Sunday, September 30, 2012

Video: Latma -- The Media's Math and Egypt's Honor

Here is this week's Latma.
Enjoy and Chag Sameach.

Here is the video:

This Sukkot, Do You Still Use Your White Cardboard Esrog Box?

Living "Out of the Box"

Rabbi Avi Shafran

Olivewood is beautiful. It reminds me of Eretz Yisrael and little carved camels; it has a delicate, calming hue. And silver, well, it is pure and shiny and smooth, and brings sefer Torah ornaments to mind. The esrog boxes made of ornately carved olivewood and elegant, glimmering silver are most fitting containers for holding an objet d’mitzvah. My personal preference, though, is cardboard.

Not any cardboard, that is, but my cardboard, the white heavy-paper stock box in which an esrog of mine, many years ago, was packed when I bought it. These days, the standard-issue boxes tend toward illustrated green affairs. The old-fashioned white ones were more bland, but also better canvases on which a child’s imagination could assert itself.

Arlene Kushner On Impressions After Netanyahu's UN Speech

From Arlene Kushner
September 29, 2012

The Season of Our Gladness

Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)
That gladness does not, in any way, refer to the current political situation (it should only be).  It is, rather, a reference to the holiday of Sukkot, which begins tomorrow night and lasts for a week.  It is, truly, a joyous time, with gathering of family and friends to eat within the temporary walls of the festively decorated sukkah, and, most properly, sleeping there as well.  (More easily done in Israel than in colder climes, I know.)

 A time, as well, for blessings said daily over the lulav and etrog, which are rich in symbolism and meaning.
Credit: nnhs65
Sukkot is my very favorite holiday, and I will be posting, at most, intermittently, in the week ahead.
I pick up here with an apology (and thanks to Buddy): in my rush to post about Prime Minister's speech at the UN last week, immediately after he spoke, I inadvertently picked up a URL for an old speech of his and not the one he had just given.
I will mention here, as well, that, for reasons not clear, transmission of my last post failed to just a handful of my recipients.  If you did not receive my posting about the speeches at the UN, you can find it here: The Speeches
Now I would like to return to that speech by Netanyahu.  First, to restate my original response, that it was an excellent speech.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

YU Sukkot To-Go 5773 (And Previous Years)

Will Events In Middle East In September Be Remembered In Election In November?

The following by Jonathan Rosenblum is reposted here with permission:

September/Tishrei Surprise

by Jonathan Rosenbblum
Mishpacha Magazine
September 27, 2012

Judd Gregg, a former Republican senator from New Hampshire and President Obama's first choice for Secretary of Commerce, penned an op-ed piece two months ago entitled "Heading toward a Sept. surprise," in which he noted that September has often proven to be a month of disaster. The Great Depression started in September (though Black Monday came in October); in 2008, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns both failed in September, and the world stood on the brink of another massive depression.

Gregg even offers a partial explanation for September's unfortunate prominence: "It seems September is the point in the year where people assess where they have gone, and what the next year will be like, and make investment decisions based on their conclusions."

One thing Gregg does not do, however, is note that September almost always overlaps with the Days of Judgment, when Jews too assess where they have gone astray in the past year and where they would like to go in the year to come.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Videos: How Netanyahu Could Have Improved His Iranian Bomb Presentation

Considering some of the negative reviews Netanyahu's speech to the UN is getting, maybe the problem is that the speech was too dry.

Sure, it had a diagram, but still --

Love of the Land quotes Alana Goodman, who summarizes Netanyahu's Iranian Red Line (in One Chart):
As you can see, that is a drawing of a bomb. It is divided into three stages. Iran has completed the first stage (amassing enough 70 percent-enriched uranium for a bomb), and, according to Netanyahu, can complete the second stage (amassing enough 90 percent-enriched uranium) as soon as next summer. The key here — and this is important — is to stop Iran before it enters the final stage, i.e. the completion of the bomb. Let’s hope the White House was paying attention.
Well, if the whole point was to get the White House to pay attention (no small feat), maybe Bibi could have utilized his other skills.

Here is how Netanyahu should have presented his chart to the UN:

Music Video: Shuffling Through The IDF

Here is a video -- made with IDF approval -- of an IDF recruit shuffling through IDF basic training, from the day of his enlistment to the day of his swearing in.

Much cooler than the Hamas Riverdance Troupe

Here's the video:

Arlene Kushner On The Netanyahu and Ahmandinejad Speeches At The UN

From Arlene Kushner:
September 27, 2012:

The Speeches

It's the season of speeches at the UN.  As some of what has been going on coincided with my preparations for and observance of Yom Kippur, I will need to back-track a bit before moving forward.  And forward is where I truly want to go (see the last of this posting!).
Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad actually spoke twice at the UN this week. He kicked off his visit with an address on Monday at a UN session on the rule of law -- itself a travesty of everything fair and reasonable.  And his comments there were every bit as vile as might have been expected.  He said that Israel had "no roots" in the Middle East. "We don’t even count them [Israelis] as any part of any equation for Iran,” he declared.  "They represent minimal disturbances that come into the picture and are then eliminated." Eliminated.

Video: Six Jews Who "Illegally" Blew The Shofar At The Kotel

Toldot Yisrael presents a video that tells the story of six Jewish heroes who defiantly blew the shofar at the Kotel (Western Wall) over sixty years ago, when it was illegal to do so in British Mandatory Palestine. The British passed a law in 1930 forbidding Jews to blow the shofar at the Kotel, pray loudly there, or bring Torah scrolls, so as not to offend the Arab population.

