Friday, July 31, 2015

Palestinians: A Rare Voice of Sanity - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

  • While many in the international community and media hold Israel fully responsible for the plight of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Dr. Abrash offers a completely different perspective.
  • Referring to widespread corruption under the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank, the former Palestinian minister reveals that Palestinian academic institutions, including universities and colleges, have become "commercial projects for granting certificates that have no scientific value or content."
  • This is a voice that is rarely given a platform in mainstream media outlets in the West, whose journalists continue to focus almost entirely on stories that reflect negatively on Israel. Western journalists based in the Middle East tend to ignore Palestinians who are critical of the PA or Hamas, because such criticism does not fit the narrative according to which Israel is solely responsible for all the bad things that happen to the Palestinians.
  • Abrash's criticism of Hamas and the PA -- whom he openly holds responsible for the suffering of their people -- actually reflects the widespread sentiment among Palestinians. Over the past few years, a growing number of Palestinians have come to realize that their leaders have failed them again and again and are now aware that both Hamas and the PA, as corrupt as ever, are hindering efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip.

It is almost unheard of for a prominent Palestinian figure to hold the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas equally responsible for corruption and abuse of power.

Dr. Ibrahim Abrash, a former Palestinian Minister of Culture from the Gaza Strip, recently surprised many Palestinians by publishing an article that included a scathing attack on both the PA and Hamas, holding them responsible for the continued suffering of their people.

In his article, Dr. Abrash also holds the two Palestinian parties responsible for the delay in rebuilding thousands of houses that were destroyed or damaged in the Gaza Strip during last year's military conflict between Israel and Hamas. He points out that Hamas and the PA have been holding each other responsible for the suffering of Palestinians. "Sometimes, they also put all the blame on Israel for all that is happening in the Gaza Strip," he said.

Referring to the ongoing power struggle between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which reached its peak with the violent takeover by Hamas of the entire Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, Dr. Abrash accused the two rival parties of exploiting their dispute to cover up corruption in vital sectors of Palestinian society.

"In light of the division [between the PA-controlled West Bank and Hamas-run Gaza], corruption and absence of accountability have become widespread," Dr. Abrash wrote. "This division has led to the collapse of the political system and the system of values, and an increase in corruption. This has also allowed many opportunists and hypocrites to reach important positions, where they do anything they want without being held accountable."

J'Accuse. Dr. Ibrahim Abrash, a former Palestinian Minister of Culture (left), accuses Palestinian Authority and Hamas officials of corruption, extortion, opportunism and hypocrisy. Pictured in the middle is PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and at right Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

And while many in the international community and media continue to hold Israel fully responsible for the plight of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Dr. Abrash offers a completely different perspective.

Noting that the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip have fallen victim to the power struggle between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, he says that no one today knows who is supposed to be helping the people living there.

"The interests of the people have been lost as result of the two parties' rivalry," Dr. Abrash said. "No one knows who is in charge of the people's needs in the Gaza Strip -- Hamas, which is the de facto authority in the Gaza Strip, or the Palestinian Authority and its national consensus government. Or is it UNRWA and the donors who are responsible? Or is it the sole responsibility of Israel as an occupation state? To whom should the people direct their complaints?"

Referring to widespread corruption under the PA in the West Bank, the former Palestinian minister reveals that Palestinian academic institutions, including universities and colleges, have become "commercial projects for granting certificates that have no scientific value or content."

Dr. Abrash points out that no one knows whether universities and colleges in the Gaza Strip are subject to the supervision of the Ministry of Education in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.

He also blasts the PA's Ministry of Civilian Affairs for exploiting and extorting Palestinians who seek travel permits, especially those wishing to leave the Gaza Strip. He goes on to hold Hamas responsible for "harassing" Palestinians who wish to leave the Gaza Strip through the Erez border crossing (to Israel). Dr. Abrash claims that some Palestinians are forced to pay bribes to Palestinian officials to obtain a travel permit.

"Many people have been subjected to blackmail and procrastination [by Palestinian officials] after Israel eased travel restrictions at the Bet Hanoun [Erez] border crossing," he said. "But the people are afraid to complain, out of fear that they would be denied travel permits in the future. What is happening at the border crossing has created favoritism and bribery."

Dr. Abrash concludes his article with a rhetorical question: "Isn't it shameful and irritating that while Israel has been issuing travel permits for those with special needs, some influential [Palestinian] officials are placing obstacles? Until when will they continue to manipulate and blackmail the people of the Gaza Strip?"

Dr. Abrash's article represents a rare voice of sanity among Palestinians. This is a voice that does not blame all the miseries of Palestinians on Israel alone and holds the Palestinians leadership also responsible for the continued suffering of their people.

However, this is a voice that is rarely given a platform in mainstream media outlets in the West, whose journalists continue to focus almost entirely on stories that reflect negatively on Israel.

Western journalists based in the Middle East tend to ignore Palestinians who are critical of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. That is because such criticism does not fit the narrative according to which Israel is solely responsible for all the bad things that happen to the Palestinians.

Dr. Abrash's criticism of Hamas and the PA -- whom he openly holds responsible for the suffering of their people -- actually reflects the widespread sentiment among Palestinians. Over the past few years, a growing number of Palestinians have come to realize that their leaders have failed them again and again. Today, many Palestinians are aware of the fact that both Hamas and the PA are responsible for hindering efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip and that the two parties are as corrupt as ever.

But when will the international community and media wake up and comprehend what many Palestinians came to understand years ago, namely that the real tragedy of the Palestinian people has been -- and remains -- bad and irresponsible leadership? Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen as long as the world continues to see Israel as the villain.

Khaled Abu Toameh  - Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter


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

Black Skin Privilege: To Be The Wedge For The Totalitarian Future - John Perazzo

by John Perazzo

Obama's race-based plan to turn Congress Democratic, forever.

FrontPage Editor’s note: The following article is the first in a series of articles elaborating on David Horowitz and John Perazzo’s 2013 pamphlet “Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream.” “White skin privilege”—a term that has made a comeback in the last few years of racial demagoguery—was first popularized by the terror sect Weatherman in the early 1970s during its campaign to launch a race war in "Amerikka.”  
Although most leftists did not follow the call of Weatherman leaders Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn to join in a global race war to eradicate “white skin privilege,” the foundation of racism, the concept gradually took hold as an article of faith among all progressives as an all-purpose explanation for why the great Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s had not produced immediate equality and why such quintessentially un American policies as affirmative action were necessary.  Because of “white skin privilege,” virtually ineradicable “institutional racism” continued to saturate our society even though individual racism was a thing of the past.

By its obsessive quest to find evidence of illusory “white skin privilege” the progressive left created and enshrined in our national life its very real opposite—“black skin privilege.” As David Horowitz and John Perrazo showed in their 2013 pamphlet Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream,” its effects can be seen in the presumption of guilt on the part of innocent whites (think Duke lacrosse team) on the basis of their skin color while guilty blacks (think O.J. Simpson) are often presumed innocent.   Blacks can commit racist attacks on whites certain that civil rights “activists” who sift the news obsessively for black victims will either not notice or dismiss such attacks as a form of delayed “justice” for the historical oppression of black people.  

The liberal media obediently follow their lead. When Trayvon Martin was killed by “white Hispanic” George Zimmerman it became a national outrage. But the media was nowhere to be found in the year afterward when  there at least 14 known incidents of attacks by blacks (often citing the death of Martin as their motivation) against whites, including the brutal beating of a 78 year old man.  

The result of such prejudice—there is no better word for it—is the creation of an optical illusion of deeply embedded, if largely invisible, white racism that creates vast numbers of black victims when the social facts show quite a different situation.  According to statistics gathered by  the National Crime Victimization Survey, for instance, blacks attacks on whites are  five times greater than the opposite.  When differences in relative population size are factored into the equation, a white person is 25 times more likely to be attacked by a black than a black by a white. 

Such statistics are not the whole U.S. racial picture by any means.  But they are a part.  And they are suppressed (or shrugged off) by the media and civil rights “activists” dedicated to creating a one sided and propagandistic narrative of race in the United States.  Such inconvenient facts complicate their melodrama of white guilt and black victimhood.  

The presence of black skin privilege as odious as white racism was: two sides of the same coin.  To illumine the complexity of racial truth in America, FrontPage Magazine will regularly present articles about black skin privilege, beginning with today’s piece by John Perrazo on how it has become a wedge into a possible totalitarian future.
To order “Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream,” click here.

If you're a white Republican who lives in a well-to-do, majority-Republican suburb anywhere in America, Barack Obama has huge plans for you. Why? Several reasons: (1) He resents you for taking advantage of what he sees as your unfairly acquired ability to afford life in an affluent neighborhood, while so many poor nonwhites live amid squalor and crime in the central cities of this racist land. (2) He believes that by choosing to reside in a suburb, you are selfishly depriving a nearby city of precious tax dollars which could otherwise have been used to fund the public schools and social services that minority city-dwellers so desperately need. (3) Above all else, he resents the fact that people like you tend to elect Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Thus our president has set in motion the political equivalent of “The Knockout Game,” where you're going to be blindsided by a devastating head blow that will rattle your world more dramatically than anything the government has ever previously done to you. You see, Barack Obama has lots of racial scores he wants to settle, and this one is at the very top of his “to-do” list.

Like a dutiful totalitarian, Obama has quietly been hard at work on a stealth plan to make Republican suburban communities from coast to coast disappear. It's a plan to empower Democrat-led cities to annex those suburbs and seize political control of them. How? By moving large numbers of poor blacks and Latinos (virtually all Democrats) out of the cities and into the surrounding white suburbs, where they can be much more politically useful to Obama and his party. Instead of merely being “surplus voters” who do nothing more than pad massive Democratic margins of assured electoral victories in urban districts, these transplanted nonwhite Democrats will now be utilized to help Obama tip the demographic scales in a host of Republican suburbs—and turn them Democratic.

Obama's plan was conveniently buttressed by the recent Texas Housing v. Inclusive Communities Supreme Court decision, where the Court's five reliable left-wing activists ruled that plaintiffs will henceforth be permitted to base housing-discrimination lawsuits on mere population statistics. That is, they won't be required to show evidence of actual racial discrimination, or even of any intent to discriminate. Instead they can simply cite, as “proof” of discrimination, the racial makeup of a given neighborhood with comparatively few black or Latino residents. And even if that neighborhood is able to definitively show that no discriminatory motive or policy has ever existed there, it won't matter. “Disparate impact”—a statistical racial or ethnic imbalance in a given population—is now enough to indicate guilt.

Texas Housing decision dovetails beautifully with the Obama agenda, as laid out in a recently unveiled 377-page document called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing,” crafted behind closed doors by the nameless, unelected bureaucrats at Obama's Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In this document, the Obama Administration articulates its plan to aggressively and forcibly change the demographics of majority-white suburban neighborhoods by requiring them—even in cases where housing discrimination has never even been alleged, let alone proved—to meet federally imposed quotas for the creation of government-subsidized, multi-family “affordable housing” units, and to aggressively market those units to ethnic and racial minorities.

A corollary Obama plan will be to enact a “
regional tax-base sharing” scheme that diverts a portion of suburban tax money into a common regional pot, from which it is then redistributed to poor urban neighborhoods. Thus the suburbs will not only be blended into the cities racially and politically, but economically as well.

This will all take place, of course, under the pious banner of “social and racial justice.”

As Obama sees things, black or brown skin, by definition, makes people victims of white America's intransigent bigotry. And justice demands that their victimhood be addressed by a variety of compensatory measures, like the privilege of living—at taxpayer expense—in a community whose existing residents—whatever their race or ethnicity—sacrificed a great deal in order to get there.

Obama's scheme has limitless political potential because of one vital fact: Whereas Republicans constitute fewer than 40 percent of all residents in cities with populations above 500,000, the corresponding figure in the suburbs that surround those same cities is 52 percent. That's a rather slim majority, thus Obama is cocksure that he can erase it with some well-executed social engineering which he can orchestrate from his throne. All he needs to do is infuse a few dozen middle-class, suburban congressional districts with several hundred or several thousand additional nonwhite, impoverished Democrats, and he will have sown the seeds of a permanently transfigured electoral map, a permanent Democrat majority in the House of Representatives, a permanent totalitarian future of one-party rule.
If the neighborhoods targeted by Obama's grand scheme have preferred, up to now, to be zoned for single-family housing, too bad for them. It's time for a change. Washington knows best. The Democrat Party knows best. President Obama can sniff out a singular white racist at a thousand paces, without so much as a mild breeze to carry the scent.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housingeffectively authorizes the federal government to re-engineer, through HUD, every neighborhood in America—that is, to obliterate all local zoning laws and create racial “balance” wherever and whenever it pleases.
So how will HUD decide where to focus first? That's easy: It will consult the reams of data it has been quietly and secretly gathering, without a shred of statutory authority from Congress, about the racial and economic makeup of every community in the nation. As investigative journalist and Hoover Institution Fellow Paul Sperry explains, HUD's bureaucratic beavers have been busy analyzing the distribution of “four racial groups—white, Asian, black or African-American, and Hispanic/Latino”—in “every U.S. neighborhood” and representing them as different-colored dots on “geospatial data” maps designed to “pinpoin[t] racial imbalances.” The dots on these maps will serve as the basis upon which HUD will target various communities with its demands for forced population redistribution.

And you, my fellow American, constitute a microscopic fraction of one of those dots. Makes ya real proud, don't it?

Now you may be wondering, what if some municipalities try to resist the Obama decree? Predictably, our stalwart master has already figured out how to deal with such obstinate party poopers: The government will punish them by cutting off their federal aid. And if that's not enough to gain their submission, the government will file economically devastating federal lawsuits claiming violations of fair-housing regulations.

This, then, is the grand plan that Barack Obama has so cleverly pieced together to systematically—district by district, state by state—turn one suburban congressional district after another from Republican red to Democrat blue.

“What about my personal rights and liberties?” you may be tempted to ask, rather quaintly.

Sorry, pal. To Barack Obama and the Democrats, you're just a white, black, brown, or yellow dot on a geospacial map. Your only civic duty is to sit still, keep your mouth shut, and wait for the masterminds at HUD to sprinkle you where they want you, like a grain of salt, pepper, or sand.

Meanwhile, Obama and the Democrats are having one heckuva good laugh over your meaningless little lives, which are so pathetically insignificant in comparison to the glorious utopia they're busy erecting behind your backs.

Note: Three individuals in particular have done yeoman's work in articulating the dangers of Obama's plan to eradicate America's suburbs: Stanley Kurtz, Paul Sperry, and broadcaster Mark Levin. You are highly encouraged to acquaint yourselves with their extraordinary insights.

John Perazzo


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

'You Can't Label Settlement Products Made in Israel' - Yoni Kempinski

by Yoni Kempinski

EU's Lars Faaborg-Andersen says the EU opposes boycotts of Israel - but can understand why they happen.
[Editor: They say they want dialog, but what they really mean is that they want to impose their world view on us. They are not interested in dialog, otherwise they would LISTEN as well as talk, and they would investigate Israel's well-founded position that making "peace" at this point, especially at this point, is madness. Borders in the Middle East are being erased; regimes are falling; alliances are shifting rapidly. Is this the time for Israel to make dangerous compromises? (There is never a good time for that, but especially not now!) And ironically, just as Europe is clamping down on Israel, a growing number of Arab countries in the Middle East are beginning to see Israel as a potential ally rather than a sworn enemy.]

Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Israel, told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday that the EU is opposed to boycotts of Israel - but also said he understood why there are such boycotts.

“The EU is totally against BDS, boycotts, isolation. We want dialogue and we think that it’s the best way to get our points across and get Israel to work in the direction that we would like to see,” said Faaborg-Andersen.

At the same time, he continued, “There are other groups in Europe and also in the United States that are advocating for BDS but there are also corporations and others taking decisions to disengage economically from Israel, and they are not in our control.”

He warned that Israel could find itself in a situation “where it has fewer friends in the world, if a solution is not found to the problem of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

Faaborg-Andersen acknowledged that “it takes two to tango” but added, “What we don’t like to see is the parties taking steps that are bringing us further away from the solution.”

Those steps, according to the EU envoy, include Israel’s “expansion of settlements that we have seen in recent years”.

With regards to products from Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, Faaborg-Andersen said that labeling them as “made in Israel” would be misleading.

“That’s in accordance with existing legislation in the EU when it comes to consumer protection,” he said. “A number of member states have already enacted guidelines on this particular issue, and I think that in the not too distant future, there will also be an EU-wide arrangement on this issue.”

However, said Faaborg-Andersen, guidelines with regards to labeling are not only enacted when it comes to Israel.

“This is not different for Israel or any other country in the world. It is a fundamental premise that the consumer must be assured that the product he or she is buying is correctly labeled,” he said, adding, “You cannot write that a product comes from country A when it comes from country C.”

“I want to make the point that this a general legislation that’s applied from any product coming from anywhere in the world. It has to be correctly labeled,” added Faaborg-Andersen.

As for the issue of Palestinian Arabs who are employed in Israeli-owned factories in Judea and Samaria and would be affected by a boycott of products from the region, Faaborg-Andersen called for a broader perspective.

“Settlements are currently affecting 60% of the area, and there are many reports from the World Bank and from the IMF showing that giving Palestinians access to just a couple of percentages of this territory would add millions to their GDP,” he explained. “So when you’re making up the overall calculation as to what is the cost for Palestinians of the settlement enterprise, I think you have to take that into account as well.”

Yoni Kempinski


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

Top jurists to craft 'legal Iron Dome' to boost public diplomacy efforts - Shlomo Cesana and Israel Hayom Staff

by Shlomo Cesana and Israel Hayom Staff

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely promotes initiative that brings together senior legalists who will create special public diplomacy instruments that could withstand legal scrutiny in international forums • Move seeks to counter boycott efforts.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (center), with former Chief Justices Aharon Barak and Dorit Beinisch
Photo credit: Mor Duek

Shlomo Cesana and Israel Hayom Staff


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

War or Deal - Adam Turner

by Adam Turner

Apart from the multiple types of ‘war’ that President Obama ignores, there are also several other valid options besides his agreement.

President Obama loves his binary approach. He repeats it often. Just two weeks ago, the president was quite insistent, essentially daring his critics to produce an alternative: I'm hearing a lot of talking points being repeated about “This is a bad deal. This is a historically bad deal… What I haven't heard is what is your preferred alternative?... And the reason is because there really are only two alternatives here. Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation or it's resolved through force, through war. Those are -- those are the options.”

Of course, it goes almost without saying, but the president is completely wrong.

We are already at war with Iran. This war started 35 years ago, when Iranian students -- with the backing of the Iranian regime -- invaded and took hostage Americans in our Embassy in Tehran. (The fact that this has not officially been declared is immaterial). This was Iran’s first act of aggression towards the U.S. Since then, Iran has routinely conducted its war against the U.S.: in the 1980s in Lebanon through its proxy Hizb'allah, which killed hundreds of Americans; in Iraq, in the 1990s, through incidents like the attack on the Khobar Towers; in the 2000s, where its explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) killed or wounded thousands of American soldiers; and in 2011, through its plan to bomb a U.S. restaurant in Georgetown in Washington D.C. The person responsible for helping to supply the EFP’s to Iraqi militias, and who oversaw those who planned the Georgetown terrorist plot is Qasem Soleimani, who will receive sanctions relief from the deal struck with Iran. Also to receive sanctions relief is Iranian Ahmad Vahidi, wanted by Interpol and the FBI for his role in numerous international terrorist attacks, including the 1996 Iranian bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. servicemen.

We all understand that the president isn’t referring to ‘war’ in this manner. But this brings up the question -- just what does the president mean when he says ‘war?’  We know he must be focusing on American military actions, because he has always ignored the fact that the Iranians are already constantly attacking, or planning to attack, the U.S. However, there are still a variety of military actions he could be referencing. 

The most probable meaning of ‘war’ in Obama’s statement is ‘another Iraqi combat operation and occupation, but this time in Iran.’ President Obama is seemingly obsessed with President Bush, and has long tried to be, and do, the opposite of his predecessor. He has also long railed against the Iraq war of 2003-2011 and brings it up frequently as the epitome of the most disastrous war ever. So much does he dislike the Iraq war that Obama prematurely withdrew American troops in 2011, thereby allowing the al-Qaeda spinoff ISIS to reignite the Iraqi civil war, resulting in thousands of new Iraqi casualties, the disintegration of the Iraqi state, and blowback in the form of new terrorists and foiled attacks on the American home front. So, it seems only logical to assume that this is what President Obama means when he says ‘war.’

It is extremely unlikely that a ‘war’ with Iran would be ‘another Iraqi combat operation and occupation, but this time in Iran.’ There are many kinds of war, or combat operations. Some involve large numbers of ground troops, occupying a foreign nation(s), like we did post-WWII and in Iraq, post-2003. But others do not.

The most likely combat involving the U.S. and Iran would actually be an air strike, perhaps supplemented by special forces on the ground for a short period of time. The U.S. has produced massive ordinance penetrators (MOP) for this very purpose. The MOP is a U.S. Air Force precision-guided, 30,000-pound “bunker buster” bomb, which has, as Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has said, “the capability to shut down, set back and destroy the Iranian nuclear program.” Contrary to the Iraq war, such an attack on Iran is unlikely to result in major U.S. casualties, and it is also not likely to last long.

Further, Iran does not have the military or air forces to allow them to effectively strike back militarily at the U.S. Their only response can and will be terror attacks. Which they are already doing; such as in 2011, when they unsuccessfully planned an attack in Georgetown. 

Now, perhaps some might argue that the Iranians would double or triple their plotting of terror attacks. Which they might do anyway, since the Iran deal will provide them with an extra $150 billion plus sanctions relief. Then again, perhaps they would not. 

Instead, the Iranians might be intimidated by the U.S. assault.   

It is often said that in the Middle East “(p)ower is respected; weakness is not.” This concept has also been popularized by Osama Bin Laden, who memorably was quoted as saying that people favor the “strong horse” over the “weak horse.” He meant that most Muslims respect and support a strong nation, even if that nation is not always friendly towards them, rather than a weak nation that keeps trying to endear itself to them.  Iran, as a Muslim nation, is likely to respect the “strong horse.” 

It certainly has in the past.  In 1981, the American hostages were released by Iran when a new and widely considered stronger U.S. president took office. Also, in 1988, during Operation Praying Mantis, U.S. naval ships attacked and destroyed Iranian targets in retaliation for an Iranian mine damaging a U.S. ship. The Iranians had been mining the Persian Gulf as part of their war with Iraq; the U.S. had been escorting Kuwait oil tankers through the sea zones to keep the international oil routes open. Soon after this operation, a U.S. ship unfortunately and accidentally shot down Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 Iranian crew and passengers. The Americans mistook the Iranian airplane for an attacking fighter. According to scholars, these American actions led the Ayatollah Khomeini, the then-clerical dictator of Iran, to agree to the cessation of the eight year Iran-Iraq War -- and the connected Persian Gulf mining -- because of his fear of the increasing American involvement. 

The Iranians still have something to lose in the above scenario; an American attack on their nuclear program is not directed at removing the Iranian regime. The U.S., however, has that ability as well.  And the Iranians know this. So they have an incentive not to push for a longer war.

It is also a fact that twice -- in 1981, and in 2007 -- Israel struck the nuclear programs of Iraq and Syria without provoking a wider war with extensive combat operations.

Apart from the multiple types of ‘war’ that President Obama ignores, there are also several other valid options besides his agreement.

This bad deal -- like any deal -- can be renegotiated. Eric Edelman and Ray Takeyh, noted foreign policy authorities, advocate exactly this:
A careful examination of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reveals that it concedes an enrichment capacity that is too large; sunset clauses that are too short; a verification regime that is too leaky; and enforcement mechanisms that are too suspect. No agreement is perfect, but at times the scale of imperfection is so great that the judicious course is to reject the deal and renegotiate a more stringent one. The way for this to happen is for Congress to disapprove the JCPOA.
There is also the possibility of reimposing, or implementing new sanctions, to further grind down the Iranians (to the same place or worse than they were when President Obama allowed them to get off the carpet with money from the JPOA). President Obama seems to enjoy dismissing this possibility, perhaps because he has a noted preference for “leading from behind.” But the president’s argument that the international community will not go along with new sanctions is not particularly persuasive. The U.S. is the natural leader of the world community, and often must be the “adult” in the room to lead the international community to do the right thing. An accomplished president can, and has, done this before. Both President G.H.W. and G.W. Bush persuaded huge international coalitions to support their wars in Iraq. In neither case was this easy or popular. President G.W. Bush persuaded the international community to impose sanctions on Iran in the first place, and Obama generally followed his lead (grudgingly), until 2013.

Even going back to the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) is a better alternative than the current option heading before the Congress. The JPOA, unlike the JCPOA, does not give Iran $150 billion in frozen funds, end the embargoes on Iran regarding conventional arms and ballistic missiles, commit the West to assist Iran in developing nuclear power, to protect Iranian nuclear facilities from sabotage, or to provide Qasem Soleimani with sanctions relief.

In reality, President Obama is so dismissive of the possibility of renegotiation simply because he doesn’t want to renegotiate. President Obama wants to get a deal with Islamist Iran as quickly as possible, and he doesn’t care much what is in this bad deal. The president wants to officially “end” the thirty-five year struggle between Iran and the U.S., and thus go down in history as a great “peacemaker.” He also has the hope that this “peace” will allow the U.S. to cede to Iran the responsibility for dealing with ISIS and other Middle East problems. The quickest way for the president to get a deal with Iran is to accept the current bad deal and then push it through Congress by painting his opponents as reckless warmongers, and so that is what he is doing.

Unfortunately, President Obama’s plan is working all too well. Even more unfortunately, this bad deal with Islamist Iran makes future war more, not less, likely, and also increases the likelihood that this war will be a more serious and protracted struggle with Iran. 

But none of this bothers President Obama, because by the time things unwind, he will be safely out of office, and all this will fall on the lap of another president.

Adam Turner serves as general counsel for the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).  He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he focused on national security law.


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

Huckabee's Critics - Rabbi Aryeh Spero

by Rabbi Aryeh Spero

Mrs. Clinton seems more offended by a few words than by the actual rockets that Iran has aimed at Israel.

Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has warned that the Obama/Kerry deal with Iran could lead to an Iranian-lead nuclear Holocaust against Israel that would, "take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven."

Hillary Clinton, who has endorsed the Iranian deal, has denounced Mr. Huckabee, saying Huckabee’s comments are “personally offensive”. President Obama is likewise offended, as is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a congresswoman from Florida who is the go-to Jewish member of Congress Mr. Obama uses when he wishes to bar Mr. Netanyahu from speaking or when he needs “Jewish” support for policies and actions that appear harmful to Israel.

Mrs. Clinton seems more offended by a few words than by the actual rockets that Iran has aimed at Israel. Instead of wasting our time on this side issue of phraseology, she should be working to stop this catastrophe. Instead of denouncing her opponent’s choice of words, she should be decrying an arrangement that gives Iran $150 billion, allows it to spin nuclear centrifuges, has no worthy verification system to stop Iranian nukes, and, worse, has the U.S. pledging to teach and help Iran defend itself from any necessary attack Israel might make to defend herself from Iran. A true friend of Israel should, would, be opposed to any such deal.

The Obama deal says we, the U.S., will teach Iran the fine points of nuclear science and its implementation. That is most definitely something that should concern us regarding a potential Holocaust, especially since Iran has declared its Number One Goal to be the destruction, the incineration, of Israel’s Jews. Someone, a real friend, concerned with a future Holocaust would be alarmed about that, not remain silent and pipe up only when words are used that "offend" her and President Obama.

In fact, the best way to avert a planned Holocaust is by evoking the language of Holocaust. What is so hard to understand about that?  The best way for Paul Revere to announce the British are coming was by warning: “The British Are Coming”. Iran has declared its intentions to wage a Holocaust against Israel. This is “Holocaust” language. They and other Muslim radicals speak of "ovens”. Too many on Obama’s team seem more concerned about the feelings of Obama and Clinton, supporters of the Iran deal, than the actual threat posed to Israel and her population, including Israel’s children who’ll bear the brunt of the incineration. The Clinton and Schultz horror should be directed not at Mr. Huckabee, who truly loves Israel and her people, but at Iran and this dangerously concocted deal.

Let me publicly state: Of the three, Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton, and Mr. Huckabee, the one I bet on for supporting Israel is Mr. Huckabee. He has always been there for Israel and the Jewish people, while the other two have not.

Meanwhile, Ms. Wasserman Schultz has demanded an apology from Mr. Huckabee, doing so in the name of the Jewish people. Well, Mr. Huckabee, you owe this rabbi no apology. I am grateful that you have focused and brought the inherent danger and disaster of this capitulation to the ears of the American people… and the world. It is Debbie Wasserman Schultz who owes the Jewish community an apology for defending anti-Israel Obama polices that are indefensible. It is Wasserman Schultz who warned Prime Minister Netanyahu not to say anything negative about Mr. Obama’s policies that might hurt Democrats in the 2014 election.  It is she who prefers that we Jews be kept in the dark rather than know the truth. She doesn't want us to make informed decisions and thereby push back. She didn’t then in 2012 or 2014 and she doesn't now in 2015, with this Iran betrayal. 

Wasserman Schultz's party loyalty appears to override everything else, including Jewish survival and American survival. She attempted to publicly humiliate Mr. Netanyahu when he came to America to speak, labeling his speech a re-election gimmick, disregarding his need to defend and plead for his people. It is she who owes the Jewish community an apology for consenting to be the attack dog against those who love Israel and the Jewish people, while defending harmful policies if coming from liberals and Democrats. The Talmud says: “Do not use faith as a shovel in service to your own personal ambitions”. Wasserman Schultz invokes “Jewishness” to thwart and nullify our attempts at protecting Israel, and Jews, if it stands in the way of her political ambitions.

Unfortunately, there are a few establishment Jewish organizations that can always be counted on to assail great friends of the Jewish people and Israel. Why? Because they have become arms of the Democrat Party. They long ago traded in concern for Jewish survival for the liberal and Democrat agenda and then have the chutzpah to redefine “Jewishness” as liberalism or Obamaism. By now, most of us simply ignore their predictable, partisan statements.

Mrs. Clinton, Mrs. Wasserman Schultz, and Mr. Obama: if you truly cared about anti-Semitism, you’d be out there denouncing Mr. Kerry for dredging up those tired old canards used by anti-Semites that Jews control Congress and Israel is at fault for harming U.S. foreign policy. Mr. Kerry in recent testimony warned: “Israel will be blamed if the deal doesn’t go through Congress”. Team Obama is whispering some talking points about “Jewish donors”, Congress under Jewish and AIPAC control… hinting about dual loyalty. 

It’s not Mr. Huckabee’s heartfelt emotion regarding a potential Holocaust that bears watching. On the contrary, his words of warning are an expression of love and concern. No, it is those who stand by or participate in smear campaigns, using the oldest, anti-Jewish stereotypes and accusations that are indifferent and worrisome to the Jewish people.

Rabbi Aryeh Spero is author of Push Back as well as Why Israel Matters to You , and is president of Caucus for America.


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

Big-budget Hollywood movie on Benghazi attack due out 2 weeks before Iowa Caucuses - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

Quite clearly, the Americans who died are going to be seen as heroes, and it doesn’t look as though Hillary’s State Department will come off as exactly heroic.

Hillary Clinton isn’t catching a lot of breaks from her former friends in Hollywood.  Or so it seems, considering the fact that big-name, big-budget director Michael Bay is premiering his latest move, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi on January 15, 2016, two hours before the Iowa Caucuses.

You can see the trailer here.

It looks pretty exciting.  Bay is best-known for Transformers, which leads Moe Lane to comment, “It looks … a bit more serious than the stuff that Michael Bay usually does.”  But Bay also has Pearl Harbor on his list of credits.

Quite clearly, the Americans who died are going to be seen as heroes, and it doesn’t look as though Hillary’s State Department will come off as exactly heroic.

Will the demonstrators be portrayed as outraged by an obscure video?  It hardly seems likely, and it wouldn’t be nearly as good a story as the truth.

We have all got to keep our fingers crossed that Hillary’s hold on the nomination endures, for she is getting easier and easier to beat.

Thomas Lifson


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

Obama Cronyism + Your Personal Data = Trouble - Michelle Malkin

by Michelle Malkin

The most far-reaching scandal in Washington that no one wants to talk about.

It's the most far-reaching scandal in Washington that no one wants to talk about: Tens of millions of federal employees had their personal information hacked as a result of Obama administration incompetence and political favoritism.

Ethnic community organizer-turned-Office of Personnel Management head Katherine Archuleta recklessly eschewed basic cybersecurity in favor of politically correct "diversity" initiatives during her disastrous crony tenure. This Beltway business-as-usual created an irresistible opportunity for hackers to reach out and grab massive amounts of sensitive data — compromising everyone from rank-and-file government employees to CIA spies.

Could it get worse? You betcha.

Amid increasing concerns about these massive government computer breaches, the Defense Department is expected to announce the winner of a lucrative high-stakes contract to overhaul the military's electronic health records system this week.

The leading finalist among three top contenders is Epic Systems, a Wisconsin-based health care software company founded and led by top Obama billionaire donor Judy Faulkner. Thanks in significant part to President Obama's $19 billion stimulus subsidy program for health data vendors, Epic is now the dominant EMR player in the U.S. health IT market.

According to Becker's Hospital Review, CVS Caremark's retail clinic chain, MinuteClinic, is now adopting Epic's system, and "when the transition is complete, about 51 percent of Americans will have an Epic record." Other major clients include Kaiser Permanente of Oakland, Calif., Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Arlington-based Texas Health Resources, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, and Duke University Health System in Raleigh, N.C.

As I've reported previously, Epic employees donated nearly $1 million to political parties and candidates between 1995 and 2012 — 82 percent of it to Democrats.

The company's top 10 PAC recipients are all Democratic or left-wing outfits, from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (nearly $230,000) to the DNC Services Corporation (nearly $175,000) and the America's Families First Action Fund Democratic super-PAC ($150,000). Faulkner received a plum appointment to a federal health IT policy panel in 2011. Brandon Glenn of Medical Economics noted that "it's not a coincidence" that Epic's sales "have been skyrocketing in recent years, up to $1.2 billion in 2011, double what they were four years prior."

Stunningly, Epic "has the edge" on the gargantuan Pentagon medical records contract, The Washington Post reported on Monday. This favored status comes despite myriad complaints about the interoperability, usability and security of Epic's closed-end proprietary software. Just last week, the UCLA Health system run by Epic suffered a cyber attack affecting up to 4.5 million personal and medical records, including Social Security numbers, Medicare and health plan identifiers, birthdays, and physical addresses. The university's CareConnect system spans four hospitals and 150 offices across Southern California.

The university's top doctors and medical staff market their informatics expertise and consulting services to other Epic customers "to ensure the successful implementation and optimization of your Epic EHR." Will they be sharing their experience having to mop up the post-cyber attack mess involving their Epic infrastructure?

UCLA Health acknowledged that the hack forced it to "employ more cybersecurity experts on its internal security team, and to hire an outside cybersecurity firm to guard its network," according to CNN.

Now another Obama crony is poised to cash in on her cozy ties and take over the mega-overhaul of millions of Pentagon and Veterans Affairs medical records to the tune of at least $11 billion.

Can you say "Epic fail"?

Michelle Malkin


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

Two brave Democrats publicly oppose the Iran nuclear deal - Ethel C. Fenig

by Ethel C. Fenig

The public details reveal the many American concessions and Iranian gains, as Iranians gleefully chant "Death to America!  Death to Israel!" while burning those countries' flags.  Even some Democrats are beginning to express their doubts of the whole thing. 

As the frightening details of the Iran deal leak out, Secretary of State John Kerry grudgingly admits that the secret side deals with Iran must remain secret.
"I'd like to stick with you, Secretary Kerry," Cotton said. "Why can't we confirm or deny the content of these agreements in public? Why is this classified? It's not a sensitive U.S. government document."
"Because we respect the process of the IAEA and we don't have their authorization to reveal what is a confidential agreement between them and another country," said Kerry.
Cotton said, "So the ayatollahs will know what they agreed to but not the American people?"
The public details reveal the many American concessions and Iranian gains, as Iranians gleefully chant "Death to America!  Death to Israel!" while burning those countries' flags.  Even some Democrats are beginning to express their doubts of the whole thing.  

Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) who represents the neighborhood of Forest Hills in Queens, New York (part of greater New York City), issued a press release thanking Kerry for his efforts but ultimately opposing the deal.
I strongly believe the world could and should have a better deal than that set forth in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which I will therefore oppose. 
While I will continue to study the finer points of the deal, they will not be dispositive for me. I believe the inspections procedures set forth are flawed - leading nuclear experts assert that, pursuant to these procedures, inspectors would not necessarily know whether Iran is manufacturing uranium components for a nuclear weapon. This is unacceptable. Furthermore, I am deeply concerned that almost all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would remain intact; this leads me to believe Iran would simply resume its pursuit of a nuclear weapon at the conclusion of the deal in a decade’s time. Finally, the immediate sanctions relief provided Iran in the deal would incentivize the funding of terrorism and lessen Iran’s interest in restraining its nuclear ambitions over the long term.
I commend President Obama and Secretary Kerry for their efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but the deal before us now is simply too dangerous for the American people. I have every confidence a better deal can be realized.
Meanwhile, on the west coast, Representative Juan Vargas (D-CA), whose district encompasses all of Imperial County and parts of southern San Diego, expressed similar grave doubts, especially for the security of America, in an op-ed in the San Diego Union Tribune.
The president is right; this agreement is historic, but for all the wrong reasons.
The deal fails to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program. It fails to guarantee intrusive enough inspections to ensure that Iran does not cheat, and it fails to keep Iran from achieving nuclear-threshold status. 
This deal is predicated on Iran’s compliance. In exchange for phased and reversible sanctions relief – at approximately $150 billion – the administration promised to cut off Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb. Instead, this agreement gives Iran a rapid payday while legitimizing its path to nuclear-threshold status. Iran has never fully addressed the concerns of international inspectors, and the regime has given us no reason to believe that will change.
By allowing Iran to become a nuclear-threshold state, this deal will spark an arms race in the Middle East, already one of the least stable regions in the world. Saudi Arabia has indicated it may purchase a nuclear weapon from Pakistan. Jordan and Egypt, also historically reliable allies for the United States, have both worked with Russia to build their own nuclear power plants this year. Likewise, this agreement does nothing to halt Iran’s aggressive imperialism in the Middle East. As the deal’s advocates took a victory lap after the announcement, Hezbollah’s leader agreed with them. Hasan Nasrallah said, “Iran will become `richer and wealthier and will also become more influential. (snip)
Rather than demand Iran’s bad behavior be corrected, this agreement rewards it. In Iran, they’re calling the coming payday a “nuclear feast.” And we know what the main course at that feast will be – terrorism. Iran has spent decades directing and funding terrorism against the United States and our allies.
Supporters of this agreement believe that relieving sanctions and legitimizing this regime will moderate them. That didn’t work with North Korea, and it won’t work with Iran. This strategy is doomed to fail, and this deal is destined to be remembered as a mistake.
For months the administration has told us that “a bad deal is worse than no deal.” Now the message seems to be that it is better to support than oppose this bad deal because it is the best we could get. I disagree. If this deal is approved, it will lock us into bad results that far outweigh its benefits. (snip)
I intend to stand up and vote against this deal. This is not a partisan issue. This is an issue of our national security, and the security of our allies and I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this deal and press for a better deal that will truly end Iran’s nuclear weapons program and make the world safer.
Interestingly, these two Democratic outspoken opponents are considered minorities – Meng is an Asian-American woman, Vargas a Mexican-American male – groups that normally would be most loyal to a Democratic president.  Commendably, their concern for the welfare of their constituents and the good of our country outweighs blind loyalty.  Hopefully more Democrats – minorities, majorities, males, females – will do the same.  

Hat tip: Cheryl Jacobs Lewin

Ethel C. Fenig


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

Open Letter to the Archbishop of Westminster - Denis MacEoin

by Denis MacEoin

  • With Islam, how it is possible to dialogue with a faith that denies the divinity of Christ, regards the Bible as corrupt, believes that all Christians are the inferiors of Muslims and are destined to hell fire? What is there to talk about if both sides are to be honest about their beliefs?
  • When members of ISIS murder apostates, it is hard to condemn them, as that is what the Prophet did. When they take slave girls as war booty, that is what the Prophet did. Waging jihad is an injunction in many chapters of the Qur'an.
  • I do not know what copy of the Qur'an Pope Francis has been shown, but it is clearly very different to any copy in my possession, whether the original Arabic or a translation.
  • When hate preachers in British mosques convey a violent or intolerant message to their congregants, they do so by quoting the Qur'an as the Word of God, thereby sanctioning acts of jihad. To ignore this is to hamper us in our efforts to bring Muslims into peaceful relations with the West, with all non-Muslims and especially with one another.
  • What was striking was that, instead of successive generations of Muslims becoming better integrated into British society, the younger they are, the more radical they become. Apparently the majority of Muslims do not feel particularly progressive.
  • Only 34% of British Muslims believe the Holocaust happened. 62% of Muslims here do not support freedom of speech. Only 7% of Muslims in the UK consider themselves as British first. CSP Poll this year reported that 38% of Muslim-Americans say Islamic State (ISIS) beliefs are Islamic or correct. Figures such these are indicative of a wider level of acceptance of extreme ideas than your comments and those of many politicians suggest.

On June 19, when Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, spoke at the 2015 Global Security Forum in Bratislava, one section (under the heading 'Clarity') drew widespread attention from the media and politicians, and from some the religious realm.

In that passage, Cameron spoke about the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, or, in Arabic, Da'ish). "In ISIL," he started, "we have one of the biggest threats our world has faced." He went on to express concern about the way in which young British Muslims were being drawn into the ISIS web through the internet or within their communities:
The cause is ideological. It is an Islamist extremist ideology -- one that says the West is bad and democracy is wrong that women are inferior, that homosexuality is evil. It says religious doctrine trumps the rule of law and Caliphate trumps nation state and it justifies violence in asserting itself and achieving its aims.The question is: how do people arrive at this worldview?
How does someone who has had all the advantages of a British or a European schooling, a loving family, the freedom and equality that allow them to be who they want to be turn to a tyrannical, murderous, evil regime?
There are, of course, many reasons – and to tackle them we have to be clear about them. I am clear that one of the reasons is that there are people who hold some of these views who don't go as far as advocating violence, but who do buy into some of these prejudices giving the extreme Islamist narrative weight and telling fellow Muslims, "you are part of this".
This paves the way for young people to turn simmering prejudice into murderous intent. To go from listening to firebrand preachers online to boarding a plane to Istanbul and travelling onward to join the jihadis. We've always had angry young men and women buying into supposedly revolutionary causes. This one is evil; it is contradictory; it is futile – but it is particularly potent today.
I think part of the reason it's so potent is that it has been given this credence.
So if you're a troubled boy who is angry at the world, or a girl looking for an identity, for something to believe in and there's something that is quietly condoned online, or perhaps even in parts of your local community, then it's less of a leap to go from a British teenager to an ISIL fighter or an ISIL wife, than it would be for someone who hasn't been exposed to these things.
For what may be the first time, a head of state dared to make a connection between ordinary Muslims and extremism, by arguing that fundamentalist views might be quietly condoned online, or perhaps even in parts of a local Muslim community.

A report written in 2007 by this author for the British think tank Policy Exchange, titled "The Hijacking of British Islam," exposed the existence of hate literature in mosques across the UK. As soon as it was published, all hell broke loose, and everything possible was done to pretend that our evidence had been somehow faked. Many British writers and journalists such as Douglas Murray, Samuel Westrop and myself have tried over the years to draw attention to the realities of Islamic ideology and practice in schools, shari'a courts, and in politics, but we were severally rebuffed.

But now, over one thousand young British men and women have travelled to Syria and Iraq to support the Islamic State, and it is becoming clear to everyone that something is amiss -- not with British society, values or aspirations, but in parts of our two million strong Muslim community. Innes Bowen's study of the UK Muslim population, "Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam," shows in some detail just where these radical influences may come from.

Inevitably, Cameron's references to the Muslim community brought condemnation from the usual suspects (and one unusual one). Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of a Muslim think tank, the Ramadhan Foundation, found the remarks "deeply offensive." The Muslim Council of Britain found Cameron's statement "wrong and counter-productive." In a radio interview, Muslim Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi argued that, "To make the comparison he has done the way he has done, it is not only unhelpful but actually wrong." Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who sits in the House of Lords, described the speech as "misguided" and "demoralizing."

That Muslim leaders might respond this way was not surprising. Muslims in the UK, with several notable exceptions such as Haras Rafiq and Majid Nawaz, have been in denial for decades, and show few signs of facing up to the dangers facing them any time soon.

The unusual rebuke came, not from a Muslim, but from Britain's most important Catholic prelate, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster. Speaking on LBC Radio on the day of Cameron's speech, the Archbishop spoke unfavourably about the Prime Minister's remarks on Muslims. His remarks bear quoting almost in full here:

The interviewer started by saying that "he [Cameron] seems to be laying this squarely at the door of the Muslim community. Too many people in the UK are sliding into violent extremism. He's warned that British Muslims risk quietly condoning ISIS. Do you think that's fair?"

To this, Nichols answered:
No. I think the community is a very diverse community. I was at a Muslim meeting last Saturday week. It was a Shi'a Muslim meeting. It was looking at dialogue and how people live together. And then they were absolute in their condemnation of ISIS. So there are many voices, Muslim voices in this country, that condemn ISIS and condemn it absolutely. We don't hear those [voices] in the public media very often, but they're there. It is an enormous challenge to Islam in this country, and I know many of the Muslim leaders are deeply, deeply concerned about this. I would say for most of them and the families they represent, they feel a bit helpless in terms of the access to the Internet and to that whole seduction and manipulation that goes on. I think they need help with that.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster (center). Image source: Catholic Church England and Wale

On the face of it, the Archbishop's remarks are worthy of respect, since he is active in interfaith work and considers it to be his mission, like that of the current Pope Francis, to work for peace and conciliation. But interfaith work can often be marred by an underlying refusal to come clean about beliefs that contradict those of others.

With Islam, I have to ask how it is possible to dialogue with a faith that denies the divinity of Christ, denies that he was crucified or resurrected, denies the Trinity, denies Mary as the mother of God, denies the belief in original sin and salvation through Christ, regards the Bible as corrupt, believes that all Christians are the inferiors of Muslims and are destined to hell fire? What is there to talk about if both sides are to be honest about their beliefs?

Even if a majority of Muslims may be concerned about extremism in their midst, there are reasons to think that David Cameron's view is close to the mark: that some Muslims unwittingly or wittingly condone what goes on because much of it is in keeping with the Qur'an, the hadith [traditions], the Shari'a law books, and Islamic practice from the time of Muhammad.

Here is what I wrote. I await his reply.
An open letter to
His Eminence Vincent Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

Your Eminence,
I have listened with interest to your interview last Friday on LBC Radio, when you were asked to comment on David Cameron's speech at the 2015 Globsec conference in Bratislava, specifically his remarks concerning British Muslims and the role he wants them to take in defeating the radicalization of Muslim youth. You took issue with him, and gave reasons for a different approach to the problem.
May I comment on the things you said in turn? I write as someone with a lifetime's experience with Islam and Islamic Studies. My second degree was a four-year MA from Edinburgh University in Persian, Arabic and Islamic History, when I studied the life of Muhammad and the Qur'an (in Arabic) with the late William Montgomery Watt, the world's leading authority on both subjects at that time. I also have a PhD from Cambridge in Persian Studies, researching aspects of Iranian Shi'ism. I have taught Arabic-English translation and Islamic civilization in Morocco and Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University. I have written many books, academic articles, entries for scholarly encyclopaedias (including the second edition of The Encyclopaedia of Islam).
More pertinent to what I want to say here is my authorship of think tank reports on hate literature found in British mosques, on Shari'a law in the UK, and two reports on Muslim schools in this country, when I was the first person to identify the problems revealed by the Trojan Horse scandal.
I say all this, not to brag, but to show that I come to this subject as an informed and experienced commentator. I am, as much as yourself, an active opponent of genuine Islamophobia, but not of honest criticism of Islam, whether from religious or secular points of view. I have often collaborated with and written about Muslim reformers here and abroad, and I regard them as the chief hope of the Muslim community in the years to come. And I frequently criticize the treatment of such fresh thinkers by Islamist governments, whether in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, or elsewhere.
I also take a deep interest in the fate of the Baha'i community of Iran, a religious group I have studied and written about for many years. I fear that the Shi'a meeting you attended recently would have asked you to leave had you spoken up in defence of the Baha'is and asked for an end to their persecution. You say you spoke about dialogue and how people live together. Shi'a Muslims almost to a man curse the Baha'is in their prayers and support the Iranian government's treatment of them. They are, may I say it, often vociferous in their hatred for Jews as well.
Like yourself, I have great hopes for Muslims, above all in their integration within this country and their adjustment to the British way of life while retaining those aspects of their faith that blend best with our own values -- notably their spirituality, prayerfulness, and their pursuit of the various cultural achievements they bring here, from Qawwali music to one of the highest art forms of all civilization: Arabic and Persian calligraphy.
But I fear I am not as sanguine as you are about the possibilities of finding genuine opposition to radicalism. Some form of intolerance, and acceptance of violence, seems to pervade so many Muslim communities around the globe. You say, "there are many voices, Muslim voices in this country that condemn ISIS and condemn it absolutely." That is undoubtedly true, but Muslim voices openly condemning radicalism remain muted, especially within the more closely knit communities, not least those where hate preachers still lecture in the mosques and intolerant literature is still to be found. As you yourself say, "we don't hear those [voices] in the public media very often." You add that "many of the Muslim leaders are deeply, deeply concerned about this." But rather more Muslim leaders, especially those from Deobandi, Salafi, Wahhabi, Muslim Brotherhood and similar circles do not seem at all concerned.
There is a simple reason. All Muslims, if they are at all pious, believe that the Qur'an is the unassailable Word of God, dictated by the angel Gabriel to Muhammad. They also believe that it is a complete and perfect transcript of a book that has existed with God for all eternity. Sunni Muslims (and Shi'is using a different corpus) believe that the ahadith -- the passages of hadith literature recording the sayings and actions of Muhammad -- are beyond criticism, since centuries of scholarship have winnowed out anything unauthentic. And all Muslims, however diverse their origins, believe that the Sira, the historical biography of the Prophet, reveals words and actions that serve as models for the behaviour of all believers.
Salafi Muslims, who are the most radical, are far from a modern suddenness. They believe that Muslims must act in accordance with the path laid down by the Prophet and his companions (the salaf), the first three generations who lived in Muhammad's lifetime.
Where does this lead? No Muslim may criticize or seek to re-interpret the Qur'an (some who have tried have been killed), the six canonical hadith volumes, or the behaviour of the Prophet and his companions. When members of ISIS murder apostates, therefore, it is hard to condemn the ISIS members, as that is what the Prophet did. When they take slave girls as war booty, that is what the Prophet did. When they impose the jizya or poll tax on Christians, or execute any who refuse to pay it, that is what the Prophet and his companions did. Waging jihad is an injunction in many chapters of the Qur'an. Taking concubines as part of war booty is ordered explicitly in the Qur'an. Killing non-Muslims who take up arms against the Muslims is repeatedly urged in the Qur'an. Killing apostates is enjoined by a Tradition in the most authentic book of hadith, the Sahih al-Bukhari. Beheading those deemed to have acted against the Muslims is an act approved of by Muhammad, famously when he allowed the beheading of some 700 male members of the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza.
Of course, many Muslims in this country are horrified by the things ISIS fighters do, above all by the non-Qur'anic punishments they carry out, such as killing Christians and others without offering them a chance for conversion, killing Muslims who have opposed them without giving them an opportunity to repent, or burning a prisoner alive. But where extremists act in accordance with Islamic law or scriptural commandments, criticism is far harder to express. I have heard only the tiniest number of British Muslims condemn Hamas, its terror tactics or its covenant to kill all Jews in the world.
After the terror recent attacks in Tunisia, Paris and Kuwait, David Cameron said that these had nothing to do with Islam and that "Islam is a religion of peace." This is a frequent assertion by politicians. It has also been echoed by Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," in which he writes: "Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence."
Much as I respect Pope Francis and find him a man of goodwill and understanding, I fear I find him much mistaken in this. It is a simple fact of Qur'an commentary, since the earliest period until today, that early, Meccan verses, which express a tolerant and peace-loving attitude, although applicable within the Muslim community, have been abrogated by later, Medinan, verses, which call for jihad, the beheading of non-Muslims, outright hatred for Jews and Christians, generalized hatred for all non-Muslims (who are destined for hellfire), and the need to use violence to impose Islamic rule across the world.
I do not know what copy of the Qur'an Pope Francis has been shown, but it is clearly very different to any copy in my possession, whether the original Arabic or a translation. When hate preachers in British mosques convey a violent or intolerant message to their congregants, they do so by quoting the Qur'an as the Word of God, thereby sanctioning acts of jihad. And the history of "authentic Islam" has been a constant story of acts of violence punctuated by periods of peacefulness within the Islamic realm. Muhammad led jihad armies and sent others out -- that history is regarded by all Muslims as "authentic." The first four caliphs (authentic to all Sunni Muslims) directed major campaigns of conquest that finally brought Muslim armies to India in the East, and the Iberian peninsula, the south of France, southern Italy and to the gates of Vienna.
The Ottoman Empire, between 1346 and 1918, conquered and enslaved much of Eastern Europe. Even several of the mystical Sufi orders, thought by many to be non-violent, fought jihad wars in North Africa, the Caucasus and elsewhere. From the 18th to the 20th century, jihad wars were waged against heretical Muslims and Westerners in India, Algeria, Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, Libya, British Mandate Palestine, against Israel, and in Arabia (twice). Today's wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere are a powerful testimony to the attractions of fundamentalist Islam.
There are many kinds of jihad, but violent jihad -- war in the cause of Islam -- has been constant throughout Islamic history. To that extent, Islam and violence are far more closely associated with each other scripturally and historically than in any other religion. To ignore this is to hamper us in our efforts to bring Muslims into peaceful relations with the West, with all non-Muslims and especially with one another.
It also does not help if we ignore another basic Islamic doctrine, something called Al-wala' wa'l-bara' -- meaning something like "loyalty and enmity," as it has been translated in several English-language Muslim publications issued in the UK. While the real meaning is more complex, what it amounts to is an assertion that Muslims must have as little as possible to do with non-Muslims. Muslims should not celebrate Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries or anything else with their non-Muslim workmates or neighbours. They must not take part in interfaith gatherings where they may be called on to compromise their faith. They must expose the falsehoods of Christianity and Judaism (based on passages in the Qur'an that treat both the Old and New Testaments as hopelessly corrupt); deny the sonship and godhood of Jesus; reject the crucifixion; condemn monks and priests, and so on. This doctrine has been widely preached and published in this country. It represents a significant challenge to your own interfaith work. Even the most moderate and companionable Muslims find it impossible to deny these things, because to do so would mean denying the veracity of the Word of God.
Those who ignore such passages in the Qur'an are to be commended for making an effort to engage with non-believers, but as often as not, doing so becomes a challenge to their faith or brings them closer to secularism.
Many convert to Christianity, but in doing so they expose themselves to threats or acts of violence from their families and other local Muslims. Many converts have paid the ultimate price.
There is strong statistical evidence to show that more than a negligible number of Muslims in the West subscribe to what we consider radical views. In survey after survey, polls taken by well-regarded agencies such as Pew, NOP World (a UK company now within the German Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung [GfK], one of the top five marketing research organizations in the world), the British public opinion researcher ICM Research, the Center for Security Policy, Policy Exchange, and Civitas show high figures for support for violence, honour killings, stoning adulterers, executing apostates and much else. There is far too much material to discuss in any detail here, but a thorough compilation of such findings is available. The figures are worrying in the UK, but grow even more alarming when surveys are conducted in Muslim countries.
In 2007, the conservative British Think Tank, Policy Exchange, published a groundbreaking survey of Muslim attitudes in the UK, "Living Apart Together: British Muslims and the paradox of multiculturalism." What was striking in it was that, instead of successive generations of Muslims becoming better integrated into British society, the younger they are the more radical they become. Overall, 53% of Muslims prefer Muslim women to wear a veil. Only 16% of 45-54-year-olds prefer shari'a to UK law, but this rises to 37% of 16-24-year-olds. Conversely, 75% of those aged 45-54 prefer UK law, but this drops to 50% of 16-24s. 56% of this youngest generation insist that a Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim; 56% insist that a woman may not marry without the consent of her male guardian (father, brother, uncle); 52% say a man may have up to four wives, a woman only one husband; 36% believe apostasy is punishable by death; 71% insist that homosexuality is wrong and should be illegal. Whereas 56% of 45-54 year-olds want some reform of shari'a law, this drops to 37% of 16-24 year-olds. While a mere 2% of 45-54s support al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, this rises to 13% among the youngest.
These numbers go some way to confirming Sarfraz Manzoor's conclusion that apparently the majority of Muslims do not feel particularly progressive, especially in areas such as permitting homosexuality, mixing with members of the opposite sex, in reining in the application shari'a law.
The Policy Exchange survey must be read in its entirety. It is long, detailed, and sophisticated in its nuance. Overall, a majority of Muslims seem to be well integrated and do express loyalty to Great Britain. We should not go too far in claiming there are no progressives or that they are not in large numbers. But it remains worrying that the younger generations are clearly much less well-integrated than their fathers and grandparents.
Most immigrant communities go in the other direction. According to a 2011 report on integration by the US Migration Policy Institute, "Full integration into U.S. society and economy generally takes more than one generation, with children of immigrants reliably outperforming their parents in educational attainment, occupational status, wealth, and home ownership. Residential segregation also decreases between first and second generations, and rates of intermarriage between ethnic and racial groups increase. Language proficiency improves dramatically as well." Clearly, this does not seem to apply as strongly among British Muslims, and a similar pattern can be seen across Europe.
Other surveys are even more disturbing. An ICM Unlimited poll in 2006 found that a full 40% of British Muslims wanted shari'a law and that as many as 20% approved of London's 7/7 bombings. The 7/7 bombers seemed to be well-integrated young men, with jobs and educational qualifications. An NOP World Ltd. survey at the same time put the figure of support higher, at 25%. In 2005, the Federation of Islamic Students in the UK indicated that one in five Muslim students would not report other Muslims known to be planning terror attacks.
CSP Poll this year reported that 38% of Muslim-Americans say Islamic State (ISIS) beliefs are Islamic or correct. A 2010 survey of 600 Muslim students at 30 universities throughout Britain found that 32% of Muslim respondents believed that killing in the name of religion is justified; and that 40% wanted shari'a law. A 2006 NOP Research survey showed that as many as 78% of British Muslims supported punishing the publishers of Muhammad cartoons. The same survey found that fully 29% of British Muslims would "aggressively defend" Islam. It also showed that 68% of British Muslims support the arrest and prosecution of anyone who insults Islam. When compared with the views of Christians and Jews, this is a very high figure indeed. One in ten British Muslims supports honour killings.
This is only support for violence. There are other areas for concern. Only 34% of British Muslims believe the Holocaust happened. 51% believe a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim. 62% of Muslims here do not support free speech. Only 7% of Muslims in the UK consider themselves as British first: with the passage of so many generations now, this is a disturbing indication of non-integration. 54% believe a Muslim man may marry up to four wives. 61% want homosexuality punished. According to Pew (2011) 21% of Muslim-Americans say there is a fair to great amount of support for Islamic extremism in their community. 43% of Muslim-Americans believe people of other faiths have no right to evangelize Muslims. That, of course, includes the Catholic Church. In 2013, 1 in 3 Muslims in Austria said it is not possible to be a European and a Muslim, and 22% oppose democracy.
I have, I fear, gone on too long citing statistics. But figures such these are indicative of a wider level of acceptance of extreme ideas than your comments and those of many politicians suggest. I do not envy you in your work to find reconciliation, and I do commend your efforts in seeking solutions to this problem, now a problem of overwhelming proportions across the world. Nothing here is remotely Islamophobic, insofar as it is based wholly on a direct reading of Islamic scripture and texts, of Islamic history, and of statistics for modern developments and attitudes. I do, therefore, ask you to take some measure of my comments simply on their own merits. My arguments are not subtle, and of course there are many other perspectives on all the matters covered here. As a professional, however, who has spent a lifetime studying many facets of Islam, perhaps my views deserve to be taken into account alongside the important work you do to secure closer relations with those sections of Britain's Muslim community, who show themselves willing and even eager to forge close ties with their fellow citizens, regardless of faith or its absence.
Apologies for subjecting you to such a lengthy exposition, but I simply hope that you will see that David Cameron did not speak out of turn when he expressed concern at Bratislava.
With best wishes,
Dr. Denis MacEoin

Denis MacEoin was born in Belfast, where he learned at first hand the dangers of religious strife


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