September 28, 2006

Another Congressman targeted - Another Muslim Fatwa?

The radical Islamist front group calling itself the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is targeting another congressman, Representative Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, because he used the term “jihadist-fascist” to describe Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq:

Well, congratulations to Congressman Thaddeus McCotter for having the courage to be an honest statesman and calling Islamic terrorism exactly what it is - Jihadist or Islamic/Fascism. The dictionary unequivocally confirms the accuracy of the congressman’s terminology:

1. Fascism

a. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

As to CAIR, Daniel Pipes, well-known Middle-Eastern scholar and political commentator, has written extensively about their pro-Arab, propaganda spewing distortions. Below is one of his articles describing CAIR:

CAIR's Hate Crimes Nonsense
By Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha
FrontPageMagazine.com | May 18, 2005

Should you read Unequal Protection: The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States 2005, an annual report issued last week by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), you’ll learn how the Muslim experience in America is worsening. Specifically, the number of “anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States” has gone up dramatically: from 42 cases in 2002, to 93 cases in 2003, to 141 in 2004.

This news prompted headlines in the mainstream media. “Muslims Report 50% Increase in Bias Crimes,” announced the New York Times; “Crimes, Complaints Involving Muslims Rise,” broadcast the Washington Post; and “Muslims Cite a Rise in Hate Crimes,” echoed the Los Angeles Times. That these leading newspapers treated the CAIR study as a serious piece of research served as an important endorsement.

But CAIR is part of the Wahhabi Lobby, so (unlike the mainstream media reporters) we thought it a good idea to take a closer look at the report. We examined in detail some “examples of anti-Muslim hate crime reports received by CAIR in 2004,” on p. 43, plus some “samples” on p. 53 and discovered a pattern of sloppiness, exaggeration, and distortion:

1) CAIR cites the July 9, 2004 case of apparent arson at a Muslim-owned grocery store in Everett, Washington. But investigators quickly determined that Mirza Akram, the store’s operator, staged the arson to avoid meeting his scheduled payments and to collect on an insurance policy. Although Akram’s antics were long ago exposed as a fraud, CAIR continues to list this case as an anti-Muslim hate crime.

2) CAIR also states that “a Muslim-owned market was burned down in Texas” on August 6, 2004. But already a month later, the owner was arrested for having set fire to his own business. Why does CAIR include this incident in its report?

3) CAIR lists the March 2005 lawsuit filed by the Salmi family for the firebombing of their family van as one example of a hate crime reports it received in 2004. However, the crime named in the lawsuit occurred in March 2003, was already reported by CAIR in 2003, and should not have been tabulated again in the 2004 report.

4) CAIR reports that “a home-made bomb exploded outside of the Champions Mosque in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas,” staking its claim on eyewitness reports that on July 4, 2004, “two white males” were seen placing the bomb. We inquired about the incidents and found that Spring’s sheriff department could not locate any police files about an explosion. Further inquiries to the mosque and an e-mail to CAIR both went unanswered. There is scant evidence that any crime even occurred.

5) CAIR notes “investigators in Massachusetts are still investigating a potential hate motivated arson against the Al-Baqi Islamic Center in Springfield.” However the case was long ago ruled a simple robbery, news that even CAIR’s own website has posted. The Associated Press reported on January 21, 2005, that prosecutors determined the fire was set by teen-age boys “who broke into the Al-Baqi mosque to steal money and candy, then set the fire to cover their tracks.” The boys, they clarified, “weren’t motivated by hatred toward Muslims.”

6) CAIR describes what happened to a Muslim family in Tucson, Arizona: “bullet shots pierced their home as they ate dinner in October 2004” and two months later their truck was smashed and vandalized. But the only evidence that either incident was motivated by hate of Muslims is the Dehdashti family itself, not the police. Detective Frank Rovi of Pima County Sheriff’s Department, who handled the shooting investigation, said that according to the neighbors, the desert area by the Dehdashti house was often used for target practice. Neither incident was classified as a hate crime and both cases were closed by February 2005, long before the CAIR report went to press.

Of twenty “anti-Muslim hate crimes” in 2004 that CAIR describes, at least six are invalid – and further research could likely find problems with the other fourteen instances. Nor is this the first unreliable CAIR report; earlier ones were just as bad. Speaking about the 1996 CAIR report, terrorism expert Steven Emerson noted in congressional testimony that “a large proportion of the complaints have been found to be fabricated, manufactured, distorted or outside standard definitions of hate crimes.” The 1996 report included the arrest of Musa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas leader, and the trial of Omar Abdul-Rahman, the blind sheikh and ringleader of the foiled “Day of Terror” plot to blow up New York City landmarks.

Even more absurdly, CAIR classified as an American hate crime the shooting of Ahmed Hamida in Jerusalem on February 26, 1996, as he fled after driving his car into a crowd of Israeli civilians, killing one and injuring twenty-three others. One wonders why the killing of a terrorist in Israel would be classified as an American issue; more of CAIR’s sloppiness?

Indeed, very little of what CAIR asserts checks out. CAIR’s significant inaccuracy has potentially great consequence. Note what happened after Newsweek reported in its May 9 issue that the Koran had been desecrated at the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo, Cuba. Protests raged in the Muslim world, including demonstrations that turned violent in Afghanistan and killed at least sixteen people. Newsweek eventually retracted the story but a bit late. Had things turned out otherwise, CAIR’s erroneous report could have provoked similar violence.

The staff at CAIR does not divulge to us its reasons for not retracting at least the provably false incidents embedded in its inflated “hate” figures, but we can think of two reasons: to scare its constituency, thereby raising more money; and to put the American public on the defensive, thereby winning more privileges for Islam, such as the 2000 U.S. Senate resolution inveighing against the “discrimination and harassment” suffered by the American Muslim community.

But why do journalists report the results of CAIR’s survey – as though it came from a source without a viewpoint bias, as though past studies had been reliable, as though its polls are scientific, as though it has not been party to threats against an American Muslim dissident, and as though it has not protected Osama bin Laden’s image, as though five of CAIR’s staff and board members have not already been associated with terrorism, and as though it is not named as a defendant in 9/11 terror lawsuit?

One wonders what it will take for establishment media to ignore CAIR’s unreliable research and instead start reporting the words of Steven Pomerantz, a former chief of the FBI's counterterrorism section, that CAIR's activities “effectively give aid to international terrorist groups.”

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2006

For some ungodly reason the media obfuscates the Arab deliberate slaughter

of the Animists and Christians of Darfur, Sudan

I An observation from the past: Dr. Andrew Bostom, author of “Legacy of Jihad” reminds us of an excerpt from Churchill's "The River War", which you might find pertinent:

"All of the Arab Muslim tribes in The Sudan, without exception, were hunters of men. To the great slave markets of Jeddah a continual stream of negro captives has flowed for hundreds of years. The invention of gunpowder and the adoption by the Arabs of firearms facilitated the traffic…Thus the situation in the Sudan for several centuries may be summed up as follows: The dominant race of Arab invaders was increasingly spreading its blood, religion, customs, and language among the black aboriginal population, and at the same time it harried and enslaved them…The war-like Arab tribes fought and brawled among themselves in ceaseless feud and strife. The negroes trembled in apprehension of capture, or rose locally against their oppressors."

II Redacted from:

This is why there is slaughter in Darfur
By Charles Moore
26/09/2006

Both Tony Blair and David Cameron tell us from time to time that we ought to care about Darfur. Mr Blair is leading a new drive to bring peace there. Mr Cameron says it is the sort of thing "modern, compassionate Conservatives" should worry about.They are right to worry, since genocide is taking place. The reputation of what people call "the international community" is at stake. But what is perplexing is that our leaders, and most of the media, do not really explain why Darfur is as it is. Even now, the thing is presented almost as a natural disaster. It is seen as a humanitarian crisis, and reports focus on how aid can get through. Of course it is a humanitarian crisis, but not a natural disaster.

It is not even one of those uncontrollable, anarchic situations in which rival factions of bandits charge round killing one another (though there certainly are plenty of such groups). The death in Darfur is the result of a policy.The policy is that of the Sudan government, which is now, in effect, the government of northern Sudan. That government is Islamist and Arab. It used to harbour Osama bin Laden until bombed by Bill Clinton.

