These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 18, 2009.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Marcia And Her Persian Carpets
How did this professoressa, how do all the inhorns (the "e" of the einhorn dropping off, possibly, during the era of World War I) of this world, get hired, and then promoted, and then are made heads of Middle Eastern studies at Yale? How did Carl Ernst manage to hire Omid Safi, when the faculty members at Harvard Divinity School, despite the cabal of Eck-Graham-Ahmad, manage to have the intelligence, and self-assurance (none of that "we don't know a thing about Islam" and "Diana and Bill and Leila say he's great")?
Who vetted her? Who pushed her?
And since - let's face it -- these MESA Nostrans can no longer be stopped, when will some professors in other fields openly discuss the scandal of the slow, steady, inexorable takeover of Middle Eastern departments, by out-and-out apologists for Middle Eastern regimes and politics, and above all, for Islam?
Don't be shy. Don't be afraid. You are right. And the students, the endlessly naive students, are and will suffer. And so will the formulation of policies that, as in Iraq, and now in Afghanistan and Pakistan, squander trillions of dollars, thousands of American lives, and war materiél, and morale, and everything, while the heart of our own civilization -- Western Europe -- becomes ever more unpleasant, dangerous, and expensive for its indigenes (and for American scholars, students, visitors), because islamization continues, unopposed, through the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da'wa, and demographic conquest. Imagine, given all the trouble, all the anxiety, all the disturbance,all the unease, caused by a Muslim population that now sounds small and manageable (but isn't) what will happen when the Muslim numbers double or triple? Europe, for its own citizens and for non-Muslim immigrants and visitors, will become --everywhere but in some islands of Infidels -- unendurable.
If Americans are to be informed adequately -- about, in the present case, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the role of Islam -- then the inhorns of this world have to lose their posts. Her own reports on her non-existent contretemps at the airport (and why, all over the world, what is the reason, that air travel is so difficult and unpleasant, and there is a need to arrive so early, and a need to undergo all kinds of inspections going, and then coming? The reason is Islam, and Muslims, and thousands of acts of terror, on land and sea and air, by Muslims -- there is no other reason, though apologists for Islam, and others who don't wish ever to take true note of Islam, can pretend otherwise, and point airily to the IRA, and ETA, and so on).
Let's start with members of the Yale faculty and students who care about free speech. Here's a free speech question. It has to do with your very own university and a professor -- head of a department no less - named Inhorn. What are the chances, by the way, that in this department an apostate from Islam might be hired? Or a truthful scholar of Islam, one whose scholarly memory goes back more than a few decades, and who is familiar with the work of so many who need to be constantly read and re-read, including Joseph Schacht, and Snouck Hurgronje, and Arthur Jeffrey and Henri Lammens and Georges Vajda and K. S. Lal and --- well, look around. A scandal has arisen. Will it be allowed to be insabbiato, that is "covered up with sand" just as, in Italy, political connections with mafia, camorra, and 'ngrangheta almost always are, and allowed, unseen and forgotten, to simply die?
This is a scandal involving the most important freedom of all: the freedom of speech. A book on Muslim reactions, and the reaction too of non-Muslims, to Muslim reactions, a book on those Jyllands-Posten cartoons about Muhammad and, as well, about representations through history, including such things as Gustave Dore's illustrations to The Divine Comedy, is to be stripped of its indispensable illustrative text -- presumably, these works of cartoon art can only be described in words. Ekphrasis on stilts.
