These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 23, 2013.
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
What Kind of a Coalition Will Lead the Next Israeli Government?
Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid (19 Seats)
PM Benjamin Netayahu Likud- Yisrtael Beiteinu (31 Seats)
Israeli Knesset Election Jan. 22, 2013
Last weekend I queried a fellow Zionist and Israeli ex-pat in Europe on today’s Knesset general election. His one cautionary note was “don’t believe the polls in Israel, they are usually wrong.” He added: “the only poll that counts in Israel is at the ballot box”. His assumption was that Netanyahu might hopefully win a significant mandate and lead a center right coalition government. Wrong.
When I spoke with my friend just after the exit polls were released, it was clear that Netanyahu may have won a narrow victory with his Likud –Yisroel Beiteinu list capturing 31 seats, a loss of 11 seats from his margin in the 2009 Knesset elections. The big surprise given pre-election prognostications was that Labor under the leadership of Shelly Yacimovich would likely come in second, it didn’t. It came in third with 15 seats in the exit polls behind the Yesh Atid party of former Israeli Channel 2 TV anchor. Yair Lapid is son of the late Tommy Lapid founder of the secularist Shinui party. Yesh Atid took second place with 19 seats in the new Knesset. Yesh Atid, which freely translates as “There is a future”, appealed to Israeli secularists with its demands for no exemptions from national service. This would include the extreme orthodox Jews and Israeli Arabs. Moreover Lapid’s party sought housing assistance for veterans and young families and a possible resumption of moribund peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Yacimovich’s Labor party had caught a wave with the Tel Aviv street protests modeled on the Occupy movement in the US. Fourth in today’s Knesset elections was Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) with 12 seats lead by charismatic Naftali Bennett, former chief of staff to Netanyahu when he was opposition leader. Bennett, a son of American Olim from the Bay Area, is a self made Israeli software multi-millionaire and former IDF Sayeret Matkal officer. He had broken with Netanyahu and left to head the Yesha Council for Judea and Samaria. During the Knesset campaign, Bennett got into a tangle with Netanyahu over comments about serving IDF soldiers who refused orders to evacuate so-called hill top settlements. Bennett recanted but not before being chastised by Netanyahu. The upshot was that the clash had divided Likud. Bennett was quoted in a Washington Post article on the Israeli elections:
“We’ve returned to the center of the political map,” said party leader Naftali Bennett, who had extended Jewish Home’s appeal to secular Israelis with a call for unity among all sectors of society. Bennett opposes a Palestinian state and has called for annexing most of the West Bank.
Shas, the party of Orthodox Sephardim in Israel, and its leader Aryeh Deri was fifth with 11 seats. Deri, previously convicted on corruption charges and having served two years out of a three year term a decade ago. He had vanquished the chairman of Shas, Eli Yeshai backed by Sephardic Grand Rabbi Ovadiah. Deri is considered as an opportunist seeking membership in whatever coalition would have him in exchange for cash grants to religious organizations under the Shas umbrella.
The election result also saw perhaps the political swan song of former Kadima party leader and Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni. Livni’s new Hatnua (The Movement) party only got six seats, the same as extreme left socialist party, Meretz, which doubled its previous position.
Another wild card was that the Arab list of parties had increased their position to 12 seats in the new Knesset. Further, Netanyahu has been criticized for his attack ads against Bennett’s Jewish Home party allegedly divided parties on the right. Thus, forcing young Israeli voters to cast ballots for Lapid’s Yesh Atid party That might make Bibi’s position daunting in fashioning a working coalition.
In a sense yesterday’s Knesset elections looked like ‘balagan”, the colloquial expression for chaos in Israel. 32 parties fielded slates, with 12 parties likely to be seated in the new Knesset. Many had hoped that a Center –Right coalition might address laws changing the country’s law and raising the proportional representation bar hereby reducing the number of parties contending for seats in the Jewish nation’s parliament.
Some observers in the US consider today’s results, when they are finally made official on January 30th, may augur well for the Obama Administration. Netanyahu’s narrow victory may force him to form a center left government, if he wants to continue being PM. The Left is suggesting that it could lead a center left coalition involving Lapid’s Yesh Atid overturning Netanyahu.
On Tuesday afternoon here in the US, I was on a TrentoVisionTV broadcast on-line and simultaneously heard daily on WNN 1470 AM that originates in Boca Raton, Florida. The host of Trentovision is Tom Trento, founder of The United West (TUW). The co-hosts today were “CJ” and Mark Campbell of TUW. Commenting on the Israeli election scene was Barry Shaw, a resident of Netanya, author of Israel: Reclaiming the Narrative and whose blog, “The View from Israel," appears regularly in The Jerusalem Post. Shaw’s prediction was that Netanyahu would likely form a coalition with Lapid’s Yesh Atid, Yacimovich’s resurgent Labor party and Livni’s new party, Hatnua. He posted this comment on his Facebook summarizing his TrentoVision broadcast remarks:
Here's my brave prediction for the next Israeli Government: Likud, Lapid, Labor,Livni giving them a 74 seat majority. If Livni . . . does not join Bibi, then he will pick Shas which will give him an even stronger majority with 78 seats.
