These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 2, 2011.
Friday, 2 September 2011
PMW: PA Pays Imprisoned Terrorists, Upset That This Has Been Made Public
Official PA daily:
Israeli media coverage of PMW report
on PA salaries to terrorists
is "incitement against the Palestinian prisoners"
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
The official Palestinian Authority daily has accused an Israeli newspaper of participating in a "systematic campaign of incitement against the Palestinian prisoners." This accusation was generated by the paper Yisrael Hayom's front page story about Palestinian Media Watch's report on the PA's recently ratified law determining the payment of salaries to terrorists in Israeli prisons.
Reporting on PMW's documentation of this practice by the PA, the Israeli paper quoted Israeli ministers' responses, including the demand by Minister of Interior, Eli Yishai, that "transfer of funds to the PA must be frozen, the Palestinians do not want peace."
The following is the article accusing Israeli media of incitement in the PA daily:
"As part of the systematic campaign of incitement against the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli media, on Aug. 15, 2011 the newspaper Yisrael Hayom published a report in which it criticized the fact that the Palestinian Authority pays monthly allowances to Palestinian prisoners and their families. The report said: 'A major part of the PA budget is used for salaries to Palestinian terrorists. According to a report [by Palestinian Media Watch] which reached a senior government member in Jerusalem, every Palestinian terrorist imprisoned in Israel receives a salary from the PA.' It also said, 'The PA receives funds from two sources: half from the American administration and the rest from donor countries.' In response to this [PMW] report, the newspaper [Yisrael Hayom] published inciting statements by political figures. Minister Eli Yishai said that 'transfer of funds to the PA must be frozen, the Palestinians do not want peace.' Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov, added, 'We must plan for the worst possible scenario in September; there may be strong - perhaps also armed - protest activities.'"
Zanzibar. The Zanzibar Muslim Youths Mobilisation and Propagation group has said it supports the recent wave of burning of bars in the isles, and vowed to take tougher action against people selling alcohol during the next holy month of Ramadhan.
“We support those burning bars, although we have not urged them to do so. We ask the government to make sure all small restaurants and bars are closed during the next Ramadhan,” the group’s leaders, Sheikh Msellem Ali, Sheikh Azzan Khalfan and Sheikh Abdallah, said “ . . . and we also want to see all women, including visitors and tourists, dress decently while walking on the streets. We have already sent a letter to the government to make sure that eating and indecent dressing in public stops during Ramadhan. We are organising ourselves to take action should the government ignore our demand.”
The statement comes three days after the association of bar owners in Zanzibar convened a press conference and complained about the wave of arson targeting establishments selling alcohol in the Isles. The body also said it was surprised that nobody had been arrested in connection with the incidents.
The association’s chairperson, Mr Hussein Ali Kimti, said: “We are not happy with the way the government has been handling the issue. We are tempted to think that some highly placed people in CCM and CUF are involved . . .Over 300 people have lost their jobs as a result of the arson.”
The Commissioner of Police in Zanzibar, Mr Mussa Ali, confirmed that they had not arrested any suspect in connection with the burning of bars, and asked bar owners to hire guards to protect their businesses.
Erdogan Regime, Infuriated By Leak Of U.N. Report, Expels Israeli Ambassador
From VOA News:
Turkey Expels Israeli Ambassador Over Leaked UN Report
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks to the media in Ankara, Turkey, September 2, 2011.
Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador to Ankara on Friday and suspended all military agreements after details emerged of a United Nations report into last year's deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish ship.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Friday his government is reducing its diplomatic presence in Israel to the level of second secretary. The decision comes a day after The New York Timesleaked the long-awaited U.N. report online.
According to the posted version, a U.N. panel concluded that Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip is legal, but that the Israeli government used "excessive and unreasonable" force in stopping the Turkish ship attempting to break the blockade.
The report criticized the loss of life resulting from the Israeli raid as "unacceptable." It said Israel has not provided a "satisfactory explanation" for the killings of the nine Turks, most of whom it says were "shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range."
However, the panel also found that the Israeli commandos who boarded the Turkish ship used force to protect themselves in response to what it called "significant, organized and violent resistance" from some of the passengers.
Israeli officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity pending the report's release, praised it for reportedly finding that Israel's actions did not violate international law. But one Israeli official speaking to the French news agency said they also would voice "specific reservations" about the findings.
The ship, called the Mavi Marmara, was the largest of six vessels in a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians. The panel said the flotilla organizers "acted recklessly" by trying to breach the Israeli blockade. It also accused Israel of "significant mistreatment" of flotilla passengers after Israeli forces commandeered the vessels Mediterranean waters off the Israeli coast.
The report's lead authors are former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. The four-member panel also included representatives of the Israeli and Turkish governments.
A U.N. deputy spokesman said Thursday he expected the report to be officially released in the "next few days." The world body had no immediate comment on the leak.
The report was completed in July but U.N. officials repeatedly have delayed its release to give Israel and Turkey an opportunity to resolve their dispute about the Mavi Marmara incident, which has severely strained relations between the one-time allies.
Turkey has long demanded an Israeli apology for the raid, compensation for the families of those who died, and a scrapping of the blockade. Israel refuses to apologize but has not ruled out expressing regret and offering compensation.
Turkey was right to expel the Israeli ambassador over Israel's refusal to apologize for its raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, leading Israeli Arab MKs said on Friday in response to an earlier statement by the Turkish government.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced the downscale of diplomatic relations with Jerusalem, saying the move was a direct response to Israel's refusal to apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals in the May 2010 raid.
The implications of the downgrade are that the level of diplomatic representation in both countries will be scaled back from ambassador to first secretary. This means Israel's ambassador to Turkey, Gabby Levy, and his deputy, Ella Afek, will be expelled.
In response to the Turkish announcement, two of the Knesset's leading Israeli Arab voices later Friday voiced support of the decision to expel the Israeli envoy to Ankara, with United Arab List-Ta’al chairman Ahmed Tibi saying that "these days, whoever kills pays," adding that "eventually, Israeli arrogance will lead to an apology by the most extreme and arrogant of Israel's governments."
"In Turkey, the blood of those killed can be heard screaming from the soil and from the sea," Tibi added.
Balad MK, and flotilla participant, MK Hanin Zuabi called the Turkish decision a "strong and dramatic move, but it is the "right response to a continued disregard of human life, of the pride of the nations of the regions, and of the sovereignty of neighboring states."
"Turkey will not be the last country to put an end to Israeli arrogance and aggressiveness," Zuabi added. The Israeli Arab MK also tied the recent wave of Israeli social protest with the Turkish move, saying that "just as Israelis are beginning to seriously consider a new social order, they must also consider a new diplomatic order in which Israel will pay a heavy price for its policy of oppression, occupation, and belligerence."
Zuabi's comments came after just over a month ago the Knesset Ethics Committee barred her from all plenum and committee sessions during the final two weeks of the Knesset' session. Zuabi's sanction was punishment for her participation in last year's flotilla to Gaza. Zuabi could still vote, but she was not able to participate in the debates.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein informed the Knesset at the time that the police had finished their criminal investigation into Zuabi's role in the flotilla and had transferred their findings to the prosecution for a decision on whether to indict her.
The Ethics Committee had deferred its own deliberations on Zuabi's case until the police probe was finished.
The Ethics Committee said it imposed the penalty because Zuabi "dealt a severe blow to the dignity of the Knesset and the public's trust in the Knesset" by joining a venture whose organizer, Turkish group IHH, has been declared a banned terrorist organization in Israel, and whose goal was to break a blockade the state had imposed for security reasons."
Southern California Professor Wanted for Leading Gang, Drug Ring
September 02, 2011 | Associated Press
A university professor suspected of leading a motorcycle gang and methamphetamine drug ring is wanted for arrest in California, authorities said Thursday.
Steve Kinzey, 43, believed to be the president of the local chapter of the Devils Diciples motorcycle club, has been the target of a 6-month narcotics and weapons trafficking investigation, sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller said.
Kinzey has been an associate professor of kinesiology [i.e. gym class, see here] at California State University, San Bernardino for nearly 10 years. University president Albert K. Karnig said in a statement that the campus would assist in the investigation "to help assure that all the facts are accurate."
"If the allegations are indeed true, this is beyond disappointing," Karnig said. [litotes]
Authorities said the probe stemmed from a federal undercover operation of another biker gang, the Mongols, in which Kinzey was identified as being involved in criminal activity.
During a raid at his Highland home last week, investigators seized more than a pound of methamphetamine, rifles, handguns, body armor, leather biker vests and other biker paraphernalia and evidence of his involvement with the Devils Diciples. Investigators believed that Kinzey received large amounts of methamphetamine from a supplier and distributed the drug to a network of dealers, Miller said.
Police also found an undisclosed amount of cash at the house and said all the guns recovered were unregistered, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Philippines government could soon issue a ban on the deployment of domestic workers to three Gulf countries because it says it cannot guarantee their protection. [think of how terrible the treatment must have been, for so many girls, if despite their desperate economic plight, the government has banned their employment in Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE. And they were going to ban it in Saudi Arabia but to save their own face it was the Saudis who banned the employment of Filipino workers]
According to media reports from Manila on Friday, the deployment of household service workers (HSW) to Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar could grind to a halt after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recommended a ban.
Filipino maids are currently subject to a separate ban from Saudi Arabia after the kingdom said it was seeking new sources for foreign workers.
The Department of Labour and Employment said it had made the recommendation after the three countries failed to comply with Republic Act 10022 or the Amended Migrant and Overseas Filipino Workers Act of 1995, Manila newspapers reported.
According to Section 3, the Philippines will allow deployment only if the host country has "existing labour and social laws protecting the rights of workers".
Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz was quoted as saying on Thursday said that there was such a recommendation from the DFA but that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has yet to make a decision.
Approval of the DFA recommendation would likely result in a 50 percent decline of Filipino HSWs deployment in the next few months, Philippines media said.
Household service workers make up a big portion of the eight to 11 million Filipinos working overseas.
In 2010 alone, the total deployment of HSWs reached 96,583, with Hong Kong as the top destination. Kuwait ranked second with 21,554 Filipino domestic workers followed by UAE with 13,184, and Qatar fifth with 9,937, according to an industry source.
Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Labour last month denied media reports that it was set to life a ban on recruiting domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia.
Despite reports indicating that a compromise deal had been struck, a ministry spokesman told state news agency SPA that the suspension was still in place.
Saudi Arabia said in June it had decided to stop issuing work visas to bring domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines.
Watch the clip of a German woman known only as Heidi, confronting a group of the crazed followers of Islam and their fellow-travellers on the Path of Allah, at what is called a Salafist rally, where they were being whipped up by one Pierre Vogel, othrewise known as Abu Hamza, a German who converted to Islam (in an earlier period, he would have found his Solution to the Universe by eagerly signing up with the Nazis, and volunteered or the S.S.), here.
An interview, in English, follows:
"A mobile phone video recording at the border of a Salafist rally in Frankfurt, Germany, which developed into a top clicked You-tube clip in the last days. The Video shows an upset Woman, calling passers by angrily to take action against people like Pierre Vogel. Meanwhile, even an English subtitled version is circulating in the world wide web and has been watched over 100.000 times. Now, she’s called the „courageous German“ who stands up defiantly against Pierre Vogel and his followers. Meanwhile, PI could make out the brave “fighter for the Occident”. We don’t want to give further details concerning her identity – guess why! – for her own safety. Heidi gave us an interview answering a few questions."
PI: Heidi, you have become a little “Internet star” overnight and even Glenn Beck has gave account of you in his radio show. What this feels like? Is this turbulence disagreeable for you?
Heidi: In the beginning, it was funny. I asked myself if I had acted the right way. Meanwhile however, I have to laugh about it over and over again. I consider some of the comments on You-tube as „below belt line“. A bit more respect can be expected. Respect is also a virtue some could learn again.
Have you been addressed by people after your appearance ever since?
Please , give us a shot account of the Salafist event in Frankfurt. How was it for you and what was moving you to your words?
maybe, I should explain briefly why I was showing up there: When Pierre Vogel showed up with his followers in Frankfurt am Main on Römerberg the last time, I was rather shocked. The protestant church was open and radical Muslims used it as acting base. In my opinion, this could only have happened with the approval of the church leadership there. The atmosphere on Römerberg was back-breaking. Men and women, girls and boy, were standing apart. When I tried to greet male youths with a handshake, as it is common in Germany, they refused it. They consider a woman as dirty and therefore they don’t give their hand.
This time, I didn’t want to be there at first. A friend from Lebanon pushed me days before already and repeated emphatically: Heidi, we have to do something against it. When I came to the place the atmosphere was tense. Policemen were standing everywhere with bulletproof vests. The event location itself was locked off by crush barriers.
For the first time I was proud of the leftists who had disturbed the event effectively with slogans and banners in favor of Israel. Even if normally I don’t support their opinions. My personal motivation was to see and feel what’s happening in my city. Whats more, I have prayed. I want Frankfurt to live in peace.
What was leading to the well known scene?
The confrontation shown on the video began, when I tried to explain to Muslim girls, who just had loudly declared: „This is our religion…“, how different Jesus ans Mohamed were dealing with a sinner – in other words a woman:
Religious people bring a woman caught at adultery and want to stone her. Jesus answers to them: „Whoever of you, who is without sin, he shall throw the first stone.“ However, the sinner he dismisses with the words: „From now on don’t sin again.“ (The Bible, New Testament)
A similar scene: A woman – again there is no guilty man – is caught a adultery. She has become pregnant in the meantime and is brought in front of Mohamed. He dismisses her until she has given birth to the child. She comes again and he dismisses her until she has weaned the child. Now the child is taken away from her and she is getting stoned.
The way of acting of Jesus and Mohamed in this very similar stories show clearly the basic difference between the two way of believe. This is what i have tried to explain to the girls.
A Muslim man, shown next to me on the pictures, couldn’t bear hearing this conversation and interfered aggressively. He was the trigger for my inner fire to break out, I can’t explain it otherwise. After this, I didn’t care for anything anymore. I just wanted to shout out the truth.
Are you a Christian, then?
It depends on what you consider this to be. Basically, yes. But when I think of all the people calling themselves Christians and don’t act alike, I don’t want to be called like that. A lot of Muslims even think Hitler – whom they admire so much because of his successful annihilation of Jews – would have been a Christian. In this case, I’m definitely none.
However, when the term is used otherwise, if you say, a Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ – somebody who loves Jesus and his word, the Bible and takes it as a benchmark for the own actions – then I am a Christian with all of my heart. There is no greater, no more loving example for my live than Jesus.
Many people who have watched the video recording have been impressed bey your civil courage. Have you been aware of the danger you were in in the situation of your appearance? Have you been threatened in any way afterwards?
I was fully aware of the danger of my „appearance“, how you call it. However, I knew nothing could have happened to me. There’s nothing the police could have done, I was too close to the crowd. The Bild newspaper had a slogan a few month ago: „Truth ever needs a courageous to speak it out.“ This is what I did.
A policeman has put himself protecting in front of you in the situation. Has there been a short talk with the policeman afterwards?
Yes, he was so kind. I was praising the other policemen too. Many have answered to me, they would rather sit at home on the sofa right now too. I am so proud of our police, dragging out the barrow of the responsibles over and over again. I feel sorry for them many times. They are so often senselessly brought into danger. Maybe, they should consider a strike.
Has there been for you some kind of „light bulb moment“? Why have you taken so much engagement positioning yourself against the Islamisation?
This is very easy to answer. By the fact, I have a lot to do with young people – most of them are Muslims. Which one of the horrifying examples still moving me shall I account?
The one of the young German in Offenbach who was blond and blue eyed and was therefore insulted as a Nazi;
of the veiled Moroccan girl, begging me for help, because she was afraid the brothers of her girl-friend, who had escaped with a German boy-friend, could do her harm, because she knew about it;
of the 18 years old Sofia (with German passport!) who disappeared one day after her 18th birthday and never showed up again in school. She had been shadowed moths before by her brother, because she had a boy-fired who was a Hindu. I did everything i could to help her. without success!
or of the 19 years old young Pakistani woman who called me weeping on the mobile phone and told me, how her father had massively beaten her up and locked her in the apartment, only because some boy had sent her an SMS. Or, or,… Now you know what’s really moving me.
In your opinion, what danger is coming from a group like the one around Pierre Vogel?
This is very simple to answer as well – as we have made painful experiences for almost a century on this area on German soil. We had the brown and the red pestilence. I’m not sorry, I can’t call this way of thinking otherways, because millions of people have suffered from it and suffer still until today.
our brain is like a battlefield. We people are basically all the same. what makes the difference between us is the way how we are thinking. Our thinking affects our acting. Thinking is test-acting!
What Pierre Vogel is doing is simply an elaborate brain washing, like it was the case with Hitler, Goebbels, Stalin, Honecker and how they were all called. He is addressing himself directly towards foreign youths, because they often have problems with their own identity anyway. They are torn apart between the world their families came from and their German reality. They have a hard time. Islam means form many of them a piece of identification with the other world of their ancestors. That’s the open door, Vogel is using. He multiplies his bad ideas into this young people. That’s the real danger. Everything else are outcomes of it, I’d rather not think about yet. This is the reason why I’m also against Islam classes at our schools!
Are you acting in any other ways actively against the Islamisation or was this appearance in Frankfurt rather accidentally?
No, I’m not active in any way, but I take position, wherever I can.
What would you suggest the PI readers. How should they defend themselves against the Islamisation?
Hatred is definitely the wrong answer. we can’t answer hatred by hatred! I believe, we still have a chance. We have to go back to our Judeo-Christian roots which are a blessing for our country until today.
many people, especially women, have fought for the rights we all – also the Muslims – enjoy today. These Freedoms have to be protected. If we don’t make it now it will likely be too late. There are things who have to be done in a appointed time – if we miss this time, we hardly ever can cancel the done failure.
Not only we had two world wars. Germany is the country of poets and thinkers. It’s the country of reformation. Here, martin Luther translated the Bible into German. After that the letterpress printing was invented. A lot of inventions, and Progress was developed by our people. We really have to remember this. I love my country, I love Germany, where German language is spoken. Because I love it, I’m also ready to defend the country and it’s people with my means.
Somebody told me: “Only the one who loves his country will pay the prize to defend it.“ This is a true sentence worth thinking about. Everybody has to to whatever is in his might. But I know, we need not only a political answer towards Islam, but also a spiritual. Christians in Germany and Europe must wake up!
Heidi, we thank you for this conversation and wish you all the best for your future engagement.
Behind a nondescript door at CIA headquarters, the agency has assembled a new counterterrorism unit whose job is to find al-Qaeda targets in Yemen. A corresponding commotion has been underway in the Arabian Peninsula, where construction workers have been laying out a secret new runway for CIA drones.
When the missiles start falling, it will mark another expansion of the paramilitary mission of the CIA.
In the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the agency has undergone a fundamental transformation. Although the CIA continues to gather intelligence and furnish analysis on a vast array of subjects, its focus and resources are increasingly centered on the cold counterterrorism objective of finding targets to capture or kill.
The shift has been gradual enough that its magnitude can be difficult to grasp. Drone strikes that once seemed impossibly futuristic are so routine that they rarely attract public attention unless a high-ranking al-Qaeda figure is killed.
But framed against the upcoming 10th anniversary of the 2001 attacks — as well as the arrival next week of retired Gen. David H. Petraeus as the CIA’s director — the extent of the agency’s reorientation comes into sharper view:
â—�The drone program has killed more than 2,000 militants and civilians since 2001, a staggering figure for an agency that has a long history of supporting proxy forces in bloody conflicts but rarely pulled the trigger on its own.
â—�The CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, which had 300 employees on the day of the attacks, now exceeds al-Qaeda’s core membership around the globe. With about 2,000 on its staff, the CTC accounts for 10 percent of the agency’s workforce, has designated officers in almost every significant overseas post and controls the CIA’s expanding fleet of drones.
â—�Even the agency’s analytic branch, which traditionally existed to provide insights to policymakers, has been enlisted in the hunt. About 20 percent of CIA analysts are now “targeters” scanning data for individuals to recruit, arrest or place in the crosshairs of a drone. The skill is in such demand that the CIA made targeting a designated career track five years ago, meaning analysts can collect raises and promotions without having to leave the targeting field.
Critics, including some in the U.S. intelligence community, contend that the CIA’s embrace of “kinetic” operations, as they are known, has diverted the agency from its traditional espionage mission and undermined its ability to make sense of global developments such as the Arab Spring.
Human rights groups go further, saying the CIA now functions as a military force beyond the accountability that the United States has historically demanded of its armed services. The CIA doesn’t officially acknowledge the drone program, let alone provide public explanation about who shoots and who dies, and by what rules.
“We’re seeing the CIA turn into more of a paramilitary organization without the oversight and accountability that we traditionally expect of the military,” said Hina Shamsi, the director of the National Security Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.
CIA officials defend all aspects of the agency’s counterterrorism efforts and argue that the agency’s attention to other subjects has not been diminished. Fran Moore, head of the CIA’s analytic branch, said intelligence work on a vast range of issues, including weapons proliferation and energy resources, has been expanded and improved.
“The vast majority of analysts would not identify themselves as supporting military objectives,” Moore said in an interview at CIA headquarters. Counterterrorism “is clearly a significant, growing and vibrant part of our mission. But it’s not the defining mission.”
Agency within an agency
Nevertheless, those directly involved in building the agency’s lethal capacity say the changes to the CIA since Sept. 11 are so profound that they sometimes marvel at the result. One former senior U.S. intelligence official described the agency’s paramilitary transformation as “nothing short of a wonderment.”
“You’ve taken an agency that was chugging along and turned it into one hell of a killing machine,” said the former official, who, like many people interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence matters. Blanching at his choice of words, he quickly offered a revision: “Instead, say ‘one hell of an operational tool.’ ”
The engine of that machine is the CTC, an entity that has accumulated influence, authority and resources to such a degree that it resembles an agency within an agency.
The center swelled to 1,200 employees in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and nearly doubled in size since then.
The CTC occupies a sprawling footprint at the CIA campus in Langley, including the first floor of what is known as the “new headquarters” building. The chief of the center is an undercover officer known for his brusque manner, cigarette habit and tireless commitment to the job.
A CIA veteran said he asked the CTC chief about the pace of strikes against al-Qaeda last year and got a typically profane reply: “We are killing these sons of bitches faster than they can grow them now.”
The headquarters for that hunt is on a separate floor in a CTC unit known as the Pakistan-Afghanistan Department, referred to internally as PAD. Within the past year, the agency has created an equivalent department for Yemen and Somalia in the hope that it can replicate the impact of PAD.
Inside the PAD entrance is a photographic tribute to the seven CIA employees who were killed by a suicide bomber in December 2009 at a remote base in the Afghan city of Khost. Two were former targeters who had worked in the CTC.
Beyond that marker is a warren of cubicles and offices. On the walls are maps marked with the locations of CIA bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as whiteboards with lists of pending operations and code names of spies. Every paid informant is given a unique “crypt” that starts with a two-letter digraph designating spies who are paid sources of the CTC.
PAD serves as the anchor of an operational triangle that stretches from South Asia to the American Southwest. The CIA has about 30 Predator and Reaper drones, all flown by Air Force pilots from a U.S. military base in a state that The Post has agreed, at the request of agency officials, not to name. The intelligence that guides their “orbits” flows in from a constellation of CIA bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
CIA officials insist that drone strikes are among the least common outcomes in its counterterrorism campaign.
“Of all the intelligence work on counterterrorism, only a sliver goes into Predator operations,” a senior U.S. official said. The agency’s 118 strikes last year were outnumbered “many times” by instances in which the agency provided tips to foreign partners or took nonlethal steps.
“There were investigations, arrests, debriefings . . . these are all operational acts,” the official said.
The Obama administration dismantled the CIA’s system of secret prisons, but it continues to use foreign partners to apprehend suspects in some countries, including Somalia.
The CIA also was heavily involved in the raid by U.S. Special Operations troops on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May. Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs, but the operation was carried out under CIA authority, planned in a room at agency headquarters and based on intelligence gathered over a period of years by the CTC.
The assault was the most high-profile example of an expanding collaboration between the CIA and the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees the nation’s elite military teams.
Their comingling at remote bases is so complete that U.S. officials ranging from congressional staffers to high-ranking CIA officers said they often find it difficult to distinguish agency from military personnel.
“You couldn’t tell the difference between CIA officers, Special Forces guys and contractors,” said a senior U.S. official after a recent tour through Afghanistan. “They’re all three blended together. All under the command of the CIA.”
Their activities occupy an expanding netherworld between intelligence and military operations. Sometimes their missions are considered military “preparation of the battlefield,” and others fall under covert findings obtained by the CIA. As a result, congressional intelligence and armed services committees rarely get a comprehensive view.
Hybrid units called “omega” or “cross matrix” teams have operated in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen, according to senior U.S. military officials.
Those employed in Afghanistan were “mostly designed against specific high-value targets with the intent of looking across the border” into Pakistan, said a former senior U.S. military official involved in Special Operations missions. They wore civilian clothes and traveled in Toyota Hilux trucks rather than military vehicles.
“They were designed to develop sources and leads” but also to “be prepared if necessary to be the front end of a more robust lethal force.”
On at least five occasions, officials said, Special Operations units working closely with the CIA ventured into Pakistan in exercises designed to test their ability to close in on a target without being detected by Pakistani authorities. The operations, which took place between 2002 and 2006, amounted to early rehearsals of the bin Laden raid.
The CIA’s post-Sept. 11 arsenal has also included elite Afghan militias trained and led by the agency’s Special Activities Division, its paramilitary branch. In a measure of the murkiness surrounding such programs, the purpose of the Counterterror Pursuit Teams is a source of disagreement among senior officials in government.
“They can fire in self-defense, but they don’t go out to try and kill a target,” a U.S. official familiar with CIA operations in Afghanistan said. “They’re mostly arresting people and turning them over to” the Afghan security services.
But the former senior U.S. military official said the teams’ objectives were “more kill-capture” than capture-kill. “It wasn’t always high-value targets,” he said. “They were trying to pursue and kill sometimes lower-hanging fruit.”
In some cases, the pursuit teams used more indiscriminate means, including land mines, to disrupt insurgent networks, the former official said. Two current U.S. military officials said one of the CIA’s pursuit teams was disbanded after a botched assault in which it killed the wrong target.
A U.S. intelligence official disputed that account, and said none of the teams were ever shut down. The official acknowledged that Pashtun-dominated militias have been used by the CIA to gather intelligence inside Pakistan. Any need to use them to pursue targets has been diminished by the expanding lethal reach of the drones.
Given the scope of the CIA’s paramilitary activities, human rights groups say the death toll over the past decade from CIA-
directed operations undoubtedly exceeds the casualty count associated with strikes from drones.
U.S. intelligence and congressional officials insist that the number of people killed in CIA operations outside the drone campaign is negligible, but say they have never seen an agency-produced casualty count that includes other categories of operations.
“That’s a very small number — I’m struggling to come up with a single example,” said a U.S. official involved in overseeing CIA operations since 2004.
The demands of the counterterror mission have affected the organization in more subtle but pervasive ways. A U.S. official who worked closely with former CIA director Leon E. Panetta said the then-chief spent at least 30 percent of his time on counterterrorism matters.
Panetta’s predecessor, Michael V. Hayden, answered questions about his priorities with a jumble of letters, “CTCPROW,” meaning counterterrorism, counterproliferation and, finally, rest of the world.
CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said, “While we don’t discuss the details of our counterterrorism operations, the fact that they are a top priority and effective is precisely what the American people expect.”
Yet officials describe a distortion effect in collecting intelligence. Dependence on counterterrorism cooperation from a country such as Egypt makes it more risky to engage in activities that might jeopardize that relationship, such as gathering intelligence on corruption in the government or its fragile hold on power.
Senior officials also voice concern about changes in the agency’s analytic branch, where 35 percent are now in jobs where their main function is to support operators and 10 percent are deployed abroad.
“We were originally set up with a more singular focus on policymakers,” said Moore, the head of the CIA’s analytic branch. But for a growing number of analysts, “it’s not just about writing for the president. It’s about gaining leads.”
Putting analysts alongside operators gives them a clearer view of sources and the quality of raw intelligence. In turn, the analysts can help operators vet sources and gain a complex understanding of their adversaries.
But the collaboration also carries risks, including a concern that analysts may become too invested in the outcomes of operations, too eager to be part of the agency’s counterterrorism team.
There is also a self-serving aspect to the arrangement.
“When CIA does covert action, who does the president turn to to judge its effectiveness?” a former senior U.S. intelligence official. “To the CIA.”
In this new operation-focused era, targeters play a critical role. The job is more complex than it sounds, and involves assembling vast quantities of data on terrorist networks or other organizations to pinpoint their most vulnerable points. It could be a source for the CIA to recruit or a shipment that an illicit nuclear weapons program can’t do without.
In counterterrorism operations, it also means placing militants in the remotely controlled sights of Predator and Reaper drones.
The CIA’s skill and efficiency at doing so has given the drone program a momentum of its own. More broadly, an agency that some argued should be dismantled after failures leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks and the Iraq war has achieved a standing as an indispensable counterterrorism tool.
U.S. officials said President Obama’s decision to approve the agency’s new drone base in the Arabian Peninsula and begin Predator patrols over Yemen was driven by the agency’s unique authorities and capabilities.
JSOC has been flying armed drones over Yemen for much of the past year. But those flights fall under conventional military authorities that require permission or at least a level of acquiescence from Yemen. The CIA is in a better position to keep flying even if that cooperation stops.
The administration is also counting on the lethal proficiency of the targeters settling into their cubicles in the latest addition to the sprawling offices of the CTC, a department focused exclusively on Yemen and Somalia.
“The kinetic piece of any counterterror strike is the last 20 seconds of an enormously long chain of collection and analysis,” said a U.S. official involved in the creation of the new department. “Traditional elements of espionage and analysis have not been lost at the agency. On the contrary. The CT effort is largely an intelligence game. It’s about finding a target . . . the finish piece is the easy part.”
In mid-August, as London's neighbourhoods underwent violence, looting and fire, France's Jews looked on with a familiar disquiet. Jews were in no sense the target of this summer's rioting, but a decade ago, something similar went wrong on the streets of Paris that has not been put right since. The present era of European street violence began with widespread assaults on Jews around Paris in the autumn of 2000, the year of the so-called "second intifada" in Israel. The following year saw riots in Oldham and Rochdale — overshadowed in retrospect by the destruction of the World Trade Center just weeks later.
No rest: A desecrated gravestone in the Jewish cemetary of Brumath, France, November 2004 (Getty)
There were 744 acts of anti-Jewish violence and threats in France in 2000, the worst year since the war. While these were, beyond any shadow of a doubt, anti-Semitic acts, they were not perpetrated by the sort of anti-Semites against whom French people had steeled themselves to be vigilant. Violence was particularly intense in those north Paris neighbourhoods, such as Sarcelles and Garges-lès-Gonesses, where an established and ageing Jewish population, much of it descended from North African immigration of the early 1960s, lived at close quarters with newer Muslim immigrants, many of them young. The attacks were stemmed by an aggressive government response starting in 2002, but they have never died out. The years 2004 and 2009 were worse. They form the backdrop to a more general sense of being ill-at-ease, or no longer quite so at home, that many French Jews describe.
Paris has more Jews than any country in Western Europe. It also has more Arab Muslims. Clashing visions of how the French state ought to respond have led to a divergence of interests between the two groups. But while the Arab population is rising rapidly, the Jewish population is ageing and shrinking due to emigration, intermarriage and small family size. It has fallen to under half a million, according to the authoritative Hebrew University demographer Sergio Della Pergola. It is now hard to teach the Holocaust in schools, due to harassment and disruption from mostly immigrant students. A third of Jewish students have abandoned the state school system for Jewish schools, while another third go to Catholic ones — more for reasons of security than pedagogy. Regularly scheduled, robustly attended demonstrations question the legitimacy of the state of Israel.
But a problem that France presents at its most intense is not exclusively a French problem. The senior politician of the Dutch centre-Right, Frits Bolkestein, has worried aloud that Holland's unassimilated Muslims may make the country a dangerous place for its 40,000 Orthodox (and therefore visible) Jews. In Germany, the Left party has held fraught internal meetings to discuss whether its members' passionate anti-Israel sentiments were shading over into anti-Semitic ones.
France's behaviour towards its Jews in World War II has for decades served as the lodestone for its political ethics. For a quarter-century after the war, an official silence surrounded the collaboration of France's wartime Vichy government with that of Nazi Germany. Since the early 1970s, when the American historian Robert Paxton and the documentary filmmaker Marcel Ophüls revealed that collaboration in detail, discussion of France's misdeeds has been wide-open. But it has the power to fascinate and wound. Two major movies about the Holocaust were showing in French cinemas over the summer — the American film Sarah's Key and the French-made La Rafle, which describes the night of July 15, 1942, when thousands of Jews, including children, were rounded up by French authorities. They followed a spat over whether to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the death of Louis-Ferdinand Céline, arguably France's greatest 20th-century novelist but certainly one of its most notorious literary anti-Semites.
France looked at the record of World War II and found it so unspeakable that it insisted on stamping out the merest glimmer of the doctrines that had made such things possible. It was not the only country in continental Europe that did so. But there was an added drama to the French state's relations with France's Jews. For the first two decades of Israel's existence, France was its most important ally. The two countries even cooperated to develop their nuclear weapons programmes. But after Israel fought the Six-Day War against a coalition of Arab powers in 1967, France's president Charles de Gaulle withdrew his support, and in terms that made it seem his real gripe was not with Israel but with Jews, whom he called "an elite people, sure of itself and dominant". Nonetheless, for decades after the 1970s, remembering the Holocaust in a dignified and appropriate way (le devoir de mémoire, as the French called it) was the core "spiritual exercise" of France — in its schools and on its public days of remembrance. Jews wound up, willy-nilly, at the centre of France's moral system.
This system was delicate and difficult to maintain. In retrospect, it cut against a longstanding French idea of citizenship based on radical egalitarianism and absolute loyalty to the French state. History and morality might justify being specially mindful of Franco-Jewish history, but the country's constitutional principles made that history a source of mischief, a useful stick with which to beat the French public. In the 1980s and 1990s, political activists — then a leftist vanguard, now a multicultural establishment — found it useful when demanding special privileges for asylum-seekers, immigrants and racial minorities, to cast them as the modern-day incarnation of what Jews had been in the 1930s and '40s. Among the most egregious offenders was SOS Racism, an anti-racist group set up by the Mitterrand-era Socialist Party. Any misgivings about high levels of immigration, or high levels of immigrant crime, were analogised to collaboration in the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz in the 1940s. Anti-anti-Semitism became grounds for shutting popular opinion about many issues out of the national conversation altogether, much as anti-racism did in the US or the UK.
The history of the Holocaust was put to the service not of memory but of ideology. A bulwark against anti-Semitism became a citadel of multiculturalism. The main beneficiaries of Holocaust memory were France's 5 million or so Muslims, descendants of a mass immigration from North Africa and elsewhere after the 1960s, but there was an odd twist. Particularly after the blossoming of political Islam in the 1970s, their main geo-strategic grievance was with the Jewish state, and many Arabs in France showed considerably less ability than even de Gaulle to distinguish between the Jewish state and the Jewish people. Mass immigration thus left Jews in France in an awkward position.
In a democracy, the interests of a community of 5-6 million will usually trump those of a community of under half a million. The Socialist foreign-policy thinker Pascal Boniface wrote a notorious memo to his party's political strategists on the eve of the 2002 elections in which he urged them to bear this imbalance in mind when they formulated their policy on Israel. Such realpolitik no longer attracts much notice. Muslims have been able to reshape the French state and society in ways that Jews had neither the demographic might nor the proselytising inclination to seek. Ramadan — in which millions of French workers are slowed down by fasting — has become an important part of the rhythm of the French work year. Muslim families have objected to the way the Holocaust is taught in French schools, claiming to see it as an apology for the state of Israel, and some have objected to its being taught altogether.
The state has grown increasingly open to minority concerns. This is bound to help Jews in certain ways. In recent months interior minister Claude Guéant has begun to talk about the need to arrange scholarly entrance and prize exams — often scheduled for Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath — in such a way that they do not prejudice Jews' chances of getting into good schools. At the same time, being lumped into the same regime of rights as Muslims has its drawbacks. When French policymakers sought to address a dramatic increase in veil-wearing in secondary schools half a decade ago, they did so by casting it as a problem of "secularism", not of Islam. That meant that Jewish students were forbidden to wear yarmulkes to school, a right that had never proved problematic. "Through parallels drawn with Islam," says Rabbi Joël Mergui, who heads the Consistoire, the official organisation of French Jews, "we have lost certain acquired rights [acquis]."
In the 1970s, French Jews were a people whose story serves to promote immigration. Today, they are victims of that immigrations's failure constrained to compete with other minorities for the favour of the broader society. Today a third of the youth population of many cities, including Paris, consists of the descendents of immigration. France has replaced a cohort that feels it has a debt towards Jews with a cohort that feels Jews have a debt towards them.
The drama plays out in arguments over the state of Israel. Two things make French arguments over Israel particularly passionate. First, French Jews' attachment to Israel is strong. There are 800,000 French-speakers in the Jewish state, and Jerusalem is just over four hours' flight away. So French Jews simply spend a lot of time there. They even speak of a "Boeing aliya" (borrowing the word for a migration to the Holy Land) that takes place every weekend. Certain causes célèbres, like that of the Franco-Jewish soldier Gilad Shalit, held hostage by Hamas in Gaza since 2006, tighten this bond.
The second is that French opposition to Israel is ferocious among certain groups of people who are closely listened to, especially immigrants and intellectuals. A host of organisations are dedicated to exposing the Jewish state's alleged misdeeds. These range from the Communist-inspired Association France Palestine Solidarité, which has existed for decades and organises marches and campaigns, to the newer Europalestine, which spearheads various boycotts and guerrilla theatre operations. They will, for example, enter a Carrefour supermarket en masse and cart out Israeli products. The Muslim Brotherhood-dominated UOIF, which often holds a majority on France's official Muslim body, the CFCM, backs the Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Hamas government of the Gaza strip. The Sheikh Yassin Collective, named after the Hamas leader slain in an Israeli anti-terrorist operation, is more hardline still.
There are flashpoints in this preoccupation with Israel's conduct, and they tend to result in tense times for Jews on the streets of Paris. Consider the anti-Israel flotilla of May 2010, which made news all over the world but had a special resonance in France. International anti-Israel activists sent a flotilla to break the Israeli blockade in Gazan waters. When Israeli troops boarded the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, they were met with armed resistance, and they killed nine. This led to a certain amount of rage among the global Left, but among French leftists it was extreme. There were 190 demonstrations against the incident across France the following day. A petition supporting an anti-Israeli flotilla scheduled for last spring drew the signatures of 300 influential people: Franco-Arab leaders, intellectuals, and deputies and senators not just from the Communist Party but also from the Socialist mainstream.
Even the attempts of oil-rich countries to slant discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian issue are more aggressive in France. Recently the Washington Post carried an article about Yale University's abandonment of its prestigious programme for studying anti-Semitism, possibly due to pressure from its Arab donors, and this sort of thing happens across Europe. But in France, the enormously gifted and appallingly anti-Semitic Franco-Cameroonian comedian Dieudonné M'bala-M'bala has received financing from Iran to make a film about the slave trade. If it resembles Dieudonné's earlier public pronouncements on the subject, it will stress the role of Jews in setting it up.
How much those in the non-immigrant, non-intellectual mainstream of French life care about Middle Eastern matters is hard to gauge, but there are disquieting signs. One was the runaway popularity last winter of the pamphlet Indignez-Vous! penned by a 93-year-old veteran of the French resistance named Stéphane Hessel. "Get Mad!" would be a good translation of its title. In little more than a dozen platitudinous pages, Hessel, who is of Jewish background, assured its readers that they too could claim the mantle of the resistance. That was a message to which French readers were receptive, and the broadside sold more than a million copies. But what were French people supposed to resist, now that the Nazis were gone? "Today my main indignation concerns Palestine," Hessel wrote. He claimed Israel "is massacring innocent people," without being specific about who those people were. He went on to liken the Jewish people to the Nazis who once persecuted them: "That the Jews could themselves perpetrate war crimes is intolerable. Alas, history gives few examples of people who learn the lessons of their own history."
If the only people mobilised by such passions were the children of Palestinians in Europe, they might be seen as occupying a continuum with, for instance, the Boston Irish, who funded IRA terrorism throughout the second half of the 20th century — people with a genuine historical grievance, a stunted sense of when bygones become bygones, and a deplorable tendency to see violence as a first resort. But the demonisation of Israel is not that way. It has appeal outside the Palestinian community, and indeed outside the Muslim community. It is bizarrely single-minded and implausibly intense. This spring, as many frustrated Jewish monitors of anti-Semitism have noted, the Syrian government was killing more unarmed peace marchers, day after day after day, than were killed on the Mavi Marmara in a war zone. The German author and political commentator Henryk Broder has noted a similar bizarreness in his own country's political passions. Broder sees Germany in little danger of the classic, fascistic anti-Semitism that brought it low before, but he is troubled when a Stadtrat, or city counsellor, in Duisburg — a man whose job is to make sure garbage is collected promptly — feels he must enunciate a Middle East policy on behalf of the municipality.
That is, the passions motivating this new anti-Zionism were implausibly large. They were explicable only if one assumed they had a deeper root. The publication of social scientist and essayist Pierre-André Taguieff's path-breaking book, La Nouvelle Judéophobie in 2002, helped French readers to understand that anti-Zionism was sometimes only a way of expressing anti-Semitism in an age of taboos. The report of former diplomat Jean-Christophe Rufin in 2004 identified a form of "radical anti-Zionism" as to blame in the climate of hostility felt by French Jews.
This spring, the philosopher Alain Badiou and the historian Eric Hazan published an odd pamphlet attacking those worrying about a rise, or a recurrence, of anti-Semitism. Their book is in the Leftist tradition of the 1980s and 1990s that seeks to water down Holocaust memory by universalising it. It refers to the persecuted Jews of the 1930s as "the Arabs and Africans of that era". But the authors' unwillingness to see a rise in anti-Semitism is hemmed in by so many qualifications and notwithstandings that it is hard to see why they bother to express it. They admit, for instance, that Dieudonné's rants constitute anti-Semitism of a classic kind. They allow that the Holocaust-deniers who have duped Noam Chomsky and others into defending them have similar motivations.
What Badiou and Hazan want to do is destroy the idea that certain criticisms of the state of Israel are unreasonable on their face. To claim that anti-Semitism is on the rise, they believe, is a mere opération de stigmatisation, meant to distract the reader from Israeli brutality. Thus, the attacks carried out by suburban youth in Paris on individual Jews did not constitute anti-Semitism, but just a "poorly politicised political hostility". If one understands Badiou and Hazan correctly, this is a way of saying that the attacks were legitimate but that the youths didn't find the right words to explain them. What they meant to attack was Israel or perhaps French urban policy. But this is, of course, nonsense. Those Jews attacked in the suburbs since 2002 were attacked because they were Jews — they were not interrogated beforehand as to their political opinions.
Robert Zaretsky, a professor of French history at the University of Houston, has said that French Jewish thinkers, "through their quibbling about Islam and Israel", are destroying the intellectual tradition that they helped to build. Zaretsky's verdict is harsh — the matters at hand are hardly quibbles — but it is true that the explosion of discussion over anti-Semitism has divided Jews.
On one hand, French Jews tend to be, like the majority of Jews in the West, on the political Left, loyal to the Socialist Party. An optimistic way of looking at the arguments over Islam and Israel is to say, as one left-leaning Jewish journalist told me over lunch in Paris this summer, that whereas the context of Jewish life in France used to be the Second Intifada, the new context is the Arab Spring. While this sounds more like a talking point than an observation, the optimistic spirit has given rise to a new initiative.
JCall is built around media celebrities, mostly intellectuals. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Alain Finkielkraut, David Grossman, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Pierre Nora and Henry Rousso are among them. (Its manifesto begins: "Nous, personnalites" and its founding statement is called, obnoxiously, "An Appeal to Reason" — as if those who disagree lack it.) Like the American lobby J Street, on which it is based, JCall is meant to break the power of organised Jewish groups and create pressure on Israel to come to the negotiating table for a two-state solution. But there is a logical problem with this aspiration. France does not have powerful organised Jewish groups. It does not even have politicised ones. Some radical republicans object to President Nicolas Sarkozy's appearances before the CRIF, an umbrella group of leaders of Jewish organisations, but there is no French equivalent of, say, the America-Israel Political Action Committee (Aipac).
In America, J Street's call for more pluralism is understandable, whether one agrees or not with the group's aims — because the United States, and not just its Jewish minority, is almost monolithically pro-Israel. But in France, JCall's pressure on Israel to concede more at the bargaining table is an absurdity — there is no major force in French institutional life arguing for anything else.
JCall's first international meeting — held in June in the town hall of the 13th arrondissement, near Place d'Italie — did not convey that it had much of a raison d'être. The participants described a world in which fostering a more critical attitude towards Israel had a pressing need. One man was shouted down when he said he was a Belgian Jew who was boycotting Israel. The British sociologist Robert Fine laid out with dismay the progress boycott-Israel movements were making in Britain. Editor Meïr Waintrater expressed relief that Badiou and Hazan's book had not become a bestseller, but there was much despair that Hessel's book had made Palestine "la cause des causes". Bashir al-Assad's human rights record was compared — unfavourably — to that of Israel. None of this discussion argued for JCall's relevance. When the sociologist and documentary filmmaker Jacques Tarnero stood up to explain why he had not signed the JCall petition, you could feel a ripple of envy pass through the room.
Learned, independent, abrasive, the sociologist Shmuel Trigano holds those who support JCall in contempt — alterjuifs, he calls them. The French call anti-globalisation activists altermondialistes because of their belief that "another world is possible" — for Trigano, the alterjuifs are trying to wish their way out of their really existing Judaism. They believe that embracing "ideologies of Western self-destruction" will lead the world to treat them more kindly, but it won't, because the world tends to be implacable about such things. "This is not a Jewish problem. It is a problem of the whole of society," Trigano says, sitting in a café in Place de la République. He adds that even Israel has become a "fiefdom of post-modernism".
At his think-tank the Observatoire du Monde Juif, in his quarterly Controverses and in his many books, Trigano has theorised that Jews became a useful symbol to the political Left in the 1980s and 1990s — but useful only as victims, not as independent political actors. Against JCall's "appel à la raison" he and the political scientist Raphaël Draï set up an opposition movement called "raison garder", which translates roughly into a suggestion that one keep a level head. "We have 12,000 signatures," he says. "More than J-Call. We have won — but it's they who get invited on all the radio shows."
Trigano fled his native Algeria — "with two suitcases in two days", as he puts it — in 1961. France's Jewish community is vastly larger than it was at the end of World War II, largely because of this influx of North African Jews. That has changed the composition — and culture — of Jewish France. Once overwhelming Ashkenazi (i.e., stemming from the Yiddish-speaking lands of eastern Europe), it is now majority Sephardic (i.e., stemming from the Spanish-descended Jews of the Mediterranean and the Arab world). The common stereotype, among Jews and non-Jews alike, is that the long-established Ashkenazim tend to be urbane intellectuals, while the Sephardim are blunt-spoken small businessmen. (This stereotype was at the heart of the hit 1996 comedy Would I Lie to You?, in which an upwardly mobile North African Jew tries to pass himself off as Ashkenazi.) Perhaps because a similar rise of Sephardic influence in Israel in the 1960s helped bring Menachem Begin's Likud party to power, many people see a shift to the political Right among French Jews.
There may be something to that, believes Claude Barouch, a charismatic and savvy Tunisian-born accountant who heads the Union of Jewish Professionals (UPJF). "We didn't live through the catastrophe," he says, referring to the Holocaust. "We were mostly spared." The UPJF (which is by no means limited to Sephardim) is a fighting organisation of the French Jewish middle class. In June, Barouch and other leaders organised a demonstration near Place de la Nation to oppose the participation of a French boat in the second Gaza flotilla. It left a mixed picture. What was inspiring was the passion of people unwilling to be ousted from the political conversation in France. What was uninspiring was the turnout, which was low, and the average age of the demonstrators, which was around 60. Barouch blamed the indifference, and even the hostility, of more establishmentarian Jewish organisations — and he singled out the CRIF. That is noteworthy, since many who distrust the Jewish community have an almost conspiratorial view of the CRIF as a sectarian organisation. Barouch notes mournfully that similar things are said about the Jewish community in general: "They take us for some kind of Masonic lodge," he says.
Whether or not Jews, and defenders of Israel more generally, are getting more conservative, it is in Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party that their most vocal defenders and allies are increasingly found. At Barouch's demonstration, Claude Goasguen, a pro-American Parisian in the National Assembly , spoke. So did his colleague Eric Raoult, who condemned the anti-Israel boats as a "terrorist flotilla". Other pro-Israel UMP members include Patrick Devedjian, a leader of the intellectual wing of the party's Right for decades. Foreign minister Alain Juppé heartened French Jews in July when he warned — in anticipation of a possible unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinians at the United Nations this autumn — that any solution to the Middle East crisis must include a "nation-state of Israel for the Jewish people".
Trigano gives Sarkozy credit for having turned the tide against anti-Semitic street violence as minister of the interior. But if Sarkozy has reassured the community and, as president, won their loyalty, it is due just as much to his foreign policy. The long dominance of Sarkozy's predecessor Jacques Chirac was marked by a politique arabe, which is to say a foreign policy in harmony with the wishes of the Arab world, or at least of its dictators, and often at odds with those of Israel. Chirac tried to shore up the Jewish vote at home by compensating with high-profile symbolic acts, some would say stunts, such as apologising in 1995 for the role of the French state in the 1942 roundups. Sarkozy, by contrast, has pursued a foreign policy that is in line with the values of the United States and Israel, which he considers to be the values of France.
A curious development in French politics in the past year has been the relaunching of France's National Front (FN) under Marine Le Pen. Although democratic, the party has long been a bulwark of the hardline Right, with unmistakable overtones of Poujadism, a French fascist movement of the 1950s. Ms Le Pen's father and predecessor, Jean-Marie LePen, was long notorious for slipping anti-Semitic provocations into his speeches. Like the late Jörg Haider in Austria, he had kind words for those Arab dictators — such as Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and Saddam Hussein in Iraq — who set themselves against Israel.
Ms Le Pen aims to turn the party into a more modern kind of anti-globalist, anti-multiculturalist force. In so doing, she has sought ostentatiously to purge it of its anti-Semites, categorically condemning such prejudices and even expelling a member earlier this year for making a Nazi salute. Barrouch admits that the FN has been trying to win members of his organisation over. He estimates that a quarter of his members might be inclined to vote for Ms Le Pen, if only because they assume she will take care of problems linked to immigration. He himself distrusts her, saying she has maintained "exactly the same friends" that her father had.
It is important to remember that a quarter of the Jewish vote, while it sounds large, is identical to the percentage Ms Le Pen is polling in the general population. But Sarkozy's UMP is conscious of a new rival. Last winter, Ms Le Pen was invited on the Jewish radio station Radio J, which cancelled at the last minute, most likely under pressure not from their listeners but from Sarkozy's aides.
Battles over Israel, and over inner-city ethnic relations, are bound to intensify in the run-up to France's presidential elections next spring. Pierre-André Taguieff has suggested, with some justification, that Europe's old "Jewish question" has reemerged in a new form. When Karl Marx and other intellectuals addressed this question in the 1840s, a form of political organisation new to most countries — the nation-state — presented new problems for deciding what kind of rights governments owed to ethnic minorities and what kind of loyalty ethnic minorities owed the state. The question of how a nation could fit within a nation had no easy resolution. The "emancipation" offered to Jews was ambiguous and often involuntary. Their predicament was ultimately resolved only with the creation of the state of Israel.
Now the state of Israel is at the heart of a new Jewish question, one that — like the old one — arises from innovations in the world of political philosophy. Today, leaders of the European Union and apostles of the "global community" hold the nation-state in contempt — and exhort the peoples of the world to view themselves as post-national citizens of the world, owing allegiance to the human race and not to any particular tribe, creed, or polity. There is no evidence to indicate that this is a workable project, but that has done nothing to moderate the calumny visited on those who resist it. Israel, as the nation-state par excellence, is cast as an enemy of "humanity", and the same attitudes confront its supporters, who include most of the West's Jews. Thus the demon of anti-Semitism has managed to reenter European life through the back door, in the name not so much of racism as of anti-racism.
Federal officials allege he trained with militants behind Mumbai attack
WASHINGTON — A Virginia man who came to the US from Pakistan has been charged with supporting Lashkar-e-Taiba, the radical Islamist terrorist group behind the 2008 shooting attack in Mumbai, India.
Justice Department officials said Friday that Jubair Ahmad, 24, of Woodbridge, received religious training from the terrorist group as a teenager in Pakistan and later attended one of its training camps.
He came to the United States in 2007 with his family. He's been under investigation for two years, ever since the FBI got a tip that he might be connected to the group, the officials said. [think about how much it cost to investigate this quite unnecessary immigarnt to the United States, and the cost of putting him on trial, and the cost of incarceration, and then the cost, once he is released, of either trying to deport him, or of monitoring him for what is likely to be the rest of his life. Did it make sense to admit him and his family? What was the theory? What was the point? Why are such families, such people, still being admitted, at horrific potential cost, and with trouble in mind?]
Court documents say that last fall, he produced and uploaded a propaganda video to YouTube on behalf of of the group, showing its leader and purporting to show "jihadi martyrs" and armored trucks exploding after having been hit by improvised explosive devices. Investigators say when asked about the video, Jubair falsely denied having anything to do with it.
The State Department has designated Lashkar-e-Taiba as a terrorist group. It is among nearly a dozen rebel groups operating in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir. India accuses Pakistan of supporting the group even though it is officially banned there.
In June, a Pakistani-born businessman in Chicago was found guilty of providing support to Lashkar-e-Taiba in the 2008 Mumbai assault but not guilty of taking part in the attack. Tahawwur Rana, 50, a former Pakistan Army doctor with Canadian citizenship, was also found guilty of conspiring to attack a Danish newspaper, a plot hatched by the militant group but never carried out.
The key witness in that case — Rana's childhood friend, David Headley — implicated Pakistan's intelligence agency, ISI, in the Mumbai attack, which killed 166 people.
Headley admitted scouting targets for the Mumbai attackers sent by Lashkar-e-Taiba.
NATO's Utter Folly: Putting That NATO Shield In Turkey, Not Bulgaria
Turkey announces that it has come to an agreement with NATO about the placement of the defense shield against Iran in Turkey. Some may think this a victory for NATO, a dispaly of Turkish solidarity that at this time is needed.
Why is this interpretation, and this plan of placing the defense shield in Turkey, folly?
For several reasons.
First, this defense shield of NATO, placed just inside Turkey, just 30 miles from the border with Bulgaria, will nonetheless be on the soil of Turkey. And Turkey isa Muslim country which, formerly ruled by secularists, is becoming more dangerously Muslim every day and as a result, behaving hostilely toward non-Muslim countries, including Israel (with which, in the pre-Erdogan period of Turkey's existence, was a most helpful helpful military partner of Turkey) and toward Armenia, which has suffered from Turkish pressure and hostility. At the moment Turkey has problems with Iran, and may at long last be distancing itself from Iran's ally Syria (after close relations had been established), but that is because the Turks are Sunni, and Syrian Alawites, and Iran itself, can be regarded not as oppressors -- Erdogan and his regime are perfectly happy to attack the Kurds in Iraq and oppress the Kurds (and to some degree the Alevis) at home, but do not take kindly to Shi'a (as they may see the Alawites in Syria) oppressing Sunnis. , may one day wish to curry favor with Iran, or other Muslim powers, and to do so demand that the NATO base be removed, or rendered useless against this or that Muslim power. But NATO should not base its plans on a country that is becoming ever more islamic and thus ever more hostile to non-Muslim powers, and ever more demanding and insistent that those powers do what it, Turkey, wants -- the grotesque demand that Israel apologize for defending its men from the Mavi Marmarva setup is only the most obvious of changes in Turkey's tone and attitudes, but the strident, and aggressive tone with which it now addresses the E.U., more or less demanding admission to that organization and insisting that opposition to it, because it is a Muslim state, is illegitimate, is worrisome.
It is crazy for the Americans to build bases, or rely on bases or to have American-dominated NATO build bases, or rely on bases, in Muslim states. They are not to be trusted, They are not to be regarded as stable, or as permanently loyal. The loss of bases or base rights in Morocco, in Libya, in Saudi Arabia, or the compromises required, both moral and geopolitical, to retain the use of bases in Bahrain (where the American government is inhibitied) and Qatar (ditto), should have provided enough evidence of the danger of placing bases in Muslim countries.
What if the non-Musilm members of NATO decide, for example, that it makes geopolitical sense to support an independent Kurdistan, as a way to weaken Arab Iraq, and the axis of Syria and Iran, both of which have Kurdish populations? The government of Turkey would be enraged, and might demand that the NATO defense shield, which might have been placed just a few dozen miles away in reliable non-Muslim Bulgaria, be removed.
No doubt people will worry that "if we change our decision now, the Turks will be mad." So what? The "Turks" involved are the government of Erbakan, the people of Erbakan and Fethulleh Guien's growing pedagogic empire. Why make it seem that the behavior of the Turkish government, its policies, are not to be noticed, are not to be cause for a deliberate rethinking of the West's relation, not to some ectoplasmic shape called "Turkey," but to "the current regime in Turkey," which is a different thing. If it offends that regime, that's a good reason to do it. The Erdogan regime has been behaving intolerably -- think of the Ergenekon farce, the war on university provosts and magistrates, the arrest of army officers and the mass resignation of the generals. The latest, and perhaps its most intolerable act has been the demand that Israel remove its Ambassador because it refuses to apologize for the outrageous behavior of the Turks on the Mevi Marmara.
Second, why should Turkey be allowed to think that it remains as important to NATO, that NATO needs it as it did during the Cold War? Now, with all of southeastern Europe - including Bulgaria, which has its own legitimate distrust of Turkey and of Turks, and hostility toward Islam -- is available for a defense shield against Iran, why should NATO allow the Turkish regime to thing it is indispensable, when it is quite dispensable to NATO and its plans?
Third, the Turkish regime does not take a hint. It thinks it should stil be admitted to the EU. And there are some soft-headded people in that EU who don't know how to tell Turkey: NO. By placing this NATO shield in Turkey, the Turks will now be allowed to claim that "a most important NATO defense shield against Iran" has been placed in Turkey, so "why should the E.U. mistrust Turkey, and put up barriers to its admission, if NATO found Turkey worthy of such trust"?
Perhaps none of this has been foreseen -- though it might to you appear as obvious as it does to me -- but now that it has been spelled out, so that even cats and dogs and people who make policy in Washington, London, Paris, and elsewhere can understand, the case against putting the defense shield against Iranian missiles in Turkey is not hard to understand.
Non e finita, la commedia, the greater farce in which a quite different and dangerous Turkey is allowed to remain in NATO.
Si je vous parle de Marseille, ce n’est pas parce que c’est une ville un peu différente de la plupart des grandes villes de France, mais parce que j’y habite. Certains diront qu’il s’y passe globalement les mêmes choses qu’à Paris, Lille, Lyon ou Strasbourg avec la mer et le soleil en plus. Mais ici, comme me disait, un jour, un chauffeur de taxi : « On y voit mieux qu’ailleurs la misère humaine! ». Je peux vous parler de cette misère humaine avec le regard de ceux qui ne s’arrêtent pas au seul constat d’une pauvreté affichée.Elle n’est pas faite que de mendicité, elle n’est pas seulement visible dans la saleté des trottoirs ou dans l’insalubrité de certains immeubles du centre ville. Elle se lit sur un autre registre, celui de la misère des esprits, celui du marquage subtil d’un obscurantisme qui ne dit pas son nom.
En regardant ce qui se passe à Marseille, nous comprenons pourquoi la laïcité est un bien précieux que nous ne devons, à aucun prix, sacrifier sur l’autel du relativisme et de la bien-pensance. Il s’agit de mesurer à quel point l’offensive de la religion musulmane, dans la sphère publique comme dans l’espace de la vie civile, soumet sournoisement toute une frange de la population à un dogmatisme religieux où la liberté de conscience fait place à l’esclavage des esprits.
Il s’agit d’ouvrir les yeux sur l’évolution d’une dictature lancinante, les travers subtils d’un prosélytisme fascisant qui met en péril les valeurs de notre République et fait régresser les acquis émancipateurs des femmes de notre pays. Plus grave que la misère humaine, c’est de la décadence d’une société dont il s’agit. Pourquoi parler de décadence à propos du voile ? Pourquoi parler de prosélytisme quand il ne s’agit que d’un élément vestimentaire qui, somme toute, ne dérange personne et pas même celles qui le portent ? Pourquoi faire tant de cas d’un simple bout de tissu quand il y a tant d’autres problèmes à résoudre ? Pourquoi se focaliser sur le foulard islamique, le déclarer inacceptable pour le « vivre ensemble » et prendre le risque de se voir traîner en justice comme l’a été Fanny Truchelut qui avait demandé à une militante islamique de le retirer dans les parties communes de son gîte ?
Parce que le voile n’est pas un accessoire vestimentaire anodin, ce n’est pas qu’un signe religieux, il n’est pas qu’un signe d’appartenance à une communauté, il n’est pas qu’une preuve de leur bonne conduite pour les musulmanes qui le portent. Ce voile, que certaines d’entre elles savent porter avec élégance et coquetterie, est avant tout un signe de subordination des femmes, le révélateur d’un machisme séculier entretenu par toutes les religions mais que l’islam impose comme loi. Le nombre toujours croissant de femmes enfoulardées dans les rues de nos villes prouve que notre pays va mal, que nos valeurs de liberté et d’égalité ne veulent plus dire grand chose au regard des préceptes coraniques qui s’imposent comme contraintes à une partie de plus en plus grande de la population de notre pays. La prolifération du voile prouve que notre société régresse. Ce phénomène de régression est sans commune mesure avec ce que notre Histoire à déjà connu. Il s’attaque au coeur même de notre principe de laïcité garante de l’égalité des sexes. Le voile, c’est le déclin de l’intelligence critique issue des Lumières, la négation du progrès des consciences, le signe d’un endoctrinement des esprits, le retour à un archaïsme moyenâgeux qui relègue au second rang de l’humanité toutes les femmes qui le portent. C’est aussi cela, la misère humaine, c’est l’ignorance à la merci des dogmes, c’est le repli identitaire et le formatage des esprits, c’est la négation de l’égalité des sexes, c’est le recul de la liberté de conscience qui ouvre la voie au totalitarisme.
A force de croiser au quotidien tant de femmes voilées, on s’y habitue. On ne s’étonne plus de voir dans nos rues certaines tenues qu’on croyait réservées aux musulmanes des pays intégristes les plus totalitaires. Avec un peu de lucidité certains citoyens laïques, comme moi, peuvent se demander pourquoi notre armée va combattre les Talibans à l’autre bout du monde quand des intégristes musulmans vivent sur notre territoire en toute impunité. Les lettres envoyées à quelques élus locaux à ce sujet sont restées sans réponse. La plupart des responsables politiques se contrefichent de ce que pensent les citoyens et préfèrent de toute façon évacuer certains problèmes pour éviter de heurter une partie de leurs électeurs.
Il faut bien reconnaître que, dans sa grande majorité, la population de cette ville cosmopolite qu’est Marseille ne s’interroge plus. Elle s’accoutume à l’absurde, elle feint l’indifférence pour se fondre dans la normalité, elle ne connaît plus l’intolérable.
Les dégâts du relativisme culturel
L’intolérance est d’ailleurs devenue un gros mot depuis que certains spécialistes en sciences humaines ont propagé leurs discours d’intellectuels compatissants dans la haute sphère de la pensée correcte, celle qui se situe plutôt à gauche. De Claude Lévi-Strauss à Durkheim en passant par Marcel Mauss ou Robert Jaulin, des sociologues, ethnologues et anthropologues, tous courants confondus, ont entretenu cette imposture intellectuelle qui consiste à analyser les comportements sociaux en général, et plus particulièrement les modes de fonctionnement des sociétés primitives, en refusant d’en apprécier les effets. Par obligation de neutralité scientifique, au nom du respect des différences, au nom du respect des coutumes, des traditions et des croyances, ils ont introduit la notion faussement humaniste du « tout se vaut », notion qui a donné sens à ce « relativisme culturel » dont on nous rabat les oreilles, et qui interdit aux sociétés occidentales dites « modernes » de s’affirmer plus évoluées que les tribus d’Amazonie. Ils ont relégué certaines pratiques barbares ritualisées dans la catégorie des objets d’étude comme le sont l’art primitif ou les cérémonies chamaniques des sorciers Vaudous.
C’est ainsi que des sociologues ont scandaleusement jugé acceptable la pratique de l’excision au prétexte qu’il ne fallait pas s’appuyer sur nos valeurs occidentales pour condamner ce rituel ancestral car il fallait en comprendre la portée sociologique. Il n’est pas inutile de rappeler que les mutilations génitales, qu’on peut classer dans le répertoire des rites initiatiques les plus sadiques, furent longtemps décrites par des experts incontestés en sciences humaines comme une singularité ethnologique, comme une tradition parmi d’autres dont l’intérêt était de maintenir la cohésion du système tribal en Afrique. Ce n’est qu’en 1979 que le premier procès contre des exciseuses a eu lieu en France grâce à la prise de conscience de la gravité du phénomène par des médecins des services sociaux. Mais personne ne saura combien de petites filles ont subi auparavant ces atrocités dans le terrible secret de nos cités ghettos, sous la bénédiction d’intellectuels irresponsables et avec le silence complice de certains médecins de PMI. Encore aujourd’hui, on estime à environ vingt mille le nombre de fillettes pouvant subir une excision lors d’un séjour au « pays » quand ce n’est pas dans le huis clos d’un appartement HLM de nos banlieues.
Il y a peu, c’était ce « relativisme culturel » qui faisait accepter la polygamie, à présent interdite en France. Aujourd’hui, c’est toujours ce « droit à la différence » qui est mis en avant pour justifier qu’en France des femmes puissent vivre enfermées, qu’elles puissent être considérées comme des mineures durant toute leur existence, tour à
tour sous la coupe de leur père, de leur frère et de leur mari. C’est cet excès de tolérance qui nous contraint à supporter la vision quotidienne, dans les rues de nos villes, de ces êtres sans visage, prisonnières consentantes venues d’un monde obscur pour propager une idéologie destructrice qui sape peu à peu les bases d’un humanisme universel. Elles sont une menace pour toutes les femmes libres du monde. Elles sont une insulte à ces femmes exemplaires qui luttent depuis des générations pour ne pas être enfermées sous le voile de la honte. Elles sont une injure à celles qui ont payé de leur vie pour faire avancer les droits émancipateurs des femmes en Algérie, en France, au Maroc, en Iran et ailleurs.
Il est certains mots de la langue française qu’il est aujourd’hui difficile de prononcer sans être assimilés, sous la pression du politiquement correct, à des individus suspects ayant forcément des accointances avec l’extrême droite. Il en est ainsi du mot « intolérance ». Il faut pourtant être intolérant pour faire respecter la loi républicaine.
Aujourd’hui, le droit à la différence est assimilé à la différence des droits par tous les responsables politiques qui accommodent la laïcité en fonction des revendications communautaires.
Pour les partisans d’une laïcité ouverte, l’équation est simple. L’ »intolérance » conduit à la « discrimination », ce qui mène sans beaucoup de détour au délit de « racisme ». Avec les recommandations de la Halde, les encouragements du Mrap il ne sera pas étonnant de voir ces trois mots définis comme des synonymes dans la prochaine
édition du Petit Robert. Le militant de base de la LDH n’a pas à se creuser les méninges pour comprendre les subtilités de ce raccourci linguistique. Et au cas où notre belle jeunesse black-beur ne saurait percevoir le racisme ambiant dont elle est victime, les bons apôtres de la tolérance sont là pour tout expliquer.
C’est ainsi que j’ai pu assister à l’intervention d’une grande subtilité démagogique d’un bobo-barbu estampillé « LDH » devant un public diversifié de jeunes adultes en stage de formation citoyenne. Le discours de ce militant des droits de l’Homme envoyé en mission pour éveiller les consciences juvéniles était simple : vous êtes tous des victimes de racismes en tous genres « racisme anti-noir », « racisme anti-arabe », « racisme anti-jeune » mais vous ne le savez pas. Je vais vous ouvrir les yeux, je suis là pour vous aider à prendre conscience de votre tragique condition. Sachez que vous avez des droits, je vais vous apprendre à vous en servir !
Il fut étonnant d’entendre la réaction d’une jeune fille, dont le père était africain et la mère d’origine algérienne. Elle expliqua qu’elle avait toujours su se battre contre l’hostilité de certains individus envers sa « différence », qu’elle ne tenait pas à ce qu’on la considère comme une victime et qu’elle refusait qu’on lui dise ce qu’elle devait faire et penser. Il est bien évident que le professeur LDH, venu tout spécialement pour faire son exposé sur le racisme, n’a pas lâché le morceau car pour lui, cette jeune fille subissait de graves injustices sans en avoir réellement conscience. C’est de cette façon que l’on fabrique une jeunesse haineuse, de celle qui siffle la Marseillaise, qui crache sur le drapeau Français et qui saccage tout ce qui symbolise la République. Nous avons, en France, une bobocratie qui attise, par son discours victimaire, les violences urbaines et les incivilités récurrentes.
Du simple foulard à la burqa en passant par le tchador ou le niqab, les tenues ostentatoires des musulmanes marseillaises passent par toutes les formes de morceaux de tissu plus ou moins laids et plus ou moins couvrants. En dehors du simple foulard islamique, voile le plus répandu qui permet quand même aux jeunes femmes de s’habiller en jeans, il est toujours difficile de mettre un nom exact sur ces tenues. Le tchador, porté en Iran, est un vêtement qui ne laisse apparent que l’ovale du visage. Le niqab, lui, est constitué d’une lucarne pour les yeux alors que la burqa masque, la plupart du temps, entièrement le visage. La burqa ne laisse rien à découvert, elle est la plus cloisonnante des tenues islamiques. C’est l’uniforme que portent les afghanes. Avec le niqab ou la burqa nous n’avons que peu d’indices
visibles permettant de constater qu’il s’agit bien d’un être humain qui est dessous.
Ici comme dans d’autres villes de France, il n’est pas si rare de croiser dans les rues, dans les bus ou dans les magasins ces sortes de camisoles étranges faites de tissu sombre et grossier qui cachent les visages et transforment en fantômes difformes des individus qui les portent. A Marseille ces silhouettes empaquetées, dont on ne voit rien ou parfois que les yeux à travers une toute petite fente de tissu, peuvent accéder, sans être identifiées, dans des lieux publics, comme à la bibliothèque municipale, par exemple. C’est ainsi qu’à la grande bibliothèque publique de l’Alcazar, située en plein centre ville, j’ai pu voir rentrer une femme voilée jusqu’aux yeux sans qu’aucune vérification sur son identité n’ait été effectuée. Les vigiles contrôlant l’entrée lui ont simplement demandé d’ouvrir son sac comme tout le monde, mais rien d’autre. A Marseille, les agents de sécurité ne sont pas exigeants. Ils préfèrent éviter les excès de zèle et ne veulent pas créer d’incident surtout lorsqu’il s’agit, comme pour l’Alcazar, d’un lieu public culturel et qu’il est situé dans un quartier populaire. Et puis, ainsi que me l’a expliqué le responsable de la surveillance, ils ont des consignes strictes de la direction, et entre autres, celle d’être tolérants. L’important, toujours selon les propos du chef de la sécurité, c’est que la culture reste accessible à tous. On ne peut refuser à ces femmes-là, même voilées jusqu’aux yeux, la possibilité de se distraire et de s’instruire. Il faut faire du social, c’est la politique de la ville.
Après avoir assisté à cette mascarade je me suis demandé si un individu cagoulé passerait les contrôles aussi facilement qu’une musulmane en burqa. Entre la cagoule et le niqab, quel serait l’individu refoulé au nom du plan vigie-pirate ? Je vous avoue que je n’ai pas encore tenté le coup de la cagoule mais que j’y pense fortement.
En France les musulmanes en burqa font leurs courses sans problème dans les grands magasins de la ville, personne ne s’étonne d’un accoutrement aussi excentrique. Il faut dire qu’à Marseille, peut-être plus qu’ailleurs, on rencontre des énergumènes particulièrement extravagants. C’est vrai qu’il vaut mieux s’y habituer le plus rapidement possible pour ne pas tomber dans la déprime. C’est ainsi que les Marseillais peuvent côtoyer, dans les rayons du Monoprix de la Canebière (et pas que dans celui-là), des « fantômettes » noires gantées et masquées jusqu’aux cils. Quand elles passent à la caisse, je vous assure qu’on a l’impression de plonger subitement dans un monde parallèle. De constater, par dessus le marché, que ces personnages sans visage suscitent des comportements totalement absurdes de la part de certaines personnes du magasin, est encore plus consternant. Non seulement on s’écarte pour les laisser passer dans les allées du supermarché, mais c’est tout juste si on ne leur laisse pas la première place dans la file d’attente. Et lorsqu’une caissière, voyant la dame engoncée dans son paquetage de tissu, quelque peu handicapée par ses gants et sa vision de cyclope, en vient, avec une autre cliente, à l’aider à ranger ses courses dans les sacs plastiques, cela devient véritablement surréaliste.
Le niqab de l’école maternelle
Dans le même quartier, près du vieux port, une mère d’élève, un triangle de tissu blanc sur le visage peut entrer aussi librement dans une école maternelle, quatre fois par jour, sans que personne ne pose jamais la question de son identité. Si vous voulez l’identifier, a conseillé l’inspecteur de circonscription interrogé par la directrice, il suffit de lui demander d’accrocher un badge à son vêtement. Bien entendu, personne n’a demandé à cette femme de porter un signe distinctif à sa boutonnière, tout le monde a trouvé cela absurde. Le signe distinctif, elle le portait déjà sur le nez. Les enseignants de Marseille ont aussi peu d’exigence en matière de sécurité que les vigiles de la bibliothèque de l’Alcazar. Et quand il s’agit de faire face à d’éventuels conflits avec les familles, les plus courageux baissent les bras en pestant contre une hiérarchie qui ne les soutient pas. Il suffit que l’Inspection Académique recommande aux directeurs d’école de ne pas faire d’histoire avec les parents d’élèves pour que tout rentre dans l’ordre à la moindre alerte. A Marseille, on laisse donc entrer une personne non identifiable dans un établissement scolaire avec la bénédiction de l’Inspecteur de circonscription qui, comme la plupart des responsables de l’Education Nationale, préfère balayer les problèmes trop complexes d’un revers de manche.
Quand j’ai parlé d’atteinte à la laïcité et de l’image dégradante que cette femme donne à voir aux enfants, ce fut peine perdue. Je me suis heurtée à un mur d’indignations de la part de mes collègues qui affirmaient qu’il valait mieux accepter l’accoutrement grotesque de cette mère d’élève que de lui interdire l’entrée de l’école.
Le personnel municipal qui s’occupe des enfants à la cantine, ATSEM, reçoit, parfois par l’intermédiaire des enseignants, les demandes de dispenses de viande pour certains enfants musulmans. Il n’y a plus de porc aux menus de la plupart des écoles publiques de la ville de Marseille. Néanmoins, de plus en plus de familles exercent des pressions auprès des agents municipaux responsables de la restauration scolaire afin d’obtenir des dérogations de viande pour leurs enfants sous prétexte qu’elle n’est pas halal.
Il faut dire que l’estampille « halal » foisonne en abondance sur les restaurants du centre ville entre La Canebière et la Porte d’Aix. A quelques rues près, les « boucheries du bonheur » ou autres « paradis de la viande » et d’autres boutiques d’alimentation halal occupent la majeure partie du quartier de Noailles. Le halal est en pleine expansion et envahit des quartiers entiers où il est impossible de trouver autre chose. « Vous n’avez qu’à vous y faire, m’a dit un jeune musulman lors d’un débat public, la viande halal c’est meilleur pour la santé » ! Que la viande halal soit autorisée dans les cantines des écoles publiques, comme le réclament nombre d’associations musulmanes, serait une manne financière juteuse pour ceux qui ont le monopole du commerce de la « viande sacrée ».
Du foulard à la burqa, l’engrenage d’un endoctrinement
Ce n’est pas un hasard si le nombre de voiles « intégral » augmente avec le nombre croissant de voilées « ordinaires ». Le voile cautionne la burqa. Le message propagé par les imams est clair : il faut porter le voile pour être une bonne musulmane, mais pour devenir le top de la super-bonne musulmane, il faut cacher son corps tout entier. Entre les deux, il y a des étapes possibles mais l’engrenage est irrémédiable. Ce qui est inquiétant, c’est de savoir que rien n’est fait pour arrêter cet engrenage. Ce qui est insupportable, c’est de savoir que nos dirigeants, si prompts à défendre l’égalité des sexes et la dignité des personnes, Agents Techniques Spécialisés en Ecole Maternelle sont incapables de prendre des mesures pour interdire ces tenues grotesques. Combien de citoyens se sentent agressés à la vue d’une burqa dans la rue? Faudra t-il encore longtemps ruminer sa révolte en silence, en sachant qu’elle est partagée par d’autres citoyens aussi résignés ? Allons-nous devoir encore longtemps nous taire devant tant de pusillanimité de la part de nos responsables politiques qui refusent obstinément de prendre des mesures contre l’offensive d’un islam politique qui ne dit pas son nom ?
Les Marseillais fréquentent toute l’année les plages du Prado. Bien entendu, c’est en été que l’affluence est la plus forte. C’est à ce moment-là qu’on peut y voir des femmes voilées, couvertes jusqu’aux chevilles malgré la chaleur. On peut se dire qu’elles ont le droit d’être pudiques mais constater qu’il y a, à quelques mètres de distance, une quantité non négligeable de baigneuses aux seins nus est assez rassurant. Les musulmanes voilées ne restent pas toujours à surveiller les enfants et les serviettes, certaines vont dans l’eau tout habillées. Elles ne passent pas inaperçues lorsqu’elles en sortent. On se demande alors où est passée leur pudeur. Dans leurs vêtements mouillés elles sont bien plus provocantes que les quinquagénaires en monokini. Quand les burkinis envahiront nos plages, il faudra riposter, mesdames, en passant au nudisme intégral.
Il est parfois des évènements du quotidien qui étonnent, qui exaspèrent, d’autres qui vous laissent pantois. La scène à laquelle j’ai assisté cet après-midi-là m’a clouée sur place. La première chose que j’ai vue marchant devant moi, ce fut la burqa. Elle gonflait sous le léger mistral et laissait deviner une silhouette de petite taille chaussée d’une magnifique paire de tennis blanches. Elle était accompagnée d’une jeune femme en jeans avec un enfant dans une poussette. Je les suivais à peu de distance quand il fallut traverser le grand boulevard d’Athènes encombré d’une circulation intense et continue. Elles n’eurent pas à attendre que le feu passe au rouge. Sans hésitation, la
« Belphégor » se précipita au milieu de la chaussée pour arrêter les voitures. Les bras écartés et la burqa flottante, elle fit barrage de son corps et immobilisa la circulation le temps qu’il fallait pour que la jeune femme à la poussette traverse tranquillement la largeur du boulevard. Aucun klaxon ne retentit, pas un automobiliste ne broncha, on fit le vide autour du fantôme noir. De part et d’autre de l’avenue les choses s’immobilisèrent quelques minutes. Sûre de son effet, imposante et provocante dans sa tenue grotesque qui la rendait presque aveugle, la fille à la burqa montra toute l’arrogance qui caractérise le comportement de ces « femmes-étendards » venues d’un autre monde.
Le voile comme message politique
Si les femmes en tchador ou en burqa sont aussi provocantes c’est qu’elles se savent investies d’une mission, celle d’occuper l’espace de la vie civile, celle de se montrer le plus souvent possible dans des lieux les plus divers en se faisant accepter et respecter au nom du droit à la différence, au nom de la liberté individuelle. Elles imprègnent le quotidien de leur présence et se fondent peu à peu dans la population des villes. Elles n’en sont pas moins les porte-drapeaux de l’islam politique. Elles n’en sont pas moins les stigmates vivants d’une maladie qui ronge peu à peu les fondements de notre société bâtie sur des siècles de luttes pour un idéal de liberté et d’égalité. La question de savoir si ces femmes en burqa le portent sous la contrainte ou si elles
ont décidé volontairement de le porter est un faux problème. Les faits sont là, visibles, tangibles, sans équivoque. Les tenues islamiques prolifèrent et leur prolifération marque l’avancée conquérante de l’Islam comme projet politique. A partir du moment où la problématique du voile se débarrasse de toute influence intellectuelle des humanistes bien pensants dont la vision socio-ethnologique impose le relativisme culturel et le respect des croyances comme postulat premier, elle aboutit à la conclusion unique : le voile est inacceptable.
Mais qui sont ces « Belphégor » ? Pour en avoir abordé quelques unes marchant seules ou du moins non accompagnées d’un barbu (cela arrive plus souvent qu’on ne le croit), je peux témoigner que leur discours est en général bien rôdé, bien formaté. En réponse aux questions que j’ai pu leur poser après quelques amabilités préliminaires, et avant de leur dire sans détours ce que je pensais d’elles, ces femmes ont toutes déclaré la même chose. En résumé : 1) Je porte la burqa par choix, 2) Je ne transige pas avec la loi de ce pays qui m’autorise à exprimer mes convictions religieuses, 3) Ma pudeur vaut mieux que votre mini jupe.
Ce sont les trois principaux arguments invoqués par toutes les musulmanes voilées, par toutes celles qui se mettent à porter le voile du jour au lendemain comme cette mère d’élève qui m’expliquait qu’elle était « rentrée dans le droit chemin ». Aucune musulmane ne peut prétendre porter le voile par choix. Il leur est imposé. Il leur est signifié comme une nécessité par la pression familiale et communautaire.
Elles ne transigent pas avec la loi mais contribuent à créer une fracture entre les hommes et les femmes, une discrimination qui s’affiche comme un modèle de société au même titre que l’apartheid sexuel. Le voile de la pudeur n’existe pas. « Voiler les filles, écrit Chahdortt Djavann dans Bas les voiles, cela signifie en faire des objets sexuels. Les femmes voilées, en France ou dans d’autres pays démocratiques, attirent les regards, attisent les regards. Elles accèdent au statut d’image, au même titre que ces femmes qu’on voit sur les couvertures des magazines pour homme. Etre voilée, s’afficher voilée, c’est être constamment, et avant tout, la femme objet sexuel ».
La contrainte du voile est de plus en plus forte et touche un nombre toujours plus grand de filles mineures. Il n’est pas rare de voir à Marseille des fillettes de huit-dix ans avec un hijab sur la tête. C’est une honte pour un pays comme le nôtre qui prétend défendre les droits des enfants. Et c’est tout autant inadmissible que de laisser des minots hauts comme trois pommes faire la manche sur le cours Belzence en interpellant les passants. Il est vrai qu’à Marseille les autorités locales préfèrent fermer les yeux sur ce genre de problème. Il se passe des choses bien plus graves dans les quartiers Nord de la ville.
« Marseille Espérance » ou comment institutionnaliser la laïcité ouverte
Depuis 1990, Catholiques, Protestants, Musulmans, Juifs, Arméniens, Bouddhistes et Orthodoxes grecs sont représentés au sein d’un groupement créé par l’ancien maire, Robert Vigouroux, et institutionnalisé par Jean-Claude Gaudin. Cette instance de dialogue appelée « Marseille Espérance » est censée oeuvrer pour le « vivre ensemble en paix et dans le respect de la spécificité de chaque communauté ». Officiellement, aucune question religieuse n’est abordée lors des réunions présidées par le premier magistrat de la ville. L’objectif de « Marseille Espérance » est d’établir « un véritable partenariat des forces spirituelles, communautaires et culturelles de la Ville ». Autrement dit, des instances dirigeantes élues acceptent que sept communautés religieuses aient leur mot à dire sur les sujets les plus délicats touchant à la politique de la Ville.
Outre le fait que les non croyants n’y ont pas leur place, « Marseille Espérance » vise à mettre sur le même plan d’égalité les revendications identitaires des différentes communautés représentées. Cet organisme est un modèle pour tous nos dirigeants qui prônent une laïcité ouverte, pour tous les faussaires de la laïcité qui l’accommodent, à gauche, comme à droite, au gré des enjeux électoraux.
Marseille est une ville morcelée où religions, traditions, langues et communautés tiennent lieu de références identitaires, où le vivre ensemble se redéfinit en fonction de ce qui différencie les individus, de ce qui les éloigne les uns des autres. Plutôt que de concevoir la laïcité comme un principe qui réunit les citoyens par delà leurs particularismes, nos dirigeants s’attellent à détruire peu à peu et de façon irrémédiable les fondements de notre unité nationale. Dans ce contexte pour le moins inquiétant le port du voile comme les tenues sans équivoque de nos barbus locaux s’incrustent encore plus facilement dans le paysage urbain.
Marseille, ancrée depuis des années dans le multiculturalisme va devenir la capitale européenne de la culture en 2013. On peut imaginer aisément que les nombreuses associations cultuelles y trouveront leur place sous couvert d’organisations à caractère culturel. Marseille deviendra bientôt un grand patchwork communautaire à l’instar de ces villes anglo-saxonnes devenues des terreaux fertiles pour tous les intégrismes religieux. On y voit déjà à l’oeuvre les prêcheurs d’un islam radical qui répand la barbe, le voile et la burqa partout où c’est possible et qui encouragent les familles musulmanes à réclamer de la viande halal pour leurs enfants dans les cantines scolaires.
De la difficulté de s’opposer au voile dans les milieux militants marseillais
Parler du voile n’est pas chose facile dans la plupart des milieux de gauche. En général, la sphère militante est un terrain hostile à ce genre de débat. A Marseille, le voile est un sujet tabou qu’il est préférable d’éviter quand on s’y oppose, si on ne veut pas se faire traiter de raciste. Heurter ainsi les bonnes consciences de gauche devient un véritable parcours du combattant et par expérience je peux dire que la répression idéologique est bien organisée. Se dire féministe et fustiger la burqa, passe encore, mais condamner de la même façon le voile n’est pas politiquement correct. On dépasse les bornes. On est forcément un traître, quelqu’un de peu fréquentable, voire une taupe d’extrême droite.
Quand le Collectif « Droits des Femmes » qui regroupe une quarantaine d’organisations de gauche met un point d’honneur à prononcer le mot laïcité, c’est pour mieux border le problème du voile dans les limites de la lutte contre les discriminations. S’il est de bon ton de combattre les violences faites aux femmes en condamnant tous les intégrismes religieux, affirmer que le voile est un facteur de régression en terme d’égalité des sexes et qu’il faudrait l’interdire en France, c’est se mettre en porte-à-faux avec toute la mouvance féministe de la ville adepte de Caroline Fourest. Je me suis entendue ainsi traitée publiquement de tous les noms pour avoir publié une interview de Monia Haddaoui (la mère de Ghofrane lapidée dans un terrain vague de Marseille en 2004) dans ce « torchon indigeste » qu’est Riposte Laïque. Collaborer à ce journal qualifié d’ »anti-laïque » m’a valu les pires ennuis et j’ai préféré, au bout du compte, m’éloigner de ce milieu cloisonné où défendre les valeurs républicaines et émettre l’idée que l’Etat pourrait légiférer sur le voile est une véritable gageure.
Je dois me féliciter, néanmoins, d’avoir rencontré quelques féministes réellement laïques, des militantes exemplaires comme Esther Fouchier, présidente de Forum Femmes Méditerranée. Cette dernière vit dans les quartiers nord de Marseille. Elle anime son association, organise des initiatives et des débats avec une réelle compréhension de la gravité de l’offensive islamiste à Marseille, et avec la volonté de la combattre, au nom de la défense des droits des femmes.
Du côté des jeunes militants de l’UMP, nous avons pu constater, lors d’une intervention de Pierre Cassen, invité au nom de Riposte Laïque, que le port de la burqa ne pose guère de problèmes, pas plus que le voile. La laïcité, pour certains, c’est le respect de toutes les croyances et il est normal d’afficher publiquement ses convictions religieuses car la religion est une référence identitaire. Dans la mesure où les femmes qui s’enferment dans leur prison de tissu le font par choix, il n’y a aucune raison de trouver cela inacceptable. Cela fait partie des libertés individuelles, il ne faut surtout pas en faire une affaire d’Etat. Ce furent, en résumé, les arguments que nous avons entendus lorsque les jeunes UMP présents dans la salle prirent la parole au sujet du voile.
A gauche comme à droite la prolifération du voile islamique n’alarme guère les militants Marseillais. Avec la construction de la grande Mosquée, les musulmans radicaux prendront leurs marques en occupant toujours davantage l’espace public. Les voiles, les barbus en burnous, les burqas et les restaurants halal prendront des allures de cliché local pour les touristes en mal d’exotisme. Dans un tel paysage, on peut se demander comment les responsables politiques pourront, dans cinq ans, présenter Marseille comme la première Capitale européenne de la Culture ?
Marseille est une grande ville très animée, un grand bazar urbain où circule une population dense et hétéroclite. On y entend des langues différentes, on y trouve tout un panel de couleurs, d’odeurs et de lumières renvoyées comme un miroir par les eaux du vieux port. La vie associative y est tout aussi intense et tout aussi complexe. Gaston Defferre était réputé pour sa politique clientéliste, rien ne semble avoir changé depuis sa disparition. La droite tient la ville, avec Jean-Claude Gaudin, le seul maire UMP d’une grande ville qui ait échappé au dernier naufrage des municipales. Le Parti socialiste tient la Région avec Michel Vauzelle, et le Conseil Général est présidé par Jean-Noël Guérini, qui tient d’autre part la fédération des Bouches-du-Rhône du PS.
Cette ville a une très forte tradition sociale, avec des gros bastions syndicaux. Ici, la grève commence souvent avant les autres et finit après. Malgré cela, le camp des laïques ne pèse pas lourd entre une kyrielle d’associations qui se regardent souvent en chiens de faïence, plutôt que de s’unir face à la gravité de l’offensive islamiste de plus en plus visible dans la cité phocéenne.
Il faut revenir sur l’affaire de la Grande Mosquée pour comprendre l’ampleur du désastre. La seule force d’opposition à la construction de cette grande Mosquée est venue d’extrême droite. Le MNR, le Mouvement pour la France et le Front National sont montés au créneau en déposant trois requêtes au Tribunal administratif contre la ville de Marseille ce qui annula dans un premier temps le bail emphytéotique accordé pour la somme modique de trois cents euros par mois à l’association cultuelle « La Mosquée de Marseille ». Aucune organisation laïque n’a été capable de montrer le bout de son nez dans cette affaire.
Il est vrai qu’à Marseille aucune structure de défense de la laïcité ne paraît vouloir réellement mobiliser la population. Peut-être la solution viendra-t-elle des mouvements de défense des droits des femmes, où un réel potentiel existe. Mais il faudra, pour cela, que les républicaines sachent faire entendre leur discours face aux communautaristes et aux avocates du relativisme culturel. Contre un fascisme politico-religieux qui s’affiche de plus en plus, il faudra rassembler, par delà les clivages gauche-droite, les laïques, les féministes et les républicains attachés aux valeurs issues de la pensée libre des Lumières et qui sont le ciment de notre démocratie.
Brigitte Bré Bayle
Chapitre 6 de « Les dessous du voile », éditions Riposte Laïque
Israel unfazed by Turkish sanctions, won't apologize
By HERB KEINON
Senior gov't official: Israel hopes a "way can be found to overcome the disagreements" with Ankara, but adds soldiers acted in self defense.
Despite Turkey's decision to downgrade diplomatic ties with Israel and freeze all military agreements, a senior government official said Friday afternoon Israel would not apologize to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara incident.
The official said that as recommended by the Palmer Commission report, presented to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday, Israel "again expresses its regret for the loss of life, but will not apologize for actions of self defense taken by its soldiers."
"Israel, like all nations, has the legitimate right to defend its civilians and soldiers," the official said.
The official said that Israel understood the importance of "the historic relations" between the "Jewish and Turkish people. In light of that, Israel made many efforts in recent months to solve the conflict between the countries, but these did not succeed."
The official said that Israel hoped a "way would be found to overcome the disagreements, and will work toward that aim."
The oft-delayed Palmer Commission report upheld the legality of Israel's naval blockade and right to intercept vessels trying to break it, and also said there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. At the same time the report said the IDF, which it acknowledged came under pre-meditated violence by IHH activists on the ship, used "unreasonable" and "excessive" force.
In rare praise for a UN document, the senior Israeli official called it "professional, serious and in depth," and said Israel adopted the commission's findings – though with reservations about the panel's conclusion that unreasonable and excessive force was used by the IDF.
Regarding Turkey's decision to expel Israel's envoy to Ankara, the official said the ambassador – Gabi Levy – had already finished his tenure in Ankara, had taken leave of his Turkish counterparts in Ankara, and was returning to Israel in the coming days. No replacement for Levy, whose retirement from the Foreign Ministry has been known for months, was ever named.
Referring to one of the five measures that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said at a press conference Friday that Ankara would take against Israel – take measures for freedom of maritime movement in the eastern Mediterranean Sea – the official said that Israel hoped Turkey would "honor international law" in all matters regarding maritime traffic in the Mediterranean.
The other measures he said Israel would take included downgrading diplomatic ties with Israel; freezing all military agreements; no longer recognizing the Gaza blockade and taking the issue to the International Court of Justice; and supporting "flotilla victims" who will take the matter to court.
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News September 2, 2011
The eastern Mediterranean will no longer be a place where Israeli naval forces can freely exercise their “bullying” practices against civilian vessels, a Turkish official said Friday.
The official said this would be the outcome of Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu’s statement earlier in the day that “Turkey would take every precaution it deems necessary for the safety of maritime navigation in the eastern Mediterranean.”
DavutoÄŸlu’s statement about providing maritime safety in the eastern Mediterranean grabbed the most attention among the various sanctions against Israel the foreign minister announced Friday. He did not further elaborate, however, on what he meant by taking “every precaution.”
The Turkish foreign minister’s statement will likely spark a new faceoff between Turkey and Israel, the region’s strongest armies, in the eastern Mediterranean. A potential confrontation between the two countries’ navies would have serious negative consequences for regional stability.
Turkish diplomats told the Hürriyet Daily News that the Turkish Navy will be more visible in the eastern Mediterranean through regular patrolling in international waters. “A more aggressive strategy will be pursued. Israel will no longer be able to exercise its bullying practices freely,” one said.
Using Turkish naval vessels to escort ships carrying aid to Palestine and observing free navigation in the zone between the island of Cyprus and Israel are among the plans set to be implemented, sources said, adding that Turkish war ships would be more frequently seen in the area.
The zone described by Turkish sources has been the subject of a recent diplomatic struggle between Turkey and Greek Cyprus over the latter’s project to start drilling natural gas reserves. Greek Cyprus and Israel recently agreed to jointly initiate the drilling with the participation of some American companies.
Turkey sees the gas-exploration deal as an agreement between two hostile countries against Turkey and has urged both parties not to get involved in such a project before a solution is found to the Cyprus issue in order to preserve the stability of the eastern Mediterranean.
In an interview with daily Zaman on Friday, EU Minister Egemen BaÄŸÄ±ÅŸ hinted that Turkish Navy could intervene if Greek Cyprus does not call off the project. “That’s what a navy is for,” he said.
ErdoÄŸan plans Gaza visit
As part of Turkey’s more aggressive strategy against Israel, sources told the Daily News that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan is planning to visit Hamas-controlled Gaza in the coming weeks, an intention he voiced in late July.
“Our prime minister has already instructed the Foreign Ministry to set a date for the visit. We are looking for the best timing for the visit,” a diplomatic source said. “Our primary purpose is to draw the world’s attention to what is going on in Gaza and to push the international community to end the unfair embargo imposed by Israel.”
Karen Brothers, United Church Peace Activist on Al Quds day in Toronto
At first glance, it seems reasonable to give Karin Brothers (pictured above), a member of the social justice committee of Bloor Street Church in Toronto, Canada, the benefit of the doubt and assume that she made a terrible mistake when she agreed to speak at an “Al Quds” rally that took place a few days ago (Aug. 28).
How was she to know that one of the speakers at the rally would call Israel a “parasitical Zionist state” and that another would describe Israel as a cancer that must be killed? People say crazy things at rallies all the time. and her mere presence at this rally (documented in footage recorded by the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs posted below), doesn’t mean she agrees with such terrible statements.
Who knows? Maybe she really is disgusted by the people who displayed Hezbollah’s flag at the rally! And the picture of Ayatollah Khoemeni? Maybe she didn't see it!
There’s just one problem. She has apparently said some pretty ugly stuff about the Jewish control of the media that feeds into the notion that Canadian and American Jews who support Israel undermine democracy.
Speaking at An-Naja University in Nablus in 2006, Brothers reportedly hinted that the Jewish lobby controls media coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict. An-Najah’s website describes her presenation as follows:
The reasons for this one-sided coverage are hinted by Karin Brothers, a housewife actively engaged in documenting the conflict. “The Jewish lobby is indeed very powerful, not only in the US but also in Canada”, she says. “A significant amount of electoral money comes from the Jewish community, to the extent that right after the massacre of Jenin, about 96% of Congress was in favour of Israel. They created something like an Israeli solidarity vote to support Israel. It’s at that moment that Israel’s lobby showed their muscle”. She has no doubt about the influence of the Jewish community both in politics and within the media: “Any politician would be targeted if he turned his back on Israel.”
Jenin was not a massacre but a pitched battle in which more than a score of Israeli soldiers were killed in a terrible battle in 2002. By asserting that the Jewish lobby came to Israel’s defense in the aftermath of an Israeli-perpetrated massacre (that didn't happen), Brothers is portraying Jews as a “well organized and infinitely malign political entity.” (That phrase is quoted from Bernard Harrison’s 2006 text, The Resuregence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and Liberal Opinion.)
The hostility implicit in Brothers' 2006 message seems to dovetail quite nicely with the message offered by the other speakers at the rally a few days ago in Toronto.
This raises an important question: Exactly what is she doing on Bloor Street’s social justice committee?
CAMERA contacted Rev. Martha Ter Kuile of Bloor Street United Church to confirm that Brothers was in fact a member of the congregation. Rev. Ter Kuile confirmed "that Karin Brothers is a long time member of the congregation of Bloor Street United Church, and participates as a volunteer in our Social Justice Committee. She is a tireless worker for a just peace in the Middle East, through many different organizations."
As far as the question posted by the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs in its video (Does Karin Brothers speak for the United Church?), Rev. Ter Kuile stated she does not "except when she is speaking within the limits" of a policy document approved by the denomination at its General Council in 2009. The document, by the way, affirms the Amman Call which supports the Palestinian right of return, which would mean Israel's dissolution of Israel as a Jewish State.
To be sure, neither the United Church of Canada, nor Bloor Street Church in Toronto should be blamed for Brothers’ appearance at the Al Quds rally.
But then again, neither institution is a stranger to controversies such as this. In 2009 the General Council of the United Church of Canada was a venue for some ugly accusations against Canadian Jews. And in 2005, the Bloor Street Church hosted a talk by Sabeel’s founder Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, who has used anti-Jewish polemic from the New Testament to assail the Jewish state.
It’s not as if Brothers’ fellow members at Bloor Street Church and in the United Church of Canada gave her any warning if they should decide that she did indeed cross the line with her appearance at the rally.
Revolutions are unpredictable, but so are post-revolution periods – something that will be evident if and when the Bashar al-Assad regime falls in Syria.
It is, of course, possible that when the regime falls, the fighting will end and a single body will manage the country’s affairs until elections take place. But it’s also possible that there will be chaos or even civil war. If this happens, expect fighting between the minority ruling Alawites and the majority Sunni population to ensue.
Should there be a smooth transition to democracy, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is likely to try to establish relations with the new Syrian government – indeed he may even try to do so before Assad falls, in order to protect Iran’s interests in Syria. And Khamenei may succeed, depending on whether the new authorities in Damascus are interested in relations with Tehran.
But what if there is instead a civil war? After all, as prominent Middle East analyst Vali Nasr noted in a recent op-ed for the New York Times, in the Arab world, ‘when dictatorships crack, budding democracies are more than likely to be greeted by violence and paralysis.’
Clearly, chaos in Syria could have region-wide implications, and Iranian government officials have already started to warn the international community about the possibility of such a scenario unfolding. It’s unclear how Iran would respond if this does transpire, but one thing seems certain – Iran is extremely unlikely to play the part of spectator. In fact, the opposite may very well end up being true, with Iran likely to back the Alawites by providing them with material and economic support.
The Alawites are a subset of the Shiite sect of Islam, and Iran, the biggest Shiite country in the world, whose supreme leader sees himself as God’s representative to all Shiites, would support them.[many Sunnis do not consider the syncretisetic Alawites to be entitled even to be called Musliims] But religious proximity isn’t the only reason Iran would support the Alawites. To Iran’s leaders, alliances are there to serve the regime’s interests, meaning that if supporting fellow Shiites serves Iran’s interests then Tehran will do so. But by the same token, if assisting Shiites undermines the regime's interests, Tehran isn’t afraid to steer clear – one only has to look at the relative indifference Iran shows to the many hundreds of Shiites killed each year in Pakistan by Sunni extremists simply because it isn’t in Iran’s interests to fall out with the Pakistani government.
So if not just for religious reasons, why would Tehran back the Alawites in the chaos of a civil war? Because it would help Tehran undermine Israel’s security and Saudi Arabia's interests. [so far so obvious]
Civil war in Syria would be a nightmare for Israel, worse even than the Muslim Brotherhood taking over in Damascus. [this isan illogical, nearly crazed conclusion. Civil war, between Shi'a and Sunni within Syria, and ideally dragging others in, would not be "a nightmare for Israel" any more than the Iran-Iraq War was "a nightmare for Israel"]]After all, should the Brotherhood come to power, Israel would at least have someone to hold to account for attacks launched from Syrian territory. But the anarchy of civil war would leave Israel with no one to turn to, and no single authority to threaten reprisals against. If this happens, expect Iran to encourage its allies to attack Israel in an attempt to undermine its security further.
But a civil war could be welcomed in Tehran for another reason – because it would also undermine Saudi interests. Saudi Arabia and Iran have for years been engaged in their own Cold War, especially since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979. They’ve competed for power and influence in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain – and now Syria.According to David Ignatius, writing in the Washington Post, the Saudis have been ‘pumping money to Sunni fighters in Syria.’ Meanwhile, Iran has been backing the Alawite dominated government of Assad. In the case of civil war in Syria, Iran would use the opportunity to undermine Sunni groups as a means of limiting Saudi influence in Syria. Iran has already lost Bahrain to the Saudis – it’s determined not to lose Syria as well.
Fighting a proxy war in Syria on behalf of the Alawites wouldn’t be without risks for Iran. For a start, it could place Iran’s relations with Hamas under severe strain as an overwhelming majority of Palestinians in Syria, as well as the Hamas movement itself, are Sunni.
But it could also impact Iran’s relationship with Hizbollah as Iran would most probably require their assistance in backing the Alawites in the event of civil war. Securing Hizbollah’s backing could affect that group’s standing in the Islamic world, as its popularity in the region has until now come from its portrayal of itself as an Islamic resistance force. Helping to put down Sunnis in Syria would risk undermining this image.
And of course fighting a proxy war in Syria could also impact Iran’s relationship with Turkey, itself a Sunni country whose priority is stability in Syria.
Still, such costs are unlikely to dissuade Iran from taking part, should the opportunity present itself. In Tehran’s cost/benefit analysis, the chance to undermine Israel and Saudi Arabia in one go is likely to outweigh the potential dangers. With Syrian demonstrators burning Iranians flags, Tehran may find that a rapprochement with the Sunni opposition may prove to be too cumbersome, or even impossible. A civil war might suit it better, as would the ensuing grief for Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Meir Javedanfar.
Don't Forget The Sudan, Where The Arabs Are Now Killing Blacks In Blue Nile State
From VOA News:
Blue Nile State Conflict Could Have Multiple Effects
John Tanza | Washington DC
A huge explosion near a United Nations compound in South Kordofan state (File Photo - June 14, 2011)
A long time Sudan observor said the ï»¿escalation of fighting in Blue Nile state between the Sudan Armed Forces, SAF, and Sudan Peoples Liberation Army, SPLA-northern sector, could have serious and multiple effects in other parts of Sudan. John Ashworth, peace and security advisor to the Sudan Ecumenical Council, said the government of the Republic of Sudan is opening up several fronts that could engulf the country in a full scale war.
He said with the Sudan government currently fighting two civil wars in Darfur and Southern Kordofan, another conflict in Blue Nile state will have negative financial and political implcations. Ashworth added that authorites in Khartoum attacked Blue Nile state to cover up their failures to conduct the popular consultation process in the region, as stipulated in the 2005 Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
The fighting in Blue Nile state errupted Thursday night with both the SAF and the SPLA pointing an accusing finger at each other for starting the war. The spokesman for SAF, Al Shawarime Khalid stressed that the SPLA in Damazine attacked their positions and his troops then fought back and captured the town.
The SPLM Secretary General Yassir Arman told reporters in Khartoum Friday that SAF troops attacked the compound of the governor of Blue Nile state, Malik Agar. Agar and most other senior members of SPLA Northern Sector are reported to have fled the Damazine town to an unknown location.
‘The Politically Incorrect Guide to Latin America’ aims to highlight a series of little known controversies about leading leftist figures in the history of the continent. [to call Evita Peron "leftist" is bizarre; to use any such modern terminology for Boliver is silly]
It claims that Simon Bolivar, the hero of Latin America’s independence wars, was scared that blacks and indigenous Indians would seize power and that Salvador Allende, the Marxist Chilean president of the 1970s, considered a Nazi-inspired policy of sterilisation.
Its authors, the Brazilian journalists Leandro Narloch and Duda Teixeira, said the book is intended to generate discussion about issues airbrushed from history books.
Eva Peron, known as Evita, was the second wife of President Juan Peron, and remains a national heroine almost 60 years after she died from cancer.
Hospitals, schools and orphanages were built in poor areas through a foundation she established and she was crucial to her husband’s popularity with the masses.
However, Mr Peron helped many Nazis fleeing Europe after the Second World War to find a safe haven in Argentina, including Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele.
According to the new book: “It is still suspected that among her [Eva Peron’s] possessions, there were pieces of Nazi treasure, that came from rich Jewish families killed in concentration camps.
“Peron himself even spoke of goods of ‘German and Japanese origin’ that the Argentine government had appropriated.” Looking further back in history, the authors write of Bolivar: “His greatest fear was that blacks, Indians and those of mixed race would take power and install a government.” Allende, who killed himself in 1973 during a coup which saw General Augusto Pinochet depose him, is accused of having “stifled the media”.
The book adds that he started “a project of socialist doctrination in schools and almost installed a law of sterilisation, inspired by a Nazi law” aimed at reducing genetic illnesses.
The book has triggered a wave of controversy, winning praise from some historians for stimulating debate but attracting strong criticism from others for a lack of historical context.
“It is not a historical guide. It is politically incorrect. We only show the unpleasant side of history’s heroes,” said Narloch, who is now planning a follow-up work about global historical figures.