The "scholar" who played a leading role, it appears, in this pusillanimous and dangerous decision, turns out to be Marcia Inhorn -- recently hired by Yale (or, to get into the spirit of grim academe, “a recent hire”) and this year, already, that appetizing thing, Head of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. Oh, Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. What would Alexander Meiklejohn, or Learned Hand, or Alexander Bickel (once of Yale Law School), or other defenders of free speech, make of this demonstration of pusillanimity, Yale's degringolade? And what would they, or what should faculty members at Yale today, those who are in other departments, and need not curry favor with, or fear in any way, the members at Yale or outside Yale of MESA Nostra (which google), and who, if they can overcome their cultivated reluctance to make pronouncements outside their "fields of expertise" will look into the hiring, and the promotion policies, and the content of courses, including the reading lists, of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies in order to see if indeed the charges of critics have merit, or are simply hysteria, or what. They should begin by setting up a Faculty Commission to investigate the whole book-on-Muhammad-cartoons-but-hold-the-cartoons-and-all-other-depictions-of-Muhammad business. It would be of great pedagogic value, to the students at Yale, shining a little lux on a big veritas, and it's time to take back the study of Islam, and of the Middle East, from those who -- both Muslim and non-Muslim fellow travellers and apologists -- have in too many places, stealthily, counting on the diffidence of other faculty members, have managed to obtrain a near-stranglehold on what American students learn in colleges and universities, about the ideology of Islam the texts, tenets, attitudes, atmospherics, and about the 1350-year history of Muslim conquest of vast lands inhabited by non-Muslims, whose own cultures and histories and even languages so often were swallowed up in the maw of Islam, with so many being killed, or forcibly converted, not least through the need to escape from what must for many have been the unendurable aspects of the dhimmi condition, which was the very best that non-Muslims -- if they were considered ahl al-kitab, People of the Book, could expect. Islam did not bring woe into the world -- that was there long before -- but it has certainly helped to cause an artistic and intellectual wasteland once, after the first few centuries of conquest by Muslims, when the numbers and influence of the originally fructifying Christians and Jews and Zoroastrians was much diminished (the situation was slightly different in Hinustan and Eas Asia), and what is called, a bit inaccurately I'm afraid, High Islamic Civilization, disappeared as Islam spread, and non-Muslims lost their influence, their numbers, their everything.
The consequences of the decision, based on fear-mongering by carefully-unnamed “experts” on Islam, will if they remain unopposed and unchallenged, be more dangerous to the civilization of the Western world than anything that might happen because of the publication of the book as the author had wished it to be, with the cartoons and other images of Muhammad – and without which the book is fatally vitiated. It is amazing to consider that this Marcia Inhorn, this mocker of American “fear-mongering” about Iran and, by extension, those “dangerous Muslims” (as Martin Kramer has so memorably shown), should have been chosen to deliver the bad news to Jytte Klausen. It is amazing that someone of this caliber should have been hired, with tenure, at Yale, and what’s more, been given that appetizing post, head of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies.
Her behavior, in a well-ordered universe, would so arouse the faculty and students that they would demand her removal, and they would boycott her classes, and those of her now-absurd department, and she would feel compelled to leave. But that's not likely to happen, is it?
So then use the only weapon that will mean something to the beating heart of the university, the Development Office. Stop contributions. Explain why you are ending all contributions to Yale, until such time as these kinds of practices end, and this kind of usurper of a post, goes elsewhere -- she'll always be welcome at John Esposito's Saudi-funded operation in Washington. Let her go there. She'll fit right in.
And those two beautiful Persian carpets that she so tellingly mentions, that clearly meant so very much more to her than the misery, the hell, of the Islamic Republic of Iran where nothing appeared to her out of place --- those rugs that meant so much to her -- well, what did that make you imagine? I could only think of the wunderbar gifts such a person might have received from a grateful German government had she gone on a fact-finding visit, and found only the right facts, to Germany in 1938, or who come back glowing from having seen the future (and it works!) from Soviet Russia were everything was velikolepno and tickety-boo, and the White Sea Canal was coming along splendidly, thank you, and the Russians worshipped – absolutely worshipped – their splendid new leader, Joseph Vissarionovitch Stalin, he of the twinkling eyes and the avuncular moustache.
Should such a creature be spreading her nonsense, her apologetics, along with those two absolutely b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l Persian carpets she brought back from that fine place, the Islamic Republic of Iran, at Yale? Why not? The same thing is going on elsewhere, with Carl Ernst going to Teheran to proudly pocket some prize the Islamic Republic decided to award him, and Columbia – whose halls were once walked by Joseph Schacht, the greatest scholar of Islam ever to live in the New World, and whose administration was once held to the straight and narrow by the likes – are their likes? Is there anyone like? – Jacques Barzun. Marcia (E)Inhorn should not be spreading her nonsense at Yale. And she should not be allowed, not even for one second, to help engage in a monumental act of suppression, harming those real scholars who, like Jytte Klausen, refuse to play the game, refuse to engage in the kind of thing that the Marcia-inhorns of this world find come to them so naturally. But really, you should see those two Persian carpets!