Even before the Islamists came to power in 1989, the north imposed sharia everywhere. In 1990, it declared jihad against the south. It seeks to dispossess Christians and to assert Arab dominance of the north over the black population of the whole country. In Darfur, it destroys black villages through the Janjaweed and other militias.This week, Omar al-Bashir, the president of the Sudan, returned from the United Nations in New York pretty well pleased.

The inadequate African Union force in Darfur is extending its stay, and the UN force which has been formally resolved on is nowhere to be seen. That is how he wants it. Last week, I was in southern Sudan. Although desperately poor, with 95 per cent illiteracy, and some armed groups still roaming the bush, the place is more or less at peace. This is because, at the start of last year, international pressure forced a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between north and south.

The largely Christian south now has a great measure of self-rule, and will be allowed to vote, in 2011, as to whether it wants to secede from the Sudan. It is certain, if it ever gets its promised chance, that it will vote to break away.A UN force of 7,000 is in the south, trying to see that the CPA becomes a reality. The north drags its feet on key provisions – most notably the settling of the borders. It knows that if the borders are agreed, this will show clearly that most of the oilfields which earn the country large amounts of hard currency are in the south.

The north is supposed to give half of the revenue from the southern oilfields to the southern government, but there is no independent audit of what that revenue is, so the south is being short-changed. This suits China, which is in the country, helping itself to Sudanese oil at good rates.The leaders of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement who run the south, told me that half their budget is spent on the army, and that this is what people want.

They think the way to avoid war is to be strong enough to fight it. Southern Sudan is all but unique in the modern world in having recently overthrown sharia rule. After years of officially imposed Islam, in schools, the civil service and preferences for jobs, Christians no longer have to live in daily fear. I visited towns where mosques and churches now coexist peacefully.Yet one Anglican prelate I met, who said that he survived 20 years of persecution because "it is not so easy to kill a bishop", told me that "the Arab Muslim is not a giving-up sort of person".

The blow to Arab pride if the south became independent would be tremendous. The threat to the south is, therefore, huge. "We are the wall to the penetration of the Islamic religion to the whole of Africa," Bishop Micah said.What occurs in Darfur concerns not only the fate of its refugee, raped, hungry, dispossessed people. The outcome will also tell the north whether it can get away with what it wants. If it discovers that it can, it will start again on the much bigger prize of the south.

As they trained for their jihad against the south, the soldiers of Khartoum used to gather to hear verses telling them that Allah would make sure that the very birds in the trees directed them to the enemy camps: "And when the monkeys on the tree-tops see that the Mujahideen are coming to attack the rebels, they will swoop down upon the roads and sweep the mines. The Mujahideen will then march without difficulty until they reach the rebel camps which they will devastate… God is great. God is great."

There are reasons of high politics, to do with the influence of Egypt, and our Foreign Office's obsession with hunting for non-existent "moderates" among extreme Muslim governments, which stop the West taking a clear stand on the Sudan. So expect more expressions of concern, little action and more deaths – well beyond the borders of Darfur.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2006

Comparing the religion of Israeli and American Jews

By Dr. Aaron Lerner, Independent Media Review and Analysis, www.imra.org.il

22 September 2006

Israeli Poll: The Overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews observe various religious commandments

In a telephone poll of a representative sample of adult Israeli Jews carried out
by Mutagim for Makor, Rishon and Gesher and published in Makor, Rishon on 22
September, 2006

31.8% Don't turn on electrical equipment on the Sabbath.

62.6% Say Kiddush (Blessing over wine prior to the Sabbath meal).

89.1% Read the Haggadah (Prayer pamphlet) at the Passover Seder (traditional holiday meal)

70.8% Fast on Yom Kippur, holiest day of Jewish year. The Day of Atonement
[78.6% of women and 62.8% of men]

61.8% Observe Kashrut (keeping Kosher, the dietary laws) at some level

65.5% Give charity on Purim (Jewish annual holiday)

Response: Jsk to Aaron Lerner:

“That's beautiful. One always hears that Israelis are 80% secular?

Lerner - “Hi, That's the wild thing. People who in America would be considered "traditional" - or more - consider themselves "secular" here.

Best regards,
Aaron


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2006

THE CENTERPIECE OF ROSH HASHANAH (THE JEWISH NEW YEAR)

By Rabbi Berel Wein

September 20, 2006

The centerpiece of our Rosh Hashanah observance, prayers, and sounding of the shofar is the remembrance of the akeidah – the binding of Yitzchak to the altar and Avraham’s apparent willingness to sacrifice him as worship to God.

The akeidah has followed us throughout our long history. There have been millions of akeidot in Jewish history and most of them ended in the death of the victim and not in him or her being spared. Yet it is the utter devotion and tenacity of Israel to do God’s will no matter what the cost that has sustained us throughout our long and difficult journey through time.

Rosh Hashanah therefore serves to remind us of the price that may be demanded yet of us to protect our Jewishness and project it into future generations. The tests need not be ones of physical life and death. They are usually more complicated and subtle than that. Overcoming one’s own weaknesses and desires, swimming against the current of the prevailing value system of much of modern society and being steadfast in our faith and behavior against all comers and events – these are the terms of our own akeidah.

The price of easy Judaism is assimilation and forfeiture of one’s Jewish future. Rosh Hashanah is uncompromising in its demands upon us. The Baal Shem Tov stressed that a person is judged not only by what a person is at that moment but also by what a person aspires to be. Rosh Hashanah is the time for renewed commitment to our higher and nobler aspirations, to dismiss pettiness and selfishness and direct ourselves to the fulfillment of Torah and Jewish values in our lives and our society.

The shofar therefore serves as our call to arouse our better self. The rabbis phrased it thusly: “Let one always arouse one’s better nature to do battle against one’s evil desires.” Passivity in attempting to improve our nature and behavior is doomed to being a failed tactic. Rosh Hashanah demands from us enthusiasm in the cause of God and Torah and a willingness to struggle with ourselves – the hardest struggle that we will ever encounter is with ourselves – in order to arouse our better nature and aspire to moral greatness and holy behavior.

The shofar is proactive. Its sounds are penetrating and turbulent. It demands and does not soothe. It is the byproduct of the akeidah. But our rabbis have taught us that our prayers on Rosh Hashanah ascend heavenward through the medium of the shofar. Only by aspiring to be better and stronger and more Jewish can we hope to have good standing before the heavenly court on the Day of Judgment.

The sounds of the shofar therefore goad us towards this goal and achievement in the service of God and humans. In the sounds of the shofar do we hear our own struggles with ourselves to improve and ascend. This struggle is an eternal one but so are its rewards and benefits.

I extend to all of you, my beloved friends at Beit Knesset HaNassi and those around the world as well who have stood by me in my difficult moment and aided me with your friendship and concern, my heartfelt blessings for the New Year. May it bring us health and prosperity, longevity and harmony. May God bless Israel, His people and land, with peace and redemption.

Rabbi Berel Wein is a noted scholar, historian, speaker and educator, an American émigré who has lived in Israel for many years and is admired the world-over for his learned books and cassette tapes

K'siva V'Chasima Tova (May you be inscribed for a good year). Jsk

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2006

A Genuine Ray of Hope or Just Wishful Thinking?

By Ehud Yaari
Jerusalem Report, October 2, 2006

Hassan Nasrallah is showing clear signs of "dejection, melancholy and
depression," according to the editors of the Lebanese daily al-Safir, who are counted among the most steadfast supporters of the leader of Hizballah.
Alongside a tiresomely long interview with him, published on September 5,
they note that the man radiates a sense of "disappointment and distress."
It is no trifling matter that Nasrallah, who is always punctilious in demonstrating self-confidence and determination, comes across this way to those visiting him in his hideout. "I myself don't even know where I am," he told his interviewers. "They have moved me from one hiding place to another dozens of times."

Nevertheless, his words were as polished and considered as usual, and included the now familiar remarks about Ehud Olmert's "stupidity," fictional accounts of his ongoing communications with fighters on the frontline during the war, and wild exaggerations about his achievements in the last round. This is the same Nasrallah that we have known for years, and at the same time, a different Nasrallah than we have seen before. An analysis of the text helps solve the riddle of why Nasrallah is so frustrated even as he claims "victory," and what the source of his anxiety is, even though, in his assessment, he succeeded in "defeating" the Israeli army.

