Ending a Century of Palestinian Rejectionism

By Daniel Pipes for the Washington Times (Oct 28) — Palestinians are on the wrong track and will not get off it until the outside world demands better of them.

Hajj Amin al-Husseini inspecting Axis troops.

Hajj Amin al-Husseini inspecting Axis troops.

News comes every year or two of a campaign of violence spurred by Palestinian political and religious leaders spreading wild-eyed conspiracy theories (the favorite: Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem is under threat). A spasm of unprovoked violence against Israelis then follows: rocket attacks from Gaza, car-rammings in Israel proper, stone-throwing in the West Bank, street stabbings in Jerusalem. Eventually the paroxysm peters out, only to start up again not too much later.

True, these bouts of violence bring some gains to the Palestinians; in the United Nations, in faculty lounges, and on the streets of Western cities they win support against Israel. Each round ends, however, with the Palestinians in a worse place in terms of dead and wounded, buildings destroyed and an economy in tatters.

Further, their immoral and barbaric actions harden Israeli opinion, making the prospect of concessions and compromise that much less likely. The cheery Israeli hopes of two decades ago for a “partner for peace” and a “New Middle East” long ago gave way to a despair of finding acceptance. As a result, security fences are going up all over, even in Jerusalem, to protect Israelis who increasingly believe that separation, not cooperation, is the way forward.

It may be exhilarating for Palestinians to watch UNESCO condemn Israel for this and that, as it just did, but its actions serve more as theater than as practical steps toward conflict resolution.

Whence comes this insistence on self-defeating tactics?

It dates back nearly a century, to the seminal years 1920-21. In April 1920, as a gesture to the Zionists, the British government created a region called “Palestine” designed to be the eventual “national home for the Jewish people”; then, in May 1921, it appointed Amin al-Husseini (1895-1974) as mufti of Jerusalem, a dreadful decision whose repercussions still reverberate today.

Husseini harbored a monstrous hostility toward Jews; as Klaus Gensicke puts it in his important 2007 study, The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis, Husseini’s “hatred of Jews knew no mercy and he always intervened with particular zeal whenever he feared that some of the Jews could escape annihilation.” Toward this end, he initiated an uncompromising campaign of rejectionism – the intent to eliminate every vestige of Jewish presence in Palestine – and used any and all tactics toward this foul end.

For example, he can be largely held responsibility for the Middle East’s endemic antisemitism, having spread the antisemitic forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the blood libel, and Holocaust denial throughout the region. His other legacies include making Jerusalem into the flashpoint it remains today; spreading many of the anti-Zionist conspiracy theories that afflict the Middle East; and being one of the first Islamists to call for jihad.

He encouraged and organized unprovoked violence against the British and the Jews, including a three-year long intifada in 1936-39. Then he worked with the Nazis, living in Germany during the war years, 1941-45, proving so useful that he earned an audience with Hitler. Nor was this a courtesy visit; as Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu correctly pointed out on Oct. 20, Husseini had a central role in formulating the Final Solution that led eventually to the murder of six million Jews.

Husseini tutored his then-young relative, the future Yasir Arafat, and Arafat faithfully carried out the mufti’s program for 35 years, after which his apparatchik Mahmoud Abbas keeps the legacy alive. In other words, Husseini’s rejectionism still dominates the Palestinian Authority. In addition, he spent the post-war years in Egypt, where he influenced the Muslim Brotherhood whose its Hamas spin-off also bears his hallmark rejectionism. Thus do both principal Palestinian movements pursue his murderous and self-defeating methods.

Only when the Palestinians emerge from the cloud of Husseini’s dark legacy can they begin to work with Israel rather than fight it; build their own polity, society, economy, and culture rather than try to destroy Israel’s; and become a positive influence rather than the nihilistic force of today.

And how will that happen? If the outside world, as symbolized by UNESCO, stops encouraging the Palestinians’ execrable behavior and impeding Israeli defenses against it. Only when Palestinians realize they will not be rewarded for homicidal conduct will they stop their campaign of violence and start to come to terms with the Jewish state.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.

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Erdoğan Leads Turkey to the Precipice

Erdoğan Pasha as imagined by The Economist.

Erdoğan Pasha as imagined by The Economist.

By Daniel Pipes for the Autralian — The Republic of Turkey is undergoing possibly its greatest crisis since the founding of the state nearly a century ago. Present trends suggest worse to come as a long-time Western ally evolves into a hostile dictatorship.

The crisis results primarily from the ambitions of one very capable and sinister individual, Turkey’s 61-year old president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. A career politician who previously served four years as the mayor of Turkey’s megacity, Istanbul, and then eleven years as the country’s prime minister, he forwards two goals hitherto unknown in the republic: dictatorship and full application of the Shari’a, Islam’s law code.

During his first eight years of power, 2003-11, Erdoğan ruled with such finesse that one could only suspect these two aspirations; proof remained elusive. This author, for example, wrote an article in 2005 that weighed the contradictory evidence for and against Erdoğan being an Islamist. A combination of playing by the rules, caution in the Islamic arena, and economic success won Erdoğan’s party, Justice and Development (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, or AKP), increasing percentages of the vote in parliamentary elections, going from 34 percent in 2002, to 46 percent in 2007, to 50 percent in 2011.

That 2011 election victory, his third in succession, gave Erdoğan the confidence finally to remove the armed forces from politics, where they had long served as Turkey’s ultimate power broker. Ironically, this change ended the increasing democratization of prior decades for his fully taking charge allowed Erdoğan to develop an oversized ego, to bare his fangs, flex his despotic muscles, and openly seek his twin objectives of tyranny and Shari’a.

Indeed, Erdoğan made his power felt in every domain after 2011. Banks provided loans to the businessmen who kicked back funds to the AKP. Hostile media found themselves subject to vast fines or physical assault. Ordinary citizens who criticized the leader found themselves facing lawsuits, fines, and jail. Politicians in competing parties faced dirty tricks. Like a latter-day sultan, Erdoğan openly flouted the law and intervened at will when and where he wished, inserting himself into legal proceedings, meddling in local decisions, and interfering with police investigations. For example, he responded to compelling raw evidence of his own and his family’s corruption by simply closing down the inquiry.

The Islamic order also took shape. School instruction became more Islamic even as Islamic schools proliferated, with the number of students in the latter jumping from 60,000 to 1,600,000, a 27-fold increase. Erdoğan instructed women to stay home and breed, demanding three children apiece from them. Burqas proliferated and hijabs became legal headgear in government buildings. Alcohol became harder to find and higher priced. More broadly, Erdoğan harked back to the piety of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922), eroded the secular republic founded in 1923 by Kemal Atatürk, and positioned himself as the anti-Atatürk.

Erdoğan also faced some serious problems after 2011. The China-like economic growth slowed down and debt spiraled upwards. A disastrously inept Syria policy contributed to the rise of the Islamic State, the emergence of a hostile Kurdish autonomous area, and millions of unwelcome refugees flooding into Turkey. Foreign relations soured with nearly the entire neighborhood: Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Jerusalem, Cairo, Athens, the (Greek) Republic of Cyprus, and even (Turkish) northern Cyprus. Ties also went south with Washington, Moscow, and Beijing. Good relations were limited to Doha, Kuala Lumpur, and – until recently, as shown by the many indications of Turkish state support for the Islamic State – Raqqa.

When the Erdoğan era expires, the country will be much more divided than when it began in March 2003 between Turk and Kurd, Sunni and Alevi, pious and secular Sunnis, and rich and poor. It will contain millions of difficult to assimilate Syrian refugees and Kurdish areas declared independent of the state. It will be isolated internationally. It will contain a hollowed-out government structure. It will have lost the tradition of legal impartiality.

Erdoğan’s larger accomplishment will have been to reverse Atatürk’s Westernizing policies. Whereas Atatürk and several generations of leaders wanted Turkey to be in Europe, Erdoğan brought it thunderingly back to the Middle East and to the tyranny, corruption, female subjugation, and other hallmarks of a region in crisis. As Turks struggle over the years to undo this damage, they will have ample opportunity to ponder the many evils bequeathed them by Erdoğan.

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Ten Deadly Lies about Israel

By Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States.

Politico Magazine (Oct 21) — As Israeli civilians are butchered by Palestinian terrorists, the truth about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is also being butchered by a campaign of vicious lies. Here are 10 of the most pernicious myths about the current attacks:

 

First: Israel is trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.

False. Israel stringently maintains the status quo on the Temple Mount. Last year some 3.5 million Muslims visited the Temple Mount alongside some 200,000 Christians and 12,000 Jews. Only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Mount, and non-Muslims may visit only at specified times, which have not changed. Though the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site—where Solomon built his Temple some 3,000 years ago—Israel will not allow a change in the status quo. The ones trying to change the status quo are Palestinians, who are violently trying to prevent Jews and Christians from even visiting a site holy to all three faiths.

 

Second: Israel seeks to destroy al-Aqsa mosque.

False: Since reuniting Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has vigorously protected the holy sites of all faiths, including al-Aqsa. In the Middle East, where militant Islamists desecrate and destroy churches, synagogues, world heritage sites, as well as each other’s mosques, Israel is the only guarantor of Jerusalem’s holy places. Palestinians have been propagating the “al-Aqsa is in danger” myth since at least 1929, when the Palestinian icon, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, used it to inspire the massacre of Jews in Hebron and elsewhere. Nearly a century later, the mosque remains unharmed, but the lie persists.