Despite this restriction, for the next seventeen years, the shofar was sounded at the Kotel every Yom Kippur. Shofars were smuggled in to the Kotel where brave teenagers defiantly blew them at the conclusion of the fast. Some managed to get away - others were captured and sent to jail for up to six months.

Six of these men are still alive.

Two weeks ago, these six men returned to the scene of their "crime". Armed with shofars, they recounted their individual stories and blew shofar again at the Kotel.

Echoes of a Shofar is the premiere episode in the "Eyewitness 1948" short film series produced by Toldot Yisrael and the History Channel. It is the centerpiece of an educational pilot program developed with The iCenter and made possible through the generous support of the Jim Joseph Foundation and others.
Here is the video:

With Release Of 2 Christians, Don't Forget The Others Imprisoned In Iran and Pakistan

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission:

The Tip of the Iceberg of Christian Persecution

by Raymond Ibrahim
Investigative Project on Terrorism
September 10, 2012

Two Christians living in the Islamic world under arrest and awaiting execution—the one charged with apostasy, the other with blasphemy—were just released.

According to a September 8 report on CNN, "A Christian pastor sentenced to death in Iran for apostasy was reunited with his family Saturday after a trial court acquitted him... Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, born to Muslim parents and a convert to Christianity by age 19, was released after being held in prison for almost three years under a death sentence.... Setting aside the death sentence, a trial court convicted Nadarkhani of a lesser charge—evangelizing Muslims—and declared that his prison sentence had already been served... His case drew international attention after his October 2009 arrest, and the 34-year-old pastor refused to recant his Christian beliefs."

In a separate story published the same day, "Pakistani authorities on Saturday released a teenage Christian girl detained over accusations of blasphemy," for allegedly burning pages of a Koran. Up till then, local Muslims were calling for the death of the 14-year-old Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, warning that, if released, they would "take the law into their own hands."

Why were these two Christians released—when both apostasy and blasphemy are great crimes in Islam, punishable by death? Is this a sign that Iran and Pakistan are reforming, becoming more "moderate"? One U.S. paper, for example, optimistically offers the following title, "Rescue of Christian Girl may be Turning Point in Abuse of Blasphemy Law."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why Do Muslims Execute Innocent People?

The following by Denis MacEoin in 2006 is reposted here with permission:

Video: "Perilous Times" For Israel Under Obama

The Republican Jewish Coalition has come out with a new video, Perilous Times -- about the US - Israel relationship under Obama:

In the film, leading Israeli experts and everyday citizens candidly discuss their concerns about the U.S.-Israel relationship under President Obama. Among the notable experts consulted for this film are:
  • Zalman Shoval, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and a highly-respected diplomat;
  • Oren Kessler, foreign affairs correspondent at the Jerusalem Post;
  • Barry Rubin, an expert on terrorism and Middle East affairs;
  • Jacob Levy, Israel’s leading pollster and founder of Gallup Israel;
  • Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch; and
  • Yair Shamir, leading Israeli businessman; former chair of El Al and Israel Aerospace; son of former PM Yitzhak Shamir.
Here is the video:

Video and Full Transcript Of Netanyahu Speaking To UN, Illustrating Red Line For Iran's Nuclear Program

This is the image that will be taken away from Netanyahu's speech today before the UN.
The question is whether it will be effective in making Netanyahu's point.

Netanyahu illustrates the red line Israel is drawing on Iranian enrichment
Here is the video, followed by full transcript:

Anne Bayefsky: After Obama's UN speech, stakes higher for Netanyahu

For Immediate Release:
September 27, 2012
(917) 488-1558
Follow us on Twitter

After Obama's UN speech,
stakes higher for Netanyahu

This article by Anne Bayefsky appears today on Fox News.

For years, Israelis most often believed the poison oozing from the United Nations was so implausible that it had to be benign. But this week Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu departed his country immediately after the sun set on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar to address the General Assembly on September 27. Unfortunately, the urgency has as much to do with President Obama’s UN address earlier in the week as it does with Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s speech on Wednesday.

Here’s what sets off alarm bells.

The Middle East Media Sampler 9/27/2012: Netanyahu's Risk In Going Public Against Iran

From DG:

The urgency gap

Jeffrey Goldberg responds to a charge that he's a "court Jew:" ( h/t Lenny Boy USA )
I also received some thoughtful responses, and read some in the media, including one, in Haaretz, from Chemi Shalev who wrote the following: "In the discussion that followed Netanyahu's appearance on Meet the Press, it was instructive to hear Atlantic magazine and Bloomberg blogger Jeffery (sic) Goldberg - whom right wingers consider to be a leftie, left-wingers view as a rightie and most Jews embrace as a voice in the middle - say that 'I have never seen a prime minister who has mismanaged Israeli-US relations like Netanyahu.' And while Goldberg's stature may be light years away from that of the legendary Walter Cronkite, my immediate association was to the oft-told but never-proven account of Lyndon Johnson's reaction to Cronkite's assertion in early 1968 that the Vietnam War was unwinnable: "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America."

Barry Rubin Fisks Obama's Speech At The UN

Barry Rubin writes about Obama at the UN: A Speech That Had Nothing to Do With Either His Policies or the Real Middle East:
President Barack Obama’s speech is a fascinating document. The theme is this: absolutely nothing can go wrong with political change in the Middle East and that the United States helps moderate forces, defined as anyone who isn't actively trying to kill Americans. The fact that some to many of those revolutionary forces favor killing Americans is outside his purview. And the fact that his policy has supported militantly anti-democratic groups far more than the (far weaker) moderate ones is airbrushed away.