The impression given is that Nasrallah is worried about not being able to
continue the armed muqawama, or resistance, in the new framework of UN
Security Council Resolution 1701. He understands that in South Lebanon, in
the area below the Litani River and on the slopes of Mount Hermon along the
contours of the Hazbani, his people will no longer be able to set up open
military camps. In addition, they have lost the numerous positions they had
seized close to the border with Israel following the Israeli withdrawal of May 2000, and from now on, they will have to conceal their weapons in secret
mountain caches, outside the villages. Hizballah's southern "Nasr" (Victory)
unit will no longer be able to move freely in the area, where the 15,000 soldiers of three regular brigades of the Lebanese Army will be manning roadblocks and carrying out patrols, bolstered by the troops of an upgraded UNIFIL force.

There are already signs that Hizballah has started moving its military equipment from the South toward the Lebanese Biqa. In other words, Nasrallah understands that the South has ceased to be "Hizballahstan" and he is conceding the role that he had taken upon himself in the past, to serve as the guardian of Lebanon's border.

Moreover, Nasrallah fears that under these circumstances, he stands to lose
control over portions of the Shiite community. Indeed, there is growing evidence of disaffection with Hizballah, and reservations on the part of some of the Shiite middle class, and among the local village leaderships, about the disaster visited upon them by Nasrallah's belligerent adventurism.
Nasrallah's promises to provide generous and speedy compensation to the
thousands of families who lost their homes are not being realized. So far, only a few hundred families have received down payments on the $12,000 each is supposed to receive to cover a year's rent pending the rehabilitation of their permanent homes. At least 30,000 families, most of them Shiite, are expecting funds from Nasrallah's "Construction Jihad" organization-a huge financial burden even for Iran, and all the more so considering that the Lebanese government will receive hundreds of millions of dollars from the Arab states and other donor nations to compete with Hizballah for the hearts and minds of the victims.

Nasrallah is now forced to rely more than he would like on his partner/rival
in the Shiite sector, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a sleek and shrewd
politician who heads the more secular "Amal." Nasrallah has suddenly taken
to calling Berri "my big brother," and is advising all the other actors in the Lebanese arena to accept the aid of Berri's "infinite wisdom." All this smacks of Nasrallah conceding his seniority, if only temporarily, in the Shiite leadership.

What's more, Nasrallah fears rising tensions between the Sunnis and Shiites
in Lebanon. He is trying with all his might to avoid open confrontation, but Sunni public opinion, under the leadership of the Hariri family and its loyalists, has turned largely against him. Hizballah is now forced to rely on second echelon Sunni elements in Tripoli and other places, but at this stage, he has squandered any opportunity of getting the central pillars of the Sunni minority to identify with his positions.

Surprisingly, Nasrallah's standing among the Christians is somewhat better
for now. That is because of the alliance he struck before the war with the
strongest Maronite, Gen. Michel Aoun. Together they are pressing to rout the
anti-Syrian government headed by Fuad Siniora, or at least to broaden the coalition by adding more partners from Hizballah, along with Aoun's faction
(the Patriotic Current) and other figures such as the Christian Suleiman
Franjieh from the north, the Druze Majid Arslan and the Sunni Omar Karameh.
But the Aoun-Nasrallah alliance is not firm and may not hold up over time.
And herein lies Nasrallah's concern that he will be left without any powerful allies in the Lebanese arena, amid growing pressure on him to disarm, as demanded by the March 14 anti-Syrian coalition. Nasrallah has apparently come to the conclusion that he was too hasty in pulling the trigger on July 12, and admits that he did not expect so strong an Israeli reaction. From his perspective, the war did not end with the cease-fire, and the results will only become clear once the dust kicked up by the internal wrestling in Lebanon has dispersed.

Ehud Yaari is an Israel-based associate of The Washington Institute and associate editor of Jerusalem Report. He is the author of Toward Israeli-Palestinian Disengagement and Peace by Piece: A Decade of Egyptian Policy.
Posted by IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2006

European Self-Destruction Compromises US, Israel & entire Western World

By Caroline Glick, THE JERUSALEM POST Sept. 14, 2006

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair is Israel's best friend in Europe (and that’s not saying much). Immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, Blair was instrumental in convincing US President George W. Bush to view the Palestinian jihad against Israel as a conflict completely separate from the global jihad. His success in convincing Bush of this distinction turned the anti-Semitic - not to mention strategically disastrous -view that terrorists who kill Israelis should be treated differently from terrorists who kill anyone else into one of the cognitive foundations of the US war on Islamic terror. This foundation was first enunciated in Bush's address of September 20 to a joint session of Congress where he identified "every terrorist with global reach" - that is every terrorist who isn't part of the Palestinian Authority - as enemies of the US.

Later, Blair was a principal force behind Bush's move to abandon the guidelines for dealing with the Palestinians that he enunciated in his speech of June 24, 2002. In that address, Bush stipulated that the Palestinians needed to transform themselves from a society that supported terror into one that combated terror in order to receive US support for Palestinian statehood.

Shortly after Baghdad fell to coalition forces in April 2003, Blair convinced Bush to accept the road map plan for Palestinian statehood. The road map, which effectively locks in US support for Palestinian statehood irrespective of Palestinian terrorism and radicalism represented a practical abandonment of the positions that Bush set out in his June 24, 2002 address.

During his visit to the region this week, in keeping with his studied habit, Blair ignored the fact that the Iranian-backed Hamas government was elected to lead the Palestinian Authority by a large majority of Palestinians. He ignored the fact that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has voiced support for the abduction and continued captivity of Cpl. Gilad Shalit and for the continuation of the terror war against Israel. He ignored the fact that rather than working to overthrow the Hamas government, Abbas has begged Hamas to allow Fatah to join its government. To this end, Abbas has accepted Hamas's policy guidelines rejecting the possibility of recognizing Israel's right to exist and committing all Palestinians to unite in the war against Israel.

Ignoring all these inconvenient facts, Blair called on the Olmert-Livni-Peretz government to renew negotiations with Abbas on the basis of the road map. And yet, for all this, Tony Blair is Israel's best friend in Europe. He is Israel's best friend because, in contrast to all his colleagues in Britain and the EU, Blair at least recognizes that the global jihad is a threat to the free world and that the price of not fighting the forces of jihad would be the loss of our freedom.

Soon, Israel's closest European friend will exit the world stage after being effectively sacked by his own Labor Party last week. British political commentators say the chances are slim that Blair will manage to hold onto the reins of power as a lame duck for the next 12 months, as he pledged. More likely, he will leave 10 Downing Street in a matter of months.

The two men most likely to succeed Blair - Chancellor Gordon Brown and Tory leader David Cameron - will be more similar to French President Jacques Chirac than to Blair in their attitudes toward Israel and the US. This is the case first and foremost because that is what the British people expect of them.

British antipathy towards the US and Israel was clearly exposed in an opinion poll published on September 6 in the Times of London. The poll reported that 73 percent of Britons believe that Blair's foreign policy, and especially his "support for the invasion of Iraq and refusal to demand an immediate cease-fire by Israel in the recent war against Hezbollah, has significantly increased the risk of terrorist attacks on Britain." More than 62% said that to "reduce the risk of terrorist attacks on Britain, the government should change its foreign policy, in particular by distancing itself from America, being more critical of Israel and declaring a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq." The day after the poll was published, Blair announced that he would leave office in a year.

Also, on September 7, a committee of members of Parliament released a report on anti-Semitism in Britain. The all-party committee found that that since the Palestinian jihad against Israel began in 2000, anti-Semitism in Britain has become a mainstream phenomenon. Attacks against Jews in Britain were at an all time high over the summer. In their anti-Americanism and anti Semitism, the British, of course, are no different from their Continental brethren. And the situation in Europe is alarming.

Writing in FrontPage magazine this week, Islamic expert Andrew Bostom reported that in November 2005, Stephen Steinlight, the former director of education at the US Holocaust Memorial Council, told a conference in Washington that on average, Muslims attack Jews in Paris 12 times a day. According to Steinlight, this means French anti-Semitic violence is approaching the level of anti-Semitic violence in Germany during the days of the Weimar Republic.