Posted on 08/18/2009 11:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Fear-mongering at Yale
Martin Kramer fills us in on the hypocritical Professor Marcia Inhorn, one of the "experts" who advised Yale to censor Jytte Klausen's book on the Muhammad cartoon controversy.
Flash back to 2006. Professor Marcia Inhorn, a medical anthropologist and director of the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Michigan, is invited to lecture in Tehran on her field of expertise, infertility and assisted reproductive technologies in Muslim countries. On her return, she seeks to dispel misconceptions about the Middle East. Because of the "American daily diet of fearsome media discourses about the Middle East, particularly Iran," she complains, "it was difficult to convince relatives, including my 80-year-old mother, that it was safe for me, a mother of two young children, to travel to that part of the world." Landing in Detroit, she finds the same bias:
When the customs official at the Detroit International Airport asked me why I had been "over there," I told him it was for an academic conference. Then he asked, "And they didn't behead you?," to which I replied, "No, they served me delicious food." He retorted, "But you never know what was in it (i.e., the food)," to which I responded, perhaps too flippantly, "Probably uranium." Fortunately, he returned my passport and let me proceed to baggage claim, where I retrieved my two gorgeous Persian carpets.
I would argue that such fear-mongering is very unwise. It is leading to closed minds, closed embassies, restricted visas, travel bans and demeaning airport luggage searches for those of us who overcome these travel restrictions.
They're not going to cut off our heads or irradiate us—that's her message. They just want to serve us their delicious food and sell us their gorgeous carpets. Nothing to fear but fear itself.
Flash forward to July 2009. Professor Inhorn has recently made a big move: she's now at Yale, where she chairs its Middle East center (known as the Council on Middle East Studies). She's seated in a cafe in Boston with Jytte Klausen, author of a forthcoming book on the Danish cartoons affair—those dozen cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that Muslim extremists seized upon in 2005. (Also around the table: the director of Yale University Press—the book's publisher—and a vice president of Yale.) Professor Inhorn has been called in by the publisher to break some bad news to the author. Here's a summary of what transpired at that meeting (as told by Klausen to Roger Kimball):
Their two-hour cup of coffee on July 23rd was not a pleasant occasion.... Unfortunately, [Klausen's] book about the Danish cartoons could only be published without the cartoons. Moreover, Professor Inhorn told her, that depiction of Mohammed in hell by Doré would have to go. How about the less graphic image of Mohammed by Dalí? she suggested.
Nope. No-go on that either. In fact, Yale was embarking a new regime of iconoclasm: no representations of that 7th-century religious figure were allowed.
The reason? Yale University Press, relying on Professor Inhorn and other "expert" consultants, had determined that running the cartoons "ran a serious risk of instigating violence," and that "publishing other illustrations of the Prophet Muhammad in the context of this book about the Danish cartoon controversy raised similar risk." A statement by Yale University Press justifying its decision directly quoted Inhorn: "If Yale publishes this book with any of the proposed illustrations, it is likely to provoke a violent outcry."
Wait a minute.... The last time we encountered Professor Inhorn, she was telling us to ignore the fear-mongering, not to let the media dupe us into expecting the worst. Now, behind the scenes, she's telling an expert author, who knows a lot more about the topic than she does, that Yale's press absolutely must expect the worst. The author's book must be censored.
So let me try to reconcile Professor Inhorn's view of how it works "over there." Sure, they'll feed you delicious food and sell you gorgeous carpets, but they can suddenly be "instigated" to violence by the mere reproduction, in a scholarly book, not only of old cartoons that anyone can access in a flash on the internet, but canonical works of Western art that have been in the public domain for decades (and even representations of the Prophet Muhammad in Islamic art). How easily they come unhinged! Why, show them the wrong image, and they could... well, behead you, just like that. And Professor Inhorn fancies herself above the "fearsome media discourses about the Middle East"....
Now I don't know if publishing these images in an academic book at this time would run a "serious risk of instigating violence." Everything I do know tells me that it wouldn't. Extremists are always looking for something to exploit, but it has to be a new, unprecedented (perceived) offense against Islam. Dante's Inferno, Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, the Danish cartoons—these are all old perceived offenses, too familiar to fire up a sense of indignation. No doubt there will be another round at some point—and no doubt, its ostensible "cause" will surprise us all. (That's because it won't really be the cause, but a pretext—like the Danish cartoons.) ...
