Monday, March 31, 2014

Human Rights Voices: Obama's Foreign Policy Failures Lead to Disaster at UN


For Immediate Release:
March 31, 2014
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This article by Anne Bayefsky originally appeared on FOX News.

President Obama’s hemorrhaging foreign policy is creating an increasingly embarrassing mess at the United Nations. A four-week session of the U.N.’s top human rights body, the Human Rights Council, ended in Geneva on March 28, 2014, with a series of humiliating defeats for the president’s calling card of indiscriminate engagement.

Joining, and legitimizing, a U.N. Human Rights Council with no human rights conditions for membership was one of President Obama’s first foreign policy moves. Hence, the United States was elected to the council in 2009, re-elected in 2013, and currently sits alongside such human rights luminaries as Russia, China and Saudi Arabia.

This session took place against the backdrop of Russia’s aggressive takeover of parts of a sovereign country, in gross violation of the human rights of Ukrainians. And yet the Council itself couldn’t manage a peep. A U.S.-backed resolution at the U.N. General Assembly adopted on March 27, 2014, criticized Russia, but failed to take what would have been the truly isolating step of removing Russia from the Council.

So what did the Council do while it was in session?

Daniel Pipes: The Middle East Forum Debates Moderate Islam

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

The Middle East Forum Debates Moderate Islam

by Daniel Pipes
Mar 30, 2014
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

Raymond Ibrahiim appearing on CBN.
Raymond Ibrahim's recent piece for CBN, "Why 'Moderate Islam' is an Oxymoron," has prompted questions because it contradicts my views and yet (because he is a fellow at the Middle East Forum) it appears on and was sent to the MEF mailing list.
In reply, some comments on the content of his article and the propriety of its appearing with Middle East Forum sponsorship:
(1) On content: Ibrahim and I agree that a moderate Islam does not presently exist but disagree whether it might potentially exist. In the words of an article I published last year, "a reformed Islam can emerge" if Muslims

Friday, March 28, 2014

Raymond Ibrahim: Why 'Moderate Islam' is an Oxymoron

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Why 'Moderate Islam' is an Oxymoron

by Raymond Ibrahim
CBN News
March 24, 2014

Raymond Ibrahim
Raymond Ibrahim
At a time when terrorism committed in the name of Islam is rampant, we are continuously being assured—especially by three major institutions that play a dominant role in forming the Western mindset, namely, mainstream media, academia, and government—that the sort of Islam embraced by "radicals," "jihadis," and so forth, has nothing to do with "real" Islam.

"True" Islam, so the narrative goes, is intrinsically free of anything "bad." It's the nut-jobs who hijack it for their own agenda that are to blame.

More specifically, we are told that there exists a "moderate" Islam and an "extremist" Islam—the former good and true, embraced by a Muslim majority, the latter a perverse sacrilege practiced by an exploitative minority.

But what do these dual adjectives—"moderate" and "extremist"—ultimately mean in the context of Islam? Are they both equal and viable alternatives insofar as to how Islam is understood? Are they both theologicallylegitimate? This last question is particularly important, since Islam is first and foremost a religious way of life centered around the words of a deity (Allah) and his prophet (Muhammad)—the significance of which is admittedly unappreciated by secular societies.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Arlene Kushner on Protesting Release of Palestinian Terrorists and Impending Collapse of Peace Talks

From Arlene Kushner:
March 26, 2014:

Counting Down

We are almost to that day [March 29th, late at night] when either the final batch of pre-Oslo Arab prisoners will be released, or our government will announce that they are not being released...

There is a reasonable chance that the latter situation will prevail.  And, in any event, as there is little stomach for this here and no official government commitment to do so, the Israeli Arab terrorists would likely not be among those released.

Raymond Ibrahim on Western Ignorance of the 'Conditions of Omar'

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Western Ignorance of the 'Conditions of Omar'

by Raymond Ibrahim
PJ Media
March 22, 2014

Raymond Ibrahim
Raymond Ibrahim
A jihadi group occupying the Syrian town of Raqqa recently gave Christian minorities living there three choices: 1) convert to Islam, 2) remain Christian but pay tribute and accept third-class subject status, or 3) die by the sword.

According to the BBC, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria issued a directive

"citing the Islamic concept of "dhimma", [which] requires Christians in the city to pay tax of around half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety. It says Christians must not make renovations to churches, display crosses or other religious symbols outside churches, ring church bells or pray in public. Christians must not carry arms, and must follow other rules imposed by ISIS (also known as ISIL) on their daily lives. The statement said the group had met Christian representatives and offered them three choices—they could convert to Islam, accept ISIS' conditions, or reject their control and risk being killed. "If they reject, they are subject to being legitimate targets, and nothing will remain between them and ISIS other than the sword," the statement said."

Because several Western media outlets uncharacteristically reported on this latest atrocity against Syrian Christians, many Westerners are shocked—amazed to hear of such draconian conditions.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Photo: Poster Boy For The Not So Friendly BDS Movement

In The Washington Free Beacon, Adam Kredo writes that BDS Leader Posts ‘Overtly Threatening’ Photo to Facebook:
The latest image raising concern among civil rights leaders comes from a Facebook posting by Michigan student Yazan Kherallah, a leading voice in the campus’s Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a virulently anti-Israel movement that championed the divestment measure.
Kherallah posted photo to his Facebook account of him wearing a traditional Arab headscarf and jamming a knife into a pineapple.

Wearing a traditional Arab headscarf and jamming a knife into a pineapple:
 a kinder, gentler BDS? Credit: Washington Free Beacon, Yazan Kherallah / Facebook 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jonathan Spyer: Behind the Lines: Israel-Syria Border Escalation

The following by Jonathan Spyer is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Behind the Lines: Israel-Syria Border Escalation

by Jonathan Spyer
The Jerusalem Post
March 21, 2014

Jonathan Spyer
This week's events on the Israel-Syrian border are testimony to the extent to which the effective disintegration of the Syrian state is producing a new security reality in the North.

Once, Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime sought to conduct its business via Israel's border with Lebanon. The Syrians would seek to place pressure on Israel by supporting paramilitary proxies in Lebanon, which would launch attacks on Israeli forces and communities.

The precise reversal of this situation now appears to be the reality.At the same time, the direct Syria-Israel line would be kept silent, out of fear of Israeli retribution.

On the assumption of Hezbollah responsibility for the attacks, which at present appears the most likely explanation, the movement is using the Syria-Israel border as a site for attacks on Israeli forces.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Raymond Ibrahim: Why Doesn't the Media Cover Jihadist Attacks on Middle East Christians?

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Abbas Claims He Accepts Clinton Parameters -- But Has He Ever Read Them?

Jonathan D. Halevi asks the obvious question in light of Abbas' claim he accepts the Clinton Parameters: Has Mahmoud Abbas Really Accepted the Clinton Parameters on the Refugee Problem?.

Before leaving for his meeting with Obama, Abbas gave a speech to the Revolutionary Council on March 12, 2014, giving the "official stance" on the negotiations with Israel On the issue of Arab refugees, Abbas referenced the Clinton Parameters as containing 4 principles for solving the problem of Arab refugees who fled then-Palestine:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Obama Praises Abbas Leadership -- EU Condemns Abbas Squandering $2.6 Billion in Aid

Yesterday, Obama praised Abbas's leadership for peace:
I also want to point out that the Palestinian Authority has continued to try to build strong institutions in preparation for a day in which the Palestinians have their own state, and I will continue to emphasize the importance of rule of law, transparency, and effective reform so that not only do the Palestinians ultimately have a state on paper, but, more importantly, they have one that actually delivers on behalf of their people.
Unfortunately, Obama did not take the time to elaborate on the extent and type of institution-building Abbas has supposedly been up to.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Jonathan Spyer: Shifting Mideast Sands Reveal New Alliances

The following by Jonathan Spyer is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Shifting Mideast Sands Reveal New Alliances

by Jonathan Spyer
PJ Media
March 14, 2014

Jonathan Spyer
A number of events in recent weeks cast light on the current intersecting lines of conflict in the Middle East. They reflect a region in flux, in which new bonds are being formed, and old ones torn asunder.

But amid the confusion, a new topography is emerging.

This was the month in which a long-existent split in the Sunni Arab world turned into a gaping fissure. On March 5th, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates announced that they were withdrawing their ambassadors from the Emirate of Qatar.

This decision was clearly a response to Qatar's continued support and sponsorship of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. This movement is regarded as a subversive threat by the three Gulf states. They are worried by the Brotherhood's capacity for internal subversion.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Raymond Ibrahim on When Jihad Backfires on the Arab World

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

The Double-Edged Sword of Jihad

by Raymond Ibrahim
March 13, 2014

Raymond Ibrahim
Raymond Ibrahim
Islamic nations are again learning that the jihad is a volatile instrument of war that can easily backfire on those who preach it; that "holy war" is hardly limited to fighting and subjugating "infidels"—whether the West in general, Israel in particular, or the millions of non-Muslim minorities under Islam—but can also be used to fight "apostates," that is, Muslims accused of not being Islamic enough.

In an unprecedented move and following Egypt's lead, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain recently withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, largely due to its Al Jazeera propaganda network which, since the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been inciting chaos in the region.

According to a March 7 Reuters reports, "Saudi Arabia has formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, in a move that could increase pressure on Qatar whose backing for the group has sparked a row with fellow Gulf monarchies…. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are fuming over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and resent the way Doha has sheltered influential cleric Yusuf Qaradawi, a critic of the Saudi authorities, and given him regular airtime on its pan-Arab satellite channel Al Jazeera."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Arlene Kushner on Purim And The Persian Machinations Today in Iran

From Arlene Kushner:
March 13, 2014

Purim and Its Lessons

Today, as I write, is Tannit Ester (the Fast of Esther), which precedes Purim.  In the Megillat Esther – the story of Purim – Esther fasts before taking action to save her people from annihilation.
This Shabbat is Shabbat Zahor, when the weekly Torah reading is supplemented with a reading of Devorim (Deuteronomy) 25:17-19.  “Remember what Amalek did to you when you left Egypt,” we are commanded.  Amalek ambushed the Israelites from behind, attacking the weak. “You must erase the memory of Amalek from under the Heavens. Do not forget.”
We are taught that in every generation an Amalek or Amalek pro-type rises up to destroy us.  It is our task to be vigilant, and strong in our own defense.
Saturday night and Sunday, Purim will be celebrated. We read the book of Esther (from a scroll), which tells of the attempt by Haman to destroy us.  We then are commanded to rejoice that we were saved.   In Jerusalem (which was a walled city), Shushan Purim is celebrated a day later.
Credit: David Victor
I share all of this today because it echoes with such relevance for our situation.  We dare not ignore the lessons.
We are facing Iran, with which we have yet to contend.  And we are dealing with radical Islamists at our door:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Arlene Kushner on Kerry's Failure To Understand the Palestinian Inability To Make Peace With Israel

From Arlene Kushner:
March 11, 2014


That’s the diplomatic, political charade called “the peace process.”  And it is only growing more outrageous with every passing week. 
I would like to begin with a superb article - “The Palestinian narrative: The missing link in the ‘peace process’ – by Eric R. Mandel, Founder of the Middle East Political and Information Network.  It clearly and cogently identifies underlying fallacies inherent in current attempts to arrive at a “two state solution” (emphasis added):
”Secretary of State Kerry’s well-meaning attempt to forge a framework agreement between the Israeli and Palestinian governments is based on the conventional Western perspective of conflict resolution. Western democratic nations that sign treaties overwhelmingly respect the words on the paper they sign.

”But what happens when western democracies ask a democratic nation to sign a western- style treaty with an adversary that values tribe and clan over the nation-state? What happens when one party’s narrative is almost totally based on the negation of the other? While the media look through conventional glasses at the prospects for an Israeli- Palestinian framework agreement and pose certain questions, the view for those truly interested in a lasting peace should be through a more nuanced lens. Such an analysis raises questions that are more difficult.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

NGO Monitor: UK Funds Attempt to Sabotage Israel's Judicial System

For Immediate Release
March 11, 2014  
Contact: Emily Ziedman
NGO Monitor

UK Funds Attempt to Sabotage Israel's Judicial System:
Norwegian Refugee Council's $20mil project initiates 677 cases

Jerusalem - Coinciding with UK Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to Israel this week, NGO Monitor is releasing its new report on how the UK, with the EU and other governments, is funding a major anti-Israel lawfare project of an NGO (non-governmental organization) known as the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), whose activities seek to sabotage the integrity of legal processes in Israel.

Arlene Kushner: US Claims Credit For Tracking Iranian Arms Shipment, While Iran Denies Sending It

From Arlene Kushner:
March 10, 2014

Just Call Me Dubious

When last I wrote, I said I would be watching for the US response to the Israeli capture of the ship – operated under Iranian direction - that was carrying rockets intended for Gaza. As it turns out, besides the boiler plate response we might have expected, there was something else:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Daniel Pipes on Patterns in Islam -- and Their Repercussions Today

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Islam's Inadvertent Patterns

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
March 10, 2014

W.T. title: "Islam's inadvertent adverse effects on adherents: Strict traditional laws impact modern life"
How does Islam shape the way Muslims live? The religion's formal requirements are the narrow base for a far wider structure of patterns that extend the formal rules of Islam, stretching them in unexpected and unplanned ways. A few examples:

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Raymond Ibrahim on Islamic Jihad and the Doctrine of Abrogation in the Quran

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Islamic Jihad and the Doctrine of Abrogation

by Raymond Ibrahim
March 6, 2014

Raymond Ibrahim
Raymond Ibrahim
While other scriptures contain contradictions, the Koran is the only holy book whose commentators have evolved a doctrine to account for the very visible shifts which occur from one injunction to another. No careful reader will remain unaware of the many contradictory verses in the Koran, most specifically the way in which peaceful and tolerant verses lie almost side by side with violent and intolerant ones. The ulema were initially baffled as to which verses to codify into the Shari'a worldview—the one that states there is no coercion in religion (2:256), or the ones that command believers to fight all non-Muslims till they either convert, or at least submit, to Islam (8:39, 9:5, 9:29). To get out of this quandary, the commentators developed the doctrine of abrogation, which essentially maintains that verses revealed later in Muhammad's career take precedence over earlier ones whenever there is a discrepancy. In order to document which verses abrogated which, a religious science devoted to the chronology of the Koran's verses evolved (known as an-Nasikh wa'l Mansukh, the abrogater and the abrogated).