These attacks against Jews in Europe are accompanied by ever increasing official hostility towards Israel on the part of European governments. On the second day of the war with Hizbullah, Chirac felt comfortable alleging, "Israel's military offensive against Lebanon is totally disproportionate." Chirac then acidly asked, "Is destroying Lebanon the ultimate goal?" Chirac's remarks opened the floodgates for anti-Israel propaganda throughout Europe. They were followed by the barring of El Al cargo planes carrying weapons shipments from the US from European airports. That prohibition still stands.

From the moment Chirac launched this unjustified diplomatic assault against Israel, his government began acting as an agent of the Lebanese government, which itself acted throughout the war as Hezbollah’s mouthpiece. So from the second day of the war, the groundwork was already laid for UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which treats Israel and Hezbollah as equals and lets both Syria and Iran off the hook for their central roles in Hezbollah’s illegal war against Israel.

THROUGH THEIR behavior toward both Israel and the US, Europe's leaders have made clear that they will do just about anything to please the Muslim world. Even though Iran has made absolutely clear that it refuses to end uranium enrichment activities, or even to suspend them, the Europeans continue to insist on negotiating with the mullahs and refuse to take even the smallest concrete step against Iran in the UN Security Council.

As for the Palestinians, the Europeans have made no attempt to hide their eagerness to renew their monthly transfers of tens of millions of euros to the Palestinian Authority in the wake of Hamas's agreement to let Fatah join its jihadist government.

And in Lebanon, together with the UN, the Europeans have defined the rules of engagement for UNIFIL in a way that on the one hand protects Hezbollah, and on the other hand, prevents Israel from defending itself. Above all else, these policies clearly demonstrate that the Europeans have defined ingratiating the Muslim world as their primary geopolitical interest.

Seemingly unaware of Europe's growing hostility toward Israel, the Olmert-Livni-Peretz government has succumbed to the charms of the likes of Chirac, Romano Prodi and Javier Solana and is systematically abandoning Israel's positions in favor of Europe's pro-Arab stands. During his press conference with Blair, Olmert renounced his previous well-considered demand that Shalit be released before any meeting can take place between him and Abbas.

During her visit to Washington, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni emphasized Israel's desire to renew negotiations with the Palestinians on the basis of the road map, and the government's continued support for Abbas. This, in spite of the fact that the government Abbas is forming with Hamas will not recognize Israel's right to exist and will be committed to continuing its jihad against Israel. In so doing, Olmert and Livni are lending informal approval to the renewal of European funding of the Palestinian Authority.

Even more troubling is the government's inaction, bordering on tacit support, regarding the radical Left's campaign to transfer responsibility for Israel's security from the IDF to Europe. The campaign, which New York Times columnist Tom Friedman enthusiastically dubbed, "Land for NATO," in his column on Wednesday, involves the adoption of the UNIFIL model in Gaza and Judea and Samaria. This newest messianic trend is based on the blind belief that Israel can continue giving land to the Palestinians in spite of the fact that the Palestinians are the most radical, pro-jihad society on the face of the earth, because Europe will protect Israel from them. Whether under the UN flag or the NATO flag, the new writ of leftist faith maintains that Europe can replace the IDF in defending the Jews.

Blair's stubborn refusal to acknowledge the simple fact that just as the Iranians will not cease uranium enrichment because they want to build atom bombs, so the Palestinians will reject all offers of statehood because they prefer to destroy the Jewish state is infuriating. And yet the fact remains that he is the last European leader who truly believes that Israel has an inherent right to exist and bases his policies on this belief. It is absolutely clear that in the coming years, Europe's hostility towards Israel and the Jewish people as a whole will continue to rise.

HOW THEN, is Israel to contend with Europe? As Israel's largest trading partner, relations with Europe are vital to Israel's economic well-being. So it is clear that Israel cannot simply turn its back on the free world's Achilles heel. At the same time, given Europe's hostility, it is similarly obvious that the direction of the Olmert-Livni-Peretz government's policies toward Europe must be reversed. Rather than enabling Europe to increase its influence in the region, Israel must take every step possible to minimize Europe's foothold in its neighborhood. Israel should use Blair's exit from the world stage as an opportunity to lock its doors and shutter its windows before any new European "friends' can come inside.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2006

An Israel Hospital-Supporting Charity Organization or a Political Party?

By Jerome S. Kaufman

Much to my surprise and dismay, I received a political letter from two of the key officers of a very prominent woman’s health organization. The organization’s only declared and understood responsibility is supposedly the sponsorship of a hospital in Israel and for which the organization does an excellent job. Literally millions of dollars of donations are gathered all over the country and world, for that purpose. Why was I then sent a purely political promotion just prior to the primary elections in Michigan? Hopefully the national organization is not doing anything similar in other areas?

The letter obviously had nothing to do with the declared task of hospital funding. Furthermore, in case those that sent out the letter, under the obvious auspices of their organization, are unaware, money donated to political organizations are not tax-deductible. As a result, contributors to a charitable organization that assumes a political role might legitimately have their tax deductions questioned and the organization itself could, in short order, lose its designated charity status.

The letter had been undoubtedly circulated to thousands of the members of the organization in the hope of influencing their voting priorities. Tax consequences aside, the political recommendations within the promotional letter were open to question and many would conclude, completely partisan in their approach and misdirected in their priorities.

Unfortunately, many of the recommendations within the letter were directed against the declared purposes of the current US government administration - an administration that is appreciated by the Israelis as the most favorable American administration they have ever experienced. It is also an administration that is waging an intense fight against the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people and has had immense success neutralizing many of these enemies. Fortunately, as is so often the case, Israel and American interests strongly coincide.

Many of us therefore believe that such a political letter, directly or indirectly alien to the goals of this administration, is a grave political mistake that could conceivably damage the continuation of this amazing, unequivocal American support.

The basic premise of the article sent, as stated in its introduction was that:
“Since nowadays most legislators recognize that Israel is truly a democratic, anti-terrorist ally and thus support Israel very strongly, please consider these domestic issues (evidently instead of worrying about Israel) when you select candidates.”

The domestic issues it lists were: Support best practices for women’s health, including reproductive choice; embryonic stem cell research, best science to make government decisions regarding health and environment, separation of religion and government, genetic and medical privacy protection, genetic anti-discrimination protection in employment, insurance and finances.”

These issues themselves elicit very different responses among knowledgeable Jews. Many Jews no longer have knee-jerk positive responses to issues that simply sound “liberal.” In many cases they are not truly “liberal” but in fact, destructive to those they theoretically represent. Furthermore, many Jews and non-Jews alike believe that many of these recommendations are not in the best interests of Jews, Israel or the United States of America. There are also many defenders of the issues listed, while the defense of the State of Israel is a much more particular problem that requires the relatively small number of voting American Jews give it their highest priority.

Also of note is the fact that, contrary to the letter’s basic premise, there are many very influential Congressman in potential positions of great power that are not supportive of the State of Israel. It is a given fact that if the Democratic Party assumes control of the House of Representatives the following well-known antagonists of the Jewish state will assume chairmanships of some of the most important Congressional committees. Namely:

John D. Dingell, Democrat - House Energy and Commerce Committee
John Conyers Jr., Democrat - House Judiciary Committee
Nick J. Rahall, Democrat - House Resources Committee
David R. Obey, Democrat - House Appropriations Committee

In no way is it recommended that this frightening fact dictate to anyone that they vote a straight Party ticket. For example, I would not dream of not voting for Debbie Stabenow, Democrat, to continue as US Senator from Michigan nor for Joe Knollenberg, Republican to continue as my Congressman. The Party in these cases is strictly incidental. But, please be aware of the overall party picture.

As Ira Forman, executive director of the National Democratic Council recently said, “The first concern of the Jewish community now is and should be Israel.” Israel, except for the very first days of its re-birth in 1948, has never been under a more existential threat than at this very moment. It is our hope that Jews entering the voting booth keep this very much in mind.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2006

Prof. Paul Eidelberg once more tells the dismal truth. Sorry, how depressing.

