Saturday, November 3, 2012
by Amir Taheri
No one knows how the crisis in Syria might end. But one thing is certain. What happens in Syria would also affect the balance of power in Lebanon.
A balance of power resembles a kaleidoscope in which different colors are positioned in relation with one another. Turn it and you reposition all the colors in a new combination, excluding some in the process.
In that context, the Lebanese faction most likely to be affected by the outcome of the struggle in Syria is Hezbollah. It is the one most dependent on Syria for political support and as a conduit for military and financial aid from Iran.
Thus it is no surprise that, slowly but surely, voices within the Lebanese Shi’ite community are beginning to demand a review of the movement’s strategy shaped by its dependence on Iran and Syria.
Under its present leadership, Hezbollah suffers from three contradictions.
The first is the contradiction between its political persona as a people-based movement and the reality of its decision-making mechanisms. While it claims that its policies are shaped by internal debate, everyone knows that a telephone call from Tehran could produce an about-turn on almost any issue.
The second contradiction is between its championing pan-Islamic causes while operating as a strictly sectarian organization. This is illustrated by the claim that Iran’s “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei is the “leader of all Muslims”, whether they like it or not.
The third contradiction is caused by the party’s attempt at playing the political game according to Lebanese rules, which emphasize compromise, and the Mafia-style politics of the Syrian regime in which force and terror are dominant features.
Despite these contradictions a combination of factors had helped Hezbollah built a position at the heart of several concentric circles of support. Recently, the party has either lost or is in the process of losing some of those circles.
The first to go is the outer circle of support from nostalgics of pan-Arabism, the remnants of the Arab left and anti-despotic forces in the region.
By associating itself with the Assad regime Hezbollah has all but lost that circle.
The second circle of support consisted of those Lebanese who, cutting across sectarian boundaries, saw Hezbollah as an expression of their nationhood. That circle, too, has all but evaporated. Today, many Lebanese fear that Hezbollah may be leading them into conflicts that have nothing to do with their national interests and aspirations- conflicts too large in scope for Lebanon to handle.
The third circle of Hezbollah support consists of the Shi’ite community, the largest in demographic terms in Lebanon. Hezbollah never succeeded in winning a straight majority, a fact illustrated by its relatively modest scores in parliamentary elections. Nevertheless, almost all Lebanese Shi’ites were prepared to acknowledge Hezbollah as an important element in their community. Hezbollah was admired for its ability to assert Shi’ite power through propaganda, political maneuvering, and, when necessary, use of force. It also managed to bring in vast resources used to rebuild the south and create employment opportunities for Shi’ite.
That circle is fading as more and more Shi’ites realize that what Hezbollah has built, mostly with money from Iran, could also be destroyed by an adventurist policy imposed by Tehran. Worse still, Hezbollah’s largesse has created jealousies among Shi’ites. A Shi’ite who suddenly builds an imposing house or drives an expensive car instantly labeled a “Hezbollah parasite”.
It is the loss of the third circle that most concerns the party’ leadership. One sign of that is the gradual but no less perceptible efforts by Amal leader Nabih Berri to distance himself from Hezbollah. Although allied with Iran and Syria, Berri is essentially a Lebanese politician in the “Lebanon First” tradition. He is not ready to risk Lebanon’s national interests, in fact its very existence, in the interest either of Assad or Khamenei.
The traditional Lebanese politician may get involved in all manner of chicanery to receive foreign financial and political support. Deep down, however, he remains Lebanese, always ready to jettison a paymaster to protect Lebanese interests.
In contrast, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah describes himself as “a proud foot soldier of Khamenei.”
In that, Nasrallah represents some Communist leaders during the heyday of the COMINTERN. They regarded themselves as “proud foot soldiers” of Stalin and were prepared to sacrifice their own nation’s interests in the service of the Soviet Union. In 1939, Stalin told them to praise Hitler because Moscow had signed an alliance with Nazi Germany to partition Poland. In 1941, the same Stalin ordered them to fight Hitler who had invaded the Soviet Union.
There other signs that Nasrallah may be losing support among the Shi’ites. Until recently, the pro-Hezbollah media never referred to Nasrallah without the deferential titles. Now, he is plain Hassan Nasrallah. Again until recently, whenever Nasrallah emerged from his hideout to broadcast a speech through the TV networks he owns, his appearance would be greeted with Shi’ites firing celebratory bullets in the skies across Lebanon. Now, however, Shi’ites are saving their bullets, responding to Nasrallah’s diatribes with dismissive yawns.
The self-styled hero has become a TV personality and, like other TV personalities, he is subject to a rise and decline cycle.
Some Lebanese Shi’ites are pondering some crucial questions.
What if Assad falls? What if Khamenei loses the power struggle, paving the way for an end to his adventurism? What if Iran is dragged into a war that could lead to regime change in Tehran?
Some Lebanese Shi’ites are looking to Iraq as a potential source of support in the future. According to Iraqi sources, prominent Lebanese Shi’ites have visited Iraq to establish communication with the Shi’ite clerical leadership in Najaf and the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad.
Though concerned about the possibility of a Middle East dominated by Muslim Brotherhood, allied with the United States, Iraq, has managed to hedge its bets. In Baghdad the emphasis is on Iraqi interests not pan-sectarian dreams.
The regional kaleidoscope is changing, making Nasrallah’s conservatism all the more risky for Lebanon and its Shi’ite community. The growing debate about a new strategy for Lebanese Shi’ites must be welcomed. But, without leadership change, no new strategy is possible.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
by Karin McQuillan
The Obama White House, the Clinton State Department, and Panetta's Department of Defense have guiding principles in Afghanistan that, if applied to Benghazi, explain the administration's decision to deny air support to the Americans fighting for their lives on 9/11/12.
The denial of air support to our troops in battle is normal operating procedure for this commander in chief. He doesn't have to give special orders to do it. It is the Obama Doctrine on the War on Terror: do not kill Muslim civilians. Let American soldiers die instead. That is how Obama thinks he will win the hearts and minds of the Islamic world.
In Afghanistan, the military is required to deny air support, even in the midst of battle, if it could possibly result in civilian casualties. Under Obama, it is required that the military sacrifice the lives of our soldiers when jihadis are firing from population areas. The Benghazi safe house where Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, and the others were defending themselves against al-Qaeda was in a neighborhood. Therefore, if the Afghanistan rules of engagement were applied, no air support and no reinforcements would be sent.
Following the same mindset, the Clinton State Department's main diplomatic principle is to show how much we respect Muslim sensibilities. Ambassador Stevens' repeated requests to not withdraw his U.S. Marine security detail were denied by the State Department on those grounds. Just a few weeks before 9/11, Stevens was reduced to relying on local Libyan militia for his safety and the safety of his staff. He was scared for his life, and on 9/11, he gave his life. He was sacrificed to the Obama administration's diplomatic doctrine.
Testimony from Eric Allan Nordstrom, Regional Security Officer, Tripoli, at Congressman Issa's hearings into Benghazi:
Our long term security plan in Libya was to recruit and deploy an armed, locally hired Libyan bodyguard unit. However, because of Libyan political sensitivities, armed private security companies were not allowed to operate in Libya. Therefore, our existing, uniformed static local guard force, both in Tripoli and Benghazi were unarmed ... armed security in Libya was still a new and sensitive concept to the Libyan Government. Abuses of Qaddafi foreign mercenaries were still fresh in the minds of the Libya people.Under the Obama administration, the lives and safety of American diplomats and military personnel come third after respecting Muslim lives and sensibilities. This is the Obama idea of how to win what his predecessor called the War on Terror.
Benghazi, September 11, 2012: The White House is alerted at 1:00 in the afternoon that the consulate is under hostile surveillance, and at 4:00 p.m. that the consulate is under attack. According to FBI and National Counterterrorism Center briefings to Congress, our intelligence services intercept real-time e-mails from Al Qaeda fighters celebrating their attack.
Our military is instructed to send an unarmed drone to monitor the battle raging in Benghazi.
From all reports, it seems that President Obama chose not to go to the Situation Room in the White House to monitor the battle as it was streamed on live video from two sources: the consulate building and the drone. He didn't follow the radioed messages for help as they arrived in real time.
This is how Obama described his actions on 9/11, during the second presidential debate:
I know these folks, and I know their families. So nobody's more concerned about their safety and security than I am. So as soon as we found out that the Benghazi consulate was being overrun, I was on the phone with my national security team, and I gave them three instructions. Number one, beef up our security and - and - and procedures not just in Libya but every embassy and consulate in the region.Obama here says he immediately made a phone call to "beef up our security and procedures [at] every embassy in the [Middle East]." The president does not say he gave orders to send reinforcements during the battle in Benghazi.
At 5:00 p.m., reports say the president held a previously scheduled meeting in the Oval Office with his political hack and "national security advisor" Tom Donilon, Secretary of Defense Panetta, and Vice President Biden.
That is all we hear of Obama's involvement. Obama had to be up in the morning for a Las Vegas fundraiser. He tells us he was not involved at 4:00 a.m., when Tyrone Woods last radioed for help that never came, and was killed by mortar fire.
Jim Hoft at thegatewaypundit explains the import of Woods painting the jihadi target with a laser:
The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. Then there's this bombshell at BlackFive from a former Delta operator:
... That means that Specter WAS ON STATION! Probably an AC130U. A ground laser designator is not a briefing pointer laser. You do not "paint" a target until the weapons system/designator is synched; which means that the AC130 was on station.
Only two places could have called off the attack at that point; the WH situation command (based on POTUS direction) or AFRICOM commander based on information directly from the target area.President Obama tells us he did not deny requests for help. General Carter F. Ham, the Combatant Commander of Africa Command (AFRICOM), says he was never asked to send help. He has since resigned.
Obama made a different claim to a Denver reporter on October 26, when for the first time he was asked a tough question on Benghazi by the media:
... the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.... I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe.If President Obama issued such orders, the CIA and Department of Defense and U.S. Military defied them, since nothing was done to make sure our people were safe. Our last two warriors died calling for air support that our military withheld.
We did immediately send an unarmed drone. No air cover. No special forces. Military assets were pre-positioned in Sicily, which is one hour away for gunships, two hours for special forces -- the same distance as Tripoli to Benghazi. No assets were sent to be pre-positioned in Benghazi in case of immediate need.
It was a seven-hour battle, with 150 men with mortars attacking our consulate and CIA safe house. There were repeated requests for help.
Help was denied.
How to understand our commander-in-chief's decision not to defend our ambassador and the thirty other Americans under jihadi attack? Part of the answer is undoubtedly political, and part is ideological.
My new theory is that a third part of the answer is simply this: denying air support is what we do under President Obama. The official American policy is to avert civilian casualties in Muslim countries at any cost. If it requires the sacrifice our American soldiers' lives, so be it. Obama finds American lives expendable.
The Obama Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan Require Sacrificing American Lives
The Obama doctrine in Afghanistan is to sacrifice the lives of American soldiers in order to never endanger a nearby Afghan even in the midst of a battle in case he or she might be a civilian. Soldiers are forbidden to fire in self-defense, under threat of court-martial, if there is any question that a civilian might be hurt.
Obama's rules of engagement rule out combat air support in Afghanistan -- just as combat air support was denied in Benghazi. One soldier currently serving wrote to his father to ask him to write their congressman to protest new rules of engagement which prohibit "the dropping of ordinance" (in plain English, air cover).
I don't think that the American citizens would be happy if they knew that their soldiers were being prohibited from defending themselves in any way because of politically driven orders, but that is precisely what is happening in this war right now even as I write this letter. The soldiers of the U.S. never engage the enemy unless we know that we have will always have the tactical advantage in defending ourselves, that advantage is the use of close air support and air weapons team. To take those weapons away from us is to level the playing field for the enemy and thus exposing our soldiers to more danger. We have never been so restricted in defending ourselves as we have now.
I love you very much Dad and I don't want you to worry about me any more than you already are, but I also know that this has to be brought up, someone has to say something about this. It is wrong to keep this hidden away while American soldiers are under constant threat of death and dying. I don't care if you send this letter directly, this needs to be known.Obama loves to boast about killing Osama bin Laden. Three months after the men of SEAL Team Six killed bin Laden, twenty-two of the SEALs were themselves killed in a battle in which they were not allowed air support, for fear of civilian casualties. It was the greatest military loss in the ten years of war in Afghanistan and in Navy Special Forces history.
Here is how Billy Vaughn, the father of one of the SEALs killed in that battle, describes what happened:
Let me just say this. On the night that Extortion 17 was shot down, this is all from the military -- ... A 3 1/2-hour firefight under way and our chopper flew in with an AC-130 gunship in the air, two H-64s and they were not allowed to give any pre-assault fire. They landed the chopper like it was landing at Wal-Mart even though a firefight was underway.
When the chopper was shot down, neither were the AC-130 or the two AH-64s allowed to take out the savages who fired the RPGs because they were standing on a tower. And under the rules of engagement, they didn't know if there might be friendlies in the building. These rules of engagement are criminal for our warriors.Paul Szoldra, a former Marine who served in Afghanistan puts it this way: "Strict Rules Of Engagement Are Killing More Americans Than Enemy In This Lost War."
The deadly effects of Obama's 2010 rules of engagement have gotten little national press. It is only letters home from the troops, and the families of dead soldiers, who are complaining.
They say they often can't fight at night, or call in airstrikes, because of military leaders' fear of doing anything that angers the Afghan population.Obama lied to the American public: it was never "number one priority making sure that [our] people were safe." It is not his priority in Afghanistan, and it was not his priority in Libya.
Obama's priority in the war on terror is to pretend there is no war and there is no jihadi threat, and even that there is no terror (remember the "workplace violence" in Ft. Hood?). His priority is the opportunity for rapprochement through greater cultural sensitivity and respect for Islam. Hence, the one decisive action his administration took after Benghazi was to arrest the man in L.A. who posted the offensive video on YouTube.
Obama's and Clinton's liberal approach to diplomacy in the Muslim world is based in the belief that except for a few criminal individuals, the jihadi forces -- the Taliban, Hamas, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood -- are really moderates. As moderates or potential moderates, they can best be dealt with via cooperation, negotiation, and even, as in Egypt, throwing out our important ally, Mubarak, and installing the jihadis in power. The priority is to show all Muslims, even radical jihadis, understanding and to never do anything to alienate or offend them. We are trying to make peace with our enemies because we do not believe they are enemies.
Obama does not place a priority on American lives above the lives of Muslim citizens in battle zones. That is why he didn't lift a finger to save the thirty Americans fighting for their lives in Benghazi on 9/11/12.
In Afghanistan, the media and public do not know and do not care. The whole subject is too depressing to pay attention to. We're getting out, aren't we? Just a couple more years. Just ignore it.
Obama didn't realize how different Benghazi would be. He was right to think the politically corrupt mainstream media would accept his version of events without question, starting with the nonsense that the Benghazi terror attack was a spontaneous riot caused by an offensive video. The liberal media is still trying to bury the Benghazi scandal, to help Obama's re-election chances.
What Obama didn't appreciate is that in Benghazi, he wasn't dealing with just the silent U.S. military, sworn to uphold his orders and not complain to the press. In Benghazi, someone -- perhaps CIA, perhaps State Department civilians -- blew Obama's cover by telling Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffith that when the battle erupted at 4:00 p.m. Washington time, the consulate staff's urgent requests for help were denied, the ambassador abandoned to die.
Obama didn't realize that his passive response to an al-Qaeda attack and the murder of four Americans on 9/11 wouldn't be ignored as a "bump in the road" by the new media, also known as the serious news media today -- Fox News, Sean Hannity, Rush and other talk show hosts, and the conservative internet.
He didn't count on Tyrone Woods's father's powerful indictment of the most powerful man in America, our president and commander in chief, as not different from a murderer.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
by Michael Volpe
Even with economic stagnation, the Obama administration has continued approving an elevated level of Green Cards. This has caused the overwhelming majority of new jobs to go to immigrants (both legal and illegal), according to a new study.
A study by Steve Camarota and Karen Zeigler of the Center for Immigration Studies has concluded that two-thirds of the new people employed during the Obama administration were immigrants.
“A new analysis of government data shows that two-thirds of the net increase in employment since President Obama took office has gone to immigrant workers, primarily legal immigrants.”
Camarota, in an interview with Front Page Magazine, said that the study used the Household Survey, released monthly by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics in the Commerce Department. The Household Survey randomly calls households in the US on a monthly basis and asks who is and isn’t employed in any given household. By that measure, there were 2.88 million more people employed at the end of the third quarter of 2012 as there were at the beginning of the first quarter of 2009 (the time measured by the CIS study). Of those, 1.94 million new jobs went to immigrants and only 938,000 went to native born individuals.
Over the same time frame, the Obama administration has maintained elevated levels of Green Card approvals. From 2008-2011, about 4.3 million Green Cards were approved, cited the study. Camarota said that the combination of a stagnant economy at the same time there were elevated levels of legal immigrants flowing into the country meant that most of the jobs wound up going to immigrants.
“You end up with a situation where there’s some growth in jobs, but it goes almost exclusively to foreigners.”
The study cited three specific policies of the Obama administration that will continue to contribute to this dynamic. First, the Obama administration, as a matter of policy, doesn’t detain illegal workers when the administration audits businesses that hire illegal immigrants. The administrative DREAM Act that President Obama announced in June 2012 has produced 200,000 new applications for legal immigration so far. Finally, the administration fought against the Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law, which requires each employer to verify the legal status of each new employee.
Camarota pointed out that Obama, in part, inherited this problem. About 44% of all new jobs under the Bush administration were found by immigrants, the study found. The study argued that Obama continued to implement the same immigration policies from good economic times even though the economy had turned.
“This president, like those before him, has chosen not to reduce immigration despite the worst job market since the Great Depression. While natives have done better in the labor market recently, there remain a very large number of native-born Americans not working,” said the study.
While Camarota believes the conclusions of his study point to an urgent need, he said he’s found little appetite to address this issue in Congress, even among Republicans. Camarota said that Lamar Smith has been the only voice sounding the alarm on this issue.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
by Bruce Thornton
The murder of four Americans in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11, and the subsequent attempts by the Obama administration to blame the attacks on a YouTube video critical of Islam, exposed the delusional assumptions of Obama’s foreign policy. This notion that Western bad behavior––whether colonialism, support for Israel, or insults to Islam and Muhammad––is responsible for jihadist violence, however, has vitiated our approach to Islamist terrorism for over a decade now. Our main mistake has been the belief that al Qaeda and other jihadist groups are outliers among Muslims, a tiny minority of fanatics who have “hijacked” the faith that under both Republican and Democratic administrations has been called the “religion of peace,” and so we must reach out to that majority of moderate Muslims and convince them how much we admire and respect their religion. But this desperate search for these moderates has lead to dangerous policies, such as considering the Muslim Brotherhood “moderate Islamists,” an oxymoron that blinds us to the Brotherhood’s long-term goal to recover the global dominance that is Islam’s divinely sanctioned birthright.
Andrew Bostom, a professor of medicine at Brown University, has for a decade relentlessly exposed the distortions of history and Islamic theology that have accompanied these policies. In The Legacy of Islamic Jihad, he exposed the lie that jihad is merely a spiritual struggle to be a good Muslim, amassing evidence from Islamic theology, scripture, and jurisprudence to show that jihad has in fact predominantly denoted the use of violence to subject unbelievers to Muslim hegemony. In The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism, he swept away the rationalizations for widespread Jew-hatred among Muslims that blamed it on imported Western anti-Semitism, once more letting Islamic texts speak for themselves to show that since the 7th century, Jews have been hated, despised, massacred, and subjugated in both Islamic theology and practice. Now Bostom, in the 43 essays collected in his new book, Sharia Versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism, has turned to the totalitarian foundations of Islam codified in shari’a law, the totalizing system that controls every dimension of human life––political, economic, civic, familial, and personal.
The great virtue of Dr. Bostom’s work is the collection of primary documents and secondary commentary that taken together provide a more accurate picture of Islam than the fantasies concocted from ignorance or political expediency, or the postmodern propaganda manufactured by Edward Said and his followers. The notion of jihad, for example, has been distorted by apologists like Georgetown professor John Esposito, who wrote in the Washington Post that in the Koran jihad “means ‘to strive or struggle’ to realize God’s will, to lead a virtuous life, to create a just society and to defend Islam and the Muslim community.” Under the Bush administration, the National Counterterrorism Center similarly advised its employees never to use the term “jihadist,” since “jihad means ‘striving in the path of God’ and is used in many contexts beyond warfare.” But these assertions cannot stand next to the abundant evidence Bostom collects, such as Al-Tabari’s 10th century “Book of Jihad,” which shows that for 14 centuries jihad refers to war waged against the unbelievers, the “harbis” (denizens of Dar al Harb, the “House of War”) whom it is legal to kill, enslave, and plunder.
Even those, like the influential scholar Bernard Lewis, who accept the martial meaning of jihad sometimes assert that such wars are conducted under limitations similar to the Western laws of war, limitations so-called Islamist extremists ignore. Yet Islamic jurists such as the 8th century founder of the Hanifi school of Islamic jurisprudence, Abu Hanifa, Bostom writes, affirm “the impunity with which non-combatant ‘harbis’––women, children, the elderly, the mentally and physically disabled––may be killed.” According to Hanifa, there is nothing wrong with using catapults against “the polytheists’ fortresses . . . even if there are among them a woman, child, elder, idiot” or anyone suffering from a physical disability.
Illustrating the continuity of modern Islamist ideology with traditional Islamic theology and jurisprudence, Bostom quotes Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the “spiritual” leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Jazeera television star whose program reaches 60 million people: “It has been determined by Islamic law that the blood and property of people of Dar Al-Harb . . . is not protected . . . in modern war, all of society, with all its classes and ethnic groups, is mobilized to participate in war.” Hence even those not actually fighting are fair game, an argument similar to the one bin Laden made after 9/11 when he justified attacking civilians. These traditions give the lie to the “religion of peace” claim made by apologists, and also explain why, as Bostom quotes Samuel Huntington, “Wherever one looks along the perimeter of Islam, Muslims have problems living peaceably with their neighbors.” Moreover, jihadist raids and attacks across those borders were, Bostom writes, “designed to sow terror” in order to make future conquests easier by breaking the spirit of the enemy, as recorded by the 17th century historian al-Maqqari when discussing such attacks: “Allah thus instilled such fear among the infidels that they did not dare to go and fight the conquerors; they only approached them as suppliants, to beg for peace.” Such passages suggest how the Islamists interpreted Obama’s 2009 groveling Cairo speech: as the supplications of the infidel begging for peace.
Bostom provides a similar correction to the oft-repeated claims that anti-Semitism is not inherent in Islam. On the contrary, Bostom writes, “There is voluminous evidence from Islam’s foundational texts of theological Jew hatred: virulently Antisemitic Koranic verses whose virulence is only amplified by the greatest classical and Muslim Koranic commentaries . . . the six canonical hadiths collections, and the most respected sira,” biographies of Muhammad. In this tradition Jews are minions of Satan, cursed because they resisted Islam, killed prophets, and transgressed the will of Allah. They are destined to be transformed into apes and swine, and to be humiliated, abased, and eternally damned for their deceit and treachery.
Again demonstrating the continuity of this 14-century-long tradition with the anti-Semitic calumny of modern Islamists, Bostom quotes from a sermon given by an Egyptian-government appointed cleric delivered at a mosque at Al Azhar, the most prestigious and venerable institution of Sunni learning: “Muslim brothers, God has inflicted the Muslim nation with a people whom God has become angry at [Koran 1:7] and whom he cursed [Koran 5:78] so he made monkeys and pigs [Koran 5:60] out of them. They killed prophets and messengers [Koran 2:61/3:112] and sowed corruption on Earth [Koran 5:33/5:64]. They are the most evil on Earth [5:62/63].” And Bostom reminds us that Muhammad’s jihadist career began with the conquest and massacres inflicted on the Banu Qurayza, Banu Khaybar, and Banu Nadir Jews. As Bostom summarizes, “Muhammad’s brutal conquest and subjugation of the Medinan and Khaybar Jews and their subsequent expulsion” by the “Rightly Guided” Caliph Umar “epitomize permanent, archetypal behavior patterns Islamic Law deemed appropriate to Muslim interactions with Jews.”
Given this theological sanction, we should not be surprised to find the grimly consistent record of Muslim pogroms and massacres of Jews that Bostom documents from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Nor should we be surprised that Jew-hatred continues to dominate the modern Middle East, and is foundational to the Arab hatred of Israel. Hence the quotation of the apes and swine Koranic verse in the charter of the terrorist Hamas organization, or the quotation of Koran 5:64, which calls Jews the sowers of corruption, by “moderate” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007 during a speech urging Muslims to “aim their rifles at Israel.”
The exposure of these “Islamophilic” distortions of Islam provides the necessary backdrop for the discussions of Islamic shari’a law that follows. Our misunderstanding and downplaying of the threat to liberal democracy represented by a legal code that subjects every facet of human life to its strictures have been facilitated by the same political and ideological prejudices. Meanwhile, the imposition of shari’a is the highest goal of the various Islamist organizations, whether actively violent or not, roiling the Middle East and North Africa today. Bostom’s essays remind us what history also teaches: that totalitarian threats to our freedom and way of life will not be neutralized by the refusal to see clearly the illiberal ideology driving the Islamist agenda.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
by Soeren Kern
Meanwhile, the Socialist government in France recently inaugurated a new mega-mosque in Paris as a first step toward "progressively building a French Islam."A majority of people in France, according to a new poll, believe that Islam is too influential in French society, and almost half view Muslims as a threat to their national identity.
The survey reveals a significant degradation of the image of Islam in France. The findings also show that French voters are growing increasingly uneasy about mass immigration from Muslim countries, which has been encouraged by a generation of political and cultural elites in France dedicated to creating a multicultural society.
The survey conducted by the French Institute of Public Opinion (or Ifop, as it is usually called) and published by the center-right Le Figaro newspaper on October 24, shows that 60% of French people believe that Islam has become "too visible and influential" in France -- up from 55% in an earlier survey two years ago.
The poll also reveals that 43% of French people consider the presence of Muslim immigrants to be a threat to French national identity, compared to just 17% who say it enriches society.
In addition, 68% of people in France blame the problems associated with Muslim integration on immigrants who refuse to integrate (up from 61% two years ago), and 52% blame it on cultural differences (up from 40% two years ago).
The poll also shows a growing resistance to the symbols of Islam. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of French people say they are opposed to Muslim women wearing the veil or Islamic headscarves in public, compared to 59% two years ago.
Furthermore, the survey shows that only 18% of French people say they support the building of new mosques in France (compared to 33% in 1989, and 20% in 2010).
"Our poll shows a further hardening in French people's opinions," Jerome Fourquet, head of Ifop's opinion department, told Le Figaro. "In recent years, there has not been a week when Islam has not been in the heart of the news for social reasons: the veil, halal food, dramatic news like terrorist attacks or geopolitical reasons," he said.
France, which is home to an estimated six million Muslims, has the largest Muslim population in the European Union. There are now, in fact, more practicing Muslims in France than there are practicing Roman Catholics.
Although 64% of the French population (or 41.6 million of France's 65 million inhabitants) identify themselves as Roman Catholic, only 4.5% (or 1.9 million) of these actually are practicing Catholics, according to a separate survey on Catholicism in France published by Ifop in July 2009.
By way of comparison, 75% (or 4.5 million), of the estimated six million mostly ethnic North African and sub-Saharan Muslims in France, identify themselves as "believers;" and 41% (or 2.5 million) say they are "practicing" Muslims, according to an in-depth research report on Islam in France published by Ifop in July 2011.
Taken together, the research data provides empirical evidence that Islam is well on its way to overtaking Roman Catholicism as the dominant religion in France.
This trend is also reflected in the fact that mosques are being built more often in France than are Roman Catholic churches; nearly 150 new mosques are currently under construction in France.
The total number of mosques in France has already doubled to more than 2,000 during just the past ten years, according to a research report, "Constructing Mosques: The Governance of Islam in France and the Netherlands." The rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, has called for the number of mosques in the country to be doubled again -- to 4,000 -- to meet growing demand.
By contrast, the Roman Catholic Church has built only 20 new churches in France during the past decade, and has formally closed more than 60 churches, many of which are destined to become mosques, according to research conducted by La Croix, a Roman Catholic daily newspaper based in Paris.
In recent weeks, tensions have flared over the proposed conversion of an empty church into a mosque in the central French town of Vierzon. The controversy involves Saint-Eloi's, a small church located in a working class neighborhood that has been taken over by immigrants from Morocco and Turkey.
With six churches to maintain and fewer faithful every year, Roman Catholic authorities in Vierzon say they can no longer afford to keep Saint-Eloi's. They now want to sell the building for €170,000 ($220,000) to a Moroccan Muslim organization that wants to convert the church into a mosque.
In an interview with the French weekly newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur, Alain Krauth, the parish priest of the largest Catholic church in Vierzon, said: "The Christian community is not as important as it used to be in the past. If moderate Muslims buy Saint-Eloi's, we can only be happy that the Muslims of Vierzon are able to celebrate their religion." His comments were greeted with outrage by local citizens who are now trying to prevent the church from becoming a mosque.
Similar scenes are being played out across France.
In the nearby city of Poitiers, around 70 members of a conservative youth group known as Generation Identity recently occupied a mosque that is being built in the heavily Muslim Buxerolles district of the city. The dawn raid on October 21 was intended as a protest against Islam's growing influence in France.
The protesters climbed onto the roof of the mosque (photos here) and unfurled a banner with the symbolic phrase "732 Generation Identity," a reference to the year 732, when Charles Martel halted the advance of the invading Muslim army to the north of Poitiers (also known as the Battle of Tours.)
Meanwhile, the Socialist government in France recently inaugurated a new mega-mosque in Paris as a first step towards "progressively building a French Islam."
The new mosque, located in the northern Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise, is not only vast in its dimensions (photos here), but is also highly visible and symbolic: its towering minaret, which has purposely been designed to change the suburb's skyline by being taller than any church steeple in the neighborhood, is supposed to become the "new symbol of Islam in France."
Speaking on behalf of French President François Hollande at the inauguration ceremony of the mosque in Cergy, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls articulated the Socialist government's policy vis-à-vis the construction of new mosques in France. He declared: "A mosque, when it is erected in the city, says a simple thing: Islam has its place in France."
Soeren Kern is a 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.
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by Khaled Abu Toameh
Harb said that the decision to summon him for questioning was in the context of the Palestinian Authority leadership's campaign to intimidate Palestinian writers and journalists and stop them from discussing internal issues. International human rights groups and countries that fund and support Abbas's authority have yet to sound their voices. Failing to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable will only drive more Palestinians into the arms of Hamas and other radical forces.The Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank has come up with a new method to silence its Palestinian critics.
From now on, any Palestinian writer or journalist who dares to criticize Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his policies or demand an end to corruption will be accused of "belittling the dignity of the state."
Since the beginning of this year, at least 10 Palestinian journalists, bloggers and political opponents have been detained by various Palestinian Authority security services for writing about corruption and criticizing the Palestinian leadership.
Until recently, the Palestinian Authority, which is funded by the US and EU, used to throw its critics into prison.
But following condemnations from Palestinian and international human rights organizations, the Palestinian Authority decided to resort to a new method to silence its critics - this time by accusing them of "belittling the dignity" of a non-existent Palestinian state.
This charge is based on a 1960 Jordanian law still effective in the West Bank. Although the Palestinian Authority has its own laws, to achieve its goals it does not hesitate every now and then to resort to Jordanian laws.
But as the case of Jihad Harb shows, Abbas and his aides are more concerned about their own dignity than that of the imaginary state.
Harb, a Palestinian writer and political analyst, was summoned this week for interrogation by the Palestinian security forces in Ramallah and charged, on the basis of the Jordanian law, with "belittling the dignity of the state."
Harb was told that the director of Abbas's office had lodged a complaint against him for libel and slander because of an article criticizing Abbas's policy of promoting public employees.
Entitled "Presidential Decisions Are Made In A Coffee Shop," Harb's article criticized Abbas's decision to promote more than 500 civil servants over the past five years -- noting that many of them were unfit to serve in their jobs.
Before he was summoned for interrogation, Harb received threats from from top Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah that he would be punished for hanging the dirty laundry in public.
The officials told the writer that he may would face trial for criticizing Abbas at a time when the US and Israel are "waging a fierce campaign" against the Palestinian Authority president because of his insistence on pursuing his request for membership in the UN.
Harb said that the decision to summon him for questioning was in the context of the Palestinian Authority leadership's campaign to intimidate Palestinian writers and journalists and stop them from discussing internal issues.
Harb added that the decision was also in violation of Abbas's recent statement that the "sky was the limit for freedom of expression" in the West Bank.
Palestinian writers and human rights groups have, meanwhile, expressed deep concern over the Palestinian Authority's crackdown on freedom of expression in the West Bank.
International human rights groups, however, and countries that fund and support Abbas's authority have yet to sound their voices.
Many Palestinian writers and journalists in the West Bank today live in fear of being harassed by the Palestinian Authority because of their views and writings. Some practice self-censorship, while others are writing under different names or have found themselves new and less dangerous professions.
There is no reason why those who are pouring millions of dollars on the Palestinian Authority should not demand an end to suppression of freedom of expression and the growing clampdown on writers and journalists in the West Bank.
Failing to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable for its actions will only drive more Palestinians into the arms of Hamas and the other radical forces.
Khaled Abu Toameh
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by Yoram Ettinger
Just like the role of red lights in intersections, so would “red lines” reduce the probability of a military collision with a nuclear Iran. Clear red lines would upgrade the U.S. posture of deterrence and enhance preparedness against — and minimize the cost of — aggression. On the other hand, the absence of red lines constitutes a green light to aggression.
For example, the U.S. provided a green light to Iraq’s Aug. 2, 1990 invasion of Kuwait by failing to flash a red light during the July 25, 1990 meeting between Saddam Hussein and the U.S. ambassador to Kuwait. At the meeting, which took place during the height of the Iraq-Kuwait border dispute, Ambassador April Gillespie echoed Secretary Jim Baker’s self-destruct policy of engagement and diplomacy with rogue Iraq. She stated, “we have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait ... We hope you can solve this problem using any suitable methods via the Arab League or via President Mubarak ... All that we hope is that these issues are solved quickly."
Prior to that meeting, the State Department clarified to Saddam that the U.S. had made no special defense or security commitments to Kuwait. Setting and implementing red lines would have deterred Saddam Hussein, and would have spared the U.S. the first, and possibly the second, Gulf Wars and their devastating human life, economic and military cost.
The U.S.'s failure to establish effective red lines to combat Islamic terrorism, and Washington’s determination to engage and negotiate with rogue Islamic regimes, has eroded the U.S.'s power of deterrence, constituting a green light to intensified anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism. For instance, the first attempt to blow-up the World Trade Center in 1993; the 1995/6 killing of 17 U.S. soldiers in Saudi Arabia; the murder of 300 civilians during the 1998 car-bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; and the killing of 17 U.S. sailors during the 2000 suicide attack on the USS Cole. The absence of U.S. red lines and appropriate military response emboldened Islamic terrorists all the way up to 9/11.
The absence of red lines in the face of clear and present danger to U.S. diplomats in Libya; the U.S. suspension of disbelief; the subordination of unilateral U.S. military action to multilateral diplomatic considerations; and the submission of counter-terrorism to the ideology of engagement and negotiation, signaled — inadvertently — a green light to the bombing of the U.S. Consulate and the murder of the U.S. ambassador and the three American security personnel in Benghazi.
The Second World War could have been avoided if British Premier Neville Chamberlain had approached Hitler with thundering red lines rather than with appeasement. Moreover, a British-French steadfastness in defiance of Hitler’s pre-war could have triggered a revolt by the top German military command.
In order to be effective, the violation of red lines by terror-sponsor, Hugo Chavez-supporter Iran must be followed by a devastating, disproportional military preemption with no boots on the ground. The 1980 Iraqi invasion of Iran united the oppressed Iranian people and the tyrannical Ayatollahs against the mutual threat of occupation. However, "no boots on the ground” would clarify that the goal is not occupation, but the elimination of the oppressive regime. The Iranian people yearn for a regime-change, which they know cannot be realized via diplomacy or sanctions, which require the unattainable cooperation of China, Russia, Japan and India. They were betrayed by the West during their 2009 uprising, and will not attempt to topple the Ayatollahs while the U.S. refuses to confront Tehran. They are concerned that the U.S. is hell-bent on repeating the mistakes that paved the road to the nuclearization of North Korea.
A military preemption, with no boots on the ground, is a prerequisite for regime-change. It would constitute a departure from the U.S. apathy of 2009, thus providing a robust tailwind to the Iranian people in their attempt to overthrow the Ayatollahs.
In fact, a military preemption with no boots on the ground would prevent a nuclear war with Iran, while refraining from military preemption would — unintentionally — pave the road to a devastating nuclear war.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman all register with the U.S. Congress their anxiety about a nuclear Iran, which would devastate their pro-U.S. regimes. They urge the U.S. to preempt and relieve them of a lethal threat, just as Israel did in 1981, preempting Iraq’s nuclear drive, thus ridding pro-U.S. Gulf regimes of a nuclear Saddam Hussein. Will the U.S. heed the desires of the Iranian people and U.S. allies in the Gulf, thus sparing the U.S. the economic and national security devastation caused by a nuclear Iran in control of the Straits of Hormuz, the nerve center of global oil price and supply?
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by Dore Gold
This week Israel marked the 17th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. At various events, there were speakers who recalled their personal relationship with the late prime minister in order to determine what his legacy was.
But Rabin actually detailed how he envisioned the future borders of the State of Israel, in his last Knesset address, which was delivered exactly one month before he was killed. Looking back and reading the speech is an eerie exercise, for although he had no idea what would happen to him in a few weeks, he nonetheless appeared to be leaving a political will to the citizens of Israel.
The actual date of Rabin's speech was Oct. 5, 1995. The prime minister was presenting the Oslo II Interim Agreement for ratification by the Knesset. The first Oslo Agreement that was signed on the White House lawn on Sept. 13, 1993. It was followed by the Gaza-Jericho Agreement in 1994. The Oslo II Interim Agreement applied to all the cities and major villages in the rest of the West Bank.
Oslo was only an interim agreement. But to get it approved, Rabin felt he had to lay out his ultimate vision of where he saw his negotiations with the Palestinians leading. Rabin firmly declared: "The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six-Day War. We will not return to the June, 4 1967 lines." He never stipulated that Israel would have to pay for territory it would ultimately retain with "land swaps."
He also spoke about Israel retaining the settlement blocs, modeling them on Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip. Of course he did not know that ten years later, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would dismantle Gush Katif along with all the settlements in Gaza. Nevertheless the idea of settlement blocs was very much part of his thinking: "Changes which will include the addition of Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities, most of which are in the area east of what was the 'Green Line,' prior to the Six-Day War."
One of the striking features of Rabin's map was what he said about the Jordan Valley: "The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term." By saying the "broadest meaning of that term," he understood that Israel's defense line had to include the eastern slopes of the West Bank hill ridge, which rose from an area near the Dead Sea which was 400 meters below sea level to hill tops that in one case reached a height of over 800 meters.
This steep 1200 foot topographical barrier was Rabin's defense line. What needs to be recalled is that Rabin outlined these Israeli security needs even though his government had signed the Oslo Agreement two years earlier and even added the peace treaty with Jordan a year later. Seventeen years before the Arab Spring, what Rabin implicitly understood is that political conditions in the Arab world can change and that Israeli security cannot be based on a snapshot of the situation in 1995.
When Rabin began detailing his map he began with what meant most to him: "First and foremost a united Jerusalem ... as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty." In 1994, he concluded the "Washington Declaration" with King Hussein, which stated that Israel “respects the present role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the Muslim Holy Shrines in Jerusalem." It added that "when negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.”
There are many who debate what exactly Rabin's legacy was. There are people who can point to private conversations they had with him to back their version of what he stood for. But Rabin's last Knesset speech cannot be ignored as the most authoritative source of how he envisioned Israel's future borders. The principles outlined in his plan, moreover, have not lost their relevance for Israel 17 years later.
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by Steven Emerson and John Rossomando
The Investigative Project on Terrorism has learned that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi headlined a Democratic Party fundraiser with leaders of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood front groups in May of this year.
The invitation-only fundraiser was sponsored by Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.; Andre Carson, D-Ind.; and Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and took place on the evening of May 16, 2012, at the W Hotel in Washington D.C.
In attendance were about 20 members of a Syrian dissident group and 10 officials representing Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas front groups. Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad was perhaps the most prominent attendee and played a key role in organizing the event.
CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007-2008 Holy Land Foundation Hamas money-laundering trials, was described in FBI testimony as having been created by Hamas. In a 2007 federal court filing, prosecutors described CAIR as conspiring with other branches of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.
The FBI officially severed relations with CAIR in 2008 because of its ties to Hamas.
Awad has openly championed Hamas and defended suicide bombings as "legitimate resistance."
Also in attendance was Jamal Barzinji, a founding father of the Muslim Brotherhood in America and co-founder of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), an incubator for Islamic radicalism in North America. MSA was the forerunner of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).
Barzinji was named in a federal affidavit as being closely associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas. His name appears in a global phone book of Muslim Brotherhood members recovered by Italian and Swiss authorities in Nov. 2001 from the home of Al-Taqwa Bank of Lugano founder Youssef Nada, one of the leaders of the international Muslim Brotherhood.
During the fundraiser, Pelosi sat at the same table with Awad and Barzinji.
Speaking to the attendees in her 10-minute address, she said the Democratic Party should become the natural home of Muslim-Americans, because Republicans fan the flames of "Islamophobia." She focused exclusively on Islamophobia, a term devised by radical Islamists and their apologists to silence critics, while avoiding any mention of terrorism carried out by Islamists in the United States.
Also speaking were Israel, Ellison, Carson, and Reps Alyson Schwartz, D-Pa., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn. Israel and Murphy were said to have been the most vehement among the members of Congress in attendance in terms of their incendiary accusations of Republican-incited Islamophobia. One observer said that it was striking that "there was not a scintilla of comments in defense of U.S. national security." However, they welcomed each of the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood front groups represented at the event into the "Democratic community" without any mention of their well-documented terror links.
Following the speeches, a prominent attorney, Mazen Asbahi publicly rose to announce the creation of a new organization called the National Muslim Democratic Council (NMDC). Asbahi was Obama's 2008 Muslim outreach director but was forced to step down when his prior association with a radical Muslim cleric, Jamal Said, became public. Said was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial.
The NMDC seeks to "maximize American Muslim support for Democratic candidates and policies."
The IPT has obtained a memo detailing the creation and agenda of the National Muslim Democratic Council that is marked "CONFIDENTIAL; NOT FOR PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION" In the section marked "2012 election strategy" the group specifically spelled out detailed plans to support the Democrats and target Republicans in "key races where American Muslims can make a difference."
According to the document, these races included:
- Defeating Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., in his race against Patrick Murphy, D-Fla.;
- Supporting former Gov. Tim Kaine, D-Va., in his race against former Sen. George Allen, R-Va., in the race for Virginia's vacant Senate seat;
- Supporting Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., in her bid for re-election against former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich.;
- And, supporting Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, in her bid to capture the state's 3rd congressional district.
These individuals have a documented history of radical statements and associations. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., went so far as to strip Elkarra of an award after she became aware of his affiliation with CAIR and its documented extremism. Saleh Williams' organization Islamic Relief USA, Is an offshoot of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), found to be providing financial and other assistance to the terrorist group Hamas. Sarsour is an outspoken radical who has called for a "one state solution" in Palestine, believes that the underwear bomber was a CIA plant, and believes that NYPD informants "actually manufacture" cases against Muslims. "Stand up and say no. Stop spying and harassing and intimidating the Muslim community" she demands of the NYPD.
The DCCC fundraiser exemplifies the deep inroads that Islamist radicals, like those mentioned above, have made in the Democratic Party over the past few years to the exclusion of more moderate elements in the American Muslim community.
These inroads may already be creating internal tension within the Democratic Party. This was on full display during the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., after pro-Israel language from the party platform was omitted, including expressions of support for recognition of Jerusalem as the nation's undivided capital.
Awad told Al-Jazeera the change marked a new course for the Democratic Party and that it would likely not be the last dust-up on such issues.
"This is an indication that the Democratic Party's political platform with regard to the Middle East is developing," Awad said.
Senior Democratic Party establishment figures seem intent on engaging and accommodating these new and sometimes radical elements in their party as an up-and-coming new constituency and money source. Most mainstream Democrats, have yet to grasp the full extent of their party's infiltration.
Steven Emerson and John Rossomando
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by Caroline Glick
"Your first time shouldn't be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy."
So begins the now famous official Barack Obama for President campaign ad that was released last week. The ad depicts a young woman named Lena Dunham, who is apparently a celebrity among Americans in their teens and 20s.
After that opening line, Ms. Dunham continues on for another minute and a half discussing how having sex for the first time and voting for Barack Obama for president are really the same thing, and how young women don't want to be accused of either being virgins or of having passed up on their chance to cast their votes for Obama next Tuesday.
I've never been particularly interested in so-called "women's issues." It never seemed to me that any party or politician was particularly good or bad for me due to the way they thought of women. That all changed with the Dunham ad for Obama.
With this ad, Obama convinced me he is a misogynist.
The Obama campaign's use of a double entendre to compare sex - the most personal, intimate act we engage in as human beings, with voting - the most public act we engage in as human beings - is a scandal.
It is demeaning and contemptuous of women. It reduces us to sexual objects. When called on to vote, as far as Obama is concerned, as slaves to our passions, we make our decisions not based on our capacity for rational choice. Rather we choose our leaders solely on the basis of our sexual desires.
Beyond the ad's bald attempt to impersonalize, generalize and cheapen the most personal act human beings engage in, the ad is repulsive because it takes for granted that what happens in our private lives is the government's business.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is a totalitarian position.
THE WHOLE point of liberal democracy is to put a barrier between a person's personal life and his or her government. A liberal democracy is founded on the notion of limited government. It assumes there are a lot of places where government has no role to play. And first and foremost among those places is the bedroom.
The theory behind limited government is that if the government is permitted in our private space then we are no longer free. When - as in the case of the Dunham ad - a political campaign conveys the message that there is something personally wrong with not actively supporting its candidate, it communicates the message that it sees no distinction between personal and public life, and therefore rejects the basic notion of freedom from government. And this is repugnant, not just for women, but for everyone who values freedom.
One of the oddest aspects of the Obama sex ad is that to believe that this sort of message can be effective, the campaign had to ignore mountains of data about the demographic group the ad targets - young college-educated women.
According to just about every piece of survey data collected over the past 20 years, young women in America today are more accomplished, more professionally driven, and more intellectually successful than their male counterparts. That the Obama campaign believes the votes of this successful, smart group of women can be won by appealing to their basest urges rather than their capacity to reason is demeaning and perverse and, one would think, counterproductive.
But it isn't surprising.
The fact is that the Obama campaign - and indeed, the Obama presidency - has treated the American people with unprecedented arrogance and contempt. On issue after issue, Obama and his minions have eschewed intellectual argumentation.
On issue after issue they have preferred instead to attack Obama's detractors as stupid, backwards, bigoted, bellicose and evil.
For instance, however one feels about current events in the Middle East, there is a legitimate - indeed critical - argument to be had about the nature of the Islamist forces the Obama administration is supporting from Cairo, Egypt, to Alexandria, Virginia.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the most popular movement in the Islamic world. It is also a totalitarian, misogynist, anti-Jewish, anti-Christian and anti-American movement. It seeks Islamic global supremacy, the genocide of Jewry, the subjugation of Christianity and the destruction of the United States.
There is an intellectual case to be made for appeasing these popular, popularly elected forces.
There is a (stronger) intellectual case to be made for opposing them. But rather than make any of the hard arguments for appeasing the Muslim Brotherhood, the Obama administration has deflected the issue by castigating everyone who opposes its appeasement policies as racist, McCarthyite warmongers.
If women who don't support Obama are prudish geeks, Americans who oppose his appeasement policies are bloodthirsty bigots.
Then there was the attack in Benghazi on September 11 and the general Islamic assaults on US embassies throughout the Muslim world that day.
The acts of aggression that Muslims carried out against several US embassies on September 11 and since have all been acts of war against America.
The rioters who stormed the US embassies in Egypt, Tunis and Yemen and replaced the American flag with the flag of al-Qaida all violated sovereign US territory and carried out acts of war. The US had the right, under international law, to repel and respond with military force against the rioters as well as against their governments. Instead the White House blamed the acts of war on a US citizen who posted a video on YouTube.
Then there was Benghazi. In Benghazi, jihadists took this collective aggression a step further. They attacked the US Consulate and a US government safe house with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Their goal was to murder all the US citizens inside the compounds. In the event, they successfully murdered four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
In the six weeks that have passed since the attack in Benghazi, despite administration attempts to stonewall, and despite the US's media's inexcusable lack of interest in the story, information has continuously dribbled out indicating that Obama and his senior advisers knew in real time what was happening on the ground. It has also come out that they rejected multiple requests from multiple sources to employ military power readily available to save the lives of the Americans on the ground.
There may be good reasons that Obama and his top aides denied those repeated requests for assistance and allowed the American citizens pinned down in Benghazi to die. But Obama and his aides have not provided any.
Rather than defend their actions, Obama and his advisers first sought to cover up what happened by blaming the acts of war on that YouTube video.
When that line of argument collapsed of its own absurdity, Obama shifted to blaming the messenger.
His campaign accused everyone asking for facts and truthful explanations about what happened in Benghazi of trying to politicize the attack.
Obama himself has twice struck the Captain Renault pose and declared himself "Shocked, shocked!" that anyone would dare to insinuate that he did not do everything in his power to save the lives of the Americans whose lives he failed to save.
The reason specific sectors of a society usually feel compelled to vote on the basis of their sectoral interests rather than their general interests as citizens of their country is that they feel that one candidate or party specifically endangers their sectoral interests. Hence, the Lena Dunham ad, which insults women specifically, compels women to vote as women against Obama.
In the case of Obama's appeasement of the Muslim world, there is no specific group that is hurt more than any other group by his policies.
As we saw in Libya, Egypt, Tunis, Yemen and beyond, his appeasement policies endanger all Americans equally.
This is not the case with Obama's treatment of Israel and Jews. Obama's supporters always highlight statements he has made and actions he has taken in relation to Israel and Jews that are relatively supportive of both.
To be sure, like every other US president, Obama has made some statements, and taken some actions, that have been supportive of Jews and of Israel. But unlike most other US presidents, he has made far more statements and taken far more actions that have been contemptuous and hostile to Israel and Jews. And this is inexcusable.
It is inexcusable that Obama uses coded anti- Semitic language to blame America's economic woes on "fat cat bankers." It is inexcusable that his secretary of state and his senior advisers have repeatedly made references to the so-called Israel Lobby to explain why America is supposedly hamstrung in its ability to sell Israel to the wolves.
It is inexcusable that Obama sends his surrogates before the cameras to refer to Israel's prime minister as "ungrateful," or to castigate Israel for permitting Jews to build homes in Jerusalem on land they own and for permitting Jews to exercise their legal rights to their property - simply because they are Jews.
Israel is the US's most important ally in the Middle East. As such, it deserves to be treated well by the US - all the time. Any move to treat Israel with contempt is an unprovoked hostile act and therefore inexcusable.
So, too, US Jews have a right to make an honest living doing anything they wish - including working on Wall Street or owning a casino in Las Vegas. Jews have a right to be treated with respect by the US government. They should not have to be concerned about having their reputations maligned by politicians who use anti-Semitic tropes to gain political advantage.
Obama's contemptuous vilification of Israel and successful American Jews make him bad for Jews specifically. Just as the Dunham ad exposes his underlying hostility towards women and so makes clear that women's interests are imperiled by his presidency, so Obama's repeated hostile treatment of Israel and American Jews make him a specific danger to Jewish interests.
MANY WOULD-BE deep thinkers have proclaimed that the presidential election is a choice between two competing narratives. But that isn't an accurate description of the race.
Only Republican nominee Mitt Romney is presenting a narrative. In his narrative, the US faces very difficult problems in domestic and foreign policy alike. Romney has laid out his priorities for which problems he wishes to contend with, and has presented policies he will adopt to do so if he is elected next Tuesday.
On the other hand, by Obama's telling, the real problems America faces are all the result of the empowerment of his political opponents and America's allies.
Benghazi wouldn't be a problem if his political opponents weren't talking about it. Jihadists aren't a problem. The problem is the people who say they are a problem. The national debt isn't a problem. The problem is the "fat cat bankers."
Women will vote for him because we are dimwitted sex objects. And Jews will vote for him because we are taken in by his occasional Borscht Belt schmaltz platitudes about Hanukka.
God help us all if his contemptuous assessment of his countrymen is borne out next Tuesday.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.
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