Did Group Raise Funds for Hamas on Campus?
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A U.S. congressman is the latest to call for a Justice Department investigation into whether a pro-Palestinian group has been raising money on college campuses for Hamas.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Some who criticised your support for Nato now cheer the Gaza report. What about accusations that it was biased against Israel?
Israel's Right in the 'Disputed' Territories
By DANNY AYALON
The recent statements by the European Union's new foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton criticizing Israel have once again brought international attention to Jerusalem and the settlements. However, little appears to be truly understood about Israel's rights to what are generally called the "occupied territories" but what really are "disputed territories."
That's because the land now known as the West Bank cannot be considered "occupied" in the legal sense of the word as it had not attained recognized sovereignty before Israel's conquest. Contrary to some beliefs there has never been a Palestinian state, and no other nation has ever established Jerusalem as its capital despite it being under Islamic control for hundreds of years.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Hamas marks 1 year after war, but many stay home
Hamas loyalists marked the one-year anniversary of Israel’s devastating war against Gaza’s Islamic militant rulers with defiant protests and a moment of silence on Sunday — even as most of the territory’s residents ignored commemoration events and some even criticized the militant group for not attending to their needs.
LEBANON: Deadly bombing targeting Hamas on Hezbollah turf remains shrouded in mystery
An explosion went off Saturday night just a few blocks from where hundreds of Shiite Muslims had gathered to hear Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah address the faithful on the eve before the last day of Ashura, the annual 10-day commemoration of Imam Hussein, who was killed in the 7th century.
Secretary General Amr Moussa said Sunday that the Arab League was determined to prosecute the persons behind war crimes in Gaza.The bad news? Not so much:
In a statement issued to mark the first anniversary of the Israeli army’s attacks on the Gaza Strip, Moussa recalled the report drafted by the Arab League’s independent investigation commission on the attacks and the report written by Justice Richard Goldstone, who was entrusted by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate these crimes.
He said in this respect that the stability of the region was dependent on a fair and lasting peace, the result of the recovery by the Palestinians of their rights and the establishment of a State in their territories occupied since 1967.
Promoting Pius XII
by Robert S. Wistrich
Exactly ten years ago, on a cold winter morning in New York City, the Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission, established to investigate Pope Pius XII’s response to the Holocaust, met for the first time to discuss its future work. I was the only Israeli historian among the six scholars (3 Catholics and 3 Jews) designated by the Vatican and leading Jewish organizations to study this hotly contested issue. A little under two years later, the project was abandoned as a result of the Holy See’s unwillingness to release materials from its own archives that could help clarify issues that our team of scholars raised in our provisional report. Already at that time, in the last years of Pope John Paul’s pontificate, there were moves afoot to place Pius XII on the fast track to sainthood, but they were probably slowed down by Israeli and Jewish protests and a desire by Church authorities to prevent a serious rupture in Catholic-Jewish relations.
At issue was the silence of Pius XII during the Holocaust and his indirect complicity in the Nazi mass murder of Jews. These allegations, which first emerged around 1964, had prompted the Vatican to publish eleven volumes of its own documents (edited by four trusted Jesuit scholars), most of them appearing in the 1970s. It was these documents in Italian, German, French, Latin, and English that we were originally asked to review. The million or so unpublished documents from the pontificate of Pius XII (1939–1958) according to the Vatican’s most recent estimate, will only be available in about four year’s time.
desperate people don't think rationally. Desperate people turn radical. It has always been like that.Yet in the most recent attempted terrorist attempt against the US, we see once again that when it comes to terrorism, ideology trumps economics.
Powerline writes that the Nigerian Muslim who tried to blow up the Northwest/Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit appears to be
the son of a prominent Nigerian Banker named Alhaji Umaru Mutallab who most recently has been an engineering student at University College in London.
If that information proves out, Mudallad (or Mutallab, or whatever) will fit the usual Muslim terrorist profile: young, well-educated, from a prosperous family, oriented toward science and engineering. [emphasis added]The same post links to Mark Steyn who spells it out:
So once again we see the foolishness of complaceniks who drone the fatuous cliches about how "in this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs". The men eager to self-detonate on infidel airliners are not goatherds from the caves of Waziristan but educated middle-class Muslims who have had the most exposure to the western world and could be pulling down six-figure salaries almost anywhere on the planet. And don't look to "assimilation" to work its magic, either. We're witnessing a process of generational de-assimilation: In this family, yet again, the dad is an entirely assimilated member of the transnational elite. His son wants a global caliphate run on Wahhabist lines.That link in that quote is to a post Steyn wrote in 2008, where he noted in a criticism of John McCain:
There's plenty of evidence out there that the most extreme "extremists" are those who've been most exposed to the west - and western education: from Osama bin Laden (summer school at Oxford, punting on the Thames) and Mohammed Atta (Hamburg University urban planning student) to the London School of Economics graduate responsible for the beheading of Daniel Pearl. The idea that handing out college scholarships to young Saudi males and getting them hooked on Starbucks and car-chase movies will make this stuff go away is ridiculous - and unworthy of a serious presidential candidate.[emphasis added]And yet the accepted narrative continues to claim just that--resulting in added pressure on Israel, and continued terrorist threats around the world.
Technorati Tag: Terrorism.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Israel is helping by getting rid of checkpoints, but there are still a great many complaints about how its forces keep placing new ones unexpectedly at sites from which they had been removed, and continue to enter Palestinian urban centers to make arrests - despite vigorous Palestinian Authority operations against every attempt by terrorist groups to organize themselves. The quality of life of the "average Palestinian resident" has improved dramatically, in comparison with past years. A Palestinian journalist said this week that the situation in the West Bank is not only better than in the past, but "terrific." [emphasis added]Haaretz begrudgingly admits:
Dr. Grobman is a Hebrew University trained historian. His is the author of a number of books, including Nations United: How The U.N. Undermines Israel and The West; Denying History: Who Says The Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? and a forthcoming book The Palestinian Right To Israel about Israel's moral and legal right to exist as a Jewish State to be published by Balfour Books.
On December 11, 2009, a group of Palestinian Christian leaders issued a 13 page document known as "Kairos Palestine-2009: A moment of truth." Having "reached a dead end" because of the “Israeli military occupation,” the leaders appealed to churches worldwide to treat Israel as they had apartheid South Africa by divestment and economic boycott.1
Given that the authors of this document include Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Lutheran Bishop of Jerusalem Munib Younan, Archbishop of Sebastia Atallah Hanna from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, we should not be surprised with this distorted description of the plight of Christian Arabs in Gaza, Judea and Samaria.
Justus Reid Weiner, an international human rights lawyer, warns that the present Christian Arab leadership is not telling the truth about the real conditions in these areas, and who is really responsible for perpetuating the anguish of Arab Christians. The “patriarchs and archbishops of Christian Arab denominations,” he says, “who are currently deceiving the international community, are self-interested people. They collaborate with the Muslim perpetrators of intimidation and violence. Against all evidence they claim that the Christians Arabs are living comfortable and prosperous lives. In fact the present situation is growing worse by the day."”2
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
America West Flight 90 -- Nov 19, 1999. In this pre-September 11th incident, two passengers speaking Arabic roamed the plane without permission and attempted to enter the cockpit in what has been described by the 9/11 commission in their report as a dry run. "Students" Muhammed al-Qudhaieen and Hamdan al-Shalawi were placed in custody and removed from the flight. Bomb-sniffing dogs were brought to search the plane. The airline was sued for discrimination, but the case was dismissed.
Northwest Flight 327 -- Jun 29, 2004. Described by flight marshals as a terrorist dry run, thirteen men of Syrian descent changed seats, congregated in the aisles, used the bathrooms excessively, appeared nervous, and behaved in a strange manner long enough to draw attention and concern from fellow passengers. Air marshals on the plane instructed the flight crew to radio ahead for law enforcement to meet the plane when it landed in Los Angeles.
US Airways Flight 300 -- November 20, 2006. The infamous case of the flying imams, who allegedly changed seats in order to take control of every entry and exit route from the plane, ignored their assigned seats, requested unnecessary seat belt extensions, and disrupted the flight. The unused seat belt extenders were left lying on the airplane floor. Hmmm. Webbed strap belts with metal heads attached -- why would anyone be concerned about that? Who worries about customers acting strangely who make obviously unnecessary and unusual special requests?
The imams were removed from the plane but cried discrimination after the fact. They sued the airline and received an undisclosed settlement. CAIR and the imams declared victory.
AirTran Flight 175 -- Jan 1, 2009. According to an article published by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, nine Muslims traveling to an Islamic conference were removed from the plane after two members of the group allegedly engaged in a debate about the safest location to sit in the event of a bombing on the plane. The conversation alarmed other passengers, who alerted the flight crew and caused the plane to be diverted. According to Doug Hagmann in the Canada Free Press:
[N]one of the remaining 95 passengers made it to their ultimate destinations on time, AirTran refunded some tickets and made other booking arrangements due to the incident, which cost the airline dearly in time, money, and passenger goodwill.
A press release from AirTran found at EuroInvestor.co.uk incredibly reported that AirTran actually rewarded the nine Muslims who disrupted the flight, saying:
The airline has refunded the air fares of the nine passengers detained for questioning, has agreed to reimburse the passengers for expenses incurred by taking another airline and has also offered to transport the passengers home to Washington, DC, free of charge.
So let me get this straight: the nine Muslims who caused the flight delay and scared other passengers profited from their misconduct? Their airfare was refunded and they got a free flight home? Sounds like a pretty good deal to me...is this a great country, or what?
United flight 22 -- September 28, 2009. According to the KTLA.com, two men of apparent Middle Eastern descent were removed from a flight at LAX, and the flight was delayed while the bomb squad searched the plane. An article in the LA Times reported the incident as follows:
A law enforcement source said at least one of the men ran into a restroom on the plane and appeared to hide while the New York-bound jet was taxiing on the runway, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing.
AirTran 297 -- Nov 17, 2009. A group of ethnic passengers used electronic devices on tarmac preparing for takeoff, changed seats, moved around, ignored flight attendants' instructions, and caused flight delay as the plane returned to terminal.
UA 227 -- Dec 9, 2009. A group of passengers believed to be of Middle Eastern descent changed seats and allegedly moved other passengers' luggage at the gate while the plane prepared for departure, prompting their removal from the flight and bomb-sniffing dogs to check the baggage.Read the whole thing.
That's 7 examples--4 of them just this year and 3 in the last 4 months.
There are still lots of questions left unanswered amidst claims of bogus information--but the questions need to be answered and those answers need to be made public.
Leonard concludes that there are 2 potential motives for what is happening--
Two possibilities that come immediately to mind are either that these incidents are orchestrated as a ploy to create a scenario to litigate for profit like the imams from US Airways Flight 300 -- or something more sinister is in the works. In the aftermath of Fort Hood, can we afford to ignore warning signs of abnormal or pattern behavior any longer?Time to get busy with those answers.
Technorati Tag: AirTran 297 and UA 227 and Terrorism.
No video, but there is a step-by-step primer on cutting bagels in such a way that they end up linked to each other.
There is also a recipe for trilobite cookies, "the result of my most recent research into what ancient trilobites would have tasted like if primitive biochemical processes were based on jam/chocolate/cookie molecules."
[Hat tip: Debby, The Odd Links Gal ]
Technorati Tag: Bagels.
Monday, December 21, 2009
The Islamist group Hamas is masterminding efforts to have senior Israeli leaders arrested for alleged war crimes when they visit European countries including Britain, a top Hamas official involved in the effort has told The Times.Well, if Hamas is really eager that international law be applied to war criminals, Israel is ready to start treating Palestinian terrorists as the law actually dictates:
The campaign by Hamas takes advantage of an aspect of law in England and Wales that allows anyone to apply for an arrest warrant for alleged war crimes without the need for a prosecuting lawyer. The identity of the person or organisation that applied for Ms Livni’s warrant has not been made public, but Hamas says that it initiated the move.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said yesterday that the Government was “looking urgently at ways in which the UK system might be changed in order to avoid this sort of situation arising again”.
For Immediate ReleaseUniversal Jurisdiction did not start with the Goldstone Report; neither did the attempts to accuse Israeli leaders of being war criminals and attempt to arrest them. What the Goldstone Report did do, however, is give the appearance of legality and justification to such actions.
December 21, 2009
HIGH COURT PETITION: CAPTURED HAMAS TERRORISTS
MUST BE TRIED AS WAR CRIMINALS
(JERUSALEM) The human rights organization Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center
has filed a petition today to the High Court of Justice (BAGATZ) in
Jerusalem demanding that Hamas terrorists arrested by Israel be tried for
war crimes and crimes against humanity, not just murder as is the current
According to the petition, the Attorney General violated Israeli law by
refusing to indict the terrorists who fire rockets into Israel for war
crimes and crimes against humanity-crimes that carry a life sentence without
the possibility of pardon or early release.
Israel is bound by the humanitarian provisions of the Fourth Geneva
Convention, as well as the Hague Convention and other international
treaties, which stipulate that the deliberate targeting of civilians in the
context of an armed conflict is a war crime; while the deliberate and
systemic assault against a particular civilian population constitutes a
crime against humanity.
By engaging in terror activity and deliberately launching Kassam and Grad
rockets into Israeli civilian centers during Operation Cast Lead, Hamas
activists repeatedly and systematically targeted civilians, and specifically
Israeli civilians, for murder-placing them squarely in the definition of
both war crimes and crimes against humanity. Citing previous Supreme Court
rulings, the petition notes that such international law has been accepted as
binding on Israeli courts and law enforcement authorities.
According to the petition, the State of Israel, having suffered inordinately
from the horrors of terrorism, has a unique duty to serve as a model in the
battle against the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by
terrorists and recognized as such under international law.
According to Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin and attorney
for the plaintiffs, "The Goldstone Commission report showed that the
Attorney General's policy of indicting Hamas terrorists for ordinary crimes
rather than crimes against humanity has fanned the flames of war crimes
accusations against Israeli leaders and soldiers by the UN and the
Europeans. Not only has this policy played down the heinous nature of the
genocidal atrocities of Hamas, it has left the field open for Israel's
enemies to make wrong and dangerous claims against us. The failure to indict
Hamas activists for crimes against humanity is immoral, hurts Israel's
interests and, above all, is in flagrant violation of Israeli law."
FOR MORE INFORMATION: (ISRAEL) 972-3-751-4175, 972-52-383-7020
(US) 212-591-0073, Email: email@example.com [emphasis added]
The resultant chaos is attributable to the sloppiness and bias of the Goldstone Report and to those connected to it
Technorati Tag: Lawfare and Universal Jurisdiction and Hamas and Operation Cast Lead.
She spoke of the situation in Gaza and said, “Yesterday, I visited mothers of children under the age of five. Nutrition here has deteriorated threefold over the last two years because it is impossible to bring food through the crossings. Unemployment has risen, so people can't even afford to buy what food there is left."That was about a week after she had gone shopping:
Here, the picture of Christiane Amanpour of CNN seems to epitomize what the caption calls "diplomatic effort."
The image is the static image from a video I saw on Augean Stables.
