghazi attack. Politico reports that CBS News execs are getting “increasingly frustrated” with premiere investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s stories on Benghazi, which they consider “dangerously close to advocacy.”

Dangerously close to honesty is more like it, which is exactly what CBS is worried about. As Washington Post explains, “While other media, particularly Fox News, have been similarly skeptical about the official narrative about Benghazi, Attkisson and CBS might put the story in a different light,” the paper reports. “As a much-decorated reporter from a news outlet often derided by conservatives as a liberal beacon, Attkisson and her network flip the usual script on this highly politicized story. That is, it’s hard to peg her and her network as Republican sympathizers out to score political points against a Democratic president.” With Attkisson, a self-described “political agnostic,” questioning the administration, Bengahzi can no longer be dismissed by the left as a vast right-wing conspiracy. “People can say what they want about me, I don’t care,” Attkisson says. “I just want to get the information out there.”

Attkisson notwithstanding, it remains to be seen whether the remainder of the mainstream media will now demand answers from the Obama administration on why it chose to needlessly throw American servicemen to the wolves in Benghazi and why, exactly, it was necessary to contrive a totally false account of events. The Obama administration is fighting hard to distract from the severity of the scandal. White House press secretary Jay Carney claimed that continued scrutiny of Benghazi is nothing more than an attempt by Republicans to ”politicize” the issue. ”This is a subject that has from its beginning been subject to attempts to politicize it by Republicans, while in fact what happened in Benghazi was a tragedy,” he said, adding that the incident has been ”been looked at exhaustively."  Carney further noted that the ongoing pursuit is ”part of an effort to chase after what isn’t the substance here.” The entire substance, according to Carney, is the reality that the consulate was attacked, four Americans were killed, and the president will make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Carney saved his most ridiculous assertion for last, claiming the administration’s editing of the talking points, in which wholesale changes and rampant deletions were made, (the details of which can be seen here) were “stylistic and not substantive.” “We’ve been very clear about the specific edits that were made at the suggestion of the White House.”

That is an utter lie. Version one of the CIA report included references to an “attack,” “Islamic extremists with ties to al Qa’ida,” the involvement of Ansar al Sharia and the fact that “wide availability of weapons and experienced fighters in Libya contributed to the lethality of the attacks,” which were all completely removed. Furthermore, at no time did any of the versions mention an anti-Islamic Internet video as being the catalyst for the attack.

The Obama administration can try spin this debacle any way it likes, but it can’t spin away four dead Americans, two separate “stand down” orders and the State Department’s advanced knowledge of inadequate security. They can’t change the reality that no rescue was even attempted over the course of a seven-hour battle, that brave Americans were left to fend for themselves, or that the administration sat on the details of this story for eight months — two most crucial of which occurred prior to the 2012 election.  Even now the administration continues to stonewall every effort to get to the truth.

But with the truth finally coming to the surface, the remaining question observers are left with is why the Obama administration abandoned Americans who were easily within reach. While the lies used to cover up this disaster are easy to explain, the rationale behind the unconscionable stand down orders must still be determined. As the facts stand now, the likely explanations do not bode well for President Obama. The circumstances suggest the decision was made by a callous and desperate president struggling with a re-election campaign, a central plank of which was that al-Qaeda had been decimated and was “on the run” — not something affirmed by news of al-Qaeda operatives’ murder of our ambassador and military personnel. Or perhaps our commander-in-chief was too busy being our campaigner-in-chief and simply didn’t care about the carnage unfolding on his watch, which he declined to prevent. In any case, it is incumbent on the Obama administration to provide a rationale for its disastrous decision. As persistent Americans have shown, the investigation will not cease until that occurs.


Arnold Ahlert

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2013/arnold-ahlert/blow-by-blow-how-obama-hillary-left-americans-to-die/

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

Stop the Libel Against Glenn Beck



by Sally Zahav


Lately there have been words flying around the blogoshpere about a certain gesture that Glenn Back reportedly made in reference to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. You can see one article here
Glenn Beck Offends Jews By Depicting Mayor Bloomberg in Nazi-Style Salute. And here is a refutation: Glenn Beck's Bloomberg Salute Was Not Hitlerian

First of all, it makes no sense that Glenn Beck (or anyone else) would lump Bloomberg with the Nazis. If anything, Bloomberg might more accurately be grouped with those on the polar opposite of the right-left or fascist-socialist continuum. Bloomberg fits more with the advocates for big government and his ongoing project to regulate what we eat and drink is an example of this approach.

