Friday, September 29, 2006

Maariv: Homemade Genocide in the Muslim World

The summary below comes from The Daily Alert, prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Homemade Genocide in the Muslim World - Ben Dror Yemini (Maariv)
  • Dozens of publications and websites are dedicated to the purpose of portraying Israel as a state that ceaselessly perpetrates war crimes. The tragedy is that in Arab and Muslim countries a massacre is happening that has no connection to Israel, Zionism, or Jews. It is a genocide of mainly Arabs and Muslims, by Arabs and Muslims.

  • In Algeria between the years 1954-1962, the French (who do not stop preaching to Israel) killed nearly 600,000 Muslims. In addition, the civil war begun in the 1990s has claimed 100,000 victims so far.

  • In Sudan, a civil war during 1955-1972 claimed 500,000 victims. In recent years fighting there has claimed between 200,000 and 600,000 victims. In Afghanistan, the Soviet invasion, which began in 1979 and ended in 1989, left about a million dead. Since 1977 Somalia has been immersed in an unending civil war with the number of victims estimated at about 550,000.

  • When Bangladesh aspired to gain independence from Pakistan, Pakistan reacted with a military invasion during which one to two million people were systematically liquidated in 1971. In Indonesia, the biggest Muslim state in the world, as many as 400,000 were killed in 1965-1966 after a communist uprising. After East Timor announced its independence from Indonesia, Indonesia invaded and during 1975-1999 about 100,000 to 200,000 people were killed.

  • In the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988, between 450,000 and 650,000 Iraqis, and between 450,000 and 970,000 Iranians were killed. During Saddam Hussein's reign in Iraq, between 200,000 to 300,000 Kurds were killed in a genocide throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1991-1992, between 40,000 and 200,000 were killed in a Shiite uprising in Iraq. An estimated 100,000 people have been killed since the coalition forces took control in Iraq in 2003.

  • In the Lebanese civil war in 1975-1990, 130,000 were killed. In the civil war in Yemen in 1962-1970, 100,000 to 150,000 were killed. In Chechnya since 1994 there have been 80,000 to 300,000 fatalities. From Jordan to Zanzibar, there have been smaller confrontations that have cost the lives of tens of thousands of Muslims and Arabs, killed by Muslims and Arabs.

  • What would have happened to the Palestinians if they were under Iraqi occupation? Or Sudanese? Or even French or Soviet? The genocide that Israel is not committing hides the real genocide, the silenced genocide that Arabs and Muslims are committing mainly against themselves.
This just makes stuff like this all the more amazing:
Scowcroft, in his interview, discussed an argument over Iraq he had two years ago with Condoleezza Rice, then-national security adviser and current secretary of state. "She says we're going to democratize Iraq, and I said, 'Condi, you're not going to democratize Iraq,' and she said, 'You know, you're just stuck in the old days,' and she comes back to this thing that we've tolerated an autocratic Middle East for fifty years and so on and so forth," he said. The article stated that with a "barely perceptible note of satisfaction," Scowcroft added: "But we've had fifty years of peace." [emphasis added]

Israel Matzav blogged about this article too, and noticed something in the actual article that I missed:
Towards the end, he throws in this curious fact:
Another fact: Since WWII, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the national conflict with the lowest number of victims, but with the world’s highest number of publications hostile to Israel in the media and in the Academia.
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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Will CAIR Defend Ramadan Against Sacrilege Moslem Extremists?

When it came to a car ad that referred to Jihad, CAIR went on the offensive. On CAIR's website from September 23:

Some Columbus radio stations have rejected as insensitive an advertisement for a car dealership that invokes Islamic references.

...In the spot, Keith Dennis of Dennis Mitsubishi talks about "launching a jihad on the automotive market."

Sales representatives "will be wearing burqas all weekend long," the ad says. One of the vehicles on sale "can comfortably seat up to 12 jihadists in the back."

...The president of the Columbus chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, doesn't think terrorism is to be taken lightly.

"Using that as a promotional pitch when so many are dying from the criminal activity of suicide bombers, that's not funny," Mobin-Uddin said. "I don't think it's appropriate when it causes real pain. It exploits or promotes misunderstanding in terms already misunderstood or misused. That type of ad does nothing but promote discord in a very difficult time. The timing is just amazing. Maybe that's part of the shock value."
Now Fox News reports about Abu Hamza al-Muhajir — also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri — the new leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq:
"The field of jihad (holy war) can satisfy your scientific ambitions, and the large American bases (in Iraq) are good places to test your unconventional weapons, whether biological or dirty, as they call them," said al-Muhajir. The voice could not be independently identified.

Al-Muhajir also calls on jihadists to take foreigners hostage during Ramadan so they can be used as bargaining tools to get the release of Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, who is jailed in the United States on charges linked to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City. [emphasis added]
According to Wikipedia, Ramadan
is considered the most venerated, blessed and holiest month. Prayers, fasting, self-accountability and charity have special association with Ramadan.

Just how does CAIR feel about Jihad being encouraged during Ramadan, and about the murder of Americans being promoted during "the most venerated, blessed and holiest month".

If they oppose an ad as inappropriate "when it causes real pain. It exploits or promotes misunderstanding," what will CAIR do when there is a call for jihad during Ramadan that causes death and explicitly exploits and promotes hate?

What will CAIR do to defend the honor of Islam and Moslems?


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Sending The Z-Blogosphere Into Action

Elder of Ziyon notes the rise on the Internet of 'news sources' containing articles that can be written by just about anyone. Many of the posters to those sites tend to have a decided anti-Israel bent.

His proposes:
My suggestion, which I haven't yet had time to do myself, is for the Zionist Blogosphere (Z-Blogosphere?) to submit articles to these outlets. We can even rework old blog posts of which we are particularly proud. For most of us, it would increase our readership and allow us to counter the vile filth that passes for journalism or reasoned opinion on these sites.
Share with him what you think.

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IDF Finally Takes Stonethrowers Seriously

Israel Matzav notes a change in IDF policy--for now only in Lebanon.
The soldiers now have permission to shoot back if rocks are being thrown at them.

First, them shoot in the air.
Then, they are allowed to shoot at the legs of the person throwing rocks at them.
Also, if they feel their lives are in danger, they have permission to shoot to kill.

It is a policy that is a long time coming.
Let's hope it soon becomes IDF policy everywhere.

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Is There Hope For Peres?

Shiloh Musings has thoughts on war and politics.

Besides an analysis of the war with Hezbollah by Shmuel Katz, who co-founded the Herut Party with Menachem Begin and was a member of the first Knesset, she also has thoughts on Shimon Peres, who seems to have caught on to the idea, finally, of the absence of a peace partner.

I hope Shiloh Musings is right about Peretz, but when Peretz says:
It's not the case that Israel has rejected partners for peace. It's more correct to understand that every time Israel sought a partner over the past year, there wasn't one available."
just who did he think his peace partner was till then?

Update: Mere Rhetoric emailed me that I confused Peres with Peretz.
There _IS_ an article out today about Peres saying that there's no peace
partner (in the context of Syria, actually). The Shilo post you link to
is actually about Peretz, not Peres, though.

That's me...wrong on the facts, but ahead of the curve!

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The Only Ones That UNIFIL Can Control

Smooth Stone links to an article in Haaretz that indicates that in Lebanon, UNIFIL should have no trouble at all acting as a Israel.

But when it comes to dealing with Hezbollah, they are not equipped at all to do the job they are there to do in the first place.

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Or What's A Meta Phor?

Treppenwitz claims to have an analogy problem.

In his post, he compares the relationship between the West and Islam to the relationship between an abusive husband (Islam) and his wife (the West).

Personally, I would think that Islam would be the abusive wife, whose behavior is squarely the fault of the insensitive husband (the West) who should be taking sensitivity classes. In any case his years of aggressive behavior are to blame for the problem to begin with.

