Saturday, March 17, 2012

Into the Fray: Disputing Dershowitz

by Martin Sherman

Support for a two-state solution has sown the seeds for the international delegitimization of Israel.

(Courtesy of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East)

It would be obnoxious for there to be a conference here [Harvard] on the subject of whether the Palestinians are a real people. They are, and so are the Israelis. The quest for a Palestinian state is a legitimate one, as is the need to preserve Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. - Alan Dershowitz, "Should Harvard Sponsor a One- Sided Conference Seeking the End of Israel?" (February 28)

Prof. Alan Dershowitz is a committed, articulate supporter of Israel. He has defended the Jewish state with eloquence and passion on numerous occasions, displaying commendable resolve and poise despite torrents of hostile reaction. The courageous, principled stance he has taken - regrettably rare among academics of his standing - should be greatly appreciated by Israelis across the political spectrum.

Ensnared by political correctness
However, in embracing several central precepts of politically correct but factually impaired conventional wisdom, Dershowitz has, along with many other well-meaning pro-Israeli figures, severely undermined the efficacy of his "Case for Israel."

This is particularly true regarding his unquestioning endorsement of Palestinian claims for statehood within the two-state paradigm, which for Dershowitz has seemingly become the litmus test for admission to civilized debate.

Thus in February 2010, when Palestinian hecklers prevented Ambassador Michael Oren from addressing students at the University of California, Irvine, Dershowitz rightly denounced this as anti- Israel censorship. However, what appeared to make this action particularly egregious in Dershowitz's eyes was the fact that Oren was "a moderate supporter of the two-state solution," thus hinting - perhaps without meaning to - that had Oren opposed this policy, silencing him might have been more understandable.

Indeed, as the citation above demonstrates, Dershowitz would consider any challenge to the authenticity of Palestinian national claims "obnoxious."

Conundrum for the future
Future historians will be baffled as to why such a manifestly disastrous, unworkable concept came to be embraced by so many prominent, allegedly well-informed pundits, politicians, and policy-makers. They will be particularly perplexed why the two-state solution was so enthusiastically endorsed not only by those who had a vested interest in feigning support for it, but by those who had a vested interest in exposing it as the duplicitous subterfuge it is. They will be mystified why - despite the fact that it proved devastating for both Arabs and Jews - it became the hallmark of enlightenment.

Recent events have brought home dramatically not only how futile it is for Israel and Israel-supporters to adhere to the two-state paradigm, but also how counterproductive it is.

For by pursuing the "vision" (read "fantasy") of two states, they will not only fail to reap the intended benefits this policy is purported to yield, but will precipitate outcomes highly deleterious to Israel - indeed the very outcomes the two-state policy was supposed to prevent.

The latest round of rocket fire from Gaza underscored just how ill-considered it would be to relinquish more land to the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. The recent Harvard one-state conference demonstrated how clinging to an unfeasible formula has merely generated the opportunity to promote even more menacing alternatives.

Demonstrating the obvious
The 300 rockets that rained down on southern Israel since last Friday, forcing a million civilians to huddle in shelters, proved for the umpteenth time what by now should be seared into the cognizance of all Israelis and all Israel supporters abroad: Ceding territory - any territory - to the Palestinians - any Palestinians - is unacceptably risky. For while one might fervently hope that events in the "West Bank" would turn out significantly better than in Gaza, there is little basis for such optimism. Hoping - however fervently - that tangible dangers will fail to materialize is hardly a formula for responsible risk management.

The consensus among security experts - strongly corroborated by the precedent in Gaza - is that without the presence of the IDF, the Abbas administration would be swiftly dispatched and replaced by an Islamist successor.

What is the significance of such a prospect? Clearly, the repercussions would be far more severe than in the case of Gaza.

For whatever the final contours of a putative Palestinian state, it would entail a frontier of at least 300 kilometers - approximately six times longer than the Gaza front - much of which would be adjacent to Israel's most populous urban centers, from the environs of Haifa in the north to Beersheba and beyond in the south. (Significantly, Beersheba is much closer to the pre-1967 border of the "West Bank" than it is to the Gaza Strip).

Moreover, unlike in Gaza, a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would reduce Israel's width in its most populous areas to a minuscule 11-25 km. - roughly the distance from Beverly Hills to Malibu along Sunset Boulevard.

Even more important than geographic expanse - or the lack thereof - is topographical structure. Unlike the flat Gaza Strip, the limestone hills that comprise the "West Bank" dominate the urbanized Coastal Plain, together with much of Israel's vital infrastructure, its only international airport, vital centers of civilian government and military command - and 80 percent of its population and commercial activity.

All of this would be in range of the weapons that forced a million Israelis into bomb shelters last weekend, now deployed along a much longer front and in far superior topographical positions.

Even given the impressive performance of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system, this would make any semblance of economic or social routine untenable.

'One does not have to a military expert'
Ever since Abba Eban characterized the pre-1967 Green Line as the "Auschwitz Borders," it has been widely accepted that such frontiers cannot, except under wildly optimistic and unrealistic assumptions, afford Israel acceptable levels of security.

Even iconic Labor Party moderate Yigal Allon declared: "One does not have to be a military expert to easily identify the critical defects of the armistice lines that existed until June 4, 1967," warning that they risk "the physical extinction of a large part of [Israel's] population and the political elimination of the Jewish state."

Numerous military experts have endorsed this position. In one recent study, a host of senior military and diplomatic figures, including a former IDF chief of staff, a former head of Military Intelligence and the National Security Council, and ambassadors to the UN, US and France, concluded that to meet minimum security requirements, Israel must retain control of the high ground in Judea and Samaria, as well as the Jordan Valley and the air space up to the Jordan River.

What do these minimum requirements, necessitating Israeli control of wide swathes of territory in the "West Bank," entail for the viability of Palestinian statehood?

The myth of defensible borders
The answer is provided by an article, "The Myth of Defensible Borders" by Omar Dajani and Ezzedine Fishere in the January 2011 edition of Foreign Affairs.

The authors - an adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team and an adviser to the Egyptian foreign minister, respectively - point out: "A policy of defensible borders would... perpetuate the current sources of Palestinian insecurity, further delegitimizing an agreement in the public's eyes. Israel would retain the discretion to impose arbitrary and crippling constraints on the movement of people and goods.... For these reasons, Palestinians are likely to regard defensible borders as little more than occupation by another name."

Recent events in the Mideast - a triumphant Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the ever-ascendant Islamist influence in Jordan - are hardly likely to reduce Israeli threat perception, thus only increasing the incompatibility between a viable Palestinian state and minimal requirements for a secure Israel.

Dershowitz's call that "Israel should recognize the right of Palestinians to establish an independent, democratic Palestinian state with politically and economically viable boundaries" appears increasing like a hapless attempt to "square the circle."

'Moderation' begets delegitimization
The point many well-intentioned friends of Israel seem be to missing is that it is precisely "moderate supporters of the two-state solution" who have, in large measure, sown the seeds for the delegitimization of Israel.

While this contention may appear counterintuitive, the logic behind it is unassailable. Once the legitimacy of a Palestinian state is conceded, the delegitimization of Israel is inevitable.

The chain of reasoning is clear: If the legitimacy of a Palestinian state is accepted, then any measures incompatible with its viability are illegitimate. But, Israel's minimum security requirements necessarily obviate the viability of Palestinian state. Thus, by accepting the admissibility of a Palestinian state, one necessarily admits the inadmissibility of measures required to ensure Israeli security.

Conversely, measures required to ensure Israeli security necessarily negate the viability of a Palestinian state.

For the notion of a secure Israel to regain legitimacy, the notion of a Palestinian state must be discredited and removed from the discourse as a possible means of resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Indeed an invented people
This, of course, is easier said than done.

Rolling back the decades of distortion, deception and delusion that have become entrenched in the collective international consciousness will be a Herculean task.

But the immense scale of the task cannot diminish the imperative of its implementation.

The first - and most crucial - step along this arduous road is to expose the Palestinian claim to nationhood for the hoax it is.

For the Palestinians are indeed an "invented people." Not because Newt Gingrich deems them to be, but because they themselves declare this to be so.

The historical record is replete with proclamations from Arab and Palestinian leaders, echoing the frank admission by the late Zuheir Mohsen, former PLO Executive Council member, that a "separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons," and that the "the establishment of a Palestinian state is a new tool to continue the fight against Israel."

Indeed, the Palestinian National Charter (Article 12) concedes that the endeavor to "safeguard... Palestinian identity" in merely a temporary ruse.

Moreover, not only was the territory, now claimed as the age-old Palestinian homeland, under Jordanian rule for two decades prior to 1967, without even a feeble effort to establish a Palestinian state in it being made; but the Palestinians eschewed any sovereign claim to it, explicitly conceding (Article 24 of the 1964 National Charter) that it belonged to another sovereign entity - Jordan - which only in 1988 relinquished its claim to it.

It was only after these territories came under Jewish control that Palestinians began to see them as a location for their state.

A spiteful echo
Nothing could underscore more dramatically the fundamental truth about the Palestinian claim to nationhood.

It is a claim devoid of any substantive positive content. It is no more than the negation of Jewish claims to nationhood, merely a contrary - and spiteful - echo of Zionist achievement, without which it would have neither the conceptual rationale nor the practical capacity to exist.

As the late King Hussein - not Newt Gingrich - stated: "The appearance of the Palestinian national personality comes as an answer to Israel's claim that Palestine is Jewish."

What could be clearer? No claim that Israel is not Jewish, no Palestinian national personality.

It thus astounding that Dershowitz would suggest there is any semblance of equivalency between Jewish and Palestinians claims to nationhood. Indeed, by any accepted criteria for political self-determination, the two are antipodal opposites. The Jews have a unique language - the Palestinians do not; the Jews have unique script - the Palestinians do not; the Jews have a unique religion - the Palestinians do not. The Jews have a unique heritage and documented history dating back thousands of years; the Palestinians - at best - have a contrived history dating back a few decades and supported largely by archeological vandalism and "creative" chronicling of the past.

Imperative not 'obnoxious'
Dershowitz is gravely mistaken in dismissing debate on the authenticity of Palestinian claims to statehood as "obnoxious." It is difficult to conceive of any more proper and pressing imperative.

Refraining from such discussion has inflicted devastating damage on Israel and its international legitimacy.

By desperately adhering to a paradigm that is unworkable - because it would make Israel untenable geographically - the two-state advocates have not only made Israel appear insincere and conniving.

By shunning discussion on other Zionist-compliant alternatives, they have - unintentionally - catalyzed debate on far more ominous proposals that threaten to make Israel untenable demographically.

The recent Harvard conference is the harbinger of things to come.

Martin Sherman


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

Forgerygate: Ignoring Arpaio's Report is a Scandal in Itself

by Jeffrey T. Kuhner

Is President Obama’s birth certificate a forgery? Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., believes it is. He recently held a press conference in Phoenix to discuss the findings of a new 10-page report. Mr. Arpaio’s investigators have come to a stunning conclusion: The long-form birth certificate Mr. Obama released last year is a “computer-generated forgery.”

With the exception of The Washington Times, however, no major U.S. media outlet reported this bombshell story. The liberal press corps is desperately trying to suppress any discussion of Forgerygate — potentially one of the biggest scandals in American history. The media class is betraying its fundamental mission to pursue the truth.

“Based on all of the evidence presented and investigated, I cannot in good faith report to you that these documents are authentic,” Sheriff Arpaio said. “My investigators believe that the long-form birth certificate was manufactured electronically and that it did not originate in paper format as claimed by the White House.”

The Washington Times story, written by Stephen Dinan, points out that Mr. Arpaio has called for Congress to investigate the matter. Think about this: A high-profile sheriff orders a team of former law enforcement officials to examine whether the president is truly a natural born citizen and that he has the constitutional and legal right to occupy the White House. Their official report is that Mr. Obama’s documents are shoddy and he likely engaged in deliberate fraud. And yet, most of the American press corps doesn’t believe this is an important news story? The liberal media has become rotten to the core.

Ironically, the foreign press reported widely on the story. For example, Pravda — that’s right, the former official organ of the Soviet Communist Party — did an extensive analysis of Mr. Arpaio’s findings. The article by Dianna Cotter asks the obvious question: What are U.S. journalists afraid of?

The answer is that the issue strikes at the heart of Mr. Obama’s administration: If his presidency is illegal, then all of his accomplishments — the stimulus, Obamacare, the contraceptive mandate, the government takeover of the auto sector and appointments to the Supreme Court — are illegitimate as well. The scandal would trigger a constitutional crisis.

Following Mr. Obama’s surprise news conference last year, when he unveiled the long-form certificate, the media insisted that the controversy was settled once and for all. The "birthers" supposedly had been silenced. Mr. Arpaio’s report, however, changes that. The issue has been resuscitated — except in the eyes of the mainstream media.

A prominent sheriff says he has damning evidence that Mr. Obama probably lied to the public. The international media believes it’s a big deal; many Americans agree. They want to get to the bottom of it. Yet, the liberal hacks at the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC can do nothing more than yawn.

Contrast this with their treatment of President George W. Bush. Throughout the Bush years it was open season: routine comparisons to Adolf Hitler, charges of being a war criminal, calls for impeachment, trumped-up scandals like the Valerie Plame affair, investigations into the partying habits of his teenage daughters, stories about Mr. Bush’s drinking as a younger man, his National Guard service and mediocre college grades — journalists left no stone unturned, no questions unanswered, no topic was beyond the pale.

Not with Mr. Obama. In fact, the opposite is true: Almost everything pertinent is not to be touched. He is the least-vetted president in modern memory. During the 2008 campaign, the liberal media deliberately propped up Mr. Obama. They suppressed vital information about his radical past and deep ties to virulent revolutionary leftists — the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Derrick Bell, Saul Alinsky and Edward Said. For all of their differences, they share one value in common: hatred for traditional America.

To this day, Mr. Obama’s college transcripts, undergraduate thesis and health records remain sealed. We know little about his years in Indonesia as a young boy; his overseas trips to countries like Pakistan in the 1980s; his relationship with his mother and Muslim stepfather; and his time spent as a “community organizer” in Chicago. In short, the president’s past is clouded in mystery. This is not conspiracy-mongering, but objective fact. Americans have a right to know who their commander-in-chief really is. Instead, the media wants to bury any debate or inquiry into Mr. Obama’s background.

Whether you believe Mr. Obama’s long-form birth certificate is a forgery or not, Mr. Arpaio should be applauded. He has done our nation a huge service. He is asking the press corps to look into an issue of the highest importance: Has the president committed a monstrous hoax and fraud upon the American people? In particular, the sheriff’s team has identified a supposed “person of interest” who they believe played a pivotal role in Forgerygate. The media must follow up on the story. If it is false, then Mr. Arpaio will be rightly humiliated and publicly discredited. But if — and I stress if — it is true, then the press will have unearthed a scandal that will shake this country to its very foundations. Either way, it’s time the media did their job and stop acting like Mr. Obama’s poodles.

[Editor: If you think this matter should be investigated further, Find the email address of your representative or senator and write to him/her. Or contact MSNBC, CNN, ABC,, CBS, NPR or Fox News.]

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.


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Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Salubrius: Three Possible Territorial/Political Solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

by Salubrius (Wallace Edward Brand)

A One (Arab Majority) State Solution

[Editor: This scenario would be impractical and patently undesirable from Israel's point of view, but Salubrius has included it as one of the three theoretical possibilities.] A one (Arab) state solution West of the Jordan could be effected by Israel's prompt annexation of Judea, Samaria and Gaza with these results:

1. The state would no longer have a Jewish population majority and its democracy would no longer have Western values. The Jews would find they were unwelcome guests in their own National Home in which they had fairly achieved a population majority and so had earned sovereignty.

2. The state with an Arab Muslim majority would adopt sharia law.

3. In the short run, there would be killings and persecution of Christians and Jews, payment of a much higher discriminatory tax by them and dhimmitude. under the pact of Umar.

4. In the long term, Christians and Jews would migrate from Palestine to the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia as the Jews did from Arab and Muslim states in the Middle East after the War of Independence in Palestine and the Christians are currently from migrating from Bethlehem, the area currently under PA control in Palestine and likely the Copts and Christians from Egypt after Mubarak..

A Two State Solution

A two state solution could occur if Israel agreed to an armistice line between it and adjacent Arab states and it were to be changed to a boundary line. This return to the so called Green Line, would actually temporarily effect a new boundary because the 1948 Armistice document at the request of Israel's opponents expressly stated that the Armistice line was NOT a boundary line.

1. According to Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, and quasi Ambassador to Lebanon, "With the two-state solution, in [his] opinion, [and he said also that of Mahmoud Abbas] Israel will collapse, because if they get out of Jerusalem, what will become of all the talk about the Promised Land and the Chosen People? What will become of all the sacrifices they made - just to be told to leave? They consider Jerusalem to have a spiritual status. The Jews consider Judea and Samaria to be their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse. It will regress of its own accord. Then we will move forward.

He suggested, however, also in Arabic, that this view not be made known to the West. The end result will be one state with the loss of a Jewish majority and the substitution of sharia for Western values.

Since 1920, the motives in the Middle East have been split. Kemal Attaturk started the Turks on the path of the West and its renaissance and enlightenment to cure falling behind the West. (Very recently Erdogan is changing that.) In Egypt, Hasan al Banna, organized the Muslim Brotherhood and pushed the view that only the return to Islam as practiced by Mohammed would restore the caliphate and world leadership. With the arrival of OPEC and petrodollars in the 60s, religious jihad commenced being seen in the West in the 70s. In Palestine, it was imported much earlier by Haj Amin al Hussein, from right next door in Egypt. The Soviet dezinformatsia in 1964, [see The Soviet Roots of Terrorism] in their drafting the Charter of the PLO in Moscow, successfully disguised this motive as secular nationalism. It is well known that the first priority of Islam is to organize attacks on infidels who have gained control of any land formerly controlled by Muslims, i.e. the dar al Islam. When Arafat was criticized for negotiating with the Jews, he winked and referred to the Treaty of Huddibyiah. Instead of "Remember the Alamo, Jews should “Remember the Quraysh”. Under the two state solution some land of the dar al Islam will still be under infidel control.

2.. In the interim, much Christian and Jewish Heritage would be permanently lost. Arabs had dominion over Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem during the 19 year period between 1948 and 1967, as a result of the invasion of the British supplied and led Arab Legion that became the Army of Jordan. During that period 58,000 tombstones were destroyed in the Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives, a cemetery that had been there for 4,000 years. One of the destroyed tombstones was estimated to be 1000 years old. The Israeli soldiers who liberated East Jerusalem in 1967 found that a latrine had been built against the Western Wall, the holiest site in the world for Judaism. Visits by Christians to their holy sites such as those in Bethlehem would cease.

3. In the interim there would also be much killing of Christians as in the Arabs dominated areas as there is currently in Egypt after the fall of Mubarak. In Bethlehem From the time Oslo placed the Palestinian Authority in control, there has been persecution and killings of Arab Christians and a mass emigration.

4. In the long run the result would be the same as in the one state solution. The Jews would be returned to the Diaspora in the Biblical land of the Jews. They would be unwelcome guests in their National Home and reconstituted state. Perhaps instead of Remember the Alamo, Jews should "Remember the Quraysh".

A One Lawful State Solution

A one lawful state solution would be grounded on International Law based on the San Remo Resolution of 1920. A later amendment of that resolution in 1922 is invalid because it came about as a result of the British needing to solve their political problems with the French as a result of the secret Sykes-Picot agreement. That agreement divided the former Ottoman Empire lands captured by the WWI Allies into spheres of influence. Syria was allocated to the French. Britain, in de facto control following the end of the war, placed one of King Hussein's son, Feisal on the throne of Syria. The French deposed him after the battle of Maysalun. Abdullah, Feisal's brother marched his army up to East Palestine and readied for battle with the French. Winston Churchill gave the throne of Iraq to Feisal and East Palestine, east of the Jordan River, called "TransJordan" to Abdullah and his Hashemite tribe.

In accepting the responsibilities of trustee of the exclusive political rights granted by the WWI Allies at San Remo in 1920, the British accepted a fiduciary responsibility in its trusteeship. Its grant of what some have estimated to be more than some three quarters of the trust res to Abdullah and his Hashemite Tribe of Arabs to solve its political problems with France was therefore in breach of its fiduciary responsibility to the trust beneficiary, the Jews. However a lawful representative of the Jews, the government of Israel in return for a quitclaim on Jordan's rights West of the River Jordan, gave the country now called Jordan, a quitclaim to all the land East of the Jordan River. So the Jews now only held political rights to CisJordan, or the land of Palestine West of the Jordan River.

Currently, under the Oslo agreement, the Palestinian Authority holds Judea and Samaria and the terrorist organization [PLO]; Hamas holds Gaza.

A one lawful state solution could be achieved in this way and would have this result:

1. Israel would immediately annex only Judea and Samaria. This would not result in the loss of a Jewish population majority. In fact, Israel would still have a comfortable majority. That is because it has been determined that the PA has been overstating the Arab population if Judea and Samaria, likely so as to increase their welfare claims from the UNRWA. Would this change in time because of a greater Arab birth rate as compared with that of the Jews? No. That assumption that the Arab birth rate is greater is not based on fact. The much lower infant mortality rate in the Arab population, as a result of Jewish medicine being available to them, has resulted in a drop in the Arab birth rate. However many orthodox Jewish families have an extremely large number of children so as to make up for all the loss of Jewish life, one third of all Jews, lost in the Holocaust. Families with eight or ten children are not unusual.

2. The next step would be to retake Gaza. The continued firing of rockets, missiles and mortar shells at Israel is a casus belli as well as a war crime. It is a war crime because the rockets cannot be aimed accurately so that their firing indiscriminately targets both Israeli military and civilians. That would justify Israel retaking the Gaza Strip that it had pulled out of in 2005. A second justification arises from the conditions of the tacit agreement between Israel and the Arabs local to Gaza. That was that if the Jews pulled out of their area, also withdrew all of Israel's citizens, the Arabs would quit attacking Israel with rockets, missiles and mortar shells. There was failure of consideration because not only did the rockets not stop, they increased.

3. In the interim, Israel could then provide the Gazans with a form of Home Rule. They would have a local government with complete internal control over Gaza but with Israeli remaining in control of external affairs. The one exception would be Israel's control over elections in Gaza. Gaza would be forbidden to permit elections in which terrorist candidates or parties could be elected. Would this satisfy the requirements of the mandate to preserve the civil rights of the non-Jews. Yes, it would. The mandate preserved rights of the non-Jews. It did not create any for them. In fact the French process-verbal stated that their understanding of the effect of the Mandate was that the non-Jews would not surrender any of their rights. The other Allies agreed to that meaning. The Arabs in Gaza had theretofore been colonized and occupied and ruled for 400 years by the Turks from Istanbul. The Arabs in Gaza had never been permitted to vote on Turkish Caliphate policy. They would not be surrendering anything by the establishing of Home Rule. In the long run, it could be a very long time, when Jewish population resulted in a comfortable Jewish majority in all of CisJordan, Israel could then annex it and award citizenship to those, Arab Muslims and Christians, and Jews willing to swear fealty to the Jewish nation-state of Israel. The rest could remain as permanent residents or compensated to leave. The fine details are left to other minds better than mine.

Please note this is suggested as an available solution for Israeli consideration. I think the Israeli are the ones who take the risks of any solution and therefore are the ones who should decide. But this solution is not only suggested, it is recommended.

Salubrius (Wallace Edward Brand) is a retired lawyer. He worked for several government agencies, among which were the Federal Power Commission and the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice. He also had a private practice representing small non profit utilities against large established utilities. As a result of the attacks on 9/11, he has become an activist against terrorism.

Salubrius wishes to credit Mr. Salomon Benzimra for his help in preparing the article. Mr. Benzimra was born in Morocco and currently lives in Toronto. He studied at the Sorbonne and wrote The Jewish People's Rights to the Land of Israel, a book on the San Remo Resolution.


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Egypt is a Volcano, The West Snoozes, But Israel Won’t Play the Role of Pompeii

by Barry Rubin

“Interchangeable ever were the terms of abuse with which the aggressor discredits those about to be ravaged!”

–Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano

Reality: Those who are, or will soon be, governing Egypt view themselves as being at war with Israel for all practical purposes. It matters relatively little that there is still a peace treaty. In Cairo, there are no thoughts of peace.

This is the second biggest disaster of the “Arab Spring.” The same applies to the Egyptian government’s attitude to the United States. That is the biggest disaster.

It is a disaster that U.S. policymakers and journalists have not even begun to recognize, much less counter. Same applies to the British.

Here’s the latest example. The Egyptian parliament voted unanimously to demand the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador and the halt of all natural gas exports to Israel. Isn’t going to happen? Well, not this month. Of course, the military junta is still in control, but it won’t be by the end of June. And then the deluge begins.

The mechanics of this step are especially significant. The parliament’s Arab affairs committee issued a report that stated:

“Revolutionary Egypt will never be a friend, partner or ally of the Zionist entity (Israel), which we consider to be the number one enemy of Egypt and the Arab nation. It will deal with that entity as an enemy, and the Egyptian government is hereby called upon to review all its relations and accords with that enemy.”

It’s rather difficult to be at peace with your “number one enemy” isn’t it, especially when you treat it as an enemy in all aspects of policy? And in this report and successful resolution, Israel is referred to as an “entity” and not a state thirty years after the two countries made peace and “ended” their conflict. That’s the same term used by Iran, Hamas, and Hizballah. And the report calls for a total boycott of Israel, which would mean that even if there would be an Israeli embassy in Cairo no Egyptian official would meet with its personnel.

The report also endorses Palestinian resistance “in all its kinds and forms” against Israel’s “aggressive policies.” That is an endorsement of terrorism and of Hamas firing rockets, missiles, and mortars from the Gaza Strip. If, for example, a Palestinian were to get inside an Israeli kindergarten and machinegun all the toddlers that would be justified in the eyes of Egypt’s new rulers. And that’s no exaggeration.

In a sense, then, this is a declaration of war. Oh, it isn’t a formal war with the Egyptian military building up its forces in eastern Sinai or launching a cross-border attack. But war nonetheless.

It means—as I’ve been warning for a year—that Egypt will do almost anything to help Hamas wage a war against Israel from the Gaza Strip. This will mean: the free flow of military supplies, money, terrorists, and even Egyptian volunteers. It also means the building of Hamas weapons’ manufacturing factories, bases, and training installations in eastern Sinai.

And there’s something else here that shouldn’t be taken for granted. The vote was unanimous. There is not a single Egyptian in parliament who would dare say,

“Wait a minute! Is this wise? Is this accurate? Didn’t we get back the Sinai as a result of peace, which means the reopening of the Suez Canal and the operation of our oilfields there? Aren’t we in danger of sliding into a disastrous war? Haven’t we been down this path before? Don’t we want to avoid foreign adventures and focus on dealing with our social problems and economy? Shouldn’t we try to maintain a good relationship with the United States?”

Nobody, or close to nobody, will say such things, even the few who dare think them will not dare speak them. This is how the hysteria and demagoguery build into war, bloodshed, and catastrophe. If they don’t say it now, they certainly won’t say it a year from now.

This does not mean that Egypt is going to go to war by means of its army attacking Israel. It does, however, mean that Egypt will do everything up to that point. And it is possible that through ideological fanaticism, miscalculation, or the actions of subordinates even this line will be crossed in future.

And the West doesn’t have a clue that there is a volcano steaming away, throwing rocks into the air, rumbling, and getting ready to blow.

When I talk to Western diplomats and journalists they keep saying something like: But it doesn’t make sense for Egypt to become a radical state eager for a confrontation with Israel. It isn’t in their interests given all the country’s internal and economic problems.

The Western governments, media, and “experts” are still pretending that good old material interest will solve everything and keep everyone moderate. Pay no attention to Egypt’s willingness to try more than a dozen Americans as espionage agents even though that action jeopardizes future aid. There’s nothing to worry about.

Precisely the opposite is true. Since the new rulers cannot solve or even reduce those things such extremism is precisely the answer to their political problems. Whip up hysteria, ensure mass support, and get people to forget or ignore their “real” problems. There is an Arab expression often used as the battle cry of this method: Let no voice rise above the din of battle. Or, to put it another way, Shut up! We’re busy trying to kill Jews here!

In my opinion, the coming developments in Egypt are going to dwarf any threat from Iran, certainly for the next two years.

Barry Rubin


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Confusion in the Ranks

by Jonathan Spyer

This week, leading Gaza- Hamas activist Salah al-Bardawil told The Guardian newspaper that in the event of a war between Iran and Israel, Hamas would not back Teheran. Hamas Foreign Minister in Gaza Mahmoud Zahar later appeared to refute Bardawil’s stance, saying that Hamas would respond “with utmost power” to any “Zionist war on Iran.”

These statements reflect confusion and divisions in the main Palestinian- Islamist movement. The confusion derives from the variety of options which the Arab upheavals of 2011 have placed before Hamas.

The divisions also reflect the resultant opening of separate and competing power structures in the movement, with the leaders of the Gaza statelet opposing the overall leadership, and also quarreling among themselves.

The Teheran-led “resistance axis,” with which Hamas was aligned, is one of the main victims of the Arab upheavals of the last year. Meanwhile, the clear winner from the upheavals so far is the ideological trend of which Hamas is a representative – namely, Sunni Islamism.

Revolt in Iran-aligned Syria has left the Iranians exposed as a narrow, sectarian force. Their claim to represent a general Muslim interest against the West and Israel is in disarray. In Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, Sunni Islamist elements are moving to benefit from the fall of authoritarian leaders.

Hamas’s close relationship with Iran is of long standing, dating back to the mid 1990s. Iranian help formed a vital factor in turning the Palestinian Islamist movement into a formidable terrorist force in the second intifada of 2000-2004. Following Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Iranian aid increased in both volume and importance for Hamas.

Yet with all this, the alliance between Iran and Hamas always had the nature of a marriage of convenience. Unlike Hezbollah, the Sunni Hamas was not a creation of the Iranians, and did not subscribe to the Shiaderived Iranian-ruling ideology of Wilayat al-Faqih (leadership of the jurisprudent).

Hamas still has a deep connection to Palestinian politics. It emerged from the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and inherited the extensive social and educational network and the ideological outlook of the Brotherhood.

There are also those within the movement – particularly within its armed wing – who adhere to the radically anti-Shia Salafi trend within Sunni Islamism.

Hamas’s relationship with Iran derived from the somewhat binary nature of regional politics prior to 2011. The US-led and Iran-led regional blocs were facing off against one another. As Hamas PLC member Musehir al-Masri put it in 2007, Hamas and Iran had their differences, yet alliance with Iran was “a thousand times more preferable than relying on the Americans and Zionists.”

Implicitly, there were only two choices, and Hamas’s preference was obvious. As a result of the events of 2011, there are no longer only two choices. Hamas is split regarding which path to take.

The situation in Syria was the immediate spark for Hamas’s move away from the “resistance axis.” The movement was placed in an impossible situation, in which its host, the Assad regime, was engaged in the wholesale slaughter of a largely Sunni-Arab uprising.

The signs of discomfort have been apparent for months.

Hamas’s Damascus offices are empty and Khaled Masha’al left the Syrian capital for Doha. The movement’s key leaders are now in Qatar, Cairo, or its Gaza fiefdom.

The move has left Mashaal weakened. A power struggle is consequently under way between the Gaza-based leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud. Zahar, on the one hand, and Masha’al and the formerly Damascus-based element, on the other. Attitudes toward Iran are one of the elements in this disagreement.

The distancing from Iran appears to imply a move away from a focus on military methods and toward an emphasis on anti- Israel propaganda and popular agitation. But there is no overall agreement regarding the extent of the shift, and attitudes toward it have become enveloped in the larger power struggle under way.

Important elements among the Gaza leadership do not wish to stray too far from the Iranians. Hamas, to maintain its Gaza fiefdom, still needs Iran’s expertise and its weaponry. There is no obvious Qatari or Saudi substitute for this.

The latest reports suggest that a new terrorist body, the “Aqsa Defenders” is emerging from within Hamas in Gaza. Like Fatah’s Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, this body may be used for deniable paramilitary activity, even as Hamas pursues other avenues of activity.

Haniyeh’s visit to Iran and Zahar’s latest statement suggest that in the period ahead, Hamas will seek to maintain some level of Iranian support, while at the same time developing relations with the authorities in Egypt and Qatar. Being in the midst of an internal contest, Hamas lacks the consensus necessary for a hard “either-or” decision with regard to its alliances.

Therefore Hamas’s move away from the resistance axis should not be seen in terms of a clean break, and a clean break with political violence is equally unlikely.

Still, the distancing by Hamas from the Iran-led bloc, and its move back in the direction of the Sunni-Arabs, is reason for some quiet satisfaction in Israel. It represents a considerable setback for the regional alliance, which still constitutes by far the most serious strategic threat to Jerusalem.

A Hamas aligned more closely with Qatar would be equally politically intransigent, and if the Qatar and Egypt-sponsored reconciliation with Fatah succeeds, this will end any realistic hopes for a diplomatic process between Israelis and Palestinians in the foreseeable future. Nor will Hamas entirely eschew violence.

The Qataris and their ilk deal in a politics of gesture and propaganda vis-a-vis Israel, but remain dependent on the West for protection against the real menace of Iran. They lack the genuine ideological fervor, seriousness and readiness for real war of the Iran-led regional alliance.

Hamas’s move in the direction of Doha and Cairo, and subsequent internal squabbling, means the weakening of the most important alliance arrayed against Israel – and the beginning of a period of flux and division for the main Palestinian Islamist movement.

Jonathan Spyer


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

Pentagon Overstating the Case not to Intervene in Syria?

by Rick Moran

Max Boot, writing in the Washington Post:

It's easy to tell when the Pentagon is opposed to a military intervention. That's when we hear leaks saying how difficult such action would be. We heard them in the 1990s concerning Bosnia and Kosovo, we heard them last year over Libya, and we are hearing them now about Syria.

News reports cite unnamed "senior defense officials" saying that Syria has a sophisticated air-defense system and a 330,000-man army that would be hard to defeat; that we don't know enough to arm a Syrian opposition that lacks effective, unified leadership; that U.S. intervention could plunge Syria into civil war and embroil us in a "proxy war" against Iran and possibly Russia; and that international support is lacking for any move.


Today, in the case of Syria, any military action needs to be carefully thought through, but we should not refuse to act simply because of the worst-case scenarios being raised by the Pentagon.

Start with Syria's supposedly formidable air defense. Given the ease with which Israel penetrated those defenses in 1982, during the Lebanon War, and in 2007, to take out the al-Kibar nuclear reactor, it is unlikely that the systems would pose that much of a challenge to the world's most sophisticated and powerful air force.

The U.S. Air Force had no trouble taking out Saddam Hussein's air defenses on two occasions, and those, like Syria's, were constructed largely on the Russian model.

And what about that 330,000-man army? Most of the soldiers are poorly trained and unmotivated Sunni conscripts unwilling to do much to defend a regime dominated by Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Bashar al-Assad's regime can count on only about 30,000 Alawite soldiers, which is why the same units are used to attack one rebel stronghold after another.

Mr. Boot is far too sanguine in his arguments about intervention - especially when it comes to the disunity of the Syrian opposition. As I wrote previously, bombings in Damascus might be the work of al-Qaeda and it is unknown if they are working with some elements of the Syrian opposition or not. Regardless of that, there is also a question of the opposition being fractured and unable to unite around an agenda, a plan of action, even who should lead. Giving arms and training to a Free Syrian Army of which we know next to nothing is also a shot in the dark.

Mr. Boot is correct that the Pentagon is overstating the case against intervention in some respects. But in some other, more important areas, the soldiers have it right.

Rick Moran


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

Jerusalem: The Heart & Soul of the Conflict

by Yedidya Atlas

Last month Qatar hosted representatives from Islamic countries attending the “International Conference for the Defence of Occupied Jerusalem.” Supposedly they convened to discuss “the legal status of Jerusalem before and after the Israeli occupation, the reality and the future of Jerusalem under occupation, and the status of the holy places under international law.” The real reason, the Islamic reason, was to perpetuate the lie that Jerusalem is not Jewish.

It was no surprise that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the notorious Holocaust denier, or Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi, whose organization’s 22nd summit in 2010 approved the conference, among other Muslim political luminaries, attended. It was even par for the course that the UN representative Robert Serry attended to give official UN backing to the Big Lie on Arab-Muslim Jerusalem. Nor was it a bombshell that Kenneth Insley, Jr., who was listed as “consultant” to the US Department of State, attended also delivering a speech in support of the aforementioned Islamic mythological history of Jerusalem. (To date, the State Department has failed to explain whether or not Mr. Insley, a known promoter of anti-Israel hatred, was there on behalf of the US government as the conference billing listed him.)

But the primary thrust of the conference was just another in a long line of Islamic attempts to throw the sands of confusion and deception in the minds eyes of Western policy makers and the Western media. The purpose: to cause the aforementioned Western fellow travelers to participate and support the Islamic re-writing of Jerusalem’s history.

The reason that Jerusalem is so important to Muslims is because it actually is important to the Jews. After all, when East Jerusalem with the Old City and the Temple Mount was occupied by the Arab and Islamic Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from 1949 until 1967, Jerusalem was not important to the same Arab/Islamic leaders who subsequently shed crocodile tears over the loss of Jerusalem following Israel’s liberating Eastern Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War. During the 19 years of Jordanian occupation, for example, the King of Saudi Arabia, PLO chieftain Yasser Arafat, et al., never once visited Jerusalem, never felt the need to go up to the Temple Mount and pray at the mosque. Moreover, those Muslims who do pray at the “al-Aqsa Mosque” built on the Temple Mount turn their backs to the mosque and face Mecca. Why? Because Jerusalem, as we will see from a brief historical review, means nothing per se to Muslims except in relation to the city’s importance to their declared enemies: Jews and Christians, those “People of the Book.”

Anyone who is conversant at all with Biblical history and archeology, as well as more than three millennia of Jewish law and traditions, knows the unique and central role Jerusalem plays in Judaism. Jews have always prayed towards Jerusalem, and in Jerusalem, they pray towards the Temple Mount. Jews have mourned the destruction of both the First and Second Temples for upwards of 2,000 years, and pray daily for the ultimate rebuilding of the Third Temple in Messianic times. The Passover Hagaddah (also read by President Obama in the White House, according to his latest AIPAC speech), as does the Yom Kippur service, concludes with the phrase, “Next year in Jerusalem.” One of the 18 benedictions in the primary Jewish prayer (the “Amida” or “Shemona Esrei”) recited three times daily by religious Jews is the prayer to return and rebuild Jerusalem as of old. Since the days of King David, Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish state.

“Jerusalem” is mentioned 669 times in the Jewish Bible (Tanach). It does not appear at all in the Koran or in Islamic prayers. Islam’s founder and prophet Mohammad never visited Jerusalem, and no mosque was built there until 682 CE, when the Umayyad Caliph Suleiman Abd al-Malik built the mosque on the Temple Mount to create from scratch an alternative holy site after Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr rebelled against the Islamic rulers in Damascus, conquered Mecca and prevented pilgrims from reaching Mecca for the hajj. And even then, Jerusalem never served as the seat of any Islamic political entity. In fact, after the Arab/Islamic conquest of the region, the aforementioned Umayyad Caliph subsequently built the city of Ramla in 705 CE and his appointees ruled the region from there, not Jerusalem.

While the Caliph called the mosque “al-Aqsa,” claiming after the fact that this was the “al-Aqsa mosque” referred to in the Koran, as “the further mosque” where Mohammad prayed, this was merely a political contrivance due to the rebellion of al-Zubayr who then controlled Mecca. As Dr. Mordechai Kedar noted in a 2008 article in Yediot Ahronot, Islamic tradition in fact tells us that the aforementioned “al-Aqsa mosque” referred to in the Koran is actually near Mecca on the Arabian Peninsula.

“Islamic tradition tells us that al-Aqsa mosque is near Mecca on the Arabian Peninsula. This was unequivocally stated in ‘Kitab al-Maghazi,’ a book by the Muslim historian and geographer al-Waqidi,” Dr. Kedar writes. “According to al-Waqidi, there were two ‘masjeds’ (places of prayer) in al-Gi’irranah, a village between Mecca and Ta’if – one was ‘the closer mosque’ (al-masjid al-adna) and the other was ‘the further mosque’ (al-masjid al-aqsa,) and Muhammad would pray there when he went out of town.”

Dr. Kedar further points out: “This description by al-Waqidi which is supported by a chain of authorities (isnad) was not ‘convenient’ for the Islamic propaganda of the 7th Century. In order to establish a basis for the awareness of the ‘holiness’ of Jerusalem in Islam, the Caliphs of the Ummayad dynasty invented many ‘traditions’ upholding the value of Jerusalem, which would justify pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the faithful Muslims. Thus was al-Masjid al-Aqsa ‘transported’ to Jerusalem. It should be noted,” Dr. Kedar reminds us, “that Saladin also adopted the myth of al-Aqsa and those ‘traditions’ in order to recruit and inflame the Muslim warriors against the Crusaders in the 12th Century.”

Hence, Islamic propaganda continues. The only new wrinkle is the “invented history” of the Muslim Palestinian Arabs, which is predicated on negating the true and documented history of the Jews. The method continues; the lie is still a lie. Unfortunately, today too many in the West have volunteered to become obsequious espousers of the Islamic falsehoods regarding the Land of Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular – including certain politicians in Washington, DC.

Yedidya Atlas


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

Refuting Apologetics Over Islamic ‘Creative Lying’

by Raymond Ibrahim

Sam Shamoun of Answering Islam recently forwarded me an article titled “Tawriya: Islamic Doctrine of ‘Creative Lying’? Response to Raymond Ibrahim,” appearing on a website called Muslim Debate Initiative, and written by one Shadid (“Severe”) Lewis in response to my recent exposition on the doctrine of tawriya. Although this response—poorly written, poorly argued—would normally be ignored, I address it for three reasons: 1) To date, it is the only rebuttal I have seen from a Muslim concerning tawriya; 2) Far from rejecting tawriya, it actually validates it (the author spends his time chasing red herrings, not disproving the doctrine); 3) It is a good example of the speciousness and sophistry employed by those who try to downplay or rationalize some of Islam’s more problematic doctrines, in this case, tawriya. (Note: Although Shadid’s original article is littered with grammatical and punctuation errors, in the interest of readability, I have corrected the more egregious when quoting him.)

At the start, after informing readers that he “read the article of Raymond Ibrahim posted on and I just had to respond,” Shadid argues that tawriya really “means deliberate ambiguity rather than creative lying.” Discerning readers understand such euphemisms change nothing about the doctrine.

After I pointed out that most Muslim scholars (or ulema) are agreed that tawriya should not be used to commit an “injustice,” I added “‘injustice’ as defined by Sharia, of course, not Western standards.” To this, Shadid responds: “Says who? None of the sources he [me] cited said as only defined by Sharia. A commonly known wrong is a commonly known wrong just the same in Islam (stealing, cheating, murder, etc. is wrong and accepted as such in Islam).”

First, of course the Muslim authorities do not bother pointing out that they mean justice and injustice as defined by Sharia; that’s a given. Likewise, anyone familiar with Islamic law and doctrine—presumably Muslims like Shadid himself—know that many of Islam’s views on “right” and “wrong” do not agree with “universal standards.” One example: Islamic law holds that any Muslim who converts out of Islam and refuses to return is an apostate to be executed. Whereas in Islam, such executions are deemed “just,” from a Western point of view, which acknowledges religious freedom, they are unjust. In this context, then, it is “just” to use tawriya (lying) to enable the execution of an apostate.

Next, Shadid distracts the issue by making irrelevant points: “Sheikh Al-Munajjid, another source cited by the article’s author, said excessive use of puns leads to lying. So the claim that this [tawriya] can be used whenever and wherever is a lie in itself.”

Yes, at the very end of his fatwa, after giving many proofs validating tawriya, Munajjid warned that too much tawriya can “lead one to slip into a lie,” meaning that, by getting caught up in one’s own dissembling game, one can end up committing an actual lie—one that is not “technically” true, a criterion of tawriya—without realizing it. More to the point, saying that some ulema warn against using tawriya too much, does not change the fact that Islam permits lying through tawriya, and that it is up to the individual Muslim to decide how much is too much.

Shadid continues: “Al Munajjid said this [tawriya] is used for embarrassing circumstances. Yet the author would have us believe Muslims can use this to lie in business transactions, and to take peoples’ property and other commonly accepted wrong activities.”

Seems like Shadid is engaging in his own bit of tawriya here: yes, Munajjid did say tawriya can be used for embarrassing circumstances, but he mentioned embarrassment as an example of, not the sole justification for, tawriya. Rather, the two criteria he gave, and which I noted in my original article, are 1) that the words literally fit the alternate meaning, so that the lie is technically true, and 2) that there is a “legitimate need” (i.e., a Sharia compliant need).

Caught up in his own convoluted logic/tawriya, Shadid next contradicts himself: “Another source cited by the articles author which he ignores is: Al-Nawawi, who said the deliberate ambiguity [tawriya] is permissible if the need arises or a legitimate interest …”—there it is again, “legitimate interest.” In other words, Nawawi, just like Munajjid, is simply another Muslim scholar who confirms that tawriya is permissible if it serves a “legitimate interest,” i.e., if the lie enables something deemed “legitimate” according to Sharia.

Then there are Shadid’s ridiculous arguments:

Mr. Ibraham told us Muhammad is recorded saying “Allah has commanded me to equivocate among the people inasmuch as he has commanded me to establish [religious] obligations”; and “I have been sent with obfuscation”; and “whoever lives his life in dissimulation dies a martyr” (Sami Mukaram, Al Taqiyya Fi Al Islam, London: Mu’assisat al-Turath al-Druzi, 2004, p. 30).

However the source he cites clearly is Al Taqiyya Fi Al Islam, London: Mu’assisat al-Turath al-Druzi, 2004, p. 30). Did you catch it? The source is about AL TAQIYYA not about TAWRIYA. And taqiyya deals with a situation only when a Muslim’s life is in immediate danger [not true] and they utter words of disbelief because they are threatened with being killed or tortured. Thus this citation does not support any proof for “creative lying.”

Apparently Shadid’s point is that any quote contained in a book that is not specifically devoted to the topic of the quote, is to be ignored. This is tantamount to saying “I reject any quote on jihad, regardless of the authority, unless it comes from a book with the word ‘jihad’ in its title. But if the title of the book is, say, ‘Islamic Law,’ or ‘War in Islam,’ then the quote on jihad is inadmissible.”

Better for you, Shadid, to address the actual quote itself—that your prophet’s mission was rooted in obfuscation, according to his own words—rather than quibble about the title of the book containing the quote.

Next he complains that I misrepresented a hadith when I wrote:

Muhammad said: “If any of you ever pass gas or soil yourselves during prayers [breaking wudu], hold your nose and leave” (Sunan Abu Dawud): ” Holding one’s nose and leaving implies smelling something offensive—which is true—though people will think it was someone else who committed the offense.”

According to Shadid:

Those familiar with this hadith can quickly see that Ibrahim has added his own conclusion about this hadith not endorsed by the Islamic position. No where is it taught that this hadith teaches for one to pass gas and leave thereby allowing some one else to take the blame for passing gas and the offensive smell.

Yet, he fails to mention that this hadith figures in the literature devoted to justifying tawriya, including Munajjid’s fatwa. And if this hadith does not teach “one to pass gas and leave thereby allowing some one else to take the blame for passing gas and the offensive smell,” then what is its significance, why does Muhammad teach to hold the nose, and why are the ulema referring to it in the context of tawriya? After all, wasn’t Shadid himself arguing earlier that tawriya is to be used only for “embarrassing” situations—and what’s more embarrassing than this?

In light of all the above, readers are free to conclude whether, as Shadid put it, my article on tawriya is “a clear example of how these haters just make up blatant lies to taint Islamic teachings and draw false conclusions based on their over zealous bias against Islam,” or whether Shadid’s entire rebuttal—which strains out a gnat while accepting that Islam permits lying—is itself an example of obfuscation.

Raymond Ibrahim


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

Assad Regime Gains Momentum As Opposition Shows Signs Of Division

by AK Group

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, bolstered by their recapture of most of the opposition stronghold Idlib, attacked opposition hotbeds in different parts of Syria on Wednesday as the opposition began to show signs of fracture with the resignations of three prominent members of the Syrian National Council, or SNC.

On Tuesday, Syrian forces regained control over most of Idlib after a three-day operation that came soon after a similar offensive to dislodge the opposition from another key area that it had controlled -- the Baba Amr district in Homs. The two victories gave Assad's regime momentum as it tries to crush the armed opposition fighters a year after the unrest first started.

Assad is also bolstered by a pledge from ally Russia that it will continue to sell weapons to Syria, increasing prospects that Assad will not bow to the uprising and that Syria may be on the verge of a Balkan-style civil war that could continue for years. The latest signs of fracture on the side of the opposition have further exacerbated concerns over a prolonged civil war in Syria.

"I can no longer see myself inside the group because the leadership lacks clarity and does not treat the rest of the council democratically," said Haitham al-Maleh, a prominent rights campaigner who resigned from the SNC's three-person Executive Committee on Tuesday.

Maleh told Today's Zaman that he resigned because council leader Burhan Ghalioun has failed to discuss key decisions with the council and has been slow to extend support to the armed opposition that opposes Damascus on the ground. Maleh's resignation was joined by the departures of prominent members Kamal al-Labwani, a long-time Damascus opponent and leading figure in the SNC, and Catherine al-Talli, a Washington-based human rights lawyer, from the SNC this week.

A report by Reuters on Monday suggested that more resignations may follow, quoting an anonymous source within the SNC as saying that as many as 60 of the 270 member group may soon resign.

"The leadership does not want to play as a group," Maleh said. "Ghalioun did not consult other members of the group when he wrote his speech for the meeting of the 'Friends of the Syrian People' meeting in Tunisia, and he did not even tell other members of the council that he was going to meet with Kofi Annan in Ankara this week. The group is not a council, it is run like the Baath party."

The SNC has aspired, since its formation in September, to be seen as the legitimate voice of Syria's opposition movement, but the effort has been limited by infighting between the group's wide range of ethnic and political factions. Activists in Syria have claimed that the group's leadership, dominated by exiled dissidents, is not in tune with the anti-regime movement inside Syria. The SNC has found itself hard-pressed to woo Syria's diverse range of ethnic minorities, who have been favored for 42 years by the Assad family's Alawite-minority regime.

On Wednesday, Maleh dismissed the possibility that the SNC could become an effective platform for opposing the regime, and announced his plans to create a parallel group that would focus on delivering arms and money to the coalition of anti-Assad militias collectively known as the Free Syrian Army, or FSA.
The SNC's own decision to assist the armed opposition has been harshly criticized by the FSA itself, who declared that the FSA wanted "actions and not just talk."

Meanwhile, UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan received Syrian response to a group of proposals Annan tabled and is due to brief the UN Security Council on Friday about his peace mission to Syria on Saturday.

Council diplomats say that Annan's assessment of the crisis will be crucial to a bid by the United States and its European allies to pass a resolution on Syria. Russia and China have already twice vetoed draft resolutions condemning Syria. Negotiations on a resolution are expected to accelerate after Annan's briefing, diplomats said.

AK Group


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

Muslim Persecution of Christians: February 2012

by Raymond Ibrahim

A pastor was attacked with acid and blinded by Muslims screaming, "Allahu Akbar!" ["Allah is Greater!"]

Half of Iraq's indigenous Christians are gone, due to the unleashed forces of jihad [holy war]. Many Christians fled to nearby Syria; yet, as the Assad regime comes under attack from al-Qaeda and others, the jihad now seeps into Syria, where Christians are experiencing a level of persecution unprecedented in the nation's modern history. Similarly, some 100,000 Christian Copts have fled their native Egypt since the overthrow of the Mubarak regime; and in northern regions of Nigeria, where the jihadi group, Boko Haram, has been slaughtering Christians, up to 95% of the Christian population has fled.

Meanwhile, the "big news" concerning the Muslim world in the month of February—the news that flooded the mainstream media and had U.S. politicians, beginning with President Obama, flustered, angry, and full of regret—was that some written-in [in Islam it is forbidden to write anything in a Korans] in Afghanistan were burned by U.S. soldiers because imprisoned Muslim inmates had been using them "to facilitate extremist communications."

Categorized by theme, February's batch of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed in alphabetical order by country, not severity.

Church Attacks

Algeria: Armed men raided and ransacked a church that had been formally recognized since 1958, and dismantled the crucifix. The pastor and his family, trapped inside, feared that "they could kill us." The pastor "has been repeatedly threatened and attacked since being ordained in 2007. In the summer of 2009, his wife was beaten and seriously injured by a group of unknown men. Then, in late 2011, heaps of trash were thrown over the compound walls while an angry mob shouted death threats."

Egypt: Thousands of Muslims attacked a Coptic church, and demanded the death of its pastor, who, along with "nearly 100 terrorized Copts sought refuge inside the church, while Muslim rioters were pelting the church with stones in an effort to break into the church, assault the Copts and torch the building." They did this because a Christian girl who, according to Islamic law, automatically became a Muslim when her father converted to Islam, fled from her father and was rumored to be hiding in the church.

Iran: Iran's Ministry of Intelligence has ordered the last two officially registered churches holding Friday Farsi-language services in Tehran—Farsi being the nation's Persian language—to discontinue the language: "Friday services in Tehran attracted the city's converts to Christianity as well as Muslims interested in Christianity, as Friday is most Iranians' day off during the week." Banning church use of Farsi prevents most Iranians from hearing the Gospel.

Kazakhstan: A new report notes that "Churches are being raided, leaders fined and Christian literature confiscated as the Kazakh authorities enforce new laws intended further to restrict religious freedom in the country."

Kuwait: A parliamentarian is set to submit a draft law banning the construction of churches. Originally, Osama al-Munawer announced on Twitter his plans on submitting a draft law calling for the removal of all churches in Kuwait. However, he later "clarified" his statement, saying that existing churches can remain, but the construction of new ones must be banned.

Macedonia: A two-century-old Christian church famed for its valuable icons was set on fire in response to "a carnival in which Orthodox Christian men dressed as women in burkas and mocked the Koran." Earlier, "perpetrators attacked a[nother] church in the nearby village of Labunista, destroying a cross standing outside" and "also defaced a Macedonian flag outside Struga's municipal building, replacing it with a green flag representing Islam."

Nigeria: A Muslim suicide bomber forced his way into the grounds of a major church, killing two women and an 18-month-old child during Sunday morning service; 50 people were injured in the blast. In a separate incident, Muslims detonated a bomb outside a church building, injuring five, one critically: "The bomb, planted in a parked car, was left by suspected members of Boko Haram, which seeks to impose sharia [Islamic law] throughout Nigeria."

Pakistan: A dozen armed Muslims stormed a church, seriously wounding two Christians: one man was shot and is in critical condition, the other risks having his arm amputated; another church member was thrown from the roof, after being struck repeatedly with a rifle butt. "The extremist raid was sparked by charges that [the] church was trying to evangelize Muslims in an attempt to convert them to Christianity. The community several times in the past has been the subject of assault and the pastor and his family the subject of death threats." As usual, the police, instead of pursuing the perpetrators, have opened an investigation against the pastor and 20 other church members.

Syria: Some 30 armed and masked jihadis attacked a Catholic monastery—unprecedented in Syria's modern history—demanding money. According to the Catholic Archbishop of Damascus, "the situation in the country is spiraling out of control as the armed opposition spreads its influence to different regions of the state."


[General Abuse, Debasement, and Suppression of non-Muslims as Second-Class, "Tolerated" Citizens]

Bangladesh: Three American Christians were injured after their car was attacked by a Muslim mob who suspected they were converting Muslims into Christians: at least 200 angry locals chased the missionaries' car and threw stones at it, leaving three with cuts from broken glass.

Egypt: Rather than punishing the perpetrators who opened fire on and ran tanks over Christians protesting the constant destruction of their churches, the government arrested and is trying two priests in connection to the Maspero massacre. And although Egypt's new parliament has 498 seats, only six are Copts, even though Copts make up at the very least 10% of the population, and so should have approximately 50 seats. Finally, indicating how bad the situation is, Coptic protesters organized a demonstration on Tuesday in front of Parliament to protest "the disappearance and abduction of Coptic girls."

Indonesia: The Islamist Prosperous Justice Party complained about the Red Cross' symbol of a cross; they said it was too identifiable with Christian culture and traditions. Red Cross volunteers and activists rejected the claim, saying that any changes to the logo would be "tantamount to giving in to the extremists."

Iran: A pastor of a major house church movement began serving a five-year prison sentence for "crimes against the order." According to one activist, "His 'crimes' were being a pastor and possessing Christian materials." He is being beaten in jail and has grown ill, to the point where his hair has "turned fully gray."

Israel: A mob of around 50 Palestinian Muslims stoned a group of Christian tourists atop Jerusalem's Temple Mount, wounding three Israeli police officers in the process. The attack is believed to have been instigated by the former Muslim mufti of Jerusalem.

Pakistan: Yet another Christian woman, a teacher, has been targeted by Muslims on allegations that she burned a Koran. A mob stormed her school in an attempt to abduct her, but police took her into custody. Also, a Christian student who missed the grade to get into medical school by less than 0.1% would have earned 20 extra points if he had memorized the Koran—although no bonus points for having similar knowledge of the Bible.

Turkey: A new report notes that "Christians in Turkey continue to suffer attacks from private citizens, discrimination by lower-level government officials and vilification in both school textbooks and news media." The report adds that there is a "root of intolerance" in Turkish society toward adherents of non-Islamic faiths: "The removal of this root of intolerance is an urgent problem that still awaits to be dealt with."

Turkmenistan: A 77-year-old Christian man was detained and questioned by police for six hours after he tried to print copies of a small book of Christian poetry. He was forced to write a statement and banned from travelling outside his home region while the case is being investigated.

Uganda: Not long after a pastor was attacked with acid and blinded by Muslims screaming, "Allahu Akbar!" ["Allah is Greater!"], his friend, another pastor, was shot at by "Islamic extremists" in what is being described as "a new wave of persecution against Christians in Uganda."

Murder, Apostasy Issues, and More

Egypt: Two Christians were killed "after a Muslim racketeer opened fire on them for refusing to pay him extortion money." The local bishop "hold[s] security forces and local Muslims fully responsible for terrorizing the Copts living there, who are continuously being subjected to terror and kidnapping."

Iran: After enduring five months of uncertainty in a prison, a Christian convert who was arrested in her home by security authorities has been sentenced to two years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Authorities further arrested six to ten Christian converts from Islam while they were meeting for worship at a home in the southern city of Shiraz.

And of course Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani awaits execution for refusing to renounce Christianity.

Nigeria: A 79-year-old Christian woman and choir singer was found dead at her home, her throat slit with a note in Arabic left on her chest reading: "We will get you soon," a message believed to be directed at her son, a pastor at a local church.

Somalia: Al-Shabaab Muslims beheaded a 26-year-old Muslim convert to Christianity who had worked for a Christian humanitarian organization that the terrorist organization had banned. He is at least the third Christian to be beheaded in Somalia in recent months.

Turkey: A 12-year-old boy, Hussein, publicly professed his Christian faith by wearing a silver cross necklace in school. Accordingly, Muslim classmates began taunting and spitting on him. When the boy threatened to report one of the bullies, the bully's father threatened to kill him. His religion teacher beat him severely: "Like in most Islamic countries, students of all faiths are required to attend Islamic studies in school. Those who refuse to recite the Koran and Islamic prayers are often beaten by the teacher. And so it was for Hussein. He said he was punished regularly with a two-foot long rod because he wouldn't say the Islamic Shahada."

About this Series

Because the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching epidemic proportions, "Muslim Persecution of Christians" was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of Muslim persecution of Christians that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

  1. To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, Muslim persecution of Christians.
  2. To show that such persecution is not "random," but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws that criminalize and punish with death to those who "offend" Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, "tolerated" citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to India in the East, and throughout the West wherever there are Muslims—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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

Angry Turk's Message for Europe: "We are Coming"

by Soeren Kern

"Whether or not you want us in the European Union, our influence in Europe is growing. We are more numerous. We are younger. We are stronger."

A second-generation Muslim immigrant in Austria has authored a provocative new book in which he argues that Europe's future is Turkish, whether Europeans like it or not.

The book's short, sharp and confrontational title says it all: "We are Coming."

The thesis is: "Regardless of whether or not you [Europeans] like us [Turks], whether or not you integrate us, whether or not you want us in the European Union, our influence in Europe is growing. We are more numerous. We are younger. We are more ambitious. Our economy is growing faster. We are stronger."

The author, a 25-year-old Austrian-Turk named Inan Türkmen, says his objective in writing the book is to change the terms of the debate about Muslim immigration in Europe.

Türkmen -- who was born in Austria to Kurdish migrants and speaks fluent German -- says he is sick and tired of the way Turkish immigrants are being portrayed in the European media. He believes the time has come for Turks to fight back.

Taking a page from the playbook of the American Tea Party movement, Türkmen says he wants to establish an "angry citizen movement" (Wutbürgerbewegung) in Europe. His Turkish Tea Party would unite Turkish immigrants in Austria, Germany and other European countries to protest against European "arrogance."

In an interview with the Vienna-based newspaper Die Presse, Türkmen says he decided to write "We are Coming" after getting "hot under the collar" over a recent book about Muslim immigration by the renowned German economist Thilo Sarrazin.

Sarrazin's best-selling book, "Germany Does Away With Itself," broke Germany's long-standing taboo on discussing the impact of Muslim immigration. The book, which was first published in August 2010, is now on its 22nd edition. At last count, more than two million copies have been sold, making it one of the most widely read titles in Germany since the Second World War.

Sarrazin's book has resonated with vast numbers of ordinary Germans who are becoming increasingly uneasy about the social changes that are transforming Germany, largely due to the presence of millions of non-integrated Muslims in the country.

The following are some excerpts from Sarrazin's book:

"In every European country, due to their low participation in the labor market and high claim on state welfare benefits, Muslim migrants cost the state more than they generate in added economic value. In terms of culture and civilization, their notions of society and values are a step backwards."

"No other religion in Europe is so demanding and no other migration group depends so much on the social welfare state and is so much connected to criminality."

"Most of the cultural and economic problems [in Germany] are concentrated in a group of the five to six million immigrants from Muslim countries."

"I do not want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to live in a mostly Muslim country where Turkish and Arabic are widely spoken, women wear headscarves and the day's rhythm is determined by the call of the muezzin."

"If the birthrate of migrants remains higher than that of the indigenous population, within a few generations, the migrants will take over the state and society."

"I do not want us to end up as strangers in our own land, not even on a regional basis."

"From today's perspective, the immigration of guest workers in the 1960s and 1970s was a gigantic mistake."

The roots of Germany's current problems with Muslim immigration can be traced back to October 30, 1961, with the signing of a labor recruitment agreement between West Germany and Turkey. At the time, West Germany's post-World War II economy was booming and similar treaties with Greece, Italy and Spain were insufficient to supply Germany's seemingly endless demand for labor. By the end of 1969, more than one million Turkish "guest workers" had arrived in Germany to work in the "host country's" industrial zones.

The initial idea was that the Turkish laborers would return home after a period of two years, but the so-called "rotation clause" was removed from the German-Turkish treaty in 1964, partly due to pressure from German industry, which did not want to pay the costs of constantly training new workers. The predictable result was that many Turks never returned home.

Today, the Turkish population in Germany has mushroomed to an estimated 3.5 million, and Turks now constitute the largest ethnic minority group in the country. Demographers expect that the Turkish population in Germany will increase exponentially in coming decades, largely due to a high birth rate and Germany's continuing high demand for foreign workers.

Germany's demand for foreign labor is being fuelled by a demographic crisis in which the German population is not only ageing, but also shrinking, at a rapid pace. According to projections by the German Federal Statistics Office, Germany's current population of 82 million, the largest in the European Union, is set to decline by as much as 20%, to 65 million, over the next five decades. At the same time, 34% of the population will be older than 65 and 14% will be 80 or more by 2060, up from 20% and 5% respectively in 2009.

The twin challenges of depopulation and aging will have major consequences for the financial sustainability of Germany's cradle-to-grave social security system. For example, the number of pensioners that will have to be supported by working-age people could almost double by 2060, according to the Federal Statistics Office. While 100 people of working age between 20 and 65 had to provide the pensions for 34 retired people in 2009, they will have to generate income for between 63 and 67 pensioners in 2060.

This implies that in the future, Germany will become more, not less, dependent on immigrants. And Turks will continue to be a major source of labor, considering that the birth rate among Turkish immigrants in Germany is 2.4, nearly double that of the native German population (which at 1.38 is far below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per couple).

Time is on the side of the Turks and Inan Türkmen knows it. In a highly confrontational essay titled "You Germans Need the Turks more than the Turks Need You" which was published by the Financial Times Deutschland, Türkmen writes: "Our consolation is that Turkish influence in Europe is growing and there is nothing you Europeans can do to stop it. Of course, Turkey has always exerted influence on Europe. Mozart, Hayden and Beethoven were all inspired by Turkish music. Soon you will not even realize it because you will all be a little Turkish. People mix into cultures and I am planning to contribute something to make this happen. Up until now, all of my girlfriends have been European, not Turkish. In the future, freckles will become increasingly rare sight in Europe. The point is: The future belongs to Turkey."

Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.


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

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Birds of a Feather

by Victor Volsky

Is Barack Hussein Obama a Muslim? Even if he were, it would hardly matter. For his policies are apparently animated by an ideology that, even though a polar opposite of militant Islam, is little different from it in terms of objectives and results.

One can understand why so many people believe that Obama might be a Muslim. After all, his first official phone call as U.S. President was to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, signaling the new administration's foreign policy priorities. His first foreign trip was to Egypt. His first major foreign policy initiative proclaimed in his June 2009 Cairo speech was an extended hand to the Muslim world.

And how about his close friendship with Rashid Khalidi, a PLO propagandist and former mouthpiece for master terrorist Yasser Arafat? His rhapsodic observation that the muezzin's call to prayer is the "prettiest" sound in creation? His beyond-ludicrous assertions that America is one of the largest Muslim countries in the world and that from the time of America's founding Muslims have enriched the American legacy? His sonorous proclamation in the Cairo speech that "Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance"? His frequent deeply reverential references to the "Holy Koran" (has he ever referred to the Bible as "Holy?")? His deep bow to the Saudi King?

Even his famous gaffe that the U.S. comprises 57 states may have been a Freudian slip suggesting that the entity he actually had on his mind was the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which indeed has 57 member-states. Sometimes his seemingly infinite affinity for all things Muslim goes to ridiculous lengths, as when he tasked NASA with a new mission of raising Muslims' self-esteem by pointing out their invaluable historical contribution to aerospace science (did he by any chance mean the magic carpet from the Arabian Nights?).

Add to that Obama's hostility to America's allies in the Middle East -- all those "Westernizing" Mubaraks, Salehs, and Kaddafis -- which is particularly striking compared to his humble, almost ingratiating attitude toward Islamic radicals like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian ayatollahs. Why did he stay studiously aloof during the mass protests in Iran in the summer of 2009 when a mere gesture of moral support could have put a lot of pressure on the mullahs? Aside from Obama's overwhelming desire for negotiations with the Teheran regime in a delusional belief in his own magical powers of persuasion, was it because the protesters openly proclaimed their admiration for America? Under Obama, it is dangerous to be a friend of America; on the other hand, it is pretty safe to be her enemy.

But is such overt and boundless Islamophilia evidence of Islamic affiliation? Not necessarily. There is a more plausible explanation: Barack Obama is simply a far-left radical progressive, a member in good standing of a community whose ideology is not all that different from the Islamist worldview. This makes the two movements allies, as it were. Name just about any policy area, and everywhere the objectives of radical progressives and militant Muslims dovetail so closely as to be virtually indistinguishable.

At the root of such harmony of visions lies their shared visceral hatred for America.

Both Islamists and far-left radicals see the U.S. as the focus of all evil. Both believe that America must get her comeuppance. The Islamists call the U.S. the Great Satan, which is exactly what the radicals would call their country were they religiously inclined. But since they are not, they call America a greedy, imperialist aggressor and vicious oppressor, the paramount enemy of mankind.

Granted, there may be some divergence in the ultimate intentions of the two implacable enemies of America. The radicals want to destroy America so as to rebuild her in their own image, while the Islamists are intent on wiping her off the face of the earth. But that's a distinction without a difference.

How are the vehemently anti-American diatribes spouted by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose fiery sermons Barack Obama had absorbed for 20 years and whom Obama calls his "moral compass," different from the incandescent lava of hatred for all things American spewed forth by Wahhabi preachers during Friday prayers? Is there much difference between the Chicago pastor's furious scream "G-d damn America" and the frenzied Muslim rabble's chant "Death to America"?

Both Islamists and Western leftists view the third-world people as heroic martyrs and victims of American imperialism. Fittingly, many Democrats believe that 9/11 was an inside job. It's not only irrational hatred for George W. Bush that is behind this "theory," but also reluctance to blame the real culprits. Doing so would clash with the progressive view that the third world is pure as the driven snow. Thus, the left is virtually impelled to seek a way to exonerate the actual evildoers. But somebody must be blamed for that heinous act of mass terror. Enter George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Both Islamists and radical leftists demand a redistribution of the world's wealth from the industrial West to the impoverished third world. That underdeveloped countries dream of perpetual welfare is understandable. Lacking education, technical and managerial skills, or work ethic, handouts from the guilt-ridden Western suckers are their lifeline. And seeing how these benefactors cringe with embarrassment at their own riches, the third world has come to believe that tribute is its rightful due. Its attitude is like that of a panhandler: the more the mark is obsessed with guilt at the sight of the beggar's misery, the more impudent the latter turns. Pleading gives way to demands, begging to threats.

And the progressives want nothing more than to oblige. They seek to assuage their guilty consciences and experience a rush induced by the feeling of their moral superiority. They wallow in guilt, a source of acute pleasure because it allows them to separate themselves from the benighted masses, replete as these masses are with prejudices and bigotry, and preen as superior beings.

Islamists hate Christianity, and so do radical progressives, although the former hate a rival religion, while the latter despise religion as such. But progressives pay proper deference to Islam, because they view it as part of the culture of the oppressed (and also for fear of violent retribution, for which the adherents of the "religion of peace" are justly notorious). But the upshot is the same. The progressive left mercilessly ridicules Christianity at home while studiously turning a blind eye to the more vigorous forms of hatred for the Christian infidel, the burnings and killings, rife in Muslim countries.

Another point of agreement between the far left and radical Islam is their shared anti-Semitism and implacable hostility toward Israel. Is it a coincidence that Obama has demanded that Israel return to its 1967 borders, which would place her in a totally untenable position and which is exactly what the Palestinians want? Again, there is a slight divergence of ultimate goals between the two: the Islamists dream of destroying the Small Satan and exterminating all Jews, while the American radicals would be content to see Israel wiped off the map and its inhabitants (what's left of them, anyway) merely dispersed to all four corners of the world. But for practical purposes the Islamists and the radicals are allies, forming two prongs of a pincers squeezing Israel.

Actually, some Muslims are more ambiguous in their attitude toward the Jewish state. For all their bloodcurdling proclamations, the Arab rulers understand full well the utility of Israel as a safety valve for the frustration and anger of their restive populations. At heart, they are actually not so keen on Israel's destruction. As for the far left, it is uncompromising in its disdain for the only democracy and America's sole reliable ally in the Middle East. Which foreign leader is the one Obama hates and despises more than anybody else? Chávez? Assad? Ahmadinejad? No, it's Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu. Enough said.

The American left and the Middle East potentates also see eye to eye on the issue of America's dependence on imported oil. Obama's staunch refusal to develop America's abundant energy resources and the roadblocks he has been throwing in the path of the domestic oil industry are in perfect harmony with the policy objectives of the oil sheiks of Arabia, even though the two allies may be animated by different motives. The Arabs wish to keep America hooked forever on their oil by preventing the U.S. from developing her vast hydrocarbon resources. As for the home-grown radicals, they seek to impose their "green" agenda on their country, however impractical it may be. Different motivations but a happy marriage of tactics and policies, cementing America's dependence on Middle East oil.

Now imagine that an Islamist mole has been planted in the White House. Would he behave any differently from Obama? Maybe he would be more cautious for fear of being found out, but ultimately he would pursue exactly the same kind of policies. So is Obama a Muslim? Maybe he is, and maybe he isn't. But when all is said and done, it doesn't make a dime's worth of difference.

Victor Volsky


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