This is another refutation to the senseless "Hitler gesture" claim. But enough has been said on the subject. Below are three video clips that illustrate Glenn Beck's true attitude toward Jews and Israel. If you think he is anti-Semitic or anti-Israel, or even if you just have some doubts about it, please watch even one of the clips and listen to Glenn's own words expressing what his thoughts, ideas and emotions are on the subjects of Jews and Israel.  

And then form (or reform) your opinion on that basis.


Glenn's special message for Israel - YouTube

 



Glenn Beck - Comments on Israel (Nakba 2011) - YouTube

 

 

Glenn Beck: I Stand Tonight With Israel - YouTube

 



Sally Zahav

Source: Middle East and Terrorism Blog

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

Israel Blows Lid off Proposed Russian Arms Sale to Syria



by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

Israel reportedly warns U.S. that Russia plans to sell advanced S-300 missile batteries to Syria • Leak comes one day after Kerry leaves Moscow • Anti-aircraft missiles would make no-fly zone impossible.

A Russian S-300 missile battery
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Photo credit: Russian Defense Ministry


Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=9173

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

UK: The Crisis of Female Genital Mutilation



by Soeren Kern

Despite these laws, no one has ever been prosecuted for performing FGM. Victims are often afraid to speak out for fear of physical abuse or death threats, some involving paid hitmen.

British authorities are redoubling their fight against the spiraling problem of female genital mutilation (FGM) after a weekly primetime television show broadcast by the BBC forced the previously "taboo" subject into mainstream debate.

FGM is endemic in Muslim-majority countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Three million girls between infancy and age 15 are subject to FGM every year, and it is believed that 140 million women worldwide are suffering from the lifelong consequences of the practice.

FGM has emerged as a major problem in Europe due to mass immigration. The European Parliament estimates that 500,000 girls and women in the European Union are living with FGM, and every year another 180,000 girls in Europe are at risk of being "cut."

Britain has the highest levels of FGM in Europe. According to a government-funded study published in 2007, at least 66,000 women and girls in Britain have had the procedure performed on them, and more than 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are currently at risk.

These figures, however, may be only the tip of the iceberg. A 2011 Department of Health policy paper warns that "it is possible that, due to population growth and immigration from practicing countries…FGM is significantly more prevalent than these figures suggest."

FGM is thought to be common in Britain among immigrant groups from Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kurdistan, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Northern Sudan, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Yemen.

The Times of London has reported that circumcisers -- also known as "house doctors" because they conduct the procedure in private homes -- are often flown to Britain from Africa and the Middle East to carry out the mutilations.

Alternatively, families who have immigrated to Britain from countries where FGM is practiced may send their daughters back to those countries to undergo FGM there, ostensibly under the guise of visiting relatives.

According to The Guardian, the six-week-long school summer holiday in Britain is the most dangerous time of the year for these girls. It is a convenient time to carry out the procedure because the girls need several weeks to heal before returning to school.

Sometimes immigrants living in other European countries even send their daughters to Britain to have them mutilated there. In an interview with the BBC, Isabelle Gillette-Faye, an anti-FGM activist in France, recounts the story of two little girls about to board a train for London.

Gillette-Faye says: "It was a Friday. We heard just in time. They had tickets for Saturday. A family member tipped us off. We told the police and they were stopped from making the journey." The parents were warned that if they would go ahead with the mutilations and be found out, they would be imprisoned for up to 13 years.

"In England," she added, "you are very respectful of your immigrants. It is very different in France. They have to integrate and they have to obey our laws. We simply will not tolerate this practice."

In Bristol, a city in southwest England with a sizeable immigrant community, it is believed that some 2,000 girls are at risk of "FGM parties." According to the BBC, "They cut them all together, as a group, because it is cheaper and quicker that way. At first the girls are all excited because it's a party, until they realize what is going to happen, and then they get frightened. It's done by the elder women, or the Imam, whoever is expert at cutting."

FGM has been a crime in Britain for more than 25 years. It was made a criminal offense by the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985. That Act was superseded by the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 and (in Scotland) by the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005, both of which also introduce extraterritoriality. Taking a British citizen or permanent resident abroad for the purpose of FGM is a criminal offense whether or not it is lawful in the country to which the girl is taken.

