Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mordechai Kedar: The Real Thing

by Mordechai Kedar

Many ideologies have passed over the Mediterranean Sea on their way to the Arab world, and each time a new ideology arrived, many thought that it would be the ideology, with a capital 'I' that will unite, organize, form and lead the Arab world into European-style modernity. The nationalism (loyalty of the individual to his ethnic group) that was awakened in Europe after the "Spring of Nations" (1848) was known as "Komiya", patriotism, in the Arab world, which is expressed by connection and loyalty to the homeland. Pan-Slavism was transformed into pan-Arabism; European socialism was adopted by the Arab world under the name of "Ba'ath"; Communism was also imported and was known as "Shayoo'aya" and even Nazi ideas that arrived in the years of the thirties took hold among some modern Arab intellectuals. One example is Muhammad Anwar al-Sa'adat, who was head of the Egyptian Nazi movement, and was later to become the president of Egypt.

All of these ideas were buzzing in the public arena in the Middle East within the last hundred years, and observers from outside - mainly the officials of the colonial offices of the British Empire - thought that European modernity had arrived to the Middle East and had settled among its peoples through the modern ideologies that were imported in the mouths and in the pens of those enlightened Arabs who were educated in the Sorbonne, Oxford, Yale and Harvard. On the basis of these ideologies - so the British, French and Italian colonial officials hoped - nation-states will emerge as happened in Europe, and these nation-states will supply a focal point for identity, social adhesion and national consciousness for the masses in the Middle East (though nobody asked these people if they at all wished to adopt the social methods and ideologies of the European states).

But this didn't happen. The masses of the Middle East, for the most part, remained loyal to their tribe, ethnic group, religious group or sect and rejected all of the ideas that were imported from the West. The cornerstone of Middle Eastern culture was and remains tribal culture, that which Europeans thought it possible to eliminate by means of a few articles in the newspaper or speeches on the radio. Today we
address our words to the loyalty of the peoples of the Middle East to their traditional frameworks.


The source of this miserable country's problems is the fact that the British included within it eleven different ethnic groups:
Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Nuristani, Pamiri, Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimak, and Baloch. These groups share very little in common, because they have different languages, different world views, different customs, different leadership, different goals, and, in short: these peoples are so different from one another that they don't even speak the same language. It's also important to note that none of these groups is called "Afghani". So is it surprising that this state is a failed state, and that no one manages to stabilize it? Throughout this state's history, foreigners have tried to bring these ethnic groups together into some kind of basic cooperation, but the experiments have all failed. It is a wonder to me that the world continues to resuscitate this dead political body, which should have been divided into its ethnic parts long ago.


This unfortunate state is torn and divided along four axes:
The ethnic axis: In Iraq
there are four ethnic groups: Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and Persians.

The Tribal Axis: The population in Iraq comprises approximately seventy tribes, each one of which functions as if it were an ethnic group. The sons of these tribes do not marry the daughters of another tribe, because they don't trust them, and therefore also tend not to open a business with another tribe. Each tribe has its own dialect, and in Iraq some of the tribes have their own flag and hymn, which are not connected to the flag and hymn of Iraq.

The Religious Axis:
In Iraq there are a large number of religions: Muslim, Christian, a few dozen Jews, Tsavaaim,
Mandaean, Zoroastrians, Bahai, Yazidi and more.The Muslims see the members of other religions as heretics.

The Sectarian Axis: The religions are divided: The Muslims are divided into Sunni, Shia, Salafi and Sufi; the Christians have about eight different sects.

Thus, Iraq is "blessed" with all of the four axes of division that are known in the Middle East. Is it a wonder that this state is hemorrhaging?


Because Libya is entirely within the Sahara desert where there is almost no water at all, the population is divided into small tribes; in Libya there are about 140 different tribes. After they succeeded in overthrowing Qadhaffi, the tribes are now fighting one another.


In Jordan, about one quarter of the population is Bedouin, and three quarters are "Palestinian", meaning farmers and city people who do not want to be Bedouins and cannot be Bedouins, and therefore they are now trying to split off from the regime, (which anyway is headed by a family that the Saudis threw out ninety years ago) and to establish for themselves an "alternative homeland", that is, a different Palestine, in addition to that which they hope will arise between the sea and the Jordan River. This is the reason that Jordan's King Abdullah comes to Washington each month: primarily to urge President Obama to exert pressure on Israel to establish a Palestinian state in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. If a state such as this will arise, then the King will be able to say to his citizens: "The Palestinian State already exists" and the king will then be able to exile to that Palestinian state anyone in Jordan who speaks about an "alternative homeland". In this way he hopes to survive on his throne.


In July, 2011, Sudan was officially divided into two states: North Sudan and South Sudan. The North is ruled by Arab Muslims, while most of the population in the suburbs is Christian and Animist (Pagan). The Darfur region has been seeking independence for years, and another region, Kordofan - seeks to secede from the Northern state and be included into the framework of the periphery.


Twenty years ago, two states were merged: The Republic of South Yemen, and North Yemen. Today, most of the demonstrations that are held in the cities of the South - Aden, Taiz and Ibb - are held because of the demand to renew their independence, that is, to divide the state on a tribal basis.


Syria is another hapless state in which there are several ethnic groups: Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen; and a few religious groups: Muslims, Christians, a few remaining Jews, Alawites and Druze. The Muslims are divided into Sunni and Shia - Ismaili, and a few Christian sects. The Islamists see all of them, especially the Alawites, as heretics. The problem of the Alawites being in power is not only because they are only a tenth of the residents of Syria, but also because they are heretics, who must, according to Islam, choose
Islam or be slaughtered.


Bahrain is an island in the Persian Gulf, most of whose residents are Persian Shi'ites. But power is held by a minority, an Arab Sunni tribe that the British brought in order to rule the Shi'ites. During the past several years - mainly in 2011 - we have seen many demonstrations, wounded and fatalities.

The Palestinians:

Gaza is a separate state from Ramallah, and I think that the romance between them will not last many days, because of the cultural differences between the Bedouin of Gaza and the intelligentsia of Ramallah. A different "head". The sons of Hebron do not marry the daughters of Nablus, and the sons of Qalqilya don't marry the daughters of Jericho, because of the tribalism that flows in their veins.


The population of this state is composed of Persians, Azeri, Kurds, Balochi, Arabs and Turkmen, and would have broken up long ago if it had not been a dictatorship: secular in the days of the Shah and religious in the days of the Ayatollahs, since 1978. The Iranian public is secular up to its ears, and many Iranians have no idea at all how the inside of a mosque looks. As the religious oppression increases, the religious level of the people decreases, and with it, the legitimacy of the regime.


The population of Turkey comprises Turkmen, Kurds, and Arabs, and the Kurds have been fighting for independence for many years. Recently, as a result of the slaughter of Muslims that the Alawites are carrying out in Syria, the Muslims in Turkey have begun to kill Alawites in revenge. Erdogan is furious about the abuses of Bishar also for this, because the last thing that Erdogan needs is to have an additional internal front in his country, between the Muslims and the Alawites.

Most of the states in our area comprise groups of different sorts: ethnic, tribal, religious, and sectarian, and many are the eternal conflicts among them; that's why these are failed states. In the Arab Middle East, there is only one group of stable states: the states of the Gulf: Kuwait, Qatar, and the seven states of the United Emirates. Each of these are stable for one reason and one reason only: each of these states is a state of one tribe, that represents only itself. In these states there are no elections for a national leader because the leadership is traditional, accepted and legitimate, therefore there is no reason for elections.

From all that is stated above, one clear conclusion can be drawn: if for demographic reasons Israel wants to exclude from citizenship as many Arabs as possible, we must establish seven city-states for the Arabs in Judea and Samaria: Jericho, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqilya and the Arab section of Hebron. The "eight state solution" - Gaza and seven in Judea and Samaria - is the only plan that is based on the clear sociology of the region, not on rosy, but impractical dreams of a "two state solution", which should have been ditched a long time ago, both because of the Palestinian non-compliance with conditions of existing agreements and mainly because it is not sociologically suited to the Middle East. Instead of establishing a failed Palestinian state that will have internal conflicts, it is preferable to establish eight emirates that are based on Arab tribes, with Israel keeping the rural area
forever, so that it will not turn into Hamas Heights.

Tribalism in the Middle East is the "real thing", and the population of the area is miserable because of the foreign ideologies that have penetrated into it. Any real and workable solution must be based upon this sociological fact: upon tribalism and loyalty to traditional religious and sectarian frameworks.


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

Translated from Hebrew by Sally.

Links to Dr. Kedar's recent articles on this blog:
Source: The article is published in the framework of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. Also published in Makor Rishon, a Hebrew weekly newspaper.

Iranian Christian Pastor Faces Imminent Death (2.23.12)

by Lisa Daftari

[sz: Although Rev. Franklin Graham states that Youcef Nadarkhani was never a Muslim, according to Islamic law, any child born to a Muslim father is automatically a Muslim, just as according to Jewish law, any child born to a Jewish mother is automatically Jewish. So the claim that Youcef Nadarkhani was never a Muslim is only partially correct. He may never have been a practicing Muslim, but is nevertheless defined as Muslim according to Islamic law, since he was born to a Muslim father.]

Lisa Daftari


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Norman Finkelstein Accidentally Tells the Truth about BDS

by Thomas Lifson

Norman Finkelstein is a leading light of the anti-Israel movement, including the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to destroy Israel through commercial, cultural, and legal sanctions imposed through international organizations and governments. Usually, nearly all who seek to destroy Israel and exterminate Jews use pious rhetoric about principles to obscure the raw hatred that is the wellspring of all their energy. But Finkelstein let his hair down recently on YouTube, and blurted out the truth.

Speaking with a friendly, pro-Palestinian advocate, Frank Barat, on YouTube, Finkelstein basically admitted the sham being peddled. Ran Baratz has an excellent article well worth reading at Jewish Ideas Daily:

Finkelstein got into trouble when he said that some people in BDS "don't want Israel." He lectured his BDS colleagues:

Stop trying to be so clever, because you're only clever in your cult. The moment you step out, you have to deal with Israeli propaganda . . . They say, "No, they're not really talking about rights; they're talking about they want to destroy Israel." And in fact I think they're right, I think that's true.

In fact, Finkelstein said, it is "not an accident, an unwitting omission, that BDS does not mention Israel": They "know it will split the movement, because there's a large segment-component-of the movement that wants to eliminate Israel."

You can see why anti-Israel people were offended to hear this from Finkelstein, of all people. Yet Finkelstein was not revealing some deep secret about the motives of those BDS-ers. Anyone who has listened to their leaders, read their papers, seen them at play, or checked out their circle of acquaintances, supporters, and collaborators can hardly be surprised.

Finkelstein let some other cats out of the bag about the true nature of the BDS movement. He calls it a cult, and talks about the NGOs in Ramallah that are "one-person operations" and

claim to represent what they call this thing, "Palestinian civil society." . . . [T]hen why can't they ever organize a demonstration of more than 500 people? . . . [They] represent absolutely nothing.

The truth will out. Norman Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors turned Israel-hater, responded to an impulse he cannot comprehend, and told the truth. On YouTube.

We live in interesting times, don't we?

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman

Thomas Lifson


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Israel Builds, Obama Administration Squirms

by P. David Hornik

This week Israel’s Civil Administration approved a plan to build 500 housing units in the West Bank community of Shiloh. U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner complained like clockwork that such building is not “constructive.”

In so doing, he was following a U.S. practice of frequently publicly criticizing its ally Israel. No other U.S. ally gets this treatment; when was the last time you heard Washington publicly take Britain, Germany, or Japan to task? And this in a week when the U.S. is already heavily pressuring Israel both publicly and behind the scenes not to defend itself against a growing existential threat from Iran.

But is Toner right about the Israeli building plans not being “constructive”? In a world where there are mounting crises in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Egypt, severe human rights abuses in America’s trading partner China, and so on, are housing units in Shiloh what Washington should fret about? In fact, these building plans not only pose no problem for the U.S. but are constructive, for several reasons.

1. They give people in Shiloh places to live. It’s natural for a community—especially a very life-affirming one like Shiloh, where people make a point of having children—to grow. One has to have a very crabbed perspective to want a place like Shiloh to freeze in place, so that parents can’t provide homes for their kids, no one can move in from outside the community, and so on. It’s a throwback to the early days of the Obama administration, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thundered against “natural growth” in such Israeli communities. Isn’t this supposed to be an election year, with the Obama administration cooling it toward Israel and wooing Jewish votes?

