Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hamas Isn't the IRA

PRESS RELEASE: UK media snub Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad’s achievements in the West Bank, while US press reports progress

by Carmel Gould

The UK broadsheet newspapers have ignored the major economic and security advances in the West Bank under Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, surely one of the most newsworthy topics to emerge from the contemporary Middle East. A report published today by Just Journalism contrasts this blinkered approach by British journalists with the keen interest shown by major US publications in the considerable progress made over the last two and a half years.

The report, entitled, “Salam Fayyad and the drive towards Palestinian statehood” is a comprehensive review of relevant coverage over nine months in the five UK broadsheets - The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, The Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph - as well as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time Magazine and Newsweek.

The study shows that dramatic improvements for Palestinians in the West Bank - a result of Salam Fayyad’s unique leadership, co-operation from Israel and support from the US - have been ignored or severely underplayed in the British press, which generally presented a focus on grassroots improvements simply as a ruse by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stunt political progress.

Writing in the report’s foreword, Hussein Ibish, a Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, said:

“The Just Journalism report is a welcome contribution to research into media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hopefully it will alert the British press to what certainly appears to be a blind spot in its range of vision on the conflict. What is happening on the ground in the West Bank, initiated by and for Palestinians themselves and designed to both complement negotiations and bring the day of independence forward, deserves more attention than it’s received anywhere in the world thus far. It certainly deserves more attention than it appears to have received in the UK.”

Just Journalism’s Executive Director Michael Weiss commented: “Salam Fayyad is one of the most extraordinary figures to emerge from the Arab-Israeli conflict in decades: a Western-educated technocrat who, not without controversy, has supplanted the idea of armed ‘resistance’ with the language of interest rates and law and order. Almost as extraordinary as his achievements as prime minister is the British press’s utter dismissal of them as unworthy of discussion or debate.”

Key findings of the report:

• The US media attribute real importance to Salam Fayyad and his active approach to state-building, whereas the UK media find him to be irrelevant in the grand scheme of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

• Whilst a measure of diversity exists within both the UK and the US, in general, the US media are more supportive of Fayyad and his politics than the UK media

• The UK media identify an emphasis on restarting the Palestinian economy with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom they broadly dislike, whereas the US media identify it with Fayyad’s own focus on this subject

• The UK media present the focus on economic improvement in the West Bank as a ruse by Netanyahu to distract focus from reaching a full political settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, indicating a strong inclination to emphasise points of conflict over potential co-operation

• UK media coverage of Fayyad is more likely to give ultimate emphasis to the problem of settlements whereas US media coverage does not conflate the subject of economic success in the West Bank with the problem of settlements

Carmel Gould

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

Fundamentally Freund: Atoning for the land

by Michael Freund

This past week contained two significant anniversaries, both of which underline how we have not shown enough appreciation or love for the holy soil upon which we tread.

It is the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Naturally, it is a time of reflection, a period when each of us is called upon to examine our deeds and confront the reality of our own foibles and failings.

Few of us can claim to be living up to the ideals that we often set for ourselves, as life is often fraught with setbacks and challenges. But our tradition teaches that we must never despair, nor forgo the opportunity to continually strive and improve ourselves.

What is true for individuals is no less true for a nation, and it is time for us to come to terms with an uncomfortable and embarrassing truth: We need to atone for our treatment of this very special land.

Ever since the miraculous events of the 1967 Six Day War, successive governments have turned their backs on various parts of our historic patrimony, treating them as little more than bargaining chips or mere real estate. In just the past few decades, Israel has turned over Sinai, withdrawn from Gaza, retreated from parts of Judea and Samaria and offered to cede control over eastern Jerusalem.

However well-intentioned it may have been, this steady march of capitulation has brought the nation little more than a bitter dose of violence and bloodshed. And it has been an affront, a vulgar insult, to the land itself.

Indeed, this past week contained two significant anniversaries, both of which underline how we have not shown enough appreciation or love for the holy soil upon which we tread.

The first was on Monday, which marked 17 years since the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords on the White House lawn, when Israel undertook to hand territory over to the Palestinians. That dreadful deal laid the groundwork for the return of the PLO, and set off a wave of terror and bloodshed that was unprecedented in Israel’s modern history.

Nearly two decades later, we are still grappling with the consequences, which now see a fundamentalist Hamas regime in Gaza and a hostile Palestinian Authority leadership ensconced in Ramallah.

Thanks to Oslo, phrases such as “bus bombing” and “suicide attack” entered into our political and security lexicon, and thousands of Israelis lost their lives.

The deal itself was a watershed event, signifying a fateful attempt by the government to turn its back on Jewish history by ignoring Jewish destiny. Not surprisingly, it brought nothing but disaster in its wake.

But there was another, no less painful, commemoration this week, marking an event that should be seared in the consciousness of everyone who witnessed it. It was exactly 10 years ago yesterday, on the Hebrew calendar, that the IDF withdrew from Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, in one of the most humiliating scenes in the nation’s modern history.

The move came after Palestinian policemen and Fatah terrorists launched a coordinated assault on the sacred burial ground of our biblical forebear. Displaying their customary respect for Jewish holy sites, the attackers had surrounded the compound, strafed it with automatic-weapons fire and attempted to seize it by force.

Rather than standing firm in the face of the onslaught, then-prime minister issued an astonishing order for the IDF to pull out under fire and surrender territory to the Palestinians as a direct result of violence.

Rarely has a country’s shame been on such public display. Can you imagine the British army abandoning Westminster or the US Marines fleeing the Washington Memorial? That shameful retreat embodied the new-found disregard for the land that has unfortunately taken root among many of our decision-makers. It has continued into the present, whether in the form of freezing Jewish construction, or even discussing the possibility of dividing the land.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. If Yom Kippur teaches us anything, it is the power of repentance, the ability that we have to erase the sins of our past through a series of corrective measures.

We too must now repent, not only for our individual wrongdoing, but for our failure to cherish and safeguard this land. As a first step, let’s stop referring to these areas as “territories” or “the West Bank,” and start using their ancient and historical names instead: Judea and Samaria. That is how the Bible refers to them, and how our ancestors knew them.

And let’s show a greater deal of respect for our natural resources, from forests to water to our coastline, preserving and maintaining their wholesomeness and purity. That, too, is a sign of admiration and reverence.

But perhaps most importantly, we can show how much we love this little corner of the Middle East by filling every available hilltop with Jews and reinforcing our presence here. A good place to start would be with Joseph’s Tomb, where we must right the historical wrong that was done a decade ago and reassert full control.
Doing so will send a message to our enemies that we shall never again retreat, and that we will defend our right to live and worship in this land as we see fit.

Toward the end of Deuteronomy (chapter 32), God promises to “render atonement to His land and His people.”

Sometimes, it would seem, it is through the land that our sins can be expiated, by building, nourishing and cherishing it.

But just as the land atones for us, so too must we now atone for it. So let’s toss aside any ideas of withdrawal, and reaffirm our determination to cling to it.

Michael Freund

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

The Gaza Strip: Why Is Washington Sticking Its Head in the Sand?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

The US Administration, which just forced Israel and the Palestinian Authority to enter direct peace negotiations, seems to have completely forgotten about the Gaza Strip. Perhaps Washington is deliberately sticking its head in the sand; and perhaps we should all stop dreaming?

The peace process is going nowhere and everyone is just pretending: it is important to remind everyone of what they want to conceal or forget.

The Americans seem to be ignoring Gaza: Possibly -- even though the Gaza Strip is back in the news as rockets and mortars are again being fired into Israel -- they do not want the grim reality to spoil the Peace Process Party.They know that for now the Gaza Strip is a lost cause, so they pretend the problem does not exist.

If the Obama administration is hoping that a peace deal might prompt the Hamas and the residents of the Gaza Strip to seek a similar deal, they are they are being naïve; on the contrary, such a deal would only increase Hamas's determination to step up its efforts -- with the help of Syria and iran -- to scuttle the peace process.

The first and most important question that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton need to ask themselves is whether the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, would ever even be able to implement a peace agreement in the Gaza Strip.

Abbas and his Fatah faction fled the Gaza Strip just over three years ago, handing it over to Hamas. As soon as Hamas started shooting in the summer of 2007, Abbas's forces and loyalists either surrendered or ran away.

They gave Hamas everything, including security headquarters, weapons, and government offices.

The handful of Fatah policemen and militiamen who chose to put up a fight were swiftly crushed by Hamas.

Since then, Abbas has not been able to set foot in the Gaza Strip. He is not even able to visit his private residence, which was seized by Hamas.

The Palestinian president is not a fool and he is acting properly by following the advice of his security advisors not to even consider the idea of visiting the Gaza Strip.

Abbas's seaside headquarters, once an important symbol of the Palestinian Authority's control over the Gaza Strip, has been turned into a Hamas detention center, where many of the president's loyalists are being held and tortured at the hands of the Islamist movement.

Have Obama and Clinton ever given a thought as to whether the Palestinian president has the power to enforce a peace agreement in the "southern part of Palestine" - the Gaza Strip?

Any peace agreement Abbas reaches with Israel will apply only to those areas in the West Bank that are under the jurisdiction or control of the Palestinian Authority.

By being forced out of the Gaza Strip, Abbas lost direct control over some 1.5 million Palestinians, roughly half the Palestinians living in the Palestinian territories.

There are also doubts as to whether Abbas would even be able to impose, or sell, a peace agreement to many of his constituents in the West Bank, particularly those living in refugee camps.

So if Abbas cannot go to the Gaza Strip and has limited control over the West Bank, where is he supposed to implement a peace agreement? In downtown Ramallah? In Tel Aviv?

The way matters seem to be these days, it is highly unlikely that Abbas and Fatah would be returning to the Gaza Strip, at least not in the foreseeable future.

The Palestinian and Israeli negotiators and their US sponsors are continuing to ignore the facts on the ground -- namely that a radical, Iranian-funded Islamist state already exists, and it is in the Gaza Strip.

It would have been more useful for the peace process had Washington demanded that Abbas find a solution to the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip before dragging him to the negotiating table.

Khaled Abu Toameh

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

If War Comes: Israel vs. Hizballah and Its Allies

by Jeffrey White

The next war on Israel's northern border will bear little resemblance to the 2006 confrontation between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hizballah in Lebanon. This conflict is likely to be broader and much more intense, certainly Israel's most serious since 1973, with the potential to transform the wider region both militarily and politically.

In this new Washington Institute Policy Focus, Jeffrey White offers not a prediction of war, but rather an estimation of what renewed hostilities between Israel and Hizballah might look like. In a meticulously calculated forecast of the future battlefield -- supplemented by original maps and graphics -- White outlines the capabilities and operational objectives of the two sides, the potentially game-changing roles played by Syria and Iran, and the possible impact on the region's postconflict military and political environments.

White concludes that this is the war the IDF must win. For the losers -- and for the region -- the consequences may be fateful, and Washington should be developing its own concrete plans and preparatory steps now.

Jeffrey White

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

The “peace process” diverting our leadership’s attention away from Iran and its nuclear weapons program.

by Caroline Glick

The current flurry of diplomatic activity is deeply disturbing. It isn’t simply that the Obama administration has strong-armed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into participating in diplomatic theater with the PLO whose successful completion will leave Israel weaker and less defensible. It isn’t merely that the newest “peace process” diverts our leadership’s attention away from Iran and its nuclear weapons program.

The most disturbing aspect of the latest round of the diplomatic kabuki is that Israel’s leaders and Israel’s staunch friends in the US are enthusiastically participating in this dangerous project.

True, Netanyahu is in an unenviable position, situated as he is between US President Barack Obama’s rock and hard place. Instead of standing up to this hostile American leader, Netanyahu is desperately seeking a magical concession to get Obama off his back.

Netanyahu’s preference for appeasement is both ironic and destructive. It is ironic because he has turned to appeasement at the very moment that the notion it is possible to appease Obama has self-destructed.

Ten months ago Netanyahu found what he hoped was a magic concession. Capitulating to Obama, the Jewish state’s leader prohibited all Jewish building in Judea and Samaria for a period of 10 months. This unprecedented move to discriminate against Jews was supposed to get Obama off Netanyahu’s back. It didn’t.

Obama’s public demand this week that Netanyahu extend the abrogation of Jewish property rights shows he will not be appeased.

There is no magic concession. Every concession to Obama – like every Israeli concession to the Arabs – is considered both permanent and a starting point for further concessions.

And so Netanyahu concedes more. Not only has he effectively agreed to extend the discriminatory ban on Jewish rights. Netanyahu has moved on to even more outrageous concessions.

According to the Lebanese media, Netanyahu has agreed to surrender large swathes of the Golan Heights to Iran’s Arab puppet, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. According to the reports, Netanyahu empowered Obama’s emissary George Mitchell to present his offer to Assad in Damascus and even furnished Mitchell with detailed maps of his proposed surrender.

If Netanyahu thinks that this move will diminish US pressure for a full withdrawal from Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, he is in for an unpleasant surprise. Mitchell made this clear at his press conference Wednesday. Mitchell said the “two tracks can be complementary and mutually beneficial if we can proceed to a comprehensive peace on more than one track.”

In plain English that means that the administration feels perfectly comfortable pressuring Israel to surrender to the Syrians and to the Palestinians at the same time.

Leaving aside the strategic insanity of surrender talks with Syria, it cannot be said too strongly that the talks with the Palestinians have absolutely no upside for Israel.

Many observers have pointed out that PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas is unlikely to make a deal. And this is probably true. With Hamas in charge in Gaza and widely supported in Judea and Samaria, Abbas will probably not risk signing a peace deal with Israel that will likely serve as his death warrant. But the same observers who bemoan the poor chances for a treaty ignore the fact that the alternative – that Abbas signs a peace deal with Israel – would be a disaster for Israel. Any deal Israel signs with the PLO will make the country weaker. We know this because we have already signed deals with the PLO. And all of those deals made Israel weaker.

All the agreements between Israel and the PLO have been predicated on Israeli territorial surrenders and Palestinian promises of moderation.

Israel has implemented its commitments and surrendered land to the PLO. The PLO has never abided by its commitment to moderate its behavior. To the contrary, the PLO’s response to every agreement has been to escalate its political and terror war against Israel.

The Palestinian terror war that began in September 2000 was the direct result of the Oslo “peace” agreement of September 1993 that created the framework for Israeli land surrenders to the PLO, and the framework agreement’s followon agreements. The terror attacks that have killed and wounded thousands of Israelis would never have happened – indeed they would have been inconceivable – had Israel not withdrawn from Gaza, Judea and Samaria in accordance with peace deals it signed with the PLO. The track record of the past 17 years demonstrates that withdrawals are dangerous. But still the “peace deal” now on offer is predicated on withdrawals.

Obama and his advisers claim that these talks will improve Israel’s relations with the wider Arab world. But again the last 17 years expose this claim as fatuous and wrong. Israeli land surrenders in exchange for pieces of paper have not convinced the Arab League member states to accept Israel as a permanent state in the Middle East. They have convinced Israel’s Arab neighbors that Israel is weak and getting weaker. This in turn has signaled to the wider Arab world that its best bet is to join forces with the likes of Hamas and fund and otherwise actively support the war against the Jewish state.

ENGAGING IN the phony “peace process” isn’t only bad because there is little prospect for reaching a deal or because any potential deal would be a disaster for Israel. There are three additional reasons the government’s decision to engage in this diplomatic psychodrama is terrible for Israel.

First, there is great harm in talking. Talking to Abbas and his deputies legitimizes a Palestinian leadership that is wholly committed to Israel’s destruction. As Abbas and his mouthpieces make clear on a daily basis, they do not accept Israel’s right to exist. They do not condemn or oppose the murder of Israelis by Palestinians. They will not accept a deal with Israel that leaves Israel in control of sufficient land to defend itself from Palestinian or other Arab attacks in the future.

And they will never end or abate their diplomatic war against Israel. The very act of legitimizing the likes of Abbas expands their ability to wage diplomatic war on Israel.

Second, just as Netanyahu’s magic concessions to the Americans are but a starting point for further magic concessions, so Israel’s willingness to engage in talks with its Palestinian adversaries forces our leaders to concede still more important things to maintain them. For instance, today, in the face of a clear Hamas terror offensive that has already claimed the lives of four Israelis and sent tens of thousands running for cover in bomb shelters, Israel is compelled to sit on its hands. An effective campaign against Palestinian jihadists would weaken the PLO because most Palestinians support the jihad against Israel. In the interest of “peace,” Hamas is allowed to attack at will.

So simply by agreeing to talk with the Palestinians, the government has made it all but impossible to carry out its primary function – defending the country and its citizens from aggression.

The third reason that the talks are inherently against Israel’s interests is because they undermine Israeli democracy. Consistent, multiyear polling shows that the public overwhelmingly rejects more withdrawals. The public rejects any compromise in Jerusalem. The public rejects maintaining prohibitions on Jewish building. The public rejects expelling Jews from their homes. And the public rejects withdrawing from the Golan Heights.

Recognizing this, the Obama administration has insisted that the content of the current talks remain hidden from the public. As far as Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mitchell are concerned, they are better judges of the prospects and wisdom of these talks than the Israeli public that will have to live with their consequences. By agreeing to these demands, Netanyahu is collaborating with a project that is inherently anti-democratic and harmful to Israel’s political order.

There is another aspect of the current diplomatic season that is upsetting. This aspect involves the negotiations’ deleterious role in shaping Israel’s position and options in the US.

When Netanyahu announced he was caving in to White House pressure and barring Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria last November, his defenders argued it was necessary given Obama’s relative political strength at the time.

But a lot has changed in the past 10 months.

Today Obama is deeply unpopular. The Democrats are likely to lose their control of the House of Representatives, and at a minimum, their hold on the Senate will be diminished.

Today Israel has nothing to gain and much to lose by bowing and scraping before Obama.

True, Obama’s positions on issues relating to Israel are not likely to substantively change after November 2. But Obama’s ability to implement his policies will be seriously constrained. Indeed, the anticipated Republican resurgence has already incapacitated him.

By playing along with Obama’s sham peace talks, Netanyahu has made it difficult for Israel’s supporters in the US to explain why these talks are dangerous and offer a counter-policy that is based on experience and reality. Even worse, Netanyahu has encouraged Israel’s friends to support what Obama is doing.

THIS MUCH was made clear by an article penned last week by syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer titled, “Your move, Mr. Abbas.”

Krauthammer is widely perceived by the American public as a firm supporter of Israel. His many readers – who by and large are not close observers of Middle East events – defer to his judgment. Unfortunately, his latest column shows that trust is unfounded. Krauthammer wrote, “No serious player believes [Israel] can hang on forever to the West Bank.”

Not only do many serious players believe Israel can – and indeed should – hang on forever to Judea and Samaria, most close observers of events in the Middle East recognize that the central lesson of the past 17 years is that Israel must hang on to Judea and Samaria. The partial territorial surrenders Israel conducted in the 1990s led to the murder of more than a thousand Israel. Ceding these areas entirely would imperil the country. Even Clinton acknowledged this week that the current situation can continue for 30 years. And as all close observers and serious players in the Middle East know, 30 years is tantamount to forever.

Given Krauthammer’s tremendous influence in shaping public opinion and policy in the US, his arrogant and false portrayal of reality is debilitating.

This is particularly true in the current electoral season where Americans are seriously questioning the received wisdom of their policy elite for the first time in a generation. Now not only will Israel’s supporters need to battle the administration for the US to adopt a rational policy towards the Palestinians and Israel. They will need to battle their supposed allies on the Right.

But while devastating, Krauthammer’s position is a side issue at the end of the day. Krauthammer is not the man charged with defending Israel. He’s a newspaper columnist and television commentator.

The man charged with leading and defending Israel is Netanyahu. Netanyahu is the man who stood for election. Netanyahu is the man who is responsible for leading and defending this country.

And Netanyahu is the man who is now leading us on a path to degradation and defeat.

Caroline Glick

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

How Misreading Hamas’s Motive Undermines Prospects for Peace

by Evelyn Gordon

Israel has suffered almost daily rocket and mortar fire from Hamas-run Gaza this week after 19 months of quiet. Yesterday, for the first time, Gazans launched phosphorus shells at the Negev. And Hamas has twice attacked Israelis in the West Bank this month, again following a long hiatus.

The response from American, European, and Israeli officials has been predictable: Hamas is escalating the terror to foil Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. But this conventional wisdom is false. And this falsehood has been undermining prospects for peace for the last 17 years.

Hamas does oppose a peace deal. But because almost nobody in either Israel or the Palestinian Authority thinks the current talks will produce one, the idea that Hamas leaders are driven by fear of the talks’ success is risible. Hamas knows quite well that the talks will fail even without its help.

Moreover, Hamas has often escalated attacks even when no negotiations were in sight. Between Israel’s August 2005 pullout from Gaza and the Annapolis summit in November 2007, for instance, Hamas fired thousands of rockets and mortars at Israel, a volume that dwarfs the current level. Yet during most of that time, not only were there no peace talks, there wasn’t even any effort to launch them.

So what really motivates Hamas? It’s no secret; Hamas officials proclaim it repeatedly: their goal is Israel’s eradication, and their method is armed struggle. Therefore, they will attack whenever and wherever it’s feasible.

Viewed through this prism, the pattern of Hamas’s terror activity is easily explained: terror escalates whenever Hamas officials think they can get away with it and de-escalates when the danger of a devastating Israeli response becomes too great.

Thus, for instance, terror soared following the 1993 Oslo Accord because Hamas realized it was safe. The Rabin-Peres government, having promised that Oslo would bring peace, couldn’t politically admit it had brought war instead, so it had to downplay the attacks rather than responding. But when Benjamin Netanyahu was elected prime minister in 1996 on a platform of fighting terror, Hamas feared he might be less restrained and de-escalated. Thus the number of Israelis killed by Palestinian terror plummeted 70 percent from 1993-96 to 1996-99.

Similarly, after the 2005 disengagement, Hamas knew the Kadima-led government couldn’t politically admit its flagship initiative had brought war rather than peace. Thus Hamas could safely triple the volume of rocket fire, knowing Israel’s government would downplay it rather than responding.

Today, thanks to the peace talks, escalation is once again safe — because Hamas knows that if Israel responds forcefully, the PA will quit the talks, and the world will blame Israel. Thus, Israel is compelled to avoid responding.

In short, it’s not the peace talks that cause terror to escalate but the world’s insistence that Israel refrain from responding so as not to “disrupt” them. And by taking this attitude, the world has effectively made “peace” synonymous with stepped-up terror.

So if Time magazine really wants to know “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace,” it’s quite simple: as long as “peace” means absorbing ever-increasing casualties without responding, most Israelis would rather do without it.

Evelyn Gordon

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

A BBC Journalist's Fabulist Portrayal of an Israeli City

by Michael Weiss

BBC Arabic’s Jerusalem correspondent Ahmad Budeiri claims that were it not for “hostile environment training,” he might have been beaten and kidnapped by “an angry mob” of Israelis in Ashdod in response to his reporting on the Free Gaza flotilla raid.

In an online dispatch for the BBC World Service, Budeiri describes a scene in the Israeli port city as something out of Somalia or Waziristan. Only by his own quick-witted recourse to the BBC’s safety-first self-preservation seminar, Budeiri insists, did he and his crew narrowly escape being assaulted or taken hostage by a violent gang of Ashdod residents. He writes:

I remembered what I was trained for in a kidnap situation and used the exact process during the mob incident. The cameraman and I had a password that, if used, he will start packing and I would be on the phone for more than ten minutes. By doing this the mob lost interest in me and gave us a gap to leave the location without being spotted. Other Arab crews were beaten when they all left as one big group and were slow departing because of their equipment.

Budeiri says that the Ashdod police merely looked on with indifference and “never reacted to nor stepped in to prevent the threats” – an odd disclosure in that these “threats” were evidently backed up by real actions and yet our correspondent doesn’t explain what the police response to those might have been. Also, assuming others saw and reported on the Ashdod “chaos,” why is this first-person testimony the BBC’s first and only statement on the matter?

Even as a primer on institutional methods of journalistic precaution in the field, Budeiri’s piece does little to avoid a descent into macabre self-parody:

The course also taught me to avoid any confrontation, but at the same time not to be seen as a weak person. While I was on air, the mob tried to distract me and some then even blocked the camera. I tried to get them to speak on air and show I was not weak, but also fight back in a positive way to gain respect for a moment - other reporters did not do that which resulted in more fury.

It seems almost cruel to inquire of Budeiri how a furious mob of would-be kidnappers were first approached for on-air testimony, or to what secret location in Israel’s fifth largest city they might have repaired with a foreign stringer from a multinational news organization. Other daunting obstacles standing in the way of Budeieri’s broadcasts that week included “having to charge my mobile phone four times a day” and tolerating the beastly heat and unreliable bus schedule of Beersheva.

Pseudo-heroics at a nonevent account for only part of the reason why the BBC decided to publish such an article. But there would be appear to be a quieter motive lurking beneath Budeiri’s purposefully vague prose.

A few weeks ago, the BBC earned the enmity of flotilla defenders with its comprehensive and hard-hitting Panorama program, “Death in the Med.” Protestors lined up outside BBC headquarters in London and Manchester to denounce a clear Zionist put-up job that dared to report on what happened on May 31 rather than run through the script of Hamas apologetics. Ken O’Keefe, a former U.S. Marine who renounced his American citizenship in 2004 and now calls himself a “Citizen of the World,” sailed with the Mavi Marmara and was interviewed by Panorama. He’s been especially indignant at the BBC’s journalistic gall of checking the facts against his portrayal of them.

So inundated has the BBC been by complaints of this nature that it is now producing its own internal investigation into the accuracy and fairness of the Panorama broadcast. Britain’s trusted news source is thus examining the examination of an incident that itself is being or has been examined by the United Nations, the IDF, and an independent Israeli commission.

But the Budeiri piece easily qualifies as an early installment of narrative correction: The IHH activists have metamorphosed into thuggish Israelis, a port city normally given to the calm of democratic law and order has been refashioned into the upper deck of a Turkish blockade-runner.

Facile moral equivalence – that’s perhaps the best way to describe the BBC’s reporting in this instance.

Michael Weiss is the executive director of Just Journalism, a London-based think tank that monitors the British media's coverage of Israel and the Middle East.

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At the U.N. Obama Promotes Human Wrongs Against Israel Instead of Human Rights

by Anne Bayefsky

Wednesday in Geneva during the current session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Obama administration became a willing participant in the U.N.’s imposition of an apartheid-style ban on representatives of the state of Israel. Despite the promises made by the administration that by joining the Council the United States would not become part of the problem, U.S. Ambassador to the Council Eileen Donahoe chose to attend and fully participate in a meeting that deliberately excluded anyone representing the Jewish state.

Israel is the only U.N. state not permitted to be a full member of any of the U.N.’s five regional groups. Throughout the Human Rights Council sessions, these groups hold key planning meetings in which countries negotiate and share important information behind closed doors. Even the Palestinian Authority, though not a state, is permitted into the Asian regional group. Israelis are allowed into the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in some parts of the U.N. But WEOG members have chosen to exclude them totally in all of their meetings associated with the Human Rights Council. Rather than refusing to participate until such outrageous discrimination comes to an end, Obama administration representatives walked through the door slammed in the face of Israelis and made themselves comfortable.

While Israelis are left standing in the hall during the Council’s regional group meetings, this week for the first time Libya took its seat as a full-fledged Council member. Other full voting members of the U.N.’s lead human rights body include such model citizens as Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Russia and Kyrgyzstan.

Joining the Human Rights Council was one of President Obama’s first foreign policy decisions. He knew then – what is still true today – that the Council has adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning the state of Israel than all other 191 U.N. members combined. He knew that the permanent formal agenda of the Council includes one item to condemn Israel and one for the rest of the world.

But rather than refusing to lend legitimacy to a body with a deeply entrenched bias, the president chose to join and direct U.S. taxpayer dollars its way, claiming that he would be the Council’s great reformer.

On Monday, writing in The New York Times, Ambassador Donahoe repeated the claim that U.S. engagement filled “a vacuum of leadership” and alleged that “the council is engaged in a serious self-reflection exercise for the purpose of improving its work and functioning with respect to its core mandate of protecting human rights.”

On the very same day as Donahoe’s op-ed appeared, the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) put the president in his place on any notion of reform. The OIC holds the balance of power at the Council, because the Council majority is composed of members from the African and Asian regional groups, and OIC countries form the majority in both the African and Asian groups.

Speaking Monday on behalf of the OIC, Pakistan declared: “the OIC…has always stressed that this is…not a ‘reform’ exercise. It is our considered view that this intergovernmental process…should not reopen the lnstitution-building package [the June 2007 agreement which governs Council operations and adopted the agenda singling out Israel]…The Council is mandated to [do] nothing more but to fine-tune where required.”

The Obama administration’s push to characterize its involvement with the Council as a success is a serious misstatement of the facts on many levels. For example, Donahoe claimed in The Times that “In June the United States co-led a cross-regional effort with 55 other nations to criticize the deplorable human rights situation in Iran…U.S. engagement at the Human Rights Council is working.”

That would be news to human rights victims in Iran. What actually occurred was that on June 15 the Norwegian Ambassador to the Council read a 171-second statement on Iran. She was interrupted 14 times, and the meeting was suspended in the middle of her statement for two hours. When the meeting resumed, Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen felt compelled to omit the word “Iran” in several places from her original text and painfully read “We call on the *aforementioned government* to live up to the commitments it has undertaken…” Moreover, the Council has never adopted a single resolution on Iran, and behind closed doors it terminated a tentative examination of human rights in Iran on March 26, 2007.

American engagement with the Council is not simply an exercise in futility. The Council is a place where non-democracies have the run of the place, while Israel is forced to operate at a disadvantage. With its active participation in meetings that deliberately exclude only Israelis, the Obama administration is promoting human wrongs, not protecting human rights.

Anne Bayefsky is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust.

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

A Completely New Paradigm

by Moshe Feiglin

We have already been to this movie - over and over again:
The Right wins the elections.
A few months later - its elected leader makes a severely leftist declaration.
Afterwards, his "close aides" explain that it was simply a tactical diversion.
Estrangement and harassment of the settlers and settlements ensue.
Followed by the renewal of the "peace process."
Jews are murdered by Arab terrorists.
The "peace process" continues. "We can't play into the hands of the extremists."
The talks fail.
Unilateral concessions.

The other part of the movie - the reaction of the Right - also follows a set pattern:

The Yesha Council embarks on a public relations campaign.
Massive demonstrations.
Great slogans, gleaned from the prime minister's past promises and warnings.
Possibly even road-blocking.
"Illegal" settlement.
Attempts to cook up all sorts of political magic solutions - inside and outside the Likud.

We all know that the same old methods will not work.
Not because they are not the right way to work. They are the least we can do stop Israel's collapse. But they don't work because they do not address the source of the problem.

The problem is not the government and not the prime minister. They are just the symptoms. Protesting the symptoms has never gotten us anywhere and it never will.

When we blocked the highways, we deceived ourselves into believing that the train had simply fallen off the tracks. We believed that all we needed to do was to put it back on the tracks and all would be well. The same is true of our political campaigns. We deceived ourselves into believing that the problem was a given prime minister. All that we would need to do would be to replace him or his government and then the next rightist coalition would not dare threaten the settlements.

Time and again we held the most massive demonstrations and the most successful public relations campaigns. But instead of achieving our goals, we became Israel's perpetual, irritating cry-babies. Israel continues to fall apart, irrelevant of its government and ministers and irrelevant of its election results. The collapse relentlessly marches on, like a raging tsunami.

It is not the individuals who are at fault here, but the frame of reference from which they work. The Israeli who bares his neck today to Achmadinijad's nuclear sword does so because his frame of reference tells him that there is no alternative. Israel's elite does not recognize the Jewish Nation or its right to self-definition. It maintains that justice is completely on the side of the Arabs. They are the permanent phenomenon here, while the Jews are simply temporary. That is why there is no chance that Israel will take out Iran's nuclear reactor. And it certainly will not insist on keeping Judea and Samaria.

We can demonstrate, we can try to delay the end and we can try to use political pressure. But with our current national frame of reference, we are playing a zero sum game.

We must completely change our national frame of reference. That is where Manhigut Yehudit is focusing its energies. One of the tools that we will employ to change the existing paradigm is a new newspaper that will describe the Jewish State as it should be. When we say that to save Israel from the dangers threatening us we will put out a new newspaper, it sounds detached from reality. A newspaper can stop a country's collapse?

Yes, it can. If we manage to create a new frame of reference throughout Israeli society, we will be able to make the change Israel so desperately needs. When Israelis understand that they are being offered a real alternative, they will choose it.

We are busily working on our new newspaper, to be called, "Tomorrow." The newspaper, to be broadly distributed, will not attack anyone and will not deal with the present outrages. Instead, it will present the alternative on the basis of working papers, interesting ideas and excellent graphics.

The newspaper's readers will begin to experience the new Jewish paradigm and will have a new frame of reference with which to analyze reality. They will realize that we can protect ourselves from destruction, live as a sovereign Jewish state in the Land of Israel and deal with all the accompanying challenges if we finally establish an authentic Jewish state. They will also learn that a Jewish state is not what they have been frightened into thinking it is, and that in most cases, it is just the opposite.

They will learn that a truly Jewish state will restore the liberty that was stolen from them before they were even born. They will learn that in a truly Jewish state their financial situation will be better, their security will be enhanced and their private and national lives will be filled with meaning.

Moshe Feiglin

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

Friday, September 17, 2010

Demographic bogey

by Moshe Arens

Some of those Israeli advocates of the "two-state solution" who trumpet the demographic danger facing Israel may have had a few sleepless nights after perusing the latest demographic report released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. As has been claimed by Yoram Ettinger for the past few years, it turns out that the demographic demon is not what it's cracked up to be. Now it's official. Demography seems to be working in favor of the Jewish population.

You really didn't have to be a professional demographer or statistician to realize that modern times, higher living standards, better education for women, and more women entering the working population were going to reverse the demographic trend of past years. But preconceived notions of permanent fantastic birth rates among Arab women, supported by effective propaganda, have thrown a scare into many of Israel's Jewish citizens. They were made to believe that they were being threatened by a flood of Arab babies that would soon turn the Jewish population into a minority west of the Jordan River, and that salvation lay only in the "two-state solution."

Of course, the demographic demon is not the only - and not even the most convincing - argument for establishing a Palestinian state west of the Jordan. A lot is to be said for dividing the area west of the Jordan between Jews and Arabs in an attempt to settle once and for all the 100-year conflict between Jews and Arabs. Like King Solomon's decision in biblical times, it seems at first sight the just solution. Give each his share of the land he covets and let peace come to the land. No matter that it would not exactly end up being consistent with the popular slogan "two states for two peoples," but rather, as things stand now, three or maybe four states for two peoples - for the Palestinians a state in Jordan, a state in the West Bank and a state in Gaza, and for the Jews a state with a significant Palestinian minority in Israel.

So why do the advocates of the "two-state solution" also drag in the demographic demon, claiming that this "solution" is essential for the continued existence of Israel as a "Jewish democratic state," or in other words, which are endlessly repeated, that continued Israeli control of Judea and Samaria means that Israel would either cease to be a Jewish state or cease to be a democracy?

The answer is obvious - to scare those Israelis who hesitate to part with the biblical heartland of the Land of Israel into accepting this "painful" compromise. In using this argument, seemingly so concerned with the democratic nature of the State of Israel, they turn a blind eye to the sensibilities of Israel's Arab citizens. What they are saying, in so many words, is the fewer Arabs in Israel the better. That may strike a responsive chord with some of the marginal elements in Israeli society, but it is neither democratic nor civil. That kind of talk cannot be music to Israel's Arab citizens.

Now that the demographic demon seems to have been put to rest, where does demography enter the argument about Israel's future? Most Israelis are determined to assure the state's Jewish character, linguistically and culturally, while respecting the language and culture of its Arab citizens. We insist on continuing with the mission that the Jewish state has set for itself of providing a haven for those Jews throughout the world who may need one. What happened during the Holocaust can never be allowed to happen again. This requires a substantial Jewish majority.

How big a majority? That's a question that needs to be pondered. Is the present 80 percent Jewish majority sufficient? Is it just right? Is it already too high? Would a reduction to a 70 percent Jewish majority be a catastrophe? Is it solely a question of numbers or is it also a function of the degree to which Israel's minority population has been integrated into Israeli society? Difficult and inconvenient as these questions may be, they need to be addressed, with full consideration for the sensibilities of our Arab citizens, if we want to discuss our future intelligently. Now that we have at least partially quantified the problem, let's discuss it.

Moshe Arens

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

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Mosques of War

by Victor Sharpe

Of the three monotheistic religions, Judaism is considered the mother faith and the other two, Christianity and Islam, her daughters.

The first daughter, Christianity, under the influence of the early church fathers, rejected the mother and distanced herself from Judaism, even to the extent of changing the Sabbath from the seventh day, Saturday, to Sunday and renaming it the Lord’s Day. Seventh-Day Adventists retain Saturday as their Sabbath.

The younger daughter, Islam, under Muhammad, turned on both the Jewish and Christian tribes of Arabia, who declined to accept that Muhammad was the Messenger of God and the “Seal of all the Prophets.” Both Jews and Christians rejected the claim of the new faith that it alone ushered in “God’s final revelation.”

After Rome embraced Christianity under Constantine, the Church fathers increasingly used temporal powers to discriminate against the Jews and proscribe and mock the practice of their faith. In time, this repeated denigration of the Jewish faith and its believers sadly led to the horrors of the Crusades, the Catholic inquisition, forced conversions, pogroms, and ultimately, to the Holocaust.

Islam’s followers tolerated those they called the “people of the Book,” the Jews and Christians, whose faith was based upon the Bible. But Islam, too, practiced forced conversions, pogroms, massacres, and the discrimination of Jews and Christians through the practice of dhimmitude, whereby the “infidels” were forced into second-class status and forced to pay a tax, the jizzya, as a penalty for remaining outside the Islamic faith while under Muslim control.

Like Christendom, Islam often forced the Jews to live in ghettos, called mellahs. Islamic authorities were the first to coerce Jews into wearing distinctive and often humiliating clothing, preceding the German Nazis by centuries. The Nazis and their European allies forced the Jews into wearing a yellow Star of David, thus marking them for death.

But history is replete with accounts of both daughter religions fighting each other for centuries over territory. When not slaughtering each other, they both often turned upon the hapless and stateless Jews, who, for the most part, had no allies and were unable to defend themselves.

The mother has ample reason to weep at the ferocious degradation and scorn her daughters have heaped upon her with such violence and ingratitude. But many Christians — not all — have come to the realization that biblical Jewish roots are inextricable from their own and that their faith is fatefully incomplete without an acknowledgment of those roots.

Islam, too, is immensely indebted to Judaism. According to Abraham I. Katsh, author of Judaism and the Koran,

… like the Jew, the Moslem affirms the unity of God, that He is one, eternal, merciful, compassionate, beneficent, almighty, all-knowing, just, loving and forgiving.

Like Judaism, Islam does not recognize saints serving as mediators between the individual and his Creator and both faiths believe that each individual is to follow a righteous path and secure atonement by improving his or her conduct and by practicing sincere repentance. But there is another essential and integral part of Islam not shared with Judaism: Jihad.

As Katsh points out in his book, originally written as far back as 1954,

the duty of Jihad, the waging of Holy War, has been raised to the dignity of a sixth canonical obligation, especially by the descendants of the Kharijites. [...]

To the Moslem, the world is divided into regions under Islamic control, the dar al-Islam, and regions not subjected as yet, the dar al-harb.

Between this ‘area of warfare’ and the Muslim dominated part of the world there can be no peace. Practical considerations may induce the Muslim leaders to conclude an armistice, but the obligation to conquer and, if possible, convert never lapses. Nor can territory once under Muslim rule be lawfully yielded to the unbeliever. Legal theory has gone so far as to define as dar al-Islam any area where at least one Muslim custom is still observed.

Thanks to this concept, the Moslem is required to subdue the infidel, and he who dies in the path of Allah is considered a martyr and assured of Paradise and of unique privileges there.

Here one can understand clearly that peace — true and lasting peace — between Islam and nations that adhere still to Judeo-Christian civilization, or to Hinduism, Buddhism, or all other faiths, is a forlorn and baseless hope.

The “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians, for example, is thus a grand illusion, endlessly fostered by Western politicians and diplomats, along with self-deluded Israeli leaders, who all refuse to see a reality that has existed since Islam’s creation in the 7th century.

And it is in one abiding respect that this endless spiritual and temporal conflict is seen in its most practical and historical context — the conversion of places of worship into mosques.

The result has been that since the time of Muhammad, synagogues, churches, Hindu temples, Zoroastrian temples, and pagan shrines have been all too often violently converted into mosques.

After the conquest of Mecca in the year 630, Muhammad transformed the Black Stone in the Ka’aba, which ancient pagan Arabs had worshiped, into the paramount Islamic holy place. It became known as the Masjid al-Haram, or Sacred Mosque.

During the Arab invasions of neighboring lands in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond, under the new banner of Islam, numerous synagogues and churches were converted into mosques. In Damascus, Syria, the church of St. John is now known as the Umayyad Mosque. Also in Syria, the mosque of Job was originally a church.

The Islamic tide swept into Egypt, and many Christian Coptic churches were converted into mosques. From North Africa, the conquests continued into Spain and Portugal, where again churches were converted into mosques. Interestingly, many churches had been built upon the sites of earlier Roman temples. But during the re-conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by Christian armies — the Reconquista — the mosques were reconverted into churches.

In Gaza, the Great Mosque of Gaza was originally a Christian church. In Turkey, the Hagia Sophia Church was converted in1453 into a mosque and remained so until 1935, when it became a museum. Indeed, the Ottoman Turks converted into mosques practically all churches and monasteries in the territories they conquered.

The most well-known mosques, built upon previous non-Muslim holy sites, are the Al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, also built upon the site of the two biblical Jewish Temples.

There are four holy cities of Judaism: Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed, and Tiberias. Hebron is the second-holiest city, and in it is the burial place of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs, known as the Cave of Machpela, where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah are buried.

Herod the Great constructed an enclosure for the burial site. During the later Christian Byzantine period, a church was built upon the site, but this was destroyed in 614 by the Persians. Later, the Arab-Muslim invaders built a mosque in its place.

Jews were not permitted to worship at their nearly-four-thousand-year-old holy place by the Muslim Arabs. They could only ascend to the seventh step leading to the tombs. Indeed, they were refused this right as a place of worship from the 7th century until 1967, when Israel liberated the territory from the Jordanian occupiers. Even before the Israeli liberation, a horrifying massacre of Jewish residents in Hebron by their Arab Moslem neighbors took place in 1929 while under the British Mandate of the geographical territory known as Palestine.

Prior to the present-day Palestinian Authority assuming control of the city of Nablus, which was the ancient biblical Jewish city of Shechem, the Tomb of Joseph, the biblical figure, was a place of Jewish pilgrimage. When it was handed over to the PA, as one of seemingly endless Israeli concessions, the tomb was desecrated by a Moslem mob, which proceeded to convert it into a mosque.

On the Indian subcontinent, Hindu temples were similarly converted into mosques. Lately, Hindu nationalists have reconverted some mosques into temples, and, as in so many other parts of the world, considerable bitterness exists between Moslems and members of other faiths or those of no faith.

Mosques now occupy vast numbers of places of worship for other faiths. In Algeria, the Great Synagogue of Oran is now a mosque after the Jewish population was driven from Algeria. Many other synagogues throughout the Arab world are now mosques after the Jewish inhabitants were expelled.

In the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkey, many Greek Orthodox churches in northern Cyprus were converted into mosques. And the process continues.

Saudi Arabia invests endless billions of dollars to build mosques throughout the world. The international blanketing of cities with mosques is just another expression of jihad. In western Europe, most famously renamed Eurabia by the writer, Bat Yeor, there may soon come a time when there will be more minarets than steeples.

Perhaps the most egregious and blatant example of Islamic triumphalism is the planned construction of a giant mosque in New York, almost upon the site of the horrific destruction of the Twin Towers by Moslem terrorists acting in the name of Allah.

The proposed mosque is to be opened in 2011 on the very anniversary of the September 11, 2001 atrocity — a flagrant insult to the memory of the thousands of innocents who died at the hands of Moslem fanatics and believers, most of them Saudis.

But this, after all, is what jihad is all about. Subdue the “infidel” at all costs. The Islamic obligation to conquer and convert the unbeliever must never lapse. Its tangible manifestation can also be characterized as the mosques of war.

Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer and author of Volumes One and Two of Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state. This appeared July 13, 2010 in American Thinker.

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

Who are the Palestinians?

by Moshe Dann

‘Palestinianism’ no more than political construct, rather than legitimate national identity


Prime Minister Netanyahu has called upon Palestinian leaders to recognize the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination – “two states for two nations.” But are Palestinian Arabs a nation, or a people? What is “Palestinian national identity” based on? Although taken for granted today, Palestinianism has neither a long, nor distinguished history, which may explain why the peace process between Israel and the Arabs has failed and will continue to fail.

Palestinianism, inherently meant only one thing: the rejection of a Jewish state in any form. A few elite Arab intellectuals did talk about Palestinianism, but it was not widely accepted. As Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi shows in his book on the subject, not until Zionists began settlements did local Arabs seek an alternative.

Focused on opposition to Zionists, rather than a positive self-definition, “Palestinian identity” then, as now, was negative. Palestinian leaders, like the mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, an ardent supporter of the Nazis, and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat – “fathers” of Palestinianism – rejected Zionism and promoted terrorism.

Anti-colonial and anti-Zionist uprisings against British rule were not directed towards another independent Palestinian state. Nor were Arab riots and pogroms, like those in 1929, 1936, for example, nationalistic. There were no calls for a Palestinian state; the battle cry was, “Kill the Jews.”

Arab leaders like Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi told the Peel Commission in 1937: “There is no such country as ‘Palestine’; ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented!”

During the 1930s, anti-British and anti-Jewish riots were enflamed by the newly created “Arab – not Palestinian – Higher Committee,” the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine.

In 1946, Arab historian Philip Hitti testified before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry that “there is no such thing as Palestine in history.” In 1947, Arab leaders protesting the UN partition plan argued that Palestine was part of Syria and “politically, the Arabs of Palestine (were) not (an) independent separate … political entity.”

In 1947, the UN proposed a “Jewish” State and an “Arab” – not Palestinian – State. Efforts to organize a political leadership in 1948, in response to the establishment of Israel, soon collapsed.

The womb of Palestinianism was war, the Nakba (catastrophe) in the Arab narrative, the establishment of the State of Israel. Five well-armed Arab countries invaded the nascent state, joining local Arab gangs and militias in a genocidal war to exterminate the Jews. This was not seen as a war for Palestinian nationalism, however; it was a genocidal war against Jews and Zionism itself.

‘Palestinians’ used to be Jews

Arab gangs that attacked Jews in 1947/8 were called the “Arab – not Palestinian – Army of Liberation.” The reason is that prior to Israel’s establishment, the notion of a “Palestinian people” was irrelevant, since Arab affiliations are primarily familial and tribal – not national. And also because “Palestinian” meant something else back then.

Before 1948, those who were called (and called themselves) “Palestinians” were Jews, not Arabs, although both carried the same British passports. In fact, only after Jews in Palestine called themselves Israelis, in 1948, could Arabs adopt “Palestinian” as theirs exclusively. Indeed, the central organ of the pre-Israel Jewish community was called “The Palestine Post” – later changed to the Jerusalem Post.

The establishment of UNRWA in 1949 to provide for Arab refugees provided the institutional structure to build and preserve the idea of an “Arab Palestinian people” – and their “right of return.” Today, in 58 camps, with an annual budget of nearly a billion dollars, the residents are indoctrinated with hatred and Israel’s eventual destruction. Except in Jordan, which granted most citizenship, the residents of these UNRWA towns are severely restricted and denied basic human and civil rights.

Were it not for UNRWA, there would probably be no “Palestinian refugee” problem today. The problem is UNRWA’s controversial definition of “Arab refugee,” which includes anyone who claimed residence in Palestine since 1946, regardless of their origin; this date is important because it marks the high point of a massive influx of Arabs from the region into Palestine, primarily due to employment opportunities and a higher standard of living.

This category of “refugees” was different from all others in that it included not only those who applied in 1949, but all of their descendents, forever, with full rights and privileges; the total population is expected to reach seven or eight million next year, and keeps growing. This is one of the core issues preventing any resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. UNRWA’s existence, therefore, perpetuates the conflict, prevents Israel’s acceptance, and breeds violence and terrorism.

Palestinianism was defined in 1964, in the PLO Covenant, when Jordan occupied “the West Bank,” a Jordanian reference from 1950 to distinguish the area from the East Bank of the Jordan River, and Egypt held the Gaza Strip. On behalf of the “Palestinian Arab people,” the Covenant declared their goal: a “holy war” (Jihad) to “liberate Palestine,” i.e. destroy Israel. There was no mention of Arabs living in “the West Bank” and Gaza Strip, since that would have threatened Arab rulers. Arab “refugees” were convenient proxies in the war against Israel; Palestinianism became a replacement nationalism for Zionism, a call to arms against Jews.

Solution is regional

This balancing act was no longer necessary after 1967, when Israel acquired areas that had been originally assigned to a Jewish State by the League of Nations and British Mandate – Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – and the Golan Heights, all rich in Jewish history and archeology. A year later, the PLO Covenant was amended to cover both “occupations” – in 1948 and 1967.

Dedicated to armed struggle, its goal has never changed; unable to defeat Israel militarily, however, the Arab strategy is to demonize and delegitimize, creating yet another Arab Palestinian state, in addition to Jordan. In order to accomplish this, it concocted a narrative, an identity and ethos to compete with Zionism and Jewish history: Palestinianism.

Presented in the PLO Covenant and Hamas Charter (1988), the purpose of Palestinianism is to “liberate Palestine” and destroy Israel; neither reflect any redeeming social or cultural values.

“Palestinianism” lacks the basic requirements of legitimate national identity: a separate, unique linguistic, cultural, ethnic, or religious basis; it is nothing more than a political-military construct, currently led by Fatah and Hamas terrorist organizations. However, it became legitimized by the UN.

Despite mega-terrorist attacks and, backed by the Arab League, Muslim and “non-aligned” countries, the PLO was accepted by the United Nations in 1974. The following year, the UN passed its infamous “Zionism is Racism” resolution, sanctioning Israel’s demonization, and setting the UN on a course of Israel’s destruction.

The myth of Palestinianism worked because the media accepted Arab and PLO claims and their cause. Nearly all media, for example, use the term “Palestinian,” or “Israeli-occupied West Bank,” reinforcing Palestinian claims, rather than the authentic designation which appears on earlier maps, Judea and Samaria, referring to its Jewish history. The term “West Bank” is a political, not geographic statement.

By the early 1990s, some Israeli politicians, Left-dominated media, academia, cultural elite and some jurists accepted “Palestinianism as a way of expressing their opposition to “settlements,” and hoping for some sort of mutual recognition with the PLO. Their efforts culminated in the Oslo Accords (1993), which gave official Israeli sanction to Palestinianism.

Anti-Israel academics around the world promote “Palestinian” archeology, society and culture as a brand name, and a political message. Advertising works; every time someone uses the term “Palestinian,” it acknowledges and reinforces this myth. Palestinianism, however, regardless of its lack of historical, cultural and societal roots, is now well-established as a political identity that demands sovereign rights and a territorial base. The question seems to be not if, but where.

The solution is regional. Arab Palestinians are entitled to civil and human rights in their host countries where they have lived for generations. A second Arab Palestinian state, in addition to Jordan, which was carved out of Palestine in 1922 – whose population is two-thirds “Palestinian” – will not resolve any core issue at the heart of the conflict. The conflict is not territorial, but existential; recognition of a Jewish state is anathema. That explains why Palestinian Arab leaders refuse to accept it in any form.

The problem, for Palestinianism, is not “the occupation” in 1967, but Israel’s existence; seen as an exclusively Arab homeland, Palestine is an integral part of the Arab world, completely under Arab sovereignty. This is axiomatic; there are no exceptions and no compromises.

Promoted in media, mosques and schools, anti-Jewish incitement, denial of the Holocaust and Jewish history, and rejection of the right of Jewish national self-determination, by definition, Palestinianism is the greatest obstacle to peace.

Moshe Dann is a writer and journalist living in Israel.

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

The Media’s Antisemitic Hate Machine

by Daniel Greenfield

The Nazi propaganda rag Der Sturmer may have gone out of publication around the time that the Fuhrer’s ashes were smoldering in his bunker beneath the Wilhelmstrasse, but its motto is present today in almost every liberal newspaper in the Western world.

Der Sturmer’s daily invocation of “Die Juden sind unser Unglück!” or “The Jews are our misfortune!” is omnipresent in the media coverage of almost anything involving the Middle East or Islamic terrorism.

The theme is much the same now as it was then, the Jews are responsible for all our problems. The presentation is of course much more subtle, but then Der Sturmer was considered vulgar even by much of the Nazi hierarchy, which preferred the more staid Völkisch Observer. Today’s papers prefer to be in the Observer mode, the Storming they leave to the “plausible deniability” blogs of an Andrew Sullivan or a Glenn Greenwald, material that they pay for, but like a lot of the Nazi hierarchy and Der Sturmer, don’t necessarily want to be too closely associated with.

The ideas, however, are not particularly original. The Jews are to blame both for the wars and for losing them, a propaganda paradox put to good use by the Nazis. The idea that the Jews were physically responsible for 9/11 is an area that the media leaves to the fringe, but the suggestion that the Jews provoked Bin Laden’s anger against America shows up in countless columns and op-ed’s. One is a radical conspiracy theory, while the other is a mainstream media talking point, but in terms of consciously stoking hate, what exactly is the difference. Only that the latter is vague enough to be defensible, especially when bolstered by a few selectively chosen quotes from the man himself.

Linking Islamic terrorism to some form of Israeli provocation, and from there to the support for Israel by American Jews

By linking Islamic terrorism to some form of Israeli provocation, and from there to the support for Israel by American Jews—the same media which would commit seppuku rather than blame Muslims for Islamic terrorism, instead blames Jews for Islamic terrorism. The steady drumbeat of such rhetoric, which exonerates Muslims but indicts Jews, for the actions of Muslims, is brilliantly perverse. And it also puts the lie to the media’s defense that it avoids attributing terrorism to Islam because it does not want to stoke bigotry. In reality, the media has no problem with using Islamic terrorism to stoke bigotry. It just has a different target in mind.

Behind the media’s long ugly history of misreporting terrorism against Israel, has been that one fundamental narrative, that it is not Muslims who are responsible for Muslim terrorism, but the Jews. When a Muslim terrorist attack happens in Tel Aviv, Madrid or New York—it turns out that the Jews are the ones to blame. It really doesn’t matter whether an Israeli soldier kills a Muslim terrorist, or a Muslim terrorist kills a Jewish father of four driving home from work, it is never the Muslim that is at fault. Always the Jew. Forget about even splitting the difference. There is never any difference to split. It is always Israel’s “humiliation” of Arab Muslims that is at fault for provoking their righteously murderous anger. A familiar theme that recalls Hitler’s constant invocation of “German humiliation” at the hands of the Jews.

But all the talk of the Jews “humiliating” other peoples hinges on the topic of the Jews as a “Chosen Master Race”. A superior people. A role that Nazis and Arab Nationalists both reserved for themselves. The theme is taken up in numerous outlets, Jonathan Cook who appears in The Guardian writes: “Israel’s apartheid system is there to maintain Jewish privilege in a Jewish state”. In a Hitlerian formulation, Philip Weiss who appears at the Huffington Post claims that Jeff Greene’s criticism of the Ground Zero Mosque, “how privilege and power have transformed Jewish identity”. Not that Jeff Greene opposes the mosque because he is following the polls as so many other politicians have done, but because he is a Jew. The Guardian charges that Israel is an “an enclave of Israeli Jewish privilege”. That kind of rhetoric should be familiar. It is what Hitler described as “The Antisemitism of reason” which “must lead to the systematic combating and elimination of Jewish privileges”.

The Issue is Rarely the Issue

That is why the issue is rarely the issue. The media began with the narrative that Israel had attacked a flotilla full of human rights activists trying to deliver food and medicine to starving children in Gaza. After demonstrating conclusively that the human rights activists were actually violent Turkish Islamists calling openly for the murder of Jews. That Israeli soldiers had only fired in self-defense. That the medicines were expired, a useless sham by a ship that was actually coming to support Hamas. And finally that no one is starving among Gaza’s well stocked supermarkets and shopping malls. But did that conclusively put the issue to bed? Not at all, because the issue was never the issue.

The media responded that, yes the flotilla was not there to ferry supplies, but run the blockade. And that was entirely justified, because look at how Israel is humiliating the people of Gaza. And yes, the activists may have attacked first, but that was because… look at how Israel is humiliating the people of Gaza. And yes there may be a shopping mall in Gaza, but it isn’t nearly as good as Target, and look at how Israel is humiliating the people of Gaza. The goalposts always get moved until they wind up back in the same place—justifying violence against the Jews, because some people that fancied themselves the master race are feeling bad over their failed attempt to kill Jews.

When most of the Arab countries of the Middle East invaded Israel, and Israel beat them back, the Jews were accused of humiliating the Arabs. In 1970, when Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser died, the AP ran a wire story which explained that Israel had made peace with Nasser impossible by twice defeating him on the battlefield, both times after Nasser had committed acts of war. Nasser is quoted as saying; “Israel is a country of two million people, and we are a country of 30 million people. For Israel to be able to fly its warplanes over Cairo any time it wants is as humiliating to me, as it would be to you if the Cubans were able to fly over Washington and your armed forces were powerless to stop them.”

Nasser, leader of a country that was 20 times the size of Israel, and had 15 times the population, had 300,000 troops, nearly 2,000 tanks, over 500 aircraft and combat helicopters, felt humiliated by Israel. And rather than feeling sorry for the country that he had attacked, a country that you could drop into the Sinai desert without anyone being the wiser, the media felt sorry for Nasser’s “humiliation”. That despite his huge military, massive population and territory—he was the victim. Because the Chosen People had once again humiliated a man whom the French and British governments had described as a New Hitler.

All the media’s talk about Israeli disproportionate force in relation to Muslim terrorists in Gaza and the West Bank has nothing to do with it. Back when Israel was fighting wars for survival against enemies that vastly outnumbered it, the Jews were still to blame for humiliating their enemies by refusing to die. That is “Jewish Privilege”. To go on living, even when people who fancy themselves nobler and better, who have wonderful ideas about a Third Reich or a Pan-Arab or Pan-Islamic union want them dead.

Back in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War, while Israel was desperately fighting for its survival, the Deseret News was worried that an Israeli victory would lead the “humiliated Arab world” to refuse peace negotiations. The Wall Street Journal editorialized, “the Arabs may be more willing to talk peace when they can look proudly across a bargaining table, rather than after a humiliating defeat”. The Nevada Daily Mail warned that “humiliation can only lead to more fanatical dreams of revenge”. Israel might be allowed to survive. It might even be allowed to fight to a draw. But not to win. Winning decisively would humiliate the Arab Muslims. It would undermine their sense of superiority in relation to the people who had formerly been second-class citizens under their dominion.

It is a common phenomenon, a short hop and skip, from the Nazi press ranting about the humiliating professional successes of Jews in Germany, to the Liberal press ranting about the humiliating military successes of the Jews in Israel. The underlying narrative is not so much that Jews came by their success unfairly, as that they have no right to it because they are foreigners, outsiders and interlopers. And that too is a fundamental part of the media’s Anti-Israel narrative. That despite a history dating back thousands of years, Jews are outsiders in the region. That they have no right to “Arab land”, just as they had no right to “Aryan jobs”. And who decided that all the land belongs to the Arabs and all the jobs belong to the Aryans?

That is where Der Sturmer or Der Guardian comes in, to demonize millions of people as greedy usurpers bent on seizing what belongs to others. And so a complex regional history is reduced to, “Die Juden sind unser Unglück!” To a narrative in which arrogant Jews displace their betters, subjugate and abuse them. One that is more ancient than Rome, when Cicero echoed it, that rolls back to the ancient Pharaohs, one of whom proclaimed that the Jews must be enslaved because they had become too prosperous and numerous, and will otherwise take over all of Egypt. Over 3000 years later, Antisemitism has not changed very much.

The dirty little secret is that it is an upper class bigotry with populist overtones. Rulers and would be rulers, employ it with the people to legitimize their tyranny. Hitler’s Third Reich and Stalin’s USSR, like Nasser’s Pan-Arabist dreams, Iran’s Shiite expansion or the Muslim Brotherhood’s Caliphate all require a defeatable enemy close at hand. Pharaoh had his construction projects, Hitler had Albert Speer’s fortresses and Islam has the skyscrapers of Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Their visions are grandiose, but inhuman. They are bent on a united world under their authority. And somehow the Jews always prove to be in the way. The foreign element that spoils their plan for a homogeneous empire.

The media’s liberalism has made it notoriously sympathetic to dreamers of that sort. It is not sympathetic to ethnic or religious separatists. Just ask the Kurds or the Basque. Even the Tibetans for all their non-violence have hardly gotten more than a casual shrug. If the issue of Muslim terrorism in Israel were really a matter of another Middle Eastern minority looking for rights or a state of its own, the media could not be paid enough to care. But the issue is not separatism, but unity. To the left, it is not the Arab Muslims in Israel who are separatists, but the the Jews living in the Middle East who are the real separatists. Who insist on their own state, their own laws and their own identity. The Jews who obstructed socialism with their separatism in Europe and Russia, are now obstructing those who would regionally unite Arabs and Muslims, as a prelude to global unity.

That is the issue. That has always been the issue. That will always be the issue. It is why Jews are hated. It is why Israel is hated.

The Media Hate Machine Grinds On

And so the media hate machine grinds on. With a touch of paint and the whisk of a brush, Der Sturmer’s cartoons of greedy murdering Jews defined by the Star of David, have been reborn in the pages of the Guardian, the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times. Except now they’re greedy murderous Israelis, who often seem to have the same hooked noses and fat necks that they did in the pages of Der Sturmer, and are back to their old tricks again. When they’re not menacing innocent women and children, they’re corrupting politicians and arrogantly shoving their weight around—all favorite themes that would have been met with a knowing smirk from Julius Streicher himself.

The modern professional cartoonist has generally studied enough to be familiar with the work of Fips and Seppla and knows exactly what he is doing. Associating Nazi imagery with Jews serves not only as a vicious smear, but as his best defense against accusations that he is recycling Nazi imagery. Even when he’s caught doing it, his defense is that he’s doing it to indict Jews for their Nazi-like behavior. It is not a defense that a Nazi cartoonist like Fips could have used, but it is an easy defense for a post-Nazi cartoonist like Pat Oliphant or Dick Locher. The obsessive use of Nazi themes allows them to project their own use of Nazi ideas onto Israel. The more they associate Israel with the Nazis, the less anyone will notice whose pencil they borrowed to draw those cartoons with.

And so the Jews become the “Real Nazis”, just as they are the real “Religious Terrorists”. The crimes committed against Jews, become the crimes of the Jews themselves. Because the guilty never want to take responsibility for what they have done. And so when Muslims set off a bomb in Jerusalem, their clerics announce that Islam abhors violence, and that Israel is the real terrorists—while Jewish clerics rush to the scene of the bombing to scrub fragments of skin and bone, pull fingers out of trees, in order to bury what’s left of the dead in the same place. And the media in all its studied liberalism nods its head and agrees. The Jews indeed are the ones responsible. After all by thwarting the dreams of Arab Nationalists and Islamists to build a superstate, by refusing to make enough concessions at the negotiating table to insure their own destruction—the Jews bring terror on themselves.

The media has not gotten better, it has gotten better at packaging its bigotry. It has learned that using Jewish pundits allows it to serve as a platform for ideas on the same level of discourse as Streicher, without being vulnerable to accusations of bigotry. After all Greenwald, Klein and Blumenthal are Jewish names, aren’t they? It’s not a new idea. The Soviet Union routinely used press conferences by Jewish writers and artists to legitimize the persecution of Jews. These were the “Good Jews”, loyal Communists and devoted to the Soviet Union, who were here to condemn the Judaism, Zionism and Cosmopolitanism of the “Bad Jews”. The “Good Jews” worked at magazines like Krokodil, drawing Soviet versions of Der Sturmer’s cartoons of greedy murdering Jews wearing the Star of David. The “Bad Jews” died. Tens of thousands in Holodomor. Hundreds of thousands in the Gulag. Millions of more might have died, had Stalin’s plan for a Soviet Holocaust come to fruition. But the Soviet Union had, what Nazi Germany did not have, but the modern day left wing hate machine does, men and women with Jewish last names, up in front to defend its bigotry.

Howl Like the Wolves

The constant drumbeat of the media hate machine against Israel has the same effect on Europeans and some Americans that Der Sturmer’s hate sheets did on ordinary Germans. Bias, hate and bigotry free some to be Nazis, and teach others that it is best to go along with the crowd. Max von der Grün wrote about his childhood growing up in Nazi Germany. The title of his book was Howl Like the Wolves. When the wolves are howling you had better join them, or be prepared to take on the entire pack. And eventually most people begin to howl too. Some howl quieter than others. Some howl just for show. But others get into it all the way. Some who were once lambs become the worst of the wolves, because they find strength in being a wolf.

What the Nazis knew is that weak people are drawn to identities that give them strength. So many timid people looking for a way to express their anger. A chance to be wolves rather than sheep. A chance to hurt someone, rather than be hurt. To release all their decades of grievances and grudges on a deserving target. To whine like a mosquito while drinking their fill of blood. The ecstasy of crowds at Hitler’s speeches, was the pathetic and disgusting sight of weak-minded people eagerly transfigured with a feeling of strength. The Jihadist who kills himself among a crowd of the innocent feels that same ecstasy. The savage joy of a manipulated sheep who thinks that participating in violence somehow makes him a wolf.

Allah Akbar or Heil Hitler, it makes no real difference. Both mean the same thing. It means that I am strong because I am the tool of those who are stronger than me. Who are more ruthless than me. Who give me orders that I will follow, because I lack the initiative to make my own decisions. Tell me what to do, and I will kill, a single man, or a million. It makes no difference. What matters is that sense of strength that comes through unity. A billion bodies and one mind. One will. One Fuhrer. One Reich. One dream. And in the middle of that dream is the Jew.

The Bad Jew who stands in the way of that overpowering unity. A foreign element. An interloper. The one thing standing in the way of all those people feeling their strength for the first time. All those strong people suddenly make weak by his very presence. Humiliated. And humiliation is the one thing that cowards and the weak-minded can never forgive. It is why they become Nazis and Islamists. To feel strong. To overcome their personal humiliations in a mass identity. When their mass identity cries “Kill the Jew”, and the Jew survives, then they feel even more humiliated. Then they feel weak and the only thing that will make them feel strong again, is revenge.

Think about it. Think about Marc Garlasco talking about how an SS jacket is so cool, “makes my blood go cold”. Or the Chairman Of Finnish Amnesty International calling Israel a “scum state”. Helen Thomas telling Jews to go back to Poland and Germany. Oliver Stone discoursing on how Jewish influence caused Hitler to be misunderstood. The Daily Mail shrieks, “Israel Accuses UK of Antisemitism”, a headline that echoes, The Daily Express’ famous 1933 headline, “Judea Declares War on Germany”. Jewish stores and companies are boycotted. Papers from Jewish researchers from Israel are rejected. Wolves must howl. And howl they will. Some are true wolves, eager to spill blood. Some are only weak-minded people looking for an enemy to give them strength. And some only go along out of conformity, echoing the opinions of those around them, clinging to them for comfort. And the drumbeat goes on.

The media’s Antisemitic hate machine does for the far left, what Der Sturmer once did for the far right. It makes their hatred and bigotry mainstream. It feeds the wolves. It teaches people to be Nazis. To find strength in an age-old hatred for age-old reasons. To howl at the Jew, while the Muslim slits their throat.

Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and freelance commentator. “Daniel comments on political affairs with a special focus on the War on Terror and the rising threat to Western Civilization.

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

What is a mosque?

by Mark Durie

What is a mosque? This is an important and pressing question.

I am reminded of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein's observation:

"One thinks that one is tracing the outline of the thing's nature over and over again, and one is merely tracing round the frame through which we look at it."[1]

I suggest that this is how a lot of people form their understanding of mosques — they look at a mosque and think 'Islamic church', because a church is what they are familiar with. It is the frame they are looking through.

Rabbi Bretton-Granatoor presented a sermon for the 9/11 anniversary in which he stated that "a mosque should be a place of peace, prayer and study", as if this were a self-evident truth. But is it? Or was he in fact describing his ideal synagogue?

To understand what a mosque is in Islam, we need to grasp that Islamic practice and belief is based upon the example and teaching of Muhammad. What determines the function of a mosque — from a religious perspective — is how Muhammad used mosques. The question "What is a mosque?" begs the question "How did Muhammad use mosques?"

What needs to be kept in mind is that Islam does not separate faith from politics. This is becauase Muhammad combined in himself the offices of chief priest, head of state, general of the army, and chief justice. Just as he combined all these functions, so in Islam, the mosque can be a site for political, military, religious and legal activities. It can be a parliament, military parade ground, church and a court. And during Muhammad's life time, mosques were at various times, all these things. This is all explained in the handy booklet The Mosque Exposed by Sam Solmon and E Alamaqdisi, who give examples of Muhammad using mosques for such diverse purposes.

But let's consider what a significant contemporary scholar has said on the subject. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is an influential person. He is no lightweight or fringe-dweller. A trustee of the Oxford University Centre for Islamic Studies, he was named by Foreign Policy Magazine as number 3 in a poll to determine the top 20 public intellectuals in the world today.

In 2006 Al-Qaradawi produced a fatwa (a religious ruling) to answer the question: "Is is permissible to use a mosque for political purposes?" (The Arabic text can be found here.) (Apparently this was a revision of an earlier fatwa, issued in 2001.)

Al-Qaradawi's answer was 'Yes it is,' and included the following remarks:

The mosque at the time of the Messenger of Allah [Muhammad] was the center of the activities of the Muslim community as a whole: it was not just a house of worship and prayer, but included worship, a university for science, a forum for literature, and a parliament for consultation ... it was used by delegations from various places in the Arabian peninsula to meet with the prophet [Muhammad], and it was the place where he gave his sermons and guidance in all religious, social and political aspects of life.

In the life of the prophet there was no distinction between what the people call sacred and secular, or religion and politics: he had no place other than the mosque for politics and other related issues. That established a precedent for his religion. The mosque at the time of the prophet was his propagation center and the headquarters of the state.

This was also the case for his successors, the rightly guided Caliphs: the mosque was their base for all activities political as well as non-political.

... Politics as a science is one of the best disciplines, and as a practice and career it is the most honorable. The surprising thing is that it is politicians, who are totally immersed in it [politics] from the top of their heads to the soles of their feet, who are inquiring if the mosque should embark on and leap into political affairs. Politics in itself is neither vice, nor evil, according to Islam. ... For Muslims it is part of our religion: doctrine and worship constitute a system for the whole of life.

... It must be the role of the mosque to guide the public policy of a nation, raise awareness of critical issues, and reveal its enemies.

From ancient times the mosque has had a role in urging jihad for the sake of Allah, resisting the enemies of the religion who are invading occupiers. That blessed Intifada in the land of the prophets, Palestine, started from none other than the mosques. Its first call came from the minarets and it was first known as the mosque revolution. The mosque's role in the Afghan jihad, and in every Islamic jihad cannot be denied.

The last point about jihad is an important one. It explains why time and again intelligence agencies have established links between jihadis and particular mosques, where the faith and intentions of young men have been so nurtured that they were ready and willing to undertake jihad for the sake of Allah.

There are reported to be 40,000 to 50,000 mosques in the United States, but there is not a single church in Saudi Arabia. The issue for municipal planning authorities to consider, when they receive a request to issue a permit for a mosque, is how can they know what kind of facility this will turn out to be? No doubt there are many mosques which are simply places of private devotion and public worship. But, according to Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, there is much more to a mosque than this.

[1] Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. Prentice Hall, 1973. p. 114.

Mark Durie

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