Posted on 08/18/2009 7:59 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
A Musical Interlude: I Found A Million-Dollar Baby (Adolf Ginsburg Orch., voc. Paul Dorn)
Posted on 08/18/2009 8:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Rotterdam fires Tariq Ramadan over Iranian TV show
The television station in question, Press TV, also employs Yvonne Ridley and George Galloway. NRC International:
Ramadan (46) has been an adviser on integration for the city of Rotterdam for two years. Recently, he has come under criticism because he hosts a weekly talk show on the Iranian TV station PressTV, which is financed by the Tehran regime.
The sources at Rotterdam city hall said the board of council executives and the mayor feel Ramadan has lost credibility as an adviser on integration issues. The decision was expected to be made official after a 2 p.m. board meeting on Tuesday.
Rotterdam hired the Egyptian-Swiss theologist to help 'bridge the divide' between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities. The city government also funds Ramadan's chair at the Erasmus University, where he has been a visiting professor of Identity and Citizenship since 2007.
Ramadan, whose principal message is that Islam and European culture do not have to be at odds, is a controversial figure. He already came under fire in the Netherlands in April because of statements that were allegedly homophobic and misogynistic.
The right-wing liberal party VVD dropped out of the local coalition after the city decided to extend Ramadan's contract for another two years. An investigation commissioned by the city had come to the conclusion that the allegations against Ramadan were unfounded.
The Rotterdam city government was surprised last week when it learned about Ramadan's cooperation with the Iranian TV channel. Three local opposition parties immediately called for his resignation, as did the ruling Christian democrats, CDA, in the Dutch parliament.
Ramadan defended his position in a letter to NRC Handelsblad on Tuesday saying: "The present controversy says far more about the alarming state of politics in the Netherlands than about my person."
Posted on 08/18/2009 2:14 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Cloaked in silence by fellow Muslims: More on Rural NC Jihadi Ringleader
Erick Stakelbeck, Terrorism beat reporter for CBN, who broke the news about the Federal indictment of Muslim convert, Daniel Boyd, his sons and others in a home grown Islamic terror cell , went to the Raleigh, North Carolina area to do some interviews with neighbors, former employers and the Muslim Community. We had posted on this stunning development , “Your average white bread Jihadis arrested in North Carolina. “ He was accompanied by Daveed Gartenstein Ross of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, who has written on this subject and is an apostate former Muslim convert.
Stakelbeck had observations on his blog from his interviews in Raleigh and the surrounding rural areas, “CBN news uncovers more details about alleged North Carolina terrorist ring leader.” A story on these interviews by Stakelbeck will be aired on CBN, Thursday evening.
Probably the most fascinating aspect of the interviews were the views of the local Muslim community about Boyd who had gotten to know a different, more dangerous person than the fatherly ‘adviser’ who befriended neighbors in his rural development. Boyd also ran a Muslim shop in a local mall that provided halal slaughtered meat to area Muslims. It folded in less than a year.
Here is an excerpt from Stakelbeck’s blog post on his revealing interviews with area Muslims who functioned in a code of silence about the pro-Jihadi mission of Boyd and his terror cell members.
How Much Did the Local Muslim Community Know About Boyd?
This is the key question. We know that Boyd apparently split from his local mosque because its views were not extreme enough. We also know that at least one man who frequented the mosque had concerns about Boyd’s views—concerns which he says were ignored.
I spoke at length, off the record, to a Muslim who is very plugged in to Raleigh’s Islamic community. This Muslim gave a troubling portrait of Boyd, saying that he spoke "openly" and frequently among fellow Muslims about the need to wage violent jihad. The source described Boyd’s views as “very strong,” particularly concerning the U.S. troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Israeli/Palestinian issue. Boyd was a “charismatic” figure, according to the source, and his experience in the Afghan jihad in the late 1980’s and early 90’s gave him “street cred” among young, impressionable Muslims. Like the neighborhood kids, young Muslims gravitated towards Boyd and looked up to him—especially those from dysfunctional backgrounds. Some of the young men who were indicted along with Boyd reportedly fit this description.
Boyd talked about his Afghanistan experiences “all the time” and was very social. “He liked to talk,” the source said. Whereas Boyd’s neighbors expressed shock at his arrest, the Muslim source—who knew Boyd’s theological views and passion for jihad well-- said that “it is hard to argue with anything that is in that indictment.”