His rationale was that both Lapid and Yacimovich are focused on domestic issues: national service, housing affordability and facilitating entry into the middle class in Israel. Shaw said that Netanyahu had the national security brief to address Iran’s nuclear threat to the Jewish nation. That would give the coalition more than 67 seats in the new Knesset. We commented on Shaw’s prediction that If Bennett’s Jewish Home party became a junior partner; it would bolster the coalition’s mandate to 79 seats out of a total of 120. Shaw suggests that Lapid might be given a possible Social Services Ministry post.
That possibility was reflected in Netanyahu’s victory speech. The Jerusalem Post quoted Netanyahu as saying:
"I see many partners for my goals," the prime minister said. "We must form the broadest coalition possible. I started working on this tonight," he promised.
During the speech, Netanyahu emphasized his five priorities. Topping the list was tackling the Iranian nuclear threat, but the prime minister promised to also focus on domestic and economic issues.
Responsible economic policies came second on his list, and seeking a "responsible peace" followed in third.
Netanyahu said his fourth priority was to equalize army and national service for Israeli citizens. Fifth, the prime minister said, was to lower the cost of living and ease the financial burden on middle classes.
David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) commented in a CNN article on the outcome of today’s Knesset elections:
"Once the public thought that Netanyahu was a shoo-in, it assumed his victory and looked for a fresh face that would be focused on issues that he has not prioritized. This explains the meteoric rise of a new party (Yesh Atid) which said it would focus on the middle class and find a way so the ultra-Orthodox participate in burden-sharing by joining either the compulsory army or civilian form of mandatory service."
[. . .]
"It's unclear if Netanyahu wanted a pure right-wing option in the first place," he said.
"But Washington can breathe a sigh of relief that Netanyahu will need to reach accommodation with some parties at the center of the map who essentially would like to see progress on the Palestinian issue as well as on economic issues."
We are not so sure about Washington’s views as expressed by Makovsky at WINEP. Netanyahu is a masterful politician who has rightfully kept his focus on the threats from a nuclear Iran and terrorist proxies Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Moreover, Netanyahu is fully aware that the US has its hands full contending with a resurgent al Qaida in neighboring Syria, in the Maghreb, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. According to Israeli Shaw that is why Yacimovich of Labor and Lapid of Yesh Atid may join as junior members of a new Netanyahu-led coalition government. That would present a unified national position on Israel’s national security in negotiations with the Obama Administration and the EU to overcome the Iran threat and Islamic jihadis among Israel’s neighbors seeking its destruction.
Shaw offered this view ,in a later comment on his Facebook page, reflecting the post election quandary facing Netanyahu should he be given the nod to form a new Israeli government:
The World: “Israel has become right wing!”
Israel: “Wait! Likud and Israel Beiteinu lost height. You call them “right wing” but they lost a lot of votes. Right?”
The World: “Yes, but what about the rise of HaBayit HaYehudi ( Jewish Home)?”
Israel: “They increased their vote, true, but so did Meretz, and they can’t be called “right wing.”
Israel: And the Arab parties seem to have increased their seats to twelve.”
The World: More silence.
Can Netanyahu fashion a coherent coalition to lead a new Israeli government will be the daunting task in the weeks ahead? Stay tuned for further developments.
So now we get the beginnings of what the defences of these nine specimens from Oxford are likely to be. They are as expected, following a known pattern. From the Oxford Times.
A YOUNG woman was yesterday forced to deny she lied about being raped as a 14-year-old girl. The witness was being questioned by defence barristers in the Old Bailey trial of nine men accused of raping and selling underage girls for sex in Oxford.
Known as Girl 2 and now in her 20s, she claims she was raped and trafficked for sex by Kamar Jamil and brothers Akhtar and Anjum Dogar in 2006. She says Akhtar, now 32, forced her to perform sex acts on him. Once when she refused, he threatened to have her shot, she says.
Andrew Jefferies, Akhtar Dogar’s barrister, said she lied about his client to avoid getting into trouble with the children’s home she had run away from.
He said: “I am going to suggest you did say that to the police and you did say Akhtar had sex with you. And the reason you said that is you realised you were in trouble for being out and about and not being home for a few days. You just did not want to take responsibility for what you had done yourself.”
But shaking her head the witness said: “No, not at all.” She added: “I was a child with fully grown men.”
Jamil’s barrister Sally O’Neill said the witness had mistakenly identified her client as one of the abusers. She said: “I am suggesting you have got it wrong. Your memory is wrong when you say it was K Dog (Jamil) who drove you to these places. I’m not saying you weren’t driven, I’m not saying these things didn’t happen to you. I am simply saying your memory is not right.”
But the witness said: “No. It was K Dog.”
She also denied telling care workers in 2006 that she and Girl 1 had been prostituting themselves. The nine defendants deny all 79 charges. The trial continues.
So the witnesses are lying, they were already prostitutes, and in any case it wasn't me, it was him. Where have we heard that before?