 

Third: A recent surge in settlement construction has caused the current wave of violence.

False. Annual construction in the settlements has substantially decreased over the past 15 years. Under Prime Minister Ehud Barak (2000), 5,000 new units were built in the settlements; under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (2001-05) an average of 1,881; under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (2005-08) 1,774. All three were hailed as peacemakers. What about under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2009-15)? Just 1,554. Some surge.

 

Fourth: President Abbas says that Israel “executed” the innocent Palestinian Ahmed Manasra.

False: Manasra is neither innocent nor dead. He stabbed a 13-year-old Jewish boy who was riding his bicycle. Manasra has been discharged from the same hospital where his victim continues to fight for his life.

 

Fifth: Israel uses excessive force in dealing with terrorist attacks.

False: Using force to stop an attack by a gun, knife, cleaver or ax-wielding terrorist is legitimate self-defense. Israeli police officers are subject to strict rules that govern the use of deadly force, which is permitted only in life-threatening situations. How would the American public expect its police to respond to terrorists stabbing passersby as well as police officers?

 

Sixth: The current violence is the result of stagnation in the peace process.

False: Israel experienced some of the worst terrorism in its history when the peace process was at its peak. The reason for Palestinian terrorism is neither progress nor stagnation in the peace process, but the desire of the terrorists to destroy Israel.

 

Seventh: President Abbas is a voice of moderation.

False: Abbas said on September 16 that he welcomes “every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.” Abbas has not condemned a single one of the 30 terror attacks on Israelis over the past month. He and his Fatah movement continue to use the Web and the airwaves to incite the Palestinians to even more violence.

 

Eighth: International action is required to enforce the status quo on the Temple Mount.

False. Israel enforces the status quo. The international community can help most effectively by telling the truth and affirming Israel’s proven commitment to maintaining the status quo. It can also help by holding Abbas accountable for his mendacious rhetoric regarding the Temple Mount.

 

Ninth: The reason the conflict and the violence persist is because the Palestinians don’t have a state.

False: The Palestinians have repeatedly refused to accept a nation-state for themselves if it means accepting a nation-state for the Jewish people alongside it. In 1937, the Palestinians rejected the Peel Commission report that called for two states for two peoples; in 1947, they rejected the U.N. partition plan that did the same. In 2000 at Camp David and again in 2008 the Palestinians rejected new proposals that would have created a Palestinian state. The Palestinians rejected peace both before and after the creation of Israel, before Israel gained control of the territories in 1967 and after Israel vacated Gaza in 2005. The Palestinians have always been more concerned with destroying the Jewish state than with creating a state of their own. The core of the conflict remains the persistent refusal of the Palestinians to recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people in any borders.

 

Tenth: Palestinian terrorism is the consequence of Palestinian frustration.

False: Palestinian terrorism is the product of incitement, which inculcates a culture of hatred and violence in successive generations. The biggest frustration of the terrorists is that they have failed to destroy Israel. They will continue to be frustrated.

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Gaza cleric calls on Palestinians to stab Jews

Sheikh Muhammad Sallah, brandishing knife during Friday sermon, calls on young men in West Bank to form ‘stabbing squads’

A Gaza cleric calls on Palestinians to carry out more stabbing attacks against Jews, in a sermon on Friday, October 9, 2015, in a translation made available by MEMRI. Screenshot/ MEMRI)

A Gaza cleric calls on Palestinians to carry out more stabbing attacks against Jews, in a sermon on Friday, October 9, 2015, in a translation made available by MEMRI. Screenshot/ MEMRI)

The Times of Israel (Oct 12) — A Gaza-based cleric gave a sermon at a Rafah mosque this past Friday encouraging Palestinians to stab Jews amid a surging wave of terror that has seen near-daily stabbing attacks against Israelis since the beginning of this month.

Brandishing a knife of his own during the speech at the Al-Abrar Mosque, Sheikh Muhammad Sallah called on Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank to “attack in threes and fours” and “cut them into body parts.”

“My brother in the West Bank: Stab! My brother is the West Bank: Stab the myths of the Talmud in their minds! My brother in the West Bank: Stab the myths about the temple in their hearts!” Sallah cries out while wielding the knife and making stabbing motions, according to a translation made available by the Middle East Media Research Institute which also provided a video of the sermon.

Seemingly delighted with the recent surge in stabbing attacks which have killed 4 Israelis and injured 31 in 17 separate assaults, Sallah encouraged the formation of “stabbing quads.”

“We don’t want just a single stabber. Oh young men of the West Bank: Attack in threes and fours. Some should restrain the victim, while others attack him with axes and butcher knives, he said.

“Do not fear what will be said about you. Oh men of the West Bank, next time, attack in a group of three, four, or five. Attack them in groups. Cut them into body parts,” he went on.

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Op-Ed: Solving the Middle East’s Problems

This article is a must read if you want to understand the sources of all the problems in the Middle East.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena.

IsraelNationalNews (Sep 13) — The world keeps asking itself why the Arab Spring was such a dismal failure, trying to get to the source of the region’s problems. The answer to this question is complex, because it includes different factors that influenced events at different periods and in different ways.

Still, one can say with certainty that the main source of all the troubles is the cornerstone of Middle Eastern culture, tribal loyalties, once necessary for survival in a vast dry and arid desert area spanning the Sahara in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Sinai Desert, and also the deserts of Syria, Iraq and Jordan. In the desert man must be part of a tribe in order to protect his water sources from other tribes who are also in need of water. That fact turns the “other” into an enemy, a threatening figure who is against “us” because he is not one of “us.”

It is always “us” and “them”, our group against all the others. every man loyal to his tribe to the death, to its customs and traditions and not to a state or the state’s laws and institutions. It is called “tribalism” and the Arab world still lives under the influence of this way of life.

The second problem, spawned by tribalism, is violence. Middle Eastern culture says that since the other is an enemy, he may try to kill me as soon as he gets near enough to take my water sources, so I have to get him before he gets me.

It follows that the first reaction to any problem that arises in the Middle East is violence, violence aimed to kill.

The third problem evolving from the ancient tribal culture is the Middle Eastern concept of honor. No Muslim will accept humiliation, and he who is humiliated will seek revenge against those who caused him shame – and that revenge means murder. A person is willing to murder members of his own household, his sister and even his mother, if they have brought shame upon him by acting too freely. Honor takes first place in relations between politicians and nations, is sometimes more important that development, economics and health.

The fourth problem, also a result of tribalism, is corruption. Appointing relatives to positions in a regime – nepotism – is considered a serious problem in the West, and there are laws, rules and bureaucratic procedures that are supposed to prevent its occurrence. In Middle Eastern culture, nepotism is the name of the game, both in the political and public spheres, because anyone in power has a basic distrust of anyone from another group. A leader will appoint his family, or members of another family with whom he has a pact of loyalty, to the positions under his patronage and if the relations between the families deteriorate, he will either fire them or make sure they resign..

The fifth problem is economic corruption.  A government official feels beholden financially to his family and tribe, not to the state and certainly not to other population groups in the country, so he allocates funds for investment in infrastructure in the area his tribe resides in or areas filled with his supporters. He does not allocate funds to groups that did not support him. As far as he is concerned, they can go to hell – or Europe – as they wish.

The sixth problem is the existence of a large number of ethnic groups in the Middle East: Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Berbers, Jews, Arameans, Persians, and more. Often the groups live in a state of ongoing friction, their relations marked by hostility rather than tranquillity. As a rule, they do not intermarry, and each group fiercely guards its dialect, customs and traditions. Each group delineates itself by defining its enemies. That is the source of the violence between the Arabs and the Kurds, the Turks and the Kurds, the Arabs and the Berbers – and let’s face it, the Arabs and everyone else.

The seventh problem is religion. Islam is the main religion of the Middle East, and Islamist extremists see members of other religions who live in their proximity as infidels deserving of death. This is the cause of the horrific violence of Islamists against Christians, Yazidis, Jews, Alawites, Zoroastrians, Bahais, Mandeans, Shabakists, Druze and atheists.

The eighth problem is the internecine sectarian conflict within Islam. In the middle of the seventh century, Islam split into two parts, the Sunnis and the Shiites. Their struggle is really about wresting control over Islam, but over time the struggle has assumed a religious cast with each side making use of Allah, the Qur’an, the Hadiths (Oral Law), Sharia, history and theology for its own ends, so that Sunni Islam is now quite different from Shia islam. There is a case for claiming that, similarities notwithstanding, they are two distinct religions. The two groups have  spent the centuries since the split massacring one another, with millions sacrificed  in this endless struggle, not a few during the 1980s war between Shiite Iran and Iraq, headed by a Sunni, Saddam Hussein.

The ninth problem is the prevailing culture. Schematically, the Middle East’s population is made up of three cultural groups: the desert-dwellers, or Bedouin, the falakhim – farmers who live in villages – and the urban population dwelling in cities. These groups differ in many ways from one another and each is prone to stereotyping the others to the point where there is no way to get around their mutual preconceptions. The falakh hates the Bedouin for stealing the agricultural produce he reaps by the sweat of his brow. The Bedouin considers the falakhs and city dwellers inferior to him for giving up the original Arab desert way of life and becoming weak and lily-livered in mind and body. The city dwellers consider the Bedouin primitive desert people. Marriages between the groups are rare.

The tenth problem can be laid at the door of British, French and Italian colonialism. These powers drew borders that suited their interests but had no bearing on the sociological zones of the Middle East. This is how countries were formed with populations of all kinds of ethnic groups, tribes, religions and sects who had never had any connection with one another and certainly never saw themselves as members of the same nation. Although Syria has existed for decades (that verb should be in past tense) there was no national Syrian consciousness uniting its citizens. They remained Arabs, Kurds, Turkmans, Muslims, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Shia, Sunni, et al. Iraq also did not succeed in creating an Iraqi people despite great efforts expended on the part of the regime, and its citizens defined themselves as Kurds, Sunni, Christians, Yazidi, etc. The colonialists actually created what their citizens considered illegitimate countries foreign entities forced upon them by Christian European strangers who understood absolutely nothing about the Middle East.

The eleventh problem is the modern Arab regime. In each Arab country a minority group has gained control of the entire country and preserves its power by using a “mighty hand and an outstretched arm”, a drawn sword – and subterranean torture chambers.The Alawite minority in Syria, the Qaddafi tribe in Libya and the Hashemites of Jordan are all examples of small groups that control others with little legitimacy, if any.

The twelfth problem is Israel, a small country that was established as a result of the fall of the Ottoman Empire in WWI and the end of British colonialism, two world developments that made it possible for the Jews to return to the historical land of their birth after two thousand years of exile.

In general, Arabs and Muslims do not recognize the right of the Jewish people to its land, do not recognize Judaism as a living religion, and view the Jews as a collection of communities belonging to whatever country they are in and not as a people. The very existence of the state of Israel infuriates them, no matter what its size.

The rulers of the modern Arab states, with both ruler and state lacking legitimacy, were in dire need of an external enemy that would enable them to silence internal opposition and unite the people as one under their fraudulent flag. Israel was a unifying factor, an external enemy that served as the scapegoat upon which the masses could vent their rage. That is what is behind the constant hostility of the Arab media regarding Israel, and three generations of Arabs have been raised on this propaganda machine aimed solely at Israel. Their approach to Jews and Israelis is a direct consequence of this inciteful propaganda.

The thirteenth problem is oil. This important resource turned the Arab companies in the gulf to societies that sell a commodity, do not work, purchase but do not create, societies whose every possession stems not from ability, studying or work, but from what others – the Americans and the Europeans – found under their earth.  The biggest effort the men of the Gulf have to expend is the walk to the bank to deposit their checks. Easy money created a materialistic, hedonist society, busy with itself and with having fun, buying luxury cars, houses that strike you blind, designer clothing, watches that cost millions and designer jewellery, showing off in the media and buying every gadget that reaches the stores. Just opposite their palatial homes are tens of millions of Egyptians and other Arabs living in abject poverty, in unplanned neighborhoods, filled with the ignorant, unemployed and despairing poor. The gap between the wealth of the Gulf and the poverty in the Arab street is mind-boggling.

The fourteenth problem is the West’s meddling in Middle Eastern affairs, not in order to solve the region’s problems, but in order to promote its own interests. Oil, gas, arms sales, development contracts, purchases and  trade, all are intended to take advantage of the natural resources of the Middle East and of the cheap labor it offers in order to advance western economies. The countries of the West, the USSR and today’s Russia and China, protected and still protect non-legitimate Arab rulers, keeping them dependent on the West and the economic agreements signed with them.

Anyone who signs any kind of contract with an Arab ruler knows full well that this contract will be carried out at the price of the people who live – if you can call it living – under a cruel regime, but that doesn’t stop the money hungry Western countries. Since when did moral considerations ever move them?

The fifteenth problem is the existence of  al Jazeera, the Jihad website and network run by a terror state, Qatar. From the first day it hit the air in November 1996, al Jazeera spends its time unrestrainedly inciting against dictators, Israel, against the West and against the Western culture slowly finding its way into the airspace of Islamic countries.

Al Jazeera’s stated objective is to destroy the modern Arab state and hand over the rule to the Muslim Brotherhood. This mixed salad of messages is wrapped in attractive clichés such as “opinon and other opinion” and is covered with a mask of openness and video editing. This channel brought the angry people out into the streets at the end of 2010 and all through 2011, setting the Arab world ablaze, but it does not know how to put out the fire. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other social networks played an instrumental role that helped the public organize demonstrations, but the motivation came from al Jazeera‘s incitement.

The seething mass of problems that plague the Middle East have destroyed the region’s’ social, economic, political and normative infrastructure, leading to the waves of emigration to Europe that we are now witnessing. During the twentieth century, Europe tried to solve the myriad cultural problems that beset the Middle East by creating the Modern Arab State, cloning the Nation-State it had invented and that suited Europe’s cultural needs. The European-style Modern Arab State is a colossal failure, because the Arab population has a Middle Eastern culture, with problems that Europe knows nothing about – tribalism on the one hand, and violence, extremism and a lack of national consciousness on the other.

A striking example of an egregiously mistaken belief held by the West is the naïve and unfounded faith that democracy can flourish in the Middle East. Western democracy is based on a social order stemming from European culture: the belief in equality for all religions and ethnic groups, women’s liberation, minority rights and freedom of expression and thought. Add to that the right to choose alternative lifestyles, along with freedom of religion and from religion, a ban on violence and free elections and you have a list that is almost totally foreign to the Middle East. Most of these freedoms are opposed to the spirit of Islam or to tribal culture, but Middle Eastern societies hold “free” elections to create  the impression that they have become democracies, although they have not adopted any of the other characteristics of a democracy. Elections are an easily adopted mechanism, but the other elements of democracy are substantive and are therefore difficult, or impossible, to embed in the Middle East.

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Daniel Pipes: Middle East Provocations and Predictions

Daniel Pipes is known for accurately predicting events in the Middle East. If you want to truly understand what is happening and what is going to happen in the Middle East this article is a must read.

The Mackenzie Institute (Sep 9) — The Middle East stands out as the world’s most volatile, combustible, and troubled region; not coincidentally, it also inspires the most intense policy debates – think of the Arab-Israeli conflict or the Iran deal. The following tour d’horizon offers interpretations and speculations on Iran, ISIS, Syria-Iraq, the Kurds, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, and Islamism, then concludes with some thoughts on policy choices. My one-sentence conclusion: some good news lies under the onslaught of misunderstandings, mistakes, and misery.

Iran

Iran is Topic No. 1 these days, especially since the nuclear deal the six great powers reached with its rulers in Vienna on July 14. The “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” seeks to bring Tehran in from the cold, ending decades of hostility and inducing Iran to become a more normal state. In itself, this is an entirely worthy endeavor.

The problem lies in the execution, which has been execrable, rewarding an aggressive government with legitimacy and additional funding, not requiring serious safeguards on its nuclear arms program, and permitting that program in about a decade. The annals of diplomacy have never witnessed a comparable capitulation by great powers to an isolated, weak state.

The Iranian leadership has an apocalyptic mindset and preoccupation with the end of days that does not apply to the North Koreans, Stalin, Mao, the Pakistanis or anyone else. Supreme Leader Ali Khamene’i et al. have reason to use these weapons for reasons outside of the normal military concerns – to bring on the end of the world. This makes it especially urgent to stop them.

Economic sanctions, however, amount to a sideshow, even a distraction. The Iranian government compares to the North Korean in its absolute devotion to building these weapons and its readiness to do whatever it takes, whether mass starvation or some other calamity, to achieve them. Therefore, no matter how severely applied, the sanctions only make life more difficult for the Iranian leadership without actually stopping the nuclear buildup.

The only way to stop the buildup is through the use of force. I hope the Israeli government – the only one left that might take action – will undertake this dangerous and thankless job. It can do so through aerial bombardment, special operations, or nuclear weapons, with option #2 both the most attractive and the most difficult.

If the Israelis do not stop the bomb, a nuclear device in the hands of the mullahs will have terrifying consequences for the Middle East and beyond, including North America, where a devastating electromagnetic pulse attack must be considered possible.

To the contrary, if the Iranians do not deploy their new weapons, it is just possible that the increased contact with the outside world and the disruption caused by inconsistent Western policies will work to undermine the regime.

ISIS

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (aka ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State, Daesh) is the topic that consumes the most attention other than Iran. I agree with Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, that Iran is a thousand times more dangerous than ISIS. But ISIS is also a thousand times more interesting. Plus, the Obama administration finds it a useful bogeyman to justify working with Tehran.

Emerging out of almost nowhere, the group has taken Islamic nostalgia to an unimagined extreme. The Saudis, the ayatollahs, the Taliban, Boko Haram, and Shabaab each imposed its version of a medieval order. But ISIS went further, replicating as best it can a seventh-century Islamic environment, down to such specifics as public beheading and enslavement.

This effort has provoked two opposite responses among Muslims. One is favorable, as manifested by Muslims coming from Tunisia and the West, attracted moth-like to an incandescently pure vision of Islam. The other, more important, response is negative. The great majority of Muslims, not to speak of non-Muslims, are alienated by the violent and flamboyant ISIS phenomenon. In the long term, ISIS will harm the Islamist movement (the one aspiring to apply Islamic law in its entirety) and even Islam itself, as Muslims in large numbers abominate ISIS.

One thing about ISIS will likely last, however: the notion of the caliphate. The last caliph who actually gave orders ruled in the 940s. That’s the 940s, not the 1940s, over a thousand years ago. The reappearance of an executive caliph after centuries of figurehead caliphs has prompted considerable excitement among Islamists. In Western terms, it’s like someone reviving the Roman Empire with a piece of territory in Europe; that would get everybody’s attention. I predict the caliphate will have a lasting and negative impact.

Syria, Iraq, and the Kurds

In certain circles, Syria and Iraq have come to be known as Suraqiya, joining their names together as the border has collapsed and they have each simultaneously been divided into three main regions: a Shiite-oriented central government, a Sunni Arab rebellion, and a Kurdish part that wants out.

This is a positive development; there’s nothing sacred about the British-French Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 which created these two polities. Quite the contrary, that accord has proven an abject failure; conjure up the names of Hafez al-Assad and Saddam Hussein to remember why. These miserable states exist for the benefit of their monstrous leaders who proceed to murder their own subjects. So, let them fracture into threes, improving matters for the locals and the outside world.

As Turkish-backed Sunni jihadis fight Iranian-backed Shi’i jihadis in Suraqiya, the West should stand back from the fighting. Neither side deserves support; this is not our fight. Indeed, these two evil forces at each others’ throats means they have less opportunity to aggress on the rest of the world. If we do wish to help, it should be directed first to the many victims of the civil war; if we want to be strategic, help the losing side (so neither side wins).

As for the massive flow of refugees from Syria: Western governments should not take in large numbers but instead pressure Saudi Arabia and other rich Middle Eastern states to offer sanctuary. Why should the Saudis be exempt from the refugee flow, especially when their country has many advantages over, say, Sweden: linguistic, cultural, and religious compatibility, as well as proximity and a similar climate.

The rapid emergence of a Kurdish polity in Iraq, followed by one in Syria, as well as a new assertiveness in Turkey and rumblings in Iran are a positive sign. Kurds have proven themselves to be responsible in a way that none of their neighbors have. I say this as someone who, 25 years ago, opposed Kurdish autonomy. Let us help the Kurds who are as close to an ally as we have in the Muslim Middle East. Not just separate Kurdish units should come into existence but also a unified Kurdistan made up from parts of all four countries. That this harms the territorial integrity of those states does not present a problem, as not one of them works well as presently constituted.

Turkey

Erdoğan Pasha as imagined by The Economist.

Erdoğan Pasha as imagined by The Economist.

The June 2015 election turned out not so well for the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, or AKP), the party that’s single-handedly been ruling Turkey since 2002. It’s an Islamist party but more importantly of late, it is the party of tyranny. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, its dominant figure, does as he wishes, gaining undue influence over the banks, the media, the schools, the courts, law enforcement, the intelligence services, and the military. He overrides customs, rules, regulations, and even the constitution in the block-by-block building of a one-man rule. He’s the Middle Eastern version of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez.

For the most part, Erdoğan has played by democratic rules, via elections and parliament, which has served him well. But the June election could spell the end of his self-restraint. Long ago, when mayor of Istanbul, he signaled that he ultimately does not accept the verdict of elections, stating that democracy is like a bus: “You ride it until you arrive at your destination, then you step off.” He has now reached that destination and appears ready to step off. He has initiated hostilities against the Kurdish PKK group as an ugly electoral tactic (to win over Turkish nationalists); he might go so far as to start a war between now and the Nov. 1 snap elections, taking advantage of a constitutional provision deferring elections in time of war.

Accordingly, the June electoral setback will not prove much of an obstacle to Erdoğan, whose path to tyranny remains open.

Erdoğan’s undoing will likely not be domestic, nor will it concern a relative triviality like votes; it will be foreign and concern larger issues. Precisely because he has done so well domestically, he believes himself a master politician on the global stage and pursues a foreign policy as aggressive as his domestic one. But, after some initial successes of the “Zero problems with neighbors” policy, Turkey’s international standing lies in tatters. Ankara has bad relations or major problems with nearly every neighbor: Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Greek Cyprus, Turkish Cyprus, and Greece, as well as the United States and China. Some foreign escapade will likely be Erdoğan’s undoing.

Israel

In November 2000, Ehud Barak said that Israel resembles “a villa located in a jungle.” I love that expression; and how much truer it is today, with ISIS on Israel’s Syrian and Sinai borders, Lebanon and Jordan groaning under unsustainable refugee influxes, the West Bank in anarchy, and Gaza approaching the same?

Everyone knows about Israel’s high-tech capabilities and military prowess. But much more about it is impressive bordering on extraordinary.

Demography: The entire modern, industrial world from South Korea to Sweden is unable to replace itself demographically, with the single, outstanding exception of Israel. Societies need roughly 2.1 children per woman to sustain their populations. Iceland, France, and Ireland come in just below that level, but then the numbers descend down to Hong Kong with its 1.1 children per woman, or just over half of what’s necessary for a country to survive long term. Well, Israel is at 3.0. Yes, the Arabs and the Haredim partly explain that high number, but it also depends on secular Tel Aviv residents. It’s nearly unprecedented development for a modern country to have more children over time.

Energy: Everyone knows the old quip about Moses taking a wrong turn on leaving Egypt. Well no, it turns out he didn’t. Israel has as large an energy reserve as—get this—Saudi Arabia. Now, this resource is not as accessible, so it’s far more expensive and complex to exploit than Arabia’s enormous and shallow pools of oil, but it’s there and Israelis will someday extract it.

Illegal immigration: This is a brewing crisis for Europe, especially in summertime, when the Mediterranean and the Balkans become highways from the Middle East. Israel is the one Western country that has handled this problem by building fences that give control over borders.

Water: Twenty years ago, like everyone else in the Middle East, the Israelis suffered from water shortages. They then solved this problem through conservation, drip agriculture, new methods of desalination, and intensive recycling. One statistic: Spain is the country with the second-highest percentage of recycling, around 18 percent. Israel does the most recycling, at 90 percent, five times more than Spain. Israel’s now so awash in water that it exports some to neighbors.

In all, Israel’s doing exceptionally well. Of course, it is under the threat of weapons of mass destruction and the delegitimization process. But it has a record of accomplishment that I believe will see it through these challenges.

Islamist Ideology: Three Types

Islamists can be broken down into three main forces:

Shiite revolutionaries: Spearheaded by the Iranian regime, they are on the warpath, relying on Tehran’s help, apocalyptic ideology, subversion, and (eventually) nuclear weaponry. They want to overturn the existing world order and replace it with the Islamic one envisioned by Ayatollah Khomeini. The revolutionaries’ strength lies in their determination; their weakness lies in their minority status, for Shiites make up just 10 percent or so of the total Muslim population and further divide into multiple sub-groups such as the Fivers, Seveners, and Twelvers.

Sunni revisionists: They deploy varied tactics in the common effort to overthrow the existing order. At one extreme stand the crazies – ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Shabaab, and the Taliban, hate-filled, violent, and yet more revolutionary than their Shiite counterparts. The Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates (such as President Erdoğan of Turkey) fill the middle ground, using violence only when deemed necessary but preferring to work through the system. Soft Islamists like Fethullah Gülen, Pennsylvania’s Turkish preacher living in self-exile, forward their vision through education and commerce and work strictly within the system, but whose goals, despite their mild tactics, are no less ambitious.

Sunni status-quo maintainers: The Saudi state heads a bloc of governments (GCC members, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco), only some of which are Islamist, that wish to hold onto what they have and fend off the revolutionaries and revisionists.

Islamist Tactics: Violent vs. Lawful

Violent Islamists, Shiite and Sunni alike, are doomed. Their attacks on fellow Muslims alienate coreligionists. They challenge non-Muslims in precisely those areas where the latter are strongest; the combined might of the military, law enforcement, and the intelligence services can crush any Islamist uprising.

Islamist violence is counterproductive. Its drumbeat quality teaches and moves public opinion. Murderous assaults move opinion, not the analysts, the media, or politicians. An incident like the Charlie Hebdomassacre in Paris moves voters over to anti-Islamic parties. Blood in the streets teaches. It’s education by murder.

In contrast, lawful Islamists working within the system are very dangerous. They are seen as respectable, appearing on television, appearing as lawyers in courtrooms, and teaching classes. Western governments mistakenly treat them as allies against the crazies. My rule of thumb: The less violent the Islamist, the more dangerous.

Therefore, were I an Islamist strategist, I’d say, “Work through the system. Cut the violence except on those rare occasions when it intimidates and helps reach the goal.” In fact, the Islamists are not doing this, to their detriment. They are making a major mistake, to our benefit.

Islamism in Decline?

The Islamist movement could be on the way down due to infighting and unpopularity…

Click here for full article.