2. Shiloh is a modern-day iteration of the ancient biblical city of the same name, the center of Israelite religious and political life for about three hundred years before Jerusalem took that honor. Having a modern-day Jewish community there is a renewal and revitalization of one of the ancient roots of Western civilization.

Of course, many contemporary Western people no longer have the faintest idea or give a hoot what Shiloh was. This is particularly true in heavily secularized Western Europe, with its catastrophically low fertility rates and burgeoning Muslim presence. Can the United States and Israel—which still care enough about Western civilization to fight for it—afford this kind of contempt for its roots? Since taking office in 2009, the churchgoing President Obama’s behavior suggests that he sees any Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria as essentially scandalous and the Palestinians—part of the geographically starved Muslim umma—as the sole rightful possessor of this territory. Is Jew-free Judea (and Samaria) really an American desideratum?

3. Shiloh is located in the Judea-Samaria mountain ridge, which dominates Israel’s several-miles-wide, densely populated coastal plain. As noted by Israel’s current national security adviser, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, American military studies have assessed the mountain ridge to be indispensable to Israel’s defensibility. The 1967 Joint Chiefs of Staff study concluded that, in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), Israel should “control the prominent high ground running north-south.” The 1974 study by the U.S. Army’s Command and Staff College reached the same conclusion.

Seemingly, if Israel is to be a worthwhile U.S. ally, it should be able to defend itself. Even in the event of a territorial compromise in the West Bank, Israel would need to retain strategically vital land. Communities like Shiloh are built on such land, strengthening Israel’s hold on it and its security.

4. Furthermore, the West Bank communities make a major, disproportionate contribution to the Israeli army. Some 67.1 percent of draftees from these communities now serve in combat roles, compared to 39.5 percent of draftees overall. And nearly 16 percent of “settlers” serve as officers compared to a national average of 8.3 percent. Again, by building and cultivating communities like Shiloh—not that it has been doing so very much—Israel strengthens its army and itself. At a time of increasing U.S. dependence on Israel’s military capabilities, why should a weaker Israel be an American interest?

Those are reasons, then, why the Obama administration should refrain from destructive criticism of an ally.

P. David Hornik


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The Egyptian Bearded Police

by Anna Mahjar-Barducci

The Prophet Mohamed and his companions led the "best armies in the world while being bearded." The idea is to occupy visually with beards the Parliament, the streets, public institutions -- but first the police corps.

"I Am a Bearded Police Officer" is the name of the new coalition established by the group of Egyptian police officers who asked the Ministry of Interior to grow beards to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Saudi-owned media outlet Al-Arabiya reported that in Egypt the request immediately stirred much controversy over "the right to a religious appearance in the workplace." The Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim immediately refused the request, fearing that beards could become a symbol of support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, as well as a symbol of opposition to ruling Egyptian Army. The Minister ordered the policemen to shave their beards while on duty. "Police officers are required to maintain a presentable appearance like all those working in sectors related to security," the Minister stated.

The group of officers, however, decided to disobey, and ignored the Minister's order. Egypt Independent mentions that the "free the beards campaign" became a public opinion issue and will hence soon "blow up in the Interior Minister's face." As reported by the media outlet BikyaMasr, during a recent Minister's trip to Assiut, he was confronted by "controversial calls for officers to be free to let their beards grow following the Islamic tradition." The Islamist movement, Gama'a Islamiya in Assiut, issued a statement condemning the minister and stating that the beard is at the core of the Islamic tradition.

To find more support, the "Bearded Policemen" group opened a public page on the social networking website, Facebook. Al-Arabiya reports the Captain Hani al-Shakeri, the official spokesman of "I Am a Bearded Police Officer," stated on Facebook that he will not change his position and will not shave. "I know that many Egyptians are keen to see police officers in Egypt grow their beards and follow the example of their prophet," said the captain, adding that by growing his beard, "at last I get to regain my humanity which I had lost during the oppressive regime." Another member of the group, Walid Hosni, wrote on Facebook that prohibiting policemen from growing beards would violate police regulations.

The Interior Minister replied to the disobeying officers that a beard is only a non-binding religious tradition, adding that he will be firm with officers who violate police regulations. "Police laws oblige all policemen to be well-groomed and to shave their beards and hair," he said, noting that these regulations are mentioned in all policemen's course books. Support for the Minister also came from some scholars at Al-Azhar, the world's leading institution of Sunni Islam. Al-Arabiya reports that the former head of Al-Azhar's Religious Edicts Committee, Sheikh Abdel Hamid Al-Atrash, commented that "growing a beard is preferable but it is not obligatory…..It is important that they maintain the appearance that goes with the status of the police, even if this would make them go against a preferred practice in Islam."

Other Al-Azhar scholars think a compromise could be found. Mohamed al-Berri, former head of al-Azhar's Scholars Union, stated that refusing to grant police officers the right to grow their beards reveals the "persistence of the same pre-revolution mentality." "Why is it a problem if police officers or others grow their beards so long as this does not affect their performance?" Al-Arabiya reported him as saying, adding, however, that the "Egyptian officers should focus first on regaining the lost trust between the police and the people, then think about their right to maintain the appearance they want."

The officers are, nevertheless, not willing to give up their demands. The group, claiming that to grow beards is their "constitutional and legitimate right," says the Interior Minister is not a legislator and his words are not binding. In the meantime, one captain has been suspended, and the Minister is apparently going to take more disciplinary action against officers who insist on growing their beards.

The media outlet BikyaMasr reports that the officers could even end up in court. Al-Arabiya also reports that senior police officers have warned the Minister of a possible confrontation with Muslim-parliament -- where Islamists hold nearly 75 percent of the seats, a quarter of which are Salafist -- in case the "disgruntled officers decide to take the matter to legislators."

Egypt Independent reports that, during an interview, the spokesman for the Salafis' Al-Nour Party, Nader Bakar, said that it is unacceptable that some people are demanding that bearded policemen be reprimanded. Bakar added that the Prophet Mohamed and his companions led the "best armies of the world while being bearded." He then said that he would "support them legally if they choose to file a lawsuit to defend their right to keep their beards." Salafist groups are, however, not all united in their support to the "bearded policemen". As BikyaMasr noticed, the Salafist Front spokesman Khaled Said, pointing out that the controversy "could harm the relationship between the Islamists and the ministry of interior," wrote on Facebook that he does not approve of the idea. The position of the Muslim Brotherhood is not clear.

Many Egyptians, however, criticized the policemen's initiative, assessing that in a time of political and economic crisis "growing beards" is not a priority. Egypt Independent reported, for example, that while these policemen is fighting for growing their beards, the country is collapsing and sit-ins and demonstrations to protest the continuation of the propane tank crisis in many different governorates in Egypt are increasing.

The Interior Minister now wants to put an end to the controversy of the "bearded policemen." For him, it is not a matter a resetting priorities. He is just concerned that if the bearded policemen win this battle, other policemen might start disobeying orders from the Army, which still keeps Egypt under a tight dictatorship.

If the bearded policemen will win, however, the beard will become a symbol of protest and of support for the Islamists. The plan is to occupy visually with beards the Parliament, the streets, public institution -- but first the police corps.

Anna Mahjar-Barducci


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Britain Launches War on Multiculturalism

by Soeren Kern

"We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values. ... I believe a genuinely liberal country... believes in certain values and actively promotes them." -- David Cameron

The British government has unveiled a new "integration strategy" designed to "champion a united British identity."

The new policy will require immigrants seeking admission to live in the United Kingdom to learn English and adhere to "mainstream" British culture and values such as democracy and the rule of law.

The measures represent a continuation of recent efforts by the government to reverse decades of state-sponsored multicultural policies that have allowed Muslim immigrants to avoid integration and establish a parallel society in Britain.

The new strategy document titled "Creating the Conditions for Integration" was published on February 21 and states: "We will robustly challenge behaviors and views which run counter to our shared values such as democracy, rule of law, equality of opportunity and treatment, freedom of speech and the rights of all men and women to live free from persecution of any kind. We will marginalize and challenge extremists who seek to undermine our society and we will neither engage with nor fund such organizations."

The document continues: "The long-term presence of a highly diverse population is generally an indicator of good integration and a strong sense that different people get on well. But this can be undermined and even reversed by a range of factors, for example if groups within the local community work and socialize separately."

Among a series of other measures, the government says it will reform laws on immigration and settlement by increasing the requirements on those who want to settle in Britain. Those coming to the United Kingdom to work, study or marry will be required to demonstrate an ability to speak English, and those wishing to remain permanently or seek British citizenship will be required to demonstrate their knowledge of language and life within the United Kingdom.

The new strategy also promotes the teaching of British history and culture in schools and encourages the flying of flags in public places. In addition, the government says it will work to restore the Christian faith to the center of public life in Britain.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, who is responsible for implementing the strategy, says the new measures represent a frontal attack on the multicultural policies introduced by the previous Labour government. Those policies included the watering down of the teaching of British history and policies which promoted "aggressive secularism."

Speaking to the London-based Daily Mail newspaper, Pickles said: "Under [Equality Minister] Harriet Harman's agenda, the Labour Government encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. Political correctness replaced common sense. People were left afraid to express legitimate concerns and frustrations. We need a new approach. One that emphasizes what we have in common rather than difference."

Pickles continued: "It's sad to see how, in recent years, the idea of tolerance has become twisted. A few people, a handful of activists, have insisted that it isn't enough simply to celebrate the beliefs of minority communities; they want to disown the traditions and heritage of the majority, including the Christian faith and the English language."

The new integration strategy comes after British Prime British Prime Minister David Cameron publicly repudiated his country's long-standing policy of multiculturalism, declaring it to be a failure and responsible for fostering Islamist extremism.

In a speech to the Munich Security Conference in February 2011, Cameron said: "Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values."

Cameron continued: "This hands-off tolerance has only served to reinforce the sense that not enough is shared. And this all leaves some young Muslims feeling rootless. And the search for something to belong to and something to believe in can lead them to this extremist ideology. What we see -- and what we see in so many European countries -- is a process of radicalization."

Cameron said a two-pronged approach would be needed to neuter the threat of radical Islam in Europe: confronting extremist ideology and, instead of encouraging people to live apart, promoting a clear sense of shared national identity that is open to everyone.

On this second challenge of fostering a shared national identity, Cameron said: "Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and a much more active, muscular liberalism. A passively tolerant society says to its citizens as long as you obey the law we will just leave you alone. It stands neutral between different values. But I believe a genuinely liberal country does much more; it believes in certain values and actively promotes them. Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law, equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality. It says to its citizens, this is what defines us as a society: to belong here is to believe in these things."

In a follow-up to that speech, Cameron in October 2011 announced a series of wide-ranging reforms aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration and visa fraud in order to "reclaim our borders and send illegal immigrants home."

Cameron said that in the future, immigrants applying for visas to live in Britain must show that they can speak English, and must also prove they have the financial resources to support themselves while in the country.

In some of his strongest rhetoric yet on the spiraling problem of illegal immigration, particularly from Muslim countries, Cameron also urged Britons to report suspected illegal immigrants to the authorities so they can be deported.

Cameron further said that in the future, all immigrants applying for a British passport would be required to pass a British history exam first.

Migrants wanting to settle in Britain permanently have been required to take a Citizenship Test since 2005. But that test, a multiple-choice quiz called Life in the UK, was reduced to a laughing stock when the previous Labour government ruled that immigrants should not be required to learn British history because there was too much of it and "it would not be fair."

Instead, applicants were asked questions about equal rights, discrimination and on how to claim social welfare benefits from the British state.

Cameron said: "We're also going to change the citizenship test. There is a whole chapter in the citizenship handbook on British history but, incredibly, there is no question on British history in the actual test. Instead you'll find questions on the roles and powers of the main institutions of Europe and the benefits system within the UK. So we are going to revise the whole test … and put British history and culture at the heart of it."

Despite its efforts to reverse multiculturalism, the British government faces an uphill battle to achieve an integrated society.

One day after the government announced its new integration strategy, the Office for National Statistics revealed that two-thirds of the babies born in London in 2010 had at least one foreign-born parent. In some inner-city areas, more than three-quarters of infants are now being born into immigrant families. The figure is below 50% in only six of the 32 London boroughs.

Migration Watch UK, a think tank that focuses on immigration and asylum issues, said: "These extraordinary figures illustrate the huge and rapid change that is taking place in our capital city. They illustrate the way in which London is being changed beyond recognition and on a scale and at a speed that makes successful integration so much more difficult."

Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estrat├ęgicos / Strategic Studies Group.


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Bolton: Israeli PM Won't Get a Cup of Coffee at the White House

by Rachel Hirshfeld

Former United States ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, appeared on Fox News on Thursday, explaining why he believes that the upcoming meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama is going to be a “very unpleasant” one.

He said it is “no accident” that the Unites States is sending senior officials to meet with Israeli leaders prior to the “crucial sit-down” between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu on March 5th.

The visits of General Martin Dempsey, U.S. National Security Advisor Thomas Danilon, and Director of Intelligence Tom Clapper to the region, he said, are all unremitting attempts at dissuading Israel from attacking Iran.

It is more like “an invasion plan of the United States invading Israel, as opposed to dealing with the real problem, which is Iran,” Bolton claimed.

“The reason you see these top officials going to the region,” he continued, is that they are telling Prime Minister Netanyahu that he “better give President Obama the answer he wants to hear” during their upcoming meeting, which is that Israel will not attack Iran.

“Netanyahu is not going to say that,” he said. “This is going to be a very unpleasant meeting between the two leaders when it occurs.“

Netanyahu is scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C. to address The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference and, as Bolton said, he “can’t come to Washington without meeting with the President, so it may be one of those meetings where Netanyahu doesn’t get a sandwich and a cup of coffee at the White House, but they have to have it. “

Obama is also scheduled to address the pro-Israel lobby, as well. When asked why he believes Obama is going to do so, Bolton replied that the President needs “to try to make the case that he is standing right there, shoulder to shoulder, with Israel to try to protect them against an Iranian nuclear threat, but the fact is that administration has just lost its compass when it comes to a policy. They are still are arguing that sanctions can be effective… I think that is completely inaccurate.”

Bolton continued to say that he believes it would be in Iran’s best interests to give off the impression that the sanctions are effective.

“Iran’s most valuable commodity is time,” he said. “All they need is just a little bit more time and then they can get nuclear weapons.”

Bolton was surprised that they rebuffed the UN inspectors so abruptly, but hopes that “world leaders, in some countries, at least, [will] say [that] diplomacy does not have a chance here… We’ve to confront the reality that if we don’t, or if someone doesn’t act, that Iran will get nuclear weapons and then there won’t be any point in sanctions or diplomacy.”

Rachel Hirshfeld


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List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2012

by wikipedia

Below is a list of rocket attacks launched by "Palestinians" since January 1, 2012

In January, according to the Israel Security Agency's monthly summary, Palestinians fired 9 rockets and 7 mortar shells at Israel in 14 separate attacks.[1]

January 1

Palestinians fired two mortar shells containing phosphorus into Eshkol Regional Council. The shells landed in open fields, causing no injuries or damage.[2] The Eshkol Regional Council filed a formal complaint with the United Nations, noting that the Geneva Conventions prohibit the use of phosphorus against civilians.[3]

January 19

After nightfall, Palestinians fired a Qassam rocket into the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, causing no injuries or damage.[4]

January 21

Overnight, Palestinians fired three mortar shells into the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no injuries or damage. In response to the attack, an Israeli Air Force helicopter immediately struck a group of terrorists in the Rafah area.[5][6]

January 22

Palestinians fired a rocket into the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no injuries or damage.[7] In response to this attack and previous ones, Israel carried out air strikes on a weapons factory in the central Gaza Strip, two tunnels in the northern Strip and one tunnel in southern Gaza, causing no injuries.[8][9]

January 24

In the afternoon, Palestinians fired two Qassam rockets into the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no injuries or damage.[10]


February 1

Between about 6:30 and 9:16 pm, Palestinians fired 8 rockets into the Shaar Hanegev and Ashkelon Coast regional councils, causing no injuries or damage. Local residents were instructed to stay within 15 seconds of bomb shelters in case of additional attacks. Israeli security officials estimated that the attacks were so timed because of the stormy weather, which limits the effectiveness of rocket detection systems.[11][12][13] Next day, Israeli warplanes struck six targets in Gaza in response to previous rocket attacks, hitting two weapons storage facilities, three tunnels used for terror activities and a weapons manufacturing facility.[14]

February 6

Palestinians fired a Qassam rocket into the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, causing no injuries or damage. The Color Red alarm sounded near in the area prior to the explosion.[15]

February 10

After nightfall, Palestinian terrorists fired a rocket into a community in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council. The rocket exploded between two homes, sending shrapnel that penetrated one of the homes while civilians were sitting in the living room. The rocket also damaged an electrical pole, cutting off power. No injuries were reported.[16]

February 11

Palestinians fired a rocket into the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no injuries or damage.[17] Israel responded to the attack and to the previous one with air strikes on three tunnels used for terror activity - in the south, center and north of the Gaza Strip - and a weapons manufacturing facility in the north. Officials in the Hamas-ruled territory said that one civilian man was killed and another was wounded.[18]

February 15

Palestinians fired five rockets at Israel. Two rockets exploded in the Sdot Negev Regional Council, two more fell in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, and a fifth fell in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported. In response, the Israeli Air Force struck two targets in the Gaza Strip: a Hamas militant site in Gaza City, and a Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant site in Nuseirat.[19][20] France condemned both the Palestinian attacks and the Israeli response.[21]

February 17

Palestinians took advantage of the stormy weather, which hinders Israeli rocket warning systems, and fired two rockets into Israel. One landed in the Eshkol Regional Council, and the other hit the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, south of Ashkelon. Later, Palestinians fired an additional rocket into the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries or damage were reported in any of the attacks.[22][23]

February 18

With the stormy weather continuing, at about 11:30 am Palestinian terrorists fired a Grad rocket at Beersheba; the projectile landed outside the city. Sirens sounded in Beersheba and the Bnei Shimon Regional Council, and residents entered shelters.[24][25]

Palestinian terrorists later fired a rocket toward Israel, but it exploded instead on a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip, causing no injuries.[26]

Israel responded to recent attacks with an air strike on a weapons manufacturing site in the Gaza Strip.[27]

February 19

After nightfall, Palestinians fired two Qassam rockets into the Sdot Negev Regional Council, causing no injuries or damage.[28]

February 21

After nightfall, Palestinians fired a mortar shell into the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no injuries or damage.[29]

February 23

Palestinians fired two Qassam rockets into the Sha'ar Hanegev and Eshkol regional councils, causing no injuries or damage. Residents of the former said that the Color Red alarm sounded only seconds before the rocket exploded, and some did not manage to reach rocket shelters in time. [30][31][32]

February 24

At about 1 am, a Palestinian terrorist cell attempting to fire rockets at Israel was thwarted when an IAF jet fired at it. Palestinian sources said that two people were injured.[33] At about 2:30 am, Palestinians terrorists fired two rockets into the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no injuries or damage. Israel responded with air strikes on two terror targets in the northern Gaza Strip.[33][34][33][31][32]

Also see


  1. ^ Monthly Summary – January 2012, Israel Security Agency
  2. ^ 2 mortar shells from Gaza contained phosphorus, Jerusalem Post 01-01-2012
  3. ^ Eshkol council files UN complaint over phosphorus shells, Jerusalem Post 02-01-2012
  4. ^ Kassam rocket explodes in Sha'ar Hanegev; no injuries, Jerusalem Post 19-01-2012
  5. ^ IAF strikes Gaza terrorists after mortar attack, Jerusalem Post 21-01-2012
  6. ^ IAF chopper strikes Gaza terrorists after attack on Israel, ynet 21-01-2012
  7. ^ Rocket from Gaza lands in Eshkol Council area; none hurt, Jerusalem Post 22-01-2012
  8. ^ IDF strikes Gaza tunnels; 2 injured, Ynet News 24-01-2012
  9. ^ Rocket fired from Gaza into Israel: army, AFP 24-01-2012
  10. ^ IAF strikes Gaza weapons factory, tunnels, Jerusalem Post 24-01-2012
  11. ^ Seven rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel, Haaretz 01-02-2012
  12. ^ Gaza rocket barrage: 7 Qassams hit south, Ynet News 01-02-2012
  13. ^ Gaza terrorists fire eight rockets into Israeli territory, Jerusalem Post 01-02-2012
  14. ^ IAF strikes six Gaza targets; two reported injured, Jerusalem Post 03-02-2012
  15. ^ Kassam rocket explodes in Sha'ar Hanegev; no injuries, Jerusalem Post 06-02-2012
  16. ^ Palestinian rocket damages civilian homes, Jerusalem Post 11-02-2012
  17. ^ Rocket from Gaza lands in Eshkol Council area; none hurt, Jerusalem Post 11-02-2012
  18. ^ IAF strikes 4 Gaza targets in response to rocket, Jerusalem Post 12-02-2012
  19. ^ IDF strikes targets in Gaza after rocket attacks, Jerusalem Post 16-02-2012
  20. ^ In response to rocket fire, IAF targets terror sites, IDF Spokesperson 16-02-2012
  21. ^ France condemns rocket attack on southern Israel, Ma'an News 18-02-2012
  22. ^ Rocket from Gaza lands in Eshkol Council area; none hurt, Jerusalem Post 18-02-2012
  23. ^ Rocket hits south of Ashkelon, Ynet News 17-02-2012
  24. ^ Rockets hit Be'er Sheva, Ynet News 18-02-2012
  25. ^ Grad rocket explodes near Beersheba; no injuries, Ynet News 18-02-2012
  26. ^ Report: Rocket fired towards Israel explodes on Gaza home, Jerusalem Post 18-02-2012
  27. ^ At least 1 reported injured in IAF strike on Gaza, Jerusalem Post 18-02-2012
  28. ^ 2 Gaza rockets land in Sdot Negev Council area; none hurt, Jerusalem Post 20-02-2012
  29. ^ Mortal shell lands in Eshkol Regional Council; no injuries, Jerusalem Post 21-02-2012
  30. ^ Kassam rocket fired into Israel from Gaza; no injuries, Jerusalem Post 23-02-2012
  31. ^ a b IDF strikes targets in Gaza after rockets hit South, Jerusalem Post 24-02-2012
  32. ^ a b 4 rockets hit south; IDF retaliates, Ynet News 24-02-2012
  33. ^ a b c Two rockets fired from Gaza land in Israel; none hurt, Jerusalem Post 24-02-2012
  34. ^ 2 Qassams explode in Eshkol Regional Council; no injuries, Ynet News 24-02-2012


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Syria: Arguing for U.S. Inaction

by Daniel Pipes

Some thoughts on U.S. policy toward Syria on the occasion of the just-ended "Friends of Syria" meeting in Tunisia:

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahya, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the "Friends of Syria" conference.

Since the end of the cold war, many Americans have a sense of being so strong, they don't need to think about their own security but can afford to focus on the immediate humanitarian concerns of others. This leads to a sentimental U.S. foreign policy of "war as social work" in which the welfare of peoples with an admittedly wretched record as American allies (Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians) can trump national interests. In fact, American interests often diverge from those of Middle Easterners. For example, as I put it six years ago, "when Sunni terrorists target Shiites and vice-versa, non-Muslims are less likely to be hurt."

Applying this approach to the crisis in Syria: Good news that the abominable Assad dynasty is coming to its end. Better "the devil we don't know" than more of a totalitarian regime that oppresses its people, threatens its neighbors, and provides crucial assistance to the mullahs in Tehran.

That said, I favor a U.S. policy of inaction, of letting events transpire as they might in Syria. While the regime and its opposition battle:

  • The less the regime can make trouble for its neighbors.
  • The more potential for Iranians to take inspiration and rebel against their rulers.
  • The more Sunni Arabs anger at Tehran. As Syria analyst Gary Gambill puts it, "What's wrong with the status quo of an Iran chained to a Syrian corpse?"
  • The more they anger at Moscow and Peking.

Further, the overthrow of the Assad regime will not automatically end the country's civil war. More likely, that will reverse the dynamic, with Alawi and other rebels next fighting a Sunni Islamist regime.

Agree or disagree with my specifics; but Americans should look at Syria strategically, putting a priority on their own security in a dangerous world. (February 25, 2012)

Daniel Pipes


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

Why Muslim Student Group Concerned the NYPD

by IPT News

The Muslim community expressed its outrage this week over a New York Police Department surveillance report from 2006 that the Associated Press reported on Monday. The report disclosed that the NYPD monitored Muslim Students Association (MSA) chapters in the Northeast. The outrage, centered on the perceived violation of privacy, is based on an incorrect presumption that law enforcement had no cause for concern with the MSA.