More Tanks And Planes To Egypt As A Present From The American Government
The rationale being: to show them that despite everything Morsi has said and done, beginning with his statements about inculcating in Muslim children hatred of Jews, "the sons of apes and pigs" as he put it, correctly quoting the Qur'an, and his very first demand when newly-elected as President, that the Americans free Sheikh Abdul Rahman and send him to Egypt, and including his clear approval of the propaganda and threats and attacks against the Copts, despite all this, the American government still trusts and can work with that government, and feels it must demonstrate that truset, and that appreciation, by giving Egypt 20 F-16s and 200 Abrams tanks.
[You call it love, I call it madness. ]
Here's the story:
U.S. gift of F-16 fighters headed to Egypt, despite Morsi's harsh rhetoric
Four F-16 fighter jets left the U.S. this morning, bound for Egypt as part of a foreign aid package critics say should have been scrapped when the nation elected a president who has called President Obama a liar and urged that hatred of Jews be instilled in children.
A source who works on the Naval Air Force Base in Dallas confirmed the departure of the state-of-the-art fighter planes to FoxNews.com. Sixteen F-16s and 200 Abrams tanks are to be given to the Egyptian government before the end of the year under a foreign aid deal signed in 2010 with then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a longtime U.S. ally..
Critics, including several in Congress, say it doesn't make sense to follow through with the package, given that new Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, elected last summer, has given decidedly mixed signals about relations with the U.S. While he has toned down his rhetoric since his election, in 2010 - the same year the aid package was struck - Morsi attacked Obama for supporting Israel.
“One American president after another — and most recently, that Obama — talks about American guarantees for the safety of the Zionists in Palestine," Morsi, then a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, said on Egyptian television in reaction to Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo. "[Obama] was very clear when he uttered his empty words on the land of Egypt. He uttered many lies, of which he couldn’t have fulfilled a single word, even if he were sincere — which he is not.”
“Dear brothers, we must not forget to nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred towards those Zionists and Jews, and all those who support them," he said. "They must be nursed on hatred. The hatred must continue.”
Lawmakers told FoxNews.com that even if Morsi has softened his stance, it makes no sense to arm his Islamist government with weapons that could one day be used against Israel or even Egyptians.
“It is appalling that the Obama administration would send F-16s and 200 military tanks to Egypt in the wake of the instability, [and the] anti-American and anti-Israel atmosphere," Rep. Louie Gohmert, (R-Texas), told FoxNews.com.
The U.S. government ordered the planes for Egypt from Lockheed Martin in 2010, as part of an annual aid package that regularly topped $1 billion. But the very next year, a popular revolution began which ultimately resulted in Mubarak's ouster and imprisonment, and the election of Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. In November, Morsi tried to claim dictatorial powers, but was forced to back down from his claim after massive protests against the move.
Many worry that arming such a volatile Egypt will endanger Israel.
"My hope and prayer is that someone in this administration will wake up and smell the burning of [Israel's] future and rescind the supply of planes and tanks," Gohmert said. "If they do not, then perhaps there will arise leaders within our Congress with newfound courage to stop the lunacy."
“It is appalling that the Obama Administration would send F-16s and 200 military tanks to Egypt in the wake of the instability, [and the] anti-American and anti-Israel atmosphere."
- Rep. Louie Gohmert, (R-Texas)
Rep. Vern Buchanan, (R-Fla.), who recently called for ending foreign aid to Egypt altogether, told FoxNews.com the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi government has been sending increasingly troubling signals to Washington, and giving it state-of-the-art fighter jets is a dangerous idea.
“American tax dollars must not be used to aid and abet any dictatorial regime that stands with terrorists,” Buchanan said.
Others note that Egypt's leaders could use the weapons on their own people.
"Tens of billions in U.S. aid has enhanced Cairo’s capacity for internal repression," Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute, told FoxNews.com.
"U.S. aid accounts for as much as 80% of the Egyptian Defense Ministry’s weapons procurement costs... In essence, American taxpayers have been Egypt’s major arms supplier, subsidizing the supply of F-16 jet fighters, M1A1 Abrams battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, Apache helicopters, and hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus military equipment."
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment about the pending delivery. But earlier this month, a spokesperson said the Obama administration seeks to “maintain a strategic partnership with Egypt that enhances the security and peace of the region.”
But Anthony H. Cordesman, who has served as a consultant for the State and Defense departments and who holds the Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the administration is right to send the planes.
"If you were to suddenly end this partnership with Egypt -- if you were to make Egypt feel that somehow it were not trusted or second-best, what would the security implications be? It certainly would justify or encourage all of the extremist elements that are trying to push Egypt away from both the peace process and the security partnership with the U.S.," he told FoxNews.com.
He said that the cost of providing the weapons is worth it.
"We need to remember that Egypt isn't just important to Israel. It is critical to us, because it controls the Suez Canal. It has been a vital staging point for U.S. operations in the gulf."
Cordesman argued that the F-16 fighter jets are unlikely to be turned against us or our allies, as they are too complex to be used effectively without U.S. maintenance.
"These weapons systems are certainly extremely effective, but no one can sustain them unless that partnership with the United States continues," he said. "The modern software, the computer systems, the munitions that make this weapons system so lethal -- other than us, there are no alternative suppliers. There are European states who can provide parts of the aircraft, but F-16s and most modern systems are basically dependent on U.S. manufacturers."