Lastly, the source supplied a few intriguing details about Boyd’s family. His two sons—who were indicted along with Boyd—were described as “serene” and “devout.” They revered their father. The younger son, Zakariya, had been attending college but abruptly dropped out and moved back home sometime before his arrest, a decision that the source found “strange.”
Boyd’s wife, Sabrina, also possessed “rigid” views of Islam, according to the source, although she did not speak openly of jihad. “That was his thing,” the source said.
In short, the radical Islamist, pro-jihad worldview of Daniel Boyd was no secret among Raleigh’s Muslims. He wore it on his sleeve. Boyd’s views led to theological arguments with some Muslims who disagreed with them. But at the end of the day, according to my source, American Muslim communities are very insular and all too often have a “code of silence” when it comes to their own. It is unclear whether a local Muslim or Muslims assisted authorities in the Boyd investigation. I suspect that was the case, and if true, that is obviously a very positive thing. But the fact remains that Boyd was able to build an eight-member terror cell that was allegedly training for attacks overseas and quite possibly on U.S soil as well. And Raleigh’s Muslims can’t say they were not warned. The signs were certainly there when it came to Daniel Boyd.
I would be remiss if I did not mention my colleague, terrorism expert Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, who accompanied me on the trip to Raleigh and provided invaluable insights throughout. Daveed is vice-president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in D.C., where he recently compiled a must read report on homegrown terrorism in the West. You can read it here.
Posted on 08/18/2009 2:17 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
A Very Short Interlude: By Jingo (Fry and Laurie)
Posted on 08/18/2009 11:06 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
In France As Everywhere, Demography Is Now Destiny
Immigration in France: Calculating the Real Figures
Created 2009-08-10 10:54
It's good to be an economist and to know how to count. While we sit around wondering how many non-European immigrants there are in France, economist Gérard Pince has figured it out in an easy-as-one-two-three procedure that he shares with us in a post dated July 30. His opening paragraphs describes how invalid the official figures are; he then moves on to his own method:
In fact, we have a precise starting point: that of the population in 1946 (40,246,742), bearing in mind that foreigners and immigrants at that time were 88% ethnic Europeans. We then add to this initial population the natural growth (minus immigration) until 1974, date of the family reunification law, and we get 49,105,699 in 1975. We then apply to this figure the rate of natural growth in three French departments where immigration remained until that time negligible: la Manche, Deux Sèvres and Vendée. We arrive at the figure for 2008 of 53 million ethnic Europeans. Since INSEE (National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies) estimates our total population in 2008 to be 62 million, it follows that black, Arab and Asian ethnicities represent today 9 million persons.
9 million plus 500,000 illegals, he adds in a footnote.
In his next (more complicated) post, Gérard Pince continues where he left off:
As of January 1, 2008, the population of metropolitan France was 62 million: 53 million ethnic Europeans and 9.5 million Third World immigrants. From this real and objective data long term projections indicate that ethnic Frenchmen will be a minority in their own land in 2060. [...] We estimate that the European population will remain at its current level of 53 million in the year 2060. The natural growth rates of our three model departments have been divided by two (for la Manche and Vendée) and by three (for Deux Sèvres) between 1975/82 and 1999/2006. Moreover, the countries of Eastern Europe without non-European populations, have already recorded negative rates (-0.3% in Hungary, -0.1% in the Czech Republic). Seen in this context, the zero rate we have predicted corresponds to a rather optimistic hypothesis.
On the other hand, the non-European population already present on our territory will go from 9.5 to 24 million in 2060. Bearing in mind that the natural rate of growth of the 62 million inhabitants is 0.4% and that of the 53 million Europeans (calculated from our three model departments) is 0.17%, it follows that the 9.5 million Third Worlders will grow by 1.75%.
Pince then acknowledges that there are studies indicating that the rate of growth among immigrants will slow down, but he has no evidence that this will be the case. Especially since the immigrant growth rate in the Parisian region of Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis,and Val de Marne has increased considerably since 75/82 and 99/2006.
