Friday, October 15, 2021

Google, Amazon workers demand tech giants pull plug on Israel deal - Damian Pachter

 

by Damian Pachter

Hundreds of the tech giants' employees sign a public letter demanding that the companies pull the plug on Project Nimbus, a multi-year contract to supply cloud services to the Israeli government and military.

Hundreds of Google and Amazon employees have signed a public letter demanding that the tech giants cancel Project Nimbus, a billion-dollar contract to provide public cloud computing services to Israel.

In the letter, published by The Guardian on Tuesday, the authors state that they were "morally obliged" to speak out against the project, calling on Amazon and Google to cancel the contract and sever all ties with the Israeli military.

"We cannot look the other way, as the products we build are used to deny Palestinians their basic rights, force Palestinians out of their homes and attack Palestinians in the Gaza Strip – actions that have prompted war crime investigations by the international criminal court," the letter states.

According to the letter, 90 employees at Google and 300 at Amazon had signed the missive, but wished to remain anonymous "because we fear retaliation."

The letter goes on to state that the tech giants' "aggressive" pursuit of military and law-enforcement contracts, including Nimbus, was part of a "disturbing pattern of militarization, lack of transparency and avoidance of oversight."

Moreover, the letter states, Nimbus involved the sale of "dangerous technology" to the Israeli military and government, and had been "signed the same week that the Israeli military attacked Palestinians in the Gaza Strip – killing nearly 250 people, including more than 60 children."

The letter was referring to the 11-day conflict in May between Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip, which was sparked by the launch of a rocket barrage at Jerusalem on May 10. For more than the following week and a half, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched nearly 4,400 rockets at Israel (some 700 of which came down inside Gaza), according to the Israeli military. In response to the indiscriminate rocket fire, Israel launched "Operation Guardian of the Walls," striking more than 1,500 terror targets in the Strip.

"The technology our companies have contracted to build will make the systematic discrimination and displacement carried out by the Israeli military and government even crueler and deadlier for Palestinians," the letter states.

This technology "allows for further surveillance of and unlawful data collection on Palestinians, and facilitates the expansion of Israel's illegal settlements on Palestinian land," it continues.

The authors conclude by stating, "We condemn Amazon and Google's decision to sign the Project Nimbus contract with the Israeli military and government, and ask them to reject this contract and future contracts that will harm our users. We call on global technology workers and the international community to join with us in building a world where technology promotes safety and dignity for all."

Google and Amazon won the $1.2 billion contract following a public tender process, beating out Microsoft, Oracle and IBM. According to Mike Daniels, vice president of Google Cloud's Global Public Sector, the agreement will deliver cloud services to all Israeli government entities, from ministries to state-owned companies. The project will run for an initial period of seven years, with Israel having the option to extend it for up to 23 years in total, Daniels said in a statement in May.

JNS.org contributed to this report.

 

Damian Pachter 

Source: https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/10/14/google-amazon-workers-demand-tech-giants-pull-plug-on-israel-deal/

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FM Lapid: Israel reserves right to act against Iran at any time, in any way - Ariel Kahana , Dmitriy Shapiro and News Agencies

 

by Ariel Kahana , Dmitriy Shapiro and News Agencies

"That is not only our right; it is also our responsibility. Iran has publicly stated it wants to wipe us out. We have no intention of letting this happen," Foreign Minister Yair Lapid says in joint press conference with US US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

FM Lapid: Israel reserves right to act against Iran at any time, in any way

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the State Department in Washington, Oct. 13, 2021 | 

Photo: Reuters.Andrew Harmik/Pool

Israeli officials believe the Biden administration should set a timetable in regards to Iran and possible nuclear negotiations with the Islamic republic, Israel Hayom has learned. Additionally, Israeli officials believe the US must prepare an alternative plan if nuclear talks either aren't renewed or fail.

With that, in an effort to avoid tensions with the White House, which were rife during the Obama-Netanyahu years, Israeli officials have presented their position in a moderate manner. The Israeli echelon still believes that the US decision to renew nuclear talks with Iran is, in and of itself, a mistake, and not enough to eradicate the Iranian danger. However, senior Israeli officials have made it clear that the ongoing dialogue with the Biden administration is being conducted through a "mutual understanding that [the sides] agree on certain things and don't agree on others," with a desire not to emphasize the disagreements.

As part of this continuous discourse with the Biden administration, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday took part in a historic trilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, left, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, center, and United Arab Emirates 
FM Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyanin, right, at a joint news conference at the State Department in Washington, 
Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021 (AP/Andrew Harmik/Pool)

The three followed up the meeting with a joint press conference, seated three abreast in the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room.

Blinken barely mentioned Iran during his opening remarks, but Lapid brought it into the conversation in his call for an alternative to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which may include the use of force.

"At the center of my visit here is the concern about Iran's race to nuclear capability," he said. "Iran is becoming a nuclear threshold country. Every day that passes, every delay in negotiations brings Iran closer to a nuclear bomb."

Israel, said Lapid, reserves the right to act on Iran at any given moment to prevent the Iranian regime from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

"There are moments when nations must use force to protect the world from evil," he said. "If a terror regime is going to acquire a nuclear weapon we must act. We must make clear that the civilized world won't allow it. If the Iranians don't believe the world is serious about stopping them, they will race to the bomb.

"Israel reserves the right to act at any given moment in any given way," Lapid said. Israel has previously bombed nuclear sites in Iraq and Syria.

"That is not only our right; it is also our responsibility," he added. "Iran has publicly stated it wants to wipe us out. We have no intention of letting this happen."

Blinken addressed Iran when asked by reporters, setting low expectations as to whether there will be any concrete action into re-entering the JCPOA as many expect another round of indirect negotiations later this month.

He said while all three leaders believe that Iran cannot be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon, the United States favors a diplomatic pathway. Yet he sounded less confident about whether or not Iran was willing to cooperate.

"But as we've had occasion to discuss in recent weeks, despite the fact that we've made abundantly clear over the last nine months that we are prepared to return to full compliance with the JCPOA if Iran does the same, what we are seeing – or maybe more accurately not seeing from Tehran now – suggests that they're not," said the secretary of state. "And time is running short because, as we've also had an opportunity to discuss together, we are getting closer to a point at which returning to compliance with the JCPOA will not in and of itself recapture the benefits of the JCPOA, and that's because Iran has been using this time to advance its nuclear program in a variety of ways, including enriching uranium to 20% and even 60%, using more advanced centrifuges, acquiring more knowledge. And so that runway is getting shorter."

Blinken said that the allies are looking at "other options" of what to do if Iran does not rejoin negotiations, while never going as far to acknowledge that other options could be military ones.

"I would like to start by repeating what the secretary of state just said," stated Lapid. "Yes, other options are going to be on the table if diplomacy fails. And by saying other options, I think everybody understands here, in Israel, in the Emirates and in Tehran what it is that we mean."

The European Union coordinator on Iran, Enrique Mora, planned to visit Tehran on Thursday, a trip that diplomats from Britain, France and Germany, a group known as the E3, said came at a critical time.

"The nuclear situation has worsened continuously and seriously," said one E3 diplomat, alluding to Iran's accelerating enrichment of uranium to higher fissile purity, a possible pathway to a nuclear bomb.

"This therefore is from our E3 point of view not a 'business as usual' but a visit in [the] context of a deep crisis in the JCPOA," the diplomat added.

While officials have made similar past statements, taken together the comments suggested a more coercive rhetorical stance toward Tehran if it refused to resume compliance with the deal called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Earlier, the US special envoy for Iran, Rob Malley, said Washington was ready to consider "all options" if Iran is unwilling to return to the 2015 deal, which was negotiated under then-President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden, who is now the US president.

The phrase "all options," is typically intended to include the possibility – however remote – of military action.

Some analysts, however, read the comments less as a tougher stance on Iran and more as a reflection of the uncertainty about whether the Ebrahim Raisi government will return to talks and, even if it does, whether it will agree to revive the deal.

The State Department said Malley would travel to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia from Oct. 15-21 to coordinate with Gulf allies.

"We will be prepared to adjust to a different reality in which we have to deal with all options to address Iran's nuclear program if it's not prepared to come back into the constraints," Malley said in a virtual appearance at a Washington think tank.

"There is every possibility that Iran will choose a different path, and we need to coordinate with Israel and other partners in the region," he added.

"I will be traveling to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar in just a matter of days to talk about efforts to come back to (JCPOA) and what options we have to control Iran's nuclear program if we can't achieve that goal."

Blinken began the press conference by touting the accomplishments between the two nations, who were two of the first signees of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, signed on the White House lawn on Sept. 15, 2020.

"The UAE-Israel relationship has, I think it's fair to say, flourished this past year," said Blinken. "This May, Israel opened an embassy in the UAE – the first it has ever had to a Gulf nation. And a few days ago, Israel's new ambassador to the UAE presented his credentials. In July, the UAE opened an embassy in Israel, the first Gulf state to take that action."

Blinken said the Biden administration strongly supports developing relationships between the nations that joined the agreement – Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco as well – and looks to expand the circle of countries normalizing relations with Israel in the years ahead.

"We believe that normalization can and should be a force for progress, not only between Israel and Arab countries and other countries in the region and beyond but between Israelis and Palestinians," he said. "As [US] President [Joe] Biden has said, Israelis and Palestinians equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, democracy. The president has also been clear that a two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable, sovereign, and democratic Palestinian state."

'I'm going to visit soon to meet a friend, but also a partner'

Two new trilateral working groups were launched during the meeting, according to Blinken, with the first group to focus on religious coexistence.

"This is a moment of rising antisemitism, rising Islamophobia, and we want Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States to work together to build tolerance and ensure that all religious groups can worship in their traditional ways without violence, without intimidation, without discrimination," said Blinken.

The second working group will focus on water and energy, which Blinken said are critical for all three countries in the face of climate change. He said he was pleased that Israel had joined the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate – a joint initiative between the United States and UAE to "catalyze new investment in climate-smart agriculture," with Israeli and Emirati companies already planning collaborations on renewable projects.

Both the UAE and Israel have made pledges to cut down emissions by 2050 – Israel by 85% and the UAE aims to reach net-zero emissions.

Lapid and Al Nahyan were optimistic about the accords and their relationship, calling each other friends. When asked by a reporter about when he'll visit Israel, Al Nahyan replied that Lapid had invited him to do so during their meeting.

"Foreign Minister Yair was kind enough to invite me to visit Israel, and I'm going to visit soon to meet a friend but also a partner," said Al Nahyan. "We need to not only celebrate this relationship but look at new avenues of cooperation."

"I look forward to seeing you in Israel soon," he said to Lapid.

Lapid responded: "In Israel, the door is open to you. My wife is looking forward to having you over for dinner.

"His Highness Sheikh Abdullah and I have become friends and partners. Our friendship is based on shared values, on moderation, on religious tolerance, on the importance of fighting terror and radicalization," said Lapid. "The partnership is based on economics, progress and technological excellence. This partnership isn't just between Jews and Arabs, but between citizens of the world who want to be partners in the fight against climate change, against poverty, against the pandemic that has taken the lives of millions."

US Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman also met with Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz, where the two covered largely the same subjects as Lapid and Blinken.

JNS.org. contributed to this report.

 

Ariel Kahana , Dmitriy Shapiro and News Agencies

Source: https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/10/14/fm-lapid-israel-reserves-right-to-against-iran-at-any-time-in-any-way/

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Is China Falling? - Michael Ledeen

 

by Michael Ledeen

Selling off resources, purging top officials, and defaulting on debt.

 


It seems that the Chinese economy is falling, and there may be no one to bail them out. In a wave of recent reports, we see the contraction of the national economy, especially intense in the north. There have been blackouts and power failures across the area, and while the problems began in factories they have now spread to homes, a trend that is forecast to spread as time passes.

The most alarming case is that of the real estate colossus Evergrande, whose debt is so large that default is a real possibility, and thereafter a rash of defaults across the world. Evergrande is a global threat, menacing a worldwide outburst of indebtedness, with all the dreadful consequences that go along with it.

Evergrande is not the only menace. As The Epoch Times wrote recently, dictator Xi seems to be saying that he doesn't want a society that is individualistic, but rather a mass of citizens who see their role as supporting and following the state. He has purged hundreds of thousands of top officials from Party ranks in the recent past, and promises to do more of the same in the near future. The state has been selling commodities for the first time in a decade, and released oil from its strategic reserves for the first time in ten years. The Chinese are selling off their resources.

On October 4th, Evergrande, unable to meet its obligations, suspended sales of its stock. Over the past 20 years, more than 20 percent of the French Jewish population has left France, with a notable increase of those emigres going to Israel. The French are not happy with public education in their home country, and much prefer Israeli methods. 

Evergrande is the biggest company to suspend trading to date, and it will resume activity next week, following a week's suspension of stock market activity.  What will happen?  Xi  seems eager to put an end to unbridled trading, and to bring Chinese manufacturers under ever more rigid state control. When Jack Ma, the founder and CEO of Alibaba made a public speech that was critical of the nation's (that is, of Dictator XI's) crackdown on Chinese business, he disappeared for several days.  Ma has since been a low-profile actor, and Xi has focused on relations with Taiwan, warning the island that it was only a matter of time before China undertook military action against it. This goes hand in hand with the mainland's efforts to pressure Taiwan's government into reintegrating with the People's Republic. The United States was meanwhile increasing military sales, and sending top Defense Department officials to Taipei. As an American expert on Taiwan put it, this arrangement favored increased Western influence. "You can't divorce the technology completely from the society that produced it." 

Xi was evidently trying to resist.  But Taiwan has elected a new, nationalist administration that has vowed to advance the country's ability to defend itself, and the growing friendship with America indicates that Biden is willing to play ball in that game.

Stay tuned.

 

Michael Ledeen

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/10/china-falling-michael-ledeen/

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The West’s Suicidal Energy Policies - Bruce Thornton

 

by Bruce Thornton

Global warmists’ pipe-dreams and bad science.

 

 

History and common sense tell us that for a nation to survive, it must secure and control critical natural resources. In recent decades, Western nations have increasingly ignored this imperative in order to pursue dubious environmental goals dressed up as science, but more often the consequence of cultural ideals, political agendas, or profitable industries supported by government subsidies.

The current rise in the costs of energy in the U.S. and Europe is a flashing red light warning us that irresponsible energy policies are threatening the global economy, with dangerous consequences for our freedom, security, and way of life.

History provides us with examples of what happens to a state when it loses control of a critical resource. Ancient Athens depended on imported grain to feed its people. Recognizing the importance of foreign grain, the Athenians controlled the ports and sea-lanes that facilitated grain transport from the Black Sea region. Its dependence on those imports in fact led to its defeat by Sparta in the 27-year-long Peloponnesian War. Sparta’s naval victory at Aegospotamai at the mouth of the modern Dardanelles cut off Athenian imports from the Black Sea. Faced with starvation, the Athenians capitulated.

Twenty-two centuries later, the West faced a similar, though not as disastrous, challenge–– the 1973-74 Arab Oil Embargo. OPEC cut off imports of oil to the U.S. and other nations for supporting Israel during the 1973 Arab-Israeli, or Yom Kippur War. Dependent on imported oil, the U.S. faced the “oil shock”: gasoline prices rising 43%, gas rationing, long lines at gas-stations, a tripling of oil costs per barrel, stagflation, a stock market crash, and further damage to the global economy. The silver lining of this crisis was the development of policies and measures intended to wean the U.S. from its dependence on imported oil.

The current energy crisis, with oil prices recently rising to $80 a barrel, is much different from the Athenian grain crisis or Arab oil embargo, both of which were the consequence of war. But it is a serious one, affecting the world’s richest economies. As Ellie Gardey writes in American Spectator Online, “Economists are predicting that Europe and Asia will face a cataclysmic energy crisis when winter weather collides with drastically higher energy prices and shortages of oil, natural gas, and coal. There are warnings about widespread blackouts in Europe, factory shutdowns in China, and economic chaos in poorer countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan.”

The pandemic’s effect on supply chains is part of the problem, but the more significant factor is the decades-long assault on carbon-based energy on the pretext of catastrophic global warming. Germany, the EU’s largest economy and the world’s fourth largest, is the bellwether for Europe’s economies. After the Fukusima nuclear disaster in 2011, Germany recklessly decommissioned all its nuclear power plants, which provided nearly 30% of the country’s energy, and mandated they be replaced by “green” energy like wind and solar.

But as Texas learned this past winter when power outages killed at least 80 people, those sources of energy are highly unreliable fixes when fuels like natural gas that power generators become unavailable. Yet Europe’s powerful environmental lobby continue to block and delay new coal-fired plants or allow hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for extracting shale oil. As a result, they are dependent on Russian natural gas, and hence subject to Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical ambitions.

For now the U.S. is in better shape to weather the fuel crisis thanks to the fracking revolution, and Donald Trump’s relaxation of bans on oil development on public lands and waters, and his support for innovations like fracking that have made the U.S. potentially energy self-sufficient and the top oil producer in the world. Trump also left the Paris Climate Accords, the latest act of globalist virtue-signaling that will do nothing to mitigate the alleged apocalypse humanity will face if temperatures rise more than a couple of degrees in the next few decades.

The Biden administration, of course, has reversed most of these policies and renewed the progressives’ war on coal. Now the goal is for electricity generation to be carbon-free by 2035, at the cost of who knows how many trillions of dollars. He has tried to put a moratorium on oil-leases on public lands, cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline, and rejoined the useless Paris Climate accords. More humiliating, he has lobbied OPEC to produce more oil in order to stabilize prices––so much for our goal to achieve energy independence, first set as a response to the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. The consequences of this squandering of Trump’s support for domestic oil production can be seen in current rising energy costs, with regular gas as much as twice as high in some states as it was in 2020.

Why have the richest, best educated, most technologically sophisticated nations in history violated the obvious lesson delivered by history and common sense––that a nation’s security depends on controlling and enhancing the supplies of its most important resources?

Today’s crisis reflects naïve or self-interested claims about the relationship of human behavior to the environment. For most of humanity before the modern period, nature was an arena of destructive, inhuman forces that had to be propitiated, but also controlled and exploited in order for people to survive. The idealization of nature as a beneficent mother from whom our technology, industry, and cities have estranged us arose in the West with the 18th-century Romantic movement. The impact of early industrialization’s “Satanic mills,” as William Blake put it, on the landscape and human life and labor; the growth of cities shrouded in coal smoke and crowded with the destitute; and finally, the shrinking of rural populations and the number of people required to produce food for the rest–– all popularized Romantic idealizations of nature as a soothing balm for the psyches of those, mainly comfortable poets and the growing middle class, who felt traumatized by modernity.

This powerful myth, now in its fourth century, has saturated our culture and, through environmental lobby, influenced our government policy. The notion that human beings, in their efforts to survive and improve their material existence, threaten the survival of the natural world––the rationale for policies mitigating catastrophic global warming––goes back even farther, to the ancient myth of the Golden Age. This was the time before technology, laws, private property, and war, when the earth unasked bestowed on us all we needed to survive and flourish. Or as the Roman poet Ovid put it, when the earth “untouched by the hoe and unwounded by the plow herself gave all things.”

Unfortunately, that age passed and deteriorated into the Iron Age, when people rend and tear “mother earth” with their iron tools to grow food and mine gold. Then come cities, private property, technology, seafaring, tyranny, crime, and war, all generated by what Ovid called the “wicked lust for having.” These ancient longings and ideals are obvious in popular culture, especially in movies like Avatar, Pocahontas, or Dances with Wolves, the latter two box-office hits in the 90s, the decade when the “global warming” industry was just beginning its growth into today’s most important and lucrative global ideology.

Despite the dubious science behind anthropogenic, catastrophic global warming, in a few weeks  the next global-warming gab-fest comes to Glasgow, just as winter weather will start exposing the fecklessness of subjecting energy policy to utopian schemes such as achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Of course, the Biden administration will be there, and no doubt sign on to expensive, economy-wounding schemes for reducing carbon that China––whose emissions of CO2 are greater than those of the U.S. and the other developed nations combined–– will game, subvert, or out-right ignore.

Holding our energy policy hostage to a dubious hypothesis about a global climate we as yet do not understand sufficiently––not to mention indulging mythic longings and dreams that are the luxuries of the prosperous well-fed––is dangerous. The first obligation of a government, and the people who select the officers of that government, is to protect the nation’s security and interests, particularly its economy–– and the cheap energy that powers it–– that funds their way of life.

The global warmists’ pipe-dreams have already cost us billions of dollars in sketchy research and subsidies for “alternative energy” that is decades from achieving, if ever, its promise to make fossil fuels obsolete. The Biden administration has already jeopardized our security abroad with its feckless appeasement in Afghanistan, compromised our safety and citizenship with its virtual open borders policy, and threatened our economy not just with proposed trillions in new spending, but with its war on fossil fuels and fantasies of “net zero” carbon that will cost trillions more and severely damage our economy.

That’s what happens when a people are guided by bad science rather than their own common sense, prudence, and skepticism.

 

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/10/wests-suicidal-energy-policies-bruce-thornton/

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Blasted "Knee" Anthem Protests. The Media Covered It Up - Daniel Greenfield

 

by Daniel Greenfield

Justice Greenberg's opinion of kneeling during the National Anthem was simply not acceptable to the righteous Left - it had to be silenced for the greater good.

 


A day after I suggested that before too long those statues and memorials to Justice Ruth Bader Gingsburg would be torn down, this comes out. Part of the comments had already been public, but crucially they were made in 2016, before the Cult of George Floyd completely redefined America and people were purged from public life and fired from their jobs for a fraction of what she said.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, never shy to weigh in on the controversies of the day, said she thinks “it’s really dumb” for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others to refuse to stand for the national anthem.

Of Kaepernick and others she says, she thinks their actions are “dumb and disrespectful”.

“I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”

Since our society now has the attention span of a hummingbird, this was quickly forgotten. But now that Katie Couric, on the last stage of her misbegotten career is flogging her own memoir, we heard about the comments that were edited out.

Ginsburg went on to say that such protests show a 'contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life.'

She said: 'Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from...as they became older they realize that this was youthful folly. And that's why education is important.'

Even in 2016, this was dangerous territory.

RBG was entitled to say it. After all she was the daughter of an immigrant who grew up much less well off than Colin Kaepernick. But she was also a lady in her eighties who was echoing an older liberalism that was now being rejected. There had been such tensions before during her interviews. And this raises the question of how many of those interviews were edited. Especially considering what came next.

Couric writes that she was 'conflicted' because she was a 'big RBG fan', referring to Ginsburg's moniker.

But Couric writes in her memoir that she thought the justice, who was 83 at the time, was 'elderly and probably didn't fully understand the question.'

Couric called a friend, David Brooks, a New York Times journalist, who advised her that Ginsburg probably didn't understand the question, even though she was still serving on the Supreme Court at the time.

However David Westin, the former head of ABC News, advised Couric to keep it in. 

'She's on the Supreme Court. People should hear what she thinks,' he said, according to Couric. 

According to Couric, she 'wanted to protect' Ginsburg and felt that the issue of racial justice was a 'blind spot' for her.

Brooks' condescension is a little surreal. If he thought that RBG was that mentally out to lunch, shouldn't he have encouraged the exposure of an unqualified justice?

But that's not the interesting part.

The day after the sit-down, the head of public affairs for the Supreme Court emailed Couric to say the late justice had 'misspoken' and asked that it be removed from the story.

Asking that comments which would raise questions about prejudicing a court case be removed would be one thing, but there's no realistic scenario in which this would have become a Supreme Court case. Did the request to remove the comments come from RBG or from some political operatives who were concerned with controlling narratives, or who were riding herd on RBG?

Any of those scenarios would raise a good deal of questions, especially during the Biden era.

 

Daniel Greenfield

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/point/2021/10/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-blasted-knee-anthem-daniel-greenfield/

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Israel should grant Jews right to pray on Temple Mount - Farley Weiss

 

by Farley Weiss

Freedom of religion is only upheld when we stand up and protect it from outrageous threats, such as that of a Muslim uprising.

A fundamental constitutional right in the United States, embodied in its first amendment, is the freedom of religion. Freedom of prayer is clearly part of freedom of religion. Part of freedom of prayer is the freedom to pray in public spaces. Anyone opposing the right of Jewish prayer, therefore, would be deemed anti-Semitic in America.

This brings us to Israel. Before the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, I helped organize the first Jewish afternoon prayer service there, with no concern that it would spark any kind of controversy. In a way, I was right; I found out later that a video of it had garnered more than 10,000 views.

Subsequently, thanks to the Abraham Accords, which recently passed their one-year anniversary, Jewish services and events were even celebrated publicly in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. It was a sign of those Muslim-majority countries' acceptance of freedom of Jewish observance that is so fundamental to the groundbreaking peace deals.

Meanwhile, however, such open Jewish prayer is not permitted at Judaism's holiest site – the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Indeed, Israel actually enforces a ban on organized Jewish prayer, and even audible individual Jewish prayer at the site, while permitting Muslims to pray freely there.

This policy, established by Moshe Dayan after Israel's victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, who gave authority over the holy sites to the Islamic Waqf, continues to be enforced, due to pressure by the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Egypt. Jordan also prohibits public Jewish prayer at the tomb of Moses's brother, Aharon Hakohen, which is located near Petra. The Jordanian parliament even held a moment of silence for the terrorists who murdered two Israeli policemen guarding the Temple Mount. Amman has also given safe haven to Ahlam Tamimi, who participated in the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem, in which 15 Israeli and American citizens were killed and more than 100 others were wounded. It has refused US requests for her extradition.

Together with Egypt, Jordan also endorsed a 2016 UNESCO resolution denying any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, referring to it as a solely Muslim site. The resolution also referred to the Western Wall as Al-Baraq Plaza, and did not acknowledge any connection to Judaism.

This is not surprising, because if you deny that two Jewish temples existed on the Temple Mount, then you deny any Jewish connection to the Western Wall, as well. Nor is it surprising, thus, that on more than one occasion, there have been incidents of Muslims on the Temple Mount throwing stones on Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall below – because they oppose Jewish prayer, too.

Acquiescence to opposition to Jewish prayer goes way back. It was also instituted by Britain in its 1928 White Paper, which prohibited the blowing of the shofar at the Western Wall. The reason that the British gave was that such a ritual would offend and incite the Muslim world.

The decree led to Britain's attempt each year to arrest Jews blowing the shofar at the end of Yom Kippur, in violation of the law. Recently, many of those – who are still alive – had a reunion at the Western Wall to remember their act of religious freedom against the anti-Semitic British decree.

Last week, Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Bilha Yahalom ruled that the silent prayer of Jews on the Temple Mount is allowed, saying it cannot be deemed a "criminal act."

Sadly, Israeli Public Security Minister Omer Barlev announced that the government was appealing the ruling, on the grounds that it "endanger(s) the public peace and could cause a flare-up."

He further elaborated that though "the state advocates freedom of worship and prayer for all … in view of the security implications, the status quo must be upheld that the prayer of Jews on the Temple Mount will take place next to the Western Wall and the prayer of Muslims will take place in al Haram Al Sharif."

Bar Lev's appeal was successful. The Jerusalem District Court overturned Yahalom's ruling. According to some reports, Biden administration pressure was behind the appeal.

This runs counter to former US President Donald Trump's "Peace to Prosperity" plan, which – in a historic first – said that Jewish prayer should not be prevented on the Temple Mount.

In an article in the September issue of Commentary, Rabbi Meir Soloveitchik wrote: "The hard truth is that in the past 54 years since the miraculous moment when Jews returned to ancient Jerusalem, the sacred city has itself been rebuilt – but the destruction of the remnants of the Temple has gotten worse. The Waqf has destroyed much archeological evidence of the Temple that once was there, and many Palestinian leaders have denied that the Temple stood there in the first place."

Many Orthodox rabbis oppose Jews ascending to the Temple Mount for religious reasons. But those rabbis should make clear to those who hold a different theological position that they should support the right of Jews to pray there freely.

It is a travesty that the State of Israel is not protecting this right.

Freedom of religion is only upheld when we stand up and protect it from outrageous threats, such as that of a Muslim uprising. It is time for the Israeli government to do its job and safeguard the right of Jews to pray at their holiest site.

Reprinted with permission from JNS.org.

 

Farley Weiss

Source: https://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/israel-should-grant-jews-right-to-pray-on-temple-mount/

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Pro-Iranian militias in Syria vow 'harsh response' to Israeli, US airstrikes - Neta Bar and News Agencies

 

by Neta Bar and News Agencies

In a rare move, pro-Iranian militias based in Syria issue a joint statement explicitly threatening Israel and the United States following an alleged airstrike Wednesday night on a base near the city of Palmyra.

Pro-Iranian militias operating in Syria explicitly threatened Israel and the United States in a joint statement Thursday morning following an alleged Israeli airstrike Wednesday night on a base near the city of Palmyra in the province of Homs. The statement claimed that four militia members were killed in the strike and that others were wounded.

Syria's defense ministry said on Thursday that one of its soldiers has been killed and three wounded.

According to the statement, which was published by Hezbollah-affiliated news outlet Al Mayadeen, the alleged Israeli attack targeted a recruitment center and several other facilities serving the militias in eastern Syria.

"On [Wednesday] night, Israeli and American planes launched an aggression against positions belonging to the resistance alliance near the city of Palmyra. The targets were a youth recruitment center and other service facilities. As a result of the attack, several mujahideen were martyred and others were wounded," the statement said.

"Accordingly, we declare three things. First, our mission and presence in Syria are of utmost legitimacy and are at the behest and oversight of the Syrian country, with the aim of fighting the takfiri project (a reference to radical Sunni Islamic groups) led by the Islamic state group. Second, for years now, the Israeli and American enemy has attacked us in an effort to drag us into side-battles that are not the purpose of our presence in Syria. The Zionists' excuse is that they are attacking precision weapons that represent a threat to their thievish entity," the groups added in their statement.

"Third, in accordance with the fact that the attack was carried out from Jordanian territory and occupied territory by the Americans in Syria, we have made the decision to retaliate for the blood of our fighters who were killed and wounded. The response will be harsh," the militias warned.

State-run television initially quoted an unidentified Syrian military official as saying the strike occurred shortly before midnight and targeted a telecommunications tower and some posts around it, only causing material damage.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the strikes hit an airbase known as T4, adding that Iran-backed militiamen based there were targeted.

Residents of Palmyra said on social media that loud explosions were heard in the south of the city and that fires erupted in several areas.

The strikes came five days after Syrian state media reported that Israeli strikes in Homs province wounded six soldiers and killed at least two members of a pro-Iranian militia.

Over the past years, Israel is believed to have been behind many strikes inside government-controlled parts of Syria.

Israel has staged hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Israel views Iranian entrenchment on its northern frontier as a red line, and it has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Lebanon's Hezbollah terrorist group.

 

Neta Bar and News Agencies

Source: https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/10/14/report-1-syrian-soldier-killed-3-wounded-in-alleged-israeli-airstrike/

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Germany: Cologne Mosques to Begin Outdoor Broadcasting of Muslim Call to Prayer - Soeren Kern

 

by Soeren Kern

"It's not about 'religious freedom' or 'diversity,' as Mayor Reker claims. The mosque operators want visibility. They celebrate the muezzin as a show of power over their neighborhoods." —Ahmad Mansour, Israeli-Arab and German Islam expert.

  • The city of Cologne, once a stronghold of Christendom in Germany, has authorized mosques in the city to begin sounding Muslim calls to prayer over outdoor loudspeakers. The move, ostensibly aimed at promoting multicultural diversity and inclusion, represents a significant step toward the cultural normalization of Islam in Germany. It is taking German multiculturalism into uncharted territory.

  • Critics say that comparing Islamic prayer calls to church bells is a false equivalence because the muezzin proclaims religious slogans such as "there is no god but Allah" and "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is the Greatest").

  • "The Muslim call to prayer is not like the ringing of church bells, which are a reminder of a scheduled worship service. Instead, it is a creed and a statement of political Islam, which has unfortunately been abused in many ways in recent years. The call 'Allahu Akbar' is not only a call to prayer, but it has also become the battle cry of jihad by Islamist terrorists." — Necla Kelek, Turkish-born German Islam expert.

  • "It's not about 'religious freedom' or 'diversity,' as Mayor Reker claims. The mosque operators want visibility. They celebrate the muezzin as a show of power over their neighborhoods." —Ahmad Mansour, Israeli-Arab and German Islam expert.

  • "The Muslim call to prayer, the muezzin call, is now permitted in Cologne. Cologne's Lord Mayor Henriette Reker calls this a 'symbol of diversity.' For me it is the opposite — a sign of discrimination.... In 2015, I had to flee from Bangladeshi Islamists because I publicly criticized Islamism. When I hear 'Allahu Akbar' from loudspeakers in Germany, I think of a lot, just not diversity.... The muezzin call reminds me of the killing of my six blogger friends by Islamists and the brutal repression of minorities.... This call from the speakers of conservative mosques is above all a show of power. The fact that the city of Cologne now allows the muezzin call with reference to tolerance is a sign of false tolerance for me." — Shammi Haque, a Bangladeshi-born journalist in exile in Germany.

The city of Cologne, once a stronghold of Christendom in Germany, has authorized mosques in the city to begin sounding Muslim calls to prayer over outdoor loudspeakers. Pictured: The Cologne Central Mosque. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Acceding to demands from Islamic organizations sponsored by the Turkish government, the city of Cologne, once a stronghold of Christendom in Germany, has authorized mosques in the city to begin sounding Muslim calls to prayer over outdoor loudspeakers. The move, ostensibly aimed at promoting multicultural diversity and inclusion, represents a significant step toward the cultural normalization of Islam in Germany. It is taking German multiculturalism into uncharted territory.

Observers believe that Cologne — famous for its cathedral, the largest Gothic church in northern Europe — is establishing a national precedent, and that many of the more than 3,000 mosques in Germany will soon also begin publicly calling Muslims to prayer. They say that German towns and cities will evoke the sounds and images of the Islamic Middle East.

Effective immediately, all mosques and Islamic centers in Cologne may apply for a permit to call the Muslim faithful to prayer for five minutes every Friday between noon and 3pm. The sonorous prayer calls (known as adhan in Arabic) can be heard from great distances when amplified through outdoor loudspeakers atop minarets, the tower-like structures on mosques.

The prayer calls are part of a so-called model project (Modellprojekt) that will last for two years, after which a decision will be made on whether to make the Muslim calls to prayer a permanent feature of life in Cologne.

A press release issued by the City of Cologne on October 7 stated:

"While in Christian churches the bells are rung to call the believers to worship together, in Muslim mosques it is the call of the muezzin [the person who calls Muslims to prayer] that serve this purpose. Friday prayer is of central importance in Islam. For many years, Islam, like many other religions, has been an integral part of German society, so the question of allowing calls to prayer at mosques has been and is repeatedly discussed nationwide.

"After initial talks between the city and local mosque communities and a legal review, a model project is now starting in Cologne, initially limited to two years: Upon request and subject to conditions, the mosque communities who wish to do so can call their believers to midday Friday prayers.

"In practice, every mosque community that wants to participate in the project must submit an application to the city administration. The formal approval to practice the call for the midday Friday prayer at the respective mosque is then determined by a contract under public law. The contract concluded in this way contains individual requirements that must be met by the applicant mosque community. The call to prayer on Fridays can only be made between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. (the noon Friday prayer varies depending on the calendar) and for a maximum of five minutes. The volume of the call is also set with a different maximum decibel limit depending on the location of the mosque.

"It should also be noted that the surrounding neighborhood must be informed by the mosque community in advance by means of a flyer about the call to prayer. In addition, a contact person for the neighborhood must be named for each municipality who can answer questions or receive complaints.

"The project will be closely monitored by the city administration. At the end of the two-year project period, the city and the mosque communities involved will jointly evaluate their experiences in order to decide on this basis whether the new regulation can be extended."

Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker, a political independent who in 2015 was stabbed in the neck and nearly killed by a German man opposed to her multiculturalism, said:

"I am pleased that with this model project we are taking into account the legitimate religious interests of the many Muslims in our cosmopolitan city, thus setting a sign of mutual acceptance of religion and making a commitment to the constitutionally protected freedom of religion, but also to accept the interests of Muslims who live here.

"Muslims, many of them born here, are an integral part of Cologne's urban society. Anyone who doubts this is questioning Cologne's identity and our peaceful coexistence. When we hear the call of the muezzin in addition to the church bells in our city, it shows that diversity is valued and lived in Cologne."

In a tweet, Reker added:

"Much discussion because of the model project muezzin prayer call. Cologne is the city of (religious) freedom and diversity. Those who arrive at the central train station are greeted by the cathedral and accompanied by church bells. Many Cologne residents are Muslims. To allow the muezzin call is for me a sign of respect."

Critics say that comparing Islamic prayer calls to church bells is a false equivalence because the muezzin proclaims absolutist religious slogans such as "there is no god but Allah" and "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is the Greatest"). The standard adhan can be translated as:

"Allah is most great. I testify that there is no god but Allah. I testify that Muhammad is the prophet of Allah. Come to prayer. Come to salvation. Allah is most great. There is no god but Allah."

The Turkish-born German Islam expert Necla Kelek, in an essay for the Berlin-based magazine Cicero, wrote that the adhan reflects the ideology of Islamism:

"At the request of Islamic associations such as the mosque operator Ditib, which is managed by the Turkish government, the Islamist Milli Görüs or the Central Council of Muslims representing the Muslim Brotherhood, the Cologne city administration has agreed that from now on the 35 mosques in Cologne may broadcast every Friday by loudspeaker the following call to prayer: 'Allahu Akbar. I testify that there is no god but Allah. I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Come to prayer! Come to salvation! Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar."

"The Muslim call to prayer is not like the ringing of church bells, which are a reminder of a scheduled worship service. Instead, it is a creed and a statement of political Islam, which has unfortunately been abused in many ways in recent years. The call 'Allahu Akbar' is not only a call to prayer, but it has also become the battle cry of jihad by Islamist terrorists. The Taliban have just conquered Afghanistan with shouts of 'Allahu Akbar.'

"When someone shouts 'Allahu Akbar' on the street, in a train station or in front of a football stadium, people flinch, feel threatened and fear a bomb or knife terror attack. The call to prayer seems to have been discredited by extremist Muslims themselves and also to have become a symbolic call for terror."

Kelek also wrote that by allowing the prayer calls, Cologne's mayor, a woman, was encouraging the discrimination of Muslim women in Germany:

"Above all, who do the muezzin call to prayer? The men. The Muslim community is a society divided into men and women. Women are not called to prayer. If they really want to, they can pray in separate adjoining rooms on the balcony so that the men cannot see them and are not disturbed by them....

"Mayor Reker talks about diversity, prescribes gender asterisks and watches as an archaic worldview is lived in the mosques, the 'men's houses.' It conjures up a diversity that in reality is neither lived nor desired, especially in mosques. Unfortunately, this means that she does not perceive the fears and wishes of her urban population for freedom....

"It is with regret that I note that German politicians are practicing symbolic politics in matters of Islam. Again and again they submit to the political demands of the Islamic associations in the hope of pacifying them in order to win them over as democratic partners. It has never been more important to focus on content-related discussions so that reforms that are urgently needed for our peaceful coexistence also succeed. It is time to strengthen the secular forces in the Islamic community."

Bundestag Member Michael Kuffer, an expert on homeland security, told the Bild newspaper that comparing church bells to the Islamic call to prayer is erroneous:

"On the one hand the adhan is a call to prayer, but on the other hand it is also a battle cry. Unfortunately, it has been misused and turned it into a slogan of violent Islamism.

"You must make a distinction between the practice of religion on the one hand and, on the other hand, the cultural dimension, for example, church bells. I think that we are fooling ourselves.

"It is a complete leveling of things that are simply not comparable! This is a completely wrong understanding of liberality, of integration and also of respect for others."

Alexander Yohannes, Deputy Chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Cologne, tweeted:

"It is highly problematic to portray the muezzin call as a sign of respect and diversity. It is not about ringing church bells in a neutral way, but rather about an exclusive religious denomination that is loudly represented to the outside world. Misunderstood tolerance!"

Turkish-born Alawite Birgül Akpinar, a member of the CDU in Baden-Württemberg, wrote:

"The call of the muezzin not only calls to the Islamic compulsory prayer, but also proclaims the claim to power of the Islamic belief five times a day. More religion in the public space does not mean diversity, but more potential for conflict!"

Turkish-born German lawyer and Muslim feminist Seyran Ateş tweeted:

"Church bells can be rung by women. In the mosques in question, however, the voice of a woman will never be heard. Only religious patriarchy gets a vote. And that is deafening loud in too many communities. Just as the headscarf cannot simply be equated with the cross necklace, one cannot call for the muezzin just because churches are allowed to ring their bells. Those who do this are helping conservative Muslims to implement their misogynist agenda.

Bundestag Member Malte Kaufmann tweeted:

"From now on every Friday in Cologne: 'There is no other god but Allah!' But Islamization supposedly does not occur at all in Germany... We have been warning against it for years! The muezzin call is a claim to power. Step by step, the Christian West is being given away."

Ahmad Mansour, an Israeli-Arab and German Islam expert, accused the mayor of Cologne of ignoring the real problem. "It's not about 'religious freedom' or 'diversity,' as Mayor Reker claims," he told Bild. ​​"The mosque operators want visibility. They celebrate the muezzin as a show of power over their neighborhoods."

Shammi Haque, a Bangladeshi-born journalist in exile in Germany wrote:

"The Muslim call to prayer, the muezzin call, is now permitted in Cologne. Cologne's Lord Mayor Henriette Reker calls this a 'symbol of diversity.' For me it is the opposite — a sign of discrimination. The muezzin call reminds me of torture, agitation and blood. He scares me.

"In 2015, I had to flee from Bangladeshi Islamists because I publicly criticized Islamism. When I hear 'Allahu Akbar' from loudspeakers in Germany, I think of a lot, just not diversity.

"The muezzin call reminds me of the killing of my six blogger friends by Islamists and the brutal repression of minorities. The muezzin call says: 'Allah is great, there is no other god but Allah.' For me, this reputation stands for the fact that diversity is NOT tolerated, that people of different faiths are NOT respected. This call from the speakers of conservative mosques is above all a show of power.

"The fact that the city of Cologne now allows the muezzin call with reference to tolerance is a sign of false tolerance for me."

The Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany (Zentralrat der Ex-Muslime Deutschland), in an open letter to Mayor Reker, concurred:

"We — men and women from Islamic countries — escaped to Germany and found shelter from religious persecution here. More than a few of us have experienced, in our countries of origin, public executions while the Islamic call for prayer sounded. On behalf of our relatives and friends who have been imprisoned, tortured and executed, we ask you to listen to the other side of Islamic reality. Every prayer call brings all these terrible memories to me and also to many others from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Even though we live safely here, the call of prayer creates within us a strong mental pressure and retraumatization. We therefore strongly protest against your decision!"

Beyond Cologne

Cologne's muezzin project involves (to date) the largest number of mosques in a single German municipality, but individual mosques, including some in Dortmund, Düren, Hamm, Siegen and Oldenburg, among others, have been sounding Muslim prayer calls for years.

In Wipperfürth, an industrial town situated 40 kilometers (25 miles) north-east of Cologne, the Fatih Camii Mosque — run by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Islamic Affairs (DITIB), a branch of the Turkish government that controls over 900 mosques in Germany — has been publicly sounding calls to prayer since 2013. Mayor Michael von Rekowski said he wanted to show the world that Wipperfürth "takes pride in being an intercultural and interreligious community."

The Turkish-run Central Mosque in the northern German town of Rendsburg, situated 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Hamburg, has been calling Muslims to prayer since 2010, when Social Democratic Mayor Andreas Breitner authorized the muezzin to broadcast prayer calls through three loudspeakers mounted on the top of two 26-meter (85-foot) minarets attached to each side of the mosque.

The German newspaper Die Zeit reported that Rendsburg was engaged in a "holy war" after a local citizen's group gathered nearly a thousand signatures from residents opposed to the prayer calls. The group, which goes by the name "No Public Prayer Calls" [Kein öffentlicher Gebetsruf], argued that the existence of the mosque was more than sufficient to guarantee Muslims their constitutional right to the freedom of religion, and that the subsequent demands for a muezzin publicly to call the faithful to prayer was excessive. The group also argued that the Koran makes no mention of the need for muezzin, making the Muslim position superfluous. The mosque eventually relented and limited the calls to prayer to Fridays only.

Similar conflicts have been raging in other German localities, including in the Westphalian town of Hereford, where, according to Die Welt, the call of the muezzin has become a "psychological burden." In the western German town of Oer-Erkenschwick, where a mosque was banned by a local court from broadcasting prayer calls, that ban was recently overturned by a higher court. The mosque's muezzin may resume his prayer calls.

In the city of Neumünster, the Turkish-run Fatih Mosque has been publicly calling Muslims to prayer three times a day for more than 15 years. According to the local imam, Celebi Kilicikesen, a Turk who speaks little German, "sometimes child pranksters turn the loudspeaker volume all the way up and then the neighbors complain. Otherwise there have been no problems."

In Bavaria, Florian Hahn, Vice Secretary General of the Christian Social Union (CSU), concluded:

"In Bavaria we do not want such model tests. They are not part of our Western tradition. Also, calls to prayer are not needed to practice the Islamic religion."

Hahn's appeal may be too little too late. During the Coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, Bavarian authorities authorized more than a dozen mosques in Munich and other parts of Bavaria to broadcast public calls to prayer. It seems unlikely that the mosques will give up the rights already conferred.

The debate about Islam in Germany is only beginning. The Muslim population of Germany has surpassed six million to become approximately 7.2% of the overall population of 83 million, according to calculations by Gatestone Institute.

A recent Pew Research Center study on the growth of the Muslim population in Europe estimated that by 2050, Germany's Muslim population could reach 17.5 million, or 20% of the overall population if mass migration from Africa, Asia and the Middle East continues apace.

 

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.

Source:https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17858/germany-mosques-call-to-prayer
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Christopher Columbus fought jihad - Raymond Ibrahim

 

by Raymond Ibrahim

Christopher Columbus's expeditions were, first and foremost, about circumventing the Islamic sultanates surrounding and terrorizing Europe.

Another Columbus Day has come and gone.  Although it was "celebrated" with the usual vitriol and outraged "wokeism" concerning the Italian explorer's alleged "genocide" against the natives, one influential voice came to Columbus's defense: on October 11, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a proclamation, an excerpt of which follows:

Columbus stands a singular figure in Western Civilization, who exemplified courage, risk-taking, and heroism in the face of enormous odds; as a visionary who saw the possibilities of exploration beyond Europe; and as a founding father who laid the foundation for what would one day become the United States of America, which would commemorate Columbus by naming its federal district after him.

All this is true.  Columbus stands for and is a reminder of something else that is little known and often forgotten: he was a crusader — an avowed enemy of the jihad.  His expeditions were, first and foremost, about circumventing and ultimately retaliating against the Islamic sultanates surrounding and terrorizing Europe — not just finding spices.

When he was born, the then more than 800-year-old war with Islam — or rather defense against jihad — was at an all-time high.  In 1453, when Columbus was two years old, the Turks finally sacked Constantinople, an atrocity-laden event that rocked Christendom to its core. 

Over the following years, the Muslims continued making inroads deep into the Balkans, leaving much death and destruction in their wake, with millions of Slavs enslaved.  (Yes, the two words are etymologically connected, and for this very reason.) 

In 1480, the Turks even managed to invade Columbus's native Italy, where, in the city of Otranto, they ritually beheaded 800 Christians — and sawed their archbishop in half — for refusing to embrace Islam.

It was in this context that Spain's monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella — themselves avowed crusaders, especially the queen, who concluded the centuries-long Reconquista of Spain by liberating Granada of Islam in 1492 — took Columbus into their service. 

They funded his ambitious voyage in an effort to launch, in the words of historian Louis Bertrand, "a final and definite Crusade against Islam by way of the Indies" (which of course went awry and culminated in the incidental founding of the New World).

Many Europeans were convinced that if only they could reach the peoples east of Islam — who if not Christian were at least "not as yet infected by the Mahometan plague," to quote Pope Nicholas V — together they could crush Islam between them.  (The plan was centuries old and connected to the legend of Prester John, a supposedly great Christian monarch reigning in the East who would one day march westward and avenge Christendom by destroying Islam.)

All this comes out clearly in Columbus's own letters.  In one, he refers to Ferdinand and Isabella as "enemies of the wretched sect of Mohammet" who are "resolve[d] to send me to the regions of the Indies, to see [how the people thereof can help in the war effort]."  In another written to the monarchs after he reached the New World, Columbus offers to raise an army "for the war and conquest of Jerusalem."

Nor were Spain and Columbus the first to implement this strategy.  Once Portugal was cleared of Islam in 1249, its military orders launched into Muslim Africa.  "The great and overriding motivation behind [Prince] Henry the Navigator [b. 1394]'s explosive energy and expansive intellect," writes historian George Grant, "was the simple desire to take the cross — to carry the crusading sword over to Africa and thus to open a new chapter in Christendom's holy war against Islam."  He launched all those discovery voyages because "he sought to know if there were in those parts any Christian princes," who "would aid him against the enemies of the faith," to quote a contemporary.

Does all this make Columbus and by extension Ferdinand and Isabella — not to mention the whole of Christendom — "Islamophobes," as those few modern critics who mention this Islamic backdrop often accuse?

The answer is yes — but not in the way that word is used today.  While the Greek word phobos has always meant "fear," its usage today implies "irrational fear."  However, considering that, for nearly a thousand years before Columbus, Islam had repeatedly attacked Christendom to the point of swallowing up three quarters of its original territory, including for centuries Spain; that Islam's latest iteration, in the guise of the Ottoman Turks, was during Columbus's era devastating the Balkans and Mediterranean; and that, even centuries after Columbus, Islam was still terrorizing the West — marching onto Vienna with 200,000 jihadis in 1683 and provoking America into its first war as a nation — the very suggestion that historic Christian fears of Islam were "irrational" is itself the height of irrationalism.

Note: The above account on Columbus was excerpted from and is documented in the author's Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West.  Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

Image via Pixabay.

 

Raymond Ibrahim

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/10/christopher_columbus_fought_jihad.html

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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Why Palestinians Prefer To Work In Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh

 

by Khaled Abu Toameh

As has now become embarrassingly clear for all to see, Israel has become the only hope for the hungry workers in the Gaza Strip -- who have been abandoned not only by their leaders, but by the rest of their Arab brothers as well.

  • The fact that a large number of Palestinians are desperate to work in Israel is a sign of the failure of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to improve the living conditions of their people despite the massive sums of money they receive from various sources, including the United States, European Union and United Nations.

  • Instead of holding Hamas responsible for what he called the "tragedy" in the Gaza Strip, al-Amsi and other Palestinians choose to blame Israel.

  • This view is in keeping with the longstanding habit of the Palestinian leadership to evade their responsibility for thievery and non-governance by blaming Israel for everything.

  • Many Palestinians and Arabs, however, are no longer buying this nonsense and know exactly who is trying to help and who has not done a thing to end their suffering.

  • "Thousands of Palestinians, including those with [academic] degrees, are fighting for a job in Israel. I guarantee you that if Israel announced that it wants workers from Algeria, they would cross the Sahara [Desert] on foot to work in Israel to escape the hell they are living in at home." — Hoda Jannat, Syrian journalist and political analyst, Twitter, October 7, 2021.

  • As has now become embarrassingly clear for all to see, Israel has become the only hope for the hungry workers in the Gaza Strip -- who have been abandoned not only by their leaders, but by the rest of their Arab brothers as well.

The fact that a large number of Palestinians are desperate to work in Israel is a sign of the failure of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to improve the living conditions of their people despite the massive sums of money they receive from various sources, including the United States, European Union and United Nations. Pictured: Palestinian men in the northern Gaza Strip gather to apply for permits to work in Israel, on October 6, 2021. (Photo by Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images)

Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip are excited. Israeli authorities have decided to allow thousands of them to work in Israel. The news about the Israeli decision spread like wildfire, prompting tens of thousands of Palestinians to converge on the offices of the chambers of commerce throughout the Gaza Strip in the hope of obtaining a permit to work in Israel.

The scenes of Palestinian scrambling to receive permits to work in Israel have angered and embarrassed many Palestinians and Arabs, many of whom believe that Palestinian leaders are not doing enough to end the suffering of the Palestinians.

The fact that a large number of Palestinians are desperate to work in Israel is a sign of the failure of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to improve the living conditions of their people despite the massive sums of money they receive from various sources, including the United, European Union and United Nations.

Instead of providing job opportunities to the young people and university graduates, Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, has been preoccupied with amassing and manufacturing weapons and digging tunnels that would be used to attack Israel.

Instead of building schools and hospitals and industrial zones, Hamas has been investing millions of dollars in arming and training its military group, Izaddin al-Qassam. Hamas prefers to spend money on any Palestinian who is prepared to join the jihad (holy war) on Israel than on an unemployed university graduate in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has no problem allowing Palestinians to work in the "Zionist entity" as long as its leaders are enjoying a luxurious life in Qatar.

The only problem Hamas and its supporters have is when photos and videos of the desperate job-seekers appear on various social media platforms. Hamas and its supporters are so embarrassed that they are now beginning to float around conspiracy theories regarding those behind the documentation of the Palestinians who rushed to apply for permits to work in Israel.

The head of the General Federation of Palestinian Trade Unions, Sami al-Amsi, said that "there are certain parties that are not innocent" behind the lines of thousands of workers in front of the chambers of commerce in the Gaza Strip. He is apparently trying to create the impression that anti-Palestinian parties sent the thousands of workers to apply for jobs in order to embarrass the Palestinians.

The dire economic situation in the Gaza Strip -- 65% unemployment and 80% poverty -- was the main reason, al-Amsi said, for the Palestinians' "thirst" to work in Israel.

Instead of holding Hamas responsible for the unemployment and poverty, al-Amsi and other Palestinians choose to blame Israel.

This view is in keeping with the longstanding habit of the Palestinian leadership to evade their responsibility for thievery and non-governance by blaming Israel for everything.

Many Palestinians and Arabs, however, are no longer buying this nonsense and know exactly who is trying to help and who has not done a thing to end their suffering. A Saudi activist, Ibn al-Arab, commented on Twitter:

"The Muslim Brotherhood folks [Hamas] in the Gaza Strip were always cursing Saudi Arabia, even though the kingdom donated a billion dollars for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. Today, they want to become workers for the occupation. The [Palestinians] are a people without dignity. I deeply regret supporting the Palestinians in the past."

Palestinian writer Lina Ibrahim wrote that the scenes of the Palestinians applying for permits to work in Israel "expose the shame" Hamas has brought to the Gaza Strip. In addition to the high rate of unemployment and human rights violations, she said, "young people are unable to get married because of Hamas's violation of their basic right to work in the Gaza Strip."

Syrian journalist and political analyst Hoda Jannat posted a photo of the Palestinians at one of the registration offices along with the following comment:

"This is the Gaza Chamber of Commerce. Thousands of Palestinians, including those with [academic] degrees, are fighting for a job in Israel. I guarantee you that if Israel announced that it wants workers from Algeria, they would cross the Sahara [Desert] on foot to work in Israel to escape the hell they are living in at home."

Another Saudi activist, Al-Hamoodi4, remarked:

"The Gaza Strip needs to be liberated from the Hamas gang. The truth is being revealed to the world. Workers from the Gaza Strip express their joy at the issuance of work permits in Israel. The rate of unemployment has reached 50%, most of them young people. One of them said that after he heard the news [that Israel was accepting workers], he couldn't sleep all night."

Yaseen Izeddeen, a Palestinian activist from the Gaza Strip, however, wrote that the scenes of thousands of Palestinians applying for jobs in Israel were "unacceptable."

"How will we liberate our land while when we go to sweep the streets of the settlers, wash their underwear and build their settlements? I was expecting Hamas to ask the [Palestinian] workers in the West Bank to stop working in Israel, and not allow permits for the people in the Gaza Strip!"

Interviews with some of the poor job-seekers revealed the sad reality of living under Hamas.

"For the past 15 years, we have not worked, no income," said one worker.

"In the Gaza Strip, there is no work, no life, I have children who are taller than me and I cannot get them married," remarked another worker.

An official in the Chamber of Commerce in Gaza City, who preferred not to be named, said that on the first day of registration more than 10,000 people applied for permits to work in Israel. He expected the number to double in the coming days. Thousands of others have applied in other registration centers in different parts of the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Authority, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, also bears responsibility for what many describe as the economic and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Four years ago, Abbas imposed a series of sanctions on the Gaza Strip in the hope that the Palestinians there would revolt against Hamas. He cut off the salaries of thousands of civil servants and halted financial aid to many impoverished families. He also contributed to the increase in the rate of unemployment by firing many civil servants.

Repeated appeals by Hamas and other Palestinians to lift the sanctions have been ignored by Abbas and others in the international community. As far as many international parties are concerned, why hold Abbas and the Palestinian Authority responsible for their crimes when you can conveniently pass the blame onto Israel?

The desperate Palestinians who are now lining up to work in Israel are the victims of failed Palestinian leaders. They are the victims of the corruption and incompetence of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

These Palestinians are also the victims of the ongoing conflict between the two rival parties, a conflict that has left the Palestinians with two separate mini-states in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinian leaders who are inciting violence against Israel on a daily basis have no problem begging Israel to allow Palestinians to work in Israel.

One final question: Where is the responsibility of the Arab countries towards their Palestinian brothers? Why isn't Egypt, for example, opening up its shared border with the Gaza Strip to allow Palestinians to come and work in Egypt? Why don't the Arab governments allow the Palestinians, who are knocking on Israel's door for help, to go and work in Arab countries?

There is, sadly, only one answer: The Arabs want the Palestinians to remain Israel's problem. If Palestinian leaders could not care less about their own people, why would any Arab ruler step up?

As has now become clear for all to see, Israel has become the only hope for the hungry workers in the Gaza Strip -- who have been abandoned not only by their leaders, but by the rest of their Arab brothers as well.

  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

 

Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17859/palestinians-work-israel

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