"In some ways, the more sophisticated the system, the safer it is to transfer," Cordesman said, while noting that there are still risks.
"There's no such thing as an arms transfer that is totally risk-free," he said.
According to a U.S. Air Force description, the planes' "maneuverability and combat radius exceed that of all potential threat fighter aircraft."
"The F-16 can fly more than 500 miles, deliver its weapons with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its starting point," the description states. "An all-weather capability allows it to accurately deliver ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions."
Higher Ed: Where Did Words Go, Or BD Blabla, Or The Funny Papers Find Their Foucault
One more example -- not egregious but run-of-the-mill -- of these last days of academic mankind, as reflected in syllabi and courses and the comically solemn "research interests" of thrusting young academics, and the prose and poses and poisons which these times produce:
From the faculty website at the University of Chicago:
On Leave: Academic Year 2012-2013
Neubauer Family Assistant Professor
Department of English
I am interested in the ways people address history and understand their lives through cultural invention. My current teaching and research interests lie in contemporary American literature, specifically in how public and private histories take shape in the form of innovative narrative work. I am particularly interested in the relationships between word and image, fiction and nonfiction that we see in contemporary comics, a field with roots in the 1970s that is also connected to deeper histories of drawn reportage and visual witnessing.
My book Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics, which examines the graphic narrative work of five authors, including Alison Bechdel and Marjane Satrapi, argues that the medium of comics has opened up new spaces for nonfiction narrative—particularly for expressing certain kinds of stories typically relegated to the realm of the private. My next book, on comics as documentary, will look at the post-World War II environment in which Art Spiegelman in America and Keiji Nakazawa in Japan concurrently developed comics as a form for addressing the fallout of war, as well as exploring current graphic reportage by figures such as Joe Sacco on the Balkans and the Middle East.
I am Associate Editor of a book by Spiegelman called MetaMaus (Pantheon, 2011), about the making of his terrain-shifting graphic narrative Maus, and I have recently written on "Graphic Narrative" for The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature, and on historical postmodernism for a special issue of Twentieth-Century Literature, as well as on the subject of archives and comics for a special issue of e-misférica. I write on issues of form and history in many different kinds of venues and have published essays and interviews in magazines including The Believer. As a Contributing Editor, I worked on the latest edition of the Heath Anthology of American Literature (Contemporary Volume), and I founded, in 2009, the MLA's Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives.
I am a Faculty Fellow at the the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, and director of the Artists' Salon project there, as well as faculty co-sponsor of the American Literatures and Cultures workshop. I recently collaborated in 2012 with inaugural Mellon Fellow Alison Bechdel, through the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, and organized the "Comics: Philosophy and Practice" conference at the University in May 2012. See my Critical Inquiry interview with Alison Bechdel here. See me and Art Spiegelman talk about MetaMaus at the 92nd St. Y here.
Those Fanatical Muslims, And The Syncretistic Less Fanatical Muslims They Terrified
'We were so terrified': Jihadists leave trail of destruction, brutality in Mali town
Issouf Sanogo / AFP - Getty Images
A ripped up image of Jesus Christ is left on the ground of a Catholic church in Diabaly on Tuesday.
By Rohit Kachroo, Correspondent, NBC News
DIABALY, Mali -- Burned-out cars lie at the entrance to liberated Diabaly. Nearby, the stench of death rises from the window of an army vehicle discarded by the side of the road; inside are the bodies of four Malian soldiers, presumably slaughtered by jihadists.
The Islamist army stormed through the town last week and left a destructive trail. They ruined the church, smashing away its cross and decapitating religious statues. They looted the pharmacy and destroyed homes. They were joined by Malian soldiers who defected, according to some local residents.
After launching airstrikes and a final strike, the French military have recaptured the key town of Diabaly from Islamist rebels. NBC's Rohit Kachroo reports.
"They are not Muslims," 53-year-old resident Oua Diarra said. "Muslims cannot be thieves. Muslims cannot loot. These men were terrorists. [What else can he say? What else can he allow himself to believe? it would be too painful to look at the behavior of Muhammad and the earliest Muslims, as recorded in Hadith and Sira, too painful to look clearly at the contents of the Qur'an -- so this Oua Diarra, and other Muslims, stick to their own comforting script that "these are not Muslims"]
"The Islamists punished the children simply for crying at the terrible things that they saw ... We were so terrified."
The jihadists were driven out before they could impose their form of Shariah law over the town's 40,000 people. They had said that they would do so once their grip on the town had been consolidated.
"Most of us, the people of the town, had not been touched by the Islamists, but we knew that it would not be long," said one man who brought his family into the town square to shake hands and take photographs with the French soldiers. "They had threatened to punish anyone who broke their laws."
Gruesome propaganda videos from militant groups operating in Mali offer a glimpse of life in the militant-controlled north of the country. They include footage of men being lashed at a public ceremony. One video appears to show a man having his hand sliced off.
