Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Tag: islam

CHRISTIANS & OTHER NON-MUSLIM MINORITIES HAVE GRIM FUTURE IN M.E. OUTSIDE ISRAEL

Dhimmis No More Christians’ Trauma in the Middle East: Daniel Pipes, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 21, 2017 — A new strain of thought has developed in Sunni Muslim thinking: ethnic cleansing. It’s not genocide, but it involves expelling non-Sunni populations.

How Roger Waters Stole Christmas: Bradley Martin, Christian Post, Dec. 12, 2017— Pink Floyd founder and anti-Israel activist Roger Waters announced that he will perform a closed-circuit pre-Christmas show to be broadcast in Bethlehem's Manger Square, scheduled to take place later this month.

Europe: The Islamization of Christmas: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 24, 2017— This year's Christmas season has been marked by Islam-related controversies in nearly every European country.

Condemning the Jewish State in Jesus' Name, Theologian Gary Burge is Making a Comeback: Dexter Van Zile, Jerusalem Journal, Dec. 15, 2017 — For a while, it looked like Gary Burge’s career as a prominent anti-Zionist in the United States had come to an end and that he was going to suffer a fate similar to his theological twin across the pond in England, Anglican Priest Stephen Sizer.

 

On Topic Links

 

Countering Christmas Jihad: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Dec. 19, 2017

Christian Reaction to Trump's Jerusalem Speech: Are We Headed to a Major Reset in Jewish-Christian Relations?: Rabbis Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein, Christian Post, Nov. 30, 2017

America’s 20 Most Influential Pro-Israel Evangelical Christians: Eliana Rudee, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 24, 2017

Critics Highlight Iran’s Persecution of Christians as Foreign Minister Zarif Issues Christmas Greetings: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 24, 2017

 

 

 

DHIMMIS NO MORE CHRISTIANS’ TRAUMA IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Daniel Pipes

Breaking Israel News, Dec. 21, 2017

 

A new strain of thought has developed in Sunni Muslim thinking: ethnic cleansing. It’s not genocide, but it involves expelling non-Sunni populations. Its spread means that non-Muslim minorities have a grim future in Muslim-majority countries; and some may have no future there at all. I shall trace the origins of ethnic cleansing in the Middle East, note its impact especially on Christians, and consider responses to it.

 

To begin, let us look at the standing of non-Muslims in Muslim-majority countries before 1800. Muslims viewed non-Muslim in two categories: monotheists recognized by Islam as adhering to a valid faith (this being mostly Jews and Christians) and polytheists (especially Hindus) lacking that recognition. The former category, our topic here, are known as People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab). Muslims were relatively tolerant of People of the Book – but only if they accepted becoming dhimmi (protected persons) who acknowledged the rule of Muslims and the superiority of Islam; in other words, if they accepted an inferior status. They had to pay special taxes (called jizya) could not serve in the military or the police or, more generally, exercise authority over Muslims. Sumptuary laws abounded; a Christian or Jew should walk or go by mule but not on a horse and should defer to a Muslim on the street. (Of course, actual practice differed from one country to another and from one era to another.)

 

The recognized place granted to religious minorities made Muslim-ruled countries quite unlike premodern Christendom. Christians under Muslim rule enjoyed better conditions than Muslims under Christian rule; in 1200 or so, one would much rather be a Christian living in Muslim Spain than a Muslim living in Christian Spain. Likewise for Jews: Mark R. Cohen observes that “the Jews of Islam, especially during the formative and classical centuries (up to the thirteenth century), experienced much less persecution than did the Jews of Christendom.” But we must not romanticize the dhimmi status. Yes, it offered a degree of tolerance, cohabitation, and deference – but these were premised on the assumption of Muslim superiority and non-Muslim inferiority. It could also be abused at whim by Muslims. No modern citizen would accept the disabilities that accompanied living as a dhimmi.

 

Indeed, the dhimmi status came crashing down in modern times, which is to say after 1800, as European powers (British, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and others) overwhelmed nearly the whole Muslim world. Even those few countries – Yemen, Arabia, Turkey, Iran – that escaped direct European control felt Europe’s predominance. Christian imperialists flipped the dhimmi status on its head, favoring Christians and also Jews, both of whom showed greater willingness to accept the new rulers, learn their languages and skills, work for them, and serve as intermediaries to the Muslim-majority population. Naturally, majority Muslim populations resented this heightened status of Christians and Jews.

 

When European rule came to its inevitable end, Muslims on returning to power put the minorities roughly back in their place – and worse, for the dhimmi status had earlier been discarded and was not to be revived. Unsure of themselves, the new rulers generally looked darkly at Peoples of the Book, angry at their having serviced the imperialists and suspicious of their abiding connections to Europe (and in the Jewish case, new ones to Israel). One could say that the second-class dhimmi status now became a third- or fourth-class post-dhimmistatus. The break-up of the Ottoman Empire witnessed more persecution of Christians and Jews than perhaps ever before, starting with the Armenians of Turkey in the 1910s and culminating with recent Christian traumas in Iraq and Syria.

 

Before continuing with the Christian experience, a few side words on the Jewish one. Ancient Jewish communities disappeared as a result of the collapse of the dhimmi status and the creation of Israel in 1948. Jews decamped or were pushed especially out in the 20-year period after World War II. The small but lively Jewish community of Algeria offers perhaps the most dramatic illustration of the post-imperial changes. The Jews there had so connected themselves to French rule that the entire Jewish community fled the country along with the French rulers in July 1962.[i] In 1945, the Jewish population in Muslim-majority countries numbered about a million; today, it hovers between 30,000 and 40,000, nearly all of whom live in Iran, Turkey, in Morocco. No more than a handful live elsewhere: maybe 60 Jews in Egypt, 9 in Iraq, and even fewer in Afghanistan; these nearly defunct communities of the elderly will no longer exist within a few years.

 

As the expression goes, “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.” And now is the Christian turn. Christians are now recapitulating the Jewish exodus. From 1500 to 1900, Christians made up a consistent 15 percent of the Middle East’s population, according to David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson. In 1910, that number had dipped to 13.6 percent, according to Todd M. Johnson and Gina A. Zurlo; and in 2010, Christians had been reduced to a meager 4.2 percent, or less than a third as large as a century earlier. The downward trend, of course, is steeply continuing. As the journalist Lee Smith puts it: “Being Christian in the Middle East has never been easy, but the wave of uprisings that has swept the region over the past year has made the situation for the region’s Christian minority almost unbearable.” The examples are alarming, and in many ways unprecedented in the long history of Muslim-Christian relations…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                       

 

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HOW ROGER WATERS STOLE CHRISTMAS

Bradley Martin

Christian Post, Dec. 12, 2017

 

Pink Floyd founder and anti-Israel activist Roger Waters announced that he will perform a closed-circuit pre-Christmas show to be broadcast in Bethlehem's Manger Square, scheduled to take place later this month. "I have to sadly accept the reality that I'm banging my head against the brick wall of the occupation," said Waters. It would appear all that banging has made Waters' head comfortably numb. Waters has been deemed an anti-Semite by the Anti-Defamation League who has performed with a giant pig-shaped balloon emblazoned with a Star of David. It is doubtful that this show is meant to encourage peace on earth and goodwill towards men.

 

But Waters would do well to remember that performing a pre-Christmas show in Bethlehem is in extremely poor taste. In Bethlehem, along with the rest of the Palestinian-controlled territories, the Christian population is facing the very real threat of extinction. In the birthplace of Jesus, Christians once comprised more than 70 percent of the city's population. Today, Christians constitute less than 15 percent of the population. Under the Palestinian Authority, Christian holy sites are routinely desecrated and destroyed. The PA has shown contempt for Christian holy sites, as exemplified when Yasser Arafat turned the Greek Orthodox monastery near the Church of the Nativity into his own personal domicile during his visits to the city.

 

However, the most outrageous act of desecration in Bethlehem occurred in the Church of the Nativity itself. In 2002, an estimated 180 PA gunmen took over the church, holding the priests, nuns and monks hostage. The terrorists looted the church of its food and valuables. Catholic priests at the site said that some of the Bibles in the church were used as toilet paper, while many valuable sacramental objects were looted.

 

When the hostages were released and the terrorists left the church, it was found that altars, religious objects and furniture were fouled by urine, cigarette butts, and human excrement. Churches, monasteries and convents throughout the Palestinian-controlled territories are frequently desecrated and destroyed, most recently in 2016, when the ruins of an 1,800-year-old Byzantine church in Gaza City was bulldozed by Hamas in order to make room for a shopping mall.

 

Christians are subject to systemic discrimination by both the PA and Hamas. This is to be expected, since Islam is the official religion of both governments. As a result, Christians have been relegated to dhimmi status, a somewhat tolerated but inferior class. The PA's judicial system does not ensure the equal protection of Christians, with injustices such as forced conversions to Islam, physical violence, and even murder. Palestinian Muslims are allowed to seize Christian property with impunity. Due to this ethnic cleansing, the Christian population in the Palestinian-controlled territories dropped from 15 percent of the population in 1950 to less than 1.3 percent today.

 

While Christians under Palestinian rule literally have their backs to the wall, the situation in Israel is quite the opposite. Since the Jewish State declared independence in 1948, the Christian population has enjoyed a five-fold increase, to an estimated 158,000 citizens. According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, Christian Arabs fare the best in terms of education when compared to any other religious group in Israel. Christians are to be found in every facet of Israeli civil and political life, exercising considerable influence in Israeli society that is disproportionate to their minority status. Salim Joubran, a Maronite Christian and Israeli Supreme Court judge, was in charge of overseeing Israel's 2015 legislative election. While Joubran retired earlier this year, another Israeli Arab Christian (George Karra) presideson Israel's Supreme Court.

 

Though Waters is apparently oblivious to the bleak reality facing Palestinian Christians, he continues to engage in anti-Semitism. Rather than raise awareness and condemn the ethnic cleansing of Christians under Palestinian rule, Waters prefers to bash Israel every chance he gets. Rock 'n' roll, at its best, is supposed to be about tolerance, peace and love. Does Waters truly want to commemorate this Christmas with even more bigotry and indifference to the suffering of others?

 

Bradley Martin is Deputy Editor for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research

           

                                                                       

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EUROPE: THE ISLAMIZATION OF CHRISTMAS

Soeren Kern

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 24, 2017

 

This year's Christmas season has been marked by Islam-related controversies in nearly every European country. Most of the conflicts have been generated by Europe's multicultural political and religious elites, who are bending over backwards to secularize Christmas, ostensibly to ensure that Muslims will not be offended by the Christian festival. Many traditional Christmas markets have been renamed — Amsterdam Winter Parade, Brussels Winter Pleasures, Kreuzberger Wintermarkt, London Winterville, Munich Winter Festival — to project a multicultural veneer of secular tolerance.

 

More troubling are the growing efforts to Islamize Christmas. The re-theologizing of Christmas is based on the false premise that the Jesus of the Bible is the Jesus (Isa) of the Koran. This religious fusion, sometimes referred to as "Chrislam," is gaining ground in a West that has become biblically illiterate. In Britain, for instance, the All Saints Church in Kingston upon Thames recently held a joint birthday celebration for Jesus and Mohammed. The "Milad, Advent and Christmas Celebration" on December 3 was aimed at "marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed and looking forward to the birthday of Jesus." The hour-long service included time for Islamic prayer and was followed by the cutting of a birthday cake.

 

The prominent Christian blog "Archbishop Cranmer" rebuked the church for its lack of discernment: "Note how this event is 'Marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed,' but not looking forward to the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mohammed gets his prophethood, while Jesus gets neither his prophethood nor his priesthood; neither his kingship nor his messiahship. It's the exalted Prophet Mohammed along with plain old Jesus, because to have added any of his claims to divinity would, of course, have alienated many Muslims (if they hadn't already been alienated by the haram [forbidden by Islam] celebration), which wouldn't have been very interfaith or sensitively missional, would it?"

 

The blog added that exalting Mohammed in churches effectively proclaims that Mohammed is greater than Jesus: "Every time a church accords Mohammed the epithet 'Prophet,' they are rejecting the crucifixion, denying the resurrection of Christ, and refuting that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, for Mohammed denied all of these foundational tenets of the Christian faith."

 

Previously, a passage from the Koran denying that Jesus is the Son of God was read during a service at a Scottish Episcopal Church in Glasgow on Epiphany, a festival commemorating the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. One of the Queen's chaplains, Gavin Ashenden, referred to the Koran reading as "blasphemy." He added that "there are other and considerably better ways to build 'bridges of understanding'" with Muslims.

 

In London, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, a parliamentary group composed of members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, issued a report, "A Very Merry Muslim Christmas," aimed at drawing attention to the "humanity" of Muslims during Christmas. The report states:   "Too often, Muslim charities come to our attention because of negative media coverage… What we hear even less about is the 'Muslim Merry Christmas.' The soup kitchens, the food banks, the Christmas dinners, the New Year clean-up — work Muslim charities will be busy doing during the Christmas period."

 

In Scotland, the regional government was accused of "undermining" Britain's Christian heritage by promoting "winter festivals" for ethnic minorities while ignoring Christmas. Scotland's International Development Minister, Alasdair Allan, pledged nearly £400,000 ($535,000) to fund 23 events during the winter months. He described them as "key dates in our national calendar" and said the "exciting and diverse" program would help Scots "celebrate everything great about our wonderful country during the winter months." None of the events, however, has any connection to Christmas. A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said:

 

"It is deeply disappointing that the Scottish Government has chosen not to recognize the religious reality of Christmas in its Winter Festival events. Over half of the population stated their religion as Christian in the last census. Catholics, and other Christians, may quite rightly wonder why this publicly-funded Festival does not include any events designed to help Scots celebrate the birth of Christ which is undoubtedly the most significant celebration in the winter months." Gordon Macdonald, of Christian charity CARE, added: "It is part of the general secularization that has been taking place within the Scottish Government for a number of years where our Christian heritage and value system has been undermined as a direct result of government policy."

 

In Denmark, a primary school in Graested cancelled a traditional church service marking the beginning of Christmas in order not to offend Muslim pupils. Some parents accused the school of having double-standards: it recently held an event called "Syria Week" in which children immersed themselves in Middle Eastern culture. Ignoring parents, the school board sided with the school: "The board backs the school's decision to create new traditions [emphasis added] that involve children and young people." Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who attended the school as a child, said the decision should be reversed. Health Minister Ellen Trane Norby added: "Danish primary schools have a duty to spread education — and teaching the cultural values and knowledge connected to Christmas is an essential part of that."…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    

 

Contents

CONDEMNING THE JEWISH STATE IN JESUS' NAME,

THEOLOGIAN GARY BURGE IS MAKING A COMEBACK

Dexter Van Zile

Jerusalem Journal, Dec. 15, 2017

 

For a while, it looked like Gary Burge’s career as a prominent anti-Zionist in the United States had come to an end and that he was going to suffer a fate similar to his theological twin across the pond in England, Anglican Priest Stephen Sizer. This past Easter, Sizer retired. His long career in the pulpit was marred by a number of unforced errors, such as promoting the notion that Israel was responsible for 9/11 and participating in a Holocaust-denial conference organized by, of all countries, Iran. After these debacles, his superiors in the Anglican Church finally told him to stop talking about the Arab-Israeli conflict altogether. They had had enough.

 

To add insult to injury, the folks at InterVarsity Press in both the United Kingdom and the United States decided that they too had enough and stopped printing his books which promoted the notion that God had abandoned the Jewish people and therefore no longer had any right to live in the Holy Land. For his Anglican superiors, Sizer’s retirement must have been a relief. For a while it looked like Burge, who made similar arguments about the illegitimacy of Jewish claims to the land in his notoriously counter-factual book, Whose Land? Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel and the Palestinians, might suffer a similar fate to Sizer.

 

Instead, Burge, who retired from Wheaton College, an Evangelical school in Illinois in 2016, is enjoying a boomlet of sorts. Recent thrust for his reignited star include an article in The Atlantic and an appearance on National Public Radio. Burge, now teaching at Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was given a platform by these outlets to articulate his response to the controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s December 6, 2017 acknowledgement that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and that the U.S. will eventually move its embassy to the Holy City.

 

Predictably enough, Burge expressed concerns about the action, telling folks that not every Evangelical supports Trump’s decision and that the Evangelicals who do are making a mistake if they root their support in their reading of the Bible. In The Atlantic article, Burge argues that Jews who live in Israel really have no connection to the Israelites in the Bible and therefore, really don’t have any claim to the land of Israel. Moreover, he says, conservative Evangelicals who support Israel may not understand that the modern state of Israel isn’t anything like biblical Israel. After all, he asserts, “[W]hen you build a bridge from biblical Israel to modern Israel, there is an enormous gap in history and theology.”

 

These are interesting arguments for an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA to be making. Given the enormous gap of history and theology between Christ’s declaration that Peter was the rock upon which he would build his church and the founding of the PCUSA in 1983, one could just as easily argue that his denomination’s claim to salvation is as broken and attenuated as Burge says the Jewish claim is to Jerusalem.

 

A lot has happened over the past 2,000 years. But God is free and sovereign. If he can find a way to grant salvation to Presbyterians despite what has happened in the realm of Christianity over the past 2,000 years, maybe he can also use the modern secular state of Israel to demonstrate the firmness of His Promises to Jews in the 21st Century. If he can extend his promise of salvation to Christians in spite of all that has happened since the anointing of St. Peter as the leader of his church 2,000 years ago, maybe he still has a place in his heart for the Jews…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Countering Christmas Jihad: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Dec. 19, 2017—"Soon on your holidays," a sentence that would typically befit the celebrations of the Christmas festivities, was turned into a terrifying threat posted recently on an ISIS-related network vowing to attack major European cities during the Christmas holidays.

Christian Reaction to Trump's Jerusalem Speech: Are We Headed to a Major Reset in Jewish-Christian Relations?: Rabbis Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein, Christian Post, Nov. 30, 2017 —President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital was met with enthusiasm by most American Jews. Christian reaction to the announcement, however, has been an eye-opener, and might have greater impact upon future Jewish-Christian relations than the President's announcement will ultimately have on the politics of the Middle East.

America’s 20 Most Influential Pro-Israel Evangelical Christians: Eliana Rudee, Breaking Israel News, Dec. 24, 2017—Newsmax has recently published its 100 Most Influential Evangelicals in America list, ranking pastors, teachers, politicians, athletes, and entertainers “from all walks of life whose faith leads them to live differently and to help others in a variety of ways.” Breaking Israel News wondered: How many of these prominent Christians use their influence to support Israel through investment and advocacy? Below, find BIN’s exclusive list of the top 20 pro-Israel Christians in America.

Critics Highlight Iran’s Persecution of Christians as Foreign Minister Zarif Issues Christmas Greetings: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Dec. 24, 2017—Iran’s foreign minister encountered an angry response on Sunday when he took to Twitter on Christmas Eve to wish a “happy and peaceful Christmas to all.” Citing a verse from the Quran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif – a key architect, with former US Secretary of State John Kerry, of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – declared: “May Christ’s universal message of peace be embraced in the coming year.”

                                                              

 

 

ERDOGAN SEEKS GREATER ROLE FOR ISLAM IN TURKEY AND WEST

Turkey Islamizes Denmark with More Mosques: Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 20, 2017— "Islam cannot be either 'moderate' or 'not moderate.'

Erdoğan’s Kurdish Gambit: Burak Bekdil, BESA, Nov. 15, 2017— In 2015, soon after the Turkish people went to the ballot box, the main Kurdish insurgency group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), ended a ceasefire it had declared two years prior.

In Erdogan’s Post-Coup Turkey, Anti-Semitism is on the Rise: Sophia Pandya, Tablet, Oct. 19, 2017 — On a visit to Turkey in 2011, I visited the Belek “Garden of Tolerance,” where a diminutive mosque, church, and synagogue are housed close together in an emerald-green park…

Portents of Quagmires in Syria: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017— Is the war in Syria won?

 

On Topic Links

 

Turkey: Trial of Banker is Plot Schemed by US-Based Cleric: Suzan Fraser, Fox News, Nov. 30, 2017

Turkey Rejects "Moderate Islam": Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 30, 2017

Some Urgent Questions About Turkey: Editorial, New York Times, Oct. 13, 2017

Turkey’s Bluster Exposes its Delusions of Grandeur: Simon Waldman, Globe and Mail, Oct. 11, 2017

                                                           

 

 

TURKEY ISLAMIZES DENMARK WITH MORE MOSQUES

Judith Bergman

Gatestone Institute, Nov. 20, 2017

 

"Islam cannot be either 'moderate' or 'not moderate.' Islam can only be one thing," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on November 9. "Recently the concept of 'moderate Islam' has received attention. But the patent of this concept originated in the West… They are now trying to pump up this idea again. What they really want to do is weaken Islam…"

 

Erdogan is working on strengthening Islam in the West, something he does, among other ways, by building Turkish mosques in Western countries. It is hardly surprising that he does not want the West to "weaken Islam", but at the moment there seems little risk of that happening. The establishment of Turkish mosques in Western countries appears to be proceeding apace with very little opposition. Conversely, building Western churches in Turkey is inconceivable.

 

Erdogan clearly sees Turks living in the West as a spearhead of Islam. "Yes, integrate yourselves into German society but don't assimilate yourselves. No one has the right to deprive us of our culture and our identity", Erdogan told Turks in Germany as early as 2011. This year, he told Turks living in the West: "Go live in better neighborhoods. Drive the best cars. Live in the best houses. Make not three, but five children. Because you are the future of Europe. That will be the best response to the injustices against you."

 

Erdogan is evidently working to ensure, by continuously building new mosques and expanding old ones across Europe, that Muslims will indeed be the future of the continent. One Western country where Erdogan is ramping up Islam is Denmark. Two new Turkish mosques are about to open in the Danish cities of Roskilde and Holbæk; in the past year, two Turkish mosques opened in the cities of Fredericia and Aarhus. New Turkish mosques were opened in Ringsted and Hedehusene in 2013; and in Køge the existing mosque opened a cultural center. There are 27 Turkish mosques in Denmark; eight of them are expanding or wish to expand.

 

The new mosque in Roskilde, complete with minarets, is owned by Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet). The inclusion of minarets is due to second- and third-generation Turkish immigrants, who wanted the mosque to look like a "proper mosque". "It is a general trend in all of Europe that Diyanet is expanding physically with new mosques, and through [the mosques] also religiously, politically and culturally" said professor Samim Akgönül, of the university of Strasbourg. He has analyzed the Friday sermons that Diyanet sends to mosques all over Europe; his analyses show that the sermons are full of political and nationalistic messages favoring Erdogan's regime.

 

According to Tuncay Yilmaz, chairman of the board of Roskilde's Ayasofya Mosque, "Diyanet is not political, I can promise you that. Obviously they belong to the Turkish state, but they are independent of the government". That statement is false. Diyanet is an agency of the Turkish government — and an extremely active one. As Gatestone's Burak Bekdil has noted:

 

"In a briefing for a parliamentary commission, Diyanet admitted that it gathered intelligence via imams from 38 countries on the activities of suspected followers of the US-based preacher Fetullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accused of being the mastermind of the attempted coup on July 15… Diyanet said its imams gathered intelligence and prepared reports from Abkhazia, Germany, Albania, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Ukraine".

 

In Denmark, nonetheless, the newest Turkish-state mosque was welcomed with open arms. The mayor of Roskilde, Joy Mogensen, who knew that the Turkish government owned the mosque, participated in the ceremony of laying the foundation stone in February 2016. She claims that the very fact that she and the city's bishop were invited to the ceremony meant that there were "good people" in the mosque working for "integration" — otherwise they would not have allowed "a Christian woman like myself without a headscarf" to participate in their ceremony…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

                                                                       

Contents

ERDOĞAN’S KURDISH GAMBIT

Burak Bekdil

BESA, Nov. 15, 2017

 

In 2015, soon after the Turkish people went to the ballot box, the main Kurdish insurgency group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), ended a ceasefire it had declared two years prior. Just a few months earlier, there had been hope for peace. Even Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s fiercest critics praised him when he bravely launched a difficult process meant to finally bring peace to a country that had lost 40,000 people to ethnic strife. His government negotiated with the Kurds and granted them broader cultural and political rights, which his predecessors had not. The PKK would finally say farewell to arms.

 

Instead, it took up arms once again. Since July 2015, Turkish (and Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish) cities have again become battlegrounds in an almost century-old Turkish-Kurdish dispute. Kurdish militants have attacked security forces countless times since then, while the Turkish military has buried fallen soldiers and raided Kurdish guerrilla camps in northern Iraq as well as inside Turkey. Reports of casualties on both sides are a regularity most Turks now grudgingly ignore.

 

Erdoğan, an Islamist, had miscalculated again. He had thought he could solve the dispute through his usual “religious lens.” He would use Islam as the glue to keep Muslim Turks and Muslim Kurds united, because after all, why should they fight? They are all Sunni Muslims. Erdoğan believed Islam had to take a central role if a historic end to the conflict was to be achieved – one in which the Kurds would surrender their arms and live peacefully with their Turkish Muslim brothers. He wished, accordingly, to restructure Turkey along multi-ethnic lines, but with a greater role for Islam. But he relied too much on religion to resolve what is essentially an ethnic conflict. The experiment resulted in sprays of bombs, suicide attacks, bullets, rockets, and coffins.

 

The parliamentary elections that took place on June 7, 2015 marked a radical shift for Erdoğan from his usual religious nationalism to ethnic nationalism (both of which have always been part of his ideological policy calculus, to varying degrees). On that date, his Justice and Development Party (AKP), after having sought peace with the Kurds for the previous two years, lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since it came to power in November 2002. With 41% of the national vote (compared with 49.8% in the 2011 general elections), the AKP won eighteen fewer seats than were necessary to form a single-party government in Turkey’s 550-member parliament. More importantly, its seat tally fell widely short of the minimum number needed to rewrite the constitution in such a way as to introduce an executive presidential system that would give Erdoğan almost uncontrolled powers.

 

Amid a fresh wave of Kurdish violence, Erdoğan gambled on new elections, calculating that the uptick in instability and insecurity would push frightened voters towards single-party rule. His gamble paid off. The elections of November 1, 2015 gave the AKP a comfortable victory and a mandate to rule until 2019. His new ethnic nationalist and anti-Kurdish policy won hearts and minds among Turkish nationalists. They then proceeded, two years later, to support constitutional amendments that paved the way for Erdoğan’s ultimate goal of one-man rule.

 

Between June 7 and November 1, 2015, Erdoğan’s AKP increased its votes by nearly nine percentage points. More than four points of that rise came from votes from its nationalistic rival, the Nationalist Movement Party, which shares more or less the same voter base with the AKP. Even some Kurds, weary of renewed violence, shifted from a pro-Kurdish party (for which they had voted on June 7) to the AKP (on November 1).

 

Since 2015, Erdoğan has been enjoying the fruits of his newfound ethnic nationalism. He has ordered the security forces to fight the PKK “till they finish it off,” and has pursued hawkish politics via the judiciary he controls. Several leading Kurdish MPs are now in jail on terrorism charges. More than 1,400 academics who signed a petition “for peace” have been prosecuted and/or dismissed from their universities. Talking about Kurdish rights is now almost tantamount to bombing a square in Istanbul.

 

Across Turkey’s Syrian and Iraqi borders, Erdoğan has also recalibrated his policy in line with a reprioritizing of security threats. A Kurdish belt along Turkey’s southern borders is now perceived as the top threat – worse than ISIS, or Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s pro-Shiite (and therefore anti-Sunni, anti-Turkish, and anti- Erdoğan) regime in Damascus, or the growing Shiite military presence in northern Iraq (Hashd al-Shaab). In the hope of countering what he considers the worst of all possible threats, Erdoğan is now a reluctant partner in the Russia-Iran-dominated Shiite theater in northern Iraq and Syria.

 

In Erdoğan’s view, the emergence of a near-state Kurdish actor in Mesopotamia would be an existential threat to Turkey. Hence his radical retaliation against the Iraqi Kurdish referendum of September 25, along with his reluctant alliance with Tehran and Tehran-controlled Baghdad. But there is more for Erdoğan to calculate. When he devises his policy calculus towards the Iraqi and Syrian Kurds, he must also keep an eye on the Turkish Kurds, whose votes he will need in 2019 when Turks go once again to the ballot box. Election 2019 will be the most historic race in Erdoğan’s political career – an election he knows he cannot afford to lose. He needs every single vote, from Islamists to liberals to nationalists to Kurds. And that makes things tricky…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                

 

 

Contents

IN ERDOGAN’S POST-COUP TURKEY, ANTI-SEMITISM IS ON THE RISE

Sophia Pandya

Tablet, Oct. 19, 2017

 

On a visit to Turkey in 2011, I visited the Belek “Garden of Tolerance,” where a diminutive mosque, church, and synagogue are housed close together in an emerald-green park, apparently a testament of Turkey’s acceptance of other faiths…At the garden’s inauguration ceremony in 2004, then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised that he would “remove any remaining obstacles to religious freedom in Turkey,” and stated that Turkey would be “the guarantor of peace and brotherhood in its region.” Unfortunately, that was a blatant lie.

 

According to the recently published US State Department’s Turkey 2016 International Religious Freedom Report, Turkey, along with China and Saudi Arabia, represses its religious minorities. Since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, the Turkish-Jewish community has been grappling with an uptick in anti-Semitic acts. This reflects populist (now-president) Erdoğan’s power-hungry pivot towards fascism and nativism, which involves unifying Turks through identifying scapegoats (Jews, Kurds, Alevis, and the Gülen Movement) to blame for the country’s problems. While he immediately blamed the Sufi-inspired Gülen Movement for the plot, social media users and journalists also pointed at other religious minorities, including the Ecumenical Patriarch, and, unsurprisingly, the Jews. In fact, the tension has caused many Jews to leave Turkey for Israel or elsewhere, or at least to apply for foreign passports in case a quick departure becomes necessary.

 

This is tragic, given the long and stable presence of Jews in the Anatolian region, which served as a haven for small confessional groups such as the Jews, who were granted refuge there by Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II during the 1492 Spanish Inquisition. During the Ottoman period, Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Bosnians and other minority communities, lived under Ottoman rule as part of the millet system, in which non-Muslim minority groups had separate legal courts and thus were able to govern themselves. During WWII, Turkey served as a safe transit and refuge for Jews fleeing the Holocaust, saving lives. Given that the global Jewish population is estimated (as of 2016) at around 14 and a half million, it is significant that approximately 18,500 Jews still reside in Turkey today, especially since Turkey is a Muslim majority country. Most live in Istanbul, and are Sephardic Jews, whose Ladino-speaking ancestors were allowed refuge during the Spanish expulsion, although a few are Ashkenazi.

 

Yet anthropologist Marcy Brink-Danan refers to the prevailing myth—that Jews have always lived free of discrimination in the Anatolian region—as the “tolerance trope.” During the Ottoman period Jews were respected, along with Christians, as “people of the book,” or ehl ul kitab in Turkish. However, this did not grant them equality to the Muslim majority, but rather religious accommodation, as “different yet protected” people. While the treatment of non-Muslim citizens was better than that of minorities elsewhere, it was not equitable. While Muslim men received the title of “Sir” or “Pasha,” (efendi or paşa), non-Muslim men were referred to simply by their trade. In 1942, Jews and other non-Muslims in Turkey were forced to pay a “wealth tax,” which functioned to financially weaken and thus marginalize them.

 

Despite celebrating (in 1992) 500 years of refuge in Turkey from the Spanish Inquisition, the Jewish community has continually faced degrees of discrimination in Turkey, also due largely to the legacy of ethnocentric and nationalistic Kemalist policies. The Republic of Turkey (established in 1923) was constructed on ideas of ethnic Turkish superiority. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the nation’s founder, used social engineering strategies towards unifying the state, which emphasized its homogeneity and “pure” Turkishness. This included the systematic violation of minority rights, expulsions, population exchanges, and the suppression of language, minority religions, and non-Turkish ethnic identities. In 1930, Atatürk’s Justice Minister Mahmut Esat Bozkurt (1882-1943), stated, “Those who are not of pure Turkish stock can have only one right in this country, the right to be servants or slaves.”

 

Indeed, even today many Jewish institutions in Istanbul are unmarked and protected by barbed wire and armed guards. When Turkish Jews wear or display Judaica they often do so privately, i.e., wearing a Star of David inside clothing, or hanging mezuzot inside their homes. Their indigenousness and loyalty to Turkey are challenged, and they are increasingly vulnerable to anti-Semitic attacks. For example, in 1986, twenty-two Jews were killed by Palestinians at Neve Shalom (ironically, this translates from Hebrew to “oasis of peace”), the largest synagogue in Istanbul. Subsequent attacks on synagogues include the 1992 Quincentennial anniversary attack, carried out by Hezbollah, which again took place at Neve Shalom (but with no casualties). In 2003, two car bombs exploded, one outside of Neve Shalom while approximately 400 people were inside, and the other at the back of Beit Israel Synagogue, while filled with 300 people. The blasts killed at least 20, and injured around 300 others. As recent as April of 2013, Turkish police foiled plots by al-Qaeda to bomb a synagogue in Istanbul’s Balat district. According to a 2014 poll carried out by the Anti-Defamation League, as much as seventy percent of Turkish citizens hold anti-Semitic attitudes towards Jews.

 

After July 15, the source of new anti-Semitic attacks does not emanate externally (i.e. Hezbollah) but from ordinary Turks, many of whom, newly emboldened to transcend “holding an attitude,” have loudly engaged in fomenting a toxic and dangerous environment for ethnic and religious minorities. The Turkey 2016 International Religious Freedom Report cites numerous instances of anti-Semitic discourse, including threats of violence, in social media and even in government-friendly media. The Neve Shalom Synagogue was again attacked by ultranationalists on July 22, 2017. Ironically, when Erdoğan attributed the putsch attempt to Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen and the Gülen Movement he inspired, this only made things worse for Jews. Some anti- Gülen forces have labelled the Muslim cleric a “crypto-Jew,” whose mother is a Jew (she is not). In December, 2016, a columnist from the government-backed Sabah, a prominent newspaper, wrote that Gülen “quickly smells of money and power. Because he is a Jew.” According to former parliamentarian Aykan Erdimir, the situation for religious minorities has “gone from bad to worse within the last year…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    

 

Contents

PORTENTS OF QUAGMIRES IN SYRIA

Caroline B. Glick

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017

 

Is the war in Syria won? The images broadcast this week from Sochi, the Russian vacation town on the Black Sea coast, were pictures of victory – for the bad guys. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stood beside his Syrian client, President Bashar Assad, who licked Putin’s boots, as well he should have. Assad owes his regime and his life to Putin.

 

The next day, Putin was joined by his allies – the presidents of Iran and Turkey. Hassan Rouhani and Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the pilgrimage to Sochi to stand at Putin’s side and declare victory in the war and dedicate themselves to the cause of “peace and reconciliation” in post-war Syria. To achieve their lofty goals of peace and reconciliation, Putin and his partners declared that, in the near future, Sochi will be the sight of a peace conference where all the relevant factions in Syria will be represented. The parley they described is set to take place parallel to – and one assumes at the expense of – the sixth round of Syrian reconciliation talks scheduled to take place under UN auspices next week in Geneva.

 

Several Israeli commentators viewed Putin’s Sochi talks precisely as he wished them to. Ehud Yaari, Reshet/Keshet’s veteran Arab affairs commentator declared: The US is finished in the Middle East! The capital of the Middle East is now located in Sochi, he proclaimed in back-to-back newscasts. In certain respects, Yaari is right. Things are looking good these days for the axis of evil. Wednesday was a particularly good day for Iran. Not only did Rouhani do his victory dance with Putin and Erdogan, but as they were showering themselves in triumph in Sochi, Iran’s Lebanese puppet, Saad Hariri, was returning to Beirut after his misadventures in Saudi Arabia. As expected, Hariri canceled the resignation he announced dramatically a week-and-a-half earlier in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, after accusing Iran and its Hezbollah army of controlling Lebanon. On the surface, Hariri’s return is a boon for Iran. If he had remained in Saudi Arabia, Iran would have lost its fig leaf. Hariri’s duty as prime minister is to snow the West into believing that his government and the Lebanese Armed Forces are a counterweight to Iran and Hezbollah, even though they are controlled by Iran and Hezbollah…

 

As for Erdogan, he arrived in Sochi a spent force. Erdogan is perhaps the biggest loser of the war in Syria. He was the principal sponsor of the anti-Assad opposition that morphed into Islamic State. Erdogan’s cooperation owes mainly to his lack of better options. The US stopped supporting his campaign in Syria two years ago. Since the failed military coup against him in July 2016, Erdogan has become ever more hostile to the US. This hostility informed his recently concluded deal with Putin to purchase Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft system. The S-400 threatens every fighter craft in the US arsenal. US officials have responded to his move by seriously considering the possibility of canceling the sale of 100 F-35s to Turkey.

 

Turkish expulsion from NATO – once a taboo subject – is now regularly discussed in Washington policy circles. The main reason Erdogan has sided with Putin in Syria is because the US has sided with Syria’s Kurds. Erdogan views the Syrian Kurds as a threat to the stability of his regime. He expects Putin to support his determination to destroy Kurdish autonomy in Syria. If Putin fails to meet his expectations, Erdogan may abandon his new friends. Or he may stick with them and just become ever more dependent on Putin. Whatever the case, he won’t be empowered by his membership in Pax Putin…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

 

Contents

On Topic Links

 

Turkey: Trial of Banker is Plot Schemed by US-Based Cleric: Suzan Fraser, Fox News, Nov. 30, 2017—A senior Turkish government minister on Thursday branded the New York trial of a Turkish bank executive on charges of violation of sanctions against Iran as a new attempt by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen to harm Turkey's government.

Turkey Rejects "Moderate Islam": Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 30, 2017—At a conference on women's entrepreneurship, held in Ankara on November 9 and hosted by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rejected the concept of "moderate Islam".

Some Urgent Questions About Turkey: Editorial, New York Times, Oct. 13, 2017—Turkey has been a vital ally of the United States since World War II. It fields NATO’s second-largest army, after America’s, and anchors the alliance’s eastern flank. It hosts military bases that are central to American operations in the Middle East, including Incirlik, where some 50 tactical nuclear weapons are stationed, and serves as a bridge between the Muslim world and the West. After Recep Tayyip Erdogan took office in 2003 and began reforms, Turkey seemed on course to becoming a model Muslim democracy.

Turkey’s Bluster Exposes its Delusions of Grandeur: Simon Waldman, Globe and Mail, Oct. 11, 2017—Turkey is embroiled in yet another spat with a western country. This time, Turkey arrested a U.S. consular employee for alleged links to the Gulen movement, followers of Turkish Islamic preacher and U.S. resident Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara claims is behind last July's attempted coup. Calling the move arbitrary, the United States suspended non-immigrant visa applications, and Turkey reciprocated.

EGYPT STRUGGLES TO CURB ISLAMIST TERROR AND ATTACKS ON RELIGIOUS MINORITIES

Mosque Attack is a Testament to Egypt’s Impotence in Sinai: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Nov. 25, 2017— The terror attack Friday at a mosque in the small northern Sinai town of Bir al-Abd wasn’t especially sophisticated.

Why Does ISIS Kill Muslims?: Raymond Ibrahim, FrontPage Magazine, Nov. 27, 2017— On Friday, November 24, some 30 gunmen carrying the Islamic State flag bombed and stormed a Sufi mosque in Egypt's North Sinai, about 125 miles northeast of Cairo.

Egypt's Peace Interest: Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom, Nov. 28, 2017— Forty years after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Israel, and after a long hiatus due to the "Arab Spring" and ensuing "Islamic winter" that hit the country, Egypt has returned to playing a leading role in the region.

For How Long Will the Peace Treaty with Egypt be Robust?: Efraim Inbar, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 27, 2017— Israel is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the historic visit of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem, that led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.

 

On Topic Links

 

Islam and Freedom of Religion: Philip Carl Salzman, Frontier Centre, Oct. 25, 2017

In Egypt, Furious Retaliation but Failing Strategy in Sinai: Declan Walsh and David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, Nov. 25, 2017

Egypt-Israel Cooperation Likely to Increase after Sinai Massacre: United With Israel, Nov. 27, 2017

Remembering Anwar Sadat’s Legacy: Yehuda Yaakov, Boston Globe, Nov. 19, 2017

                                                           

 

 

 

MOSQUE ATTACK IS A

TESTAMENT TO EGYPT’S IMPOTENCE IN SINAI      

Avi Issacharoff

Times of Israel, Nov. 25, 2017

 

The terror attack Friday at a mosque in the small northern Sinai town of Bir al-Abd wasn’t especially sophisticated. Rather than advanced military skills, the gruesome scene was testimony only to the moral blindness and cruelty of the perpetrators. First, they set off two bombs inside the mosque, which was thronged with Friday worshipers. Then, when the survivors streamed toward the exits, terrorists waited outside in all-terrain vehicles, picking off those who emerged.

 

In that fashion, some 305 people were killed and 128 wounded. Based on assessments on social media, before the attack, Bir al-Abd was a town of some 1,500 souls, meaning that about one in three of its residents was a casualty. As of Saturday evening, there had been no claim of responsibility for the attack, but the immediate suspicion falls on Islamic State’s Sinai Province, the group formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. Its leader, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Osama (his real name is Muhammad al-Isawi), took over after his predecessor, Abu Du’a al-Ansari, was assassinated in August 2016.

 

The pretext for Friday’s attack was likely the mosque’s affiliation with Islam’s mystical Sufi stream. It is known as the birthplace of Sheikh Eid al-Jariri, considered the founder of Sufism in the Sinai. The Islamic State, like al-Qaeda and other radical Sunni organizations before it, has denounced the Sufis. But for IS it isn’t merely about religious differences: In the past two years, the Sufis have worked in tight cooperation with Egyptian security forces in the peninsula in an effort to counter the Islamic State and curb recruitment among the local Beduin.

 

Recent months have also seen a clan war that has pitted several tribes (notably Tarabin) against the Islamic State. The spate of mutual killings, which has included beheadings (not only on the part of IS), may also be connected to Friday’s attack. Last May, tribesmen executed eight Sinai Province operatives in retribution for a car bomb the terror group detonated near a Tarabin encampment. Among the triggers for those incidents was Sinai Province’s effort to take control of smuggling along the border with the Gaza Strip and to stem the flow of cigarettes, which they forbid, into the Sinai. Those restrictions threatened the livelihood of the Tarabins, who responded with violence.

 

But beyond IS cruelty and inter-tribal strife, what this attack drives home – and not for the first time – is the extent of the difficulty facing the Egyptian army in its efforts to counter the Islamist insurgency in the Sinai. Indeed, the frequency of attacks in mainland Egypt has gone down of late, and even within the Sinai the military has been able to operate relatively unmolested. Yet, Egyptian intelligence has come up against obvious difficulties in its effort to gain a real foothold in the peninsula, including amassing sufficient human and technological assets to clamp down on terrorism there.

 

In the immediate aftermath of Friday’s attack, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi declared a new military onslaught against the perpetrators. Hours later, reports emerged of airstrikes against terror targets and dozens of dead among the insurgents. The question is what prevented Egypt from taking such action before the attack, and why previous efforts in the wake of earlier attacks did not yield significant gains.

 

Egypt has long refrained from embarking on an extensive operation, in the vein of the IDF’s Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank and Gaza in 2002. Perhaps the cost of such a campaign would be prohibitive, or maybe it’s that as long as terrorism is more-or-less confined to the northeastern Sinai, Cairo doesn’t care as much. Eventually, though, those same terrorists who decimated the small town of Bir al-Abd will target vacationers on the sunny shores of the Red Sea, and then in Cairo itself.

 

                                                                       

Contents

WHY DOES ISIS KILL MUSLIMS?

Raymond Ibrahim

FrontPage Magazine, Nov. 27, 2017

 

On Friday, November 24, some 30 gunmen carrying the Islamic State flag bombed and stormed a Sufi mosque in Egypt's North Sinai, about 125 miles northeast of Cairo. They managed to massacre at least 305 people, 27 of whom were children. "The scene was horrific," said Ibrahim Sheteewi, an eyewitness. "The bodies were scattered on the ground outside the mosque. I hope God punishes them for this."

 

Not only is this considered the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt, but one of the strangest as well. As the NYT explains, "The scale and ruthlessness of the assault, in an area racked by an Islamist insurgency, sent shock waves across the nation — not just for the number of deaths but also for the choice of target. Attacks on mosques are rare in Egypt, where the Islamic State has targeted Coptic Christian churches and pilgrims but avoided Muslim places of worship." Indeed, whereas the bombing and burning of churches and the slaughter of Christians in Egypt at the hands of, not just ISIS, but Muslim mobs and murderers, is hardly an uncommon occurrence in Egypt, attacks on mosques in the name of jihad naturally are.

 

ISIS does not view its Muslim victims as true Muslims. One Muslim cleric from the region who requested anonymity best voiced the general view: "I can't believe they attacked a mosque." In the West, this selfsame shock of Muslim on Muslim terrorism is used to support the politically correct mantra that terror groups such as the Islamic State truly have nothing to do with Islam—otherwise they would not bomb mosques and kill fellow worshippers of Allah. Because the attack occurred late Friday—and, as of this writing, it is only Sunday, meaning still the weekend—capitalizing on this tragedy as a way to distance Islam from terrorism has not yet begun in the West; but, if precedent is any indicator, it soon will.

 

For example, last year during the closing days of Ramadan, a spate of terror attacks occurred in Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia—all Muslim nations; these were followed by a media outpouring of "told you Islam wasn't responsible for terrorism," or, to quote Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, "Anyone who believes in religion cannot do such act. They [Islamic State] do not have any religion, their only religion is terrorism." Speaking after the San Bernardino terror attack that left 14 dead, Barrack Obama agreed: "ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death… Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim." After the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, which left 130 people dead, the UK's Independent published an article titled, "Paris attacks: Isis responsible for more Muslim deaths than western victims." And the Daily Beast argued that, "Before the Paris horror, ISIS was killing Muslims on a daily basis. We Muslims despise these crazy people more than anyone else does…. But the number one victim of this barbaric terror group is Muslims. That's undisputed."

 

Along with distancing Islam from violence—real Muslims are not supposed to kill other Muslims in the name of jihad—this argument further clouds the issue of who is the true victim of Islamic terrorism: Why talk about the Muslim slaughter of non-Muslims—whether Western people, Israelis, or Christian minorities under Islam—when it is Muslims who are the primary victims most deserving of sympathy?

 

Killing 'fellow Muslims' doesn't make ISIS un-Islamic. The problem with this argument, however, is that the Islamic State does not view its victims as Muslims. Indeed, mainstream Sunni Islam—the world's dominant strand of Islam which 90 percent of the world's Muslims, including ISIS, adhere to—views all non-Sunnis as false Muslims; at best, they are heretics who need to submit to the "true Islam." This is largely how Sunnis view Shias and vice versa—hence their perennial war. While Western talking heads tend to lump them all together as "Muslims"—thus reaching the erroneous conclusion that ISIS is un-Islamic because it kills "fellow Muslims"—each group views the other as enemies.

 

A saying attributed to the Muslim prophet Muhammad even validates this: "This umma [nation] of mine will split into seventy-three sects; one will be in paradise and seventy-two will be in hell." When asked which sect was the true one, the prophet replied, "al–jama'a," that is, the group which most literally follows the example or "sunna" of Muhammad.

 

Overall, then, when Sunni jihadis slaughter Shias—or Sufis, Druze, and Baha'i—they do so under the exact same logic as when they slaughter Christian minorities, or European, American, and Israeli citizens: all are infidels who must either embrace the true faith, be subjugated, or die.

 

Concerning Sufis in particular, last January an ISIS commander situated in Sinai "outlined the group's hatred for Sufis and their practices, including the veneration of tombs, the sacrificial slaughter of animals and what he termed 'sorcery and soothsaying.'" The Islamic State has further referred to Sufism as a "disease" that needs to be "eradicated." Accordingly, a year ago, ISIS beheaded Sulayman Abu Hiraz, a Sufi cleric reportedly over 100 years old, on the charge of sorcery.

 

The argument that ISIS and other jihadi organizations kill fellow Muslims proves nothing. Muslims have been slaughtering Muslims on the accusation that they are "not Islamic enough" or the wrong "kinds" of Muslims from the start: So what can the open non-Muslim—such as the Western infidel—expect? Indeed, if anything, that ISIS kills other "Muslims" only further validates the supremacist and intolerant aspects of Sunnism, which is hardly limited to ISIS. Just look to our good "friend and ally," Saudi Arabia, the official religion of which is Sunni Islam, and witness the subhuman treatment Shia minorities experience. In the end, it's just jihad and more jihad, for all and sundry.

 

 

 

Contents

EGYPT'S PEACE INTEREST

Prof. Eyal Zisser

Israel Hayom, Nov. 28, 2017

 

Forty years after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Israel, and after a long hiatus due to the "Arab Spring" and ensuing "Islamic winter" that hit the country, Egypt has returned to playing a leading role in the region. More specifically, in the Israeli context, Egypt is also an integral part of U.S. efforts to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

 

For the most part, the Arab world has grown weary of the Palestinian issue. Most Arab countries are preoccupied with their own troubles, with problems that are more urgent and more important to them than helping the Palestinians resolve their internal disputes or the conflict with Israel.

 

For Egypt, however, this matter is neither distant nor irrelevant. From its perspective, pushing the peace process forward could help Egypt cope with a bevy of serious problems knocking on its doorstep. First, the threat of jihadist terrorism, which has hit the country repeatedly and just last week claimed the lives of hundreds of Sinai residents in a horrific slaughter at a mosque. In Egypt's view, Islamic State and its "Sinai branch" are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt proper. For Cairo, Islamic State is a terrorist organization that perpetrates attacks in the distant Sinai Peninsula, while the Muslim Brotherhood is a potentially lethal cancer eating at the heart of the Egyptian body.

 

Hamas is a sister movement of the Muslim Brotherhood and in the past has aided Islamic State in Sinai. Like Israel, Egypt recognizes reality and understands that Hamas will not suddenly disappear from the face of the earth. Egypt hopes that a peace process, preceded by an inter-Palestinian reconciliation process, would "contain" the Hamas threat and perhaps, in the long term, even pave the way for the Palestinian Authority to oust the terrorist organization from Gaza. The Egyptians are not naive, but their national interest is to lower the flames, and any progress or even discussion of peace can help them.

 

In contrast to his predecessor Mohammed Morsi, Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi is determined to improve the Egyptian economy, a requirement for ensuring the country's long-term stability. But for this to happen, Sissi needs an atmosphere of peace. Even more importantly, he needs generous monetary aid from the United States – Russia, after all, can provide weapons, not dollars.

 

Egypt used to be leader of the Arab world. Now, though, it looks on longingly as Iran and Turkey try to claim the leadership crown for themselves. Egypt's return to the helm of the Arab world and Middle East depends on how it fares against Iran and Turkey, unlike in the past when it largely depended on conflict with Israel. This too, requires a diplomatic process.

 

These are all good reasons for Egypt to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians; it certainly will not be upset if a peace agreement is reached.

 

                                                                       

 

Contents

FOR HOW LONG WILL THE PEACE TREATY WITH EGYPT BE ROBUST?

Efraim Inbar

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 27, 2017

 

Israel is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the historic visit of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem that led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. The move by Egypt, the largest and strongest Arab state, changed the dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

 

Sadat violated the Arab taboo against good neighborly relations with the Jewish state and opened the way for additional peace agreements. The defection of Egypt from the Arab military coalition eliminated the option of a two-front conventional war against Israel and saved the Israeli taxpayer billions of dollars. The heavy price paid by Israel to Egypt was total withdrawal from the Sinai and removal of settlements. But, in retrospect, it worked out well, turning Israel into “the land had peace for forty years.”

 

The peace treaty withstood many difficult tests: Israel’s strike on the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1982, the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the 1987 Palestinian uprising, Israeli measures against the Palestinian terrorism campaign since 2000 and the Israel-Gaza wars. Even the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt (2012-13) did not cancel the peace treaty.

 

Unfortunately, Israeli expectations for normal inter-state and people-to-people interactions were not realized. The rooted cultural and religious barriers to having good relations with the Jewish state have been too difficult to overcome. In the Arab world, Israel is mostly seen as an alien body. For Egypt, this has not changed after 40 years of formal peace. In the absence of drastic change in the Arab educational systems, these perceptions of Jews and their state will continue. Hopes for peaceful relations with Arab countries – such as between the US and Canada – are fanciful dreams. This insight should be taken into consideration when calculating the Israeli price for Arab peace offers.

 

Moreover, the robustness of the peace treaty is not self-evident. History teaches us that most wars break out in violation of a peace treaty. The survival of the peace treaty seems threatened by several developments. We have to remember that the change in Egypt’s position toward Israel was a result of Cairo gradually preferring the US to the Soviet Union.

 

Egypt realized that the US had greater leverage on Israel in its attempt to gain back the Sinai. However, its pro-American orientation is not a constant. Nowadays, the US seems to have become a less desirable ally. Its international standing has deteriorated and its Middle East policy, under presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, favors disengagement rather than involvement.

 

At the same time, Russia has become more influential in the region. Egypt seems to sense the change and now buys Russian weapons. It also purchased two Russian nuclear reactors, which has created a long-term dependency upon Moscow. A change in Egypt’s foreign policy orientation also affects its relations with Israel. The region, whose character is changing due to the ascendance of Iran, also provides reasons to worry.

 

States in the region are aware of a projected American weakness and are left with only two choices when facing an Iran that cooperates with Russia. They can form an alliance to curb Iranian influence (the choice of Saudi Arabia and most of the Gulf States) or get closer to Iran (the choice of Turkey and Qatar). Egypt is usually seen as part of the Sunni moderate camp that fears greater Iranian clout. Egypt is much more dependent upon financial support from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Nevertheless, Egypt supported Bashar Assad in Syria – an Iranian ally. If the Gulf region falls under Iranian influence, Cairo might have to adopt a different posture and also look for support in Tehran. This might put an end to the peace treaty with Israel.

 

Finally, the large growth of the Egyptian military and its modernization is a source of concern. The growth of the Egyptian air force, navy and land forces remains a mystery, particularly with no enemy on Egyptian borders in sight. The investments in logistics infrastructure from Cairo eastwards and the building of tunnels under the Suez Canal seem to have no reasonable civilian rationale. Moreover, the demilitarization of Sinai, the most important stabilizing element in the peace treaty, has been eroded, as Israel agreed to the infusion of Egyptian units into the Sinai to fight the radical Islamic insurgency.

 

While an Egyptian-Israeli military confrontation is unlikely, we see the emergence of conditions that make an Egyptian attack easier. Everything must be done by Jerusalem to preserve the peace treaty with Egypt, but Israel should still prepare itself for worst-case scenarios.

 

 

Contents

On Topic Links

 

Islam and Freedom of Religion: Philip Carl Salzman, Frontier Centre, Oct. 25, 2017—Islam is difficult for Westerners to understand because we view it through our own cultural categories. Our categories have been formed by the post-Enlightenment and post-industrial revolution in the West. Modern Western society has been organized on the basis of occupational specialization and division of labour. This is why we see our societies divided among distinct spheres of activity: familial, economic, political, cultural, and religious.

In Egypt, Furious Retaliation but Failing Strategy in Sinai: Declan Walsh and David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, Nov. 25, 2017—After militants massacred 305 people at a packed mosque on Friday in a stunning assault on a sacred place, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi responded as he knows best.

Egypt-Israel Cooperation Likely to Increase after Sinai Massacre: Algemeiner, Nov. 27, 2017—After terrorists killed more than 300 people during prayers at a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Friday, experts say that weaknesses in the Arab country’s counter-terrorism operations will likely lead to increased Israeli-Egyptian security cooperation.

Remembering Anwar Sadat’s Legacy: Yehuda Yaakov, Boston Globe, Nov. 19, 2017—Forty years ago — on Nov. 19, 1977 — Egyptian President Anwar Sadat embarked on a groundbreaking visit to Jerusalem. The 1979 peace treaty he later signed with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin set in motion the unmistakable dynamic of the Israeli-Arab rapprochement we witness today.

GERMANS VOTE AMID MASS MUSLIM MIGRATION, DECLINE OF CHRISTIANITY, AND GROWING ANTISEMITISM & TERRORISM

Europe’s Got it Way Worse Than Trump’s America: Douglas Murray, New York Post, Sept. 16, 2017— If you think America feels slightly unstable at present, relax. At least you’re not European.

Germany: The Rise of Islam: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 12, 2017— Jan Fleischhauer, a journalist of the weekly magazine Der Spiegel, coined an expression to define the free fall of German Christianity: Selbstsäkularisierung ("self-secularization").

Europe’s Destructive Holocaust Shame: Richard Landes, Tablet, Sept. 5, 2017— When I first heard about Catherine Nay—a prominent, mainstream, French journalist…

Open Letter to the Incoming EU Ambassador to Israel: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 13, 2017— Dear Ambassador Emanuele Giaufret, Welcome to Israel.

 

On Topic Links

 

Europe Is Killing Itself (Video): Pat Condell, Youtube, Sept. 7, 2017

Merkel Can't Lead Germany, Much Less the Free World: Alex Berezow, National Interest, Sept. 15, 2017

Illegal Migrant Problem? Greece Offers a Solution: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Sept. 12, 2017

Ending the War in Syria Could Be a Disaster for Europe: Mordechai Kedar, Algemeiner, Sept. 18, 2017

 

 

EUROPE’S GOT IT WAY WORSE THAN TRUMP’S AMERICA

Douglas Murray

New York Post, Sept. 16, 2017

 

If you think America feels slightly unstable at present, relax. At least you’re not European. Currently, Britain is still going through the fallout from last year’s Brexit vote. A year after that shock result, Prime Minister Theresa May put herself before the public to strengthen her hand in negotiations with Brussels. In their wisdom, the British public responded by clobbering May in a general election that stripped her party of its majority in Parliament.

 

Meanwhile, France has just seen the first presidential election in which neither of the two main parties even made it through to the final round. Instead, the country chose young leader Emmanuel Macron, who had to form his party after being elected. All this is against the usual backdrop of a eurozone staggering from crisis to crisis and a political elite that celebrates when the far-right Austrian Freedom Party “only” receives 46 percent of the votes for the presidency.

 

In the midst of all this chaos, one country and one woman appear to be standing strong: Germany and its chancellor, Angela Merkel. On Sept. 24, the Germans will go to the polls. These are the first federal elections since 2013, and quite a lot has happened since then.

 

The minds of German voters will be on many things. They will be thinking about how to stabilize the eurozone, the 19 EU countries that have adopted the euro as their common currency. They will also be wondering how to stop other countries from following Britain in exiting the European Union. During that process, Berlin (along with Paris) will have to pull off the double trick of persuading people that the building is not on fire and reassuring them that the fire doors are in any case jammed. But one more thing also hovers over these elections.

 

It is now seven years since Chancellor Merkel told her country in a speech in Potsdam that “multiculturalism has utterly failed.” It had been a mistake, she admitted, to think that the guest workers invited into the country since WWII would leave. They did not leave. They stayed. Since then, thanks to growing immigration from the developing world, parallel societies have formed in Germany. All of which was a damning, unprecedented admission by the chancellor. But then in 2015 she did something even more unprecedented and with far more damning consequences. Having admitted that mass immigration into her country had been a disaster when it had been at a relative low point, she opened up her country’s borders to bring in a historically unprecedented number of migrants.

 

During 2015 up to 1.5 million economic migrants and asylum seekers from Africa, the Middle East and Far East entered Germany, adding an extra 2 percent to the country’s population in just one year. Merkel’s actions spurred a crisis across the entire continent. In the days and months following her unilateral decision, she and her colleagues attempted to bully other European leaders to take on a share of the problem she had presented them with. Some supported her. Others bailed.

 

As I argue in my latest book “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam,” there are specific local and historical reasons why the German chancellor did what she did in August 2015. But she also exacerbated an immigration challenge which threatens the whole future of our continent. Any culture would find it hard to accommodate the rapid movement of so many people. But for it to happen at the same time that the European continent is suffering from such a weight of historical guilt, fatigue and lack of self-belief makes it all but impossible.

 

The situation Merkel identified as a failure in 2010 was turned into a disaster by that same leader during her subsequent term in office. Naturally, like other leaders across Europe, the German government occasionally recognizes it must do something about this. Its main answer is to occasionally talk tough about the problem. Like the politicians of Sweden and other countries, it even occasionally suggests that it will start deporting the hundreds of thousands of illegitimate asylum seekers who (by the EU’s own figures) should never have entered Europe in 2015. But the words “horse,” “gate,” “shut” and “bolted” are on everybody’s minds, even when not on their lips.

 

In regional elections last September, Merkel’s party was severely punished by the electorate who elected the anti-immigration Alternative for Deutschland party to the country’s regional assemblies. Moreover, the AfD was just three years old when it beat Merkel’s own party into third place in her own constituency. The chancellor subsequently gave what was reported as an “apology,” saying that Germany should have been better prepared for the 2015 crisis. In reality, this was no apology at all.

 

With the rise of politicians like Geert Wilders in Holland and Marine le Pen in France, there were those who predicted a drubbing for Merkel this year. But both Wilders and Le Pen under-performed in their national polls earlier this year. The AfD is also struggling to break through, and it appears that the German people already expressed their anger last year. This year they look set to maintain the status quo. A recent poll showed most Germans (63 percent) now to be satisfied with the job the Chancellor is doing. It was Hilaire Belloc who famously gave the advice: “Always keep ahold of nurse/For fear of finding something worse.” The German people — surveying the continent around them — are most likely to hold on. The realization that nurse is part of the problem may have to wait for another day.

                                                                                   

 

Contents

GERMANY: THE RISE OF ISLAM

Giulio Meotti

Gatestone Institute, Sept. 12, 2017

 

Jan Fleischhauer, a journalist of the weekly magazine Der Spiegel, coined an expression to define the free fall of German Christianity: Selbstsäkularisierung ("self-secularization"). It is the Church being liquidated? The German Bishops' Conference just released the data on the decline of Catholicism in Germany for 2016. In one year, the German Catholic Church lost 162,093 faithful and closed 537 parishes. From 1996 to today, one quarter of the Catholic communities have been closed. "The faith has evaporated," said Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, the Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1982 to 2007.

 

Christians in Germany will become a minority in the next 20 years, according to Die Welt. Around 60% of the country is currently Christian, with 24 million Catholics and 23 million Protestants. But that number is falling by 500,000 a year through deaths alone. "Those statistics are embodied by what visitors observe in German cities on Sunday: largely empty churches", the Catholic theologian George Weigel wrote.

 

German Protestantism is facing the same crisis. Die Zeit revealed that in 2016, 340,000 Protestants passed away, and there were just 180,000 baptisms. Some 190,000 people left the church and just 25,000 people chose to join it. In his most famous lecture, Pope Benedict XVI famously said that the West, including those who do not accept transcendence, should act "etsi Deus daretur", as if God does exist. The old-fashioned Christian society will never come back, but it is critical for even a secular West to stay based on — and profoundly inspired by — its Judeo-Christian values.

 

The next stage seems to be a German cultural and religious landscape dominated by atheists and two minority religions: Islam and Christianity. If the secularists do not take Western Christian heritage — or at least the Judeo-Christian values from which it sprang — more seriously and start defending it, both atheists and Christians will soon be dominated by the rising political and supremacist religion, Islam. A prominent Muslim fundamentalist organization in Germany, banned by the federal government, calls itself "The True Religion" ("Die Wahre Religion"). They apparently think they are overtaking Judeo-Christian values.

 

There are dramatic instances of Christian decay in Germany. In the diocese of Trier, for example, site of the oldest Catholic community and the birthplace of Karl Marx, the number of parishes will drop from 903 to 35 by 2020, according to bishop Stephan Ackermann — a decrease of more than 90%. In the diocese of Essen, more than 200 parishes have been closed; their number has fallen from 259 to 43. A demographic decline is also involved in this religious crisis. "Christianity is literally dying in Europe," said Conrad Hackett, head of the researchers who drafted a Pew Forum report a few months ago. In Europe, between 2010 and 2015, Christian deaths outnumbered births by nearly 6 million. In Germany alone, there were about 1.4 million more Christian deaths.

 

This decline also apparent from the recruitment crisis for the priesthood. The official website of the German Catholic Church, noted in May that the dioceses of Osnabrück and Mainz did not receive any new priests this year. The archdiocese of Munich last year drew only one candidate. Throughout the Archdiocese of Munich today, there are only 37 seminarians in the various training stages, for about 1.7 million Catholics. In comparison, the American diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, currently has 49 seminarians for about 96,000 Catholics. In the U.S., Christianity is strong; in Germany it is literally dying.

 

A German architect, Joaquim Reinig, told Die Tageszeitung that to integrate Muslim immigrants better, churches should be demolished and replaced with "highly visible mosques". It might sound a bit crazy, but it contains a dramatic truth. In his book The Last Days of Europe, the historian Walter Laqueur wrote that "Germany had some 700 little mosques and prayer rooms in the 1980s, but there are more than 2,500 at the present time". If, in Germany, Christianity is evaporating, Islam is proliferating.

 

The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) just opened a new mega-mosque for worship in the German city of Cologne. The new German mega-mosque has a 1,200-person capacity and the tallest minaret of Europe. According to Deutsche Welle, "Christian leaders bristled at the idea of Cologne's famed Dom cathedral sharing the skyline with minarets". When the mosque was planned in 2007, a citizens' initiative was launched to say that "we want the cathedral here, not minarets". The Muslim authorities then announced the plan to "double" the number of mosques…

 

Since he took power in Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has built 17,000 Islamic prayer sites there. The Turkish president is committed to the construction of mosques in European capitals as well. Turkey controls 900 mosques in Germany and feels free to say that a "liberal mosque" in Germany is "incompatible" with Islam, according to the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. That is why the 57 percent of Germans fear the rise of Islam in their country.

 

When Chancellor Angela Merkel opened her country to mass migration in 2014, she apparently did not see any cultural problem in accepting more than another million Muslims. In the words of Erdogan, however, "Our minarets are our bayonets, our domes are our helmets, our mosques are our barracks". Islamic regimes are, in fact, offering to fill the empty spaces in Germany's religious landscape. Saudi Arabia proposed building 200 new mosques in Germany, "one for every 100 refugees". Can you imagine Germany offering Iraq, Syria and Egypt to build "200 new churches" to reconstruct the derelict and dispossessed Christian communities there? No, because in the Middle East, Christians have been eradicated in a forced de-Christianization. In Europe, Christians are also becoming extinct by a process of "self-secularization". We risk losing not only our churches, but more importantly, our cultural strength and even confidence in the values of our own civilization.                                                      

Contents

 

EUROPE’S DESTRUCTIVE HOLOCAUST SHAME                                                       

Richard Landes

Tablet, Sept. 5, 2017

 

When I first heard about Catherine Nay—a prominent, mainstream, French journalist—stating on her Europe1 news program, in reference to the 2000 IDF killing of 12-year-old Muhammad al Durah in the arms of his father, that “with the symbolic charge [of the image of al Durah], Muhammad’s death cancels, erases the [famous WWII] picture of the Jewish boy, his hands up before the SS, in the Warsaw Ghetto,” I realized that Europeans had taken the story as a “get-out-of-Holocaust-guilt-free card.”

 

At the time I marveled—and continue to marvel—at the astounding folly of the statement. How can a brief, blurry, chopped up video of a boy who, at best was caught in a crossfire started by his own people firing behind him, at worst a lethal fake, eliminate—in fact, replace—a picture that symbolizes the systematic murder of over a million children and their families? How morally disoriented can one get? Apparently, the hope of escaping guilt is enough to induce people to adopt a supersessionist narrative: Israelis are the new Nazis, and Palestinians are the new Jews.

 

But the profound distinction between guilt and shame suggests that the right formula is “get-out-of-Holocaust-shame-free card.” Doesn’t sound as good. The difference: Guilt is an internally generated sense of moral obligation not to repeat past transgressions, like the extermination of a helpless minority within one’s own society. Shame, on the other hand, is externally generated, driven by the “shaming look” of others (the “honor-group”). Therein lies a key difference: For guilt, it’s the awareness of the deed and its meaning; for shame, it’s whether others know. In some countries in the world, it’s not a question of whether you’re corrupt or not (everyone is, everyone knows), but whether you get caught. When Germans got caught carrying out genocide, their nation was not only guilty of the deed but shamed before the world … for committing such a hideous atrocity? … Or simply for getting caught?

 

While honor-shame cultures have moral codes, their vulnerability to the fear of shame can readily lead to a jettisoning of any moral concerns. After all, the limbic dread of shame—its disastrous psychological and practical impact—kicks in in times of humiliation and fear. Those afflicted with oneidophobia (overriding [limbic] fear of public blame/humiliation) are desperate that others not see, not know about, not talk about, what they have done; that one not bear the shame publicly, that one need not pay the steep price in social capital for one’s (mis)deeds.

 

Oneidophobes, people driven by shame-honor dynamics, avoid being subjected to criticism, especially public criticism. They consider both lying (to save face), and, where one can get away with it, violence (to regain respect), as normal recourse. Lancelot could publicly proclaim his innocence of adultery with the Queen because he killed everyone who accused him. Shame-driven oneidophobes want the negative spotlight off at all costs. In cases of those already shamed, they want to have the shame lifted.

 

Honest searching, motivated by well-deserved guilt, could have led post-Shoah Germans to become the most substantive academic critics of the Western grand narrative. After all, it wasn’t just European lunatics who disliked the Jews. How many great Western figures, when they bothered to mention the Jews, did so disparagingly, as the negative version of their great accomplishment? Instead of viewing this pattern of ancient, medieval, and modern—and now postmodern—denigration of Jews, as “they must be doing something to make others hate them so,” the self-critical German might have asked, “Maybe this has something to do with us and our problems?” German historians might have played a leading role in reinterpreting and integrating the story of the Jews into majority Western history, to a degree no earlier gentile historians had ever done…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

OPEN LETTER TO THE INCOMING EU AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL                                          

Manfred Gerstenfeld                                        

Jerusalem Post, Sept. 13, 2017

 

Dear Ambassador Emanuele Giaufret, Welcome to Israel. As the European Union has often given doubtful advice to Israel, I take the liberty of making some suggestions in order to make your assignment here more successful. Please remember that you represent the greater part of a continent where antisemitism has been ingrained in the culture for over a thousand years. The leading academic scholar of antisemitism in our generation, the late Robert Wistrich, has shown that almost all Europe’s ideological currents during those centuries were antisemitic.

 

Please also be aware that in the past decades EU members have let in – without a selection process – millions of people from countries where most citizens are antisemitic. To make matters worse, in the past two years large numbers of such people have been given the opportunity to immigrate to the EU. The fact is that all Jews who have been killed in Western Europe for ideological reasons in the current century were murdered by Muslim immigrants or their descendants.

 

Your predecessor, Mr. Ambassador, repeatedly told Israel that “settlement construction was a hindrance to peace.” Sometimes he went so far as to threaten us. For instance in 2014, he stated, “if Israel’s settlement policies wrecked the current US-led peace efforts, then Israel would be held responsible for the failure of the negotiations.” He did not point out that the Palestinian Authority continuously pays high “salaries” to the families of murderers of Israeli civilians. Not mentioning how big a hindrance to peace this is was one of many ways he undermined the EU’s credibility in Israel. He should also have admitted publicly that European countries who finance the PA indirectly reward the murderers of Israelis.

 

I also suggest that you do not paint rosy pictures of a future peace. Your predecessor told us how beautiful the Middle East would look after a peace agreement is signed. He said, “Israel would be in a pole position to promote regional integration in the eastern Mediterranean” The fact is that despite Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt in 1978 and the one with Jordan in 1994, both countries appear on the list of major anti-Israel inciters and antisemitism promoters in a recent report by the US State Department. Earlier this year Palestinian murderers coming from the Temple Mount killed Israeli policemen. Israel thereupon took security measures which the Palestinians turned into an opportunity for international Muslim incitement against Israel. It is not difficult to see that after Israel makes territorial concessions for a two-state peace agreement with the Palestinians, nothing will prevent the Palestinians from creating more unjustified international religious mayhem around the Temple Mount.

 

I would also suggest that you avoid giving bad advice. Your predecessor advised Israel to collaborate with the UNHRC investigation commission on the 2014 Gaza war despite the fact that the UNHRC is biased against Israel from the outset. Also please avoid making statements in which the lack of truth is transparent. For example, your predecessor’s attempt to deny the discriminatory character of the EU’s labeling of products from the West Bank. In response, Israel’s Foreign Ministry accused the EU of ignoring more than 200 other territorial conflicts around the world by singling out Israel, since the territories are the only place requiring separate labels.

 

It is indeed crucial for an EU ambassador to be truthful and credible. In his departure speech Mr. Faaborg-Andersen said that Israel could learn from Europe about fighting terrorism. There have been far more attempted terrorist attacks in Israel than in Europe. Yet none of the deadly attacks in Israel have seen as many people killed as those in Madrid in 2004, in London in 2005, in Paris in 2015 and in Nice in 2016. There is much information about EU member countries’ lack of ability to identify the early radicalization of Muslim individuals, as well as their intention to join jihadi organizations and carry out terrorist attacks.

 

Your predecessor also said that “antisemitism in Europe is a phenomenon we are combating – even more than Israel is.” The first step to effectively combat antisemitisms is to establish an accepted definition of it. The only working definition accepted by some in Europe was suddenly taken off the website of the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency in 2013. What would have been easier for the EU than to accept the 2016 definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and become an associated member of the IHRA? It did not. All the above has helped create suspicion toward the EU even if there are many interesting aspects to EU-Israeli cooperation…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Europe Is Killing Itself (Video): Pat Condell, Youtube, Sept. 7, 2017

Merkel Can't Lead Germany, Much Less the Free World: Alex Berezow, National Interest, Sept. 15, 2017—Angela Merkel is likely cruising to an easy re-election as Germany’s chancellor. Because many pundits in America refer to her as the “leader of the free world,” it is tempting to speculate that her electoral success is due to keen wisdom and firm leadership. In reality, quite the opposite is the case. In many ways, Angela Merkel is Germany’s Bill Clinton, minus the philandering.

Illegal Migrant Problem? Greece Offers a Solution: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Sept. 12, 2017—As Western states prove incapable of deporting their millions of illegal migrants – the current crisis features Italy – authorities in Greece have found a surprising and simple way to convince them to take the long route back home.

Ending the War in Syria Could Be a Disaster for Europe: Mordechai Kedar, Algemeiner, Sept. 18, 2017—Blinded by the smokescreen of the war against ISIS, the world failed to notice that Tehran was taking over considerable parts of Syria — particularly in the sparsely populated center and east of the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TURKEY DRIFTS TOWARDS ISLAMIST DICTATORSHIP UNDER ERDOGAN

A Lesson in Democracy for Turkey’s Islamist President: Steven Emerson, Algemeiner, Sept. 6, 2017 — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Washington, DC this past May…

Victims of Turkey's Islamization: Women: Burak Bekdil, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 31, 2017— On Feb. 6, 1935, Turkish women were allowed to vote in national elections for the first time, and eighteen female candidates were elected to parliament…

The US Standoff with Turkey: Robert Ellis, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 2, 2017— When it comes to Turkey, the US is faced with a dilemma.

Erdogan’s Turkey: Reliable Partner or Western Foe?: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, Aug. 22, 2017— Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan forcefully inserted himself into Germany’s upcoming elections by urging Turkish foreign-nationals to boycott major parties, including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

 

On Topic Links

 

How Turkey Went From Being a Strategic Asset to a Liability: Simon A. Waldman, World Politics Review, June 14, 2017

Get NATO’s Nukes Out of Turkey: Jonathan Marshall, Huffington Post, Sept. 5, 2017

Pro-Erdogan Media in Turkey Inciting Antisemitism Over Kurdish Independence Referendum: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Sept. 17, 2017

New Mideast Realities Require Support for Kurds: Trudy Rubin, The Inquirer, Sept. 15, 2017

 

 

 

A LESSON IN DEMOCRACY FOR TURKEY’S ISLAMIST PRESIDENT

Steven Emerson

Algemeiner, Sept. 6, 2017

 

When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Washington, DC this past May, he was greeted outside the home of the Turkish ambassador by a small group of protesters concerned about his crackdowns on civil rights, and his antagonism towards Turkey’s Kurdish population. Within minutes, Erdogan’s bodyguards sprang into action, accompanied by others in the Turkish posse, beating and kicking the protesters — who included women and senior citizens. A 61-year-old woman later told the Guardian that she had feared for her life after guards punched her in the face. When 60-year-old Turkish-American Reza Dersimi tried to assist the elderly woman, he, too, was assaulted.

 

Local police quickly intervened, arresting several of the attackers, including Erdogan’s guards. Some of those who ran off were apprehended in the days that followed — but many remain at large. The arrests infuriated Turkey’s president. “They have incarcerated our citizens!” cried Erdogan, who has regularly thrown foreign journalists and human rights leaders into Turkish prisons for absolutely no crime whatsoever.

 

Now the US government has indicted 19 of the attackers for their violent abuse of the protesters, whom Turkish leaders accuse of having been members of the Kurdish terrorist group PKK. (There is no evidence, however, to suggest that any protester had terror ties.) Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has described the indictments as “unjust and biased,” and claims that the indictments include the “names of people that have never been to the US.” The indictment — against 15 Turkish security guards, two Turkish-Canadians, and two Turkish-Americans — contains 21 counts of assault and hate crimes, and describes the incident as a “conspiracy to assault protesters and law enforcement officials.”…

 

Yet rather than apologize for the violence, Erdogan has declared the indictments “scandalous,” praised the attackers for their actions, and decried America’s failure to protect him from the protesters. True, some protesters did shout “Long Live the YPG,” referring to a Syrian-Kurdish militant group that the United States has engaged with in its fight against the Islamic State (Turkey considers this group to be a terrorist organization). But such cries, in a democratic state, hardly call for a violent response.

 

Moreover, Erdogan’s objections reek of hypocrisy. In the past two years, his government has detained numerous foreign nationals on trumped-up charges of “terrorism,” a word that Erdogan bandies about to describe critics of his ideology or his regime, including human rights workers and journalists. He has called on foreign governments to arrest their own citizens for statements critical of him, such as his April 2016 demand in April that Germany charge comedian Jan Böhmermann for his profanity-laced poem criticizing the Turkish president.

 

And only days later, Dutch-Turkish columnist Ebru Umar, vacationing in the Aegean coastal town of Kusadasi, was pulled from her bed in the middle of the night by police and arrested for cursing Erdogan on Twitter. She was released from custody the following day, but was not permitted to leave the country for several weeks. Other dual-citizens have suffered similar fates or worse, such as German-Turkish Die Welt reporter Deniz Yucel, who was arrested in February on charges of “terror propaganda and inciting hatred,” according to CNN. Yucel had “interviewed PKK leader Cemil Bayik ‘under the guise of being a journalist’ and reported on security forces’ operations in Turkey’s southeast against Kurdish militants by ‘undertaking propaganda by expressing the discourses of the armed terror organization,'” the prosecutor’s office told CNN.

 

And it’s not just dual nationals. Turkey’s July arrest of German activist Peter Steudtner and several others attending a workshop on digital security — again on terrorism charges — led German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel to issue a warning to Germans about visiting Turkey. French freelance reporter Loup Bureau was also taken into custody last month in Turkey, again on charges of assisting terrorists. The charges were based not on anything he was doing at the time, but on a 2013 story that he had produced about members of the YPG for France’s TV5 Monde.

 

And in one particularly notorious case, Turkish police arrested British VICE reporters and their Iraqi fixer in 2015 in Diyarbakir, a city with a large Kurdish population. The charge: “knowingly and willfully helping the armed terrorist organization without being part of its hierarchical structure,” according to Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency. Although court papers did not include the name of the terrorist group, the journalists’ lawyer, Tahir Elci, told Reuters that, “They were accused of meeting and siding with both the Islamic State and the PKK-affiliated group [YDG].”

 

Erdogan’s message here is clear: his critics and dissenters and their associates are “terrorists” who must be subdued through violence, imprisonment or both — and those who oppress them, preferably through violence and imprisonment, are the righteous ones, the heroes. This ideology, unsurprisingly, links Erdogan far more closely to Islamist, authoritarian governments than to the democracies of the West. Indeed, as Scott Peterson observed in the Christian Science Monitor:

 

Fifteen years into his rule, Erdogan has gradually turned his country away from the secular tradition of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who founded the modern state from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in 1923. And there is little room for any competing views as the once ardently secular eastern anchor of NATO, which has aspired to membership in the European Union, weakens once-promising linkages with the West, promotes the role of religion in public life, clamps down on opponents and the media, and moves ever more firmly away from democratic norms.

 

By contrast, in America and other Western nations, reporters are free to follow their investigations; peaceful protesters are free to voice their views; and government agents may not use violence against innocent civilians. What type of law is this? It’s called democracy, Mr. Erdogan. And this is what it looks like.

                                                                                   

 

Contents

VICTIMS OF TURKEY'S ISLAMIZATION: WOMEN

Burak Bekdil

Gatestone Institute, Aug. 31, 2017

 

On Feb. 6, 1935, Turkish women were allowed to vote in national elections for the first time, and eighteen female candidates were elected to parliament – a decade or more before women even in Western countries such as France, Italy and Belgium. Eight decades later, Turkish women look like unwilling passengers on H.G. Wells' Time Machine traveling back to their great-grandmothers' Ottoman lives.

 

Turkey's strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once proudly said that "Women should know their place," and that "Gender equality is against human nature". His deputy prime minister said that women not to laugh in public. It was not shocking to anyone when Turkey's Ministry of Family and Social Policies found in 2016 that no fewer than 86% of Turkish women have suffered physical or psychological violence at the hands of their partners or family. According to the ministry's findings, physical violence is the most common form of abuse: 70% of women reported they have been physically assaulted.

 

More recently, Kadin Cinayetlerini Durduracagiz Platformu, a women's rights organization, reported that 28 women were murdered by men in July 2017 alone. The same month, eight other — luckier — women were physically assaulted for "wearing shorts or 'indecent' outfits or smoking in public." The report concluded by saying, "The state remains silent."

 

Turkey increasingly features all possible social and political reflections of Islamism: authoritarianism, majoritarianism and officially-tolerated intolerance to everything Islamists may deem "un-Islamic." Women are often the target group, and might not avoid intimidation even if they dress in line with the Islamic code. Hayrettin Karaman, an Islamic scholar and the darling of Turkey's pro-Erdogan Islamists, recently argued that smoking cigarettes sends signals about women's morals. He wrote in his Aug. 3 column: "When I see a woman who wears a headscarf but also smokes in public, I get the impression that she's saying: 'Don't mind the fact that I am covering my head. Don't give up on me, I have a lot more to share with you.'"

 

Naturally, many Turkish men took the cleric's words as a message of sexual availability. This kind of thinking is common in conservative Muslim societies. It did not used to be that way in secular Turkey. It is simply an outcome of Turkey's top-down government-induced social Islamization. That has two disturbing aspects: willing social participation of people who comply, and inequality before law.

 

In 2014, 17-year-old K.C. was raped and beaten by two men. She filed a complaint with the police, and the two suspects were detained. All normal, up to this point. One of the suspects made a deal with K.C.'s family: he paid a sum of about $5,700 to the family and agreed to marry K.C. The family arranged a bogus wedding ceremony, took pictures and presented them to the court to save the man. Under pressure from her family, K.C. changed her testimony and said she was not raped. The rapist had suddenly become her fiancé. Both suspects were released, an Islamic religious ceremony was arranged and the rapists were acquitted. Not really a happy ending. K.C.'s "husband" started to beat her regularly and the girl once again went to the police and told her real story. Her husband was her rapist and she had been forced to marry him…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

Contents

THE US STANDOFF WITH TURKEY                                                   

Robert Ellis

Jerusalem Post, Sept. 2, 2017

 

When it comes to Turkey, the US is faced with a dilemma. Initial enthusiasm for regime change in Syria gradually waned when it was realized that one of the actors in the proxy war, Turkey, was furthering its own agenda with US support. The spectacular failure of the half-a-billion-dollar program to train Syrian rebels was one marker to signal the end of this policy and make way for another objective: the defeat of Islamic State.

 

This in turn has led to the realization that the only effective boots on the ground are the predominantly Kurdish SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), which with US advisers and materiel is leading the assault on the ISIS stronghold, Raqqa. The bone of contention is that the YPG (People’s Protection Units), which makes up the backbone of the SDF, is considered by Turkey to be the Syrian counterpart of Turkey’s PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), which both the US and Turkey have designated as a terrorist organization.

 

President Barack Obama gave Turkey carte blanche to reignite its war with the PKK in July 2015 in return for access to Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey. The same day vice president Joe Biden landed in Ankara last August to make nice with Turkey after the attempted coup, Turkey launched a cross-border operation into Syria to block an attempt to create a contiguous Kurdish zone along Turkey’s southern border. Now Turkish forces are stuck west of the Euphrates, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatens with a new cross-border operation against the Kurdish canton of Afrin in Syria’s northwest corner.

 

President Obama’s decision in October 2014 to airdrop supplies to Kurdish forces besieged by ISIS in Kobane was a thorn in Turkey’s eye, whereas Erdogan’s meeting with his successor in May was a bitter disappointment. Instead of entering into an alliance with Turkey to defeat ISIS, President Donald Trump approved the Pentagon’s plan to supply arms to the Syrian Kurds. The only concrete outcome of the visit was the passing of an unanimous resolution by the House of Representatives condemning the attack by President Erdogan’s security detail on demonstrators outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence. The security officials have also been indicted by a grand jury for violence.

 

A further aggravation was remarked late July by US special envoy Brett McGurk at the Middle East Institute in Washington, where he blamed the flow of weapons and foreign fighters into Syria for the creation of an al-Qaida safe haven at Idlib “right on the border of Turkey.” Turkey considered McGurk’s statements provocative, as the US itself supported a terrorist organization (YPG). At his meeting with US Defense Secretary James Mattis in Ankara last week President Erdogan expressed Turkey’s unease at continued US support for the YPG, although Mattis assured his host the alliance was temporary and “not a choice but a necessity.” If this is the case, the US will once again leave the Kurds in the lurch.

 

On the other hand, in a telephone conversation in May between President Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin both expressed a commitment to furthering their strategic partnership, including trade and joint energy projects. Furthermore, they confirmed their cooperation in the Astana process and the creation of de-escalation zones in Syria. The crunch will come when it comes to determining the future of Syria’s Kurds and their demand for regional autonomy. President Erdogan has warned Turkey will not permit “a terror corridor” in northern Syria and will intervene “whatever the cost.”

 

When in Ankara, Secretary Mattis also met with Turkey’s defense minister, Nurettin Canikli, where they discussed the importance of Syria and Iraq’s territorial integrity and concern over “Iran’s malign influence in the region.” A week earlier when Iran’s chief of staff General Bagheri visited Turkey, President Erdogan declared that a joint operation with Iran against the PKK in Iraq was on the government’s agenda. The situation has been further complicated by the Kurdish Regional Government’s president Masoud Barzani’s intention to hold a referendum on independence on September 25.

 

Relations between Europe and Turkey are already strained, as an overwhelming majority of the European Parliament in July called for a suspension of accession talks. The EU’s enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn has declared it is time for member states to discuss the strategic implications of Turkey’s behavior, as “shrugging alone is not a political strategy.” Similarly, in view of the turn events are taking, a review of US policy would be timely. If the deal is finalized, Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system will make nonsense of its NATO membership. The director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), Dmitry Shugaev, has also said that all decisions regarding delivery of the S-400 missile system to Turkey correspond with Russia’s geopolitical and strategic interests.

 

In addition, the charge by a Turkish court that American pastor Andrew Brunson attempted to destroy constitutional order and overthrow the Turkish parliament is a blatant attempt to pressure the US into handing over the Turkish imam Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Turkey of masterminding the attempted coup, and dropping charges against Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish businessman, who is indicted for conspiring to evade sanctions against Iran.

 

 

Contents

ERDOGAN’S TURKEY: RELIABLE PARTNER OR WESTERN FOE?   

Charles Bybelezer                                             

The Media Line, Aug. 22, 2017

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan forcefully inserted himself into Germany’s upcoming elections by urging Turkish foreign-nationals to boycott major parties, including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. “I am calling on all my countrymen in Germany,” he affirmed, “the Christian Democrats, SDP [Social Democrats], the Green Party are all enemies of Turkey, [therefore] support [other] political parties.” Germany has a large Turkish diaspora estimated at some three million people, many of whom will vote on September 24 when Merkel bids for a fourth term.

 

Erdogan’s comments are the latest in an escalating war-of-words between Ankara and Berlin, whose ties deteriorated sharply in the wake of last year’s failed coup in Turkey, to which authorities responded with a major crackdown on civil society. Some 150,000 public workers, journalists and activists have been dismissed, suspended or imprisoned—many over dubious charges—by their government, which blames the unrest on a clandestine network led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally-turned-foe.

 

Earlier this month, the Turkish leader accused Germany of “abetting terrorists” for failing to extradite so-called “Gulenists” and claimed the country’s Nazi past was not behind it; this, after he asserted that Berlin was “committing suicide” by not allowing him to speak to Turks at a July rally on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg (it was deemed a security threat by German authorities due to potential counter-protests by Kurdish nationals). In April, Erdogan slammed Germany as “fascist and cruel” after demonstrations by his supporters were banned ahead of a referendum that gave him sweeping new powers.

 

For her part, Merkel has questioned Turkey’s commitment to democracy and suggested there would be no further progress towards its ascension to the European Union.  Over the weekend, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel censured Erdogan’s “unprecedented act of interference in the sovereignty of our country…[which shows] that he wants to incite people in Germany against each other.”

 

According to Dr. Deniz Cifci, a political advisor at the Center for Turkey Studies in London, Erdogan’s attacks on Germany are largely precipitated by internal politics. “The president is trying to strengthen his position,” he asserted to The Media Line, “by lashing out he is sending a message to the public that Erdogan is the only power in Turkey, and that this power can take on Europe.” Moreover, Cifci reinforced the notion that Erdogan remains furious at Germany for providing asylum to members of the Turkish army following the 2016 coup attempt—and by accusing Berlin of complicity in the affair he is trying to pressure Merkel to take a hard line against Gulen’s German-based network. “But Germany has refused to bend,” he stressed.

 

As regards Erdogan’s intrusion into the German political arena, Cifci believes that it will have little tangible effect, as “most ethnic Turks there support either Kurdish-associated or left-oriented parties, those defined by Erdogan as enemies. They do not share the same views as the Turkish president and even if they did they will vote rationally and not for racist or nationalist parties because it is not in their interest.” Erdogan’s actions may also be motivated, Cifci elaborated, by a desire to confront the “one million Turks in Germany of Kurdish origin, most of whom left Turkey for political reasons. The majority of these Kurds oppose Erdogan and have some form of ties with the PKK.”

 

The rift between Turkey and its largest trading partner, the most influential country in Europe, has deepened a growing chasm with the west, in general, a dispute complicated by the fact that Ankara is a member of NATO. Nevertheless, according to Prof. Dror Zeevi, an expert on Turkey at Israel’s Ben Gurion University and a Fellow at the Forum for Regional Thinking, no formal decision has yet been made by either side to abandon the prospect of Ankara joining the EU. “While relations have soured considerably,” he expressed to The Media Line, “the Europeans have not closed the door to the bloc. They have made clear that should Turkey make changes this could lead to renewed talks. [For its part], Erdogan has been considering ditching the process for several years, but there are advantages to [maintaining good ties] with Europe—for example, the customs union—so he will tread very carefully.”

 

Zeevi highlighted that the “Turkish government, while showing little enthusiasm for Europe, is in a bind because of its role in NATO. Whereas Ankara would like to be closer to Russia and Iran, it is limited because [the western military alliance] is still important in terms of training and equipment as NATO has long been a part of Turkey’s geo-strategy.” Despite this, he concluded, under Erdogan’s leadership “there has been a slow shift towards the far east.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Get NATO’s Nukes Out of Turkey: Jonathan Marshall, Huffington Post, Sept. 5, 2017—Even in this contentious era, one proposition still enjoys near-universal support: the United States should make it the highest priority to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of hostile states.

Pro-Erdogan Media in Turkey Inciting Antisemitism Over Kurdish Independence Referendum: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Sept. 17, 2017 —As the impending referendum on independence for the Kurdish region of Iraq draws closer, pro-government media outlets in Turkey – which remains bitterly opposed to Kurdish self-determination – are energetically promoting conspiracy theories centered on the alleged relations between Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani and the Israeli authorities.

New Mideast Realities Require Support for Kurds: Trudy Rubin, The Inquirer, Sept. 15, 2017—In 2016, Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani told me that Mideast chaos had already destroyed the region’s old borders.

How Turkey Went From Being a Strategic Asset to a Liability: Simon A. Waldman, World Politics Review, June 14, 2017—As the dust settles from President Donald Trump’s first visit to the Middle East, his policy in the region, such as it exists, is harkening back to the years before his predecessor, Barack Obama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVEN SOME MUSLIMS SEE “GOOD INTENTIONS” IN THE U.S.’ SO-CALLED MUSLIM BAN

Why it’s Naive to Argue that Trump’s Travel Ban is ‘Helping’ to Create Islamic Terrorists: Eli Lake, Bloomberg, Feb. 10, 2017— Since President Donald Trump last month issued an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim majority nations, we’ve heard a lot about how it will aid jihadists.

Islamic Terror and the U.S. Temporary Stay on Immigration: Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 13, 2017— In San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 14 people were murdered and 22 others seriously wounded in a terrorist attack.

Turkey's 'Lifestyle Massacre': Burak Bekdil, Middle East Forum, Jan. 8, 2017— Last year was no doubt an annus horribilis for Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 1,178 people were killed between July 2015 and December 2016 in Turkey's fight with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Can Islam be Reformed? Who Will, or Even Can Be, a Muslim Martin Luther?: Robert Fulford, National Post, Feb. 10, 2017— “I was a Muslim refugee once,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali declared this week in her response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Third Jihad – Radical Islam's Vision for America (Video): Clarion Project, Nov. 21, 2012

Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Spring 2017

The Final Obama Scandal: Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, Feb. 6, 2017

We Can’t let Radical Islam Take Over the World: Lior Akerman, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 9, 2017                                                                                     

WHY IT’S NAIVE TO ARGUE THAT TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN

IS ‘HELPING’ TO CREATE ISLAMIC TERRORISTS                                                    

Eli Lake

                      Bloomberg, Feb. 10, 2017

                       

Since President Donald Trump last month issued an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim majority nations, we’ve heard a lot about how it will aid jihadists. Leading Democrats, counterterrorism experts and even Iran’s foreign minister have all asserted that Trump’s travel ban will end up being used by the Islamic State to recruit new terrorists. Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, made this point forcefully on Jan. 30, when he told MSNBC that Trump’s executive order “ultimately is going to get Americans killed.”

 

The argument goes like this: Jihadists believe there is a Manichaean struggle between Islam and the West. An alleged “Muslim ban” plays directly into this worldview, telling Muslims that they are not safe in the un-Islamic world. No wonder they are calling the executive order a “blessed ban” on Islamic State web forums.

 

This is a familiar line to anyone who has followed the national security debate since 9/11. Democrats in particular have argued that the Iraq War, the Guantanamo Bay prison and anti-Muslim web videos help to radicalize otherwise peaceful Muslims to murder us at random. Hence Trump’s travel ban is now a “recruitment tool.” If only jihadi recruitment were so easily disrupted. Sadly it’s much more complicated.

 

To start, the process by which an individual gets sucked into the death cults of al Qaeda or the Islamic State cannot be reduced to a single cause. Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, the research director for the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, put it like this: “The argument that the Trump policy will radicalize people is predicated on the flawed premise that people radicalize as a response to government policy. The reality is it’s a highly complex process that involves religious and personal factors. A government policy may play a role, but it’s one of many factors.” Meleagrou-Hitchens’s program released an invaluable report last year that studied motivations of Americans who had declared allegiance to the Islamic State. It found that the motivations ranged from sympathy for the plight of Syrians suffering under their dictator’s war to a sense of religious obligation to join a new utopian Islamic caliphate.

 

Another problem with this argument is that it fails to account for the significant rise in radical Islamic terror under President Barack Obama. He went out of his way to counter the jihadist worldview. He began his presidency by delivering a speech to the Islamic world from Cairo, in which he stressed his own administration’s respect for Islam. He promised, and ultimately failed to, close Guantanamo; he withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011, and he scrubbed terms like “radical Islam” and “war on terror” from the government’s lexicon.

 

And yet despite his efforts, the FBI arrested more Americans for joining Islamic terrorist groups during his presidency than during that of George W. Bush. And while Obama decimated al Qaeda’s central leadership following the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda’s franchises in Yemen, Somalia and Libya grew stronger. Meanwhile, the Islamic State broke away from al Qaeda during Obama’s presidency and managed to gain territory in Syria and Iraq. Only now has the military campaign to liberate Mosul shown some success.

 

It’s true that Obama also did many things jihadists did not like during his presidency. For example, he used drone strikes against more of them than his predecessor did. And when the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the legal right to gay marriage, Twitter accounts affiliated with the Islamic State posted video of gay men being thrown to their deaths off of high buildings in Raqqa, with the hashtag #lovewins. The Islamic State didn’t like the Iran nuclear deal, either. After all, Shiites like the Iran regime are seen as apostates, and in the battle for Syria, the Iranians are on the side of the oppressors. This gets to the most important point. The fanatics who seek to recreate an eighth-century caliphate have an endless supply of grievances about our open society. If we succumb to the fallacy that we can counter their propaganda by not doing things they could exploit for propaganda purposes, we are giving them too much power.

 

A far better argument against Trump’s executive order is that it undermines our own recruitment efforts to counter the jihadists. At first the travel ban applied to translators who helped the U.S. military in Iraq, not to mention leading advocates for the Islamic State’s victims like the Yazidi-Iraqi legislator Vian Dakhil. Fortunately the Trump administration has reversed these elements of the travel ban in the last week. But the perception that America would close its doors to the people who helped us makes it harder to recruit allies against the Islamic State going forward. Critics of Trump’s travel ban are not inclined to make that argument. After all, Democrats were silent when Obama abandoned the Iraqi sheiks who helped to temporarily drive al Qaeda out of the Anbar province between 2007 and 2009. At the time, they were too busy insisting the Iraq War helped create more terrorists.

 

 

Contents

 

  

ISLAMIC TERROR AND THE U.S. TEMPORARY STAY ON IMMIGRATION

Uzay Bulut

Gatestone Institute, Feb. 13, 2017

 

In San Bernardino on December 2, 2015, 14 people were murdered and 22 others seriously wounded in a terrorist attack. The perpetrators were Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple. Farook was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, who worked as a health department employee. Malik was a Pakistani-born lawful permanent resident of the United States. Among the victims of the terror attack was Bennetta Bet-Badal, an Assyrian Christian woman born in Iran in 1969. She fled to the U.S. at age 18 to escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian revolution.

 

"This attack," stated the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement (NEC-SE), "showcases how Assyrians fled tyranny, oppression, and persecution for freedom and liberty, only to live in a country that is also beginning to be subject to an ever-increasing threat by the same forms of oppressors…NEC-SE would like to take this opportunity to once again urge action to directly arming the Assyrians and Yezidis and other minorities in their indigenous homeland, so that they can defend themselves against terrorism and oppression. This tragedy is evidence that the only way to effectively counter terrorism is not solely here in the US, but abroad and at its root."

 

Members of the Islamic State (ISIS) have declared several times that they target "kafirs" (infidels) in the West. In 2014, Syrian-born Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesperson and a senior leader of the Islamic State, declared that supporters of the Islamic State from all over the world should attack citizens of Western states, including the US, France and UK: "If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way, however it may be. "Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him."

 

It is this barbarity that the new U.S. administration is trying to stop. FBI Director James Comey also warned in July of last year that hundreds of terrorists will fan out to infiltrate western Europe and the U.S. to carry out attacks on a wider scale, as Islamic State is defeated in Syria. "At some point there's going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we've never seen before. We saw the future of this threat in Brussels and Paris," said Comey, adding that future attacks will be on "an order of magnitude greater."

 

How many ISIS operatives are there in the U.S.? Are ISIS sleeper cells likely in American cities? The people who are trying to create hysteria over the new steps taken by the Trump Administration should focus on investigating these issues more broadly, but they do not. To them, it must be easier to go after the U.S. president than after ISIS terrorists. This way, they can also pose as "heroes" while ignoring the real threat to all of humanity.

 

It is not only Islamic terrorists that pose a threat. It is also the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the font of all the modern extremist Muslim ideologies. The crimes committed by radical Muslims are beyond horrific, but it is getting harder to expose and criticize them. Many critics of Islam in Western countries — including those of Muslim origin — have received countless death deaths and have been exposed to various forms of intimidation.

 

Some were murdered, such as the Dutch film director, Theo van Gogh. His "crime" was to produce the short film Submission (2004) about the treatment of women under Islam. He was assassinated the same year by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Moroccan-Dutch Muslim. Some have had to go into hiding. American cartoonist Molly Norris, who promoted an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day", had to go into hiding in 2010 after her life was threatened by Islamic extremists. She also changed her name and stopped producing work for the Seattle Weekly, the New York Times reported. Who are these people hiding from? From the most radical and devoted followers of the "religion of peace".

 

Why should people living in free Western countries be forced to live in fear because they rightfully criticize a destructive and murderous ideology? They get numerous death threats from some people in the West because they courageously oppose grave human rights violations — forced marriages, honor killings, child rape, murdering homosexuals and female genital mutilation (FGM), among others. Why do we even call criticism of such horrific practices "courageous"? It should have been the most normal and ordinary act to criticize beheadings, mutilations and other crimes committed by radical Muslims. But it is not. It does require tremendous courage to criticize these acts committed in the name of a religion. For everybody knows that the critics of Islam are risking their lives and security…

[To Read the full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

 

TURKEY'S 'LIFESTYLE MASSACRE'

Burak Bekdil

Middle East Forum, Jan. 8, 2017

 

Last year was no doubt an annus horribilis for Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 1,178 people were killed between July 2015 and December 2016 in Turkey's fight with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Bomb attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed another 330 lives. Those numbers exclude 248 people who died during the bloody coup attempt of July 15, as well as 9,500 apparent PKK members who were killed by Turkish security forces. Turkey also claims that it killed 1,800 ISIS members since July 2015. These numbers put the total death toll in Turkey at 13,056, in a span of fewer than 17 months.

 

Just when most people thought that would be the final death toll for 2016, on December 10, a twin bombing in Istanbul outside a soccer stadium killed at least 38 people, and injured another 136. A week later, a suicide car-bomb in central Turkey killed 13 off-duty soldiers aboard a bus and wounded 56 more. After so much bloodshed, Turks thought they could now enjoy New Year's festivities in peace. They were wrong.

 

About an hour into the New Year, a mysterious man, later identified as a Kyrgyz ISIS terrorist, walked into Reina, a posh nightclub on the Bosporus, took out an assault rifle and started to shoot at the hundreds of guests celebrating the New Year. The assailant killed 39 people and injured 65, changed his clothes, and, pretending to be a customer, walked out of the club. As of January 8, the killer was still on the run.

 

ISIS terror attacks are no more than violent expressions of the dominant Islamist ideology ruling in Turkey. The attack at Reina was ISIS's 15th major act of violence in Turkey since 2014, but its first targeting a nightclub. There was, in fact, a "sociology" behind the jihadists' choice of target. ISIS clearly wanted to send various messages at many wavelengths. One was to tell "infidel" Turks that they should not celebrate the New Year; another was to tell conservative Muslim Turks that ISIS was on their side. Actually, ISIS's terror attack was no more than a violent expression of the dominant Islamist ideology ruling in Turkey.

 

About 10 days before ISIS's attack, Turkish authorities banned teachers and pupils at Istanbul Lisesi, an elite school in Istanbul that is partly funded by Germany, from singing carols or celebrating Christmas in any way. German teachers at the school received an email from the headmaster early in December, informing them of the new rules.

 

Around the same time, a soap opera broadcast on Samanyolu TV, a conservative Muslim station, featured Santa Claus as a "terrorist." Meanwhile, Turkey's top religious authority, the prime ministry's General Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), declared at Friday prayer sermons that New Year celebrations were religiously "illegitimate."

 

Elsewhere in Turkey, banners were unfurled, showing a bearded man punching Santa Claus; another banner showed a group pointing guns in the face of another Santa. On December 31, a headline in an Islamist newspaper read, "This is our last warning, DO NOT celebrate."

 

Taha Akyol, a prominent Turkish columnist, calls ISIS's latest attack "a lifestyle massacre." He wrote: "Innocent people who were having fun were massacred because of their lifestyle." He reminds that about 8% of Turks sympathize with ISIS. That makes nearly 6.5 million people. ISIS's attack on Reina was a salute to those millions of Turks who admit their sympathy for ISIS, and millions of others who hide their sympathy.

 

With its increasing vulnerability to jihadist terror and with a homegrown jihadist ideology that provides a safe haven for terror, Turkey is becoming like Iraq, where violence takes lives almost daily. ISIS's first act of terror targeting Christmas celebrations took place on December 25, 2013, when the radical group killed 38 Christians in Baghdad. Three years later, ISIS visited New Year's celebrations in Istanbul.

 

Where, you might ask, are the Turkish authorities? They are busy. The Turkish police, unable to prevent ISIS's attack, instead detained a woman in Istanbul who called for secularism in a speech protesting jihadist groups. Aysegul Basar, a leftist, was detained after her speech, given at an Istanbul teahouse, emerged on social media. "We say 'enough!' From now on we won't allow ISIL or any reactionary jihadist group into our neighborhoods," Basar had said. From a law enforcement point of view, Istanbul is safer for an ISIS gunman than for someone who pledges to fight jihadists.      

 

Contents

 

CAN ISLAM BE REFORMED? WHO WILL, OR EVEN CAN BE,

A MUSLIM MARTIN LUTHER?

                                                            Robert Fulford

National Post, Feb. 10, 2017

 

“I was a Muslim refugee once,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali declared this week in her response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban. “I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like to fear rejection, deportation and the dangers that await you back home.”

 

She remembers being in the Frankfurt airport in 1992, waiting for the plane that would take her to Canada for a marriage arranged against her will by her father. Something cracked, a spirit of individualism stirred within her, and suddenly she needed to escape. Somalia-born, she fled to the Netherlands, obtained asylum and learned Dutch. She studied John Locke, Voltaire and John Stuart Mill while doing a graduate degree at the University of Leiden. It was, she recently said, a journey “from the world of faith to the world of reason.” She decided that Islam is, among other things, too intolerant of free thought. Now she’s an ex-Muslim and an articulate author. She’s also very much an American and a believer in democracy.

 

Probably to the surprise of her admirers, she sees good intentions in Trump’s executive order about refugees. It was clumsy and confusing but it demonstrated, she says, that Trump has a realistic view of “the hateful ideology of radical Islam” and its continuing threat to democracy. She shows no sympathy for those, like Barack Obama, who could not utter a phrase like “Islamic violence” lest he encourage bigotry.

 

She cites a survey showing that large numbers of Muslims in many countries believe Sharia law is the word of God and should govern where they live. Many also think Muslims who leave Islam (as Hirsi Ali did) deserve execution, that suicide bombing in defence of Islam can be justified, and that honour killing of women is not always deplorable.

 

This way of thinking is spreading, and works against the reformation of Islam that she considers necessary. She believes the Trump administration should not only fight Islamist violence but should oppose Dawa, the proselytizing of Islam, “which is already well established right here in the United States.” This movement has “for too long been going on with impunity.” She wants to see it dismantled. The U.S. should start with a commission on Islam so that the public can know what it’s facing.

 

Having dedicated herself to reforming Islam, she believes the U.S. government should play a vigorous part in that process. How will that happen? By mass education? A propaganda campaign? How could Muslims accept enormous changes in their thinking?

 

Could they change something so large, reaching into many lives? The all-time champion in the revision of religious belief is Martin Luther, the friar who started a new phase in European history by disobeying Catholic authority on the question of selling indulgences. When he challenged church authority with a protest that he nailed on a church door in Wittenberg in 1517, half a millennium ago, he inadvertently created the Christian Reformation and became the most famous man in Europe. But someone dealing with Islam will have an even harder job than he had. Islam has no pope, no overall authority to defy. It differs from community to community, from imam to imam.

 

How could Muslims accept radical changes in their thinking? She believes that the U.S. won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism. Now the U.S. must expose the ideology of radical Islam. There are many reformed Muslims in America, she argues, immigrants who have adopted “the core values of Western democracies, using the freedoms they have found in the West.” Many thrive.

 

They are her models, the beginning of a free and tolerant Islam. Hirsi Ali seems to believe that Muslims can be converted to democracy, presumably because democracy will work better for them than a theocratic tyranny. But many or most Muslims can barely believe in the existence of nations that pride themselves on their tolerance, in which one religion is as acceptable as another. At the outer extreme, the soldiers of the Islamic State are so convinced of Islam’s total and exclusive truth that they take pleasure in destroying monuments left behind by religions that died before Islam was born. To many in the Christian and Jewish traditions, that’s outlandish, but within Islam it makes a kind of sense.

 

If Muslims were to accept another form of religion, they would have to give up their politics as well, since many countries govern by Islamic rules. They cannot easily change, as countries in the West try socialism for a while, then switch back to a market economy. Just contemplating that sort of transition would be unthinkable for many.

 

From the perspective of the West, the world would be more peaceful if Muslims were persuaded to adopt some version of Hirsi Ali’s proposal. It seems more likely that many, from the depths of their convictions, will brusquely dismiss her as a heretic and go on their way. Still, it’s stimulating that a world citizen like Hirsi Ali devotes her attention to this issue. In her courageous way she opens a pressing issue and demands we think seriously about it.

 

Contents           

 

On Topic Links

 

The Third Jihad – Radical Islam's Vision for America (Video): Clarion Project, Nov. 21, 2012—The Third Jihad is a film that exposes the threat that Islamic extremism poses to the American way of life.

Smoking Out Islamists via Extreme Vetting: Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Spring 2017—Donald Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 27 establishing radically new procedures to deal with foreigners who apply to enter the United States.

The Final Obama Scandal: Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, Feb. 6, 2017—Less than 24 hours before the official end of the Obama presidency, while White House staffers were pulling pictures off the walls and cleaning out their desks, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) posted without fanfare another installment of the documents captured in Osama bin Laden’s compound during the May 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

We Can’t let Radical Islam Take Over the World: Lior Akerman, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 9, 2017  —‘All Muslims are terrorists.’ “Islam will destroy the world.” “All the Muslims want to kill us.” What are we to make of these political slogans? Is every person who calls out Allahu akbar intending to kill people? Let’s take a step back and learn some facts.                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

RELIGION OF PEACE? OBAMA FAILED TO NAME THE ENEMY, BUT TRUMP VOWS TO “ERADICATE RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM”

Defending the Civilized World: Clifford D. May, Washington Times, Jan. 24, 2017— In an inaugural address that was more purposeful than poetic, President Trump last Friday vowed to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism…

How Trump Could Help a Broken Middle East: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Jan. 23, 2017— As President Donald Trump plans for his first year in office, he will not have to make space in his calendar for a December trip to Oslo.

Is Europe’s Jihadist Problem Generating Empathy Toward Israel?: Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA, Jan. 12, 2017— Is terrorism softening European attitudes toward Israel?

What Do They Want? Graeme Wood Speaks With Supporters of ISIS: Dexter Filkins, New York Times, Jan. 19, 2017— In early 2011, as American forces were packing up to leave Iraq after eight years of fighting and occupying…

 

On Topic Links

 

Sarsour's Defenders Choose to Ignore March Organizer's Liberal Critics: IPT News, Jan. 25, 2017

Trump’s History-Changing Vow to Eradicate ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’: Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch, Jan. 23, 2017

A Moderate Muslim Goes to Ottawa: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Jan. 17, 2017

How American Charities Fund Terrorism: Sam Westrop, National Review, Jan. 12, 2017

 

 

DEFENDING THE CIVILIZED WORLD

Clifford D. May

Washington Times, Jan. 24, 2017

 

In an inaugural address that was more purposeful than poetic, President Trump last Friday vowed to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.” I hope we can agree, across party and ideological lines, that those are worthwhile objectives. But let’s acknowledge, too, that achieving them will require a much more strenuous and strategic effort than previous administrations have undertaken.

 

The least likely place for uniting nations: the United Nations, an organization that has never managed even to define terrorism. A few U.N. members fight terrorism day after day (e.g., Egypt, Jordan, Israel). Others, however, condone and even sponsor it (e.g., Iran). The U.N. includes representatives of both the civilized and uncivilized worlds, and cannot be said to prefer one over the other.

 

Our Europeans allies are civilized — perhaps to a fault. Many embrace moral relativism as expressed in the mantra: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Bringing Europe into a meaningful union against terrorism will require a heavy lift. A straightforward definition of terrorism: violence intentionally directed against noncombatants for political purposes. That should, indeed, be seen as a barbaric practice. But terrorism is not the enemy. It is only a weapon the enemy deploys.

 

Most contemporary terrorism is, as Mr. Trump suggested, driven by “radical Islam,” an adequate term for a variety of ideologies rooted in totalitarian, supremacist and medievalist readings of Islamic scripture. Those who understand this also grasp why the Islamic State and the Islamic Republic of Iran are more alike than different.

 

Not for the first time is America threatened by such totalitarian foes. The goal of the Communists was domination by one class. The Nazis sought to establish the supremacy of one race. Today, the Islamists fight for one religion uber alles. They want all of us, Muslim and “infidel” alike, to obey Shariah — Islamic law as they interpret it. And if you don’t think they’ve been making progress over recent years you haven’t been paying close attention.

 

To defeat the Nazis and their allies required battles on many fronts from North Africa to the South Pacific. World War II, though relatively brief, was exceedingly lethal: More than 60 million people killed, about 3 percent of the world’s population at the time. The Cold War followed. In 1946, diplomat George Kennan sent his “Long Telegram” from Moscow analyzing Joseph Stalin’s ideology and intentions. Largely on this basis, President Truman, in 1947, decided to “contain” the Soviet Union and assist those threatened by communist aggression.

 

Three years after that, as military strategist Sebastian Gorka recalls in his 2016 book, “Defeating Jihad,” a State-Defense Policy Review Group was established under the chairmanship of Paul Nitze, then director of policy planning in the State Department. It produced NSC-68, a 58-page National Security Council report on the USSR, its “fanatic faith” and its determination to “impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world.”

 

NSC-68 explained why the Soviets were unlikely to sincerely embrace peaceful coexistence: “The United States, as the principal center of power in the non-Soviet world and the bulwark of opposition to Soviet expansion, is the principal enemy whose integrity and vitality must be subverted or destroyed by one means or another if the Kremlin is to achieve its fundamental design.” On this basis, Truman implemented a robust set of policies, including covert actions and psychological warfare, aimed at weakening the Kremlin and frustrating its imperialist designs.

 

Fast forward to 1983, when President Ronald Reagan came to the conclusion that containment had proven insufficient and attempts at detente unavailing. He accused his predecessor, President Jimmy Carter, of “vacillation, appeasement and aimlessness.” It is sometimes said that Reagan’s strategy was “We win, they lose.” In fact, that was his desired outcome. The essence of his strategy was articulated in National Security Decision Directive 75. “NSDD-75 was an extraordinarily ambitious, across-the-board assault on the Soviet Union,” in the words of Paul Kengor, author of “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism.”

 

To the disapproval of many academics and State Department officials, Mr. Reagan would call the Soviet Union an “evil empire” and exert pressure — diplomatic, political, military, ideological and, not least, economic — on a regime that was not as strong or stable as it looked to most observers, the CIA included. On Dec. 25, 1991, three years after Reagan left office, the hammer-and-sickle flag that had flown over Moscow since early in the 20th century would be lowered for the final time…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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HOW TRUMP COULD HELP A BROKEN MIDDLE EAST                                                     

Father Raymond J. de Souza

National Post, Jan. 23, 2017

                       

As President Donald Trump plans for his first year in office, he will not have to make space in his calendar for a December trip to Oslo. Unlike Barack Obama, he will not be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for just marvelously being Obama. Neither will he be grandiosely addressing the “Muslim world,” as Obama did in Cairo during his first months. But he might be rather more welcome in the capitals of Muslim countries than one might expect.

 

Even in the Trump world of employing reckless hyperbole to make a general point, the campaign promise to “temporarily ban” Muslim immigration was inexcusable. Likely he meant that admitting 10,000 Sunni Muslims from an ISIL-controlled refugee camp in Syria poses different security issues that taking 10,000 Christian software engineers from Kerala, and to pretend that all immigrants from all parts of the world are identical is both false and foolish. Certainly Canada’s selective immigration policy has never taken that view.

 

Nevertheless, the Muslim ban is fairly cited as evidence that Trump’s relations with the Islamic world will be rocky. Perhaps. But as Obama takes his leave it is fair to ask what happened to the great religion-and-politics project of his presidency. Obama thought that his Muslim father and his childhood years in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, would endear him to Muslims and lead to a rapprochement with the West. Yet much of the Muslim world today is worse off after Obama.

 

Certainly that’s true for the part of the Muslim world that Obama focused attention on — the Middle East. Given his Indonesian roots, it remains a mystery why so little effort was made to include the experiences of Indonesian Muslims in the global conversation about Islam and violence. It is a more hopeful tale. Jakarta, rather than Cairo, would have been a better place from which to address the Islamic world, and might have helped displace the Arab terrorist as the malevolent face of Islam in popular imagination.

 

Nearly half of the world’s Muslims live on the subcontinent — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh — but little attention was paid to what lessons, for good and for ill, could be learned from those massive Muslim populations. Aside from drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Obama showed very little interest in the subcontinent in terms of global security, despite the fact that Muslims encounter pluralism there more than elsewhere. Indeed, the great engagement promised by Obama with the Muslim world really meant a disengagement with the Middle East. American troops would be greatly reduced in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States would “lead from behind” on the Arab Spring, and would make a deal to lift sanctions on Iran. The great withdrawal would remove the American finger from the Islamic eye.

 

What Obama did not see, or chose to ignore, is that an American vacuum would be filled by someone. By early in Obama’s second term, it was clear that the candidates were ISIL on the Sunni side, and Iran, together with its allies in Moscow and Damascus, on the Shia side. The price of disengagement in Iraq was the rise of ISIL. The price for a deal with Iran was allowing Assad and Putin to brutally seize control of Syria. Obama willingly paid both prices.

 

The most haunting failure of Obama’s engagement with the Islamic world is that so many are desperately trying to leave it. The millions of Syrian refugees are largely Muslim, desiring at all costs to get out of Syria and into Europe. The Mediterranean Sea has become a watery grave for tens of thousands fleeing life in Muslim lands. As Obama leaves office, the pathologies of the refugee resettlement have turned northern European populations against both refugee resettlement and continued Muslim immigration. On the whole, Muslims are less secure, less free and less welcomed after eight years of Obama. It’s not all his fault, but it does mean that his central religion-and-politics realignment failed to improve the lives of actual Muslims.

 

Who knows what Trump will bring? There is the possibility that he might make things worse. But not necessarily. Neither Saudi Arabia nor Egypt want a Middle East dominated by Iran. They might welcome Trump’s skepticism over the nuclear deal. The Gulf states consider Israel a greater force for security and stability than the various Iranian proxies in the region, and would welcome American diplomacy that did not seek to isolate Israel. While many Arab states have shut their border to Syria’s refugees, Turkey and Jordan have been overrun, and would no doubt welcome any alternative to Obama’s consignment of Syria to the tender mercies of Assad and Putin. Trump’s rhetorical hostility toward Muslims is not welcome. But it might prove more welcome than the eight years of rhetorical peace and actual suffering. 

 

 

Contents

 

IS EUROPE’S JIHADIST PROBLEM GENERATING

EMPATHY TOWARD ISRAEL?

Cnaan Liphshiz

JTA, Jan. 12, 2017

 

Is terrorism softening European attitudes toward Israel? When a Palestinian terrorist used a car to ram and kill an Israeli soldier in eastern Jerusalem in 2014, the European Union urged “restraint” and, without condemning the attack, called it merely “further painful evidence of the need to undertake serious efforts towards a sustainable peace agreement.” The statement by EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini was “a typical EU reaction, which blames the victim for getting attacked,” Oded Eran, a former ambassador of Israel to the European Union and a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, said at the time.

 

Two years later, however, European officials had a much different reaction to a similar attack in eastern Jerusalem, which killed four Israeli soldiers on Sunday. “The European Union condemns the murder of these four young Israelis, as well as any praise or incitement for terrorist acts,” Brussels said in a statement, which unlike the 2014 communique omitted any reference to the fact that the attack happened in an area of Jerusalem that it considers occupied.

 

Unusually, following Sunday’s attack the Israeli flag was projected on the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and Paris City Hall, signs of solidarity with the Jewish state permitted by local authorities. Rotterdam City Hall flew the Israeli flag at half-mast. To Eran and other observers of Israeli-EU relations, this change in tune is indicative of greater understanding and empathy in Europe to Israel’s fight against terrorism following a a wave of terrorist attacks on the continent beginning in 2012.

 

“I think it’s a new development that sincerely stems from the change in the mind of many people in Europe, in government and beyond, who now understand better than a few years ago the impact and influence of terrorism on the daily lives of innocent victims,” Eran told JTA on Wednesday. He was referring to the cumulative effect of at least a dozen major attacks on Western European soil since 2012 in which local or foreign jihadists killed hundreds of victims using methods long associated with Palestinian terrorists.

 

Last month, a terrorist whom the Islamic State terrorist group described as its “soldier” killed 11 people, including one Israeli tourist, at a Berlin Christmas market by plowing a stolen truck through the crowd. In July, a similar attack claimed over 80 lives in Nice, France. Days later, an Afghan man injured four people with an axe on a train in southern Germany.

 

These events happened just months after the murder of over 30 people in a series of explosions in Brussels in March, and fresh on the heels of a horrific series of bombings and shootings that left 130 people dead in Paris in November 2015. The Israeli government, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular, have been persistently drawing an equivalence between the attacks in Europe and attacks against Israelis by Palestinians. “The terrorists who attack us have the same murderous intent as those in Paris,” Netanyahu said about the November 2015 Paris attacks. “It is time for states to condemn terrorism against us like they condemn terrorism anywhere else in the world.”

 

Some European leaders clearly see his point. Following the Berlin attack, German President Joachim Gauck said as much in a reply he sent to a condolence message from Gauck’s Israeli counterpart, Reuven Rivlin. “You and your country are in a position to understand fully what being threatened by terrorism means for a people and a nation because in your country it has become almost a daily phenomenon. We know that you can feel with us and commiserate,” Gauck said.

 

Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Avraham Nir-Feldklein, further drove home the message in a statement following the projection of the Israeli flag on the Brandenburg Gate, a gesture initiated by pro-Israel activists. “We all find ourselves facing the same terror, from Nice through Berlin to Jerusalem, but together we will stand against evil, and we will prevail,” he wrote. On Twitter, the German Foreign Ministry shared a picture of the projection, stating it was “in solidarity with Israel.” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, by contrast, described the gesture in her city merely as a “tribute to the victims of the attack” in Jerusalem.

 

Muna Duzdar, an Austrian state secretary, insisted in an interview Wednesday with JTA that “Europe always understood that Israel has a right to defend itself and have security,” and that greater empathy in Europe for terror victims extends not just to Israel but to victims around the world. But following the attacks in Europe, “now we’re having the situation that we have daily terrorist attacks. I wake up and there’s an attack in Israel, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Germany. No country is left unaffected. And it might be that someone who was affected himself has a better understanding of this.”

 

Duzdar, who was born in Austria to Palestinian parents and heads the Palestinian Austrian Society, rejected during the interview claims that the attack was not a terrorist incident because it was directed against soldiers on land that Palestinians consider occupied. “This attack targeted human beings, and as far as I understand it was a jihadist who did that, whose intention was to attack people,” she said.

 

In Belgium, the firebrand anti-Israel columnist Dyab Abou Jahjah, who for years justified violence against Israelis and Americans in the pages of the De Standaard daily, was fired Monday for defending Sunday’s Jerusalem attack on social media. “An attack on occupation soldiers in occupied territory is not terrorism! It is an act of Resistance. #FreePalestine,” Abou Jahjah wrote. In a statement, De Standaard editor-in-chief Karel Verhoeven wrote that Abou Jahjah “has placed himself beyond the borders of acceptable debate” by endorsing violence.

 

Yet the gestures of empathy toward Israel will not likely carry over to EU policy, according to Eran, the former ambassador. “These gestures are heartwarming and indicative of a positive change, but there is a clear distinction between empathy and policy in the corridors of the European Union, which is likely to remain as critical as ever of Israeli settlements and continue to oppose them on every international arena,” he said.                                                  

 

Contents

 

WHAT DO THEY WANT? GRAEME WOOD SPEAKS

WITH SUPPORTERS OF ISIS

Dexter Filkins

New York Times, Jan. 19, 2017          

 

In early 2011, as American forces were packing up to leave Iraq after eight years of fighting and occupying, one of the war’s most hideous byproducts was lurching toward what appeared to be certain death: Al Qaeda in Iraq, which had recently renamed itself the Islamic State in Iraq, had seen most of its leaders killed and its membership whittled to a handful of dead-enders, who were huddled in sanctuaries in and around the northern city of Mosul.

 

But then the Americans departed, and a vast uprising against the government across the border, in neighboring Syria, took off. Suddenly, the Islamic State in Iraq, led by an ambitious former graduate student who called himself Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saw its fortunes brighten anew. Baghdadi dispatched a handful of fighters to Syria and within a few months they were running operations across much of the country. Iraq promptly returned to chaos, and in April 2013, Baghdadi, presiding over a vast fief that stretched from the Iraqi desert to the outskirts of Damascus, rechristened his group yet again — as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS — and appointed himself caliph. Tens of thousands of volunteers from around the world flocked to defend his far-off kingdom in the sand.

 

In the years since, ISIS’ breathtaking lust for anarchy — temple-smashings, beheadings, crucifixions — has inevitably prompted the question: What do these people want? The usual answers — money, power, status — do not seem to suffice. Graeme Wood, a correspondent for The Atlantic and a lecturer at Yale, believes he has found something like an answer, and that it can be located in the sacred texts, teachings and folklore of early Islam. In “The Way of the Strangers,” Wood, through a series of conversations with ISIS enthusiasts, shows that many of them claim to want the same thing: a theocratic state without borders, ruled by a leader who meets a series of strict qualifications, and who adheres to a brand of Islam that most people — including most Muslims — would find stifling and abhorrent.

 

The most novel aspect of Wood’s book is that he shows, convincingly, that the stifling and abhorrent practices of the Islamic State are rooted in Islam itself — not mainstream Islam, but in scriptures and practices that have persisted for centuries. There’s no use denying it. “For years now, the Islamic State and its supporters have been producing essays, fatwas, . . . films and tweets at an industrial pace,” Wood writes. “In studying them we see a coherent view of the world rooted in a minority interpretation of Islamic scripture that has existed, in various forms, for almost as long as the religion itself.” That goes for the most barbarous practices as well: “Slavery has been practiced by Muslims for most of Islamic history, and it was practiced without apology by Muhammad and his companions, who owned slaves and had sex with them.”

 

Wood has obviously studied the old Islamic texts. And he makes clear, in the conversations he has with Islamic State supporters, that they have, too. The value of “The Way of the Strangers” is that it gives the lie to the notion, repeated so often in the West as to become a cliché, that ISIS zealots are betraying Islam, and that their practices are un-Islamic. They are Islamic, and in that sense, the end-state of their murderous program is not hard to discern.

 

The Islamic State, such as it is, is a dangerous place, and Wood’s book amounts to a tour around its far edges, where it can be safely traversed. And so we sit down with Hesham Elashry, a suit tailor in Cairo who tries to convert Wood to his Salafist ways. We meet Yasir Qadhi, a Houston-born scholar who abandoned his hard-line views and earned a Ph.D. at Yale. We tag along with Wood as he travels to Footscray, Australia, to meet a jihad-minded young man named Musa Cerantonio, who writes about ISIS on Twitter and Facebook, and who follows an obscure strain of doctrinaire Islam, popular in the Islamic State, known as Dhahirism. And we trace the path of John Georgelas, a.k.a. Yahya Abu Hassan ibn Sharaf, a native of Plano, Tex., who rebelled against his middle-class upbringing, converted to Islam and made the pilgrimage to Syria in 2013 to join the Islamic State; he was wounded soon after and since then has been one of the group’s chief propagandists. Together, Wood’s conversations amount to a thorough discussion of the theological underpinnings of the Islamic State…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents           

On Topic Links

 

Sarsour's Defenders Choose to Ignore March Organizer's Liberal Critics: IPT News, Jan. 25, 2017—By all accounts, last Saturday's Women's March protests generated huge crowds in Washington, D.C. and in similar rallies throughout the country.

Trump’s History-Changing Vow to Eradicate ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’: Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch, Jan. 23, 2017—The establishment media has been too involved with comparing crowd sizes to take any significant notice, but Trump’s words heralded a change that was momentous — and could make all the difference in our civilizational struggle against the global jihad.

A Moderate Muslim Goes to Ottawa: Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun, Jan. 17, 2017—On Jan. 10, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a decision that made ripples throughout the world. From Singapore to India, to the BBC and beyond, the only news from Canada that made headlines was about Ahmed Hussen, a Somali-born refugee who arrived on our shores in 1993 and rose to become our Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

How American Charities Fund Terrorism: Sam Westrop, National Review, Jan. 12, 2017—As the president-elect has repeatedly made clear, his first full day in office will be a busy one. He has promised to effect a wide array of changes. But what about his second day? If he has some free time, we have some suggestions.

 

 

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIDDLE EAST “WELLSPRING OF TERROR” INSPIRES ISLAMIST RADICALS IN JERUSALEM, EUROPE, & BEYOND

Why the Arab Terror in Jerusalem?: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Breaking Israel News, Oct. 20, 2016— Hope, not despair, is the reason for Islamic-Arab terror in Jerusalem.

A Stark Prognosis for the Middle East: Efraim Inbar, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 4, 2016 — Several major developments in the Middle East will keep the region a wellspring of Islamic terror and a source of inspiration for Islamist radicals for the foreseeable future.

Islamist Violence Will Steer Europe's Destiny: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, Oct. 10, 2016  — While visiting predominantly Muslim suburbs emerging outside nearly all northern European cities, one question keeps recurring…

Guess Who Is Helping Islamists to Oppress Women?: Thomas Quiggin, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 10, 2016— Advocating violence against women and other misogynist practices are increasingly being accepted by individuals who identify themselves as "feminists" and "female leaders."

 

On Topic Links

 

Teach the Truth About Islamophobia: Barbara Kay, National Post, Sept. 14, 2016

Bombing Suspect is No Lone Wolf, But a Terrorist With a Family of Sympathizers: Paul Sperry, New York Post, Sept. 24, 2016

Terror Crossroads: On Europe’s Doorstep: Gordon N. Bardos, World Affairs, Spring 2016

A Debate About Terror: Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 21, 2016

 

 

WHY THE ARAB TERROR IN JERUSALEM?

Dr. Mordechai Kedar                                                             

Breaking Israel News, Oct. 20, 2016

 

Hope, not despair, is the reason for Islamic-Arab terror in Jerusalem. A glance at the Islamic-Arab map of terror against Jews makes the picture clear: The terror attacks in Jerusalem are on a larger scale and are more complex and intensive than in other Israeli cities which have a significant Israeli Arab Islamic population – Jaffa, Nazareth, Acre and Haifa. That is what gives rise to the question – why the Arab terror in Jerusalem? What makes this city such an attractive goal for terrorists and terror?

 

In previous articles, we discussed the historical and religious factors behind Israel’s conflict with its neighbors; namely, that Israel’s very existence and its capital’s establishment in Jerusalem pose a religious challenge for Muslims, who view Islam as the true religion while Judaism, like Christianity, is considered a religion of lies. The return of the Jews to their homeland and historic capital city puts the lie to that concept and threatens Islam’s status in the world.

 

In addition to the religious component, there is the nationalist one: Israel’s existence is a reflection of the Arab failure to prevent its establishment in 1948 and the additional failure of the Arab nations in every war whose main goal was the destruction of the entire State of Israel. The Arab nations were humiliated – and making peace with Israel is an admission of the continuing shame they feel at the very existence of a Jewish state.

 

However, all this does not explain why the Arabs living in Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth and Acre (Akko) for the most part do not take up terror, while many of the Arabs living in Jerusalem spend their days and nights planning terror attacks. Some say that the proximity of the Al Aqsa Mosque is the reason, but that is not true, because the Muslims in Jaffa and Nazareth consider Al Aqsa to be holy as much as the Jerusalem Arabs do, and still they avoid committing terrorist attacks while the Jerusalem Arabs are actively involved in terror.

 

There has to be another difference between Jerusalem and the other Israeli cities with sizable Arab populations. One could claim that the difference is a result of the length of time Israel is in control of these cities: The four cities of Nazareth, Acre, Haifa and Jaffa have been under Israeli sovereignty for 68 years, while Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods have been part of the Jewish State for only 50 years. But the four cities were tranquil and free of terror way before Israel’s 50th birthday, so why aren’t 50 years enough to calm down the Arab-Muslims in Jerusalem?

 

The answer is elementary. There is a fundamental difference between Jewish control in Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth and Acre and Jewish control of Jerusalem. It has to do with the finality of Israeli sovereignty: from that day in June 1949 when armistice – by no means peace!! – agreements were signed in Rhodes between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the Arabs in those four cities realized that they had been transformed permanently, against their will, into citizens of Israel – and will remain that way unless Israel disappears (inshallah!). While Israel exists, there is no other possibility open to them, and that means the end of the struggle and a coming to terms on some level with Israeli sovereignty, whether or not they like it.

 

The 1949 Arab de facto recognition of Israel brought them to the realization that the Arab world had betrayed them and so they set aside any hopes of being liberated by Arab armies. International recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over their cities increased the feelings of helplessness in the face of the Jewish state and they accepted the rules of that state’s societal, economic and political game, not out of love but because there was no other political game in town that they could join. And most important: they never saw any Israeli, from the radical left to the extreme right, call on Israel to give Jaffa, Haifa, Acre or Nazareth over to Arab control. Facing Israeli unanimity on the subject as well as Arab and international acceptance, they understood that their struggle had ended in failure and that their lives would be lived and their interests pursued within a Jewish state.

 

In contrast, the Arabs in Jerusalem live in a totally different state of mind, one in which Israeli rule over eastern Jerusalem is not the end of the story. There are many reasons for this: they, too, hear all the Jews who call themselves Zionists and who want to divide Jerusalem in order to establish the capital of a Palestinian State in the eastern sector of the city, the area that has been holy to Judaism for over 3000 years.  They cannot help seeing delusional NGO’s such as “Ir Amim” (literally city of nations”) whose agenda includes recognition of Arab “rights” to establish an Arab capital in Jerusalem although the city was never the capital of any Arab or Islamic state. They cannot but see the environmental neglect in the eastern part of the city as compared with the investment in the appearance of the western part. They see that Al Quds University is not under the aegis of Israel’s Higher Education Council – and they see another thousand proofs that Israel is not really serious about annexing eastern Jerusalem, although 50 years have passed since the  “occupation” began…                                                         

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                                                                                                                                      

 

Contents                                                                                                           

                                                             

A STARK PROGNOSIS FOR THE MIDDLE EAST                                                                             

Efraim Inbar                                                                                                        

Jerusalem Post, Oct. 4, 2016

 

Several major developments in the Middle East will keep the region a wellspring of Islamic terror and a source of inspiration for Islamist radicals for the foreseeable future. Attempts to perpetrate acts of terror against the “enemies of Islam” should be expected to continue. The first development contributing to the growth of terror has been the historic disruption of the Arab state system. The relatively new Arab states failed to instill deeply held national identities (with the exception of Egypt, a true historical state). This failure allowed for the breakdown of states along ethnic, tribal and sectarian lines, and for the emergence of armed militias.

 

The rise of numerous failed states, characterized primarily by the loss of monopoly over the use of force, started before the Arab Spring. Lebanon, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority and Somalia are prime examples. This trend intensified with the weakening of the central governments in Libya, Syria and Yemen. Those states were transformed into vast battlefields containing many militias notable for their lack of inhibitions against using terror to attain political goals.

 

The crumbling of state structures also facilitated access to weapons. National arsenals, once guarded by state organs that have since disintegrated, became accessible to militiamen and terrorists of all kinds. Indeed, the Islamic State (IS) is fighting with weapons supplied by the Americans to the Iraqi army, while insurgents in Syria are using Russian weapons intended for use by the Syrian army. The collapse of state structures also destroyed border controls, allowing for freedom of movement for both terrorists and weaponry. The chaos and internecine fighting that accompany the destruction of a state cause people to flee for their safety beyond the borders of their country, and terrorists can hide easily among waves of refugees.

 

A critical historic trend in the Middle East that is feeding the terror phenomenon is the rise of political Islam. Islamic identity is deeply entrenched in the region, making the population susceptible to Islamist messages couched in traditional content. The Islamists have also capitalized on the Arab states’ inability to deliver decent services to their citizens by establishing educational networks as well as health and social services. This has been a winning strategy for them, in that it has allowed them to capture popular support. When free elections are allowed in the Arab world, Islamist parties do very well. However, most Islamists are anti-modern and anti-Western. Radical Islamist circles advocate violence and terror in the interest of installing “true Islam,” first in Muslim lands and eventually everywhere else. Islamists despise “the decadent West” and believe it will inevitably fall under Muslim rule.

 

The Islamic wave is present not only in Arab failed states. Saudi Arabia, whose stability and territorial integrity of which should not be taken for granted, exports a fundamentalist version of Islam (Wahhabism) throughout the Muslim world by building mosques and funding schools. The strand of Islamic extremism that promotes and legitimizes violence is linked to this Saudi-centered strain of Islam. Al Qaeda is one of its offshoots. The wealthy, maverick state of Qatar also supports a variety of radical Islamist organizations. It even hosts an Afghan Taliban “political office” on its soil. The “moderate” Arab states grapple with the Islamist challenge. In the largest and most important Arab state, Egypt, the most potent political force – the one able to bring multitudes of supporters into the streets – is still the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, Egypt faces an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula.

 

The two strong non-Arab states in the Middle East (excluding Jewish Israel), Iran and Turkey, also display Islamist tendencies. Following the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran adopted a radical Shi’ite program intertwined with Persian imperialist ambitions. Its quest for hegemony in the region was abetted by the ill-advised nuclear agreement with the US, which was not linked to any changes in Iranian international behavior and freed great amounts of money for Iranian mischief. The modus operandi in Tehran includes terror, and Iran remains on the Americans’ list of state sponsors of terror.

Turkey under Erdoğan, particularly after the botched military coup, is increasingly authoritarian, with stronger domestic pressure being applied to urge conformity with the mores of the Turkish version of the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey’s international behavior is imbued with neo- Ottoman and Islamic impulses. It lends support to Islamist factions in the Syrian and Libyan civil wars (including IS) and to Hamas in Gaza. It is also involved in the Balkans, particularly in the Muslim states (Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo).

 

The Middle East, more than any other region in the world, is beleaguered by religious fanatics ready to use violence indiscriminately against people who do not adhere to the “right” religious approach. These zealots have a great deal of energy, and many frustrated Muslims are ready to blame their miserable predicament on the West. The majority of Muslims in the region do not condone abhorrent terrorist acts, but they are largely silent. Many who would not participate in such acts show understanding when they are committed by others. Most tragically, they are reluctant to take responsibility for bringing their societies into the 21st century…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                                                

 

Contents                                                                                                                                   

                                          

ISLAMIST VIOLENCE WILL STEER EUROPE'S DESTINY                                                                     

Daniel Pipes                                                                                                          

Washington Times, Oct. 10, 2016

 

While visiting predominantly Muslim suburbs emerging outside nearly all northern European cities, one question keeps recurring: Why have some of the richest, most educated, most secular, most placid, and most homogeneous countries in the world willingly opened their doors to virtually any migrant from the poorest, least modern, most religious, and least stable countries?

 

Other questions follow: Why have mostly Christian countries decided to take in mostly Muslim immigrants? Why do so many Establishment politicians, most notably Germany's Angela Merkel, ignore and revile those who increasingly worry that this immigration is permanently changing the face of Europe? Why does it fall to the weaker Visegrád states of eastern Europe to articulate a patriotic rejection of this phenomenon? Where will the immigration lead? There's no single answer that applies to multiple countries; but of the many factors (such as secularization) behind this historically unprecedented acceptance of alien peoples, one stands out as most critical: a west European sense of guilt.

 

To many educated western Europeans, their civilization is less about scientific advances, unprecedented levels of prosperity, and the achievement of unique human freedoms, and more about colonialism, racism, and fascism. The brutal French conquest of Algeria, the uniquely evil German genocide against the Jews, and the legacy of extreme nationalism cause many Europeans, in the analysis of Pascal Bruckner, a French intellectual, to see themselves as "the sick man of the planet," responsible for every global problem from poverty to environmental rapacity; "the white man has sown grief and ruin wherever he has gone." Affluence implies robbery, light skin manifests sinfulness.

 

Bruckner labels this the "tyranny of guilt" and I encountered some colorful expressions during my recent travels of such self-hatred. A French Catholic priest expressed remorse over the record of the Church. A conservative German intellectual preferred Syrians and Iraqis to his fellow Germans. A Swedish tour guide put down fellow Swedes and hoped he would not be perceived as one. Indeed, many Europeans feel their guilt makes them superior; the more they dislike themselves, the more they preen – inspiring a strange mix of self-loathing and moral superiority that, among other consequence, leaves them reluctant to commit the time and money required to bear children. "Europe is losing faith in itself, and birth rates have collapsed," notes Irish scientist William Reville…

 

South Asians in the United Kingdom, North Africans in France, and Turks in Germany, plus Somalis, Palestinians, Kurds, and Afghans all over, can claim innocence of Europe's historic sins even as they offer the prospect of staffing the economy. As the American writer Mark Steyn puts it, "Islam is now the principal supplier of new Europeans." The Establishment, or what I call the 6 P's (politicians, police, prosecutors, the press, professors, and priests), generally insists that everything will turn out fine: Kurds will become productive workers, Somalis fine citizens, and Islamist problems will melt away. That's the theory and sometimes it works. Far too often, however, Muslim immigrants remain aloof from the culture of their new European home or reject it, as most clearly manifested by gender relations; some violently attack non-Muslims. Far too often too, they lack the skills or incentive to work hard and end up an economic liability.

 

The influx of non-integrating Muslim peoples raises the profound question whether Europe's civilization of the past millennium can survive. Will England become Londonistan and France an Islamic republic? The Establishment castigates, dismisses, sidelines, ostracizes, suppresses, and even arrests those who raise such issues, demeaning them as right-wing extremists, racists, and neo-fascists. Nonetheless, the prospect of Islamization prompts a growing number of Europeans to fight on behalf of their traditional way of life. Leaders include intellectuals such as the late Oriana Fallaci and novelist Michel Houellebecq; politicians such as Viktor Orbán, the prime minister of Hungary, and Geert Wilders, head of the most popular Dutch party.

 

Anti-immigration political parties typically win about 20 percent of the vote. And while a consensus has emerged that their appeal will stay about there, perhaps reaching 30 percent, they could well continue to grow. Opinion polls show that very substantial majorities fear Islam and want to stop and even reverse the effects of immigration, especially that of Muslims. In this light, Norbert Hofer recently winning 50 percent of the vote in Austria represents a potentially major breakthrough. The greatest question facing Europe is who, Establishment or populace, will steer the continent's future. The extent of Islamist political violence will likely decide this: a drumbeat of high-profile mass-murders (such as in France since January 2015) tilts the field toward the people; its absence allows the Establishment to remain in charge. Ironically, then, the actions of migrants will largely shape Europe's destiny.

 

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GUESS WHO IS HELPING ISLAMISTS TO OPPRESS WOMEN?

Thomas Quiggin

Gatestone Institute, Oct. 10, 2016

 

Advocating violence against women and other misogynist practices are increasingly being accepted by individuals who identify themselves as "feminists" and "female leaders." The process of normalizing Islamist misogyny is well underway while so-called feminists remain silent on issues such as wife beating, child marriages, female genital mutilation and "forced suicides." For current feminists, it appears as though political correctness and fantasizing that they are "social justice warriors" outweighs the rights of women, especially brown women. When it comes to the issue of opposing violence against women, feminists are as silent as beaten wives. Nothing – including the advocacy of wife beating, pedophiliac sex acts with nine-year-old girls and the generalized oppression of women – can draw feminists into the debate on the role of women under the Islamist ideology that is prevalent in Canada and the USA.

 

Premier Katherine Wynne of Ontario (population 13.6 million) recently visited the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), along with Education Minister Mitzie Hunter. They met on August 26, 2016 with female members of the Islamic Circle North America Sisters (ICNA Canada) in Scarborough. The ICNA directly advocates misogynist positions such as wife beating, the taking of slave girls and the position that women are, overall, inferior to men. ICNA also notes that Islamic women have been "emancipated" from the obligation of earning their own livelihood. Therefore, women can be kept at home and cannot leave the house without the permission of the husband. Quite alarmingly, the Premier of Ontario did not criticize the organiztion or its heavily misogynistic beliefs. Rather she publicly claimed to have been "honoured" to have been there. The Minister of Education, Ms Hunter, appears to have remained silent on her views concerning this visit.

 

The Minister of the Status of Women, Patty Hajdu, for the federal government of Canada does not appear to have any problem with those advocating violence against women, either. Her cabinet colleague, Minister John McCallum, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, received an award for his "outstanding service" from the Canadian Council of Imams. The chairperson of this group is Dr. Iqbal Al-Nadvi, who is also the Amir of ICNA. Why the Minister of Immigration should be accepting an award from an individual whose own organization (ICNA) openly advocates violence against women is not clear. Minister Hajdu, despite her role as Minister for the Status of Women in Canada, has remained silent on this issue despite being made aware of it directly.

 

Mayor Bonnie Crombie of Mississauga has repeated allowed Hizb ut Tahrir (HT), a leading Islamist organization, to use city-owned property in Mississauga to hold conferences. In addition to stating that democracy is not compatible with Islam and that all Canadian soldiers are war criminals, HT is running an education campaign to teach women about "women's rights." To HT, women's rights are a Western concept and Islamic women should be aware of their obligation under sharia law. Ironically, the City of Mississauga withdrew permission (once) for Hizb ut Tahrir to have a meeting on city-owned property. Gerry Townsend, the CEO of Mississauga Living Arts Centre, confirmed the cancellation explaining that "there has been a bit of publicity about this organization." The meeting, it seems was not cancelled because HT is misogynist or listed as a terrorist group in multiple countries, but rather because of "publicity." Other meetings carried on without incident.

 

Member of Parliament Iqra Khalid is another woman who maintains silence in the face of the advocacy of violence against women. Prior to being a Member of Parliament, Ms. Khalid was the head of the Muslim Student Association at York University. In 2015, the same York University Muslim Student Association was handing out books for Islam Awareness Week. According to a book handed out, wife-beating is permissible under certain circumstances and some women enjoy being beaten because they are submissives. Ms. Khalid, who has close ties to the Islamic Society of North America and others, has not spoken out against the violence advocated by her former student association, the ICNA, the ISNA or any other such Islamist organization.

 

Perhaps the most disturbing example of all, however, is Joyce Thacker of the United Kingdom. She was the £130,000-a-year Strategic Director of the City of Rotherham's children's services department for five years. During that time, the ongoing rapes, drugging and enslavement of eleven to fourteen-year-old girls carried on in Rotherham. Not only did the child services department do nothing to help the 1400 girls being raped and forced into prostitution, in fact she (and others) went out of their way to silence anyone who tried to speak out. The reason for the enforced silence over a period of years was later identified in the official UK government report as "institutionalized political correctness." The rapists were primarily identified as Pakistani/Kashmiri/Muslims and the victims were identified as being primarily white girls. Rather than face the fact that a problem of mass rape on a wartime level existed, Joyce Thacker played a role in the cover-up…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    

 

Contents                       

           

On Topic Links

 

 

Teach the Truth About Islamophobia: Barbara Kay, National Post, Sept. 14, 2016—Exactly 14 years ago today, the National Post published an op-ed by Neil Seeman, “Are we all Islamophobes? Not really.” In it Seeman debunked the idea, promoted by Riad Saloojee, then executive director of CAIR.CAN (the Canadian chapter of the Council for American-Islamic Relations, now known as the National Council of Canadian Muslims, or NCCM, without apparent change of mission or affiliations), that “a very well-documented, anti-Muslim hate wave” had swept through Canada.

Bombing Suspect is No Lone Wolf, But a Terrorist With a Family of Sympathizers: Paul Sperry, New York Post, Sept. 24, 2016—Last weekend’s NYC bombing is yet another case of terrorism and hatred for America not being isolated to a “lone wolf” but running in the family. We’ve seen this horror before, in Orlando, San Bernardino, Chattanooga and Boston — Muslim families playing dumb after their son goes on a terrorist rampage, only to find out later that the family sympathized with terrorism.

Terror Crossroads: On Europe’s Doorstep: Gordon N. Bardos, World Affairs, Spring 2016—Just how large the Balkans loom over Europe’s security problems should be clear from the dramatis personae of last year’s Paris terror tragedies. The man who took credit for the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks, Nasser bin Ali Ansi, was a veteran of the Bosnian jihad in the 1990s and subsequently became a leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

A Debate About Terror: Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 21, 2016—The Commission on Presidential Debates, which is in charge of Monday night’s cage match between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, lists three topics on its website for the 90-minute debate: America’s Direction, Achieving Prosperity and Securing America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

EUROPE, A HUB OF ANTI-ISRAEL INCITEMENT, FACES MIGRANT CRISIS & ISLAMIST EXTREMISM

A Short Review of Dutch Anti-Israel Incitement: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 1, 2016  — Next week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the Netherlands.

EU, Terror and the Transparency Bill: Ron Jontof-Hutter, Israel Hayom, Sept. 14, 2016 — On the December 7, 1970, German Chancellor Willy Brandt knelt solemnly before the Warsaw ‎Ghetto in contrition.

France: The Great Wall of Calais: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 23, 2016  — Building work has begun on a wall in the northern French city of Calais, a major transport hub on the edge of the English Channel, to prevent migrants from stowing away on cars, trucks, ferries and trains bound for Britain..

Let’s Keep Canada Canadian: John Robson, National Post, Sept. 19, 2016 — The other day, I read a European Union publication on Ireland, which I concede is a self-inflicted wound. But it threw an oddly bright light on the vexed question of how Canadian values ever became controversial.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Islamic Hatred of Modernity: John Mauldin, Maudlin Economics, Sept. 28, 2016

Germany: Beginning of the End of the Merkel Era?: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 10, 2016

Burkini Debate in France Exposes a Divide in its Jewish Community: Cnaan Liphshiz, Times of Israel, Sept. 24, 2016

Europeans Turn to Israel to Spur Lagging Economies: Breaking Israel News, Sept. 26, 2016

 

 

A SHORT REVIEW OF DUTCH ANTI-ISRAEL INCITEMENT

Manfred Gerstenfeld                                            

Jerusalem Post, Sept. 1, 2016

 

Next week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the Netherlands. A succinct summary of anti-Israel incitement there may help him and his staff to better understand how the current Dutch reality differs from the distorted positive image many people still hold, namely the one based on the much publicized story of Anne Frank and her diary.

 

The Anne Frank story has entirely overshadowed a far more important one: the total disinterest of the Dutch government in exile in London during the Second World War in the fate of its Jewish citizens under the German occupation. Three-quarters of the 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands were murdered in the German death camps in Poland. The Netherlands is now the only Western European country which has never admitted to the wartime failure of its government’s attitude toward the Jews. Even Luxembourg and Monaco have recently done so. Furthermore, though archives contained the information for decades, it has only recently been published that Dutch SS volunteers participated in mass killings of Jews in Eastern Europe.

 

Around the turn of this century, the anti-Israel attitude in many Dutch circles strengthened. The ongoing incitement against the Jewish state by many Dutch politicians – mainly extreme-left and center- left – leading media, pseudo-humanitarian NGOs and so on has greatly influenced Dutch citizens. A Eurobarometer study in 2003 asked which countries are most dangerous to world peace. Israel came in second place after Iran – 59 percent of Europeans held this opinion. Of all countries polled the Netherlands had the highest percentage at 74%. This opinion can largely be explained by the widespread Dutch incitement against Israel. A 2011 study by the University of Bielefeld in Germany found that more than 38% of the Dutch population agreed with the statement that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.

 

The most dangerous political party to Israel nowadays is Labor, the junior partner in the current government led by liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The Labor Party incites against Israel in many ways. During its first Middle East Conference in 2013, party leader Diederik Samsom singled out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the only one on which patience is running out. He placed the entire responsibility for solving the conflict on Israel. Labor, the D66 Democrats and the Christian Democrats have also promoted a parliamentary motion which may lead to sanctions against Israel.

 

Earlier this year, Foreign Minister Bert Koenders (Labor) tried to fool his Israeli counterparts by saying that while there is freedom of opinion in the Netherlands, the Dutch government is against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. He did not mention that the Dutch government subsidized the BDS-promoting Catholic development aid organization Cordaid, to the tune of half a billion euros from 2007 to 2011 and lesser amounts since. Cordaid’s support of extreme incitement against Israel goes back at least 15 years.

 

A major scandal developed in 2002 when it became known that the Ford Foundation had partly funded the anti-Israel hate-mongers of the Palestinian LAW organization which had to be disbanded due to widespread corruption. No attention was given to the fact that Cordaid had donated even more money to LAW. The current Labor Party minister of foreign trade and development cooperation, Liliane Ploumen, held top positions with Cordaid from 2001 to 2007. Other Dutch pro- BDS bodies also received large amounts of government funding. Koenders has been active in the European labeling of products from the West Bank as well.

 

The list of Jewish guests for the 2013 dinner hosted by Dutch King Willem Alexander for the visiting president Shimon Peres has never been published. The heads of the two largest Jewish communities, the Ashkenazi Orthodox and Liberals, were not invited. The head of the tiny, extreme Jewish anti-Israel group EAJG was.

 

For the first time in Dutch independent history – thus leaving aside the German occupation – a number of Jewish businessmen had to hire private bodyguards in 2014 as a result of threats. The most severe anti-Semitic incident in the Netherlands was a robbery last year (by criminals who appeared to be of Moroccan-Arab descent) of a couple of elderly Holocaust survivors in Amsterdam. The woman was a survivor of Auschwitz. The robbers called them “dirty Jews” and beat them severely. The most recent scandal is a claim in the NRC daily that the Mossad is threatening a human rights activist in the Netherlands.

 

From time to time Prime Minister Rutte visits Israel with a delegation of Dutch businessmen. He is accompanied by two Labor Party ministers who visit the Palestinian territories. Perhaps next time Prime Minister Netanyahu can invite Rutte and his ministers for a memorial meeting at the site of the terrorist attack at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem where a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in 2001. Among the 15 killed were five members of the Schijveschuurder family. Two parents and three of their children were murdered, and three others were wounded. They were children and grandchildren, respectively, of Dutch Holocaust survivors. The above are a small sample of the widespread incitement against Israel in the Netherlands. This topic can easily be extended to book format.                                                                                                      

 

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EU, TERROR AND THE TRANSPARENCY BILL                                                                             

Ron Jontof-Hutter      

Israel Hayom, Sept. 14, 2016

 

On the December 7, 1970, German Chancellor Willy Brandt knelt solemnly before the Warsaw ‎Ghetto in contrition. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Israel faced annihilation, the same ‎Willy Brandt denied German landing rights to U.S. planes carrying emergency supplies to Israel. ‎Chancellor Angela Merkel occasionally says that Israel's "right to exist" is Germany's raison d'etre.‎

 

Like Brandt, Germany appears to be two-tongued when it comes to anti-Semitism. Like the ‎EU, Germany makes a distinction between anti-Semitism and objecting to Israel's policies, which on ‎paper seems to be fair. Thus, giving the Hitler salute and denying the Holocaust are illegal. On the ‎other hand, the annual Iran-sponsored Al-Quds March through downtown Berlin, calling for the ‎destruction of Israel, is legal. Berlin constantly turns a deaf ear to appeals to ban that march.‎

 

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the Iran nuclear deal — was enthusiastically supported by Germany, enabling Iran to fully develop ‎its nuclear program after a decade, while currently testing missiles marked "Death to Israel." ‎However, the same Germany decided that nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes were too risky ‎for Germans. They are to be phased out by 2022.‎ Germany maintains it has a "special relationship" with Israel while the EU ambassador to Israel ‎explained that Israel is singled out because "you are one of us."‎

 

The EU countries support various NGOs despite their being termed "nongovernmental." Germany's Economic Cooperation and Development Ministry provides funding to NGOs as part of ‎its foreign aid programs. Recently, Professor Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor exposed the doublespeak ‎of Germany yet further. The German government annually pays 4 million euros ($4.5 million) to NGOs in Israel, ‎of which 42% goes to organizations that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and worse, like the Popular Struggle ‎Coordination Committee, which advocates violent riots in Judea and Samaria. The German Embassy in ‎Tel Aviv does not deny the funding, but blandly states that Germany does not support boycotts of ‎Israel. They donate to "organizations supporting peace."‎

 

Some of the NGOs funded by the EU are Zochrot, Grassroots Jerusalem and Baladna Arab Youth ‎Association, all of which are committed to getting Palestinian refugees and their third- and fourth-‎generation descendants to "return" even though most have never been to Israel. I have met some ‎of these "refugees," who lead comfortable middle-class lives, in Australia. They certainly do not fit ‎the image of a refugee we see on TV. In my recent satire, "The Trombone Man: Tales of a Misogynist," the story depicts one such comfortable refugee who, like his parents, has never been ‎to Israel. Despite these anomalies, the EU generously funds these organizations that are dedicated to ‎Israel's disappearance as the Jewish state.‎

 

The EU therefore supports some organizations dedicated to Israel's demise while paying lip service ‎to its "right to exist," whatever that means. The EU, led by countries such as Germany, also ‎supports labeling people and products from beyond the Green Line or "Auschwitz lines," as the late dovish Foreign Minister Abba Eban called it. Thus, while officially declining to support ‎BDS, the same EU countries fund NGOs that do — all with a straight face.‎

 

The EU, ‎committed to democracy and human rights, has been "deeply concerned" about the recent ‎transparency law passed by the Knesset, even though there is no suggestion these NGOs would be ‎banned from practising their dubious activities. The State Department termed it "chilling," despite ‎its funds being surreptitiously used to influence the outcome of Israel's last election. In the ‎meantime, Europe is reeling with regular terror attacks, for which Europeans cannot find an ‎answer — except to insultingly compare Israel to Putin's Russia and be "deeply concerned" with ‎their fellow democracy that struggles to maintain civil rights while upholding its ‎citizens' right to life.‎ Israel remains a vibrant democracy despite the underhanded tactics of the EU. As Europe grapples ‎with increasing terror, its exaggerated concern with an ally threatened daily by internal and ‎external terror is misplaced and misguided.‎

 

NGO Monitor has shown in great detail the doublespeak of the EU countries that mouth ‎unconvincing platitudes regarding Israel's "right to exist" while simultaneously funding many NGOs that ‎promote exactly the opposite.‎ At the end of the day, it should be remembered that the hidden agendas of many of these NGOs ‎have little to do with human rights, per se, but more to do with providing conditions that would ‎end the State of Israel, by stressing the Nakba, hope, resilience and the "right of return" of ‎refugees and their descendants.‎ That is why it is always worth remembering Willy Brandt 1970 and Willy Brandt 1973. It sums up ‎Europe perfectly.‎

 

 

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FRANCE: THE GREAT WALL OF CALAIS                                                                                          

Soeren Kern                                                                                                          

Gatestone Institute, Sept. 23, 2016

 

Building work has begun on a wall in the northern French city of Calais, a major transport hub on the edge of the English Channel, to prevent migrants from stowing away on cars, trucks, ferries and trains bound for Britain. Dubbed "The Great Wall of Calais," the concrete barrier — one kilometer (half a mile) long and four meters (13 feet) high on both sides of the two-lane highway approaching the harbor — will pass within a few hundred meters of a sprawling shanty town known as "The Jungle."

 

The squalid camp now houses more than 10,000 migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East who are trying to reach Britain. The migrants at the camp are mostly from Sudan (45%), Afghanistan (30%), Pakistan (7%), Eritrea (6%) and Syria (1%), according to a recent census conducted by aid agencies. Construction of the wall — which will cost British taxpayers £2 million (€2.3 million; $2.6 million) and is due to be completed by the end of 2016 — comes amid a surge in the number of migrants from the camp trying to reach Britain. Around 200 migrants from Calais, the principal ferry crossing point between France and England, are successfully smuggled into Britain each week, according to police estimates cited by the Telegraph. This amounts to more than 10,000 so-called "lorry drops" — when illegal migrants hiding in the back of trucks jump out after reaching the UK — this year.

 

In 2015-16, more than 84,000 migrants were caught attempting illegally to enter Britain from the Ports of Calais and Dunkirk, according to Home Office figures cited by the Guardian. On just one day, December 17, 2015, around 1,000 migrants stormed the Channel Tunnel in a bid to reach Britain. Police, who used tear gas to disperse them, said the number seeking to cross the Channel in a single day was "unprecedented." Many of the migrants who are turned away move to "The Jungle" and try over and over again. Migrants at the camp have been using felled trees and gas canisters to create makeshift roadblocks to slow trucks heading for Britain. When the trucks come to a stop, migrants climb aboard to stow away as the vehicles head to Britain through the Channel Tunnel or on ferries.

 

UK-bound migrants are building up to 30 barricades a night to stop vehicles travelling through Calais, according to French officials. Teams of traffic police now spend every night trying to keep the roads around Calais clear of migrants and their debris. In recent months, masked gangs of people smugglers armed with knives, bats and tire irons have forced truck drivers to stop so that migrants can board their vehicles. The Deputy Mayor of Calais, Philippe Mignonet, has described the main route to the port as a "no-go area" between midnight and 6am.

 

In an interview with the French newspaper Liberation, Xavier Delebarre, who is in charge of France's northern road network, said the migrants have "tools, electric chainsaws that can be bought anywhere for fifteen euros." He added: "There is a strategy in their concerted attacks. They launch simultaneous assaults, and also diversions. Migrants build barricades by piling different materials on the road, including branches, as well as mattresses and trash. They set it on fire, and then put gas cylinders in the fire, which is very worrying. They create traffic jams to storm the trucks, so they can board them to try to get to England."

 

On September 5, hundreds of French truck drivers and farmers (who complain that fields around the migrant camp are full of rubbish and human excrement) blocked off the main route in and out of Calais, in an attempt to pressure the French government to close "The Jungle." The blockage brought to a standstill the route used by trucks from all over Europe to reach Calais and Britain.

 

Antoine Ravisse, president of the Grand Rassemblement du Calaisis, a coalition of local businesses, said the protesters wanted assurances from the French government that the roads in Calais will be made safe again. He said: "The main image of Calais today in the newspaper and on TV is very negative, all about the migrants and attacks on the highway. The first point is we want the highways safe again. It's unacceptable that today in France you can't travel without fear and without the certainty that you won't be attacked. We apologize to our British friends — our economy depends very much on the business we do with England. We apologize to all the families but some of them have experienced very bad times and dangerous times and they will agree it can't go on. We are standing here and we will wait until we hear something back from the government. We are not moving until we hear from the government."

 

David Sagnard, president of FNTR national truck drivers' federation, said: We have to do this. We have to escalate things, because for months now the situation has been getting worse and worse. Before, it was just attempts to get on trucks. Now there is looting and willful destruction, tarpaulins are slashed, goods stolen or destroyed. Drivers go to work with fear in their bellies and the economic consequences are severe."…      

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]   

 

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LET’S KEEP CANADA CANADIAN

John Robson

National Post, Sept. 19, 2016

 

The other day, I read a European Union publication on Ireland, which I concede is a self-inflicted wound. But it threw an oddly bright light on the vexed question of how Canadian values ever became controversial.

Everybody yammers on about them. An NDP email insists that health care is “a core Canadian value.” A Department of National Defence spokesman defends his department accidentally training a Bangladeshi terrorist by saying: “The Canadian Armed Forces has exchange and training programs designed to enhance our bilateral relationships and promote Canadian values.” Yet when Conservative leadership hopeful Kellie Leitch suggested screening immigrants to make sure they share those values, the smart set got a bad case of the vapours.

 

It seems we’re meant to know that “values” are for yokels, despite originally being Nietzsche’s subversively sophisticated substitute for moral truth. Which brings me abruptly, if unexpectedly, to that smarmy EU book. When you think of Ireland,” it concedes, “leprechauns, shamrocks, and Irish music might come to mind.” But if so, they are swiftly shoved aside: “modern-day Ireland… is no longer the homogeneous society it once was.” Formerly poor and quaint, it became a “Celtic Tiger” and “people from other parts of the world flocked to Ireland, seeking jobs and economic opportunity…. The flood of new cultures and peoples… has changed the centuries-old traditional life… there are now eight times as many people in Ireland who speak Polish as … Gaelic”. Nowadays “people from all around the world add their perspectives” in “the most globalized country in the world” where “society’s relaxed pace has disappeared” and “in a recent survey of Irish people between fifteen and twenty-four… more than a third did not know the meaning of Easter.

 

In short, there’s no longer any there there, just one more suburb of the galactic metropolis full of frantic, rootless, sleep-deprived materialist pseudo-sophisticates. Which is apparently good. As the introduction had already assured readers, Europe “is a continent with many different traditions and languages, but with shared values such as democracy, freedom and social justice, cherished values well known to North Americans. Indeed, the EU motto is ‘United in Diversity.’ ”

 

Such rhetoric certainly is familiar to Canadians. Eerily so. Our shiny prime minister, a walking, talking incarnation of post-modern vacuity, says “there is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada.” It’s odd to hear all this talk of diversity, while everything gets more and more similar. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed after denying our core identity, “There are shared values — openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice. Those qualities are what make us the first post-national state.” The words “post-national” are key. They are meant to say that anything good about Canada comes not from our traditions but from discarding them in favour of those famous globalized perspectives that always sound exactly like Michael Ignatieff, who called Canada a “civic experiment” and a “fiction,” while claiming a deep “attachment to the place on Earth that, if I needed one, I would call home.” But he doesn’t. He’s a “citizen of the world,” just like Justin Trudeau and his father.

 

Leitch’s proposal has proved popular with actual people, who understand, as historian Daniel Boorstin once said, that, “Planning for the future without a sense of history is like planting cut flowers.” They want immigrants to share genuine Canadian roots. But the elite is busy hacking through those very roots because, to borrow a phrase from theologian N.T. Wright, they think “trees should be entirely visible and obviously fruitful, no part of them buried in dirty soil. What’s down there in the rich soil of our home and native land? Individual liberty. Rule of law. Critical self-examination. And yes, monogamy, sprouting from a Judeo-Christian tradition now deemed in especially urgent need of uprooting and burning.

 

The EU’s book on Ireland smugly explains that, “You might be accustomed to seeing dates expressed with the abbreviations BC or AD.” But they’re going with BCE and CE because “many people now prefer to use abbreviations that people from all religions can be comfortable using.” It’s ludicrous, since CE still dates from the supposed birth of you-know-who. Would it mollify Muslims if we called him Gezuz? But it’s part of an aggressive, if shallow, effort to eliminate everything that forms part of our true heritage, especially everything religious.

 

Hence efforts in Canada to ban Trinity Western University graduates from practising law, and efforts to eliminate faith-based exemptions to non-discrimination laws at all universities. And hence Trudeau, who in odd-numbered years considers gender equality a core Canadian value, speaking cheerfully in an even-numbered year at a mosque where his female ministers are segregated, forced to cover their lascivious hair and stay silent. It’s oh so cosmopolitan. But without roots, societies, like plants, wither and die. Let’s keep Canada Canadian.

 

Contents                       

           

On Topic Links

 

The Islamic Hatred of Modernity: John Mauldin, Maudlin Economics, Sept. 28, 2016 —I have for you a very interesting and unusual piece for this week’s Outside the Box. It is not that I do not regularly send things by authors who see the world differently from me, but I rarely delve into the political and geopolitical world.

Germany: Beginning of the End of the Merkel Era?: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 10, 2016 —German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a major blow on September 4 when the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) surged ahead of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in elections in her home state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.

Burkini Debate in France Exposes a Divide in its Jewish Community: Cnaan Liphshiz, Times of Israel, Sept. 24, 2016— Like their constituents, the mainstream representatives of French Jewry are not known for passing up opportunities to express their opinion on subjects of national debate.

Europeans Turn to Israel to Spur Lagging Economies: Breaking Israel News, Sept. 26, 2016—About 60 ministers of education from a range of OECD countries gathered Sunday in Jerusalem for a three-day program to explore Israel’s culture of entrepreneurship.

 

 

IMPROVING SAUDI-ISRAEL TIES, & YEMEN PROXY WAR, REFLECT GROWING SAUDI-IRAN TENSION

 

Is Saudi Arabia Warming Up to Jews?: Elliot Friedland, Clarion Project, Aug. 23, 2016 — Saudi Arabia has long been the hub of the austere form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism, and has long perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews in the country’s media.

A Joyous Holiday and a Sad World: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Sept. 20, 2016 — Two million Muslims will be making the obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the Hajj, this month, as mandated by the Islamic calendar.

Holy War of Words: Growing Saudi-Iranian Tensions: Simon Henderson, Washington Institute, Sept. 7, 2016 — In the coming days, hundreds of thousands of Muslims will visit the Saudi city of Mecca to partake in the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Yemen: The War Canada Can’t Afford to Ignore: Elizabeth Renzetti, Globe & Mail, Aug. 26, 2016— Far from the watchful eye of the world’s media, war is ravaging Yemen, killing thousands of civilians, and starving and displacing millions more.

 

On Topic Links

 

No Saudi Money for American Mosques : Daniel Pipes, The Hill, Aug. 22, 2016

In Saudi Arabia, a Revolution Disguised as Reform: Dennis Ross, Washington Post, Sept. 8, 2016

‘We Misled You’: How the Saudis Are Coming Clean on Funding Terrorism: Zalmay Khalilzad, Politico, Sept. 14, 2016

Hajj Prep: Search Soul, Buy Sturdy Shoes, Pay the Dentist: Diaa Hadid, New York Times, Sept. 9, 2016

 

IS SAUDI ARABIA WARMING UP TO JEWS?

Elliot Friedland

 Clarion Project, Aug. 23, 2016

 

Saudi Arabia has long been the hub of the austere form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism, and has long perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews in the country’s media. For example one sermon broadcast on the official state channel from the Holy Mosque in Mecca said “O God, destroy the tyrant Jews. O God, deal with the Jews and their supporters. O God, destroy them for they are within your power.” But now relations seem to be thawing between Saudi Arabia and Israel and several prominent media personalities have publicly written about changing attitudes towards Jews.

 

Famous Saudi columnist Saham al-Kahtani wrote that references in the Quran to Jews as being “apes and pigs” could only be taken to refer to the Jews of the time of Muhammed and did not apply to contemporary Jews. Yasser Hijazi, of the influential paper Riyadh, published in the nation’s capital, went further, calling on Muslims to “leave behind their hostility and hatred of Jews” in a piece translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

 

Israel’s Channel Two TV, reported on this trend in a recent newscast. Israeli media attributed the change in focus to warming ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia following the Iran Deal over Iran’s nuclear program. “The change in tone in Saudi rhetoric towards Israel comes a year after the signing of the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers — a deal that leaves Riyadh concerned over its position in the Middle East — and as Tehran’s proxies in Syria and Lebanon are holding their ground in the Syrian civil war,” The Times of Israel wrote. The Times of Israel cited a July delegation to Israel of academics and businessmen headed by a retired Saudi general as further evidence of warming ties. The delegation met with Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold and other senior military and political officials, as well as with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

 

Over the last few years there have been subtle changes in Saudi Arabia’s position that may indicate a gradual shift towards a less anti-Semitic policy. In 2013, an assistant professor at King Saud University in Riyadh published an article praising Israel’s democracy and explaining that Arab youth was unaware that in Israel many young people “strongly believe that Israel’s stability is conditional upon its coexistence with the Arabs.” She also condemned Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians in the piece and condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yet in a heavily-censored country like Saudi Arabia writing anything remotely praiseworthy about Israel is fraught with peril, so it condemning the “occupation” is pretty much essential if discussing the topic at all.

 

In December 2014 the Saudi Labor Ministry said Jews would be permitted to work in Saudi Arabia, provided they were not Israeli citizens. “We bar entry [into Saudi Arabia] only to those with Israeli citizenship. Other than that, we are open to most nationalities and religions,” an unnamed government source told Saudi daily Al-Watan in a report translated by MEMRI. “For example, if a worker is a citizen of Yemen but practices Judaism, the [Saudi] Embassy [in Yemen] would not object to issuing him a work visa for the kingdom.”

 

The Saudi Labor Ministry later issued an ambiguous statement denying the reports saying that while new forms do allow those applying for a visa to list Judaism as a faith, the government has not made an official decision to allow the employment of Jews in the country. This disconnect can perhaps be explained by the difference between the public and private dealings of the Saudi state. The July visit of the Saudi delegation to Israel was officially not coordinated with the royal family and participants did not visit any Israeli governmental institutions, rather, they conducted their meetings in hotels. Similarly media attention to the employment of Jews in Saudi Arabia may have prompted an official denial, while in practice some Jews are able to obtain visas to travel and work in Saudi Arabia with no problems.

 

Saudi Arabia is a long way from supporting equality for all faiths equally and becoming a liberal state instead of a theocratic monarchy. Yet any progress is to be welcomed and change takes time. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring it is worth considering that the violent overthrow of states has so far failed to bring liberalism to the Middle East. Perhaps supporting gradual change as fought for by liberals within Middle-Eastern societies is more likely to yield tangible and largely bloodless positive results.          

           

 

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A JOYOUS HOLIDAY AND A SAD WORLD

Dr. Mordechai Kedar                                                   

Arutz Sheva, Sept. 20, 2016

 

Two million Muslims will be making the obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the Hajj, this month, as mandated by the Islamic calendar. The Hajj is one of the five basic pillars of Islam, a commandment that every Muslim must fulfill at least once in his lifetime.  Muslims from all over the Islamic world come to the Hajj, differing in appearance, skin color, language, dress, culture and customs, but all take part in rituals performed according to the stringent dictates originating in the Hannibal code of law as interpreted by the Wahhabi Saudi regime.

 

The Hajj symbolizes the ingathering of all Muslims to “The House of Allah,” as well as the love and affection that are expected to reign between Muslims and the happiness that unites them in their joint dedication to the service of Allah. The robe worn by the pilgrims – the “ihram” – a white sheath without pockets – signifies the modesty that man must show when coming to the home of his Lord and the absence of pockets proves that all belongs to Allah, that man’s property is worth nothing,  is temporary and perishable at best. The fact that the robes are identical and worn by all symbolizes that all are equal before Allah, rich and poor, king and servant, honored and despised. The pristine color of the ihram expresses the forgiveness for transgressions that takes place at the Hajj where every man who repents is cleansed of his sins.

 

The Hajj is an wrenching emotional experience, the most massive assembly in the world.  The intensive and crowded meeting with Muslims from a myriad of different cultures, the religious rituals, the speeches and prayers, all turn the Hajj into an ecstatic experience that creates a feeling that believers cannot achieve in other places or occasions. Pilgrims return from the Hajj with glowing eyes, veins suffused with religious adrenaline, heightened religious fervor and renewed and intense loyalty to Allah.

 

For most of those who return from the Hajj, this heightened religious fervor is expressed in adherence to the behaviors that are central to Islam: five prayers a day, fasting during Ramadan charity to the poor, modest dress, proper behavior and speech, avoidance of sins and transgressions and better relations with family and surroundings. Some of those returning from the Hajj interpret their heightened religious intensity as a reason to turn to Jihad, not only against the evil inclination within man’s soul but against infidels as well. And thus, not a small number of the Jihadists fighting in various areas were drawn in by representatives of terror groups who come to the Hajj in order to meet those most vulnerable to their efforts.

 

A massive gathering in an average-sized city like Mecca causes acute safety dangers because of the extreme crowding due to the fact that everyone has to perform the same rites at the same time and on the same day. The Saudi royal household invests enormous sums to build an infrastructure that will allow the crowds to perform the rituals safely, and builds bridges, lanes, passages, sidewalks and roads that create a secure environment for the millions who come to the Hajj.

 

The Saudi king calls himself “Guardian of the Holy Sites” in order to bestow religious sanctity on himself and his regime. This is the reason he feels responsible for arranging the Hajj so that it is safe. The Saudis build thousands of air conditioned tents for the pilgrims, and provide them with tens of thousands of sheep so that they can celebrate “Id Al Adha” – the “festival of the offering” that follows the Hajj. Sometimes, however, there are slip-ups and misunderstandings, and when two groups, each consisting of tens of thousands of people march towards each other by mistake, the tragic result is that many of them lie trampled underfoot and that many lives are lost in the resulting stampede.

 

Last year a crane fell over and killed tens of people, but the worst part of the accident was the altercation between the Saudi police and the Iranian pilgrims which left many of the Iranians dead.  The pilgrims from Iran are Shiites and the Saudis suspect them of attempting to perform rituals according to Shiite tradition, in direct opposition to Sunni Islamic principles – and certainly to the Wahhabi version of those rites. In past years there were other altercations between Iranian pilgrims and Saudi police, so that this is nothing new.

 

This year the dispute between Iran and the Saudis started anew as they rehashed the arguments over the accidents that occurred in previous years until the anger of both sides reached such a frenzy that the Mufti of Saudi Arabia declared Khamenei – the Supreme Ayatollah of Shiite Iran – an “Amgushi,” that is, not a Muslim, a heretic, a follower of the pre-Islamic Persian religion disguised as a Muslim. There is no more insulting epithet in the Muslim dictionary than the word “Amgushi.” As a result, Khamenei decided to move the Hajj this year from Mecca to Karbala, the Iraqi city closest to Mecca. In the year 680 C.E., Hussein Ibn Ali the leader of the Shiite rebels, was murdered and beheaded there by a military unit of the Sunni Umayyad Caliph Yazid ibn Muawiyah…

 

This rift over the Hajj is just another aspect of the war between the Saudis and the Iranians in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and in my estimation we are approaching the day when rockets are going to be flying through the air from Iran to Saudi Arabia and vice versa. This will be a disastrous development for the entire world because these two powers have both called on the ultimate player to help them, Allah, and both sides claim they are fighting for him and in his name. This kind of situation leads to a frenzy with which the world cannot cope, because no earthly or human considerations can put an end to a war that Allah wages against the infidel.

 

Economic considerations, oil infrastructure, loss of lives and damage to other countries do not have the slightest effect on Allah and his armies, and if – Heaven forfend – a real war breaks out between Saudi Arabia and Iran it will be a war to the bitter end using chemical and biological weapons. If one of the sides has atomic weapons, it is quite possible that they will be employed. I am stressing this point because both Saudi Arabia and Iran can get their hands on nuclear weapons, Iran has developed its own and the Saudis have acquired them from Pakistan. World leaders, especially those who gave their support to easing the sanctions on Iran and allowed that country to advance its military nuclear projects and continue to develop its missile arsenal, will have to answer for the decisions they made that may bring the Middle East and possibly other parts of the world to the point of no return on the road leading straight to hell.

 

And that is how the Hajj, the holiday that is meant to bring humankind closer to God and to a life spent under his protective shadow, may bring the Saudis, Iranians and perhaps other countries to their deaths under the shadow  of a horrendous mushroom cloud. A culture whose concepts range from “cursed tree” to “Amgushi” and which incorporates all-powerful Allah in its ranks, might find it perfectly acceptable to destroy a world that was built by mankind and for mankind, using concepts taken from the world of mankind. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.  

 

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HOLY WAR OF WORDS: GROWING SAUDI-IRANIAN TENSIONS                                               

Simon Henderson                                                                                               

Washington Institute, Sept. 7, 2016

 

In the coming days, hundreds of thousands of Muslims will visit the Saudi city of Mecca to partake in the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Unlike last year, there will be no Iranians there. Tehran and Riyadh were unable to agree on visa allocations and security arrangements intended to avoid the type of tragic stampede that killed hundreds of pilgrims last time around — an incident in which Iran suffered more victims than any other country. Two days ago, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared that Iranians who were injured last year and subsequently died were "murdered" by the kingdom's inadequate emergency response. He went on to suggest that Saudi Arabia was not a proper custodian of the holy places — effectively a direct challenge to the legitimacy of the kingdom's Sunni royal family, since the monarch has been styled "Custodian of the Two Holy Places of Mecca and Medina" since the 1980s.

 

Khamenei's words prompted a damning response yesterday from the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, the country's chief cleric, who described Iran's Shiite majority as "Zoroastrians" and "not Muslims." Anti-Shiite sentiment is common in Saudi Arabia, and the "Zoroastrian" jibe (meaning fire worshippers) is sometimes mentioned in the press. But the very public use of such words by a mainstream religious leader is extraordinary — though hardly surprising given Khamenei's comments.

 

The verbal escalation did not stop there: a few hours later, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif entered the fray, tweeting about the "bigoted extremism that Wahhabi top cleric & Saudi terror masters preach." This was no doubt a direct response to the Grand Mufti (since the Saudi brand of Islam is often labeled "Wahhabism"), and a reiteration of the longstanding Iranian claim that Riyadh supports the Islamic State terrorist group. The situation is arguably as bad as it was in 1987, when Iranian pilgrims in Mecca shouted political slogans that prompted trigger-happy Saudi National Guard forces to open fire, killing scores. Even without Iranians in Mecca this year, the risk of further escalation between the two countries is high.

 

In this regard, a key decisionmaker on the Saudi side will be Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, who will likely favor a resolute rather than conciliatory approach. As defense minister, he has been the main proponent of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, which was prompted by Iranian support for the Houthi rebels. That campaign is now a proxy war between the two countries, as are the struggles in Iraq, Syria, and, to a more limited extent, Bahrain. Saudi Arabia's own Shiite minority, concentrated in the oil-rich Eastern Province adjacent to Bahrain and the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, will likely be inflamed by the war of words, and miscalculation is possible, even direct military clashes. In light of this danger, the international community — collectively and individually — should urge both sides to calm the rhetoric.

 

At the very least, the tension represents a setback for U.S. policy, since the Obama administration had hoped that such animosity would be reduced at least somewhat by last year's nuclear agreement with Iran. In a January 2014 interview with the New Yorker, the president stated, "It would be profoundly in the interest of citizens throughout the region if Sunnis and Shias weren't intent on killing each other"; he also expressed his hope of "an equilibrium developing between Sunni, or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Iran in which there's competition, perhaps suspicion, but not an active or proxy warfare."

 

Part of the challenge of quieting the situation is coping with the apparent belief in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states that the Obama administration favors Iran. The president's April interview with the Atlantic caused considerable surprise in Riyadh and other capitals, particularly when he stated, "The competition between the Saudis and the Iranians…requires us to say to our friends as well as to the Iranians that they need to find an effective way to share the neighborhood and institute some sort of cold peace." Four months prior, Saudi Arabia had broken off diplomatic relations with Iran after its embassy in Tehran was gutted — an incident that followed the kingdom's execution of a leading Saudi Shiite preacher.

 

Given recent reports of aggressive maneuvering by Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval units in the Gulf, a confrontation with U.S. forces is also possible. Accordingly, Washington's response to the spike in tensions should combine diplomatic and military components — for example, dispatching Secretary of State Kerry or another senior official to the kingdom while visibly reinforcing the Fifth Fleet. America's allies in the region will be hoping for nothing less. Without a significant U.S. response, Saudi Arabia will likely be tempted to consider a more independent and perhaps dangerous course of action.

 

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                        YEMEN: THE WAR CANADA CAN’T AFFORD TO IGNORE

Elizabeth Renzetti

Globe & Mail, Aug. 26, 2016

 

Far from the watchful eye of the world’s media, war is ravaging Yemen, killing thousands of civilians, and starving and displacing millions more. This brutal conflict should be in the spotlight, especially in countries that supply arms to Saudi Arabia, which leads the coalition accused of causing most of the civilian deaths. Countries such as Canada.

 

This year, the Liberal government approved $15-billion in sales of light-armoured vehicles (LAVs) to the Saudi kingdom, a sale that gave this country the dubious honour of being the second-greatest exporter of arms to the Middle East, The Globe and Mail’s Steven Chase reported in June. Earlier versions of Canadian-made LAVS seem to have been used in the war against Houthi rebels in Yemen, The Globe reported in February. Human-rights groups protested against the sale, but otherwise there has been little public outcry.

 

The government’s argument for selling the combat vehicles to a country with an abysmal human-rights record boiled down to, “it creates jobs,” and “if we don’t, someone else will.” Those are lousy arguments for a country aiming to be a leader in global freedom and progress. The Saudi-led Arab coalition’s air strikes are responsible for the majority of the 3,800 civilian deaths in Yemen in the past 18 months, according to a new report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released Thursday.

 

The Saudis’ enemies, the Shia Houthi rebels and their allies backing the deposed president Ali Abdullah Saleh, are also responsible for atrocities, possibly including the use of land mines. Cluster bombs are landing on civilian targets. Children are being recruited into militias. An entire country is running out of medication and food. The war in Yemen is said to be a proxy war that Saudi Arabia is waging with Iran through the Houthi militia, but there’s nothing proxy about a bomb landing on a wedding celebration. “The resilience of the Yemeni people has been stretched beyond human limits,” the UN report warns. It calls for an independent report into the civilian devastation, which may be cold comfort to the people who are being bombed in marketplaces, schools, factories and hospitals.

 

A ceasefire ended in early August, which has caused the destruction to increase again. Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) recently withdrew its staff from six hospitals in northern Yemen, after a devastating hospital bombing on Aug. 15 killed 19 and injured 24. MSF said it gave the GPS co-ordinates of its facilities to the warring parties. Announcing its pullout from the region, the medical aid group said: “MSF is neither satisfied nor reassured by the Saudi-led coalition’s statement that this attack was a mistake.” At the same time, it’s hard to know the exact scope of the destruction, considering how lethal it is for journalists to operate in Yemen. It’s extremely difficult for foreign reporters to gain access to the country, and local journalists have been killed, harassed, kidnapped and imprisoned.

 

John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, was in Jeddah this week for “peace talks” with Saudi officials, even as his government is selling billions of dollars worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. The most recent deal, $1.15-billion (U.S.) in tanks and other arms, was approved earlier this month, though a small group of U.S. lawmakers is trying to delay the sale until Congress can study it further. The Obama administration has approved $110-billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia in the past six years, New York University professor Mohamad Bazzi recently wrote in The Nation, part of a complicated geopolitical dance to balance interests in the region. “The United States is complicit in this carnage,” The New York Times wrote in an editorial about the war in Yemen this week.

 

If the United States is the No. 1 supplier of arms to the Middle East, Canada is now No.2, according to figures compiled by the defence-industry publisher IHS Jane’s…Canada is not in the same weapons-dealing class as the United States, which supplies Saudi Arabia with helicopters, missiles and arms. However, the Canadian government has diluted the language around arms-export controls to make them less sensitive to human-rights concerns and more attuned to commercial interests. All of this should raise alarm bells, or at least spark interest in knowing more about this country’s arms-export deals. Unfortunately, the war in Yemen is grinding and complicated and far, far away. An entire population will pay the price for the world looking the other way.

 

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On Topic Links

 

No Saudi Money for American Mosques : Daniel Pipes, The Hill, Aug. 22, 2016 —Saudi Arabia may be the country in the world most different from the United States, especially where religion is concerned. An important new bill introduced by Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) aims to take a step toward fixing a monumental imbalance.

In Saudi Arabia, a Revolution Disguised as Reform: Dennis Ross, Washington Post, Sept. 8, 2016 —Today, it’s hard to be optimistic about anything in the Middle East. And yet having just visited Saudi Arabia, in which I led a small bipartisan group of former national security officials, I came away feeling hopeful about the kingdom’s future.

‘We Misled You’: How the Saudis Are Coming Clean on Funding Terrorism: Zalmay Khalilzad, Politico, Sept. 14, 2016 —On my most recent trip to Saudi Arabia, I was greeted with a startling confession. In the past, when we raised the issue of funding Islamic extremists with the Saudis, all we got were denials. This time, in the course of meetings with King Salman, Crown Prince Nayef, Deputy Crown Mohammad Bin Salman and several ministers, one top Saudi official admitted to me, “We misled you.”

Hajj Prep: Search Soul, Buy Sturdy Shoes, Pay the Dentist: Diaa Hadid, New York Times, Sept. 9, 2016 —My father was on the phone from Australia, giving gravely voiced advice on preparing for the hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. “Have you paid the dentist?” he asked. “He ruined my teeth!” I shrieked. “No matter, Baba,” he said, using an Arabic endearment. “This is the hajj. You have to clear your debts, even if you don’t think they are fair.”