We must also take into account the migratory waves that will occur between 2008 and 2060. In the absence of new statistics, we must base our estimates on those of 2006. That year France recorded 235,000 official entries, to which must be added about 100,000 illegals, or a rounded-off total of 350,000 persons just from the Third World (Maghreb, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia,etc...) We're using, by default, this annual figure for the entire period even though it is an optimistic guess. The Left, the large corporations, the EU Commission in Brussels and most of our intellectuals are demanding ever more immigration. Moreover, due to demographic growth and the insecurity and poverty endemic to Africa, the migratory pressures may well become greater and greater. We could, therefore, go beyond the 350,000 annual entries in the future.
Next we must calculate on a yearly basis the natural growth of these waves. We decided upon a rate of 1.75%, identical to the one we have for the population that is already here. This rate, higher than the one for Turkey (1.3%) but much lower than that of the Congo (3.1%) takes into account the growing proportion of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Following these calculations, the future immigration between 2008 and 2060 will bring us a total input of 31 million persons.
So in 2060 we will have a France of 108 million inhabitants, composed of 55 million persons (24 + 31) belonging to black, Arab and Asian ethnicities and 53 million Europeans. Yes, 2060 may appear far off, but well before this date Europeans under the age of 40 will be a minority in relation to the Third Worlders of the same age group.
These results belie the affirmations of those who claim France is not a country of massive immigration. In fact, our "thought police" now acknowledge that the face of France is going to be transformed very soon and adhere, in substance, to the following line: "You were deceived for thirty years with bogus statistics. Now, the situation is irreversible. In the name of anti-racism and obligatory 'métissage', you ought to be happy to have become a minority in your own country!"
Now imagine that the Algerian government announces that soon Europeans will be in the majority in Algeria! There would be a general insurrection. That means that this "post racial" doctrine, which claims to be universal, only applies in reality to the Western populations who are told to dissolve themselves as rapidly as possible. Alas, the majority of Frenchmen are resigned to this evolution that seems inevitable.
In one of several footnotes Pince explains how the official statistics on the number of illegal entries in 2006 are falsified, and how he arrived at the figure of 100,000:
To minimize the figures on immigration, the research groups and the media only take into account permanent immigration, since they feel that temporary migrants have no wish to remain on our territory. In reality, the temporary migrants do remain. (For example, since 2002, a circular authorizes students to apply for a salaried position when their studies are over. As for those requesting asylum, about 15% of the applications are accepted, which means that the others stay on as illegals). To these official figures are added the illegal waves of migrants. Besides those denied asylum, France grants 900,000 tourist visas every year to North and sub-Saharan Africans. The Court of Accounts speaks of certain dysfunctional elements in this system which give rise to the observation that many visitors remain illegally in France after their visa has expired. Based on this, we can, therefore, estimate at 100,000 the number of illegal entries [per year].
Posted on 08/18/2009 8:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
A Musical Interlude: You've Got Me Crying Again (Irving Aaronson and His Commanders, voc. Elsie Carlisle)
Posted on 08/18/2009 9:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
But The Mothers Complain: She Frightens The Children
Musulmana in piscina col «burkini»,
le mamme: «Spaventa i bambini»
Verona, il direttore dello stabilimento non ha allontanato la donna. «Anche la Pellegrini si tuffa in acqua fasciata»
Burkini in piscina (foto da Internet)
VERONA - L’hanno battezzato «burkini» ma il costume da bagno indossato da una donna musulmana in una piscina di Verona non ha proprio nulla della sensualità del «due pezzi». È una tuta-abito composta infatti da pantalone fino alla caviglia, tunica lunga e cappuccio a coprire testa collo e spalle. La scena ha sollevato curiosità, perplessità e anche qualche protesta tanto da spingere il direttore dell’impianto a chiedere alla donna la composizione del tessuto del «burkini» per verificare se fosse a norma per poter essere usato in una piscina pubblica. «Certo, anche Federica Pellegrini si tuffa in vasca fasciata e pure gli istruttori di subacquea sono completamente avvolti dalla tuta - spiega Christian Panzarini, il responsabile dell’impianto - ma in questo caso alcune mamme si sono lamentate perchè i loro bambini si erano impauriti». La giovane musulmana non è stata allontanata ma il direttore le ha chiesto di fargli conoscere, anche via mail, le specifiche dell’etichetta: un gesto che a Parigi invece non hanno rivolto a una musulmana di 35 anni, che è stata fatta uscire dalla piscina.