Technorati Tag: Christiane Amanpour.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Newly-elected Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Al-Hariri flew to Damascus on Saturday to meet with his longtime foe, Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad. The meeting was cloaked in warmth and camaraderie, signaling a new chapter in the relationship between the Middle Eastern neighbors. Syria has been the primary suspect behind the 2005 murder of Hariri’s father, Rafiq: a killing that ultimately led to Syrian troops being expelled from Lebanon. But it was a green light from Al-Asad that paved the way for a unity government led by Al-Hariri to be seated in Beirut. One recent indication of the new alliance was approval by the new Lebanese government to allow the political manifestation of the Hezbollah terrorist organization – which sits in the government and holds cabinet positions -- to win approval to maintain its weapons contrary to United Nations resolutions demanding that the group be disarmed.
What Me Worry?
Technorati Tag: Hariri and Assad and Lebanon and Syria.
Friday, December 18, 2009
UK court issued arrest warrant for Livni
A British court issued an arrest warrant for former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni on war crimes charges but withdrew it on finding she had canceled a planned trip to Britain, the Guardian newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, in France:
I like this bit from Rick Richman's post at Contentions:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — currently in the 60th month of his 48-month term, a declared non-candidate for re-election (in the event there is ever another Palestinian election), presently governing only half of the putative Palestinian state — has told Haaretz that a peace agreement could be reached within six months if Israel will make more pre-negotiation concessions.
Peace could be reached not only in our time but with four full months left over to complete Netanyahu’s 10-month settlement freeze. Abbas will hold the football himself.
Iraqi insurgents have reportedly intercepted live video feeds from the U.S. military's Predator drones using a $25.95 Windows application which allows them to track the pilotless aircraft undetected.I guess we'll just have to wait until Steve Jobs comes out with the iDrone.
...When a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, is far from its base, terrain prohibits it from transmitting directly to its operator. Instead, it switches to a satellite link. That means an enterprising hacker can use his own satellite dish, a satellite modem, and a copy of the SkyGrabber Windows utility sold by the Russian company SkySoftware to intercept and display the UAV's transmissions.
UPDATE: I didn't realize it, but there actually is such a thing as an iDrone by Apple.
Technorati Tag: Predator and Windows and Mac.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
It is widely believed that millions of Iranian voters had their votes stolen during June’s Presidential election. Now, once again, the Iranian people had their votes taken away when Time Magazine awarded Ben Bernanke the honor of Person of the Year.
For those of you who, like me, were are upset that Time didn’t choose the Iranian protesters as their person of the year, there is some consolation knowing that the rest of the world did.
Rabbi Avi Shafran
One hardly expects the British Broadcasting Corporation to present an objective or comprehensive picture when it addresses the Middle East. But a recent BBC radio documentary may set some sort of record for myopia.
In The FARC and the 'Peace Community', Mary O'Grady writes in The Wall Street Journal about how those who claim to work for peace--don't. In this case, the example is in Colombia, from the Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Samir, a former member spoke with O'Grady:
He also told me that the supposed peaceniks who ran the local NGO were his allies and an important FARC tool in the effort to discredit the military. In a September 2003 speech, President Uribe expressed his concern about the possibility that some "human rights" groups are actually fronts for terrorists. The international left, including Sen. Chris Dodd (D., Conn.), jumped all over the Colombian president for making that claim. But Mr. Uribe's comments were supported by information gathered by Colombian intelligence. Now, testimony from Samir, and countless others who have come in from the jungle, gives Mr. Uribe's charges further backing.When Samir describes the situation, it sounds oddly familiar:
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Hamas leader Khaled Meshal warned on Tuesday that Islamist militant groups would back Iran if the Islamic Republic was attacked by Israel, Iranian state television reported.
I found a discussion from last month featuring Justice Stephen Breyer--along with Dr. Hina Jilani and Beverly McLachlin, Chief Just of the Supreme Court of Canada and Gregory Craig, White House Counsel of President Obama.
You can view the video of the discussion: Law vs. Power: Who Rules? Who Makes the Rules? or download a transcript in PDF.
The Time Warp, Rocky Horror Show
Anyone read this editorial by Alan Dershowitz?
When it comes to Israel and its enemies, The Goldstone Report cooks the books about facts, cheats on interviews, and releases predetermined conclusions that are driven more by their ideology than by evidence. These are serious accusations, and they are demonstrably true. Consider the following highly publicized "conclusion" reached by The Goldstone Report about the recent war in Gaza between Hamas and Israel: "The Goldstone Report found no cases in which Hamas deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack."
No cases! Anyone who watched even a smattering of TV during the war saw with their own eyes direct evidence of rockets being launched from civilian areas. But not The Goldstone Report. How could a mission, which claims to be objective, have been so demonstrably wrong about so central a point in so important a war? Could it have been an honest mistake? I don't think so. The Goldstone Report not only failed to interview witnesses who had contrary evidence, it ignored credible news sources, such as the New York Times and the New Yorker.Truth be told, I found this while going through some editorials in the NY Sun--from 2006. The actual op-ed reads:
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
From An Email...