Photo not from original article

An Overview of Obama's Most Recent Foreign Policy Failures in the Middle East

The following by Jonathan Spyer is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Arlene Kushner on Israel's Interception Of Iranian Shipment of Rockets For Hamas Terrorists

From Arlene Kushner:

March 5, 2014


Truth be told, I had expected Prime Minister Netanyahu to focus on Iran in his AIPAC talk yesterday.  I had been planning to use his speech as a kick-off point for a discussion about Iran.  Instead, yesterday, I went in various other directions.  And today, there is a different, decidedly more ominous kick-off point for focus on Iran.

I am going to make this brief because, not knowing how broadly this information will be broadcast outside of Israel, I want this out:

The information has surfaced that early this morning Israeli naval commandos from the elite unit Shayetet 13 seized a ship in the Red Sea that was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian rockets intended for delivery to terrorists in Gaza.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Arlene Kushner on Netanyahu and Obama, Abbas & Putin (Oh My!)

From Arlene Kushner:
March 4, 2014

Tracking an Insane Time

There are few things more insane than Arabs throwing large rocks at cars, and thereby causing lethal injury to children. But this is what I begin with today.
It is a year ago that Adva Biton was driving in her car with other members of her family, including three children, when an Arab terrorist threw a concrete block at them.  It caused Adva to loose control of the car, which rammed into a truck and ended up trapped beneath it.  Other members of the family were moderately injured. But little Adele Biton, then two, was critically injured.  A full year later, she is still unconscious, and sits that way in a wheel chair.  Her family stays with her constantly, and hopes to bring her home, where she will secure all sorts of therapeutic treatment.
The request here is that you pray for Adele Biton. Adele Bat Adva.  Pray for her recovery daily and continue to pray until we learn that, with the help of Heaven, she has regained her life.

Credit: jewsnews
Prime Minister Netanyahu has not yet addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference as I begin this posting.  But I am eager, nonetheless, to look at what has transpired in the last day, and to share some analysis.
Before going into his lengthy closed-door meeting with President Obama in the White House last night, our prime minister conducted himself with firmness at an opening press conference.  He stood his ground.

Barack Obama meets with Binyamin Netanyahu at the UN in 2012.
Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Photo not from original post

Obama's Interview: Attacking Israel The Way He Attacks Republicans

The following by Alex Joffe is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Reading the Obama Interview

by Alexander H. Joffe
The Times of Israel
March 3, 2014

Alexander Joffe
Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg's interview with President Obama on the eve of his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is highly significant, verging on a turning point in US-Israeli relations.

Several points emerge from the interview. First is the implied threat that if current peace negotiations with the Palestinians fail, the US will be unable – read unwilling – to defend Israel. Moreover, it is up to the Palestinians to judge: "If Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited."

Declaring "our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited" is not accidental; indeed, Obama repeats it twice. Obama's statement that "What we also know is that Israel has become more isolated internationally" is not simply a prediction but a prescription. Similar statements by Secretary of State John Kerry in recent months have given European governments and industry the license to begin quietly exploring ways to boycott Israeli industries and corporations, arguably as part of an American strategy to pressure Israel during negotiations. A statement by the US president will be paradigmatic. This alone is a momentous policy shift.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Arlene Kushner on Obama's Threats on Israel in Preparation for Netanyahu

From Arlene Kushner:
March 3, 2014

“Threats Don’t Scare Israelis”

As a matter of fact, when we are threatened, our spines are stiffened. 

In this instance, I am referring to threats implied by Obama in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg for Bloomberg View.  It had made news a couple of days ago that he wanted to be “more directly involved” in those so-called “peace negotiations.”  And so here we are, with the president demonstrating his “diplomatic skills”:
"What I do believe is that if you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction and ... if Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited.

“In today’s world, where power is much more diffuse, where the threats that any state or peoples face can come from non-state actors and asymmetrical threats, and where international cooperation is needed in order to deal with those threats, the absence of international goodwill makes you less safe. The condemnation of the international community can translate into a lack of cooperation when it comes to key security interests. It means reduced influence for us, the United States, in issues that are of interest to Israel...

“The window is closing,” he declared, and it’s time for Netanyahu to “seize the moment” with regard to Kerry’s framework agreement.

Middle East Quarterly Spring 2014: Efraim Karsh on The Real Enemies of the Palestinians

The following by Efraim Karsh is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

The Palestinians' Real Enemies

by Efraim Karsh
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2014