Saturday, December 12, 2015

Intellectual State of Emergency: The Occupied Territories of Progressive Thought - Jacques Tarnero

by Jacques Tarnero

  • Who are today's racists?
  • A "March for Dignity" recently assembled outraged "anti-racists," who shouted insults in the name of universal love.
  • It was in the name of anti-racism that the progressives chanted "death to Jews" at the UN's Durban conference against racism in 2001.
  • Every week, the Place de la République has seen the roaring processions of the Sheikh Yassin Collective, inciting the hatred of Jews. Did anyone even care?
  • These "progressives" were strangely silent while a quarter of a million people were killed in Syria, while Yazidi women were sold into slavery, or when a new Caliph ordered the massacre of thousands in the name of Allah, or the mutilation and murder of Christians who refused to convert. Is that kind of behavior nothing more than bad taste?
  • Today the new virus of prejudice has two faces: brandishing a knife and trying to appear as innocent as a lamb.
  • The suffering of the Arabs, of the Palestinians and of the suburban youth is real, but will be alleviated only if there is first a critical examination of the delusional views on what is causing it. Neither the Jews nor Israel are at the root of this suffering.
The massacre perpetrated on November 13th in Paris was predictable and announced; only those who refuse to see things that clash with their ideological beliefs do not understand this. The ideological denial of reality remains the main reason for our inability to fight terrorists, whom many do not dare admit are Islamists.

For months now, our hatred has been directed only at those who have been urging us to open our eyes and call things by their real names. For months now, the demands not to associate an entire population with a few extremists, as well as calls to "stop Islamophobia," have been forcing us to close down our minds.

But who has been making this connection in the first place? Who actually are today's racists?
Every week, the Place de la République in Paris has seen the roaring processions of the Sheikh Yassin Collective, inciting the hatred of Jews. Did anyone even care? Recently, a "march for dignity" assembled outraged anti-racists, who shouted insults in the name of universal love, anti-racism and "fraternity" against several prominent Jewish philosophers and journalists, including Bernard-Henri Lévy, Éric Zemmour and Alain Finkielkraut.

Members of the "Sheikh Yassin Collective" demonstrate in support of Hamas, in Paris, on August 30, 2014.

What is this taste for hatred on full display in public debates, as well as on the streets of Paris? Some youths who adopted a Nazi identity are having a nostalgic sit-in on the Boulevard Saint Germain. They are demanding, right in the midst of the Latin Quarter, that the "Talmudist BHL" (Bernard-Henri Lévy) be expelled from the country -- and no one bats an eye.

When the multi-racial crowd, "Marching for Dignity," the supposed protectors of our universal conscience, descend into the streets to protest the pain and suffering of the offended, they denounce "racism" against "victims" -- usually non-French citizens of non-French origins: Muslims, Arabs, black Africans and others from the former French colonies -- all victims of a supposedly dominant "Islamophobia."[1]

In the midst of all these compassionate anti-racists, the Hamas flag -- from a group we all know to be so charitable and benevolent -- is unfurled. No one denies that there is racism in France but what is this French version of the Nation of Islam, in which suburban Black Panthers declare their hatred for France and the French?

They, who call themselves "Les Indigènes de la République," [Non-Ethnic French Citizens] take full advantage of the reigning anti-racist indignation. Today, no one dares to declare himself a "racist." Racism is the primordial evil. This struggle against racism is the first step toward a new awareness. Today, everyone is anti-racist except for those who practice a kind of "State racism." This idea, which corrupts history and is based on lies, today takes the place of Holocaust denial. The difference today is that these "Indigènes de la République" mobilize people from the projects under the benevolent guise of anti-racism.

There seems to be some confusion. That neo-Nazis denounce the Jews is nothing new, but what of the offended anti-racists who are "not Charlie"? What is the meaning of these slogans splashed across the protest signs of those "Marches for Dignity"? Who are these anti-racists denouncing "white power," while they assemble in the name of ethnic diversity? What demon possesses these people the minute the name of Israel is pronounced or the Star of David makes its appearance?

In the summer of 2015, the City of Paris invited the City of Tel Aviv as a partner for Paris's month-long "Paris Plage" (Paris Beach) event. That was all it took for a Mrs. Simmonet, an elected official from the left, to go into "progressive" fits and an anti-fascist stupor. "Shame on the City of Paris! Obscene invitation, etc. Inviting a colonial racist country, etc.!" We have never heard Mrs. Simmonet denounce trade between France and China, Egypt, Iran, Qatar, or Saudi Arabia, for instance.

"Is the mention of Israel pornographic?" one man says. Some people verge on hysteria, as if the mere mention of the word is a breach of global etiquette. These "progressives" were strangely silent while a quarter of a million people were killed in Syria, while Yazidi women were sold into slavery. They were quiet when two hundred schoolgirls were abducted in Nigeria, and when a new Caliph, in the name of Allah, ordered the massacre of thousands in Iraq or the mutilation and murder of Christians who refused to convert. Is that kind of behavior nothing more than bad taste?

However, if Israel expresses its concerns to the UN regarding explicit plans for its own annihilation by another country and member of this same UN, the exalted Human Rights Commission (in which our dear friend, Saudi Arabia, participates) hastens to denounce the savagery of the Jewish state.

Since the 1970s, anti-Zionism has managed to mainstream ancient racist Jew-hate. This new virus has now supplanted the even more ancient virus of hating Jews as individuals -- a bigotry that led to their massacre, burning, expulsion, and the destruction of their books. It also led to baseless accusations, collective blame for all sorts of ills, blanket condemnation, and finally to their being gassed. At its peak, under Nazism, this hatred then regressed over 20 years, but at the end of the 1960s, it began mutating, and the word "Israel" took on a repellent character no one could have foreseen.

This racist mutation was completed at a UN conference in Durban, South Africa in 2001, when the old, unmentionable antisemitism was merged with a new, liberating anti-Zionism. It was in the name of anti-racism that the progressives chanted "death to Jews" at the UN conference against racism.
This disease of the mind seems extraordinarily mutable, with the capacity to reproducing under different guises. Today the new virus has two faces: brandishing a knife, and trying to appear as innocent as a lamb.

Why raise the recurring issue of hatred for the Jews now, a hatred which has turned into hatred for Israel? Because this is at the heart of this current rabid insanity. Because it is the seed of hatred that the Islamists have planted against Western civilization. What more can be said that has not already been said? Why are hundreds of thousands of people drinking from the cup of this religion that dares not say its name?

This hatred for Israel takes on the same characteristics in the 21st century as the collective medieval belief that blamed the Jews for the bubonic plague. Remember when sharks began attacking tourists in Sharm el-Sheikh, and the Egyptian director of tourism placed the blame on the Mossad? He claimed it had trained these killer sharks so that tourists would flee Egypt and harm its economy; no one has yet explained how the sharks were trained not to eat Egyptians.

"Pro-Palestinians" often do not really care about Palestine. For them, this truly compelling cause is nothing more than fiction: it is hatred for Israel that mobilizes them.

The basic reproach was formulated, simply, by the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Israel, he said,would be "illegitimate" -- meaning it has no right to exist. That is indeed what is being said or thought: Israel, nobody wants you. Please disappear. The world would be so peaceful if it were not for your wrench in the works.

When the journalist Edwy Plenel, the self-proclaimed vigilante against the lies of the government, quoted Nelson Mandela in order to condemn Israel, the quote was discovered to be totally made up. "If I have committed a factual error," he said, "at least I was politically correct!"

During the fall of 2015, the French newspaper Le Monde led the charge against the hidden source of all of our political ills. What worries our anti-fascist vigilantes is the threat of the Front National, led by Marine Le Pen, as well as that popular thought leaning toward the right. Those who are leading this shift to the right must therefore, according to Daniel Lindenbergh, be named and called out. They are Michel Houellebecq, Éric Zemmour and Alain Finkielkraut. How does this view contaminate the mind? Read their works. In France there is no worse insult than being called a racist, but in intellectual circles it is even worse to be called a "reac" (reactionary). If you have murdered your mother and father, there will always be some sort of reason, however subtle, for your actions. But to be called a "reac" is too harsh. It is unbearable. The "reac" thinker is now the new enemy.

The thinkers have found a new home, and the left a new dogma. Here, in order of top priority, is France's greatest enemy: those-intellectuals-who-are-used-by-the-Front-National and who must be flushed out and their names added to the blacklist.[2] What would become of enlightened thinking without the illusory safety of the Front National? The specter of "the darkest years of our history" of the 1940s is often used by those who claim to be Enlightened and to represent universal love.

So here is the predictable return of the already seen, read and heard Fascist menace -- this prefabricated artificial idea that invents radical enemies to avoid dealing with complexities it pretends to understand. [3]

More recently, another incident added to this reversal of causes and responsibilities. The historian Georges Bensoussan is at risk of being summoned by the MRAP (Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples) "before a criminal court for racial slurs and incitement to hatred and racial violence." The reason is apparently having dared to bring up the antisemitism that is commonplace in the Arabic and Muslim culture in the Maghreb.[4]

If the Republic suffers today in so many areas riddled with such a brotherly hatred, it is because it refuses to face the evil that is devouring it. The suffering of the Arabs, of the Palestinians and of the suburban youth is real, but will be alleviated only if there is first a critical examination of the delusional views on what is causing it. Neither the Jews nor Israel is at the root of this suffering. What is causing it is what happened to this culture -- born from Islam, or from Arabic heritage -- always to place the blame elsewhere when it is itself the source of the current disaster. It is not Israel that is bombing and starving the Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Syria. The historian Bernard Lewis asked the timely question "What Went Wrong?" to cause this heritage to go so far astray? Placing the blame elsewhere was the answer.

This failure of thought not only affects the Arabic and Muslim world. It also affects the ideas of the progressives.

Would the 21st century see the posthumous victory of Comrade Stalin? Have we not learned the lessons of the blinded intellectuals in front of seductive totalitarian ideologies? One fears that the ideological denial of facts -- in exchange for demanded intellectual opium for "unity" -- will remain the norm. These dogmas, even in the name of progressivism and anti-racism, do not eliminate evil, they only lead to deeper graves. Run, Comrade. Graves might be behind you, but the cutthroats are out in front.
Jacques Tarnero, affiliated with the Cité des sciences et de l'Industie, Paris, specializes in the study of racism.
This article was originally published in a slightly different form in French. Gatestone is most grateful to the author for his kind permission to publish it in English.

[1] Quoting the spokesperson for the Indigènes de la République
[2] Which the historian Daniel Lindenberg is getting ready to publish.
[3] On the heels of the Charlie Hebdo and Jewish supermarket attacks, Philippe Lioret, director of the movie "Welcome," a film about the conditions of illegal migrants in France in 2008, stated on France Inter radio: "I have had this idea for a while that I never hear in the news. Who, historically, is responsible for this crisis? The Six Day War for example. In 1967, the Israelis entered into West Bank and Gaza. They dispossessed the Palestinians. Wasn't this the beginning of a terrible transformation of the Arabic identity that brings today this type of Islamic fundamentalism (...) The West is always to blame. The ones with the money," he concludes,"are the ones that decide."
[4] A petition signed by about twenty people was sent to the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (the French TV and radio regulatory body) to decry the statements made by Bensoussan during a debate with Patrick Weil during a program called "Répliques" hosted by Alain Finkielkraut on France Culture on Saturday, October 10, 2015.

Jacques Tarnero, affiliated with the Cité des sciences et de l'Industie, Paris, specializes in the study of racism.


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

Palestinians' Biggest Tragedy: Failed Leadership - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

  • It was recently reported that the commander of the Islamic State (ISIS) branch in Sinai held talks in the Gaza Strip with leaders of Hamas's armed wing, the Ezaddin al-Qassam Brigades, about expanding their cooperation.
  • President Abbas does not seem to care whether the Palestinians of Gaza are turned into hostages and prisoners. He is probably hoping that the crisis will drive Palestinians to revolt against the Hamas regime, paving the way for his PA to return to the Gaza Strip.
  • Instead of trying to solve the Gaza crisis, Abbas is too busy waging a diplomatic war against Israel. He wants to file "war crimes" charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court -- ignoring the fact that he and Hamas are responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.
  • The Palestinians ignore the fact that their biggest tragedy over the past few decades has been (and remains) their failed and corrupt leadership that is willing to sacrifice them for its own interests.
Since June 2013, the Rafah border crossing, the sole crossing point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, has been closed for most of the time.

Since the beginning of 2015, the Egyptian authorities have opened the Rafah terminal for a total of only 21 days.

Last week, the Egyptians opened the border crossing for two days, allowing a few hundred Palestinians to cross in both directions.

Last year, by contrast, the terminal was open for a total of 123 days, and in 2013 for 263 days.

These figures indicate that the Egyptians have stepped up security measures along their shared border with the Gaza Strip over the past few years.

In addition to the continued closure of the Rafah terminal, the Egyptian army continues to destroy dozens of smuggling tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. In recent weeks, the Egyptians have been pumping seawater into the tunnels, causing most of them to collapse.

The Egyptians have good reason to be concerned about the smuggling tunnels -- especially in light of increased Islamist terror attacks against Egyptian soldiers and civilians in the Sinai Peninsula. Reports about cooperation between Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and the Islamist terror groups in Sinai, have also prompted the Egyptians to keep the Rafah terminal shut for most of the time.

Left: The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Right: A Gazan man works in a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border, which was flooded by the Egyptian army.

A report on Israel's Channel 2 last week revealed that Shadi al-Munei, commander of the Islamic State (ISIS) branch in Sinai, recently visited the Gaza Strip for secret talks with Hamas leaders.

According to the report, the ISIS commander held talks with leaders of Hamas's armed wing, the Ezaddin al-Qassam Brigades, about expanding the cooperation between the two groups.

But there is another reason the Egyptians insist on keeping the Rafah terminal shut, leaving thousands of Palestinians stranded on both sides of the border: the ongoing power struggle between Hamas and Fatah.

Before blaming the Egyptians for the predicament of the residents of the Gaza Strip, Palestinians need, for a change, to hold their leaders responsible for their continued suffering.

In recent weeks, it has become evident that the Hamas-Fatah dispute is the main reason behind the continued closure of the Rafah border crossing.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi does not trust Hamas; that is the reason he is not prepared to reopen the terminal on a permanent basis.

Sisi recently told Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas that Egypt would be prepared to reopen the terminal permanently only if Hamas relinquishes control over the Palestinian side of the border and allows PA forces to take control of it, as was the situation before the summer of 2007, when the Islamist movement seized control over the entire Gaza Strip.

While Sisi does not trust Hamas, it is worth noting that Hamas does not trust the PA and Abbas. Hamas does not want to see Abbas's security forces return to the Gaza Strip in any way, even if that means keeping thousands of Palestinians stranded on both sides of the border and living in an open-air prison.

"Hamas will never hand control over the terminal to the filthy hands that betrayed the Palestinians," explained Salah Bardaweel, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip. "Hamas can't sell its people to these hands, regardless of the price." He also claimed that Palestinians from the Gaza Strip have been paying bribes to PA officials in the West Bank to obtain permission from the Egyptian authorities to cross through the Rafah terminal.

By refusing to cede control over the border crossing with Egypt, Hamas is in fact holding the entire population of the Gaza Strip as hostages. Hamas is saying, "We either continue to manage the Rafah terminal, or no one leaves or enters the Gaza Strip." The most Hamas is prepared to accept is an arrangement that allows it to manage the terminal in partnership with the PA -- an idea to which Abbas remains strongly opposed.

According to the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry, about 25,000 Palestinians need to leave the Gaza Strip through the Rafah terminal for "humanitarian reasons." Still, Hamas is not prepared to make any concessions to alleviate the suffering of its people.

Abbas, for his part, does not really seem to care whether the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip are turned into hostages and prisoners. In fact, he is probably hoping that the crisis will drive Palestinians to revolt against the Hamas regime, paving the way for his PA to return to the Gaza Strip.

Instead of trying to solve the crisis in the Gaza Strip, Abbas is too busy waging a diplomatic war against Israel in the international arena. He wants to file "war crimes" charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court, while ignoring the fact that he and Hamas are responsible for the suffering of tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas-Fatah dispute has turned the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip into hostages and prisoners. The Palestinians will never be able to solve their problems as long as they continue to ignore the fact that their biggest tragedy over the past few decades has been (and remains) their failed and corrupt leadership that is willing to sacrifice them for its own interests.
  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

Khaled Abu Toameh


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

Saudi and Egyptian marines capture Iran-held island at Red Sea chokepoint - DebkaFile

by DebkaFile

In a pivotal breakthrough in the Yemen civil war, Thursday, Dec. 11 the naval forces of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAR took by storm from Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels the Greater Hanish island


In a pivotal breakthrough in the Yemen civil war, Thursday, Dec. 11 the naval forces of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAR took by storm from Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels the Greater Hanish island, which is part of the strategic archipelago commanding the Strait of Bab al Mandeb. This is reported exclusively by debkafile’s Middle East sources.

This highly strategic strait links the Indian Ocean with the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea – i.e. Africa and Asia – and is the world’s fourth busiest chokepoint for international oil traffic.

Captured by Yemeni rebels last May, the island was converted by Iranian officers into an armed base and one of Tehran’s largest depots for the supply of arms to its forces and proxies in the region. A fleet of small boats and fishing vessels kept the Yemeni Houthis amply armed for fending off the Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting to restore the exiled Yemeni government.

The Hanish island base also provided Iran with a commanding position for spreading its influence in Ethiopia and Eritrea on the eastern African seaboard.

Taking the island was a major breakthrough for the coalition, after long months of combat that was crowned by their capture of the southern Yemeni seaport of Aden in the past three months. With the occupation of Greater Hanish, Saudi-led forces are now in position not just to cut off Iran’s weapons supplies to the Yemeni rebels, but also to break its grip on the vital strait that connects the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal.

Iran maintained on Greater Hanish Island advanced radar and electronic tracking stations for keeping an eye on military movements on the southern Saudi border with northern Yemen. They could also shadow oil tanker and other shipping passing through the Red Sea, and stake out Israel’s south- and east-bound sea traffic as it passed through the Gulf of Aqaba.

debkafile’s military and intelligence sources reveal that Saudi Arabia and Egypt finally decided that the seizure of the strategic island could not be delayed when last month, Iran won a permit to establish an air and sea base in Djibouti, the Horn of Africa nation opposite the Gulf of Aden’s entrance to the Red Sea.

Djibouti derives much of its revenue from renting out tracts of land to foreign nations seeking bases of operation in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea. American and French bases are situated no more than 214 km from Greater Hanish Island.

Riyadh, Cairo and the UAE agreed that they could not afford to let Iranian air and naval forces gain control of the Bab El-Mandeb Strait from its twin footholds on the island and in Djibouti.

They were not the only interested parties. It may be taken for granted that their operation to take over Greater Hanish was quietly assisted by Western and Middle East interests that had been watching Iran’s takeover of these vital ocean pathways with grave concern.



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

Islam: Not Just a Religion - Tom Trinko

by Tom Trinko

This is why Americans, and particularly liberals, are having a hard time discussing the problem of Muslim immigration and assimilation.

Americans are having a hard time discussing the problem of Muslim immigration and assimilation because Islam is not just a religion; it's a whole way of life, civil and spiritual.

The First Amendment was written because Christians of all denominations believed that while people's religious beliefs are the basis for the law, no one Christian group should be supported by the power of the federal government.  After all, that's why many Americans had fled England.

Islam, according to many Muslims, rejects that principle and declares that all authority belongs to Islam.  It's as though Catholics believed that the pope should be the ultimate authority for setting the fine you have to pay if you get a speeding ticket.

It's important to note that it doesn't matter what Islam "really teaches" so long as there are a lot of Muslims who say Islam supports theocracy and terrorism.  We have to deal with reality, not some hypothetical "pure" Islam.

Because Islam demands Muslims' full civil as well as spiritual assent, it's fundamentally different from any faith that Americans are truly familiar with – which makes discussing it difficult.  Is someone saying we should reject Muslim immigrants because of their religion, as Americans understand it, or because some Muslims believe that the Constitution must bow before the Quran, or because some Muslims believe that violence can be used in honor killings and to avenge insults against Mohammad?

While it's true that the majority of American Muslims are quite comfortable with the Constitution, the reality is that Islam lays claim to worldly authority in every nation.  That means that it's possible to reject Muslim immigrants not because of their faith, but because it's not irrational to assume that the first civil loyalty of at least some Muslims, especially those from Muslim-majority countries, is to Islam, not the Constitution.

The current Muslim situation is not the first time America has been concerned with immigrants because of their faith.  Historically, America discriminated against Catholics and Catholic immigration because many Protestants erroneously believed that Catholics wanted to establish a theocracy in America.  Many laws with a religious test resulted from that concern.

But unlike the baseless scare over something the Catholic Church did not teach – namely, that the pope should be running America – Islam does teach, at the very least in the minds of many Muslims, that all countries should be theocracies.  If anyone doubts that a large fraction of Muslims believe that Islam calls for sharia law, one only has to look at how things are run in most Muslim-majority countries.  One can look in vain for all the Catholic-majority countries run by the pope or his bishops.

Pakistan is nominally a democracy with religious freedom, but non-Muslims can be killed for preaching their faith – hardly compatible with the American view of religious liberty.  On the other hand, Ireland legalized so called same-sex marriage – hardly an indication of Catholic theocracy.

The critical question is, what fraction of Muslims who wish to come to America reject the idea that their first civil loyalty is to Islam?  It's hard to tell, since there seems to be a dearth of polling of American Muslims where they are asked about sharia law.  But according to a Pew survey, support for sharia law is fairly common among Muslims in a wide variety of countries.

For the first time in its history, America is facing the question of how to deal with people whose religion is often interpreted by many of its adherents, as opposed to its detractors, to reject the principles of democracy and religious liberty.

With nearly 3,000,000 [Editor: this statistic is wrong. The actual number is put between 5-8 million]  Muslims in America and a major terror attack requiring the support of only a handful of people, it doesn't take a large percentage of radicals to create serious problems.

In the end, the real question – considering that whenever and wherever Muslims have a chance, at least some of them try to institute sharia law, even if only for Muslims, and considering the widespread belief that advancing Islam justifies terrorism – is, is it reasonable to let a lot of poorly educated hardcore Muslims into the U.S.?  Even if Islam does not teach that a Muslim's first civil loyalty is to Islam, the reality is that it appears that a lot of Muslims think that it does.  Contrary to liberal beliefs, America is not strengthened by bringing in people who disagree with our founding principles.

Most Americans support the commonsense solution of differentiating between radical Muslims and those Muslims who can accept the Constitution instead of sharia law.  Liberals, however, are causing controversy by condemning Christians for crimes of the ancient past while ignoring real issues with Islam.

Liberals have a strong incentive to ignore Islamic extremists because Muslims in America tend to be Democrats (70%) and not Republicans (11%).  However, it is strange, if one assumes that liberals are trying to be coherent, that the same liberals who condemn Christianity because of the Crusades, defensive wars designed to free Christians from Islamic oppression that occurred centuries ago, become strangely silent in the face of modern radical Islam.

It's odd that liberals who tar all Christians for the crimes of one nutcase who attacked Planned Parenthood are unwilling to admit that some terrorists are inspired by the writings of a fanatical conqueror who advocated slaughter of those who opposed him and who married a six-year-old girl.

Saying we are at war with those who have an extremist view of Islam and not with all those Muslims, and there are a lot, who don't believe in the use of violence to spread Mohammad's heresy seems to make excellent sense, yet liberals reject associating Islam with people who say they are killing in the name of Islam and who can cite chapter and verse where the Quran supports them.

Perhaps we could have a better national dialog if liberals didn't ban Christian refugees while ignoring the potential problem associated with bringing in Muslims, whose faith may lead them to put Islam ahead of America on civil matters.  That doesn't mean we have to ban Muslim immigration, and it certainly doesn't mean we should condemn all Muslims, but it does mean we should have a plan in place to ensure that the Muslims we let in share our view of civil authority vis-à-vis religious authority.

While liberals are right when they say that declaring that all Muslims, especially all American Muslims, are evil is playing into the hands of extremists, it's also wrong to simply ignore the links between Islam and terrorism and the fundamentally different natures of Christianity and Islam.  We can't be safe if we bury our heads in the sand and ignore the root cause of Islamic terrorism.

Tom Trinko   You can read more of Tom's rants at his blog, Conversations about the obvious.  Feel free to follow him on Twitter.


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

Examining Trump's Policies - Russ McSwain

by Russ McSwain

A close look at Trump's policy positions raises more questions than it answers

There are four stylistic differences between Liberals and Conservatives. Liberals all hold the same opinions. They view disagreements as affronts rather than as opportunities for debate. Liberals are casually wiling to depart from traditions and accepted practices with little or no concern. Finally, the changes they propose more often than not hurt the very people they were supposed to help. Conservatives exhibit independent thought and enthusiastically defend their views in debate. We are willing to change but only if the change is thoroughly grounded and well thought out. Conservatives are well aware of adverse unintended consequences.

Conservatives often wonder what if anything liberals are thinking. This election cycle, I'm surprised at conservatives asking that same question of one-time conservatives who now support Trump. They all repeat the same points and quote his book as if it were scripture. Any criticism of Trump is met with invective. They are willing to support Trump in policies previously thought to be unworkable, and continue that support even when these policies are detrimental to their interests.

What’s the explanation for this? Liberals justify their behavior by saying they have greater intellect -- "That's why we're called intellectuals." Trump says disagreements don't apply, "When you're really really smart like I am..."

But how smart is Trump?  A horse can be assessed in many ways, but one only knows its speed when it runs. Trump’s appeal is that he's not thoughtful. So there's no way to know if he's smart. 

We can look at his words. Dr. Krauthammer characterizes Trump's talk as, "word salad." That's psychiatric jargon meaning Trump babbles. But since Trump occasionally does makes clear statements about policy, we can decide if these policies are thoughtful. These fall into two categories: 
1. Trade policies. Our stupid leaders are constantly outsmarted by other nations.
2. Immigration. The solution to the anchor baby problem is to reinterpret the 14th Amendment, and we should immediately deport all 11 million illegal residents. Finally we should limit the international movement of noncitizen Muslims.

Trump’s Trade Policies
Trump's case that our leaders are stupid is based on exactly two factory relocations and China's currency manipulations.

Trump is incensed that Nabisco will make Oreos in Mexico. Nabisco's relocation was caused by stupid policy, but not one on Trump's radar. Import quotas mean we pay twice the world price for sugar. This high price drives candy and confectionery producers out of the country. The policy is 75 years old. It wasn't created by “stupid” negotiations with Mexico. Similar companies have moved to Canada and Asia. 

That Trump doesn't understand the reason Nabisco relocated indicates his lack of thoughtfulness.

The second “stupid move” is Ford’s construction of a factory in Mexico. Locating a car factory is complex for many reasons. Among them: the UAW’s preference for factories overseas rather than in right-to-work states.   

A thoughtful man would realize that the loss of American jobs is more complex than “stupid trade agreements.”

BMW, Mercedes, and VW all build cars in America -- so German leaders must be stupid. With all the Japanese and Korean car plants in the U.S., those countries too must be led by morons. Stupid policies didn't bring these foreign companies here to create American jobs. 

Donald rails about China's currency devaluations. His concern is unwarranted. Currency devaluations are either short lived and/or have severe consequences. If China could sustain an artificially low rate, her exports would be cheaper -- but her imports would be more expensive. China imports iron, oil, and circuit boards, which are then assembled into products. Higher-priced imports would drive up the price of China’s exports. 

China is having difficulty feedings her people and imports increasing quantities of food. She has four times our population on an equal land mass. We have agricultural infrastructure and expertise they lack. Our farming advantages are most apparent in producing meat. The Chinese market for our chicken, lamb, and beef is huge. A devalued yuan makes our imported food expensive. If China's leaders are that smart they won't make it too expensive for their people to eat.  

China does engage in predatory trade, which makes our pending trade agreement important. The Trans Pacific Pact (TPP) enables the U.S. to trade with China’s competitors, giving us a powerful alternative. Recently Trump made it painfully obvious he didn't know China wasn't in the TPP. That the pact is detrimental to China makes Trump's denial of ignorance unbelievable.

We aren't getting killed in trade. While it’s true that Chinese manufacturing has grown to is 23% of the world total. American manufacturing has represented 21% of worldwide manufacturing for the last 40 years. That means China's growth has not come at our expense. China has taken market share from Europe and the smaller counties in Asia. This should demonstrate again the eagerness of her competitors to do business with America. But there is a larger point: America is poised to outstrip China and reach unseen levels of dominance in manufacturing. 

The United States has abundant cheap energy. Technology such as 3D printing and nanoengineering, favors skilled workers over cheap labor. Cheap energy and skilled labor will make this the new American century. With the correct trade policies we can sell our products to the 96% of the world's people who do not live in America.

Trump’s opposition to trade agreements limits our exports markets. His protectionist approach further limits our markets. We will thrive if we follow the free market policies proposed by all the other Republican candidates. We will all be richer.

Trump’s Position on Immigration
We should prevent people coming here to give birth to anchor babies. We can limit this problem. But we cannot reinterpret the 14th amendment which confers citizenship to children of nondiplomats born on U.S. soil. Trump says we can. Sorting through the arguments is a waste of time. No one thinks five Supreme Court Justices would uphold a reinterpretation of the 14th amendment. The three women and Justice Breyer would reject this change. All five "conservative" justices would have to support the reinterpretation. There is zero chance of that.

It’s easy for Trump to change my mind. Just name the five justices who would uphold this change. (Trump and his supporters will quite likely view that as a gotcha question because it’s easy to imagine Trump not being able to name any 5 of the 9 justices.)

We have to do something about the 11 million illegal residents in America. I share Paul Ryan's position; before we do anything we must stop adding illegal immigrants; There will be no path to citizenship for people here illegally. There will be a path to legal residency for most, but absolutely not all, current illegals. All the Republican candidates hold this position.

This is Cruz's position, even though he dances around it like the politician he pretends not to be. When the music stops he holds the same view as the other candidates. They just got there without the shuffle. When Trump is pinned down this is his stance as well.

Of course, Trump advocates deporting 11 million people. But he would then, "let the good ones back in." He deports 100% of the illegals, then lets 99% return. After this massive and expensive disruption, we'd be exactly where the other candidates put us. The deportation is a smokescreen. It's mind-blowing that his supporters are blinded by it.

There are problems deporting 11 million people. It requires tearing apart families. For those only moved by self-interest, there's the financial impact deportation would have on our economy. The vacated jobs would devastate farming, hospitality, and construction. 

Some people believe there's an army of Americans ready to fill these jobs. There are numerous high-paying jobs in the construction industry going unfilled. In areas like Florida, the shortages are acute. If we cannot fill desirable jobs, how do we fill jobs characterized by low wages and backbreaking labor?

Some insist that for the right wage, people would do these jobs. Such a high wage would price our food and hospitality out of the market, leaving no chance to sell food to China. it would also raise the price you and I pay for food and vacations. How does that help Trump's supporters? How does it help any of us?

Trump just doubled down on his treatment of immigrants. He's proposed that any Muslim noncitizen resident who leaves the U.S. should not be permitted reentry. Just about every public figure in both parties has condemned this proposal as an un-American religious test. Several others added that many Muslims provide vital assistance in the war on radical Islam. They would be harmed and quite rightly alienated by this meataxe approach.

It's clear that Trump hasn't thought this position through. But that's no surprise. None of his views are thought out.

I'm sincerely asking Trump supporters to stop acting like the liberals they so quite rightly mock. 

There is no need to attack fellow conservatives who remain faithful to views we once shared. There is a need to explain why the Trump supporters’ departure from these previously shared views helps anyone. The biggest need is to explain how empty bombast makes this country great. 

Russ McSwain


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

What ISIS Really Wants? To Kill You - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

Beating ISIS is exactly what it wants and other crazy media fantasies.


Since 9/11, America has been plagued with a media industry churning out counterintuitive “What do the terrorists want” pieces. Sure you might think that the terrorists “want to kill you”. But profound media thinkers who know all about Islam without ever having read the Koran know that what the terrorists really want is for us to kill them. Every time we bombed them, we were just “playing into their hands.”

Today the same bad ideas are being brushed off for insipid “What does ISIS want” thinkpieces which conclude that what ISIS wants most is for us to deviate from the media’s favorite progressive policies.

After letting ISIS overrun its half-dozen countries, the same geniuses responsible for the mess began claiming that what ISIS really fears is more of their failed policies. And what it really wants is Republican policies. If you support bombing terrorists or keeping them out of the country, you’re helping ISIS.

According to Obama, ISIS wants us to turn to “tough talk” and begin “abandoning our values” by keeping Syrian Muslim migrants out.  After the Oval Office speech was done, the Caliph of ISIS probably threw up his hands and told his fellow terrorists, “It’s no use. This Hussein fellow just won’t talk tough. We’re doomed. Sure we’ll keep on killing Americans, but what good will it do if he won’t talk tough?”

Biden informed Americans that, “It’s clear what ISIL wants. They want to manufacture a clash between civilizations. They want frightened people to think in terms of ‘us versus them.’” Whereas our leaders know better than to think in such terms, unless the “thems” are Republicans in which case it’s okay.

But ISIS doesn’t care whether we think in terms of “us versus them”, because that’s how ISIS already thinks. The clash of civilizations is here. But according to Biden, what ISIS wants us is for us to recognize that reality. And if we refuse to recognize it, our denial will somehow defeat ISIS in an ostrich victory.

The media is full of unofficial progressive ISIS spokesmen eager to tell us “exactly” what the terror group wants. And according to them, it really wants to be beaten, humiliated and hated.

"Trump's Muslim Ban Is Exactly What ISIS Wants," shrieks Think Progress. Because if there’s one thing that ISIS really wants, it’s to prevent its terrorists from being able to reach the United States.

ISIS wants a Muslim ban almost as much as Think Progress’ editors want to be dumped in ISIS territory wearing only giant slabs of bacon and cartoons of Mohammed.

Their level of debate is about that of a contrary six-year-old. “Go to bed.” “No, that’s what ISIS wants me to do.” “Eat your breakfast.” “No, ISIS wants me to eat my breakfast. I’ll be playing into its hands.”

“Turning Away Syrian Refugees is Exactly What ISIS Wants,” the Huffington Post suggests. What could ISIS possibly want more than for us to “turn away” 1,300 ISIS supporters?

Maybe being shot in the head by a United States Marine. And, guess what?

According to The Week, “ISIS wants the US to send group troops”. Almost as much as Hitler wanted American tanks in Berlin.

Also ISIS really, really wants to be hated.

 “ISIS Wants You to Hate Muslims”, The Nation declares. “Hating Muslims plays right into the Islamic State's hands,” echoes the Washington Post. “Want to Help ISIS? Hate a Muslim” adds the Huffington Post.

Conveniently ISIS only seems to want the very things that leftists don’t want. And the possibilities are endless. “Let’s abolish ObamaCare”. “No, that’s what ISIS wants.” “Let’s drop our subscriptions to the Washington Post and The Nation”. “Don’t you understand, that’s what ISIS wants you to do!”

So far ISIS wants to be bombed, shot, kept out of America and Europe. And hated. It probably also doesn’t want to be invited to anyone’s birthday parties and enjoys calls from telemarketers.

This masochistic Islamic State has some serious self-esteem issues. Or maybe it’s the leftists who claim to speak for it who do.

“ISIS wants us to close borders”, someone at Greenville News insists. According to Storypick, “ISIS wants the world to hate them”. From the fever swamps of AlterNet, we learn that “ISIS Wants the Paris Climate Talks to Fail.” According to Haaretz, ISIS wants LePen to win in France. ISIS also probably wants the Patriots to win the Super Bowl and doesn’t think Bruce Jenner is either “stunning” or “beautiful”.

At the Huffington Post, the lead singer of Switchfoot informs us that he, "Looked up at the ceiling and asked the darkness, "What does ISIS want?"

The Caliph of ISIS however isn’t lying in bed, looking up at the darkness and wondering what the guitarist for an annoying alternative band wants. That’s one reason why he’s winning and we aren’t.

ISIS is vicious, but it isn’t neurotic. Meanwhile the leftists looking into the darkness keep coming up with very specific things that ISIS “exactly” wants from us.

“This vile cartoon portrayal of refugees is just what Isis wants”, a Guardian headline blares.
According to The Independent, “The needless interrogation of a Belgian academic is exactly what Isis wants from us”. That’s an oddly specific wish on the part of ISIS, but who am I to argue with a publication that also offers me Hamas supporter Jeremy Corbyn singing Happy Birthday, an orangutan laughing and “Five words everyone should hear on gun control” from Jennifer Aniston.

(The monkey would probably have a more informed opinion on gun control than Jennifer Aniston.)

The “Belgian academic” turns out to be Montasser Alde’emeh, a “Palestinian” who describes Muslim terrorism against Jews as “legitimate”.

But if we interrogate the sorts of “Belgian academics” who say things like, “According to Islam all conditions for armed resistance have been met”, we’re giving ISIS what it wants.

“Exactly what it wants”.

The only way to frustrate ISIS is to let terrorist sympathizers run free. And then ISIS will have to throw up its hands in defeat and kill another few hundred people.

“Isis wants an insane, medieval race war – and we’ve decided to give them one,” the Guardian declares.

Technically ISIS is the one giving us an “insane, medieval race war”, the same insane medieval race war practiced by Mohammed, but it wouldn’t be the Guardian if it didn’t find a way to blame us for it.

“It’s hard to think of a more poetic metaphor for our utter lack of ideas than spending several years dropping high explosives on to a desert,” a British hipster at the leftist publication complains.

We haven’t come up with any new ideas for winning wars except killing people. Shame on us. Where’s our creativity?

Juan Cole insists at The Nation, “ISIS Wants a Clash of the Civilizations: Let’s Not Give In”. Juan, like Biden, doesn’t seem to realize that it only takes one side to start a war.

It doesn’t matter if we sit in our corner of civilization with our hands folded refusing to fight. That just makes ISIS’ job a lot easier. Killing people who don’t resist is easier than killing those who do.

Unlike Bin Laden, ISIS doesn’t beat around the bush. It tells everyone “exactly” what it wants.

“The attack by the Islamic State in America is only the beginning of our efforts to establish a wiliyah [Islamic territory] in the heart of our enemy.” It calls for an alliance with “left-winged activists” opposed to Israel to “pave the way for the conquest of Rome”.

But this is much too obvious for the media’s “left-winged activists” who obsessively flip around reality until they can prove that the only way to defeat ISIS is by taking in millions of Muslim migrants and refusing to fight ISIS.

Because letting ISIS beat us is exactly what ISIS is afraid of. But beating ISIS is exactly what it wants.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.


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

Why Is CAIR Helping San Bernardino Terrorists After the Fact? - Joel B. Pollak

by Joel B. Pollak

Hat tip: Jean-Charles Bensoussan

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has sought the media spotlight following the San Bernardino terror attack last week.

In the hours after the Dec. 2 attack, in which Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and wounded 21 others, CAIR held a press conference featuring the family of the killers.

It was an odd public relations strategy, given that the FBI had not yet been willing to call the attack an act of terrorism. Yet CAIR, in rushing to condemn it, confirmed that it was Islamic terror.

In the days that followed, instead of distancing Muslims from the attack, CAIR almost seemed to insist on the association.

Last Friday, for example, Hussam Ayloush, director of CAIR’s Los Angeles chapter, told CNN that the United States was to blame for provoking the attack through foreign policies Muslims found objectionable: “Let’s not forget that some of our own foreign policy, as Americans, as the West, have fueled that extremism,” he told CNN, listing several policy grievances.

Not content with acting as a mouthpiece for the terrorists’ perceived demands, CAIR offered legal assistance to the family of the terrorists, appearing in court earlier this week to help Farook’s sister, Saira Khan, who is “eagerly awaiting to obtain custody” of the six-month-old baby that he and his wife abandoned before their attack.

CAIR issued a press release drawing attention to its role, almost as if legal assistance were a kind of death benefit offered to would-be terrorists, ensuring their children’s welfare.

CAIR’s actions do not meet the legal definition of “accessory after the fact.” But helping terrorists’ families, and broadcasting their political message–common practices of regimes that support terror, like the Palestinian Authority–is an odd way to carry out CAIR’s mission of improving “American-Islamic relations.” If anything, CAIR’s actions are calculated to inflame those relations.

One might think that an organization that was once named an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism trial – and a designated terror organization in the United Arab Emirates – might be at great pains to distance itself from any new terrorist acts.

But CAIR cultivates its notoriety because it serves the organization’s fundamentalist purposes.

So, for example, CAIR-LA is exploiting the terror attacks to launch a religious outreach campaign, calling on local mosques to stage interfaith vigils in the wake of the attacks. The ostensible purpose of the vigils is to show that Muslims “experience terrorist attacks–regardless of whether they’re perpetrated in the name of Islam–as Americans, not as Muslims.”

In addition, however, interfaith vigils at mosques serve a proselytizing purpose, helping to expose the curious public to Islamic prayer and practice.

If many Americans have trouble distinguishing between radical Islam and Muslims in general, it is because radical organizations like CAIR deliberately blur the distinction, helping those who have declared war on the United States.

CAIR ought to be shamed for exploiting terror–not rewarded by the media and politicians as the leading, and legitimate, voice of American Muslims.

Joel B. Pollak


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

Muslim Students Association Hosts High School ‘Walk a Mile in Her Hijab’ Event - Dr. Susan Berry

by Dr. Susan Berry

Dawa in an Illinois public school, courtesy of the Muslim Students' Association

The Muslim Students Association (MSA) of Vernon Hills High School–a public school in Illinois–hosted an event titled “Walk a Mile in Her Hijab,” which was designed to provide non-Muslim students with the opportunity to wear the hijab and understand more about the Muslim faith.

“You can’t really understand or judge a person and their beliefs until you understand why they do it and what it’s like for them to do what they’re doing,” explained Yasmeen Abdallah, president of the school’s MSA. “This event is to hopefully denounce negative stereotypes.”

According to the Daily Herald, six members of the school’s MSA spent an entire morning placing hijabs on 17 non-Muslim girls as they discussed the garb’s meaning and tenets of the Muslim religion.

One non-Muslim girl–wearing a red hijab–said with more girls wearing them around school, “it could bring more acceptance to the religion and have more people become more aware.”

Jon Guillaume, principal of Vernon Hills High, expressed admiration for the MSA members.
“I think it is a difficult time to be a Muslim student in our high school, in our community, and in America,” he said. “I think this is an opportunity for our kids to embrace the Muslim community within the school. For other kids outside of this organization, to understand what it’s like for these girls to walk through our halls in this garment in a way that stands out from other kids. So, I’m proud of them.”

According to The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), the Muslim Students Association is “the most visible and influential Islamic student organization in North America.”

The organization, with approximately 600 chapters in the United States and Canada, was incorporated in January of 1963 when members of the Muslim Brotherhood convened at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with the goal of “spreading Islam as students in North America,” reports IPT.

Abdallah said she hopes the “Walk a Mile in Her Hijab” event will be held annually.

Dr. Susan Berry


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

Why Erdoğan Decided to Shoot down a Russian Plane - Daniel Pipes

by Daniel Pipes

Erdoğan's aggressiveness has won him near total-power within Turkey, so he naturally assumes that the same methods will work on the international stage. But they do not.

The editors of Aydınlık, a Turkish newspaper, asked me a number of questions about the shoot-down of the Russian plane on Nov. 24. I replied to the questions and sent in my replies on Nov. 27 but did not hear back. So, over two weeks later, I am providing them here, as I wrote them, in English.

As relations between the Turkish and American governments have worsened in recent years, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sought improved relations with Russia and (to a lesser extent) China. With the shoot-down of the Russian SU-24 warplane, Erdoğan has seemingly thrown away this option. Why?
Erdoğan's aggressiveness has won him near total-power within Turkey, so he naturally assumes that the same methods will work on the international stage. But they do not. Although he had made some major achievements in foreign policy until about 2011, his record since then has been dismal, featuring worsened relations not only with nearly every state near Turkey but also with the great powers and even with the Turkish administration in northern Cyprus. Shooting down the Russian plane fits within this context of steady belligerence.
Do you think Turkey benefits from the shoot-down that compensates for losing Russia?
No, there are no benefits. I see only disadvantages. This incident marks a major reversal from the Turkish government's point of view.
Was it really necessary for Turkish forces to shoot down this warplane?
It was completely unnecessary. The Russian infringement was very minor, apparently lasting just 17 seconds, hardly a mortal offense between two states at peace. Also, air-space infringements take place routinely; for example, a Greek defense economist, Christos Kollias, has counted 6 infringements a day in 2014 by Turkish military aircraft – and the Greeks did not shoot a single time at them.
Perhaps relevant is that Syrian forces shot down a Turkish plane in June 2012, saying it infringed on Syria's airspace. This shooting may have been motivated in part by a desire to avenge that one.
Are the economic sanctions that Russia intends to apply on Turkey realistic?
Very realistic. Russia's President Vladimir Putin showed in the Ukraine crisis that he is willing to accept economic pain to achieve his larger purposes. Noting that Russia and Turkey are among each other's largest trading partners, Putin can certainly make life more difficult for Ankara, especially at a time when the Turkish economy has slowed down.
Will this incident hurt Russian relations with the West?
I doubt it because Russia is widely seen as the victim in this incident. Indeed, Turkey's NATO allies are concerned that, for the first time since 1952, a NATO member has shot down a Russian plane – and without due cause. They see this as irresponsible and dangerous; among other problems, it impedes cooperation with Russia in the skies of Syria. Erdoğan has made Turkey a problem for NATO.
How would you evaluate Turkish-American relations after this incident?
The shoot-down adds yet another tension between the governments, on top of others such as Ankara's policies toward press freedom, the civil war in Syria, and mass illegal emigration to Europe.
What do you see as the long-term consequences of this incident?
The Russian and Turkish leaders' similar personalities suggests that neither of them will compromise or retreat, implying that this confrontation will have lasting repercussions. For the Turkish government, it is another major step toward economic troubles and its purportedly happy isolation.

Daniel Pipes


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