Friday, March 20, 2015

Obama’s revenge against Israel - Jay Sekulow

by Jay Sekulow

President Obama is angry with Israeli voters for re-electing Benjamin Netanyahu, and he’s willing to risk the lives and security of Israeli citizens to show it.

Mideast Israel Netanyahu-3.jpg
FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. Despite Netanyahu's speech to Congress, his efforts to halt the Iranian nuclear program which he describes as the mission of his lifetime appear to be stumbling as the U.S. seems to move toward a deal with the Islamic Republic. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File) (The Associated Press)

President Obama is angry with Israeli voters for re-electing Benjamin Netanyahu, and he’s willing to risk the lives and security of Israeli citizens to show it.

The State Department is reportedly considering reversing the decades-long policy of protecting Israel’s security at the United Nations and is threatening to allow the Security Council to compel Israel to enter forced negotiations with Hamas-controlled Palestine.

This action would be reckless—and shameful. At a time when anti-Semitic attacks are rocking Europe, and the need for a secure, Jewish state has rarely been more apparent, the Obama administration would force Israel to negotiate with entities that have sworn to wipe it off the map.

The unity government between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is a sham. Hamas is controlling Gaza and would likely control all Palestinian territories if the Palestinian Authority would permit a vote. Even if Israel were forced to deal with the Palestinian Authority, this deal would have no impact on Hamas—and it may even enhance Hamas’s power.

In my book, "The Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore," we discuss in detail what Hamas believes and examine their long-standing promise to destroy Israel.

The Hamas Charter is clear.

The Preamble for the Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood states, “Our battle with the Jews is long and dangerous, requiring all dedicated efforts.”

The Charter continues with Hamas’s stated motto in Articles 5 and 8: “Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model to be followed, the Koran its constitution, Jihad its way, and death for the sake of Allah its loftiest desire.”

The Charter calls the presence of Israel a “Zionist invasion,” stating, “Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it.”

It therefore pledges to wage “jihad in the face of the oppressors, in order to deliver the land and the believers from their filth, impurity, and evil” in order to “[return the homeland to its rightful owner] and “to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine” no matter how long it takes.

If the United States does not block this at the United Nations, the international community will support the aggressors in this conflict.

Hamas does not want “peace” with Israel, and it will not negotiate a permanent peace agreement with Israel. Its Charter states that “so-called peace solutions” and “conferences are nothing but a way to give the infidels power of arbitration over Muslim land.”

How does Hamas hope to eliminate Israel and Jewish people from the face of the earth? The answer is again resoundingly clear in the Preamble. Hamas commits to “join arms with all those who wage jihad for the liberation of Palestine. [O]ur fight with the Jews is very extensive and very grave, and it requires all the sincere efforts […] until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory is revealed.”

This compelled negotiation could mean a divided Jerusalem, potentially the holy sites we visit under the control of Hamas. This would force Israel to negotiate with people whose clear goal is their eradication and destruction.

It is going to take dramatic bipartisan political pressure from Congress to force the Obama administration to reverse course and do the right thing. This president will not do it on his own.

We can stand up for Israel and defeat the anti-Israel movement at the U.N. and the International Criminal Court (ICC).   

I know this first hand. I appeared before the ICC at The Hague on Operation Cast Lead in defense of Israel’s legal position.  There, the Palestinian Authority attempted to get jurisdiction against Israel. Fortunately, our defense of Israel was successful.

I have defended Israel. The question is whether the Obama administration will defend Israel.

Israeli lives hang in the balance.

Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law. He is author of the New York Times bestseller, "Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can't Ignore." He hosts "Jay Sekulow Live" -- a daily radio show which is broadcast on more than 850 stations nationwide as well as Sirius/XM satellite radio. Follow him on Twitter @JaySekulow.


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

Security Challenges of the New Israeli Government - Prof. Efraim Inbar

by Prof. Efraim Inbar

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 291
The new Likud-led government will be faced with a range of sharp security challenges. It must thwart the nuclear program of Iran and prevent Tehran from gaining dominant control of the region. Israel’s leaders must prepare the IDF for the worst case-scenarios of the threatening strategic landscape.

A new Likud-led government will take office in Jerusalem in the upcoming weeks. The government will have to face many security challenges emerging from the turbulent strategic environment.

The most important issue is Iran. The US is racing toward an agreement that will legitimize the nuclear threshold status of Iran. Many key Mideast powers have signaled their displeasure with the nascent accord, as well as their desire to develop uranium enrichment capabilities on par with Iran. The American attempt to offer a nuclear umbrella to forestall regional nuclear proliferation – which is a strategic nightmare – is doomed to failure. No Arab leader trusts President Obama. Therefore, only a military strike to destroy the Iranian capability to produce fissionable material needed for nuclear bombs can stop nuclear proliferation in the region.

The only country with ‘enough guts’ to do this is Israel. This decision must be taken by the next Israeli government. The timetable for such a strike is not to be determined by additional Iranian progress on the nuclear path, but by the perceptions of regional leaders of Iranian ambitions and power. The expansion of Iranian influence to Iraq and Yemen, in addition to its grip over Syria and Lebanon, has heightened threat perceptions. American willingness to accept a greater Iranian regional role undermines American credibility and underscores the need for Israeli action in the near future.

An Israeli strike is needed to prevent nuclear proliferation and to prevent imperial and Islamist Iran from acquiring hegemony in the Middle East. History indicates that such Israeli actions are not welcomed by American administrations, but are highly appreciated later on. In this case, it is Israel that will have to save the Americans from themselves.