Despite these laws -- which carry a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison for anyone convicted of carrying out FGM or helping it to take place -- no one in Britain has ever been prosecuted for performing it.

One reason for the lack of prosecutions is the difficulty in gathering evidence because the victims of FGM are often afraid to speak out. Girls and women who do speak out against FGM have suffered verbal and physical abuse from adult men and women in their communities in London, Bristol, Cardiff and Manchester in attempts to silence them.

The Sunday Times recently reported that a 29-year-old British-Somalian woman named Nimko Ali had received death threats -- a man she considered a friend had offered a hitman £500 ($775) to murder her -- since going public in February as a victim of the practice. Intimidation also involves threatening phone calls, emails, texts and tweets.

Another reason for Britain's dismal record at bringing perpetrators to justice is tolerance of FGM due to political correctness and concerns over "cultural sensitivity." Although the mainstream media routinely take pains to avoid any insinuation that FGM has anything to do with Islam, doctrinally, historically, geographically and juridically, the practice is intrinsically linked to Islam. As a result, there is a reluctance to tackle FGM because doing so is perceived as attacking Islam. This, however, may be about to change.

In April, BBC One's Casualty, a highly popular emergency medical drama series, became the first mainstream drama on British television to feature a story about FGM. Scriptwriters on the series worked with FGM pressure groups and young girls to produce the two-part drama, which aired on April 6 and 13.

The program's storyline (brief video here) follows a young girl called Tamasha who deliberately injures herself to avoid being sent abroad for the procedure. The show also shows another girl's battle to save her younger sister from having a female circumcision in a makeshift clinic.

Casualty's focus on FGM has raised popular awareness of the practice in Britain, and has created new momentum to tackle the controversial problem.

On April 29, Scotland Yard [London Police] appealed for information to identify the perpetrators of FGM amid growing indications that girls in the capital are being "cut."

Detective Chief Superintendent Keith Niven, the head of Scotland Yard's child abuse command, said officers would "relentlessly pursue" those carrying out FGM and had already received "a variety of pieces of information" that the illegal practice was being carried out in London, where members of Scotland Yard believe at least 6,000 girls are at risk.

In an interview with the London-based newspaper Evening Standard, Niven said that further information was needed to protect girls from the "appalling" physical and psychological damage caused by the crime of FGM. "The information that we are getting is that this crime takes place abroad, but that it also takes place here and we have to take that seriously."

He added: "Historically, we have looked at this very much in terms of victims coming forward, but there is a very low level of reporting of this crime. So we also want people who have information about where it is happening to speak to us so we can identify the individuals who are cutting girls and gather evidence with a view to prosecution."

Tip-offs, Niven said, could be provided anonymously via the Crimestoppers number because victims are often reluctant to testify, as many of those performing or organizing FGM are relatives or friends.

After being an "underground" problem for many years, Niven continued, the impact of FGM was now being brought fully "into the open:" "People are beginning to understand the enormity of this crime," he said. "There are significant psychological, physical and emotional impacts that can last through childhood and later life."

"We want to send out the message," he added, "that the UK is not somewhere you can come and get away with this. If you come here and we get information that you are engaging in this crime then we will relentlessly pursue you with a view to prosecution."

In November 2012, the Director of Public Prosecutions of England and Wales, Keir Starmer, launched a plan he hopes will facilitate prosecutions for FGM. The plan is aimed at increasing the number of referrals to police and prosecutors, and improving evidence gathering. His proposals include learning from countries such as France and Holland where people have been successfully prosecuted, as well as better analyzing failed cases in Britain. A steering group will consider whether a change in legislation is needed, and whether existing laws could be better used.

In announcing the plan, Starmer said: "Everyone who can play a part in stopping FGM -- from the doctor with a suspicion that an offense has been committed and the police officer investigating the initial complaint to the prosecutor taking a charging decision -- needs to know what to do to improve detection rates, strengthen investigations and, for the part of the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service], to start getting these offenders into court. I am determined that the CPS should play a key role in ensuring that the impunity with which these offenders have acted will end."

Police and prosecutors are now reviewing hundreds of historic cases of FGM in a bid to bring the first prosecution in Britain since the practice was ruled illegal in 1985. Legal experts are already examining six cases referred by police, and scores more are being considered.