The organization's history with radical dogma, convicted terrorists and radicalized alumni tell a different story.

NYPD officials visited websites and forums of different MSAs and noted the posted information, all of which was in the public domain. No one hacked into any email accounts or sites as part of the surveillance. A separate story reports that an undercover officer attended a rafting trip with more than a dozen MSA members.

But NYPD officials say critics are off base when they claim the department did something wrong.

"There is no constitutional prohibition against a police department collecting information," city senior counsel Peter Farrell told reporters Thursday.

"What's unconstitutional is if they then use that information to chill someone's First Amendment rights or to impose harm on them."

The AP report chronicles different events that some MSAs held and speakers that chapters hosted on campus and provides some lists of event attendees. The surveillance was intended to track any potential radical speakers or behaviors of the different chapters or individual members.

The report lists six different incidents of monitoring in 2006 at the University of Buffalo, New York University, and Rutgers University. It also lists 12 other MSAs that were tracked, but did not provide "significant information posted to their web sites, forums, blogs and groups."

"Some of the most dangerous Western Al Qaeda-linked/inspired terrorists since 9/11 were radicalized and/or recruited at universities in MSAs," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said as an explanation for the surveillance. "We were focused on radicalization and/or recruitment, specifically by groups like Al Muhajiroun, Islamic Thinkers Society, Revolution Muslim and others."

Criticism of the NYPD surveillance has been swift.

"We believe that the NYPD clearly overstepped its boundaries when it began spying on average American Muslim college students who were simply taking whitewater rafting trips or innocently participating in school activities at their college or university campus," said MSA National President Zahir Latheef.

"University officials may be the last line of defense for Muslim students whose rights were apparently violated by the clearly unconstitutional -- and possibly illegal -- tactics used by the NYPD," Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper said. "The NYPD continues to act as if it is somehow above the law that governs all other individuals and institutions."

Cyrus McGoldrick of CAIR- NY said, "It's very clear that this is not about police work this is about monitoring people based on ideology."

"They're just going out and casting a wide net around a whole community, so they're criminalizing in a way a whole community based on their religion," said CAIR-Connecticut Director Mongi Dhaouadi.

The Rutgers MSA called on the community to "openly condemn the clear violations of the NYPD, who conducted illegitimate profiling outside of their jurisdiction and breached the constitutional rights of an individual."

Leaders Found Trouble

The NYPD has a duty to protect New York City from terrorist attacks. And MSA leaders and members have been convicted of terrorist activities and plots.

The list is extensive, but among the MSA alumni who went on to terrorist involvement are:

    • Anwar al-Awlaki, an influential American-born al-Qaida cleric who recruited a series of homegrown jihadists before being killed by a U.S. drone strike;

    • Aafia Siddiqui, convicted of attempted murder and assault on U.S. officers and employees in Afghanistan;

    • Zachary Chesser, convicted of attempting to provide material support to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab and soliciting attacks on "South Park" producers for an episode in which the prophet Muhammad was shown in a bear suit;

    • Jesse Morton, convicted with Chesser of threatening the South Park producers with murder;

    • Adam Gadahn, an al-Qaida spokesman who is on the FBI's Most Wanted List for treason and material support to al-Qaida;

    • Waheed Zaman, who was convicted of plotting to blow up transatlantic flights;

    • Adis Medunjanin, who is awaiting trial for plotting to bomb New York subways;

    • Ramy Zamzam, who was convicted in Pakistan of conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks;

    • Omar Hammami, who was indicted on charges of providing material support to al-Shabbab and is designated by the U.S. Treasury Department for his terrorist connections;

    • Muhammad Junaid Babar, who pled guilty to his support to al-Qaida; and

    • Syed Hashmi, who pled guilty to providing material support to al-Qaida.

MSA was founded in the United States in 1963 by members of the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood seeks a global Islamic state and has spawned leaders of a series of Sunni terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The Muslim Brotherhood motto established by founder Hassan al-Banna is, "God is our objective, the Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our way, and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations."

MSA members remain faithful to Brotherhood ideology. At the closing session of the MSA West conference in January 2011 at UCLA, attendees recited a pledge, "Allah is my lord, Islam is my life, the Quran is my guide, the Sunna is my practice, Jihad is my spirit, righteousness is my character, paradise is my goal. I enjoin what is right, I forbid what is wrong, I will fight against oppression, and I will die to establish Islam."

One student attracted NYPD scrutiny in 2006, the AP report said, after forwarding a promotional posting about a conference in Toronto featuring "highly respected scholars."

But many speakers at the Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference in Toronto had lengthy records of harsh anti-American rhetoric and of trading in conspiracy theories:

    • For example, Siraj Wahhaj is a radical imam who was listed as a possible unindicted coconspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing prosecution. During remarks given at his Al-Taqwah mosque in 1995, Wahhaj blasted America as "a garbage can. It's filthy, filthy and sick. This country is taking our children. We're trying to raise them up righteous. And you with your sick, low morals grabbing them, trying to teach a man how to be respectful towards his wife. And you got perversity all over. Wicked filth everywhere."

    • Zaid Shakir is lauded by some as a moderate Muslim voice, but his speeches and writing show that he believes America poses "the single greatest threat to world peace." He has suggested the FBI was involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and decried "glaring weaknesses and inconsistencies in the official narrative" about the 9/11 attacks.

    • Hamza Yusuf is a founder of the Zaytuna College in California who has called America "one of the most virulent kufars [infidels] that has ever attacked the social body" and says that he believes American culture "revels in" war and violence.

    • Another speaker, Tariq Ramadan, is the grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. He was barred from entering the United States at the time of the conference due to concerns he supported a charity tied to Hamas.

The AP report does allude to Wahhaj's past, noting that he "has attracted the attention of authorities for years." But it offers no context or background on Shakir and Yusuf, simply telling readers that they are "two of the nation's most prominent Muslim scholars."

The Toronto conference previously attracted government concern.

The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had "reason to believe that certain individuals who were associated with terrorist organizations or activities might pose a danger to the Unites States, or who were associated with organizations that provide financial support to terrorists, would be in attendance at the 2004 RIS conference," a Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision said. CBP was also concerned that the conference "would serve as a possible meeting point for terrorists."

More MSA Radicalism

Last May, the MSA chapter at the University of California, Irvine (known there as the Muslim Student Union or MSU), hosted an event with Amir Mertaban who is a former president of MSA West. During a 2007 conference, Mertaban urged students not to "ever compromise on your Muslim brothers and sisters in which you have no evidence. Osama bin Laden- I don't know this guy. I don't know what he did. I don't know what he said. I don't know what happened. But we defend Muslim brothers and we defend our Muslim sisters to the end. Is that clear?"

That didn't mean people should support terror, he said, but they should never compromise on their faith "Because Islam is a perfect religion."

Invited back in 2011, Mertaban admitted to having supported the Taliban in the 1980s, and refused to condemn the terrorist organization Hamas, claiming that it has done a lot of good in terms of social and political programming. In a subsequent interview with the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Mertaban emphasized that he does not know if Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11, refused to recognize Israel as a sovereign nation and said he supports Hamas "freedom fighting missions."

MSA's history and various connections are significant in evaluating the NYPD's surveillance. Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the action as an important countermeasure to terrorist activity. "Of course, we're going to look at anything that's publicly available, in the public domain. We have an obligation to do so," he said.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne added that "[s]tudents who advertised events or sent emails about regular events should not be worried about a terrorism file being kept on them. NYPD only investigated persons who we had reasonable suspicion to believe might be involved in unlawful activities."

One student who was on the rafting trip understood this. The AP quoted Ali Ahmed saying the NYPD was doing its job. "There's lots of Muslims doing some bad things and it gives a bad name to all of us," he said, "so they have to take their due diligence."

If Ahmed's views represented the MSA, rather than the radical ideas and actions of past leaders, NYPD would lose interest much faster.

IPT News


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Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Top 5 Fatal Flaws of the Israel Apartheid Analogy

by Shelley Neese

It's that time again, Israel Apartheid Week starts next week. There is one obvious problem, however. Israel is not an apartheid state.

On the 26th of February, campuses across America will begin their eighth annual Israel Apartheid Week (IAW). As the name suggest, the protest organizers aim to equate the government of Israel with South Africa’s apartheid regime. The protestors want to paint Israel as a racist, bigoted country that deserves international condemnation.

If they succeed in creating a link between the South African system of apartheid and Israel’s treatment of its Arab citizens, they hope for Israel to lose all legitimacy in the eyes of the world.

Just like the anti-apartheid movements in the seventies and eighties helped bring down the forced system of racial domination in South Africa, the organizers of IAW hope their movement can bring down the nation of Israel.

Modeling the former anti-apartheid strategies, the IAW groups are using boycotts, divestment, sanctions, and synchronized protests to isolate the Jewish state on all fronts.

The Israel apartheid analogy has now gone mainstream—gaining especially wide acceptance in the academic community. In 2006, former President Jimmy Carter aptly titled his best-selling book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. Anti-Israel signs, apparel, literature, and documentaries run with the semantics of the apartheid comparison: “Zionism is racism,” “Tear down the wall,” and “Wrong for South Africans, wrong for Palestinians.”

There is one obvious problem, however. Israel is not an apartheid state. To accuse it of such requires a real imaginative stretch. Presented here are the top five reasons that the apartheid analogy is fatally flawed.

1. Equality. During South Africa’s apartheid system, the majority black population was oppressed and persecuted by the minority whites. In Israel, all citizens—including Arab citizens—are equal before the law, regardless of their race, religion, or minority status. Of all the countries in the Middle East, Israel is the only true democracy with full freedom for its citizens.

2. Citizenship. In 1970s South Africa all non-whites were stripped of their South African citizenship. In 1948, Israel did the opposite. When the dust settled from Israel’s war of independence, Israel gave full citizenship to the Arabs who remained in Israel and did not flee. They did this even though it was a defensive war. Today 20% of the Israeli citizenry's population is Arab. That’s a million and a half Arab citizens living in Israel and enjoying all the same rights as Israeli Jews. In addition, only 4% of the Palestinian Arabs in the "West Bank" (Judea and Samaria) are under Israeli rule, the rest are under Palestinian Authority rule.

3. Democracy. In South Africa, non-whites were not allowed to be in government or even vote. In Israel, Arabs have been represented since the very first Knesset. Israeli Arabs vote and have been elected to every level of local and national office, including appointments to the Israeli Supreme Court and government minister positions.

4. Freedom. The South African apartheid regime strictly regulated the lives of non-whites with a host of separation laws. Black South Africans were confined to Bantustans, defined labor areas that they were not permitted to leave. Israel, in contrast, has extensive anti-discrimination laws. Israeli Arabs work in all sectors, attend universities, and open businesses. While much of the Arab population lives in concentrated Arab municipalities in Israel, this is an informal segregation as a matter of choice. For South African blacks, segregation was a matter of force.

5. Security. The security fence separating Israel from the 'West Bank' is often denigrated as the “apartheid wall.” During Israel Apartheid Week, a common tactic on campuses is to build mock “apartheid walls” at protest sites. Admittedly, Israel must strictly enforce border control at entrance points from the Palestinian Authority and hostile Palestinian Arab communities to its jurisdiction. However, this restriction is due to their legitimate security concerns and not racism. The fence is credited for a drastic reduction in the number of mass-murder attacks carried out in Israel after reaching a peak in the second intifada. In South Africa, racism formed the base of segregation, not terrorism. Blacks living under South African apartheid did not seek the destruction of South Africa, only the regime of apartheid.

Perhaps the best proof that Israel is not an apartheid regime is the fact that the vast majority of Israeli Arabs want to retain their Israeli citizenship. Israeli Arabs both privately and publicly say they would not want to leave Israel and move to a Palestinian state should one be created. When former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested in 2007 that he would hand over Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority, the Arabs in Jerusalem rose up in protest. Nabil Gheit, an Arab mayor of one of these neighborhoods, said “If there was a referendum here, no one would vote to join the Palestinian Authority. We will not accept it. There would be another intifada [uprising] to defend ourselves from the PA.”

Those who are demanding to “Stop Israeli Apartheid” from the comfort of their campus parade grounds, should first stop and ask the Arab citizens and alleged victims in Israel one question: Where in the Middle East would you have it better?

Shelley Neese is Vice President of the DC-based pro-Israel Christian publication called The Jerusalem Connection. (


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