"The Islamists came with food and said they would soon teach us Islamic law," said Mema Diakate, a resident who giggled with her girlfriends in the town's center. "We knew that eventually we would not be able to stand here -- to come outside and laugh and lead our lives."
Issouf Sanogo / AFP - Getty Images
A resident looks at Islamists' pickup trucks destroyed at a Malian military camp destroyed by airstrikes a week ago in Diabaly on Tuesday.
Many residents in Diabaly described the rebels as "outsiders" and "foreigners" and said they included some "Arab men." They claim fighters from Chad, Somalia and even Afghanistan were among them. Others were deserters from the Malian army who, having failed to protect the town from the militants, dumped their uniforms and joined the enemy.
They recall dozens of fighters -- perhaps as many as 200 -- managing to flee in a convoy of 4x4 vehicles. Some headed north into the desert -- others vanished into forest. Many may have scattered and concealed themselves in the community.
As the French advance north from Diabaly, they are progressing slowly in the knowledge that while their enemy is melting away, it hasn't disappeared.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood And The Fears Of Egypt's Homosexuals
'Getting worse': Egypt's gays fear government crackdown
By Duncan Golestani, Correspondent, NBC News
CAIRO, Egypt -- Maha remembers going to Tahrir Square on Jan. 25, 2011. The 27-year-old office worker only wanted to look around the Cairo intersection filled with thousands of protesters. But seeing Egypt's revolution unfold before her, she left to get friends and quickly returned. Without planning to, Maha became one of the highly visible gay men and women who took to the streets shouting for change.
"We don't get freedom anywhere. No voice, nothing," said Maha, who declined to give her surname "So, the first chance at revolution, we fought."
Nearly two years after the ouster of former leader Hosni Mubarak, Maha sits smoking a shisha with her friend Noor at a back-street cafe in downtown Cairo. Together, the women have made this location a "safe place" for gays, somewhere they can come and be themselves.
Unlike in other major cities around the world, there is no flag or signage to indicate this is a "gay" cafe. People know about it through word-of-mouth and the online forum, "Bedayaa." They talk about the time since the revolution with a weariness that contrasts with the excitement they initially felt.
Many of Egypt's gays and lesbians thought sexual freedom was on the horizon. "There was a moment of hope but the last few years has killed it," Maha says, adding: "Nothing much has changed, it is very hard." She is interrupted by Noor: "I think it is getting worse," she says.
The women remember sitting with gay male friends at another cafe three months after the revolution, when locals complained about it and called nearby military police, who then found make-up in the bag of one of the boys. They were all taken away for questioning for "making a mess" in the area.
Egypt has no specific laws banning homosexuality although there are plenty of ways to charge someone suspected of engaging in homosexual acts. Police will often charge gay people with "debauchery" or breaking the country's law of public morals. The election of an Islamist president in Egypt, and the passing last month of a new constitution, has also increased fears among the country's gay men and women that anti-gay legislation could soon be introduced. "We think in two or three months they will put a law to discriminate," Maha says.
Many others fear a government crackdown is only a matter of time. The most notorious pre-revolution attack on gay men took place in 2001, when Cairo police raided a Nile boat, arresting dozens of gay men. Along with others taken from the streets, they became known as the "Cairo 52." But now, the Muslim Brotherhood is not just a power to be appeased - it is the dominant power in Egypt's new government.
The natural instinct for most gay Egyptians is to try not to draw attention to themselves but taking part in the revolution has brought greater visibility -- at a cost. Alongside other minorities the gay community has been criticized for its role in the uprising.
Adel Ramadan, a legal officer at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, describes the derogatory language used to attack the groups that took to the streets. "After the fall of Mubarak, the criticism of those groups has always contained a sexual element. Whether it's the women who are participating are called prostitutes or 'loose' women, or men are called homosexuals."
Maha believes this kind of rhetoric has led to an increase in verbal abuse. She thinks some people feel emboldened to shout and call names, knowing the authorities will be on their side. A popular term with some members of the Muslim Brotherhood is "shewaz," a derogatory term for homosexuals that loosely translates as "perverts."
While gay advocacy organizations are active in other predominantly Muslim countries such as Lebanon, Egypt's support groups are not well organized and struggle to be heard. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights is a human rights group that will talk about gays but this cause is not a priority for them. Another group that works with them asked that it not be named for fear of reprisals.
Despite their fears, gay life continues in Cairo. Men still meet on one of the city's bridges, and the Internet and social media help bring people together. Kholoud Bidak is an activist who is thinking of setting up an online forum. She was also in Tahrir Square in January 2011 and was stunned at the number of gay men and women at the heart of the protests. She has been disappointed in the two years that followed, but believes the gay community has at least gained recognition from human rights groups, which were previously uninterested. "They are finally starting to acknowledge LGBTs, 'oh, they were in the revolution since day one very, very effectively.' I thought that is very positive."
She remains scared by the anti-gay rhetoric from some politicians and clerics but tries to stay upbeat. "There is some hope," she says. "How? I don't know."
Assad, however, is a member of the Alawite sect, which is more closely linked to Shiite Islam. Many of his appointees in high government and the military are also Alawites.
Human Rights Watch noted that international humanitarian law requires warring parties to avoid deliberate targeting or seizure of religious buildings that aren't being used for military purposes.
The group said it found evidence in three villages of attacks against religious sites after opposition groups had taken over and driven out government forces. In each area, religious minorities had fled in large numbers, if not entirely.
In Zarzour, majority Sunnis told the group that their Shiite neighbors fled because they feared they would be attacked by opposition fighters if there was a perception that they had been supportive of government forces.
The Sunni villagers told Human Rights Watch that the Shiites had given "preferential treatment" to government forces when they were in Zarzour.
The rights group said its observations and witness accounts indicated that opposition fighters deliberately started a fire in a Shiite mosque when it took over the village.
In Jdeideh, local residents told observers that gunmen "operating in the name of the opposition" had broken into and stolen from a Christian church after the area came under rebel control.
Observers from the group said it appeared that gunmen had broken in, stolen from the church and fired numerous shots inside, shattering windows and causing structural damage.
A villager told observers that the fighters had used the adjacent priest's quarters to fire at government forces and had stolen medicine from a clinic owned by the church, looted homes and kidnapped civilians.
The rights group said it could not determine whether there was a religious motive for any looting or kidnapping.
In a third village, Ghasaniyeh, the group found that a local church had been broken into and gasoline and diesel fuel had been stolen. An observer found that the church doors had been forced open and that a cross had been left on the floor, but the group said the building otherwise was undamaged.
"The opposition of Syria should back up its claims that it will uphold minority rights by protecting places of worship," Whitson said in her statement.
Calls and emails to the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces and a representative of the Syrian National Council were not immediately returned.
There Is Not, And Never Will Be, A Muslim Arab "Seneca Falls, Selma, Or Stonewall"
Apparently, Morsi's first demand, in his first public speech as President of Egypt, that the United States government free the Blind Sheikh and send him to Egypt, did not make an impression.
Morsi's attempts to crush his opponents,and to arrogate to himself dictatorial powers (which he then backed down from) was not enough.
Morsi's declaring, on more than one occasion, back in 2010 before he had to worry about hiding what he thought, that hatred of Jews, those "sons of apes and pigs," was a sacred duty, and Musilms should understand they had a duty to inculcate such hatred in their children.
Morsi's malign indifference to the terror now openly experienced by Copts -- the true descendants of the original Egyptians, who did not, like those who became islamized, become fully arabized even if they use Arabic -- at the hands of Muslims, and especially at the hands of members of the Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood to which Morsi so unswervingly belongs.
So what about -- -after that business about "Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall" -- the persecution of homosexuals in Egypt, now apparently far worse than it was under the less-Islamic regime of Mubarak? Will that get Obama's attention? The Obama administration, which clearly attempted to hide, until it could hide no longer -- because MEMRITV put them out urbi et orbi, and then even the New York Times was shamed into publishing a story about them, those Der-Stuermer rants by Morsi against Jews -- now will have a problem. Is it going to keep supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, with its Islam-prompted oppression of women, its anti-black racism that is such a notable feature not only of Egypt but of the rest of North Africa and the Arabian peninsula (the Arab supremacism that shows indifference to the mass killing of black Africans, even Muslim black Africans, in the Sudan), and finially, Stonewall?
Don't laugh. Take this seriously. People laughed -- look at "The Great Dictator" --at Adolf Hitler. Those who knew enough did not laugh. For that laughter, however comforting, was misplaced. Already the entire Western world is less safe, less pleasant, more expensive, for its indigenous non-Muslim populastion, and for other, non-Muslim immigrants, too, because of the large-scale presence of Muslims in our midst.. Some Muslims may speak truthfully about what Islam inculcates, as the Muslims filmed here, while others may pretend that Islam does not inculcate such things; both are promoting the goals of Islam, the first knowingly, the second out of a desire to protect their position in the West, without giving any thought to the well-being of the Infidels among whom they have been permitted to settle and to whom they feel no duty, apparently, to inform or to otherwise help. They want only to protect themselves and their position, at best, and at worst, they agree with the same goals of Jihad as the people in this video, but prefer to promote it through other means they deem more effective.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Islam And Inculcated Hatred Of Jews
From The New York Times:
January 17, 2013
Raised on Hatred
By AYAAN HIRSI ALI
EGYPT’S newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was caught on tape about three years ago urging his followers to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists. Not long after, the then-leader of the Muslim Brotherhood described Zionists as “bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians,” “warmongers” and “descendants of apes and pigs.”
These remarks are disgusting, but they are neither shocking nor new. As a child growing up in a Muslim family, I constantly heard my mother, other relatives and neighbors wish for the death of Jews, who were considered our darkest enemy. Our religious tutors and the preachers in our mosques set aside extra time to pray for the destruction of Jews.
For far too long the pervasive Middle Eastern qualification of Jews as murderers and bloodsuckers was dismissed in the West as extreme views expressed by radical fringe groups. But they are not. In truth, those Muslims who think of Jews as friends and fellow human beings with a right to their own state are a minority, and are under intense pressure to change their minds.
All over the Middle East, hatred for Jews and Zionists can be found in textbooks for children as young as three, complete with illustrations of Jews with monster-like qualities. Mainstream educational television programs are consistently anti-Semitic. In songs, books, newspaper articles and blogs, Jews are variously compared to pigs, donkeys, rats and cockroaches, and also to vampires and a host of other imaginary creatures.
Consider this infamous dialogue between a three-year-old and a television presenter, eight years before Morsi’s remarks.
Presenter: “Do you like Jews?”
“Why don’t you like them?”
“Jews are apes and pigs.”
“Who said this?”
“Where did he say this?”
“In the Koran.”
The presenter responds approvingly: “No [parents] could wish for Allah to give them a more believing girl than she ... May Allah bless her, her father and mother.”
This conversation was not caught on hidden camera or taped by propagandists. It was featured on a prominent program called “Muslim Woman Magazine” and broadcast by Iqraa, the popular Saudi-owned satellite channel.
It is a major step forward for a sitting U.S. administration and leading American newspapers to unequivocally condemn Morsi’s words. But condemnation is just the first move.
Here is an opportunity to acknowledge the breadth and depth of the attitude toward Jews in the Middle East, and how that affects the much desired but elusive peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
So many explanations have been offered for the failure of successive U.S. administrations to achieve that peace, but the answer is in Morsi’s words. Why would one make peace with bloodsuckers and descendants of apes and monkeys?
Millions of Muslims have been conditioned to regard Jews not only as the enemies of Palestine but as the enemies of all Muslims, of God and of all humanity. Arab leaders far more prominent and influential than Morsi have been tireless in “educating” or “nursing” generations to believe that Jews are “the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs.” (These are the words of the Saudi sheik Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, imam at the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca.)
In 2011, a Pew survey found that in Turkey, just 4 percent of those surveyed held a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” view of Jews; in Indonesia, 10 percent; in Pakistan 2 percent. In addition, 95 percent of Jordanians, 94 percent of Egyptians and 95 percent of Lebanese hold a “very unfavorable” view of Jews [pdf].
In recent decades Israeli and American administrations negotiated with unelected Arab despots, who played a double game. They honored the formal peace treaties by not conducting military attacks against Israel. But they condoned the Islamists’ dissemination of hatred against Israel, Zionism and Jews.
As the Islamists spread their influence through civil institutions, young people were nursed on hatred.
In the wake of the Arab Spring, as the people take a chance on democracy, they and their new leadership want to see their ideals turned into policy.
For too many of those who fought for their own liberation, one of those ideals is the end of peace with Israel. The United States must make clear to Morsi that this is not an option.
This is also a crucial opportunity for the region’s secular movements, which must speak out against the clergy’s incitement of young minds to hatred. It is time for these secular movements to start a countereducation in tolerance.
Ce livre est accusé par l'Inspection générale de l'Éducation nationale d'être tendancieux, au grand agacement d'Hatier, la maison d'édition.
Le manuel au centre de la polémique.
«Indigence du vocabulaire et des notions artistiques», «inexactitudes en matière d'histoire de l'art», «défaut de compétence des auteurs»: dans son rapport d'expertise remis en septembre (document pdf) au sujet d'un Cahier d'histoire des arts destiné à préparer les élèves de troisième à cette épreuve orale du brevet, publié en avril 2012 par Hatier, l'inspecteur général des arts plastiques, Henri de Rohan-Csermak n'y va pas par le dos de la cuillère. Pire, il accuse le livre, en substance, de tenir des propos tendancieux sur l'idéologie nazie. La polémique, dévoilée par Europe 1, a commencé au printemps dernier avec l'agacement de professeurs d'arts plastiques de l'académie de Versailles, après la lecture de ce «cahier» largement vendu dans les collèges depuis. Ces derniers ont saisi leur inspecteur d'académie, qui a lui-même saisi le ministère et son Inspection générale.
La toile Les Joueurs de skat d'Otto Dix est présentée comme «expressionniste», alors qu'elle relève de la «nouvelle objectivité». Guernica de Picasso est affiché comme représentatif du mouvement cubiste, dont la période est depuis longtemps close. Et il n'est pas exact, selon le rapport que s'est procuré Le Figaro (pdf), que le pop art «critique la société de consommation et les symboles du monde moderne». Il «en dresse un portrait en en utilisant les matériaux, souvent dans l'esprit du ready made».
Les critiques se concentrent sur l'interprétation d'une œuvre nazie
Le rapport concentre ses critiques sur le chapitre consacré au Porte-glaive d'Arno Breker, prolongé d'une double page sur l'art nazi et l'art dégénéré. Les auteurs terminent leur exposé par la phrase suivante, «énoncée sans précaution oratoire»: «L'Aryen se définit par un esprit conquérant et un corps sain, vigoureux, parfaitement proportionné.» «Cette phrase présente cette prétendue définition comme un absolu: une maladresse aussi insigne donnera naissance chez des élèves insuffisamment avertis aux plus dangereux malentendus», affirme le rapporteur.
Elle confond par ailleurs, dit le texte, le racisme nazi et son idéal artistique avec le néoclassicisme qui l'a précédé: l'élève est invité à croire que toute référence dans la représentation masculine au canon de l'Antiquité est liée à l'idéologie nazie. Il est ainsi appelé à énumérer les ressemblances entre le bronze d'Arno Breker et un marbre de l'artiste grec Polyclète, mais pas les différences, pourtant «majeures». Pris au pied de la lettre, ce chapitre transmet donc aux élèves que «toute référence à la culture antique, particulièrement grecque, est suspecte». Ce «seul chapitre suffit à recommander aux professeurs et aux parents la plus extrême prudence dans l'usage de ce livret».
Les œuvres présentées par l'ouvrage ne le sont «jamais dans leur contexte artistique». Et le seul propos de critique artistique cité dans tout l'ouvrage est «dû à nulle autre plume que celle d'Adolf Hitler, ce qui pose question». Les autres citations sont un tract de la CGT et un propos du président Pompidou. «Aucun propos des artistes représentés - Picasso, Chaplin, Dix, Lichtenstein, Rodgers et Piano - qui se sont pourtant tous exprimés sur leur œuvre.» L'étude de l'art sous le seul angle de son rapport au pouvoir politique est «insuffisante pour développer une culture artistique chez l'élève», est-il encore indiqué. «On peut craindre que, bien loin de contribuer à la formation du sens civique et de la sensibilité artistique, une approche aussi schématique de la thématique «Arts, États et pouvoir» ne développe chez l'élève un dégoût pour l'expression artistique ainsi amalgamée à une expression politique, voire une réceptivité aux théories du complot», poursuit le rapporteur.
La directrice générale d'Hatier ne changera pas une ligne
La faiblesse de l'ouvrage serait, selon lui, liée au fait que l'enseignement de l'histoire des arts a été introduit rapidement il y a deux ans au brevet des collèges. La demande pressante de ressources pédagogiques expliquant la «maladresse» d'auteurs, professeurs du secondaire, et d'éditeurs manquant d'expérience pour répondre dans l'urgence à ces exigences nouvelles. La directrice générale des Éditions Hatier, Célia Rosentraub, confie au Figaro qu'elle se sent «prise en otage entre les différents lobbys disciplinaires enseignants». Une allusion à peine voilée au fait que les professeurs d'arts plastiques, se sentant dépossédés de cette matière désormais enseignée de façon «transdisciplinaire», critiquent l'amateurisme de leurs collègues de lettres ou d'histoire. «Ce cahier n'a pas vocation à être un lexique exhaustif d'histoire des arts», affirme Célia Rosentraub, qui «ne changer(a) pas une ligne de (son) ouvrage». Ce dernier s'adresse avant tout aux professeurs d'histoire et de lettres, et non à ceux d'arts plastiques: «Nous n'allons rien modifier, rien ne prête le flanc à la critique», affirme-t-elle.
Au sujet de la sculpture d'Arno Breker, elle indique que toutes les précautions ont été prises pour que l'élève ne prenne pas pour vérité objective le discours sur la race aryenne. Le texte précise qu'il s'agit de l'homme idéal «selon les nazis», «pour les nazis» ou encore «selon eux», observe-t-elle. L'extrait du texte de Hitler n'est pas davantage présenté comme «une critique artistique», affirme-t-elle encore. Quant aux inexactitudes relevées par l'inspection, elle y répond point par point. Le tableau d'Otto Dix est le plus souvent classé parmi les œuvres expressionnistes, dit-elle en citant un dictionnaire des grands peintres. Pour Guernica, «l'inspiration cubiste est souvent évoquée dans l'interprétation du tableau». Elle fait par ailleurs observer que le texte ne constitue qu'une ressource parmi d'autres pour les enseignants.
Lego has been accused of racism by the Turkish community over a Star Wars toy allegedly depicting a mosque. The critics claim that the Jabba's Palace model, part of Lego's Star Wars range, offends Muslims as it resembles the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul - one of the world's most renowned mosques.
Members of the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria group also accused the toy manufacturer of depicting Asians as having 'deceitful and criminal personalities'.
The group has released a statement calling for an apology from Lego for its cultural insensitivity.
A post on the community's website contains a picture of the slug-like creature's Lego home, pointing out similarities with the Istanbul mosque. Outraged Muslims have criticised the toy producer on the community's website, accusing it of deliberately placing contextual errors in the toy.
A statement posted on the organisation's website refers to Jabba the Hutt as a 'terrorist' and says that he 'likes to smoke hookah and have his victims killed'. It adds: 'It is clear that the ugly figure of Jabba and the whole scene smacks of racial prejudice and vulgar insinuations against Asians and Orientals as people with deceitful and criminal personalities.' The statement says that the figures in the set are made to resemble 'terrorists, criminals and murderers'.
Lego's Katharina Sasse said: 'The Lego Star Wars product Jabba´s Palace does not reflect any actually existing buildings, people, or the mentioned mosque. The Lego mini-figures are all modelled on characters from the movie.
'We regret that the product has caused the members of the Turkish cultural community to come to a wrong interpretation, but point out that when designing the product only the fictional content of the Star Wars saga were referred to.'
What ever would they have done had the picture below not been a 2006 spoof?