These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 13, 2010.
Monday, 13 December 2010
Video of the Stockholm bomber.
From The Telegraph
The Stockholm bomber sent a chilling audio recording in English shortly before two bombs went off warning his actions would "speak for themselves". A man is heard describing the Islamic state as a "reality" in Europe and in Sweden. The voice is thought to be of Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, a British university graduate who until recently was living in Luton. He spoke hurridly but calmly and quietly and cleared his voice several times during the message that lasted less than a minute.
The recording states: "Now the Islamic state has been created. We now exist here in Europe and in Sweden. We are a reality. I don't want to say more about this. Our actions will speak for themselves." He added: "We are not a lie, or imagination. We are real." He also referred to the depiction of the prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog in a 2007 cartoon by a Swedish artist which enraged many Muslims. He said: "Stop your drawings of our prophet...No more oppression against Islam or Muslims will be tolerated in any way or by any means."
Police have searched a property in Luton after it emerged that a suicide bomber who carried out an attack in Sweden lived in Britain until recently. Officers from London's Metropolitan Police began the search just before 11:00 pm (2300 GMT) on Sunday, said a force spokesman, in the wake of the twin blasts in Stockholm which killed one person.
"Officers executed a search warrant under the Terrorism Act 2000 at an address in Bedfordshire. There have been no arrests," said the spokesman. "We are confirming that this is in connection with the incident in Stockholm."
No hazardous materials were found at the property, Scotland Yard said. The search was expected to resume on Monday.
Islamist website Shumukh al-Islam named Taymour Abdel Wahab as the man responsible for the explosions, which Sweden has said it is probing as a "terrorist crime." The site said: "It is our brother, mujahid Taymour Abdel Wahab, who carried out the martyrdom operation in Stockholm."
The wife and children of Taymour Abdel Wahab - said to be in his late 20s - are still living in Luton. "I used to see him around often. He didn't say much but seemed nice. I used to see him walking with his kids," Tahir Hussain, 33, a local taxi driver told The Daily Telegraph. "I was shocked when I heard what happened because I never thought he could do such a thing."
Posted on 12/13/2010 5:02 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 13 December 2010
Israeli Security Expert: TSA Procedures 'Hysterical'
Before we mandate body cavity searches before Americans are allowed to board public transportation, we might want to look at Israel's "questioning system." This is from CBN:
A top Israeli airport security expert says the new screening procedures being implemented by the Transportation Security Administration are a "hysterical" reaction to the terrorist threat.
Ben Gurion Airport's former director of security Pini Schiff warns that the TSA pat-downs and body scanners won't be effective in pinpointing terrorists.
"When you are wasting time and when you are wasting manpower and the level of service to the passengers is so low - something is missing in the way of finding the passenger you are looking for," he said.
"When millions of passengers are suspected, how can you find the one suspect passenger you are looking for? It's impossible to do," he concluded.
Schiff also says the new system will be impossible to sustain and said he wonders what will happen when it breaks down.
Israel, a world leader in aviation security, began implementing profiling techniques in the 1970s.
"What we do for many years is the questioning system," Boaz Ganor, executive director of The Institute for Counter Terrorism in Israel, told CBN News.
"The security personnel, the airport security personnel in Israel was trained to identify the suspicious behavior of people, to question the people and by the questioning to be able to find suspects," he explained.
Opponents of profiling say such methods could lead to religious or ethnic discrimination.
"We are not talking about discrimination," Schiff told the U.K.'s Sky News.
"We are talking about passengers who have to be checked differently to other passengers," he explained. "It can be a Jew, Christian, Muslim whatever."
Schiff said he hopes the U.S. will heed some of the lessons Israel has learned in its long battle against terror.
"I would suggest to copy in a way Israeli way of checking passengers in our international airport. It can be done."
Posted on 12/13/2010 7:22 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 13 December 2010
Official EDL Press Release on the subject of Pastor Terry Jones
Thanks to Brian of London
Statement regarding the approach by Pastor Terry Jones to speak at one of our Demonstrations.
Official EDL Press Release
The English Defence League wish to correct a falsehood that is being propagated by the international media: we did not invite Terry Jones to speak at any EDL event, he approached us and we agreed in principle but we have since taken an indepth look at him and his church . Terry Jones won international notoriety by threatening to burn the Koran. We believe firmly in upholding the principles of free speech and free expression, and believe that he should have been free to do so, and protected by law enforcement authorities from those who would have tried to harm or kill him had he done so.
At the same time, we strongly disapprove of burning the Koran, precisely because we believe in those principles of free speech and free expression. We do not believe the Koran should be burned, but rather read, so that people come to understand its inherent violence, supremacism, and hatred and contempt for non-Muslims. It is essential that people know what the Koran teaches, so they can see how far its teachings are from the free traditions of England that we have pledged our lives to uphold and defend.
The English Defence League has made it clear in previous press statements that it has a great deal of sympathy with some of the views and opinions of Pastor Terry Jones specifically related to Islamic Extremism. We share similar concerns with him regarding extreme Islam, shariah law and of course the Qu'ran. We are also deeply concerned over his personal targeting by the home secretary, Theresa May, with respect to a possible U.K. banning order. These issues notwithstanding, we still have some reservations about Pastor Jones and we do not agree with all of his opinions or indeed all he stands for.
The EDL is extremely proud of its diverse support base including its primary base of geographical divisions from all across England encompassing much ethnic diversity. In addition we have specific divisions drawn from groups particularly threatened by encroaching Sharia: a Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Division; a Jewish Division and recently a Pakistani Christian Division. The EDL also enjoys the active participation and support of many former members of the Armed Forces. In light of our strong commitment to these groups and some of the Pastor's statements and associations, we feel it inappropriate to offer Pastor Terry Jones an invitation to attend an EDL demonstration.
The EDL can confirm that Pastor Jones will not be attending the English Defence League demonstration against sharia in Luton on 5 February. We wish him success in his efforts to oppose the rise of sharia in the United States and thank him for his interest in the EDL.
I think personally that this is exactly the right way to deal with the situation.
Posted on 12/13/2010 9:01 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 13 December 2010
Rawls's Original Position Requires An Act Of Sympathetic Identification, Which Requires Imagination, Which Requires....
Upper-class people [this is an inaccurate euphemism for "rich"] are less adept at reading other people's emotions than their lower-class counterparts, according to a new study published in the journal Psychological Science.
Frank Franklin Ii / AP file
Donald Trump and other upper-class types don't know -- or care -- what you're feeling.
"We found that people from a lower-class background - in terms of occupation, status, education and income level - performed better in terms of emotional intelligence, the ability to read the emotions that others are feeling," says Michael Kraus, co-author of the study and a postdoctoral student in psychology at the University of California, San Francisco.
In other words, if you're looking for a little empathy, you're more likely to get it from a poor person than a rich one (just ask Bob Cratchit).
In a series of studies, more than 300 upper- and lower-class people were asked the interpret the emotions of people in photos and of strangers during mock job interviews.
In both cases, those with more education, money and self-defined social status weren't nearly as adept at figuring out if a person was angry, happy, anxious or upset as their lower class colleagues.
Kraus says that's likely because people from lower-economic backgrounds may have to rely on others for help.
"You turn to people, it's an adaptive strategy," he says. "You develop this sort of heightened independence with other individuals as a way to deal with not having enough individual resources."
Upper-class people, on the other hand, don't need to ask for help that often.
"One of the negative side effects of that is that they're less concerned and less perceptive of other people's needs and wishes. They show a deficit in empathic accuracy."
Does this mean rich people have more a tendency to be, well, insensitive jerks?
"I wouldn't say that upper-class people are being jerky, but they're less aware of other people's emotions," says Kraus. "If a person is upset, they don't see it. Similarly, if a person is happy and excited, they may not react to that either."
Kraus admits the results he and his colleagues came up with "scare us a little bit" but says the effects aren't permanent. In fact, in another experiment they conducted, upper-class people became much better at reading emotions once they were asked to imagine themselves on the other end of the economic, educational or social spectrum.
In other words, much like Ebenezer Scrooge, even your fat cat boss may one day see the light.