Posted on 08/18/2009 10:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes hears Constituents’ concerns about Obama and Israel
One of the losers in last November’s Congressional races in Connecticut was a 20-year incumbent, moderate Republican, Chris Shays. Shays had held a number of ranking committee assignments including foreign affairs. Given the demographics of the Connecticut 4th District in Fairfield County, he had considerable experience in fashioning constructive policies on the Middle East and Israel. The victor in the November, 2008 contest was Jim Himes of Greenwich, who was swept into office on the coattails of President Obama, propelled by the liberal anti-Bush, anti-war sentiments of many liberal constituents, Jews among them. This week, Himes, fresh from an AIPAC-sponsored trip to Israel gave a report to Jewish congregations in Stamford, Westport and Bridgeport, Connecticut. What was stunning was the sharp contrast of his talks in Westport at a Conservative synagogue versus a Reform Temple B’nai Israel in Bridgeport. I had friends back in Fairfield County who attended those sessions and offered differing views on what transpired at these Jewish venues.
A report in the Connecticut Post, “Rep. Jim Himes speaks at Bridgeport Reform Temple about trip to Israel” revealed a tyro Congressman threading a needle between loyalties to his party’s elected leader in the White House and trying to salve the ire of Jewish constituents, complaining about rough treatment of Israel.
"I have always said we have an obligation to protect Israel, because we have shared security interests and shared values," he said during a talk at Congregation B'Nai Israel Monday afternoon.
Himes was at the synagogue to debrief more than 70 members of the local Jewish community on his recent congressional delegation trip to Israel and Palestinian territories. The congressman traveled to the region for seven days last week to learn more about an array of critical security issues, most notably the Iranian nuclear threat, and to get an update on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
During his trip, Himes said, he became more convinced than ever of the similarities between Israel and the United States. Himes and the rest of his delegation met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other local leaders to discuss Iran, Israeli-Palestinian relations and other issues of concern to both Israel and the United States. He also spent time with the Israeli people, sharing a Shabbat dinner with an area family.
Himes serves on the Homeland Security Committee and said a possible nuclear threat from Iran is probably his biggest concern. "I have always believed that prospect of a nuclear armed Iran is an intolerable prospect," Himes said.
While in Israel, he said, he met with officials who explained that Israel is, by definition, "the only place where Jews feel 100 percent safe." Himes said even if Iran were to possess nuclear weapons with no intention of using them, that safety would be challenged.
Unfortunately, he said, he returned from Israel "pessimistic" about the situation with Iran. The Israeli security officials he met with posed a number of methods for dealing with Iran, including increasing sanctions against the country, but there's uncertainty about how effective any options would be.
"I wish I knew what the right answer was," Himes said.
On the positive side, Himes said, he's cautiously optimistic that the contentious relationship between Israel and Palestine can be improved. He spoke with leaders in both countries and both seem willing to work toward a two-state solution, with a Jewish state and a Palestinian state.
I queried several friends in the Fairfield/Westport area who attended these presentations by Himes. Their views diverged from comments of Rep. Himes conveyed in the Connecticut Post account.
Fred Leder, who was willing to give Himes the benefit of the doubt disagree with Himes stance on dealing with nuclear Iran:
I told him that commercial sanctions on Iran would never work because the Chinese and Russians won't let them and that it was time for a Kosovo style American attack on Iran's nuclear sites. His response was weak to that.
Eminent theologian, scholar and former university president Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein gave the audience a warning from Nobel-Laureate Elie Wiesel’s book, “Night.” It was about the crazy man quoted by Wiesel that Hitler was right, he meant what he said, that he would kill the Jews. That was by way of reference to the existential threat posed by Iranian Mahdists and Islamic extremist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas towards Israel. Rubenstein is the author of the forthcoming book, “Jihad and Genocide.”
Rubenstein drew attention to the comments of the B’nai Israel assistant rabbi who proudly informed the audience of her J Street membership and that the controversial group would be holding a conference in Washington in late October. He also noted Senior Rabbi James Prosnit commented after the presentation that there a number of "right wingers” in the audience because of the hard questions they posed.
Judy Greenberg noted one woman who asked Himes how could one deal with the Palestinians whose textbooks preached hate towards Jews and the destruction of Israel.