By Professor Paul Eidelberg

The Jewish Press, September 8, 2006

“Olmert must go!” Down with the government!” “To the Streets.” “New elections now!’ The result of all these exclamations and proclamations - Israelis being deluged with hot air. So what if Olmert resigned? So what if the government were toppled? So what if the people went to the streets? And so what, if new elections were held now? Just more hot air. Why? That’s because Israel’s existing parliamentary system would remain intact. Since this system compels citizens to vote for fixed party lists rather than individual representatives, the same job seekers - fools, cowards and liars — will return to the Knesset - gnoring Arab MK’s such as Azmi Bishara and Talab al-Sana, who have openly incited Israeli Arabs to kill Jews.

Let’s begin with the more prominent MKs who supported or voted for the Labor policy of unilateral disengagement - either in the cabinet or in the Knesset, and who in all probability will return to one of those dens of iniquity. Don’t be surprised if Ehud Olmert, Shimon Peres (the guru of Oslo), Amir Peretz, Benjamin Netanyahu, Silvan Shalom, Shaul Mofaz, Tzipi Livni, Limor Livnat, Gideon Ezra, Meir Sheetrit, Yuval Steinitz, Michael Eitan, Yisrael Katz, Ophir Pines-Paz, Isaac Herzog, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Dalia Itzik, Colette Avital, Ephraim Sneh,Yuli Tamir, Matan Vilnai, and Ran Cohen are in the next Knesset.

The same may be said of Avi Dichter (who joined Kadima) and Yossi Beilin (who, despite his responsibility for Oslo, has returned to the Israeli haven of failed politicians). Wait! This is not all. The Knesset has several incumbents who, though they opposed unilateral disengagement, nonetheless propped up the Sharon government by signing its March 2003 coalition agreement, which bound the signatories to the Oslo Agreement. Suffice to mention Avigdor Lieberman, Benny Elon, Arieh Eldad, Zvi Hendel, Yuri Shtern, Effie Eitam, Yitzhak Levy, and Zevulun Orlev.

Finally, let’s not forget Moshe Gafni, Yakov Litzman, Meir Porush, and Avraham Ravitz of United Torah Judaism, a party that, by joining the 2004 Sharon-Peres coalition government, doomed the Jews of Gaza and northern Samaria. Although one or another of the above MK’s may be singled out for merit, all contributed, directly or indirectly to “unilateral disengagement” and its consequences - the ascendancy of Hamas and the Lebanese War.

Nevertheless, hardly any of these MK’s need worry about his job, because none has to face a rival candidate in a constituency election — a rival who could inform the voters of the incumbent’s abysmal failings, as can be done in every authentic democracy.

So what does this clamor about Olmert and new elections amount to? Little more than hot air. The system will remain the same. The government will consist of a multiplicity of rival party leaders, each lusting for a larger share of the national treasury to feather his personal or partisan nest. The prime minister, whose party may have received less then 25 percent of the national vote - Kadima, received only 22 percent in the March 2005 election - will use his appointment power to manipulate his party colleagues in the Knesset, as Sharon did to obtain passage of the Evacuation Law. The Knesset will pretty much remain a cipher (zero); incapable of exercising the function of administrative oversight in the absence of which, corruption and inefficiency will remain the order of the day.

And, of course, the Israeli Supreme Court will remain a self-perpetuating oligarchy whose political agenda, rooted in cultural egalitarianism is transforming the supposed to be Jewish state into “a state of its citizens.” (How noble, how Jewish and how completely antagonistic to Hertzl’s original dream and the salvation of the Jews of the world - jsk)

Professor Paul Eidelberg teaches at Bar Illan University in Israel and is the director of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2006

The Path of Peace as Recommended by G.W. Bush’s Critics

By Tony Blankley, Editorial page Editor the Washington Times
August 28, 2006

We are all aware of the dangerous Middle East conditions the United States faces today after five and a half years of President Bush’s leadership. So let’s consider what the world might well look like if, in his remaining two and a half years, he were to follow the recommendations of his critics.

First: America out of Iraq by the end of 2007. We warn the Iraqis to get off their duffs and prepare to be in charge by Dec 31,2007. We depart (leaving a couple of divisions in a desert base somewhere in Kuwait — per John Murtha’s over the horizon strategy). The Iraqi military and police are still not able to manage. Full-scale civil war breaks out The Iranians enter to give help to the Shias. The Egyptians, Saudi and other Sunni states lend a hand to help the Iraqi Sunnis. The Kurds declare an independent Kurdistan. The Turks go to war against the Kurds after Kurdish PKK terrorists hit the Turks yet again. The Sunnis try to take a piece of Kurdish oil resources near Kirkuk. The Shia workers, who dominate Saudi’s southern oil fields attack Saudi pipelines in solidarity with Iranian Shia led fighting in Iraq. Kuwait demands our two divisions immediately lease, as it is arousing the hostility of its population. Qatar makes the same demand, for same reason, of our naval base. The United States complies.

Second: President Bush forces Israel to accept Hezbollah’s role as a non-terrorist, social services- based political party in Lebanon. In a special election Hezbollah combines its support amongst Lebanon’s Shias (40 percent of population), with voter intimidation to dominate the next government led by President Hassan Nasrallab.

Third: President Bush finally personally “leans on Israel to negotiate for peace with the Palestinians. No longer in the sway of the “Jewish lobby,” Mr. Bush threatens to cut off Israel from all dollars, military equipment (including spare parts) and diplomatic support. He threatens economic sanctions if Israel doesn’t negotiate a peace with Hamas-led Palestinians. Going beyond President Clinton’s peace deal of 2000, which was rejected by Yasser Arafat, Hamas demands Israel return to pre-1967 borders, turn over the Golan Heights to Syria, no West Bank occupation (including suburbs of Jerusalem), the right of return of the first half million of Palestinians to Israel proper and turning over Jerusalem to a United Nations mandate. Israel is compelled to agree. They sign the agreement that recognizes two states

On the next day (Nov 29,2007—60 years to the day from when the first post U.N. resolution Arab terrorist attack on Jews occurred (the day after the UN. resolution for an independent Israel was passed in 1947) Israel is besieged by terrorists and intensively grouped missile attacks on the north by Hezbollah-run Lebanon, on the south from Gaza and in the center from Jenin to Hebron in the new state of the Islamic Republic of Palestine. Syria militarily re-occupies the Golan Heights.

UN administered Jerusalem becomes, with UN acquiescence, a free passage zone for terrorists into Israel. When the Knesset is bombed by terrorists, Israe1 declares a defensive, existential three-front war against Lebanon, Syria and the Islamic Republic of Palestine. The war escalates fast toward the edge of Israel’s conventional military capacity.

Fourth: The United States takes military option off the table regarding Iranian nuclear negotiations. After US/French/British/ proposed feeble U.N. sanctions are blocked by Russia and China, the world community accepts reality of Iranian nuclear aspirations, but expects to be able to deter Iran as we did the Soviets for SO years, should they ever develop such capacity.

Just as the CIA had been caught unaware by the speed of Soviet, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani and North Korean atomic bomb development from the 1940s to the 1990s, in the summer of 2007,the CIA in testimony to the Congress admitted that its five to ten year prediction of Iranian bomb acquisition was off by four-nine years. This testimony followed by a week, Iran’s first underground testing of a nuclear device. President Ahmadinejad threatens to unleash the “fire of Allah,” should the United States, Turkey, Egypt or Saudi Arabia further intervene in Iraq. The same “fire of Allah” is threatened at the “Zionist Entity’ if she doesn’t immediately stop her war against Syria, Lebanon and the Islamic Republic of Palestine.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey request immediate publicly acknowledged coverage under the United State’s nuclear umbrella; at least until their joint crash program to develop their own nuclear bombs can be accomplished. The 2008 American presidential campaign revolves around whether to grant such a nuclear guarantee in the face of Iran’s ongoing terrorist/politico/military hegemonic advance toward the Caspian, Mediterranean and Red Seas.
The Democratic candidate for president is blaming President Bush and the Republicans for both:

1) Forcing Israel into an untenable “peace,” and 2) the precipitous departure from Iraq — both actions of which have left the Middle East ablaze and a hair triggers touch away from nuclear detonation. Price of a barrel of crude oil on Election Day 2008— $250.