According to the newspaper The Independent, the review centers on cases which originally failed to meet the prosecution threshold under existing FGM laws. The CPS is now reconsidering those cases under a variety of alternative criminal offenses, including conspiracy charges and the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act, which established an offense of causing or allowing a child or vulnerable adult to die or suffer serious physical harm.

A CPS spokesman interviewed by The Independent said, "We have been working with police to identify the types of evidence required to support charges under other legislation, including conspiracy charges. In addition, the Metropolitan Police will be looking at previous investigations of FGM with the CPS, and whether new action can be taken."

In Bristol, Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens has promised prosecutions where "enough evidence" has been collected. Speaking to the BBC, she said, "This is mutilation and child abuse. We need a wake-up call. Too many people are denying this is happening and we want them to come forward."


Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.
Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3705/uk-female-genital-mutilation

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Water, Energy, and Trade? Who Needs Those?



by Evelyn Gordon


As Jonathan noted yesterday, it’s hard to blame the lack of Mideast peace on Israel’s “occupation of Arab lands” in 1967 when peace was singularly lacking even before 1967. But this theory rests on a more fundamental fallacy: that all human beings basically want the same things – peace and a good life – and therefore, what Westerners consider a reasonable compromise should satisfy Middle Easterners as well. To understand just how false this is, consider Wednesday’s unanimous vote by the lower house of Jordan’s parliament to expel the Israeli ambassador.

On Tuesday, a group of Jews visited Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount. They didn’t engage in “provocations” such as praying or reciting Psalms, but to many Arabs, the very presence of Jews at the site to which Jews have prayed for 3,000 years is a provocation. Palestinians therefore began hurling rocks and chairs at them, causing the police to intervene. And according to the Jordanian parliament, this sequence of events constituted “criminal attacks by the settlers” – i.e. Jews.

That alone is troubling enough. But parliament’s decision to respond by voting to expel the ambassador is even more troubling given how much Jordan would lose by ending its peace with Israel.

First, under the peace treaty, Israel provides Jordan with tens of millions of cubic meters of water each year. Recently, it even increased this amount to help Jordan cope with its flood of Syrian refugees. Scrapping the treaty would thus greatly exacerbate Jordan’s already severe water shortage.

Second, Israel is now Jordan’s key land bridge for trade with the West. Lacking access of its own to the Mediterranean Sea, Jordan has always conducted most of its trade overland. It used to send its trucks to Syrian ports, but Syria’s civil war made that route too dangerous. So now, the trucks go to Israel’s Haifa Port. Severing the peace treaty would thus cost Jordan its major trade route to the West.

Third, repeated terror attacks on the natural gas pipeline from Egypt left Jordan, like Israel, with a severe gas shortage that caused electricity prices to skyrocket. In Jordan, where Egyptian gas fueled 90 percent of electricity production, the hike in fuel prices sparked violent demonstrations. But unlike Israel, where massive offshore reserves meant the problem was only temporary (the Tamar field came online this April), Jordan has no gas of its own. Consequently, it began negotiating with Israel, the only nearby source. Jordan wants this gas so badly that it even publicly confirmed the talks, though normally, it prefers to hide its dealings with Israel. Yet these talks would clearly go nowhere if the peace treaty were shelved.

In short, Israel is currently vital to three of Jordan’s greatest needs: water, energy, and trade. And while ordinary Jordanians probably don’t know that, its parliamentarians almost certainly do. Yet even so, they voted unanimously to expel Israel’s ambassador – a step that, if actually carried out (King Abdullah has made clear it won’t be), would endanger all three of these benefits, with devastating consequences for Jordan’s economy.

To Jordan’s parliamentarians, the country’s well-being evidently comes a very distant second to the desire to keep Jews from visiting Judaism’s holiest site. That order of priorities would be inconceivable to most Westerners, but it’s extremely common in the Middle East. And that, more than any disagreement about land, explains why Mideast peace remains a distant dream.
 
Evelyn Gordon

Source: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/05/09/water-energy-and-trade-who-needs-those/

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Israeli Left Defends the Inalienable Right to Defame



by Steven Plaut


Oh, dear.  The Radical Left in Israel is all upset again about yet another “fascist assault against democracy” coming from the non-left.   Periodically the Left has conniptions whenever a law is proposed that would rein in the atrocities of the Left.  You will recall how upset the Left got when it was proposed that transparency laws similar to those in effect in the US be introduced to require that anti-Israel NGOs reveal the sources of their funding.   Another “fascist” proposed laws that upset the Left sought to require a pledge of loyalty to the country by those sitting in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.  Another proposed allowing those groups of businesses in Israel injured by the efforts of anti-Israel leftists who organize international boycotts and sanctions against Israel to sue those instigators in Israeli civil court for damages.
 
