Sunday, April 30, 2017

Iran in Syria: A Gathering Storm? - P. David Hornik




by P. David Hornik


The mullahs want to target the “Little Satan” from across the border.




The Iranian regime, as it has made clear in countless threats, rallies, and missile displays, wants to destroy Israel, the “Little Satan.”

Given Israel’s military might and, according to foreign reports, nuclear arsenal, Iran’s goal is probably unattainable. But the nearer Iran gets—or perceives itself to get—to that goal, the more warfare and instability is likely to ensue.

At present, thanks to Syria’s collapse into civil war and the Obama administration’s—at best—inept policy there, Iran is within reach of establishing a permanent military presence to Israel’s north—a surefire recipe for ongoing struggle and menace.

Israeli officials, Reuters reports, now estimate that Iran “commands at least 25,000 fighters in Syria, including members of its own Revolutionary Guard, Shi’ite militants from Iraq and recruits from Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Iran is also reportedly seeking a naval base in Syria, and, if it gains a lasting foothold in Israel’s northern neighbor, will undoubtedly want an airbase there as well.

The Reuters report notes that Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz has been on Capitol Hill urging stepped-up U.S. threats and sanctions on Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hizballah. Israel wants Russia to rein in Iran, too—though whether Russia is willing is still in dispute.

Of particular concern are Iran’s efforts to establish a beachhead for itself and Hizballah on the northern Golan Heights, directly across the border from the Israeli-controlled southern Golan.

Two years ago an Israeli airstrike on the northern Golan killed both Hizballah and Iranian commanders seeking to build a terror network there. Israel remains acutely concerned that such efforts will continue.

Iran’s naked aggression toward Israel was in evidence this week in a different kind of attack. The Israeli daily Haaretz reports:

Cybersecurity experts are convinced that Iran is behind the large-scale cyberattack revealed Wednesday by Israel’s Cyber Defense Authority. The attacks have been identified as being carried out by a hacker group known as OilRig, which has been tracked to Iran and is believed to be financed and directed by one of the Islamic Republic’s intelligence agencies.
OilRig…is known to have attacked in both government and private sector targets the past, focusing primarily on Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States and Israel.
The recent attacks were aimed at at least 120 Israeli targets, including private companies, government departments, research institutes and hospitals…. It is unclear at this point whether the attack had any specific targets beyond creating damage in Israeli computer networks, and the extent of that damage is still being assessed. 

Other reports, like this one, claim the cyberattack was successfully thwarted.

What is not in doubt is that the—for now—low-level war between Iran and Israel is not only continuing but intensifying. On Thursday it was reported that Israeli missiles fired from the Golan Heights hat hit and destroyed Iranian arms supplies in a Hizballah depot near Damascus International Airport.

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, mentioned above, appeared to confirm that Israel was behind the strike, saying it “exactly matches our declared policy.”

Iran’s harassment of a U.S. warship in the Persian Gulf this week suggests that its cockiness toward the “Great Satan,” too—after a period when it seemed to have waned—is returning.

A cyber attack on Israel, arms shipments to Hizballah, and provocative moves against the U.S. navy are—among much else—all in a week’s work for Iran.

Israeli officials are, though, well aware that the current administration has a much more sober view of the problem than the previous one, and more hopeful that, this time around, the forces of civilization will push back against a regime that has been sowing discord and death for almost four decades.


P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. His memoir, Destination Israel: Coming of Age and Finding Peace in the Middle East, is forthcoming from Liberty Island later this year.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266537/iran-syria-gathering-storm-p-david-hornik

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Smokescreens in Islam: Confusing the Public about the Facts - Denis MacEoin




by Denis MacEoin

Jihad is commanded in the later verses of the Qur'an, is endorsed in the Traditions and the biography of Muhammad, and codified in the manuals of shari'a law. Qadri knows this perfectly well

  • Qadri's admirable take on terrorism conceals another large elephant in the room. Islam has for centuries used violence against non-Muslims in what is considered a legitimate manner: through jihad. It is not simply that Muslim armies have fought their enemies much as Christian armies have engaged in war. Jihad is commanded in the later verses of the Qur'an, is endorsed in the Traditions and the biography of Muhammad, and codified in the manuals of shari'a law. Qadri knows this perfectly well, and at times inadvertently reveals as much in several ways.
  • Qadri does not just insist that Islam is a religion of peace and security. By tucking all references to jihad in footnotes in transliterated Arabic, he never has to explain what it is about and how it relates to his rulings on what is and what is not permissible.
  • It is hard to be a reasonably knowledgeable Muslim and not know that calls for violence pervade the Qur'an and sacred traditions, or that Islamic armies have been fighting European Christians, Indian Hindus, and others since the 7th century.
  • Islam, after all, conquered Persia, Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East, Greece, Spain and most of Eastern Europe -- until its armies were stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1863.
Following the terrorist attack outside Britain's Houses of Parliament on March 22, 2017, it was not surprising or wrong that many Muslims denounced the attack and declared it to be un-Islamic. Two days afterwards, Dr. Mohammed Qureshi, chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Shropshire Islamic Foundation, said:
We need to be united in this situation.
We should not give any religion a bad name and these people need to be dealt with in full force and there should be zero tolerance when it comes to dealing with them.
My heart goes out to these victims. And my heart goes out to the people's families and those who are injured. I pray they all have peace in their minds.
He added:
There is no place for these acts in the religion of Islam.
The people are being radicalised and the young and vulnerable people need to be protected.
We need to disassociate this with Islam, as Islam is a religion of peace.
This view was echoed in a press release by the Foundation, in which sympathy for the dead and their families was followed by a commitment to non-violence: "as a community, we need to come together to condemn violence and hatred and work towards cohesion and tolerance".