Posted on 12/13/2010 9:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
How The Story Of A Muslim Trying To Kill Swedes Is Presented As An Edifying Tale Of Muslim Moderation
Yes, this man who had arrived in Sweden from Iraq at the age of 11, and thus lived in the West for eighteen years, decided to leave a mosque in Luton. But he was not asked to leave, he was not even denounced by name. He decided on his own, when the imam of the mosque apparently spoke -- so we are now told -- against his "extremism" -- to leave the mosque. We are not told, but it is clear from everything we know, that this man was not reported to the British authorities as a possible danger. We are not told exactly the reasons why he was denounced. Was it for misunderstanding Islam? Or was it, rather, for endangering Muslims in Great Britain who would do better, for now, by not being involved in open terrorism, and this is something the imam at the Luton Mosque -- Muslims from Luton had already been involved in several terrorist attacks, including that on the London busses and London Underground -- knew perfectly well. Prudential considerations likely explain the denunciation. If the imam of the Luton Mosque offered a rebuttal to the future would-be mass-killer of Swedes based on Islamic texts, one would like to know that, and to know exactly what texts he relied on.
But that is unlikely to be what happened, because the texts are with the bomber. That is what the reporters who filed the report below, and all the other reporters in the West who can never bring themselves to ask, much less answer, such a question, never seem able to do. Why not?
Here's the story, with its misleading and feel-good [don't worry, most Muslims are on our side; the moderates are everywhere, helping protect us] headline:
UK mosque denounced Stockholm bomber for militancy
LUTON, England (Reuters) - A man linked to two bomb blasts in the Swedish capital at the weekend had stormed out of a mosque in England several years ago and never returned after its leader challenged him over his radical ideas.
Taymour Abdulwahab, a Swedish national of Middle Eastern origin who died in one of the blasts he is believed to have triggered, attended an Islamic Center in the town of Luton, southern England, and also studied at the local university.
British police were searching a house in the town where he lived with his wife and children as part of an investigation into the bombings that injured two people in a busy shopping district in Stockholm on Saturday.
Farasat Latif, secretary of the center, told Reuters that Abdulwahab had spent three to four weeks at the mosque in 2006 or 2007 during the month of Ramadan.
"He was very friendly, bubbly initially and people liked him. But he came to the attention of our committee for preaching extremist ideas," Latif told Reuters.
Latif said the centre's chairman took Abdulwahab aside and told him that his views were incorrect and a "distorted view of Islam." He was told not to air them again, but after initially agreeing, he resumed preaching his radical views.
"When we realized that he wasn't going to stop our chairman decided after the early morning prayer in front of the entire congregation to expose him and his views without naming him," Latif said.
"Taymor knew he was being spoken about and stormed out of the mosque in the middle of this and we never saw him again after that."
Sweden's chief prosecutor said on Monday that the man who died in the blast had been wearing an explosives belt and had probably been aiming to attack a crowded train station or department store when the device went off prematurely.
Shortly before that blast, a car containing gas canisters blew up in central Stockholm.
The town of Luton is home to a large Muslim community and has drawn the attention of Britain's security services before.
The suicide bombers responsible for the July 7, 2005 attack on London's transport system that killed 52 people met in Luton on the day of the attacks, abandoning their cars at the station to catch a train into the capital where they detonated their bombs.
Posted on 12/13/2010 10:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
A Musical Interlude: Caught Me Wrong Again (Memphis Minnie)
Posted on 12/13/2010 10:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
Practicing A Subversive Form Of Art Criticism, Garbage Men In Padua Throw Out A Work Of "Art"
In Padova, a report in the Corriere della Sera of the latest example of a heartening develoopment, a truly subervive form of art criticism now being practiced by those who are regarded as at the bottom of our socio-economic system of exploitation, that is, garbage men, a new kind of criticism that goes beyond interrogating all hierarchies of value, goes beyond even exposing to public view the cruelties and hypocrisies of connoisseurship that inevitably privilege so-called "art" -- that is, that which the handmaidens of The System choose to call "art" -- to take Direct Action, whether on the sidewalks of the city, or burrowing from within the very museums that are run by those whose hands are perennially held out greedily to be filled by those who salve their consciousnesses and soothe their consciences by "supporting the arts," and who, as a consequence of fearing to offend their donors, make it a rule never to note the nexus of Art or "art" and late capitalism of the early twenty-first century.
Scambiano l'arte per spazzatura
e buttano l'opera nell'inceneritore [They mistake the art for garbage and throw the work into the incinerator]
L'installazione «Legg-io» di Isabella Facco è stata rimossa dai netturbini dell'Aps. Faceva parte della rassegna «Artisti al muro» in giro per la città
L'opera finita nel compattatore
PADOVA - Scambiano un'opera d'arte contemporanea per spazzatura e la buttano nel compattatore. Sfortunata sorte quella di «Legg-io», un opera d'arte povera di Isabella Facco scambiata dai netturbini dell'Aps per un rifiuto da portare all'inceneritore. L'iniziativa «Artisti al Muro» di certo non aveva messo in conto questa eventualità. Si trattava di esporre opere d'arte contemporanea in varie zone della città, anche le più insolite e meno turistiche in una sorta di galleria d'arte all'aria aperta. Una copia di «Legg-io» è stata subito riportata in via Zabarella, da dove era stata rimossa, ma questa volta è stata posizionata ad alcuni centimetri di altezza da terra. Accanto all'opera è stata anche installata una targhetta (più visibile della prima) che «certifica» che si tratta di un'opera d'arte.
13 dicembre 2010
Posted on 12/13/2010 10:30 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
A Didactic Interlude: The Visit To The Biennale (Alberto Sordi)
Posted on 12/13/2010 10:44 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
Benjamin Kerstein On Christopher Hitchens And His Jewish Problem
December 13, 2010
Christopher Hitchens’s Jewish Problem
The fact that Christopher Hitchens has a problem with the Jews has been an open secret for years. No one much likes to talk about it, and for various reasons his journalistic peers have remained silent on the subject. But it is nonetheless the case, and there is little sense in denying it.
The sixty-four-year-old Hitchens, a native of Great Britain and a recently naturalized U.S. citizen, is one of the most widely read and admired columnists in America, as well as a celebrated author who, in the words of the New York Times, "embraces the serious things, the things that matter: social justice, learning, direct language, the free play of mind, loyalty, holding public figures to high standards."
Hitchens's career began on the radical Left, with a strong affinity for the legacy of the Communist ideologue Leon Trotsky and his followers. His real gift, however, was not for ideology but for polemic, and his blistering prose quickly made him a literary celebrity, first in the pages of Britain's New Statesman and then, after he emigrated to America, as a regular columnist at the Nation. Before long, Hitchens's colorful opinions and even more colorful public image became fixtures of mainstream publications like Vanity Fair and the Atlantic.
For much of his career, Hitchens was known as a ferocious critic of American power and American policy. But in the 1990s, with the war in the Balkans and the long campaign to secure American intervention against the Serbs, he began a slow turnabout that would come to a head on September 11, 2001. Following the 9/11 atrocities, and the conspicuous failure of many of his left-wing comrades to acknowledge the guilt, and the threat, of radical Islam, Hitchens split from the Left for good, becoming one of the most vocal and, in conservative quarters, most prized supporters of the war on terror and American intervention in Iraq.
As a result of this about-face, Hitchens is now loathed both by his former comrades on the Left and by apologists for radical Islam. At the same time, many conservatives have proved willing to overlook his less palatable opinions: his implacable hatred of religion, for example, or his claims that Mother Teresa was morally depraved and that Henry Kissinger should be tried for war crimes. Nonetheless, it has been hoped that, along with his turn against the Left, Hitchens might have mellowed somewhat on the Jewish question, and in particular on his longstanding antipathy toward Israel. But this was not to be, as he took care to remind the world in a November 15 essay in the online magazine Slate, enchantingly titled "Israel's Shabbos Goy."
In this article, Hitchens's trademark indignation was aroused by the Obama administration's offer to Israel of various benefits in exchange for a moratorium on settlement building. Any such deal would have had to be approved by Israel's coalition government, one of whose members is Shas, a Sephardi religious party whose founder and spiritual leader is Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. The once-formidable scholar, referred to by Hitchens with typical subtlety as "this elderly Sephardic ayatollah" and a "scrofulous medieval figure," is now in his nineties and, as evidenced by some recent nasty remarks about non-Jews, much in need of retirement. For Hitchens, however, Ovadia Yosef and his attitude toward Gentiles are not the real problem. The real problem is Judaism itself:
The only mystery is this: why does the United States acquiesce so wretchedly in its own disgrace at the hands of a virtual client state? A soft version of Rabbi Yosef's contemptuous view of the Gentiles is the old concept of the shabbos goy—the non-Jew who is paid a trifling fee to turn out the lights or turn on the stove, or whatever else is needful to get around the more annoying regulations of the Sabbath. How the old buzzard must cackle when he sees the Gentiles [i.e., America] actually volunteering a bribe to do the lowly work!
