Friday, November 16, 2018

Why Renewed US Sanctions on Iran are Good News for Palestinians - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

What the Hamas official is actually saying is that thanks to Iran's backing, Hamas continues to hold hostage the two million residents of the Gaza Strip, whose lives have been literally destroyed by the Hamas leaders' policies.

  • What the Hamas official is actually saying is that thanks to Iran's backing, Hamas continues to hold hostage the two million residents of the Gaza Strip, whose lives have been literally destroyed by the Hamas leaders' policies.
  • The message that Hamas and PIJ are sounding is: How dare the US administration impose sanctions on Iran, the only country that is helping us in our effort to continue our terrorist attacks against Israel?
  • The renewed US sanctions on Iran are good news, however, for many Arabs and Muslims who feel threatened by Tehran's actions and rhetoric. Iran has long been systematically working towards undermining moderate Arabs and Muslims in the region.
  • The Palestinian Authority and Abbas are actually attacking a US administration that is seeking to undermine the enemies of Abbas: Hamas and Iran. The Palestinian Authority is, thus, aligning itself with its own enemies.

The US administration has decided to reinstate the sanctions against Tehran that were removed under the 2015 "nuclear deal." These sanctions are part of Washington's effort to curb Iran's missile and nuclear programs and diminish its influence in the Middle East. Pictured: US President Donald Trump holds up a memorandum that reinstates sanctions on Iran, at the White House on May 8, 2018. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

If the United States is worried about imposing harsher sanctions on Iran, it should not give those concerns a second thought. Being unpopular with people who do not wish you well is probably the price of true leadership.

Those who are worried, and should be worried, are Iran and its Palestinian allies and friends.

The US administration has decided to reinstate the sanctions against Tehran that were removed under the 2015 "nuclear deal." These sanctions are part of Washington's effort to curb Iran's missile and nuclear programs and diminish its influence in the Middle East.

Iran has two major allies in the Palestinian arena: Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Islamist groups that control the Gaza Strip and do not recognize Israel's right to exist. Were it not for Iran's financial and military support, these two Palestinian groups would long ago have lost their grip on Gaza.

Now that the sanctions on Iran have been reinstated, Hamas and PIJ are strongly condemning the US administration and pledging full support for Iran.

"The US sanctions are aimed at undermining security and stability in the region," the Hamas leadership said in a statement. The sanctions, Hamas added, are also designed to undermine Palestinian "steadfastness in the face of American plans and schemes." Hamas, the statement continued, "stands with the Iranian government and people in the face of this American-Zionist arrogance."

Bizarrely, Hamas claims that it is the US sanctions, and not its own actions and rhetoric, that undermine "security and stability in the region." In fact, it is Iran's support for Hamas's deadly program that sabotages security and stability in the region.

Hamas leaders often boast of Iran's support for their group and other Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip. According to Saleh Arouri, a senior Hamas official, Iran continues to provide "major" aid to the Palestinian "resistance" groups that are fighting against Israel. "Iranian support for the Palestinian resistance has never stopped," Arouri said in a recent interview. "This support is a sign of Iran's seriousness in confronting the Zionist entity."

What the Hamas official is actually saying is that thanks to Iran's support, the Gaza-based Palestinian groups have been able to launch thousands of missiles at Israel in the past decade. He is also saying that thanks to Iran's backing, Hamas continues to hold hostage the two million residents of the Gaza Strip, whose lives have been literally destroyed by the Hamas leaders' policies.

The response of PIJ to the sanctions against Iran is even more surreal. In a statement issued in the Gaza Strip, the PIJ leadership accused the US of engaging in "thuggery and terrorism" not only against Iran, but also against Palestinians and all Arabs and Muslims.

This charge is coming from a jihadi organization that has wounded and killed thousands of Israelis in terrorist attacks during the past three decades.

The entire ideology and strategy of PIJ has been based on terrorism and thuggery; its objectives have been -- and still are -- the destruction of Israel and the establishment of a sovereign, Islamic Palestinian state.

The message that Hamas and PIJ are sounding is: How dare the US administration impose sanctions on Iran, the only country that is helping us in our effort to continue our terrorist attacks against Israel? How dare the US administration impose sanctions on a country that provides us with financial, military and political support to help us achieve our goal of destroying Israel and replacing it with an Islamic state?

Particularly disturbing about the reactions of the Gaza-based groups to the sanctions on Iran is the threatening nature of the tone they take towards the US. Their fierce anti-US rhetoric can be seen as a call to Arabs and Muslims to target American interests and citizens in the Middle East. Hamas and PIJ are telling Arabs and Muslims, in no uncertain terms, that the Americans have become their No. #1 enemy because they are punishing an Islamic country and because they are obstructing plans to continue the fight against Israel.

The renewed US sanctions on Iran are good news, however, for many Arabs and Muslims who feel threatened by Tehran's actions and rhetoric. Iran has long been systematically working towards undermining moderate Arabs and Muslims in the region. Iran is already meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and the Palestinians, as well as some Gulf countries.

Many Arabs and Muslims share the view of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has identified Iran as the destabilizing force in the Middle East.

Echoing the fear of Arabs and Muslims from Iran, Anwar Eshki, a retired intelligence officer in the Saudi army and head of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies, wrote on Twitter that Israel was a suspected enemy while Iran was a definite enemy. He explained that Israel had not fired a single bullet at Saudi Arabia, while Iran kept firing missiles at the kingdom and even at the holy city of Mecca, through the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Arab commentator Mohammed al-Sheikh also sounded a similar sentiment:
"The Ayatollahs must wake up from their crazy messianic dream and realize that the era of jihad wars, raids, occupations and revolution exports is over. The Iranian leadership must understand, like the Saudi crown prince, that we live in the 21st century and that we must work for the young generation and for progress. The ayatollahs must return to their natural place—the mosques—and let the statesmen take care of politics."
The US sanctions on Iran are a severe blow to Tehran's friends in Hamas and PIJ. These terrorist groups face a hazy future as the sanctions take their toll the economy of Iran. Weakening Hamas and PIJ will only serve the cause of peace and stability in the Middle East. This development is good not only for Israel, but also for the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) hates Iran because of its support for its rivals in Hamas. The Palestinian ambassador to Paris was recently quoted as saying that Iran was funding the violent weekly protests along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

One of Abbas's senior advisors, Azzam al-Ahmed, last year accused Iran of being fully responsible for Hamas and Fatah's ongoing dispute, which has resulted in a split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Consequently, one would expect Abbas and his top aides to welcome the US decision to reinstate the sanctions against Iran. The Palestinian Authority leadership, however, has chosen to do no such thing. Instead of applauding the decision, Abbas and his officials are continuing their verbal attacks on the US administration and accusing it of promoting a peace plan aimed at "liquidating" the Palestinian rights and cause.

Ironically, the Palestinian Authority's recurring attacks on the US administration play into the hands of Hamas, PIJ, and even Iran.

The Palestinian Authority is actually attacking a US administration that is seeking to undermine the enemies of Abbas: Hamas and Iran. By doing so, the Palestinian Authority and Abbas are promoting anti-US sentiments throughout the Middle East. The Palestinian Authority's daily attacks on the US have radicalized countless Palestinians, who are no longer prepared to accept any American role in the Middle East peace process.

The Palestinian Authority is, thus, aligning itself with its own enemies. Hamas and PIJ may soon lose Iran as their number-one funder and sponsor, but they can always rely on Abbas and his Palestinian Authority to promote their anti-US and anti-Israel sentiments.
  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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Democracy Dies in a Leftist Coup - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

The best midterms that San Francisco donors could buy.

After President Trump took office, the Washington Post announced its new motto, “Democracy dies in darkness.” But it was the Washington Post, not Trump, that was guilty of undermining democracy.

President Trump had been legitimately elected by a majority of states. The Washington Post was an establishment paper in a government city owned by a dot com robber baron. There’s nothing more undemocratic than a paper owned by the richest man in the world working to overturn an election.

There was just as little democracy to the midterm elections in which wealthy donors from blue states and districts poured money into local races in red and purple states and districts. San Francisco and New York billionaires buying elections in Pennsylvania and Nevada is not democracy. It’s oligarchy.

American elected officials were meant to be elected by local communities to serve their needs. Instead the Left has nationalized local races by exploiting its cultural power. And when that didn’t produce the immediate results that it wanted, began overwhelming local elections with huge piles of outside cash.

The midterm elections were the best elections that San Francisco donors could buy.

Senate Democrats picked up $220 million in out-of-state donations these midterms. That huge pile of cash also amounted to sixty percent of their haul. The majority of Dem Senate cash came from donors who weren’t living in the states they were running in, but who were trying to buy elections for them.

That’s the Washington Post brand of democracy.

It’s not just Senate races being bought up by out-of-state donors. 45% of House Dem money came from out-of-state donors. And when they didn’t succeed in buying a local election the first time, they just kept on pouring in more money into a district until they got their way.

Last year, Democrats poured in $22.5 million into a special election in Georgia’s 6th congressional district. 95% of the donations came from out-of-state donors. Democrat Jon Ossoff received more donations from California than Georgia. Ossoff still lost to Rep. Karen Handel, even though her donations amounted to only a fraction of his ActBlue bucks.

But the same donors just waited a year and bought the seat for Lucy McBath in the midterms.

In October, Lucy McBath was appearing at the Writers Guild Theater in Los Angeles hosted by Hollywood royalty like Katzenberg, Tony Goldwyn and Cameron Crowe for a $500 a head fundraiser.

A large chunk of outside money behind McBath came from Michael Bloomberg. McBath touted his gun control positions and the New York billionaire’s front groups put $4.5 million behind his lackey.

That $4.5 million was a fraction of the $100 million that Bloomberg vowed to plow into the Dems.

There’s nothing democratic about Bloomberg buying the 6th the way he once bought Gracie Mansion.

In Illinois' 13th Congressional District, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan pulled in $1.7 million to Rep. Rodney Davis' $700K in a three month period. And then outside groups poured in nearly as much again in support of Londrigan. $300K of that money came from California.

In Nevada, out-of-state donors bought Jacky Rosen a senate seat. 85% of the radical lefty candidate’s donations came from outside the state. Of her 5 top donor zip codes, two were in New York, two in California, including Palo Alto, and the odd zip code out was in Chevy Chase, Maryland. 

The media frequently airs complaints about how little political power New York and California have per capita compared to a handful of small states. These complaints are not only cynically specious, they ignore the fact that between the media’s messaging force multipliers and the bicoastal wealth being used to buy elections, political power has become as concentrated as economic and cultural power.

And that’s the opposite of democracy.

The midterms weren’t a populist wave. They were an angry tantrum by wealthy blue state donors who used their money to buy local elections as payback for having their views ignored in 2016. Instead of listening to the rest of the country, they set out to buy it, lock, stock and barrel. They found experts, consultants, strategists, programmers and organizers who would buy them other people’s elections.

Much of their money was wasted. Just ask Beto O’Rourke and his $70 million war chest. But their hysterical frenzy of spending made an undeniable impact. If you throw enough mud or money at an election, eventually it sticks. The Democrat raised nearly $1 billion to take the House.

And they took it.

$166.8 million was pumped into 30 House Democrat candidates. That’s compared to $90.7 million for the Republican candidates in those races.

The most expensive midterm elections in history paid off for Democrats. And there’s nothing democratic about that.

Democracy doesn’t die in darkness. It dies in the glare of lefty media, lefty money and lefty power which strip away local issues and local agency in Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Florida. Big blue state donors bought the midterm elections to send a message to President Trump. Many had been convinced by frenzied media hit pieces in papers like the Washington Post that action was desperately urgent.

When the Washington Post, the rest of the media and their long tail of ActBlue donors intervene in local elections, it doesn’t uphold democracy. It drowns it in the bright actinic glare of flashes and floodlights.

The media postures as a defender of democracy, but corporate media is more naturally a defender of establishments, of the nostrums and platitudes of the elites whom it serves and coddles. When it interferes in elections, it doesn’t do so for the sake of the people, but for the sake of its people.

Political elites mistrust the people and use the media to manipulate popular elections into endorsing their unpopular agendas. The mainstream media is an inherently undemocratic institution that amplifies elite voices at the expense of local communities. It claims to be democratic only because it reinterprets democracy to mean the political agendas of the Democrats rather than those of the people.

Lefties often misuse democracy to mean a set of values while actual democracy, the vox populi, is tarred as populism. But democracy isn’t a set of social issues. It’s the power shift between the voters and elected officials. Big media and blue state billionaires have shifted that balance away from local voters by buying local elections and seeking new voters when the old won’t vote their way.

If a few million in attack ads won’t influence local voters, you register new ones. If that doesn’t work, then you legalize felons. And if that won’t do it, there are the illegal aliens, and voter and ballot fraud. Buy a few secretary of state races. Set up housing for out-of-state college students. Sign up aliens to vote. And then even if the local voters don’t vote your way, it won’t matter. They’ll have been outvoted.

This isn’t democracy. But it is how Democrats have won some local races.

The shift away from local voters to a national political infrastructure is undemocratic. But it neatly fits into the larger leftist cause of centralizing all of politics (and all other areas of life) in elitist strongholds. The partnerships between elitist leaders and their local crony stakeholders act as a fig leaf for the dismantling of local autonomy with performative diversity replacing representational democracy.

The Democrats have waged an undemocratic war on democracy in the name of democracy. The midterms were the latest leftist coup against democracy. And democracy lost to the Left.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.


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Elections likely after Kahlon vetoes Bennett as defense minister - Tzvi Lev

by Tzvi Lev

Elections likely after Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon tells Netanyahu he will not accept Bennett serving as Defense Minister.

Kulanu party leader Moshe Kahlon told Prime Minister Netanyahu that he will not accept Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett serving as defense minister, following the resignation of current defense minister, Avigdor Liberman.

On Wednesday, Bennett issued an ultimatum to the Prime Minister, saying his Jewish Home faction will quit the coalition if he is not appointed defense minister. If Bennett's ultimatum holds, Kahlon's veto likely signals that early elections are on the way.

"Bennett doesn't have it coming to get the Defense Ministry portfolio. I'm opposed to it," Kahlon told Netanyahu.

Bennett told confidants in response that he will not accept any other portfolio. "I will not agree to compromises. Not the Foreign Ministry or anything else - only defense," he said.

Bennett currently serves as Education Minister and Minister for Diaspora Affairs.

The coalition's future appears shaky after both Kiulanu Chairman Moshe Kahlon and Shas head Aryeh Deri called for new elections on Thursday.

Jewish Home officials said Wednesday that despite warnings that Liberman’s resignation would likely spell the end of the current government and the 20th Knesset, a narrow coalition could be kept in place into 2019.

The Netanyahu government currently holds a 66-seat majority in the 120 member Knesset. With Yisrael Beytenu’s departure, that majority has now been reduced to just 61 seats.

On Thursday, Bennett said at an Education Ministry conference that he demanded to succeed Avigdor Liberman as the defense minister in order to restore Israel's deterrence vis a vis Hamas.

"Without taking responsibility for security and without dramatic change, Israel's deterrence will continue to erode, Hamas will continue not to be afraid of us. As defense minister, I intend to bring innovation, creativity and a spirit of fighting, to break a decades-long mental state," contended Bennett. "I am willing to take responsibility."

Tzvi Lev


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'I wish I could reveal' actions to combat Gaza terror, PM says amid criticism - Gadi Golan and Yori Yalon

by Gadi Golan and Yori Yalon

"The public often can't be involved in deciding considerations, as they must be concealed from the enemy at all costs," he says.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Kibbutz Sde Boker, Wednesday
Photo: Dudu Grunshpan

"Sometimes being a leader means fielding criticism when you know classified and sensitive things," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday amid political upheaval following the resignation of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Netanyahu was speaking at an official state memorial ceremony marking the 45th anniversary of the death of Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

Amid criticism against his government for agreeing to a cease-fire with Hamas after communities in southern Israel were pounded by Hamas' rockets and shells, Netanyahu remarked: "I hear the voices of Israeli citizens and the residents of the Gaza area communities. They are dear to me, and their words touch my heart."

The ceremony was held at Kibbutz Sde Boker, Ben-Gurion's home and burial place. In attendance were President Reuven Rivlin, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and other generals, as well as outgoing Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh.

"I hear what is being said," the prime minister continued, "and I can't share [the information] with the public. I wish I could tell citizens everything I know."

He added: "Leadership means not doing what's easy, but rather doing what's right and what must be done, even if it's difficult. When it comes to Israel's security, there's more than meets the eye. Our enemies begged for a cease-fire and they know why. I can't detail our plans for the future; we will determine what's right for the security of Israel and its citizens."

Netanyahu evoked Ben-Gurion, saying the Jewish state's first prime minister also made unpopular, yet necessary decisions for the survival of the state.

"At critical times, Ben-Gurion made fateful decisions, sometimes running counter to broad public opinion. In time, these decisions proved to be correct," he said.

"At times of calm, a leader needs to be attentive to the public's sentiments. We have a smart public here. But at times of crisis, when making critical security decisions, the public often can't be involved in the deciding considerations, as they must be concealed from the enemy at all costs," Netanyahu added.

Rivlin also spoke at the event, saying, "I traveled [to southern Israel] to see with my own eyes the soldiers and residents in the Israeli communities outside Gaza. I won't offer them strength, because they are already as strong as they come."

The president also recalled a recent meeting with relatives of Lt. Col. M, the senior IDF officer who died heroically when his commando team was unexpectedly detected during a clandestine operation in Gaza on Sunday.

"Their faith in the State of Israel, their affinity and devotion needs to serve as a compass and model to all of us," he said.

Gadi Golan and Yori Yalon


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Islam Classes In Germany - Hugh Fitzgerald

by Hugh Fitzgerald

Dhimmitude and supremacist entitlements.

DORTMUND, Germany — It was the second week of Islam class, and the teacher, Mansur Seddiqzai, stood in front of a roomful of Muslim teens and pointed to the sentence on the chalkboard behind him: “Islam does not belong to Germany.”
He scanned the room and asked, “Who said this?”
Hands shot up. “The AfD?” one student with a navy blue headscarf said, referring to Germany’s far-right anti-refugee party. “No,” Seddiqzai shook his head. “Seehofer,” tried another. “Yes, and who is that?” “A minister,” said a third.
Finally, someone put it all together, identifying Horst Seehofer, the head of Bavaria’s conservative Christian Social Union and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s interior minister and coalition partner, who has on multiple occasions threatened to torpedo her government over the issue of immigration.
“Yes, that’s right,” Seddiqzai said, turning to the others. “And what do you think? Is he correct?”
The article on teaching Islam to Muslims in German schools starts right off the bat by affixing labels to the AfD party: “far-right” and “anti-refugee.” The party is not “far-right” in any meaningful sense, unless of course being critical of Islam is enough to make a person or a party “far right.” Nor is the party “anti-refugee,” but rather, “anti-Muslim refugees.” There is a difference.

Then comes the remark made by Horst Seehofer, a Bavarian politician and a putative poster-child for intolerance. He is quoted as saying “Islam does not belong to Germany.” We are meant to be offended by this remark, not to stop and consider what Seehofer meant. The teacher, Mansur Seddiqzai, might have told his students that Seehofer had both a historical and an ideological justification for his remarks. First, Muslims were never part of Germany’s history until the 1960s, with the influx of Turkish gastarbeiter, male guest workers, who came to work in West Germany’s mines and factories, sent money home, and upon retirement most moved back to their families in Turkey. It is only in the last few decades that vast numbers of Muslim migrants, including families, have been allowed in to Germany, with the consequences we can all see. Second, ideologically Islam was never part of Germany’s religious, political, or intellectual history, but rightly regarded as an alien creed. Third, Seehofer may also have been thinking of how Muslims themselves are taught to regard non-Muslims — that is, with contempt and hostility — and further told to keep their distance from them, not to befriend them, for “they are friends only with each other.”
Mansur Seddiqzai could have asked his students whether Seehofer might have been thinking of the Qur’anic verse “Unbelievers are the most vile of created beings.” No doubt many of them have never read or heard that verse, but it could provide a starting point, provoke a real discussion, about what Islam teaches about Unbelievers and why Seehofer might have said what he said. That one verse could then lead to a wider discussion of what is written elsewhere in the Qur’an about non-Muslims, none of it friendly.
In a country where the debate over “who belongs?” has deeply divided Merkel’s government, fueled massive demonstrations and propelled the rise of anti-immigrant populism, these 16- and 17-year-olds confront versions of that question every day, in the headlines and in their personal lives: Do I belong, too? Can I be German and a Muslim?”
Public schools in some of Germany’s most populous cities are helping such students come up with answers in a counterintuitive setting: Islam class.
The classes, taught by Muslims and intended for Muslim students, were first launched in the early 2000s and now are offered as electives in nine of Germany’s 16 states, by more than 800 public primary and secondary schools, according to the research network Mediendienst Integration. They include lessons on the Koran, the history of Islam, comparative religion and ethics. Often, discussions shift to the students’ identity struggles or feelings of alienation.
These classes apparently include the ”history of Islam.” What might be included in such a history? The faith expanded inexorably through warfare and conquest, but it is doubtful that the Jihad, or rather the many Jihads conducted by Muslims for 1,400 years, will be examined in these classes, taught by a Muslim to Muslim students. Instead, I suspect that bland phrases will be used to hide a bloody reality. One can well imagine, for example, a sentence like this (lifted from a textbook): “Within the first century of its existence, Islam expanded throughout the Middle East and North Africa.” “Expanded” — yes, but how? There is likely to be no discussion of how Muslim conquerors ruthlessly subjugated many different lands and peoples, or of how they offered those they conquered exactly three choices: death, conversion to Islam, or permanent status as dhimmis, subject to many onerous conditions, including payment of the Jizyah, a tax that ensured freedom from attack by Muslims.

Nor will the students be told about the magnitude of the destruction and killing wrought by Muslim armies. The ferocity of the Muslim attacks, the gigantic loss of life, can be elided: “Muslim armies tried repeatedly to conquer India, and to spread the faith of Islam; ultimately they succeeded at both.” That is one way to tell the story of the Muslim conquest of India. Another way, which Mansur Saddiqzai will certainly not attempt, would be to tell the students that 70-80 million Hindus were killed in India over several centuries of Muslim (Mughal) rule, and tens of thousands of Hindu temples and temple complexes destroyed. I suspect more attention will be given in these classes to the mythical  harmonious “convivencia” (co-existence) of Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Islamic Spain, to the “peaceful” spread of Islam to the East Indies, and to the Crusades, where the Crusaders, those “barbaric Franks” who made Jerusalem’s streets run with blood, are contrasted to that paragon of Muslim magnanimity, the noble Saladin.
As for the “identity struggles” and “feelings of alienation” of the students, isn’t it the Islamic supremacy instilled in them that makes it hard for them to reconcile their being Muslims, “the best of peoples” (3:110), with living alongside, and having to treat as equals, the “most vile of created beings” (98:6)?  They ask: “Do I fit in?” “Why do Germans reject me?” Could it have anything to do with the behavior of a great many Muslims all over the world? Might the way non-Muslims are treated in Muslim lands — think only of how many churches have been blown up in recent years, of how many Copts, Catholics, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Yazidis have been murdered by Muslims — suggest why some Germans “reject” Muslims? And how could Germans fail to be influenced by the more than 30,000 attacks by Muslim terrorists, all over the globe, since 9/11?

Mansur Saddiqzai should have his students discuss what the texts and teachings of Islam inculcate, and why many Germans believe those texts cannot be reconciled with an advanced, tolerant, Western society. The students should be told that 109 verses in the Qur’an command Muslims to wage violent Jihad against the Unbelievers. They might discuss in class a few representative verses that instruct them to kill the Infidels — 2:191-193, 4:89, 9:5, 9:29, 47:4 — as well as those that explicitly call for Muslims to “strike terror” in the hearts of their enemies, such as 3:151, 8:12, and 8:60, and be asked how, if they were not Muslims, they would react to such verses. Might some of the students even display a glimmer of understanding, and empathy, for Horst Seehofer, and Thilo Sarrazin, and the AfD? Dare one hope?
“When a German asks me which country I’m from, I tell them Turkey,” said Gulendam Velibasoglu, 17, who is taking Seddiqzai’s 10th-grade Islam class this year. She was born and raised in this western German city. Still, she says, “If I said ‘German,’ they wouldn’t accept the answer. They will see me as a foreigner, even though I’m a German citizen.”
Again, we are led to conclude from this girl’s self-pitying tale that Germans inexplicably do not consider even Muslims who are born and bred in Germany to be true Germans. It must be their intolerance, their baseless Islamophobia — for what other explanation could there possibly be? Does Mansur Saddiqzai feel the need to discuss those verses in the Qur’an that teach a murderous contempt and hatred for all non-Muslims? Does he explain that these texts, along with the observable behavior of Muslims, are what prompt German alarm? I suspect he does not.
Germany has the European Union’s second-largest Muslim population after France, according to estimates by Pew Research. In 2016, 4.95 million people, or 6.1 percent of the German population, were Muslim. But less than half of those pray regularly, and even fewer regularly attend a mosque, according to the latest government surveys.<
The country’s leaders have expressed an ambivalent view of Islam, at best. Seehofer’s statement that “Islam does not belong to Germany” came just months after the Islam-bashing AfD, or Alternative for Germany, entered parliament. Merkel denounced the statement and ruled out sharing power with the AfD. Nevertheless, the AfD has steadily gained support over the past two years: On Oct. 14, it scored the biggest electoral gains of any party in Bavaria, Germany’s most populous state.
The AfD is again consigned in this report to the outer darkness, this time described not as “far-right” but as “Islam-bashing.” Why not describe its policy, less tendentiously, as being “islamocritical”?

Last year, the AfD hung campaign posters in Dortmund featuring women in burqas and the slogan “Stop Islamization.” This year’s poster bore the words “Islam-free schools!” under an image of five beaming, light-skinned children.
Seddiqzai, who was born to Afghan parents in the German city of Bochum and who wears a full beard and Nikes to school, said he worries about the effect on his students. “These posters tell them, ‘We don’t want you here,’ ” he said.
Is Seddiqzai also worried about Muslims who take to heart the Qur’anic commandments to wage war against the Infidels until the whole world submits to Islam? Or is he only concerned about the feeling of rejection — “we don’t want you here” — that must surely wound the feelings of  young Muslims in Germany? Ought he not discuss with his students some of the reasons Germans might remain wary of Muslims? Could the German wariness about Muslims have anything to do with the Muslim terrorist attacks all over Europe, in Madrid, Barcelona, Paris (many times), Nice, Toulouse, Magnanville, Amsterdam, Brussels, London (many times), Manchester, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich,Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Malmo, Turku, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Beslan?

Is the anxiety among Germans about Muslims and Islam not well-founded? Shouldn’t he be describing to his students the deep impression the sexual attacks on 1,400 women by 2,000 Muslim predators in Cologne on New Year’s Eve 2015 made on Germans? And how should Germans have reacted to the reports of Muslim grooming gangs in nearly thirty cities in the United Kingdom, and of those tens of thousands of young English girls whom they preyed on, often engaging in mass rape?

I doubt that any of this intolerable behavior by Muslims forms part of Seddiqzai’s classroom discussion. The suspicion and fear of Muslims felt by many Germans is not a manifestation of islamophobia, but a result of the behavior of too many Muslims to ignore or discount.
“They are not accepted in Germany, they are not accepted in the countries of their parents, and that produces this craving for a group to belong to,” he [Professor Behr] continued. “And then an Islamist comes to you and says, ‘Yeah, you don’t belong to anyone. Therefore just be Muslim.’ They offer them a third way.”
Seddiqzai sees it as part of his job to make his students more informed in their consumption of such appeals.
If Mansur Seddiqzai wants to make his students “more informed” so that they will not heed the siren-song of “Islamists,” he ought to confront head on, rather than pass over in silence, the most violent and aggressive teachings of Islam. He can explain to students that the “extremists” who take these teachings to heart will, when they inveigle potential recruits into joining them, initially provide a “sanitized” version of Islam, but eventually reveal, and promote, those same violent teachings.

Earlier this year, when local politicians were discussing a ban on headscarves, a group calling itself Reality Islam launched a social media campaign to protest the proposal and recruit students. Seddiqzai showed his students how to trace Reality’s Islam’s links to Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist group banned in Germany since 2003. He also encouraged them to question the group’s stance on the headscarf, which it claimed the Koran mandates for women.

“I show them the Koranic verses about the headscarf, and we discuss it and we see there is no clear rule that a woman or girl has to wear a headscarf,” he said. “Most of them think the Koran itself has no contradictions, and even that is wrong. There are many contradictions in the Koran.”

Seddiqzai did — helpfully — show his students how Muslim extremists who have been banned from Germany use front groups as, in this case, Hizb-ut-Tahrir exploited Reality Islam’s campaign against banning the hijab. He further explained that the wearing of the hijab is not mandated in the Qur’an, and wanted his students to recognize that the Qur’an contains many contradictions. That is an important admission. But does he then go on to discuss how those contradictions are resolved, through the doctrine of naskh, or abrogation?  He does not. Nor does he appear to tell his students that whenever there is a contradiction between two verses in the Qur’an, it is the earlier, milder, so-called Medinan verses, which are held to have been abrogated  by the later, harsher, Meccan verses.
Some German politicians are pushing for an expansion of Islam classes in public schools as a way to encourage the cultural integration of Muslim students and to promote an interpretation of Islam that highlights German values.
How will study of Islam that skips over so much of what the faith inculcates that discourages “cultural integration” by Muslim students in Germany help to ameliorate the situation? If the classes avoid all discussion of the more than 100 Jihad verses, the misogynistic verses, the antisemitic verses, the verses that tell Muslims not to take Christians and Jews as friends, “for they are friends only with each other,” the verse that describes Unbelievers as “the most vile of creatures,” that doesn’t make those verses disappear. These are the very verses that prevent integration of Muslim students, and they need to be held up for study and discussion. Pretending they don’t exist is not a winning strategy.

Shouldn’t the students learn that in Islam a man can have up to four wives, but a wife can have only one husband, and that a husband can divorce any of his wives merely by uttering the “triple-talaq”? Shouldn’t they learn that a husband can “beat” a disobedient wife? That daughters inherit half that of sons? That a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man, and the reason for that, Muhammad said in a famous hadith, is “due to the deficiency of her intelligence’?
“We need more religious education,” Kerstin Griese, a lawmaker from the governing center-left Social Democratic Party, wrote in an op-ed, “because it’s the only way to start a dialogue about our own traditions and values and to understand those of others.”
What kind of “dialogue” is possible with Muslims, for example, on the subject of Jews? The Qur’an, as Robert Spencer has noted, “describes the Jews as inveterately evil and bent on destroying the wellbeing of the Muslims. They are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); as fabricating things and falsely ascribing them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); claiming that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); loving to listen to lies (5:41); disobeying Allah and never observing his commands (5:13); disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more.” Muslims will have to reject these verses if they really want “to start a dialogue.”
Such advocates generally don’t envision non-Muslim students taking these classes to gain a better appreciation of Islam. While a few German school systems offer religion classes that include multiple faiths or ethics classes that touch on religion, religion as taught in public high schools and supported by Germany’s Basic Law is generally targeted at specific denominations.
Non-Muslim students could possibly benefit from classes on Islam, but only if they were to be  offered a truthful, and not a sanitized view. It is clear that that is not being done today in German public schools, for Muslim pupils. Were teaching the real contents of Qur’an and hadith to be attempted, whether for Muslim or non-Muslim students, the uproar would be tremendous. So much effort is already being expended by politicians and the media to defend and promote Islam in Germany.  Why would they now allow a truthful account of the faith to upset their propagandistic applecart? Private schools have more freedom from government watchdogs, and instruction that is islamocritical might actually be attempted in such places.
A further rationale for Islam classes is to “immunize” Muslim students from fundamentalism, as Protestant leader Heinrich Bedford-Strohm put it.
Of particular concern is radicalization that might lead to violence. Since 2013, more than 1,000 people have left Germany to fight with or support the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations, most of them under 30.
It is hard to see how Muslim students could be “immunized” against fundamentalism if they are never taught what those fundamentalists believe, and from what verses in the Qur’an,  and stories in the hadith, they derive their beliefs. If the students cannot learn about, and discuss, these verses and stories in a critical spirit — yes, to “immunize” them — how will they be able to withstand the polished presentations of the fundamentalists?
But some educators and politicians resist the notion that Islam has a place in German public schools.
“Besides the fact that we have much more important problems in schools, it can’t be true that a German bishop is promoting Islam,” Alexander Gauland, a leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany party, said after Bedford-Strohm voiced his proposal.
No studies have examined the effectiveness of Islam classes in preventing radicalization, according to Harry Harun Behr, a professor of Islam studies and pedagogy at Frankfurt’s Goethe University.
Still, he said, the classes are valuable because they show students their faith is as important as others taught in their schools and because they show Islam as a religion that is open to reflection and self-criticism.
In Mansur Seddiqzai’s class, how is Islam shown “as a religion that is open to reflection and self-criticism”? None of the verses that preach hatred of Infidels, making war on them, striking terror in them, are apparently being discussed. Can Professor Behr offer a single example of Islam being shown in these classes as open to “self-criticism”? Has there been any criticism — even any mention — of the verses expressing contempt for Infidels (“the most vile of created beings”) and telling Muslims not to take them as friends? The antisemitic and misogynistic verses apparently are also being completely overlooked, for had they been discussed, there would no doubt have been a comment in the article on how such dedicated teachers as Mansur Seddikzai have been “unafraid to tackle the most disturbing and divisive aspects of Islamic doctrine.” The only example of “reflection” that has been mentioned concerns the wearing of the hijab, and the Qur’anic ambiguity on the matter. That is not much.

At Seddiqzai’s school, where almost 95 percent of students are first- or second-generation immigrants, Islam class is highly popular. When he crosses the schoolyard, he can barely walk five steps without being stopped by a student wanting to tell him about grades, romances or plans for the future.

This conveys a soothing sense of normalcy — the schoolyard, the Muslim students who  are just normal kids, with the usual problems kids have “about grades, romances, or plans for the future.” There’s no real difference, it is being suggested, between young Muslims and young Germans. Forget about those disturbing passages in the Qur’an and hadith. Forget about those 30,000 attacks by Muslim terrorists. Don’t let the hatemongers, the seehofers and the sarrazins of this world, fill you with anxiety. Relax. We’re diverse, but we’re also all the same. Diversity is our strength!
“What Mr. Seddiqzai is teaching me is not really something you learn at mosque,” said 17-year-old Yusuf Akar. “How to interact with non-Muslims who may not be sure how to interact with us. Or who are scared of us.”
But it is more than that, too. “It shows me I’m welcome here,” Akar said. “Because the school no longer demands that we distance ourselves from our religion. They accept it and even create an opportunity to learn about it. And that gives me the feeling that I’m part of this society.”
Yusuf Akar is right. It’s not so much a course on Islam as it is a course in raising Muslim self-esteem, making Muslims feel better about themselves, assuring them that they’ve been accepted, they’ve arrived, they’re “part of this society.” Islam is now taught, by Muslims, and for Muslims, in 800 German schools. What could be better? And it’s not just a course on Islam, putting its best face forward. It’s also a course in public relations, teaching  Muslims “how to interact with non-Muslims,” how to put them at their ease, allay their groundless fears, let them see that Muslims are just like them, wanting only to be treated like all other German boys and girls. Who could object to that?

Hugh Fitzgerald


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Macron escalates war of words with Trump as he faces a huge popular protest this weekend - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

He's getting desperate

France’s president Emmanuel Macron has got more to be worried about than his disastrous lack of public support in polling. He is facing a grass roots spontaneous, massive disruption of French highways this weekend, and he sounds a bit scared. Consider what is brewing for the weekend in France. I have found no coverage in American media. From France Bleu, via Google Translate:
Collective of citizens have called for demonstrating and blocking roads this Saturday, November 17 everywhere in France against rising fuel prices. What are the places blocked by yellow vests? Where are the disturbances planned?
Here is map of the planned blockages (so far) (hat tip: L. Gardy LaRoche)

The movement has adopted the name “yellow vests,” wearing the fluorescent safety vests worn for protection against road accidents, and using social media to organize. One Facebook page features this picture of a crows of yellow vested protesters.

The fact that this movement is entirely spontaneous is the scariest aspect for Macron and the entire French establishment. High taxes on fuel make it far more expensive than the prices Americans complain about:
Spontaneous, protean and unframed, the elusive movement of "yellow vests" worries the executive, who has already warned against blocking roads Saturday . On the other hand, this movement destabilizes the parties that are trying to position themselves, at the risk of accusations of recovery.
The magnitude of the movement remains difficult to predict. Will it coagulate the discontent accumulated around purchasing power in general? At the beginning of November, 78% of French people said they were supporting the mobilization against rising fuel prices, according to an Odoxa-Dentsu survey conducted for franceinfo and Le Figaro.
That may well be why Macron has just escalated his rhetoric against President Trump by invoking a term from feudalism, as Reuters reports:
President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday told Donald Trump that France was the United States' ally and not a vassal state after the U.S. president attacked him in a series of tweets that demonstrated how much their relationship had soured. (snip)
Asked in an interview on the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier whether he was offended by Trump's tweets, Macron talked at length about the long military alliance between the two countries, from America's War of Independence onward.
"At every moment of our history, we were allies, so between allies, respect is due," Macron told TF1 television.
As Paul Bonicelli noted in the Federalist:
…when you are a former world leader and now only a middling power, and not very economically strong at that, and you have an overweening desire to lead other countries, you have to do something.
So you take on what you say is the world’s problem child (“hyperpower” is the usual French derogatory term), led by a man you say evokes the specter of dangerous nationalism, and hope for the best
Macron’s frame of reference is seriously out of date, and not just on feudalism. Mark Thiessen pointed out I the Washington Post (non-paywall version)
American conservatives have always been nationalists, but while European nationalism is based on “blood and soil,” ours is a creedal nationalism built on an idea — the idea of human freedom. That is why America can make the audacious claim that we are an “exceptional” nation. While a family of immigrants can live in France for generations and still not be accepted as “French,” when immigrants jump into the Great American Melting Pot they become indistinguishable from any other American within a generation. European nationalism is inherently exclusive; American nationalism is inherently inclusive. And there are millions across the world who are already Americans in their hearts, even though they have not arrived here yet.
It is more pleasant for Macron to pick a fight with Trump than confront his angry citizenry.

Thomas Lifson


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Creepy Porn Lawyer Arrested For Domestic Violence - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

The Michael Avenatti narrative takes a curious - and telling - twist.

Sleazy leftist ambulance chaser Michael Avenatti who coordinated a campaign of false sexual assault accusers in a failed bid to keep Justice Brett Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court has been arrested in West Los Angeles on suspicious of felony-level domestic violence.

Avenatti is not only an indefatigable, high-powered trial lawyer – he’s a major political operator in Democratic Party circles. He worked for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, for five years at a political consulting firm and reportedly “worked on nearly 150 campaigns in 42 states, all while attending night law school at George Washington University, where he graduated first in his class.”

Avenatti has threatened to sue journalists at the Daily Caller for defamation for daring to report on the attorney’s highly questionable ethics and business dealings.
The Daily Caller previously reported:
Avenatti’s past is littered with lawsuits, jilted business partners and bankruptcy filings. People who have worked with the lawyer described him to TheDCNF as ruthless, greedy and unbothered by ethical questions. […]
Those who have worked with Avenatti describe an individual obsessed with fame and willing to use unethical methods to win a case.
So far, in response to the allegations the Vermont Democratic Party reportedly canceled events planned for Friday and Saturday at which Avenatti was scheduled to speak. Ticket sales were refunded.

But it is unclear if the backlash in Vermont, an outlier of a state, will spread to the rest of the nation.

More likely, the Left, which insists every woman must be believed, is about to move the goalposts to help the left-wing character assassin avoid justice.

The litigious Avenatti is, of course, a media darling who has been embraced by the Left because he has become a figurehead in the anti-Trump resistance. He has become a ubiquitous presence on cable television news networks and Twitter as he attacks President Trump day in day out. He originally rocketed to fame because he represents X-rated film star Stormy Daniels who claims to have had an affair with Trump and because he doggedly pursued Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen. TV host Tucker Carlson, who co-founded the Daily Caller, calls Avenatti “that creepy porn lawyer.”

Avenatti is also a public face of the #MeToo movement, which seeks to raise public awareness of sexual assault and sexual harassment. And he claims to want to challenge Trump in 2020 by running for president and has endorsed some of the radical left’s craziest policy proposals such as so-called Medicare for All, which would bankrupt America.

Naturally, when he was arrested Wednesday Avenatti said the allegations against him were "completely bogus." He appeared on TV saying the charges were an “absolute fabrication” and that he expects to be “fully exonerated.”

"I have never been physically abusive in my life nor was I last night," he said. "Any accusations to the contrary are fabricated and meant to do harm to my reputation. I look forward to being fully exonerated."

After being processed into jail Avenatti was released on $50,000 bond. He thanked Los Angeles Police Department officers for "their professionalism.”

Avenatti suggested to reporters that a conspiracy was afoot, saying he's "not going to be intimidated from stopping what I am doing. I am a father to two beautiful, smart daughters. I would never disrespect them by touching a woman inappropriately or striking a woman."

The allegations against the lawyer are mysterious.

Quoting a law enforcement official, TMZ reported that Avenatti's estranged wife, Lisa Storie-Avenatti, filed the complaint with authorities Tuesday evening but since then her lawyer has denied it was her. Storie-Avenatti reportedly said “that there has never been domestic violence in her relationship with Michael and that she has never known Michael to be physically violent toward anyone."

Police spokesman Tony Im refused to identify the victim in the case but said the person had visible injuries. Im refused to explain the relationship of Avenatti to the victim.

One thing’s for sure: Avenatti will be afforded the due process he sought to deny Brett Kavanaugh.

Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


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