A Brief History of UNRWA And Where It Went Wrong

The following is an introduction to a special issue of Middle East Quarterly on the history and problems of UNRWA and possible solutions. This introduction is reposted here with permission

Why a Special Issue on UNRWA?

by Steven J. Rosen
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2012, pp. 3-10 (view PDF)

Led by the United States, the founders of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the institution tasked with oversight of the Palestine refugees, conceived of it as a temporary instrument to help relieve the plight of the Arab refugees displaced by the struggle over Israel's creation in 1948-49. But over the ensuing sixty-three years, UNRWA has evolved into an agency that perpetuates the refugee problem as a source of conflict rather than contributing to its resolution. Its refugee camps and educational programs keep alive the impossible dream that millions of descendants of the original refugees will "return" to today's Israel. Its social service delivery programs create permanent dependency and impede local integration into the societies and countries where its beneficiaries have resided for decades. Unlike its sister agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which is responsible for millions of non-Palestinian refugees worldwide, it does not have an active program for "local integration" of refugees where they now reside nor "resettlement" in third countries. This special issue will explore the extent to which UNRWA has complied with its original mandate and ways and means for its reform.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Call To Pray During Yom Kippur For End To Iranian Threat

(See below for Hebrew text of the Tefilla and an English translation)

Orthodox Union and Rabbinical Council of America Call Upon Their Congregations to Pray During Yom Kippur Services For End to Iranian Threat:

"The Threat Is Dire And Demands Our Attention
On Our Holiest Day"

The Orthodox Union (OU) and the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) today called upon all congregations to dedicate a specific moment during their services on the upcoming holy day of Yom Kippur to pray for an end to the threat of a nuclear armed Iran. The OU and RCA leadership issued the following statement:

“On Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Jews worldwide spend the day in fasting, prayer and repentance. Yom Kippur is not a day for politics.

But Yom Kippur 5773 is different.

The Middle East Media Sampler 9/25/2012: Media Whitewashes Muslim Extremism

From DG:

1) There must be a pony in here

The Washington Post opines on the aftermath of the anti-American riots in the Middle East, In the Middle East, a pro-American turn:
People carrying pro-American signs pushed their way into the encampment of Ansar al-Sharia, which in spite of its denials is suspected of complicity in the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The militants were forced out of the base, and the demonstrators burned part of it before turning it over to the Libyan army. On Sunday, the interim government, which had been wavering on how to react to the assault on the consulate, ordered the dismantlement of all militias not under its authority and said they must withdraw from government property within 48 hours. In Egypt, where the government’s slow reaction to protests outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo prompted a phone call from President Obama to the newly elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, there has been a chorus of condemnation of the violence, with the country’s most prestigious sheiks and other Islamic leaders calling it shameful and contrary to Islam; some even issued fatwas against it. The Middle East Media Research Institute has documented numerous commentaries by newspaper columnists warning against incitement by radical groups.
Yes, to be sure, the pro-Americanism of many in Libya is encouraging. But, as Barry Rubin explains problems in Libya undermine the friendliness of its current government.

Video: The Question Of Judicial Misconduct In Case Of Sholom Rubashkin

First, a quick overview by Mary Price Vice, president and general counsel, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) of the questions of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct in the case of Sholom Rubashkin
Tomorrow, the Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will review the case of Sholom Rubashkin, who has attained cause celebre status for the remarkable events surrounding his trial and sentencing. Everything about this case is BIG. Months of planning and hundreds of agents went into pulling off a 2009 raid at Rubashkin's kosher meat packing plant in Postville, Iowa. More than 375 workers were arrested -- many ultimately deported -- and hundreds of charges lodged against Rubashkin alleging child labor and immigration law violations. He was acquitted of every one.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Anne Bayefsky: The Dangerous Spin We Can Expect from Obama at the UN

For Immediate Release:
September 24, 2012
(917) 488-1558
Follow us on Twitter

The dangerous spin we can expect from Obama at the UN

This article by Anne Bayefsky appears today on Fox News.

President Obama is fond of boasting about his foreign policy prowess and is anxious to use his UN General Assembly address on September 25 to amplify that claim. His competence took a hit this past week after he pontificated on CBS – less than 24 hours after the murder of our Libyan ambassador – that as president he’d “learned” you have “to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts.” It turned out that he didn’t have the facts, but he and his officials kept yakking anyway.

One of those sent out to face the fire, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, will be front and center at the American desk in the Assembly Hall as the president makes his UN pitch. Rice’s implacable insistence that the ‘video-done-it’ has been widely ridiculed, and is now disputed by the White House itself. In fact, the administration’s video-fixated apologies appear to have been fueling the flames.

So last Friday, during a television appearance Daily Beast columnist and Fox News political analyst Kirsten Powers asked the right question: “Why was Susan Rice lying?”

The answer will be clearer after hearing the president’s speech, but the answer – to borrow a word from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney – is self-evident. She was taking her cue from the top.

Is There A Media Blackout On Those Muslim Riots?

Back on September 14, after a few day of Muslim riots -- including the burning of the US embassies in Cairo and Benghazi and murder of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens -- The Atlantic's AtlanticWire came out with A Map of Muslim Protests Around the World:
If you can't keep track of all the Muslim protests erupting across the globe, you're not alone. The uproar over a 14-minute anti-Islam YouTube video has sparked furious protests from Somalia to Egypt to Sudan to Tunisia to Libya to Bangladesh to Indonesia to Pakistan. With new reports of protests surfacing every minute, we've compiled the latest reported incidents into this handy interactive Google Map. Click the locations and embedded links for more details about each incident.
The map was updated for the next 3 days, the last day apparently being September 14th, by which time the map looked something like this:

Why Mocking Muhammad Is Not Hate Speech

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Mocking Muhammad Is Not Hate Speech

by Daniel Pipes
September 24, 2012

To stop Islamist violence over perceived insults to Muhammad, I argued in a article on Friday, editors and producers daily should display cartoons of Muhammad "until the Islamists get used to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger."