My question is, if the Palestinian Arabs are the infantilized problem children in this scenario:

Who gets the kids in the event of a divorce?

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Palestinian Arabs Seem To Be In A Rut

WestBankBlog reports that in Israel it's a case of Same Old, Same Old. But as much as that applies to the Palestinian Arabs, it also applies--Baruch HaShem--to Israelis as well.

'Democratic' elections seem to have not changed them much.

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Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time

That's not a cynical thought; it's the title of Karen Armstrong's new book (and a cynical thought). Efraim Karsh reviews Armstrong's book for the New York Sun.

He explains that Armstrong is one of those that claims that 'Jihad' is the quest for self-improvement as opposed to Holy War--that Islamist terrorist attacks are extremist reactions to arrogant US policy. As a result, according to Karsh:
"Muslims have never nurtured dreams of world conquest," wrote Karen Armstrong, a prominent representative of this view, shortly after September 11. "They had no designs on Europe, for example, even though Europeans imagined that they did. Once Muslim rule had been established in Spain, it was recognized that the empire could not expand indefinitely."
But the Moslem occupation of Spain, 2,000 miles from Arabia, was not the end of their imperialism--from there they invaded France, where they were defeated in 732 at the battle of Poitiers.

Bernard Lewis goes into even more detail. In What Went Wrong, Lewis describes century by century of Moslem expansionism:
In the course of the seventh century, Muslim armies advancing from Arabia conquered Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa, all until then part of Christendom, and most of the new recruits to Islam, west of Iran and Arabia, were indeed converts from Christianity. (p.4, emphasis added)
That, of course, was just the beginning. During the eighth century, Lewis describes how, using North Africa as their base, the Arab forces were joined by Berber converts as they went into Spain and Portugal and invaded France.

In the ninth century they conquered Sicily and sacked Rome--resulting in the Christian counter-attack known as the Crusades, hardly the offensive unprovoked attack that the Arab world condemns.

In the thirteenth century, the Tartars conquered Russia and later converted to Islam--meaning that Russia and much of Eastern Europe was subjected to Moslem rule till they freed themselves in the late 15th century.

During a third wave of attacks, the Ottoman Turks conquered Anatolia, captured Constantinople, invaded the Balkan peninsula and reached as far as Vienna.

Armstrong also writes that Mohammed himself was really a man of peace:
"whose aim was peace and practical compassion" and who "literally sweated with the effort to bring peace to war-torn Arabia"; an altruistic social reformer of modest political ambitions, whose life was "a tireless campaign against greed, injustice, and arrogance" and who founded "a religion and cultural tradition that was not based on the sword but whose name — ‘Islam' — signified peace and reconciliation."
Karsh counters that such a description is a whitewash, because in fact:
the Qur'anic revelations during Muhammad's Medina years abound with verses extolling the virtues of fighting "in the path of Allah," as do the countless sayings and traditions (hadith) attributed to the prophet. As he told his followers in his farewell address: "I was ordered to fight all men until they say ‘There is no god but Allah.'" Had it not been for his sudden death, Muhammad probably would have expanded his control well beyond the peninsula.
But Armstrong goes even further in painting her picture of Mohammed and Islam:
Ms. Armstrong glibly claims that "Later in the Islamic empires, Jews would enjoy full religious liberty and anti-Semitism would not become a Muslim vice until the Arab/Israeli conflict became acute in the mid-twentieth century." For one thing, such ahistorical analysis ignores the deep anti-Jewish bigotry dating to Islam's earliest days, which made it highly receptive to the worst precepts of Christian anti-Semitism, such as the "blood libel." For another thing, Armstrong overlooks Islam's pervasive mistreatment of its non-Muslim subjects, or Dhimmis as they are commonly known, who have been allowed to practice their religions in return for a distinctly inferior legal and institutional status, rife with social indignities and at times open persecution. [emphasis added]
Jews had "full religious liberty"? Jews were dhimmis and by definition had second class citizen status, with limits on any form of public religious expression that would annoy their Moslem rulers.

Wikipedia has a documented, if disputed, section on the limitations on the religious practice of dhimmis:

Although dhimmis were allowed to perform their religious rituals, they were obliged to do so in a manner not conspicuous to Muslims. Display of non-Muslim religious symbols, such as crosses or icons, was prohibited on buildings and on clothing (unless mandated as part of distinctive clothing). Loud prayers were forbidden, as was the ringing of church bells or the trumpeting of shofars. According to one hadith, Muhammad said: "The bell is the musical instrument of the Satan." (Sahih Muslim 24:5279). This hadith actually refers to music in general, this is not aimed at Church bells.

Dhimmis had the right to choose their own religious leaders: patriarchs for Christians, exilarchs and geonim for Jews. However, the choice of the community was subject to the approval of the Muslim authorities, who sometimes blocked candidates or took the side of the party that offered the larger bribe.

Dhimmis were prohibited from proselytizing on pain of death. Neither were they allowed to obstruct the spread of Islam in any manner. Other restrictions included a prohibition on publishing or sale of non-Muslim religious literature and a ban on teaching the Qur’an.

As required by the Pact of Umar, dhimmis had to bury their dead without loud lamentations and prayers. Incidents of harassment of dhimmi funeral processions by Muslims, involving pelting with stones, battery, spitting, or cursing, even by Muslim children, were common regardless of place and time. [go to their site for hyperlinks and footnotes]

But historically, Moslems resorted to more than just harrassment in their mistreatment of Jews. Mitchell Bard gives a summary:

At various times, Jews in Muslim lands were able to live in relative peace and thrive culturally and economically. The position of the Jews was never secure, however, and changes in the political or social climate would often lead to persecution, violence and death. Jews were generally viewed with contempt by their Muslim neighbors; peaceful coexistence between the two groups involved the subordination and degradation of the Jews.

When Jews were perceived as having achieved too comfortable a position in Islamic society, anti-Semitism would surface, often with devastating results: On December 30, 1066, Joseph HaNagid, the Jewish vizier of Granada, Spain, was crucified by an Arab mob that proceeded to raze the Jewish quarter of the city and slaughter its 5,000 inhabitants. The riot was incited by Muslim preachers who had angrily objected to what they saw as inordinate Jewish political power.

Similarly, in 1465, Arab mobs in Fez slaughtered thousands of Jews, leaving only 11 alive, after a Jewish deputy vizier treated a Muslim woman in "an offensive manner." The killings touched off a wave of similar massacres throughout Morocco.

Other mass murders of Jews in Arab lands occurred in Morocco in the 8th century, where whole communities were wiped out by Muslim ruler Idris I; North Africa in the 12th century, where the Almohads either forcibly converted or decimated several communities; Libya in 1785, where Ali Burzi Pasha murdered hundreds of Jews; Algiers, where Jews were massacred in 1805, 1815 and 1830 and Marrakesh, Morocco, where more than 300 hundred Jews were murdered between 1864 and 1880.)

Decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted in Egypt and Syria (1014, 1293-4, 1301-2), Iraq (854-859, 1344) and Yemen (1676). Despite the Koran's prohibition, Jews were forced to convert to Islam or face death in Yemen (1165 and 1678), Morocco (1275, 1465 and 1790-92) and Baghdad (1333 and 1344).

Karsh fittingly concludes his review of Armstrong's book:
"If we are to avoid catastrophe, the Muslim and Western worlds must learn not merely to tolerate but to appreciate one another," Ms. Armstrong emphatically concludes her book. I couldn't agree more. Provided of course this is done in good faith and without rewriting the historical truth, let alone violently suppressing critical minds and dissenting voices.
Armstrong's book will not bring us any closer to the goal which Armstrong claims to seek.

Crossposted at Israpundit

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ramadan Rioting, Media Non-Reporting

From The Brussels Journal:

Last Sunday the Islamic holy month of Ramadan began. It lasts until 23 October. Many will remember last year’s ramadan riots, which set France and, to a lesser extent, parts of Belgium and Denmark, alight. Rioting went on for three weeks. Each night thousands of cars were set alight by immigrant youths, until the French and Belgian governments ordered the police to no longer divulge any information about the disturbances, after which the media stopped reporting, the youths lost interest and the number of nightly “carbecues” in France dropped to the “normal” level of about 50.
Now, as of Wednesday, Brussels has suffered 3 days of rioting:
It looks as if immigrants youths want to turn nightly rioting during the Islamic holy month of ramadan into an annual tradition. Around 8:30pm last night violence erupted again in Brussels, the capital of Europe. The riots centered on the Brussels Marollen quarter and the area near the Midi Train Station, where the international trains from London and Paris arrive. Youths threw stones at passing people and cars, windows of parked cars were smashed, bus shelters were demolished, cars were set ablaze, a youth club was arsoned and a shop was looted. Two molotov cocktails were thrown into St.Peter’s hospital, one of the main hospitals of central Brussels. The fire brigade was able to extinguish the fires at the hospital, but youths managed to steal the keys of the fire engine.
The current riots apparently were set off by the suspicious death of an inmate in the Vorst prison. Meanwhile, according to the article, France also is afraid of riots during Ramadan.
Another source of Belgian concern is that municipal elections will be held on October 8th, and they are expected to be won by an anti-immigrant "islamophobic" party with 38.6% of the vote, as opposed to 33% of the vote six years ago.

Snapped Shot, who is covering the story extensively, has noticed that the MSM is virtually ignoring the story--while Reuters has reported on it, none of the other wire services or major papers have.

Apparently the same policy of smothering the story that supposedly solved the problem last time by decreasing the level of 'interest' in the riots--is being used now. And the media, as always, can be expected to cooperate.

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UN Has Developed A "Special Rapporteur" For The Palestinians

Adloyada introduces John Dugard, the "special rapporteur" for the UN on human rights in the Palestinian territories. Among other things, Dugard believes that when it comes to its treatment of the Palestinians, Israel is escaping criticism:
In other countries this process might be described as ethnic cleansing but political correctness forbids such language where Israel is concerned
Apparently Mr. Dugard doesn't get out much.

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Putting the "J" in JBlogging

Jewbiquitous addresses the issue of JBlogging responsibly--a particularly appropriate topic this time of year, and the rest of the year as well.

They touch on, and link to, some of the issues involved, including a post in 2005 by the bloggers of Jewschool and Jewlicious who together created the Jewish Bloggers Campaign for Responsible Speech Online. They urge that bloggers
be mindful before pressing the “Publish” button and that they ask this consideration from their site’s contributors — both other bloggers on their site and visitors. Ask yourself before posting, “Is what I’ve written a kiddush Hashem...

This campaign may not save the Jewish world from autocannibalism, but it may make the Jewish blogosphere a more welcoming, informative and enjoyable forum, and perhaps encourage some greater degree of Jewish unity despite the differences between us.
There is also a small banner that you can put on your blog.

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What's A Jewish Voter To Do?

A new blog How Orthodox Jews Should Vote is trying to answer that question. Based on his own opionion and knowledge of the issues, as well as feedback from the campaign offices of the various candidates, HOJSV looks at various election campaign around the country. He gives the positions of the candidates, not the dirt.

Take a look.

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Suing Terrorists: A Tactic That Is Being Worn Down?

Hat Tip: Israel Matzav

Back in August, The New York Sun carried the story Arab Bank Asks Judge To Dismiss Suit Accusing It of Funding Terror

Lawyers for the bank said that the 4,000 foreign citizens who are plaintiffs should not be allowed to have their case heard in the American court system. They argued that terrorism against Israel does not violate any "international norm." Lawyers for the bank said that some 80 countries, most Islamic or African, do not consider Palestinian Arab suicide bombers to be terrorists.

Now, The New York Sun reports that in Chicago, a judge has found that Hamas is a political party.

On Friday, a federal judge in Chicago ruled that defense attorneys for two men accused of handling Hamas's financial affairs here, Abdelhaleem Ashqar and Muhammad Salah, may tell jurors about the vote in January that gave the group a majority in the Palestinian Arab parliament.

Judge Amy St. Eve said she agreed with lawyers for Mr. Ashqar that the electoral victory "is relevant because it demonstrates that Hamas engages in legitimate political and social measures." The judge also said Hamas's role in the Palestinian Arab government could support Mr. Ashqar's contention "that the money he donated went to the legitimate purpose of consensus building and campaigning, rather than terrorist activities."

Originally, the idea of suing terrorists seemed like such a powerful idea--the only problem seemed to be trying to collect.

Now the cynicism and ignorance that is rampant in the media has found its way into the courtroom as well.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

September 26, 1960: They Came Out Of The Woodwork

Martin Kramer has a newsreel from 46 years ago that gives the Ahmadinejad/Chavez duet a run for their money:
Nasser visits Harlem, Khruschev pounds table [at the UN], Castro delivers four-hour tirade... quite a circus.
The newsreel is 4 minutes long...and followed by some college football highlights.

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Israeli Police Arrest Shofar Blower At Kotel--Almost 80 Years After The British Did

During the 1920's the British forbade Jews to blow the shofar for fear of offending Moslems. Apparently Israel has adopted the same approach. On Sunday a man blowing the Shofar during the Silent Shmoneh Esreh--in accordance with the Sefardi custom--was arrested at the Kotel, as reported by Arutz Sheva.

This comes at a time that Jews living on a main thoroughfare in the Old City has been told they are limited to when they can leave their homes during Ramadan.

Beyond just stopping the blowing of the Shofar, there are also charges of excessive police violence during the incident as well, with conflicting stories as to exactly what happened, according to Arutz Sheva's followup report.

As to why the police came in the first place, there is an unconfirmed report that the incident was sparked by the complaint of a Moslem woman:
The worshipers said that the police had apparently been called by an Arab woman who said the sound of the ram's horn disturbed her children.

A Jewish resident of the Old City told Arutz-7, "How ironic. The loud Arab weddings and nightly prayers by the muazzin [over a powerful loudspeaker] at 4:30 AM disturb our sleep every night." Similar complaints are heard from Jews living near Arab villages in Judea and Samaria.
In 1929, Moshe Segal was arrested by the British for blowing the shofar--and was later released through the intervention of Rav Kook.

There is an excerpt from Rabbi Segal's memoirs describing the incident here.

Did Moslems around the world get the idea of demanding special privelege based on the concessions Israel made--and continues to make--for local Arab religious practices?

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Forget The Moslems, What Is Pope Benedict's Message For Jews?

Caroline Glick writes in The Jerusalem Post:
Benedict's overarching message in that lecture was that to survive, a culture must be willing to embrace its identity, for if it does not, it won't even be capable of understanding why it should survive.
But that means our having the strength to define ourselves, and not allowing others to define who we are. Thus
the best way to safeguard our freedom and our heritage, is to embrace and celebrate our identity as Jews. As Elie Wiesel once explained to me, the key to defending ourselves is to never allow our haters to tell us who we are. "Hatred only defines the haters," he said.

..."We Jews," Wiesel explained, "have always defined ourselves as the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Indeed, at Mount Sinai, in our acceptance of the Ten Commandments, the Jewish people became the first nation in history to self-consciously define itself. And each subsequent generation of Jews has remade that choice. Jews do not exist, as Jean-Paul Sarte ignorantly argued, because anti-Semites exist. The leader of the existentialist movement should have understood; anti-Semites exist because anti-Semites choose to exist.
It is the ability to define ourselves as Jews that will enable us to counter the attacks of our enemies in every generation.