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:00 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2006

Liberal’s “Universalism” begets Muslim Caliphate

By Mark Steyn
The Washington Times, August 21, 2006

Here’s how an early report by Reuters covered the massive terrorism bust in the United Kingdom. They started out conventionally enough just chugging along with airport closures, arrest details and quotes from bystanders, but then got to the big picture: ‘“I’m an ex-flight attendant, I’m used to delays, but this is a different kind of delay said Gita Saintangelo, 54, an American returning to Miami. ‘We heard about it on the TV this morning. We left a little early and said a prayer,’ she said at Heathrow.

Britain has been criticized by Islamist militants for its military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prime Minister Tony Blair has also come under fire at home and abroad for following the US lead and refusing to call for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas’

Is there a software program at Western news agencies that automatically inserts random segues in terrorism stories? The plot to commit mass murder by seizing up to ten UK-US airliners was well advanced long before the first Israeli strike against Hezbollah. Yet it’s apparently axiomatic at Reuters, the BBC and many other British media outlets that Mr. Blair is the root cause of jihad. He doesn’t even have to invade anywhere anymore. He just has to “refuse to call for an immediate ceasefire” when some other fellows invade some other follows over on the other side of the world.

Grant for the sake of argument that these reports are true — that when the bloodthirsty Zionist warmongers attack all those marvelous Hezbollah social outreach programs it drives British subjects born and bred to plot mass murder against their fellow Britons. What does that mean? Here’s a clue, from a recent Pew poll that asked:

What do you consider yourself first a citizen of your country or a Muslim?
In the United Kingdom, seven percent of Muslims consider themselves British first, 81 percent consider themselves Muslim first and that’s where the really valid Lebanese comparison lies.
Lebanon is a sovereign state. It has an executive and a military. But its military has less sophisticated weaponry than Hezbollah and its executive wields less authority over its jurisdiction than Hezbollah.

In the old days, the Lebanese government would have fallen and Hezbollah would have formally supplanted the state. But non-state minded actors like the Hezbollah crowd and al Qaeda have no interest in graduating to statehood. If you’ve got bigger fish to fry; if you’re interested in establishing a global caliphate, getting a UN seat and an Olympic team only gets in the way. The “sovereign state is of use to such groups merely as a base of operations, as Afghanistan was and Lebanon is.

They act locally but they think globally. And that indifference to the state can be contagious. Lebanon’s Christians may think of themselves as Lebanese,” but most of Hezbollah Shia constituency doesn’t. Western analysts talk hopefully of fierce differences between Sunni and Shia, Arab and Persian, but it’s interesting to note the numbers of young Sunni men in Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere in recent weeks who’ve decided that Iran (Shia) President Ahmadinejad and his (Shia) Hezbollah proxies are the new cool kids in town.

During the 1990s, we grew used to the idea that “non-state actors” meant a terrorist group, with maybe a few hundred activists, a few thousand supporters. What if entire populations are being transformed into “non-state actors’? Not terrorists, by any means, but at the very minimum entirely indifferent to the state of which they’re nominally citizens.

Hence, that statistic: seven percent of British Muslims consider their primary identity to be British, 81 percent consider it to be Muslim. By comparison, in the most populous Muslim nation on the planet 39 percent of Muslim Indonesians consider themselves Indonesian first; 36 percent consider themselves Muslim first.

For over four years now, I’ve been writing about a phenomenon I first encountered in the Muslim ghettoes of the Netherlands, Belgium and other European countries in the spring of 2002: second-and third generation European Muslims feel far more fiercely Islamic than their parents and grandparents.

That’s the issue: pan-Islamism is the most profound challenge to conventional ideas of citizenship and nationhood. Of course if you say that at the average Ivy League college, you’ll get a big shrug Modem multicultural man disdains to be bound by the nation-state too; he prides himself on being a citizen of the world. The difference is that for Western do-gooders, it’s mostly a pose: they may occasionally swing by some Third World basket case and condescend to the natives, but for the most part the multicultural set have no wish to live anywhere but an advanced Western democracy. It’s a quintessential piece of leftie humbug. They may think globally, but they don’t act on it.

The pan-Islamists do act. When they hold hands and sing “We Are The World”, they mean it. And we’re being very complacent if we think they only take over the husks of “felled states” like Afghanistan, Somalia and Lebanon. The Islamists are very good at using the principal features of the modern multicultural democracy — legalisms and victimology — to their own advantage. The United Kingdom is, relatively speaking, a non-failed state, but at a certain level Her Majesty’s Government shares the same problem as their opposite numbers in Beirut. They don’t quite dare to move against the pan-Islamists and they have no idea what possible strategy would enable them to do so. So instead they tackle the symptoms. Excellent investigative work by MI-5 and Scotland Yard foiled this plot, and may foil the next one, and the one after that, and the ten after that, and the hundred after those.

And in the meantime a thousand incremental inconveniences fall upon the citizen. If you had told an Englishman on September 10th, 2001 that within five years all hand luggage would be banned on flights from Britain, he’d have thought you were a kook. If you’d told an Englishwoman that all liquids would be banned except milk for newborns babies, which could only be taken on board if the adult accompanying the child drinks from the bottle in front of a security guard, she’d have scoffed and said no-one would ever put up with such a ludicrous imposition. But now it’s here. What other changes will the Islamists have wrought in another five years? Absent a determination to throttle the ideology, we’re about to witness the unraveling of the world.

Mark Steyn is the senior contributing editor for Hollinger Inc. Publications, senior North American columnist for Britain’s Telegraph Group, North American editor for the Spectator and a nationally syndicated columnist.


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 01:59 AM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2006

Understanding Shiite vs. Sunni

By Donald R. Sands
The Washington Times, August 28, 2006

The world’s Shi’ite Muslims, traditionally second-class citizens in the Islamic world, may be having their day. The strong performance by fighters of Lebanon’s radical Shi’ite Hezbollah movement in the five-week war with Israel is just the latest sign of resurgence for the branch of Islam that has long been dominated militarily and economically by the more numerous Sunni Muslims.
But the Shi’ite revival also poses major problems for the Bush administration and for Sunni Arab dominated regimes such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, while presenting a strategic opportunity for the world’s most-populous Shi’ite state Iran.

Vail Nasr, Middle East scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of a new book, “The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future” said the popular perception across the Islamic world of Hezbollah’s success was a blow to the Sunni regimes and could force even moderate Shi’ite leaders to take a more radical stance against Israel and US interests. “The Shi’ites can say, ‘We performed better than the Sunnis in standing up for our interests,” he said. “Hezbollah defended the little villages in southern Lebanon better than Saddam Hussein defended Baghdad.”

Even before the Lebanon clash, events across the Muslim world had inspired debate over a new “Shi’ite Crescent?’ Following U.S.-backed elections, Iraq’s Shi’ite majority dominates the government in Baghdad for the first time in a millennium, while Shi’ite militia’s battle largely Sunni insurgents for control of the country. Iran’s Shi’ite Islamic Republic has seen two regional rivals — the Sunni fundamentalist Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam’s Sunni-dominated secular dictatorship in Iraq — crushed by U.S.-led military campaigns, while its Hezbollah ally is the strongest and best-armed force in Lebanon.

“Freed from the menace of the ‘Taliban in Afghanistan and of Saddam in Iraq, Iran is riding the crest of the wave of Shi’ite revival,” according to Mr. Nasr, “aggressively pursuing nuclear power and demanding international recognition of its interests.”

Shi’ite Muslim communities in Sunni-dominated Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain — which has a Shi’ite majority population — have recently begun to demand greater rights and economic opportunity. The world’s 120 million Shi’ites represent about 10 percent of Muslims worldwide, and are a majority of the population in just a hand-full of countries, including Iran (90 percent), Iraq (60 percent), Azerbaijan (75 percent) and Bahrain (75 percent).

Shi’ites make up an estimated 45 percent of Lebanon’s population and are smaller but still significant minorities in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the Persian Gulf states. Shi’ite Muslims, with a religious tradition that did not focus on state power, have long complained of marginalization at the hands of Sunnis, even in countries such as Iraq, where Sunni Muslims were a minority.

Some of the most open fears of rising Shi’ite power, often linked to a rising of Iran, have come from the Arab world’s Sunni leaders. In December 2004, Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned of rising Iranian influence on Iraq’s Shi'ite Muslims, referring explicitly to a “Shi’ite crescent” stretching from Lebanon to Iran that could de-stabilize existing governments and challenge US interests.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek in April accused Shi’ite radicals such as Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah of putting religious ties — in particular allegiance to Iran — above national interests
“Shi’ites are mostly always loyal to Iran and not to the countries where they live,” he said.

But some regional commentators say such comments inflate the danger of a pan-regional Shi’ite alliance and reflect the Sunni leaders fears of Iran and of the impact events such as the Lebanese war could have on their populations at home.

"Clearly throughout the Gulf and beyond, there is an effort on the part of Arab regimes to use this specter of a Shia crescent for their own purposes," said Council on Foreign Relations Middle East scholar Steven A Cook at a council symposium in June on the Shi’ite resurgence.

Islam scholars say the Shi’ite-Sunni clash is a complex mix of religion, politics and class issues, and that the schism has never been fixed or permanent in Islam’s 1400-year history but the sectarian fighting in Iraq and the Hezbollah war in Lebanon have forced ordinary Muslims to choose sides.


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2006

A Concise Historical Perspective - The Rabin Assassination

Or how Israel got into this awful mess

Redacted from an article by Joseph Schick

The Jewish Press, November 4, 2005

Some people, presumably believing they have a direct line to God, have declared the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina to be divine punishment for US support of Israel’s Gaza withdrawal. In fact, Judaism recognizes that it is appropriate to look inward and examine our own shortcomings when hardship occurs.

The offensive statements linking Katrina to Gush Katif remind me of discussions I had with a law school classmate when Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated ten years ago. While not purporting to have the gift of prophecy, my friend, a religiously observant IDF veteran who has since moved to Israel, expressed the fear that Israel — particularly its religious Zionist sector — would be punished for the Rabin murder. In his eulogy for Rabin, Rabbi Norman Lamm expressed concern that the murder “may leave in its wake consequences as disastrous as they are unforeseen and unforeseeable.”

Certainly, the murder of Rabin had the opposite effect of the murderer’s intention. Contrary to conventional wisdom — that Yigal Amir killed the “peace process,” the assassination in fact rendered Rabin a martyr and Oslo irreversible and caused severe damage to the settlement movement. In 1994, more than a year prior to the assassination, Yechiel Leiter, then a Yesha Council leader, wrote in The Jerusalem Post that if Rabin were murdered, it would spell the end of the Yesha movement. Leiter was largely right.

Yitzhak Rabin ran as a political centrist in the 1992 elections, opposing negotiations with the PLO or the formation of a Palestinian state, and insisted that Israel would retain the Golan Heights and much of Judea and Samaria. Rabin’s impressive military credentials were utilized to assure Israelis that be would not be soft on terror. This formula proved successful, particularly after several small right-wing parties failed to meet the minimum vote threshold for Knesset representation, wasting three Knesset seats slated for the political right and granting Labor a narrow victory.

Initially, Rabin did take a tough line against terrorism. After the murder of five Israeli soldiers, Rabin deported 415 leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to Lebanon in December 1992. But the move backfired when international censure caused Israel to allow the terrorists a safe return, though not before they had been trained in bomb making by Hezbollah.

When the 1993 Oslo Accords were followed by suicide bombings in Israel, Rabin said Israel’s response would be “to fight terror as if there were not a peace process and to pursue peace as if there were no terror.” But while Israel did continue the Oslo process, it also continued to subcontract fighting terror to Yasir Arafat rather than confront Hamas directly.

While the Oslo Accords and his willingness to cede the Golan represented Rabin’s political shift — and political duplicity — his incendiary statements about his political adversaries were no less responsible for polarization in Israel during his second tenure as prime minister.

Six weeks after Oslo, Beit El resident Chaim Mizrachi was murdered in an Arab market. While strongly condemning the murder, Rabin added that settlers should not go out looking to “buy cheap eggs.” Reacting disparagingly to peaceful protestors, Rabin said “they can spin like propellers,” At an October 1995 event for North Americans who had made aliyah, Rabin was cursed at and booed off the stage, a reaction that shamefully had become almost routine at a time when posters of Rabin with a keffiyah, superimposed on his head appeared throughout Jerusalem. In response a furious Rabin showed disdain for the basic rights of his citizens, saying that “those who are waving signs can go back to their countries, declaring that the protesters “didn’t fight for the land, didn’t build it, came here only recently and don’t have the right to judge its actions or its directions.”

Rabin was heavily criticized the methods he used to obtain a Knesset majority for the Oslo 2 Accords. After several Labor Knesset members led by Avigdor Kahalani refused to support Oslo 2, Rabin gained a majority only by relying on support from Arab Knesset members and by obtaining the defection to Labor of three members of the right-wing Tsomet party, The leader of the three, Gonen Segev, was made a cabinet minister. Today Segev is in an Israeli prison for drug smuggling.

In light of the terrorism, his controversial political tactics, and his divisive statements Rabin was not a popular prime minister. While the November 4, 1995 pro-Oslo rally in Tel Aviv attracted a large crowd; Rabin was then trailing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu in opinion polls, as had been the case throughout the prior year. But the assassination of Rabin that night galvanized the Israeli Left and marginalized the Right, particularly the religious Zionist sector and the Yesha movement. The notion took hold, that any and all left-wing political stances — including those Rabin had rejected — had to he imp1emented to support Rabin’s memory and legacy.

Thus, Labor’s abandonment of the settlement movement — which it created and cultivated in its first decade — and its willingness to divide Jerusalem and to withdraw essentially to the 1967 borders were all claimed to being furtherance of Rabin’s efforts for peace. Similarly, support for a Palestinian state replaced Labor’s longstanding position that any agreement would be with Jordanian/Palestinian confederation and not a separate Palestinian state.

In the Oct. 28 issue of The Jewish Week, editor Gary Rosenblatt wrote that under Oslo, Rabin pledged “an independent state for the Palestinians in return for peace with Israel.” That is a widespread misperception. In fact, Rabin was always opposed to the formation of a Palestinian state, to any division of Jerusalem, or to any concessions on the Jordan Valley. His political red lines remained guided by the Allon Plan under which Israel would retain around thirty percent of Judea and Samaria.

In his October 5, 1995 Knesset speech presenting the Oslo 2 Accords - it was to be his last speech before the Knesset — Rabin said that any agreement would be with a Palestinian “entity that is less than a state”; that “we will not return to the June 4, 1967 lines”: that Israel would keep “united Jerusalem, which will include both Maale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev, as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty”: that “the security harder of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term”; and that Israel would retain “Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities” and establish a block of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif.”

A few months earlier, Rabin stated that if peace requires “giving up on a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, my reply would be ‘let’s do without peace.”
It is possible that Rabin would have taken a different approach in final status negotiations, as Ehud Barak later did at Camp David and Taba. But it is noteworthy that Rabin’s stance on Jerusalem and avoiding a return to the 1967 borders remained unchanged after he had recognized the PLO and signed Oslo 1 and Oslo 2. Even after his political shift, Rabin maintained principled red lines in his vision for Israel’s permanent eastern borders. Indeed, following Barak’s concessions at Camp David, Leah Rabin lamented, “Yitzhak is certainly turning over in his grave. He never would have agreed to compromise on the Old City and the Temple Mount.” It is for this reason that recently in Haaretz, extreme left-wing columnist Gideon Levy wrote that Rabin was “a cowardly statesman because “he did not dare to put the evacuation of settlements on the agenda.”

Many immediately recognized the damage to the Yesha movement that would result from the Rabin murder. In his eulogy for Rabin, Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein of Yeshivat Har Etzion said that the murder is “a special source of worry for those to whom the settlement of Judea and Samaria is important. This is paradoxical, since the fiercest opposition to his leadership arose from precisely those ranks. It is clear though, that within his government, Yitzhak Rabin more than anyone else cared for and protected the settlements.” In a January 1996 piece in Commentary Israeli-American writer Hillel Halkin wrote that Yigal Amir had delivered a “crushing blow” to critics of Rabin, in what Halkin described as not only an odious murder but also “a cataclysmic political blunder.”

Less than seven months after the Rabin murder. Netanyahu did win the 1996 elections. Before the assassination, Netanyahu vehemently rejected Oslo and consistently garnered majority support in polls, but afterward, Israelis would not countenance a rejection of Oslo — which they perceived as a victory for Yigal Amir— and Netanyahu had to change his stance during his election campaign. Instead of demanding that Oslo he abrogated, Netanyahu accepted Oslo but called for reciprocity, with Israel making territorial concessions only if Palestinians fought terror.

Netanyahu’s shift ultimately led the way to his implementation of Israel’s withdrawal from most of Hebron, which Rabin had agreed to under Oslo 2 to Netanyahu’s meetings with Arafat, and to the Wye River accord. The Netanyahu government was significantly to the right of the Rabin/Peres government and indeed to every subsequent Israeli government. But it also began the erosion in Likud’s historical support for the Yesha movement.

Contrary to the previous Likud governments led by Menachim Begin and Yitzhak Shamir — and also the Labor governments of Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin during his first term as prime minister (1974-77) — the Netanyahu government did not form new communities in Judea or Samaria. Indeed, no new settlements have been built by any government since the Rabin murder.

Had Yigal Amir not killed Rabin and Netanyahu defeated Rabin in the 1996 election, it is likely that Netanyahu would have followed a path similar to that
Of Begin and Shamir. After the assassination, domestic and international political realities made that impossible. Even had Rabin won re-election in 1999, the settlement movement would be better off than it is today. Rabin was closer to the political center than Labor’s other prominent figures, and after his assassination the Labor moved much further to the Left. After three decades of rejecting a return to the 1967 borders and insisting upon an undivided Jerusalem, Labor was looking to avenge the murder of its leader and, particularly after again losing power to Likud, opposed anything that was seen as being in the interests of the Right.

Rabin’s party has undermined the principles laid out in his final Knesset speech. For example, when Netanyahu authorized the building of the new Har Homa neighborhood in southern Jerusalem, he was condemned by Labor, which had previously supported construction in post-1967 Jerusalem neighborhoods like Ramot, French Hill, Ramat Eshkol and Gilo.

Labor even opposed Netanyahu’s insistence on Palestinian compliance with Oslo, rejecting the reciprocity doctrine. Under the Wye agreement, Israeli withdrawal from 13 percent of Judea and Samaria was to he implemented in stages, with dismantling of Hamas and Islamic Jihad a prerequisite for completion of the withdrawal. When the PA failed to take action against terrorism, Netanyahu refused to withdraw from more than 2 percent. But when Barak defeated Netanyahu in 1999, he immediately dropped the reciprocity principle, unconditionally withdrawing from the remaining 11 percent.

The following year, Barak completed Labor’s abandonment of Rabin’s principles when he offered to divide Jerusalem, give up all of the Jordan Valley and withdraw nearly to the 1967 borders. As a result, the international community now expects Israel to withdraw from at least 95 percent of Judea and Samaria, in complete contrast to Rabin’s red lines.

Ironically, it is now (November, 2005) Prime Minister Sharon who is most guided by Rabin’s core principles, calling for the annexation to Israel of settlement blocs, for an undivided Jerusalem and for retention of the Jordan Valley. But as a result of the weakening of the settlement movement over the last decade, Sharon, unlike Rabin, accepts the notion of a Palestinian state and has dropped hints that he might be willing to cede Arab neighborhoods in outlying parts of Jerusalem and compromise over the Jordan Valley.

Today, the best approach of those who oppose sweeping territorial concessions is to try to reinstate a consensus among Israelis based primarily on Rabin’s red lines: No return to the 1967 borders, an undivided Jerusalem, retention of the Jordan Valley, and continued development in the large settlement blocs and the settlements that are suburbs of Jerusalem. …


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2006

Self-hating, 60 Minutes Jew, Mike Wallace, sinks to yet another level.

By Dennis Prager

The Washington Times, August 21, 2006

A little over three years ago, CBS sent Dan Rather to Baghdad to ask meaningless questions and provide a propaganda vehicle for Saddam Hussein. On Aug. 13, Communication for Barbarian’s Service broadcast Mike Wallace’s equally meaningless interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s fanatical leader.

Interviews with evil leaders are meaningless at best and destructive at worst. Few reporters will ask real questions or challenge the propaganda responses of these leaders. (Example par excellence - sleaze Larry King -Jsk). These interviews merely offer them invaluable “humanizing” time and ask questions that simply re-confirm the low state of television news. Here are some of the tough questions Wallace asked one of the vilest leaders on earth today:

What he thinks of President Bush, why he is concerned about how his jacket looks on television and what he does for leisure. Never once did he challenge Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s attacks on America— such as America’s loving war, seeking to be an imperial power or oppressing its own people.

When asked about his statements that the Holocaust is a “myth,” Ahmadinejad replied, “What I did say was, if this is a reality, if this is real, where did it take p1ace?” Wallace did not respond to the leader of a country saying “if” the Holocaust “is real” with a single question. But he probably laughed more with Mr. Ahmadinejad than any American news reporter has ever laughed on camera with the president of the United States.

If CBS wanted anything more than ratings and Wallace wanted to be more than a “useful idiot” (Lenin phrase for the Westem journalists and academics who supported Soviet Communism), here are some questions he should have asked Ahmadinejad:

In countries with a free press and where history is understood as consisting of verifiable facts, anyone who denies the Holocaust, the systematic murder of approximately 6 million Jews by the Nazis, is regarded as either an anti-Semite or a kook or both. You have repeatedly denied the Holocaust. Why should the world not regard you as either a kook or an anti-Semite?

And do you understand why most free societies wish to prevent you from acquiring nuclear weapons? Given that you have announced that you wish Israel to be erased from the map, why would those countries that do not share your desire to extinguish a country not try to prevent you from acquiring nuclear weapons?

In Iran, under your direction, religious police walk around the country monitoring how much skin a woman reveals. Most of the world considers this primitive and another reason to regard you and your regime as fanatical. On what grounds do you support whipping women who reveal their arms in public. And do you understand why such policies help explain why most free societies wish to prevent you from acquiring nuclear weapons?

Why do you believe that millions of Iranians chant “death to America” and “death to Israel” but no Americans or Israelis chant “death to Iran”?
Are people more bored in an Islamic republic than in a free society? Does your brand of Islam promote pre-occupation with death rather than life or is there simply a lot more hatred in your country than in free societies? And do yon understand why all this hatred helps explain why societies in which people do not chant death wishes would like to prevent your society from acquiring nuclear weapons?

In Iran, women determined by Islamic courts to have committed adultery, have been stoned to death. According to The Washington Times, the condemned are wrapped head to foot in white shrouds and buried up to their waists. Then the stoning begins. The stones are specifically chosen so they are large enough to cause pain, but not so large as to kill the condemned immediately. They are guaranteed a slow, torturous death. Sometimes their children are forced to watch. Do you believe that this brings world admiration to Islam? And do you understand why most societies in which women who commit adultery are not stoned wish to prevent you from acquiring nuclear weapons?

Last year a teenage girl who said she was raped by two young men was not only not believed, she was given 100 lashes by your Islamic republic. Many of us find whipping teenage girls having sex, not to mention for being raped, unimpressive. Does this explain why societies that do not whip teenage girls are not excited about your country acquiring nuclear weapons?

Last month a British newspaper, the Sunday Mirror, reported that in your Islamic republic, “16-year-old Atefeh Rajabi was dragged from her prison cell and taken to be executed. The Iranian judge who had sentenced Atefeh to death was left unmoved as he personally put the noose around her neck and signaled to the crane driver. Kicking and screaming, Atefeh was left dangling for 45 minutes from the arm of the crane. Atefeh’s crime? Offending public morality. She was found guilty of ‘acts incompatible with chastity’ by having sex with an unmarried man, even though friends say Atefeh was in such a fragile mental state that she was not in a position to say ‘No.’ Does this help explain why people who don’t support hanging young girls from cranes might be concerned about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons?

As it happens, Wallace and CBS News did what they set out to do - win in the ratings war on Aug. 13. But they hurt America and abetted evil in the process - not deliberately but knowingly.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated columnist.

PS I take only one exception to Dennis Prager - his final paragraph. I agree that Wallace and CBS, as usual, were primarily concerned with ratings but I think their motive much more malicious in that they also were deliberately attempting another shot at President Bush and the Republican Party by presenting what a really nice, misunderstood guy is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (Jsk)


Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 07:03 AM | Comments (0)