This appeal prompted a solemn reply from Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim website, who deemed it "irresponsible and beyond the pale." Why so? Because, as she puts it, "The solution to escalating violence and hate speech is not more hate speech."

Islamists want to remove a marble
 frieze in the U.S. Supreme Court
 building that dates from the 1930s and
 depicts Muhammad as a lawgiver.
That sounds sensible enough. But does mocking Muhammad, burning a Koran, or calling Islam a cult constitute hate speech? And what about the respectful representations of Muhammad in the buildings of the U.S. Supreme Court or the New York State Supreme Court? Even they caused upset and rioting.

Arlene Kushner On Implications Of the Murder Of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens

From Arlene Kushner
September 23, 2012

As I count down the time until Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, which begins tomorrow at sundown), I find myself grieving over the state of this world of ours.  In the course of Yom Kippur, we recite Viddui -- communal confessional prayers --  several times, beating our chest with our fist as we do so.

I am of the opinion that a world-wide Viddui with a great deal of breast-beating is in order.  Forgive us, our Creator, for we have sinned.  For the world is without moral compass.

On Wednesday, the day of Yom Kippur itself, Ahmadinejad will be addressing the General Assembly of the UN.  He will not be barred from entering the US, and he will not be arrested for inciting to genocide.  The Israeli government is asking at least that representatives of nations present in the hall get up and leave when he speaks.  I have no illusions that any but a miniscule number of representatives will do so.  Because the world is without a moral compass.   


Because I am very careful to avoid sharing undocumented rumors, there are stories that make the rounds that I am reluctant to touch -- even as there is a growing conviction within me that they may be true.  But sometimes I reach a tipping point at which I know it's time to write.

Pictures: Ahmadinejad Demonstrates His Impressions Of Famous People

Every Middle Eastern despot has to have a hobby, a diversion -- for when they are not busy killing their citizens or showing off by threatening the United States.

As it turns out Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has one too.
In his spare time, Ahamdinejad likes to do impressions of famous people, both fictional and real.

Here are some examples:

The Middle East Media Sampler 9/24/2012: New York Times Biased Interview of Morsi

1) Gift wrapping Morsi

Reporters David Kirkpatrick and Steven Erlanger interviewed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. Given the lack of challenging questions and the reporters silent approval of Morsi's answers, it was designed less as a profile of Morsi than trying to show his good side to an American audience. Though the reporters don't choose the headlines, the headline Egypt’s New Leader Spells Out Terms for U.S.-Arab Ties, gives some sense of the article: it's on Morsi's terms.

Muslim Groups Disputes Credentials Of Islam's Sharpest Critics

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

MPAC Calls Me an "Expert on Islam"

by Daniel Pipes
History News Network
September 23, 2012

Why thank you, Muslim Public Affairs Council, for this endorsement. It's much appreciated, even if came in a 65-page pamphlet, Not Qualified: Exposing the Deception Behind America's 25 Top Pseudo-Experts on Islam.

According to MPAC, a leading Islamist group based in Los Angeles, those 25 would be Andrew Bostom, William Boykin, Stephen Coughlin, Nonie Darwish, Steven Emerson, Brigitte Gabriel, Frank Gaffney, David Gaubatz, William Gawthrop, Pamela Geller, John Giduck, Sebastian Gorka, John Guandolo, Tawfik Hamid, David Horowitz, Raymond Ibrahim, Zuhdi Jasser, Andrew McCarthy, Walid Phares, Patrick Poole, Walid Shoebat, Robert Spencer, Erick Stakelback, David Yerushalmi … and me.

The gravamen of MPAC's analysis is that members of this group overwhelmingly are not what it calls experts on Islam, where this term is defined as

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Barry Rubin: What Does Israel Do if Obama Is Reelected?

Barry Rubin addresses the question: What Does Israel Do if Obama Is Reelected?

Rubin breaks down the problem of a second Obama term as president into 4 separate issues, and examines each in depth:

The Middle East Media Sampler 9/23/2012: Palestinian Apologists Defend Against Romney "Gaffe"

From DG:

1) The Romney Middle East "gaffe"

In remarks Romney made back in May that were secretly recorded, he told potential donors:
“The idea of pushing on the Israelis to give something up to get the Palestinians to act is the worst idea in the world,” Romney said.  
“I’m torn by two perspectives in this regard,” he said at a $50,000-per-plate fund-raising dinner in Boca Raton, Florida, on May 17. “One is the one which I’ve had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.”
The New York Times has since published three responses to those statements.

Obama: From Friend Of Muslims To Imperialist Enemy

The following by Barry Rubin is reposted here with permission:

In Radical Arab Eyes, Libya Makes Obama
an Imperialist Enemy

by Barry Rubin

It is amazing how events in international affairs that would have been easily and accurately understood decades ago are now surrounded by obfuscation and misunderstanding. Such is the case with Libya and the U.S. role there. Forget Obama's Cairo speech and all that bowing, apologizing, appeasing, and empathy. All of it is meaningless now.

The facts are clear. Along with its NATO allies, the United States helped overthrow the dictatorship of Muammar Qadhafi in Libya and installed a new regime. This government, non-Islamist, technocratic, and led by defected old regime politicians or former exiles, won the election and is now in power.