More recently, a document about Islamophobia published by the Green Party of the United States affirmed the purportedly peaceful character of Islam:
The highest goal of the Islamic faith is Peace. Peace is pursued over all and for Muslims the world over, 'holy war' has nothing to do with the concept of jihad. The Arabic word translates as 'struggle,' and is used a handful of times in the Quran to speak of the struggle to stay on the righteous path, to fulfill obligations to family, community and Creator, what the Islamic scholars call a higher jihad.
These claims, however, seem innocent of the verses that say:
So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds.... And those who are killed in the cause of Allah -- never will He waste their deeds. Surah Muhammad [47:4]
Or:
And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. [Sahih International] Verse (8:60)
There are said to be 123 verses in the Quran concerning fighting and killing for the cause of Allah -- more than a few.

These claims also show that many people seem to be buying into the narrative of Islam as a perfect religion of peace, even if saying so runs counter to more than 1400 years of history and the official record of classical Islamic scholarship about jihad. Islam, after all, conquered Persia, Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East, Greece, Spain and most of Eastern Europe -- until its armies were stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1863.

At the same time, there can be no doubt that Muslim leaders who speak out against terrorism and radicalism need our support and that they must be the very people governments, churches, and the security services speak to and work with if we are to head towards the deradicalisation of Muslim communities in the West. Qureshi's remarks deserve to be taken at face value. Neither he nor his foundation and its associated mosque and academy has any known links to radicalism. They belong to the largest mainstream form of Sunni Islam, the Hanafi school of Islamic law, and there is no overt reason that Qureshi is not sincere in his belief that Islam is a religion of peace.

At the same time, however, he must know better. His own second name is Mujahid, which means "a fighter in the jihad". Not only that, but his mosque is, like most others in the UK, Deobandi in orientation; and it is out of Deobandi madrasas [Islamic religious schools] that the Taliban originated. Deobandi Islam, although mainstream, has over the years appealed to Muslims in Pakistan and abroad who have a fundamentalist disposition. Qureshi cannot be unaware of that. It is hard to be a reasonably knowledgeable Muslim and not know that calls for violence pervade the Qur'an and sacred Traditions, or that Islamic armies have been fighting European Christians, Indian Hindus, and others since the 7th century.

What we in the West know is that a string of modern politicians and churchmen in Europe and North America have, like Qureshi, insisted -- perhaps in a sometimes-desperate attempt to dissociate Islamic terrorism from the religion of Islam -- that Islam is a religion of peace. The violence, they say, is a perversion of Islam, and they say this even as terrorist after terrorist invokes Islam as his motivation and shouts "Allahu Akbar!" ["Allah is the greatest!"] while committing the crime. Terrorist groups, such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State, confidently quote the Qur'an, Traditions [Hadith] and shari'a legislation to justify their attacks.

Western leaders often turn to Muslim imams and scholars to confirm their view that Islam is essentially like modern Judaism or Christianity, if not a mirror image of the Quaker religion. A major expression of this approach is a book by a leading Pakistani scholar, Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri. Translated into English, this book of some 400 pages is entitled, Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings (London, 2010). It has been widely praised as an outstanding authoritative text that demonstrates that terrorism of any kind is contrary to Islamic teachings and law -- an argument reinforced by hundreds of citations from the Qur'an, Traditions, and a host of classical Muslim authorities.

Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri (1951-) is a scholar and religious leader with an LLB and a PhD in Islamic Law; a politician (he founded the anti-government Pakistan Awami Tehreek party in 1989), and an international speaker. He is touted as having studied since childhood the many branches of religious studies under his father and other teachers, and having authored on Islamic topics one thousand books (not an uncommon claim among Muslim writers). He comes from a Barelvi/Sufi background, the main opposition to Deobandi Islam in Pakistan and abroad. Qadri is also the head of Minhaj-ul-Quran, an international organization that promotes Islamic moderation and inter-faith work.

Qadri and his organization have made a mark on political and religious leaders in many places. On September 24, 2011, Minhaj-ul-Quran held a large conference in London's Wembley Arena. Qadri and other speakers issued a declaration of peace on behalf of representatives of several religions, scholars and politicians. The conference was endorsed by the Rector of Al-Azhar University (the chief academy in the Sunni Islamic world); Ban Ki-Moon (Secretary General of the UN); Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu (Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation); David Cameron (British Prime Minister); Nick Clegg (British Deputy Prime Minister) and Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury), among others.

It is not surprising, then, that Qadri's fatwa has made a great impression on many concerned about terrorism instigated and carried out by organizations that lay claim to a connection with Islam. There can be no doubt that a condemnation of Islamic terrorism coming from an eminent Muslim figure is an important contribution to the struggle to contain and eventually eliminate not just the terror but the radicalisation that inevitably precedes it.

At the same time, however, it may be argued that while Qadri presents strong religious rulings that reject acts such as suicide bombings that characterise modern movements as in Islamic State, he fails to prove his claim that, "Islam is a religion of peace and security, and it urges others to pursue the path of peace and protection" (p. 21). His fatwa, in fact, only proves that certain types of violence and certain types of victims are illegal within Islamic scripture and law. It does not show that Islam is, in its essence, a pacifist, peace-loving faith. Let us try to disentangle this.

The fatwa rightly devotes several chapters to important topics: "The Unlawfulness of Indiscriminately Killing Muslims" (chapter 2); "The Unlawfulness of Indiscriminately Killing Non-Muslims and Torturing Them" (chapter 3); "The Unlawfulness of Terrorism against Non-Muslims – Even During Times of War" (chapter 4); "On the Protection of the Non-Muslims' Lives, Properties and Places of Worship" (chapter 5); and "The Unlawfulness of Forcing One's Belief upon Others and Destroying Places of Worship" (chapter 6).