Israel’s main challenge is to maintain its freedom of action, while on a collision course with current American policy. This is not an easy endeavor, but Israel has large reservoirs of goodwill in the US which should allow Israel to act on its cardinal security interests against the will of an unpopular American president.

Despite the fact that some of the Arab armies that posed a threat to Israel have largely disintegrated and the power differential between Israel and its Arab neighbors grows constantly, the Jewish state still faces great hostility from Islamist sub-state armed groups. Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad cannot conquer Israel, but have acquired impressive capabilities to cause massive damage to Israel. Large armored formations are still needed to tackle those challenges. In addition, Israel’s active defense missile capabilities must be augmented.

Unfortunately, the IDF is underfunded, which has led to cuts in ground forces and in training for the regular army and its reserves. Whoever will be the new defense minister has the task of securing a much larger, multi-year military budget on which the IDF can definitively plan a sustained force build-up. Israel’s strong economy can definitely sustain larger defense layouts.

Another area that needs attention is the navy. Over 90 percent of Israel’s exports travel via the East Mediterranean. Moreover, this area is rich in energy resources that are vital for Israel’s future prosperity. Yet, the East Mediterranean is increasingly becoming an Islamic lake.

Turkey under Erdogan grows more hostile every month. Syria is an Iranian ally, and its civil war has brought about the rise of Islamist militias of all kinds. Lebanon is largely ruled by Hezbollah – a Shiite radical organization aligned with Iran. Hezbollah occasionally perpetrates attacks against Israel and has threatened to hit Israel’s gas rigs at sea. Hamas, a radical Sunni terrorist group linked to Iran, has taken over Gaza. It has launched thousands of rockets into Israel and staged attacks on Israeli gas installations in the Mediterranean. In Sinai, a plethora of Islamist armed groups are challenging the sovereignty of Egypt and even attacked targets along the Suez Canal. Libya is no longer a real state and the Islamist militias are fighting to carve out areas of influence. In short, we may soon see real piracy and terrorist attacks in the East Mediterranean.

Israel’s responses must include a larger and stronger navy. This is an expensive project that has already started. Hopefully, all budgetary problems will be overcome. Fortunately, some of the vessels needed for this are procured in Germany (not the US), while others can be built in Israel if enough money is allocated.

The strategic landscape of the Middle East is begetting new leaders and new ruling elites. Israel’s intelligence apparatus faces a difficult job in identifying the important players and their modus operandi. Many of the devils Israel knew are no longer in power. This means greater uncertainty and higher chances of surprises. Since Israel cannot prevent all surprises (that is their nature), it must prepare for worst-case scenarios rather than be tempted by best-case, rosy dreams.
BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family.
(Photo Credit: Flickr/Prime Minister’s Office – Avi Gershom)

Prof. Efraim Inbar, a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, is director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and a Shillman/Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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

Yes,We Can - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

The Israelis have shown once again that they are unimpressed by foreign intervention in their elections and that the State of Israel is not an easily manipulated banana republic.

As I first penned these words, at six a.m. the morning after the Israeli elections, and after 99%of the votes were counted - Israelis were informed that the Likud won 5-6 more Knesset seats than the Zionist Union. If this turns out to be the final result, when the soldiers votes are added the next day, it means that the Likud has scored an impressive victory, especially in the light of the enormous sums and extraordinary efforts invested in trying to unseat it, both by Israeli and overseas groups.

The Israelis have shown once again that they are unimpressed by foreign intervention in their elections and that the State of Israel is not an easily manipulated banana republic.

This result is a great disappointment to anti-Zionists the world over and particularly to those in the Arab world, because Netanyahu succeeded in winning the election while at loggerheads with none other than the president of the United States. As far as Israelis are concerned,  the era of American pressure affecting Israel is over, as US efforts only caused many of Israel's citizens to rally in  support of Netanyahu.
And if Netanyahu bested Obama in this round of hostilities between the two, and especially in the light of the US president's abysmal defeat in the mid-term congressional elections, Netanyahu will certainly enter any future dealings with the Palestinians and the Arabs from a position of strength.

Israelis chose security, and put the existential Iranian threat above all other considerations. This may lead to an opportunity for better relations with the Arab world, particularly Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. The Likud victory, if it leads to a strong and stable coalition that grants Netanyahu space to maneuver on political and security issues, may bring those Arab nations who fear Iran to join forces with Israel. Now that Netanyahu is sure of his strength upon starting his term of office, he will be listened to more attentively in the corridors where the Iranian  nuclear agreement negotiations are taking place.
The ball is now in the potential coalition partners' court. The Jewish Home, Yisrael Beytenu, Kulanu and Shas parties give Netanyahu 61 MKs and if the haredi UTJ joins, he will have 68 MK's and a real possibility of completing his four-year term of office in relative political tranquillity. If his natural partners set too high a price for joining his coalition, he can always turn to the Zionist Union and form a coalition, making sure it is clear who the boss is and what the agenda entails. I am sure that Herzog will swallow his ideological demands in order to join the coalition. It is also quite possible that Netanyahu may set a deadline in the near future for coalition negotiations to end so as to use the mandate voters granted him to the best advantage.

The United Arab List
The raising of the percentage of the total vote needed for a party to enter the Knesset convinced the three Arab Knesset parties that they must unite in order to pass the threshold. This unity was a fervent hope of many Israeli Arabs, because the squabbling and fighting among the three parties caused many of their constituents to feel alienated and to refrain from voting at all.  In 2013, only 56% of Israeli Arabs voted as opposed to 68% of the rest of the population. With one list running instead of three, the Arab public was pleased, and the percentage of voters rose significantly.

The United Arab list gained 13-14 Knesset seats, 2-3 seats more than they had in the previous Knesset, and mainly a result of their uniting. If the Zionist Union joins the coalition, the Arab party will be the largest opposition party, a development that will grant the party head several privileges, such as consultations with the prime minister on weighty issues such as war, and meetings with foreign leaders who visit Israel. If that happens, the Arab party will also gain in importance because its members will serve as heads of Knesset committees and will be able to make the government's life much harder.

However, the significance of the United Arab party goes farther than that, because it may be a turning point in the relationship of Israeli Arabs and the state. It symbolizes a collective Arab slide into taking a positive and active part in running the country and in deciding on its agenda. If the elections do symbolize this process, it is likely occurring as a result of the disastrous situation in the Arab world and the bloodbaths taking place in it that worry Israeli Arabs.

The crises in the Arab world have brought a good part of the Arab minority in Israel to the realization that Israel - although not exactly the culmination of their hopes - is the only normal state in the Middle East, a country that respects its citizens, both Jews and Arabs, and that even if there are justified complaints about the state, it is still their preferred alternative. As a group, they do not want to become part of a Palestinian State, because they know well that life in the democratic Israel is better than life in any Arab state.

This brings us to another issue, no less important than the first: the United Arab party saw itself opposed to the left as well as the right. The feeling on the Arab street is that its MK's are in no one's pocket as of now, not even the left's. Comments to that effect began being heard when the Labor and Hatnua parties decided to call themselves the "Zionist Union". The very word "Zionist" is the antithesis of the goals of all three parties in the United Arab List, and no matter how attractive that name was to the Jewish public, it did not encourage Arabs to cooperate with Herzog and Livni.  
The Arabs will judge the leftist bloc by its actions, not its words. It is true that if Herzog and Livni join the opposition, they will not have many jobs to give out to Arabs. Nevertheless, the opposition gives the MK's in it, Jews and Arabs, the possibility of cooperating and working together, against the government, for example. If the Zionist Union cooperates fully with the Arab list from the opposition's benches, that can be the basis for future cooperation if and when the left becomes part of the coalition.

Israel's political map is clear: the Jewish public ic clearly rightist and gave the right 43 seats in the Knesset, mainly due to security considerations. The Arab sector is unifying with 13 seats. Between the two is the leftist bloc which is shrinking day by day, slowly but surely. With 29 Knesset seats, the growing centrist bloc keeps breaking up into lightweight small parties. The haredi bloc is 14 seats. This political map can be clear and and stable if the coalition members look at what is good for the public, not just what is good for their party.

The Jewish people has proven to itself and its neighbors that it has no illusions about a New Middle East, and Netanyahu even announced a retreat from his Bar Ilan speech of 2009 (when he declared his support for a Palestinian State). Today's Middle East provides Israelis mainly with threats and fears, not with opportunities and definitely not with hopes of peace.

It is vital to translate the election results to facts on the ground.

First and foremost - to advance and carry out the Eight Emirates Plan. One emirate has existed in Gaza since 2007, and seven others must be established in the Arab cities of Judea and Samaria. This is the time to place this plan on the government's table, because Yes We Can!

Dr. Mordechai Kedar


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Norway: The Land of Pre-Chosen "Truth" - Bjorn Jansen

by Bjorn Jansen

When Muslims themselves now understand there is an issue, politicians and key decision makers throughout the West might do well to understand this, too -- and seriously support them.
Another level that will have to be addressed is how Islam is presented in Europe's education system. The Norwegian translation of the Koran has been abridged to take out the less charming parts. Islam is presented as if it were already reformed. It is as if Einar Berg, the translator of the Koran, were shocked by what he translated, and trying to package it in a more charming light.
The crucial question is: Will Islam now be reformed to meet the version found in the textbooks? Or will the textbooks be altered to describe accurately Islam's stated ideology?
This self-censorship -- whether voluntary or the result of some implicit threat -- is the death of enlightenment, humanism and the foundation of all science: the spirit of free inquiry.
Possibly more important is the pervasive, divisive focus on non-believers -- the insistence on disparaging them and killing them -- and how this might well condition the minds of many Muslims, especially children.
Islam gives every child this conditioning. Imagine if those tenets were the desired result of every Confirmation, or every Bar Mitzvah or every First Holy Communion.
Norway also has plans to deport at least 7,800 illegal asylum-seekers this year.

The last few weeks have seen serious signs of interest in the Muslim world for the reform of Islam. They started with the heroic and honorable initiative at the end of 2014 by Egypt's President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, criticizing the ideology of Islam. He comments on how it is hostile to the whole world, and calls for a "revolution" in Islam. This was followed up by an appeal by Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb of Egypt's al-Azhar University, with calls for radical reform of religious teaching, although unheroically, dishonorably and not at all believably, still trying to pin the blame on others.

An Egyptian plan to combat radical Islamism is also on the agenda for the Arab summit in Sharm El Sheikh, on March 26th.

When Muslims themselves now understand there is an issue, politicians and key decision makers in Norway -- and all over Europe and the West, for that matter -- need to understand this, too, and back them up.

It is as if el-Sisi, al-Tayyeb and others have seen that Islam, as it now presents itself, might be regarded by many as a fear-based, power-seeking, expansionist political ideology, dressed up as a religion. It also could be viewed as having built-in control mechanisms, ensuring loyalty through threats, death threats or off-putting acts of violence for "apostasy;" "insulting the prophet;" not being "obedient enough;" not belonging to the "right" version of Islam; questioning or criticizing it in general; for just about any infraction, or for simply trying to exit. A leading Sunni Islamic theologian, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, has admitted that "if [Muslims] had gotten rid of the death sentence for apostasy, Islam would not exist today."

Here in Norway, critics of Islam's ideology are now starting to be heard, among them the journalist and editor Vedbjørn Selbekk, Hege Storhaug, pastor Einar Gelius and the fearless politician Per Sandberg.

Pastor Einar Gelius says that Islam needs to be questioned and criticized in its values and ideology, the same way as Christianity. Selbekk, a journalist and editor, created a furor back in 2006, when he dared to reprint some of the Mohammed cartoons published in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. For this, he was predictably ostracized by then Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. The current prime minister, Erna Solberg, however, recently expressed regret at the authorities' lack of support for him at the time.

Another issue that will have to be addressed is how Islam is presented in Europe's education system. The Norwegian translation of the Koran has been abridged to take out the less charming parts. So in mainstream Norwegian education, Islam is presented as if it were already reformed, and now is something no more threatening to anyone than, say, Quakers.

The crucial question here is: Will Islam now be reformed to meet the version found in the textbooks? Or will the textbooks be altered to describe accurately Islam's stated ideology? In schools, one does not usually teach expansionist political ideologies under the category of "religion." At the moment, the version on the market is just not telling Norway's indigenous population what is actually there.

Norway also has plans to deport at least 7,800 illegal asylum seekers this year, and has increased the budget for this by 150 million kroner (over $19 million). There were 7,529 deportations in 2014, with October setting a record at 834. In January 2015, 494 people were deported; of these 180 had a criminal record.

Representatives for Norway's police-run Deportation Department said last November that deportations have a positive effect on criminal statistics, as many asylum seekers are also criminal offenders.

Meanwhile, the press is still employing dirty tricks to discredit those who have knowledge of -- and reveal the more dismaying sides of -- Islam. There has been noticeably little media coverage of the interest in reform being expressed in the Middle East today. The focus here is still hell-bent on trying to mislead the population about the contents of Islam.

On a more positive note, for the first time in connection with International Women's Day (a big event in Norway), political attention was drawn to the problems of non-Western women, such as forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

An important Norwegian voice in discussing issues related to culture, religion, women's issues, homosexuality and integration is Muslim Somalian-born Amal Aden, who has been living with death threats from Muslims for years. After been told by police only days earlier, for her own safety, to stop being so "loud" in debates, she has now had her police protection increased.

Amal Aden, at left with a police escort, has been living with death threats from Muslims for years, including threats from Arslan Maroof Hussain (right).

There is also a woeful tendency in Norway to "blame the victim," meaning that if you speak up, and there are negative consequences, they are your own fault -- if you had just kept your mouth shut, everything would have been fine. There does not seem to be much awareness that this self-censorship under threat was used in the former USSR and by other tyrants to stifle all dissent before it can even start. The result is that one ends up one censoring oneself into a death-spiral of submission to just about anything. This self-censorship, whether voluntary or the result of an implicit threat, is the death of enlightenment, humanism and the foundation of all science: the spirit of free inquiry.

A great irony exists in Norway between the enormous investment in school anti-bullying programs, accompanied by the openly vicious bullying and ridiculing of adults in the media.

It seems that every European country now has its police busy protecting those who wish to protect free speech. Those who bring the public's attention to potential problems with Islam, or who defend freedom of speech (the Netherlands' Geert Wilders, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Abdel Aboutaleb; Denmark's Lars Hedegaard, Sweden's Lars Wilks, Norway's Vebjørn Selbekk, Britain's Salman Rushdie -- and the list does not get shorter).

What does this all this say about the state of affairs in Europe, about democracy, freedom of speech and about Islam?

As the unpleasant sides of Islam play themselves out in what at times seems like an endless horror movie, people seem to be increasingly filled with discontent. They see that politicians are not listening to their concerns, and they wonder about alternative political solutions -- looking to candidates who seem as concerned as they are, or will offer more referendums, as Switzerland has done.

Constructively, politician Christian Tybring-Gjedde has pointed to what impedes Norway: conformity, consensus and the fact that media space is almost always given to pre-chosen purveyors of some the pre-chosen "truth." With this, Tybring-Gjedde indirectly points to Norway's destructive cultural tradition of Janteloven ("Jante Law"), which is named for a 1933 novel by Danish-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose. The book addresses a social injunction that seems to run throughout Scandinavia: "Please do not get the idea that you are better than anyone else." The "Jante Law" is sometimes described as a condescending attitude towards individuality and success: denigrating the achievements of individuals, upholding groupthink, and belittling anyone who stands out, especially if he has accomplished something.

Clearly, this "Jante Law," as so many others, has outlived its presumed benefit.
Also in need of being tossed out is the fear of terms such as "racist" and "Islamophobe" -- and of criticism and disagreement in general. Politicians need to roll up their sleeves, get out of their comfort zones and take action. This matter is not going to go away on its own, no matter how much they might like it to.

The "Ring of Peace" initiative received international media attention and was a positive gesture. But surface-scratching, "rainbow generation" niceties and appeals for solidarity do not remove the key issues that need to be discussed -- Islam's contents; how these effects the way Muslims think and act, and what actions need to be taken to protect a decreasing, chewed-up democracy -- especially regarding freedom of speech -- and to protect the indigenous populations in Europe from an expansionist ideology, rather than increasingly pandering to Islam's demands, as seems currently to be the trend in most of Europe.

Progress can only come through a deeper knowledge of Islam; through actually deconstructing it. It is also high time to look at the positives that can come out of such a conflict.

Einar Berg's introduction to the Norwegian translation of the Koran (Universitetsforlaget, 1989) is revealing. It is almost apologetic in tone. It excuses the Koran of being a product of its times, and to be seen alone in that light. It is as if he were shocked by what he translated, and trying to package it in a more charming light. He recommends reading the Koran from back-to-front. The Koran's later parts are more violent and bloodthirsty than the earlier ones. Through "abrogation" (the practice whereby the texts from the latter part of Muhammad's life in Medina have been regarded by many Islamic scholars to supersede the earlier, softer ones, from when he started out in Mecca).

Berg's preference seems clear when compared to the acts of atrocity in the name of the Koran, Islam, jihad, Allah and allusions to various Islamic texts, all now taking place around the world. As such, Berg's introduction, by saying that the earlier (less violent) chapters are the more important ones, directly manipulates Islam and misleads the reader.

Needless to say, the contents that say "those fighting for Allah are worth more than the lives of those that stay at home" (Koran 4:95; the same message is repeated in other verses) spell out why many are joining ISIS. It also highlights how the ISIS interpretation of Islam belies the claim that Islam is simply a religion of peace or a guide to spiritual insight.

To be in denial of this fact is to betray one's own population. Chapter 4 is not alone in mentioning non-believers. Chapter 2, for example, has 286 verses, with 52 mentions of non-believers and what should happen to them -- a trait the runs throughout the whole Koran.

While Western politicians and others are now presumably aware of the texts that encourage the killing of non-believers, possibly more important is the pervasive, divisive focus on non-believers -- the insistence on disparaging them and killing them -- and how this might well condition the minds of many Muslims around the world, especially children.

As learning the Koran by heart as a child is seen as an important accomplishment in Islam, so the frequent mention of non-believers -- with such negative focus on others rather than on oneself -- can have a mind-conditioning effect on the reader.

The same conditioning is used to train soldiers before going to war, to condition their minds into believing the enemy is inferior and less than human, to make him easier to kill. The shocking difference is that Islam gives every child this conditioning. Imagine if those tenets were the desired ethical result of every Confirmation, every Bar Mitzvah or every First Holy Communion. In the worst-case scenario, the Koran's contents are "motivational training" for every single Muslim child to become a "Soldier of Allah." This hate-indoctrination can be seen in the countless videos at Memri or Palestinian Media Watch. Little Muslim children on Palestinian television preach anti-Jewish rhetoric, learned parrot-style from Islam's doctrines. The same conditioning can also be seen on videos showing the training of Muslim children in ISIS military camps.

Western politicians and countries need to come to grips with this. They would do well to stop preaching the lie of the "religion of peace," which, at this point, no one believes anymore anyway, and instead follow some of the legal changes just made in Austria.

Politicians who taking their jobs and responsibilities seriously need to take in the ways Islam differs from other religions.

If even el-Sisi and al-Tayyeb have seen that there is a need to act, it is time to take sides with them and with those who say there is a problem, and at least discuss reform. Taking uncomfortable facts on board often leaves one with a sense of discomfort and unease perhaps, but is important for the health of all societies in the long run. Violence and dualism need to be addressed, and courageous Muslim visionaries, such as el-Sisi and the many others speaking out, need our serious support.

Bjorn Jansen is based in Norway.


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

The Gang of 48 - Dennis Lund

by Dennis Lund

Dr. Ledeen, wrote: “The actual strategy (of Obama in Iran)… has been on display since before the beginning of the Obama administration. During his first presidential campaign in 2008, Mr. Obama used a secret back channel to Tehran to assure the mullahs that he was a friend of the Islamic Republic, and that they would be very happy with his policies.”

After the GOP released the open letter to the leaders of Iran the Democrats and went into high dudgeon with a level of outrage rarely seen.

TRAITORS!! -- blasted the headline in the New York Daily News

The Washington Post’s Dana Millbank was less apoplectic: “It’s true that 47 Republican senators did their level best to bring us closer to war…

Democrat leaders chimed in unison with their umbrage:

Vice President Joe Biden: “This letter, in the guise of a constitutional lesson, ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American President…

Hillary Clinton took time out from deleting embarrassing e-mails to declare: “Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the commander-in-chief…”

President Obama: “Their basic argument to (the Iranians) is, 'Don't deal with our president because you can't trust him to follow through on an agreement,' that's close to unprecedented"

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign committee launched a mocking broadside salvo against signatory Sen. John McCain: “(If) ‘Weather Vane’ McCain… is going to do something as dangerous and reckless as cozying up to Iran…”

There are at least two issues involved here: the first is an overlooked technicality, while the second is a very big problem for the Democrats, as well as those helping to draw up plans for the gallows.

First, the letter was in fact an open letter, meaning that is was never delivered nor specifically meant to be delivered to the Iranians. Instead it was posted on a website and published in various papers. The ‘technicality’ comes into play in that to be convicted or charged with “treason” one must take some action beyond exercising First Amendment rights.

The second is a bit thornier: it has been reported that presidential candidate Barack Obama, took action in March of 2008 to specifically discuss U.S.-Iranian policies, via an emissary, with the Iranians and thereby attempted to undermine the policies of President George W. Bush.

All of those mentioned above are, in all likelihood, fully aware of the actions taken by then-Senator Obama. Quoting George Santayana on repeating history would be superfluous, as his quote assumes history is not remembered by those named. They are in fact relying on the public either not knowing (or not believing) the facts even when presented.

The story of Obama and the mad mullahs of Tehran was presented by controversial Iranian expert Michael Ledeen last year.

The report, now getting well-deserved attention, originally appeared in PJ Media in August, 2014. Dr. Ledeen, wrote: “The actual strategy (of Obama in Iran)… has been on display since before the beginning of the Obama administration. During his first presidential campaign in 2008, Mr. Obama used a secret back channel to Tehran to assure the mullahs that he was a friend of the Islamic Republic, and that they would be very happy with his policies.”

A sidebar on Mr. Ledeen is in order, as his name will be disparaged by those seeking distraction as well as avoiding the discussion of the charges leveled.

Columnist Jonah Goldberg, a colleague of Ledeen’s at the National Review Once described the so-called “Ledeen’s Doctrine”, in tongue-in-cheek fashion as: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business," 

Goldberg reported that this description was a paraphrasing of a statement once made by Ledeen in the early 1990s. 

Ledeen’s anti-Iranian belligerence does not take away from the facts regarding actions taken in 2008 by the future president.

The story, also carried late last year by former Reagan staff member and now radio talk show host Mark Levin, has recently resurfaced, as a result of the venomous attacks directed at the 47 signatories of the letter.

The mission, which took a great deal of hubris on the part of Obama, was intended to circumvent President Bush by sending a message stating: ‘just wait until I am president, things will be different between our nations’.

The channel chosen was William Miller, former ambassador to the Ukraine, one fluent in Farsi, having served in Tehran for the State Department during the reign of the Shah.

Those who are students of history may recognize the name, as it had surfaced previously pertaining to Iran.

In November, 1979 former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and then Senate Intelligence Committee staff director William Miller were sent by President Carter to Tehran to negotiate the release of the hostages. Though that negotiation failed, two weeks later all female and black hostages were released. The role of Mr. Miller in this is unconfirmed, but his experience in Iran is both extensive and undeniable.

President Obama may be a lot of things to a lot of people, but one thing he is not is ignorant of those people who may be of use to him to ‘fundamentally change America’. One of those he chose to accomplish this goal was the same William Miller.

Being that what Barrack Obama did back in 2008 exceeded the actions of an “open letter” does anyone want to reconsider their charges against the GOP gang of 47? 

Dennis Lund


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Can the American Energy Revolution Survive a Deal with Iran? - Gal Luft

by Gal Luft

At a time when U.S. crude oil supplies are already at their highest level in more than 80 years and storage facilities are reaching their maximum capacity, an influx of Iranian oil could easily slice current oil prices by half.

In recent years, U.S. crude oil production has neared an all-time high.
There is no lack of voices warning against the dangerous implications of the nuclear agreement the Obama Administration is advancing with Iran. The opposition has mostly focused on the destabilizing geopolitical impact of a nuclear Iran and what it means for the security of the U.S. and its allies. But there is one less obvious casualty – the North American oil and gas industry.

Undoubtedly in the event of lifting of the sanctions, cash-starved Iran would do all in its power to quickly ramp up its oil exports to make up for lost revenues, and the oil market could face an injection of 500,000-800,000 barrels/day of Iranian crude. At a time when U.S. crude oil supplies are already at their highest level in more than 80 years and storage facilities are reaching their maximum capacity, an influx of Iranian oil could easily slice current oil prices by half. This would be a crippling blow to America's oil and gas industry, effectively marking the end of the North American energy renaissance.

Even before Iran opens the floodgate the industry finds itself in a precarious situation. To cover their capital investment and operational costs, North American oil drillers have collectively borrowed in recent years about half a trillion dollars. This debt was secured from financial institutions on the premise that the oil would be sold for $100 a barrel or so. But at $50 a barrel the revenues are out of tune with expectations. To avoid bankruptcy, oil companies are forced to pump as much oil as they can to generate sufficient cash flow in order to service their debt. But such Red Queen practice cannot go on for much longer.

Hence, many projects have been shelved or streamlined; U.S. rig count, a key barometer of drilling activity, has been declining for the past six months; oil services companies have announced 40,000 layoffs to cope with lower oil prices; and independent oil and gas companies, particularly those with high production costs, are facing defaults and bankruptcies.

The slide in oil prices also impacts the natural gas market. The North American shale revolution has unleashed huge amounts of natural gas but, due to lack of infrastructure to export the gas to international markets, America's gas is under-demanded and oil companies holding large amounts of gas in their portfolios are losing their shirts on this commodity as well. So far, the industry has put its faith on the construction of several multi-billion dollar LNG terminals from where the gas could be shipped to Europe and Asia. And indeed five such projects have been approved for construction by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

But a few of these projects could be derailed if the Iranian oil tsunami occurs. LNG prices in Asia are indexed to oil. This means that low oil prices drag down LNG prices - the spot price of LNG in Japan is at its lowest level in five years despite the fact that the country's fifty nuclear reactors are still idle - making America's LNG less competitive in the Asian market compared to Australian or Qatari gas. Developers of LNG liquefaction facilities in the U.S. who for years struggled to obtain export permits will soon realize that their revenue projections and debt structure may no longer be viable under the low price scenario.

If there is any salvation for the industry, it is in the creation of a new market for its product. This can be done in the sector in which it already has a big stake – transportation. Indeed this is the only sector that can gobble an amount of domestic natural gas significant enough to recover the depressed natural gas market.

Unlike other industries, oil and gas producers have never been challenged to create demand for their product.
A barrel of oil has roughly six times the energy content of a million Btu of natural gas. At current oil prices, gas is almost three times cheaper than oil on an energy equivalent basis. This means there is enough room for oil prices to come down without crowding out gas from the transportation fuel market.

But to generate demand for natural gas in transportation, cars, trucks and ships must be opened to fuels derived from the commodity, like methanol, ethanol, compressed natural gas and electricity. For this to happen automakers should be offered an option to reduce their fuel economy obligation – an unachievable 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, twice the current efficiency level – if they open most of their cars to some sort of fuel competition, whether through flex fuel engines, electric motors, natural gas engines, fuel cells etc. The abundance of choice enabling vehicles would give rise to greater demand for natural gas and this would pad the balance sheets of America's energy companies and keep them viable until the oil market rebalances itself. It will also provide consumers with lasting protection against future oil price hikes.

Unlike other industries that are used to investing a great deal of resources in creating demand for their product, oil and gas producers have never been challenged to seek new sources of demand. It has always been there for them. But the new market conditions beg for a new industry mindset – one that views fuel choice not as dangerous competition but rather as a lifeline in what could be a protracted and challenging period.

Gal Luft is Co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, a Senior Adviser to the United States Energy Security Council, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is also co-chairman of the Global Forum on Energy Security.


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It begins: Hillary's standing in polls starts to plummet - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

The perception is that she is sinking, and unless she is somehow able to answer questions about her email server satisfactorily (almost zero probability), even people who like her will fear that she will drag down the party.

I am hoping that Hillary Clinton hangs in there, bullying her way to the Democratic nomination, but her polling is starting to collapse. Amanda Becker of Reuters notices what is going on, not just among the general public, but among Democrat insiders:
Democratic support for Hillary Clinton's expected presidential campaign is softening amid controversy over her use of personal email when secretary of state, but most Democrats are for now sticking by their party's presumed candidate.
Support for Clinton's candidacy has dropped about 15 percentage points since mid February among Democrats, with as few as 45 percent saying they would support her in the last week, according to a Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll. Support from Democrats likely to vote in the party nominating contests has dropped only slightly less, to a low in the mid-50s over the same period.
A 15% decline in a month is no small matter, nor is the fact that less than half of the Democrats supporting her. But the really critical fact is this:
Even Democrats who said they were not personally swayed one way or another by the email flap said that Clinton could fare worse because of it, if and when she launches her presidential campaign, a separate Reuters/Ipsos poll showed.
The perception is that she is sinking, and unless she is somehow able to answer questions about her email server satisfactorily (almost zero probability), even people who like her will fear that she will drag down the party.

There is still a decent chance that Hillary’s “it’s my turn” mentality will keep her going, along with her desire to gain vengeance on the Obama machine that humiliated her in 2008. But my desire for a wounded Democrat dividing her party as its nominee won’t be enough to keep her in the race. Hillary may be facing the long goodbye.

Thomas Lifson


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Deconstructing Israel: Academics Meet to Question Israel’s Right to Exist - Richard Cravatts

by Richard L. Cravatts

What is notable, and frightening, is the primary objective of this conference; it is not, as is more customary in inquisitions of Israel’s place in the community of nations, to discuss the legality of settlements, the dreaded occupation, the “siege” of Gaza, the status of Jerusalem, or the so-called legal “right of return” of Palestinian refugees. Instead, the conference sessions are designed to outline a tactical approach for questioning the fundamental legitimacy of Israel itself

university-of-southamptonSeeming to give credence to Orwell’s quip that “some ideas are so stupid they could only have been thought of by intellectuals,” faculty at the University of Southampton in England will be sponsoring a three-day conference in April, “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism,” conceived of to “explore the relatedness of the suffering and injustice in Palestine to the foundation and protection of a state of such nature and asks what role International Law should play in the situation.”

Not content with the way history and law have worked out independent of their intellectual meddling, the conference sponsors claim that the event will have great scholarly value and “. . . is unique because it concerns the legitimacy in International Law of the Jewish state of Israel” and “will focus on exploring themes of Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism; all of which are posed by Israel’s very nature.”

What does that elevated and academically-inane doublespeak actually mean? Obviously, it is clear, both by the questions posited as the themes of inquiry of the conference, not to mention the list of toxic intellectuals who will present papers at the event, that the purpose and end product of the conference is yet another formalized indictment of Israel—nicely disguised as a bit of academic inquiry and brave new scholarship.

The problem, of course, is that each of [the individuals on the] published list of speakers has impeccable anti-Israel, anti-Western, anti-American credentials and ideological track records which essentially guarantee that the conference will devolve into a hate-Israel rally, with each presenter echoing and building on a bucket of collective calumnies. There is, first, Richard Falk, professor emeritus of International Law and Policy at Princeton University and the UN’s former preposterously-titled “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,” who once wondered aloud if it was “an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity?” on the part of Israel, and then quickly answered his own question by saying, “I think not.”

Then there is the conference’s organizer, Professor Oren Ben-Dor of Southampton’s Law School, whose bias against Israel is blatantly clear in such expressive phrases as the one in which he characterized the Jewish state as “the arrogant and self-righteous Zionist entity.” Another key speaker is George Bisharat, professor of law at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, who has promoted boycotts against what he perceived as Israeli apartheid and has linked the Holocaust with the treatment by Israel of the Palestinians. “In the West we are amply reminded of the suffering of Jewish people in World War II,” he wrote. “. . . But we seldom confront the impact of Israel’s policies on Palestinians.”

Another on this grisly list of academics wishing to shred the existence of Israel is the fatuous Ilan Pappe, for 23 years a professor at Haifa University, whose anti-Israel, anti-Zionism views are widely embraced for their stridency, as is his “revisionist” style of history which casts Israel as the perennial villain of the Middle East. He has called Zionism “a very clear ideology of exclusion, racism and expulsion,” and was forced to resign from Haifa and decamp to Exeter University in England because he sided with a 2007 British-led boycott of Israeli campuses, including his own.

What is notable, and frightening, is the primary objective of this conference; it is not, as is more customary in inquisitions of Israel’s place in the community of nations, to discuss the legality of settlements, the dreaded occupation, the “siege” of Gaza, the status of Jerusalem, or the so-called legal “right of return” of Palestinian refugees. Instead, the conference sessions are designed to outline a tactical approach for questioning the fundamental legitimacy of Israel itself, to judge it as being illegal under international law and moral codes, and to investigate and recommend steps by which legal action could be instigated by the international community to deconstruct a sovereign nation, reverse history, and rebuild a new version of Israel based on the utopian fantasies of academics in the thralls of Palestinianism and a desire to achieve social justice for the perennially suffering Arabs of “historic Palestine”—a territory that these activist scholars apparently believe should never have been under Jewish sovereignty in the first place.

In short, the goal of this conference is to help achieve what Arab foes of the Jewish state have been trying to accomplish themselves since 1948; namely, extirpating Israel, although this time in a cognitive, cool war instead of through a conventional war with Katyusha rockets, suicide vests, and AK-47s. This objective, as the participants seemed not to have grasped, is not only breathtakingly presumptuous, but hallucinatory, as well, since the idea of breaking apart of thriving, sovereign democracy with the hope of creating an even better nation by blending in millions of Jew-hating new citizens is so perverse and unworkable as to expose its meretriciousness from the start.

The Southampton conference also intends to review the circumstances of the creation of Israel and how that process was essentially unjust in both affecting Palestinian Arabs who fled or were displaced from what became the Jewish state, and for allegedly denying civil and human rights to those Arabs who remained in Israel after statehood was achieved. “For its initial existence,” the tendentious conference materials read, “the State of Israel has depended on a unilateral declaration of statehood in addition to both the expulsion (or as some would say the ethnic cleansing) of large numbers of non-Jewish Palestinian Arabs in 1947-49 and the prevention of their return. Furthermore, the Jewish nature of the state has profoundly affected the economic, constitutional, political and social life of those non-Jewish Arabs who were allowed to stay.”

The transfer of populations and a change in demographics involving minority groups has occurred during the creation of other modern states, of course, often with unintended negative consequences. When British India was partitioned in 1947, for example, shortly before Israel was created, Hindus comprised some 20 percent of the population of what became Pakistan. Hindus currently comprise a mere 1 percent of Pakistan’s population, the result of catastrophic ethnic cleansing during which millions of Hindus were forcibly expelled from their homeland and hundreds of thousands killed.

And when Bengal was partitioned in 1950, between India and E. Pakistan (Western and Eastern Bengal), as many as 500,000 Hindus were also massacred by Muslims and up to 4.5 million Hindu refugees were created from Bengal alone.

Given that the Palestinian refugee issue appeared shortly after the partition of India, and that Palestinians and their academic supporters in the West continue to assert an “enshrined” and “sacred” right of return to what is considered to be their country—including much of what now comprises Israel itself—could not a similar right of return be asserted, and demanded, by millions of Hindus who lost property, civil and human rights, and historic and cultural connections to their ancestral homes as a result of the desire to create the exclusively Islamic state of Pakistan?

What should not be lost on observers is that in the decision to obsessively focus on the perfidiousness of Israel, and Israel alone, the Southampton conference participants have thereby affirmed the perceived ideological superiority of the Palestinian Arab movement for self-affirmation. They have embraced ‘Palestinianism’ completely as their choice of a cause to defend—with the genocidal terrorism, rabid anti-Semitism, political truculence, internecine violence, and general cultural self-destruction that has defined the Palestinian cause since it was minted in the 1960s as a political tool against Israel.

This conference will not only be defined by an obsessive, pathological inclination to demonize Israel; it will also reveal a breathtaking double standard by applying a moral yardstick to Israel not used to measure the political or social behavior of any other country—including those with far more dismal records of human rights abuses, racism, genocide, terrorism, totalitarianism, and gender apartheid, among many other national pathologies.

And in making a moral exception when Israel is the target of this collective moral opprobrium, those calling for an intense critique of Israel’s very right to exist—while engaging in biased, pseudo-scholarship—are not only violating some of the fundamental tenets of scholarship, but are repeating the impulses that have historically served to marginalize, demonize, and expel Jews from society—what many justifiably believe to be a new permutation of anti-Semitism, now aimed at the Jew of nations, Israel.

Richard L. Cravatts


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