What does this mean? Simple. Libya is now a U.S. client state. In the eyes of many Arabs and Muslims—especially the radicals but not just them—Libya is now an American puppet state.

Only The US Could Make A Boring Underwater Robot

What underwater animal do you most associate with protection?

When I was a kid, Flipper was a big deal.
After all, dolphins are smart and cool to watch.
And don't forget the movie Day of the Dolphin.
A dolphin would be a cool model for an underwater robot.

But the people who protect the US from terrorism didn't think so and therefore, Homeland Security Funds Development of Robotic Tuna to Help Protect America:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Video: Who Shall Live (It Could Change The Way You Pray During High Holidays)

A 6-minute film that can change how you pray over the High Holidays.
I only wish I had seen this video before Rosh HaShanah.

Here's the video:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Barry Rubin: The Syrian Tragedy: Is the Proposed Cure Worse Than the Status Quo?.

Barry Rubin asks the question The Syrian Tragedy: Is the Proposed Cure Worse Than the Status Quo?.

At issue is the proposal to deal with the horrendous slaughter of Syrians by the Assad regime. The most obvious answer, especially in light of Western actions in the case of Libya, is to intervene and aid the rebellion against Assad.

But there is a problem with this obvious, humanitarian, strategy:

Arlene Kushner On Muslim Assault On Freedom Of Speech -- And Other Issues

From Arlene Kushner
September 21, 2012

Before Shabbat

The day ends earlier now, and Shabbat comes in sooner.  By next week it will be considerably sooner yet, as we turn back our clocks here on Saturday night.

And so, here I wish simply to touch on a few themes, some of considerable concern:

The first issue to address today circles back on the matter of the Muslim attacks on US installations. I have already alluded to the pathetic rush to apologize that has been exhibited by members of the Obama administration, but it goes beyond that:

Latma Video: Obama's Reality Perception Adviser Explains His Iran Policy

Here is the latest edition of Latma.
It features a lampooning of Obama's Middle East policy.
(Not that the Muslims haven't done a good job themselves)

Here is the video:

The Middle East Media Sampler 9/21/2012: The Case Against Obama's Middle East Policy

From DG:

1) Reset

Exhibit A:

President Obama's Nowruz greetings to the people of Iran - March 19, 2009
So in this season of new beginnings I would like to speak clearly to Iran's leaders. We have serious differences that have grown over time. My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community. This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.

Talk About Free Speech And Mohammed Misses The Point

But the First Amendment isn’t the problem here, the dysfunctions and inadequacies of the Arab and Muslim world are.
Jonah Goldberg, Free Speech Isn’t the Problem

In my last post, I presented Pat Condell's latest video, where he goes on a rant about the Muslim riots.

I posted that video with a sort of guilty pleasure.

Listening to Condell--and if you have listened to him before you know what I mean--I felt like I was vicariously venting along with him.

One criticism I saw of this particular video is that Condell is lumping all Muslims together when he rips into the Muslim rioters and their pretenses.

Whether you agree with that criticism or not, if you feel that Condell was over the top, here is the same argument, expressed more judiciously by Jonah Goldberg who writes Free Speech Isn’t the Problem:
Amidst all of the talk of religious tolerance and the hand-wringing over free speech in recent days, one salient fact is often lost or glossed over: What we face are not broad questions about the limits of free speech or the importance of religious tolerance, but rather a very specific question about the limits of Muslim tolerance and the unimportance of free speech to much of the Muslin world.

It’s really quite amazing. In Pakistan, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories, Christians are being harassed, brutalized, and even murdered, often with state support, or at least state indulgence. And let’s not even talk about the warm reception Jews receive in much of the Muslim world.

And yet, it seems you can’t turn on National Public Radio or open a newspaper or a highbrow magazine without finding some oh-so-thoughtful meditation on how anti-Islamic speech should be considered the equivalent of shouting “fire” in a movie theater.
That really is Pat Condell's argument in a nutshell--and without the "colorful" language.

But instead, we have the following apology from the Obama administration to Pakistan:

Thankfully, there is no overt apology -- and Obama does in fact condemn the Muslim violence.


  • Obama's claim that "we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others" runs in the of the fact that this is free speech and the US government in fact does not -- and cannot -- reject those 'efforts'.
  • It sounds absurd to hear Hillary Clinton reassure Islamic extremists about our commitment to religious tolerance when those same extremists don't even share our belief in religious tolerance.

Islamists rioting in the street--burning embassies, murdering people and threatening violence should not distract us from the fact that Islamists are rioting in the street--burning embassies, murdering people and threatening violence.

Those Muslims rioting in the street are the problem, not free speech.

If you found this post interesting or informative, please it below. Thanks!

Technorati Tag: and and .

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Video: Pat Condell Has A Word With Rioting Muslims

Pat Condell is always blunt, and yes, even offensive. But in this case -- compared to the those who still say we should tip-toe so as not to offend the Islamists -- Condell is venting for those who need a counterweight.

And if you pay attention, you'll note that at the very end Condell does not end with his customary "peace".

This time, Condell is angry.
And we should be too.

Here's the video:

Arlene Kushner On Remaining Discrepancies In White House Version Of Embassy Attack

From Arlene Kushner
September 20, 2012
Is the Obama administration starting to represent the attack in Libya in different terms?  For the first time, yesterday, a member of that administration -- Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center -- referred to it as a "terrorist attack" during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing:
"I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy..."We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda's affiliates; in particular, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Why Can't The Media Be Relied On To Cover Obama Objectively?