This is certainly a massive improvement on the rulings of Salafi sheikhs who support Islamic terrorist groups and issue fatwas to support things such as murder and suicide bombings. The leading Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, for example, for a long time insisted that suicide bombings carried out by Palestinian terrorists were a legitimate form of self-defence -- and his fatwas encouraged other sheikhs to advocate suicide attacks.

The average reader is unlikely to read the entire book; even in a glance through it, much will be missed. One might well assume that Islam, as portrayed by Qadri, opposes terrorism for much the same ethical reasons that Jews, Christians and others oppose it. But a close reading shows that he is operating from a different premise to non-Muslims. His concern is to read everything in a close context of Islamic law -- not ethics. This is particularly noticeable in the legal underpinnings he gives to almost everything. He devotes chapters 8-11 (pp.171-237) to an extremely conventional discussion of the evils of rebelling against an Islamic government even if its ruler were corrupt. Terrorists, he asserts, are to be condemned because they take up arms against their governments. By this definition, the rebel groups fighting against Bashar al-Assad in Syria must be condemned because they have taken up arms against their lawful ruler.

He also devotes chapters 12-17 (pp. 239-395) to drawing a comparison between today's terrorists and the earliest Muslim rebellious group, the Kharijites. The Kharijites emerged after the first schism in Islam, following the assignation of the third Caliph, when they rebelled against both the fourth Caliph, 'Ali, and the man who became the ruler of the Umayyad Caliphate (661-750), which created the first Islamic Empire. The dissenters shocked followers of the young faith by declaring those with whom they disagreed to be apostates worthy of death. In their first years, they murdered hundreds of Muslims. Their use of terror against other Muslims and their rebellion against the Islamic state earned them a reputation as the greatest threat to the unity of the Muslim world. By focusing so narrowly on the Kharijites in his anti-terror polemic, Qadri reveals that his concerns are based purely on Islamic considerations, not broader concepts of justice. Christians, Jews, secularists, and others, for instance, condemn terrorism as a breach of human rights, Judaeo-Christian ethics, and international law. Qadri is not interested in any of those things, just the impropriety of terrorist actions in relation to Islamic law. This narrow view allows him to ignore the wider questions of violence in Islamic scripture, law, and history.

Qadri's admirable take on terrorism conceals a large elephant in the room. Islam has for centuries used violence against non-Muslims in what is considered a legitimate manner, through jihad. It is not simply that Muslim armies have fought their enemies much as Christian armies have engaged in war. Jihad is commanded in the later verses of the Qur'an, is endorsed in the Traditions and the biography of Muhammad, and codified in the manuals of shari'a law. Qadri knows this perfectly well, and at times inadvertently reveals as much in several ways.

The word jihad, for example, occurs many times in the fatwa, usually when he refers in footnotes to chapters in the great Tradition collections -- records of prophetic injunctions to holy war; the prophet's own engagements in jihad, or his sending out raiding parties to engage with non-believers. Thus, when Qadri tells us that it is unlawful to kill non-Muslim women and children, the elderly, traders and farmers, and so forth, he is citing the rules of engagement in jihad, and not that holy war against non-Muslims is foresworn in Islamic texts. Everything he cites against the use of terrorism is actually taken from classical sources that explain the rules that apply to fighting jihad; not that jihad is illegitimate.

Qadri does not merely insist that Islam is a religion of peace and security. By tucking all references to jihad in footnotes in transliterated Arabic, he never has to explain what Islam is about and how it relates to his rulings on what is and what is not permissible. He expands on this theme:
"The most significant proof of this is that God has named it Islam. The word Islam is derived from the Arabic word salama or salima. It means peace, security, safety and protection. As for its literal meaning, Islam denotes absolute peace. As a religion, it is peace incarnate." (p. 21).
A few pages later, he expands on this, writing a long passage "On the Literal Meaning of the Word Islam" (pp. 25-34), interspersed with quotations illustrating this. He correctly links the word "Islam" to the three-consonant root "s-l-m", which has undisputed connections to concepts of peace and security. He even writes at one point "... every noun or verb derived from Islam, and every derivative or word conjugated (sic) from it, essentially denotes peace, protection, security and safety".

Just a minute. Qadri is a fully trained Arabist; he even makes references to major Arabic dictionaries. So he really has no excuse for writing such nonsense. It is exactly that on at least two levels. Arabic roots create dozens of words with different meanings, and "slm" is particularly rich in vocabulary. Salma and silm may indeed mean "peace", but salam means both "forward buying" and a variety of the acacia tree. Sullam means a ladder, stairs, a musical scale, a means, instrument or tool. Salama means "blamelessness, flawlessness, and success". Salim can mean "healthy" or "sane". Sulama means the "phalanx" bone. Sulaymani is mercury chloride –there are many more examples.

At a deeper level, most Arabic verbs can have up to fifteen (more usually ten) forms, each with different meanings. The root that Qadri relates to peace has almost no forms that relate to peace at all. The fourth form, aslama, is the one that gives us the verbal noun islam. The fourth form has several meanings, none of which refers to peace. Instead, it means "to forsake, leave, abandon, to deliver up, surrender, to resign oneself or to submit". The most reliable Arabic-English dictionary by Wehr translates islam as "submission, resignation", including submission to the will of God. Unfortunately for Qadri, therefore, Islam does not mean peace. The word for peace is salam. The word Islam means, unambiguously, submission [to the will God or Allah].

Let us return to Chapter 5, where Qadri inadvertently reveals the extent of the pretence he is making that Islam is a religion of peace that cares for non-Muslim lives and property. The examples he gives are genuine, but he omits a crucial fact. Only Jews and Christians (and later, Zoroastrians in Iran) are entitled to protection within a Muslim state or empire. Qadri calls them "citizens", but the truth is that only Muslims can be regarded in that light. Jews and Christians are dhimmi peoples, tolerated under certain humiliating conditions. They are somewhat favoured on account of their having been sent scriptures and prophets, but disfavoured because they have not accepted Allah, or God's last prophet, Muhammad. Moreover, if they initially resist Muslim invaders, they must be fought through a jihad war. Once defeated, they only have the right to keep their lives, property, and places of worship on payment of a special tax known as jizya, a form of protection money. They are also forced to live under severe restrictions, penalties and mistreatment designed to humiliate them and keep them in their place as the inferiors of Muslims. By not speaking of dhimmitude, the payment of jizya, or more than one thousand years of vulnerability of Christian nations to jihad wars, Qadri again pulls the wool over unquestioning, if well-meaning, eyes of non-Muslims.

So what exactly is Qadri up to? He is concealing important information and distorting the Arabic vocabulary in order to drive home a narrative of Islam's deep connection to peace and security. His strictures against terrorism are sincere and valuable, yet his whitewashing of historical, legal and scriptural treatment of non-Muslims and the actual practice of jihad only serves to perpetuate a myth.

Qadri and many others who adopt this position are, sadly, engaged in setting up a smokescreen. The tactic, as a comment explains, may be found online:
"To get people to believe in two contradictory beliefs, present them both as part of a larger belief system where it is more important to accept the whole system than question 'minor' inconsistencies within it."
That, surely, is exactly how Qadri and so many others (even members of America's left-leaning parties) come to function.

It is crucial to be able to see and identify this smokescreen if we do not want to throw the baby (opposition to Islamic terrorism) out with the bathwater (whitewashing the truth). Nevertheless, it is vital to expose and to challenge it if we are ever to come to terms with the true nature of Islam as an expansionist, religio-political ideology.


When Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri conceals important information and distorts Arabic vocabulary in order to drive home a narrative of Islam's deep connection to peace and security, he is engaged in setting up a smokescreen. (Image source: ServingIslam/Wikimedia Commons)
Dr. Denis MacEoin has spent a lifetime studying Islam and related matters. He has been a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute since 2014.
Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10283/islam-facts

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Netanyahu's Bold Move Against Europe - Caroline Glick




by Caroline Glick


Israel is finally taking a constructive position in its own defense.



Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adopted a new strategy for managing Israel’s diplomatic relations with the West. Long in the making and increasingly urgent, Israel’s new strategy is very simple. Foreign governments can either treat Israel in accordance with international diplomatic norms of behavior, or they can continue to discriminate against Israel.

If they act in accordance to international diplomatic norms, Israel will respond in like fashion. If they choose instead to discriminate against Israel and treat it in a manner no other democratic state is treated, Israel will abandon diplomatic convention and treat foreign governments as domestic critics.

On Monday, after his repeated requests for Germany’s visiting Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel to cancel his plans to meet with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, Netanyahu gave Gabriel an ultimatum. Gabriel could meet with Netanyahu, or he could meet with Breaking the Silence.

Gabriel refused to cancel his meeting with Breaking the Silence. So Netanyahu canceled their meeting.

To understand the strategic significance of Netanyahu’s decision and what further steps are now required to ensure the success of his strategy, it is necessary to understand what Breaking the Silence represents. It is then important to recognize how it is used by Berlin and other foreign governments.

But first, Netanyahu’s move has to be seen in a general context.

Today’s Western democracies are in a furor over the notion that foreign governments would dare to interfere in their domestic affairs. The uproar in the US over Russia and in Europe over Turkish efforts to drum up support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan among Turkish nationals in Europe make clear how roundly democracies decry attempts by foreign governments to influence their internal politics.

This then brings us to Israel, and the unique rules that the West applies in its dealing with the Jewish state.

In the final quarter of the 20th century, European and other Western states abandoned their earlier support for Israel. From 1974 on, Europeans could be depended on to either support condemnations of Israel at the UN and other international forums, or to abstain from votes.

Whereas from 1974 to 2000, European hostility was largely limited to the diplomatic arena, beginning in 2000, the Europeans began to expand their anti-Israel policies to the Israeli domestic political sphere.

After the PLO abandoned the peace process with Israel at the July 2000 Camp David summit and initiated its terrorist war against Israel two months later, the Europeans began massively funding radical leftist groups registered as NGOs in Israel. The collapse of the peace process and the initiation of the Palestinian terrorist war all but dried up domestic support for groups like Peace Now, B’Tselem and Rabbis for Human Rights. But with millions of euros in their pockets and the unconditional diplomatic support of Europe, these groups were able to become players in Israel’s domestic politics and cause massive harm to Israel’s international standing.

As for the Europeans, their Israeli contractors gave them the ability to fend off allegations that they were antisemites engaged in systematic and prejudicial discrimination against the Jewish state.

Every time Israeli officials and others protested about their unfair treatment of Israel, the Europeans responded that they were simply restating allegations made by Israelis.

The fact that the Israelis they quoted were only able to speak because Europe paid for their microphones was entirely beside the point, as was the fact that those Israelis reflected the views of next to no one in Israel.

In the face of this assault – fronted by Israel-registered organizations staffed by Israelis, for the past 17 years, official Israel has been paralyzed. First it didn’t know how to respond. And second, when it responded, it was beset with the prospect of Europe retaliating by backing its political war against Israel with economic warfare.

As a result, time after time, Israel buckled to European pressure. Consequently, it saw its international status undermined and its very right to sovereignty questioned.

The most significant example of that buckling came in 2008, when then-prime minister Ehud Olmert agreed to transfer Israel’s postal codes to the EU and so enabled the Europeans to discriminate against Israeli products made beyond the 1949 armistice lines.

In another example, in 2013, then-minister Bennie Begin convinced the government to bow to European pressure – exerted through its Israel-registered nonprofits – to legalize Beduin settlements in the Negev built on stolen state land.

In both instances, far from placating the Europeans and their Israeli contractors, these actions convinced them to escalate their pressure against Israel and to adopt ever more prejudicial positions against the Jewish state.

The playing field between Israel and Europe has shifted in recent years. Today, the EU is fighting for its life. Donald Trump’s victory in November, Britain’s decision to exit the EU, and the growing power of anti-EU forces in Europe have all had a debilitating impact on Brussels’ ability to throw its weight around in the global arena.

Moreover, over the past several years, the government has actively promoted expanding Israeli trade to Asia. One motivation for the policy is the desire to diminish Europe’s economic leverage over Israel.

The diminishment of Europe’s power advantage over Israel set the conditions for Netanyahu’s adoption of his strategy for dealing with Europe’s war against it.

And just in a nick of time. Because as Europe becomes less powerful, Europe’s policies toward Israel become more toxic.

And this brings us to the nature of Breaking the Silence.

Breaking the Silence, which was formed in 2002, is a group dedicated to libeling the IDF and its soldiers and officers by constantly accusing them of carrying out war crimes. Since its inception, Breaking the Silence’s budget has come almost entirely from European governments. Germany is a major backer.

Germany’s interest in Breaking the Silence is understandable. As polls taken between 2011 and 2015 showed, between a third and half of Germans view Israel as the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany. The Palestinians, by their telling, are the new Jews.

Likewise, a large majority of Germans is sick of hearing about the Holocaust. And an even larger majority says that Israel is behaving unjustly toward the Palestinians.

Breaking the Silence’s work not only legitimizes these views, shielding them from condemnation as indications of the growing virulence of German Jew-hatred. It also, to a degree, justifies the Holocaust. After all, if the Jews are as evil as the Nazis, then they are illegitimate actors who deserve to be defeated.

Europe’s rapidly escalating campaign against Israel can be viewed through its rapidly escalating embrace of these groups.

According to senior Foreign Ministry officials, until very recently, European governments conducted their meetings with these organizations in private, far from the glare of television cameras.

This changed in February. During his visit to Israel, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel shocked Netanyahu when in defiance of Netanyahu’s request, he personally met with Breaking the Silence during his official visit to Israel.

Last month, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson went even further.

Johnson, who has a reputation for being a friend to Israel, surprised Netanyahu and his advisers when, during their meeting he all but refused to discuss anything but Israeli construction beyond the 1949 armistice lines.

Ahead of his meeting with Netanyahu, Johnson traveled to Judea with Peace Now and got himself photographed looking gravely at a map held by a Peace Now leader who pointed to where Jews were building in the area around metropolitan Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim.

When Johnson was asked by reporters why he wasn’t meeting as well with representatives of the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, he scoffed. Netanyahu will give the other side of the story, he insisted.

In other words, for Johnson, Netanyahu was expected to answer the allegations launched against his government by a European-funded NGO. Johnson treated Peace Now as a more credible source of information than the government.

During his visit, Peace Now served as a general prosecutor of Israel. Johnson treated Netanyahu as the defendant. And he, whose government funds Peace Now, served as judge and jury.

Gabriel’s decision to opt for a meeting with Breaking the Silence over a meeting with Netanyahu took matters one step forward. In acting as he did, Gabriel showed that as he sees things, Israel’s elected leader is less legitimate than representatives of an organization that legitimizes German antisemitism.

By refusing to meet with Gabriel, Netanyahu made clear that new rules will now apply to Europe and other Western governments that have joined Europe’s campaign against Israel. But his move – while important – is not enough.

To ensure that his strategy of demanding that Europe treat Israel in a manner that accords with diplomatic norms, Netanyahu needs to take additional steps. Like his decision to deny Gabriel diplomatic cover for his meeting with anti-Israel groups, Netanyahu needs to deny Western governments diplomatic immunity for their other actions aimed at undermining the government’s capacity to carry out its domestic duties.

For instance, one of the major ways that European- funded groups subvert the government is by suing the government in local courts. The government must require the foreign governments that fund these groups to appear as sides in the court battles. In this manner, the government can ask the courts to compel these foreign governments to hand over documents relevant to the cases being adjudicated.

So, too, the government should require foreign government- funded groups to submit all communications between their representatives and those governments, and all internal documents of foreign governmental funders relating to their decision to fund the Israel-registered group. Given that the goal of the funding is to interfere with domestic Israeli affairs, those communications should not enjoy diplomatic immunity.

The penalty for failing to present all the required documents will be the imposition of a 100% tax on the foreign government contributions to the Israel-registered nonprofit.

Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of Netanyahu’s diplomatic gambit this week is that opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog refused to support him. Instead, Herzog sided with Gabriel. He insisted that Netanyahu harmed Israel’s relations with Germany by demanding to be treated in a manner that comports with international norms.

For decades, the political Left has claimed that it can manage Israel’s diplomatic ties better than the Right, which it castigates as inept, incompetent and dangerous to Israel’s international standing. By failing to recognize why Netanyahu’s move was vital for Israel’s international standing, or to understand that international conditions have changed sufficiently to allow Israel to stand up for itself, Herzog and his colleagues showed that their boastful claims to diplomatic capabilities are empty.

Netanyahu took a necessary first step toward implementing a constructive strategy for handling Western diplomatic warfare. More steps are still required for this strategy to succeed. But at least, for the first time in years, Israel is finally taking a constructive position in its own defense.


Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266544/netanyahus-bold-move-against-europe-caroline-glick

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California Democrats Make Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day Disappear - Lloyd Billingsley




by Lloyd Billingsley


CAIR-sponsored “Muslim Day at the Capitol” takes its place.




Monday April 24 was Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day and in Los Angeles thousands marched in the street outside the Turkish consulate. Up in Sacramento, ruling Democrats ignored the Armenians and instead held “Muslim Day at the Capitol,” hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Trump reignites ‘spirit of justice’ for Muslim Day at Capitol,” headlined the news article in the Sacramento Bee, whose April 24 edition included not a word about the Armenians’ day. As CAIR’s Yannina Casillas explained, “The election of Trump and the campaign in general kind of reignited a spirit of justice within the community that was very much dormant.  A lot of people are really interested in getting more involved.”

CAIR supports several bills now pending in the state legislature, including Senate Bill 54, which bars state or local law enforcement from using their resources to help federal immigration enforcement. The measure would “prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.” The bill also requires public schools, libraries, health facilities and courthouses to adopt similar policies.

CAIR is also the co-sponsor of Senate Bill 31, which “would prohibit a state or local agency or a public employee acting under color of law from providing or disclosing to the federal government personal information regarding a person’s religious beliefs, practices, or affiliation, as specified, when the information is sought for compiling a database of individuals based on religious belief practice or affiliation, national origin, or ethnicity for law enforcement or immigration purposes.”

A press conference highlighted those measures and Assembly Bill 158, which requires law enforcement agencies to indicate whether an incident was “bias related,” supposedly an aide to more accurate reporting of “hate crimes.” As Yannina Casillas explained in the April 24 CAIR press release, “Our nation needs us to build a better, bolder future. We have our work cut out for us, but we are ready to act against fear. This is the time to roll up our sleeves and be courageous.”

California governor Jerry Brown, who has been pardoning criminal deportees, issued no official statement on the April 24 “Muslim Day” event.  Neither did state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a favorite of CAIR and a supporter of sanctuary policies.

Government disrespect for Armenians is highly unusual in a state that is home to the largest Armenian community outside of the Armenian nation. More than 200,000 people of Armenian descent live in Los Angeles County alone and Armenians thrive in Fresno, home of the late novelist and playwright William Saroyan.

George Deukmejian served as California’s attorney general from 1979 to 1983 and as governor from 1983 to 1991. Deukmejian’s parents came to the United States in the early 1900s to escape the Armenian genocide, which claimed the life of his aunt. Many Californians have similar stories.

“When you’re Armenian, history is a loaded subject,” wrote Liz Ohanesian in the April 24 LA Weekly, “Ours is one that was almost erased.” As she wrote, “we commemorate the Armenian Genocide, in which 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were killed by their own government. Those who survived spread out across the globe,” including her own grandparents. Books on the genocide were “so brutally violent, so filled with hate, that I couldn’t forget them,” and “eerily similar” to her family’s ordeals.

For Armenians, Ohanesian wrote, “a group of people conspired to try and ensure that people like you don't exist. Despite that, you are here.” The survivors and their offspring have been “tasked with keeping the Armenian story from ending.”  As the day of remembrance approached, nothing like that appeared in the Sacramento Bee and the Armenians got no help at all from the government of their state.

Muslims represent a religion, Islam, not a race, nationality or ethnic group. Even so, the “Muslim Day” event brought no objection from militant advocates of church-state separation such as the ACLU. A “Baptist Day at the Capitol,” sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention, would doubtless provoke a lawsuit accompanied by demonstrations.

California’s government, meanwhile, has never celebrated an official “Armenian Day at the Capitol.” State Democrats are now willing to disrespect the Armenians while showing special favors to Muslims, the very religious group that attempted to exterminate the Armenians and is now the world’s leading persecutor of Christians and other religious groups. That is about as bad as it gets but in the Golden State things can always get worse.

A current candidate for Lieutenant Governor is Dr. Asif Mahmood, a “proud Muslim,” who proclaims, “I’ll be a triple threat to Donald Trump. I’m running for office to fight against him, and to fight for our families.”

California’s Lieutenant Governor performs ceremonial duties but when the need arises he becomes “acting governor.”

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation, and Bill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield.

Source: http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266508/california-democrats-make-armenian-genocide-lloyd-billingsley

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UNESCO to vote on anti-Israel resolution on Israel's Independence Day - Shlomo Cesana




by Shlomo Cesana

Resolution, submitted by Arab countries on behalf of Palestinians, rejects Israeli sovereignty over entire city of Jerusalem • Israeli official urges U.N. cultural body to "stop the politicization that has been undermining the organization's status."



The Temple Mount in Jerusalem
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Photo credit: Reuters


Shlomo Cesana

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=42067

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France's Muslims in the runoff election - Dr. Mordechai Kedar




by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Or: Why Marine Le Pen has a good chance of being France's next president.

The first round in the French elections held on Sunday, April 23rd, resulted in the selection of two front-runners, Emanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, both of whom are a far cry from representing routine politics.

Le Pen succeeded in reaching the runoff election mainly due to her anti-immigration agenda – that is, her anti-Muslim immigrant agenda. Most of the Muslim immigrants arrive in France from North Africa: Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco and a great many Frenchmen fear that their country is being conquered by another culture. They believe that only someone like Le Pen can save France from the flood of migrants coming in from outside the country and possibly from the high natural growth rate of those already inside it.

Le Pen's running in the second round of elections to take place on Sunday, May 7th, immediately leads to the question of whether she has a chance of being chosen to lead France. The standard response is that her chances are slight, because all the political powers-that-be, right and left, will join forces against her, along with all Muslims who have the right to vote and who make up about 10% of eligible voters – because of the undisguised hatred for Muslims and Islam she and her supporters represent.

This article will attempt to delineate the trends that characterize Muslims in France, a picture that is much more complex than it seems to be at first glance.

The immigrants to France hailing from Islamic regimes are not made of one cloth. They are divided into various subgroups whose interests are not identical and whose attitudes to Marine Le Pen are a function of those interests.

First of all, Christians, mainly from Lebanon, account for a significant number of the immigrants from Arab countries. They usually are opposed to Muslim immigration, because either their forefathers or they themselves left their Arab birthplaces in order to escape the persecution the Muslims meted out to Christians there. Examples that spring to mind are the Copts in Egypt and the Assyrians of Iraq and Syria.

Le Pen's second-in-line in the National Front party comes from a family of Lebanese immigrants and speaks openly against Muslim immigration. Le Pen resigned from her position as party head so as to free time for her presidential campaign and in order to become "everyone's president," making him the new party head – and making it probable that many Christian immigrants will vote for Le Pen.

Secondly, when it comes to status, one can say that the Muslim immigrants to France are roughly divided into "newcomers" and "old-timers." The old-timers, most of whom are citizens by now, came in the 70s and 80s of the previous century, while the newcomers came after the year 2000.  If Le Pen wins, she cannot legally expel the longtime immigrants or send them back home.  In contrast, the number of recent immigrants without French citizenship is much higher, and they could possibly be "persuaded" to leave, as Le Pen would like to do if she is elected.

Tensions run high between the "old-timers" and the "newcomers" for several reasons:

The longtime immigrants are financially secure, some are in business, and among them are those who take advantage of the "newcomers," paying them low wages, giving them cash so as to avoid paying for social benefits, working them long hours under substandard conditions.

Many of the longtime immigrants have adopted French culture, eat whatever is put on their plates and drink whatever is poured into their wine glasses. The newcomers are closer to Islamic tradition, are less prone to fit into the culture and surrounding society and are seen as a cultural threat to the old-timers.  That is why not a small number of the longtime immigrants will cast their vote for Le Pen, hoping she will be able to stop the immigration of more newcomers.

Third, since most of the Muslim immigrants to France are from the North African countries of Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, many of them see France as "their" country – and they are opposed to immigration from other Arab countries such as Iraq and Syria, or from non-Arab Islamic countries such as Mali, Chad, Afghanistan and Turkey. The tension can be sensed in the air and is a cause of friction between the different groups.

For example, in 2015, when the large wave of migrants arrived in Europe, most went to Germany and Sweden, with only a small minority reaching France.  Algerians living in France had openly expressed their opposition to the entry of Muslims from Syria and other countries, saying that "France belongs to the Algerians" and that they would "take care" of any other Arab or Muslim arriving in France. The immigrant masses "got the message" and went on to Germany and Sweden.

Today, the immigrants from North Africa who have the right to vote can stop the Arab and Muslim immigration from other regions – and chances are that a good many of them will support Le Pen so that she can keep the immigrants from other areas out of "their" France. Le Pen's plan to leave the European Union also garners approval in the eyes of many immigrants who fear the open borders will lead to migrants who came to other EU countries moving to France now that conditions have worsened in Germany and Sweden. This is seen as a possible threat to the employment of longtime immigrants and to the status they have attained after living in France for a long period.

It is quite possible that the anti-Jewish sentiments expressed by Le Pen have made her more attractive to Muslim voters. Recently, she denied the part played by the French in the Holocaust, when French police hunted down Jews and sent them to their deaths by train. Even Israel's President Reuven Rivlin spoke out against her. And if official Israel opposes Le Pen, her value automatically goes up in the eyes of many Muslims.

The points raised here lead to two conclusions: 1. The Arab and Muslim communities in France are not uniformly opposed to Marine Le Pen, and 2. Some of the Arab and Muslim immigrants who have the right to vote will cast their ballots for her.

The Terrorists' "Contribution"

If, G-d forbid and Heaven forfend, there is a terrorist attack in France perpetrated by some Muslim terrorist close to the day the runoff election is to take place, many of the people who would have normally stayed at home will make sure to go to the polls to vote for Le Pen. They see Le Pen as the only one who can do something to save France from the devastating terror that has immigrated to their homeland in such strength.

There may well be some terrorists planning an attack – and possibly a mega attack – for the election period, in order to help Le Pen win. They want war now, conflict now, Jihad today. They want to force the Muslim masses in France out into the streets to demonstrate against Le Pen and her anti-Muslim policies, to turn French cities into battlefields against the Republic. They know there is no way to be rid of the millions of immigrants who live in France today and are convinced that a short period of riots and mayhem will persuade the French that they had better leave their countr, leaving it "pure" and in the hands of Muslims. They are in a hurry to see this happen and lack the patience to wait.

All this gives Marine Le Pen a good chance of being elected the next president of France. The polls do not reflect it yet, but then, they didn't predict that Trump would be president of the United States either.

Translated by Rochel Sylvetsky, Arutz Sheva Senior English Site Consultant and Op-ed and Judaism Editor.


Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/20449

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Saudi Arabia's 'Lavish' Gift to Indonesia: Radical Islam - Mohshin Habib




by Mohshin Habib

The real purpose of the [Saudi king's] trip was to promote and enhance Salafism, an extremist Sunni strain, in the world's largest Muslim country, frequently hailed in the West as an example of a moderate Islamic society.

  • Prior to Saudi Arabia's attempts to spread Salafism across the Muslim world, Indonesia did not have terrorist organizations such as Hamas Indonesia, Laskar Jihad, Hizbut Tahrir, Islamic Defenders Front and Jemmah Islamiyah, to name just a few. Today, it is rife with these groups.
  • A mere three weeks after the Saudi king wrapped up his trip, at least 15,000 hard-line Islamist protesters took to the streets of Jakarta after Friday prayers, calling for the imprisonment of the capital city's Christian governor, who is on trial for "blaspheming the Quran."
  • In a separate crisis, crowds were demanding that Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known familiarly as Ashok) be jailed for telling a group of fishermen that, as they are fed lies about how the Quran forbids Muslims from being governed by a kafir (infidel), he could understand why some of them might not have voted for him. If convicted, Ashok stands to serve up to five years in prison.
Accompanied by a 1,500-strong entourage, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz arrived in Indonesia on March 1 for a nine-day gala tour. He was welcomed warmly not only as the monarch of one of the world's richest countries, but as the custodian of Islam's two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina.

While appearing to be taking a holiday rather than embarking on an official state visit -- the 81-year-old sovereign spent six days at a resort in Bali -- the king had some serious business to attend to. In what was advertised as an effort to promote "social interaction" between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia -- with His Majesty announcing a billion-dollar aid package, unlimited flights between the two countries and the allotment of 50,000 extra spots per year for Indonesian pilgrims to make the hajj to Mecca and Medina – it seems as if the real purpose of the trip was to promote and enhance Salafism, an extremist Sunni strain, in the world's largest Muslim country, frequently hailed in the West as an example of a moderate Islamic society.


President Joko Widodo of Indonesia (foreground, left) meets with King Salman of Saudi Arabia (foreground, right), at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Indonesia. (Image source: Indonesian Presidential Palace)

Jakarta-based journalist Krithika Varagur, writing in The Atlantic on the second day of the king's visit, describes Saudi efforts in Indonesia:
"Since 1980, Saudi Arabia has devoted millions of dollars to exporting its strict brand of Islam, Salafism, to historically tolerant and diverse Indonesia. It has built more than 150 mosques (albeit in a country that has about 800,000), a huge free university in Jakarta, and several Arabic language institutes; supplied more than 100 boarding schools with books and teachers (albeit in a country estimated to have between 13,000 and 30,000 boarding schools); brought in preachers and teachers; and disbursed thousands of scholarships for graduate study in Saudi Arabia."
This Saudi influence has taken a serious toll on Indonesia, 90% of whose 250 million people are Sunnis. Despite its pluralistic constitution, which says, "The state guarantees each and every citizen the freedom of religion and of worship in accordance with his religion and belief," Indonesia -- which declared independence in 1945 -- has grown increasingly intolerant towards Christians, Hindus and Shiite Muslims.

Prior to Saudi Arabia's attempts to spread Salafism across the Muslim world, Indonesia did not have terrorist organizations such as Hamas Indonesia, Laskar Jihad, Hizbut Tahrir, Islamic Defenders Front and Jemmah Islamiyah, to name just a few.

Today, it is rife with these groups, which adhere strictly to Islamic sharia law, Saudi Arabia's binding legal system, and which promote it in educational institutions. Like al-Qaeda and ISIS, they deny women equal rights, believe in death by stoning for adulterers and hand amputation for thieves, and in executing homosexuals and "apostate" Muslims.

The most recent example of the way in which this extremism has swept Indonesia took place a mere three weeks after the Saudi king wrapped up his trip. On March 31, at least 15,000 hard-line Islamist protesters took to the streets of Jakarta after Friday prayers, calling for the imprisonment of the capital city's Christian governor, who is on trial for "blaspheming the Quran."

This paled in comparison to the crowds -- numbering about 200,000 at each violent rally -- which flooded the city last November, December and February. The crowds were demanding that Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known familiarly as Ashok) be jailed for telling a group of fishermen that, as they are fed lies about how the Quran forbids Muslims from being governed by a kafir, an infidel, he could understand why some of them might not have voted for him. If convicted, Ashok stands to serve up to five years in prison.

Sadly, such a jail term is nothing, when one considers the Islamist prison that the country as a whole has become -- courtesy of King Salman and his lavish "gifts."


Mohshin Habib

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10228/indonesia-saudi-arabia

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North Korea launches new missile. US sabotages - debkaFile




by debkaFile

  It was test-fired Saturday as a deliberate act of defiance by Kim Jong-un in the face of Trump’s warning Thursday

North Korean ballistic missile explodes
North Korea early Saturday, April 29, launched a medium ballistic missile. It failed, detonating in North air space seconds after launch, just like the first one that was sabotaged by the US on April 16, debkafile reports. US President Donald Trump tweeted as soon as he was informed: “North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!”

He as apparently hinting that he would wait for China’s reaction before the US took action.

This missile was also the same as the first, a KN-17, a single-stage, short to medium range, liquid-fueled Scud or No Dong variant. It was test-fired Saturday as a deliberate act of defiance by Kim Jong-un in the face of Trump’s warning Thursday, “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict” over his expanding nuclear and missile capabilities. Hours earlier, on Friday, American, Chinese and Russian foreign ministers all stood up at the UN Security Council meeting in New York to demand that he give up his nuclear and missile programs.

State Department Secretary Rex Tillerson called for tough new action to punish Pyongyang.


The latest missile launch was not announced by Pyongyang. Nor was it fired from the usual base near the port city of Sinpo, but a site near the capital. US military sources estimated that the KN-17, most likely an upgraded Scud missile adapted for anti-ship warfare, was intended to support Kim’s threat to sink one of the US warships approaching Korean waters with two Japanese destroyers.

One of Tokyo's major subways systems says it shut down all lines for 10 minutes early Saturday after receiving warning of a North Korean missile launch. Tokyo Metro official Hiroshi Takizawa says the temporary suspension affected 13,000 passengers.


debkaFile

Source: http://debka.com/article/26032/North-Korea-launches-new-missile-US-sabotages

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