Pictures You Don't See Every Day
|Must have been McNaughty|
|Looks like UPS wins!!! |
|Oh, come on... Just one? |
|Starting with spelling…|
|...I think it was the FedEx driver|
| Made by the school that teaches Arithetic |
|Major dilemma in California: |
|How do you get there from here? |
Everything you need for your 'shotgun' wedding!
|It's a good deal, but... Oh, the college costs! |
|McLogic gone wrong... |
|'Mass suicides...Cows going over the edge...tonight on Channel 3 News...' |
|Good Job!! |
Well, Make that "former job."
|Load 'em up with burritos, Mom!! |
|I'm Confused... |
|How am I going to write that if I'm ILLITERATE?|
|I can't even comment on this one |
|Must be Wyoming …Beautiful, lush lawns of dirt... |
|Make up your mind!!! |
|Don't drink and make signs... |
Technorati Tag: Humor.
December 15, 2009
"Rush to Judgment"
Last Friday, in the Arab village of Yasuf, in Samaria, near the Jewish community of Tapuach, a mosque was vandalized.
News reports spoke of the fact of "mosque arson," but in point of fact the mosque wasn't torched. Korans and prayer rugs were burned, while the mosque was left in tact -- this fact visible from photos. Graffiti was written in Hebrew on the wall of the mosque: "Price tag -- Greetings from Effi." This is presumed to represent a radical group of "settlers" who have vowed to extract a price from the Arab population every time the Israeli government restricts development by Jews in Judea and Samaria. It is thus being assumed in many quarters that Jews did this in "revenge" for Netanyahu's building freeze.
15 Dec 2009
The Deputy Foreign Minister calls on the Arab world to step forward and join with Israel to defeat the forces of extremism and destruction in the Middle East.
Here is the link to the Arabic article--and below is the English translation
Monday, December 14, 2009
West Bank Is Tense After Arson at Mosque
"Passions ran high on Sunday in this Palestinian village in the northern West Bank two days after arsonists, presumed by Palestinians and many Israelis to be Jewish extremists, set fire to the central mosque.The only thing more harsh than that, I suppose, is killing a Jew and celebrating his death.
A delegation of Jewish religious leaders and activists, including some from West Bank settlements, tried to reach the village to express their abhorrence of the attack. But the Israeli Army prevented the group from entering Yasuf for security reasons as enraged villagers proclaimed that the visitors would not be welcome.
“The people will not allow it,” said Wasfi Hassan, a local farmer. “It is like killing a man, then going to his funeral.”" [emphasis added]
Sunday, December 13, 2009
He kind of sets the tone with this opening:
In unmistakably peace-loving Tehran, Western observers have beheld street processions of missiles - conspicuously emblazoned with clearly stenciled words evoking all the charm and grace of a greeting card: "To Jerusalem."The Zebulon is getting at is not so much tractors as it is about parades...and tractors...and Israel, on Yom Yerushalayim:
Goldstone, I too am a war criminal
By David Chinitz
I moved to Israel from the United States in December 1981. It was the same day that the Israeli government officially annexed the Golan Heights. Hearing about it literally as me, my wife and our three month old daughter - now a lawyer in Tel Aviv - were about to board the plane, I mentally processed the issues: Is such a unilateral move legal? Is it wise? Is it just? To be honest, I pretty much just shrugged and got on the plane.
Over the last 28 years I have come to appreciate the shrug as the signature gesture of Israeli children. When an Israeli child has doubts about something on offer from an adult, the shrug is her way of signaling: "Sorry, that doesn't work for me." While the physical shrug disappears with age, the Israeli manner of shrugging things off is at one and the same endearing and off -putting. But given the environment of endless hostility in which Israelis live, their shrug is not the kind that reflects callousness but reconciliation to the fact that life in this part of the world is really messy, both morally and practically. There's not much choice but to carry on.
Friday, December 11, 2009
“Traditional Islamic dress” is not so “traditional.” Talk to any educated Muslim woman who attended university in the fifties, sixties or seventies—back when they assumed history was moving their way and a covered woman was merely a local variant of the Russian babushka, something old and wizened you saw in upcountry villages. Now you see them in the heart of the metropolis—and I don’t mean Beirut or Abu Dhabi so much as Paris and Brussels. It’s very strange to be able to walk around, say, Zarqa, hometown of the late “insurgent” Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and look 90 per cent of the women in the eye, and even be rewarded with a friendly smile every so often, and then to fly on to London and be confronted by one masked face after another while strolling down Whitechapel Road in the East End. The burka, the niqab and the hijab are not fashion statements but explicitly political ones, and what they symbolize in a Western context is self-segregation. [emphasis added]
Mark Steyn, What signal does Barbie’s burka send?
This raises a question that I've raised before about the line between religious and political expression. This goes further than merely the question of being ultra-religious for ones own sake and enters the realm of to what degree Western society must accommodate religious Muslims--and vice versa.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
“And I wouldn’t consider it in any way embarrassing if many of the allegations turn out to be disproved.”
Judge Richard Goldstone, in an interview with The Forward, October 7, 2009
Good thing.. As it turns out, in Between Goldstone and Gaza, what's one more zero? Martin Kramer uncovers the fact that one of those allegations is wildly exaggerated:
Yesterday evening, the historian Andrew Roberts delivered a remarkable address at the annual dinner of the Anglo-Israel Association. I reproduce it here in full, with no further comment.
My Lords, Ladies & Gentlemen,
It’s a great honour to be invited to address you, especially on this the 60th anniversary of AIA, and I’d like to take the opportunity of this anniversary to look at the overall story of the relationship between Britain and Israel, and to try to strip away some of the myths.
Because it seems to me that for all the undoubted statesmanship implicit in Arthur Balfour’s Declaration of November 1917, promising ‘a National Home for the Jewish People’, it doesn’t mean that Britain has ever been much more than a fair-weather friend to Jewish national aspirations.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Hamas: Goldstone Report Exonerates Us from War Crimes Against IsraelThe only real question is: What took them so long to figure it out?!
Hamas second-in-command Musa Abu Marzouq said in an interview: "All paragraphs in the Goldstone report convict Israel and totally exonerate Hamas from any misconduct. For instance, the report exonerates Hamas from the accusation of using civilians as human shields and attributes this accusation to Israeli forces. Likewise, the report exonerated Hamas from all other accusations mentioned by Israel, and even when the report is dealing with the rockets which were launched from Gaza, it speaks about military groups without naming Hamas." Translated by Jonathan D. Halevi (Al-Mashahid Al-Siyasi-UK, Arabic, 5Dec09)
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
To All Dentists Interested in Aliyah:
The Ministry of Health in Israel (Misrad Habriut) is proud to offer Part 1 of Israel's dental exam in New York. The licensing exam for dentists in Israel involves two parts: Part 1 - the theory based test which, until now, is given twice a year in Israel. The second part is a clinical test, which will continue to be held solely in Israel. From the time you pass the written exam, you will have three years to take Part 2 of the exam.
Part 1 of the dental exam will be held in New York on March 9th, 2010. The exam will be given in Eglish, and will mark the begining of the dental certification process even before making Aliyah.
Feel free to forward to share this information with any other dentists you know who are thinking of making Aliyah within the next 3 years.
For further information, please contact Avital Gourarie at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Note: While Nefesh B'Nefesh is the facilitator of this exam, they are not responsible for the specifics of the test, nor do they have any influence on exam results. Nefesh B'Nefesh is not responsible for last minute changes or cancelations by the Ministry of Health.
Technorati Tag: Israel and Aliya.
Justice Goldstone said no one had been able to show any error of substance in the report nor to repudiate any of its findings.It is one thing for Judge Goldstone to dismiss the numerous analyses of the mistakes in the report that bears his name; it is another thing entirely to ignore the existence of those analyses altogether.
Interview with South African Sunday Times, November 15
Yet that is what Goldstone has been doing all along, and did again just 3 weeks ago, exploiting his greater exposure to public opinion to claim that the Goldstone Report is above reproach.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Al Jazeera: The UN's Goldstone report has been in the headlines in the past few weeks - not without controversy - and has brought to light the conduct of the Israelis and Hamas during the war on Gaza earlier in the year. Does the OIC see this as a step forward in recognising what transpired during that war and in bringing the plight of the Palestinians to the fore on an international scale?On December 4, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, went a step further in revealing the origins of the Goldstone Report:
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu: Let me first start by completing the story of the history of the Goldstone report. What I would like to put on record is that the OIC was the initiator of this process.
On January 3, during the attacks on Gaza, we convened the executive committee of the OIC on a ministerial level. It was decided that the OIC group in Geneva should ask the Human Rights Council to convene and consider the possibility of sending a fact-finding mission to Gaza.
The Prosecutor also fielded questions about allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israel. When asked, he offered no confirmation of reports that he had been invited by Hamas to advise on the legality of a Hamas-led investigation into attacks in Gaza this January. But, he admitted to working closely with the Arab League on the matter, which had helped finance the fact-finding Goldstone mission.This of course explains the mandate given by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which targeted Israel alone, in language implying the conclusion the report was supposed to find:
Friday, December 04, 2009
Things are different now.
Very different--today, the Israeli economy is no longer a joke.
THE SOUND OF SILENCE
Rabbi Avi Shafran
A number of Jews, including Orthodox Jews, have been implicated in financial crimes over recent months.
Some of the scandals have proven somewhat less scandalous than when they first appeared on front pages and were seared into readers' minds. Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, for instance, currently stands convicted of misleading a bank to secure a loan. Although that conviction, amazingly, could result in an effective life sentence, charges that Mr. Rubashkin knowingly hired illegal aliens were dropped; and more lurid accusations – that he mistreated employees, abused animals and ran a methamphetamine factory – are no longer heard.
In some other cases, accusations have been made but evidence has not yet been heard; and both Judaism and American law insist on a presumption of innocence.
But there have certainly been cases in the Jewish community where guilt has been well established. Bernie Madoff may never have been Jewishly observant, but the Orthodox community has certainly had its share of fraud convictions, if on smaller scales, as well.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
When the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet published Donald Boström's story in August that the IDF harvested the organs from the bodies of Palestinian Arabs, it caused an uproar--not only because the story was unsubstantiated, but also because Boström didn't care:
"But whether it's true or not - I have no idea, I have no clue."
HOWEVER THESE factors and our reliance on the US do not oblige us to behave like a banana republic and accede to every diktat of this administration. We must simply ensure that if we are obliged to resist a particular US demand, it should be over an issue on which Congress and the American people would be inclined to support us.Leibler believes that a compromise now will strengthen Israel's hand later--with the Obama administration, and, if necessary, with Congress and the American public.