When they needed it most, the Democrats put on a nearly flawless convention.
Paul Begala, supposedly referring to this year's convention in Charlotte

Michael Knox Beran is something less sanguine -- when it comes to the media itself and their coverage of the 2012 election campaign in general, and of Obama himself in particular. Beran writes about the media bias as it dedicates itself to Obama's re-election:

What Is Really Happening In The Middle East -- And Can Obama Handle It?

It's taken a week, but it looks like the media is finally coming around to the idea that the current wave of Muslim riots cannot all be blamed on Mitt Romney.

That being the case, as the smoke begins to clear and the facts are slowly being accumulated, what is actually going on?

Barry Rubin first addressed the issues in his post The Truth About the Wave of Anti-American Demonstrations:

The Middle East Media Sampler 9/20/2012: New York Times Clueless On Muslim Riots

From DG:

1) Cohen's trifecta

Never wrong for long is a tour de force for Roger Cohen. It is a column that is both so spectacularly uninformed, illogical and vitriolic, I don't know how he can hope to match it.
And here we are after a week of engineered tumult. The right thinks its case is proved: “You see, we told you so, the Arab Spring was a false dawn. Muslims are incapable of democracy. They are all anti-Western fanatics. Obama was wrong to support the democratic transformation that has brought Islamic parties to power.”

Obama Administration Finally Catches On To Implications Of Muslim Embassy Riots

...we here in the Middle East have tonnes of jokes about Allah, the prophets and the angels that are way more offensive, funny and obscene than those poorly-made cartoons, yet no one ever got shot for telling one of those jokes or at least we had never seen rallies and protests against those infidel joke-tellers.
Iraq The Model, commenting on the protests against Mohammed cartoons, February 6, 2006

The last time we saw this kind of massive outpouring of rage and destruction in the Muslim world against criticism of Mohammed was back in 2006 -- in reaction to the Danish cartoons  (click on image to see entire cartoon--at Human Events Online):

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Arlene Kushner On The Spread Of Anti-US Riots In The Muslim World

From Arlene Kushner:

September 19, 2012

What I am referring to is the barrage of material coming into my in-box from readers, much of it connected to the issues of the attacks on US installations abroad, the dangers of radical Islam and Obama's take on all of this.

The first thing I note is that I do not do rumors, nor am I likely to share information what "might be true" but is not corroborated or is highly speculative. Thus, I will not be talking about what US Ambassador to Libya John Stevens may have done or what may have been done to him before he was killed.  Right now, at least, I will not go there, and perhaps never.

In line with the issue of unsubstantiated rumor, I want to mention an e-mail that is making the rounds of the Internet and has now been sent to me more times than I care to count. This is ostensibly written by someone whose brother is a minister living in Jerusalem and sees multiple signs that Israel is about to go to war.  Perhaps, indeed, we will hit Iran, but this letter is a hoax, as a close examination of its claims makes clear. Please, if you come into possession of it, do not pass it on.  It serves no good purpose.


What I do want to mention -- which I passed by yesterday in making the case for the failings of the Obama foreign policy -- is that the anti-US riots have spread in the Muslim world past the original Egyptian and Libyan embassies:

Islamists Rampage While The West Accepts Its Dhimmi Status

Rampaging Islamists

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
September 19, 2012
WT title: "Islamic violence advances Shariah law: Is U.S. ready to accept second-class status?"; includes updates

When Muslims take to the streets in nearly 30 countries to engage in various degrees of anti-Western violence, something important is underway. Reflections on what this might mean:

Arlene Kushner: On Whether American Jewish Voters Get The Problem With Obama

From Arlene Kushner:
September 18, 2012
Motzei Rosh Hashanah (night -- after end of the holiday)
I've just returned to my computer after a beautiful Rosh Hashanah.  My time was devoted in the main to prayer, reading and contemplation.  Oh, and honey-laden meals with family.  Not to mention late afternoon naps.  But I will say that several people over the last few days have asked me if I think what has been going on with the attacks on US Embassies has had an effect on the attitude of American voters -- in particular American Jewish voters -- towards Obama and his re-election.

My very short answer: I pray so.


This posting will be devoted to that very question of whether American voters get it yet.  Do they have eyes to see what is happening?  Let's take a look:

Video: Anti-Obama Chanting In Middle East Reflects Obama's Declining Approval Rate Among Muslims

Much is being made of the anti-Muhammed video, to the extent that the initial attack on the US embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, the murder of US ambassador Chris Stevens and his staff -- and the continuing wave of anti-US protests are all being blamed on that video.

Thus the chant of "Obama, we are all Osama" is not supposed to be a reflection of anti-US sentiment, but just a reaction to an insult to Muhammed.

But if these protests are in fact due only to the video and are not a reaction to the US in general and the Obama administration in particular -- why is it that Muslims were already chanting "Obama, we are all Osama" 4 months ago back in May?

The Middle East Media Sampler 9/19/2012: Why Obama Administration Owes Apology -- But Not To Egypt

From DG:

Friedman - worth reading and related thoughts about the video

This won't happen very often but I highly recommend today's Thomas Friedman column, Look in your mirror. It is a response to this:
On Monday, David D. Kirkpatrick, the Cairo bureau chief for The Times, quoted one of the Egyptian demonstrators outside the American Embassy, Khaled Ali, as justifying last week’s violent protests by declaring: “We never insult any prophet — not Moses, not Jesus — so why can’t we demand that Muhammad be respected?” Mr. Ali, a 39-year-old textile worker, was holding up a handwritten sign in English that read: “Shut Up America.” “Obama is the president, so he should have to apologize!”
Friedman shows the hypocrisy of such demands citing numerous examples from MEMRI.

Video: U Didn't Build That by MC 'Bama

Here is a video of Barack Obama rapping about "You Didn't Build That", about Mitt Romney, and the 2012 campaign -- sung to the tune of MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This".

The video includes cameos from Clint Eastwood, Stephen Colbert, Hulk Hogan, Julia Gillard, and Jennifer Granholm.

Here's the video, followed by the lyrics.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Middle East Media Sampler: Burning Embassies Is Not About The Video

From DG:

1) It's not the video stupid

In an astute column marred only by a cheap shot directed at Mitt Romney in the end, Ross Douthat correctly concludes that It's not about the video.
What we are witnessing, instead, is mostly an exercise in old-fashioned power politics, with a stone-dumb video as a pretext for violence that would have been unleashed on some other excuse.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

YU's Rosh Hashanah To-Go 5773 (And Previous Years)

Rosh Hashanah To-Go 5773

Individual Articles download (Download all as a PDF)

Rosh Hashanah To-Go 5772

Raymond Ibrahim on The Collective Punishment of Egypt's Christian Copts

The Collective Punishment of Egypt's Christian Copts

by Raymond Ibrahim
Coptic Solidarity
September 6, 2012

Last month saw Egypt's latest large-scale "collective punishment" of Christian Copts. It started when a Christian launderer accidently burned the shirt of a Muslim customer, which led to a brawl between the two Egyptians (first reported here). The next day "the Muslim, with approximately 20 of his followers, went to the Christian's home to attack him. Expecting this, the Christian was prepared and climbed to the highest point of his roof, hurling Molotov cocktails at the Muslims." One Muslim man was injured and later died in a hospital. Before he died, between 2,000-3,000 Muslims attacked the Christians of the village, leading to an exodus of approximately 120 Coptic families. AINA has details of the aftermath:

Are All Those Middle East Protests Just Over A Movie?

"This is a fairly volatile situation, and it is in response not to U.S. policy, not to, obviously, the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video--a film--that we have judged to be reprehensive and disgusting. That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it. But this is not a case of protests directed at the United States, writ large, or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive and--to Muslims."
Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary

Of course, the Obama administration would have us think that the growing number of riots and protests throughout the Muslim world have nothing to do with Obama's Middle East policy.

After all, back in 2007, Obama made clear that he was uniquely qualified to make the US respected in the Muslim world:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Daniel Pipes On Obama's Muslim Childhood

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Obama's Muslim Childhood

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
September 10-14, 2012

Barack Obama has come out swinging against his Republican rival, sponsoring television advertisements that ask, "What is Mitt Romney hiding?" The allusion is to such relatively minor matters as Romney's prior tax returns, the date he stopped working for Bain Capital, and the non-public records from his service heading the Salt Lake City Olympics and as governor of Massachusetts. Obama defended his demands that Romney release more information about himself, declaring in Aug. 2012 that "The American people have assumed that if you want to be president of the United States that your life's an open book when it comes to things like your finances." Liberals like Paul Krugman of the New York Times enthusiastically endorse this focus on Mitt Romney's personal history.

If Obama and his supporters wish to focus on biography, of course, this is a game two can play. Already, the temperate, mild-mannered Romney criticized Obama's reelection campaign as "based on falsehood and dishonesty" and a television ad went further, asserting that Obama "doesn't tell the truth."

Friday, September 14, 2012

While US Embassies Attacked, US Attacked In UN

For Immediate Release:
September 13, 2012
(917) 488-1558
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Obama-backed UN “Human Rights” Council Facilitates US-bashing Meet

This article by Anne Bayefsky appears on PJ Media.

While the calamitous consequences of President Obama’s foreign policy are being played out on the Arab street, the Obama-backed UN Human Rights Council is fueling the hatred behind such violence. Today in Geneva during its current session, the Council advertised and facilitated a “parallel” event designed to condemn American troops for human rights atrocities.

Legitimization of the Council has been a cornerstone of the President’s so-called engagement policy, and his administration is currently seeking a second-term as a Council member, with elections scheduled for November 12, 2012. And yet in the Council’s Bulletin of parallel meetings today, was an event organized by two UN-accredited non-governmental organizations, one of which had close ties to the regime of Mouammar Kadhafi and the other a devotee of Saddam Hussein.

The title of the session was “Roundtable on Human Rights Issues that Require the Council’s Attention: Iraq.” Here’s a sample of what organizers meant by “human rights.” Daniela Valencia: “U.S. troops are perpetrators of rape, torture and abuse.” Karen Parker: “The U.S. engaged in terrorism…It terrorized the civilian population.” The third speaker Christopher Busby said his research suggested the U.S. dropped “bombs made of uranium in Fallujah,” and finished with “thank goodness the Koran has such enormous power.”

How Much Did US Error Contribute To The Embassy Attacks?

The Secretary of State, and by extension, the Chief of Mission (COM), are responsible for developing and implementing security policies and programs that provide for the protection of all U.S. Government personnel (including accompanying dependents) on official duty abroad.
Securing Our Embassies Overseas, State Department Website

As much as attention has been focused on Obama's reactions to the burning of the US embassies in Cairo and Benghazi and the murder of the US ambassador and other personnel -- more focus might be turned on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Video: Latma --The US Embassy Attacks From A Post-Historical Perspective

Latma examines the 9/11 attacks on the US embassies from a post-historical perspective and shares a musical Rosh Hashana greeting.

Here's the video:

The Middle East Media Sampler 9/14/2012: Media Sees Romney and Netanyahu As The Threats

From DG:

1) It's OK if the Mullahs get a nuclear weapon, it's Mitt and Bibi who are the real threats 

Bill Keller, the recently retired executive editor of the New York Times now shares his opinions with the world. The other day he explained how he stopped worrying and learned to love the Iranian bomb.

Now he identifies the real threats to the world as we know it: Mitt and Bibi: Diplomacy as Demolition Derby:

Protests -- And Threats Of Protests -- Against The US In The Middle East Spread

After the attacks on the US embassies in Cairo, Egypt and Benghazi, Libya -- US embassies issued warnings of more protests:
  • Armenia
  • Burundi
  • Kuwait
  • Sudan
  • Tunisia
  • Zambia
  • Egypt
I'm not sure why the US embassy in Armenia would issue such a warning, since there is no major native Muslim population there.

The Independent has an article today on the protests that have occurred since Cairo and Benghazi:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

No Blaming Bush Now: Consequences Of Obama's Middle East Policy

Just when we thought that the economy was the issue in the election, we are rudely reminded how events half way across the globe can effect us.

The Middle East today, is not the same as the one that President Bush faced, and for all of Obama's talk of having ended Bush's Iraq war, there are events going on that relate directly to how Obama perceives and acts in the Middle East.

Barry Rubin writes, Libya: Not Just a Tragedy But the Start of Another Endless War for America:

Video: Democrat Dov Hikind Warns Jews Against Voting For Obama

Against the backdrop of the the Jewish vote for Obama shrinking from 79% in the election to 58% now, now Dov Hikind publicly states that Obama is not good for Israel:

Why Did The Obama Administration Miss The Signs Of An Embassy Attack on 9/11?

While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
from Statement by the President on the Attack in Benghazi


The President is among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor

The question is: just how 'senseless' was this violence, considering the evidence that this was in fact organized  in advance and not spontaneous.
Max Boot writes about other indications the embassy riots were planned and not spontaneous:
Indeed, evidence is emerging of the planning that went into both assaults, with USA Today reporting: “The protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was announced Aug. 30 by Jamaa Islamiya, a State Department-designated terrorist group, to protest the ongoing imprisonment of its spiritual leader, Sheikh Omar abdel Rahman. He is serving a life sentence in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.”

Meanwhile the New York Times is reporting: “The Obama administration suspects that the fiery attack in Libya that killed the American ambassador and three other diplomats may have been planned rather than a spontaneous mob getting out of control…” The Times article further notes: “About 24 hours before the consulate attack… Al Qaeda posted to militant forums on the Web a video in which its leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, acknowledged the death in an American drone strike in June of his Libyan deputy, Abu Yahya al-Libi, and called on Libyans to avenge the death.”

This conforms squarely with recent experience in Afghanistan, where seemingly spontaneous riots and attacks in response to Koran-burnings were actually carried out with considerable planning and complicity from the insurgency.
The involvement of Jamaa Islamiya should remind us of the difficulty the Obama administration has in distinguishing friends from enemies. Alana Goodman notes in June, the Obama administration invited a member of the terrorist group to the White House.

Indeed, there does appear to be a serious problem behind the failure of the Obama administration to prepare for the embassy attacks.

In his list of The 10 Most Important Stories of the Embassy Attacks, Doug Ross notes that
Barack Obama skipped the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) the entire week leading up to 9/11:
Marc A. Thiessen confirms that Obama in the days leading up to September 11, the last briefing attended by Obama was on September 5. In addition:
The president was scheduled to hold the intelligence meeting at 10:50 a.m. Wednesday, the day after the attacks, but it was canceled so that he could comfort grieving employees at the State Department — as well he should. But instead of rescheduling the intelligence briefing for later in the day, Obama apparently chose to skip it altogether and attend a Las Vegas fundraiser for his re-election campaign. One day after a terrorist attack.
In fact, Obama prefers to read the briefs instead --
In the eyes of this administration, it is a virtue that the president does not meet every day with senior intelligence officials. This president, you see, does not need briefers. He can forgo his daily intelligence meeting because he is, in [National Security Council spokesman Tommy] Vietor’s words, “among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet.”
If only.

On September 10, the day before the embassy attacks, the following appeared on Pajamas Media: Jihadis Threaten to Burn U.S. Embassy in Cairo:
Jihadi groups in Egypt, including Islamic Jihad, the Sunni Group, and Al Gamaa Al Islamiyya have issued a statement threatening to burn the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to the ground.

According to El Fagr, they are calling for the immediate release of the Islamic jihadis who are imprisonment and in detention centers in the U.S. including Guantanamo Bay: “The group, which consists of many members from al-Qaeda, called [especially] for the quick release of the jihadi [mujahid] sheikh, Omar Abdul Rahman [the "Blind Sheikh"], whom they described as a scholar and jihadi who sacrificed his life for the Egyptian Umma, who was ignored by the Mubarak regime, and [President] Morsi is refusing to intervene on his behalf and release him, despite promising that he would. The Islamic Group has threatened to burn the U.S. Embassy in Cairo with those in it, and taking hostage those who remain [alive], unless the Blind Sheikh is immediately released.”
Meanwhile, in Benghazi, the US embassy was not properly protected:
A Marine Corps official who would not speak for the record told Danger Room that the Corps did not and currently does not have assets in Benghazi.
While the pro-Obama apologists rally around him telling us how really smart Obama is, it would be nice to see him actually leading.

  • Leading and not skipping intelligence briefings
  • Leading and not playing golf
  • Leading and not unable to find time to meet Netanyahu on Iran -- but able to find time for Letterman
  • Leading and not rushing off to Las Vegas
  • Leading and not being caught flatfooted on the anniversary of 9/11

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