In any case, the latest bugaboo of the Fascist Left in Israel is what people are calling the “Jenin Jenin Law.”  As you recall, a slanderous lying propaganda film was made by Mohammed Bakri, entitled Jenin Jenin, accusing Israeli soldiers of conducting genocidal mass murders in the Battle of Jenin in 2002.  In that face-to-face street battle in which Israel attempted to capture and kill wanted terrorists, numerous Israeli soldiers were killed and some 20 Palestinian civilians were killed in the crossfire.   The Israeli army was criticized inside Israel for not using artillery to level the buildings containing the terrorists and thus save Israeli military lives.

Bakri made a Goebbels-like propaganda film, one he himself later admitted was a tissue of lies.  The soldiers involved in the battle filed a defamation lawsuit against Bakri.  Later leftist activist judges on the Supreme Court tossed out their suit as “infringing freedom of speech.”   That is correct, the same Supreme Court that has upheld rulings that criticizing the public political activities of anti-Israel leftist traitors is “libelous” was unwilling to convict Bakri of libel and slander.

Well, many years too late, the Knesset is now considering a new law that would grant the legal standing to sue people making false defamatory claims about the actions of soldiers.  The idea is that if someone claims falsely that Israeli soldiers carried out some sort of atrocity or crime against humanity and it could be proved that the claims are lies and the person making the claims knew they were lies, then the liar could be sued for defamation in civil court.   Anyone who has any evidence of actual misbehavior by any soldier would of course be protected from being sued.  Any soldier or civilian could file civil suit against the liars.

The Israeli fascist Left of course is up in arms and is screaming to high heavens about this new “assault against freedom of speech and democracy.”   This from the very same people who spent recent years cheering on the persecution of rabbis and others for endorsing or recommending a book the Left considered to be racist, or who cheered on the denial of freedom of speech to the Kahanists.

The Left insists that defaming Israeli soldiers is part and parcel of freedom of speech.  The very same far leftists who cheer on the leftwing academics who file fascist SLAPP harassment suits against anyone who dares to criticize them and tell the truth about them are now suddenly all upset about the possibility that leftwing liars could be sued for defamation.

The leftwing Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni, by the way, opposes the law.  Thus demonstrating once again the foolishness of Netanyahu offering her this post.  All the tenured radicals also oppose the bill and the chat lists of the tenured Left are full of shrill denunciations of it.  Some have taken time off from cheering on the tenured leftists who engage in lawfare and who file SLAPP harassment suits against the critics of leftists who dare to exercise freedom of speech.  In a worrisome development, even Yair Lapid, regarded as centrist, shifted to the Left and opposed the bill.

The anti-Israel far-leftist daily Haaretz described the law as “criminalizing” the defamation of soldiers, and as usual Haaretz twists the facts to fit its agenda.  Nothing in the law involves criminalization.  It just defines the defamation of soldiers as a civil tort.

Among those praising the initiative to pass the law is the “Im Tirtzu” Zionist student group.   According to the Jerusalem Post: “Im Tirzu (a political activist group) issued a press release praising the vote, saying that the law implemented ‘the unwritten, but obligatory, contract between the IDF and civilian society and representatives of the public, which dictates that IDF soldiers will be ready to risk their lives so that every Israeli citizen can live and for the State of Israel to continue to exist.”  The statement added that, “as a price for this sacrifice of time, and if necessary, of a soldier’s life” there is a duty to “defend them in the parliamentary, judicial and public arenas.”

According to the text of the bill, “Those who defame Israel, waging a campaign of de-legitimization against it in the international community, who wish to bring about a boycott of the state and its citizens have chosen IDF soldiers as a comfortable target in recent years, fully aware that no legal steps can be taken against them….Though many fabricated claims against IDF soldiers have been exposed over the years, but due to procedural constraints, the soldiers who were trampled and whose reputation was damaged were left without any legal solution.” With any luck, the new law’s passage will bring this practice to an end.


Steven Plaut

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2013/steven-plaut/israeli-left-defends-the-inalienable-right-to-defame/

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