Friday, August 26, 2016

Turkey -- preventing Kurdish independence at all costs - Boaz Bismuth

by Boaz Bismuth

In an effort to distance the Kurds from the Turkish border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan found the perfect solution: A war against the Islamic State group • When it comes to Turkish military actions, always look for the Kurdish angle.

A Turkish tank near the Syrian border
Photo credit: Reuters

Boaz Bismuth


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Exposing the criminal society and the culture of death - Isi Leibler

by Isi Leibler

We are losing the battle in the war of ideas for the simple reason that we are continuously on the defensive while those seeking our destruction actively and relentlessly demonize us.

Ever since the Oslo Accords, successive Israeli governments have felt obliged to understate and even dismiss Palestinian terrorism and hatred in order to maintain domestic public support for policies that, with the benefit of hindsight, were doomed to fail.

In the very early stages, Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat told his people that the ultimate goal was the end of Jewish sovereignty – and we dismissed such outbursts as empty words designed merely to placate his radical domestic opponents.

But as the government falsely praised our peace partner, many Israelis deluded themselves into believing that the terrorism we faced was an extremist aberration and that the Palestinians were committed to ending the conflict on the basis of a two-state solution. Likewise, most of the world accepted at face value our repeated praise of Arafat and his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, as moderates and genuine peace partners.

This suited the long-term Palestinian policy of destroying us in stages. They readily accepted concessions and withdrawals but without compromising one iota, and they continue to demonize us and challenge our legitimacy.

But the worst aspect was our failure to highlight the poisonous brainwashing the PA had inflicted on its population. While Arab hostility to Jews prevailed even during the British Mandate period, it was not comparable to the culture of death and evil that today saturates every aspect of Palestinian life.

The Palestinians have stated explicitly that their state would be Judenrein and that Jews would never be permitted to live in their ancestral home even if they were willing to accept Palestinian jurisdiction.

Indeed, Palestinians were brutally executed when they were deemed to have sold land to a Jew.

The PA has become a criminal society and can be compared to prewar Germany, when the Nazis transformed their population into genocidal barbarians by depicting Jews as subhuman. The Palestinians depict Jews as “the offspring of apes and pigs” and call for their extermination. This is not even done subtly but with blatant statements to this effect emanating daily from religious and political leaders and accessible from vast documentary sources compiled by Palestinian Media Watch, MEMRI and others.

A society in which children from kindergarten are brainwashed into believing that the highest goal in Islam is to achieve martyrdom in the course of killing Jews can only be described as criminal.

The demonization of Israel and manifestations of the culture of death are promoted without inhibition by the leadership, the mullahs in the mosques and the state-controlled media. They amount to direct incitement for individuals to strike out and kill Jews in concert or randomly. The “heroic” scenes of youngsters stabbing Jews, the praise by Abbas himself of martyrs “with holy blood” and the totally contrived religious frenzy over accusations of Israelis planning to destroy al-Aksa mosque, coalesce into a witch’s brew of primeval rage and hatred.

The PA provides generous state salaries to terrorists apprehended by Israelis, and if they are killed, their families are remunerated – from funds provided by Western countries. Religious and political leadership at all levels sanctifies terrorists as heroes and national martyrs. City squares, schools and even football clubs are named in their honor.

The barbarism imbibed by the Palestinians is reflected in the street celebrations that erupt spontaneously with every murder of an Israeli. Even more nauseating are the repeated displays on TV of mothers expressing pride at their children becoming martyrs, and expressing hope that their other children will follow the example.

Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that Palestinian opinion polls reflect public support for terrorist attacks against Israel and opposition to a two-state solution. The Arafat/Abbas indoctrination process has radicalized successive generations into believing that the only solution to the conflict is the permanent termination of Jewish sovereignty in the area.

There is irrefutable evidence of the barbaric and genocidal nature of Palestinian society. Indeed, the reality is that, despite maintaining a “moderate” stance to the outside world, internally the Palestinians and ISIS are birds of a feather – although the Palestinians are probably more corrupt.

Alongside the turbulence in the region and the threat from Iran and ISIS, could one envisage any country agreeing to accept statehood for what will inevitably be a neighboring criminal state pledged to its destruction or a candidate for an ISIS or Iranian takeover? This would be utterly inconceivable.

Yet most of the international community, including the United States, regards this as an issue of two nations arguing over real estate. Were that the case, the Palestinians would not have dismissed the offers by prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, who were willing to concede up to 97 percent of the territories formerly controlled by the Jordanians.

Israel has been the target of repeated defamation and delegitimization yet has basically only been on the defensive, seeking to refute the lies being disseminated against it. But as Joseph Goebbels said, if one repeats a lie continuously, people begin believing it. This dictum has now been realized; many in the Western world have absorbed the distorted Palestinian narrative of Israel being an apartheid state, an occupier and a nation born in sin.

Ironically, the weakness of our position lies in the fact that, until recently, in order to appease our allies and “protect” Israelis from being confronted with the stark reality, we deliberately held back from telling the truth and failed to highlight the barbaric and criminal nature of our purported peace partner.

Had we mounted campaigns at the outset, exposing the horrors perpetrated by our neighbors, it may not have influenced anti-Semites and the delusional Left but it would have made a significant impact on the open-minded.

But even now, belatedly exposing the barbarity of our neighbors should be made the top priority in our foreign relations efforts rather than the endless disputes over whether the minuscule 2% of territory comprising settlements (which are not being expanded) is justified.

The recent initiative by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to establish relations with independent Palestinians, aside from not having cabinet approval, is bound to fail because any Palestinian engaged in such negotiations will immediately be assassinated.

Pressure must be exerted to encourage rank-and-file Palestinians that their best interests will be served when they appoint leaders who genuinely support the peace process. Alas, for the time being, that is not even on the horizon.

Today, we must move forward and promote a focused effort to document and expose the evil nature of Palestinian society, which will make it far more difficult and embarrassing for the Americans and Europeans to continue pressuring Israel to accept the creation of what will invariably be a criminal state – particularly in the context of the mayhem prevailing in the region and the terrorist threats now impacting the heartland of Europe.

Isi Leibler's website can be viewed at He may be contacted at


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Obama Provides Iran With $1.3 Billion, But Where Did The Money Go? - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

Why the Obama administration is refusing to say where the funds ended up.

It appears that when it comes to its dealings with the Islamic Republic, the Obama administration’s miscues are boundless. The latest fiasco involves the recent transfer of $1.3 billion in taxpayer money to Iran’s mullahs. Both the White House and the State Department are shamefully unable or unwilling to provide the public with any pertinent information concerning the transfer. 

At a State Department briefing, spokesman Mark Toner remained opaque and evasive about the transaction and said that he did not know who in Iran received the money. Nor was he able to confirm the method of payment -- check or cash, U.S. or foreign currency. All he was able to disclose was that the funds transferred reflected money -- principle and interest -- owed to Iran from a 1979 aborted arms deal.

An additional $400 million was transferred to Iran last month and was part of an overall payment of $1.7 billion. According to the administration, the monies paid reflected a settlement of Iran’s claims against the U.S. stemming from the 1979 aborted arms transaction. Ironically, the Iranians were not required to pay anything to the 52 American hostages they kidnapped in 1979. Those hostages were held in dungeon-like conditions for 444 days. Like all transactions conducted by the Obama administration, the benefits flow one way.

There are several troubling aspects to this story. Though the administration has issued strenuous denials, it is clear that the first installment of $400 million was a ransom payment made to secure the release of Americans held hostage in Iran.  

At a briefing in early August, White House spokesman Josh Earnest refused to directly address the following question posed by a journalist; “would these prisoners have been released if this money had not been paid?” The question was posed on no less than three occasions and required a simple “yes” or “no” response. The shifty Earnest was evasive and refused to provide a direct response. Instead, he offered painfully convoluted explanations that shed light on nothing except for how disingenuous he is.

At the State Department briefing, Toner came very close to acknowledging that the $400 million payment was in fact a ransom payment. He stated that while the payment was part of an overall commercial settlement, it was used as “leverage” to ensure that the Americans were released. The White House however, immediately repudiated the State Department’s characterization. 

We thought that Obama could stoop no lower after he traded five hard-core Taliban terrorists held at Guantanamo for the deserter and traitor Bowe Bergdahl. We were wrong. The feckless White House is now in the business of disgracefully paying two-bit dictators protection money. Obama can issue all the denials he wants but if it walks like a ransom payment and talks like a ransom payment, it is most likely a ransom payment.

Even if we gave the administration the benefit of the doubt, the harm caused by the mere appearance of a ransom payment is incalculable and puts the safety of Americans throughout the world at risk. Somali pirates, Islamic terrorists, the North Koreans and others engaged in the kidnapping business are all watching.

Even more disconcerting is the second installment of $1.3 billion to the Iranians. One would think that with such a large transfer of taxpayer money, the recipients and method of payment could be verified. But the administration is being deliberately evasive on this issue because it is cognizant of the fact that the money was likely transferred to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the entity that pulls the strings in the Islamic Republic and is responsible for much of region’s turmoil.

Once in the coffers of the IRGC, the hefty sum was almost certainly used to further fuel regional mischief. The IRGC is the entity singularly responsible for propping up Bashar Assad of Syria. It is also a virtual certainty that some of the money was allocated to Iran’s Shia mercenary force in Lebanon, Hezbollah, and it could not have come at a more opportune for the group, which had been suffering from financial distress in recent years. 

The Obama administration has turned into Iran’s White Knight, saving the Islamic Republic from financial ruin while providing it with a legal pathway to acquire nuclear weapons through the flawed Iran deal. Ironically, Obama, who claims that running the Guantanamo facility is too expensive and drains resources has no qualms whatsoever about transferring $1.7 billion in taxpayer money to America’s most implacable foe. But then again, judging by his foreign policies, it is unclear whether he even considers Iran an enemy. 

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


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War and Peace in Putin’s Middle East - P. David Hornik

by P. David Hornik

With America on the sidelines, Israel and the Arabs play a new game.

The Times of Israel reports that, on Tuesday night, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin…and discussed regional issues and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”

It was hardly, of course, their first chat. In June, Netanyahu was in Moscow to meet with Putin. He was there, too, for that purpose in September 2015 and April 2016, and last November they met briefly at the Paris climate conference. Their agenda includes making sure there are no unwanted Israeli-Russian military confrontations over the skies of Syria, as well as the strong Israeli-Russian economic ties.

Meanwhile the Israeli daily Haaretz cites Egyptian media as reporting that “Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi said that…Putin has expressed a willingness to host…Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for talks in Moscow.”

What’s going on?

According to other reports, Sunni Arab states—particularly Egypt and Saudi Arabia—want such talks and have been pushing for them. Both countries have close security cooperation with Israel. Egypt has recently warmed up diplomatic ties with a return of its ambassador to Israel and a visit to Israel by its foreign minister early in July. The Saudis, for their part, sent an unprecedented delegation to the Jewish state later in July.

This line of speculation says that Sunni Arab states want to keep building up ties with Israel—a crucial ally against Iranian expansionism and ISIS, and a source of energy and technological know-how—but need Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking to appease domestic populations that remain, for the most part, intensely hostile to the Jewish state.

Netanyahu, for his part, has been talking about a “regional peace initiative.” The advantages for Israel would including deflecting the French initiative—not seen by Jerusalem as likely to yield positive results—as well as a possible last-ditch initiative by the Obama administration, though it seems improbable.

For Putin, the appeal of hosting such a conference in Moscow would lie in further underlining his prestige, power, and indispensability at the expense of the U.S. For Netanyahu, for that very reason, attending such talks in Moscow would have a serious, possibly decisive downside of being seen by Washington as a snub.

And what of the ostensible Palestinian interlocutor, Abbas? On the one hand, the Palestinian side looks unsuited as ever for making peace. Along with their ongoing anti-Israeli ideology, the Palestinians not only remain bitterly divided between Fatah (territorially dominant in the West Bank) and Hamas (territorially dominant in Gaza), but internecine strife within the West Bank itself is so severe as to threaten its disintegration as a political entity.

On the other hand, Abbas was recently reported to no longer oppose taking part in a peace summit (albeit in Cairo). His weakened position could, by the same token, make him unable to resist pressure from within the Sunni Arab camp to engage in a diplomatic game that—even if, as seems likely, it leads to no conclusive result—they see as benefiting them.

The larger picture, of course, is the Obama administration’s withdrawal of American clout from the region and the regional players’ need to find their way in a new world.

For Israel it has meant, on the one hand, an enhanced regional position as a bulwark against Iran and improved relations with Arab states. On the other, it has meant having Russia—an amoral power—fill the void, which includes warplanes in Syria and strengthening the Iranian axis. Overall it is a difficult and alarming new world, but there is no choice but to navigate it.

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. His memoir, Destination Israel: Coming of Age and Finding Peace in the Middle East, is forthcoming from Liberty Island later this year.


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Palestinians: When the Mountain of Fire Erupts - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Hamas's dream of extending its control to the West Bank now seems more realistic than ever -- unless Mahmoud Abbas wakes up and realizes that he made a big mistake by authorizing local and municipal elections.

  • The Palestinian Authority is now paying the price for harboring, funding and inciting gang members and militiamen who until recently were hailed by many Palestinians as "heroes" and "resistance fighters."
  • The blood pouring out in Nablus and other Palestinian towns is proof that Abbas is on his way to losing control over the West Bank, just as he lost Gaza to Hamas in 2007. In an emergency meeting held on August 25 in Nablus, several Palestinian factions and figures reached agreement that it would be impossible to hold the vote under the current circumstances.

Hours after his security officers lynched a detainee, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged Palestinian businessmen living abroad to support the Palestinian economy by investing in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian Authority (PA), he asserted, was "working to provide security and safety to encourage investment."

According to Abbas, "The Palestinian territories are living in a state of security stability, which we are working to provide for residents and investors alike by enforcing the rule of law and enhancing transparency and accountability."

It must be nice to create your own reality, especially if your true reality is that of the 81-year-old Abbas.

In his speech before the businessmen, Abbas neglected any reference to the latest wave of "security chaos" in PA-controlled areas in the West Bank, specifically Nablus, the largest Palestinian city.

Five Palestinians, including two PA police officers, were killed in the worst scenes of internecine violence to hit the West Bank in recent years. Abbas was either playing the businessmen for fools or hoping that they share his deaf and blind state.

The violence in Nablus did not come as a surprise to those who have been monitoring the situation in the West Bank in recent months.

In fact, scenes of lawlessness and "security chaos" have become part of the norm in many Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps -- a sign that the PA may be losing control to armed gangs and militias. Palestinians refer to the situation as falatan amni, or "security chaos." An article published in Gatestone in June referred to the growing instances of anarchy and lawlessness in PA-controlled areas in the West Bank, first and foremost Nablus.

Palestinians refer to Nablus as the "Mountain of Fire" -- a reference to the countless armed attacks carried out against Israelis by residents of the city since 1967. Current events in Nablus, however, have shown how easily fire burns the arsonist. The Palestinian Authority is now paying the price for harboring, funding and inciting gang members and militiamen who until recently were hailed by many Palestinians as "heroes" and "resistance fighters." Unsurprisingly, most of these "outlaws" and "criminals" (as the PA describes them) are affiliated in one way or another with Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction.

Nablus, the so-called Mountain of Fire, is now threatening to turn into a volcano that is set to erupt in the face of Abbas and his PA government.

The situation in Nablus the past few days raises serious questions about the ability of the PA to perform basic security measures and rein in armed gangs and militiamen. Moreover, the unprecedented violence has further shattered Palestinian confidence in the PA and its leaders ahead of the local and municipal elections, scheduled to take place on October 8.

Hamas's dream of extending its control to the West Bank now seems more realistic than ever. Under the current circumstances, Abbas would be offering the West Bank to Hamas on a silver platter -- unless he wakes up and realizes that he made a big mistake by authorizing the local and municipal elections.

And the businessmen who met with Abbas? One might guess that they are sophisticated enough to avoid a doomed investment. Nablus will no doubt do the trick: they are likely to go running from the mayhem of the PA-controlled territories.

Things lately began to unravel when on August 18, in the Old City of Nablus, two Palestinian Authority security officers, Shibli bani Shamsiyeh and Mahmoud Taraira, were killed in an armed clash with gunmen.

Hours later, PA policemen shot dead two Palestinian gunmen who were allegedly involved in the killing of the officers. The two were identified as Khaled Al-Aghbar and Ali Halawah. The families of the two men accused the PA of carrying out an "extrajudicial" killing, and claimed their sons were captured alive and only afterwards shot dead. The families called for an independent commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the killing of their sons. Palestinian human rights organizations have also joined the call for an inquiry into the killings.

On August 18, two Palestinian Authority policemen were killed in an armed clash with gunmen in Nablus (left). In April of this year, a fierce gun battle erupted between Palestinian Authority policemen and members of the Jaradat clan in the refugee camp of Jenin (right). The clash started during an attempt to arrest a clan member.

In June, two other PA security officers, Anan Al-Tabouk and Uday Al-Saifi, were also killed in a shootout with gunmen in Nablus. The PA claimed that "outlaws" were behind the killings and vowed to punish the culprits.

Tensions in Nablus reached their peak on August 23, when scores of PA policemen lynched Ahmed Halawah, a former policeman suspected of leading a notorious gang belonging to Abbas's Fatah faction. Halawah was beaten to death by PA policemen shortly after he was arrested and taken to the PA-run Jneid Prison in Nablus.

The PA leadership, which has since admitted that Halawah was lynched by its policemen, says it has ordered an inquiry into the case. Its leaders have described the lynching as an "unacceptable mistake."
The lynching of the detainee sparked widespread protests throughout the West Bank, with many Palestinians calling for an immediate inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the case and demanding that those responsible be brought to trial.

The Palestinian Bar Association issued a statement strongly condemning the lynching of Halawah as a "crime and a human rights violation." The Association called for holding those responsible, adding, "The regrettable and painful events, including the crime of killing Ahmed Halawah, do not serve the interest of the citizen or homeland and deepens divisions in our society." It also called on the PA and its security forces to abide by the law and honor the human rights of the Palestinians and their public freedoms.

Alarmed by the widespread condemnations of the lynching of Halawah, some Palestinian Authority officials began issuing direct and veiled threats against Palestinian critics.

Palestinian lawyer Wael Al-Hazam, who called on Abbas to "withdraw" his security forces from Nablus, was visited by unidentified gunmen who sprayed his house with 14 bullets. The attorney and his family members were not hurt in the shooting attack, which was clearly designed to send a warning message to anyone who dared to raise his or her voice against human rights abuses by the PA security forces. And in this instance, the message arrived.

Shortly after the attack on his house, the lawyer issued a statement in which he said, "14 bullets are enough to silence me. I'm a man of the law and I cannot face bullets. My pen and voice are the only weapon I have. I do not possess armed militias to defend myself." The attack on his house came shortly after PA security officers threatened the lawyer, warning him against appearing on a TV show to discuss the latest wave of violence in his city.

The turmoil in Nablus has prompted many Palestinians to call on Abbas to make a decision to postpone the upcoming municipal election in their city. In an emergency meeting held on August 25 in Nablus, several Palestinian factions and figures reached agreement that it would be impossible to hold the vote under the current circumstances.

Sarhan Dweikat, a senior member of Abbas's Fatah, said that an election delay was needed, to
"protect the social fabric and preserve our national project, which is facing an existential threat in light of the security chaos and anarchy in Nablus. ... Conditions in Nablus do not provide a positive climate for holding elections."
It is hard to see how Abbas, delusional as he appears to be, would heed the calls to postpone the local and municipal elections. His pathetic attempt to persuade Palestinian businessmen to invest their money in PA-controlled areas at a time when the flames are engulfing his backyard is yet another sign of the man's refusal -- or inability -- to see the reality on the ground.

This is the same president who claims that he is seeking to lead his people toward statehood and a better future. Incredibly, Abbas can probably continue to fool world leaders into believing that he and the Palestinian Authority are prepared for statehood. Yet the blood pouring out in Nablus and other Palestinian cities and villages is proof positive that Abbas is on his way to losing control over the West Bank, just as he lost the Gaza Strip to Hamas in 2007. If until now it seemed that Hamas posed the biggest threat to Abbas's rule over the West Bank, it is now obvious that that is not so. The real threat, as brought home in blood in the West Bank, is coming from Abbas's homegrown loyalists-turned-rebels.
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Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based on Jerusalem.


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'Moderate'? Meet the World's 'Most Influential Muslim' - Raymond Ibrahim

by Raymond Ibrahim

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights recently issued a statement accusing Al Azhar of having two faces: one directed at the West that preaches freedom and tolerance and one directed to Muslims that sounds not unlike ISIS

There's nothing like knowing Arabic – that is, being privy to the Muslim world's internal conversations on a daily basis – to disabuse oneself of the supposed differences between so-called "moderate" and "radical" Muslims.

Consider the case of Egypt's Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb.  Hardly one to be dismissed as a fanatic who is ignorant of the true tenets of Islam, Tayeb's credentials and career are impressive: he holds a Ph.D. in Islamic philosophy from the Paris-Sorbonne University; formerly served as grand imam of Egypt, meaning he was the supreme interpreter of Islamic law; and since 2003 has been president of Al-Azhar University, considered the world's leading institution of Islamic learning.  A 2013 survey named Tayeb the "most influential Muslim in the world."

He is also regularly described by Western media and academia as a "moderate."  Georgetown University presents him as "a strong proponent of interfaith dialogue."  According to The National, "[h]e is considered to be one of the most moderate and enlightened Sunni clerics in Egypt."  In February 2015, the Wall Street Journal praised him for making "one of the most sweeping calls yet for educational reform in the Muslim world to combat the escalation of extremist violence."

Most recently he was invited to the Vatican and warmly embraced by Pope Francis.  Al Azhar had angrily cut off all ties with the Vatican five years earlier when, in the words of U.S. News, former pope Benedict "had demanded greater protection for Christians in Egypt after a New Year's bombing on a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria killed 21 people.  Since then, Islamic attacks on Christians in the region have only increased."

Pope Francis referenced his meeting with Tayeb as proof that Muslims are peaceful: "I had a long conversation with the imam, the Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar University, and I know how they think.  They [Muslims] seek peace, encounter."

How does one reconcile Tayeb's benevolent image in the West with his reality in Egypt?

For instance, all throughout the month of Ramadan last June, Tayeb appeared on Egyptian TV explaining all things Islamic – often in ways that do not suggest that Islam seeks "peace, encounter." 

During one episode, he reaffirmed a phrase that is almost exclusively associated with radicals: in Arabic, al-din wa'l-dawla, meaning "the religion and the polity" – a phrase that holds Islam to be both a religion and a body of rules governing society and state.

He did so in the context of discussing the efforts of Dr. Ali Abdel Raziq, a true reformer and former professor at Al Azhar who wrote a popular but controversial book in 1925, one year after the abolition of the Ottoman caliphate.  Titled, in translation, Islam and the Roots of Governance, it contains Raziq's argument against the idea of resurrecting the caliphate, saying Islam is a personal religion that should no longer be mixed with politics or governance.

Raziq was vehemently criticized by many clerics and even fired from Al Azhar.  Concluded Tayeb, with assent:
Al Azhar's position was to reject his position, saying he forfeited his credentials and his creed.  A great many ulema – in and out of Egypt and in Al Azhar – rejected his work and its claim, that Islam is a religion but not a polity.  Instead, they reaffirmed that Islam is both a religion and a polity [literally, al-din wa'l-dawla].
The problem with the idea that Islam must govern the whole of society should be obvious: sharia, or Islamic law, which is what every Muslim including Tayeb refers to when he says Islam is a polity, is fundamentally at odds with modern notions of human rights and, due to its supremacist and "anti-infidel" aspects, the source of conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims the world over.

That this is the case was made clear during another of Tayeb's recent episodes.  On the question of apostasy in Islam – whether a Muslim has the right to abandon Islam for another or no religion – the "radical" position is well known: unrepentant apostates are to be punished with death.

Tayeb made the same pronouncement.  During another Ramadan episode, he said, "Contemporary apostasy presents itself in the guise of crimes, assaults, and grand treason, so we deal with it now as a crime that must be opposed and punished."

While his main point was that those who do not follow Islam are prone to being criminals, he especially emphasized those who exhibit their apostasy as being a "great danger to Islamic society.  And that's because his apostasy is a result of his hatred for Islam and a reflection of his opposition to it.  In my opinion, this is grand treason."

Tayeb added what all Muslims know: "Those learned in Islamic law [al-fuqaha] and the imams of the four schools of jurisprudence consider apostasy a crime and agree that the apostate must either renounce his apostasy or else be killed."  He even cited a hadith, or tradition, of Islam's prophet Muhammad calling for the execution of Muslims who quit Islam.
Meanwhile, when speaking to Western and non-Muslim audiences, as he did during his recent European tour, Tayeb tells them what they want to hear.  Recently speaking before an international forum, he asserted that "[t]he Quran states that there is no compulsion in religion" and that "attempts to force people into a religion are against the will of God."  Similarly, when meeting with the Italian Senate's foreign policy commissioner, Pier Ferdinando Casini, and his accompanying delegation, Tayeb "asserted that Islam is the religion of peace, cooperation and mercy. ... Islam believes in freedom of expression and human rights, and recognizes the rights of all human beings."

While such open hypocrisy – also known as taqiyya – may go unnoticed in the West, in Egypt, human rights groups often call Tayeb out.  The Cairo Institute for Human Rights recently issued a statement accusing Al Azhar of having two faces: one directed at the West that preaches freedom and tolerance and one directed to Muslims that sounds not unlike ISIS:
In March 2016 before the German parliament, Sheikh al-Tayeb made unequivocally clear that religious freedom is guaranteed by the Koran, while in Cairo he makes the exact opposite claims. ... Combating terrorism and radical religious ideologies will not be accomplished by directing at the West and its international institutions religious dialogues that are open, support international peace and respect freedoms and rights, while internally promoting ideas that contribute to the dissemination of violent extremism through the media and educational curricula of Al Azhar and the mosques.
At any rate, if Tayeb holds such draconian views on apostasy from Islam – that is, when he's speaking in Arabic to fellow Muslims – what is his position concerning the Islamic State?  Last December, Tayeb was asked why Al Azhar refuses to issue a formal statement denouncing the genocidal terrorist organization as lapsing into a state of kufr – that is, of becoming un-Islamic, or "infidel."  Tayeb responded:
Al Azhar cannot accuse any [Muslim] of being a kafir [infidel], as long as he believes in Allah and the Last Day – even if he commits every atrocity. ... I cannot denounce ISIS as un-Islamic, but I can say that they cause corruption on earth.
Egyptian talk show host Ibrahim Eissa pointed out, "It's amazing.  Al Azhar insists ISIS are Muslims and refuses to denounce them.  Yet Al Azhar never ceases to shoot out statements accusing novelists, writers, thinkers – anyone who says anything that contradicts their views – of lapsing into a state of infidelity.  But not when it comes to ISIS!"

This should not be surprising, considering that many insiders accuse Al Azhar of teaching and legitimizing the atrocities that ISIS commits.  Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Nasr, a scholar of Islamic law and Al Azhar graduate, once exposed his alma mater in a televised interview:
It [Al Azhar] can't [condemn the Islamic State as un-Islamic].  The Islamic State is a byproduct of Al Azhar's programs.  So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?  Al Azhar says there must be a caliphate and that it is an obligation for the Muslim world [to establish it].  Al Azhar teaches the law of apostasy and killing the apostate.  Al Azhar is hostile towards religious minorities, and teaches things like not building churches, etc.  Al Azhar upholds the institution of jizya.  Al Azhar teaches stoning people.  So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?
Similarly, while discussing how the Islamic State burns some of its victims alive – most notoriously, a Jordanian pilot – Egyptian journalist Yusuf al-Husayni remarked on his satellite program that "[t]he Islamic State is only doing what Al Azhar teaches."  He went on to quote from textbooks used in Al Azhar that permit burning people – more specifically, "infidels" – alive.

Meanwhile, Tayeb – the face of and brain behind Al Azhar – holds that Europe "must support all moderate Islamic institutions that adopt the Al-Azhar curriculum," which "is the most eligible one for educating the youth."  He said this during "a tour [in Germany and France] to facilitate dialogue between the East and the West."

As for the ongoing persecution of Egypt's most visible non-Muslim minorities, the Coptic Christians, Tayeb is renowned for turning a blind eye.  Despite the well documented "severe persecution" Christians experience in Egypt; despite the fact that Muslim mobs attack Christians almost "every two to three days" now – recent examples include the burning of churches and Christian homes; the coldblooded murder of a Coptic man defending his grandchild from Muslim bullies; and the stripping, beating, and parading in the nude of a 70-year-old Christian woman – Tayeb recently told Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros that "Egypt represents the ultimate and highest example of national unity" between Muslims and Christians.

Although he vociferously denounces the displacement of non-Egyptian Muslims in Buddhist Myanmar, he doesn't have a single word for the persecution and displacement of the Copts – that is, his own Egyptian countrymen.  Instead, he proclaims that "the Copts have been living in Egypt for over 14 centuries in safety, and there is no need for all this artificial concern over them," adding that "true terrorism was created by the West."

Indeed, far from speaking up on behalf of Egypt's Christian minorities, he has confirmed that they are "infidels" – that same label he refused to describe ISIS with.  While he did so in a technical manner – correctly saying that, as rejecters of Muhammad's prophecy, Christians are infidels (kafir) – he also knows that labeling them as such validates all the animosity they feel and experience in Egypt, since the mortal enemy of the Muslim is the infidel.

This is consistent with the fact that Al Azhar encourages enmity for non-Muslims, specifically Coptic Christians, and even incites their murder.  As Egyptian political commentator Dr. Khalid al-Montaser once marveled:
Is it possible at this sensitive time – when murderous terrorists rest on [Islamic] texts and understandings of takfir [accusing Muslims of apostasy], murder, slaughter, and beheading – that Al Azhar magazine is offering free of charge a book whose latter half and every page – indeed every few lines – ends with "whoever disbelieves [i.e., non-Muslims] strike off his head"?
The prestigious Islamic university – which co-hosted U.S. President Obama's 2009 "A New Beginning" speech – has even issued a free booklet dedicated to proving that Christianity is a "failed religion."

One can go on and on.  Tayeb once explained with assent why Islamic law permits a Muslim man to marry a Christian woman but forbids a Muslim woman from marrying a Christian man: since women by nature are subordinate to men, it's fine if the woman is an infidel, as her superior Muslim husband will keep her in check, but if the woman is a Muslim, it is not right that she be under the authority of an infidel.  Similarly, Western liberals may be especially distraught to learn that Tayeb once boasted, "You will never one day find a Muslim society that permits sexual freedom, homosexuality, etc., etc., as rights.  Muslim societies see these as sicknesses that need to be resisted and opposed."

To recap, while secular Western talking heads who don't know the first thing about Islam continue squealing about how it is being "misunderstood," here is arguably the Muslim world's leading authority confirming many of the cardinal points held by ISIS.  He believes that Islam is not just a religion to be practiced privately, but rather a totalitarian system designed to govern the whole of society through the implementation of its human rights-abusing sharia.  He supports one of the most inhumane laws, punishment of the Muslim who wishes to leave Islam.  He downplays the plight of Egypt's persecuted Christians – that is, when he's not inciting against them by classifying them as "infidels" (the worst category in Islam's lexicon) – even as he refuses to denounce the genocidal Islamic State likewise.

Yet this well credentialed and respected scholar of Islam is considered a "moderate" by Western universities and media, from Georgetown University to the Wall Street Journal.  He is someone whom Pope Francis trusts, embraces, and quotes to reassure the West of Islam's peacefulness. 

In all fairness, Tayeb is neither a "moderate" nor a "radical."  He's merely a Muslim trying to be true to Islam.  Put differently, he's merely a messenger. 

Critics would be advised to take it up with the message itself.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of The Al Qaeda Reader and Crucified Again, is a Shillman fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a Rosen fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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Obama refused to help Iranian opposition in 2009, book says - Yoni Hersch and Israel Hayom Staff

by Yoni Hersch and Israel Hayom Staff 

New book says President Obama did nothing to help demonstrators in Iran's Green Revolution of 2009 to protect nuclear deal negotiations • Bloomberg: Obama administration tried from the beginning to turn Iran from "foe to friend."

A support rally for defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi in Tehran, June 2009
Photo credit: AFP

Yoni Hersch and Israel Hayom Staff


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Trump: The Great Unifier - Ann Coulter

by Ann Coulter

Trump's appeal to vulnerable workers cuts across racial lines.

The modern Democratic Party is obsessed with voting blocs they call "Latinos," "Hispanics" and the "blacks and browns.” 

But apart from ethnic pimps trying to get money from the government, no authentic person calls himself a "Hispanic." They're "Portuguese," "Cuban" or "Colombian" -- and they don't think of themselves as "brown.” 

Everybody else is from a country. 

It's an insult to imagine that recent immigrants are all in a simmering rage at Trump's affront to the brown masses. Salvadorans and Guatemalans resent having to pretend they're Mexican -- much less Mexican illegal immigrant rapists. 

Mexico is heaving Hondurans out of their country. El Salvador and Honduras went to war over a soccer game. But we're supposed to imagine that the moment they cross the Rio Grande, they all become blood brothers. 

The only people who believe in something called "Hispanics" are white liberals and the RNC. The condescending class is not happy unless they are infantilizing minorities. 

Republicans B.T. (Before Trump) worked overtime to reinforce these artificial group identities as one big happy (and aggrieved) family, constantly babbling about reaching out to -- as Rand Paul says -- "blacks and browns.” 

Has he heard of Compton? The city memorialized in the song "Straight Outta Compton," by the hip-hop group N.W.A. (modern translation: African-Americans With Attitude), is now majority Mexican. 

This dramatic transformation didn't happen because "blacks and browns" came together in peace and harmony in our vibrant melting pot, but because Mexicans moved in and decided they wanted blacks out, which they accomplished with violent racist attacks and drive-by shootings. 

Unlike white Americans, Mexicans are unguiltable. 

Nearly 20 years ago, both black and Hispanic Americans begged Congress to do something about illegal immigration. Rich white people see illegal immigrants only as their maids. Blacks and Hispanics live in their neighborhoods.

Terry Anderson, a black radio talk show host from South Central Los Angeles, told a U.S. House subcommittee on immigration in 1999 how illegal immigration had changed his predominantly black community. (That was then; today South Central is 99 percent Mexican.) He said all anyone ever hears about is the "poor, poor immigrant," and the immigrant worker, "who works harder than the black person works and he will take the job that nobody else takes.” 

But, Anderson said: "You never hear that every time that illegal alien comes here, he displaces somebody else …. 

"You never hear about all the race-based organizations that step forth and advocate for the illegal alien. You have MALDEF, MEChA, LULAC, La Raza and others who are exclusive only to one race of people and advocate for those people only … 

"(You) will never hear from these people about the 17-year-old black kid in my neighborhood who went to McDonald's and was told you can't work here because you don't speak Spanish.” 

In response to Anderson's claim that only Spanish-speakers could get jobs at McDonald's, Democratic congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee tried to put the onus entirely on McDonald's. Anderson wasn't having any of it. 

Every time Rep. Lee tried to say the responsibility belonged to corporate America, Anderson responded with, "And to the illegal alien who takes the job. Yes, ma'am.” 

Would any politician ever blame the foreign law-breakers themselves? That's a rhetorical question -- the answer is "no." Until Trump. 

A Latina witness, Angie Morfin from Salinas, California, told the committee that illegals were bringing "crime, gangs and an overloaded social safety net" and that "the Latino-American citizens of our community want illegals removed." She blamed Reagan's amnesty for the rise of Mexican gangs in the U.S., saying, "You gave them a right.” 

Republicans obsessed with winning the "Hispanic vote" act as if these Hispanics don't exist. The only Hispanics in their circle of concern are those who broke into our country illegally. 

By constantly groveling to ethnic activists, the GOP simply confirmed the idea that people should see themselves as ethnic identity groups -- and ought to be bloc-voting for whichever party offers their team the most goodies. 

Their argument to Hispanics was: We'll give you everything the Democrats are offering, but not as much. Paul Ryan's "opportunity society!" was not cutting it. 

Democrats must go home and laugh themselves silly at the GOP's incompetence at sucking up to minorities. We buffaloed them out of talking about immigration once again! 

Instead of cooing at immigrants and trying to lick their necks, Trump treats them like Americans. 

They like America! They came here. And they'd like good-paying jobs without the endless competition of cheap foreign labor. 

Trump's plan to stop job-killing trade deals, H1-B workers replacing American workers, and the dump of millions of low-skilled workers on the country has made him the great unifier! 

The media's only move is to quadruple down on the phony "racism" charges. But to accuse Trump of "racism" because he wants to protect jobs for our own poor, working-class and native-born is like squeezing a balloon. His popularity with the employers of nannies and diversity coordinators may be in the dumps, but oh my gosh -- look at what's happening at the other end! It looks like Americans want jobs! 

Let Hillary produce studies showing that it's much better for African-Americans to have to compete with Mexicans. Yes, that'll work! 

No one really enjoys thinking of himself as a victim. Trump sees Americans as winners and he doesn't care if you're black, white, gay or a disabled Eskimo. He'll bring back jobs for everyone -- except the plutocrats outsourcing manufacturing and importing cheap labor while making the rest of us subsidize their foreign workforces. 

Because of his positions on immigration, Trump has a sneaky appeal to everybody. For more on how great America is going to be under our next president, get In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!", out this week.

Ann Coulter


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