Islamists only want one thing. We cannot appease them

Like the old Leninists, Isil truly believes only it can defeat the conspiracy that runs the world. There is no possible common ground

 The bearers of this flag will not surrender or negotiate Photo: AP

The bearers of this flag will not surrender or negotiate Photo: AP

The Telegraph (July 6) — David Cameron calls Isil an “existential threat” to the Western way of life. On the face of it, that seems ridiculous. How could a bunch of relatively poor, ill-armed fanatics and psychopaths conceivably topple what remains the most dominant civilisation since the Roman Empire?

In physical terms, they can’t (yet). We in the West have much more money, many more weapons (though here in Britain, we have been doing our best to weaken ourselves militarily) and greatly superior technology. While Islamist fanatics can murder 30 British tourists on a North African beach, we can probably intercept enough of them here to keep their activities below a certain level.

But consider the Tunisian effect. “Only” 38 people died, but each death spreads its stain. First, it traumatises the survivors, the victims’ families and even the nation – hence our minute’s silence yesterday. Next, it wounds the host country. The moderate, hospitable Muslim feels endangered; the extremist feels empowered. The entire tourist industry is hit; Western money disappears, Western links are weakened.

The West’s behaviour towards Islamism in general has resembled that of tourists. More than any other mass occupation, tourism is subject to fear. Its object is peaceful relaxation. If your chosen resort suddenly becomes the scene of violence, you try to get the first plane home. You know little about the source of the trouble: you just want to escape. For far too long, we in the West have done too much for a quiet life. Fear has worked, which is why terrorism is so called.

In the early years after September 11 2001, I found myself embroiled in numerous arguments with British politicians, senior police officers and “securocrats” who put forward these fear-based arguments. These atrocities happened in America, they said, because the US was too big and “provocative”: it wouldn’t happen among “our” Muslims. The answer, they went on, was to placate Muslims by praising their peaceful intentions, punishing “Islamophobia” and empowering their “community leaders”, often with government money. They were almost uncritical about Muslim leaders – their denunciations of Jews or homosexuals, their subordination of women, their calls for sharia – so long as they did not perpetrate violence.

As editor of this newspaper at the time, I was approached to sign a “pledge to British Muslims”, and was in the minority who refused. The topsy-turvy idea was that the non-Muslim majority should apologise to those from whose ranks terrorism was coming. There was even a semi-successful attempt by the Muslim Council of Britain to ban the phrase “Islamic terrorism” from the media.

This approach took a knock after 7/7, when some of “our” Muslims, mostly from Leeds, blew up themselves and others – 52 dead in all – in the Tube and on a London bus. But still most of our public authorities and media pressed on, trying to be nicer and nicer. To our collective shame, all main British media outlets refused to publish the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, although they were utterly harmless by any normal British standard. We even tried to pass a sort of blasphemy law criminalising those who insulted Islam.

Time has worked against this craven approach. Nowadays, it is more likely to be Russell Brand (see yesterday’s outburst), not a politician, who blames the slaughter at Sousse on our foreign policy. Given the overwhelming evidence that the young men who kill are usually run by cells and almost always inspired by web incitements, there is much less talk of “lone wolves”. Few now believe that we can concede our way out of trouble. As Tony Blair, who is working on another of his essays on the subject, is formulating it, the appeasement of the unappeasable is, by definition, pointless.

Islamism is unappeasable because it is a doctrine, not a set of demands. Like Marxism-Leninism (whose methods it imitates), it purports to prove that a conspiracy runs the world. The anti-Muslim capitalist forces – America, Britain, the Jews – and the “hypocrites”, the corrupt regimes that run so many Muslim states, conspire to prevent the true Islamic state arising. In this crazy but coherent account, it becomes possible to believe, as millions of Muslims apparently do, that it was the Jews who bombed the World Trade Centre.

Colonialism, the Islamist story runs, is not dead. The humiliation of Muslims is part of its continuing purpose. The modern nation state has no legitimacy and divides Muslims. The only just form of rule is the restoration of the caliphate which the West destroyed. The role of devout Muslims, like the “leading rule of the party” in Leninism, is to be the vanguard.

From this, two things follow. The first is that Islamism, though not the same thing as Islam itself, will have a strong pull on discontented Muslims. It allows grievance to brandish the scimitar of righteousness. It is really a political doctrine about power, but its pseudo-holiness drags in believers. This means that the extremists are, to use another Blair phrase, part of “a spectrum not a fringe”.

The second is that the distinction between violent and non-violent extremism is merely operational. Islamists feel morally free to achieve their aims peacefully or violently, publicly or secretly, whichever suits. They follow a revolutionary doctrine, so there are no moderates. Islamism is declaredly determined to overthrow our way of life. Recent years prove its determination is matched by actions almost every day, almost everywhere. Like the Bolsheviks between 1905 and 1917, Islamists have moved fast from ranting to ruling, and they preach their creed globally. The phrase “existential threat” fits.

This is what Mr Cameron understands. In the Coalition, he was actively resisted by his own appointed minister, Sayeed Warsi, and by his partners, the Liberal Democrats. He was passively resisted by the more Arabist side of his party and by many government institutions – the Foreign Office, most senior police officers, many educational establishments, some in the various counter-terrorist agencies. On its website, as this column reminds readers from time to time, the Security Service, MI5, insists that it does not investigate “subversion”, as it did in the Cold War. Yesterday afternoon, it posted a new sentence anxiously emphasising that the Security Service Act of 1989 had created a “much more clearly defined function” which keeps it out of all this mucky stuff.

Officialdom remains uncomfortable with that word “subversion”. But it will have to get used to the word “entryism”, which will appear in the Government’s forthcoming counter-extremism strategy. Now, with his overall majority, the Prime Minister is unexpectedly free, and fired up. He will soon say more about how the transmission of a little-challenged “narrative” of hatred drives frustrated young men to violence even when it does not explicitly incite them to kill. It is not paranoid to say that there is a deadly enemy within, and not intolerant to want to defeat it.

Click here for original source.

Jews are behind all bad in the world, says preacher on PA TV

Palestinian Authority TV host and Muslim preacher:

“If a fish in the sea fights with another fish… the Jews are behind it”

“Humanity will never live in comfort as long as the Jews are causing devastating corruption throughout the land. Humanity will never live in peace or fortune or tranquility as long as they are corrupting the land.”

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Palestinian Media Watch (March 30) — The Jews are behind all that is wrong in the world, according to the host of a weekly Palestinian Authority TV program on  Islam. Even when fish fight in the sea, “the Jews are behind it,” said the Muslim preacher and professor of Quranic Studies, Imad Hamato. To back up this Antisemitic hate speech, Hamato went on to say that the Quran teaches that  humanity will never “live in comfort… peace or fortune or tranquility” as long as “the Jews are causing devastating corruption throughout the land.” The solution for Muslims, according to the professor, is to fight  Jews: “Our real Jihad is to take revenge.”

“Humanity will never live in comfort as long as the Jews are causing devastating corruption throughout the land. Humanity will never live in peace or fortune or tranquility as long as they are corrupting the land. An old man told me: If a fish in the sea fights with another fish, I am sure the Jews are behind it. As Allah says: ”Every time they kindled the fire of war [against you], Allah extinguished it. They strive throughout the land [causing] corruption, and Allah does not like corrupters” (Sura 5:64).”

[Official PA TV, Feb. 27, 2015]

Only a month prior to Hamato’s statement, Palestinian Media Watch reported on a cleric on official PA TV who taught that Jews are “apes and pigs” whose “hearts were sealed by Allah.”

Antisemitism is a central component of PA ideology. In February, the Fatah-run TV channel Awdah broadcast a PA TV documentary that justifies the persecution of European Jews throughout history as an act of self-defense. According to the documentary, the Jews caused Europeans to suffer, who as a result wanted to get rid of the Jews. Therefore, according to the PA, European countries supported the establishment of the State of Israel.

Click here for full article.

Video & Transcript: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Full Speech To Congress

Netanyahu to Congress: Emerging deal would lead to a nuclear Iran and inevitable war

Netanyahu Congress Speech March 2015Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the US Congress on Tuesday, saying that the current deal being formulated by the P5+1 group of world powers and Tehran would inevitably lead to a nuclear Iran and war.

The US has said over the past year that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal, Netanyahu told the assembled American lawmakers.”Well this is a bad deal. A very bad deal.”

Netanyahu said that the alternative to this deal was not war, as some have posited, “but a better deal.”

“The days of the Jewish people remaining passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over!” Netanyahu said to rousing applause.

The Israeli leader said that the Western powers’ emerging deal with Iran would all but guarantee that Tehran gets nuclear weapons.

Any deal would include concessions that would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, he said. “Not a single nuclear facility would be demolished,” according to the terms of the deal, Netanyahu added.

Their breakout time would be a year by US assessments and even shorter by Israeli assessments, he said.

He said that nuclear inspectors in North Korea had not been able to stop Pyongyang from getting nuclear weapons and they would not be able to stop Tehran either.

Netanyahu said that sanctions against Iran should not be lifted until Tehran stops aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East, stops supporting terrorism around the world and stops threatening to annihilate Israel, “the one and only Jewish state.”

He recalled the story of Purim in which Persians tried to wipe out the Jews, saying that the people were saved by Esther speaking out.

Today, Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is trying to wipe out the Jews, he said. “He spews the worst kind of anti-Semitic hatred. He tweets that Israel must be destroyed.”

He rejected Iran’s claim that it opposes Israel only, and not Jews, by quoting Iranian ally, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah: “‘If all Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the problem of chasing them around the world.'”

“We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest subjugation and terror,” Netanyahu said to applause.

He rejected the notion that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was a moderate, saying that the regime is as extremist as ever.

“The ideology of Iran’s regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam and therefore it will always be an enemy of the US. The fact that Iran and the US have a common enemy in Islamic State doesn’t make Iran a friend of America,” he said.

“To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle and lose the war,” he said. “We can’t let that happen.”

Netanyahu said he regretted that some saw his visit to Washington as political. “That was never my intention,” the prime minister said.

“I know that no matter what side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel,” Netanyahu said to applause.

He said that the US-Israel alliance must remain above politics. The prime minister said that he had called US President Barack Obama a number of times in Israel’s hour of need, and he had obliged. He thanked the US president for all of the support he had provided Israel.

“This Capitol dome helped build our Iron Dome,” Netanyahu said.

 

Full video of the speech:

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Click here for the complete transcript of the speech.

Is Israel the problem, or are Jews the problem?

AP100127022968-441x350By Ben Shapiro for FrontPage Mag (Feb 20) — In the aftermath of the killing of a man at a Copenhagen synagogue by a member of the Religion of Peace, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “This wave of attacks is expected to continue. Jews deserve security in every country, but we say to our Jewish brothers and sisters, Israel is your home.” Russian emigre Natan Sharansky echoed Netanyahu’s call, stating, “There is no future for Jews in western Europe.”

In response, European leaders shouted down Netanyahu. “We know there are doubts, questions across the community,” said French President Francois Hollande, who was elected with in excess of 93 percent of the Muslim vote. “I will not just let what was said in Israel pass, leading people to believe that Jews no longer have a place in Europe and France, in particular.” The same week, Jewish tombstones were spray-painted by the hundreds in eastern France.

But undoubtedly, European anti-Semites will now claim that Netanyahu’s comments simply demonstrate why Europe must force out its Jews: because Israel is just so awful. That, at least, is what a German court in the city of Wuppertal concluded after convicting two German Palestinians of setting fire to a synagogue. The Wuppertal court stated that the men were simply attempting to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict.” In other words, Jews are fair game because of Israel.

But it’s precisely the reverse that is true: Israel is fair game because it is Jewish. This is the dirty little secret of anti-Israel policy: It is almost entirely anti-Semitic policy. That is why Muslims attack Jewish synagogues in Paris during the Gaza war: because Israel is a stand-in for the Jews, not the other way around. Were Israel a Muslim country, the rest of the world would see it as a beacon of light and hope for the future of an entire religion.

Because it is Jewish, Muslims target it for destruction, and the rest of the world tut-tuts Israel’s nasty habit of attempting to survive. The extra-American world hates Israel because it is Jewish. It does not hate Jews because of Israel. Israel is merely a convenient excuse.

Ironically, radical Muslims, in targeting Jews throughout the world, reinforce the necessity of a state of Israel. Their argument seems to be that Israel is an unnecessary Jewish nationalist cancer; to prove that argument, they suggest killing Jews all over the planet, leaving no place safe for Jews except for Israel.

And so Jews go to Israel by the droves. European governments can rip Netanyahu all they want for his supposedly brusque dismissal of European tolerance, but that supposed tolerance means less and less when Swedish Jews abandon entire cities as the authorities make way for radical Muslims. European governments can condemn the Gaza war, but Jews see that war for what it was: an exercise in Jewish self-preservation, with the Europeans once again attempting to prevent such self-preservation.

Unlike the Europeans, Americans continue to side with Israel because America is founded on Judeo-Christian principles. America embraces Judaism, and so it embraces Israel, not the other way around. The formula is simple: Love Jews; love Israel. Hate Jews; hate Israel. Opposing Israeli action may not be anti-Semitism, but it sure does have a funny habit of backing the agenda of anti-Semites.

Click here for original source.

What ISIS Really Wants

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

This is one of the best articles I’ve read about ISIS. It is very comprehensive and goes way beyond the surface.

307796482The Atlantic (Feb 18):

What is the Islamic State?

Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.

The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.

Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.

We have misunderstood the nature of the Islamic State in at least two ways. First, we tend to see jihadism as monolithic, and to apply the logic of al‑Qaeda to an organization that has decisively eclipsed it. The Islamic State supporters I spoke with still refer to Osama bin Laden as “Sheikh Osama,” a title of honor. But jihadism has evolved since al-Qaeda’s heyday, from about 1998 to 2003, and many jihadists disdain the group’s priorities and current leadership.

Bin Laden viewed his terrorism as a prologue to a caliphate he did not expect to see in his lifetime. His organization was flexible, operating as a geographically diffuse network of autonomous cells. The Islamic State, by contrast, requires territory to remain legitimate, and a top-down structure to rule it. (Its bureaucracy is divided into civil and military arms, and its territory into provinces.)

We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. Peter Bergen, who produced the first interview with bin Laden in 1997, titled his first book Holy War, Inc. in part to acknowledge bin Laden as a creature of the modern secular world. Bin Laden corporatized terror and franchised it out. He requested specific political concessions, such as the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. His foot soldiers navigated the modern world confidently. On Mohammad Atta’s last full day of life, he shopped at Walmart and ate dinner at Pizza Hut.

Nearly all the Islamic State’s decisions adhere to what it calls, on its billboards, license plates, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology.”

The Islamic State awaits the army of “Rome,” whose defeat at Dabiq, Syria, will initiate the countdown to the apocalypse.

Our failure to appreciate the essential differences between ISIS and al-Qaeda has led to dangerous decisions.

Social-media posts from the Islamic State suggest that executions happen more or less continually.

After mujahideen reported having seen American soldiers in battle, Islamic State Twitter accounts erupted in spasms of pleasure, like overenthusiastic hosts upon the arrival of the first guests at a party.

Given everything we know about the Islamic State, continuing to slowly bleed it appears the best of bad military options.

A theological alternative to the Islamic State exists—just as uncompromising, but with opposite conclusions.

Click here for full article.

US: 20,000 foreigners heading to Syria to join Islamic State

The reason “the rate of foreign fighter travel to Syria is unprecedented” is because the Islamic State has proclaimed the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, with the first Caliph (leader of the Caliphate) with actual political and military power. This is a very desirable idea to radical Muslims around the world.

“Rates of travel of foreign jihadists is ‘unprecedented,’ officials say; 3,400 are from West, 150 are US citizens.”

This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 shows fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. (photo credit: AP/ militant website, File)

This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 shows fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria. (photo credit: AP/ militant website, File)

AFP (Feb 11) — Foreign fighters are flocking to Syria at an “unprecedented” rate, with more than 20,000 volunteers from around the world joining the Islamic State or other extremist groups, US intelligence officials said Tuesday.

The foreign fighters have traveled to Syria from more than 90 countries, including at least 3,400 from Western states and more than 150 Americans, according to the latest estimate from the National Counter-Terrorism Center.

A majority of the foreign volunteers who arrived recently have joined forces with the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, it said.

No precise numbers are available “but the trend lines are clear and concerning,” Nicholas Rasmussen, NCTC director, said in prepared remarks for a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

“The rate of foreign fighter travel to Syria is unprecedented. It exceeds the rate of travelers who went to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia at any point in the last 20 years,” he said.

“The battlefields in Iraq and Syria provide foreign fighters with combat experience, weapons and explosives training, and access to terrorist networks that may be planning attacks which target the West,” he said.

Western governments have voiced increasing alarm over the flow of foreign volunteers heading to the Syrian conflict, particularly in the aftermath of jihadist attacks in Paris that left 17 dead.

Click here for full article.

Blaming Israel for anti-Semitism misses the point

A French soldier stands guard next to a jewish school in Nice January 23, 2015 as part of the highest level of "Vigipirate" security plan after the Islamist attacks in France. (Eric Gaillard / Reuters)

A French soldier stands guard next to a jewish school in Nice January 23, 2015 as part of the highest level of “Vigipirate” security plan after the Islamist attacks in France. (Eric Gaillard / Reuters)

The Washington Post (Feb 4) — The title of my recently published book is “Israel: Is It Good for the Jews?” When I started writing it, I did not know how I was going to answer that question. The more I delved into the subject, the more I read and did research, the more I concluded that the answer is yes. The recent events in Paris make me even surer.

In the long and blood-soaked history of Europe’s Jews, the death of four more in a Parisian kosher market is, at best, a footnote. But they were not the accidental victims of the terrorists’ wrath, not just merely in the way or in the line of fire. They were singled out for who they were and not for what they had done — like publish provocative cartoons. They were killed for being Jews.

Why? The conventional answer is Israel — or, to put it another way, the plight of the Palestinians. There is some truth to both of these, yet the Islamic world is not so concerned about Palestinians that it has accorded Palestinian refugees anything like equal rights in the countries where they have sought refuge or protested when whole Palestinian communities were uprooted from Kuwait and other Gulf states after the PLO supported Saddam Hussein — ethnic cleansing of a type. The Arab world weeps for the Palestinians — but only on cue and not too much.