But it might be at this point, at the end of her argument, that Glick overlooks someting. She writes:
Pope Benedict is able to discuss Islam because, secure in his Christian identity, he has a clear basis for judging the goodness or unreasonableness of Muslim values and behavior. Whether we agree with his judgments or not, through his willingness to judge, Benedict capably defends and advances his faith.
This is all well and good, but if you read Glick's article, and look at her definition of being a Jew, it is a cultural-nationalist definition:
  • "...the state in which we live is one of the most vibrant, optimistic, "happening" countries in the world."
  • "We are one of the most highly educated societies in the world."
  • "Israelis are among the most patriotic citizens in the world."
  • "Jewish life blossoms in Israel as it has nowhere else in our history."
  • "Israel's success stems from its serving as a vehicle that allows us to express our heritage in all facets of society."
  • "The Jewish people gave humanity the concepts of God, liberty and law."
  • "All of the ideals that Israel represents, both spiritual and physical, have formed the foundations for human progress and freedom throughout the world for millennia."
True, "Pope Benedict is able to discuss Islam because, secure in his Christian identity"--because he is secure in his religious identity, the Pope can discuss Islam.

As described by Glick in her article, what prepares Jews for a similar discussion?

And if we are not ready for such a discussion, perhaps our enemies really have succeeded in defining us after all.

Update: On the importance of a religious worldview, check out The Reality of Religion by Michael Ledeen:
But despite the fundamental importance of religion, most of our sages and scribblers are poorly equipped to deal with it, as you can see from the awkward coverage of the pope’s speech at Regensberg. It was, as you’d expect from a pope, a religious text, but the religious content was rarely reported, aside from Benedict’s remarks about Islam — themselves a part of a broader religious message aimed primarily at Europeans.

...But I’m afraid that we’re not engaging this debate, because our leaders are afraid to do so, and poorly equipped to participate. Our educational system has long since banished religion from its texts, and an amazing number of Americans are intellectually unprepared for a discussion in which religion is the central organizing principle.

...Ignorance of things religious is terribly damaging for other reasons as well, not least of all because it prevents us from understanding the nature of our most dangerous enemies.
All the more reason for an understanding of things Jewish, to understand both ourselves, the world, and our place in it--and with Islam.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Dershowitz, Chomsky, and Camp Massad

Noam Chomsky who is no friend of Israel went to Camp Massad, together with Alan Dershowitz, during the 1940's--Chomsky was a counselor, and Dershowitz a camper there according to The Forward.

Camp Massad was an interesting place in its own right.

Marcel Silberman writes
in order to ‘keep the purity of the Hebrew language and its completeness without the necessity of introducing foreign and unattractive expressions,’ Massad produced a practical dictionary which covered the vocabulary needed for camp life. It had Hebrew words for different foods, clothing, everyday activities, and also sports, and it came up with Hebrew baseball, basketball, and American football terms. I don’t know how many words in the Massad dictionary about those sports have survived or been adopted.”

...Massad was a unique place, a combination of an American summer camp, a kibbutz and a Soviet gulag. The gulag part had to do with the fact that speaking Hebrew all day long was not only mandatory...
To the degree that Camp Massad influenced Chomsky and Dershowitz, it did so in very different ways.

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The Chazon Ish's Advice for Bloggers

Actually, the name of the article is The Chazon Ish's Advice for Columnists, but the idea is the same, and worth noting this time of year.

The Chazon Ish's Advice for Columnists

by Jonathan Rosenblum
September 13, 2006

Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz relates in his fascinating memoirs a story involving the Chazon Ish that should be required reading for anyone involved in public speaking or writing.

At the outset of his long career in the Knesset, Rabbi Lorincz sought the Chazon Ish’s approval for every speech. On one occasion, the Knesset scheduled a debate on the nomination of Chaim Weizmann to a second term as president. Rabbi Lorincz prepared a hard-hitting speech explaining why Weizmann, a long time opponent of the Old Yishuv in Jerusalem and someone who had rebelled against Torah observance in his own life, was not fit to be president.

On his way to the Knesset to give the speech, he stopped at the house of the Chazon Ish to review the speech with him. The Chazon Ish was unavailable so Rabbi Lorincz gave the speech to one of his friends, and asked him to show it to the Chazon Ish. Meanwhile he continued on to the Knesset.

Soon after arriving in the Knesset, Rabbi Lorincz received notification from the Speaker that he was scheduled to speak next. Since he had not heard anything from the Chazon Ish, he assumed that the speech had been approved. Just then, a Knesset usher brought Rabbi Lorincz a telegram that the Chazon Ish wanted him to "bury" the speech. No reason was given.

When Rabbi Lorincz next saw the Chazon Ish, the latter shared his cardinal rule for any public speech: "Before a person speaks, he must know what he hopes to achieve with his words." Then the Chazon Ish applied his rule to the case at hand.

The speech, the Chazon Ish pointed out, would not prevent Weizmann from being re-elected. His election was already a foregone conclusion. Nor was there any duty to protest in the case at hand, or hope that the protest would be heeded. Therefore the only possible effect of the speech would be to leave Weizmann bearing a grudge against the Torah community – a grudge he might be in a position to act upon sometime in the future.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE FROM DAYS LONG GONE, demonstrates the potential adverse consequences from failing to take the Chazon Ish’s strictures to heart. Over the years, the Law of Return has been debated many times, and various amendments proposed that would have explicitly defined a convert for purposes of the law as "one converted according to halacha."

During one of those debates on "Who is a Jew?" a chareidi MK began quoting from a Reform "siddur" to highlight its many deviations from the traditional nusach. In the course of his speech, he became increasingly heated, until he threw the "siddur" on the floor.

When Rabbi Moshe Sherer, the president of Agudath Israel of America, heard what had happened, he immediately knew that trouble was brewing. He was right. The throwing of the "siddur" became an international cause celebre. The press even added a few juicy details of its own, including as a false report that the MK had spit on the "siddur."

Rabbi Sherer wrote to a colleague in Israel that he would have strongly advised against the action in question because "anything that is so extreme always has the opposite effect." His rule might almost be considered a corollary of the Chazon Ish’s principle that one must always evaluate every word in terms of the ultimate goal. Certain actions and words, by their very nature, are bound to distract attention from the speaker’s original intent.

Thus the extreme expression of contempt for the Reform movement, rather than highlighting Reform’s deviations, only served to put the accuser on the defensive. Instead of being able to make his case, he spent the next week forced to defend or clarify his actions. And that was Rabbi Sherer’s point: Extreme statements or actions tend to focus too much attention of the propriety of the statement or action, and remove all attention from the point being made.

Making the type of calculations demanded by the Chazon Ish has become even more difficult. In times past, one could more or less limit one’s calculations to the impact on one’s immediate audience. Today any speaker or writer can count on the fact that his words will be broadcast around the world. As a consequence, he must take into account not only his impact on his immediate audience but on a whole slew of other possible listeners or readers, and balance the two.

A few years ago, a certain speaker at a convention of Agudath Israel of America, with whom I am close, made fun of the Reform movement’s claim that it can serve as an antidote to the alienation of Israel’s Jews from all things Jewish. Given the abject failure of Reform in America, he said, that was akin to bringing the mass murderer Pol Pot back for a second try at running Cambodia. A strong analogy no doubt, and red meat for the immediate audience.

Little did the hapless speaker know that the editor of the Federation-sponsored Jewish Week was in the audience. His remark ended up as a banner headline in the next week’s Jewish Week, where it did little to convince anyone of the dangers of religious pluralism in Israel and much to fan hatred of Orthodox extremists.

I was reminded of these long-forgotten incidents when a rabbi in Cleveland who is actively involved in kiruv work, wrote me that a certain line in a recent column had the potential to become fodder for angry sermons in heterodox congregations all over America, and would thereby distance many non-observant Jews even further from any interest in Torah.

The bon mot in question – a play on the similar sound of "rabbi", as in "reform rabbi" and "rabbit" in English – was perhaps mildly amusing, maybe it even sharpened the point being made. But whatever was to be gained by its inclusion – primarily the author’s self-indulgence – was far outweighed by the potential cost.

Any writer trained by the Chazon Ish would have instantly recognized that. The trouble is that too few of us knew the Chazon Ish or have taken his dicta as ner l’ragleinu.

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September 2003: Bush Meets With Rabbis During Aseret Y'mai Teshuvah

Powerline recounts this meeting of Bush with 16 rabbis from around the country, giving the notes of one of the rabbis who attended.

I just thought it was interesting.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Has Amnesty International Seen The Light?

On September 4, the NGO Monitor came out with a report: Amnesty continues to distort human rights rhetoric to attack Israeli actions in Lebanon, documenting what they politely called "problematic statements" made by the group during Israel's war with Hezbollah:

By artificially separating Hezbollah attacks from the Israeli responses, the analysis lacks credibility, inverts the priority of core human rights values and glosses over Hezbollah's missile attacks and use of human shields. Similarly, the authors have erased the context, including Syrian and Iranian support and provision of missiles to Hezbollah, while claiming a level of military expertise where none is evident. In addition, the conclusions are based on unverifiable evidence provided by "eyewitnesses" in Lebanon, whose may be strongly influenced by support for or threats from Hezbollah. As a result, this report is internally inconsistent, lacks credibility, and should be seen as a political statement rather than a careful evaluation of human rights issues.

But then, just 10 days later, the Boston Herald reported on that very same Amnesty International, which seems to have done an abrupt about-face:

Amnesty International has introduced a comprehensive report accusing a terrorist group of war crimes.In utter defiance of the predominant American left, European and United Nations view that Israel engaged in gross war crimes against civilians and freedom fighters in Lebanon, Amnesty International has announced that in its opinion, Hezbollah is guilty of war crimes. Hezbollah purposefully and indiscriminately targeted Israeli civilians.

The AI report notes that despite Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s subsequent protestations to the contrary, he stated publicly and repeatedly during the conflict that he was firing his missiles at civilian areas to make Israeli civilians pay for their army’s actions, and with his uncontrolled Katyushas, an indiscriminate weapon, he killed 43 of them. He had advised Israeli Arabs to leave those areas.He had provoked the war with a cross border attack in which some Israeli soldiers were killed and others seized.
Now the question is whether Amnesty International, with the publication of this new report, is changing its approach or is merely trying to look respectable--after all, besides emphasizing the actions of Israel vis-a-vis Hezbollah, AI has also been a persistent if not single-minded critic of the United States as well in its war against terrorism.

Alex Margolin, NGO's publication manager, responded in an email that he believes that AI has taken a small step that distinguishes it from other groups, such as Human Rights Watch.
But despite its length and detail, the report remains incomplete as long as Amnesty fails to address the serious issues surrounding Hezbollah's use of human shields and the impact their war tactics had on the Lebanese civilians. Amnesty must follow through with detailed studies of the situation, and be open to revising their earlier claims about Israel's role in the deaths of Lebanese civilians should the facts show that Hezbollah were actually responsible.

As far as what is behind the report, I think it is a simple question of credibility. Human Rights Watch has experienced an unprecedented level of criticism for their biased work on the war in Lebanon -- the Weekly Standard ran a cover story on this, and there have been numerous op-eds. Amnesty had already released a 50-page report that focused exclusively on Israel's actions. It doesn't take an expert in international humanitarian law to know that firing 4000 Katyushas on residential areas is a war crime. If Amnesty refused to look at the situation honestly, how could it be taken seriously?
It is reassuring to see that such groups actually are not impervious to public scrutiny and criticism--and maybe we'll see a similar turn-around from HRW as well. The effectiveness of such scrutiny only emphasizes the need to keep these kinds of issues in the limelight and part of public discussion.

As for the AI report itself, according to the Boston Herald, it still did not deal with the question of the estimated 1,000 Lebanese civilians who were killed in the populated areas where Hezbollah and set up command positions. They said the issue is too complex to comment on.

It is too important not to.
AI needs to realize that.

Crossposted at Israpundit

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Is it the end of the world, Abba?"

I picked up my 7 year old daughter today at school today.
She walked into the car, sat down, and asked that question.
She wouldn't tell my why she asked, or if she had heard it somewhere.

And I had no response.

Just a couple of days until Yom HaDin and my daughter is asking if it is the end of the world...

What happened to all those innocuous questions she usually asks?

Presenting The UN All-Stars!

Che Guevera
Yasir Arafat
Hugo Chavez
Mohammed Ahmadinejad

Che and Chavez, Arafat and Ahmadinejad--what a team...
And on the bench: Robert Mugabe.

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But Will It Be Worth The Wait?

The world is waiting to see whether the Hamas government will follow through on its promises, or pursue an extremist agenda. And the world has sent a clear message to the leaders of Hamas: Serve the interests of the Palestinian people. Abandon terror, recognize Israel's right to exist, honor agreements, and work for peace.

President Bush Addresses United Nations General Assembly September 19, 2006
The international community must continue to make clear to Hamas that democratically elected leaders cannot have one foot in the camp of democracy and one foot in the camp of terror. (Applause.) The world is waiting to see what choice Hamas makes.

President Bush Addresses American Legion February 24, 2006

And waiting, and waiting...

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Oriana Fallaci and Ayatollah Khomeini

If you don't know who she is, here is some bio from Wikipedia:
Oriana Fallaci (June 29, 1929 – September 14, 2006) was an Italian journalist, author, and political interviewer. A former antifascist partisan during World War II, she had a long and successful journalistic career. She died September 14, 2006, in her native Florence, Italy. She was 77 years old and had been suffering from breast cancer for some 15 years.

She was called "our most celebrated female writer" by Ferruccio De Bortoli, former director of the newspaper Corriere della Sera.[1] Decades ago, the Los Angeles Times described her as "the journalist to whom virtually no world figure would say no."[citation needed]

As a young journalist, she interviewed many internationally known leaders and celebrities such as Henry Kissinger, the Shah of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, Lech Wałęsa, Willy Brandt, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Walter Cronkite, Omar Khadafi, Federico Fellini, Sammy Davis Jr, Deng Xiaoping, Nguyen Cao Ky, Yasir Arafat, Indira Gandhi, Alexandros Panagoulis, Archbishop Makarios, Golda Meir, Nguyen Van Thieu, Haile Selassie and Sean Connery.

...In May 2005, Adel Smith, president of the Union of Italian Muslims, launched a lawsuit against Fallaci charging that "some of the things she said in her book The Force of Reason are offensive to Islam." Smith's attorney, Matteo Nicoli, cited a phrase from the book that refers to Islam as "a pool that never purifies." Consequently an Italian judge ordered her to stand trial set for June 2006 in Bergamo on charges of "defaming Islam." A previous prosecutor had sought dismissal of the charges. The preliminary trial began on 12 June in Bergamo and on 25 June Judge Beatrice Siccardi decided that Oriana Fallaci should indeed stand trial beginning on 18 December.[13]
The May issue of The New Yorker has a long piece on Fallaci. Here is a description of her interview with the Ayatollah Khomeini, which shows that Khomeini had no more luck intimidating Fallaci than anyone else did.
Fallaci’s interview with Khomeini, which appeared in the Times on October 7, 1979, soon after the Iranian revolution, was the most exhilarating example of her pugilistic approach. Fallaci had travelled to Qum to try to secure an interview with Khomeini, and she waited ten days before he received her. She had followed instructions from the new Islamist regime, and arrived at the Ayatollah’s home barefoot and wrapped in a chador. Almost immediately, she unleashed a barrage of questions about the closing of opposition newspapers, the treatment of Iran’s Kurdish minority, and the summary executions performed by the new regime. When Khomeini defended these practices, noting that some of the people killed had been brutal servants of the Shah, Fallaci demanded, “Is it right to shoot the poor prostitute or a woman who is unfaithful to her husband, or a man who loves another man?” The Ayatollah answered with a pair of remorseless metaphors. “If your finger suffers from gangrene, what do you do? Do you let the whole hand, and then the body, become filled with gangrene, or do you cut the finger off? What brings corruption to an entire country and its people must be pulled up like the weeds that infest a field of wheat.”

Fallaci continued posing indignant questions about the treatment of women in the new Islamic state. Why, she asked, did Khomeini compel women to “hide themselves, all bundled up,” when they had proved their equal stature by helping to bring about the Islamic revolution? Khomeini replied that the women who “contributed to the revolution were, and are, women with the Islamic dress”; they weren’t women like Fallaci, who “go around all uncovered, dragging behind them a tail of men.” A few minutes later, Fallaci asked a more insolent question: “How do you swim in a chador?” Khomeini snapped, “Our customs are none of your business. If you do not like Islamic dress you are not obliged to wear it. Because Islamic dress is for good and proper young women.” Fallaci saw an opening, and charged in. “That’s very kind of you, Imam. And since you said so, I’m going to take off this stupid, medieval rag right now.” She yanked off her chador.

In a recent e-mail, Fallaci said of Khomeini, “At that point, it was he who acted offended. He got up like a cat, as agile as a cat, an agility I would never expect in a man as old as he was, and he left me. In fact, I had to wait for twenty-four hours (or forty-eight?) to see him again and conclude the interview.” When Khomeini let her return, his son Ahmed gave Fallaci some advice: his father was still very angry, so she’d better not even mention the word “chador.” Fallaci turned the tape recorder back on and immediately revisited the subject. “First he looked at me in astonishment,” she said. “Total astonishment. Then his lips moved in a shadow of a smile. Then the shadow of a smile became a real smile. And finally it became a laugh. He laughed, yes. And, when the interview was over, Ahmed whispered to me, ‘Believe me, I never saw my father laugh. I think you are the only person in this world who made him laugh.’ ”
It makes you wonder what would happen if the West actually developed enough backbone to really push back against Islamist Jihadism and let them know that over-the-top rhetoric, intimidation, riots, and murder would no longer be tolerated.

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Solidarity Rally Wednesday, September 20

Iran's President Ahmadinejad is planning to go to the UN.
Are you?


Speak Out Against Global Terrorism and its State Sponsors.

Free the Kidnapped IDF Soldiers.
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza

(across from the United Nations)
Wednesday, September 20th

12 noon, rain or shine

2nd Avenue at 47th Street
Subways: 4, 5, 6, or 7 to Grand Central Station

Thousands of shofarot will sound in a call of unity with Israel.

Participants are urged to bring a shofar.

Sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, in cooperation with the United Jewish Communities, UJA-Federation of New York and Jewish Council for Public Affairs

For more information contact: Conference of Presidents at 212-318-6111 or

JCRC at 212-983-4800 x 151 or

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Agudath Israel on This Wednesday's Rally


The scheduled visit to New York of the Iranian President – a man who has described the Holocaust as "a myth" and called for Israel to be "wiped off the map," a man who pursues destructive nuclear capacity in defiance of the entire world community, a man who sponsors terror and mayhem in the Middle East and beyond – should fill every civilized heart with revulsion.

And it should fill every Jewish heart with something more.

The arrival of this would-be heir to Hitler should remind all Jews how little has truly changed since millions of Jews were last targeted for destruction, r"l. And it should remind us, no less, of the uniquely vulnerable position of Yisroel bein ho'amim, Jewry among the nations, and of the fact that ein lonu al mi lehishoein ela al Avinu She'baShomayim – We can depend on no one but Our Father in Heaven.

Therefore, at this critical time, and during this season of introspection and repentance, we call upon all Jews to return to our sacred heritage, with tefillah and renewed allegiance to Torah, our eternal wellspring of life, the source of our strength to withstand all our enemies.

Along with our supplications, we feel it is our duty as well to express to the world our deep anguish over the presence in our midst of a vicious ruler who threatens genocide against Jews.

A number of Jewish groups are planning to gather outside the United Nations headquarters, at

Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza (2nd Avenue and 47th Street in Manhattan)
on Wednesday 27 Elul / September 20 at 12:00 noon

to present a collective Jewish expression of outrage at the General Assembly's hosting of the Iranian leader, of support for Israel's security and soldiers, and of solidarity in the fight against the global scourge of terrorism.

Whatever differences may separate us from some of those groups, we stand united here with all Jews.

Therefore, after consultation with the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah and following the precedent of the previous generation's Gedolim in similar circumstances, we urge all who are able to do so to participate in the planned gathering. We have been assured that a special section will be made available for men and women to gather in separate areas, and we will lift our voices in tefillah to Hashem, secure in the knowledge that

Bechol dor vodor omdim aleinu lechaloseinu veHakodosh Boruch Hu matzileinu miyodom.
In every generation, there are those who stand against us to annihilate us,
but Hashem saves us from their hand.

Additional details will be forthcoming.

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The Great Thing About the Pope Controversy...

is the ridiculous quotes:
The head of Cairo’s Al-Azhar university Sheikh Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi said Saturday the pontiff’s comments “betray a clear ignorance of Islam and attribute to the faith things which have nothing to do with it”.
You mean like Mohammed's "command to spread by the sword the faith he preached"? Who's kidding whom?
"The declarations from the pope are more dangerous than the cartoons, because they come from the most important Christian authority in the world — the cartoons just came from an artist," said Diaa Rashwan, an analyst in Cairo, Egypt, who studies Islamic militancy.
The cartoons 'just came from an artist'--now they realize that?
"He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages. He is a poor thing that has not benefited from the spirit of reform in the Christian world," Kapusuz told Turkish state media. "It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades." a time when the Moslem world is reviving the mentality of the Jihad that brought about the original Crusades in the first place.
"One would expect a religious leader such as the pope to act and speak with responsibility and repudiate the Byzantine emperor's views in the interests of truth and harmonious relations between the followers of Islam and Catholicism," said Muhammad Abdul Bari, the council's secretary-general.
And just what have Moslems been up to "in the interests of truth and harmonious relations between the followers of Islam and Catholicism" in Bethlehem?
"Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.
If you say Islam is'll force them to be intolerant?

Even the good folks at Reuters are getting into the act. On the Muslim Brotherhood, which demanded a personal apology:
The Muslim Brotherhood is a political Islamist group founded in Egypt which has inspired movements across the Arab world.
And what kind of movements have the Moslem Brotherhood inspired?
As stated on its charter and its website, the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to install an Islamic totalitarian empire and a worldwide Caliphate, through stages designed to Islamize targeted nations by whatever means available. Although the Brotherhood itself renounced violence in the 1970s, many of its branches continue to practice violence through terrorism and assassination.
Oh, those kinds of movements.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Is The Pope On A Crusade Against Islam?

That is the impression you would get if you listen to the Moslem outcry against Pope Benedict XVI's address this week at the University of Regensburg.

Near the beginning of his talk, the Pope said:
In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point -- itself rather marginal to the dialogue itself -- which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason," I found interesting and which can serve as the starting point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation ("diálesis" -- controversy) edited by professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that sura 2:256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion." It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under [threat]. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Koran, concerning holy war.

Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels," he turns to his interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably ("syn logo") is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats.... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...."
That one sentence apparently has the Moslem world in an uproar, asking for an apology and comparing Pope Benedict with Hitler and Mussolini.

Maybe the Moslem world has a short memory. Powerline doesn't. From 2002:

Al-Qaeda planned to assassinate Pope John Paul II on two occasions during visits made or planned by the Pontiff to the Philippines in 1995 and 1999, The Times of London reported today.

Masterminding the assassination attempts was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, also accused of plotting the September 11 attacks on the US, who was in the Philippines during both papal visits, the newspaper reported.

Also, as has been noted at The Corner, 2 Christian reporters were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint.

Apparently the Moslem world missed the last line of the address:
It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.
Some of the reaction has been a little less heated. From the Guardian:
...if you cannot, as part of a lengthy and profound academic lecture, cite a 600 year-old text for fear of stirring the aggravation of noisy politicians half way around the world, what CAN you do? We might as well all retreat into obscurantism. And keep our mouths shut, for otherwise, who knows who we might offend. And if, as a result of the outrage, some Catholics get killed or their churches burned down by offended scholars and textual exegesists it might be thought that Manuel's original point had rather been made.
But all the analysis and defense of what the Pope said are worthless now:
Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday apologised for causing any offence to Muslims amid growing fury across the Islamic world over a speech he made implicitly linking Islam and violence.

“The Holy Father is extremely sorry that certain passages of his speech appeared offensive to Muslim believers and were interpreted in a way that does not correspond in any way to his intentions,” said the Vatican’s new secretary of state, Tarcisio Bertone.
If someone is going to criticize Islam, they should first be sure they are able to stand up to the fierce rhetoric--and more--that the Moslem world will dish out.

Update: Arutz Sheva points out that
Pope Doesn´t Quite Apologize to Muslims.

If so, then whatever will come of Pope Benedict's words has not yet run its course.

The Anchoress puts it this way
Whether he is “media savvy” or not, Benedict has managed - in his very scholarly fashion - to apply a very hot drawing poultice to the enormous and festering boils of both radical Islamism and rampant secularism.
All the more reason to hope that the Pope has thought this thing through
The Anchoress has all kinds of links on the subject and in a subsequent post here.

If the JBlogosphere is looking for an opportunity to help focus attention on the threat of Islamism, here it is.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

The Al Dura Trial In France

If you are following the Al-Dura Trial in France, you have to read what Nidra Poller has to say.

One question she asks is how France 2 could take the risk of a lawsuit against those who have come out saying that the Al-Dura incident is fake.

But she also touches on the open acknowledgement that the Palestinian Arabs regularly fake news events:
Many journalists who are unashamedly hostile to Israel admit that the Palestinians produce falsified news but they find nothing to deplore in this practice—it's simply propaganda, and everyone does it. A France 2 official acknowledged in the presence of news director Arlette Chabot, whose honor is allegedly sullied by Philippe Karsenty, that the Palestinians regularly enact fake battle scenes, some of which are reported as news in Western media.

All of these people freely admit that some, much, or even most of the material contained in the 27-minute video shot by Talal Abu Rahmeh at Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip on that fatal day are in fact staged scenes. (French journalists admit in private that the al-Dura scene, too, was staged; they say everyone knows it, no one will ever admit it publicly, this sort of revelation is totally and absolutely impossible in France, and besides it's an old story and no one is interested.)
For four years Enderlin claimed to have absolute proof of the authenticity of the al-Dura report in the form of 27-minutes of footage, the golden outtakes, which he refused to make available for independent investigation. When Rosenzweig, Jeambar, and Leconte described, in articles and radio interviews, what they had seen, the golden outtakes were reduced, by reverse alchemy, to dross.
Another point she makes is the timing of the lawsuit itself. Given the background of the recent Israel-Hezbollah war--with the revelations of faked pictures, staged photographs and manipulation of the media--there is an interest in the proceedings that France 2 could not have anticipated, or wanted.
At the time when the lawsuits were brought against Karsenty, Lurçat, and Gouz, there was little reason to hope they would attract international attention. Nothing—not the initial investigation, not articles in known, unknown, and/or prestigious publications, not the lectures, meetings, books, videos, websites, letters, demonstrations, revelations—nothing had pierced the invisible wall that separated the truly fascinating documentation of a monumental hoax—with extremely grave and widespread repercussions—from the wall of indifference and confusion that blocked every attempt to bring the case to light and obtain some form of justice.

Ah, but reality is stronger than any theory, and phlogiston stands as the symbol of imposed ignorance in the face of troubling evidence. The July –August Hizbullah war against Israel brought a windfall of staged news. From Pallywood to Hizbollywood with its cohort of fauxtography the blogosphere rapidly produced a wealth of documentation on a phenomenon that replicates everything we had observed in the al-Dura case. But this time, the results were immediate. Reuters dismissed fauxtographer Adnan Hajj and withdrew his photos from their archives. The information leaped from blogs to mainstream. CNN journalist Anderson Cooper admitted he had been manipulated by Hizbullah handlers. The NY Times wriggled out of its false pieta with a lame excuse, but lame is better than nothing. Pristine cuddly toys among the ruins; Green Helmet bouncing dead kids in the air; rescue workers becoming, by turns, bereaved fathers, distressed neighbors, and Hizbullah operatives; a grieving old lady performing in front of several different ruined homesteads, all of them 100% civilian, all of them hers, all of them source of unbearable sorrow; a wounded ambulance driver miraculously cured; press cars hit by missiles and resisting better than a Merkava tank… all of this and more available for analyses that yield a coherent picture of something beyond propaganda—a weapon, a type of warfare that I call "lethal narratives."
Also take a look at Augean Stables, who besides covering the trial on his blog is also testifying at the proceedings as well.

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CAIR's Odd 2005 Rating Of The US Congress

Project Vote Smart has a page from 2005 where CAIR evaluates Congressmen.

According to the page:
"CAIR's mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding."

The following ratings indicate the degree that each elected official supported the interests of the organization in that year.
My Pet Jawa points out the oddity of the rating given to the Congressmen--they either have a rating of 100...or 0, which implies the rating is based on the results of single vote on a particular issue, which would not make for a particularly in-depth evaluation.

Rob at Say Anything discusses this and finds out what the single issue is that CAIR used as the basis of their rating system: The Real ID Act.

According to Wikipedia:
The REAL ID Act of 2005 is Division B of United States Public Law 109-13 (H.R. 1268). This controversial legislation is claimed to deter terrorism by:
* Establishing national standards for state-issued driver's licenses and non-driver's identification cards;
* Waiving laws that interfere with construction of physical barriers at the borders;
* Updating and tightening the laws on application for asylum and deportation of aliens for terrorist activity;
* Introducing rules covering "delivery bonds" (rather like bail bonds, but for aliens that have been released pending hearings);
* Funding some reports and pilot projects related to border security; and
* Changing visa limits for temporary workers, nurses, and Australians.
It might not be obvious at first glance why CAIR is so opposed to this bill. They actually give 2 reasons.

The bill makes it harder for people fleeing persecution to gain asylum in the U.S. In some cases, it may create a situation where an asylum seeker needs documents from the very government they are fleeing to prove their case.
To me, this does not seem like a whopper of a reason for opposing a bill that is designed to help fight the war on terror. Surely in such a rare case as CAIR is describing special allowances can be made.

But there is the second reason why CAIR opposes the bill:
The bill also states: "An alien who is an officer, official, representative or spokesman of the Palestine Liberation Organization is considered, for purposes of this Act, to be engaged in a terrorist activity." If enacted, this would terminate the current high hopes that the new situation in the Palestinian Territories can lead to a just peace.
Joel Mowbray has written extensively about CAIR and its connection with Keith Ellison, who is aiming to be the first Moslem to be elected to Congress. Mowbray writes about CAIR's less than covincing condemnation of terrorism:
Although CAIR has repeatedly condemned "terrorism," it has pointedly refused invitations to do so by naming specific Islamic terrorist organizations. In November 2001, the Washington Post asked a CAIR spokesman to condemn Hamas or Islamic Jihad. He refused, explaining, "It's not our job to go around denouncing." Given a similar opportunity to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in February 2002, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper called such queries a "game," and added, "We're not in the business of condemning."

But for those unfamiliar with the group, CAIR is very much "in the business of condemning"—but only when it comes to TV shows, Israel, or U.S. policy.
Sure enough, CAIR does not consider the PLO--which has killed Americans--to be a terrorist entity.

The only remaining question is how is it that the Real IDT Act was passed into law last year on May 11, 2005--yet Abbas was in the US just 2 weeks later on May 25 seeking American aid.

Probably the same way the US let in Khatami...and

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

They Claim I Fell Asleep At Work Today

Rumor has it that today at work I fell asleep at my desk. Worse, apparently there is proof--someone produced a picture of me in the act.
Shades of ReutersGate!

Although the picture bears an incredible likeness to me, I believe I can dispute the accusation.
The picture was done by someone in the Art Department.
Although it looks like it was done by hand, I suspect it was Photoshopped.

What do you think?

Personally, I think it is just a little too Cubist for my tastes.
And what is with that growth coming out of my back?

Will Mearsheimer and Walt Come Out With A Paper On This?

From Reuters:
Muslims urged to buy influence in world media

RIYADH (Reuters) - Muslim tycoons should buy stakes in global media outlets to help change anti-Muslim attitudes around the world, ministers from Islamic countries heard at a conference in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
Information ministers and officials meeting under the auspices of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the world's largest Islamic body, said Islam faced vilification after the September 11 attacks, when 19 Arabs killed nearly 3,000 people in U.S. cities in 2001.

"Muslim investors must invest in the large media institutions of the world, which generally make considerable profits, so that they have the ability to affect their policies via their administrative boards," OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told the gathering in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

"This would benefit in terms of correcting the image of Islam worldwide," he said, calling on Muslim countries to set up more channels in widely-spoken foreign languages.

Muslim stakes in Western media are minimal. Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns 5.46 percent of media conglomerate News Corp., the Rupert Murdoch-run group behind the Fox News Channel. The U.S. channel is generally seen as right-wing and no friend of Arab or Muslim interests.

Washington's response to September 11, invading Afghanistan and Iraq and tightening civil freedoms at home as part of a wider "war on terror", has created a widespread feeling among Muslims worldwide that their religion is under attack.

A row earlier this year over Danish cartoons that depicted the Prophet Mohammed deepened the sense of a divide between Islamic culture and the West.

"The fierce attack on Islam in the five years since the September 11 attacks has forced us into a defensive position on our faith and understanding of our tolerant religion," Egyptian Information Minister Anas el-Feki said in a speech.

"Now more than ever we need a new Islamic media message that reaches all parts of the world," Feki said, citing Israel's recent 34-day war in Lebanon as one issue where Muslims needed to make their views and influence felt. [emphasis added]
Let's put aside the current pro-Arab slant of the media that brought us ReutersGate has consistently bent to the will of Moslem pressure and threats.

The story on its face is misleading. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's stake in Fox News is hardly minimal. From December of last year:
Al-Walid also criticised US media which he described as "in general ... pro-Israel." But he also accused Arabs of not being pro-active in fighting the allegedly slanted media.

He said that during last month's street protests in France, the US television network Fox -- owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in which Al-Walid himself has shares -- ran a banner saying: "Muslim riots."

"I picked up the phone and called Murdoch... (and told him) these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty," he said.

"Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots."
Only 30 minutes?

Maybe Reuters should make that:

Muslims urged to buy even more influence in world media

Another issue is the potetial election of the first Muslim to the US Congress--Keith Ellison of Minnesota. Nothing wrong with that, except for the groups he is accepting help--and money--from.

Joel Mowbray notes that Ellison has received help from CAIR:
Two of its officials have been convicted on terrorism charges, and as an organization, while CAIR forcefully attacks critics of radical Islam, it has yet to condemn by name any Islamic terror organization other than al Qaeda—which it denounced only reluctantly several months after 9/11.

CAIR’s former communications and civil rights coordinator was convicted in 2004 on terror-related charges of plotting to wage violent jihad against the U.S., and the founder of its Texas branch last year was convicted of terror-related charges.
Mowbray points out that Ellison has also received aid from other questionable sources:

Also of concern are other contributors to Ellison’s campaign.
* Shahzeb Gaziani gave $500 on July 22. He is an official with the Peace and Justice Foundation, whose president was a featured speaker at a December 2004 event titled, “A tribute to the great Islamic visionary Ayatollah Khomenei.” Khomenei, of course, called America the “Great Satan,” was responsible for the kidnappings of Americans at the Embassy in Tehran, and his regime helped create Hezbollah.

* Esam Omeish, who gave $500, is president of the Muslim American Society, which authorities believe is the political front in the U.S. for the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the ideological forerunner of al Qaeda and many other Islamic terrorist organizations.

* Samir Abo Issa gave $500 on July 22. In 2003, he helped post bail for Abdelhaleem Ashqar, who is now facing trial on terror-related money laundering charges.
Mowbray also did a five part piece on Ellison at Powerline. In the last part, Mowbray writes that
A Minnesotan who does not support Keith Ellison e-mailed me his contention that I needed "something more damning than a list of checks." The problem with Keith Ellison winning the Democratic primary tomorrow in the very blue MN-05 district is much more than just the people from whom he's received

Ellison has tried to downplay his history with the Nation of Islam and its ugly penchant for racism and anti-Semitism. His willing association currently with people who are self-identified Hamas supporters, such as Awad, or any of his ilk undercuts any claim that Ellison has genuinely evolved. Anyone truly outraged by hatemongering or anti-Semitism would never accept money donated or collected by the likes of Awad, let alone stand next to him as he headlines a fundraiser.

But beyond that, we need to recognize on this 5th anniversary of 9/11 that our war is not just a military struggle or even one against supporters of terrorism. People like Nihad Awad, Shahzeb Gaziani, and Esam Omeish cannot be allowed into legitimate circles.

It's not enough to oppose "terrorism." One must also be vocal in opposing the root cause of most terrorism today: radical Islamic theology which demonizes Jews, Christians, and Americans, and holds that any non-Islamic government is inherently illegitimate.

Awad, CAIR, and Muslim-American Society, among others, are extremely vocal in their opposition, but never against radical Islam, only against its critics. They serve as the intimidation industry, doing their best to stifle even legitimate debate. They have successfully instilled fear in the media and government, which is precisely why Ellison's past with the Nation of Islam received such scant attention in the local mainstream media. Had it not been for Minnesota Democrats Exposed or Power Line, local MSM likely would have ignored it altogether.

Make no mistake about it: CAIR is an enemy of free speech, and thus an obstacle in our struggle to preserve freedom. A genuine Muslim civil rights organization could have been beneficial not just to Muslims, but the public at large. But that's not the path chosen by CAIR, who instead primarily savages critics of radical Islam, while maintaining silence on Islamic terrorism and its root cause.

CAIR already enjoys far too much legitimacy for an organization founded by two men who have both expressed explicit support for Islamic terrorism. Imagine what would happen if CAIR's executive director can claim credit for helping elect the first-ever Muslim Congressman.
It is not about denying the right to fight anti-Moslem sterotypes.
It is not about denying a Muslim the opportunity to be elected to Congress.

It is about recognizing the existence of radical Islamism, both around the world and here in the United States--and combatting it even as we acknowledge that radical Islamism does not speak on behalf of all Moslems.

CAIR is part of the problem, not the solution.
Keith Ellison has shown signs of ignoring the existence of the problem.

The issue is not Moslem influence; it is what they are doing with it.

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