Saturday, August 25, 2012

What Might Civilized PeopleThink when Sociopaths like Tamimi Bask in Adulation?

by Frimet and Arnold Roth

After receiving some offline comments on the Tamimi speech we publicized yesterday, we have a few further thoughts to share. The urge to do this is triggered by a sense that something deeply disturbing is going on; it's being ignored or willfully not noticed by people who ought to be noticing.

When a politician or public figure on our side of the fence makes an ignorant or dumb or smart or incisive statement, particularly when it's about the Arabs (you know the examples), his/her comments are greeted with near-instant analysis and frequently with condemnation from a global array of press and politicians. The Arab media focus obsessively on such things. Outside the Arab/Islamic world, we frequently see European, American, Australian and other critics drawing wide inferences about how those specific Israeli views are going to bring on the next Black Plague or an increase in pogroms in France. The claim, at minimum, is that irreparable harm is going to be caused to the souls and DNA of innocent Israeli children, to world peace and so on.

To illustrate: when a posse of Israeli delinquents (it happens to be a very current issue here) beat up an Arab youth in a street fight, the New York Times says the event has led to "a stark national conversation about racism, violence, and how Israeli society could have come to this point" That's an actual quote: check it out. We think the Times' journalist's conclusion is overwrought nonsense, but that's not the point. Israel is not, never has been and should never be, immune to criticism, or even object to it, and mostly doesn't.

Now think for a moment about how Ahlam Tamimi and her hundreds of published interviews and speeches are treated by global public opinion. Pay attention in particular to how Arabs view her, since they are her principal audience.

No one - certainly not the woman herself - denies the fact that she planned and carried out a premeditated killing on a large and vicious scale, which was the whole point of doing it. The law convicted her on the basis that she's a murderer; she says (more or less) that she did it for the freedom and honour of her nation. The fact that she planned to kill and succeeded mightily has never been in dispute. She does not miss an opportunity to say that it was children, and specifically Jewish children, and even more specifically orthodox Jewish children like ours, who were the target. She regrets that she did not kill more - it's there in yesterday's video and in numerous other speeches and earlier videos recorded in her Jordanian freedom.

She appears on television and in front of adoring crowds (ask us if you want to view the video files) and expresses the vilest kind of racist hatred of Jews, Israelis and Zionists. She has done this many times since she unjustly got her freedom in October and her message is hugely amplified by the social media. She is a star on YouTube, a hero on Facebook. She is globally broadcast via satellite television into every corner of the Arabic-speaking world. It's arguable that she has the largest footprint of any ordinary murderer (ignoring "celebrities" like Hitler, Mao, Stalin et al) in human history. If that seems like an overstatement then we urge you to concede that she is in the major leagues. The fact that most people don't know this is largely because most people don't speak Arabic.

She smiles warmly when she says she killed those Jews, and her god wanted her to do it. She points to how she has subsequently been rewarded with freedom, fame, a wedding that received live television coverage. The adoring crowds applaud and ululate. The encouragement (and probably the will) to emulate her actions is clear.

How many Arabic speakers are there in the world? A quick query on the web turns up these numbers: "280 million native speakers, and an extra 250 million non-native speakers" [source]. How many Arabic newspapers? Many.

Here's our point: We have searched and have not yet found a blog, article, published speech or op-ed in her language, Arabic, which criticizes the woman or her views. So far, not one. If our readers can point us to exceptions, please do.

This is deeply shocking. Tamimi's message resonates throughout the Arab and Islamic world. Her views don't even rise to the level of controversial. She's simply a hero, wall to wall. She and her vile deeds, opinions and intentions appear to represent some sort of global consensus in the Arab and Islamic world. There is no public debate, no expressions of outrage - not even concerning the passivity of the Kingdom of Jordan where she lives and from where a vibrant Tamimi-focused industry of online and broadcast videos sends its message of hatred and death out to the world.

Does the absence of criticism throughout the Arab world mean they support the deliberate killing of the innocent people among their enemy? Does their silence mean they support the murder of children as Tamimi certainly does, and they want to see it happen again and again as she certainly does?

What does this say about the discourse underway in the Arab world? What light does it throw on the global news media?

What can we learn from here about the chances of ever making peace?

For talkback on this article go to;

Frimet and Arnold Roth


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

Has the old media worm turned against Obama?

by Lee Cary

The answer, in a word, is "No."

The old media worm has not turned against Obama, despite the much-publicized Newsweek cover featuring the president's photo with the caption, "Hit the road, Barack."

The cover set off a flurry of fireworks from leftist websites. For example, The Daily Beast logged the outrage coming from several liberal outlets, as well as comments from some conservative sources, including the American Thinker's editor, Thomas Lifson.

Writing for The Maddow Blog, a near-apoplectic Steve Benen wrote:

If, however, Newsweek's goal is to strengthen its reputation, and gain new respect as a major news outlet, Ferguson's new cover story marks an ignominious low for the once-great magazine, tarnishing the publication's reputation in ways likely to do lasting, irreparable harm.

Benen entitled his piece "Where political journalism must not go" and wrote that "... Ferguson's piece represents political journalism at its most atrocious." He adds, "What Ferguson and Newsweek published isn't journalism; it's a joke."

His criticism represents a rendition of an old saying which, in the Maddow Blog case, should read, "Throw a handful of stones into a pack of liberal columnists, and the ones that yelp loudest are the ones that got hit."

Betrayal, especially by a supposedly like-minded colleague, leaves a bruise. Hence Benen's adolescent criticism in calling Newsweek and its writer "a joke." He really means "insult" (to him and those like him) rather than "joke," since they're not laughing.

(As an aside, one wonders why the Maddow blog piece didn't accuse Newsweek of displaying a racist cover. "Hit the Road Jack" is a Ray Charles song, performed here. Go here for the lyrics. Do you suppose that the racist charge would have come had the picture and caption appeared on the cover of, say, National Review?)

Then, on the heels of Newsweek's apparent desertion from the legion of Obama-fawning news outlets, there came an unflattering photograph of Obama with his face hidden behind a teleprompter screen in Reuters. That got attention, too.

USA Today ran a story entitled "Obama has millions of fake Twitter followers." It begins with:

President Obama's Twitter account has 18.8 million followers -- but more than half of them really don't exist, according to reports. A new Web tool has determined that 70% of Obama's crowd includes "fake followers," The New York Times reports in a story about how Twitter followers can be purchased.

Add to those examples of an old media that shows signs of becoming more critical of Obama, the verbal spanking that CNN's Anderson Cooper recently gave to the DNC chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, albeit delivered in genteel language.

So is this the beginning of a groundswell of Obama-critical journalism coming from the liberal media? Or merely a few anomalies, mostly designed to attract more viewers?

Are some liberal editors and pundits imagining a President Romney and hedging their bets on the election's outcome, just as some campaign donors on Wall Street contribute to both parties?

To paraphrase Aristotle, "a few swallows don't make a summer," and a few examples of less biased media reporting are not evidence of a solid trend.

Like the campaign donors on Wall Street who contribute to both parties, are some liberal editors imagining a President Romney and hedging their bets on the election's outcome?

Past behavior is often the best predictor of future behavior. After John Kerry lost in 2004 to George W. Bush, the New York Times focused on the "flip-flop." Damien Cave wrote, in his December 26, 2004 piece entitled "Flip Flopper," that "[n]ever, perhaps, has such a silly word had such an impact on a presidential campaign."

So the election in 2006 was all about a silly word with a big impact. Really? What does that lead us to expect from that paper if Barack Obama loses the election? How about an article lede reading, "Never has such an innocent sentence like 'You didn't build that' had such an impact"?

If Obama loses, the old liberal media will catalogue the reasons for his fall.

But we shouldn't expect any confession that they intentionally misrepresented him for six years, from 2006 to 2012. There will be no admission of their failure to do journalistic due diligence concerning his background and qualifications to become president. Nor a collective stomach-pumping to purge their Kool-Aid-invoked reporting on him as president.

The old media's postmortem on an Obama loss is more likely to blame racism, the extremist conservative blogosphere, the radical Tea Party, dissention within the Obama campaign staff, and a bad economy that will remain Bush's fault at least as long as former Secretary of State Madeline Albright can talk.

So the answer to the question as to whether or not the old media worm has turned against Obama is -- the worm squirmed some, but it has not turned. Any of their aggravation that may be directed toward him will pertain not to his statist intentions, but to his political implementation. In short, a failure in action -- not motive.

Meanwhile, the Romney folks are sharp enough to know that the old media worm will never fully turn in their direction should they usher in the next presidential administration.

But it remains to be seen if they realize that the media calculus -- to use one of Obama's favorite words -- has irrevocably shifted. Both the liberal and conservative wings of the new internet media are here to stay. In fact, they're both in their pre-elementary school years, with much more growth and development ahead.

We'll know if a potential Romney administration understands this when we see the gathering of White House correspondents at the initial briefing called by the new regime.

Will the camera show the same ol' herd of sheep, but now with a hostile intent? For they will have been sheared in an Obama loss, too.

Or will representations from the new media also be invited, and one or two perhaps even be seated in the front row, where Helen Thomas used to perch?

Will a few Thomas Lifson-types be there? Along with representatives from sites like The Daily Beast and the Daily Kos?

That gathering, if it comes, will tell us much about what to expect from Washington going forward.

Lee Cary


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

Romney Explains Bain in His Own Words

by Alana Goodman

Mitt Romney opened up with some new details about his Bain Capital career in a Wall Street Journal op-ed today, explaining how the lessons he learned in business help make him ideally suited for the presidency. This new anecdote about his time at Damon Corp., where a manager was engaged in Medicare fraud, is particularly interesting:

Running a business also brings lessons in tackling challenges. I was on the board of a medical diagnostic-laboratory company, Damon, when a competitor announced that it had settled with the government over a charge of fraudulent Medicare billing. I and fellow Damon outside board members joined together and immediately hired an independent law firm to examine Damon’s own practices.

The investigation revealed a need to make some changes, which we did. The company, along with several other clinical-laboratory companies, ended up being fined for billing practices. And a Damon manager who was responsible for the fraud went to jail. The experience taught me that when you see a problem, run toward it or it will only get worse.

That will be my approach to our federal budget problem. I am committed to capping federal spending below 20% of GDP and reducing nondefense discretionary spending by 5%. This will surely result in much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Washington. But a failure of leadership has created our debt crisis, and ducking responsibility will only cripple the economy and smother opportunity for our children and grandchildren.

As Politico notes, “the involvement of Damon Corp. in Medicare fraud has long been viewed as a target for Romney’s foes,” including Newt Gingrich and public workers unions. Here’s what one AFSCME ad said about Romney in January:

“What kind of businessman is Mitt Romney?” the ad asks. “While Romney was a director of the Damon Corp., the company was defrauding Medicare of millions. Prosecutors called it ‘corporate greed run amok.’ The company was fined $100 million. But Romney himself made a fortune. Corporate greed … Medicare fraud. Sound familiar?”

Politifact reported in January that there has been confusion over what role Romney played in detecting the fraud — according to some reports he’s said he helped uncover it, and according to others he’s said he wasn’t aware of it. Coming out with a clear story and concrete details was a good way for Romney to preempt the Obama campaign attacks that will surely come up soon. It also makes the Damon story less of a “bombshell revelation” when some newspaper inevitably publishes a deep-dive investigation into it in a few weeks.

Alana Goodman


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Obama Ad Misses the Point on “Small Government”

by Bethany Mandel

“If you’re a conservative woman and believe in small government, then Barack Obama is your candidate because he’s keeping the government out of the decisions that should remain between you and God and you and your own conscience.” Those words are from a new ad from the Obama campaign–really–centered on women’s “rights.” In the ad, several self-described Republican women explain why, for the first time, they’re crossing the aisle to vote for Barack Obama: social issues.

Many of the women in the ad seem to misunderstand what the term “small government” means. Several mention the issue of birth control, now mandated by ObamaCare to be provided to women through their health insurance plans. This is the exact opposite of “small government” in action. The opposition to this provision to ObamaCare isn’t that Republicans or conservatives don’t believe in women taking birth control and wish to prevent them from doing so. Opponents of the provision are believers in the First Amendment, who do not wish to see their Catholic brethren forced to pay for something in direct opposition to their theology. Big government is forcing Catholic individuals, hospitals and businesses to violate their religious obligations.

Another provision hotly opposed by conservatives in the ObamaCare bill is the issue of publicly funded abortions. The CT Mirror reports, “Starting in 2014, all health plans nationwide must cover certain essential health benefits, and each state will determine how far those minimum levels of coverage will go.” Already, some states have determined that abortion is an “essential health benefit” and have included them in the services that Americans will be forced to pay for through their insurance company premiums. Despite the fact that it is almost always an elective procedure (barring the rare times that they are performed to save the life of the mother), it is an incredible overreach of government power to mandate that Americans pay for a procedure that half consider against their beliefs. Nevertheless, these self-described small-government Republican women seem to believe that it is the role of the government to force their fellow Americans pay for their elective procedures, despite any moral or religious objections they might have.

This ad is yet another in a series of attempts from the Obama campaign to attempt to divert attention from the economy and the failed record of this administration on everything it has touched. It’ll be interesting to see if this tactic will succeed in distracting Americans from mounting debt, stalled unemployment, and an Iranian regime bent on nuclear weapons. Somehow, I doubt it.

Bethany Mandel


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Fact or Fiction?: 1001 Muslim Inventions Comes to Washington D.C.

by J. Christian Adams


National Geographic Explorer’s Hall in Washington D.C. has hosted some of the most prestigious exhibits in America. Previous exhibits have included the Chinese terracotta warriors, as well as the James Caird, the lifeboat Sir Ernest Shackleton miraculously sailed from Antarctica to South Georgia Island in 1916. Currently it is hosting a curious exhibit through February 2013 entitled “1001 Inventions: Discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization.” This high tech, slickly produced exhibit explicitly seeks to debunk the “myth” that the dark ages were dark.

The exhibit purports to provide examples of innovations from Muslim civilization, and some of the claims may come as a surprise to those familiar with the Wright Brothers or Yuri Gagarin.

I recently visited “1001 Inventions” which was housed on the same floor as a fantastic Titanic exhibit. I purchased entry to the museum at a ticket booth staffed by Rebecca Head, a National Geographic employee. Perhaps assuming I was heading to see the Titanic exhibit, Head pushed attendance at 1001 Inventions – “There is a really great exhibit on Muslim inventions you should see.”

The exhibit begins with star power – a short movie starring Academy Award-winner Ben Kingsley. Kingsley plays a librarian who faces a trio of young uniformed (presumably British) students seeking information about “the dark ages.”

Kingsley’s character bristles at the children’s characterization, critical of those “filling your head with such nonsense and ripping down the good of former civilizations.”

But “everyone knows the Greeks and Romans invented everything!” one child replies.

Kingsley’s librarian doesn’t equivocate – “some of the most important discoveries” were made by “Muslim civilizations.”

Harry Potter-style magic takes over, and Kingsley is transformed with beautiful flourish from an English librarian into the exotic turban wearing historical figure of Al-Jazari. The children are enthralled, both on the screen, and in the audience.

Al-Jazari informs the three children that a grand civilization “that stretched from Spain to China” was responsible “for some of the most important discoveries” in the world. These include, according to Kingsley’s transformed Al-Jazari, devices such as the camera.

And herein lies the most fascinating characteristic of the entire exhibit – the slipperiness of its language. Indeed, language throughout the exhibit, as we shall see, becomes a way to trick attendees. Cleverly chosen words nudge readers toward unsupported conclusions. Myth mingles with science. Rumor becomes history.

Consider the “invention” of the camera. Al-Jazari, portrayed masterfully and magically on screen by Kingsley, says “he” was responsible for explaining “how our eyes work” and developed camera obscura. Even if it is historically accurate that Al-Jazari pioneered camera obscura, the slithery language of the screenplay generates an inference that Al-Jazari is somehow legitimately involved in the chain of inventions culminating in my Nikon 35mm.

I was reminded of George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language when he wrote: “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

Kingsley’s Al-Jazari fulfills Orwell’s warning in the film when he introduces another Muslim inventor, Abbas Ibn Firnas, who “dared to dream man could fly 1000 years before the Wright Brothers.”

Outside the theater, Firnas is featured in a flight exhibit. Firnas is “said to be the first person who tried to fly. His first attempt which has passed into legend took place when he leapt from the minaret of the Great Mosque in Cordoba. Equipped with a glider with wooden struts, he managed to fly and landed more or less unharmed. [His] next flight was more ambitious. From the top of a nearby hill, he launched himself and his flying machine, apparently gliding for some distance before falling, a problem blamed on the lack of a tail.”

Notice all of the tricks of language. He was the first “who tried to fly,” and “passed into legend,” “more or less unharmed,” the “flying machine,” (implying moving parts), and “apparently gliding for some distance.” Naturally he also diagnosed that that cause of his failure was the want of a tail. The exhibit neglects to inform us about whether he applied this fix to his “machine.”

The exhibit also features an interactive game for children where they can help Firnas fly by flapping their arms.

This all might seem harmless, but consider the argument I had with my 8-year-old after leaving the exhibit. She was convinced that the Wright Brothers were not the first to fly, and instead it was Firnas launched from the mosque at Cordoba a millennium ago. This would not be the only instance when thought corrupted the language of the exhibit, which in turn corrupted thought, at least among the more impressionable.

The short introductory film with Kingsley playing Al-Jazari goes on to tell the three on-screen students (and the many children in the theatre) that the 1001 inventions include medical devices, ideas or unspecified things which somehow led to the compass and GPS satellite navigation and the very Industrial Revolution itself.

Al-Jazari hands the children a book called “1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World” and urges them plainly to “spread the word.”

Maybe the list of the 1001 inventions was in the book, but they were nowhere to be found in the exhibit hall. But the book is available for school curricula teaching about the exhibit.

Instead of a list of 1001 inventions, there was more slippery language throughout the exhibit. Consider the station boldly entitled “Creating the Chemical Industry.” It starts, “some sources say” that in the 8th Century Jabir ibn Hayyan used an Islamic alembic for distillation. How does distillation, a process that existed for 2,800 years before Jabir, have any bearing on “creating the chemical industry”? The exhibit gets around to that question, sort of.

“Scientists of this period laid important foundations of the modern chemical industry.” These include new ways of “classifying substances,” sort of like Aristotle classifying Earth, Air, Fire and Water a millennium before Jabir. But other Muslim scientists developed varnishes, synthetic chemicals, paints and pesticides, we are told. No details are provided for these very specific inventions.

Other “inventions” or skills used (and therein lies the riddle) described in the exhibit are windmills, water pumps, and crop rotation. One exhibit entitled “Home Life” claims that the influence of Muslim civilization on modern living is ubiquitous. “From gardens to games, fashions to fabrics, clocks to cameras, today’s home life is packed with influences from early Muslim civilization.”

The Soviets were notorious for claiming communists were the first in everything. At least with human rocket travel, they were right. But the exhibit steals the Soviets’ thunder:

The desire to blast off in a rocket has been alive for centuries. The famous traveler Evlia Celebi recorded that the first person to take a rocket powered flight into the sky was his brother, Lagari Hasan Celebi, in 17th Century Turkey. Celebi’s gunpowdered fueled rocket is said to have carried him high into the sky, where he spread out his wings, glided down and plunged into the Bosporus.

Sounds like the Space Shuttle. This story of Celebi is juxtaposed with a photo of an American Apollo moonwalker.

Notice, again, how the language hedges bets. A “famous” traveler reported his brother was the first to fly in a rocket. Since he is famous, it is likely to be true. The exhibit does not say a gunpowder rocket carried him high into the sky, but rather, the rocket is said to have carried him high into the sky.

The rocket story borders on dishonesty, as do so many other parts of 1001 Inventions. An exhibit purporting to present history, especially one sponsored by National Geographic, has an obligation to say what the history is. Instead the language of the exhibit equivocates, prevaricates, and in the worst moments, tricks the unwary.

Naturally, all of this raises the question of whether the slipperiness of the exhibit is deliberate or accidental. Knowing more about the sponsors may be illustrative. The Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives sponsors the exhibit, a group which proudly sponsors scholarships at MIT.

One thing is for sure, 1001 Inventions has high-power support.

1001 Inventions is supported by Prince Charles who said it “highlights how many of the most important scientific and technological discoveries and building blocks of modern civilization came out of Muslim society during the centuries after the fall of ancient Rome.” 500,000 attended the exhibit when it was in Los Angeles. Hillary Clinton praised the exhibit. Clearly, this is no backwater traveling show.

History is often determined in great battles. But ongoing battles about history can redefine it. The 1001 Inventions exhibit is diminished with a more understandable me-too-ism, a desperate search for cultural pride despite the technological dominance of the West after the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. But as Orwell noted, language and word choice are powerful weapons in battles about history. National Geographic has an obligation to clarify whether the words and claims in 1001 Inventions is history, legend, or a mix of both, before another half-million Americans march through their doors.

J. Christian Adams


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

The Muslim Students Association, Anwar al-Awlaki and the Global Jihad

by John Perazzo


Through his painstaking research and keen insights, Walid Shoebat recently discovered, and explained the significance of, a monumentally important document titled The Efforts of the Servant of the Two Holy Places to Support the Muslim Minorities. Commissioned by the late Saudi King Abdul Aziz, this “conspiratorial manifesto,” as Shoebat calls it, lays out, in vivid detail, the “Muslim Minority Affairs” strategy by which Islamic supremacists seek to spread, in an incremental but relentless manner, elements of Sharia Law into non-Muslim countries. In a nutshell, the strategy entails the establishment of Islamic organizations that promote Sharia as a divinely inspired system while working to prevent Muslims from assimilating into the non-Islamic cultures of their host nations. The ultimate goal is to cultivate an ever-growing, disaffected, unassimilated Muslim population that can help transform the laws, institutions, and public policies of those countries over the course of time. The manifesto unearthed by Walid Shoebat specifically identifies the Islamic organizations that have been designated to carry out this “Muslim Minority Affairs” plan in America.
Key among these is the Muslim Students Association (MSA).

The MSA was established 49 years ago by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which, as the spearhead of the global jihad, wholly embraces the transformational “Muslim Minority Affairs” agenda for North America. The most influential Islamic student organization on the continent, the MSA today is “dominated,” as the Center for Security Policy’s Alex Alexiev states, “by Islamist and anti-American” goals.

The MSA’s central role in the global jihad is particularly noteworthy insofar as it relates to Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton‘s longtime aide, who spent twelve years on the payroll of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, an organization that, like the Brotherhood, is devoted to putting the “Muslim Minority Affairs” strategy into action. From 1997 until sometime before early 1999, Abedin was an executive board member of George Washington University’s MSA.
 Testifying to the radicalism of this particular MSA branch is the fact that soon after Abedin left the group, its chaplain and “spiritual guide” was none other than Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Muslim convert who, prior to his arrival at GWU, had already ministered to, and held several private meetings with, three of the men who would soon be among the nineteen mass murderers of 9/11.

Anyone with eyes and ears could have ascertained, long before Awlaki ever set foot on GWU’s campus, that he was not in any way a “moderate.” Evidence of Awlaki’s commitment to violent jihad dated back to at least 1991, and his vile, inflammatory sermons were by no means carefully guarded secrets. The Investigative Project on Terrorism obtained and studied nearly five-dozen CDs of lectures that Awlaki had recorded in the late 1990s, during his tenure as leader of a Sunni mosque in San Diego. These sermons focused heavily on the dangers that the corrupting evils of Western culture allegedly posed to Muslims in the West—and thus emphasized the importance of resisting assimilation at all cost. Further, Awlaki condemned the undue influence of “the strong Jewish lobbyists”; he characterized Jews as “the enemy from Day 1 to the Day of Judgment”; he denounced “the Jewish terrorists” who were making life miserable for Muslims in many places; he called for the universal implementation of Sharia Law, the “true Islamic system” of “justice”; and he demanded that Muslims commit to the “long-term sacrifice” that “jihad” required—sacrifice that could entail giving “your time,” “your money,” “your family,” and even “your life.”

The rest of Awlaki’s story, post-MSA, is well-known. He fled to the United Kingdom and thereafter to Yemen, from where he was able to influence, among others, the terrorists behind the Fort Hood massacre of 2009, the failed Christmas Day underwear-bomber plot of 2009, the attempted Times Square bombing of 2010, and the plot to bomb the Washington Metro system. Ultimately, Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone attack in Yemen last September.

Notwithstanding his long, well-documented history of jihadism, Awlaki was somehow deemed fit to serve as the spiritual guide of George Washington University’s MSA chapter. Or was it perhaps because of that history, that he was placed in such a position of influence? Indeed, about a decade earlier Awlaki had served as the leader of yet another MSA chapter—at Colorado State University. This suggests quite strongly that jihadism, far from being a detriment, is actually a resumé-enhancement for those who aspire to high-ranking positions with the MSA.

John Perazzo


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DOJ Seeks Candidates With ‘Psychiatric’ and ‘Severe Intellectual’ Disabilities

by Joseph Klein

It’s official. The Obama administration is intent on dumbing down the Justice Department. Literally.

P.J. Media uncovered efforts by Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to actively recruit and give preferential treatment to the hiring of attorneys and staff who have certain so-called “targeted disabilities.” Included are attorneys and staff with “psychiatric disabilities,” “severe intellectual disabilities,” and other current severe “intellectual or mental conditions.”

This policy stems from an executive order signed by President Obama in July 2010 requiring that federal agencies develop plans for promoting employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities including “performance targets and numerical goals for employment of individuals with disabilities and sub-goals for employment of individuals with targeted disabilities.”

Pursuant to this executive order, Attorney General Holder issued a memorandum entitled “The Justice Department’s Schedule A Hiring Plan for Persons with Targeted Disabilities.” It directed all Department “components” to establish, by July 31 2012, a program to recruit, hire, and promote “qualified” attorneys and non-attorneys with targeted disabilities.

This brings us to the memo P.J. Media disclosed from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division dated July 31, 2012, entitled “Hiring Of Persons With Targeted Disabilities Policy,” laying out such a program for the Civil Rights Division. Under the program, applicants who indicate they possess a targeted disability may be direct-hired “through a streamlined, non-competitive appointment.” They are “eligible to be considered, interviewed, and hired for a vacant position” even “before the position is advertised.”

This is taking affirmative action to the extreme. What exactly constitutes a psychiatric disability or severe mental condition? Would drug addicts fall into these categories and be given a shortcut to hiring over individuals who are drug-free? Would a schizophrenic with potentially violent tendencies be eligible? Those who would be inclined to answer yes to these questions argue that the program is only aimed at recruiting and hiring “qualified” applicants. This is an extreme oxymoron that is as illogical and ill-conceived as the program it is used to rationalize.

According to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, intellectual disability means “a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills.”

Individuals with a severe intellectual disability have an IQ score below 40 and as low as 20. To put this into perspective, the average IQ score is in the range of 100. A person with an IQ as low as 20 is not qualified for a legal position that requires analytical and reasoning capabilities.

We can certainly sympathize with people who are living with severe psychiatric and intellectual disabilities and offer them special education and opportunities for jobs that they can be trained to handle. However, do we really want individuals with a 20, 30 or 40 IQ or who are afflicted with frequent schizophrenic hallucinations to cut to the front of the line ahead of more truly qualified individuals and take a job at the Justice Department on the taxpayers’ dime playing a lawyer? Apparently, President Obama and Attorney General Holder do.

Holder’s hiring criteria for the Justice Department have raised eyebrows before. For example, he chose Tony West to serve as the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, the third highest official at the Justice Department. West had previously represented convicted al Qaeda terrorist John Walker Lindh. While criminal defendants are entitled to a proper legal defense, does a convicted terrorist’s lawyer really belong in the top echelons of the Justice Department, which is supposed to represent the people of the United States against terrorists and other bad guys?

Holder has selected other attorneys to work at the Justice Department with a past habit of defending suspected terrorists. The distinguished analyst Charles Krauthammer hit the nail on the head, observing on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor”:

These people chose to do, for free, defense work for people in Guantánamo, for people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who not only was the architect of 9-11, but he boasts of slitting the throat of Daniel Pearl. He’s choosing at least nine people who chose that this is the work they are going to do on the side. That tells you there is some ideological affinity here. And that’s very troubling, because it tells you why the Justice Department has ended up with some of the absurd decisions it’s made in the war on terror.

Add to Holder’s hiring plan for attorneys with an affinity for suspected Al Qaeda terrorists his “Hiring Plan for Persons with Targeted Disabilities.”

It’s a good bet that Holder sees a bit of himself in both categories of persons he wants to hire.

Joseph Klein


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Israel Welcomes Palestinians without Permits

by Khaled Abu Toameh

For years, the Palestinian Authority has been demanding that Israel lift travel restrictions imposed on West Bank Palestinians, but now that Israel has permitted tens of thousands of Muslims to visit its beaches and malls, Israel is being denounced. What is clear is that neither the Palestinian Authority nor Hamas wants to see Palestinians living a good life. Improving the living standards of Palestinians is something that these two parties are not interested in. They would rather see Palestinians direct all their anger and frustration only toward Israel.

For many years, the Palestinians had been complaining about Israeli restrictions that ban them from entering Israel, but during the holy month of Ramadan, in an unprecedented move, the Israeli authorities granted permits to tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank to visit Israel during the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims from the West Bank have been entering Jerusalem for Friday prayers at the Aqsa Mosque without permits.

Many Palestinians, particularly shopkeepers in the city, welcomed the Israeli move, noting that it boosted the local economy.

Then, in a move that angered Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and other Palestinians, the Israeli authorities went a step farther by allowing tens of thousands of West Bank Palestinians to enter the rest of Israel.

For the first time in many years, in scenes reminiscent of the good old days before the peace process when Palestinians were able to enter Israel freely, the beaches of Tel Aviv and Jaffa were full of Palestinian Muslims who also converged on shopping malls and water parks in different parts of the country.

But the scenes of Palestinians enjoying themselves on Israeli beaches and shopping in Israeli malls have angered Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas also fears that the easing of restrictions may have a moderating effect on Palestinians at a time when the Islamist movement is working hard to recruit more followers, especially in the West Bank.

Hamas does not want to see Palestinians happy and enjoying themselves, especially not in Israel. Hamas would prefer to see Palestinians live in misery and poverty so that it could find fertile soil for recruiting terrorists.

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, is now accusing Israel of seeking to damage the Palestinian economy by opening its doors to Palestinian vacationers and shoppers.

Some Palestinian officials in Ramallah are even talking about an Israeli "conspiracy" to undermine the Palestinian Authority. Other officials are opposed to the new Israeli policy because they believe it is aimed at promoting "normalization" with Israel -- something the Palestinian Authority leadership considers a crime.

Earlier this year, the Palestinian government in the West Bank fired a school principal who took his students on a trip to the Tel Aviv beach.

For years, the Palestinian Authority has been demanding that Israel lift travel restrictions imposed on West Bank Palestinians. But now that Israel has permitted tens of thousands of Muslims to visit its beaches and malls, Israel is being denounced for trying to damage the Palestinian economy.

What is clear is that neither the Palestinian Authority nor Hamas wants to see Palestinians living a good life. Improving the living standards of Palestinians is something that these two parties are not interested in. They would rather see Palestinians direct all their anger and frustration only toward Israel.

Otherwise, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority fear, Palestinians may vent their anger against their own leaders.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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

France Seeks to Reclaim 'No-Go' Zones

by Soeren Kern

Despite the scale of the damage, French police have hesitated to make any arrests for fear of sparking more riots. Residents of the neighborhood know the names of the perpetrators but "nobody dares to speak for fear of reprisals." "You can no longer order a pizza or get a doctor to come to the house."

The French government has announced a plan to boost policing in 15 of the most crime-ridden parts of France in an effort to reassert state control over the country's so-called "no-go" zones: Muslim-dominated neighborhoods that are largely off limits to non-Muslims.

The crime-infested districts, which the French Interior Ministry has designated as Priority Security Zones (zones de sécurité prioritaires, or ZSP), include heavily Muslim parts of Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Lille and Amiens, where Muslim youths recently went on a two-day arson rampage that caused extensive property damage and injured more than a dozen police officers.

The crackdown on lawlessness in the ZSP is set to begin in September, when French Interior Minister Manuel Valls plans to deploy riot police, detectives and intelligence agents into the selected areas. The hope is that a "North American-style" war on crime can prevent France's impoverished suburbs from descending into turmoil.

If the new policy results in a drop in crime, Valls is expected to name up to 40 more ZSP before the summer of 2013.

The initial 15 ZSP are: Seine-Saint-Denis (Saint-Denis, Saint-Ouen), Paris (Paris XVIIIe), les Yvelines (Mantes-la-Jolie, Mantes-la-Ville), l'Essonne (Corbeil-Essonne), la Somme (Amiens), le Nord (Lille), l'Oise (Méru et Chambly), la Moselle (Fameck et Uckange), le Bas-Rhin (Strasbourg), le Rhône (Lyon IXe), les Bouches-du-Rhône (Gardanne et Bouc-Bel-aire), Marseille (Marseille IIIe, XIIIe, XIVe, XVe et XVIe), le Gard (Vauvert et Saint-Gilles), l'Hérault (Lunel et Mauguio) et la Guyane (Cayenne, Matoury, Remire-Montjoly).

Many of these new ZSP coincide with Muslim neighborhoods that previous French governments have considered to be Sensitive Urban Zones. (Zones Urbaine Sensibles, or ZUS) -- also "no-go" zones for French police.

At last count, there were a total of 751 Sensitive Urban Zones, a comprehensive list of which can be found on a French government website, complete with satellite maps and precise street demarcations. An estimated five million Muslims live in the ZUS -- parts of France over which the French state has lost control.

Consider Seine-Saint-Denis, a notorious northern suburb of Paris, and home to an estimated 500,000 Muslims. Seine-Saint-Denis is divided into 40 administrative districts called communes, 36 of which are on the French government's official list of "no-go" zones.

Seine-Saint-Denis, also known locally as "Department 93" for the first two digits of the postal code for this suburb, witnessed fierce rioting by Muslim youths in 2005, when they torched more than 9,000 cars.

Seine-Saint-Denis, which has one of the highest rates of violent crime in France, is now among the initial 15 ZSPs because of widespread drug dealing and a rampant black market. Because, however, the suburb also has one of the highest unemployment rates in France -- 40% of those under the age of 25 are jobless -- it remains unlikely that a government crackdown will succeed in bringing down the crime rate in any permanent way.

Also on the list of ZSP is the department of La Somme, which encompasses the northern French city of Amiens. On August 12 and 13, around 100 Muslim youths in the impoverished Fafet-Brossolette district of Amiens went on a rampage after police arrested a man for driving without a license. Muslims viewed the arrest as "insensitive" because it came as many residents of the neighborhood were attending a funeral for Nadir Hadji, a 20-year-old Algerian youth who had died in a motorcycle accident on August 9. It later emerged, however, that police were called to an estate in northern Amiens after reports that youths were loading fireworks into a car. Police discovered as well the ingredients for petrol bombs, including empty bottles and a canister of gasoline -- hence the arrest.

In response to the riots, about 150 policemen and anti-riot police were deployed to the Fafet neighborhood and used tear gas, rubber bullets and even mobilized a helicopter after Muslim youths shot at them with buckshot, fireworks and other projectiles from nine in the evening until four in the morning.

At least 16 police officers were injured in the melee, one of them seriously. Youths also torched and destroyed a junior high school canteen, an anti-juvenile delinquency sports room, a leisure center, and a kindergarten, as well as 20 automobiles and 50 trash bins. The cost of repairing or rebuilding structures that were damaged or destroyed could run to €6 million ($7.4 million). (Photos here.)

Gilles Demailly, the Socialist mayor of Amiens, said the violence reflected a descent into lawlessness orchestrated by ever younger troublemakers: "There have been regular incidents here but it has been years since we've known a night as violent as this with so much damage done. The confrontations were very, very violent." He added, "For months I've been asking for the means to alleviate the neighborhood's problems because tension has been mounting here. You've got gangs of youths playing at being gangsters who have turned the area into a no-go zone. You can no longer order a pizza or get a doctor to come to the house."

The Fafet-Brossolette district of Amiens is home to mostly Muslim immigrants from former French colonies such as Algeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Mali, Morocco and Tunisia. Unemployment in the riot-hit part of Amiens runs at 45%. Among people under 25 years of age, who account for half the population, two out of three are out of work.

Despite the scale of the damage, French police have hesitated to make any arrests for fear of sparking more riots. Police did not, in fact, make any arrests until more than three days after the riots ended. A spokesperson for the local police said that four people between the ages of 15 and 30 were arrested in an overnight swoop on August 17 in connection with arson, robbery and trafficking stolen goods. Two of the individuals were immediately tried at the criminal court in Amiens and were quickly released on probation.

The clashes in Amiens follow more than five days of violence between rival Muslim gangs in the southwestern French city of Toulouse. Police in the city's Bagatelle district (officially classified as a ZUS "no-go" zone) have characterized the Muslim-on-Muslim violence as "a kind of guerilla war" between two gangs of individuals between the ages of 15 and 20. The violence was apparently due to "the result of a settlement of accounts between drug dealers, as well as because of old resentments exacerbated by boredom and the heat of the month of Ramadan."

On August 14, two local imams in Bagatelle organized a march through the streets calling on the youths to stop the violence. Local media reports say the residents of the neighborhood know the names of the perpetrators but "nobody dares to speak for fear of reprisals." According to the deputy imam of Bagatelle, Siali Lahouari, "it looks as if we are in Bosnia or Afghanistan, not Mirail [a suburb of Toulouse]."

In July 2010, Muslim youth in the La Villeneuve suburb of the southern city of Grenoble went on a rampage after police shot and killed an armed robber, Karim Boudouda, who had led police on a car chase after holding up the casino at Uriage-les-Bains, near Grenoble. The rioting started when an imam recited a prayer for the dead man in the presence of 50 Muslim youths who had gathered in a park. One of the youths fired a gun at riot police who were deployed to the neighborhood; the police then opened fire to disperse the crowd -- who then went on to torch 80 cars as well as several businesses.

In August 2009, around 40 Muslim rioters in the Paris suburb of Bagnolet hurled Molotov cocktails at police and firefighters; torched cars, and one person fired a handgun during a rampage prompted by the death of a teen pizza deliveryman who was fleeing from the police. The violence broke out after an 18-year-old, riding his motorcycle through the neighborhood, tried to flee a document check by police; the man lost control of his motorcycle, hit a barrier and died en route to the hospital.

In July 2009, Muslim youths torched more than 300 cars across France after the suicide death of an Algerian youth held in police custody on charges of extortion.

In October and November 2005, thousands of Muslim youths in Paris and other major cities in France went on a rampage after two young men in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois were electrocuted when they entered an electric power substation while running away from police. Overall, the riots affected 274 towns and cities across France, and resulted in more than €200 million in property damage.

In response, the French government declared a "three-month state of emergency."

Soeren Kern is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.


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

World Leaders Ignore International Law

by Eli E. Hertz

The U.S. Administration, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia's decision to rewrite history by labeling the Territories 'Occupied Territories,' the Settlements as an 'Obstacle to Peace' and 'Not Legitimate,' thus endowing them with an aura of bogus statehood and a false history. The use of these dishonest loaded terms, empowers terrorism and incites Palestinian Arabs with the right to use all measures to expel Israel.

The Jewish People's Right to the Land of Israel

The "Mandate for Palestine" & the Law of War

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United States President Barack Obama, and the European Union Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton became victims to the 'Occupation' mantra their own organization has repeated over and over in their propaganda campaign to legitimize the Arab position.

Continuous pressure by the "Quartet" (U.S., the European Union, the UN and Russia) to surrender parts of the Land of Israel are contrary to international law as stated in the "Mandate for Palestine" document, that in article 6 firmly call to "encourage ... close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes." It also requires, under Article 5 of the Mandate to "seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the government of any foreign power."

Any attempt by the World Leaders to negate the Jewish people's right to Palestine - Eretz-Israel, and to deny them access and control in the area designated for the Jewish people by the League of Nations, is a serious infringement of international law, and as such - illegitimate.

International Law - The "Mandate for Palestine"

The "Mandate for Palestine" an historical League of Nations document, laid down the Jewish legal right under international law to settle anywhere in western Palestine, the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, an entitlement unaltered in international law. Fifty-one member countries - the entire League of Nations - unanimously declared on July 24, 1922:

"Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country."

On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the "Mandate for Palestine":

"Favoring the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected." [italics in the original]

Law of War - Arab Unlawful Acts of Aggression in 1948

Six months before the War of Independence in 1948, Palestinian Arabs launched a series of riots, pillaging, and bloodletting. Then came the invasion of seven Arab armies from neighboring states attempting to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state in accordance with the UN's 1947 recommendation to Partition Palestine, a plan the Arabs rejected.

The Jewish state not only survived, it came into possession of territories - land from which its adversaries launched their first attempt to destroy the newly created State of Israel.

Israel's citizens understood that defeat meant the end of their Jewish state before it could even get off the ground. In the first critical weeks of battle, and against all odds, Israel prevailed on several fronts.

The metaphor of Israel having her back to the sea reflected the image crafted by Arab political and religious leaders' rhetoric and incitement. Already in 1948 several car bombs had killed Jews, and massacres of Jewish civilians underscored Arab determination to wipe out the Jews and their state.

6,000 Israelis died as a result of that war, in a population of 600,000. One percent of the Jewish population was gone. In American terms, the equivalent is 3 million American civilians and soldiers killed over an 18-month period.

Israel's War of Independence in 1948 was considered lawful and in self-defence as may be reflected in UN resolutions naming Israel a "peace loving State" when it applied for membership at the United Nations. Both the Security Council (4 March, 1949, S/RES/69) and the UN General Assembly (11 May, 1949, (A/RES/273 (III)) declared:

"[Security Council] Decides in its judgment that Israel is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter ..."

Arab Unlawful Acts of Aggression in 1967

In June 1967, the combined armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan attacked Israel with the clear purpose expressed by Egypt's President: "Destruction of Israel." At the end of what is now known as the Six-Day War, Israel, against all odds, was victorious and in possession of the territories of Judea and Samaria [E.H., The West Bank], Sinai and the Golan Heights.

International law makes a clear distinction between defensive wars and wars of aggression. More than half a century after the 1948 War, and more than four decades since the 1967 Six-Day War, it is hard to imagine the dire circumstances Israel faced and the price it paid to fend off its neighbors' attacks.

Who Starts Wars Does Matter

Professor, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, past President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) states the following facts:

"The facts of the June 1967 'Six Day War' demonstrate that Israel reacted defensively against the threat and use of force against her by her Arab neighbors. This is indicated by the fact that Israel responded to Egypt's prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, its proclamation of a blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat, and the manifest threat of the UAR's [The state formed by the union of the republics of Egypt and Syria in 1958] use of force inherent in its massing of troops in Sinai, coupled with its ejection of UNEF.

"It is indicated by the fact that, upon Israeli responsive action against the UAR, Jordan initiated hostilities against Israel. It is suggested as well by the fact that, despite the most intense efforts by the Arab States and their supporters, led by the Premier of the Soviet Union, to gain condemnation of Israel as an aggressor by the hospitable organs of the United Nations, those efforts were decisively defeated.

"The conclusion to which these facts lead is that the Israeli conquest of Arab and Arab-held territory was defensive rather than aggressive conquest."

Judge Sir Elihu Lauterpacht wrote in 1968, one year after the 1967 Six-Day War:

"On 5th June, 1967, Jordan deliberately overthrew the Armistice Agreement by attacking the Israeli-held part of Jerusalem. There was no question of this Jordanian action being a reaction to any Israeli attack. It took place notwithstanding explicit Israeli assurances, conveyed to King Hussein through the U.N. Commander, that if Jordan did not attack Israel, Israel would not attack Jordan.

"Although the charge of aggression is freely made against Israel in relation to the Six-Days War the fact remains that the two attempts made in the General Assembly in June-July 1967 to secure the condemnation of Israel as an aggressor failed. A clear and striking majority of the members of the U.N. voted against the proposition that Israel was an aggressor."

Israel Has the Better Title to the Territory of Palestine, Including the Whole of Jerusalem

International law makes it clear: All of Israel's wars with its Arab neighbors were in self-defence.

Professor, Judge Schwebel, wrote in What Weight to Conquest:

"(a) a state [Israel] acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defense may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are necessary to its self-defense;
"(b) as a condition of its withdrawal from such territory, that State may require the institution of security measures reasonably designed to ensure that that territory shall not again be used to mount a threat or use of force against it of such a nature as to justify exercise of self-defense;
"(c) Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title.
"... as between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt."

"No legal Right Shall Spring from a Wrong"

Professor Schwebel explains that the principle of "acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible" must be read together with other principles:

"... namely, that no legal right shall spring from a wrong, and the Charter principle that the Members of the United Nations shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State."

Simply stated: Arab illegal aggression against the territorial integrity and political independence of Israel, cannot and should not be rewarded.

Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on the Law of Nations, stated:

"Territorial Rights Under International Law.... By their [Arab countries] armed attacks against the State of Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973, and by various acts of belligerency throughout this period, these Arab states flouted their basic obligations as United Nations members to refrain from threat or use of force against Israel's territorial integrity and political independence. These acts were in flagrant violation inter alia of Article 2(4) and paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of the same article."

Thus, under international law Israel acted lawfully by exercising its right to self-defence when it redeemed and legally reoccupied Judea and Samaria, known also as the West Bank.

Legalities aside, before 1967 there were no Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and for the first ten years of so-called occupation there were almost no Jewish settlers in the West Bank. And still there was no peace with the Palestinians. The notion that Jewish communities pose an obstacle to peace is a red herring designed to blame Israel for lack of progress in the 'Peace Process' and enable Palestinian leadership to continue to reject any form of compromise and reconciliation with Israel as a Jewish state.

Eli E. Hertz


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

Guest Column: Ramadan: Islam's 'Holy Month' of Christian Oppression

by Raymond Ibrahim

The month of Ramadan, which ended earlier this week, proved to be a month of renewed Muslim piety on the one hand, and renewed oppression of non-Muslim minorities on the other. In Nigeria, for example, Islamic militants are living up to the assertion that "Ramadan is a month of jihad and death for Allah," proving that killing Christians is not only reserved for Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter – when militants bombed churches killing dozens – but is especially applicable during Islam's Ramadan.

Usually, however, Ramadan-related oppression has to do with Muslim perceptions that Christians do not "know their place"—either because the latter openly do things forbidden to Muslims during Ramadan, or because they dare object to the things Muslims do during Ramadan.

When it comes to these aspects of dhimmitude, Egypt offers countless examples, past and present, simply because it houses the Middle East's largest Christian minority, the Copts, and thus offers more opportunities for the intolerant face of Ramadan to reveal itself. Two recent examples follow:

First, according to Coptic websites, on July 27, a diabetic man in Egypt was driving his car in Maadi, a suburb of southern Cairo, when he was struck with great thirst, "which he could not bear" (a side-effect of diabetes, further exacerbated by Egypt's July weather). He pulled over near a public water source and started drinking water. Soon three passers-by approached him, inquiring why he was drinking water (among the many things forbidden to Muslims during daylight in Ramadan). The diabetic man replied, "Because I am a Christian, and sick," to which they exclaimed "you're a Christian, too!" and begun beating him mercilessly. Other passers-by began to congregate to see what was happening, but no one intervened on behalf of the diabetic non-Muslim until he managed to make a dash for his parked car and fled the scene.

Though not forbidden to him, this infidel Christian openly violated a principle of Islamic Ramadan, which was deemed a great affront and was punished accordingly. This idea that non-Muslims must show respect for Islamic observances is commonplace. Around the same time this story took place, for instance, a Christian Lebanese singer was taken to police while in Algeria for smoking in public, and "failing to show due respect to Muslims." She was released after police warned her that "she was not allowed to smoke in public during Ramadan in Muslim Algeria, even though she was a Christian."

The second story from Egypt concerns a young Christian doctor, Maher Rizkalla Ghali, who was shot by riotous Muslims, including easily-identified Salafis, resulting in the loss of one eye and the likely loss of the other. According to Watan Voice, the perpetrators live downstairs and regularly fired bullets in the air while feasting during sahur (the time before dawn when Muslims are permitted the things they are forbidden in daylight, including food, water, and sex). One night the raucous was so unbearable that the Copt spoke to them from his window, saying that their actions were disturbing to the children and elderly.

Their response was to "insult his religion" and open fire at him, severely disfiguring him. The Muslims then tried to break through the door to attack and plunder the Christian household. Although the family filed a police report, "security forces have not taken any action towards the perpetrators." Likewise, though they tried to admit the blinded Christian man to several hospitals, they were refused admission until Kasr Hospital accepted them.

This story is almost identical to what happened to a family in Turkey around the same time. According to Hurriyet Daily News, the home of an Alevi family "was stoned and their stables burned down by an angry mob" because they "told a Ramadan drummer not to wake them for sahur, the meal before sunrise," resulting in a quarrel. After local Muslims found out about the family's temerity, "a mob of around 60 people" gathered around the house hurling stones, setting the stable on fire, and chanting Islamic slogans, including "Allahu Akbar!" "They came to lynch us," explained a family member, and "told us to leave and threatened to kill us if we did not."

The above anecdotes demonstrate the stark antithesis between the West and the Muslim world concerning the notion of being "sensitive" to religious minorities during the holidays of the dominant religion: whereas almost every year, stories appear of Christmas being suppressed to accommodate Muslim sensitivities in the West, in the Muslim world, Christians themselves are being suppressed to accommodate Muslim sensitivities.

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.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mordechai Kedar: Diplomacy of Rabbis

by Mordechai Kedar

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

We are all aware of the dismal state of the relationship between Israel and Turkey, which deteriorated as a result of Operation Cast Lead (which began in the last days of December 2008), the Davos meeting between Peres and Erdoğan (in January 2009) and the cancellation of the joint naval maneuver (that was supposed to take place in October 2009). And as a result of the Mavi Marmara event (at the end of May 2010), the relationship between the two countries plunged to a new low. Neither of the countries hosts ambassadors of the other, and the investigative committees that functioned over the past two years did not succeed in bridging the differences of opinion. Each of the two countries has demands of the other, and the state of affairs between them seems to be "stuck".

There are many people in Israel and Turkey who are very dissatisfied with the present condition of relations between the countries, and long for the warmth and brotherhood that characterized the cooperation in many areas that the two countries enjoyed in the past. Irrespective of politics, it is clear that during the past two years the trade relations between the two countries have not only not contracted, but have even expanded. El Al has stopped flying to Turkey, but the Turkish airline maintains a number of flights every day between the two countries and the planes are full.

Behind the scenes some Turkish friends of Israel are working to improve the relationship between the countries. One of them is Adnan Oktar, a Turk, Muslim believer and friend of Israel, who, for the past twenty five years published many books and articles under the pen-name of Harun Yahya, dealing with issues regarding Darwinism, Communism, history, philosophy and religion. He has accumulated many supporters, and according to the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan, in 2010 he was among the fifty most influential people in the Islamic world today, for his dissemination of creationism in an Islamic context, and other extensively distributed publications on Islamic topics.

Oktar has accumulated more than a few rivals also, who try everything possible to silence him. He was accused of being holocaust denier because a book under the title "The Holocaust Lie" was published under his pen-name in 1995. However, Adnan Oktar officially denies writing this book and states that his pen-name Harun Yahya was misused. This book does not reflect his opinions and the book was published without his knowledge.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001 he published a book in which he claims that true Islam rejects terror, and since then he has been endeavoring to promote inter-faith dialog and to encourage mutual understanding. In his articles and books he often quotes the prophets of Israel and the vision of redemption and global peace that they gave to the world. Oktar publicly supports the right of the Jewish people to live on the land of its fathers with sovereignty, in independence and in true peace with its neighbors, whether Arab, Turkish, Iranians or others, and therefore his detractors claim that he is actually an agent of the Mossad...

Adnan Oktar, being an Islamic thinker, prefers to conduct a dialog with believing Jews, because he finds a common cultural basis with them. From his point of view, a god fearing Jew is his brother, as is any person in the world who believes in the One who dwells above. Abraham - the "Father of Many Nations" - is the ancient father of all monotheists, and therefore there is no reason that they should bicker over anything. Peace, brotherhood and cooperation between people are the supreme values in the eyes of the Creator, and therefore war, conflict and death are contrary to His will.

This belief of Oktar moved him to invite to Turkey a delegation of members of Knesset from the religious side of the Israeli cultural map, in order to open a dialog between official Israel and the Turkish political stratum. And more specifically, with the religious Justice and Development Party, which has ruled Turkey since 2002. The Israeli delegation included Members of Knesset Rabbi Nisim Ze'ev and Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen, who is also deputy minister of the treasury. The rabbi of Geneva, Rabbi Dr. Yitzhak Dayan, Rabbi Benjamin Abramson, an adviser to the Sanhedrin and the writer of these lines also participated. The delegation conducted two days of hearings, one in Ankara the capital, and one in Istanbul. These discussions included dozens of people from the boiling cauldron of Turkish politics, most of whom are members of the Islamic party, AKP. This party is not homogeneous, and many are its shades and variations. Just try to imagine a religious party in Israel that includes Satmar, Shas, the Degel Hatorah, Aguda, Mafdal, the Jewish Home, Believers in the Torah and Avodah, the Conservatives and the Reform, all together in one party. Apparently the wolf will live with the lamb and the tiger will lie down with the kid before a party such as this will be established in Israel, however in Turkey the Party of Justice and Development is such. This apparently is the reason that it can be the largest party and therefore it rules; Israeli politicians please take note. It has within it many shades, radical as well as moderate, modernists as well as traditionalists, in whom the belief in the Almighty unites everyone. It is natural that those among them who met with the Israeli delegation were also those who relate to Israel with a warmer attitude than that of their prime minister, Rajab Tayyip Erdoğan.

The discussions touched on every subject, without circumventing any problem and without skipping any obstacle. The points under discussion were the conflict between Israel and the Arabs, especially Hamas, the incident at Davos, the Mavi Marmara affair and the entire relationship between Turkey and Israel. The central meeting was held in Ankara on Wednesday August 15, with about twenty members of the Party of Justice and Development. The meeting began with an atmosphere that was somewhat tense; however, the atmosphere warmed up with time and the two sides arrived at the joint conclusion that the joint challenges confronting Israel and Turkey today - Iran, Syria, Lebanon and more - are much greater and more fateful than the negative events of 2008-2010. The meeting concluded with the decision to establish a joint committee of three members from each side in order to continue the dialog, whose mission will be to create a situation where the governments of Israel and Turkey will be able to find a way to restore their relationship to the good situation that existed in the past. The discussions were conducted with an atmosphere of brotherhood and affection radiated by Adnan Oktar.

The meeting was headed by Mr. Yaşar Yakış, who released the following announcement:

Statement by Mr Yaşar Yakış, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey:

On 15 August 2012 we shared an Iftar with a delegation from Israel. The Iftar was followed by a friendly exchange of views. The Turkish participants included former Minister of Health Mr. Halil Şıvgın, other former Ministers and former Members of Parliaments and me. The Israeli delegation was composed of Rabbi Dr. Yitzak Cohen, Deputy Minister of Economy; Rabbi Nissim Zeev, Member of Knesset; Itzak Dayan, Chief Rabbi of Geneva, Switzerland; Dr. Mordechai Kedar from the Bar Ilan University; Rabbi Ben Abrahamson, consultant to Sanhedrin; and Mrs. Shoshana Bekerman, Spokesperson of Nissim Zeev.

The meeting was organized by Mr. Adnan Oktar's organization in the JW Marriott Hotel in Ankara.

The two delegations had a friendly exchange of views on the present situation of the relations between Turkey and Israel. They pointed out that the strained relations did not serve the interests of either side.

Various ideas were voiced during the meeting in order to find an exit from the present impasse. However, no concrete proposal emerged from the meeting since this was the very first encounter between these two delegations. Therefore it was decided that both delegations designate a team of three members and that these members remain in touch by exchanging messages and narrow down the scope of the subject. It will not be easy to focus on specific proposals if the scope of the debate is kept wide.
The members of the team will try to work out concrete proposals and prepare other meetings in the future if the proposals become mature enough to justify the holding a new meeting.

The previous minister of health in Erdoğan's government, Halil Sibgin, published a similar announcement, and added:

It is a good thing to see that there are efforts on both sides to improve and develop Turkish-Israeli relations, which have deteriorated after the Mavi Marmara incident. I believe, however, both parties should strive harder to improve these relations. These efforts will contribute to both regional and global peace.
It must be emphasized that at no time did the Israeli and Turkish delegations see themselves or present themselves as representatives of their governments or the heads of their governments, and their goal was entirely to create mutual understanding and an atmosphere of openness among the members of the political stratum so that the process of discussion and decision-making will be more comfortable for both governments. Although the these discussions were not official meetings between the countries, it was clear that the government of Turkey was aware of the visit, because a Turkish police cruiser accompanied and provided security for the members of the Israeli delegation in all of its movements. The participation of Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen, deputy minister of the treasury, was not a secret to the Israeli government. The Israeli delegation also met with a representative of the Republican People's Party (CHP - the secular party of the opposition), and from this congenial meeting the delegation emerged with a positive feeling as well.

It is important to note as a parallel subtopic that Turkey went out of its way to facilitate the task of the delegation. Funding was entirely provided by Adnan Oktar, and it included flights from Israel, internal flights, a hotel, transportation and strictly kosher food. During the entire stay Oktar's people stayed close to us and took care of all our needs. A person only invests many thousands of dollars if he believes that the goal is important, and the restoration of a functional relationship between Israel and Turkey is important to Adnan Oktar. These days, in which there are few Muslims who are willing to identify with Israel, the activity of Oktar on behalf of the people of Israel and the state of Israel must be praised; here are his words on peace and brotherhood between Israel and her neighbors:

"Mr. Oktar has been asked about the purpose of the visit, and answered: The purpose of this visit is to establish the friendship between Israel and Turkey, to secure that there is no tension between the two countries, to show that our love and compassion to the Jewish people dating back to a long history has been persisting without any harm coming to it. There are some people who show enmity to the Jewish people. This has been a slap-down response to them…

It is a desire from the heart, for good, for relations between Turkey and Israel to be better, for Turkey and Israel to be allies… We think things will be good, that it is important to collaborate with Israel, that it is important for us to be in alliance with Israel, because they are descended from the Prophets. They are the descendants of the Prophets Abraham and Israel…

The work we have been carrying out about Israel are by nature oriented to prevent some disasters. We secure peace. We prevent wars and bloodshed. We advocate freedom. Is this something wrong? By no means. We make sure that they become friends with Turkey. Is this good or bad? Good."
I don't know how close Adnan Oktar is to Erdoğan's ear, but the series of meetings with people of the ruling party that he organized for the Israeli delegation was impressive, and proves that he is very close to some of the people of the ruling party. This is especially obvious given that it was, as much as I know, the first time in recent years that an Israeli parliamentary delegation has come to Turkey. I do not claim that Oktar and the members of both delegations have created a revolution in Israeli-Turkish relations, but we clearly felt that Israel is dear to many in Turkey in general and particularly to some among the ruling party, the Party of Justice and Development, and that they feel that the time has come to find the way to enable Israel and Turkey to bring to a close to the present miserable chapter in the relations between the two countries.

Diplomacy and Tradition

The delegation to Turkey may be seen in a wider context: for years the Islamic world around Israel has been becoming increasingly religious. Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, Gaza (already an Islamic state for five years, in case you have not noticed), and of course Iran - in all of them a cultural shift has occurred, and as a result, a political change in the direction of Islam, each one according to its own style and course. There will be those who will say "these Muslims are all radical, all terrorists, all want to throw us into the sea, because we are a Jewish, democratic, Western and 'liberal' state." Those people have a point, because there will always be preachers and imams who will justify this opinion. However, reality is much more complex than we think, and just for comparison: how many streams of Judaism are there among the 13 million Jews in the world? Then how many varieties of Islam can there be among 1.5 billion Muslims?

I do not claim that there are no extremists and terrorists in the Islamic world, but there are also others, who are not radical and not terrorists, and who see themselves as no less faithful to Islam than the extremists. Just as is the case among us, many Muslims form their religious world according to their own spiritual values, according to the way they have been educated and according to the image of their cultural worldview that has been crystallized in the course of their adult life. There are among them many who are willing to accept the Other as he is, even if he is a Jew, Israeli and even Zionist. The courageous among them will show this; those who are even bolder will support and fund activities intended to strengthen the standing and the regional strength of the state of Israel, but the most courageous will not try to hide their support for Israel from the media or from the public in their country. The most prominent example of these courageous ones is Adnan Oktar.

Surprisingly, it seems that Muslims who are faithful to Islam feel more comfortable with traditional Jews, who share with them faith in the Master of the Worlds, and it may be that the arduous and laborious path of Israel into the heart of the Muslim world that surrounds it may be paved by rabbis, with their beards, their skull-caps and long black coats. I do not claim that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must really enlist as cadets the men who warm the benches of the Porat Yosef or Panevezys yeshivas , but - on the contrary - apparently the appropriate people to conduct a discourse with Muslims who are faithful to their religion and tradition are not the disciples of Shimon Peres's or Yossi Beilin's or Alon Liel's cultural school.

The path to our neighbors' hearts, both those who are more and those who are less sympathetic, is ultimately paved with personal contact. The delegation to Turkey proved, at least to me, that it is important for Israel to be represented in a way that will make it easier for our traditional neighbors to accept us, and that the state of Israel is not entirely secular and liberal. We have among us enough traditional people, who are also traditional in appearance, and who, because of the respect that our neighbors have for tradition, actually makes them more capable of finding the way to manage the contacts between Israel and its neighbors so as not to generate cultural aversion. It is also important that they speak the languages of the area - Arabic, Turkish and Persian - and it is important that they will undergo professional training in the conduct of negotiations and diplomacy. It will be easier for them to come to diplomatic achievements with our Muslim and traditional neighbors, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister Office should take this issue into consideration.

May peace and the mercy of the Almighty and His blessing be upon you, my dear readers.


Dr. Kedar is available for lectures in the U.S. and Canada

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

Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav.

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Source: The article is published in the framework of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. Also published in Makor Rishon, a Hebrew weekly newspaper.

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