So the supposed madness, the supposedly justifiable anger, that drives some Muslims into sharing core beliefs with Adolf Hitler, is not all that essential to the Islamic or Arab identity. Millions, maybe a billion, Muslims go about their daily business without giving Israel or the Palestinians a thought. They do give a thought, however, to their own helplessness, to the astonishingly high rates of unemployment both in the Arab world and in the minority neighborhoods of European cities. Here is where the Jew plays a role. He can be blamed.

Anti-Semitism is the most durable and pliable of all conspiracy theories. It supposedly accounts for the death of Christ and the Jewish dominance of the liberal media. It carefully noted the disproportionate number of Jews in the communist movement and in the capitalist movement. Anti-Semitism can account for the wealth of the Jews and their scientific and artistic achievements. They are — we are — a most nimble people. We’ve had to be.

Blaming Israel for anti-Semitism misses the point. For at least 1,948 years, anti-Semitism both existed and thrived when Israel did neither. The pogroms of Europe — and the occasional ones of the Muslim Middle East — took place with no Israel in sight. The Holocaust consumed 6 million Jews and not because Hitler was pro-Palestinian. Anti-Semitism infected ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, the subtle mind of T.S. Eliot and the tinkering brain of Henry Ford way before any future Israeli had pushed around any future Palestinian. Anti-Semitism does not need a reason. It needs only an excuse.

That excuse is present in contemporary Europe. Its Muslim minority is poor and inordinately unemployed. It loathes Israel for what it is allegedly doing to the Palestinians, and it hates Jews for being Jewish — supposedly rich, powerful, secretive, conspiratorial and manipulative.

The remedy — the cure — is education and assimilation. In the United States, high levels of anti-Semitism in the Hispanic population dissipate with assimilation. The Anti-Defamation League tells us that, while 12 percent of all Americans are anti-Semites, the figure for foreign-born Hispanics is an astounding 36 percent. But for Hispanics born in the United States, the figure is only 14 percent. America is adept at assimilation. Europe is lousy at it. Europe needs work.

But non-Muslim Europe needs work as well. Especially on the left, discussions and denunciations of Israel feel like a snowball with a rock in the center: Something aside from protest is being aired. Anti-Zionism may be legitimate, but it too often seems like a way of expressing anti-Semitism. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank has always troubled me, but it is governed benevolently compared with the way China oppresses Tibet — and where are those demonstrations?

In researching my book, I came away in awe of anti-Semitism. It may be more durable than most of our current religions — it is older than most — and it made me wonder when it would stage one of its periodic revivals. That now seems underway and, sadly, makes my book title almost irrelevant. The question is not whether Israel is good for the Jews but whether it is necessary. That answer, increasingly, is yes.

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WATCH: French flag burned on Temple Mount in a large rally against Mohammad cartoons

Protesters on Temple Mount burn a French Flag. (photo credit:SCREEN CAPTURE: SHEHAB NEWS AGENCY/ FACEBOOK)

Protesters on Temple Mount burn a French Flag. (photo credit:SCREEN CAPTURE: SHEHAB NEWS AGENCY/ FACEBOOK)

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The Jerusalem Post — Hundreds of Palestinians rallied Friday afternoon on the Temple Mount against the new cover of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which featured a drawing of Prophet Muhammad.

In a video uploaded by the Hamas-affiliated Shehab News Agency, protesters are seen burning a French flag, and shouting: “Burn it, burn it…in the cause of God, Allah. the greatest. Prophet Muhammad is our leader forever.”

Charlie Hebdo’s first edition since the attack on its office in Paris last week that left 12 journalists dead, which was published on Wednesday, featured another cartoon of Muhammad on a cover that critics saw as a new provocation.

A protest in Niger against the French magazine’s cartoons turned violent on Friday as demonstrators set fire to churches and raided shops run by Christians, residents said.

Police in the former French colony’s southern town of Zinder fired tear gas on a crowd of hundreds of people as tires burned in the streets.

“The protesters are crying out in local Hausa language: Charlie is Satan – let hell engulf those supporting Charlie,” said Aboubacar Mamane, a shopkeeper by telephone (See story, Page 8).

Meanwhile, in Algiers, police clashed with protesters after rioting broke out at the end of a march against the magazine.

Several officers were injured during the clashes, with police firing riot pellets and small groups of protesters responding with rocks, fireworks and bottles in the streets around the waterfront area of the Algerian capital.

The front page of Charlie Hebdo’s January 14 edition shows a cartoon of a tearful Muhammad with a sign “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) below the headline: “Tout est pardonné” (All is forgiven).

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Enforcement Of Sharia Law In The Muslim World For Insulting Islam, Prophet Muhammad

By MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) January 12:

A Review Of Recent Arrests, Imprisonment, Flogging, Death Sentences

In Arab and Muslim countries, defaming Islam and the Prophet Muhammad is still defined as an offense against the shari’a that entails punishment. Recent examples of enforcement include the arrest of Saudi intellectual Dr. Turki Al-Hamad and Saudi blogger Hamza Kashgari; another Saudi liberal, Raef Badawi, was sentenced to public flogging, and both Mauritanian blogger Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir and Iranian blogger Soheil Arabi were even sentenced to death.

These recent cases were preceded by well-known assassinations or assassination attempts against individuals accused of insulting Islam or the Prophet, such as the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 against the author Salman Rushdie, which called to kill him for his book The Satanic Verses (this fatwa still holds in Iran); the assassination attempt against Nobel laureate Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz for irreverent allusions to Allah and the Prophet in his book Children of Our Neighborhood; the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh for his film Submission, which shows Koranic verses written on the body of a woman; and fatwas permitting the killing of the artists responsible for the Danish cartoons published in 2005.    

Historic Perspective: Punishment Of Prophet’s Defamers Based On Koranic Verses, Hadith, Authoritative Sirah Literature (Biographies Of The Prophet)  

According to the shari’a, defaming the Prophet is an act of blasphemy, the punishment for which is death even if the accused repents. This law is a Koranic decree, for Koran 9:61 says: “Those who hurt Allah’s Messenger will have a painful punishment.” The same Surah also states: “…Say: “(Go ahead and) mock! But certainly Allah will bring to light all that you fear. If you ask them (about this), they declare: ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say: ‘Was it at Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking? Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after you had believed. [Koran 9:64-66].” In addition, the Sira literature (biographies of the Prophet) and the Hadith include many instances in which Muhammad ordered to kill his maligners or praised his followers for doing so. In the Muhammad’s era, writing poems against him was considered an unforgivable crime, and many poets were killed for this, including the Jewish poet Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf, who would ridicule the Prophet. According to a hadith, he was killed by Muhammad bin Maslama at the behest of the Prophet himself and with his blessing. Another poet who composed a poem against Muhammad, the Jewess ‘Asma bint Marwan, was assassinated by ‘Umayr bin ‘Adiy, who was later praised by the Prophet for executing her. Some sources state that Muhammad asked who would kill this woman on his behalf, and a member of her tribe volunteered. Two more poets killed for this crime were Abu ‘Afak, assassinated by Salem bin ‘Umayr, and  the Meccan poet Sarah, whom the Prophet ordered to kill on the day Mecca was conquered.

Prominent medieval Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyya, considered by many to be the father of the modern fundamentalist Islamic movements, wrote on this issue: “Mocking Allah, His verses or His Messenger is blasphemy.” He wrote further: “Whosoever curses the Prophet, be he a Muslim of an infidel, must be put to death. All [religious] scholars take this view.” The late Saudi mufti ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz Ibn ‘Abdallah Ibn Bazz said: “Anyone who curses Allah or His Messenger Muhammad in any way is a heretic apostate.”

unnamedSince criticism of Muhammad is still taboo in the Muslim world and cases of it are fairly rare, this act and the punishment it merits are not major topics of debate in Islamist discourse. However, when it does occur – as in the case of Rushdie’s book or cartoons lampooning Muhammad – it is regarded as a “crime” whose perpetrator must be punished. Governments in the Muslim world, as well as the sheikhs of the religious establishment, handle this matter according to political considerations, sometimes enforcing strict punishments and sometimes lenient ones, according to the political interests of the moment.

The following are some recent examples of citizens of Muslim countries punished for harming Islam or the Prophet.

  • Mauritanian Blogger Sentenced To Death For Insulting The Prophet
  • Iranian Blogger Receives Death Sentence For Insulting The Prophet
  • Saudi Blogger Arrested For Tweeting “There Are Things About The Prophet That I Hate”
  • Saudi Intellectual Dr. Turki Al-Hamad Arrested For Calling To “Correct The Faith Of Muhammad”

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Reflections on the terror in Paris

An excellent and very important op-ed about terrorism and the Western world’s fight against it.

875PJ Media (Jan 16) — The Islamic world is currently in the midst of a great historic convulsion. This process is giving birth to political trends and movements of a murderously violent nature. These movements offer a supposed escape route from the humiliation felt at the profound societal failure of the Arab and to a slightly lesser extent the broader Muslim world.

The escape is by way of the most violent and intolerant historic trends of Islam, into a mythologized and imagined past. The route to this old-new imagined utopia is a bloody one. All who oppose or even slight it must die. The simple and brutal laws of 7th century Muslim Arabia are re-applied, in their literal sense. The events of last week in Paris were a manifestation of this trend.