The tone of unrestrained invective in these passages is part of Hitchens's cachet as a writer. The substance, however, is very ugly stuff indeed, composed out of some of the most barbarous and reactionary stereotypes of the Jewish people. In one paragraph alone, Hitchens evokes an image of the Jews as preternaturally crafty, hypocritical, manipulative, supremacist, animalistic, and morally diseased creatures who, with the help of their corrupt talents, set themselves to exploiting Gentiles for financial gain and "cackle" with glee at the resultant spectacle. Nor is this sort of defamation particularly unusual for Hitchens, who has been writing similar things for years and, for the most part, getting away with it.
Hitchens's bestselling atheist jeremiad, God is Not Great (2007), provides an excellent overview of its author's sentiments on the topic of Jews and Judaism. While the book is ostensibly opposed to all religions equally, Hitchens goes out of his way not merely to criticize Judaism but to portray it in the ugliest possible terms, invoking many of the classic themes of anti-Semitism in order to do so.
He informs us, for example, of the "pitiless teachings of the God of Moses, who never mentions human solidarity and compassion at all," and whose Ten Commandments have nothing to say about "the protection of children from cruelty, nothing about rape, nothing about slavery, and nothing about genocide." Indeed, according to Hitchens, "some of these very offenses are . . . positively recommended" by the God of the Hebrews, with far-reaching historical consequences. According to Hitchens, the Jews' genocidal God and His order to drive the Canaanite tribes out of the land of Israel form the basis not only of a "19th-century irredentist claim to Palestine" but of the current debate among Israeli rabbis over "whether the demand to exterminate the Amalekites is a coded commandment to do away with the Palestinians." Who these rabbis might be, the extent of their influence, and whether anyone listens to them are questions that go mostly unaddressed.
For Hitchens, the evils he lists are not just religious tenets; they are ingrained in the Jews themselves. The rituals and practices of Judaism, he charges, are debased by the Jews' obsession with money, as exemplified by the "hypocrites and frauds who abound in talmudic Jewish rationalization" and who operate according to the principle: "'Don't do any work on the Sabbath yourself, but pay someone else to do it for you. You obeyed the letter of the law: who's counting?'" (Hitchens's world abounds, apparently, in dutiful shabbos goyim.) Circumcision, he claims, is the "sexual mutilation of small boys" and "most probably a symbolic survival from the animal and human sacrifices which were such a feature of the gore-soaked landscape of the Old Testament." As for anti-Semitism, the Jews brought it on themselves. "By claiming to be 'chosen' in a special exclusive covenant with the Almighty," Hitchens writes, "they invited hatred and suspicion and evinced their own form of racism."
Hitchens's loathing for Judaism, or rather the grotesque caricature he refers to as Judaism, is particularly evident in his treatment of Hanukkah, a holiday marking the 2nd-century B.C.E. victory of a Jewish revolt led by the Maccabees. For Hitchens, the Maccabees' defeat of the Hellenistic regime of Antiochus Epiphanes was a disaster, because Antiochus, far from being a villainous tyrant, had "weaned many people away from the sacrifices, the circumcisions, the belief in a special relationship with God, and the other reactionary manifestations of an ancient and cruel faith."
To put it kindly, this is false; for the rather less benign details, one may consult I Maccabees and Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews. In brief, the "weaning away" lauded by Hitchens involved the forcible suppression of Jewish culture, religion, and ritual, along with torture, imperial occupation, and mass murder, including the slaughter of children: in other words, the very things that this self-proclaimed global humanist violently denounces whenever the Jews are not involved.
For Hitchens, the Jewish rejection of Hellenistic Greek culture in favor of what he calls "tribal Jewish backwardness" constitutes something like a crime against humanity. This belief is an important one, and he appears to have come by it very early on. In his recently published autobiography, Hitch-22, he laments that, in the world-historical struggle between Athens and Jerusalem, the former tragically lost out to the latter's "stone-faced demand for continence, sacrifice, and conformity, and the devising of ever-crueler punishments for deviance." The fact that, historically speaking, the "ever-crueler punishments for deviance" were inflicted by Athens upon Jerusalem, and not vice-versa, is something that, for Hitchens, is apparently not worth mentioning.
In short, Judaism is to blame for everything Hitchens hates about monotheism as a whole. "As a convinced atheist, I ought to agree with Voltaire," he writes of the father of Enlightenment anti-Semitism,
that Judaism is not just one more religion, but in its way the root of religious evil. Without the stern, joyless rabbis and their 613 dour prohibitions, we might have avoided the whole nightmare of the Old Testament, and the brutal, crude wrenching of that into prophecy-derived Christianity, and the later plagiarism and mutation of Judaism and Christianity into the various rival forms of Islam.
"Most of the time," he concludes, "I do concur with Voltaire, but not without acknowledging that Judaism is dialectical."
That tacked-on caveat about Judaism's "dialectical" quality may seem curious, but Hitchens gives a good indication of what he means by it in describing the type of Jew he does find acceptable. These are the "non-Jewish" Jews like Spinoza, Trotsky, and, one imagines, the partially Jewish Christopher Hitchens himself. Needless to say, separating the Jews into "good" Jews and "bad" Jews has a rather nasty provenance, but Hitchens has indulged in the exercise on more than one occasion. Concerning, for example, the 2003 terrorist bombing of the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, he wrote with ostensible sympathy that "The worshippers were not killed for building a settlement in the West Bank: they were members of a very old and honorable community who were murdered for being Jews." The implication that, had the Jews of Neve Shalom been building a settlement in the West Bank, murdering them would have been perfectly acceptable, points to where Hitchens's dialectics can lead.
It is also true that, on occasion, Hitchens has been outspoken in condemning anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, even a cursory examination reveals that these condemnations tend to be highly selective—so selective, in fact, that they often appear to be little more than an exercise in bad faith. For the most part, Hitchens condemns anti-Semitism when doing so can serve as a weapon against those he dislikes: e.g., certain right-wingers, certain left-wingers, radical Muslims, people who support radical Muslims, the Catholic church, or Christian evangelicals. When anti-Semitism serves his purposes, however, he is perfectly willing to make use of it and to engage in apologetics on its behalf.
Indeed, Hitchens's concept of anti-Semitism is itself a largely self-serving fantasy. "Because anti-Semitism is the godfather of racism and the gateway to tyranny and fascism and war," he has said, "it is to be regarded not as the enemy of the Jewish people but as the common enemy of humanity and of civilization and has to be fought against very tenaciously for that reason." In other words, Hitchens appears to be opposed to anti- Semitism only to the extent that it has nothing to do with the Jews but serves as a proxy for other evils. Given that anti-Semitism, whatever else it may be, is most certainly the enemy of the Jewish people, to decline to condemn it on that basis is, in effect, to decline to condemn it at all.
Hitchens has also proved quite willing to rationalize or explain away anti-Semitism when it is practiced by his friends or by those on his side of an argument. A notable beneficiary of his indulgence, as far back as the 1980s, was the leftist intellectual Noam Chomsky, who found himself in trouble after signing a petition defending the French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson. Criticized by a group of French intellectuals, Chomsky shot back that he was merely standing up for Faurisson's right of free speech, not his opinions, and attacked his critics as enemies of that right. In this he was duly parroted by Hitchens, who asserted that "the ‘fact' here is that Chomsky defended not Faurisson's work but his right to research and publish it."
This too was false. The petition Chomsky signed, and from which Hitchens himself quoted extensively, was clearly written by a Holocaust denier and presented Holocaust denial as a perfectly acceptable form of historical inquiry. This was what Chomsky's opponents criticized—not his defense, such as it was, of Faurisson's right to free speech.
Something similar occurred in the case of the British pseudo-historian David Irving, a self-declared fascist who has also described himself as "a hardcore disbeliever" in the Holocaust. In 1996, when St. Martin's Press declined to publish Irving's biography of Joseph Goebbels, Hitchens rushed to announce that the press had "disgraced the business of publishing and degraded the practice of debate." He also asserted that Irving "has never and not once described the Holocaust as a ‘hoax.'" This was obviously untrue, since Irving had been publicly denying the Holocaust for nearly a decade. Nor was "the Irving suppression," as Hitchens dubbed it with his usual bombast, anything more than a simple case of a publisher deciding, on fairly firm grounds of intellectual and moral integrity, not to publish an extremely bad book.
Even the symbols of Nazism seem to exercise Hitchens in strikingly counterintuitive ways, depending on who is deploying them. Remarking on the use of swastika flags by pro-Palestinian protestors, Hitchens publicly claimed to be "sickened" but then admonished his audience to remember that "this is an auction of imagery that was started by [Menachem] Begin and other Israeli extremists who once openly and regularly compared the PLO to the Nazi party." By way of contrast, on a 2009 visit to Beirut, Hitchens went out of his way to deface a swastika displayed by a pro-Syrian fascist party, endangering his traveling companions in the process. The contrast serves as something of an object lesson in Hitchens's selective outrage: When a swastika is the symbol of an obscure Lebanese political bloc, nothing, including the safety of others, must be spared in order to destroy it. When a swastika is brandished by pro-Palestinian activists, it is an understandable reaction to the rhetoric of "Israeli extremists."
The truth is that, beneath the surface platitudes, Hitchens's attitude toward the Holocaust and Nazism, like his attitude toward anti-Semitism, is disturbingly bizarre; but it is of a piece with his general attitude toward the Jews, Judaism, and their enemies.
There is, of course, no issue on which Hitchens's anti-Semitism has been more aggressive and outspoken than that of Zionism and Israel. That Hitchens hates Israel has long been known, and he has made no secret of it. Indeed, it practically leaps off the pages of his Slate article as well as countless other essays and interviews. Somewhat less well known is the extent to which this antipathy appears to be based on Hitchens's embrace of the racist proposition that the Jews have no homeland in Israel (and thus, by definition, no homeland anywhere).
According to Hitchens, the widely held delusion that the Jews are a people with the same rights as any other is a direct result of the deleterious influence of Judaism itself. As he puts it: "The only actual justification offered" for Zionism "is that God awarded the land to one tribe a good many years ago, and of course this appalling racist and messianic delusion . . . only makes a terrible situation even worse." In reality, one is constrained to point out, there is a bit more than God involved, such as the existence of a Jewish nation in the land of Israel for centuries, its sovereignty ended only by genocide at the hands of Roman legions; the centrality of Israel and especially Jerusalem to Jewish thought and culture; the fact that only the land of Israel has ever been regarded as the Jewish homeland by both Jews and non-Jews (including Muslims); and various other significant and notably secular historical facts.
Many of Hitchens's claims against Zionism go far beyond simple distortion. About Theodor Herzl, for example, he tells us: "If I could rewind the tape, I would stop Herzl from telling the initial demagogic lie (actually two lies) that a land without a people needs a people without a land." In fact, Herzl never wrote this. Hitchens's claim otherwise is no less false than his subsequent assertion that "If you give the most cursory attention to the writings of Herzl and [Max] Nordau and other founders of the Zionist movement, or if you read the memoirs of Yitzhak Rabin closer to our own day, you will notice at once that . . . they wanted [the Arabs'] land, and wanted it without its inhabitants." Herzl, in fact, hoped that the Arabs would be integrated as equal citizens in a future Jewish state, as did most of the "other founders of the Zionist movement," and Yitzhak Rabin never advocated an Israel emptied of its Arab citizens but publicly denounced such sentiments. One is not permitted to "lie about history," Hitchens once lectured a supporter of Israel, a rule that appears to be forgotten when it comes to Hitchens himself.
One likely reason behind Hitchens's hatred of Zionism is the (to him) irritating fact that the movement succeeded despite the opposition to it of many of the "non-Jewish" Jews he so admires. "One of the advantages of a Marxist and internationalist training," he has stated in an interview, "is that it exposes one to the early writings of those Jewish cosmopolitans who warned from the first day that Zionism would be a false messiah for the Jews and an injustice to the Arabs. Nothing suggests to me that they were wrong on these crucial points." This assertion is either tragic or absurd, considering that the Jewish cosmopolitanism glorified by Hitchens ended in the Auschwitz gas chambers, while the despised Zionists went on to found a relatively strong, prosperous, and culturally vibrant nation-state.
To a great extent, such violent hostility appears to be driven not by the delusions of Zionism but by the delusions of Christopher Hitchens. In a remarkable piece of bluster, he once wrote that "if anti-Jewish fascism comes again to the Christian world—or more probably comes at us via the Muslim world," he would not repair to Israel because "I already consider it an obligation to resist it wherever I live. I would detest myself if I fled from it in any direction." The obvious truth behind this swaggering fantasy is that if "anti-Jewish fascism" were to rise again, Hitchens would most likely share the fate of almost everyone who followed his recommended course the last time such a dilemma presented itself. His complacent formula for permanent Jewish victimization calls to mind something his hero George Orwell once wrote about pacifism: that it "is only possible to people who have money and guns between them and reality." Much the same, and worse, appears to be true of Hitchens and his anti-Zionism.
Without taking anything away from Hitchens's native gifts as a polemicist, it is not difficult to pinpoint the source of many of his poisonous attitudes toward the Jews and Judaism. He has done so himself many times by naming the late Israel Shahak as his "beloved guide, in the superior sense of that term," occupying a place in his pantheon of intellectual heroes next to Thomas Paine, Edmund Burke, and, of all people, Gore Vidal. "He was never interviewed by the New York Times," Hitchens lamented after Shahak's death, "and its obituary pages have let pass the death of a great and serious man."
Unfortunately, the "great and serious man" was barking mad. This is made apparent by the merest glimpse into Shahak's magnum opus, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, which Hitchens has recommended as a reliable guide on matters Jewish. It is, quite simply, a masterpiece of anti-Semitic literature, whose thesis is quickly summarized: Judaism is racist and evil; as a result, Zionism is racist and evil; as a result, Israel is racist and evil. For Jews to cease to be racist and evil, they must divest themselves of Judaism.
To support this thesis, Shahak spins a lengthy conspiracy theory according to which the ancient rabbis cooked up the Talmud in order to create "one of the most totalitarian societies in the whole history of mankind." Here are a few characteristic passages:
* "[B]oth before and after a meal, a pious Jew ritually washes his hands, uttering a special blessing. On one of these two occasions he is worshiping God, by promoting the divine union of Son and Daughter; but on the other he is worshiping Satan, who likes Jewish prayers and ritual acts so much that when he is offered a few of them it keeps him busy for a while and he forgets to pester the divine Daughter."
* The "dominant feature" of talmudic Judaism "is deception—deception primarily of God, if this word can be used for an imaginary being so easily deceived by the rabbis. . . . Together with the deception of God goes the deception of other Jews, mainly in the interest of the Jewish ruling class." Indeed, "Marx was quite right when, in his two articles about Judaism, he characterized it as dominated by profit-seeking."
* Zionism, along with Orthodoxy, is the true successor of "historical Judaism." Both are "sworn enemies of the concept of an open society." Indeed, a Jewish state "cannot ever contain an open society. It can [only] become a fully closed and warlike ghetto, a Jewish Sparta, supported by the labor of Arab helots, kept in existence by its influence on the U.S. political establishment and by threats to use its nuclear power."
And so on in the same vein, including the revelations that Martin Buber was a mass murderer and that American Jews—who are all racists—became involved in the civil-rights movement only in order to further Jewish interests.
To anyone who has read Hitchens, much of this will sound familiar enough: at various times he has repeated whole passages from Shahak, occasionally word for word. The line about "Arab helots," for example, is a particular favorite. He is also, as we have seen, especially fond of Shahak's idea that there are some exceptional Jews "who have internalized the complex of ideas which Karl Popper has called ‘the open society.'"
We have returned to the good Jews and the bad Jews. The good Jews are those who rid themselves of any semblance of a particular Jewish identity. The bad Jews are those, secular or religious, who choose to remain who they are, and are therefore corrupted by the racism, chauvinism, power worship, and hatred of Gentiles inherent in Judaism itself. It is worth pointing out that, according to these criteria, almost all Jews are bad Jews.
Indeed, this final point is the essential one, because it goes to the heart of Hitchens's attitudes toward Judaism. Like Shahak, Hitchens's vision is of a world in which there will be no more Judaism. One should be honest about what this means: it means the religious, cultural, political, and social extinction of the Jews as Jews. In the world as Hitchens would have it, the Jew would cease to exist.
Hitchens often makes much of the necessity of facing truth as it is, and of not making convenient excuses for looking away. As he often quotes Orwell, "to see what is under one's nose needs a constant struggle." Indeed it does. In the present case, the anti-Semite is under all our noses, and it is well worth the struggle to see him.
Posted on 12/13/2010 10:49 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
A Musical Interlude: All The Things You Are (Artie Shaw Orch., voc. Helen Forrest)
Posted on 12/13/2010 12:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
How Americans Rescued, Rather Than Punished, Nazi War Criminals (With A Guest Appearance By Amin El-Husseini)
From The New York Times:
Declassified Papers Show U.S. Recruited Ex-Nazis
After World War II, American counterintelligence recruited former Gestapo officers, SS veterans and Nazi collaborators to an even greater extent than had been previously disclosed and helped many of them avoid prosecution or looked the other way when they escaped, according to thousands of newly declassified documents.
With the Soviet Union muscling in on Eastern Europe, "settling scores with Germans or German collaborators seemed less pressing; in some cases, it even appeared counterproductive," said a government report published Friday by the National Archives.
"When the Klaus Barbie story broke, about his escaping with American help to Bolivia, we thought there weren't any more stories like that, that Barbie was an exception," said Norman J. W. Goda, a University of Florida professor and co-author of the report with Professor Richard Breitman of American University. "What we found in the record is that there were a fair number, and that it seems more systematic."
In chilling detail, the report also elaborates on the close working relationship between Nazi leaders and the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who later claimed that he sought refuge in wartime Germany only to avoid arrest by the British.
In fact, the report says, the Muslim leader was paid "an absolute fortune" of 50,000 marks a month (when a German field marshal was making 25,000 marks a year). It also said he energetically recruited Muslims for the SS, the Nazi Party's elite military command, and was promised that he would be installed as the leader of Palestine after German troops drove out the British and exterminated more than 350,000 Jews there.
On Nov. 28, 1941, the authors say, Hitler told Mr. Husseini that the Afrika Corps and German troops deployed from the Caucasus region would liberate Arabs in the Middle East and that "Germany's only objective there would be the destruction of the Jews."
The report details how Mr. Husseini himself was allowed to flee after the war to Syria - he was in the custody of the French, who did not want to alienate Middle East regimes - and how high-ranking Nazis escaped from Germany to become advisers to anti-Israeli Arab leaders and "were able to carry on and transmit to others Nazi racial-ideological anti-Semitism."
"You have an actual contract between officials of the Nazi Foreign Ministry with Arab leaders, including Husseini, extending after the war because they saw a cause they believed in," Dr. Breitman said. "And after the war, you have real Nazi war criminals - Wilhelm Beisner, Franz Rademacher and Alois Brunner - who were quite influential in Arab countries."
In October 1945, the report says, the British head of Palestine's Criminal Investigation Division told the assistant American military attaché in Cairo that the mufti might be the only force able to unite the Palestine Arabs and "cool off the Zionists. Of course, we can't do it, but it might not be such a damn bad idea at that."
"We have more detailed scholarly accounts today of Husseini's wartime activities, but Husseini's C.I.A. file indicates that wartime Allied intelligence organizations gathered a healthy portion of this incriminating evidence," the report says. "This evidence is significant in light of Husseini's lenient postwar treatment." He died in Beirut in 1974.
The report, "Hitler's Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence and the Cold War," grew out of an interagency group created by Congress to identify, declassify and release federal records on Nazi war crimes and on Allied efforts to hold war criminals accountable. It is drawn from a sampling of 1,100 C.I.A files and 1.2 million Army counterintelligence files that were not declassified until after the group issued its final report in 2007.
"Hitler's Shadow" adds a further dimension to a separate Justice Department history of American Nazi-hunting operations, which the government has refused to release since 2006 and which concluded that American intelligence officials created a "safe haven" in the United States for certain other former Nazis.
Like earlier reports generated by the group, this one paints a grim portrait of bureaucracy, turf wars and communication gaps among intelligence agencies. It also details blatantly cynical self-interested tactical decisions by Allied governments and a general predisposition that some war crimes by former Nazis and their collaborators should be overlooked because the suspects could be transformed into valuable assets in the more urgent undercover campaigns against Soviet aggression.
The American intelligence effort to infiltrate the East German Communist Party was dubbed "Project Happiness."
"Tracking and punishing war criminals were not high among the Army's priorities in late 1946," the report says. Instead, it concludes that the Army's Counterintelligence Corps spied on suspect groups ranging from German Communists to politically active Jewish refugees in camps for displaced people and also "went to some lengths to protect certain persons from justice."
Among them was Rudolf Mildner, who was "responsible for the execution of hundreds, if not thousands, of suspected Polish resisters" and as a German police commander was in Denmark when Hitler ordered the country's 8,000 Jews deported to Auschwitz.
Mr. Mildner escaped from an internment camp in 1946, and the report raises questions about whether American intelligence agents' "lenient treatment of Mildner contributed in some way to his ability to escape" and even suggests that he may have remained in American custody helping identify Communists and other subversives before settling in Argentina in 1949.
The report cites other cases that parallel the experience of Klaus Barbie, known as the Butcher of Lyon. He cooperated with American intelligence agents who helped him flee to Argentina.
One of those cases involved Anton Mahler, who as a Gestapo anti-communist agent interrogated Hans Scholl, the German underground student leader who was beheaded in 1943. Mr. Mahler also served in Einsatzgruppe B in occupied Belarus, which was blamed for the execution of more than 45,000 people, mostly Jews.
"This admission on his own U.S. military government questionnaire in 1947 was ignored or overlooked by U.S. and West German authorities," the report said.
American agents recommended that Mr. Mahler and other former Nazis be protected from politically inspired criminal proceedings '"politically inspired"? You mean those who wanted him tried as a Nazi murderer were merely "politically inspired"?] in Germany.
In 1952, the report says, the C.I.A. moved to protect Mykola Lebed, a Ukrainian nationalist leader, from a criminal investigation by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He would work for American intelligence in Europe and the United States through the 1980s, despite being implicated in guerrilla units during the war that killed Jews and Poles and being described by an Army counterintelligence report as a "well-known sadist and collaborator of the Germans."
Posted on 12/13/2010 12:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
Magdi Allam: Europe Ashamed Of Its Christian Roots (In Italian)
Magdi Allam a Foggia: “L’Europa si vergogna delle proprie radici cristiane”
10 dicembre, 2010
Una fase dell’intervento a Foggia di Cristiano Magdi Allam (image N.Saracino)
Foggia – L’Europa tra identità e pluralità culturale. Se n’è discusso a Foggia questa mattina, nell’Aula 3 della Facoltà di Giurisprudenza, alla presenza di un ospite illustre, il giornalista Cristiano Magdi Allam, politico egiziano naturalizzato italiano, convertisosi a Cristianesimo nel 2008 dopo aver definito l’Islam “fisiologicamente violento”, senza dubbio la personalità più idonea per affrontare temi attuali quali l’integrazione tra le diverse culture presenti nel continente europeo che spesso contrastano con il rispetto della dignità delle tradizioni e delle leggi degli Stati. Un multiculturalismo capace di rispettare la libertà delle opinioni, evitando qualsiasi forma di estremismo, tracce di pluralità sempre più evidenti, ma spesso interfacciati con problematiche storiche e culturali, che mettono a rischio anche il concetto stesso di “identità”.
MAGDI ALLAM: OGNI SPECIFICITA’ UMANA VA RISPETTATA -
“Oggi questa identità è fortemente a rischio. E’ un’Europa che si vergogna delle proprie radici giudaico-cristiane, svende i valori non negoziabili, ovvero quelli che sostanziano la nostra comune umanità, quelli che rappresentano i capisaldi al tempo stesso della fede cristiani, ovvero il diritto alla vita, la dignità della persona, la libertà di scelta”, sostiene Magdi Allam, secondo cui si può pervenire ad essi attraverso la ragione, “quale strumento che ci accomuna come persone”, e attraverso la fede cristiana, che ha una specificità in quanto “corrispondendo a una spiritualità che si fonda sulla certezza storica della presenza di Cristo che si è fatto uomo e assieme ad altri uomini ha scelto di testimoniare la Verità, è un contesto dove la persona è concepita ad immagine e somiglianza di Dio, fede e ragione diventano un binomio indissolubile”. Vantaggio ad esclusivo appannaggio del Cristianesimo, al contrario di altre religioni quali l’Islam dove fede e ragione non vivono in armonia, dove Dio si fa testo e si incarta nel Corano, che corrisponde per i musulmani a ciò che Cristo è per i cristiani e dove l’uso della ragione intesa come un insieme parametri valutativi e critici, finirebbe per mettere in discussione l’io stesso. “Ecco perché – sottolinea il giornalista – storicamente la lettura letterale, acritica del Corano ha rappresentano la posizione espressa dalla maggioranza dei musulmani, mentre coloro che hanno voluto concepire il Corano come opera “creata” e non “increata”, sono stati condannati e hanno fatto una brutta fine”.
Cristiano Magdi Allam, convertitosi al Cristianesimo nel 2008 (image N.Saracino)
CRISTIANESIMO BASE SOLIDA DELLA CIVILTA’ EUROPEA -
E’ necessario dunque ritrovare le proprie radici. Storicamente, sottolinea Magdi Allam, il percorso di civiltà dell’Europa evidenza come il Cristianesimo sia stato il pilastro che ha saputo recepire le verità della filosofia greca, del diritto romano, e ha consentito di promuovere in Europa una società laica e liberale. “Non si può parlare di identità dell’Europa senza conoscere il fondamento del Cristianesimo – afferma Magdi Aallam – le radici di questa identità sono radici cristiane, è parte integrante del liberalismo e mettono al centro la persona come pari dignità e libertà, e considerano che il traguardo a cui pervenire è il bene comune”. E’ importante quindi conoscere queste differenze per rapportarci alla pluralità culturale. Ciò si può fare distinguendo tra la dimensione della religione e la dimensione della persona. “Gran parte degli errori che si commettono quando si parla di pluralità religiosa o culturale sono dovuti al fatto che si sovrappongono le due dimensioni”, sostiene il celebre giornalista”, “si parla spesso di musulmani e islamici allo stesso modo, ma sono due realtà completamente diverse. La dimensione religiosa è fissata nel tempo e nello spazio, fa riferimento a un testo sacro, a un profeta in cui si crede, e ciò resta immutabile nel tempo e nello spazio. Viceversa, la dimensione delle persone cambia nel tempo e nello spazio: ognuno di noi ha una sua specificità, data dal proprio percorso familiare, sociale, educativo, economico, politico, politico e religioso che può mutare nel corso de tempo”. Nessuno di noi, quindi, è la trasposizione dei dogmi della fede. Ognuno di noi ha una specificità che va rispettata e valorizzata, e ci deve far comprendere che parlare di un rapporto con una religione è un conto, mentre parlare del rapporto con una persona è un altro conto. “Se acquisiamo questa consapevolezza – conclude Magdi Allam – possiamo definire anche il contesto in cui le persone si collocano, che ha allo stesso modo una sua specificità, in grado di mutare anche la nozione di dialogo e di convivenza. [Notice how this corresponds to the "three Islams" -- Islam I, Islam 3, Islam 3 -- and their definitions that Ibn Warraq, for example, finds so useful].
Posted on 12/13/2010 1:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
More On Mufti Amin El-Husseini
The article by Sam Roberts that appeared yesterday in -- amazingly -- The New York Times, does not hesitate to discuss the collaboration between Hajj Amin El-Husseini and Hitler. Just a year ago, the subject of Arab-Nazi collaboration was -- mostly -- taboo, as this 2009 article by Daniel Schwammenthal in The Wall Street Journal makes clear.
The Mufti of Berlin
Arab-Nazi collaboration is a taboo topic in the West.
One widespread myth about the Mideast conflict is that the Arabs are paying the price for Germany's sins. The notion that the Palestinians are the "second victims" of the Holocaust contains two falsehoods: It suggests that without Auschwitz, there would be no justification for Israel, ignoring 3,000 years of Jewish history in the land. It also suggests Arab innocence in German crimes, ignoring especially the fascist past of Palestinian leader Haj Amin al Husseini, who was not only Grand Mufti of Jerusalem but also Waffen SS recruiter and Nazi propagandist in Berlin. When a German journalist recently tried to shed some light on this history, he encountered the wrath of the Arab collaborators' German apologists.
Karl Rössel's exhibition "The Third World in the Second World War" was supposed to premier on Sept. 1 in the "Werkstatt der Kulturen," a publicly funded multicultural center in Berlin's heavily Turkish and Arab neighborhood of Neukölln. Outraged by the exhibition's small section on Arab complicity in Nazi crimes, Philippa Ebéné, who runs the center, cancelled the event. Among the facts Ms. Ebéné didn't want the visitors of her center to learn is that the Palestinian wartime leader "was one of the worst and fanatical fascists and anti-Semites," as Mr. Rössel put it to me.
The mufti orchestrated the 1920/1921 anti-Jewish riots in Palestine and the 1929 Arab pogroms that destroyed the ancient Jewish community of Hebron. An early admirer of Hitler, Husseini received Nazi funding—as did Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood—for his 1936-1939 Palestinian revolt, during which his thugs killed hundreds of British soldiers, Jews and also Arabs who rejected his Islamo-Nazi agenda. After participating in a failed fascist coup in Iraq, he fled to Berlin in 1941 as Hitler's personal guest. In the service of the Third Reich, the mufti recruited thousands of Muslims to the Waffen SS. He intervened with the Nazis to prevent the escape to Palestine of thousands of European Jews, who were sent instead to the death camps. He also conspired with the Nazis to bring the Holocaust to Palestine. Rommel's defeat in El Alamein spoiled these plans.Associated Press
After canceling the exhibition, Ms. Ebéné clumsily tried to counter the impression that she had pre-emptively caved to Arab pressure. As a "non-white" person (her father is Cameroonian), she said, she didn't have to fear Arabs, an explanation that indirectly suggested that ordinary, "white," Germans might have reason to feel less safe speaking truth to Arabs.
Berlin's integration commissioner, Günter Piening, initially seemed to defend her. "We need, in a community like Neukölln, a differentiated presentation of the involvement of the Arabic world in the Second World War," Der Tagesspiegel quoted him as saying. He later said he was misquoted and following media criticism allowed a smaller version of the exhibit to be shown.
Mr. Rössel says this episode is typical of how German historians, Arabists and Islam scholars deny or downplay Arab-Nazi collaboration. What Mr. Rössel says about Germany applies to most of the Western world, where it is often claimed that the mufti's Hitler alliance later discredited him in the region. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the Mideast, Nazis were not only popular during but also after the war—scores of them found refuge in the Arab world, including Eichman's deputy, Alois Brunner, who escaped to Damascus. The German war criminals became trusted military and security advisers in the region, particularly of Nazi sympathizer Gamal Nasser, then Egypt's president. The mufti himself escaped to Egypt in 1946. Far from being shunned for his Nazi past, he was elected president of the National Palestinian Council. The mufti was at the forefront of pushing the Arabs to reject the 1948 United Nations partition plan and to wage a "war of destruction" against the fledgling Jewish state. His great admirer, Yasser Arafat, would later succeed him as Palestinian leader.
The other line of defense is that Arab collaboration with the Nazis supposedly wasn't ideological but pragmatic, following the old dictum that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." This "excuse" not only fails to consider what would have happened to the Jews and British in the Mideast had the Arabs' German friends won. It also overlooks the mufti's and his followers' virulent anti-Semitism, which continues to poison the minds of many Muslims even today.
The mufti "invented a new form of Jew-hatred by recasting it in an Islamic mold," according to German scholar Matthias Küntzel. The mufti's fusion of European anti-Semtism—particularly the genocidal variety—with Koranic views of Jewish wickedness has become the hallmark of Islamists world-wide, from al Qaeda to Hamas and Hezbollah. During his time in Berlin, the mufti ran the Nazis' Arab-language propaganda radio program, which incited Muslims in the Mideast to "kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion." Among the many listeners was also the man later known as Ayatollah Khomeini, who used to tune in to Radio Berlin every evening, according to Amir Taheri's biography of the Iranian leader. Khomeini's disciple Mahmoud Ahmadinejad still spews the same venom pioneered by the mufti as do Islamic hate preachers around the world.
Muslim Judeophobia is not—as is commonly claimed—a reaction to the Mideast conflict but one of its main "root causes." It has been fueling Arab rejection of a Jewish state long before Israel's creation.
"I am not a Mideast expert," Mr. Rössel told me, but "I wonder why the people who so one-sidedly regard Israel as the region's main problem never consider how the Mideast conflict would have developed had it not been influenced by fascists, anti-Semites and people who had just returned from their Nazi exile."
Mr. Rössel may not be a "Mideast expert" but he raises much more pertinent questions about the conflict than many of those who claim that title.
Posted on 12/13/2010 2:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
Phew - Sweden remains tolerant!
Good, because we wouldn't like to see an anti-Muslim backlash, would we? Reader James Perry writes: "What was the reaction of Swedish leaders to the terror attack? What was their foremost immediate concern? That Sweden should remain open and tolerant, and that there should be no increase in "xenophobia". Once again, a Muslim attack on the local population causes the mentally diseased leadership of a Western nation to fret that the local population might attack Muslims. Totally imaginary acts of potential violence are evidently far more threatening than real acts of violence":
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said at a press conference yesterday that it is important to stay calm and not draw any premature conclusions. In summary he said:
- It is important to say that this is both undesired and unacceptable. Sweden is an open society where we want people to be able to have different backgrounds, believe in different Gods or no Gods at all. People with different backgrounds co-exist and if they are upset they express their opinion with words. That society is worth keeping. We shall not draw any premature conclusions. We know too little yet. When we don’t know there is a risk that we fill the gaps and create a picture that can be difficult to change. We shall not act too early, that could lead to undesired consequences.
Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask says that the deed is unacceptable and disturbing:
- Of course people are upset but there are as far as I know no indication on more attacks, she said to the Swedish television. She said she does not believe this will result in increases xenophobia since the Swedish mentality is traditionally open-minded and tolerant.
Posted on 12/13/2010 5:18 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 13 December 2010
Family Of Muslim Terrorist Blames Great Britain
From The Telegraph:
Stockholm bomber: family blame Britain for radicalisation
The family of the Stockholm suicide bomber last night blamed Britain for his transformation from an “ordinary teenager” to an al-Qaeda fanatic.
Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly showed little interest in religion as he was growing up in Sweden, channelling his energies into sport and partying.
But after he began attending Bedfordshire University in Luton “everything changed” as he became a strict Muslim with increasingly extremist views, even naming his baby son Osama in honour of the al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.
On Saturday he blew himself up in a street full of Christmas shoppers in Sweden’s first suicide attack, after recording a message which promised to kill “your children, daughters, brothers and sisters” partly in revenge for the country’s support role in Afghanistan.
Abdulwahab’s radicalisation during his time in Luton once again raised questions over whether British universities are doing enough to stamp out the recruiting of extremists on campus.
In other developments:
* There were fears that Abdulwahab, 28, could have radicalised dozens of students after it was claimed that he preached at his old university in 2007, having been banned from his local mosque because of his extremist views.
* MI5 was investigating whether the bomber had links to other Luton-based terrorists, including one of the ringleaders of the 2004 fertiliser bomb plot.
* Counter-terrorism officers spent all day searching Abdulwahab’s semi-detached home in Luton, where he lived with his Romanian-born wife Mona and their three young children.
* The bomber’s wife denied having any prior knowledge of the plot, saying she was “devastated” by her husband’s death.
Iraqi-born Abdulwahab, who killed himself the day before his 29th birthday, grew up in the small town of Tranas, south of Stockholm, where his 61-year-old father worked in a factory.
A close friend said the family had been shocked by his transformation from an ordinary teenager to a religious fanatic after he left for Britain.
“There is no doubt that Taimur changed when he went to Britain,” said the friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “He would drink beer with his friends and go nightclubs. He didn’t care about politics or religion. He even had an Israeli girlfriend. He had many girlfriends, he enjoyed life.
“His parents were even a little worried that he was having too much fun. But then he went to England to study in 2001 and everything changed.
“When he came back he had grown a beard and he was very serious. He talked about Afghanistan and religion and did not want to hang out with his friends.
“His parents were worried about him but they thought he was just going through a phase. No-one ever imagined anything like this. Everyone who knew him is devastated. His parents are heartbroken.”
Teachers at Holavedskolan College in Thanas remembered him as “a quiet student” who liked basketball, and a former classmate who would only give his name as Khaled, said: “We used to hang out together, drink together and play practical jokes together. They were good times. I remember him as a college student chasing girls and drinking beer.
“But when he came back he was a changed man. He told me that something had happened when he was in (Luton). I am sure of this. Someone had taken advantage of him and had brainwashed him.”
Abdulwahab graduated from Bedfordshire University with a physical therapy degree in 2004, the same year that he got married.
He worked in a shop in Luton and began preaching his extremist views at the Luton Islamic Centre, also known as the Al Ghurabaa mosque.
Qadeer Baksh, the chairman of the mosque, said: “Some of the members brought it to my attention that his views were extreme so I challenged him. It was all about Iraq and Afghanistan. He was saying that Western governments had no right to be there and how too many Muslims remained silent.
“It was quite serious because some of the worshippers were starting to really listen to him.”
Mr Baksh said that in 2007 he challenged Abdulwahab, who “stormed out” and never came back. The mosque did not pass on concerns about Abdulwahab to the police.
He added: “I heard he’d gone to the Islamic Society at the university and continued to preach his extremist views.”
A spokesman for Bedfordshire University said they could “neither confirm nor deny” that the bomber had preached there.
Two years ago the Centre for Social Cohesion think tank warned in a report called Islam on Campus that radical Islam was increasingly taking hold in British universities, with a third of Muslim students who were questioned saying killing in the name of religion was justified.
Police and the security services have been concerned for years that British universities have become a breeding ground for terrorists.
MI5 is also investigating possible links between Abdulwahab and other high-profile extremists who have plotted terrorist attacks, including the July 7 bombers.
As investigators try to discover when and where he was radicalised, suspicion is centring on a small group of extremists who were former members of the banned group al-Muhajiroun.
The group, led by the preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed, became the focus of extremist activity in Luton and included among its members Luton resident Salahuddin Amin, one of the members of the fertiliser bomb plot who was arrested in March 2004.
Another key figure in Luton was Mohammed Quayam Khan, who knew the leaders of both the fertiliser gang and Mohammed Sidique Khan, the leader of the July 7 bombers who killed 52 people in 2005.
Anjem Choudary, the former head of al-Muhajiroun in Britain, told the Daily Telegraph he visits Luton “at least once a week” for meetings but added: “I can’t remember all the people I come across. His face and name are not familiar but Luton is a small place.”
He said the suicide bombing should be seen as a “severe warning” and “should not come as a surprise.”
Asked if her husband had told her what he was planning, Mona Abdulwahab, who runs her own beauty business, said: “No, of course not. I really don’t want to talk right now. I am very devastated and upset.”
Abdulwahab travelled to Syria two years ago, where it is believed he was trained in explosive techniques. He told his family he had travelled to the Middle East to find work.
Prosecutors in Sweden believe his bombs – which injured two bystanders – detonated prematurely, saving Stockholm shoppers from the carnage he intended.
Posted on 12/13/2010 6:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
A Musical Interlude: Don't Blame Me (Lee Wiley)
Posted on 12/13/2010 6:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
Assises Internationales Laiques -- December 18, 2010
Read about the meeting of this group in Paris on December 18, 2010, with many ex-Muslims among those involved, and about Oskar Freysinger's determination not to be dissuaded from participating, here.
