These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 26, 2010.
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
The Disappearing Christians of the Holy Land
by Geoffrey Clarfield
I am sitting on stone stairs facing the Jaffa Gate outside of the Old City of Jerusalem, looking at the walls built by the 16th century Turkish Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, a ten minute walk from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the traditional spot of the crucifixion. Christianity began here, some 2000 years ago, and it is still practiced here by Arabic speaking Christians in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. I have come here to find out how these communities are faring, despite the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
I am on the phone with a Palestinian Christian who is talking to me from Bethlehem, Jesus' birth place. "My friend" he says, "6,000 Palestinian Christians have left Bethlehem in the last six years. Tourism is down. 90% of the people in our congregation are now unemployed. To reopen closed businesses we need capital to which we do not have access. There is growing fundamentalism in the West Bank and Gaza and we fear that Sharia law will be imposed upon us. Even our women are no longer free to dress the way they like. European Christian congregations have not been very helpful. Tell them that Jesus Christ exhorts us to love our brothers, Jewish, Christian and Muslim. Tell them we fear that we Christians in the territories and Gaza will become the forgotten people. Tell this to the people of America."
Arabic speaking Christians are leaving Gaza and the West Bank in increasing numbers. According to some estimates, fifty years ago, Arabic speaking Christians comprised 15% of the total population of these two areas. Now they comprise less than 2%. Fifty years ago the town of Bethlehem had a Christian majority. Now they comprise 20% of the population.
Many Palestinian Christian religious leaders will tell you that the reason Christians are leaving Gaza and the West Bank in growing numbers is because of the conflict between Israelis and the Arabs and that they see no hope of a political solution. This is belied by surveys which suggest that up to 48% of Palestinian Christians believe that their leaders are compromised and fear to publicly admit that there has been growing and almost systematic persecution of Palestinian Christians in the West Bank by the predominantly Muslim authorities in the PA.
One American lawyer, J.R. Weiner, has been collecting evidence from a variety of sources on the kind and quantity of persecution of Palestinian Christians that is taking place. It includes social and economic discrimination, the boycotting and extortion of Christian businesses, the violation of real property rights, violations of the rights of Christian Arab women and incitement against Christians by officials of the Palestinian Authority. All this is aggravated by a failure on the part of Palestinian Security forces to protect Christians as well as a tendency to include more and more Sharia law in the PA's draft constitution, which defines non Muslims as citizens without the same legal rights as Muslims. Here are some disturbing examples.
When Yasser Arafat was given administrative control of Bethlehem in 1994, with the stroke of the pen he changed the municipal borders of the city and included 30,000 Muslims from nearby refugee camps. By changing the demographics of the town he managed to make sure that Christians were no longer hired to work in the city bureaucracy, in the local security apparatus and in the local Palestinian media and thus reduced the ability of Christians to elect representatives who would take care of specific Christian interests and sensitivities.
Extortion by the PA of Christian businesses has become quite common. One of Weiner's interviewees explains:
I know many businessmen who have been extorted. There wasn't a Christian businessman exempt. Many of them are now out of business-nearly 90 per cent. Christian vendors have been forced to pay protection money to stay in business...most of the bribes and extortion are...of course, paid in cash.
One Christian owner of a café near Manger Square stood up for his rights. He refused to pay bribes to a member of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade. Although he had been living in Bethlehem for thirty years, he was shot, managed to survive and fled the country in fear of his life.
In flat violation of all aspects of international law, the Palestinian Land Law demands the death penalty for any Palestinian who sells land to Jews. More and more this has been interpreted in practice to include Christians, and Palestinian Christians now find it difficult even to sell land to other Palestinian Christians.
There have been reports of Palestinians breaking into religious establishments such as Christian monasteries to steal gold and other valuable items. Better known is the incident when a group of radical Palestinian Muslims took over the Church of the Nativity in order to mount a gun battle with Israelis in the hope that Israeli return fire would damage the Church and give them a propaganda victory. There is no evidence that the PA ever paid the church any compensation for this most extreme violation of property rights and the desecration of a sacred place.
Christian women complain that there has been growing rape and sexual harassment since the PA took over the civil administration in 1993. In one incident a Muslim father showed up at the door of a Christian father forcefully demanding his daughter's hand in marriage to his son as it was known that the young woman was exceptionally beautiful. The father of the girl stalled for time and sent the prospective groom back home arguing that he needed a few days to consider the offer. The next day the father and the young man returned with an intimidating entourage of 15 men. Knowing that he could either give in or fight, he shot three of the entourage while the rest ran away. Knowing that he had triggered a vendetta with a a Muslim family and would be killed in time, the man took his daughter and immediate family and left his home that day, forever.
Sermons in mosques in Gaza often malign Jews using the most medieval of anti Semitic stereotypes, but it is not widely known that in these sermons Christians are often equally maligned, and this has a negative effect on how Christians are subsequently treated in daily life. Here is a quotation from a mosque sermon given in Gaza by Dr. Ahmad Abu Halabiya, the former acting Rector of the Islamic University in Gaza in the Gaza mosque. It was broadcast live on official PA television on October 13, 2000:
From here, Allah the almighty has called upon us not to ally with the Jews or the Christians, not to like them, not to become their partners, not to support them, and not to sign agreements with them...as Allah said, "O you who believe, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies..."
As Christians have not participated in the violent acts of the Intifida, more and more Palestinian Muslims see them as traitors and collaborators of Israel. With growing hostility towards Christians in the West Bank and Gaza the security authorities of the PA have sat idly by while the human rights of Christian Arabs have been whittled away.
Perhaps one of the most dramatic examples is the case of Ahmad El-Achwal. Ahmad was a married man with eight children. In 1996 he was arrested by the PA on false charges of dealing in stolen gold. In prison he converted to Christianity. Although he was finally tried and acquitted the PA targeted him for persecution because of his rejection of Islam. He was then illegally imprisoned for periods up to a year. He was put in isolation cells and given little food. His landlord stopped renting him his premises from where he had made a living selling falafel.
While visiting his family in a refugee camp he was beaten up. His car was burnt by Palestinians affiliated with the PA security services who also firebombed his apartment His belief never wavered and he refused to return to Islam assuming that as a Palestinian Christian he had the same rights as a Muslim. On January 21, 2004 four masked gunman met up with him at the entrance to his apartment where they shot him and left him to die. The PA has never made a concerted attempt to capture or try his murderers.
I am driving through the hills of the Galilee among Jewish and Arab villages, amidst olive groves and agricultural vistas that have changed little since the time that Jesus and his disciples preached what was to become one of the world's major religions. I arrive at a predominantly Christian Arab village where I am to have dinner with a Christian Arab friend that I have known for more than twelve years.
Over a steaming cup of Turkish coffee he pauses and looks at me, "Did you know the Christian Arabs of Israel have the highest standard of living of any ethnic group in Israel including the Jews?" I was surprised to hear this fact. He went on, "It really is quite simple. We do not practice polygamy, we have fewer children than the Muslims and we have insisted that our children all continue with higher education. We are a solidly middle class minority!"
As we order another coffee he continues, "But something has changed recently, rather dramatically in the last three to five years. I tell you. All my life I simply thought of myself as an Arab. I did not distinguish between Muslim and Christian. But in the last two years (and you know I am not much of a Church goer) I have discovered that, all of a sudden I am a Christian! What is this? I have never really thought of myself in this way but now I do, and it is not out of choice but out of necessity, as I am being pushed towards it by rising Muslim intolerance as they no longer see us as their equals."
In the 21st century we are so used to categorizing people according to ethnic group that we have come to think that this is the only and natural social classification that exists. It was once not the case. Just over a century ago, across the Middle East people were classified according to their religion. In the Ottoman Empire as long as you were Muslim you could rise to the top of society, whether your mother tongue had been Greek, Turkish, Albanian or a Slavic language. Ethnicity counted for little and religion everything. In those days you were a Muslim, Christian or Jew. If you were a Muslim, the Sharia law gave you full rights as a citizen. If you were a Jew or Christian you were a second class citizen.
In those days the word "Arab" was a restricted term and meant the Beduin Arabs who lived in the desert with their camels and woolen tents. In the late 1800s Arabic speaking Christians invented Arab nationalism, focusing on language as a marker which would distinguish Arabic speaking peoples from their Turkish speaking overlords and hopefully provide a series of states where Arabic speaking Christians could live as equals with the Arabic speaking Muslim majorities in modern states modeled on the liberal democracies of Europe.
In a sense they invented the concept of the modern Arab and it took a lot of work to spread it across the Arabic speaking countries during the last century (which were not countries but provinces of the Ottoman Empire or colonial entities under the French). Arab nationalism has lasted about one hundred years and there is a growing spate of scholarly literature suggesting that it is a dying ideology and that in most Arab states, it is being replaced by radical Islam. The Christians of Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq are once again at risk.
It is not surprising then that the Arabic speaking Christians of the West Bank and Gaza are discovering that the majority Palestinian idea is that of an Islamic state under Sharia law. The PA wants to take its part of Palestine back to 1798, a couple of years before Napoleon invaded Egypt and Palestine and started the modernization of the eastern Levant and which included an improvement in the rights of Arabic speaking Christians.
In this brave new Palestinian world Arabic speaking Christians are neither equals nor welcome, and this largely explains the exodus that is taking place. The fact that US taxpayers through USAID are supporting military training for the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank (which will most certainly be used against Israel) suggests that the human rights of the Christians of the Holy Land are even less important than those of the Christian Southern Sudanese who have put up a heroic resistance against the Jihad in the Sudan and by doing so, just may get their independence. It is curious oversight.
It is most likely that in a few short years there will be few if any Christians left in Gaza and the West Bank. In Israel, the Arab Christians are discovering that they are once again, Arabic speaking Christians, which from an ethnological point of view, is what they were for a thousand years before the rise of Arab nationalism. Theirs is a culture that they developed over hundreds of years and it is natural to their communal identity. Given their high socio economic status and their relative lack of hostility to the State of Israel, their future in that part of the Holy Land is more or less guaranteed. In the West Bank and Gaza it is simply a matter of time before they hand over their homes and holy sites to the local representatives of radical Islam.
Posted on 10/26/2010 11:40 AM by NER
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
A Brief Musical Interlude: Shanghai Evenings (Zhou Xuan)
Posted on 10/26/2010 12:49 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Is Geert Wilders “Good for the Jews?"
Geert Wilders Ze'ev Jabotinsky
There are two urban legends in the international Jewish diaspora. One is when there is a change, whether, political, economic or social the querulous response "is it good for the Jews"? The other is the legendary response in Yiddish by a Jewish mother during the murderous Kishinev pogroms in Czarist Moldavia in 1903: "sha shtil kinder" or "be quiet and sit still children and it will all be over." Jews who cowered before their oppressors and remain silent are referred to "sha shtil yidn".
In 1938 Revisionist Jewish leader, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, mounted the bimah in a Vilna, Lithuania synagogue to warn his fellow Jews in yiddish: "EHR KUMT. YIDN FARLAWST AYER SHTETL - He's coming. Jews abandon your city." Jabotinsky was referring to the Nazi Holocaust, which would result in the murder of six million European Jewish men, women and children, including many who didn't heed Jabotinsky's warning in Vilna.
That warning is now being given by a good friend of Israel and the Jewish people, M.P. Geert Wilders, the implacable enemy of Islamization of The Netherlands, the EU, UK and America. Yet, the Jewish leadership in both Europe and America behaves like the sha shtil yidin cowering during the Kishinev Pogrom.
Note these comments from Wilders and Israeli Knesset member, Eli Cohen of Yisrael Beiteinu, the right wing coalition partner in the Netanyahu government who appeared at a Wilders Rally with German anti-Jihad leaders in Berlin on October 2nd. The rally marked the founding of a new German party modeled on the Dutch Freedom Party of Wilders.
"Stand by the side of those who are threatened by Islam, like the State of Israel and its Jewish citizens," Wilders exhorts the crowd.
They shouldn't get too comfortable, Yisrael Beiteinu's Cohen suggests at the Wilders event, which launched a new Freedom Party in Berlin.
"Muslims seem to be about to take over Europe," Cohen says, stoking the audience. "Is that what you want?"
Increasing numbers of Europeans are embracing the message. And some Jewish leaders are worried.
Those worries are reflected in the views of European Jewish leaders who expressed unease, while ordinary Jews didn't. Note these comments from the JTA report:
Populists "want a Sweden for the Swedes, France for the French and Jews to Israel," says Serge Cwajgenbaum, secretary general of the European Jewish Congress.
"Islamism certainly is a danger to the Jews and to Western democracy," offers Stephan Kramer, secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
"The way to fight [Islamists] is not, however, to demonize and ostracize all Muslims."
Ron van der Wieken, the chairman of Amsterdam's liberal Jewish congregation, says that "perhaps more Jews support Wilders than they openly admit," but "when his party fiercely opposes halal slaughter, kosher butchering will not exist much longer as well. And if headscarves would be forbidden, how about yarmulkes? And circumcision?"
In Germany, emotions also run high over another purveyor of populism; author Thilo Sarrazin, who was fired from the board of the German Central Bank because of his comments about Muslim inferiority and Jewish superiority.
Jewish leaders condemned Sarrazin's remarks, but some Germans on the street, including some Jews, seem more forgiving. Meanwhile his book, "Germany Undoes Itself," is a major best-seller.
"His analysis of the socio-political situation in Berlin is 110 percent correct," retiree Georg Potzies, 64, says at Bleiberg's kosher dairy restaurant here. "A large part of the Muslims -- and he never said all of them -- have no interest in integration. Just open your eyes in Berlin and you will see it."
As for the supposedly higher Jewish IQ, "I found that very good," Potzies adds, laughing.
"What he said was a provocation designed to wake people up," says restaurateur Manuela Bleiberg, 56. Muslims living here "don't have to totally assimilate, but they should keep German law."
Jewish European leaders live with the fiction that Muslims will integrate. The recent pronouncement by Chancellor Merkel, backed by German social science surveys of Muslims and the analysis of Danish Psychologist Nicolai Sennels clearly contradict this delusion. Couple that with rampant Islamic anti-Semitism in the EU and UK and you question the denial of these Jewish leaders.
Note the contrast between the leader of Sweden's Jewish Community, with her classic "is it good for the Jews" line with the clear-eyed vision of a leader of the Swedish anti-Jihad, Swedish Democrat Party.
"We are quite upset about having a party [in the Parliament] that says they are only addressing Muslims and immigration," says Lena Posner, president of the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities. "History has taught us about where this can lead, and this is not necessarily good for the Jews."
But what's wrong with a pro-Israel party that highlights Muslim anti-Semitism, asks Kent Ekeroth, 29, a new legislator with the right-populist Swedish Democrats.
Ekeroth, whose mother is a Polish Jewish émigré, admits that his party's opposition to circumcision of minors and to the import of halal or kosher meat is "a sticking point." But few Jews are observant, he says, "And we feel that if those adaptations are too much to handle, then Israel is an alternative."
But note the comments of Abe Foxman of the ADL and Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum. They reflect an agenda of, on the one hand, the bizarre threat from Evangelical Christian Zionists, and on the other, looking for the religious equivalent of the Snipe, "moderate Muslims".
"It's akin to the evangelical Christians," says Abraham Foxman, national director of the New York-based Anti-Defamation League. "On one hand they loved and embraced Israel. But on the other hand, we were not comfortable with their social or religious agenda."
"Our goal has to be to build and help with the development of a moderate Islam that [Wilders] says doesn't exist and can't exist," Daniel Pipes, a U.S. conservative pundit, says in a telephone interview. "So we are allies, but there is a significant difference."
Pipes hopes populist parties will drop their "neo-fascist conspiratorial ideas, strange economic ideas, anti-Semitic and racist ideas" and develop broader platforms.
"What is serving them [now] is to talk about Islam and related subjects," he says. "And they are attracting votes because ... established parties are not dealing with the issues that are on people's minds."
It is left to Dutch ex-pat Jewish author, Leon de Winter to provide some reality from his California home:
"What I like about [Wilders is that] he is a true friend of Israel and a true friend of America," de Winter says in a call from his home in California. His "opponents call him a racist and a Nazi, all of these things that he is clearly not. Still, often his ideas are over the top and I hope he will soften the way he expresses himself because the themes he touches on are really serious."
Well, those of us who support Wilders like his positions on controlling Islamization, support for Israel and the Jewish people, and, no, Mr. DeWinter, Wilders shouldn't soft pedal reality.
As Jabotinsky warned his fellow Jews in Lithuania on the brink of extinction, "Ehr kumt...."
Posted on 10/26/2010 7:18 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Stakelbeck: The Chavez Hezbollah and Al Qaeda Cocaine Cartel
Why are Venezuelan air flights and ocean shipping to West Africa scary? Answer: because strongman Hugo Chavez's Venezuelan cocaine pipeline is pouring millions into the coffers of Islamic terror groups Hezbollah and Al Qaeda in the Mahgreb. As this Stakelbeck CBN report, "Drug Money Funding Chavez, Islamic Terror Groups". demonstrates how profits from these narco-terrorism connections will come back to hurt us in the US . Hezbollah has made billions from the illegal drug trade in Europe via Lebanon, facilitated, in part, by its relationship to Ahmadinejad in Tehran , the Revolutionary Guards Al Qods group . They have made effective use of the hawalal remittance system in the Gulf states, especially Bahrain, to launder it. One Canadian report estimated the profits over the period from 2003 to 2007 from the the illegal drug trade at more than 2.2 billion Euros.. Whether it is heroin from the poppy fields of Afghanistan or Cocaine from Colombia, the US and international drug enforcement authorities have down little to stop it from fueling Islamic terrorism in South Asia, the Middle East, West Africa and in the Western hemisphere. Rachel Ehrenfeld's pioneering book, Narco- Terrorism published in 1991, laid out how illegal narcotic trades financed Islamic and leftist terrorism and what to do to stop it. In nearly two decades since the publication of Ehranfel;d's pioneering book, the US and international drug enforcement qauthorities have done little to sever these narco-terrorism connections.
Note these excerpts from the Stakelbeck report:
Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez differ in many ways, but they share a common enemy -- the United States. And according to U.S. officials, drugs help connect and fund the dangerous networks.
West Africa is the center of their interests in the multi-billion dollar business. The region has become a transit point for cocaine bound for Europe.
Al Qaeda and Hezbollah often provide security for the drugs after they arrive in Africa. But the illegal cargo originates in the Western Hemisphere.
Former State Department official Roger Noriega told CBN News that Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is well aware that drug shipments are flowing from his territory. Noriega was the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States under former President George W. Bush.
"Virtually every flight that goes to West Africa today that is bearing cocaine or other drugs, is coming from Venezuela," he said.
"We have explicit evidence, and our government has sanctioned Venezuelan officials who have been involved in drug trafficking," Noriega continued. "So we know that the regime is complicit for years, and that Chavez has to have knowledge and approve of this kind of trafficking."
"This is a guy who claims to know every time a U.S. Coast Guard cutter comes close to his country or flies close to his territory," he added. "How can he claim to not be aware of 737s full of cocaine loading up in western Venezuela? He has to know about this kind of trafficking because it is so substantial."
"And it is not only going to West Africa," Noriega said. "It is going up through the Caribbean and through the central American peninsula on its way to the United States. Chavez's complicity in drug trafficking is a cheap way for him to wage asymmetrical warfare against his toughest opponents, including the United States."
An African government official with knowledge of the trans-Atlantic drug trade told CBN News thousands of drug shipments depart each year from northeastern Venezuela en route to West Africa. Some arrive through clandestine flights and others by fishing vessels.
Once they arrive in West Africa, the drugs are transported northward to their final destination of Europe -- where demand for cocaine is skyrocketing.
"West Africa is the logical place in which they can bring their drugs to, break them up and then bring them into Europe," said Rudy Atallah, a former Africa counter-terrorism director for the U.S. Department of Defense and currently the CEO of White Mountain Research.
Atallah told CBN News that once the drugs arrive in Africa, Islamic terrorist groups are often waiting in the wings.
"Al Qaeda basically charges for the passage of the drugs through their territory," he explained.
That territory is commonly known as the Islamic Maghreb, strectching from Morocco to Libya, down to Mali. The area is also home to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb or AQIM.
"There's a synergy between the drug dealers and AQIM," Atallah said. "Now, AQIM does not use the drugs. AQIM does not believe in the use of the drugs. But, it's a way to make money."
Due to a global crackdown on its funding sources, al Qaeda has increasingly turned to drugs to finance its operations.
Three al Qaeda agents from North Africa recently pleaded guilty to drug smuggling and terrorism charges in a U.S. federal court. They admitted to working with Colombian drug traffickers.
"That access to money gives al Qaeda capabilities in the future to attack soft targets in Africa," Atallah said. "And the soft targets could be U.S. embassies, Israeli embassies, French, U.K. embassies -- all open targets in Africa. Also, targets in Europe."
Al Qaeda is following the example of its fellow Islamic terror group Hezbollah, which has used drug money to fund operations for years.
"Hezbollah spread all across west Africa, starting from Senegal," Atallah said. "They have a vast array of connections with the drug dealers. And so, it's a natural flow where you have facilitations by Hezbollah in Africa to move drugs coming from Latin America to west Africa and up into Europe."
Posted on 10/26/2010 10:35 AM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Discrimination, Then and Now
Then. By Sherry Jacobson for Dallas Morning News:
Teen's 1955 East Texas shooting death identified as early civil rights killing
Reese, who was black, was shot to death while dancing in a rural cafe on Oct. 22, 1955. Local authorities were reluctant to investigate the shooting, with one sheriff insisting the culprit could be found in the nearby black community.
The following year, the Texas Rangers took over the case, and two white men were arrested after one admitted they had fired nine bullets into the cafe from their speeding car. Both men acknowledged being angry about a new school being built in Mayflower, a mostly black community.
The men were found guilty of "murder without malice" and received five-year prison sentences that were immediately suspended. Neither spent a day in jail.
Now. By Gavin Rabinowitz for AFP:
Elders censure Israel over discrimination in east Jerusalem
Others described how undercover police units arrested children, how settlers and their security guards acted violently with impunity and how settler groups dominated the tourism industry in the crumbling neighbourhood that lies just south of the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.
One child, Muslim Odeh, 10, described being arrested and beaten, holding up a torn T-shirt and showing a scraped knee and a cut on his back.
"They made me kneel down and gave me a sandwich and wanted me to tell them who the other masked children were," he said.
Local children, many wearing T-shirts pulled up to cover their faces, often stand outside the tent throwing stones at settlers and Israeli security forces.
Former US president [and former and current antisemite] Jimmy Carter, who is part of the delegation, suggested the lasting solution would be a peace deal that would see Israel leave east Jerusalem.
Even if one were to accept the "Palestinian" claims, and one should not accept the "Palestinian" claims given their propensity for manufacturing news and fabricating "atrocities", these crimes would be piddling compared to what Muslims do to their fellow Muslims in Gaza and elsewhere in Dar al-Islam. They would be piddling, if they happened, which is extremely, extremely, EXTREMELY doubtful. My young son usually has a scraped knee and a cut or two somewhere on his body, and has ripped more shirts and pants than I care to remember. Awaiting the arrival of Jimmy Carter and the U.N. warcrimes tribunal...
Posted on 10/26/2010 2:02 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Great Australians, V, the Well-Prepared Soldier: Sir Thomas Blamey, Who Read the Enemy's Book
Part five of my 'Great Australians' series features General Sir Thomas Blamey (1884-1951), who served as commander-in-chief of the Australian Military Forces between 1941 and 1945.
A full account of the long, vigorous and chequered career of this brilliant though flawed man may be found online here,
complete with portrait.
But today I bring him to the attention of our readers at New English Review not because of any one of his deeds, many of which were impressive though not without attendant controversy, both in the Middle Eastern theatre and in the Pacific, during World War II, but because of just one speech that deserves to be remembered, and contemplated.
Namely, a radio broadcast given (anonymously at the time) in 1938, part of which is reproduced within a most interesting anthology called 'Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia" (ed. Sally Warhaft, 2004, pp. 92-93).
Ms Warhaft observes: "During the 18 months before the outbreak of World War II, he [Blamey] broadcast an anonymous weekly radio program for station 3UZ on the situation in Europe.
"The program was known only as 'The Sentinel', and the identity of the broadcaster was only revealed after his final program, entitled, "The Tragedy of Poland is Approaching".
And she adds:
'The following extract of the sixth 'Sentinel' broadcast, which went to air shortly after Hitler's annexation of Czechoslovakia, shows a sophisticated grasp of the dynamics of the Third Reich, and casts prophetic doubts on the 'peace in our time' that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain thought he had obtained in Munich'.
Warhaft's useful book then provides an extract of that speech, which I reproduce here. Remember: these words were spoken in 1938, just after the Anschluss. I have bolded certain passages for emphasis.
"...the German coup in Austria is still fresh in our mind.
"The key of recent German activity in Europe is to be found in the teachings of Hitler in his book Mein Kampf, widely, almost compulsorily read in Germany and without doubt expressing the German attitude today.
"The first part of this book was written in prison, but the second volume was written with the help of the German General Staff. So that where it proclaims a method it should be carefully weighed.
"Hitler's method has followed the book rather consistently, so I would draw your attention to this when he says: - 'However much we recognise the necessity of a reckoning with France, this would yet remain ineffective if it were to become the only goal of foreign policy. It can only have sense if it acts as a cover for an enlargement of the living room [i.e. Lebensraum - CM] of our own people in Europe. It is not to colonial acquisition that we must look for a solution of this question, but exclusively to the acquisition of territory for settlement which will increase the area of the Motherland'. And again: "Do not look upon the Reich as secure if it cannot give for centuries to come its own piece of land and soil to every branch of our people'.
"It is in this outlook that danger lies for Europe.
"The method is to stir up by propaganda the border Germans as in Austria and to make demands by the Nazi Party leader to be followed by the menace of the national sword.
"Germany will not find it nearly so easy a task in Czechoslovakia as she found in Austria, but the pressure on Eduard Benek [Czechoslovak President] and Milan Hodza [Czechoslovak Prime Minister] may be so great as to force them to give away much that they would not give except under the menace of their geographical isolation and weak strategical position".
[from 'radio broadcasts', Blamey Papers, 3DRL/ 6643 series 7/ Box 59, Australian War Memorial Archive, Canberra].
To judge from this speech Thomas Blamey was second-guessing Hitler pretty well. And how could he do it? Because - like certain others better known to us, such as Sir Winston Churchill - he had seen that the enemy had a book, 'Mein Kampf', and he had taken the trouble to read that book, and he had taken seriously the malevolent intent it proclaimed and the devious methods it described, and he had observed a clear correlation between the content of the enemy's book and the actual deeds of the enemy.
As the Australian Parliament and the governments of other non-Muslim countries allied to the USA earnestly debate what should be done as regards Afghanistan, and reflect upon the chaos in Iraq, I commend to our politicians and diplomats, and to our generals, and to our other officers and those who instruct our officers-in-training, the example of Sir Thomas Blamey, who read the enemy's book.
And I urge them to read the Quran, the Sira, and the Hadith with the same critical attention that Sir Thomas Blamey devoted to 'Mein Kampf'.
Posted on 10/26/2010 1:42 AM by Christina McIntosh
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
A Musical Interlude: Who? (Binnie Hale, Jack Buchanan)
Posted on 10/26/2010 7:59 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Sandro Magister: L'Osservatore Romano Censors Bishop Raboula Antoine Beylouni's Remarks On Muslims And Islam
From the website www.rorate.coeli:
Sandro Magister has drawn attention to the L'Osservatore Romano's publication on Friday of an eviscerated Italian version of the summary of the speech of Bishop Raboula Antoine Beylouni during the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. (Rorate reproduced that speech two days ago.) According to Magister this speech's published form was heavily censored on the order of the Vatican Secretariat of State.
Below is the full text of the speech in English, with the equivalent portions removed by the Secretariat of State in bold:
For several years in Lebanon we have had a national committee for Islamic-Christian dialogue. There was also an episcopal commission from the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon entrusted with Islamic-Christian dialogue. It was recently suppressed to give more importance to the other committee, also because because it had not produced any results.
Sometimes dialogue occurs here and there, in the Arab countries, such as in Qatar, where the Emir himself invites, at his expense, personalities from different countries and from the three religions: Christian, Muslim and Jewish. In Lebanon the Télélumiere and Noursat networks, and other television networks, sometimes broadcast programs on Islamic-Christian dialogue. Often a topic is chosen, and each side explains or interprets according to their religion. These programs are usually very instructive.
With my intervention, I wished to draw attention on the points that make these encounters difficult and often ineffective. It should be clear that we are not discussing dogma. But even the subjects of a practical and social order are difficult to discuss when the Koran or the Sunna discusses them. Here are some difficulties which we have faced:
- The Koran inculcates in the Muslim pride in being the only true and complete religion, taught by the greatest prophet, because he was the last one. The Muslim is part of the privileged nation, and speaks the language of God, the language of Paradise, the Arabic language. This is why, he comes to dialogue with a sense of superiority, and with the certitude of being victorious.
The Koran, supposedly written by God Himself, from beginning to end, gives the same value to all that is written: dogma that supercedes all law or practice.
In the Koran, men and women are not equal, not even in marriage itself where the man takes several wives and can divorce at his pleasure; nor in the heritage where man takes double; nor in the testifying before judges where the voice of one man is equal to the voice of two women, etc...
The Koran allows the Muslim to hide the truth from the Christian, and to speak and act contrary to how he thinks and believes.
In the Koran, there are contradictory verses which annul others, which gives the Muslim the possibility of using one or the other to his advantage, and therefore he can tell the Christian that he is humble and pious and believes in God, just as he can treat him as impious, apostate and idolatrous.
The Koran gives the Muslim the right to judge Christians and to kill them for the Jihad (the holy war). It commands the imposition of religion through force, with the sword. The history of invasions bears witness to this. This is why the Muslims do not recognize religious freedom, for themselves or for others. And it isn't surprising to see all the Arab countries and Muslims refusing the whole of the "Human Rights" instituted by the United Nations.
Faced with all these interdictions and other similar attitudes should one suppress dialogue? Of course not. But the themes that can be discussed should be chosen carefully, and capable and well-trained Christians chosen as well, as well as those who are courageous and pious, wise and prudent... who tell the truth with clarity and conviction...
We sometimes deplore certain dialogues on TV, where the Christian speaker isn't up to the task, and does not give the Christian religion all its beauty and spirituality, which scandalizes the viewers. Worse yet, when sometimes there are clergyman speakers who, in dialogue to win over Muslims call Mohammed the prophet and add the Muslim invocation, known and constantly repeated: "Salla lahou alayhi was sallam". (In ordering this sentence to be censored, is the Vatican Secretariat of State implying that it is acceptable for Christian representatives to call Mohammed the prophet and to use the aforesaid invocation -- which invokes peace and blessings upon Mohammed? Just asking. CAP)
Finally I would like to suggest the following:
Like the Koran spoke well of the Virgin Mary, insisting on her perpetual virginity and miraculous and unique conception in giving us Christ; just as Muslims take her greatly into consideration and ask for her intercession, we should turn to her for all dialogue and all encounters with the Muslims. Being the Mother of us all, she will guide us in our relations with the Muslims to show them the true face of Her Son Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind.
If it pleased God that the Feast of the Annunciation was declared a national feast day in Lebanon for Christians and Muslims, may it also become a national feast day in other Arab countries.
Posted on 10/26/2010 9:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
It's No Longer "Meet Me Under The Biltmore Clock"
No, no one meets "under the Biltmore clock" anymore. .
Now it's "I'll meet you on the second floor of 1 Mao Ming South Road, at the corner of Yan'an Zhong Road, in Shanghai."
Time Marches On, and so, while America sleepwalks -- with "surges" and suchlike -- does China.
Posted on 10/26/2010 9:17 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Simon Henderson On The Al Saud, Corrupt And Corrupting Everything
A lethal Saudi mix of cash and conceit
Simon Henderson in the London Sunday Times
October 24, 2010
To misquote F Scott Fitzgerald, Saudi princes are different from you and me. For a start, they have more money. Lots more money. Indeed, as shown in the murder trial that concluded in London last Wednesday, so much money that at least one of them thought he could sexually assault and murder his servant and get away with it.
The details of last week's case make gruesome reading. Fuelled by champagne and "sex on the beach" cocktails, the playboy Saudi prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud beat and strangled Bandar Abdulaziz in a plush suite at the Landmark hotel in central London in February.
It was the culmination of a campaign of sadistic violence waged by the 34-year-old royal against his manservant. The court heard that CCTV footage showed the prince punching Bandar 37 times in the hotel lift, and that the servant had suffered a cauliflower ear and swollen lip in earlier beatings. There were also mobile phone photos of the 32-year-old in compromising positions on the prince's bed.
"So worn down by the violence, so subservient and submissive had Bandar become that he was incapable of any effective resistance," Jonathan Laidlaw, the prosecutor, told the Old Bailey.
Several thousand Saudis can title themselves Prince, but Saud's pedigree is premier division. He is a grandson of the late half-brother of Saudi Arabia's ruler, King Abdullah, so perhaps it's not surprising that his reaction when the Metropolitan police turned up was to claim he had diplomatic immunity (wrongly, as it turned out).
It is all rather horrifying to those new to the field of Saudi watching but, sadly, for old-timers, it is not surprising. I can recall being told, perhaps 30 years ago, that the predilection of one senior Saudi was for little boys. What was their compensation, I remember asking. "A Rolex watch," was the reply.
Confirmation of sorts came many years later when a former American ambassador to the kingdom told me I was only half right: the Saudi liked little girls as well.
"It's not that they feel that the rules - legal or religious - don't apply to them," according to a businessman based in Saudi Arabia. "They think there are no rules at all.
"The prince must have known that there would have been a CCTV camera in the lift at the Landmark that would have recorded his attack on his servant but, insofar as he thought about it at all, he would have figured that the tapes could be 'lost' or that he would have immunity from prosecution."
A former British ambassador acknowledges the problem: "I was forever getting woken up in the middle of the night by the Metropolitan police, saying that they had arrested this Saudi man who had driven his Ferrari into a lamppost on the King's Road, drunk, and that he was claiming he was a member of the Saudi royal family and had immunity from arrest.
"Did I know who he was? What should they do - arrest him or let him go? Saudi diplomats do indeed have immunity from prosecution. But not even a diplomat could get away with murder in the UK."
Last week's case was particularly grim but it doesn't signal, as some have suggested, a deterioration in Saudi behaviour abroad. Sex scandals and even murders after which the foreign perpetrators have tried to flee the country have been rare but far from unheard of in London over the years.
Nor are such crimes confined to Saudis. Two years ago the body of Martine Vik Magnussen, a Norwegian student, was found in a central London apartment rented by a wealthy young Arab. Farouk Abdulhak, 23, who is suspected of raping and murdering Magnussen, remains free after he fled to Yemen, where his billionaire father is a powerful businessman.
The risk is that such horrors will continue as long as there's the perception that British authorities might be persuaded to turn a blind eye to all but the worst excesses of rich and irresponsible foreigners. Of course, the explanation for why we might be tempted to do so is simple: Britain enjoys lucrative trade links with Saudi Arabia, with the arms industry a key element. The risk is that Saudi Arabia might pull multi-billion-pound defence contracts if members of the royal family are embarrassed by foreign states.
In truth, smooth-talking the British police to drop minor charges could almost be said to be a rite of passage for younger officials at the Foreign Office.
A British businessman in the Gulf (nobody speaks on the record about the Saudis) claims: "There have been plenty of times when members of the Saudi royal family and sheikhs from other Gulf states have misbehaved in London, but on every occasion the perpetrators were somehow magically spirited out of the country and the details never emerged.
"I remember a few years ago a Saudi sheikh had run up huge debts - around £10m - at a London casino. There were also claims that he had been taking cocaine in the toilets. The casino called in the police. He denied the drugs charges and refused to pay up.
"Eventually, some money appeared and the police dropped the matter. In the summer, when Gulf Arabs come to London, something like that happens every month but you'd never know."
To a lesser extent, it's an attitude manifested in the recklessness of Gulf royalty towards our parking restrictions: witness the clamping of two supercars outside Harrods this summer. They were left there illegally by members of the Qatari royal family, new owners of the London store, who were seemingly happy to pick up whatever ticket they got.
Of all the lurid details to emerge in court, gay sex is perhaps the most embarrassing for the Saudi royals. It might even be the reason last week's case has not been reported in Saudi Arabia or in any of the pan-Arab newspapers that the Saudis own.
Homosexuality is a taboo subject in Saudi Arabia. Another businessman says: "It's sometimes said that because the sexes are strictly segregated in Saudi Arabia that Arab men are more likely to be gay. I don't see any evidence of that. What is true, however, is that the repression in Saudi society means that if you are gay, you are likely to indulge more when you are overseas."
Of course, there are many sheikhs who take their privileged position and responsibilities seriously. But, like any society, there are others who don't. What makes Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states different is that those who want to be playboys have the wherewithal to do so.
"It's not that Saudi young men do all of this because they are Arabs," says another Gulf businessman. "They do it because they have more money than God and zero responsibility. They are kids with a big bag of money, often a big bag of drugs and no one to say when enough's enough. It's a toxic combination."
Simon Henderson is the author of After King Abdullah: Succession in Saudi Arabia
Posted on 10/26/2010 9:52 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Omar Khadr "Rock Star" In Guantanamo
Read the psychiatrist's sober testimony here.
Posted on 10/26/2010 10:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Wolfgang Bosbach On Tolerance, Legitimate And Illegitimate
There mustn't be any false tolerance
26 October, 2010
Society does not have to adopt cultural traditions and the laws of immigrants. There can be no compromise between the German rule of law and Sharia law, which has no place in Germany - a German politician told RT.
The problem with the integration of immigrants into German life is that newcomers want society to adopt their culture - and not vice versa, insists Wolfgang Bosbach, a member of the Christian Democratic Union Party which is part of Germany's leading coalition.
RT: When the Chancellor said multiculturalism had failed - what did she mean by multiculturalism?
Wolfgang Bosbach: Angela Merkel stated that "multikulti" has failed because in Germany we have too much co-existence rather than togetherness and there are only a few examples of successful integration. There are [actually] millions of examples of successful integration but there are too many examples of refusals and failures. Integration is so important for the improvement of life perspectives of immigrants in Germany. That's why we should not live separately next to each other, so to speak "multikulti", but together.
RT: A lot of the debate has focused on Muslim immigrants rather than the Polish, Italian and Greek population in Germany. Is that fair, to highlight just them as part of the problem?
WB: We've always had immigration in our history. We have immigrants today and will always have them in the future. Three hundred years ago, every third Berliner and Brandenburger was a French protestant. A hundred years ago, Polish immigrants came to work in mining and steel industries in the Ruhr area, but in recent years and decades, people from other cultural backgrounds came, for instance from Turkey, Northern Africa and Arabic countries. And a long time ago we understood that these people have far bigger problems integrating than those who come from our neighboring European countries.
RT: So when we talk about integration - what does your party actually intend to do to help integrate people who are clearly not so at the moment?
WB: First of all it's the task of the people coming here to integrate themselves into society. One can't come to Germany, sit down and say: government, please integrate me. Instead one has to make an effort to become part of this accepting society, and the state has to make offers to make integration work, especially language courses. Hundreds of thousands have visited language courses over recent years. This is a very encouraging result.
RT: There were top politicians addressing this issue of immigration with very strong wording. Do you think that this has tapped into people's often deep prejudices about immigration and about the Islamic religion that they are actually pretty ignorant about?
WB: I don't think that harsh words were used but rather the right words. Sensible politics begins with looking at the reality. In this reality there are millions of examples of the best kind of integration but there also too many examples of failing and refusing to integrate. And the statistics say that the rate of unemployment among immigrants is double the average among the population. The quota of those receiving welfare among immigrants is three times as high as among the population. And it makes no sense talking around this issue. One must call things as they are, in reality. One cannot say: I find the system of social benefits in Germany very good but not the rule of law. Those who come to Germany must respect the law, the constitution and our cultural traditions.
RT: Could you clarify where the lines are being drawn and what will be accepted in this country and what won't be? And also your views on the argument that there is now on the back of it the difference between assimilation and integration?
Vladimir Kremlev for RT (click to enlarge)
WB: I have no problem with the word "assimilation" whatsoever. It just means "to become similar" or "to become nearly similar". What is the problem with that? Assimilation is ultimately successful integration. It doesn't mean one has to cut their roots or deny their origin. But it means that one feels sheltered by this accepting society. It means it is one's new home country, one is at home here, and not half back in their native country sitting here on packed suitcases. Integration is fulfilled when one says 'this is my new home country', and you can also call it assimilation.
RT: The integration and assimilation are two separate things, are they not?
WB: For me assimilation is the ultimate form of integration. Assimilation doesn't mean that I forget what native country I came from, that I deny my origin. If translated word by word, assimilation means, "becoming similar to", and that means integration is fulfilled.
RT: Assimilation is asking people to play down perhaps some of their religious symbols and religious practices to fit in better in the country to which they went, whereas integration for a lot of people means tolerance on both sides, learning how to work together to get the best results. So they are two separate things. What is Germany asking of its immigrants? Is it asking from people not to have mosques, not to wear hijab and obvious religious symbols? Or it is just asking for a greater effort in learning German language and integrate in that way?
WB: I think there is a misunderstanding here. Naturally, there is freedom of religion in Germany but only within the framework of the law and constitution. One goes to church, another to the synagogue, a third to the mosque, and a fourth doesn't attend any house of God at all. What is the problem? But what is taught and what is preached mustn't contradict our law and constitution. That's why we have a special criminal law against so-called hate preachers. Especially at this point there mustn't be any false tolerance. Integration means integrating into accepting society, it means those who have come here must make themselves fit into society. It's not that society has to adopt cultural traditions and the laws of those who are coming. There can be no compromise between the German rule of law and Sharia law. Sharia has no place here in Germany - end of story.
RT: Immigration, especially with Turkish immigrants and the Arabic immigrants, has been happening for decades. Why has the issue become so important now?
WB: On the one hand it has to do with the big number of immigrants. In Germany we have four million Muslims, not only but mostly of Turkish origin. Their origin and beliefs are becoming more and more visible, for instance through the construction of huge representative mosques, which could as well be seen as a political symbol. There have been heavy clashes lately, in Cologne for example, over the construction of a huge mosque to replace a smaller mosque. It means Islam is getting more visible. On the other hand it has to do with the difference in the progress of integration between Muslims and non-Muslims. It is not necessarily to do with their origin and social state. One example, the children of Vietnamese contract workers in the former GDR, or the children of the so-called boat people, integrate very successfully. The proportion of those children attending the best high schools in Germany is 50 per cent higher than the number of German kids. Consequently it must have something to do with the origin of the parents and their enthusiasm for education. And that's why it's such a big issue now.
RT: Do you also accept that there is also the state's role and the government's role to be providing the infrastructure to enable the integration to happen - are there any failings of the government as well?
WB: There has been a mistaken perception in German immigration policy that the second and third generations of immigrants would automatically integrate. And why? Because they grow up here, they attend school with our children. And we see more integration problems with the second and third generations now than with the first one. It has taken us a long time to start taking necessary measures, for instance there are nationwide language and integration courses.
When it comes to voluntary attendance of these courses, our expectations are surpassed. That means there is high demand. But when it comes to mandatory attendance of such language courses, due to a lack of language knowledge, the results are rather disappointing, although these people have the highest need to attend. It means there are some more tough years ahead of us.
RT: Your party has been accused by critics of using the issue of immigration to deflect attention away from failings in dealing with other economic and social issues. Is your party playing political games?
WB: This statement is clear nonsense because we like to talk about the economic and social state of the country. And Germany is doing very well. In comparison to other nations our growth rate is above average, we mastered the aftermath of the financial crisis faster and better than others; we have significantly better figures on the job market; as far as I am concerned one could talk all day about the economic and social state of Germany. We talk about immigration and integration because we have very visible problems. Other parties are feeling embarrassed that we are raising this subject. They believe if you make a problem taboo, then you can solve it this way. It reminds me of Donald Duck who used to throw his bills into the fireplace thinking he has no more debts. When politicians hush-up problems they make radical right and left parties stronger. And that's exactly what we want to prevent. We don't want to make problems taboo: we want to solve them.
RT: For decades Germany has had immigrants from Islamic countries and this issue is only now coming to the forefront in such a strong way - why?
WB: It's because we have been noting for years that we have examples of excellent integration but too many examples of refusals to integrate, and therefore significant problems in connection with that. We experience this with the lack of the knowledge of German in school. If someone doesn't have a good knowledge of German at school they will have difficulty graduating from high school. Without graduating from high school one cannot start vocational training. Without vocational training one has fewer chances on the job market. And we want to break this vicious circle. There is no sensible reason not to talk about it. But the one who is saying there is no problem is only going towards the next point on the agenda. But we don't want to hush-up problems, we want to solve them. And we won't allow anyone to stop us from doing so. People's lives are what matter, as well as how living with each other is perceived and felt about.
There is a big difference between someone who writes a piece for a magazine and owns a penthouse in Berlin and watches the sunset with a glass of sparkling wine, and writes a nice article about multicultural living together, and the last remaining German tenant in a building complex who does not understand the language that is spoken there. And he can't talk with the neighbours any longer, and he feels like a foreigner in his own country. I can just give a piece of advice: take these people's worries seriously.
RT: Would you agree there is a growing nationalist sentiment in the country now?
RT: So, don't you think there is more to do on both sides on the tolerance issue? There is a number of the population agreeing with very strong statements like Muslims are 'doing down' the country, why are there such quotes?
WB: I have to beg you cordially but one should not mix up nationalism and patriotism. A nationalist is somebody who thinks he is better than someone else because he belongs to a certain nation. Patriotism is love for your homeland. Loving your homeland is a good thing. Don't try to make me believe that it's nationalist to stick to your country, defend its laws and values and cultural traditions. It has nothing to do with nationalism. I'm happy for anybody who loves their home country but I want to love my home country as others do theirs, without others saying this is nationalist.
RT: Do you think your political party would be beneficial even if it is promoting extremist views?
WB: I cannot see any extremism at all here.
Posted on 10/26/2010 10:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald