By my favorite editor, Wesley Pruden, in my favorite newspaper,
The Washington Times
The Transportation Security Administration, eager to fit everyone with an ever-tighter security belt, promises to ease the hassle at the airports.
The agency wants to eliminate the ban on razor blades and small knives and restrict intimate pat-downs. Some airport pat-down agents could teach honeymooners about up close and personal. Federal judges, congressmen, Cabinet ministers and governors — just the people the rest of us are suspicious of — would get aboard without a search.
Inspectors will continue to harass innocent passengers to avoid inconveniencing actual terrorism prospects. The Bush administration won’t use profiling because it doesn’t want to hurt the feelings of the fanatics who are determined to kill the rest of us. Government officials who ride to the airport in motorcades behind security agents armed with enough artillery to stop a Panzer division will continue not to be inconvenienced, of course.
This is infuriating, but one version of a multiple-choice questionnaire circulating on the Internet demonstrates just how difficult it is to find a common characteristic among terrorists. The next terrorist will no doubt be named Mohammed, but he might be your mother, your pastor or even the little girl from down the street peddling Girl Scout cookies.
The questionnaire reveals the government’s dilemma:
1. In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles by (a)
Superman, (b) Jay Leno, (c) Harry Potter, or (d) a Muslim man between
17 and 4oyears old.
2. In 1972, 11 Israeli athletes were kidnapped and killed at the Munich Olympics by (a) Olga Carbett, (b) Sitting Bull, (c) Arnold Schwarzenegger, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.
3 In 1979 the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was taken over and 90 Americans were held for 444 days by (a) Sen. Strom Thurmond, (b) Elvis, (C) a tour group of Minnesota grandmothers, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.
4. During the 1980s, several Americans were kidnapped in Beirut by
(a) John Dillinger, (b) the king of Sweden, (c) the pope and a gang of
Cardinals, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.
5. In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon was blown up, killing 220 Marines, by (a) Domino’s Pizza delivery man, (b) the president of the Southern Baptist Convention (c) Catherine Zeta-Jones, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 4O.
6. In 1985, the cruise ship, Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70-year-old American passenger thrown overboard in his wheelchair by (a) Davy Jones, (b) Brooks Robinson, (C) the Little Mermaid or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.
7. In 1985, TWA flight 847 was hi-jacked at Athens and a U.S. Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by (a) Captain Kangaroo (b) William Jenmngs Bryan, (c) Mother Theresa, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.
8. In 1988, Pan American Flight103 was destroyed by a bomb in mid-air by (a) Butch Cassidy,’ (b) the Sundance Kid, (c) the Tooth Fairy, or
(d) Muslims between 17 and 40
9. The World Trade Center was bombed the first time in 1993 by (a)
Stonewall Jackson, (b) Michael Jordan, (c) Winston Churchill, or (d)
Muslims between 17 and 40.
10. In 1998, U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by
(a) Baby Snooks, (b) Hillary Clinton, (c) the World Wrestling Federation, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.
11. On September 11, 2001, airliners were hijacked to crash into the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon by (a Bugs Bunny (b) the Florida Supreme court, (C) Lou Gehrig, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.
12. In 2002, Daniel Pearl of the Wall Street Journal was kidnapped and beheaded by (a) Bonnie and Clyde, (b) the chief rabbi of Jerusalem, (c) Billy Graham, or (d) Muslims between the ages of 17and 40
13. In July of this year several targets were attacked in central London, killing 52 persons, by (a) the archbishop of Canterbury (b) Margaret Thatcher, (c) Sen. John McCain, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.
There’s clearly no constant on this list, so children in arms, nuns in habits, Medal of Honor winners, passengers in wheel chairs and in iron lungs must continue to submit to pat-downs, hugs, squeezes, chest X-rays, colonoscopies and other procedures as deemed necessary.
Anyone who looks like a terrorist on his way to work is to be waved through at once.
Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times.
Few of us in the West necessarily believe the mantra of Tony Blair and George W Bush that “Islam is a religion of peace” (anymore than Messrs. Blair and Bush, despite their huffing and puffing about it, necessarily believe it themselves).
By Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times
Some people learn things the hard way, and not all of them live in Washington. Our English cousins are getting a brutal lesson in reality: Multiculturalism will kill you if you don’t watch out.
Many of the Muslims in Britain were put out when the cops in the West Midlands raided a block of apartments in Birmingham just before dawn and arrested several suspects in the latest London terror bombings. The raids showed “insensitivity” toward Islam, and the authorities, ever eager to improve “community relations” with what Kipling might have called “the lesser breeds without the law,” invited the “moderate” chairman of the Central Birmingham Mosque to participate in a press conference to discuss the raids.
The session had hardly begun before one Dr. Mohammed Naseem began a denunciation of the West, of Britain, of the police and other assorted infidels who had libeled Islam by suggesting that Muslims were in any way responsible for the bombing campaign in London, in which more than 50 men, women and children have died. Prime Minister Tony Blair, he said, is “a liar,” and the security forces are evil. The suspects were merely innocent commuters, and he isn’t interested in hearing about DNA evidence because DNA science “could not be trusted.”
Well, of course it can’t, since DNA science was developed after the eighth century when the prophet set out everything that would ever be known about anything. The degeneration of the press conference into low comedy and then into farce embarrassed only some of the cops. The superintendent of police said Mohammed — the chairman of the mosque, not the prophet himself— was probably suffering from shock brought on by “the unusual events of the last few hours?’ This excuse-making was of a piece with the way the British police authorities, perhaps suffering toxic shock themselves, have behaved in the wake of the London atrocities. The day after the first blasts on July 7, a police deputy rebuked a reporter who asked about the nature of the Islamic threat. “Islam and terrorism,” he said sternly, as if rebuking a child for telling a potty joke, “don’t go together?”
Remarked the London Daily Telegraph on July 28: “When senior police officers go to great lengths to make such prim and dubious politically correct statements, then it is not surprising that Muslim leaders such as Dr. Mohammed Naseern end up believing them, and expect to be taken seriously when they take those assertions to their logical conclusions?’
Public opinion in Britain, in fact, appears to be saying enough, already. There’s a growing consensus that the British have been taken for suckers by the Muslim immigration wave that has overwhelmed the sceptered isle. The discovery that the suicide bombers of July 7 were homegrown, second-generation Englishmen, first bewildered many, and then angered most. The diversity that everyone was encouraged to celebrate turns out to be fatuous, fraudulent and some times fatal.
The one-sided celebration of diversity is beginning to grate as well. Julie Burchill, a columnist for the Times of London, notes that “English toddlers are being forced to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid when they are still trying to get their heads about the Easter bunny?’ There’s a sordid creepiness in the way even the diversity of the dead — that Muslims are killed along with everybody else —is celebrated by those who can’t get their own heads around the fact that the Islamic haters hate us simply for taking up space in a world that would otherwise be all theirs, with nobody to complain about the ranting, raping and beheading that is the worship ritual of the radicals.
The real phenomenon of the age of terror is how the “infidels,” the Christians, the Jews and the unbelievers, have kept their cool and their ideals intact in the wake of a rich provocation to retaliate. Few of us m the West necessarily believe the mantra of Tony Blair and George W Bush that “Islam is a religion of peace” (anymore than Messrs. Blair and Bush, despite their huffing and puffing about it, necessarily believe it themselves). But polls here and in Britain consistently show that the majorities are clearheaded about who the villains actually are. It’s a tribute first and last to the enduring power of Jewish ethics and Christian faith that shapes and informs the societies of the West — to which so many millions of Muslims aspire.
Wesley Pruden is editor-in-chief of The Times.
By Joel Mowbray
The Washington Times, Aug.28, 2005
Washington, D.C. talk-radio station WMAL is under assault from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group that has savaged journalists, critics of radical Islam, even the Fox TV show “24”— but which just as steadfastly has refused to specifically condemn various Islamic terrorist organizations.
CAIR has instigated a campaign to pressure the Disney-owned WMAL to fire its already-suspended midday host, which came on the heels of its initial effort to have him suspended. Though the outcome is uncertain in the current situation, two things are certain:
1) CAIR will continue demonizing genuine criticism of radical Islam as “Islamophobia."
2) It will never specifically condemn radical Islam or Islamic terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
At issue are remarks made by mid-morning host Michael Graham, in which he said that “Islam has, sadly, become a terrorist organization?’ But what is lost in most media accounts — and is never mentioned by CAIR — are the surrounding statements made by Mr. Graham, which put the thrust of his comments in an entirely different light.
Mr. Graham’s comments, in fact, were not met with immediate condemnation or outrage. He wasn’t suspended until July 28, almost a week after his on-air remarks. In the interim, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper even came on Mr. Graham’s show — telling him that CAIR didn’t want him fired, just punished. Once Mr. Graham was suspended indefinitely later that week, CAIR quickly called for his head.
Here are Mr. Graham remarks with full context:
“Because of the mix of Islamic theology that rightly or wrongly is interpreted to promote violence, added to an organizational structure that allows violent radicals to operate openly in Islam’s name with impunity. Islam has, sadly, become a terrorist Organization. It pains me to say it. But the good news is it doesn’t have to stay this way, if the vast majority of Muslims who don’t support terror will step forward and reclaim their religion.”
Plenty of people can - and should - take issue with the framing of the religion itself as a “terrorist organization?’ But his surrounding comments have, more than a ring of truth. Islamic theology is used to promote violence. And in many parts of the world, radicals have taken control of Islam —and the moderates have been effectively silenced. And Mr. Graham’s desire that moderates reclaim control of Islam is shared by many, though likely not by CAIR or groups of its ilk.
CAIR was founded in 1994 by two former high-ranking officials with the Islamic Association of Palestine, a rabidly anti-Semitic organization known as Hamas’s biggest political booster in the United States. Since September 11, CAIR officials have been careful to avoid the appearance that they support Islamic terrorism, but not before September 11.
In November 1999, CAIR President Omar Ahmad addressed a youth session at the IAP annual Convention in Chicago where he praised suicide bombers who “kill themselves for Islam ...Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam—that is not suicide." They kill themselves fur Islam.” (Transcript provided by the Investigative Project.)
Though CAIR’s mission is not to serve as an overt Hamas partisan, the organization has refused to specifically condemn the terrorist organization. Ditto for Hezbollah, which is responsible for murdering more Americans than any other terrorist group besides al Qaeda. And CAIR refused to condemn bin Laden or al Qaeda by name until three months after September11.
The Washington Post in November 2001 asked a CAIR spokesman to condemn Hamas or Islamic Jihad. He refused, explaining, “It’s not our job to go around denouncing” Asked a similar question about Hamas and Hezbollah by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in February 2002, Mr. Hooper called such queries a “game,” and added, “We’re not in the business .of condemning?”
Of course, CAIR is very much “in the business of condemning?’ The group gleefully slams critics of radical Islam, television shows, and talk-radio hosts. But when it comes to Islamic terrorist organizations or prominent Muslims who endorse terrorism, CAIR’s silence is deafening.
To provide cover — and further perpetuate the myth that CAIR and other American Muslim organizations are genuinely “moderate”, various fundamentalist Muslim leaders recently issued a fatwa against “extremism” and “terrorism” It was classic CAIR obfuscation. It condemned terms that were intentionally not defined.
Not coincidentally no terrorist organizations were named. Sadly, many media outlets were snookered. The question is: will TV station WMAL be snookered? The station, for its part, refuses comment, with one official calling it a “human resources issue?’ And the station has never acknowledged that CAIR was responsible for its decision. So it is possible that something else may be at play.
There are even some signals that the host might be back behind the microphone before long. At press time, he had not been reinstated.
Regardless of whether or not CAIR is successful in ousting Mr. Graham, though, it’s only a matter f time before the group launches its next smear campaign. There’s no telling whom CAIR would target next for condemnation, though it is clear who it would not be.
By Charles Krauthammer
August 26, 2005
WASHINGTON -- The world has noted -- though it will not credit, and will soon forget -- those deeply moving scenes of the Israeli evacuation of Gaza: the discipline and self-control of the Israeli army; the cohesion of a society torn over policy but determined to follow the dictates of democracy; and the deep, abiding attachment of Israelis to every inch of soil they have reclaimed from sand and swamp.
But there was one detail of the evacuation that went little noticed - the manner of the evacuation of the great menorah from the last synagogue of the last settlement to be evacuated, Netzarim. This menorah is not the nine-branched Hanukkah thingie that shows up on an equal-time basis by the shopping-mall reindeer display at Christmas time. It is the seven-branched candelabra -- like the one that was in the ancient temple in Jerusalem and is today the official seal of the state of Israel.
The Gaza menorah was carried off in a very remarkable and significant way, perched on a horizontal rod borne on the shoulders of men walking one behind the other. Seen in profile, that image has a shocking familiarity. If you go to the eastern entrance of the Roman forum today, you will see the huge triumphal Arch of Titus erected in A.D. 81 to commemorate the conquest of the Jews and the destruction of the Jewish state -- Judea -- in A.D. 70. One of the friezes shows the seven-branched menorah they were carrying out of the temple in Jerusalem -- as booty and symbol of the conquest of Judea -- perched on a long horizontal staff borne by Roman soldiers walking one behind the other.
No one steeped in Jewish history could fail to see the intended resemblance. The intended message was that the Gaza evacuation was a replay of the Roman conquest -- made all the more cruel and ironic because this time it was carried out by fellow Jews.
In my view, the religious messianists who are saying this are totally wrong in their strategic assessment. Gaza was a necessary retreat in order to hold higher, more defensible and more critical ground elsewhere. Nonetheless, the parallel images carried an unintended truth. It is not the Gaza withdrawal itself, but what follows that could lead to another and final extinction of Jewish independence, this time not just for 2,000 years but forever.
What follows is the world saying, almost in unison, that the Gaza evacuation is just the beginning of a total Israeli retreat, one Dunkirk to be followed by many more. What follows is Condoleezza Rice declaring that ``it cannot be Gaza only,'' a thrilling encouragement to the Palestinians jeering the Israeli withdrawal with chants of ``Gaza today, Jerusalem tomorrow.''
Is this what the Bush administration wants? More unilateral concessions to an implacable enemy whose ``moderate'' leader, Mahmoud Abbas, declares that ``we will not rest until they leave from all our land'' -- when Palestinian maps show ``our land'' as nothing less than all of British Palestine with Israel totally eradicated? This is a prescription for Israel's suicide. Or rather murder, because the Israelis are not prepared to march blindly into further unrequited concessions. The final concession will be getting into boats and sailing back to where? Poland?
In his policy-setting Rose Garden speech of June 2002, President Bush explicitly endorsed a Palestinian state and said that to achieve it, the next step was up to the Palestinians. Since then the only thing the Palestinians have done is to bury Yasser Arafat, an act of reverence, but not exactly an initiative. In the interim, the Israelis have withdrawn from Gaza, destroyed four West Bank settlements to create geographic contiguity for Palestinian territory in the northern West Bank, and once again repeated their support of a Palestinian state. The Palestinian response has been Katyusha rockets into Sderot, promises of renewed terrorism and chants for total victory.
(Sderot is an Israel border town just north of Gaza that in now more susceptible to Arab terrorism as a result of the Arabs being 5-10 miles closer to the Israeli border. In the same predicament are the large Israeli coastal towns as Ashkelon where the population is already creating missile defenses for the shellacking that will certainly follow immediately, - Krauthammer’s questionable expertise and proclaimed new Israeli military advantage, notwithstanding) jsk
The Arabs are a numerous people. They have 21 states stretching from the Atlantic to the frontier of Persia. They will soon have a 22nd state called Palestine. (Unless the Israelis, with G-d’s intervention, stop this suicidal nonsense - Jsk) The only question is whether its establishment will be on the grave of the world's only Jewish state.
What is at stake is whether the world, led by the United States, will demand Arab acceptance of that single Jewish state, or whether the United States will continue to push Israel from one concession to another until one day another arch is erected, this time in Jerusalem itself, commemorating the destruction of history's third and last Jewish commonwealth.
©2005 Washington Post Writers Group
The Detroit News August 19, 2005
Radical anti-war organizations exploit grief and turn dead soldier’s mother into a circus show. They ought to be ashamed of themselves, but they’re not. They are the hate-filled, “Get Bush” crowd members who have now turned Cindy Sheehan’s publicity stunt into a circus sideshow.
Sheehan’s son, Casey, was a U.S. soldier who was killed last year in Iraq. She has staged a sit-in near the Crawford, Texas, ranch of President George W. Bush and claimed that the president killed her son. Cindy Sheehan became an overnight darling of cable television, national newspapers and, of course, the left-wing anti-war groups. They should have stopped there.
Instead, they sensed an opportunity to parlay this woman’s grief into their own selfish partisan purposes, but they ruined Sheehan’s creditability. First came the revelation that she already had an audience with the president last year in a condolence session with other families who had lost loved ones in Iraq. The Vacaville (Calif.) Reporter, Sheehan’s hometown newspaper, recently reprinted an interview with her from that time. Instead of harshly criticizing the president, she said “I now know he’s sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis. I know he’s sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he’s a man of faith.”
That contradiction was just the tip of an embarrassing iceberg. Time magazine revealed that Sheehan’s personal life has been in tatters. The publication said she lost her job because of frequent absences, separated from her husband in June, has been urged by her surviving son to return to California and has been accused by another relative of promoting her own “personal agenda at the expense of her son’s good name.”
And much sympathy for Sheehan was replaced with pity after her blog-based press conference last weekend, when she blamed the United States for world terrorism, claimed the United States would be a fascist state if not for the Internet; called for the impeachment of Bush and said he should go to jail for “war crimes.”
If Sheehan was performing solo in this sorry soap opera, one could almost excuse her outrageous remarks as naïve. Instead, her performance was orchestrated by a pair of Democratic operatives, Bob Fertik (cofounder of Democrats.com) and Joe Trippi (who managed the presidential campaign of Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean). Add to that the support of the radical left-wing group MoveOn.org and the mendacious filmmaker Michael Moore, and you’ve got a collection of full-time dissidents who felt no guilt over Sheehan’s public humiliation.
America is not fooled. If Bush killed Sheehan’s son, Casey, then so did the 29 Democratic senators who approved the lraq war resolution in 2003 - a list that included John Kerry, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman.
But never mind the truth that a terrorist killed Casey. Never mind that this charade may embolden terrorists in Iraq to fight longer against our brave volunteer military force. Never mind that Casey’s sacrifice is overshadowed by this embarrassing spectacle.
Soon, the cameras will be gone, the stories will stop, and Cindy Sheehan will go home. But the radicals will find someone new to exploit and ignore the damage they cause.
Redacted from an article by Professor Louis Rene Beres
Israel, judging by Prime Minister Sharon’s stunningly suicidal policies, is altogether determined to die. Ironically, Israel’s existential enemies won’t oblige this self-annihilatory determination all at once. Instead, they will “allow” Israel to disappear slowly - First, by Sharon’s volitional territorial dismemberment and then by relentless war.
This long-planned Arab Jihad will be initiated in carefully measured phases. Only when the IDF is contentedly fawning upon its own doom, an unutterable humiliation already mandated by “disengagement,” would the dissolving Jewish state become the entirely inert object of absorption into “Palestine.” Significantly, so long as Israeli soldiers are commanded to deport their fellow Jews in order to create sanctuaries for Arab terrorists, such absorption would likely be undertaken without even the use of force. Facing a so-called Jewish State that indefatigably defeats itself, force would no longer be necessary.
Washington and London will be pleased. Still unable to understand that Gaza will now become the ideal staging area for mega-terrorism against America and England, leaders in the West will celebrate Israel’s “incorporation” into a “democratic Palestine.” Captivated by the anesthetized marketplace of empty jingles, and demanding a shared Jerusalem as the price of “fairness,” their meticulously-crafted words will have a comforting ring.
Yet their solution to Middle East “peace,” accompanied by massive Jewish flight and quasi-medieval expulsions, will be an exterminatory one. If present Israeli surrender trends remain constant disengagement will begin the recognizable end of Israel and a corollary Jewish re-diasporization.
Despair, we learn from the philosopher Kierkegaard, “is the sickness unto death,” and it is now Israel’s likely fate to despair for a long, long while, even to a point where it might prefer to die. The torment of Israel’s despair will be precisely this; that it will not be able to die, not until its enemies decide that they are ready for the moribund Jewish State, defiled and stripped of all grace, to exit the earth. To be sick in this grotesque fashion, to be sick unto death and not even to be able to die, will be, for all Israel, the cruelest blow of all.
This sickness, a rotting of Israel’s Jewish soul, is vastly more dangerous than enemy armies and missiles. Although it is certainly correct that a dramatic synergy exists between enemy military might and Israel’s growing
“soulessness,” it is the latter that breeds a virulent sickness unto death. Israel’s sickness of the spirit is not its sickness unto death.
Rather, it is the pathology that leads to the sickness unto death. It is, then, an illness that leads not to death directly (that would be a relatively favorable outcome), but to death very indirectly by an extended despair. Israel’s sickness of the spirit has several expressions. One is the pervasive and collective self-loathing that turns away from everything Jewish in the country’s desperate search to be modern and “post-Zionist.” Another is the un-apologetic servility with which successive Israeli governments have capitulated to every outrageous Palestinian demand. Proceeding from one forfeiture to the next, a proudly de-Judaized Israel has neglected all obligation, dignity and common sense in its frenzied ambition to become Los Angeles.
The Palestinian goal for "The Jews” by Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad (it makes no difference) is an openly “Final Solution.” As long as Israel agrees to yield to such a plan, its sickness of the spirit will spread and spread. Finally, unless it can still be reversed in time, it will become the sickness unto death.
LOUIS RENE BERES, Professor of International Law
Purdue University, West Lafayette IN 47907
By Ricki Hollander - Committee for Accuracy on Middle East Reporting
(The Jewish Press, August 12, 2005)
CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) has repeatedly demonstrated the deeply entrenched editorial bias against Israel at The New York Times. Whether Israel employs military tactics to protect itself from terrorist attacks, or the peace process is stalled, or it is simply not progressing as quickly as the editorialists would like, even while Israeli civilians are being blown up by Palestinian terrorists, New York Times editorial writers stick to their consistent message — blame Israel and whitewash Palestinian responsibility.
In “Nourishing the Palestinian Police” (July 28), the editorial writer casts blame for the weak and problematic Palestinian security forces on Israel’s leadership. Following up on Jerusalem bureau chief Steven Erlanger’s balanced report on a recent survey of the Palestinian security, environment (“Palestinian Security Forces Are Found Unfit” July 26), and the editorial writer by contrast ignores Palestinian responsibility for the dire state of its policing system.
Erlanger reported that the “essential problem for the Palestinian Authority,” according to the report, is that its security forces were established on “an ad hoc basis without statutory support and in isolation of wider reforms,” which he notes is “a lasting legacy of Mr. Arafat’s policy of duplication and promoting rivalry’ within his organization.”
The editorialist, however, faults only Israel’s response to Palestinian violence; according ‘to the editorial, the Palestinian intifada was nothing more than “ill-advised” but the real culprit responsible for the “tattered nature of Palestinian Authority, security forces — including police officers and soldiers” is Ariel Sharon’s response.
True to New York Times editorial form, the Palestinian leader is described as a “moderate” whose success has nothing to do ~with him taking concrete steps against the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure which his predecessor helped construct (in fact, one of the requirements of the Road Map). Instead, Abbas’s future is predicated upon Israel having “to start taking the steps that will allow him to take the case to the Palestinian people that his way— the path of negotiations over violence — will yield the results they want.”
That Israel does not wish to allow the Palestinian security forces to re-arm is unsurprising. After all, Israel has already learned from bitter experience since the Oslo agreements that allowing the Palestinians to arm their security forces proved deadly for Israelis. The intifada spiraled into lethal violence as Palestinian security forces; police and armed militia began employing Katyusha rockets, mortars, anti-tank land mines, and Kassam-2 surface-to-surface rockets against the Israeli army and civilians. Palestinian security forces have been involved in numerous terrorist attacks that have claimed Israeli lives. Hundreds of members of ‘the Palestinian Authority security services have participated in violence against Israel during the intifada.
But the New York Times editorial characterizes this Israeli decision not to re-arm the Palestinian security forces as “adding insult to irony.” The editorial advises that “Mr. Sharon should not even consider exchanging Gaza for more settlement in the West Bank,” and that he should help the Palestinian leader “by announcing a freeze on all settlement activity.”
There is no specific advice for the Palestinian leader.
As CAMERA has repeatedly indicated, New York Times editorials follow a pattern of blaming Israel, ignoring Palestinian violations of the Road Map, and whitewashing Palestinian terrorism and extremism. The template was aptly summarized in a recent Mediacrity Blog entry:
1. Whatever the problem, blame Israel
2. Ignore Palestinian Arab flouting of the Roadmap
3. Promote the myth of Palestinian Arab “moderation”
4. Whitewash terror groups
5. Palestinian Arab failures are caused by Israel
6. The U.S. must pressure Israel
(Hey, Maybe the NY Times is getting its cue from Condoleezza Rice?) jsk
THE PRESENT CAMPAIGN OF THE CHURCHES IS NOT ABOUT THE WALL NOR ABOUT DIVESTMENT: IT IS ABOUT ISRAEL’S RIGHT-TO-LIFE!
BY PROFESSOR PAUL C MERKELY
“No pro-Israel speaker gets anywhere near the platform at a Friends of Sabeel Conference. I have proffered my credentials as a published academic scholar on the History of Zionism and of Christian attitudes towards Israel and have either been ignored, without the courtesy of acknowledgement, or given the stick-in- the-eye that the program is already filled, but thanks so much for your interest. I have undergone this humiliation locally, when the Anglican Church of Canada has sponsored its Friends of Sabeel meetings here in my home city of Ottawa.”
At annual conventions of several of the major Christian denominations in the North America, Britain and Europe held during these last few months, statements have been written into the record calling upon Israel to dismantle her security barrier and declarations have been passed of intent to divest the denominations’ pension fund portfolios of investments in Israeli firms and other firms doing business with Israel.
Behind these many ostensibly disparate decisions is a well-organized campaign of contempt against Israel. In these past few weeks, and with these actions, the leadership of the major denominations has taken a coordinated step beyond hostility to a nation with a right to defend her good name to active engagement in the campaign to foreclose her right-to-life.
The present campaign first came to the surface with announcement by the Presbyterian Church (USA) at its General Assembly in July, 2004 of its intention “to have its Board of Pensions divest itself of investments in companies receiving one million dollars or more in profits per year from investments in Israel or that have invested more than one million dollars or more in Israel.” Some truly prize-winning double talk was expended on that occasion by the Stated Clerk of the denomination in the effort to explain that this was really not as provocative as it sounded --that the divestment would be “phased and selective,” unfolding by stages – as if that made a moral difference.
In justification of its decision, the Presbyterians offered an efficient summation of the last half-century of history: “The occupation … has proven to be at the root of the evil acts committed against innocent people on both sides.” Solution: “The occupation must end.”
The Presbyterian Assembly (USA) is one of those denominations which our alert, group-thinking journalists still refer to as “mainstream” because they commanded the support of a majority of American Protestants half a century ago! Like the other “mainstreamers,” the Presbyterians have suffered a steady decline in membership in our lifetime. The Presbyterian Church (USA), for example, had 5 million members in the 1920s – which made it the fifth-largest denomination, when the population of the United States was just over 100 million; it has around 3 million today – which makes it the tenth largest denomination when the population is around 300 million.)
There are no doubt many reasons for this, but the one that screams out is that the leaders of these mainstream Protestant denominations have pursued courses of policy which do not have the support of their congregations. They have, in other words, succumbed to elitism: the leaders simply take their positions on public issues from academics in the universities and from the media elites, ignoring the views of their own parishioners.
For a while it seemed that there was sufficient unhappiness about this proposal of the Presbyterian leaders that it would be withdrawn quietly after a decent interval. Apart from everything else, divestment of healthy stocks at work in the ever-growing Israeli economy, could not be considered good financial stewardship -- especially since these very same denominations are losing members weekly (for quite other reasons, having to do with theology and moral philosophy) and consequently are suffering decline of the cash-flow upon which present salaries, not to mention future pensions, will depend. In the Universities (where they have Mathematics and Accounting Departments) the divestment mania crested and then declined, just about the time that the Churches got on board.
But just since the beginning of this year the campaign has come back. This very month (August 2005) the Presbyterian Church (USA) announces that it will insist that four companies that it considers helpful to Israel in its occupation of Palestine stop doing business with Israel: millions of dollars of Church pension funds are said to be at stake. And now the United Church of Christ (USA) and the Episcopal Church (USA) have recently voted to consider actions along the same lines.
These actions follow a declaration from the World Council of Churches (WCC) in February urging all member bodies to consider taking such actions. The Anglican Consultative Council, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Willams, voted unanimously in favour of divestment from Israel at their meeting in England June, 2005.
Episcopal Bishop Thomas Shaw of Massachusetts, who considers himself a supporter of Palestinian rights, has warned against these actions, on the ground that “the economics of Israel and Palestine are so closely intertwined that divestment is actually counterproductive for the Palestinian people.” In the same vein, a group of Episcopal Bishops in New York, led by Bishop Mark S. Sisk, recently held a attended a press conference together with Rabbi Joseph Ptasnik, Executive Vice-President of the NY board of Rabbis, to express opposition to plan.
I have not dealt separately with the simultaneous campaign to compel Israel (through UN action) to dismantle her security wall. The two campaigns (dis and div) are different faces of the same project – which is to expose Israel to enemies whose weapons of choice, including recruitment of children as suicide-bombers, are exempted from criticism by the WCC and the many NGOs because they are considered the desperate feeble instruments of the disadvantaged. It is important, however, to recognize the manipulation involved in these two inter-locking campaigns.
Introduction of these resolutions is always preceded by the claim that the attention of these unbiased and nonpolitical theologians has been drawn to these far-off issues by the workings of conscience. The denominational leaders who present themselves at their conventions as spokesmen for the Palestinian people inevitably have just returned from an all-expense-paid tour of the Palestinian churches – a tour which never includes briefing by Israeli political or military sources or (God forbid!) friendly visits to the pro-Zionist Christian organizations active in Jerusalem.
The presenters at the conventions always speak of the sudden clarification of the moral issue which came upon them in the course of these intensive five-or-ten day tours to the front. (Doesn’t anyone remember the tours of the Vietnamese front by politicians in the 1960s?) As soon as the opening speeches are made and the documents are introduced for discussion, a highly-effective cabal of despisers of Israel is already in place at the microphones as questions are now called from the floor.
When a historian of the Twentieth Century reads the transcripts of the discussion taking place at these denominational conventions, he is reminded of the days of the Popular Front (the1930s), of those many emotion-charged conventions of the self-declared Friends of Peace where well-rehearsed single-issue zealots -- a small rudder directing a huge seagoing vessel --carried an agreed strategy to the floor while the rest of the delegates floated about asking each other what the issues were.
The full-time fomenters of this anti-Israel campaign are mainly associated with certain of the NGOs whose leadership is drawn in large part from Christian Arabs. Funding for these many NGOs comes from church groups in Europe and North America. Spearheading these efforts is the organization called Sabeel Liberation Theology Centre, Jerusalem, whose full-time director is the Rev. Naim Ateek, once Canon of St George’s Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem. Canon Ateek travels constantly.
When I was researching my books and living in Jerusalem I tried repeatedly to secure interviews with him, but he has always either too busy or out-of-town -- in Cyprus, in Europe, in North America. Needless to say, costs of Canon Ateek’s heroic non-stop travels do not come out of Palestinian coffers but out of budgets of WCC and denominations who provide the settings for his anti-Israel conferences.
No pro-Israel speaker gets anywhere near the platform at a Friends of Sabeel Conference. I have proffered my credentials as a published academic scholar on the History of Zionism and of Christian attitudes towards Israel and have either been ignored, without the courtesy of acknowledgement, or given the stick-in- the-eye that the program is already filled, but thanks so much for your interest. I have undergone this humiliation locally, when the Anglican Church of Canada has sponsored its Friends of Sabeel meetings here in my home city of Ottawa.
Part of the problem is that nobody in the hierarchy of the denominations ever reads a book. The busy, always-traveling, always-at-meetings, always-talking leaders of the denominations do not seem to grasp the concept of a book as an extended argument, with sources and facts and ideas. For these technocrats, everything comes from brochures and goes directly into binders. In this company, pamphleteering is the beginning and the end of everything, scholarship counts for nothing. Because they are not interested in books of history, they are not exposed to the complexities. Their repertoire comes from headlines, one-liners and slogans.
As for my own denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, their bookstore promotes a single, doggedly pro-Palestinian booklet: Ann E. Hafften, Water From the Rock: Lutheran Voices from Palestine. Minneapolis. Augsburg Fortress. 2003. 94 pages. I have tried repeatedly, as have other others, to get this author and her publishers to acknowledge correspondence. (My unsolicited critical review of her pamphlet will be noted in the next edition of the Guinness Book of World Records as the literary item most often lost in the mail by a major ecclesiastical body.) My approaches by telephone to the Canadian, American and the World Lutheran bodies (involving, in the latter case, expensive long-distance phone calls) get the bum’s rush.
In this totalitarian ambience, the thought of debate makes no sense: right-thinking is everything. (Again, the analogy with the Popular Front will occur.) Efforts of Jewish organizations to establish dialogue on the effects of these campaigns has failed utterly. Groups representing the various rabbinical associations and secular organizations like the Anti-Defamation League -- groups which had played prominent roles in Christian-Jewish dialogue over the past two or three decades – have discovered in recent months that they have no credit at all with the denominational leaders who have become enamored of the twin issue of divestment and dismantling.
So far, opponents of these actions within the denominations have been outflanked by the activists. However, there are signs that Christian laity are taking alarm at the palpable anti-Judaism (masquerading as anti-Zionism) which has taken hold of the leadership. Individual voices of protest, or at least of caution, are being heard regarding official church harangues against Israel and the Jews which figure in Sabeel and MECC literature.
Notably, there is a fascinating scholarly essay by Dexter van Zile, formerly Deacon with the Congregation Church in Massachusetts and now director of the Boston office of The David Project of the Judaeo-Christian Alliance, which explores the resonance which can be heard between these documents and the medieval libels that we thought we had all put behind us.[“Sabeel’s Teachings of Contempt: A Judeo- Christian Report, June, 2005, which can be obtained via www.davidproject.org ] Van Zile exposes the “deicide imagery” in Naim Ateek’s many essays and lectures.
As van Zile records, Ateek is especially enamored of the image of the Israelis as Herod – and the mirror image of the Palestinians as the babes of Bethlehem. I myself have been in the congregation at St. Andrew’s Church of Scotland in Jerusalem to hear on one occasion a version of this same inflammatory Herod/babe-in-the-manger sermon at a regular Sunday- morning service. I regret to this day that I did not have the character to stand up on a point of privilege, but a lifetime of conditioning to the solemnity of church service held me down, I did, however, check his office the next day to request an interview. They told me he was out of town.)
This scurrilous deicide stuff is not muttered in corners but is repeated again and again in lectures and printed materials. The Israeli “occupation,” Ateek declaims, is “the stone placed on the entrance of Jesus’ tomb.” In a sermon of April, 2002, Canon Ateek said: “In this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around Him.
It only takes people of insight to see the hundred of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge Golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.” What does this lack that it should be considered less provocative than the sermons that sent the medieval mobs on their pogroms?
Literature on the present Arab-Israel conflict made available through WCC, MECC, and the headquarters of the denominations all draws on this Sabeel script: Palestinians are always and exclusively victims; terrorist acts against Israel are either ignored or rationalized as the hapless but heroic response of unarmed civilians against tanks and guns. All unhappiness in the Middle East, and most of the unhappiness everywhere else in the world, has followed from the great mistake of letting Israel come into the world in 1948. Never mind that the creation of the State of Israel was approved by a 2/3 vote of the General Assembly of the United nations: happiness will never appear on the face of the earth until that decision is reversed.
The anomaly is that Christian friends and supporters of Israel vastly outnumber the pro-Palestinian ideologues in the pews of the very churches whose leaders are cranking out these anti- Jewish provocations. Those individuals and organizations which give voice to Christian Zionism are crudely dismissed in official Church pamphlets as theological illiterates, right-wingers, tools of Likud, offspring of the KKK -- – none of which I like to admit about myself.
Years ago the WCC issued a blanket anathema against the heresy of Christian Zionism. Those of us who conclude that when St. Paul talks about Israel he means Israel and when he says Zion he means Zion (e.g., in Romans 11) are dismissed as fundamentalists (a word which long ago lost all meaning – like the word fascist.) Meanwhile, the temptation to fall into that heresy has been effectively removed from the midst of Christian Arabs by the simple and clean expedient of removing the Old Testament lessons from Church services and removing the History of Israel from Sunday School materials.
Since the day after the Six-Day War, during which Israel thwarted the whole-hearted effort of the combined Arab nations to remove her from the map and liquidate her population, the WCC has been issuing statement after statement declaring unqualified partisanship with the “Palestinian cause.” At the Nairobi Asembly of the WCC in 1975, the WCC supported the PLO as the rightful voice of the unfilled desire of the Palestinians for nationhood and endorsed its right to build up its “liberation armies” under Yassir Arafat; at the Assembly in Vancouver in 1983 it called for the establishment of a Palestinian State.
But up until a few years ago, the authors of WCC statements always took the time and trouble to let into their declarations a few words about recognition of Israel’s existence. Recent statements, however, have taken the WCC so far down the path towards demonization of Israel that one can find in them nothing to dignify a case for Israel’s right to life.
The turning point came just a few days before the al-Qaeda attack on the United States, when WCC representatives attending the UN Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held at Durban, South Africa, led a meeting of NGOs in demanding official UN denunciation of Israel for “systematic perpetration of racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing.” (The rumour is that they dropped halitosis at the last moment.) Since then, WCC statements, echoed by statements issuing from denominational bodies in America and Europe, have revisited this corrosive Durban language in order to strip Israel of the essential basis of her right-to-life.
Today, the WCC is an unqualified ally of the enemies of Zionism. It has no interest in speaking a kind word for the only proven democracy in the Middle East, the only polity in the Middle East where Christianity has been permitted to flourish. Having brought on board the entire anti-historical truck about the brutality of Crusaders and the unmixed beauties of the original Muslim empires of the East, it now contemplates returning the only non-Muslim portion of the Middle East to Islam.
Just as the confrontation between Israel and the protean legions of nihilism has, by the abandonment of Gaza, been drawn up to the front door of every resident of Israel, the WCC and several of the major worldwide Protestant denominations have become active partners in the campaign to destroy the Jewish nation.
So single-minded has this effort been that, at the denominational conventions, the entire agenda of foreign policy issues has had to be swept clear – so that no distractive discussion has taken place regarding China (where masses of Christian believers and believers in other faiths languish without hope in windowless cells) or regarding Zimbabwe (where agriculture has been absolutely ruined and famine has been imposed on thousands so that the Emperor Mugabe -- promoted by the WCC in the 19790s as a Africa’s prince of peace -- can build more palaces for himself, or regarding Saudi Arabia (where Christianity is forbidden), or – well, forgive me, I am being tedious.
The instruments with which the denominations are now arming themselves on behalf of the Palestinian cause are unfamiliar to historians; but then, the history of warfare is really nothing but the story of the invention of new and deadly weapons which soldiers in conventional armies invariably fail to recognize as lethal. These new weapons, dismantlement and divestment, are meant to be lethal. They have been smuggled onto the scene under the customary cynical cover of “peace and justice.” The members and adherents of the mainline denominations are told that they are really not weapons at all but gestures of love, expressions of the desire to achieve peace by defending the Palestinian cause harmlessly against the superior adversary, Israel – that they are ingenious newfound ways to exercise “the preferential option for the poor and the weak” – an expression of the spirit of the Beatitudes. But make no mistake, this calumny against the spirit of the Beatitudes is for the sake of advancing the liquidation of Israel.
Paul C. Merkley, a retired Professor of History from Carleton University and a consultant on foreign policy, is the author of three books on Christian attitudes towards the Jews, Israel, and Zionism, the most recent of which is American Presidents, Religion and Israel (Praegar, 2004.)
Anonymous commentary by Church luminary:
Unfortunately, there is a lot of truth in this article. David Rosen of AJC, ICCJ & IJCIC, and scholar Amy-Jill Levine very elegantly demolished the fatuaous thinking of the World Council of Churches and of those mainline denominations which have the Presbyterian viewpoint in talks at the recent International Council of Christians & Jews conference in Chicago. The president and interfaith staff person of the WCC were present and had a most uncomfortable time, since their logic was so faulty and their "facts" so one-sided with regard to the real historical complexities of the Middle East. In my own view the "divestment" campaign represents an abdication of Christian responsibility to promote justice & peace. Instead, by simply taking sides in the conflict, it promotes war, death and injustice.
Submitted by Steve Wagg, history buff and political commentator
(The same Muslims only this time in the 18th Century but no Israel to use as our fall guy. What to do now?)
As our third president, Thomas Jefferson was known for three major
accomplishments: Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark and defeating the
Barbary Pirates in 1803. Most people know very little about this non-politically correct war but Christopher Hitchens covers it well in his biography of Jefferson.
In the late 18th century, Muslims in Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers and Morocco
raided European ships and enslaved their crews. They even raided a couple
of Irish and English Towns and kidnapped people. England, Spain and France
were willing to bribe these Muslim states with protection money but
Jefferson wasn't . He argued that America hadn't participated in the
Crusades or other wars against Islam so we shouldn't have to pay
Jefferson wrote to John Jay and to Congress in March, 1786:
"The Ambassador (of Tripoli), answered us that it was founded on the laws
of the prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who
should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their
right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to
make slaves of all they could take as prisoners".
President Jefferson had no inane politically correct concept with which to deal so he simply ordered American forces to occupy Tripoli and eliminate the pirates, which we did. But that was 200 years ago.
And, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
BY MARTIN PERETZ
The New Republic, August 8, 2005
(If one were to register a complaint over this excellent article, it would be Peretz’s apparent assumption that giving up the small Gush Katif section of Gaza is the right thing for the Israelis and that somehow it will assist rather than further complicate Israel’s own “War Against Terror” or rather the “War to Destroy Them” - Not unlike, of course, the War against Western Civilization that GW, C. Rice and the rest of the West refuses to properly describe.) Jsk
CNDOLEEZZA RICE RUSHED to Jerusalem and Ramallah on what she is likely to have imagined as a rescue mission for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. If that was truly her motive, she need not have bothered. Ariel Sharon has mainstream Israel solidly behind him, and a parliamentary majority has voted for withdrawal no less than four times. (As a result of his dictatorial coercion of his cabinet and cabinet and flagrantly lying about his own personal motivation - Jsk) Sharon long ago determined that Gaza was a dead end for the country, what with the particularly daunting demographic ratio (1.3 million Arabs to 9,000 Jews, this number itself being the biggest failure of the settler movement) and the human price the army would have to pay to defend an agrarian idyll that some confused with biblical prophecy and national destiny. Israel would depart whatever the circumstances. Still, even if the reason for her panic was misplaced, Rice’s sudden presence was certainly needed if only to prop up the designated receiving end of the disengagement equation. After all, Palestinians were shooting one another on the streets of Gaza, where Hamas has staggering gun-toting superiority. But it is doubtful that her coyly supportive appearance in the Muqata, Yasir Arafat’s old haunts far from the historic squalor of the Strip, will do the trick for Mahmoud Abbas for long.
It is true that much of diplomacy is stage drama, which is why it doesn’t change realities. In any case, the secretary of state’s description of what was happening on Palestinian ground was so patently not true that almost no on; neither in Israel nor in long-emerging Palestine, could possibly believe that what she said was anything other than fantasy. Maybe the European Union will take Rice’s pleasing appraisal of the behavior of the Palestinian Authority as an accurate assessment, but EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana’s constituents do not have a record of reliable judgment on these matters. Moreover, the recent eruption of Islamic terrorism in London, and even Jacques Chirac’s troubles at home, seem somehow to have alerted much of Europe to the perils of misunderstanding such matters of life and death.
So, DESPITE WHAT the American secretary of state said on Saturday in praise of the Abbas government’s efforts at establishing the rule of law in the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinians see that she was not describing their reality. They know that Jews, within and just beyond Gaza, are targeted by rockets, mortar shells, and simple bullets every day. Sometimes these kill, sometimes they only maim or injure (and often they are so off the mark to make it all a bit comical). And an increasing number of suicide bombers are being stopped by Israeli security forces. But, just before Rice took a break from the tiresome Israeli and Palestinian positioning—and went to Beirut to buck up the newly formed Lebanese government (which, for the first time in history, reserved a cabinet position for Hezbollah, even as the United Nations insists that it disarm) — two events occurred within hours of each other that illuminate the moral swill that defines the Abbas moment in Palestinian history.
First, an innocent Palestinian child was murdered and a fantastic tale was spun around the atrocity. The fact was that a 12-year-old boy was stabbed several times in one of those family honor feuds that so elevate Palestinian society. But family members and PA authorities, including the Ministry of the Interior in official statements, blamed the killing on Jewish settlers.
Second, rockets aimed at a Gaza Jewish settlement fell far short of theft target and killed a 10-year-old Palestinian boy in the Khan Yunis slum instead. No doubt, the hapless youngster has by now been proclaimed a martyr. These are the usual compensations in the Arab world for friendly fire.
On Saturday, after Rice had finished her visit with Abbes in Ramallah, another atrocity occurred in Gaza. A Jerusalem couple was killed on their way back from visiting a family preparing to leave its home in Gush Katif. Others in their party were wounded. Who were the perpetrators of these crimes? Well, yes, members of Islamic Jihad were involved. But primary credit in Gaza was taken by, and given to, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade of Fatah, Abbas’s organization. So this was not a good weekend for Rice to discover so many omens of peace. Were it not for the Sharm El Sheik enormity (attributed to the Zionists on Al Jazeera and even in the Egyptian press), the biggest news would have been the arrest in Israel of an 18-year-old Gaza youth—with five kilograms of explosives in his body belt—on his way with an accomplice, arrested in mixed Arab-Jewish Jaffa, to downtown Tel Aviv, for which he planned a lethal extravaganza. It turns out that he, too, is not one of the frenzied pious, just a member of Abbas’s old establishment white-pita Fatah militia. And this is barely 72 hours in the annals of Israel’s terrorism; much of it is so quotidian that it doesn’t even make the evening news.
ISRAEL KNOWS THAT it will have to live with these failures that are less of skill than of will. And Sharon is obviously eager not to contradict the architect of U.S. foreign policy upon whom he and his entire country rely. But something interesting has now happened in Israeli society: The extremes have collapsed. At one end, the peace movement has more or less expired, a decline that has been in process ever since Arafat refused Bill Clinton’s sweetheart deal for just about everything in the last days of his presidency. The fact is that almost no one in Israeli politics — except for the dreamful Shimon Peres, who is certain that he already lives in the “new Middle East” — talks anymore about a comprehensive peace settlement with the Palestinians. And, at the other end, the terrorist millennium is also coming to a close. The pathetic failure of last week’s demonstrations against the government’s insistence on leaving Gaza deflated, in two or three days, the Greater Israel movement of some three decades. Nearly everybody, even on the Israeli far right, now grasps that Israel cannot sit on the Arabs of the West Bank forever. So Israel will decide where the lines will be drawn, and it will cut as little as possible into densely populated Arab regions of a territorially contiguous cartography.
Concentrated Arab population centers in Israel that abut the new Palestinian state may be easily transferred from one national jurisdiction to another, with compensation from the Israeli social system following their present recipients for decades and beyond. This is not “population transfer,” it is pragmatism: the ceding of what are actually Palestinian towns cleaving to Palestine.
Still, Rice’s remarks about the day after the Gaza disengagement demonstrate that she has hardly grasped the new realities. Nothing in the experience of Gaza or the West Bank should have permitted her to move blithely into talking about the U.S. commitment to “the connectivity” of the two areas. Under any design at the present moment, this would inevitably be a link between two lively centers of terrorism. The Palestinian Authority has, for years, been promising to smother the terrorist ranks in would-be Palestine; but whatever progress has been made in this regard is the work not of Palestinians, but of Israelis and their targeted assassinations, checkpoints, and defensive barriers, some of which are admittedly kind of ugly.
Rice hopes that Gaza “cannot be a sealed or isolated area, with the Palestinian people closed in.” So the demand has grown already — supported by the secretary—that a modern port be built in Gaza and the Gaza airport reopened. But who will guarantee that these facelifts will not quickly turn out to be transfer points for deadly weapons? Shall we, perhaps, devolve this responsibility on the United Nations? Rice’s vision is ingenuous and premature. The Palestinians have a history as true pioneers in the great terrorist bane of our times, and they are still stars in the terrorist firmament. There is only one way they can earn their sovereign independence, and it is by ceasing to imperil their neighbor..
I know it is not good form to speak ill of the dead. But given
that he sided with terrorists - .... This brief summation is provided
by Isralert lest other "journalists" think we easily forget.
The Bias of Mr Jennings
August 8, 2005 08:28AM (IDT)
As you are already no doubt aware, ABC anchor Peter Jennings has succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 67. Reading through his obituary at CNN, I was struck by the following passage:
Jennings became a foreign correspondent for the network, covering such stories as the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, when members of the Arab terrorist group Black September seized the Israeli compound and took athletes hostage and later killed them.
What struck me about this was the fact that he covered one of the most brutal and momentous terrorist attacks committed by PLO Arab terrorists. (By attacking Olympic athletes, the terrorists not only attacked Israeli citizens, but also the whole idea of the brotherhood of man). I would have assumed that covering such a callous attack might influence his views on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and galvanize a staunchly anti-terror viewpoint.
However, it seems that even during the Munich terrorist attack, Jennings was on the side of the terrorists [please see below]- setting a precedent in both attitude and lexicon for today's mainstream media. Jennings established his record of pro-Palestinian coverage early in his career. In 1972, as a reporter covering the Palestinian murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, Jennings would not refer to the murderers as "terrorists." Instead he called them "guerrillas" and "commandos."
Martin Peretz, publisher of The New Republic, wrote (Sept. 13, 2001):
"I first saw Jennings on ABC when, as a young TV journalist, he reported from the Munich Olympics. And I was filled with disgust that his subsequent career has only deepened. At Munich -- I still remember it, 30 years later -- Jennings tried to explain away the abductions and massacre of the young Israeli athletes. His theme: The Palestinians were helpless and desperate. Ipso facto, they were driven to murder. That's life..."
In Sept. 2002, when ABC News aired a retrospective on the Olympic Massacre, Jennings unabashedly said that Israel should stop regarding the Palestinians as terrorists as a result of the Olympic Massacre of three decades ago. Jennings dismissed the continual barrage of
thousands of Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis, not only before, but also since the 72 Olympics.
Thus set the stage for a lifetime of pro-PLO bias.
I cannot fathom any decent human being covering the callous murder of innocent athletes, and sympathizing with the terrorists. But that is precisely what Jennings did. What drove him to sympathize with the PLO Arab terrorists? By some accounts, it might be as simple as Jennings being led by his loins
In response, television critic Tom Shales wrote in the Washington Post (Sept. 17, 2001): "[Jennings] hosted what looked like a little intercontinental tea party for alleged experts on the Middle East, one of whom was professional Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi, whom Jennings hailed as 'widely known in the United States.' Also widely disliked. Jennings and Ashrawi greeted each other like old pals, with broad smiles and warm greetings.
"Jennings wanted to know, he said, how anyone could hate America so much that they would launch this kind of vicious, calamitous attack. Ashrawi blamed U.S. foreign policy (for having 'fought Arab nationalism') and, predictably for her, Israel. Ashrawi complained that 'Israel is given preferential treatment, treated as a country above the law, as part of her condemnation. Jennings deferred to Ashrawi, as usual, and let her filibuster. It was a nauseating
In a critique of the same Jennings broadcast, TVspy.com reports (Sept. 20, 2001):
"It's no surprise that ABC News anchor Peter Jennings allowed Palestinian proselytizer Hanan Ashrawi to peddle propaganda on his program -- she used to be his girlfriend. U.S. News World Report noted in 1991: 'In the early 1970s, when he was single and head of the ABC bureau in Beirut, Jennings dated Ashrawi, who at the time was also single and a graduate student in literature at the American University in the Lebanese capital. Jennings was introduced to
Ashrawi's parents and sisters and became part of her circle of friends.
"In 1995, Denver Rocky Mountain News international editor Holger Jensen... [wrote] about staying at the Commodore Hotel in Beirut while covering events in war-torn Lebanon. Jensen recalled that Jennings stayed there as well, 'courting a long succession of Palestinian lovelies including Hanan Ashrawi." *
I know it is not good form to speak ill of the dead. But given that he sided with terrorists - and thus was clearly such an enemy of the ideal of the sanctity of human life - I don't feel the need to sugar coat his legacy now that his has been taken.
Links on Jenning's Bias:
Jennings' Jerusalem Jihad
No Terrorist Hamas in Peter Jennings' Wonderland
Peter's Pro-Palestinian Spin
The Peter Jennings Bias Show
Peter Jennings: 20 Years Of Liberal Bias
From a letter By the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachim Mendel Schneerson, 1980
Found as Commentary on this week’s Torah Portion, Bemidbar (Numbers) in the Gutnick Edition of the Five Books of Moses. Page 275
I am completely and unequivocally opposed to the surrender of any of the liberated areas currently under negotiation, such as Yehudah and Shomron, (West Bank), the Golan, etc.; for the simple reason, and only reason - that surrendering any part of them would contravene a clear Psak-Din [ Talmudic ruling) in Shulchan Aruch (The Code of Jewish Law.) I have repeatedly emphasized that this Psak-Din has nothing to do with the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael, or with the “days of the Mashiach,” (the Messiah), and similar considerations, but solely with the rule of Pikuach-Nefesh (danger to individual life).
This is further emphasized by the fact that this Psak-Din has its source in the Talmud, where the Gemora (Commentary on the Oral law) cites as an illustration of a “border-town” under the terms of this Psak-Din—the city of Neharde’a in Babylon (present-day lraq)—clearly not in Eretz Yisrael. I have emphasized time and time again that it is a question of, and should be judged purely on the basis of Pikuach Nefesh (saving lives), not geography.
The said Psak-Din deals with a situation where gentiles besiege a Jewish border-town, ostensibly to obtain “straw and hay,” and then leave. But because of the possible danger, not only to the Jews of the town, but also to other cities, the Shulchan Aruch rules that upon receiving news of the gentiles (even if only of their preparations), the Jews must mobilize immediately and take up arms even on Shabbos (the Sabbath) — in accordance with the rule that “Pikuach-Nefesh supersedes Shabbos.”
Should there be a question whether the risk does in fact create a situation of Pikuach Nefesh, then—as in the case of illness, where a medical authority is consulted—the authority to make a judgment is invested in the military experts. If military experts decide that the danger is Pikuach Nefesh there could be no other overriding considerations, since Pikuach Nefesh overrides everything else.
Should the military experts declare that while there is such a risk, yet it should be taken for some other reason, such as political considerations (good will of the gentiles) this would clearly be contrary to the Psak-Din, for the Psak-Din requires that Pikuach Nefesh, not political expediency, should be the decisive factor.
Now in regard to the liberated areas, all military experts, Jewish and non-Jewish, agree that in the present situation giving up any part of the land would create serious security dangers. No-one says that giving up any part of them would enhance the defensibility of the borders. But some military experts are prepared to take a chance in order not to antagonize Washington and/or to improve the “International image,” etc. To follow this line would not only go against the clear Psak-Din, but would also ignore costly lessons of the past.
One glaring case in point is “the Yom-Kippur War.”(1973). Days and hours before the attack, there were urgent sessions of the government discussing the situation with the military. Military intelligence pointed to unmistakable evidence that an Egyptian attack was imminent, and the military experts advised a preemptive strike that would save many lives and prevent an invasion. However, the politicians, with the acquiescence of some military experts, rejected this action on the ground that such a step, or even a general mobilization, before the Egyptians actually crossed the border, would mean being branded as the aggressor, and would jeopardize relations with the USA.
This decision was contrary to the said Psak-Din of the Shulchan Aruch, as pointed out above. The tragic results of that decision bore out the validity of the Shulchan Aruch’s position (as if it were necessary), for many lives were needlessly sacrificed, and the situation came close to total disaster, but for God’s mercies. Suffice it to mention that the then Prime Minister (Golda Meir) later admitted that all her life she would be haunted by that tragic decision
I know, of course, that there are Rabbis who are of the opinion that in the present situation, as they see it, it would be permissible from the viewpoint of the Shulchan Aruch to return areas from Eretz Yisrael. But it is also known on what information they based this view. One argument is that the present situation is not identical with the hypothetical case of a state of “being besieged by gentiles.” A second argument is that the present surrendering of some areas would not endanger lives.
That these arguments are based on misinformation is patently clear. The Arab neighbors are prepared militarily; what is more, they do demand these areas as theirs to keep, and openly declare that if not surrendered voluntarily, they will take them by force, and eventually everything else. A Rabbi who says that the said Psak-Din of the Shulchan Aruch does not apply in the present situation is completely misinformed on what the situation actually is....
I was taken to task for placing so much emphasis on the security of Eretz Yisrael, the argument being that what has protected the Jewish people during the long Galut (Diaspora) has been the study of Torah and the practice of Mitzvos (God’s commandments) hence Torah-observant Jews should not make the inviolability of Eretz Yisrael as the overriding cause. I countered that they missed the point, for my position has nothing to do with Eretz Yisrael as such, but with the Pikuach Nefesh of the Jews living there—which would apply to any part of the world.
It is said that my pronouncements on the issues are more political than Rabbinic. Inasmuch as the matter has to do with Pikuach Nefesh, it is surely the duty of every Jew, be he Rabbi or layman, to do all permitted by the Shulchan Aruch to help forestall—or, at any rate, minimize—the danger. In a case of Pikuach Nefesh, every possible effort must be made, even if there are many doubts as to whether the effort will succeed.
Obfuscating the fact that whereas the Crusades were a temporary phenomenon that flourished for some two centuries and had quite limited purposes, jihad is and has been a permanent and ubiquitous fact of Islamic life.
Redacted from an article By Daniel Johnson
Commentary Magazine, August 2005
IF THERE is one thing that everybody knows about the Crusades, it is that they were a Bad Thing. In the eyes, even of most Christians let alone others, the Crusades were a crime against humanity, one for which apologies are due, especially to Muslims. President Bush’s early reference to the war on terror as a “crusade” was seen as a catastrophic blunder, justifying the accusations of Osama bin Laden and other Islamists who habitually refer to their enemies as “crusaders,” with all the negative connotations the word now possesses.
Condemnation of the Crusades is based on the premise that they were a barbaric, unprovoked war of extermination and conquest waged against a superior and incomparably more tolerant civilization—in brief, an archetype of Western imperialism. Today, when the very idea of a holy war is utterly alien to Western sensibilities, it is the United States that is identified by its critics, especially in Europe, with the religious fanaticism and military rapacity of the crusaders.
The facts about the Crusades are less familiar than the myths, and bear summarizing briefly. The First Crusade was launched in 1095 to recover Christian control over the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the traditional location of the resurrection of Jesus from the Saracens (a name deriving from the Greek term for Muslims and other Orientals). Against all odds, the Crusade succeeded, establishing several states, known as Outremer(literally, “overseas”), which endured for almost two centuries.
“The bloody and incessant battle to defend these isolated satellite settlements against a rising tide of Muslim aggression would change the course of history,” writes Thomas Asbridge in The First Crusade: A New History (2004). Indeed, since the 18th century, historians have recognized no fewer than seven major Crusades to the Holy Land, the last in 1270. Each of them was a complex affair, sometimes involving several separate expeditions from different parts of Europe.
In 1204, the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople and established a Latin empire in the former Byzantine territories. This survived until 1261, when the Greeks re-conquered their capital. With the fall of Acre in 1291, the Kingdom of Jerusalem retreated to Cyprus, protected by the military orders that had been formed to defend the Holy Land and that now began to build new bastions of Christendom in other Mediterranean islands, such as Rhodes and Malta.
The crusading idea did not vanish, but none of the later expeditions that called themselves “Crusades” made any attempt to reach Palestine.
From a modern perspective, the charge sheet against the Crusades is formidable indeed. For Jews in the European Diaspora, the First Crusade was a catastrophe unprecedented since the destruction of the Second Temple. Three flourishing communities of the Rhineland—Worms, Main; and Cologne—were massacred by burghers and crusaders led by a German, Count Emicho of Leinigen, after the charismatic preacher Peter the Hermit had aroused popular hysteria. Nor were these the only crusader persecutions of Jews. When Jerusalem fell in 1099, the Jews of the city were slaughtered along with the Muslims, and there were further assaults during the Second Crusade of 1147.
The Second Crusade, the brainchild of the great religious genius Bernard of Clairvaux, also began a process of widening of the definition of “Crusade” to include campaigns against heretics and pagans in other parts of Europe. The Christian re-conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, which by 1257 had reduced the Moors to the tiny region of Granada, was given the status of a crusade.
So, too, was the colonization of the Baltic Slavs, led by the Teutonic Knights, a monastic military order modeled on the Templars and Hospitalers of the Holy Land. Between 1209 and 1229, crusades were mounted against the Albigensian Cathars in southern France, the first of many heretics to be crushed by this means.
Jews, pagans, and heretics were not the only groups to suffer collateral damage from the Crusades. Eastern Orthodox Christians also harbor bitter memories, particularly of the Fourth Crusade, which was diverted from the re-conquest of Jerusalem and instead sacked Constantinople in 1204. The Byzantine Empire, already in decline, then disintegrated, paving the way for its permanent Islamization and enabling the Ottoman Turks to invade Europe in the 16th century.
The main contemporary charge against the Crusades, however, is that they did irreparable and lasting damage to relations between Muslims and Christians—even that they “explain” the present conflict between Islam and the West. Tens of thousands of Muslims were killed by the crusaders in the establishment of their states, and over the next two centuries there were crusader incursions throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, from Egypt to Mesopotamia.
For the Muslim world, the loss of Jerusalem, largely ignored at the time, came to seem in retrospect a traumatic (if also cathartic) experience. Though other invasions, such as those of the Mongols in the 13th and 14th centuries, were far more destructive of Islamic civilization, the Crusades remain more deeply lodged in Muslim collective memory, no doubt because they have been incorporated into a narrative that provides a rationale for the growing disparity in wealth and power between Islam and the West since the 17th century.
In any case, the hostile narrative of the Crusades bequeathed by historians from Gibbon to Runciman took deep root in the Western imagination, and has found a powerful echo in popular culture. Then there is Saladin himself, the great Kurdish sultan and conqueror of Jerusalem who reunited a Muslim world long divided between rival caliphates, brilliantly and sympathetically portrayed in the movie by the Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud. Needless to say, there is no evidence to support the film’s view of Saladin. Indeed, for Islamists today who dream of Islam’s ultimate victory over the Jews and Christians, Saladin is the very model of a warrior, not a prototype UN Secretary General.
Nor is it true that the numbers of crusaders who settled in Outremer were sufficiently large as to invoke the concept of mass colonization. Perhaps a half-million Europeans participated in the seven Crusades over two centuries, during which time the population of Europe increased by almost 50 percent, from 48 million in 1100 to 69 million in 1250.
In economic terms alone, the existence of Outremer brought prosperity to Palestine and Syria such as they had not seen since Roman times—prosperity not only for Christians but also for Jews and also for Muslims, as the later decline of these provinces under Turkish rule would sadly demonstrate.
THESE AND other considerations must go into the writing of fair-minded histories of the Crusades, giving due weight to the spiritual energies that made them possible, to the brutality they visited upon Jews and others, and to their consequences, beneficial and otherwise. But it is no less essential to place them within their larger historical context In that larger perspective, they take their place as a short-lived counter-offensive against another, much lengthier, and much more relentless holy war—namely, the Muslim jihad against Christendom. For the fact is that whereas the Crusades were a temporary phenomenon that flourished for some two centuries and had quite limited purposes, jihad is and has been a permanent and ubiquitous fact of Islamic life.
In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or force. The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty to them, save only for purposes of defense.
Many western scholars have utterly failed to grasp the significance of this distinction. They are convinced that Islam was “tolerant, religiously quasi-indifferent,” as the pre-eminent French historian Fernand Braudel declared, whereas Christianity was “brutal, violent, relentless, often under the sign of absolute intolerance.”
In point of fact, Muslim rulers varied greatly in their treatment of their Christian and Jewish subjects, who were permitted to exist under Islamic law only in the inferior legal status of dhimmi, suffering numerous penalties and often falling victim to persecutions that were no less brutal, violent, and relentless than those of Christian Europe. In the meantime, the larger Islamic jihad against Christendom went on unabated.
The spectacular Arab conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries had brought under the Crescent the Greco-Roman heartlands of Christianity along the southern coast of the Mediterranean, with many incursions northward as well. Some territory was eventually recovered from the Saracens between the 10th and 12th centuries, including much of Spain, southern France, Italy, Sicily, and Cyprus. But Roman Africa and the Hellenic Levant were lost forever, while the Byzantines lost Anatolia to the Turks after their decisive defeat at Manzikert in 1071.
So the Crusades took place against a background of Muslim conquest, of which the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem were deliberately triumphal symbols. Compared with the three phases of jihad against Christendom— Arab, Tartar, and Turkish—lasting over a millennium and stretching across three continents, the seven Frankish expeditions to Palestine can be seen in proportion: a “limited and belated response,” as Bernard Lewis puts it, a brief if important interlude in the long history of jihad.
In this context, it is not so surprising that at the time, as Lewis reminds us, the Muslims “knew little and cared less” about the crusaders. The turning point in relations between Islam and the West came only much later, at the end of the 17th century, when the long Turkish retreat, beginning with the siege of Vienna, finally forced the Ottoman Sultans to come to terms.
The Crusades were also a belated response to specific humiliations by Islam stretching back over centuries. These included the partial destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher by the Caliph Hakim in 1009. The sermon preached by Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095, which electrified Latin Christendom, justified its call to arms against the Saracens by atrocities against Christian pilgrims that were largely specious. But Christians in general had cause to feel threatened: Saracen pirates had pillaged Rome itself in 845, and their base in Sicily had only been recaptured four years before the First Crusade. Likewise, the Fourth Crusade turned on the Greeks, who in the Third Crusade had allied themselves with Saladin, as an explosion of vengeance by Venetians and other Latins.
The sack of Constantinople cannot be justified, but it was not unprovoked.
Did the Crusades nevertheless poison relations between Islam and the West? It is true that Urban dehumanized Muslims as “a race utterly alien to
God.” But what proved more significant in the long term was that the Crusades, having established trading and pilgrim routes to Outremer, obliged the Franks to acquaint themselves with Islamic culture, just as the Normans did in Saracen Sicily and the Spanish and Portuguese in Moorish Iberia.
EVER SINCE al Qaeda declared war on the West, the Crusades have been forced back into our consciousness as part of a longer historical narrative weighted heavily in favor of Islam. The radical Islamist invocation of the Crusades serves two purposes: to rally Muslims to the cause of jihad against Judeo-Christian civilization, and to undermine the legitimacy of resistance to it. Islamists know exactly how to exploit post-imperial, post-Christian guilt—the West’s Achilles’ heel. By placing the Crusades at the heart of the relationship between Islam and the West, they intend their war of terror to be seen by both sides as a justifiable response to Western aggression. In this they have not been disappointed, as we can witness all around us.
According to Islamist historiography, for example, the modern state of Israel is merely a reincarnation of the medieval Kingdom of Jerusalem, and Zionism the modem manifestation of the same imperialistic impulse as that which drove the Crusades. The fact that it took a divided Islam two centuries in order to defeat and expel the crusaders from the Levant provides a pattern for the present situation. True, Western “imperialism” has established itself not only in Israel but, most recently, in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Islamists are enjoined by the example of their forebears who fought the crusaders to be patient and cunning, to unite against the common foe, and to be utterly ruthless.
When Westerners today condemn the Crusades, they send a coded message both to Israel and to the Muslim world. The message says that just as these Westerners, and especially the Christians among them, are not ready to defend their own ancestors, so they are unprepared to lift a finger to defend the Jewish state, still less to defend the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
European Christians, certainly, are indeed more likely to be found siding with Muslims, whether Palestinians or Iraqis, than with Sharon or Bush. So are European elites in general, not to speak of many American academics, intellectuals, and spokesmen for “mainline” churches. The reasons in all cases are various, but one large cluster of them, if traced back far enough, is connected with a false, partisan, and self-hating interpretation of the Crusades.
An obscure branch of medieval history may not sound like promising or even especially important territory for public debate. But unless and until the Crusades are reclaimed by scholarship, and interpreted objectively for popular consumption, there is a real danger that the al-Qaeda school of historiography (as we may call it) will triumph in the reflexively anti-Israel and anti-American attitudes of many Europeans. The Crusades are an organic part of Western history. They are also a casus belli for Islam and will remain so for as long as it suits the Islamists. On the cultural front of that war, one side has gone disastrously far in the direction of unilateral disarmament not challenging the propagandized Crusade historiography so cleverly created.
DANIEL JOHNSON, formerly a senior editor and columnist for the London Times and Daily Telegraph, is now a columnist for the New York Sun.
By Yehudit Tayar
In our eyes, growing up in Israel with the stories and legends of our heroes, the Israeli Defense Forces have always had a special place. They were not only legends, the army was ours – us. We always knew that the army was there to protect us, to save us and our people no matter where in the world a Jew might be in danger, ZAHAL (Israel Defense Forces) would get there.
The look of shame in our soldiers’ faces as they ask for our identity papers coming in and out of Gush Katif (Gaza) is painful and heartbreaking to see. Their shame is the shame of this Prime Minister and government and will never be erased or forgotten.
We were raised and raised our children on the importance of giving to our country. It was an honor to serve in our army in the most dangerous units - volunteering for those units was a sign of our patriotism and love of Torah, Land and people.
Sharon, Mofaz and all of the weak, corrupt politicians who are hurting our soldiers and our army by cynically forcing them to be involved in this scheme of uprooting Jews from their homes, communities, and Land is a badge of shame for ever more.
Yesterday, even I who has been through and seen so much, especially in the last five years of war, was left shocked. First of all to hear Mofaz the so-called Minister of Defense proclaim that he was worried about the possibility of missile attacks harming the masses in Sderot that were to gather in protest of the plan to uproot Jews from their homes. The fact of the matter is that not only was the remark insulting and harmful to the fortitude of the residents of Sderot , it was especially ludicrous and stupid since it is Sharon and Mofaz who are preventing the army from destroying the terrorist infrastructure from which the missiles are being sent against us.
Being a witness to yet another act of hysteria I watched open-mouthed as thousands of Israeli soldiers were marched towards Sderot yesterday along with thousands more of the Israeli police in order to prevent any Jew to reach Gush Katif.
The amount of money, time, and manpower that is being thrown into this scheme of Sharon’s is unbelievable. Thousands of soldiers are being brainwashed into becoming a machine of uprooting, tearing babies from the arms of their mothers, dragging families out of their homes and ethnically cleansing these areas from Jews.
And for what - to bring in Egyptian troops to “protect us”? To take these same forces that are shooting at our soldiers on the Egyptian border, that are digging tunnels to carry weapons and snipers to the terrorists who are murdering our people, and depend on them to protect us? To rip the country apart and reward terrorists after they continue to perpetrate attacks and murder us?
I look into the faces of these soldiers and ask them as a fellow soldier, is this what you went to into the army for? Isn’t this humiliating to you? One soldier that I picked up in Katif yesterday on the way to Netzarim said that if he had known over a year ago when he joined the army what the army was supposed to be doing, he would not have volunteered for this unit. He said that Sharon is destroying the army and breaking the spirit of our soldiers. This fine young soldier said sadly that in future no one will want to go into an army that can be politically manipulated into taking orders that are both immoral and unnecessary.
And in Katif it is both heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time to see the people trying to continue to live normally under terror attack, under threat of expulsion into the oblivion, and to see the hundreds and hundreds of our fellow Jews who have come to be with us. Families in tents with their little children living in the open knowing that the IDF is not allowed to protect them. Youngsters who were stopped four, five and even six times outside of the Gush who did not give up and got inside to be there, to give support and love.
This is a true test and the people of Katif are models of inspiration to the entire world. Inspiring too are the Jewish people who are coming by foot, by car, by any means they can find to each demonstration and will not be silenced under this dictatorship that our country is suffering.
We believe in prayer and we believe in miracles. We believe in the importance of protecting the interests of the Jewish people in our Land and our Torah. Especially now when there is no real leadership that is either deserving or qualified to protect Jewish rights in our homeland, therefore we must be the ones to secure the future of the Jewish people. We, the simple Jews who know that this is ours and know that no one has the right to give up parts of our Land to an enemy that wishes to destroy us both spiritually and physically, will continue on to do what is necessary to prevent this atrocity from happening, and to ensure a safe Jewish Israel forever.
The writer lives in the Shomron with her husband and family. all of whom have served or are serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. She is a long time spokesperson for the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza - the "Settlers."
Michael Graham wrote this article July 28, 2005. He is a mid-morning talk show host on WMAL radio (owned by ABC/Disney) in Washington, DC and was, yesterday, pulled off the air and suspended without pay pending an investigation, re: his writing of this article. CAIR, Council on American-Islamic Relations, did not like the article and had it’s members bombard ABC/Disney with their comments. What do you think?
Jewish World Review July 28, 2005 / 21 Tamuz, 5765
THE TRAGEDY OF ISLAM
By Michael Graham
I take no pleasure in saying it. It pains me to think it. I could very well lose my job in talk radio over admitting it. But it is the plain truth:
Islam is a terror organization.
For years, I've been trying to give the world's Muslim community the benefit of the doubt, along with the benefit of my typical American's complete disinterest in their faith. Before 9/11, I knew nothing about Islam except the greeting "asalaam alaikum," taught to me by a Pakistani friend in Chicago.
Immediately after 9/11, I nodded in ignorant agreement as President Bush assured me that "Islam is a religion of peace." But nearly four years later, nobody can defend that statement. And I mean "nobody." Certainly not the group of "moderate" Muslim clerics and imams who gathered in London last week to issue a statement on terrorism and their faith. When asked the question "Are suicide bombings always a violation of Islam," they could not answer "Yes. Always." Instead, these "moderate British Muslims" had to answer "It depends."
Precisely what it depends on, news reports did not say. Sadly, given our new knowledge of Islam from the past four years, it probably depends on whether or not you're killing Jews. That is part of the state of modern Islam.
Another fact about the state of Islam is that a majority of Muslims in countries like Jordan continue to believe that suicide bombings are legitimate. Still another is the poll reported by a left-leaning British paper than only 73 percent of British Muslims would tell police if they knew about a planned terrorist attack. The other 27 percent? They are a part of modern Islam, too.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is outraged that I would dare to connect the worldwide epidemic of terrorism with Islam. They put it down to bigotry, asserting that a lifetime of disinterest in Islam has suddenly become blind hatred. They couldn't be more wrong.
Not to be mean to the folks at CAIR but, I don't CARE, that is. I simply don't care about Islam, its theology, its history — I have no interest in it at all. All I care about is not getting blown to smithereens when I board a bus or ride a plane. I care about living in a world where terrorism and murder/suicide bombings are rejected by all.
And the reason Islam has itself become a terrorist organization is that it cannot address its own role in this violence. It cannot cast out the murderers from its members. I know it can't, because "moderate" Muslim imams keep telling me they can't. "We have no control over these radical young men," one London imam moaned to the local papers.
Can't kick 'em out of your faith? Can't excommunicate them? Apparently Islam does not allow it. Islam cannot say that terrorism is forbidden to Muslims. I know this because when the world's Muslim nations gathered after 9/11 to state their position on terrorism, they couldn't even agree on what it was. How could they, when the world's largest terror sponsors at the time were Iran and Saudi Arabia — both governed by Islamic law.
If the Boy Scouts of America had 1,000 scout troops, and 10 of them practiced suicide bombings, then the BSA would be considered a terrorist organization. If the BSA refused to kick out those 10 troops, that would make the case even stronger. If people defending terror repeatedly turned to the Boy Scout handbook and found language that justified and defended murder — and the scoutmasters in charge simply said "Could be" — the Boy Scouts would have driven out of America long ago.
Today, Islam has entire sects and grand mosques that preach terror. Its theology is used as a source of inspiration by terrorist murderers. Millions of Islam's members give these killers support and comfort.
The question isn't how dare I call Islam a terrorist organization, but rather why more people do not.
As I've said many times, I have great sympathy for those Muslims of good will who want their faith to be a true "religion of peace." I believe that terrorism and murder do violate the sensibilities and inherent decency of the vast majority of the world's Muslims. I believe they want peace.
Sadly, the organization and fundamental theology of Islam as it is constituted today allows for hatreds most Muslims do not share to thrive, and for criminals they oppose to operate in the name of their faith.
Many Muslims, I believe, know this to be true and some are acting on it. Not the members of CAIR, unfortunately: As Middle East analyst and expert Daniel Pipes has reported, "two of CAIR's associates (Ghassan Elashi, Randall Royer) have been convicted on terrorism-related charges, one (Bassem Khafegi) convicted on fraud charges, two (Rabih Haddad, Bassem Khafegi) have been deported, and one (Siraj Wahhaj) remains at large."
But Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf admits what CAIR will not. He's called for a jihad against the jihadists. He's putting his life on the line (Islamists have tried to assassinate him three times) in the battle to reclaim Islam and its fundamental decency.
He remembers, I'm sure, that at a time when Western, Christian civilization was on the verge of collapse, the Muslim world was a bastion of rationalism and tolerance. That was a great moment in the history of Islam, a moment that helped save the West.
Let's hope Islam can now find the strength to save itself.