Posted on 12/13/2010 7:26 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
Saving Saint-Denis (In French)
Karim Ouchick, RIF, Montjoie Saint-Denis, Philipe Delorme UNESCO
La fabuleuse histoire de la monarchie française se confond puissamment avec les destinées de la France. Abritée dans les murs de la Basilique de Saint-Denis, la nécropole des Rois de France conserve précieusement la mémoire des rois, reines, princes et chevaliers qui y ont été inhumés au fil des siècles. [The Basilica Saint-Denis is in a part of Paris that is now completely Muslim; tourists, even French tourists, seldom visit]
L’histoire de France s’y incarne avec une force symbolique sans pareille.
Aujourd’hui républicaine, la France ne saurait renier cet héritage illustre.
Voici huit mois, j’ai pris la plume pour m’alarmer de l’état préoccupant de la Nécropole royale et sonner aussitôt le tocsin.
Aujourd’hui délaissée par des pouvoirs publics qui, sur ce sujet si essentiel pour l’intégrité de la mémoire de la France, s’emploient à tenir délibérément l’opinion publique française et internationale dans une ignorance intolérable, la nécropole royale de Saint-Denis est en passe de sombrer dans les ténèbres indignes de l’histoire. Devant pareille incurie, l’UNESCO n’a-t-elle pas de la sorte décidé de laisser en souffrance la demande de la France d’inscrire cet exceptionnel site historique au patrimoine mondial de l’humanité !
Mon appel a été largement diffusé grâce au concours bienveillant de nombreux médias, du site des Manants du Roi à la revue l’Itinérant, du Cercle Hernani au Salon Beige, et de bien d’autres encore… . Qu’ils en soient chacun chaleureusement remerciés.
Vous avez été depuis très nombreux à exprimer avec vivacité votre soutien à cette initiative, en vous manifestant des quatre coins du monde, de la France au Mexique, des Etats-Unis au Brésil, d’Australie à la Pologne. Bien souvent émouvants, toujours encourageants, vos 1515 messages de soutiens nous ont pareillement convaincu du bien fondé manifeste de notre entreprise.
Depuis le lancement de cet appel, de nombreuses démarches ont été entreprises auprès de personnalités capables d’agir utilement, dont des parlementaires qui ont su relayer efficacement nos préoccupations auprès du Ministère de la Culture.
Afin de sensibiliser davantage les pouvoirs publics, propriétaires de la Basilique de Saint-Denis, aussi bien que les autorités ecclésiastiques, affectataires des lieux, sur l’état déplorable de la Nécropole royale, il nous fallait toutefois disposer de moyens d’action appropriés.
Pour mener à bien ce combat salutaire, une association a été constituée. Elle porte pour nom prédestiné celui de Montjoie Saint-Denis.
L’association Montjoie Saint-Denis se place en dehors de toute appartenance politique, idéologique ou religieuse et se fixe pour but de contribuer résolument à la Sauvegarde et le Rayonnement de la Basilique de Saint-Denis et de la Nécropole des Rois de France.
Avec votre soutien, Montjoie Saint-Denis se propose ainsi :
- d’œuvrer, par tous moyens, à la sauvegarde et au rayonnement de la Basilique de Saint-Denis et de la Nécropole des Rois de France ;
- d’agir auprès de l’UNESCO, comme des pouvoirs publics français, en vue de l’inscription de la crypte royale de Saint-Denis à l’inventaire du patrimoine mondial de l’humanité ;
- de coopérer à la préservation, dans le monde, de toutes les nécropoles royales, impériales ou princières ;
Afin de parvenir à la réussite de son entreprise, Montjoie Saint-Denis mènera, en France et à l’étranger, toute action complémentaire qui se rattacherait à la valorisation du patrimoine historique de la France, de sa langue, de sa culture comme de sa civilisation.
En compagnie de nombreuses personnalités largement impliquées dans la défense du patrimoine historique de la France, j’assurerai en conscience et avec détermination la présidence de Montjoie Saint-Denis, aux côtés de l’historien et journaliste Philipe Delorme que je remercie vivement d’avoir accepté la responsabilité d’en être le vice-président.
Montjoie Saint-Denis : par ce cri de ralliement légendaire, la monarchie française a affronté courageusement les périls qui, autrefois, ont maintes fois assailli la France. Dans ces combats pour la sauvegarde de la France, les souverains français avaient pour eux la légitimité qu’ils tenaient indiscutablement de la justesse et de la sincérité de leurs engagements.
Aujourd’hui animée par cette même vertu, Montjoie Saint-Denis est déterminée à rallier à sa cause toutes celles et tous ceux qui demeurent indéfectiblement attachés à l’histoire indivise de la France comme à sa prodigieuse civilisation et qui, dès lors, entendent placer en vérité la sauvegarde et le rayonnement de la Nécropole royale et de la Basilique de Saint-Denis au premier rang de leurs priorités.
Qu’ils se manifestent de France aussi bien que de l’étranger, vos soutiens activement apportés à Montjoie Saint-Denis seront plus jamais indispensables à la réussite de cette noble ambition.
10 décembre 2010
Posted on 12/13/2010 7:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 13 December 2010
What Must The Infidels Have Done To Make This "Kind, Clever, And Popular" Boy Turn To Terrorism?
Stockholm bomber's friends recall friendly teenager
TRANAS, Sweden (Reuters) - Kind, clever and popular; that was how friends and acquaintances described Taimour Abdulwahab, the man now named as Sweden's first suicide bomber.
Abdulwahab's attack on Saturday, which ended up only killing himself and hurting two others, has sparked shock and alarm in Sweden, a country hitherto untouched by the kind of political violence that other European countries have experienced.
But the Abdulwahab described by residents in the small town of Tranas, where he lived for a decade after moving to Sweden as a boy, bore little resemblance to a militant fighter. He came across as neither a brooding loner nor a religious extremist.
"He was fun and smart. His whole family, his parents, were those kind of people," said an employee at Abdulwahab's high school who first met him just before he turned 20. She declined to give her name.
"He was very handsome and outgoing. No one would dream he could do something like this. I am absolutely devastated."
Abdulwahab came to Tranas, about 200 km (120 miles) southwest of Stockholm, in 1992 around the age of 11. After graduating, he set off for England and studied at Bedfordshire University in Luton to become a sports therapist.
"It is so tragic to see how things turned out. He was someone who went around with people his age, both immigrants and Swedes," said Elisabeth Aman, a principal at a school where his parents and sister studied Swedish when they moved to Tranas.
Most remembered Abdulwahab as a good-looking teenager who played basketball, had plenty of friends and was integrated into Swedish society.
"He lived here so long that he became a Tranas boy, and was seen as one," said Aman, whose daughters had gone to school with Abdulwahab.
Tranas, with about 18,000 residents, is one of many towns in Sweden that experienced a wave of immigration. Sweden's relatively open immigration policies made it a prime destination for many people from war-torn countries, though integration has not always been easy.
SHOCK AND DISMAY
Abdulwahab's mother, a specialist in Arabic literature, often helped out at his high school library. His father trained as an engineer, but had to pick up work in a store selling vegetables and overseas delicacies.
The town looks much like any other comfortable Swedish town, with a picturesque river running through it and storefront windows displaying handicrafts and knitted wool sweaters. Now it is now trying to come to grips with what has happened.
"Our teachers have said we should try to talk about it, and that we may feel worse if we don't. It's just terrible," said Adam Hansson, a 15-year-old attending Abdulwahab's high school.
Abdulwahab's 16-year-old sister also attends the same school, but classmates said they had not seen her on Monday.
Abdulwahab is thought to be the author of a threatening letter sent to a Swedish news agency shortly before the attack.
In the note, he vowed revenge for Sweden's troop presence in Afghanistan and its defense of Lars Vilks, an artist who sparked anger in 2007 with his drawings of the Prophet Mohammad.
For at least one resident, the message struck a chord.
"This wouldn't have happened if Lars Vilks had kept quiet and if Sweden hadn't gone into Afghanistan. What is Sweden doing there?" asked a 25-year-old Iraqi on the town's main street. He said he had moved to the town as a boy as well.
But most residents registered only shock and dismay.
One neighbor, Mona Svensson, said she saw a white Audi parked outside their apartment building last week. It was the car that days later burst into flames in central Stockholm.
School principal Aman said it would be always difficult to reconcile the boy she knew with the man on the news.
"If I had heard that he was from another place, I would have felt sick and angry. But when one knows who it was, and when one's children have spent time with him -- this is such a small town -- I can't call him a terrorist because, of course, I don't think of him that way."
Posted on 12/13/2010 8:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald