Saturday, February 15, 2014

Al-Qaeda-linked New Terrorists, DAESH, in Gaza Strip

by Khaled Abu Toameh

"This group is much more dangerous and radical than Hamas." — Palestinian journalist, Gaza City
Palestinians are worried that DAESH terrorists will perpetrate atrocities against those who oppose their ideology and activities.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas need to take into consideration the possibility that Palestinian unity on the pre-1967 lines would pave the way for DAESH terrorists to move into the West Bank.

It's official: Al-Qaeda has begun operating in the Gaza Strip.

A video posted on YouTube this week showed terrorists belonging to the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known colloquially by its Arabic acronym, DAESH, announcing plans to wage jihad [holy war] against the "infidels, traitors and Crusaders."

This is the first time that a group linked to Al-Qaeda announces its presence in the Gaza Strip.

Members of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [DAESH] in Gaza. (Image source: DAESH YouTube video)

The announcement is seen as a challenge to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since July 2007.

Palestinian Authority security officials in Ramallah expressed fear that the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group would try to establish terrorist cells also in the West Bank.

The video features 10 heavily-armed masked terrorists declaring allegiance to DAESH, whose men are responsible for most of the atrocities in Syria and Iraq over the past few years.

In the video, a spokesman for the group announces that in addition to Syria and Iraq, DAESH now has "lions and armies in the environs of Jerusalem."

The spokesman says that the group's goal is to restore the dignity of Muslims who have been "humiliated" by their enemies. He urges Muslims to rally behind his group and support its members in their jihad against the enemies of Islam and "Arab tyrants."

Palestinians have reacted with panic to the emergence of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group in the Gaza Strip.

According to reports from the Gaza Strip, Palestinians are worried that the DAESH terrorists will perpetrate atrocities against those who oppose their ideology and activities.

"This group is much more dangerous and radical than Hamas," said a Palestinian journalist from Gaza City. "The presence of Al-Qaeda in the Gaza Strip is bad news not only for Hamas, but for all Palestinians. Palestinians see the crimes and massacres perpetrated by Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria and fear that they could be repeated in the West Bank and Gaza Strip."

Hamas leaders, for their part, have reacted with skepticism to the announcement by DAESH, describing it as another attempt to "distort" Hamas's image and "resistance."

Salah Bardaweel, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said that the Gaza Strip was a "small area with no room for Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups."

Hamas has not hesitated in the past to confront tiny jihadi groups whose members had openly challenged its rule. Like DAESH, these groups believe that Hamas is too "moderate" and is no longer committed to the "armed struggle" against Israel.

In one of the deadliest confrontations, Hamas security forces killed and arrested a number of jihadi terrorists who found shelter in a mosque in the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. At least 28 jihadi terrorists were killed and 120 wounded during the 2009 raid on members of a group called Jund Allah [Soldiers of God].

It now remains to be seen whether Hamas will be able to crush the new Al-Qaeda-affiliated group, whose members are also operating in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula.

Those who are talking about "reuniting" the Gaza Strip and the West Bank can no longer ignore the presence of the Al-Qaeda terrorists on the streets of the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas continues to talk about the need for Palestinian unity to pave the way for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Last week, he even dispatched a senior Fatah delegation to the Gaza Strip to discuss ways of ending the dispute between his party and Hamas.

Now that Al-Qaeda has begun operating in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas needs to consider the possibility that Palestinian unity would pave the way for the DAESH terrorists to move into the West Bank – an outcome U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his team need to take into consideration when they talk about the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem on the pre-1967 lines.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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‘Friends’ Tell Israel: Take Risks, Endanger Yourself

by P. David Hornik

Since 2014 began there’s been a spike in rocket firings from Gaza at Israel—over 30 rockets in six weeks. They have either landed in open fields or been downed by Israel’s Iron Dome system. Israel has responded with some pinpoint strikes on military targets and individual terrorists. 
Among other things, having a rocket fall on your country about three out of every four days—in a period considered relatively quiet—is not conducive to optimism about a purported peace process. A poll late last month found 71% of Israelis “not believing” that the current Israeli-Palestinians talks, initiated and relentlessly driven by Secretary of State John Kerry, will “lead to peace.” A grand total of 7% “strongly believed” they will.

According to chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, the sides have already stopped talking to each other and are “negotiating” only with Kerry.  The sides, Kerry says himself, would not even have to agree to the framework deal he is now trying to concoct—but the pious hope is that it would get them talking to each other again.

If it all sounds desperate and pathetic, colliding once again with the Palestinian inability to come near even highly accommodating Israeli positions—it is. But whether the appropriate lessons can—now or ever—be learned is a different matter.

Earlier this week columnist Jeffrey Goldberg criticized Kerry for warning Israel about “boycotts and other kinds of things” if the peace talks fail. Goldberg accused Kerry of “terrifying Israelis”—but added: “and terrified Israelis are not the sort of people who will make dangerous compromises for peace.”

But that, in turn, raises the question: should one ever make “dangerous compromises for peace”? If peace is supposed to be in the offing, the prize you get in return, why should the compromises be dangerous in the first place?

Goldberg’s phrase is actually a mantra—that is, a substitute for thought—going back decades. 

Googling “Israel take risks for peace” yields 137 million results.

“Risks for peace” has never caught on in Israel; not even the left uses it. 

It would, after all, grate on people’s ears. Risk whom—my children? Risk is not an abstract concept in Israel.

Instead of using inane phrases like “framework deal” and “dangerous compromises,” and running up repeatedly against the same wall—essentially, the profound gap in culture and values between Israel and its neighbors, including the Palestinians—how much better it would be if Israel’s purported friends, the Kerrys and Goldbergs, could try on some new notions instead of the same old stale, discredited platitudes:

  • Get over the obsession with a Palestinian state in the West Bank, in addition to the ones already existing in Gaza and Jordan. Somehow, America can get by without this state. Indeed, would it even be beneficial? Is America currently drawing benefit from the existence of Syria, Iraq, or Lebanon, which were also created by Western powers? Why would the West Bank Palestinian state be any different? What evidence is there that Palestinian Arabs have any way to distinguish themselves meaningfully from other Muslim Arabs except through a self-definition as victims of Israel? What evidence is there that they have in any way given up this self-definition, and what they see as the concomitant duty to fight Israel? In short, there is none.
  • Instead of pressuring Israel and demanding it to endanger itself, respect it. If the large majority of Israelis are dismissive of the current talks and barely even interested in them, perhaps there are good reasons for it. If the Israeli defense minister, a former chief of staff, insists that there is no substitute—not drones, not sensors, not foreign forces—for Israeli forces in the Jordan Valley, perhaps he knows what he’s talking about.
  • Show some humility. When Israeli “peace” moves go wrong, it is not on you that the rockets fall. Don’t sit in far-off, comfortable places and demand that other people do dangerous things. Value Israel, give it credit, as the world’s sole democracy that lives under constant siege, and indeed comes through the crucible as the world’s most creative, innovative democracy per capita. Autonomy for the Arabs of the West Bank, instead of an independent state, is hardly a human rights catastrophe. Start pointing that out to other people, like Europeans, and focus on some real problems instead.

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the new book Choosing Life in Israel. He blogs at


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Dagestan: New Epicenter of Muslim Terrorism in Russia

by Lawrence A. Franklin

According to a survey with 6,000 respondents, the ranks of the jihad are being filled by ever-younger Dagestanis. Dagestan is eclipsing Chechnya as the seat of the most violent insurgency against Russia.
The extremist leaders have targeted their fellow Muslim leaders thought to be too mild.

Dagestan, the largest republic of the north Caucasus, can best be described in negative superlatives. It is probably the most violent spot in the entire Russian Federation.[1] The administrative bureaucracy of the republic's capital, Makhachkala, is among the most corrupt.[2] The ethnic and linguistic diversity of Dagestan is the most complex among Russia's Republics.[3] Its topography is arguably the most forbidding in the Russian Eurasian landmass. Religiously, it is also the most radical Muslim entity in the Russian state. Moreover, in part, because of Dagestan's difficult terrain and the fabled fighting ability of Dagestani mountain peoples, Moscow has found that suppressing jihadists in Dagestan is even more difficult than in their campaigns in Chechnya.

The February 6, 2014 raid of a terrorist hideout in the Dagestani town of Izerbash by Russian Security Police -- resulting in the deaths of suspects who were allegedly planning an attack on the Sochi Olympics -- underscores that the Republic of Dagestan has become the epicenter of extremist-Muslim terrorism in Russia.

Russia is not the only empire chastised by Dagestan's warrior culture. The Persian invading forces of Nadir Shah in 1744 experienced their most devastating among several defeats by Dagestan's mountain militants. There is a bitter Persian saying that recounts these catastrophes: "Whenever Allah wants to punish a Shah, He inculcates into his head the idea of invading Dagestan." Coastal Dagestan faces the former provinces of Persia's empire in Asia Minor; and Dagestan was once governed by Persian officialdom of the Safavid Dynasty.[4] Although almost all Dagestanis are Sunni Muslim, there are pockets of Shia Muslims who trace their spiritual origins to the Iranian version. During the last couple of decades, however, Dagestan's relatively tolerant Sufi brand of Sunni Islam Muslim has been giving ground to a more fierce Sunni Salafist orientation.[5]

William Plotnikov, left, with another Islamist militant in Dagestan. Plotnikov was previously a boxer and college student in Canada, and was killed fighting Russian security forces in 2012. When arrested and interrogated in 2010, he named Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev as an associate. (Image source: Dagestan Federal Security Service)

This Salafist ascendency has been fueled, allegedly, by Arabian Gulf states' financial support for mosque construction and the hiring of fundamentalist imams as preachers throughout the Caucasian republics. However, the scholarships for Dagestani youth to study in Saudi Arabia have been particularly effective in the Wahabbization of Islam in Dagestan.[6] Riyadh's largesse has helped accelerate the radicalization of the republic's Muslims. Moscow's draconian policies in Dagestan have also contributed to the radicalization process. Still another reason for growing Salafist influence in Dagestan is that their clergy are attentive to the people's medical, educational, social, and economic needs such as sponsoring health clinics, schools, orphanages and charitable foundations.

Dagestan also has a stellar, ancient tradition of theological erudition, producing some of the brightest Muslim scholars of Eurasian Islam.[7] This tradition helps unite the multiethnic and varied linguistic disciplines of Dagestan's citizens. The Grand Mufti of Dagestan Akhmad Abdulaev, a Sufi Sunni, has worked closely with Kamil Sultana Khmedov, the Salafist Muslim leader of the republic, in an effort to halt internecine bloodletting. The two factions have established an Association of Islamic Scholars Board to negotiate their theological and political differences.

A key objective of the Salafists is apparently to increase their role in decision-making in the republic's Islamic institutions to ensure that it is commensurate with their growing influence among Dagestan's Muslims. For certain, an increasing percentage of Dagestan's young people are being drawn away from the traditional quietist Sufi relationship with Russian political authorities. According to a survey conducted in Dagestan with 6,000 respondents, the ranks of the jihad are being filled with ever-younger Dagestanis.[8] Underscoring the growing radicalization of Dagestan's youth is the presence of hundreds of Dagestani volunteers fighting alongside Muslim extremist groups against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.[9]

Dagestan also has eclipsed Chechnya as the seat of the most violent insurgency against the Russian state. The Muslim insurgents of the Shari'ah Jamaat have divided Dagestan into four sectors.[10] Anti-state activities occur on a daily basis on Dagestani territory. Not all of the extremist activity by the radical Islamists is directed against symbols of Moscow's rule. The extremists have targeted their fellow Muslim leaders thought to be too mild in their opposition to continued occupation of the north Caucasus Republics by Russia. On July 1, 2012, for instance, Muslim terrorists assassinated Dagestan's most esteemed Sufi Sheikh, Said Afendi.

Dagestani jihadists are increasingly crossing the republic's boundaries to assist in anti-regime operations in other nearby Muslim republics. They have assassinated many Moscow-appointed judicial figures who had been condemned as apostates for having ignored the demands of the Sharia law and for having chosen man's atheistic legal system over that of Allah.[11]

The Kremlin, for its part, appears to have decided to support the current President of the Republic, Ramazan Abdulatipov, to be their pro-Moscow strongman in Dagestan. Moreover, state security authorities have been complicit in the ouster and arrest of several of Abdulatipov's competitors, usually on corruption charges.[12] There have also been a series of extra-judicial killings of those suspected of passively aiding the jihadist insurgency, including journalists deemed sympathetic to the guerrillas. Despite these authoritarian actions and killings of key jihadist personalities,[13] the Kremlin has had little effect on the Dagestani insurgent movement's ability to carry out terrorist operations. Derbent, in southern Dagestan, seems to have become an epicenter of the jihadist "holy war" against the Russian state.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) several years ago translated a video, "Dar Al-Harb Dagestan," posted on an Islamic website. The film featured stirring musical themes while depicting the slaughter of captives by jihadists. Coincidentally, the video opens with the same Koranic passages reportedly quoted by the 9/11 hijackers who may have employed this very scripture to communicate the date of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon:[14]
"…Verily Allah has purchased of the Believers their lives
and their properties, and for this price, theirs shall
be Paradise. They fight in Allah's cause so
they kill others and they themselves are killed…then
rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded
(with Allah), that is the supreme success."[15]

[1] Alexander Bortnikov, Director of the Federal Security Service and Chairman of the Russian National Anti-Terrorist Committee stated on 1 October 2013 that 120 of the 144 terrorist acts in the North
Caucasus in 2012 were on Dagestani territory.
[2] Dagestani specialist Ruslan Gereyev and Rinat Mukhametov, an expert on the North Caucasus with the Moscow-influenced Russian Muftis' Council, allege that rampant official corruption in the republic among other factors leave radicalization as the only attractive option for some youth. [3] BBC News Report. "North Caucasus: Guide to a Volatile Region" 25 January 2011. [4] When Dagestan was a Persian satrapy, it was called Kohestan (Mountain Land). In Persian epic mythology, Dagestan is a habitat of mystical literary figures. [5] Mairbek Vatchagaev, "Developments in the North Caucasusin 2011: Moscow Has Little to Cheer About"
8 January 2012. Dagestan at the turn of the century was almost 100% Sufi.
[6] Military Jama'ats in the North Caucasus: A Continuing Threat. DR. Andrew McGregor. Jamestown
Foundation. Washington D.C.
[7] Encyclopedia of Islam, p.484. [8] Ruslan Gereyev. Kavkaz Uzel (Caucasan Knot). 9 December 2013. [9] FSB Director Borotnikov contends that many Dagestani youth have taken the bi-weekly flight from Makhachkala to Istanbul and then make their way across the Turkish-Syrian border. [10] The Sharia Jamaat (Association) in Dagestan is divided into four sectors: the Central District (the capital region around Makhachkala) to include the Levashi and Izerbash ethnic groups the Mountainous Region including the Untsukul, Gimry, Balakhani, Buinaksk,Kadar, Andi, Echedi, and Kvanada peoples, the
Northern Division embracing the Khasavyurt, Kizilyurt and Babayurt clans and the Southern Sector encompassing the Derbert and Tabasaran groups.
[11] Mairbek Vatchagaev, "Moscow Strives to Break Resistance of Dagestani Militants." Assassinations of judicial personnel in Dagestan have included Supreme Court and Federal Judges as well as investigative personnel. [12] Dagestan's President succeeded in removing his most powerful rival the Mayor of Dagestan's capital city
Makhachkala, Said Amirov. It is rumored that state security services helped provide evidence which sustained charges of massive corruption during Amirov's tenure as Mayor.
[13] While state security personnel and police heralded the killing of Yusup Magomedov in December 2012, the leader of the Khasavyurt terrorist organization (Dagestan's third largest city), there was no decrease in the level of insurgent activity in the republic. [14] MEMRI, Special Dispatch Series #38. 21 December 2006. Koran Part 11, Sura 9, Verses 109-111. [15] The Noble Koran. Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din and Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan Islamic University Darussalam Publishers and Distributors Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Part 11 Sura Nine At-Taubah (Repentance) Verse 111.

Lawrence A. Franklin


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Salafi Insurgency Fermenting in Northern Sinai

by Jonathan Spyer

For Israel, the emergent insurgency raises the prospect of two de facto al Qaeda controlled areas adjoining its border – one in southern Syria and the other in the Salafi playground that is now northern Sinai.

Northern Sinai has long played host to a variety of smuggling networks and jihadi organizations. Since General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi's military coup of July 3rd, 2013 in Egypt, however, there has been an exponential increase in attacks emanating from this area.

This increasingly lawless region is now the home ground for an emergent Islamist insurgency against the Egyptian authorities. Since July, 2013, more than 300 reported attacks have taken place in Sinai. The violence is also spreading into the Egyptian mainland, with attacks in recent weeks on a security facility in Cairo, and the killing of an Interior Ministry official in the capital.

Some of the groups engaged in the fighting are linked to global jihadi networks, including al-Qaeda. Others have connections to elements in Hamas-controlled Gaza. The precise links between the various organizations engaged are difficult to trace.

This emergent reality in northern Sinai has serious implications for Israel. While the main focus of the jihadi activity is directed against Sisi's administration in Cairo, some of the groups centrally involved have a track record of attacks against Israeli targets. In al-Qaeda's official propaganda channels, the north Sinai area is described as a new front in the war against 'the Jews and the Americans.'

The most significant group operating in northern Sinai today is the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Supporters of Jerusalem) organization. This organization has been active since 2011. It originated in Gaza, and made its way to Sinai following the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The group's name will raise a wry smile for Israeli and Jewish readers. The Arabic term 'Beit al-Maqdis' (House of the Holy) for Jerusalem derives from the older Hebrew name for the Jewish Temple – Beit Hamikdash, with the same meaning.

Contemporary Islamists and jihadis, of course, would fiercely deny that any Jewish Temple ever stood in Jerusalem.

But this absence of logical consistency appears to have little impact on the organization's energy for violent activity.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis was responsible for repeated attacks on the El-Arish-Ashkelon gas pipeline in 2011-12, which eventually led to the suspension of supplies via this route.

The group also carried out the cross-border terror attack on August 18, 2011, in which eight Israelis were murdered, and an additional strike into Israel on September 21, 2012, which took the life of an IDF soldier.

More recently, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the rocket attack on Eilat on January 20, 2014. The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome system.

The organization's main focus in recent weeks has been on increasingly high-profile attacks against Egyptian targets. These have included an attempt on the life of Egyptian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim on September 5, 2013, and a series of bomb attacks in Cairo in January,2014. On January 25, 2014, the group claimed responsibility for downing a military helicopter over northern Sinai.

The weapon used in this attack, a Russian Igla air-defense system, was reportedly smuggled out from Gaza, where the group maintains links with Salafi Jihadi elements.

So what exactly is Ansar Beit al-Maqdis?

According to a former militant of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization, Nabil al-Naeim, the group is funded by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, following a deal brokered with powerful Brotherhood strongman Khairet al-Shater.

Naeim suggested that Ansar Beit al Maqdis is supplied with weapons by the Brotherhood via the Gaza tunnels and Libya. He maintains that the Hamas authorities in Gaza are aware of the deal.

The alleged Brotherhood links were also asserted by Sameh Eid, described in an al-Arabiyya article as an 'expert on Islamist groups.' Eid referred to the group as the 'military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood,' and said that Shater had threatened the Egyptian authorities with 'escalation in Sinai and the targeting of the Egyptian Army.'

Little hard evidence, however, has yet emerged to support the claims of a direct Muslim Brotherhood link to Ansar Beit al-Maqdis.

The Egyptian authorities have an obvious interest in linking the violence erupting out of northern Sinai with the Muslim Brothers. Having brought down the Muslim Brotherhood government, General Sisi's subsequent strategy has been to deny the Brotherhood any way back into political activity, preferring to force it along a path of confrontation on which it is likely to be defeated by the army.

It is certainly possible, of course, that the Brotherhood has now as a result elected to begin to link itself to armed groups and to prepare for insurgency. But hard facts have not yet emerged to support this contention.

Clear links between Ansar Beit al-Maqdis and the al-Qaeda network, however, do exist. In recent testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Tom Joscelyn of the Federation for the Defense of Democracies noted that the group uses al-Qaeda's official channels for its propaganda – such as al Fajr Media Center.

Also, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has on many occasions praised its operations. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis also often features al Qaeda leaders and 'martyrs', including Osama Bin Laden, in its videos.

This shows that at the very least, a clear ideological identification is there, along with probable organizational links at one or another level.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis is only the most active and prominent of a whole number of jihadi networks operating against the Egyptian authorities from Sinai. Joscelyn in his testimony notes evidence that elements of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are active in Sinai. He also mentions a third grouping directly linked to al Qaeda, the Muhammad Jamal network, as also active on the peninsula.
What does all this add up to?

An Islamist insurgency is now under way in northern Sinai. It involves groups with roots in the Gaza Strip. If some accounts are to be believed, both the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Hamas authorities in Gaza are involved in it on one or another level. Almost certainly, the regional networks of al Qaeda form a significant part of it. The Islamists have already begun to strike west into Egypt proper.

What this means is that any hopes that Sisi's coup would lead to a rapid return to quiet and order in Egypt should rapidly be abandoned. Rather, the new regime is facing a similar test to that endured by Mubarak in the 1990s and Nasser in the 1950's. Islamism in Egypt is not going to quietly accept the verdict of July 3rd, 2013.

For Israel, the emergent insurgency raises the prospect of two de facto al Qaeda controlled areas adjoining its border – one in southern Syria and the other in the Salafi playground that is now northern Sinai.

Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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Leading British Conservative: Immigration Makes Us 'Give Up Our Culture and Identity'

by John T. Bennett

Past waves of immigrants came in the thousands, while the foreign-born population in England and Wales today numbers in the millions.

America is not the only nation roiled by immigration debates.  England, like many Western nations, is also in the midst of a heated one.

Douglas Murray, one of England's leading conservative intellectuals, has just made a major contribution to the discussion in his country.

In a thought-provoking speech, Murray argued that the people of England are "giving up our culture" and "giving up our identity" due to high levels of immigration.  He warned that soon, we may unfortunately say that "the peoples of Britain and Europe have lost their place in the world."

The forum for Murray's speech was a debate in Oxford University in January.  "It's going to require quite a lot of fairly clear, tough, frank thinking" for Britain to confront questions about immigration, Murray began.  He pointed out that he is "not against immigration," but that the speed and rate of immigration have been far too high for far too long.

Past waves of immigrants came in the thousands, while the foreign-born population in England and Wales today numbers in the millions. Murray's point is illustrated by the chart below, showing that the foreign-born share of the U.K. population has doubled over the past few decades.

Source: The Migration Observatory, Oxford University. 17 Dec. 2013.

The point Murray makes is overlooked by pro-amnesty conservatives here in the states.  As the graph below shows, in the American context, the foreign-born percentage of our population is approaching an unprecedented level.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, "America's Foreign Born in the Last 50 Years," available online.

Taking aim at what has become a dogma among Western elites, Murray went on to reject the notion that England is "a nation of immigrants."

There is a motif that this country has always been a nation of immigrants. That is not true. It is not true. For most of this country's history, there was a very homogenous group of people on these islands. The idea that what is happening now is what has always happened is simply a fib.

While some of the U.K.'s immigration myths are similar to our own, unlike in the U.S., the major British parties have both spoken out against mass immigration. 

"There is complete political unanimity" that levels of immigration are too high, observed Murray.  To prove his point, Murray quoted the two highest-ranking members of the U.K.'s opposing political parties, along with another major liberal figure.

Ed Milliband, leader of the Labour Party and potential prime minister, says, "I do want to get low skill immigration down and therefore overall immigration down."

Current Prime Minister David Cameron last year said, "[U]nder the previous government immigration was far too high and badly out of control."  "Net migration needs to come down radically...from hundreds of thousands a year to just tens of thousands," according to Britain's PM.

Murray also quoted former Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw, who called the rate of immigration during his tenure a "spectacular mistake."

"One spectacular mistake in which I participated (not alone) was in lifting the transitional restrictions on the Eastern European states like Poland and Hungary which joined the EU in mid-2004," Straw admits.

Politicians rightly take these positions, Murray argued, because the British public holds similar beliefs.  A full 77% in a 2013 British Social Attitudes survey want immigration limited.  Fifty-six percent want immigration reduced by "a lot."

Murray concluded with thought-provoking comments on what immigration has done to England's national identity and the very premise of "our values."

"When you have migration at the rate this country has had it in recent years, you have to expand and water down your definition of what you are because you have people coming in so fast that what would have been your definitions of yourself stop holding," he said. 

If you asked them 50 years ago, most British people could have given a strong definition of Britain's national identity, Murray said.  The Church of England, Parliament, trial by jury and the high courts, and the monarchy would have been at the top of the list.

Murray offered the following challenge:

Why is it now that we have this big endless debate, "Who are we, what are we"? It's because we want to welcome people but it's happened so fast we have to end up doing things like saying Britishness is about "fair play" or "being nice to people."

He warned that high levels of immigration undermine a sense of shared national identity, saying, "We water [national identity] down because it's what we think we have to do... it has become very difficult to say what Britishness is or can be or should be for people when immigration happens at this kind of rate."

Many Britons, "including first and second generation immigrants now say there is a problem with the speed of immigration because it changes the country."

It makes little sense to talk about "our values," Murray said, in a nation where people are not assimilating.  In fact, Murray suggests that economic arguments in favor of immigration have become so common precisely because the broader impact of immigration has been unfavorable:

It is all very well to say that we are open to people who share our values. But if our values are watered down and the people who come here come at the rate they have, it is not surprising that we will end up arguing for immigration as an economic thing because we will be giving up our culture, we will be giving up our identity, and we will be saying what some people now do say, which is that the peoples of Britain and Europe have lost their place in the world.

"I think it is right for people to have a place they call home, an identity that they are proud of. I think it for all people around the world, and I think it for the people of this country," Murray concluded, to rousing applause.

John Bennett (MA, University of Chicago, Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences '07) is a writer whose work has appeared in The Daily Caller,, World Net Daily, Human Events, Accuracy in Media, and FrontPage Magazine, among others.  


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Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley Sounds the Alarm (better late than never)

by Jeannie DeAngelis

"What we're seeing now is the usurpation of authority that's unprecedented in this country."

Jonathan Turley, faithful Obama supporter and liberal professor of constitutional law at George Washington University* Law School, is sounding the alarm that "a system in which a single individual is allowed to rewrite legislation or ignore legislation is a system that borders on authoritarianism."

Question for Mr. Turley: what kind of constitutional law professor votes for an inexperienced community organizer who believes that the U.S. Constitution is "fundamentally flawed" in the first place?

Legal scholar Turley now feels that it is incumbent upon him to appear on The Kelly File with Megyn Kelly to point out a minor detail that the "fundamental transformer" would probably be flattered to hear, which is that "the framers would be horrified because everything they did was to create balance between the branches of government, and we've lost that."

Turley's forewarning: "What we're seeing now is the usurpation of authority that's unprecedented in this country." 

Isn't it a little late for the brilliant Turley to be so concerned?  After all, he can also thank himself for being caught up in the "cult of personality" he accuses the left of being caught up in now, which he blames for causing the "the shift of gravity within that system in a very dangerous way that makes it unstable."

What did the good professor think would happen when he voted for a left-leaning, America-hating character who promised to bring "Hope and Change" to a hopeful nation that really didn't need Barack Obama to change a thing?

Now, six years into this mess, Turley is slowly waking from his fevered Obama dream and hitting the cable talk-show circuit, saying things like:

Well, I'm afraid it's quite serious because the framers created a system that was designed to avoid one principle thing, the concentration of power in any one branch. Because that balancing between these branches in this fixed orbit is what not only gives stability to our system but it protects us against authoritarian power, it protects civil liberties from abuse.

If Americans are dizzy from being spun around in a vortex of progressive policies that wreak havoc on every aspect of American life, Turley understands the phenomenon: "what we've been seeing is the shift of gravity within [the] system."  After all, as Mr. Turley pointed out, Obama, who transfers funds on a whim, clearly indicated in the State of the Union that he has "adopted ... unilateralism ... as policy."

Professor, the tip-off that trouble was on the way should have been when a power-hungry neophyte who sold himself as someone who could slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet convinced besotted low-information voters, one of whom was you, that our country needed fixing. 

Attempting to sidestep culpability for helping to place the nation in a dangerous position by voting for a megalomaniac, the legal scholar warned that, in his view, Obama is "essentially put[ting] our system off line."  Turley also noted, "This is not the first time that convenience has become the enemy of principle. But we've never seen it to this extent." 

As Professor Turley looks back and questions his lack of discernment in choosing Obama to defend the Constitution, he predicts that America too will one day "look back at this period [and] see nothing but confusion as to why people remained so silent when the president asserted ... unilateral actions."

Sans those Sigmund Freud spectacles he used to wear, Turley injected a smidgen of psychobabble into the discussion with Megyn when he called Americans on both the right and the left "a nation of enablers." 

In one respect, he's right.

Barack Obama might as well be lighting up his Marlboros with rolled up copies of the U.S. Constitution.  Meanwhile, where are Republican guardians of constitutional fidelity Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI)?  Why, they're schmoozing and sampling cotton candy dusted with orange zest and homemade confections served in dishes made of pure sugar at a state dinner in honor of France's President François Hollande.

Sorry to say, but Cantor and Ryan sitting in a heated tent on the South Lawn listening to Mary J. Blige sing "Ain't Nobody" screams what Turley called "turning a blind eye to a fundamental change in our system."

Based on the palpable terror in Jonathan's voice and eyes, the legal scholar must be convinced that eventually "many people will come to loathe that they remained silent during this period."

Turley is right; the "president is allowed to take a law and just simply say, 'I'm going to ignore this,' or, 'I'm going to shift funds that weren't appropriated by Congress into this area.'"  Meanwhile, there is an eerie ambivalence by many who choose to ignore our system becoming a "pretense of democracy."

Winding down, Turley touched upon the wishy-washy Congress being hesitant to "rein in" what Kelly called a president who is seemingly "drunk on his own power."

Then Turley shifted blame to the federal courts for "engaging in a policy of avoidance," but not before the Georgetown law professor, who said he came to Congress as a young page, pointed out the "degree of passivity in Congress."  Turley told Kelly that he remembered when Democrats were "people that fiercely believed in the institution. It didn't matter what party held the White House." 

Yeah, but that was then and this is now, and never the twain shall meet.

So after all the Kelly File banter, Megyn summed up by highly recommending Turley's blog, which describes what's happening in Latin with the words "Res ipsa loquitur."  That's why nothing more needs to be said about what's happening in America by Turley or anyone else, because in common translation, "the thing speaks for itself."

*corrected. Turley was identified erroneously as teaching at Georgetown University.

Jeannie hosts a blog at


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Congressman Trent Franks says 'Israel is not an Occupier'

by Ari Soffer

Congressman Trent Franks condemns US administration's 'adversarial' stance towards Israel, says White House has become Iran's 'lobbyist'.

The United States has become 'almost adversarial' towards Israel under the Obama administration, according to Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ).

Speaking to Arutz Sheva at a Washington D.C. security conference, Franks contradicted a recent claim by Israel's ambassador to the US that US Secretary of State John Kerry wasn't threatening Israel when he warned of boycotts in the event that current negotiations with the Palestinian Authority fall through. The conference, entitled "American Security and the Iranian Bomb: Analyzing Threats at Home and Abroad," saw several prominent members of Congress and former CIA Director James Woolsey discuss the threat posed to the US by the Islamic Republic.

Congressman Franks said that Kerry's boycott remarks sounded like "a veiled threat", and expressed his "outrage" over what he saw as the White House's backwards foreign policy in the Middle East.

Last year's P5+1 agreement with Iran over the latter's illegal nuclear program was "fatally flawed," he said, noting that it contradicted previous UN Security Council resolutions calling for the total dismantlement of Iran's nuclear program, and signaled the US had even given up on containing - let alone thwarting - Tehran's nuclear designs by allowing uranium enrichment to continue.

On the other hand, the US's longest-standing ally in the region was having to face an "adversarial" Obama administration.

"It's outrageous that this administration has become the chief lobbyist for Iran and has now extended them the ability to have a protected protocol going forward to be able to enrich uranium," he told Arutz Sheva.

"And yet our best friend on the planet, our most dedicated and committed ally in the world, Israel, they're having to be the object of these veiled threats... it's an outrageous thing."

Nevertheless, he said he remained relatively positive that Israel "is still the toughest kid on the block," and stressed that "they still have a big friend here that's got the stars and stripes on our shoulders and we're never going to turn our back on them."

Turning to the Israel-PA negotiations themselves, Franks maintained that a fundamental shift in paradigm was needed in US foreign policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict, and said that in his opinion Israel should not be forced to give up any more territory.

"If US focuses on truth and justice we'll realize that Israel has been there for 3,000 years - the same language, the same people, the same culture for 3,000 years - and it's always astonishing to me that we somehow now think that they're the occupiers."

Ari Soffer


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Daniel Pipes: The Rushdie Fatwa 25 Years Later

by Daniel Pipes

Twenty-five years ago today, Ayatollah Khomeini brought his edict down on Salman Rushdie. Iran's revolutionary leader objected to the author's magical-realist novel The Satanic Verses because of its insults to the Muslim prophet Muhammad and responded by calling for the execution of Rushdie and "all those involved in the publication who were aware of its contents."

Salman Rushdie in 1989.
That Rushdie was born in India, lived in Britain, and had no significant connections to Iran made this an unprecedented act of aggression, one that resounded widely at the time and has subsequently had an enduring impact. Indeed, one could argue that the era of "creeping Shari'a" or "stealth jihad" or "lawful Islamism" began on February 14, 1989, with the issuance of that short edict.

If Rushdie, 66, is alive and well (if not exactly flourishing; his writings deteriorated after The Satanic Verses), many others lost their lives in the disturbances revolving around his book. Worse, the long-term impact of the edict has been to constrain the ability of Westerners freely to discuss Islam and topics related to it, what has come to be known as the Rushdie Rules. Long observation of this topic (including a book written in 1989), leads me to conclude that two processes are underway:
First, that the right of Westerners to discuss, criticize, and even ridicule Islam and Muslims has eroded over the years.
Second, that free speech is a minor part of the problem; at stake is something much deeper – indeed, a defining question of our time: will Westerners maintain their own historic civilization in the face of assault by Islamists, or will they cede to Islamic culture and law and submit to a form of second-class citizenship?
Most analyses of the Rushdie Rules focus exclusively on the growth of Islamism. But two other factors are even more important: Multiculturalism as practiced undercuts the will to sustain Western civilization against Islamist depredations while the Left's making common political cause with Islamists gives the latter an entrée. In other words, the core of the problem lies not in Islam but in the West. (February 14, 2014)

Daniel Pipes


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Saudi “Palestinian” Negotiator Claims His Family Was in Palestine for 9000 Years

by Daniel Greenfield

The whole “Palestinian” scam is one of the more hilarious frauds in history.

erekat liar

Considering that no such name or term as Palestine existed 9,000 years ago, or for that matter much more recently, and that there has never been a Palestinian ruler or kingdom, that’s quite an accomplishment… for a compulsive liar.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator over the weekend again ruled out the notion of Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Speaking at a Munich conference, on a panel with his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni, Erekat said the demand was unacceptable: “When you say ‘accept Israel as a Jewish state’ you are asking me to change my narrative,” he claimed, asserting that his ancestors lived in the region “5,500 years before Joshua Bin-Nun came and burned my hometown Jericho.”
That darn Joshua.

In what conceivable sense was Jericho, Erekat’s hometown?
Erekat was born in Abu Dis, near Jerusalem. I found an interview with another Erekat who was born in Abu Dis, named Hussein Mohamed Erekat. He says that his family actually comes from the Huwaitat region of the northwestern Arabian Peninsula.
Indeed, this article about the dialects and clans of Saudi Arabia confirms the existence of the Erekat (sometimes spelled Areikat or Ariqat) families in Huwaitat, and they are one of seven clans that ended up in Palestine.
Is Saeb a member of this clan? Yes, he is.
This Facebook page of the Erekat family traces the Erekat family history, and this article confirms that the family came from the Huwaitat region, and it also that mentions prominent Erekats – including Saeb.
That article also says that before Huwaitat, their ancestors emigrated from Medina.
All of the Erekats are related. Most of their most prominent members have held positions in Jordan’s government or armed forces, but three PLO diplomats are from the family, including Saeb, the US representative of the PLO Maen Rashid Areikat, and the PLO’s delegate to the Ukraine Khaled Erekat
As the Hamas Interior Minister said, “Personally, half my family is Egyptian. We are all like that. More than 30 families in the Gaza Strip are called Al-Masri ["Egyptian"]. Brothers, half of the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis.”

The whole “Palestinian” scam is one of the more hilarious frauds in history. And topping that off, you have “Palestinian” reps claiming that Jesus was a Palestinian and that the Caananites were Palestinians. (You can claim one or the other, but not both) When they’re actually just Arabian tribes who invaded the land.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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