These trends exist not only in the Arab and Muslim worlds themselves. Because of mass immigration from the Arab and Muslim world to western European countries, they are also powerful and present in immigrant communities in these countries. The Kouachi brothers and Amedi Coulibaly are the latest, and no doubt not the last representatives of this political world to impose themselves on us.

The political trend in question is called political Islam. It manifests itself in its most extreme form in the rival global networks of the Al Qaeda movement and the Islamic State. But these, alas, are only the sharp tip of a much larger iceberg.

Political Islamists are not all, or mainly, young men from slums. On the contrary, its adherents include heads of state, powerful economic interests and media groups, and prominent cultural figures. Some of these, absurdly, were even present at the “solidarity rally” in Paris.

They rendered this event an empty spectacle by their presence.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, for example, came to offer his solidarity to the victims of journalists murdered by Islamists in Paris, just two days after the Turkish courts sentenced a pianist to a 10 month prison sentence, suspended for five years, for the crime of “denigrating religion (ie Islam).” More urgently, Turkey has been an active supporter of both Islamic State and al-Qaeda forces in northern Syria over the last three years. That is, Davutoglu was marching in condemnation of forces to which his own government has offered support.

Political Islam is a reaction to profound societal failure. It is also a flight into unreality. It has nothing practical to offer as an actual remedy to Arab and Islamic developmental problems. Economic, legal and societal models deriving from the 7th century Arabian desert are fairly obvious impediments to success in the 21st.

Where they are systematically imposed, as in the Islamic State, they will create something close to hell on earth. Where they remain present in more partial forms — as in Qatar, Gaza, Iran, (increasingly) Turkey, and so on — they will merely produce stifling, stagnant and repressive societies.

But the remedy for failure that political Islam offers is not a material one. It offers in generous portions the intoxicating psychological cocktail of murderous rage and self-assertion, and the desire to strike out and destroy those deemed enemies — infidels who transgress binding religious commandments, Jews and so on.

This is not the first time that Europe has encountered political phenomena based on murderous rage and utopias buried in the magical past. The European fascist movements produced precisely such a mix. But of course, this time around, the rage and the utopia derive not from European culture, but from an alien culture which has implanted itself among the Europeans.

Here is the second part of the problem. Arab and Muslim societies may be basket cases, but they retain an exceptionally strong and vivid sense of themselves. It is the irony of history that this sense of self is precisely of a type that is bound to keep their societies mired in failure. But history favors irony, and this sense nevertheless remains powerfully experienced and hence politically potent. In this respect, the modern Islamic world resembles western Europe of 80 or 90 years ago, but not the contemporary continent.

In contemporary western European societies, political Islam meets a human collectivity suffering, by contrast, from a profound loss of self. No one, at least in the mainstream of politics and culture, seems able to quite articulate what western European countries are for, or what they oppose — at least beyond a sort of vapid belief in everyone doing what they want and not bothering each other.

The result is that when violent political Islam collides with the satiated, lost societies of western Europe, the response is not defiance on the part of the latter, but rather fear.

This fear, as fear is wont to do, manifests itself in various, not particularly edifying, ways.

The most obvious is avoidance (“the attacks had nothing to do with Islam,” “unemployment and poverty are the root cause,” “the Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a state,” etc etc).

Another is appeasement — “maybe if we give them some of what they want, they’ll leave us alone.”

This response perhaps partially explains the notable adoption in parts of western Europe of the anti-Jewish prejudice so prevalent in the Islamic world.

The ennui of the western European mainstream will almost certainly prevent the adoption of the very tough measures which alone might serve to adequately address the burgeoning problem of large numbers of young European Muslims committed to political Islam and to violence against their host societies.

Such measures — which would include tighter surveillance and policing of communities, quick deportations of incendiary preachers, revocation of citizenship for those engaged in violence, possible imprisonment of suspects and so on — would require a political will which is manifestly absent. So it wont happen. So the events of Paris will almost certainly recur.

And lastly, since the elites will not be able to produce resistance, it will come from outside of the elites. Hence the growth of populist, nationalist parties and movements in western Europe. But Europe being what it is, such revivalist movements are likely to contain a hefty dose of the xenophobia and bigotry which characterized the continent of old.

None of this can, at present, be discussed in polite European society. But all of it is fairly obvious. For this reason, Europe’s Jews are at present warily eying the door. As someone who was born in western Europe, and left it 25 years ago for Israel, I am happy to conclude that as a result of the efforts and sacrifice of many, Europe’s Jews are this time around neither defenseless nor alone. Nor will their blood be free to be taken with impunity.

Jonathan Spyer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict (Continuum, 2011).

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Poll: 42% of French believe Muhammad cartoons should not be published

Submitting to the terrorists’ demands does not reduce terrorism, it only emboldens them. This is the wrong approach to fighting radical Islam. However, stripping terrorists of their citizenships is the right policy.

The Jerusalem Post (Jan 18) — Following the attacks on Charlie Hebdo’s offices, a poll published by IFOP (French Institute of Public Opinion) found that 42% of the French believe that publications should respect Muslim opinion and refrain from publishing cartoons of Muhammad, AFP reported.

The poll also found that 81% support stripping dual nationals who have committed an act of terrorism on French grounds from their French nationality.

Paris terror attacks: The fruits of cowardice and appeasement

World leaders including Netanyahu and Abbas flank French Presdient Francois Hollande at Paris solidarity rally. (photo credit: REUTERS)

World leaders including Netanyahu and Abbas flank French Presdient Francois Hollande at Paris solidarity rally. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Jerusalem Post (Jan 17) — The ill winds that have been gathering over Europe became a tornado last week in Paris with the barbaric Charlie Hebdo massacre, followed by the horrific terrorist attack at a kosher supermarket – a total of 17 dead in three days. But alas, the horror will in all likelihood soon recede and life will continue as usual until the next attack.

…  Western governments have yet to internalize the reality that what happened in Paris was not merely another instance of “terrorism” but a classic manifestation of the “clash of civilizations.”

Aside from murderous attacks primarily directed against Jews in Europe over recent months, there have been ongoing massacres and atrocities committed by Islamic terrorists throughout the world.

To name a few: the butchering of 2,000 Nigerians in the wake of the Boko Haram enslavement of 300 schoolgirls; the murder of 130 schoolchildren in Peshawar, Pakistan, by the Taliban; the barbaric videos broadcast of hostages being decapitated; ongoing mass murder in Syria and Iraq; oppression of women; and gruesome persecution, expulsion and murder of Christians in the Middle East.

Today, as the global impact of Islamic fundamentalism grows exponentially, with increasing manifestations of brutal terrorism, Western leaders lack the courage to even identify the enemy. It has ominous parallels to the struggle with Nazism. Then as now, Western governments initially sought to avoid conflict by appeasing the barbarians – which only served to embolden them.

…  THROUGHOUT THE world, jihadist mullahs and preachers promote hatred and extremism. In European cities, second-generation homegrown Muslims and converts are indoctrinated to endorse and in some cases participate in jihad and the murder of infidels. Those who convert are not necessarily from the underprivileged classes, but “ideologues,” many of whom belong to comfortable middle class families and are university graduates.

But worse has been the unspoken acquiescence of most governments and the media, preventing any meaningful discussion of the threat from Islamic extremism. Apart from downplaying and often even denying the overriding Islamic element in acts of terrorism, governments and media have disgracefully branded as “Islamophobic” any serious effort to discuss and analyze the problem, even promoting “hate speech” legislation to stifle any such public discussion.

The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference has attempted to make blasphemy (i.e., criticism of Islam) a crime in international law.

They have been further emboldened by the failure to immediately prosecute Islamic extremists who threaten violence against those who express criticism of or dishonor Islam. What is truly ironic is that many of those on the Left who normally endorse the crudest outbursts against Christianity and Judaism are the first to accuse any critics of Islam of Islamophobia, and display far greater concern for the sensitivities of Muslims.

…  Ironically, in a historic and critical New Year’s address, largely ignored by the mainstream press, Sisi [Egypt’s democratically elected President] publicly expressed what Obama and Western leaders have been denying. He stated explicitly that jihadism and terrorism were linked to “the corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries.” He warned that this was “antagonizing the entire world,” that “this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed… by our own hands,” and that “we are in need of a religious revolution.”

…  For Jews, the writing has been on the wall for a long time. The virulence of the anti-Semitic hatred closing in on Jews in Europe (and elsewhere) is horrifying. Robert Wistrich, the world’s leading scholar on anti-Semitism, says that anti-Semitism in France is now in “an advanced stage of disease” that cannot be reversed. There were a series of anti-Semitic murders in France and Belgium preceding the Paris massacre but they failed to raise the same level of outrage as the Charlie Hebdo murders. There were no popular campaigns saying “Je suis Juif.” Indeed there seemed to be greater concern about “Islamophobia” than the targeted Jewish victims.

Europe is today facing a crisis as serious as the confrontation with Nazism. If Western leaders continue behaving like Chamberlain and fail to stand up to this global threat, it could usher in a new Dark Age in which the Judeo-Christian culture is subsumed by primitive barbarism. The writing is on the wall.

For Jews, the Zionist vision has once again been tragically vindicated.

The author’s website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com. He may be contacted at ileibler@ leibler.com.

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