Alas, the settlement issue has become so convoluted and distorted in the minds of the public that even many American Jews are confused and unable to distinguish between outposts, isolated settlements and the major settlement blocs.
Leibler also points out that Netanyahu is not the first Israeli Prime Minister to carry out such a freeze:
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Tad Armstrong, a lawyer and founder of ELL Constitution Clubs (www.ellclubs.com), writes in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the Nobel Peace Prize is not Obama's to keep:
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
1. Indonesia. In a state with large minority populations of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and animists, the US State department reported in 2009 that at least 9 churches – and 12 mosques associated with the Ahmadiyya Islamic sect (which mainstream Muslim groups consider heretical) – were forced shut by violence or intimidation from community groups, and that a number of churches and Hindu temples have struggled to receive official permits in recent years. The Indonesian government has on a number of occasions stepped in to prevent church construction, largely over fears that it would stoke sectarian violence. But religious practice, by and large, is freer in Indonesia than most other Muslim majority states.
2. Egypt. The country has a sizeable minority of Eastern Orthodox Christians, or Copts. By law, their churches must receive the permission of local Muslim communities before new construction is allowed. The State Department’s religious freedom report on Egypt in 2009 says in part: “Church and human rights leaders complain that many local officials intentionally delay the permit process. They charge that some local authorities refuse to process applications without ’supporting documents’ that are virtually impossible to obtain.”
3. Saudi Arabia, home of Mecca and Islam more generally, is one of the least religiously free nation’s on earth. In the Kingdom, the public practice of any faith but Islam is illegal. Christian’s and Jews receive 50 percent of the compensation that a Muslim would receive in personal injury court and the country has no churches at all, though it officially tolerates private worship in homes.
4. Pakistan. Freedom of religious worship is constitutionally guaranteed, but in practice the government sets limits and there has also been a rise in attacks by militant groups on both Christians and Shiites in the majority Sunni Muslim country in recent years. The State Department found that “societal discrimination against religious minorities was widespread, and societal violence against such groups occurred.” District level government “consistently refused to grant permission to construct non-Muslim places of worship, especially for Ahmadiyya and Baha’i communities” the State Department found, while also noting that missionaries are allowed to work inside the country. In 2009 “public pressure routinely prevented courts from protecting minority rights and forced judges to take strong action against any perceived offense to Sunni orthodoxy,” the report said.
I don't know if this list is all-inclusive, but I would be more than happy to see the rights afforded to Muslims among the kafirs be extended to these four countries, for a start.
Of course, given the low expectations for rights and freedoms for non-Muslims in these countries, it has become second nature to assume it is a lost cause, while Islam--one of whose main goals is to expand--is given the opportunity to do just that.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad
Human rights groups as well as Muslim leaders have come out against the passing of a referendum in Switzerland preventing the building of more minarets. A typical Muslim response:
"It's an indication that fascist and far-right groups are growing in number and in strength," Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, Assistant Secretary-General for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and an imam for the Muslim community in Leicester told The Media Line.
"This should be very worrying for all decent Europeans who wish to see the diversity of our continent continue in order to help our communities be cohesive and peaceful," he said. "The MCB is extremely disappointed that a country in modern-day Europe has such a significant population with such a dislike for diversity, particularly for Islam and for Muslims."
But at the same time, there seems to be a growing awareness that although there is an enormous anger and response that Muslim leaders can summon up, it is not in their best interests:
There are concerns the referendum results will have a similar effect to the 2005 Danish political cartoons, in which depictions of the Prophet Muhammad sparked anti-Danish boycotts and violent demonstrations throughout the Muslim world.
"I would call upon all Muslims not to demonstrate or take to the streets," Mogra stressed. "This simply gives ammunition to those who wish to portray us as violent extremists. We need to be dignified and challenge this through the democratic process that we have available to us as Europeans."
Egyptian Mufti Ali Gomaa denounced the vote, calling it an "insult" to Muslims around the world and "provocative behavior," but urged Muslims to be restrained in their response.
A lot has been written about how the Swiss response to Muslim influence could be a turning point in the European response to the threat of Islamist encroachment.
By the same token, if Muslims react through 'the system' as opposed to resorting to riots--that would also be a major development.
UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson has a suggestion on how such dialog could progress:
Perhaps the Swiss plebiscite to ban the construction of new minarets will spark a much-needed ecumenical dialogue between Western Christianity and Islam. Here's a suggestion: In response to the Swiss model, Saudi Arabia or Gaza or Iran would in turn allow new Christian churches to be built to accommodate converts or immigrants, but would insist on no ostentatious spires. Who could object to such moral equivalence?If I were a cynic, I might say that freedom of religion seems to be one of those things on accepts on oneself without imposing on another--especially if the other doesn't much believe in freedom in the first place.
Olmert explains this position to me in unprecedented detail. His offer to Abbas represents a historic watershed and poses a serious question. Can the Palestinian leadership ever accept any offer that an Israeli prime minister could ever reasonably make?As far as I know, there is nothing that new here in the first point that has not been mentioned before--although now that Obama has made an issue of the settlements, this version of the offer is no longer viable.
It is important to get Olmert's full account of this offer on the record: "From the end of 2006 until the end of 2008 I think I met with Abu Mazen more often than any Israeli leader has ever met any Arab leader. I met him more than 35 times. They were intense, serious negotiations."
These negotiations took place on two tracks, Olmert says. One was the meetings with the two leaders and their senior colleagues and aides (among them Kadima leader Tzipi Livni on Olmert's side). But Olmert would also have private, one-on-one meetings with Abbas.
"On the 16th of September, 2008, I presented him (Abbas) with a comprehensive plan. It was based on the following principles.
One, there would be a territorial solution to the conflict on the basis of the 1967 borders with minor modifications on both sides. Israel will claim part of the West Bank where there have been demographic changes over the last 40 years."
This approach by Olmert would have allowed Israel to keep the biggest Jewish settlement blocks which are mainly now suburbs of Jerusalem, but would certainly have entailed other settlers having to leave Palestinian territory and relocate to Israel.
In total, Olmert says, this would have involved Israel claiming about 6.4 per cent of Palestinian territory in the West Bank: "It might be a fraction more, it might be a fraction less, but in total it would be about 6.4 per cent. Israel would claim all the Jewish areas of Jerusalem. All the lands that before 1967 were buffer zones between the two populations would have been split in half. In return there would be a swap of land (to the Palestinians) from Israel as it existed before 1967.
"I showed Abu Mazen how this would work to maintain the contiguity of the Palestinian state. I also proposed a safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza. It would have been a tunnel fully controlled by the Palestinians but not under Palestinian sovereignty, otherwise it would have cut the state of Israel in two.
The exception is the tunnel: it is unclear just what the difference is between having Palestinian Arabs man the tunnel as opposed to Palestinian sovereignty. It is doubtful whether it would be a distinction that the Palestinians would recognize in any case
"No 2 was the issue of Jerusalem. This was a very sensitive, very painful, soul-searching process. While I firmly believed that historically, and emotionally, Jerusalem was always the capital of the Jewish people, I was ready that the city should be shared. Jewish neighbourhoods would be under Jewish sovereignty, Arab neighbourhoods would be under Palestinian sovereignty, so it could be the capital of a Palestinian state.Dividing Jerusalem is something that at one point Olmert repeatedly denied he would do. Having Olmert's homemade UN force in charge would not sit well with Israelis, especially with the strong possibility of clashed between some of the forces themselves. In addition, this solution would likely solidify the claim of the waqf to the Temple Mount by making it that much more difficult for Jews to visit that area. Of course, as Prime Minister, Olmert did not show much concern for Jewish sensitivities in that area.
"Then there was the question of the holy basin within Jerusalem, the sites that are holy to Jews and Muslims, but not only to them, to Christians as well. I would never agree to an exclusive Muslim sovereignty over areas that are religiously important to Jews and Christians. So there would be an area of no sovereignty, which would be jointly administered by five nations, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Palestinian state, Israel and the United States.
"Third was the issue of Palestinian refugees." This issue has often been a seeming deal-breaker. The Palestinians insist that all Palestinians who left Israel - at or near the time of its founding - and all their spouses and descendants, should be able to return to live in Israel proper. This could be more than a million people. Olmert, like other Israeli prime ministers, could never agree to this: "I think Abu Mazen understood there was no chance Israel would become the homeland of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian state was to be the homeland of the Palestinian people. So the question was how the claimed attachment of the Palestinian refugees to their original places could be recognised without bringing them in. I told him I would never agree to a right of return. Instead, we would agree on a humanitarian basis to accept a certain number every year for five years, on the basis that this would be the end of conflict and the end of claims. I said to him 1000 per year. I think the Americans were entirely with me.While Olmert said he offered 1000 per year, there is no indication that Abbas agreed on this point: it is the most contentious one and the one that Abbas would feel enormous pressure over if he would be seen as compromising--if not betraying--generations of Palestinian Arabs.
"In addition, we talked about creating an international fund that would compensate Palestinians for their suffering. I was the first Israeli prime minister to speak of Palestinian suffering and to say that we are not indifferent to that suffering.
"And four, there were security issues." Olmert says he showed Abbas a map, which embodied all these plans. Abbas wanted to take the map away. Olmert agreed, so long as they both signed the map. It was, from Olmert's point of view, a final offer, not a basis for future negotiation. But Abbas could not commit. Instead, he said he would come with experts the next day.How could Abbas be expected to address security concerns that would emphasize the threat that a second Palestinian state would pose, not to mention the limitations that would necessarily have to be placed on such a state to prevent it from continuing terrorist attacks on Israel.
"He (Abbas) promised me the next day his adviser would come. But the next day Saeb Erekat rang my adviser and said we forgot we are going to Amman today, let's make it next week. I never saw him again."
Read the whole thing.
If anything, Olmert has shed light, in a way that Obama has avoided, on the major hurdles involved in creating a second Palestinian state--and this is without even touching upon the lack of Palestinian leadership, lack of infrastructure, and the corruption.
Without discussing these issues as well--publicly--there can be no real progress.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad
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