The bland Connecticut Post report on the Bridgeport B’nai Israel presentation was not what I heard from another Connecticut friend, Judy Block of Westport, who attended Cong. Jim Himes presentation at the Conservative Synagogue in Westport. Members of the audience expressed deep concern about Obama's 'pressure' on Israel and pandering to Arab autocrats. They questioned Himes about his vote for a $900 million aid package for Gaza. A Christian Zionist by the name of Helmut Krauss spoke of preserving Israel from the end time’s scenario. Block asked a question about whether Himes could distance himself from Obama's derogation of Israel, a hint that his freshman seat might be up for grabs in 2010. Himes, as he did in this Connecticut Post report tap danced his way through the usual AIPAC trip to gain a better understanding of Israel's security issues, while stating that Israel's right to take out the Mad mullahs' nuclear project was "iffy," "difficult," and "not like the raid on the Osirak reactor in 1981." Himes, ex-Goldman Sachs, is clearly a tyro in such matters and can only seek the rescue of his AIPAC minders during the usual initial Congressional Israel trip filled with rushed full court press exposure to Israel security officials, polite encounters with politicians like aged President Peres, articulate and formidable PM Netanyahu the usual assortment of press aides and IDF briefing officers capped by an erev shabbat dinner with an Israeli family. The two state solution, the signature solution of the Obama White House at the now derided July 15th meeting with Jewish NGOs, including discredited “pro Israel, pro peace" J Street, that AIPAC backed has for all intents and purposes gone by the boards, if only AIPAC would stop pandering to the West Wing of the Obama White House, about to unveil the fig leaf of the American Peace Plan, modeled on the hoary 2002 Saudi Plan now embellished by Israel's worst enemies: Messrs. Carter, Scowcroft, Baker and Brzezinski.
What I told my friend, Judy Block is that the audiences at the Westport Conservative synagogue and the Bridgeport Reform Temple B'nai Israel were composed largely of liberal Democratic voters blinded by the light of the rhetoric of Obama and 'white guilt,' a by-product of the civil rights era, as well as a misunderstanding of what Tikkun Olam is all about. It is not about social action and outreach to disenfranchised minorities here or building homes in Nicaragua.
The hard questions that greeted Rep. Himes in Westport that my friend Judy Block spoke of in her telephone report are indicative of key findings in the Traditional Values Coalition-sponsored poll that Dick Morris had written about in a recent New York Post column, the results of which I shared with her and other friend back in Connecticut.
Liberal Jews who voted for Obama thought they were getting a friend of Israel and someone who would change the political and social landscape in America for 'good.' Instead they got the most anti-Israel Administration in decades, pressuring Israel to retreat to the 1967 "Auschwitz truce line," divide Jerusalem and force 300,000 Israelis, including my cousins in Ma'aleh Adumim, to give up their rightful possession of the land, a veritable impossibility. An Administration that prefers engagements with Arab autocrats like Mubarak visiting the Oval office today, or mindlessly engaging the Mad Mullahs in Iran intent on destroying Israel with its first nuclear bombs, is now the enemy of these angry liberal Jews.
Realize that Westport with its wealthy liberal Jewish residents, including notables engaged in the hedge fund business, venture capital, entertainment, communications and advertising have few differences with that bastion of liberalism, the upper West Side of Manhattan.
What I also found interesting from my friend Judy Block was that Himes devoted about 10 minutes at the end of the meeting to the roiling health care debate, further throwing oil on the fire with angry attendees demanding a schedule for a separate town hall session.
Judy Greenberg had these concluding observations about the Congressman Himes events in Fairfield County:
Cong. Himes got an earful from both audiences and at the end assured everyone that he would report back to the Administration his constituents extreme displeasure towards U.S. Middle east policy, particularly the misplaced and disproportionate emphasis on building activity in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “settlements”), and on the weak response to the Iranian nuclear threat.
There is, however, a battle out there for the hearts and minds of freshman Members of Congress. The young assistant rabbi at Congregation B’Nai Israel asked Himes if he was familiar with the ‘good work’ that J Street is doing to bring Jews and Arabs together. He was not, but you can bet that J Street will attempt to make inroads with him. Z Street needs to advised and prepared to do outreach to Congress to set the record straight.
Posted on 08/18/2009 10:18 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
A George-Sturt-The-Wheelwright's-Shop Interlude: Truly Rural (Lily Morris)
Posted on 08/18/2009 2:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald