Month: August 2011

AS THE ARAB SPRING TURNS INTO FALL, HOPE BETRAYED BREEDS ISLAMIC ATIVISM

 

IF THE ARAB SPRING TURNS UGLY

Vali Nasr
NY Times, August 27, 2011

The Arab Spring is a hopeful chapter in Middle Eastern politics, but the region’s history points to darker outcomes. There are no recent examples of extended power-sharing or peaceful transitions to democracy in the Arab world. When dictatorships crack, budding democracies are more than likely to be greeted by violence and paralysis. Sectarian divisions–the bane of many Middle Eastern societies–will then emerge, as competing groups settle old scores and vie for power.…

Throughout the Middle East there is a strong undercurrent of simmering sectarian tension between Sunnis and Shiites.… So far this year, Shiite-Sunni tensions have been evident in countries from Bahrain to Syria.… Put together, they could force the United States to rethink its response to the Arab Spring itself.

Sectarianism is an old wound in the Middle East. But the recent popular urge for democracy, national unity and dignity has opened it and made it feel fresh. This is because many of the Arab governments that now face the wrath of protesters are guilty of both suppressing individual rights and concentrating power in the hands of minorities.…

The struggle that matters most is the one between Sunnis and Shiites. The war in Iraq first unleashed the destructive potential of their competition for power, but the issue was not settled there. The Arab Spring has allowed it to resurface by weakening states that have long kept sectarian divisions in place, and brutally suppressed popular grievances. Today, Shiites clamor for greater rights in Lebanon, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, while Sunnis are restless in Iraq and Syria.

This time, each side will most likely be backed by a nervous regional power, eager to protect its interests. For the past three decades the Saudi monarchy, which sees itself as the guardian of Sunni Islam, has viewed Iran’s Shiite theocracy as its nemesis. Saudis have relied on the United States, Arab nationalism and Sunni identity to slow Iran’s rise, even to the point of supporting radical Sunni forces.

The Saudis suffered a major setback when control of Iraq passed from Sunnis to Shiites, but that made them more determined to reverse Shiite gains and rising Iranian influence. It was no surprise that Saudi Arabia was the first Arab state to withdraw its ambassador from Damascus earlier this month.

The imprint of this rivalry was evident in regional conflicts before the Arab Spring. Saudis saw Iran’s hand behind a rebellion among Yemen’s Houthi tribe–who are Zaydis, an offshoot of Shiism–that started in 2004. Iran blamed Arab financing for its own decade-long revolt by Sunni Baluchis along its southeastern border with Pakistan. And since 2005, when Shiite Hezbollah was implicated in the assassination of Rafik Hariri, a popular Sunni prime minister who was close to the Saudis, a wide rift has divided Lebanon’s Sunni and Shiite communities, and prompted Saudi fury against Hezbollah. The sectarian divide in Lebanon shows no sign of narrowing, and now the turmoil in Syria next door has brought Lebanon to a knife’s edge.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah’s audacious power grab has angered Saudi Arabia. Officials in Riyadh see the turn of events in Lebanon as yet another Iranian victory, and the realization of the dreaded “Shiite crescent” that King Abdullah of Jordan once warned against.

In March, fearing a snowball effect from the Arab Spring, Saudi Arabia drew a clear red line in Bahrain…rall[ying] the Persian Gulf monarchies to support the Sunni monarchy…in brutally suppressing the protests–and put Iran on notice that they were “ready to enter war with Iran and even with Iraq in defense of Bahrain.”

The Saudis are right to be worried about the outcome of sectarian fights in Lebanon and Bahrain, but in Syria it is Iran that stands to lose. Both sides understand that the final outcome will decide the pecking order in the region. Every struggle in this rivalry therefore matters, and every clash is pregnant with risk for regional stability. The turn of events in Syria is particularly important, because Sunnis elsewhere see the Alawite government as the linchpin in the Shiite alliance of Iran and Hezbollah.…

The specter of protracted bloody clashes, assassinations and bombings, sectarian cleansing and refugee crises from Beirut to Manama, causing instability and feeding regional rivalry, could put an end to the hopeful Arab Spring. Radical voices on both sides would gain.…

The Middle East is in the midst of historic change. Washington can hope for a peaceful and democratic future, but we should guard against sectarian conflicts that, once in the open, would likely run their destructive course at great cost to the region and the world.

 

NOT YOUR FATHER’S MIDDLE EAST

Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem Post, August 30, 2011

The collapse of the regime in Tunisia, the rebellion in Libya (which looks to be all but over), and the military takeover of Egypt represent profound historical events, but not a “spring.”

All the countries whose foundations were laid by Arab nationalism are entering a new stage. In some ways, this began with the Islamic revolution in Iran and the Cold War. The Cold War pitted Arab nationalism against the monarchic regimes supported by the West. The first nationalist regime to fall was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2003, followed by the victory of Hamas in Palestinian elections and the rise of Hezbollah to kingmaker in Lebanon’s parliament. Later, the destruction of the secular regime in Tunisia, rebellion in Libya and Yemen and the vanquishing of Hosni Mubarak moved the ball further along.

The rebellion in Syria actually brings things full circle. Ba’athism, as articulated by Michel Aflaq, a Syrian Christian Arab, began in Syria in the 1940s, and it will die in Syria. Arab socialism, nationalism, pan-Arabism; all of these secular ideologies that once looked so strong are dying. Meanwhile, the monarchies in the Gulf, Jordan and Morocco remain stable.

This is the long-term effect of the insertion of Western ideas and values into the Middle East prior to the Cold War. Arab nationalists embraced modern European concepts of nationhood. Many were Christians who used nationalism as a means to transcend religion, much as Jews embraced communism in Russia to improve their social status. For a decade it seemed as if these Arab nationalists were quite powerful. Gamal Abdel Nasser invaded Yemen and bombed Saudi Arabia, while exporting his ideas to Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Libya.

But nationalism brought stagnation, and in almost every nationalist country it was the children of the dictator–Bashar Assad, Gamal Mubarak, Saif Gaddafi–who were groomed to rule following their fathers. Because the nationalists were unwilling to murder large numbers of people, because their ideology had ossified, and because their militaries were not beholden, they withered on the vine. Monarchy and Islamism have proved more resolute.

Another change that the Middle East has undergone is realignment in its relations with the US. In the aftermath of the Cold War, the US imposed its will on the region.… However, after 9/11, American experts realized that the US-Saudi relationship–a lynchpin in the American strategy–suffered from multiple-personality disorder. The Saudis were close to the Americans, and at the same time supported, directly or by proxy, Islamic terrorism against the West. A Saudi established al-Qaida, and most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

To wean itself off Saudi oil and a poisoned marriage with its rulers, the US launched a war in Iraq, one of whose corollaries was to democratize Iraq and create a new, preferably secular American friend in the Middle East. But the war ended up costing billions, and has resulted in a weak and chaotic Iraq.

Iran stepped into the breach, emboldened by chastised American power. In just a few short years, the Iranian octopus spread its tentacles through Syria to Hezbollah, engineered proxy wars with Israel, and undermined the Gulf regimes.

The Arab spring was merely a small afterthought in this process, a final reckoning between the weakened Arab regimes and their slumbering masses.

To excuse internal weakness, many Arab commentators view the Arab world as a trampled and humiliated victim. This is particularly the case when it comes to the effects of colonialism. Intellectuals speak often of the supposed setbacks their countries suffered under colonialism, without acknowledging that for the most part, Western countries colonized the Middle East for just over 20 years, compared to 400 years of Ottoman Turkish rule.

Western scholars accept this characterization under the guise of Orientalism. The West blames the US for weak Arab regimes, and excuses nasty dictatorships because of Israel. But the reality is that the Arab regimes had great agency over the past 70 years, agency they spent in acquiring weapons, building palaces, undermining one another and spreading Islamism. If Syria falls, it will be the last nail in the coffin of secular Arab nationalism.…

Arab nationalism/monarchism, Islamism, the rise of Iran, the weakening of American influence and scapegoating of the West for internal malfeasance are the five ruined pillars upon which the next era in the Middle East will be built.

 

REVOLUTION’S END

Susan Glasser

Foreign Policy, August 8, 2011

When Hosni Mubarak was wheeled in to his courtroom cage the other day, gasping out his not-guilty plea from his sickbed-behind-bars as his son tried to shield him from the cameras, Egypt seemed to have produced the ultimate photo-op of revolutionary upheaval: the pharaoh brought low before the people’s tribunal. But I couldn’t help thinking about an unlikely character: Russia’s strongman leader Vladimir Putin. While the Middle East struggled to absorb the meaning of how quickly its mighty had fallen, Putin was busy contemplating a return to the Russian presidency, posing with scantily clad girls and trashing the United States for “living like a parasite off the global economy.” If it seemed like a line out a Soviet script, well, it was.

Where revolutions start is not always where they end up.

Twenty years ago this month, the Soviet Union was experiencing the 1991 equivalent of the Arab spring, all youth and democracy and optimism about a future free from central planning and the dead hand of the security-obsessed authoritarian state. And yet for more than half the time since the hardline coup of Aug. 19, 1991, spelled the effective end of the Soviet Union, Russia has been ruled by Putin, the former KGB colonel who famously called the breakup of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.”

The remark is well worth remembering today, against the backdrop not only of a new era of revolutionary tumult in the Middle East but also in the context of a post-revolutionary Russia that has retained an outsized geopolitical importance in a world where its vast energy resources, strategic location, nuclear missiles and U.N. Security Council veto are too important to ignore.

This Russia may matter, but it is a nation whose course is still very much adrift a full two decades after the Soviet collapse Putin so lamented. Across the broad swath of the former Soviet Union, the U.S. NGO Freedom House finds not a single country outside the European Union members in the Baltics that ranks anything better than “partially free” today. Elections are a sham, economies are either almost entirely resource-dependent, as in oil-rich Russia or natural-gas-blessed Azerbaijan, or disastrous basket cases like turmoil-plagued Ukraine or isolated Uzbekistan.…

We should all be pondering the question of why the Russian revolution exploded when it did-a mystery still decades later, just as enigmatic as the present day debate over why a self-immolating Tunisian fruit-seller or some protesting students in Tahrir Square triggered a revolution when so many other indignities over decades of corruptive, repressive rule did not. In the case of Russia, as Leon Aron, a Soviet emigre and biographer of Boris Yeltsin wrote…”everything you think you know about the collapse of the Soviet Union is wrong”: it was not Reaganite saber-rattling or oil prices crashing or crushing military expenditures from the losing Soviet war in Afghanistan that did in the communist regime. Yes, those problems–and many more–plagued the Soviet Union in its later days, but then again, as the scholar Peter Rutland memorably put it, “Chronic ailments, after all, are not necessarily fatal.” Instead, Aron argues, it was a radical break in consciousness, “an intellectual and moral quest for self-respect and pride” that “within a few short years hollowed out the mighty Soviet state, deprived it of legitimacy, and turned it into a burned-out shell that crumbled in August 1991.”

Still, what makes this so relevant to today is what happened next. As Aron perceptively notes, such a tide “may be enough to bring down the ancien regime, but not to overcome in one fell swoop, a deep-seated authoritarian national political culture. The roots of the democratic institutions spawned by morally charged revolutions may prove too shallow to sustain a functioning democracy in a society with precious little tradition of grassroots self-organization and self-rule.” Which is why Putinism has proved so attractive–when the former spy came to power a decade into the revolution, he pledged to make Russia a great power again. Attention activists of the Arab Spring: Hauling the old dictator into court is a lot easier than avoiding creating the conditions for a new strongman to emerge.…

 

ATATURK, THE ARAB SPRING, AND EUROPE’S FALL

Clifford D. May
National Review, August 18, 2011

If I asked you to name the most important events of the early 20th century, you’d probably mention the start of World War I in 1914, the Russian Revolution in 1917, the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, the stock-market crash in 1929, and Hitler’s becoming  chancellor of Germany in 1933.

But for millions of people around the world, the most consequential year was 1924. That was when the last caliph–Islam’s supreme religious and political leader, the Prophet Mohammed’s heir–was deposed, thus abolishing the 1,400-year-old institution of the caliphate, and sending all members of the Ottoman dynasty into exile.

This was the moment in history when, as Osama bin Laden put it, “the whole Islamic world fell under the Crusader banner.” Three months after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Ayman al-Zawahiri, then al-Qaeda’s chief ideologue/theologian, and now bin Laden’s successor, wrote that the “hope of the Muslim nation [is] to reinstate its fallen caliphate and regain its lost glory.”

The man most responsible for abolishing the caliphate–reliably despised by Islamists everywhere–was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. He is the subject of a timely new biography by military historian and columnist Austin Bay.…

Bay points out that although Ataturk was the “only undefeated general of the Ottoman empire,” he went on to reject “Ottoman imperialism and colonialism,” which could be called, with equal accuracy, Muslim imperialism and colonialism. As a cadet and young officer, he was “schooled on Europe’s technological, cultural, and educational advances.” He learned French, which he considered “the language of culture and progress.” He was inspired by the European ideal of freedom and liberal constitutionalism.

As a result, when he came to power, Ataturk determined to remake the broken heartland of the Ottoman Empire as a Westernized nation-state. The key was to separate secular and religious authority–strictly limiting the latter. He reformed education and introduced a Latinized Turkish alphabet to facilitate literacy and better link Turkey to Europe and distance it from its Arab and Persian neighbors. He made it compulsory for Turks to take surnames, in the European fashion, which made record-keeping simpler. (Ataturk means “father of Turkey.”) He granted rights to women, believing that a nation that does not educate and empower half its population can only limp, not run.…

In the season we hopefully call the Arab Spring, it is sobering to recall, as Bay does, that Ataturk’s achievement remains unique: No other Muslim-majority nation has become a “Western parliamentary democracy and secular state.” The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, increasingly powerful in many parts of the Arab world, do not hang Ataturk’s picture in their offices.…

Today, it might be argued, the sick man of Europe is Europe–under the flag of the European Union, a flag no one would fight and die for.  In one European country after another, signs are not of spring but of fall.…

Europe–transnational, post-modern, post-democratic, and post-Christian–believes less in freedom than in bureaucracy, and clings to multiculturalism, an ideology the leaders of France, Germany, and the U.K. all acknowledge has failed but can’t quite manage to replace. The natives have even stopped having children at replacement rates while immigrant communities from the Muslim world grow by leaps and bounds. Militants within those communities impose their religious laws and warn the “infidels” not to interfere.

Who today–other than American intellectuals of the Paul Krugman variety–could possibly want to emulate Europe? Who genuinely believes that a Europeanized Islam is more likely than an Islamized Europe?

For Turkey, the not illogical response has been what some term neo-Ottomanism. Under the [Islamist] Justice and Development Party (AKP), first elected in 2002, Ataturk’s legacy is being dismantled brick by brick.… The AKP has been positioning Turkey as a contender for leadership of the Muslim world, making it both an ally and a rival of Arabs and Persians eager for the same role.

In the concluding chapter of his book, Bay notes that “at midnight on March 4, 1924, the last caliph left the Catalca railway station in a special coach car attached to the Orient Express.” Abdul Mejid II may indeed have been the last caliph of the 20th century. But there are those fighting [in the Arab Spring countries] to revive the age of Muslim conquerors and conquests, power and glory.…

 

BURYING THE ARAB SPRING

Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield Blog, August 20, 2011

It was only three months ago that you could hardly open a newspaper without encountering columns full of growing predictions about the revolution sweeping the Middle East. Now the Arab Spring is swiftly becoming the embarrassing relative in the journalism family.…

In Egypt, the revolution has been more like a realignment, with the army and Muslim Brotherhood sharing power. Tahrir Square is over.…

In Tunisia and Yemen, the Islamists have a clear path to power. And if Libya and Syria do fall, it won’t be to the enlightened forces of secular democracy, but to a populist Islamic state that will make the Taliban look like secular humanists. Bahrain has been allowed to go on repressing the Shiites. Turkey’s suppression of Kurdish parties is one of those obscure things unmentioned by newspapers too busy running tourism ads urging Americans to travel to Istanbul.

More importantly, the most repressive regimes in the region have emerged untouched. Iran bludgeoned and butchered its protesters. Saudi Arabia sent tanks to massacre protesters in Bahrain. The UAE is still running its slave empire.…

The majority of the Muslim world is not interested in Whiskey, Sexy and Democracy. Rather they want Whippings, Sharia and Dhimmis. They want security and stability, and that can only come from either a dictatorship or an Islamic state. They want state subsidized prices and jobs, which makes for a stagnant economy. And they want Islamic morals policing and second class status for non-Muslims and women, which means there is no room left for human rights.…

The Arab Spring is becoming a dangerous embarrassment to the [Western] foreign policy experts. If dictators and our foreign policy can no longer be blamed for conditions in the Muslim world–then all that’s left is to admit the truth. It is the Muslim world that is to blame for the state that it’s in.…

WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS IN REVIEW” ROUND-UP

 

Media-o-crity of the Week

 

“I think a lot of people who realize that the occupation is wrong also realize that the Palestinians have the right to resist it–to use violence against Israelis, even to kill Israelis, especially when Israel is showing zero willingness to end the occupation, which has been the case since the Netanyahu government took over.… The Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back.… Their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified.… Whoever the Palestinians were who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week…they were justified to attack.”–Excerpts from an article, “The Awful, Necessary Truth About Palestinian Terror,” posted online byJerusalem Post op-ed writer, Larry Derfner, justifying Palestinian terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians. Derfner has since been fired from his position at the Post.

(CAMERA, August 29.)

 

Weekly Quotes

 

“Our dearest Gilad, With the burning sun beating on our heads, on the sidewalk adjacent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home, we are trying to digest the fact that 1,890 days have passed and you still are not with us.… We’re here. We haven’t given up, we haven’t surrendered, and we have not been broken.… Our beloved Gilad, we know that every day that passes is another nightmarish day, a day of impossible suffering, days and nights of suffocating endless loneliness. But you must believe that we do not forget you, we do not forget the fact that…more than a fifth of your young life has been spent in a dungeon, a Hamas pit.”–Noam and Aviva Shalit, in an open letter written to their son, captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who last Sunday celebrated his 25th birthday, his sixth in captivity.

(Ynet News, August 26.)

 

“Don’t order us to recognize a Jewish state. We won’t accept it.”–Palestinian Authority “president”Mahmoud Abbas, confirming that the PA will not satisfy the Quartet’s demand to recognize Israel’s legitimacy. In response, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman released a statement alleging that Abbas’ defiant message “reveals the true nature of the [PA’s bid to obtain a unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN in] September: A Palestinian state to come in place of a Jewish state.” Lieberman called on “countries around the world [to make] clear to Abbas that the only way the Palestinians will be able to have a state is by stopping their attempt to destroy the only Jewish state in the world.”

(Ynet News, August 28.)

 

“Recognizing the Palestinian state is not the last goal. It is only one step forward towards liberating the whole of Palestine. The Zionist regime is a center of microbes, a cancer cell and if it exists in one iota of Palestine it will mobilize again and hurt everyone. It is not enough for [the Palestinians] to have a weak, powerless state in a very small piece of Palestine. They should unite to establish a state but the ultimate goal is the liberation of the whole of Palestine. I urge the Palestinians never to forget this ideal. It would be giving an opportunity to an enemy which is on the verge of collapse and disappearance.”–Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on international Qods Day–an annual show of support for the Palestinian cause–urging the Palestinians against “committing suicide” by settling for a two-state solution.

(Jerusalem Post, August 26.)

 

“[The accords are] not sacred–they are not the Koran or the New Testament.”–Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, in an interview with Al-Arabiya TV, declaring that the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt can be amended or annulled, as “there were violations and they were ignored.” 

(Ynet News, August 26.)

 

“Had Hosni Mubarak still been in power, the official Egyptian stand would have reprimanded the Palestinians for the Eilat attacks. The Egyptian position is gradually shifting towards the better.”–Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, referencing the recent terror attacks in Israel, and commending the new Egyptian regime’s growing hostility towards the Jewish state.

(Jerusalem Post, August 26.)

 

“About 50,000 people were killed since the start of the uprising.”–Colonel Hisham Buhagiar, commander of the anti-Gaddafi troops who advanced on Tripoli out of the Western Mountains, publicly providing for the first time an estimate of Libyan casualties in the six-month-long military campaign [including NATO’s intervention to “protect civilians”–ed.] that toppled Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s regime.

(Jerusalem Post, August 30.)

 

“We are seeking Israel’s support and influence around the world in order to bring to an end Gaddafi’s despotic rule.”–Ahmad Shabani, founder of Libya’s Democratic Party and spokesperson on behalf of the rebels, confirming that the Libyan rebels are seeking the Jewish State’s help because “Libya needs all the international support they [sic] can get.”

(Ynet News, August 26.)

 

“Residents of the border region rely on us to protect them. Terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip are exploiting the security situation in Sinai to use it as a springboard to execute attacks on the border with Israel.”–Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, explaining that the reinforcement of IDF forces near the southern Gaza Strip and on the Israel-Egypt border is due to a concrete warning that the Islamic Jihad organization is intending to carry out a terrorist attack in the region.

(Independent Media Review and Analysis, August 28.)

 

“China supports the Palestinian people and their cause. We also support the Palestinians to get the United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state on the lands occupied in 1967 with Jerusalem as capital.”–China’s special Middle East envoy, Wu Sike, to the official Xinhua News Agency, confirming that China will support the Palestinian effort to gain recognition of an independent state at the United Nations in September.

(JTA, August 28.)

 

“A premature, unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood would not only undermine rather than resolve the peace process, but would constitute a standing affront to the integrity of the United Nations, international agreements and international law.”–Canadian Member of Parliament, Irwin Cotler, in an August 4 letter to Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, expressing his support for the Harper government’s opposition to a unilaterally declared Palestinian state. Cotler also wrote that a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood could: “[undermine] all accepted international frameworks for peace; violate existing Israeli-Palestinian bilateral agreements; unravel the institutionalized legal and administrative framework that underpins existing Israeli-Palestinian relations; and effectively constitute recognition of Hamas [if, at the time of UN recognition]…Hamas is the ongoing authority in Gaza, in partnership with Fatah.”

(Suburban, August 24.)

 

“Qaddafi is gone; it is your turn, Bashar!… Bye-bye, Qaddafi. Bashar is next!… Bashar, we don’t love you, even if you turn night into day!”–Slogans chanted by Syrian protestors during last week’s country-wide demonstrations, demanding that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad suffer the same fate as Libya’s recently deposed leader, Col. Muammar Qaddafi.

(NY Times, August 27.)

 

“It’s like an initiation requirement for al-Qaeda. They’re trying to demonstrate their weaponry and their sophistication. The tactic is purely international. They’re taking the same track as al-Qaeda–they start as a domestic organization, then they join al-Qaeda and they have to prove that they have an international profile.”–Martin Ewi, an international crime researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, an African think-tank based in Pretoria, describing the emerging Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram’s recent attack on a United Nations compound in Nigeria, which killed at least 18 people.

(Globe & Mail, August 27.)

 

“Cuba’s top court [has] rejected the appeal of an American Jew sentenced to 15 years in prison for distributing satellite communications equipment and laptops to Cuba’s Jewish community–an act Cuban prosecutors charged was part ‘of a subversive project to try to topple the revolution.…’ Alan P. Gross, 62, of Potomac, Maryland, has been held since his arrest at Havana’s airport in December 2009.… The American response to Gross’s arrest and conviction, meanwhile, has been long on talk, but short on actions.… Obama should make clear that the relaxation of travel restrictions will be reversed and any further concessions imperiled if he is not immediately and unconditionally freed.”–Excerpts from a Jerusalem Post editorial, entitled “Gross Injustice,” describing the unfair incarceration in Cuba of Jewish-American Alan Gross, a contractor for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Obama administration’s inadequate effort to free him.

(Jerusalem Post, August 9.)

 

“I got a sick feeling in my stomach when I read that Jason Alexander, (who played George Costanza on the hit T.V. show Seinfeld), was going to headline fundraising events for the Federation’s annual campaigns in Montreal and Toronto.… My problem with Jason Alexander isn’t with him, but with the size of the audience that went to see him. It’s always easy to get a sellout crowd for a man whose major accomplishment in life was appearing on a hit TV show that ran for nine years. While he was speaking, I couldn’t help wondering; would a similar crowd have come out for Natan Sharasky, who spent nine heroic years in a Soviet prison? Sadly, a hero like Sharansky just wouldn’t sell the same way. Today, celebrity matters most, and style is prized above substance.… The reality is that an actor from a “show about nothing” is far more popular than the real people who have done something.… For Jews, this superficiality is especially dangerous. Far too many Jews subscribe to the movie set version of Jewish identity. All you need is a few Jewish props, and you’re an authentic Jew: a plate of gefilte fish on the table, some cantorial music in the background, and a conversation sprinkled with a few Yiddish words.… Jewish identity used to be about something.… Sadly, we are no longer the People of the Book; we’re now the People of People magazine. And that’s my problem with Jason Alexander.”–Rabbi and CIJR Board Member, Chaim Steinmetz, describing the degeneration of Jewish values amongst North American Jewry.

(Chaim Steinmetz Blog, August 29.)

 

Short Takes

 

TEL AVIV: 8 HURT IN TERROR ATTACK OUTSIDE NIGHTCLUB–(Jerusalem) Eight people have been injured in a terrorist attack in south Tel Aviv. According to police, a 20-year-old Nablus resident hijacked a taxi and proceeded to ram into a police road block protecting a Tel Aviv nightclub, filled with more than 1,000 teenagers attending an end-of-summer party. “He then got out of the car, screamed Allah Akbar [God is Great], and went on a knife attack,” a police spokeswoman said. Border Police had set up a precautionary road block ahead of time at the entrance to the club on Abarbanel Street, in Tel Aviv’s Florentine neighbourhood; police Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino said that the Border Police preparations “were extraordinary and prevented a big disaster.”

(Jerusalem Post, August 29.)

 

AL QAEDA NO. 2 SLAIN–(Washington) Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, has been killed in Pakistan, delivering another blow to a terrorist group that the United States alleges to be on the verge of defeat. According to a senior administration official, Al-Rahman was killed Aug. 22 in the Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan. The official would not say how al-Rahman was killed, however, his death came on the same day that a CIA drone strike was reported in the region. Al-Rahman was regarded as an instrumental figure in al Qaeda, trusted by Osama bin Laden to oversee the organization’s daily operations. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last month said al Qaeda’s defeat was within reach if the United States could mount a string of successful attacks.

(NY Post, August 28.)

 

UN STATEHOOD BID THREATENS PALESTINIAN RIGHTS–(Jerusalem) The Palestinian team responsible for preparing the United Nations initiative in September has been given an independent legal opinion that warns of the associated risks. The seven-page opinion, submitted to the Palestinian side by Guy Goodwin-Gill, a professor of public international law at Oxford University, concludes that the attempt to transfer the Palestinians’ representation from the PLO to a state will terminate the PLO’s legal status as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian team, headed by Saeb Erekat, has been devising a strategy to replace the PLO at the UN, substituting it with the State of Palestine. Yet, almost no considerations have been made in terms of the dramatic legal implications which Goodwin-Gill’s legal brief alleges will occur should the PLO lose its status.

(Independent Media Review and Analysis, August 25.)

 

JORDAN URGES ABBAS TO RETHINK UN BID–(Jerusalem) According to Saudi Arabia’s al-Madinahnewspaper, Jordan has appealed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to reconsider the PA’s upcoming bid for UN recognition. The Saudi newspaper said Amman “advised” Abbas of its position via several diplomatic channels within the Arab world, adding that so far, the Palestinian president has chosen to shrug off Jordan’s recommendation. The PA’s unilateral move is perceived as detrimental to the peace process by many in the international community and particularly by Washington, which has already declared it will oppose the move.

(Ynet News, August 31.)

 

ISRAELI MILITARY TRAINING SETTLERS AHEAD OF U.N. VOTE–(Jerusalem) The IDF has started training security squads in Israeli settlements, and will arm them with tear gas and stun grenades, ahead of the Palestinian statehood vote at the United Nations. The training of “settlers” is part of the military’s preparations for Operation Summer Seed, to get ready for possible Palestinian mass protest and violence in the wake of September’s vote on Palestinian statehood at the General Assembly. The military is anticipating “marches toward main junctions, Israeli communities, and education centers; efforts at damaging symbols of [Israeli] government,” according to a document obtained by Haaretz.

(JTA, August 30.)

 

DETAILS MOUNT ON ATROCITIES IN TRIPOLI’S FALL–(Tripoli) Evidence is mounting in Libya’s capital about possible war crimes committed by Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s loyalists in the last moments before losing control of and fleeing Tripoli. Human Rights Watch researchers have documented 110 corpses in four locations in Tripoli, many of whom appear to have been killed execution style while either in detention or with their hands bound. Reporters in Tripoli have also documented the prevalence of rotting corpses left in grassy medians, abandoned municipal buildings or in the street gutters in several districts of the capital. One week after the rebels’ dramatic takeover of Tripoli, the whereabouts of Col. Gadhafi and his children remain unknown.

(Wall Street Journal, August 29.)

 

US SANCTIONS SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WALID MOALLEM–(Washington) The Obama administration has frozen the U.S. assets of Syria’s foreign minister and two other senior officials in response to Syria’s increasingly violent crackdown against anti-government protesters. Along with Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, the Treasury Department action targets Bouthaina Shaaban, a top political adviser and spokeswoman for Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim Ali. Treasury’s action was the seventh time since April that the US government has imposed sanctions on Syria. Previous rounds have targeted Assad and other top aides, Syria’s security forces, and Syrian state-owned banks and the energy sector.

(Reuters, August 30.)

 

U.S., ISRAEL MONITOR SUSPECTED SYRIAN WMD–(Washington) The U.S. and Israel are closely monitoring Syria’s suspected cache of weapons of mass destruction, fearing that terror groups could take advantage of the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad to obtain blistering agents, nerve gas and long-range missiles. “We are very concerned about the status of Syria’s WMD, including chemical weapons,” Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, said in an interview. The concerns about Syria mirror those held about Libya, where U.S. intelligence agencies are trying to help rebels secure mustard gas, shoulder-fired missiles and light arms amassed by Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in recent decades. The Obama administration believes these weapons could fall into the hands of militant groups and terrorist organizations operating across North Africa and the Middle East.

(Wall Street Journal, August 27.)

 

LEBANON BACKS SYRIA IN REJECTING ARAB LEAGUE STATEMENT–(Jerusalem) Lebanon has backed Damascus in rejecting the Arab League’s call to end bloodshed in Syria. “Lebanon stands by brotherly Syria and its stance is clear in this regard,” Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour was quoted as telling Hezbollah-run radio station al-Nour. Mansour said the Arab League’s statement was not agreed upon by all Arab nations, and that “a consensus had been reached…not to issue a statement…but some…breached it and issued it.” Arab states told Syria last weekend to “resort to reason” and end months of bloodshed, which the United Nations says has resulted in the deaths of at least 2,200 people. Despite growing international condemnation, Assad’s rule shows no sign of imminent collapse.

(Jerusalem Post, August 31.)

 

EGYPT CONSIDERING MODIFICATION OF PEACE TREATY–(Jerusalem) A well-placed source in Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has confirmed that Egypt is currently studying the possibility of modifying the Camp David Agreement with regard to the number of military troops and equipment allowed into Sinai. At a ministerial meeting last week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said his country is willing to consider an Egyptian request to bolster its troops in Sinai, although he said there was no reason for the treaty to be modified. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak also weighed in, telling the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the British newspaper The Economist that it was in Israel’s interest to allow increased military presence in Sinai, so as to control what he called a chaotic situation along the border.

(Independent Media Review and Analysis, August 29.)

SLOUCHING TOWARDS THE EAST RIVER: UN’S DURBAN I REDUX COMES TO NYC

A BLAST FROM THE PAST:

THE UPCOMING DURBAN III CONFERENCE (SEPTEMBER 2011) 

Alan Baker
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, August 15, 2011

Introduction

There is no doubt that the necessity to fight racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance is one of the major challenges of the organized international community. In fact, this has been a central and principal aim of the United Nations since its establishment, and is even enunciated in the first article of the UN Charter setting out the purposes of the organization as, inter alia, “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.” One might thus assume that this task would be taken seriously and handled by the organization with all due reverence and consideration.

However, one of the most regrettable, disappointing, and damaging phenomena of the first decade of the third millennium has been the utter failure of the international community in general, and the United Nations in particular, to deal in a genuine and sincere manner with the evils of racism.

Even more regrettable is the fact that the one attempt by the international community to deal with racism, at the 2001 Durban Conference, was allowed to be usurped, politicized, and manipulated into becoming a bitter, racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate-fest that left a permanent stain on any such attempts by the international community to deal with the substantive issue of racism.

But no less damaging was the endorsement given at the Durban event to a global campaign to delegitimize the State of Israel within the international community. This damage is immeasurable, and its effects continue to the present day.

Durban I

The 2001 Durban Conference, the very forum that might perhaps have originally been intended to deal with these issues in a substantive and serious manner, has sadly and irreparably become a by-word for bitter racism, intolerance, hatred, anti-Semitism, and Israel-bashing, and nothing more.

Indeed, what should have ostensibly been a serious and well-meaning get-together of the leadership and experts of virtually all countries of the world at the first major international diplomatic conference of the third millennium, convened on the African continent which has suffered so much from slavery and racism, tragically became indelibly stained and ruined because of an irrepressible and irresistible urge by the leaders of Arab and Muslim states, Iran, the PLO, and a group of non-governmental organizations with an anti-Israel agenda. This group deliberately set out to hijack the conference and treat it as if it were a routine UN General Assembly session, turning it into an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate-fest, at the expense of all the other substantive, relevant, and important agenda items, and under the nose of a naïve and lethargic international community.

The initial conference documentation, developed through a series of regional conferences, expert seminars, and a formal preparatory committee, and placed before the conferees at the opening of the conference, contained a series of bracketed paragraphs dealing with “Zionist racist practices against Semitism,” describing Israel as a “racist, apartheid state,” accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing of the Arab population in historic Palestine,” calling for revoking legislation in Israel based on racial or religious discrimination, such as the Law of Return, and downgrading of the term “Holocaust” with multiple references to “holocausts” suffered by other peoples, including the Palestinians–a clear affront to the memory of the Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Similarly, the Draft Program of Action called to end the “foreign occupation of Jerusalem by Israel, together with all its racist practices” and called upon all states to refrain from recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

If these were not sufficient indications of the inherent and prevalent bias that had been injected into the very substantive theme of the conference, one need only review the official opening statements made by several world leaders in order to grasp the extent to which the conference, from the start, had been tainted and polluted.

Yasser Arafat appeared at this official UN diplomatic conference as both “President of the State of Palestine” (in contravention of the UN resolution determining the observer status of the Palestinian representation) and President of the Palestine “National” Authority (in stark violation of the terms of the 1995 Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement). Despite having signed the Oslo Accords with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin only six years prior to this conference, Arafat couched his criticism of Israel in such hostile, demagogic, and pugnacious terms as “a racist colonialist conspiracy of aggression, forced eviction, usurpation of land and infringement upon Christian and Islamic holy places,” and a “colonialist challenge against international legitimacy,” “moved by a mentality of superiority that practices racial discrimination, that adopts ethnic cleansing and transfer.”

Other paragons of international virtue such as Fidel Castro of Cuba, Kamal Kharrazi, Iran’s foreign minister, and Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, called respectively to “put an end to the ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people,” defined Zionism as “the most vivid manifestation of institutionalized racism,” and condemned “Israeli colonial settlement in Palestine and Arab territories” attempting to “impose an alleged supremacy of one people over other peoples,” which he termed the “worst form of racism.”

Even Assad Shoman, the UN Ambassador of Belize, of all countries, found himself joining the lynch, declaring:

No one can deny that the lives of Palestinians under occupation are as much ruled by racism as were the people of South Africa under apartheid, with the added aggravation that many Palestinians have been expelled completely from their land and denied the right to return.

In the name of the Palestinian and the Israeli people, Arabs and Jews alike, let us now take up the Palestinian cause as we did the anti-apartheid cause, for by doing so we will be helping both Palestinians and Israelis to rid themselves of this scourge, and we will be advancing the cause of all peoples who suffer from racism and discrimination.

After both Israel and the U.S. walked out of the Durban I conference on its fourth day, and following extensive criticism leveled by other countries that chose not to walk out, especially the Europeans, Australia and Canada, the organizers of the conference decided, in consultation with European and other responsible states, to redraft the conference documentation with a view to removing the offensive references and restoring the accentuation on the substantive and genuine issues of combating racism.

Ultimately, in the final adopted texts, all references to Zionism, degrading of the Holocaust, and other anti-Semitic elements were removed, despite the strong and vocal opposition of Iran, Syria, and others. Instead, the conference called upon the international community never to forget the Holocaust and acknowledged the increase in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
However, at the insistence of the Arab and Muslim delegations, one provision was nevertheless inserted, clearly singling out and directed against Israel.… [Ed.–See ‘On Topics,’ below, for continuation of this text.]

U.N. ‘ANTI-RACISM’ CONFERENCE
BRINGING UNSEEMLY CHARACTERS TO NEW YORK

Anne Bayefsky

Weekly Standard, August 17, 2011

Plans for the U.N.’s “anti-racism” event known as Durban III, which will be held in New York City on September 22, 2011, just got a whole lot uglier. A new draft of the final declaration that U.N. organizers hope will be adopted by over a hundred world leaders, who will be on hand for the annual opening of the General Assembly, is now circulating. And a coalition of extremist non-governmental organizations has announced plans to spend four days in New York around the time of the event to champion a pointed message: Zionism is racism, which fits with the Durban Declaration, adopted in South Africa in 2001 that charged Israel–and only Israel–with racism.

The United States and Israel walked out of the notorious 2001 anti-Semitic hatefest, and ever since, the U.N. has been trying to legitimize it. Durban II, held in Geneva in April 2009, “reaffirmed” the Durban Declaration but was boycotted for that reason by the United States, Canada, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands.

Durban III is intended to be the resurrection campaign. Hence, the draft political declaration states: “We, heads of State and Government…stress that the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action [DDPA] adopted in 2001 as well as the Outcome Document of the Durban Review Conference in 2009, provide the most comprehensive United Nations framework and solid foundation for combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

The United States, Israel, Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, and the Netherlands have already pulled out of Durban III. But, surprisingly, many other countries, such as Germany, are still sitting on the fence. At the last round of negotiations over the wording of the final declaration, which took place in July, the German representative made a commitment: He promised that singling out individual countries or “reaffirming” the declaration or outcome of Durban I and II would be “clearly unacceptable.” Now we wait to find out if Germany has the courage of its alleged 21st century convictions. Poland should make up its decision now, too, for similar reasons. Australia, desperately seeking a seat on the Security Council, is trembling off-stage knowing that Canada was defeated at the last vote for Council seats because of its refusal to be intimidated by the powerful Islamic front at the U.N. And the United Kingdom and France have run out of excuses.

The diplomatic chicanery has left the field wide open for Durban III fans. Which explains why a “Durban + 10 Coalition” of at least 32 non-governmental organizations is busy planning events surrounding the conference in New York “to honor the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the DDPA.” Their self-described intention is to “stand opposed to the slander…against the DDPA…by the United States, Canada, Israel and several members of the European Union…to suppress the rights and demands of the many groups protected by the Durban Declaration, including…the Palestinian people.”

The 2010 General Assembly resolution authorizing Durban III says the theme of the event will be “victims of racism.” The final draft declaration demands that participating countries “proclaim together our strong determination to make the fight against racism…and the protection of the victims thereof a high priority for our countries.” And the Durban Declaration maintains that Palestinians are victims of Israeli racism.

Hence, the “Durban + 10 coalition” includes such “human rights” exemplars as the “U.S. Palestinian Community Network” and the “International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.” The website of the former NGO declares, “Israel is an apartheid state.” The latter’s website says, “Zionism, in all its forms, must be stopped.… We pledge to: oppose Zionism and the state of Israel. Zionism is racist.… It continues a long history of Zionist collusion with repressive and violent regimes, from Nazi Germany to the South African Apartheid regime.…” Jews become Nazis, in this twisted frame of reference.

In other words, for those states still pretending that the Durban Declaration and its progeny, including Durban III, are the right venue to commit themselves to the fight against racism, there is no wiggle room left. Are they in or out? For or against anti-Semitism?

Not coincidentally, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be speaking at the U.N. General Assembly on the same day as Durban III. The Iranian president was the only head of state to attend Durban II. His enthusiasm for the Durban Declaration is something of a stumbling block to U.N. legitimatization plans. So, interestingly, U.N. officials are apparently attempting to juggle the timing of Ahmadinejad’s speech by inserting another event into the General Assembly hall at his expected speaking time. If the announced speakers stick to the schedule, it will likely force him into a slot later in the day.

So what suitable meeting did U.N. folks decide should precede Ahmadinejad? A “high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security.” Too clever by half. Now a rabid racist who is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons will grace the scene of the Durban III festivities and likely mount the podium shortly after a U.N. spectacle billed as saving the planet from nuclear catastrophe.

Nobody should be laughing, especially when one considers that this debacle will take place shortly after the ten-year anniversary of September 11, 2001.

(Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a professor at Touro College,
and the editor of EYEontheUN.org.)

MOBILIZING AGAINST DURBAN III

Josee Chiasson
FrontPage, August 19, 2011

The 2011 Durban Review Conference, known as Durban III, has been billed as a continuation of the 2001 and 2009 United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance previously held in Durban, South Africa and Geneva, Switzerland. Both previous conferences failed to meet their stated objectives of addressing issues…[but rather] degenerate[ed] instead into a tribunal which demonized and singled out one nation. Anyone would guess that perhaps that nation would be Sudan, China, Saudi Arabia or perhaps North Korea. But it was Israel, the lone democracy in the Middle-East, the one nation among its neighbours where religious and ethnic minorities are flourishing and where there is free press, free speech and women’s rights.…

We are in a moment in history where standing up against anti-Semitism is not only necessary but long over-due. Those who cannot remember, who consciously ignore or refuse to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it. Unfortunately, in the case of the Durban conferences, the international community has refused to learn from the first conference and have allowed for a repeat of this anti-Semitic platform again in Geneva and now in the United States. As international leaders gather at the United Nations to condemn Israel and the Jewish people, we, as North Americans and as participants of a global community, have the responsibility to speak out before anti-Semitism at the United Nations turns into violence and history repeats itself.

Holding to the facts of history has never been so important as leaders like Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, works to influence public opinion by distorting the facts. This Holocaust-denier has used the Durban conference to minimize the atrocities that occurred in the Holocaust. Ahmadinejad not only denies the systematic killing and genocide of 6 million Jews through horrific and inhumane measures, but is also working hard to propagate the delegitimization and demonization of Israel. For instance, at Durban II in 2009, he claimed that Zionism is “a kind of racism that has tarnished the image of humanity”; that Zionism “personifies racism” and that the international community should do everything possible to “eradicate” the Zionist “regime”. Adolf Hitler also believed that the world should address a Jewish conspiracy and stated in Mein Kampf that “the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.” It is difficult to deny the parallel between the statements made by Ahmadinejad in 2009 and Adolf Hitler’s statements in his 1925 publication.…

The international community is predominantly silent and in some cases outwardly supportive of the UN’s policies towards Israel and of the Durban III conference. [However], a broad coalition of over 30 organizations both religious and secular, led by The Coalition for True Justice, Jerusalem Institute of Justice, Eagles’ Wings, Stand With Us, EYEontheUN.org, and many others, are choosing to respond to the Durban III Conference and not be silent. Based on their shared values and commitment to support the welfare and security of the democratic state of Israel, the above organizations invite people everywhere to join them in mobilizing support for Israel at the United Nations.…

On September 20th at 7:00pm an organized prayer rally for Christians and anyone interested will be taking place at the Crenshaw Christian Centre East in New York City where dozens of leaders, prayer networks and hundreds of Christians will gather to show support for Israel.… On September 21st, a protest against Durban III will take place at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza from 11AM-2PM where people of all backgrounds will show support for Israel. Leaders from a wide spectrum of political and religious perspectives will be speaking at the event. On September 22nd, The Perils of Global Intolerance: The United Nations and Durban III Conference presented by The Hudson Institute and Touro College Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust will address the question of “what happens when a group of states collude to corrupt the meaning of human rights.…” Among some of the speakers at this conference are: Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, John Bolton, a former US Ambassador to the UN and Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas among many others.…

I believe we all have a responsibility to respond to the assault on Israel in the international community.… The enemies of Israel are also enemies of our Western values and culture.… As a Christian woman I often hear about my religion’s dark anti-Semitic past of persecuting Jews.… However, today I and many others have the opportunity to say that we will not repeat history but rather we will stand up for what is right and support the Jews by standing for Israel in this critical moment in history. People often ask the question “if I was there what would I have done” when they visit Yad Vashem or some type of Holocaust memorial. Today, we don’t have to ask what we would have done in the 1930s and 40s, we have to ask what we are doing now!?

(Josee Chiasson is a York University student completing an Honours Bachelor’s Degree in psychology.
She is a current intern with a pro-Israel Christian organization, Eagles’ Wings, where she is the coordinating administrator of a protest to confront Durban III at the United Nations.)

OBAMA, THE DELEGITIMATION OF ISRAEL, AND THE PALESTINIANS’ UN “UDI” CAMPAIGN

 

 

 

 

Then Satan said:
This beleaguered soul—[Israel]
How can I subdue him?
He has courage and skill
And weapons and ingenuity and judgment.
And he said: I will not take his strength.
Nor fetter nor restrain him
I will not weaken his will
Nor dampen his spirit.
This will I do: Dull his brain
Until he forgets that justice is his.
 

—Nathan Alterman, [d. 1970.]

 

The Palestinians were among the first to realize that, in a media age, you can win on other battlefields. Stone-throwing youths have won more victories for Palestine—at least in the European press and on North American campuses—than the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian armies ever did.

Mark Steyn (2011).

 

 

As looming fall’s first reds stain summer’s fading greens, the Egyptian Army is clearing the now bothersome “freedom” protesters out of Tahrir Square, the Syrian bloodbath passes 2,200, and the media have so far largely ignored the Palestinians’ proclaimed September 20 “Unilateral Declaration of Independence”. But that will soon change, and this critically important event soon will take stage center. Hence, why it is being undertaken, and how it plays out, needs careful attention, and relating to the ongoing pro-Palestinian delegitimation campaign against Israel.

 

This campaign, increasingly strident since the openly antisemitic denunciations of Israel at the first, 2001, UN Durban Human Rights conference, has since been playing out on a global scale. It is being elaborated on campuses in Europe and North America, among NGOs and European government agencies, in the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council and subsequent (and again upcoming) “Durban” gatherings, and in much of the American, and especially European, media.

 

The delegitimation campaign seeks to analogize democratic, Jewish Israel to pre-independence apartheid South Africa.  If the obscene analogy works—if the anti-Israel ideological drumbeat on campuses, in “progressive” magazines and journals and in much of the media is successful, and enough major states then agree that “the occupation”, Israel’s self-defense in the Gaza “Cast Lead” incursion, and its actions against the Gaza blockade flotillas transgress international law and the Geneva Convention—then Israel and its government, like that of pre-Mandela South Africa, can be deemed illegitimate and hence subject to international sanctions and embargoes.

If Israel were then to resist such international pressures, refusing to negotiate with the Palestinians on the disadvantageous “international community” terms threatening its security and sovereignty, then further, concrete steps could be taken, which would severely weaken the Jewish state, and even threaten its very existence. For instance, Security Council and General Assembly majorities—with either passive or active US support (an eventuality we shall return to)—could enact measures choking off its key trade with Europe or blocking foreign and military aid from the U.S.

 

Persistent Israeli resistance could even see direct “international community” intervention (stationing UN forces along the West Bank pre-1967 [i.e., 1949] “borders”, withdrawing the American troops still policing the Sinai border with Egypt, and so on).

The goal of the “anti-Zionist” delegitimation movement, which long predates the current Palestinian “UDI” gambit, is severely to weaken Israel, by first turning it into an international (indeed, the only) pariah state and then, ultimately, to cause its collapse. Such a collapse could be effected through a combined external energizing of a series of crises, eventuating in a renewed Arab onslaught, and internal reinforcing of a severe, debilitating, and ultimately paralyzing political-ideological division.

 

Hence the delegitimation campaign, which is absorbing much pro-Palestinian energy and to which significant funds are clearly being devoted, must be understood not as some kind of frivolous extreme-left political psychotherapy or irrelevant campus fringe play-acting, but as a serious and coordinated part of the larger strategy of continued Arab opposition to the very existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East.

Which is where the Palestinian “Unilateral Declaration of Independence”, now scheduled for September 20, 2011 at the UN, comes in. Piggy-backing on US President Obama’s grandstanding “peace process” demands, that Israel cease expanding “settlements” and that the pre-Six Days War 1967 “borders” serve as the basis for negotiation, the PA’s Mahmoud Abbas broke off direct negotiations with Israel. Declaring that there could be no negotiations until “settlement” construction was entirely stopped (never heretofore an impediment to Israeli-Palestinian talks), Abbas came up with a new strategy: avoiding the Oslo Accord-mandated direct negotiations entirely, and moving instead directly to a “UDI”.

 

This gambit, if successful, would enable a Palestinian state to come existence without recognizing the political-juridical legitimacy of Israel. Not incidentally, it also provides the Palestinians with an “out” insofar as one of Israel’s fundamental demands for any peace treaty is concerned, recognition as a Jewish state. This seemingly self-evident reality (clearly expressed in the language of the 1947 UN Palestine partition vote, which Israel accepted and the Arabs rejected) has consistently been repudiated by the Palestinians. And this rejection is key, for it clearly implies a lack of a commitment to a “two-state”—one Palestinian Arab, one Jewish—political solution: recognizing Israel as a Jewish state would rule out, for instance, the supposed “right of return” of millions of Palestinian “refugees.” Still part of the PLO Charter, and consistently defended by Mahmoud Abbas (let alone Hamas), such a “return” would, if allowed, swamp Jewish Israel.

 

The working assumption about a UDI until very recently has been that it would, surely, be vetoed in the Security Council by the United States, Israel’s main ally, certainly by Germany, currently a non-permanent member, and probably by Great Britain and France as well (that Russia and China, the remaining permanent members of the Security Council, would abstain, or perhaps even support the UDI, was a given).

 

Such a veto would not, of course, block a potential General Assembly vote, where the Palestinians have a built-in Arab bloc/Latin American/Third World majority, but such an affirmation, while not without propaganda value, has no constitutive value—only a unanimous Security Council vote can approve a new state. (Indeed, a General Assembly majority had already approved a Palestinian state, in 1988, to no practical effect.)

 

Here a number of recent possibilities must be faced. While Germany’s Angela Merkel has stated that Germany would not vote for a Palestinian state, Bundestag election- and foreign-policy related  pressures might yet lead to an abstention; and the closer to the vote we get, the more possible pro-votes by the French and British, ever vigilant to curry Arab favor, become.

 

Further, and much more importantly, America under Obama, who has been currying Arab and Muslim opinion ever since his Cairo Address, and whose pressure on Israel in the first place led to the Palestinian withdrawal from talks and Abbas’ UDI policy, is far from rock-solid in its anti-UDI Security Council stance.

 

(Indeed, some Israeli insiders believe that the sudden announcement this month by Israel’s Netanyahu, that he was ready to negotiate on the basis of the 1967 borders [Obama’s recent “peace process” suggestion, which Bibi had earlier and eloquently shot down], if the PA’s Abbas returned to negotiations, was prompted by American threats of Security Council abstention, or worse, unless Israel relented.)

 

Obama’s coolness to Israel—the one major US ally he has yet to grace with a personal visit—and to Netanyahu has been evident since the beginning of his Presidency. Quick to abandon US—and Israel—ally Hosni Mubarak just as the Egyptian Arab Spring rebellion began, but slow to move against both Iranian and Syrian dictators (Israeli enemies), despite popular rebellions against them, the depth of Obama’s commitment to Israel, despite much campaign-oriented lip-service, is at best shallow.

 

Most observers assume he would not risk Jewish, and general U.S. support (opinion polls rank pro-Israel sentiment at almost 70%) in the fast-approaching U.S. Presidential election. On the other hand, Obama—facing severe negative economic and political (Afghanistan, Iraq) pressures—has been steadily falling in the public opinion polls, and no President facing an 8%+ unemployment rate in November has ever won re-election.

 

Obama, a highly ideological left-wing Democratic liberal, has himself said he would rather be right than be re-elected: facing sure defeat in November, 2012, might he perhaps see voting for a Palestinian State in the Security Council as part of his political “legacy”, his campaign to “remake” America?

 

Is it far-fetched, then, to see American Middle East policy under the Obama Administration meshing with the anti-Israel delegitimation campaign and its related Palestinian UDI move?  

 

An American President disposed to favor Israel’s Arab enemies at the UN, regardless of domestic electoral consequences, would indeed be a novum, a radical new political fact. One of course hopes that such a conjecture is  a mistaken conflation of unrelated inferences, rather than a terribly dangerous new reality for Israel and the Jewish people.   

 

(Prof. Krantz is Director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
and Editor of its Daily Isranet Briefing and Israfax publications.

ISRAEL’S POST-OSLOWIAN “REORIENTATION” & THE EMERGENCE OF A “NO WHITE FLAGS” POLICY

JUSTIFYING MURDER—AN ABOMINATION
Isi Leibler

Jerusalem Post, August 28, 2011

Even before the Middle Ages, we encountered marginal Jews who turned against their own people. Among apostates to Christianity, there were those who wrote inflammatory libels against the Jews, paving the way for pogroms; socialists like Karl Marx whose vile anti-Semitic tirades speak for themselves; and more recently, Jewish communists purportedly supporting a new world order who applauded Stalin while he was murdering and imprisoning their fellow Jews.

Today in Israel and abroad, there are Jews who retain the wretched tradition of their renegade antecedents…[and] their influence extends beyond their Jewish fringe status because many occupy prominent roles in universities, the media and the arts. Of late, much of the Western liberal media has been idolizing them.

A few days ago, I was alerted to an unprecedentedly obscene extension of such behavior emanating, to my profound regret, from Larry Derfner, a senior staff writer for The Jerusalem Post. Only days after Israeli infants and families had been brutally murdered by terrorists, Derfner publicly stated that the murder of Israeli citizens was a justifiable weapon for Palestinians in order to overcome the “occupation.” It was not published as a Jerusalem Post column, but was posted on his public website, to which readers of his regular articles are occasionally referred. It also appeared on Facebook.…

To avoid any misunderstanding, let me be specific about what Derfner actually said. He asserted that in fighting for their “independence,” Palestinian terrorists are “justified” in deliberately murdering innocent Israeli women and children. He even explicitly said that “whoever the Palestinians were who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week, however vile the ideology was, they were justified to attack,” and it is the Israeli government that “is to blame for those eight Israeli deaths.” He opined that it was high time for Israelis to appreciate “that terrorism in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government is justified…even to kill Israelis.…”

Derfner conceded that such remarks would encourage Hamas, but was not unduly concerned because Hamas is already committed to Israel’s destruction. It was more important for him to ensure that Israelis recognize that by their behavior “they are compelling Palestinians to engage in terrorism,” [rather] than to worry about whether his remarks would be quoted approvingly on Hamas websites. In fact, the Arab media have already widely reproduced his remarks, highlighting the fact that he is a prominent Jerusalem Post contributor.

Derfner concluded his shocking remarks with the extraordinary statement that “writing this is not treason. It is patriotism.” That he justifies the murder of innocent women and children while describing himself as a “patriot” makes one question his sanity.…

Although there may well be grounds for the Attorney General to charge [Derfner] with incitement to murder, his remarks are so vile that they go beyond treason. They display an utter lack of sensitivity, humanity and compassion for the tens of thousands of Israeli families who since the creation of Israel have lost loved ones, murdered by the barbarians whose actions Derfner justifies due to “harsh” Israeli government policies.…

This is not the place to refute Derfner’s ridiculous remarks about the “occupation.” Nor to relate to the offers of 95% of the territories extended to the Palestinians by prime ministers Barak in 2000 and Olmert in 2008, which were summarily rejected by Arafat and Abbas. Nor that the principal objective of all Palestinian factions is ending Jewish sovereignty in the region rather than attaining independence. And that, since Netanyahu assumed office, the Palestinians no less than Hamas have refused to partake in negotiations, even after Netanyahu’s unprecedented 10- month settlement freeze.

For an Israeli Jew professionally employed by the only Israeli English language newspaper to justify the barbaric murder of his own brothers and sisters in a public website is unforgivable.…

His obscene and callously insensitive remarks are likely to haunt him for the rest of his life.

THE ZIONIST LEFT’S CONDITIONAL LOVE
Evelyn Gordon

Jerusalem Magazine, July 4, 2011

…A key reason for the growing disrepute of Israeli intellectuals [is] that so many openly strive to undermine the Zionist project…[and] their support for the Jewish state too often seems conditional on its adoption of their policies.

A shocking column by Ari Shavit in Haaretz last month provides a good example. Shavit unquestionably supports the existence of a Jewish state. Yet he nevertheless asserted that the Zionist Left would be willing to fight in Israel’s defense only if Israel adopted the Left’s policies on the peace process.

“Camp David 2000 made the Zionist Left stand behind Operation Defensive Shield in the spring of 2002,” he wrote. “Annapolis 2008 kept the Zionist Left from castigating Operation Cast Lead at the beginning of 2009. Barak and Olmert’s far-reaching moves failed vis-a-vis the Palestinians, but succeeded vis-a-vis the Israelis.”

The clear implication is that had it not been for then-prime minister Ehud Barak’s offer of a Palestinian state at Camp David, the Zionist Left wouldn’t have supported military efforts to stop the second intifada’s deadly terror, and had it not been for then-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s offer of the same at Annapolis, the Zionist Left wouldn’t have supported military efforts to stop the rocket fire on Israel from Gaza—even though both intifada and rocket fire emanated from territory Israel had vacated in obedience to the Left’s policies. Moreover, the article continued, should another war erupt this autumn, the Zionist Left won’t support it, because Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hasn’t made the requisite diplomatic moves.…

Shavit represent[s] a prominent slice of the leftist elite, which often seems willing to honor the state’s democratic decisions only if it approves them. In his book Law and Culture in Israel at the Threshold of the Twenty-First Century, for instance, Prof. Menachem Mautner reported on his study of all petitions submitted to the High Court of Justice by Knesset members from 1977-2005. He found that rightist, religious and Arab MKs generally petitioned over personal grievances. But leftist MKs generally petitioned over policy. In other words, while the Left likes to preach the virtues of democracy, its respect for democracy disappears the moment it loses on the democratic playing field: At that point, it asks the unelected court to overrule the elected legislature’s decisions.

Indeed, much of the leftist elite seems to feel that anyone who dares disagree with it simply doesn’t count as a real Israeli. Hence after then-Labor Party chairman Amram Mitzna was trounced in the 2003 election, his wife Aliza shockingly asserted in a media interview that he lost because “There are a lot of people who are still not flesh of the state’s flesh.” In other words, those who don’t support the Left aren’t really part of the state. Then-Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres, today Israel’s president, voiced the same sentiment in a media interview after losing the 1996 election. Asked what had happened, Peres replied: “We lost.…We, that is the Israelis.” And who won? “All those who do not have an Israeli mentality.”

That is also the message of Shavit’s article. “The willingness in the last decade to [relinquish territory to the Palestinians] has united the nation,” he wrote. It “healed a torn, divided people.… It united society and strengthened the state.” And what about those tens of thousands of Israelis who opposed the Oslo Accords, who opposed the Barak and Olmert proposals, who opposed the withdrawal from Gaza, who felt that all these moves were tearing the country apart? In Shavit’s world, they evidently don’t count. Only if government policy alienates the Left is Israel is “torn” and “divided”; policies that alienate the Right “unite the nation”—because to Shavit, non-leftists aren’t actually part of the nation.…

The problem is that the Israeli majority often doesn’t accept the Left’s policy prescriptions. After all, this majority voted for Netanyahu over Peres in 1996 precisely because it was unhappy with the Oslo process—specifically, with the fact that dividing the land caused terrorism to soar. This same majority voted for former prime minister Ariel Sharon over Mitzna in 2003 because it was unhappy with Barak’s Camp David offer and the terrorist war it sparked, and it held Barak’s Labor Party responsible. It then put Netanyahu rather than Tzipi Livni in power in 2009 because it was unhappy with Olmert’s far-reaching peace offer, and held his Kadima party responsible. And this same majority, according to opinion polls, largely supports Netanyahu’s diplomatic policy even today.

Most people will not respect someone who is contemptuously dismissive of them, and consequently, they will have no interest in anything that person might say. Thus if the Israeli intelligentsia is ever to regain credibility among the public, it must stop treating large swathes of that public as non-people who don’t even deserve to be considered part of Israel. And that means it must stop threatening to abandon the Zionist project any time the “non-people” refuse to adopt its policies.

WHAT MIDDLE EAST PUNDITS GET WRONG
Barry Rubin

Jerusalem Post, August 28, 2011

A British writer named David Hearst has suggested in the Guardian that Israel will disappear because Arabs and Muslims continue to “resist” its existence. This is a fascinating example of the many things wrong with political analysis, media, intellectual debate, and the understanding of the Middle East today. Here’s a list:

1.The confusion between wishful thinking and analysis. Every day I am forced by reality to say things I don’t want to say. But people who no longer understand scholarly, scientific and intellectual values assume I only say it because of some political agenda. And that belief derives from the cynical, neo-Marxist, post-modernist concept that everyone merely represents a specific political interest. That concept kills democratic discussion.

An example: I would love Egypt to be a stable democratic state. That isn’t, however, what I see based on evidence. Yet if I say so, the response is likely to be insults or name calling. For instance, I only say it because Israel or America wants to discredit the Egyptian revolution. Yet understanding and policy can only be made on the basis of honest assessment. Otherwise, they will fail or make things worse.

Of course, the British writer is echoing what he hears in Arab discussions. They want Israel to collapse, hence they predict it. But basing their lives and policy, spending their blood and money, on this effort will lead Arabs to disaster—as it has already done for 60 years—and postpone progress for themselves.

2. The lack of real historical perspective. This article in question could have been written in 1948 or in any year since. If people continually predict something and it doesn’t happen, might that not indicate a need to change their view? Indeed, evidence shows that Israel has become more successful while Arab states—as recent months unfortunately prove—have become mired in internal conflict and retrograde Islamism.…

3.One of many ironies about “multiculturalism” is its egocentrism. “Other” peoples are reduced to political symbols, something like an old Communist poster of heroic workers and equally heroic peasants.

Their views are only taken into account if they are led by the “proper” leaders. A Muslim leader who denounces the West and makes demands on it for accommodation is “legitimate,” but an immigrant who wants to integrate fully into Western civilization, or a leader who wishes to be an ally of the United States—they are sell-outs not worthy of respect. Moderate Muslims or democratic oppositions in Iran, Lebanon, and Turkey are put into that category. That’s why there are no campus or other demonstrations on their behalf.

In addition, true inquiry into other countries and groups is discouraged because it might lead to “unacceptable” conclusions. It’s amazing how little we know—especially from academic research or journalistic investigation –about Muslim communities in the West. There is hardly any real work on, say, Palestinian politics, political groups in Egypt, the Syrian opposition or the nature of Turkey’s ruling party.

4. Policies and behavior so intent on injuring one’s enemy that they end up injuring yourself.

Since ideology and “political correctness” trump factual correctness and enemies are demonized, the goal is to hurt opponents even if that means doing disastrous things. There is no better example than the Arab-Israeli conflict, in which an attempt to destroy Israel has come close to destroying the Arabic-speaking world. And just when we thought that it might pull itself out of the swamp in the 1990s they jumped back in.

One of the reasons that Israel is so criticized, attacked and misunderstand is that Westerners who dwell in the lands of pragmatism simply cannot believe that anyone else would act so differently. Consider the gap between a yuppie and a suicide bomber.

5. There is an ideology collapsing today in the Middle East, but it isn’t Zionism. It’s pan-Arab nationalism, which will be replaced either by Islamism, nation-state nationalism (the “normal” kind), or a moderate and pro-democratic philosophy. If someone doesn’t realize that this is the great battle going on now, they can probably understand nothing about the world.

What the kind of article I’m discussing in the Guardian does is to incite decades more of wasteful, deadly and useless struggle. What, resistance will destroy Israel? Then why should Palestinians negotiate a compromise deal for a state or Arabs make peace? Just hold out, fight on, and they’ll win! And that indeed is the philosophy of a long list of people, groups and governments.

The outcome is the mass production of socially approved Middle Eastern equivalents of Anders Breiviks who, once dead or imprisoned, become heroes whose faces look down from posters; are taught as role models in schools; and have youth camps, sporting events and public squares named after them. US taxpayer funds sent to the Palestinian Authority are then used to pay them salaries and to support their families.

That’s a good way to understand the contemporary Arabic-speaking world: a place where the Breviks are the heroes and the moderates are the villains.

(Barry Rubin is Director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center.)

WHITE FLAG OVER GAZA
Martin Sherman
Jerusalem Post, August 25, 2011

“We cannot go on as we are…to remain at peace when you should be going to war may be often very dangerous. The tyrant city… is a standing menace to all.… Let us attack and subdue her, that we may ourselves live safely for the future.”—Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, Book I, paragraph 124, 431 BCE

If you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with the all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival.”—W.S. Churchill, The Second World War (Vol. I—The Gathering Storm), 1949.

The strategic wisdom encapsulated in these excerpts, straddling almost two-and-a-half millennia of human history, seems to have escaped both Israeli policy-makers and opinion makers alike.

Reasons for restraint or excuses for inaction?

True, the government’s arguments for avoiding escalation have a ring of plausible prudence. The lack of international legitimacy, the limited number of deployable Iron-Dome batteries, relations with Egypt are all weighty considerations in favor of restraint.… However, as weighty as the caveats are for refraining from wider military action, in today’s realities they sound more like excuses than reasons.

The nation’s leaders should remember that history will judge them not only for what they do, but also for what they don’t. Indeed, the government’s position would more convincing if it showed credible signs of being aware of the unavoidable necessity for wide-scale IDF action.… However, its penchant for restraint appears to be a regrettable reflection of permanent mindset, described by one prominent scholar as “the fundamental reorientation from deterrence to appeasement that took place in 1993.”

As Yossi Beilin once said

Indeed, just how far the Israeli leadership has “reoriented” itself can be judged by remarks made immediately after the signature of the Oslo Agreement by none other than one its principal architects, Yossi Beilin: “The ultimate test of this agreement will be a test of blood. If it becomes clear that [the Palestinians] cannot overcome terror, this will be a temporary accord and…we will have no choice but [to] abrogate it. And if there is no choice, the IDF will return to the places it is about to leave in the upcoming months. (Ma’ariv, November 26, 1993)

Sadly, neither Beilin—nor any other Israeli politician—has been held to fulfill this sensible prescription, which was also reflected in the long-forgotten pronouncement by Yitzhak Rabin that the Oslo process was “reversible” and if Israel’s security was threatened, the pre-Oslo status quo would be reinstated.

It is difficult to overstate the gravity of this “reorientation.”

It has stripped Israeli policy of credibility in the eyes of both friend and foe—undermining its value as a reliable ally on the one hand, and as a formidable adversary on the other. It has taken a devastating toll on Israel’s deterrent capabilities—with far reaching operational repercussions, now rapidly beginning to unfold.

Of course, in the public discourse, there is near wall-to-wall endorsement of the need “to reestablish Israel’s deterrence.” Sadly, such endorsements are invariably reduced to empty lip-service by the equally universal proviso calling for “proportionality” and “restraint”—the very reasons that deterrence was eroded in the first place and which virtually guarantee that it will never be re-established.…

The dissipation of deterrence

Post- Oslowian “restraint” and “proportionality” have so degraded Israel’s deterrence that it is no longer able to dissuade its adversaries from attacking them almost at will. Intermittent lulls in the North or the South should not deceive us. They do not reflect the efficacy of Israeli deterrence. Neither Hamas nor Hezbollah has been “deterred” in the sense that its will to fight has been broken. They have merely been forced to regroup—with manifest success. Unlike Germany and Japan after World War II, their appetite to engage remains undiminished. They are brazenly spoiling for a fight—albeit on their own terms, which Israeli pliancy invariably permits them.

Indeed, there is good reason for their buoyancy. Both Hamas and Hezbollah have emerged from protracted conflicts with the IDF able to plausibly claim victory.… Accordingly, in many respects they now enjoy greater political prestige and military capabilities than before the military engagements with Israel.

Expunging the concept of ‘victory’

Cowered by the tyranny of political-correctness, Israel has abandoned the pursuit of military imperatives.… In effect, the post-Oslowian reorientation has expunged the notion of victory from Israeli strategic thinking, both as an admissible cognitive entity and as an attainable, even desirable, military goal.

This was aptly expressed by Daniel Pipes in his 2008 analysis of Israel’s strategic incompetence in Gaza. He laments that “…the worst news of all [is] that no one at the upper echelons of Israel’s political life articulates the imperative for victory.…”

Some might protest that the idea of victory over the Arab world is a dangerous, unattainable delusion. Perhaps—but imposing surrender on the enemy in specific theaters of military engagement is not. Surrender could have been imposed on Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006; it could have been imposed on Hamas in Gaza in 2008. It can and must be imposed on Hamas today.

Israel’s leadership must acknowledge that decades of concession and capitulation have created a situation in which it cannot dissuade the Palestinians to forgo aggression without comprehensive “kinetic” coercion. It cannot diminish the Palestinians’ will to attack by threats of punitive action. It can only protect its citizens by physically eliminating the Palestinian ability to attack. It can only defend its civilian population from Palestinian assaults by taking and keeping control of the territory from which they are launched.

Yes, such measures with create severe difficulties—international outrage, collateral civilian casualties, IDF losses.… But however severe the challenges, they must be met by the Israeli leadership—not embraced as justification for further ineffectual retaliatory restraint. A clear message must be burned in the collective Arab consciousness. Jewish blood will no longer be shed with impunity.…

LA «COMPRÉHENSION DE L’ISLAM», Canada: citer les écritures islamiques sur les ondes, Lettre à Madame Anne Sérode

 

LA «COMPRÉHENSION DE L’ISLAM» DE TARIQ RAMADAN
Dépêche

Point de Bascule, 23 août 2011

 

Voici des extraits d’une analyse formidable sur l’euphémisme démagogique de Tariq Ramadan. L’ICRJ vous invite à lire l’article en sa totalité sur pointdebasculecanada.ca.

 

Le 7 septembre 2011, le Dalaï Lama, Tariq Ramadan et d’autres personnalités prendront la parole à la Deuxième conférence mondiale sur les religions du monde après le 11 septembre 2001. La conférence est organisée à Montréal avec l’active coopération de l’Université McGill et de l’Université de Montréal. Le dialogue interreligieux est l’une des méthodes les plus efficaces utilisées par les Frères Musulmans pour mener le jihad idéologique en Occident.

 

Dans un discours récent devant ses partisans réunis à Dallas, Tariq Ramadan les a enjoints de coloniser les États-Unis «avec notre compréhension de l’islam, (avec) nos principes». Point de Bascule profite de la venue prochaine de Ramadan à Montréal pour examiner quelques éléments de sa «compréhension de l’islam». […]

 

La démocratie de Tariq Ramadan

 

…Tariq Ramadan est associé de près à une organisation malienne qui a menacé de recourir à la violence dans le but d’empêcher qu’une réforme du Code malien de la famille ne soit mise en vigueur en dépit du fait qu’elle avait été adoptée par une écrasante majorité de parlementaires le 3 août 2009 (117 oui – 5 non – 4 abstentions).

 

Le nouveau Code de la famille remplaçait la notion d’obéissance de l’épouse à son mari par une notion de respect entre époux, il invalidait les mariages auxquels les deux parties n’ont pas consenti, il substituait la notion d’autorité parentale à celle d’autorité paternelle, il établissait à dix-huit ans l’âge minimum auquel les filles pouvaient se marier, il accordait aux femmes des droits en matière d’héritage plus importants que ceux prévus par la charia, etc.

 

Les opposants au nouveau code le qualifièrent d’«œuvre du diable». Le Haut Conseil Islamique (HCI) organisa des manifestations, menaça de recourir à la violence et convoqua les leaders religieux à la principale mosquée de Bamako pour dénoncer les élus qui avaient appuyé le nouveau code. Suite à ces menaces de violence, le président malien refusa de ratifier le projet de loi.

 

Le HCI, la principale organisation derrière les manifestations contre le nouveau Code de la famille, est associé de près à Tariq Ramadan et à son organisation Présence Musulmane. Ramadan et le secrétaire-général du HCI, Mamadou Diamouténé, comptaient parmi les principaux orateurs à la conférence du CIMEF qui eût lieu au Mali en 2010. Le CIMEF (Colloque International des Musulmans de l'Espace Francophone) fait partie du réseau de Présence Musulmane dirigé par Ramadan….

 

La tromperie constitue une partie intégrante du jihad idéologique de Tariq Ramadan. Ses prises de position en faveur de la démocratie devraient être jugées par ses actions et non par ses paroles. […]

 

La persécution des non-musulmans

 

…Les non-musulmans ont un statut de citoyens de deuxième classe dans les sociétés musulmanes. La section o11 de l’Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller – La dépendance du voyageur) donne plusieurs exemples de mesures discriminatoires que la charia impose aux non-musulmans. Dans son livre Priorities, Youssef Qaradawi mentionne que le dialogue interreligieux devrait être utilisé pour décourager les leaders chrétiens de supporter d’autres chrétiens qui sont impliqués dans des conflits avec les musulmans. Il mentionna spécifiquement le cas du Soudan. (The Religious Islamic-Christian Dialogue – Le dialogue religieux islamo-chrétien)

 

Après des années de persécution infligée par le Nord musulman, le Soudan du Sud est devenu un pays indépendant le 9 juillet 2011. Christian Solidarity International présente un dossier au sujet de Soudanais qui ont été capturés et réduits en esclavage….

 

Qaradawi ne cherche pas à convaincre les autorités soudanaises de respecter les droits humains fondamentaux des non-musulmans malgré du respect dont il jouit dans les cercles musulmans. Au contraire, il avise d’utiliser le dialogue interreligieux pour stopper les leaders chrétiens de supporter leurs coreligionnaires qui sont persécutés. Nous n’avons pas besoin d’autres preuves pour réaliser combien nuisible est le «dialogue» avec des représentants des Frères Musulmans comme Tariq Ramadan.

 

Considérant cette dernière raison invoquée par Qaradawi pour mener le dialogue interreligieux avec les chrétiens, il est logique de conclure que les Frères Musulmans se concentrent sur le Dalaï Lama entre autres pour l’empêcher de supporter les bouddhistes qui sont persécutés par des fanatiques musulmans en Thaïlande et ailleurs en Asie.  

 

Quant aux juifs, Youssef Qaradawi a déclaré en janvier 2009 qu’Hitler avait été envoyé par Allah «pour les punir de leur corruption». Il conclut sa diatribe en disant que «si Allah le veut, la prochaine fois, ce sera le fait des croyants (des musulmans)»….

Canada: citer les écritures islamiques sur les ondes est discriminatoire
Dépêche

postedeveille.ca, 22 août 2011

 

C'est ce qu'a décidé le Conseil canadien des normes de la radiotélévision (CCNR) suite à la plainte d'un auditeur musulman contre un épisode d'une émission religieuse diffusée en Ontario qui portait sur la fin des temps…

 

Pendant l'émission, Joel Richardson, un chrétien évangélique, a cité le hadith annonçant le génocide des Juifs par les musulmans à la fin des temps. Ce hadith rapporté par Boukhari et Moslem fait également partie de la charte du Hamas. 

 

Sid Roth’s It’s Supernaturalest une émission hebdomadaire ayant une connotation religieuse qui est diffusée à l’antenne de CITS-TV (CTS – Crossroads Television, Ontario) et animée par Sid Roth. […]

 

Pendant l’épisode dont il est question, Sid Roth a accueilli sur le plateau Joel Richardson, auteur du livre intitulé The Islamic Antichrist (L’antéchrist islamique) et réalisateur d’un jeu de DVD portant le titre Understanding the Times: Biblical Prophecy Series (Comprendre notre époque : la série sur les prophéties bibliques). […]

 

Ce qui suit est la transcription de la partie pertinente de l’épisode du 14 septembre 2010 de It’s Supernatural, diffusé à 10 h 30.

 

Richardson: Permettez-moi de citer, euh, la tradition islamique, c’est-à-dire le fondement pour le Hamas et les Palestiniens. La tradition dit, «Le jour de résurrection ne viendra pas avant que les musulmans combattent les Juifs et les tuent jusqu’à ce qu’il n’en reste que quelques-uns cachés derrière des rochers et des arbres, qui eux-mêmes appelleront “Ô musulman fidèle, il y a un Juif qui se cache derrière moi, viens et tue-le.”» Les musulmans croient que c’est leur devoir divin d’éliminer le peuple juif.

 

Un plaignant a qualifié l’épisode en cause d’«attaque […] malveillante à l’endroit d’un grand segment de la population mondiale, notamment l’islam» et a conclu que le «but [du télédiffuseur], semblerait-il, est celui de propager un message en vue d’inciter les gens à adopter sa perspective déformée du peuple musulman.» […]

 

Bien que cette déclaration [de Richardson] soit, en toute rigueur, une opinion, il s’agit d’une accusation à caractère vif et acéré selon laquelle tous les musulmans estiment qu’ils ont une responsabilité divine ou sacrée de tuer tous les juifs, même lorsqu’il n’en reste que [traduction] «quelques-uns cachés derrière des rochers et des arbres.» Même s’il s’agissait là d’un principe solide et non contredit qui fut établi dans un des textes savants qui sont le fondement de la religion islamique, le Comité considère qu’une accusation du genre faite en termes si généraux à l’endroit, en effet, de tous les musulmans, constitue un commentaire abusif ou indûment discriminatoire qui passe outre à l’interdiction de tels commentaires établie par les articles sur les droits de la personne du Code de déontologie de l’ACR et du Code de l’ACR sur la représentation équitable.

 

Pour le CCNR, dire «les musulmans» réfère nécessairement à 1.3 milliard de personnes, et citer sur les ondes un hadith antisémite est discriminatoire [– non envers les juifs –  mais à l’encontre des] musulmans. Il aurait fallu dire: ceci est la doctrine officielle de l'islam, mais ce ne sont pas tous les musulmans qui y adhèrent.

 

On peut soupçonner que le CCNR n'exigerait pas qu'on précise, en citant les écritures chrétiennes, que plusieurs chrétiens n'y adhèrent pas. C'est que les musulmans n'aiment pas que les infidèles diffusent de l'information sur les aspects haineux de leur religion, et ils font tout pour les censurer. Hanni Hassan, un musulman de l'Ontario, agissait comme vice-président du Comité du CCNR qui a rendu la décision. On voit que l'entrisme d'un seul islamiste dans nos institutions peut avoir des conséquences significatives sur la liberté d'expression. 

 

Le CCNR a le pouvoir de recommander au Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes, une agence du gouvernement fédéral, de révoquer la licence d'une station qui diffuse des contenus qu'il réprouve. Ce groupe de censeurs non élus dispose de larges pouvoirs de déterminer ce que nous avons le droit d'entendre, comme si on vivait en Chine….

 

Lettre à Madame Anne Sérode
Directrice de programmation
de la Première Chaîne Radio-Canada
Leila Lesbet
sisyphe.org, 20 août 2011

 

Madame,

 

Je vous remercie d’avance de porter une attention particulière à cette lettre.

 

Dans un quotidien de Montréal (Le Métro), j’ai lu votre déclaration expliquant pourquoi Radio-Canada ne peut retenir les services de M. Gilles Duceppe comme chroniqueur régulier. Je tiens à vous dire que je trouve votre décision cohérente. Effectivement, j’imagine mal, sur vos ondes, une personne connue pour sa partisannerie politique faire partie, sur une base régulière, d’une émission qui se veut non engagée politiquement. De la même façon, j’imagine très mal un intégriste religieux devenir chroniqueur sur les ondes de notre radio public. Voilà pourquoi je me demande pourquoi votre code d’éthique n’a pas été appliqué au moment d’engager Madame Najat Boughaba connue pour son militantisme islamiste?

 

Je suis une auditrice fidèle de Radio-Canada. J’ai été particulièrement choquée de découvrir sur le site de l’émission «L’après-midi porte conseil» que Madame Najat Boughaba fait maintenant partie des membres permanents du "Conseil des Nations unies" de cette émission. Connaissant bien la communauté maghrébine, je suis sûre que plusieurs de ses membres réagiront très mal à cette nomination. Ils la prendront comme un autre acte de stigmatisation envers les musulmans. Avez-vous fait les recherches nécessaires avant d’engager cette personne sur vos ondes? 

 

Éducation au service de l’islam politique

 

Madame Boughaba a milité au sein de Présence musulmane [voir plus haut le dossier Tariq Ramadan]. Jusqu’en 2009, elle a été membre et porte-parole pour le Québec du Congrès islamique canadien connu pour ses positions extrémistes. 

 

Madame Boughaba a déjà été membre du Centre communautaire musulman de Montréal (un centre dont le site internet a publié des déclarations controversées qui présentait le voile aux jeunes filles musulmanes de Montréal comme un moyen de protection contre le viol). Elle a été aussi membre de la Fédération des femmes du Québec, où elle a réussi avec d’autres femmes islamistes politiques, à faire pencher le vote en faveur du port du voile dans la Fonction publique. Elle a été nommée comme personne ressource pour l’évaluation du programme d’éthique et culture religieuse. Sa nomination a été aussi controversée que le programme lui-même.

 

En 2007, en tant que porte-parole du Congrès islamique canadien, elle s’est opposée à l’amendement apporté à la Charte des droits et libertés du Québec pour assurer la primauté de l’égalité hommes-femmes sur la liberté de religion. Un examen détaillé du parcours de Madame Boughaba démontre un militantisme vigoureux pour des valeurs religieuses qui ne correspondent pas aux valeurs de démocratie, de liberté et d’égalité. J’ai du mal à imaginer notre radio publique bafouer des valeurs universelles.

 

Quand le passé vous rattrape

 

J’ai quitté l’Algérie, il y a dix ans, pour entamer une nouvelle vie au Québec. J’ai dû fuir une situation politique et sociale insoutenable pour toutes les femmes algériennes. Pendant des années, j’ai été témoin de l’invasion de l’islam politique dans mon pays d’origine. J’ai été également témoin des méthodes que les islamistes emploient pour arriver à leurs fins. C’est-à-dire endoctriner le plus grand nombre d’Algériens et d’Algériennes afin de construire une force politique. On connaît le résultat tragique.

 

La démocratie au service de l’islam politique

 

Actuellement, au Québec, je constate de plus en plus que certain-es islamistes font appel à des méthodes adaptées pour parvenir aux mêmes fins. Leur agenda est de constituer, progressivement mais sûrement, une force politique dans un espace démocratique. Leur objectif est d’infiltrer tous les partis politiques, toutes les associations, peu importe leur obédience, et surtout les médias. Madame Boughaba fait partie de ces militant-es….

 

Je conçois parfaitement que chaque citoyen et chaque citoyenne a le droit d’appartenir à une association, d’être membre d’un parti politique et même de s’exprimer à la radio. Néanmoins, est-ce le rôle d’une radio de service public de promouvoir l’image d’une personne connue pour son militantisme religieux et politique? J’imagine très mal un évangéliste connu pour son militantisme contre le droit à l’avortement et pour la peine de mort faire partie, sur une base régulière, d’une émission diffusée sur vos ondes et qui se veut de service public. Permettez-moi d’en douter!

 

En lui donnant une tribune aussi prestigieuse que celle de Radio-Canada, la chaîne publique permet indirectement à Madame Najat Boughaba de se construire, avec l’argent des contribuables, un capital politique grâce à la visibilité qui lui est donnée. Ainsi, cette dame se sert de Radio-Canada comme marchepied pour atteindre ses visées politiques. Lui donner la parole, sur une base régulière, dans une émission apolitique, sur les ondes de Radio-Canada est une erreur éthique grave que j’espère voir corrigée dans le plus bref délai.

 

Veuillez accepter mes meilleures salutations,

 

Leila Lesbet, citoyenne québécoise depuis 2001

 

Restaurer le courage et l’honneur:

défendre Israël

Guy Millière
upjf.org, 24 août 2011

 

«Comment avons-nous pu en arriver à une période où trancher la gorge de bébés devient un moyen acceptable pour atteindre des objectifs politiques?», a dit l’acteur Jon Voight dans un émouvant discours lors de la deuxième soirée du grand rassemblement de soutien organisé en Israël par le commentateur conservateur américain Glenn Beck. Les paroles indignées de Jon Voight rejoignent la propre indignation. Effectivement, des barbares palestiniens tranchent la gorge de bébés, ont fait sauter lorsqu’ils le pouvaient encore des magasins de jouets pour enfant ou des restaurants où se rassemblaient des familles. Ils ont fait des morts à proximité d’Eilat. Et l’acceptation dont parle Jon Voight est celle des «modérés» de l’Autorité Palestinienne, ces «modérés» qui n’ont condamné aucun attentat et qui ont parlé des ripostes israéliennes et seulement des ripostes israéliennes, pour les qualifier de «crimes contre l’humanité», oui, ces «modérés» qui pendant tout le mois de ramadan ont diffusé à la télévision «modérée» de l’Autorité Palestinienne des programmes montrant des enfants chanter la joie d’espérer tuer des Juifs, ou des mères de martyrs se souvenir avec émotion du moment où leur fils ou leur fille a choisi de rejoindre le paradis d’Allah en se faisant exploser et en tuant autant de Juifs que possible, ces «modérés» qu’on reçoit à l’Élysée ou à la Maison Blanche et à qui on promet un État qui, bien sûr, sera un État très «modéré».

 

L’acceptation dont parle Jon Voight est celle des dirigeants et des médias européens pour qui ce qui s’est passé ces jours derniers est seulement la continuation d’un «cycle de la violence» en lequel les coupables sont, bien sûr, surtout, Israéliens, et où les gens qui tirent sur des Israéliens ne sont jamais décrits comme «terroristes» (c’est une description qui pourrait les vexer, sans doute).

 

Quand Glenn Beck a décidé d’organiser ce rassemblement, la situation au Proche-Orient n’était pas ce qu’elle est aujourd’hui, mais il était palpable qu’une détérioration était en chemin. Il était visible que la diabolisation de l’État d’Israël et l’indifférence au sort du peuple israélien avançaient. Glenn Beck a appelé le rassemblement Restoring Courage. Et c’est une appellation qui convient. L’objectif de tous ceux qui aiment et défendent Israël de par le monde doit être de restaurer le courage, et de tourner le dos à la lâcheté qui prédomine aujourd’hui en Europe, et chez les bien pensants de la gauche américaine. Voici un an, Glenn Beck avait organisé à Washington un rassemblement appelé Restoring Honor. Et c’est un mot d’ordre qui peut résonner aujourd’hui dans un contexte où il faut effectivement restaurer le courage. Il y a un déshonneur absolu de la part des dirigeants occidentaux aujourd’hui à se comporter comme ils se comportent vis-à-vis d’Israël. Mais le déshonneur va souvent de pair avec la lâcheté….

 

L’analyse de Glenn Beck est que le «printemps arabe» a d’emblée été un mouvement imprégné par l’islamisme, et débouche sur une influence croissante des islamistes. Les faits montrent que cette analyse est exacte… C’est pourquoi, nous dis Glenn Beck, tous les hommes de courage et d’honneur doivent défendre Israël. Je partage ce message…

 

Reproduction autorisée avec la mention suivante et le lien ci dessous:

 

© Guy Millière pour www.Drzz.fr

 http://www.drzz.info/article-restaurer-le-courage-et-l-honneur-defendre-israel-par-guy-milliere-82304947.html

 

  

ISRAEL, JEWS & JUSTICE IN THE “SOCIAL MEDIA” AGE: POLLARD AND BECK, “FACEBOOK” AND THE HOLOCAUST

J’ACCUSE ON POLLARD

Giulio Meotti
Jerusalem Post, August 22, 2011

He is a convicted spy. He has an Israeli passport. He is serving a life sentence. He is the only American to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally. It’s one of the most painful wounds in the Jewish world. All Israeli attempts to obtain leniency for Jonathan Pollard have failed.

Some 113 years after French novelist Emile Zola famously wrote “J’accuse!” charging that an anti-Semitic government had wrongfully convicted a young Jewish captain named Alfred Dreyfus, Pollard’s supporters wonder if history may record his case as America’s Dreyfus affair. The former president of B’nai B’rith International, Tommy Baer, said the Pollard affair was “the closest thing to an American Dreyfuss case.” If Pollard’s incomparably harsh sentence is allowed to continue, all but the most naive will have to confront the idea that he is still in prison only because he is a Jew.

Dreyfus and Pollard are, of course, different cases in one significant respect. Dreyfus was innocent, and Pollard has admitted his guilt. But a close look reveals striking similarities.

The French Jew was exiled to the hell of Devil’s Island. Pollard is being held in solitary confinement in an underground cell. Dreyfus was a political prisoner from the first day of his arrest. By contrast, Pollard was not a political prisoner during the first few years of his incarceration.

However, now that he is serving well beyond the time served by others who have committed comparable offenses, now that he remains incarcerated because of prejudice, , he has become a political prisoner. If Dreyfus made Theodor Herzl into a Zionist, Pollard has been abandoned and betrayed by most Jewish intellectuals.

A few years ago only Ida Nudel and other former Soviet “Prisoners of Zion,” in a letter delivered to then-Israeli defense minister Moshe Arens, declared that there remained yet another political prisoner: Jonathan Pollard. Yosef Mendelevich, who spent 11 years in the gulag, called on “all the friends who fought for the Prisoners of Zion to organize again for Jonathan Pollard..”

Pollard’s release is today an integral part only of the right-wing camp in Israel (Gush Katif made Pollard an honorary resident, and most of his supporters wear the knitted kippot that identify national religious Jews). But the question is not about the Jewish Right that adopted Pollard, but why the Jewish Left has abandoned him. Pollard has been in prison longer than anyone ever sentenced in the US for passing classified materials to a friendly foreign power. Israel has never underestimated Pollard’s offense. But his case constitutes a great miscarriage of justice.

In the United States the median sentence for a person convicted of spying for the Soviet Union was 10 years. The median sentence for someone spying for a non-Soviet power has been less than three years. Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz said the Pollard case is “an American injustice,” calling his life sentence “outrageously disproportionate.” Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Ronald Montaperto was just sentenced to a three-month prison term for passing US intelligence secrets to communist China. Meanwhile, Pollard, who was sentenced to life in prison for passing US secrets to Israel, is now in his 27th year in jail, held in a subterranean cell in solitary confinement for seven years.…

Jonathan Pollard warned Israel of Iraq’s bellicose intentions, and that Syria’s Assad was amassing vast quantities of chemical and other unconventional weapons. By its own agreement with Israel, the US administration should have given this information to Jerusalem. But it was deliberately blocked by then-secretary of state Caspar Weinberger.

Among all the doubts, Pollard emerges as a Jewish hero.

He passed on information to try and save Israel from its enemies. But now reports on his health are marginalized to the back pages of Israeli newspapers, and claims by his supporters are treated as crank calls. The famous writer Amos Oz just got in touch with Marwan Barghouti, the Palestinian terrorist convicted of murdering many Israelis. The Israel Prize recipient sent the Palestinian prisoner one of his books with a personal inscription wishing him a speedy release from prison: “This story is our story. I hope you read it and understand us better, as we attempt to understand you. Hoping to meet soon in peace and freedom.”

Pollard’s espionage is no way comparable to Barghouti’s murders of Jews, but Oz and the other Israeli intellectuals never sent a letter to the prison where Pollard is serving life without parole.… For most of the influential Jewish intellectuals in the US, Pollard is still “a traitor,” “a fanatic” (Robert Friedman of The Washington Post), “an aberration” (Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg), “a viper” (Marty Peretz of the New Republic).

Natan Sharansky, Yosef Mendelovich, Josef Begun and other Jewish prisoners in the Soviet Union were freed because the Jewish world exerted all the pressure and influence at its disposal to free them. Pollard deserves the same tenacity. He has served more than sufficient jail time for his crime. And to return to the first question: Is Pollard like Dreyfus? No. After 27 years in prison, Pollard is still waiting for his Emile Zola. After the case of Dreyfus, the French essayist Julien Benda published his famous attack on the intellectual corruption of the age, La Trahison des clercs. We are now living through the new treason of the intellectuals, who are silent and indifferent in the face of anti-Semitism. And it’s an intellectual collapse that goes way beyond the case of Jonathan Pollard.

(The writer is an Italian journalist and writer, and the author
of A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism.)

 

SHOULD ISRAEL WELCOME GLENN BECK’S SUPPORT?

Alan M. Dershowitz
Jerusalem Magazine, August 23, 2011

All decent people, whether on the left or the right, should support Israel’s right to exist as the democratic nation state of the Jewish people. All decent people should support Israel’s right to defend its civilians from terrorist attacks. All reasonable people should favor a just peace that assures Israel’s ability to thrive in a dangerous neighborhood and to defend its borders.

These issues should not divide decent people along ideological or political lines. Israel’s existence and right to defend itself should be bipartisan issues, not only in the United States, but in all democratic countries of the world.

The reality, however, is very different. The Jewish state is demonized by the hard left in America, by virtually the entire left in much of Europe, and by most of the left and right in Ireland, Norway and Sweden. Its right to exist is denied by a high proportion of Arabs and Muslims, and most of the Arab and Muslim nations do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

In many circles, anti-Zionism easily morphs into anti-Semitism, and in some countries Jews are afraid to walk the streets wearing any clothing or symbols that identify them as Jewish.

The general assembly of the United Nations has become the world’s new Der Sturmer, whose podium hosts, and many of whose audience members cheer, virulent anti-Semites such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Defenders of Israel, even those critical of some of Israel’s policies, are banned from speaking at universities, are attacked personally by the hard left media and are treated as pariahs by their academic colleagues.

It is against this sad and increasingly dangerous background that one must evaluate Glenn Beck’s visit to Israel. I disagree with much of Beck’s politics and with virtually all of his conspiracy theorizing. Yet I admire his courage in putting his body in the line of fire. I believe him when he says:

If the world goes down the road of dehumanizing Jews again, “then count me a Jew and come for me first.…”

I certainly admire Beck’s decision to go to Israel far more than the decision of so many so-called artists and intellectuals who call for a boycott against the Jewish state without even bothering to go there and see for themselves. I welcome the support of religious Christians who love Israel for religious reasons. I abhor the ignorant and misguided efforts of other Christians, such as former US president Jimmy Carter and Bishop Desmond Tutu, who misuse their faith against the Jewish state.

I hope that more Christians will follow in Beck’s footsteps and take the time to visit Israel. They will see Christianity thriving in Israel while at the same time being dismantled and destroyed in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Egypt, and in other areas in which Islamic fundamentalists have taken over. Christian religious sites are preserved in Jerusalem and other areas under Israeli control. When the Jordanian government controlled parts of Jerusalem, it destroyed many historic religious sites sacred to both Jews and Christians.…

Many Israelis will welcome Glenn Beck’s support. Some will oppose it. Others will wish his views were more consistent with their own. This is as it should be in a democracy. The fact is that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that would allow Glenn Beck to express his views, without censoring them or even knowing in advance what he was going to say. This too is as it should be in a democracy.

 

BECK GETS IT RIGHT WHEN IT COMES TO THE BIG PICTURE ISSUES

Barry Rubin
Jerusalem Post, August 23, 2011

Having studied the Middle East professionally for 35 years, and with a PhD in Middle East history, let me make it perfectly clear: Glenn Beck, who is holding several rallies in Israel this week, has a better grasp of Middle East politics than most Western experts, as well as some Western leaders.

Certainly, Beck makes silly mistakes on factual details. Yet he comprehends the big picture. I don’t say this based on a superficial view or on his support for Israel. As part of the GLORIA Center’s project on understanding current American politics and debates, I have monitored virtually every television and radio show Beck has done over the past two years. When people voice absurd and slanderous stereotypes about Beck, it turns out they haven’t actually listened to what he’s been saying.

Why has Beck gotten things right that so many others have missed or distorted? There are five key reasons: Common sense; courage; knowing the difference between right and wrong, a willingness to learn, and a readiness to admit when one has been wrong. These are virtues often lacking among those with more elegant reputations.

What has he gotten right?

1. The main threat in the Middle East is revolutionary Islamism, and the United States must combat it.…

It is an ideology innately hostile to the West, the United States and Israel. It cannot be bought off or moderated. Revolutionary Islamists will either take over the Middle East or be defeated.

2. The problem is not Islam as a religion but revolutionary Islamism as a political ideology that draws on normative Islam to produce its own plausible interpretation.

While falsely accused of “Islamophobia,” Beck has correctly drawn the distinction between Islam and revolutionary Islamism. Those claiming Islam is “a religion of peace” miss the radicalism easily drawn from its texts.… Those claiming Islam is inherently extremist miss most of its actual history and the tremendous battle going on among Muslims.

3. The revolutionary Islamist side is winning.

In the past year, revolutionary Islamism has advanced in Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Turkey, and potentially Syria, Libya, and Tunisia.

4. The “Arab Spring” contains many dangers.

The unqualified Western enthusiasm for the “Arab Spring” ignores the threat of growing Islamist power.… [In Egypt], the regime that emerges might not be Islamist but will be radical, anti-American, and dangerously hostile toward Israel.

5. Israel just happens to be largely right and deserves support.

Israel has been in a “Twilight Zone” situation. Eighteen years ago, Israel took a tremendous risk for peace by signing an agreement with the PLO, agreeing to establish an armed Palestinian Authority, and negotiating toward the creation of a Palestinian state, Not to mention later offering the Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for peace, withdrawing from south Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and much of the West Bank.

Yet the more risks Israel took, the more concessions it made, the more restraint it showed, the more it was said not to want peace. The more Israel sought a two-state solution, the more people in the West advocated a “no-Israel” solution. Beck has cut through this nonsense to point out a simple fact: Israel wants a negotiated compromise based on a two-state solution; the Palestinian Authority–not to mention Hamas–doesn’t.

6. One Man’s Terrorist… Is Still a Terrorist.…

Bad ends hardly justify bad means.

7. The Obama Administration has messed up the Middle East to a phenomenal extent.

For details, you can read what I’ve written about this since January 2009.

8. One should be fearless in facing intimidation and politically motivated ridicule.

Yes, it gets tiring to be slandered and misquoted, but a lot is at stake here. Popularity among current Western elites and career advancement cannot be the main priority. We live at a time when governments and intellectuals surrender at the merest hint of being called names or faced with threats of violence.

9. We must reevaluate friends and enemies in this new era of revolutionary Islamism and post-Marxist leftism.

In the past, Jews often saw conservatives and religious Christians as threats. But we’re no longer in the nineteenth or even the twentieth centuries. Conservatives and Christians aren’t drooling to convert, kill, or use Jews to bring on the apocalypse. While doing everything possible to work with liberals and social democrats, we must understand–whatever our personal political views–that Israel and the Jewish people have a new set of allies.…

10. Whatever mistakes the United States has made, it is a good country and the hope of the world.

Many people everywhere are yearning for America to revive itself, change the current administration’s policies, properly define friends and enemies, and take leadership internationally once again.

Any criticism one can make of Beck pales in comparison to all of the above points, on which he is quite correct. But then, as Jews, and Israelis most of all, should know, to be falsely reviled is not proof of being wrong or evil.

(Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs [GLORIA] Center.)

 

FACEBOOK’S HOLOCAUST PROBLEM

Lloyd Grove
Daily Beast, August 18, 2011

 

Is Facebook in denial about Holocaust denial?

For years, international organizations opposing anti-Semitism have been urging the planet’s preeminent social-networking platform to delete any content that asserts the Nazi-orchestrated extermination of 6 million Jews never took place.

And for years, officials of Facebook, boasting more than 750 million active users, have refused, insisting that mere denial of the Holocaust, however “repugnant and ignorant,” doesn’t constitute “hate speech” as defined by Facebook’s Terms of Service policy prohibiting “content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” (Which gave a huge opening to TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, who noted that while Facebook was meticulously removing photos of breast-feeding women, it was allowing the proliferation of Holocaust-denial pages. His mordant headline: “Jew Haters Welcome At Facebook, As Long As They Aren’t Lactating.”)

Facebook’s critics–including such groups as the Anti-Defamation League and the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, which describes itself as an Israeli-led “alliance of statesmen, parliamentarians, diplomats, journalists, legal experts, NGOs and scholars”–argue that Holocaust denial is, by definition, an expression of hatred for the Jewish people.

“Holocaust denial is basically a form of classic anti-Semitism,” said Deborah Lauter, ADL’s director of civil rights and its cyber-hate response team. “It’s anti-Semitism per se because it serves as a powerful conspiracy theory that basically says the Jews have manipulated history to advance their own worldview, whether to create sympathy or world domination. In other words, we have fabricated this monstrous event in history in order to further our own hidden agenda.”

Facebook spokesman Simon Axten doesn’t see it that way.

“We find Holocaust denial to be repugnant and ignorant, just as we object to many of the other ideas expressed on Facebook,” Axten told me via email this week. “We’ve come to the conclusion that the mere statement of denying the Holocaust is not a violation of our policies. We recognize people’s right to be factually wrong about historical events.…”

The issue bubbled up anew last month when a group of survivors of the Nazi death camps wrote to Facebook asking that the company’s broad-minded policy be reversed. It came up again on Tuesday, when Australian computer scientist Andre Oboler and Canadian lawyer David Matas, co-chairmen of the Global Forum’s Online Anti-Semitism Working Group, released a letter they sent to Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg after they attended what Oboler calls a “frustrating” video conference with an executive of Facebook’s European operations. The Facebook exec politely listened to the group’s concerns, Oboler told me from Melbourne, then reiterated the company line.

“We call on Facebook to abandon its insistence on treating Holocaust denial in a context-free manner, in which it is considered nothing more than the rejection of a historical event,” Oboler and Matas wrote to Zuckerberg. “The context makes it clear that there is no meaningful distinction between Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred against Jews … We ask that Facebook recognize Holocaust denial as a form of hate speech, issue a statement to this effect, and do its utmost to remove Holocaust denial from the Facebook platform.…”

Oboler pointed out that Holocaust denial is codified as hate speech and thus against the law in 13 European countries, including Germany and Austria, and that Facebook manages not to violate local ordinances by blocking the various denial pages in the relevant jurisdictions. He said his colleagues, “who have been approaching Facebook with an open mind and in a spirit of cooperation to solve this problem, are becoming increasingly frustrated with Facebook’s irrational stubbornness on this issue and their attempts to blur the issue.…”

Facebook’s Axten acknowledged in his email: “Many of us at Facebook have direct personal connection to the Holocaust, through parents or grandparents who were forced to flee Europe or relatives who could not escape. We believe in Facebook’s mission that giving people tools to make the world more open is the best way to combat ignorance and deception, though we recognize that others may disagree.”

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